First, coffee!

I’m lying next to my sick, sleeping toddler and having no luck trying to nap myself. This is despite surviving on less than zero sleep all week (maybe slightly exaggerated) and knowing that I have a ten hour night shift ahead of me. I’m watching my little human and hoping she’ll sleep for at least another hour, so my overworked brain has time to shut off and I can catch a few winks.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and my toddler requires no less than my complete undivided attention, my clothes are still covered in snot, the sleepless nights are still very real and thank goodness for panadol.

Today I’ve read her about twenty books, we’ve played ball, we’ve wrestled while she rips out my hair and bounces up and down on my not so hard abs but in a fit of giggles. There’s nothing better than watching them have fun and their face light up with happiness. It’s only while I’m trying to have a coffee (survival) or attempting to get a couple of household chores done, or unable to pick up the phone to reply to a text, or return a phone call, that I go slightly crazy with the toddler clinginess. Of course it’s made worse by her feeling unwell and this only elevates the mum guilt for wishing for some blissful time out and did I say wine?

It’s all meant to be about balance right? Parenting, household duties, work commitments and amongst all that, trying to find a bit of adult time with that special someone. Well let me tell you, adult time is usually trying to squeeze in half an hour of conversation once the kids are in bed, before giving into Netflix and knowing that romance is officially dead!

As parents, this is what we sign up for. The adorable snotty faces, the sleepless nights, the squeals of excitement at the park, the temper tantrums, enjoying each stage of their development and the cuddles that make up for every bit of insanity that parenting brings. It teaches us patience (and tests it), it teaches us how to be selfless (most of the time), it makes us realise how much sleep we can really survive without and best of all, a reason to get out of bed every morning, but first, coffee!

When you lose your cool.

Yesterday I lost my cool and by that I mean I yelled very loudly at my four year old. It was a reaction to her yelling and waking up my 10 month old who I’d just got to sleep, after spending the better part of the day soothing and settling her with her teething misery.

After I walked away and calmed down, I looked at my little four year old’s devastated face and felt immense guilt. It was only the day before that she’d come home from Kindy and spent the afternoon yelling at us, afterwards we took away her iPad time and explained to her that’s ‘it’s not nice to be yelled at and it makes people sad.’ How though, can she learn anything from the previous day’s lesson when I’d just spent ten minutes yelling at her? I sat her down next to me, gave her a big cuddle and explained the reason I got mad. I then apologised for my inexcusable behaviour.

Sometimes we forget that our little ones aren’t adults and when they don’t act with the understanding that we have, it’s easy to becomes frustrated. They also act accordingly to their thoughts and emotions. This was the case yesterday when I’d told her she couldn’t have the thing that she wanted. She reacted very loudly and woke her sister up.

I have to remind myself too, that for almost three and a half years my oldest girl had us all to herself. We did everything together, she was my little adventure buddy and cafe companion, we spent loads of time together reading books, I’d push her in her pram for long walks and take her to the park. She showed interest in everything I did and I answered her constant questions with patience.

It’s been a huge adjustment for her having a little sister, who is now demanding a lot of that time. With life being so busy, I’ll be honest, I can’t remember the last time I took her to the park or even baked some muffins with her. I’ll be even more honest and say that her iPad use has increased a lot. So its understandable that in that little time she had me to herself yesterday, she wanted my undivided attention.

Don’t get me wrong, we still do plenty together, I also think it’s important that she’s using her imagination to create games and activities by herself. She’s gained a little sister that she adores and adores her, the two of them playing and laughing together, brings a lot of happiness into our busy lives.

Yesterday was one of those days, losing my cool the way I did was not my proudest moment. The truth is though, we are all human and at times the ugly side gets the better of us. We become frustrated and lose our patience. None of us are perfect, along with all of its rewards, parenting at times can be very challenging and it isn’t the first or last time that I’ll probably yell. But it’s something I’ll always work on because nobody likes to be yelled at. Especially our little humans.

Today when she comes home from Kindy she’ll have her little sister smiling and ready for her big hug and a mum who misses her and can’t wait to hear about her day.

Back to work Jitters!

Photo credit: Emily Wilson.

