Bet you thought we’d forgotten about Christmas thank-you cards this year…
But no. They have just been a while in the making. Ickle and Mivvy spent a fun craft session stamping paper plates a couple of weeks ago, and I hit on the idea of sending their creations instead of cards.Only then I realised there might be a slight problem…envelopes. A bendy plate is not the most practical shape to send by post, especially overseas. And I figured it wouldn’t be the most cost-effective solution either, although I don’t believe international postage rates have been increased by the walloping 40% that has been applied to domestic mail this year.
So, I sat on the plates, figuratively speaking. And had a think. For a while. Then both girls conveniently dropped off for a nap at the same time on Saturday and it was time for paper plate action. I Googled “paper plate thank-you cards” and my search immediately returned these wee chappies. They didn’t take long to make, and I didn’t worry too much about the occasional misshapen snowman. After all, the real things are often a bit lumpy.The eyes, mouths and buttons really finish them off. In fact, if I were organised enough about Christmas cards, which – let’s be realistic here – I’m not, I’d make them again later this year with the littlies. With paint and stickers and cotton wool. Although, on second thoughts, they might be a bit bulky for the post too…[Edit 2 Feb 2016: A whole paper plate is a tight squeeze even in an A4-sized envelope; the snowman cards neatly slide into an envelope half that size. Just in case you were wondering!]
Ickle and Mivvy have never seen a waterfall before, so last weekend we headed on a family adventure to Somersby Falls. Located close to Gosford just off the Pacific Motorway, the falls are a fair drive from our lakeside home. But oh so worth it.
Don’t be put off by the route in – Somersby Falls Road was not the beautiful stretch of paradise I had imagined. Nope, I suggest you close your eyes to the industrial ugliness – unless you’re driving, of course! – and then open them once you reach the National Park.
Here, the rainforest is dense and cool and a steep track takes you through the trees to the upper falls. We got there early, before the masses with their cameras, kids, and bottles of beer. And before the bearded man who decided to immerse himself in the waterfall, fully clothed. Hence this snap of ‘untouched’ beauty.With heavy rain the week before our visit, an impressive volume of water was cascading down the rock face into the pool below. Ickle partially stripped off to paddle in the water with her daddy, at which point Mivvy wanted a slice of the action, too. Splish, splosh!
The descent to the lower falls was a bit of a scramble – muddy and slippy in places. Broad stone ledges span the water course providing an attractive viewing platform or place to rest and picnic. We elected to boulder-hop to a little patch of beach further down where the girls had a play and a sand-covered snack.The climb back to the car park is not for the faint-hearted. I’ll admit to being a little out of puff by the time we emerged from the rainforest. But I was carrying an extra 10 kilos in the form of my youngest daughter.
Note: The car park (fee-paying) was full by the time we left at around 11 am, with cars lining both sides of the road outside the main parking area. Mind you, we had chosen to visit on a Sunday during the busy summer holidays.
Bunnings, the leading Australian home improvement and outdoor living retailer whose products are often displayed in warehouse-style premises with an intimidating number of aisles to navigate. An unusual choice for a girls’ excursion on NYE, perhaps. Until I point out that many of the stores incorporate a café and kids’ corner (along similar lines to Macca’s), and often run activities for children too. Yup, the good people at Bunnings certainly know how to attract the family demographic.
Besides, after some impressive weeding and leaf clearing by Ickle and me earlier in the week, the little courtyard outside our front door was ready for some new plants. And Daddy Ickle had tasked us with finding a kitchen tap filter – the excitement! – so that washing up is no longer an excuse for an extra shower.Let’s get our priorities straight, though. We made a beeline for the playground as soon as we arrived. I sipped a (surprisingly good) flat white while the girls explored the space. Perfectly suited to Ickle now she’s almost four – don’t you know. She scampered up one plastic chute and slid down the other, made faces at her little sister through the perspex windows, and adjusted the hands on a huge clock face. Mivvy was limited in what she could do, but enjoyed looking on, and made valiant attempts to scramble up the slide.It’s a small space so things can get a bit manic with more than a handful of littlies at play, or when some of the big kids come in to let off steam. But great for a breather before the important business of tackling all those aisles.We didn’t find a tap filter despite our best efforts. And there wasn’t a miniature trolley in sight for Ickle to run around with, like on a previous visit. (Apparently they have a habit of disappearing). But we did come away with some beautiful plants and veg for our courtyard garden…and possibly the smallest pair of gardening gloves ever.