Blogger Mel Watts of The Modern Mumma is all about keeping it real, and her readers love her for it. She shares hilarious and touching stories about her family life on the Central Coast, where she lives with her husband Nolan, and three gorgeous kids, son Ayden and daughters Ivie and Indie, aged ten, three and one. Sheís the first mum weíre interviewing in our Meet the Mama series.
Youíre very comfortable talking about what really goes in your home and the less glamorous side of parenting. Why do you like to share such personal stories with your followers?
Some days you just want to feel like you arenít alone out there in this big world. Parenting and marriage are hard and some days itís hard to find friends whoíll relate to what Iím saying or what Iím feeling. I have built a group for women from all over the world to come and feel like they belong. Thatís all I ever wanted.
Describe a typical week for your family and how you balance everything.
Itís busy! Nolan works Monday to Friday. He leaves around 4:30-5am and gets home around 3:30-4:30pm. On Mondays and Fridays Ivie goes to preschool so I work on those days with the blog and answering emails. Ayden is at school throughout the week but he does OzTag on Tuesday afternoons and Parkour on Monday nights. Ivie does gymnastics on Tuesdays and swimming on Thursdays. Heaven forbid when Indie needs to do activities.
Nolan does personal training on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Iíll be going to personal training too on Monday and Wednesday mornings.
How is it having three kids of different ages in one house?
The age gap between Ayden and Ivie is perfect! Ayden is so helpful and Ivie is becoming more helpful too. There have been a couple of times that Ayden has gotten Indie out of the cot and taken her to the lounge room to watch television. We feel bad for Ayden because we just donít do much. He wants to do lots of things and sometimes the ages of the girls affect that. A baby really puts a hold on your life for the first year.
Youíve said in the past you didn't want to have any more kids but you've recently changed your mind. What led to your change of heart?
I never originally wanted three kids. I come from a family of three girls and Iíve always wanted two or four. I didnít want anymore after Indie because pregnancy for me is terrible, I envy people who love it. But Ayden is so much older than the girls so I wonít feel like Iíll have 4 young children. To me I have two young children and an older child.
You used to be a nurse but now you blog full time. Why did you decide to leave nursing?
I loved nursing. My heart and soul belong in nursing and I will go back there one day. I was lucky enough that I could cull a lot of things out of our life so I could stay home full time. The reason I originally left nursing was because of the shift work. Nolan leaves so early in the morning that night shifts were always a battle. He would have to start his job late or we would have to find someone to come here at 4:30 am until I got home at 8 am. Iím not sure where Iíll go from here with the blog. Iíve been given amazing opportunities with my blog. Iíd love to end up in radio some day.
You recently held a Mummaís Connect event for mums to meet and have a fun night out on the Coast. Why did you decide to do this?
As you get older people go through different life stages and itís actually hard to make adult friends where your first interaction is wiping snot from your screaming toddlerís nose. I wanted to allow people to meet in a mutual area where everyone was getting together for the same thing Ė to connect with others. It went so much better than I thought it would and sold out, and I couldnít ask for anything more. I will definitely do another one. There are some being planned for Sydney and Newcastle.
You grew up on the Coast and have considered moving away but now you own a house there and are about to start renovating. Why have you stayed?
I grew up in the good old suburb of Wyoming Ė the good side, lol. I attended Narara Valley High and moved over to Berkley Vale way. Nolan and I bought our house four years ago. Our plan was to rent it out and move up to Gold Coast but we changed our mind. So now weíre renovating it and going to live here for a little longer, with the plan to eventually buy at Shelly Beach or near The Entrance.
I love the Coast. I love my family here and I love seeing my friends. I see people here that I went to school with and it gives me a sense of comfort. One thing we all have in common is helping each other out. I live in a quiet area near the lake where there are bike tracks and corner stores and Ayden has a dream childhood. He goes out in the morning and comes home at dusk. He rides his bike, plays in the creek (yuck) and climbs trees. Life is pretty awesome over here. However, I would love to be closer to the beach. Not that I like the beach (because I donít) but I like the lifestyle over there.
Do you have a dream suburb on the Coast where you want to live in the future?
My dream suburbs would be Shelly Beach or Toowoon Bay. Both are a little out of our price range at the moment.
Do you like to get out as a family on the weekend, or stay in and relax?
Indie puts a little dampener on things when it comes to going out. We go out to The Entrance a lot with the kids, otherwise we do enjoy hanging around home. Nolan and Ivieís favourite place is Bunnings so they pretty much live there all weekend.
Where are your favourite places to eat out on the Coast with your kids and for date nights?
We havenít been out on a date night for so long so I wouldnít even know whatís out there for date nights, other than the restaurants at Westfield. With the kids we enjoy taking them to the Tigers club at Bateau Bay. The enclosed kids play area there is amazing and the food is delicious! I love eating at places where the kids can play. There is nothing worse than a kid whoís grumpy because they have to sit still.
Lately weíve been taking them to The Entrance to get pizza or fish and chips and eating on the grass, so they can run and play.
Where do you like to take the kids during the school holidays on the Coast?
Ayden and Ivie love Awezone trampoline park in Tuggerah. Ayden also goes to Surfers Paradise and SLAM factory to ride his scooter. With Ivie we take her to parks. The one at Long Jetty is great as kids can be locked in the area. Now the weather is warming up we will take them to the rock pools.
What's on your bucket list for activities on the Coast for your family this summer?
Going to Norah Head rock pools, finding a water park and swimming in the channel at The Entrance.
Youíve said you like to holiday close to home so you can leave easily if you need to. Where are your favourite places to visit for a weekend getaway?
My two favourite places are both in Umina. We just got back from the Big 4 caravan park down there. We love it there Ė they have a water park, the beach, a playground, jumping pillows and easy paths for the kids to ride on. Weíve been there three times now.
My second favourite place is where I grew up holidaying throughout my entire childhood at Patonga. I have many fond memories of camping there growing up. Such a beautiful place.
Lots of people are moving to the Coast because of the property prices and lifestyle. What would be your advice for people thinking about it?
Nolan travels to Sydney often for work. He was telling me how a lot of his friends know someone who has moved here or they have moved here themselves. My advice would be to move here and rent. Stay for a few seasons and see how you like it. Winter is pretty cold and most people hibernate. I have to say every time we go to Sydney I am always happy to come home. Families love it here! Where I live there was a boom and prices went a little ridiculous but I guess they are still cheaper than Sydney. I have heard one of the most affordable areas to buy property is up near lake Munmorah.
Favourite Things on the Central CoastÖ
Beach: Toowoon Bay.
Playground: Long Jetty.
Place to get coffee: I donít drink coffee. But I have heard the cafes at Long Jetty are amazing! But very busy.
Kids clothing label: MrsMillahs. My beautiful friend Chloe makes the most amazing clothing. She puts so much into her designs. My girls always wear them!
Go-to family dinner: Hogs Breath Cafe at Terrigal or Tuggerah.
TV show: At the moment X-Factor.
Way/place to exercise: Coastal Performance Training @CPT16. Nolan is doing his PT sessions and Iíll be doing mums and bubs sessions.
Any other Central Coast businesses you love?
Laícasa Lashes & Beauty Bar
Poppet & Button for dťcor
Chief and Kewpie for its beautiful weirdness
Clairs_doodle for paintings
Gypsy love for jewellery