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Living bayside

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When I moved home to Melbourne, I was determined that we would find a trendy inner city suburb, drink coffee all day and eat dumplings all night.

But when I secured us a sublet in a beach side suburb and saw my son fall in love with the beach. From that moment, we new we wanted to live walking distance to the beach!   Admittedly, throughout winter when I am mid way through my hour long commute to work, I really wonder if we made the right decision.

But all it takes is a day like today, and I am reminded that we did.

When we lived in Canberra we used to drive hours just to feel the sand between our toes. Every hour on that windy road was worth it. It was my reset button.

Today, I took the easy option and drove to the beach (32 weeks pregnant, I think I’m excused) and it took us two minutes! And as soon as I felt the sand between my toes and smell that salt air; complete and utter zen.

And my son, who insisted on bringing his new iDevice to the beach because he was sure he would play it, didn’t even think about it once. He is so centred at the beach, so focused and so well behaved. He runs, plays, discovers and swims.

Today, he even exfoliated my back!

It is our jam. Who knows what the future holds, but for the moment I am so in love with living bayside, and I can’t wait to spend my maternity leave here!

What do you love most about where you live?

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Oliver’s super fourth birthday party!

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Originally, I was going to write a post titled ‘How to plan a super fourth birthday party‘, but after the birthday celebrations I only have one piece of advice; don’t plan a thing!

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The attempt at a group shot, didn’t go so well!

Now I am not saying to cancel the party. In fact, Oliver’s party was a huge success and everyone had a great time. It was not only a great chance to get Oliver’s friends from childcare over, it was the perfect opportunity to meet all their parents.

What I am saying, is just set up some toys and let the kids go wild! We spent a lot of time and money on activities that are still in their box because the kids were far too busy to play pin-the-tail on the donkey or twister. We did work a little bit of magic and get them to sit down together and play pass-the-parcel, but a lot of the kids went unwrap crazy (and who can blame them) which meant other kids missed out on unwrapping. They did seem to really enjoy this activity though, so would definitely recommend this game.

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Now, before I get into some party planning tips, I really have to share with you the amazing cake that Oliver’s Grandma and Auntie made for him. Oliver, being the quirky kid he is, requested a tiger batman cake. Amazingly, they actually pulled it off and Oliver was very impressed!

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What went right:

A craft corner-  this was a great way to get the quieter kids together to play together, particularly because there was a lot of rough and tumble happening inside.

Toys, and lots of them- Oliver has a lot of toys, and this really came in handy. We set no limits on what toys the kids played with and they all had a great time playing. The toys were also inside, and close to the couch so the parents could sit and relax whilst keeping an eye on their kids.

A cheese platter- not only delicious, it was a great way to get all the parents to sit, relax and chat whilst their kids played.

Cup cakes- The second Oliver blew out his candles, the kids pounced for the cake. Luckily they could each grab a cupcake and be on their merry way.

An end time- Oliver’s party ran from 2-4PM. And by 4.05PM our house was kid free, and we were exhausted!

What went less right:

Too many activities- seriously four year olds are more interested in playing with each other and each others toys than playing activities. We had planned about 6 activities but only pulled off one successfully. We did start a game of pin-the-tail on the donkey but it very quickly became apparent that it was a little bit much for four year olds.

Attempting a group shot- I realllllllly wanted a group photo of Oliver’s friends. And we tried, boy did we try, but they were just too excited and too full of sugar. So in the end I just interrupted their games for a series of awkward photos. I honestly would not recommend even trying this one.

Oliver had the best super fourth birthday a boy could ask four. It doesn’t matter what we planned or didn’t plan, we kept it positive and just let the kids be kids! And what a great group of kids they are.

What did you plan for your child’s birthday? And did it go to plan?

Hittin’ reset.

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Wow, it has been a busy couple of months here in Bayside Melbourne. The wonderful-meets-chaotic-meets-expensive kind of busy. I honestly feel like my feet haven’t touched the ground since about February.

Boy-o-boy, did we need a break.

A holiday would be nice, but with bubs #2 on the way, we need to save all my annual leave days. So we took the night, and went and visited James’ family’s holiday house in Anglesea, or as Oliver calls it- the house in the jungle.

Apart from the absolute freezing cold, it was exactly what we needed.

We took a moment, and we paused. Just long enough to catch our breath.

Man, I nearly cried along with Oliver as we left. But I suspect we will be back soon.

