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.
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.
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.
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. Whatever you do this January, enjoy it!
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...
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.
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.
Our top 5 things to do on a walk with the littles:
Back home, it's time for a hot chocolate to warm chilly fingers. Marshmallows a must.
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!
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!
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 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.
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
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!
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 email@example.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
Drink your iced coffee, sitting down, looking up at the magic of sunlight in the trees. And breathe.
Join us as we all seek more peace and calm on these warm, summer days.