Imagination, Nature and Coffee (don’t forget coffee)

Hornby lighthouse || cityhippyfarmgirl

Can I let you in on a tiny secret? Lately I’ve fallen completely in love again, in love with the city in which I live. I’ve always had a soft spot for it, but lately? Lately it’s been something a little different. Utter city love.

So what do I put this down to? To be honest, I think it’s coming up for some air after years of intense little people parenting. There are countless joyous, beautiful moments that have shaped the person I am today and I’m incredibly grateful for, but there are also moments when it’s a bit of a slog.

While my kids are still pretty young and certainly still need me a lot, things have become a bit more flexible these days. With that flexibility, opens up a more doors in what I can do with my kids, (five hour car trips for weekends away are no longer the prison sentence they once were.)

So what’s this got to do with falling in love with my fair city? Well with the kids, we’ve been playing. Mostly during the weekends but occasionally we also cut loose the military precision of a week day afternoon as well. They are the perfect age for having little adventures fuelled by imagination and nature around them, and living in this stunningly beautiful city by the sea that I’m totally in love with? Well we don’t have far to go.

Here are 3 of some of the best family friendly places to visit in this fair city.

1. Centennial Park

Why you should go? Nature calls

Cost? Nothing

cityhippyfarmgirl

It’s well established by now that kids often don’t get outside enough, Nature Deficit Disorder, it’s most certainly a thing. Antidote? A really simple bike ride or scoot around Centennial Park. Climb a tree, let growing young bodies drape themselves around the top branches of a tree. Go wandering through the swamp, look for possums and marvel at the fruit bats. Run down hills, leap from rocks to rocks, play soccer, fly a kite, collect things, tip toe through the forest- if you are quiet enough you might see a tiny fairy.

Ignore the designated kids playgrounds in Centennial Park, the whole 189 hectares is one beautiful playground just waiting to explored.

2. Kitchen By Mike, Rosebery

Why you should go? Social outing

Cost? Whatever you choose to eat, or just go for a little wander around the medicinal garden that is part of the grounds.

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Cafes. We live in a very cafe culture time. Whether you have kids or you don’t have kids, there’s a good chance cafes factor into your life. Coffee obsessed some might say. I’d say well yes, yes I am! Sydney is lucky in that there are countless different types of cafes to choose from. From tiny holes in walls with stools to perch on, to family friendly places with resident animals to entertain the kids. Whatever your coffee cafe wish is, Sydney is bound to grant it.

Cafes also play an important part in being an almost extension of the increasingly decreasing back yard for many families. I could go on and on about the social importance of cafes in big cities, however lets stick to the what’s what, and Kitchen by Mike it is. There’s cake, there’s coffee, and there’s lovely tables overlooking the garden, which is perfect for the kids to explore in.

3. Hornby Lighthouse, Watsons Bay

Why you should go? Imagination kick starter

Cost? nothing

Hornby Lighthouse is located in the Sydney Harbour National Park, this place doesn’t feel like you are in the city of Sydney. I’ve always had a soft spot for light houses (thank you Enid Blyton) and if this place with its old fortress, cannons, red and white light house, and rocks to leap from, doesn’t ignite a multitude of possibilities for the kids imagination, I would say go seek out some Enid Blyton books quick sticks.

Perfect place for family picnic, a swim at one of the nearby beach coves and a cracking spot to watch the sun go down.

Three very different places to hang out with your family in this beautiful city of Sydney. One for the banishing of any Nature Deficit Disorder niggles, one for a social outing (importantly added coffee for the adults) and one to kickstart little imaginations.

Now the question is…what shall we do next weekend?

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This post is part of Voices 2015 and #shareaustralia

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Melbourne’s song

Gill's Diner || cityhippyfarmgirl

cityhippyfarmgirlenamelware || cityhippyfarmgirl

Last weekend was a big one…a very BIG ONE.

My nerves had been slowly building for weeks before hand, so the cumulation of the weekend finally arriving? Well let’s just say my heart wasn’t sitting where it should have been and had instead taken up residence in my mouth.

With organs not where they should be, what was I getting all sweaty palmed about? Well it was the Kidspot Voices of 2014 Gala, which meant all the winners would be announced including the Olympus “My Family Lens” challenge winner….Which *ahem* I won!!

Flying down to Melbourne was always going to be short and sweet. A first weekend away by myself since my girl was born, with the added bonus of getting to hang out with my brother for part of the time, (this is where a fair amount of camera geek talk and great food happened- two excellent combinations. )

tracks || cityhippyfarmgirl

I feel really lucky to have been a part of Voices of 2014. It was something that surprised the hell out of me earlier in the year, and then with the added fun of being able to join in with the Olympus challenge a few months back.

Doing this challenge pushed me, got me doing things I hadn’t done before, introduced me to a bunch of really super duper lovely Olympians (surely that’s what the Olympus crew are called??) And getting to play with a different camera that I now absolutely love. It’s all been pretty amazing.

One of my posts within this time was this one. One of the hardest post I’ve written within these blog pages. Every time I would sit down to write the words of that post, I would do so with tears in my eyes and a sob sitting at my throat.

