Thé Bleu

It may be the English who are supposedly obsessed with tea, but this shop is evidence of the existence of at least some tea fanatics in Paris.

The shop is predominantly a dispenser of loose-leaf tea. The choices are grouped on the menu into region and type, and a knowledgeable lady sells them from a bar, behind which they’re all stacked up in boxes.

The rest of the shop is a true middle-class hippy’s heaven. Clearly inspired by many a trip to India, there is a selection of scarves, paper lanterns and bunting, colourful ceramics, and sculptures and ornaments. The jewellery is gorgeous, a lot of it very unusual. My eyes were drawn to the golden cockerel earnings – they sound weird but did work, honestly. Of course, all of this does come at quite a price, with rings and pendants at around €50.

If you’re looking for your mum’s next birthday present and feel she’s worthy of a treat, you’ll be sure to find something here!

15 Rue Linné,
75005 Paris

Photo by Alexandra Heal

Chapter One

Chapter One is a spacious, calm bookshop and café in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, great for whiling away multiple hours working, reading, or just relaxing. As seems to be the norm in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter, this bookshop-slash-café displays little in the way of signage, or any indication of what lies behind the mysterious draped windows. However, no one could regret venturing inside.

In contrast to the bountiful array of other coffee shops and cafés in this part of town, Chapter One is vast; so vast that they’ve managed to display a beautiful water feature in the middle of the café, so you can enjoy the tranquil sounds of trickling water while you sip your lavender and mint tea or tap away on your laptop in one of the many luxurious armchairs. The more playful patrons can take part in a game of  Scrabble, or have a creative splurge one of the vintage typewriters.

As an up and coming bookstore (established in August 2015), their collection is still growing and so the choices are select at the moment, but they assure that they are constantly sourcing new titles, and they pride themselves on providing a “chill out, social-lounge space” where you can peruse the “read only” copies of books at your leisure to be 100 per cent sure of what you’re buying. Being only in ‘phase one’ of the business, Chapter One assures that ‘phase two’ will bring much much more, from a more diverse coffee menu to events in their theatre space – so watch this… space!

I cannot wait to return to try more of the beautiful cakes on offer, many of which are gluten free for those of you who aren’t so wheat-inclined. I have tried my fair share of dry, crumbly cakes devoid of this devilish protein, but the chocolate cake I devoured at Chapter One was officially the best I’ve tried so far. Accompanied by a lovely loose leaf tea, I could while away hours in this calm space in the middle of a bustling city.

Chatsworth House,
19 Lever Street,
United Kingdom,
M1 1BY
0161 298 2015

Mr. Vertigo

Mr.Vertigo is a relaxed and friendly cafe/restaurant in the North-Western part of Mitte in Berlin. Fresh salads, sandwiches and Mediterranean themed dishes are to be expected.

Unlike most other city areas of this description, that being those also brimming with museums and grand government facades, here, in the North-West Mitte area of Berlin there is a serious lack of good independent munch. Walking down the wide, outstretched roads, the lightly scattered food and beverage establishments are few and far in between, often weighed down by their mass market name tag or limited opening hours. An unfortunate factor if you fall out of the usual meal-time patterns, something not difficult to do in Berlin.

Varied, creative and healthy options are even harder to come by. Germany understandably runs a booming bread-based business machine, which is admirable, but again can also be a limiting factor for last-minute, light-weight meal options.

However then, there is Mister Vertigo. Despite arriving at four in the afternoon, there was still enough choice for us to request more time before placing our order. Exciting salads, made fresh every day range in colour and taste, to be eaten in or to be taken away (5-7€). Baked potatoes (5-6€), omelettes (5-6€), Paninis (3-4€) or hotter, slightly larger meals are also on the cards.

What I would 100% recommend here are the refreshing home brewed smoothies and juices – nothing better to quench the thirst on a hot summer’s day. We opted for pineapple and mint, and something with a strawberry flavor – perfectly pure & simple.

Seats can be found outside as well as in, depending on the weather. You will find yourself on a main road, but like much of the German Capital, roads are fairly empty in comparison to their European counterparts.

The owner and chef, Tarek Al Hussein caters mainly for the daytime and business trade. However, the average Businessman’s lunch price tag is not something you will find here. The food is not only accompanied with friendly and efficient service, but with an affordable price tag too. I hear the English breakfast is also something of a Berlin attraction, but on this occasion, as an English woman I had to at least try and avoid the stereotype, my attempt to somewhat integrate a bit more into German culture. However, if you do give it a go… report back with your thoughts!
17 Chaussestraße
10115, Berlin
+49 163 6010110