The great escape: Daylesford

There’s gangs of women trawling the streets in daylesford . Women rushing to relax as the hours tick by until they must return to the kids, the washing, the dog and a husband in need of cuddles. Daylesford is the go-to Victorian country town for relaxation. There’s natural springs with the massage centres bubbling up around them, the cute antique stores and the delicious restaurants all only an hour from melbourne.

Our book club group of ten women left 28 kids* at home and while we thought we’d have lots of sleep and come back refreshed, the reality was very different. We regressed to our childhood, giggling in our rooms until 2 in the morning. We drank far too much wine, had scones and pavlova for lunch before rolling to dinner and ordering nearly the entire menu. When the waiter offered to “put on a show” we thought all our Xmas’ had come at once!( the show never eventuated although we did drink a few cocktails while waiting for it. Smart move by the restaurant!)

We all went on an unannounced cleaning strike for two days. Our rented house looked like a bomb had hit it while we gossiped, laughed, spaa’d and discussed every aspect of life. To debrief like this is essential and nourishing for life. I’m a big advocate of my marriage being a solid unit that allows us both to go do our own thing. When my hubby says he wants to spend two weeks cycling around Belgium with mates, I say go for it! It’s not something i wanted to do but it wasn’t long before I went to Switzerland filming with getaway for two weeks. It all evens out.

The only problem with our girls weekend away was that we all came home exhausted, but there’s that unwritten rule that you can’t state how tired you are when you’ve been away gas bagging all weekend. Suck it up, sister.Next year, we’re thinking about the Yarra Valley. Somewhere close if we need to rush back, but somewhere far enough away that the screams can’t be heard- ours and the kids!

The great escape: DaylesfordThe great escape: DaylesfordThe great escape: DaylesfordThe great escape: DaylesfordThe great escape: Daylesford

*the average number of kids per Aussie woman is 1.9 so clearly we’re not doing enough reading!


Top ten books

I’ll admit it, I’m a book nerd. I’ve always loved escaping into a good story whether it was mums bedtime tales, an action movie or novel. Ive been in a book club for five years now and my mouth waters when new books are presented to us. . I must be the only person in their 30’s who has a library card nestled in their wallet.

Those lists of “top 100 books” of all time make me excited. There’s an intellectual pleasure in ticking off all the ones I’ve read and the excitement of knowing that there’s still, at this stage, 47 books to devour.

One day, I’ll tick off all those suckers. Here’s our list (yes, I’m in a book club!) of favourite books:

1. Into thin air – John Krakauer. A true story about three different hiking groups facing a killer storm as they cling to mt Everest. Truly amazing. Can’t believe there hasn’t been a movie made about it

2. On Chesil Beach– Ian McEwan. It wont take you long to read this short book, however you’ll think about it for a long time. Lifetime regrets, missed moments in time and lost love. A true downer but a great read.

3. The book thief – Markus Zusak. This book is being made into a movie starring Geoffrey Rush. It’s the ny times best seller about life during nazi germany and a little girls love affair with books. She steals them from nazi book burning s and the mayors wife’s library.

4. Sarah’s key – Tatiana Rosnay. Not many books make me cry but Sarah’s key is one of them. Set in France in 1942, it tells the harrowing story of sarah who locked her brother in a cupboard to hide him from the Gestapo. As one of my friends said “why did you make me read this book?!” Well, it’s confronting but it happened and we can’t ignore it. Nor should we.

5. The Paris Wife – Paula McLain. Set in the 1920’s, this is a fascinating account of being Ernest Hemingways wife – the infidelity, the impromptu trips around Europe and trying to fit a child into that passionate, chaotic life.

6. The room – Emma Donoghue. This book is written from a childs oerspective which can be a bit trying but its worth pushing through. The less you know about this book, the better it is when you read it. Don’t talk to anyone about it, just read it if you haven’t already!

7. Sister – Rosamund Lupton. A gripping thriller as Bea searches for the truth about her sisters death and their fractured relationship. My brother is an English teacher and he loved “sister” so much that he’s now trying to get it on the syllabus

8. Breath – Tim Winton. I’ve struggled with a few of Tim Winton’s books but this one grabbed me. It’s about two boys growing up in WA and their obsession with surfing. they meet a big wave surfer and begin a friendship which takes them down an adult path

9. Maus – Art Spiegelman. Don’t be fooled by this book being a cartoon. It portrays a son learning how his father survived Auschwitz. It’s so full of tension that you soon forget that you’re really reading a cartoon book.

10. The boy in the striped pyjamas – John Boyne. Harrowing. A real bawler. Great, thanks, Livinia!


Travelling with kids. Did you just vomit in your mouth? A little bit?

It’s every parents nightmare. The same routine must be followed but in a totally different, unknown environment. Here’s a few places we’ve been with our two boys and tips to help you out.

Hamilton island:
Hamilton island is easy. Getting there from melbourne is one three hour flight -perfect for feeding babies their 3 hourly bottles and avoiding their ears popping with the altitude.

Minutes after arriving on the always balmy island, you’re in a golf buggy (no cars allowed) and on your way. No car seats to organise and you’re on a small island so your accommodation is never far away.

Let’s be honest, a decade ago Hamilton Island had a shocking reputation as a bogan island filled with drunks. since then, new owners ( the Oatley family) have bought the island and shifted the focus to families and the luxury market.

Here’s a suggested itinerary:
Breakfast with the koalas- start the day with full buffet breakfast amongst the sleepy koalas. Afterwards, you can wander around the zoo and see crocodiles, kangaroos, snakes and wombats. Its a buffet breakfast and Kids under five eat free,adults from $30.

Cats eye beach is fantastic for everyone and I’ve spent many hours there watching Henry build sandcastles. Lounge chairs are provided so its pretty easy to relax while keeping one eye on the kids.

The Bowling alley is great if its raining (well it is in the tropics so when it rains, it pours). The bowling is expensive though ($59 for an hour) but there’s lots of different games to keep the little ones amused.

Take the free ferry to Dent island for lunch at the golf club. Kids are made to feel welcome and the food is delicious. You might even see a few whales as you tour the 18 hole championship course designed by Peter Thompson.

During the school holidays, there’s a free marquee on Cats eye beach with face painting, jumping castle, cupcake decorating and ball games. The kids go ape for it and its a good filler at the end of the day. Then it’s home, dinner, bath, 7 pm bed….easy.

Qualia was recently voted the best resort in the world. Not just Australia, but the world. It’s seriously divine. Put on your best clothes, load up the credit card and enjoy.

Being on an island, means you can be held ransom at the checkout. To cut down costs, organise an online food delivery. Currently, its only a $9 delivery charge so you’ll save lots by planning ahead.

Visually stunning and plenty to do.

Travelling with kidsTravelling with kidsTravelling with kids

Here’s a suggested itinerary:

Taking a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly (prams allowed) is a fantastic way to see the Bridge and Opera house from the water. Once in Manly, if you’re kids are old enough, you could hire a bike from Manly Bike Tours and ride the paths around the beach.
If like me, you’ve got littlies, then perhaps Oceanworld Manly is more your speed (

There’s plenty of family friendly restaurants along Manly’s famous Corso and the beach is patrolled by three life saving clubs, so you CAN swim straight after eating and stay safe!

Jump on a ferry ( and head for either

Our next stop is Fiji in July…I’ll keep you posted on international flights with kids. Yes, I did just vomit in my mouth….