Swatch the Eyes, not shady

I often get asked for gift ideas for tweens and teens. I mean heck it’s not surprising I have more of them than I do preschoolers! There really is sooooo much available for the little people these days – as soon as they hit the tween and teen years gift giving gets a whole lot harder. It’s time for that to change, from now when considering content I’m going to make more effort to keep an eye out and share our big kid finds. Especially when they are as fun as this is! So here’s the first one for the Christmas list!!🙂

Lily and I were in hysterics creating this content to celebrate the release of “Swatch – the Eyes“! We are all familiar with the Swatch brand and their super fun, always unique watches (if you’re not you can check out some of our favourites: here). Fans will not be disappointed with the addition of sunglasses to the range. To say Lils was in her element would be an understatement. It is the perfect fit for her. With interchangeable snap on fronts (complete with lenses) the 35 styles allow for 245 DIFFERENT matchmaking possibilities! A different look for every mood ? They change here like the wind – we need them all!

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With so many fun styles it was really hard to narrow down a favourite. But here’s the top of Lily’s Christmas wish list: ‘the eyes of benno’ (the all white – shown above against the black) ‘the eyes of audrey’ (black and white polka dot photographed above against the pink) and  ‘the eyes of connie’ (the pink – shown above against the aqua). And the fun is not just for kids, I’ll take ‘the eyes of vicki‘ please!

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With interchangeable click on faces (each sold separately) the possibilities are endless!

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You can check out the whole range of “Swatch the Eyes”: HERE

“Her future is so bright, she has to wear shades.” ;) 


Over the rainbow for play-dough!

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At the beginning of this year we said goodbye to Ruby’s ipad. It broke and we made the decision not to fix it, and deleted the apps she was obsessed with from our phones. While we weren’t (still aren’t) opposed to her enjoying a moderate amount of screen time each day, it was the behaviour we were seeing after interacting with the ipad that was the problem. Think Britney Spears circa 2007 and you have a vague idea of the epic meltdowns we were witnessing. So we said goodbye. Instead  Playschool and the occasional Disney on the big screen are pretty much the extent of her screen time. Sitting further back from the screen seems to be far less addictive. She generally walks away before i’ve even needed to switch it off. And her mood stays constant (well as constant as we could possibly hope for considering – threenager) PHEW!

So, craft is a thing here. Although I leave most of the messy stuff for nursery school  -playdough we can handle. We recently discovered Happy Hands Happy Heart through a friend and just had to rave about it here. The most beautiful scents EVER. The texture and consistency is to die for. And the gentle colours so divine.

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Founder Emma is passionate about play based learning and wanted to create an all natural product mimicking colours and scents found in nature. Think Cinnamon, Chocolate, Lavender, Lemon, Blood Orange, Vanilla, Spearmint and Grapefruit. Its a sensory explosion packed away neatly in the most gorgeous easy to open jars. We’ve had ours for months and the colours and scents are still going strong. And despite not being overly speedy in packing it away each time (so me) it is yet to dry out!

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Such a cute idea for christmas gifts this year!

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You can see the full range of scents and accessories: HERE

Check out Emma’s beautifully curated (she has an eye!) Instagram account: HERE

 


Beautiful Byron Bay

After a week-long hunt for a lost memory card I’m pressing on with this blog post, and trying not to think about the lost photos – weep! (MUST become an organised adult at some point soon and stop losing super valuable and irreplaceable things! gah). Anyway turns out I’m oversharing with a gazillion photos anyway and have just added some links to the places I don’t have photos of. I’m completely blaming the hectic renovation that has sent our lives into absolute chaos!

Beautiful Byron, one of our favourite family holidays yet. Something for all ages. So much to do but also the perfect surroundings to just kick back and relax. As a wanna be hipster (gimme all the hipster food! just can I also eat soft cheese, and champagne, and the occasional steak?!) the place was total foodie heaven. Vegan everything or just organic home-grown deliciousness. You wont leave hungry!

Accommodation

Palm Tree Cottage: Owned by the gorgeous Mister Zimi , perfect family accommodation. We are a family of 5, Ed is 13, Lily 10 and Ruby nearly 3 and the size was absolutely perfect. 2 queen rooms and a loaded up kids room with twin beds trundle and a cot. We could have easily fit more children, but probably not more adults as our 13-year-old son took the second queen room and it was a very comfortable set up. If you were keen on a group and each visiting couple had one child only (0r a bunch of toddlers), then two families would fit. Otherwise I’d say stick to one if your family is on the larger size. The styling of the house was PERFECT so clean and bright with pops of colour at every turn with an open plan kitchen/diving/living. Linen was far beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in an air b & b (stunning quality) but probably the best thing of all was the provision of absolutely everything. Sauce, olive oil, salt in the pantry, laundry powder, soap, towels ,beach towels, bikes with toddler seats, toys, games, body boards, literally just pack your swimmers!! You feel instantly at home the second you walk in the door. If you’re after an authentic family Byron Bay experience and appreciate convenience, character (so much better than a stripped back completely sterile holiday home) and reasonable prices, then this is the shack for you. We will be back without a doubt! PS did I mention there is a pirate ship cubby? pardon the posing 3-year-old, I cannot even explain, I ask to take her photo and that’s what she does at the top of the slide ! She’s a trick!

