Adventure, baby!


A Day Alone With My 2-Year-Old

I’ve really enjoyed my toddler being at her 2s programs since September. Four days a week, she goes to one of two schools, where she is in either a 2 or 3 hour drop-off program. Add in the 2 hour nap, and I get several solid hours of time to myself four days a week to work on freelance assignments and my websites. Yesterday, however, was a reminder of life without school – and it was scary.

Now that school is closed for two weeks (TWO WEEKS!!!) and my babysitter is on holiday (an actual holiday, minus children – jealous), it’s just all me, all day. We usually have every Friday completely together, so I didn’t think much of our “holiday” time until yesterday happened.

6:30am: She wakes up. I go to get her out of her room only to be told “No Mummy, want DADDY” and have the door slammed in my face.
6:45: She stops whining for Daddy and comes out into the living room, where I am already on my 2nd glass of Coke Zero. We play with the iPad, Playdoh, tiaras and stuffed animals until my husband wakes up.
9:15: My husband gets up. He needed extra sleep after getting up with Cheese during the night. I steal a quick shower while he tries to convince our toddler to eat some form of breakfast that doesn’t come in a pouch, and then heads off to work.
9:45: Cheese realises Daddy isn’t coming back. Everything goes downhill and no amount of Play Doh will fix it.
11am: I try and put her down for a nap. She’s so exhausted she’s almost rubbing the eyes out of her head. She insists “No nap!” even as her eyes are rolling back.
11:10: 10 minutes of screaming for milk and “bubbies” (strawberries). I comply with both.
11:30pm: Loud banging from her room tells me she is still awake and possibly abseiling from the ceiling.
11:33: “BOO BOO KITTY!” and more crying (she wants a hello Kitty bandaid for her abseiling injury).
12:15: The muttering and crying stops and I think she’s gone to sleep.
12:17: The voice at the door “MUMMYYYYY where aaaaare you?!”. Argh. I go in and notice she has pooed. Change diaper and put her back down to even more protesting and whining.
12:50: She has now been screaming for 20 minutes. I can’t find the noise cancelling headphones and am going out of my mind. I offer milk and try and put her back to bed.
1pm: I give up and let her out of her room. I make her a grilled cheese sandwich that she won’t touch. She eats an entire punnet of strawberries and demands chocolate milk. Nice try.
3pm: We play with all her toys while I beg her to eat something with protein or even carbs in it. Building block houses for her princesses, Play Doh again with the talking Elmo Shape & Spin that I always tread on during the night, and sing Twinkle Twinkle and Wheels on the Bus along with the iPad.
4pm: It’s time to leave the house. We are meant to be going to a Christmas party in Williamsburg but I’m too exhausted to take her on the subway. Instead we stroll towards Kids Club for an open play session. We don’t reach the end of the block before she falls asleep in the stroller. Of course. I now have about an hour of walking the streets to do to give her the nap she needs.
4:45: I find myself in Red Hook. I have walked a long way.
5pm: I walk to the new Whole Foods in Gowanus and relish shopping without someone whining and grabbing everything in her reach. I slowly browse shelves, checking out brands I usually whizz past. I find a gingerbread house already baked and assembled, ready for decorating – the day is looking up!
5:45pm: She wakes up when I’m at the cash register – somewhat surprised to find herself in Whole Foods. We stroll home.
6pm: We stop outside a church to listen to the bells. Cheese asks for “more bells!” very insistently. Sadly I can’t deliver on more bells, so we head home.
6:15pm: Home, and I’m so tired I can barely stand. I throw pasta leftovers in the microwave and serve them to Cheese for dinner, along with her beloved “bubbies”. She won’t touch a thing and demands to watch BOTH the iPad AND the TV at once. I’m too tired to put up a fight, so put Barney on the TV and her favourite video, Feist’s “1234”, on the iPad. I collapse on the couch next to her high chair and beg her to eat.
7pm: My husband gets home. I nearly cry with relief.

Only two weeks left until school starts again. Not that I’m counting down or anything.

Holiday in Paradise: Mayakoba, Mexico

It’s been a long time since we’ve been on a holiday – not a trip, where our purpose is to see family, but a vacation where our only intention is relaxation.

