THE BLOG

18
Nov

I love my kid’s bedroom.

He does too.

And he’d bloody want to, I put a lot of work into it!!

And by ‘I’ I mean, ‘Nicole Rosenberg from Little Liberty‘.

Nicole contacted me asking if I needed a hand setting up Sonny’s room in our new house, and I of course said yes. I’m no dumdum!  She is good at this stuff. A proper professional person. I would procrastinate over paint swatches for two years if left to my own devices.

We had some good bones to start with: lovely new carpet, a great size room, my beloved Ubabub pod cot and booksees and a few bits and pieces, but Nicole quickly took my very rudimentary vision (animals, blues and greys with pops of bright, modern, simple, something that can grow with him and that isn’t too baby-ish, no giant holes in the floor he can fall into) and started throwing ideas at me.

I contributed some references of stuff I liked and found on Tumblr/Pinterest, but it was very much Nicole who did the heavy lifting, sourcing my whims or bringing in her own ideas. I loved her references and suggestions, she has an incredible brain full of kids brands and products, and she set to work finding obscure paper mache animal heads from the UK, and hand knitted light pendants, and breathtaking wallpaper from France. Because really, if your one year-old doesn’t have wallpaper from France THEN WHO ARE YOU, YOU GODAMN SCUM BAG.

It’s very similar to my room as a young child, except for the two other siblings, bunk bed, bubble gum stuck on the bedheads, several headless Barbies, and a wall full of Bros and Bon Jovi posters care of my big sister.

Here, take a look for yourself, you big perve!

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Pod cot from Ubabub, Hedgehog, Knitted yellow stool from Anthropologie, Crocodile and Squirrel wool soft toys by Sara Carr Digital Cow Hide rug from Amigos De Hoy.

 

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Animal wallpaper mural by Bien Fait, wooden toy store from Oeuf, chest of drawers from Troll, Follow Me Lamp by Marset at Designstuff (I love these for outside at night – they are USB charged touch lamps with brass and wood).

 

ikpgVZouz9lxeXMnC4vs-Je_yUC1VyKm3PEoxUJuh2kHand knitted pendants (custom size and colours) from Stephanie Ng Design.

 

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Australia shelf from One Two Tree, wooden animals from Leave It To Leslietree branch hooks from This Is Extraordinary, custom felt garland from Hello Henley.

 

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Bambi stool (eeep! ready-made heirloom) by Takeshi Sawada for Elements Optimal Denmark at Top3 by Design, leopard cot quilt set from And The Rest, framed tomato and pear prints from Norsu Interiors,
Lucky Boy Sunday soft toy (in cot) from Talo Interiors.

 

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Cute boy, by Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster Blake.

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Booksee shelves from Ubabub, paper mache heads (made to order) from Abigail Brown Art, books from everywhere. Fun fact: the clever sausage who designs all my books and also did Go-To, Allison Colpoys, illustrated that lovely book in there centre there, The Underwater Fancy-dress Parade, by Davina Bell, which I love, and which made my cry.

 

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All photos by Jeremy Blode, and with thanks to Little Liberty, and bye for now.

Responses to this drivel: 7 Comments
19
Jan

My Best Of Melbourne: food, facials and playgrounds.

I’ve just moved back to Sydney after eight years in Melbourne.

To be able to stomp into the sea at the end of a ratty day feels incredible after so many years in a city. (The spiders and frizz I could do without.) My god. A dream.

But back to Melbourne for a moment, and the services, places and things I became intensely fond of, and will miss dearly. I share it because it takes a longass time to build up Your Things in a city, your army of friends, parks, cafes, grocers, and of course, people who magically transform your hair and face.

I got it real wrong for a solid year I reckon. It was pre-Instagram so you had to, like, read newspapers or blogs to be in the know. ‘Where do you go for breakfast?’ I’d ask women I barely knew. ‘Where do you get nice cushions? Flowers? Hummus?’ I wondered what I wasn’t being told, why I couldn’t find a decent cobbler (here’s one!) cursed those who weren’t giving up the goods, and had some truly terrible haircuts before I worked it out.

