You may know me from my own little corner of the internet called Honeybourne Line where I write about food, more food, sometimes drink and then even more food. You’ll know the places I’ve eaten at, what I’ve made for breakfast, lunch and dinner and my favourite food producers across the county.
At the beginning of August 2017, our daughter Paisleigh Joyce (PJ) was born, and for (exactly) seven weeks and one day our lives were turned upside down. There were times when I thought making a sandwich would never be possible ever again, eating a meal with both hands and in peace seemed like a distant memory and eating out was something I could only dream of.
I don’t know what happened at seven weeks plus one day, but it all just suddenly clicked and I am pleased to say that I have now made sandwiches, eaten them in peace (thanks to my new best friend – the dummy) and with both hands!
As for eating out, every new parent quickly learns that pit-stops aplenty are needed for those milk-guzzling babies. My God, they go from zero to starving in a matter of seconds, and when they do, you need a comfy pew, warm surroundings, a large hot drink and a thick slice of cake. There’ll also be times when you want to go out as a little family or meet up with friends and, let’s be honest, your old haunts might not be all that suitable any longer. So, I’ve spent the last few weeks doing my research and I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite places for mums, dads and their teeny tiny babies (oh and the tonne of paraphernalia that comes with them!).
Wagamama, Clarence Street
We went to Wagamama for our first evening meal out with PJ and it ticked all the boxes. As well as being accessible and spacious, it’s also a very busy venue and so what with all those people nattering away, you needn’t worry that a crying baby will disturb anyone. The staff are super friendly and ever so welcoming to adults, children and babies alike. And despite being a chain, the food is all cooked fresh. They boast a mahoosive menu catering for all diets, the healthy, unhealthy, those on a budget and those who are only just starting their Japanese food adventure.
Black Gold Coffee Shop, High Street
Black Gold is a fairly new indie (independent) coffee shop. With plenty of comfortable seating, they are great for a pit stop and as well as a fine offering of hot drinks, pastries and cakes, they also do smoothies, breakfasts, sarnies and salads. It’s big enough for a couple of buggies, but if there’s a whole host of parents and babies, I’d recommend using baby carriers, otherwise it may get a bit too crowded. They have baby changing facilities and the staff will happily bring your food and drinks to the table so you needn’t do a juggling act.
The Bottle of Sauce, Ambrose Street
This cool spot serves up amazing brunches (all day long at the weekends), juicy burgers, wood-fired pizzas and the best sides in town. It’s rather spacious and pretty much all on the flat. Just like Wagamama, it’s a busy spot, so you needn’t worry about noisy little ones, but if you have a light sleeper – it might not be the place for you! This is the place to go to get a good fill with family or friends. They do some great offers on lunch throughout the week and if you sign up to their hangover club (after all sleep deprivation feels very similar to a hangover) you get 25% off brunch which is a great shout for the weekends when you can join those in the working world for some weekend fun.
Lucy’s Café, Bath Road
This fairly new spot on Bath Road is a brilliant place to stop to feed baby – and you. Although not a huge place, it’s very spacious, so you don’t feel like the buggy is causing a diversion for everyone else. They do breakfasts and really tasty lunches including soups, sarnies, salads and pasta. I had a very generous goat’s cheese salad when I visited, followed by a slice of one of their many sweet treats. Pretty much everything is made from scratch, or its sourced locally from the best suppliers. The only downside of this place is that they don’t have baby changing facilities, but if you’re little one is older than two weeks, you’re probably a whizz at changing them with one hand on your lap! Or is that just a skill my mamma taught me?
Bar & Wok, 288 Hight Street, Cheltenham
No doubt about it, this place serves up the best Chinese food in Cheltenham (and Gloucestershire, as far as I know). And the good news for parents is that it’s a family friendly eatery, accessible and extremely good value for money. Although basic, they do have baby changing facilities and there’s always a buzz about the place so noisy little ones are no problem at all. They are open for lunch and dinner but are so popular I’d recommend booking as they are often full. If you’re not that organised yet, they do takeaway, so you can enjoy it in the comfort of your own home; particularly good if you have a baby who likes to feed a lot in the evenings.
Gloucester Services, M5
Yep, so although a service station and somewhere people would usually use as they travel from one place to another, Gloucester Services is so good, it’s officially okay to use it as a destination. As you’d expect, it’s got plenty of space, both inside and out, excellent facilities and they have a great selection of food. From cakes and brownies (supplied by the one and only Hetty’s Tea Party), to sandwiches, salads, soups and homely meals like lasagne, there is something for everyone on the menu here. If you have other children too, the southbound service station has a play area – so everyone’s happy. Just one tip. If you’re arranging to meet friends here, make sure you state either northbound or southbound otherwise you could have a last minute panic on your hands!
Kindness & Co, Clarence Street
From the outside, you’d be forgiven for thinking this place isn’t all that suitable for a buggy, but do venture in as you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Kindness is in the name and it’s very much in their nature. You can park your buggy up in the space behind the door, order yourself a turmeric latte (my personal favourite) and a healthy treat before venturing downstairs with little one to enjoy some peace and quiet whilst nourishing your body with good stuff. The staff are super helpful and will bring everything to you and as well as baby changing facilities, they have a lovely little children’s area for slightly older ones.
Brasserie Blanc, The Promenade
This place has always prided themselves on being a welcoming space for mums with babies and they have made it public news that breastfeeding mums will be made to feel very comfortable here. Now obviously, you can breast feed anywhere you like, but I do think it’s a nice touch that Brasserie Blanc have gone the extra mile. For those early starts, they have a great breakfast menu including my favourite – Eggs Benedict – and their a la carte menu looks pretty damn good too. But for value, it’s the set menu that I love. You can get two courses for £11.95 and it’s French dining, so you’ll feel like a proper adult!
Boston Tea Party, Clarence Street
This list wouldn’t be complete without Boston Tea Party. This is a café, but one with an immense and varied menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner; a café that’s open until 9pm; a café that serves alcohol and a café that is just super cool. All ages sit side by side here. The buggy brigade rub shoulders with business people on laptops; there are friends meeting up for dinner and drinks and couples putting the world to rights over a slice of cake. Need I say more? You and your teeny one will feel right at home here.
A Guest Blog from Roseann of Honeybourne Line
Roseann is the taste-buds behind Honeybourne Line. Honeybourne Line is a food blog where Roseann shares her passion (some may call it an obsession) for food. She is at her happiest when discovering local (and not-so local) chefs, talent, eateries, drinkeries, food and drink produce and anything else that relates – in the slightest – to tantalising her taste buds. When she’s not out and about, you’ll find her trawling through (far too many) recipe books and magazines trying to decide what she’s going to whip up for her next meal.
Roseann believes you can find something good in most things, and that’s what she writes about. She is NOT A FOOD CRITIC so if she has an unsavoury experience, she just doesn’t write it up – and most likely, won’t return either. She loves to support local and even more so, to support local, independent businesses. On her blogging journey, she has developed a steadily increasing following of like-minded foodies both on her blog and across her social media channels; she has also built up good relationships with local businesses and producers.
Enjoyed this read? Make sure you check out all of the CheltenhamMaman recommendations over at Maman Pages.