Grandmas have the best gardens

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Just look.

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And here. Gorgeous. All the grandparents in my life are green thumbed. I like to assume I will suddenly wake up a talented gardener when I reach years of distinction too.

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The Baby loved helping his Great Grandma.

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He's been rocking this hat we bought him in Kuranda. So Oz.

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Here's an outfit snap from a messy Cairns hotel room. This cotton knit from Seed is such a good colour. Cold acid yellow.

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Cairns is full of sweaty backpackers and hippies. It's a scene I would have felt right at home in 10 years ago. Today, less so. It just makes me wish I was in a clean air conditioned room with a tall glass of iced water. 23 year old me would hate me.

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A quiet moment and a little 'Night Garden' before bed, all of us plugged into our different bits of tech. I remember using public phones and my Telstra phone card with the 25 digit pin to call home when I first started travelling. It rarely worked. I don't miss those days at all. Devices for everyone, I say.

Tomorrow we fly to Osaka, nearly 8 hours in the air.

On the Atherton Tablelands

We're home from our family hols today. It was such a good time.

I have a whole slew of posts J wouldn't let me publish from the road in case robbers who read blogs knew we were on holidays. It's his first world paranoia.

So now we will have ALL travel snaps ALL the time for a few weeks while I catch up. Possibly interspersed with some Christmas stuff.

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The Baby is a brilliant flyer! After all my worry that he would hate it and make me pay, he covered himself in glory on his first plane flight from Brisbane to Cairns.

Before heading to Japan we spent a few days in the Atherton Tablelands with J's grandmother. The Baby is her first great grandchild.

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She is a complete duck and lives in Atherton, a few hours out of Cairns. J and I came to stay here a few days after we were married, en route to our honeymoon. I must have been starry eyed with love, because I formed no lasting impression of the place from that trip at all.

I'd forgotten how charming it all was.

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We took the Baby to the Crystal Caves in Atherton.

The 'caves' are out the back of a shop and are made of polystyrene painted to look like rock, with crystals and things embedded in them. Sounds a bit crap doesn't it? The earnestness of it all and the fact you get a helmet with a torch and are allowed to TOUCH EVERYTHING means it treads that all important line of naff attractions and manages to be AWESOME.

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Especially if you are 1.

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After the caves we had lunch and a huge lemon, lime and bitters at the Barron Valley Hotel a few doors down.

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This place is country pub perfection. 1930s woodwork and furniture as far as the eye can see and a beautiful pub lunch.

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I want these chairs in my house.

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Next we drove out to to Lake Barrine, a perfect still pool in a volcanic crater. Just look how gorgeous it is.

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This is the view from the cafe.

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And the kid's play area in the cafe… inside a fireplace.
I hesitated with a wriggling monkey in my arms for a few moments before deciding this was an inspired idea. We waved to him cheerily on the other side of the bars as we drank our coffee.

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We took a slow boat trip around the lake and saw giant eels, turtles and all kinds of water birds. We looked for the giant pythons that live in the rainforest around the lake, but the sun had gone behind a cloud so they weren't out.

The Baby had a Grade A tantrum towards the end of the boat trip but not even this could spoil such a completely perfect day.

Capsule travel wardrobe (North QLD to Japan)

With parenthood and one thing and another it's been forever since we've been away and Japan is our holiday home away from home. The place we keep going back to. This is me in 2009.

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And 2010.

Can. Not. Wait. To be back there.

Right now though? I'm about 85% excited and 15% stressed about our first time flying with this one.

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There's something about packing a capsule wardrobe for travel however that I find very calming. A combination of clothes with list making, and the anticipation of adventure.

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We're travelling to Osaka (cold), via a few days in Cairns (humid and hot). My wardrobe has to be adaptable to both climates (layers), as well as tight enough to leave room in the suitcase for all the Baby's gear (lots).

