Lunch and photography workshop – so much fun we could have done it all day



I spent last weekend and most of this week battling some horrid virus type thing that laid me flat and drained me of energy and enthusiasm but I was determined to be well again by Thursday.  I’d entered a blog competition with one of my favourite bloggers ever, Fat Mum Slim, to go to a photography workshop and lunch with Chantelle, awesome photographer Rachel Devine (Sesame Ellis) and the lovely Alex from Olympus.  Fifteen lucky winners got to bring one of their children along to the QT Hotel on the Gold Coast to learn how to take photos with their child, not just of their child.


Choosing which child I was taking along was easy!  Bronte has been taking an interest in photography for a while now and although her pics are usually quite random (and some are sneak attacks on us when we’re not looking… thank goodness for the delete button as I don’t need extra chins, thanks kiddo!) she also manages a few quite good ones where you can see the thought behind the photo.  And, besides, a little mother/daughter time never hurts!


After a great talk by Rachel and some tips we all got given (loaned! they counted them and wanted them back!) cameras from Olympus.  The kids were given the Olympus Tough range and they’re fantastic… I can totally see Bronte wanting one of those for Christmas.  It’s a little bigger than her current Olympus but they’re designed for kids or people who are very adventurous.  I’d never used that one before but fortunately Alex, the marketing manager from Olympus, was on hand for when the kids dashed back to our workshop space with a few extra questions.


Bronte made a friend immediately and they buddied up together, sharing ideas and thoughts on where to put their props and how to get the best shot.  All the kids were given a toy animal (Bronte got a dog, I saw a panda, a horse, a budgie and a deer as well as many others) to use and were encouraged to be creative.


One of the joys of the QT is how it has some awesome little quirks.  We took the elevator and stopped on random floors.  Near the elevator bank was a chair that had been painted and every floor had a different themed chair.  The girls loved using them for their photo ideas and they got super snap-happy and turned their cameras on us – here I am taking a photo of my papparazzi pack.  I am soooo not cut out to be a celebrity – I squealed like a girl when they started, turned and ran.  *lol*


I loved seeing how Bronte absorbed some of the tips that Rachel gave us about shooting from different perspectives (I know I usually shoot from my eye level and I need to get higher or lower sometimes for different shots) and Bronte happily got low to the ground.  She also used props around her and was aiming for something quite arty here, I think.


It’s all about positioning for the perfect shot and not being afraid to put yourself in an awkward spot to get it.  The girls well and truly nailed it here!  Well, the positioning bit, I need to go through the shots to find out how this one turned out.


Of course, they’re still at the age where they can happily play up to the camera.  In this one they were showing off their toy props while pretending to be game show hostesses.  This was probably the only time (apart from lunch!) that they put the cameras down.


Speaking of lunch, it was fabulous – gorgeous salads, quiches, rolls and wraps, a fruit platter and this awesome dessert.  How awesome was it?  Well, here’s Bronte being sprung eating her second one.  *lol*


Part of the little goody bag that Bronte got included the kaledioscope camera she’s wearing around her neck in most of the photos.  I couldn’t resist using it to take her photo… so much fun!


This is one of the few photos Bronte took without her toy dog prop in it.  If you look carefully you can see me.  Well, my reflection.  We forgot to take a group photo and I didn’t remember to do a selfie, either so this is about all you’ll see of me.


And I couldn’t turn up empty handed, especially knowing we were getting a little goody bag or two.  I got given the most amazing decorated biscuit from LoveBites that you can see in the top collage – it’s an Olympus camera with edible glitter and everything.  It looked stunning and it tasted just as good.  I can’t bake but fortunately I do have access to the best raw honey on the Gold Coast so Bronte and I took along a jar of fresh honey for Chantelle, Rachel and Alex to say thank you.  It was such a fun day with lots of laughter, great food and interesting people to chat to.  We were reluctant to leave as we were having so much fun but we left with big smiles on our faces.

Attempting the impossible as a Mum… AKA why we don’t get sick.


I woke up this morning and thought “Last day of term… I’ll do the grocery shopping and then maybe take Toby out for lunch before a blitz clean and the kids come rolling home.” Then I moved and realised my plans were a bit ambitious.  My eyes were puffy, my throat felt all clogged and when I sat up it was like my nose turned on a tap.  And it wasn’t a polite little drip… drip… drip either.  Oh, no, it was on full blast.  By the time I’d thrown some clothes on and walked about eight steps from my bedroom I knew it was going to end badly and messily.  Fortunately I was right outside the toilet and I have good aim.

