So, coffee shops of York, we meet again. This time on a more off-centre location where the student traffic is high but the standards are by no means lower. Enter Bison coffee.
An independent coffee house serving Hasbean coffee with a side of Vintage store and live music events. It's safe to say I was ready to saddle up and check it out.
But after the initial excitement of rekindling my coffee adventures last week the question was "would I still get such a buzz from my next espresso excursion?" Of course I would! What kind of silly worry was that?! The REAL question was, would Bison Coffee rock my rodeo or would this little trip just be an average heifer in a plethoric herd of cafes? Well let's see..
Along a residential street, Bison stands out. Not in a showy off way, but in a 'oooh that looks like a cool place to try' kind of way. Inside is a very unique experience. It's got a small corner shop vibe going on. A practical sized cashier area just big enough for two servers ready for action as soon as you step in the door. It's window-side bar is ideal for grabbing a quick shot whilst you read a headline or two and a few minutes of people watching. But head to the back and the ambience changes completely. A darker, almost 'back in time in someone's house', environment is created with a few mismatched tables and chairs, candles and eclectic paintings. It's neither a 'cosy' coffee shop chill space nor a desk-like productivity hub, but a completely unique atmosphere entirely.
There's enough light to feel airy and clean, but just enough vintage decor and quirky furnishings to give the whole place character and charm.
How many coffee shops do you know where your beverage comes in a solid cereamic Menwith Hill memoriabilia mug?
Beverage à la Bison
So, the beverage choice at Bison is pretty standard. You've got all you're americano, espresso, flat-whitey, hot choccy classics but WOAH, plot twist, there are all brilliantly affordable prices?! Given it's out of town location they can afford to boast beautiful brews that don't blow your life savings. Perfect for students and perfect for a second visit...which I did very promptly a couple days after my first. Although I was disapponted there is no loyalty scheme, but for small independents this would be a difficult thing to get going.
My initial visit saw me fall prey to my go-to flat white, but alas the only milk alternative they offer is soy. I'm glad they provided that option, I guess I'm usually just spoiled for choice with many places offering the nut-milks. The drink itself was great. As strong as a flat white should be, with enough milk to smooth the caffeine hit. Soy milk creates a 'stiffer' foam and a brilliant new take on latte art- resembling the surface of a planet. On my second visit, an americano took my fancy and was so beautiful quality wise, but required additional hot water so as not to hit me too hard. My third trip (yes, the fact that I've already had 3 visits shows my appreciation), I tried an iced Americano which hit the spot as we utilised the lovely outdoor seating in the delightful May sunshine.
What made the drinks even better? The cups.
Much love for the cup-thetics.
Decor/environment: 5/10- Very unique, quirky and vintage, but not always ther most practical (low-capacity).
Menu: 6/10- your standard espresso-based beverages, great selection of teas, bagel goals (even for vegans!), only soy as milk alternative, some DELICIOUS looking Brown & Blond brownies plus other cakes/savoury bite options.
Drink quality: 8/10- Excellent quality beans crafted into quality coffee with milk frothed well. Juuuust a little to strong as an americano for me (I had the jitters) and I wasn't the biggest fan of the particular blend on that particular day- just a preference thing
Vibes: 8/10, You can't knock somewhere for having character. Bison simply ooooozes character. Not only that but you can choose your vibe- whether that be outside sunning, inside people watching or more snug hidden away in the back room. A really independent feel but maybe not as buzzing as I'm used to.
Staff:6.5/10, It's always hard to judge this one. Some days you might find more friendly staff, others you might have a more introverted barista. On all occasions I received a pleasant and prompt service from skilled knowledgeable baristas who were mostly willing to endure my Smalltalk.
So I may have thought I wouldn't experience the same buzz of coffee exploration following Spring Espresso on my first trip. But my desire to explore remained and it was definitely worth it. Like fingerprints, no two coffee trips are the same. Bison is totally quirky, totally unique and provides great quality drinks, price, service and location in a totally awesome experiential way.
When you feel flat? A flat white is the answer. Need to blow off some steam- grab a steaming latte. A simple coffee shop adventure is and always will be one of my 'go-to' pick-me-up life joys, and my next trip was long over-due. So 6weeks coffee-shop free, it was time for a milestone memory to be made. It was time to finally leave the grounds and get a new coffee shop found.
