We are so excited to tell you that the NGV Kids Summer Festival returns in 2020, and this year it’s inspired by the NGV’s summer program featuring KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness and Keith Haring | Jean Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines. If you haven’t seen this exhibition yet, then you need to get to the NGV pronto!!
Running from Saturday 11 – Sunday 19 January this year’s summer program follows the theme of Party Time featuring hip-hop workshops, dance parties and hands-on art-inspired activities hosted in the NGV’s Great Hall. Now who could possibly turn that down?
Drawing on the emotive characters featured in KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness,kids can design a portrait using bright colours and expressions to explore identity and emotion. Taking inspiration from Keith Haring’s iconic New York subway chalk drawings, kids can share their own chalk art on an installation responding to the NGV’s Great Hall stain glass ceiling.
KAWS: PLAYTIME Relaxed Mornings will run from Monday-Friday during the Kids Summer Festival offering children with autism or disability a quiet and relaxed session in the free kids space.
During the January holidays, teens get the opportunity to master a new skill at a screen printing workshop at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.
Make sure you head to the NGV website and get hold of all the information, so that your little darlings don’t miss out on all this wonderful fun!
From where we were staying at La Pievuccia (Castiglion Fiorentino) it took us about 55 minutes to drive to Assisi. Once we’d left the motorway, we followed fields full of sunflowers, along winding, tree lined lanes, making our way toward what looked in the distance to be something from a film set. A beguiling destination that many a religious pilgrim has travelled to since the 13th century, in honour of St. Francis. The ancient town of Assisi is a sight to behold.
With it’s narrow streets, steep hills and stunning piazzas you could easily imagine you had stepped back in time whilst exploring Assisi. The views from every laneway are breathtaking, the little ornate doors on every building promising even more beauty behind.
You can’t visit Assisi without making your way to the vast Basilica di San Francesco complex, home to an unimaginable collection of medieval frescoes as well as the tomb of St. Francis.
The Basilica di San Francesco.
The Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi is named after St. Francis who was born here and founded the Franciscan religious order in the town in 1208. UNESCO collectively designated the Franciscan structures of Assisi as a World Heritage Site in 2000, and it’s obvious why. This is absolutely the jewel in Assisi’s crown! The majestic Basilica has to be seen to be believed. The whole complex is magnificent.
The upper church – Basilica Superiore, is decorated with 28 frescoes by Giotto and are the stand out artistry in the church in my humble opinion. Each fresco depicts a scene from the life of St. Francis. They are stunning! It’s hard to believe these vibrant frescos were completed centuries ago, and almost incomprehensible for the kids!
The lower church – Basilica Inferiore, is home to more frescoes, this time by Cimabue, Pietro Lorenzetti, and Simone Martini. In the lower sanctuary is the Cripta di San Francesco – the tomb of St. Francis of Assisi.
The upper church definitely has a different ambience to the lower, undeniably more about the celebration of life. The lower rooms are darker and seemingly solemn, more of a reflection of the spirit of St.Francis and his Franciscan order. Note: There are plenty of worshippers and people who have obviously come here solely to pray, so it’s vital that visitors are respectful of that.
Whatever you plan for your day in Assisi, give yourself plenty of time to explore this incredible church. Take your time, breathe in your surroundings, and I promise you will be blown away!
According to the UN, the town of Assisi has a singular importance for its role in the diffusion of the Franciscan Order and for its “continuity of a city-sanctuary” from its Umbrian-Roman origins to today.
Top tip: Out of respect, you mustn’t take photographs or make too much noise inside the The Basilica di San Francesco.
Like most of Italy, Assisi has a long history of local artisans. You can see throughout the town that many are still going strong today. **Save your holiday money and spend it on local crafts. There is plenty for the kids to buy too, so make sure you set their budget before going!
