So, as I was saying, we went to Kangaroo Island last week. If you've been a long time blog reader, you would have read about our family holiday there last year, at about the same time. We love Kangaroo Island. It's very unspoilt, has stunning beaches, diverse landscapes and lots of things to do, and is just a very relaxed place to be in general.

For those of my overseas readers wondering where and what Kangaroo Island is, it's about an hour and a half drive from Adelaide and then a 45 minute ferry ride, in the centre bottom of Australia. The island itself is reasonably large - it takes around 2 hours to drive from one side to the other, and it has only one major arterial road through it that is sealed - the rest are dirt roads.

Southern Cape Lodge... one day I will get there! 




I would love to say that this year we stayed at Southern Cape Lodge, pictured above, but alas, as it was a family holiday (or as Housewife in Heels wittily calls them - a working holiday) we were instead in a beach house we'd rented at Island Beach, on the North side of the island.



We spent a lot of time on the beach directly outside our beach house. The kids worked away at digging a large random hole over the course of the week... and would intersperse it with swimming, while Mr AV and I supervised from our beach chairs. It's a very safe beach, so is great for small kids.



As you can see, you don't have a huge problem with running into other people - we had the beach to ourselves on many days.


There was a fair bit of beach cricket




And this year, Mr AV decided that we would hire a speed boat for a day in order that we optimise the fishing. Kangaroo Island is well known for its fishing. Last year we fished off a jetty and unsurprisingly come away empty handed. This year, we were successful! Or rather, 5 year old E was, catching our only fish, a King George Whiting within the first 5 minutes of the trip. And that was it. So, that night we enjoyed our tiny $400 fish fillets (the cost of hiring the boat, buying the kids life jackets, buying bait and some extra fishing equipment. But Mr AV was insistent that it was a Life Experience, so worth the exorbitant expense.....).



We went to Stokes Bay for a day - the secret entrance through the rocks from the unpromising rocky bay is very Famous Five like, with the surprise of the beautiful beach with giant rock pool at the end. The tiny and simple cafe attached to the caravan park puts out very gourmet fare too (and has a good wine list) .




 With slightly older children this year, we were able to do a few more things that weren't possible last year, like climb up Prospect Hill, which gives a great view over the interior of Kangaroo Island and the ocean around it. It was climbed by the explorer Matthew Flinders in 1802 who was surprised to see that the island was not as big as he'd thought while mapping the North coast of it.




We stocked up on the local produce - Kangaroo Island is developing an international reputation for pure food - the Honey is particularly renowned, so we bought a bit of Honey after doing some Honey tasting (all flavoured from different native plants that the bees collect from) and some cases of wine (there are a few wineries on the island, along with cheese manufacturers, lavender farms, and other small produce manufacturers).



I read Barracuda during the week. I have to say, I didn't enjoy it. It was frustratingly angsty, and really the story about someone that goes through life with a massive chip on their shoulder having caused their own self destruction and failure. There was a lot of thinly veiled digs at a boys school that was clearly supposed to be Scotch College in Melbourne (the book is set in Melbourne, just as his last book The Slap was), and it had a strong sub plot about class (the working class moving to the middle classes), which was thoroughly over explored. Throw in some unnecessarily graphic gay sex, and it made for a reasonably disappointing read.



But I did like using the doggie book mark that the delightful Naomi who writes the CouldaShouldaWoulda blog sent me in her last giveaway. Thank you N, I love it!




 We returned home to see a little progress on the renovation front. In our absence, the hallway floorboards were repolished. This was because they'd installed the boards into the new powder room.


I've also received delivery of the Schumacher wallpaper. It's not pre trimmed, so the wallpaper guy will have to do that, but it's so beautiful in person. I can't wait to see it up on the walls.


Schumacher's Hothouse Flowers grasscloth, part of the Celerie Kemble range


I've also finally got my hands on the brass taps that are going in this room. I have to say I was a little nervous about them as I decided on the same style that I used in the other bathrooms, and they have a more 1920's aesthetic to them... which is suited to chrome rather than brass (the other bathrooms have chrome). But with the grey wallpaper, I had wanted brass. Plus I'm planning to use an Antique mirror above the hand basin, which will be gilded, so brass would work better. But, I'm happy with how they look. So shiny (they will dull down)


Outside, the electricians installed the wall lights.



