Snorkelling at Greens Pool, Walpole

7 January 2017

Greens Pool, Williams Bay, Walpole

During our holiday, we had such beautiful summer weather that we spent most days at the beach!

One of our favourite spots in the Walpole and Denmark area is Greens Pool, in the Williams Bay National Park. Heck, the place is so beautiful, I think it is everyone’s favourite spot.

We’ve been there a few times to hang out and swim, but this time we wanted to do something different. We wanted to go snorkelling with the kids.

We’ve taken them a few times in the past. But they’ve never really liked it. They always get cold really quickly (within 10 minutes!) and then they spend the rest of the day shivering under a towel on the beach.

So this time we bought them some wetsuits hoping they’d have a better time in the water (these are actually called Spring Suits which I bought for $50 each).

Snorkelling at Green Pool, Walpole

Unfortunately the ocean was SO COLD they only lasted about 30 minutes in the water.

(It was the Southern Ocean after all, between Australia and Antartica!)

Plus there wasn’t that much to see underwater. A few fish and lots of sand and seaweed.

As for me, I waded into the water and – yep – even I was surprised by how cold the water was.

I was really, really, REALLY reluctant to put on my wetsuit and go for a snorkel too.

I had so many reasons not to do it: the water was bloody freezing, the kids were already out of the water and wrapped up in their towels, there was no coral to see, I’ve seen seaweed before, I was feeling hungry, it was almost lunch time and I’d have to help make some sandwiches, I didn’t have my fins, mask or snorkel, I’d have to borrow the kid’s set, the beach and sand was so lovely and warm, PLUS I haven’t worn my wetsuit in about 8 years… maybe it didn’t fit me anymore, as neoprene tends to shrink and harden when not used often.

Snorkelling at Green Pool, Walpole

But in the end, I thought OMG KAREN, WILL YOU JUST LIVE A LITTLE?!

So I grabbed my wetsuit and I literally had to squeeze myself into it.

It was soooooooo tight. When I grabbed a bunch of fabric at my leg and pulled, I broke two fingernails, because that’s how hard I had to grip and pull! I got a bit sweaty and flustered trying to put it on, it felt like it was suffocating me and I was getting a bit claustrophobic and dizzy. My collar was so tight on my neck that it felt like there were fingers squeezing at my throat.

I don’t mean to be so dramatic, but it was pretty uncomfortable and I was about to give up.

Greens Pool, Williams Bay, Walpole

But the water was calling me, so I grabbed a mask and jumped in without much thought.

Icy water rushed into my suit and I squealed EEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPP!

But oh my gosh! I INSTANTLY LOVED IT!

My suit made me very buoyant, it kept me super warm, it seemed to stretch in the water and I didn’t feel suffocated at all, I felt like I was wrapped up with a soft, fleecy tracksuit (in terms of warmth and comfort) and I ended up swimming in the ocean for about 2 hours that day – which is just unheard of for me.

I bobbed up and down in the water and I wanted to burst from happiness. I floated on my back and looked up to the sky, and every thing around me was blue blue blue, aqua blue, ocean blue, dark blue, green blue, sky blue, light blue, blue blue blue. It was just such a thrilling experience for me.

My main thought was, I have to do more stuff like this.

My husband jumped in too.

We started snorkelling around some big rocks, which had a strong current and we drifted through beautiful little pools. We were like silly kids, gleefully playing, laughing and duck diving to pick things up from the bottom.

Our kids were up on the rocks, watching us and waving to us.

Later on, my boys told me that they wished they weren’t so cold and wished they had jumped in and joined us too. I promised to buy them thicker wetsuits next time.

Snorkelling at Green Pool, Walpole

So this is was taken the next day. We went to another beach and I went through the whole drama of putting on my wetsuit and breaking my nails.

Again I spent about 2-3 hours in the water.

And again, I loved every minute of it!


 

Mirrored Forests

6 January 2017

Monastery Jetty, Walpole

As I leaned out towards the front of the boat to snap this photo, I actually remembered taking a very similar photos 4 years ago.

We were here, on the Frankland River in 2013, with all three of my boys, with my same friends, with their same kids, in their same boat.