It creeps up on you doesn’t it, I’ve been lucky enough to have nine months off with my youngest, definitely no complaints with the timing, but there’s still a bit of mental preparation. It’s not just our bub that has to adjust, it’s also our four year old, she currently has an emotional melt down when either myself or my husband leave the house without her. As my husband leaves for work at 7:30 am, she’s chasing him out the door screaming loud enough that the neighbours don’t need an alarm clock.

1. Leaving your children.

As hard as it is to leave your little ones and the Mum guilt often sneaks up (especially as you’re reversing up the driveway seeing your child’s tear streaked face), going to work is something that I never apologise for. The last few weeks especially, my daughter has asked me why I have to go back to work. I often reply with ‘Mum has a career and a job that she loves and it’s part of who she is’. I also explain that contributing to the household is a joint effort from both Mum and Dad and to live we have to work (she understands this as holidays, Birthday presents and babyccino’s).

2. Work life balance.

As a nurse, you’re basically signing yourself up for shift work. With my first born we managed it well, I’d come home from work at 10pm and she was sound asleep tucked up in bed, I’d sneak in and give her a kiss on the cheek and my husband would fill me in on their afternoon. My husband loved the Friday evenings, it became a tradition of sausage sandwiches and watching the football together.

Believe me when I say that not many nurses enjoy night duty. The hardest part I find is leaving the house when everyone is relaxed and ready for bed, because at 9pm I’m wanting to crawl into bed too. I make myself a cup of coffee and head off to work feeling a bit sorry for myself. It came as a bit of a surprise for my husband when I discussed with him the prospect of going back to work on nights. But like all good husbands should, he supported me with this decision and understood my reasoning for it. The benefits of being home for my biggest girl when she gets home from Kindy, having dinner every night as a family, I can settle bub to sleep and kiss my big girl goodnight before I go to work and I’m home in the morning before their day routine starts again. Not much will change for them and hopefully for my husband’s sake, they sleep all night!

Sure the pre night duty depression will get me every week and having to express breast milk at work isn’t exactly enjoyable. I happen to love my job however and I’m looking forward to having some adult conversation and challenging my brain again (although I feel like my baby brain is a forever thing).

3. We’ve got this!

So Mum’s going back to work, I get how daunting it is, we wonder how our little ones are going to cope without us. The reality is they are going to be just fine and they’ll appreciate the time we all get to spend together, even more. I just have to tell myself this tomorrow night, as I shed a tear on the way to work!

It’s a surfers paradise!

Cyclonic conditions make for a surfers paradise. Only the experienced surfers were brave enough to head out and hit the big waves on the weekend and that was despite the beaches being closed and the many warnings not to venture out. But how can you really stop a keen surfer from hitting some amazing swells!

Cyclone Oma didn’t make landfall and was far enough off the southeast coast that we didn’t get the extreme damaging winds and torrential rain. Saturday it was downgraded to a sub tropical low, still generating strong winds however and dangerous surf conditions.

I would have been extremely disappointed if I hadn’t got down to see this natural phenomenon. Along with many locals and tourists we fought for a park close to the beach, so we could watch the show.

The beach erosion from the cyclonic conditions and king tides was very evident. We kept to the path and made our way through the crowd of people doing exactly what we were doing, finding a spot to check out Mother Nature at her finest and watch the experienced and possibly crazy surfers catching the big breakers at Kirra point.

The show didn’t disappoint and I was surprised at how many surfers were out on the water, they were relying on the jet skis to tow them in. I was super impressed by one little keen grommet who was surfing the white wash close to the beach to get his fix.

After our free entertainment we headed back towards our car, having a stop at the kids park and grabbing some pies for lunch from the Kirra bakery. It was a Sunday well spent and it was fantastic to see so many people getting out amongst it and supporting the local businesses.

Once I caught a fish alive!

Next time you stay at the Gold Coast, I’d recommend a visit to Palm Beach Parklands, its a perfect location to take the kids for a swim. Plenty of sand, no waves and you can set up your picnic rug/towels under plenty of shade.

Still in holiday mode after our little family getaway to Caloundra, we thought we’d take advantage of my husband’s last few days off and hit the beach.