Here's a shot during the day - they're quite a discreet dark grey colour.



The slate is being laid, but it's a slow job due to the size of the pavers and the cutting they've had to do.




And finally, our fence has gone up between our neighbour and us - I'm sure they're very relieved. They've been very patient throughout the whole building process, and certainly I never thought the fence would be down for nearly 10 months.

 So that's been the past week and a bit, and the end of the Summer Holidays. This week school resumes, so we're back to old routines and I have a busy day tomorrow getting organised for the return to school on Wednesday. My youngest is also starting Kindergarten (pre school) and will be spending 3 days a week there, so big changes are afoot for us all (he is very excited).

Hope you had a good week too

51 comments:

  1. Your holiday sounds amazing Heidi, nothing beats a week on KI. You picked the best week weather wise - not looking forward to more hot weather this week. It feels strange to not have back to school preparations for the first time this year, as both my boys are at Uni now and don't start until 3rd March. Love the wallpaper, taps and slate. Have a great week - keep cool. Jo xx

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    1. It was surprisingly cool on KI last week Jo, temps around 21 most days, although if it wasn't windy and the sun was out it felt a lot warmer. I didn't swim though (I like it a bit hotter!). The weather this week is hellish though - you should be very glad you're not going to be doing the school run! Big milestone for you too to have them all off to Uni - and change in life for you. xx

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  2. Dude( I mean that in a Cali sort of way) where are my sunglasses! That sun was so bright that my eyes needed adjusting even from the pics! Well no vitamin d deficiencies around your parts I take it :))

    Wow I love that place - never been but if I make it down there I will make sure I explore. How lucky you don't even have to travel far. I always say if the weather was better here I honestly dont think I would be bothered to travel anymore...

    I loved the slap - yes it was infuriating but so Melbourne so I will read this anyway as I know a few Scotch college boys and will see if he is socially accurate. Glad you are making use of the doggie :)

    I love that aboriginal painting in your hall and the wallpaper of course! Funny because Mr CSW is artificially trying to age some brass door handles but he put ammonia they went too dark so last night he brasso'd them again so we can try aging them again...The slate is coming up great! Good fences make good neighbours but you are lucky they are so nice! xx

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    1. Sometimes I wonder if overseas readers think I've turned the colour up on these pictures! The sky really is that brilliant blue in South Australia. Def. no Vit D deficiency at the moment. As you can see we were all covered up too...
      Can't believe you wouldn't want to travel more? I loved your recap of your trip through Asia last year. Plus I think you should come to Australia!
      In the book he calls it C***s College. But the description of the school grounds and location put it at Scotch.
      The brass tap in the kitchen has already aged a bit - mostly it's dulled down slightly and has a lot of water spots. I kind of like that one being shiny though. I know I shouldn't... but I do! xx

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  3. Heidi - I was overawed to hear about your pet kangaroo! You are filling all my kangaroo needs and now a trip to Kangaroo island which looks idyllic.
    I am madly in love with the taps and love Celerie Kemble, is it easy for you to get hold of there? I can never buy paper form the US again, after 'the great Martinque debacle' - the import duties and tax costs plus commission to the designer who agreed to send it to me meant that the paper cost 4 times more than what it would in the US, it was awful!

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    1. I'll go through the family photos and see if I can find one of him. He did get very big (he was a Red, which is the biggest type, and being male when he stood up on his hind legs and balanced on his tail he was over 6' tall). So it was a problem as he kept jumping the fence and we lived in a normal suburban house, so he would get out onto the main roads. Once, the postman herded him back to our place after he found him a few blocks away.
      The wallpaper is easy for me, but that's because I have trade access, so I just go straight to the local agent. We do pay more for our wallpapers here in general due to shipping and import duty and the fact that we're at the mercy of the importer in Australia though. What a nightmare for you though!! The way its set up is different in Australia to England though (you can buy retail direct from the manufacturer, like Colefax whereas in Australia you can't you have to buy through a designer with trade access) xx

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  4. So many charming things in this post! Loving the wallpaper and brass taps, your house is going to be so lovely. But the holiday! The holiday of my dreams! We are into another extreme cold weather alert with temps going down to -30 tonight, it goes on and on this cold winter we are having.
    Good luck with the back-to-school, there's always so much to do isn't there? I hope the kindergarten goes well, what a big step that is in growing up. Have a great week!

