30 by 30. It’s time to start living.

Super excited to have our little sister Zara guest post today for the sorella-hood. Thanks so much for sharing and giving us a kick up the behind Za!  Who knew little sisters could be so clever!

Zara with our mum Joan

Zara with our mum Joan

One year ago I was at a very real and very painful low point in my life. A long term relationship that I thought was going to be … ‘it’ … came to a very sudden and painful end.

My life turned a complete 180 and I had to try to find myself amongst the heartbreak, tears, depression, gin and tonics (and Maggie Beer Ice Cream).

I woke up one morning recently with an overwhelming realisation that I was pushing 30. A year ago I would have hid in my ice cream/gin soaked sheets for a week. However, this time something different occurred and I used the techniques my overpaid psychologist had taught me and transformed this negative thought into a positive one.

So, the 30 things before 30 challenge came to fruition.

An opportunity for me to savor every moment of my new found singledom and embrace life and what was left of my 20’s. A list of achievable goals which would complete my journey through the 20’s and give me the ability to reflect on this stage of my life with achievements and fond memories rather than heartbreak.

Alas, 1 problem: I found the list really hard to write.

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Getting back to basics

I did start planning a holiday in a resort.  The weather was forecast pretty terrible and although I enjoyed the idea of a resort pool, day spa and room service, I did secretly like the idea of a holiday that was ‘about the kids’.  In a tent, behind sand dunes allowing them to run and play and be freeeeeeeeee.

always an early start when camping with children- surf's  up!

It is always an early start when camping with children – surf’s up!

So the recent school holidays we packed up ALOT of ‘stuff’ and went camping.  I grew up doing a lot of camping with my family.  I thought camping was what all families did on holidays!  We hadn’t been on a camping trip for a while though.  Things have been pretty busy and getting away was a luxury we just couldn’t seem to fit in.

let's go fly a kite...la..la...la...

let’s go fly a kite…la..la…la…

It’s amazing how much children learn when they are taken into a new environment. Not just bike riding and scootering, but how to tie knots, heading to night markets because there is no agenda to worry about tiredness the next day, dancing in the pub at the Sunday session (oops that was me but my daughter did learn how to create a beat with a black sock and a box!), how to cook toast without a toaster, how to play board games (remember those?!!) and the list goes on and on.

KerPlunk! My 3 year old wanted the marbles my 5 year old understood the game and didn't, so in this game "everyone's a winner"!!!

KerPlunk! My 3-year-old wanted the marbles my 5-year-old understood the game and didn’t, so in this game “everyone’s a winner”!!!

bike riding - yes I am on my bike! ;)

bike riding – yes I am on my bike! 😉

I will admit I found it a bit difficult to completely disconnect from the online world.  Our neighbour campers with teenage children had their i-devices all charging at the bbq area and there were 8 getting re-booted!  But my 5-year-old didn’t miss TV or movies on the iPad.  She was happy teaching her little brother how to play snap in the tent – or at least telling him when to snap to give him a win (love her to bits!)

Enjoying the outdoors and playing with no reason to have to stop!

Enjoying the outdoors and playing with no reason to have to stop!

BUT – next holiday perhaps I will consider a comfy bed in a resort! My sleep was disrupted because I was up checking the kids were covered NUMEROUS times throughout the night, so this was pretty tiresome.

The perfect picnic spot.  Tweed Coast.

The perfect picnic spot watching the surfers. Tweed Coast.

On the upside, I got to sleep with the sound of rain on the tent with my little family close by, and that was pretty damn cosy and fun!!

our tent in the morning sunshine

our tent in the morning sunshine

Have you got a great family holiday idea you could share with the sorella-hood? We would love for you to leave a comment here below or post on our Facebook page. alisha x

Just Do It! Top 10 Questions asked when planning a family adventure!

Packing the kids up for an overnighter, or even a day out always seems like such a big task.  Do I really need to take all this stuff??!!! The logistics of car seats, strollers, bedding, food and all the rest can be daunting, let alone organising a simple bag so I can easily locate hats, sunscreen and wipes!

Getting to the destination is one thing – then there is the actual heading out and exploring. What can we do that they kids will enjoy? How do we know a certain activity will suit our family’s needs?

Our friends at Do It Tour (Australia’s best online tour and experience booking company) have agreed to guest blog this week and have provided some tips and advice for booking a family tour – which may help alleviate the unknown and encourage families to get out and explore with their little ones. 

So over to Renai from Do It Tour, and their Top 10 questions asked by families wishing to take their children on an adventure!

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As an online tour booking agent, and a mother, I know how exciting it can be booking and planning your next family getaway. With limited opportunity for holiday extravagances most of us want to make sure that we have the best opportunity to really enjoy ourselves… including the children!

So how do you make sure that your children’s needs are catered for?

I have put together a list of the Top 10 questions I am commonly asked by families wishing to take their children on a day tour, day cruise or adventure experience.  I hope they are helpful for assisting you plan your next family adventure!

A side note – I’ve tried my best to keep them general because we have 1300 tours Australia wide that we offer on Do It Tour! If you have any specific questions about any of our tours, please don’t hesitate to contact me – Ph0404 404 357; www.doittour.com.

