My yet to be named Fall Kimono

What perfect timing to get back into fashion posts with our #theblendedblogstyle prompt for today being a fall kimono.

A darker hued light kimono has been on my wishlist for awhile but I haven't found anything that catches my eye.  So when I was shopping in Sydney last week I knew exactly what I had to have the minute I saw it.

First off you need to know that I have by observing and analyzing my closet- I have identified an issue I have: no husband, it is not that I have too much clothing.  Rather, when I shop I tend to gravitate to the crazier, bold pieces- which is fine- except that's all I tend to by so I just have a wardrobe of bold prints that don't go together.  I know I need to build my neutrals.  So I was focusing on neutrals when I was shopping and I found the perfect piece.

Second thing I feel compelled to explain is that if I'm travelling abroad, I like to bring home a piece from a local designer.  Hence Virginia coming home with me from London.

So when I saw a cute little pop up boutique in the giant and labyrinth-like mall and I recognized it as being an Australian label from my "research" I knew I had to investigate.

Friend of Audrey  is a line that celebrates timeless pieces and I loved the palette and the masculinity of the shapes.  I fell in love with this duster cardigan and after exploring all my options, I had to come back and get it.

Sure, it's not really the piece you'd picture getting in hot looks more like something I would have picked up in Scotland...but bathing suit season is long gone in my world right now ( we are expecting flurries this week, sigh) so I knew it would be perfect.

And because I like to name my memorable pieces and I didn't have a name for her yet when I started this post- I have decided now that I'm going to name her Bindi.

I can't wait to see your fall kimono looks!  Please point me in the direction of a perfect rich hued lighter version if you see one as I'm still daydreaming.

The Australian Day

Our last day in Australia was spent at the Irwin family's zoo- the Australia zoo.  This may possibly have been one of my favourite parts of the trip.  But more on our favourites later this week.

We cabbed it over the 25ish minutes to the zoo (and 80$ later) - side note, transport around the Sunshine Coast is pricey if you aren't brave enough to drive yourself...but there was no way we were driving on the opposite side of the road, especially with all those roundabouts.  That's just confusing AF

We had to be at the zoo for 8:00 for our Red Panda encounter.  Thankfully I had run into a former student who raved about her experience there and that I should book an encounter ahead of time so that we had the pick we wanted.  Merci Jamille!  Lucia had wanted to do the cheetah encounter but we decided it sounded too scary and picked the Red Panda instead.   I'm glad we did.  We had 30 minutes of cuddle and feeding time with Robbie the cutest Red Panda.  It was great to ask questions and learn about this adorable animal.  By the end of the session both Willis and Lucia were convinced they want to be zoo keepers when they grow up.

The rest of the day was spent exploring this beautiful zoo which is giant and super spacious and not to forget super interactive.  There are zookeepers everywhere wandering around and there are lots of areas where the animals roam with you- like the koala, kangaroos and lemurs. 

I don't know if I can pinpoint a favourite part but we did sit in the giant stadium to learn about the wildlife warriors where they had tons of different bird species flying around as they taught about them.  Also snakes. Yuck.  Then there was the crocodile presentation which was pretty freaking cool.

Anyway- it was an awesome day and I would highly recommend this zoo to anyone visiting down under.  Especially if you like being up close with animals.  Now Willis and the bird exhibit? That was something else.

Tonight we're at a hotel at the airport as we start our journey back home (and back in time) tomorrow morning.  We are excited to get back to our norm and to snow?  And baseball? Gonna be fun!

Thanks for following along my live update journaling as we travelled.  We'll be back to the regularly scheduled hogwash tomorrow- which is fun because I'm showing my fave Australian "souvenir"

The Sunshine Coast

We are coming home this week and the kids are actually asking to go to school.  This makes me very very happy.  Mostly because at the end of summer, school was the last thing they wanted to do.  Turns out Mme. Maman is much to hard on them and they miss their friends. Bahah.

So now we find ourselves on the last leg of trip back to where we started in Brisbane, but we decided to stay more in a coastal area up on the Sunshine Coast.  We picked a random spot (Rumba Beach Resort) and arrived in the afternoon with time to explore.  Except we were tired and needing a rest- I think all the travel is catching up.  Also, I had found the most perfect dress at Lorna Jane at the airport in Brisbane and then forgot it in the Uber. So I was mostly sad.  We explored the area a bit, got a bite to eat then cuddled up to watch a movie (LEGO Ninjago) before bed.

Today was our last full day of just exploring which I think typically we would have spent at the beach or pool, but the wind was actually making it kinda chilly and to be honest, we were kinda beached out, so we decided souvenir shopping would be more fun.  Okay, I may have influenced that one.

