School Holiday Highlights Part 2

We've just finished our first week back at work, following three glorious, stress-free weeks hang out in Melbourne together as a family. I wrote about the first two weeks of the school holidays here. Our last week was pretty quiet as we were all a bit under the weather, battling colds at various stages. We spent lots of time in the local area, visiting our favourite playgrounds and caf├ęs. It was nice to just slow down and spend time enjoying our days together. I got to do a lot of reading, listening to podcasts, and yoga, which are basically the ingredients to a perfect day for me. We did manage to go on a few adventurous outings through.

We started the week with a second visit to the Werribee Open Range Zoo. We got there right as it opened, so that we didn't have to wait for the safari bus tour. On our previous visit the week prior it was a 40 minute wait, which we thought was too long for Ella. We met up with one of Andy’s colleagues and his wife and son, who is a few months younger than Ella. The two little ones had a great time chasing each other around the park, checking out the different animals. The safari bus was pretty cool, open air and we saw a range of animals such as giraffes, rhinos and zebras wandering the grounds. It was nice to see them in more of a natural environment and with much more space and freedom than in a regular zoo.

Later in the week we caught up with our friend April at The Boathouse, located in Moonee Ponds along the Maribynong River. April is our first Aussie friend, she was our airbnb host way back when we first moved to Melbourne. I love that we are still friends with her! The Boathouse has a fantastic playground on the lawn with a kiosk selling coffees and small treats (muffins and cookies). It was great to catch up with April. She recently moved into her new house, bought at an auction a few months ago. She talked us through the process of buying a house at an auction, which seems to be the way most houses are sold here. It sounds like a pretty stressful and intimidating process!

Playground at The Boathouse
On Friday Ella had daycare so Andy and I went in to work for the morning. The exciting news around here lately is that Andy got a new job… at my school! We had a Design Technology teacher leave unexpectedly near the end of last term, so it all happened very quickly. Andy’s old school were very supportive and managed to find someone to replace him, and he was able to start at my school on Thursday. I know some people would hate the thought of working with their spouse, but we did it for about three years in London and it was absolutely fine. We work in completely different departments and areas of the school so chances are we won’t see each other during the day unless we plan to meet for lunch. And the nice thing is we get to both drop off and pick up Ella from daycare. I think I will miss riding my bike to school though, as it's such a good way for me to fit in exercise. So I might still choose to ride my bike on occasion so that I don't lose the habit totally.

Our last day of the holidays, we took Ella to the Eltham Miniature Railway. It’s open every Sunday from 11am - 5pm, and for $3 you ride around in a mini train. It was so cool! And as a happy surprise we saw my colleague Michelle, her husband Steve, and their little girl Gemma, who is the same age as Ella. Ella and I stayed with them at their beach house in the Mornington Peninsula during the first week of the school holidays, so Ella and Gemma were very well acquainted and happy to see each other. The train ride was about 15 long and was tons of fun. You ride through scenic bushland, passing other miniature trains on the way. It was definitely $3 well spent.

After the train ride we took advantage of the sausage sizzle and playground, with Ella and Gemma running around happily together. As we were about to leave we spotted pony rides for $5, which we just had to do! I don't know who had more fun: Ella and Gemma on the ponies, or their parents watching them!

All in all we had a pretty great "staycation" here in Melbourne. Usually we are so tired from travelling/jet lag over the school holidays that the week we return to work is torturous. This week was different though, I returned in a very positive frame of mind, feeling refreshed and ready for a new term. I even managed to wake up early on Monday morning to fit in some meditation and yoga… a very productive start to the term if you ask me!


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