I really enjoy reading and have been making more time to do it lately, even if it’s only a few pages before bedtime. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:
The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop: Set in 1963 this is the fictional story of Charlotte and Henry, a married couple who move from their home in England to the other side of the world; Australia. Charlotte struggles with settling in her new home, with being a mother and the daily repetition it brings. I can’t go too much into it without giving the ending away but I have to say this book left me which a great feeling of unease. Sometimes I could relate to Charlotte but other times she seemed so foreign to me that I just couldn’t connect. Either way, the book was very well written and kept me interested until the end.
The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon: If you’ve never read a Paige Toon book I can sum them up for you in two words ‘chick lit’ and I don’t mind a bit of chick lit every now and then. The Sun in Her Eyes is told from the point of view of Amber, a woman in her early thirties who has left her husband behind in London to come to Australia and help care for her Father after he suffered a recent stroke. An old flame is rekindled leaving Amber questioning her marriage and her future. It’s an easy read, has a few little twists and overall I enjoyed it as a book I didn’t have to think too hard about.
The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan: I loved this one! I actually read the whole thing in one day because I literally couldn’t put it down. The blurb grabbed me from the beginning: ‘To everyone who knows her now Zoe Maisey- child genius, musical sensation- is perfect. Yet several years ago Zoe caused the death of three teenagers. She served her time, and now she’s free. Her story begins with her giving the performance of her life. By midnight, her mother is dead.’ This book has lots of little twists and turns and has you guessing until the end.
What have you been reading lately? Any good book recommendations?
Mothers Day is just two weeks away (really!) and if you’re after some ideas for what to buy your mum I’ve got you covered with my top five gift ideas. This also doubles as my own wish list so if anyone talks to my husband point him in this direction!
1. Peter Alexander pyjamas: If you haven’t owned a pair of Peter Alexander PJ’s then you just haven’t lived! Check out their new mother’s day collection here. Best thing is you can order online and have them delivered straight to your Mum!
2. Movie tickets: Spoil your Mum with a trip to Gold Class to see the new movie Mother’s Day. I’m looking forward to seeing this!
3. Uberkate: makes the most amazing personalised jewellery pieces. The Ubercircles are a beautiful idea for Mum. Just make sure you get in quick so your order arrives in time for Mothers Day.
4. Beautiful Linen: I have a bit of an obsession with pillows and quilts and throw rugs…is it just me? No? Great then head to Adairs for all the pretty things!
5. Books: I don’t think you can go wrong with books…give me all the books! Check out Goodreads for some great suggestions. I’m also giving away a copy of a book by one of my favourite authors Jodi Picoult on the Sarahdipity Facebook page. Head over and leave a comment on the pinned post at the top of the page to enter.
One thing I really love to do with my four year old son is rediscover movies I loved as a kid. We watch them together and I’m always surprised by how much of them I remember; they always take me right back to my childhood . Here’s five of my faves we’ve watched together and he’s loved:
The Wizard of Oz: (1939) You just can’t beat it. When I was little I would always skip the part where the twister came because it scared the bejeebers out of me! So yeah, I did the same when I watched it with my son (no shame in that). I totally remembered all the words to the songs too and had them stuck in my head for weeks afterwards! “We’re off to see the wizard….”
E.T: (1982) I just knew the lil man would love this one; especially the part where the bike flies at the end (he thought that was “super cool”). He also couldn’t stop laughing at the part where ET accidentally gets himself drunk hmm.
Mary Poppins: (1964) One of my absolute favourites as a child. I was a little let down by the graphics rewatching it as an adult…I don’t remember the background when Mary is dancing on the rooftops with the chimney sweeper looking so fake lol. I guess everything just seems more amazing when you’re a kid.
The NeverEnding Story: (1984) I totally wanted a headpiece like the ‘Childlike Empress’ and a dragon just like Falkor when I was a kid. Seriously, the NeverEnding has all the elements needed for a childhood favourite; fantasy, mystery, action and dragons!
Bedknobs and Broomsticks: (1971) I actually wasn’t sure if my son would like this one but he did. We watched it on repeat for a few days. His favourite part was the same as mine as a child- where the bed dives under the ocean. I was surprised when I watched this again to find it had some quite adult themes in it- the war, Hitler, witchcraft etc, I don’t remember any of that…it probably just went straight over my head when I was a kid as I’m sure it did with my boy.
What were your favourite movies when you were a kid? Have you rewatched them with your own children? Were they as good as you remember them?
I love a good podcast. Here’s five of my current faves I recommend you check out:
Serial: If you haven’t heard about Serial then you need to do two things; 1) Crawl out from the rock you’ve been living under and 2) Download Serial now!
