Loxley Cottage, Lovedale

A group trip to the Hunter Valley to celebrate the nuptials of a beautiful couple, this very pregnant lady was looking for comfort and value for money.The Hunter can be damn expensive, particuarly so in wedding season.

Out of town weddings can be a hoot – except when you are a million weeks pregnant, can’t drive 2.5 hours without 5 comfort breaks, can’t drink or eat most ‘fun’ wedding food. But it meant booking a house to stay with my wonderful friends so it all balanced out.

Loxley Cottage is a lovely house plonked in the middle of a farm. Like a proper farm with cattle and fences that need to be opened and closed to keep the cattle in. And due to an enormous downpour on the drive up and overnight it was a giant mud bowl. But we had bought into the whole country spirit so it didn’t really bother us.

The house is spacious and simple – which is all you need for a weekend trip. Four bedrooms that can accommodate couples or small families, small bathrooms which were a bit of a pain for 8 guests (but we managed) and a small kitchen for us to pack with food for 50 people, an overwhelming amount of tea & gossip magazines. The couches are big & comfy and wrap around windows make for a peaceful outlook.

What was not so peaceful was the freight train line that runs RIGHT NEXT TO THE HOUSE. Didn’t see this one on the brochure. Luckily i was awake every 2 hours anyway (being one million weeks pregnant as mentioned above) and the rest of the crew were drunk from the wedding so it wasn’t a deal breaker. But dear lord, was it a fright the first time we heard it.

Loxley Cottage isn’t going to win a luxury award anytime soon, but given you can pay $300+ a night for an average hotel in the Hunter, i would definitely give this place a go again.

Loxley Cottage, Lovedale

The Byron at Byron – September 2013

A bit of luxury. Relaxation. Sleep ins.

That was my only plan for my babymoon to Byron Bay. Its all i wanted. What i did not anticipate because i was not inducted into the parental world was that there is this thing called school holidays, and a non parent should NEVER travel at this time. I was blindsided by my birthday and the countdown to baby so i booked my holiday without carefully consdering this fact. The Atlantic where we had been staying for a few days is kid free osi t never occured to me what a hotel would look like with children.

Now don’t get me wrong, its not like the children were particuarly bad its just that they were EVERYWHERE. Lobby check in with the most friendly and beautiful staff? Kids.Pool time with (non) alcoholic cocktails? kids. A rainforest walk on reccomendation by the hotel staff to a secluded, peaceful meditation spot? kids. I can laugh about it now as it was clearly the universe signalling that my dreamy days of boutique hotels and solo traveling was coming to an end. I just thought i would get one more opportunity to enjoy my own space.

If the hotel itself was spectacular it would have made up for this fact, but unfortunately for me it just fell a little flat. It is a giant resort, something that i am not usually a fan of, but you can guarantee to get great service from the mountain of staff running around. That part was fantastic. However, the rooms were a bit dark and outdated. The decor was a strange mix of colours and the beautiful rainforest outlook was stunning but not quite as wonderful as the bright sunshine streaming into our room at the Atlantic. The big tick went to the free standing bath which got quite a workout from this pregnant lady. It was really a mini pool and a welcome accessory to my tired body. The on site spa is apparently amazing, but i was not game enough to get a massage while pregnant and away from home (read: paranoid first mum).

All in all, the Byron at Byron was lovely – it just wasn’t us. Correction, it is probably us now that we have a bub but it was not the holiday i was bargaining for. Maybe i will need to give it another go.

The Byron at Byron

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The Atlantic, Byron Bay – September 2013

Babymoon

The last hurrah. Child free hotel. Sleep ins. Small suitcase. Reading magazines. The scene was set for our time in Byron – enjoying a bit of peace and quiet before the arrival of a small person who was likely to turn our life upside down.

IMG_6673Booking the Atlantic while the owners were on their annual European pilgrimage gave us almost exclusive use of their beautiful home – a massive kitchen and living space, spacious backyard with lap a pool. I.e. my dream house.

The other guests kept a low profile so we essentially had the space to ourselves, to daydream and plan our move to Byron Bay to run our successful [enter business idea here]. The house is beautiful, the stuff that home magazines are based on (and it actually has been featured in magazines here and blogs here). A more energetic and less pregnant person may have utalised the kitchen space to make a feast but we used it to warm up pizza from down the road and it was equally as glorious.

IMG_6688The rooms are simple and chic – think white linen, big windows and a walk through wardrobe to the light filled shower/bathroom. It is comfortable, simple and perfect for a weekend in Byron, to relax, unwind and realise that you will most probably never have this level of quiet for quite a few years (small person). The staff are friendly and eager to help with advice on local eateries and things to do. But you won’t find that hard as the Atlantic is smack bang in the middle of town, with everything you need on your doorstep.IMG_6657

Sydneysiders can always judge a holiday location by the quality of coffee – i.e. if you serve good coffee we will be pleasantly surprised. That’s why a great perk of the Atlantic was that the best coffee in town was only a short stroll down the street at the Bayleaf cafe. It made for great lazy breakfasts for this very pregnant lady. Lots of locals with their dogs which made me particularly happy. We also tried the burgers at Topshop – the burgers were ok, nothing too special in my book but the hipster watching was pretty amusing. Also almost on our street, except up a giant hill so walk if you want to work off that burger. Always worth a mention is Fishmongers – as a bondi girl i know i frequent our local one WAY too often, but i still love the Byron one as it was the one i tried first. Only place in the world that i will give up my CHIPS in my fish and chips to trade for salad. WHICH NEVER HAPPENS.

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Atlantic Byron Bay