6 weeks AD (After Daughter) and most things are back to “normal”!
My normal coffee intake has resumed. Woohoo! I am a little concerned about how much caffeine actually makes its way into my breastmilk, but Miranda doesn’t seem to be complaining and there are no obvious ill-effects so I intend to ignore the issue. I did do some research into effects of coffee drinking on pregnancy (which can be summarised into “it just takes longer for the caffeine to break down in your body”) and most pregnancy magazines (those quality publications you get free from Boots, for example) tell you not to drink too much when breastfeeding either, but fail to tell you why. I assume it is because you get caffeine in milk – but there’s nothing to say that drinking diluted caffeine (natural lattes?) actually harms babies.
I am back to “testing” coffee shops too, and having too much of a coffee-based presence online, apparently. I got headhunted, of sorts! Very flattering. Someone google searched for coffee people in the north east, and with this blog, various links from the uni, my social network site addiction and my attempts at promoting Doctor Coffee’s Cafe, I take up a good proportion of the search results. It was about a Manager’s job going at Esquires coffee shop in Newcastle – nice salary, commutable from here, bloke sounded very genuine and friendly. It would have been great if I was able to work full time at the moment!! DOH. Managing coffee shops and 6 week old babies don’t mix, and no job is worth leaving her for at the moment.
Anyway, bloke said he’d “keep me in mind” if anything else came up in the future – which would be great given the inevitable dreaded post-uni unemployment is looming again. Just to make sure, I bundled Miri on a train up to Newcastle to approve the place. I’ve been to Esquires in Durham before, but apart from the nice penguins on the logo and the fact it has free wifi (unlike Neros!) I don’t remember it being anything special. I didn’t realise Esquires isn’t actually a chain though, it’s a franchise, and the franchisees get a lot more freedom so each Esquires is a bit different, again unlike the immutable Caffe Nero format. The shop in Newcastle is huge, right in the middle of the shopping centre and was pretty busy. I can see why the manager’s salary was so reasonable, that place must make a fortune! (I did have a look at the Esquires franchises, and frankly, if I had that sort of money I’d set up on my own. Somewhere tropical. But obviously there are some success stories!). Nice enough place – bit cheaper than the other chains, iced Americano and filter coffee actually on the menu along with PROPER LOOSE LEAF GREEN TEA (my pregnancy-staple – woopedoo!). No one objected to me breastfeeding in there and the baby change was actually big enough to use comfortably. (two things I never used to check before!!). In some respects it was far less pretentious than most coffee shops – the staff were definitely “people who work in a coffee shop” rather than “baristas”. I was feeling cruel and asked for espresso, and it was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. It came in a tiny, but normal-shaped cup, just Miranda sized. She was not amused though. Esquires website tells me their coffee is a blend from Peru, Honduras and Sumatra (entirely Fairtrade… meh?) I tried some on filter and it was really really good, much better on filter than in espresso. So I was pleasantly surprised and sat there reading (about coffee – I had a slight book-buying accident again… groan…), absent-mindedly deflecting admiring comments about Miranda’s hair and fantasising for bit…
My coffee shop fantasies are resurfacing again. (doesn’t take long!) Miranda has accompanied us out to do the Doctor Coffee van on the market already. I was dissuaded from putting up a sign with “Buy a coffee, get a free cuddle” on the pushchair… I am trying to get her used to the coffee shop environment, and I’ve been reading David Brandon’s “Life in a 17th Century Coffee Shop” to her so that she appreciates how good she’s got it now!! Esquires would have been a great ‘stepping stone’ to my own place – a chance to manage a coffee shop without the massive financial risks of opening up on my own, and hopefully that setup would have allowed me some autonomy. I don’t really want to admit it, but the Doctor Coffee van is not going to make my fortune – in fact, it is not really going to make a me living in the foreseeable future either. So, when Inevitable Post-Uni Unemployment does occur again, the most realistic option is to get a job that will allow me to save up for my own cafe, and run the van in any spare time I get. I haven’t yet figured out what happens to Miri in that situation though…..