We booked a stay at the Rosewood Mayakoba in the Riviera Maya, following a recommendation from our close friends who vacation there frequently. Sunning ourselves in the warm Mexican sun by a pool and doing nothing else sounded exactly what we needed.

It was the first time in Mexico for all of us. I usually prefer traveling where I see a lot of the local culture and history, but this time, with a very energetic two-year-old, all I wanted to do was relax and swim.

Private plunge pool

Mission accomplished at the Rosewood Mayakoba, where we spent four blissful days doing absolutely nothing. Our routine: wake up in the morning, take a dip in our personal plunge pool, then stuff ourselves at the buffet breakfast (there were CRONUTS every day!). After lunch, stroll on down to the beach and spend the afternoon having lunch, playing with Eloise in the Rosebuds playroom if the sun was too hot, then playing on the beach and swimming in the pool.

We booked a babysitter three nights out of five so we could have some together time, and enjoyed some amazing meals around the resort and at the neighboring Banyan Tree (Saffron Restaurant was amazing). Our last night we had room service, which I actually thought was the best meal we had all trip.

We’ve stayed at a lot of hotels and resorts in our years of travel, but this trip to Mayakoba was special. The Rosewood is set up to pamper guests, and help them fulfill their every need. Every staff member went above and beyond to take care of us, remembering our names, that I was vegetarian (!), and continually trying to make our stay the best it could be. The end result – we had never felt so relaxed, welcomed, valued and pampered.

At a fancy resort, you expect that little kids might not be welcome. The Rosewood however also went above and beyond to make Cheese feel special (if a spoiled toddler can possibly feel even more special, that is!).

Kiddie pack (also included a beach ball). Robe and slippers for loan.

A sweet kids’ kit on arrival, a clean and well-stocked playroom, constant effort by the staff to make sure she was catered for – milk in our room, kiddie cups everywhere we dined, staff remembering her name and greeting her all throughout the resort, and fun activities like a special eco tour of the lagoon by boat, just for kids. By making Cheese welcome, we all felt comfortable and welcome.

Eco tour

At such a relaxing resort, it was impossible to resist the siren call of the spa, where I had a massage and a pedicure like no other. I was reclined backwards in a zero gravity chair, with a weighted mask over my eyes and my feet pampered. I was so relaxed I think I might have fallen asleep.

Alec and I both agreed that our Mayakoba vacation was possibly the best trip we’ve had, and can’t wait to visit again next year.

Date night at the Banyan Tree

A Day With A Toddler At American Museum of Natural History: The Hit List

American Museum of Natural History - A Day At The Museum, via
Right, so this cold snap means we need to find places that are warm and entertaining for a toddler, FAST. The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is the the perfect place to take an active kid. It has enough rooms, exhibits and general cool stuff to occupy kids of all ages all day — and their parents too (praise be!).

The AMHN has plenty of special exhibits on as well as the permanents like ye olde dinosaurs. If you’re planning a day at the museum (and with toddlers, two hours often feels like a whole day), make sure you visit these toddler-pleasers:

American Museum of Natural History via

Origami Holiday Tree
The Origami Holiday Tree is a tradition that goes back 40 years at the museum. Volunteers start folding the ornaments in July to complete the hundreds of creatures that are displayed on the tree. Every year the tree has a different theme — this year it’s Wicked, Wild, and Wonderful, in honor of the Museum’s new exhibition The Power of Poison. The animals are mostly easily identifiable, even for toddlers, so you can easily spend a long time just at the tree, asking your toddler to show you the different animals, and pointing out those they they might not be able to identify themselves. It’s also a good photo op.

Dates: Through January 12, 2014
Entry: Included with general admission

American Museum of Natural History via
Everyone’s favourite dinosaurs are crowd pleasers for the toddler set too. We like to let Cheese loose in the dinosaur rooms and watch her roar at the T-rex. If your kid (or spouse) is a dinosaur freak, take the “Dino Tour” suggested by the AMNH website to help visitors take in all the dinos on offer. The most entertaining part of the dinosaur exhibits for us is when Cheese tells her dad that the T-Rex needs to brush his teeth (see pic above).

