Wednesday 30 November 2016

Reindeer Games - #ChristmasLinkUp

Christmas also coincides with our long school holiday and businesses often have a shut down, so for those not going away, Christmas is a good time to play together. Santa can bring some games to ignite that family spark and get kids off the computer.

This game has 4 escape room challenges. Looks great for teenagers.  $59.95 at Big W.

This one I purchased as I thought it would be a good one for train travel (or plane travel) as you could just take the cards and timer. Educational too. I even got one for a friend who is taking the kids to Europe as I thought it would be exciting for the kids to know the attractions before they get there. $20.00 at Big W.

My daughter got this game for herself awhile back, and when we went away on mass, kids of all ages (including a few teens) were keen to play it. It's basically Russian roulette with cream in the face. Kids love to play it, and love to watch it being played. You do have to buy that whipped cream to play though, and clean up. $10 at Kmart.

This is not a new game, but it's a great game if you have little kids of different ages. Little butterflies are shot out the trunk into the air and you have to catch them in a net as they come down. $12 at Target.

 Santa will also be bringing some backyard fun in the form of totem tennis and a slip'n'slide.

Will your Santa be bringing gadget-free fun? Do you play together over the summer holidays?

Add your Xmas posts below.

Linking with #MummyMondays and off topic for #LifeThisWeek

Monday 28 November 2016

First of the Month Fiction - December

Wow! How has this happened? December already?
While my head is spinning, I've managed no time to write. Good thing I'm taking most of December and January off.
For newbies, write a story in exactly 100 words, or less than 30 words and add it in the comments, then link your blog.

It had been a frantic night, the worst one in years. Too much pressure to get everything done by close of business. He limped up the stairs. His wife was sleeping, with a glimmer of a smile on her lips. Dreaming of sugarplums, no doubt. He wanted nothing more than to collapse on the bed beside her but there was one last gift he needed to deliver. He removed the tiny jewellery box from his bag and placed it in the stocking at the end of the bed, the red felt one with Mrs Claus stitched into the fur trim.

PS, I don't like this one so much - I much prefer the unhappy Mrs Claus from this year or this year. But I'm trying to be nice so Santa doesn't punish me ;)

Happy Christmas to you all.

I'm closing the blog next week until Feb so this will be my last #Dreamteam post for awhile. I hope all everyone stays safe and finds some happy moments in this currently crazy world. May 2021 make this year a hideous memory quickly forgotten! Best wishes and drive safely!
Linking with 
Navigating Baby
An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday 26 November 2016

In the pink

I'm a little out of sorts today, but not for any reason - in fact I've been busy catching up with family and had an easy weekend, and came second in the family Putt Putt tournament (previously unheard of!). Yet, still tired and a little meh.

So instead of talking about loving life, I'll just share some pretty pink cakes I saw and the morning light on my walk to the Tramsheds. Sometimes that has to be enough.

I also read this quote on twitter that I was quite taken with. 'When everything seems to be going against you - remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it' Henry Ford.

Are you loving life this week? Do share the good news!

Linking with #FridayPhoto

Wednesday 23 November 2016

All wrapped up - #ChristmasLinkUP

One of the things I truly hate about Christmas is the waste - wrapping only to rip the paper off and throw it away. Here's a few little tips on reusable wrapping - very low cost at Ikea.
Gift bags!!
They come in all sizes and quantities - and while the recipient may throw them out, a good deal of them will recycle them with gifts themselves (or pack them away for next year). Saves the planet, saves you money. Win/Win!

I get the advent calendar ones for my little gifts to bookclub, mah jong and the other 'groups' I'm part of. (412.99 for 24)

 There are larger ones in packs of 12.

And for big gifts, get a festive looking carry tote, that can be part of the gift itself! ($3.99)

Ikea is also selling seed embedded cards that can be planted to grow Swan River Daisies. The proceeds from the card sales go towards the HeartKids charity in Australia. Double win for the people and the planet.

Another alternative is to forgo wrapping and give actual paper! Who Gives a Crap? has festively wrapped toilet paper or tissues and kitchen paper towel. The proceeds go to building toilets around the world. See their impact on greenhouse gases and forests here.

Not environmental but worth a mention, Central Park has a selfie santa gift wrap and Christmas Choir flashmobs this festive season.

Link up your Christmas posts, old or new, below or add any Christmas tips to the comments!

Linking with #MummyMondays

Monday 21 November 2016

The Yes Men

Yes men are usually described as weak person who agrees with their superiors or a sycophant. In this post I'm talking about the other type of Yes men (and yes, I'm making up my own definitions but what's your point?). 

As you get older, people become reluctant to commit to anything, or worse, they never actually want to do anything fun for some reason. Everything because a drawn out process. One of the best text messages I ever received was from a friend of my partner, when I decided we'd go out with his friends to see a show. I don't know him very well but he replied to the invite instantaneously with "That's sounds great. We'd love to come but I'll just have to check with my wife and make sure we're free" (obviously he just said his wife's name...I'm editing for privacy). I was struck with the enthusiasm and said to my partner 'That's what we need, more enthusiastic friends like that! People that just say Yes!')

