Wahroonga Park Playground 

Wahroonga Park Playground is awesome. Awesome. I rate it as one of my top two North Shore playgrounds so far (the other being Flying Fox playground in Mona Vale). It is set in a beautiful park and has all sorts of playground equipment. 

The address on my GPS and the quick internet search I did showed Millewa Avenue but you could put in any of the streets that borders the park as they all have parking: Stuart Street, Illoura Avenue, Coonanbarra Road. In fact I wouldn’t aim for Millewa as its parking isn’t great as its the road that borders the train station.

   
The park itself is located nearest to the Stuart Street / Coonanbarra Road intersection as shown on the aerial photograph below. 

  
The one problem with the park is that the toilets are at the top end of the park closer to Illoura Avenue than the playground but at least they cater for families with a large bathroom that has a smaller loo and a change table.
The playground is just lovely and is very popular which you can easily guess at with how many Facebook groups and websites it appears on. I think the allure is how many different things there are to play on, that the playground is enclosed, the benches for weary moms and that there is a coffee shop right across the road (again for those weary moms 🙂 ). 

Included in the set up is:

  
– metal balls you step on to make musical notes (or if you have a 3 year old male – an earsplitting cacophony)

   
   
– climbing frames with ropes and ladders

– slides for big and little kids 

   
 – see-saw and roundabout type things 

– swings (although most of the bigger-kid swings are outside of the enclosed area) 

   
– a giant wooden train to drive, ride on or crawl through (the above picture doesn’t do it justice as this is just the engine part of the train – there are carriages too) (yes I know my trains, I’ve watched my fair share of Thomas the Tank Engine).

  
– one of the above things that I have absolutely no idea what they are called but look like immense fun for older kids.

It would be remis of me not to mention that there is a bubbler (oh how my 3 year old loves a drinking fountain) and the wood chips under the bigger jungle gyms (oh how my 1 year old loves playing in wood chips). 

There is space in the playground to have your morning tea but there is not much grass in the playground area, for that you would need to go outside into the park. The park is lovely and very well maintained so it’s worth having a look around or laze in while there. 

   
 While the park doesn’t have a dedicated trike track there are walking paths that seem suitable for trikes and scooters. 

I didn’t get a chance to sample the coffee from across the road but as I loved this playground and feel so calm walking through the park, even after the chaos of the playground, we will be back and then I’ll let you know about the coffee. 

Berry Island Reserve – Park and Bush walk

Berry Island Reserve is beautiful and has an awesome playground! Until I was invited by a friend to accompany her and her tot to Berry Island Reserve I didn’t  even know that Wollstonecraft had greenery and such good views.

Situated at the end of Shirley Road Wollstonecraft, 2065 is the reserve. There is parking on the street (it wasn’t available when we were there due to building or something) or you can take the train to Wollstonecraft Station as it is a ten minute walk. Personally I would never take the train because the hill from the reserve is enough to make you want to put up a tent on Shirley road and never leave. In the below map the pin is the reserve and the blue dot, the massive blue dot is where the playground is.

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The reserve has the playground which I will go into detail about in a bit but it also has a giant area for picnics and a bush walk called the Gaydan Track which shows off some of the areas Aboringinal History. There are toilets as you enter the Reserve on your left and BBQ facilities with a couple of picnic tables.

The playground is fantastic!! It has been “custom designed” and you can tell – every is perfectly set in the natural bush. The jungle gym is surrounded by trees which are perfect for hiding in or exploring from the jungle gym, there are a variety of slides and swings and plenty of rocks to walk on. There are plenty of climbing ropes and ladders too – just what my son ordered. There is just enough grass to picnic on while watching the fish in the water.

The park is well shaded and as you can see there are benches for weary mums and dads.

 

We chanced the Gaydan Track and it was really lovely except when my three year old needed to be carried which sparked the one year old running down the track because no one was holding her back. But I digress, it is a beautiful walk to the point of the Island and back around to the same starting point, it says online that it should take 20 minutes but I think its a bit longer when you’re stopping to look at mushrooms, lizards and huge rocks.

During the walk you feel a million miles away from Sydney until you spot the bridge peeking through the trees of the Westfield tower over the water or the Anzac bridge in the distance.

If you are going with more than one child I recommend you take more than 1 adult. There are lots of rocks and tree trunks to trip up on and the sides of the walk fall away to the water. The lookout is fenced but its not very well constructed – you want to hold on to your children to keep them from falling through!

