So tomorrow my husband and I are heading to Perth for 7 nights without our kids. We are going over for our friends wedding, but we also thought we would make use of the trip and see some of WA as well. This will be our first time away from our kids for this amount of time so I am especially feeling very unsure, nervous, scared and all the rest. I know they will be in good hands and I will miss them like crazy. But on the other hand my hubby and I don’t do many date nights so this will be a well needed time together.
As a child, I still remember the feeling of excitement knowing that today was the day we get to go to Dreamworld. We want to make sure that we give our children the same feeling as well so we decided to take them for the day and have some fun!
We arrived at Dreamworld at 9am so we could have some time at the new Lego Store which has been recently built. The store had everything you would need from the hardcore enthusiast to a first time buyer.
There were many cool lego statues, displays, products for all ages and a play area for the kids (and big kids!)
After entering the front gates we took some family photos and then went on a ride on the train which takes you around the park.
We jumped off the train at the Dreamworld Corroboree area and saw some animals. The vintage cars were under maintenance for the day so we walked back past the giant drop where Darren unsuccessfully convinced his 8 year old to go on it with him!
Before walking through to the ABC kids world Tahlin and Daddy snuck away to ride the Mick Doohan Motorcoaster ride and joined back up at the Big Red Car ride.
We then went to Tiger Island and watched the beautiful tigers for a while. We are animal lovers and it’s great to be able to show and teach the kids about the importance of animal conservation and what Dreamworld is doing to help the Tigers and other animals.
Saving the Tigers
In the wild, tigers face a grim future.
Tigers are one of the most endangered species on the planet according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES).
There are approximately 3,000 tigers remaining in the wild and their survival is constantly threatened.
With three subspecies already extinct, the plight of the tiger is a serious problem largely caused by humans in three major ways: hunting, poaching and destruction of the habitat.
At the current rate of poaching and habitat loss, it is estimated that tigers in the wild could completely disappear within the next ten years.
To discover other ways you can help save animals in the wild, click here
We came through to the Dreamworks Experience area where Zahladee had a photo with Po the Panda. Tahlin went on the bumper cars, along with the Madagascar Rollercoaster and the ever popular MAD Jungle Jam where you can throw and shoot foam balls at each other!
We continued through to watch the Wipeout and The Claw Rides until we decided to have lunch. Time really flies when you are continually moving from section to section!
One thing we did notice that most of the food vendors were still shut from the unfortunate closure of Dreamworld, so we went and got some sandwiches, burgers and chips with a drink at the main food area.
The King Julien’s Theatre had the Madagascar Show and our Little Miss Z loved every minute of it. After that we had some more fun around the Dreamworks area riding on Shrek’s Merry-go-around, Puss in Boots Sword Swing, Gingy’s Glider and then back for a few more rides on the Madagascar Rollercoaster. All that and a quick pic for Zahladee with Gingy.
Daddy managed to persuade Tahlin to go on The Claw which is quite a scary ride for an 8 year old kid! He took it in his stride except for the part where he said that he wanted to get off halfway through swinging up and around and up and around! We were proud of him for doing it.
We were disappointed with finding out that the Hot Wheels Rollercoaster was down for maintenance, but we did take a good look in the Brock Museum which everyone found really interesting, especially for our son who is quite a car enthusiast. He was in car heaven, but also learn’t a lot about one of Australia’s most famous racing car drivers. We had to drag him out of the gift shop afterwards!
The kids really wanted to go back and see the Tigers, so we donated some money to the Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation and headed back in to watch the tigers again. This time they were playing in the water which was quite fun to watch.
Having a two year old restricts you a little in terms of a routine sleep usually before lunch, so we were quite impressed with our little girl managing to keep up with us for most of the day without a rest. But the time had come at about 3pm where we were noticing a bit of a change in our little Miss Z.
We decided to go through the ABC Kids and Wiggles area one last time (with a sneaky Mick Doohan Ride for the boys!) and call it a day. I’m sure the kids had a great time and would definitely like to come back every weekend!