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1. Oliver and Panda en route

2. Walking up to the light house

3. Cuddles by the bay

4. At the whale look out

5. Oliver going ‘round the twist

6. Going on an adventure

Netflix review: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

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I’m still struggling with the Netflix search function. This one was recommended to me after I watched Blackfish, which once watching made sense.

On the surface, this is a documentary about a young man- who happened to found Reddit whilst making his name as an Internet activist- and his journey with the legal system after illegally downloading thousands of pay-per-view journals. In reality, it is a story about change, justice and a flawed political system. And it really made me question what the hell I am doing with my life.

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What I liked about this film… I learnt a lot! Seriously, working in online communications this is a must see film. In fact, anyone who uses the internet should see this film. It looks into copyright, online censorship, and digital piracy. It is educational and absolutely fascinating.

Aaron Swartz is a internet wonder. I mean he founded reddit, he developed RSS & creative commons and he lead the way to blocking SOPA. He is a goddamn Internet rockstar. But they humanised him. Of course, those who spoke on his behalf idolised him, but he was just a guy doing amazing things and they shared that.

It wasn’t corny. It is so difficult to make a meaningful documentary about something so powerful without crossing that line of utterly corny- but somehow they managed to do it.

But my favourite thing about this film, is that it actually might inspire change. I mean it inspired change in me, and I’m sure it can continue on Aaron’s legacy.

What I didn’t like about this film… unfortunately, they couldn’t get anyone to speak on the prosecutions behalf. They commented many times that they attempted it, but damn it would have been so good to hear them try and explain away what the hell they were trying to prove.

Yeah, it’s sad. I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but just have your tissue box handy.

Overall, there is very little to fault in this documentary. It might actually change your life, worst case scenario- you’ll have an educational and enjoyable 2hrs of viewing.

Four and a half stars-  WATCH THIS FILM!

The plot according to Wikipedia:

The film depicts the life of American computer programmer, writer, political organizer, and Internet activist Aaron Swartz. Footage of Swartz as a child is featured at the start and end of the film. The film is narrated by figures from Swartz’s life, including his mother, brothers, and girlfriends.

Netflix review: Animal Kingdom (2010)

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How do you search for movies on Netflix? Me? I search by actor. So when I searched for Guy Pearce and saw that he was starring in an Aussie crime film with the likes of Joel Edgerton and Ben Mendelson, I knew it was going to be a great watch.

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And I wasn’t wrong.

Set in Melbourne and based on the 1998 Walsh Street police shooting, this movie follows a young mans initiation into his extended family after his mother dies of a heroin overdose.

Warning: this movie is very graphic and should only be watched once the kids are tucked well in bed.

What I liked about this film… seriously, if you blink you will miss a death of a main character. I love a daring film who isn’t afraid to kill of the people that the audience love.

And the mother/ grandmother. Played by Jacki Weaver, she takes you on such a journey, and at the end your really not sure whether you love her, or hate her- but no matter how you feel you can’t help but hope that everything works out for her in the end.

But my absolute favourite part of this film in James Frecheville’s portrayal of a young boy adjusting to his new world. His character is so unpredictable and he wears that blank 17 year old expression so well!

What I didn’t like… Uncle Pope!!! Okay, sure you are supposed to hate him. But DAYUM, he is the shittest bloke. Every scene he was in had me sitting on the edge of my seat, I had no idea what he would do next. And whilst I know he was written this way, I think they could have taken a small step back with this character.

Also, this movie just kind of began, and ended. I know this is classic Australian cinema, but I think a little bit of context could have gone a far way with certain characters in this film. For example, why were the cops watching the family so closely and why did they want Pope so much? I mean, their desire to lure him out motivated the main storyline of the film. But why did they want him so much?!? These questions, they haunt me!
And the ending… yes it left an impact. A huge impact. But I needed just a little bit more. And what happened to Nicky’s family?

Overall, this is a great representation of Australian film. The characters develop so much, but just don’t learn a damn thing.  It’s not a film I would sit down and watch over and over again, but I really cannot get it off my mind and i LOVE movies that make me think.

Four and a half stars, I will be recommending this one to all of my friends.