My next thought was I’d do breakfasts and lunchboxes and once the big two were out the door I could lie down and whimper in peace.  I forgot to take into account the fact that I have a very rambunctious three year old and me lying down is simply an invitation for him to jump on me.  A lot.  While screeching.  Loudly.

I gave it up as a bad job and we went and got the groceries – including holiday treats which have to be hidden so the eight year old doesn’t find them and polish them off in one go! – and came home to have lunch and try this resting gig again.  It didn’t happen.  Even lying on the couch with a blanket over me and ABC Kids on to entertain him didn’t help… he kept stripping the blanket off me and laughing at my reaction.  He definitely needs to work on his bedside manner!

So, the eight year old has just rolled in and they’ve both been presented with a plate of snacks (the oldest is being dropped off at dancing, she’ll be home at dinnertime) and I think I’m going to try again.  Surely the food will hold them for at least ten minutes?  Wish me luck!

PS  On the bright side, it looks like a fairly temporary thing and not the dreaded “G” that I dare not even utter… and it’s now, not next week.  Next week I have fun stuff planned that I don’t want to miss!!!



Shhhh!!!  Quiet now, don’t tell anyone… but I’m heading back.  Yep, back to blogging.  I know, I know… yes, totally aware how long it’s been.

It’s been far too long, I’ll admit it.  I got caught up in puppy love and kid stuff and dealing with holidays and then felt bad I hadn’t been blogging, even though I know I enjoy writing.  Then just as I was getting myself sorted life threw up a few massive roadblocks.  Life hasn’t been particularly kind to my friends and I over the past few months but we are all at the plodding along stage and we’re also saying out loud to each other that life is short and you should do things that make you happy.  Blogging makes me happy.

So, just quietly, I’m back.  Well, I’m coming back.  This is the first step… and I know I have a lot to catch up on.  But, yeah, my inner Pollyanna really is as strong as ever – and rather well exercised this year – so watch this space.


I went AWOL… and here’s some puppy spam



Well, hi there!  I’m just casually checking you out… you smell great.  Is it your perfume or have you been eating something?  I’m the reason that my hu-mum has been busy and hasn’t posted anything on her blog… naughty hu-mum!  Still, I’m so cute she just can’t resist and she’s been busy trying to teach me lots and lots of things.  Some of them I find easier than others.  Sitting so I get my dinner?  Sure, I can do that.  Politely waking her so I can go outside when I need to overnight… we’re working on it.  Anyway, I’ll hand you back to the hu-mum and she can tell you what I’ve been up to since I arrived.

Love and puppy kisses,

Willoughby xx

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Willoughby loves being outside, playing wiht the leaves and any toys the kids have left lying around.  Here he is, working on killing a lizard.  Fortunately for the lizard it’s just made of rubber.  Unfortunately for the lizard he chewed its feet off.  Fortunately for Willoughby I didn’t discover this until the feet… reappeared.


Life is tiring and he takes lots of naps.  The kids like to interrupt him, uh, play with him a lot and so he doesn’t get as much rest as he’d like.  He was snoozing so well here that you could just see it.  Well, if you have the Little Moments app, of course.  😉


Exploring the yard again!  We’re working on him coming and then sitting at the sound of his name.  Beagles are really intelligent dogs but they’re ruled by their nose and he will follow a scent above all else.  That’s why he won’t leave the property without his leash.


Playing with the kids, there’s a lot of that happening.  Master2 still doesn’t quite grasp the concept of “gentle with the puppy” and likes to check that his tail and ears are still attached.  So far they are!  He’s a very forgiving dog, too.  Well, either that or a glutton for punishment as he keeps going back for more!


Just casually looking cute here.  It seems to come naturally!

Willoughby_myinnerpollyanna_melbourne cup fascinator

I didn’t do anything for Melbourne Cup this year, but I did take this picture when Willoughby looks like a racing beagle fascinator.  Okay, it’s the angle, but he does love to race around the yard.


Hard to resist taking pics of the puppy asleep.  I love how wrinkly his mouth gets and he just loves lying in the sun.


