parents

Twenty four hours with no kids, no husband and a king-size hotel bed.

It can be easy to forget that you had a whole other life before three little humans called you mum.

By BERN MORLEY

As parents, it’s often easy to forget that we had a whole other life before our children arrived on the scene. A life that included sleep-ins, “me time” and self-indulgence. Because back then, let’s face it, the only people we had to worry about, were ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with that and there’s certainly nothing wrong with wistfully remembering those days either. And equally, there is nothing wrong with being able to recreate that time. At least for 24 hours.

When the opportunity presented itself to me, a mother of three, wife to one, full time worker for many, to have the chance to be footloose and fancy free in my own town of Melbourne, I most certainly didn’t have to be asked twice.

And let’s face it, no self respecting woman would turn that kind of thing down, right? I mean, even Michelle Obama is on record giving herself a 50th birthday present that consisted simply of some alone time away from the family.

Over this weekend and in the 24 hours that were mine and mine alone, I had the chance to shop, eat, visit a beauty salon, eat a little more, sample some world class coffee, see a show at a theatre, eat again, sink into a bath and for a brief period of time, laugh with my girlfriends, all, and this is the kick, uninterrupted.

When I checked into Novotel Melbourne on Collins and flopped down upon the huge bed, the bed that I was about to share with absolutely no one, not my husband and especially not my 7 year old (who has a habit of coming in to our bed of late), I actually just took time, and I know this sounds a bit weird, but I just took time to exhale. Lie down, kick off my boots, and just close my eyes for a bit.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Novotel. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

As soon as I had recalibrated, it was time to be a tourist in my own town. Now Melbourne, it needs to be said, can never be seen in its entirety within 24 hours but I gave it a red hot go.

I spent a good hour just trawling through a bookstore. Just reading the first few pages of books, discovering authors I otherwise, under the pressure of supervising children, would not have.

Champagne and a pamper package? If you insist.

Then I was lucky enough to take some time out to get pampered at Miss Fox and luxuriate in a pedicure and as a result, discover gel nails. I KNOW, where have I been? Stuck in 1981 apparently.

I did check in quickly with my husband only to discover that all but two of our children had been taken off his hands and he was, “off for a hit of golf”. Looks like we were both going to get to relax.

I then, for the first time in 15 years, indulged in a late afternoon bubble bath. I poured myself champagne, grabbed my new book, filled the bath to the brim and just soaked. If this sounds like heaven, then you’ve been reading it right.

Later on, my beautiful friend Jodi met me at the hotel’s Lane Cafe downstairs and we had a quick snack and drink and then took in the Musical, Wicked. Those who have seen Wicked won’t even need an explanation here, because you will just KNOW. Those who haven’t, well, as one person who isn’t usually an active Musical goer, can I tell you that it is simply out of this world. If you get the chance, you must go. It will change your world.

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Going out in Melbourne, to the theatre of course, gives you a great reason to get dressed up so it was lucky I had a chance to hit the shops earlier on. Afterwards we had a few drinks at one of the many bars and before I knew it, it was time to farewell my friend at the tram and for me to head back to the hotel. Did I mention I had a massive bed? All to myself?

If I’m honest, the hardest choice I had to make during the entire 24 hour period was whether to get up for the indulgent buffet breakfast or simply sleep right through. My stomach, thankfully, won out and I think we can all agree that the best thing about any breakfast buffet is the unlimited croissants on offer.

Bern and her friend enjoying an afternoon high-tea.

Another thing I managed to do was read the Sunday paper from cover to cover with my only interruption being the waitress and her desire to feed me unbelievable, fresh coffee. All too soon, I knew that I had one last luxury to partake in before I had to head home – a delicious high tea at Hotel Lindrum. These are quite popular now, so much so you have to book in advance. If you get the chance though, my god, do this. Hot scones, freshly baked with jam and cream, turkey, brie and cranberry mini sandwiches and chocolate/pistachio brownies with coffee cream being just a sample of my champagne accompanied afternoon with yet another willing and able girlfriend.

Then, just like that, it was time for me to pack my bags and leave. My staycation was over, I was no longer a tourist in my own town, I was just another Melbournian, heading home along Punt Road.

But oh man, the last 24 hours allowed me, for a brief period of time, to get back to me. To remember that I was not only a Mum and a wife, but also, my own person. A person who was going to make sure that she took the time for these ‘personal recharges’ more often.

Please, don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. They have consumed me and filled my world in a way I didn’t even realise until I had the chance to sit down, catch my breath and simply enjoy the silence.

I highly recommend taking a weekend staycation for yourself, staying close to home yet feeling like you’re a world away and getting the chance to just reconnect with yourself.

What would you do if you had 24 hours all to yourself?

Click through to see photo’s from Bern’s 24 hours without kids…


The Staycation by Novotel is all about exploring your own city or state. It is not always possible logistically or financially to getaway so why not holiday at home? Kids ADORE going to a hotel and with room service, movies, buffet breakfast & best of all, no cleaning up, so do parents.  At Novotel, your kids are personally welcomed with a special gift on arrival and they stay & eat brekkie free.* You can enjoy a sleep-in with a late 5pm checkout on Sundays giving you more time to explore and when you book 21 days in advance, you could enjoy up to 30% off. Book now at  www.novotel.com/staycation

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