DISNEYLAND CALIFORNIA

Four weeks ago our family were lucky to visit and spend five days creating memories in Disneyland in California! We have been to the parks before with our two big kids about 8 years ago, but only for one day (no way near long enough!) so this visit was really exciting for us taking our biggest Disney enthusiast Ruby for her first time! Staying for four nights so we could fully explore both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park was an absolute treat. We have always loved all things Disney I unashamedly have always been caught up in the magic, but this trip has converted our whole family, my husband set off expecting to check this off our bucket list, and has returned admitting that we will definitely go again! a Disney fam for life. So excited to share our experience, pics and a few tips for planning your own family Disney adventure!

Getting there

We travelled with Air Canada because we included a trip to Vancouver. The flights were super easy to manage and we arrived feeling pretty fresh considering we travelled all the way from Australia!

First up! Disney California Adventure Park

Home to Cars Land, Pixar Pier, Pacific Warf, Hollywood Land, A bugs Land, and Grizzly Park, we LOVE California Adventure Park. Because of our base on both visits to Disney being the Disney Grand Californian Hotel, this park is always the first we explore. It’s not always possible but for the most part we found it was best to spend majority, if not all of each day, in just one of the two parks. The travel time between the two, even though super easy and pretty quick, can chew up time especially if you have little ones with sore legs or cop a line up on entry to the alternate park, so planning your days predominantly focused on one park at a time will help you get maximum out of your stay. Speaking of planning….

PLAN PLAN PLAN!

I can’t stress this enough and as a fly by the seat of her pants kind of girl it does not come naturally to me but – it is SO worth it. The Disney FastPass system when we visited years ago involved physically visiting each ride you wanted a FastPass for, grabbing a ticket, and then returning at your scheduled time. Enter Disney MaxPass! The whole system has since gone digital. It’s as easy as downloading the Disneyland App before or when you arrive, and from there you can easily plan out every hour of every day!

More on Disney MaxPass (the supercharged Fast Pass)

This is kind of like house keeping but trust me, so important if you are planning a trip to any Disney venue! They will save you so much time! Digital fastPass are free and included with every ticket but I would highly recommend the Disney MaxPass. These cost an extra $15 per ticket per day, but you can pick and choose which days you need them for, or could even just allocate them to some members of the family if you are planning to split up and the passes aren’t needed for all. For us it was well worth it for all family members and we would never do Disney without splurging a little extra on a MaxPass! Using FastPass via MaxPass you can schedule all your rides, shows and parades all via your smart phone. It also includes a photopass which means if any photos are taken of your family around the park they will appear within the app ready for you to download at the end of the day at no extra cost!

There are a few quirks to the system you’ll get used to and you’ll work this out quickly once you arrive. FastPass via MaxPass can only be booked in (always via your app on your smart phone) once you are physically in the park and you can only schedule one ride per person at any given time. So, you book into a ride at a scheduled time and you can’t book any more fastpasses until you have checked into that initial booking. This is all pretty straight forward but the trick is that the more popular rides have much longer wait times (even using fast pass) so, don’t waste your fastpasses on rides with shorter waits. You’ll get a feel for which rides are super popular and you can book into them and then plan your day around it. It seems organisation heavy but by doing so you will save yourself hours of waiting and it will mean you can then zip around to the rides with shorter wait times (plenty of these!) while you wait for the ones you’ve scheduled! Luckily for us the rides Ruby wanted to spend her time on didn’t have large wait times so we struck a really good balance and didn’t miss out on anything we wanted to do OR get stuck in a single long line the whole time we were there. I’ve found a really helpful article explaining the fastpass / maxpass system and differences and have linked it here.

Some really popular rides that we wanted to visit included Cars, Indiana Jones Adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean, Guardians of the Galaxy, Incredicoaster, Midway Mania, Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain and Star Tours. While waiting for these in Disney Land California Adventure we would jump on family friendly rides, Soaring – wow just wow you won’t go on this just once it was one of our absolute faves and barely any wait time at all!, Ariel’s Beginning (Ruby’s favourite of course!) Goofy’s Flight School, Pixar Pal-A-Round are just a few we loved as a family. We also used the scheduled MaxPass rides as an opportunity to do other things around the park. One thing I’ve really worked out about Disney in our years of visiting – it’s not just about rides!!! With our Disneyland App we could then build our day around our rides leaving plenty of time for things like character autographs (ruby lived for these!!) shows (street and theatre) workshops (our fave was the Animation Academy at Disney California Adventure Park! so much fun learning to draw Mickey and something we could enjoy as a family with broad age range and interests!)

