The Little Staycation.

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen the absolute disaster at our house. We are mid renovation and currently, we don’t even have a kitchen. We were 3 weeks in with 3 weeks to go until the kitchen installation and we were all going insane. We decided to take advantage of the Australia Day extra long weekend and take a quick staycation 30 mins down the road from our house, in Broadbeach.

Why, Oh WHY didn’t we do it sooner?
It was exactly what we all needed and everyone left relaxed, recharged and ready to tackle the new year with a smile.

We chose the ULTIQA Air on Broadbeach Apartments.
With a family of 5 we need some serious space, we booked a Sky Villa and we were absolutely thrilled. Ours had 3 bedrooms so we could all have some privacy.

Mummy and Daddy's room.
Mummy and Daddy’s room.
Lucy was quick to grab this room!
Lucy was quick to grab this room!
Orly was over the moon he got to share a room with Bella for a couple of days!
Orly was over the moon he got to share a room with Bella for a couple of days!

Apart from having enough bedrooms, we were just craving a little bit of luxury for a couple of days. From the fully equipped kitchen (it was bliss having a kitchen) to those amazing views, it was sophisticated luxury throughout the entire apartment.

The living areas were expansive, light filled and contemporary.

A fully equipped kitchen overlooks the living area and out to the ocean.
The comfortable living area.
The comfortable living area (wish I’d fixed the cushions on the couch after tornado Orly).
Dining for 8 in air conditioning, or spill out onto the balcony for an alfresco meal.
Dining for 8 in air conditioning, or spill out onto the balcony for an alfresco meal.

Our whole family finds water relaxing, I knew these beachfront apartments would have nice views, but I never imagined you would be able to see all the way from one end of the Gold Coast to the other, absolutely magic!

Looking Left!
Looking Left!
Looking Right!
Looking Right!
The view from the second floor of our apartment, a huge window wall looking out to the ocean, MAGIC!
The view from the second floor of our apartment, a huge window wall looking out to the ocean, MAGIC!

My other requirement for a getaway was that we didn’t have to drive anywhere for a couple of days.
Air on Broadbeach is centrally located in Broadbeach right in the middle of dozens of fabulous restaurants which made Mummy and Daddy happy, just 5 minutes on the G-link light rail to Pacific Fair shopping centre which made the teenagers happy and a 2 minute walk to the beach which made Orly very happy.
Everyone wins!
The other thing that is really great about having everything so close is I felt quite comfortable feeding the kids early and then leaving them in the apartment with a movie while hubby and I snuck downstairs for a few drinks and a quiet dinner.

There is also a supermarket just downstairs too, so if you would prefer to cook your own meals, or just have fresh fruit on standby for breakfast, it’s a quick ride down in the lift.

Fresh fruits for snacking on, funny how the sea air makes you want to eat fresh fruit!
Fresh fruits for snacking on, funny how the sea air makes you want to eat fresh fruit!

So what did we do?
We ate, slept in, swam, laughed, shopped and enjoyed each others company.
No one was grumpy or snapping at each other. Everyone was smiling and getting along. If you are a Mum you will understand how special those words are, to see your 3 kids giggling and playing together is heartwarming.

It was great having a kids pool and an adults pool, much more relaxing for Mummy when I didn't have to worry about Orly in the deep water!
It was great having a kids pool and an adults pool, much more relaxing for Mummy when I didn’t have to worry about Orly in the deep water!
Bella, my mermaid enjoying the cool pool.
Bella, my mermaid enjoying the cool pool.
That was the plan! Tire out this little one so Mummy and Daddy could have a quiet night together!
That was the plan! Tire out this little one so Mummy and Daddy could have some quiet time!

Vacations just have a way of making everyone happy.
I can’t wait to do it again soon!

Do you need a staycation?
The friendly faces at ULTIQA Air on Broadbeach have offered all my readers 10% off, just follow this link and book yourself a getaway, you deserve it!
CLICK HERE!

Happy Vacationing!

Hayley x

Back to school…

It’s nearly ‘back to school’ time.
I’m not looking forward to the school traffic or monotonous packing of school lunches but I’m definitely going to miss the sleep-ins and lazy days.
This year my baby is going to school, my last baby … most definitely my last baby, the baby shop is closed. Where on earth did those last five years go? I swear he was just a baby a few weeks ago, I don’t care how old he is, he’ll always be my baby!
But I am secretly looking forward to a little more freedom, shhhh don’t tell Orly!

My girls are going into grades 9 and 10, so I think I have this back to school stuff under control now. I’ve learnt a few things along the way and I thought some of you first time school mums might need a few tips.

