The importance of photographs

I’m that person who takes 50 photos of their day. 100 photos if I’m actually doing something. Some people may laugh at it, but I think it’s so important.

I remember visiting my Nan’s house as a child and  going through boxes and boxes of photos. I did the same thing with my Mum. Old photo’s from way back when, It was mesmerizing. Seeing pictures of my Nan’s wedding, pictures of my Mum as a teenager, pictures of my siblings as babies.. How cool is that?! Imagine being an old woman and having no photo’s of your life to look back on. I used to be the person who was way too embarrassed to ask someone to take my picture, who used to immediately throw my hands up in front of my face as soon as I made eye contact with that lens. I decided to stop being so scared and I started asking for my picture to be taken. What’s the worst that can happen?

Some people may think its a vanity thing, or judge someone for taking a million photos instead of just taking it in. But honestly, you can do both. Just because you’re taking the time to take a photo, doesn’t mean you’re not truly taking in the moment and who cares what other people think. I just know that the feeling I will get from looking back at these photos when I’m an old woman is more powerful than any embarrassment I might feel from people judging me because I’ve asked to have my picture taken.

I asked a friend recently if she wanted me to take her picture. She replied yes, and told me that she too wanted to stop being shy in front of the camera. She then told me about how friends of hers had passed away and there weren’t any pictures of her with them for her to cherish. That made my love for photographs intensify immensely. They are so sentimentally powerful.

I have always taken a million photo’s of Oliver, and I will continue to until he tells me not to. Hopefully one day, he too, asks me to take a photo of him. Your kids are only small once. I want to show Oliver all the adventures he has been on one day. I want him to look back on his childhood and know that he has had a good one, even if he can’t remember it. I want to remember these days for as long as I live and unfortunately the human brain isn’t wired like that for most people.

It’s a memory on paper. Life is just too short to be shy (says the painfully quiet shy girl). So, get your picture taken, take a million photos, display them to the world if you want, print them out and keep them forever so that when you’re old, you can show your grand children and great grand children how beautiful and young you once were, and all of the things that you did. Don’t make your life a tale without the pictures. 

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Winter is coming

Winter is just around the corner for us here in Australia and being the Season lover that I am, I want to think about what that means because let’s face it, I’m sentimental, I can’t help it. First of all, the new season of Game of Thrones is airing (Hence the title) and that excites me. Watching Game of Thrones reminds me of the start of my relationship with my partner. We used to watch GoT in bed eating Chinese with blankets on while it was stormy outside. Something that I had forgotten until we watched the first episode of the new season recently. It might not sound very romantic, eating greasy Chinese food watching a show that mostly involves murder and very grim stuff. But, it is definitely a fond memory of mine in our relationship.

My favorite thing about Winter, though, has to be the food. Soup and crusty bread, Casseroles with mash potato, Roast dinners! Ahhhh. Winter is the time you can get really creative with your cooking, Summer food is mostly BBQ’d meats and salad. My slow cooker is my best friend in Winter and I am so excited to try out different casserole and soup recipes this Season. And, that morning coffee is so much better when it’s cold out. Another thing I love about Winter is just feeling so darn cosy! Cuddled up in a blanket watching a movie is such a satisfying activity in Winter, but in Summer, I struggle to stay indoors and watch a movie. It’s like laziness/relaxing is justified, which is great for someone like me who is constantly wanting to be on the go.

Though, for some reason, Winter actually makes me much more active than the other seasons. Whenever there is a rain break, or the sun comes out (Because I mean, even though it’s Winter, we still do live in Australia after all) I think “Ooh better get outside while we can” and so we go for a walk, or we go for a play at the park. But during Summer, we’re so busy with Summer activities (Such as BBQ’s and swimming), or it’s just too darn hot to go for a walk. Everything looks so beautiful in Winter, too. So, we definitely like to rug up and be outside when ever the rain lets us. Speaking of, we visited the park the other day and Oliver got to run through his first puddle! He absolutely loved it. At first, when he ran through it, he kind of stopped and you could see him working it out in his little brain. But then his face just lit up and he ran back through it again, and again, and again. I’ve since invested in some gum boots, because we had to cut our park visit short because his little feet were soaking wet and cold… but I mean, I couldn’t NOT let him run through the puddle, right? It’s all apart of childhood. I took some pictures of our rainy play at the park:

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What are some of your favorite things about Winter?

Oliver’s Poppies

Oliver really seems to love helping out with mundane/everyday tasks such as; Washing, tidying and gardening. He LOVES using the hose, he thinks its fantastic. He is always stroking my plants (And breaking them) and so I thought I would do a little something special for him, something a bit more special than just buying him more toys..