We thought Miss four would be super excited to go for a swim, she knows the spot well and has always loved the creek. On this day however she decides she doesn’t want to go for a swim because the fish will ‘bit’ her! Now one of the reasons I love this spot is because the water is beautiful and clear and often there are plenty of decent sized fish swimming around you, so I obviously couldn’t tell her there would be no fish. We instead tried convincing her that the fish would not bite her. So she sings us this: ‘one, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive, six, seven, eight, nine, ten then I let it go again. Why did you let it go? Because it bit my finger so, which finger did it bite? This little finger on the right.’ Yes you know the one. My clever child used a nursery rhyme against me! We do eventually get her into her swimmers however and off we go.

Our little nine month old decided the car trip would be a great time to catch forty winks and after finding an easy park (it’s not so easy on a weekend, or school holidays, it’s a very popular spot), our eldest girl got to have a play at the Pirate park while I waited for her sister to wake up.

We scored a shady spot to set up our picnic rug and towels, slopped on the sunscreen, slapped on our hats and headed down into the refreshing water for a dip. Well at least three of us did, the fourth decided to stubbornly sit on the beach because of her new found fear of fish. She was so unimpressed that she didn’t even dig her usual holes with her bucket and spade. Our youngest family member loved the water however and we can safely say, there were no fish bite casualties.

There’s a great cafe on the Parklands called Dune Cafe and after ordering coffee and croissants my husband took the two girls for a walk on the path that heads down under the bridge, you can also continue onto the boardwalk if you prefer a longer walk. I took the opportunity to drink my coffee under the shady trees, listening to the birds sing.

If you have a fear of fish then maybe it’s not the spot for you, but for everyone else, it’s an awesome spot for a swim and a family day out.

I want to be a unicorn when I grow up!

From the mouth of my four year old, not unusual at all, I mean what four year old doesn’t want to be something magical and extraordinary, what came next though ‘so I can tell everyone what to do’ I’m not really sure how this relates to a sparkly unicorn, but one things for sure it’s definitely a lot more realistic!

Today was one of those days, we’re currently on holidays and after two days of pool, beach and sun we thought we might head up into the hills and visit Montville. If you’ve ever been to Montville you’ll know it’s a charming little hinterland town full of art galleries, coffee shops and boutique stores.

We started our day off with an early swim in the pool. After going down the water slide at least 50 times (slight exaggeration) we convinced the four old to head back to the room so we could get ready for our little adventure. This is where the drama started. She’s got two dresses that are more drab then fab these days due to the constant wear, she refuses to wear anything else. She’s got an awesome wardrobe full of clothes and dress ups, but trying to get her to put anything else on other than these two dresses meets with a tantrum worthy of an Oscar! Don’t get me wrong I’m all for having a minimalistic approach and I’m sure she’d make Marie Kondo proud. Today however we though it might be nice for her to wear the dress her Dad bought her, a nice comfortable dress, one that he thought she would approve of with her very basic taste and we were met with another academy award performance. It was the battle of the most stubborn and believe me we tried every trick in the book, we were met with a steely resolve and after an hour we finally convinced her to at least try the dress on for five minutes and if she still didn’t like it she could take it off. I did her hair with the dress on, she asked for her hat with the dress on, we almost got her shoes on and out the door with the dress on and then ‘I’m taking it off now’ well at least she tried it on, according to her, the job was done.

Fast forward, we finally make the forty minute drive to Montville, enthusiastically saying how we might drop into the big pineapple on the way back.

