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

Puffing Billy Railway lights up the night in an Aussie first!!

Victoria’s iconic steam railway presents a must-see travelling light show spectacular this winter.

Get rugged up in your warmest winter woollies these school holidays and experience the magic of Puffing Billy Railway at night with the Train of Lights; a mesmerising train travelling light show and the first of its kind in Australia! 

From Friday 24th June – Sunday 10th July 2022, the Train of Lights will take passengers on a return journey that departs from Lakeside Station to Gembrook, immersing guests in bright colours, hypnotic patterns, and native wild animal projections that leap from open-side carriages and onto the passing dark Wright Forest, historic timber trestle bridges, and open rolling hills of the Gembrook countryside. 

Partnering up with acclaimed lighting specialists, Resolution X (White Night, VAMFF), this special evening experience is the perfect way to view the Dandenong Ranges from a different dimension as the passing forest and open farmlands transform into a Technicolor feast for the eyes.

With the journey beginning at Lakeside, passengers will have the chance to explore the new Lakeside Visitor Centre and all its state-of-the-art amenities, including the Puffing Billy Railway Lakeside Hall museum, licensed Railway Café, and unique gift shop.

Ticketholders wanting to make a day of it can visit the Emerald Lake Park precinct early to enjoy the photographic art exhibition, Animal Tales, inside the visitor centre, before stopping in at the Railway Café for some dinner ahead of their Train of Lights trip.

Once arriving at Gembrook Station, passengers will enjoy a 55-minute stopover, where they can warm up by the open fire with a hot chocolate and other winter warmers and capture a quintessential selfie of the lit-up train and station.

Pairing Puffing Billy Railway’s iconic whistle with a rainbow of dazzling lights that play on the surrounding scenery, the Train of Lights is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all to enjoy. 

Train of Lights tickets go on sale Wednesday 25th May with limited numbers. You must book online at https://puffingbilly.com.au/events/train-of-lights/

  • Adult (16yrs+) – $75.00
  • Child (4-15yrs) – $38.00
  • Toddlers (1-3yrs) – $25.00   

For those parents looking to keep the kids busy throughout the day during the mid-year break, Puffing Billy Railway’s general excursion trains depart daily from Belgrave to Menzies Creek and Belgrave to Lakeside. With two daily services on offer, passengers can choose to visit the Menzies Creek Museum or stop and enjoy the Lakeside Visitor Centre, Emerald Lake Park, and the many outdoor activities in the surrounding precinct, including hiring a bike and taking to the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail, or jumping in the paddleboats on Lake Treganowan for a peddle around the lake. 

Here’s a little more about Puffing Billy Railway:

Puffing Billy Railway is Australia’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.

Make sure you check out Puffing Billy on Social Media here:
Facebook – @PuffingBillyRailway
Instagram – @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

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

0S6A3661 (2)

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! 


 

gBBNF6CE.jpeg

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.

Facebook instagram page-04-banner[11381] - Copy

Simone Marshall-Motivating women with YOGi Active

YOGi logo

YOGi Active may be the new kid on the block, however Director Simone has big plans for this beautiful brand designed to inspire, empower and motivate all women to be more active and live a healthier lifestyle. I need all the help I can get and am all over this. Minimalist and stylish activewear that can be worn all day is right up my street and I cannot wait to kit myself and my tween out! I caught up with Simone, the creator of YOGi Active this week and had a chat about how YOGi was born.
Yogi_Active_Social_Media-11.jpg

Simone Marshall – YOGi Active

Simone Marshall

Hi Simone, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Simone Marshall and I am the proud mother of 3 teenage (1, actually a tween!) girls. I am an active, healthy 48 year old. I’ve always wanted to be a strong role model for my girls by living a well- balanced, active lifestyle. For me this involves eating well, regular exercise, balancing work (as best I can) and taking time out whenever possible. 

What was it that inspired you to create YOGi Active?Yogi_Active_Web_Lifestyle-11.jpg

My inspiration for starting YOGi was my teenage girls. 2 of my daughters are only a year apart but have very different body types. One is an elite athlete with a very petite frame, who found it impossible to buy the activewear and clothes that her peers were wearing. My other daughter is more inspired by fashion and therefore looking and feeling good in her activewear is very important to her. Hence YOGi was born.
Delivering performance infused with fashion, our collection blends flawlessly into any wardrobe – Simone Marshall – Director

Has YOGi Active been impacted this year with more people training and staying at home?

