An ode to cafes. X
Because, if you spent time with me in my real life (over the last 15 years)… then you’d notice a distinctive pattern.
Oh, she makes frothy, creamy hot tonics for everyone who comes to her house.
Oh, she knows every cafe in the regions she frequents and their entire menu off by heart.
Oh, she lights up like a little kid in a candy store when she walks into a new cafe… one of those kinds of cafes.
I’ve stopped trying to fight it, or pretend I’m an avid veggie gardener. If we really are headed for the end of times, then, I’m gonna go out doing what I love— sitting in cafes, going into cafes, ordering from cafes, studying cafes. Look, God makes us all unique and plopped us all in certain countries with certain cultures. I was born in Fremantle, WA. You either like the beach, cafes, or both.
Cafe culture is real in Aus. Take a walk on a Saturday morning anywhere there’s some energy, and you’ll see every man and their dog with either a takeaway cup, a keep cup… either that or they’re sat at a cafe, having a typical Aussie cafe breakfast. The kids all get a babycino— which is a little espresso sized cup of frothed milk with choc sprinkled on top. Traditionally (because they are part of our customs in Aus), a marshmallow comes with each one. Sometimes, the barista will side eye the mum and subtly ask if the kids are having a ‘marshy’ today. Or, the mum will slip it into the order— ‘No MM today thanks’. Sometimes, if no prior arrangements have been made, the mum will swipe the marshy’s away before the kids see. For me, it depends on the day. My kids don’t get a marshy every time, but occasionally I’ll let them.
I laughed when my American friends thought they were introducing me to avocado on toast. We ate avocado and Vegemite toast as we emerged from the womb. My brother once went to a regular day at pre-primary and was asked ‘what did you have for breakfast’ to which he replied ‘green toast’. In Aus, the options for toast aren’t simple white or brown. It’s not even the more modernised selection of white, brown or gluten free. In Australia, there are about 5 breads on the menu. I say this to boast, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find peace in a simple ‘white or wholegrain’ selection. Sometimes, when ordering toast I forget who I am. Am I gluten free? Or am I wholegrain sourdough? Or am I that new grain free one? Am I fruit toast or…. Gasp… am I no toast at all? I’m actually a pretty boring breakfast eater. I don’t have much of an appetite in the morning. I can feel all my pro metabolic readers leaning into their screen saying ‘Cmon Peta! Eat within an hour of waking!’ Keep trying! We will discuss another time ;)
Also, I haven’t been able to eat eggs (that aren’t insanely over cooked) for years. I blame it on the fact mum washed my mouth out with soap at the age of 3 after I’d said a very ‘Australian’ word. I prefer going out for breaky later on, about 10. Unless I’m living in London, it’s freezing cold and I’m pregnant. Which was the case when Sol was nearly two and Pax was in my belly. I’d rug her up, get her on her little scooter (which had a leash type strap on it- it was a London thing for toddlers riding on busy streets on scooters), and venture out to the local Gail’s bakery. Oh, Gail’s. Sweet sweet Gail’s.
I need comfort food in those cold, grey climates and I ain’t mad about it. Also, I can tolerate a very weak cappuccino in those seasons, whereas typically, I can’t tolerate coffee at all (I don’t miss out on other lattes though, don’t worry).
When I touch down anywhere new (which has been quite a frequent thing for me in recent years), the first thing I do after mildly unpacking and getting my kids on scooters/car/bike/whatever kind of transport is appropriate… we cafe hunt.
If we’re in London and we’re staying in my ol’ stomping ground of Hampstead, we drop our bags and head straight for Ginger and White on Perrins Court. I have fond memories of walking here with Sol. She’d get a babycino with a bunch of teeny tiny marshys and eggs and soldiers. We called them dippy eggs. Soft boiled eggs in little cups that you crack open with a spoon, dipping in your thinly cut slices of abundantly buttered toast. At Ginger and White, the eggs come with a hand-knitted tea cosy on top. I know. I could barely deal with it either. It was very English, and it was also the kind of thing that made me day. I LOVE these details.
There are so many things I love about cafes as a part of life, as well as cafes as a part of humanity. I’ll share them in the Cafe Diaries as life rolls on.
I just created two new sections in my Substack:
I recently also added a section titled Body Luxury, which is where I write about my wellbeing philosophies and explorations and where the woman, life, food and God meet.
Oooh yeh. It’s getting fun.
PS. If you want to hear from me even more and get the more intimate, personal, regular entries in your inbox... then jump on into the paid subscription for $11 a month. It’s where the avo smash version of my work lives. The intention is that this subscription feels like a real treat for you. When it lands in your inbox, you can't wait to open it up. I write memoir style the most, because… we’re tired of being spoken at. Less self help. More cafes.
Peta, I feel you on coffee shops, they are life. 💗
I see you in Warsaw, Poland coffee shops. It’s surprising how good they are there, really. 💗
Love this Peta! I too get all happy inside when I step into “one of those” cafes. I get tingly and giddy!!! I’ll be in London for a month in May/June searching for cool cafes with my bff who runs the Museum of Happiness there. MOH is upstairs from The Well Bean Co. BEST coffee and chocolate ever!!! Plus it’s on the water so negative ion cool vibe added to the ambience, lol. I think you and the kids would love it. Best chocolate EVER!! And thanks for dropping names of great cafes and bakeries. I’m compiling a list! ❤️❤️❤️