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….



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.

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.

Disney on Ice celebrates 100 years of magic – Tickets on sale now!

As an expat, it’s amazing how old “traditions” are quickly substituted with new ones.

Disney on Ice has absolutely become a fun family tradition for us. In fact, it’s my all time best bribe for the kids. “Are we going again this year mum?”….. I use it in all sorts of cunning ways. “Nemo won’t be too happy to hear you haven’t fed our fish all week Monty!” Works a treat!

DOI-100yrs-Magic_80 Nemo 2

Hurrah for all us mama’s who love to bribe our kids, because Disney on Ice is winging it’s way to Australia, and this year it’s bigger than ever. Disney on Ice is celebrating 100 Years of Disney Magic this year, and boy are we in for a treat.

Disney on Ice

The ‘must see’ Australia tour, which is opening in Perth, will be running from 15th June to 23rd July 2018 and tickets are on sale right now

 “The 2018 tour of Disney On Ice will bring to life more than 14 timeless Disney tales including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Frozen and more’ – Disney on Ice 

DOI-100yrs-Magic_11 team (1)

‘Be dazzled by the magic of Disney’s Frozen with Anna, Elsa and the hilarious Olaf. Sing-a-long to over 30 of your favourite Disney songs including “Let It Go!,” “You’ve Got A Friend in Me,” and “Hakuna Matata.” Exciting moments from Disney Pixar’s Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Disney’s The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and more will leave the whole family with memories that will last a lifetime’ – Disney on Ice

Bedazzle the family with the celebration of the century when Disney On Ice skates into your hometown.

TOP TIP: Get there on time so that the kids can help movie favourites Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde from Zootopia, investigate an off-ice caper to ensure the show starts on time.

A recent survey of more than 8,000 people revealed the most treasured childhood memory for them was a ‘specific family activity’ (55%)…

Grab your tickets and make sure you and yours are there to celebrate the legacy of Disney in this ice skating spectacular! Trust me, you don’t want to be THAT MUM, who forgot to book….  There’s no excuse to miss out! Make this your annual family tradition, spoil the kids, watch them watching in wonder and keep the magic of Disney alive in their hearts!

Olivia xx

‘Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever’ – Walt Disney


Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic will open in Perth on 15 June 2018 and travels to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney through to 23 July.  Tickets are on sale now at www.Ticketek.com.au/DisneyOnIce.

2018 National Tour Dates

Perth – Perth Arena                                                                         15 – 17 June        (Fri – Sun)

Adelaide – Adelaide Entertainment Centre                          22 – 24 June           (Fri – Mon)

Brisbane – Brisbane Entertainment Centre                           29 Jun – 2 Jul        (Fri – Mon)

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 authorized ticketing agent for all cities is Ticketek (www.Ticketek.com.au/DisneyOnIce)There are significant risks in buying from other sources. 

Jewish Museum of Australia – Celebrating the life of such an extraordinary musician and artist

Photo by Mark Okoh

Last week, I went to the Jewish Museum of Australia with a girlfriend, we were desperate to get in to see the current exhibition Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait before it ends on the 25th March.

The Jewish Museum is located in St Kilda, and easy to find. We headed in and straight up the stairs to the sound of Amy Winehouse’s beautiful voice in the distance.

“This isn’t an attempt to tell people what my sister was like, or what kind of people my grandparents were, or to force my opinions on you. This is a snapshot of a girl who was, to her deepest core, simply a little Jewish kid from North London with a big talent who, more than anything, just wanted to be true to her heritage.”
Alex Winehouse

Like millions of people I’m a huge Amy Winehouse fan so this exhibition was a must see for me. She was such an intriguing character and absolutely someone who got to me. I loved her music, her voice, the sound as if from another era. In my eyes she was a true talent.

Amy Winehouse (1983 – 2011) was an incredible singer and songwriter but far beyond that and evident throughout the exhibition, she was all about ‘family’;  hugely proud of her home (London) and her Jewish roots. The exhibition feels so personal. As if you’ve walked into her bedroom and you’re thumbing through her things.

The memorabilia on show feels too ‘young’ to be that of someone who has passed. The iconic outfits, giving a real sense of just how tiny Amy was. Amy’s belongings sit in a vast white space; her school uniforms, photographs of her with her friends, her records, and her guitar, all a stark reminder of a life well and truly cut short. A life filled with so much drama, yet essentially she was a proud Jewish girl with a strong sense of family and traditional values.

Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait is a personal and intimate exhibition which explores Amy Winehouse’s inner world, and the influences that shaped her career and personal life – Jewish Museum

Through this exhibition Alex Winehouse celebrates his sisters life and heritage, and allows us to explore her world and everything that influenced it. There are lovely family trees, old photos, and stories of her family who left Belarus in the late nineteenth century, and headed to London, where Amy was to grow up and fall deeply in love with her city.

Amy won five Grammy Awards and had numerous hit songs including Rehab, Back to Black, and Valerie before dying tragically at the age of 27 in 2011.

Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait honours Amy’s memory and achievements, and provides a personal portrait of her family life and Jewish heritage; things that were not always visible in her public life.

“The Jewish Museum is perhaps an unexpected venue for an exhibition about Amy Winehouse, but Amy’s brother, Alex, was adamant that this was the best place to tell her story, because being Jewish was so much a part of who she was.” Jewish Museum of Australia Director Rebecca Forgasz

Since launching in London in 2013, the exhibition has toured internationally from San Francisco to Vienna, Tel Aviv and Amsterdam, with huge success. The Jewish Museum is the only place in Australia to host the Amy Winehouse exhibition and they are very excited to share this fantastic show with us lucky Amy Winehouse fans.

Grab your tickets before it’s gone!!!

Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait

Adults: $12 (18+)
Children: Free (5 and under)
Children: $6 (6+)
Concession: $6 (students, pension card holders, Health Care card)
Family: $27 (2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, 3 children)
Member: Free

Book Here

Opening Hours: Tues – Thurs 10am-4pm Fri 10M-3PM Sun 10-5pm

Phone: (03) 8534 3600
Email: info@jewishmuseum.com.au

Location: 26 Alma Rd, St Kilda Victoria 3182. A two-minute walk from tram stop 32 on St Kilda Rd (Routes 3 or 67).


Ancient Oceans – Sealife Melbourne

Sealife Melbourne has a new ‘Must See’ holiday experience and we’re so excited!!

Kit Haselden Photography - www.kithaselden.com

Say a big “Hello” to this new interactive experience which allows you and the family to journey back in time, dive into Ancient Oceans and meet the pre-historic giants of the ocean. You will be taken on an adventure to discover more about the magnificent ancient creatures of the sea and get up close to some remarkable animals that have lived for millions of years. How awesome does that sound!!

You and the gang will come face-to-face with the living history of the oceans, including mysterious Mudskippers and phenomenal Pig-nosed Turtles. Seen one of those before?? No, me neither!!

Kit Haselden Photography - www.kithaselden.com‘Visit the Sealife Centre Melbourne and enter the magnificent underwater caves of these incredible creatures and be submerged into the ancient seas’

This exciting new display features immersive lighting projections creating animal silhouettes teamed with sub-aquatic animal sounds, engaging digital games and an awe-inspiring display featuring jaws of the pre-historic Megladon, the largest predator to have ever existed. Wow!!

Your little junior explorers will receive a map to guide them through the exhibit which encourages them to hunt for clues and collect stamps whilst learning fascinating facts about the ancient oceans. What a wonderful keepsake for them!

Kit Haselden Photography - www.kithaselden.com

After all that fun, you can put your feet up and watch the brand new 4D movie – Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – an epic and thrilling sensory cinematic adventure in the pre-historic era of the mammoth ancient creatures.

I know where we’re headed this week!!! Happy holidays!

Experience: Ancient Oceans at Sea Life Melbourne – NEW EXHIBIT

Location: Sea Life Melbourne Corner of King Street and Flinders Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

When: Now showing

Opening hours: Daily from 9.30am-6.00pm

Cost: Adults – from $33.60, Children – from $22.40 (Book online and save)

To find out more about Sea Life Melbourne’s new Ancient Oceans experience visit the website.


#sealifemelbourne #daysoutwithkids #schoolholidays #expatadventures #history #prehistoricseacreatures #teachthemwell #parentingfarfromhome #expatfamily

Immigration Museum – British Migrants, instant Australians?


A new exhibition has opened it’s doors at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum  and I can say with all my heart, it’s one of the most moving exhibitions I have had the pleasure of visiting.

