On Saturday we popped to Derby to pick up my mum from the station and on the way back needed to stop off so we could feed baby E. We’d previously visited The Bowling Green in Ashbourne when I was pregnant and had really enjoyed the dishes on offer. I was keen to once again try the food and see if the visit was different with a baby.
We rocked up late afternoon and picked one of the comfy seats in the main bar as the other section was closed in preparation for the evening meals. After perusing the main menu my mum spotted they did a lighter menu and asked for that (she has her uses). We ordered minute steak and chips and also gammon and chips.
In the meantime I fed E, though did feel a little exposed in the pub, particularly as another punter kept staring.
The food arrived and, as before, it was delicious. I’m glad we ordered from the lighter menu as in the past I’ve struggled to finish a main course.
With us all fed and watered, E needed a bum change. Unfortunately, even though they do cater for kids with a children’s menu, there were no baby changing facilities. The ladies were too small to change her on the floor so we decided to head back to the car and do a quick nappy change on the back seat.
Baby friendliness overview:
Some comfy seats for breast feeding
At table service
Main meal and lighter meal menu (though had to ask for it)
Would be even better if:
Baby changing facilities were available
More room for pushchairs (it would have been a squeeze if we had taken ours in the pub)
No corners for discreet boobing
In summary – lovely grub, but with no changing facilities or space for a pushchair we’ll be waiting till she’s potty trained and walking before coming back.
Beltane is a small bar / cafe in Buxton I’d wandered past a few times and had always wanted to pop in. Last week we had our chance – we’d been out for an afternoon meeting and E needed a feed.
Beltane had always intrigued me because through the window I could spot comfy seats and (you know the way to my heart) there was free wifi.
The most annoying part was getting our bloody awkward really useful 3 wheeler pushchair through an angled step, negotiating the steep hill. Once in it was all good, I settled E next to a comfy sofa and ordered a decaf black coffee and some nuts to nibble on.
You know those decaf coffees that taste sooooo good you forget there’s no caffeine? Yep, it was one of those 🙂 It was a really chilled atmosphere, partly due to it being mid afternoon so after the lunchtime rush and before the evening drinkers arrived.
Hubby came to meet us and had a beer while I topped up on fruit juice liquids (boobing mama mantra DRINK <<< said in Father Jack style). It was then a quick change for baby E before heading off on more adventures.
Baby friendliness overview:
Chilled atmosphere, relaxed setting
Comfortable boobing sitting in the squishy sofa and didn’t feel too exposed
Felt baby friendly with baby changing facilities
Decaf drinks – goooooood coffee
Lunch time menu looked good
Plenty of space for pushchairs
Bit of a bugger getting a pushchair up the step into the bar!
Bar rather than cafe so limited snack options (i.e. no cake)
In summary – lovely relaxed setting, will be back to check out the lunch menu.
What you really don’t need when you move with a refluxy little one is the washing machine not to work! One of our ‘Buxton resolutions’ is to not end up with mounds of dirty washing to wash or piles of clean washing to put away – the parents’ NeverEnding Story. The new plan was to set off a load overnight and then in the morning it could go straight in the dryer.
The start of the plan worked… until at 3 in the morning I heard a constant beeping so sent hubby off the investigate where he declared the washing machine wasn’t working 😦
I was delighted to find that the laundrette also had a cafe attached – genius idea! Whilst I was waiting for the washing, it would have been rude not to have a fry up, surely?
The lovely lady behind the counter (‘chelle) let me look at the ingredients on all the packets so I could check for dairy and with the promise of no butter in the cooking a fry up was on order.
Happily baby E slept through mummy’s unhealthy brunch, so I enjoyed the bacon, sausage, egg, mushrooms and tomato in peace and quiet. There’s nothing quite like a good fry up!
I finished, E woke up and then it was time to dry the washing alongside trying to entertain the little lass. We ALMOST had the washing dry before she decided enough was enough so we went quickly home for a feed.
The good news is that the washing machine is now fixed, the bad news is that I don’t have an excuse to go back to the cafe!
Baby friendly summary:
Traditional British cafe – range of food including dairy free fry up
Plenty of space for pushchairs
Also a laundrette!!!
Would have felt a bit exposed boobing, but female staff were supportive when I chatted about dairy free feeding
No toilet / changing area I could see (but didn’t ask)
Wifi advertised but couldn’t get it to work
In summary, a good cafe if you have cravings for a fry up – though need to check for toilet facilities.
After our photo session Saturday morning we were looking for somewhere to get some grub. Baby E was due a sleep (having your photo taken is far too much work for a little girl!) and after all the posing we were starving.
