National Lamington Day – How many can you eat?

Raspberry Lamingtons copy

You don’t think your tastes would change that much when you move abroad. I honestly never thought my kids would be taking Vegemite sarnies to school, or eating meat pies like they’re going out of fashion. I also never thought we’d ever get used to Lamingtons after trying my first one three years ago! Hey, the Brits are renowned cake bakers, we know our shizzle when it comes to baking, and the Lamington was like no cake I’d ever tasted before….. However…..

Tomorrow, July 21st, Australians and a few of us expats too,  will be taking time to savour and celebrate the coming of age of an Australian classic, the humble Lamington.

It’s National Lamington Day and I know what I’ll be tucking into frequently tomorrow! 

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Adriano Zumbo’s Tiramisu Lamington

The sweet treat has been tantalising Aussie tastebuds for more than 100 years, and the list of flavours is endless. The Wilson’s are ready and willing to try as many as we can before the visa runs out!! 

Lamington Lowdown

The first ever Lamington cake was made in 1900, most likely for the wife of Queensland’s eighth governor, Lady May Lamington. Made by either the Lamingtons’ French patisserie chef, Armand Galland, or well-known Brisbane cookery teacher Amy Schauer, regarded as ‘the Nigella Lawson of her time’.  We all love a Nigella!! The sponge cake was dipped in chocolate and liberally sprinkled with shredded coconut. Lord and Lady Lamington were said to be so impressed by the cake, that it was regularly requested at Lamington House. If only we all had our own baker… 

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THE LOWDOWN ON LAMINGTONS

  • National Lamington Day is celebrated on July 21.
  • The Lamington cake was first made in 1900.
  • The exact story of the invention of the Lamington is disputed. Some people think it may have been an accidental recipe after being dropped in a chocolate mixture.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade lists the lamington as an Australian icon (along with the meat pie and Vegemite HURRAH), and former Queensland premier Anna Bligh has declared this special cake a Queensland icon.
  • Toowoomba in Queensland is the home of the 2011 Guinness World Record for the Largest Lamington, weighing over 2,361 kilos.
  • A Lamington recipe first appeared in the Queensland Country Life publication in 1900. A recipe then appeared in a Sydney newspaper in 1901, and a New Zealand newspaper in 1902.
  • The world record for the longest line of Lamingtons was set in Adelaide in 2015, with 20,000 (yes that says 20 thousand) pieces of Lamington snaking over 1,073 metres long. The former record was held in England with a Lamington line that measured 885 metres. Who knew the Brits loved Lamington so much?
  • Susan Day makes so many Lamingtons each year that if you laid them end to end, you’d make it from Melbourne to Sydney – hands up who’s coming on that road trip? 

If you’re a Lamington lover, then tomorrow is your lucky day!

If you’re in Australia you can cheat and head to Coles to get yours, however if you’re enjoying the sunshine in the UK, get your BAKE on and enjoy Lamington Day with this recipe for homemade Lamingtons!!

Let me know what you’re doing to celebrate!

Olivia xx

Donna Hay
Donna Hay’s Lamington’s (Recipe link above)

Stationary that’s light years ahead of the rest!!

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Ever since I was a child I’ve had this almost obsessive craving for brand new stationary. Not sure if it was the newness, the smell, the thought that maybe with a brand new pad I could create a masterpiece. I would convince my parents to spend shed loads of money on new pens, notepads and all sorts of wonderful files and folders, under the premise of lots of hard work that term! Um… I would start off well.. I’d immaculately write my name on said items, then spend the rest of the year scribbling boys names and enormous love hearts all over them. Pretty sure “I love East17” was in amongst it. My kids are no different, however the stationary today is much cooler.

What’s new?

Nothing’s really changed in my love of stationary, I buy a lot, and I manage to keep it tidy for a few days…. However, Big W have just got a brand new range of stationary which I’m certain will save me from scrawled memos and lost invoices forever!!! Yes, the clever peeps at ‘Smash’ have been at it again. This time they’re making the whole family fall in love with endless supplies of dreamy desk delights.

‘This new range is out of this world! ‘Imagine, Explore and Inspire’ your next ‘Master Plan’ (and your ‘Plan B’!) with our new Neo Galaxy Stationery Range.’- Smash

What do we love about this stationary in particular?