Small delicatessens are bursting with regional specialties like local cured meats, dried pasta. Umbrian chocolates are a MUST. We spent a whole day wandering the lanes of Assisi, making our way in and out of beautiful churches, and of course eating our way through some of Italy’s finest nougat, gelato and cakes. Even with young children, Assisi is an easy and ‘must do’ day trip.
Note: Your shoulders must be covered in The Basilica di San Francesco
The town of Assisi is spotlessly clean, and filled with many cafes and restaurants for when you need refreshment. Make sure you find out what the restaurant cover charge is, as it can be really pricey to sit and eat in some places. We visited in September, which I imagine was one of the quieter times of year, yet it was still hard to get a seat in the restaurants, without a huge surcharge.
Top tip: No matter what, stay in town for an early supper and watch the sun set, overlooking the valley.
I highly recommend Assisi, not only for the incredible scenery, but also for a huge learning experience for all ages. This is a place steeped in incredible history, which you can feel with every step you take.
Other highlights in Assisi
Rocca Maggiore – a 12th-century fortress perched high in the hills, and the Roman Temple of Minerva and Roman Forum. The Rocca Maggiore is a majestic castle which dominated, for more than 800 years the citadel of Assisi and the valley of Tescio, constituting the most viable fortification for their defence.
Duomo di San Rufino – The San Rufino Cathedral or simply Assisi Cathedral is a favourite spot among pilgrims due to its connection to St. Francis’ life.
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva –Not to be confused with the church of the same name in Rome, this church is built inside a converted 1st century BC temple dedicated to the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva.
Santa Maria degli Angeli- St. Mary of the Angels is a 16th-century, domed church located about 2.5 miles down the hill from Assisi. We drove down and parked very easily. This Basilica is most famous for being home to the Porziuncola, a tiny stone building believed to be the home of St. Francis and his followers. Today the Porziuncola is a small church on the inside of Santa Maria degli Angeli with qeues of devout Catholics waiting to get inside and say their prayers. This incredibly ornate building is thought to be the house where St. Francis founded the Franciscan order and also where he died. This church is not only a must see for the devout and for pilgrims but also anyone with an interest in history and history of the Catholic church.
Fun fact: the Porzuincola isn’t the only building within a building owned by the Catholic Church. The Holy House of Loreto is a structure that was brought to Italy, with some difficulty, all the way from Jerusalem because it was thought to be the house of the Virgin Mary. Like the Porziuncola, it’s a major pilgrimage site.
Spot : The gold-plated statue of the Madonna degli Angeli (“Madonna of the Angels”), will watch over you as you enter the square.
Whatever time of year you decide to visit Assisi, make sure you do your research online beforehand. There are many religious festivals, which increase visitor numbers hugely.
Flights – We flew Royal Brunei from Melbourne to London (approx. $4,500 for us all), then British Airways, London Heathrow to Bologna (approx. £500 for us all). Flights to Italy were hard to come by as we left it fairly close to lift off before we booked. We checked our luggage in when we left Melbourne, and it went all the way through to Bologna which was awesome, and saved us the hassle of checking in again!
Drive – We hired a car with Budget/Avis and collected it at Bologna airport. We drove from our Farm Stay in Castiglion Fiorentino which was a little under an hour away from Assisi.
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. – St. Francis of Assisi
Australian retailer The Reject Shop has just launched it’s fab range of wheelchair-inclusive Halloween costumes for children, part of a mission to become more inclusive and allow children of all abilities to be a part of special occasions. Can we get a “Hell yeah!!”
Partnering with national charity HeartKids, the range features two costumes that fit over a child’s wheelchair, and easily attach to it with velcro. With the puff of a magic wand, one of the costumes transforms the chair into a gorgeous princess carriage, while an ‘Ahoy Captain’ will see the other transform into a pirate ship. As every wheelchair is different, multiple velcro pieces are included with each costume to ensure that it fits.