Food and drink in Disneyland were abundant! Such a surprise, so many diverse options. One of our favourite spots for a sundowner was the Lamplight Lounge looking over Pixar Pier. Essential break out spot for a bite to eat and refreshing drink for the adults!

Frozen at the Hyperion

Our favourite theatre show in Disney California Adventure Park would have to be Frozen at the Hyperion. For an included show at no extra cost (the ticket price to get into the entire park where I live would equal just this one show in value!!!) was astounding. It was the perfect break from walking and hustling to sit in a dark theatre and watch this awesome interpretation of this musical unfold. Ruby absolutely adored it but honestly so did I! If you loved the movie and your kids are fans, you’ll love Frozen at the Hyperion! If we are lucky enough to get back to Disneyland we will definitely see it again! Other shows we really enjoyed were of course World of Colour (unmissable!) the fireworks and the epic street parades held daily. Hard to miss these and trust me you don’t want to 😍.

Elsa on a sugar high at Pixar Pier
with her idols!

Visiting Elsa & Anna

Elsa and Anna are currently located in Hollywood Land within the Disney California Adventure Park. The set up in the waiting area is awesome, huge screens on the walls with Frozen playing and other movies and activities to keep the kids occupied while they wait to meet the princesses. That said the first afternoon we popped in to check the line – it was two hours long. This is not uncommon as, let’s be fair, these are major celebs we are talking about here😜but with several days ahead of us in the parks we were in no rush to see them so went up and asked the Cast Member at the entrance when the best time to come was to reduce wait time. They told us first thing in the morning or last thing at night! So that is what we did! The next morning we had a character breakfast scheduled at 7am. We were running a tad late leaving that so got to the Elsa & Anna meet and greet at about 8:20 (20 mins after they opened). we were first there! Literally walked straight in, no line at all. Was so fast it almost threw us I wasn’t prepared and was grovelling in my bag for my camera ha ha! It was so awesome though and ten minutes later we were wandering off to our next activity! Once again planning was so important to making this a smooth and efficient activity. Managing wait times as much as we could really did make the trip that extra bit special. Handling it this way meant we did not have one single 5 year old melt down the entire time we were in the park. I would have forgiven many given all the excitement but nope, not one!

Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique

That face 😍

Prepare yourself for the most adorable tear jerking memory making moment with your little prince or princess ever!! This experience is so close to our hearts. Those of you following our journey on social media may have seen this on my instagram stories. If not it’s saved to my highlights under “Disneyland” I have linked my instagram page here. If you think your little boy or girl would love this don’t hesitate! Again, plan ahead and book it into one of your days and work around it so that you can make the most of your time. We didn’t plan ours super well because Ruby was so tired that day and we had a night show planned so she went straight to bed in the resort afterwards ha ha! But it didn’t matter, I would honestly take her back just for this. The fairy god mothers make such a fuss, the photoshoot afterwards is just adorable. And included in our package was express entry to visit all the princesses in their castle! No line up! Worth the money for that alone in my eyes lol! We walked straight out of the boutique and into the arms of cinderella, Ariel and Snow White ready for hugs and autograph signings. If you can’t tell from my crazy rambling – we LOVED THIS! xx

…and this is the moment I burst into tears. She was having the best time! Special moment I will treasure forever. 😭

Character Autographs

This was a massive highlight for Rubes. Throughout our entire stay her autograph book was never far from her reach and the excitement on her face when we ran into one of her favourites was worth the trip alone. When we visited Disney Aulani 18 months ago she was a little tentative around characters. This time, a little older – aged 5, she was super confident (albeit still a teeny bit shy which is her nature) in running up and hugging talking and holding out her book to add signatures to her collection. Since returning home i’ve printed her photos and stuck them in next to each autograph and it has become one of her most treasured possessions.

Ruby’s first character breakfast. We did this a few times. It can never hurt to book in advance but we had no problems getting into this whenever we wanted to. Storytellers is part of the Grand Californian Hotel so super easy if you’re staying there.
Ruby’s very first character encounter on night one, her face says it all!
Meeting Minnie outside her house! xx
Never too old for a photo with chewy!
Highly recommend the Goofy’s Kitchen character dinner. A huge highlight for all of us but especially Ruby. She is still talking about this!

You can easily book into character dinners, breakfasts, and other restaurants via the Disneyland app when in the park, or if you want to plan ahead then via the website before you leave home.

