Full of Beans cafe and soft play in Bourne filled with children on first day of reopening
A cafe with a soft play area reopened this morning (Monday, May 17) for the first time in more than six months to dozens of excited children.
Khadija Kalifa opened Full of Beans in Bourne in late September and was only open for a month before the pandemic forced her to close the doors.
Although the cafe has been serving takeaway coffee and food to homeowners on Elsea Park estate, Khadija was delighted to see children back inside and running around the soft play centre.
She said: "I'm nervous about reopening but really excited. To see the children's faces and watch them playing is so nice. It's why I created this cafe."
Customers had to book play sessions in advance online and among the first through the doors were Lauren Buchan with her children Aaliyah, three, and Ethan, one.
"Thankfully the weather has been good so we have been able to take the children to the park but it's not the same as bringing them to soft play," said Lauren, who lives in Bourne.
"My daughter was jumping at the door squealing because she was so excited and it's amazing to see them play."
Lauren visited the cafe in October when it first opened but her son wasn't able to make the most of the equipment because he wasn't as mobile.
"It's so lovely to see him playing and it's just the right size," Lauren said.
Amy Davis also took her four-year-old son Elias to the first session, having had a party at Full of Beans in October.
"It's so good to get out of the house and have a coffee while watching him play," she said. "I know it's clean and safe here and Elias is loving every second."
While the 9am session wasn't fully booked, later sessions today are.
Khadija said one of the things she hoped to achieve with Full of Beans is that no matter where parents sit in the cafe, they have still got a good view of the soft play area to watch their children.
She also prides herself on the delicious menu and lovely coffees which she hopes will keep parents coming back.
But one thing she wasn't expecting was the demand for takeaway, which she said she would go back to if the business was forced to close again as a result of the pandemic.
"In a way I am grateful for lockdown because we have built up a really good takeaway clientele of people on the estate who don't have children.
"I hope we don't have to close again but if we do, we know we can do the takeaways."
Khadija, a mother of three, has also used the last few months productively to make improvements including a street mural based on the Princess and the Frog, which tells the story of Tiana, who dreams of opening her own restaurant.
She's also added improvements to the soft play area including a retainer wall to make sure younger children are safe, including her own daughter Anayyah, who is now eight months old but was just a few weeks old when the cafe first opened.
And despite having opened her business during a global pandemic, Khadija has already set her sights on expanding if the next few months go to plan.