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    1. I feel so bad for you with the terrible weather you're having. But rest assured, the sun is not that great - after our week of 40C temps, we're having another week of it. It's 42C today, and it's absolutely roasting outside.
      Lots to do today with finding all the school things! xx

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  5. Firstly I thought I'd been reading your blog for ages ,as it seems like I've got to know you ..but this is the first I've read about Kangaroo island ..it has the SA look to it ..very dry looking and bright . sounds a fascinating place .

    Working holiday !..aint that the truth ? $400 fish v .funny reminds me of the time my son wanted to fish and I went to all this trouble to get all the accruements all for Nada ..of course

    Cant wait to see the "powder room" all dressed up ...the wallpaper will look amazing and with brass and gilt appointments is a bold choice ..

    I haven't yet read Barracuda but loved the Slap ..

    Keep cool just heard it will be 41 over there today

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    1. I thought you'd been reading the blog that long as well!
      The fishing was fairly annoying to me with the cost, although I got into the spirit of it once on the boat! I had predicted that we'd catch pretty much nothing, but was labelled a killjoy...
      I didn't read The Slap (watched it on tv), but am interested to hear what people think of the follow up book by comparison xx

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  6. Thanks for posting such beautiful pictures. My husband and I have made two extended visits to Australia over the years...finding that each time we arrive home, we begin planning our NEXT foray down-under. I am currently sitting in my den/office in Canada and when I look out the window I see nothing but white... high winds and blowing snow making for a perfect Canadian "white-out." So you can see that enjoying your photos has only increased my longing to return to Australia. BTW we still laugh about the time we were in a restaurant in Adelaide and saw "bugs" on the menu for the first time!

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    1. Hi Sue, I know people who feel the same way about Canada - especially the keen skiers... the skiing here definitely doesn't compare.
      I do feel badly for you though with the terrible freeze that you've had. What a bitter Winter. I'll send some sun your way - it's 42C today, and I'd like to send you at least 10-15C. Hope Mother Nature takes note!
      The Bugs must've been Morton Bay Bugs? Did you eat them? They're delicious!

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  7. love the wallpaper and brass taps as well - we have brass taps in our downstairs bathroom and they always make me happy!

    Yay for a nice vacation and good luck with the back to school shenanigans!

    And can I say I covet that hallway???

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    1. The hallway's only just started looking like that! The past 10 months its had Kids toys and bookshelves cluttering it, and the door at the end was blocked in for a long time, so it was dark and depressing.
      I would expect you to have Brass taps Wendy - you like a bit of shimmer and shine! xx

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  8. Holiday looks fabulous. I'm curious about the heaters in the he hallway? They remind me of the heater we had in our London apartment. Did you put them in and are they efficient? Xx

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    1. Hello, the heaters are the London style ones - it's called Hydronic Heating. There's a gas boiler outside, and it pumps the hot water through the house into the radiators in the front (the difference in Australia with a house is that it's not connected to your hot water system, as they are in London), and in the back we've put the heating into the slab. They are very efficient - our house is much warmer than our friends houses (as it gives out an even heat at floor level, rather than coming down from the ceiling) and costs around $350/ quarter to run, which is much better than a reverse cycle heating system. Funnily enough, this was our builders first experience of installing them, and they were all very curious to see if it worked and what the radiators felt like. xx

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  9. I am hanging out to go to KI. I want to go there for the FOOD.
    I saw the series of the slap. Didn't read the book.
    Barracuda sounds interesting....I would quite enjoy a dig at the Melbourne upper classes (being of born and bred lower class Melbourne stock-made-good).
    However I am generally lamenting the lack of happy, light reading around.
    I read all my books on electronic versions but I wonder if I need a paper book, old school like.

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    1. The food is excellent, esp. the seafood, but there's really beautiful landscapes there too, and it has an interesting history, I like reading about the different shipwrecks.
      Barracuda's interesting as it gives a dig both ways really. He seems to write with a bit of ambivalence in his feelings toward the middle classes. You'd probably find that aspect of it quite interesting. I think he wrote a little bit about that in The Slap too. He seems to be interested in class in our supposedly classless society.
      It didn't take long as a book though (one day, it has big print!). Agree with you re happy reading - not a lot around at all!

