The Jewish International Film Festival 2022:tickets are on sale!

Get ready film buffs because this is your lucky day! The Jewish International Film Festival is coming and it’s jam packed with 52 films from all across the world! JIFF 2022 presents must-see headliners, literary deep-dives, extraordinary true stories, laugh-out-loud comedies, and films of great joy, levity and jubilance. 

March 1968

To be in with a chance of winning a double pass to JIFF, enter our TICKET GIVEAWAY HERE

The Opening Night Film for JIFF 2022: starring Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong, Armageddon Time is a deeply personal coming-of-age story about the strength of family and the generational pursuit of the American Dream.

(L to R) Michael Banks Repeta as “Paul Graff” and Anthony Hopkins as “Grandpa Aaron Rabinowitz” in director James Gray’s ARMAGEDDON TIME, a Focus Features release. Courtesy of Anne Joyce / Focus Features

Directed by James Gray (Ad Astra) and drawn from his own childhood experiences, Armageddon Time premiered to a 7 minute standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. JIFF are proud to present the Australian Premiere screenings.

Watch the trailer

For a digital deep-dive into the festival check out JIFF’s films page or download a program PDF here

Tickets are on sale now and can be booked online or at the cinema box office (list of cinemas below) To ensure you don’t miss out, get your tickets booked today!

Where Life Begins

Melbourne — 24 Oct 6:30pm for 7:30pm, Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick*
Sydney — 25 Oct 6:30pm for 7:30pm, Ritz Cinemas, Randwick*
Brisbane — 26 Oct 7pm, New Farm Cinemas
Canberra — 27 Oct 7pm, Dendy Cinemas Canberra
Gold Coast — 27 Oct 7pm, Dendy Cinemas Southport
Hobart — 27 Oct 7pm, State Cinema
Perth — 27 Oct 6:45pm, Luna Palace Leederville

*Tickets include stuffed pita pocket, drinks and live music 

To be in with a chance of winning a double pass to JIFF, enter our TICKET GIVEAWAY HERE

Puffing Billy: a truly magnificent way to travel these school holidays!

On Monday we went on an adventure. The kind of adventure we’ve all spent the past two years longing for. The kind of adventure you beam throughout and realise at the end of the day, your smile hasn’t budged an inch. We went flying through the Dandenong Ranges on board the world famous Puffing Billy Railway.

I often wonder what memories my children will have of their childhood. Having moved about a fair bit, I wonder if certain places have felt more like home than others. Have we spent enough time making those moments that will be cherished for years to come? You know the ones. The ones they’ll jump to relive with their children!

With my legs hanging over the side of Puffing Billy, the smoke billowing past and enthusiastic ferns waving us by, I looked across to the children. We were in the throes of life long memory making right there and none of us knew it! We were too busy watching the countryside flying past, waving at dog walkers, pointing out kookaburras and laughing at our feet dangling over the pristinely preserved carriage sides as we crossed trestle bridges and passed long ago landslides.

Since 1900, Australia’s premier preserved steam railway has transported over 11 million passengers through the magnificent landscapes and lush greenery of the Dandenong Ranges, and for more than 100 of those years, Puffing Billy Railway has shared a truly iconic experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the world – sitting on the sill of the traditional open-side carriages with your legs hanging out!

Sitting on the sills with your legs ‘overboard’ is a truly magnificent way to travel no matter your age.

“This is a one in a lifetime experience”

We took flight on the 11:15am train from Belgrave and travelled to Lakeside, where the new visitor centre stands proud in amongst the glory of the rainforest, and rightly so! This brand new centre is home to an incredible (spotlessly clean) café, gift shop, local art and the museum which cannot be missed! We loved discovering the steam artefacts and learning about the rich history of Puffing Billy before buying our own body weight in lollies from the gift shop! I quietly wished I had been around in the old days to enjoy First Class and the sumptuous trolley service!

The wonderful thing about landing at Lakeside is you have so much at your fingertips to enjoy. If you love exploring the outdoors, this is the place for you, with magnificent walking trails, swimming (during summer), paddle boats on Lake Treganowan and bike hire at COG Bikes . Now that’s an adventure we’re keen on!! Yes! You can jump off the train and on to two wheels. Simply book your trail bike or ebike, collect them once you arrive, and off you go, even deeper into the Dandenong Ranges at your own speed (or that of your fastest child!). I can almost hear the Kookaburras as I type.

