Say a big “Hello” to this new interactive experience which allows you and the family to journey back in time, dive into Ancient Oceans and meet the pre-historic giants of the ocean. You will be taken on an adventure to discover more about the magnificent ancient creatures of the sea and get up close to some remarkable animals that have lived for millions of years. How awesome does that sound!!
You and the gang will come face-to-face with the living history of the oceans, including mysterious Mudskippers and phenomenal Pig-nosed Turtles. Seen one of those before?? No, me neither!!
‘Visit the Sealife Centre Melbourne and enter the magnificent underwater caves of these incredible creatures and be submerged into the ancient seas’
This exciting new display features immersive lighting projections creating animal silhouettes teamed with sub-aquatic animal sounds, engaging digital games and an awe-inspiring display featuring jaws of the pre-historic Megladon, the largest predator to have ever existed. Wow!!
Your little junior explorers will receive a map to guide them through the exhibit which encourages them to hunt for clues and collect stamps whilst learning fascinating facts about the ancient oceans. What a wonderful keepsake for them!
After all that fun, you can put your feet up and watch the brand new 4D movie – Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – an epic and thrilling sensory cinematic adventure in the pre-historic era of the mammoth ancient creatures.
I know where we’re headed this week!!! Happy holidays!
Experience: Ancient Oceans at Sea Life Melbourne – NEW EXHIBIT
Location: Sea Life Melbourne Corner of King Street and Flinders Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
When: Now showing
Opening hours: Daily from 9.30am-6.00pm
Cost: Adults – from $33.60, Children – from $22.40 (Book online and save)
To find out more about Sea Life Melbourne’s new Ancient Oceans experience visit the website.
I know, it’s what, week three of the school holidays and we’re already thinking about getting our little darlings prepped and ready for another year! Another mammoth amount of time sitting in the classroom, reciting Haiku poetry and picking their noses. It seems as if no sooner have the holidays started we’re willing them to end.. Or is that just me?
School shoes purchased – CHECK
Name labels are on their way – CHECK
The stationary order has been delivered, opened and scattered around the house – CHECK
Mummy’s almost ready for a mini breakdown – CHECK
It can only mean one thing… It’s time to think about packed lunch paraphernalia!!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be heading off soon to purchase new lunch boxes and drinks bottles before terms starts; I mean the kids couldn’t possibly start a new school year with an old lunchbox! Actually mine can’t because I made the rookie mistake (AGAIN) of buying ridiculously rubbish lunch boxes which are now disgusting inside and have broken zips so they definitely need replacing! That and we no longer think ‘Dinosaurs’ are cool! When will I learn?
Much to Mr W’s joy, that will be the last time I make that mistake! The clever clogs at Smash Enterprises have not only created some seriously eye catching designs (even I want in on these), but they’ve also come up with Blue IQ, a mould resistant lining which means when we “wipe” the insulated lunch boxes clean, they’re giving us a helping hand…. ***Cue angels singing a chorus of Hallelujah’s to all us mumma’s!….
The Wilson’s have been road testing some of these awesome products and I’m certain you will struggle to find anyone else making school lunch this funky, rubbish free, practical and totally kid proof!! If that doesn’t excite you enough, the fact that they’re spill proof may just do it for you! (No more soggy sandwiches coming home uneaten! **does a little dance)
The Wilsons love anything that promotes “nude” (yes we do!) and we adore products that allow us to cut down on our waste! The kids are already loving packed lunches with their new lunch boxes, and I’m singing all the way to the dishwasher. Hurrah! Roll on 1st February when I’m really packing up and packing them off!
‘C’mon, say no to plastic wraps and foils and make every day a nude food day!’
The Wilson’s Reviews…..