“The Reject Shop has long been known as the place for affordable Halloween costumes, but we wanted to ensure that all children were able to join in the fun of Halloween celebrations,” says The Reject Shop’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dani Aquilina.
For the launch, The Reject Shop is collaborating with their charity partner, HeartKids, who is dedicated to working with children with congenital heart disease, who often find themselves in wheelchairs post-surgery and throughout their recovery stage.
“Our wheelchair-inclusive range is the first step in ensuring that inclusion and diversity are inherent in our organisation. We’re excited to introduce the range to parents and children this October, as part of our broader strategy to help more families live on a budget.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with The Reject Shop on such an important initiative,” says Rob Lutter, CEO of HeartKids. “These costumes will allow wheel-chair bound children a much needed distraction from their time in hospital, and the chance to simply be kids again and enjoy Halloween celebrations.”
Along with The Reject Shop’s full range of kid’s costumes, the Halloween wheelchair range will be available in selected stores nationally, just in time for Halloween.
Retailing for $49 each, it’s hoped that the range will make children in wheelchairs feel every bit a part of the Halloween celebrations.
Are you Ryan McNaught super fans? I’m pretty sure he is Australia’s new favourite human since the awesome Channel 9 LEGO® Masters aired on our screens!! Well, you’ll be glad to know he’s back and this time it’s LEGO® building that we can all enjoy, close up!
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN HISTORY DURING THIS BRAND-NEW INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE CREATED BY THE LEGO® MASTERS JUDGE, RYAN ‘THE BRICKMAN’ MCNAUGHT
With this brand new exhibition at ScienceWorks Melbourne about to land, we can all discover the history of the world’s greatest cities and create our own cities of the future!! Brickman Cities powered by LEGO® CITY takes over ScienceWorks Melbourne from Saturday 15th June to Sunday 4th August 2019 and we are so excited!!
This new interactive LEGO® CITY experience from Ryan ‘The Brickman’ McNaught and his expert team, Brickman Cities powered by LEGO® CITY, sounds incredible. If, like me, you thought there was no way he could beat his Wonders of the World exhibition, or his ‘Brickman Awesome’ think again!!!! Showcasing the life and architecture of five of the world’s most iconic cities – Dubai, London, New York, Sydney and Tokyo – from castles and forts to massive skyscrapers, we can all trace each city’s evolution all the way from 1000AD to today in a fun, educational and immersive way. Talk about THE BEST HISTORY LESSON EVER!!!!
Tickets to Brickman Cities powered by LEGO® CITY are on sale NOW!
Brickman’s fourth LEGO® brick experience, Brickman Cities powered by LEGO® CITY has been exclusively curated and built by Ryan ‘The Brickman’ McNaught and his expert team. Did you know that McNaught is the only LEGO® Certified Professional in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of just 14 in the world??? (We also know him as the official judge of Channel Nine’s new blockbuster reality series, LEGO® Masters… So he’s practically been in our homes…. which totally makes him family doesn’t it??)
“Brickman Cities brings to life the rich histories of the world’s greatest cities like never before and I hope visitors will find it both informative and fun. I can’t wait to see young LEGO® enthusiasts take what they have learnt and use their imagination to create their own LEGO® CITY of tomorrow,” Ryan McNaught.
I am most looking forward to seeing the 3m x 4m scale model of Lower Manhattan, built entirely in white LEGO® pieces with 3D stories of New York projected directly onto them. Using cutting-edge technology of UHD 4K projectors, visitors are taken on a journey from the First People’s villages right through to present day. Amaaaaazing!!! You’ll find me there, all day!
“Using 3D technology adds a whole new dimension to the LEGO® experience which I never thought would be possible! It’s very cool to see how it enriches the stories we are trying to tell through this experience,” Ryan McNaught.
Don’t panic, all your budding builders (including your husband) will be able to build their vision of a LEGO® CITY of tomorrow in the interactive master build zone, home to half a million LEGO® bricks!! Hurrah for some hands on time!
