I’M sitting in my new favourite cafe, indulging in my old favourite pastime.

Back in the days when I lived in New York, it was coffee and a book or newspaper. Things have moved on so now it’s coffee and my laptop or ipad!

Living in Manhattan was a great experience. I was young, free and oh so single. I didn’t quite look like Carrie Bradshaw (and was definitely lacking her money and fashion sense). It was a work hard, play hard existence. By day (and they were long days) I worked for a lawyer; by night I stalked a band, helped carry their guitars, booked their gigs and handed out flyers – anything to get around the problem that I was 19 and too young to get into most of the bars where they played without a really good excuse.

I rented a small apartment in the area known as Chelsea and was surrounded by delis, bookshops, interiors stores and coffee shops. I like to think of it as a three year long episode of US sitcom Friends, only without the friends, if that makes sense. In reality, it was all about the coffee shop. Mismatched sofas, dusty old cushions, large wooden tables, reading lamps dotted around the room, and free refills. Sometimes a bagel or a slice of carrot cake was added to the mix. And the place was usually filled with cigarette smoke. What more could a girl want?

Since then, I’ve never quite managed to find the place to replicate my coffee shop addiction. Bookshops in the UK tried to introduce the cafe feel into some of their larger stores and later coffee shop chains started to open their branches in town centres and, oddly, supermarkets. But there was always something missing. Back then, I thought it was the smoke. Now I’ve cured that addiction at least, I realise that nicotine was not an essential ingredient. It was the atmosphere that was missing from the mix. Perhaps it had something to do with the tasteless melamine tables and chairs they insisted on incorporating into the UK attempts!

So now I’ve found my place. The owner of this new cafe doesn’t know what he has let himself in for by giving me his wifi password. But I do promise not to stalk him like I stalked The Graduates all those years ago. The furniture here all matches and the interior looks smart and contemporary. The menu is fabulous (yummy Mexican food, fantastic) and the waiting staff probably don’t give free refills.

But outside on the terrace I am sat on a brown leather sofa, beside a low wooden table. My labrador is beside me, the cafe latte is great and I can watch the folk walk by. I’m getting a few strange looks (apparently they haven’t seen anyone sit outside blogging and drinking coffee on a March evening before) but they’ll get used to me. I’ve just checked out the cake situation and it looks pretty good!

God I’ve missed decent coffee shops!

For those in the area, my new office… oops, I mean coffee shop, is called The Cafe and can be found right in the middle of the Benavista Commercial Centre in El Paraiso between Estepona and San Pedro. Even though they’ve only been open for five days, we can highly recommend (already) the burgers, chicken wraps, chimichangas, steak sandwiches and chocolate fudge cake. Oh and the coffee.

I think this new opening is going to be expensive!

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