Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Northern Highway 1, California

It's taken me a few weeks to get around to writing this post - although our summer holiday was almost a month ago now, I still wanted to share a few snippets from another beautiful part of the state we are lucky enough to call home. After heading up north to Crater Lake, the redwood forests and the drive thru tree park, we headed back home on the scenic route: Highway 1.

We'd already done the south section of this scenic coastal drive from LA to San Francisco back in March, but I have to say - I much preferred the north. We did have better weather (which always tends to influence my opinion on places) BUT it still felt more scenic - more rugged, somehow.

With winding roads, cute seaside villages and the wild pacific ocean, it made for a spectacular drive indeed...








Saturday, July 27, 2013

30/52


"A picture of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Oliver: It's been a long week stuck at home, with both of us feeling a little under the weather. So how did the little guy left off some steam? Jumping on the couch, of course!

Linking up with Che and Fidel as part of the 52 Project.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wandering Wednesday - Carcassonne, France

Not just a popular board game, Carcassonne is actually a small city in southern France which we visited on our first French road trip back in 2007. Although I had never heard of the game at the time (it's since become a favourite in our household), there is a board game named after the pretty little medieval city that is worth playing just as much as visiting the city itself.


Although Carcassonne goes beyond the walls, the main tourist spot is the old fortified city. It's small but spectacular - it's one of those places that doesn't quite look real, almost like it should be at a theme park.




Being right on the tourist path, it's filled with the usual array of souvenir stores and restaurants galore. This area is known for cassoulet - a hearty stew of sausages and beans, and boy - it is GOOD! Considering the general busyness of the 'downtown area' of the old city, the city walls were surprisingly quiet. It made for a lovely afternoon stroll to work off our lunch!





My biggest complaint about Carcassonne? The PARKING! It took us maybe an hour of driving around and around to find a car parking space, and then it was a pretty big walk up to the fortified city. We didn't realise how long it would take to walk up to the city so we hadn't put enough coins in the parking machine to really explore within the old city walls thoroughly - and once we walked back to the car, we didn't want to walk back up the hill! It's just one of the downsides of going to a heavily touristed spot in summertime though, but it's worth it for a visit. One day, we would like to go back and explore this region a little more thoroughly - I'm sure a visit into Carcassonne will be on the to see list.


Happy wanderings :-)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

23...

I can't believe it - somehow, 2 years has (almost) gone by. This little man is growing up. I feel like this is the last month I can refer to him as x months old... It's exciting to see him changing and growing every single day but also scary at the same time - no one prepared me for how quickly this all goes by.

At 23 months, Mr Oliver...

... has so many words I don't even know how to begin counting them. He did say his first long sentence this month, 7 words in a row and as clear as a bell: 'the man is banging and cutting wood' (when referring to our neighbours roof being fixed).

... loves to invite you into his room. When he wakes up after naptime or first thing in the morning and starts calling out for us, we go and knock on his door. He pipes up with 'come in!' and as soon as he sees you, 'good sleep!' :-)

... is loving potty time. Mostly because it's an excuse to get his kit off - the kid loves to run around in his birthday suit, he insists on even having his SHIRT taken off before sitting on the loo. He's also making demands. He knows that he can have a chocolate (just a M&M) if he does something on there. Now he is demanding 'the whole packet'. Just for sitting down. Argh.

... is still a little clingy. Some days, all he does is ask for huggles. It takes him a good hour to warm up to being at the park some days and I have to carry him around in the meantime. And the kid is HEAVY! It's no wonder I'm tired at the end of the day!

... has figured out a different way of saying yes: aha, mmmhmmmm. It's so. stinking. cute.

... has a new favourite show: Playschool. He's never been a big TV watcher, usually just 15 minutes a day after naptime (or as needed when we are having a rough day or Mummy needs to clean the house in peace) but is HOOKED on this show. There's no American version of it either, not that I mind because the kiddo needs a bit more Aussie influence in the hope of avoiding an American accent. We have 1 playschool DVD he got for his 1st birthday but otherwise have been watching it as a treat on You Tube. Note to self: must stock up when we are in Australia this Christmas!

