She’s worked in action sports apparel through to baby fashion, but this Palm Beach-based mum of three has taken a sabbatical from the clothing industry to create a more family-friendly, eco-centred lifestyle approach. When she’s not posting mouth-watering healthy recipes and kid’s lunchbox ideas on her foodie blog EATHAPPYSMILE, she’s out and about with her children and dogs in the Gold Coast’s great outdoor locales, coffee in hand – in a keep-a-cup naturally! Here’s a few of her local faves.
Where’s home right now: PALM BEACH ON THE GC
Kids ages: Ella (25 years) Vincent (10 years), Frankie (8 years), oh and one other 49 years (AKA my husband Jacko, the big kid!)
Q: How do you juggle the whole work productivity/parent thing?
A: To be honest I would love to come up with some Super-mum scenario, but seriously I’m just winging it and trying to make sure there is fun in everyday. I like going to bed exhausted too, obviously.
Q: Best thing about where you live
A: I can walk across the road to the beach. Everything in walking or riding distance. Some weeks I don’t even leave the postcode.
Q: If you had overseas visitors with kids staying with you, where’s the first place you’d take them?
A: Young kids, up to Springbrook for walks, views and looking for glow worms. Older kids I’d take to Minion Falls, it’s about a four hour hike, with a Mullum stopover on the way back to recharge, refuel and people watch.
Q: Best local coffee joint
A: Local coffee at Moto Expresso. We usually just get takeaways and roll ‘round the corner to the beach. Dine in coffee we like Avvia – it’s generally kid friendly and lovely staff. We love walking up there with our dogs and coming home along the beach.
Q: Family friendly places to eat out
A: We don’t eat out at night a lot, but I’d say a cheap quick feed at Montezuma’s Burleigh Heads – you can fill everyone up and be out in 45 minutes. They give the kids colouring in things to do – and I can usually smash a margarita or two! For slightly more upmarket I can’t go past Avvia. The food is local and sustainable, and they make everything in the kitchen. I’ve never had a bad dish there. We were just saying the other night that we don’t eat out often enough – but I am kind of fussy!
For true family friendly we’re likely to grab Govinda’s (James St, Burleigh Heads) or make our own picnic and head to a park.
Q: Best local places to keep the kids entertained under $20
A: Hit the rock pools at Snapper (when they’re there), fishing at Tallebudgerra Creek (pictured) or bridge jumping at the Anchorage (Tweed Heads) followed by either hot chips and whale watching at Café D’bah (Boundary St, Rainbow Bay) or gelato at My Gelato (Douglas St, Kirra). That’s a fun time on $20!
Q: Local park with the best kid facilities:
A: The Pirate Park at the Currumbin end of Palm Beach is still the best bet in my book (Palm Beach Parklands, Gold Coast Hwy Palm Beach). Safe swimming, showers, toilets, BBQ’s, slides and a pirate ship to climb, and fun stuff for all ages. Bigger kids can skateboard around the park’s pathways plus there’s a big, grassed area to get a game of footy or cricket going.
Q: Tell us a bit about your biz – and how much of what you do is inspired by being a parent?
A: Ha! Well I’ve kinda got two gigs going on – I’m obviously a multi-tasker. I have my blog Eat Happy Smile (which is in serious need of an update) where I try to showcase healthy, affordable real food that is sustainable, local and doesn’t impact on the planet! Oh and vegan and vego friendly also.
And I’ve just started my own chemical-free cleaning business (JJ’s Cleaning Services) and I’m booked out! I get some random gigs that’s for sure- I’m cleaning a 1.75 mansion this week. I wanted the freedom of working school hours, and to be able to take school holidays when the kids are off. I wanted to be my own boss and not be deskbound, and it’s kind of snowballed.
Q: And finally, best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever been given:
A: Jeepers – it’s probably from my dad, who’s 80. “Pick your battles, but win the war” Ha ha ha…
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Happy Place Hunter's resident Editor In Chief, Caz Emge, has written for publications around the globe for two decades. An avid outdoor buff, in her (limited) spare time she and her videographer husband and two sons gather insights for this site – sharing happy places as they find them Click to read full bio