Combine your Puffing Billy Train Trip or your visit to Emerald Lake Park with bike hire allowing you to explore the surrounds of Emerald Lake Park on the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail that runs along Puffing Billy between Emerald and Gembrook.COG Bike Hire

I know you’re thinking.. Wow! Hungry work!! Well, do not despair! We picked up a delicious picnic at the visitors centre which we devoured. This is a fab option for those of you who, like me, love a picnic if it’s made by someone else. This was mega! We had an Adults picnic for 2 and a Kids picnic for 2 which gave us a feast!! We enjoyed a banquet of baguettes, cakes, brownies, yoghurt, fruit salad, cheesy scrolls and freshly made salad with dressing! We even had some leftovers for the car ride home!

If you’re looking for a school holiday adventure, you’re visiting Melbourne and want a truly Victorian treat, or you’re on the lookout for a Spring time Saturday afternoon activity, you must head to Puffing Billy Railway!

This is the place memories are made!


For more information and to book your next adventure head to https://puffingbilly.com.au/

We were invited to check out Puffing Billy Railway and the new visitors centre, however, (as always) this is my honest review of our day out!

Step into Spring at Puffing Billy Railway these school holidays!

Yassss! It’s almost the end of term three and the start of school holidays and that can only mean one thing! It’s time for a trip to Puffing Billy Railway ! It’s the perfect time to get outside, keep the kids moving and exploring, and make family memories that will last a lifetime.  

Start your outdoor adventure on board Australia’s favourite steam train as you all dangle your legs from Puffing Billy’s traditional open-side carriages; a truly iconic experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Feel the wind in your hair and watch the trees pass by in front of your feet as the train winds through the most magnificent scenery of the Dandenong Ranges, only one hour from Melbourne. This is truly magnificent and the kids will love it!

From Monday 26th September to Sunday 2nd October, passengers travelling to Lakeside Station will discover a free spring-themed arts and crafts activity zone at the Lakeside Visitor Centre for little ones to enjoy. You can also stop in at the Centre’s free Lakeside Hall Museum, home to a collection of steam artefact displays, including Puffing Billy Railway’s first ever locomotive, 3A, and also see the ‘Animal Tales’ photographic exhibition currently on show from award-winning artist Karen Alsop.

Once you’re all puffed out, take a seat at the Railway Café and choose from a range of tasty treats to indulge in, like satisfyingly crunchy baguettes, sweet and puffy Danishes, delicious beef and chicken burgers or even tender calamari. 

The lakeside views are stunning and the perfect spot for a picnic before you take advantage of the various outdoor activities available in Emerald Lake Park. Families can hire a COG Bikes Australia bike and ride through the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail, jump aboard a paddleboat* to play on Lake Treganowan, visit to the Emerald Lake Model Railway & Miniature World* for a look at one of the largest model railways in Australia, or take to one of seven walking tracks through the lush green foliage of the precinct, with plenty more picnic spots along the way. 

Pre-book an adult or children’s picnic pack and enjoy the serenity of the surrounding manna gums, tall chestnut and oak trees, and blossoming tree ferns of the forest, before jumping back on board, legs out and all, for the return journey. 

Passengers aged between 2 – 15 travelling on Friday 23rd September are encouraged to wear their favourite footy colours to celebrate the AFL Grand Final and redeem a special prize from the Lakeside Visitor Centre gift shop. 


Train services available during the school holidays

Monday – Friday 

  • 10.00 am Belgrave to Lakeside return
  • 11.15 am Belgrave to Lakeside return
  • 2.15 pm Belgrave to Lakeside return

Saturday – Sunday  

  • 10.00 am Belgrave to Lakeside return
  • 11.15 am Belgrave to Gembrook return*
  • 12.20 pm Lakeside to Gembrook return*
  • 12.45 pm Belgrave to Lakeside return

*Leg dangling is not permitted from the Lakeside to Gembrook section of the railway line.
*Lakeside Paddle boats and the Emerald Lake Model Railway & Miniature World are operated by separate businesses. Entry fees apply.

