Thursday, 28 July 2016

Sydney to Shoal Bay

This weekend just past the Little One and I went on a mini-getaway to Sydney then Shoal Bay, NSW to basically indulge, bond and visit her aunties and cousins.

We stayed in the ultra quirky QT on Market Street which is a very handy location for shopping (Muji was on the hit list this trip) and transport. Along with  walkable walk for the Little One to Circular Quay. Previously we had stayed at the Langham which, although is extremely child friendly and very special, is a little bit too far out of the way for what we wanted to do.

We dined mostly (for breakfast, lunch and dinners) at Gowings Bar & Grill because as a PGR black member i get 50% off in the restaurant (wooooot!)

Though Gowings is not exactly designed to cater to families and children - it's a pretty grown-up space which is what i like about it - staff are extremely welcoming and lovely and took the time to engage with the Little One and not just ignore her. They had two kids meals that they don't list on the menu which are $15 each. The Little One had the fish and chips which was a proper meal and extremely yummy. I totally pinched some.

Our room was spacious enough for the two of us. We shared a Queen bed. But the best part was a full sized bath. Essential in my opinion. The reason we chose this weekend to head up for our trip was because PGR was offering a book Saturday and get Friday or Sunday free. So we got our weekend accommodation for a steal!


Friday we arrived early and after a little rest and lunch we decided to meander through Hyde Park down to the Botanic Gardens before sharing an ice cream and a glass of sparkling for me at Opera Bar.

On Saturday, for funsies, we got super touristy for the sake of the Little One. We did whatever she wanted to do. That meant going on the ferry to Watson's Bay before catching the bus (she LOVES the bus) to Bondi Beach. There we had obligatory corn fritters & pavlova at bills and a morning cocktail for myself before heading to the playground by the Bondi Pavillion to meet the Little One's family.

On Sunday we skipped breakfast because we were booked in for the high tea buffet at the Sheraton on the Park. I'd always side-eyed the Sheraton. There always seemed to be something tacky about the brand. But there must have been a re-vamp because it was quite glam. The buffet was extensive and the food was fantastic. I overdosed on scones, drank Moet and finished with a teapot of Earl Grey (sadly no proper teacups or china.)

At 2pm we raced to catch the bus to Shoal Bay. I can't say i was looking forward to the 3 hour trip but the coach was comfy and the Little One slept the entire way.

When we arrived we headed straight to the Anchorage to watch the beautiful sunset. (I can't wait to stay here one day! Super nice.)

Monday we spent the whole day in Nelson's Bay. Sadly it was marred by seasickness when we decided to go on a whale and dolphin cruise. Still, aside from the crippling nausea it was extremely beautiful and relaxing. The water was pristine and gorgeous.

After the boat cruise we got our bearings and because of tummies were now completely empty (i think i myself went through 4 sick bags in total) we needed to refuel with lunch. Don't ask why, but i got the lobster. Maybe it's my comfort food? Or maybe i just don't see it enough on menus and eagerly ordered it out of surprise!

Later on we went for a drive checking out the Gan Gan Lookout and a few of the other beautiful little beaches in the area, scoping out the best place for an airbnb stay next time we come.

In the future i'll be content just to walk up Mt Tomaree rather than go on any bloody boat. Oh well. You live, you learn.

The following day we had a big sleep in then caught the bus from Shoal Bay to Newcastle Airport. It goes through all the towns in the area: Nelson Bay, Corlette, Port Stephens, Anna Bay ... but it's pleasant and doesn't take much more than an hour. The Little One insisted on sitting up the back of the bus with the high school kids. The highlight of the day for her.

This trip was great but if it's taught me anything it's; do not combine Sydney and Shoal Bay! They should be two separate trips. Hopefully we'll be back soon. Sydney in the school holidays and Shoal Bay in October if we don't go to Tasmania instead or in December for the Little One's cousin's birthday.

Can't wait!