It took the team more than 1,900 hours to create this exhibition.
1 million LEGO® bricks were needed to build Brickman Cities powered by LEGO® CITY.
Ryan ‘The Brickman’ McNaught and the creative team spent a further 250 hours developing sophisticated 3D projections to bring the hero city of New York to life.
Don’t miss out on travelling through time in this immersive, educational and imaginative world of Brickman Cities powered by LEGO® CITY.
The NVG Winter Masterpieces this year is a sight to behold and one for the whole family to see. Not only does this incredibly well curated exhibition house 8 Terracotta Warriors, it is also home to approximately 170 pieces of stunning work, old and new.
The Terracotta Warriors are often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, and The National Gallery of Victoria has brought them to Melbourne, so that we can see them, close up. This is honestly, not to be missed!
Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape, presented in parallel with Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality has just opened in Melbourne, and is running until 13 October, 2019.
Arguably the world’s most exciting contemporary artist, Cai Guo-Qiang’s features his brand new masterpieces, created using gunpowder! The videos of how this was achieved are fascinating, and the children are guaranteed to love the theatre of it all.
‘Using gunpowder brings me closer to nature and even the universe. Of course at the moment of ignition the explosion is instantaneous… but gunpowder has its origins in minerals that took hundreds, thousands or millions of years to form.’– Cai Guo-Qiang
As if the gunpowder creations and the Terracotta Warriors aren’t enough to thrill, Cai Guo-Qiang has created 10,000 porcelain birds, each one suspended from the ceiling as if mid flight. These birds have been created solely for this exhibition. This monumental installation of 10,000 suspended porcelain birds, create a three-dimensional impression of a calligraphic drawing of the sacred Mount Li, the site of the ancient tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuang, and his warriors. It is a sight to behold!
As with many of the NGV’s exhibitions this is absolutely a child friendly one! Alongside the exhibits you will see detailed explanations specifically targeted at a younger audience. Perfect for all budding art lovers!
It seems like an age ago that we left the rush of the city behind us and headed out into the Victorian countryside. A weekend of heavenly fresh air, family time and glorious Aussie bush exploring lay ahead of us, and let me tell you, the Friday night traffic wasn’t going to get me down.
We were heading to JoyBell Cottage, a much adored, family owned hideaway near Elaine, 117km from Melbourne. Elaine is small town located on the Midland Highway between Ballarat and Geelong. At the 2016 census, Elaine and the surrounding area had a population of 228, so we knew it was going to be blissfully serene. Hurrah!
Leaving the cities in Australia is a real eye opener to just how barren parts of this country are. I love that you can drive huge distances down under and see very little sign of life, just the odd kangaroo or lonely farm house. It seems to make every journey an adventure!
We arrived at our secluded little retreat in the bush at about 8pm, exhausted, but thrilled at the promise of total peace for the entire weekend!
We were so thankful to Sam, the owner, who had left a box of treats for us, and a beautiful welcome note from her children. This sort of personal touch is what JoyBell is all about! It really is like coming home. This was a beautiful start to what was going to be a really special weekend.
The story behind JoyBell Cottage
Every wonderful house has a story doesn’t it! JoyBell is no different! You can feel the warmth as soon as you walk in, and I’m certain it’s because of the love that has been poured into this house since it was bought by Sam and her husband.
Sam and her husband both grew up in the Aussie bush and wanted to give their children experiences that mirrored their own childhoods as often as they could. It took a year of searching for the right place but they finally found their little piece of paradise and purchased this beautiful cottage. They named it JoyBell after Sam’s mother in law Joy, who sadly passed away in 2017 from leukaemia. Joy was a passionate quilter, nature lover and raised her boys as a single mum. She was amazing, and her incredible quilting talents are in pride of place throughout the cottage!
JoyBell Cottage has 5 acres, so there is plenty of room to wear the children out, or go for a peaceful walk! There is a dam where we caught yabbies (tick off the bucket list) and plenty of room to ride bikes, explore the Australian bush and make the most of the beautiful outdoors on the doorstep!
