What Mel Did
What Mel Did - Alchemista coffee house and barista Kerri

Coffee house cool

I took up food photography (This Girl Canon) as a hobby for the hell of it. Nothing as elaborate or artistic as some of the known food Instagrammers you understand. I’m not sure I have a table large enough to house the cast of thousands these people conjure up in food – and I’m never likely to have 57 miniature muffins just lying around the house with 60lbs of icing sugar to artistically dust over everything.

No, my food photography is simple, dark and moody. (And any comparisons to the author have already been drawn by my children, thank you very much.)

Outside of my family and friends, my greatest passions are writing and taking photographs and is my side hustle when I’m not doing the nine to five in corporate project management. My free time is spent freelance writing, blogging, running my greeting cards business (for which I take all the photos) and managing social media accounts. Busy, yes, but work, no. It is pure enjoyment.

However, it was my son Hart who suggested I find pleasure outside of the side hustle. Something that is pursued just for the hell of it with no ‘intent’ to do anything with the results. Just be in the moment with an intentionless, enjoyable hobby.

As intentionless as my food photography may have started out, I already have a couple of commissions booked because of it but, more than that, it has unexpectedly opened up a world of experience and people I might never have known. (Since one of my great faults is liking my own company a little too much – especially since Bronnie’s death – friends and family also consider this no bad thing.)

Come to find out, the food crowd are as many as they are varied, and I’m not sure there are many industries where a random can walk in with a laptop and a camera and ask to take photographs for her hobby and portfolio. Although, admittedly, I have a self-imposed rule that the price of entry should include buying something to eat or drink before imposing a photo shoot on a food establishment and its amused (or bemused) customers.

Even the busiest of places have let me in, for which I do my utmost to make a further price of entry a photograph they and I can be proud of.

What Mel Did - This Girl Canon Instagram - Alchemista lemon cake and espresso
Alchemista Coffee Company, Norwich, UK | Image credit: Melinda Fargo

It was therefore a happy day this week when I came across artisan coffee house Alchemista who have set up shop a minute from my doorstep. Described as the first of its kind in Europe, this “punk themed, Asian coffee fuelled disruptor in the coffee world,” has taken coffee house culture beyond cool – even as I wonder if it’s still cool to say “cool.”

What’s not to love about a coffee house which fuels the muse at work with exquisite coffee, cake and alcohol? I may also have left a little in love with one of Alchemista’s owners, Nicola (‘Nic’), and Baristas Kerri (pictured) and James. They let a random into their space with an openness, heart and bon viveur most commonly seen in Europe.

As a writer, blogger and photographer, it is also nirvana to have found upstairs a place to work with generous tables, large picture window for photography, power points and a bathroom nearby. Writers of a certain age will understand the necessity of the latter. Am I right, ladies?

This is not a sponsored post, but had to be recorded in my journal as definitely ‘the thing’ that stood out from my week this week. And no matter how good my photographs of the experience, they cannot do justice to just how cool it all was.


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