The Main Street of Montville is quite busy but we find a park easy enough and we’re all in high spirits, even our little eight month old seemed happy enough to go straight from the car seat to the pram. We passed a few art galleries, made note to call back into the chocolate shop ( Chocolate Country, it’s amazing ) and found a shady little cafe that boasted the best Devonshire tea, and I was sold. I’ve always been a sucker for a good scone. My little one wanted ice cream and my husband ordered the more practical option of a smoked salmon bagel for lunch. This was going well until our baby decided she wanted to escape the confines of her pram. I was only half way through my scone and I was savouring every bite and after scanning the ground we came to the conclusion that there was too much flora on the ground that she would try to make a meal of and so my good husband let me eat my scone, while trying to eat his well filled bagel with one hand. A tad messy but baby was happy. It was around this time our eldest girl started complaining of tummy pains. Thinking that a trip to the chocolate shop would excite her enough that she would forget about the little tummy upset we headed over to the shop. Well my little chocolate lover did not show the enthusiasm that I expected and I didn’t even make it to the counter with my chocolate peanut brittle, rocky road and her chocolate freckles before she started lying down and rolling around on the shop floor. A couple of threats of her not getting any chocolate and a quick transaction, we were out of there! By the time I got back to my husband who had managed to find a spot decent enough for our youngest child to have a crawl around, we decided that our efforts in trying to make a day out of our little trip was over. Both girls were asleep in the car before we’d got out of town and we passed the Big pineapple on our way home with a chuckle. Have kids they say.

Our afternoon was a more positive event with us enjoying a swim at the beach and then the pool. Although my husband might disagree when he had to jump in the pool fully clothed (much to the amusement of others) to drag our stubborn girl out. Slightly dramatic, but she’d jumped back into the water without an adult three times and an example had to be made. Of course she was mortified and we had yet another Hollywood performance for the day, although this time around there was slightly more remorse.

Mum’s and Dad’s you are all warriors and I have to be honest, after checking that your child isn’t screaming because of some form of physical punishment, I’m going to sit back and watch the show and feel extremely thankful, because this time it’s you not me.

After reading my daughter’s favourite book, Thelma the Unicorn, both my angels are sound asleep and I can’t wait for in the morning, when we’ll be woken with their beautiful smiling faces. No trips to Montville tomorrow just the beach, pool and a walk in the afternoon for ice cream.


Today I’d arranged to meet a friend at CAFE DBAR. It was her suggestion and I had been looking forward to it all week. I had visited this trendy beach café (located in Coolangatta) a few times, usually to grab a coffee before going for a walk around Point Danger headland.

I’d promised to take my little babyccino lover with me while my eight month old had some quality time with her Dad. I always enjoy the drive to the Southern end of the coast, although the M1 can be a bit of a nightmare during peak hour. I usually take a little detour past the stunning Kirra, Coolangatta, Green Mount and Rainbow Bay beaches.

We took advantage of our early arrival and walked down to the lookout over Duranbah beach. The light rain and breeze was incredibly refreshing. The dark clouds over the ocean and the menacing waves crashing over the rocks made for some great photo’s. After taking a few scenic snaps, we headed over to the café.

I had my hopes for a table in the upstairs dining room, it has an amazing view of the ocean through the panoramic windows. I was in luck and a friendly waitress managed to squeeze us in on table with a comfortable booth.

The café is known for its locally sourced ingredients and boasts a modern menu with vegan, paleo and gluten-free options.

Despite my four year old having initial disappointment that there wasn’t a pancake option on the menu the Groms Breaky of Coco pops with milk and cookies cheered her up. Both my friend and I were in an eggs benedict mood and the Classic eggs benedict on the menu didn’t disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed my coffee and my little babyccino expert gave hers the thumbs up.

CAFE DBAR is a great spot to relax over food and coffee. I love the beachy vibe of the cafe and the option of take away if you would rather go for a walk and stare at the stunning coast line views from the lookout.

Definitely worth the visit. You won’t be disappointed, that’s a promise!

The Wine Barrel

I’ve been wanting to try the Wine Barrel located in Mudgeeraba for quite some time. Today I took the child free opportunity to head out for breakfast with a friend.

A friendly greeting from staff and the option to sit at a table or booth (we chose the booth), coffee ordered (first priority) and water glasses filled, we were able to have a good look at the breakfast menu.

It was a hard decision with all the mouth watering options. I ended up deciding on the Reuben Benedict. It came with house made crumpets, sauerkraut, silverside, fried green tomato, poached eggs and a delicious thousand island hollandaise. Next visit I’m keen to try the Activated charcoal and seed bread, fresh honeycomb, maple butter and grange jams. Actually I’m not going to be satisfied until I try everything on their menu!

If this sounds like your kind of food, and you like a relaxed setting with a rustic vibe, I’d definitely recommend you visit The Wine Barrel and try for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!