Exploring our own Brisbane City.

Winter Holidays 2018.

As you would know from previous blogs I LOVE travelling but one thing we often miss is our own cities. So this school holidays I set out with the 3 kids to explore what Brisbane had to offer.

 

Brisbane Marriott Hotel

I booked the Marriott in Brisbane mainly due to the fact it had an indoor heated pool, I knew the kids would love to have a swim and it is defiantly too cold to be in an outdoor pool. The Marriott also offers rooms with 2 x double beds which easily accommodates us as a family.

 

Brisbane is such a beautiful city even in Winter. We headed over to the Wintergarden for lunch as everyone wanted something different to each.

We walked along the river, past Eagle Street Pier and the kids asked all about the Kookaburra Queen and how a Paddle steamer works. We admired the Story Bridge from a distance.

We made a stop in a the HQ for RACQ the kids were fascinated by the cars on display.

 

With our full bellies and tired legs we headed back to our hotel for an afternoon of pool fun.

The Marriott was kind enough to invite us for dinner at their in house restaurant Motion Bar and Grill.

The food was delicious and they have a really great sized kids menu.

 

LP x

 

Advertisements

Breakfast Beans

There is nothing like a good hearty breakfast to start the day and this recipe for Breakfast Beans is a ripper!

I know it is probably easier to just buy a couple of cans of baked beans but I guarantee it won’t taste anywhere near as good as these beans. So take the time and give these a go to set yourself up for the week with great tasting beans!!

Beans

Ingredients
1 Red Onion
4 Rashers of Bacon
1 Clove of Garlic
2 Heaped Teaspoons of Paprika
2 Tins of Cannellini Beans
400g Pasata
1 Heaped Tablespoon of Tomato Paste
¼ Cup of Worcestershire Sauce
½ Tablespoon of Brown sugar
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Dice the onion and bacon and sauté in a pan with some olive oil for 10 minutes until they start to get a bit of colour.

Add the garlic and paprika and sauté for a few minutes to bring out the flavour in the paprika.

Add the beans including the juice along with the rest of the ingredients, season and simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes.

Place in sterilized jars to store.

We love these served with two fried eggs and a couple of slices of sourdough toast.

Enjoy!

Vegas Baby!

Vegas has a reputation as party central! With 3 kids in tow we were not going to party.

BUT……. I ate at a HUGE buffet, drank wine from a 2L bottle and fell asleep during a Vegas show so therefore this mumma partied hard.

Driving into Vegas from the desert I was a little over whelmed and I think it took me a few days to get used to this magnificent place. I don’t think it matters if you are coming to party, relax or spend time as a family. Las Vegas really has it all for everyone.

There are so many magnificent buildings, features and characters to see that at times I really did not know where to look.

We booked the Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas, all of the hotels seemed really well priced but we picked the Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas as it appeared to be central on the strip – and it was. All of the hotels are HUGE and every time I entered one I got lost.

IMG_5741

Luckily once again I had my handy folder and had organised what we were going to be doing and used Groupon to my advantage.

We had 4 nights in Las Vegas and we used every moment and still did not get thru it all.

Day 1:

We arrived in Las Vegas just after lunch and after a stop at one of the outlet shops (yes more shopping). As we drove down the main strip my mouth was wide open as I took it all in. We went for a little walk and had an easy dinner but I did feel over whelmed with how busy it was and trying to get around with 3 kids.

Day 2:

I woke up fresh and ready for what Vegas had for us. The boys headed off on a tour of the Hoover Dam (I had pre bought this from Groupon). Us girls lived it up pool side. Loud Music and cocktails for Mummy were on the Menu.  We ate at Le Village Buffet at Paris Las Vegas for dinner. I have never seen so much food and when the lady poured my wine from a 2L bottle I thought I had gone to heaven. (Again a buffet for 7 in Vegas costs $$$, so this was another Groupon purchase).

