Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions

Monday, 20 April 2015

One Perfect Moment {Coupling} | 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 Tuesday Dave and I found ourselves with a rare child-free day. I was still on Tafe holidays, and the girls were at Daycare/Preschool. It was the perfect opportunity to do something just for us. To spend time together. To reconnect.

I'd been invited to visit a house in Mossman and check out Belkin's Wemo range of lifestyle products. I'll write more about those in another post, but let me just say, fabulous! I want everything!

After checking out the house and it's marvels in Mossman, we headed in to the city, specifically the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

There was an exhibition on, The Photograph and Australia, that my tafe teacher had told us about and that I really wanted to check out. As it happened, Art Express (an exhibition of some of the states top performing student artists in the HSC) was on at the same time too, and Dave was really keen to check that out.

We took our time checking out the Photography exhibition, knowing that we didn't have to worry about bored, running riot kids.

After the Photography exhibition we wandered over to The Pavillion over in the park and had the best lunch. Seriously, the food was so good (and I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I'd been living on smoothies and grilled fish/chicken & veggies since Easter!). It was lovely to be able to sit together and chat.

We talked about the exhibition and the photos we'd looked at, spoke abut the gadgets we'd seen at the Wemo House, and basically enjoyed some adult conversation. I don't think we mentioned the girls once!

After lunch we headed back into the Gallery to check out Art Express and see the rest of then general art displays. Dave has always had an interest in Art, and it's nice to be able to walk around together and talk about the pictures we like and why.

One of the things that first attracted me to Dave when we met was his sense of humour. He is a master of observation, and his funny remarks and commentary on the art & artists, as well as the people enjoying the displays around us had me in stitches.

We walked from room to room, sometimes holding hands, sometimes at opposite ends, meeting together in the middle to point out what had caught our attention and imagination.

As we reluctantly left the Gallery to drive home and pick up the girls, I stopped in the entrance to take a few photos of the architecture, it's so beautiful. And there is another reason why I love Dave, he has never complained about my need to stop and take photos of things. I can't tell you how many times he has been dragged along with me to crazy places so that I could get my camera out and take photos.

He's sat with me in the pouring rain, while I wait for the lightning to strike. Stood with me in the freezing cold, rugged up in numerous layers and two beanies, while I wait for the setting sun to hit just the right spot so that I can capture the colours we see. He's run and jumped and done what I've told him, all in the name of helping me create the photo I've envisioned in my head.

The support of my passion is worth my love alone.

Getting to spend a day together, engaging in adult conversation, talking about things other than the mundane, routine things of our life was exactly what we both needed. Nobody talks often about the toll raising young children can have on the relationship with your partner, and I'm so lucky that Dave and I have managed to weather the storm so far and stay more connected and in love than we were on the day we married.

Have you gotten to spend some time away from the kids as a couple lately? Do enjoy visiting art galleries and museums?

Linking up with One Mother Hen & Multitasking Mummy

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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sixteen {52 week project} | Photography

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.
western sydney child photography
{Punky} This girl. Such a study in contradictions. Just like her mother! She is deathly afraid of the Daddy Long-Legs living beside the toilet (which I love because he eats any and all small bugs), but she will play with a Millipede for ages and ages. On this particular day she sat beside me on the floor for ages, letting him crawl over her arms, getting him to climb over different toys, and just generally having fun with him. When she was done, she very gently placed him outside in the garden, so he could continue on his ways.

Portrait of the Terrible Twos
{Zee} What can I say? Every day this kid continues to surprise me. We are well and truly getting in to the terrible twos now, and I am starting to think that she may actually be worse than what her sister was. And that's saying something. Throw in the fact that she has a really hard time of it when it comes to getting teeth (little bastards keep coming up and down and causing her a lot of pain), and it's been an interesting couple of weeks in the Purtell Household!

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Friday, 17 April 2015

Linky Lovin' Friday {17th April 2015} | Reading

Ahhh, baby brain. How long can you keep using that excuse after having babies? I technically don't have babies anymore, but the fact that I completely forgot to write this post before it went live, well, I have no other explanation for it!

I sat down to write last night and got as far as popping in one of the links I wanted to share, and then got sidetracked by something. And then Dave was home and we were eating dinner, and then Survivor was on, and then the memory of ever having started this post just vanished from my brain. Woosh!

