Category: travel

Stuff to do in Kalbarri, Western Australia.

Have you ever been to Kalbarri? It’s just over 500 km north of Perth. It’s a bit of a drive, but it was just the thing we needed after a long, cold and ridiculous winter. It was quite the family affair: my brother in law, sister in law, a couple of nephews and my parents in law were all in attendance.

I was excited for sunshine and a bit of camping. Well, when I say camping, it was all rather civilised. Powered sites, our cosy camper trailer, roast dinners (not joking – Weber BBQs can do amazing things), those super comfy camp chairs that I got on sale at an outdoorsy warehouse place.

I thought I’d share some stuff you can enjoy there (because we did):

Be thrashed at Play mini golf at the Pirate Theme Park

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Look, I am not that good at mini golf. Unless the wind is in my favour or I play against small children (who may still beat me). But I love a good putt. It brings out the silliness in people of all ages and the Little Mister somehow got a hole in one (this has happened both times he’s played in his very young life – what the hell)!

We played as a fairly big group and it made for a really fun morning.

Get out on the water

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We got a couple of great beach days in. Sandcastles were built. Water fights between cousins were had. At one point, the Little Mister just cut out the middle man and poured buckets of water on himself, he was having so much fun!

The town is situated where the Murchison River meets the ocean and it’s just stunning – perfect calm, shallow water for kids to play in and for everyone to get on the water with every kind of apparatus imaginable!

We hired a pedal boat (they look really relaxing and fun but OMG it’s a good leg work out) and a stand up paddle board (SUP) and had SO much fun! The family shared them so the cost of the rental wasn’t exorbitant. I am not a typically sporty person as such, but if you get me on the water, I’ll try most things! Well, except for kite surfing, because I don’t want to die!

Feed the pelicans

Turns out this is a big deal! Every day at 8:45am, local volunteers will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about pelicans, and then with any luck they’ll fly in like clockwork and peeps can feed them some fish!

It’s so funny, because even though I’m so used to pelicans (my hometown being quite a popular place for them to steal people’s take away food and terrorise small dogs on the foreshore), there was something quite fun about everyone getting together and making it into an event! Some things are just more awesome on holidays!

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Visit the gorges and walk along the cliffs

You cannot visit without checking out the god damn beautiful scenery. Holy shit. My eyes were just hungry for it. I just wanted to take in all that natural beauty and the wide open spaces!

We visited the gorges first. It’s probably not for anyone with a massive phobia of heights, but wow it’s worth a little bit of a wobbly kneed peek over the nice solid look out barriers at the very least!

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From the gorges to the cliffs over the ocean, I was blown away…not literally, because that would be fucking scary. But you know what I mean, right?

Again, not for those with a debilitating phobia of heights, but amazing all the same. I was so scared I’d lose my phone or camera over the edge but the adrenaline rush from fearing a permanent loss of your technology really is like participating in an extreme sport for some (ahem me) haha.

I wish we’d had more time (and a more cooperative child – his new nickname is Sacka – short for Sacka Potatoes) to walk the amazing trails along the coast, but there’s always next time (I really want there to be a next time)!

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Eat fish and chips

I really feel like you can’t go on a coastal holiday in Australia without sampling the local fish and chips. We went nuts for it on the last night of our stay. It was perfect because nobody had to cook and we (the middle generation) also got to shout the parents in law because they’d been really generous throughout the trip and they needed some payback!

Kalbarri has a few fish and chips spots, but we chose The Jetty Seafood Shack. May I add that it was a really good choice? Because it was. YUM.


So there you have it. The highlights of our recent holiday getaway. And as I sit here listening to my husband trying not to throw his guts up after eating a dodgy chicken servo pie on the way home (WHY?!), with the wind and rain howling outside, I am grateful we got a proper taste of spring before our crash landing back to reality!

Have you been to Kalbarri? Anything you’d add to the list? Where do you like to escape to when winter gets too long (I may just take notes)? 

The Happy List #44: Melbourne edition.

Oh hey there! So, it’s been no secret on my social media accounts that this time last week I was having an absolute ball in Melbourne. I hadn’t been for 5 years (i.e. I was pregnant with the Little Mister so it’s been a while) but now I had the perfect excuse. My brother lives there – yay!