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The Beaches

The Byron Bay beaches are literally as if they were purpose made for families. There is something for literally every age. A point break AND a surf break (I know very little about surfing but the huzz and son tell me this is UN HEARD OF) an inlet (referred to by Ruby as the river, warm, calm, so perfect for babies and toddlers to paddle) tree lined beaches providing so much shade, wild life (bush turkeys, goannas, lizards, kangaroos and wild rabbits were daily sightings at The Pass and/or Tallows) walking trails along the coast line, rocks for crabbing, what have I missed? We are spoilt with amazing beaches in South Australia, but I have to admit, Byron owns the best I’ve ever seen in Australia. Big call but I’m backing it.

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Halcyon House

What a treat, located at Cabarita Beach this former surfers motel has been transferred to luxury and houses Paper Daisy restaurant. Well worth a visit either with or without kids to try the food. We had the prawn salad and home-made magnums – eek! DIVINE. The absolutely stunning fit out reflect everything Australian Summer. I’m already hinting to Andy it would be a nice sneaky couples weekend idea. I could definitely see myself by that pool with a mojito for an afternoon.

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Killen Falls

This is a must. Kids, no kids, it’s a short work (although a decent rocky clamber the last couple hundred metres) and well worth it. People set up for the day with towels and swimmers and soak up the tranquility and cleansing properties in the air. When we looked back at the holiday and I asked the big kids their favourite, this was it (followed very closely by Crystal Castle for Lily) but they just loved this adventure. If we had more time we would have visited again this time with a packed lunch so we could stay longer – because snacks.

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The Farm Byron Bay

We visited twice! Such an amazing set up. Again something for all ages but my girls (3 and 10) just adored it. Well we all did. But they were literally freaking out with joy. But that said you don’t need kids to enjoy this set up. Something for everyone. Food outstanding. We visited twice both times for breakfast. Next time we will go for dinner also for sure. The girls participated in the Farm Kids holiday workshop where they get to go into all the enclosures, get up and close with the animals, collect eggs and macadamia nuts, which they then cook with and up cycle the shells into gorgeous little decorated planters for sprouts! You can see our progress pics below. They were so happy with themselves. And it was an added bonus that it was an activity a 3 and 10-year-old could enjoy together – not always the case. The casual environment, playground, lawns, and open space make it a super enjoyable outing and so easy to visit again and again and always do something different. We pre ordered cheese hampers for the day the girls did the Farm Kids activities. Ruby ended up needing a nap so we took it to the beach with us that night instead of having it there. SO GOOD.

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Rae’s at Wategos

Gorgeous lunch with stunning views of Wategos Beach . We snuck to this one child free. Beautifully presented amazing quality food. Bookings are essential and lunch and dinner only, if you’re looking for a romantic or relaxed but beautiful meal this is definitely worth a visit. A fave. Lots of beautiful walks close by and if you’re into your architecture there are plenty of celebrity beach houses to try to catch a glimpse of close by! We did the lighthouse walk on other days, but it’s literally right there too. Stunning.

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Harvest

Located in the Byron Bay Hinterland this was an absolute delight. Rustic yet sophisticated ambience reflective of the divine country setting, they showcase some of the regions best produce. We booked for a late sitting for lunch with the kids on a Saturday afternoon. When we arrived it was initially super busy and threatened to be a disaster (I think a wedding party – a big one! had dropped in unexpectedly and thrown a bit of chaos) but within minutes they had us seated and things settled very quickly to be one of the best lunches we’ve ever experienced. Remember this – the lamb for two! pictured below. Just beyond. I hope it’s still on the menu when we return! That said the cocktails the fish, the kids meals everything tasteful, healthy, and just outstanding. Okay you get it, I’ll stop raving now. GO.

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The Lighthouse Walks

An absolute must, if I lived locally I’d go every day. Such a fun way to quickly get in some very decent exercise while on holidays (hello stairs!) spectacular views and several hike options.

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Doma Cafe (Federal)

They don’t seem to have a webpage for me to link in here but look them up. SO worth the drive if you have a car. (I would highly recommend a car for this holiday, so much to do just out-of-town). Fresh Japanese inspired food. Sushi, salads, burgers. A play area for the kids in a casual rustic yet authentic setting. And the drive out was spectacular.