For 13 days I've packed 15 pieces. This includes two jackets (because I am easily bored) and a jumper for the cooler weather and one pair of shorts (Bassike Relaxed Cotton Pants - so so good) for the tropics. It basically breaks down as 4 x bottoms, 4 x tops, 4 x layering pieces, 3 x outerwear. I think these numbers are a good rule of thumb no matter how long a trip I'm packing for.

Everything layers over everything else so if it is freezing in Osaka I can wear almost everything in my suitcase at once, or just throw on a ponte mini skirt with a t-shirt and sandals in Cairns. If I am organised I will take some outfit pictures while I am gone.

These are all my bags, shoes and accessories.

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This is everything.

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And then everything packed. These packing cubes are the best invention ever.

My suitcase is still heavy as f**k which is disappointing, but I'm blaming the Baby for this one. I'm expecting him to be pretty high maintenance and have packed accordingly. I could do a whole additional post on things I'm taking for him but I might leave that one until we're home and I can see what worked and what didn't.

Guest room do-over

Under the heady influence of all the home mags at this time of year I've decided I simply MUST do over my spare room before family comes to stay at Christmas.

To be honest, I've never been happy with this room since we moved in and started stowing miscellaneous furniture in there. In its latest incarnation it's playing home to this lovely, but very brown, heirloom bedroom suite we inherited.

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The other side of this room is taken up by a wall of built in cupboards where J and I store our clothes.

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The bed will stay, but I'll be moving that big old wardrobe, which is massive and largely useless, to another room. This room is only a guest room for a few weeks a year, so I'd like the bed to take up less real estate in the centre of the room and leave us with more space to play about in.

Spare room

Here are some of the things I am plotting for the space.

1. Art print, Society6
2. Mozzie net Necessary if we don't want spotty, cranky guests.
3. Zigzag rug, Urban Outfitters. This rug does not ship to Australia. It makes me sad.
4. Ikea. I already have this table. I don't think they sell them any more though because I can't find it on the website.
5. Castle and Things I'm a little obsessed with these penny round cushions. I want to put them everywhere.
6. Brass lamp, Domayne. Most of the time this store makes me vomit in my mouth a little, but I don't hate this lamp.
7. Kantha Quilt, Etsy
8. Guest towel, Ikea

Returning to a view

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The older I get, the more I like to take my holidays in the same place.

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Beside the same beach shacks.

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In a unit with the same plastic flowers.

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Baby spends his time putting Bunny in the cupboard.

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And then taking him out again. He will grow up coming here. I love that.

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We visit the second hand bookshop, then the mall with paddle boats on a dirty canal. We eat at the same bar.

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When I can, I sneak out to the op-shop.

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I don't think the girl I was in my twenties would have valued this slow progression of things.

How could I have known it was the sweetest thing?

Stuff and nonsense

You know when you get sick, and then better, and then sick again, and again?

When you get the feeling your immune system has left the building, letting every gate crasher germ in town into your out of control house party of snot and sneezing? That.

It's lovely not to feel sick any more.

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Summery and bright is the order of the day. I'm obsessed with this knit top from Witchery.

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The back is droopy and interesting too. I love an interesting back.

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These gold sandals from Country Road are also key.

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I like to keep our brights coordinated.

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My baby sister has moved out of home. I took her this housewarming hamper full of Chrissy decorations, Nutella and Weetbix. She's such a Weetbix kid. IMG 2889

With the return of good health, the fire of decorating has come upon me. I snapped these linens at Koskela in Sydney a few weekends ago. I wish knitting needles came in this size so I could commission one of these blankets from my mother in law right away. I love those round Rachel Castle cushions so hard too. I definitely see one in my future.

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Spectacular rugs, but exy. The dearth of attractive, reasonably priced rugs in this country is diabolical isn't it? The o/s sites won't ship them here and unless you want to go to Rugs A Million or Ikea your options are extremely limited.

I think I may have found a solution for the bare boards of my living room however. It will be deliciously 70s resort if it works out. I'll keep you posted.

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I know Halloween is done and dusted but here's a picture of my decorative effort. It looked a treat until it got caught in a torrential storm the day before Halloween.