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!!

olive good

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!!!!!

Smash boxes

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.

DOI-100yrs-Magic_80 Nemo 2

 

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.

DOI-100yrs-Magic_11 team (1)

 

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. 

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

Why the Wilson’s have fallen for ‘The Staycation!’

Just to add some immediate irritation to your reading, I want to let you know I am writing this poolside, overlooking Melbourne at Crown. I’d like to say I was lying here in a bikini, all tanned, sipping on a large cocktail, but I’d be lying. After a few too many amazing Melbourne burgers, too much wine, and over the top stress chocolate eating, I am actually lying here, fully clothed, bollocking the kids for jumping in the pool every so often! Believe me, it’s bliss compared to being at home and bollocking them for putting their dirty hands on the walls or stealing spoonfuls of Nutella out of the pantry! *Only mum is allowed to do that….

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Mr W booked a staycation for this weekend. Oh I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to this. Just getting away from the laundry is good enough for me to be honest. Staying in your own city means you can really switch off, put your feet up and relax. No stress to get up early and sightsee, no fast paced trips round the local museums, no dragging your kids out of the pool because you have four more “must see” spots to visit before check out.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love going away, exploring new places, trawling the kids round ancient monuments, and making them try obscure foods that make their faces scrunch. This though, is just so good.

The Wilson’s were “staycation” virgins until now. As you know, we love travelling, and we’re usually quick to save our cash to go somewhere new… I’m now thinking staycations could be a regular thing for us. How many amazing hotels can we try in Melbourne I wonder?

We checked in to Crown yesterday, all ready for a snooze filled weekend. Poppy had played a game of netball, Monty had been to a birthday party at Extreme Air  and the Mr and I have been working full on for weeks. We were all exhausted. We got to the room and leapt into bed. Aren’t those black out curtains in hotels AMAZING?! You can convince the kids it’s actually bed time even though it’s blatantly 5:45pm. The snooze sesh didn’t last long. Living in Melbourne means the kids know exactly what is downstairs and they were absolutely fighting the zz’s and hyper for the movies, and the roulette and blackjack tables… Kidding! We only gamble responsibly, usually a Friday night, after lots of wine, and a boogie!

Image - Crown Resorts
Image – Crown Resorts

 

Mr W and I reluctantly dragged ourselves out of bed… Of course the first thing we had to do was eat, because we actually can’t go anywhere without eating… We went to Guillaume. For those of you who don’t know this restaurant, it’s introduction on the website says:

Inspired by the popular neighbourhood bistros of Paris, Bistro Guillaume offers a menu rich with French classics in a stylish setting on the Crown Riverwalk.  
 
The service style is relaxed and diners are encouraged to sit back and enjoy good French food and wine in an unpretentious atmosphere. 

The food is amazing, the service was beautiful…. If only the customers were as unpretentious as the restaurant promises it is. One of my pet hates about eating out is that if you have children, people seem to think you have to eat in shit restaurants. As soon as we walked in you could feel the eyes. Couples in the ‘Autumn of their lives’, turning to look. To be fair Monty looked like he’d been dragged through a hedge backwards and Poppy hadn’t even sat down before she was spreading butter on the bread, and herself, however….

The food and wine was divine. We ate, the kids made the most of the wifi, and we left. Oh I love French food and free internet connection.

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Image – Bestmenus.com.au

Yesterday was a warm day in Melbourne. 32 degrees and super windy. We didn’t need to be out and about so we made the most of the pool on the 27th floor. What a view! The kids quickly made some friends so Mr W and I chilled on the loungers whilst the other parents were on pool duty.. (remember that awesome tip right there)… Got to love a hotel pool.

Room service was a must on our staycation. There is nothing more satisfying than siting in your undies, air con blasting, nice and warm under the sheets, watching trashy tv and eating a huge club sandwich! Total bliss right there. As soon as I had taken my last mouthful and was ready to lie down, the kids were up, dressed again and begging to go for a walk… Arghhhh I must try harder to teach them the art of hotel relaxation! *someone have my kids for the weekend!!

Off we went back down in the elevator, two VERY tired kids, one sleepy dad and a very full, rather swollen mum.

Gradi are holding a pizza festival this weekend. Poppy is a Gradi superfan so she was thrilled, although way too full of schnitzel and hot chips from the room to be eating any pizzas. Monty begged and begged for a $50.00 toy car off the Ferrari stand (Formula 1 is coming to Melbs) and threw a huge ‘tanty’ when I said no!

Turned out to be a beautiful evening stroll in this wonderful city! Mr W ended up carrying a sobbing Monty through the hotel, Poppy and I waddling behind begging him to slow down. This race to the lift was made so much worse by the fact that the Crown on a Saturday night is filled with romantic couples, laughing at each others jokes, super slinky show gals and plenty of bars bursting into life… * exactly where Mr W and I would rather be at this precise moment… In to the elevator…. Bed time!!

 

Sunday morning, after a great sleep, and hurrah no hangover, it’s time for the hotel brekkie! *insert dancing mama emoji right here! This is a big one for us. The Wilson’s love a hotel breakfast! Poppy always heads straight for the sweet pastries and the hash browns, Monty just gets a huge pile of bacon and a pain au chocolate, Mr W and I do the strategic breakfast buffet eating. Start one end and make sure you’ve tried at least one of everything before going back to the start again! We’ve mastered the art I can assure you!