About Puffing Billy Railway:

Puffing Billy Railway is Australia’s (and the Wilson’s) favourite steam train and one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world. The railway, which commenced operation in Australia on December 18, 1900, is a genuine relic of more leisurely days.

The historic steam train ran regularly in the Victorian mountain district and was built to serve at the turn of the century to transport goods and passengers throughout the district. The railway travels 24kms through the forests and fern gullies of the picturesque Dandenong Ranges to Emerald Lake Park and Gembrook – the original terminus of the line – and is one of only two survivors of five experimental narrow-gauge lines used to develop rural areas in Victoria during the early 1900s.

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE
Facebook – @PuffingBillyRailway
Instagram – @puffingbillyrailway
#puffingbillyrailway
www.puffingbilly.com.au

Around Australia at 80ks – Your Summer ‘Must Read’

Summer is almost upon us, and despite international borders reopening (*ahem sort of/don’t hold your breath) I think many of us are still planning to adventure closer to home this year. If, like me, you’re hanging out for an adventure within Australia, this is the book for boundless inspiration. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of experiences, insider travel tips and dog friendly fun, and is full to bursting with possibly the greatest photography of our beautiful country I have ever seen. If you’ve ever wondered what it may be like to hit the open road and really explore what Australia has to offer, here is your inspiration. As you turn each and every page, you could almost be there inside Meredith & Sean’s bright yellow combi, patting Bandit the pup; the warm, salty wind blowing in your hair! Yes, it’s that good!

This great Aussie road trip took Mez, Sean and Bandit across four states, one territory and over
22,400 kilometres. They drove over dirt roads, down four-wheel drive tracks, onto ferries and
boats, to the edges of cliffs, across beaches and up mountains. They ventured through dust
storms and croc-infested waters, over red dirt, into some of the most ancient lands on Earth,
and along some of the most isolated roads in the world. All in their trusty vintage 1975 kombi,
Meredith’s camera at the ready and with a true sense of wanderlust to fuel their journey.

As a photographer, Mez knew this once-in-a-lifetime adventure would offer her the
opportunity to capture Australia in her own unique way, particularly after the dramatic
changes to our landscape since the devastating bushfires, and boy did she do this.. with a cherry on top!


When it comes to travel, Meredith is full of encouragement and enthusiasm.
‘It took guts to head out across this great big country in an old yellow kombi. I hope every
page gives you a little more of the confidence and comfort you need to set out on your own
adventure. If we can do it in a 1975 kombi you can do it too!’


One of my favourite things about this book is the oodles of great tips this awesome team share so you and I can explore to the fullest when we dust off our suitcases. From dog-friendly highlights (yay) and the best camping spots, to locating the tastiest cheap eats and the finest coffee, this is just as much a travel guide as it is an insanely beautiful coffee table book to share with the fam. After our trip to Kangaroo Island earlier in the year (best holiday ever) the children were thrilled to turn the pages and see the little yellow combi getting on the ferry & hitting up all the sites we’d loved too.

Around Australia At 80ks provides all the inspiration you need to get out on the road!

If you’re looking to elevate your next road trip or you know someone who’d love to live this adventure, you’ve got to get this book. I’ve had a copy for a couple of weeks and have picked it up over and over again, diving into a new landscape every time. Whether you’re ready to hit the road, or you’re happy to live vicariously through Mez’s adventure, this is the road trip that keeps on giving. Enjoy xx


About the author


Meredith (aka Mez) is an Australian photographer, writer and educator, based on the South Coast
of New South Wales, Australia. Specialising in landscape, travel and documentary photography,
her passion is in telling stories and capturing images that evoke a response – visually, emotionally,
intellectually or otherwise. Outside of photography, Meredith is an avid car collector and restorer.
She can often be seen at her local beach with Etta, her beloved yellow kombi, Bandit, her dog,
and Sean, her husband. They travel around Australia getting off the beaten track to discover this
amazing vast and wild country. Around Australia At 80ks is her first book.

You can follow Meredith & see more of her work on Facebook, Instagram and on her website.

Around Australia at 80ks
Two humans, one dog and a bright yellow kombi
on the road trip of a lifetime
WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEREDITH SCHOFIELD

Out now. Buy here

Affirm Press
RRP: $35.00

Beebee+Bongo- Supporting women and families in Cambodia

When your kids drive you bongo, find the funny

I am so excited to share a really special brand with you! As soon as I heard about the amazing work Beebee+Bongo are doing to support women and families in Cambodia, I just knew I had to tell you about it. Beebee+Bongo is a new brand of eco-friendly toys that celebrates the ups and downs of parenting, while creating employment for women in Cambodia. 