I remembered gliding through the mirrored water, absolutely in awe of the view.

I remembered the reflection of the trees stretching both high into the sky above us, and down below into the inky darkness of the water. I remembered the olive green trees and the bright blue sky.

I asked my kids whether they remembered doing any of this four years ago; my oldest boy said he remembered a little bit, my second and youngest boys said they couldn’t remember anything.

Hmph, it made me a little annoyed, because what’s the point of doing all this cool stuff with the kids when they can’t remember any of it?!

So I started to point out all the meticulous details, in hope that it will be etched into their brains forever. LOOK at the texture of the still water compared to the rippled water! LOOK at the gradient of the blue sky! LOOK at the fallen branches half in the water! LOOK at the different greens in the leaves!

And even though I was soaking in everything for the second time, I still had my breath taken away by it all.


 

New Camera: Love Them Apples!

5 January 2017

Apple Tree

Apart from being a symbol of our picturesque week on a farm and a super pretty photo of my friend’s apple tree… I actually was just testing out my brand new camera!

I bought a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 IV because I needed a new pocket camera.

I did soooo much research about which camera to buy for my needs. It took me MONTHS to decide.

I didn’t want to replace my DSLR, so I didn’t want to buy a mirrorless camera. I wanted a compact camera with a good lens, good sensor, good video, allowed me to take photos in low light, and give me complete manual controls.

I know there are lots of cameras that fit that description, however, in the end, I made my decision based on the online reviews, friend’s recommendations and talking to a guy in a camera shop.

Anyway, about the apple photo. I had the camera set at f1.8 and 1/400, I pointed it straight up into the sun, and the camera still gave me so much detail in the shadow and there was such a beautiful low depth of field blur too!

Argh I love it! And love the slow life on the farm too!


 

Homemade Go-Karts

4 January 2017

Go-Karts by Mal

Recycled junk go-karts made by my friend + Grassy slope that goes down to the farm house = Kids entertained for hours.

One of those frames (the one in the foreground) used to be the $600 pram we bought for my second child – ha!

Go-Karts by Mal

I don’t know how the kids managed to ride this down the hill again and again… and call it fun??

It was terrifying! I hated it! I screamed “Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh” all the way down.

I guess you have to be a kid to truly enjoy it.

And I guess you have to NOT have a part in your brain that warns you about possibly breaking your arm.


 

New Year LOLs

2 January 2017

New Year 2017 LOL

Before my big trip to the UK, we were invited to stay with some friends at their farm down in Denmark (Western Australia). We gladly accepted, knowing that it would be great for us to spend some quality family time together, before I flew off.

However, we planned to stay for 7 days, then after 3 days upon returning home, I was going to fly overseas for 4 weeks!

This made me incredibly tense because I felt I hadn’t finished ALL THE THINGS I NEEDED TO DO!

7 DAYS! I could do so much in 7 days!

I needed to pack up the Christmas tree and decorations, get my son’s new school uniforms tailored, set up a new phone plan for my other son, organise stationery for the kids, do a new year clean out… back up my data, email clients, finish up projects, update my blog, and zillions of other things that swirled around in my head.

And every time I thought about the THINGS I NEEDED TO DO, my palms sweated, my heart raced, my stomach felt ill and I start to feel faint and paralysed. Anxiety attack maybe?

It took some serious relaxation and cognitive techniques to realise that HELLO, I am on holiday!

This is the LAST TIME my kids will ever be 13, 11 and 7 years old, staying on a farm, with our generous friends, doing cool things like riding on tractors, go-karts, snorkelling, boating, paddling down a river. This is the last and only time I will be in this exact moment.

Life is now! Jump in or you’ll miss out on creating memories!

I’m so happy I did finally relax. We had such an awesome week.

My heart grew so, so, SO big for each of my boys, my husband, our friends, the wonders of nature and the simple life we’ve carved for ourselves.

I took so many beautiful photos and I’ll be sharing them over the next few weeks, starting with this photo of my son, sharing his New Year message for 2017: LOLs

Tee hee, enjoy!


 

I’m Off To London!

