When I was on maternity leave I often met up with other mums for coffee. It was lovely. The babies would sit in their prams happily gurgling away and us mums would get an hour or two of adult conversation.
As the babies got older, it got more difficult. They wanted entertaining more. The long chats became more snippets of conversation between face wipes, rescuing food that had been flung, finding toys, reading books and all the other things you need to do when out with very small children. We did still get to drink our coffee warm though and the babies were kept contained in the high chairs.
And then they learnt to walk. From this point all bets were off. Drinks went cold and the conversation never really started unless cries of ‘don’t touch’ or ‘back on your chair please’ or ‘come back here’ count as conversation these days.
Monkey is actually really good at sitting at the table when we go out for a meal. However, a mummies coffee session is just too long for her to sit. She is an active little girl and would much rather be doing something whilst I’m catching up with the latest gossip. We were heading dangerously into soft play land.
I’m not totally against soft play. Monkey loves it and it’s a great way of her burning off all that energy she seems to have. It’s not exactly an afternoon out for the mummies though and the food is rubbish. I’m not a big fan of processed food anyway and the cheap stuff they serve up at most soft plays isn’t suitable for Monkey with her allergies.
I wasn’t sure what the answer was. How could the babies – who are all now big grown up kids of almost three – still have fun while the mummies relaxed, enjoyed hot coffee, good food and a proper conversation? It didn’t seem possible. But now we’ve found the answer!
Over the last few months I keep seeing the name Rocket and Orange coming up on mum’s sites and facebook groups. I wasn’t sure what it was but everybody seemed to be raving about it so I decided to find out. Their website describes them as an independent, family friendly cafe experience designed for both adults and children. It sounded like just the thing and as it was just around the corner from Granny’s house we decided to give it a try.
I have to admit I still wasn’t sure what to expect. The plain exterior doesn’t give much away at all – no menu, no mention of what’s going on inside – it’s not even clear it’s a cafe. I’m sure I have probably walked past it without noticing until I made a concious effort to find it. From the minute we walked in we loved the place though!
Rocket and Orange is totally set up with families in mind. It’s not settling for rubbish food so the kids can have fun, it’s not having bored kids so you can actually get a decent bru. It’s fun for everyone. There are lots of toys, lego, a colouring area and books. Children are free to move around and whilst there is lots to keep them entertained it doesn’t have the craziness of soft play – and I certainly didn’t leave with the same headache!
Monkey’s favourites seemed to be the table football, giant connect 4 and climbing in the window! So she was happy, what about the adults? Well they loved it too!
Unfortunately we visited a little bit too early to have dinner. It’s a real shame as the menu looked amazing. We will definitely be back to check it out but for this visit we just had toasted teacakes for the adults and beans on toast for Monkey. The service was great, everybody was really friendly and cheerful. Monkey has lots of allergies so it can be difficult to eat in new places ut they were really reassuring and I trusted that they knew what was in their food. The fact that it is home made on site rather than warmed up pre-prepared stuff really helps.
We had a great time and can’t wait to visit again!