best of both worlds?

Every year at this time, my business is quiet and a very dear friend’s Event Management company is super dooper busy.  Event Management and Incentive Travel is part of my background in my Old World, my “before babies” world.  So I don my heels and corporate frocks and shimmy into their office and happily soak up the dynamic buzz their team creates.  I love to dip my toes into that Old World and this week I belly flopped right on into the deep end, with a 5 day interstate conference.  Yep, as in another state.  On a plane.  Away from my babies.

But before you get too concerned for my welfare, I need to point out I was staying at Palazzo Versace Hotel.

versace collage

You see, the Old World is all about fancy hotels and terribly special events where, whilst I help look after clients checking every little thing is in order to ensure they enjoy an amazing and memorable experience, someone else makes MY bed each day, cooks my meals and even washes the dishes.  Um, yay!

versace room bed

If I play my cards right someone will even take care of the teeny tiny little pile of laundry I accumulate in this world where I temporarily live alone.

I love this world and I do often miss it.  I choose not to go back there permanently as I have a new life now.   A life in my New World.

The New World is all about our suburban home which is bursting at the seams with chaos and love, and more sibling arguments than I care to acknowledge.  It’s also decidedly unpolished.

No-one makes my bed in the New World.  I have to make it myself.  As a bonus, I also get to make three others.

I make my own dinner, rarely 3 courses but often with wine, and sometimes I feel I’m running an open all hours a-la-carte restaurant. Oh, and I set up the breakfast buffet every morning.    Guests can have Weetbix, Weetbix or Weetbix.  Don’t get me started about the lunches.


Instead of the long, hot, uninterrupted baths I enjoyed in the Old World, I run bubble baths for others, and wrangle slippery little bodies that never want that bath to end.

No-one turns down our bed here in the New World, and our sheets no longer boast high thread counts. Instead, I tuck tired little bodies into beds, snuggling them under crochet rugs made by their grand grandmother.

jonty bed

The teeny, tiny laundry pile I create on my own is dwarfed within minutes by a mountain of muddy rugby socks, school uniforms and towels that never seem to find their own way off the floor.

As I flew home from the Old World to the New World yesterday I couldn’t help but reflect on how much I love them both. I think I am terribly lucky to literally enjoy the best of both worlds.

But for now, our Middle Size is turning 6 and because his Mum was busy in the Old World she hasn’t had time to bake so I am off to add smarties to the tops of 25 store bought cupcakes for him to take into his class.

cupcakesI am also going to do reading groups with him and his Kindy buddies.  Do you think anyone would mind me wearing my Versace slippers?

Do your old and new world ever collide?


meet a mama – leanne from getaway guru (& juggler!)

This lovely mama will have you dreaming of France and Italy and other idyllic holiday destinations around the globe.  Her family album photos leave me positively green with envy.  So, for now, I am imagining I’m in Paris  … waiter!

Here is Leanne from Getaway Guru …

Tell us a bit about you, fabulous you!
Hi, I’m Leanne. I should introduce myself as a juggler because when I started to write this, there were a lot of balls in the air. But I think there’s lot of mamas like that too!

last day picnic lunch in Paris under beautiful skies at the Eiffel Tower

I work in my own business (more about that later); work part time as a HR consultant; am mother to 2 boys with all the sport and homework accoutrements that brings and am married to a gorgeous man that I spent 3 ½ years travelling with, much of that in a campervan and then a panelvan so we knew if we could still get on after that, then marriage would be a cinch!

leanne a family in rome

I balance all this with travel…I love it.  Which is why anyone who knows me was not surprised when I launched my own business about 2 years ago. I am the founder and owner of Getaway Guru, a business specialising in Australian and New Zealand owned holiday rentals in France and Italy – a truly gorgeous business.

