And the winner is…

I won a competition. It was almost out of the blue, if I hadn’t, y’know, entered it. But, as everyone always says in these situations: “I wasn’t expecting it!”, and honestly, I wasn’t.

As you all know, International Women’s Day swooped down upon us and whisked us all away in her horn-tooting grip on the 8th March. Just a day earlier, I noticed a little competition happening over on Royaal Belegd’s Instagram page, crying out for its followers to name drop their ultimate woman to potentially win a little coffee date on the 8th; presumably to while away the hours talking about world domination, how to get the ultimate messy topknot and why our periods still hurt so damn much.

Obviously I entered my best friend, who, like the rest of us, battles those demons day in, day out and kicks ass raising two kids whilst she does so.

I honestly didn’t expect to win. Who does? Usually my name gets lost amidst the Lucky Lucies of the world, and furthermore, I’d written my answer in English –  on a Dutch Instagram page, so I expected to be tossed aside like the dunce I am. But no. We won.

We fled to the super hip café two days later, and one day too late for our actual winnings (why would someone who doesn’t expect to win make sure she’s free the day of the competition winner’s prize?!) in the midst of a rain shower that dimmed the lights of the kermis that had just come into town.

“I hope they don’t want to take any pictures of us”, we both giggled nervously, expecting our hair, sopping wet and frizzing all over the place to be spread akimbo on the front page of Instagram a few hours later. We needn’t have worried, as we were not asked for a photo.

The inside was cosy, and the exact replica of a shit-on-dream that my same friend and I had for our future in the Netherlands a long, long time ago. We gave each other the forlorn smile that you see between two people who know what they could have had, had they been richer and more business minded, as we ordered our fancy coffees: “twee koffie specials alsjeblieft” (and a hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows for the little one, who had joined us on a girls day out). I sat in the back corner, which had a wonderful view out onto Sneek’s Waterpoort, and took in the view. An inky blue statement wall, emblazoned with “Smile, there’s coffee!”, hanging plants delicately strung up from the ceiling, in that BDSM style that’s all the range in garden centres nowadays; fancy chocolate that you actually can’t buy in the Albert Heijn (I checked a day later), and, as is regular nowadays, an assortment of funky postcards by the cashier’s desk (my favourite postcard being, naturally, ‘Exercise? I thought you said ‘extra fries’).

Our coffees came in glasses that resembled whisky(?) tumblers. All fancy on the upper rim, with indentations and everything. I for one felt very elegant seeing as I do not drink coffee ever. I actually can’t stand the stuff.

“She said you could have any drink” hissed my best friend. I must have missed that part, along with every other important piece of information that I miss when it’s spoken in Dutch.

“It doesn’t matter!” I chirped as I notived a tiny Daim bar sticking out of the top of my whipped cream. To be honest, I didn’t want anyone to take it away from me.

Why is it with coffees nowadays that the best part is the whipped cream and little chocolate you get on the side? I’m sure there are many coffee connoisseurs out there right now absolutely disgusted in me for daring to think that a REAL coffee comes served with whipped cream and a mini Daim bar, but I’m totally here for the new café culture that surrounds us. If I’m going to (usually) pay over 3 Euros for a drink, there better be something exciting to keep me coming back for more. Please note that some of my recommendations for this would be:

  • A little umbrella
  • The disco strands you have on ice cream when you’re three years old
  • Maybe one of those funky cocktail sticks that has a metallic tail made up of many strands of foil
  • Big and little marshmallows

We sipped our coffees, which turned out to be far milkier than we expected and watched the little one battle with her hot chocolate, which, by the way, was twice the size of our drink and came with marshmallows. She attacked it head on, with her long, tapered spoon, and I watched in awe as she didn’t even spill a drop. Impressive, I thought, that someone who’s head doesn’t even reach the lip of the top of the glass, can even attempt to make her way through the drink without an accident.

We did manage to while away at least an hour, as the rain battered the windows outside. Not once did the amount of people inside the café dwindle; it remained cosy, with laughter and voices being carried through the air. And although we didn’t achieve world domination, the ultimate messy topknot OR the answer to why our periods are still painful, we got to have a good old natter about the other important bits in our lives.

After finishing our coffees and wondering why they were so damn milky, a glance at the menu reminded us that we had ordered lattes, quite arguably the milkiest of all the coffees. Either way we were too stuffed on sweet stuff to consider ordering the bubbelwafel that we’d gluttonously eyed up on the initial glance at the menu. I’d definitely like to go back too, this time for a juice and a sandwich, but until then, I’m happy to say that it’s a thumbs up for Royaal Belegd from me. I loved the overall atmosphere, and the cosy nature of the café is something that is going to keep me going back for more. Thank you, Royaal Belegd for having me and my strong, independent women over for coffee.

 

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