The Little Mister and I joined my parents on a trip over (sadly Mr Unprepared couldn’t get away due to work constraints) and I swear there isn’t much I didn’t love about it. Except the flight home, but that’s a whole other story (and surprisingly does not involve the Little Mister) haha.

So, here’s a shortlist of the things that made me happy – a special Melbourne trip edition!

Seeing the Little Mister with his uncle

Definitely the biggest highlight. It was hero worship all the way. He’d been missing his uncle a lot since he moved to the eastern states. I think there’s some weird soulmate thing they have going on. Any time we went somewhere, he chose his uncle’s hand to hold and whatever his uncle said, he pretty much did without complaint (by 4 year old standards haha). Just the way he literally looked up to him was freakin’ adorable. He wanted to be just like him and while this means that he now wants to support a rival AFL team (Mr Unprepared is not sure what to make of this) and spent the holiday wanting to stand on the tram like a grown up (because apparently that is the very definition of being a grown up), I am so happy for him that we had that experience.

Getting to visit mythical places that I’ve only ever seen on social media

Yep. Look. I’m from Perth. Things are looking up for us, but it’s not quite Melbourne, OK? Melbourne has this well established ‘cool’ factor that we do not. So, of course when I saw (and partook in) places like Doughnut Time and we ate at Supernormal, Kitty Burns and visited the Jurassic World exhibition at the Melbourne museum, I was going out of my mind with the obliteration of the FOMO I had been storing up since forever!

My black puffer jacket

It was a last minute purchase right before we left for Melbourne. I had started to freak out about the cold weather and even though it was pretty much the same as the weather in Perth while we were there, I was scared there’d be more wind and rain. It cost me $30 from Cotton On (I think it was on sale) and boy was I glad I bought it! Not only did I blend into Melbourne wearing it (pretty much the whole population had a black puffer jacket but for me it was a sign that I was nailing the whole ‘dressing for winter’ thing – something I am horrendous at normally) but it truly went with everything I wore and kept me feeling cosy.

Nailing that step count!

While eating tons of delicious and not always nutritious food was a big weakness, I was so stoked with the exercise we got done. We caught a lot of public transport (gosh the tram system is amazing) and walked so far. It was awesome. My fitbit was going off all over the place! We had three full days in Melbourne (not including plane travel days) and I racked up 46,252 steps during that time. Which is a lot for me these days, as I have struggled to hit my daily target of 10,000 a lot.

Reliving great Melbourne memories with my Little Mister

Like I mentioned above, I hadn’t been back to Melbourne since I was pregnant with the Little Mister. It was obviously a very special time for Mr Unprepared and I. We had just announced my pregnancy publicly and we were off for a fun time interstate before we became parents for reals. It was so fun telling him that he’d been to Melbourne before in my belly. Great memories flooded back of dinners with friends, footy games and wandering around the city doing whatever we felt like. Sharing some elements of that with the Little Mister meant so much to me.

It was a really nice escape, which I think I needed on an emotional level, because when you’re going through all the infertility shit you just have to get away sometimes. Remembering my first, very special (although fraught with ailments – the rose coloured glasses are only so good haha) pregnancy and the fact that my body did that and could maybe do it again, was a nice reminder to look at the positives and to not be scared to feel hope.

All in all, the trip was a massive success. Here are some other things that made me happy:

  • My expectations for travelling with a 4 year old were spot on, which meant no disappointments. He did so well and it was way less stressful than the last time we’d done something ‘big’ with him at the age of 2.5!
  • Catching up with family friends.
  • The electronic babysitter aka iPad (it doesn’t come out with us much but was very necessary in a restaurant at dinner time after a long day)!
  • The Little Mister sleeping well every night in the hotel room.
  • Hilarious conversations with the Little Mister (often in public and on embarrassing topics at a loud volume).
  • The Little Mister telling everyone in Melbourne that we were from Australia. I think he meant Western Australia, but it was bloody funny. If I tried to correct him, he was most offended!
  • Realising that I’d packed the EXACT right amount of stuff for the Little Mister and I. I nailed it. I packed so well. This is not a common occurrence. Some might call it a miracle!
  • Seeing how happy Melbourne has made my brother since he moved. Good decision, bro!

I’m sure there are many other things that should be on my list, because I truly had an awesome time. I missed it as soon as we got on the plane home! Lots of great memories were made.

Have you travelled lately? What’s been making you feel happy? 

How (NOT) to pack a suitcase.