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  10. Apart from the working bit, your holiday sounded perfect. The beach looks idyllic as 'safe' beaches with young children are a rarity and without such, not so relaxing! Your wallpaper looks divine, I'm looking forward to you sharing the finished room! I'm toying with the idea of a matte brass tap for the kitchen...not sure I'll be able to get hubby on board though....

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    1. You're right about the safe beach thing - Having three to keep an eye on, a beach without rips is essential!
      Go with the matte brass tap - would look stunning in your place! I've been very pleased with the matte brass handles in my kitchen, it really does look very modern. But it's taking a while for people to get used to the brass... a lot of people are quite shocked/ surprised when they see it in my house! xx

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  11. Kangaroo Island looks absolutely idyllic! One of the most beautiful spots on earth I think….highly underrated….but looks like you managed to enjoy the beauty of its serenity as well as enjoy a lovely holiday. Not so easy with a young family!

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    1. Hi Virginia. It is so beautiful - we're lucky to have it on our doorstep. Hope you had a good break over Christmas... were you back in Adelaide? xx

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    2. yes i did get back to adelaide multiple times in the last 4 weeks, although we had a lovely christmas here in melbourne first …bit like "if it's tuesday it must be brussels" but then not so !!

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  12. Glad to see your working holiday was a success! Have never been to Kangaroo island, but now I want to go. That wallpaper is divine as are the brass taps. It all seems to be coming together. Was sorry to read your previous post. Hope that is the end of it. x

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    1. Ha - I told Mr AV about your term for a family holiday, and he laughed. I though about it often too when I was woken at 5.30am to make breakfast as everyone wanted to get to the beach asap....
      Hope that is the end of it too with the comments xx

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  13. Oh I'm so jealous Heidi! Those beaches, that sky! Send some over to The Old Smoke please.

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    1. Well, I'm happy to send a few degrees C your way Curator - we have another heatwave this week. It's going to be 40C plus all weekend and feels like living in an oven!

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  14. I loathed The Slap and don't care to read the next book.

    At the moment I am reading Richard Burton Diaries ...an interesting insight into the jet set life of the 1960s and 1970s with Richard and Liz the Brad and Angelina of their time - it's a wonderful read. And then, being a library fan, I took out today The Practical Gardener (Peter Cundall) The Getting of Wisdom (Henry Handel Richardson) I read it so many years ago and wanted to re read it, and Freya North, Rumours - don't know what to expect.

    One of the best holidays I ever had was in South Australia and I really regret not getting to Kangaroo Island. I loved your photos.

    Sue

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    1. Hi Sue, that Burton Diaries sounds v interesting.. may have to look it up. I remember reading The Getting of Wisdom absolutely years ago, it was a wonderful book. When I finally get to doing the shelving for our study, I'll be able to unpack my boxes of books and should be able to find it in one of them. I do miss my books... thanks for your comment and happy reading x

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  15. Hi Heidi
    I love what your doing with your reno. Must say I get sick of seeing the same old thing done over and over. So it's good to see someone not afraid to steer away from the norm. Your holiday looked fun, good luck with the back to school preparations.
    Kind Regards
    Karen

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    1. Hi Karen, thank you so much for your lovely comment. It was a busy morning this morning, but fortunately everyone was enthusiastic to be back! xx

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  16. Hi Heidi, Firstly thank you for writing this great blog - I can only imagine with three small children how time consuming it could be sometimes, even when you do enjoy it! To give yourself and share your thoughts and views and advice with others is much appreciated.

    I have been reading your blog for a long time but have never posted until now. I could kick myself as I thought I saw you and your family at the "lacking" lego exhibition at the Birdwood Motor Museum in early January. I nearly had the courage to come over to you (hoping it was you) and tell you how wonderful I think your blog is, but I didnt want to disturb you and your family.

    I too live in Adelaide and have lived through the horror of a renovation with a small child and one on the way a couple of years ago, it tested all of my resolve but the outcome was worth the camp stove and washing machine on the verandah!!