Good morning seedlings. Are you feeling wilted in comparison to your former floral self? For me, I know i've shrivelled in the depth of winter and the current spring transistion is inspiring and requiring me to re-hydrate my life.
But it's not always easy to get those fluids into your system. In fact, a lot of Brits are not getting enough H2O to keep them on the go. Dehydration can be the cause of tiredness, headaches and general low energy, so if you're grumpy, perhaps you need to sip some more.
A National Hydration Council survey found that 89% of the population don't drink enough water to maintain healthy hydration levels. What a load of prunes we are! A raisin nation.
But why? Maybe the excessive rainfall leads to a false sense of bodily moisture levels (<- apologies for using that gross phrase), or maybe we drink too many cups of tea to reap the delicious water benefits?
Well, whatever the reason I have a few fabulous fluid perks and useful tips that I've found motivate me to get my hydration in ship-shape:
Shall we go for water?
Things like tea, coffee and coke contain caffeine which has a diuretic effect. So although you may feel quenched, you are actually not totally reaping all the liquid benefits you could. One or two cups won't negate the liquid in your coffee, but it's something to watch out for! By reducing my coffee intake to one per day, I'm feeling much less parched. And for the soft drink fanatics,, you could always try to get your sweet fix by doing that 'basic' fruit-in-water trend, which, to be fair isn't the same but it's delicious.
Make it social
Team work makes the dream work. I love nothing more than grabbing a bev with friends. Okay, so usually I end up getting a caffeinated beverage but it's all fluid in the grand scheme of things. It just makes such a lovely occasion to find a new cafe or bar and rehydrate your friendships and your cells
And finally, to fully flaunt the hydration flow, there is not much more motivating than getting yourself a brand new beverage container. I mean, if you're going to drink, do it right!
I found my hydration motivation in my new HIP bottle. Yeah so it's basically a large hip-flask-shaped waterbottle, but LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS! It's slimline shape allows it to fit practically in my bag plus it's aesthetic and it helps the environment. In addition, each bottle purchased raises money to aid the Water for People charity.
And if you thought matching underwear made you feel a sense of 'togetherness', try having your waterbottle coordinate with your nail varnish.
I chose a nice minty green to please my eyes and my hydration, but there are many colours to choose from.
So basically, human beings are 60% water so it's no wonder that having upped my fluids, I am already feeling a benefit. If you're going to keep that internal reservoir funtioning optimally, you might as well make it as easy and aesthetic as possible.
....I'll drink to that!
What does it mean to be 'free'? You tell me? It could be free from time limits, free from a physical barrier, free from gluten. I guess it depends on what you class a restraint.
Recently I've had a fair few restraints. My life has been put on hold, and barriers put in place in order to gradually release little freedoms in a way which I can take responsibly to continue my pursuit of health.
This week the time had come, for some restraints at least to be released in a way where I knew I was ready to manage that responsibility. So now, this April morning 2018, this is what it feels like to be free...
WALKING myself out of the room on my legs, MY legs, not four wheels. It was ME walking, I didn't have to harass for a 'taxi' driver or rely on another human to push my vessel. I could do that for myself. And that was freedom.
Freedom to me right now is using my new-found legs to take me to the kitchen, solo, to grab a beverage of my choice. My choice, and to make it and drink it, knowing it was up to me, no questions asked, no support needed. Just fluids and freedom
Freedom is an extra 10 minutes of fresh air, real fresh air, outside. Be it rain or shine that sweet oxygen in mine. For my lungs, for 10 more minutes than before.
Freedom is subjective and relative. Freedom is knowing that there is space to breathe and move and choose. But the true freedom for me right now is knowing that I can do these things from a place of balance, compassion and responsibility. It's rewiring the freedom to embrace that extra inch without taking a mile. Because to take a mile would be to lose that freedom and trap myself once again in my old ways.
The miles will come inch by inch, full freedom will come with time and patience. Today, that's what freedom means to me.
It’s been 2 weeks now. Two. Whole. Weeks.
