Birthday Escape

Once a year Dave takes me away on a trip somewhere for my birthday. Those two blissful and peaceful nights away certainly play a big part in allowing me to get through the months of child rearing beforehand. This time, though,the babysitting arrangements were like planning a combat mission and the amount of luggage we had to pack for the kids rivaled the baggage compartment of a jumbo jet.

When we finally went on our way it took a little while to sink in that we were actually doing this! Some part of my mind half expected that we would never make it, that one of the
grandparents would fall ill or we would have a car accident the day before… fatalistic, I know.

The approach to Deloraine Homestead was almost magical. The rambling house was situated on the peak of a rather tall hill, and the slope was populated with a dozen kangaroos hopping gaily in the twilight. We stopped to take photos and the deluge hit! We probably looked a bit like drowned rats as we timidly pushed open the solid wooden door of the homestead. We were met by Peta, our charming and thoughtful hostess who informed us that she had decided to upgrade us to a room with a view!

Upon stepping into the room, we felt as if we were in Italy again. Venetian masks adorned the walls, a Dolce & Gabbana purse on the nightstand and an extravagant collection of designer shoes lining the walls.

Before battling the tumultuous weather again to head out to dinner, we reclined on the plush armchairs beside the fire. We enjoyed a glass of white while reading a dystopian novel (Dave) and a Zumbo cookbook (me).

The Vines at Helen’s Hill winery was a little disappointing. Maybe it was the fact that Dave and I had an argument over the use of the word ‘agency’ or maybe it was the lacklustre food and atmosphere. Either way we were happy to head back to the B&B. We stopped in at a DVD store on the way back and rented ‘To Rome with Love’ from the very chatty owner.
Upon waking the next morning (7 am, of course, damn that body clock) we followed the appetizing smells coming from the kitchen to a hearty breakfast for two. Bacon, eggs, sausage, mushrooms, toast, and homemade chutney = amazing! Then we made our way to Healesville for our winery tour.

We joined a group of 6 girls (lucky Dave :p) and a polished elder gentleman who reminded me of Richard, the grandfather in the Gilmore Girls. First stop was Domaine Chandon for champagne. Neither Dave or I were quite sure what to expect from the day but we really enjoyed the first real wine tasting at Dominique Portet, a French Bordeaux winery. The guy explaining the wines was passionate and a good storyteller.

Our enthusiasm for the day gradually diminished as we visited more places. Balgownie was next, then Fergussons for lunch. Sadly, neither Dave or I could even manage to finish the wine accompanying our meal. Filled to the brim with wine and good food, we made one more stop, at Train Trak. Besides a rather large moose head, there was little to distinguish this tasting as we were well and truly wined out by this point. Though we did glance wistfully over at Zonzo, the wood fired pizzeria ristorante partnership.

We had high hopes of hanging out in Healesville but turns out drinking wine can be tiring, so we headed back home instead. Pizza was the vote for dinner, so we searched on urban spoon for ideas, then made our order. I love spicy pizza, but the ‘hot & spicy’ we received was ridiculous. I couldn’t even feel my tongue after finishing one piece, so we ended up ditching the pizza and ordering from a rival. My enthusiasm for food was over by that point and we made our way home to crash and watch Friends.

We woke a little seedy, but the caramel banana pancakes helped ease the pain. Lounging until 11am checkout felt a little extravagant, but we managed. We returned to Healesville to do some exploring and sourced a few presents for family at a cute gift shop in town. Despite our feeling that we would never again drink wine, we decided to visit Tokar Estate for a meal. This winery was unashamedly European, just my style. We enjoyed a selection of cheeses, meats, bread and olives, and I even got up the courage to taste their vine specialty.

When we departed for the trip home I think we both felt as if we were ready for life as parents once again.

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