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New York

Butter Lane Cupcakes: Kid-Friendly Bakeries, Park Slope, New York

Butter Lane - kid-friendly bakeries, Park Slope, New York - via

All I need is to hear the word “cupcakes” and “new location”, and I’m there, basically the next weekend. This was the case with the new Park Slope opening of Butter Lane, a cupcakery based, until now, just in the East Village. Butter Lane is known for having something for everyone—you can mix and match your cake base and frostings, meaning that even the pickiest eater can “design” (kind of—they’re pre-made, but you get my point) their perfect cupcake.

Butter Lane - kid-friendly bakeries, Park Slope, New York - via
Cheese loved drawing on the chalk table.

Our afternoon tea break at Butter Lane came on a steamy hot Sunday, after a day in nearby Prospect Park. The cafe is a decent size, with high counters and kitchen stools, decorated with pastel KitchenAid mixers. Nestled in between the tables is a kids’ table and chair set, the perfect size for toddlers. The table is embedded with a chalk drawing area and there is a box of large chalk pieces for little kids to busy themselves while parents line up for cupcakes—and then devour them.

Butter Lane - kid-friendly bakeries, Park Slope, New York - via
Menu – mix and match your cake base and frosting.

As I mentioned earlier, Butter Lane let you choose your perfect cupcake combination. Choose your base cake (vanilla, chocolate, banana), then your frosting. Try a seasonal special (we had options like chocolate malt and key lime) or a classic favourite like caramel, raspberry (my favourite!) and sea salt chocolate.

Butter Lane - kid-friendly bakeries, Park Slope, New York - via
Cheese wants a cupcake.

I find it hard to chose a single cupcake with so many options before me, so I had to get two (one for now, one for later!). I picked up a vanilla cupcake with raspberry frosting, and a banana cupcake with caramel. The first was definitely my favorite, just because I love raspberry so much. The vanilla cake base was light and fluffy, and the frosting just tasted like a whole bunch of raspberries crushed up and spread all over it. Holy moly, amazing. The banana cupcake I saved till later, and it was also really delicious. A dense base with big chunks of banana, and the caramel frosting was light and fluffy—probably not the best combination, in retrospect—next time I’d do banana with cream cheese, or vanilla with caramel, I think.

Butter Lane - kid-friendly bakeries, Park Slope, New York, via
Vanilla with raspberry frosting and banana with caramel frosting.

Butter Lane also do baking classes (in both locations) for both adults and kids. What could be sweeter than that?!

Last bite: The perfect place to stop off for a sweet treat before or after (or before AND after!) a trip to Prospect Park with your kids. Pick your perfect base and frosting to create your dream cupcake.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: Yes, plenty of room for strollers.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No. But, come on. CUPCAKES!

Butter Lane Cupcakes Park Slope
240 7th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Phone: (718) 369 0466
Hours: Daily 11am-8pm

Get directions.

Butter Lane Bakery on Urbanspoon

Bareburger, Cobble Hill: Kid-Friendly Restaurants, Brooklyn, New York

Bare Burger, Cobble Hill

As a vegetarian and fussy eater in general, I really struggle to find good burgers. My husband has been a fan of Bareburger for a while, but I’ve never had the opportunity to go until the new branch opened recently in Cobble Hill. There are about a gazillion burger joints in New York—so what makes Bareburger special? They partner with local artisans and organic farmers to give diners the tastiest, locally-grown and humanely-sourced food possible. The result is healthy and delicious food that will fill you up and make you feel good in the inside—happy tummy, happy soul.

Bare Burger, Cobble Hill
Cheese being totally occupied with sorting the crayons.

The new Bareburger in Cobble Hill is a little tight inside—be prepared to wiggle between tables. We rocked up at prime lunch time and were sat immediately. They have minimal space for strollers, so our jumbo one had to wait patiently for us on the sidewalk. They had room for folding stroller, however, so bring your umbrella stroller or carrier where possible.

Our friendly server couldn’t do enough to make Cheese happy. Crayons, colouring paper and a cute little cup filled with iced water. “Would she like anything else? Juice?” The thoughtfulness was great and made us feel super welcome.

