DIY Thelma the Unicorn Costume

Today was Ruby’s first ever book week parade. She was recently gifted ‘Thelma the Unicorn” from a special friend and it has quickly become her favourite book so her character choice was a no brainer. A quick look online at local costume shops and I realised I was going to have to get crafting. I have very little craft skill, cannot sew (I would love to learn!) so trust me this is dead set easy. Infact the headband and tail were so simple and effective I think I’ll make a whole bunch of them for Ruby’s upcoming unicorn birthday party (assuming she doesn’t change the theme on me between now and then which let’s be honest – highly likely!)

You will need:

  • Headband: I used one we already owned (from Seed) with existing ears and added the horn. You could easily buy a plain headband from Spotlight or similar and make the whole piece from scratch.
  • Glitter cardboard: for horn
  • Wool (any colour you like!): for horn
  • One piece of firm white felt
  • Pastel coloured wool: for tail
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Pink leggings and t shirt (ours were Big W)
  • Ribbon: for hair
  • Clip or safety pin (to attach tail to pants)

Cut cardboard into shape as shown above. All the unicorn headbands I had seen in shops had tiny little horns. We wanted this one to be extra. And super fabulous! So I did a test run on a scrap piece of paper and in the end went with approx 20cm per side. Roll paper into shape and snip off the base end with scissors (so it will sit flush on the headband) and secure edge with hot glue gun.

Using dabs of glue from hot glue gun wrap your wool around the horn to create a unicorn ribbing effect. Cut two pieces of felt and attach one to the bottom of the horn (using hot glue gun). Trim away any excess felt. Glue the horn to the headband and then cover second circle of felt in glue also and secure on the under side of the headband (as shown below). Voila! So easy.

For the tail I cut 24 pieces of wool all one metre long. This was too long in the end I shorted it a little but a metre was good to start off with. I knotted the top, braided the tail and knotted the bottom with a small piece of wool. Using a hair brush (tip if you have a pet brush use that! I didn’t, Ruby’s hair brush did the trick eventually but took longer) smooth out the bottom of the tail, then straighten it with hair straighteners. Attach clip to the other end and your removable unicorn tail is ready to go!

 

And now for the fun part – accessories! The sparkly light up Sketchers were a no brainer, stars on the sides of course because THE FAME THE FAME THE FAME. They are so Thelma. And Ruby has wanted a pair forever so it was the perfect excuse ;). I adore this faux fur stole from Milk & Soda. Unfortunately it was freezing so she ended up choosing her Rock Your Kid jacket instead. Also sooo fabulous. And the sunnies (also Milk & Soda) couldn’t be more perfect for the theme!

Messy ribbons in hair for the easiest unicorn mane!

That’s it! This was so fun to put together. Could easily be adapted for My Little Pony or a non character unicorn costume too. Most importantly, Ruby loved it and had the best time at her first Book Week parade! 🙂 xx C

 

 


Who remembers Flik Flaks’!?

I love when I can share something that was a special part of my own childhood with my kids. I love the memories it conjures when I see a revamp or even just that a toy that I adored as a child is once again available. My Little Ponies, Barbie, Furby, Polly Pocket are a few I’ve enjoyed handing down to my kids and remembering how much fun my sister and I had playing with them ourselves. Monopoly, Twister, Battleships, Cabbage Patch Dolls. Does anyone remember Keepers? WHAT HAPPENED TO KEEPERS. Now that’s a toy that should have lasted the test of time. And then there’s those that didn’t make it for , er, obvious reasons. Slap bands (hands up whose parents terrified them with the story of the kid who ended up with stitches after a slap band gone wrong embedded in their wrist and had to be surgically removed) oh and moon shoes? tiny trampolines attached to the feet of small children I mean what could possibly go wrong? HA!

When I was contacted and told Flik Flak were turning 30 I couldn’t resist. I still remember my first flik flak like it was yesterday. I was 7, it was my first ever watch. It had a yellow face blue hands and a red band and I loved myself SICK in it. 30 years later Flik Flak watches are still around and the designs are better than ever. Water resistant, shock proof, swiss made and MACHINE WASHABLE. OMG right? You can view the full range HERE>

July/August is 6 weeks of intensive birthday celebrations in our family. If you live locally and don’t know 50sixone or if you’re visiting our city, there is basically no better place for a (very!) special treat (dentists look away!). Their freak shakes are off the hook, and my kids favourite – unicorn bowls!!! you can view the menu here: 50sixone. I dare you to try the ‘snapchatthat!’ xx C


Reflection and healing, Kangaroo Island

A few weeks ago, about a month after my brother passed away, a friend and I escaped the city and got away for a child free weekend to Kangaroo Island, after what can only be described as an utterly devastating start to the year.

I don’t love that term, start to the year…”oh poor you, you had a shitty start to the year, there’s always next year” mmmm, nope. The start to that year will be shitty too, and the next, and the next. This isn’t going away. He’s gone, and nothing will change that. But, well, I guess this year is the worst of them all. It’s all so new and we just don’t know how to exist without him. I hear with time I will adjust, that it will never get easier, but I will learn to live with it. I don’t even know how that makes me feel right now. Numb, mostly.