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Other outings:

Crystal Castle

This was sweet. And unfort the photos are all on the missing memory card😦. When I find it I”ll load up some images. Set in the beautiful hinterland its a decent drive. Probably too far to just ‘pop in’ but if you have interested members in the family its worth it. With recent illness in our fam natural healing and health is high priority so it was a great little educational spiritual visit for the girls and I. It’s a gorgeous walk with loads of wildlife, crystals galore (of course) a labyrinth and little play ground for the kids and a nice airy cafe. The boys played golf while we did this and I definitely don’t think it would have been up their alley at all. But Lily (10) loved it so much. She still talks about it and treasures the crystals she’s brought home with her.

Other places to eat

The Tree House – BRILLIANT.  def with kids but no kids? yes yes! go anyway! This casual setting on Belongil Beach is essential. Easy well priced but super nourishing food. Wood fired pizzas, salads, cocktails. We visited a few times for dinner (hence no photos I’m rubbish at night-time photography) but this is honestly just the best casual dining ever. I want it to be my local! Any time of day, any company, anything goes. FAVE casual dining I think!

Byron Fresh – in the main part of the town (I am forgetting streets here) but great casual easy food, delicious cocktails and constant live music. We went once for lunch and once for dinner. Cute quintessential Byron style fit out. I recall hearing from somebody they didn’t love it here but we all loved it! So a thumbs up from me.

Miss Margarita – we didn’t go but looked so great for dinner! Mexican – YUM.

Bay Leaf – Possibly my favourite breakfast! That said , that’s a big call, there were a lot of good breakfast options! But this was epic. I had the quinoa porridge. DELISH. Very busy but if you can get a table its well worth the hustle. I could eat here every day.

Leaf and Grain – next door to Bay Leaf. Great coffee and quick take away breakfast options.

Naked Treaties – I had long time admired these guys (I am not a vegan but so so so love vegan food) via their instagram account. We just don’t have anywhere with such a wide range of raw treats, salads and epic smoothies where I live. Definitely worth a visit to try the latest energy boosting or cleansing formula. We went several times and loved everything.

Combi Byron Bay – spectacular smoothie bowls and raw treats. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and gorgeous fit out. Another one we frequented regularly for healthy treats. I always make an effort to visit them in Elwood when I’m in Melbourne, so was excited to see they had recently opened in Byron.

Shopping

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Oh gosh where to start. so so SO many beautiful options in Byron Bay with a real range in price point so definitely something for everyone. From thrift shops to high-end vintage it’s all there. A week wasn’t long enough to really make the most of what was on offer but here is where I went, I’m sure a have missed a million good places – good reason to go back!

Mister Zimi What can I say. Colour! Byron Bay! Bali! Santorini! Beach! Cocktails! Green Juice! Oysters! This brand screams it all. Everything I love encapsulated in the form of  colour bomb hard-wearing super comfy clothing. Long time favourites. Was so great to visit their new store in person as have previously only shopped online. (next door is the Mez Club, so on point with the Mister Zimi vibes, perfect spot to celebrate your purchase with a cocktail!)

Spell Located so close to Palm Tree Cottage you’ll drive past every day on your way to town or the beach. Beautiful whimsical everything. Worth a visit not just for the fashion but to lust over the quintessential byron boho interiors and shop front. Love everything about them.

Auguste the Label Loved everything about this store. I’ve long time seen bloggers sporting these whimsical threads but never in the flesh. I bought so many pieces. Affordable boho in wearable styles. perfect to wear to the beach or lunch in one of the many nearby cafes.

Ahoy Trader all the cute homeware. They have online too, I have my eyes on so many things for home once our renovation is complete.

Hendrix & Harlow so many cute things!

Byron Bay Hanging Chairs I love them so! Planning a space for one in my home as we speak. Was forever admiring them in shops and accommodation as we passed by.

Tiny People  The most lovely owner and divine children’s clothing, decor and accessories. I bought the girls some gorgeous white dresses and sandals here.

That’s it! Our week in Byron Bay. These were really just the places we stumbled on or were recommended to visit. I’m sure I’ve missed a whole bunch of places but if we’d done it all we couldn’t have hit the beach for half of every day. Next time we will stay 2 weeks, for sure. xx


Wake Up In Style

Yesterday I was lucky enough to #wakeupinstyle in Sydney and be part of  a collaboration launch between delish @mocconacoffee and the always delightful @peteralexanderofficial. Little did they know I have very low standards in this morning routine field, the ideal was merely met by the fact I woke up in a hotel ALONE without children, husband, dogs, back to school chaos, Mama’s you get it – but this was so much more! Think fresh pjs, The Ivy Penthouse, uninterrupted brunch and flowing coffee. Style was an understatement.

