ON TOUR WITH THE KID: All in the Family at The Jack
When you run your own business, travel can be difficult. When you have the money to go away, it is usually because you're working so hard that you don't have the time. When you have the time, you are concerned you're not busy and possibly don't have the money!
As December approached and I flipped through my diary, it was clear that if the kid and I wanted to spend quality time together, it would mean her coming to work with me. Thankfully I was spending a few days at an event that was designed with families in mind - The Jack Newton Celebrity Classic held at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.
Now I know that days of golf doesn't immediately scream kid-friendly. However, the Newtons are so family orientated that the event caters for not only the golfers but also their partners and children. It's a kid's dream come true.
While still collecting our room key, I could feel a tug on my skirt. The kid had spotted the pool. After some conversation I did convince her that stripping off in the hotel lobby and running for the water was not ideal, though, in all fairness, it had been so hot I did understand the urge. On the promise that we could head over for a swim as soon as we had dropped things off to our room and got changed, I finally dragged her excited little face away from the glass window overlooking the water.
Just the drive from reception to our three bedroom villa across from the tenth hole was full of eye candy to a five-year-old. With an on-site train and a carousel as we rounded the first corner and giant chess set and soccer goals with a ball bigger than she is right outside our room. She knew she was set.
Affectionately known by the regulars as "The Jack", the event has become golf's unofficial Christmas party. With golf pros, amateur players and stars of stage, screen, politics and the sporting fields all coming together.
Raising money for charity, for both Jack Newton Junior Golf and Diabetes research and prevention is always the primary goal but when asked, Jack Newton is most proud of is the unlikely friendships that are formed at this unique event. You know when you get the invite, that egos are all left at the door and everyone is treated the same. It's one of the things that makes the event so unique.
With Fireworks from the Foti Brothers (who are responsible for the New Years Eve display on Sydney Harbour) and a flyover from stunt pilot Matt Hall, you would have to work really hard not to be impressed. Though it was difficult to drag the kid away from the stunning dessert table, the ping-pong and the games room - Minion Whack-a-Mole is a little bit addictive!
Over the next few days, the kid and I were equally excited by different things. I was thrilled and a little humbled that I was able to spend some time chatting with one of my idols, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke and the kid was beside herself that she got to see Rhys Muldoon who and I quote "hosts Play School, don't you know."
All the parties were so well done and the familiar faces all happy to stop for a chat and photos with fans makes it feel like you are getting a day long hug. I'm thankful that I have a pretty easy to please kid, who would have been just as happy cruising around with mum in the golf cart.
The best part about The Jack is even if golf is not your thing, it's free for the public to come out and watch the event or if you want to treat yourself you could book a room and soak up the atmosphere. Being a girl who loves doing things on a budget, what better way to kick off the school holidays than a day trip to the Hunter Valley, hanging out by the pool at Crowne and running into Kris Smith, James Tobin or Johnny Ruffo while ordering a quick lunch or a sneaky cocktail!
To find out more about the 2017 event head to www.jacknewtongroup.com