Bare Burger, Cobble Hill
Build your own burgers!

My favourite burger is very simple – patty, tomato, cheese and ketchup. Since I always get the veggie patty, it’s difficult for me to just get the simple burgers I love so much. Anywhere I can build my own burger is guaranteed to become a firm favourite of mine, very fast.

Bare Burger, Cobble Hill
Sharing a banana shake.

Alec and I split a banana shake—it was huge, and half each was the perfect amount. We also loved that it arrived with two glasses and straws, so we could each have our own half-sized shake, meaning less fighting over who drank the most shake.

Bare Burger, Cobble Hill
Fries – enough for three of more people to share.

We also ordered a big side of fries. It came with a bunch of dipping sauces—Cheese tried them all and declared the curry ketchup her favorite.

Bare Burger, Cobble Hill
Build your own burger – quinoa patty, tomato, cheddar cheese and ketchup on a whole grain bun.

My vege burger was fantastic. A hint of spice, tasty cheese, and a whole grain bun. Delicious and filling, and possibly even, dare I say it, healthy?

Bare Burger, Cobble Hill
Alec’s California Burger.
Bare Burger, Cobble Hill
Gluten-free bun, vegan cheese.

My friend who came with us has a gluten and dairy allergy. If you have any similar special dietary requirements, Bareburger is the place for you. My friend had what she described as an amazing burger, with vegan cheese and a tapioca rice bun.

Last bite: Bring your kids and a big appetite for a great burger, shake, fries or salad. Leave your big stroller at home, and enjoy the Bare experience!

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes – but minimal. Bring a folding stroller if possible.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: Yes.
Kids’ menu: Yes.

Bareburger Cobble Hill
145 Court St.,
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: (347) 529 6673
Hours: Sun-Thur 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm

Get directions.

Bareburger on Urbanspoon

Brunch Special: Lisa Greenwald, Co-founder of Chewbeads/Juniorbeads

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Lisa Greenwald, co-founder of Chewbeads and Juniorbeads, necklaces for adults and kids that are safe for kids to chew on. Lisa lives with her husband (and co-founder), Eric, and kids, Benjamin (almost five) and Jordan (almost two), in the West Village, her neighbourhood for the past eight years.

Chewbeads founders Elana and Lisa - via
Elana Schulman, VP of sales, and Lisa Greenwald, co-founder of Chewbeads.

Tell us about Chewbeads and Juniorbeads
Chewbeads was started shortly after my son Benjamin was born. He used to put all of my necklaces in his mouth. I knew that developing a necklace that was safe to chew on was a great idea, so I researched materials that were safe for babies and landed on silicone (commonly used in pacifiers and nipples). After several rounds of samples and revisions, we placed an order for the Holiday 2010 season and we started out receiving and shipping the beads right out of our apartment. We’ve since moved into a small office and outsourced our shipping and fulfillment to a company in New Jersey.

Lisa Greenwald with her husband, Eric, and kids Jordan and Benjamin - via
Lisa Greenwald with her husband, Eric, and kids Jordan and Benjamin

As for Juniorbeads, we started getting a ton of emails and pictures from our moms showing us how much their older kids also loved Chewbeads. They loved accessorizing as much as their moms, except that the Chewbeads were a bit long for them to wear. We decided to introduce a line just for the kids, making them 10 inches shorter, designing some bright vibrant color combinations, and adding a glow-in-the-dark line. Plus, because they are made with the same non-toxic silicone, it’s okay if they put them in their mouths!

Lisa's husband, Eric, in the office - via brunchwithmybaby
Lisa’s husband and co-founder, Eric, in the office.

On to the food! Your kids are almost five and two. At what age did you start taking them out to eat in restaurants?
We pretty much started taking them out to eat immediately. Babies are the easiest to take out, (so go out as much as you can when they are still in the infant car seat!), and we’ve found the hardest age is definitely around 2 (Jordan’s age)—they sit still for as long as it takes for them to eat and that’s it! After that, it’s pretty rough getting them to stay still (at least with boys!).

Lisa and her son, Jordan - via
Lisa and her son, Jordan.

