Monday, 27 January 2014

Resolutions

This year I have resolved to write more letters, notes and cards. Not just emails, text messages or facebook posts- but real handwritten letters on actual paper and sent in real envelopes.

I love paper and stationery and always spent all of my pocket money on new pens, pencils and pretty paper. Remember Granny Mays?? I used to spend many hours pouring over all of the gorgeous things and sometimes I was even able to leave with a fancy new smelly rubber to add to my collection. Sometimes it was all so pretty that I couldn't bring myself to use it. I am not going to let that happen with this gorgeous gift:


All the way from Italy!!! I saw the photo of the shop and it looked like something on Diagon Alley. I was giddy with expectation when I was told that a gift had been purchased from that very shop. I have had it for months and was just a little bit too scared to give it a test run. I thought it was going to be much trickier to master than it was. And the truth is, it was just too perfectly gorgeous and I didn't want to spoil it. It was given with the intention of me sitting by candlelit to write my first ever novel in the style of Jane Austen- or at least to have fun using it. Isn't it the most incredible present- I adore it. 
How rude of me to wait so long to send a thank you letter sealed with wax.

I used to love writing letters when I was a kid and there was a frequent flow of letters between my cousin and I for many years. When I moved away for High School my primary school bestie and I kept the letters flowing until we got to uni. I guess life got busier and more complicated and I changed addresses frequently! I found out last year, via facebook, that my lovely friend passed away. I was so very sad that the letters we had shared had disappeared in one of those address changes over the years. I had kept them for a long time and used to pull them out to read them from time to time. Our only contact had been through letters, but I knew her so well and I miss her.

This Christmas I was given this letter writing set by another thoughtful bestie who loves me:


I am sure that the letters I sent to my childhood friend was on this very paper!

I really feel like the universe is trying to tell me something.

Over Summer I have started to write notes and postcards and encouraged the boys to do the same, which they loved. I am going to have to put all of this ink and paper to good use.


I have a stack of stamps ready to go and I really need to perfect the art of melting wax. I have ink all over my hands and a blob of wax stuck to my elbow- I need practise. 
 If you would like the happy surprise of a personal letter in the mail, I would like to send you one. Send me your address and I'll try to think of something interesting to say in a legible hand. 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Guest blogger!!


Hi! This is Andrew, I'm doing this blog post for Cooper!!


All my Futurama stuff...




Some LEGO figures and big superheroes!

I hope you like all my stuff. One day you should come over and see it in person. 

Friday, 24 January 2014

Sydney

Today we played tourists in our own town. We have visited every capital city except for Darwin- top of our list now!

We have visited the Botanical Gardens in Adelaide 3 years in a row, but not in our own city. Crazy huh! Sydney really is the most beautiful city. I am still so impressed when Circular Quay appears through the buildings. The glimmer of the water always brightens up the end of George St. There is always something special going on around the Opera House and it is just stunning...always so pretty. We just take it for granted and we admire so much about the other cities we visit. We always appreciate the slightly slower pace and easy parking when we are far from home, but Sydney is amazing. The buzz and the hustle and bustle is exciting. There is just so much to see too- never a city to be done in one day.

When we told the boys that we were going into the city today (it was a bit of a whim with no preparation) they asked "which city?" So accustomed they are to leaving one city one day and appearing in another a few days later!!!

So here is our day:

China Town for lunch.


Always fun to get a table outside and watch the world go by.


After lunch Eric had to get to a meeting in Pitt St so I set off with the boys to explore. First stop Circular Quay for ice-cream- perfect!




After a rather unfortunate experience with a street performer who counted to three!! Cams hates it when they count (especially when they demand super enthusiastic audience participation) and we always stand at the back ready to run so the other boys can enjoy as much of the show as possible. This one ended in a MAJOR meltdown. I had no idea his swear word vocabulary was so impressive!! As you can see he was still not happy by the time we got to the Opera House (he also knew he was in very big trouble for swearing so impressively). There was a great deal of remorse and very sincere apologies to everyone by the time we got to the Gardens.




I really don't think that we have seen anything as lovely as this in any other capital city.


yes Campbell is reading.....




meanwhile......

Naturally!

Eric's meeting finished and we rejoined in Hyde Park to explore the Festival- my boys were more interested in admiring the Archibald Fountain. Joe declared loudly "put some pants on" as he inspected the Minotaur under attack. Bahhhh my children have no culture!

Maybe this is why???? I promise you this was not the reason for Eric's meeting!! Looks a bit suspect though doesn't it :/ Look closely at the signage in this photo.....


Our day was made complete with another visit to our favourite feature at Darling Harbour...the filthy fountain outside the toilet block...aww Sydney is grand!!!


