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Sydney

Blaxland Riverside Park: Sydney’s Best Parks & Playgrounds

Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

Once of the fun things about being new to being a parent in Sydney is discovering for the first time fun kid-related things, such as the Blaxland Riverside Park playground. Even though I grew up in Sydney, so much has changed since I was a kid that a lot of the city feels brand new to me.

Blaxland Riverside Park had been suggested to me by a few friends, so I checked it out on a hot Autumn day with Cheese and my parents. Turns out the playground is the biggest in Sydney, with new play equipment set among three hectares of rolling green hills and big open spaces.

The playground caters for kids of all ages and abilities with a fantastic water play area (the largest outdoor water play facility in NSW), moving play elements, high and steep landforms and hidden and confined spaces. There’s a double flying fox, mega-swing, tunnel slides, scramble wall, spinning play disk, Viking swing and a multi-level tree house to be discovered and enjoyed.

Since the play space is so spread out, it really forces – I mean, encourages – parents (or carers) to get actively involved with the play.

I was incredibly impressed with the playground, with the only improvement I’d have liked being shade cloths over the equipment where possible.

Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

blaxland-riverside-park-7 Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

If you get hungry or thirsty, there’s a little cafe in the playground serving basic pastries and lunch food. In the same block are facilities such as a family room with changing tables.

Blaxland Riverside Playground via christineknight.me

Blaxland Riverside Playground
Jamieson St, Sydney NSW 2127
Hours of operation of water play: 10am – 4pm

Parking: Free parking is limited. You can also park in P5 car park, located off Hill Road, and make use of the pathways to cycle or walk to the play space. Parking at P5 carpark costs $4 per hour, maximum $20 (except on event days, when a flat fee of $25 may apply).

Top Five School Holiday Activities Sydney

Top 5 School Holiday Activities for Sydney Kids
The school holidays are upon us, and I for one can’t wait to try these fun new school holiday activities Sydney. To make your planning a whole bunch easier, here are my top five picks to entertain kids over the April break:

The new Sydney Park Bike Track, St Peters
What was already a really fun place for kids to learn to ride their bikes has been given an upgrade! BYO bike and helmet to use the free track complete with miniature roads, traffic lights, bridges and tunnels.
Venue: Sydney Park, Sydney Park Rd.
More info

Get wild at the Australian Museum
Always a great day out with littlies thanks to their excellent Kidspace on Level 2, during the school holidays the museum amps up their educational programs to entertain kids for even longer. I particularly like the look of Jet Pack Craft, an all ages activity running from April 9-24 for kids to make their own jet pack out of craft materials. Older kids will love their Bee Bots robotics and code workshop (ages 5-8, April 11 & 12).
Venue: Australian Museum, 1 William St, Sydney
More info

Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS)
Formerly known as the Powerhouse Museum, the MAAS has a stellar exhibition now in it’s final weeks called Art of the Brick: DC Comics exhibition, featuring more than 120 large-scale sculptures of Super Heroes and villains like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. In conjunction with this exhibition, special school holidays activities include Green Screen Super Hero Photos, where kids can jump in front of a green screen and have their photo taken like a superhero, and the Giant Comic Strip, a giant comic strip ready for little ones to make their mark. Tiny tots will enjoy the interactive Wiggles exhibition.
All ages, April 9-25. The Art of the Brick: DC Comics closes May 1.
Venue: MAAS, 500 Harris St, Ultimo
More info

Sydney Observatory
Calling all future astronauts! During the school holidays, the Sydney Observatory is running special one-day Kids Extravaganza: Space Exploration (Ages 3–8, April 20, 10am–1.30pm). Kids can launch rockets, build their own take-home rocket, look through telescopes and learn about space exploration. The observatory is also running their LEGO program (ages 5+, April 9-25) for kids to build to their hearts’ content with their space-inspired LEGO bricks.
Venue: Sydney Observatory, Watson Road, Millers Point
More info

Comedy Jungle with the Sydney Comedy Festival
Sydney Town Hall will be transformed into an epic school holiday program for kids to enjoy hilarious comedic acts, dinosaurs courtesy of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo™, storytelling, theatre sports, illustration workshops and street dance workshops. This is a free activity with the exception of the $2.50 booking fee, which will be donated to the Sydney Story Factory.
All ages, April 19-25
Venue: Sydney Town Hall, downstairs
More info

Want more school holiday ideas? Try a few activities from this amazing infographic courtesy of Accor Hotels.

