No.1 son pulled a fabulous sickie yesterday and spent the whole morning complaining to me that he was bored. I kept saying that I would happily take him to school and then all of sudden his "belly ache" returned. This scenario repeated itself most of the morning until finally I had enough and we fled our "boring" house in search of some fun. Our fun ended up being checking out a shopping centre that we hadn't been to before. I had been told by a fellow parent, blogger and coffee lover Modern Father Onlinethat there was a very decent cafe at Stanhope Village right next to a new playground.
Above is the the oh so cute playground. I have copied the photo from the Stanhope Village FB page as I couldn't get a shot of the playground because it was packed with little ones and their very protective Mummas were giving me the evil eye.
The playground is mainly suitable for crawlers/toddlers (belly ache boy was not impressed that I wouldn't let him in there). The Leaf Cafe is located right next to the playground and you can sit and have a cuppa whislt your kidlets have some fun in this perfectly clean enclosure. There is also a pet shop across from the playground which has kittens, pups, birds and a very cool aquarium in the front window so your little ones will love checking this out too.
The Leaf is actually a franchise. It looks to be a relatively new concept with only one other cafe in North Sydney. The cafe is located in the middle of a wing of the shopping centre and and it seems to be going for the on trend rustic industrial look. Lovely young staff were working when we visited and they served our morning tea to us incredibly quick. There are all sorts of cakes and cookies available as well as a standard breakfast and lunch menu. Their coffee and cake deal of $7.00 is great value. They also do some wicked sounding Belgian chocolate creations but I'm not going to tell you about them you'll just have to go to The Leaf and check it out for yourself!
Whilst there isn't a specific kids menu there are heaps of options for you to choose from for your kidlets. They have a kids deal for $4.00 - mini muffin or croissant with a fresh milk or juice. Or you can order a Froyo (frozen yoghurt) which the belly ache son adored. They come in 3 sizes with the smallest (picture below) a suitable size for kids and costs $3.20.
The other kid friendly aspects of The Leaf are that there is ample room for prams; loads of parents hang out here so your kids can make plenty of noise and you won't get any dirty looks; they open early; and because it is located in a shopping centre there is a baby change room not too far away.
Now the coffee at The Leaf is very good indeed. I'm a cappuccino drinker and I always get excited when a cafe uses real chocolate flakes instead of chocolate powder on top of my brew and that is what they do at The Leaf. My coffee was accompanied by a pistachio cookie which was a tad too delicious and I had to restrain myself from ordering another one.
Once you have finished at The Leaf have a wander around the Village. It is currently in the process of being refurbished, so it does seem quite disjointed when you are walking around. They have a Kmart, Coles, Aldi and a very cheap fruit and veg shop as well as your typical shopping centre stores. There are a couple of parks a short drive away on Stanhope Parkway that have playgrounds if your kids are in a need of a decent frolic. Also make sure you check out some of the seriously cool street art happening in Stanhope Gardens - this funky roundabout just up from the shopping centre:
So tell me dear parents how do you cope with the sickie? Is it tough love in your house or are you a softie like me?
8/2 Sentry Drive, Stanhope Gardens NSW 2768
Open 7.30am Mon - Sat & from 8am Sun