    We have polished concrete flooring in our extension and too have hydronic heating - it is simply the best! WIth 3.7m ceilings and a large concrete mass it was the only way to go. We are too going to install the panels in the children and our rooms shortly.

    I had to comment on this post as you have shared your holiday on KI!! One of my fav places on earth! We go every year in the summer and stay at Emu Bay on the North Coast - for your readers who haven't been there - you simply have to go - it is breath taking.

    So thank you Heidi for sharing and I love seeing the renovation updates - it takes me right back!

    Good luck with school and kindy this week - my little one starts kindy tomorrow - happy and sad!

    Paula x

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    1. Hi Paula, I can't believe you spotted me! I thought I'd been so good at not showing what we look like! Laughing at your "lacking" Lego description too. But my goodness had they packed in the kids with that as a lure. Do come and say hi if you ever see me out and about again though.
      Your house sounds lovely - you must live in the hills? The only other people I know with Hydronics are in the hills, it just doesn't seem common at all down in the city.
      We love Emu Bay - we didn't get there this year, but may rent a place there next year. The only drawback is the length of time it takes to get there from the Ferry - our kids all want to be out of the car and on the beach once they've got off the Ferry, patience is not their forte at the moment!
      Good luck with the Kindy start - I must say it was a strange thing to be dropping them all off this morning- it's been so many years with little people underfoot xx

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  17. Kangaroo Island looks fantastic. One of my neighbours in Colorado was telling me all about on the slopes a few weeks ago and it rang a bell and I realised that you had blogged about it before. So that must make me a long time reader. We have not been on a beach holiday in ages, definitely pre-Children. It seems like it would be hard work with tiny ones and then wonderful when they get a bit older. Mine are 3 and nearly 2 so I think we could consider one again soon.
    Powder room wall paper is gorgeous. And the hardware. You are very good with the details Heidi.
    We are thinking of moving out from London and looked at a wonderful crumbling Victorian country pile over last weekend. Should our bid be successful I will need lots of advise from you on doing it up! Perhaps I'll start a blog to document it all.
    Good luck with the return to school x

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    1. You are one of my longest readers Charlotte! I think beach holidays are fairly easy with little ones - they just want to dig and paddle all day. Yours are about the right age, so you should definitely try it (definitely avoid those pebbly European beaches though!!)
      The house sounds fantastic. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, and you'll def. have to start blogging if you get it. xx

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  18. Enjoyed your thoughts on " barracuda" until your discriminatory comments on gay sex
    Not only are you a racist, but also have no respect for gay people either, why does a gay sex scene in a novel bother you so much, Heidi? Until today, myself and other gay friends enjoyed your blog, especially the interiors, but we have taken your blog off of our reading list
    Please remember that if you ever return to your chosen field, your potential clients will be GAY and they have the disposable income that they will choose to spend elsewhere, no one wants to support people who cannot accept gay people. As per your new policy re comments, I do not expect you to publish this, which will just confirm that you detest gays and our " unnecessary gay graphic sex"
    I hope you are never judged as harshly, miss Heidi
    Bill.

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    1. Hello Bill, Apologies for offending you with my comment on Barracuda. I have Gay friends, and certainly don't discriminate regarding sexuality.

      I was trying to condense the major plot points into a sentence or two, and the main character is Gay. My comment was more about the graphic nature of the writing, rather than the type of sex. I don't like reading graphic and violent sex in novels where I feel it doesn’t really serve a purpose. I have previously read "The line of Beauty" by Allen Hollingworth, and while the writing about (gay) sex didn't bother me in that novel, I found the way the author had written Barracuda a little much. I've also had the same reaction about other novels with hetrosexual sex scenes written in them. 


      Some of the scenes were unnecessary as they did not develop plot or character, hence my wording. But if you've read the book, I'm interested to hear your views on whether you thought they did.

      The author seems to like to write his books revolving around hot button/ controversial topics – this book covered race/ sexuality/ class… I just didn’t particularly enjoy it.

