@LorraineInWords is the Twitter handle for the lovely lady I shall be writing about today and it is most apt. Lorraine has featured on the blog before when I posted a playlist - a group of fabulous writers shared the songs which inspired them most (read it HERE). But life has moved on at a speedy pace for the talented Lorraine and she is now the author of the Being Me diary (more on that later) and the proprietor of a classy Italian cafe called Urban-ita, in Sheffield (again, more about that later) all whilst being a specialist in adult training and coaching and - oh yes - writing a novel. She is such an inspiration I just had to write about her.
Where to start? How about with the cafe..?
Urban-ita, Italian Coffee Shop & Bistro; 288 Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, S7 1FL
I have been to the cafe and can personally attest to it’s authentic atmosphere and delicious food. I tend to shy away from anything but the plainest of food so when I nervously asked whether it was possible to have something a little ‘off menu’, Lorraine answered graciously, ‘Anything is possible!’ and I was served up the best scrambled eggs and coffee I have ever had. The cake was fantastic, too.
The decor is tasteful, lots of wood and plants and, of course, books. To the right of the counter is a wall of shelves referred to by Lorraine as the ‘little shop of goodies’ which is adorned with locally made items. She has even developed her own range of herb-infused oils. Every detail has been carefully thought out. There are no drinks served in plastic bottles, the food is homemade or from local independent bakers and the electricity is from sustainable sources. There are game nights, craft nights and it is generally a super little corner of Sheffield. It would make a lovely place to sit and read or write, I just wish I lived closer. You can find out more about Urban-Ita HERE and also at the bottom of this post. Follow the cafe on Twitter (@Urbanita288) and Instagram (Urbanita288).
Lorraine’s ‘Being Me’ Diary
In 2017, with a nod to her speciality as an adult educator and a wink to her interest in wellness, Lorraine created the ‘Being Me’ diary. It is designed to enable people to take stock and appreciate each day as it comes. In her own words, ‘We are so busy with the day to day stresses of modern living we don't take the time to think and reflect or even notice how life is changing or how we are growing as individuals.’ It is a five-year diary that can be begun at any point during the year. It provides an opportunity to record thoughts, feelings and emotions through answering one question each day. I think we all need that mental space to be calm and reflect. The diary can be purchased via her website https://www.opennarrative.co.uk/publications.php. Doesn't it look beautiful?
Lorraine the Writer
I first met Lorraine a couple of years ago at a writing course in Sheffield run by Susan Elliot Wright and Russell Thomas (both Simon & Schuster authors - great courses for all levels and very reasonably priced - see HERE). Being creative is what Lorraine loves to do and she is currently working on her first novel. It is set in gorgeous Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast where she lived for three years, but this particular story is a work of fiction. The plot concerns a young English woman who has a holiday romance and inadvertently becomes involved with the Camorra, the Neapolitan Mafia. It's murder and mayhem in an Italian holiday hot spot.
The book sounds exciting and I can't wait to read it. Italy is one of my absolute favourite destinations, although I can live without any Mafia entanglements!
In short, I have nothing but total admiration for Lorraine. She is one of life's 'do-ers' - if there is something she wants to do she gets on and makes it happen. I love following her Twitter and Instagram feeds to see where she pops up next and I wish her every success in her many ventures.
Urban-Ita - Additional Information
Urban-Ita is an independent Italian coffee shop and eatery in the heart of Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, located in the old Bardwell's shop.
Urban-Ita is the latest venture of husband and wife team Saverio and Lorraine. Saverio is from Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast and Lorraine is from Sheffield. Both are passionate about Italy, especially Southern Italian cuisine.
At Urban-Ita we serve a wide range of teas, coffees and soft drinks. Our cakes and desserts are homemade or from local independent bakers. Pearl Bakery and Miss Adu’s Kitchen supply our vegan, dairy/gluten-free sweet treats. Our menus have a range of English and Italian dishes and include healthy options, gluten-free, dairy-free, plant-based cuisine as well as seasonal specials. Saverio ensures that the ingredients are the freshest and best available. We use local and organic produce where possible and some of it even comes from our garden. Our focaccia and flatbread are baked on the premises.
We don't have an alcohol licence but you are welcome to BYO for a small corkage fee.
We try to be as environmentally friendly as possible so we don't stock drinks in plastic bottles. Please feel free to bring your own cup if you want your coffee to take-away.
We recycle what we can and our electricity supplier assures us that it is from 100% sustainable sources.
We have a small deli and bookshop where you can buy a range of products including reusable bamboo cups and products from local suppliers and makers, plus our own herb infused oils. In our ‘Little Book Shop’ we have Lorraine’s Being Me Diary as well as a range of second-hand books that can be purchased or perused.
Works of art in the café are thanks to local artists, Illustrations by Molly and Stephanie Briggs We hope you enjoy your visit to Urban-Ita.
Urban-Ita is available to hire Wednesday to Saturday evenings for private parties, celebrations, meetings and events. Please ask for details.
I love most types of fiction - crime, mystery, fantasy. Oh, and historical fiction of course and middle-grade books and, well, you get the picture.
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