Apart from my inner magpie loving the “shinyness” of the Neo Galaxy range, I also love that they have thought of everything. The quality is great (there’s no way those folders are tearing under the pressure of NAPLAN, or the binders will buckle under the weight of all my endless paperwork) and the designs are suitable for all ages. The kids really loved the space designs, the colours and the stapler…. of course…. The sticky notes don’t curl up like other brands, ***HURRAH, and excuse me whilst we tear up over the incredibly cute little paper clips…..

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Yes, the Wilson’s have been checking out the new Neo Galaxy range of stationary, available from the 15th July in Big W… just in time for back to school, or even for you mamas out there whose home/work life needs some pimping.

Best things about this particular range?

It’s unisex! Yes, it’s purple, but in our house and many across the land, purple is super cool for one and all!

It’s funky no matter your age! The whole family like this range, which makes sharing a little tricky, but means we all have matchy, matchy coordinated workspaces.. Pretty sure I’m still the only one actually working here though!

I have styled the kids desks to show you why it’s definitely good for all…

So, bottom line is….. head down to your local Big W and get your hands on some of this Neo Galaxy stationary before it disappears in to a ‘black hole’ (or other people’s homes). You’ll be thrilled with it, and the kids will love you to infinity and beyond, I promise xx

Tell them you love them “to the moon and back” with a desk full of Neo Galaxy stationary!

Available in store at Big W from 15th July 2018

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Everyone LOVES a sticky note!!

Asda are”Smashing” packed lunches for the UK!!

ASDA_BTS-UK18Since Smash Enterprises smashed their way into the UK, they are making shopping for lucnch gear a whole lot easier for frazzled parents to cope with.  The Wilson’s are huge fans of the collections, and every year we crush on them a little more than the last! *How do they do that??

UK friends, hold your breath!

You are about to get their newest range, hitting ASDA stores from today!!!

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This skate look is pretty cool for all ages!!

Asda are stocking brand new Smash products right now…..

…which your kids are not only going to love, they are going to be begging you for! Every base is covered, from unicorn lovers to dinosaur fans, to your more grown up “style conscious” kids. I know first hand how hard it can be “it has to be a BLUE DINOSAUR WITH GREEN LEGS MUMMMM” Yes, more awesome stuff for on the go eating, for even the fussiest kids around!

Stop the press…… **The sequins!!!!!

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Smash are experts in Back to School! We know what kids need at different stages of their school life, and we know what parents expect from the products they buy. Parents love the reliability of Smash.’  – Smash Enterprises

Summer is well and truly here for the UK (how hot has it been??) and it’s the perfect time to get some of that Back2School stuff done before the kids are on holidays and whinging in your ears. Buying all the ‘lunch gear’ as soon as it hits Asda means that not only have you ticked one chore off the list of many, the kids can spend the summer holidays outside exploring nature, and eating on the go with one of the funkiest lunch collections on the market! Come on, we all love the kids going outside to play…..all day!

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Have a lovely day son!!! *locks door behind him

When the kids and I saw this new Asda collection from Smash, we knew that it would be a hit. There’s a design for every child, the drinks bottles have great new matt colours which are really funky, and Smash have come up with even better ways to keep your kids food fresher than ever before. We love the gel packs for keeping food at the right temperature, and the magic lining that makes sure the germs are kept at bay! Happy mum right here!

If your job title this summer is ‘person in charge of lunches’ this is where you can get ahead of the game, and nail a Back2School job too. Let’s be honest we all have a love/hate relationship with the constant holiday food consumption, so why not grab an awesome new lunch box and serve up ‘packed lunches’ every day this summer. *Lunch that they make THEMSELVES!!! What’s in the box is what they get, FULL STOP!

 

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Asda will be stocking this brand new range of awesome Smash products from 10th July.. That’s today!! Like… NOW!! There’s no excuse to miss out!

Throw the kids at Granny and head to Asda before they sell out. Stock is limited so don’t wait until tomorrow! This Aussie born lunch style is not going to be around long enough for you to leave purchasing until the last minute.

Show your kids your “Smash Attitude” and be one of the first parents in line for this new range.

Olivia xx

Disney on Ice is here- Get your skates on before it sells out!

We went to ‘Disney on Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic’ last night at Hisense Arena in Melbourne and we’re pretty sure your little Disney fans will love you forever if you book tickets!! This is promising to be one of the top winter holiday activities.