We postponed our launch due to COVID. We felt it was insensitive and wanted to wait until things settled down a little.
Thankfully, training at home hasn’t stopped people from buying activewear, and they’re continuing to look for options that make them feel & look great!
We create ready to wear garments that are made to last – Simone Marshall -Director

I am not your average size 10. In fact I am the proud owner of a chunkier thigh and a *much rounder bottom. Will I be able to wear the gorgeous YOGi Active collection?

Yogi_Active_Web_Lifestyle-1.jpg
Yes you will! Our sizing starts at size XXS (12yrs) – L (size 14+). Our collections are available in matching sets and our separates are all trans-seasonal; this means that here at YOGi we will always ensure to bring our customer the most comfortable yet versatile pieces, ensuring that they can effortlessly transition from workout to everyday wear.

I love that YOGi Active is designed in Australia,  can you tell us why that was so important to you?

That’s simple. Because I am Australian, I live in Australia and I am the designer!

YOGi Active is still fairly young isn’t it? What is one thing that you have learnt since starting the journey?

Believing in your dreams and hard work can pay off. I think it has been such a great lesson for my daughters to see me working in every area of the business. They see my passion, they see me tired, sometimes stressed, but most importantly they see the times of sheer elation, the times where I feel really proud of my achievements.
I will always support their ambitions.
Delivering performance infused with fashion, our collection blends flawlessly into any wardrobe – Simone Marshall – Director

What would be your one bit of business advice to someone out there with a fab idea?

Mia Freedman runs the Lady Startup business course. I would have loved to have done it but I was too far down the line by the time I found out about it.
I think the one thing I would advise if you are looking to turn your idea into reality is to make sure you surround yourself with a great team of people.

YOGi Active

 

 

YOGi logo instagramFacebook

 

 

 

Plastic free July tips from Happi Earth

If you’re anything like me, you start Plastic free July with high hopes, completely organised, prepared for anything… then you get to the 15th of the month and feel like the mountain is too high to climb and you just can’t go on. I’m here to help with your Plastic Free July slump with some extra tips from the gorgeous people at Happi Earth! #Yourewelcome


first published on
Happi3
Easy steps for preventing plastic

As this material is non biodegradable, plastic pollution is having an astronomical effect on our planet. Not only is plastic killing millions of sea life and birds every year but it is now even affecting humans. A study from Ghent University in Belgium recently calculated that people who eat seafood will ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year. Scary right?

Happi 2

Well not to fear….The time for change is here! We’re not saying you have to give up plastic all together as let’s face it, these days that would be pretty difficult. To make the transition easier, simply try replacing a few of the common plastic items you use with alternative materials. Here’s a list of 3 simple steps you can take today to help prevent plastic pollution in your household…

Reuse and refill your bottles

One easy step you can take to help eliminate plastic is by re-using and refilling the bottles around your house. Try replacing the plastic multipurpose spray you buy every month with a stainless steel spray bottle that can be refilled with a cleaning formula. You can do the same with your hand soaps.

Whether you make your own cleaning blends at home or stick to buying refillable, eco-friendly products, this is one plastic product that can easily be replaced. Looking for certified organic, refillable laundry solution? Check out the new Happi Laundry Liquid that eliminates over 99% laundry plastic!

Say no to plastic shopping bags

Did you know that plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to decompose? With 2 million plastic bags being used on average every minute around the world, it is scary to think of the devastating effects such a small, everyday item can have on the planet. With many countries around the globe now consciously making an effort to ban the plastic bag, the time for change is now.

fruits-in-a-plastic-bag-3645504.jpgYou can easily make a big difference, simply by using non-plastic, reusable bags. The change may be difficult at first and remembering to store your reusable bags in the car every time you go shopping may take some time. But when one simple change to your buying habits can help make a massive difference to our environment, it really is worth it.

Know your recycling rules

A new study published by the Science Advances Journal revealed that of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic that has been produced in the world so far, 91% of that has not been recycled. This means that most of the plastic being produced is going into landfill and natural environment, ultimately ending up in the final sinkhole we call the ocean.

Recycling 2.jpeg
Image by Charles Deluvio

When it comes to recycling, there can be so many rules that make it seem like a time-consuming task. In reality, getting into the habit of recycling at home is pretty simple. Start by having a seperate, recycling bin in your house so that you can learn to seperate the recyclables from the non-recyclables as you go. A great idea is to look up your local council’s regulations on recycling and print out a guide for your fridge. Whether it’s in your home or your workplace, a quick guide of materials that can be recycled can go a long way to helping recycling become a new habit.

