Escape

Alice Springs sees a mass exodus over the Christmas/New Year period with all most everyone heading to a beach. Being smack bang in the centre of Australia, Alice happens to be the closest town to EVERY beach in Australia!  It has been a number of years since we left Alice at Christmas time, so this year we packed everything up and headed south to spend Christmas at Apollo Bay and enjoy some quality beach time.

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The water at Apollo Bay is always freezing and Zelda did not take to it at all. In fact, one day she gave her self a sponge bath from a bucket of water on the sand rather than step into the water! Apollo Bay has the added bonus of having what feels like the coldest weather in Australia. So a 20 degree day, if cloudy, can feel freezing but if sunny can feel so so warm. It was rather nice to be there while Alice Springs sweltered through a week of 40+. How did you spend the Christmas break? Hope it was wonderful & am wishing you a very happy new year xx

Melbourne and Apollo Bay Family Holiday

It has felt like we haven't been on holidays in a long time, which isn't true as we were in the States in January, we had an overnight get away to Glen Helen in May  and we went to Uluru for the August long weekend, but when you live in Alice Springs you just need to get to the coast every now and then. We took the opportunity at the end of October to go to Melbourne, see Elmo's stage show and then spend a few days on the coast.

Melbourne

Stay

 We stayed in Tyrian Apartments on Johnston Street in Fitzroy. This was central to our family and a short tram ride to the city. On the way home we stayed at the Larwill Studio in Parkville. The Larwill is on the edge of the city, on way to the airport, but also close to trams, North Melbourne and has a huge playground next door. I loved both places and would certainly stay again.

Travel  

Trams are so easy to use, but if you have a pram, make sure that you are able to lift it and the baby up steps as not all Trams have disabled/pram access. You can't buy Myki (payment) cards on the tram so Nick's sister picked up some for us before we arrived, you can purchase them from any 7 Eleven.

See NGV John Olsen Exhibition in the Ian Potter Centre, Federation Square - it's on until February 12 & includes a room where you can sketch your own inspired works - Lulu loved this.

Play

There is a huge playground at Art Play behind Federation Square. If you are there Wed-Sun there are art activities for children at Art Play . I had never heard of Art Play until we stumbled across the playground. I'll be checking their website and booking Lulu into their activities for our next visit to Melbourne.

Eat

We loved Po Boy Quarter on Smith Street in Fitzroy

Apollo Bay

Stay

In these beautiful townhouses in Marengo

Travel

We hired a car from the airport - the best way to get there

See

The Beach! Marengo is good for waves, Apollo Bay is flat for the little kids. As you can see, Zelda wasn't really into the beach time as much as we were.

Play

At the Apollo Bay town park on the foreshore. Hug the big koala at the Bakery

Eat

So many yummy places to eat. We recommend La Bimba - best oysters, Scorched Grill - yummy burgers, La Casalinga - best homemade pasta, the tasting room at the pub - the only place you can get food between 2pm & 6pm, but also great cheese platter.

Happy Holidaying

A quick trip

Sometimes you just have to get away & while this recently break in Melbourne was not by choice, it was a welcome getaway. We drove up to Apollo Bay for two nights for a chance to breathe in the sea air and catch up with Nick's sister and her partner. Then back to Melbourne for two days for Lulu to have a test at the Children's hospital.

If you haven't been to the Melbourne Children's Hospital, it really is worth a sticky beak! It has an aquarium, a meerkat inclosure and even a ice-cream shop - perfect for a little girl post slightly invasive procedure! We are hoping to get to the bottom of her respiratory issues, which keep occurring despite her not having aspirated for over a year now. We aren't really sure if this is the answer, we just keep hoping that she won't get sick again.

Back to the hospital, it also has a huge playground in the parklands next door. Scroll down for a few photos. If you are ever in Melbourne the park and the hospital are both worth a visit. And if you do go to the park with a small child, make sure you bring a change of clothes for the child! We stayed at the Larwill Studio, located at the hospital - very convenient for getting to appointments. It was a brief trip but well worth it.

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Ps Have you checked out the Christmas Kingdom Giveaway? Only 1 more day to enter!

