Harry Potter, Brunch & The Devil Wears Prada

There’s something about brunch that just screams relaxation and contentment. Especially on a Sunday. That’s why my niece and I decided to go out to a cute little café called Coffee & Cream that wasn’t too far from us (we both live within, I kid you not, sixty seconds of each other.)

I’d been to this cafe once two years ago with my cousin and her husband, thought it was pretty decent, and suggested to Khadijah (yes, my niece is also called that–but if you read my review on Kinkao Thai Restaurant and Peggy Porschen’s Cakes, then you’ll spot the difference in her name;))

The moment we walked in, I noticed it looked vastly different from what I remember and the interior was so much more aesthetically pleasing than it was two years ago (unless I have an awful memory and it always looked like this? Knowing me and my memory, it probably did.)

Inside, the menu was above the counter, a few tables and chairs laid out across the café. On the far end, there was a wall separating the other half, where there were more tables and an open door. I’m not entirely sure what it led to, but from what I saw, there were several chairs and a few of the customers went for a smoke in that open space.  

Khadijah and I both chose to get a full English breakfast which was £4.50, and the addition of two hash browns or chips was £1, with hot chocolate (£1.50).

The girl who was the cashier, waitress and server looked so familiar to me. I think I went to school with her???? Which is A) weird as hell and B) weird as hell, but I never got the chance to actually ask her what school she went to, since she’d gone on her lunch break by the time Khads and I finished our food and decided to leave. The thing is, I hated school. So much. I don’t have nearly enough words to explain how awful it was and how out of place I felt the entirety of those five years. The only redeeming part of it all were my English lessons. God bless Mr Hindes. I hope he’s doing good in life and is happy as fuck. He was the best teacher I ever had and he gave me some of the best advice after some shit went down in year eleven. He inspired me so much in the three years he taught me.

All the teachers I’ve had since Mr Hindes have paled in comparison.

If I ever see him again, I will so treat him to brunch. I wonder if there’s a way I can get back in touch with him. I’m sure he’ll be happy to know I’ve finally decided to do English Literature at uni.

Speaking of brunch, here are the pictures of the food!!

We stayed there for almost two hours, just talking and then deciding to get a slushy because why the hell not, right? It was humid outside, but the sky had been a clear almost silvery white colour. Later, we went to my cousin’s house (the same one I’d first visited Coffee & Cream with), just to chill at her house since she lived close by.

When it comes to my family, I’m not entirely sure about how to feel. There’s just so much . . . baggage and painful history when it comes to them all, that it overrides any semblance of love or even like, so then it turns into me tolerating everyone, merely because they are related to me. I say everyone, but I mean some of them. When it comes to most of my cousins, the childhood memories I have aren’t good. It involves me wishing I wasn’t anywhere around them or wishing I was someone else.

To this day, some of those feelings have carried over, you know? But this cousin, the one who’s house we went to, I care about her. I do. But I don’t particularly love her or anything. I’m pretty sure I love her kids though. She was putting her three year old daughter to sleep when Khads and I arrived and then she went for a power nap, so Khads and I decided to watch The Devil Wears Prada.

I was totally cool with that. I mean, I love that movie. I’d say it’s one of my favourites—but it’s not really in the top tens or anything. I love the aesthetics of it, I love the clothes, I love Andy and I love Miranda Priestly.

Everything about it is amazing except for Andy’s friends and boyfriend. I don’t like them.

Nate isn’t supportive and neither are her friends, whose names I’ve already forgotten and don’t care to remember. I mean, she gets an amazing job which she ends up excelling at and becomes more confident and one that will open various doors of opportunities for her? And what do they do? Complain that she’s changed, she’s not the same person or that she’s always busy. Well, duh! Nobody stays the same forever and you’re adults, for crying out loud.

It’s a job.

Work life is demanding.

It’s not meant to be super easy all the time. Obviously yeah, she’s on Miranda’s beck and call a lot, but she is a PA and she could do so much with that job. I know that the writer of the movie, Aline Brosh-McKenna, said that the friends and the boyfriend are right. But personally, I disagree.

It’s hard out in this world to get a job, more so now. The job market is tough and Andy had one that was impressive, to say the least. You need to go out there and get what’s yours. Sure the job meant she wasn’t a journalist, but by working for Miranda Priestly, at a renowned fashion magazine, Andy could have every door open for her. She could have spent her time writing and building her portfolio. She could have even started a blog or tried freelancing. Just . . . anything to do what she actually wanted.

In the end, she did get to do what she always wanted which is great. But her friends and partner should’ve been more supportive of her first job, instead of being all bitchy and whiny about it. They loved when she brought them gifts from her job but constantly complained about her changing, when they should have encouraged her to make connections, build her network, work harder to get to where she wanted to be.

Those are all the issues I have with the movie and I’m constantly fighting the urge to chuck something at the screen when Nate’s ego gets ahead of him. Pathetic.

But I digress.

After we finished the movie, Khads and I went to her house with my other cousin, who lives just round the corner from the one we were at. For some reason, the entire family decided to come over for a visit that evening.

I spent the rest of the day upstairs with Khadijah and her sister, Azeezah, discussing books and telling them about the novel I’d written. Azeezah told me it gave her shivers and she hoped I’d get it published, which would be a dream come true.

On the table, there was a copy of Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, which I started reading. When all the other kids piled into the room, with Yasin (Khadijah and Azeezah’s brother) and Ehsan (the younger son of the cousin whose house Khads and I watched The Devil Wears Prada at) starting to fight, I decided to start reading the book to them to stop it from escalating.

Kids tend to love it when you read to them. I found it adorable when, as I was reading, they all sat on the bed facing me, just listening as the story unfolded and the words trickled into the air. Harry Potter is a classic and every child has got to hear it and read it. It’s mandatory.

It was one of my favourite days and I know that it’s one I’ll end up remembering, when I’m old and greying, simply because of the closeness of being surrounded by the kids in my family—who I prefer to their parents. There are certain things, moments, in our lives that stay with us forever, years later, because of how rare, small and precious they are. This Sunday is one of them.

Sumaiya, x

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Sumaiya Ahmed is a freelance journalist and writer, aiming to break down the boundaries of cultural stigma and shame attached to mental health and sexuality within the South Asian culture, and bringing marginalised topics to light.

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