Currently viewing the category: "Explore/Travel"

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Several years ago, we had the fantastic idea to take the kids on a bushwalk.

Not a huge trek, just a short walk along the coastline to see a lighthouse and take in the view.

Not a huge deal. Right?

Wrong!  Within 20 metres the whinging started. I’m hot, I’m tired, my shoes aren’t working (shoes were fine, toddler logic was at work on that one)… On and on it went. To our credit we persevered and after what seemed like 14 hours we completed the ‘trek’.  Arriving back at the car, both of us declared that bushwalking had been a fizzer.

No time to take in the view, the glorious coastline. Just one enormous whinge-fest!

Fast forward a few years, and we have taken a quantum leap forward.

Over the weekend we visited the glorious Springbrook National  Park. Tucked up in the hinterland behind the Gold Coast, this spectacular park looks like it is straight out of Jurassic Park. Waterfalls, rainforest, sheer cliffs and brilliant tracks to explore, Springbrook promised a lot.

I was less that sure we were up to it.  Sure we had no toddlers in tow, but we did have four kids (now 6 through to 11) to keep motivated and enthusiastic.

Short story…it was brilliant!

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All of us were blown away by the majesty of this place.

All of us loved it, even with two kids tripping over, a grazed knee and some steep tricky tracks to contend with.

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As we triumphantly finished the 2 hour (yep, 2 hours!) trek, I was brimming with pride at my little gangs efforts.

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We are now a family that bushwalks again!

Have you been bushwalking lately?  Share your favourite track!

Enjoy xx

coloured pencils of different colors and text school holidays writtten in a green chalkboard

I cannot believe that it is almost time for school to go back.  Summer holidays are so long, weeks and weeks of no school, trying to think of things to do, and sometimes (a lot of the time?) dealing with ‘bored’ kids.

To help out a little, here are a couple of winners I have discovered over the years with my gang.

  1. Visit the Libraries in Brisbane. Don’t worry if you aren’t a member, it’s super easy to join!  Check out the library in person or online for holiday activities, our local library has craft, lego, author (last holidays it was Roald Dahl) celebrations.  Best of all it’s free!  Most libraries nowadays also lend DVDs, comics, and magazines as well, something for everyone!
  2. Check out your local National Parks, botanic gardens, bush reserves.  Nothing burns off excess energy and curbs cabin fever like a good run around, and some bushwalking.  Pack a backpack, water and first aid kit and you are good to go.  It’s also worthwhile checking online first, as a lot of parks have special programs just for kids. Try National Parks Association and Find a National Park in Queensland for information/ ideas.
  3. Have a bake-off.  Split up into teams and have a baking competition, keep it fun though as things can get pretty competitive once the kids start to get into it!  Here are some recipe sites to try… Food to Love, Delicious
  4. Hold a crafter-noon with some friends, take turns with other parents and have a few of the kids friends over for a craft session. Lego/ brick making also works well.  This one works best outside/ on the verandah, and use recyclable material if you can, super cheap and easy to clean up.  Take a look here and My Poppet for ideas!
  5. Have a movie afternoon, make popcorn and snacks. Steer away from new releases and break out a classic like Back to the Future, Goonies, The Labyrinth.  Kids and grownups will love it!

Hopefully that will give you a little inspiration!  Feel free to post any great ideas that work for your gang too!

Enjoy xx

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A cracking read...

A cracking read…

I just finished reading The Martian, in record time! It is a cracker of a read, and though heavy on the science and engineering (which I loved!), also tells a tale of resilience. Filled to the brim with humour and adversity, it made me think a lot about how reliant we can become on others.

For our happiness, for comfort, for love, for inspiration.

We are truly sociable creatures at times aren’t we?

In parallel, I think that it can sometimes be a bit of a trap to always be surrounded by others.

Ask a busy professional, mother, volunteer, school teacher or friend, what is it that you crave?

Alone time. Space. Quiet.

Time to think, ponder, muse and let your mind wander.

Some of my best ideas come to me when I am alone.  Whether it’s walking, listening to music, lying in bed at night reading, alone time can give you the space you need to think.

When was the last time you carved out a bit of the day to be alone?

Enjoy xx

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My little tribe taking time out to think...

My little tribe taking time out to think…

As we grow older, it can get harder and harder to carve out time in the day to think.

Reflect on life, how things are going, what went well, what went pear-shaped.  All the healthy reflective thinking we are meant to do in order to grow as individuals, as humans.

Sometimes, life can get in the way.  Life can be complex, boring, monotonous, crazy and altogether unpredictable.

