Angelica’s, House of Fraser, The Parade

It was Christmas Eve in 2015. Emmy’s shopping was done; her presents were wrapped; her fresh mistletoe was purchased for the first Christmas of living with Vernon. It was time for a treat.

Leamington was full of places that constituted a perfect venue to host a treat. But Emmy headed for a place she kept in reserve, somewhere that always made her feel like a real lady – Angelica’s in House of Fraser. Emmy attributed this notion to the fact that it made her feel as though she was living in a time gone by; a time when towns were not spattered with coffee shops and instead the only place for a little indulgence, when one didn’t want a proper restaurant experience, was a department store café.

Emmy was often taken to the John Lewis café by her mother when she was a child growing up in Sheffield, and thought that this had led to her feeling as though an environment such as Angelica’s signified the ‘right’ place for a lady to be. A young Emmy strived to one day be like the best grown-up woman she knew – her mother – and an important part of womanhood seemed to involve nestling into the corner of a department store café with a drink and a jam donut. This rather rose-tinted view of adult life had since been replaced by reality, but nevertheless Angelica’s made Emmy feel accomplished, grown-up, relaxed and happy.

On this Christmas Eve afternoon, the mania was dying down and Leamington was adopting a calmer, quieter atmosphere. Emmy therefore bagged the best seat in the house – by the window, overlooking the Parade. These coveted tables were often reserved and Emmy was only there for a drink, so expected to be placed on one of the sofas. However, Christmas magic blew a stroke of luck her way and she was sat at her favourite table.

The staff were wonderfully welcoming and Emmy was shown to her table and handed a menu – little touches that one just did not get in a coffee shop. All she had was a simple black coffee, but the environment and situation made it feel like the most rewarding simple coffee she had ever had. An hour for herself, in the midst of the season – Emmy’s favourite season, no less – that is all about giving and loving others.

Emmy vowed to bring her mother to Angelica’s one day. And in early 2016 she was given the opportunity to say thanks for all those jam donuts. They both took annual leave and Emmy’s mother travelled down from Sheffield for the day. Emmy popped into Angelica’s a few days prior to the visit and reserved a prime-spot window table. They enjoyed a wonderful selection of toast and fruit salad, people-watching over the parade on a relaxed weekday morning, feeling every inch the privileged Ladies Who Brunch.