We need to surround ourselves with people who get excited about things, because it is contagious. We recently went on a boat and my friends all oooh'd and aah'd because it was truly AMAZING and something we rarely do. When the waiters turned up with the food. the boat almost tipped over as we all ran to take photos! We all felt so lucky to be there, and lucky to live in such a beautiful city, and kept telling each other how sensational it all was. In the past we have done similar boat outings with others who didn't seem to notice all the magnificence on offer. Maybe they go on boats more often, maybe they had other things going on and couldn't rise above it but the difference in the vibe was palpable. I don't ever want to become the person that stops seeing the good things in life as something special.

However, as you get older, that's exactly what you do. The major flaw in humans is we become jaded and tired and mundane life overwhelms us. I too am guilty of this. I was booking tickets for the Festival and noticed that one of the shows I was booking started at midnight. I thought to myself I'd skip it as we'd be too tired. My 70 year old friend coming with me replied "It will be fun. We did one this year and it was great. We'll just go to dinner first" as if I was insane for even questioning it. I had that moment of self realisation when I discovered I was slowly slipping into that apathetic mire. Fortunately, nothing shames you as much as being fossilized, so I booked the tickets and am now quite excited about it. I am also extremely grateful to have such cool and fun loving friends, regardless of age!

Gordon Parks noted 'Enthusiasm is the electricity of life' and I think this is the perfect description. It lights up the room, it fills you with hope, joy and excitement. It's the sparkle in your eyes and the swing in your gait (to borrow from Henry Ford). And as I said, it's catching. Watch the way children think everything is great. So great, excellent, perfect. Their terminology is in extremes. As teens it falls into pretty good, okay, alright; and for some reason we never really recover from that.

Look at your interactions, look at yourself, and start making the minor changes. Most importantly, be a yes man and start the change. 

Saturday 19 November 2016


This weekend we got out for X-race - a family team building race where you run in teams of 1 adult, 1 child. Over the 5 kms, there are 10 obstacles - sewing buttons, dancing, building lego and many more. The child also leads the blind folded adult, directing only with their voice. As I had the blindfold, I can't tell you how far it was, but it felt a very long time. Depending on the age of your child, it's also quite scary!!

It was held in Newington Armory, and as I'd never been before, I took a few pics on the way home. It's really quite a lovely setting with lots of interesting curiosities. I think we'll be back with the bikes in the School Holidays!

It was a great way to spend a Sunday, and have a fabulous time as a family.

In a rare change, we just played together. You could say we were all loving life in that moment! And you? What did you get up to this week?

Linking with #PhotoFriday

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Advent - Christmas Link Up

We all know what an Advent calendar is, but do we know what Advent is?

'Today, the Advent season lasts for four Sundays leading up to Christmas. At that time, the new Christian year begins with the twelve-day celebration of Christmastide, which lasts from Christmas Eve until Epiphany on January 6. (Advent begins on the Sunday that falls between November 27th and December 3rd each year.) ' (from this website)

A brief chronology from this site tells us that the first known Advent calendar is recorded in 1851, so they aren't a new thing. At the beginning of the 20th century  Gerhard Lang produced the first Advent Calendars with little doors to open, previously they'd been crossing off or adding pictures or candles. Advent Calendars filled with Chocolate were already available in 1958. Who knew? When I was a kid we only got the picture one - and only once and then used it each year, carefully shutting back the flaps and putting it away until the next year.

I have gone to ebay for pokemon lego to fill an Ikea reusable one, and the girls are getting make up ones for a bit of fun.

As a treat for myself, I got the L'Occitaine one ...

but then received this sensational one in the mail from a friend! It's full of all different teas for each day! I've never seen it before but it is the perfect gift. I literally squealed with delight when I opened it!

Ikea also sells little bags that you can put number stickers on and make your own, for the more creative.

I acknowledge it's all quite farcical as we're actually just counting down the days until presents. By getting daily presents. So technically I'm intellectually against this, but like all traditions, logic goes out the window and common sense does not prevail.

Do you do the advent thing? Do you think it's stupid and commercial? Do you make your own, and if so, what do you put in it?

(Housekeeping. Please feel free to link your Christmas posts. I will however have to delete non Christmas ones. They can be pro-Christmas, Bah Humbug anti-festive, Gift ideas (but link back to the Christmas link up please), seasonal food ideas, old or new but they do need to be Christmas related.) 
Linking with #MummyMondays,  

Monday 14 November 2016

Post Trump World.

I will admit I'm in quite a funk, post election, even though I saw it coming in January and have been arguing with everyone that he would get in. I so wanted to be wrong. However, all I will say is this, stolen from Tom Thum's facebook page "a presidency that has divided a nation almost down the middle. There is nothing more dangerous than extreme divisions, I really hope people remember that they are humans." We must act when necessary, rise above it all and hope that we survive the next four years. (For those interested in History, this article on Trump & Brexit, written awhile back, sums up the new world order and it's dangers, perfectly).