Disneyland Park

Lily gets carried away in Main Street Disneyland! 😜

A short walk from Disney California Adventure Park is Disneyland Park. We didn’t get here until day 2 and because of our itinerary we did do a bit of back and forth across the parks. To be honest because we had the four nights it didn’t matter losing a bit of time walking to and fro for particular shows etc that we wanted to see. But if you are on a shorter time frame I would definitely recommend sticking to just one park per day so that you don’t waste any time walking between. It’s worth noting too that for $15 a day you can hire a pram. We actually did this one afternoon for Ruby when she was needing a break and it was an absolute life saver. A good option for people with kids too old for a pram so not worth packing one, but who may end up needing one for a rest when things get a bit much.

Ruby LOVED DL park. Both the girls did. Home to Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown, New Orleans Square, Critter County, Frontierland, Tomorrowland and Main street there is soooo much to do in Disneyland! Ruby loved it because she’s really still quite little at heart and her favourite rides were the teacup and carousel 🤣! She also loved Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan’s Flight (absolute magic!). And exploring Minnie and Mickey’s houses and Goofy’s Gardens were also a hit. I LOVED the pop up Mary poppins show. And like Disney California Adventure Park, loads of awesome restaurants to stop and revitalise.

Map of Disneyland Park and attractions
In her element! 😍

Mickey’s Magical Map

This was awesome!!! An essential addition to your Disneyland Park itinerary no matter what age . I was so impressed with the quality of both the street and stage shows in Disneyland. Such a great way to break the day up and experience things other than rides. We packed a lot in but believe it or not there are still things on our list we want to go back and do! The entertainment is non stop. I can’t believe we attempted to do the parks in one day all those years ago. There really is enough to fill five amazing days and more!

Breakfast 😅
Epic wall in Toon Town next to Minnie Mouse House! 😍
Casual with my floss at It’s A Small World 🤪😂
And we are off! That’s a wrap. Cannot wait to visit again, feeling so grateful to have had this time making memories with our girls xx

Our Video Highlights…

We took so much video on the trip and I’ve attempted to compile some of them into this clip linked below. I think I probably had more success using my instagram story highlights and next trip I will def be purchasing a go pro to make this easier! I’m inspired now! But I’m glad to have these phone memories to treasure all the same.

To book your own trip visit the Disneyland, talk to your local travel agent in Australia – they have all the info available that you will need. xx

*Our visit was hosted by Disneyland and AirCanada. All images videos and thoughts on the trip are my own. x


Ruby turns 5 with her Greatest Show!

She’s FIVE!

Last weekend we celebrated five laps around the sun for Miss Ruby! Exactly this time last year shortly after her Moana / Hawaii themed 4th birthday (inspired by our trip to Disney Aulani) I dragged her along to see The Greatest Showman with her older siblings. Pure lack of babysitter is how she ended up there as I was certain it would be too mature for her and I would end up sitting in the hallway for the majority. As it turned out she LOVED it, like became completely obsessed. Three times she saw it at the movies, soundtrack on repeat. It was true love.

Over the 11 months that followed Ruby dreamed up ideas for her “Greatest Showman” themed party and not once did she change her mind. Top of her ideas list was that she would dress as the “little girl who does ballet” and that Andy and I would go as the Mum and Dad ha ha (I ran out of time to blonde wig myself or cut my legs off at the knee but Andy certainly nailed P.T Barnum !!)

The styling magic was left up to the truly talented stylist Poppy & Pear Event Styling, she never ceases to amaze with her creativity and hard work to make the venues she works on transform into a scene of absolute enchantment! We focused on a vintage circus style and celebrated with a tonne of big top fun!  I bought the amazing themed cake from the super clever Create me a Cake. And the rest of the food I threw together myself. Hot dogs, Popcorn, Jelly, Lolly pops, fruit and we were done!!

Entertainment this year we decided on Mr Oopy, a super hilarious kids entertainer here in Adelaide with music, games and the most epic bubble show! Followed by face painting by my dear friend Kylie!

Usually I mainly share photos of the styling and products from our events here, but to be honest my feelings about that have changed a bit in recent times. I don’t blog nearly as often, and if I am going to put the time in I really want to be able to look back on it and see our special memories too. So here you have it a snippet into our real world full of our fabulous friends and family. It’s a modern-day round the clock real life circus and we wouldn’t change it for anything! xxx Claire

Find us on instagram!