Dates: Permanent exhibit
Entry: Included with general admission

American Museum of Natural History via
The Butterfly Conservatory
These beautiful insects flutter into the museum every year. Entry is timed, so you need to buy a ticket for this special exhibit, and play close observance to the rules. I’d suggest taking only babies or older toddlers who can follow directions into this exhibit, as the butterflies are within toddler-reach at all times. The butterflies like to land on visitors — making for some very exciting times for toddlers when they experience their light touch. An enchanting experience, not just the toddlers.

Dates: Through May 26, 2014
Entry: Additional ticket required

American Museum of Natural History - A Day At The Museum, via

Whales Of The Deep
This exhibit is fascinating for adults, and fun for kids. There is a life-sized whale heart that kids can crawl inside, and a massive sperm whale skeleton. Cheese’s favourite part of the exhibit was the sound chamber where you could spin a wheel and select a whale, and then listen to its distinctive sounds.

Dates: Through January 5, 2014
Entry: Additional ticket required

American Museum of Natural History - A Day At The Museum, via

Frogs: A Chorus Of Color
This live exhibit features frogs in bright orange, blue and red. Toddlers and kids of all ages will enjoy seeing such a large variety of frogs from around the world. It’s a rare chance to get up close to these critters, not to be missed for frog-lovers of all ages. 

Dates: Through January 5, 2014
Entry: Additional ticket required

American Museum of Natural History via
Milstein Hall of Ocean Life
The 94-foot-long, 21,000-pound model of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling is a must-see for every visitor. The hall has recently been renovated, and now features 750 sea creatures, including computerized glowing jellyfishes, and includes modern technology in the exhibits, such as high-definition video projections and interactive computer stations. The best spot in the room is lying directly underneath the whale on the floor. No kidding. It’s amazing how different the world looks from down there.

Dates: Permanent exhibit
Entry: Included with general admission

American Museum of Natural History
79th Street and Central Park West
New York, NY

After (or before) your visit, check out these delicious places to eat that are right around the corner.

Grinches and Goat Cheese Tarts: Children's Museum of Manhattan + Cafe Lalo, Kid-Friendly New York

We often repeated this dually awesome combination of play for kids and great food for everyone during super hot summer days. Now it’s the opposite problem. Hail, sleet, cold rain, and snow! Visiting the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and Cafe Lalo is still one of our best indoor bets, with some pleasant updates.

Cafe Lalo - kid-friendly cafes, NY, via

Cafe Lalo does desserts extremely well. It’s what they’re famous for, and the reason we usually visit. Our go-to item in the summer is the Lalo Special (frozen yogurt and berries, $11.50). Now  that the weather has cooled waaaaay down, we’ve branched into the more savory items on their menu. One of the really fun things about Cafe Lalo is that they feature dishes from all over the world. This visit, we tried the Baked Salmon Salad ($14), Fresh Mixed Seasonal Berries ($7), Goat Cheese Quiche (served with Mediterranean Salad, $11), and the French Fries ($7). The dishes were solid. Not extraordinary but really good, warming dishes, perfect for lunch before playing with a toddler. The quiche had big chunks of tart goat’s cheese, with a flaky crust. The salad had great seasoning and super-juicy tomatoes. Cheese picked at the French fries and berries — both of which were absolutely delicious, by the way. Ripe berries, even though it was off-season.

Cafe Lalo: #Kid-Friendly Cafes #UWS #NYC via

Cafe Lalo: #Kid-Friendly Cafes #UWS #NYC via

Cafe Lalo: #Kid-Friendly Cafes #UWS #NYC via

Cafe Lalo: #Kid-Friendly Cafes #UWS #NYC via

Cafe Lalo: #Kid-Friendly Cafes #UWS #NYC via

I have to say, the desserts are still the winning dishes at Cafe Lalo — we dropped by again after playing at the Children’s Museum and took home some cheesecake. Hey, we had a big workout, okay?

Cafe Lalo: #Kid-Friendly Cafes #UWS #NYC via

We covered the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMoM) pretty thoroughly in our previous post. The CMoM has a new exhibition open for the holiday season that’s worth checking out — The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop. This exhibit is suitable for all ages, and runs through till December 31, 2013. Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, kids can step straight into the pages of this Seussian classic holiday tale. The walls of the room are wrapped in scenes from How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, which is fun to see for adults and kids alike, who have grown up loving Dr Seuss.