In terms of numbers of people coming in to Dreamworld it was considerably less than other times we have been and we all know why this is the case. In saying that, we have grown up coming to this wonderful place and we are still going to visit & support Dreamworld as much as we can.
“The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them” – Amelia E. Barr.
I think this quote is quite true, but if you have ever cruised on Royal Caribbean, then I think it does come down to the ship as well!
After meeting on a P&O cruise, Daneve and I have always had a connection with getting out on the high seas and enjoying the occasional cruise. Part of our honeymoon consisted of a Mediterranean cruise with Royal Caribbean and we thoroughly enjoy our time.
After having Tahlin and Zahladee we wanted our children to experience the fun of cruising, so we decided to book a 2016 Christmas and New Years cruise with Royal Caribbean again.
Our trip started with driving to Sydney while visiting Byron Bay and spending nights at Opal Cove Resort in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie. We planned to break up the driving stints on the way down as we didn’t really know how the kids would travel, plus Daneve wanted to catch up with her penpal friend in Port Macquarie.
We also had planned to spend some time with our friends Nat and Ric with their 3 boys near Wollongong before getting on the ship. We were given the option to leave our car there for the two weeks so that we didn’t have to park our car somewhere in Sydney.
Christmas Eve and we boarded the train and travelled to Sydney to began our adventure on Royal Caribbean’s “Explorer of the Seas”. The excitement started to build as we caught our first glimpse of our ship as we pulled into the station at Circular Quay. Tahlin couldn’t believe how big it was as we walked up to the baggage area. The look on his face was priceless!We were a little early, but we managed to have no problems with checking our baggage and filling out all the necessary paperwork before boarding the ship. We had our photos taken and received our security tags from the lovely people serving us. Everyone made our experience checking in quite pleasant and easy-going which was a great start to our adventure.
We walked on board to be greeted with a smile by the ship staff as we walked inside. We suddenly felt the grandeur of the ship and how magnificent this thing actually was, I can’t imagine what our little 1 year old daughter was feeling at that time!
We found our room, cosy but manageable for the four of us, then we decided to have a look around. We found the Windjammer Cafe and grabbed something quick to eat before heading up to the top deck to take in the view of Sydney. We stayed there until we began to move out of the harbour. We had a beautiful sunny day which made things very pleasant as we watched Sydney and its surroundings go by.
We decided to go to dinner in the dining room and found our designated table that had another family already seated. We hadn’t left the harbour yet but the sun was going down as our son Tahlin got his first taste of garlic snails. He was a little hesitant, but after having a go, I would say it became his favourite meal of the cruise.
Santa came the next day which was an experience in itself being in a small stateroom but we made it work. We had a little tree with some decorations so Santa knew where to put the pressies.
The first two days at sea was a great way to explore the ship along with the festivities on offer. The kids met Santa down near the ice rink and had a photo with him. They even got a gift from him along with every other child on board…that’s a lot of kids!
As Daneve & I were return RC cruisers, our family and other return cruisers were invited to a private ice-skating show which turned out to be a highlight for us. Free drinks, front row seats, watching some very talented skaters twist, turn, flip and slide around.
Instead of going into full detail and making this post into a full blown novel, I will summarise the rest of our trip and tell you about the best bits.
Some of the activities we did on the ship (usually on sea days) were as follows:
- Mini golf
- Rock climbing
- Flow rider (Daddy, much to dismay of Tahlin)
- Ice skating (Tahlin’s favourite)
- Swimming in pools
- Kids club
- Watching movies
- Craft and art sessions
- Toddler & baby playroom
- Oh did I mention eating
As you can see there are many things to occupy yourself on a cruise ship like this. I’m positive I have missed some things.
1st stop – Bay Of Islands, New Zealand (11am – 6pm)
We jumped on the tender boats and then a coach to the town Paihia where we walked around the shops & market. We decided to leisurely stroll back to the tender boat pick up point and stopped off at a small beach for a quick swim. As we walked we looked around at the cultural spots, took some photos and headed back to the ship.