Me!: @clairecollected

Event styling: @poppy_and_pear_event_styling

Cake: @createmeacake

Lighting: @amuselighting

Mr Oopy: @eliomusic

 

 

 

 

 

 


PARTY TIME! A Tropical Hawaiian Moana themed Luau – Ruby is 4!

A few weeks ago Ruby turned 4 and we celebrated with her best friends and their families at home. I can honestly say it was my fave day of this entire year. It’s been a really rough year for our family grieving the loss of my little brother and it was nice to take some time out from that all-consuming mindset (grief is SO ROUGH, I’ll leave it there) and celebrate Ruby, but also family, and birthdays, and colour and just have FUN. With a 4 year-long and strong unicorn obsession under Ruby’s belt this birthday party was always going to be a magical unicorn pastel everything extravaganza. However after a recent trip to Disney Aulani Ruby could speak of nothing else but Hawaii and her fave Disney princess Moana! When I suggested a change in theme she jumped at it (YASSSSS!). And I was super happy to bust out my inner flamingo and get cracking on plans for this Hawaiian themed tropical luau! We worked with a gorgeous and super talented stylist here in Adelaide Poppy & Pear Event Styling (gorgeous Ellie!) who totally got our vision and vibe and worked so hard to make all Ruby’s Hawaii/Moana dreams come true at the same time as making my life a tonne easier the days leading up to the party!

Out the front she used a Poppies for Grace DIY garland and Ellie incorporated this cool mirror board she decorated her self (so clever!) to welcome the guests.

I mean, I have no words. The main balloon garland was a ‘custom’ DIY Poppies for Grace kit, and we also got the party plates, hats and food display stands from there also. Ellie then weaved her own extra touches adding the luau necklaces, pineapple cups, and flowers amongst the balloons. Her talent blew us away! Styling with so much colour can be tricky and I can’t believe how well it all came together. a DREAM!

 

Ruby’s Moana cake was from the super talented Adelaide cake extraordinaire Create Me A Cake (@createmeacake) who has been making R’s cakes since she was a bubba.

And the amazing dessert spread was from Town & Country Custom Cakes & Decorating. (you can find clever Gail on facebook linked above or try looking up Town & Country Custom Cakes & Decorating) Those oyster biscuits were my fave!

We hired this gorgeous kids sized table and chair situ from Jaks Hire & Events. And also hired the awesome Flamingo Bar from them too. I want it permanently in our home ha!! You can find them on Instagram @jakshireandevents and Facebook: JAKSHire.

This amazing adults grazing corner / island bench take over was put together by one of my best friends, super talented Food by Annabel! You can find her on Instagram @foodbyannabel and also on Facebook . Think Tiny Tuna Poke bowls, cauliflower spiced baby burritos, prawn cocktails, and the most colourful flower dusted chicken sambos! Talk about food on point! So delish.

And the most fun of all – MOANA!!!!! Beautiful Naomi from Entertainment Emporium kept the kids super engaged and happy with a treasure hunt, games, face painting, stories and a dance off!

And lastly – party bags! These gorgeous cookies I sourced from the clever @frostedbynicciI love how they are individually wrapped – they made the perfect addition to the party bags!

I can’t say enough how stress free this was with the help from Poppy & Pear Event Styling we really could just sit back and enjoy the day once it got underway. I took all the set up photos before the party started, and passed my camera to my gorgeous friend and wedding photog Kate Potter who helped me out by taking some action shots throughout the day so I could enjoy the party, mingle with our guests and most importantly sit back and watch Ruby soak up all the fun with her little friends 🙂

Happy Birthday Miss Ruby! xx

 

 

 


MY BODHI CLEANSE

I’ve finally shared all the info on my first juice cleanse experience a couple months ago. If you live in SA and want to give it a go, head to BODHI CLEANSE website and use the coupon code ‘Claire’ to receive a 10% discount, more of my pics and my thoughts on the cleanse below xxxx Claire.

I’ve been wanting to try a juice cleanse for a really long time. I’ve always been super passionate about health and nutrition, however I am also a big believer in balance (hello chocolate wine and more wine on the weekends) and LOVE food so I never thought I’d be able to actually survive one ha!!!! I stumbled on Bodhi Cleanse a few months ago, a local Adelaide company making 100% organic pressed juice in recyclable glass bottles, and the clincher for me – DELIVERED to your door. I was feeling super run down and the biggest appeal for me was the massive hit of vitamins, I decided to give it a go.