‘Between 1947 and 1981 nearly 1.5 million Brits arrived in an Australia that was predominantly white and British – it had worked hard to be so’ 

A few weeks ago I went along to a preview of the new exhibition ‘British Migrants, Instant Australians?‘.  We were treated to Devonshire Tea, a cup of Earl Grey, and some magnificent guest speakers, before heading in. It felt quintessentially British, although there was no driving rain or fog to be seen!

Paul Jennings, best known for his writing of many children’s books, got up to speak about his migration from the UK at the age of six. He told us of the distress he felt leaving behind his beloved Grandmother. Sitting there listening to his heartfelt words, I felt as if I was listening to my own children speaking in 30 years time. I could totally relate to his feelings of homesickness, longing, and upset at leaving the only home he’d known; I had a lump in my throat!

‘When I was six I left England, with my parents and my little sister Ruth, to come and live in Australia. That was in 1949. In those days, people came to Australia by boat. The one we came on was called the Ranchi. We sailed for five weeks before arriving in Melbourne’- Paul Jennings

His story was compelling, and a real tear jerker. It’s so easy to overlook what migration was to families back in the 40’s. It’s especially hard to consider what that journey must have been like whilst living in todays modern world of round the globe flights, and Skype calls! British Migrants in the 1940’s left home simply thinking it was ‘for the best!’  Expats still take this risk when they move far from home, although being more aware of the world possibly makes it less of a “culture shock”.

Red Symons also spoke about his migration from the UK.  He told us of his everlasting memory of stepping into a land with an immense amount of sky. The single storey houses, the flat landscapes, and the endless blue skies. His words made me wonder what my children will remember from our early days Down Under? That moment we arrived in the dead of night, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the accents. So different to home!

‘Newcomers from Britain had all  the advantages of a shared language, culture and history.  So fitting in should be easy. But reality is never that simple’

The thing that struck me most about all the speakers at the grand unveiling of the latest exhibition was how their hearts broke at leaving family and friends behind; yet they recognised the opportunity they had been given. They all got stuck in, pushed their homesickness and worries to one side and made the best of their new lives. They went over and above to “fit in”, they changed their accents and worked hard to build friendships. The chance to leave behind post WW2 Britain, the grey skies and limited job opportunities, for a land which had everything they could wish for in abundance was too good to ignore.

The exhibition holds some wonderful, heartfelt stories of lives well lived, cherished friendships, and of the “migrant” feeling of being ‘too foreign for home, too foreign for here, and never enough for both’.

Whilst wandering through the exhibition, I couldn’t help but go back to those nagging thoughts in my mind… “Will my children grow up feeling like this?” “Will they look back with sadness at what they missed when we moved?” “Will my children grow up with a constant longing in their hearts?” Honestly, I’m not sure. Today’s “migrant” is so incredibly different from those who arrived in Australia all those years ago. The world is so much smaller and the internet bigger than ever. We can keep in touch without lifting a pen, or licking a stamp, and we can see distant loved ones at the touch of a button.

I’m not sure my children feel any different to their peers. No one comments on their accents (anymore), no one really even asks them where they’re from. We’re learning we’re not that different after all. This is an indication of just how migration has changed. My children are not really seen as ‘migrants’ in the classroom! I’m not sure any of us are! Is an expat a migrant anymore?


Not only is this new exhibition a fantastic insight into the lives of thousands of migrants and their voyage to Australia, but it’s a real showcase of bravery, courage, and human kindness which will teach all visitors a lesson in the need to show compassion to people migrating to this wonderful country!

The Immigration Museum has beautifully showcased artefacts from treasured family collections, with words spoken by those families themselves. They have taken time to cleverly and sympathetically tell people’s stories of migration, with a mixture of mediums including handwritten letters, memorabilia and old posters promising a life rich in work and sun.

As an expat myself, who has brought my British children to Australia, I found the exhibition moving to say the least. I cannot begin to imagine what the 1940’s migrant must have thought arriving in this warm, far away land, with nothing but the bare essentials; some of them not knowing what to expect. To think that they came here and managed to build new lives, away from everything they had ever known, with no modern technology to contact home is just mind blowing to me. Honestly, their courage astounds me, and I highly recommend this exhibition.