I’d argue Melbourne is still the kind of city you need to know where the good stuff is, or you risk walking around St Kilda or Southgate wondering what everyone’s on about because: ?

Just on Melbourne.

She is an exceptional city. She is beautiful, innovative, interesting, and peppered with some of the best food, art, design, creativity and minds in the world. Anyone so vulgar as to pit Sydney against Melbourne is entirely missing the point: they’re both brilliant, in very different ways.

We went through something truly remarkable in Melbourne last year. I feel incredibly bonded to the city and its people after months and months of intense lockdown, it’s a kinship unlike any other I’ve felt to a place. The other states have heard this a lot, but “you don’t know what it was like.” This doesn’t mean it all stunk! I have happy memories of a pumping MCG and Fitzroy gardens, crisp and sunny, heaving with lockdown runners, rugged-up two-person picnics, and families laden with bikes and scooters and balls, reluctant to give up even a minute of their one-hour of outside time. I also have memories of a heavy police presence there every single day, and my kids going mute each time we were asked to move on cos we’d stopped to eat an orange, or stomp in the creek, but that’ll pass.

Locals feverishly supported locals, and everyone lead with kindness. Florists were overwhelmed with deliveries from March right through, as people from around the state and country strove to cheer each other up. Compassion was king. It gave me great comfort to see how humans lift in strange, scary times. I’m a 1980s baby born into a middle-class white Australian family. I’ve had the immense fortune of a deeply privileged and comfortable life. This year –from the bushfires to Black Lives Matter to Covid – has woken me up. I’ve never felt more connected, and more motivated to be a better human. I know I’m not alone in this.

Okay! Onto the good stuff.

Caveat: I am a creature of habit, and a slave to postcode. These recommendations are largely based around Richmond, Fitzroy and Melbourne city.

Another caveat: I am not a born-n-bred Melbourne local with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the city. This is just one woman’s cherry pickin’ of shit she likes.

FOOD

It’s hard to get a bad meal in Melbourne. I use Broadsheet to stay updated, but I’m basic, short of memory and usually hangry by the time decision making time rolls around, so usually fall back to these classics:

Capitano is our favourite Melbourne restaurant. Simple, perfectly executed pasta and pizza. (And they do a Peanut Butter and Miso Old Fashioned.) Don’t overthink it. Go to Capitano.

I will miss their Vodka rigatoni a lot. Their sister restaurant, Bar Liberty, is also perfectly done, especially if you’re into incredible wines and your cacio e pepe (who isn’t?). Daughter in Law/Mrs Singhs has the most delicious, light, subtle Indian food I’ve ever had the good fortune of eating. I recommend the Prawn curry, Paneer masala and butter chicken. (Tonka and Horn Please are also excellent.) I love an efficient, Melbourne-institution minute steak and fries at France-Soir, or the more relaxed, Lillet-spritz version at Entrecôte in South Yarra.

My husband and I inadvertently wearing the same thing to Nobu, 2013. Cute.

Flowerdrum is five-star for a reason. Classic, never-fail, outstanding Chinese. Ditto Nobu at Crown. DOC, Ladro and Baby all do outstanding pizza. Marion Wine Bar is the place you book when you want to impress your date in an accidental-no-big-deal way fashion: delicious food (roast chicken, fish, pasta) and a wine list that will appease even the most educated wine monster. (Same could be said of Rosetta.) Poodle is nearby and offers what might be Melbourne’s only seafood platter…? Slick and fun.  Supernormal (pan-Asian) and Kisume (Japanese) are a bit fancier/pricier but 100% guaranteed delicious. Attica by Ben Shewry is next level, and the one for a Special Occasion. (Or in lockdown, delivery lasagna! #PIVOT) Also good for special occasions: Donovans and Stokehouse, down St Kilda way. I also recommend booking out Pasta Club with a bunch of mates for a very fun, yummy, loose evening.

Also: Down on the Mornington Peninsula there are myriad great places and wineries. My standout meal is Rare Hare at Jackalope. It is WONDERFUL FOOD. Stunningly tasty vegetarian options abound! As do excellent wines and cocktails. And the view. Just all of it. Their fine dining dinner option, Doot Doot Doot is also exceptional. Degustations do my head in as a rule, but I went vego and it was interesting and delicious and innovative.

