My Favourite 3 Cafes Near Waterloo, London

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Waterloo – made world famous by ABBA. The mainline commuter station for anyone living in the South West is a five minute walk away from South Bank, Big Ben and The London Eye. Woven in between the iconic tourist attractions lies a treasure trove of independent cafes that are not only very Instagrammable (new word?), but won’t break your bank either. Here are my favourite spots, all tried and tested many a time by yours truly.

Scooter Caffè

Enter back in time to your grandmothers living room, with dim lighting, rustic decor and beautiful coffee art. Here, you can bring your own lunch, buy a drink for under £5 and relax in a comfy armchair. Oh, and if you like cats then this place is definitely for you. There are two wondering around.

Love and Scandal

Delicious breakfasts, sandwiches and cakes that are positively healthy, Love and Scandal is a great place to stop for a wholesome lunch. The scandinavian style decor, mixed with small quirky twists (old golden syrup tins are used for the sugar) give the cafe a great vibe and is somewhere I have on my ‘to go’ list, whenever I am in London.

Riverfront Bar & Kitchen

Located in the BFI (British Film Institute), this place is great to sit in on a summers day, with stunning views of the Thames and the effortless ability to people watch. Their breakfasts are out of this world as are the cocktails that are served all day.

 

(Taken from my travel blog – The Grass is Greener).

 

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New York Diary: Cafe Review Silvana, Harlem

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I am living in Harlem, right off of Frederick Douglass Blvd – a street that has every kind of cuisine imaginable, 25 hours a day. Jazz bars, cafes, pubs and restaurants swamp this ever lasting road and I am already regretting that I will only be here a month.

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Today I discovered a cute cafe/ vintage shop come jazz bar in the night. It was not only cheap but the staff were so sweet. One even told me I had a nice voice. Thanks, mate.

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The cafe, Silvana had all the artistic qualities of a hipster cafe in Shoreditch and Williamsburg but without the pretentious feel of trying too hard to be something it wasn’t. Homemade cakes, middle eastern food and cute milk jugs were just some of the cute (I said it again, it’s the only fitting word) to describe my new favourite local hang out.

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The Small Town Problems Of A Caffeine Addict

To tie in with my last post, I have illustrated this one with a picture of me drinking coffee in one of the coolest bars in Divonne les Bains. Aptly named the jungle bar, the interior makes you feel like you are on a safari bus and you can order both coffee and beer any time of the day. Ahh. 

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And now back to reality, present day at home in England…. I experienced today an unforgivable act of selfishness from my small town in the suburbs of London. Rather than there being no room at the inn (which at least in this case I could have then got a take away cup) there was simply no coffee in the café. Okay, so I might be deliberately forgetting to mention the fact that  I left my house at 4pm for my caffeine fix, but I assumed I would at least get a solid few hours in the coffee shop . I had even taken the trouble of searching high and low for my laptop case so I could be productive while sipping and recharging my brain.

First stop was Costa. Arriving at 4.10, I assumed the ‘closing at 5’ sign would still mean I could stay there for a good 50 minutes. Instead, I was told ‘sorry we are closing soon’ by the pre pubescent waiter. Not wanting to give up, I then went to the gym nearby to use their coffee shop. I try to avoid it when I can, simply because I am the only one downing a full fat cappuccino without a sweat band or red face and I often feel guilty for this sin. However desperate times..

We only have coffee from the machine now, then said. I’ve had that type of coffee there before and the taste of powdered milk at the bottom of my cup was enough to stop me making the same mistake again. I didn’t even try to investigate the other independent cafes on the other side of the road, but instead started walking home realising I would have to make do with my Americano equivalent in powder form (with real milk at least).

On my way home, I went a different route to normal to spice up this miserable mission fail and to my surprise, I saw that the local italian restaurant was already open for dinner. I almost ran in screaming ‘flat white’ and although I was asked the judgemental “is that all”, I was given it with a biscuit and a wide smile. Oh, but of course there was a down side to this too. Being the cashless idiot that I am, I had to buy two coffees to make the £5 card limit.

