…”Is that even possible?!” one would ask. Well, yes if you go to a place like the Pop Up Café at Cornerstone in Didcot! Who knew Didcot had a town centre to speak of, let alone a funky, relatively new arts centre?!
They are redecorating Cornerstone for two weeks (till the 25th August 2012) and in the meantime the Café have decided to stay open and create a Pop Up Café with kids as much in their minds as the adults: They’ve let over a couple of tables and floorspace to games, arts and crafts for children and all these are free. The café has a special pop-up children’s menu too, with lots of healthy snacks on there such as carrot sticks and houmous. When my friend mentioned it I thought it would be a bit different and decided to take her up on her invite for us to try it out.
We got to Didcot at lunchtime and I mean Mini Man’s lunchtime, which means all actions have to be prompt and focussed on getting him fed as soon as possible. The Littlins were also getting grouchy as mealtime approached. (Not that they realise their foul mood has anything to do with hunger!) … Heed flustered mummy. The barista was extremely helpful in getting us sorted- he ran through the food and drinks options for me, made a couple of good recommendations (fab at upselling too… in a lovely way!).
We soon had freshly made fruit smoothies, a macaroni and cheese, a meat balls in tomato sauce with pasta shapes and a chicken bacon and tomato toasty in front of us. Mini Man happily feeding, so were the rest of us. The order wasn’t cheap at just over £20 for the above and a huge mocha frappe, but it was absolutely delicious! It was simple food made with good ingredients, just the right portion sizes, which were soon polished off by all of us. Even the Littlins needed very little coaxing to eat.
With tummies full we explored the activities on offer. The craft tables had a good mix of supplies and we got creative. Using the feathers, glue, glitter, beads, stickers and coloured paper, we made a card for Grandma and Gandpa and bookmark for Dadonthebrink, as well as a princess picture. Little Man wandered off at one point. When I looked up he was sitting at another table- one of the games tables- playing the Toothfairy game with a 8 and a 6 year oldish child. Credit to the parents for how well the kids all played together, but also to the Café for creating such a relaxed and conducive atmosphere.
Mini Man asleep, Little Miss busy making her next artistic creation and Little Man playing happily with a board game I could sit back and enjoy my Mocha frappe … just what I needed on such a hot muggy day!
At some point we had to visit the facilities, as one inevitable does when out and about with children. I feel they deserve a special mention, as they were so clean and well-thoughtout: the disabled toilets had the baby changing station and there was also another child sized toilet installed. Features like this take so much hassle out of an outing for us mums!
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to enter the “decorate a cupcake” competition: for £2 the children get 2 cupcakes, lots of coloured icing, sprinkles and edible decorations to let their creative flair and imagination run loose on the cupcakes. The staff then take a photo of the finished masterpiece before it is devoured and the photographic evidence entries compete for tickets to one of the shows in the autumn. Instead of cupcakes my Littlins got some candy floss for on the road… very smart of me… or not! 😉
The Pop-up Café is a great concept. I really liked the relaxed atmosphere with the simple activities. I do hope the Pop Up Café, which is only running till the end of August (2012), will return to Cornerstone soon, because we certainly will be popping in again.
Disclaimer: I was invited to review the café and the activiites. The activities and the atmosphere are for free anyway, but we recieved the food and drinks for free too. However, I would sink in shame if I were to write what I didn’t believe to be an honest and open opinion.