The Stay-Cation

The Staycation

Remember when you were a kid and the most vivid summer memories were always about simple fun under the Australian sun with your best friends and your family? {With Fluro zinc cream on your nose}

I’m talking bright blue skies, hot hot days, ice blocks melting faster than you can eat them, slip n slide with detergent for extra speed, Bbq’s, the sound of neighbours kids playing, cicadas providing your summer soundtrack, sand castles, jumping over waves, and riding your new bike on Christmas morning.

Sun, sand, salt and surf. Friends, fun and family. These were the ingredients to our stay-cation and it was bliss. It was one of the best holidays we’ve had and we didn’t even need a suitcase or a passport.

Boogie board over one shoulder, towel over the other. Bucket and spade in one hand, child’s tiny hand in the other. A visit from Pa who lives interstate. We bought furniture and we de-cluttered. Room by room, cupboard by cupboard. I donated 6 bags of clothing! And another 4 bags of baby things.

Maybe this is why our stay-cation was so good. We got a holiday AND we got super organised ready for whatever 2015 will throw at us.

The Huz had a list of household handy jobs that could all be completed with a cordless drill, a phillips head screw driver, a lawn mower, an Ikea provided allen key, a can of Wd40 and a bottle of weed killer.

Side note… I don’t recommend visiting Ikea with two kids under five after four hours at the aquatic centre. It looks like this…

Ikea

After the events of last year {both on a personal and global scale} all we wanted to do was be close to home with those we love and our stay-cation was a reminder that it really is all about the simple things.

And you know you’ve had a good break when you are actually ok at the thought of going back to the rat race and getting back into some sort of routine. I think the key to this is the magic three weeks. Two weeks is just not quite enough. Three is just perfect. But of course I’d take more if I could!

So here’s our perfect Aussie summer in pictures.

Christmas went something like this…

Does it get much cuter than a kid in a dressing gown!?

Does it get much cuter than a kid in a dressing gown!?

Home made gifts for our besties & neighbours {thanks The Organised Housewife for the idea}

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Train

Jingle, our Elf on the shelf provided lots of cheeky laughs and I almost cried when the kids said goodbye to him Christmas Eve.

Jingle, our Elf on the shelf provided lots of cheeky laughs and I almost cried when the kids said goodbye to him Christmas Eve.

Thanks Santa!

Thanks Santa!

I actually have 3 kids!!

I actually have 3 kids!!

Our 2morrows were so into Chrissy this year and it was just magical.

Our 2morrows were so into Chrissy this year and it was just magical.

Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo

Damn selfie stick!!

Damn selfie stick!!

Giraffes view of Sydney

Luckiest giraffes in the world. That view!

Taronga Seals

Master 3 was a bit scared of the Dinosaurs. Look how real they looked!

Master 3 was a bit scared of the Dinosaurs. Look how real they looked!

Taronga Dinosaurs

Home Stuff

We bought furniture, the kids got new beds and we finally did my picture wall which was months in the making. Thanks handy man Dad for hanging my Frames!

{Oh Happy Days foil print from Down That Little Lane. I just couldn’t part with the pineapple and watermelon Scatter Love Cards from Fat Mum Slim and Emma Kate Co. They were screaming to be framed!}

Picture Wall

Miss 5 lost her first tooth! Thankfully the tooth fairy was on her game!

Miss 5 lost her first tooth! Thankfully the tooth fairy was on her game!

Date Day!

We had an amazing date day. Yes, a whole Day! Hot stone massage for two, lunch at my current fave restaurant. Papi Chulo @ Manly, a big long romantic walk and frozen yoghurt whilst watching the waves roll in. Romance!

Papi Chulo

Meat Fest!

Meat Fest!

We swam. We beached. We did picnics. We slip n slided…

Freshwater Beach

This photo makes my heart sing!

This photo makes my heart sing!

Salt in the air sand in my hair

Slip N Slide

Freshwater Beach

The blimp seemed to follow us everywhere we went!

The blimp seemed to follow us everywhere we went!

Shelley Beach

Aquatic Centre

We spent 4 hours here!!

Manly To Spit Coastal Walk

I did the manly to spit walk with my fave gals on the most divine day ever, followed by a dip in the ocean! It was sooo good and we’ve vowed to do it more often.

Manly Wharf

Yay No kids!

Yay No kids!

Manly to spit

Shan & Jo Manly to Spit Walk

God's Country

God’s Country

Clontarf

Balgowlah

Love this city sydney

Yep, I really do love this city!

Sometimes the best vacation is a stay-cation. We will definitely be doing it again!

Have you even done a stay-cation? What was your favourite part?

Shannon xx pink

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Love Want Need 5

Wow. What a week!

I had my last work trip of the year and can now focus on getting into festive mode. The tree will be going up this week end, Michael Buble will be on high rotation and the Huz will be putting the finishing touches on the roof lights. Yay!

Amongst the chaos of this week I’ve managed to still spot some gorgeous bits and pieces for the Love Want Need list that are so awesome they just need to be shared, so here they are…

Love Want Need 5

1. Handcrafted reclaimed timber toddler chair from Down That Little Lane. $95.
This would be uber cute in the kids cubby house!

2. Scatter Love Post Cards from Emma Kate Co. and Fat Mum Slim $20.
Super excited to rekindle the old school way of sending love. I think I might frame the pineapples and watermelons! So much gorgeousness!

