NSW West Ryde

McDonald’s West Ryde – Victoria Rd, West Ryde NSW

Overall: Good for a quick stop and kids to burn off some steam. Nappy change, rest and play.

Good Points: Easy to find. Clean. Nappy change station only. Great undercover outdoor play area.

Bad Points:  Toilet door does not lock properly. No paper towel.

Wall mounted nappy change station

Tucked behind the toilet door

We’ve been past this McDonald’s too many times to count on our way to and from different places. It’s on Victoria Rd in West Ryde, which is a pretty busy road so we rarely even think to stop in for a break. But one day a couple of weeks ago, my little on and I decided to go check it out. I know, Maccas is Maccas….but from a parent perspective….there are good ones and not so good ones. And this one is pretty good as far as Maccas goes.

There isn’t an actual Parent Room here. It’s just a fold out baby change table in the disabled toilet. This is typical of fast food places though.  The table is tucked behind the door of the toilet as you walk in. It’s clean and the usual height, which could be tough going for anyone under 5″2. The rest of the bathroom is clean too. There’s a couple of downsides. Firstly, there isn’t a proper nappy disposal bin. There’s just a regular waste paper bin in the far corner, or the sanitary bin. Neither are really great options. Secondly, the door doesn’t lock properly. So when you little one is laying on the change table, just be mindful that the door might be opened without warning – be prepared!

Great outdoor covered playground

Great equipment for toddlers+

Our favourite part of visiting West Ryde Maccas, in addition to the 50c ice cream, was definitely the playground. This one is under cover, fenced in, and excellent for toddlers and above. The ground is also that soft rubber matting, and a number of the poles holding up the structure are padded. Love it! 
There’s seating in the play area for parents, but if you don’t feel like listening to the squeals and laughter, then there’s comfy seating just inside against the windows. This means you can still keep an eye on the kids, but enjoy the air con and quieter surrounds.

I know this really hasn’t been a very detailed or lengthy review, but there’s just not that much else to really say. If you’re going to be travelling through West Ryde one day and think there’s a good chance the kids and you will need a quick leg stretch and a bit of rest and play, then drop into the Maccas on Victoria Rd. Cheap, cheerful, has the essential equipment to change little bottoms and keep everyone happy.

NSW West Ryde

West Ryde Marketplace – 14 Anthony Rd West Ryde NSW 2114

Reviewed by B

Overall: Good. Has the basics and it’s very clean. Nappy changes and feeding.

Good Points: Very clean; Two lockable feeding cubicles; Nappy bins next to change bays; Powerpoints for expressing. 

Bad Points: No papertowel; Uncomfortable office chair in feeding cubicle; No kid-sized toilet; Inadequate signage in centre for Parent Room; No microwave.

Start of a new week and I thought maybe we could head to a different suburb today. Do the groceries and check out the Parent Room at a different shopping centre altogether. So instead of heading to yet another area of the Hills, we got in the car and ended up at West Ryde Marketplace.

It’s a nice little shopping centre. Stores are all on the one floor. There’s both undercover and outdoor parking. Travelators and ramps, no stairs, coffee shops, Woolies, newsagent, nail salon etc…..not too big which is lovely. We parked undercover because it looked like it might rain (and it is pouring outside right now!), plus I just like undercover parking better. Feels more secure to me. Looking for Parents With Prams parking spaces, there were none to be found. Bit of a bummer considering the number of mums and bubs out and about there today. Perhaps Centre Management will do something about that soon? 
There were loads of parks available though and we did find my favourite kind – rear to the wall, passenger side against a concrete pole, close to the travelator.
The thing I like most about this place is it’s pram friendly. No escalators or stairs, just a travelator, wide walkways and ramps. One thing that wasn’t simple was finding the Room! The sign hanging from the ceiling indicates where the general male/female/disabled toilets are,and usually I’d also expect to see the baby in a nappy symbol too to indicate there’s baby change facilities. But the sign here doesn’t have anything to indicate there’s a Parent Room around. Maybe that’s why, when you do find it, it’s so clean because no-one uses it as they don’t know there is one available (until now!).

