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Happy January!

Posted on January 07, 2018 by George Crawford | 0 comments

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2018. We can’t wait to see what’s in store. However, as we trudge the second week of January, we have to admit it’s not our favourite month of the year. Festive cheer and New Year celebrations have faded into a distant memory and we’re left staring down the barrel of our well-intentioned resolutions. 

cupsmith in january

Here at Cupsmith we miss the Christmas excitement, but the chaos has also been left behind so this year we’ve decided to try to view January in a new light (a lovely crisp, grey one!). Maybe we can even find some reasons to love it. Perhaps, instead of viewing it as a dull time, it’s actually less pressured. It’s not an anti-climax, but time to think, light candles on dark afternoons, reflect and take care. Less social engagements mean more time to relax. We’re looking forward to enjoying a fresh winter walk and coming home to read a book without feeling guilty about that festive to-do list.  

winter walk

January is also a great time to think ahead. At this time of year nature seems quite dormant and yet now is the time to plant rhubarb and roses for a colourful, delicious summer. And now, at the heart of winter, we will get to see more wildlife come into our gardens in search of food. We’ll definitely be helping the birds and squirrels out with some suet balls, seeds and nuts.

Robin

The promise of snow is bad news for the birds but for little ones - and the child in all of us - it’s a hopeful weather time. Snowmen, snowball fights and the excitement of a ‘school snow day’ are all gleefully anticipated. We get regular sky reports from the Cupsmith little ones, particularly on those days when the sky is a never ending stretch of white itself which, we are told, is a good sign of possible snow. Keep your fingers crossed their dreams are fulfilled this January. We are overdue a substantial flurry here in the south east.

All this got us thinking, naturally, about also taking time to enjoy a tea or coffee (or hot chocolate!). A quiet time with your favourite (I’m enjoying a warming cup of our Cupsmith Masala Chai as I type this) can become almost ritualistic. Even just waiting for the kettle can be an opportunity for a mindful moment, time to think and clear the head. Or read a few pages in a beautiful book. Or, most importantly, decide how many biscuits to have on the side. Maybe your ritual isn’t about quietness. We have a friend who has a tea ritual with her children - milky tea and a biscuit for the littles, once or twice a week after school. Apparently it’s especially useful after a bicker-inducing school run (we’ve all been there). Everyone sits for 20 minutes to enjoy their hot drinks and catch up before things get busy, or rather noisy, again.  Masala Chai from CupsmithWhatever you do this January, enjoy it!

Cupsmith

xx

5 books for nature-loving small ones

Posted on December 18, 2017 by George Crawford | 0 comments

We love nothing more than time spent outside with the children, walking the dogs, collecting sticks, spotting interesting things and watching the seasons change. So it's probably not surprising that we love books about nature too. Here's our list of favourites this Christmas. Stuck for last minute Christmas ideas? See if any of these tick a few off your list...

  • The Lost Words – by Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris is crammed with stunning water colour and gold leaf illustrations. It’s a wonderful celebration of nature and nature-words. Top of our Cupsmith Christmas list.
Jackie Morris illustration from 'The Lost Words; A Spell of Words' by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris
  • A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies (Author),‎ Mark Hearld (Illustrator) showcases Mark’s wonderful illustrations – in fact this book is so delightful the grown-ups will want one too.
A First Book of Nature by Mark Hearld

  • This handy pocket sized game makes an outdoor treasure hunt, without technology, easy – Go Find It.
  • *one of the many wonderful activities in 101 Things to do Outside by Dawn Issac. We guarantee you’ll refer to this through the whole year.
101 things to do outside outdoor activities for kids

  • For gorgeous illustrations, and words, The Little Guide to Trees is perfect and has facts children will love, such as the type of tree Robin Hood’s bow came from.

