So long, summer!

It’s fair to say, this summer has been nothing short of wonderful! It is our second here in Australia and I think it’s taken this long to shed our Mancunian layers and embrace the great outdoors that this beautiful country provides!

It never ceases to amaze me when the kids see an insect that would normally have me leaping three feet in the air and either know the species by name (seriously, has anyone English ever heard of a cicada?) or literally grab it and laugh as it crawls around in their hands while I try to look delighted and hide my horror at the same time. Kian and Kaira found a little lizard in the back garden a few days ago and before I’d even had chance to unleash my neurosis onto them, they’d scooped it up, named it ‘Gecko’ and fallen in love!

And despite the ongoing assault from mosquitoes that have HAUNTED us throughout the season, we’ve been loving having the doors thrown open (but the fly screen closed, of course) and doubling our living space as the kids enjoyed riding scooters, eating picnics and splashing in their paddling pool in the garden. We’ve strolled into our local village for evening meals, rode bikes for morning smoothies and met friends to enjoy light lunches – all without needing any additional layers other than sunscreen before we left the house.

Watching the weather back home this past week and the onslaught of the snow (a.k.a  ‘The beast from the east’) has made us feel incredibly lucky to be away from the English winter. As the twins were born in October and their sleep routines were out of sync, I spent many hours pounding the pavements in the cold just to get them to sleep at the same time so I know how hard it is to live in that climate and I don’t miss the freezing cold at all.

We tell the kids how lucky we are to live in this beautiful part of the world but it’s just home to them now whereas being able to hop in the car on a whim and explore the Mornington Peninsula still feels so new to me! As we’re practically surrounded by the sea, it’s so easy to pack a picnic and drive along the coast until we see somewhere we’d like to visit. Last weekend we did just that and twenty minutes after setting off, we found ourselves at Point Leo and were blown away by the beauty of the beach.

Of course Kian was the first to fall in the sea before we’d had time to get him into his swimsuit! He took it well though, laughing it off then running as fast as his little legs could carry him off up the coastline!

“No, I don’t know what’s inside there and no, I don’t want to find out thanks!”

It’s so lovely to be able to let the kids run without worrying about them falling and hurting themselves on sand! They occupy themselves so nicely at the beach, often heading in different directions to explore under rocks, throw stones in the water and swim!

Point Leo is a surf beach and the sea comes in from the Bass Strait, making it choppier than we’re used to over on the Port Phillip Bay side. There’s a kiosk, barbecue, play area and camping facilities nearby making it a perfect spot for a family adventure!

Ariana is going to be seven in a couple of weeks! It’s hard to believe we left England just days after her fifth birthday, I have no idea where the time has gone!

We always pack the kids Yum Boxes with snacks to keep them going when we’re out and about, never knowing how long we’ll be away from home!

We all feel so relaxed at the beach. Feeling the warm sea breeze on my face as I hear the kids splash in the sea really is blissful and reminds me why we came to Australia in the first place!

Turning the kids into mermaids and a shark never gets old and they even sit still for a few minutes when they’re half buried – parenting win!

Kaira loves cuddling with her daddy! She’s pretty lucky, I really miss cuddling mine!

We spent hours at Point Leo but knew it was time to leave when the kids started flagging so we jumped back in the car and drove along the coast to a little town we love called Flinders. It’s so peaceful and scenic there and we love to stroll past the galleries and historic buildings.

Our favourite cafe to visit is Flinders Bakehouse where the pastries and milkshakes are so bad but so good! If you’ve been following the blog since the twins were born, you’ll know that both Kian and Kaira suffered from CMPI (Cows Milk Protein Intolerance) as babies and were on a special hydrolysed formula and strict diet. If you have a child with the same digestion problems, you’ll understand how hard it is for a parent to watch their baby suffer and I’ve written blog posts about how we dealt with it at the time, which you can see over on the Reflux and CMPI page.

After several visits to a dietician, we conducted a ‘milk ladder’ test and thought the twins had started processing the protein so allowed them milk in their diets again. Although Kian has been fine, Kaira has still had some terrible symptoms that got worse recently, which lead us back to a pediatrician here in Melbourne who diagnosed the intolerance once again. It’s pretty upsetting us to deny her the food she enjoys but we’re trying to teach the kids about dairy and our belief that we don’t need it as a food source and the kids are coming around to the plant based options we’re replacing it with. Thankfully, most places we go have coconut milk these days and they didn’t notice any difference at the Bakehouse!

It is now officially Autumn for us here in Australia and I really hope we can send some of this sunshine to England. Our beautiful home country deserves to experience warm weather now more than ever!

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Love from Leyla

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