Sam and her family have filled their lovely country cottage with Joy’s treasures, quilts and furniture, which have made it not only incredibly comfortable to stay in, but beautiful and welcoming. You can almost smell the freshly baked cookies as you walk into the kitchen. It is a true testament to the life of Sam’s mother in law, and knowing the story, and visiting the cottage, I think the name is absolutely perfect.
If you are looking to connect with nature and each other, this is the perfect weekend getaway. If you’re looking to get the children away from the tv and their iPads, this is the place for you. If you want to explore the Aussie bush, and have breakfast on the deck whilst listening to nothing but native birds, this is the place for you. If you want to see Australia at its most wonderful, this is the place for you.
JoyBell cottage is a rustic Australian bush home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a laundry room, a large family room, a games room and a kitchen diner. The decking is perfect for mealtimes, snoozing, reading, watching kangaroos hop past, and enjoying the outdoors! It is welcoming, relaxed and ready for anyone to enjoy. Why not treat yourself to a weekend in the bush! It doesn’t get any more relaxed or more Aussie than this!
‘Joy is the most magnetic force in the universe’ – Unknown
Buninyong is about a 20 minute drive from Joybell Cottage. The first thing that you’ll notice is the beautiful Town Hall and the incredible number of coffee shops! Oh and the peace too!
Buninyong Town Hall – If you are there at the weekend, you must pop in and talk to the members of the Historical Society. They will tell you some fascinating tales of Buninyong’s past! One of my favourite facts was that ‘Buninyong’ is the aboriginal for ‘Man laying down with his knees up’ which is exactly what Mount Buninyong looks like!!
Book Cottage – Search out this wonderful little cottage bursting at the seams with $1 books. It is run by the local Lions Club, who make you feel like a long lost friend when you are joyfully flicking through all the books you have ever wanted!
In Buninyong there are more coffee shops than you could ever use in a weekend and a well stocked supermarket. You’ll find a play park, a skate park & a parkour park! Yes kids, it’s true!! Ace street art dons the walls and the botanical gardens are worth taking a stroll through. Buninyong also has a small art gallery and an outdoor pool, although we didn’t check these out.
Mount Buninyong Winery is a whole afternoon of adventure! So many games for the whole family to enjoy, and plenty of space for the kids to get outdoors whilst you sip some local wine and eat the most delicious pizza you ever tasted! Go smoked salmon, its AMAZING!!!
Everyone loves a good night out, especially when it’s to enjoy some A class comedy sans kids, with a wine in hand! Melbourne is once again host to the worlds best comedians and I for one, will absolutely be making the most of the comedy festival this year! *My babysitter will be bathing in $50 notes by the end of April!
Glittergrass incorporates storytelling, slapstick comedy, Dolly-dazzling outfits and a killer soundtrack played entirely LIVE by the wives themselves on banjo, accordion, uke, mandolin, washboard, lagerphone, musical saw, kazoos, the spoons (and anything else they can rustle up) with the support of a junk band rhythm section.
This timely and uncompromising feminist call-to-arms is created and performed by physical comedy queen Tessa Waters (Winner: Best Comedy Weekly Award, Adelaide Fringe 2017, Womanz/Over Promises/Fully Sik), musical comedy powerhouse Victoria Falconer (Winner: London Cabaret Award 2015, EastEnd Cabaret/Yeti’s Demon Dive Bar) and acclaimed comedian and storyteller Rowena Hutson (Winner: Most Outstanding Comedy Melbourne Fringe 2015, Strong Female Character) and this year will also feature Laura Frew (Double Denim / Director’s Choice Award MICF 2018) and Sharnema Nougar (Two Little Dickheads).
