Be honest, dear Mummies, we all love that: having a time only for us! Those precious moments where you can relax, be yourself, just enjoy yourself. “That was my original idea, acknowledged Emily with a smile, “I thought about a choir for mums – that the babies love it too is fantastic, but really just a side effect!”
Passionate about music, Emily is a mother of two adolescents who is warm and full of energy. Her voice is soft and yet powerful; she feels the rhythm as she sings and shares it with all the mums and babies who join in at her Rattle & Hum Choir.
“It’s amazing what singing can do with you,” underlines Emily, “it makes you feel good, you dive into another world… and the babies love their mum’s voice, they don’t mind if you don’t sound exactly in tune!” Continue Reading
The Family Centre is slightly hidden behind some trees and bushes. These also give the place a cosy garden-atmosphere when you are outside the centre. And in fact, it’s a special spot, once the gate and two doors passed, you discover a rather unexpected venue. A giant place, like an enormous tent decorated with windows to see the sky… I can barely describe this incredible construction.
Entering Donnington Doorstep Family Centre feels like a harbour where you simply want to sit down to a cup of coffee and let your children play. A baby-corner, messy-play area, some tables with toys or craft activities, a place with books and some role-play equipment… your kids will be spoiled for choice!
For whom? Mums, dads, grandparents and carers with kids! There is also a Youth Group (read more: Good to know!).
Where? Townsend Square, OX4 4BB, Oxford. Contact: 72 77 21
Opening times? The family drop-in sessions are every day except for Sunday. Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri 10am-3pm, Wed 10am-1pm, Sat 10.30am-3pm.
What for? Lots of fun plays for Toddlers. The volunteers prepare every day tables with new activities. But the kids can also play outside, in a sandpit, cruise around with little cars or do some painting. Some days, the Centre offers special activities: Mondays Cooking in the afternoon, Tuesdays Singing with Lizzie (1.30pm-2pm), Wednesdays Bonfire in the garden, Saturdays Cooking session (11am). One of Donnington Doorsteps favourite activities is the messy-play (inside or outside). Be prepared and do not dress up your children in their best Sunday-clothes, in spite of some aprons to protect and some wellies to go out in the sand or if it’s raining in the mud 🙂 Continue Reading
If you’re in East Oxford, you’ve got access to many family-friendly places, including parks, restaurants, and cultural gems. One of the best places to spend an hour or two with children is the Pegasus Café, located on the first floor of the Pegasus Theatre. It’s no secret that it’s great for families – in fact, every time I’ve been there, every table included children!
The main menu includes sandwiches, soup, salads (but no hot mains), and cakes/treats, as well as tea and coffee. The kids’ menu features easy favourites such as cheese on toast and ham sandwiches. The Pegasus Café has free WiFi if you would like to stay a while and get online. Staff are always friendly and helpful and will bring your order to your table if you need assistance. Continue Reading
During the last 70 years the world around birth has definitely changed: mothers are encouraged to eat and drink during labour, fathers are allowed and even expected to attend the birth, mothers can breastfeed confidently in public, parents are advised to choose their birthplace carefully…
Thanks also to the campaigns, contri-butions and engagements by the National Childbirth Trust, better known under the name NCT, these facts are now established. Set up 1957, the charity counts today 5,000 volunteers and more than 100,000 members in 320 local branches.
NCT’s main idea: Support for new parents on your doorstep for the first 1,000 days – which means from conception to the second birthday of your child.
What does NCT offer in Oxford? Different courses and activities are set up by the local branch: ante-and postnatal courses, a group about home birth support, Baby cafés (Breastfeeding support), First Aid courses, Bumps & Babies group, Speed Bump and Coffee groups. NCT Oxford offers also a hire service for Valley Cushions (to help mothers who have difficulties to sit after giving birth).
What are Bumps & Babies, Speed Bumps and Coffee Morning groups? One of the main aims of NCT is to offer places where parents-to-be and young parents can meet one another. There is nothing worse than to stay alone with this new and often overwhelming experience of expecting or having a baby.
- Coffee Mornings come off twice a month at a volunteer’s home. It’s a friendly and informal meeting between parents! Drop in whenever you can make it with your baby from 10am to noon. Need to talk about bad nights, want to have some good advice about weaning or just happy to have a chat with other parents – this is the right place to be! There’re two Coffee Morning Groups in Oxford: one South/East Oxford, another in West Oxford.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sarah)
- Bumps & Babies takes place every Tuesday from 10.30am until noon at Wesley Memorial Church (New Inn Hall Street – OX1 2DH). Pregnant or with a tiny one (up to walking age), you are more than welcome! In a pleasant atmosphere there’re some toys for the babies and refreshments for the adults!
Contact: email@example.com (Hannah)
- Speed Bumps is a social event for parents-to-be, in the spirit of “speed dating” but simply for couples who are expecting a baby. Keep your eyes and ears open, the local NCT Team do their best to set up the next one in the summer of this year!
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Sarah)
Do I need to have a membership? Continue Reading
In my continuing search for Oxford’s best baby-friendly restaurants and cafés, one of the places I keep returning to again and again is the Jam Factory. I first discovered this fabulous café-restaurant when my baby was a tiny tot and I was a nervous new mother. With their friendly and attentive service, they made me feel that both I and my baby were very welcome. Staff are great at chatting to babies and toddlers and they’ll also take it upon themselves to do you little services here and there – like bringing you hot water to warm your baby’s bottle or delivering your drink to your table if they see your hands are full and you can’t make it to the bar. Continue Reading
“I discovered Rainbow House more than twenty years ago, when my first son was little and I was looking for a place to meet friends who were living on the opposite side of Oxford” relates Katherine, the coordinator of Rainbow House. And in fact, this great café is just behind Cornmarket street, where you have to change buses when you want to go from one side of the town to the other.
Based in the Church Hall of Wesley Memorial Church, supported but not run by the church, Rainbow House opens three days a week to welcome Under 5’s with their parents or carers. The friendly atmosphere, home-made food for reasonable prices, and a large space for children to play add up to a relaxing site in central Oxford.
“I like having lunch with my children here” highlights Rebecca who regularly meets friends there. “Once the children are fed they can play and you can have lunch, maybe also a coffee, and at the same time you chat with other mums!” Another strength of Rainbow House, is that you feel at home without having to clear up tables afterwards! “But we kindly ask you to bring the dishes and cutlery in the boxes provided after your lunch” asks Katherine who is also in charge of the team of volunteers. Generally four volunteers, two in the kitchen and two at the buffet, help her to keep Rainbow House running! Continue Reading
The Children’s Library in central Oxford is a lovely place to go to with your kids. It’s situated at the first floor of Oxford’s Central Library (Westgate, OX1 1DJ).
Whether you plan library-trip or you make a break during a busy shopping morning – the Children’s Library is a good and usually calm place to pop into.
For the Under 5s: There is a specific room for babies and toddlers. A very cosy and bright place with giant cushions and little chairs, it offers plenty of books in all sizes!
Activities: The library team organises a range of attractive events, especially during holiday-times (craft activities, story-times…), and one takes place twice a week: Rhymetime! Whether your baby is just a few months old or your toddler wants to discover everything -Rhymetime is an excellent short activity (30 minutes). Continue Reading