Winter Hibernation Guide: Children's Museum of Manhattan via

In The Grinch’s Holiday Workshop, kids can try “sock skating” on the indoor rink (including playing games of “freeze” with CMOM staffers); pretend to steer Max, the Grinch’s “Rein-Dog” on an interactive sleigh; make Dr Seuss-themed crafts and join in on story time to hear How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and other classic books by Dr. Seuss. Check out the CMOM calendar for daily events.

The most fun for us was the “sock skating”, which was really more like slippery dancing. CMOM staffers make sure that not too many kids get on the “ice” at a time, so it’s a safe activity for the smallest of toddlers.

Winter Hibernation Guide: Children's Museum of Manhattan via

High Chairs: No
Stroller storage: You can’t bring your stroller inside, but they’ll store it for you somewhere mysterious under the restaurant.
Easy access: No. Quite a few steps.
Change tables: No. The bathrooms are pretty small.
Kids’ menu: No, but there’s so much to choose from, from bagels and muffins to steamed eggs or homemade waffles.

Cafe Lalo
201 West 83rd St. (between Amsterdam Ave. & Broadway)
Upper West Side, New York
Phone: (212) 496-6031
Prices: $$
Hours: Mon-Thur 8am-2am; Fri 8am-4am; Sat 9am-4am Sun 9am-2am. Holidays until 4am.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 W. 83rd St (between Amsterdam Ave. & Broadway)
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 721-1234
Hours: Sun-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat 10am-7pm. Closed Mondays.

Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving 2013

A very happy Thanksgiving this year, surrounded by loved ones and friends, old and new. Thanks to our friends Dan and Sue for hosting and inviting us to their amazing expat Thanksgiving feast.

This year I am very thankful to our community of friends,  for my family, and for how lucky I really am. I like to whine and complain a lot about things that aren’t perfect, but the reality is I’m so lucky. A supportive, loving husband, a healthy, beautiful little girl, living in New York City, and really enjoying an amazing life. So many blessings, so very thankful.

#Thanksgiving 2013



After lunch was some dancing. Cheese really loves dancing lately and was loving it.

What’s Thanksgiving without pie?!




These Boots Are Made For Running: The High Line With Stride Rite + Giveaway

#StrideRite Medallion review and #giveaway via

Cheese is one active kid. She loves to run, jump and climb, and her favourite thing in the world is a playground. Because she’s so active, I’m really picky when it comes to choosing her shoes. I tend to go for practical first, and then style, because I want quality shoes that will fit her feet properly as they’re growing, and support her little feet in their athletic endeavours. Because of this, Stride Rite remains one of my top brands when buying shoes. They’re designed with the utmost care to fit tiny feet properly. They’re durable, made from top materials, and rigorously tested to ensure a high quality shoe.
#StrideRite Medallion review and #giveaway via

This winter, I wanted a good pair of boots for Cheese, that would keep her feet warm and enable her to keep playing and running outside without hinderance. The Stride Rite Medallion Collection Roslin is the perfect boot for my busy little Cheese.

#StrideRite Medallion review and #giveaway via

We took Cheese and her new boots for a spin on the High Line. The boots are great for an active toddler. Padded for comfort, strong but comfortable leather for long-term wear, and easy to get on and off. These boots are made for running, not walking! They get the Cheese’s tick of approval (ie she didn’t whine and yell “off, off!!”).

#StrideRite Medallion review and #giveaway via


The High Line is a favourite place of ours to let the Cheese run wild. It’s pretty contained and in a long, straight line, so we can let her loose without worrying about her running into traffic or hurting herself in general. It’s lined with plants as well, which change during the seasons and provide Cheese with amazing leaves and flowers to discover on her eye level, that she can actually touch (we’re looking at you here, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens …). She really enjoyed the different levels on the High Line, with ramps, steps and viewing platforms, and loves peeking over the edge at the buildings, people and fire trucks down below.

#StrideRite Medallion review and #giveaway via

There are actually multiple sections to the High Line, but we generally just enter it randomly when we get the urge (“Hey, there’s the High Line, let’s go up!”), and exit when we realise we’re kinda hungry/cold/tired/cranky (this may or may not be the toddler). That’s the best thing about it — it’s like a get-on-get-off bus ride through Chelsea, perfect for entertaining a crazy active toddler as well as yourself.