How do you handle eating out with multiple kids?
Benjamin is pretty good at this point, so we try to focus on taking turns entertaining Jordan. We always try to bring something for each of them to do, so we’ll bring some sort of game/entertainment and toy. As soon as we sit down we usually ask for bread and butter, as this usually gets their attention. Benjamin always likes to go to the bar himself and ask for a Sprite with cherries (this usually is pretty entertaining, as most bartenders aren’t sure what to make of him).

Any recent dining experiences you’d perhaps prefer to forget?
I recently had a meal with Jordan that ended with him splayed out on the floor pretty much asking to go to bed!

You live in a such a great neighbourhood for restaurants. What are your fave local places to eat out with the kids?
We love Malaparte and Bakehouse. Malaparte is sort of our go-to spot for Sunday night dinner. The owners are amazing and so accommodating to our kids. Bakehouse is great for brunch, especially if you’re meeting friends. They have big tables and, for the West Village, it’s pretty spacious and stroller-friendly—plus, the food is delicious.

Your fave spot to stop for treats?
We love Milk and Cookies—most amazing ice cream sandwiches (pick your cookies, pick your ice cream, everyone is happy).

Do you have any eating out traditions with your family?
We do go to Malaparte almost every Sunday—I think we’ve had everything on the menu, it’s amazing! In the summer, we go to Soho House on weekend mornings for a family swim and some breakfast.

Fave spot to go for special occasions or events?
During college football season, we try to meet up with friends at a local restaurant called Dublin 6. They have all the games on, a big, open space in the back, and they are happy to have the kids around (they’re located across the street from Bleecker Street Park, so they have to like kids!).

Number one tip for other parents when eating out with kids?
Just relax, and don’t think the meal is going to be peaceful and calm. Go with the flow and try and keep the kids entertained and full. Engage them in the meal whether it be asking for more bread, water, or a new spoon! If they are still at the age when you are holding them, definitely wear Chewbeads! It will keep them entertained and quiet, I swear!

SJP Girls wearing Juniorbeads - via
Sarah Jessica Parker’s twins love their Juniorbeads!

Lark: Kid-Friendly Cafes, Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, NY

Lark, Ditmas Park - kid-friendly brooklyn
Bright, roomy interior.

A cafe that caters especially to families that doesn’t compromise on style. No, it’s not a mystical creature, it does indeed exist, in the form of a sweet little cafe called Lark, in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. Started by Kari Browne, a journalist, and Lori Kranczer, a lawyer, Lark was born when the two mothers realised there was nowhere in their neighbourhood for families to go to relax, connect and have fun.

We dropped by Lark on a Saturday afternoon after playing in nearby Prospect Park.

Lark, Ditmas Park - kid-friendly brooklyn
Delectable delights – doughnuts by Dough, pasties, artisan pop tarts.

At the front counter we were delighted to see locally-sourced food such as our favourite Dough doughnuts. Lark also features Blue Marble ice-cream, Ovenly cookies and cupcakes, Colson pastries, Betty Bakery cookies, ring-a-dings and twinks, Magpies pop tarts and Stumptown coffee.

Lark, Ditmas Park - kid-friendly brooklyn
Lemon pop tart and chocolate croissant.

I tried a lemon pop tart, while Alec tested out a chocolate croissant and a coffee. My pop tart was like a giant shortbread cookie, filled with lemon jam – both Cheese and I really enjoyed the sugar hit. Alec, who has a serious love of croissants, pronounced that his treat was “really good” – as evidenced by the speed in which it was inhaled.

Lark, Ditmas Park - kid-friendly brooklyn
Cheese + pop tart. Clearly a hit.

A really great feature of Lark is the events that they hold in the cafe and adjoining event space. Lark offers daily sing-a-longs and story time, as well as live jazz on Saturday afternoons. Performers include well-known kiddie faves such as AudraRox, Music For Aardvarks and Rolie Polie Guacamole. They also host new parent meet-ups and Babes and Beer Happy Hour, which sounds right up our alley!

Lark, Ditmas Park
Honey, Dear – vintage jazz, 4-5pm Saturday afternoons.