None of which is conducive to thinking.

One of my favourite ways to think and reflect is to ask myself a series of questions.  The lovely talented Pip Lincolne does this by way of ‘Taking Stock’.

This month I am breaking the mould and taking stock at the beginning of the month…

Making : cushions and gorgeous sundresses ready for This Grand Life
Cooking : veges, new types of the kids to try (current faves are asparagus and corn)
Drinking : loads of cold water (it’s sunny Brisbane folks!!)
Reading: Country Style, How to Decorate, Lonely Planet’s Guide to Australia
Wanting: annuals for the garden
Looking: at beachy holiday destinations
Playing: Scrabble, family is becoming addicted!  Bunch of nerds that we are…
Deciding: What role I would like to tackle back in my science/ corporate career
Wishing: my gorgeous puppies would stop chewing…everything!
Enjoying: my garden, the hard work is paying off!
Waiting: for the right house to come along
Liking: the jacaranda blooms in the backyard, a carpet of purple!
Wondering: if I should paint a watercolour series inspired by our family farm
Loving: the warm weather…most of the time!
Pondering: career moves, there are some interesting roles around!
Considering: buying a house…again…yikes!
Buying: house plants, succulents, ferns, it’s a jungle in here!
Watching: Restoration Australia…oh my goodness, it’s brilliant!  Fab show hosted by Sibella Court
Hoping: the school year comes to a quiet uneventful end for the tribe
Marvelling: at how tall my little tribe are getting…I am fast becoming the shortest in the family!
Cringing: at the hating on social media.  What on earth are people thinking posting nastiness?
Needing: to keep going to the gym, am getting to love it again!
Questioning: old house, new house, renovated or not?
Smelling: the garden, loving the change in scent as all of the flowers bloom
Wearing: white shorts and Birkenstocks, a lot!
Following:
Noticing: the kids taking an interest in big issues, refugees, world conflicts, some hefty issues to think about for young minds.
Knowing: I need to stop procrastinating and decide on that beachy holiday…stat!
Thinking: about how to best balance work, my gorgeous family, and my creative pursuits
Admiring: positive creative types (Clare Bowditch, Pip Lincolne, Dawn French) and ambitious corporate types in my life (will keep those names to myself)
Sorting: through toys, it appears they have bred and now we have a bucket-load which are making their way to new homes before Christmas
Getting: ready for another creative market…soon!
Bookmarking: the Halcyon House website, seriously cool folks
Coveting: vintage finds, I need to find a spare weekend to do some quality rummaging
Disliking: negativity, I seriously do not understand why people feel the need to write bad/nasty/awful comments!
Opening: a new section on my Etsy shop…watercolours and prints!  Yay!
Giggling: at the awesome pearls of wisdom which come from my gorgeous six year old. ‘Mum, you look the same as when you were young, except for your crinkly eyes, they look more smiley now!’  I will take that as a compliment and move on.
Feeling: excited about the end of the year, and a wee bit nervous about heading back to work
Snacking: carrots and hummus, blueberries and cashews, on high rotation.
Helping: out at school whenever I can.  It’s a busy time of the year!
Hearing: Mark Ronson, kids fave CD on the way to school

 

Here’s a list via the talented Pip Lincolne (Meet me at Mikes) for you…  Takes some time out to think, and if you are feeling like sharing post a comment with your answers, or a link to your blog post…

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :
Reading:
Wanting:
Looking:
Playing:
Deciding:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving:
Pondering:
Considering:
Buying:
Watching:
Hoping:
Marvelling:
Cringing:
Needing:
Questioning:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Admiring:
Sorting:
Getting:
Bookmarking:
Coveting:
Disliking:
Opening:
Giggling:
Feeling:
Snacking:
Helping:
Hearing:

 

Enjoy xx

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lovely treasures from This Grand Life, Skittle & Mouse and others at the Mummy Tree Markets

lovely treasures from This Grand Life, Skittle & Mouse and others at the Mummy Tree Markets

Home again after a lovely morning at The Mummy Tree markets in sunny Bris-Vegas.

It’s always such a lovely crowd, friendly stall holders, fab customers, loads of (free!) entertainment for the kidlets.  What more could you ask for?

I found some fab gear for my kids, including a gorgeous banner from Oh Deer Me!, and had a lot of lovely chat with my talented neighbour Skittle & Mouse.

Other faves included The Three Birds, and little windsor.  *Sigh*, so many gorgeous treasures!