★★★★★ “OH MUM, A LUNCHBOX I CAN DECORATE? IT’S THE BEST!!” POPPY- STICKER QUEEN – WILSONS OF OZ
★★★★ “I’M JUST LIKE A REAL ARMY MAN WITH THIS LUNCH” – MONTY- PACKED LUNCH AND PICNIC LOVER – WILSONS OF OZ
★★★★ “THIS YEAR IS GOING TO INCLUDE MY BEST LUNCHBOX CREATIONS YET ” – MRS W – WORST LUNCH CREATOR EVER – WILSONS OF OZ
Smash Lunch Box – Funky designs, detachable insulation, large capacity and the famous Sandwich Seatbelt. Available at selected Coles Supermarkets whilst stocks last – RRP $15
Nude Movers Rubbish Free Lunchbox – Eliminates the need for packaging. Three separate compartments, removable snack pods and dividers, and a ‘Sandwich Seatbelt’. Available at selected Coles supermarkets whilst stocks last RRP $12
Smash Stick it Slimline – Comes with stickers so the kids can personalise their lunch! Lined with Smash’s trademark ‘Blue IQ’ antimicrobial lining which inhibits the growth of uncontrolled bacteria, mould, and mildew. A strong durable zipper,(YAYYYY) and a soft handle for comfortable carrying. 100% free of BPA, phthalate and lead. Available at selected Coles supermarkets whilst stocks last RRP $12.50
You can find so many more Smash products at selected Coles stores whilst stocks last.
A new exhibition has opened it’s doors at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum and I can say with all my heart, it’s one of the most moving exhibitions I have had the pleasure of visiting.
‘Between 1947 and 1981 nearly 1.5 million Brits arrived in an Australia that was predominantly white and British – it had worked hard to be so’
A few weeks ago I went along to a preview of the new exhibition ‘British Migrants, Instant Australians?‘. We were treated to Devonshire Tea, a cup of Earl Grey, and some magnificent guest speakers, before heading in. It felt quintessentially British, although there was no driving rain or fog to be seen!
Paul Jennings, best known for his writing of many children’s books, got up to speak about his migration from the UK at the age of six. He told us of the distress he felt leaving behind his beloved Grandmother. Sitting there listening to his heartfelt words, I felt as if I was listening to my own children speaking in 30 years time. I could totally relate to his feelings of homesickness, longing, and upset at leaving the only home he’d known; I had a lump in my throat!
‘When I was six I left England, with my parents and my little sister Ruth, to come and live in Australia. That was in 1949. In those days, people came to Australia by boat. The one we came on was called the Ranchi. We sailed for five weeks before arriving in Melbourne’- Paul Jennings
His story was compelling, and a real tear jerker. It’s so easy to overlook what migration was to families back in the 40’s. It’s especially hard to consider what that journey must have been like whilst living in todays modern world of round the globe flights, and Skype calls! British Migrants in the 1940’s left home simply thinking it was ‘for the best!’ Expats still take this risk when they move far from home, although being more aware of the world possibly makes it less of a “culture shock”.
Red Symons also spoke about his migration from the UK. He told us of his everlasting memory of stepping into a land with an immense amount of sky. The single storey houses, the flat landscapes, and the endless blue skies. His words made me wonder what my children will remember from our early days Down Under? That moment we arrived in the dead of night, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the accents. So different to home!
‘Newcomers from Britain had all the advantages of a shared language, culture and history. So fitting in should be easy. But reality is never that simple’
The thing that struck me most about all the speakers at the grand unveiling of the latest exhibition was how their hearts broke at leaving family and friends behind; yet they recognised the opportunity they had been given. They all got stuck in, pushed their homesickness and worries to one side and made the best of their new lives. They went over and above to “fit in”, they changed their accents and worked hard to build friendships. The chance to leave behind post WW2 Britain, the grey skies and limited job opportunities, for a land which had everything they could wish for in abundance was too good to ignore.
The exhibition holds some wonderful, heartfelt stories of lives well lived, cherished friendships, and of the “migrant” feeling of being ‘too foreign for home, too foreign for here, and never enough for both’.
