Skate, Slide, Chill - The Common Man Lawn
The Common Man Lawn in Docklands has been magically transformed into an arctic oasis this winter. You can SKATE your way around the undercover riverside ice rink, SLIDE down the mini toboggan or CHILL out with mulled wine or a cocktail in the Absolut Vodka & Lavazza Coffee Chill Out Zone.
Each day offers something different:
-Mondays: 50% off for sign-up discount night
-Tuesdays: Unlimited skating and toboggan sliding night
-Wednesdays: Free pizza night
-Thursdays: Date night packages (including cocktails)
-Fridays: R&B night
-Sundays: Fun day, including face painting and complimentary snacks with children's passes
This frozen playground is open from the beginning of June to the end of August. We were lucky enough to attend the launch of the season and got to put our skating skills (or lack of skills) to the test.
For some reason, I always had an unrealistic expectation of my skills when attempting something I've never tried before. I seem to just assume I'm going to be a natural at everything, which is crazy because I very rarely am. I walked onto the rink with such confidence. My mind was convinced that because I'd done this once before as a kid on a school excursion (so a long, long, long time ago), I would be able to float across the ice and maybe even attempt some beginner-level manoeuvres. This was not the case (of course). I knew from the moment I stepped foot on the ice I was in trouble. My feet kept wanting to shoot out from under me and my only way around the rink for the first lap was by clinging for dear life onto the wall. Seeing Lawson gracefully skating laps around me made me realise I was going to have to step up my game. I tried a lap around the rink without holding on and although I looked like a baby giraffe learning to walk, I made it around. At one point, I tried to pretend to be all romantic by getting Lawson to hold my hand for a while, trying to look like one of those too-cute-for-words couples, when really he was only there for stabilisation and it wasn't romantic at all because I had the constant fear that if I fell, I'd be taking him down with me. I couldn't handle that kind of guilt.
It was time to commandeer one of the bright blue kangaroo-shaped skating aids that all the kids were using. I had no problem swallowing my pride and taking one of these bad boys for a spin around the ice. I was half-pretending to muck around for fun so onlookers wouldn’t realize that if I let go of that thing, I would well and truly be on my ass. After being the oldest person by far with a blue kangaroo, it was time to retire my skates. I was ready for something I knew for sure
I was good at: ordering drinks from the bar. The rink had an amazing food truck vibe where you could order all kinds of amazing snacks. The highlight for me was the cocktail list. Any place that served mulled wine was a winner in my books. After giving the ice a really good crack, it was time to watch Lawson carve it up from the sidelines.
I'm no stranger to ice skating, but in no way am I good at it, by any stretch of the imagination. We used to go ice skating as an after-school activity. I've always wanted to be able to spray up all the ice, mainly to cover unsuspecting victims in a light dusting of shaved ice. A boy can dream.
I'm quite good at getting up to speed and moving around but my problem is stopping. My best bet at coming to a complete stop is to crash head on into the barrier or to turn myself until I start to spin in circles, coming to a stop. The second manoeuvre is more likely to end up going ass over tit, so I opt for the barrier crash. I was pleasantly surprised to find I didn't hit the deck once and a little disappointed that neither did Cat (it would have made for a better video).
It was really nice to be able to ice skate around on the banks of the Yarra. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and there were even small blue kangaroos that were made for children to assist them in skating....well, children and Cat. I ended up pushing her around the rink trying to get up as much speed as possible. The kangaroos were a great idea; it gave me that little bit more confidence that I wasn’t going to eat shit in front of everyone so I tried a couple of different things on the ice.
The vibe down on the Common Man Lawn was awesome. They had a food truck and some epic winter cocktails topped with the likes of fairy floss and caramel popcorn. It was a lot of fun.
Make sure when you head down there that you give the toboggan slide a go. Cat didn’t want to at first until she saw a 9-year-old running laps around her and giving her advice on the best way to go about going down.
Do yourself a favour and head down for a skate, a bite to eat and a couple of cocktails. If I was going to suggest an order to do those things in, it would definitely be cocktails last or your chances of ending up on your ass will be much higher.