Firstly, don’t even bother trying to cover your own books with those horrible rolls of contact that leave you frustrated and aggravated, especially if you are a bit of a perfectionist like me, the little air bubbles will make you lose your mind, trust me!
If you have any teenage daughters bribe them to do it for you, I find the promise of a trip to get frozen yogurt works nicely and is worth every cent.
Otherwise pop down to your local newsagent or office supplier and buy some ready-made plastic book covers, they come in various sizes and just slip over the front and back cover of the book, easy peasy and they are reusable.

 Label everything, and I mean EVERYTHING!
You will be blown away by how many things grow legs of their own and wander off, never to be found again. I find labelling everything in a bright, clear label that is easy to recognise is easier for the little kids as they sometimes don’t instantly recognise their own name, or there might be 2 or 3 ‘Orlando’s’ in the class, so something that is unique to them can be a great idea.

This year I discovered Avery printable labels to personalise and print my own labels at home.
Y’all know how much I love personalising anything and this was so much fun for both Orly and myself.
You can purchase your packs of labels at Officeworks or most good office supplies places, check here to find your closest stockist.
Then pop online to the Avery Create your own school labels website here and follow the easy instructions.

Orly chose monsters which was quite fitting I thought!
The whole process only took 10 minutes, from choosing to printing our designs. This is what ours look like …

Then we were labelling everything in sight!

Arabella saw Orly’s labels and wanted to make some too.

She made these all by herself, I think they look rather pretty!

Don’t forget to label all your lunch boxes too.
This is not only so they don’t lose them at school but it makes it much easier in the mornings when the older kids are grabbing their lunches and packing their own bags. What could be worse than accidentally taking your 5 year old brothers peanut butter sandwich to school when you clearly requested turkey and salad on rye, ahem … Sorry!

I hope this helped some of you first timers get ready for the big day.
OH! And take tissues, even the strongest Mummy’s cry on the first day!

Here’s the all important shopping details for y’all,
Happy shopping!

Find Avery labels from your nearest stockist here.
Go To the Avery Create Your Own School Labels here.
Arabella’s drink bottle and lunchbox are from Kitchen Warehouse and can be found here and here.
Orlando’s book covers are from Officeworks here.
Orlando’s lunch boxes are from Kitchen Warehouse, here.

Hayley x

Hayley’s favourite things, 2016.

There is so many beautiful products available to us these days, we really are spoilt for choice.
Shopping for Christmas gifts can be daunting, confusing and downright frustrating.
Hopefully I can help you, I’ve put together my favourite things for Christmas, the things I will be buying my own family and friends, which remind me if you are my family or friends … look away now please!
These gifts are perfect for your Mum, Mother-in-law, Sisters, Sister-in-laws, Aunties, Neices, Best Friends or yourself!

These are all things I have personally used, I own and I highly recommend.

 I cannot tell you how much I love this. Smell is such a strong sense that has a big effect on your emotions. I love how certain scents bring back memories and the Circa Home wax warmer just makes me happy!
It is electric which means you don’t have to worry about a child or pet knocking it over. It’s also the best looking electric wax warmer I’ve seen, I love the pretty white hobnail design.

Electric Wax Warmer | Circa Home
Electric Wax Warmer | Circa Home

 Who doesn’t ‘need’ a great tote bag?
I use tote bags daily and often have more than one on the go. I am guilty of leaving some bags permanently packed ready for things we do weekly, like swimming lessons. I also have one I use every day with the overflow of my handbag, you know, my diary, drink bottles, kids toys, that stuff. These are my 2 favourite totes and I’m sure anyone in your life would be wrapped with one of these this Christmas.

Firstly, the ultimate beach and lifestyle tote, it is waterproof, super strong, lightweight and stands up on it’s own so you can access it easily. I love these bags so much I have 2, I leave one permanently packed for swimming lessons and use the other for boating and beach days. They are from Cabana Lifestyle.

Lahaina tote | Cabana Lifestyle
Lahaina tote | Cabana Lifestyle

And next, this is my daily tote and it pretty much goes everywhere with me. I am a Mum of 3 kids and a husband who can’t seem to look after his own wallet and phone. I always have everyone else’s stuff in there. Today I have a drink bottle, 2 Transformers, Orly’s hat, a packet of Tiny Teddies, a protein shake sachet and some paint sample charts, so random!
I love how you can choose a little icon, monogram it or choose a mixture of both. It truly is personalised and such a special gift. It’s from Little Makes Big.

Custom Tote | Little Makes Big
Custom Tote | Little Makes Big

One of my favourite things to receive is a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers.
Why not buy a fabulous vase and take it to your local florist, they will create a gorgeous bouquet for you, or simply pop in a bunch of market flowers. Long after the flowers have faded they will still have the vase to reuse again and again.
This is one of my favourites, the Teal Posy Vase from The Source Products.