Whilst wandering through the exhibition, I couldn’t help but go back to those nagging thoughts in my mind… “Will my children grow up feeling like this?” “Will they look back with sadness at what they missed when we moved?” “Will my children grow up with a constant longing in their hearts?” Honestly, I’m not sure. Today’s “migrant” is so incredibly different from those who arrived in Australia all those years ago. The world is so much smaller and the internet bigger than ever. We can keep in touch without lifting a pen, or licking a stamp, and we can see distant loved ones at the touch of a button.
I’m not sure my children feel any different to their peers. No one comments on their accents (anymore), no one really even asks them where they’re from. We’re learning we’re not that different after all. This is an indication of just how migration has changed. My children are not really seen as ‘migrants’ in the classroom! I’m not sure any of us are! Is an expat a migrant anymore?
Not only is this new exhibition a fantastic insight into the lives of thousands of migrants and their voyage to Australia, but it’s a real showcase of bravery, courage, and human kindness which will teach all visitors a lesson in the need to show compassion to people migrating to this wonderful country!
The Immigration Museum has beautifully showcased artefacts from treasured family collections, with words spoken by those families themselves. They have taken time to cleverly and sympathetically tell people’s stories of migration, with a mixture of mediums including handwritten letters, memorabilia and old posters promising a life rich in work and sun.
As an expat myself, who has brought my British children to Australia, I found the exhibition moving to say the least. I cannot begin to imagine what the 1940’s migrant must have thought arriving in this warm, far away land, with nothing but the bare essentials; some of them not knowing what to expect. To think that they came here and managed to build new lives, away from everything they had ever known, with no modern technology to contact home is just mind blowing to me. Honestly, their courage astounds me, and I highly recommend this exhibition.
Hurrah, I’m back. I bet you thought I’d been eaten by an enormous Great White Shark or something didn’t you! No, no such luck! I have been well and truly burying my head in the sand pretending that we’re not a few weeks, days, minutes away from CHRISTMAS!!
It’s pretty easy to forget that the big day is fast approaching when it’s 36 degrees and you’re wrestling two sand monsters on the beach! *Why the heck is suncream so sticky??
I’m back to let you in on a secret! I want to tell you about our Christmas bundle that’s quietly hiding away in the… Oh… I won’t tell you the hiding place, just in case you really can’t keep a secret.
Like most parents at this time of year, I have a secret stash of gifts for the children. The thought of these gifts being discovered is making me more nervous than a baby Kangaroo in my headlights. I want to share these gifts with you, (not literally, don’t get too excited) just in case you were looking for some last minute ideas! ** Do not message me to tell me you have finished your Christmas shopping….
I’d love to be one of those parents who buys each child one gift, then donates a heap of money to a local charity. I’d also love to be one of those families that doesn’t do gifts at all, they just go out and ‘gift’ their time at a local refuge. However, I am ashamed to admit, we are ALL OVER CHRISTMAS in this house, and every year I find myself cringing as the kids race through their stockings, run (and I mean Usain Bolt style) down the stairs to spend 40 seconds destroying the wrapping paper. They frantically tear at about 50 gifts, only to come up for air and ask “Is that it?”….. Yes, that’s Christmas in the Wilson House, and many others too I should imagine!
So, I bet you’re really excited to find out what my little, ungrateful wretches are getting this year…! I’ve researched well and found some awesome gifts.
I always try and find a game we can all enjoy! Whether it’s the kids on their own whilst we snooze; all together as a family or even the adults after a few too many Sherry’s. It has to be straight forward, fun and have longevity!! This is the game!! I love that you can take this anywhere with you, even to the beach! Yay for Summer…
‘The magnetic gameplay of Klask is unique, fun and like no other game out there! Klask will entertain all players from the youngsters to the old folks. The player is in charge of the magnets from under the table. Both players try to score while trying to avoid the white barrier magnets in the middle of the game field’
Klask RRP $69.95 Available online and in-store at all leading independent toy retailers
In Monty’s little world, Poo is King, and it seems to me that poo is no longer taboo. This hilarious game advertises itself as ‘The Game Where #2 Always Wins!’ Joy!!