Just as Monika, founder of Beebee + Bongo said in the video, parenting struggles are universal. *Don’t we know it! Wherever you go, whoever you talk to, no matter the cultural differences or socio-economic status, children everywhere push our buttons, embarrass us, keep us up at night, and generally drive us all crazy! 

Monika and the Cambodia Knits Organization (CKO), agree that being able to laugh at the situations our kids get us into —and ourselves—is key to surviving parenthood:

“We believe a healthy dose of humour is essential for parents. Your kids can drive you mad and there will be colossal disasters from time to time, but the best thing to do is take it in your stride and laugh.” – Monika

Get Behind Beebee +Bongo’s Kickstarter Project

Beebee + Bongo toys are designed with these parenting moments in mind. Each toy in the Sleepy Snoogus line-up for example, has its own unique sleep profile that parents and kids can relate to, including Sabay the Pig who has to wake up every two hours to eat. All of these wonderful, carefully created creatures are designed to remind parents that they aren’t alone in these struggles.  

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1951628744/find-the-funny

The truly wonderful thing about this story is that Beebee + Bongo and the Cambodia Knits Organization support parents locally in Cambodia by providing much sought after employment. Starting from January 1st 2021, Beebee + Bongo will become the primary purchaser of Cambodia Knits Organization products, all of which are eco-friendly, hand-made, and provide women with home-based employment that most importantly is fairly paid. 

“COVID-19 has wiped out 97% of tourism in Siem Reap, home to the World Heritage Angkor Wat Temples, and with it, tens of thousands of jobs. We decided to fight back—and fight harder than before—to ensure that we can keep these women employed, and employ even more.” Monika

The company estimates that for every $1300 in sales, CKO can employ another knitter. The Kickstarter campaign launched on November 24th will enable them to expand their product line and message to families around the world. 

Bongo the water buffalo is calm, industrious and patient

“These are products made for parents, by parents, that you can feel good about having in your home.” 

These gorgeous toys from Beebee+Bongo are not only fun for the children who play with them, they’re a friendly reminder to all of us that parenting isn’t about doing it perfectly, it’s about doing it with love and a sense of humor. A great reminder for all of us, especially this year!! Please do some research, find out more about the wonderful work of Cambodia Knits, and think about gifting a donation in support of this wonderful brand.

Please dig deep and help CKO create jobs for families in Cambodia and delightful products for families just like yours around the world.

Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give – Unknown


All the info

You can read more about the producers here

Support this wonderful work for as little as $5 a month now on Kickstarter! Visit Kickstarter and help keep all the knitters knitting through the Covid-19 Crisis. 

If you would like to talk to someone about making a donation, please email Monika using the link below.

Take your family on a city skyline glamping experience!


Oh wow Melbourne! How many million years has it been since we were allowed to roam the city streets, pick up glorious cups of much needed coffee from the laneways, and visit all the fabulous corners of this city we call home? It feels like forever doesn’t it? However long it’s really been, it’s been far too long and I know lots of us are crying out for some city time. Well, it looks like we may not have to wait much longer, and I have a feeling I’ve found just what you and the kids need to give you all those Melbourne city vibes!

Unique & unforgettable experiences

Just to remind you why our city is so magnificent, Melbourne Marriott Hotel have come up with a glorious city glamping experience for you to enjoy with your family. Imagine their little faces when they see this pre Christmas treat. Awwwww!

When you book this long awaited escape, your 5-star room, which comes with a private courtyard, will feature a glamping teepee for the kids plus all the necessities such as sleeping bags, pillows and outdoor chairs.

The kids get to enjoy a fun night under the stars whilst mama & papa get to snooze in the comfort of a dreamy Marriott bed! We have totally earned this after the year we’ve had! I can picture myself there now. Hotel beds are just the best aren’t they? An added bonus with this package is you get a late check-out up to 1pm, so there’s plenty of time for a lazy brekkie, a little walk and even more fun time in the teepee for the kids whilst you kick back with the paper!