The flavours are awesome. I’m more of a green juice and morning coffee kind of girl (then usually on to all the food) so the sweetness was a pleasant surprise to me. By the end of day one I didn’t feel hungry at all, it was actually coolish weather over the days I took on the cleanse, so I warmed up the Almond Milk night cap and sprinkled with cinnamon at night and went to bed feeling full – YUM. such a comforting and delicious way to end the day.

By day 2 I was getting a little peckish (read HANGRY haaaa! not really super hangry but hungry all the same) so I upped the fibre provided with the juices and added them to all my drinks over the first half of the day. It helped so much and I think more than anything what I was feeling in the morning were caffeine withdrawals because by the afternoon I always felt totally fine or if anything MORE energetic than I usually am during a post lunch PM slump! I was at this point looking forward to the cleanse coming to an end I can’t lie. HOWEVER.. randomly, by the end of day 3 I felt totally fine! I never would have thought I could survive a 5 day cleanse and while I was more than happy to indulge in breakfast on the morning of day 4, I could have totally kept going by that point! By day 3 I had broken the back of it and was enjoying the benefits of all those condensed nutrients – so much that I think next time I’ll actually try the 5 day cleanse!

You also receive as part of the cleanse this gorgeous coconut body scrub to help draw impurities from the inside out! so delish.

For those living in Adelaide you can use the coupon code ‘Claire’ to receive a 10% discount on any cleanse order (this is not sponsored content btw, just awesome people with a delicious healthy product that I’m so happy to endorse!) So in summary, I did the 3 day cleanse, here’s the info!

This is the most popular Bodhi Cleanse program. In a 3 day cleanse you will receive 15 cold pressed juices, 3 nut mylks, a fibre blend, detoxifying bath crystals and a skin brush.
When doing a cleanse these juices, the fibre blend and fresh, filtered water is all you consume.
We believe that cleansing should happen from the inside out, whole body. This is why you will also receive a fibre blend to be taken daily and a delicious, vegan, cruelty free body scrub.”

My objective wasn’t really to lose weight, but I naturally did. More importantly I felt energetic and my skin was glowing afterwards. Since then we’ve been on a few holidays including the Hawaii trip, the madness of the end of school year has reeked havoc on my usually healthy diet, and now the silly season has well and truly begun. I’m absolutely craving these juices and I will definitely be trying the 5 day cleanse in January, I actually can’t wait! xx Claire


Unicorns and Rainbows, a birthday bedroom overhaul for miss 4!

Im not sure there is anything this kid loves more than unicorns and rainbows. After returning home from our holiday to Disney Aulani super inspired and Moana obsessed her ‘unicorn’ birthday party theme took a last minute turn towards flamingos, palm trees, pineapples and all things Hawaii. BUT to her delight her friends didn’t forget her other passions and she was totally spoilt in the unicorn gift department!

From Andy and I she received this magical unicorn linen and matching pjs from the latest Kip and Co Animalia collaboration (one of my fave childhood books I could not resist!) You can view the entire Animalia collection here: ANIMALIA X KIPANDCO . The Unruly Unicorns were of course our favourite, give us alll the magical enchantment please! (you can check out the quilt cover directly, here and the pjs here) but wow, how to stop there, am I eyeballing those peacocks for Lily or what?!

She also got this most gorgeous book Not Quite Narwhal, from one of her fave Aunties. I’ve found it online and linked it in here

And from some of her little besties this ride on inflatable Unicorn Hopper (you can check it out here!) The cutest little unicorn in a handbag (never not on her arm! sorry don’t know where that one was from!) and of course her light up Baby Flurry Heart – one of her absolute bedtime faves, you can find here>

But my favourite thing of all pictured here would have to be the sticker collection stuck all over the rainbow cushion ha ha!! Sooooo typical Ruby. Can’t bring myself to remove them! How awesome are four year olds xx C

Other items in images include:

Blue Bloomingville Toys play kitchen: Sweet Creations Boutique

Donut stool: Third Drawer Down

Donut cushion: Sack Me

Icecream Cushion: I Love Linen

Plush My Little Pony Assorted Collection: Mighty Ape

 


Our Disney Aulani Adventure

A few weeks ago Ruby and I were lucky enough to visit the Disney Aulani Resort nestled on the shores of O’ahu, Hawaii. With her teenage siblings still in school term this was a special treat for the minniest member of the family, I love to grab one on one with each of my kids when I can, and this trip was a great opportunity for Ruby and I to do just that. My only regret, not staying longer and getting the rest of the family to join us when school term finished! The resort was a family paradise with a side of magic – the Disney characters are all on vacation, and you get to holiday with them! The relaxed vibes and gorgeous setting full of activities and seaside adventure make for an ideal family focused escape.

