Jul

17

Guest Blog: Confidence, Coaching and a Cup of Coffee (Dr Gary Wood)

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I am delighted to welcome Dr. Gary Wood to Coffee Birmingham to provide a unique perspective on what it is to go to a coffee shop. For Gary, the experience, environment, and confidence are things to be gained.

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On my first island hopping trip my fellow traveller and I had just finished breakfast at a café by the water’s edge on the island of Naxos. My friend started panicking about paying the bill otherwise we would miss the bus to the beach. At that moment, the waiter emerged from the café and said ‘What’s the matter? I am bringing you more coffee’. He then added slightly sardonically ‘You have no where to go!’ He was right. We were all ready there. Anywhere was the holiday.

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The following year I travelled alone for the first time, again island hopping in Greece. On the island of Mykonos I got into conversation in a café with a Native American guy named Robert. We shared interests in Greek islands, obviously, coffee, obviously and psychology. One of his friends from back home happened to walk past. We invited her to join us for coffee which she proceeded to gulp down in 10 minutes flat and then got up to leave. With a glint in his eye, Robert said ‘You’ve just arrived here, haven’t you?’ ‘How did you know?’ she asked. ‘Just a guess’, he smiled.

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There’s a scene in the TV series Sex and the City where the protagonist Carrie Bradshaw talks about wanting to get to the state where she didn’t have to take a book to a coffee shop to justify being alone. Having a coffee alone in Mykonos harbour, I put away my book and just focused on being there. I savoured the cappuccino as I looked out over the azure sea peppered with brightly coloured fishing boats. I greeted other customers, occasionally struck up a conversation and after a respectable amount of time I’d order something else. I got to the point where there were no intruding thoughts. I wasn’t thinking about the past or worrying about the future. After all, I had no where to go but be in that moment.

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Greek people take their time in cafés. A coffee lasts about 90 minutes. It’s not something that punctuates the day. It’s a main event. Of course it’s not really the length of time that matters. It’s the quality of the experience. Around the time I was researching and writing my book, Unlock Your Confidence, a potential client told me ‘I need a relaxing environment for life coaching, can we work over a coffee?’ I shouldn’t have been sceptical. We learn more effectively when relaxed. It also tied in with my Greek experiences. I realised that the basis of authentic, inner confidence is the ability to relax, be in the present moment and feel totally comfortable in our own skins. So, forget about throwing yourself out of aeroplanes or walking on hot coals or similar stunts. That’s all for show. Can you just chill out savouring a coffee and just be in the present moment without having to justify your very existence? It really is worth taking the time just to practice. Try it and let me know how you get on.

Dr Gary Wood is a psychologist, life coach, coffee lover, ardent Graecophile and author of Unlock Your Confidence. His coaching and training practice is based in Birmingham and Edinburgh. He blogs at www.psycentral.co.uk.

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So, what do you think about Gary’s perspectives? Send us your thoughts on twitter @coffeebrum

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Jul

11

Seven Alternative Uses for Instant Coffee

Seven Alternative Uses for Instant Coffee

So, instant coffee is wrong but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful!

Instead of just depositing your instant coffee grounds in the bin, coffee grounds have marvellous uses. Just google and you will discover a whole new world of practical ideas. So, on the blog this week, whether you need to shine those shoes or make them a coffee sandpit, here are seven alternative uses courtesy of Make Decent Coffee.

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7 Alternative Use for Instant Coffee Infographic by Make Decent Coffee

What do you use your coffee grounds for other

Big thanks to Matthew Kay from Klood for this and all the folks from Make Decent Coffee for their continued War on Instant! Follow Make Decent Coffee on twitter at @coffeeguerilla.

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Jul

04

Guest blog: A.A. Abbott in appreciation of Ashton Levi Coffee (Longbridge)

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How many of you have been to Ashton Levi, a new indie which has been open for a few months now over in Longbridge? Well, I am delighted to welcome A.A. Abbott, author of Brum thrillers After The Interview and Up in Smoke, who made the trip over and tells us about her experience! Enjoy! (Tim)
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I visited Ashton Levi on hearing about their support for local writers. They’re offering a night of live readings from authors on 9th July!
Ashton Levi Quote

The coffee itself was rich and smooth, and my latte arrived with a heart on top – a lovely personal touch. My friend enjoyed an iced latte that was long, cool and very welcome during an uncharacteristically warm day in Birmingham. They sell a tempting range of cakes, freshly prepared sandwiches and smoothies, too. Yet perhaps the most refreshing thing about the coffee at Ashton Levi is the genuine passion and knowledge owner Mel Brown and her team bring to it. Not only did we receive a warm, smiley welcome when we arrived, but Mel chatted to us about where she sourced her coffee, and her desire to provide a drink that was both delicious and ethical.

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The venue itself is effortlessly upmarket and upbeat, with stunning artwork on the walls and books for customers to read. The creative vibe is reflected in the young and trendy clientele. It’s not hard to imagine Ashton Levi hosting a few live poetry readings or live music, but at the same time I think it would work well for an informal business meeting or an after-hours corporate party or networking event.

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With so much style and potential, this upmarket venue for the new heart of Longbridge deserves to succeed. I’ve twice made a detour to go there and have enjoyed every minute.

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I have to share AA Abbott’s enthusiasm for Ashton Levi. The quality of service from the staff to the Steelite cups and saucers are all evidence for me.

What do you think? Please share your experiences over at @coffeebrum on twitter!!

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