What’s included?

Private courtyard with Tepee tent

Large double bed

Range of custom cushions and blankets

Sleeping bags for 2 children

Fire pit with fairy lights

Individual courtyard mood lighting

Relaxation camp chairs for parents

Picnic table and chairs

Selection of games and board games

Family Picnic Hampers are also available to order to have in the courtyard or take to the park.

Reservations

For reservations or enquiries: Email: mhrs.melmc.ays@marriotthotels.com

Tel: (+61) 3 9662 3900

To book your family’s once in a lifetime adventure under the city stars click here!


About the Melbourne Marriot Hotel

Discover 5-star amenities and an enviable city center location at the wonderful Melbourne Marriott Hotel. Situated downtown, this contemporary hotel is just a short walk away from theatres, shopping, parks, attractions and restaurants. Unwind in stylish, spacious accommodation, featuring plush bedding and complimentary Wi-Fi – many rooms with stunning Melbourne city views. For relaxation, the Marriot offers a fantastic fitness center with an indoor pool and high-tech gym. Grab cocktails in the Elements Lounge and Bar or indulge in modern Australian cuisine at the hotel’s on-site restaurant. The Melbourne Marriot has an ideal downtown location, exploring top attractions with your family couldn’t be easier.

If people slept outside under the stars each night, I bet they’d live a lot differently – Unknown

I’d love to know if you book this adventure, so keep me posted xx Liv

Annie and the Waves – turning the tide on drowning

Annie and the Waves Author Biography: Louise Lambeth 

Louise Lambeth.jpg
Louise, Peter & Isobel Lambeth

Drowning is preventable yet it is the third largest cause of accidental death worldwide.  The 2019 Royal Life Saving Drowning Report records that 276 people drowned across Australia. Additionally, 584  people experienced non-fatal drowning that can lead to lifelong medical complications.  Staggeringly, 42% of these were children aged 0-4!

Whilst community education has been identified as essential to help prevent drowning not all children are able to access surf education! As a surf lifesaver with an early childhood background Louise understands how powerful a safety message conveyed through storytelling can be! 

Louise’s journey to print has been a long and emotional one motivated by a terrible tragedy that could have been prevented: page-03.jpg

‘The biggest misunderstandings in surf safety are caused by our lack understanding of the surf environment, the risks and the safety strategies we can put in place before we go to and when we are at the beach!’ 

‘I wrote ‘Annie and the Waves’ in 2012 just before I went on my first of 4 tours as a Surf Life Saving NSW ‘Beach to Bush’ presenter, educating country primary school children on how to stay safe when they visit the beach. But it took another 6 years to publish the book!’ 

‘In 2014 my surf club was involved in the search and rescue, that all too soon became a search and recovery, of a 5-year-old boy who drowned at Pearl Beach on the NSW Central Coast. The components of risk were exactly the same that I had written in my story two years earlier…. a moment lapse in supervision, a young child on the water’s edge, a surging wave that swept him off his feet and into the deep water. The difference was that in my story there were strategies in place that ensured a safe outcome. 

It made me think; What if my book had been published and this family had read it, could this tragedy have been prevented?

g3DUcUzs.jpegFrom that moment on Louise was determined to discover how to publish a book … It was a huge learning curve but in November 2018, Annie and the Waves was endorsed by Surf Life Saving Australia and finally published.

The book is now in its third print run there is still so much more to do! Annie and the Waves has been reviewed and endorsed by teachers and librarians and the positive feedback from children, parents and grandparents keep Louise committed to finding ways to provide books to children, early learning centres, schools and libraries. 

With a background in research Louise has undertaken a pilot study to investigate whether ‘Annie and the Waves’ increases children’s knowledge of the key safety messages found in the book. She presented the results at the 2019 World Drowning Prevention Conference in Durban South Africa and at the 14th Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference in Brisbane on 26th November 2019.

Louise is also committed to providing alternate book formats to children with disabilities and an audio version is now available.