‘British Migrants, Instant Australians?’ is open now and runs until 15th April 2018 at Melbourne’s Immigration Museum.

Tickets are included with Museum Entry

Adults – $14
Child to 16 years – FREE
Concession – FREE


Sweet Expo – Good things come to those who bake….


Sweet Expo was in Melbourne this weekend, and we hit the Showgrounds to see just what sweetness they had in store for everyone. I am a terrible baker, I would love to be good, but no matter how hard I try I seem to fail! I have a real passion for buying the tools, the colours, the glitters; I want it all…. sadly they’re wasted on me….  Poppy our sweet as sugar girl was straight in the gate and ready to taste anything she could get her hands on, whilst I was more about the 6Ft6 Prosecco slushies, and the demonstrations. Mad About Colour had some spectacular glittery delights that caught my eye as we began to wander!!



Sweet Expo was filled with small local businesses who set up stalls with everything from cake decorating tools, kitchen gadgets, specialty ingredients, party and celebration products and everything in-between! For all you party people this is a show that you don’t want to miss when it returns next year.

The Wilsons Top Stalls

Oregano Bakery

To turn the corner and spot our much loved Oregano Bakery that we miss so dearly from our Sydney days, made my heart skip a beat. Originally creating Lebanese Pizza they are now insanely famous for the Scroll!!! These aren’t just any Scroll, they are top notch Scrolls, with all sorts of delicious fillings, made with love.*Think OMG most delicious dough with even more delicious toppings.. Say Whaaaat???

Rhyley Design

Natalie’s stall was a joy to look at! I was instantly drawn to her shiny dangly earrings, and couldn’t help throwing my money at her! She cleverly creates gifts that she hopes will make a difference to someone’s day and put a smile on their face. Check her out!!!

Two Little Tarts

Popcorn!!! By that I mean Caramel & Sea Salt Popcorn that you want to grab handfuls of and rub all over your face…. You have never eaten anything like this, or their unbelievable Honeycomb and as if that isn’t good enough, it’s all made with locally sourced ingredients… Don’t take my word for it… Order some…


Beautifully designed Fine China Tea Cups made in an XL size for tea lovers who just can’t get enough tea. There were so many beautiful colours, and prints. Lyndal also sells side plates, teapots, glassware and pretty cake stands too!

Make A Wish

Cake decorating for the kids was really fun. $5 to decorate your own little cupcake and all the money goes toward this wonderful charity.

Love Lombard

These people know how to party… And they know how to create a party! They were showing off their fabulous confetti filled balloons which we loved. Huge balloons make such a statement!! Lombard claim to have the largest range of party supplies in the Universe, how awesome is that!


We loved watching the demonstrations, seeing how fondant roses were created in seconds, and adored all the tasters. We didn’t have time for High Tea but it looked amazing; there were masterclasses for the experts amongst us and plenty of savoury delights for those who were less sweet toothed.

‘Strong willpower is essential at the Sweet Expo!!’

By the time we left we had full tummies, and bags of great tips for creating our own masterpieces at home… Not sure you’ll see my own personal creations on Instagram but hey, I have definitely been inspired to try a little harder at the next birthday party!!! Here’s to becoming a great home baker!!!!

Look out for Sweet Expo next year, and wear something stretchy!!!

The Wilson’s Reviews…..





It’s my home, it’s my city & I love it!!

Tulip Coffee – Degraves Street

I’m currently sitting in a beautiful coffee shop in the lanes of Melbourne, sipping a Long Black and wondering what I used to do on Friday afternoons before we ended up here.. Melbourne is the most magical city. Just meandering through the laneways is enough to make me grateful for being alive. It’s that kind of place! It really does make my heart skip a beat! People everywhere; sightseers, office workers, artists, musicians, shop owners, even bloggers like me, immersed in their surroundings and getting all sorts of inspiration from the bustle around them. It’s hard not to be inspired here. There is just so much to love about this city; my city!

We’re fast approaching the end of another year ‘Down Under’ and there don’t seem to be any signs that we may be adventuring off to pastures new just yet.. Thank goodness. I am amazed at all the things we’ve squeezed in to our first year in Melbourne, and there’s still so much to explore.  I’m so full of love for how this city has become home to us so quickly!  I never would have imagined a few years ago that we would be here, doing this, and absolutely loving every minute!!