The generous people at Stride Rite are offering one lucky Brunch With My Baby reader the chance to win their own pair of Stride Rite shoes of their choice.

Giveaway open from Nov 20th 2013 to 11:59pm EST Tues 26th, 2013.

Open to US mailing addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Clark's Restaurant: Kid-Friendly Diners, Brooklyn Heights, NY

Clark's #Restaurant: #Kid-Friendly Restaurants, #Brooklyn Heights, #NYC

I know, I know, diners, right? Not exactly a foodie destination, but as any parent to a child under five knows, it is integral to survival. Ok, maybe I won’t go that far, but I can safely say that it is comforting to have a low-key neighborhood place to go with the kids when you need to get out of the house and you want a fail-safe restaurant solution.

We have a standing breakfast date at Clark’s Restaurant with our dear friends (pictured), now that the kids’ schedules are not compatible for afternoon play dates. Even though it’s called a “restaurant”, Clark’s is really a diner, and it’s a super popular destination in Brooklyn Heights for families to enjoy breakfast. When we arrive at 8:30am, it’s already busy with plenty of kids and tired-looking parents.

In the past we’ve ordered the kids their own food, but since they almost always take a tentative bite and then forgot about it, on this visit we decided they could eat off our plates instead. Good move, since that day, both of the kids were only interested in eating toast, after slathering it with butter and Smuckers Grape Jelly.

The high chairs are the clip-on kind plus the normal ones. I love the clip-ons in the booths since they really fence the kids in so they can’t wiggle out and escape.  We both always bring umbrella strollers and don’t bother to fold them because there is room at the front of the restaurant to park them, or you can bring them to the table. (My friend often brings her pretty large Bugaboo and parks it at the end of the table and no one complains). The staff couldn’t be friendlier or more welcoming. Everything, including the strollers, which are absolutely in the way, is “no problem”.

Clark's #Restaurant: #Kid-Friendly Restaurants, #Brooklyn Heights, #NYC

Clark's #Restaurant: #Kid-Friendly Restaurants, #Brooklyn Heights, #NYC

We order eggs with bacon and cheese on an English muffin ($9.25) and the Greek Omelet (with feta and tomato, $9.25) with home fries. The staff always gives us shots of complimentary orange juice, which I think were meant for the kids, but since we don’t give the girls juice, we drank it ourselves. They also give us small plastic cups for the kids with water in it. Cheese dumped hers all over herself on this particular day, so I guess we’re going to have to work on this at home before attempting it in public again.

Clark's #Restaurant: #Kid-Friendly Restaurants, #Brooklyn Heights, #NYC

Clark's #Restaurant: #Kid-Friendly Restaurants, #Brooklyn Heights, #NYC

The service is a little chaotic if you need attention, which we often do with two squirmy toddlers. When we need things like extra cutlery or napkins, it’s much faster and easier to get up and grab it yourself instead of flagging down busy staff and then hoping they remember to bring it back.

When the kids were about a year old, we liked going to Clark’s because it was a great place to take kids when we wanted to eat out but when a fancier restaurant wouldn’t have been ideal. It’s a great place to take your (high-spirited?) child to breakfast or lunch because even if they’re being the crankiest crank, and it doesn’t matter, because at Clark’s, no one cares.

As always, as we strapped our kids into their respective strollers and tried to wipe off some remaining crumbs from their clothes, the staff bid us all a cheerful adieu and we were already looking forward to our next breakfast together at Clark’s.

Last Bite: A classic diner with a huge menu, plenty of basic breakfast items, and delightfully friendly staff makes this a staple morning hot spot for families in Brooklyn Heights.

Highchairs: No.
Stroller storage: No.
Easy access: No. There are a few steep steps to get in.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Clark’s Restaurant
80 Clark St (between Henry St & Hicks St)

Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: (718) 855-5484
Prices: $$
Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-9pm, Sun 7am-3:30pm

SYMMETRY: Kid-Friendly Cafes, Bugis, Singapore

Symmetry - Brunch With My Baby Singapore

So here’s the funny thing: I actually never considered Symmetry to be “kid-friendly”. The cafe is extremely cramped, with chairs with skinny metal splayed-out legs, tables with sharp corners, little vintage ornaments perfectly at kid-grabbing distance, near impossible to get a stroller into (steps and not enough space)…. and the fact that there are always ZERO kids there. Except mine. And my friends.

