Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Un-Package Holidays

The best things in life aren't always free.
Usually they're just really, really cheap.
Like our spur-of-the-moment holiday.
I can't even begin to explain how much we needed a break, living with serious illness is incredibly draining and we all desperately needed to get away.
With four days to go before Bella's return to school for term three, Anto and I scoured the web for motel bargains on the Gold Coast.
We settled for a cheap-but-clean place at Coolangatta at $79 a room per night, compared to the average price of $200 a night for a place we'd only be sleeping in.
I'm not precious when it comes to holidays.
I feel so incredibly lucky to get out of the house, that a holiday motel room is simply a place to shower, flop and sleep.
All the fun stuff is found exploring my surroundings, not slumping in some hotel pool bar that serves $7 cola.

 Taken the day we set off I didn't have time to plan outfits, I shoved three pairs of leggings into a bag with a couple of short and long-sleeved t-shirts to layer on cold days.
Lucky I did, we had some of our coldest mornings in more than 100 years on our trip away.

 This is Point Danger on the Queensland-NSW state border, a place Bella and I adore in summer and now, winter.
Yes, this is our winter.
Sickening isn't it?
There's a special place in my heart for beaches in winter, born from many hours spent on New Zealand's wild beaches pretending I was a windswept wench waiting for Harvey Keitel to return my piano keys.

After three days on the coast, we headed for the hills bound for O'Reilly's Retreat at Lamington National Park.
We arrived rather late on Saturday afternoon, just in time to take in the tree-top rainforest walk, learn more about the history of this beautiful, remote spot and slumping in leather chairs in front of a crackling fire.

 This is a replica of the Stinson that crashed in the remote, dense rainforest several kilometres from the mountain-top home of the O'Reilly family in February 1937.
There were only two survivors who were found and rescued by a party organised by the O'Reilly's, 10 days after the plane was lost in low cloud and authorities had given up the search over incredibly hazardous terrain.
The original newspaper reports have been preserved by the family, plus the replica and a 12-hour walk to the crash site are among the tributes to that time when people relied on word-of-mouth to get their news.
The O'Reilly home site is now a low-key resort with many of the original rooms still in use by guests.

Anto told Bella the names on wooden planks on the swinging tree-top walk were of the people who'd fallen off. Haaa!

 Poncho time!
It was nearly dark when we explored the mountain garden and boardwalk, it was easy to imagine those lost, injured passengers struggling to survive the extremes each night.

Back down the mountain in the dark, we decided it was too late to make the hike back to Brisbane so we stayed at The Canungra Hotel, a gorgeous old place filled with charm (and more crackling fires!)
At $65 a night, we couldn't resist staying two nights, exploring the lovely wee town, picking up op shop bargains and marvelling at the peace.

 The original hotel built in the 1930s, where all the guest rooms are still intact, spotless and beautiful.

 I'm waiting for a ghost.

She's waiting for her horse-drawn carriage to arrive.

This is the sort of thing I love to see on holiday: cute cottages with rusty roofs, a thriving vege garden and probably a lot of possum visitors at night.
What's your ideal break?
Love D xo

Monday, July 7, 2014

There's Something Horrible in the Fridge

Hello kids!
Are we awake then?
Good, because we've been a tad run off our feet lately so the pics are gonna appear snappy-like.
Luckily these were all taken away from home, as the house is a tip. 
The Phoenix has been on his feet and we've been racing from one end of the city to the other during the past week, merging chores and playtime.
BTW, The Phoenix is now happy to be known by his name: Anto and our favourite wee lassie, The Stylist, would love you to call her by her given name, Bella.
That's sorted then innit?

We've been spending a bit of time at West End recently and on Thursday Anto felt the need for a second-hand book rummage so we headed to Bent Books and stuffed our faces at our favourite Greek eating spot, Char Char Grill.
Then I needed a sit down. 

Been too busy to do my hair.

What's with all the smug looks then?

Last Friday night, Bella and I tootled off to the ballet, Romeo and Juliet.
It was delicious.  And of course, tragic.
The lassie has been so enjoying developing her photography skills, that snapping blog pics of Mama is now incredibly passe and dull.
So I have to trick her into taking them, or more often than not, take lame iPhone pics on the run.

The view over Brisbane River looking towards the city, taken during intermission.

Eeek scary woman with spooky eyes!

After the show, we were having a bite to eat at the QPAC cafe when Bella nudged me.
The artistic director of the ballet, Li Cunxin, was standing right next to our table.
He's regarded as the god of ballet by many and is the subject of the book and film, Mao's Last Dancer.
He signed Bella's program and we were right chuffed.

Here she is early on Saturday morning, squashed into the back seat of the car with a modest selection of bags and hats, plus a wee few clothes, bound for the Vintage and Designer Markets at West End.

This pic was taken by one of the lovely stallholders on her phone, which is why it's a bit wobbly, but it's the only one we have of the pair of us.

I was so good and waited right until the end of the day before pouncing on a pair of boots I really "needed".
I've managed to halve the number of clothes and shoes I own in the past six months, so I think I deserve one treat.

Some of the beautiful tribal jewellery, sold by Sam of Scylla Designs, which reminded me of Vix.
Such glorious, huge pieces!

Early night, then back to finishing off hand washing what feels like every item in the house  because the washing machine's buggered.
Exhausted yet?  Me too!
Love D xo
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