So, off we went to Kmart (ahhh Kmart) and I bought him a plastic planter box and let him pick out some seeds. He picked some Poppy seeds, which is quite fitting considering it was Anzac day here in Australia yesterday. They were probably eye catching to a toddler because they are big, beautiful and red, and also, they were all he could really reach (ha!). They were also a great choice because they are best planted in late Summer/Autumn. Great pick Oliver!


But anyway, they are his Poppy’s and he will look after them. I am going to let Oliver water them every single time they need to be watered. I think this is a great idea for a few reasons. He gets to watch these flowers grow and when he is old enough he will eventually understand that he helped them to become what they are. He will learn to look after something and I hope he feels pride whenever he see’s those red Poppy’s. It could also spark a hobby/interest. I wish I got into gardening way before I did. I still am such an amateur, most of my pot plants are dying, but I wont give up! Oliver could grow up and lose all interest in gardening and plants, but it’s still a fun activity for a toddler to participate in.

While Oliver was having a snooze I decided to set up a potting station for him. When he woke up, I put him straight to work. I let him shovel in his own soil and wet it with the watering can. Then he sprinkled the seeds and I tried to show him to just gently sift the soil over the seeds but he mostly just wanted to whack the sand with the shovel and fling it everywhere, but hey, we had fun! After all the hard work was finished by Oliver, I sprinkled a bit of fertilizer over the top and misted the top of the planter box with water to just get everything started. We made a big mess which means we had a fun time. Oliver’s Poppy seeds should turn into seedlings in 10-14 days and start flowering in about 20 weeks! Fingers crossed he has a better green thumb than I do.

More explorin’

Today, we decided to embark on yet another hike. We went to check out a place called Blue Rocks in Jarrahdale. After searching it up on the internet, I saw pictures of an amazing view, so I was pretty keen to check it out myself.

Jarrahdale is about a 30-40 minute drive from my house. It is a beautiful little town with tree lined streets and historical little houses and buildings. It’s so quaint and just visually pleasing to the eye.

Once we found Blue Rocks, we parked the car and started to climb the big rock at the very start of the trail. We didn’t really know where we were going. It was a bit of a hike fail, if I’m honest. We found a small track and a sign saying that the trail was that way… it lead to a gravel road that ended up being the Bibblumun track. If you don’t know what the Bibblumun track is, it is a long distance walking trail that stretches for 1000km’s. Anyway, We felt like we weren’t on the Blue Rocks trail… so we turned around and started walking back looking for some sort of signage to put us onto the right trail. We found ourselves back at the start and could see my car in the carpark at the start through all the shrubbery. We just classed it as a failed attempt. Which, y’know, I’m sure that happens often in the world of hiking. Not every trail is going to blow your mind.

Instead of trying to find the actual trail and risk getting lost again, I decided to show my Sister and my Mum a place called Oakley Dam. My partner had taken Myself and Oliver there the previous Summer. It’s a pretty cool place. It is on top of a huge hill and it overlooks a mining refinery. At night, all the lights are absolutely beautiful and the view stretches for miles. It’s an awesome place to cool down during the Summer and an absolutely prime spot to watch the sunset. There is a big rock that you sit on that overlooks the Dam and it’s surrounded by so many other tall trees and huge rocks you can climb up for even more incredible views. When we visited, though, it was during the day and the Dam was mostly dried up. Which I knew would be the case but there is a small trail that leads around to the huge rock that overlooks everything. So we decided to walk that, instead.

Oliver was still a champ in the baby carrier. He really loves being  carried around and he just takes all the amazing views and reaches his little hands out to touch every bush and leaf we walk past. A true adventure baby.

After we had walked around Oakley Dam we decided we would head to Ravenswood hotel for some lunch. I’ve only been there for lunch during the day but I think it’s a pretty family friendly and relaxed place to grab a bite to eat. It sits right on the Murray River and it has a playground for the kids the play. They usually have live music every Sunday, too! The food is cheap and the servings are super generous. Not a bad place to check out if you’re in those parts.

Here is a vlog I made of our day:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXjxD6HWbDw&feature=youtu.be

And here are some pictures, of course!
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To-Hike List: Kitty’s Gorge Trail

I managed to convince a few members of my Family to go hiking with me last week. It was awesome! We all drove up to Serpentine and found the start to the Kitty’s Gorge Trail. A 15km return hike. The walk itself was beautiful. It had everything… Hills, rocks, ledges, steep descents, beautiful open clearings, views from high points over looking mountains. Like I said, It was beautiful.