The countdown is on. In 3 sleeps (I count everything in ‘sleeps’ because I have a four year old and to be honest I am kind of immature when it comes to EXCITING THINGS anyhow), I am going to be on my way to Sydney for what has accidentally become my annual birthday getaway (this being only the second time)! I will be travelling with my parents (who practically live there anyway), sleeping on the fold out couch and shopping, socialising, drinking and eating.

Woohoo!

I am going for what will essentially be a long weekend. I can’t wait. It’s not long enough away that I start to feel guilty, but it’s long enough (and far enough away) that I can forget a bunch of responsibilities and just relax/have fun as an individual entity. YES!

This morning my mum called me and asked, “So, are you all packed for Sydney yet?”

And we laughed and laughed. Oh, how we laughed.

Because it’s me we’re talking about. I mean, come on. Packing is not my forte. I am neither organised nor timely.

It always works out in the end, though. Right? Kind of?

I thought I’d put together some tips so you too can be as awful at packing as I am…

Enjoy!

  1. Pack at the last minute. I mean it. Put it off for as long as you can. Become distracted by ‘life’. And by ‘life’, I mean the internet and agreeing to countless social interactions that steal away the time that you could be packing. I’m serious. Fill those little moments of ‘free’ time and pack them tight with other shit to do. Before you know it you’ll be packing in a panicked frenzy at some weird hour the night before. Because people in a panicked frenzy know how to GSD (Get Shit Done).
  2. Realise that you need to wash all of the clothes you might bring, because right now they’re just lying unwashed in your floordrobe (because domestic goddess – obvs). Pray that everything will dry before your flight leaves. Also pray that the mental list you’ve made of the stuff you’ve washed and need to pack won’t fail you when you’re in the aforementioned panicked frenzy.
  3. Put absolutely everything you could ever possibly need in your suitcase. I mean it. EVERYTHING. Umbrellas, raincoats, summer clothes, winter clothes, activewear, swimming gear, a beach towel, clothes you can wear when you feel fat, clothes you can wear when you’re feeling skinny, party dresses, 10 times more of the daggy underwear that you actually need because who knows what could happen (seriously – WTF), every pair of shoes. You get the idea. I mean, while you’re away you just never know. You might need that dress you haven’t even worn in 3 years.
  4. Take a few things out. At some point, you’ll realise you are being ridiculous and you’ll start to google the airline’s baggage weight limit. So you’ll take out a few things. You know, so you can close the suitcase. Sure, you’re only going for a weekend. But it’s always good to be prepared. Like I said; anything could happen! Remember NOT to leave room to bring home any stuff you buy while you’re away. That’s what the fucking unzippable suitcase expander is for, people. Keep up.
  5. Don’t ever nail the packing of your toiletries. Where’s the fun in that? The whole point of going away is so that you feel a sense of adventure and fun. If you replicate your exact toiletry products/routines from home, then you’re just not living. Try to get out of your comfort zone. Forget your razor so by the time you realise you have super hairy legs, it’s after hours in a city you haven’t been in for a while. Because you don’t have your own transport, you’ll need your parents (yes – you are a grown person) to drive you around in their rental car until you find what you need at a dodgy 7/11 kind of place. You could also mix things up a bit by packing two bottles of conditioner, instead of one shampoo bottle and one conditioner like a normal person. You should use the tiny bottle of shampoo at the hotel. Ration that stuff out for like 4 days. It will feel like you’re Bear Grylls in the wild, surviving off whatever you can find. SENSE OF ADVENTURE.

If anything, these adult fails will give you a sense of childlike escape from all that awaits you at home when you get back in a few days. I’m doing you a favour.

Is anyone else out there as good bad at packing as I am? Do you love it or hate it? Have you ever had an epic packing fail? 

Everyone’s a critic: If my home received a TripAdvisor* review.

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So I was recently researching some overnight accommodation for my Misters (the Little Mister and Mr Unprepared) and I, as we briefly considered spending a night in the city. It would have been partly for convenience (Mr Unprepared has a big early morning bike ride coming up) and also for a bit of family fun. A chance to get out of our usual little home life bubble. Why not, hey? Kind of a staycation. Sadly, this never eventuated (too complicated)…

But…the thing is, TripAdvisor does my head in. I wonder what the hell we did before we had this review system? We just *gasp* winged it?! Now, every hotel decision feels like life or death. WHAT? THEIR INTERNET ACCESS IS PATCHY? ONE PERSON FOUND DUST ON THE SIDE TABLE? That’s it. We can’t go there. I must look at five other places, crosscheck the features each room has, compare prices and analyse each review IN DEPTH. All perspective has been lost.