Date: Thur 28th March – Sun 21st April (no show Mondays)
Time: Tues-Sat 9:45pm, Sunday 8:45pm
Venue: Beckett Theatre, The Coopers Malthouse, 113 Sturt St
Fun, feisty and incredibly fertile Odette! is the larger-than-life cleaning lady everybody loves to love. Meet her in this award-nominated debut solo show, fresh from successful runs in Australia and the UK.
On a quest for the passionate romance that can only come from an immaculately coiffed superstar of daytime TV, Odette! dreams of shacking up with heart-throb Ridge Forrester from The Bold and The Beautiful.
After her shock elimination from the 2019 annual B&B super fan championship competition by a trick question in the first round,Odette! has broken into the final and pushed her way to the head of the queue, determined to be the first to catch Ridge’s eye. With an arsenal of ideas to win him over, indomitable optimism and an ever expanding baby bump, her dreams seem within reach. Until Brian, her jilted ex-lover, appears.
A hilarious new song-fuelled character comedy about dreaming big and falling hard, Odette! was nominated for the FRINGE WORLD Best Comedy Award 2018.
Dates: 25 March – 4 April
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place off Lt Collins Street
2019 Moosehead Receipt Tanya Lossano returns to the stage with a show about the reality and the chaos that ensues when you find yourself thrust from generation X, slap bang into the sandwich generation.
Tanya Losanno is a first generation Australian to post World War 2 immigrant Italian parents and has recently moved back to where she grew up, with her family in tow and is now looking down the barrel of being a carer to her elderly parents.
From feeling like she grew up on the set of the Godfather, where the weapon of choice was guilt, to feeling like she is in a spaghetti western, where belligerence is the weapon of choice, The Good, The Bad and the Elderly is about a modern day cowboy trying to look after two old school ones.
Dates: 28th March – 21st April
Time: 6pm, 7pm
Venue: The Coopers Malt House, Shell Room, 113 Sturt St
Want to have more fun in your life? Start asking yourself- What Would Bill Murray Do?
David Tieck is a big-fat absurdist, idiotic, stupid faced, teddy bear type person. In this new hour of silliness, Tieck is officially promising to show off at least 37 totally weird, reckless and flippantly foolish ideas, as well as possibly up to as many as 1 profound ideas.
Taking a note from Bill Murray’s beautiful approach to life and comedy, this visceral show weaves together mischievous characters and sublime silliness with poems, songs and ridiculous joy. Tieck and Murray have a lot in common; they both studied at The Second City Chicago, they both have brothers, they’re both survivors of horrific cystic acne and they both love to leave audiences with a new life philosophy on how to have the most fun ever.
Dates: 27th March – 8th April (no show Wed 3rd April)
Acting was invented by the ancient Greeks. Before that people were just pretending. With the release of his ground-breaking new book ‘An Actor Pretends’, disgraced actor Garry Starr enlightens us all with the ancient art of ‘not-for-realism’, thus (once again) saving the performing arts from inevitable extinction.
Following his multi-award-winning debut in 2018 (Garry Starr Performs Everything), comic wunderkind Damien Warren-Smith delivers another anarchic drama masterclass to remember.
Damien Warren-Smith grew up in the sleepy snowy mountain town of Cooma before studying at Actors Centre Australia. Upon graduating, he moved to London where he spent more than a decade working as an actor and deviser with companies such as Tall Stories, Hull Truck and Nottingham Playhouse. In 2013, he studied at Ecole Philippe Gaulier in Paris before creating internationally renowned clown collective A Plague of iDiOTS.
Date: Thu 28 March – Sun 21 April (no show Mondays)
Time: Tues-Sat 9:15pm, Sun 8:15pm
Venue: Tower Theatre, The Coopers Malthouse, 113 Sturt St
Last day of the school holidays and we’ve had a massive treat! We were invited to check out the new Hologate virtual reality experience at Gravity Zone Seaford.