Aim of the game: All players play their cards on to the centre pile, keeping them in the proper order: toilet – poo – paper – wash hands. Once a player gets stuck and can’t play a new card, he or she pushes the Whoopie Cushion – and the player with the most cards left gets crowned with a Poo! At the end, the player with the most poo on his head loses. 2-4 Players, age 6 and up! Sound like your kind of fun? Nope, me neither, but isn’t Christmas all about the kids???
I’m certain the free ‘Whoopie Cushion’ will be the highlight of Christmas here!
Have you played ‘Watch Ya Mouth”? Well this is the big brother to that game! It’s all about putting the mouthpiece in, and trying to say “Warm Beef Meatballs”, or blowing through straws without using your lips… It’s so funny to hear everyone trying to desperately pronounce insane phrases that are practically impossible to say with the mouthpiece in. Nothing bonds like laughter and this is the game to induce hysterics…
‘THROWDOWN turns strangers into friends, friends into family, and family into fun’
I have a daughter who is not very “girly” at all, however, this nail polish that you can put on, then peel off at your leisure has been a huge winner recently! For Christmas, we have decided to go one step further and get the Digi-Nail Studio™. Poppy can download images on to the nail shaped stickers and stick them straight on to her nails. She can then cover them with some sparkles and off to go. When it’s time to take it off, I don’t have to hand over the acetone and hope for the best, she can peel it all off by herself. Win, win, and a great intro into “Girlhood”. Next she’ll be wearing dresses… God forbid!
‘The Bo-Po Digi-Nail Studio™ enables you to design, print, and apply any image right onto your nails and finish it with the included glossy top coat’
‘Let your fashion flow all the way to your fingertips with custom nail wraps designed by you!’
Don’t worry that’s not all the little darlings will be opening. We will also be throwing a good load of Nerf Guns under the tree, a few hundred chocolate coins, some new undies and a whole heap of LEGO®. That should keep them relatively busy, whilst Mr W and I relax with our new Mahabis on, an enormous Christmas Ham and a gallon of Sherry! Hiccup!!
Emma and Rich moved from the UK to Australia in December 2016. They live in a delightful little harbour city called Fremantle in Western Australia. Emma blogs about her travels and life as an expat at Distant Wanderers . Here Emma tells her story about being more worried about not taking the plunge, than actually doing it!!
If you’d have told me 4 years ago when I was planning a year of backpacking around Asia and Australia, that I would meet a British born Australian citizen the day after I arrived ‘Down Under’ and would end up moving to the other side of the world to be with him, I most definitely would not have believed you. I was planning to spend a year travelling and then return home; never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would call Australia my home. When I met my partner, I was excited by the fact I’d met someone who shared the same inexplicable love for Australia, something I’d never been able to explain, but I knew part of my soul belonged there. Our mutual love for Australia, travel and adventure meant we instantly hit it off.
Fast forward a couple of years, living in the UK, we both knew that Australia was where we were meant to be. We had talked of going back for so long, and both being ‘doers’ and not just talkers, we took the plunge and booked a one-way flight. This, for me, made it seem much more real and as the months started ticking by I started to doubt whether I was doing the right thing.
Rich had lived in Perth before, so he didn’t seem as anxious. He knew what to expect and had a good network of friends there.
I had moments where I was terrified; giving up my entire life to start somewhere completely new, where I didn’t know anyone, where I wouldn’t have full working rights, where I would have issues with jobs, money and visas etc. I was feeling overwhelmed with the decision I’d made to move to the other side of the world and sad to leave behind my family, an amazing network of friends and a good social life. More than once, I wondered what on earth I was doing. I was a bag of nerves and frankly, a mess. It was probably a good thing that we’d already booked the flights as I most definitely would have backed out otherwise.
I started to research moving to Australia and soon realised that it was the very idea of not doing it that scared me the most.
