#712 Family Fun on Jan 26th

Today is a day that divides many people from the land down under.

January 26th – Australia Day. A national holiday to celebrate our achievements as Australians, to recognise how far we’ve come, and to reflect on our culture.

The local park down by the beach ran a huge Australia Day event, and naturally, we all headed on down.

It was a very pro-Australia Day experience. Flags abounded, Union Jacks on clothing, and green and gold was the norm. Massive theme park rides were spaced on the perimeter of the park, food trucks on one end, and a stage for live music on the other.

These people came here to celebrate Australia day – or as was in our case, to take advantage of the free entertainment.

But there is a movement, a wave of people that has been increasing exponentially, that believes we should not celebrate Australia Day on January 26th.

And I agree.

BUT that does NOT mean I am not proud to be an Australian.

January 26th is not the day the First Fleet landed in this country, as many people are led to believe. In fact it is believed to have occurred in 1788, somewhere between Jan 18-20, and the 26th is the day the Union Jack was raised in Sydney Cove, to declare British Sovereignty.

Australia Day was celebrated in Sydney on January 26th in those early days, before other states took on the holiday too, but they did this on different days, like Tasmania’s ‘Regatta Day,’ or South Australia’s ‘Proclamation Day.’ This was the case for 200 years, and only in 1935 did it become nationally recognised and celebrated, even then only being declared as a holiday in 1994.

In that way, Australia Day as we know it today, is fairly new.

The day January 26th, is known as ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survival Day’ to these Anti-Aus Day Jan 26-ers. Because it signalled the end of 50,000 years of Indigenous occupation on this land, which then led to brutal colonisation. Massacres of the Aboriginal people took place, land was taken, and children removed from their parents. The stolen generation was born, and many Indigenous descendants grew up not knowing where they came from.

The pain, suffering and loss the Indigenous community experienced is more than profound. And that doesn’t include the repercussions echoing out to this current day. To think of what they have had to endure, not just over years, but decades and centuries, with oppression and hate and discrimination, when all they were doing were living on their land… a sorry will just not do.

But it was done. In 2008 the Australian Prime Minister formally apologised to the Aboriginal community – for the successive laws and policies of previous governments that inflicted severe pain and grief onto their families and communities.

January 26th, the day the Union Jack was raised in Sydney in 1788, is then a representation of all that preceded, and all that was lost to the Indigenous community when the First Fleet arrived. The slavery, the violence, the oppression. It is a day of mourning for many. Rightly so.

My ancestors were NOT from that First Fleet. In fact, in 1788, my ancestors were probably farming cattle in a remote and poverty-stricken land somewhere in the Balkan region of Europe. My parents came to Australia in 1970, for a better life. It is the story of so many European immigrants, and continues to be so to this day. They came from nothing, from having to work so hard just to be able to obtain, I don’t know, a bike… over the span of a YEAR… and the opportunity to come to a “land of plenty,” where stories of filling up a trolley with fruit and vegetables with only $2, and realising after their first pay check working in the factory, that they could achieve so much more here in months, than they could achieve over there in years… that is the history I grew up with.

I grew up hearing, how Australia saved my parents. In doing so, they saved my sister and I. I grew up hearing of the comparisons between my parents’ beloved native country, and the ‘lucky country.’ They have such respect for where they came from, and when you ask them their nationality – they are Australian. Proudly so.

I have seen more of my family come from overseas. They didn’t come here to brutalise and oppress any minority or otherwise group, just as my parents didn’t. No, they came here for a better life, for a chance at something greater, even to escape WAR. They came here because they heard things were good, and they wanted to see things for themselves.

They have all stayed. We ALL have.

The Australia I have lived with, and which has been represented to me, is a good one, a noble one. I know things are not perfect, and there is always something the government must do better. But here, there is democracy. Freedom of speech. There is strong multiculturalism. People are kind. People are friendly. People love to connect.

However, bad things were done, many, many years ago, and despite the fact that we can’t go back, we can try to make things work as a unified community.

A country, united as one.

Both black and white, coming together.

But it has to be a conscious and integrated effort from both parties. There are white people I know that complain of the country we live in, or talk about how shit Australia is, or how that ‘other’ country is soooo much better.

Well move then. Go on, piss off (as a true blue Aussie would say). Don’t hang around here gaining benefits and working and earning Australian coin, when you know of so much better.

You are ungrateful. We don’t want you.

Likewise I have heard some other pretty horrible things today. I have heard of Indigenous people at Invasion Day rallies, saying “F*&k Australia, hope it burns to the ground.”

This makes me terribly sad. Sad for the mourning this person would have experienced to want the country they live in, the country we ALL live in, to burn to pieces.

Like I said, both parties need to want to move forward, peacefully. Slandering will not make things better. And it unfortunately won’t change the past.