Joe decided as we walked back to the car that he didn't need a shower tonight because he just had one. Yep- all class in my family!  

If anything this experience would require two showers with extra soap- he settled for one bath with bubble bath and soap. I have excellent bargaining skills.

Thoroughly exhausting with so many places to visit on a another day. The boys walked some good distances today...and Campbell did HEAPS of reading.

What are your favourite spots to visit in Sydney?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Frankston

We finally got made it to Melbourne!!! The nagging about when we would be getting there was getting pretty persistent, with all of the boys eager to spend the remains of their carefully saved Christmas money. Minotaur is the favourite haunt for Drew and Jonas, and Campbell had a Dymocks voucher to spend and visions of finding the Best Second- hand Bookshop in the world!!

We stopped in at Ballarat for a night on route to explore the town. Last visit we didn't get to have a look around the city, so we were looking forward to having a wander around this year. The temperature continued to rise and we were very grateful for a massive pool and spa complex complete with a big screen TV at the caravan park. As we were driving towards Melbourne the next day Drew was laughing about the fact that the TV was ignored while everyone in the pool stopped to watch a cute little baby learning to walk and enjoying the fountains at the edge of the pool. So much more entertaining than watching the news!!

Our first day in Melbourne was spent in Frankston, where we had booked a site for 3 nights. It turned out to be an Op Shop mecca!! Campbell got his fill of books and we found these delightful painted stairs in The Salvos shop. 




We arrived in Frankston on our 19th Wedding anniversary so we enjoyed a lovely lunch and then ice-cream followed by a swim at Frankston Beach. It was a bit too much of a walk down to the water to get Campbell down and he wasn't keen about going for a swim. This is one of the things that I find the most difficult about travelling with Cams. I would so love the opportunity to enjoy the beach as a family, but he is now just too big to carry down the sand. A long walk down the beach would be such a lovely thing to do together, but it is just not something we can do on a whim. Eric and Campbell found a shady place to rest while I had a swim with the boys and although I came back twice to offer to sit with Campbell, Eric insisted that I enjoy a cool swim. 


It was so very hot and Eric and I were light headed by the time we got the tent up- we left the kids in the car with the air conditioning going while we unpacked. There was absolutely no chance of cooking and eating outdoors with the temps still hovering around 44 degrees at 5pm. We headed to the local club for dinner and then lingered for as long as we could before skulking back to the tent. Once the sun started to go down it was slightly more comfortable and we set up a picnic rug to watch the stars appear one by one.
 I certainly plan to make sure that our anniversary is celebrated with a bit more flair next year!!! It will have to be a special one- just look at the figures:

On our 20th anniversary we will be 40 years old.
Campbell will be 16
Andrew will be 12
Jonas will be 8
and our anniversary is on the 14th. 

Just look at all of those lovely even numbers! What do you think we should plan??


Friday, 17 January 2014

Melbourne


As soon as Joe woke up he spied a cat out of the window of the tent. While the rest of us were sluggish and resistant to facing the day after a dreadful night of unrelenting heat, Joe set off out the door to meet the cat! Oh my goodness- it was so HOT!!!! ALL NIGHT!! 


Joe made friends with this very sweet little kitten, with no idea where it came from, while we all tried to prepare ourselves for another very hot day exploring the city.


The discovery of fountains were much appreciated as we made our way from one end of the city to the other. 



The museum also provided us with some cool air for a while.



It became a wonderful day, even with the heat! We found Minotaur quickly and the boys got to spend the last of their money on their favourite pop culture collectables. We made our way across town to see what other treasures we might uncover.


 They also remembered this comic book shop in Bourke street and managed to find it again this time.

We found yet another cool Salvos Store at the end of Bourke street- has anyone else noticed how Salvos are really working on their image? No longer slightly smelly and unpleasant- these op shops are trendy with cool displays and decorations. We haven't felt the need to find the books and escape quickly like we have always done in the past.

This fabulous day ended with an even more fabulous evening. We had a swim in the pool to cool down  before packing up for the beach at Seaford. We had plans to meet up with a family I know through blogging.  Seaford Beach was much easier to negotiate with a wheelchair and we finally got to enjoy the ocean together- all 5 of us!!! It was so special and I know it will be a memory I will always treasure.

It really is bizarre that we had such a relaxed evening with this family that we have only really got to know virtually. It felt like we had all been friends for years and recognised each other across the crowded beach. We had a wonderfully relaxed Thai meal together and chatted away and laughed about our funny family stories. We all feel very fortunate to have met this gorgeous family and we all hope that we get a chance to chat over a meal again soon. Thank you to our lovely new friends for helping us to have one of the most memorable days of our entire trip. Between 6 kids to watch and constant conversation (in fact sometimes multiple conversations at once) none of us managed to get a single photo of us all toegther. I have several snapshot images in my head though.

