Me Made Holiday: Maldives, A Sun-Sand-Sea-Sweetheart Getaway 

The husband and I took some time off at  Maldives to recuperate and recharge individually and as a couple. It is also a semi belated  anniversary trip. I have already retired most of my me-made beach wear from pre-baby days and it’s time to make new ones! Time is so precious (our little friend takes shorter naps and sleeps later now) so I needed really simple DIYs that can be completed in at most 2 afternoons per item. They also need to be practical so that I can still wear them on other occasions.

So I spent the month of November working on these: a kimono cover up, a kaftan cover up, a 3 hole dress, and a smocked tube dress. I also used a scarf and refashioned an old sandals.

Day 0: Me-made shell earrings

Day 1: Rectangle elastic waist skirt to tour around Male

Day 2: Kaftan coverup,

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and basic V neck tank which was perfect after getting mildly sunburnt.

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Day 3: Black smocked dress to minimize friction at the shoulders and kimono coverup to shield from the sun.

Day 4: Snow White Tank and scarf sandals as we transit to and explore the resort

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Day 5: 3-hole dress


Day 6: Snow White Blouse and another pair me-made earrings for the flight home


If you are planning for a beach vacation and intend to get somewhat sun burnt, do remember to pack clothes that are made with extra soft material so that it reduces the agony as your clothes rubs against the burnt skin 🙂

SW Australia Day 11-13: Perth

And now for the final leg of our trip in Perth City! By this portion of the trip, we had re-planned our itinerary a little to make sure we covered what we set out for this trip. Initially we planned to spend some time with our friend, do our shopping in Perth (because they can bring us around) and visit the animals at Discovery Bay in Albany.  We still did spend time with our friends residing in Perth but visited the Caversham Wildlife Park instead, since we have already maxed out our shopping space in Albany.

Day 11: Donnybrook and back to Perth

On our way back from Balingup, we dropped by the Donnybrook Apple Fun Park, the largest free entry playground in Australia. The space is incredibly large, with a low ride on areas for the younger children and climbing towers, rope bridges and such for the older kids. Toilets with wash area is also available so it makes cleaning up after playing at the sandpit a lot easier.


Once we reached Perth, we checked in to our apartment and planned the rest of the trip. Though our accommodation is located in South Perth, it is very accessible as it is near the highway which brings you to both North Perth and Fremantle. It also boasts of  an amazing view.

 

Since we drove all the way from Donnybrook to Perth, we took a short nap and went to King’s Park before heading to Jamie’s Italian for dinner. We explored the Saw Avenue part of the park which features an “innovative nature based play area with woodcarvings by local artist Nic Compton.”

For dinner at Jamie’s, it was a little disappointing. Truth to be told, food at Jamie’s wasn’t impressive other that what was served for the Children’s Menu.

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Day 12: Caversham Wildlife Park, Fabric Shopping, King’s Park, Ciao Italia

We started the day bright and early, grabbed breakfast from Tuckshop and headed towards Caversham Wildlife Park first thing in the morning!

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As a geography teacher, I particularly like the fact that the animals and grouped according to the various area of Australia so that visitors (like me) can have a better idea of the distribution of animals and some of the features of the habitats across Australia. One of our favourites is definitely the kangaroo enclosure where they are free to roam. There are also packets of food available for feeding. We are extremely proud that C is not afraid of these creatures (I remembered that I was so scared when I visited as a kid).

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My favourite!

After the visit, we had lunch at before heading to the nearby pool for some water fun. For some reasons, the wash area wasn’t working so we had to give her a quick clean up in the toilet.



After a busy morning, C knocked out in the car and we went fabric shopping while she napped. I make it a point to make it a quick one.

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Plan for the rest of the day was to meet our friends for dinner at Ciao Italia. Since we had some time to spare, we headed back to King’s Park. We definitely love the view, the space for C to run around.