Eliminating plastic in your home doesn’t have to be hard. With a slight change of habits and an understanding of the effects plastic is having on our environment, you can do your part to help make our earth a bit cleaner!

 


About Happi Earth

Happi is more than just a laundry liquid. It is 100% organic, all natural and environmentally friendly so you can save money while saving the earth. Just one pouch is packed full of highly concentrated liquid with up to 400 washes at just $0.25 per wash.

                       Happi---icon-MIA-100X100_160x160@2x.pngcruality-free115X100_160x160@2x.pngWorldview-b_w_160x160@2x.pngaco-transparent-b_w_160x160@2x

You can read more about the Happi Movement here

You can shop here

 

Facebookinstagram

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.

IMG_0372

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!)

IMG_0308

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

IMG_0230

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

We’ve found the perfect Aussie pen pals!

Since moving to Australia, I have found buying gifts for friends children, here and overseas, a nightmare. I always want to buy something interesting, not made of plastic, and an experience rather than a toy! I try and choose a gift that is typically ‘Australian’ but other than books or cuddly Koala toys I find myself stumped for a unique idea. **You’re going to thank me for this, I promise!!

If you’re like me, and have searched to no avail, for the perfect gift for a special child in your life then let me end your searching!  I have recently discovered The Adventures of Ash & Indigo, and would love you to check it out!

Give a wild gift of adventure, story telling and nature connection. Waste free, no plastic packaging, delivered to your door, and spreading beautiful messages – The Adventures of Ash & Indigo

 

Letter

The Adventures of Ash & Indigo is the brain child of Brenna and Becky, two ex-primary school teachers, who had a dream to bring the Aussie bush to children across Australia and the world. They are both mothers, trained forest school leaders and hugely passionate about inspiring kids to get out into the wild, wherever they may live, through their monthly letter subscription service.

“This work is so important to us because we know that kids who are in nature care about it, they are connected to it and they will act to protect it as they grow’ – Becky

Having received our first two letters, I can assure you that your children will delight when they receive theirs. With a subscription, a special letter will arrive each month from Ash and Indigo, two kids growing up in the Australian Bush. The letter shares their adventures and helps builds a strong connection with nature through the power of story telling.

IMG_5123
Tracks in the mud, bird calls and warm tea (July)

Monty thinks these letters are the most wonderful treasures when they arrive in the mail.  The letters have brought him so much joy whilst teaching him about life in the Aussie Bush, a place we love to explore. It has also sparked our imagination as parents, and we are much more conscious of creating numerous ways to bring more of the outdoors into our everyday lives!

Monty’s first letter (July) was so beautiful; bright blue paper with a majestic Cockatoo peeping at us from the envelope. The theme for July was focussed on the tracks wild animals make in the bush. Monty’s idea of heaven is following creatures footprints, so this was a winner!

We loved reading Indigo & Ash’s letter with Monty. The delightful way in which it was written, really took us into the bush, we could almost smell the eucalyptus trees and the lemon balm, and I adored the conversations it brought about in our house.

IMG_5203

Monty’s imagination was ignited when he was wildly telling me about the footprints he thought he’d find in his ‘Track Trap’! I was a little unsure we would find crocodile tracks in the morning but he was full of hope!

A letter from Ash & Indigo would be the perfect gift for a little person in your life. How magical for your child’s long distance friend overseas to open the letter box and see an envelope all the way from Australia, teaching them some of the wonders of life Down Under. There’s nothing quite like receiving a letter that someone has taken time to pen, and these letters sent from the bush, are not only well written, they are well thought out, fascinating and encourage exploration of the outdoors (winning).

The fun tasks included are designed so that children of all ages can enjoy them. This makes a subscription the ideal birthday gift for a classmate, a Christmas gift for a relative or just a darn good gift for a jolly good soul!

IMG_5122

Just to clarify, this isn’t a ‘paid ad’, this isn’t a friend of mine whom I’m celebrating. This work of genius is brought to you by two nature loving, Aussie mums, who have created something that I truly think deserves your attention. These letters will not only teach your family about the wonders of the Aussie bush, will not only encourage your family outside, it will give you a beautiful reason to sit down with your child and spend some time focussing on mother nature and the precious gifts she gives us all.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better – Albert Einstein


 

The Adventures of Ash and Indigo🌱
🌳Gift Certificates Available🌳Perfect for Birthdays, I Love You’s, Christmas, or just because. Get in touch to order your gift certificate!