Moccona have released 4 collectible jars (available in supermarkets from October 24) showing off trademark Peter Alexander designs. I can’t wait to show you what I do with my up-cycling down the track (the best part of this challenge, drinking the 3657 cups of coffee to empty the jars in due time to show you what to do with them! because, COFFEE, challenge dutifully accepted)

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Spotted, exhausted housewife plotting how to miss flight home during celebratory photoshoot.

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The best part – 100% of the collaboration proceeds go to the RSPCA. Drinking coffee to help cute animals, its a win win really.

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Coffee jar to vase. The DIY nerd in me cannot resist a colourful up-cycle.

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Match your pjs to your coffee – cute of them!


A week in Hong Kong

When the huzz has been on 14 overseas trips this year (and counting) and announces another impromptu sojourn (okay okay admittedly he works extremely hard but details) what else is an exhausted Mama of three to do but stash herself and youngest child in his stowaway luggage. Surprise ! We find you!

I joke I joke, but a mini break was exactly what we needed. Andy had a pretty full schedule and despite being practically local had no time to give me even the heads up on basic house keeping like – don’t drink the tap water. Which, admittedly is common sense. But I just. kept. doing. it. and blaming the fish. Until I finally worked it out. LOL! OH well didn’t need that extra 2kg anyway. Nothing a banana and coconut water couldn’t fix!! In all seriousness only a minor tummy upset and Rubes and I had so much fun exploring this exciting city together. So it turned out, we got a flag to a tonne of conference dinners too – the cheats way to seeing all the best restaurants in Hong Kong without having to do any research ! Was not complaining!

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We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel on Hong Kong Island. Brilliant location, so easy to get to everything we needed. Admittedly we chose the hotel for its amazing pool. Remembering our time in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands (you can read about it here) and how much Ruby loved the pool there this was the obvious choice. What we weren’t to know was she decided on arrival completely out of the blue, that she’s petrified of swimming. Thank heavens for the 3 inch decorative fountain surrounding the area, I could atleast have a latte every morning poolside while she rolled around in that like a mini hippo, other parents looking at us strangely, offering up their floating devices and bribes to try and help me get her in THE ACTUAL POOL. Bless. Didn’t happen. But we loved it all the same! And can you even handle the view from our room! We will definitely be back.

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Getting around: This scooter made the trip, 100%. we took it everywhere. I have a Bugaboo Bee. Normally super handy for travel. But with all the air bridges, and a nearly 3 year old with no interest in actually sitting. and the lack of lifts (escalators a plenty) I quickly realised the scooter was the way forward. All the airbridges (pictured below) connect the hotels and shopping centres and so many of the day to day places we visited were easily accessed via scooter. It was also easier to get on the MTR with a scooter than a pram (buy an Octopus card when you arrive – thank me later – the train is so quick and easy to get around on!) and didn’t get even a sideways glance from security in all the lush shopping centres. I just held on to the handle bars when the crowds got busy and steered her through, preventing any side eye glances from shoppers. I will never travel without it!

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The Peak: Worth a look but can be very busy with tourists. We arrived at dusk so we could see it in daylight and also lit up at night. There are restaurants (very casual) and a decent sized shopping centre. Catch the tram up for the whole experience and a stunning view of Hong Kong.

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Shek O Beach: This was one of my favourite outings in Hong Kong. I had no idea the beaches would be so beautiful, the surrounding fishing villages even more so. Everything so lush and green. just STUNNING. I was lucky enough to have a beautiful friend pick us up and take us on the most magical drive through this area. Colourful architecture at every turn. I could move in tomorrow. (Claire wearing Mister Zimi, Ruby wearing Oishi M)

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Victoria Park: located in Causeway bay, not far from Times Square, this lush green park in the heart of the city is a welcome break from the hustle. Ruby was beyond delighted to discover the playground and we visited frequently to break up our shopping trips. (Ruby wearing Oishi M)

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Times Square: Holy moly this was a surprise. Think BUSY. Don’t take your stroller, I would wear baby in a sling, and toddlers on scooters or on foot so that you can make full use of the escalators. Don’t do what I did and try and get a taxi out at 5 pm on a Friday night – didn’t think that one through! but absolutely worth the visit. Diverse range of shops and great food spots too. Atmosphere a plenty.

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Goldfish Market – Tung Choi Street North (Kowloon): Ruby and I caught the train from central and got off at Prince Edward Station. So easy and could walk from here to the Flower Markets (only a few streets away). Streets were lined with more exotic breeds of goldfish than I’ve ever seen. Some with the most alarming price tags! Ruby thoroughly enjoyed this walk, so much to see and a great way to soak up authentic Hong Kong atmosphere away from the plethora of high end shops.

