Mother’s Day 2019: Farmstay

Every year on Mother’s Day, we normally go to a big family get together for lunch or afternoon tea. This year, thanks to hubby, we spontaneously decided to spend Mother’s Day just on our own as a family. We felt like we just needed to spend quality (and quiet) time away from our busy routine… so what’s quieter than being out in the country, in the middle of a farm right?

We found this cosy little barn-style farmstay accommodation in Wattle Bank, Victoria. Located less than 10 mins away from Inverloch, this little place was absolutely perfect. We had the quiet surroundings of staying in a small farm, with farm animals to keep the kids happy, and we were also close enough to the beach, local shops, restaurant and some tourist attractions. The little barn-style house was perfect for our family, with a fireplace to keep us warm at night, and comfortable beds, a fully stocked kitchen with all the appliances and utensils you need, as well as breakfast (the owner very kindly provided bacon, eggs, milk, bread, various spreads and orange juice!). The house also had plenty to keep the kids happy – toys, books, board games, foosball table, puzzles, etc.

We spent most of our time just relaxing, drinkings cups of tea, watching family movies, spending time with the animals, playing board games, napping and reading books. We also spent quite some time at the beach in Inverloch. Kids absolutely love it, and I am in love with Wattle Bank Retreat. Cannot wait to go back!

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It’s Been A While!

It has definitely been quite a while… 😫😜… in fact, “a while” may even be quite an understatement! I don’t think anyone really comes here and reads my stuff… but I do love my little space and all the memories and content I already have on here, so thought I would take a few minutes just to post a few updates!

What have I been up to?! Oh gosh.. where do I begin? First of all, WORK. Work has been kicking my ass, haha. Super busy all the time. It is crazy, but I love it. I love where I am at and I love having a lot of things to do. One thing I do NOT love, is the work around the house that constantly piles up. I need to work on that, lol. Oh dear, too much usage of the word “work” 😂

Secondly, I did a bit of travel in the past 7 months since my last post!

December 2018 – My sister and her bf came over to Melbourne for 2 and a half weeks from Malaysia. We went on a cruise onboard Princess Cruises to Tasmania and back. It was a short cruise but oh so amazing. Did I mention how much I love cruising? I love waking up in a different city each morning, and I love not having to go anywhere, and I love having food available 24-7 😋 Simply the most relaxing type of holiday, hands down my favorite!

April 2018 – I very spontaneously decided to book a trip back to my hometown in Kuching, Malaysia over school holidays! Work was stressing me out, and I wasn’t sure how I would get work done over school holidays with my two kids home with me. Plus, my husband was already going to be away. I had no help! So, I packed our bags and took the kids to where help is…. haha. My parents of course!! They were so happy to see the kids. I was so happy to be around my family and all the amazing food and the chill lifestyle in Kuching. My sisters also came back for a bit and we partied like we were 18. It was a truly special time, all decided and booked for at the very last minute, literally days before we flew out of the country! Sometimes the best things in life are the spontaneous, unplanned things.

April 2018 – We just got home from a Houseboat holiday, where we stayed 4 nights on a house boat in Echuca, cruising down the Murray River. It was a fantastic experience. I love being surrounded by nature, and water. We were fishing all day, the kids spent a lot of time in the spa / hot tub on the rooftop deck, and it was just a relaxing holiday with the family and some friends.

Follow me on Instagram as that is where I post most of my stuff. I am back to reality now, working on a Sunday, but so thankful for the past few weeks and months when I get to travel and take a few breaks. Definitely think we should be booking a weekend getaway in July for hubby’s birthday…. and looking forward to booking our next overseas trip. Life is short, right? There is so much more travel I want to do! Now that the kids are older, travelling just seems a lot more doable and easier to handle.

Reasonably short and not even very well thought out post… sorry, haha! I should go and have my morning shower, do more laundry, make some food, do grocery shopping (need to stock up the house with everything… have been away the past 3 weeks!) and get some work done before I start the week! Oh man… God help me.

Tokyo Disneyland & Tokyo DisneySea

Oh.. take me back to Japan! It has been 5 months since our trip to Japan, and I have been wanting to go back ever since we got back home! There is so much to love about Japan. Love the culture, love the people and love the FOOD. I cannot even explain what it is about Japan… I just love it so much it hurts, lol.