A Little Guide to Trees (Eden Project)

 

Cupsmith

x

Walks with children, and nature-inspired Christmas presents

Posted on December 07, 2017 by George Crawford | 0 comments

We love a family nature walk at any time of the year, but especially in winter-time. Despite the cold, it’s the ideal way to create some calm during the exciting, full on festive season. It doesn’t cost a thing and requires no organisation. Perfect.

heading off for a family walk

At Cupsmith we're fond of anything crafty and creative and it’s surprisingly easy to combine this with walking - and it also helps chivvy along any reluctant small legs! Whether you go at the pace of a march (bear hunt style) or a meandering bumble, there are lots of opportunities to collect bits of nature along the way and make something later, or there and then. One of our favourites* - secure sticky tape round wrists (or waists, or arms) with the sticky side facing up and pop on little leaves, petals and berries as you go. Children love hunting for treasures and creating instant nature bracelets.

little boy clambering over a tree trunk

Our top 5 things to do on a walk with the littles:

  • Huff, puff and see who can breathe the most dragon’s breath
  • Take a couple of crayons and scraps of paper in your pocket to make quick and easy bark rubbings
  • Stick picking. On our last walk we collected Harry Potter wands that we then painted at home
  • Stop along the way (useful if anyone's flagging) to gather a pile of leaves and sticks and make a hedgehog's nest
  • Take the tech for a bit of modern day treasure hunting a.k.a - Geocaching

Photo courtesy of the National Trust

Back home, it's time for a hot chocolate to warm chilly fingers.  Marshmallows a must.

Cupsmith's range of hot chocolates

So, bundle up and get up and out with the small people in your life. Explore a new spot or tramp old ground. Adventure is everywhere, but mainly it’s out there...in the great outdoors.

See you out there!

5 gifts for adventure loving little people

  • The Lost Words – by Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris is crammed with stunning water colour and gold leaf illustrations. It’s a wonderful celebration of nature and nature-words. Top of our Cupsmith Christmas list.
Jackie Morris illustration from 'The Lost Words; A Spell of Words' by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris
  • A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies (Author),‎ Mark Hearld (Illustrator) showcases Mark’s wonderful illustrations – in fact this book is so delightful the grown-ups will want one too.
A First Book of Nature by Mark Hearld

  • This handy pocket sized game makes an outdoor treasure hunt, without technology, easy – Go Find It.
  • *one of the many wonderful activities in 101 Things to do Outside by Dawn Issac. We guarantee you’ll refer to this through the whole year.
101 things to do outside outdoor activities for kids

  • For gorgeous illustrations, and words, The Little Guide to Trees is perfect and has facts children will love, such as the type of tree Robin Hood’s bow came from.

A Little Guide to Trees (Eden Project)

 

Cupsmith

x

Our little pop up cafe

Posted on November 27, 2017 by George Crawford | 0 comments

Our little pop-up cafe in our roastery is now closed until Spring. It's just too cold for anyone to enjoy spending time in there (it's an unheated, working roastery), and we don't want our customers to have to cling for dear life to their coffee cups, no matter how good the coffee is! 

Cupsmith roastery

We're still open for people who'd like to pick up their coffee, tea or hot chocolate orders and it's business as normal for everything other than our Friday morning openings.

If you place an order online and would like to pick it up, please just email us (george@cupsmith.com) and let us know when you'll be popping by. Otherwise we deliver locally for free anyway, and very often on the same day you place the order.

Stay warm and cosy, and we'll let you know next year when our roastery is open again on Friday mornings.

Cupsmith christmas tea and truly magnificent festive hot chocolate

 

 

A family business...and often a muddle

Posted on July 20, 2017 by George Crawford | 2 comments

Cupsmith really is a family business and everyone gets involved. As our business grows people increasingly ask us 'how do you do it?', 'how do you manage with children?'. The honest answer is 'probably rather badly most of the time'. But somehow we muddle through and we sigh at our missed deadlines, forgotten football kits, lack of play date organisation, and wonder if we'll be able to retire before we're 90! But we do it all because we genuinely love what we're doing and we want to share it with others. 

crawford family of cupsmith

Yes, the children can often be heard complaining 'Oh please stop talking about Cupsmith!' but then they're the first to help us with deliveries, testing new products and playing with other people's children when they visit the roastery on one of our open mornings. And they still jump up and down and say 'Mummy, look, there's our tea!' when we go into a shop and see Cupsmith products on the shelves. 

Running our own business means most days we all have breakfast together and we're able to be there for sports days, school plays and grazed-knee days. The children are seeing a business grow alongside them, and they're seeing us working hard and having fun too. We hope this will show them how important it is to do something you really love, and we'll always encourage them to follow their talents and dreams. It's a lesson we learned only two years ago when we set up Cupsmith, so now we're making the most of every minute of the adventure. So for anyone else thinking about setting up on their own, our advice would always be to do it, because as long as it's something you love you'll never regret doing it. 