I decided to purchase a baby carrier so I could take Oliver along on the hikes. It was such a good idea. He loved it. He only really cried after we would take him out for a break and then put him back in to continue along the trail. Other than that, he was really calm and just took it all in.

This particular hike isn’t a loop trail. You can decide to start at Jarrahdale or you can start from Serpentine falls. We started from the falls. We arrived pretty early when there was only about one other car there and a jiffy van selling snacks. We only saw two other families on the hike, too! It’s very family friendly, so if you live in Perth and you’re wondering what to do with the kids these school holidays… a hike is definitely a great idea.

The hike took us about two hours each way (I think). The Jarrahdale end is so beautiful because it’s a pine plantation. Though, it’s partially unnatural, it’s eerie views are captivating. Mossy fallen tree’s with nature just growing over them and the tall pines shading the entire place giving it a beautiful light. I would definitely just go have a picnic in that part of the hike any day. In fact, that is where we sat down for some lunch before heading back to where we started. On the way back, we didn’t take any breaks! I think maybe we were getting into the swing of walking or maybe there were more hills going up on the way there than there were on the way back. Either way, walking back was much easier.

As we approached the start we started hearing voices and realized serpentine falls had filled up with people swimming and picnicking. The car park was full! There were a few kangaroo’s just jumping around, approaching people in hopes of being fed. Which you aren’t allowed to do (I’m looking at you, Mum!), otherwise you get a stern telling off from the rangers. We decided not to go swimming in the falls because of how busy it was and because we were unfortunately running out of time before my sister had to start her shift at work. I love Serpentine falls, so I’m definitely going to visit on the next hot day we have. Which is very far and few these days as Winter is approaching. We might have to wait until next Summer, what a bummer.

Tired is an understatement of how I felt once I got home… and my legs are still kind of aching.  But it was amazing. It’s so good to get out into nature and exercise. It really beats just walking around the same old suburb. I also think it’s so important to do these sort of activities with your kids. Oliver absolutely loves being outside, so I know it was making him happy and it’s so good for your mental health, too. I am a full advocate for outdoor activities. And hiking is free, too!

I made a VLOG of our hike so click the link below if you would like to check it out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S81lAURN70s



  
  

  
  

Stockyard Gully Caves!

I recently traveled up North with my Partner, sister, a friend and Oliver to visit my brother and attend the One night stand concert (Boy and Bear were AMAZING!). However, the next day, on the way home… My partner decided to detour to Stockyard Gully to visit a cave he had heard about.  I didn’t argue, of course. You know me, I’m all about exploring/adventuring. I’m so glad we did, too!

It was the first cave I have ever been in, I think! It was really awesome. You walk down a bushy trail with really mushy sand in the middle, which is where the creek would be in the cooler weather, I believe. Once you get to the cave, there are copious amounts of beehives stationed around the entrance. You don’t need to be scared of them or anything, they are pretty high up and bee’s generally only become aggravated if they feel under attack, so don’t threaten the bee’s and they wont threaten you!

When you approach the entrance, the temperature suddenly gets really cool, as in cold. Walking into the cave, it just goes pitch black and you can’t see anything unless you have lights, which we did. Oliver seemed a bit scared as he was clutching to Matt’s shirt. But he was still looking inquisitively around, wondering where he was. It only takes about five minutes or so to travel through to the other side. But as you get closer you just see this big opening filled with light and you kind of sigh like “oh the end!”

At the other end, you cannot keep walking with ease, as it gets quite rocky and drops off into a steep crevice. We only peeped over, I would have loved to walk through it but it was a bit hard with Oliver in tow. We sat at the end on rocks just hanging out for a while, looking around. Oliver was playing with sand and running up to everyone handing them rocks as gifts, then we decided to head back through the cave and make our journey all the way home to Perth.

Definitely a small detour to take if you’re heading North any time soon.

I also made a VLOG of our trip that I would love for you to check out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9ORgBWnHUc



      

O0’s Easter basket


So, there is lots of controversy when it comes to Easter and babies. Do we give them chocolate? Do we even celebrate Easter with them this young? I don’t really know what the correct answer for those questions are. But I just really wanted to see Oliver’s cute little butt looking for eggs. I didn’t want to load him up on chocolate, though. Something about feeding a billion chocolate eggs to a one year old, doesn’t quite sit right with me.

