A possible saviour called Cupcake

Cupcake 8-044My friend calls winter ‘soft-play-season’ and she dreads it every year.  Year one of having children I thought she was just being miserable, and I loved watching my baby boy smile as some slightly clownish adults sang nursery rhymes to him in a church hall.  In Year two I was too preoccupied with the new baby in our lives to care much where we were or what we were doing. Now in Year 3, with two children and myself desperate to leave the house on these typical English drizzly days, I am pulling my hair out about where to go and dread the inevitable soft-play options.  It is true — the kids have fun, but at the sacrifice of my sanity.  I find myself looking around wondering sometimes what has happened to my life?  I know that I’m lucky to be hanging out with these two brilliant people, but is it a requisite that places for children should totally alienate adults? I realise I’m sounding grumpy (seriously … if you could see the weather!) but do not fret, here I come to the good bit…

Since moving South I have often heard of the place ‘Cupcake’ (in Putney and Wandsworth) in association with descriptors such as ‘haven’ and ‘God-send’.  And so last week I asked whether it was OK to come and check it out (Cupcake is a members only club and I’m not a member …. yet!).  The minute I walked in I felt a sort of happiness come over me. This didn’t feel loud (from noise or from an interiors-carnage) — no this felt like being in a (stylish) friend’s living room… only a bit bigger and with a bar to order lattes, brownies, babyccinos or something for lunch — perfect!

And that’s not all.  There was also: a Snug — a cosy room with a few more toys and a ball-pool for the kids, a Creche — ofsted registered where members can leave their children for up to 4 hours (of which 2 can be off-site), a Gym and Studio with the typical equipment, a special ‘lounger’ where Mums and (especially) Mums-to-be can lie down for a comfort power-snooze, and lastly (and this is where it gets really good) an array of treatment rooms.

Cupcake was deliberately set up to support women in that most fabulous life transition from ‘lady with only herself to worry about’ to ‘Mum with baby/children to worry about’.  After speaking to Mums they found that they wanted a place where they could: have some me-time, re-tone their bodies after pregnancy, have special ante-natal fitness classes during pregnancy, have bespoke spa-treatments, have a chance to talk about the new challenges in their lives and to learn ways to deal with them, and most importantly meet some like-minded Mums –  all in a welcoming, child-friendly environment (not much hey!).

Amazingly that’s just what Cupcake has achieved.  They offer a wide variety of spa-treatments (and have the largest selection of specialist Pregnancy treatments in London) and have a really broad spectrum of classes, seminars and kids activities.  Whilst there I attended a puppet-show (which my children loved), but I love the sound of ‘Brainstorm in a Teacup’ where women have a chance to discuss business ideas to help each other find answers to any worries or hurdles they have come up against (I do find having children brings out an entrepenerial streak in many women!).  There is also a packed fitness-class schedule and talks which cover typical concerns e.g. “Establishing Good Sleeping Habits” or “Finding the right Childcare”.

What struck me most about Cupcake was how everyone knows each other.  The fact that it is a members club means you get to see the same people there and immediately a community is formed.  All the people working there know everyone (including the children) by name and it therefore feels so much more personal.  I can’t believe that my birthday has just passed otherwise Cupcake membership would definitely be on my wish-list.

For details on membership or the treatments available (which are also open to non-members) you can e-mail Cupcake at: mumcierge@cupcakemum.com.

-Mo

9 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. melissa | March 24, 2010 | Reply

This sounds lovely place! I wish there was something like this near me (west london). Have you been to Purple Dragon? It’s in Battersea, but it’s another “luxury” place for kids to play while mums lounge and read or have a coffee. It’s quite pricey but I can see it being worth it if you live nearby and are sick of play centres. Though it doesn’t seem to offer as much as Cupcake does specifically for the mums.

