Coffee 101: Coffee meets Art

Coffee has becoming notoriously chic in our social-media-saturated universe; there’s just something about those misspelt takeout cups that keeps us going back for more; that brewing feeling within that we need our coffee-fix!

The British are internationally known for being a nation of tea lovers; but there is something about grabbing a morning tea that doesn’t seem as appealing as grabbing  that caffeine-infused ‘latte to go’ for the morning commute, fueling the ‘all-systems-go’ buzz in our systems.

Over the years we’ve seen many ’a style icon pictured sipping their Cup of Joe; which somewhat oozes style and class; leaving us with a sudden aspiration to look that cool drinking coffee.

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photo source: sweynforkbeard.co.uk

With the appeal of coffee-coolness transferring over to the likes of Instagram; it’s all the craze to order an ‘espresso-to-go,’ snap a picture, add a filter, let it sit for 2-minutes and watch the likes pour through.

Someone who is no-stranger to this concept becoming well-known to the Instagram community for his beverage art is coffee lover & bartender ‘Remy the London Barista’.

When scrolling through Remy’s feed it’s easy to see how he’s built over 18,500 followers on Instagram; his drinks and coffees almost showcase the art-like appeal of beverages.

We caught-up with the coffee connoisseur, diving into what a day in the life of a busy insta-famous barista is like.

Hi Remy, tell us how this love for beverage art began?

I started to work in hospitality 3 years ago at a well-known caffeine store at Paddington station. This is where I fell in love with coffees and latte art.

A year later Rhubarb launched the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street and I had the opportunity to join as a barista.

I’m now Head Bartender at Darwin brasserie [Sky Garden] and I’m passionate about coffees more than ever.

Wow, that is impressive. You have over 18,500 followers, what made you start an Instagram?

I am able to show the world how I express myself through coffee and share my passion, hrough taking pictures of my latte art.

Has your presence on Instagram made people come to the Sky Gardens just for your coffee?

Surprisingly yes!  The place is really nice itself, however a lot of people contact me to come to the Sky Garden just to try my coffees.

Some customers even show the waiters my Instagram page and requests their drinks to be made by me!

We don’t blame them, your coffee’s look amazing! What’s your best Barista story from over the years?

Well, the most common is when customers get their coffees and take pictures of it for so long –  the coffees get cold! They send the coffee back to the bar complaining because their coffees are not warm enough.

I mean it’s kind of cool; but when you’re in a rush with other orders…

And… The secret to your coffee greatness?

I’m a French guy who makes Australian coffee (flat white), with Italian coffee beans, whilst serving worldwide people in English!

Remy’s steps on making the prefect Flat White – at home!

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To make a barista-style Flat White you’ll need:

– Milk
– Espresso
– A basic espresso machine
– Milk jar
– Milk frother

Step one
Warm up some milk (150-200ml) and pour it in the jar, then make an espresso in a cup.

Step two
Begin frothing the milk until it gets smooth.

Step three
Pour the milk into the espresso…. and enjoy!

You can find Remy over on Instagram, and of course at the Darwin brasserie, Sky Garden.

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5 Things To Do If Worldly Events Are Bringing You Down

Stabbings, shootings, mass killings, suicide, bombings, accidents; you name it, it’s pretty much saturated within mainstream media currently. Every news outlet or social media form we log into, at first glance we’re bombarded with worldwide devastation and corruption; loading us with feelings of fear, anxiety and helplessness.

If you’re a worldly universe admiring soul, like me, then you’re probably feeling an unsettling energy within you currently. The thought of living off-the-radar in the woods somewhere, heavenly doused in ignorance from wars, ecocides, and every other worldly tragedy, seems blissful – if only!

I’ve mustered up a small, proactive list, on how to ease our heavy souls from the current shitty politics of the world – feel free to add to the list by dropping a comment below!

1) BE STILL WITH MOTHER NATURE

I often use my weekends, or whatever free time I have from the 9-5:30 office world, to bask in green. This is so key for revitalising your energy levels and soul; you’ll feel connected to the Earth and find yourself realigning every aspect which has been suffocated by our 21st century materialistic bound lives.

Whether you choose to have a lunch stroll in a park, go to woodlands, lakes, coasts, you will feel the healing energy of Mother Nature which instantly soothes the mind.

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2) “HAVE YOU TRIED TURNING IT OFF?”

This is the one solution we stand by when it comes to faulty technology; the method of turning it off then on again to restore its life.