For those of you with kids who constantly beg to be taken to Gravity Zone (yes, we’ve all been through it..) please note, the begging is only going to get more persistent with the arrival of Hologate!
Just when you think Gravity Zone cant get any better, they go and install the best new VR games they could have possibly found. Now, I’m one of those people who gets dizzy just watching kids on rides, even swings make we ill, so anything VR and I shy away. Not today! I just had to get a go on this, and it was more than exhilarating.
Hologate is a VR experience like no other. It is insanely realistic. We were all hiding from enemies, shooting snowballs like there was no tomorrow and jumping up and down like crazy folk! It’s hard not to get immersed in this other dimension! Using high-end headsets and exhilarating graphics, Hologate transported all three of us to another world where every motion felt real. You can fight dragons, have a snowball fight or problem solve your escape from a sinking submarine, so there really is something for everyone. Gravity Zone provides everything you need-just bring your sense of fun and they will do the rest!
‘Hologate is active and physically engaging. Get ready to duck, reach, grab and spin as Gravity Zone delivers the latest in VR technology.’- Gravity Zone
Play in teams or challenge each other
A wonderful advantage of this experience is that you can create a team of up to four players and battle it out or work together as a group towards a common goal. It’s such a wonderful treat to team up with your kids and work together to get as many points as you can, or defeat a bad dude. The kids loved this team work just as much as I did! There aren’t many games where you can all have as much fun as each other!
How long does each game last?
Optimal play time for Hologate, like many virtual reality experiences, is 10 minutes per game. Trust me, it goes so quickly!! There is no denying that the premium content will leave you wanting more so The Wilsons absolutely suggest purchasing 3 games per visit. **Super mum!
Are there age restrictions?
Hologate is recommended for ages 5+. Some of the games are pretty full on, so Gravity Zone staff are there to guide you as to which games are appropriate for which ages. My two are easily scared so we went for the less confronting games. Shooting snow balls and chasing coins had us all enthralled, trust me!!
Hologate really has brought Gravity Zone up a notch. Not only can the kids jump their little hearts out on the trampolines and have a go at Laser Tag, there is now a whole new world for them (and you) to explore. Three cheers for Gravity Zone!!!!!!
The summer holidays may be over but why let that stop you having fun with your kids!
Well done Mama’s you’ve got through Christmas and there are only a few weeks left of the school holidays down under! The post Christmas slump makes it hard to find any motivation to get up and take the kids out. Plus… they really should still be playing with their Christmas gifts right??? Are there any children out there still enjoying their gifts?
Well, be thankful because Legoland Discovery Centre has the most exciting school holiday programme full of awesome fun for the kids and you!
This summer it’s all about Cops vs Robbers and hey, who doesn’t love a game of that!
Are you dreaming of a childfree vacay with your gal pals?
Are you desperate to say goodbye to the laundry and school run, and lay by a pool, sipping Manhattan’s like an extra out of Sex in the City with your long lost mates from back home? Isn’t it about time you took a break and spent some quality time with your friends, minus the hubster and the kids? A relaxing break, being all classy and beautiful? This could be the chance to really be you again, to rekindle old friendships long left behind.
Well, it turns out when the media were telling us ‘Mums’ that we all deserved.. no… needed a ‘Mumcation’ they were thinking of classy trips to the local winery, or Yummy Mummies sipping Chardonnay in hot tubs chatting about Florence’s ballet lessons. They weren’t thinking about the millions of Expat mums who would be rushing to the airport, gagging for a bag of pickled onion monster munch, clutching their passports, heading home for a week in the pub with the girls.. I’m here to fill you in on the reality of The ‘Expat Mumcation’…
The reality of an Expat ‘Mumcation’
I’m currently ‘drying out’ in Hong Kong airport after my very own Expat ‘Mumcation’, and let me tell you, it’s not pretty. I’m sweating, my stomach is churning, I’ve got the shakes and the bags under my eyes are way more impressive than even the best Louis Vuitton cases.. My fake tan has almost completely disappeared, my perfectly shaped eyebrows have started sprouting, and I have just broken a nail. My hair is greasy, my jeans are way too tight and I have a broken tooth. I feel (and look) like the guys out of ‘The Hangover’
Just over two weeks ago I gleefully waved farewell to my two little darlings in Melbourne and headed off on a ‘Mumcation’ to the UK to celebrate the wedding of a dear friend. I had just under three weeks of freedom ahead of me and was pumped, preened, waxed, and feeling tip top. Having planned this trip for months, I’d had time to give myself a good talking to about my behaviour on my upcoming trip.