Oh well, no harm done, I'm here now, the girls are settled in naps and quiet time, and I actually have a few moments of peace to sit and think. Peace & quiet is a rare commodity these days, and it's going to get even rarer once I start my Diploma next week. If I'm not at Tafe I'll be out taking photos, studying, or trying to spend as much time playing with the girls as I can to make up for not seeing them all week.

I must admit I am struggling with the fact that they will be in daycare/preschool 3 days a week and then looked after either Dave or his Mum for one other day of the week. For 4 out of 5 weekdays they will be in someone else's care, and I feel nervous and guilty about it. I know they will be fine, all of their carers are wonderful, but it's hard to shake off that Mummy Guilt sometimes, even when you know you're doing the right thing.

I'm trying to view it all as short-term pain for long-term gain. By completing my Diploma this year I'm taking steps towards creating a better future for myself and my family. I hope that Punky in particular doesn't see me as simply abandoning her but working for her, and I hope she sees the example of working hard that I am trying to set for her.

She heads to school in a little over 18 months and I hope the transition from one day at Preschool to 3 will be good for her. I hope it will help her to become more confident and social, and won't do the opposite, make her anxiety around large groups of people worse. I'm sure we'll see some interesting side-effects of the girls being at care 3 days a week sooner rather than later, but I hope the effects are limited and good in the long-run.
My Mum, being attacked by her children on Easter Sunday... how she has any sanity left is beyond me!

But enough about the Mummy Guilt. In some exciting news, my Mum has started a blog. She hasn't actually posted anything yet, as I am still helping her to get it looking the way she wants and teaching her how it all works, but I can't wait to share it with you when she's ready. She's already got her first post written and ready to go and it's great. She's a total natural.

She's going to be sharing some of the short stories that my Grandmother used to write and had bound in a book for her, and also share some of our family history and tales about life as a Mother of 5 children in the 80s/90s. She has lots of stories to tell and I for one can't wait to read them. Hopefully by next Friday I'll be able to link to her blog and you can discover how awesome my Mum is for yourselves!

But for now, I bring you a few of the things I've enjoyed around the web this week, including an awesome video of the best baby secret ever that was getting shared around on FB last night, as well as some interesting posts about kids behaviour, and finally a really cool post with some awesome ideas for activities to do with 3 year olds. Enjoy!

How the hell do I discipline my kid by From the Left Field

Best Kept Baby Secret (VIDEO) via For Every Mom

Tantrums: Theirs and Mine by Handbag Mafia

15 Fun Activities for 3 year olds by Not Just Cute

Read anything awesome this week? Hit me up with the link in the comments. Would you be excited if your Mum started a blog, or nervous about the things she'd write? 

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A Day in the Life {10 on the 10th | April 2015} | Photography

My bloggy friend Talia does this thing where she takes 10 photos on the 10th day of the month and I have been meaning to play along for ages. Not to be confused with those bloggerS who post 10 photos on their blog on the 10th (which I love!), this is about documenting the 10th day of the month with 10 photos.

In an effort to finally remember I filled my phone with reminders for almost every hour of the 10th. There's a mix of photos from my phone and the dSLR. Here's a small snippet of a day in the life of the Purtells...

Fridays are swimming lesson days for Punky, and we always tie her hair back in a ponytail and then tie it back to keep it out of her face. Let's just say it takes Dave a little longer to get the plait happening but he's certainly getting better with practice!
After swimming we always get some hot chips to bring home. It's their special Friday lunch treat 
Once Zee is in bed and Punky is having her quiet time, it's my time to get on the computer and do some *ahem* work!

Quiet time doesn't actually last long where Punky's concerned, and I was treated to an impromptu dancing concert
Strutting her stuff down the street on the way to get groceries. So much attitude!

Shopping. Always an interesting experience with two kids. For some reason Punky has decided that she wants to sit on the seat, which leaves Zee relegated to sitting in the back. Which means I have to keep an extra close eye on her, lest I find she's opened something up and started taking bites out of it.

Veggie ravioli for dinner. Zee insists on eating everything with a fork these days. She even wanted to eat the Chang's noodles we have with the crunchy noodle salad when we were down in Wagga for Easter!
The calm before the bed time storm. To be honest, it's actually gotten better since we moved her in with her sister.
The Night Garden. It's freaky, but the girls love it, so who am I to say no. And it's our bedtime ritual now to sing the night time song with Hoot before bed.  
First time cooking salmon. Nailed it!

