I have a very quick question for you which is to let me know in the comments below your favourite place to meet and chat with your friends (with or without kids).
If you’d like to know why you can read this next bit:
Pre-children I mostly met up with my friends in various bars, nightclubs or sometimes shopping for a weekend spree. This then graduated to the gym for moral support which was always followed by a coffee and cake snack in anywhere nearby we couldn’t be spotted.
The years went on and we became a little lazy or tight because most of the places we would meet would involve one of our homes. I think we were saving for something or drinks just started to become expensive, which meant drinking at home before going out. Something along those lines.
Thinking about it now I’m jumping forward to post 30 something and I liked having a conversation with my friends which bars didn’t always allow for, and we worked Monday to Friday and still shopped or did couple things at the weekend.
Roll onto maternity and suddenly the cafe visits increased again and this time with maternity mum friends, because we needed to get our talk quota for the day out (whilst not at work anymore) and eat cake. This cafe meeting culture I became dependant on and looked forward to.
Then babies came and didn’t leave the house, home coffee and cake visits until we were able to explore the world of suitable places to go with breastfeeding mums and or screaming toddlers. Anywhere with great access, little embarrassment options and great coffee. Space for us to put our car seats, prams, babies when not on our laps. CAKE CAKE and more CAKE.
There were a couple of places but most of them diminished. One day someone will invent the best cafe for mums with their babies, screaming toddlers (so that they don’t scream because there is entertainment).
Most recently with my 7 and 4 year old I’ve taken to venturing out again now they can be reasoned with or rewarded with good behaviour. The Kino Lounge in Kettering is one of the easiest places for me to meet with other families due to the nature of the space, the entertainment, accessibility and food for all.
Having said that, I do meet a friend at Rushden Lakes and we usually end up in the Marks and Spencer Cafe or we frequent Cafe Bloc another favourite for people watching from the top window. I realised how important it is to choose a place when you are with the right people. We consult, arrange and enjoy.
I am now going out more (than before but still not much) and lots of the locations are family homes, with or without kids and usually involve tea or wine drinking.
As much as I love Kino, I am still crying out for another lounge type place a bit more cosy, day time into evening, where there one late afternoon into evening a casual entertainment option like comedy or open mike music. There are so many places like this in big cities and yet small towns are crying out for some relaxed sophisticated choices. I always think about a favourite place of mine in another town called The Orange Room, where there was this wall to wall fish tank, burnt orange wall feature and great big lounge chairs in cosy corners. If you wanted to hide you could, but equally there was plenty of space in each part of the venue. At night the mood would change from casual lounge cafe to a drip feed of interesting people going from coffee to wine. A mic would appear in the corner and the evening entertainment would begin with an acoustic set which later on became something else. The food would be amazing with unusual but simple dishes and the norm to keep all happy.
There’s more to my memory than one favourite location, but I know that when you find or have your favourite place, there’s no where else to meet where you feel immediately comfortable. We humans love to feel comfortable.
So there’s a huge tick list for me now as it has to include something for all types of friends I’ve managed to find along the way in life, and children I managed to acquire with a husband. Hopefully one day someone will tick those boxes in the small town I walk the streets of. Or maybe with all our ideas put together someone might create one!!! That would be very exciting.
What are you crying out for? Or where do you go now?? Please add your comments below and maybe our dreams could come true.