Where and how long have you lived in Sydney’s east:
My partner Marc and I are both French originally and moved to Sydney from Paris 13 years ago. We settled in Coogee shortly after we arrived back in 2004 and never moved!
How many children:
We have 2 boys, Elliot (8) and Gabriel (5) both born at the RWH in Randwick.
We have several favourites. The boys love going to the skate park in Maroubra or the new bike track and playground in Centennial Park.
Or for something a bit closer to home the playground and park behind the McIver women’s pool in Coogee is also a favourite.
Coogee in winter when it’s mainly locals and the beach is quiet. Or Maroubra beach in summer for the surf (my husband and eldest son are both surfies).
Favourite kid friendly cafe:
According to my kids, Gusto in Coogee for their babycino, gingerbread men and friendly staff. For us the parents, I would say the Coogee Pavilion for a good glass of wine whilst the kids are having fun in the play area.
Favourite Coffee Spot:
Favourite date night place:
For a local night out, we will usually start with a drink at the Bat Country bar at the Spot in Randwick, followed by dinner at tapas restaurant Spanish Fly.
Favourite Local Day Out Activity:
We are an active family and the kids are keen walkers, so we often grab a picnic and walk the coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi or Maroubra to La Perouse with stops for a swim or coffee. We also love the Rose Bay – Nielsen Park walk.
Favourite Local Shop:
Cargo on Coogee Bay Road – I love their candles plus the owners are French!
Favourite wet weather location:
Rainy weather is often a good excuse to go to one of the kids friendly museums in the City. We often do a combo of museum visit (Powerhouse, Australian Museum) followed by a dip at the Philip Cook swimming pool in the City.
Describe an ideal day in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for you?
Since we have come back from our sabbatical 6 weeks ago, I have been working from home and therefore get to enjoy Coogee during the week a lot more than prior to our travels. And I am loving it. Typical day would start with taking the kids to school, then walk to Wylies Bath for a yoga session. Then breakfast and coffee at Gusto on my way back home.
I just love Coogee during the week as it is much more quiet than on the weekend. I then do some work from home – mainly legal work for my clients.
At the moment, I try and pick up the kids early from school. We stop by the bakery on Malabar Road for a cupcake and a coffee, walk back home and then go out again to the park or the beach. On Fridays we often finish the day with friends at the beach eating pizzas or if it is just the 4 of us we enjoy sushis at the Sushi Train on Coogee Bay Road followed by an icecream at Gelatissimo.
What area of the east have you yet to explore much but would like to?
Maybe Little Bay as it has changed a lot over the past couple of years.
Work or SAHM:
I am a commercial lawyer (fully admitted in NSW) and have been working as a lawyer for the past 13 years.
Like many other Mums out there, I have juggling my career as a lawyer with my family responsibilities and really struggled to find the right balance.
After many years working as in-house lawyer for companies doing crazy long hours 5 days a week, I had reached a point where I had the feeling that I totally missing out on my kids life. It became more and more obvious that I was spending too much time at work – although I was at home by 7pm on most nights. I just wanted to spend time with my kids, and my husband. So my husband and I decided to take time off together as a family to reconnect – best thing we have ever done!
We put all our belongings in storage and travelled with 2 bags for the 4 of us for 7 months.
The initial plan was to spend time in France with the family. We ended up spending 3 months in Europe during European summer, mainly in France (where my husband and I come from originally) but also Spain, Italy, UK and Switzerland. Kids got to spend time with their cousins and grandparents. We did so much, like hiking in the Swiss Alps, or visiting castles in France or discovering Sardinia and Corsica. It was awesome. The kids were homeschooled but they learnt so much about different countries, different cultures, history, geography, other languages etc…I never felt that they were missing out on anything to be honest.
After 3 months in Europe ending in early October (2016) we then got to spend 4 months travelling around South East Asia visiting countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Sri Lanka. My youngest son’s new heroes are now Buddha (great!) and Ho Chi Minh (a bit more controversial J). We had not planned anything apart from making sure that we had done all the immunisations required.
We basically made decisions on a day-to-day basis and adapted to the kids. One day we would spend the night in Hmong village in Laos faraway from everything, and the other day they were playing at a Kids Activity Centre in Hanoi or doing snorkeling in Malaysia. Our favourite countries were Laos for its authenticity and Sri Lanka for its relaxed and family friendly vibe.
We have now been back in Sydney for 8 weeks. Kids are back at school, husband back at work. And I am determined to not do the same mistakes and find a better balance between kids and family on one hand and work on the other hand.
I am currently running my own Legal Practice (Athol Legal) (new website coming soon am contactable via email firstname.lastname@example.org and specialize in providing legal advice to businesses and individuals on all aspects of their business activities (e.g. Contracts, intellectual property, employment law etc).
I have helped many small businesses getting on track with their terms and conditions.
In parallel, I am also working on 2 other projects:
1. A new business idea that is not legal related (retail industry) and I would be keen to connect with other Mums who have started their own business ventures. Ideally I’d like to launch our first product in July.
2. A humanitarian project for Hmong villages in Northern Laos to help them diversify their streams of incomes by raising funds and partnering with a local NGO to build a house for tourists and help Hmong communities to develop tourism activities in a conscious way (environmentally friendly, and respectful of the Hmong culture).