Linking up with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday and Agent Mystery Case for Worth Casing Wednesday

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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Photography Basics {Shutter Speed} | Photography

what is shutter speed
A couple of months ago I wrote a post called Photography Basics: How does a camera work? and I gave an overview of how it is that a camera actually records and creates an image. I mentioned in that article that there are three basic elements to creating the right environment for your camera to record light and create an image.

Those elements, or settings, are Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO. There are millions of articles out there in webland that explain what these things are and how to use them. Today, I'm going to talk about the first, and possibly the easiest to understand of those elements, Shutter Speed.

What is Shutter Speed?

Shutter speed is exactly what it sounds like...

Your camera has little doors, called shutters, that open and close when you push the button to take a photo. How fast or how slow those doors open is called the shutter speed. The shutter speed of your camera is measured in seconds and fractions of seconds.

What does Shutter Speed do?

Your shutter speed does two things...

1. it controls how long light is allowed to go in to your camera and plays a part in determining the exposure (lightness or darkness) of your photo, and

2. controls the movement (also known as motion blur) in your photo.

definition of shutter speed
Examples of a fast shutter speed

Shutter Speed and exposure

A fast shutter speed reduces the amount of time light is allowed in to your camera and will create a darker photo. A slow shutter speed increases the amount of time light is allowed in to your camera and creates brighter photos.

FAST shutter speed = LESS TIME for light to enter camera = DARKER photos

SLOW shutter speed = MORE TIME for light to enter the camera = LIGHTER photos

Keep in mind however, that there are two other elements that control the amount of light your camera collects, the aperture setting and ISO setting. So if you're shooting in Manual mode and want to use a particular shutter speed to create a certain effect in your image (movement/motion blur versus no movement/motion blur) but you find it's making your image too dark or too light, you need to then adjust your aperture or ISO to correct your exposure problem so you can keep the same shutter speed.

Shutter Speed and movement

how to change shutter speed
Examples of a slow shutter speed
By adjusting how fast or slow your cameras little doors open and close you can also change the 'movement' in the photo. A fast shutter speed will 'freeze the action', meaning that if you were to take a photo of your child jumping off something, you would be able to capture them looking like they are hanging in mid-air. On the flipside, if you were to use a slower shutter speed, your child will look blurred, which can give the impression of movement.

This is a great article that explains Shutter Speed really well and shows you how to change it on your camera.

Depending on the kind of picture you want to take, you can use your shutter speed to add creativity to your photos through movement. If you are photographing anything that moves and you want to reduce motion blur in your photos, then a good rule of thumb is to use a shutter speed of 1/125 or faster. Some people even recommend not using a shutter speed slower than 1/250 to make sure you don't have motion blur when photographing people.

Experimenting with Shutter Speed.

The best way to understand how shutter speed will effect the movement/motion blur in your photos is to just play around with it. And the best way to do that is to set your dSLR camera* to Shutter Priority mode (Tv on a Canon, S on a Nikon) and start shooting. By using Shutter Priority mode you can adjust your shutter speed to whatever you like, and your camera will automatically adjust your aperture and ISO setting to ensure your exposure is correct. That way you don't have to worry about fiddling around with the other settings until you're ready to, and can just have fun being creative with shutter speed.

Try taking some photos of your kids or pets running and jumping using slower shutter speeds (anything below 1/250) and see how the camera starts to capture motion blur and your photos have a sense of movement. Alternatively, use a faster shutter speed (anything above say 1/640) to see how the camera freezes the action, capturing the moment without any motion blur.
photography basics shutter speed
For this series of photos I had my camera in continuous shot mode and my shutter speed set to 1/125. Because jumping is a fast movement, using 1/125 meant that there would still be motion blur to give a sense of movement, but still fast enough to mostly freeze the moment. A faster shutter speed would have frozen Punky more and eliminated any motion blur.

Like I said earlier, shutter speed is the easiest element of exposure to understand and start using to achieve certain things in your photos. By experimenting with your shutter speed you can really start to get creative with your photos.
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In my next photography basics post we'll look at aperture and how that also affects the exposure of your photo, as well as your photo's depth-of-field.

Have you ever experimented with the shutter speed on your camera? Are you keen to have a play around with the shutter speed on your camera?

