Welcome to the second instalment of Cafe Parents!
Today we are having a chat with such a wonderful Mumma - Seana Smith. Seana is in my opinion the original (and best) family blogger/writer in Sydney. Her website Hello Sydney Kids is such a brilliant resource about what to do in and around Sydney with kids, and she also gets away quite a bit with her "bairns" as you can see from the gorgeous pic below. And she is the Queen of playgrounds - if you are looking for a new one to explore check out Seana's excellent list here.
1. Hi Seana, tell us a little about yourself - what area of Sydney do you live in and what do you do?
Hello, I'm a professional writer and blogger at Hello Sydney Kids, plus the very unprofessional mum of four offspring who range from 10 - 19 years old.
Our family lives in the north of Sydney in the leafy Forest area. This is very close to Manly and the gorgeous Northern Beaches, to our great joy.
I love love love eating out, but my husband is never as keen as I am.... he's often worked away from Sydney so I've often taken the kids out to eat on my own... we've had a few catastrophes!
2. Where's your favourite neighbourhood gem/s that you regularly dine out at with your family?
We have a few favourites in our area, the Belrose Hotel, our local Thai is called Chilli House and it's great. We like The Old Civic at Forestway and the New Civic at Glenrose shopping centres too.
Up in Terrey Hills, there's Tastebuds and then Cafe Piemonte which has it's own playground - a lifesaver when the kids were younger.
But heading down to Dee Why beach and going to one of the many eateries there is also a big treat. It's a great place to swim and play and then choose a cafe to eat at with the family.
3. Now that your kids are getting older is it getting easier to dine out as a family?
Well, it is yes as the kids behave better... but it's also FAR more expensive! Even the twins, who are now 10, are getting too old for kids meals. And we buy a beer for our eldest!
Mind you, the two teenagers often don't want to go out with us as they have their own plans. Plus we are deathly uncool and they are not often keen to be seen with us.
4. When you do dine out, do your kids still order off the kids menu or do they prefer to choose from the main menu?
It's getting to be the main menu more and more. And that suits me as there are only a few places that do have good food for kids. The Belrose Hotel does, which is good.
5. Any tips for newbie parents on surviving the pitfalls of dining out with kids?
Go early and ONLY go to family-friendly places. The going early is vital as the kids are more likely to behave if they are not tired plus places will not be so busy.
We used to go to the Gourmet Pizza Kitchen in Chatswood a fair bit when we lived near there. Before 6pm it was fantastic and we always had a great time. The kids loved the pieces of dough they got to play with and the colouring in. But after 6.30-7pm it turned into a nightmare as it got so busy and SO NOISY! We couldn't bear it.
There's a list on the blog of cafes by the beach on the Northern Beaches and I'd recommend ALL of those for families.
Thank you so much Seana. Team Little Munch doesn't get up to the Northern Beaches often enough, so it's great to hear from a local, all of the awesome places to eat out at up there. So if you are a parent in Sydney why not pop over to Seana's website and social media accounts and follow her? She has such a wealth of knowledge of things to do with kidlets in Sydney!