Thursday, 14 August 2014

Are cafe's a waste of money?

I have to hold my hands up and say I love a good cafe.  However it can be tricky eating and drinking out with kids - places you used to love are suddenly inaccessible because your pushchair takes up too much space, or out of limits because it is now even more ridiculous to spend nearly £3 on a cup of coffee than it was before you had children to consider.  Plus now it's not just one coffee any more, it's packets of juice and food that are demanded by hungry small people.

I save the pennies most days by taking food and drinks out with us, but every so often it's nice to sit on a proper chair with a pot of coffee instead of perching on a park bench or on the ground and trying to get the kids to stop giving all of their lunch to the seagulls.  I also think it's no bad thing if kids are used to eating out and get the hang of the idea that cafe's are not play parks and it's nice to sit quietly and be civilized for 20 minutes every so often.  The challenge then is to find somewhere that isn't too expensive, or inaccessible, and that serves a menu that you are happy with.

In Hastings our favourites are the two Eat@ cafe's - one in Alexandra Park and the other on the seafront at the Stade.  The food is all locally sourced and is superb,the staff are great and it is really easy to access, plus there are children's books and toys provided, but you are getting what you pay for because it isn't the cheapest so it is very much a treat.  In Bexhill we are big fans of Di Paolo's on the seafront opposite the Delaware, but you walk in past their mouth watering array of home made ice creams and this makes it also an occasional treat to go to because I haven't the heart to deny the kids such amazing ice cream when we do go there.  I was really pleased therefore this week to find a new cafe that we hadn't noticed before on our walk between the library and the play park.

The Wholesome Cafe  was well priced (£1.20 for a filter coffee and £3.50 for a children's mezze platter) had a lovely menu of real food and, much to my delight, vegetarian options were just as prevalent as meaty ones.  I have no problem with going to places that serve meat, but it is annoying when there is only ever one or two things on the menu for me to choose from.  The kids enjoyed their visit there, cleared their plates with no complaints and we also had a chance to rest and read some of our haul of library books before going on to spend a couple of hours at the play park.

I know a lot of parents who stay away from cafe's because they quite rightly feel there are better things to spend their money on, and I used to feel guilty about eating out when I could have just packed more food to take with us.  Now though I have decided to let go of that guilt and say well, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't buy fancy shoes, or handbags or even get my hair cut by a professional, so I'm blooming well going to enjoy a coffee made by someone else from time to time.  And if that coffee also comes with a pitta full of falafel and hummus then that's just something else to not feel guilty about.  So I guess the answer to the title question is 'maybe' - throwing money at a big brand overpriced takeaway coffee feels like a waste, but sitting down in a nice family owned reasonably priced cafe for me feels like a needed respite and worth every penny.

This post isn't sponsored, I just really like these places and I know a lot of my local to me readers would like them too (although maybe I should keep quiet so I can always get a table in them)

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