Blogging from Down Under

New Frontiers – New Zealand 

We have just returned from our very first family ski holiday to amazing New Zealand. It was everything that we imagined it to be and more besides. Such a stunning place.

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Christmas in July

Winter in Melbs is a pretty grim affair, it is long and dark and cold, the Southern Hemisphere winter doesn’t have a whole lot going for it to be perfectly honest. 

Now winter in the Northern Hemisphere however, also cold, dark and generally wet, does have a certain little event and ensuing holiday to help get through the long dark days. Christmas (in case you didn’t realise).

Given that Christmas occurs in December it is a long struggle through the winter for us Southern Hemmers.

So, to try and make it slightly more bareable, Australia does ‘Christmas in July’ instead. There are all sorts of special events on in and around the city and cool (ha) things for families to do to help get through the chilly winter.

As part of the Christmas in July celebrations we headed over to Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, about an hour and 15 mins drive from Melbs, to take in the entertainment that was on offer as part of their celebrations.

Sovereign Hill is an awesome outside museum. It is set up as a turn of the Century gold rush town and you can even pan for gold in the river running through the town. 

It is a great day out even if it wasn’t Christmas in July and I’d highly recommend it. I’ve been there once before when the Bear was v small when my broseph came to stay and it’s pretty cool. 

This time we headed there a bit later in the day because:-

A) it was raining

B) it was freezing

C) we couldn’t be bothered to get up early

Plus as we knew we’d be there late for the festivities we didn’t want to peak too early! 

When we arrived, Sovereign Hill was like a scene from a Charles Dickens novel.  

 There were Christmas decorations and wreaths on the buildings in the Main Street and a pretty impressive Christmas tree.

There was so much to do besides the panning for gold stuff, there were horse and carriage rides and a Christmas sack race as well as a very funny ‘Captain Black Beard and the Pirates’ pantomime. The Bear’s loved it.

   When darkness fell the light show began and the Main Street was transformed into a Christmas wonderland complete with lights, snow, Christmas carols and, of course, St Nicholas. 




It might not actually be Christmas but it certainly felt like the festive season even just for a day!

Birthdays, Barfing and Baw Baw

It was my birthday the other day and to celebrate the momentous occasion of my 2nd 18th Birthday we packed up the fam and headed for a day trip up to Mount Baw Baw in Victoria’s very picturesque Alpine region for a spot of snowy fun.

Mount Baw Baw is about 2 and half to three hours from Melbs – more if you add in the unaccounted for stops along the way, but more on that later!

Baw Baw’s distance from Melbourne makes it a really good option for a day trip, its an early start but worth it.

We had booked the Bear in for his very first ski lesson in preparation for our first family ski holiday to New Zealand very soon and husb and I were ridiculously excited to see him on a pair of skis for the first time – we have been waiting for this moment for 4 years. The Bear was also excited but, bless him, had no idea quite what he was excited about as he told me in the car that he didn’t need lessons as he was going to go up to the top of the mountain and ‘just ski down with daddy’ – as you do!

I mentioned the unaccounted for stops? Well when I say that it is a 2 1/2 to 3 hour journey, that is clearly if you are an adult, no kids and have no issue with driving James Bond style round the hairpin bends at 60km’s an hour on the ridiculously windy and narrow road to the top of the mountain. Us being none of those things (apart from the James Bond bit in husb head) meant that it took us a lot longer. Whiiiiiiich we of course didn’t realise until we were about 2 km’s into the windy bit of the journey . . . . it was then that Barf number 1 happened.

Boy oh boy did Barf number 1 happen!

It was unexpected,

despite the consistent whiny moan from the back of the car which we ignored to make sure we got there in time for the Bears 9.30am lesson – she got our attention I’ll give her that!

I’ll spare you the very smelly, lumpy, carroty, milky details but, well, it was all of those . . . and more.

Husb swore, we screeched to a halt on a hairpin, I grabbed her, he set about cleaning the vomit soaked car seat while I stripped her down to her nappy in the boot on a hairpin bend, on the side of a mountain, on a narrow road, in 1 degree celsius. Parent of the year – right here.

Girl child changed and clean, we set off again, this time at a more sedate pace of 0.5km per hour, husb swearing silently to himself with a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel.

We made it another km and . . .

enter Barf number 2 stage left, I swear husbs skin was about to rip through his knuckles Incredible Hulk style.

“Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me”

Husb swore (again), we screeched to a halt on a hairpin, I grabbed her, he set about cleaning the vomit soaked car seat while I stripped her down to her nappy in the boot on (another) hairpin bend, on the side of the mountain, on a narrow road, in 1 degree celsius – sound familiar?!

Thankfully I basically bought her wardrobe with me as I didn’t know what she’d need  – and onwards and upwards we continued.

Only to be stopped another 5kms on – thankfully no barf this time, but the demand that we hire snow chains or pay a $2000 fine, or turn round and go home. So despite the fact there was not a speck of snow on the road or anywhere about, we were fleeced hired the snow chains and obligatory sledges and set off (again).

We inched the rest of the way up to Mount Baw Baw Alpine resort finally arriving minus any more barfing, or use of/checking of snow chain adherence and rushed over to get the Bear suited and booted for his lesson.

  Then we rushed over to his lesson and arrived only about 5 mins late in the end, which was really lucky because there were all of  . . 2 people on the slope!

We handed the Bear over for his first ever ski lesson and watched him, go for it, no fear, no expectation just pure enjoyment.

He was a natural, by the third go down he wanted to race the little girl he was learning with – she wasn’t so keen!

I was proud as punch of my little Bear – the best birthday present ever, watching him take off on his little pair of tiny skis! I may or may not have shed a little tear.

  After a very busy fun filled day of skiing and sledging we headed off home – the Bear was asleep before his head hit the pillow.

  It was an amazing day out and I’m glad we arrived early, as it meant he had the slope all to himself which was the best way for him to get his snow feet. It got busier later on as a lot of people are bused in for the day. ( I would not recommend getting the bus up there – 1 word starts in B and ends in arf).

I cannot wait until we go on our snowy holiday woo!

Red Carpets, Champers and a bit of theatre darling!

So last night was not your typical Sunday ‘go to bed early, get ready for the week ahead’ night for me. It was a bit of a crazy one where, literally, ‘Anything Goes’.

Yep, last night I was invited to attend the opening night of ‘Anything Goes’ at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne.

Did you see what I did there?! You see ‘Anything Goes the show and a night where anything goes – oh come on – that was good. Work with me here!

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Great Ocean Road Marathon Festival 2015

This weekend we headed down to Apollo bay on the Great Ocean Road so that husb could take part in the Great Ocean Road marathon festival.
He was doing the half marathon which was 23k, well actually the half is 21k but they make you carry on for a further 2k afterwards to get to the finish line in Apollo Bay. I’m not sure why they don’t just move the finish line so that you actually do the right distance but whatevs.
Now some of my more avid readers (are there any left?!?) may remember husb doing this race before, and you may remember that our accommodation was slightly less than impressive. In fact I thought I was going to be murdered in my bed if you recall? You can read about that here. And also Here. Well you’ll be pleased to know that this time our accommodation was all together more pleasant. We stayed at Apollo Bay cottages which were lovely and did the job nicely thank you. Complete with roaring fire (and comfy socks).


 I was slightly concerned on the journey up that we may have a chunder incident due to the combination of lots of lollies from the birthday party the Bear had attended that morning, coupled with husbs crazy driving the windiness of the Great Ocean Road, and it was these I thought, that would not make a good combo.

Turns out I needn’t have worried about the Bear at all – he was right as rain. . . . .

Nope, it was the other one I should have worried about.
I’ll say one thing for the baby Bear – she is a quiet vomiter, horribly, horribly smelly, but quiet as a mouse. In fact I would hardly have known she’d been sick at all if it hadn’t been for the fact that she pebble dashed the iPad that the Bear was watching who then proceeded to scream that she had vomited everywhere.

Of course there was also the cloying sweet smell of stomach bile and partially digested fruit bar that then proceeded to permeate into the fibres of the car that gave me the next clue. Let me tell you, attempting to clean car sick off a velour car seat with the last 2 remaining baby wipes is no mean feat!
I’m also pretty sure that the receptionist at our accommodation was going to report us for child neglect when we rocked up with a boy child with no shoes on, a girl child with no top on and a car stinking of sick!
Awesome! – We have totally got this parenting gig nailed!

However, moving on, husb smashed the half marathon. He finished in a time of 1.36 compared to 1.51 when he did it last time. The timing last time was probably something to do with him not wanting to return to our house from hell but hey ho! He was awesome!



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