#runforcake …we’re opening early for Cambridge Half Marathon…

As some of you may know, this is my favourite motto…

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This Sunday (28th February) I (Jo) will be joining thousands of others running the Cambridge Half Marathon, some may say we’ve got a few screws loose and I think at this stage I may have to agree 🙂 However, come hell or highwater I will be hot footing it off the start line at 9.30am with my cake based mantra at the ready to get me through the worst of times and I will most definitely be celebrating with cake once it’s all over!

Many of our loyal customers and friends are taking part and I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone the best of luck!

Here is a link to the route map. Support and cheers from the sidelines are what will get us through, so if you’re around on Sunday morning please come on down with your vocal chords at the ready! 😉

We will be opening at 9am on Sunday instead of 10am to make sure that all runners/ supporters/ spectators can pop in on the way to the start line and will have somewhere to pop for a coffee and/or brunch once you’ve seen your mates/loved ones off!

To show how awesome we think you are we will also be rewarding each and every one of you who completes the half marathon with 50p off a slice of cake! Just come in after the race and show us your medal to claim it!

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Mother’s Day…Afternoon Tease to takeaway

I thought it was time to resurrect our neglected blog to tell you about what we have planned for Mother’s Day this year! It’s on Sunday 6th March by the way…get it etched in your diaries and minds right now! 🙂

In years gone by we have closed the cafe and taken bookings for what turned into an afternoon tea feast of pretty epic proportions, however, we’ve decided that it’s not really fair to close the doors to the brunch lovers of Cambridge and in the hope that we can please everybody we have created the ‘Afternoon Tease to takeaway’ an afternoon tea for 2 that you can enjoy wherever you wish! The perfect gift for you to give to your Mum and if you’re extra lucky she may even share it with you 🙂

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Our Afternoon Tease to takeaway is £20 and includes…

2 Dovecote Bakery crumpets
Mini jars of our homemade jam & marmalade
Butter
2 x mini cheese scones
2 x brownie bites
2 x slices of cake
2 x Eteaket breakfast blend tea bags
All packaged up and ready to create a lovely Mother’s Day afternoon tea at home.
You can pre-order your Afternoon Tease to takeaway until Wednesday 2nd March for collection on Saturday 5th or Sunday 6th.
If you would like to place your order please send an email to info@afternoontease.co.uk including your name, contact telephone number and which day you would like to collect your afternoon tea (Sat 5th or Sun 6th).
We will get in touch to confirm your order.
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Our 2014 in blackboards…

I thought a nice way to summarise 2014 at Afternoon Tease would be to post my favourite blackboards pictures taken throughout the year. Every morning, come rain or shine, I write and snap a new blackboard announcement and post it on Twitter (@afternoontease) and on our Facebook Page (AfternoonTeaseCafe).

Here we go…

January…

January

February…

February

February

March…

March

April…

April

May…

May

June…

June

July…

July

July

August…

August

September…

September

October…

October

October

November…

November

December…

December

December

December

December

Happy New Year

It’s been a wonderful year for us. Thankyou for your support. Without your custom, cake and caffeine addictions, friendship and banter Afternoon Tease wouldn’t be here. Here’s to 2015 and let’s hope I can think up another 313 blackboards 🙂

 

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Christmas at Afternoon Tease (and our festive opening hours)…

Christmas has well and truly arrived at Afternoon Tease!

Our decorations are up…

We’ve made our Christmas cakes, which involved the biggest and heaviest bowl of cake mix I’ve ever encountered…

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Please excuse the messiness…it was quite an ordeal man handling that amount of cake mix into the tins 🙂 …

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We’re feeding them with a variety of liquors…two are fed on Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum, two on Brandy and two of them are teetotal and fed only on Earl grey tea.

We made our own marzipan, much to the delight of my Mother, who is a serious addict!

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and got down to decorating them…

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This year we’ve even made our own mincemeat, which we’re using in these gorgeous little mincemeat Bakewell puddings…

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and my Mum has been sharing her Polish paper star making skills…

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Although we love this time of year and all of the festive baking and goodwill it entails, the Afternoon Tease Team also need a little break to be with our families and to eat and drink ourselves silly!

So, below are our Christmas and New Year opening times for you to see when we’ll be here for you, as a little respite from your Christmas/sale shopping or a little haven of tranquility if you just need to get out of the house…come and say hi over the festive season!