 School holiday activities Sydney by Accorhotels.com

Looking for even more fun school holiday activities Sydney?

This post was produced in conjunction with Accor Hotels.

Image Credit

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me
This year we spent Easter Sunday at the beautiful, historic Vaucluse House, taking part in their Egg-cellent Easter Trail. The event is held on Easter Sunday each year, towards the back of the estate, on one of their huge lawn areas.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

$17 per child gets you a trail map, four activities, and an Easter treat at the end. The activities are geared towards slightly older children than the Centennial Park Egg Hunt: a Hen Hunt (find the picture of the breed of chicken on the map and write it down), egg-rolling, which was kind of like egg croquet, an egg-and-spoon race with wooden spoons, and the hot cross bun station, where kids were given all the ingredients of a traditional hot cross bun to explore, and then write them down in the correct spot in the recipe in their book.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

The Egg-cellent Easter Trail has three timed entries and the activities can be done in any order. There are only three timed groups, and each one has an hour to complete the activities before the next one begins. It’s more than enough time – but also really great to not have to rush, particularly with little kids.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

This is an all-weather event – so bring gum boots, rain coat and umbrella if the forecast looks grim. It rained during our session which inspired us to do all the activities pretty quickly, but didn’t take away from the enjoyment.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

As well as the Egg-cellent Easter Trail activities, Vaucluse House puts on free Easter colouring in near the animals, and also free traditional games on the front lawn for everyone to enjoy.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

We all had a turn at croquet, quoits, skittles and hula hoops.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

The Tea Room at Vaucluse House is open Easter Sunday, so we reserved a table in advance (a must as they are always booked out on special days), and enjoyed high teas, fish and chips and other such delights. For a full review of their high tea, check out this post.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

Vaucluse House is holding a host of fun-looking events for kids over the upcoming school holidays, mostly geared towards older children.

The house is celebrating its centenary as a museum at the moment, so it’s a particularly great time to visit.

Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me Vaucluse House Egg-cellent Easter Trail via christineknight.me

Vaucluse House
69A Wentworth Rd,
Vaucluse NSW
(02) 9388 7922
Get Directions

The Great Centennial Park Easter Egg Hunt

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

Ahhhhh Easter, the chocolate holiday is here again! In our household, we like to celebrate chocolate over the Easter long weekend, as well as spending as much time as we can with family and friends.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

This year we finally made it to the Great Centennial Park Easter Egg Hunt. It’s a great, active day out for families in Sydney, and at $17 per participating child, it’s an affordable outing, too. That’s right, no fee for adults, or age requirements, just a $17 fee per child who wishes to have a map and collect chocolate eggs along the way.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

The egg hunt is suitable for kids of all ages. More than an egg hunt, it’s a multi-stop engaging quest to follow the map along a specially designed course to it’s fabulous conclusion – the Easter bunny (and bilby!) and chocolate, of course!

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

To take part in the Easter egg hunt, you’ll need to choose your start time, 9am and 3pm, and buy tickets accordingly. Entry to the course is timed in 15 minutes increments to ensure that it’s never too crowded.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

Registration for the course is at the start point, the Learning Centre, Education Precinct, Dickens Drive. Arrive right at the beginning of your time slot – you amy only collect your map and begin the course during your 15 minute time slot. You may, however, take all the time you need along the course to get to the end.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

The course consists of five station, with an egg and spoon race (don’t worry, it’s a rubber egg!), hop scotch activity, ring toss and egg hunt for kids to complete at each station before the final stop, where they get a photo with the Easter bunny and bilby and collect their big chocolate prize.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me
Upon completing each station along the way, kids are given a stamp on their map and a little chocolate egg. The completed map must be presented at the last stop to receive the big chocolate prize – which, this year, was from sponsor Darrell Lea.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me
The information on the website suggests that the course will take between 30-45 minutes to complete. It took our kids a lot less time to finish, but they had a fantastic time. Each activity was very well suited to our group, with kids aged 2, 4 and 6.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

At the beginning of the course, in the Learning Centre, was a large room with tables and chairs, and bilby colouring in sheets plus crayons for families to take a break out of the heat. Nearby, a Combi Van food truck was parked to provide refreshments, and public toilets just beyond.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

I would suggest planning to make a big morning or afternoon of the event, by bringing a picnic lunch, bread to feed the ducks (watching the docks, eels, fish and turtles in the lake entertained our lot for minutes! Lots of them!), and anything else your family needs to spend a few hours enjoying the gorgeous Centennial Park.