I bought these little colorful plastic eggs, that you can open and put things inside, at a local cheap store. They were about $2. I decided I would go to the baby aisle of the supermarket and buy those overpriced baby snacks that I call “Baby junk food”. I never buy this stuff because if Oliver wants a snack, I just give him fruit. I’m not saying I am perfect, he eats potato chips and other snacks that we eat, that babies probably shouldn’t eat. But baby junk food is a waste of money on normal days, in my opinion. But I thought it could make a great substitute for chocolate. I purchased everything from Coles. Here’s what I got:

Banana puff rings
Mini organic gingerbread men
Raspberry fruit wiggles
Strawberry yogurt buttons
And of course some mini chocolate bunnies because I mean, I’m not that strict.

I used some shredded paper that I got from my Mum and put it in this cute little basket that I found at the op shop. (Slight cane basket obsession over here!)

Now, I wish I could say I quickly whipped up this very obvious DIY bunny head. But it actually took me so long.. So fiddly and even though I like to think I’m very creative… it didn’t turn out that great. But it’s the thought that counts, right? You can find the pattern for it here and a step by step YouTube tutorial here.

aaaaand, here is my version….
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I hope everyone has a lovely Easter. I’ll be sure to share some cute snaps of Oliver searching for his Easter treats. I would love it if you guys shared your children’s Easter baskets in the comments below. Happy Easter!

Cotopaxi – How do I give back?

I was recently introduced to a company called Cotopaxi. Cotopaxi sells adventure gear such as tents, backpacks and appropriate clothing for adventuring. They give a percentage of every single sale to different causes all over the globe. Their mission is to inspire others to do good and to adventure more.

I was asked to share how I give back to the world, and the impact it has on me. I thought their mission was very inspiring and after some thought, I decided I would share how I give back. So I started thinking, and then it hit me. How on earth do I give back?

That thought hit me like a tonne of bricks. I couldn’t think of one thing that I do, that benefits the world and society. Apart from just being a generally good person… I return wallets with their money in them, I say please, thank you and sorry. I am kind to strangers. I give bus tickets away that I am no longer using. I donate my clothes to charity shops, but that helps me, too, it helps me de-clutter. I use common courtesy, but that isn’t something to be that proud of, right? I mean, everyone should do those things. Everyone should be a kind person. I couldn’t really think of one thing I do that benefits others that doesn’t ultimately benefit me, too.

With the guilt rushing over me and consuming my brain, making me wonder what I’ve been doing for so long, or what I’ve NOT been doing for so long and what I COULD be doing, I immediately booked in to donate blood. Ever since I was pregnant, I had blood tests weekly because of low iron and blood platelet issues. I thought to myself, this is so easy! I could do this. But I never got around to it. After researching it a bit, I found out that one person who donates blood can save three lives. I knew this was going to become a habit. I already started feeling better just from researching it! 
I booked it online and my appointment was made for the next week. Everything about the experience was positive and it was so so easy. They start you off with filling out forms and then one of the nurses will go through it with you. It’s pretty intimate stuff, but it’s not too bad. A lot of people have excuses not to donate blood usually to do with their health… “Oh I drink too much” or “I smoke cigarettes”. That stuff doesn’t actually matter. Maybe if you were donating a lung, or a liver. There are few things that stop you from being eligible to donate blood. Mostly to do with travelling and the timing of tattoos and piercings (You have to wait six months after being tattooed or pierced to donate). Also, diseases and sickness can prevent you from being able to donate, obviously.

The actual donating is incredibly easy. It’s just a small prick that you hardly feel and then you sit there for 15 minutes or so, drinking free juice and reading a magazine. The nurses ask you if you’re doing okay every 5 minutes or so. Some people can faint/feel sick which probably means donating blood may not be for them, but I guess you don’t know until you try! Thankfully, I felt great. The nurses said it was as if I had done it hundreds of times!

Depending on your blood type and the quality of your veins, they may suggest donating plasma. I am B+ blood group and in their words “I have beautiful veins”(Weirdest compliment I have received yet).

Donating blood is an amazing thing that helps so many. But donating plasma is very valuable because it’s much more versatile and can be made into so many different things, for so many different health issues. My appointment to donate plasma is in May.

  

(The biscuit was just okay)

To say that people who donate blood are brave, isn’t really accurate. Because donating blood isn’t even scary. I understand some people don’t like needles and blood. But I think everyone should give it a shot at least once and there isn’t any judgement from me, the nurses or anybody if you just don’t like it. But it’s incredibly emotionally rewarding for yourself, you are saving lives. And obviously, very valuable for the patients receiving the blood. They are being saved. Because of you.


If you think donating blood is something you could get on board with then visit this website for all the information and contact details. You will NOT regret it.