 

 

I like this place a whole lot and will definitely take the husband there and visitors to Sydney. One last point, try get there before 10h00 because it seems like 10 is when all the grannies on grandchild duty arrive (aah, if only my children’s grandparents were closer – they too would be dispatched there).

 

 

Bernie Mullane Sports Complex Playground, Kellyville

Last week we went off to Kellyville to meet up with new friends, we headed to the impressive playground in the Bernie Mullane Leisure Centre. 
My internet search wielded the address as Marella Avenue, Kellyville, 2155 while it didn’t work so well when it put it into the GPS the Centre is massive and easy to spot. The playground is also visible as you enter to it’s a good enough address to follow. 

   
The playground is all that soft spring stuff, a bit of fake turf and then a grassy patch. There is shade and benches so it adequately provides for picnickers. The only problem is that the toilets are in the main building so if you need to make a run for it with one of your children make sure you’re wearing your running shoes. 

The playgrounds has a variety of slides for all sizes, some swings, drums (yes drums!!), hoops to crawl through, ropes to climb, plastic stepping stones, lots of little spring rides and spider nets. 

   
    
 
The photographs are very limited – my apologies, my daughter was trying to eat the wood chips the entire time we were there. We will be back though and will take more pics and post them. 

The parking is extensive so you won’t have a problem and it’s all easy to access with a pram. The entire playground is enclosed so you don’t have to worry about your escapologist trying to make a break for it. 

There wasn’t a trike track but there was so much to do and explore that my three year old was entertained! 

The most INCREDIBLE part about this playground is that there is a swing for children who are wheelchair bound. How amazing! I love that this has been thought of. It looks safe and it’s privately fenced within the playground. 

The playground was busy busy but we did only get there at 11am and it is school holidays so next time we will go earlier and update the post 🙂 I am not sure there is a cafe, I didn’t see one but I will also look into this because who doesn’t need a coffee or fourteen when it comes to parenting. 

Moving Bodies Soft Play, Mt Kuring-gai

The bigger centre is known as Moving Bodies Centre but this review is solely about the soft play area which is open weekdays and suited to 0 – 11 year olds. There are two separate areas with a common eating area / mom’s lounge and bathrooms.

There is some confusion as to whether this play centre is in Hornsby or Mt Kuring-gai but following our exit from the highway the sign said Mt Kuring-gai Industrial Area so I’m going to go with that 🙂

The address on their website is Unit 2, Marina Close, Mt Kuring-gai, other references to the address that i’ve seen is corner Hamley Road and Marina Close. What you want to do though is just put Hamley Road in your GPS and when you get to the end of the road it will be on your left.

The centre is made up of 2 units and you will pay at the first unit and the be directed to the next door unit to enter the soft play area. The cost for play is $2 for 6 – 11 month olds, $4 for 1 – 2 year olds and $8 for 2 – 11 year olds.

 

0-2 year old play area

This was the area we spent most time in today and it was really lovely – big, safe (sprung floor), clean and virtually empty.

There were plenty of soft structures for my daughter to play on: things to play on, slide down, climb up, ride on, crawl through and sit on. The pictures speak for themselves.

 

3 – 11 year old play structure

The play structure is 3 storeys tall and filled with all the things you would expect, a ball pit, tunnels and slides.

 

One of the best things is that you can watch your children play, on monitors provided in the eating area – very smart if you are trying to keep track of two kids.

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Eating area complete with screens to watch the kids playing

The problem with the centre is that there is no cafe or restaurant so you have to take your own snacks. You have to make sure that they are nut free and that your kids eat them in the eating area only. The one other things I wasn’t a fan of is the bathrooms but they’re okay just not perfect. Will have to have a better inspection of them when I take our newly potty trained 3 year old (help us all 🙂 ).

The people that work here are great: friendly and actually seem to like kids which is a plus!

 

We will definitely be back and next time we are I will update you all. I will also pop past Marina Close Cafe to get my coffee fix and will report back.

Birkenhead Point Outlet Mall, Drummoyne 

I love a good outlet shopping and this is one of the two good places I know of in Sydney (the other is DFO Homebush).

Birkenhead is good for shopping and has the added benefit of being on the water, you can have a coffee or a spot of lunch with a view. Even the Country Road outlet has a view of a marina, too pretty I tell you. 

The address that comes up on my maps is Roseby Street, Drummoyne which is spot on because it takes up the better part of that road. 

