Sunday, August 21, 2016

Scrapbooking: Stay wild

The third and final layout I created at the retreat. This photo epitomises Kate and Luke. Kate is pretending to be a horse while Luke is pretending he has guns. I am totally loving anything Swiss cross at the moment. In fact, I'm going to start cutting a quilt out for Luke and it's going to be in a Swiss cross design.

Gah, I forgot to stamp the date before photographing it! Oh well!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bushwalk: Ulandra Nature Reserve - Goodens Trail

Since moving away from the magnificent Blue Mountains, I have been trying to research places to go bushwalking that isn't too far from home. I live about 1 1/2 hours away from Kosciuszko N.P., but I'm saving those trails for one of my bucket list items, walking the Hume and Hovell track.

In the mean-time, I needed to find some other walking locations. I found some NSW topographical maps that are hosted by the Lands and Property Information Office (google: land and property six maps and you'll find it). I found that there were some nature reserves not too far from my town. I searched the names of these reserves but couldn't find much information at all. I happened to come across a document that said people use the reserves for walking.

So, I picked Ulandra Nature Reserve as it was the closest to my house and got my gear ready. After weeks of rain and cold, the weekend's forecast was 16 degrees and sunny. Perfect.


The beginning of the track is known as Eulolo Trail.


The recent rain meant some parts of the trail were a bit soggy, but not enough to be a pain.


The tracked opened up onto some cleared land.


And then around the corner and up a small hill, there were some ruins.


The trail continues across cleared land for a couple of kilometres and then back into some scrub. I then come across the turn-off for the trail I am here to go on, Goodens Trail.


It's a nice change as the track is softer underfoot. Not far along the trail is a small rocky waterfall.


Which I decide to have a photo with.


The track goes on and on and it becomes scrubby. I turn up the Pig Pen Trail, but I'm not quite sure why it's there as it doesn't go very far and there's not much at the end of it. So, off I go again so I can find the end of the trail.


I make it to the end of Goodens Trail. I stop for lunch and then turn around for the walk back to the car.


In all, I walked 14.2kms in 3hrs 15mins, with a total ascent/descent of 325m. It was a really nice walk and next time, I'll check out some of the other trails.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Scrapbooking: Smile

This time I decided to have a go at the smaller 8.5x11 format as sometimes 12x12 feels too big. I'd printed off a bunch of photos that I had kind of put in the too hard basket and skipped over, so I decided it was time to finally get them scrapped. These were taken on Father's Day a few years ago. I also used some of my too good to use stash, Basic Gray brads. Winning.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Scrapbooking: Bubbles

Another retreat, except this time, I only created three layouts. This was probably because I was hosting it and as an organiser, you do spend much more time making sure everyone else is ok, rather than actually getting any scrapping done! Not to worry!

The first layout, Bubbles, was created for a Scrap the Girls challenge. One product I am loving at the moment is vellum. It is great to soften brighter papers. Oh my sweet baby, where has the time gone?!


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Travel: Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk

On the Easter long weekend I decided to take the kids to climb the summit of Mt Kosciuszko. I booked a motel through Booking.com, and like always, filtered by price and choose the cheapest one. We ended up at the Alpine Resort Motel. We arrived in Jindabyne earlier than check-in so we went back into the centre of town as there was an art show and a quilt show. We killed an hour or so before it was time to check-in.

Our room was a little small, but it was enough for the four of us (Steve was working).


After check-in, I had a nap as the drive was quite tiring. After our rest, we decided to go in search of food, however, we were a bit early and nothing was opened! We ended up going to Lake Jindabyne Hotel and the food is so delicious and filling that we struggle back to our motel.

In an effort to work off dinner, we decide to play a few games of table tennis and pool. A few ends up turning into a few hours, but it's all good, as we are really enjoying ourselves!


We head to bed and wake up early for our trip up Mt Kosciuszko. We drive over to Thredbo, us and every other person in NSW! It's absolutely packed full of walkers and mountain bike riders. We have to park 1km away, which only adds to the kids excitement (it doesn't, I'm being sarcastic). We wait in a quickly moving queue and purchase our lift tickets, which cost $70 for the four of us,


The kids are freaking out on the chairlift and are happy to be off it, even if it means a 13km walk.