Each day sucking in all the oxygen that my 20cm open window would allow. I would bask in any vague rays of sun through the glass of the dining room. I would sit facing the outside world so the light could flood in through my wide-open eyes. I've needed the respite of this cosy comforting home of recovery, but I've been awaiting just a snippet of the real world.
I cannot think of a day- not one single day of my life before- where I’ve not even stepped outside. But it’s been two weeks now and I’m finally granted one freedom. 10 minutes. 10 minutes of freedom. 10 minutes of sunshine filled bench time, of oxygen, of clarity of light- REAL light, full spectrum vitamin D, fresh air, fresh hope, fresh and renewed appreciation for the little things.
Things like flowers, trees, birdsong, sun, breeze, grass, spring, sun, space, sun, air, sun, freshness, freedom, sun.
For that 10 minutes, it was like a pill of pure appreciation of all that is the great outdoors. It was truly and deeply great.
I guess it shows how stripping down your life to the basics of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: internal nourishment, nurture and exploration that even the tiniest glimmer of the outside can feel like the biggest and most magnificently uplifting privilege to receive. When all autonomy is taken away, and you’re fighting the battles in your head, the slightest of external freedoms become the most invigoratingly replenishing gifts that you can possibly hope for. It was a 10-minute escape from the world within me to the glorious world out there.
Just 10 minutes and I feel a renewed hope for myself and an energy that will carry me through until the next time I find myself trapped in my own head. Today I felt the outside world. Just for 10 minutes.
Is it s'mores season? Not quite. Do I care? Nope. One does not need a time of year for s'mores. We should all embrace the fact that a s'mores sweet biscuity crunch, dark chocolately ganache and toasty melty campfire marshmallow vibes are ALWAYS acceptable.
The definition for a s'more is:
"Abbreviation for "some more," a campfire treat consisting of toasted marshmallow, graham crackers, and chocolate."
Maybe an outdoor campfire doesn't sound like fun in a British setting so here's an indoor friendly recipe that can be concocted without the risk of an open bonfire in your living room.
...and not that it's essential, but these bars are gluten and dairy free plus totally vegan! They don't HAVE to be but for the purpose of catering to my family's awkward health requirements/preferences. No animals were disturbed in the making of these delicious campfire treats.
Gooey Ganache S'mores bars.
Oh 2017, where do I begin? With a cliched "it's been a year of up and downs"? Well, honestly, as much as it may sound corny,that sums it up. The ups and downs were far too real and far too drastic. What started out as any new year of hopeful plans turned into a reality check. I barely escaped 2017 alive.
It is a terrifying and important thing to admit that my year took a downward plunge into a mental health relapse nightmare (and I really do owe so much to so many people for keeping me supported, continually) . However, I know that it is crucial not to focus on the plunge downwards that has plagued my 2017. Negativity would only exacerbate the problem. There is always light at the darkest of times, and we should always strive to look for it.
So, let's fuel this steep upward climb that lies ahead with a fab photo-filled flashback through some of the amazing moments that the past year has brought.
The crunch of snow under your boots is a delightful wintery sound. A harsh chill of a winter gale on the other hand, is a sorry-enough sound to justify staying warm indoors and enjoying an alternative and even more delightful crunch....
.....The sound of crunchy homemade granola.
The ice caps are melting, fossil fuels are dwindling and the air we breathe is fortified with the waste products of our own greed. I'm sure you've heard it all before, and you may feel guilty about your five jet-setting holidays this summer, your reliance on electrical appliances and your obsession with coal-loaded campfires. But it's okay, because there are new, more subtle and socially acceptable ways to fulfill your airpollution needs, also known as The Charcoal trend.
So put away the petrol, and embrace a darker side of life.
Black is the new black.
How are your summer plans looking? Perhaps you are fully booked and well on with procrastinatory packing? Or perhaps you have no plans and are desperately in need of some ideas? Well, if an all American road trip is what you're feeling, then keep reading because Route 66 was the kickin' Chicago to Santa Monica Pier cross-state adventure my family embarked on last summer, and I'd totally reccommend.
But rather than dragging you through a lengthy "stop-by-stop" review, this is a 'drive-thru' equivalent, summarising the good, bad and ugly experiences from when The Feingold's took on Route 66...
Hands in the air if you spend too much time scrolling? Yeah, me too. And that is why,
Ladies and gentlemen, this year I'm giving up Social Media for lent *holds for applause*.
