I found this historical photo of Curl Curl which looks like it was taken almost from where we live.
Mouse over the image to see the transition.
Amy got my a Go Pro for my Birthday – here’s the most extreme footage yet (a visit to a farm with real pigs and chickens!)
I was going to get someone to paint the garage floor for me but in the end I decided to do it myself. I watched a video on YouTube to show me how to do it than bought the paint and equipment required. Total cost $280 – $200 of that was on paint, the rest was on brushes and rollers and a “mind your head” sign for that tiny shed door.
At the end of the summer Amy organised a trip for us all to go to a place called Vomo in Fiji. Fiji is a convenient 4.5 hour flight from Sydney so it’s an awesome overseas adventure without having to really go very far.
The flight was very easy and Oscar was totally taken aback by the Fijian people. He was quiet and just took everything in as we walked through the airport and onto the domestic airport. The coolest bit was rather than doing a boat transfer we decided to get the helicopter transfer instead. It took us 10 minutes to get from the airport to the resort rather than having to wait for the boat!
Eating is one of the main things that went down at Vomo! The restaurant always had different food each day so you could really try something different. It was excellent and no washing up to do! Oscar really got into saying Bula! to everyone he walked past and they would happily shout Bula! back at him (which is Hello in Fijian I think).
The island was a bit of paradise and you could almost walk around the entire thing. Here’s Amy enjoying the calm side of the Island out of the wind. It was also lovely and warm which made up for the coldness of Sydney.
Oscar is absent from some of the photos as there was a fantastic kids club – where Fijian ladies looked after all of the youngsters for set periods of the day and kept them occupied it was fantastic!
Every now and then a sea plane would come and land outside of our Buree – we’d all site in the hammocks and watch them take off again and do a fly by of the Island as they left!
In the evenings Amy and I would go to the other end of the Island for cocktails and watch the sun set below “mini-Vomo” Island. Here’s Amy taking a photo of it. You can’t see but our of shot we’d be on our 2nd cocktail of the evening!
In front of the Island was a reef that was very calm, although every now and then a small wave would break in it – to keep myself occupied one day after breakfast I got a SUP from the sports centre and tried paddling into the waves. It worked really well and was super fun a few other tried to join me! The day after I tried doing the same thing but on a kayak – I fell out on one of the waves and hit my leg on the reef. It bled for a little bit but then it was fine. However it got worse and worse and I couldn’t walk after a day or two – I had to stay in the Buree for 3 days without leaving which was a shame and a waste of the holiday – poor Amy and Oscar had to do things on their own.
It got so bad that when we left I had to be carried onto the helicopter and into a wheelchair and then board the plane on a wheelchair and then basically drive straight to Manly Hospital, where I spent three days and had to have an operation to get the puss out of my knee. Then about two months of visits to a nurse to get the wound dressed and three months of side effects from the super strong anti-biotics!
Nightmare end to the holiday but a great start if only it had lasted!
Back in the day blog posts used to happen a few times a month, now they barely happen once per year. I was trying to think of the reasons behind that and I’ve boiled them down to –
- Having a baby boy/toddler takes up time
- Running a business full time takes up time
- Facebook/Twitter/Instagram are quicker and easier to use and everyone checks them
Blogs are awesome though, they are not silo’d like networks and if you’ve got the time are great, so, here’s a post that starts off in August of 2014.
We’ve spent a lot of time at New Leaf Nursery, a Nursery which lets you put your children in with animals. It’s a star attraction and totally free!
Matt, Lorraine and Tomas came to visit us, our first guests in our new place and it was a good fun weekend. I’ve got a signature cheese board that Matt said was “one of the best cheese boards he’d ever had”.
Oscar started to really get into babycinos and especially the marsh mellows that come with them!
I spent a lot of time working on the new place. I totally underestimated the amount of work that goes in to maintaining a house. You can get other people to do it but where’s the fun in that? I re-oiled this wooden edge at the front although to be honest it really needs to all be taken up and started again which would probably take me six months.