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Here was one of them (although it was actually an Americano with foamed milk if I am being extra fussy).

So today, I have learnt to never think it okay to be spontaneous in a small town when it comes to getting a coffee and alway always bring cash out on such an adventure.

At least I will be energised for the rest of the weekend now. Sleep, who needs it. 

Coffee And Macaroons In Paris

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Isn’t coffee a powerful thing. Not only does it make your brain accelerate into action, making you feel like Usain Bolt (well, on his day off) but drinking it is also a rather popular activity, especially in France.

In France, I would even say it was cultural.

While I was living there, I would pass coffee shops and pubs each early morning and see men and women of all ages, in all weather conditions sitting outside with an Espresso and cigarette, watching the world go by before they started their day. While I was not a fan of the minuscule size of an Espresso, I joined in with a more time consuming Americano.

My all time favourite place to drink coffee was in Paris.

On a recent trip, I treated myself to a Ladurée café and a macaroon (the other two were not mine – we could only afford one each). The ceiling was something else altogether – I mean just look at it!

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Richmond On A Sunday Afternoon (And Evening)

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Richmond – home to the likes of Mick Jagger, Hugh Grant and many rich people – there is a lot of truth in its name. I could only dream of renting a square metre on the green, let alone owning a house along the river. But everyone can dream, right.

I go to Richmond a lot as it is a half way point between my small town in the suburbs and central London. It is practically my second home – that being a square metre of floor space in the entrance to the station, or maybe half a square of Pret a Manger’s floor if I feel like upgrading my surroundings and taking in the fumes of coffee.

I took a lot of photos from my weekend, as I was in Richmond a lot. I had a lovely chilled out day drinking coffee on a boat followed by a long walk along the river with my Danish friend, Camilla. She has been studying in London and goes back to Copenhagen today – it’s always sad to say bye to people but also another reason for me to go back and visit her and my other Danish friends sometime very soon. If you haven’t read any of my previous posts already – I lived in Denmark for a while and am a little bit in love with it. I am even learning Danish on Duolingo right now, oh yes.

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This was inside the boat. It was simply called The Boat At Richmond Bridge and I need to go back there asap to get a photo of the front so you can see just how cute it was. It was decorated like a Christmas grotto and so peaceful inside. You can buy everything from coffee to snacks and wine.

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I just loved all the small touches. We got retro fruit salad sweets on the sweetest plate when we went to pay – this alone was worth a photo. We both had a coffee and shared hummus and pitta bread and paid less than £5 each. Perfection.

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Richmond bridge, just further along from where the boat was. So nice and peaceful and as Camilla pointed out, the air feels a lot cleaner than in London.

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I also had a great night on the Friday with two very old, old friends Annie and Jo. I met them at college which feels like only 
yesterday but I realised recently it was now nearly seven years ago – how time flies! We went to Be At One, one of my favourite cocktail bars – my favourite is English Fizz, especially during happy hour incase you want to know, although the snap shot was of another one we all enjoyed called Shaky Pete’s – don’t you just love all the names. It had gin, beer and ginger. Almost healthy I feel.

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Red Cups At Christmas

I am a fan of Christmas, especially at Starbucks. Although I am a very simple Americano girl myself, be it from McDonalds or a Danish barresso (I know, I need to start tasting the difference one day), Starbucks Christmas coffees are something that stand on their own.

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I was lucky enough this December to go along to a preview of the new red cups at Selfridge’s. Not only did I get to taste the first gingerbread latte of the year, but sample the new honey and almond hot chocolate – complete with chocolate whipped cream, yes it was a treat.

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I learnt that different coffee beans go well with different cakes. Mince pies were the firm favourite to snack on with all blends – just incase you needed an excuse to devour the six pack box on offer.

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Although I am a little cynical in the sense that everything is so commercialised come Christmas, I can’t help but enjoy that red cup, and the sweet smell of syrup blended as I queue up for my caffeine fix on a cold morning.