Tag Archives: fun

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!!!




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 phonenumber.net.au




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!

Image from dailyteachertips.wordpress.com




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.

Image of 3 by real-techguy.com and bookcovers from booktopia.com.au




Today it’s four beautiful things I’ve seen in the past week or so.


1.  This is an observation hive of bees.  My husband is an apiarist (a beekeeper) and he sells raw honey at our local markets.  If the weather is good then he takes an observation hive with some of the girls along.  It fascinates everyone to see them doing what comes naturally to them – producing the honey that we love.


2.  A poppy.  Miss8 and my husband planted so many seeds up our driveway in the hope of a gorgeous display of poppies bursting forth in time for Rememberance Day.  So far this plant has produced this poppy and two more but we’re lacking in the display we were hoping for.  Still, the fragile beauty of them has been truly appreciated.


3.  Pretty, shiny shoes.  My favourite pink shoes got resoled last week but I know they’ve only got a certain amount of wear left.  I have very wide feet – and size 11 feet, at that! – so I’ve got these to gently break in, hopefully before the current pair break!


4.  Feijoa flowers.  Feijoa’s are awesome and are a real favourite fruit of mine.  Unfortunately they’re a little bit fussy and insist that they need a boy and girl (well, male and female) of each tree to get fruit.  We did get a hybrid/grafted one but it hasn’t worked so well yet… and these flowers ended up not being pollinated.  Fortunately I was just thrilled to see them.

Four days to go.




I’m still humming Christmas Carols but instead of “Fiiiiive goooolden rings” it’s “Fiiiive birthday cakes!” for you all.  Today I’m stepping back in time and remembering amazing cakes that my parents created for me.  Well, us.  My brother and I.  Actually, he only gets one cake (but what a cake!) and our childhood next door neighbour gets one, the rest are mine.  It’s funny, as an adult I’m not a huge cake person and even as a child I absolutely loved the attention to detail and care that went into our cakes but I would far rather staring at them dreamily for ages than actually eating them.  Partly because who wants to see a work of art cut up, but also because I’m not a huge cake person.  Although if it was my Nanny’s sultana cake… oh, that was amazing!

Come take a trip down memory lane…


1.  Ahhh… this was the epitome of every girl’s dream when I was growing up.  The Castle Cake.  The amount of work that goes into this had to be seen to be believed.  The turrets are ice cream cones on top of a square sponge cake and then extra (smaller) squares and then the cones.  See the flags at the top?  They are liquourice allsorts pulled to pieces ever so carefully – I’m pretty sure that my Mum ate the licorice parts.  She’s still a fiend for black jellybeans to this day… Mr7 rivals her for them!

Oh, and notice the brickwork on the cake?  Not only do you stack everything and pull liquorice allsorts to pieces but you also have to sit there with a steady hand and a matchbox to do the brickwork – I remember watching my Dad do part of that and marvelling at it as he went about the job of decorating it.  I can’t remember where the candles were placed on it, but I remember watching as the cake was brought towards me at the table and the excitement I felt.


2.  The clown cake from the friendly folk section of the cookbook.  Funny, I know people who would run screaming at the thought of this cake because they hate clowns so much.  But who can resist the little collar/bowtie rolled in 100s and 1000s?  How about the ice cream wafer eyes?  Or, my favourite, the lollipops with the curved sticks for the smile.  I had this for, I think, my fifth birthday… I remember we went to dinner at Cobb & Co for it and the cake was there and other people joined in singing Happy Birthday… I was equally embarrassed and thrilled.


3.  I loved this duck!  It wasn’t for me though, it was made for our neighbours birthday, I think it might have been her 21st.  We were exceptionally lucky with our neighbours and they were amazing – both the girls babysat us, we all put a pool (one of those semi inground, metal edged ones) in during a thunderstorm and if you stood just right you could feel a footprint or two in the base.  We were in New Zealand and we’d pool our crackers for cracker night and have an absolute blast (no pun intended) as we enjoyed it all together.  Heaps of BBQs and fun moments with the Theodores were had… and our family doing a cake for them wasn’t totally weird, they’d seen our birthday cakes after all!  The thing I remember most about this (apart from being slightly annoyed we had to use plain potato chips for the mouth, I would have preferred chicken!) was the skewer going through the carved body to hold the head on and then wondering how much of the icing in the bowl would be needed and how much my brother and I would get to eat!


4.  Ohhhh… the swimming pool cake.  This was for my eighth birthday.  I only remember that because there was mention that they had tried to make it but couldn’t stop it from collapsing and so I was having the number eight with red and pink pinstriping and cool cars on it.  I tried to be a good sport but I was so not a car girl and I was (probably not so) secretly disappointed.  Then the swimming pool cake appeared!  I think I heard there were three attempts to make this one and they had to go really shallow with the carving out for the jelly, otherwise the jelly would split the cake.  I don’t know, I just remember being thrilled!


5. The train cake.  Oh, the train cake!  My brother got this one and I think it was for his first birthday – don’t quote me on that, I would only have been four.  I know there was a comment about not realising how big it would be and that we would be eating cake for weeks.  We probably were… but such amazing looking cake!  I know there are photos around somewhere (of all the cakes, not just this one) and I could pretty much place money on the fact that they would have looked similar.


And, here it is, the inspiration for all those cakes.  The original Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book.  The best part of anticipating your party was when you were handed the book and told to have a look and see what you might like.  I was lucky enough just after the birth of my oldest child to be given a copy of this book.  Not just any copy but the copy my Mum had that we had used during our childhood. Yes, the staples have come a bit loose in the middle but it’s still great fun to flick through it and remember childhood cakes, parties and friends.

Five days to go.

All photos taken by me from the pages of the cake book.  Apologies for the fact they’re not fab, I was too busy flipping the pages in excitement.  🙂