Of course, we’ve never really applied that same notion to ourselves; studies have shown that humans who have breaks from social media for a merely a week, have felt more content and interacted with more individuals (surprise, surprise!).

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3) AVOID THE MEDIA

The media loves bad news; for them it’s like a kid in a sweet shop. For us, however, we’re instilled with feelings of fear, shock, terror, anxiety, uncertainty, sadness, all of which have us feeling helpless.

It’s hard to not feel ignorant when avoiding the news, and if like me, you can’t avoid it due to your career – then take small breaks. A week away from the news and television will do wonders for your mind and soul; gradually increase the time away and watch your perspective change. You’ll learn more about feeling the good energy and how to harbor the bad into more positive and affirming action.

When you get into the cocoon of your home; try to not turn on the TV. Look for inspirational films and documentaries, shows that fill your life with positive energy and educate your mind…

Or you could just fill your free time with food?

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4) LIVE IN THE PRESENT

I’m constantly reminding myself of this notion, it’s effective when applied to everyday thoughts and anxieties; the past is no longer and the future hasn’t yet occurred – so what the hell are we panicking for?

I came across the work of Eckhart Tolle, Alan Watts and a few other rare souls who are brimming with positive affirmations, wisdom and mindfulness; they all follow the end goal of bettering ourselves in order to better the planet.

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5) WE’RE ALL ONE

As I write this I’m aware that I’m not alone in these thoughts of ‘the world is being tainted by evil souls,’ even if my Facebook feed is full of apathy and intolerance to others, I know some, if not many feel this way too.

Talk to friends, family and like-minded others who share your feeling of drained energy due to the world; whilst it may not solve problems, it’s good to feel like you aren’t the only one feeling trapped.

So next time you feel like the world is too much; don’t grab your duvet & hide. Grab a friend and head outdoors – the world isn’t such a nasty place when you think and act good

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LETS HAVE “THE TALK”

Are you being safe… with your mental health?

1 in 4 of us will struggle with mental health at some point in our lives. This may include feelings of: anxiety; addiction; obsession; phobia; depression; bipolar disorder, or an eating disorder. A recent study by Sussex Student Union has uncovered at least 42.2% of students started university with a mental health problem; meaning the remaining 26% of students developed a problem whilst at university.

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One of the biggest obstacles of mental illness is the initial approach for help. Fear and uncertainty are the two main feelings that hinder us seeking the help we may need; so we simply shrug off that bad day, in hopes tomorrow will be better. “One in five students consider themselves to have a mental health problem,” (National Union of Students, 2013). This struggle of expressing how we feel makes the attempt of accessing support; as well as possible treatments seem far-fetched.

When we take that initial step into starting our university venture, nobody tells us that we’ll have days where we’ll feel homesick; days where we simply don’t want to go get out of bed, or days where we realise we miss our mum’s nagging, cooking, cleaning and general mum-like things.

Instead we’re fed stories about how crazy nights out are – never about the horrid hangovers, or rubbish feeling you have when it hits home that you’ve spent your entire loan on drinks, taxis, and fast-food. What they forget to tell you are the truths and reality of University life – beyond the cloud of being the social bee and party animal; it’s a big transition, the move away from home and adjusting to a new lifestyle.

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Lets get talking.

When we feel like we’re having that day, week or month from hell it can be a struggle to realise there are various support systems; which we can turn to. Help is a simple courageous step away; you aren’t alone. There are various NHS and university services available to support your student lifestyle and overall well-being.

The NHS offer a variety of treatments, as well as counselling therapies such as: talking treatments; formerly known as counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).These are available in most institutions, and are services where individuals are given a space where they can talk freely about anything that may be troubling them.

Many universities offer the option for counselling, the process is pretty simple too; you’re initially referred to an advisor, who will then ask you basic questions about your thoughts and feelings, and what you hope to achieve from your sessions, from there you will be put on a waiting list for the opportunity to talk to a trained counsellor, at the next available convenience.
It’s tough juggling mental health and university, however, seeking help from tutors, counsellors or even doctors you can easily balance out the struggle. By accessing your universities help; you may be entitled to extensions for assignments and even extra time during exam periods.

19-year-old Illustration student, Chloe, comments: “It initially took me a while to conquer my fear of asking for help, but as I got into the swing of University I realised that I couldn’t keep putting away my bad days. I’d slowly stop attending lectures and not meeting deadlines. I was putting my future at a risk.
I researched the services my university offered, then faced the fear and contacted them. I’m in my final year now, and after having sessions throughout my second year, I finally feel I’m at a place where I can focus on my studies.”

