My Babbling Coffee Date

Janey Lloyd

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Gently manoeuvring the pram’s wheels around the café’s tables interrupting customer’s peaceful sips, I started to feel exhausted after my endless apologies. After an ear ringing hungry screech in Next, I had a mad Supermarket Sweep dash to find a quiet café to feed Joel before he flooded the pram with his tears.

Finding there was no room in the inn at bigger cafes and clueless about the best cafes for little ones, I ended up in a small café flustered and praying they accepted card payment for orders under a fiver.

Coffee and lunch dates these days no longer involve sitting for hours with a
friend discussing outfits for nights out and debating whether to have a cake or
not. I’m now too busy feeding, and worrying if that smell is coming from my
coffee date. Also, the paranoia that Joel’s grump will interrupt the teenager’s
I'm too busy worrying if that smell is coming from my coffee date...romance over their loved up lattes, started to take away the enjoyment of this 'treat'.

Determined not to sacrifice this weekly social event, I've been on a mission
to find the best local cafes for us and our little ones. It’s important we can still
have our caffeine refuel ahead of arm wrestling over January bargains!

Here's a list of the cafes I’ve visited which I have found perfect for grabbing a quick cuppy with Joel.

Café Play Perth

Princes Street, Perth

Open Tuesday – Saturday 09:30 – 4:30pm

This café’s opening has been the most anticipated event recently for local
families. When we first walked in, we got chatting with the lovely Louisa who
runs the café with her husband David. Along with being Mum to their two year
old boy Jackson, she is aiming to be “the best that we can be” for children,
communities and parents.

Janey Bonjela - Joel High ChairWith both a baby and bigger kid fun section, the café certainly offers enough entertainment for us to enjoy hot beverages in peace.

Whilst working alongside local suppliers to avoid duplicate gift products, Louisa and her team focus highly on health and safety for all their customers and staff. The entrance door handle is higher up than usual to stop any curious wee monkeys escaping, there’s a pram park to stop any trips, healthy food options, not too hot water taps and there’s always a first aider available.

I felt relieved knowing there was a first aider at the café when Joel knocked over my cup of tea. Luckily it wasn’t hot, and I got to walk about the town after looking like I had wet myself, where of course I bumped into numerous people that I know.

Louisa’s background in charity and tourism has resulted in exciting future plans for Cafe Play and it is very much a case of “watch this space”. She is keen to utilise the big activity room for family- based activities such as family yoga and storytelling plus they can now host birthday parties.

This unique café is an excellent addition to the café community through
current loyalty to local businesses and successful teamwork. From the beautiful décor on the wall to the friendly service, it’s easily noticed that a lot
of attention has been spent on every detail towards creating a fun and safe
escape for those needing one.

This is also the same spot where Joel fell in and out of love with a two year old girl who was more interested in her Fruit Shoot than his dribbling smile.

The Mustard Seed Café

Riggs Road, Perth

Open Monday 8:30am – 3pm

Tues & Thur 8:30am -7pm

Wed, Fri & Sat 8:30am – 4pm

After my weekly weight in at my slimming group, I usually come in here with a spring in my step or an even heavier head over a pound gain. With the big car park right outside it’s easy to bring the car seat in quickly especially if it’s bad weather and you want to avoid getting everyone soaked.

The inside and outside table area is spacious with enough room left for both prams and wheelchairs. Our perfect spot is on the outside right beside the bookshop so we can have a nose as we eat. This is also the same spot where Joel fell in and out of love with a two year old girl who was more interested in her Fruit Shoot than his dribbling smile. His broken heart was soon healed by his lunch which we were able to warm up in the microwaves provided.

It’s a mixture of both self and table service here. I’ve found when I’ve gone
myself if I’m needing some extra help the staff are more than happy to help.
There's also excellent baby changing facilities with a toilet inside for
adults too. I get more overjoyed these days about there being a toilet in the baby changing than when I get questions right on University Challenge.

