Tuesday, 18 August 2015

A Sunny Weekend in Melbourne

We got a taste of spring this weekend in Melbourne. It feels long overdue; this winter the temperature has hardly risen above 14 degrees, and it's been consistently cloudy and rainy. We had some lovely sunshine this weekend though, making me very hopeful that spring is on its way!

Yarra Bend Park

On Friday we went on a walk through Yarra Bend Park along the river to the Studley Park Boathouse. The boathouse is set in a peaceful location along the river, and there is a choice of restaurant, café or outdoor kiosk for food. My mom got pretty excited when we saw a sign advertising Ice Creamery, but unfortunately it was not open at this time of year.  We sat outside and got coffees and some light food at the kiosk. The selection is not huge in terms of breakfast/lunch items, but there are some yummy looking sweet treats to choose from. We had egg and bacon muffins and a ham and cheese croissant and then tried a few of their cakes. My dad and I wanted to try the Coffee and Cinnamon, while my mom was more drawn to the Fig, Ginger and Walnut. Both cakes were served warm with cream and were very moist, however the flavours were not particularly strong in either. At $8 per slice they were not cheap, especially for a self-service kiosk. I guess what you are paying for there is the location, which admittedly is pretty much perfect.  My parents got a taste of how different the air feels in Melbourne whether the sun is shining or not. When the sun was out we all had to take off our jackets and it felt like the middle of summer (in England anyway). However as soon as the sun went behind a cloud we had to bundle up again to avoid getting a chill. Ella seems to really enjoy having the sun on her, a new experience as it has mostly been cold and cloudy since she was born.

Ella enjoying some time with Nannie at Studley Park Boathouse

And time with Grampy!

On Saturday Andy and I went for brunch alone while my parents took care of Ella. My parents have been encouraging us to try and have some time alone while they are here, as that won't be an option when they leave as she is too young (in my mind!) to be left with a babysitter. Our brunch was on the end of a stressful visit to Brighton Ford, where we are in a seemingly never ending battle with them about our car, which has had its clutch replaced three times in two years. We are contemplating a trade-in deal with them for a new car, but the budget side of me does not want to part with any more money - especially not if it is going to Ford, who I will never buy a car from again. Anyway, live and learn I guess! Brunch was nearby at the Artful Dodger in Elsternwick. We enjoyed being outside in the sunshine that morning, even if we spent most of the meal writing up the pros and cons of keeping or trading in our current car. As a brunch spot, the Artful Dodge was good, and I would eat there again if I was a local, but I don't think there was anything special about it that would bring me back.
The Artful Dodger, Elsternwick

HUGE Chai latte!

In the afternoon we ventured down to the Middle Park Hotel on the east side of Albert Park. The sun was out and it was a gorgeous afternoon. We enjoyed a few beers and glasses of prosecco on the patio while catching up with our friends Pete and Elle and their daughter Poppy, who is 2 and a half. Watching Poppy gave us a little glimpse of what is to come. I love Ella being a newborn but on the other hand I can't wait for her to be a little older and more interactive! We pushed it a little with Ella and stayed until after 5pm, when of course the traffic going back to our place north of the river was horrendous. Ella was hungry and crying so my mom fed her with a bottle in the backseat, but she was not happy about being so strapped in! It was not the most enjoyable car ride, to say the least. Note to self: Feed baby before you leave a venue if there is more than a five minute car ride ahead!

Enjoying the sunshine at Middle Park Hotel
Sunday was supposed to be nice, my iPhone said it was going to be 18 degrees and sunny. It was more like 14 degrees with sun and cloud which was a little disappointing. Andy had soccer coaching in the morning and Ella was having a rather fussy day, so we didn't get out of the house until after 2pm. We wandered over to the Maker's Market at Abbotsford Convent, which is held on the third Sunday of every month. After browsing through the stalls, which were ok, but I'm not sure I'd rush back, we decided to sit down for a coffee. The places in the Convent were packed so we tried to check out this café that is across from the convent entrance called One Fine Day. This place NEVER looks open and I am totally confused to how you get in and what it's hours are. I can only find a few things about it on the internet, including this facebook page which is an unofficial page and so doesnt' have any useful information like opening hours or contact details. Just a few posts with rave reviews and pictures of people enjoying themselves there, it's like they are taunting me! My mom and I are determined to work out how we can eat there before my parents leave. We gave up on One Fine Day and resigned ourselves to another lunch at the Farm Café, which frankly is not the worst thing that could happen. Food and service are always good, and now that I have a baby I am very appreciative of places that are pram and child friendly. Oh, how things change! 

Makers Market Abbotsford Convent
Sunday night we spent relaxing at home and my mom cooked us an amazing dinner of fillet mignon, baked sweet potato and salad that could have come from a top restaurant. My parents made a trip to Costco in the Docklands last week and brought home some delicious cuts of meat - things we would never buy regularly ourselves. Apparently the cuts of meat from Costco are top quality... hmmmm we may have to look into a membership when they leave!




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