‘One of my lifesaving roles is as an inclusive nipper buddy working with children of various abilities. It’s really rewarding and a lot of fun. Our Seagull Nippers, who include children on the autism spectrum, love and respond to having ‘Annie and the Waves’ read to them. I have also worked with children with a vision impairment through Guide Dogs ACT and NSW. I want to make ‘Annie and the Waves’ as accessible to as many children as possible including: 

  • People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds as the books simple words and engaging illustrations by Carissa Harris are helpful in explaining beach safety bfFxnAFw.jpeg
  • Children with dyslexia. The font and choice of matt paper for the book was chosen to be dyslexia friendly 
  • Children with vision impairment or a text disability. An audio version is being made especially for them 
  • Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are 160% more likely to drown than a child not on the spectrum! Reading about surf safety in a child’s own home or school before coming to the beach will help to provide a pathway for transitioning to the beach environment 

Louise’s wish or goal for Annie’s story

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Louise is developing a series of books called ‘Safety by Story’ with the first series focused on water safety. 

My goal is to help prevent drowning! There are many reasons people may not access surf safety programs. These include location, access to transport, culture, cost or other challenges. I would love for all Australian children to have access to read ‘Annie and the Waves’, in their home, a local library, their childcare or their school. 

But there are also more stories to tell….. in fact I have 6 more water safety story ideas for children aged 0-12 and their parents! 


 

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Annie and The Waves is beautifully illustrated by Carissa Hariss and is a book that will undoubtedly save lives. If you have children, if you’re a teacher, an educator or carer you need this book.

To find out more about Annie and The Waves please check out the website and social media channels.

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A cuppa with Molly from The Kirks Crazy Life

I spent a little piece of my week chatting to the gorgeous Molly from The Kirks Crazy Life. I met Molly a while back, and immediately I knew she was a lovely person. She’s one of those people who gives off a good vibe and you know instantly that you’re going to get along!  If you want to follow someone on Instagram who is ‘doing life’ with a passion Molly’s ya gal!


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Hey Molly, can you tell our readers a little about yourself?

My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years now, and I am a mummy to my 9 year old daughter Audrey, my 5 year old son Marquez and my son Christopher who was stillborn 7 years ago. I moved to Melbourne 11 years ago from New South Wales and I now live in the outer Western suburbs of Melbourne. I love it!

Our family loves to travel, explore different places and DSC_0754create memories together. My favourite thing in the world is to spend quality time with my family and that’s how I make the most out of life. Of course, I also love shopping too!!!

So what inspired you to create The Kirks Crazy Life?

I originally started posting on Instagram when my youngest was born as a way to share photos with friends and shop small business. Fairly early on the children started repping for small businesses and helping to bring awareness of their products. After a while it evolved again to photos featuring the whole family, our adventures and all the products that I love and use. The inspiration really came from my love of fashion, travel and photography which I am really passionate about.

How are you coping with not being able to go far right now? I know you’re a big travel fan.

Staying home has definitely taken some getting used to. We are so used to getting away, so to not be able to do that has definitely been tricky for us. We, like lots of others, had the disappointment of having to cancel all our trips DSC_0812this year due to Covid, including a long awaited trip to Greece and Italy in May.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a little cry when I had to cancel everything. But having to stay at home is the best option for us right now and we’re definitely looking forward to getting away as soon as we’re able.

In the meantime I have started paying more attention to my indoor plant collection and keeping myself busy to avoid going stir crazy. Current restrictions have made creating the content I love to create difficult, but we all need to do the right thing and get through this together.

When you look back on 2020 what do you think you’ll say it taught you?

I have really embraced a quieter life for the time being. It’s nice to stop and be bored sometimes, it gives you time to think. Spending simple days at home or in the backyard reminds me of parts of my own childhood and the things I did with my family growing up. Most importantly I have learnt that it’s ok to have quiet weekends at home and we don’t always need to be on the go to make memories as a family.

I do love the fast life and fear it will probably come back with a vengeance once I have more freedom to travel safely – Molly

Since homeschooling, I have found a passion for teaching.

I have always wanted to train to be a teacher but have been too scared that perhaps it wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, some days remote learning with my daughter is testing but I am so happy to have been given the opportunity. Now I’m able to be more involved in Audrey’s learning it has taught us a lot about each other. I enjoy seeing how Audrey is progressing plus I get to learn more about how her mind works. It has definitely brought us closer together and I am very proud of how she is coming along with school. As for Marquez, he is loving having Audrey home more and adores spending time with her on her breaks.DSC_0255

Lockdown has also seen us enjoying new projects around the house, and involving the kids in what we do. I’m looking forward to renovating my laundry and repainting the kids’ cubby house which are next on the list. 2020 has also taught me that I probably didn’t need to visit my shopping centre daily!!!