Season One focuses the real life murder case of Hae Min Lee which occured in 1999 in Baltimore. Sarah Koenig (who’s voice is as addictive as the series) pulls apart the case piece by piece over twelve weekly episodes. Be warned, it’s highly addictive and will suck you right in! Serial Season Two is also out now and is based on the case of Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who abandoned his post Afghanistan in 2009 and was captured and held by the Taliban for nearly five years. I’m not finding it as addictive as the first season but it’s still a very interesting story.
Let It Be: The very first podcast I ever listened to was ‘Slow Your Home’ by Brooke McAlary, so when she recently teamed up with one of my favourite bloggers, Kelly Exeter, for this new podcast series I knew I’d love it. Brooke and Kelly discuss some big topics- judgment, rejection, legacy and success and get you thinking about ‘what it means to do less and be more’.
Magic Lessons: If like me you’ve read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and loved it then you’ll also love this follow up podcast where Elizabeth guides a different creative through discussing their process, doubts and struggles each week. If you’re the creative type you’ll find it both interesting and helpful.
Hamish and Andy: If you want a good belly laugh you can’t go past Hamish and Andy. These days I miss out on listening to them on the radio so their podcast is the perfect way to catch up on all their shenanigans.
So you want to be a writer? If you’re a writer or interested in becoming one, this is the podcast you need to listen to. Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait (both successful authors and journalists) offer tips and advice and discuss the latest news and trends in the world of writing and blogging.
Do you enjoy listening to Podcasts? What are your favourites?
Two weeks ago we headed off on a week long family holiday. I’ve finally found the time to sit down and tell you all about it!
Where did we go?
Port Douglas; it’s a beautiful beach side town situated in Far North Queensland (FNQ), about a 45 minute drive from Cairns airport.
Where did we stay?
We stayed at the Reef Rendezvous which is a couple of minutes drive from the centre of town. We picked up an awesome deal on Groupon which included 6 nights in a deluxe two bedroom villa, buffet breakfast every day plus a few other extras for under $900. We were really happy with our stay. The apartment was neat with all new furnishings and everything we needed (including a kitchen). One of the pools (there are three at the resort) was right outside our back door, which was very handy. The staff were friendly and helpful, breakfast was delicious (with plenty of variety) and overall is was just a really nice place to stay.
What did we do?
Port Douglas is the type of place where you can do as little or as much as you want. You can spend your days relaxing by the pool or at the beach or head out for some adventure. We did a mix of both and managed to pack quite a lot in.
One simply cannot go to FNQ without seeing a crocodile, so on day one we headed to a place we were guaranteed to see some; Hartleys Crocodile Park. We took a tour of the crocodile farm, went on a river cruise (where we spotted loads of crocodiles), watched the crocodiles getting fed and then fed a few ourselves (yep!). It was lots of fun and the lil man was in his element!
Later than afternoon we met up with Rob from Port Douglas Weddings for a family photo shoot (my birthday present from the boys this year). Rob was great. We went to a few different locations and he gave us some helpful tips for our stay (places to eat, where not to swim etc). We’re so happy with the photos, here’s just a couple of my faves:
We spent the morning at Mossman Gorge (less than 15 minutes from Port Douglas) exploring the Daintree Rainforest. It was simply beautiful. From the discovery centre you take a short 2 minute bus ride to the walking tracks and Mossman Gorge itself. Unfortunately we couldn’t swim in the gorge that day due to the heavy rain overnight but it was still amazing.
In the afternoon the boys played a round of golf at Palmers Sea Reef course in Port Douglas. Future pro golfer right here…
We headed into Cairns for the day for a bit of shopping, lunch and a swim at the esplanade. The boys had a go on the Go Kart track and my brother in law was staying in town for work so it was a great chance to catch up with him too.
My favourite day of the whole holiday! We took a ride on the Cairns Sky Rail and Kurunda Scenic Railway. I’ll admit, before climbing aboard the Sky Rail I was shit scared. The Skyrail travels high up in the mountains above the rainforest; you’re literally floating amongst the clouds. I’m claustrophobic and afraid of heights (quite a combo). But honestly? Once we were moving my fear was totally gone as I was distracted by the breathtaking views. Photos just don’t do it justice. The whole trip takes about 90 minutes allowing for two stops and a wander around at each.
The Skyrail is a one of a kind experience and seriously a must do if you’re in the area. And if the weather is bad, don’t let that deter you. It was raining the day we went and it only made the rainforest more lush and beautiful.
