Slumming it


It’s a lurky life working on magazines.

Once upon a time, I handed out lipsticks from work “beauty sales” like candy, walked the red carpet movie premieres, even crammed my extended family into an all-expenses-paid apartment – with live giraffes swaying past the balcony – during a “travel junket” to Disneyworld …

But those perks are distant memories. These days I rely on the kindness of others to maintain my beauty regime and organise my fancy getaways.

And they’re doing a brilliant job.

Earlier this month, my parents booked two riverside apartments at Tea Gardens for a sublime pre-Christmas celebration. Among my gifts was a make-up bag filled goodies to replace my festy, dwindling supplies from the good ol’ days.

This week, my in-laws are treating 16 of us to a holiday at the enormous Araleun House.

Araluen House is nestled in the serene Matcham Valley. I had no idea the Central Coast was hiding somewhere so sublimely beautiful. I’ve even been checking for bargains, but it appears there wouldn’t be enough change from the property purchase to put the kids through Central Coast Grammar down the road, so that idea’s been taken off the table.

The house is stocked with everything from an outdoor spa to a coffee machine, billiard table, linen, rice cooker and questionable artworks.

It’s a stark contrast to our getaway this time last year, when I wrote: “I always forget that “self-catering” is tourism-speak for “bring the entire contents of your house with you”. So I was slightly underprepared for our stay on the Central Coast. Admittedly, only packing two fitted sheets for each bed didn’t help. And it wasn’t really the fibro house’s fault that I only brought two beach towels and one of them got pissed on by a passing dog. But some toilet paper would have been nice. And soap. Fortunately I had shampoo, so I just used that on all my hair. The Sprogs only bathe bi-weekly, so they were fine. Hand-washing was a bit fraught. I kept reminding myself not to touch my face, as terrifying scenes from Contagion flashed through my mind. Breakfast supplies wouldn’t have gone astray. But I’m quite fond of cold pizza and it was high time the Sprogs were introduced to its pleasures. Oh, and toothbrushes, they’d have been handy. Particularly since Sprog 2 was given a toy lolly shop for Christmas, oh joy (and keeps raving, “It’s so cool.” as she sucks on her store’s wares). We had plenty of grog though. And virtually every toy the Sprogs own found its way into the car. So it wasn’t a complete disaster.”

But all the material blessings are just icing on the cake. I’m a lucky girl and it’s not because of holidays or beauty products.

I am loved. And, as The Beatles once said, that’s all you need.

Well, toothbrushes are nice too.

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