Escaping Sydney to breathe

Sometimes I just have to pack up and get the hell out of Sydney to breathe and get some balance back into our life.

About a month ago, I had had weeks of endless, back to back appointments for myself and my kids.  Just looking at my over-scheduled calendar and the increasing to do list at home and work was overwhelming.  I was stressed, my husband was stressed and our kids were at each others throats.  Our family was out of balance and we needed to just stop and re-connect.

It was a Monday morning when everything came tumbling down.  I ended up with all 3 of my kids home from school and the thought of re-scheduling appointments and re-arranging work tipped me over.  I felt my chest tighten and knew it was time.  I sat down at my computer, took a deep breath and booked us a weekend away.  And immediately I began to feel calmer as the light at the end of the tunnel began to shine.

We didn’t get out of Sydney till after 4.30pm on the Friday, and surprisingly we didn’t get any traffic or any backseat bickering.  The kids actually sat quietly, listening to music, talking and laughing and obviously needing the break (or knowing that their dad and I did) too.

I had booked us into a self-contained villa at Rafferty’s Resort at Lake Macquarie – spacious enough for our family of five (2 bedrooms and a loft which my girls decided was their domain), on the lake with swimming pools and on-site restaurants.  Not too far out of Sydney but far enough that we would feel like we were miles away.

We checked in to our accommodation and headed to the on-site restaurant for what was the best meal in ages – not because of the food but because our children were laughing and smiling and our family were relaxed.  There was no cooking, no housework, no ‘to do’ lists, no devices, no social plans, no work – just us.

2017 March_Caves Beach 2
The view from our villa

The entire weekend was drizzly with small snippets of sunshine, but that was OK.  We had breakfast at Seed in Swansea (highly recommend it – fabulous food, generous servings) before going for a drive and ending up at Caves Beach.  Coffees in hand, we explored the area around the caves (which we didn’t go in to as it was high tide) and wandered along the beach, talking, taking photo’s, enjoying the moment and our time together.

2017 March_Caves Beach3
Loved the design on these coffee cups!
2017 March_Caves Beach1
Exploring Caves Beach

We wrapped up the afternoon with cocktails by the pool and a stunning view of the  lake while the kids enjoyed the pool.

So, that was it.  A change of scenery and an unplanned weekend getaway re-connected my little family and helped get us through the rest of the school term.

2017 March_Caves Beach1
The view from Rafferty’s Resort (pool one side, lake the other).



We met in the middle

Every year I tell myself I’ll participate in a fun run or walk, and every year they come and go.

So this year when I came across ‘Meet me in the Middle’, a 10km walk where participants walked from North, South, East and West to meet in the middle with a picnic for foodies, I registered myself and a friend and locked it in the diary.

With what seems like weeks of heavy and never-ending, unpredictable rain, yesterday Sydney put on a stunner of day and the sunshine came out to play.

We kicked off our day with breakfast and coffee at our favourite local, ‘The Nook’, before ordering an Uber and having a super cruisy ride and chat to Waverton Park.  We registered and collected our fire-engine red official t-shirts, smothered ourselves in sunscreen and waited eagerly at the start line.  With some excited air jumps and arms in the ear, we did the countdown and were off.

2017 March_Meet me in the middle1

I was in awe the entire walk, exploring and marvelling at this amazing city and harbour I am so fortunate to call home.  I was so thrilled to be playing tourist in my own city that I’m surprised our walk didn’t take twice as long with the amount of photo’s I stopped to snap.

Seeing the harbour from so many different angles, finding pathways that I didn’t know existed, wandering along small little beaches that just called for me to stop and dip my toes in  was inspiring and fulfilling, and reminded me of the importance of doing things for myself.

2017 March_Meet me in the middle22017 March_Meet me in the middle52017 March_Meet me in the middle7

After an hour and a half, we wandered into Barangaroo and headed straight to the bar for a well earned G&T before collecting our pre-ordered picnic hamper (which was full of gourmet filled baguettes, sweet treats, salads and mini quiches).  Once we were full to the brim, we packed up our things and explored the Barangaroo area, and yes, walk some more.

As we wandered along, marvelling at the sandstone, the landscaping and visually feasting on the old buildings brought back to life, we were drawn to the sounds of music in the Cutaway.  We followed a path of light bulbs which opened to a circular ‘grassed’ area of deck chairs and cushions beckoning for us to lay down, switch off and immerse ourselves in a story of Barangaroo which was being brought to life through music.  Not what we expected to be doing after our 10km walk, but a pleasant surprise.

2017 March_Meet me in the middle92017 March_Meet me in the middle102017 March_Meet me in the middle11

We then walked back to Circular Quay, relaxed with one final cocktail in the majestic presence of the Voyager of the Seas, and then played tourist on the ferry back to Manly.

All in all, it was a fulfilling and inspiring day doing what I love – walking, talking, exploring, eating and drinking!