I have reviewed the reviews and while some people seem to have made well balanced comments, there are some pernickety people who I would NOT like for a houseguest. I wonder what their houses are like?

Which made me wonder what kind of honest reviews my house would get? *gulp*

Here’s what I think it might look like (and I’m being generous haha)…

Location 3.5 stars

Located within walking distance of both a beautiful estuary and the ocean. Quite a distance from restaurants and other fancy things. You’ll need a car to get around (the bus service is not exactly an all hours type deal), but there is a new little neighbourhood supermarket that the locals can’t stop raving about on account of having been deprived for so long of such a thing. The view from the front of the accommodation is pretty boring – facing onto other residential houses. You won’t get a good photo of the sunset ever, without feeling like you’re invading the neighbours’ privacy, but it is pretty to look at. Your instagram opportunities will be limited and this may bring frustration, because DAMN it REALLY IS A GOOD SUNSET. It’s really close to the highway, but it’s not too noisy.

Sleep Quality 2 stars

You’ll be sharing the accommodation with a cycling addict who rises early for both work and recreation, so you will feel very sleep deprived. You’ll also find that the child resident will on occasion make a noise early in the morning, often singing just one line from that viral ‘hit’ song What Does The Fox Say over and over (consider it your wake up call). Because you’re expected to assist in looking after said child during the day, you will find yourself lying awake in the middle of the night for no apparent reason other than to worry about things you didn’t have time to worry about during the day or simply to get in some ‘thinking alone’ time. Don’t stay here if relaxation is what you’re after! Terrible!!

Also, rooms are very noisy during the day. I heard constant moans of, “I’m hungry! I need to do wees! WATCH THIS!”

Rooms & Cleanliness 1.5 stars

There are only two liveable bedrooms available (which you have to share with other residents). One is shoved full of stuff for storage (enter at own risk) and one has been turned into a makeshift study/ironing room (in terrible condition). The owner has apparently made plans to overhaul these rooms, but nothing substantial has been done about it. There is dust on some of the furniture, there are piles of clothes on the floor. When asking the domestically challenged lady owner about this, the reply was, “What? That’s just my floordrobe. Don’t touch it. It’s a very highly organised system.”

Housekeeping seems to happen often, but the accommodation still looks very much like nothing was done almost immediately afterwards. I noticed a lot of crumbs underneath the couch. And on the couch. Also, under the dining table. What. The. Eff. On several occasions I was amazed to see the owners used their DOG to clean up the floor. WITH ITS MOUTH.

Self contained. Pantry well stocked with complimentary baking ingredients a lot of the time. The master bedroom has an ensuite, but when an early riser uses the shower, it wakes whoever was trying to sleep because there is no door separating the rooms.

There are TVs with access to a DVR stacked full of shows up to a year old because the owner never has time to watch anything. The internet is OK, but on occasion becomes so slow you can’t even *gasp* watch Netflix!

Family friendly set up. Backyard. Play area. No-one is judging if your kids are cray cray.

Very ‘homely’ ‘lived in’ feel. We all know what that’s code for.

Service (either 5 stars for children or 1 star for adults)

If you are 3 years old, the service is fantastic all around the clock. If you are any older, you have to do everything yourself. You may be able to coerce one of the owners to do you a favour here or there, but you have to be really nice and it depends what mood they’re in (see above for sleep quality).

I don’t recommend the so called day spa. It consists of the owner just slapping some moisturiser on your face, painting your nails badly (only on sporadic weekend evenings) and then shoving you out because there’s no time for anything else. Well, I never!

The ‘gym’ is a treadmill shoved up into a corner of the master bedroom. The only upside of this is that if you fall off, you will land in bed.

The food menu is “Have what we make you or get it yourself” and depends on how close to pay day the owner is.

Value (hard to ascertain)

Children stay for free. Adults must contribute to mortgage, housekeeping and admin. It’s totes worth it if you have nowhere else to go. Basically, it’s like a working holiday.

The place has a lot of potential and once the owners find two seconds, it will be undergoing several improvements – woohoo!

