Tuesday, July 24, 2012

All At Sea ...

It had been ages since we'd been to a theme park, so an invitation to stay and play at Sea World Resort and Water Park on the Gold Coast was met with great excitement! (And not just from the kids...)

Connected to Sea World via a monorail or a short stroll away, the resort is the perfect place to stay if you're visiting the resort, because you can come and go when you please.

It is perfect when little legs get tired, or the weather gets too hot - yes in Queensland, winter can be warm!

And we lucked into a few days of really gorgeous winter weather, where the sun shone, but it wasn't too hot to wander the park. Even better, it was still warm enough for the kids to swim at the resort water park, as well as the theme park. All without getting sunburnt!
You've got to love winter in Queensland! 

But first we checked out the room.

It was comfy, clean and spacious, and looked just like the photos in the brochure and online. The beds were comfortable, and we overlooked the pool and water park.
The air-conditioning worked, and despite our position, the rooms were relatively quiet.
They got the MIA tick of approval.

Then it was time for a late lunch. The kids shared a hot dog with chips, and the kind lady who took our order made sure there were enough chips on the plate for two hungry ankle-biters. 

The view from our room - watching the sun go down

Chase tucked into a chocolate dolphin!

On our first night at Sea World, we chose the buffet at the Shoreline Restaurant
The restaurant has a different theme each night. It's not the finest in dining experiences - there were plenty of families and tour groups, and noise and traffic levels were quite high. 
But there was plenty of everything and the kids got their moneys' worth. They particularly loved designing their own desserts.

Harmonie finished up with a hot chocolate

I was really proud when one of the waiters came up to me as we were leaving and complemented me on Chase and Harmonie's behaviour.

"We get a lot of kids here, but not many are as well-mannered as yours," he said. "You should be proud."

And I was. 

At Sea World itself, we spent hours enjoying the attractions. The animal exhibits in particular were wonderful, and we couldn't get enough of the sharks, stingrays, polar bears, and dolphins. 

I'd forgotten how much there was to do at Sea World, particularly for little people. (Okay, and big people who like animals too!)

Ice-cream break!

Back at the resort, the kids spent my loose change in the games room. Unfortunately many of the machines didn't work, and the concierge had to help out several times when toys got stuck. There were tears when Chase won a phone on this one, but the machine broke down just as it was about to deliver it to him. On that occasion, the concierge wasn't able to fix the problem to make the phone appear. Queue: More tears. Not a happy experience. 

But later, all was forgotten as we splashed out on teppanyaki at The Hatsuhana Restaurant
The kids' first teppanyaki experience was in Fiji, and although it was fun, I'd been dying to take them to an authentic teppanyaki restaurant... "where they throw food at you and stuff;" said Miss 9 helpfully.

H. tucks in.

Kiddie teriyaki chicken and veggies. I may have helped her eat her veggies ...

An adult serve (we got rice and miso soup as well...)

The chef at work ...

Dinner AND a show! Chase catches a prawn ...

Dessert. Unfortunately it contained kiwifruit, so my allergic partner couldn't eat it. Unfortunately. Damn. All the more for us ...

Forget Masterchef, Chase wants to be a teppanyaki chef! 

I love teppanyaki as a meal with kids, because it's so entertaining. The flames, the knife-work, the chopping and throwing of food, condiments and cutlery, makes it so entertaining.

Then there is the flavour content - so many yummy flavours, and bits and pieces of everything to enjoy - and the whole experience of dining with others. There's nothing like it to encourage them to eat every scrap without even noticing.

What's not to like? (Okay, maybe the cost. But Hatsuhana has regular specials that makes eating there affordable, even for families). 

Stay tuned for more tales of Sea World. 

Readers: Have you had a memorable holiday recently? And what kind of restaurants do your family enjoy? 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Moving on ... and winners!

Those of you familiar with the #DaysOfBronnie (it's a twitter thing) will know that I've been in for another horrific period in my life.
Yes, forget divorce, depression and all the rest ...
How about the challenge of moving? For the umpteenth time?
Gosh, I hate it.
Every time I move, I cull. I throw out crap, I give away good stuff. I sell what I can.
And yet, I'm still stunned at the amount of clothes, toys, kitchen gear, make-up and other assorted clutter we accumulate.
I find it distressing, having to get rid of things that I'd still love to hold onto, but a lack of space forces me to give up. (Although taking photos and storing on computer sticks and the like helps me deal with that. To an extent.)
I find it overwhelming having to pack so many memories into boxes, bags and suitcases, by a certain deadline.
I get teary and emotional.
I just want someone to come in and make it all better. 
Maybe next time I'll plan for a team of removalists, a personal concierge, and an in-house psychologist to hold my hand? And maybe a personal chef for those nights when I'm too tired to cook, let alone think about MORE housework? 
This move came in the middle of school holidays, when we thought longingly of our previous school holiday visits to Sea World, Australia Zoo, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Western Australia and Fiji. Yes I know, we are spoilt. 
Luckily, my kids are resilient and inventive. 
They have had a ball babying our pets and adapting them to their new environment.
We've also been petsitting for one of my BFFs, and have delighted in spoiling her dogs and cheeky conure.
The kids have enjoyed feeding ducks and fish at their new home, and are looking forward to welcoming a few more pets to the fold. 
So moving isn't just an end. It's a new beginning as well. 
Now excuse me, while I go and unpack some boxes ...

In the meantime, I'm happy to announce the winners of my School Holiday Hijinks Giveaway.
They are:
$50 Target Voucher: Kelley
MIB double passes: Melissa Jane and Hsin-Yi
Lenard's Voucher: MichVee
Nad's Wand: Tina Shaw 

Please email/message/tweet/FB me your details so I can send out your prizes.
Congratulations and enjoy!  
And now, for something a little different, there was a massive erection in Brisbane today.


Okay, it was actually the erection of the Big Top which will be the home for the famous Cirque du Soleil Village for the next few weeks, as Brisbane launches the opening of the 2012-2013 OVO tour. 
The set-up takes eight days, and the Big Top will house more than 2,600 people - complete with air-conditioning and/or heating as needed. 
OVO means 'egg' in Portuguese, and the show involves a headlong rush into a colourful ecostysteem teeming life, where insects work, eat, crawls, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. 
When a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the insects are awestruck and intensely curious about this iconic object that represents the enigma and cycles of their lives. It's love at first sight when a gawky, quirky insect arrives in this bustling community and a fabulous ladybug catches his eye – and the feeling is mutual.
The cast of OVO features 54 performing artists from 16 countries specializing in awesome acrobatic acts. One highlight of OVO is the stunning Flying Act in which a group of scarabs soar high above the stage, from both edges to the middle landing on a platform. The act combines many circus disciplines: banquine, Russian swing and swinging chair, and is supposed to be breathtaking!
I'm really hoping to take the kids in a bid to make up for our rather 'moving' experiences these holidays. 

Readers, how do you get over a stressful experience?

My, what a magnificent erection ...