So after checking out the T ends of the marketplace, I thought if there is one then it should be where the toilets are. Or at least there’d be a change table in the disabled or female toilet. So following the direction of the sign, bubs and I headed up the ramp and right at the end of it is the Parent Room. Yay!!!! 
Lesson learnt – check out the signs leading to toilets first.
The room, while small and fairly basic, is really quite lovely. It’s clean, and has almost all you need to change and feed your little ones. And it’s big enough to fit a shopping trolley and probably a pram or two. Happy days.

There are two change bays, each with straps to keep little ones from rolling on to the floor. The nappy bins are right next to the bays (very handy). There are a couple of colourful artworks on the walls which are pretty cute. They brighten up the room anyway.

For feeding, there are two cubicles. While the interiors are very basic (ie a single office chair in each), each has a lockable door. That gets a thumbs up from me. Being able to lock the door when you are feeding your little one just makes you feel a bit more secure and comfortable. Now you can get a pram into the feeding cubicles, it’s just that it may require a three point turn to get in there and shut the door. But I think it’d be worth the effort.
Opposite the change bays is the sink. Now again it is super clean (it’s rare to find a parent room that’s so well looked after), but there isn’t any paper towel dispenser. Just a small stack of towels next to the sink. Not sure what happens when that little amount runs out. But there is soap and a hand dryer so all is not lost. Have to say I was a bit surprised to not see a Microwave here, but with all the cafes outside you might be able to sweet talk one of them into warming up bottles or food for you.
The toilet in this Parent Room is immaculate. Quite a wonderful thing for a public facility. The only real downside is the lack of an extra kid-sized loo. Other than that, I really couldn’t fault it. Incredibly clean, the whole thing. And naturally there’s all the things you’d expect. sink soap, hand-dryer, toilet seat sanitiser.

If you’re in the area, let me know what you think of the Parent Room at West Ryde Marketplace. I think it’s pretty good, and so are the people who shop there too. Some of the other mums and bubs we met while we were out today were just lovely. Amazing what a ‘Hi, how old is your bubby?’ can do! Big smiles, lovely chatter and conversation with another grown up. This Parent Room project of mine is really helping to get me out of my shell (I can hear the shrieks of surprise from some people already – yes, I am actually shy at times, not that you’d believe it :)). Meeting other mums, dads and bubs every day is good fun. Plus it helps me know what people are looking for in a decent Parent Room. And I just don’t know who I’ll meet from day to day.
NSW West Ryde

Koorong Book Store, 28 West Parade, West Ryde Sydney

Reviewed by B

Overall: OK. Great for rest and play, very basic for nappy changes and feeds. Great for a bookstore. Haven’t come across another that caters so well to little people.
Good Points: Outdoor undercover play area is huge. Nappy change & feed space is pretty basic, but it’s clean. Indoor enclosed play area in the children’s book section – love it! Highchairs in the instore cafe, and also in the outdoor eating area next to the playground.
Bad Points: Very basic nappy change and feed space, located in the disabled bathroom. Extremely tall child safety gate on the outdoor play area – get on your tippy toes! Massively overpriced less-than-average food at Pages Cafe.

Pouring down with rain yet again in ye olde Sydney, both bubby and I were going a bit mental being inside the house for another day. Found another bag of great unwanted clothes at home, so decided to hop in the car to deliver the clothes to Vinnies in West Ryde. Found a great set of flanny sheets for bubs cot too – only $4. Bargain!!

Anyhoo, looking across the railway line I could see Koorong. It’s one of the most recognisable Christian bookstores in the country. Once upon a time it was my favourite shopping destination….and then I joined the Catholic church (and now Dan Murphy’s is my favourite store hehehehe). Tummies grumbling and remembering the bookstore had a cafe, we got back in the car (trying our best to NOT get drenched by the rain which seemed to decide to pelt as soon as we were in the open) and headed round the other side of the train line to Koorong.