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Setting Goals.

It’s not only mental health charities who offer support. Friends and families are often the best support we can receive, for they are the ones who know us the best. It’s important to not isolate yourself, you don’t have to go through this alone.
When setting goals for yourself it can be tough, remember to be flexible and patient, not everything always goes to plan. Mental health charity ‘Rethink’ have put together an easy way to remember this: be Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Time limited (SMART) when thinking of what you want to achieve.

All it takes is one step, and that step could change your life – forever.

THE DABATE: MANLY MAN v METRO MAN

Soft, sensitive with a feminine side, who stress about eyebrow maintenance, spot and hair removal creams and lets not mention moisturisers.  This may come as a surprise but we aren’t talking about the everyday woman and her beauty regime, rather the everyday man and his. Say hello to an emerging breed of man: the metrosexual.

The average metrosexual is straight, educated, and always feels needs to look good. He is very much in touch with his feminine side and he isn’t afraid to show it. He loves to shop, he often sports jewellery, and his bathroom shelves are most likely to consist of male grooming products. He works on his physique like he’s aspiring to be the incredible hulk and his appearance probably gets him lots of attention – he loves it.
Men are now choosing to take more pride in their appearance and are finding themselves purchasing grooming products, which are no longer such a taboo subject.

Statistics show men are spending on average 45-60 minutes on their personal grooming each morning. That’s a staggering 420 minutes a week. Have we somehow entered a parallel universe where men have stopped throwing cash at fast-food and alcohol but rather at wax-strips at the local Superdrug, who would have thought.
So why does this new breed of man go to that much effort, is it for themselves or to impress the ladies? Research has shown the average metrosexual male who partakes in these grooming activities does it because he gets a confidence boost out of it. Manager of online male cosmetic site ‘His Essentials’, Jawad Farooq, believes this to be true: “If your outer-self looks good then your inner-self will feel that too.”

I asked twenty women from all over England,  if they would consider pursuing a relationship with a metrosexual male. The majority of these females said they would feel threatened by their partner placing such an importance on their looks. “I would feel like I would have to match up to his standards because I feel that he would judge me if I didn’t.

He may think of me as less than a female,” says 19-year-old fashion student Lauren.

Men no longer feel they have to obey to the stereotypes of needing to be a ‘real man’. They are more comfortable in their skin and looking after your skin, body and hair is fast becoming an essential routine for all kinds of men from different backgrounds and some women are slowly learning to love their man for taking that extra bit of pride in his appearance.
So guys, the next time you’re out shopping with the girlfriend and she’s got you stranded in Superdrug, don’t be afraid to check out the male grooming products to see what’s on offer, so you can look and feel good.

(Photo: Nivea for Men ad.)

KEEPING FIT AT UNIVERSITY.

University life; to the non-student world this translates to us [students] being 100% focused on working our asses off for our degree. To the average Uni student, however, University life is like the green card of finally breaking out of the nest and flying out in to the SUPER-EXCITING University world.

What do we do once we’ve grown our wings and take flight; we have endless nights outs – where we fight with our drunken selves to not spend our entire student loan on those ever so tempting cheap drinks – known as the devil in disguise.
We totally ignore all those cooking lessons our mothers gave us and spend money on greasy-fatty-takeout food.
We then avoid turning up to lectures/not doing assignments because we’ve suddenly developed “insomnia,” due to being out ‘til stupid-o’clock in the morning – eating the most unhealthiest food and having little sleep at all. It’s like we want to ruin ourselves with our new-found independence.


It’s a long shot thinking about adding fitness into our lifestyles at Uni. Soon as we do, we automatically think of a-hundred-and-one reasons as to why the gym or anything fitness-related should be avoided.  Studies have shown that the average Uni student puts on a stone, during their first year of University; this isn’t hard to believe when we think about it.

We should be thinking of ways we can beat the odds of turning into a bulgy-fat-mess and keep fit. This doesn’t mean going to the gym and signing up to an expensive 12-month contract [when you know you’ll only go once in a blue moon].