We have toothpaste addicts in this house and here is poor Willoughby after wandering into the bathroom and getting fingerpainted with toothpaste.  It is a nice heart shape though… and he smelled minty fresh!

Willoughby_myinnerpollyanna_play school_sesame street_baby jake_LG TV

Catching up on the latest episode of Baby Jake on ABC2, the kids channel.  He was a bit annoyed he’d missed Play School (although after seeing what he does with his toys I think Big Ted and Little Ted are secretly glad he missed them!) but he did get to enjoy Sesame Street.


I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar and here’s Willoughby curled up with a toy one.  Well, that and Giggleosaurus.  So far he’s sharing toys nicely with the kids but he’s rather loathe to let them touch the caterpillar!


As if it’s not bad enough that I’m constantly whipping my phone out to take photos, here he is politely sititng through a photoshoot with MissNearlyNine.


And here we are, ready for another day’s adventure.  Turns out he’s not a fan of selfies on the phone and so we got a bit of a Blue Steel look here.





One!  It’s one!  Yes, I know most countdowns go to zero but mine had to end on one.  Why?  Well, because I was getting one early birthday present.  And what a birthday present!


He was pretty relaxed just a minute or two after we picked him up from the airport…


… and full of energy when we got home!

Introducing the newest member of our family, Willoughby.

Number One by




Closer and closer to the end of the countdown… I’m now down to two.  I’ll admit I’ve struggled with this post because I couldn’t think of just two things I could write about.  Finally I realised I should tell you two things I’ve done over the past week.

1.  I went to the Good Food and Wine Show.  No surprises there, right?  It was part of the countdown, after all.  My friend and I had an absolute blast.  We’ve been going for the past five years and have it down to a fine art.  This year there were a couple of spanners thrown in the works.  The first was that our favourite label’s distributor didn’t send them part of their consignment and there was none of our favourite sparkling to drink.  Well, actually, if we went to a class in the wine theatre then we could have had a sample of it.  The wonderful Sue, from our favourite label, managed to go see the guys in the wine theatre and brought us back a bottle of the sparkling – my friend and I are yet to set a date but we’ll enjoy sitting back and drinking that bottle!  Turns out that Sue was the envy of a couple of other labels as they were chatting to her when we arrived (just a few minutes after the doors were open) and we rocked up to the stall and asked for our order forms and then promptly handed over some money.  *lol*

The other spanner in the works?  Well, it wasn’t anything bad, that’s for sure.  This year we decided to go for tickets above the standard general entry and discovered the joys of the VIP room.  Can anyone say “free flowing drinks” and not just alcohol but water, juice and other things?  Pair that with incredibly comfortable seats (the Vago from Ikea – $40 and they were amazing) and also food.  Oh, the food!  We got to sit and watch all the chef theatre shows being live streamed AND we got tasting plates of the food!  I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much in my life… and it’s certainly the first time we’ve eaten more than we’ve drunk at the GFWS.  The staff in the room were fabulous.

2.  I went shopping.  I bought orange things and blue things, black things and grey things.  It’s all stuff I haven’t bought in years (years and years and years) but it was heaps of fun.  Can’t wait to show you!

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Ohhh… the countdown is getting closer to an end now.  I don’t know about you but I know that I’m getting really ever so slightly excited.  Okay, seriously excited but I know it will drive everyone nuts so I’m trying to contain myself.  How am I doing so far?  *lol*

Today it’s my favourite three kids books.  They’re books I’ve read over and over and over again and then, just for something different, I’ve read them again.  So, here we go!


1.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  Such a simple story and gorgeous pictures.  I love how it teaches kids the days of the week, good food choices versus not so good food choices, the best thing to do when you’ve overeaten and that everyone has the capacity for change.  I’ve always loved TVHC and may have gone a little bit overboard when Master2 came along as Target had brought out a range of TVHC merchandise.  If it had the caterpillar on it then I probably bought it.


2.  Where is the Green Sheep?  Such a gorgeous book by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek with a great rhythm to it as it teaches about opposites and the value of perseverance… they do find that green sheep in the end, after all!  I’m yet to meet a toddler that doesn’t enjoy this book.


3.  Green Eggs and Ham by the fabulous Dr Seuss.  Another great book with rhythm that induces laughter by about the third page.  I have thought about dying some eggs green and serving them with ham but just can’t bring myself to do it.  I’d need a Sam-I-Am for that, I think.

Three days to go.

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