New Thing 12: Rowntree Park and Reading Cafe

I am heavily biased by the gorgeous sunshine and the fact Emily was having an excellent time with her little friend. Both biased and distracted, as I was fairly focused on not losing a child into the pond / to be attacked by a goose or other park dangers.

The park was made in the 1920s as a gift to the city from Joseph Rowntree (who gifted the rest of the world Fruit Pastilles and Smarties). If my A Level geography teacher was correct Joseph made the factories at one end of the parks and the houses at the other so the employees all stayed fit and had a bit of leisure time in their day.

I’ve been inside one of the Joseph Rowntree houses and they are like little country cottages. They are still saved for social housing as part of the charity and have very strict rules on trees and hedge sizes with big front gardens. This means the whole area feels like a pretty 1920s village rather than a council estate.

Rowntree Park runs close to the river Ouse so we walked along the river side and got some ice cream from a little ice cream boat moored up. With a two and three year old there was some swapping of cones to ensure everyone had the correct colour combinations which somehow ended up with me missing out on the rhubarb I was excited about…nothing to do with the park but I like to complain.

Linking up the main city to the park you can either cross the old bridge by Clifford’s Tower or walk further down the river to a big modern footbridge lined with deep benches. A few people were just chilling out there watching all the boats go by.

After balancing on walls we headed over to the Reading Cafe. This is a really cute little cafe upstairs, it is linked up to York Libraries so you can borrow a book while you’re there, but it also has decent coffee and good cake. The outdoor terrace was busy so we sat inside, but it was on the first floor with views across the ponds and park so a pretty spot to sit and relax.

Unfortunately no photos of the terrace as I mostly spent my time walking between the table and the toilets as toddlers are never quite sure if they need a wee or not.

The park itself had some Arts and Crafts type features. Little bridges and fake cottage style buildings.

There was a decent sized playground with a range of activities for different ages.

Super fun day. 10 out of 10.

New Thing 3: Taco Bell

I overhyped this one in my head, I like tex mex too much for it to live up to my excitement.

However I need to point out that when you Google images search for ‘Taco Bell Picnic’ there are a weird quantity of Taco Bell picnic engagements. So what I only considered worthy of a 4 out of 10 score for a standard Saturday afternoon is somehow worthy of a proposal to many, many other people. So maybe I have misjudged here.

This was my first trip so I went for a combo box with extra sides, like a car park tapas. I ordered a Quasadilla Cravings Box for £7 with some extras

Crispy Beef Taco

Chicken Quesadillas

Spicy chips with a cheese dip

Iced Tea

Churros with a caramel dip

Which I thought was quite a bargain

Plus plain chips and then a cheese wrap for £1 for Emily. It was as bland as it sounds, I think just American cheese rolled up in a wrap.

This was before restaurants and outside dining were allowed so we couldn’t even sit on the picnic benches. Instead we had a picnic blanket set out on the pavement by the drive through so everyone could stare at us, somewhat reducing our dining enjoyment.

The food itself was OK, my American friend informs me the American version is fattier, saltier and greasier and I think I want that.

Fun factor : 4 out of 10 (should have gone to Five Guys)

My pregnancy overhshare part three: the second trimester

The middle bit. The easy bit. The no symptoms bit. The bit where you feel so fine you can forget you are pregnant!

Fucking liars.

Oh my word, every bit of pregnancy sucks. The nausea wears off but for me the headaches and back ache hit in full force around week 15.

I did have a bit of a bump (the picture at the top is week 20). But obviously not as ridiculous as I would get. My so helpful, so friendly, male (and yet somehow expert in pregnancy) colleague enjoyed telling me how I shouldn’t have backache yet as I’m just going to get bigger and how will I cope then??? Yeah but piss off mate.

Turns out that your body goes crazy firing off the hormone Relaxin which can screw up all your ligaments and things in order to let your body stretch out and grow a human. This meant my back temporarily forgot how to do it’s job right. Luckily my body got it’s act together and the back ache was just for a few weeks. Heat pads were my friends.

Oh the headaches. Oh lord. Normally I dose up on paracetamol and ibuprofen and sleep till it goes. I couldn’t take ibuprofen, I couldn’t properly sleep, we are paperless at work so I was staring at a computer screen all day. Hideous. Relentless headaches. I took paracetamol to ease it off and not go insane and have some ability to do my job.

One day I used some of the precious annual leave to have a break from computer headachedom and have at home headachedom. Grazia insta stories told me that when pregnant women take paracetamol they basically fuck up their baby daughters. I went on a bit of a breakdown at this news. The NHS website told me I could have it! I had a cry and a rant on my online friends Mum Facebook group and they talked me around. Basically the research was done on mice taking many times more the dosage (proportionately) a pregnant woman would. And ya know, they are mice and we are humans so not directly representative anyway. So then I calmed down, but took no more paracetamol after that which was HARD as the headaches were a killer for another few weeks.

A good bit was the 20 week scan. I really, really wanted a girl. The scan was two days before my birthday, it was an excellent present and we had a day out to celebrate and bought her her first teddy from Stonegate Teddy Bears and had breakfast at The Ivy. I love breakfast at The Ivy.

I can’t remember much else other than achey, achey tiredness. Working full time was still a real struggle. As was the caffeine restriction. As was the people I work with telling me I wasn’t allowed any caffeine when the NHS says I can have 200mg and other more widespread research says 400mg and that shitty little Nescafe Azera only had 100mg so shut up and let me drink my coffee you twat bags.

Not that it irritated me. I take unsolicited advice about my pregnancy REALLY WELL. Especially from people with a background in finance and not healthcare. Those guys know all the stuff.

So next time you see a pregnant woman with a coffee just ask her if she wants a biscuit. Don’t say anything else, just get her a biscuit.