We headed into Buxton town and with it being a lovely day, everywhere seemed heaving. Also, with having a dairy free diet at the moment I wasn’t sure where would be a good place to eat. Luckily hubby knows his restaurants and suggested Simply Thai as Thai cooking doesn’t use a lot of dairy.
I was a bit nervous about going to a restaurant, compared to a cafe, with baby E, as I was worried about boobing in public and what to do if she cried. But I needn’t have worried as they were very welcoming.
We had to leave the pushchair in reception which stressed me out a little as E needed a sleep and I had planned to rock her, so when we sat down I used plan B and the good old boob to get her to doze off. It helped that the restaurant, though busy, had a lovely relaxed atmosphere; subdued lighting, relaxing music and quiet chitter chatter of the clientele. The environment meant I relaxed and so did E, she totally zonked out on my boob and slept on my lap for the rest of the meal.
We perused the menu and chose the lunchtime deal of two courses for less than a tenner. I don’t know if other couples do this, but we like to order dishes we’d both like to try and then swap half way through. Two dishes for the price of one! Even better, they were easy to eat with one hand and there was plenty of no dairy choice on the menu. Oh and I shouldn’t forget the delicious pots of Jasmine tea.
The food was scrummy; quickly served, fresh and full of flavours. For the main course we chose a pork and a chicken dish. I can see why they are endorsed by the Thailand Ministry of Commerce – a guarantee that you are dining on authentic Thai ingredients, professionally prepared and cooked using authentic methods.
Baby E woke rather grumpy just as we finished our meal so we quickly paid and left, not wanting to disturb other dinners. Though some would have definitely understood the situation as there were two other families with babies there whilst we were eating.
Baby friendly summary:
Relaxing, chilled environment.
Felt comfortable boobing – sat at the back so not too exposed.
Yummy restaurant food, not much more expensive than cafe prices!
Popular with other parents and young families.
Great range of dairy free choices.
Can’t have pushchair at the table.
As a restaurant, I wouldn’t feel comfortable just hanging out there for a few hours like you would in a cafe.
Note: we didn’t hang around to change E so don’t know about baby changing facilities. An excuse to go back and find out!
In summary, a relaxing first restaurant trip with Baby E. As a family, we’ll be back.
Saturday was one of those picture perfect kind of days; the sun was shining, Buxton looked beautiful and there were smiles all around.
It seemed fitting that we had booked a photo session with White Box Photography to capture this new stage in our family’s life adventure – the move to Buxton. A few of my more organised friends have proudly shown off their new baby family pics on Facebook (yes that’s you Emily Macdonald!) and I wanted to try it out.
We don’t have many newborn family pics of baby E as she was in hospital for quite a while after she was born and once out I had the constant wild woman look about me of someone getting about 3 hours sleep a night – not particularly photogenic. I really wanted to try a family photo shoot and the criteria for me was a) not too expensive (incase I didn’t like the pics of me, more of a behind the camera kind of gal), b) gave us digital copies with copyright so we could do as we pleased with them and c) in a local, informal situation so I didn’t get too stressed about the whole thing!
After trawling the web I came across a discussion on a Facebook parenting group where they recommended White Box Photography. I had a quick peek at their website and was excited to see that the next session in Buxton was just after we had moved up. With only a £15 booking fee (of a total cost £45 per session) it meant that if we had to cancel due to E being unwell it wouldn’t be too costly.
Ahead of the session I messaged Liam at White Box Photography asking for advice on how to prepare. He helpfully suggested:
The sessions are informal and taken mostly sitting on a white background so wear clothes for comfort and modesty.
White clothes often lose detail and can make the subject a bit bland so pastel or strong colours which suit the individual work well.
Look other photos to see if there are any particular poses you’d like.
And I’d add to the list:
Take at least two changes of clothes in case the baby is sick and be careful holding them as they may be sick on you!
Pick outfits for the family that you think will compliment each other.
Plan the day’s timings, I worked out when I’d need to boob E so that she’d be a full happy baby for the shoot, not hungry or tired.
The session was booked, we sorted out our clothes to wear (first time for me not wearing jeans since E was born!) and looked forward to the shoot.
When we arrived we were warmly greeted by Liam and Carolyn who instantly put us at ease. First for photos was Elizabeth; we changed her into a dress, then repositioned the dress where she was a bit sick and with much squeeking of her Sophie giraffe Liam captured some smiley pics.
Then it was a family turn, three of us sitting together – was lovely and quick!
We then changed E into her awesome stripy outfit and tried just ones of her. She started crying so I went in to cheer her up and Liam took some pics of me and a giggling little girl before it was finally daddy’s turn.