 

Guess I’ll be staying here then! You know, because I live here.

Would you stay at my hotel house? What would a review of your place look like? Do you obsess over reviews when planning to stay somewhere? 

*I probably don’t need to say it, but this post is in no way associated with TripAdvisor.

Trip of a lifetime: One year later.

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Exactly one year ago, my family took a very important trip. We went to South Korea. We also couldn’t help but add Singapore and Japan to the list (which were AMAZING), but let’s face it. Korea was where it was at on a very personal level.

If you’re new to the blog, let me quickly catch you up. My brother and I were adopted from South Korea when we were only a handful of months old. We’ve been raised as Aussies and until 2014, we’d never been back to Korea before. The opportunity came up (after years of talking about it) because everyone in the family was free to do it at the same time in June 2014. We just had to seize the moment and book that shit in!

We travelled for a month. Myself, Mr Unprepared, the Little Mister (who was 2 and a half), my brother and my/our parents (adoptive but I prefer to call them my ‘real’ parents because they are).

Looking back on the experience a year later, I have so many mixed feelings! Some of my memories are just amazing. I feel so much pride that we undertook such a crazy journey – especially with a 2 year old in tow. We ate some amazing food, we soaked up the culture. We lived out of suitcases. We just threw ourselves into it and got as much out of the experience as we possibly could.

I feel grateful. I am so glad I had that experience. On a personal level, it really cleared some things up for me. I’ve never had a desire to find my biological family. I mean, never say never, but up until now my feelings have not changed. Going to Korea really made me feel comfortable with this. The language barriers, the cultural differences (travelling with a child really highlighted this). Being reunited with your birth family would be an enormous undertaking. It wouldn’t be that easy. And that’s if your biological relatives even wanted to meet you (there’s a lot of shame). I don’t think I am missing enough in my gorgeous life to be willing to go through so much. I am at peace with that. Really, deeply peaceful about it.

This trip changed my life. I wondered if I’d feel a strange resentment towards the country that gave me up and made me look ‘different’ from a lot of my Aussie peers (a great source of curiosity for the ignorant). Would I want to back pedal and claim no likeness to the Korean people? Would I feel so culture shocked that it traumatised me? Would I feel ugly if I compared myself to their beauty standards (they’re big on plastic surgery and the K-pop image)? Where the hell would that leave me after spending my childhood feeling inferior to my white friends (luckily I’m well over that now)?

Turns out, I realised I own my identity as an individual. A unique person who has an amazing story of my own to tell. I got to go to this strange (to me) and wonderful country and I got to sit on both sides of the fence, so to speak. I realised I’m different everywhere I go! And I’m so stoked with that! I’m just me. I’m not a culture. I am not a race. I’ve never felt more ownership over who I am in my life. That trip made me stronger. I will be eternally grateful for it. It changed who I am because it didn’t change who I am. How’s that for confusing? But do you know what I mean? Realising that visiting Korea wasn’t going to unravel me or throw my identity into chaos and confusion, was so…oh I don’t know the word. It was positively powerful.

There are some tough memories of course. The weird, overwhelming sadness I felt at times. Shit had happened to me in this country. It led me to an amazing life, but shit happened. Shit I’d always wondered about and felt sensitive about (rejection issues anyone?). While I’ve worked hard for a lot of my adult years to understand myself better and to grow through these feelings, visiting there unexpectedly (who was I kidding?) opened up some wounds again. I felt very tender. Add the fatigue and stress of wrangling a 2 year old – probably leaving me a bit more vulnerable – and there were some feelings/moments that still feel very raw to this day. I hope that rawness fades over time.

Sometimes I even think, who the eff did we think we were trying this kind of trip with a small child?!! The things we did! The stress we were under daily! The fast pace of the holiday! Even the child free me would find it a huge task! It really wasn’t the kind of trip you would normally plan, with a toddler in mind. At least not something I (a big chicken) would normally plan! But we just had to do it. We couldn’t waste time. No-one wanted any regrets. This was the trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful that our beautiful Little Mister got to share it with me. With us. How very special.

A lot of fun was had. Some days I just walked around in awe. I couldn’t believe I was able to have such an amazing experience. I wanted to absorb everything I was seeing. Oh, if eyes were cameras, dammit!