JP and I were lucky enough to sneak in a date night and we headed off to Mandalay Bay to see the Michael Jackson – One – Cirque De Soleil Show. Yes I did fall asleep due to the amount of food and wine I had earlier but from what I saw and what JP told me it was fabulous.

Day 3:

Today was caught 2 Uber’s to the far end of the strip (Mandalay Bay end) and we walked back to the Flamingo – It took hours. We looked in all the hotels, we ate, we shopped and had a true Vegas experience. We had so much fun.

We spent the afternoon at another set of outlet shops then headed off to the Fremont Street Experience. This place was beyond words, there were people from all around the world and I just felt like my head was spinning trying to take it all in.

Day 4:

Today was Cooper’s 10th Birthday and I wanted to spoil him rotten with all that Vegas had to offer.

The Boys headed off for a morning at the Avengers Station (yes tickets purchased on Groupon). Cooper and I had a mummy / son afternoon which was just wonderful. We explored the Venetian Hotel and had a ride on the gondola’s.

IMG_5789

In the evening we had a lovely dinner at the Hard Rock Hotel – Goose Island Pub.

We had one last surprise for Cooper in the evening. The boys once again headed off on their Helicopter night time ride over the Strip (Groupon purchase).

I think Cooper had the best day, and so did I seeing him so happy.

Day 5:

Today was the day we headed towards Disneyland. EEK! A 5 hour drive – lucky I planned stops.

I wanted to find a real old school diner whilst we were in the States so Peggy Sue’s Diner was the place for us.  Peggy Sue’s is an original roadside Diner, built in 1954 with 9 counter stools and 3 booths. It sets in on the shadow of the Calico Mountains and was built from railroad ties and mortar from the nearby Union Pacific Rail yard.

After feeding our bellies we were once again on or way to the most magical place on Earth.

Stay tuned for my next blog -The most magical place on Earth.

LP x

Hotel

Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas

Car Hire

Europcar

Food

 

Le Village Buffet

Hard Rock Hotel – Goose Island Pub.

Fat Burger – Las Vegas

Peggy Sue’s Diner

 

 

 

 

 

Crowd pleasing breakfast muffins

I don’t know about you but I am not a morning person, so for me, that makes breakfast one of the harder meals to get inspiration for.

This recipe is a family recipe from our @thekitchenbackdoor Instagram contributor @gtothbauer and a real favourite in our household!

muffins pic

Ingredients
1 Cup of Self Raising Flour
2 Eggs
1/3 Cup of Milk
4 Bacon Rashers
1 Red Onion
1 Cup of Tasty Cheese

Method
Dice the bacon and red onion, sauté in a pan for 5-10min to get a little bit of colour and bring out the flavour.

Sift flour into a mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients, mix to combine.

Line a muffin tin, you can use muffin papers but I prefer to use squares of baking paper for more of a café look.

Evenly distribute the mixture into the muffin tin, you should have enough to get 12 muffins.

Bake at 180C for 15-20mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

If by some miracle there are some left after the morning you bake them they will keep well in the freezer and are delicious reheated in the microwave and served with butter.

Enjoy!

JP

Barstow – somewhere between Hollywood & Vegas.

After our whirlwind trip around LA, we headed towards Vegas.

We hate driving the thought of a long road trip turns JP and I instantly away usually. So when we learnt that LA to Vegas was a 4 hour drive with 3 kids and 2 grandparents we decided we needed to have an over night stop.

Barstow came up in all the google searches and lonely planet books.

Barstow is a city in San Bernardino County, California, United States. It is very hot, very dry and has not alot to do but somehow very cool and we loved it.

We stayed at the Ayres Hotel Barstow which is situated in the heart of Barstow, California and directly en route to the bright lights and adventures of Las Vegas. You will appreciate the hotel’s close proximity to the famed Outlets at Barstow and Calico Ghost Town

IMG_5715

The hotel featured the biggest hotel rooms of all the hotels we stayed at and were really  comfortable with the kids. A basic buffet breakfast was served in the morning.