2nd stop – Tauranga, New Zealand (6:30am – 5:45pm)
Before boarding the ship we had organised with another family to hire a bus and take everybody to Rotorua Skyline. We met up with the family on the ship before the actual day and made plans with them on where to meet and so on, so that we didn’t have too many delays. The drive was about an hour and we had good weather. You definitely know when you in Rotorua as the smell of sulphur “stings the nostrils!”
We got there fairly early and paid for the tickets and gondola. The main thing we were doing was the luge, which you control with handle bars and a pull back brake. It takes you down various tracks through the trees then you would be picked up by a chair lift back to the top to do it all over again. You chose the track depending on your experience with driving the luges. All in all we had a fantastic day along with hundreds of other people…it did get very busy and the line ups were long!
After using up all our rides we all decided to look at some mud pools in a park close by then make the trip back to Tauranga. It was a very big day and we were all very tired when we got back to port.
3rd Stop – Auckland, New Zealand (7:15am – 6pm)
We didn’t rush off the ship that day as we knew we had all day to look around. When we did get off, we decided to do the tourist thing and buy a “hop on and off” bus ticket.
We jumped off and on at various places picking and choosing when we wanted to look at something.
Parnell Rose Gardens.
Last stop was the City Centre for lunch and then a walk through the shops and back to the ship.
Having small children makes you choose the top priority spots to visit and then secondary spots you may or may not get to depending on the attention level.
4th Stop – Isle Of Pines, New Caledonia (8am – 5pm)
After two days of cruising, along with a New Years celebration, our next stop was Isle of Pines for New Years day. Daneve & I had already been here on the cruise we met on, but this time around it didn’t seem to be as pristine as it was before. It’s easy to see why when you know the amount of cruise ships come by in a year now. That being said we had a good swim and snorkel at a couple of the beaches. If we ever go again, I think we will travel out further on the island next time and find some nice areas to snorkel. The main rock area is completely destroyed by tourists and coral bleaching. Unfortunately the snorkeling wasn’t as good as I was hoping it to be. But we made our own family fun and had a good day at the beach.
5th Stop – Noumea, New Caledonia (7am – 4pm)
Another day at sea enjoying the cruise life until we stopped in Noumea. Again it’s a place where you need to get out and away from the area where the cruise ships dock. On this particular day there was another cruise ship visiting, so it was quite busy to catch a tour bus, hire a moped or just walk around. To top it off it was a Sunday, so all the shops were closed around that area.
We decided to walk to a market after being dropped off by our coach. Wasn’t that exciting, but we managed to get a few little souvenirs before deciding to go back and enjoy the ship.
I know there are some lovely spots in Noumea, but we had one of those days where we didn’t particularly want to trudge around with hundreds of people doing the same thing. Again if we go back, I will be definitely going out and about further away and exploring a little more.
In the next two days, reality started to kick in that the cruise was coming to an end. We crammed as much activities we could and tried not to think that we would be seeing the opera house and harbour bridge very soon.
Tahlin couldn’t get enough of the ice skating, everybody knew Zahladee due to just being cute to everyone. Daneve & I loved the fact that everything was done for you in regards to the cleaning & cooking. We just had to enjoy the cruise and not worry about the tedious chores that reality throws at you.
Skarlett was a fantastic staff member who cleaned and made up our stateroom every day. All the staff were amazing with smiles on their faces 24/7 which must have been hard sometimes.
One thing to consider when thinking of going on a cruise is taking small children. We had Zahladee who is 2 years old, which meant that she was too young to go into the kids club and there was always a time of day where a sleep was involved. This restricted us a little as one of us needed to be with her at all times. Things like shows or activities needed to be planned with the possibility of one of us not getting through something or postponing something in order to stick to our routine. That being said we were in the mindset that she was going to be with us all of the time, so it wasn’t a negative for us and we managed to get through it pretty well.