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Flower Markets: appropriately located on Flower Market Road (Kowloon) absolutely beautiful. Not sure I could have gotten away with this one with my older children in tow (boring they would say) but Ruby loved it. Especially the pet kittens wandering around the place! Certainly one to put on your list if you have an interest in photography, or flowers, or both! I adored it and would visit again for sure. But I love flowers. And taking photos of them . So it was a win for me😉

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Soho (south of Hollywood Road): I LOVED it here. We visited regularly as it was so easy to get to on the airbridge escalators. For this reason I would definitely recommend the Four Seasons Hotel as it was so close by. We loved being in this area. The streets are beyond chic. Full of delightful shops and delicious snacks. Set amongst some of Hong Kong’s most beautiful historic narrow streets you’ll find some of the best bars and restaurants. By day there are shops galore, art galleries, and stunning antique shops. And by night it really comes into its own, upmarket cocktail bars, delicious restaurants. SO much fun to be had. We loved Petit Bazaar on Gough Rd. The most divine children’s fashion and decor boutique spilling with all our favourite brands. Tutu du Monde, Bobo Choses, Numero 74, Louise Misha. This list goes on!

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Disneyland – a total highlight. You can read our Disney post here.

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Ocean Park. Basically Hong Kong’s version of our Aussie Seaworld! If I had my time again I perhaps wouldn’t have bothered going with just Ruby (nearly 3). It’s a big day. She absolutely loved it but we found it pretty exhausting in the humidity. Very large and everything quite spread out. Perfect for a large family outing where you can split up. So much to do for a wide range of age groups. My big kids would have adored it and I would definitely go back with them. If I was in town with just Ruby and had to choose, I’d probably head to Disney again as it’s focused more at her age group.

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Other things to do:

The Victoria Harbour Symphony of Lights Show

Big Buddha We missed out on this due to bad weather on the day we were planning to go. I will be making it an absolute priority on our next visit. Sad to have missed it this time.

Aberdeen Fishing Village Colourful boats galore. I would have loved to have seen this!

Instagram Pier : could be fun !

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hong Kong Disney Land

My Hong Kong photo diary is getting pretty massive so to prevent one humungo post I decided to split it up. First up, the happiest place on earth! I’ve been receiving loads of questions on my Instagram about this one. Worlds smallest Disney so I believe? We’ve been to the Anaheim Disney Park before with the big kids and WOAH. We were there 2 days and it wasn’t nearly long enough, that said, the line ups (one hour per ride! atleast!) were so draining and although we LOVED it, and will most definitely go back (and attempt a quieter time of year if that’s even possible) I found it pretty draining.

Hong Kong Disney on the other hand was smaller, and more focused towards the littles, which was perfect for us as we were travelling only with Ruby this time around. That said, our older kids (10 and 13) would have definitely been able to entertain themselves MORE than happily. And the beauty of its size meant it was easier to get around. We were cursed (blessed?) with monsoonal rainfall while we were there. The upside being, literally NO LINE UPS. for anything. Still enough people there to create atmosphere but the ability to walk straight onto rides with a nearly 3-year-old was pretty much well and truly worth walking around for 2 hours in squelching shoes and a see through wet clothing LOL. The upside, it was warm the whole time, and eventually, the sun came out! So we got the best of both worlds. My conclusion, definitely worth the visit. It’s easy to get to via the MTR (jump on at Hong Kong Central) and you can do the whole park in a day, but could definitely enjoy it over a couple. Andy travels to HK for work often, so on return trips I wouldn’t hesitate to take the kids back on my own for a quick half day outing either.

Ruby’s favourite rides were basically anything residing in Fantasy Land. Weeks later she’s still gushing over the Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Dumbo The Flying Elephant, the teacups, It’s a small world (awesome a/c on this one – if your husbands getting restless pop him on this a few times to calm down, a welcome break from the humidity) , and Mickey’s Philar Magic show was so much fun. Here are a few pics from our day. If you look closely you can see how drenched we were!! Thankfully the sun came out in the end and our memories are only good. We will definitely be back with the whole fam in the near future. 

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Our Enchanted Forest

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One of my girlfriends had heard of a magical forest full of fairies (of course) and wild flowers not too far from where we live. So yesterday afternoon we bundled the kids in the car and went for a wander. It was so close to dusk when we arrived I quickly took some pics before letting Ruby explore the magic (without me in her face with my camera the whole time!) It was just so incredibly beautiful. Rubes is super into enchanted things at the moment. All the princesses and fairies and magic. She puts on a quiet soft little high pitched voice and goes into her own little imaginary land when she plays. It’s honestly the sweetest thing!

How super cute are her play clothes! I have so much Oishi-m it’s a staple in Ruby’s closet. They are so colourful and fun for kids but also so durable, you can wash and wash. And so perfect for day care because paint and all the mess come straight out and they hold up so well in the wash. Not to mention, Nina Proudman dresses her daughter in it. Say no more! Love that (totally fictional character but – details) lady’s style so much!

