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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Queen’s Park Cafe Opens April 1st for the Summer Season- that’s tomorrow. Unfortunately just a bit too late to coincide with the good weather. Hopefully it will be back though!

Sorry not to be more specific about times, the poster I saw last week wasn’t.

So if you’re in town and feel like an alfresco cup of tea in slightly more attractive surroundings than… well… town take a wonder down Groundwell Road and maybe combine it with a duck feeding session if you’re willing to risk being pecked by a Canadian Goose!


Queen’s Park Cafe Opens April 1st for the Summer Season- that’s tomorrow. Unfortunately just a bit too late to coincide with the good weather. Hopefully it will be back though!

Sorry not to be more specific about times, the poster I saw last week wasn’t.

So if you’re in town and feel like an alfresco cup of tea in slightly more attractive surroundings than… well… town take a wonder down Groundwell Road and maybe combine it with a duck feeding session if you’re willing to risk being pecked by a Canadian Goose!


Easter Fundraiser tomorrow at Croft Children’s Centre, Marlborough Lane, Old Town, SN3 1RA. 10-12.

Rockabye Baby! CDs, I have to report, do really rock!

It’s not just because I’m an ageing 90s Rock/Indie chick who likes hearing my old favourites in lullaby form.

We were given the Guns ‘n’ Roses, Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins ones as gifts when J was born and thought they were a really fun idea. We also have an Abba one made by another company.

I began to really value the Smashing Pumpkins one, especially during J’s 3 months of colic. There’s something about their tunes which make them really work as lullabies. The CD didn’t take her colic away, however especially towards the end of our poor little pumpkin’s bouts it seemed to calm her off to sleep more quickly as we slow danced with her.

This evening was a particularly bad one for J’s lurking soon-to-be teeth (I just missed most of a barbecue with our neighbour to sooth her). After months without needing it I thought “why not fish out reliable old Smashing Pumpkins and give it a go” and it worked! She may have been about to go to sleep anyway but it wasn’t looking that way.

If your little mite is afflicted by colic or bad teething pain you could do worst than try Rockabye Baby! Smashing Pumpkins. It won’t cure them, but it might calm them, and you!

London with a buggy- it can be done! You just need to time your trip around rush hours and the kindness of strangers should do the rest.

As with during my pregnancy I was surprised to discover how much more helpful people are in London than they are here in Swindon are when it comes to helping a damsel and diddy damsel in distress.

Admittedly there are many more opportunities to help in London with escalators and steps on the tube, but I was really impressed. Young, old, male, female, black, white, business people, students, Americans and Germans all stepped up to help.

J and I had a fantastic day catching up with friends. Avoiding rush hour meant it was a short day, leaving Swindon at 10.40 and leaving London for home at 4.30, but that also meant avoiding rush hour ticket prices. I was a bit nervous about getting around before we did it, but having done it I really recommend it!

Update, March 29, 2012.

I’ve seen that a few Americans and Canadians have been reading the above- possibly potential visitors to our wonderful capital? Just to ensure that your expectations of Londoners aren’t too high I should probably add that, while they are probably individually very nice people, people you meet out and about may not be as friendly as the above would suggest! They just step up when others clearly need help. I lived in London for ten years and I know how annoyed people can get travelling their destination whilst trying to get round banks of tourists.

I’m not trying to put you off at all, just suggesting that if you need to look at a map maybe pull the buggy in to an out of the way spot or you might get some angry mutterings. A little tip too, a meaningful stride is a great accessory to help you get around with a buggy in London (difficult when you’re unsure where you’re going I know).

All of the nice stuff above is true, though, so I’m sure you’ll have a great time!

Butterflies Children’s Centre at AbbeyMeads Community Primary School have passed on the following information:

North Swindon Health Visitors will be running a potty training session on Wednesday 25th April from 11.30am -12.30am at The Underground (next to Asda and North Swindon Libriary).

The session will give tips and advice on how to toilet train your toddler, and how to deal with the challenges that arise.

There is no need to book a space on this session.

Convenient Conveniences

Convenient Conveniences

Today I discovered a babychange table in the public toilets near the traffic lights at the top of Victoria Road, Old Town.

These loos are actually in really good condition for public toilets- possibly because they don’t get used that much, I’ve never seen anyone else in there on the few occasions I’ve been in there. The changing table was as clean today as the majority of changing tables in cafes and restaurants.

