Sunday, 19 June 2016

Queen's Birthday Long Weekend

I started this post on Monday intending to write about the long weekend we were just finishing up. I got about four lines done, and now it is Sunday, the school term is over, and our holidays have begun. We have had an exhausting week in the Noble household and I am so, so glad we have three weeks off to recuperate. Although we do have some pesky flights to England with a (nearly) one-year-old to survive first. Poor Ella and Andy have both been sick, which means no one has been getting much sleep at the moment. Ella seems to have pretty much forgotten that she learned how to sleep through the night... sigh. Well, that was a good six or so weeks while it lasted! Andy has been getting up to help in the night despite being ill himself which I am pretty thankful for. 

Anyway, back to the post, which is about our activities over the Queen's Birthday long weekend, which is always the second Monday in June. This is the last public holiday in Australia until September, when we get a long weekend for the AfL Grand Final. (Funnily enough the next one after that is for Melbourne Cup, the big horse race. Sports is obviously a big priority here in Australia!) Anyway, my point being, it's a long public holiday-less winter here, folks. I think I've complained about the planning of that previously in that blog. Although I'm sure my non-teacher friends are rolling their eyes about a teacher complaining about the lack of holidays! Ok, seriously this time, back to the post.

On Saturday we skipped swimming as Ella had a virus, and drove down the Bellarine Penisula for a day trip with Charlotte and Adam. Our first stop was Portarlington for brunch at the PostScript Cafe. Now, I'm going to start sounding like a major Melbourne food snob, but this was a very average brunch, just like the weekend before. I think Melbourne has spoiled us in terms of food quality at cafés and I just need to stop expecting the same elsewhere. Despite the mediocre food, the service was very lovely and they all thought Ella was cute, and the atmosphere was good, so I guess that should count for something.

After brunch we went for a walk down to the pier where there were loads of fishermen. Portarlington is apparently famous for its mussels and looks like it would be a great place to visit in the summer. Unfortunately for us, the weather was pretty terrible in the morning with intermittant wind and rain so we ended up heading back to the car and driving to the other side of the Peninsula to Point Lonsdale. It ended up taking Andy and I ages to get there as we had to stop and change Ella - I swear every time we put her in the carseat that day she decided it would be a good time for a massive poo. Classic baby timing. Changing a baby in the back of your car in windy/cold/rainy weather is not super fun, in case you were wondering.

Ella enjoying her toast at the PostScript Café
Point Lonsdale was beautiful, but again, probably much better in the summer! We walked along another pier but I ended up turning back with Ella as it was so windy I thought we might get thrown in the sea. However it had stopped raining and the sun was out which was nice. I love crisp, sunny, winter days here. (When I say crisp, I mean about 14 degrees. I've become a major wimp when it comes to the cold.) We did a short walk to a lighthouse and then Andy, Charlotte and Adam went to check out the beach. I did the mum thing and stayed in a sheltered spot with poor Ella, who I think desperately wanted to sleep but couldn't because of the wind on her face.

Point Lonsdale pier
After Point Lonsdale we headed back towards Melbourne and stopped at the Little Creatures Brewery in Geelong. This was actually the main point of our day trip, but by this time Andy and I were so exhausted that we nearly just went home. I am SO GLAD we didn't! This place is awesome! It's a kid-friendly brewery and restaurant... I mean, it doesn't get any better than that, does it?! The restaurant is huge and casual with excellent food (and of course beer), there is a little play area for kids, and around the outside seating there is a sandbox as well. I'd say we will definitely be returning to Little Creatures in the future. It's a shame as there used to be a location close to us in Fitzroy but it recently shut down. We had been there before but I never noticed the kid-friendly features, as this was in our pre-Ella days.




We arrived home that evening tired, but full and happy.

On Sunday afternoon we met up with Adam and Charlotte again. (We do have other friends... I swear!) We visited the Heide Gardens and Sculpture Park in Heidleburg. Another hidden gem in Melbourne that I had no idea existed! There is a Museum of Modern Art (we didn't go in - $18 admission fee!) surrounded by 15 acres of beautiful gardens featuring 30 sculptures. We spent a sunny afternoon strolling around, and then having a coffee in the museum cafe. Ella was being extra cute in here, playing a sort of peek-a-boo game with Adam and giggling her head off at him. It is so amazing to watch her actually initiate play with others, as this is a relatively new thing in her development. 





On Monday we had a low key day at home. Andy was already starting to feel unwell and Ella was still getting over her virus. We did take advantage of the lovely sunny weather to go for a walk by the Children's Farm and stop at the Farm Café for lunch. Ella is fascinated by the animals so it's really fun to go for walks along there with her at this age, and I can imagine will only get better as she grows. We are so lucky to have this right on our doorstep! 

Ella and her bodyguard at the Farm Café


Checking out the sheep
And that was it - Tuesday was back to work for Andy - he lasted one day and has been home ill ever since. I've spent the week taking care of my sick babies who have started to recover and will hopefully be in better form for our flights to England tomorrow - eek, super exciting!

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