Raging Waters Sydney - Australia Day 2021

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Capture of the kid-friendly area from our spot

First of all, I hope you had a well-spent day off yesterday with families and friends. Here in Australia, we celebrate Australia Day every 26th of January. It's always been a public holiday so I see it more as a day off-work, a day to spend with family, to relax and recharge. Nevertheless, if you are living elsewhere, I still hope that you had a great day yesterday.

It was scorching hot here just like it always has been year after year. I can still remember our very first Australia Day back in 2013 (we migrated in late 2012). 26th of January fell on a Saturday and so the public holiday was moved the next Monday. For a lot of Australians, it was a good long weekend to go out of town or hit the beach.

We didn't have jobs back then, no financial means for an out of town adventure. Nothing of that sort. So I spent the day just like how I spend most of my days: job searching in the public library (because internet at home was really bad) while the kids play at home with dad.

This is the renovated library at Mt Druitt - photo source here

My routine was, I would leave the house after breakfast, submit as much application as I can while at the library then I would go home at around 4pm past. 

That particular day though, the sun was still blazing hot even after 4, the type that burns your eyes and skin 😅. So I stayed for a bit and even bought myself an ice-cold coffee. Lucky there was a cafe inside the library. It was a rather expensive move considering our situation that time hehehe. But that's how hot it was. 

I reached home a little bit before 6 by which time, it had started to cool down. It was a pretty sight as the neighbours (including us) started coming out of their houses, walking barefoot on the ground, enjoying the cool breeze.

This was our old neighbourhood in Hebersham although this picture was taken on a cooler day :) my children were playing with the neighbour in his "buggy ride"

Anyway, yesterday's heat was no different. It was the scorching kind, stifling, windless. The temperature's been high for days actually so you can probably guess how we spent the day. Yes, swimming. But not at the beach. We didn't want to travel far but the nearest beach is about an hour drive away still.

So we went to Raging Waters this time for a change which was only 24 minutes drive. The last time we had been there was more than 4 years ago, back in November 2016 for Nilo's company outing. That time we went, the place was desolated because we had to wait until after church service ended at past 4pm. So the place was about to close plus it was off-peak season too.

Back in Nov 2016 - the girls were still little. I don't remember seeing SpongeBob yesterday hehehe.

Wave pool with actual sand: Only a few people were swimming

Raging Waters used to be known as Wet 'n' Wild Sydney - 2 bands 😆 I think they're my daughters' hehehe

Yesterday, we went with the Soria family. It was a spontaneous plan. When we got there, the place looked very different from what I remember. The surroundings were very bright from the sun and the whole area was packed. Parking wasn't an issue but finding a spot inside to settle in was difficult. There was hardly any sun loungers available but lucky we managed to secure one. Then we squeezed in with some people under one of the big shades close to the kid-friendly pools and slides. 

Darla with the twins, Chloe and Claudine - waiting excitedly to go inside

Later on, we got 2 more sun loungers when some people left. Those plus the portable chairs we have were more than enough for us. There were plenty of unoccupied cabanas behind us but for extra $145? No thank you please hehehe. 😁

Photo source of the cabana and a great review of the place by Luke Marlin can be found here

The place looked more colourful and festive during peak season. After settling in our little spot, we all started exploring the place. Our little ladies are now old enough to explore the area on their own so we didn't see them for most of the day. Meanwhile, Darla and I went to the kiddie pool and tried one of the slides. 

A little while later, everyone went back to our area for lunch. I was getting kind of tired because at one point, I had to carry Darla the whole time we were queueing for the kiddie slides. She was getting sleepy herself but I sometimes think our baby is half-fish-half-human and her love for the water was keeping her energized.

Lunch time!

Food is available for purchase inside but as expected, everything was pricey. Fortunately, they allow you to take reasonable amount of food inside so that's what we did. Chips, sodas, bread, sausages, rice, fried chicken. A lot of variety but not too much. We spent the whole day inside but the food was more than enough because really, you're gonna be spending more time enjoying the park than eating hehehe.