Whether like me, my ancestors were not part of that First Fleet, or like other Australians, perhaps they were… the power to want to change the future is out there. People want to make amends for the past, whether they are white or black… but a person living in Melbourne today, should not be blamed for what their Father did in February 1st 1985 for example… just as today’s First Fleet descendants that want to change for the better, should not be blamed for what their ancestors were part of from 1788 onwards.

The idea is out there, that Australia Day needs to be moved to another date, or it is abolished all together and another day that celebrates both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities coming together, is created.

I believe this is the only way forward. I think respect needs to be shown to the original people of this land, and January 26th and Australia Day, are synonymous no more.



I went to the park today. I was happy to be amidst our community of proud Australians – Australians that love the country they live in, the people in it, and the culture that lives on.

Was I celebrating Australia Day? Hmm, not quite. I was celebrating the life I live…

But that I do every day. Because I am grateful for the place that I reside in the world.

I am grateful for MY history. I am grateful for the choices my parents made. And I am grateful that change is coming to respect the life and culture of those who inhabited this land 200 years before any white people were on it.

I had my own family fun day, and I enjoyed the fact of some extra time together, with them.

I hope wherever you were in the world, your day of January 26 was great too…




#705 Cooling down at LEGOLAND

On day 2 of what to do when you are stuck in 35+ degree heat with no air con at home…

I actually wouldn’t have even thought to go to LEGOLAND today, if it weren’t for the extreme heat. So maybe I will be grateful for it…


l’ll dedicate this one to the weird and wonderful things we saw at the ‘mini brick mansion’ instead.

I mean, it’s not like we had never planned on going to LEGOLAND… baby girl sure loves her Lego, and can’t wait ’til she turns 5 so she can accumulate even more Lego (I have to impose a pretend age ban, or else we’d be swimming in these pointy shaped blocks in our house).

The only LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Australia is situated in Chadstone shopping centre, Melbourne. It’s a bit of a hefty entry price per single admission, of $32.50 a pop (sheesh!) but you do get access to a whole heap of free things. My thoughts are that with an annual pass costing you $75.00 a person, if you are bound to go at least twice a year, you’ve paid off your ticket, with the annual pass coming with freebies like special event invites and 10% off the Lego store too.

The website also advises that you can book and even schedule a time in advance to visit, so as to avoid the disappointment of possibly waiting if you do just ‘rock up’ like baby girl and I did today, hoping to just walk on in… having said that, we easily walked in, and still found it packed to the rafters inside with adults and kids, and it is school holidays too! Perhaps it gets even busier on weekends? Something to consider.

Upon entry we walked into a room where we were told to stand on a red dot and pose for a camera. I didn’t like this, only because I knew I would later be easily persuaded to buy the photos of myself and baby girl for a hefty price… which I did, for a hefty price! $45 to be exact!

But they were pretty cool, and showcased both of us in various Lego scenes, and to be honest we looked good, and if we didn’t I wouldn’t have bothered. Onwards.

The next room was the Lego ‘tour,’ which was really just a circular room with screens all around, with little cartoon people talking to us about how Legos are made, and all kind of fun statistics and info for kids… maybe older kids, but it was nothing to keep baby girl interested for very long.

The next door took us to a ride where we had to save the Lego princess, and we hopped on a car that took us around the dark in twisting corners, and where little Lego-shaped characters popped out, and then we pointed our play guns at screens and shot the bad guys. Of course, we saved the princess in the end 🙂 A cool ride, for both young and old, but if your littlie is scared of the dark, maybe it might be a little freaky with all the fake spiders and all.

The next room was MY personal favourite of the centre, the LEGOLAND of Melbourne city! Stay tuned for photos at the end of this post.

The final room was a huge mish-mash of everything:

  • There were various zones of Lego play where kids could get into the Lego-making themselves
  • Kids could also make Lego cars and then test them on awesome car tracks against other kids’ cars!
  • They could view human sized Lego
  • You could get involved in a Lego workshop
  • You could even create your own Lego to take home (today it was a starship from Star Wars)
  • There was the 3D Lego movie that ran every 30 minutes or so
  • Then there was the Merlin ride where you pedalled your way up and around into the sky (that was great fun!)
  • And last but not least there was the playground area, but note to all: kids aren’t allowed without socks!

And all of this with a café in the middle of the room and toilets nearby. All the activities were for free, the only things you had to pay for that were extra, were those cheeky photos they took of you at the beginning (of course you would pay for them), and food and drink from the café, plus anything from the Lego store of course, which was the place you exited from as you left the centre.

AMAZINGLY, we didn’t buy anything from the store, but that was purely because there was no Frozen or Little Mermaid or Disney themed Lego that was 4+ that baby girl didn’t have.