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The show starts with a bang as always; everyone loves an opener, however, there’s not much getting away from Disney’s tried and tested formula, even for this celebration of ‘100 years of Magic!’  (Expect lots of Frozen!) Do not despair though, you’ll be relieved to see a couple of new faces, such as Genie from Aladdin and Mulan. This is where the talent of the skaters really comes out. An enormous Chinese Dragon, flying across the ice, not a paw out of rhythm.  *Our favourite part of the show!

The audience was a sea of Elsa dresses and Mickey ears, glowing swords and sparkly wands. My kids are “too old to dress up” apparently, and they were definitely in the minority, so don’t be afraid to let loose and dig out your Cinderella ballgown!!

The show was like all Disney on Ice shows before it; no expense spared (maybe that’s why it’s a pricey night out). A full snow storm, exciting pyrotechnics, top-quality costumes, and an insanely talented cast of ice dancers.

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Full of energy, full of Disney magic and full of all your favourite Disney characters…. (**Apart from Moana….Sad face!) Disney on Ice 2018 should absolutely be on your holiday to-do list.  With a whopping 14 stories told, 30 classic Disney songs belted out, and wonderful props, including a sweet little boat which takes some very excited audience members out onto the ice and an enormous turtle; who’d want to miss that??

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Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic 

 Tickets are on sale now at www.Ticketek.com.au/DisneyOnIce.

2018 National Tour Dates

Melbourne – Hisense Arena, Melbourne                                5 – 10 July          (Thurs – Tues)

Newcastle – Newcastle Entertainment Centre                    13-15 July               (Fri – Sun)

Sydney – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park          18- 23 July             (Wed – Mon)

Feld Entertainment encourage patrons to source tickets through the authorised ticketing agents appointed by our Disney On Ice venues. The authorised ticketing agent for all cities is Ticketek (www.Ticketek.com.au/DisneyOnIce)There are significant risks in buying from other sources. 

School holiday’s in Melbourne sorted!

The school holidays can be a costly couple of weeks for us parents. Trips to the movies can cost an arm and a leg alone and only kill 2 hours of the day! Noooo! We live in such an awesome city, full of free activities, great galleries, wonderful winter fun and plenty of bargain foodie delights to keep tummies full! There is no need for you to feel financially frazzled this winter break!

Here are some ideas of things to do in Melbourne this holiday, to not only create fun but also sneak some education in there too! Not all of the activities below are suitable for every age, so make sure you check beforehand.

Art Play

ArtPlay is a wonderful place where children (babies to 12 year olds) can explore their creativity and share unique artistic experiences with professional artists who have a wonderful connection with the little ones. My kids (6 &9) have both thoroughly enjoyed workshops here.

Art Play put on more than 300 workshops, events and performances every year, so they are definitely experts in their field.  There are short workshops for young children and extended creative experiences for older children. The artists, workshop content and participants reflect Melbourne’s diversity.

Bookings are required for most workshops, however there are also free drop-in events available. You can check out the ‘What’s on’ page to see if there is something that takes your fancy, but please make sure you book before heading into Melbourne as these workshops are very popular!

Melbourne Sights Free Walking Tour – Be a tourist!

Join one of these FREE walking tours in the city of Melbourne and you’ll uncover the incredible history and explore a range of sites in Australia’s cultural capital. You get a guide dressed in bright green so you can’t miss them, and they will impart all their knowledge on this friendly Melbourne tour. Your guide will give you insights into the people, places and events of this city. If your kids are happy to walk and you’d like to get some culture into them this school holidays this is a great way to see our beautiful city and learn something new. I got my kids to take a pad and pen so they could write down interesting things they learnt and we researched later! Highlights include the lane ways, art, cafe culture and hidden bars so you can experience Melbourne like a true local.

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Tours run EVERY DAY at 10:30am and 2:30pm and start at the statue of Sir Redmond Barry in front of the State Library of Victoria, and last 2.5 – 3hrs.

Disney On Ice

Make this a ‘Melbourne family tradition’ and go and see this incredible show. Disney on Ice is back this year at Hisense celebrating 100 Years of Disney Magic. Read all the info here! 

Dialogue in the dark 

Brought to you in partnership with Guide Dogs Australia, this exhibition will give you and your kids, the chance to step into the shoes of a person with low vision or blindness. You’ll experience Melbourne like never before, learn about yourselves, and have fun along the way.