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Car List

It's probably no secret I don't drive. I don't even have my licence. Which might seem pretty odd considering I have a child and, well, isn't a car pretty much essential for toting around crap? Well, yes and no.

This year i've sort of constructed my life around the fact i don't have a car. I found an apartment one street away from Little One's kinder that's also 5 mins away from the local train station. 10 mins walk to the good deli, 2 mins to the local milk bar, 4 mins to the tiny supermarket that stocks all the essentials (even fresh almond milk!) To go anywhere else I just taxi it.

But the Little One is off to school next year and I really don't think i can be bothered hauling my butt to the bus stop each morning to catch the only bus that leaves every 30 mins.

So i've been secretly saving my pennies for a car. I still have no idea what I want but here are the contenders from $ to $$$.

Kia Picanto

Hyundai i30
VW Golf Cabriolet
Mercedes-Benz A200
Volvo V40
Mercedes Benz GLA

I feel like in my heart it's out of the teeny tiny Kia (they have great aftercare and servicing) and the A200 because, well, it's so preettttttyyyyy inside. How people even decide on a car is beyond me. There are so many options out there

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Summer sandals

I really love planning my summer wardrobe in winter and my winter in summer. Even if i don't get everything i want i still love pinning together a 'capsule wardrobe' and hoping for the best.

Last year (and the year before I think) I wore these which were great because they were comfy and could be worn up or down but a lot of my winter shoes have been animal print and i need a break. I still love them though!

Derek Lam 10 Crosby

But this year i want gold. Gold is a neutral and sooo ... these are the candidates.
Valentino (on sale!)


Saturday, 16 July 2016

Advice I've gotten in the past from successful older women

It's interesting isn't it thinking about the many different lives you could have lead had you gone down different paths. When i was younger i had my life mapped out and everything seemed so clear. Follow your passion, meet the man, buy the house, have the children. Then when i got to my late twenties and realised um, oh crap, that's not what i want! Things got a little more complicated.

It was during a very complicated pregnancy, one that wasn't planned, that i became very close to my now ex's older aunts. One a very wealthy housewife and well, socialite. The other a single, successful career woman with two divorces under her belt. They, along with my mother and aunt, gave me a lot of support, but it was there two who gave me advice.

As they say, hindsight is 50/50!

The ex's single, successful aunt was already dying by the time i first met her. Her death was no surprise, we'd planned our funeral outfits for months beforehand, but her wake was a celebration and a also revelation.

One of the women who spoke - also single, divorced, and with a young son - was her protege. The aunt had been her business mentor. She had many wonderful things to say but one line that stood out, and i feel it's so true, "make the money, and for god's sake buy the damn Chanel suit!" Meaning, it's okay to put motherhood second to a career. The kid will live. And you will never ever regret buying Chanel so as soon as you can, buy it. (Getting there, guilt slowly abating.)


When i was about 16 years old I went antiquing (when antique shops were still everyyywhere) with my aunt and her neighbour. A shrewd, elegant older lady once divorced but now happily married. I have no idea how the topic came up but one thing she said was, that in any relationship, and she said this coming from a time where the man made the majority of the money and usually controlled the majority of the money, "always have 'running away' from home money." Whether you only have a little bit to squirrel away or you are able to stash away something substantial. You never know when there may come a time to run away from home. Also keep some 'running away from home money' in a secret compartment of your purse for 'just in case moments'. Like when you need to buy a fantastic vase for a complete steal!

My grandmother found herself in a very unhappy marriage for 50 years. In fact, just to make a point, she divorced him on the golden anniversary. I asked her what she thought her mistake was when she got together with my grandfather. She said to me "well, you can't eat off a pretty plate." Meaning: don't marry someone for their looks. She also said to me, "never get married, it's the worst thing you can ever do."
(My grandfather on the other hand told me one day one-on-one, "get married! it's the best thing you can ever do!")