I was more scared than I liked to admit about moving overseas, but the idea of living the rest of my life wondering ‘what if…’ filled me with dread. I had to keep reminding myself that this was a fabulous opportunity, one many people would love to have and I should run at it with open arms. It was scary, but it was also amazing and exciting and I knew home wasn’t far away if I wanted to go back; we at least had to try first.
We’ve now been in Perth for just under a year and I can honestly say that moving abroad was the best thing I’ve ever done. People ask me what it is about Australia that I love and why I moved here, but I think it comes down to more than just the place.
It’s stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning things about yourself, throwing yourself into a completely bizarre and new experience, learning about another country and ultimately, yourself.
I came across a quote online that struck me so deeply; it made me realise that what I had done was massive and I had been brave to follow my dreams.
‘Nothing is comparable to the new life in a new country. Though I am still always myself, I am changed to the marrow of my bones.’ – Unknown.
Living overseas changes you, makes you appreciate and see things differently. You’re far away from everything and everyone you have ever known and loved and it can be lonely, overwhelming and tiring. However, when you stop to think about what you have accomplished, you realise how proud you are of yourself for uprooting and starting afresh.
I miss my friends and family so much and think about them every single day. I wish we lived closer so they could just pop in for a cup of tea. That’s the hardest thing about moving overseas. I try to fully immerse myself in daily life here; I want to feel as though I am making the most of the beautiful surroundings that are on my doorstep. Australia is a truly amazing place, the weather is stunning; the relaxed lifestyle and wonderful natural beauty are of course a massive bonus. I feel as though I belong here, that it’s home and that my life is here. I am joining clubs, meeting people, going out for walks and exploring this amazing place that I live. Though I miss my life back home, I have no desire to move back there any time soon. Rich and I try to get out as much as possible and explore as much of diverse Western Australia as we can, there’s so much to see and do, I don’t feel like I need to go on holiday– we have it all here!
Moving abroad is scary, but as they say, ‘Ships in harbour are safe… but that’s not what ships are built for.’
The idea of never fulfilling my dreams is far scarier and for me, I just think life is too short to not go after what you want.
We are lucky that we’ve been given such a fantastic opportunity to come and live in Australia but we made it happen, we made our own luck. If you’re scared or worried about taking the plunge and moving overseas, that’s OK, it’s perfectly normal. It’s scary, amazing, terrifying, and exciting all at once but it might be the best thing you ever do; the only thing anyone can ever do is try. If it doesn’t work out, at least you tried. If you’re scared, have a little faith that things have a funny way of working themselves out and it could be the most wonderful experience of your life.
Thank you so much Emma.. What a great story, proving to everyone that it’s important to grab the bull by the horns and absolutely ‘Go For It’!! Olivia xxx
Over the year, we have worked hard to develop great relationships with Melbourne’s many major tourist attractions. By establishing these links, we have enjoyed keeping you up to date with all the latest happenings in Victoria’s capital city!!!
The 12 attractions taking part in our Christmas Competition have each given us a family pass so one winner can enjoy Melbourne with their family in 2018 like they’ve never done before. The winner will have a family pass to enjoy a Melbourne activity every month of the year! 12 passes for 12 activities in some of Melbourne’s most wonderful spaces.
If you live in Melbourne, if you’re planning on coming to Melbourne in 2018 or if you have friends in Melbourne who deserve a huge treat this Christmas, you need to enter this Instagram competition.
We will reveal exactly where this awesome prize will take the winner in our live competition running every day between 1 – 12 December 2017.
Keep your eyes peeled on Instagram on 1st December, which will be day 1 of the giveaway; and we will give you all the info you need on how to enter.
Shopping has been known to drive me nutty, especially when I can’t find what I want! It’s always hard when you move to a new country and you aren’t sure of the best places to buy the things you like and the brands you’re used to. Not knowing where to look for baby products and kid’s clothes, or your favourite beauty item that you just can’t seem to get your hands on anywhere, can be frustrating to say the least.