Getting there was a breeze, an over night 10 hour flight, Ruby slept pretty much the whole way and was fresh and ready to go as soon as we arrived. Here she is straight off the plane discovering our gorgeous homely room for the first time!

The rooms were so comfortable, we were in an ocean view villa, with a fully functioning kitchen and living space it was a complete apartment and I found the abundance of space so useful. With so much on each day Ruby needed the occasional nap, I loved that I could chill in the living room or on the balcony in the sunshine while she slept in the separate bedroom. And check out this view!

Brimming with waterslides, a water playground, diving, several pools and that stunning private beach our days were jam packed full of fun in the sun! We travelled with our gorgeous friends Pete and Harlow (@thedaddyfashionstylist) . Ruby and Harlow had so much fun exploring the resort and playing all day together!

Ruby was SO excited to find this special treat waiting for her in our room after a morning by the pool!

And that was all just in our spare time! The activity choices were endless one of our favourites was the catamaran experience. Dolphins galore, a spectacular tour of the coast line, and swimming with the turtles – this outing was an absolute treat.

Another favourite was the Aulani Luau! A bountiful feast of traditional food, music and activities for the kids. The girls loved meeting other children from the resort and making their own frangipani necklaces and bracelets with their gorgeous hosts. After a great meal (and delicious cocktails for the adults) the concert began. Those following on our instagram stories may have seen the girls dancing with Minnie and Mickey and completely captivated by an appearance from Moana herself! Followed by stories of local legend and traditional music, the Luau did not disappoint.

storyboard016

With jam-packed days full of activities the girls were always keen on some extra swimming time  before or after dinner, sometimes both! Sunset swims would have to be some of my favourite childhood memories , and it was so nice watching Ruby and Harlow laugh themselves silly swimming until the sun went down creating memories they’ll also treasure for life.

One of our favourite places to eat at the resort was AMA’AMA, the perfect venue to watch the sunset and if timed well kids could enjoy stories with Uncle and appearances from Moana by the fire pit which were held both pre and post sunset every night. This was our view from dinner, take me back!

Breakfast at AMA’AMA were also amazing and a beautiful way to start the day with a consistently sunny and spectacular view of the resorts private beach

The characters breakfasts at the Makahiki restaurant were an absolute hit withRuby and Harlow, such a great way to get up and close and play, sing dance and take photos with all their favourite Disney friends! We went twice in the end, I’m pretty sure the girls would have happily gone every day! And at a totally reasonable price ( $20 per child for full buffet breakfast and character meet and greet!) you really could! Ruby was a bit nervous about having a photo at first but was so happy joining in the activities and dancing with the other kids at breakfast. By the end of the trip she was courageously taking pictures with them all. She is so thrilled with herself looking back on the pictures, she has brought them out proudly every morning at home to show her siblings! 🙂

Ruby’s absolute fave activity of all was probably the Moana ‘transformation’, one of many gorgeous Moana themed activities available at the resort . Ruby and Harlow had so much fun and their little faces when they saw themselves ‘transformed’ in the mirror will stay with me forever. Walking around the resort afterwards I think they were actually convinced they will the REAL Moana. It was the most gorgeous thing. Of course two hours later they wanted to go swimming, how could we say no we were in tropical paradise ha ha! But the photos are Ruby’s favourite to look back on now we are home.

Other experiences we adored were of course Aunty’s Beach House – possibly the most gorgeous, tranquil and homely ‘kids club’ we’ve ever visited. Ruby and Harlow loved the comedy night and also just playing with other kids from the resort. The staff were so friendly and kind and the space had the happiest vibes. It was the perfect place for Ruby to play while I visited the spa! Again if I had stayed longer ( no less than 7 nights next time!) I would have treated myself to the spa more than once. Superbly designed the Laniwai Spa offers a huge variety of relaxation and luxury treatments. So brilliantly designed you would have no idea you were within a resort heaving with excitement and children’s activities! The perfect place to rejuvenate!

Over all we just had the best time. Not once did we feel stressed or exhausted. The breezy resort made a family / child focused holiday literally feel easy. No stress, no rush, no long lines. The entire thing was so well done. We will definitely stop by again next time we are in Hawaii!

XX Claire

 

 


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