Holly Wainwright

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

I’ve lived in Coogee for about 20 years! I’ve also lived in Bondi, Randwick and Bronte.  I’m originally from Manchester in the UK, but came to Australia as a young backpacker in 1995. I never left.

How many children:

Two – Matilda is 7 and Billy is 5.


Favourite Park:

Centennial. I love it – assuming we can find a car park. Love the duck ponds and the little bushwalks where the kids can see bats in the trees. And of course the playgrounds with coffee nearby.

Like any self-respecting Eastern Suburbs parent, I’m all about the coffee.

Favourite Beach:

Coogee. We are lucky enough to live in a way-too-small flat just a few minutes’ walk from there and are down there every weekend morning. It’s our home and I still pinch myself every day that I live somewhere so beautiful and that playing on a beach is my kids’ “normal” .


Favourite kid friendly cafe:

These days we go and sit at Morning Glory at the north end of the Coogee and let the kids climb trees over the road while we have brekkie. Life is certainly a little bit easier now that they are a little bit older… We also go to the Diggers and The Coogee Sports Club (also known as the Bowlo) for kids’ dinner most weeks. We always see people we know there.

Favourite Coffee Spot:

In Coogee, it’s Gusto for me. Great coffee, although I miss their smoked salmon bagels – they were my Friday work-from-home treats and they’ve just stopped doing them! I should mount a petition for their return.

Favourite date night place:

The Spot. It’s lazy but it’s so easy, and when you’ve got babysitters it’s always about maximising time! We go to Bat Country when we can, to the movies or to Spanish Fly for some tapas. I like to start off with a drink at the rooftop at the Pavilion though, of course. So close, such a view, and I always feel a bit ‘fancy’ there!

Favourite Local Day Out Activity:

We go into the City to the “Dinosaur Museum” (that’s the Australian Museum on College Street) a lot, because Billy is five and loves dinosaurs. The place is crawling with little boys like Bill. Sometimes the art gallery and the Botanic Gardens. Locally we like Centennial Park for bike riding around the playground, or Randwick Environment Park for the same thing. But you know, most free days we’re at the beach, Winter, Summer, whatever.


Favourite Local Shop:

Maloneys Grocer. Sorry, I know I should be telling you somewhere where you can pick up amazing clothes, but my happy place is the dip and cheese section of Maloneys, for sure. I cringe to think about how much money I’ve dropped in there over the years. Don’t tell my partner, Brent. He’s considered banning me.

Favourite wet weather location:

The movies. At least The Randwick Ritz won’t cost you $100 per family, like the big cinemas. A choc-top and a kids’ film is our rainy day treat.

Describe an ideal day in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for you?

Miraculously the kids sleep in and we have a lazy wake-up before we go down to the beach for take-away coffee and bacon rolls and chats with friends. A swim, in Summer, of course. I love the Women’s Pool, always have, it’s like a slice of heaven. If I can take Matilda down there that’s a pretty special day. Then home for a chill-out and read or movie with the kids and then out somewhere for an early dinner with friends where the kids can run around together and we can catch-up over a wine. If we can achieve that as the sun’s going down, it’s a pretty perfect Coogee day. And my perfect eastern suburbs day definitely involves NOT getting in the car.

What area of the east have you yet to explore much but would like to?

I had never been to Malabar until about a year ago! Love that beach and the park and playground there. Really should explore that part of the coast a lot more.

Work or SAHM:

Work, work, work. I’m Head of Content at Mamamia.com.au which keeps me pretty busy. My partner, Brent, does a lot of the rushing around with the kids so I can do that. Also I’ve just written a novel, The Mummy Bloggers, which is available now at all good booksellers! That’s my sales pitch.

Motherly advice :

Dump the mother guilt. It’s the least useful of all our parental instincts. As far as I can see, we’re mostly all doing our best, and holding ourselves to impossible standards is just making us stressed and unhappy. Love your kids and stop giving yourself such a hard time. Of course, I have to keep telling myself that one, too.

To buy Holly’s latest book The Mummy Bloggers go to