So a year on, I feel a bit jealous of the travelling me of 2014 (certainly doesn’t help that my parents went to New York without me – the injustice!!), but I feel happy to be home too. Feeling more settled than I have in a long time.

Hashtag f*cking blessed.

Peace out xo

Sydney is only a day away.

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Somebody. Pinch me.

Tomorrow, I will be in Sydney. For a few nights. Child free. And while I’ve been very excited about it, and feeling a little guilty about not feeling guilty (haha), I think my nervous stomach (blergh) has betrayed me. This will be the longest I’ve ever left the Little Mister for. It’s not a super long time (not even a week – four nights), but it’s new to us. Of course, he will be fine with his dad. This could actually be quite good for the both of us. Still, it’s weird. The best thing that could happen is that I have a great time and miss him terribly by the time I get home. Then I’ll know I had just the right amount of time out!

Let’s just say I’ve been terribly stir crazy lately. I am more than ready to shake everything up!

True to Kez style, I haven’t really packed yet. Yesterday I threw stuff at my suitcase. Literally. Just threw stuff. At it. Not into it. At it. I wrote a list, though. I may be crap at packing, but I’m good at lists. I know that by tonight’s end, I will have way too many things in my case. My method of packing is not meticulous and well thought out like my mum’s (she’s amazing). I just throw in ANYTHING I might need and then remove a few things so it all fits. When I reach my destination, I end up living in about 5% of the clothes I took with me and something is sure to be missing. Very precise. Not.

Did I mention that there needs to be room for all the things I hope I can buy while I am there? Oops.

I am travelling with my parents. They were already going over for my dad’s work, but some good timing (and a little advance on my birthday privileges) means that I am now tagging along! I am excited about quality girl time with my mum. We are going to shop until we drop (if picky me can find anything I like)! We are also going to spend time with family friends and a long lost cousin of my dad’s who I am going to meet for the first time (she’s not ‘long lost’ anymore haha).

I find that I am excited about the smallest things.

  • Sitting on a plane child free.
  • Reading a magazine. I am determined to finish a Marie Claire. Just the one.
  • My handbag containing no child related items.
  • Doing my hair and make up properly EVERY day.
  • No-one yelling out for me in the night (it could be creepy if they did haha).
  • Not having to have constant eyes in the back of my head, always supervising someone.
  • Not having to plan each day around the needs of a three year old, which can often limit your options.
  • Not cooking dinner. No rushed meals as witching hour descends. Sorry, Mr Unprepared! 😉

Sorry not sorry, Little Mister! Haha.

I am going to miss him. I mean, duh. I am going to enjoy photo updates from Mr Unprepared. We’ll probably Face time or Skype or something. I’m going to tell everyone (who wants to know) about him. I will think about him every day – especially when I see/do things I know he’d love. But I am going to enjoy this break. F*ck yeah, I am!

When did you last get a break? What would you do if you could take one right now?

Camping 2015: Hot days.

This year we went camping in the first week of February. The best time if you have some leave from work and kids who aren’t school age yet. The massive crowds have gone home to get back to real life after the school holidays and it’s nice and quiet. A lot of retired folk (as evidenced by the sheer amount of older ladies wandering about in their big floral nighties) and young families.

This year was uncharacteristically hot! We weren’t used to this – we’re usually more likely to experience a stiff, cool breeze and a bit of rain. A couple of really bright sunny, calm days if we’re lucky! A majority of the time we were away, the weather was in the mid 30s (Celsius) at least. It got quite warm in our camper van (canvas topped) and we had to leave all of our windows unzipped so the air could get through. It became clear that we would need a strategy to keep cool through the day, because it was just too hot to sit around our campsite in the hot sun – even if we were outside.

We figured out a system where we spent the mornings in the water.

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We would then come back to the caravan park, have cool showers, and get dressed. We could then get into the air conditioned car and drive somewhere for lunch (preferably somewhere with more of a breeze…and maybe some beer) over the heat of the day.

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By the time we would find our way back to the campsite, the weather would be a bit cooler and we’d sit around eating waaaaay too many nibbles (or dinner if we even had any room left in our stomachs). After that, it’d be bed time for the Little Mister and then we would sit around looking at the stars. My mum has this ridiculous app that tells her when every single satellite is going to go over, so everyone nerded it up until we were too tired or it got too cloudy.