We currently live on the North Shore of Sydney but just in the midst of a ‘sea-change’ – moving closer to the beach! (so yes it’s pretty hectic at the moment)

Who inspires you?
My family – immediate and extended. I come from a large family  – my parents had 5 kids and my mum and dad each came from large families. So you can imagine – lots of Aunts and Uncles and lots of cousins and the great thing is we’re in touch and we’re close.

leanne a - boys

They inspire me because things are not always easy for everyone. But I see the love and determination and support that the family offers each other as people struggle and rise above the challenges that life throws at them.

I truly count my blessings with my family. My mother and father in particular offer love and support in so many ways – practical and otherwise and I couldn’t have done a lot of the things in my life without their support (and offers to look after my children which I know I am very lucky to have).

Business wise I am inspired by the woman of the Table of Fabulousness. I feel so lucky to have met and to be able to network with a group of business women who are each defining their own success and generously share their expertise and insights. I have learnt so much!

What can’t you live without?
Books – paper books or kindle books. I usually have a few on the go.

And a plan for my next holiday (usually begin planning soon after the last one!)

Do you have a favourite blog/s?
Styling You – I love this blog for 2 reasons – one, very practical, styling advice for busy mums and also because Nikki has won awards for her blog and I always learn so much from reading her blog and the different ways she has of connecting with her community.

Renovating Italy – the blog of Lisa and her family and their journey from Australia to life in Italy, where they are renovating not one but two properties!

Valerie Khoo – I love that Valerie turned her passion for writing into a hugely successful business with a global reach (Australian Writers Centre). I love the stories of entrepreneurs she shares weekly.

How do you like to spend your spare time?
I love the beach, reading, drinking coffee, eating out, drinking champagne, watching my children have fun together (not always the case!) and sometimes these can all come together in a perfect day!

leanne a champagne

Best time saving or sanity saving idea/tip for mamas?
We have a weekly calendar (on the fridge) which details each of the boys activities for the week so that they know, for example, which day they have activities like PE or after school cricket training on, so they can be prepared and make sure they have everything they need in their bags.

I don’t know about other mammas, but one of the arguments we most often have, is who’s turn it is! We have a roster on the fridge (yes, lots of stuff on our fridge) so that the boys can easily see who’s turn it is for shower 1st, or who has to unpack the dishwasher etc. Just means we can quickly put an end to any potential fights!

leanne a - vietnamWhere do you see yourself in 5 years?
Living near the beach, enjoying ocean swimming and running my fabulous business which will then be offering Australian and NZ owned properties world wide!

What is your favourite quote?
‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step’ Lao-tzu

It reminds me not to get overwhelmed at all that need to be done, just to take the first step!

Where can we find you?
Twitter @yourgetawayguru

are we there yet?

After taking a little road trip solo with my three boys this week, I felt it was high time to share our favourite activities that keep everyone in our car happy (enough) and keep that burning question “are we there yet?” at bay.

Eye Spy With My Little Eye
This one has been a good ole favourite for decades!  When catering for younger kids who can’t yet spell, we adapt the game to spot something of a particular colour and introduce letters in due course.

50 Things To Do On A Journey
We don’t leave home without this little pack of cards full of fun games and activities.  Our favourites are;
– Who Lives There? (this one is great if you are stuck in slow moving traffic!)
Someone spots a house and then everyone adds their thoughts about who lives there including the owner, their pets, what they like to do etc

– In My Backpack
Start with “In my backpack I have …” followed by an object, then the next person repeats the first sentence and adds another item.  Eg, “In my backpack, I have a soggy sandwich, then “In my backpack, I have a soggy sandwich and a teddy bear”.  The sillier the better.  We usually have something slimy, something smelly and something dirty in our stories – one of the joys of an all boy family.

CD Books
I have a friend who swears by Paul Jennings CD books for her boys.  She says it keeps them quiet from Point A to Point B and we are LOVING that!  There is a huge range of CD books available for kids of all ages.  You can even get them personalised.

On our way home yesterday, with three tired little fellas in the back seat I put on our Sleep Stories CD and they were sound asleep within minutes.

I have also learned the hard way on solo parent trips that everyone must take a “wee stop” before departure and that everyone has their water bottle and some snacks handy.

Oh, and don’t forget your sunnies!