We explored the simulated beach area next with the wave pool and real sand. It's really cool - or should I say hot haha. 😉 Everytime a batch of waves is coming, you can hear the people chanting excitedly. The waves felt real, just like a normal beach wave too. Impressive.

At the fake beach - pics while Darla is splashing around 

Darla still hasn't taken a nap. We went to the Dinosaur Lagoon next. 

Marching on to Dinosaur Lagoon

I think this is my favourite place because it's so relaxing. We did 2 rounds but I didn't realise how relaxing it was until the 2nd round. During the first round, Darla didn't want to ride the tube rings so I had to carry her along. She's basically weightless in the water but still. 

My other daughter Daisy was also with us. She left her group because her sister and friends kept going for the rides. I thought she was scared but she said she was just too impatient to queue hehehe. We should really go back at off-peak season.

First round I was carrying Darla 

Our daughter Daisy floating alongside us

On our second round, I decided to ride the ring and Darla felt more comfortable riding in front of me too while hubby pushed us along. It was divine! Just being washed away by the current without a care in the world... so thankful for hubby's sacrifice but he did get to enjoy the park. He and bro Wendell went on one of the most daredevil slides. He said it was really scary he never tried the other ones.

We had no photos of the ride this time but guess what? My husband took a video of the whole trip I think. Resourceful at its best. Towards the end though, we noticed a sign saying no cameras allowed. 😬 None of the lifeguards around told us off anyway so...

Everyone was trying to make Darla ride the donut. Lucky I figured out a way and we both enjoyed.

Finally! We're done with Dinosaur Lagoon

We went back to wave pool for the last time before Darla finally dozed off. We changed clothes and while she was napping, the group continued to explore the place. 

She didn't sleep long enough. As soon as she woke up and realised we were still at the park, she wanted to swim again. But she had enough swimming for the day so we just went around the park to enjoy the view.

The daredevil rides 😨 My eldest daughter Demi loves them. I don't think I'll ever want to try one.

The wide alley in the middle of the park

Water park for the kids - empty now because the park is almost closing

Darla splashing in the water from the kiddie slides

And that concludes our Australia Day adventure for 2021! Happy Australia Day!

Read More

DIY Easel Card Plus Desk Calendar In One Tutorial

Friday, January 22, 2021

In an earlier post, I showed the final cards I made and posted to friends in time for the coming of the 2021 year.

I call them easel cards with calendar tabs. They are regular handmade cards you can send to friends, at the same time, they also serve as desk calendars. 

These are some of the cards I sent out to friends

I'll be sharing how to make these cards. It's really very easy, I don't normally create complex cards because I consider myself a beginner at cardmaking 😁

  • Card base (white)
  • Card stock (blue and red)
  • Calendar tabs - I bought them from Scrap Dragon
  • Glitter cardstock (white) - 1.5cm height x 15cm length
  • Stamps of your choice for the images (I used O Christmas Tree and Cocoa Party Stamp both from Hello Bluebird)
  • Colouring materials (to colour your stamped images)
  • Ribbons (about half an inch thick)
  • White cardstock - for the sentiment inside
  • Gold cardstock - to outline the sentiment tab
  • Stamps of your choice for the sentiments
  • Chalkboard pens - you can buy them from Dollar Stores - I got mine for $2 only (for 3 pens)
  • Adhesives - double sided tape or glue
  • Foam adhesives
  • Blings, sequins, glitters etc.
The procedure is very simple... to assemble the front of the card, follow these steps:
  1. First, fold the front of your white card base about 4cm from the bottom. Set aside.
  2. Cut your blue or red cardstock the same size as the front of your card base.
  3. Decorate the blue or red cardstock with falling snow background using the chalkboard pens.
  4. Using adhesives, stick the glitter cardstock at the bottom of your blue or red cardstock. You can cut the glitter cardstock to your liking - as long as it looks like a snow covered ground.
  5. Then stick on the calendar tab to your desired position.
  6. Stamp some images and colour them.
  7. Stick on the images to the front of the coloured cardstock.
  8. Then decorate the background with glitters and blings (to add some sparkles!)
  9. Finally, you can stick on your coloured cardstock to your card base - just make sure that you don't put adhesive at the top part. Only at the bottom part where the fold is, otherwise the easel effect won't work.
Then, to create the sentiment inside the card follow these steps: 

