Working in Edinburgh: The Olive Cafe, South Clerk Street.

Quite soon after moving into my accommodations here, I went on a job hunt. I knew that I wanted to work part time, preferably in a cafe or bookstore near to my flat, so I started out by wandering up and down the street where I live.

Note to anyone who is trying to apply for a job in Edinburgh: there is no use inquiring if a shop is hiring unless you have your CV on you at the time. When I first wandered through, they wouldn’t even say yes or no when I asked if they were looking for more staff; they just asked if I had an application to hand in. Save yourself the trouble of going back twice and print some out at the start of your search.

I had been weaving in and out of shops for about half an hour when I stepped into the Olive Cafe. The space was tiny, just three small tables and a cushioned window seat. A glass display case exhibited a bounty of cupcakes stacked on tiered cake stands made from vintage tea plates. Knitted flowers sat plump in tea cups along the counter, and a fabric bunting hung across the door and past the light, lime walls. Frank Sinatra crooned in the background. This place was exactly what I was looking for.

After walking the less-than-five-minutes home I wrote up my CV and printed out only one copy. I returned to Olive, turned in my application, and the next day, was working as a barista in the cutest cafe in the world.

The job was perfect. Two or three times a week I would work the lunchtime shift– washing dishes, cooking a bit, waiting tables, working the register, and my favorite: making fancy coffee drinks. As the place was pretty small, it was often quiet, and I’d hang out with my lovely co-workers, sipping mochas. At the end of every shift, I got to eat a delicious lunch of Mediterranean food.

This past week, the owners sold the shop. The new owner took over yesterday, and I believe I am the only staff member she decided to keep on the team. Who knows how much will change about the place, but it is definitely a bit sad to see it change at all. However, Im sure the new owner will be just as delightful, and I’m so very happy to have had the chance to keep my job.


Here is a recipe for my specialty mocha that I invented. It may well be the least-healthy beverage on the planet. But goodness gracious is it delicious.

Genna’s Mocha of Wonder and Whimsy:

1. Pour either a single or double shot of espresso into a mug, depending on personal preference. Frankly, it tastes better with two, but that much caffeine, as I discovered rather awkwardly one afternoon, pretty much just makes me stoned.

2. Stir in two-to-three spoonfuls of powdered chocolate (Cadbury hot chocolate mix is great).

3. Stir in one spoonful of powdered white hot chocolate mix.

4. Add a splash of caramel flavoring syrup.

5. Steam milk, and fill mug almost to brim. Top off with foamed milk.

6. Sprinkle a bit of powdered chocolate across the top.

7. Enjoy your masterpiece.


In closing, I’d like to give a big thanks to Megan and Sean– the prior owners of Olive– for being lovely, welcoming, and running a damn good cafe.

Until next time,



P.S.  A Tiny Play Review

Last night I saw the Elephant Man performed at Bedlam theatre. I was blown away. What a phenomenal performance. While the production as a whole was really good, the acting is what set it over the edge– brilliant presentations of some really challenging roles. The play is structured so that John Merrick’s deformities are conveyed merely through the physicality of the actor, who contorts his body and movements to suggest malformations. The actor who played him was so good that for not a single second did the illusion seem forced, and he played the character with a beautiful tenderness. The other lead actor, playing Merrick’s doctor, was also particularly fantastic. Jolly good, well done. I can’t wait to see more there!