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My Covid Diaries, Part One...

Updated: Apr 6

Our cafe is reopening for brunch baby!

I am super pleased to announce to you, our wonderful customers and new lockdown friends, that we will be reopening those café doors on Thursday 15th April 2021, and starting our journey back to ‘normal’ life.

Not that anything is ever that normal in the Northern Quarter (which is why we love it)!


The gorgeous Myrodoodles has been in, and given the cafe a little glow up, we are deep cleaning our lives away, and making all the plans to make things as smooth, stress free, and exciting, as we possibly can.

It will just be outside dining and takeaway, as per government restrictions, but it is a step in the right direction, and hopefully will be closely followed by tables indoors too, and the start of being able to operate towards our full capacity and put right some of the damage the last 12 months have caused.


We're making some last tweaks to the menu and our opening hours, and then we'll pop this up on our website and on the socials for you too.


In the run up to reopening, and with this week marking one year since the first lockdown came into play, I thought I’d take you on a little journey of things from our side of the counter, and how the last year has been for us, while I take some time to reflect on the strangest year gone by, before we start again and see what the rest of 2021 has to throw at us...


Please note, all feelings are my own, and I cannot speak for anyone else.

I also, do not by any means think that I've had it worse than anyone else.

It feels like so much has happened, and absolutely f*ck all at the same time.

Sending all the love to those who are, or have been very poorly, those who have lost someone and those who are struggling.

Everyone else too.


Let's go back...

March 16th 2020.

Boris says don't go to cafes!


It seems like another life time ago, when Boris first told you not to come to cafes like ours, but didn’t force us to close either.

We all lost our collective shits in the hospitality industry that as a result, we couldn’t claim on our insurance to claim back some of our losses at the time.


Spoiler alert – things were only going to get a lot worse and most of us got a resounding f*ck all from our insurance after all, so that was no help to us either!


People stopped coming.

The Northern Quarter was a ghost town.


Our university sites closed, as students stopped going in.

We had three sites worth of stock, and rumours of an impending lockdown. Panic was setting in.


Mid meltdown (the first of many), we started selling off our stock cheap to get as much money in the bank as we could, knowing we would have nothing coming in, but still have bills to pay, if we had to close the cafe.


Manchester came out in force.

Maybe because we were one of the only places with flour and loo roll left!

We got on board the #PayItForward voucher train, and we were bowled away by your generosity, kind words, and also how much people cared about whether we could make it to the other side, or not.


A few days later…

March 20th 2020.

Cafe closed.


The government announcement that we had to close, hit like a tonne of bricks.

Yes, we expected it, but nothing could have prepared us for the emotions that came with it.

We’d worked desperately all day, literally trying to get every penny in the till, only to get home to hear that we wouldn’t be opening the next day.

Or the next.

I cried for days. I know I wasn’t the only one.


Unstoppable waves of panic came over me.

Things seemed so uncertain, so hopeless.

What the f*ck were we going to do to survive?

How would I keep us all in jobs?

How long would the money in the bank last?

What would we do then?

Was this the end for Nibble?

Had all that work and time been for nothing?

What would I do with my life now?


Nibble is a massive part of my life, that I love, and it looked like it was being taken away from me and I had no control over it.

That might sound dramatic, but that's how it felt at the time.


We still had some stock to sell, so I delivered it locally. After a while, I bought more stock, baked more cakes and did more prep.

We weren’t making money, but our losses were a tiny bit smaller each month and it seemed like the right thing to do to keep in peoples' minds so we didn't get left behind.


Then came the first courier deliveries.

Now that DID lead to a breakdown while we found the right fit and really nailed the process.


There was the f*ckwit courier who brought their own labels for the boxes, which I’d clearly labelled myself to avoid a mix up when we had a printer issue and all shops were shut so I couldn't get what was needed to fix it and print my own.


He put the wrong bastard labels on each parcel and they ended up ALL going to the wrong person. I lost it. I felt terrible. It was the icing on the proverbial, and literal cake.


Luckily, our new lockdown friends were so understanding and happy to eat the wrong things!

(A lot of them are lockdown regulars now and have really lifted my spirits along the way.)

A control freak at best, I really struggle with things that involve a third party, or not seeing something through from start to finish. So to have no control over what happened when goodies left our door, and then have something go wrong, that I couldn't fix, really did send me over the edge.


Remember when we all thought that first lockdown would only be for a month or two?

Yeah, we were wrong.

This was just the beginning.


Thank you for reading! Here's Part Two.

Reopening, Local Lockdown, Eat Out To Help Out, Tier 2, Tier 3, Lockdown... Again, Reopening and finally Lockdown... AGAIN!

What a rollercoaster!


If you enjoyed this, or wanted to reach out and talk about your own lockdown experiences, send us a DM on our instagram by clicking this link.


You can also check out our online shop to see how you can get Nibble at home in the meantime!


And see any updates about the cafe here.

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