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Anyway, enough with me being so emo over a country. One of the highlights of our trip was definitely the 3 days we spent at Tokyo Disney Resort. We opted for the 3-day pass because we didn’t want to rush seeing everything with limited time. Thankful that we did, because by the end of Day Three, I think I was ready to say goodbye. I still said goodbye rather reluctantly though… I mean, it truly was a magical place, and the happiest place on Earth. No marketing gimmick there. As soon as you get there, it is like stepping into a magical world of fairy tales. Everything just makes you HAPPY. Even the crowd did not bother me so much. I was just happy to be surrounded by so many Disney characters and buildings and music. The attention to detail in making sure people get the full experience of Disney is absolutely mindblowing.

There are thousands of resources online about the resort, so I will not bore you with such details. Rather, I will let these pictures do most of the talking. These were all from my Instagram, I just figured I should post them on here as a “backup” in case IG ever ceases to exist one day… please, I hope that never happens. I have so much of my life captured on Instagram… I cannot bear the thought of it all gone. I don’t even know where the original photos are, haha. Actually, I am sure they are somewhere but IG has helped me keep things in a systematic order by date and by Highlight etc. Oh I am such a Social Media addict… don’t hate.

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Our entire Japan trip is on my Instagram, more photos and videos on 3x groups of Highlights on my profile. Feel free to stalk me and check them out!

Kryal Castle, Land of Adventure near Ballarat, VIC.

Kryal Castle is Australia’s Only Legendary Land of Myth and Adventure. Located just outside Ballarat, the theme park is normally only open on weekends. However, now that it’s School Holidays, it is open every day!

We had the chance to visit Kryal Castle and stay the night quite a while back, it was during the end of summer Easter holidays. I was just a slack blogger back then so I didn’t around to writing about it.

It is probably best to visit their website or their Facebook Page for the latest information and details of what’s on this school holidays, but thought I should share some of the photos we took during our trip anyway.

Overall, we had a really great time. The Family Suite we stayed in was very comfortable. We loved the fact that we could roam around the castle grounds after hours because we were staying there, it felt like we had the whole castle to ourselves. Very limited food options within the castle grounds though, so best to either pack your own food, or organize to have food elsewhere before/after your visit.

There were some very entertaining activities throughout the day. Some of the activities costs extra money e.g. pony rides, archery, face painting, etc. The shows were all included in your entry price, so enjoy the skits and jousting and pantomines, etc. You should be able to get more detailed pricing information from their website.

Kryal Castle is also available for Private Events and Functions, and they have quite a few Special Events organised periodically that you can book yourself in for. A quick example is their Murder Mystery night coming up on January 26th 2019 next year, for $99 per person you can get a 3 course meal and a glass of mead on arrival, and participate in the event. Sounds like great value and fun! Something different to your typical night out at the movies.

My only observation is probably the fact that this theme park has so much potential to be a lot more. It seems like a smaller scale, seemingly family run theme park at the moment and while that is appealing to some, on a far bigger and commercial scale this place could be absolutely amazing. Understandably, it would require a lot of investment into the property to renovate and build bigger attractions, and to hire more people to run the activities, etc.. so I do hope that someday Kryal Castle would get there.

 

MariCAR (Mario Kart) in Tokyo, Japan

IMG_20180521_204736_693Our little family went on a holiday recently to Japan, so expect a series of posts here with stories from some of the highlights from our trip!

I will start this series with quite possibly the most exciting highlight… because… ONLY IN JAPAN. Lol.

Where else can you drive a custom built go-kart ON THE STREETS of a busy city?!

To those who haven’t had the opportunity to give this a go, I would really recommend you just do it! It is not as scary as it looks, and it is the best way to explore a city. Tokyo is so beautiful and I absolutely loved the experience of driving around the streets of Tokyo in these… go-karts lol. I felt a bit exposed and slightly unsafe at first, but we were going at such a slow and steady pace and the drivers around us were so aware and courteous of us the crazy tourists that it didn’t feel that dangerous at all! Plus you get to dress up in cute Mario costumes and be all touristy hehe.