I would seriously consider getting an annual pass, but perhaps when baby girl is a bit older. Although we did most activities and went on both rides, she wasn’t interested in the movie, and the workshop might be a ‘next time’ task too.

But it was a great day all in all, and baby girl and I spend a good couple of hours in there, taking it all in (and me trying to get my money’s worth!)

Oh and it was cool. Hip-wise and temperature-wise. BONUS points.

Now for those awesome Lego Melbourne city pics…


(Luna Park)


(Baby girl – and Anna – checking out half of the MCG during cricket)


(Racing the horses at Flemington Racecourse)

(Melbourne Exhibition Building and Shrine of Remembrance)


(The stunning Arts Centre)

(Live music, and Hot Air Balloons!)


(They even got the suburb I work in… why I never! Docklands)

And my favourite, most favourite of all…



Melbourne’s beautiful beaches. Yep, we sure do ♥♥♥

And all was made that much sweeter and cooler, by the addition of some much-needed cold relief following such a huge day out…


Hope your day was filled with as much fun and ice cream as ours was.


#588 The Greatest Show of All

I LOVED going to the Royal Melbourne Show as a child. My parents took me often, and it was always, ALWAYS, a highlight, every single year. As I grew older I remembered one time where I had a great day there with my sister and Mum too, and then after I met Hubbie we went a couple of times, a night session, and a full-on day session as well.

But we haven’t been for many, many years.

What is there to love about the Show? Why, everything. There is truly something for everyone. There are rides of all kinds, for big kids and small; there are games, again, for everyone, that take out the child in you when the lights flash in your eyes and you observe giant oversized toys that suddenly, YOU MUST HAVE; there is amazing carnival food, as trashy and truck-y as you like, or as discerning and Masterchef-quality as you please, kind sir and madam; there are even animals in talent contests showcasing their skills, entertainers singing or performing death-defying stunts, and then of course, at night, the explosions in the sky.


Well, after what seemed like too long of a break, we went today. It was baby girl’s first time EVER, and weirdly, I had known about a month ago, even before I got my free tickets, that this was going to be our first year to go. It hasn’t worked out for us, or her, any other year, but also, this year I knew she was truly ready for the walk-a-thon that was to be the Royal Melbourne Show adventure, and also, this year she could start to appreciate it. Really appreciate it.

And start creating memories. 🙂

It is so exciting when you start to expose your child to fun things you did when you were young. Hell who am I kidding – I still love to do kid stuff! And I was about as excited as her today, as we jumped off the train about midday and arrived at the Showgrounds.


It was, a BRILLIANT day.

We ate Showground food of fish and chips, coupled with some glasses of beer and wine.

We watched dogs leap over hurdles and fly through tunnels in high-paced canine comps.

Baby girl went on several rides on her own, and with both Hubbie and I: flying through the air in a row-your-boat contraption, spinning round on a floating mini air balloon ride, going round a merry-go-round track in a car, AND she had her first ever dodgem car experience on her own!

She was the bomb 🙂

We played games, and baby girl fished out some prizes for herself.

We stopped for a well-deserved coffee and sweets break, and found some awesome Nutella doughnuts courtesy of the famous food trucks.


We went on the GIANT Ferris Wheel, and nearly died as we were perched up top of the world, the insane wind rocking our carriage and making us hold hands, while I actually bent over and encouraged baby girl to pray to God that the wind would lessen.

She thought I was hilarious.

And then the big one, the clincher, the reason for even going to the show AT ALL…

The showbags.

They don’t come cheap. Of course she wanted character ones, which are even dearer than some other kiddie ones, so we let her pick two bags and got an extra pup toy as well.

It had been a big day. We were glad to have taken the train part of the way, so it could take us a fair distance out of the city and to our parked location, before we jumped in our car and drove home.

Watching baby girl, and seeing her response to so many fun events of the day, was absolute GOLD. She now knows, what the Show is all about.

And what’s most important, her memories of them have just started… and they are already beautiful 🙂


#482 My sister’s birthday

There are some days, lo and behold, that I get as excited by as I do my own birthday – and apart from Christmas and Easter, these other days are the birthdays of my immediate family.

I mean, who doesn’t want to celebrate one of the most important people in their life, to commemorate the day they were brought onto this earth, and immediately made all things better with their presence?

The day I was so excited to commemorate today was that of my sister’s birthday.

The day was cold and crisp, but the sun was glorious in its strict denial of taking on any Winter gloom. Perfect for her. The rays shone bright on her special day, just as her vibrant and uplifting presence fills those around her with constant joy and happiness.

There were select family and friends. A medium group, but one that knew each other well. Casual combo, sometimes serious, sometimes light, sometimes banter, most times shit-stirring. Food, plenty of cake, drinks and then the few ‘shots,’ a throwback to all the parties we used to down years before we had kids, when we’d go one, after one, after one, after one…

We’ll get to that stage again, I’m sure. This is my family after all.