It seems like a lifetime ago we hopped off that plane in Sydney, to see what Australia had to offer. To dip our toes in the clear blue waters of the world famous Bondi Beach. The memories feel like a scene from a black and white movie.. Mr W, whisking us off to explore a warm and distant land. If it had been on the silver screen,  I’d have been played by Olivia De Havilland (Obvs), and Mr.W played by Humphrey Bogart! We’d arrive in the Southern Hemisphere, embrace each other at the bottom of the plane steps, and get chauffeured off to our glamorous new abode in Sydney Harbour.

In reality it was nothing like that!

Monty had spent the first 12 hours of the journey vomiting into supermarket carrier bags that I had cleverly stashed in my hand-luggage. Poppy spent 24 hours watching re runs of Peppa Pig, and I sobbed most of the way! By the time we landed in Sydney, we looked more like the Aadams Family than glamorous 1940’s movie stars. Hello Australia, we’ve arrived, and NO we’re not staying for long, I left my besties crying at Heathrow!!!

Now almost three years on from the landing, and…. wait for it… (*Mum grab a hankie)… I’m not sure I could….. go back……

I know, I know, it sounds a little ‘out there’! *All my friends are currently deleting my blog from their newsfeed, muttering “I told her she’d not be back”… Mum is sobbing into her cup of tea, and for some reason, I don’t feel too terrible… In fact, I feel relieved to have finally put it out there.

That’s not to say I don’t yearn for my girl crew, and I don’t miss lots of things about the UK; it’s just that Australia, well Melbourne.. oh gosh I’m so sorry…is home now….

It had to happen eventually. There had to come a time when we all started to think of Australia as “home”.  Expat’s all over the world; since being an expat was even a thing, have always struggled with knowing where home really is. I’m sure people stop themselves calling their host country ‘home’, so as not to upset Aunty Brenda, or to keep hold of friends who have promised to disown them if they don’t return!!! The pressure to have just one home, and not love anywhere else as much.. or dare I say it.. MORE, is too much to handle. It’s a strange feeling, as if I’m letting the whole of the UK down, by saying “thanks anyway, but I think we’ll stay put”. I’m sure that’s what makes my stomach churn and mimic homesickness. It’s possibly not that I’m missing the chips and gravy with mushy peas, or the local pub with the log fire, it’s the terror that I’ll be cast aside and never welcomed home with open arms again! I’m a traitor, fair and square!!

We never came here with the intention of staying forever, but you can’t help but build a life for yourselves, and your children. You can’t help but make friends; close friends. You can’t help but join clubs, get jobs, volunteer, join the school committee, find a local pub, join sports teams, become part of a community… You can’t help but make a new life, and somehow that’s what we’ve done. (And no, I still don’t resemble Olivia de Havilland)

We came here for four years, and now with only 14 months left on our visa, I am truly panicking about what will become of us all if we do have to leave our…. ‘home’??

The UK isn’t our home any more. Is it?? We left a life behind, and have created something different, something new, something exciting, something we’re certainly not ready to let go of.

I think what I’m trying to say is, no matter what we do, or where we go, we will always be in a position where we’re living without something or someone. And without doubt, in this crazy ‘expat’ life, we just have to go with the flow; think about what we really, really want, and as selfish as it sounds not give anyone else a second thought! We have one life, one chance at getting it right and only we know ‘where‘ we’re happy! For The Wilson’s, now… dare I say it….? I think we’re home.

“The most beautiful things in life are not things. They’re people, and places, and memories, and pictures. They’re feelings and moments and smiles and laughter” – Unknown

Olivia xx



Lantern Ghost Tours – Melbourne

lantern GT

The chance of getting Mr W to join me on a ghost tour was pretty remote. Not only is he a huge sceptic but he tends to poo poo all things ‘spooktastic’. I left it to the last minute and then told him where we were going!! I got him to Federation Square for 8:30 and it turns out he really enjoyed our night… and he felt a few chills too…Shhhhh!

We met our guide Chloe at the ‘Information Point’ opposite the iconic Flinders Street Station, there was a huge group of us but we were on our way, dead on time.. (no pun intended!)

The tour was a 2km walking tour of the city of Melbourne, the weather was perfect and the trams and party goers were out in force! They absolutely did not distract us from Chloe’s magical way of story telling, we were all hanging on her every word.