Want more posts about photography?
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photography basics, how a camera works
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your camera actually works

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Monday, 13 April 2015

One Perfect Moment {#inthepicture} | 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.

Easter and the lead-up to it was a little crazy. We were super busy and we also headed down to my sister's place in a Wagga for a few days, which was fun, but also stressful with two small children who don't quite understand the concepts of rest and relaxation when on holidays.

Add in to the mix one of those children being unwell, and you can say it was an interesting mini-break to say the least. It was actually kind of a relief to get back home on Tuesday and know that we didn't have anything that we had to do for the rest of the week.

So Wednesday last week, our first full day at home since well before Easter, we did nothing. Well, almost nothing. I got the house into something resembling presentable, and I played with the girls.

I wasn't feeling the best, I was getting my sister's head cold, and by the afternoon I was pretty much done. So as an excuse to lie down for a bit, I crawled in to the girls' room where they were playing and lay down on Zee's bed.

We ended up being in there for quite a while, just talking and laughing, me tickling the girls, them trying to push or roll me off the bed. Just being together.

It was really nice to just hang out together. No stress. No tears. No vomiting!

It was the perfect opportunity to get my phone out and take some silly selfies together.

The girls love to take photos of themselves or other people (don't all small children?!) and for me, it was a perfect way to join in with Bron and get myself in the picture with the girls.

I'm pretty terrible at remembering to get myself in the picture, but I've definitely been making a bit more of an effort. Even if it's just a few silly selfies while hanging out in the girls bedroom together.

Wednesday afternoon was such a nice, relaxing affair. My girls are growing so big and sometimes it's nice to stop everything and just be with them. In the moment. Not having to be doing anything.

Just enjoying each other's company.

Soaking up every minute of these girls, at this age and stage. At this moment in time.

Just enjoying a few perfect moments together, before reality comes crashing back in.

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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Fifteen {52 week project} | Photography

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.
{Punky} Whenever I tell her we need to run down the street to do some shopping she complains. "I don't like shopping!", she says. Funny thing is, as soon as we get where we are going she is more than happy to explore and strut around. She's gotten to an age where she can be trusted not to touch everything in sight or run away whenever I let go of her hand (most of the time!). It's nice. And it's nice to have someone to chat to and make jokes with while doing something as mundane as getting groceries, she makes it interesting.

{Zee} She is obsessed with using a fork at the moment. Obsessed! To the point where she has to have one with every meal, whether it be veggie ravioli, vegemite toast, or noodles (of the Chang's crunchy kind!). She just won't take no for an answer. She's getting pretty good with it now too and the tantrums at not getting the food on to the fork and in to her mouth and are getting few and far between because of her increased strike rate. Now if she could just master keeping the spoon the right way up instead of turning it over halfway to her mouth and dropping porridge and yoghurt everywhere we'd be laughing!

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Friday, 10 April 2015

Linky Lovin' Friday {10th April 2015} | Reading

Talk about a hectic few weeks! It feels like ages since I last wrote a Linky Lovin' Friday post. Which is probably because it has been! Life just got so busy there at the end of  March, what with the lead-up to Easter and the end of my Tafe course.

You'll be pleased to know that I did indeed pass and finished my tafe course successfully. So successfully in fact that I have gained entry in to the Diploma of Photo Imaging course, and thanks to all of the planets in the known Universe aligning, I have also managed to sort childcare for the girls to allow me to actually do the Diploma course this year!

It's a full year earlier than I had planned, and it is going to take some major organisation on my part, but I'm excited for the challenge, and stoked that by the end of November I will have my Diploma and be ready to really see if I've got what it takes to make a living in this business.

We were so fortunate that the daycare centre run by the Tafe had vacancies for both girls two days a week. I spent last Tuesday filling in a million forms and getting a tour of the centre and I think the girls are really going to like it. The staff are really lovely and facilities are top notch, especially the outdoor play areas. What this means is that the girls will be going to their daycare/preschool across the road on a Tuesday, and the Tafe daycare/preschool on Wednesdays and Thursdays. 3 days a week in total.

I think Zee will handle this perfectly, but I am a little anxious about how Punky is going to take it. Not to mention that then on Fridays they will be spending the day being looked after by Nana. It's going to be a big change for them, and pretty full-on, but I just have to keep reminding myself that it's for a good cause, and to benefit them in the future.

But enough about Tafe, I don't want to have to start thinking about it until the end of next week and just enjoy the short holidays I have before the madness starts!

