In Photos: Birkenhead Point Outlet Mall, Drummoyne 

 

Entrance to upmost level from the car park
  
Play structure on upmost level next to Muffin Break on the way to Katmandu
   
 
View from the top level looking East
  

 

Second level looking West with Brookes Brothers on the left. Entrance to the wing with all the suit shops on the left

  
Indoor seating for the food court on the grocery shop level
 
 
Outside seating for the food court on the grocery shop level
 

View of the water, outside the food court. Views can also be caught through the windows of Country Road
View of Iton Cove bridge that takes you into Rozelle

Outside of the building. Must have been an old industrial space
 
First floor, not to be confused with the bottom floor. Nike on the far left hand side and Peter alexander on my right.
 
    
   

Getting lost in the momlife 

When I was at varsity people couldn’t get enough of advocating the study / play balance (don’t go and party too much but by the same token don’t stay indoors and not enjoy varsity life) and then there was the work / life balance which most of us ignored while scrambling up the corporate rungs. But in this stage of my life I think the concept of a mom/life balance needs to be explored. 

At this stage in your life there are at least two people you are trying to be, if you’re married, there’s a third. You’re trying to be a mom, a wife and you. The you part is unfortunately the part that goes missing first. Sometimes it’s followed by the wife/partner/ spouse part. Somehow the mom part clings on for deal life. 

What’s so hard here is that you’re fighting not only yourself and societal pressures (probably) but also the expectations you have of yourself. These have been created subliminally over the years although maybe only having been awakened recently. And the worst part is there is no tougher critic of you than yourself. It’s like being a teenage girl going to a party and panicking about what you look like when in reality everyone else at the party is also worried about what they look like and whether they’re acting cool. I often see myself through other mothers’ eyes or the eyes of my mother and find a million faults. 

Coupled with your own critique is the ever present self-doubt. Should they eat this, if so, is it too much, or too little, too early or too late. Should they be outside today, but what if that sneeze is a cold or pneumonia or what if it’s not and they miss out on Vitamin D and an amazing experience. 

So in between of all of this in-fighting and constant worry about whether we are parenting well enough somehow we, the people we are outside of our roles as partner and mother, get lost. 

What I have realized, or what I’m realizing, is that you cannot be the best mom version of yourself or the best spouse version of yourself unless you look after you.

You’ll probably only notice that you’ve gone missing when you are too worn out to go out with the kids, or you haven’t slept in days, the washing is piling up, you can’t concentrate on long stories or your husband’s work woes and you snap at the kids but you can’t figure out what’s wrong. 

When you get to this point STOP. Stop immediately and go find yourself. It will take a while and it needs to be a constant process but you’ve got to start. Make a start with 30 minutes as soon as you can, if you’ve got more time to spare, spend as long as you can. No kids, no housework, no husband, no drama inducing friends, just you listening to your own thoughts or drowning them out initially. Do anything, go anywhere just make sure it’s something you like. 

There is only one rule. By the time that you-time is finished make sure you have the next one lined up. It has to be like that or you will sideline yourself. 

In this way you will start to remember what you like doing, what makes you you and it will give you the energy, perspective and desire to continue in those two other full-time roles. 

What you decide to do is completely up to you, it could be 30 minutes sleep, walking around a shopping center alone, going for a run, a facial, reading a book, watching a movie… Anything that you enjoy and gives you some breathing room. 

It’s so hard to take time out for ourselves but it is so necessary. The longer you take to do it the less likely you are to. If you are feeling overwhelmed, uneasy, not yourself you need to take a break. 

You know I’m right! 

Belaroma Coffee Centre, Manly Vale 

We stumbled upon Belaroma Coffee Centre completely by accident and boy are we glad we did. The outside gives a glimpse to the wonderland inside – a wonderland of good coffee complimented by good food. 

Situated at 75 Kenneth Road Manly Vale / Balgowlah (Apple maps refers to it as Balgowlah but the website says Manly Vale) it is just off Condamine road. If you know Manly Vale and know where the Coles and Woolworths are you’ll be able to find this place easily. 

However, the entrance is on Roseberry Street, driving East down Kenneth you’ll want to turn right onto Roseberry and the cafe will be on your right and the parking entrance just after the cafe. 

  

There is street parking but also parking behind the coffee shop which seems sufficient as we arrived during the breakfast / brunch rush and still got a parking. 

You know it’s going to be a goody when you walk into the outside area and it’s smart / neat and smells amazing. The inside is even better, I just loved the decor and could spend hours in the place reading and drinking coffee. 

  
The menu caters for breakfasts and lunches as the cafe is only open until 3:30 and the kitchen closing at 2:30. 

There is a specific section of the menu dedicated to kids and the baby chino on offer is huge! (On the kids note: The space is big enough to get a pram into and there was a ramp for pram or wheelchair access and there are baby chairs.)

It’s another one of those order and pay at the counter type of place but there is some type of service and the service was good. The kitchen was very busy though and we had to wait some time before our food arrived (the kids and dad had to go for two walks while waiting for food).