So, just because I have started my journey of donating blood/plasma, doesn’t mean I’m  suddenly sitting here thinking “well I’ve done my good deed for the world”….But it’s a start. I can rest a little easier now knowing that I have at least one answer to the question Cotopaxi asked me. I’m also currently in the process of doing applications to volunteer at a K9 rescue and I’ve signed up to a volunteer website so I can keep updated on anything that I think I could help out with. This post isn’t about tooting my own horn or banging my own drum… Whatever musical analogy you wish to choose. Even though my recent choices have made me feel amazing, It’s about how one small question sparked so much action.. And it could do it for you, too. So, how do you give back or how could you give back?

Cotopaxi definitely motivate people to do good. Below is Cotopaxi’s guide to giving, please give it a read so you can start your path to giving back to the world.

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Camping in Walpole

We recently took a camping trip down on the coast of Walpole, in the South West of Australia. 341.5 kms from Perth. It was incredible, the beaches were amazing.
The drive is breathtaking and heart breaking. You can choose to drive through Yarloop, a small country town, which was recently devastated by bushfires. So many homes and old historic town buildings destroyed, with two lives lost. We decided to drive through because we hadn’t yet seen the damage. Roads are blocked off and there are signs directing you not to stop in Yarloop. It’s pretty heavy stuff. As you get further into Harvey and deeper into Warpole, the roads get swallowed by tall, old tree’s. It looks incredible. Especially when you see the bark has been charred and new, green leaves are growing around it. That’s the circle of life, my friends.
We decided to stay at Banksia Camp… There are copious amounts of small clearings for you to set up camp.. Protected by entwined tree’s or just out in the open. We picked one that was a bit more secluded and protected by branches. 
Before we set up camp, we decided to check out bottleneck bay and a few surrounding beaches. The views were truly amazing. Bottleneck bay was a challenge, though. After basically falling/running down a semi-horizontal sand hill we found ourself at a very secluded beach enclosed with mountains/hills filled with shrubbery and rocks. The water was blue and the sand was white. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the greatest weather for swimming. So we decided to climb around the rocks instead. We were pretty much absailing down fairly big rocky surfaces that if you fell down, you’d fall straight into the ocean and rocks beneath. But once you get over the rocky parts, you get to a big flat rock that holds some amazing views. 
Getting back was an absolute mission. It’s much easier climbing up rocks then it is climbing down them… I wish I could say the same for sand hills, though. I pretty much had an asthma attack trying to get back up… I’m not even asthmatic. But It’s true what they say… Good things don’t come easy. Take this theory and apply it to a pistachio nut. The best ones are always covered by a shell you need to crack yourself. The easy ones always have a shell you can just pull off and you can eat the nut inside, but if you want the ultimate delicious salty morsel, you need to work for it. Some shells are just easy and some shells are much harder, but they are worth it. Much like the hurdles and challenges you face in your life. You can take this as a wise analogy about life and goals, or you can just think I’m wild about pistachio nuts. Both are correct.
After some exploring that pushed our fitness levels to the brink, we decided we would set up camp. Like I said, we chose a camp that was shielded by branches and leaves, but it had a little trail that if you pushed on the bushes opened up to a small break in the hills and shrubbery that looked out onto another beach. It was an amazing spot. 
Going to sleep was difficult. Camping in a tent with a swag gets hot… And I was over tired and honestly buzzing with inspiration. There I was laying in a tent over 300 kms from home wishing for a keyboard or a pen to record all my thoughts about how if I was sitting at home I’d probably have a keyboard and pen, but no thoughts to record. 
Listening to the waves crash on the rocks while I was going to sleep and sweating away, thinking about all the creepy crawleys outside of the tent that can probably smell me sweating and thinking they want to find me and make me their prey, in turn making me sweat even more. But all I could think was, this is living.      

 
  
   
   
    
  
   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Check out my vlog on youtube: http://youtu.be/VIScH9UJykU

   
    
 
I haven’t updated this in a little while. To be honest, I haven’t been in a great head space and Oliver was really taking it out of me while going through the final mental leap. But he has learnt so many new things, so many little tricks. 

He has been really insisting on helping me with the washing this past week. Picking up clothes and putting them in the basket, helping me take the basket to the laundry, reaching and pointing to the machine until I pick him up so that he can put the clothes in and of course he best part is pressing the start button. It’s when the washing is done, that the toddler side of him shows. Can anybody say tantrum? Gosh.

He blows kisses and plays “where’s the baby”, claps and hi 5’s… He can actually kiss now. Sometimes the sweetheart will climb on me, sit on my lap facing me, grab my face between his two hands and plant a kiss right on my lips. He makes my heart skip a beat, such a charmer.

This is the part where his personality really starts to shine and I am so so excited. He has already displayed how very bright, sweet and sometimes downright dramatic he is. All the makings for a perfect little boy.