Podcasts to Listen to Now- Fast Five Friday

Fast Five Friday Podcasts to Listen to Now, www.sarahdipity.com.au

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?

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Co-Sleeping, www.sarahdipity.com.au

There are quite a few so called ‘controversial parenting topics’ I have tended to steer clear of writing about in the past; breastfeeding, controlled crying and discipline to name a few. But today I’m going to go there…I’m going to talk about co-sleeping.

We’ve never really done the whole co-sleeping thing in our house; it’s not that I’m against it or anything, it just that it doesn’t work for us. I’m a really light sleeper and we all know what sleeping with a kid is a like- knees in your back, getting hit in the face, snoring in your ears, being squished right to the very edge of the bed…I end up getting no sleep whatsoever! Our son doesn’t get up during the night and come to our bed and he doesn’t ask to sleep with us; I guess maybe because it’s just how it’s been from the start. We never had him in bed with us as a baby and he was in his own room from about three weeks of age. He did however go through a stage recently where he wanted me to sleep in his bed with him. I was in two minds about it. He was going through a lot of changes- finishing day care, starting kinder and I got the feeling he just needed that extra comfort. But I knew once I started it would become a habit and habits are hard to break. I wanted him to sleep easily and to feel safe but I also wanted my own time of an evening and time with my husband…I didn’t really know what to do!

I remembered a story I saw on Sunrise a few months ago about a family who all sleep in the same room. I guess the story was unique because the couple had something like six or seven young children. They had a king size bed in the middle of their master bedroom surrounded by three bunk beds. My first reaction? That’s crazy! So I turned up the volume to listen. Turns out the family had recently returned from a year long trip. They had spent the past twelve months sleeping in very close quarters in a caravan and when they returned home being separated at night was causing major anxiety in the children. So they came up with the solution of co-sleeping to the extreme and it was working for them. Having that many children they also found that when they were all in separate rooms they had to get up countless times during the night and everyone was suffering from lack of sleep. Being in the same room, everyone started sleeping through the night or if any of the children did wake they were easily settled with a quick cuddle. It all kind of made sense. Of course Kochie asked the question I’m sure you’re all thinking (I know I was), if they were sharing a room with all of their kids how did manage to be intimate? “Well there are plenty of other places to have sex then in the bed” they answered. Good on them I thought!

So I tried to just stop worrying and go with the flow. I began to lay down with my son to get him to sleep each night and then would slowly creep out once he was asleep. Of course then he started waking in the middle of the night wondering where I was so I would crawl back into his bed at some ungodly hour of the morning and he would sleep while I would lay there awake, hanging over the edge of the bed. I tried to just go with it, really I did, but it just wasn’t working, in fact it seemed to be only making things worse. So I talked to him about it and explained that his bed just wasn’t big enough for the both of us and Mummy wasn’t getting any sleep. There were tears and I did feel bad. We made a compromise and for the past few weeks I have been sitting beside his bed and holding his hand until he drifts off. If he wakes during the night (which seems to be getting less and less frequent) I do the same. It seems to be working…for all of us.

I guess my whole point is that you’ve just got to do what works for you. Sometimes that may take a bit of trial and error to figure out and that’s ok. I think this applies to everything in parenting. If you want to co-sleep, do it, if you don’t then don’t and don’t judge others for the parenting choices they make- we’re all just trying to figure it out and do what we think is best.

What are the sleeping arrangements like in your house? Do you co-sleep, bed hop or do you have a strict ‘sleep in your own bed’ policy?

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Port Douglas for Families

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.

Port Douglas, www.sarahdipity.com.au

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.

Reef Rendevous Port Douglas, www.sarahdipity.com.au

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.

Day 1:

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!

Hartleys Crocodile Park, www.sarahdipity.com.au

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:

Port Douglas Weddings, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Port Douglas Weddings, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Day 2:

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.

Mossman Gorge, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Mossman Gorge, www.sarahdipity.com.au

In the afternoon the boys played a round of golf at Palmers Sea Reef course in Port Douglas. Future pro golfer right here…

Palmers Golf Course Port Douglas, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Day 3:

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.