I had this exact problem, until fairly recently. A friend of mine emailed me to tell me she had been online shopping and had got her hands on a stash of new bedding for a huge saving!! I logged on immediately… I’d discovered Catch.com and let me tell you, it has almost changed my life. I’m not sure the Mr is as pleased as me, although he will be when he sees his Christmas prezzies!
Catch.com is one of those websites that you could absolutely lose yourself in, because it literally is a one stop shop for everything from Tech to Toys and Baby to Beauty. Be careful!! It has so many things that will catch your eye, and plenty of things you probably don’t need right this minute but must buy because you won’t get a deal this good again!
I am currently keeping my eyes open and lap top on, waiting to catch some bargains for Christmas. I love online shopping this time of year, it saves me having to find the time to go without the children, it saves me money as I’m not dashing about in a mad panic, and it certainly saves my stress levels from bubbling over! I’m especially in love with the entire section on gifts under $20… Perfect for stocking fillers!! Happy mum right here!
Catch.com has everything we could need for Christmas, and our Expat life Down Under. I’ve just found an awesome Kayak which I know we’ll all love using over the summer. **I warned you that you’d be purchasing things you didn’t think you needed!!!
Pretty sure this is the only place that Santa shops, so check out Catch.com, search the deals, get the Christmas shopping out of the way andtreat yourself to a bargain for being so damn organised!! You can thank me later!!
Sweet Expo was in Melbourne this weekend, and we hit the Showgrounds to see just what sweetness they had in store for everyone. I am a terrible baker, I would love to be good, but no matter how hard I try I seem to fail! I have a real passion for buying the tools, the colours, the glitters; I want it all…. sadly they’re wasted on me…. Poppy our sweet as sugar girl was straight in the gate and ready to taste anything she could get her hands on, whilst I was more about the 6Ft6 Prosecco slushies, and the demonstrations. Mad About Colour had some spectacular glittery delights that caught my eye as we began to wander!!
Sweet Expo was filled with small local businesses who set up stalls with everything from cake decorating tools, kitchen gadgets, specialty ingredients, party and celebration products and everything in-between! For all you party people this is a show that you don’t want to miss when it returns next year.
To turn the corner and spot our much loved Oregano Bakery that we miss so dearly from our Sydney days, made my heart skip a beat. Originally creating Lebanese Pizza they are now insanely famous for the Scroll!!! These aren’t just any Scroll, they are top notch Scrolls, with all sorts of delicious fillings, made with love.*Think OMG most delicious dough with even more delicious toppings.. Say Whaaaat???
Natalie’s stall was a joy to look at! I was instantly drawn to her shiny dangly earrings, and couldn’t help throwing my money at her! She cleverly creates gifts that she hopes will make a difference to someone’s day and put a smile on their face. Check her out!!!
Popcorn!!! By that I mean Caramel & Sea Salt Popcorn that you want to grab handfuls of and rub all over your face…. You have never eaten anything like this, or their unbelievable Honeycomb and as if that isn’t good enough, it’s all made with locally sourced ingredients… Don’t take my word for it… Order some…
Beautifully designed Fine China Tea Cups made in an XL size for tea lovers who just can’t get enough tea. There were so many beautiful colours, and prints. Lyndal also sells side plates, teapots, glassware and pretty cake stands too!
These people know how to party… And they know how to create a party! They were showing off their fabulous confetti filled balloons which we loved. Huge balloons make such a statement!! Lombard claim to have the largest range of party supplies in the Universe, how awesome is that!
We loved watching the demonstrations, seeing how fondant roses were created in seconds, and adored all the tasters. We didn’t have time for High Tea but it looked amazing; there were masterclasses for the experts amongst us and plenty of savoury delights for those who were less sweet toothed.
‘Strong willpower is essential at the Sweet Expo!!’
By the time we left we had full tummies, and bags of great tips for creating our own masterpieces at home… Not sure you’ll see my own personal creations on Instagram but hey, I have definitely been inspired to try a little harder at the next birthday party!!! Here’s to becoming a great home baker!!!!
Look out for Sweet Expo next year, and wear something stretchy!!!
