The Playground At Taronga Western Plains Zoo – What a Cracker

Playground at Dubbo Western Plains  Zoo
Call me old-fashioned. Call me the mother of three boys. Call me whatever you like!

I know mothers often write about feeling brain dead at the playground… but not me.

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Billabong Camp at Taronga Western Plains Zoo – Our Family Review

Billabong Camp Dubbo Zoo-17

It was all ‘westward ho’ for myself and the twins last week.

We went on a four day, three night expedition to Dubbo, with the main focus being a trip to Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

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Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park – Sydney’s Best Animal Parks (updated)

Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park Sydney

Fancy meeting a bilby? Coming nose to nose with a tawny frogmouth? Saying hello to a koala and a kangaroo?

How about a little escape from Sydney and a visit to the delightful Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park, just a short drive north.

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How To Treat Bluebottle Stings – Sydney’s Most Annoying Sea Creatures!

Blue bottle text

Yes, these stings were as painful as they look.

Ouchy ouch!

Bluebottles are commonly found on Sydney beaches, and indeed, around all of Australia.

The official name for these marine maniacs is physalia. But I much prefer the name I learned as a child Portuguese man o’ war.

bluebottle stings on legs Sydney

These jellyfish aren’t found in Scotland but we grew up with dreadful images of them, and the sure knowledge that, if you were ever stung, you were a goner.

Not true at all!

Luckily for me, most bluebottle stings are not too serious, though they can be very painful. (But there are rare exceptions – see below.)

bluebottle stings on thigh Sydney

bluebottles sign on beach

You’ll see this sign up at Sydney beaches when there are bluebottles around. Thanks Carolyn from Desire Empire for this lovely photo.

These nasty stings that I got last summer were ENTIRELY my own fault. I saw lots of bluebottles washed up on the beach, so I knew that If I swam I’d be asking for a sting.  But I just couldn’t resist the lure of an ocean swim.

These stings really were sore at the time, but I just showered and then they weren’t too bed and didn’t itch TOO much. Most bluebottle stings will be in long welts like mine, caused by the trailing long tentacles.

Treating Bluebottle Stings

Modern treatments for bluebottle stings around our Sydney beaches do not involve papaya, vinegar or urine.

Rinse the stung area with seawater, it’s fine to pick tentacles off with the fingers.

Rinse with warm to comfortably hot water, or soak if that’s possible.

If the person stung is a child, or has asthma or allergies it may be adviasable to visit a doctor as rare cases of severe breathing difficulties have occurred.

If any swelling occurs around stings to the face or throat, call an ambulance immediately.

Have you survived a sting from one of these savage jellyfish?

Can you share a top tip?

Happy swimmingSignature

I’ve also been bitten by leeches and stung by sea lice, see those posts for tips on prevention and what to do if not prevented.

What’s next, I wonder…. err…..








25 Things I Love About Sydney – Part 5

Hello, today marks the final part of my 25 Things I Love About Sydney posts… find Part 1 here,  Part 2 here, Part 3 here and Part 4 here.

This series has been celebrating the fact that it’s been over 25 years since I first landed in Sydney.

Here’s to the next 25 years, and to 25 More Things To Love About Sydney.

21. Indoor and Outdoor Public Swimming Pools

Pool Luna Park copy

We’re totally spoiled for choice. In the early days my favourite was North Sydney Olympic Pool. I’d swim there early in the morning when I used to work at Channel 9.

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Seahorses in Sydney – The Aquarium Exhibit + Interview With Seahorse Expert

seahorses sydney aquarium harbour

I have been mad on seahorses since I was just a young scuba diver.

Many moons ago, I was diving along the shark nets at Parsley Bay and came across some of these elegant creatures. They were just sitting there on the nets looking totally unconcerned about two divers staring at them in close up.

It really was a magical moment in my life.

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Horse Riding in Sydney – Riding Lessons For Beginners

Riding Lesson-1

Sydney is a terrific city for horse riding. There are stables in the heart of the city at Centennial Park, plus several on the bushy outskirts of the city.

Then there’s the delights of trail rides in the Blue Mountains and in lovely country to the north and south of the city too.

A while ago my twins enjoyed a pony ride, which I wrote about in Pony Rides For Preschoolers.

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Leech Bites – More Gross Sydney Animals Sucking My Blood


Look I’m an animal lover, but some species can really stretch a friendship!

We have leeches in our garden when it’s wet and they seem to love me a lot more than I love them.

Silly little suckers.

