Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions

Monday, 29 June 2015

One Perfect Moment {Dancing Queen} | Life

One Perfect Moment is all about those moments, big or small, that make you wish they'd last forever. Those moments you want to stop in time, when everything feels perfect, even for just a split-second. Snapshots of the mind. Moments to treasure forever.

On the weekend we went to my Aunty's 60th birthday party. Dave was working so I was flying solo with the girls. When you're going to a family party though that isn't an issue, because there are always plenty of willing relatives ready to help with the wrangling.

The minute we got there Punky was in her element. There were balloons filled with helium and as soon as she got two in her hands she was off and running. Literally!

She ran around and around, with her trusty sidekick. My cousin's best friend's little girl was also there. She is about 6 months younger than Punky and they were instant friends. They'd met once before, at my Uncle's 60th a couple of years earlier, but in that special way that kids have, they were best friends instantly.

The three girls had the best time, racing around the dance floor with balloons in tow. Once the music and dancing got started they were the queens of the night. Their stamina and dancing put many of the adults there to shame, and they were still going strong at 10:30 at night!
Silly Mummy forgot their drink bottles, but they were delighted to drink water from Mummy's "Big girl glass!". They were both guzzling water like it was going out of style due to the effort the energy they were expending running around and dancing like a couple of fiends!

I had to physically drag Punky off the dance floor at one stage to make her get in to her pyjamas before we left. I can't tell you how many times I told her we'd be leaving after this song. I'm pretty sure there were at least 10 last songs. I could see she was tired, but she was just having so much fun, I didn't want to make her stop.

Eventually though Zee was so tired she could barely sit up and so we had to end the night. By 11pm Punky was finally tired enough to agree to start saying goodbye to people and head home. There were a few tears in the car about having to leave her new "best friend" behind, but a few minutes later both girls were sound asleep.

The highlight of the night was watching the girls have so much fun. They laughed and played and entertained everyone in the room. At one point, while the speeches were happening, Zee hopped off her seat and walked on to the dance floor and loudly asked "Where's Punky? Puuuunnnnkkkkkyyy???". It was the absolute cutest thing!

I'm so blessed to have two such gorgeous, lovely, kind, caring, beautiful-souled children.

And best of all? They gave me my first sleep-in of their lives by not waking up until almost 9:30am the next morning! I must take them out dancing until midnight more often!

Do your kids like dancing and parties as much as mine do?

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Monday, 22 June 2015

One Perfect Moment {Jurassic Memories} | Life

One Perfect Moment is all about those moments, big or small, that make you wish they'd last forever. Those moments you want to stop in time, when everything feels perfect, even for just a split-second. Snapshots of the mind. Moments to treasure forever.

When it's wet & rainy there are a few things that top the list of most enjoyable things to do.

Burrowing under your doona and sleeping for an extra hour.

Eating piping hot toast, washed down with a giant, steaming mug of tea.

Curling up on the lounge with your socks on, a fluffy blanket and a good book.

Enjoying a movie date with your partner. Sans kids.

That last is exactly what Dave and I did on Tuesday a week ago. We were given a Gold Lounge gift voucher for Christmas last year, and I decided that it was time to use it. It was my birthday yesterday, and Dave was on night shift, so I thought why not use it to celebrate a little early while Dave did have a day off.

So got the girls off to school and had a lazy morning, then headed to the cinemas for the 1pm showing of Jurassic World.

When I was younger I used to go to the movies all the time. At least once a week, sometimes twice a week, sometimes, even twice in one day! When I wasn't going to the movies I was watching them. My best-friend worked in a video store, and I used to spend Friday & Saturday nights hanging around the store.

At the end of her shift we'd pick out 10-15 movies to take back to her place and commence watching them over the next couple of weeks. It was fabulous! Ah to be 19 again and have no responsibility other than skipping Uni lectures and hanging out with friends.

These days, I'm lucky to get to the movies once a year! My sisters love going to the movies, but with two small children and a husband who works rotating day/night shifts, it's a little hard to get myself there most times. Unless it's to see the next movie in a series we love, like The Hunger Games (can't wait for the last movie later this year!).