Dialogue in the Dark™ is a sensory journey set in total darkness. It’s an incredible experience where you step out of your comfort zone and take on the challenges of a bustling, simulated Melbourne in the dark. How would you respond to sensing your everyday world, rather than seeing it?

Over the course of an hour, you’ll discover:

  • How to find your bearings and move in complete darkness
  • How to identify the world through a variety of senses
  • How to communicate and collaborate with other people, without visual cues
  • How you respond to the challenges of Melbourne in the dark

Book Tickets Here! 

SENSE & SIGHT PACKAGE – See Melbourne in two unique ways for one great price.
Take a sensory tour through Melbourne in complete darkness, then catch a birds eye view of the city as you fly high on the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. (Select the “Wheel Deal” option on your preferred date.) (Children under the age of 5 are not permitted)

 

Shrine Kids

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Yes. Another free event! Free and educational is even better!! That’s what we like! Shrine Kids is an anytime activity for primary school students, that encourages kids and their families to learn about Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance together.   To support this, they have introduced a number of ways for your family to engage.  Shrine Kids being the most popular.

Activity cards (Four to choose from : Unlock the Secrets! Discover How Things Work! Use Your Imagination! Solve the Mysteries!)  and explorer kits are a sure fire way to engage your child’s imagination and their desire to learn about this special place. The Explorer Kit satchels include a bundle of awesome goodies to aid successful and happy exploration. I know where we’re headed this holiday!

Enchanted Adventure Garden – Great for all ages!

Get outside!!! Located on the Mornington Peninsula, a short drive from Melbourne, this adventure garden is a hit with the whole family. Beautiful gardens, mazes to lose the kids in, and tree surfing for everyone. Not only that, they also have the tube slides  (read my tale of the tube slide here) which are hysterical. There’s a hedge maze, spectacular gardens,  a sculpture park, tube slides, canopy walk & a 3D indoor maze. We love the tree surfing (you can read how we got on here), but there is so much to see and do, don’t feel like you must send them up into the trees.. although they’ll love you forever! Check out the tickets here! If you love a bargain and will visit more than once, you should look at getting an annual membership which gives you great discounts as well as entry all year round! Hurrah, pay this holiday but not the next few!

Other great value for money/free activities that The Wilson’s love:

ACMI run Free Family Sundays, and entry to the main gallery is free for everyone. You only pay for the special exhibitions. Wonderland is currently on ($65 family ticket) and we would highly recommend! Open daily from 10am.

Cooks Cottage – The oldest building in Australia, built in 1755. This is a popular Melbourne tourist attraction, because of the surroundings and the incredible story! This building was originally located in Yorkshire, England, and built by the parents of Captain James Cook. The cottage was brought to Melbourne by Sir Russell Grimwade in 1934. Astonishingly, each brick was individually numbered, packed into barrels and then shipped to Australia where it was lovingly rebuilt. (Approx. $18 for a family ticket)

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National Gallery of Victoria always free to the public. They have some great school holiday activities. Check them out here!

Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne & Cranbourne Entry to the gardens is free and they are well worth a visit. The gardens in both Melbourne and Cranbourne are open 7:30am (great for early risers) until sunset. Explore, walk or run off steam, take a picnic and make a day of it. Plenty to see with more than 8,500 plant species from around the world, sweeping lawns, tranquil lakes and majestic trees, all home to an amazing range of wildlife.

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 Have a great winter break in Melbourne!!

OzPanto – British Expat fun at its best!!

 

SLEEPING BEAUTY A KNIGHT AVENGER’S TALE

Sleeping Beauty tells the story of Princess Aurora, who by a single prick of her finger is put to sleep for 100 years. Doomed by fate, only a Prince’s sweet kiss can break the spell and awaken the sleeping beauty. 

 

The Wilson’s rugged up and headed into Melbourne to the Comedy Theatre for opening night of Bonnie Lythgoe’s latest Oz Panto, Sleeping Beauty! What a fab family night out!

For all you British expats out there, you will be pleased to hear this is proper British panto… with a sprinkling of Oz! If you’re anything like me you’ll get all homesick this time of year. It feels like we should be celebrating all things Christmas but it’s June and not even remotely Christmassy! Having said that, this pantomime is absolutely the perfect ‘winter’ pick me up for the whole family! OzPanto is by no means a cheap imitation of panto; this is true, old fashioned pantomime with all the singing, dancing, cracking jokes and cheesy lines. It’s exactly what winter in Australia needs!