Hope you are having a fab weekend, and if it’s still a little chilly in your neck of the woods, maybe you could do some couch market shopping…

Enjoy xx

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Heading up the track to the farm

Heading up the track to the farm

One of the fabulous benefits of having children or spending time with kids is that you get a reminder of how much joy they get from the world.

Discovering new ideas.

Exploring the world.

Playing.

Laughing at silly things.

Living in the moment.

Kids are masters are stopping to smell the roses. Slowing down and moving at their own pace. Adults are always searching for ways to relax, meditate, calm down.

Most kids have got that in the bag.  Watch a small child playing with Lego, matchbox cars, playing a game of make-believe, and you can see they are fully immersed in the moment.

My kids are staying at my family’s farm this week.  I know already that they will spending their time, exploring, digging in the sandpit, catching frogs and generally having a grand old time.  There will be no structured plan, no to-do list.

Just fun, sunshine and spending time together.

Hope you are enjoying the sunshine, taking time to relax, and most importantly finding the time to have fun.

Enjoy xx

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taking stock on life

taking stock on life

I’ve carved out some time this week to sit and reflect on life.

Taking the time to think about how everything is going using a fab list from the lovely Pip Lincolne at Meet Me at Mikes, here’s my list…

Making : a super cool hoodie vest for my littlest poppet (because of her broken wing)
Cooking : zucchini slice and delish roast lamb
Drinking : Tea because I have given up coffee
Reading: Craft for the soul, New Scientist, Wendy (the stunt chicken)
Wanting: To spend more time with my gorgeous kids
Looking: at where I can spend some time at the beach for holidays
Playing: nicely with others…life is too short for nastiness!
Deciding: what the end of the year will bring (big questions here folks!)
Wishing: I could see my sisters more often!
Enjoying: catching up with old friends, good for the soul
Waiting: for some new books I ordered to arrive!
Liking: my new winter boots, make that loving!
Wondering: if I should have a big party for my 40th?
Loving: bearing able to wear a jackets/scarves again…thanks freezing weather!
Pondering: what to do over the Christmas holidays
Considering: subscribing to Frankie?  I love it, and it’s sometimes hard to find.
Buying: books!  Australian Geographic – fab pictures, interesting stories
Watching: Interstellar with my littlest bloke, it’s our new all-time fave.
Hoping: that my littlest poppet’s arm heals quickly!
Marvelling: at how quickly my kidlets are growing
Cringing: at some of the nastiness I see online, be nice folks!
Needing: time with family.  There is never enough is there?
Questioning: everything!  Now I see where the kids get it from!
Smelling: the gorgeous vanilla candle in the study whenever I am writing
Wearing: opaque tights a lot.  Makes me wish I lived in a cold climate.
Following: Pip Lincolne (a ray of sunshine!), Mrs Woog and Emma Watson
Noticing: I have more energy since giving up coffee.  What??
Knowing: more about evolution (current topic I am teaching), go Darwin!
Thinking: about fixed vs growth mindsets
Admiring: gorgeous Australian wool! Scarves, jumpers with elbow patches…sigh!
Sorting: kids clothes (this is never-ending with our largish family)
Getting: ready to quit sugar
Bookmarking: new patterns to try
Coveting: an old table (all that history!) and church pews for the dining room.
Disliking: the cold – except for the opaque tights bit
Opening: messages from old mates, and laughing at the memories
Giggling: a lot at my littlest poppet stretching her vocabulary and sometimes ‘muffing words
Feeling: happier now, thanks to old friends and the rugrats
Snacking: on carrots and hommus and cup-a-soups
Helping: Little L practice reading, I love picture books (Wendy, Meg & Mog, Goodnight Moon)
Hearing: fab tracks from the Offspring, Green Day…good times!

 

Here’s a list for you!

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :
Reading:
Wanting:
Looking:
Playing:
Deciding:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving:
Pondering:
Considering:
Buying:
Watching:
Hoping:
Marvelling:
Cringing:
Needing:
Questioning:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Admiring:
Sorting:
Getting:
Bookmarking:
Coveting:
Disliking:
Opening:
Giggling:
Feeling:
Snacking:
Helping:
Hearing:

 

Enjoy xx

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Frogs galore!  If you are looking...

Frogs galore! If you are looking…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I spent a couple of hours flying on a plane to the far north of Queensland.

During the two flights it took to get me to the tropical north, I read an interesting book; Focus (Daniel Goleman).

One of the points that jumped out at me was how distracted and possibly disconnected we can all become in an age where technology and information is at our fingertips all the time.

