Current mood…

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Capturing the sunrise on Monday morning….

Awakening…

Energies swirling,

Dark, light and colourful.

Restless yet calm,

Clear yet confused,

Sorting through what needs to stay,

And what needs to go.

Priorities changing,

Perceptions moving.

All for the better,

Remembering Life is an endless learning journey…

Healing.

 

 

 

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Double Deckers, wizards and just rocks!

Our first stop on our European adventure was London, we travelled to Heathrow Airport via Singapore – another place we have yet to visit but that will have to wait for another time! We left in the afternoon and arrived already tired and travel worn in Singapore for a 3 hour stopover. It wasn’t pleasant trying to stay awake when all you wanted to do was sleep but we explored Changi Airport seeing the food halls and a bit of souvenir shopping. We boarded our flight to Heathrow and promptly fell asleep for a few hours which was just what we needed, only trouble is we woke up about 5-6 hours later and still had another 8-9 hours to go!

We finally arrived in Heathrow at 7.45am in the morning, excited but tired. It felt surreal to be standing there on the other side of the world! We made our way to the Underground station to catch the tube to the apartment which would be our home away from home in South London. Catching the tube was also a mini adventure for us – it was something I thought I’d never experience and yet here we were doing just that! We were already enjoying being in England, albeit very tired!

After asking for directions , we found we had to change lines to get to our line which was the Bakerloo line – when we asked for directions,  we were given a map of the Underground network which became very handy during the coming week. We found the transport staff to be very helpful while we were finding our way around for the first day or two. Once we knew the stop, direction and lines – we were travelling around London like locals!

We arrived at our stop and found our way to the correct exit which was 5 minutes away from the apartment. The first thing we were excited to see when we were walking on the streets were the red double decker buses which are quintessentially London! There are things that we relate to a country – the red double decker buses and black taxi cabs were the things we related to London and were excited to see! We checked into our apartment and were very excited with our view from the 30th floor!

We were able to relax a little before heading off for the first item on our itinerary – the Warner Bros Harry Potter movie studio tour! My daughter is a huge Harry Potter fan and very excited to start our adventure there. After a little hiccup in the directions provided by our concierge, we found our way to the correct underground line and stop, making it in time for the bus! Luckily we left earlier which gave us plenty of time even though we had headed in the wrong direction!

Even the bus was exciting to see as we lined up waiting to board – it added to the anticipation! The bus ride was about an hour and a half, as the studio tour is located 20 miles north-west of London in Leavesden. We were advised the tour would take 3 hours and would have some free time after the tour to visit the shop and cafe before our departure. Harry Potter was the highlight for my daughter during our visit to England. It was amazing to see the props, sets and costumes used in the films. We were able to board the Hogwart’s Express, walk through 4 Privett Drive, see the Knight Bus, the Pensieve, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor Common room and so much more! For Harry Potter fans, we found this an amazing experience!

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After the tour, we visited the cafe and shop for a few choice purchases that my daughter had already advised she’d like to make when we booked the tour – which was before we even left home! We left the tour excited and animated at what we had just experienced, it helped keep our jetlag at bay for the day. I was advised by friends to go out and not sleep during the day no matter how tempting it was to help us adjust to the local time there. We all crashed that night by 9.30pm and slept for about 11-13 hours! Luckily we didn’t have anything booked until after lunch the next day!

We woke up late morning feeling quite refreshed. We self catered for breakfast which we found to be cheaper and easier being in an apartment with a shopping centre just across the road. We found the quality of food we bought when out and about in London to be sub-par and quite expensive! That was the only drawback visiting London. Today we were heading to Buckingham Palace for the tour of the State Rooms – a dear friend advised to visit them and we were glad we did. Such amazing rooms, decor and art viewed as we wandered through! It was also the perfect day to do something indoors as it was typical London weather – wet and cold even though it was summer! We recommend it if visiting in summer as it is only open for about 8-10 weeks and worth the visit!

Our next day trip was my highlight of our visit to England – Bath and Stonehenge. It was an early start but so worth it! The city of Bath was our first taste of European architecture and cobblestone streets – so pretty! We visited the Roman Baths and after being to Rome, could see the Roman influence had spread across many of the countries we visited. Roman architecture is ornate and beautiful – decorated arches, domes and statues dominate.

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A colleague of mine asked where we were going in England and when I mentioned Stonehenge, she said “they’re just rocks”! I found it amazing to be in such an historical place where the true nature is still a mystery! There are “theories” to consider and I feel it is up to you to decide which one you decide fits. I sent my colleague some photos and she admitted that it did look pretty amazing.

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For the next two days, we toured London via the Hop on Hop off bus which was great to see the city from a different perspective! We visited Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, the Tower of London, St.Paul’s cathedral and Westminster Abbey. We were also fortunate to catch the changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace!