Being a Saturday afternoon, we were lucky to be in time to catch vintage jazz duo, Honey, Dear, who performed some cruisy, bluesy tunes, a perfect low-key compliment to the relaxed atmosphere.

Lark, Ditmas Park - kid-friendly brooklyn
Cheese rocking out and eating pop tart. Toddler heaven.

As an added bonus, Cheese adored the jazz music. She was totally engrossed in watching the performance (and eating my pop tart), so it was a really enjoyable afternoon for us all.

Lark is constantly adding new events to its already jam-packed schedule. Coming up is a floral arrangement class for kids (junior family members will have fun with flowers, such as making a bouquet), which is being run in conjunction with Stems (the floral shop connected to Sycamore, the bar). Summer at Lark heralds even more new events, including a revolving art exhibit featuring local artists.

Last bite: Lark is your go-to cafe for relaxing with family and friends. Catch a kiddie class or weekend jazz, or just stop by for some seriously good treats.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: Yes.
Kids’ menu: No.

1007 Church Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11218
Phone: (718) 469-0140
Hours: Mon-Thur 7am-7pm, Fri 7am-8pm, Sat 8am-8pm, Sun 8am-7pm

Get Directions.

Lark on Urbanspoon

Best Restaurants near the American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

One of the best places to take kids of all ages is the American Museum of Natural History. We’ve been taking Cheese there since she was in utero – true story. Whether you’re taking your baby, toddler or bigger kid, there’s literally something for everyone to enjoy. Babies are happy to look at ceiling fans, so the constant changing scenery of exhibits makes them happy to just watch everything pass by. Toddlers love the dinosaurs and giant whales, and bigger kids can get involved in the exhibits.

Before a trip to the museum, you really need to food up to get through the day. Instead of eating at the museum cafe, check out these nearby restaurants that you and the kids will all enjoy.

Sarabeth's UWS
Cheese enjoying her grilled cheese and fries at Sarabeth’s West.

Best elegant dining: Sarabeth’s West
Book a table for a finer dining experience at Sarabeth’s West, where kids are welcome (and usually present, in abundance!). Try their four flower juice and the ricotta pancakes or omelette. No need to order for toddlers – they’ll steal your delicious brunch right off your plate. Ask for a kid’s sippy cup to entertain young ones and buy you a bit more time.

Sarabeth’s West
423 Amsterdam Avenue (80th Street)
New York
Phone: (212) 496 6280
Hours: Mon-Sat 8am-10:30pm, Sun 8am–10pm

Isabella's, Upper West Side. Kid-friendly restaurants, New York.
Me and my Cheese at Isabella’s.

Best Friendly Staff: Isabella’s
Not only is the food amazing at Isabella’s, but the staff really go above and beyond to make families feel at home. Waitstaff happily entertained Cheese when we last visited, as well as delivering fast service and perfectly cooked food. FYI I had an omelette and it was devine. Last tip: be sure to book a table as they’re super popular and get busy on weekends.

359 Columbus Ave
New York
Phone: (212) 724 2100
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm Sat-Sun 10am-11pm

Sugar and Plumm, kid-friendly New York
Bright, roomy interior.

Most appealing to little (and big!) kids: Sugar and Plumm
“Purveyors of yumm”, Sugar and Plumm are bright, cheerful and full of treats. They deliver a great brunch menu, sure to delight everyone in the party, regardless of their age. Kids are catered for with an innovative menu, sippy cups, crayons and a menu to colour in. The drawback: no reservations, so expect a long wait on weekends.

Sugar and Plumm
377 Amsterdam Ave
New York
Phone: (212) 787 8778
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-10pm, Sat-Sun 8:15am-11pm

Shake Shack UWS, New York
Don’t take the shake from the baby. It’s bad.

Best fast food option: Shake Shack UWS
Fast food doesn’t necessarily mean bad food, as proven by the ever-popular Shake Shack. Right outside the museum, and only a block from Central Park, this is the best bet if you’re in a hurry. Solid burgers, fries and shakes will please most fussy eaters. The shakes are an especially big hit with the toddler crowd. They have high chairs and change tables, plus a downstairs rec room with extra seating, so be sure to check it out if the street level area is packed.

