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 ‘besite’ 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…
Did you hear a roar? A stomp? The Dinosaurs are coming!
Have you got dino obsessed little ones in your house? If so, we have just the thing for your school holiday diary!! The Wilsons are so excited to tell you that Jurassic Creatures is set to open in Melbourne this September. These amazing creatures will be taking over St Kilda and we’re pretty sure you won’t want to miss out.
Jurassic Creatures is an exhibition with over 30 + dinosaurs that will captivate young and old alike. Explore a prehistoric world full of life like moving dinosaurs and be amazed and thrilled as the greatest creatures ever to walk the earth return before your eyes and come alive.
You and the family will get chance to learn all about the dinosaurs 165 million year domination of life on earth. You will watch them move, hear them roar, and from the ripple of their skin to the glint in their eye, you will begin to think that the dinosaurs really are back!
Apart from this amazing animatronics show, you will be able to become a Paleontologist for the day. Children will be provided with their expert digger outfit, and chip away at their very own fossil. Plus there will be many more dinosaur activities to take part in including dinosaur sand painting, dinosaur 3D Jig-saw Land, fossil displays, dinosaur inflatable activity lands, dinosaur eggs to have photos in, walking dinosaurs and so much more.
School Holidays are coming and this looks like it may be one of those awesome holiday experiences for the whole family. Hey, it may even stop the tricky bath time questions like “Mum, why did the T Rex have such small arms?” …. “Ask Siri darling”
Jurassic Creatures is set to bring all the wonder and excitement of the prehistoric world of dinosaurs back. Get ready to be thrilled as you see Triassic period comes to life!
Father’s day is fast approaching, and if you’re anything like me you’ll be fed up with the racks and racks of crap mugs, horrid ‘Best Dad’ underpants and depressing plastic crap that will inevitably be in landfill two weeks today.
Do you want a better way to show dad you love him whilst doing your bit for an incredible charity? Well look no further.
Introducing a fantastic Father’s Day gift idea that supports Make-A-Wish , in granting the wishes of critically sick kids.
Father’s Day is a perfect time to celebrate all the wonderful dads out there and thank them for everything they do. Make-A-Wish Australia and Tarocash have joined forces to launch a Father’s Day pack filled with custom made essentials to make your dad feel super special.
The new range is only on sale for the month of August (** you have a week left) with a portion of the proceeds made going towards Make-A-Wish. Come on Australia, get on board, walk straight past the obvious Father’s Day rubbish, and buy a gift that Dad will love and will really make a difference.
Smash Enterprises have only gone and created EVEN MORE bloomin’ awesome stuff for on the go eating in the UK!!! We have been so thrilled with the products we’ve had from Smash so we were absolutely going to jump at the chance to tell all our UK friends about their newest range! Smash Enterprises are about to launch some super new products in Tesco, which you may like to check out.. ASAP…… Like NOW! Grab your bag, keys, water bottle (make it a Smash one), and hit Tesco’s please…
Wait till you see this…… **The caaaaat!!!! OMG!
The end of the school year is a massive deal in the life of a kid and in the life of a parent too. That summer term is a killer! The most exhausting (and hot) term of the year, then they throw sports day in to the mix! Hellooooo! The children are tired, ready for a huge break, and in my case, I’m absolutely ready to throw all evidence of the school year in the bin, including the grumpy kids. The smelly lunch boxes and the disgusting pencil case *usually graffitied and full of pencil sharpening’s mixed with blu tac or slime. The little bits of rubbish, the scrunched up homework from week 7 and the reminder that for three weeks of the summer term your child lived on marmite sandwiches alone as the fruit is rotting in the bottom of the backpack. I have been known to open the bin and kiss goodbye to a whole heap of school paraphernalia only to regret not simply washing it come the new school year!
In all honestly, when it comes to my ‘back to school prep” I tend to leave it to the VERY last minute. Mostly because the summer holidays run away with me and I forget when term begins, but also because we all relax way too much and that relaxation turns our brains to jelly!
However, when I saw this new collection making it’s way into Tesco, I knew that it would definitely give me, and other UK Mums, the kick up the behind to get in early and sort out the lunch boxes for the new school year. If you’re the person in charge of school supplies in your home, this is where you can gain brownie points from your little darlings and take away the stress of “back to school”. Let’s be honest we all have a love/hate relationship with Back2School.