Easter was pretty eventful. We packed the girls up and headed down to my sister's place in Wagga. It's usually about a 4.5-5 hour trip, but the trip down last Saturday took over 6 hours! Poor Zee was not well and ended up spewing three times in the car, and then once more after we got to Kate's. We're not sure if it was car sickness of some kind of 24-hour bug, but she was not a happy girl. Throw in to the mix some major teething that she has going on and it was pretty much meltdown city every few hours with her.

Thankfully we had all hands on deck to help us manage her moods, and I even managed to get in a good solid couple of hours playing the king of card games, 500, with my family. Despite the crappy toddler, it really was nice to just get away for a few days and have a much needed change of scenery. I even got to pull out my camera on Easter Sunday afternoon and take some photos of the girls and do a bit of an impromptu photo shoot with my sister during 'golden hour'.

All of this has meant that once again I haven't had a huge amount of time for blogging and reading, and I even gave myself a little blogging break while I was away. It was very nice, but I have been keen to get back in to it since we got back on Tuesday afternoon. The fact that I'm going to be at Tafe full-time from the 22nd April means that I am going to have to be really careful with my time, and so I'm hoping to spend the next week and a bit getting as many of my ideas out of my head and on to the screen as I can.

Hopefully I can get quite a few posts written so that during the weeks when I have assessments due I won't have to worry about blogging and can concentrate on nailing my Diploma! So on that note, I leave with a few links that I did manage to read this week, and hopefully you can hit me up with a few of the links that you've been loving over the last couple of weeks so I can get caught up on blog-land again.

Have a great weekend and happy reading!

Sunrise on Vaccination by Handbag Mafia

The Motherhood Peace Treaty by The Mummy & the Minx

10 Harry Potter Items I Siriusly Need Right NOW! by Momentary Lapse of Reality

Five of the best: Adult colouring-in printables by Fat Mum Slim

Read or written anything awesome in the last few weeks? Hit me up with your links in the comments!

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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Fourteen {52 week project} | Photography

A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015.
{Punky} She had so much fun hunting for Easter Eggs at my sister's place on Easter Sunday. It was really great to get away for a few days and spend some time with the family. Punky was good the whole time, with only a few hiccups here and there when she was tired. But on the whole, she's really growing up, and from all accounts she was exceptionally well-behaved at Church, which was a big test for her sitting quietly skills!

{Zee} Poor Zee. She's had a really rough time of it lately. The adjustment to a big bed and sharing a room. And then being dragged down the state on an almost 6 hour road trip, during which she spewed 3 times. She then capped it off by spewing once more after arriving at my sister's house. Add to the general un-wellness some new tooth making their painful way through her gums and she has been one very sooky toddler. It took the lot of us to manage her try to steer her from one meltdown to the next. Let's just say I'm really glad it was just a 24-hour tummy bug and not car sickness, however I think it might be a little while before we attempt another long road-trip or holiday with this little munchkin!

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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Easter Show Survival Guide {For parents of small children} | Kid-Friendly Sydney

The Easter Show. To be honest, up until yesterday I had only ever been twice in my life. And if you had asked me if I was going to take my two small girls one year I would have looked at you with a look of pure horror and then gone and rocked in a corner until the feeling passed.

But a few weeks ago I was contacted by a very lovely lady who asked if I would like to go to the Easter Show and was I interested in attending a pre-show sneak peek to see all the great stuff they had going on. I jumped at the chance, because to be honest, the couple of times I've been I've loved it. Sadly though the preview clashed with Tafe and I couldn't make it. But we did score some tickets so we could go and experience the show anyway.

So yesterday Dave and got the girls ready and jumped on the train to the show. We actually ended up having a pretty good day, and I think a lot of it had to do with being prepared, and how we approached it all. So I thought, in the interests of helping other parents of small children (and when I say small I mean toddlers under 4) tackle the show with their kids, I'd share the Top 5 things we did to make sure the day was enjoyable for everyone.
easter show 2015
One kids excited about the show. The other one just wants to get her head stuck in the bars.

1. Have realistic expectations

This is a big one. I've learnt that there is no point in planning interesting outings and activities for kids if it's not something that they can realistically handle. When it came to going to the show, we knew that the girls wouldn't last more than a few hours. We also knew that our girls were at their best in the mornings, and that by about 1pm Zee would be in sore need of a nap and getting crabby.