Shake Shack, UWS
366 Columbus Avenue
(at West 77th St)
New York
Phone: (646) 747 8770
Hours: Daily, 10:45am-11pm

Two Little Red Hens: Kid-friendly Bakeries, Upper East Side, New York

Little Red Hen, UES, Kid-friendly Cupcakes, New York
Cupcakes and cakes on display.

A little cupcakery on the Upper East Side, Two Little Red Hens is big on great-tasting treats.

We dropped by after a day in nearby Central Park for a sugar hit to get us home. It’s a tiny little storefront, but still has room for a few strollers.

Little Red Hen, UES, Kid-friendly Cupcakes, New York
Famous for their red velvet.

Two Little Red Hens is known for their red velvet cupcakes. People (yes, sane ones) trek to their bakery from all over the city just for these cupcakes.

Little Red Hen, UES, Kid-friendly Cupcakes, New York
A little dining area, with room for strollers.

If you don’t like cake, this is not the place for you. Note the display – cake, cake, and more cake. And some cookies for good measure. The cupcakes are available in regular and mini sizes, perfect for a small bite of cake if that’s all you feel like.

Little Red Hen, UES, Kid-friendly Cupcakes, New York
Crowded area to buy the cupcakes.

On the afternoon we visited, there was a queue for the cupcakes, but the wait wasn’t long. It is a small space though, so be prepared to squish in – and eat lots of cake!

Last bite: Cupcakes galore, with just enough room to sit down with the kids for an afternoon (or morning!) treat.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Two Little Red Hens
1652 2nd Ave,
New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 452 0476
Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am-9pm, Sat 8am-9pm, Sun 8am-7pm

The Blue Stove: Kid-friendly Restaurants, Wiliamsburg, New York

The Blue Stove, Williamsburg - kid-friendly brooklyn

Here’s a good generalisation for you. Aussies love their pies. After two years living in the US, my husband and I really crave the occasional savoury pie, ala Aussie-style.

We finally ventured to Williamsburg to test drive The Blue Stove, after hearing that they might satiate our pie cravings.

The Blue Stove, Williamsburg - kid-friendly brooklyn
The Blue Stove – super-cute, old-fashioned interior.

The Blue Stove is such a sweet, old-fashioned store, with a serious hipster edge (hey, it’s in Williamsburg! Of course it’s a hipster pie store!). We loved the rustic wood, long communal dining bench, and pies tied up with string.

The Blue Stove, Williamsburg - kid-friendly brooklyn
Pies of the day!

The pot pie range is wide – savouries like vegetable, pulled pork and chicken. They also have a wide range of seasonal fruit pies, such as apple, strawberry rhubarb and key lime. Our advice – you need to try both, so go with friends so you can share both savoury and sweet.

The Blue Stove, Williamsburg - kid-friendly brooklyn
Waiting for pies.

I ordered a vegetable pot pie, and it was delicious. Root vegetables delicately seasoned with flaky pastry. The only thing it was missing was a good dousing of tomato sauce (that’s ketchup, US friends). Or maybe this is just how Aussies eat it. Anyway – if you love your pies with tomato sauce/ketchup, BYO.

The Blue Stove, Williamsburg - kid-friendly brooklyn
Vegetable pot pie.
The Blue Stove, Williamsburg - kid-friendly brooklyn
Cheese tries her first pie – tucks right in, like a little Aussie.

I also ordered an iced tea. I wasn’t a fan of the flavour they had already brewed, so the helpful staff offered to make me my iced tea of choice from scratch. Yay!

The Blue Stove, Williamsburg - kid-friendly brooklyn
Teas, ready for brewing!
The Blue Stove, Williamsburg - kid-friendly brooklyn
Specially-brewed iced tea.
The Blue Stove, Williamsburg - kid-friendly brooklyn
Trying my iced tea.

Moving on to the dessert round, we split a strawberry rhubarb pie (make sure to ask for ice-cream on top). It was everything a pie should be – stuffed with fruit and bursting out of the pastry. Yum. We will all be back for more!

The Blue Stove, Williamsburg - kid-friendly brooklyn
Strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert.