We had a house warming party and everyone was invited! It was great fun and the pool got some serious use. We lucked out on a sunny day.
We tried out some of the new restaurants in our old haunt of Manly, here is Amy and Oscar at Papi Chulo on Manly Wharf. Oscar at this age has started to get a bit harder to take to restaurants.
A lot of our friends in Sydney moved down to an area called Helensburgh, here’s Oscar with Sonny and Hugo for Sonny’s 2nd birthday – Oscar is about to eat the first bit of chocolate cake.
Another trip down to Helensburgh and we’re at Alex and El’s house for another birthday party for their children. Cake is now a staple food.
Christmas came and we had to get out first real Christmas tree for Oscar’s 1st Christmas at home (and ours as well in Australia, we’d always been up to Brisbane). The tree we got was over the top and we had our Christmas lights up and running in November. The neighbors didn’t say anything.
Diggers for Christmas and a Santa suit!
Nanny and Poppy were down from Brisbane for Christmas which was good fun and Oscar really enjoyed it even though he jumped on them a bit too much on that couch!
For New Years we went to the Hunter Valley for a few nights to also celebrate Nancy’s 40th birthday. We were in a large family house in the middle of nowhere which was lovely and Oscar had lots of friends to play with.
February and my parents (Booma and Boompa) came to visit for a month from the UK. Here’s Oscar having a look at some of the many gifts he got from them on their arrival!
He we all are at Doyles in Watson’s Bay having one of the best fish and chips Sydney has to offer.
I started an unhealthy interest in cars, I test drove this 991 GTS which is one of the first in the country, it was absolutely awesome as you’d expect!
We visited the Wildlife Center in Sydney and Oscar got up and close with a devil and a number of snakes, thank goodness for the glass barrier – he’d be in there hugging it if he could.
For my Birthday this year we went to Hamilton Island for a short break. Hamilton Island is a small Island East of Queensland, also referred to as “Hawaii” by people from the United States. It was a surprise trip so I didn’t know I was going until I opened my Birthday card! Oscar was also invited to join us for the trip, here he is waiting patiently in the departures lounge for his JetStar flight. He lost his patience near the end of the flight and demanded to walk up and down the aisle.
Hamilton Island has a few hotels and we stayed at the largest one, it looks very Miami Vice 1980ies from the outside but on the inside it had been refurbished and the rooms were really nice. Most the vehicles on the island are buggys and there’s a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h.
We hired a buggy on the second and last day and drove around the very small island. It was good fun, Oscar wanted to hold the steering wheel all of the time and got super angry if he wasn’t allowed to do it.
We had some fabulous dinners on the island, on the last night we went to Coco Chu which was a fantastic restaurant where we ate too much Thai food and Oscar got an entire bowl of rice and chicken and coleslaw which he woofed down.
At breakfast Oscar would eat his body weight in Bircher Muesli and these naughty birds would come to our table and eat our food and drink our drinks. They weren’t scared of humans, you could flap your hand in front of them which would make most birds fly away but they wouldn’t even flinch.
One Tree Hill (which we think was replaced with a mobile telephone mast) has a great lookout, you can see in the picture the hotel we stayed in and the lovely waters of far north Queensland. Oscar and me ventured out into the sea up to feet deep, just because it was the middle of winter which hopefully meant there were no Irukandji jellyfish (one of the symptoms of being stung is “Impending Doom“!!!).
I felt a bit sorry for this car, it’s stuck on an Island with a top speed of 30 km/h. We had a great holiday and it was nice to be back in some warmer weather, the good news was when we returned to Sydney the weather was apparently similar to October temperatures!
The sunset was amazing when were in the carpark at the airport back in Sydney!
A great trip and a great surprise Birthday present thanks Amy!
How did 8 months go by without a blog post? Well it’s probably because we can now share images with family and friends at the click of a button on the iPhone now. It’s still nice to write stories as there’s so much you forget so I’m going to try my best to add a little context to some photos I’ve selected in the past 8 months on my phone!
