Follow my blog by Email

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Bowral Beckons

In August I wrote about “getting away” and staying in holiday houses, usually because there is a mountain bike race nearby that Arran is competing in. You can read the post here. I talked about two different types of holiday houses; the generous holiday house and the “don’t have too much fun” holiday house. We are just back from a weekend in Bowral where we stayed in the most generous holiday house to date!

One of the races Arran regularly competes in is the Highland Fling at Bundanoon. There are various categories but the main race is a 100km point-to-point race. Sounds like hell to me!

A month or so ago we talked about whether the whole family would go to the Southern Highlands for the weekend or whether Arran would camp and do the race without us tagging along. We knew that Arran’s father Neville and his partner Blanche would be staying with us and we couldn’t work out the logistics of getting Arran, his bike, his bike stuff, a 2.5 year old, a 3 week old and 2 grandparents and all the related stuff for a weekend away into our Toyota Prado. The Prado either has 7 seats with no luggage space or 5 seats with luggage space. We couldn’t work out how to get 4 adults, a car seat, a baby capsule and luggage to fit. We thought about hiring an additional car but with the cost of hiring accommodation it was all getting too hard and too expensive. Plus I hadn’t got my head around packing for a 3 week old baby and being away from home with little sleep.

A few days out from the weekend I decided that we might as well get away for the weekend. Would be a nice change of scenery from sitting on the lounge. Arran spent some time on Stayz and contacting holiday houses in Bowral to rent for the weekend and I had a good think about how to fit us all in the car. 

The first holiday place to respond to our request, and which we subsequently booked was Beatrice Park. We fitted in the car by having Arran drive with his Dad in the front passenger seat. Aiden’s car seat was behind the front passenger seat, we moved Charlie’s baby capsule to the middle and Blanche sat behind Arran. I sat in one of the third row seats, which left a very small space for luggage. It’s a pretty tight spot to sit and only OK for short trips.  Some luggage also fitted in front of Aiden and Charlie’s seats. It was very tight! We took no pram or bassinet for Charlie, deciding that Charlie could sleep in the bed with us and if we needed to transport him we could use the insert from the baby capsule or the Baby Bjorn.

We set off Friday afternoon in the very heavy traffic.

We had a pretty nice time in Bowral. We ate some great food for Friday night dinner at Briars and Saturday night Jody Musgrove (who was also doing the Highland Fling) joined us. In the spirit of the race Jody, being a Scotsman, wore a kilt to dinner with us at Eccetera Cafe Trattoria. Jody is a mate of ours who baby sits Aiden for a subway sandwich! He has a surcharge of a subway cookie if we get home after 11pm. Pretty good rates really….

On Saturday, while I fed Charlie, Arran and the grandparents took Aiden to the model train place, which Aiden loved and on Sunday while Arran was riding his bike in the fling we stopped in Berrima and checked out the Sunday markets at the local primary school. Both mornings we had breakfast at Wild Food Cafe which had the best coffee and breakfast! The highlight of the weekend for me though was the house we stayed in. It was definitely a “Generous Holiday House”.

Beatrice Park has a great feeling. You instantly feel comfortable there. It’s weird because there are lots of personal items in the house that give you a hint of the occupants. There are books and figurines and artwork and plates and rugs and photos and well-loved well-looked-after furniture. Usually houses that have lots of personal items around make you feel like you are intruding. But not this house.  And it’s really hard to describe why. The best description I can come up with is that it’s like staying in your grandmother’s house. Granted a fairly well off grandmother.

The house, built in the 1920’s has art deco features true to the era it was built.  It has 3 large and comfortable bedrooms and two large bathrooms, one an ensuite off the main bedroom. My favourite features were the art deco murals in the lounge/entry and the bathrooms. Here are the murals:

I fully intended on taking photos of the fab bathrooms but it just didn’t happen. I’ll just have to describe them.  I’m guessing there last makeover was during the 50’s. They were green, that dusty faded emerald green of the period. And they were in immaculate condition with deep skinny bath’s, pedestal hand basins and beautiful mosaic tiles. Like something you would remember from your Nanna’s house! The bathroom we used also had a round glass window of the art deco style.

Beatrice Park is a “Generous Holiday House” because not only did the owners trust us to look after their precious items but I bet there isn’t a locked cupboard in the house! Of course I didn’t check them all but when I went looking for some sugar for a cup of tea, it was there along with a huge selection of tea bags. Not sure of what I would find at Beatrice Park I had bought our own coffee and tea but it was a nice surprise to find supplies on hand. The fridge contained various sauces, jams and wine and when I needed a small amount of washing powder to wash a few of Charlie’s clothes it was there in the laundry. We were only away for a few days and we didn’t need much in the way of supplies but it was really nice that the owners must not mind if you use a few of their items.

To date we have never stayed in the same holiday house twice, though this could be one we return to. It would be great to go back with a group of friends and make use of their antique style dining table and massive kitchen to have a big dinner party. Maybe Christmas in July 2012?


We did find somewhere suitable for Charlie to sleep...
Snug as a bug.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Welcome Charlie James Pearson

We didn’t know that Charlie was going to be a boy. We should have though. We had a lovely selection of girl’s names…and even a good second name with a family reference. But it was not to be.  We had another lovely boy called Charlie. He arrived at 6.59pm on Friday 21 October after being induced, a labour of 5-6 hours with some awesome drugs. I highly recommend gas while lying back in a warm spa bath. Even if you aren't in labour! He was 3.296kg and 50cm long. Perfect!
The Prince of Wales hospital at Randwick was “packed” that night with new mothers and their babies.  I was moved into a shared room at around 10.30pm and in doing so got the last bed on the maternity ward.  There I shared the night, not sleeping, with another mum and her second baby. Call-bell’s rang all night and mid-wives came and went in a noisy manner. It was a relief to told in the morning that I was going moved to “Little Luxuries” at the Crown Plaza Hotel at Coogee. 

Little Luxuries is a program where, if you and your baby are well enough, you can move to the Crown Plaza for the rest of your hospital stay. They have a mid-wife in the hotel 24 hours to support and check on you and your baby and the food is really good! From what I can work out the main downside is the beautiful beach across the road. I found I really wanted to take Charlie in his pram for a walk along the beach, but didn't feel well enough to actually do that! Also, as you are still a 'patient' you aren't allowed to leave the hotel! What a tease this view was!
Beach view from my room

View right under my balcony!
We had Charlie on Friday and came home from Coogee on Tuesday. Was nice to be home in Glebe, close by to all our favourite places. So far the locals at Clipper and Astor Espresso Cafe's have met Charlie as well as everyone at Stevie English Hair (a girl has to keep her hair nice) and Aiden has showed off his little brother to all at Caring 4 Kids.

Cuddles with Aunty Em!