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Our faves:

Rhonda Burchmore plays the wicked fairy ‘Carabosse’. Rhonda stole the show with her terrfying presence, huge voice and her incredible legs. Yes I said it! Green eyed monster right here! Carabosse brought the theatre alive with “Boo’s” every time she stepped on to the stage, just as panto should be.

Kev Orkian as ‘Silly Billy’ made us all belly laugh. There were tears streaming down our cheeks at points throughout, and it was all down to his impeccable timing and hilarious stage presence.

The Dancers -Wow, the incredible dancers. The children were full of energy and super talented. Absolute stars in the making.


 

British Expats or Aussie this is a must see! For the Brits it will take you back to your childhood, and for the Aussies, it’s a wonderful introduction to the timeless art of British Pantomime.  Bonnie Lythgoe has brought the true magic of pantomime all the way to Australia for our families to enjoy, which means our expat kids aren’t missing out on what used to be a family tradition back home!

Grab your tickets now!

You’re guaranteed dazzling costumes, stunning sets, magic, breath taking special effects, side splitting comedy, and sensational musical numbers. A massive hit for all ages.

www.ozpanto.com


Melbourne

VENUE: Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

DATES: Friday 29 June – Sunday 8 July

PRICES: VIP $89.95 / A Reserve $69.95 / B Reserve $59.95 Plus Family tickets available

BOOKINGSTicketmaster.com.au or 1300 11 10 11

 Sydney

VENUE:  State Theatre, 49 Market Street, Sydney

DATESFriday 13 July – Sunday 22 July

PRICES: from $52.95 to $97.95 plus Family tickets available

BOOKINGSTicketmaster.com.au or 1300 139 588

Coles sell out of scones as Expats stockpile for their Royal Wedding parties!! *Kidding (can you even buy scones in Coles?)

Before we go any further… Coles have definitely not sold out of scones, or cucumbers.. So your party will go ahead as long as you don’t wear out your flag waving, butter spreading hand before Saturday!

Are you one of millions of Expats across Australia going nuts for the upcoming nuptials of possibly the most bizarre (but gorgeous) couple on the planet? I feel like we’ve only just got over Eurovision and we’re straight back on it with the flag waving and frantic public displays of patriotism!

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Kevin Cruise going all out for Eurovision!!

I would love to say I am all over this wedding, but I feel very disorganised. I’m almost beginning to panic.. As if I’ve got a real invite. *Trust me, I would have been on a massive diet if I had!

I feel like maybe I should have made as much effort as my expat friends, but…. I just haven’t. I don’t have cupcakes waiting to be baked, I am not planning on whipping up cucumber ‘sarnies’ and a cream tea and I probably won’t be attending any parties, although I think at last count I had been invited to 6. Yes 6! Not because I’m popular just because all 6 of my friends are having parties!

Watching the world (and Australia) in particular going all out for this wedding makes me wonder whether Expats become more patriotic and possibly more Royalist once we’ve left the country?

Us expats are marking our territory, and making sure you all know Meghan is going to be “OUR PRINCESS”! We want to make it bloody clear that (although she’s American, and we’re in Australia) she belongs to us Brits now and we’re gonna throw the biggest bloody party in our garage (because that’s where the big telly and the beer fridge is) with beef snags, (because that’s all we can get) and loads of our expat mates, because like I said, we’re BRITISH and we own this bloody wedding!

I wonder if we would all be frantically covering our houses in bunting, buying new outfits and getting Meghan loves Harry tattoos if we were living in Berkshire? Would we be charging into our local Tesco’s in Guildford demanding the highest quality cucumber for our “Royal Wedding Party”? Would we be buying job lots of these ‘Hazza and Meggie’ cozzies for all our girlfriends if we were back in Blighty?? Brrrrr just the thought of it… Is Britain going as nutty about this as us lot overseas?

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Here, in the land down under, Brits in their thousands are gearing up for a mammoth ‘sesh’ in front of the telly on Saturday night! Please don’t forget though we will not be listening to the legendary Huw Edwards charming us through every step of the wedding, we will be watching Aussie coverage of the Royal Wedding! This has enormous potential to turn out to be an infuriating 6 hours of drunken Aussie students being interviewed on Pall Mall holding inflatable Kangaroos! Yes, it may leave much to be desired if their current coverage from Tower Bridge is anything to go by! *Please prove me wrong Channel 7!

