Sponsored by Chatswood Chase
If you’re one of those people who has already started their Christmas shopping, well done to you! If you’re one of those people who finished it last month, I hate you! You make me feel bad! Seriously, every year I am so disorganised and I think it’s a reflection of our busy lives that everything becomes last minute and stressful. Remember when Christmas shopping was a fun, festive activity you looked forward to? It was an event! Although I’m the first person to praise the convenience of ecommerce, it’s time to bring back some of that enjoyable gift-buying experience. And Sydney’s Chatswood Chase Sydney is a great place to be inspired!
Having always lived on the north side of the bridge, I’ve been shopping at the Chase for years. But in the last 12 months, as an interiors addict, it’s become even more inviting, with the addition of furniture and homewares brands like Kartell and Incy Interiors (as a mum, they and Pottery Barn Kids are my go-tos for Sebastian’s nursery) and Wheel and Barrow, not to mention the American mega brands west elm, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma (enough to get even me baking!). So level 2 has become a favourite place to spend time. What I love about Chatswood Chase is they have many stores which are unique to Sydney’s north side, making it a real destination for something a little different. Also worth mentioning, the homewares section in Country Road is huge!
Let’s face it though, these days we want more than just a great range of stores from our shopping centre experience. We want a nice lunch, easy parking, great baby change facilities and even somewhere to stop for a glass of wine, rest our weary feet and compare purchases with our girlfriends at the end.
On the subject of wine, I was delighted to find that Mosman favourite Burnt Orange has opened a second cafe restaurant on level 1 which is a really special place to eat or have a coffee. Away from the main food court and surrounded by fashion stores, it’s a peaceful spot and the cakes are amazing (we tested them for you). Did I mention they’re licensed and serve afternoon tea? All under a glass ceiling so it’s nice and sunny and brings the outside in (or you can choose a shaded area if you prefer).
If you’re after something more substantial, we have to recommend you head to Mrs Mi, the first one in Australia, from Taste of Shanghai Group. This is relaxed eating, in a restaurant off the lower ground food court, but the food is of a very high standard. Let’s face it, if you’re going to offer dumplings and noodles somewhere like Chatswood, you need to know what you’re doing as competition is stiff!
There’s a reason people were queuing out of the door when Damian and I arrived with Sebastian (prams can be left outside), and not just the fun robotic chef assisting with making the fresh noodles (they were so good!) in the window! Our lunch was delicious! I’m not one for fried chicken but theirs is something else, and my favourite had to be the pork wontons in red chilli oil. This is not your typical food court experience. Top tip: order the cherry tomatoes in plum juice (sounds wrong but it’s so right!) and have one in between each course to cleanse your palette!
During the Christmas period, there’s plenty happening at the shopping centre to enhance your experience and make it more leisurely and less stressful. Why not consider using the $12 valet parking, taking advantage of free gift wrapping or treating yourself to a well deserved facial or blow dry (for the office Christmas party) once you’ve ticked everyone off your gift list? There are plenty of options including Biiu Day Spa, and Luc Espace.
Now, we all know shopping with kids (and husbands sometimes…) in tow can be, well, challenging. Chatswood Chase can help in this respect. Not only did we discover a fantastic play area near Pottery Barn Kids where you can even draw on a giant interactive screen, there’s currently Stay Play Shop until Christmas Eve on level 2 where you can leave your little ones for up to two hours ($5 per half-hour, per child) to enjoy crafty activities with fully trained staff. The baby change facilities (on all 4 levels) are some of the best we’ve seen (and this has become very important to us recently!) with great changing and feeding areas. You can even watch your child in the play area within baby change on a TV screen while you’re in the parents’ toilet! These little things make a big difference!
There’s plenty more to get you in the festive spirit. Get your kids’ Santa photos on the lower ground floor, pick up your All I Want For Christmas Guide for gift-buying inspiration, get your gifts wrapped for you up until Christmas Eve, or buy a special edition gift card for the person who has everything, illustrated by Sally Spratt of The Lust List with a donation going to Make-A-Wish Australia for every one sold.
And before I sign off, my top four shops to buy tree decorations at the Chase, clockwise from top left are: Pottery Barn, west elm, Bed Bath N Table and Country Road.
Next week: My step by step guide to buying gifts for everyone in your life from Chatswood Chase!