There’s a lovely relaxing atmosphere in the café and a wonderful range of food options including a salad bar. With Joel being the main attraction for the café’s clientele, I can eat my lunch in peace as he signs autographs.

Perth Theatre Café

Mill Street, Perth

Open Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm

My late Grandmother loved to go to the theatre for lunch with friends, and
with the recent refurbishment it’s been made possible for me to keep up this
tradition with Joel. With the clever layout of the tables I can easily slot the
pram beside the table and highchairs are easily accessible to the side. The
added advantage of table service means I can unload and get Joel’s tummy fed whilst my lunch is getting made.

Janey Food - Joel with Spoon to MouthTo the right when you enter the café, there's now a playpen containing a
mixture of toys and books for all ages. It's helped to calm a crying Joel down
after a man with a white beard gave him flashbacks of that awful man Santa.
If you get a table opposite the playpen this is ideal for keeping an eye whilst
you munch.

There’s a lot going on in the theatre for all ages and this café is a great place to stop for refreshments as parenthood in the limelight is hungry stuff.

Tesco Café

Edinburgh Road, Perth

Open Monday to Saturday 8am -6pm

Sunday 9am-6pm

On quite a few occasions now after nipping in for a few bits and bobs, I’ve had
to "run Forrest ruuun!" to the baby-changing due to that familiar smell of a back splattering nappy. Normally afterwards I will continue to do my shop, but a few weeks ago my empty tummy directed me towards the café for a quick bite.

The café has a selection of tables and chairs along with comfy leather sofas.
With the big open windows this provides great entertainment for our little
nosy parkers. There’s also a great selection of healthy options on their menu.
Also, with every purchase you can get a free Heinz food pouch if you’re
unprepared. It’s a good thing they do because I wasn’t up for sharing my fish
finger wrap with Joel.

The Eatrium at Gillies

Mill Street, Perth

Open Monday - Saturday 09:30am-4:30pm 

Sunday 1pm-4pm

One of my favourite smells is the scent of new furniture as you enter the ground floor of Gillies. This lovely café is situated on the second floor and the view is heaven for those who love to people watch. Years ago my friend and I sat right beside the window watching bodybuilders outside Perth Concert Hall applying their fake tan in preparation for a contest going on inside. The advantage of being sat high up meant we could stare away without being spotted as we scoffed our cake.

There’s a choice of comfy booths for privacy when feeding, and colourful tables and chairs, so depending on the mood of your little one you can hide away or be involved in the action. The menu offers light lunches, all day breakfast options and Afternoon Tea. For smaller ones you can request smaller options and they even have “baby” mochas available.

We visit the Eatrium quite often and the staff never fail to welcome us in with
a smile and make time to get a giggle from Joel.

Baby Cafes Janey - Joel playing on the floorSub Rosa Patisserie and Coffee Lounge 

St John’s Place Perth

Open Monday 10am-4pm

Tuesday - Friday 10am-4:30pm

Sunday 12pm-4pm

I decided to visit this local independent café after hearing this is a popular
meeting place for other Mums and that the homemade food is exceptional.
The first time I had one of their brioche sandwiches I was glad I had broken my no carbs rule and also my no sugar rule for the scone.

This café is perfect if you are meeting up with quite a few friends with prams
and needing a bit of space. With a blackboard and baby toys in the play section you can have some peace whilst your mini artists get creative.

I really felt at ease on my first visit and we were made to feel very welcome
with Joel making himself at home whilst he crawled about. We will certainly
be making Sub Rosa a regular place for us to unwind after tiring shopping trips and full nappies demand so.


After visiting these places I feel even more comfortable and confident taking
my new coffee date along. A hungry cry no longer causes the panic as I realise his cry will always be louder to me and he’s just doing what babies do.

Being able to still enjoy the odd visit gives me that much needed break and a chance to encounter more normality. It’s an important part of remembering to be 'me' and letting my smiley wee boy enjoy the attention.

In a way I also feel like we’re getting some element of culture as I wipe the
tuna mayonnaise off my face and Joel chews his shoe.

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