When Kate and Wills got married in 2011, I had a party at my house and wore a shirt made out of a Kate Middleton tea towel,” – Edwina Bartholomew from Sunrise

I totally love the magic of a royal wedding.  The costume, the carriages, the surprise attendees.. “Whaaaat, Elton isn’t invited”… (I’m sure he is btw). I love the precision timings, the tabloid gossip and the ‘sheer class’ that only the British can bring to a Royal Wedding. In the UK it will feel very different to here. The ceremony doesn’t get going until 9pm Down Under, so we’ll have waited a lot longer than the UK, and the anticipation will have been building..aaaaaallllll day!!

At 8:59pm we will finally see the bride and at 9:00pm on the dot we will be glued to our screens as she walks down the aisle at the wedding of the Century (sorry Kate)! Union jack flags covering the house (and the ute), and G&T (*make that beer)  fuelled women in ballgowns and tiaras, passing out in their living rooms before Meghan utters the words “I do”…

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So Harry may be funking (yes that says FUNKING as in FUNKY!) up the Royal Household by marrying a super hot American ACTRESS who has been divorced… **GASP, and the Royal family may be curling their toes in their brogues as they walk into St Georges Chapel on Saturday, but I think it’s wonderful, and it seems like a bazillion other expats do too! If only Clarence House could arrange an overnight wedding next time so as we can watch it with our breakfast…in bed!!

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STOMP straight to the box office Australia!!

 

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We headed into Melbourne for the opening night of STOMP! I have always wanted to see the show, but never had the chance! Oh my…  it exceeded all of my expectations. If you have seen the posters and heard the buzz, you know NOTHING!! You have to see and hear it to believe it, and even then you wont believe your ears or your eyes.

For someone who struggles to put one foot in front of the other some days, the rythmn that the cast have firing through their veins is just mind blowing. I mean, who on earth can bounce a basketball in a rhythmic way, alongside 7 other people, THEN PASS THE BALLS AROUND WHILST STILL BEING IN TIME AND CREATING MELODY...?

STOMP has become a global phenomenon over the last 26 years and has been performed for over 12 million people in 55 countries across six continents. There’s a good reason it’s such a hit!!

 Eight incredible performers create musical magic from all sorts of everyday items, including a humble supermarket trolley! (I have since tried this rhythmic trolley magic in Woolworths and was asked to leave after frightening a small child)!

I don’t want to ruin the magic for anyone going, so I won’t tell you too much.. Just know that if you book to go and see STOMP you will be blown away by 8 cast members who’s connection through the sound they are making, creates a show that will not only have you tapping away at your kitchen bench as soon as you get home, but will give you the most tingly goosebumps, and an insane urge to see if you could recreate THAT SOUND….

Zippo lighters, bin lids, and even the kitchen sink are used to hammer out an explosively feel-good rhythm.  Trust me, you won’t be able to resist having a go.

The choreography, the connection between the cast members, the industrial percussion, and continuous comedy made this one of the best shows Mr W and I have seen on stage. Mouth wide open kinda stuff!! Go and see it when it STOMPS into your city!! *see what I did there?

“BIG, NOISY AND IRRESISTIBLE” – Sun Herald, Sydney 

“BRILLIANT AND VERY FUNNY” – The New York Times


SYDNEY

8 shows on

Show Dates

Melbourne – Comedy Theatre 1st May – 6th May 2018 (BOOK)

Gold Coast – The Star 31st May – 3rd June 2018 (BOOK)

Adelaide – Adelaide Entertainment Centre 6th June -10th June 2018 (BOOK)

Sydney – Capitol Theatre 31st July – 6th August 2018 (BOOK)


 

*Photo’s courtesy of STOMP TOUR

Hi Honey, I’m home- Forever

I opened Google this morning and it told me that there are 258 days remaining until the end of the year. Thanks Google, you’ve reminded me that all those things I have promised myself that I would get done in 2018 aren’t moving as fast as I’d like, and it’s woken me up to just how blinking fast this year is going!

