Tag Archives: strawberry milkshake

Secret Café

Ickle and I headed to one of our favourite haunts on Friday for a girlie treat.P1020390

The Secret Café in Charmhaven is a recent discovery, thanks to one of our playgroup mums. Set on 5 acres away from the road, it is a great spot for active toddlers to have a run around, while parents sip on their lattes from the sidelines. There is even a small selection of sun-baked scooters and trucks and a brightly-coloured playhouse for the littlies to enjoy.P1020363P1020380

In my case, chatting away over a cuppa never seems to last for long. Ickle is high energy and loves to explore. On our last visit, she decided it would be fun to make her way at great speed to the car park at the café entrance. Several times. Leaving her mummy more than a little frazzled around the edges.P1020383

This time, we had a more relaxed experience, thank goodness. We lunched on a beautiful burger and fries, washed down in Ickle’s case with a small strawberry milkshake. And I treated myself to a delicious-looking cake. Didn’t manage to finish it, alas. The burgers really are filling, and I had gone for the basic version, too! BTW, the menu is pretty yummy overall, with great breakfast and lunch options to suit most tastes.P1020369

We had the run of the garden and al fresco area for our entire stay. The covered courtyard proved more popular, gradually filling up with lunch-hour customers. And the café has a few tables inside for those who like to be close to the kitchen (and the air-con).

The latest, much-heralded, addition to the site is The Secret Bunker, which markets itself as a high-end restaurant serving beautiful meals made from fresh local produce. It’s an interesting idea, and the menu looks good too, although it’s possibly more of a special occasion venue given the prices…Let’s hope it works out though. There aren’t many decent places to dine out around here. Perhaps an old bunker could be the answer.P1020386P1020387

Lake Mac Art Gallery


Now that Icklegen is a self-proclaimed ‘big girl’ at all of age two, I thought it was high time we start to gently introduce her to the world of art and culture. And where better to start than at Lake Mac’s very own art gallery in the wonderfully-named suburb of Booragul. Not having visited for a while, I was looking forward to rediscovering what it had to offer, although I did have some concerns about whether our little toddler would enjoy her arty excursion.P1010997P1020011P1010995

The gallery building is fairly recent, opening in 2001, although the adjoining Awaba House, which now houses a café and restaurant, and the estate itself have a long (by Australian standards) and fascinating history. The site boasts a spectacular location at the north-western tip of the lake, with its grounds gently rolling down to the waterfront. And the art experience starts here, with a variety of outdoor sculptures on display throughout the gardens. Ickle liked this one in particular!


And actually she did pretty well in the gallery, too. It’s only a very small exhibition space, so I had no concerns about her getting bored with wall upon wall of artworks. I was, however, particularly wary of the lower-level exhibits, one of which, a fabulous installation entitled Blood and Chlorophyll by Janet Laurence, comprising a vast branch of red gum and laboratory glass jars (amongst other media), proved to be a big hit with my little one. Especially once I had told her not to touch anything.

So, I would estimate we lasted a grand total of 15 minutes in amongst the artworks. And it definitely was not time to get back in the car and drive all the way home. Luckily, the very helpful lady at the welcome desk had pointed out the family activity corner on our way in. What a great idea! Icklegen and I had a wonderful time colouring in pictures of Australian wildlife and sticking them on a sheet of yellow paper. Completely free-of-charge. And no-one else was there either. In fact, barring a group of high school art students, we had the place pretty much to ourselves for the whole visit.P1020001P1020010

The café was slightly busier, with a handful of tables occupied by a well-heeled older set when we arrived. Alas, this part of our visit was not a blinding success. First, I had a contact lens shocker, leaving me with one functioning eye and feeling slightly disorientated. Next, after discussing milkshake options with Ickle and settling on ‘pik stwawbewwy’, I was informed that they only came in one-size, but “your Mummy can share.” The shake in question arrived in a giant metal cup, hilariously oversized for a little girl. And then, disaster of disasters, I ordered a BLAT* with salad cream and fries, and didn’t think to ask whether the sauce was homemade. Which it was, with raw egg, and generously slathered all over the most delicious-looking sandwich. So, at $24, a rather expensive lunch for a half-drunk milkshake and a few fries.

*BLAT: Bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwich, served here on Turkish bread, and a personal favourite.