The Great CP Easter Egg Hunt via christineknight.me

The Great Centennial Park Easter Egg Hunt is held yearly in Sydney over Easter weekend.

Mad Hatter’s High Tea at the Fairy and Frog Creperie

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice, and also us, when we heard of a magical new cafe in Concord where, rumour had it, fairytales had been brought to life.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

The Fairy And The Frog Creperie was opened in 2015 by couple Catherine and Guillaume (the “frog”), serving sweet and savoury crepes, old fashioned milkshakes and high tea, in an environment reminiscent of a Disney movie. Think “Alice in Wonderland” meets “Snow White” and you’ll get the gist.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

While the cafe does not specifically cater to children, it’s become a very popular venue for parents to take their kids thanks to the whimsical world they’ve created in the tiny little space.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

As a nod to kids who can’t get enough of the cafe, there is a private dining area for up to four children that can be reserved, and a delightful room out the back that can be hired for an extra special birthday party.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

While the cafe usually serves authentic French crepes, I attended their first special event – a “Mad Hatter” themed tea party.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

The special event was a bit on the pricey side for a high tea- adults were $60 and kids $45 – but I did think it was excellent value as not only was the food top notch (possibly my fave cupcakes ever), but there was also a roving Alice in Wonderland who chatted with the kids and then told them stories in the party room, gorgeous face painting and games.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

I was super impressed by the food at the cafe. All of the high tea items were just delicious. As we sat down we were presented with scones and jam, the most gorgeous cupcakes (which were just incredible), home made iced coconut, a powerful fruit punch and tea.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

After a while, out came delicious finger sandwiches, such as egg salad, cucumber and cream cheese, salmon etc, and then even more pastries.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me
Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

Fruit tarts, banana tarts, chocolate eclairs, petit fours, oh my! It was an extravaganza of epic proportions and we were so full that we had to ask for containers to take the food home in to finish later.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

After we ate, the kids were whisked into the back for story time, face painting, and some games. It was a time of blissful peace for the adults to eat and enjoy chatting.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

I can’t recommend this gorgeous cafe highly enough. Yes the pricing is a bit steep, but the quality is excellent, and so much effort as gone into the details not just in the cafe but also the events, parties, menu, decor, that this really is a special venue worthy of a bit of a spurge for a special treat.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

The cafe is starting to run monthly high tea events for families, so keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page for updates.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie via chritineknight.me

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: No.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No. There is no bathroom in the cafe – please note that you will have use the bathroom in the cafe two doors down.
Kids’ menu: No.

Fairy And The Frog Creperie
52 Mortlake St,
Concord
Phone: 1300 992 456
Prices: $$$
Hours: Tues-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat & Sun 8am-5pm (closed Mondays)
Get Directions

Fairy and the Frog Creperie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

10 Tips for a Top Day at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

The Sydney Royal Easter Show is a yearly tradition in our house. I’ve been going since I was a kid, and mum has been going since she was a kid. Every year, the whole family cant wait to spend a day at the show getting up close to the best of the country, trying new food, and patting cute animals.

10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

Every year the Easter Show seems to get bigger and bigger. You could easily now spend a few days there seeing everything. If you just have the one day at the show, here are my top 10 tips to make it a fantastic family day out.

10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

  1. Buy tickets in advance
    Discounted show tickets are available through places like the NRMA, but you can also buy your ShowLink tickets online (they include public transport and entrance) and save, too. Ride coupons can be purchased in advance for a saving of around 20% as well.
  2. Go early
    The show is the quietist in the mornings and the first week it’s open. My theory is people forget it’s on and all go on the last weekend, or plan to go over the Easter break. It’s worth arriving when the show gates open at 9am to get many of the attractions crowd-free, too.

    10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

  3. Do the animal walk
    One of the longest-standing Easter Show features, the animal walk gets better every year. Not only do you get to meet some of the most beautiful farm and domestic animals up close, you also get to partake in interactive exhibits along the way. Pat a piglet or a chick, milk a cow, help shear a sheep, stroke an alpaca and feed baby animals in the Barnyard Nursery. Collect a free Passport at the first stop and visit each station along the way to collect a stamp and fill up the passport.
    10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me
  4. Meet farm folk
    I absolutely love meeting the amazing people fro the country whose hard work goes into making the Easter Show such a brilliant showcase of NSW’s agriculture. In the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome, the people behind the displays made out of crops are keen to teach kids about the materials that have gone into the display. This year one display featured cotton plants, with cotton seeds and un-spun cotton for kids to touch. The people who put so much effort into the displays and animals are always up for a bit of a yarn. To create the award-winning Pollinators display this year, for example, took 10 months of collecting crops, followed by an intense ten days at the show assembling all of the elements.

    10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

  5. Enjoy all the free stuff
    The Easter Show can get very pricey – but it doesn’t need to be. There is so much entertainment and exhibits to see that you can spend the entire day without spending an extra cent on a ride or attraction. Tip: pick up the free daily show schedule as you enter and plan your day around seeing all the attractions that are included, such as live characters shows and meet and greets, all of the interactive animal activities and all of the shows in the grand arena. You can bring your own lunch and refill water bottles, too, if you’re on a tight budget.
    10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me
  6. Make a budget and stick to it
    Before you arrive, decide how much you’re going to spend on rides, showbags and food, and stick to it. If you’re on a budget but still want to try a bit of everything, you can do one ride (around $7), select showbags from the cheaper end (like the $2 Bertie Beetle show bag), and have lunch at the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome where you can get my fave grilled cheese sandwich for a bargain $2.

    10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

  7. Plan your day
    With little kids in particular, a day at the show can be a lot of walking to and fro (the bathrooms, more snacks, a rest, more water!), so I like to schedule our day to fit in everything. What’s on the daily schedule you might want to see? Any live shows? If you’re doing the animal walk, start it early in the morning as it takes a long time to get around the entire walk, particularly with little ones.

    10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

  8. Take breaks
    Help little ones last the whole day with breaks in between exciting activities. The live shows are my favourite way to schedule breaks – this year there are Paw Patrol and In The Night Garden free character shows, plus the woodchopping, dog judging and horse riding in the main area (now called the Spotless Stadium). In the middle of the day when it’s the hottest is the perfect time to take a shady break to rest up and prepare for the afternoon. It’s amazing how kids manage to perk up and get a second wind after a break.
  9. Be safe
    Get a free wristband from the Sydney Transport stand for your child as you enter and write their name and your phone number on it, just in case. Put valuables and heavy things in a locker (they cost $2). It’s a long, hot day out, so bring refillable water bottles, plus a hat and sunscreen.

    10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

  10. Enjoy a Devonshire Tea
    Our last stop is always the CWA Tea Room for an authentic Devonshire Tea made by the Country Women’s Association. This year the tea room is at the back of the Home, Garden & Lifestyle Pavillion. The CWA ladies are scone-making machines, and at whatever time of day you drop by, you will get fresh, warm scones straight out of the oven.

Our new faves this year:

10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

The Streets ice cream jumping castle next to The Shed (free).

10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

The countless activities for kids in the Woolworths Food Farm: free shows, cooking classes, farm play, and more. We could have spent the majority of the day in this one area – it was more popular with the preschooler than even the baby animals.

10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

The free Australian Wildlife talk outside the entrance to the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome. Snakes, owls and a little crocodile called “Snappy” are read to meet you. If you’re feeling brave, you can stroke Snappy’s back.

10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me 10 Tips For A Top Day At The Sydney Royal Easter Show via christineknight.me

The Sydney Royal Easter Show is Australia’s largest annual event, attracting over 900,000 people. It runs from 17 March – 30 March at Sydney’s Olympic Park, Homebush.

Thank you to the Sydney Royal Easter Show for my media accreditation.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

Nutcote, the home of Australian author and illustrator May Gibbs, has long been on my “must see” list in Sydney. As 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of her most famous work, the Gumnut babies, I thought it was time to finally make that 10 minute drive to Neutral Bay to pay homage to an author/illustrator whose stories entertained me as a child, and inspired me as an adult.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

May Gibbs’ Nutcote, where she lived for 44 years, is now a visitable house museum after many years of changing hands. The home was designed by popular architect B. J. Waterhouse, a friend of May’s whom she would catch the ferry across the harbour to her studio each day. It’s believed he might have given her “mates rates” because of their friendship.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

The house sites on a parcel of land bought by May’s mum, Cecilia Rogers, with May moving into the house with her husband, James Ossoli Kelly, in 1925. The couple never had any children (she called the gumnuts her “babies”) and, after May’s death in 1969, the estate was left to UNICEF.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

Nutcote was then sold to a private party in 1970 who had plans to demolish it (when you see the view from the block of land you’ll understand why it was in demand for redevelopment), but the house was thankfully saved by the newly formed May Gibbs Foundation in 1987. The house was placed on the Register of the National Estate and then bought by North Sydney Municipal Council for $2.86m in 1990. With its future finally safe, Nutcote was restored to represent what life would have looked like there in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and opened to the public in 1994.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

The house is on an amazing block of land that sprawls down to the harbour. The view is just stunning – it’s easy to see why May would have been inspired to write here, in her little slice of paradise.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

At the entrance to the property is the giftshop (it used to be a garage), with the cafe underneath in what was once the gardener’s flat. The actual house is further down past the gardens. Visitors are welcome to roam around the house, but I would suggest taking a free guided tour from one of their very well-versed volunteers.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

The house contains replica furniture in the style of the original furnishings, with some original items, such as photographs, the ice chest and May’s work desk, set up by the window taking in the view.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

Underneath the house is a perfect spot for kids, with a little set of table and chairs, colouring in sheets and pencils and dress ups clothes.  There is also a DVD playing on repeat that tells May’s story if you can convince the kids to sit down long enough to let you watch it.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

Keep heading down the stairs to the final section of the garden, where we found a basket set out with more colouring in equipment for kids. We took a lovely siesta down here undisturbed for quite some time. Cheese happily coloured in en plein air, while the hubbie and I took in the view and relaxed. Ahhhh the serenity.

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Dotted around the garden are little tributes to May’s life. The Big Bad Banksia man stealing Ragged Blossom, a Scots Terrier (the breed of dog May kept in her home), the caterpillar hedge and, of course, “Bib and Bub”, who we know as Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

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After enjoying the view, art and tour of the house, it’s time for lunch, so we dropped by the Bib and Bub Tea Room. The tea rooms is usually open during Nutcote’s open hours, but, as it is staffed by volunteers, it’s recommend that you call ahead if you are planning to lunch there.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

The tea room serves light refreshments such as tea and coffee, scones, cakes and sandwiches. We had an egg sandwich, made freshly with herbs from the garden, a “fairy sandwich” and a brownie.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

A delicious, light lunch, and possibly the best egg sandwich (definitely the freshest!) I’ve ever eaten.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

It’s impossible to pass through the exit without buying a little souvenir or two – we chose the children’s book “A Day With May Gibbs At Nutcote” which has since been a bedtime favourite at home. All proceeds go back to the foundation to keep the house in great condition and open to the public.

Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me Nutcote: Walking in the footsteps of May Gibbs via christineknight.me

Nutcote
5 Wallaringa Ave, Neutral Bay
Phone: (02) 9953 4453
Hours: Wed-Sun 11am-3pm
Prices: $10 adults $4 children aged 5 and over
Online: http://www.maygibbs.com.au
Accessibility: Some stairs.
Get Directions
NOTE: Nutcote will be closed from March 25 until late June for renovations.

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney’s Best Dessert Spots

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney's Best Sweet Spots via christineknight.me

If you have a sweet tooth like me, then you might be similarly always on the hunt for the best dessert in Sydney.

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney's Best Sweet Spots via christineknight.me

I’ve been loving the Tella Ball shakes at Foodcraft Espresso & Bakery in Erskineville pretty hard since the Nutella-injected donuts perched on top of Nutella-flavoured milkshakes almost broke Instagram last year, so it was with great excitement that I heard the original creators of this delicious extravagance, Aki Daikos and Simon Kappatos, were opening a Tella Balls Dessert Bar in Dulwich Hill.

The Instagram pictures for the cafe have been killing me – particularly this gelato donut on a stick, which sells for $7. Sadly when I visited they didn’t have any for sale, but I guess that means there is a reason to go back next time?

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney's Best Sweet Spots via christineknight.me

There are no savoury dishes on the menu at the dessert bar – just sugar, sugar and more sugar. It is 100% a pure dessert bar.

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney's Best Sweet Spots via christineknight.me

As well as their signature Tell Balls and milkshakes, the dessert bar serves house-made gelato, Nutella layered lasagne, waffles, pancakes, and amazing sweets that feature Nutella heavily as a signature ingredient.

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney's Best Sweet Spots via christineknight.me

I visited on a week day before school let out to ensure we had a quiet dining experience. Even at midday on a Friday it was pretty busy, so I can imagine the cafe is a bit of a zoo on weekends.

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney's Best Sweet Spots via christineknight.me

My dining companion Jayne from Girl Tweets World and I ordered a few dishes to share between us. The Vanilla Tella Ball Shake with a Boston Custard Tella Ball on top ($10), the Ferraro Bowl (a smooth Ferraro Rocher mousse in a chocolate bowl served with vanilla bean gelato, $13), and the Ricotta and Blueberry Pancakes (2 stack buttermilk ricotta & blueberry pancakes topped with Canadian maple syrup and mascarpone, $16).

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney's Best Sweet Spots via christineknight.me

The vanilla shake was excellent, and the donut on top fluffy with a very tart custard inside. We were a bit regretful not to have ordered the Nutella one seeing as it’s the signature shake, but sometimes it’s good to brand out and try new things, right?

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney's Best Sweet Spots via christineknight.me

The Ferraro Bowl looked incredibly sweet, but surprisingly wasn’t. I really appreciated this, as even though I love all things chocolate, I can’t handle feeling ill after injecting myself full of dessert these days. I really particularly enjoyed the crisp chocolate shell with nut shards on it, and its pairing with the refreshing vanilla bean gelato.

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney's Best Sweet Spots via christineknight.me

I deliberately ordered the pancakes that did not have Nutella as I thought I couldn’t handle more chocolate after the Ferraro Bowl, and it was a good move when they were all on the table in front of us, with our dining companions looking on in … horror? awe? Who can tell!

The pancakes were excellent. Not super-fluffy, but a good size, and nicely soaked with maple syrup. I found the double serve of cheese a bit too much for me – I didn’t love the ricotta with this dish, and could have just done very nicely with the mascarpone and blueberries. I love fruit with my pancakes, so the huge amount of blueberries it was served with did me very nicely.

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney's Best Sweet Spots via christineknight.me

I would love to go back on another day to try more dishes from the menu. Tell me if you go and what you try.

Tella Balls Dessert Bar: Sydney's Best Sweet Spots via christineknight.me

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: No.

Tella Balls Dessert Bar
372 New Canterbury Rd,
Dulwich Hill
Prices: $$$
Hours: Sun-Thur 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11pm
Get Directions

Tella Balls Dessert Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MCA Cafe & Sculpture Terrace: Kid-Friendly Restaurants, Sydney

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

A kid-friendly restaurant in Sydney’s CBD is quite a find. We end up spending a lot of time around Circular Quay at the Sydney Opera House, the AGNSW and the MCA, so are always in search of Sydney’s best kid-friendly cafes in these areas.

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

On our recent visit to the MCA we tried their rooftop cafe, which I previously didn’t even know existed. To get to the cafe, enter through any of their regular entrances, then take the elevator to the 4th floor. Entrance to the general exhibitions at the MCA is free, so you won’t need to pay if you stop along the way to check out some art.

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

When you reach the top floor of the MCA, turn right to enter the cafe and sculpture terrace. Dining is casual, so grab menus at the front, choose a table, then order and pay at the counter.

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

The cafe currently has a British Grayson Perry-inspired menu, running at the same time as the gallery has the Grayson Perry exhibition on downstairs. I love themed menus, so this was a fun, unexpected bonus. The menu was a celebration of all things British, such as Devonshire tea & scones, crumpets, fish & chips, bangers and mash, or their Little Pretty Eton Mess.

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

I chose the Honeyed Oats, Summer Berries, Elderflower, Yoghurt & Pistachio ($12),
Alec had the Roasted Salmon (with green beans, roast potatoes & lemon, $28), and Cheese selected the Battered Fish & Chips ($14) from the kids’ menu.

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

While we were waiting for our meals, Cheese amused herself by checking out the giant sculpture on the terrace, while we admired the view. Not too shabby, eh?

