Once again I’m blogging to you from the hour beyond midnight, where I’ve given up on any immediate sleepy notions and plonked my toddler in front of some strange gibbering creatures. And by a remarkable coincidence, a strange gibbering creature is exactly what I turn into when I’m sleep deprived, so don’t be surprised if this post descends into nonsense, despair or Radiohead lyrics. Or all three. I’ll take a quiet life.
So, the short version is that we went to a café with Maria, Thomas and Niamh yesterday. The long version is what I’m about to tell you. The café was The Dish and the Spoon, somewhere on the Nunhead/Peckham Rye/East Dulwich borders. The event we were attending was one by Nimble Arts, as part of the Nunhead Appetite Festival and it was food-themed storytelling with musical interludes. Obviously, I couldn’t listen to a story about food without trying some, because I tend to get grouchy if I don’t have my tensies (like elevenses, but earlier). So me and Eva shared some carrot cake and I had a cappuccino. The carrot cake was something pretty special – and I’ve had a lot of carrot cake lately. It had a beautiful moist texture, and perfectly gooey cream cheese icing. I want some now. And I could probably do with a cappuccino now, to be honest. It comes to something when you feel jealous of Upsy Daisy because she has finally got that sleep she was after all this time… As Daisy herself probably said – Why can’t you stop the noise? I’m trying to get some rest…
Back to the café and we were good to go. Food – check! Friends – check! And now for the storytelling. It was the tale of a small monster, whom I’m going to call Snurglepuff because I don’t remember what the actual name was. Like me, Snurglepuff got grouchy when he was hungry too. Only he did it accompanied by a cello. There was also a ukulele, for happier times, and a giant bird puppet. Thomas and Niamh sat entranced through the whole thing. Eva, following in the grand tradition of her brother at singing groups, made a run for it to the toys’ corner. Naturally once Eva had broken ranks other toddlers followed, so it’s safe to say that my daughter was the most disruptive child there. I can hear your collective sigh of shock from here. She kinda wandered in and out of the session from then on, but I think she liked it. Even though she was scared of the bird and put her fingers in her ears during one of the songs. Like I say, she’s pretty disruptive. Karma police, arrest that girl.
We decided to stay on for lunch after the session and unsurprisingly everyone else did too. There was some chaos while the circle of chairs got re-distributed around tables, but the children were happily playing in the toy area while that happened so it was all fairly smooth. I’d noticed the huge stack of highchairs and thought it was excessive, but most of them did get used when we were there (a combination of plastic booster seats, wooden highchairs and Antilops). Familia Maria were all having the homemade beans on toast, and Thomas did put up some protest about how they weren’t the neon orange ones you get from a tin. I’m sure Roo would have said exactly the same if he was there. Still, they were yummy, as were the sausages that Eva and I had. The food was all freshly prepared and healthy, hence the organic look of the beans. No microwave dinners here.
After all that food, it was time for a walk and we were right next to Peckham Rye Park so that seemed like an obvious choice. Astoundingly, for somewhere with “Peckham” in the title, it was both serene and lovely:
There was a wooden climbing frame that Thomas had designated as being suitable for the toddlers, and a metal frame that was for bigger children. Needless to say, the toddler girls did not respect these boundaries. Eva got herself to the top of the slide on the bigger one. But just look how uncertain she is about the whole thing:
Aw Eva, you’re so very special. And then it was time to see the ducks, with both Eva and Niamh making the appropriate noises
Then we wandered through the park, past a sign which I imagine is often misread (it’s the Sexby Garden) and tried to find the perfect acorn for Maria’s nature-themed jewellery range. At some point I remembered that I should probably pick Reuben up so Eva and I headed back via Elephant & Castle.
I made the mistake of stopping at the Clarks Factory Shop and falling hopelessly in love with some tiny purple boots that would have fitted Eva. In some ways, parenthood has changed me. In other ways, not so much. But I only bought what I went in for – some size 10, unglamourous plimsolls for Roo’s PE kit. Boooooring! Still, I was cheered to see a new “living wall” at Elephant and these cranes, which look like they’re made out of duplo:
So, a fun day and a romp around a lovely park. Nimble Arts are running another session next Friday, so book now! And don’t forget we’re looking for nominations for London’s Most Toddler-Friendly Cafe,, which I feel like The Dish and the Spoon may be a contender for… I will stop at nothing to find you a winner!