Sometimes when life urges you to, you just have to give yourself permission to do something different – to get off the train, and let go of the routine, and the self-expectation, and celebrate life a little. That’s exactly what we did a couple of weeks ago, when we left our kids with our husbands, packed our peep-toes and ball gowns, and headed off to Sydney for a very short and sweet trip for The AusMumpreneur Awards and conference.
We were humbled to be nominated for the awards a couple of times this year, and we were thrilled to accept the nomination. The experience was wonderful. Not only did we hear from inspiring speakers and meet some beautiful new friends, it also provided a chance for us to really reflect on our business achievements over the past three years… something we had NEVER really done before.
Removing the label “mumpreneur”, there are so many incredible women in business who are doing amazing things out there, who just also happen to be mums. One of the highlights for us was hearing from Jacinta McDonnell, who launched the popular US franchise Anytime Fitness with her brother Justin into Australia in 2008. Among many other entrepreneurial ventures, Jacinta now heads up the Human Kind Project, which is a for-purpose foundation that enables businesses to build brand equity whilst creating social change. Her dedication to helping women and babies in Africa have access to the most basic necessities, such as antenatal services and proper nutrition, (and we as entrepreneurs can all be part of this give-back program) is inspiring. We resonated with Jacinta’s work because giving back financially is part of our mission also, and whilst we are humbled to give to different charities and causes as part of each of our events, we can’t wait to be in the position to be able to give more to help impact those in the greatest need in the future.
A couple of days away is never long enough, but for us, this short space of time was made more heavenly by where we chose to stay. It’s called The Darling for a reason – absolutely EVERYTHING about this place is “darling” – wonderful, charming, whimsical, classic, opulent. Situated in The Star precinct in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, The Darling is a welcoming place to play, get some downtime in style, or the ideal base to rest a weary head in luxurious comfort.
First-class to these two mums in every way, it was no wonder to us it had been named one of the world’s finest five-star hotels by Forbes this year. In actual fact, it’s Sydney’s first and only hotel to receive the rating.
The service was impeccable. Staff know you by name, a door is always opened whilst greeted by a smile.
The Darling’s signature on-site restaurant, Sokyo, provides one heck of a fine dining experience. Effortlessly chic, oozing contemporary cool, this Japanese-inspired restaurant fuses East and West in a way that just works. It’s creative mastery on a plate, especially the breakfasts, like Matcha Green Tea Lamington, Spicy Salmon Udon, and a buffet of sweet and savoury delights that looked just as good as they tasted. With both families and singles surrounding us on tables each morning, there is something for everyone in this stylish and warm space.
Busily in and out over our three-day stay, we could always smell the hotel near… like, literally. Within and around the spacious lobby wafted the most incredible scent - it felt like an opulent home away from home, kind of like a display home, but with heart. I made a note to my future self to make my house smell just like this, and this can actually be possible with the The Darling’s signature candle, available for purchase direct from the hotel.
The saying goes “when in Rome…”, and for us “when in Sydney,” meant getting glammed up for a red carpet event. This could not have been possible without the talent, artistry and all-round loveliness that is Eva Akis from Eva Hair and Make Up . Eva made us feel like absolute movie stars and our hair and faces match the empowerment we were feeling inside. Eva is a mobile hair and make-up artist who specialises in bridal, special events and corporate, and a visit for a special occasion in Sydney is not complete until you see this wonder woman!
Whilst we weren’t winners on the night, we feel we took home a wonderful prize. Putting ourselves out there and receiving acknowledgement for helping other women honour their callings to pursue their passions, has been the most amazing gift for us. It’s validation that we are on the right path, and to stay on it, and stay true to showing up for others in this way.