The plot according to wikipedia: 

Animal Kingdom is a 2010 Australian crime drama written and directed by David Michôd, and starring Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, James Frecheville, Luke Ford,Jacki Weaver, and Sullivan Stapleton. David Michôd’s script was inspired by the Pettingill family of Melbourne, Australia, who in 1991 saw the acquittal of brothers Victor Pierce and Trevor Pettingill (along with 2 others, Anthony Leigh Farrell and Peter David McEvoy) in the 1988 murder of two Victoria police officers.

New to Netflix: Hoodwinked too! Good Vs Evil (2011)

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A few months ago, we took a gamble and signed up to 30 days free with Netflix. We have not looked back since. I’ve decided to start reviewing some of the content on Netflix, because whilst their content is amazing their search function is below average.

This week, I’m reviewing Hoodwinked too! Good Vs Evil (2011) which only just popped up in Netflix kids.

My (almost) four year old LOVES this movie! And I think it’s great.

This is the follow up movie from the 2005 film Hoodwinked, and my sons absolute favourite watch this weekend- we’re currently watching it for the third time.

So what’s good about it? Red- the main protagonist- is a modern take on Little Red Riding Hood. And she is kick arse! She’s amazing. And, *spoilers* she has absolutely NO love interest. I know right? A female character motivated simply by doing the right thing (and a little bit by pleasing Granny).

The over arching theme (and title of the film) is good vs evil, and my kid is just at the right age for that lesson. There are a few plot twists, and through that the audience learns that good and evil is not black and white- and it’s all taught in a very fun and somewhat comical way.

Finally, the team work really makes the film. There are a lot of lessons learnt between the main characters and the way they interact with each other. It’s nice to watch, and good for the kids- particularly the big apology scene when everyone sucks up their pride and tells each other how much they care.

And what’s bad? The cliches, oh the cliches! Look, it’s not a deal breaker but it’s pretty blank.

Also, it’s a bit violent. There are a lot of fight scenes, and they have definitely been re-enacted in this house, which is not ideal.

It’s also a little bit scary, there are some jumpy scenes. It’s not too bad, but I wouldn’t recommend it for the nervous kids out there.

Overall: It will probably be played a few more times this week, and I’m okay with this. Oliver loves it and is old enough to understand that the violent scenes are pretend. As a parent, it’s not something that I would choose for us to watch but not one I would say no to.

3-star3 out of 5 stars. Would watch again, but only because Oliver will insist on it.

The plot goes something like this- as told by wikipedia:

Wolf (Patrick Warburton), Granny (Glenn Close), and Twitchy (Cory Edwards) are on a rescue mission to save Hansel and Gretel (Bill Hader and Amy Poehler) from an evil witch named Verushka (Joan Cusack). The plan goes wrong however and Granny is kidnapped as well. Meanwhile, Red (Hayden Panettiere) is in training with a mysterious group called the Sisters of the Hood where she learns that a secret all powerful truffle recipe has been stolen. She teams up with Wolf and Twitchy to find the recipe and save her grandma, but she and Wolf can’t get along and the team splits up. Meanwhile, Verushka, who stole the truffle recipe, tries to force Granny into making it for her.

Granny escapes and finds Hansel and Gretel, but learns that they are actually the masterminds behind the plot. Granny is recaptured and learns that Verushka was an old classmate of hers when they were both in training with the Sisters of the Hood; Verushka was always second behind Granny’s accomplishments. Eventually Red, Wolf, and Twitchy team back together and infiltrate Hansel and Gretel’s base. Red accidentally reveals the final ingredient for the truffle recipe and the truffles are made.

Hansel and Gretel eat the truffles transforming into giants and go on a rampage through the city. Hansel and Gretel betray Verushka, whereupon Granny convinces her to join forces with her, Red, Wolf, and Twitchy. They trick Hansel and Gretel into eating more truffles which make them so obese that they can no longer move their arms and legs, before the two are arrested.

D.I.Y. Bird Feeder

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Oliver and I have settled into our part time work/ extra time at home life and we have been getting into some serious crafting. 

This is one we created today and it was so simple and a lot of fun! 

 What you need:

  • Bird seed
  • 1lt bottle
  • Wooden spoon x2
  • Strings
  • Scissors  

Method:

  • Cut four holes into the bottle. This one is not for the kids. Make sure the one hole is always slightly higher than the other to allow the seed to flow downward. 
  • Insert spoons into the bottle. 
  • Using and a4 piece of paper as a funnel, full the bottle to the top with seed. 
  • Replace bottle lid.
  • Using string, tie your feeder to a tree.

Voila! Your very own bird feeder.