My head

a minute’s peace in the hills.

August 21, 2013

blossoms at menabillie manorFor the last four years I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding, and any time I’ve ever been away from my husband I’ve had at least one, if not two children with me. I’d never had night away, so when I finished breastfeeding recently I stated it was time that I had a little sojourn, except I don’t think I called a sojourn. It was more like ‘get me out of here, before I completely lose my shit’.

My darling friend is expecting her first child. I suggested to her that we must seize this moment by the balls ย and ย go on a girl’s weekend now, or it’ll be another god knows how long before we’re both at a time where we can get away for a whole night.

my darling friend relaxing in bowral

Once upon a time a girl’s night away would have been rowdy and drunken. There would have been boozy lunches that slid into drunken dinners, followed by dancing and talking shit really loudly and falling into bed and waking up for Bloody Marys. When I see it written like that I guess maybe I drank a bit too much… God, it was fun.

My, how times have changed. Fun looks different now, and carries way less of a hangover. Thank Christ.

We decided on a trip to the Southern Highlands, as they are really beautiful this time of year, and it’s actually quite close to Sydney so if the shit hit the fan I could get home…. not that it would, of course. Mister H is perfectly competent, but it was more about my needing to be accessible.

lavender at menabillie manor

I wanted to read magazines, and relax, and browse in galleries and do all the things that you cannot do with two snot monkeys dangling off your extremities.

Menabillie Manor just sounded like Downton Abbey to my ears and we fancied a little of the Lady Grantham experience, so off to Bowral we went.

the grounds at Menabillie ManorBed and Breakfasts can be a little hit and miss, I find. Sometimes it can feel like you’re staying at your long lost Aunt’s house and it’s a little weird, especially if you’re trying to be romantic, which we weren’t so that’s a moot point.

Menabillie wasn’t weird at all, however.

Not only did we have our own wing, and therefore lots of privacy in the stately Manor, but our hosts were gracious, and very interesting.

The Tulip Wing, Menabillie Manor

The Tulip Wing, Menabillie Manor

The Tulip Wing, Menabillie Manor

The Tulip Wing, Menabillie Manor

The Tulip Wing, Menabillie Manor

We shared a high tea and a bottle of bubbles and discussed all the things you should never talk about when you first meet.

A learned historian and theologian, John, and I discussed his theory on the Christian faith, and if you thought Sahra Renata’s beliefs about Jesus’ wife were interesting then John’s life’s work is indeed fascinating.high tea at menabillie manor in bowral

We also covered topics of war and holocaust as Susy’s Hungarian grandmother spent time in concentration camps. Not at all polite tea conversation, but I hate polite conversation with a passion and this way we got to truly see each other and learn a little of each other’s history.

John, Menabillie Manor

these stones were collected from concentration camps when Susy & John went to rediscover Susy's history.

these stones were collected from concentration camps when Susy & John went to rediscover Susy’s history.

I thought John and Susy’s generosity of spirit was just lovely and I so enjoyed exchanging stories and ideas with them…. and eating cake. Accompanied by a local Blanc de Blanc. Cake and bubbles…. I mean, what else does a tired city girl need?

Susy tinkled the ivories with a little Chopin for us, as we polished off the delicacies, and it truly was a delightful way to pass the afternoon.

The lovely Susy from Menabillie ManorWe’d decided on the dinner at the famous Biota restaurant. 2 hats, and a spanking reputation was all we needed to convince us.

The fine dining room was full, but we were invited to the casual dining area for tapas and share plates, which suited us beautifully due to still burping salmon sandwiches and lemon tarts from our late afternoon high tea.

Biota, BowralBiota’s grounds were gorgeous. Very Tuscan with urns and open fires surrounded by lush greenery and the dining room was warm and inviting.

We sat near a fire and ordered some drinks and as it was my first night out in like, EVER, I ordered a martini. I know it’s totally a first world problem but I was utterly bummed to be told that I couldn’t have a martini because the restaurant had only 4 martini glasses, all of which were in use.

Really??? Mmmmm’kay. No martini for me.

Thankfully, the lemon chilli lamb ribs and croquettes were scrummy, and the fetta, mint and pea salad was so vibrant and fresh that I all but forgot the martini mishap. A bitter chocolate mousse, with shards of honeycomb for pudding would have been awesomely set off by a Pedro Xeminez which although I ordered, never received, but then was charged for.

bitter chocolate mousse, biota, bowralI was a little underwhelmed by my Biota experience. 2 hats spell expensive but amazing experience to me, and I don’t feel I truly got that 2 hat love but my spirits were not dampened. Not really.

It was 8.30 pm, and I had a whole night of blissful, uninterrupted sleep ahead of me…. except my bed buddy had the bladder of a 27 week pregnant lady and heartburn to boot.

walking in BowralI shan’t say one more bad word about my night away. No one whined at me, whinged at me, or wiped snot on my for a whole 30 hours and I know that I’m super lucky to have had the chance to be free for a little bit.

flowers at menabillie manorIn all honesty, it wasn’t enough time to miss anyone. Does that make me mean? I was a bit bummed to come home so soon. Perhaps next trip should be 5 days somewhere tropical?