Christmas / New Year opening times…

Monday 22 Dec- 8am – 6pm
Tuesday 23 Dec – 8am – 6pm
Wednesday 24 Dec – CLOSED
Thursday 25 Dec – CLOSED
Friday 26 Dec – CLOSED
Saturday 27 Dec – CLOSED
Sunday 28 Dec – 10am – 5pm

Monday 29 Dec –  9am – 5pm
Tuesday 30 Dec – 9am – 5pm
Wednesday 31 Dec – 9am – 5pm
Thursday 1 Jan – CLOSED
Friday 2 January – 9am – 5pm
Saturday 3 January – 9am – 5pm
Sunday 4 January – 10am – 5pm

Now, last but not least…if you’re looking for a gift idea for that coffee/cake fiend in your life…look no further! We do treat vouchers

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There are 2 options for you to choose from…

The drink and cake Treat Voucher at £5.50, perfect as a stocking filler or secret Santa!…it entitles the lucky recipient to a hot drink and slice of cake of their choice.

Or you can purchase a Treat Voucher to the value of £5, £10, £15 or £20, which can be used as currency in the cafe for anything the recipient desires 🙂

We aren’t able to give change for the Treat Vouchers but if you/the recipient would like to spend more than the value of the voucher, the balance can be paid in cash.

To buy treat vouchers just pop into the cafe and talk to one of the team!

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We are 1!

The reason for this blog post, as the title suggests, is a very important milestone in the life of Afternoon Tease…on Saturday 25th October we celebrated our 1st Birthday! When asked whether it felt like a year, I had to admit I wasn’t entirely sure. I definitely feel exhausted enough for it to have been a year and in a (good) way it actually feels longer, like we’ve become part of the King Street furniture :).

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On reflection (which has happened a lot recently), we’ve come such a long way in that year, especially when I think back to our opening day, where we bumbled around cluelessly behind a barely held together facade of professionalism. We’ve established a day to day routine and put a lot of processes in place to make sure that all of the jobs get done…cakes made, cleaning completed and most importantly…customers served, however every day is different and we are still always kept on our toes! A year has always sounded like an unfathomably long time & although I’d been celebrating every single month of the business since opening, I was somehow surprised when the year came around!

To celebrate our Birthday we decorated the cafe…

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and I made a ginormous, two tiered chocolate stout cake using Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast, an oatmeal stout brewed with coffee!

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I also added a few shots of our espresso (Caravan‘s Market Blend). It seemed a fitting cake for the celebration as the chocolate Guinness cake has to be our most popular cake and I wanted to make this one bigger and better than ever!…

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Here’s the finished article…

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It didn’t take long for it to start disappearing…

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gone…

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Our Birthday turned out to be our busiest day on record, which felt amazing! Many of our regulars, who we have now also come to call friends, dropped in to wish us Happy Birthday and we received some amazing cards, some even homemade nonetheless…

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and a very special ode, written by wonderful customer and author, Menna Van Praag, which has now taken pride of place in our toilet (if you’ve seen how cool our toilet is you’ll know this is a good thing)…

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A couple of particularly dedicated cake fiends, Kaylan & Dawn gave us a very touching gift, which finally brought the tear to my eye that I’d held at bay all day. They presented me with a sliver cake slice, which had belonged to Dawn’s Grandmother. They’d had it engraved with ‘Saturday is Cake Day’ a tradition that they withhold stringently every week 🙂

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Good friend and important member of the opening team, Ivana (Miss Igs), came back for a guest shift and was reunited with Francesco, our beautiful La Marzocco coffee machine…

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I’d decided that it’s be nice to have a little shindig at the cafe in the evening for some of the people (I couldn’t fit you all!) who had been important to our first year. I found it very hard to keep my invite list manageable but the ‘bijou’ proportions of the cafe helped me reign it in. Saying that, at one point it did feel like we were having some kind of competition to see just how many people we could get in…

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Unfortunately for me (and everyone else) I was heckled into saying a few words. After a terrible fumbly start, where no actual words escaped my mouth, I managed to string a few together…firstly to thank my team. As a very independent and stubborn person, it’s a source of frustration to me that I physically can’t run the cafe on my own 🙂 …however, I’ve got (and have had throughout the year) an amazing team, who work so hard and make the Afternoon Tease experience what it is. I read a review recently that said that it was nice to find a place where the staff looked like they genuinely enjoyed being there…it made my day!

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The current dream team enjoying a pre-party tipple!

I also thanked my Electrician, Richard, who has had to respond to a few crazed early morning phone calls, my family who support me on a daily basis in so many ways and my friends who have stuck by me despite the fact that I’ve pretty much gone AWOL socially for the last year, have declined most invitations and haven’t made it out past 9pm…they’ve stuck by me and are still persevering 🙂

The biggest thanks has to go to my customers, without whom, Afternoon Tease just wouldn’t exist! I’ve met some amazing people in the last year and absolutely love the eclectic mix of people who pass though our door! One year is only a short period of time in the grand scale of things and I hope to be around for many more!