I wouldn’t fancy using it in the winter unless these toilets have surprisingly good heating! Now-ish it’s fine, though. If you’re walking past or in a cafe which doesn’t have anywhere to change a baby, like the wonderful Cafe Art across the road (which I’ll praise in more detail another time) this could be handy.

The disabled loo was locked, so if you need the loo yourself when you’re with the buggy it will be a “do it as quickly as possible in the end cubicle with the door open and the buggy pulled in” job.

The baby change I saw was in the Ladies. In the interests of equality I would hope there’s also one in the Gents!

Swindon NCT Antenatal Courses- are they worth the money? In a few words, if you are a first time parent, yes, yes and yes again!

The primary reason for pretty much everyone on my course taking the NCT Antenatal Course was to meet other people who would be going through the same things they were going through at the same time in the same town. I cannot over emphasise how valuable I have found those people over the last 6 months, especially at the beginning.

Even though one of my very very best friends had a daughter the day after I had J (which has been absolutely wonderful) she lives in Bristol. Doesn’t sound that far away does it? It’s not and she’s on the end of the phone too which is obviously fantastic, but I’m still incredibly grateful to have a brilliant network of new friends right here in Swindon.

The first few weeks as a new parent are so hard. However ecstatic you are you are also utterly exhausted, super emotional and healing up in one of two possible places which is uncomfortable and can be a bit debilitating. Down moments are far from being a rarity!

The multitude of worries you have about your baby can of course be answered by your health visitor. It’s a real bonus, though, to be told that something is completely normal in an instant by, say, 3 other people who have already been told the answers to your questions.

It’s great to vent, it’s great to get out of the house and sometimes it can be a real relief to have a meltdown with someone who knows exactly how you feel because they’ve been there recently or are there now themselves. It’s also great to eat cake.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to meet a great group of friends through my course who I hope I’ll know for years to come. Of course there’s a chance the people you meet won’t be that sociable or friendly, but this seems pretty unlikely as…

…a. They are probably attending the class to meet people too, b. most people are essentially decent and friendly and c. You are all about to go through a major, life changing experience “together”.

A London friend’s response when she heard I was doing NCT was, “Oooh, aren’t you posh!” In her area you get three two hour NHS classes with the same group. In Swindon you get an optional 2 hour antenatal session (which was definitely a useful two hours) and an optional 2 hours session on breast feeding. Again, we did meet a few nice people, but two hours is not really enough.

Another friend warned me that NCT can on occasions be a bit judgemental about people who would prefer not to have a natural birth or to bottle feed. However while breastfeeding was certainly encouraged it wasn’t rammed down your throat (immature giggle) or any more strongly recommended than government guideline etc -in my classes anyway.

There’s also a preconception that NCT is all a bit middle class. While there’s some truth in this I’d say I’ve met lovely people from all walks of life.

Yes, you do meet people through other baby activity groups as your baby grows, but it’s at the beginning that you will need your “baby friend” the most.

Oh yes, you learn lots of things about the birth and how to look after your baby when it arrives too! Nothing can really prepare you, but it’s reassuring to feel you’ve picked up some kind of knowledge.

If you can scrape the pennies together, do it!

The next NCT Swindon Nearly New Sale is tomorrow, March 24th 11.15-1pm (11 for members) at The Oasis. Get there early for the best deals! NB: these only take place every 6 months.

The Oasis crèche I couldn’t be more grateful for it!

I didn’t want to rush getting back to my normal size and weight, but anyone who’s given birth looks forward feeling a bit better about themselves and fitting in to their pre pregnancy clothes.

The Oasis crèche is open 4 mornings a week so that parents and carers can have a bit of a break and get their hearts pumping in the pool, gym, on the squash court or in a class.

It’s also great to have time to drink a cup of tea (while it’s still hot) in the cafe occasionally and wash your hair without rushing.  Most important of all, though, J loves her time at crèche!

I was able to stay with J the first time she went,  the second time I went off for a coffee so I was still nearby. Lorraine and Vicky are brilliant with the kids and babies.  There have been a couple of 8 week old babies there on a few of the occasions I’ve been there. They were second children and having left their other children in the crèche the mothers trusted the staff enough to leave tiny babies with them.

I’ve never used the Link Centre crèche, but I should imagine the set up is similar. You need to register with the crèche and get your child a Swindon Card (free for babies) so that you can book sessions.  Forms are available from the leisure centres and it’s all very quick. Prices start at around £2.60 for an hour- brilliant! Here’s a more comprehensive list of hours and prices at The Oasis and Link Centre creches FYI.



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