So sadly we’re just one more swim before we go; before we head back to normality, back to the laundry and back to preparing the school bags for another week. You know what though, I wouldn’t have it any other way; despite the bags under my eyes, and the little tears on my cheek as we hand back the room key…..  Staycations are absolutely my new fave thing. Enjoying hotels in your own city, not even leaving the building if you don’t want to, has to be one of the best breaks ever!!

Thank you Melbourne, thank you Crown, thank you Mr W… Here’s to another staycation really REAAALLLLY soon! Pretty please!

Olivia xxx

‘Sometimes a break from your routine is all you need’ – Unknown


 

We booked our stay direct with Crown, you can use this link , although there are many other sites you can use.

We collect Crown rewards which allow us to get points on all our purchases in the Crown, and give us free parking. You can join here for free! Worth doing if you visit Crown here in Melbourne or Perth!

If you’re thinking of travelling to Melbourne anytime soon, make sure you check out Crown; not just for your accomodation but for entertainment, family fun, restaurants, bars and the world famous casino. A must see in Melbourne.

‘Dubble Trubble’ is our favourite bubble!!

As you know we are all over ‘Aussie Made’ products, and when they’re combined with a charitable trust, and a lot of cool, we just can’t help but tell you all about them! We’ve been using these organic kids products for a while now, but wait till you see what they’ve just launched!!

Last week I had that message ping up on the school app! First week of the school year, and yes, the dreaded “Head Lice has been detected in your child’s class” message.

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It is so grim! In fact I’m itchy just thinking about it. Nits are just the worst! Every time one of the children so much as flicks their hair I’m on them like an Orangutan picking through her babies fur, to yelps of “Oh mum, get offfffff”. I just can’t help myself. Not just the thought of creatures crawling through the kids hair, but the little critters then jumping into mine, and the mammoth task of boiling EVERYTHING our heads could have possibly touched. Ewwww!

The amount of time I have spent armed with a nit comb and a bucket full of conditioner is just too depressing to think about!  Thankfully, touch wood, we haven’t had them for a while. Maybe it’s a lucky streak?  Whatever the reason, I am certainly not willing to take any chances.

**Enter stage left to a chorus of sweet little hummingbirds…

Detangling Lice Repel Spray 

We have been trying out some of Daniel Galvin Jnr’s new mild and gentle ‘Detangling Lice Repel Spray’ (200ml). It is made with organic ingredients and smells super good. *Already winning! If you need more than just sweet smelling & lice repelling, then carry on reading! This spray has been formulated to be gentle on delicate skin so parents can be reassured that even the most precious little peaches are safe and sound with this product! *Insert loud cheer!! No one is being left behind!!

The real magic for me is that this spray naturally repels lice!

 “Detangles and conditions wet or dry hair and naturally repels lice with a blend of Tea Tree, Rosemary and Mandarin leaving hair feeling silky smooth and smelling fresh”.

No more wrapping scarves round our faces as we try not to breathe in all sorts of terrifying lice repelling ingredients and no more blood curdling screams as I comb through the knots. All of a sudden keeping our kids lice free isn’t a chemical disaster! The pump is so easy to use; Poppy has been spraying her own hair and her brother’s in the morning. Another job I can leave to the kids! Hurrah! (This product is completely SLS, SLES and Paraben free). (Available in Woolworths – RRP $12.00)

‘Created and launched in response to the growing demand for organic children’s haircare and body products, but without the price tag, Dubble Trubble offers performance results with ethical integrity’

Mango Mania 2 in 1 Shampoo and Bodywash   

Another beautiful ‘Aussie made’ product we have in the bathroom at the moment is the mild and gentle Mango Mania 2 in 1 Shampoo and Bodywash (500ml). Honestly, it makes the little people smell good enough to eat! I particularly like how foamy this is, perfect for making bubble monsters and great for styling some awesome soapy Mohawks in the bath too! As a mother, I love that all Daniel Galvin Jnr’s Dubble Trubble products, including this Mango Mania Shampoo & Body Wash are made with 70% organic ingredients. Why do I love that they’re organic? Well by using Organic products on our kids hair and skin, it means we are eliminating the risk of any adverse reactions for their little bodies. Whether they have skin conditions or not, organic is the best option! IMHO. Removing all the nasties from our homes (SLS, SLES and Parabens) is an important step that we should all be taking for ourselves and our children. Available in Woolworths RRP $8.00

So, bath time done and dusted with one bottle, the kids smell divine, and their hair is all swishy, swooshy and lice free! If you need a little reminder of why we love this range, here you go   ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓

  • Not tested on animals
  • All made right here in Australia
  • All sweet smelling, safe and gentle
  • All free of SLS, SLES and parabens
  • All free of animal products
  • All made with 70% Organic ingredients
  • Every time you buy one of the ‘Dubble Trubble’ products you are supporting The Princes Trust Australia

Princes Trust

The Prince’s Trust Australia supports the development and delivery of innovative, high impact projects that align with the charitable interests of his H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. The charity has a number of project areas including the following categories: Health & Wellbeing, The Build Environment, Rural & Regional, Defence Members and their Families, Young People, Environment & Sustainability, Arts and Culture.  A royalty of $0.10 for each unit of each product sold will be paid to The Prince’s Trust Australia

 


 

These products were gifted to us, however the words I use and the opinions I express are 100% my own. The Wilsons love finding great Australian Made products, and we genuinely love and use this Organic Kids Range! 

Olivia xx