So when Mum asked me what we wanted for Christmas I knew I wanted a gift card for the movies so we could actually go. The plan had actually been to see the last Hobbit movie in 3D in Gold Lounge, but it was only in there for a week, and we missed our chance. We could have seen it in 2D, or 3D in the normal cinema, but life got in the way and we missed our chance.

So we've been sitting on this gift card, waiting for the right movie to come along. And come along it did, in the form of a giant, genetically-engineered dinosaur!

Dave and I both LOVED Jurassic Park when it first came out in 1992. We were both the perfect age for it to be the absolute best movie we had ever seen, up until that time. I can still remember vividly, seeing it at the cinemas, the awe at seeing the dinosaurs on the big screen for the first, the fear and tension as the dinosaurs got lose, pretending to be brave and not scared in front of my little sister and our friend. Dad wondering if maybe it wasn't a great idea to take the younger two after all!

23 years later I still love that movie. And so, we just had to go and see Jurassic World on the big screen.
Chris Pratt certainly didn't hinder the viewing experience either!

To say there were a few plot holes, and that's it's a cheesy movie would probably be the biggest understatement of the year. But I did not care one bit. The entire movie is like one big homage to the original, and every few minutes the characters would do something, see something, say something that was a direct copy or tribute to that first movie and it was like being a kid again.

I didn't care about the cheesiness, the plot holes, the ridiculous shoes, the sexism or anything else that the movie has been criticised for. In that moment, in that cinema, I was a 10 year old kid again, enjoying a movie for the pure entertainment it was meant to be.

More than anything, I loved the way it reminded me of how I felt when I saw the first movie in the cinemas all those years ago.

Afterwards, we talked the entire drive home about the movie, the tributes paid to the first film in almost every scene. We laughed at the plot holes and the cheesy dialogue. Reminisced about what it was like when we saw the first film when we were kids and how it made us feel then.

It was a few hours of perfect moments, one after the other. We've vowed to do it again soon, when the next Terminator movie comes out.

DO you like going to the movies? What was the last thing you saw at the cinemas? Were you a fan of Jurassic Park when it first came out in 92?

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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Twenty-Five {52 week project} | Photography

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.

{Punky} It's been raining most of the week and so we've been a little crazy being cooped up inside, not to mention I've been sick and had to have a day off Tafe, which meant the girls had to have the day off from preschool as well. Friday afternoon I really should have been doing something befitting of my 'adult' status, but instead we had a little fun. Punky is a total jumping bean and has no fear, and so we ound ourselves in the loungeroom, watching Punky performing her acrobatics... jumping off the coffee table on to their mini-lounge. She was having so much fun, and so was I, taking the photos. Eventually she even got up the nerve to try jumping off backwards, and doing twists in the air. I love this photo because it shows just how much fun she was having (and I'm seriously starting to think I need to get her in to gymnastics, her landings were Olympic gold medal worthy!).

{Zee} Zee is a wonderful mimc. We've been hearing it in her language, the way she is able to repeat words perfectly after only hearing them once, copy the intonation and expression perfectly. And lately, we've been seeing it in the faces she pulls. She watches faces closely, and then perfectly mirrors them. Pulling faces has become a favourite game of hers, and she delights in the laughter that it elicits from us. This girl is going to be a real character, a story & joke teller of the highest order. It's an absolute delight to watch.

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Monday, 15 June 2015

One Perfect Moment {Double Exposure} | Life

One Perfect Moment is all about those moments, big or small, that make you wish they'd last forever. Those moments you want to stop in time, when everything feels perfect, even for just a split-second. Snapshots of the mind. Moments to treasure forever.

One of the subjects we've been doing this term at Tafe is Trends & Digital Art. We've spent the weeks looking at & researching different styles and trends in photography. We've then tried to recreate our own version in camera, in studio or in photoshop. So it's only fitting that our first assessment for the subject is to research & recreate two different styles of portrait photography from the 20th & 21st centuries.

Which is how I found myself sitting on my bed on Wednesday night, laptop perched on my knees, researching double exposure photography. A double exposure started in film photography, where the same frame of the film would be exposed to light twice, creating an overlay of two images. I'm sure most of us remember getting the odd roll of film back with a double exposure thanks to the camera not winding on properly.
digital double exposure photography

Most double exposure photography these days is created using Photoshop. There are heaps of tutorials, and if you do a google image search you'll see hundreds of examples of it. What I wanted to do though was IN CAMERA double exposure photography. I wanted to create that double exposed image within my camera, just like back in the days of film, not digitally in Photoshop.