      Hope you have a good day, and apologies again

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    2. I am with you Heidi. Graphic sex scenes no matter between any gender can be a bit much at times especially if it is not adding to a story line. It must be upsetting getting comments like this which seem so unfair. People need to be less reactionary and give others the chance to explain any comments that they take exception to before being judgemental themselves.Having read your blog from the beginning all I can say is thank you for allowing us to read such a lovely blog and thank you for your generosity in giving advice and details on fabrics, colour etc that other blog writers are not so forthcoming with. Your beautiful nature shines through your writing xx

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    3. Thank you L. for your lovely comment. Sometimes a sentence written in haste is not the best constructed, and I seem to be managing to offend people fairly easily! Your supportive comment is very much appreciate xx

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    4. Woaahhh!!!!! Just like FF always said - the real action is in the comments!! Keep up the great blogging Heidi! X

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    5. And as we know, FF is always right!! Thanks for the comment xx

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  19. We have swapped the beach for the snow and have snuck up to Japan for a week's skiing and I have not been delving into the blog world - missed your comment issues but am sorry you have been having a rough time.

    KI however looks gorgeous and I hope you had a wonderful holiday.

    School starts in WA next week so we arrive back and will have to hit the deck running. Hopefully won't be too bad!

    Take care Heidi.

    Xxx

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    1. How nice T! Are you in Niseko? I have friends there at the moment skiing with their two girls... would love to go there one day, she's been posting photos on Facebook and the snow looks absolutely amazing. We had a great week on KI, very relaxing, and now back into the old routines with school... the holiday seems like a long time ago already! Hope your transition back to normal life goes smoothly xx

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    2. We are in Hakuba - back to Tokyo today and then fly home tomorrow. I have been thoroughly outskied/boarded by my kids. They are doing red cat trails and I am still on the broken green runs.....

      Best snow I have ever seen - and apparently it is less than normal!

      You need to get to Japan one day - I wouldn't have wanted the kids to have been any younger here though.

      T

      xxx

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    3. I think that's the way most parents start to find things.... Mr AV's mother complains she's been on the same level at ski school for the past 20 years, yet all her children past that level around 25 years ago! We've been waiting to go skiing again until S was old enough to go to ski school. I don't really like using childcare at the snow, so I end up not getting a lot of skiing in myself.
      Safe flight home T xx

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  20. I can't get over how blue that sea is, never seen a blue like that. That one photo with your towel-umbrella reminds me of Greece a bit. That lodge looks gorgeous. Think Australians do modern in such a glorious way. Re your book: "I read Barracuda during the week. I have to say, I didn't enjoy it. It was frustratingly angsty, and really the story about someone that goes through life with a massive chip on their shoulder having caused their own self destruction and failure." how funny is this trend of having really unlikable or overly angsty protagonists - I guess it shows whether they are a good writer or not that you stick with it. (unless you don't) Like Gone Girl. The ultimate unlikeable protagonist was in The Dinner, felt quite good about yourself after that one. I love my doggy book mark too.

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    1. The rocks do look a bit Greece like... it's such a beautiful little bay, and the big rocks that you go through to get to it makes the bay all the more beautiful.
      I think you're right about angsty books. I don't enjoy reading something where you are in the mind of someone with so many 'issues' (when they really shouldn't have any - it's not like he's had an awful childhood). Kind of like being a psychiatrist doing psychotherapy.... they have to talk around and around in circles leading the questioning until the patient finally works it out for themselves sometimes years down the track, if at all. The psychiatrist has it worked out in the first 5 minutes, but can't tell them. It wasn't a long book, and i kept thinking it was going to improve where he sorted himself out. Sadly, he didn't! xx

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  21. Ahhhh!! So that is what it means by pre trimmed or not pre trimmed. Well there you go! Slate and wall lights looking gorgeous. I now know what you mean by the Melbourne grey render and the grooves in the render that make it look like big bricks (I forgot the name) Love it all. Kangaroo Is looks lovely. I hope to get there one day!

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    1. Ashlar block! Glad you got to go to Melbourne and see it all in the flesh Laura, the houses in Melb are really beautiful xx

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  22. Kangaroo Island looks fabulous with wonderful views and such vivid colours. Having the lovely beach to yourselves is obviously an added bonus too. I love the pattern and neutral shades of the wallpaper which will look so effective with the warm tones of the floor.
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. The beaches there are so beautiful, and so empty! We feel very lucky to have it on our doorstep xx

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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