At the end of the line, nestled amongst the mountains, you find yourself in the town of Kuranda. We spent the whole day there; there’s heaps to do. We went to the Butterfly Sanctuary where we found ourselves surrounded by beautiful butterflies…
And Birdworld where we got to meet and feed some truly colourful birds…
We also spent some time wandering around the markets that Kuranda is famous for. We then climbed aboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway for the ride back to Cairns. You spend about 90 minutes travelling through some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen…
(Please note: I travelled as a guest of Sky Rail and the Scenic Railway, the boys received discounted fares. We were also gifted family passes to the butterfly sanctuary, koala sanctuary and bird world. I was under no obligation to write this post and all opinions and words above are my own.)
For our last full day in Port Douglas we hired some bikes and cruised around town. The lil man was very happy that we hired a tagalong which meant he didn’t need to peddle and hubby had to do all the work!
Amongst all of that everyday we managed to enjoy lots of swimming in the pool and relaxing at our villa.
We loved it! Port Douglas and the surrounding area is an absolutely beautiful place. It’s family friendly, affordable, warm, and offers loads to do.
Keep your eye out for accommodation deals on sites like Groupon, Scoopon and Last Minute. It’s also a lot cheaper to travel during the wet season like we did. We were a bit unsure about doing this at first but honestly it mostly rained at night and was still hot everyday.
Leave your hair dryer and straightner at home ladies, the weather is humid which equals frizzy hair. Just embrace it!
Check out the Adventure Mumma website for absolutely everything you need to know about travelling to FNQ. I stalked Kate’s blog and instagram account for weeks before our holiday (and while we were there) for ideas on what to see and do. She also recommended our fantastic family photographer Rob.
Make sure you read the signs and get informed about where you can and cannot swim. There are crocodiles and stingers in many spots!
So there you have it; a wrap up of our amazing family holiday in Port Douglas.
Have you ever been there? What did you think? And if you’ve never been, have I now inspired you to go?
Happy Easter everyone! I hope you’re having a wonderful day and enjoying the long weekend whatever you are doing. We’re currently away on our annual Easter trip with friends and the egg hunt is about to begin!
This week has really passed by in a bit of a daze. We returned from our week long holiday in Port Douglas (I look forward to sharing a post with you all about this next week) with a mountain of washing. That was done and promptly repacked for our Easter trip.
On Tuesday we said goodbye to our beautiful dog Bonnie and a sadness filled our house for the remainder of the week. I think it is going to take a very long time to get used to not seeing her in the backyard every morning when I open up the blinds. Thankyou to everyone for all of your kind words and support, we really appreciate it.
Somehow amongst all of that I managed to squeeze in a bit of reading…not the book kind but the bloggy kind (of course). I read a couple of interesting articles about marriage that got me thinking. This piece by the FIFO Wife where a man defines an affair; “I was emotionally invested in someone other than my wife, and I gave my time to someone else instead of her and our marriage, now that is an affair” was pretty powerful. Also this piece by Sarah from Zinc Moon about the idea of a spouse being a possession (in the wake of the Billy Brownless comment) and the comfort that comes from belonging to someone. I have to say I agree with what Sarah had to say. What do you think?
School holidays start this week- I send all the parents out there strength and patience…but seriously don’t forget to enjoy your time with your kids. Personally I’m planning some fun outings and to spend some time at our favourite place. Oh and there will be lots eating Easter eggs I’m sure; I figure the faster we eat ’em the faster they’re out of the house, right?
This week we said goodbye to an important part of our family. Our beautiful dog Bonnie.
She came into our family over eleven years ago. We saw an ad in the local paper for pure bred Golden Retrievers. We weren’t ready for a dog because we’d just moved into our new house and didn’t even have fences up in our backyard yet, but we just went to have a look. Of course who just goes to look at puppies and comes home empty handed? Not us! We fell in love and brought home a puppy that day. We named her Bonnie.
She was a beautiful dog, very clever and she loved to be around people. She always had to be close by, within touching distance, a paw on you leg, a head on your foot, always touching.
We’d noticed before we went away on our holiday last week that she was a bit off her food and losing some weight. When we returned she’d lost even more. Her back legs seemed a little unsteady. She’s just getting old we thought. We decided it might be a good idea to take her to the vet for a check up anyway. But on Tuesday morning when I woke up she had gone completely down hill overnight. She could barely stand. I took her to the vet and was told there was a large cancerous mass in her spleen. Nothing could be done. My husband was away for work. I asked if they could possibly make her comfortable enough to last the night so he could say goodbye. They couldn’t, it would be too cruel. So the decision was made.
I held her head in my lap, whispered “I’m so, so sorry. I love you” and then I said goodbye. I felt sad and I also felt really guilty. Guilty that we hadn’t realised sooner how sick she was, guilty that I hadn’t made my son give her a big cuddle before we left the house that day, guilty that we hadn’t played with her more and guilty that I couldn’t bring myself to stay for that final moment. I hope she didn’t feel alone. I hope she knew how much we loved her.
