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Bowden Stores, Great Bowden

It seems to have become a regular event for Millie and I to go for lunch with my mum and dad on a Saturday. They prefer to go to restaurants but I managed to convince them to try a cafe this time so I could write a review. Right on cue, Millie pooped in the car as we were parking up outside Bowden Stores in Great Bowden, near Market Harborough. I left mum and dad to get a table whilst I changed Millie. The changing facilities were in the accessible toilet and the room was big enough to fit the pram in (just). It was really clean and there was a changing table with raised edges but no safety strap. If there was an award for the loudest hand dryer, this place would definitely be in the running! If your baby is a bit sensitive to loud noises then I would suggest using your anti-bac gel instead.

After I came out of the toilet, I realised just how small the coffee shop was and saw a look of dread on my parents face...they told me there were no tables except for a row of chairs on the communal table. We decided to give it a go but it was incredibly awkward. It felt as though we'd come round uninvited to a stranger's house for lunch and we couldn't hear what each other was saying. I really don't understand communal dining if I'm honest. It's just too nouveau for me! 

I was pleased when I saw they had Ikea highchairs but unfortunately they only had two and both were taken. If there'd have been more highchairs the rating would have gone up to very good as the Ikea highchairs are fantastic with an easy-wipe plastic tray and lap belt. Luckily, I am a tad over-organised and had the 'Summer Infant Pop N Sit' in the car. There isn't much space at Bowden Stores to park up the pram so we decided to put it back in the car. Not only is Bowden Stores a coffee shop but it also sells homeware. I do love somewhere that sells cute homeware gifts but I couldn't help but wonder how many tables and chairs they could fit in that space instead.


Summer Infant Pop N Sit attached to a chair

On the menu I noticed they had a children's menu and mention of selling a selection of Ella's Kitchen meals. I had a little look around and saw some Ella's Kitchen puree pouches in the fridge and some of the Ella's kitchen snacks in a basket by the side of the till. I've not seen this anywhere before so I was very impressed that they had something to offer babies as well as children. Whilst having a look around, I noticed plastic bowls, spoons, cups and plates and jars with sweets in as well as a box of colouring pencils and paper. I felt as though Bowden Stores were trying really hard to be baby/child-friendly but I guess they just can't help how small the premises is.




This is the first place I've reviewed where I am genuinely unsure about whether I'd go back with Millie. There just aren't enough tables, space or highchairs to go there when it's busy and as it's such a small place, busy only needs to be two families! However, they've made a real effort to make it baby/child-friendly with little touches like the baby food, colouring pencils and plastic bowls and cutlery. The food was really lovely - we all enjoyed what we ordered and the drinks were good too. Despite giving Bowden Stores mostly 'good' ratings, I have to give it 'average' overall due to how few tables there are. To be honest, I keep changing my mind between 'good' and 'average' overall as it was really lovely! I think this would be a good place to come for a cuppa and cake mid-week when it's quieter. In fact, I think I'll make the effort to go back mid-week and try it out.

Ratings:

Ease of access
Highchairs
Changing facilities
Friendliness of staff
Food & drink
Overall 

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