'All the Chinese you ever need to know'


Despite my daughter's tender age, she still demands constant entertainment and my dreams of a maternity leave filled with ITVBe and endless coffee sessions (OK the coffee part is true) have largely been shattered.  

I have come to learn that remaining in the house for any prolonged period results in boredom, crying and backache. My daughter also tends to kick off as well.

In the early weeks after her birth we received a visit from an ex colleague and her son who travelled a not insignificant way to come and say hi. We were not close at work and had no particular bond and I thought it a touching if slightly strange gesture that she embarked on such a long journey to see us. During the visit she commented 'you'll find yourself visiting anyone during maternity leave, just to have something to do.' Naturally i was hormonal and semi offended by this comment (I was obviously a desperation visit) at the time, but have since come to understand what she meant.  

I am used to working and interacting with adults all the time. Post birth it is suddenly just you, a small person with no chat and maybe a group of overwhelmed first time mothers and offspring with a similar lack of repartee. In the beginning when you are at the height of sleep deprivation combined with a crushing absence of oestrogen this lack of day to day fulfilment is masked, but once you emerge on the other side you need to start finding something, ANYTHING to do.  

Luckily I am blessed with a gift of being able to entertain myself in any kind of consumer based activity. It is too early to tell if my daughter has also inherited this gift but obviously I am keeping my fingers crossed for her. Appropriate activities for this age group include 'baby sensory', 'baby yoga', 'baby music' etc etc. But what about baby wholesale shopping I hear you cry? Quite. 

And so it was that I eschewed the usual coffee morning/sensory time sessions for kids one desolate week day and instead took up the offer of a great friend and frankly damn cool woman to join her on a day out at Wing Yip, Croyden's largest Chinese food wholesaler. Their tag line is 'all the Chinese you ever need to know'. My daughter is set for life. 

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I'm telling you, this place is a goddam emporium and all the sensory stimulation my child could ever need. They have literally 40 different kinds of soy sauce - can you imagine? There were ginormous bags of rice, exotic herbs and spices, mountains of plastic containers and the piece de resistance: a fish tank with LIVE lobster and the promise of eels later that morning. If this place sold season tickets we would have bought them. 

We were given a fabulous guided tour by my friend (the anonymous pop up chef and world renowned food blogger) and after buying a variety of goodies for our evening meal (vesta chow mein) we ventured across the road for a slap up lunch. The bustling, round tabled eatery was packed by midday and we had an amazing lunch consisting largely of pork fat. Heaven. 

Ok, so it may not be Peppa Pig world and we didn't get to sing nursery rhymes but it was a great day out for us both and we have happily been back since. I would highly recommend it to new mothers as an appealing alternative to the usual coffee mornings. Ok, you don't get the post caffeine comedown and competitive baby chat, but therein lies its beauty. 

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