I guess we saw the escape as an opportunity to talk things over, get some fresh air, and to perhaps clear our minds. My friend Alice lost her father only a few days after I lost my little bro, the huzz (Andy) was about to set off on a two week business trip, so some me time was so absolutely necessary. I had been to KI with the family (will add those pics here one day too! Great family holiday spot) but had always wanted to try the Southern Ocean Lodge retreat. This was a great opportunity to reflect, and start the (seemingly impossible) healing process, surrounded by some of South Australia’s most spectacular views and beaches. We laughed, we cried, we hiked, we ate, we drank, while breathing that crisp fresh air deep into our lungs. For me, all the while wondering why I was still here, watching, feeling, seeing this amazing world, breathing it in, and that my brother couldn’t be. The feeling was bitter sweet. Too painful to bear but I guess what I could feel for the first time since his passing, was that he was there, all around me. All of a sudden while away from the hospitals and the familiarity of home, the pain I felt around his belongings or when visiting places we had been together so regularly, well here that pain was dulled a little. While standing on these cliff tops the surroundings brought me a tiny little particle of peace. A little bit of reassurance maybe, that he was still here – part of the universe just like me, and that even though I can’t see him, he’s out there, he is all around us.

We only had time to get away for the weekend, so it was a whirlwind trip. Below are some photos of the absolutely divine Southern Ocean Lodge, the local walks, beaches and views. And some other hikes and restaurants we enjoyed visiting while we were there. I’m smiling in a lot of these pictures, I honestly feel a bit weird about that. Because I don’t think I’ve felt true happiness at all this year. But these moments were fun, and taking this step towards healing my now stone heart, it felt important for me. My family need me, the happy me, and slowly – somehow – I’ll work out how to get her back. We only get one life each, lets make the most of it. It’s nice to be back blogging. See you around here again soon. xx Claire

Southern Ocean Lodge

Remarkable Rocks

Seal Bay

The Enchanted Fig Tree

I do not even have the words to describe how amazing this restaurant is. Owned by the incredibly talented Hannford & Sachs it is nestled and completely hidden under the canopy of an ancient fig tree it literally feels as though you are walking into a fairytale. The beauty of the tree, the quality of the food, the magical experience is one for the bucket list that I can promise you. I will be back! And if you enjoy your G & T Pop in on your way home to the Kangaroo Island Spirits and purchase a bottle to take home – may have done that too! 😉

Stokes Bay & Snellings Beach


Out of the Cot – nearly

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It’s been a MASSIVE year for us. Our renovation is ticking along at what seems like a reasonable pace, but as timing would have it, our short-term rental was up 3 weeks out from school finishing, leading to a chaotic end to the year single parenting (husband had a perfectly timed work trip to Boston and London – kill me now) commuting from our family beach house.

Because of the randomness of our year, moving house a lot, belongings everywhere, Ruby has remained in her cot much longer than our other two did. With a fierce reluctance to move on, and the fact we are in-between houses for atleast another 3 months, a cot conversion seemed like the perfect fit to keep her feeling safe through the chaos. I’ve never bothered with one before, have just transitioned the kids straight into their big beds, but this time around, this has been the perfect path!

We have the Oeuf Sparrow Cot, which I purchased from Out of the Cot here in Adelaide when Ruby was born. To my delight they had the conversion in stock, ready to go. If you live in Adelaide, and have an appreciation for scandi or beautiful and unique children’s decor in general, Out of the Cot is just so divine. They have furniture, linen, toys, decorations from some of the most gorgeous brands. Stunning canopy’s like this one from one of our faves Kip & Co. It’s so worth a look in store to see everything set up so perfectly, but if you’re not local, you can check them out online: here.

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The cot converter has been the perfect pathway from cot to big girl bed for Ruby. She was completely reluctant to move out of her cot at all, but is delighted to have some independence. And I now have time to work out the perfect bed for her room once the renovation at home is complete.

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This year was the celebration of 100 years since May Gibb’s gumnut babies were born. An iconic Austrlalian author, her stories were such a big part of my childhood, my siblings and I loved the classic stories and illustrations and the adventures of those adorable gumnut and wattle babies. When Kip & Co collaborated with linen to celebrate the event I was so excited to be able to share such a magical piece of my childhood with Ruby. We’ve been enjoying these fairy tales about conservation and the magic of the Australian bush so much, such an important and beautiful contrast to the international tales that have become our mainstream. You can find out more about May Gibbs and her bush fairies, here. Ruby is her newest fan!

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Safe to say Rubes is absolutely smitten with her enchanting little set up at the beach house for summer! Now to choose her big girl bed! I’m thinking bunks, but cannot decide. Maybe something like this Oeuf Bunk, I’ve always loved it but as Ruby grows so do her interests and at the moment it’s all about enchantment. So I’m thinking maybe something more girly and whimsical like an Incy four poster, or even something classic and upholstered like this.  Decisions decisions, watch this space! xxC


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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