Baby Oscar (he was still a baby in this photo back in October 2013) on one of his outings to Palm Beach in the summer – this is a nice little spot we found at Lorraine’s leaving weekend that’s very quiet has a nice grass area and access to the water. It’s only 45 minutes drive from Sydney.
In November we went to on holiday to Northern Queensland to a place called Palm Cove, which is a nice little holiday area with cafes restaurants and hotels – the perfect place to take baby Oscar he had a great time and did a lot of his first swimming up there.
This is Oscar on the plane back to Sydney, flying to Cairns was no problem after doing the trip to the UK!
This was Oscar’s first or second go in a shopping trolley! I think he enjoyed it as you can tell from his face!
We all went for a day trip to Bondi to see sculptures by the Sea, it was actually quite difficult with a large pram as there’s hundreds of steps, I think we only saw half of it for that reason.
Oscar really started to love the water, here he is with me taking a dip to cool off at Shelly Beach last November.
Oscar with Leisa, Mummy and Lucy at Rory and Karen’s yearly get together that they have, Oscar got to have a lovely dip in their pool!
This is Oscar’s first trip to the hardware store (Bunnings). He was totally dressed for the part and I got him a baby hacksaw (not really).
We spent Christmas at Amy’s families house in Brisbane and visited Oscar’s Great Grandma Grace at her nursing home!
We did a lot of meetups with Amy’s mother group friends, either from the mothers group or the yoga mothers group Amy is a member of. He’s Oscar with his girlfriend.
My University Halls of Residence friend Manish came over to Sydney for business, we went to Hugo’s Pizza and drank a lot. I then got Oscar’s day care sickness which took us all out for weeks afterwards!
Oscar’s first birthday was celebrated in Manly on a rainy day, we got Gaetane and Andrew to do the catering for the event which was great and a really fun day, even though we were all still a bit sick from day care illness!
We went up to Brisbane again in March to look at houses, we spent months looking for houses in Brisbane, online and doing trips purposely to look at houses.
We then made a list of things we liked about living in Sydney vs. the advantages of Brisbane and decided we’d be better off staying in Sydney. We then looking in Sydney for about a week for a house and got one! Above is Amy and Oscar inspecting our new home.
In April we went a bit Royal crazy as Kate and Wills came to visit us in Manly – I got a photo of them but we had to wait for hours in the sun, not totally sure if it was worth it!
Amy’s parents came down to visit and we spent a day at the Zoo to celebrate Oscar finding his feet and walking around on his own behalf!
Well done Oscar for starting walking!
Here’s Oscar and Mummy in Dee Why, our nearest cafe area from our new home in North Curl Curl just before Amy went on her trip to China for a week and I had my wisdom teeth removed (and had to look after Oscar on my own for a week).
Well that’s it for an 8 month update, I’ll try and get on top of the blog from now on!
This week Sydney hosts it’s 2nd centennial event to review the Navy fleet. As a previous member of the Navy (Scout Squadron RN06) I had to go down and see some of the ships. I especially wanted to see British warship D32 HMS Daring, which is the currently the most advanced warship in the world and it’s first visit to Australia –
Amy, Oscar and I go the fast-ferry in the morning and I went upstairs and strategically positioned myself to get a good view, it was lucky as HRH Prince Harry happened to sail by on his inspection of all of the ships –
A lot of luck to get that photo as we sailed past! HMS Leeuwin is a hydrographic survey vessel but is now helps to prevent illegal immigration (Tony Abbott probably loves this boat for that reason!).
When we got to circular quay it was packed but somehow we managed to get a table for lunch on the rooftop of the MCA which was really nice, we ate, had a quick walk around the Rocks and then back to the ferry. At 2:30pm the F/A-18s were doing an air display, I managed to catch this one in the tooths of the Opera House –
On the way back we all sat upstairs for the journey, Oscar loved it –
Over Sydney Heads there was a constant rotation of helicopters, police helicopters, navy helicopters, ambulance helicopters, surf rescue helicopters this was one of the cooler ones –
A great day for Sydney, can’t wait for the next fleet review in 2113.