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Dinner at Ciao’s Italia was amazing! Portion is huge. Tiramisu is a must have. Sorry no photos because we were too hungry.
Day 13: Pack and Chill, More Shopping at Australia Post,  Home Sweet Home

We spent last night and the morning of our last day packing. Since the apartment had such a great view, we also enjoyed some morning sun along the South Perth Foreshore which was right in front of our accommodation.

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Then we headed to Australia post where we intended to mail out our post cards. Lo and behold, we were so distracted by the Christmas sales of books. They were selling at AUD 10 each at KMart (which was already a very good price) but now at AUD 16.99 for a bundle of 4! How can we not get more? We grabbed whatever titles that we like for C and friends.

This pretty much concludes our mini adventure in SW Australia and I hope it provides some useful information for those who are planning to visit Perth and surrounds with their little humans.

The rest of this series can be found here:
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On Itinerary
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On road tripping
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: Accommodation, Food and etc in SW Australia
Activity Kit for Little Travellers
SW Australia Day 1 & 2: Fremantle
SW Australia Day 3-5: Margaret River
SW Australia Day 6-8: Denmark and Albany
SW Australia Day 9-10: Balingup

 

SW Australia Day 9-10: Balingup

Balingup was planned as a break from Denmark back to Perth, as we didn’t want to cover the same places again. We decided to head towards inland and just relax at Balingup.

On our way to Balingup from Denmark, we dropped by the Tree Top Walk, which was an amazing experience! It was really calming to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature 40m above ground. C enjoyed her walk despite the height. The photos were unfortunately lost in transit between phone and the computer.

As soon as we checked in our accommodation at Balingup, we were recommended by our hosts to get some fresh produce from Newy’s Vegie Patch if we intended to cook during our stay. It was about a 15 minutes drive and we got a ourselves a basket full of produce to last us for 2 breakfasts and 2 dinners: veggies, fruits, meat, pasta etc.

C settled down pretty quickly and enjoyed the toys that were kindly provided by our host. They did keep C entertained at home throughout our stay.  

The accommodation also boasts of 5 alpacas and a little farm/garden. Our host kindly invited us to help pick the raspberries which were so fresh and sweet!

As most eateries at Balingup do not open for dinners, we decided to cook. We had steak, carrots, potatos and a whole lot of fresh strawberries and cherries, while C had salmon and potato mash.

    

The next morning, C helped Daddy with picking some basil for breakfast. We had sausages, eggs, bread, bruschetta, coffee and tea. Simple fare but so good! 



Our itinerary at Balingup is extremely relaxing. We visited the Lavender Farm (which I have been looking forward to) and dropped by Bridgetown because it looks busy enough as we drove past on the first day. I read that there are a whole lot of other nature-based activities that you can embark at Balingup but we really just wanted to recuperate from all these traveling, so we are taking it real easy during this leg of the trip.

The lavender farm is of a rather humble size but it has a gift shop well stocked with all things homemade and lavender: soap, oils, culinary, diffuser etc. We also enjoy the lavender cookies and ice cream! 
  

Before we left, the owner gifted us bunch of FRESH lavender (which the husband had intended to buy for me). Bonus! I think that’s because we bought A LOT of things from the gift shop. Ha!

After the farm, we had lunch at Bridgetown and shopped along the main street. I particularly enjoy the vibe of this quaint little town, with lots of small local establishments. Best of all, there is a fabric shop! Who would expect a fabric shop in a small town?

We headed back early and did nothing, but to enjoy the view and sounds of nature at the verandah.

The husband had fun with the dogs,

while C had her first dandelion experience.

We cooked dinner: ravioli and baked portobello with salad greens and cherries. We packed our luggages, retreated early to gear ourselves for the long drive back to Perth!

Balingup is a really easy and relaxing leg of the trip and we are definitely planning to return back to explore more (when we visit WA again).

The rest of this series can be found here:
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On Itinerary
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On road tripping
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: Accommodation, Food and etc in SW Australia
Activity Kit for Little Travellers
SW Australia Day 1 & 2: Fremantle
SW Australia Day 3-5: Margaret River
SW Australia Day 6-8: Denmark and Albany

SW Australia Day 6-8: Denmark and Albany

This is the furthest and longest leg (in terms of traveling on the road) of the trip. We left Yallingup mid-morning, made a pitstop at Pemberton after 2 hours and finally reached Denmark after another 2 hours.