Special nod to The Lakehouse and Dairy Flat Farm in Daylesford for special occasions or fancy weekend getaways , and I love lunch and a run around the lavender gardens with the kids at Lavandula.

Marion excels at a simple vegetarian pasta.

In a city blessed with so many Italians, the gelato will not let you down. Pidapipo wears the crown: it serves all the extras I love in Italy (cream, hot Nutella sauce) and Piccolina does simple flavours, extremely well. As everyone knows,  Lune make the best croissants in Australia. Never not worth the wait. Go. 

Breakfast

I love the pancake (it’s singular, and the size of a cake) at Top Paddock, and there is fun to be had at Ned’s Bake and Darling Cafe (super-extra Instagram French Toast etc) in South Yarra. In Fitzroy, Archie’s All Day is a beloved breakfast stand-out, and the nearby Bentwood is also great. I maintain Fitzroy does the best coffee in Melbourne. *ducks*

Laikon Deli is a solid family favourite, as is the Rowena Milkbar, which we lived a few doors up from, and Pillar of Salt is always reliable and delicious.

Remnants of the pancake at Top Paddock. It feeds me + two kids. It is glorious.

Cakes

As a certified cake beast, I’ve had the good fortune of sampling many cakes in Melbourne. Many will look great, but only a few taste good, too. If I’m ordering a cake, I go to Beatrix Bakes, Miss Trixie, (she does cakes and cookies), or Proof Bakehouse. If I need to pick up a cake en route to a party, I usually head to Babka in Fitzroy, or order ahead from the genius @tarts_anon in Richmond who just do tarts, and do them exceptionally well. Special nod to Burch and Purchese for their very extra, high-art offerings.

Miss Trixie serving up a sugary nostalgia pun bomb for Halloween.

Bars

The smaller, darker and more unambiguous, the better. If I am going to the effort of a babysitter and hangover, I want to feel like I can walk in and give the bartender a few notes, and he/she will create me a symphony. Bar Eveleigh is flawless, as is Siglo, which always makes me feel like I am in Italy with that rooftop view. Eau de vie, Byrdi, Bar Americano are also fantastic, and a Margarita at Gilson on a sunny afternoon is a delight.

BEAUTY

Hair
I see Lauren MacKellar or Alex Newman at Meta hair in Armadale for my colour, and cuts too, though it’s colour that really sets these women apart. For styling and event hair I have a laugh with Hermiz Daniel at Joey Scandizzo. My son had his hair cut at Beef’s Barbers, and so did my daughter, often enough. Shaun and the gang are super friendly and cool, and you won’t end up with a naff ‘little boy’ haircut. (Kids sit on skateboards as they have their hair cut, which should give you a clue.)

Brows/Lashes

In 2014, in Melbourne, someone ruined my brows. I was puffy and pregnant and mid-book tour and really didn’t need unflattering brows on top of all that, yknow? So I asked my Sydney brow expert, Lien Davies if she would consider making a trip down to Melbourne to save my face and probably many other faces. She did, and she still visits every 8 weeks or so. What a diamond. I also recommend Kylie Brown Beauty for brows, and the gang at Me Skin and Body do great brows and lash lifts, too. Lash extensions? For me there is only one: Thi (@lashes_by_thi). She does the most incredible, natural lashes.

Makeup
I love and trust Jade Kisnorbo, Monica Gingold, and Yvonne Borland with my face and hair. (Git yourself a girl who can do both.) If I am in a bind and didn’t book them in time, I book at Mecca in South Yarra, or, um, just do it myself, which I got very used to doing during several lockdown press tours.

