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With all the stress of last week’s operation and gut-wrenching (pardon the pun) worry, I suddenly found myself hanging around the hospital waiting for visiting time. Or at least, time that I could blag myself in outside of visiting hours with a cup of tea (for me) and a newspaper (for him). Elated at losing the fear that something terrible was about to happen and having a bit of free time, I did what any self-respecting woman with child-free time would do. I went shopping. There’s nothing like a good bit of browsing to take your mind off things, oh apart from exercise, which I’m afraid has taken a back seat in my life lately, apart from the odd pilates class. The last time I made a class I had to laugh to myself as the instructor declared: “Everyone is doing really well, yes even you, Julia!”

I have to say, Cambridge isn’t somewhere I’d thought about visiting before, but I fell a little bit in love with the place. Walking down the cobbled streets, past the colleges so steeped in history with their beautiful and statuesque architecture, makes it feel really special. I’d already walked down by the river, on my last visit to the city when we came to see my husband’s consultant last month. But there was one place I wanted to visit and that was Fitzbillies.

I’d read about this bakery-turned-cafe in the The Observer Food Monthly magazine a few years ago, and had always fancied paying a call. I remember reading about this couple who saved the famous bakery from closure, turning it into something really special and I really wanted to try it for myself. It didn’t disappoint. I ordered a bagel with smoked salmon and salad, and it was absolutely gorgeous. I can’t even remember the last time I ate lunch without simultaneously feeding a small child, so to sit in peace just for an hour felt so decadent! The only downside was I didn’t have any room left for one of their famous Chelsea buns, so I’ll definitely have to go back, maybe with the rest of the family next time.

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After lunch, I got down to a bit of serious shopping with a look round some of my favourite shops and a few that I’d never seen before. One of those was Tiger. Have you ever been there? If you live in the north like me, then probably not, as I just did a quick search on their website and my nearest store is 125 miles away in the Midlands. Shame, as it is so, so good for picking up really cool things for the kids without breaking the bank. It’s kind of like a middle class version of Home Bargain, crossed with a bit of Ikea. Let’s just say when I showed first born what I’d bought, he said: “Mum, next time you go to Cambridge I am definitely coming with you so I can go to that shop!”

Amongst the stuff I bought are some light up rubber ducks, which are way better than I thought they would be for £4. They add a certain disco element to bath time. I also picked up a design-led kids’ activity book and a toy tarantula, which apparently walks when the sun shines on it (terrifying). Oh and I almost forgot, two little hole punches which cut paper in the shape of a heart and a man. I don’t know why I forgot about those as I’ve been hoovering up paper hearts for two days straight.

That and the book kept first born entertained for a good hour this morning before school, without one single ask for the iPad. Not bad for a quid! Let’s hope they open a Tiger store in Liverpool very soon.

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