The Wilson’s Reviews…..
★★★★★ “OH MY GOODNESS MUM, WHAT IS THIS PLACE? CAN WE LIVE HERE??” POPPY- SWEETIE PIE, WILSONS OF OZ
★★★★ “WHAT A SWEET START TO MY HOLIDAY IN MELBOURNE?” – GRANNY- WILSONS OF OZ
★★★★ “PLEASE GOD LET ME REMEMBER THESE TIPS FOR THE NEXT KIDS PARTY…” – MRS W – WORST MUM BAKER EVER – WILSONS OF OZ
I’m currently sitting in a beautiful coffee shop in the lanes of Melbourne, sipping a Long Black and wondering what I used to do on Friday afternoons before we ended up here.. Melbourne is the most magical city. Just meandering through the laneways is enough to make me grateful for being alive. It’s that kind of place! It really does make my heart skip a beat! People everywhere; sightseers, office workers, artists, musicians, shop owners, even bloggers like me, immersed in their surroundings and getting all sorts of inspiration from the bustle around them. It’s hard not to be inspired here. There is just so much to love about this city; my city!
We’re fast approaching the end of another year ‘Down Under’ and there don’t seem to be any signs that we may be adventuring off to pastures new just yet.. Thank goodness. I am amazed at all the things we’ve squeezed in to our first year in Melbourne, and there’s still so much to explore. I’m so full of love for how this city has become home to us so quickly! I never would have imagined a few years ago that we would be here, doing this, and absolutely loving every minute!!
It seems like a lifetime ago we hopped off that plane in Sydney, to see what Australia had to offer. To dip our toes in the clear blue waters of the world famous Bondi Beach. The memories feel like a scene from a black and white movie.. Mr W, whisking us off to explore a warm and distant land. If it had been on the silver screen, I’d have been played by Olivia De Havilland (Obvs), and Mr.W played by Humphrey Bogart! We’d arrive in the Southern Hemisphere, embrace each other at the bottom of the plane steps, and get chauffeured off to our glamorous new abode in Sydney Harbour.
In reality it was nothing like that!
Monty had spent the first 12 hours of the journey vomiting into supermarket carrier bags that I had cleverly stashed in my hand-luggage. Poppy spent 24 hours watching re runs of Peppa Pig, and I sobbed most of the way! By the time we landed in Sydney, we looked more like the Aadams Family than glamorous 1940’s movie stars. Hello Australia, we’ve arrived, and NO we’re not staying for long, I left my besties crying at Heathrow!!!
Now almost three years on from the landing, and…. wait for it… (*Mum grab a hankie)… I’m not sure I could….. go back……
I know, I know, it sounds a little ‘out there’! *All my friends are currently deleting my blog from their newsfeed, muttering “I told her she’d not be back”… Mum is sobbing into her cup of tea, and for some reason, I don’t feel too terrible… In fact, I feel relieved to have finally put it out there.
That’s not to say I don’t yearn for my girl crew, and I don’t miss lots of things about the UK; it’s just that Australia, well Melbourne.. oh gosh I’m so sorry…is home now….
It had to happen eventually. There had to come a time when we all started to think of Australia as “home”. Expat’s all over the world; since being an expat was even a thing, have always struggled with knowing where home really is. I’m sure people stop themselves calling their host country ‘home’, so as not to upset Aunty Brenda, or to keep hold of friends who have promised to disown them if they don’t return!!! The pressure to have just one home, and not love anywhere else as much.. or dare I say it.. MORE, is too much to handle. It’s a strange feeling, as if I’m letting the whole of the UK down, by saying “thanks anyway, but I think we’ll stay put”. I’m sure that’s what makes my stomach churn and mimic homesickness. It’s possibly not that I’m missing the chips and gravy with mushy peas, or the local pub with the log fire, it’s the terror that I’ll be cast aside and never welcomed home with open arms again! I’m a traitor, fair and square!!