Cairns Go Karts, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Cairns, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Day 4:

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.

Skyrail Cairns, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Skyrail Cairns, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Cairns Skyrail, www.sarahdipity.com.au

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…

Butterfly Sanctuary Kuranda, www.sarahdipity.com.au

And Koala Gardens where we snuggled a koala…

koala gardens, www.sarahdipity.com.au

And Birdworld where we got to meet and feed some truly colourful birds…

Kuranda Bird world, www.sarahdipity.com.au

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…

kuranda scenic railway, www.sarahdipity.com.au

kuranda scenic railway, www.sarahdipity.com.au

(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.)

Day 5:

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!

Port Douglas Bike Hire, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Amongst all of that everyday we managed to enjoy lots of swimming in the pool and relaxing at our villa.

The verdict

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.

Helpful Tips

  • 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?

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Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions 4, www.sarahdipity.com.au

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?

Happy Easter everyone!

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Bring back the chocolate! Fast Five Friday

In celebration of Easter (aka- the festival of chocolate) today I’m dealing with a very serious issue on Fast Five Friday….those poor chocolates that we so dearly loved but have been discontinued and no longer available to us in Australia. Here’s my top five:

chocolates, fast five friday, www.sarahdipity.com.au

1 Vice Versas: Do you remember the ad? “They’re brown, they’re white, no no they’re brown, they’re white.” God they were so good!

2 Dove: I think you might be able to still get a block of dove chocolate in some places?? But if you can I haven’t found it…so please share, this used to be my favourite chocolate and I miss it!

3 Marble: The perfect blend of white and dairy milk chocolate mmmm.

4 Crave: They used to sell these at my high school canteen and I’d buy one everyday. Upon researching for this post I discovered that Crave is actually a Whispa chocolate bar with caramel…does this mean you can buy them in England?! If so, ship me some over now!

5 Snowflake: I first tried this chocolate bar at the Cadbury factory in Tasmania when I was a kid. You haven’t been able to buy them for years but then…..all of a sudden last week I saw one on the shelf in Coles!! I was so flip out excited (and yes of course I bought it).

Do you remember these chocolates? Any others that you love that you can’t buy anymore? Wanna start a campaign to bring back Vice Versas?

Happy Easter everyone, may your bellies be filled with chocolate all weekend long!

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Saying Goodbye

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.

saying goodbye, www.sarahdipity.com.au

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.

saying goodbye, www.sarahdipity.com.au

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.

saying goodbye, www.sarahdipity.com.au

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.

saying goodbye, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Rest in peace Bonnie.

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Traditions, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Easter is just five sleeps away…what?! It’s one of my favourite times of the year and not because of all the chocolate (ok maybe a little) but because we head away for the super long weekend with a great group of friends. We’ve been doing it for almost ten years now and have grown in numbers since the original group as we all now have children. Our kids are all around the same age and play wonderfully together. It’s always a weekend filled with fun and lots of laughter. I’m a sucker for tradition and this time of year is surrounded by it.

Firstly, there’s Fish and Chip Friday. It started the first year we went away and there was a big discussion about Good Friday and not eating red meat. We’d all grown up in families where red meat on Good Friday was big no-no but none of us really knew why. We knew it had something to do with religion but none of us were particularly religious. I believe we ended up googling it and to this day I can’t really remember the exact answer (if anyone does know please explain!) But that year we decided to be a bit rebellious, we were adults now and could make our own choices. So we stopped at KFC for lunch and chowed down on some crispy chicken. Afterwards we all immediately agreed it felt wrong and vowed to never do it again. And thus began Fish and Chip Good Friday.

There’s board game night (with a trophy and all), we’re a competitive bunch but it’s always in good fun and usually ends in fits of laughter. The Dad’s get a day out (to play golf) and then the Mum’s get a day too (usually shopping!) Of course there’s the Easter egg hunt on Easter morning. All of these traditions we have built with our friends and now share with our children. That’s the bit I love the most.

It might be the last year we’ll be able to spend Easter at the particular house we stay at because next year there will be more kids out of cots and needing beds and more babies too…but I’m hoping many of the traditions will still continue.