Madame Tussaud’s wax museum was a bit of fun – it was also my daughter’s choice and was excited when she saw her favourite actress. We enjoyed seeing some iconic wax statues and historical figures.

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The next morning we visited the Tower of London, it is great – so much history and the Crown Jewels are a must see! A tip when visiting is to arrive for opening which is at 9am and head straight to the crown jewels to avoid the long queues! There were so many jewels and gold items – bling galore and worth a visit! The Tower of London has quite a macabre history especially the Bloody Tower! I feel learning  ‘live history’ makes it all the more fascinating and interesting then reading it from a book. All in all, it was fascinating to learn history in a live environment – would recommend a visit if you are visiting London for the first time. We also caught a ferry ride on the Thames clippers from the Tower of London to Westminster which was an added extra that we enjoyed!

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We took a train ride to St. Alban’s which is a beautiful city where a dear Uncle spent his early childhood. It is a beautiful city, we had brunch there, roamed the markets in the town square and visited the St. Alban’s cathedral which was quite impressive. We were surprised to find Roman influence in this city too which is about 30 mins away from London.

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We also caught up with my cousin and his family while we were in London which is lovely. It’s always nice to be able to catch up with family especially since we live so far from each other, it was nice for both our families to meet! They live in South England about an hour away from London so we appreciated them travelling in to meet us for lunch and enjoyed the afternoon with them before we left.

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We visited Covent Garden, Chinatown, Southbank, Big Ben, Borough Market, Platform 9&3/4 at Kings Cross station – we felt we visited and did so much, but also felt we could have easily visited more places. We took a mental note for a return trip in the future!

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We had a wonderful time in London and felt we could have easily stayed a little longer. Although a little sad to leave, we were excited to embark on the next part of our European adventure – catching the Eurostar to Belgium! We loved the fact that you could be in a different country in just 2 hours! In Australia, we travel 5 hours across the country and we’re still in the same country – just in another state! We also found St. Pancras International train station to be a beautiful building. As it was our first visit, we had plans for each day except one or two – it was a busy week but so much fun! Our main aim was sightseeing – taking in as much as we could to Laugh. Love. Live each moment! We look forward to returning to see more of England in the future. Hope you enjoyed coming along for the ride on the first leg of our European Adventure! Peace and blessings!

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European Adventure

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I haven’t posted in a while because I was busy fulfilling the quote above! Our little family was fortunate enough to visit Europe for the first time and enjoyed some amazing adventures! We travelled to four different countries visiting the capital city along with other cities/ towns where we could. Our original plan was to go somewhere else but a dear friend of mine finally convinced my husband to go! I have wanted to go to Europe (and many other places) all my life and was very excited to finally be able to plan a trip.

I started organising the trip a year in advance – this made the lead up all the more exciting! We originally were only going to 3 countries until another dear friend asked and pointed out that the 4th was on the way to another country we were visiting so I thought, why not? It also enabled us to visit some relatives which I had not seen for 20 years and that my husband and daughter had never met! We were also able to catch up with my cousin and his family in our first destination which was great – it is always great to catch up with family!

The four countries we started planning our itinerary for were:

  • England
  • Belgium (this was the late addition!)
  • France
  • Italy

We felt like we packed a lot in, saw so much and did so much but there was still so much we didn’t get to do but we’ve decided that we’ll return to explore some more another time. I’ll dedicate the following posts to each country that we visited so I can share with you our adventures. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey as much as we did! Even though we took many photos and although they may look stunning – I feel the photos did not do the places justice! The ‘wow’ moment, the first time we saw something for the first time cannot be replicated – it was such an amazing feeling to finally see things that we’d only read, heard or saw from afar! We hope to plan another adventure soon so we can Laugh. Love. Live the experience to the fullest! We learnt so much history, culture and also about ourselves along the way! Life is an adventure, a fun adventure that is best shared with loved ones. Where will your next adventure take you?

Travel far enough

 

Milestone…

Wordpress Achievement

Wow, I’ve just noticed a notification from WordPress wishing me a Happy Anniversary as I’ve now been blogging for 5 years now! How time flies and to think I was hesitant about starting! A special shout out to my Aunt and daughter for their encouragement and support – without it, I probably never would have started.

I find writing is cathartic, relaxing, enjoyable, provides a ‘voice’ and gives me pleasure sharing some positivity in this sometimes not so positive world. I’m grateful to be able to share experiences, opinions and gratitude. Thanks also to all of you for continuing to read, like and follow my blog. Your interaction provides me much encouragement to continue blogging to share my motto of Laugh. Love. Live! I’m very appreciative of the support from fellow bloggers, family and friends who take the time to read my posts – peace and blessings!