I had the French toast which was beautifully presented and a massive portion. The flavors were awesome but just a bit too sweet. You can see from the picture below that the littlest loved the French toast too. It was so so so pretty! 

  
Husband had the egg roll which he loved and the kids had… you guessed it, a croissant. The croissant comes with jam but it is a superb croissant, I’ve had hundreds of croissant left overs and this was one of the best if not the best I have ever had. 

  
The back of the menu is dedicated to coffee and I’m not sure I completely understood it but it looks cool 🙂 Being completely dedicated to coffee,  you can also pick up some of Belaroma’s famous coffee to take home or some cool coffee cups. 

Monday to Friday the Coffee Center is open from 6:30am and on weekends from 7:00am. It’s great for a quick cup of coffee and a muffin alone or an autumn / winter brunch.

I know it’s a funny way to end but I just wanted you to know that there are on-site toilets, always important when dealing with a young potty-trainee 🙂 

 

The Potting Shed at the Grounds, Alexandria 

Mom’s day out is always a big occasion – maybe wear make up, put on child unfriendly jewellery, something dangly maybe. Love it! This time I set course for Alexandria which is slightly south of Sydney to visit the much raved about Potting Shed. 

  
The Grounds is not a football field or parkland as I had expected but rather an oasis in the middle of a factory / warehouse area, a number of dining spots on a block all themed to make you feel like you’re in a forestry garden in the country. It’s pretty cool. 

The Google address is 7A, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria, 2015. This will take you to the main entrance of The Grounds and from there you can weave your way through to the Potting Shed which is on the South East end of the block.  

  
Parking is insane on the weekends due to The Grounds’ popularity. You could always take the train to Green Square Station and then do the 1km walk if you have the time – if you do this, make sure to take the Bourke Road exit. 

Parking Options courtsey of The Grounds website

We had a delicious lunch at the Potting Shed with most people ordering either the Cheeseburger or the Pumpkin Fatteh. (Not all items are available from 4:15 onwards) I had the pumpkin and it was really good and a massive portion – I couldn’t make it through it all and took some home for the kids to have with their dinner. The only down side is that the Potting Shed doesn’t serve coffee you have to go to another eatery and bring it back which isn’t a problem unless you don’t want to have to make the short walk (I was on a time budget). But it does serve alcohol and juice, which it says it’s famous for. 

Booking wise there are limited reservations as most tables are for walk-ins but you can try book online at http://thegrounds.com.au/reservations/
The Potting Shed is only open from 11:30 most days except for Saturday’s and Sunday’s when they are open from 11am. 

The setting is just gorgeous and makes you feel like you’re a million miles away from Sydney (bar the hundreds of Sydneysiders there). I love all the flowers and the greenery and the decor behind it all has also been carefully thought out and chosen. 

  
   
 
The service was good (just order as soon as you can because the kitchen is busy busy) and we were able to pay the bill by card (only if it’s a 4 way split) which is a help when you’ve no clue where an ATM is and you don’t carry cash. 

After eating you must take a walk around the grounds, visit Kevin Bacon the resident Pig at the petting zoo and take a few selfies against the luscious backdrop of the Grounds. 

  
I will definitely go back but during the week so I can have a proper walk around and explore. Next time will check out the Cafe or the Garden. 

Moms Day Out: Boronia Tea Room High Tea 

Located at 642 Military Road, Mosman it is on a main road but you would never notice as its set it a lovely garden. I had driven past it so many times (on our way to Taronga of course) and had always wanted to go. 

  
Built in 1885, Boronia House is a Heritage listed property and the reason for the garden and sense of tranquility is that it is set in Mosman’s Reservoir Park. 

I drove down to Mosman with one of my girlfriends and was able to get free parking at the nearby Bridgepoint shopping Centre – a five minute walk. If you’re travelling on Military Road you go just beyond Boronia House and turn left, the shopping center parking will be on your right. 

  
High tea at Boronia House can be done any day of the week (perfect for that day when your husband is home to look after the kids) and is available from 11.00am until 3.00pm on weekdays and 10.00am until 3.30pm on weekends. Booking for the weekends is suggested. 

Our group was split between having the Classic Tea ($46) and the Devonshire Tea ($26.50). Taken pics of the two menus.

  
  
In the Devonshire Tea our 6 eats were

  1. Scones (I think scones count for two) 
  2. Tuna fish finger sandwhich 
  3. Mini Italian pasta salad
  4. Mango custard shot (way nicer than it sounds)
  5. Orange creme on chocolate disc. 

  
While I would have struggled to have the 12 eats catered for in the Classic High Tea the difference between the Classic were quite obvious and at least two of the treats were beautiful to look at let alone taste (look how pretty the below Raspberry Tart is). 

  
Other than the fact that I’m not sure how they got to 6 eats (when I only count 5 ha ha) and the fact that they had run out of decaff coffee beans it was a lovely afternoon. Then again, an afternoon out with the girls always is 🙂