Anyone that knows me knows I love a good shopping outlet. The Outlets at Barstow are defiantly not the biggest of the outlets around California but they defiantly have it all and again are a great size when you have 3 kids to drag around.

Whilst in Barstow I wanted to find something original and authentic for dinner for our one night stay. I came across Idle Spurs Steakhouse. From all of our U.S.A adventures Idle Spurs Steakhouse was one of my favourite memories. As I have a husband who loves food and a dad who also follows my husband passion I enjoyed seeing their faces light up when we arrived at this truely unique restaurant. Idle Spurs has an amazing story behind it, is set in the middle of no-where as serves up the most amazing and huge  meals. I would highly recommend a stop at Idle Spurs if you are lucky enough to spend a night in Barstow.

The next morning we set out on our way to Vegas which is only a 2 hour drive from Barstow. Whilst in the U.S.A I wanted the kids to experience a little culture rather than just the main attractions. I found out about a place called Calico Ghost Town.

Calico is an old West mining town that has been around since  1881 during the largest silver strike in California.  With its 500 mines, Calico produced over $20 million in silver ore over a 12-year span.  When silver lost its value in the mid-1890’s, Calico lost its population.  The miner’s packed up, loaded their mules and moved away abandoning the town that once gave them a good living.  It became a “ghost town.”

We had a fabulous morning exploring the Ghost Town and learning about the old America. Admission is $8 for an adult and $5 for kids.

Back in the car after a fun morning we were headed for the bright lights of Vegas.

Stay tuned for my next blog -Vegas Baby.

Hotel

Ayres Hotel Barstow

Car Hire

Europcar

Food

Idle Spurs Steakhouse

 

LP x

Look out Hollywood!

I am going to break this blog up into the areas we visited as it would be HUGE as a single blog – I have so much to talk about when it comes to this trip.

In 2016 when Cooper got sick I promised him that for being so brave I would take him to Disneyland (probably was a bit silly of me at the time to promise something so big) but hey a promise is a promise and he has been so brave over the past 18 months he totally deserved this trip.

So around September 2016 I went into full USA 2017 planning. If we were going to do this we were going to do it good a proper.

Originally we planned on Disneyworld in Florida but the flight seemed so much longer than just going to LA and to be honest the cost of the holiday was just going up and up so it was back to the planning board.

After lots of discussions between ourselves and my parents whom we decided to take along for the ride we were set on an itinerary of:

Hollywood – Barstow – Vegas – Anaheim – Laguna Beach

I bought myself a big folder and moved on with many months of planning.

We choose to fly Virgin Australia’s premium class, which was just amazing so much more space for the kids, it was an experience for my parents and a little treat for us parents as well.

The 14-hour flight over was seamless and the kids being 9, 7 & 6 were at a good age to tackle this trip with.

On arriving in LA we were all a little tired and on edge as our body clocks were all out of sorts.

We headed to Europcar to pick up or mini van that we were going to spend the next 2 weeks travelling around in.

Hollywood – 2 Nights

Hollywood was the 1st stop on the itinerary. I have been to LA several times before and knew with the kids and my parents I wanted to stay super central to the attractions. The Hollywood Rooseveldt had been on my bucket list for years and this trip I was able to tick it off. The Hollywood Roosevelt defiantly lived up to my dreams. The bedrooms are cosy but have beautiful furniture, linen and have that old Hollywood vibe. The pool is like a scene from a movie and on Saturday it was buzzing with all the beautiful people of LA turning out for what felt like a who’s who of Hollywood pool party.

We checked out hooters the 1st day with my dad unsure if this was really an appropriate restaurant. After arriving he soon realized that it is only hooters by name.

IMG_5684

We explored the Hollywood strip it does not matter where you stand there is always something interesting happening in Hollywood. Surprisingly my parents really enjoyed Hollywood when I didn’t think it would be there thing.

I took my mum on a Hollywood homes tour in the afternoon, which she loved by the time we returned everyone else had given into jet lag so we settled in and prepared to start the next day fresh.