Quite a few companies offer this experience in Tokyo, but we went with Samurai Kart Asakusa. We were travelling with the kids, so they offered the “coach service” where the kids could ride in a van that follows closely behind the go-kart drivers. So I rode in the bus with the kids for the first hour and a bit, and then swapped with my friend Cheryl whom we were travelling with at the pitstop/toilet break and got to drive for the last 20 minutes or so.

 

Price wise, naturally something like this would not be cheap but it is not a complete rip off either. It was worth every dollar, a truly unique experience and so much fun! Samurai Kart Asakusa have their pricelist on their Facebook page here
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So if you are planning a trip to Japan, you simply MUST give street go-karting a good hot go. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. It is the most fun we have had in a while and I am completely in love with Japan and look forward to the day I get to go back!

Kimba’s Essential Guide to Overseas Travel with a Toddler (Bali)

I am so excited. We are off to Bali tomorrow! This trip has been planned months ago, and I have been counting down the many hundred days leading up to this. I am turning 30 in December, and instead of having a big party I opted for a lovely holiday. We will be staying in a 5-bedroom private villa. So blessed that we get to share this holiday with some of our closest friends and my parents will also be joining us from Malaysia! That would mean my parents are around to help babysit Micah while I relax and chill… very much needed especially before the arrival of our 2nd bub in March. Also looking forward to some adult only, child-free nights in Bali… I am so excited!!!

I have decided to write a blog post because leading up to this trip I also had a long list of things To Do and To Pack. There are a lot of things to consider before a trip like this, especially when you have toddler. So here’s a checklist of a few things to keep in mind… for my own personal future reference as well as yours if you are about to go on a similar trip with your family!

GENERAL CHECKLIST (3 Months Prior):

  • Accommodation booked and confirmed
  • Flights booked and confirmed
  • Passports are up to date with at least 6 months validity from when you arrive at destination

THINGS TO PACK (Check In):

  • Portable cot
  • Bedding for cot
  • Items for bedtime routine (in Micah’s case sippy cup for his milk, his childrens’ Bible for bedtime story, his favorite blanket)
  • Baby monitor
  • Travel stroller
  • Nappies
  • Nappy Bags
  • Large plastic bags e.g. Kitchen Tidy bags for disposal of bulk nappies as well as to pack anything wet / could leak on the way home.
  • Swimmer nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • Swimwear
  • Sufficient clothing
  • Underwear
  • Footwear
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Snacks
  • Outdoor toys – beach ball, frisbee, etc.
  • Hats
  • Basic toiletries eg toothbrush, toothpaste, shaver, deodorant & facewash (others are provided by hotel)
  • Meds – Panadol, Baby Panadol, Gastro meds, Travel sickness meds, Painkillers, Antihistamines, Insect bite meds, Nappy Rash Cream, etc.
  • Phone & tablet chargers
  • Power adaptors to suit power plugs at destination country
  • Luggage locks to lock your suitcases
  • An extra bag that folds flat for extra stuff if planning to shop

THINGS TO PACK (Carry On – Small Bag)

  • Passports
  • Itineraries
  • Camera
  • Phone
  • Wallet / Purse
  • Your Keys + Keys to Luggage Locks
  • Money
  • Basic makeup for freshening up
  • Panadol and Travel Sickness Meds
THINGS TO PACK (Carry On – Kids Bag)
  • A few nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • Nappy bags
  • Toys
  • Books
  • Tablet with movies to keep little one occupied
  • Headphones
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks – biscuits, lollipops, etc.
  • Change of clothes
LAST MINUTE CHECKLIST
  • If planning to use your credit card, please inform your bank that you will be overseas so your card doesn’t get blocked!
  • Do not use roaming – it is too expensive. Do research on local phone carriers with prepaid options with data if you need to stay connected, if not, switch off your phone and relax!
  • Make sure some of your activities which needs to be pre-booked are booked.
  • Depending on where you’re going, find out if it’s best to exchange your money in Australia or when you get there. In Bali’s case we get better rates in Indonesia so we are exchanging our currencies only when we get there.
  • Make sure all is in place with your accommodation and transport, in our case, we have communicated all special requests to our villa and pre-booked our arrival meals and let them know our flight details and contact names for pick up at the airport.
  • You can also choose to hire baby cot, stroller, high chairs etc so you don’t have to worry about bringing those items.
  • Car rental arrangements if applicable.
  • Airport parking arrangements if applicable.
  • Duty free shopping list :p
  • Spend some time making sure your house is clean and tidy. You don’t want to come home to a messy house!