Yet, despite that, I’ve been there perhaps 10 times in the past few months. Always dragging one or two kids in tow… and just praying that my kids will sit obediently and quietly in their high chairs whilst I have a leisurely lunch and lovely chat with my girl friend(s) for two hours.

Obviously THAT never happens.

I invariably end up dealing with one or both kids that end up getting bored, wanting to run around, bumping their heads on sharp corners, crying, YOU NAME IT!!!!

So….. why do my friends and I go, with kids in tow?

Because of THIS below. This is an Iced Peppermint Mocha. And Symmetry do a perfect rendition. Served in a thick-walled glass and with a metal straw (awesomeness!) jutting out, this concoction is like coffee on steroids. Yes, real coffee connoisseurs will sneer and say it’s not a “proper coffee” but it’s so fun to drink and delicious that I don’t care. This weighs in at a hefty $7.20 (!!!!!) for glass, but it’s my little treat because I do love it so.

Symmetry - Brunch With My Baby Singapore


Obviously, their food is also pretty good. We didn’t order any appetizers during this particular lunch, but normally we do. Every single appetizer is excellent.. from their bacon & cheese rissoles, to their fried mushrooms, to their crispy white bait, to their breaded prawns. Seriously, just order any appetizer from the menu and you won’t be disappointed. Just to point out, though, almost all the appetizers are deep fried.

This particular Smoked salmon croque monsieur was a bit of a giant! The bread was thick and fluffy, and a hit with my kids. It was drenched with sour cream and chives, and topped off with melted cheese. Served with chunky fries, this was a bit of a heart-attach dish 😉

Symmetry - Brunch With My Baby Singapore


I almost always order the Smoked salmon carbonara ($23)  here (though I always get mine without the rocket leaves, as I can’t stand them). This time, however, we found the smoked salmon a bit too salty. I wish they would use fresh salmon instead, so we can order this dish for our kids.

Symmetry - Brunch With My Baby Singapore


I enjoyed my Pork collar croissant ($19), which came with a generous portion of tender pork and served in a fluffy croissant. I swapped my rocket leaves for some avocado and they obliged – so bonus points for that! My kids basically ate this whole dish by themselves. Not the fries though. Both scoffed at the fries and wouldn’t have any (what gives?!)

Symmetry - Brunch With My Baby Singapore


I thought their Waffles and ice cream ($14) was a winner. The waffles were buttery and fluffy, with a golden crisp edge. I don’t like fruit on my waffles, but the kids obviously did because they gobbled it all up. Just as well, because I got to gobble up the waffles and ice cream!!

Symmetry - Brunch With My Baby Singapore

Symmetry - Brunch With My Baby Singapore

Symmetry - Brunch With My Baby Singapore

Symmetry - Brunch With My Baby Singapore
Last Bite: Symmetry may not be the most kid-friendly place, but their killer Iced peppermint mocha makes up for it. Don’t miss their appetizers – any one of them!
Highchairs: Yes
Easy access: No
Change tables: No
Kids’ menu: No

9 Jalan Kubor
Singapore 199206
Phone: 9626 7911
Prices: $$
Mon: 10:30 am – 9:00 pm, Tue – Thu: 10:30 am – 11:00 pm, Fri: 10:30 am – 12:00 am, Sat: 9:00 am – 12:00 am, Sun: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm

Ballerina Swan: Anyone Can Dance

With the weather turning to bitter cold again, I was so excited to have the opportunity to check out another kids theatre show with Cheese. After our success with Wanda’s Monster, I was really eager to take her to another show. This time, the show was called Ballerina Swan, produced by Making Books Sing (who also produced Wanda’s Monster).


The theatre/dance performance was based on a book, also called Ballerina Swan, by Allegra Kent – a former NYC Ballet ballerina of 30 years. So yes, she is certainly qualified to be writing ballet books. We were privileged to meet Ms Kent before the performance. While her performing days are over, she still bears the look and poise of a life of ballet.