Is there anything you have loved about being in lockdown that you’ll continue to enjoy when we finally get our freedom back?

One of the things I have really loved is being able to spend more time with the kids and just relax without any other pressures or time restrictions. I will definitely be making sure that once everything goes back to normal we will save some weekends where we do nothing at all and just hang out as a family. I’ve also really enjoyed paying more attention to myself and my skin care regime. Self care really helps me switch off and relax so I’ll be making an effort to stick at it.


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Follow Molly and her family enjoying their ‘crazy life’ full of awesome adventures!

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Australian Open Kids Ballpark – Non stop entertainment!

If you thought the tennis was intense, you should see everything on offer for Kids & Families this year!! An unforgettable experience awaits!

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The Australian Open is one of the worlds greatest sporting events, and this year, it’s even better… especially for the kids!

 

The incredible AO Ballpark presented by Emirates has officially opened at Birrarung Marr and has grown a whopping 4 x in size this year! That’s right, 4 times in size, taking up both the upper and lower terraces of Birrarung Marr. I told you it was whopping!

The AO Ballpark is the place to be for all of Melbourne’s cool kids, catering for a range of ages from the very small to the…well…very grown up! The fun isn’t all tennis focussed, far from it. Aside from the hot shots tennis courts where the kids can go all McEnroe on you, there are go karts, a zip line, LEGO fun, a super soaker battle zone, a nail biting sky flyer ride, a Ninja Warrior style obstacle course, a wonderful Disney themed section, and an awesome splash zone too! That’s where we’ll be cooling down!

There’s something for all ages from tiny tots to 10 year olds, and the NEW AO Hilltop especially for 10+ year olds.

It’s unbelievable I know, but all of this fun is on offer for just $5. The Australian Open kids ground pass ticket grants access to the new location in Birrarung Marr, encompassing both the Upper and Lower Terrace. For all you foodies, rest assured there are plenty of options, my personal favourite being the Pinchy’s Lobster bar! Yes maaaam’!

Offering kids of all ages even more summer fun than ever!

Let’s face it, we only go to the tennis to catch a glimpse of Rafa’s biceps, so for all the parents out there who’d like some time out to “watch the tennis” without having to keep one eye on the kiddos, get them booked into the awesome Kids Club and kick back!

The AO Kids Club is the first-ever childcare program offered at a Grand Slam, is even bigger and better than before, and in 2020 it’s in a new and easily accessible location at Deakin Edge at Fed Square. #winning


All the info:

A kids ground pass is just $5 for kids 3- 14 years and free for kids 2 year and under.

More information

Date: 20 January–2 February 2020
Times: Daily from 10am–7pm, Fri 31 Jan 2pm –10pm, Sat 1 Feb 10am–10pm, Sun 2 Feb 12pm–10pm
Price: AO kids ground pass $5, Adults $54
More information
Book tickets

Onsite childcare is available every day at the AO, making the event even better! Your kids will have nonstop fun at the tennis and entertainment program.

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Liv’s top tips:

  • Take drink bottles. There are lots of refill stations!
  • Pack your hats!!!
  • Pack plenty of sunscreen. Although there are lots of shady areas, it is very exposed, and you’re outdoors for many hours.
  • Pack your swimmers and a towel. The changing facilities for families are great so don’t worry about where you can change!
  • Take a packed lunch, and snacks because food is pricey.. delicious, but pricey!
  • Save your pocket money for ‘merch’ as there is some awesome AO 2020 merchandise on offer!
  • Wear comfy shoes, and make sure the kids have closed toes as they won’t be allowed on the rides or to climb without them.
  • Get a good night’s sleep beforehand as it is a big day at the Open!

Have fun

Liv xxx

Tow small, travel big! Go by Go Pod

Camping and I have a strange relationship! I love being outdoors, I don’t love the dust and dirt. I love the wildlife, I don’t love the creepy crawlies. I love the freedom that the children have, I love the camp cooking, I love the kids excitement at bed time when we’re all snuggling down. I do not love (or even like) tents! Nope! If all I have is a tent, you can go without me.

