Saturday, 16 January 2010

Competition: Ghost of Café Visits Yet To Come

Just before we were due to have our first children, another NCT mum and I waddled up to the woods for a bit of fresh air. We found some seats at the cafe and were about to tuck into some delicious smoked mackerel pate when suddenly the atmosphere and the volume changed as kids began streaming in. As the clock crept closer to noon, more and more mums appeared, each with what looked like 50 kg of paraphernalia, each being tugged at by grubby little hands demanding ice cream and pom bears.

It suddenly dawned on me that I wasn’t just going to have a baby to dress up in adorable clothes and cuddle. I would actually need to leave the house every now and then, work out how to feed the baby while out and about, carry around a hundred changes of clothes and baby paraphernalia everywhere I went, and know where to find the closest changing table. Worse, one day my baby would turn into a frighteningly loud toddler and would tug at me demanding pom bears.

One day I would need to know what a pom bear was.

Confronting my “Ghost of Café Visits Yet To Come” is what eventually led me to start up my  website, It's quickly becoming a valuable resource for mums and dads so they know exactly what to expect when they head out the door. No, nothing about pom bears, but we do tell you about changing tables, bottle warming, crayons and the sorts of things that can make your outings a little less stressful and much more enjoyable.

New Mums and Parents-to-be:

Are you worried about what you'll do with your days? Do you find toddlers a bit scary (I do, and I've got two of them!!)? Wondering where to meet other new mums & dads in your neighbourhood? Starting to get a little nervous about the idea of breastfeeding in public? I’d love to know what types of places you’d like to know more about so I can keep improving the website. Please add your comments below!

I’m running a little “mum-to-be” / "dad-to-be" prize draw as a thank you - prizes include some fantastic Being Dad DVDs, all-natural mummy & baby pampering kits from the Boo Boo Shop, and a home visit from a lovely massage therapist who specialises in pregnancy massage.


  1. The website looks great, hopefully when it gets up & running there'll be lots of useful information for us Northerners as well as London mums!

    I'm mum to a 3 week old baby boy and am just trying to get into the swing of breastfeeding at home and in front of close friends and family - I'm petrified about venturing into public, so any information about mum & baby-friendly cafes and restuarants would be fantastic. Also, art galleries and free public venues that are baby-friendly with lifts and changing facilities would be useful too! I'd be delighted to help out with information on Nottingham venues as I start to venture out and learn more myself!

  2. Looks good - hopefully this will grow to be a handy resource.

    A few points:
    - There are no results where I live (Midlands), so maybe look at the usability of adding a new place (seems a bit fiddly at the mo). If users aren't motivated to populate the site, it's hard to see how this will be a really useful resource for everyone. Saying that "you'll have the chance to add" a place implies that the system may not let you ... should be more wiki-style. Also, would be good to see who contributed the place - for example so you can look at all the contributions by a particular user, or determine whether the description of a place was added by the owner of the place itself (it's important to know ...).
    - Would be nice to be able to map all the search results (rather than just see individual search results on a map)
    - Would be good to get RSS feeds for locations and/or types of venue and/or age of kid.
    - Can you have "pubs" as a separate category? I like pubs :)

  3. Thanks so much for the very constructive comments!

    Superlucky: I had the same issue when I had my first baby, so I've tried to include as many "new mums" places as possible, and I've got a really good selection of museums & galleries down south. Over the next couple months we should hopefully have a good selection all over the UK. I'd love your input about Nottingham places you've already come across!

    UpTheStick: Adding a new venue is a huge stumbling block for people at the moment, but there are some big changes in the pipeline for making this easier and for expanding the scope of the database so everyone everywhere can find something.
    I hadn't thought about mapping all the search results - that's a great idea. We do it on the LondonKids app but not yet on the web - I'll have a quick word with the developer about how best to do it.
    RSS feeds are a brilliant idea - I'll defo look into it.
    I love pubs too - I'll see what we can do :)

  4. It's all about the restaurants and bars for me. I like to know where I can take Lola without too much hassle. A guide best on region would be great.

    Also, when you're out in town and need a quick nappy change, where is really kid friendly to go? I mean, in Chichester, near where I live the only place to go (I think) is Mothercare ... and to be quite frank, its quite depressing.

  5. Claire I am exactly the same - until you are forced at gunpoint to go to a soft-play centre, stick to the swanky gastropubs and enjoy some nice food while LG sleeps. My hubby works down near Chichester so I'll ask him to ask his colleagues (they all have about a million kids) to come up with a list of non-mothercare places.