And so it was, that I found this tutorial at the website of Dylan and Sarah, wedding photographers from the US. And through a miracle of luck, discovered that my camera is one of the two types of Canon EOS cameras that allow you to create a double exposure image in your camera!

So of course I then stayed up till 2am playing around with this new technique, and an idea for one of my portrait styles developed. Thankfully my teacher was more than happy for me to attempt my own double exposure portrait, and was surprise that I planned to do it in camera. It seems that double exposure photography via Photoshop is a pretty common thing, but not so common being created in camera in this digital age.
in camera double exposure

Once Friday rocked around I spent a bit of time in the studio photographing a couple of girls in my class for my base image. Once this was done I then headed outside to see what I could see, and find the perfect tree or landscape to use for my second exposure. I was only supposed to be out there for about 10 minutes as we didn't have much time left in class, but I got so caught up in the creating of my images that I ended up out there for about half an hour!

Since then I have done not much else but think about what would make a great double exposure. I've spent every day snapping picture after picture and the excitement to get back to the computer and see how they've turned out is just like the excitement of getting your photos back from the printer in the old film days.

My mind is filled with all sorts of ideas, and I'm positively sweating the double exposure creativity! After a full-on term I am really looking forward to 3 weeks of Tafe holidays, but only because it will allow me to experiment even more, and really get the creative juices flowing.

It feels so good to be using and exploring my creativity and having the chance to learn all of these amazing things at Tafe. I am so damn thankful that circumstances have allowed me to study for my Diploma, and I can honestly say, aside from having the kids and marrying Dave, it is hands down the best decision I have ever made. Photography as a career is not going to be easy but I really don't care, because when you're doing something you love, well, you know what they say!
double exposure photography

I'm so grateful to have this chance to rediscover my creative side, a side that for quite a while before and after Punky was born was buried under the weight of financial and parental responsibility. Tafe has made me realise that I can harness my creativity wherever I am and that it doesn't have to be separate from financial and parental responsibilities.

Exploring my creativity and getting lost in a new technique really has provided me my perfect moments for the week.

Do you have a creative passion? How do you find time for creativity in between all your other responsibilities?

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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Twenty-Three & Twenty-Four {52 week project} | Photography

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.
Hawkesbury NSW
{Punky} Another Sunday afternoon, another trip to feed the ducks. It's such a lovely thing to do together, and the girls love to run around and burn off some steam. Just before this photo was taken Punky had fallen over and hit her head. How she didn't injure herself I have no idea, but the shock of it was enough to upset her. Thankfully, when you're 3 and a half, hugs from Daddy are all it takes to make it all better.

Things to do in the Hawkesbury
{Zee} Poor Zee was attacked by a goose on this particular occasion. They were very impatient geese, and got a little aggressive waiting for the small ones to relinquish their bread. Being that the geese were bigger than Zee, I guess she was an easy target for them. Thankfully she wasn't badly hurt and didn't damper her enthusiasm for the activity at all. I love the curiosity they have at this age (almost 2) and how everything seems new and exciting to them. Zee never fails to stop and stare when she sees and hears birds over head. I hope she never loses her curiosity.

How to dress like a princess
{Punky} Princess Punky. Or Elsa. Or Sophia. This girl hasn't met a Princess she didn't love, and dressing up as a princess is hands down her favourite thing to do on lazy days at home.

Hawkesbury NSW
{Zee} We visited the in-laws new house this weekend, and the girls, and Dave & I, loved it. It's beautiful, and I can see exactly what attracted my MIL to it in the first place. Zee was particularly impressed with it because she discovered fairly quickly that she could reach the handle on the back door by herself, and spent a good chunk of time coming in and out of the house!

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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

One Perfect Moment {In Living Colour} | Life

One Perfect Moment is all about those moments, big or small, that make you wish they'd last forever. Those moments you want to stop in time, when everything feels perfect, even for just a split-second. Snapshots of the mind. Moments to treasure forever.