After a quick google, I figured we could go explore Mooloolaba which had come recommended by some friends and also hit up a shopping plaza.  We hired an Uber- another interesting one- she actually has friends in Melfort and has been trying to move to Canada.  Dan may or may not have had coffee with her husband (who is also a software computer type guy) while we were at the mall. ANYWAY, we went to my happy place.... the kids got some novels, some clothes and I found a Lorna Jane and my dress and then some.  All was good in the world.

The mall is actually located on this real cool riverwalk so we went paddle boating on follow you everywhere and you get little containers of bread to feed them..they were jumping out of the water and fighting and come right up to you...I'm talking 100s of them. It was so neat.  This was the highlight of the kids' day.

Willis has come down with an ear infection, so between keeping him drugged and ear-dropped, we have been keeping a close eye on him and he was starting to look peeked by the afternoon, so we headed back to the hotel for some down time followed by a swim.  But I think we lasted a whole minute in the pool- the 'heated' pool was cold and the jacuzzi was full of dust and white floaties from the work they're doing on the other pool. 

Actually, this resort is not really awesome. The reception closes from 6pm- 7am so you can't ask any questions and the whole area is kinda bizarre.  Everything stays open 'late" which is like 8:00.  We walked down the main street after supper at 6 and it was dark, closed up and a zombie world.  For the life of him, Dan can not figure out how this economy works.  And if you know my Dan, that is a puzzle he will likely want to figure out.

Anyway, tonight was really slow, we watched a couple episodes of Bindi's Boot Camp in prep for our visit to the Irwin Family's zoo tomorrow and then a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef.  It's cool to see how interested the kids are in something when they've actually seen it in real life.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Australia- I'm looking forward to this zoo but also to get home.  I miss my friends, my family and my animals.

Everything isn't always awesome.

The problem with me blogging my days is that I want to paint a story that shows the going-ons of our days adventuring in Australia.  And by doing that, I have to be completely honest in saying that everything isn't always awesome.  My kids drive me crazy, they fight, we have to stop in the middle of streets to sort out issues.   Today was one of those days.
It started with Lucia slinging her lippiness all morning, giving me attitude anytime I asked her to do something.  It got to a point that I snapped and yelled and she freaked out and screamed and we had a full blown fight.  It was not how I wanted to spend my morning.
Luckily, I am starting to understand the way my kids work and I knew she would need space with me coming back every so often to softly make my point until I broke her and when I ask if she needed a hug, instead of saying "get out of my room" she broke down and cried and said yes.  She is swift to apologize from that point on.
This non-stop fighting with her has been tiring and it is starting to wear me out.  I'm also feeling sick and I'm pretty sure my body thinks its in both time zones so I'm also exhausted.
Here's to hoping a change of scenery as we make our way back to Brisbane tomorrow will do everyone some good.

By the time we sorted out our issues, it was almost noon and we decided to let the kids (and by kids I mean Willis because he was the only sane one at that point) pick out what he wanted to do.  Seeing that he has mostly been excited for food, after googling some suggestions (him, not me) he picked the buffet up on the Sydney Tower.  We decided to try out the train system as we'd be needing it for the airport tomorrow and the kids were happy with that as it meant way less walking.

The Sydney Tower reminded me of the supper we had at the Calgary Tower- just with tropics.  The food was okay, but Willis thought it was the best meal he had.

After our 70 minute culinary rotation, we headed over to the Australian Museum to do some learning.  At this point Lucia was back to her cheerful self and they went about learning things. 

Following the museum we headed back to the hotel for some journaling and then for a swim, I soaked and stretched in the hot tub while the kids swam lengths- Willis 1km, Lucia 500m-.

We had supper over at the Rocks at Pancakes on the Rocks were we did indeed have scrumptious pancakes (Lucia declared this her favourite meal- Nutella Pancakes of course).  While we were walking back to the hotel we got to see the giantass cruise ship- the Majestic Princess leave the harbour. It was the biggest boat we have ever seen...which reminds me, never let me take a cruise, I don't think being confined would be good for me.

Anyway, tonight is our last night in Sydney as we head to Brisbane for the last 2ish days of our fun.  I'm actually looking forward to getting home to the crisp air and those beautiful fall colours.

In Every Job That Must be Done There is an Element of Fun - Mary Poppins

I suppose that would be the truth if we are referring to anything but walking...because my kids currently hate walking.  Unless it involves hunting rare Pokemon on the steps of one of the wonders of the world. How odd.

I woke up feeling sick today so this morning was pretty laid back.  Dan went and got a loaf of bread and peanut butter so we didn't have to find brekkie and pay 75$.  It is very expensive in Australia.  The kids and I did yoga and read books and it was a lovely morning.  I also had a conversation with some very colourful birds that were on our patio.

We had a late lunch at a neighbouring hotel for high tea- it was Will's first experience and our avid tea drinker, Lucy was excited to tell him all about it. 

After tea we went for a walk (gasp!) to the Rocks (the old Sydney area) and browsed some shops, got Lucia some UGGs and went to a museum.  It reminded me so much of Old Montreal or Quebec with the cobblestone streets and old buildings.