Of course, there was also ice cream…

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The Little Mister loved that part almost as much as he loved the beach, of course! Here he is seated outside the local supermarket, next to the ice we had purchased for our eskies (coolers). I kind of love this photo because it kind of sums up how we were all feeling that day – what a sweaty stinker! I wanted to hug that ice!

Basically, we made the most of the fact that we got more time in the water than we had in previous years and we made the hot weather work for us. It was a really amazing trip. We were so relaxed and everything just went well. It was the break I had been looking forward to for weeks (maybe even months). Next year we will have to join the throngs before school goes back (the Little Mister will begin 4 year old kindy – eek), so I am sure it will be a whole new experience to blog about for 2016!

What’s your favourite way to stay cool on a hot day?

Camping 2015: A-maze-balls.

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While we were away camping earlier this month, Mr Unprepared’s dream finally came true. He’d waited 3 years and finally, it happened.

We visited a maze.

Yep. He’d been going on and on and on about it for years, but it had never worked out. Something always stopped us from going. The weather, time limitations, you name it haha.

He was probably starting to lose hope, poor guy!

This time around, we were lucky enough to squeeze it in on our last day. My dad decided to come along, while my mum opted to sit in a comfy seat in the maze’s cafe and read the paper – not too shabby!

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It really was the perfect time to try such an activity, though. The Little Mister (3) is just the perfect age for it and it was lots of fun.

We told him what we had to do – enter the maze and find our way out the other end – and he embraced the idea, often leading the way and trying to solve the problem. He held the ‘map’ (the informations sheet they give you – which does not give a thing away) and felt very important.

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Handy fact to know about me: I have NO sense of direction whatsoever. I am not even slightly joking. It’s not that I don’t try. I just truly struggle! The only thing I can do is find the beach from anywhere. There’s a certain kind of motivation involved, I suppose! Other than that, I can become quite confused quickly! But that’s OK. I like a challenge…and I travel with others.

We found quite a few dead ends and at one point, it was looking a little frustrating, but there’s something fun about getting your problem solving skills out just for fun and not for actual problems haha.

We made it to the centre of the maze, where there is a really cool look-out. You can stand up there and see the whole maze from a great perspective. It’s so pretty! After that, it was fairly easy to make it out the other side.

Something funny I noticed on the day, was the number of pregnant ladies with their partners (and no other children). It brought memories back of that pregnant-for-the-first-time feeling. You can still get away and do anything you like child free (provided you were physically able), but there’s that excitement about being a parent, getting to do all that fun stuff with your child to be. So you find yourself at places where you want to take your child/children one day, embracing your own inner child! I remember taking a very sneaky ‘baby moon’ where we walked (I waddled) around a really cool underwater aquarium, looking at the other parents who had brought their kids and being excited that it would be me one day soon!  That was some unexpected nostalgia for me and it made me smile.

There were lots of other great little games to discover – puzzles you need to solve physically, giant chess and checkers games and a great area for picnics. Next year we will definitely have to conquer the mini golf!

Mr Unprepared was pretty happy afterwards. Tick that off his bucket list, everybody! Haha. As for the Little Mister, he was EXHAUSTED! We tried to catch a quick bite for lunch at a cafe in town afterwards, which didn’t go so smoothly (Mr Unprepared had to remove him from the premises for a bit, let’s say), but he did sleep in the car on the way back to our campsite, which was such a relief! I don’t want to wish this time away (and I live for his nap times some days), but I must admit that I do look forward to him having more stamina in the future for days like that.

While camping, we often survived by him napping in the car after lunch, or having quiet time in the camper van (or my parents’ caravan) watching a movie (the same one over and over which turned out to be quite economical for us). He just can’t seem to catch a day sleep anywhere except his bed at home (gets too excited about life and doesn’t want to miss anything), these days so we had to adapt. We weren’t worried about the change of routine while we were away – it was just for a week. When we got home we were all so tired that he napped again during the day quite happily!

I highly recommend visiting places like this – lots of fun and they often cater for kids/little ones well! Think, places for picnics, safe places to run and play, change facilities in the toilets etc. Great way to spend the day!

When was the last time you got to embrace your inner child? 

Camping 2015: On the water. And why can’t I be more like this at home?

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Yep. That’s me on my dad’s SUP (that’s Stand Up Paddle-board to those of you who haven’t been swallowed up by the craze – yet). That’s also me pretending that I’m in Hawaii (don’t ask about the fact that I couldn’t be at my amazing friend’s Honolulu wedding this past weekend – seriously).