Note that some things not on my list MAY be on your list e.g. baby carrier (we don’t carry Micah, he is much too heavy!), bottles, formula, etc… depending on how old your baby / toddler is.

My list may seem pretty lengthy… okay maybe it is… but really we are travelling quite light! 1 x large luggage bag fits both hubby and mine’s clothing (mostly because we are travelling to a tropical country so clothes are thin and light) and 1 x small luggage bag to fit all of Micah’s stuff. 1 carry on, and 1 camera bag which serves as my handbag. Portacot and stroller will be checked in and those baby items are NOT included in the total luggage allocation, they are like bonus freebie weight so we don’t have to worry about exceeding our weight limit.

I hope I haven’t forgotten anything…..

SBS Cooking Titles – Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong 2 + Giveaway

In the second installment of this SBS TV series acclaimed chef, Luke Nguyen, ventures deeper into the Greater Mekong region to discover the food cultures of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
Luke Nguyen is a chef and owner of Sydney’s award-winning Vietnamese restaurants, Red Lantern and Red Lantern on Riley. He is also a bestselling author.
Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam Series 1, Series 2 and Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong are also available on DVD.
This series not only has mouthwatering recipes, but also offers a great travel experience for the viewer. I personally enjoyed how I was taken on a journey across these South Asian countries just in the comforts of my living room! I also enjoyed how Luke chose some odd locations to demonstrate his cooking in the series, it was very entertaining to watch him try and cook and defy Mother Nature. In one of the episodes, Luke sets up his cooking station (portable gas stove) right at the beach when the tide was actually coming in, so Luke frantically tries to finish cooking his dish before the tide got too high! It was very funny, he got soaked and water was splashing onto his ingredients!

Luke overall is a very entertaining presenter and I really enjoyed watching every episode of the series. I loved how he made his dishes seem so easy to cook (and yes they were pretty easy!) but with a great range of amazing ingredients which makes those amazing  flavoursome dishes Luke is famous for.


Luke begins his culinary journey in Laos’ capital city, Vientiane, with its bounty of hidden foodie gems. He then journeys north to Laos’ ‘food capital’, Luang Prabang, before travelling south to the fishing mecca, the 4000 Islands. Luke crosses the Mekong River into Cambodia, beginning in the ancient city of Siem Reap, where locals teach him how to cook traditional Khmer dishes. He then travels south to the bustling capital, Phnom Penh, where he gets a new take on street food. Heading further south, Luke explores the seaside towns of Kep and Kampot, famous for their crab and pepper. Finally, Luke returns to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. He seeks out the foodie wonders of border town, Chau Doc. He cooks with his parents on a houseboat in Cai Be, and explores the coconut islands of Ben Tre.
Presenting the best in local and international cuisines, SBS is home to a who’s who of the food scene – along with Peter Kuruvita, Maeve O’Meara, Tetsuya, Matthew Evans, Adriano Zumbo and many more, Luke Nguyen is just one of the SBS chefs and personalities whose great shows are available on DVD.
Visit www.madman.com.au/sbsfood to see the entire SBS Food DVD range and enter the competition to win the entire collection of 34 DVDs!!
DVDs are available at Dymocks and Sanity stores nationwide (RRP $29.95).
Giveaway: I have 15 x DVD packs consisting of Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong Series 1 & Series 2 to giveaway to 15 lucky readers! All you have to do is tell me:
“Why would you like to have Luke Nguyen’s Greater Mekong 1 & 2?”
So what are you waiting for? Leave a comment and don’t forget to leave an email address so I can contact you if you win! Please submit all entries for this giveaway before the 31st of March 2013.

This blog post was sponsored by Nuffnang. Terms & Conditions apply.