Sarah enjoying an ice-cream
Every now and again it’s so lovely to down tools and head out for a coffee and a slice of cake or a bite to eat.
But doing so with two toddlers in tow is not always easy.
In fairness to them, they have no real interest in watching myself and Daddy Chambers drinking our lattes after they’ve finished eating whatever fare was served up to them.
We’ve learned that if we adults fancy popping out for some day time grub, we have to choose our venue wisely.
While Sarah is quite happy to sit in a high chair and survey her surroundings, Aidan gets fed up quickly and starts to create havoc.
Some local establishments are better than others to bring kids to so this week I thought I’d share our favourite child-friendly cafes and the reason why. In no particular order I might add.
The Good Food Cafe at Michael Murphy’s, Newbridge
At first glance this place doesn’t look at all suitable for kids.
To get to it you have to walk through the furniture store that’s packed full of breakables and the cafe itself is so beautifully decorated.
But they have a trump card that I will come back to.
I love this spot for breakfast, which is usually the best time to take my two out as they are well rested and less likely to be acting like maggots.
The food is great, they do a healthy option menu too and Aidan and Sarah are particular fans of the toast here!
I drip feed them the toast to keep Aidan at the table, but invariably he’s always finished eating before I’m finished and his attention span has reached its limit.
At that point he’s on his feet and heading towards the lovely suites of furniture in Michael Murphy’s with his mucky shoes.
And then comes the trump card.
The Good Food Café give you free ice cream cones when you buy something from their menu. It’s a lifesaver because one mention of the words 'ice cream' and Aidan is happy.
Two small cones later and they are both happy and sitting back at the table, which gives me just enough time to enjoy the rest of my breakfast in peace.
So a big thumbs up for the cold stuff and the lovely people at The Good Food Café.
Salamander Coffee House, Newbridge Sports and Leisure Centre
I adore this little place. The coffee is divine and their coffee and walnut cake is something else.
The owner is so welcoming, even when we arrive and clog up the place with the buggy.
He’s very relaxed about having small customers and always has a wee chat with them before whipping out the crayons and a few small wooden toys.
Kildare Farm Foods Café
This is not the first time I’ve mentioned Kildare Farm Foods Open Farm and Café in this column.
Their free pet farm is a great local attraction and we regularly visit, mostly at the weekends.
We run the legs off Aidan and Sarah out on the farm and always stop for a bit to eat before heading home.
With the kids sufficiently worn out after peeking in at the pigs, chickens, ducks etc it’s a good time to stop and refuel. The café is always full of kids and the staff are very relaxed about it. Their menu is child-friendly and their adult options are yummy too.
If there was one thing I think could be improved on is the number of high chairs. They are a bit light on them and on busy days they are almost always taken, but otherwise it’s a great spot.
Joey’s Play Centre (Café), Naas
If you’re a regular reader of this column you’ll know I’m a big fan of Joey’s Play Centre in Naas.
Lets face it, if there’s slides, climbing frames and a soft play area combined with coffee and food, it’s a parent’s dream!
However, so many play centres serve up rubbish, greasy food and even worse coffee, but not this place. Their adult menu is really good and their kids menu has plenty of healthy options on it too.
If we go here I usually let the kids off for a play first and order my own food straight away and eat it when they are in the throes of having the craic.
The place is only small, so you can see the kids at all times, which is so handy.
My two always eat whatever we get here too. Win/win.
McDonald’s, Monread, Naas
Most Mickey Ds are child friendly, in fairness, but, holy moly, the new one in Monread in Naas is kiddy heaven.
Now, we rarely go to McDonald’s, we’ve only been twice, and while obviously the food on offer is nowhere near as good as it is in the other places mentioned, sometimes I’m partial to six Chicken McNuggets!
Plus, I’ve had worse coffee in playcentres, I can tell you!
So what sets this one apart from the rest?
Where do I start. There’s a mini playcentre in it. Genius!
They also have Samsung Tablets in certain areas with pre-loaded games for kids on them.
For the adults, the daily papers are available. Sure it’s a great place altogether.
In moderation of course.
So there you have, just a few I like.
Does anyone have any more recommendations?
You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter - @ruthie_chambers; Instagram - ruthie_chambers, or you’ll find more of my musings at www.itsjustaphase.ie.