The card turns into a desk calendar when the front flap is folded and wedged onto the sentiment tab 😊
  1. Glue the ribbon about 1.5cm from the bottom of the inside panel of the cardbase.
  2. Then using a white cardstock, punch out a small frame. I used the Timeless Label Punch from Stampin' Up!
  3. Stamp your sentiment onto the tab. Decorate it as you want. 😍
  4. For added embellishment, I used a gold cardstock to line my sentiment tab.
  5. Finally, using foam adhesives, place the sentiment tab on top of the ribbon. Just centre it.
Voila! A handmade card plus a desk calendar in one! Now you can give your friends and colleagues a card they can use all year round.

These are the cards I made for my daughters Demi and Daisy. They have these on their desks and every time they need an encouragement, they can always open the card and read the messages Dad and Mom wrote them. 😍

For Daisy.

For Demi

Happy crafting!

PS: Here's also a video of the tutorial.

Read More

Sunday Fun Day At The Beach

Monday, January 18, 2021

Beautiful view of Bundeena beach
Darla was very excited she kept chanting "go to the beach" the day before and when she woke up on Sunday morning. After 2 years, she is back at Bundeena beach where she first discovered her love for the water. We travelled with some of our church friends while we met some of them at the beach itself. 

It was a lovely day! The weather was perfect. The sun's heat was just the right balance for the cold water and everyone had a great time splashing especially the kids and toddlers. But the best part of it all was to get in touch again with some of the people whom we haven't seen since COVID lockdown in March 2020.

Darla pretends to sleep hehe. We keep her entertained for the whole trip by playing her favourite songs.

Part of my life resolutions (not just New Year's hehehe) is to be more present for the kids and take them out more often to enjoy nature and the company of good friends. So I really pushed myself to go even though the day before, I suffered from a lingering headache from afternoon onwards, which only got worse by night. The pain extended to the back of my neck after dinner. I thought these were signs of high blood pressure so I retired to bed anxious and sad. As a result of worrying too much, I did not get a good sleep either.

Hopefully, our beautiful little women will remember these moments when they grow up.

It's the time spent with family and friends that is etched in our hearts forever

In the morning I was a mess but thanks to my hubby, he organised everything including the clothes this time. I think I only helped him a little bit with packing up. He even made sure we had breakfast before we go. Finally, at 7:30am we were at Soria family's house where we all left together with Dumaog family.

Bundeena beach is only 1 and half hours drive away from where we live. We got there relatively early but the place is already packed. Luckily, there was a car leaving so we were able to secure a spot easily. 

Darla and the other kids playing and swimming by the shores 

Making sand castles... or rather sand cakes hehehe

We set up a picnic blanket on the grass area across the parking lot then grilled some meat and sausages. The kids, and of course Darla, went down to the sand area and water to play. We also set up tents on the sand area but as the tide rose up, the water made its way to the sides and caught our tents so we packed them up by afternoon.

Happy to be with friends again 💗

The water flows through the side as the tide rises so we had to take down the tents.

After swimming, we spent a great time just sitting, talking, listening to music and enjoying the breeze while the kids played nearby. Then while some of us started to leave, Darla asked to go to the beach again. So we let her swim and enjoy the beach one more time before we headed back home.

While the adults chat, these kids were having their own catch up time 😁

Our little mermaid finds joy at the beach
Darla was asleep on the way back home, tired but very happy. When we finally reached home, she woke up and I asked her, "Go to the beach?" 

She said, "Tama na." ("Enough.") and we all laughed hahaha. The little mermaid finally had enough of another beach experience.

How about you? Did you also have a lovely time this weekend? I sure hope so. 🥰💗

Read More

Date Night Parents with Toddler Style - Week 1

Friday, January 15, 2021

Shortly before 12 midnight, my husband and I sat across each other and started our evening date (FINALLY!). I talked hubby into this last week but I was on the brink of cancelling it. Midnight is a bit too late for a dinner date isn't it? 😂

For parents like us who can't get out without the baby, an indoor dinner date is just as exciting. Seriously, why didn't we think about this before?