We never came here with the intention of staying forever, but you can’t help but build a life for yourselves, and your children. You can’t help but make friends; close friends. You can’t help but join clubs, get jobs, volunteer, join the school committee, find a local pub, join sports teams, become part of a community… You can’t help but make a new life, and somehow that’s what we’ve done. (And no, I still don’t resemble Olivia de Havilland)
We came here for four years, and now with only 14 months left on our visa, I am truly panicking about what will become of us all if we do have to leave our…. ‘home’??
The UK isn’t our home any more. Is it?? We left a life behind, and have created something different, something new, something exciting, something we’re certainly not ready to let go of.
I think what I’m trying to say is, no matter what we do, or where we go, we will always be in a position where we’re living without something or someone. And without doubt, in this crazy ‘expat’ life, we just have to go with the flow; think about what we really, really want, and as selfish as it sounds not give anyone else a second thought! We have one life, one chance at getting it right and only we know ‘where‘ we’re happy! For The Wilson’s, now… dare I say it….? I think we’re home.
“The most beautiful things in life are not things. They’re people, and places, and memories, and pictures. They’re feelings and moments and smiles and laughter” – Unknown
The chance of getting Mr W to join me on a ghost tour was pretty remote. Not only is he a huge sceptic but he tends to poo poo all things ‘spooktastic’. I left it to the last minute and then told him where we were going!! I got him to Federation Square for 8:30 and it turns out he really enjoyed our night… and he felt a few chills too…Shhhhh!
We met our guide Chloe at the ‘Information Point’ opposite the iconic Flinders Street Station, there was a huge group of us but we were on our way, dead on time.. (no pun intended!)
The tour was a 2km walking tour of the city of Melbourne, the weather was perfect and the trams and party goers were out in force! They absolutely did not distract us from Chloe’s magical way of story telling, we were all hanging on her every word.
Melbourne’s history is fascinating, the Gold Rush brought so much good, and with it, so much evil to Melbourne. The Lantern Ghost Tour was as much a history lesson as it was an insight into the gruesome goings on in times gone by. We learnt of people like Baron Swanson also known as Frederik Deeming (possibly Jack the Ripper) , Frederick Federici and the Prima Donna Nellie Melba. We heard the tragic tale of a little Alma, who was found murdered in the old “Gun Alley”, and her suspected murderer Colin Campbell Ross who after 86 years has been pardoned thanks to modern DNA investigations.
‘Journey back to old Melbourne, a time when the spices of China Town masked the smoke of the opium dens, poor houses supplied bodies in the name of advancing medical science and famous opera singer Federici gave his most dramatic performance, plummeting to death in front of his audience.’
Chloe let us know when we were heading for a particular place that has attracted lots of ‘spiritual energy’ on previous tours. People have been known to faint, feel pain in their heads and the incredibly bright lights in Gun Alley (now known as Pink Alley) have flickered with little Alma’s ghostly presence. We all watched on as Chloe used divining rods to try and contact Alma, and ask her a few questions. Sadly the group didn’t seem too keen on coming forward and having a go themselves; maybe we were all a little too worried, as there was definitely a strange atmosphere at that point in the tour.
Chloe ended our tour in Cohen Place in the centre of China Town where we all stood as a group under the circle of lights to purify ourselves and rid ourselves of any spirits who may have latched on to us whilst we were treading their paths.
The stories were enthralling, the city was magnificent and the goosebumps were real.
A Lantern Ghost Tour is a great way to learn about a city, to see parts of it you would not ordinarily see and to get a real feel for a time long gone.
I must say, I was glad to be hopping on a tram, with the bright city lights guiding our way, knowing we weren’t going to be crossing paths with any grave robbing, body snatchers.
Gosh, thank goodness for our relatively safe and somewhat boring existence in 2017!
All the info
Whatever you’re looking for, even if you haven’t decided the list of incredible tours is here!! Choose a stroll around the city, or for the ‘super brave’ a night in one of Australia’s most haunted prisons!
Cost – Prices start at $29 and go up to $184 for overnight paranormal investigations.