That afternoon when I picked our son up from Kinder I told him that Bonnie had died. Like most kids, losing our beloved family pet would be his first experience with death. He asked what had happened to her and I explained she was just very old and very sick. He didn’t say anything. This morning he asked when she was coming home. I explained she wasn’t because she had died. He asked where she had died, “was it inside or outside?” “Inside” I said “I gave her a big cuddle.” I don’t think he really understands, I’m sure there will be more questions to come when he realises she’s not coming home. We’ll deal with each question open and honestly as they come.
Last night Hubby and I went to a ‘crossing over night’ with a very popular local psychic. When it comes this to spirits and the afterlife I guess you would say I am a believer, I certainly approach it all with an open mind. I have no doubt that there are plenty of so called ‘psychics’ out there that are just a sham, taking money from people who are desperate for answers. But I also believe that there are people that have a special gift; sometimes there is just no other explanation.
So anyway, back to last night. We were in a small room with fifteen other people. The psychic leading the night was very down to earth and straight down the line. The session lasted just over two hours and in that time she was able to speak to everyone in the room. There was gasps of disbelief, lots of tears and lots of laughter. She left hubby and I until nearly the end. My husband’s sister passed away a few years ago and he has really struggled to accept it; it was the main reason we decided to go. And thank god, she came through for him and told him everything he needed to hear. Whether you are a believer or not I don’t think anyone could argue that the comfort and peace that was given to him hearing those words is a beautiful thing.
She told us a lot of things and I won’t go into them all here but let’s just say she is the third psychic who has told us that we are going to have another child and it will be a girl (not happening people!) and that will we move to a bigger house in the country (which has always been a dream of ours). I take it all with a grain a salt and know that at the end of the day we are in charge of those choices.
At the end of the night I think most people in the room walked away believers. She had spoken about things she could not possibly otherwise know, down to exact names, dates and locations. True or not she gave these people the comfort and closure they were looking for and isn’t that the most important thing?
Welcome to Fast Five Friday where I give you my top five of something, every Friday. This week it’s all about learning. I’m a sucker for a good short course and there are so many awesome ones out there at the moment…. but here is just five I would really love to do this year (in no particular order):
1. Get Social Savvy with The Digital Picnic: I’ve followed Cherie since back in her blogging days and when she teamed up with Cat there was never any doubt they’d be a big success. I’ve wanted to do their ‘Get Social Savvy’ course since it launched but have just never gotten around to it…I’m hoping to change that this year.
2. Love Your Camera with Angie Baxter: A few years ago my camera broke and there was always other priorities when it came to paying to get it fixed. Hubby surprised me with a new camera at the start of this year and my photography skills are a bit rusty so have booked into the ‘Love Your Camera’ course in Melbourne with a few friends in April. Can’t wait!
3. Blog with Pip 2.0 with Pip Lincolne: I completed the Blog with Pip course last year and absolutely loved it! Pip is amazing; a wealth of knowledge and willing to share it. Blog with Pip 2.0 is the follow on course and will build upon what I’ve already learned.
5. Be a Blogger Boss: If there is one thing I struggle with when it comes to blogging it’s the tech stuff. I’ve taught myself a lot over the years but would really love to take it to the next level and have a really sound understanding of how it all works.
Do any of these courses interest you? Have you come across any other great ones lately?
Like so many people I have a fear of flying. Aeroplanes, helicopters…not my thing. I get super nervous when I have to get on an aeroplane and have not done managed a flight without medication for years. When I was a teenager we went to America and the long flight didn’t bother me. Back then 20 hours on a plane simply meant endless movies, food and game boy time. Ah to be young again. But now I’m older and I know better (more) and flying on a plane means potential death (not to be dramatic or anything). It makes me seriously anxious. Not only am I afraid of crashing but I just don’t like being stuck in a confined space that I can’t just simply get up and walk out of if I need some fresh air.
But, I refuse to let the fear hold me back. I refuse to be one of those people who never goes anywhere because they’re scared of flying. It’s also really important to me that my son grows up travelling and exploring , so at the end of the day, I suck it up for him.
Next weekend we’ll be flying to Port Douglas for a family holiday and I’m already feeling anxious about the plane trip. In the past I’ve found the best way to deal with it is to just try and distract myself (having four year old to entertain will certainly help with that!) But I’d love to know if anyone has any other tips? If you’re afraid of flying what do you do that helps? Or if you’re not afraid of flying tell me how you do it! How do you manage to enjoy it?