1. Can you accommodate strollers on a tour?

Many tours accommodate compact strollers however many smaller transfer vehicles do not have luggage compartments and you will be required to store your collapsed stroller in your allocated seating area (eg. under your feet).

image source: Do It Tour

image source: Do It Tour

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Holiday-induced shopping: The credit-card coma. The regrets. The unworn souvenirs.

Good morning Miss Empire State! Our view from our Union Square apartment

So I am back from holidays in the States and (as all Australian’s who have done the LA flight + NYC connection will appreciate) I’m struggling with a little jet-lag. I can now finally relate to all those mothers out there who are up to their children regularly throughout the night – I’ve been sitting bleary eyed in the cold dark quiet of the house wondering if I should buy an Ab-Circle Pro. It really does seem like quite a good deal?

We had a great trip but it seems I may have disappointed many of my friends (and sisters) on my lack of shopping acquisitions.

To be fair, I did have grand plans of hitting the pavements of Manhattan with the determination of an Olympic gold medalist (inspired by this lovely blogger). I visualized the sales assistants crawling over themselves to get to me on seeing my credit card already in hand, willing itself to be swiped as soon as I entered the door.

I saw myself ditching the subway due to the mountains of bags looped over my arm – the huge load would almost need its own taxi.

I saw myself explaining to J1 when I got home that “You just don’t understand. They were so cheap! I couldn’t NOT buy them!”

But, depressingly, it simply wasn’t to be. It turned out to be the kind of trip where we practically became locals (and it seemed the locals didn’t have a job to go to, so instead worked hard at hanging about looking fabulous – so we fit right in: minus the fabulous part). Continue reading

I have always had culture envy. Does that make me racist?

I remember when I was little (maybe 5 or 6) I would pretend to speak in a foreign language with my sister when we were out and about with Mum. We thought it was funny that people around us wouldn’t be able to understand us – but mostly, we thought it would make us interesting if they assumed we were foreign (note, I am now pretty sure no one was taking ANY notice of a couple of kids performing in the supermarket like this….)

I have always found my heritage to be a bit of a bore. At school when we did those assignments on “My Family Tree” I was acutely aware that I didn’t have an exotic bloodline from a European country (whose name I struggled to pronounce), like some of my classmates did. Nope, I was typical. A typical Aussie, with a good half-half mixing of Scottish and Irish at various points along the way.  First generation ancestors so far back that they were clearly some of the dodgy ones that were forced onto boats headed for Australia in those earlier days.

My culture-envy was further spurred on by my overseas adventures when I was 21. I really felt like Australia was so cut off from the rest of the world and I couldn’t wait until my parents agreed that I was old enough to venture out to see what was beyond the Pacific Ocean. I particularly loved being in Scotland when after learning of my surname ‘McGregor’ through seeing my passport or checking into a hostel, I would be greeted warmly with an: “Oh Lassie – You’re home!”

Does being so strongly envious of other people’s culture make me racist?!

I’m currently traveling in the USA and Mexico. In the beachside Mexican town of Tulum where we have currently set up margarita-drinking positions, the locals exude a wonderful laid-back approach to life. Surrounded by turquoise waters and the beautiful cliff-side ancient ruins revealing their rich heritage, their personalities are as relaxed as the tide – slow, calm, beautiful. And with incredible handicrafts, food and traditions strongly present in their everyday life, it’s fair to say I am jealous.

sorella & me travels very well – here she is enjoying the beaches of Mexico

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Family Road Trips – The sweetest of all childhood memories

One of our friends has departed on a big road-trip adventure with her hubbie and two little ones this morning. They have packed up their camper and making their way from Queensland over to Western Australia. Taking around 5 weeks, they are sure to have so many special memories to share with us when they get home – and no doubt their two children, although still quite young, will have happy memories of this special time with their mum and dad (all 4,685 kilometers of it!).

Camping Travel Road Trips

The VW Camper Van – what a classic! Image via The Telegraph (UK) – Travel

It certainly brings back some happy for memories for me thinking about similar traveling we did as a family when my sisters and I were young – back in the 80s!

My parents were really good like that – although they certainly didn’t have money growing on trees, they worked so hard in their small businesses that when they could afford to step away from the grind for a couple of weeks we’d load up the car and have a road-tripping camping adventure – which usually involved chasing the sun to Queensland. Continue reading

Too old for a festival? Not a food & wine festival!

I love the vibe of a festival.  The feeling of having nothing better to do but be in the moment, with a beverage, talking, watching, listening, enjoying – and that’s it, your only care is to soak in the atmosphere!

The full-day full-on all-out music festival is pretty much over for me – it could have something to do with not wanting to go to festivals that my students now go to!  However I have still been going to the Byron Bay Bluesfest at Easter for the last few years….even dragging my kiddies along as it’s really got a great family friendly vibe. I also love going to the Woodford Folk Festival over New Year for the same reason – especially in the early days when it was in Maleny (in the Queensland Hinterland) and moving from one tent into the next only meant out one door a few paces and in to another! It was all really easy.

Byron Bay Bluesfest

Byron Bluesfest. Little L not sure about these things dad brought from work for her ears! Now we see you can buy these from Peltor Kids – if only they were around when we needed them!

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