   
There are two main parking areas, one on the left hand side of the road (left when facing the water) and this is best suited for your homeware shopping and sports wear shopping. Parking on the left you will cross over Roseby to get into the Mall. The other parking area is on the right hand side and is best suited for the food section (Coles, Aldi, a butcher and stunning grocer amongst others) and your fashion wear.   

The stores I frequent here (and by frequent I mean I walk around and try stop myself from buying too much) are:

The structure of the Mall is a little bizarre, the levels are all over the place. At the very top (entering from the Left parking lot) are GAP, Adairs, Bed Bath Table, Hugo Boss, Crocs and Superdry to name a few. This is level 3 according to the floor layout. 

The level below that (level 2 for those keeping count) which you can access from either the escalator or the lift has Tommy Bahama, French Connection, Esprite, Lindt, a number of suit shops, Tommy Hilfiger, Bendon, Oroton and others. 

The very bottom which you can also access from the lift has Nike, Forever New, Country Road, Lorna Jane, Mimco, Peter Alexander, Crabtree and Evelyn, Nine West, Calvin Klein and more.

Then below that are the food stores which you get to by going down a ramp or escalator or a different lift that is outside Lorna Jane. This is called Ground on the floor layout. 

The layout is very very confusing and everytime I go I’m convinced I’ve left something out and missed a deal of a lifetime. In the long run its probably best for my credit card and my husband’s health that I miss a few things. 

Should you want to check out the shop directory yourself here it is

There are parents rooms on level 3 – that’s the top floor 🙂 and two small play areas for younger kids one near muffin break on the top floor and the other outside Sandler on the bottom. 

As for the views: 

 

oh just the view from inside Country Road Outlet

If you need to buy gifts or you want to get something for the home this is you best bet. I can not tell you the amount I’ve saved from buying linen here as opposed to the actual stores. And GAP, don’t even bother with the sales at the GAP store, they don’t compare. It really is worth a trip! 

 

Mother’s Day: 33 ideas on how to treat MOM 

1.

A lovely day out! Going out to a farm or a restuarant with a view. Make sure to take a few pictures.

2.

A lovely morning in. Let mom sleep in then wake up gently without any screaming 😉 then breakfast of her choice maybe on her own followed by a good cup or tea or coffee and a magazine to read with her hot beverage.

3.

Nail polish. Def going to order some of these. I’m a big fan of Essie and OPI.

4.

Perfume. You have to know your partner, mom or female relative very well to buy perfume. If you’ve got access go look at what she already has and this will give you a good indication of what she likes.

5.

Music. I love a good CD. Yes it’s old school but I love it. I know how to use a CD player, it can go in the car when it’s just me and the kids and I feel it supports the artists too (how nice am I hey). Ah, imagine my husband made me a mixed-tape-CD. I would love that!

6.

A mani or a pedi. Need I say more?

7.

A gift voucher for her favourite shop because it’s not about the amount it’s about the fact that you’re implicitly saying ‘go buy yourself something’ and ‘go out and do something for you’ and ‘this is not to be spent on me or the kids’. It’s so much more than just a voucher 😉

8.

An experience you know she’d love whether it be a high tea with her bestie, a surfing lesson or a movie ticket it’ll be the time out she needs.

9.

A family photograph shoot. I don’t know any mom that thinks she has enough good quality pics of her family.

10.

Personalized jewellery or nice earrings. Most women loves pretty things.

11.

If your mom has plenty of jewellery then a stunning jewelry box could work or a trinket box for her to put her really special pieces in, I used to have a silver one with a velvet interior and it was so beautiful. Very special.

12.

Set of gorgeous comfortable pjs. Winter is coming and we all want to feel warm and cuddly when it’s cold outdoors.

13.

Flowers but maybe flowers and a vase or a potted plant that she can keep for a while. I would say orchid but I don’t know what type of genius you have to be to keep an orchid alive.

14.

Beautiful candles or diffusers. I love these and can never convince my husband to get them so Mothers Day is the perfect excuse for me to get my full. You got to get the good quality ones.

15.

A handbag. Which woman doesn’t love a handbag!? But keep it simple, stick with one colour (black, tan, white, dark blue or brown) and simple style (tote, messenger bag or hobo). If you’re a dad reading this maybe ask a female friend or relative for help 😉

16.

A card from the kids or a card with the kids’ handprints or footprints. The inner creative in me says all you need is child + paint + card = magic.