It’s nice to be back blogging again after a horrific start to the year. Things are still super hard, my brother is in a lot of pain and it’s so hard to see someone you love so unwell. But he is so strong he’s amazing how well he’s handling everything. Getting back into my photography and instagram, and taking some time out each day to indulge in my creative outlet has lifted my spirits the last few weeks, and making me a stronger sister for my gorgeous bro. We are off to Hong Kong later this week on another colourful adventure! I can’t wait to share. 

xx Claire 

 


Our Healthy Yoghurt Pops

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After lots of requests via my Instagram account (@clairecollected) here are the healthy yoghurt pops I posted to my feed the other day! My kids LOVE these. And I literally race them for them because YUM, so good!!!
These recipes are very healthy. Literally just fruit of choice, natural yoghurt, and a splash of honey. They are a tiny bit on the tart side, but I love that, I am a lover of natural yoghurt from way back so that’s a win for me. And for the kids I drizzled a teeeeeeny amount of white chocolate over the top. This could easily be done with a sugar free alternative if you prefer. I just used a splash of good quality chocolate because, well, delicious.
I mixed all my ingredients using a Nutri Ninja Slim I got for a bargain price from Coles (linked here). I have higher powered blenders but I find this one really handy because it’s small and so easy to clean, so I can whip up four (or more) flavours super fast without loads of mess, lots of washing, or excess mixture. It churns through everything even frozen fruit and ice really fast – it’s literally just blitz and pour. A sinch! Before pouring in the fruit and yoghurt mixture I pressed sliced fresh fruit inside the moulds for a fun effect, tipped in the rest, popped in the sticks and  that’s it. Freeze for atleast 6 hours, and you’re done!
Strawberry:
Fresh strawberries
Natural yoghurt (I use either Chobani or the full fat natural yoghurt from The Yoghurt Shop, because – all natural and higher protein content)
Honey to taste.
Extra fresh strawberries to garnish
Papaya
Fresh Papaya – make sure it’s ripe
Natural yoghurt
Honey
Kiwi & Pineapple
2 parts pineapple
1 part kiwi (make sure it is ripe, for this batch it wasn’t super ripe, and I probably did more of a 50/50 kiwi/pineapple mix. It was far too bitter, inedible, go long with the pineapple, and if you have a sweet tooth a generous splash of natural sweetener of choice. We used honey. I might even add a little pineapple juice next time I think that could be a winner)
Natural yoghurt
fresh kiwi to garnish
Blueberry/Banana
Frozen blueberries
Natural yoghurt
Honey to taste
Banana to garnish ( I make it quite thick, I love the consistency of frozen banana, I think this one is probably my favourite).
My kids are used to natural yoghurt so the sweetness of the fruit and a bit of honey is fine for them. You can definitely still taste the ‘natural’ taste of the yoghurt, which we love, but if you’re not into that, try adding a stronger natural sweetener such as agave syrup or even a splash of natural fruit juice to sweeten it up. But I think they’re prefect just like this. This was our first batch of these, next time I want to get even more creative. I would LOVE to hear your recipe suggestions! X C

A Colourful Singapore adventure

Finally I have rescued my photos from our trip to Singapore late last year from my rapidly fading laptop so I can share them with you, for those who have been waiting, so sorry for the delay! This was SUCH a wonderful trip. My husband and I are still talking about it. It was completely impromptu, a conference came up for Andy’s work, the big kids were due to be with their Dad that week, so we decided why not extend his stay and Ruby and I hop along for the journey.

I am SO glad we did. Ruby was the perfect age for this adventure. All my kids have generally travelled really well over the years. But I particularly loved this age (22 months at the time) for travel. I know it’s a big call, some would say travelling with a nearly 2 year old is a recipe for a whole lot of stress. The secret? I think the fact that she still needed sleeps, but would happily have them in her pram on the go, meant that she was well rested the whole time, and we didn’t miss out on a single thing we wanted to do.

At home her normal routine is probably that of most toddlers her age, a long sleep in the middle of the day, bed around 7/8. So we found by the time we got up, took her to hotel breakfast (where she could eat all the healthy, filling, nourishing food she wanted – for free!) and then set off she was already getting weary. By the time we arrived at the days first location she would be getting tired already. SO, if we had stuck to her routine at home we literally would have spent the entire holiday in our hotel room.

Instead, by lunch time we would lay her back in her pram, and she would fall asleep on the go. The result? Child free lunch! She would sleep through lunch every day while we relaxed, refuel and re boost energy for the afternoons activities. She would generally only sleep for an hour, so once up we would carry on with that days itinerary until we were done, then head back to the hotel. We were staying at the Marina Bay Sands so would then hit the EPIC roof top infinity pool (if you haven’t visited or looked into this hotel, it’s a MUST, just try not to think about how high in the air you are, if you can get past the height factor, you will just LOVE this resort, we adored it!) for a swim (cocktail for Mum and Dad) and then back to our room where we would put her to bed around 4:30pm. She would then sleep until 6:30 while we relaxed, had a drink, read, worked, showered, got ready for dinner. By the time Ruby was up she was fully refreshed and we were able to take her out to dinner with us until 9/10pm each night. I was beyond thrilled with how easy this was. I’ve always followed a loose routine for the kids. Most days I generally stick to a similar sleep structure and meal pattern. But I also love to teach the kids that holidays can be different to home, as are weekends, or special occasions. The others are older now, and I love that we can take Ruby out to enjoy evening activities when we are away (or even at home for that matter) one night, and the next night she’ll happily go back to her usual routine of 7 ish bedtime. With a big family, and older kids (10 & 12) this flexibility is super important to us.