We had a fantastic time and it wont be the last cruise this family will go on…I can guarantee that!!
Thank you Royal Caribbean – Explorer of the Seas, for confirming to us that cruising is one of the best holiday options for us as a family.
Images © Kish Photography & Design
Before Christmas I was sent one of these wonderful gift packs from The Gift Kit Co. It was so lovely to receive for myself to enjoy. It was what I needed to have some mummy time and to have some time out on my own. The Gift Kit Co creates care packages full of happiness, beauty and love. These are perfect to give as a gift especially to send someone in hospital or someone needing cheering up and time out to relax. I wanted to learn more about how this great small business began and who was behind it. So I have asked Anneliese & Alison the lovely ladies who run The Gift Kit Co a few questions.
Business name: The Gift Kit Co.
Tell me about how your business came about?
The Gift Kit Co. has evolved naturally overtime, almost by osmosis. In fact, when we look back, the writing was on the wall from day one. Almost from the moment we met, ideas started bouncing around whilst we watched our children play together. There were many discussions and great ideas, sometimes over a cheeky glass of champagne, but almost certainly, a good cup of tea. We are passionate about our tea!
When Anneliese’s sister went into hospital unexpectedly while she was pregnant with her second child. Being on opposite sides of the country, Anneliese felt helpless and really wanted to be there. She tried to find a service that would package up some mags and chocolates and other bits and pieces that she could have delivered to her sister in hospital by the next day. But she couldn’t find anything! Alison realized there was a gap in the market and so The Gift Kit Co. began.
Tell us a bit about yourselves?
Both Anneliese and Alison come from administrative backgrounds working in Government. We have over 40 years working experience between the two of us. We both have families which are the most important thing to us and adore our husbands who are forever supportive and present.
What do you sell or service do you offer?
We make showing someone you care easy and affordable. The Gift Kit Co.’s philosophy is simple. Every day there is a different Kit on offer. No scrolling through hundreds of different gift baskets or hampers or sending a bunch of flowers (yet again). It’s an affordable, fuss free option for when you just want to say “I’m thinking of you” or “I wish I could be there” or a simple “thank you”.
Where are you located?
On the Northside of Brisbane, but we ship Australia wide.
How long have you been in business?
We officially launched on the 5th of December with this business.
Do you make custom orders?
We can definitely do custom orders. We love them.
What do you love most about having your own business?
The flexibility to be there for our Children. The dynamic nature of being able to make decisions on the hop knowing that is what is needed to stay current and on-trend.
Do you have anyone else that work for you?
Not yet – well except our husbands.
What are 3 other small businesses do you love and support?
- Our website was designed by Emma Troy Designs who is very talented, approachable and easy to work with.
- We also love supporting any small businesses who can provide us with products for our kits. It’s very important to us to have Australian designed and crafted inclusions in our kits.
- Ice Block Holders – www.iceblockholders.com.au – It is another small business Anneliese runs selling neoprene really fun and funky ice block holders and wine/drink bottle carriers.
Do you have any tips for other small businesses?
Be reasonable with your cash flow in the beginning. Start with smaller ideas which you can build on as your business develops. Don’t over extend yourself where you can’t sleep at night. Be open and honest with your partner and suppliers. Don’t be afraid to try different strategies, you never know what is going to work!
What else do you do?
You mean besides cooking, cleaning, taking kids to extra-curricular activities after school, grocery shopping – haha!
Where can we buy your products from?
Directly through our website. www.thegiftkitco.com.au
Where can people find you online (Instagram,Facebook,Twitter) ?
Name 3 of your favorite Instagram Accounts you love to follow?
What camera do you use to take your beautiful images with?
We both have SLRs, but we tend to use our smartphones.
What are your favourite photo apps you use?
We love Afterlight and Snapseed.
Do you have any great special on at the moment?
Our Gift Kits are always a fabulous affordable price, so we have a special on constantly!
Do you have anything else you would like to share about yourself or your business?