Normally I post my One Perfect Moment on a Monday, but I was just having so much fun this weekend just gone that I didn't get anywhere near my computer. And being that Dave had a rare Monday off I decided to give myself the full long weekend off and postpone sharing my One Perfect Moment until today.

When you get right down to it, I kinda love the fact that I didn't get a chance to go near the computer this weekend, and hence no chance of blogging. It means I was living.

Living my life.

Having fun.

That's what life is all about after all.
the colour run

Saturday saw me having a slow morning with the girls while I got everything packed and ready for heading over to my sisters. We were spending the night, so that my sister and BIL could get in some parenting practice before the arrival of their first cherub come August. And because I needed a babysitter!

Earlier in the year I signed up to do the Color Run Night with a couple of my girlfriends. It was originally meant to be in May, but the date was changed to the long weekend, and so serious plans needed to be made.

On the original date Dave wasn't working, and so I didn't need to worry about who would look after the girls while I went off to get covered in coloured, glowing corn starch. But the change in date meant that I was left with no baby sitter, and so my sister and brother-in-law came to my rescue.
colour run sydney

After arriving at my sisters and seeing the girls settled, my brother-in-law drove me to the station where I hot-footed it in to the city and The Domain. I met up with my girlfriends and we headed over to the marshalling area to get geared up for the run.

I say run, but in reality we actually walked, maybe running for one 100m or so stint. For us, it wasn't about the running, it was all about the fun, having a night with friends, and a night off from our kids.

After navigating the course and having an absolute ball throwing handfuls of glowing powder at each other (we may or may not have gone a little beserk at the finish line with the packets of powder they gave us, just to make sure we were well and truly colourful!) we headed off to walk a few more kilometers (because 5 was clearly not enough!) in search of wine and food.
Color Run sydney
New Facebook profile pic in the making!

Being the second last night of the Vivid Festival the city was well and truly packed, and it proved no easy feat finding a restaurant that could accommodate us and wouldn't take a bazillion hours to bring us our meals. After battling the crowds admiring the lights of Vivid we found ourselves in the Rocks, and a little place called Le Pain Quotidien.

Le Pain Quotidien is the cutest little restaurant, located in the old Rocks Police Station. At the back of the restaurant you can actually sit in the old cells to have your meal. It was very cute (if a jail cell can be called that!). The food was really good and amazingly well-priced for a city eatery, and so we stuffed ourselves with a generous charcuterie platter, and I chose the crispy pork-belly with mash, baked apple and gravy for main. Delicious!

The food was washed down with not one but two bottles of a lovely Merlot that had us all feeling even more happy by the time we were done with our meals. There's nothing like good food, wine and good friends to make a girl's heart sing.

After dinner we walked up to the Shangri La Hotel and took a chance to that we would be let in to what was voted Best Hotel Bar in the Gourmet Traveller 2014 Hotel Guide Awards, Blu Bar on 36. None of us were really expecting to have a chance of getting in, dressed as we were for running and with multi-coloured hair, but the lady took pity on us, and after promising to hide in a corner and spend money, we were allowed in for the perfect cocktail to end our night, a Vanilla Martini Espresso.

After a lot of laughs and stories told, I headed home. I have to thank my brother in law for being kind enough to pick me up from the station at 1 in the morning! A little later than I had originally intended to come home, but let's face it, it's not every weekend I get the chance to go out for a night on the town with my friends, so we made the most of it!

After a little sleep-in and slow morning at my sister's (gotta love a red wine hangover!) we headed home to pick up Dave, who was sleeping off night shift, so we could go check out my in-laws new house. We were thoroughly spoiled with a delicious lunch and dessert and enjoyed a few hours of bliss, enjoying the winter sunshine, good food and family company.

All in all it was a fabulous weekend and we capped it off by spending Monday doing absolutely nothing but hanging out together, enjoying the love and laughs of our little family of four. This is the stuff long weekends are made for, and I made sure I made the most of it.

Life sometimes gets so busy that I forget to stop for a moment and slow down and really take it all in. I forget to appreciate how lucky I am to have such wonderful family and friends. It's why my One Perfect Moment posts are so important to me. They make me stop and take note of the little things that make up my weeks, that I'm not always conscious of or appreciate, and help me to find joy and gratitude for the life I've been given.