When i was about 12 my younger brother had a playdate with another boy from school. His mother, my mother and myself went on a long walk around the lake where the playdate took place. The boy's mother, an impossibly glamorous French woman, and my mother spoke about relationships and men. She was married to an older man and didn't give a fuck what anyone though of that. When i was left alone with the boy's mother she took me aside and said to me, cigarette in hand of course,"always marry someone who loves you more than you love them." She went on. "And never marry someone who doesn't have money."


What have i personally taken away from all this advice from these women? Well, money does equal happiness. Or rather, the absence of money equals unhappiness and stress. I will probably never regret anything Chanel. When i start to accumulate it.

But what of the rest? Well. I did try to eat off the pretty plate. My grandmother was right. You can't. They are merely for decoration. (Well you can, but they're better to look at since you can just eat off any old plate.) I have chickened out of marrying two very loving and lovely "non pretty plates" for their money and the life they could provide for me. I'm pretty sure i'm committed to the idea of never getting married. I really love making my own money and i hope to make fucktons more of it in the future (with the ex's aunt as my inspiration.)

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

How do we parent?

I am asked a lot, often by other single or separated parents - and usually while sitting at a playground or in playcentres - what my custody arrangement is with my ex. I'm not really sure why people ask this but i'm starting to gather that they ask for different reasons depending on whether they're a dad or a mum and what their relationship with their ex is like.

The fact is ... we don't actually have a formal arrangement.  Largely, it is very informal. Though we do try to divide the week up 50/50 (me Tue-Thur, him Sat-Mon) with one day a week the Little One staying at her grandmother's for special grandparent-y super indulgent bonding time. It also means that no one has to pay the other any kind of monetary support. That too all gets split down the middle.

Someone joked to me recently (a man, single, childless) that it sounded more like we each had a timeshare in a child. Which i thought was kind of a funny way to put it and yet weirdly kind of spot on.

I'm lucky that I (now) have a very good relationship with my ex. It wasn't always so. We've worked super hard at it and a lot of that came down to starting little family rituals together. Mandatory church on Sundays which i attend with them when I can. Roast lamb dinner once a week at our favorite nearby restaurant. Playing some kind of ball sport together in the park one a week the three of us together. And the four days a week we have 'off' to be ourselves, focus on work and re-energise for her is a massive, massive help. How do you become resentful of the other person when you have time to yourself and to actually breathe and live your life as an actual person not just a 'mum' or 'dad'?

People are coming up with all kinds of interesting parenting solutions these days. 'Birdnesting' where the kids stay in the house and the parents take turns at staying in it. Though how that works in reality i'm not too sure. It certainly wouldn't for me. I think if you do have a good relationship it pays to get a bit creative and think outside the box. For the sake of everyone's happiness!

One of the Little One's friends from playgroup/kinder also has a very similar parenting/family set-up. Although instead of being whisked away by a grandmother on the weekends it's by a nanny instead. Which just shows how normalised I guess this whole 'timesharing' thing has become. :p

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Things I still need for my apartment. Finding the perfect items

We moved into our apartment nearly 6 months ago and slowly, slowly i've been putting the peices together to my taste. A lot of our old furniture was either not my style or was never going to translate so they were given to my younger brother. I was without a sofa for a few weeks because i couldn't decide on the one i wanted. An armchair was ordered then sent back when i realised i didn't LOVE it.

There are a few things i'm not totally happy about. The large rug in the living area for starters. But since the Little One is still at that age where accidents happen (cookies, paint, etc) I went with a huge, poly $200 rug which, while I don't haaaate it, it's not my forever rug.

There are a few items left I have to find/buy. And they have to be my idea of 'perfect' or else i know it'll drive me crazy.

They are ...

The perfect armchair

Armchair by Bent Design Studio from Huset
Showood Arm Chair by Parker Furniture

Chess Table

Antqiue chess table from

Dining Chairs

These need to be fabric. But what color? And what style??

Hall Rug

Happy to go with IKEA. But which?