2. Esther | March 24, 2010 | Reply

Sounds lovely!!! I don’t think such a club exists in Amsterdam…

3. slr | March 30, 2010 | Reply

I had the most horrendous experience at this spa. DON’T GO!! My friends bought me a gift certificate to go here. However I had a very difficult birth and went back to work at 6 months, all said it was a while before I had a chance to go. I went this past weekend and AFTER I had a treatment they told me my £100 gift certificate “expired”. Who ever heard of a gift certificate expiring!! They have the money my friends paid for it. They should something in return! There was very small print over the bar code with an expiry date but even the receptionist didn’t see it and had to call over the manager. They refused to honour the gift certificate. So they took the £100 my friends spent on the gift certificate and then made me pay on top of that!! We got NOTHING for the £100 my friends spent on the certificate. When the owner finally came out – she sent the manager and wouldn’t talk to us until we insisted (rather cowardly I think), all she said (rather smugly I might add) is that we would have to agree to disagree. They claim to cater to new mums and mums to be, however obviously don’t know what it’s like being a new mom – who reads small print over a bar code on a gift certificate from friends,especially when you have a new baby!! Or maybe you have to buy a membership to get treated decently.
What a rip off. These people were horrible.

4. Cupcake | March 31, 2010 | Reply

We are so sorry that the ladies above were disappointed as we pride ourselves on our service and do understand stresses and strains of being a new mum. This was an unfortunate situation and we did try to accommodate them.
I must stress however that the gift vouchers clearly say across both the bottom of the voucher and on the bar code that they expire in 1 year. The customer had a voucher that expired 8 months ago and the friend she came with had actually forgotten her voucher at home.
All leading spas – Champneys, Space NK etc. – have vouchers that expire, some with less than 12 months validity.
As a gesture of goodwill we did offer both ladies a discount on their treatments and also offered them a free treatment if they returned (e.g. next booking free). They threatened to write bad reviews of us online everywhere unless we comp’d them £200 in treatments on the spot. That’s when we agreed to disagree as the customer mentioned.
We are extremely sorry that the ladies felt they were treated unfairly, as this was certainly never our intention.

5. Susan ekins | January 18, 2011

I was intrigued about the expired £100 gift voucher. If one reads the Guardian money page, one will see that this sort of thing is not uncommon. However, given that the company had received £100 for nothing, I should have thought that common sense and generosity should have prevailed, and the lady been given her present. After all, had she been given, let’s say, a sweater, she would not have expected it to fall to disappear after a year, would she?

6. maggy, red ted art | March 31, 2010 | Reply

Cupcake is indeed a FABULOUS place. So warm and welcoming and nicely done! I am well chuffed that they have my kiddie art in their Wandsworth creche! Hurray!

7. NWMUM | March 31, 2010 | Reply

Sounds like slr has some other issues, yes being a new mum is stressful and you don’t get time to yourself BUT lots of places have expiry dates on their gift certificates and perhaps they should have checked this before having the treatment? £100 is a lot to pay out when not expected so I can understand this would be upsetting but perhaps accept that this is not such an outrage and is simply what most people would expect?

8. Isabel | April 6, 2010 | Reply

I was one of the first babies at Cupcake and have always regarded it as my second home – and the staff as an extended family – two years later I have a baby brother who is following in my footsteps.

In the two years that it has been open I have only ever experienced friendship, support and good vibes from staff and members – even as I went through my ‘terrible twos’.

The open door policy allows all-comers to purchase gift certificates and visit and experience Cupcake, why not come along and see why Cupcake have won Spa of the Year – don’t forget to ask for me!

x

9. rita | April 11, 2010 | Reply

I am sorry you had a problem with cupcake. I love the place. My daughters first word was practically ‘cupcake’
I leave her in the creche regularly and she loves it, while I get to enjoy the great spa and exercise classes.
I have enjoyed many treatments in the spa and have found all the cupcake staff friendly and professional.
Cupcake definitely made my first months of motherhood a much easier experience and I love the place so much I am still a member 2 years later. I would recommend it to any new mother

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