Day 2 we were all up bright and early I think it was the jet lag again. We headed to Mel’s Diner Hollywood for breakfast. This old school diner has filmed many classic films and defiantly gave you a look into the old Hollywood days. The food was classic American and we all loved our meals.

Before arriving in the states I had pre-purchased and planned all of our day trips, I find it so much easier with kids to be organized ahead of time. I also purchased meals, and activities from groupon.

So Day 2 was all about the hop on hop off bus, we travelled thru Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, West Hollywood and hoped off at the Pink’s Hot Dog Stop. Once again another famous eatery visited by many celebrities.

Back on the bus we made the journey back to the hotel for a much needed rest before dinner.

There are some great restaurants around Hollywood and I have named all of the ones that we visited with their links below.

Day 3 was mother’s day and I was spoilt with goodies from Victoria Secrets.

IMG_5706

We all piled into our minivan and headed to Santa Monica. On a previous trip to LA I was lucky enough to stay in Santa Monica it is such a gorgeous area with so much to do.

This time we were just spending a few hours visiting the pier and my favorite burger joint – pier burgers (YUM!)

The pier is so much fun for adults and kids. We took our time strolling the pier and sat for a while to take it all in.

Stay tuned for my next Blog: Barstow – somewhere between Hollywood & Vegas.

 Hotel

Hollywood Roosevelt

 Car Hire

Europcar

Tours

Starline Hop on Hop off Bus

Celebrity Homes Tour

Pinks Hotdogs

Mel’s Diner

Hooters

I-Hop

Pier Burger – Santa Monica Pier

Trastevere

LP x

 

A weekend in paradise – Bula!

When I saw the new Marriott Fiji Momi Bay Resort I knew it was defiantly a resort I had to visit.

Having been to Fiji many times before but never venturing further than Denarau Island I was super excited to be heading off on an adults only long weekend to explore somewhere new.

The Marriott Fiji Momi Bay is a 40-minute drive from Fiji’s main airport in Nadi. Upon arriving at the Marriott you feel instant relaxation as the reality of your daily life disappears and you enter paradise.

We were lucky enough to stay in the Duplex King Lagoon Bure with direct access to our own beach. The bure was huge; all of the furniture and fittings are beautifully chosen to give you that sense of ultimate luxury.

The resort is very cleverly designed into adult only and family areas. All of which are stunning and both cater for the type of holiday you are looking for.

As this was an adult’s only weekend we did stick to the quite side of the resort around our bure, the lagoon and the breathtaking adults only infinity pool.

The infinity pool is adjoined by the divine fish kitchen and sand bar. Each evening mother nature put’s on a sun set like no other. You can sit and enjoy a cocktail at the sand bar, swim in the infinity pool or dine on the edge of the cliff at the fish kitchen. The big ball of fire sets over the ocean leaving you with a sense of peace as your day sets in the most beautiful surroundings.

The resort also hosts 2 other restaurants. The Goji Kitchen serves up the most delicious buffet breakfast and dinner whilst the Lagoon House has a more Italian vibe. We were equally impressed with all of the restaurants and the service was exactly what you would expect from a 5 star resort.

3 nights at the resort were simply not enough and I would love to take the kids back. They have a fabulous kids club that runs activities all day, a kids and family pool and at most of the restaurants kids dine free with a paying adult.

There are daily activities for the adults including yoga, volleyball, and traditional Fijian activities just to name a few.

The classic happy hour happens every day between 4pm and 5pm then again from 9pm until 10pm at the Lagoon Swim up Bar and the Lagoon Main Bar. Live music is played into the evening.

I could not say a bad thing about the Marriott Fiji Momi Bay it’s a great new resort that I feel will bring many tourists to Fiji. The staff even told us that they are building another 250 rooms and a casino over the next 2 years.

I know a few have already messaged me with questions, so please feel free to hit me up if you would like to know anything further.

LP x