So, just over 100 days into 2018 and The Wilson’s are ten months off the end of our visa! Yes ten months!! I know!! I can almost see it sitting on the horizon, sarcastically beckoning me toward it.. Bastard!! It’s insane. Ten months left until we need to vacate the country. Well… we get 12 weeks after that date to officially get out before we become illegal immigrants, but yeah, we’re on a tick, tock, tick, tock,  countdown right now.

I guess like most families who came to Australia on a 457 visa, (before Mr Turnball abolished it.. Thanks Malc!) we kind of assumed four years away from home would be enough, and we’d be ready to go home. Or, if we weren’t ready to go, we would have at least put some plans in place to stay for a while longer…. Um…. *insert tumbleweed! We have no plans as yet; we have no contingency plan if we don’t get extended and I literally have no idea what we will do or where we will go…. (I can hear some of you muttering “this woman is insane”) Truthfully, this really only came up in conversation in the car this morning with just ten months to go.. ‘What the actual @£$%’ I hear you say!

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Bells Beach

I know! It seems a little irresponsible not to plan or prepare everyone for the possible big life change ahead, however I’m still in the ‘live for the moment’ stage, ‘running around in my underwear because I’m so excited to be here’ stage; and I can’t for the life of me snap out of it. I’m telling myself “hey, it may never happen, let’s just go to the beach and not think about it” and “ah well, if it’s gonna happen we may as well make the most of life in Oz and go out for dinner… and NOT talk about it”…   therefore allowing the thought to slip to the back of my mind for a while longer; because if you don’t talk about something it doesn’t happen right?

Potentially however, we have ten months left until we need to go! Ten months until our practically native Australian kids have to move again. *Truth: Every time we stay in a hotel Monty asks “how long are we living in this house Mum?” In ten months time, we may have our passports in hand, and be heading off to pastures new.. or old, back to our friends, my girl gang, who knows?

I just took a sip of water and glanced up at my friends faces smiling down on me from the last postcard they sent from the UK! A sudden gulp! Honestly, just over three years ago, whilst we were hugging, and wailing as they were waving us off on our adventure, I remember distinctly telling everyone (myself included) “it’s not forever, it’s only four years… If that!!”

However now, sitting here, the kids at school, friends round the corner, things planned, work life thriving… it’s hard to imagine leaving Australia. It’s hard to imagine going through all those goodbyes again, only this time with our new found friends.

The uncertainty of living on a visa and not being secure in the knowledge we can stay is a huge thing. Even though I push it to the back of my mind, it’s a big deal for any expat family.

Living life as an expat is such a treat. We get to explore,  see new things, and experience new adventures; but part of me wonders whether the time has come for us to be thinking about a ‘forever home’ for our family. A place that the children can say they’re “from”… A place that we can settle, properly settle in, put pictures up on the walls without worrying about the landlords reaction, plant what we like in the garden, paint the walls whatever colour we like, and design a space for our growing family. Somewhere we can stay and know that we’ll not be moving again. Part of me thinks that maybe the children need to be more settled. Maybe we all need it, but I don’t think any of us really want it!

Having said all that, the thought of having a ‘forever home‘ terrifies me. The thought of buying a house, moving in, and thinking “right that’s it, we’re here!” makes me come over all cold. I hear people saying “oh we’ve just bought our “forever home” and before I congratulate them, all I can think is ‘you poor, poor thing”. Forever stuck in one place seems so final..

Maybe I’m frightened to settle somewhere because it’s not in my nature. Maybe our family is supposed to keep moving. Maybe that’s what’s written in our stars! Maybe I’m scared to make life so static because it means long distance friendships are definitely a forever thing. It means guaranteed travelling to visit loved ones, rather than the comforting possibility of one day relocating to be closer. If we decide on a forever home, it means one way or another, we’re closing one door, and locking it tight and I don’t want to do that! I like the idea of being able to move when we want, go where we want, experience life somewhere else if we want to. I like the romantic idea that ‘one day’ we’ll go ‘home‘, but not just yet!!!

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that for this expat family and all the others out there, who maybe haven’t completely settled on a place to stay put, or signed their life away on a house because it’s in the right catchment for high school, or who don’t seem to have any life plans that include a particular location; we actually do have our forever home. We’re already living in it. Our forever home is right here, right now, and wherever we are together in the future. Our family is our forever home! It doesn’t have to be bricks and mortar, it doesn’t have to be staying in the same place for the rest of our days, we are in our forever home all the time, no matter where on the map that may be this year!! Our forever homes are dotted all over the world, wherever we want them to be, as long as we’re together.