17.

If Mom is a reader you could get her a book or a kindle or a magazine subscription.

18.

For mom’s that wear scarves or pashminas you will agree with me that you can never have enough. So, a good quality scarf or pashmina is always a good option.

19.

A custom photobook. There are hundreds of places that do this now and you don’t even need a computer at home – most good sites have an app you can download and then you can use the photos off your phone. So easy!

20.

A nespresso machine. It has been my lifesaver! If that’s out the budget just get a gorgeous mug (or two) and fill it with ready made cuppachino sachets, coupled with a classy packet of biscuits that could make one very happy mom.

21.

Box set of her favourite series. There are a few I have been addicted to over the years and would watch them a thousand times over.

22.

An angel from Willowtree. Each one has a unique character and name to accompany it.

23.

Bath pampering – bath salts, bubble bath, body butter and hand cream.

24.

Champagne. Although I’m not sure I’d ever get the chance to enjoy it again but it would be Pink Moët Chandon for me 😉

25.

A stylish phone cover case or key chain. Both accompany things mom carries every single day of her life.

26.

Some super special chocolates or delicacies all beautifully packaged. I’m thinking macaroons from Zumbo or chocolates from Adora.

27.

Personalized necklace with children’s names or birthdates.

28.

A thick and fluffy dressing gown or slippers. If you’re reading this in the northern hemisphere then a lightweight dressing gown would be great.

29.

Any beautiful home decor item she’s had her eye on. There is a very fine line here – you have to make sure it’s something she wants and wasn’t going to buy herself and not something she will open and think ‘oh gee a gift for the house, how dull’

30.

With coloring in being the rage at the moment you could always go with a colouring in book (for adults) and some beautiful crayons. You get some really fancy crayons, I’ve even see Andy Warhol inspired crayons.

31.

For the super sporty mom a Fitbit may be the answer or a mom who just wants to count her steps, I’m the latter 🙂

32.

An appointment with the hairdresser or just a cut and blow wave – every mom feels better with good hair!

33.

Let mom have a nap and bake her a cake. I love cake and it tastes even better when it’s made with love from the kids (and half the batter on the floor).

Regardless of the above, all a mom really wants is to know that she is loved and appreciated. So if you just tell her that, it’ll be gift enough!

Bilgola Beach

Seems like it’s a hidden secret, so low key, empty yet beautiful. Feels very raw with the waves breaking heavily and a small area for swimming but it’s stunning stunning stunning. 

It’s between Avalon and Newport Beaches. The web and GPS is generally corner Bilgola Avenue and Allen Avenue, 2107 but you should turn off before that if you want better parking. 

  

You know you’re going the right way if you’re heading north along Barrenjoey Road, take the left shoot into The Serpentine and then take the first left. 

  

Not that much parking in the primary parking place but we got there just before 10am and there were still plenty of spots. It is ticketed and $3.40 an hour. Most of the parking is shaded which is great and there are toilets and a cafe at this parking lot. 

 

the cafe in the main car park
 
There (is what I would call) secondary parking if you go past the first parking lot on the right you’ll find it on the left.

As you walk out of the main parking lot left will take you to the north and right to the south (makes sense seeing as it’s the east coast, ha ha). 

We set off for the North end today as the life guards were at the north end (don’t know if this is always the case) but the north end also appears to be the surfing spot and at the very end are some rocks. 

  
  
The south end has the ocean pool and we will def check this end out next time. 

   
 
We really enjoyed this beach and you should be able to gauge why from my awesome pictures. If I can get good pictures, even with my thumb in the way of the camera you must know that it’s a good looking place. 

I’ve just discovered a new site from which you can check out their weather and the conditions: http://magicseaweed.com/Bilgola-Beach-Surf-Report/2927/ (it’s a surf report but it covers some good basics like air and sea temp).   

Only downside is how long it takes you to walk from the parking to the beach. You can get closer by driving all the way to the end of Allen Road as there is access and the end of Allen Road, but there are only 10 spaces.
Will update this post following our next visit which I’m hoping will be soon, if summer will hang around a bit longer. 