About 250m into the walk, Amy tries to sit down. She's already had enough. I urge her on and she starts walking again, only for Luke to start having an epic nosebleed. Sigh. It's going to be a long walk.

We make it to the lookout and Amy is ready to pack it in. Mt Kosciuszko is the hump above Amy's head. Pretty unimpressive at this stage.


We start off again and we come across the kilometre markers, although I don't actually explain what these mean to the kids as I don't really need them knowing...






And the last one:


Amy struggled a little, not with the walk, but I think she was bored. While ever I was talking and making up stories, she happily walked along, but as soon as I stopped, she would start complaining again. I just had to keep her mind off the task.

So, as I said earlier, Thredbo was quite busy. I was not expecting however, to have to stand in line for 20 minutes on top of Australia's highest mountain just so I could have a photo taken with the trig.

But I did.


And it was worth it.


And then the walk back again.....

It took us about 4 hours from the top of the chairlift to when we returned to the chairlift.

A couple of important notes:
  • Take plenty of water, I didn't drink enough and I felt it!
  • Just because it's cold, doesn't mean you won't get sunburned. Think of Goldmember in Austin Powers, yep, that was me afterwards.
But do it - you won't regret it!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Scrapbooking: Everyday is an adventure

The last layout I created at the retreat is everyday is an adventure. These photos were taken on a spur of the moment trip to Sydney to see the giant rubber duck. After we saw the duck, we walked down to Circular Quay to see the Opera House. We had a great day that involved lots of walking and slushies as it was so hot!


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Scrapbooking: Australia Day and Adventure

Two more layouts from the retreat. One is from Australia Day with photos of the ferry race. I'd always wanted to go into the harbour and see the race and this year I bundled the kids up and we went!


These photos are from our 2009 trip to New Zealand. We were so excited to be flying on an A380 as they were new planes.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Scrapbooking: Laugh and bike riding

A while ago I went to a scrapbooking retreat at Waterfall. I had a great time catching up with some awesome creative friends. In the end, I completed five layouts and if anyone knows me, they know this is a huge effort as I'm such a slow scrapbooker.

The first layout includes some photos that were taken at Penrith Regatta Centre one day when we went there for a bike ride and a picnic. I was trying to learn some new techniques using gelatos. The technique involves scribbling circles on a plastic bag (12x12 ziplock works great for this), then spraying it with water, scrunching it up and laying the paper on it. It gives a nice watercolour effect.


And then I had these super cute photos of Amy that needed scrapping.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Scrapbooking: Love these people

It's been a while since I shared a layout! This is one of my absolute favourite photos. Amy wasn't even a year old. Kate and Luke would wheel Amy around the house so she could watch them play.

I was given a challenge piece of paper to use, the white cutout one that runs across the middle. It's actually bright pink, so I turned it over and used the white side instead. The stitching around the outside took forever, by the way. I'm not in love with this layout, but it's done and it's another memory captured in an album.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Travel: Gold Coast Day 8

Our last day on the Gold Coast. We have had the best time. We head into the main area of Surfers Paradise one last time for souvenirs and our flight doesn't leave until the afternoon. We take the typical tourist photo.


We check out and make our way back to Coolangatta airport. We board our plane.


And head back to Sydney.


I should have kept a tally of the costs, but I didn't. I'd say all up we spent about $4500, but that includes flights, accommodation, car hire, entrance fees and food for the five of us. We ate out every night and while I took sandwiches and fruit with us for lunch, we always seemed to end up buying more. You can do this trip much cheaper, but however you do it, you'll have some amazing memories to look back on.


Check out the rest of the days:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5 & 6
Day 7

Friday, June 17, 2016

Travel: Gold Coast Day 7

Today Kate, Luke and I head back to Movie World as this was their favourite park. Steve and Amy decide to go to the beach and Timezone. We head over to the Wild West flume ride to see if it's open. It is and there's basically no line. We get straight on and I have to admit, it's a fantastic ride.


After this ride, Kate makes it her mission to go on the Scooby Doo ride as many times as she can. She cracks ten times.


And somehow in all this madness, I get her to come on the Arkham Asylum with me. She kept her eyes closed the whole way, but she still did it.


Afterwards we duck into Sea World as Kate lost her hat there on our first day. We have half an hour to spare so we decide to make the most of it and Luke and I ride the Storm Coaster five times in a row. Awesome.