So here’s a collection of photos from our colourful journey, and some links and information below to our favourite places to go, some were touristy, others were more along the cultural trail, all super enjoyable. I was lucky enough thanks to Instagram connections to have a bunch of activity recommendations prior to leaving from my friend Joanne. We visited all her recommendations (included below) and also added some more discoveries of our own. Singapore was so lush and clean and it was really easy to get around on the underground transport system. The people were so happy, polite and welcoming, and Ruby was completely adored everywhere we went. We will definitely be going back with the whole family to see more of what Singapore has to offer.  xC 

Getting there:

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Singapore Airlines

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Singapore Airlines

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Where we stayed:

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Marina Bay Sands (looking up at sky park – pool/restaurants- on top)

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Marina Bay Sands

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Marina Bay Sands

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands Sky Park

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Marina Bay Sands – shopping

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Marina Bay Sands – shopping

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Marina Bay Sands – shopping

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Gardens by The Bay

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Gardens by the Bay

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Gardens by The Bay

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Gardens by The Bay

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Gardens by the Bay (wearing Kachel)

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Gardens By the Bay (Children by the Bay wearing Molo)

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Gardens By the Bay (Children by the Bay)

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Gardens By the Bay (Children by the Bay)

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Duxton Hill (wearing Coco & Ginger)

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

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Lucha Lola, Duxton Hill

The Colour Trail

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing & Bohemian Traders)

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing & Bohemian Traders)

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Arab Street area

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing)

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Arab Street area (wearing Peggy Clothing)

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Arab Street area

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Arab Street area (wearing Bohemian Traders)

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China Town

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China Town

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China Town (wearing Coco & Ginger)

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China Town

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Little India (wearing Kachel)

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Little India

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Clarke Quay (wearing Coco & Ginger and Bohemian Traders)

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Clarke Quay

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Clarke Quay (wearing Feather Drum)

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Clarke Quay

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Boat Quay (wearing Feather Drum)

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Joo Chiat Shop Houses

Tourist Attractions

  1. Gardens by the Bay Just spectacular. You could easily visit more than once. Lucky for us this was at the base of the Marina Bay Sands hotel where we were staying, we visited the gardens regularly, the indoor atriums provide welcome escape from the heat and humidity, and the outdoor water play area and playground are a must for the kids. Clean, bright, shady, lush, Ruby could have happily visited every day. Between that and the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands she was in her element.

  2. Sea Aquarium at Sentosa From Marina Bay Sands Sentosa was only a 15 minute taxi drive, very easy to get to. I took Ruby over to the Aquarium (saving Universal Studios for another trip with the big kids) It was a great set up, worth the visit, however if you’re used to the aquariums in Australia (Sydney/Melbourne) there’s probably nothing particularly new here. Don’t get me wrong, we loved it, but for me I generally prefer to do things overseas that I can’t do in my own country, so I wouldn’t bother visiting again next time. Universal studios on the other hand will definitely get a look in, perhaps we will even stay a few nights on Sentosa island itself. Less traffic, lots of wildlife, so lush and green, I hear it’s fantastic.

  3. Universal Studio Singapore at Sentosa

  4. Singapore Zoo (Book in advance and have breakfast with the Orang Utans, highly HIGHLY recommend!) I have no photos of this unfortunately! I was craving a camera free outing so we literally just went along and soaked it up. Such a beautiful experience. You need to book in advance but it’s well worth the effort.

  5. The Singapore Flyer a great view of Singapore!

Outdoor leisure/adventure

  1. Botanical Garden (recently listed as UNESCO heritage site) is an absolute must https://www.sbg.org.sg/  There’s a small waterpark at Jacob Ballas Childrens Garden so pack bathers if you are taking kids.