Things that are no longer possible now that I am a mom

  1. Speaking to anyone on the phone. It is not possible to hear a word or follow the conversation with your 3 year old asking who is on the phone, whether you’re talking to him and what you said while your 1 year old repeats ‘hello’ and ‘mummum’.
  2. Going to the toilet alone. Even if you close the door, the 3 year old will open it so both he and the 1 year old can join you, maybe even perform a song or dance. 
  3. Sleeping with all the lights in the house off. 
  4. Maintaining nicely painted nails. Not only is it impossible to find the time to have them painted but then to keep them nice while digging holes, collecting sticks and tidying toys is impossible. 
  5. Vacationing at cool places. I now live vicariously through people by stalking them on Facebook. 
  6. Knowing where the TV remote is. Last week it was in the laundry in a cardboard box ready for recycling. 
  7. Holding a conversation with another adult during daylight hours that isn’t peppered with ‘no, don’t do that’, ‘I’m here’, ‘where are you’, ‘what are you doing’. 
  8. Leaving the house in less than 40 minutes. Even after the 40 minutes of prep we still have to go around the block because we’ve left something behind. 
  9. Weekends away… If it takes 40 minutes and two trips back to the house just to go grocery shopping it takes weeks of planning to go away, a car full of bags and a whole lot of patience to get everyone somewhere that isn’t the lounge. 
  10. Brushing my hair, teeth, showering and wearing ironed clothes all in the same day. 
  11. Keeping my iPhone in tact and not sticky. This week alone it’s had formula dotted on it like art and biscuit smeared on the screen courtesy of my littlest. I must accept this as Siri is her best friend and she does need to talk to her at least every hour or the friendship may sour. I totally get it! 
  12. Going to bed at a reasonable hour. Let’s be honest you can only really do anything with a modicum of functionality  when they’re sleeping. 
  13. Leaving a glass or pen on a coffee table without chaos ensuing. 
  14. Wearing high heels. It’s gone. The ability has left me. I feel lost, like a Jimmy Choo in a world of Haviannas. 
  15. Enjoy a conversation with my husband that doesn’t revolve around the children. 
  16. Doing anything on a computer – computers are absolutely fascinating to children – all those buttons, a screen and lights – it’s like a tv play Centre. 

On the plus side there are now a whole host of things I can do with one hand or an elbow courtesy of the carrying-children-on-your-hip’ experience I have now acquired. But that’s a whole ‘nother post for another day 😅

St Ives Showgrounds Playgrounds and Trike Track 

After living less than 5 kms away for 10 months we decided we should give this trike track a try. We set off with balance bike and scooter in the boot, as you do with a three year old (they will change their mind once they’ve got there and then scream like you’ve run over their foot with the car). 
The showgrounds are set off Mona Vale road between Richmond Road, St Ives and Forest Way Terry Hills. Going East along Mona Vale Road if you see Bunnings on the right you’ve gone to far and if you’re coming west along Mona Vale Road and hit St Ives suburbia or the sign that said 60kms you’ve gone too far. 

   
At first we couldn’t figure out where to go, there are quite a few parks and it’s a big place (and I had two shouting kids in the car). Lucky for you I found the below map online! 

   
I counted three separate playgrounds:

The first is at the entrance on the left. Benches and tables allow you to have a picnic here but it is quite close to the entrance which means there are cars coming and going and isn’t well fenced off. 

the first playground we stumbled on

The second is the one with the trike park, also has picnic tables and chairs. The trike track is okay, it’s not made up with different sign posts and sections (like the Hallstrom Park or Brightmore Reserve) but it does wind around the playground grounds and is enclosed by a wooden fence (there are gaps in the fence which your escape artist could get through if they wanted to so be careful). The playground isn’t the best but it is enough entertainment when coupled with the trike path. 

And, and, it is opposite the ‘model aeroplane flying arena’ … Can you handle it. You can ride your bike or scooter, climb a play set or tree and still watch model aeroplane a being flown. How amazing is that for a threenager or any boy for that matter!? 

 

the second playground with the trike path (excuse the poor quality)
 
The third is as you leave the playground tucked into the back of the show grounds. This looks like the nicest of the three playgrounds by far. I think when we have a free afternoon or morning we’ll pop out to explore this one a bit more. 

   
In addition to the playgrounds there are also lots of little picnic spots which you can enjoy. Feels like you’re a million miles away from suburbia. 

The only problem with the showgrounds is the distance to the toilets, there seems to be only one set of toilets near the exit which is a loooong way to go. 

On the way out we drove past some dogs being taught in the ‘dog ring’ proof that you never know what fun you might stumble on here. With two dog lovers who can’t get enough of the Hairy McLairy book series we had to stop and watch the awesomeness.