So this week I’m looking forward to Easter and our weekend away. How about you? Do you do anything special for Easter? What traditions does your family have?

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Top 5 Teen Fiction for Adults- Fast Five Friday

Fast Frive Friday 3, www.sarahdipity.com.auWelcome to Fast Five Friday where I bring you my top five of something every Friday.

Confession; I love teen fiction books. Loved them when I was a teenager and still love them now. Here’s my top five teen fiction books that you should try reading (if you haven’t already) and if you’re a parent of a teenager why not get them reading too?

Tomorrow When the War Began series by John Marsden: This is my all time favourite book series. My sister, Mum and I all read this series growing up and I have since reread it a few times. I also really love that it’s by an Aussie author.

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta: We studied this book in high school and I loved it. I also reread it when I was older and watched the movie which I think was a great portrayal of the book.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I enjoyed the books and when the movies came out Hubby also enjoyed watching them with me.

The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer: I’m pretty sure the whole world has heard about this series. I didn’t exactly love the movies but I did enjoy the books. Yes, the whole story is pretty far fetched and corny but sometimes it’s nice to just switch off your brain and read something like that

Anything by John Green: We’re talking The Fault in our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns and more. John Green’s books are usually a quick and easy read but with a bit of depth.

Do you enjoy reading teen fiction? Have you read any of these books?

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Sunday Sessions

Sunday Sessions, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Happy Sunday to you and Happy Birthday to me! That’s right, it’s my birthday today and this morning I hopped on a plane with my hubby and son for a week long family holiday in Port Douglas yay! I’m sure I’ll be posting some holiday snaps on instagram this week so stay tuned.

Hubby and I started the week by heading to a ‘crossing over’ night with a local psychic. I’m a believer and it turns out most of you are too. It was quite interesting and a bit of fun, I’d definitely go again.

This week the world celebrated International Womens Day and I shared this post and these images on my facebook page. I think the images are amazing. I don’t have any photos of the moment when my son was born and it’s one of my biggest regrets. I had been moved to another room to give birth and we forgot to bring the camera with us. The nurse ran back to grab it but the moment had already passed. Do you have photos of the moment your children were born?

I was really excited to chat to Nicole and take part in her ‘My Favourite Space’ series on her blog The Builders Wife. Head here to check out the post!

This week we’ve also started the process of looking at schools for the lil man next year, eeek! The primary schools in our town are zoned and the school in our catchment area isn’t our preference and so this means we’re going to have to convince a school from outside of our zone to accept our son. It’s all a bit nerve racking and Karin from Calm to Conniption’s post reminded me it’s serious business!

Easter is just around the corner- check out The Annoyed Thyroid post from some yummy Easter treat ideas.

And that my friends is the week that was, how was your week?

Now excuse me while I hit the beach….

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Top 5 Magazines- Fast Five Friday

Fast Five Friday 2, www.sarahdipity.com.au

Welcome to Fast Five Friday, where I bring you my top five or something every Friday. This week we’re talking magazines. I love a good magazine reading session, here’s what I’m loving at the moment (in no particular order):

Collective Hub: The brain child of Lisa Messenger, it’s my favourite mag at the moment. Filled with stories of entrepreneurship and creative endeavours it’s an inspiring read. It makes you want to go out and put all the ideas you have into action!

Secret Bloggers Business: A brand new digital mini mag especially for bloggers and it’s free! It’s the perfect bite size read over a cuppa or lunch break and includes blogging tips, interviews and must haves. You can download the first edition here.

Real Living: This magazine has been a fav of mine for many years. I love checking out all of the amazing houses in their ‘homes to love’ section and dreaming….lots of dreaming.

Homes Plus: This magazine is very similar to Real Living but I find the pieces featured can be sourced very easily and affordably from places like ikea and kmart.

Hello Lunch Lady: I confess I have yet to read this magazine but everyone has been raving about it! It is a branch out from the original Hello Lunch Lady blog which is filled with gorgeous images, stories and recipes. The magazine is only stocked in limited places but you can also order it online here.

What are your favourite magazines at the moment? Hit me up!

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