30 December 2016

Flatlay for London

Guess what guess what? I have huge news!

OK ok it’s probably not huge news to you folk with no kids. Or to you jet setting people who fly around the world regularly.

I’m off to London in the new year and I’ll be gone for 4 weeks – WITHOUT my husband and kids!

Can you believe that? I can’t. I’m kind of pinching myself.

I’m both excited and stunned by the mind-blowing freedom I’ll have. And I’m a bit terrified, because I haven’t been away from my home, my husband or my kids for that length of time… since I was single and childless, 15 years ago haha!

My very amazing husband is taking time off work and going to be looking after the kids for the duration of the summer school holidays.

I’m going to be staying and hanging out with my sister, my brother-in-law, and their soon-to-be-born new baby! Yaaaay!

I’ll be helping them move apartments.

I’ll be changing pooey nappies (if I can remember how to do that).

I’ll be doing a bit of work.

I’ll be hunting down the coolest independent bookstores.

I’ll be exploring flea markets and cafes.

I’ll be doing yoga.

I’ll be zipping over to Paris.

Eeeep I’m so excited!

 

Pictured above in my Winter in London inspired flatlay, I have my Acne Studios scarf, Acne Studios Jensen Booties, Jeanwest Jeans, Grana Poplin Boyfriend Shirts, A.P.C. Half Moon Bag, Stan Smith Sneakers (on sale at ASOS), Charlotte Olympia Card Holder.

And judging from the fact that I have failed to lay out any coats or knits, tells us all how delusional I am about what 2°C feels like!

Lots more updates on the way!

xxx


 

Keeping Your Playsuits Classy

28 December 2016

Seed Playsuit

Playsuits have been around for ages, but they are particularly popular this summer!

However, scrolling through my instagram feed and seeing this trend explode before my eyes, I have to say two things:

They don’t suit everybody and it really depends on the style.

Some playsuits are REALLY revealing with super low-cut necklines, completely backless, cropped at the stomach, teeny tiny bits of fabric to cover your chest and no support whatsoever for your boobs.

Sure if you have the confidence, the body, the legs, the boobs, the tan, the skin – them omg girl, go for it!

But if you’re a bit unsure, a bit picky, a bit undecided whether they will suit you (like me) then here are some tips to keep your playsuits classy.

1) Don’t get a tight fitting playsuit. Nothing pretty about an obvious camel toe. Stick to a loose, baggy one with a clinched waist.

2) Try one with longs sleeves. Or off shoulder.

3) Find a pretty colour or pattern! May as well embrace the summer vibe, or else it’ll just look like another one of your many, boring black dresses haha.

4) Make sure you’re comfortable and relaxed with walking and sitting in one. If you’re not, then it’s probably best not to buy it. You don’t want to be fidgeting and pulling on it all day.

Seed Playsuit

I’m wearing an Embroidered Jumpsuit from Seed.

Clave V Tan Handbag from Revolve.

Nude Schutz Cadey Lee Heels from Shopbop.


 

Christmas Festivites for 2016

27 December 2016

Christmas 2016

This year, I stepped up my Christmas game :)

We hosted both Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day dinner for both sets of families (and a few extra friends), each night we had about 17-20 guests.

I made my prettiest ham ever in my short history of ham making! I got the inspiration from a few different sources of online ham inspo though, so I can’t really take credit for it.

I think the secret was : fresh herbs and brown twine. I used fresh thyme and sage from my garden.

Christmas 2016

I also made my own stuffing which was just amazing!

I found a few recipes online and didn’t like the sound of any of them, so I just made up my own recipe. I shall share it here, so I have it for reference next year.

My Nutty, Cherry Christmas Stuffing 

1 large finely diced onion, 1 garlic clove, 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup of chopped cashew, 1/2 cup of chopped almonds, 6 chopped glacé cherries, a handful of parsley leaves, few springs of sage and thyme leaves, salt, and pepper.

The trick is to slow cook the onions, garlic and butter for a really long time on medium/low heat until it’s dark brown and caramelised. Throw in nuts and everything else and slow fry, until it all clumps together and looks golden brown.