However, I am making this a Trump free zone. I am having a space where I avoid filling my headspace with the doom and focus on the light.

So here is what I'm LOVING right now:

1. Assembly Pizza. So amazing. And if you go Sunday nights, there's a  $10 special.

2. Bread & Butter Project. You can buy their bread at markets and David Jones. I had their olive bread at Social Brew and it totally blew my mind (that I had to ask the waiter about it like a nutter). 
The Bread & Butter Project is "Australia's first social enterprise bakery, 100% of our profits are reinvested into baker training and employment pathways for refugees and asylum seekers.". Not only is it the best bread in Sydney, you can feel good about yourself eating it.

3. Parov Stelar. I'm totally Hooked on P.S!

Just a reminder that the Christmas Link up goes live each Friday. 
Give me your current pick me ups for this global gloom!

Linking with #FortheloveofBLOG and #OpenSlather

Sunday 13 November 2016

The Bloody Long Walk

On the weekend, I took off from Malabar to walk to the City as part of The Bloody Long Walk, to raise money to cure Mitochondrial disease (mito) . Having only ever walked 28kms, I was a little worried about the extra 7, but I managed them with only slight discomfort by the end (though I am going to lose a toenail, I think, which came after dropping something on my foot in the move, and then irritated by 73kms of walking in 2 weeks. Only time will tell...

The highlights of the walk for me was seeing parts of our beautiful city I didn't know existed. and a whale breaching. We saw the puff of spray from the mummy and then the baby just leapt clear of the water. The woman I was walking with and I both squealed with delight. It was amazing - but alas no photo!

For 7 hours, I was truly loving life. What about you? What are you loving this week?

Linking this old post (because I'm not seeing much of the World at the moment) with #WednesdayAroundtheWorld and #TravelTuesday

Thursday 10 November 2016

New Christmas Traditions

Last year I was put onto a wonderful charity idea, where you take a handbag and fill it with toiletries and treats for adult women. I won't go into all the details - they're here. What I love about this is that it's so easy to do. If you are a savvy shopper, every time you notice something suitable on sale, you grab an extra one. Come November, hey presto, a heavily laden goodie bag is full! 

There are many collection points all over the country, so look for one near you here.

The bags are due by December 3, so they can make it to the recipients by Christmas. There are some rules on what you can't pack, so read over the instructions before purchase.

While I organise the kids Advent Calendars, this new tradition for me has also been on my mind. I've been down in the dumps lately so I decided to finish off the purchases and have the bag ready to go. I have to say I really enjoyed getting the final touches and the lovely goodies to go with the more practical side I'd collected over the last month or so.

I also got some of the Thank You body lotion so I'm giving twice, which made me doubly happy. They've also started making a Coffee Body Scrub for $14.95 which makes for a great girly present. The Thank You products come with a tracker code so you can see which part of the world the profits from the product you purchased are going to. (My coffee scrub profits are going to a hygiene project in MANDARBARI WASH, BANGLADESH.)

When do you start thinking about Christmas? Have you started any new traditions? What would you put in the bag? Do you like the gifts that give twice?

This is the first of the weekly Christmas link up. Please add one Christmas themed post below. #ChristmasLinkUp

Linking with the #OpenSlather and #MummyMondays

Monday 7 November 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Last year, I held a link up every Friday for Xmas themed posts. This year, I plan to do the same. I am particularly grinchy at the moment, so figured now is as good as any time to start.

This Friday, and for the next 7 weeks, join in with me sharing (or trying to build) some Christmas Cheer.

No rules on what you link, as long as it's Christmas related. (As for start time, you know me, I'm fairly flexible on dates and times so first thing, or maybe even the night before ;)

I leave you with this Christmas Song - skip it if easily offended, it's dark and kooky.

See you Friday!

Linking with #ThrivingonThursday

Sunday 6 November 2016

Loving Sydney, Loving Life

Linking up an old post with #WednesdayAroundtheWorld because I'm really not getting out and doing anything of interest. But the pretty pictures make me smile! Stay safe everyone - and stay home!

Have had a crazy busy few weeks, with many frustrations and been a little down in the dumps, we spent a stellar Saturday on the water, as those of you who follow my Instagram may already know. Sydney Harbour is truly beautiful, and when you're lucky enough to get invited on a boat with your friends, it's even better! The ability to instantaneously forget all your woes is amazing!

A sensational seafood feast and then we toured the city coves on the way to Chinaman's Beach for a swim (is that still what it's called? It seems a little offensive now).

Lots of fun was had by all and after a very busy weekend, it was most definitely the highlight. The water was this stunning green but my phone, which is the worst, wouldn't pick up any of the colours! 

It was a good reminder of the fact that no matter what else is going on, there are still so many things to love about life!

We even saw a submarine out on the water, which I've never seen before!

What are you loving this week?

Do you get out on boats often? Ferry, kayak, tinny?

We did miss the ice cream boat because we were too slow to notice it (but neither did the kids so there was no complaints!

Linking with #Allseasons because it's heading into boat day season