Oh and as for work life balance? Well we definitely haven't found the perfect answer. Sometimes there's too much work, other days there's too much life. On the other hand maybe that IS the perfect work life balance after all? 

george and emma crawford cupsmith

George and Emma

x

crawford family at cupsmith

Cupsmith's easy iced coffee recipe

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Runwick Roastery Ltd | 0 comments

Hot summer days are here and it's the perfect time to do a little less, sit down and enjoy a glorious iced coffee.

There's a lot of hype around making iced coffee in the speciality coffee world, but the Cupsmith way is always to make things simple - so simple you can make it at home, every day. And we DEFINITELY think you should dollop a large scoop of ice cream on top, like we've done here!

Cupsmith's iced coffee

RECIPE

We suggest making a batch of this coffee and storing it in a Kilner bottle in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, though ours tends to be drunk in one go.

So, here’s what to do based on using an 8 person cafetiere as this is what most of our customers have (if you don’t, ping us an email to whatho@cupsmith.com and we’ll help you work out the best way using whatever you already have at home):

You’ll need your coffee to be more coarsely ground than usual, so when you order your Cupsmith coffee use the pull down menu and choose ‘ground for iced coffee’. All our coffees make delicious iced coffee, and our decaff is really good for it, perfect for afternoon drinking when you don’t always want the caffeine

Add 6 tablespoons of ground coffee to your cafetiere
Cupsmith's deckchair
Fill up the cafetiere with cold water (to top line of the handle) and leave it to steep at room temperature overnight or for at least 12 hours
Cupsmith's deckchair
After 12 hours, plunge away and pour into glasses, making sure you don't pour any of the coffee grounds in. 
Cupsmith's deckchair
Serve over ice and add milk and sugar to taste, and definitely a big dollop of vanilla ice cream for total perfection!

 

Drink your iced coffee, sitting down, looking up at the magic of sunlight in the trees. And breathe. 

trees

Join us as we all seek more peace and calm on these warm, summer days.

Cupsmith.

x

Glorious glamping at one of the UK's top 20 glampsites and 10% off holidays!

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Runwick Roastery Ltd | 0 comments

Our motto at Cupsmith is ‘drink coffee sitting down, watching the clouds go by’ so when friends of ours who run an award winning glampsite (in fact it's just been named by The Times as one of the top 20 glampsites in the UK!) asked us to create a coffee for their guests, we jumped at the chance. Here it is, Penhein Coffee, tucked into one of the lovely hampers Penhein provides for guests.
Penhein coffee by Cupsmith
Penhein is a Welsh hillside farm occupying 400 acres of woodland and grassland. The beautiful Persian-inspired glampsite sits in 3 acres of secluded, semi-ancient woods. With views onto wildflower meadows, the River Severn and the valley below, where better to wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee to the sound of the early morning birdsong?
Penhein alachigh tent

Each tent at Penhein is the height of luxury and every little detail has been thought of. Beds are the very comfiest and swathed in crisp white linen, beautiful log burning stoves keep you cosy and the kitchens are fully equipped. A few steps away through the woodland you’ll find luxurious showers and a roll top bath - and don’t think you need to put your wellies on in the middle of the night because each tent has an ensuite flushing loo! This really is six star glamping.
inside Penhein glamping tent

There’s plenty in the area to keep you as busy – or not – as you like. From fabulous walks starting right outside your tent, to canoeing on the River Wye, pubs galore and family bushcraft courses in the woods at Penhein, there’s something to ensure everyone has a truly memorable holiday.

Foxgloves at Penhein glamping
So why not treat yourself to a few nights at Penhein and enjoy some true peace and quiet? Penhein is kindly offering Cupsmith friends 10% off any bookings made for stays between now and November 2017. Just quote ‘BEYCF’ on the payment page of the Penhein website when you book your holiday. You’ll also receive a bag of freshly roasted Penhein Coffee to enjoy during your stay!

To book visit www.penhein.co.uk call 01633 400581 or email enquiries@penhein.co.uk.