This has to be the longest blog dry spell for as long as the blog has been in existence! 5 months of no posts, you’d think I’d have abandoned it, well that’s not the case, blogging is still fun to do, it’s just the time now goes on work and baby feeding!
In July, Amy, Oscar and myself embarked on a 6 week trip to the UK, so that my parents could meet Oscar for the first time and we could have a holiday. I’d been worrying about the flight to the UK before Oscar was even born but when it came down to it, it was not as bad as we’d thought!
Dubai is a great stop over point, it’s 14 hours from Sydney and then an “easy” 6.5 hours to London. We stayed for a few nights in the Atlantis Hotel, which was very kid friendly although I think Oscar was a little bit too young.
The temperature was crazy though, some days it was reaching 47 degrees. We went outside just to see what it felt like and I felt like I was melting after about 2 seconds. Amy did go for a few drips in the pool whilst Oscar and I sat under a sunshade, then after about 5 minutes it was back into the air conditioning.
Some of the nice things you can do in Dubai is look at all of the fish in the massive fish tanks they have in the hotel and at the shopping centers. We even visited the shopping center that has the indoor ski slope and baby penguins! We ate in our hotel room every night (things are a bit different with a baby!) but we managed to go out for lunches at some nice restaurants, including a french one in the hotel.
Our second flight to London was followed by a 2 hour drive up to Stratford-upon-Avon, where we checked into the Alveston Manor hotel for 4 nights to go to Gin and Alison’s wedding. Gin came to visit me in Australia 9 years ago and we had a great time, his trip out here even got a mention in the best man speech! It was a fantastic wedding at the church where Shakespeare is buried and in the evening I got to catch up with all of the old Ettington crew which was great, it felt like nothing had changed seeing them all.
The next day we organized to meet up with some of the wedding crew, including Ian and his wife who was 9.2 months pregnant! It was great to see them all and hang out in what had just luckily turned out to be some of the best weather England was having (just in time for our trip!) –
After a few days in Stratford and some visits to Carluccio’s restaurant we headed for the drive down South to my parents house in Dorchester, it was a nice drive down and great for my parents to finally meet baby Oscar!
We spent three weeks with my parents in total and did lots of things with them. One of the first things we did was visit a model train railway which had lots of model trains. I used to be really into these when I was younger and still am, but now the reality of how much it all costs to have the awesome setups means it’s probably not going to happen on the scale I’d like, let’s hope Oscar is into trains –
We took a guided boat trip along a stretch of water called “The Fleet” near an Island called “Portland” that is just off the coast, we also went to a Prison for lunch up there, where the people who serve you the lunch are actual inmates of the prison (it’s not a high security prison).
We also accidentally went to a socialist fair, which was funny, we drove in, paid the 20 pounds per person, thinking we were going to a cool festival and then we asked what it was and they said “a trade union festival” at first I thought she was joking but this is what it was and it wasn’t very good (we actually came to look at the tolpuddle martyrs museum).
We also had an electric bike ride tour which was good fun, the electric bike tour around Dorset was with Marshwood Trials, we covered a lot of kilometers and visited the gravesite of Georgy Markov who was assassinated on London Bridge by a poisonous dart from an umbrella.
On a lighter note we visited a fantastic sand sculpture center in Weymouth that had some fantastic sculptures that it was ashame they were not permanent!
My parents babysat for us for a couple of nights so that Amy and I could go out for dinner for the first time in a while, it was really nice but Amy and I kept going a bit over the top when we got to the restaurants, the first time we ordered three main meals between the two of us!
