Chinamans Beach, Mosman 

Mosman has got it’s fair share of gorgeous beaches – Balmoral Beach / Clifton Gardens but this beach is so far my favourite in the area. Quietly tucked away and generally empty this is such a gorgeous place and it’s perfect for kids. 

  
To get to Chinmans Beach you should aim for Roscherville Reserve or McLean Crescent, Mosman 2088. You’ll find yourself winding down a hill, don’t worry – this means your going the right way. You know you’re in the right spot when you enter a car park with the park on your left and in front of you and houses on your right. 

   
The beach is just beyond the Reaerve. 

  
In order to get to the beach you have to walk through Roscherville Reserve. There is parking along Roscherville Reserve which varies – some areas are 3 hours, tickets, while others are unticketed 2 hour spots. 

There are a number of entrances on to the beach (from the Reserve) through the trees making you feel like Alice going down the rabbit hole or the Narnia children going through the cupboard… 

   

 Chinamans Beach is in Middle Harbour safely tucked away from any serious winds or waves. The 250m of sand is soft and clear and great for digging mini-swimming pools and building sandcastle. We have two 1 year olds with us on the day we visited and they loved every second. While Sydney was a little bit windy on the day we visited we were shelter from it and felt like we were in the middle of summer. 

This is the second time our family has been to this beach and on both occasions it was virtually empty. There were more people in the water, boating or stand-up paddling than there were on the beach. 

  
Dogs are not allowed on the beach but they can run wild in the Reserve so make sure you keep your eye on your little on as you walk through to the beach. 

There are bathrooms in the Reserve which you walk past on the way to the beach so they’re relatively close by. 

There aren’t any cafes or shops by so you will need to take your own snacks and drinks. 

If you’ve got little ones with you make sure to point out the little hermit crabs, these can provide at least 1 minute of intense interest 🙂 

How to host a playdate… The beginner’s guide. 

There are two types of play dates – play dates where the parents are friends and the kids are forced to forge a friendship the other type is where the kids are friends and the parents are secondary to the interaction. You will know the difference because in the second scenario you’ll be referred to as “soandso’s dad”. 

This post is about how to handle the second type of play date, the ‘hi, nice to meet you, welcome into my home stranger, please let this work and be fun.’

We have only just entered the foray of the second scenario and I personally had NO clue what to do. I’m still fumbling through it like a over-attentive waitress – forcing things at the kids and then tidying up immediately in case the parent I’ve just met thinks I’m useless or messy. 

The first taste we had of this was when my son was 18 months old and it ended with my son dropping his nappy (I didn’t know he could take his nappy off) and showing the little girl who was visiting and her shocked mom his private parts. He then made a break from my grasp and ran out to the people painting our house and showed them how he’d learnt to wee standing up. Needless to say, I was mortified and we didn’t have another play date for a very very long time. 

So now I’m back in the game. Somehow I won the lottery and have been invited to other mom’s houses for the play date. This is fantastic. This way I got to see what they do and how they manage the situation. 

I’m also embarrassed to admit (for those of you reading this who know me) that I also siddled up to my son’s day care teacher one day and whispered ‘I’ve been invited to a play date what do I do? Do I go, do I drop and run, do I take something’. She laughed at me and made a few suggestions, I’ll include these below. 

What I’ve learnt about play dates for pre-schoolers is this: 

  • For the first playdate you go with. I did not know this 🙂 
  • Mornings are best because the kids get far too excited and then get worn out from the excitement before the play dates began.  
  • If you don’t know the mum at all maybe meet at a park weather permitting so the kids have the option to play or not play depending on their moods and you don’t feel motified if they ignore each other for a bit. 
  • Healthy snacks are generally available – fruit, crackers, yoghurt, muffins. 
  • Have one thing that you know will take up some time, either an activity (play doh, drawing, swimming, car track, cup cake decorating).
  • If it’s over lunch make sure you know what the child can or cannot eat. 
  • If parking near your place is confusing explain it to the mom coming.
  • I always take something for the mom or the kids but that’s just me.
  • Take some pics to commemorate and then swap with the other mom. 
  • The TV isn’t on at first 🙂 some moms do have music on though.
  • Have a place in mind where you can sit and chat to the mom but still have the kids playing, it’ll make it easier to connect to the mom and keep an eye on the kids. 

Don’t feel bad if the kids have a few moments where they decide they hate each other – it’ll pass and they’ll be mates again soon. 