~3 Month Subscription $30~
~6 Month Subscription $55~

*If you are looking for a subscription for a child overseas, please contact Becky for pricing!

You can find The Adventures of Ash & Indigo on Facebook & Instagram

gift.jpg

I hope you can give this wonderful gift to someone special! xx Liv 

Even big kids need to be sun safe!

Since touch down in Australia, I have been incredibly aware of how desperately important it is for our whole family to protect our skin from the sun. We’re all very English in the skin department, me more than most! Keeping the kids protected is a mission (think Ethan Hunt) and it doesn’t get any easier the older they get! In fact, I think it becomes harder.

IMG_3835
Click for the details…

With 2 in 3 Australians being diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70, Australia needs a generational sun-safety shift.

Even big kids need to be sun safe!

Once your kids hit a certain age, they need to be able to take responsibility of being sun safe, however it’s not always a walk in the park!  We’ve taught our two about applying sunscreen properly, why it’s important, and how often it needs re applying. We have gallons of sunscreen at the ready, enough hats to kit out a footie team, and ‘rashies’ of all sizes fill our swim cupboard. No matter how many hats we have, the kids always end up without one on their head! It’s a constant circus act of taking them off, throwing them back in the bag, hiding them, or “accidentally on purpose” forgetting them. I’ve tried everything. Like all children down under, they are used to the school’s ‘no hat, no play’ policy, but no matter how hard I try, as soon as they’re at home and the sun makes an appearance I’m wrestling with heads and hats. Too hot, too uncomfortable, uncool, itchy, scratchy… I’ve heard it all believe me!

 

 

Introducing BedHead Hats

My prayers might have been answered. We have just discovered the most beautifully made sun hats which are so soft and easy to wear, the kids actually kept them on…for hours! Yay!

“Like many parents, I know first-hand that teaching children to wear hats can be a trying time. I really wanted to make this life skill easier to learn. My research found that familiarising a baby early on with the sensation of wearing a hat is the first step in teaching responsible sun safety skills they keep for the rest of their life. I want to educate parents about this and provide them with the most comfortable and protective hats for children of all ages” Rachel Ellis founder of BedHead Hats.

 

Comfortable hats make a whole world of difference when it comes to keeping our kids sun-smart. Comfort and funky designs. Our kids are a little older now, and like the average 10 and 6 year old, they are all about the baseball cap, and give no thought to the lack of protection it gives. **I took photos of the sun hitting their necks whilst they had caps on, just to prove my point. #mumwin. This summer we’re ditching the caps!

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Not everyone realises that sun exposure in the first 10 years of life plays a large part in determining your lifetime potential for cancer.

Why Bedhead?

  • UPF50+ Excellent Protection rating
  • Made with a resilient stretch cotton that grows with the child
  •  Anti-flop brim
  •  Made to suit the hot Australian climate
  • Pram and baby carrier friendly
  • Soft around the neck
  • Providing both sun and glare protection
  • Great designs even for the biggest kids
  • Pony tail holes (Godsend)
  • Easy and comfortable to wear

Thanks to BedHead Hats, summer is looking like it’s going to be the least stressful for all Aussie (and expat) mums and most sun protected for all kids!!

Have a beautiful summer everyone!

Olivia xxx


 

Bedhead Hats is an Australian, family run business who are taking the sun hat market by storm, and leading the way in sun safety for kids.  We just need a couple of adult prints now! *hint!! 


#protectthepotential 

Bedhead Hats established the ‘Protect the Potential’ initiative in 2017 to ensure that Aussie babies get the best start they can to live a sun-safe life. This year, with the help of charities, maternity wards and post-natal services nationwide, Bedhead Hats will provide $200,000 of sun-hats to babies who need them most.

Throughout Spring and Summer 2018, a selection of charities, maternity wards and post-natal services nationwide will be provided with UPF50+ newborn Bedhead Hats to distribute to new mums and bubs to start the sun-safety journey of Aussie babies. Additionally, as part of the ‘Protect the Potential’ initiative, Bedhead Hats will be giving away five baby hats a day until the end of Summer through social media.

All Bedhead Hats have a UPF50+ Excellent Protection rating, are made with a resilient stretch cotton that grows with the child and an anti-flop brim, all made to suit the hot Australian climate. Bedhead Hats are pram and baby carrier friendly; soft around the neck, while providing sun and glare protection.

Facebook Instagram

Available via www.bedheadhats.com.au

The Cotton Originals Bundle includes a plain hat and a printed hat and has an RRP of $50.00