  2. Forest Adventure Treetop Course at Bedok Reservoir Park http://forestadventure.com.sg/?utm_expid=22567813-2._zOP5p_cT52MMsDyUUM7kw.0&utm_referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.littledayout.com%2Flisting%2Fforest-adventure.html We didn’t get here, it’s on the list for next time, call up to make an appointment as they limit the number of people who may go on the treetops

  3. Skyline Luge at Sentosa http://www.sentosa.com.sg/en/attractions/imbiah-lookout/sentosa-luge-skyride/

Heritage/Cultural/Colour

Because we were away for my husbands work (conference) I had quite a few days exploring just Ruby and I. We didn’t take the big kids on this trip as they were still in school. So without their enthusiasm to attend every tourist park (Universal Studios etc I will save for when they are travelling with me) I spent most of my time on the Singapore culture trail. Ruby was more than happy to sit in her stroller and watch the world go by. Tasting new food, talking to people, exploring new places was enough for her, which was perfect for me as we could happily do all the things I wanted to do and both get value out of the outings. Here’s where we went:

  1. Little India http://littleindia.com.sg/ Think food, markets, stalls, temples and colour colour colour. I was on my own with Ruby this day so just wandered around on my own, ended up meeting up with another tourist and we explored together taking photos for one another! If I had my time again I think I would possibly book into the tour, I feel like Little India had hidden treasures and history lessons that I would have loved to have learnt more about. Expect lots of stalls, food, cafes, take your camera.

  2. Chinatown http://www.chinatown.sg/ Definitely worth a look. Great shopping and food of course. We explored the surrounding streets, hidden bursts of colour at every turn. I will definitely go back to explore further when we visit next. Id love to see it at night time with the lanterns all lit up.

  3. Arab Street area: I loved this walk. Basically for the photography. Colour at every turn, lots of cute shop houses. Unfortunately the day we went was bin day, but it wasn’t too hard to avoid them in my shots. The shops themselves are more so craft and fabric based. I would have loved to have looked further but not that useful to me whilst on holidays, probably more a shopping area for locals. That said the colour and interesting architecture, temples, well worth the visit if you have an interest in photography, I will definitely go back again next time.

  4. Joo Chiat Shop Houses: This for me was totally off the beaten track. I googled it literally using that title. I found it tricky to get to BUT once we were there it was really fun to wander around all the colourful homes and shop houses. Again, I got away with it because I was travelling with a toddler who was happy kicking back in her pram with a watermelon juice (readily available) while I strolled, I’m not sure my older children would have been quite as tolerant to travel so far out of our way to visit a street of colourful homes. But if you’re travelling with a baby or on your own, it’s a fun colourful spot to take photos.

  5. Boat/Clarke Quay: Easy to get to and more mainstream, this is where I stumbled on that GIANT colourful building. The MICA (Ministry of Information, Communication, and the Arts), which is virtually impossible to walk by without stopping to take a photo. Nearby to here is the waterfront. More of a tourist trail, rides, ice-creams, lots of restaurants, but also lots of colour. If you’re after a convenient family friendly wander where you can take great photos and everyone is happy, Clarke and Boat Quays are definitely for you.

A few of our favourite places to eat:

Lucha Lola in Duxton Hill. Possibly the best Mexican and cocktails EVER.

Absinthe in Boat Quay. If you love French food, this is a must. Not quite as family friendly, more of a date night for Mum and Dad. We took Ruby having had a late afternoon sleep. Sitting out watching the boats go by she was perfectly behaved. Not sure I’d brave it with all three. Probably would though but I love a challenge like that in the name of a tasty meal!

We also stumbled on this cute cafe near Little India called AEIOU. Avocado lattes and vintage treasures galore, a super cute stop over. Lots of whole-foods and eclectic delights to look over. So worth a look if you’re in the area.

If you’re staying at the Marina Bay Sands we found it very convenient to eat at the restaurants in the attached shopping precinct . Great Pizza and Seafood Bars, very handy after a big day of tourist activities to have a range of restaurants so close by to where we were staying. You can check out the range of restaurants at Marina Bay Sands: HERE.


In Paradise with Sunny Jim

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Aussie summer is in full flight, every January I say the same thing, “is it really this hot for this long!?” this week we spent 7 glorious nights on Kangaroo Island’s ‘Island Beach’, compared to the busy beaches we are used to, this basically felt like our own private oasis, the serenity, I’ve never experienced anything like it. With the busy lives we lead, and the crazy school routine about to begin again in just weeks, this was the perfect way to spend the summer, and no better time to road test our friends Sunny Jim and their luxury beach shades. We chose  the ‘Sunny Jim Shade with Beach Bag’, its ultimate in chic and has the highest UV rating available (UPF50+), so lightweight and easy to put up, essential when dragging large families complete with two giant Labradors to the beach every day! The super durable beach bag comes with ample room for the Sunny Jim Sunshade and all your other goods. Check out more from Sunny Jim, here.

To shop the beach tent and bag combo featured here, follow this link: and enter the code ‘thankyou20’ for 20% off any order over $89.95.

And as for Kangaroo Island, there’s more to come from here! I have so many photos from this amazing holiday. Albeit mainly family snaps, but I really want to show you around. I can’t wait to share more!

X Claire