  

A “pulled elbow” lands our baby in hospital

To stop our daughter landing on her face in the shops I grabbed onto her arm. It was meant to stop her from falling and hurting herself and instead she hurt herself and landed up needing to go to hospital. 

Our little girl’s lower arm (the radius bone) had slipped out of its normal position at the elbow joint. 

We knew something was wrong because 1) she was crying and 2) was keeping her hand and fingers still (which is very unusual for any active 1 year old) and 3) wouldn’t use her hand for anything, even to take her favourite toy or food. 

As she was in her car seat, hadn’t napped properly and is teething the crying is normal. We decided to get home, get her out her car seat and see if she would take anything offered to that hand. She wouldn’t. 

Off my husband went to the emergency department of our local hospital, Sydney’s Royal North Shore. We know this hospital to be great with kids and adults alike. And it was a Saturday afternoon so of course we couldn’t get a doc appointment. 

My husband was seen, after a while (thank goodness he had the foresight to pack formula and he favourite toy to keep her calm) and the doctor knew immediately what was wrong – she’d pulled her radius out of her elbow. She didn’t even need an X-Ray. 

  
According to the doc that saw our little girl, it is a very common injury amongst children under the age of 5. So common, that this hospital sees 2 – 3 of these injuries daily (again, according to the doc that saw our daughter). 

It took a second for her to roll her arm round and pop it back into the elbow. As soon as he had done it, she was off to touch all the toys with the hand she hadn’t wanted to use.

It’s such a quick fix and a common injury but it still is horrible and unsettling because you don’t know what is wrong. 

We were given literature from the hospital (evidentially obtained from Kids Health Info – RCH, Melbourne). I want to share this so if this happens to your child you know what to look for and what it is so you don’t panic. 

  • A pulled elbow can be caused by holding a child’s hand when they fall or if a child is lifted by the hand   
  • It is a common injury in children under 5 (after 5 the ligament and joints are stronger).
  • In most cases your child will cry straight away.
  • Signs of the injury is your child not wanting to use the arm or having the arm hanging by their side. 
  • The longer the injury has endured (the longer it has been out) the longer it will take to recover. 
  • A pulled elbow will not cause permanent damage.
  • Some children are more susceptible to this.
  • This injury can happen more than once. 
  • PREVENTION: don’t pick your children up by their lower arms or wrists. 

This morning our little one is back to normal and seemingly completely fine but we’re just extra careful with her hand, wrist and arm. 

The Boatshed Cafe and Bar, Narrabeen 

I have never walked into a restuarant with kids and felt so welcome. From the manager (maybe the owner) to the wait staff everyone smiled and greeted the kids. The atmosphere coupled with the view and the space means we will definitely return.  

The address I found on the web was 11 Narrabeen Street, NSW 2101 and this took us to a rather random spot right next to where we wanted to be though, thankfully.  Look out for the entrance to the parking for Limani (because it’s in the same building) it’ll be on your left (if you’re facing the water). 
There are two options for seating – either inside and upstairs (there is a lift at the back of the building on the left hand side of the stairs) or outside in front overlooking the water (the views are great from either). 

  
The restuarant is open for breakfast and lunch, menus are all online for you to check out beforehand and bookings can be made online on the website, just click here but we wandered up on a Sunday morning at 10am and while we couldn’t get a table outside we found one inside with no trouble. 

As soon as the waitress arrived we were presented with colouring-in sheets and crayons (a Spider-Man sheet for the boy and a frozen sheet for the girl). These kept the kids seriously entertained until the food arrived. As is becoming standard my husband had the egg and bacon roll which he said was ‘traditional’ and ‘good’, I had the pancakes which were okay as did our little boy. The coffee was awesome as was the babychino. 

  

The menu is good but the sweets on sale look better and I think I’ll give this a try rather next time. maybe we’ll go for tea next time.  There are bathrooms but not fantastic.  On the plus side, the service was very quick and thorough, the location is great, there is plenty of parking and the kids are well looked after. 

 
Even if  you don’t stay for a sit down meal, you can always grab a take-away coffee or smoothie. 

After breakfast we were able to head out for a walk along the lake which made for a perfect end to a great morning. 
 