Skin
As someone who makes and sells skin care, I believe most of the heavy lifting when it comes to healthy skin comes from a simple but effective daily routine of cleansing, hydration, protection and gentle exfoliation. (And: SLEEP!) But professional treatments a few times a year? That’s the difference between having your car washed, and it being detailed. Over time, those professional treatments will make a difference, especially if you’re trying to maintain (not eliminate – impossible) hyper-pigmentation. I’ve been seeing Brooke at Me Skin and Body for years. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of ingredients and I turn to her to look after my pigmentation and tone, and get my skin glowy before events. (Laser Genesis, needling, Dermafrac etc). I also love a facial at Melanie Grant when Mel is in town, (she also has a salon in Sydney and LA and is a special kind of magic.) Speaking of pigmentation, I started seeing Alicia at Bare Laser and Skin last year who has being doing Q-Switch laser on my pigmentation, and also zapping my veins and pregnancy-induced skin tags etc. The gang at The Little Company in Cremorne do a beautiful pampering facial, great for gifting. These women are all business owners and extremely passionate about skin. They’re informed, trustworthy, up to date on tech and products, and follow a less-is-more policy, which I prefer.

The zingy no-makeup glow that follows a blueberry peel + Laser Genesis with Brooke.

Tan

Spray Aus in South Yarra. They also make the best mousse in a bottle around, in my opinion: no splotchy fade out, and no orange. The technicians are very well trained, but more than that, they listen when I say I’d like a light spray cos I am doing a red carpet and wearing white.

Massage

Lacking! Gah! I always struggled finding a good masseuse cos I prefer sports therapist intensity over relaxey. The one I did find and LOVE is not on Instagram yet, and is in the middle of setting up her business, so I will post that when she’s ready. The AURORA Spa always has excellent therapists but it’s pricey for a regular fix. (Terrrrrific present if you wanna gift a friend in Melbourne.)

Miscellaneous

Fertility

Something you don’t think about moving cities as you fall pregnant is that you don’t have that built-in network all your mates and sister etc used when they were pregnant. It sucked a doz. But, I found my people and now you can have them too. I swear by Dr Alice Gao. She is a Chinese herbalist and acupuncturist who specializes in fertility, miscarriage, labour induction etc. She is a very special woman. For pregnancy pain, find an osteo. I ended up with a fractured pubis and osteitis pubis in my first pregnancy, but neither were diagnosed accurately until post-birth. TLDR; I found Daniela Aiello who specializes in natal osteo and she fixed me, and kept me fixed for my a second, strong pregnancy. Also, lots of pilates: a killer combo for a strong core and birth. I went to Studio PP.

Shopping
It took me ages to find “my shops” in Melbourne. I prefer local business and street shopping over malls, and frequent Filly’s Stable in Albert Park, Grace and Bassike in Hawksburn Village, The Standard Store in Fitzroy, and Incu in QV for fun, eclectic bits and pieces (Rixo, Ganni, Proenza, Nanushka, Anni Lui etc). I love a stomp around Armadale for Acne, Camilla and Marc, Viktoria + Woods etc. If I do a mall, I like Emporium or Chadstone. (How original!) I love getting fancy dress and also Real Life clothes at Global Vintage in Richmond.

Movies
We always end up at Cinema Nova in Carlton. You can have a great meal beforehand, then take a negroni into the film. *chef’s kiss* Also love Kino in the city, Lido in Hawthorn, and the glorious deco Rialto in Kew. (For a kids movie, Hoyts Victoria Gardens. Always a seat, always a park, and you can get some Ikea storage containers on your way out.)

Gifts
I just drive straight to Gertrude St, Fitzroy. We lived there for years and I adore this little hood. I go to Third Drawer Down for unique, arty, witty gifts (stocking fillers and little thank you gifts for hosts etc), as well as The Standard Store, Le Labo and Mud, handily are both nearby. Modern Times is up Smith St, and has beautiful art, prints and objects (and furniture), and Happy Valley books is close by, also. My go-to gift in lockdown to struggling mates was a selection of ready-made cocktails from Blackhearts and Sparrows and some Hey Tiger chocolate. Both brilliant Melbourne businesses with excellent offerings.

Bookshops
Is there such a thing as a bad bookshop? I would argue not. My favourites are Avenue bookstore in Richmond and Albert Park, Readings and Readings Kids in Carlton, and Little Book Room in Carlton. Oh and the Collins St Dymocks in the city is PHENOMENAL, the sheer size of it!