Last bite: The Blue Stove is all about pies – so come hungry and be prepared to eat your fill. Park the stroller and balance your little ones on your lap while they dig into your delicious pie.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No. But pieeeeees!

The Blue Stove
415 Graham Ave
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 766-7419
Hours: Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, Sat-Sun 10am–9pm

Get directions.

The Blue Stove on Urbanspoon

Brunch Special: Sammy Smith Coleman, Co-founder of Bottle Rocket Stroller Tours

Today’s Brunch Special is courtesy of Sammy Smith Coleman, co-founder of Bottle Rocket Stroller Tours. Sammy lives with her husband, Matt Coleman, and their daughter, Edie, 21 months, in a brownstone in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

Sammy with husband, Matt, and daughter, Edie.
Sammy with husband, Matt, and daughter, Edie.

Tell us about your business, Bottle Rocket Stroller Tours:
We take mamas (papas and other caregivers too!) and their dreamlets on tours of museums, galleries, parks, architecture and food establishments.

Bottle Rocket Stroller Tour
Bottle Rocket Stroller Tour in action.

What inspired you to start the stroller tour business?
I’ve always dreamed of running a business and was at a time in my life where I felt like I needed to balance caring for my daughter and doing something for myself. A friend approached me and asked if I’d partner with her and I immediately said yes!

What are some of your upcoming tours?
We have a High Line Park tour on May 20th, The Jewish Museum of Art on May 22nd, Neighborhood Food tours, June 5th and 12th, Park Slope Architecture on June 20th and 28th and MoMA on June 26th. (Check out all of BRST’s upcoming tours online.)

What do the food stroller tours involve?
We tour local kid-friendly food shops and restaurants. For example, on the Cobblestone Brooklyn tour, our last stop was Brooklyn Farmacy, where they made mini egg creams for the kids. Our tours try to accommodate dietary restrictions that both the moms and kids might have. There was one mom who couldn’t eat dairy so she had a non-dairy drink at Farmacy and ate bread with local honey when we stopped at Stinky Brooklyn. Most of the places we tour will have an alternative option when needed.

How should parents taking your stroller tours prepare for their kids’ snack-attacks?
We always encourage mom/caregivers to bring snacks for their kids, especially on our outdoor tours. We can’t guarantee that there will be something that all the babies/kids will eat but we try. Most of our tours are late in the afternoon so most go home to have dinner. We can always recommend local kid-friendly restaurants to have dinner at after if anyone is interested.

Sammy and her daughter, Edie.
Sammy and her daughter, Edie.

On to food! What have you found are the easiest/hardest ages to eat out with Edie?
Easiest age was by far was when she was a few weeks old, up till she started walking at around 12 months. It became more challenging after that since she wanted to explore and run around.

Any stories of an especially good or bad dining out experience with Edie?
My favorite story was at Rucola a few months ago. We were waiting for my husband to arrive and Edie saw him through the window walking towards the restaurant. She started yelling, “PAPA!! PAPA!” at the top of her lungs and the whole place started laughing. As soon as he walked in she got even louder and Matt felt like the proudest papa around. So far we haven’t had any really bad experiences outside the typical screaming and throwing stuff.

Fave local restaurants to eat out with your family?
Building on Bond, Moo Burger, Watty & Meg. Buttermilk Channel in Carroll Gardens is amazing with kids! We also love Ted & Honey, and sitting outside at Bar Tabac.

Fave spot to stop for treats?
One Girl Cookie, Brooklyn Farmacy, Betty Bakery, scones from Building on Bond, and ice-cream from Van Leeuwen.

Edie Coleman.
Edie Coleman.

Do you have any eating out traditions with your family?
My husband makes pancakes and waffles a lot on the weekends. We’ll have to start some traditions! We did Friday night pizza at the mall when I was a kid, I have such great memories of it!

Number one tip for other parents when eating out with kids
Don’t leave home without books, snacks, a zipper pouch full of random stuff she’s never seen before, and ask for your kid’s meal a little early – but not too early so they finish way ahead of you!