3. Christmas Homemade Gifts ebook $7.99.
The talented duo, Lucy from Bake Play Smile And Lauren from Create Bake Make have collaborated and released this amazing ebook with a collection of 16 classic Christmas Favourites. The perfect gift for friends, family and teachers and 100% of all November sales go to Ovarian cancer Australia and the Mater Little Miracles so get in quick!

Be sure to follow both their blogs and catch them on Facebook for more mouth watering deliciousness!

4. Olympus OM-D EM10
I first discovered this baby via Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim and entered to win one. We have been wanting to upgrade for ages and get a ‘real’ camera. I didn’t win unfortunately but I did get to play with Sammy’s from The Annoyed Thyroid at high tea a few weeks back and I fell in love. It had me at built in wifi. It’s on the Christmas list! Maybe a pressie for the whole family? Please Santa??!

5. Adore Tea Ballet of Flowers – Flower Ball “Hua Shang Ba Lie”. 4 pack $14.50. 
I picked these up on a quick visit to Canberra recently but you can also buy them online. Quite possibly the prettiest tea I’ve ever had. You watch as the hand rolled leaves unfurl to reveal an exquisite bouquet of jasmine flowers, pink globe amaranth and yellow chrysanthemum. Calm in a cup!

6. Tassel Pom Pom Necklaces from Archery Collections $46
Did you Spot these in Scatter Love postcards pic above? I LOVE tassels and pom-poms so I had to give these their own mention. Super cool and handmade! You know how much I love gorgeous handmade things!

So tell me… what are you loving, wanting, needing lately?

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Clever Cookie School Of Blog – Freshly Baked Graduate

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I was scrolling through my Facebook feed back in August, when I came across this post…

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And it got me thinking…

Hmm, I should totally do that course and finally start blogging as my blog had just been sitting there idle for over five years.

And it wasn’t just any blog course, it was run by Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim fame. For those not familiar with Chantelle, she’s an uber talented, creative, successful Aussie blogger, voted 2013’s most clickable woman, founder of the famous #fmsphotoaday challenges and Little Moments App. Together with the equally talented and creative Rowe, an Australian natural light portrait and commercial photographer and co-founder of 3 Annie’s, creators of beautiful leather camera bags – these two creative souls who first met fifteen years ago while both working as nannies in Sydney had spent years brainstorming, dreaming and putting together this course.

So this wasn’t just any old course. If I was going to do a blogging course, this was the one for me. You see it was Chantelle who originally inspired me to want to start a blog all those years ago via her letters to Lacey.

I had just had my first baby, was on mat leave and wanted to start documenting life as a new parent and write letters to my new little miss. I only ever intended to set it to private, it would just be for me to look back on in years to come.

But life got in the way, two babies in two years and next thing I knew… five years felt like five minutes and although I thought about it an awful lot, I had still not started that blog…  And then I saw the Clever Cookie Facebook post, and not long after, I saw this one…

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And before I knew it, I had handed over my money and was enrolled in the first intake of The Clever Cookie School of Blog and was sitting on my couch with a glass of wine nervously thinking to myself “Crap… what have I just done? Now I really have to start that blog!”

I’d been wanting to do something like this for a while now. Something just for me, to inspire, to keep my brain active and ultimately gain enough courage to finally start that blog and what the hell… maybe even make it public. HUGE deal for me.

Some people choose Sudoku or crosswords to keep their mind active, I choose blog school.

I received my gorgeous clever cookie welcome pack in the mail and the next week was spent goal setting and learning how to use wordpress, chosing a template and getting the blog as ready as possible for blog school. Then the night before the course started I thought.. shit, it’s all well and good to have a blog, but I really should actually post something!

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Clever Cookie Welcome Pack and my original goals set.

Then the back and forth in my mind started. Well what should I do my first post on? It can’t just be on any random topic. Oh the pressure! It was Father’s Day that day and I though bugger it, I’ll just write and see what comes to mind and this is what I ended up nervously pressing publish on.

Short n sweet to start with and the feedback I received gave me a spring in my step for that entire week and from that point on, I think I had what they call ‘the bug.’ Yep, as I’d heard, blogging is rather addictive.

Since that first post, I’ve published five more posts and in four weeks I’ve learnt a truckload of stuff through this inspiring course. Everything from photography to finding your voice. I’ve heard first hand from super inspiring, creative successful individuals like Zoe Foster-Blake, Nikki Parkinson from Styling You fame, Hailey Bartholomew and many more clever contributors.

Being a marketer I thought I was pretty up with some of this stuff, but I have been blown away by the course content and now have a list longer then my leg of things to master and keep me challenged. Things like this…

Rowe and Chantelle have been simply amazing, sharing their knowledge with so much passion and have been there every step of the way to answer our silly questions and provide guidance.

I’ve been inspired more than I thought possible and I honestly never would have found the courage to start this blogging journey without this course.

The community of Clever Cookies have been so supportive and I can’t wait to meet the Sydney based Cookies IRL (that’s in real life in blog speak) when we get together for our graduation celebration in a couple of weeks.

So Chantelle and Rowe, thank you thank you for pouring your everything into this course and for being there every step of the way. What you have created with Clever Cookie is something very special and I’ve learnt so much from you both.

I’ll be forever grateful for the connections I’ve made with this awesome group of like minded Cookies who will no doubt continue to support and inspire each other for years to come.

In Chantelle’s words…

“Time to throw confetti and pop the champagne! The world is your cookie!”

School my be out, but this little blogging adventure has just begun!

If you think Clever Cookie School of Blog may be for you, check it out here. Highly recommend you do!

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