Teal Posy Vase | The Source Products
Teal Posy Vase | The Source Products

In Australia a hat is pretty much an essential part of our lives. I have acquired a few over the years but this one is a recent addition. It is so fun and playful with the bright pom poms, and also stylish and classy when you remove the pom pom band to reveal a plain black grosgrain ribbon. I love it and think it would be a great gift!

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Straw Panama hat | Pink Deer

 One of my newest favourite things is this amazing Chasseur French Oven!
I have wanted one of these for years, I have to admit I really wanted one because they look great in your kitchen and add a perfect pop of colour, but I didn’t actually realise how fabulous they are to cook with. I have already used it to make Lemon and Thyme Chicken, French Onion soup and Pulled Beef for tacos, and that’s just last week! It is so versatile as it can be used on the stove, in the oven and under the grill. Mine is the 6.3L which is huge and great for a family of 5, and I chose the Imperial Blue colour (exclusive to Kitchen Warehouse) I would be thrilled to receive one of these for Christmas …. if I didn’t already own one!

Chasseur French Oven | Kitchen Warehouse
Chasseur French Oven | Kitchen Warehouse

 Did you find something you love, start dropping hints now! Or maybe you found the perfect gift for somebody special in your life?
If not, I’ll be sharing a few more of my favourite things before Christmas.

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

My Hawaii wardrobe.

I have traveled quite a bit over the years and I have got my packing essential curated down to just a few things. I used to overpack tremendously, taking everything from entire first aid kit to emergency food supplies and far too many clothes. I googled ‘Packing List’ and the amount of items on their lists actually blows my mind. Really, who actually packs a nightlight with extra bulbs and a cork board with pins? Yes, those things were on some of the packing lists I looked at!

I didn’t take those things, but I was still overpacking and my luggage was always right on the weight restrictions, then I never had any room left for shopping and we can’t have that, can we?
I learnt very quickly what the ‘essentials’ really are, what to leave at home and how to pack smart.

For instance; If you are going somewhere you intend on shopping for clothes, just take 2 changes of clothes and buy more there, or take your oldest grungiest clothes as chuck them out as you buy new stuff. Note: this works particularly well for making your husband throw out his yucky old sneakers – ‘Sorry honey, we just don’t have the room, something has got to go!’.

My next trip is tomorrow … to Hawaii!!! (excited much)
Of course I will be shopping over there so there was no need to pack much, but I thought I’d share a few things I picked up recently in case any of you are also going on a summer holiday.

Here’s a few of my favourite things …

Swimwear, essential in Hawaii and probably better to buy before you go as you don’t want to spend hours on holiday looking for the perfect swimsuit before you can enjoy the beach!

Boardwalk Bandeau Swim Maillot | BAKU
Boardwalk Bandeau Swim Maillot | BAKU

I bought this one from Baku as the slight ruching hides my mummy belly and the structured cups give me a good shape, and the cute little frill on the shoulders had me at hello! Clearly I don’t look like this in it, but hey, we can’t all be supermodels, right?

Kaftans are my go to beachwear cover up items. I don’t mind a great sarong, but I feel comfortable in kaftans.
I have a few in my suitcase for this trip, because I think I’ll be living I them!

Tropicana kaftan | Haven
Tropicana kaftan | Haven

This is one of my favourites, look at that print, so perfect for Hawaii and I can wear it at the beach or out for lunch with a pair of skinny 7/8 pants.

Dresses are the easiest thing to throw on when you’re on holiday, they are lightweight to pack and pretty much a no-brainer when getting dressed in the morning after a big night of cocktails at the beach bar.
I bought this fabulous animal print off the shoulder number and have already worn it a few times, it’s super comfortable, cool and covers a multitude of sins, and hello …. animal print!

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Lost Tribe dress | Tree of Life

I also got this black loose fitting dress which can be worn at the beach, with some cute sandals for lunch and shopping, or with a heel for dinner.

Mari Dress | eb&ive
Mari Dress | eb&ive

My gorgeous friend from The Wishing Trees gifted me a stunning kaftan to swan around in. It has sold out online, but she has some others that are similar, I love this one.
Again, I like to take pieces that can take me from the beach to the bar and this one is a perfect example.

Captivate Kaftan | The Wishing Tree
Captivate Kaftan | The Wishing Trees

I think I am pretty much covered for anything from snorkelling to a casual dinner and drinks by the pool.
I’ve barely filled half a suitcase so I have heaps of room to shop up a storm!

Do you have any shopping recommendations for me?
Little, local shops are my favourites!

Hayley x