Living the dream?

09 Jun

I feel like it is time for a sort of personal update. This week (I think) I’ve finished editing my methodology chapter. I’m currently going through and editing each and every little bit of the thesis and completely rewriting some bits of it. It takes HOURS because it is nothing like as easy as writing from scratch where you can get into a flow. I loathed methodology the first time round, editing it, and adding more references in, as always, is just TEDIUM epitomised. But anyway, I’ve done it as best I can, emailed it through to my supervisor and now I have a few days to mess about with blogs before meeting him to be told it needs yet more citations. Groan.

I can’t really believe I’ve not mentioned the changes to the cafe yet. As per usual, I have been exhaustingly busy with the business, (not helped by the constant battle with the local council!) and the PhD and Miranda, and haven’t had time to blog without feeling guilty about neglecting something else. Anyway, a few months back, Jo F stopped using the cafe for her burlesque. She’s still performing with her Kitty Katz and Back Alley Boys groups, but for many reasons she’s not taking on any new classes, which means she has little need of the cafe space. In a way, this is sad since we started this as a group of three and its a shame it didn’t work out for her. It’s also a bit complicated regarding the lease and so on. However, and this is in no way a reflection on Jo, it is kind of a relief from my point of view.

The Burlesque aspect never quite sat right with me. I’ve nothing against it, but it was just not my thing. I felt like I had to dress up and play a role in there since we were attempting to be ‘vintage’ style to incorporate the burlesque, and I just can’t pull off that look!! Also, and more significantly, it was a very difficult concept to explain to people. I am not exactly sure what people expected of us anyway. There were plenty of uptight prudes who thought we were a den of iniquity or a strip joint or something – typically, these people never actually came in to check because it is very hard to look like a sleazy strip club with Miranda’s multi coloured lego bricks and knitted tea set all over the floor! I got the impression a lot of our customers just ignored the name or didn’t think through the spelling – Afternoon Tease. The cafe is in Tees-side and we sell a range of teas… that was the pun, but it may have been too subtle for some!!

So, in Jo F’s absence, we changed the name. We are now Doctor Coffee’s Cafe again! This makes me very happy. We had new signs done, our woman in the coffee cup on the window, who we named Fanny, is still there but she now sports a  graduate mortar board donned at a rakish angle, with ‘Doctor Coffee’s Cafe,’ ‘Tea Room’, ‘Coffee Shop’ and ‘Arts Cafe’ done in gold lettering on a deep teal backdrop, in an art deco style font chosen by Jo L. It looks fantastic and I am very proud of it!

It really feels like MINE now, and I am a lot comfier and more confident about the whole enterprise. I can really geek-out about coffee, and concentrate on making it into a friendly quality-focussed shrine to eccentricity. Giving the place a new name has renewed my enthusiasm immensely.

We hit our 6th month anniversary the other day. It has been a helluva half-year, I have learnt so much, but still find it hard to comprehend that I’ve actually achieved my ambition – to have my own coffee shop. And it’s working. It is INCREDIBLY hard work and very stressful, even without the added pressures of baby and university, but it is getting there. We have made a small profit consistently since March, which in the current economic climate, and in the grim North East, I think is exceptionally good. I am really proud of us all!!

Check out the new website:!


Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Living the dream?

  1. Simon James

    June 9, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Glad it’s working out for you Annabel. Seems the key to survival these days is to be flexible without compromise I think. All you need to work out now is the safe two-wheel transportation of Lemon Cake..! 🙂

    • drcoffee

      June 13, 2011 at 11:43 pm

      well, a ‘flexible compromise’ has been found in that respect – i have a trike! Three-wheel cake-and-miri transportation!


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