To be included in the amazing blogging round up this year was an honour and a humbling privilege; something I will value for many years to come.

A special thanks to all the people that I was completely incapable of saying a proper thank you to on the night, (remember I had a vital organ in my mouth Saturday.) The Kidspot crew, Olympus, Pip Lincolne and with hearts in my eyes, my husband, (who is always supportive of whatever pursuit I’m trying to jump on and wrangle.)

Thank you. xx

voices of 2014 || cityhippyfarmgirl

PS. If you are looking for eats in central Melbourne, Gill’s Diner off Little Collins St was tip top. Doughnuts with custard…say no more people. 

Gill's Diner || cityhippyfarmgirl

 

celebrate

macarons || cityhippyfarmgirl

This is a post that celebrates…colour.

This is a post that celebrates, macarons, puddles, sunsets, pink skirts, cumquats and shadows.

You see, this is a post that is wholeheartedly celebrating those teeny tiny everyday moments,

that so many of our lives are made up of.

Celebrating those moments, and sharing the every day…

in a photo kind of way.

party dinosaurs || cityhippyfarmgirl.com puddle jumping days || cityhippyfarmgirl

hot tea || cityhippyfarmgirl

tea party || cityhippyfarmgirl

Partying dinosaurs that can’t help but bring a little celebration to the table,

and weekend muddy puddle seeking, because…well they can.

 A celebration of tea- that first sip of tea while it’s still hot, utter bliss, (tepid tea just doesn’t compare.)

And invitations to constant tiny tea parties.

cityhippyfarmgirl.com

Sydney sunset || cityhippyfarmgirl

The magic of a flower that holds all the colours of a winter sunset.

Followed by a real sunset… and that will never get old.

cityhippyfarmgirl.com

Celebrating small hands that still slip easily into our own.

cityhippyfarmgirl.comFor the desire to run and the freedom felt that goes along with it. He doesn’t have to explain it to me, I can see it.

cumquats || cityhippyfarmgirl Celebrating foraged cumquats in a country valley, that turn into delicious marmalade, on home made sourdough, on a sunny Saturday morning.

cumquat marmalade || cityhippyfarmgirl

knitted socks || cityhippyfarmgirl

 For winter days when I get to wear knitted socks that were made with love by my nana. Celebrating afternoon light that barely looks real, and that brings on all kinds of games purely because of the shadows and highlights it creates.

These are not big, large, life changing things. But they are some of our simple happy moments in what are often chaotic and seemingly far too busy days.

These are some tiny snapshots of life, that I am wholeheartedly celebrating.

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This is the last of my posts using the loaned Olympus camera- I had borrowed an OM-D E-M10  as part of the Voices of 2014 competition. As I’ve mentioned in my last couple of posts (here and here) it’s a rather nifty little camera that as a keen taker of pictures I’ve been really happy to have had the chance to play with.

As a last hoorah, I’m going to mention some of the bits I really liked. (See my previous two posts for some of the other trickster bits I might have mentioned before.) 

colour || cityhippyfarmgirl

Bits of the camera that I whole heartedly celebrated

Compact- weighing in at about 400g, it’s a camera that isn’t going to drag your neck or shoulder down carrying it about. I’ve done it for hours on end and haven’t even noticed it, except to take photos of course.

Post picture taking and one of the stand out things is the wifi. I do use instagram, FB and email. The wifi is pretty much gold for switching photos from your camera to your phone. Effortless I tell you. No adaptors, no bluetooth, no cords, no dropbox, no emailing yourself a picture. It’s all there in your phone and I still say it’s a magical Wifi-the-Fairy type kinda way.

You can also use your phone as a live camera remote, which is how I took the knitted socks shot- camera in position, adjust ALL camera settings via phone (that still blows my mind a little) and snap, picture taken.

The Art Filters and different Scenes you can choose from are all there to create photo master pieces from too. Either within the camera or afterwards in the phone app. You can also use the Art Filters when shooting video, (yep, that’s a bit cool I know.)

Quality- For a little camera I was really surprised. Lots of oooh kind of moments after I’d taken a pic. I’d love to play with some of their other lens but the kit lens the camera comes with (14-42mm) it does the job, yes it does. None of these photos were edited, not even a whisker, (except the coffee pictures above which were done using the Pin Hole Filter as mentioned) I actually really enjoyed the challenge of finding the camera’s happy spots*, (turns out it as lots.)

birthday || cityhippyfarmgirl

* I also celebrated the fact that I had a different camera at my disposal with lots of different buttons. So ahem… I set out to fiddle with every little button and see what they all did- this photo and the earlier five shot colourful umbrella picture uses the template function, where you can join photos together in various ways.

Photo Geek Talk

All photos in this post were unedited using the 14-42mm lens, (except for the above shots in this section as mentioned.) ISO I used varied a little, but generally was set at 400 for most of these shots. I find shooting in manual gives me more scope to play with the effects of the picture but if I’m having trouble getting it all, the auto option is pretty damn easy along with the Scenes settings, (depending on what I’m taking the picture of.)

Thank you Olympus. For the return of your gear, you may now try and pry my fingers from the camera. 

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Tell me, what are you celebrating at the moment?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA