Summer holidays are over for another year and is it just me feeling like I should have done more with the kids? I always have grand plans to craft ourselves sick at home and adventure ourselves ragged when away. Nature walks and rockets made out of toilet paper rolls and all the enriching experiences.
I find the days with three young children revolve mainly around survival. It's not as easy as it sounds.
So in a fit of guilt in the last week, I planned a zillion things. Five days in a row, I did stuff with the kids. We enjoyed all of them individually but by the fifth day, I was, what's the word? Oh yeah, fucked. I was absolutely fucked by the fifth day. What I needed was a quiet day at home. I needed to be aware that I had the mother of all headaches coming on. I needed to realise that no matter how awesome the plans for Day 5 were, I was going to be in a contrary mood.
What a shame it was that this was the day we went for a picnic at Rippon Lea Estate. National Heritage listed, this incredible property sprawls unexpectedly over acres and acres of the small and gorgeous suburb of Elsternwick, 9kms south-east of Melbourne city.
This place is exquisite. Venturing through the gates feels like stepping back into another time – a time when whoever lived here was seriously wealthy. The gardens are lush and extensive, bridges, tunnels and steps leading the boys and I on an adventure of discovery. It really felt like an enchanted garden where magic things might happen. Lilypads on lakes, lookout towers and waterfalls felt like walking into a fairytale.
I admit it was kind of lovely to watch the boys exploring, calling to eachother excitedly as they made their way along rocky paths, dwarfed by majestic old trees that seemed to touch the sky. No-one asked to play a game on my phone and it was with impatience that the kids sat to eat a picnic lunch before racing off again.
Harlow loved taking her shoes off and feeling the grass beneath her little feet, too, but we were hampered a little by having her pram along with us. We obviously needed it because of the picnic gear but it meant we couldn't explore all of the paths with her in tow. After lunch, I sent the boys off with Bren on another exploration while Harlow and I hung out on the picnic blanket.
My headache was coming along nicely by this point.
Two hours at Rippon Lea absolutely flew by and I am certain we didn't see half of it. The boys were very upset when I said it was time to go. My argument was that we needed to get back to the car which was parked in a 2 hour spot but it was also true that I was wearing very thin by this stage. I knew I was a little black cloud following my otherwise happy family around but I couldn't help myself.
Lesson 1: Five days in a row is too many to go and do stuff with the kids. But….
Lesson 2: If you are looking for a family outing destination, Rippon Lea is actually pretty wonderful.
Check it out.
WIN A FAMILY PASS!
Melbourne fams, to celebrate National Trust's 100 Days of Summer, I have a family pass to give away to Rippon Lea House and Garden. This place is seriously gorgeous and is guaranteed to impress even the grumpiest of little mummas….
To enter, tell me where you like to take your family in Melbourne.
Conditions of entry:
- Entrants must leave a comment below (not on Facebook) and be contactable via email. One entry per person. Open to Australian residents only.
- Entries close: Monday 10 February 2014 at noon.
- This is a game of chance. Winners will be chosen by random.org, notified by email and announced on this blog post.
- The Family Pass gives complimentary entry to Rippon Lea House and Garden for two (2) adults and two (2) children.
- Voucher expires 30/06/2014
- The prize will be posted by the Promoter.
- Prizes are not redeemable for cash.
- Prizes are not transferable.
Promoter: The Little Mumma, PO Box 159, Montmorency, Victoria, 3094
Best of luck!
The lucky winner is Tanya Clarke!
Thank you to everyone who entered. 🙂