Dinner that night is the most expensive meal we have had. We go to Bazaar at QT, an all you can eat buffet that will cook you anything you want. I think I got my money's worth eating the Balmain Bugs and prawns. It was delicious and we almost had to roll back to Q1.



This is our last night before we head back home. I don't know if we are ready to go home.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Reading: TIME on the new app

This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and TIME.


I was at the airport yesterday on my way home from Adelaide as I was there for work. Of course I was killing time in the newsagency/bookshop before my flight. I picked up a copy of TIME Magazine and had a flick through it. I am a long time reader of TIME. When I was in year 10, I needed to complete an assignment that collated health articles out of newspapers and magazines. I came across TIME as part of this assignment and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve never been interested in gossip magazines and so when I do buy magazines, I will go for either TIME or a science magazine. I find the topics so much more interesting and the best part is I’m actually learning things! Things I have contributed to actual adult conversations!


When I started using Twitter, TIME was one of the very first accounts I started following. I had no idea how Twitter worked and so I just did some random searches of things I was interested in and TIME popped up and I started following them. I have since downloaded the new TIME app onto my iPad, and checked out the free issue. It was from July 2015, the Answers Issue.


I have to admit that I’ve even stopped checking out certain news sites on the web. I find these sites full of celebrity stories that have zero impact on my life. Sometimes it feels like these pieces are written just to fill a quota of articles or with specifically designed content to ‘go viral’. I am uninterested. I want articles on people, on places, on world-wide events that mean something. I want in-depth and factual information of world events and issues. This is what I am interested in. This is what I am passionate about.


This is such a cool edition as it has the articles I know and enjoy, as well as some really cool infographics. The app has interactive pages, so when you touch the + signs on the plane for example, additional information pops up. Turns out we should be sitting at the back of the plane.


Seriously, the app is great, it features all the normal print articles and sections, but it even comes with bonus digital content, which includes audio of the articles, which is great for me as I love to listen to podcasts while I craft. There’s also videos and interactive content. It’s taken TIME to a totally new level. You really have to check out this YouTube video as I can’t explain how awesome this app is in words (well, I can, but we’ll be here all day): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xMqOyyPlDs or on this Vimeo link: https://vimeo.com/170239785


And because TIME wants everyone to experience and explore the world of what quality journalism is (I’m looking at you, click baiters!), they are now offering a 65% off subscription deal until the end of June, get it here!  Steve’s got his big 4-0 birthday coming up and I know exactly what I am going to get him as he loves TIME as well! I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read my blog, so he’s not going to find out. And I know who’s going to be more excited, me!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Travel: Gold Coast Days 5 & 6

We had kept an eye on the weather all week and timed these two days accordingly. Friday was meant to be hot while Saturday had a forecast of rain. 

So on Friday we once again head out to the theme park area and go to Wet n Wild. Now since you are basically running around in your swimmers all day, you don't keep your belongings on you, so needless to say, I took very few photos on the day. They have a wrist band that you load money onto and that is what you use to buy food and drinks throughout the day. It's a great idea.

These two photos were taken on the Calypso Beach ride where you just floated around and around. It was awesome and importantly, Amy was enjoying it!



Luke and I decided to go on the Aqua Loop, the ride where you're in a capsule and the floor falls away and you free fall up to 60km/hr apparently. Well, we get to the front of the line and there's a weight restriction so Luke isn't able to go on it as he is too light. I figure, I may as well go on it and I can tell him about it. He's probably lucky he didn't go on it. It wasn't fun. It wasn't terrifying or anything, it just wasn't fun having water sprayed into your face for the entire ride. Next.

All up, I think we ended up going on every ride. I really think Wet n Wild is my favourite park out of the three that we have visited.

Dinner that night was Pancakes on the Rocks,

Saturday is teeming with rain, so we head up to the outlet stores at Harbour Town. There are bargains to be had, Amy got a pair of Adidas sneakers for $30, but you do need to look for them. not all the store appear to be outlet stores. But we still enjoyed out shopping trip.

That night we eat Italian and for the kids, there's a clown for entertainment. He made Luke a sword and Kate and Amy a dog each. Wow, Amy looks so tired in this photo!


After dinner, we go 10 pin bowling! And there's Amy again as every one else refuses to be in my photos. Humph.


Only one more day left.