And then the night ended happily, as is the norm, with baby girl and sister sharing a ride on the egg chair…


Weee! they went! Round and round, ’til the movements grew slow, the hand went past midnight, and baby girl’s head leant against her aunty’s, eyes drooping as she still tried to watch her fave Explorer on Netflix.

And it was another great night, to celebrate an amazing woman in my life.

Happy Birthday big sis :*


#383 Somerville Family Day

We hadn’t yet been to Somerville, a 15-20 minute drive from our house back into bushland, so the Family Day being advertised during the Long Weekend there, seemed the perfect excuse to check it out.

There was something for ALL, which made it a great few hours spent. Cars were on show for Hubbie, the first point of call. Live music came from musicians playing up on the big stage in the centre of the grounds, with rides of all sorts scattered around it, for both the little and big kids. Food stalls were on the outskirts on one side, while craft and a whole other range of stalls bordered the other side.

There were a good number of jumping castles, pony rides took kids around for a walk, and again, FACE PAINTING.

Today she chose to be a “Roar!” Lion.

We grabbed some food – the twisty potatoes that I can’t deny myself, ever


and wandered around ’til the brilliant sun made us oh-so-tired and ready for some cool surroundings, and home.

All in all, a great Autumn’s day. Definitely a Family Day winner 🙂



#337 Food Truck festival fun

The Mornington Food Truck festival runs from now, up until Sunday the 29th of January. We ventured over this evening with the MIL, to check out the digs and of course, grab some food truck food.

I had the meaty paella:


Honestly, for $12 it was underwhelming. (Foodie SmikG is coming out now) I only had one prawn in my container, the portion was meagre at best, and though it was spicy and had some good kick, seriously for that price I expected more than two spoonfuls with a sprinkling of rocket on the side.

Yes, I know we’re eating from trucks, people. But the quality of food FROM food trucks has increased substantially in the last few years, something most people in Melbourne would be well aware of. Anyway.

Baby girl had some chips, Hubbie a steak sandwich, and the MIL also went the burger route, as we sat within the greenery alongside the racecourse, under the shelter of the grand old trees, feeling the cool evening breeze sweep in.

There were rides as well, which baby girl and I participated in yet again… yep, the teacup ride. And baby girl saw some clown heads moving slowly side to side, which she wasn’t too sure about so she just let Mum and Dad win her a prize. Those open clown mouths are pretty scary.

It was a pleasant evening, and to be honest despite the paella, I just wanted to be out and about amongst people enjoying MY town. Nothing gripes me more than seeing people from out of town enjoying our precinct, knowing that we can’t due to time restrictions and work commitments! So just by being there tonight, I was happy.

Grateful. 🙂


And to top off the night? We took home some Nutella-centred churros from another food truck, and had them at home… they were still deliciously warm and crunchy, nom nom nom.


(Apologies for the photo, the churros tasted a 1000 times better than what is actually shown).

It was the food highlight of the night, and a lovely way to end our evening adventure.


#276 That reaction, and fireworks

It became a bit of a rushed, bull-crap kinda night after all of the longing and counting down for the day to come.

As soon as I saw the huge billboards on the freeway promoting the Frankston Christmas Festival of Lights, I knew we just HAD to go. I love Christmas. Baby girl loves Christmas. Well she loves presents, and Santa, and trees, and brightly-coloured things, so same same as far as she’s concerned. It was on our side of town too, so it just made perfect sense.

I counted down, for about a month.

Then, a last-minute additional plan meant we couldn’t spend as much time at the Festival as I had originally hoped. Suddenly we were somewhere else for a couple of hours, leaving my dreams of a Festival of Fun, dashed, and long behind me. In its place, walking, starvation, queues, and just plain indecision. We came later, we were hungry, we were rushed and looking for where best to go in very little time, and after some twisted potatoes on a stick (best new festival creation EVER), watching some fairies on stilts, and a quick ride on the teacups, it was time to view the lighting of the Christmas tree and then –


It wasn’t her first fireworks viewing. But tonight they were closer, so they were brighter, louder, and being older, she just gets more. I prepped her beforehand, telling her there would be big bangs in the sky followed by pretty coloured light…


Her face, was priceless. Serious, awe-like… and then tears.

Only for a second! The intensity of the fireworks, both in noise, and just the fact of their sudden ‘being,’ got to her momentarily, and we quickly soothed her by assuring her it was ok, before we oohed and ahhed and then decided best we leave immediately.

I know it wasn’t the night I expected it to be (don’t you hate it when you’re looking forward to something and it all goes horribly awry?) but when I saw that ‘oh’ shaped face of shock, surprise, wonder…

It made it all worth it.

Here’s us on the teacup ride:


Happy weekend folks 🙂