“You’re an adult Olivia, there’s no need to go crazy”
“It’s important that you’re sensible Olivia, you have two small children who need you”….
Well. It turns out that when you go on a ‘Mumcation’, whether it’s in Barbados, Benidorm or Bognor, you just can’t help yourself. I joked about behaving like a 14 year old, but totally lived up to it. I was child free, I had a wad of cash in my pocket and the barman was gonna get it… “double G&T’s all round”…. oh dear god…. Even typing that is making me queasy.
I had landed at Heathrow after a 26hr trek from Melbourne, squeezed my ‘bestie’ and headed to Windsor for a “quiet night” before Saturdays Hen Do… After a very civilised dinner, lots of giggles and catching up, we decided to have a walk before bed. Turns out the local pub did 2-4-1 cocktails, so we had 18. At 3:45am we found ourselves down some back alley with a bunch of 17 year olds, smoking and begging the bouncers to let us in an already closed nightclub. It wasn’t pretty. I was free as a bird, for the first time in ages and my behaviour was, quite frankly, unacceptable.
19 days later and it turns out my liver isn’t thanking me for the 2 whole bottles of gin, 27 tonics, 4 bottles of prosecco, 6 bottles of Sav, 102 Sambucca shots, 34 tequila shots, an entire tube of Mango flavoured Berocca and one whole box of Alka Seltzer. My heart is barely pumping due to the 29 pork pies, 18,000 Cadbury chocolate buttons, 22 Menthol cigarettes (I don’t even smoke) and about 72 packets of Salt & Vinegar Squares.
I lost count of the cans of coke I guzzled (wtf) just to get over the hangovers.. My dentist is going to poke me in the eye. I ate scampi and chips about 8 times.. because my daughter misses it?? Do you see what I’m getting at? Most mums will get together with their local friends, pop to a hotel in the city, have a few too many, totter back to their room, and get up for a leisurely brekkie, before making their way home to their little darlings. When your best friends are 10,000 miles away, there is no “weekend break”; it has to be at least two weeks, involve binge drinking and excessive calorie consumption. You basically have to make up for the 3 and a half years you’ve missed out on, when it comes to food, drink and shopping. *whoops.
The truth is, we all need to see our friends, spend time with them, and make the bloody most of it while we’re there, because it doesn’t happen very often. If that means almost dying in the process, well, hey, it is what it is… You know what though.. No matter how useless my body is, lying here in my tiny bed at the airport, no matter how many wrinkles I have added to my forehead, no matter how wrecked my organs are, I would do it all over again… No matter how much my heart ached for my babies, no matter how much I missed my husband, no matter what I may have missed out on, I wouldn’t change a thing.
We laughed, really, really laughed. We laughed so hard it hurt. We sat round the table and shared meals together after years apart. We talked for hours about our children, our lives, about everything. And, we laughed a bit more. We had time to be us. We spent time doing things we wanted to do, without time restrictions, play dates or bedtime routines. I watched my friend marry her love, and we all ugly cried to Oasis’ Wonderwall at the disco…
I guess what I am trying to tell you is that when you take your ‘Expat Mumcation’, do it in style, because it’s over in the blink of an eye, and you’ll be back on the other side of the world, reading “The Tiger Who Came To Tea” thanking your lucky stars you did it…. and survived…