Mother’s Day 2013

I don’t feel like I’m honest enough about how hard being a parent to a toddler is on a day-to-day basis. I post pretty pictures on Facebook and Instagram, and tweet cute or funny things that Eloise says or does. The reality is I love my baby girl with every ounce of my being – but some days are just. so. incredibly. hard. Physically exhausting. Mentally draining. Emotionally destroying. The good days and bad days mix with no rhyme or reason, and just when you think you’ve got everything under control and you’re in the clear, whammo, another bad day floors you to your knees.

I’m prefacing my post with this because Mother’s Day was one of those days. Alec went above and beyond to organise the perfect weekend for me. A cupcake from my favourite bakery. A surprise massage. Home-cooked lunch, and a surprise dinner at a vegan restaurant I’ve been dying to try. And then Eloise’s two-year molars started to come in – at least, that’s what we’re guessing is going on. Now we’re back to a whingy, not-sleeping, screaming bundle of toddler.

My Mother’s Day was filled with the humbling reminder that my enjoyment of life is – for the moment at least – highly dependant on the happiness of my child. Sad baby = no-one enjoys the day.

We still tried to make the most out of it. Got out in the sun, went to a few parks, had a wonderful dinner together after Eloise went to bed. It was not the Mother’s Day I would have wanted, but, then again, that’s not the toddler I was given.

So here are my carefully edited photos that tell a different story about my Mother’s Day.

20 takes later, this was the best shot. Notice she’s trying to escape?
Bounce up and down like an idiot, and eventually you’ll get a cranky toddler to smile
The other way to get an angry toddler to smile – let them do what they want. “Walk, walk walk!” You got it, baby!

Sugar and Plumm: Kid-friendly Restaurants, UWS, New York

Entering Sugar and Plumm is like stepping into a a modern day Willy Wonka Land. Bright, cheerful and colourful, with delicious-looking sweets. Even as an adult, the candy land that is Sugar And Plumm has a strong allure for me, evoking memories of childhood candy stores, long summer days and running wild with friends.

Sugar and Plumm, kid-friendly New York
Bright, roomy interior.

Sugar And Plumm is divided into two sections – the restaurant and store. On weekends expect to wait for a table, so get there early or leave your name and hope you get seated before the kids lose the plot (or talk you into buying a pile of candy from the store).

Sugar and Plumm, kid-friendly New York
I want it all!

The good news is that they serve treats like ice-cream, macarons and cake in the store section, so if they’re crazy busy on the day you visit, you can always grab something sweet to eat in the park, and come back another day to sit down in the restaurant.

Sugar and Plumm, kid-friendly New York
Sugar and Plumm, kid-friendly New York
Adorable shop.

Once seated, everything runs smoothly. Cheese is brought a sippy cup with water, crayons, and a kids’ menu she could colour in.

Sugar and Plumm, kid-friendly New York
Using the big-girl fork.

One tip – if your kid is eating with cutlery and not yet ready for an adult fork, bring a toddler fork with you. Cheese stole my fork and tried to stab herself in the throat with it, trying to feed herself scrambled eggs.

Sugar and Plumm, kid-friendly New York
Burger with added side of fries.
Sugar and Plumm, kid-friendly New York
Crunch toast.
Sugar and Plumm, kid-friendly New York
Scrambled eggs in brioche birds nest.
Sugar and Plumm, kid-friendly New York
Plain jane vanilla shake.

We ordered a range of dishes, including burgers, the crunch toast, wholegrain salad (vegan and gluten-free) and a vanilla Plain Jane shake. Everything came out quickly and was well-cooked, as you’d expect from a quality restaurant. Cheese was given the eggs-in-a-basket, scrambled eggs in brioche toast, which came with another sippy cup (filled with milk this time). She loved the eggs but found the brioche toast too hard and crispy to eat.

Last bite: A crowd-pleaser for kids of all ages, get in early to secure a table, and enjoy a family-friendly meal that will leave everyone with a sweet taste in their mouth.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes – on a weekday, plenty of room for giant strollers. On weekends, stick to one that folds.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: Yes.
Kids’ menu: Yes.

Sugar and Plumm
377 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY
Phone: (212) 787 8778
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-10pm, Sat-Sun 8:15am-11pm

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