Do you do anything special to practice gratitude? What was your one perfect moment this week? Have you ever done the Color Run? When was the last time you had a girls night?

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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Top 5 Tips for Buying Good Baby Shower Gifts {Plus Giveaway!} | Motherhood

This post bought to you by Baby Vegas

This weekend we are throwing my sister a baby shower and I am super excited. My sisters and I have been pinning away madly with ideas for the party and it's all coming together beautifully. I can't wait to get the place set and see all the lovely things that she gets.

One of the biggest questions I've been asked in the lead-up to the party is what to get for the new Mum and baby. Knowing what to buy for an expectant Mum can be hard sometimes, especially if you're not sure what they already have, or if you've not had much experience with babies and newborns.

Luckily for you, I have had extensive experience with babies and baby showers and I've learnt a few handy things about buying good baby shower gifts along the way. So I thought today I would share with you my top 5 tips for what to give at a baby shower.

1. Stick to the small stuff

Most expectant parents already have the big stuff covered. The big stuff being things like cots, prams, car seats and baby monitors. Not only are these quite expensive, but most people like to do their research and get a specific brand or type.

The same goes for furniture and large decorative items for a baby's room. Most Mum's have a personal decorating style, so unless you know what that is, or have spoken to the Mum in question and know exactly what she wants or the colour scheme/style then it's best to steer clear altogether or get things that will fit with any scheme or style.

2. Practical things NEVER go astray

When I say practical, I really mean practical. Think newborn nappies. Baby wipes (it's quite astounding how many a newborn can burn through, and they are also great for cleaning other messes as well). Nappy sacks (the little plastic bags used to tie up and throw away dirty nappies while out & about). Nappy rash cream. Gentle, soap-free baby wash (and not that nasty Johnsons stuff you hear, it's not fit for adults let alone sensitive newborn skin!).

Practical stuff always comes in handy, especially a big pack of old-school cloth nappies. Those old-school cloth nappies are the perfect thing for cleaning up baby spew and I lived with one over my shoulder permanately for the first 6 months of each of my girls lives. If you the Mum-to-be is lucky enough to get a spewer like I was, having plenty on hand is a god-send.

3. Gorgeous keep-sake toys & gifts

I'm a big fan of giving something a little special along with the practical gifts, so hitting up an online store such as Baby Vegas is a great idea. Baby Vegas have heaps of awesome things for kids, from fun, to the practical to the gorgeous keepsake.

I've gotten the most divine Teddy Bear in a beautiful gift box for my sister, which I hope will not only be something special for bubs, but something that they will hang on to for years to come. I still have the Teddy Bear I was given at birth and it's a treasured piece of my history I will keep forever.

After hearing about Baby Vegas I was so impressed when I checked out their website and saw the extensive range of toys, gifts, clothing, nifty storage solutions, sleep aids and so much more. Now that I've found them I will definitely be heading there as my first port of call when looking for gifts for my girls and the other special children in my life.

If you'd like to try out Baby Vegas for yourself, the lovely people over there have offered up $20 credit for me to giveaway to one of you lovely readers! The details of the giveaway are at the bottom of this post.
The gorgeous keepsake bear I've gotten from Baby Vegas for my soon-to-arrive niece or nephew

4. Gift vouchers for food delivery services

Any new Mum can tell you that 6 days out of 7, the last thing they feel like having to do in those early, sleepless weeks is have to think about what to make for dinner. By giving a gift card to a service that delivers yummy, ready-made meals, you're not only giving the gift of nourishing food, but you're also giving the new parents the gift of time and one less thing to worry about. Because nobody wants to go grocery shopping with a newborn, and even the most keen cooks could certainly do with not having to worry about preparing meals for a bit.

5. Something special for Mum & Dad

I can say enough how good it is to receive a voucher for some pampering, whether it be pre-baby or post. Give the Mum-to-be something the gift of an hour or two off, and why not throw in an hour of your own time to baby-sit bub. It doesn't even have to be for some fancy spa or anything, even just the chance to sit and have a quick pedicure while drinking a coffee in silence is all it takes to help a new Mum recharge her batteries after the ordeal of giving birth and surviving the early weeks.

