What?: Self-care. It can mean a million different things to a million different people. To me, self-care might mean lying in a dark room while a stranger prods my back; or eating something that isn’t a dry croissant for lunch; or perhaps even entrusting someone else with my children while I zone out completely over an oat latte. It’s all the things that as a full-time carer I think sound massively, selfishly extravagant, but then when I boil it down I realise all any of them amount to is looking after yourself a bit, which is actually all fairly vital to survival – especially if you’re a full-time carer. Anyway, Cloud Twelve offers all of these things and is basically the land of self-care.
So, our visit. Let’s start at the beginning. We’d had an absolute arse of a morning. Roma was in a shit mood. I was in a shit mood. I nearly cancelled, despite having wanted to go to this place for ever, because I just couldn’t with anything. But then it occured to me that a luxury kids’ club with an on-site spa might not be the worst place we could be. The journey down there was pretty hideous, involving two tubes and an angry stop at Gail’s for an emergency cinnamon bun, which was meant for me but was consumed almost exclusively by Roma while she furiously disassembled a biro and shouted “AH GO HOME?” between gobfuls of puff pastry.
We struggled a bit to find Cloud Twelve. It’s down a tiny mews and my maps app was misbehaving, with Roma getting crosser by the second as I took wrong turning after wrong turning. But then there we were, standing in the delicious-smelling reception of this weirdly tardis-like mews house, and suddenly everything was lovely. I should probably add at this point that I wasn’t there to use the spa (I wish), but I was given a full tour of the facilities, which are predictably amazing and open to the general public as well as kids’ club members, so I’m definitely coming back for my birthday.
So, on to the kids’ club, which to be honest is just as much a parents’ club thanks to its lush, exclusively vegetarian/vegan cafe, play buddies poised to provide childcare backup, and some of the best toilets I’ve ever had the pleasure of changing a really awful nappy in. The centrepiece though is a beautifully conceived, enchanted forest-themed soft-play area, complete with a climbable treehouse complex, a sensory pod shaped like a giant bumble bee and – Roma’s personal favourite – a ball pit fitted with one of those vacuum-powered tube things that makes the balls hover in the air. All of this gorgeousness is surrounded by a cafe, a lounge and a series of rooms set up with art activities and Montessori toys that little ones are free to wander in and out of as they please.
Lunch was a rose latte and acai bowl for me, and an apple juice and healthy pizza for Roma, although to be honest she wasn’t that interested – probably because she’d recently inhaled a cinnamon bun. But that just meant she left me in blissful solitude with only my acai bowl and my thoughts while she went off to bother a play buddy she’d taken a shine to. And for the first time ever I wasn’t worrying that she wasn’t eating her lunch, because I was eating lunch (and I never eat lunch). See, I told you. Self. Care.
Alright, so – real talk – this kind of club probably isn’t aimed at people who spend every waking hour with their child. It’s not just somewhere you plonk them while you grab some me-time (although the play buddies are great and the club does run a creche for members). Really, it’s somewhere where people who work full-time can send their kids with their nannies during the week, then take them themselves on a weekend. It’s about spending time together, free from the demands of work and chores and whatever else you’ve got going on. And that is absolutely a form of self-care too. I will also say that in a month where Roma has been an absolute pain in the bum to hang out with, I genuinely really enjoyed her company here.
Where?: Find Cloud Twelve at 2-5 Colville Mews, W11 2DA – an 11-minute walk from Notting Hill Gate tube.
When?: Open Monday-Saturday 9am-7pm and Sunday 9am-6pm.
How much?: Lots, obviously. It is a private members’ club in Notting Hill after all. That said, Cloud Twelve is offering kids’ club membership at a discounted rate until the end of September 2021, and you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Where to next?: We could happily have stayed all day, but you wanted to break things up you could head to Holland Park with its incredible big-kids’ playground and sandy toddler area, or shop for cute French accessories at Bonton or incredible prints at the Mini Rodini flagship – both on nearby Westbourne Grove.
Disclaimer: our visit was a freebie but my reviews are always completely (sometimes painfully) honest.
Roma installs herself in the ball pool at the Cloud Twelve kids’ club, Notting Hill.