Parking!! Well it’s not the easiest place to park. There’s off-street parking, which you’ll find when drive past the front of the store. To your left is the driveway, so nip in there and try your luck at finding a space. We did get one (lucky us!), but there’s not much room to move in either the car space itself, or in the car park when you’re trying to get in and out of the place. No pram parking either, so make sure you park nose first otherwise you might find it tough getting the pram out of the boot.
Something good is the ramp access into the store. We didn’t use the stroller but it just makes life simpler for everyone when you have the choice of ramp or stairs. Specially with little pixies that see a set of stairs and just want to jump up, jump down for the next 30mins.
As you’re walking along the ramp, the entrance to Pages Cafe is to your left, the bookstore entrance directly in front of you, and the massive undercover outdoor play area to the right of you (where there is also an outdoor eating area for the cafe). We glance at the bulging bargain book tables flanking our path into the store, and head in.

Whoa!!! Seriously!! Has anybody else noticed how all Christian bookstores smell the same? What  is it? Doesn’t matter if it’s Word or Koorong, they all smell the same! It’s freaky. And you know what, regular bookstores and even Catholic bookstores don’t smell like this store. Very very strange.

Inside the store, it’s a Christian booklovers paradise. Anything you can think of, from t-shirts to Bibles, romance novels to Bratz style dolls called ‘God’s Girlz’, through to Sunday School lesson books and kids story books – this place has it all!! And the best bit……the kids play area inside the children’s book section.
It’s just the best idea ever. Pop your little one inside the enclosed play area, smack bang in the middle of the children’s section and you can just keep on shopping. It’s brilliant!! More and more stores need to adopt this idea. The play area does have a few ‘Please Supervise Your Children’ signs, which is fair enough….although it could be tempting to leave them there and just nip in to the cafe to order your coffee.
Outside the little play area is a table and some chairs for little ones. There wasn’t any toys on the table or pencils etc, but I’m guessing it’s meant to be used as another way of entertaining your little ones while you shop. Or kids can take my lil bubs queue – bring the chair to the play area for leverage to climb over the fence. Good thinking!

Our next task was to check out the Parent Room. Now I had a fair idea it would not be flash, as it’s only a bookshop and not a massive shopping centre. My expectations were met, not exceeded, but at least they were met.
Head to the back of the bookstore, past the Sunday School materials, and in the back right corner is the hallway leading to the bathrooms. Head for the disabled loo and inside you’ll find the facilities to change your little one’s bottom and have a quick rest.
Again, it definitely is not a sexy Parent Room. It’s basic, but it is clean, and it is quiet. And you do have it all to yourself – remember to lock the door on the inside when you get in there. There’s a fold out change table mounted to the wall, with nappy bins underneath. The sink, soap dispenser and paper towels are all within close reach too (on your left and behind you against the wall). There’s a single office chair next to the toilet, which could be handy if you want to feed your little one in privacy. It’s not going to be the most comfortable setting, but it is lovely and quiet which is something you don’t often get when your out with your baby.

After all our wandering about and playing, our tummies were really starting to tell at us. Food food FOOD!! I had eaten at Pages yeaaaarrrss ago and it wasn’t so hot, but maybe it had improved in 10years? Hmmm….no. Cherub ordered cheesy fingers from the kids menu ($4), and I ordered a chicken, avocado, sundried tomato open melt ($12). For the price, I was thinking we were going to get something a little better presented and more tasty than:
strips of homebrand tasty cheese, melted on budget white bread slices – cut into soldiers
bbq chicken chunks, half a container of sundried tomatoes, smeared avocado, hiding under melted homebrand tasty cheese on……..budget white bread slices.
Am I too picky? Do you really only qualify for budget white bread and tasty cheese for $16? Really, I could make a whole loaf of cheesy fingers at home and still have change from $4. When it comes to feeding the kids at Koorong, BYO!! And maybe think about making extra portions for you too, unless you really are happy to shell out your dollars on an overpriced, low on taste, toasted sanger.