After spending a busy week solo-parenting while Ben was in Sydney, whilst also fighting off the beginnings of a cold, I was very ready for some breathing space by the time he returned home.
A few weeks earlier, an image appeared in my Instagram feed from the gorgeous Emma Kate Co, detailing a workshop she was collaborating on at Paper Runway in Byron Bay. I fell in love with Emma’s design work over a year ago, so was excited by the opportunity to spend an afternoon sharing in her creativity and immediately emailed Ben to see if I could have a ticket for my birthday. Within five minutes, an email confirmation had come through from Paper Runway confirming my place. God love my husband and a conveniently timed upcoming birthday.
The following week, a text arrived from a lovely friend I have met through our chromosomally-enhanced kids. “Umm, I know it’s a bit random, but would you consider doing this Paper Runway workshop with me?” Would I ever. The Universe was conspiring.
So, Ben arrived home late Friday night and on Saturday morning, I packed a bag and hit the road, bound for Byron Bay.
We had such a fun afternoon of creative play at the HeartFirst workshop, gathering with about 20 women from all different backgrounds within the simple but lovely space at Paper Runway. We were welcomed with a beautiful reflection by Carly Stephan, encouraged to play with black ink and write words from our heart, we explored photography with our phones and were introduced to new apps. We indulged in a beautiful afternoon tea by 100 Mile Table, and were given beautiful gifts to take home. Above all, it was so lovely to be there just to play, without specifically needing to have an agenda or outcome.
After the workshop, Ruth and I adjourned to The Balcony for a drink and tapas, to debrief and catch up. We watched the rainy street below from our balcony perch, shared stories and mulled over relevant issues without having to compete with small children for airspace. It was a rare treat to spend quality time together. Tapas turned into dinner, but before long the table beside us filled up with a large group of noisy gentlemen and my sore throat was finding it difficult to rise to the challenge, so Ruth started her trek home and I made my way back to the hotel room I was calling home for the night.
As a mother of small children, the opportunity to spend time alone is rare, let alone a whole 24 hours. I think the idea of being alone for a whole night was so amazing to me that I’d completely talked it up to myself. The reality, on the other hand, was that I was so unused to being alone that it felt really uncomfortable. The hotel room was quite lovely, but my overactive imagination heard every noise and played out every possible scenario, which made it difficult to sleep peacefully. Rather than sit with a cup of tea and read in peace before having an early night, as I had previously envisaged, I put the television on for company and ended up falling asleep beside it far too late. I was thankful when the sun finally came up, but I did enjoy a little sleep in.
After a beautiful breakfast at one of our favourites, Byron Fresh, I indulged in a spot of shopping and picked up a few birthday presents. I actually don’t have much patience for shopping, but it was so lovely to wander without having little family members begging me to buy random items or waiting impatiently for me to return! Liberty Trading Co and Sweet Papillon are two of my favourite stores at Byron, but there are so many delightful treasures to choose from.
I wandered up to the beach to soak in the sea air and sink my toes into the sand at least once before heading out of town. I had one more spot I wanted to visit before returning to my family – The Farm.
From the moment I arrived, I fell in love with The Farm. It is one of those places where I immediately thought of the many friends and family members who would also love it and wished I could teleport them there to spend the morning with me. A paragraph won’t do it justice, but suffice to say that it is very family friendly and everything from the food to the coffee, the fresh produce to the florist, the playground to the wide open spaces, and every step in between (including the amenities) is done very well. It is obvious that much thought has gone into the design and running of this wonderful space. It is a must-visit.
I loved almost every moment of my alone time, but just like a horse who travels faster on the return journey, I galloped home to see my boys again. I sang loudly to my playlist on the drive home and my brain buzzed with ideas and dreams and thoughts that it doesn’t seem to have space for when I’m at home being a domestic goddess ;) I think I bounced through the doors when I made it home, eager to see my family.
Breathing space is definitely good for the soul, but home is where my heart is.
nicholas: It was so lovely to have Daddy back again after a whole week away in Sydney. Throughout the week, you occasionally did shrug your shoulders and ask where “Da?” was, so you were very pleased when you got some sleepy cuddles with him on Saturday morning.
charlie: You love your new dragon dressing gown (complete with tail) so much that I’m pretty sure you’ve worn it to bed a few times, which is probably good given you find it hard to keep a blanket on. Your blue eyes twinkle when you think of an idea or story to share with us.
Joining in the 52 Project at Practising Simplicity ~ a portrait of my youngest boys every week in 2015.