The shoot wizzed by and Liam took loads of photos. After the session finished I picked E up and she promptly threw up over both of us – timing 🙂
Carolyn let us look at all the pictures whilst she burnt them onto disc and we were done. Here’s one of the gorgeous pictures of me and my little pickle!
A brilliant photo session, it was just what we wanted and for such a reasonable price we’re going to book to go back again.
Now I’m an ‘expert’ at this, here’s what I recommend you should think about before booking a family photographer:
Do you get copyright of the photos so you can print them how you like, e.g. a mug for gran, framed photo etc.?
How long a session do you want? We were happy with 15 mins but you might want a longer session with more clothes / prop changes.
Are they run at a time and location suitable for you?
Does the photographer seem friendly – you need someone who will put you at ease to get good photos out of you and your family.
Does the price fit your budget?
Can you look at previous photos the photographer has taken? You need to be happy with their style.
Here’s a summary of baby friendliness of the whole experience:
Nice and quick! Babies have short attention spans.
Time for an outfit change.
Baby friendly photographer and colleague who made E smile.
Easy to get to location (space for pushchair).
Photos on CD and copyright free so we can easily share with family around the world.
If your baby is under 3 months the first shoot is free!
No baby changing facilities we could see at the location, but plenty of floor space.
Short photo session – some people might prefer a longer shoot.
Nowhere to sit and feed a baby, if required, but High Street, with cafes, was 5 minutes away.
Yesterday was our first day in our new home in Buxton, as you can imagine much chaos and boxes.
Baby E and I decided that the sensible thing to do would be to leave the strong people to the unloading and carrying, so we headed into town to find something to do.
As the weather gave us a traditional High Peak welcome – it was chucking it down – we stopped at the first cafe we could find.
The Pavilion Gardens Coffee Bar in the atrium of the Pavilion Gardens is a lovely, light airy place to drop in for a hot drink, cake and boobing – particularly on a miserable wet day.
We’re trying baby E on a dairy free diet at the moment which means no dairy for mummy 😦 Hopeful, I asked at the counter about soya milk, no luck. But they were brilliant checking out the ingredients on the cake boxes until I found one I could eat – nom nom nom almond and cherry slice 🙂
The decaf-coffee (good for boobing) was delicious black (I’d better get used to that) and oohhh the cake tasted good!
I picked a quiet corner table (the sofas were taken), next to a power socket and there was free wifi. I made myself comfortable and surfed the web before E woke up and needed a feed.
After almost an hour and a half of E sleeping, feeding and then playing with her toys it was time for a bum change. The changing facilities are in the disabled toilet and there was plenty of room for our huge pushchair.
As the Cafe is only 10 minutes from where we live I think it’s going to become a favourite! And we’re yet to try the Pavilion Gardens’ main Cafe and Art Cafe.
To finish off our morning we had a browse around the Gallery in the Gardens and E chose a gift for daddy for his new home office. Created by the talented local artist Andy Philips, it’s a beautiful handmade smoke fired ceramic mug with DAD embossed on the side.
Then.. we had to go back to the boxes and chaos :-I
Here’s a summary of baby feeding friendliness:
Decaf tea or coffee
Range of seating
Spacious with lots of natural light
Good changing facilities
No table service
Baby changing not clearly signposted
Feel quite exposed if boobing, no little corners to hide in
Overall: helpful staff, caffeine free options, roomy and good changing facilities. We’ll be back!
I have to admit, we have already started our adventures even before BMD (Big Move Day). The other week we were up in Buxton sorting out things that made me cry – childcare for baby E for when I go back go work *wail*.
But less about me sobbing uncontrollably that weekend and onto the cake! On one of our trips we headed into Buxton main town (if that’s what it’s called?) and naturally needed a place to stop and boob E.
We rocked up with our HUGE pushchair and they sweetly said it wasn’t a problem, hubby folded it up out of the way and I chose some cake (priorities) and then settled down for a feed.
The tea was delicious, cake scrummy and as an added bonus you can look around at lots of lovely items to buy!
At table service was particularly welcome when feeding E (I always like to ask for a top up of the pot of tea) and even though there wasn’t a changing room, they helpfully moved some furniture around to make an impromptu changing table!
Lovely place, can’t wait to go back and visit.
Here’s a summary of baby feeding friendliness:
Comfort: 4/5 lovely comfortable chairs
Service: 5/5 at table service makes it much easier!
Changing: 2/5 none, so they made somewhere
Discreet boobing: 5/5 I felt quite comfortable tucked in the corner
Space: 2/5 would be tricky if there was more than one pushchair, but they were more than willing to move things around
Overall: 4/5 – ideal place to go if you’re by yourself