Okay so I don't expect any grand recognition for this mighty 40-day 'challenge'. But as many find their weakness in chocolate, I identified mine as social media procrastination- namely Instagram .
Never one to shy from a challenge, the 'logging out for lent' task was undertaken.
But would it be a freeing break or too tough to take?
I never understood why they were called 'January blues', I always felt 'January greys' would be more applicable given the predominantly gloomy sky colour. Whichever pantone you assign to it, the Christmas aftermath has a down-vibe that we have all felt.
There's politics and then there's POLITICS. You know the kind I mean, the politics that really impact our everyday lives, the politics that shape our communities, the politics that lead us to ask the big questions in life. I'm talking about peanut butter politics.
So in a world of hard choices between Hilary or Trump, in or out, crunchy or smooth it's never been more crucial to get yourself fully informed of all options before committing to ticking your nut butter ballot paper. So here to clue you in, I have a new candidate profile ready for interview.
In a nut butter world- I'm a crunchy kind of girl. So the extra texture and crunch from Funky Nut Co Four Seed peanut butter was inevitably going to ex-SEED my current peanut butter standards. It's got a consistency not too thick- nor too runny. It's also packed full of extra flavour and texture thanks to the addition of ...
Chia Seeds- a tiny little bead of a seed bursting with calcium and omega 3. Commonly used to make delightfully 'frogspawny' puddings but, in my opinion, much better suited to be a peanut butter side-kick.
Pumpkin Seeds- Pumpkins are not just for Halloween, and there certainly isn't anything scary about these seeds distinctive taste or immune system boosting properties.
Sunflower seeds- Full of essential oils and some even say sunshine itself. - Now that's flower power!
Flax Seeds- These guys can enrich your body, particularly your heart, they also boast a boost of omega-3 (without the fishy smell).
So the seeds in this nutbutter, they mean business: adding not just bodily perks, but texture, taste AND a totally unique Funky Nut experience that can be enjoyed in many context...including these:
Peanut butter is like one of those friends who can pull off ANY outfit. A truly versatile nut who dresses up any dreary dry cracker or butter-less bagel. Does the addition of four seeds limit the peanut's talent? I hear you ask... well I certainly don't think so!
Here are my favourite 3 ways this seeded nut butter has enriched my munchings:
I quite often 'nuttify' my breakfast time. The four seeds only enhanced my warming chocolatey oats further with a tasty textural crunch, as well as a juxtaposing melt that make a sexy melty swirl a-top piping hot porridge.
Originally packed full of protein and now even MORE packed?! The addition of a seeded butter to my protein-ball recipe enhanced it's power potential. The Funky Nut Co four seeds gave it a more 'natural' and 'wholesome' taste. Try the recipe for yourself here.
-By the spoon:
A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but a spoonful of peanut butter is where the real miracle is at. Nutritious, delicious, and a palate-stickingly pleasing past-time which the four seeds fully promote.
So I've introduced you to the 4 seeds, 3 ways and now finally it's the two words:
It's rare that the term 'funky' is justifiably used, however, the Funky Nut Co have been bold enough to take nut butters to brave new and, dare I say it, funky level! Not just with seeds, but Chinese spices, m & m's, Crème egg and oh so many more. One day, (student budget permitting) I will have dipped my spoon into each and every one of their wide array of spreads. And, rest assured, as my funky journey progresses, I can spread the funky nut butter word to you too.
Ps, if you fancy a dabbling your own spoon in a bit of nutbutter funk, you can use the code 'jasmine20' to get your thrifty mitts on a 20% discount at www.funkynutco.com. But don't blame me if it's all too funky for you to handle.
Imagine you’re a gardener. You turn the soil; you sow the seeds. You tend and care to your precious plants until they bloom into beautiful flowers which you can prune and proudly prepare for a summer of shows and beauty where all your hard work pays off. You love your garden.
Or maybe you don’t have the greenest of fingers…
In my previous blog post I explored a few ways in which you can recover from ‘those’ days of internal scrutiny, general personal domestic disputes and fall-outs with the other half (the other half being yourself). However, I was intrigued to hear feedback of the female focused lens from which my ‘best-friend’ tips were seen through. Given my gender I guess it was no surprise, but it made me think.