You are my home

 

Olivia xxx

‘A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are built for” – Unknown

 

‘Brickman Awesome’ -Everything is Awesome- Literally…

Melbourne Museum is once again hosting the Brickman fully interactive LEGO® exhibition, and this year it’s big!!! Literally huge because it’s home to the tallest LEGO® model in the Southern Hemisphere – a NASA SLS rocket standing at a whopping 7.5m tall and built from more than 450,000 bricks! It has to be seen to be believed! It’s… um…. Awesome..

In our humble opinion, this exhibition, created by Ryan McNaught and his team, couldn’t have been named anything other than ‘Awesome’. Ryan spent some time chatting to the kids at last years show, asking them what ‘awesome’ things they’d like to see made out of LEGO®, and here we are, standing in amongst it! There are so many incredible things to see. Great job kids!

‘Ryan has pushed LEGO® building boundaries by installing an in-built lighting system giving the effect that the rocket is blasting off into space’ – Brickman

Once again, my little people were taken aback when they walked through the doors. Monty dived head first into the trough of LEGO® surrounding the life size Harley Davidson Motorbike and set to creating his own Monty sized motorbike.  He is my mini master builder and the hands on LEGO® is by far his favourite bit of these exhibitions! Poppy gets straight to it, searching for all the mini LEGO® Mr & Mrs Awesome figures. If there’s a chance to win some LEGO® she’s on it, and has so much fun finding the mini figures in all sorts of obscure places!

Brickman Awesome has 38 never-seen-before LEGO® models, totalling more than 1.5 million bricks and clocking up more than 4,500 hours of build-time!

I swear my kids would be perfect for this job! We have about enough LEGO®, and I’m absolutely willing for them to be silently building for the next 4,000 hours. Ryan??

Brickman Awesome not only has a menagerie of ‘Awesome animals’, but it is also showcasing the largest ever LEGO® Caterpillar 797 dump truck, and a full-sized LEGO® Australian saltwater crocodile, weighing over 60kgs and built using more than 40,000 LEGO® bricks! There’s even a life size Toyota Camry with working lights… Unbelievable I know!!

If ever there was a show to inspire creativity in kids, and really push them to go even further than they ever have before, then this is it! Ryan and his team absolutely blew us all away. There is something for everyone. This is not just a room full of LEGO®, it’s a world of fascinating facts about each creature, machine and structure, building tips,  hands on learning, families creating together, and a lesson for our kids that anything is possible. Ryan and his team have gone further than just building a room full of ‘Awesome’, they have built an incredible learning experience for absolutely everyone, young or old..

*This year, I was determined to out build my kids creations.. Sadly, my penguin looked like it had been run over, so again, they won!  Don’t be disheartened when this show puts all the magical things you have ever built for your children to shame.  You’re off the hook now, because nothing you ever build again will live up to this LEGO® magic. Grab a cuppa and put your feet up!

Olivia x


All the details:

Where: Melbourne Museum Click here for more info

When: 21st March – 29th April

Cost:
Afternoon Specials –
$25 Monday-Wednesday 3-4pm only
Adult – $35
Concession –
$30
Junior (4-16) –
$25
Under 4s – FREE
Family (2 x adults and 2 x children) –
$95
Family (1 x adult and 2 x children) –
$65


Reviews

‘I loved it when we got to build stuff’-★★★★★ Monty Wilson, Head of the LEGO® Department, The Wilsons of Oz  

‘The rocket ship with all the lights and sounds was awesome’  -★★★★ ★ Poppy Wilson, Speed LEGO® builder, The Wilsons of Oz

Spectacular, even better than last year… I didn’t think that was possible’. ★★★★★– Mrs Wilson, terrible, terrible LEGO® builder

I want it alllllll’. –Mr Wilson Head of ‘Reliving your childhood’ department’★★★★★


 

Shop

The gang from Bricks To The World (LEGO® online retailer of the year) are there, selling all kinds of LEGO® imaginable.  Just take a deep breath and hand over your credit card, the kids will love you that little bit more than they already do! Hey, LEGO® created a lot of love yesterday. You may have spotted us building our new LEGO® kits on the wall outside the exhibition..

If you can’t face the shop and happen to ‘miss’ it (physically impossible, but I know some of you will try) you can head over to the website and order on there!!