The Middle Sister

The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Review: Bould Brothers Coffee House

I'm not an expert at many things but one thing I do know is what a blogger or freelancer wants from their coffee houses, Cambridge's coffee houses to be specific. So I'm writing a series of posts where you can find out the cool, the quirks and the que? aspects of our independent coffee connoisseurs.  What better place to start than the newest coffee kid on the block,  Bould Brothers.

 The Cool
  • Coffee and conversation is the boy's motto and they seem to take this quite to heart.  They are so enthusiastic, naturally discussing the ins and outs of life with everyone they come in contact with.
  • The decor has all the charm of an English tea room with the chic metropolitan finishing touches you'd expect from a modern Cambridge establishment.  
  • They have a loyalty reward card, always a plus!
  • The coffee itself is smooth and delicately flavoured... or it was when I visited.  I don't doubt if you wanted something a little more slap-you-in-the-face-fantastic they'd be only to happy to offer recommendations for more intense loving taste buds. 
  • Their barista and latte skills are top notch, that coupled together with the decor means its a very instagramable place.
  • Their logo, a clever black and white silhouette showing the outline of 2 men (the brothers themselves I believe), is sleek and understated.  Similar to those optical illusion images that were popular way back when.
The Quirks
  • The lamps upstairs have a rustic, vintage look but for my requirements are too low.  When I banged my head sitting down (and standing up) I got empathetic smiles from the other diners.  A quick straw poll of each of the tables concluded every one of them had also banged their heads at least once, possibly every time, they stood up.  
The Que? 
  • A pet hate of mine is getting lattes in a glass rather than a cup.  I can't help feeling somewhat short changed when this happens as the coffee seems to cool more quickly and it looks as if you don't get as much. 
  • An unfortunate interjection from a customer did sour my appetite for a return visit, not something you can blame the boys for but unwanted comments or pompous interruptions do not exactly give you the warm and fuzzies!  
  • The wifi is weak, seriously so and at the time of posting their website seems to be having a few issues. While it works from certain smart phones, there are some issues from their google search and for pc users*. They may well be fixing this as I write** however while I have contacted them find out and ask a few questions getting a reply is proving tricky.
  • They don't seem to respond all that quickly and they don't have a twitter account.  I find twitter invaluable when it comes to corresponding with brands and bloggers alike so this is a little surprising to me.  
A poll I carried out (on twitter) inspired by Bould Brothers decision to forgo this platform showed 80% of those that responded use twitter for business either 'all the time' or 'quite a bit'.  Novi, another coffee house in Cambridge, advised 'we like to be where our customers are'***.
These issues, I believe, could well be teething problems and the friendly attitude and beautiful latte art I received on my visit means I'll likely give them a second chance to make a first impression.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

*Its not just my pc before you ask, I've had outside confirmation!
**they are! not sure if this is cos they have seen this or just noticed by themselves!
** Now thats a respnse that smacks of common sense. 


Monday, 13 February 2017

Valentines Round Up

So Valentines Day is tomorrow which means its Galentines Day today.  A day to celebrate your friends and buy yourself nice things.

Obviously tomorrow is a day we all hope to get nice thing from other people. On the off chance your beau forgot, or was just plain lazy or didn't think about getting anything until this very second (rude!) here are a few ideas I had for presents from around Cambridge:
Byard Art - Aldona Juska
Country Traditionals
Bowns - Tara Jarmon

Burwash Manor - Manor Florist
You're Welcome!

Gif from Gify
Images from @TheeMiddleSister

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

I'm Quitting Social Media

Oh Good Lord no not me!  

This is something I've seen a few friends say recently and a couple have actually sworn off it altogether.  Not in that Essena O'Neil Instagram queen way, its more a 'social media is a mean place and I can't take how horrible everyone is' situation. 

And I get it. What with the shit show of referendums and elections that 2016 threw at us I've seen my fair share of hate spewed rhetoric myself.  I've been blocked by republicans who told me the Muslim culture are trying to kill us all!  And Democrats who didn't like that I insisted that not all republicans are evil. 

But I've also seen the other side. 

I've spent a whole evening joking with and tweeting complete strangers from Canada, some of whom promised to adopt me! I've had correspondence (sort of) with @technicallyron @jkrowling and @thelastleg, guys who have - and this is no exaggeration - literally kept my spirits up and inspired me to fight on while some of the most terrible situations in the world were unfolding. 

While the blocking and brain numbing chats with right wing "Christian" conservatives weren't particularly fun they were at least conversations. Which is what I believe we need this year. Conversations.  With people we do not agree with.   This doesn't mean we have to take abuse or ignorance.  And doesn't mean we can be patronising or condescending in response either (though a well placed gif does go down quite well).  

I believe we can't go on assuming those that think politically differently to us are idiotic or evil, but we can't shut down to them either.  And while I understand taking a break from social media I really don't feel shutting off from the best way to converse and correspond with the world is going to work.

Twitter and the like may never be the friendly-kitteny-soft-safe-space it once was.  But like I've said before If you can't see anything nice on your feed that means its your turn, you're up!