“I wonder how guys pamper themselves?”
I know my brother sure doesn’t get a kick from a new shade of nail polish, or pretty pink porridge. So I went about asking a few of the guys about what they get up to in their ‘chill days’.
Despite the sample selection being both small and within the bubble of my local community, I can conlude that guys value:
So, here is an adapted version of ‘How to be your own best friend’ for all you lads out there who quite frankly deserve a dude-day of being a total top lad. (warning, gender stereo-typing present)
How to be your own best man.
1, Wake up with a roar.
Awaken and open wide to release all your inner ‘bad mood bear’ grudge from the previous day. If you don’t fancy leaving your cave yet, then don’t. When you eventually rise, don’t give into the razor, sit up and scratch your stubble. Don’t even glance at the wardrobe and for goodness sake, do not touch that can of Lynx (a sudden flock of females would simply hinder your lad sesh today).
2. Breakfast is the way to a Bro’s heart
Yes you are a culinary genius (duh) but today there is no need to impress yourself with cooking up a storm. All you need in life is bacon. Alternatively, this might not float your goatee,
There is no judgement of your manliness today, so if a delicate bowl of almond milk chia pudding with fresh berries and a sprinkling cinnamon has been calling your name ever since you enviably eyed up your girlfriends breakfast, then get your ‘deliciously Ella’ on.
3.Keep the wing-man pep talk going..
…and the beard growing. Turn that quick glance at your reflection into a full on self-smolder stare. Just LOOK at how awesome you look. Give yourself a fist pump/bro hug every time you feel you need it. (Just don’t shatter the mirror with your superhuman bicep strength.
4.Take the day as it comes
(I feel this is the one that is most variable between genders and individuals)
So you it’s the end of your lad day, you’ve slouched, chilled it’s about time you sung along to a bit of shameless Taylor Swift as you follow your shower of praise with an actual shower and an ice cold beer followed by more of whatever you fancy treating yourself to. (Pokemon Go? I think so.)
6. Don’t let anyone get in between you and your best man
Pals before gals, bros before hoes, you get the gist. Even the cat might take aways from your self love today, so shove it off your sofa and save every drop of self efficacy for just that. Yourself.
Oooh, didn’t see that one coming… You’ve been a total top lad all day so what reason would you have to cry? Well apparently men only cry 6 times per year! So in order to maintain your sense of self strength, show yourself today that you are still human and can kick out that gender stereotype because there will be no judgement, not lad-points lost and I know it sounds like a typical girl thing to say, but EVERYONE needs a good cry sometimes. So get on the sad film and show a bro it’s okay to be bawling not ballin’.
So yesterday was one of those days. Eye bags the size of Jupiter, motivation smaller than Pluto and a whole solar system of a to-do list to get through. With these contradicting circumstances it’s safe to say that it truly was a ‘hump day’. I barely made it out alive.
Why are we so scared of change?
I'm not talking about the daunting jingle pennies weighing down our purse and lurking between the sofa cushions, I mean REAL change. The uproot of something familiar and secure, something reliable and predictable, something safe.
I guess it is the 'safety' aspect of routine that could be why change can be so anxiety provoking. I mean, looking from an evolutionary perspective, if your cave dwelling ancestor self was forced to uproot and move to a new den or decided that some dubious looking berries were a risk worth consuming. It could well end up with some hungry-for-human dino roommates or a nasty case of death by berry. Sorry, no passing on of your risk-taking genetics there! But equally, if said caveman never took risks and always remained in the current abode, it may never get out and experience all the great fire discovering activities that a healthy and apt human could potentially have.
This is where my I take a moment to consider how cave-dwelling I might be and why I might fear change in the present day. I am far from 'perfect' and to be quite honest, far from feeling 'fulfilled'. My health is not at its best both physically or mentally. So if there ever was a good time to embrace change, that risk taking time should be now.
Now there are many ways you could try to change:
Me trying to 'switch up my morning with 'Sweet pota-toast'
" If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got."
But these aren't the changes I fear. These aren't the changes that evolve the cave-dweller to reach its full evolutionary potential.
I'm talking about BIG changes. SCARY changes. The changes that really make us feel UNCOMFORTABLE.