Not only have the clever Smash designers come up with some great new “only available in Tesco” designs, but they have kept those awesome features that us mums love about Smash products. The germ resistant liners, the nude food tubs to save us from the single use plastic and for those of us with older kids, the more funky styles that are so hard to come by. Anyone else have a fussy 10 yr old…? What a bizarre age that is! “I love glitter… I hate it, it’s so cool… it’s so uncool… oooh flowers…..!!”
Tesco will be stocking a brand new range of awesome Smash products from Wednesday 25th July.. Yes, that was yesterday!!!! That means you need to grab your diary, NOW, cross out this afternoon’s play date, save swimming for another day, push the movies to tonight, and get to Tesco before they sell out. There truly is limited stock, it’s not a joke!
This Aussie style ‘lunch luggage’ is going to bounce out of the supermarket like a kangaroo chasing a wallaby, and you don’t want to be the only parent who forgot about the most ‘Smashing’ lunch boxes in town do you?
Show your kids your “Smash Attitude” and be one of the first parents in line for this new range.
I often use the phrase ‘living far from home,’ in fact it’s one of my favourite hashtags! However, it confuses even me. I also tend to bang on about ‘home’ being where we are together, where the children and the Mr are. Home for me is where we live, work, play.. so therefore ‘home’ is Melbourne… isn’t it? Ah the Expat existence! Today I’m mulling things over so I thought I’d reach out for your advice.
Does it matter where we consider home to be?
Probably not. Is it possible to have more than one home? Yes, I think it is. Why am I homesick when I am at home then? Can you see I’m battling with myself?
So many expats are ‘living the dream’ down under, living their “best lives” all tanned and throwing Aussie slang into their convo’s; yet lots of expats live this Australian life of sea, sun, snags, and surfing with…. regret, homesickness and longing.. Guess what! I’m one of them.
No matter how long we’ve been here, it hasn’t got better.
I don’t pine for the UK, I don’t miss ‘Britain’, I’m not craving monster much crisps, or proper gravy. I don’t miss the rain or the M25.. I pine for my friends. Those life long friends, those college friends, the friends I made when I first became a mother. The friends who know me inside and out, the friends I can be my real self with.. The friends I call when things get tough. I’m craving the time spent with cousins, the children really knowing their relatives, their godparents and their long lost friends they left behind.
You may or may not have heard I lost my beloved Grandfather this weekend. He was a my absolute favourite human.. *sorry kids. Losing him has sparked a weird sense of unease about our expat life. Losing this dear, dear man has made us question what we are doing so far away from our loved ones.
This loss to our family has made our house eerily quiet, our hearts truly heavy and our minds dance all over the place. How long do we sacrifice our ‘connections’ to live under sunnier skies? How many years do we want our children living 24hrs away from the people who love them most? How much longer do we miss out on time with our friends? How many more Christmases do we want overseas and not sitting around the fire with a mulled wine and loved ones? Does Aussie life bring us enough to sacrifice so much?
Living on the other side of the world has its perks don’t get me wrong, it’s just every time I try and justify this beautiful life, I find myself saying “yeah but we have that at home” and “yeah but if we were doing that at home we’d be with X, Y and Z.”
I’m forever second guessing… everything!
I’m not second guessing because we are unhappy in Australia, I am second guessing as I can’t help but feel that we have been away long enough, and now we need to be closer to our village. When things go wrong, or sad things happen, I feel a pull toward home. I immediately make overseas phone calls, I send emails and messages across the pond, and right now, it’s making me feel like that’s where we should be. Permanently.
Living as an Expat in Australia, comes with so much adventure, and being in Melbourne, the most liveable city in the world is such a blessing. We have so much more at our fingertips here down under, but is that enough to be giving up all we had at home? Shouldn’t life’s adventures be enjoyed with the people we love, the people who know us best, the people who miss us too?
So, where does this all end up? Who knows. Can we really do the big pack up? Could we really repatriate back to Blighty? Would we even be happy or have I got my rose tinted specs on? Have you done it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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!
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!!
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…
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!!
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.
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…..
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!
Since 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!!!
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 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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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??
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.