The recipe for a perfect weekend (with children!) in Central Auckland

A few years back I declared that I had discovered the recipe for the perfect weekend, and you know what? It holds up! Even with the addition of children. Here's why the weekend just been was so good...and how you can do it for yourselves with some of the awesome activities Central Auckland has to offer.

Amelie playing in the Art Gallery

Amelie playing in the Art Gallery

Saturday morning: Exercise

We started Saturday by cycling down to our club to play tennis and then enjoy a short spa. Amelie painted in the crèche. Even without a membership to a tennis club you can do this – Auckland has a number of free tennis courts, like Nicholson Park and Maungawhau. If your children are a bit older you could get them playing a game also, and if they're too small it might mean skipping straight to the water part and swimming at a public pool, such as Parnell Baths.

Saturday lunchtime: Read and relax

May Amelie keep napping for a loooong time yet. We embrace having to stay in for a few hours by putting our feet up on the patio and getting some reading in. I'm reading a good, but rather involved, book at the moment and am balancing that with magazines. I'm such a big magazine fan but can't handle the piles of paper they generate, so I only subscribe to my favourites and read others through RB Digital on my iPad (free for Auckland Libraries members!)

Saturday afternoon: Get some culture, and some chips

H1 and Amelie doing their part to obliterate a room.

H1 and Amelie doing their part to obliterate a room.

We caught the bus into town and went to take part in The Obliteration Room at Auckland Art Gallery. Turns out Amelie is the perfect age to love this – she kept coming back to H1 to ask for 'mo' (more stickers) and was very careful and particular about where she was placing them. It's still on for a couple more weeks and I promise, it's worth it.

We followed it up with a drink at The Box, a lovely spot to sit outside and people watch in Aotea Square. My only complaint was they didn't do chips (and I really wanted some chips!), so we grabbed some from Double Dutch Fries in Elliott Street before heading home. This place is so good – very very close to the amazing chips in Amsterdam – but because it never seems okay to just randomly eat chips, I pretty much never have them. Elliott Street has a number of good food places along it, so no matter what you feel like you can't just randomly eat, it's likely to be there (bao! Dumplings! Hong Kong egg waffles and ice-cream!)

Saturday evening: Eat something yummy

We were relaxing at home and made falafel, but if I was heading out around Central Auckland for a casual Saturday night it would almost certainly be to Orphan's Kitchen, Pasta e Cuore, Venosa, Ortolana or Gemmayze Street. Can't go wrong with any of them, and while they're all lovely, they're also super-chill. 

Sunday morning: Food and fun

Amelie and I took ourselves off to the playground while H1 went cycling, but not before a stop at Grey Lynn Farmer's Market. We can walk to this one from our house, but another favourite in Central Auckland is La Cigale, in Parnell – or if you really want to stick in the city centre, there's a version at Britomart that's small but cute, and close to good playgrounds at Silo Park and Myers Park.

Amelie helping me carry my farmer's market flowers.

Amelie helping me carry my farmer's market flowers.

Sunday lunchtime: Organise

I rearranged and tidied our bookshelves, which also involved moving some art, photos and plants around. Then I tidied a few more things and gave the place a vacuum, arranged the flowers I'd bought in the morning, and then I relaxed and enjoyed it. It makes such a difference to my happiness levels – and it's happiness that keeps on giving (I can see my bookshelves right now and sure enough – they are making me happy). I actually have a list of things I want to declutter, and any time I need to perk myself up or I'm feeling at a loose end I hit up that list. I don't want to tell you to use your precious downtime to organise and clean, but I can tell you it makes me feel good.

Sunday afternoon/evening: Picnic with friends in nature

Back to the park! We celebrated our friend's birthday with fish and chips and a couple of beers in the park. It would also be so lovely with some yummy snack foods (Farro is just around the corner!) Hanging out with friends is one of my favourite ways to end Sunday – it staves off those Sunday night blues nicely, and leaves me feeling like I've really soaked every drop of weekend up. And being outside while the weather is still nice enough is also a big win for the soul. 

What does your perfect weekend look like? What have I left off?