Keeping fit can and is fun and there are many ways how you can make it so:

  • Your University is bound to have various clubs/societies that are fitness related, try joining one of these – it’s a perfect opportunity to keep fit and meet lots of new people in the process.
  • As well as joining a club/society, you can adjust your lifestyle into a healthy one; rather than getting a taxi to the club/bar – walk.
  • Instead of eating take-out food, cook a simple meal and if you’re lacking motivation watch Jaime Oliver’s 15-minute-meal show, he really does know how to cook on a budget!
  • Our mum’s weren’t lying when they told us fruit and veg were good for us. They actually are; filled with vitamins and fibre – keeping you more energised and fuller for longer.

Don’t make excuses to not workout, think of all the reasons it will aid your life; you’ll be fitter/more attractive, and you’ll love the results!

(Image from Tumblr.)

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, NOT YOUR PROBLEMS.

Think of yourself at sixteen. You probably remember: the stress of GCSE’s; prom excitement, and that awkward butterfly feeling you got when you saw your crush in the hallway, right? Being sixteen probably wasn’t the best of times but in comparison to life’s current struggles, sixteen no longer feels like such a task.

Yesterday morning I found myself sitting in a 9am lecture, thinking: “Why the hell did I leave my bed this morning?!”.
Out came my phone and the endless scrolling though my Twitter feed began. I stopped when I saw ‘#Birmingham’ trending. For reasons only known to myself, I got happy seeing this. Little did I know it wasn’t trending for anything pleasant.
Clicking on the trend, I found myself  reading a story about a 16-year-old girl who had  reportedly just been stabbed in a bus, on the way to school. My heart sank as I read these words.
After reading various takes on this story, I stumbled on the girls personal twitter page. It was very clear to see, from her tweets,  this young girl was full of dreams and ambitions. I began praying that nothing had happened to her innocent soul.

This story continued to cause havoc in my mind as I took my bus journey home, that morning. I was still reflecting upon that girl who had the same thoughts as myself at sixteen: worrying about exams; her prom dress; “the-one-that-got-away,” and just wanting to find happiness.
How could I be sitting here miserable about my petty life situations, when an innocent young girl’s life had been taken away from her – before it had the chance to even begin?

I preach this a lot through my words but it’s something we [as well as myself] need to be reminded of: as humans we always get caught up in our hardships.
We lose ourselves in temporary emotions and become sad about something that may never even happen. Appreciate your hardships rather than dwelling on them –  be patient, be positive and never give up, you will get through it.
Life is precious, so cherish it.

[Photo: Tumblr.]

THE RISE AND FALL.

“Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.” ~ Paulo Coelho.

You’re going through tough time now, right? You feel like a jinx, like no matter how hard you try everything isn’t going right. For once you’d like it to go right for you. You can’t seem to catch a break and it feels like you have never ever caught a break.

Let’s switch off our overactive, busy minds for a bit, as you read this post. Think of Spongebob jelly fishing or something [oh god, I just made a Spongebob reference! I apologise.] Please keep reading on, I promise this isn’t a post devoted to my love of Spongebob.

Strive, struggle and failure, as much as some us dread these factors, they are the beauty of life. It sounds very masochistic in a way, I obviously don’t mean it in that sense, what I mean is: try to see the beauty in the failure, the disappointment, the hard time.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Our struggles should be seen as something which could be sculpted into something beautiful: it can either go really good or end up falling into pieces – all situations in life are like this, hence we must act without expectation.
Once we start building expectations of our situations this is where we start to take the wrong mindset, we feel like the world and people owe us something – they don’t, in reality.  We should lower expectations of others and raise expectations of ourselves.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Our strength grows out of our weaknesses.” And speaking from the experience that I have [be it little,] I’d say this is true. Our greatest strengths do tend to come from our greatest weaknesses, as it’s only when we’re at the lowest of the lows that we can actually find the strength inside ourselves to RISE ABOVE IT. The lesson here being: to grow, we must struggle.
A writer I’ve mentioned before, on this blog: Paulo Coelho has always been an inspiration to me. His words are almost a blessing in disguise. You will find that his books will come into your life by chance and when you need his words the most. You wont even realise it but what you do read will change your life, forever.
This moment happened to myself last year, whilst reading one of his many magical books. And this is where I discovered one of my all-time favourite quotes which helped me an enormous amount:

There is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it’s better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you’re fighting for.”

Remember, nothing in life is permanent; everything, everyone and situations are always in constant change. Face your hardships – don’t run away. If they change your life, let them. You’ll come out a better, stronger person afterwards – I promise. If you’re lost, don’t worry: be brave, take risks and never give up – you will find your way!