A few weeks ago, the children and I took the train across the coast to meet up with our friend Becky from Mummy Adventure, and her two youngest children – Finn and Cora. Becky was one of my earliest friends from blogging, the boys were all born a few months apart and we shared a ‘due date month’ with my girls and her Cora – although Cora was born about a month earlier than my girls in the end, because she came early and they went overdue. At the time I was exceptionally cross with Becky for popping her one baby out ahead of my two, but I’m over it – mostly – now!
Since our move to the coast we’re only about forty-five minutes away from Becky’s house, and as the children get on so well and play together beautifully we’ve met up several times. On this occasion Becky offered to show us around Margate, and when we pulled in at the station the three of them were smiling and waving, ready to introduce us to a town that they knew very well.
They were all so excited to see each other! Becky and I laughed about how well the children all coordinated; years ago, as a new mother, I took quite a bit of sartorial inspiration from how Becky dressed her older boys when they were small. We clearly have quite similar taste in kids’ fashion. I always think that Cora looks more like Olympia’s twin than Embla does, especially when they are dressed alike.
Becky, Finn and Cora had promised to introduce us to a local vegan cake shop – the Seaside Kitchen & Cake Parlour. All of the children were adamant that cake had to come first, and so we walked across town to find the cake shop. Margate is quite a funny place in that half of the town is quite shabby and the other half is filled with little boutiques that I would have loved to browse sans children but didn’t dare to enter with six children in tow. It was nonetheless interesting to glance into the windows as we meandered. Seaside Kitchen & Cake Parlour is only about a ten-minute walk from the train station without children but our walk took at least double that as they all insisted on walking along every wall with their arms out for balance, leaping from every verge and hiding in the phone boxes!
We offered the children a choice between a ring doughnut or a cookie, and I ordered a chocolate brownie and a cappuccino made with oat milk. I didn’t try the children’s treats – they were APPALLED at the suggestion – but not a crumb was left on a plate, so I’m confident that they were well enjoyed. As for my brownie, it was absolutely gorgeous – so rich and gooey that I couldn’t quite finish it and was happy to share. As the children sat together upon one of the big, round tables, Becky and I were able to sit adjacent to their table and chat.
After we had eaten, we made our way to the Turner Contemporary. I had – perhaps naively – expressed a desire to explore the gallery whilst we were in Margate, and indeed had entertained visions of all of the children sitting down with sketchbooks and pencils to recreate some of the exhibits. We didn’t get all the way around as the children had difficulty resisting the urge to touch the pieces and it was too stressful to keep reining them in, but they did find a free workshop in the foyer and had the most magnificent time creating art of their own. The ladies running the workshop were so friendly and encouraging with the children, and several of mine ended up right on their laps whilst they developed their work!
We visited The Welcome Chorus twice, once on the way in to the Turner Contemporary and then again on the way out. Interactive art is such a superb way to engage an audience and the children were absolutely entranced. They all queued patiently, for the most part, for their chance to speak into the sculpture and to hear their words echoed back at them. Becky and I were in colour heaven, especially as the sculpture coordinated so beautifully with the children’s outfits!
Eventually they tired of interacting with the sculpture and we migrated across the road to the sea. It was at this point that I began to feel rather smug about my children’s insistence on wearing wellies that morning, and Becky’s expression turned to dismay as we watched the waves wash over her son’s beautiful Bobox leather shoes. She quickly suggested that we retreat to one of the many soft plays along the sea front, to protect any more clothing catastrophes and to dry off. As it was absolutely freezing outside regardless of whether or not one happened to be sea-soaked this struck us all as an excellent idea. Thus it came to pass that Becky and I spent a thoroughly enjoyable few hours chatting over coffee whilst the children scattered in every direction, occasionally making their way back for food.
We made it home an hour late for bed, and the children have spoken of seeing Becky, Finn and Cora often since.