Picnic and a Paddleboat in Lane Cove National Park

Another gorgeous winters day and the family was itching to get out amongst it… well at least I was! I didn’t want to drive too far but I longed for a day in nature so we decided to pack a picnic lunch and head to Lane Cove National Park.

Because it was a 21 degree day with blue skies and sunshine there were a lot of people out cycling and BBQing, but it wasn’t busy, it was just enough to give the place a bit of buzz. I always love doing these outings in winter because places are so much quieter than in summer. You can always get a car-park, you get a choice of picnic tables, there’s no queues and everything is just a little more relaxed.

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Blowing away the cobwebs in Brighton-Le-Sands

After 24-36 hours stuck in the four walls of our small apartment due to my daughter’s stomach bug I was getting cabin fever bad. It was made worse when the wintery showers we woke up to passed and made way for blue skies and gorgeous sunshine…a sure way to make me feel guilty for being inside on the couch!

So, on a mid-afternoon whim we decided to pack a few snacks and head to the beach in the hope that the fresh salt air would help blow away the cobwebs of the last few days….and that it did.

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A day as a tourist in Surry Hills

As we approach the Bank holiday on 4th August I am reminded of the same day last year and it brings a smile to my face. With both kids still heading to daycare for the day, my husband took the day off work to join me on a ‘date day’ to explore Surry Hills through the eyes of a tourist.

We began the day with breakfast at Bills on Crown Street. Being a Monday it was super quiet, just a few people grabbing their morning coffee. Our food was great- the crab, chorizo & house kim chee fried brown rice is not your usual breakfast option but it was my highlight.

Surry Hills  has such a great vibe and is great for people watching; exploring the many boutiques full of unique and vintage clothes; shops full of interesting and different curiosities; cafes, bars and restaurants with fantastic designer interiors as well as those with a more hipster vibe full of repurposed furniture… it is a feast for the senses!

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A weekend at Blues on Broadbeach 2014

The end of May was my Mum’s 60th birthday. She, like most mums, is always going out of her way to support her friends and extended family so this year was our opportunity to do something special for her.

For the last few years mum has celebrated her birthday by spending a weekend away at the Blues on Broadbeach music festival on the Gold Coast. Mum’s original request was that the whole family join her and her friends for the weekend but, mum being mum, she didn’t want my brother and I to go to the expense of travelling to the Gold Coast with our respective families. So… My brother and I decided to surprise her and left partners with the kids back at home in Sydney.

I had no idea how many great Blues musicians were on the bill at the festival and I was completely blown away that not only were there internationally renowned artists but it was all free! From Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges to Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Russell Morris to Juzzie Smith the quality of the music was amazing.

The stages are dotted around the outdoor malls in Broadbeach and music runs from 10am, throughout the day and into the night so there is always something to see. I was, however, one of the few festival goers with no grey hair (I guess I was there to celebrate a 60th birthday!) but it was fantastic to see so ‘mature’ people able to enjoy the festival without a heap of young people overwhelming them in the crowd.

The weather was amazing so we chose to mix roaming the festival stages with walks along the beautiful Broadbeach, browsing the beachside markets and fish & chips on the balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

On our final night we dined at Mecca Bah. This was the second time I’ve dined here and it did not disappoint. I love Moroccan food & the banquet was delicious!

Although it was only a long weekend, it felt like much longer. It was such a great time with family and with cheap flights to the Gold Coast, shared accommodation, free music festival, markets and the beach it was still a very economical weekend away and a great way to celebrate my Mum’s 60th birthday

Enjoying a drink in a bar by one of the stages
With my brother & parents in our ‘Blues on Broadbeach’ Blues Brothers hats
Mum really enjoyed the surprise
Juzzie Smith- a regular at north coast NSW markets- performs at the festival
The view from our apartment

A spontaneous Adventure in the Blue Mountains

What started as a whim after seeing an ad in MX, turned into a great spontaneous adventure. Scenic World in the Blue Mountains was advertising a sculpture walk and given it was Mothers Day, I made the request that we go as a family on a day trip to discover the sculptures in the beautiful bush surroundings of the Mountains.

But, once we were in the 2nd hour of our drive west, the idea of coming all the way back home after our visit became less & less appealing and the idea of finding some cheap accommodation to stay overnight quickly became the preferred option!

It was freezing in the mountains and the girls were excited as soon as we got out of the car & into the chilly, fresh air. The adventure was made all the more exciting with the ride on the cable car to travel beneath the canopy. They loved rugging up and exploring the trails dotted with gorgeous sculptures- half the fun for me was watching them discover the different artworks and listening to their take on what they meant.

A quick trip to the supermarket provided supplies for dinner & Big W supplied emergency pjs. After all the excitement of the day it didn’t take much for any of us to get to sleep in our warm cabin that night!

The next morning we got up & went for a short bush walk to view the megalong valley in the early morning light and were greeted with a beautiful lyre bird scratching around in the undergrowth. The girls were also convinced they had found a fairy hangout when they found an old wishing well. After a play in a nearby playground we headed to Leura for a hearty breakfast with a view & a wander around the little shops. One more bushwalk after breakfast, a mountain market with some live music and then the journey back home.

Blue Mountains
Sculpture at Scenic World
Cabins at Katoomba Falls Tourist Park
Blue Mountains Markets

Exploring the bush tracks that open to expansive views
Unexpected sculptures set among the bush


Looking for fairies in the well



Bluesfest 2014

Complete with 5 days tix to Bluesfest we headed out to day 1 with the kids. Traffic congestion due to the Pacific Highway upgrade aside, we arrived at the festival site super excited to introduce the kids to some Blues.

The girls loved the festival atmosphere and were keen to explore the many stalls and stages. It wasn’t too long before they found other kids to dance with and enjoy the music.

The kids found the live music exhilarating
Face painting is just one of the great activities for kids at the festival



The girls wanted to get up close to the music
Great entertainment as well as great music
Lots of great food to choose from or else you can pack your own
Getting close to the action

Sydney Festival 2014

The whole family loved the light experience
The bars down near the Opera House did a great job being family friendly throughout the festival
It took everyone a little while to work out the optical illusion, great fun!

I love the buzz of a good festival & the Sydney Festival is always great for fun family days out as well as date nights. Summer in Sydney is special & the Sydney Festival just adds another element to enjoying the harbour city in the sunshine. Darling Harbour, Hyde Park and Circular Quay are the best spots for free activities during the day for kids and they always enjoy exploring the different activities. If you go on a Sunday you can also take advantage of the Family Funday Sunday tickets and get around really cheaply on public transport. 20140713-132307-48187032.jpg 20140713-132307-48187283.jpg 20140713-132307-48187737.jpg