Another swim at the beach after dinner completed our wonderful day and ensured that we were all able to sleep better that night...well until the thunderstorm hit!!!!!


Onwards from Yorkey


Another lovely day on Yorkey began with a trip down the coast to the markets in Stansbury. Eric and Joe hit the jetty at Ardrossan as soon as we got back to the tent in the hope of catching something for dinner, while Campbell, Drew and I went for a walk to the bakery for some fresh bread and a wander around town. It was a perfect day of nothing much for our last day in South Australia- lots of reading, chatting and eating.

As our last hurrah we went for a walk around the cliff tops to take in the view before dinner.

While Campbell continued reading....




And Campbell kept reading.....

Up and out early the next morning we decided to just push on as much as we could and see how close we could get to Melbourne. The temperature was rising swiftly and we didn't mind a long stretch in the air conditioned car. We had an afternoon tea stop over in Bordertown, which we thought might be our resting spot for the night, and decided to see how much further we could go. With rumbling stomachs complaining from the back seat at dinner time, we finally stopped in Horsham and opted for a motel for the night. It was a lovely relief from the dry heat outside and the boys savoured the chance to watch a bit of telly. Campbell protested loudly for Chinese take away for dinner in we were quite happy to go along with that request.
We have managed to stick to a budget of $100 a day for our accommodation and food so far, so this was a big indulgence. Most nights our campsite cost us about $50 and the most we paid was around $70. The boys had lots of Christmas spending money and bought their own souvenirs and treats, and with my lease car with a petrol card, our expenses were pretty low. It left us a bit in reserve for the occasional lunch or dinner, or a night away from the tent when the heat or wind got too much.
Having a tighter budget this year really hasn't had much of an impact on our holiday at all. We packed snacks and drinks for morning tea and always had stuff ready for lunch in the esky. We were always able to find a pretty spot to stop and set up a quick picnic on our travels- much nicer than lunch in McDonald's! There was heaps of Christmas stuff on sale in the supermarkets so there was never a shortage of biscuits and chocolates to choose from. Our kids love nothing better than instant noodles or tinned baked beans- they would eat that every night if we let them. It seems that you really can't put a price on old fashioned fun.

Rest stop at Bordertown.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Yorke Peninsula

It was such a shame that our time on the Eyre Peninsula was so cold and windy. We were regretting packing so lightly this year, because an extra jumper each would have been much appreciated. It was certainly a pretty place to visit and we did enjoy our coastal walks and explorations. Although the promise of good fishing got us hooked ;) we quickly realised that our odds were significantly reduced without a boat.



On a little side trip to Coffin Bay.
 It was lovely to stop and relax in Port Lincoln and we all felt recharged and ready to see what the Yorke Peninsula might have to offer. It was an easy drive back along to coast towards Port Augusta- we are all so used to long stretches of driving now that 4 hours passes without effort.

We were glad that we decided to stop at Whyalla for lunch because the sun was shining and we felt the love again- no hard feelings Whyalla.


We managed to push on to Port Broughton for the night. We were pretty swift and setting up our campsite so we could head straight back to the jetty for fish and chips for dinner and a go at catching something on the jetty- Joe had fun pulling in lots of little crabs in the net and throwing them back again.

 

Not sure what might be the best spots to visit on the Yorke Peninsula, we decided to just head south and see what we liked the look of. Ardrossan looked like it might be a good option, since it claimed to be the crab capital, and we set up a little bunker for 3 nights. Our little hidey hole kept us cool and gave us privacy- we were quite comfortable.




There is a blow up boat out there in the distance.



The beach was gorgeous and a good place to sit and keep cool for the day. Our little blow up boat proved good entertainment again and is a perfect way for us to enjoy the water as a family. The rocky beaches made it tricky to get Campbell in and out of the water but he loves bobbing around in the boat while we all swim around him.
We often have lovely offers of help from locals and tourists and Campbell strikes up a conversation with anyone nearby. When I told him yesterday what a gentleman he always is, I was so proud when he flippantly said "oh that's what my teacher alway says". Isn't that lovely??





It is very quiet along this coastline and we are well positioned in Ardrossan to make little day trips. Every little town has a pub, a museum and a caravan park- with very little else. We have loved just sitting back and doing our thing without any need to rush through our day.



Tomorrow we are heading in the direction of Melbourne- so that is all about to change. We are all a bit excited about exploring our favourite places in Melbourne and catching up with friends.

Our poor tent is looking very sad after the beating it took in Whyalla. It will deserve a full make over when we get home with new zippers, bent poles replaced and a really good clean. It has done a great job over the past 5 years and has seen us through some rough nights. We do love our home away from home. 


 
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