Florists
I generally go Flowers Vassette when sending bouquets, I love Hattie Molloy for flowers as art, Brett Matthew John does beautiful, made-for-the-gram stuff, I’ve used Bloom Boy to do floral artistry for a party, and we supported our local, Glasshouse, in Richmond most weeks.

Lil’ bit of Hattie.

Furniture/Home
Church St, Richmond reigns. I buy a lot from JardanSignorino and Artedomus for tiles, and Space and Living Edge are full of wild pieces and ideas. Modern Times in Fitzroy does great vintage furniture (and art), and I’ve bought lots of second hand stuff from @curatedspaces. Some of my most-loved pieces at home I bought from Grazia and Co, a Melbourne company. The Family Love Tree has fun kids bedroom stuff and bedheads, too.

Just on home stuff, Simone Haag and Angela Harry both did remarkable things for our interior design, we have used LocBuild happily for every reno, fix and build we’ve ever done while living in Melbourne, and Will Gibson created some real planty-garden magic for us over the years.

FAMILY/KIDS STUFF

NGV
There’s always an exhibition on for kids, and the grounds are great for a picnic and run around. Plus, you’re across the road from more gardens, the Botanic Gardens etc. An easy and fun way to fill half a day.

Legoland
If you live here, get a membership (it’s tied into a Merlin Pass, which also includes a Sea Life Aquarium membership – score!) cos one-off entry is purrricey. There was a time when we would head there every Sunday: my pre-schooler loves the Duplo section, my kid loves the building and the 3D movies, and I hate exiting through the gift shop for obvious reasons.

Bounce
What did we do with kids on rainy days before indoor trampoline joints? We had our son’s birthday party here. We are regulars. (Bonus: you get an incidental workout.)

Collingwood Children’s Farm
A sweet little (working) farm in the city with cows, roaming chooks, ducks, pigs, horses, tractors etc, surrounded by bushland. Has an excellent café, interactive animal activities, and can fill a solid two hours. It’s right next to the Abbotsford Convent, which has beautiful gardens, galleries, creative wares, food, and lots of things to snoop around. A destination all of its own, especially on a sunny weekend afternoon.

Royal Botanic Gardens/Ian Potter Playground
When I first moved here, I cringed hearing everyone call the Botanic Gardens ‘The Tan.’ Now I call it that too: omg cuuuute! (To be clear, the Tan is the track around the perimeter of the gardens, which is always packed with runners and walkers. It’s just under 4k a lap.) The gardens are majestic and I highly endorse an untimed stroll through them, with a packed picnic. There is a little gated garden at the top (Domain Rd), with a creek, and some water fountains and a gorgeous grassy area we love on hot days, though be warned the opening days/times are pretty confusing, so check online before you go. (Wed-Sundays in non-school terms from 10am, and the fountains are only on if the temp hits 25 degrees and the sparrow flies north etc etc.)

The Museum + Scienceworks
Museum is definitely worth a membership, Scienceworks is great too, but in Williamstown so not as close for us, and a few-times-a-year activity. Pre-lockdown we’d hit the museum weekly in this house. There is a full indoor playground, (+ an excellent park and playground in the gardens next to it, which is not part of the museum) and floor after floor of interesting, curious animals and exhibits for kids and adults alike. Also there is an IMAX here and the grounds between the exhibition hall next door and the museum is GREAT for little kids to scoot. It’s just bloody great.

Melbourne Zoo
I adore the Melbourne Zoo, it is very worth a membership. (Also includes Werribee Open Plains Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary, both worth a visit, but a fair whack out of the city.) It’s a large zoo, with a strong conservation message, and frequent updates. Butterfly house remains my favourite. Yes, I’m six.

Playgrounds (Free!)
Silly because there’s one on every block, but here are some Next Level playgrounds I love: Hay’s Paddock (Kew), Royal Park Nature Play (Parkville), St Kilda Adventure Playground, Maritime Cove Community Park (Port Melbourne) and Fitzroy Gardens which has a great creek and which really saved us in lockdown tbh.

Oh, there were many days spent doing this.