We need to be the change we want to see on Social Media.

Alright? lets get to work. 

Gifs from Gify

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Drivers, Cyclists. A word if you will


Being both a cyclist and a driver I am uniquely qualified to write this rant.  Here in Cambridge there was a population of *stops to google it* 123,900 in the 2011 consensus.  I can only imagine how much that number has grown in 6 years but safe to say a fair few of them are on the road between 7.30am – 8.45am of a weekday morning and I’ve noticed quite a bit of tension between two types of travellers. So I’m here to lay down the law.

Cyclists have AS MUCH right to use the road as you do, especially as they aren’t causing any damage to it and don’t hurt the environment with their mode of transport.  
  • If there is an off road cycle path they can use it…. But they don’t have to! Usually I will but if, for example, the path is on the other side of the road and I can hear a driver coming at me pretty fast I’m not going to risk life and limb to get to said path.  This does not mean it's OK to burn past shouting obscenities. It just makes you look like King Douche and there are quite a few contenders around so that’s saying something! 
  • If a cyclist is out into the road it’s usually because they know there is a pot hole coming up or they are cycling a little defensively because someone has just cut them up.  The amount of space to leave going round a cyclist should be enough for them to fall sideways and not even hit your car.  Leaving just enough for them to feel squeezed off the road will result in more defensive cycling and the circle continues.
  • Bear in mind you have a ton of metal at your disposal, so the odds of you being OK in an accident are pretty high.  Which just means you’ll be fit and healthy enough to go to prison should you get convicted of a felony in an altercation.
Yes you can be douche bags as well
  • For the love of all that is good in this world GET SOME LIGHTS! It is pitch black in certain areas of this city and your refusal to be seen or see where you are going is Darwinian in its stupidity. 
  • While we are at it, the white one goes on the front and the red one on the back.  Basic common sense should tell you this but I have seen the opposite layout too many times to count and bothers me no end.
  • Also HELMET! Yes I know we all look like a complete mushroom headed pillocks but they protect the squishy goodness that is our brain matter should a driver aim for you.  You may be a wonderfully clever Cambridge student but you are going to need your brains very much inside your skull if you plan to make any sort of success of your life.
No matter if you choose 2 or 4 tyres to get to work/school or wherever it is you are going, its important we all find our chill and show a little compassion for our fellow travellers.  In a year of heinous news and a distinct lack of respect for anyone even remotely different to ourselves let’s try ending it with a bit of decorum.

Have you got any advice for either cyclists or drivers? Add it below.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Camb Meet Up: #ChristmasBloggersBash

Alright then! Like just about everyone else that was there last Sunday, Pippa and Sophie truly inspired me at the Camb Meet Up Christmas Bloggers Bash.  The girls did such an amazing job starting with the venue choice of Novi. This place is instagram heaven with a little blogger paradise thrown in*. 

First off we got to speak with Barry from Jimmy's, a charity that is changing the lives of those they meet and helping people get back on their feet after becoming homeless. He reminded us people in this situation aren't all that different from you and I. Jimmy's is the CambMeetUp charity for next year and we raised over £200 for them at this event alone**.  

As well as brands like Jessops, Blogosphere and Origins we had a little enforced mingling time to chat to some of the other bloggers there. Normally I run a mile from this sort of thing but will admit it was nice to see IRL*** some that I have only spoken with online.  

Unfortunately they are all as perfect looking as I imagined, but they were also as lovely too so that's something!  I spoke with Sophie from Indie and Pop, a blogger after my own heart with a passion for independent and popular stores and Jennifer from Feioi Interiors. Incidentally Jennifer is giving a talk on 'How to bring Hygge into your home' at the first ever Hygge Cambridge event on Monday. 

Of course I also got to catch up with friends:

Pip's is the reason we even have Camb Meet Up and is one of those bizarre people that when they say 'lets meet up' actually means it and is one of the most encouraging people I know.  Plus she has the shiniest of shiny hair! 

Lauren from GirlRunningLate
Love this girl and am lucky enough to say we were friends before we both found blogging. Source of all that is light and fun with an infectious enthusiasm for running and cake... possibly more into the cake at times!

Gemma from LifesaCatwalk
I have some serious wardrobe envy with this one and live vicariously through her frequent posts on fashion and lifestyle.

The mini talks were perfectly planed.  Danielle from Fashionista Barbie spoke of the need for a media pack.  If you don't have one (and I don't) they're apparently quite easy to get from Etsy.  She also had words of encouragement for those of us with smaller readership, advising brands do now recognise the effects of the Micro influencer.  Sophia Meola a beauty blogger gave some great advice including the quote "Comparison is the thief of joy" which I love and will try to remember from now on.

My own advice for new bloggers? So glad you asked! its be brave.  The posts I've that I drafted, deleted, drafted again and then hovered over the post button for fear of judgement or ridicule have been among my most popular. 

If you were there let me know what you thought and if you have any blogging advice.

Can't wait for the next one!

*Please note Link heavy post coming up!
**Yay Us!
*** In Real Life

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