Don't forget Dad, and throw in a nice bottle of grog or plonk for him to wet the baby's head with. Maybe they are a golf or footy fan, you could offer to spend the afternoon with the new Mum while Dad heads to the golf course or a game, because we all know the best Dad's need a little break now and then in the early days too.

Bonus Tip:
If you're keen to buy bubs some new threads, consider buying one or two items in a size bigger than newborn. Think 00 and 0. Kids grow at an astonishing rate, and I know I appreciated the larger size pieces that I was given before Punky was born, which meant that I didn't have to dash up the shops for something that actually fit her when she seemed to double in size overnight!

What was the best thing you were given at your baby shower? What's your go-to, never fail gift to give a new Mum? 

And for a chance to win $20 credit to spend at Baby Vegas, have a look at their website and let me know in the comments below what you would give as a baby shower gift from the Baby Vegas website. Make sure you validate your comment using the rafflecopter widget below...

Disclosure: Baby Vegas were kind enough to let me choose a gorgeous gift for my sister in thanks for checking out their site and having a look around. I was seriously impressed with the site and would not have included them in this post if I wasn't, and didn't think you'd like them too. I was not paid any money for this post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition Terms & Conditions:
The competition to win $20 credit at is open to Australian residents only, aged 18 years and over. Competition opens midnight June 2nd 2015 AEST, and closes midnight, Friday 12th June AEST. This is a game of skill. Winner will be chosen based on their answer to the question in the rafflecopter widget. Winner will be required to create an account at Baby Vegas and the $20 credit will be applied to their account to spend as they wish in the online store. This competition is in no way associated or endorsed by or

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Monday, 1 June 2015

One Perfect Moment {Looking for the Light} | Life

One Perfect Moment is all about those moments, big or small, that make you wish they'd last forever. Those moments you want to stop in time, when everything feels perfect, even for just a split-second. Snapshots of the mind. Moments to treasure forever.

Last week I spent a day in the city with my Tafe class. It meant an earlier than usual morning for the girls and I, and we managed to get through the preschool drop-off in record time so that I could race down to the station and jump on a train to the city.

We were visiting the city so that we could go to the State Library to check out the World Press Photo Exhibition. It's a collection of the previous years and winning and highly commended press photos and it was an amazing exhibition. Moving. Confronting. Eye-opening. If you get a chance to check it out I highly recommend it, it's on until the 21st of June and it's free.

We also had a look at the Sydney Morning Herald's 1440 exhibition, a collection of some of the Fairfax photographers best images for the year. This exhibition is also at the State Library and is free. We then headed next door to Parliament House to have a look at the winners and highly commended entries to the Head On Photo Festival's Landscape Photography competition. Another must-see if you're in town.

While we were in the city we were given a little photography challenge. We had to take a photo that fit the theme of "Sydney in Autumn" and it was fun to exercise our creativity for a bit. After a delicious lunch in Martin Place (I had the most amazing Thai Salt & Pepper Squid) my classmates and I wandered around for a bit, laughing, talking and taking photos.

There is always so much to see in the city, and when you open your eyes and start looking for it, the most amazing light, especially in late Autumn. I felt like everywhere we turned there was a photo just waiting to be taken. I could have spent hours wandering and snapping.

As it was we had to head back for the Landscape exhibition after lunch, but once we'd spent some time checking out the entries we were free to go. Most of the class stayed in the city to take photos of the Vivid Festival, but I had to head back home to get the girls from daycare.

I took my time though, and spent a good 40 minutes before my train looking for the light.

It was so nice to walk around with my camera, taking pictures of anything that took my fancy and trying to fill the brief of "Sydney in Autumn". I took quite a few photos, but I'm struggling to decide which one I like the best to submit to our class mini-comp.

Spending time in the city with nothing to do but look for the light and take pictures reminded me of just how much I love the city of Sydney. It's truly beautiful. I used to work in the city, and aside from the travel to and from, I loved ever minute of it.

I've decided that I need to make more of an effort to get in their more often, with just myself and my camera. There is beauty and interesting things every where you look, you just need to open your eyes, stop and look for it.

Being there child-free was also pretty great in itself, and I'm so thankful that I live in such a beautiful part of the world, and had the time and resources to be able to take it all in and enjoy it.

Do you get in to the city closest to where you live much? What's your favourite city?
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