Friday, 26 June 2015

All I Want is a Proper Cup of Coffee... copper coffee pot necessary.

Proper is a cycle cafe in Hassocks, Sussex, a couple of stops up from Brighton on the London-Brighton mainline.

I'd heard about their amazing cakes, so when I found myself in the area and at a loose end - and nearing lunch time - I popped in to see what all the fuss was about!

As I don't drink coffee, I opted for tea, which was served in a cute transparent teapot.

For once I bypassed the various choice of chocolatey cakes, and went for lemon drizzle cake. I was given a generously sized slice, which was moist and had just the right balance of flavour. Yum!

Proper is a comfortable cafe and obviously popular, as it's been packed most times I've walked past. This was a rare quiet time!

If you're wondering about the cycling part, well, Proper has a cycle shop at the back of the cafe! It's also equipped with somewhere for cyclists to secure their bikes at the front, and a garden area where customers can enjoy the weather along with their refreshments.

With so many great places to cycle in the area, I think this is a really good idea! In fact, whilst I was enjoying my cake, I witnessed five cyclists wheel their bikes through from the back. It was a slightly surreal experience!

The tea and cake were great and the staff friendly, and the popularity of Proper is self-evident. Next time I'm in Hassocks and hankering after cake, I definitely know where to go.

I'm counting my visit to Proper as part of one of my goals on The List:
036. Eat/drink in 30 new places
You can see more of the places I've eaten by looking at the goal 36 tag.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

What is Evil?

This month, my reading has taken up a fantasy theme that, in part, questions our perceptions of evil. With these three books, I've completed a goal from The List:
050. Read 3 books per month for 1 year
36 books between July '14 and this June!'s actually 41, but I only ever blogged about the first three read each month ;)

With all that reading, you'd think I would have sandwiched in some more Doing, but I digress. Here are the books I read in June, rated, as is the norm, according to my overall enjoyment.

Angelology - Danielle Trussoni (4/5)
A book I picked up after it was heartily recommended by a friend, this is yet another one that spent a fair few months sitting on my shelf, waiting for the right moment.
The right moment came, and I enjoyed all 650-odd pages of it.

Angelology is set in a world where a silent war rages between the human Angelologists and the Nephilim, a race descended from Angels but muddied through millennia of Human-Nephilim hybridisation. For the most part the story focuses around Evangeline, a young nun who knows little of her family history, but discovers the existence of the Angelologists, and of her family history, after finding an old letter in the convent archives. The closer she comes to finding out the full truth, the closer danger comes to laying its hands upon her--and a long sought-after artefact of extreme power that lurks just out of sight.

My only real complaint about the book was that some plot twists were predictable. However, they were delivered at the right moment in the storyline for it to drag on too long.
I liked how the novel took ideas from religious texts and wove them into a story that brings angelic beings into the modern world, with an explanation of how they continue to walk among us. I also liked the way the Nephilim and lesser angelic species were portrayed, as it made a change from the expected behaviours!

Honestly my writing about this book cannot do it justice, not without writing a whole bunch of spoilers.
I recently discovered that there is a sequel, and have, of course, wish-listed it ;)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Sell More Stuff and Make it Pretty!

Unwittingly, I completed a goal!
069. Complete an online course
The course in question was Store Design, Visual Merchandising and Shopper Marketing, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) taught by Claus Ebster for iversity.

I'd meant for this goal to be an encouragement to complete some of the Udemy courses that I've signed up for, but when I received an email from iversity about this course, I was quick to sign up!

Having used iversity before (I studied their Design 101 course back in 2013/14) I knew it was a great interface for learning something new.

I mainly signed up in the hope that I'd pick up more knowledge relating to visual merchandising, but I also found the store design and shopper marketing parts of the course interesting.

The six week course came in the form of several video lectures, which were accompanied by a set of questions relating to the video content. The videos were easy to follow and presented with good humour, and many examples relating to the topics discussed. Each week included a discussion exercise and recommendations for further reading, so it was a really well fleshed-out course!

I ended up gaining lots of new insight into shoppers, and ways a store can be set up to encourage sales. What's more, I had inspiration for the place I volunteer!

Something I like about iversity is that the courses offer two different tracks: an audit track (which is free) or a certificate track (for which you pay a fee, and take an exam or complete graded coursework).
I opted for the audit track, which gave me a shiny Certificate of Participation:

This is also proof of my completing the goal. Of course, I've hidden my real name ;)

I really enjoyed this course and have several pages of notes taken from the lectures, along with lots of inspiration and a better understanding of the psychology of shoppers and the way store design, atmosphere and displays can affect them.

iversity has a number of courses on offer, so perhaps I'll end up signing up for another one...

This is NOT a sponsored post. Any products, brands or services I blog about here are mentioned of my own free will, and I have NOT received any money, goods, or other benefits in exchange for the creation of this article.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Cup of Tea (and No Cake)

This post is rather overdue. I went to Blackbird Tea Rooms with a daytripping friend and her housemate back in May (the same day as we had a trayload of Full English at Caffe Aldo).
However, I was in two minds as to whether to post about this cute, vintage-styled tea room, as I didn't eat anything here.
Unfortunately, we picked the wrong time to go in - just over an hour before closing time, on a Saturday - and our visit was disappointing.