So we arrived at the show as soon as the gates opened (9am) and made sure we'd done everything we wanted to by 1pm. This way we were able to take out time getting back to the train, the girls were happy to leave, and Zee ended up getting to have her nap on the train ride home. This meant everyone was happy and there were no major meltdowns from overtired kids to deal with.

2. Be prepared

Before you go to the show, make sure you check out the website and see what's on offer before you get there. This is important. Have a think about what your kids will actually be interested in, and have a rough idea of how long you plan to spend doing each thing so you can fit it all in. Don't expect your kids to be happy to be dragged around to exhibits you want to see, that they would normally tolerate.

For instance, I would have loved to spend heaps of time looking at the arts & crafts exhibitions, but there is no way the girls would have cared for that. I'm an adult, and I can go another time if I want to see certain things so we dedicated the time we had at the show to doing the things the girls liked. Namely, looking at the animals and going on rides. Oh and running around and jumping in puddles.
royal easter show 2015
The rain wasn't going to rain on her parade!

3. Take a pram or hire one when you get there

We ummed and ahhed about whether or not we should take the pram, and in the end we did, and it was the right decision. No matter how much kids like to walk, there will be times when they just don't want to, or when you need to move quicker than their little legs will manage. Punky was the one who spent most of the show being pushed around, and then Zee slept soundly in the pram on the train coming home.

It's also good for dumping your bags/jackets/etc on if you need to be hands-free for a bit. You do a lot of walking at the show and it's a good idea not to overestimate how much your kids can handle. You can even -pre-book pram hire before you go and then just pick it up once you get there if you don't want to wrangle a pram on and off trains.

4. Use public transport

Showlink tickets include travel to and from the show on Sydney public transport. It certainly beats paying $25 for parking, and gives you a chance to just sit back and chat with the kids about what to expect on the way there, what they are looking forward to; and to chat about what they enjoyed on the way home. Make sure you pack some little snacks and take water bottles, so if anyone gets a bit peckish or rowdy, you can distract them with a well-timed biscuit!
sydney royal easter show 2015
Having a run around and chasing bubbles before heading for the train and home.

5. Research the show bags and buy them as you leave

Another good thing about the Easter Show website is that it has info on all of the show bags available and what comes in them. I had a good look through the day before we went, and then showed Punky the few that I knew she would like. I let her choose the one she wanted (Sophia the First) and then told her that we would get a second one for her and Zee to share.

There is a showbag pavillion inside the show where you can find all of the showbags available, and there are also trucks scattered around in various places with certain showbags available. Thankfully the bags we wanted were in these trucks and we didn't need to venture in to the pavillion. We grabbed the bags on our way out, and Punky had a great time looking through all of her loot on the train. It was really good for keeping her occupied on the way home and we didn't have to carry the showbags all around the show.
royal easter show
R: Zee in her makeshift poncho; L: Punky loving herself sick with her Sophia the First showbag goodies

All in all we had a really good time at the show. The girls absolutely loved checking out all of the animal pavillions, and the Farmyard Nursery was definitely a highlight of the day. Punky had a great time feeding the goats and lambs that were wandering around, and Zee just hugged every animal that got close to her. They also go to pat baby chickens in the Poultry Pavillion and we even watched a baby chick hatch out of it's egg in the Farmyard Nursery.

We stopped in the Kids Carnival area on the way out so that the girls could have a ride on the Mini Chairs, and let's just say Zee thought it was the best thing she'd ever been on and didn't want to get off! Despite the fact that it absolutely poured the minute we got there (forcing us to buy some giant ponchos, and fashion a makeshift poncho for Zee from the free Daily Telegraph showbag) we had a really great day and I think we will definitely do it again next year.

My fear of taking small children to the show is absolutely gone. By making sure we were well-prepared and having realistic expectations of what the girls could handle and would enjoy, it was a great day. The Easter Show website has so much useful information, and there is even an Easter Show app, which Punky had a great time looking at on the way in, telling me the things she hoped to see once we got there.
The faces of two relieved parents who can't believe they just had a great day at the show with there small children!

A big thanks to the lovely people at the Easter Show for making the day possible, it's one we'll remember for a long time.

Have you been to the Easter Show? Do you have any tips to add that will make the show more enjoyable or easy to visit for other parents of small children?

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