Kids clothing
Bit lacking, sadly. I love Big Dreams in Northcote and Little Fenix in Carlton, and Frankie’s Story for clothes, which was at South Melb markets but now just online. I buy toys at Kids Stuff or Jasper Jones in Fitzroy, and books at The Little Book Room or Readings Kids in Carlton.

And if you want WONDERFUL, cool, non-cheesy, total-framers-forever photos of your children, or family, (or wedding!) there is only one choice, the magnificent and indelible Mrs White.

Okay, I’m spent. I will update this list as more comes to mind, and please comment any thing you love in Melbourne so newcomers and tourists can have a really non-sucky, delicious, fun time.

Off to the beach!

Zo x

(JK I am off to Kmart to buy a clotheshorse.)

 

All typos are intentional except where unintentional.

 

Responses to this drivel: 26 Comments
02
Mar

(Why and how we did) New York City With Small Kids

The jovial travel lords at Expedia commissioned me to write a piece on travelling to NYC with young kids, presumably because most people would read that sentence and think to themselves WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT ARE YOU CUCKOO NEW YORK CITY WAS BUILT FOR COCKTAILS AND RESTAURANTS AND SHOPPING LEAVE THEM AT HOME WITH GRAMMY AND POPPOP FOR THE LOVE OF BAGELS.

As it turns out, not only is NYC entirely do-able with kids (the people who live there even have some of their own!) it’s fun. And it makes for a pretty exquisite set of memories.

I say this because last year my husband and I spent six weeks in summery, sweaty NYC with our four year-old boy and 14-month-old girl. Partly for my work, (if you’re in North America reading this, next time you’re in Sephora, try Go-To skin care, okay thanks) but mostly because we love that city, and our kids are not yet locked to the school term, so we can afford to be a bit cavalier/ambitious/obnoxious with our trips.

We arrived in NYC after six weeks of training in Greece and Italy, where we perfected the art of constantly moving into new places, and eating pasta and pizza every day.

We chose to stay in three different areas of NYC. This is because:

1) If we booked one home for six weeks and it was noisy, (HAHAHA JK, every place in NYC is noisy) or it sucked, we were stuck

2) NYC is huge; there are so many areas to explore, and limiting ourselves to just one felt silly

3) We enjoy packing and repacking suitcases, schlepping them up and down lots of stairs, and making our children feel displaced and confused.

One of many city playgrounds we got to know very well. This one is on Bleeker.

We began with two weeks in a cosy apartment in SoHo.

This was ideal, since my work was based there, and we could get all our favourite NYC restaurants (Sant Ambroeus, il Buco, Minetta Tavern etc) and shopping out of our system so we didn’t spend the rest of the trip hankering for the part of Manhattan we know and love best. Our apartment was RIGHT IN THE THICK OF IT. Tourists everywhere, sirens, party drunks: SoHo is never quiet. But, the kids didn’t care. We slept well. Big days mean big sleep.

I found a babysitter through a friend so we grown-ups could enjoy the city. No point being in NYC and staying home every night. She babysat for us for the duration of the visit, and I am very grateful to her.

At Color Factory. If it ever comes to a city near you… ya gatta!

We ate: Out a lot – we were right on the cusp of Little Italy after all. Aside of that, take-away soup, sushi and chili from Gourmet Garage was our go-to. (I live on chicken noodle soup in NYC.)

We kept the kids busy with:

  • Numerous city playgrounds: There are a few around Bleeker that are huge, with water parks and fountains and lots of local kids to play with
  • Exhibitions, plays, and kid-based art stuff. (We went to Color Factory; it was phenomenal)
  • Going to Times Square (ahem, the M&M store) and the Empire State Building
  • Trips to The High Line for ice creams and sweltering strolls/tantrums (mine)
  • A train trip to Coney Island for the day with some friends (just the boy and the husband; too hot and far for baby)
  • Walking around the city finding parks and patting dogs

We had to: Buy a ton of Lego and puzzles for hot afternoons inside.

A wheely wonder-full time was had at Coney Island (sorry)

Next we headed to Park Slope (Brooklyn) for 16 days.