It was exacerbated by travelling with a whole bunch of adults with smart phones, tablets and laptops. Heads down missing the beautiful scenery as we arrived in Cairns.

Missing the crazy chaos of Cairns airport filled to the brim with tourists and travellers.

Missing the cloak of mist on the range in front of us and the slowing in pace since we left Brisbane.

In my lifetime we have moved rapidly from landlines and letters to social media platforms and streaming.

All day and all night you can access everything. All of the time.

The advent of all of this new technology also brings new dilemmas as a member of our society and a parent.

How much technology is too much?

How much screen time should my kids have?

Should babies be allowed to have access to technology?

What about hand-writing?

How can I prepare my kids for the future?

How young is too young for owning a mobile/smart phone?

I don’t have all of the answers to these big questions, but after reading about some of the pitfalls and potential benefits, I plan to be more mindful when I get home.
In the meantime I plan to enjoy the sights of the far north while I am here, and leave my smart phone in my bag.

Enjoy xx

InspiringCollageWowsers, the year seems to be flying by already.

All of a sudden, we are gearing up for school, getting busy at work and getting set for the first of the gorgeous markets and fairs This Grand Life will be attending this year.

Whew!

It can all get a little overwhelming at times. Thinking time is virtually impossible to corral out of your day. Which can all combine to stifle your creativity.  Well, at least that’s what tends to happen in my neck of the woods.

Here are a few things that have been inspiring me right now to think, create and start the year in a positive way.

  1. Reading: Wildwood – a glorious book, with fabulous illustrations, which I initially bought for Captain Jack (my 9 year old) and then when he got a little scared by the opening gambit about a murder of crows, I stepped in to read it first. You know, to check it wasn’t too scary. I am LOVING it…
  2. Creating: More gorgeous sundresses, super cute heart purses, some cuddly softies and boardies for super cool boys with some beautiful new fabric.
  3. Learning: French, brushing up on my French (can’t believe I have been back in Australia for nearly 3 years), such a beautiful quirky language.
  4. Teaching: Little L how to read. My littlest poppet starts school this year and is super keep to keep up with the big kids in the house. We have used Reading Eggs for years and all of my kids have loved it.  It’s also a great excuse to spend more time reading each night.
  5. Watching: Girls. Though it feels like a guilty pleasure, I am totally hooked. Oh the angst, the selfish choices, the dilemmas.

Hope you are having an inspirational start to 2015 too!

Enjoy xx

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2014 review

As I said farewell to 2014, and welcomed the new year in, I reflected on all the big stuff we had been though here at This Grand Life.

Here’s what my wrap-up of 2014 looks like…

  • Our littlest poppet started at big school, and it was bitter sweet. She looked so tiny yet so grown up all at the same time. I loved hearing all about sport, God Class (religion) and all the new things she was learning with her new friends. Then because of the next point, we get to do it all over again.
  • We packed up and moved across the country to sunny Qld. Well, the kids and I did.  My lovely kind husband then spent the last half of the year working in Perth while we were in Bris-Vegas. So many big changes to take on board!  New school, back to day-care for the littlest poppet (very indignant that she was ready for ‘big school’), new job for me… the list goes one and on. Amongst it all though we have thrived in the sunshine and being closer to our families.
  • Saying goodbye to Charlie the Wonderdog.  I had written a post, which maybe I will publish someday, though maybe I won’t (I can’t quite get the words right).  My beautiful furry friend had been with me for 14 years from when it was just me, then as my family expanded to include my husband, a sweet Newfoundland (Ellie) and our four lovely kidlets.  I still miss her sweet face each day.
  • Finally, finally, finally being a family again as the lovely Big A moved from Perth to Brissy.  Thank you to our lovely friends in Perth for lending him a room, inviting him over for dinner and generally making a tough time a whole lot easier.
  • Being able to focus more time and energy on my creative business. The move to the sunshine state, coupled with setting up a little studio and finding a lovely creative community to be part of have all meant that I  had the time and energy to design and create gorgeous frocks, boardies and super cute gear. All designed and hand-made by me.  I was part of some brilliant artisan and hand-made markets, which were the creative highlight of my year.  I really do get a buzz just from being around such talented creative folk.
  • Continuing to write and think, and question what is going on around me.  When I can, I find the time to publish here. I hope you have enjoyed reading it too!

So that is our year in review. Sort of rambling and rocketing along, filled with love, loss and fun.

What does your year in review look like?  Feel free to post and have a chat.

Enjoy xx

 

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