We really want people to embrace our kits as care packages for either themselves or to send some love to another person. Mental health issues continue to grow and impact our society. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our busy lives, but we would like people to step back and take a deep breath and just take some time for themselves or time out to think about a loved one. One small gesture can mean so much to someone who can’t see the way forward at that time.
It was lovely to get to know the thoughts behind this small business The Gift Kit Co and the ladies behind it. I think these are a perfect little gift kits to send or receive. These businesses are the type of ones to remember and support when needing to give or receive something special.
With New Years Eve being tomorrow night I was trying to think when was the last time we had a party at home, so I was flicking through photos and found these. This was the year we brought in 2013 with some of our friends and young children. This party was mainly for the kids and so it was a 10:30pm celebration.
The party was set up out on our back deck. I made a long low floor table using some old doors we had under the house. I made use of many cushions and covered everything in black fabric.
I made a fun Piñata using some recycled cardboard and gold ribbon, this was a hit with the kids. I also used recycled jars and wine bottles along the table as candle holders.
I had some plain gold and silver cheap party hats, that I turned into these fun New Years hats by adding a few things to them. I found that free printable from Pinterest.
I had a few extra fun things for us to use.
I had a balloon each hour for the kids to pop with a activity written inside for them to do.
I really had lots of fun creating these cool photo backdrop using and mixture of paper and paper ribbons.
So many different photos were taken in front of it but I will just share 3 instead of 300 heheh.
This section of the deck I had some photo props, a table set up for food and the fun extras.
Instead of filling these huge balloons with helium I made stands for them out of cardboard tubes and decorated them.
It looked so pretty all lit up at night and it was such a lovely night had by all.
So I hope you all have a great New Years Eve where ever you are and what ever you do to celebrate.
See you all in the 2017!!
The lucky winner of a 2017 Pop Planner is :
Sarah-Rose Mutch (Geelong – VIC)
Congratulation Sarah-Rose I will be in contact with you shortly.
To everyone else don’t forget if you would like to stay in the loop for their next years Pop Planner pre order date you can sign up to their mailing list HERE
Thank you to everyone that entered my first giveaway!
The ladies behind this fun planner are Lara Walsh & Janina Lear which are two super busy women juggling businesses, family, friendships and just life in general.
Every year at this time they would get excited about finding next years planner, but nothing ever met their expectations – not enough pages, too many pages, wrong size, wrong format, you name it! So they decided to create our own.
So that is why the Pop Planner was created!! The Pop Planner is a creative yet practical way for busy women to stay organised. It is such a fun planner and has everything I was after. It will quite literally – help you Plan Organise and Prioritise your busy life!
They have also decided to change things up and have the POP planner in landscape. Controversial! They know. It actually makes way more sense and is practical and easy to get accustomed to.
The POP Planner really is all you need to keep on top of the craziness of your life. In one place you can store all your appointments, important dates, plan daily, weekly and/or monthly. Plan your meals, health goals, your big dream vacation, fun weekends away with your besties. As well as setting important yearly goals and future visions
WHAT IS INSIDE?
Inside the POP Planner you will find
- Yearly Goals broken down into achievable steps
- Monthly overview for planning
- Weekly Layout that allows for daily planning from 7am to 7pm
- Weekly and Monthly Personal and Work To Do Lists
- Health and Wellness Goals to make changes and track progress
- 30 day Game changer each month to track a goal/habit/challenge
- Holiday Escape Planner #makeithappen
- Plan other overnight/weeknight adventures
- Vision Board – #blankspace to draw/paste your dreams and visions
- Expense Tracker/Savings Goals
- Public and School Holidays
- Christmas Double Page Planner. One place to keep track of who to buy for/what to buy/menu planning/theme/fun ideas of festivities to do with friends and family
- 2018 forward date planner – somewhere to start putting next years important dates, subscriptions ending etc
You can order your own HERE
Also if you would like to stay in the loop for next years pre order date they can sign up to our mailing list HERE
Good Luck to all, the one lucky winner will love this planner!!