There’s nothing much at Pemberton and we only dropped by the main town.


 

 

It was pretty unfortunate that the weather wasn’t kind to us at all. NOT AT ALL! It rained, drizzled over 2 days and was extremely cold for us to spend time at the beach. Denmark is the place we had planned for some solid good beach times.

We stayed at a very cosy house with a lovely host. We have the whole ground floor to ourselves even though our hosts is residing upstairs. She is always available when we need help and other times we are pretty much to ourselves. She has a small collection of DVDs and books for us to enjoy. C made herself at home immediately.


There is a small front yard where C enjoyed spending time playing with flowers. This was her morning ritual the whole time we were there. 

We spent our first day at Denmark grocery shopping in preparation for the next day till we hit the farmer’s market on Day 8 and reconfigure our plans for wet weather programme. It was so cold that our airbnb host had to start a fire for us! 

 

Day 7: Denmark

The weather continued to be  cold and gloomy so the beach is definitely out of the plan. Can you imagine how perfect Green Pools would be?

We took our time in the morning and decided to head to the Visitor’s Centre for better indoor suggestions. I really love this board that informs you of all the eateries’ availability for each meal. Because Denmark is a small cosy town, not all eateries are open for dinner.


Since it is pretty much going to drizzle the whole day, we decided to explore the town area and shop. We particularly enjoyed the antique shop and a wooden toy shop where we bought a few toy sets for C. Sorry no photos because I was too sian to capture anything. We also had lunch at Mrs Jone’s Cafe. Simple but really amazing fare. We had a late breakfast and needed somewhere to get away from the cold so it was cake, muffin, wrap and a smoothie(not pictured) for us.  

The cafe also has a toy box to keep little humans entertained. 

We popped by Bartholomews Meadery for some honey and ice cream treats.

There’s a small window in the shop front where you can see the bees and the hives and comb etc. Ice cream was good!

We passed by this huge play ground earlier in the day and decided to let C run a bit while we have our take away dinner. Seafood Platter and sweet potato fries from Mad Fish and Chips was really good stuff!

This is the section for older kids. 

They also have a smaller section for younger children. Sandpit, a simple slide, stairs tunnel, tic tac toe and a mini excavator ride.

  

Coffee from Ravens was also good. I got myself a cup to keep my hands warm. ha! 

Day 8: Albany

Albany is an absolutely beautiful coastal town (from what I remembered when I visited at 12) but the weather doesn’t permit us to enjoy fully. We had planned to visit a berry farm on our way to Albany, checked the opening days/times from their brochure but were very disappointed to find them closed till mid December. No berry picking 😦 If you are planning to visit any berry farms, call to check if they are open!

First stop at Albany was the Farmer’s Market. Small but well stocked. We bought some vegetables, bread, coffee and really really fresh milk.


We had also planned to visit the Discovery Bay but it was raining so we went shopping at Kmart. After lunch, we also dropped by The Gap (which was closed) and The Natural Bridge, a granite formation caused by the gradual weathering and erosion by the Great Southern Ocean.

We drove around and visited the Wind Farm too. Pretty massive and amazing.  

We were very thankful that C was so cooperative even though there weren’t much to see. On our way back to Denmark, we went to hunt for Kwoorabup Community Adventure Park. It is a nature-based playground where there are no slides and swings, just elements from nature like soil, timber, sand, leaves, etc. The husband and I really loved this concept of the playground and we were glad that we came. C sure enjoyed herself. She climbed over tree trunks, touched some dirt and had lots of space to run.

It was a tad disappointing that we didn’t get to explore much due to the weather, especially when we drove all the way down south. Even our host mentioned that she had to dig out her winter wear and such weather is unusual during summer. At least our luggage were full from all the shopping at Kmart. With shopping done at Albany, it frees us some time to do a little more at Perth.