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Scottish Stories – A Muddy Walk To See The Lambs

Muddy Walk-1

So it struck me as we walked along this muddy farm track, that my wee lass has never really spent much time in mud.

What fun she’s missed!

A lovely cousin of mine has a house that was originally an old farm steading. We visited one day and went for a walk to see the lambs.

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Sea Lice Stings And How To Avoid Them – Annoying Sydney Sea Creatures Part 1


Sea lice sting bite tummy sydney

Yes, this is my tummy. No, I know no shame. Yes, I am sucking in my breath. A lot.

Good morning, have you been for a swim in the ocean lately?

Encountered any stinging sea creatures?

I’m starting a wee series on Sydney’s Most Annoying And Itchy Animals. Where better to start than those pesky sea lice?!

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Mistakes Made in Melbourne 1989 Version

Ah, I’ve just walked past the hotel on Exhibition Street in Melbourne where I resigned from my first TV job.

Which turned out to be the best job I ever had.

Which is all highly reminiscent of the first boyfriend I ever had, who was, it turned out, the best boyfriend ever.

But like with the first job, it’s your first, you know nothing.

Anyway, sometime in 1989 I sat in that hotel lobby with Gary Burns and had a drink and told him I was resigning from my job as a segment producer on ‘The Midday Show With Ray Martin.’ What an idiot!

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Sydney Photo Friday – The Bold and The Beautiful + Me

Ah, Manly Beach, you always make me feel so free.

I wasn’t able to get to Manly early enough to join The Bold and The Beautiful swimmers, but I did catch a photo as dozens of them came ashore at the end of their swim.

One day I will get there and join in.

Have you heard about these daily 7am sea swimmers?

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Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary {formerly Oceanworld Manly} Review

Myself and Minnie the Minx and her friend just had a very lovely time visiting the recently re-launched Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary.  The girls hadn’t been before and they had such a ball looking at, and even touching, lots of sea creatures.

See below for a full description of all the information you need to plan a great family trip to Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary.

And stand by for my next post which will be a family pass giveaway  to this fishy-and-fun destination.

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Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary Photos

Just a wee taster of some photos for Wordless Wednesday.I’ll be posting all the info you need for a terrific family visit to Manly Sea Life Sanctuary next week. Plus a great giveaway, a family pass to the Sea Life Sanctuary. 

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Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney, Australia – Visiting with Young Children

A must see!

Whether you’re a visitor to Sydney or you’ve lived here all your life, a visit to the Zoo is always a good day out.

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Whales and Dolphins Videos- Jervis Bay

My children have been asking to see the little bit of video we shot of the dolphins who came to say g’day when we were on our fast boat trip around Jervis Bay.

And now they’ve got themselves off to school, I’ve managed to find it and load it onto Youtube.

This isn’t the best bit of footage we’ve ever shot.  The day was very grey and dull… but not to worry.  It’s always a great joy to see a dolphin in the wild, isn’t it?  And there’s much lovelier footage following below.

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Sydney School Holidays Day 28/47- Long Reef Beach

This is such a cool idea, a weatherproof book showing lots of sea creatures.

It’s at Long Reef beach, see map below.  Long Reef Aquatic Reserve is here, one of only 12 aquatic reserves around NSW.

You can read all about Long Reef Aquatic Reserve here.  The rules and regulations for reserves are clearly stated here.

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Sydney School Holidays Day 16/47- Pony Rides for Preschoolers

The twins had been asking to go for a pony ride for quite a while.

So just before Christmas I called around our local horse riding centres and asked how we could go about getting them in the saddle.

It was a damp and drizzly day when we went to the stables, but that didn’t daunt the enthusiasm of Ms5 and Rusty Rocket at all.

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I Love Fiona Lumsdaine- She Has Taken 10 Years Off Me!


I’m actually 150 years old and grumpy most of the time.

But you could never tell from these photos.

Well done that photographer!  

It always pays to pay a professional!

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The ‘Yes, It’s Very Dangerous…’ One Minute Video..

Yes, I can see clearly that having a trampoline beside the pool is dangerous … but it’s a whole lot of fun too.

I should know, I’ve had a turn.

My husband and the three boys moved this little trampoline beside the pool whilst LittleMs and I were away for the night.  I suspect I might have vetoed the idea if I’d been here.

Would I have?

Would you?

PS  This old trampoline used to have mats and nets but they didn’t stand the combined efforts of the four kids for long enough.  We’ve got a bigger, better and bolder trampoline now which we hope will last for much longer.  It cost a mozza but it’s a 10-year investment in my mental health, and physical health too as I enjoy a bit of trampolining too.