I love ballet. Love, love, love ballet, since I was about age three, according to my parents. Story goes I begged for lessons for two years until they gave in. I’m thankful for that, as it’s been a life-long love of mine, and one that I am now beyond thrilled to be able to share with Cheese. Lately she’s been asking to go to dance class, and has been mimicking the little ballet dancers she sees going into class at NY Kids Club. With this in mind, I thought this was the perfect show for us to be seeing.

Ballerina Swan tells the story of Sophie, a swan who wants to be a ballerina. She watches dancers in class and tried to join in, only to be derided and chased away by the teacher. Once another, more liberal-minded, teacher takes over the class, Sophie is welcomed with open arms (or wings?) by the children, who admire her for her strengths (great neck movements), and help her with the areas that need more work (it’s hard to accomplish turn out with webbed feet!).

Becoming a dancer is hard work, and Sophie gets frustrated with her slow progress. Her fellow dancers urge her to keep trying and practicing, reminding her that it takes dedication to become a dancer. A good lesson for kids, by the way, since it’s a life lesson for anything they will want to attempt.

Sophie works hard and, over time, becomes the dancer she dreams of being. The dual messages of hard work paying off and of accepting those who are different to us are woven into the beautiful scenes of talented ballet dancers.

The show will appeal mostly to girls (there were a few boys who were protesting having to watch a ballet show), who love all things tulle and tutu. Yes there were a few little girls actually attending the show in tutus … At 50 minutes it was a good length – the story flew (sorry, couldn’t help myself) along quickly, with no lagging moments – critical for keeping the attention of small children. The show is also interactive. There is a really fun moment where the dancers ask the audience to dance. I thought Cheese might be too young, but no, she hopped up and copied the dancers’ port de bras, turns and tendus. It literally brought a tear to my eye to see her first actual dance moves.


Cheese insisted on sitting solo during the show (she also enjoyed folding herself up into the seat over and over and over again …).


Ballerina Swan via

Ballerina Swan - via


After the show we met the cast. Despite looking quite sour in this picture, Cheese actually was brave enough to give Sophie a pat and was excited to meet her.

Ballerina Swan runs from November 9 – 24th, 2013.
Wed-Fri 10:30am, Sat & Sun 11am & 2pm
Tickets $25
Best for ages 3-8
Buy tickets by calling 646-250-1178 or online at
Save 10% on tickets by using the code “POSTCARD
After every weekend performance, stick around for a 20-minute meet-and-greet with the cast.

Images of the show by Carol Rosegg

I was not compensated for this post. I was given preview tickets for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Chi Chi’s Cafe: Kid-Friendly Cafes, Waterloo, Sydney

Sometimes at the end of a long and arduous week, all you want is to drown your sorrows in some comfort food. Chi Chi’s Café, in Waterloo, is just that: a kid-friendly place that offers no-fuss comfort food when you really need it.

Lukas waiting (sort of) patiently for his food. (Photo by Emily Staresina)

Although Danks Street is lined with cafes (more and more everyday it seems), few are open between that awkward time after lunch and before most people consider eating dinner. Feeling a little desperate for calories, Baby Lukas, my husband Lorin and I stumbled upon Chi Chi’s. It was relatively quiet and it looked like it was closing, but much to our delight, the host ushered us in and assured us all options were on the table. At 4:45pm in the afternoon. Total score.

Lorin decided right away on the beef burger with chips ($14.50) and Baby Lukas convinced me to share a cheese and tomato open melt ($8.50). While we waited for our food, the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming or friendly to Baby Lukas. In fact, Baby Lukas ended up behind the counter in the arms of a waitress, helping her ring in a few transactions.

Chi Chi's beef burger with Chips ($14.50). Photo by Emily Staresina.
Chi Chi’s beef burger with Chips ($14.50). 
Chi Chi's cheese and tomato open melt ($8.50). Photo by Emily Staresina
Chi Chi’s cheese and tomato open melt ($8.50). 

Our food came relatively quickly and it was good value: big, unpretentious portions with generous servings of side sauces at no extra charge. Such a relief to find this sort of place amongst all the trendy cafes in the neighbourhood.

Last Bite: the next time you’re craving some serious comfort food that’s good value and welcomes kids with open arms, check out Chi Chi’s Café.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No, but kids won’t starve

Chi Chi’s Cafe
Shp 1a/ 207 Young St
Waterloo NSW 2017
Phone: (02) 9699 3510
Prices: $