Merely minutes ago, Darla was showing no signs of sleeping soon and it was past 11pm. Our very alert toddler was still watching her latest movie obsession, Mulan (the 2020 film 😁) while simultaneously re-enacting the scenes - complete with props hehehe. Eventually, she got cranky and by the time I took her upstairs for bedtime, in a matter of minutes she was knocked out. So was I hehe. 

Our little warrior, loyal, brave and true 🥰

I almost stood up my handsome date, but I pushed myself to wake up, get dressed (yes, my idea too hahaha) and go downstairs. Nevermind the hair, left it as dishevelled as it was. Food was prepared already. Besides, we really needed this rendezvous.

The handsome date wondering what the chef put in his dish 😆

It's funny. We haven't dated in a long time so it feels awkward. Once the food were settled on the table (by the chef and the maitre d' which were none other than US 😆) we were snickering at each other like kids. If only hubby could say, "This is ridiculous!" (and it was) but he knows better than to verbalise that.

Anyway, the objective was to enlighten my husband about our budgeting. You know how in relationships, there is that one person who controls the money? The husband may be the CEO, he gets the last say in decision-making but I am the CFO. I established the rigid policies especially in spending hehehe.

Cheers to resourcefulness 🍷

After the food was gone, I can tell that the hubby was getting sleepy and ready to retire to bed. But I was just getting fired up. I just learned about this personal finance management thing that could actually work for our situation. This deserves a post of its own hehe.

In my excitement, I think the date ended more like a classroom one on one lesson where I was the strict teacher who would scold her student at the tiniest signs of not paying attention. 

Just kidding (half kidding hehe, I did get very serious and passionate 😝). To wrap it up, I gave him the task to manage our diet on the other hand. Other than money management, weight loss was our other immediate goal.

Steak night for week 1 of dinner date.

Afterwards, I became the maitre d' again, took the plates away and cleaned the table. Dinner date was done. The beauty of doing it indoors was that we could go to sleep right after.

But this isn't the end of it. For the next 4 weeks, we will hold another one. Then it would be monthly for the rest of our lives (hopefully and God willing). Maybe someday, we can actually go out to a proper restaurant but while we can't leave Darla yet, indoor dates will do. It's not so bad after all.

It's a good way to be in touch with each other and for parents like us, don't let having a baby hinder you from having alone time. It's a great opportunity to talk, make plans and just connect.

Until our next date night which I'll share again on my succeeding posts!

Read More

Choosing the Best Essential Oils for Aromatherapy and Well-Being

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

My latest order from ECO just arrived and I was very happy! Seriously, their deals just get better every time. 3 freebies this time, impressive! 😁

DIY Cleaning Kit from ECO. Modern Essentials 

I'm not new to essential oils. I mean, I do live under the rock sometimes and I'm pretty unaware of trends but it's impossible not to know about it. Aromatherapy has become so popular that shops selling diffusers and scents have sprung like mushrooms here and there hehehe. 

I have always been a fan of healthy and natural lifestyle so I have nothing against aromatherapy. But I held back from buying oils because I found out that they need to be used with caution. The use of essential oils isn't as simple as choosing a scent that you like. It can actually be dangerous if used improperly.

I was all the more discouraged when the ones recommended to me were very expensive. I couldn't see the point of even starting if I won't be able to maintain it.

ECO. Modern Essentials

Then my friend sis Gift introduced me to ECO. Modern Essentials last September. When I went to their website, I was amazed by the simplicity of the layout. You can clearly see how much a product costs without having to click each of the product itself and they also have informative blog posts.

But what I really liked about ECO is that they put the important information in bullet points for each and every one of their oils. For me, this is a really great feature because that saves me the time of researching myself. It's not overwhelming either. I get what I need and if I require more information, I would go the blog which is an easy search as well.

Screenshot of their website: it is not cluttered with overwhelming info.
FAQs show safety level of an oil.