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Part of me envies the hoards of families who camp, and have all the stuff! Their camps look like they could sustain life for years and years, in a perfectly happy state, with not one meal missed or one iota of sleep even slightly disturbed. We do not camp like that! We don’t have nearly enough equipment, we barely have any camping knowledge, and to be honest I have always felt that ‘holiday sleeping’ requires, at the very least, a decent bed and a fluffy duvet! (Aka a hotel!)

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Hold on though….. You may find this hard to believe, but even I have been persuaded to fall in love with camping after testing out the gorgeous Go Pod Teardrop Caravans last weekend!

We picked up our beautiful GoPod at about 11am, on the hottest Victoria day since records began. Honestly, the thought of arriving at a campsite and having to erect a camp in this heat would have been hell. Not with our GoPod. With lots of great tips and advice from Kayleen, we hooked the teardrop caravan up to the car, and drove off toward the ocean, knowing there would be very little do do, in order to get comfy on arrival!

We have never towed anything before, not even a trailer, and as Mr W was a little ‘tired‘ after his work Christmas party the night before, I was in charge!  The glory of the GoPod is that it is very lightweight and super easy to tow. Thank goodness!! We made it safely to Anglesea with me at the helm, even negotiating Bunnings and Hungry Jacks on the way! *You may applaud now!

Set up was done and dusted in about 20 minutes. We unhooked the GoPod, rolled it into the best position, plugged it in and put up the tent! Once the table and chairs were up, and the kids were bouncing on the jumping pillow, we kicked back to enjoy our weekend. That is perfect camping in my mind! No stress, no arguments about who put the groundsheet in the wrong place, just an easy set up and a perfectly snug place to sleep…. with the fly screens tightly shut!!!

The GoPod 90 has double doors ( a godsend for extra air and midnight toilet trips!) and a deliriously comfy queen bed. (Bedding can be hired on booking). There was so much storage I felt like we could have travelled for weeks and weeks even with Monty’s desire to change his clothes every thirty six minutes. Everything has been meticulously thought about from the mattress to the tool box. Even the MukMat, chairs and table were included. Like I said, nothing had been left out!!

We make sure you have the confidence to set off and are always a phone call away for our hirers. With the support of YouTube, a manual and our advice you have everything you need for a great trip’- GoPod

The GoPod kitchen was lovingly filled with everything your little camping heart could desire! Gas burners and fridge, crockery and lights, enough storage to be able to make a Christmas feast if you so wish! The GoPod has plugs for chargers, USB sockets, heaps of storage for clothes, toys, UNO (of course), and all the other camping paraphernalia you need. There really is no easier way to hit the road!!

Everything you need for a simple getaway is right here. – GoPod

As we were four and the GoPod 90 sleeps 2 (or two adults and a small child), we added on a tent for the boys! Everyone was happy! Even the tent had a fab mattress, duvet and fan which doubled as a light. It barely felt like camping, as we were all so comfy!

I know camping is a little like Vegemite, you either love it or you hate it, however, if you are anything like the Wilsons, and are divided down the middle,  you need to look at the GoPods. These cute caravans are wonderful alone, and a marvellous addition to any camp setup. They are especially splendid for those of you who like to have home comforts whilst on the road! (Think cuddly duvet and wine glasses).

There are a few different types of GoPod, some sleeping up to four people, so they are perfect for everyone, plus, they are offering great deals on long term hire too for you adventurers! Another great use for the GoPod is for guests when you don’t have the spare room at home! Imagine giving your guests their own GoPod for the weekend, within reach of your dinner table and witty conversation! Best sleepover ever!!!

For people who want an easy towing experience for a safe and amazing getaway. GoPod Teardrop Campers are the caravans you never knew you needed. – GoPod

If you love the idea of hooking up and escaping, without the hassle, if you love the idea of being in the great outdoors whilst sleeping and cooking in luxury, this is the caravan for you! Tow small and travel big is the GoPod motto, and trust us, these are 100% made for big adventures! Who’s coming with us on our next trip??


BOOKING INFO

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VICTORIA

GoPod 90    GoPod 82   GoPod Plus

NSW

GoPod

Prices start at $80 per night (insurance included)

Click here for all the contact details

 

One who lives, sees much. One who travels, sees more!

Liv xx