The rest of this series can be found here:
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On Itinerary
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On road tripping
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: Accommodation, Food and etc in SW Australia
Activity Kit for Little Travellers
SW Australia Day 1 & 2: Fremantle
SW Australia Day 3-5: Margaret River

SW Australia Day 3-5: Margaret River

The next leg of our travel is at the Margaret River REGION, where we planned to spend some time with farm animals, at the vineyard and enjoy the beach. On Day 3, we drove to Bunbury for a quick pit stop and groceries shopping at the Farmer’s Market because our accommodation is not very near to any eateries at night. A good chance to cook and we are so glad we did!

We also packed lunch to eat on the way. Fresh tomatoes basil pasta ‘salad’.

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We stayed at Yallingup (still within the Margaret River region) which had more things to do at Margaret River CBD itself , welcomed by our host with some wine and breakfast basket, including a loaf freshly baked bread! We had a lovely time at our airbnb but unfortunately the listing is no longer available.

 

After checking in and settling down, we spent the evening at Busselton Jetty, and had really good dinner at The Goose. The pork belly salad was such simple fare but so delicious! There’s a beautiful beach by the jetty and we wished that the weather was warmer to spend some time there.
  

Saw a shark by the beach!!!

 

Our airbnb host also recommended lots of local favourites and children friendly places. We decided to go with her recommendations and ditch our initial plan entirely. Ha! We spent the morning of Day 4 at the backyard of our accommodation, picked some fresh eggs and prepared breakfast before heading to the Yallingup Shearing Shed.



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Honestly speaking, Yallingup Shearing Shed would be perfect with older kids who are able to participate in the show. Nonetheless C enjoyed the sheepdog, touching the wool and generally looking at sheep. 

 

Then was Gabriel Chocolate, who import their own beans and make their own chocolates. Besides all the chocolate tasting and tasty sandwich plus chocolate ice cream, I also particularly the green space at Gabriel Chocolate (and other venues). Green spaces are my best friend! Because we can let C run and be active.

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Then we went Vasse Virgin to get some olive oil products, before heading back for a nap.  

The afternoon/evening was spent at Simmons Ice Cream and Meelup Beach. I love the playground at Simmons. So huge, lots of green space and awesome ice cream!

We enjoyed Meekup tremendously. There weren’t many people, sun was just nice, beach is clean and there are shower facilities.

 

The day ended with some homecooked steak!

 

A blue wren greeted us by the window on Day 5 before we set off for Swooping Magpie (a small vineyard just behind our accommodation). 

I love that the vineyard is cozy and their wines are good for beginners like us. There was also a play area to entertain little humans.

C had her first babycinno.

They served one of the best scones I ever had!
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After brunch at Swooping Magpie, we went Wonky Windmill to visit the farm animals.

C befriended the guinea pigs and bunnies and also had the opportunity to bottle the lambs. They have a wide variety of animals but I just thought the farm was a little bare.  They also have an orchard for fruit picking at fixed timings. One ticket covers both the farm and orchard. We didn’t participate the fruit picking as we were all hungry for lunch!
So it was to Cheeky Monkey for lunch. Good food, good cider, good view, good life!

At Cheeky Monkey, there’s a sand playground for little humans to expand some energy.

 

The rest of the afternoon was spent  visiting Mosses Rocks, Lighthouse, Sugar Loaf and Canal Rocks! Very geographical and I like. C also had her first coastal geography lesson.


  

 

We had burgers for dinner at night. Thankful for a masterchef husband!

We enjoyed this leg of the trip tremendously and wished we stayed at Yallingup a little longer.

The rest of this series can be found here:
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On Itinerary
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On road tripping
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: Accommodation, Food and etc in SW Australia
Activity Kit for Little Travellers
SW Australia Day 1 & 2: Fremantle

SW Australia Day 1 & 2: Fremantle

I have been receiving requests on our itinerary: where to go, what to eat and such with a 17 month old in tow. We enjoyed ourselves tremendously and I would highly recommend Perth and the SW Australia for a first family trip especially if you would like to take things a little slower during the trip. So I thought why not?

