Thursday, 24 February 2011

pop-up office

 pop-up office view - from the lido.

one of the major perks of doing a PhD is working from home. but when i am finding writing slow, the lack of routine can be a real problem. i've found working in different locations - specifically cafés - really helpful for sharpening my mind.

the other week i decided to work in a café for a few hours each day. on monday, i had a meeting in clevedon so i investigated cafés on the seafront. i was fairly unimpressed i have to say. many seemed tired and drab and, being winter, it was dead. but scarlett's was the best of a bad bunch and i had a very nice coffee.

the best thing about it was the view (but from outside not inside)

tuesday took me to papadeli - a longstanding favourite of mine. i think it's the best deli in bristol and i often get salads to take away from there. they're currently having a third floor added so it's just going to get better.

to treat myself for tackling a particularly tough part of my writing i had brunch there and the poached eggs were divine.

 i tweeted that i was there and the lovely catrin (owner of the deli and papa's wife) rang to ask the waitress to send over a complimentary brownie! so kind of her and so delicious of the brownie.

on wednesday i had been planning to go to boston tea party but discovered that a new café, lashings, had just opened and, since i live about two minutes walk from there, i decided to investigate and support my new local. it's nice to have a new café in the area and the coffee and chocolate & polenta cake were lovely but, to be honest, the space is disappointing. i'm just so fed up of tall black (mock?) leather chairs. i'm really not a fan of the look but also it's so unoriginal. it just looked to me like they'd run out of money at the last hurdle and filled it with whatever they could get their hands on. it's just not an inviting space. which is what i want from a café - on top of great coffee (and cake). give me eclectic chairs any day.

i'll definitely go back there though since it's so near. thursday was less good. i've been wanting to visit lockside for ages but really didn't enjoy it so i didn't do any work there. just didn't like the ambience. so, i had a quick cappuccino and scarpered. like with scarlett's in clevedon, the best thing was the view (from outside).

on friday i'd meant to go to a bristol café but i'd been to my parents' the night before and ended up staying over so i could drink so i worked there. it's another space i get a lot of writing done and i am lucky to be able to pop in whenever i want.

the following monday, i went to my favourite bristol location - the lido. no excuse needed for one of their custard tarts really but it was monday and i'd had a bad weekend so there was zero guilt here.

i listened to some of my data (first-time parents' narratives of the early days) as i watched people swimming - such a relaxing way to work. then a space became free nearer the bar so i could plug my laptop in. a few pots of lahloo rosey tea later and i had been there for four hours!

then i had some tortilla for a very late lunch and my mum came to meet me for a coffee. such a lovely monday and i had done so much good writing. even though this photo appears at the top of this post, i've put it again here as it's my favourite and was my ideal view from a pop-up office.


  1. Such a nice way to work. It can get a bit intense when you work at home with a looming deadline. It's a shame about the cafe near you. The beautifully colourful awning looks so promising. Lovely photos.

    Emily x

  2. yes, it is a shame about lashings though i actually only live 10 minutes walk from papadeli and 15 minutes from the lido so not far to travel to my favourites!

    that's one of the best things about living where i do. there are tonnes of nice places within easy reach.

    come to bristol and see for yourself! :)


  3. Love the photos Nancy. I think I wrote half of my MD paper in cafés, would go crazy if I had to sit in the office the whole time.

  4. Great blog post, and gorgeous photos. Other recommendations for you: Source in St Nic's Market, Primrose Cafe in Clifton Village and Rubicon on Chandos Road. All conducive work environments, and Source and Primrose have got free wi-fi. See you in a cafe soon!

  5. @maya thanks. luckily there are no yarn cafés in bristol otherwise i'd head to them with the intention of working and all i'd want to do is knit!

    @martin thanks. yes, i love source but it's always a bit cold at this time of year so will wait til it's a little warmer. primrose café is a regular of mine. will have to do a pop-up office part 2. i've worked at rubicon before too as it's so near. got some good work done there :)

  6. Oh I absolutely love it at the lido. Especially sitting outside on a sunny day! I really like the new Boston Tea Party on Cheltenham rd also! I haven't been to any cafes in Clevedon yet but I think the pier is just wonderful.

  7. i haven't checked out the new boston tea party but have heard all good things. i think the best thing about clevedon is the pier to be honest. although there are some lovely houses up on the hill. we're so lucky to have so many wonderful cafes on our doorsteps!