Wow - we've reached number 15 on my Freelancer's Guide to Getting Out of the House already...
Having to spend my time visiting lovely cafés and forcing myself to drink their great coffee and sample their delicious food is tough work, obviously, but I want you to know that, just for you guys, I'll take a deep breath and keep ploughing on...I now consider it my mission in life to seek out fab temporary offices for all you work-from-homers.
A couple of weeks ago I was in Cheam when my stomach started rumbling. Ok, so I could have got in my car and been home for a free lunch in 20 minutes but, in the interests of this blog, I decided to pop into Piggies on The Broadway and see if it deserved a place in the Guide.
I'll be honest, it's not the most inviting looking exterior I've come across: the canopy could do with a clean and the colour scheme feels a bit drab. It doesn't help that it sits right on the crossroads in Cheam Village, with the never-ending stream of cars, vans and buses polluting the air that surrounds it. If I was looking for a lovely all-round café experience then Piggies wouldn't be my first choice but, if I'm visiting as a freelancer, I'm not as concerned with the outside of a venue as much as the interior.
Having to use WiFi invariably means that I will sit inside anyway so I headed on through the doors, and received a warm welcome from the Piggies staff. It was pretty full but there was one table free, so I ordered a coffee and opened up my laptop.
As suspected, the decor within the cafe was more aesthetically pleasing than the outside. It was warm and, despite being a small place, not too noisy - only a pleasant background hum of chatter. I got the impression that Piggies inspires a lot of repeat trade; many customers were greeted by name and conversations were more than just 'What can I get you?' which is a definite sign of somewhere people are happy to return to.
I was sat near the counter and it was busy so it was hard to take my usual discreet photographs. I don't like including other customers in shot without their permission and I don't want the employees to know I'm reviewing the place so these pictures only give a vague representation of Piggies. But I did get one of the lighting - which I really like - I'm a big fan of long dangly lamps...
I had no issues logging on or using the WiFi, the cappuccino I received was hot and strong (which is a good thing, in case that wasn't clear) and the food leaving the counter looked and smelt tempting. When it was time to leave I grabbed a takeaway tuna and sweetcorn sandwich on brown bread, planning to eat it when I got home but I was so hungry by then and it was very appetisingly presented that I only actually made it across the road before I bit into it.
(Apologies to anybody who saw me - I had a lot of stuff to carry and the only way I could eat while walking was by delving my head into the bag the sandwich came in. Effective but not pretty.)
So, in summary then: if it's an ornate and delicate afternoon tea sat in the sunshine or a café with plenty of space that you're after then this won't make your top ten. But, if you're in the Cheam area and you need somewhere friendly to work from for a while - then this little Piggie definitely won't make you cry 'wee, wee, wee' all the way home!
(See what I did there? Cry all the way home? 'Cos of the nursery rhyme? This Little Piggy?...oh, never mind.)
I already have number 16 in the Freelancer's Guide lined up: somewhere I spotted when out and about in Leatherhead recently. Any guesses as to where it might be?
I shall endeavour to get there next week...once all my preparation for my next Writing Workshop (13th December at All Things Nice in Ewell) is finished!
There are a couple of spaces left on this workshop so if you fancy taking a break from work/kids/the endless onslaught of horrendous Christmas music then please book via my Writing Workshop page! It's a no-pressure chance to improve your writing, whether for business or pleasure, and I always come away feeling inspired by everything the group manages to achieve in just two hours!