I have shared about why we decided to go SW Australia (partly was also to visit a friend), and a brief itinerary of what we wanted to do during the trip. This detailed version will include where we visited at each place, where we ate and the various children friendly facilities. I will be sharing our itinerary in 5 individual posts, marking each leg of our trip.

First up, Fremantle. We took the red eye flight with Singapore Airlines to Perth. Conclusion? Unless you are flying for about 6-7 hours, redeye flight is not recommended. We did the same when we went to Japan and it was manageable. However this time round to Perth, we departed at 1200, breakfast is served at 0300 and we land around 0530-0600!!! Barely slept, even if C slept through, except waking up for breakfast. After we landed, we collected our car, fixed the car seat, and off we go to meet our friend.

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We actually took Day 1 to recuperate from flying. We took away lunch and dinner at our friend’s, visited an indoor playground and did some grocery shopping.

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Fishhead KFC

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It was almost empty and we have the whole place to ourselves!

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Takeaways from Crust

 

We only brought sufficient diapers for the 1st day and purchased the rest in Australia. We also decided to take this time to transit her to full cream milk entirely (Yay no formula! Maybe more on this later?). A very brave move on our side but a point to note is that she has been having fresh milk so it wasn’t a new taste altogether. Besides milk, C also has yoghurt as her snack since we don’t bring milk out for the day.

We stayed at Mole End Cottage, just a 10 minutes drive from Fremantle city centre and a 5 minutes walk to South Beach. We booked directly with them though they also have a listing on airbnb.

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She made herself at home immediately!

 

We spent the morning of Day 2 dropping by South Beach (lots of children, lots of dogs too!),

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before going to  Penguin Island. We went to watch the Penguin ‘Show’, had a little picnic, walked around half the island and spent the rest of the time at the beach.

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After Penguin Island, we took away some late lunch at Kent Street Deli.

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The evening was spent visiting Fremantle Market, walking through Fremantle Esplanade, dinner at Cicerello’s.

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Lots of good food, and fresh produce

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Handmade ceremaics

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My mil kindly babysit our little friend while the husband and I sneaked out for a roof top movie date at Perth. It was freezing cold!

The rest of this series can be found here:

Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On Itinerary
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On road tripping
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: Accommodation, Food and etc in SW Australia
Activity Kit for Little Travellers

Activity Kit for Little Travellers

Prior to our Australia trip, I came across mamapapabubba (on pinterest) which has a splendid idea of having an activity kit for little travelers. I love the activities that Jen does with her girl: the sensory bins, all the play dough, and the practical handmade gifts. She inspires me to want to do the same with C too! I discussed with my husband, he chipped in some ideas and we went to do some shopping at Daiso and Popular Bookstore.

For the activities taken from Jen’s post, I followed the links provided, and googled for my own resources for the rest of the activities.

1. Shape Silouette Matching

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2. Felt Button Snake

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3. Felt Board

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Besides the name, I added some basic shapes. I also cut a large piece of felt and glued it to folder.

 

4. Lacing Cards

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The animals are taken from here. We print, laminate, and hole-punch the cards.

5. Flash Cards

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I love the graphics of the flashcards which the husband has found. I must say that C isnt really into flash cards for now.

6. Colour Matching Ice Cream

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7. Magnetic Puzzle with Australian Animals

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8. Store-bought Water Magic Cards.

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All the activities are stored individually in B5 size pouches. We got a variety from Daiso and Popular.

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Each time we need to use them like on the plane and traveling long distances, we select a few and keep them in a portable folder like this:
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These activity kits are still useful after the trip. We keep a few in the car and bring a couple of them out if we foresee some waiting here and there. Next up, I will be sharing on our itinerary with details of where we visited, where we stayed etc. The rest of this series can be found here:

Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On Itinerary
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: On road tripping
Traveling with a 16-Month-Old Toddler: Accommodation, Food and etc in SW Australia