Peace and blesssings

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Chasing the sun…

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Mooloolaba Beach

I’ve written a post previously about visiting somewhere new at least once a year. Our family were grateful to be able to do that earlier this year when we visited the Sunshine Coast in Queensland for the first time. My husband and I had only been to the Gold Coast before and were worried that the environment was going to be similar but were pleasantly surprised. We stayed in Mooloolaba and found it to be quite family friendly and relaxing with the beautiful surrounding beaches, coastal walk and nearby activities to do and see.

We stayed at serviced apartments in Mooloolaba, called Coco Mooloolaba. The apartment block was situated one street back from the main road which suited us as it was less noisy. It was 5 mins walk to the beach, main shopping and cafe strip. It was also only a 2 minute walk to the local Coles supermarket which was handy for us to stock up on essentials while we were there.

The apartments have onsite management and are owned by a lovely couple originally from New Zealand. They are very friendly and provided helpful advice for visiting different places and booking tickets in advance. We would definitely recommend staying there and we would definitely stay there again. The apartment was spacious, air conditioned, clean and had a lovely balcony where we enjoyed breakfast and lunch on most days, and sometimes dinner if we didn’t eat out. There was plenty of different cuisine to choose from should you choose to eat out: Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian Mexican – cafes and restaurants as well as fast food outlets and of course, fish and chips!

We visited the Sea Life Aquarium – enjoyed a very entertaining Seal show, saw some great sea life, exhibits and learnt new information. There were some Barramundi there that were almost the size of my daughter – they were huge! It is amazing to see nature’s creatures and it never ceases to amaze me to see the majesty of nature’s creatures.

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We were also lucky to visit Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. This zoo was like no other zoo we had visited and it was a vast place! We spent all day there and still felt we hadn’t seen everything (we didn’t)! My daughter’s favourite animal is the wombat and she was so excited to discover that she could have a wombat animal experience! It enabled her to go with a group of other visitors to get up close and personal to two different wombats – the oldest wombat is a grandma wombat called Minibus. She is a Common Wombat and is mother and grandmother to two other wombats in the zoo. The other wombat is a Southern Hairy Nosed Wombat called Meg. We were able to take photos of my daughter with Meg and also purchase professional photos.

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Most days were spent at the beach or the pool at the apartment complex as it is very humid in Central and North Queensland – even on a cloudy day! Our daughter learnt how to dive in the pool – there’s still some work to do but much progress was made!

We also took a drive up to Maroochydore to visit the Maroochydore Lakes and shopping centre which is built over the lakes. My husband and I did a driving holiday very early on in our relationship which ended up in Maroochydore so it was nice to go back and visit as our previous visit was about 18 years ago!

It was a nice break visiting somewhere new and exploring while we were there. It’s nice to have family time, enjoying each other’s company and taking in the new surrounds. We were literally chasing the sun for my daughter, working out what was causing her anxiety and sadness which clouded over on a couple of days – some photos are reminiscent of happier times away but overall, we enjoyed our time there. It was nice to be able to get away to somewhere new and enjoy a few of our favourite things together – sun, sand and sea!

We were also able to take many lovely evening walks along the boulevard as it was a little cooler once the sun went down, we were lucky to see a beautiful full moon rising over the sea – something we don’t get to experience at home! We appreciated being able to enjoy different things together, experience a different environment and enjoy new things. It enabled us to rejuvenate, strengthen and renew to be able to continue the fight against my daughter’s demons. My husband and I have been able to make some great progress since this trip which was 7 months ago and even though we had noticed changes in our daughter’s behaviour and demeanour, it didn’t come to a head until late last year. It’s hard to watch your child not knowing what the issue is and how you can help. We’ve been able to share with her strategies and tools that are helping – it’s been a challenging process but we can see the benefits when we observe how our daughter is now able to chase her own sun and catch it! It’s early days but we are starting to see some light!

We are grateful for this trip and anytime we get to spend together. We look forward to where our next adventure will take us to continue to Laugh. Love. Live. I’m aware that it’s been far and few between posts for me but hopefully some more consistent posting will follow soon. My frame of mind hasn’t lent itself to posting much lately but hopefully as things improve with my daughter, so does our frame of mind. May you also have an opportunity to visit somewhere new to Laugh. Love. Live – peace and blessings!

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Aerial view – Leaving the Sunshine Coast!

 

 

Appreciation!

Appreciation

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Just a quick shout out to say thank you to all my existing and new followers. Thank you for taking the time to read, like and follow my blog – I really appreciate your support and encouragement. I have been quite busy at work with very little time to write and/ or read some of your blogs but I always do, whether it may be weeks or months later but I will. I appreciate the time you all have taken to read, like and follow my blog, this encourage me to continue my blogging journey – one that is continually evolving! I also enjoy reading all your blogs and posts, the variety and creativity that I come across when reading other blogs never ceases to amaze me so please keep posting on your amazing blogs! I’ll post more when I have a bit of time to myself and my blog – until then, Peace and blessings! silly_smiley_face_emoji_custom_stickerthank-you-1400x800-c-default