Where and how long have you lived in Sydney’s east?
I moved to Sydney nearly 20 years ago for love, when I met my husband. He lived on the leafy North Shore, but I convinced him that the Eastern Suburbs was the only place to be – it has everything: magnificent surf beaches, relaxing harbour beaches, cafes, theatres and parks…all within an easy bike ride of the city. We had our kids here and very firmly put down roots.
Three words that describe what it’s like to live in the eastern suburbs?
Caring, energising, fun.
I moved to the East for the beaches, parks and proximity to the city. The pleasant surprise was how much the community cares – about each other and about our shared future.
How many children?
We surprised ourselves by having three kids: two boys and a girl. The plan was two, then the third came along as an irrepressible force of nature, filling our lives with sparkle and positivity.
Based on how much time we spend there, it’s a toss-up between Bronte Park and Centennial Park. Bronte Gully is an absolute treasure. People are amazed that you can step off busy Murray St into a forested sanctuary with a picturesque waterfall. It’s great to be among trees, so during lockdown we explored every forested park in our 5km radius. Cooper Park is fab for ‘tree bathing’ and Trumper Park is great for tennis under a leafy canopy.
Bronte, without a doubt. The surf is not for the faint-hearted, and you won’t often find me “out the back”. I’ll be paddling in the rock pool or standing on the shore watching my kids taking on the waves – as part of Nippers, or just out on their boards. The Bronte Nippers team does such an amazing job teaching kids to face their fears and how to read the ocean. My eldest has just started patrols and we’re super proud.
Favourite kid friendly café?
Our local, Favoloso café, has a walled garden for the little ones, with marshmallows on the hot chocolates – a firm favourite when my kids were toddlers. When we dine out with the family, we like to Café Belo, a Brazilian café at Bronte Beach. It’s kid-friendly, with serves big enough for teenage tummies. It’s very relaxed and reasonably priced.
Favourite Coffee Spot?
Our local sustainable coffee house used to be Three Blue Ducks, but it’s sadly closed. I like to meet friends at Shuk in North Bondi for tasty brunch treats. There are so many great coffee spots in the East, all within an easy bike ride, it’s hard to pick just one.
Favourite date night place?
Date nights are few and far between these days, we’re so busy. Pre-covid, when you could get out and about more, we would sneak off for a glass of red at The Corner House in Bondi Rd. It has a lovely cosy feel that reminds me of Melbourne. If we are dining with friends, we’ll often head to the Coogee Pavilion, or find somewhere in Potts Point, like Ms. G’s or The Butler.
What area of the east have you yet to explore much but would like to?
There’s lots of nooks in Paddington that I’d like to get to know better. It’s hard at the moment with covid cases breaking records. For the kids to be able to visit their grandparents, we need to stay well so we’re not going out on the town right now. Now that the kids are older it would be lovely to discover some new venues in the back streets of Paddo – kid-free!
What would you like to see improve in the eastern suburbs?
I would like to see all four council areas achieve net zero by 2030. To do this, we’ll need to phase out gas for household use. Gas is a fossil fuel that contributes to global heating and it’s unnecessary for domestic use. We really need to reduce energy use and electrify what we can’t avoid.
Favourite Local Shop?
I’m not much of a shopper, but I am also a fan of “Scoop” in Bondi – it’s fab to have a place to stock up on quality pantry goods without the packaging. The markets at Kings Cross and the Bondi Markets are a great way to shop for locally-made goods and produce. Also, for gifts, there’s a delightful little French boutique called “Volange” in Bronte Rd, Waverley that sells adorable jewellery at affordable prices.
Favourite wet weather location?
The rain doesn’t hold us back much unless it’s really bucketing. We’ve braved Sculptures by the Sea in some pretty wild weather. If heavy rain is forecast, we’ll plan a trip to a gallery or museum. The White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale is a favourite. We’ve been Australian Museum members since the kids were born and we still take them regularly whenever there’s a new exhibition. Wildlife photographer of the year is a favourite.
Favourite Local Family Weekend Activity?
We love an urban bushwalk followed by lunch at a café and a swim.
The Hermitage Walk from Rose Bay to Nielsen Park is one of the world’s most stunning urban walks, with the Nielsen Park café offering refreshments and Vaucluse Bay offering a sparkling spot for a dip.
Another great walk is from Diamond Bay Reserve to the lighthouse at the South Head, followed by a swim at Watson’s Bay. Other great family activities include snorkelling at Gordon’s Bay and cycling in Centennial Park.
Now that our eldest is baby-sitting age, we can round out a ‘family day’ by catching some live music at a local venue. Aya Larkin has done such a great job with Hotel Ravesi’s in Bondi. We have so many world-class musicians in the Eastern suburbs and I love the enthusiasm of the local crowd. Dancing to live music with friends definitely gives balance to parenting!
Work or SAHM?
I’m a lawyer in financial services. Since I started having kids, I’ve been working 3 or 4 days a week in paid employment.
I also volunteer with a local community group called Voices of Wentworth. It’s a non-partisan community-based organisation that has been established to promote democracy, accountability and transparency in the political process. To do this, we listen, inform and advocate. We host events where local people can talk about their concerns – whether its climate change, job security or over development – whatever is on their minds. We run ‘Town Hall’ events to give people access to fact-based information from subject-matter experts so they can make informed decisions on the topics they are concerned about. We also advocate for change if federal policies are out of step with what the community wants. For example, we campaigned with other local groups to stop the PEP11 gas and oil exploration permit just off the coast of Sydney.
If you want to find out how to participate in an event, volunteer, or do our 5 minute “Wentworth Cares” survey, go to: www.voicesofwentworth.org. Or follow us on:
YouTube: Voices of Wentworth
I would say to new parents – the early years are pretty intense and it’s hard to do much more than parent, take care of yourself and earn a living.
Once your kids are a little older, if you have more time, try to spend some time volunteering for a cause you feel passionate about. Your kids will learn from the example you set, and it’s often easy to involve them in your cause. Whether it’s your local surf club or community garden, or whether you are trying to get some accountability back into politics, volunteering is a fun, flexible, social and rewarding way to improve your world.