Tag Archives: Bluewater

Carluccio’s, just about everywhere…

There are some places that provide a kind of culinary comfort blanket.  They cosset you in a warm and safe space.  And they never, ever give you a nasty surprise.  For us, Carluccio’s is such a place.

They manage to pull off a seemingly impossible feat of appealing equally to adults and children.  You know exactly what you’ll get: simple, authentic Italian food and generally cheerful, friendly service.

Now, I know that Carluccio’s isn’t everyone’s plate of spaghetti, but the sheer number of restaurants, means that if you find yourself somewhere with a hungry toddler and need a quick, good value, child-friendly meal you could do a whole lot worse.

They have a children’s menu which doesn’t compromise on flavour at all, yet goes down really well with all the kids I know.  All branches have high chairs and most have baby changing facilities.

If you’re shopping in the West End the branch in St Christopher’s Place is handy; if you’re at the Museums in South Kensington there is a branch just opposite the Tube; the one is Covent Garden is the ‘flagship’ and handy for the Galleries in Trafalgar Square; the one in Bluewater has a queue at the weekends so stick to weekdays if you can; we’ve even been to the ones in Bath and Tunbridge Wells.

But my favourite is the one in the basement of Fenwick’s on New Bond Street.  It’s perfectly located for lunch on a Sunday inbetween a little sneaky shopping.  Fenwick have a delightful toy section packed with unusual things.  And it’s right next to the restaurant: perfect for bribes and distraction…

Rating:

Stylishness: 3.5/5 (you’ll never be caught short with a hungry toddler again: what could be more stylish for a yummy mummy?)

Friendliness: 4/5

Feeding Facilities: 4/5

Changing Facilities: 4/5

Food: 4/5

Overall rating: 19.5/25   £-££

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Filed under £ - Cheap and cheerful, ££ - Mid price, Cafe, London, Restaurant

Bluewater, Kent (ok, it isn’t London, but close enough…)

I didn’t really discover the genius of Bluewater until after I had Jack.  There’s no denying  it has a certain reputation garnered through stories like the one about banning hoodies, which doesn’t exactly work in its favour.  After a one off visit in my pre-baby days, I have to admit I couldn’t really see the attraction since the majority of the outlets are standard high street offerings.  Why would a girl-about-town head to Bluewater when she could go to Oxford Street, Bond Street or Knightsbridge for a retail fix?

Of course, I had completely missed the point.  Bluewater has what all those other places don’t.  Clean, well equiped, baby changing and feeding rooms every few hundred yards.  When you’re a new mum, just getting to grips with breast feeding, nappy changing or simply knowing what to do when your baby cries, it is an absolute haven.  I’m not ashamed to admit it’s where I gained my confidence dealing with all those things while out and about.   And I even managed to get in a bit of shopping while Jack slept or charmed the shop assistants.

Whilst I can’t claim to have tried all the eateries, Carluccio’s (which is always good with children) is great and during the week when it’s fairly quiet almost all the Starbucks and other coffee outlets are great places to sit down with a baby.  If you’re anywhere in SouthEast London and drive, it is easy and quick to get to and a whole lot less stressful than heading into town (until you are a fully fledged Super New Mum, naturally).

Rating:

Stylishness: 1/5

Friendliness: 4/5

Feeding Facilities: 5/5

Changing Facilities: 5/5

Food: 2/5

Overall rating: 17/25  £

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Filed under £ - Cheap and cheerful, Cafe, Coffee Shop, Department Store, London