Melbourne’s history is fascinating, the Gold Rush brought so much good, and with it, so much evil to Melbourne.  The Lantern Ghost Tour was as much a history lesson as it was an insight into the gruesome goings on in times gone by. We learnt of people like Baron Swanson also known as Frederik Deeming (possibly Jack the Ripper) , Frederick Federici and the Prima Donna Nellie Melba. We heard the tragic tale of a little Alma, who was found murdered in the old “Gun Alley”, and her suspected murderer Colin Campbell Ross who after 86 years has been pardoned thanks to modern DNA investigations.

‘Journey back to old Melbourne, a time when the spices of China Town masked the smoke of  the opium dens, poor houses supplied bodies in the name of advancing medical science and famous opera singer Federici gave his most dramatic performance, plummeting to death in front of his audience.’

Chloe let us know when we were heading for a particular place that has attracted lots of ‘spiritual energy’ on previous tours.  People have been known to faint, feel pain in their heads and the incredibly bright lights in Gun Alley (now known as Pink Alley) have flickered with little Alma’s ghostly presence. We all watched on as Chloe used divining rods to try and contact Alma, and ask her a few questions. Sadly the group didn’t seem too keen on coming forward and having a go themselves; maybe we were all a little too worried, as there was definitely a strange atmosphere at that point in the tour.

We wound our way through the many streets, listening to tales in mysterious alley ways, and alongside the famous Melbourne Club, the Hotel Windsor, Princess Theatre and Parliament House. It seemed like we had left no spooky stone unturned.

Chloe ended our tour in Cohen Place in the centre of China Town where we all stood as a group under the circle of lights to purify ourselves and rid ourselves of any spirits who may have latched on to us whilst we were treading their paths.

The stories were enthralling, the city was magnificent and the goosebumps were real.

A Lantern Ghost Tour is a great way to learn about a city, to see parts of it you would not ordinarily see and to get a real feel for a time long gone.

I must say, I was glad to be hopping on a tram, with the bright city lights guiding our way, knowing we weren’t going to be crossing paths with any grave robbing, body snatchers.

Gosh, thank goodness for our relatively safe and somewhat boring existence in 2017!

All the info 

Whatever you’re looking for, even if you haven’t decided the list of incredible tours is here!!  Choose a stroll around the city, or for the ‘super brave’ a night in one of Australia’s most haunted prisons!

Cost – Prices start at $29 and go up to $184 for overnight paranormal investigations.

Age – 12+

Location – Sites are located across Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland! 

ContactTelephone – 1300 390 119 Message Lantern Ghost ToursHere

You can find Lantern Ghost Tours on FacebookInstagram – YouTubePinterest – and Twitter Hurry along and Check them out!



Melbourne Zoo – Speaking for the ones without a voice!

By 9am, the car was loaded up with the kids and a picnic, and Monty had already informed us that he was most looking forward to the Lions eating his big sister. He has a talent for kickstarting a good day! We were heading to the zoo..


Melbourne Zoo opened in 1862, is the oldest zoo in Australia and the world’s first carbon neutral zoo! I know.. Amazing right!!  It has been on our list of places to visit for a while, and last weekend we finally got there to see it in all its glory! It is a truly magnificent zoo, and the conservation work they’re doing is incredible. It’s a fantastic place for a fun day out, and to learn about a diverse range of animals and their delicate ecosystems.

“Our mission is to be the world’s leading zoo-based conservation organisation” – Melbourne Zoo 

Sometimes when you visit a zoo you get the impression that the animals are bored or unhappy. Not here! The kids agreed that they would quite like to live here as “all the creatures look so happy!!” *their bags are packed…

We had all day to explore so we handed the maps to the small people and let them decide how we were going to get round everything. They love map reading and being in charge so this worked perfectly; one map each and we were off. The zoo is split into different zones, and incredibly easy to navigate. Thank goodness.

We started at the Gorilla Forest which I was pretty pleased about. Seeing the Gorilla sitting there staring back at us, was magical. This huge magnificent creature who was almost as fascinated with us as we were with him.

Next we saw the Seal keeper presentation. Monty was so fascinated by the Wild Sea exhibition and the enormous glass tanks, he did a runner to explore some more. The rest of us had a hairy 10 minutes of thinking he’d gone all Free Willy on us and was letting the penguins out!! Thankfully Mr W had located him by the time the seal was teaching us all about the dangers of balloons for our marine friends.

