Kingsland is the cool older sister I never had. Someone I wanted to emulate, though never so much to be obvious while also standing out as an individual, non-conformist in my own right. The closest I ever managed was hungover, trying not to vomit while waiting for my chicken pie at The Fridge, midday on a Sunday with a strong sense that I had made a total dick of myself hugging/dancing/bouncing like a cracked-out soft toy the evening before. (Full disclosure I was never on crack but I was frequently the bearer of a belly full of cheap cask red wine. My Dad would be proud.)
You see, Kingsland used to be ma’ hood. A few years ago I lived on Bond Street and spent more time than is recommendable wobbling drunkenly up and down the New North Road frontage. I knew the area like an anxious bloodhound, able to sniff out the safest spots within a 100 metres. Since then I have been emotionally broken by the ludicrous cost of Auckland rent and moved way way out into the suburbs.
It was with excitement and a little self-censure that I agreed to join one of my most lovely friends at Mondays Wholefood down a quiet driveway off the main hustle and bustle of cool guy row. The censured based wholly on not being aware of the existence of sure a place in a suburb I once knew so well. It is with sadness that I accept I am now Westie scum and should reluctantly don the black velvet dress, leopard print leggings and shitty old leather jacket of shame.
Friday was a pretty terrible day for me anxiety-wise. In the afternoon I was to drive to the other end of our rather large city to meet with a new doctor. I was in a word, shitting myself. The only lull in the shit-storm that was over-all a very hard day, was Mondays Wholefoods and the calm loveliness of Sarah’s company. Not to mention her gorgeous puppy, Sirius, who was adorable and puppy-like enough to distract my addled brain and inject it with some much needed snuggle-joy (What? That’s definitely a real thing.)
Mondays is a tiny, sweet drop of a place with a small floor area for indoor eating and a gorgeous sun-drenched patio covered in romantic, Secret Garden-esk vines.
The bathroom is off the main cafe area, to the left of the counter. Now, that’s a set up I’m usually not keen on. It feels exposed and nerve wreaking but I have to say the staff and atmosphere were so kind and relaxing that I didn’t feel like a retard walking towards the loo. I didn’t have to wander through a kitchen or any areas which felt like they should be “staff only” (I really don’t like that, makes me feel like a kid who is about to get told off for being in the adult section at the video store).
Between the toilet and the cafe floor there is a small annex/middle room which has been painted a lovely shade of green blackboard paint (I fucking love green).
I know black boards are a common thing these days but I still really enjoy them. I feel like I am being invited to be a part of the establishment rather than just one of many customers. Psychologically the blackboard fosters openness and the feeling that you, the customer, are being heard. Usually I would go “UGHH!” at the “Today I am thankful for…”. The cynical bitter old lady inside me has issues with anything too cliche inspirational or twee but this actually read just right with the over all ethos, vibe (!) and atmosphere of the cafe. It wasn’t tacky and cliche, it was inclusive and loving, in so much as a bathroom can be. Plus most people had just written the names of their loved ones which I would never diminish. Loved ones rule.
The bathroom it’s self is an industrial space with a water heater and exposed piping. It’s the classic Kiwi make the best with what you have situation. I like that they have thought about how they can make it prettier rather than just accepting that it isn’t made for purpose. It’s the thought that counts for me.
I didn’t manage to get a good photo but I liked the re-purposed car door handles used to hold the toilet roll and hand towel.
My favourite part of this stall was the vines which continue to creep in through the louver windows and along the walls.
There is something intentionally beautiful and forgotten about vines. I like a contradiction in terms.
Cleanliness : 8/10 Nice and clean, though there are a few holes in the walls here and there.
Interior : 7/10 One toilet isn’t my preference but they have made the best with what they had on offer and I respect that. We were there on a Friday morning so it’s wasn’t busy but I can see it would be a little difficult to spend a decent amount of time panicking in here if there were lots of people needing to use it. So they get points for effort, atmosphere and thought but a bit off due to the obvious restrictions of the space.
Exterior : 8 /10 The signs on the door are very cute but I would worry a little that the toilet windows open out on to the patio. What if I were to make a “noise” or “smell” and the person on the other side could tell? Would that ruin their dinning experience? These are the things my anxious brain is filled with.
Safety : 9.5/10 No one is perfect but I had NO FEAR for my safety in this place.
Snugglitude : 8.5 /10 I know that if I were panicking near Mondays, I wouldn’t feel guilty or judged if I were to ask to use their loo. The snugglitude gets points for the loveliness of the staff as much as anything else.
Total : 41/50 A very respectable total