Gift guide: 7 gifts for the Haute Couture Woman

  1. A Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar subscription. You can get magazines delivered or the e-subscription. In Australia you can get either subscriptions at https://www.magshop.com.au/vogue-australia. (I’m not sure if this is a good price or not though). In the States purchase Harpers directly from the website https://subscribe.hearstmags.com/subscribe/splits/harpersbazaar/har_sem_print?kenshoo_id=54e453d1-798f-40c8-916a-19dff1128c7a&gclid=COGtsr_K0MwCFQsnvQody9MNAw and for Vogue https://subscribe.vogue.com/subscribe/vogue/82819?source=google_sem_sitelink_us   
  2. Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington. She is the creative director at American Vogue, a former model and fashion genius! The book retails off Amazon.com for about $22.   
  3. The Manolo Blaniks from Sex and the City, can easily be purchased from Saks.com    
  4. A handbag from the all new Gucci range  summer / spring 2015 range. These are so unique and will be reminder of this year for time to come.  
  5. An Hermes scarf. Retailing from about US$400 these pure silk scarves are absolutely magnificent. There are so many different types to choose from and the patterns are so intoxicating it’s like being a kid in a candy store and a picture just wouldn’t do it justice! 
  6. Something to add sparkle to everyday items – from Louis Vuitton you can get a bag charm or key holder from A$215.  
  7. Rainboots from burberry. I swear by the shorter boots, they are amazing and look good with a multitude of things. Just gotta wear thick warm socks. 

Wheeler Park Playground, Narrabeen Lakes

Wheeler Park is a little playground, fully enclosed and shade overlooking the Narrabeen Lakes. We stumbled upon it but burnt off some serious energy so I’m glad we came across it. 

Wheeler Park Playground doesn’t really have an address which is weird considering there is even a car park. If you’re looking for it, you would be best served putting Lakeside, Narrabeen in your GPS. The next three pictures should give you an indication of where it is: 

Picture 1: The blue spot in the picture is the covered playground alongside Lakeside Road. 

  

Picture 2: Where Lakeside Road is in relation to other roads / streets in the area (more specifically Mactier Street) and the Lakes. 

   

Picture 3: Where Mactier Street and the Lakes are within the greater Narrabeen area.

 

The beauty about this little playground is its location:

  • It’s on the Narrabeen Lagoon Trail which means you can walk around the Lakes / lagoon a bit with the kids. It’s perfect for prams and trikes. 
  • There is a cafe (walking North) called Boatshed cafe where you can pick up a coffee / babychinos / smoothie. 
  • Ducks and geese are abound.
  • There are open areas nearby where you can sit and peacefully watch the water (or the people trying their hand at various water sports). 

  
The playground itself is small but has the basics – climbing frame, slides and swings. It is all spring form and as I said above its completely enclosed. 

   
     There are BBQ facilities (just one I think), picnic tables and a few benches inside and outside the playground. 

There is street parking all along the Narrabeen Lakes and a little parking lot near the playground. One of the down falls is that there aren’t any toilets which is a bit of a pain if you plan on spending a while there. 

A day in pictures 

An ordinary day started with the kids unpacking a shoe cupboard then an hour later they unpacked the bookcase down the passage and an hour later there was peace and quiet (which I wanted to prove to their dad) consequently I found that I had been taking pictures every hour unwittingly. I decided to keep a photographic record of what we do every hour… This is that record: 

7:30 am – unpacking the shoe cupboard (yes there is a baby right in the back of the cupboard trying to get maximum disaster).   

8:30 am moved down the passage for some more unpacking peppered with a bit of light reading   

 9:30am and the littlest is asleep. Phew. I realize from looking at this pics that she may be the instigator 

    

 10:30am arriving at Sydney Olympic Park for an Expo. New places to go and things to see and do.  
 11:30am Playing hard inside the expo. They have now both been exposed to ‘chalk’ not sure it’s a good thing.  
12:30am Sharing ice-cream. Sometimes they can be so kind to one another.   

1:30pm Fast asleep in the car (I wasn’t driving when I took this photo of their reflection in the rear view mirror)  

 
2:30pm They’re still sleeping so I can put my feet up and drink a Milo in peace  

 
3:30pm Been a busy day with all the hard work so just having a cuddle on the couch. Both children temporarily happy after a sleep. 

 
4:30pm Nuts we haven’t done any washing today. Never fear mom and her shadow will get on to that.  

 
5:30pm It’s getting dark early so we better have a quick game of football with our new beach balls. Dinner soon.  Clearly the big brother is the boss of the game and in charge of rule making. 

 
6:30pm One of their Favourite times of the day – bathtime. Almost bedtime.  Look at them looking lovingly at their dad, so sweet. 

 
The end of their day has arrived.