We had tickets tonight to see Mary Poppins played by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra while the movie played.  Total bucket list experience for me.  Not only did we get to go into the Opera House, but we saw one of my fave movies played by the orchestra!  I don't think I stopped smiling.  It was a late night and Willis slept through the last couple songs...but we made it home and now everyone is sleeping and so should I!  Spit Spot.  Nighty Night.  Cheerio.

"Fish are friends, not food"- Bruce

Explore city was the theme for the day and that we did.  We're at the point of the journey (9 days) that the kids are driving me insane.  They whine and complain and hate doing school.   I swear it's like they have never walked a day in their life. 
We walk everywhere and apparently it is the worst thing possible. 
When they complain, we just make them walk more.

So the morning started off exploring the Royal Botanic Gardens which is right in our back yard.  We hunted down food and enjoyed breakfast under the canopy of trees- the kids ate waffles which seems to be their thing this trip.  Well. that and complaining about all the walking.

I'm trying to chunk our days into learning and free the focus of this morning was the flora of Australia.  The Botanic Gardens were delightful and we did learn a lot.  My favourite were the bamboo trees- they make the coolest sound when they are swaying in the wind.  Also- they grow like 1 inch to 3 feet a day.  Crazy!  After our stroll through the gardens (2 hours and 3 kms return) (really not that bad) (I swear I'm not torturing my kids) we came home to journal about our learning and have a rest. 

Lunch was found at a nearby Indian restaurant (the kids loved it) (for this I can be grateful) and then we walked a good 1.3 km (sigh) (eye roll) (whine) to the Sydney Aquarium in Darling Harbour.  Clearly our focus of learning for the afternoon was the animals.  I LOVED this place- mostly because of the unique to Australia animals they the Dugong which is actually what mermaids are based off of.  He was super cute.  Or the Mudskipper which are fish that can swim and walk on land.  Freaky as F, I say.  They also put us on a dingy for a boat ride around the Penguin exhibit.

After learning at the aquarium, Dan took the kids back to the hotel for school where they recorded their learnings and did any research to learn more.  Me?  I had some free time at the mall for my own....research.  Yes, let's call it that.  One of the mall that I visited was housed in a beautiful building (yup, totes studying the architecture) and the other mall was super confusing and I got lost multiple times.  I didn't love it.  But I did find a beautiful oatmeal coloured duster cardigan that I'll show you next week in a fashion post.

I returned home to my kids finishing up their school and then we found supper (hotel restaurant) (fine dining and super fancy and not at all suitable for Lucia's purple sweats) but it was delicious and I think one of my favourite memories of life happened there- one of those moments that will be engraved in my heart and my brain, instantly recallable in every detail, for all of my life.

And it wasn't thing fancy.  Just a family of four sitting at a glassed in restaurant over-looking the Sydney Harbour.  The kids munching on their spaghetti in their cozy clothes (Lucia all in purple and Willis in his Saskatchewan Tiger Lilly Sweater).  The kids incessantly asking that we share memories of them being small.  They laughed, they giggled and they stared wide-eyed.  I hope to never forget this moment, be it a simple one.  I love the feeling of family, of honouring the past and enjoying the precious time together creating new memories- like how we'll forever call Willis Mr. Marguerita and Lucia should have been named Violet, aka Invisa-Girl.

Anyway. It was a busy day, a wonderful day and a very blessed day.

Travel Day Down Under

Because today was a travel day, I thought I'd share a little about what we've discussed/observed pretty much non-stop since arriving.

  • The lack of tipping culture is refreshing.  It's so nice to not be expected to big 800393% on your bill.  It makes us wonder how people survive. The dollar is the same to the Canadian dollar but things are more expensive here, yet minimum wage is 18.93$ an hour.
  • Meals take a long time, especially if you order a starter.  But then again, that may be because we were in a small seaside town.
  • There are bathrooms everywhere and I didn't see any homeless people.
  • There aren't many garbages but it's super clean.
  • Rising early is a thing- going to bed late, not so much.  But we were also at a family resort with tons of tired parents toting around young children.  
  • Uber drivers are the most interesting people.
  • Actually everyone here is super friendly.
  • Dan bought a SkyRoam Hotspot so we could have wifi anywhere we went.  It has been very handy, especially when you're out and want to book an Uber. 

There were some notable things that happened the hour I got to myself in the hotel room while Dan took the kids for a morning swim.  I had a bath on our deck and it was the most luxurious thing I've ever done.

We arrived in Sydney late this afternoon in time to get to our hotel to adventure a little bit around the area and grab some supper. First impression of downtown Sydney? Freaking beautiful.  I can't wait to explore more.  We haven't booked anything yet but have a list of things we want to do, so we'll see what we can get to in the next couple days.

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