A girl can but dream.

my dear friend at Menabillie Manor

My darling friend getting ready for the arrival of baby in a few months….. she’s still smiling because she doesn’t know what she’s in for.

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  • Reply blowingoffsteamandmore August 21, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Sounds absolutely fantastic to me!! I agree, one night away isn’t quite long enough to get into full relax mode but it’s usually the most we get! I have only done it once and I sat in the hot tub, read books, ate dinner and breakfast alone and then the kids decided to come to the hotel and swim in the pool. Didn’t last long but it was awesome!!

  • Reply tric August 22, 2013 at 2:17 am

    I go away regularly with my girlfriends. Even though we think we will have a lovely time as you describe we always get distracted and find ourselves in a pub and then forget all our wonderful plans. Some day though I will, as it sounds so perfect. I think I will do it with other friends as these ones are a bad influence.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys August 22, 2013 at 7:29 am

      I’ll come next timeย… my pregnant bestie just held me back ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Reply tric August 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm

        Ha ha. I did wonder if your friend wasn’t with you could we have succeeded in leading you astray!

        • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys August 22, 2013 at 5:41 pm

          Bendy arm, babe. Bendy arm!

          Sent from my iPhone

          On 22/08/2013, at 5:15 PM, Keeping Up With The Holsbys

  • Reply monk-monk August 22, 2013 at 3:48 am

    Um, WHOA, if more bed and breakfasts looked like that I’d definitely sign up! I’m creeped out by too much floral and porcelain dolls…

  • Reply Lisa August 22, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I don’t often comment but I do find our lives running such a parallel most of the time which is why I read your blog – the only one I read! Just two weekends ago we went to bowral too (shame didn’t stay at that place, looks great, next time) but ate at biota too, in the main dining room – I did enjoy it (i am always happy when someone else cooks!) but when we were in that lounge first it was really slow – we just put that down to being in the country. Not sure if you have tried margan in the hunter valley but its worth a trip up there … Maybe two nights next time!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys August 22, 2013 at 9:15 am

      I love that we’re parallel!! Hubs and I are now talking a night away together leaving a friend in charge of the kids, and guess where we were thinking?? Hunter. I’ll totally heed your suggestion.

      Sent from my iPhone

      On 22/08/2013, at 8:49 AM, Keeping Up With The Holsbys

  • Reply ksbeth August 22, 2013 at 8:51 am

    wonderful and amazing, i’m so glad you had this opportunity and took it )

  • Reply maxabella August 22, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I think it sounds like perfection. When rest is what you need, a quiet weekend like this sorts you out. I’m so glad you found some time for yourself! x

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys September 1, 2013 at 9:40 pm

      Would it make me greedy if I said I needed more?
      A week in Bali on my own would probably do it…. you coming? We’d have a blast.

  • Reply Carolyn August 22, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Still laughing at the last comment that you made, hilarious! Beautiful photos. As you can imagine, i’m very excited to be included in one of your fab posts xxxx

  • Reply momsasaurus August 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Oh god, I’m so jealous. I haven’t ever been away from the girls, either. Your 30 hours all sounds positively delightful! Too bad about the beverage snafus at the restaurant, though. Want to go meet up at a swim up bar in Costa Rica? By the time anyone finds us, we’ll (hopefully) feel ready to come back.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys August 22, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      I’m donning my bikini and waiting for you at the airport. Your martini will be awaiting you in the lounge.

      Sent from my iPhone

      On 22/08/2013, at 12:35 PM, Keeping Up With The Holsbys

  • Reply robomum August 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Loving the pics at that place! It’s incredible.
    And you’re right. Your mate doesn’t know what she’s in for. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys August 22, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Bless her.
      Thanks for the love, love. Thought of you today when I was in Hurtsville.I wondered how often we walk past each other!

  • Reply Have a laugh on me August 22, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    That homestead looks lovely – and I never miss my kids when I’m away either, especially if just a day, it’s not to say I can’t wait to see them but me time is so rare I love it!! Sucks about glass, not much sleep but LOVE that you had no noise, totally deserved for sure x

  • Reply mummyflyingsolo August 23, 2013 at 6:05 am

    Such a nice spot this time of year albeit freezing! I went and did a calm birth course down there in July a couple of years back. I also stayed in a really adorable (but not quite as fancy looking) b&b. As for missing everyone well I would bother feeling bad about that. My son goes with his dad for 24 hours every weekend and I almost never miss him as I’m too busy trying to relax and fit everything else in!!! If he stays a second night I start to pine a little but not enough to get him back early ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good for you for taking the break! You deserved it!

  • Reply Lani August 26, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Sounds heaven. As soon as I get my wee one sleeping through the night, I’m taking myself off too. With a friend, or without. I don’t care. Hubby more than owes me after all his numerous business trips away and me home with the kids. Oh, it will be glorious.

    Love your photos by the way!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys August 26, 2013 at 11:09 am

      Do it! Do two nights if you can. I was only just getting in the swing of it. Nor did I make the most, or even the least, of the spa in my room. You must lounge in the bath for me!!

      Sent from my iPhone

      On 26/08/2013, at 10:13 AM, Keeping Up With The Holsbys

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