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Independent’s Day…#loyaltycardamnesty

Now, try not to fall off your chairs in shock, I know, an Afternoon Tease blog post really is a rare sighting nowadays! I hadn’t realised it had been 3 whole months since I last posted anything and to be honest it’d have to be something that I feel particularly passionate about to make me sit at my computer after a looong and very hot day in the cafe to write…today (4th July) however, is Independence Day, which also in the last few years has come to be known as Independent’s Day…a celebration of independent retail businesses. Without these businesses I believe that the world would be a very dull and boring place, full of identikit cities. Independent businesses add character, interest and uniqueness to our streets!

Afternoon Tease has now been open for 8 months (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) and the support we have received has been phenomenal, it’s become obvious that people really want to shop local and support new and independent business and not just to resort to the chains. However, I think in some cases, where the chains flood the market, there seems little choice!

The main thing that has struck me, is the loyalty of our customers. I’m under no false illusion that our customers are only visiting us, I see the wads of loyalty cards in their wallets (much like my own) and I’m really glad that they’re sharing the love around other local establishments. I’m sure, some are even still venturing into the odd chain here and there but hey, us indie’s have got a long way to go before we can rival those big boys! 🙂 We get a lot of repeat custom at the cafe and that makes me very happy indeed…it means that we must be getting something right. We reward our returning customers with a stamp on our loyalty cards for every hot drink that they buy and after just 6 months our collection of full loyalty cards completely obliterated the lovely glass doors of my 1950’s sideboard…

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So we started again…

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and it won’t be long before we have to do the same again! 🙂

Being an independent business is difficult for many reasons although it mainly comes down to finance. Rents are high, ingredients are expensive and if you want to offer a good product, you have to pay the price. But, luckily, nowadays, people are looking for quality produce and really care about what they are eating and drinking.

I’ve always thought that Cambridge was lagging behind London with it’s food and drink offering, but over the last few years it’s really picked up pace. The independent food scene in Cambridge is thriving, with our own coffee roastery, selection of street food traders, supper clubs and diverse range of cafes and restaurants, all with their own unique twist. What’s particularly great, is the camaraderie between the independents…we all frequent each others establishments on our days/evenings off and support each other. At the cafe we’re always borrowing and lending stuff from/to other King Street traders (blue roll, takeaway bags and most recently a tray of eggs) in those moments of need and calling others for advice or just a chat. It feels like we’re all on the same team!

I also love the relationship you can have with independent, local suppliers…I look forward to my weekly chats with Chris at Dovecote Bakery. He’s the hardest working baker I have ever known but will always make time to answer my questions and try out new things for me. Being able to call on experts in their field like Gary at Mill Road Butchers, Jon at The Art of Meat,  Gail at Kandula Tea, Simon at Hot Numbers or Mike at Caravan for advice is fantastic.

Well that’s enough gushing for now, basically what I’m trying to say with this blog post is…thankyou for supporting us as an independent business. Without you, our loyal customer we wouldn’t be able to exist.

You can find out more about Independent’s Day on their Facebook page here or follow their twitter feed @IndieDayUK (#IndieDay) but more importantly, for just one day, why not turn your back on the chains and step through the door of a lovely independent shop instead?

Today, if you come into the cafe and offer up a loyalty card from one of the large chains and let us rip it up…we’ll reward you with the same number of stamps that you’ve relinquished, but on our card! #loyaltycardamnesty

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Next #SundaySession 13 April w/ Emily Fraser…

It’s time for the next Sunday Session at Afternoon Tease on 13th April (just 1 week away!)

The Sunday Session - Emily Fraser
Our aim is to banish the Sunday night blues by bringing you good food & booze, music and company.
If you fancy a bit of all of the above, then look no further!

We usually close at 5pm on Sundays but on 13th April we are going to be staying open until 9pm. We’ll be cooking up a delicious meal (think along the lines of steaming bowls of macaroni cheese or veggie chilli with a big chunk of bread) and we’ll have a selection of affordable wines and beers on sale. Not only that but we will also be in the company of the very talented Emily Fraser!

Emily Fraser is a singer/songwriter from Cambridge who began her journey at the age of 15 putting the poetry of a friend to her self-taught guitar and naive vocals, feeling the urge to share her voice with others she immediately began gigging at multiple venues around the region.

She plays in a bluesy soulful style with a rhythmic folk edge. Take a listen to some of her amazing tunes on soundcloud here…

https://soundcloud.com/emily-fraser-music

to understand why we’re so excited to have her playing at our next Sunday Session!

We will also have sets from our very own multi-talented team member, Robbie Cornell & Tom Kruczynski of The Hot Lights!

So here it is, an open invitation to come down to the cafe on Sunday 13th April between 5pm and 9pm (feel free to drop in and drop out as and when you like). Think of us like an extension to your living room come and banish those Sunday Night Blues at Afternoon Tease!

Why not pop over to our Facebook event page (here) and let us know you’re coming?

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