The day rolled on, more wonderful enclosures, stunning animals, and the weather was beautiful as we zig zagged our way around the zoo.  Our route made it pretty obvious the kids were in charge!

Before lunch we caught the Giraffe Keeper presentation which was fab. Giraffes are so graceful, and at Melbourne Zoo they seem so close. It was wonderful to see these majestic creatures. You can book a Giraffe Close Up when you visit and have a go at feeding them yourself!! I know my two would love this!

We spent about 5 hours winding our way through the animals. We saw every creature there was to see, we climbed the best climbing tree, we played on the grass, we picnicked, and the sun shone for our whole visit. It really was a perfect day out!


The Butterfly House – the children were just bowled over that they could hold out their arms the butterflies would land on them. It was so lovely to see their little faces when their arms were full of butterflies!

The Palm Oil Supermarket- After visiting the beautiful Orang-utans we headed into the ‘supermarket,’ to learn about Palm Oil, and the devastating effect it is having on their habitat! We scanned every day items to see if they contained palm oil! This hands on, interactive display taught us so much, and it’s been talked about lots this week!

The Platypus-  This graceful, but cheeky looking creature, swimming around, really entertained us. How awesome are the Platypus?!

The Koalas – Hey, Koalas are always a bonus for us expats! They are so iconic, peacefully snoozing away in the trees. You have to look hard to find them!

The Elephants – We loved the way it felt as if we were in the jungle in Thailand when we visited the Elephants! Amazing animals! Poppy was confused as to why one of them had two trunks! She was mortified when I explained what the trunk at the back really was!

This is not a zoo created for us to stand and stare aimlessly at caged up miserable wildlife. This is a haven for saving species and teaching us all how we can make a difference, so that our children and our children’s children will know the true wonder of wildlife.


If we save our wild places, we will ultimately save ourselves – Steve Irwin

Don’t forget about Melbourne Zoo for the school holidays!!!

The What’s On page on the Melbourne Zoo website is full of fantastic activities coming up! *All Trolls fans need to check it out!!


Melbourne Zoo are a not-for-profit conservation organisation dedicated to fighting wildlife extinction. They do this through breeding and recovery programs for threatened species and by working with visitors and supporters to reduce threats facing endangered wildlife. You can get involved here!!

Opening Hours – 9am – 5pm every day of the year (Animal areas close from 4:30)

Location – Elliot Ave, Parkville, VIC 3052 Tel1300 966 784

Book Tickets Here!


The Pop Up Globe – He believed he could so he did!!!

as you like it
Picture courtesy of the Pop Up Globe

Walking up through the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in the darkness of the evening, you can spy a chain of bright lights through the trees. By the time you have found out what they are, you have been completely blown over by the sight of the Pop Up Globe standing high on the hill like a beautiful fair maiden from old London! I think I may have even gasped!

The venue is a feat of engineering, all coming together after a pop up story at bedtime and an inquisitive child in New Zealand asking daddy how they could visit the Globe Theatre themselves. Imagine your father making THAT happen!!! Hats off to the insanely brave and awesome Miles Gregory, who believed he could, so he did!

Last week we went to a performance of As You Like It, and boy did we like it! Walking into the Pop Up Globe sends a shiver down the spine of even the most hardy of men. A replica Jacobean Theatre built with mostly scaffolding in the middle of Melbourne, and you are almost thrown into 1614, and looking for a wench to serve you some mead.

We were seated in amongst the scaffolding, on a rather comfy cushion, directly in front of the stage. As soon as the music began I was right there, hanging on every word.

The actors made the story come alive, made it real; they made us laugh… properly laugh.  They took us right back to Shakespearean times, with some clever modern adaptions for everyone to enjoy. The sword fights, the love trysts, the dancing and the music, all performed in THE space it was made for.

With a talented cast of all male, all rounders, it was a night to remember. Michael Mahony as Touchstone was faultless, as was the rest of the cast. Having spent most of my English Lit classes being miserably confused, I am really excited that we have this wonderful theatre to take us right back, and engage us in the way Shakespeare wanted.

The Pop Up Globe is in Melbourne now until the 12th November.

‘I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it’ – As You Like It – Shakespeare