Weekend Adventures - Lorne & Marengo

We love spending time at the beach house in Marengo, which is just outside of Apollo Bay in Victoria. As Lulu gets very car sick, we normally stay put and don't venture very far out of Apollo Bay. The roads are so windy she's guaranteed to get sick within 5 mins of us leaving the house. But this trip we had an excuse to brave the sickness, our friend's wedding in Lorne. Yes, Lulu was sick on the way down and the way back, but we did have an awesome time in Lorne. There is a huge playground and a trampoline park at the Lorne Sea Baths. For some reason jumping does not make Lulu sick, she would have stayed there all day if she could! Lorne has a few nice cafes and a few cute shops plus the best bookstore. It is worth a day trip if you are ever in Melbourne. Here are a few snaps from our time in Lorne and a few from Marengo.
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Trampolines at the Lorne Sea Baths
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Frocked up for our friend's wedding at the Lorne Beach Pavillion
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Beautiful Lorne Sunset
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Holiday treats - good bread is hard to come back in Alice Springs
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Marengo Beach
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The Beach People Wagon is the best investment!

Apollo Bay Holiday 2014

Our holiday - walks/run into town, playing at the park, brunch, naps, reading, beach, swim, bath, dinner, Twin Peaks, bed, repeat.
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Other noteworthy holiday records:
- Nick completed a 100km mountain bike race
- I started & finished a novel called Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. Do not believe the things Hemmingway said about her & read the novel, you won't regret it.
-Lulu is an avid climber and she climbed to the top of that climbing frame by herself! Amazing.

Our Apollo Bay cafe favourites are:
The Bay Leaf - yummy breakie
Wickens - great coffee
La Bimba - the paella - amazing!

Toilet Training and Sunrises

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While we were in Apollo Bay we were treated to a number of beautiful sunrises. Not by choice, as normally when I am on holidays I prefer to sleep in, but on this holiday Lulu had other plans. We didn't have a cot for her so she slept on a mattress on the floor & as it is so cold overnight, we had her sleep in our room. This, however, meant that she was up numerous times in the night, refusing to pee in her nappy & wanting to pee on the potty. To her credit she did pee each time but it sure gets tiring getting her out of the sleepy sack, nappy & pjs two or three times a night. In addition to that, most days she woke just after 5am each day to do a big poo and refused to go back to sleep. Hence the beautiful sunrise shots and hey, at least she is getting the hang of this toilet training business.

Aside from the potty trips, we were surprised at how easy it was to get Lulu to go to sleep in a 'big girl bed' and she has gone back to sleeping in her cot here at home without a fuss. The early starts have put us off transitioning her to a big girl bed at home and the other reason we haven't gone for it is that each night at the Bay we'd find her sleeping on the floor next to the mattress in all sorts of positions. If we take the sides off the cot, she'll fall a fair way. I know that eventually the body learns where the edges are but I'm just not ready for her to learn the hard way yet.

Happy Mother's Day xx

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Running the Great Ocean Walk

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On one of my morning runs I found this section of the Great Ocean Walk. The track follows the top of the cliffs, dipping onto sections of beach in different stages, then rising up again along the cliffs. The track goes for a whopping 94km. I only took in about 4km of it. It was such a treat running along the track while being able to enjoy such beautiful scenery. The days I took this track were overcast and one day it was even a little drizzly. Such a lovely change from Alice Springs heat. 

Speaking of Alice Springs heat. We arrived home yesterday and it was overcast and raining, but not only that, we woke up this morning and it is still raining! Extremely unusual. Looks like we brought the cooler weather back with us.
 

Rainy days on Holidays

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The second week of our holiday was much cooler than the first, with a few rainy days thrown in too. Since we don't have many rainy days in Alice Springs, the rain was a treat. An excuse to curl up on the couch and watch a movie while Lulu napped. We saw Moonrise Kingdom, which also featured rainstorms. That movie is just so cute. I loved it. 

Also this happened... I turned around to find Lulu standing up at the window all by herself! She scared herself & couldn't work out how to get down, though if she pulls herself up on something she can work out how to sit back down, but I think the window was just so far out of what she knew she just got a little stuck! In the past few weeks she's become more and more active, climbing over everything & she learnt how to climb down from the couch. It's been so much fun to see her develop over this holiday. 
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Baby's first beach day!

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The beach was a big part of my life growing up. My mum loved the beach & took my brother & I any chance she had. I love the feet of the sand in my toes and bobbing up and down in the waves. The ocean has that way of making you feel really small. It immediately commands your respect and attention and you have to work with it to make sure you stay safe. I'd been  looking forward to introducing Lulu to the beach. I want her to have the same love and respect for the ocean that mum & I do. 

As expected she was a little hesitant at first, but over the past weekend two other little girls (both 2 years old) were staying with us and seeing them play and enjoy the water made Lulu realise that it wasn't scary and that she did really want to be wading her feet & running in & out of the shallow water like they were. The running she can't do but wading her feet, we can certainly help her with that!