... has started to recognise our car in a parking lot. He sees it and shouts out MUMMYS CAR! DADDYS CAR! There are so many similar colour/shape cars around, it amazes me that he recognises ours.

... loves to be sung to and dances along. His current favourite song however is completely random: the 'cake' song, as he calls it. Otherwise known as happy birthday!

... got the best value toy.... A SANDPIT! Mitch and Ollie built it together and let me tell you, it has been a lifesaver. He loves it - begs to go out there as soon as breakfast is over and I have to lure him out of it with the promise of treats to go out. It took a bit of time & effort, but well worth it!


Happy 23 months big boy!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Two by Two

This past weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a small baby shower for a sweet friend of mine who is expecting identical twin boys! I do love a bit of party planning (and there just never seems to be enough opportunities to throw a child free party!) so had a lot of fun putting this one together. I'm never entirely sure how everything will turn out until the final moment and I can see all the little touches all working together, but with the vision of Noah's Ark and 'two by two' in mind, I think it all came together nicely in the end...















Thanks, Courtney for letting me do this - we loved showering you & are all so excited to meet your boys!



Monday, July 22, 2013

Drive thru with a difference

Ever since I saw the Chandelier Tree appear on a bloggers Instagram feed many months ago, I had been wanting to go drive through a giant tree. I can sometimes be a real sucker for touristy things, and the drive thru tree park definitely caught my attention. Located in Leggett, California it happened to be on our route home so naturally we stopped in. Coming from our overnight stopping point of Eureka, we first drove through the Avenue of the Giants - an old section of Highway 101 that is said to be a really spectacular drive through the giant redwoods. It was pretty, but honestly - I much preferred Howland Hill Road & Stout Grove a little further north. The light was pretty special though...




Once we reached the drive thru tree park and paid a small entry fee, the cashier told us there could be a small wait - 'maybe 15 minutes' (which translated into 40 minutes). We got in line behind a really large truck...


Had a bit of a giggle when it couldn't make it through...


And drove through a tree!


The interior was pretty scratched up - our SUV is pretty compact, and I was worried it was going to scrape the sides of the tree. I can hardly imagine how you'd fit a bigger car through! I've seen a lot of different drive thrus since we moved to the states last year. Drive thru Starbucks, drive thru atms, drive thru laundry... But this one topped them all :-)


Saturday, July 20, 2013

29/52


"A picture of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013"

Oliver: His little buddy left her shoe behind... And he very quickly claimed it as his own, happily clomping around the house in one pretty silver shoe!

Linking up with Che and Fidel as part of the 52 Project.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wandering Wednesday - Lifou, New Caledonia

Lifou is an island belonging to New Caledonia and a popular destination on P&O Cruises. So, when we took a cruise with friends in 2009 around the south pacific, it's no surprise we landed at this small, picturesque island.


This was our first view of Lifou as we came close to anchoring - a scenic headland with a pretty little church. The cruise line offered a number of different sightseeing tours, but being intrepid travelers (and wanting to escape the other passengers) we made our own fun. Firstly, we bartered with a local bike stall to rent us some bikes.


Then, we just took off for the day! No maps were needed, we just made our way around the island, through rainforest and villages, passing many houses and even a couple of churches...



We made it all the way to the other side of the island - right up to a lovely lookout before ditching the bikes and making our way down a steep hill to this snorkeling cove. This was when we realised the value in making our own tour - one of the sightseeing tours to these cliffs arrived while we were snorkeling. Yes, they got to ride in an airconditioned bus instead of cycling up a steep hill in the heat BUT they had 5 mins to admire the view before boarding, and had to watch us enjoying the water instead of being in there admiring all the fishies themselves!


After working off a few of the cocktails we had been enjoying on board, we returned the bikes in favour of some relaxing at the beach where we had landed. There was food, entertainment and a market featuring local handicrafts.





The beach here was picture perfect - the sand soft and white and the water was gloriously warm, not to mention crystal clear.



I have to admit, I didn't really want to get back on the ship when it was time to leave. Perhaps it was the thought of facing more motion sickness, or perhaps it was the beauty of this little south pacific gem, I just don't know...


Happy wanderings :-)

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