For my birthday, which coincided with our stay in Dorset, my parents booked Amy, Oscar and me into the Holiday Inn at Portsmouth. Portsmouth has a redeveloped waterfront area and we spent a few days going around the shops there and having a birthday dinner at Jamie’s Italian restaurant which was really nice. Again, because Oscar is just a baby the nights were spent in but that was ok, for one of them we spent the entire evening waiting for the Royal Baby (who was born the day after my birthday) to emerge from the Lindo Wing on TV –
Whilst we were in Portsmouth my parents had sorted us all out with a trip in luxury over to Guernsey, which is a little island south of the UK, near France but with British roots (although no tax or EU membership). My parents had got us into the nice part of the boat where you get free food and was behind a closed door. I decided to go out and have a look what was going on outside and due to the rough seas it was carnage, with people being sick all over the place, I was so pleased we had our little sanctuary as I think I would have felt sick as well! Here’s Oscar with his very own seat on the ferry –
At the end of our trip to the UK was my parents Ruby Anniversary party which they had organised to be just before we left. Lots of friends and relatives had come to visit, some of which I had not seen for a long time or not at all so it was great to meet so many people. The night ended with a meal in Poundbury which was really nice.
Next stop after Dorest was to spend some time in London, London is the best city in the world so it’s great to visit it. We stayed right in the heart of the West End at the same hotel I stayed at last time called No. 5 Maddox. It is great because it had a separate room for Oscar to sleep in, can you see him –
The trip to London worked out perfect because a lot of our friends from Australia who’d moved away had all booked trips to visit at the same time. Here’s Lorraine, Marcy, Chris and Sue walking down the street like nothing was different –
Of course no trip to London is complete without seeing Matt and Lorraine and their new baby as well. Matt and Lorraine live 1 hour drive from us in Sydney but I always seem to meet up with Matt at least in London more times than I do here, this time was no different, we had a lovely picnic in Regents Park on a beautiful sunny day (there was lots of them) –
The skyline of London has changed so much and I was only here last 2 years ago, with so many new buildings and a completed Shard. I went to the Shard with a lot of the Sydney crew to a restaurant called Hutong and then to the bar afterwards that Alex said was very “Essex” and I agreed with him. Hutong though was a fantastic Chinese restaurant even though some of the food was extremely spicy!
When we arrived in England, we thought we’d book a day trip to Paris on the Eurostar train for when we got to London. In hindsight a day trip to Paris leaving at 8am and coming back at 5pm is very short indeed. We got on the train, arrived in Paris, got a taxi to Concorde, had lunch down Rue d’Anjou, walked down the Champs-Elysees, took Oscar’s photo with the Eiffel Tower in the background, went to Zara outside Palais Garnier and then headed back to Gare Nord to get back in time for the train to London.
Mark and Karine came to visit us in London which was nice as they live in Belgium, we went to a fantastic Indian restaurant called Dishoom which is next door to Peter Stringfellows! We also had a lunchtime drink at the OXO tower, visiting Pineapple Dance Studios and talked about the old times. Mark and Karine were also visiting Australia the same time Gin was over to circular that connection together!
One last thing we had to do before leaving was visit Auntie Vi, my Grandma’s sister and Oscars great great Auntie who still lives in the same place that she moved into in the 1930ies! My parents were also down there to see Oscar one more time. It was a fun trip on the DLR and we even got to pop into Amy’s work in Canary Wharf to see some of her work friends and some of my old work colleague that I worked with for a short period of time 7 years ago.
It was a great trip and we’ve basically ticked off a lot of things Oscar might have considered doing as a rebellious 20 something, so now at least that is out of his system –
The trip back was one long journey which we should have really broken up into another stopover in Dubai, which is what we’ll do next time. It was a great trip and we were blessed with some really great weather the entire time!
Let’s see if I can get a blog post with a bit of a smaller gap in between next time!
Quick update, I’m going to get around to doing a full blog post soon about things but here’s a cool 15 minutes of a nice Manly Sunset from Queenscliff shrunk down into 15 seconds of enjoyment.