My knowledge of Brooklyn was limited to Dumbo and Williamsburg (I’m a Carrie, not a Miranda, after all), so we booked this having never been to the area. Next time we’ll spend a bit longer on Google maps, or ask any ex-pats we know over there for insight, as it wasn’t quite what we had envisioned. 

Alas! We’d heard Park Slope was great for families, and it really is. Lots of playgrounds, the colossal, lush Prospect Park, and tons of family friendly eateries and shops. The best way to sum it up is that it was like Real Life, whereas Manhattan always feels romantic and crazy and like I’m in a movie. (And that’s why I love it.)

Prospect Park BRINGS IT.  Esp on a Sunday morning. 

We ate: Mostly at home; there were loads of those dazzling, overflowing NYC grocery stores around. There were some great places around for early family dinners, notably Hugo and Sons, and we bought crepes at the delicious Colson patisserie on our daily walk up to Prospect Park. I booked an organic toddler food delivery service,(frozen, delivered in bulk for the week ahead, Nurture Life was the company) so we always had healthy lunch or dinner options.

We kept kids busy with:

  • Daily trips to Prospect Park (rivals Central park in size and beauty; above)
  • Numerous local playgrounds
  • Brooklyn Zoo
  • A ferry over to Governor’s Island to camp for the night under the gaze of the statue of liberty (just my son and husband; baby not a keen camper) Even if you don’t camp, go: it has the longest slide in NY and an awesome park
  • Brooklyn Bridge park in Dumbo, (AKA, we went to the Jane Carousel, but this whole area is brand new and great)

We had to: Rack off to the Hamptons for a weekend to stay with friends to escape an epic heat wave. The Hamptons were GREAT. So pretty! Such good food! Many things for the kids to do, and many celebrities to spot! (Important.)

At LUNCH in the Hamptons. Yes, ’tis the diner from The Affair.

For the finale, we moved up to Central Park.

We’ve never stayed uptown (midtown, more accurately) before, but with kids it made sense. So, for the last 12 days we booked a hotel one block back from the park (1 Central Park – 10/10 recommend) to go out on a movie-set high.

I want to say: if you have young kids, stay up here. We were in that wonderful park twice a day, for the playgrounds, duck feeding, the zoo or the fairground. It’s magic, and it tires them out, and it’s just so dang beautiful.

We ate: Mostly in our room. (We upgraded to a room with a dining table and more space after seeing our tiny original room, knowing from experience that the money is worth it when you spend so much time at home with your kid and still-crawling baby.) I still had the toddler food delivery in place, but classic diner breakfasts or picnics in the park with sandwiches were good fun. The grocery stores in the city all do great soup/stews/salads, which I have zero problem with after three hours at a museum.

We kept them busy with:

  • Central Park (squirrels! Rocks to climb! The best playground we’ve ever seen!)
  • Central park Zoo
  • A Yankees game
  • MoMa (it has a lovely outdoor area and interactive kids room)
  • The Intrepid air sea and space museum (you can see a real space shuttle)
  • The American museum of Natural History
  • The subway anywhere. Kids. Love. Trains.

Before booking, I made sure each place we stayed had:

Some space to play indoors – Hot NYC summer days are super exhausting for small people. The kids could generally tolerate one big session outside a day, then they would nap, and hang inside on hot afternoons til dinner, which we would often go out for, because they were buzzing to get out, and so were we, and we’re more relaxed on holidays so we can forgive the later bed time and amount of ice cream being consumed.

Dark bedrooms – I always double confirm there are blackout blinds in the kids room. (We always travel with gaffa tape to tape down any light leaks too.)

White noise – much needed in NYC with all the sirens etc.

Proximity to playgrounds or parks – no more than a block or two. They act as your backyard.

A lemonade fountain and indoor slippery slide – obviously.

Oh, it was a big, beautiful, blur of a trip. We were in a constant loop of excitement, FOMO and exhaustion in NYC; it’s a city that gives as much as it takes, and we are more than happy with that transaction. (We are also more than happy with the amount of Aussie cafes popping up over there, because we are Melbournians and therefore very ARROGANT ABOUT OUR COFFEE.)

At Dumbo House. I LOVED this night. Thank you, friend with membership!

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