The other thing I liked about ECO is the generous rewards and discounts. You only need to buy at least $20 worth of products to get free shipping. That's really amazing! Especially for newbies like me who would like to try an oil or two in the beginning.

My first order

The first product I bought from ECO was the Bliss Diffuser & ECO. Little Blends Collection. The kit includes one mist diffuser plus 6 bottles (10ml each) of oil blends that are all safe to use around kids and toddlers. I chose this one because I wasn't very familiar with oils yet and I wanted to make sure I am not using anything harmful around Darla.

The Little Ones Collection is a great set to start with. I got an extra Immune Booster for free :)

At original price, the whole kit will cost you $203, but I got mine for only $117 because of discounts. They also give you a mystery oil for free when your order reaches above $100. Mine was the immune booster for kids. Their rewards and discounts vary from time to time so please check around before finalising your purchase.

ECO. also holds frequent sales. I sometimes score 2 bottles of essential oils for only $20. But the really good part is that when you earn rewards, you are allowed to use them on top of their discounts. Seriously, how generous is that? 😍

My friend makes her own blends and gave me these as gifts - so thankful!

More freebies!

When I was able to save up for another diffuser, I decided to purchase again from ECO. I purchased a stone diffuser, DIY cleaning kit (6 bottles) and 1 pimple clear oil blend. This time, I got 3 freebies! 

All these for free! Mystery oil included was immune support 🥰
  • 1 mystery essential oil blend 
  • 1 mystery sanitising product
  • 1 petite mist diffuser
So all in all I got 11 goodies for only $130. Normally, you'll only get 1 quality diffuser for this price so I was really overjoyed when they gave me a free petite mist diffuser too. On top of that, they gave me $7 credits for my next purchase. 

This petite mist diffuser worth $38.50 is entirely free! Love 🥰💕

Uses of essential oils

But enough of the freebies hehehe. How good is the quality of their products? 

So far, I liked all their blends. The first time I used lullaby blend, it worked for Darla. For 2 nights in a row, she had a good sleep and so did I too. But it's not like magic that would make her fall asleep in one sniff hehehe. 

The Little Ones oil blend collection

Darla is a pretty alert baby ever since. She has NEVER slept on her own since birth, without feeding or nursing except ONCE. I wouldn't expect her to just magically change but it helps her relax. Quality of sleep has a lot of factors so I don't rely entirely on oils.

However, I could swear on the effectiveness of sinus clear blend. One time I was diffusing it in the lounge area, hubby said he felt his hay fever disappeared. Just a precaution though, sinus clear has peppermint which is not very friendly with kids. So do not diffuse it in small enclosed spaces.

New diffuser from ECO. has light option that changes in colour - watch here

Other than aromatherapy, I also use essential oils for cleaning. ECO. has a DIY cleaning kit which contains oils that has antimicrobial properties. I refer to their recipes to create my own natural cleaning products such as this liquid spray I use to keep the kitchen counter clean. The peppermint oil leaves it smelling nice and sweet.

They also have a range of products for skin. I tried the pimple clear, which is a blend of tea tree and lavender oils, and so far so good. I only use it sparingly on the blemish spots and I can see that it helps in supressing the breakouts. 

ECO. also has a range of products for skin care such as this pimple clear blend

So far none of the oils have ran out yet and it has been 3 months now. We often turn on the diffuser after cooking, before sleeping or just to detoxify the air.

ECO. essential oils are mostly for well-being and lifestyle so their scents are quite limited. If you're after more variety such as these caramel and berries ones, you can check out other stores too. These ones are from Dusk. 
These oils from Dusk make room smelling sweet or cafe-like in the case of creamy caramel :)

Finally, you don't have to exclusively buy your diffusers from one supplier. I bought 2 from Kmart and for a really cheap price of $20 each, they do the job without problems.

This Kmart diffuser is perfect for my home office - partnered with the new immune support oil I got for free 💗

Thanks for reading up until the end! If you're purchasing from ECO. here's a gift for you - 10% off coupon you can use to save. 🥰 Happy shopping!

Read More