My honeyed oats were really delicious, but I did find them to be a tad dry and would have liked more yogurt. I thought the dish was colourful and beautiful, and really tasty. Alec’s salmon was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, and Cheese’s fish and chips were also a winner. The portion was so big it would have done an adult who wanted a smallish-sized lunch.

MCA Cafe via christineknight.me MCA Cafe via christineknight.me MCA Cafe via christineknight.me MCA Cafe via christineknight.me MCA Cafe via christineknight.me

After our brunch we strolled downstairs to take part in the free drop in craft session for kids. The MCA usually has a kid-friendly component to their major exhibitions where little ones can experiment with different materials in the spirit of the big show, which, in this case, was Grayson Perry’s “My Pretty Little Art Career”.

MCA Drop In Art For Kids via christineknight.me MCA Drop In Art For Kids via christineknight.me

With the stunning view, free admission to the MCA plus the also-free art-making session, this was one extremely good value restaurant, perfect for kids, right in the heart of Sydney.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: Yes.

MCA Cafe
140 George St,
The Rocks
Phone: (02) 9250 8443
Prices: $$$
Hours: Daily 10am–4pm, Thur 10am–9pm
Get Directions

MCA Cafe & Sculpture Terrace Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Babies Prom: Music For Tutus

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

The first Babies Prom of the year, Music for Tutus is the perfect way for littlies 2-5 to experience ballet for the first time. Held in the intimate Studio inside the Sydney Opera House, tiny tots are invited to watch, dance and direct the performers throughout the show – making it a stress-free way for families introducing their children to the arts.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

This gorgeous performance features music by the famous composer, Tchaikovsky, with two ballet dancers pirouetting their way through melodies from The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, and an orchestra including a stunning harp, cello, violins and conductor. The two dancers, Emma and Jacob, led their rapt audience through the three ballets in a way that showcased their skills as well as engaged small children with short attention spans.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

The classical music, performed by the Babies Proms orchestra, swept not just the children, but the adults, too, up on an enchanting discovery of three of Tchaikovsky’s best-loved pieces of music.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

The Babies Proms are aimed at children aged 2-5, but this doesn’t mean that kids older or younger won’t enjoy the show. Babies and grade schoolers alike were enchanted by the beautiful dancing and music, along with parents and grandparents. This parent will admit to feeling a tear come to her eye when the score to Swan Lake was soaring through the Studio.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

As the show came to a close, the dancers came down to the children and led them through basic ballet steps, much to the delight of the tulle-clad masses who jostled to get up closer to the pair in their stunning costumes.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

Sadly all good things must come to an end, and Music For Tutus ended in the same fashion as all Babies Proms do, with the children being invited to meet the musicians, touch their instruments and pose for photos. Cheese has just started playing the cello at school, so this was a wonderful experience for her to hear a professional cellist live and realise where a lot of practice on this instrument could one day take her.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

Kids can ask the musicians questions – or just strum a string and image that they, too, could one day perform in front of an audience at the Sydney Opera House.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

If you haven’t been to a Babies Prom before, this is what you need to know:

Babies Proms are aimed at kids aged 2-5.

They are casual performances where adults sit around the sides of the studio, and kids sit on the floor in the middle. There is no pressure for kids to sit still or not talk – they are encouraged to dance, sing and interact with the performers.

The performance goes for 35 minutes, the perfect length for short attention spans.

All adults and children over 12 months need a ticket.

Seats are not numbered, so most people line up around half an hour before the start of the Babies Prom to ensure they get seats close to the floor where there kids will be seated.

There is stroller parking and baby change facilities in the foyer.

While train is the easiest way to get to the Sydney Opera House, you can also park in the car park underneath. Book online at Wilson Parking for a $9 weekend deal.

For lunch, grab a sandwich at the Sydney Opera House kiosk outside the theatre, or enjoy a sit down meal at Opera Kitchen on the lower concourse level. Their kids’ fish and chips is a winner.

Babies Proms: Music for Tutus via christineknight.me

Babies Proms: Music For Tutus
Dates: March 9-20, 2016
Studio, Sydney Opera House

Thank you to the Sydney Opera House for hosting us at this performance, and for use of some of their images by Dan Boud in this blog post. Photography during performances are not permitted.