Whether it be a new job, a new hobby, a new experience or a new house. They can most importantly lead to what I believe to be the most influential change of them all...
A change of mind-set.
In fact, there is some fantastic research into the true capacity y of a mind-set change highlighted in a Ted Talk by psychologist Alia Crum which is well worth a watch.
So I plan to make changes- as scary as they come, because I do wish to be a better version of myself. But big or small, the action and outcome of these changes are fairly insignificant in comparison to the power that is the gradual and persistent push to change mind-set.
...Oh and look after those annoying little pennies weighing down your purse- soon they will add up to pounds!
Apparently we all need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. But lets face it, we also need to love the food we eat and sometimes we need a bit of procrasti-baking to help us through. That's why this recipe helps satisfy all of the above.
Roll on the Peanut butter protein ball recipe.
…..In bed that is. If you were hoping to get your teeth stuck into a blog post regarding the current affairs of our country’s EU membership, then I’m afraid you need to chew elsewhere (you won’t have to look far). However, if you consider the inner workings of my psyche to be a political referendum that might interest you then by all means, keep reading.
For those of you who don't know, I had a 'thing' with porridge. Not just a little something on the side, a full blown love affair. (if you don't believe me, you can check out some old posts from this instagram account). Each day was a new flavour, a new hope and a new inspiration for my sister and I to ditch the hard life of school and open up our own porridge restaurant. We of course never quite got the oat-tivation (or parental permission) to do so. Fortunately for the porridge loving world, someone did.
So here is a review of the much awaited and anticipated little porridge shop trip that myself and my pro-porridge sibling embarked upon. Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you about 26 grains...
Hot, lazy summer days can be celebrated in a number of ways, be it beach trips, barbecues or water fights.
All the good-weather gallivanting is thirsty work, and these activities quite often lead to some boozy summer cocktails shaken up in a wizz, or a softer sugary soda spritzed refreshingly over ice. However there is a flaw in this beverage logic....
These drinks don't actually quench your thirst and despite being a 'go-to' norm, why should you conform? They aren't easy peasy on your temple of a body.
So here is my easy peasy, lime squeezy, eat-clean-tea-sy MATCHA MAR-TEA-NI.
"It's time you met your matcha"
All you need is:
Just dissolve the matcha with a little hot water in your martini glass.
Top up with the bubbly water and crushed ice.
Squirt in some lime juice to taste.
Make the glass look insta-worthy with a cucumber slice.
Simple. A natural, beverage with the earthy undertone of matcha powder freshened up with a zing of lime.
So, enjoy the quick, easy, refreshing, superfood-filled, energy boosting, skin radiating, Japaneasy juice that will give you one refreshing summer that both your mind and body can enjoy (without the hassle of a blender) in one long and thirst-quenching #Summerofmatcha.
....On a final note, don't be fooled by the quick ease of this Eat Clean Tea summer drink, it might be quick, but it's no laxative containing 'tea-tox', simply a naturally fortified detox tea that works in harmony with that summer bod of yours.
So, cheers, and have a tea-freshing summer of matcha!
Barcelona, renowned for being a big pick-pockety place full of paella but in in my opinion it's more of a friendly cosmopolitan cove of culture .
With my sister on placement and a resounding phrase of "travel while you're young" ringing in my ears from many elders, I plucked up the courage to brave the brute of Ryan air and jet over to Spain for a quick April adventure.
Forever trying to spice up the coffee, but forever spicing down productivity with procrastination. So alongside this new brew review, is a thought to chew and things to do when procrastination hits you...
Ahh, humble inhabitants of the modern world. So 'independent' yet always searching for a sense of belonging, connection and Snapchat streaks.
From the hour I awoke this morning, to this very second as I write, I can see that the majority of my day has been in the company of a screen. Laptop, phone, television, phone, laptop, lecture board, phone. I can feel my innocent oval eyes squaring up and perhaps it's time I pursued that much need optician appointment... (In which there would be more screen staring, how eye-ronic).
They say to substitute your crisps and chocolate with healthy fruit alternatives, so why not do the same for your basic moods. Here are some analogical fruity snacks to fortify your friendly small talk...
Take a sip from the cup of my mind, and let the thoughts brew...