It was SO YUMMY. I could have just even that for dinner and saved myself all the extra Christmas calories haha!

Christmas 2016

Again with the fresh herbs and brown twine.

Christmas 2016

I made tonnes of roast potatoes (peeled, scrubbed, squashed and roasted to a glorious crisp), roast pumpkin and beetroots, I made salads and dips. My parents made the turkey, roast lamb and roast pork too! Basically I was in my element and I had a fantastic, stress-free Christmas!

However, I was only able to do it because of my husband and my three kids – they were the real superstars of the weekend. They spent two days cleaning the house… everything from toilets, bathrooms, to cleaning cobwebs, sweeping the carport, mowing the lawns, cleaning windows, cleaning the walls, door frames, skirting boards, omg so much cleaning – and they even set up our above-ground pool and our bouncy castle.

Soooo, whether they had a stress-free Christmas is… a matter of perspective :)

Christmas 2016

Christmas morning: was fun as usual.

This time everyone got a silly Christmas hat to wear.

It’s always so lovely to see the kids, all sparkly eyed and happily dancing around with their presents.

Christmas 2016

As for Christmas Day, I made more food.

My 11 year old son and I put together this Christmas grazing platter!

We researched a lot of platter inspo on Instagram and came up with our own “design”.

I bought waaaay too much food for my board… and we were tempted to turn the whole dining table into a grazing table. I decided against it, because I made potato salad… and I didn’t imagine it would look good served up on a wooden board ha!

Christmas 2016

My extended family brought more food and desserts (not pictured). And yes that’s my ham and uneaten chicken from the night before haha.

Yep I really, really like cooking and hosting big dinners!

I love big gatherings of family and friends, good food, good conversations and I’m so thankful and humbled that I get to have all these amazing people in my life.

xxx


 

Holiday Life, Chilling with the kids

20 December 2016

Liam's New Gear Bike

Life has been awesome at the moment!

It’s the school holidays… there’s only a few days until Christmas… and I’ve been spending heaps of “One on One” time with each of my kids and loving every minute of it.

I’ve rediscovered how funny they are. Like really funny. We have all these weird and wonderful conversations. We talk crap. We have all these “in” jokes. We mock each other. And we love a good car karaoke.

They are just so enjoyable to hang around with, when they are by themselves!

The other thing is… I love hanging out at home with the kids.

We just do little jobs. Hang around. Fix things. Do things.

Then occasionally, we’ll go out on mini adventures — off to buy batteries, pick up some milk from the shops, sit in a cafe, taking them to birthday parties, bowling parties, sleep overs, playdates, dentist appointments, set up our above ground pool, go out for sushi lunch, out to watch a movie, out to get some last minute Christmas presents, out to visit a park and more.

Yep things are a little busy, chaotic and noisy.

But it’s all chilled and easy!

Life with a 13yo, 11yo and 7yo is just brilliant!


 

Sudio Wireless Earphones

19 December 2016

Sudio Sweden

Anyone who knows me in real life, knows I don’t get crazy over gadgets or the latest and greatest new tech.

I try to keep my gadgets as old-school as possible. I like to keep my life simple. I find something that works well, looks good and I stick with it.

SO it was with great surprise that I FELL IN LOVE with these wireless earphones sent to me by the team at Sudio Sweden.

The whole idea of wireless earphones sounds annoyingly gimmicky right!?

But it has literally changed my life for the better, especially because I like to exercise at home with music and I like to workout while listening with YouTube videos.

I can move around so freely now! I can step away from my device without tugging it off its stand!

I can exercise in any room and not disturb the rest of my family!

Also I can work on my computer, listen to my music on my wireless earphones on, stand up walk into the kitchen, make myself a cup of tea and come back to my computer – why didn’t I get these earlier???

These gorgeous pair are the Vasa Blå in Rose Gold White.

The sound quality is great. It pairs up with my phone, my Macbook like a dream. It’s easy to charge, easy use. It’s simple, it works. I love it!

I do have a discount code to share with you all my lovely readers.

Use the code “KARENLYCHENG” at the checkout and get 15% off your order.

Enjoy!!

xxx


 

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