Something really weird happens to me when we go camping. I suddenly become fairly ‘sporty’. Almost by accident. I know. It’s weird. All the things I can’t be bothered (*gasp*) doing at home, suddenly become fun and exciting while we’re away! I suppose it’s the fact that I don’t have the same responsibilities and routines on holiday. My time feels nicely freed up and the excuses about being too time poor to exercise or get out on the water melt away. Also, despite living on some stunning waterways, I guess it can sometimes be easy to take them for granted at home, but the novelty of being away makes it so much more appealing. Which I realise is kind of nuts, because we have an almost identical looking estuary system and sickeningly gorgeous beaches literally a few minutes’ walk from our place. Yeah. I know.

*slaps self*

While we were away, I thought nothing of paddle-boarding and kayaking. All in one morning. The conditions were beautiful and I didn’t hesitate to paddle far and wide (go little arms go!). I realised that I really need to embrace that spirit more at home. Not only is the exercise obviously great for me, but so is the water.

It brought me so much joy to see how much the Little Mister loves his beach time too! He would beg to go each morning and to see him splashing around in the shallows, clutching his beloved plastic green watering can and helping Mr Unprepared to build sandcastles (or more like mud castles) was so awesome.

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I don’t know how he saw anything from under that cute hat of his, but he had a ball! I’ve always dreamed of having a child who would love the water as much as I do. It was so different from last year’s trip, because he’s become old enough to hold his own in the shallows, more confident in the water and he just understands so much more how to play in it.

We spent several mornings soaking ourselves, because it was uncharacteristically hot. Last year we had spent ages escaping the biting breeze and the showers, but this time it was all about avoiding heat stroke!

After a while, it became second nature to practically bathe in sunscreen (as opposed to casually slapping it on like we are used to doing – please always do it – I beg you). I bought the Little Mister some polarised sunnies that were on sale in the charming little sports shop (he’s always had UV proof approved ones but polarised seemed great for him to avoid the glare of the water), and some green zinc to add to the experience. He loved drawing it on himself and each day he looked like The Hulk but it was worth it for my peace of mind that his little nose was safe from sunburn!

My parents bought a little life jacket for him last year and we’ve got some good wear out of it, as it takes a child of up to 25kg. It was great when we paddled out further with him in a kayak or on the paddle board. We knew he’d be OK for a moment if he took a little tumble.

Something I’ve really taken from this year’s holiday is that I need to keep the exercise momentum up. It helped to break a really unmotivated phase I was going through before we went away. I need to remember how to holiday at home and how good it feels to get active. Being on the water never feels like hard exercise to me (even when the conditions are challenging I enjoy the work). It’s definitely something I should embrace more.

What holiday behaviours would you love to embrace more in your every day life?

Home again.

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Aaaah. We’ve just got home after a crazy, glorious week away camping. I often say that you have to get away for just long enough that you start to appreciate home comforts again. Not that we were truly slumming it, to be honest. There are smart phones and brewery feeds and goodness knows what else to enjoy these days (usually involving several varieties of gourmet cheese). Not to mention brilliant little barbecues that can cook ANYTHING. But we lived simpler in our little camper van with the pull out beds. With the non soundproof canvas ‘walls’ and the dirt and the wildlife. Living out of a bag of clothes, having to walk to use the toilet or a shower. No way to regulate the weather conditions. No heating or cooling systems besides clothes vs no clothes. Just the river or the ocean. Maybe all the windows open.

There was less stuff to think about. No house to clean. Getting back to the basics. Reading more. Stressing less. Being more ‘present’. More physically active. Quality time with family every day – no exceptions.

As I sit here in my comfortable queen sized bed that doesn’t sway or creak each time we move (keep your minds out of the gutter), with my toddler peacefully slumbering at the other end of the house. As I type this blog post on my laptop (my dear darling laptop), while the TV blares some horrible bogan show at us. As my DVR sits out in the lounge room and records wonderful things. As my internet/wifi gives me almost unlimited data. As the air conditioner keeps us cool.

It all feels a little bittersweet to be home.

Like I say every time we return, I hope to remember how to keep a little bit of that holiday feeling in my every day reality throughout the year.

That’s all I have the energy for tonight, but gosh it feels awesome to blog again after a short break!

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