My name is Ellen Gulson and I am a mum of 4 and Lactation Consultant living in Bellevue Hill.

Where and how long have you lived in Sydney’s east?

We only moved to the Eastern Suburbs mid last year, just before the delta lockdown, so I’m still getting to know all the amazing things the East has to offer.

Three words that describe what it’s like to live in the eastern suburbs?

Busy, Beautiful, traffic

How many children?

I have 4 crazy and wonderful kids; Graeme is 8, Edith is 6, Arthur is almost 5 and Maeve is 3. But given that my husband, Rob, is a Boarding Master at Scots College (and we live onsite), I like to say that I have 4 little kids and 50+ teenage boys.

Favourite Park & Beach:

We love going to Lyne Park, near the kids school in Rose Bay and eating chips from Charcoal Charlies by the water. We also love going to Coogee beach for a swim in the summer. Its super kid friendly and seems a little easier to park than Bondi. Having said that, we also love Redleaf as we can walk down from our place – although the walk home up the hill is a killer for tired little legs.

Favourite kid friendly cafe:

Our favourite kid friendly café so far is Archies at Dover Heights which has an amazing little kids area, fantastic food and great coffee. It’s also generally easy to park close by, which is a must when you’re loading and unloading lots of kids.

Favourite Coffee Spot:

For a quick takeaway, the Grumpy Baker in Bellevue hill has great coffee and I can never resist buying a loaf of the date and walnut bread.

Favourite date night place:

We don’t get a lot of date nights with so many kids, but recently we went to Bibo Wine bar in Double Bay. The food was amazing and the atmosphere was lovely.  Whenever we can rope in the grandparents, we like to head out to Westfield for a relaxing Gold Class movie.

Where in the east have you yet to explore and would like to ?

We haven’t had much of a chance to explore centennial park as yet, but we’re finally buying a bike rack for the car this holidays so that we can get out with

all the bikes. I have great memories of riding around bicentennial park as a kid, and so look forward to taking all the kids down there for a ride soon

What would you like to see improve in the eastern suburbs?

I think my only issue with the eastern suburbs since moving here is the narrow roads and tough traffic. Moving down from far north Queensland, the traffic has taken some getting used to – but I suppose that’s just the price we pay for living in one of the most amazing places in the world. The only other thing I would change is the sheer amount of rain we’ve had recently! I thought moving away from the tropics I would get a break from the rain and the mould – but the rain in Sydney this year has been epic. Trying to keep 4 little people entertained inside is exhausting.

Favourite Local Shop:

I’m not sure I could pick a favourite shop, as I seem to spend the majority of my time and money at a combination of Aldi and Kmart. I suppose I would have to pick Aldi at Edgecliff, simply because with the rising price of groceries at the moment, it allows me to feed my family of 6 without having to sacrifice the occasional block of chocolate or bottle of wine.

Favourite wet weather location:

Our favourite wet weather location is Woollahra Library at Double Bay. The kids love the slide and little play space and I like being able to get a coffee from downstairs.

Favourite Local family Weekend Activity?

Our favourite family weekend activity is generally getting out on public transport and exploring our city. Our kids are still young enough that taking a bus or a train or a ferry is still super exciting. So jumping on a ferry at Rose Bay wharf and going around to Watsons Bay or onto a train at Edgecliff into the city makes for a fun adventure.

Work or SAHM?

I have spent the last few years doing mostly volunteer work, working in Lactation and Breastfeeding. I am a volunteer for the Australian Breastfeeding Association as a counsellor on the national Helpline and ran a Breastfeeding clinic in North QLD during Covid. Now that hopefully home-schooling is behind us, I’m finally back to paid work as a Nurse and Lactation Consultant. I do regular shifts in the NICU at the Royal Women’s Hospital at Randwick and work as a Lactation Consultant at Coogee Beach Doctors. I am passionate about women’s health and supporting mums and babies in the postpartum period. I’ve got a bit of the mum guilts about leaving my little ones to be back at work after so much time together during Covid, but I have a wonderful support system at home and the women I work with inspire and encourage me every day.

Motherly advice?

Having spent years around mums and their kids; first as a long time Nanny whilst at uni, then as someone working with women and babies every day and also having my own 4 kids, my best advice is this: We are not meant to do this alone. Motherhood was never meant to be done in isolation – if you try, you’re setting yourself up to fail. “Build your bench” or your “village” or whatever you want to call it, but don’t try to do everything yourself. Have a great GP, a babysitter that you trust (whether it be family, friend or someone you pay), group together with friends or mothers group to make sure you get out of the house and talk to another adult. And finally – stay off Dr Google! if you’re concerned about yours or your child’s health go and see your doctor (or Lactation Consultant if it’s about Breastfeeding ;-))