Saturday, 27 December 2014

A is for.....Agricultural Show

**A-Z South West and A-Z Perth is an occasional series where we are tourist in our home state and explore WA with new eyes**

There is nothing like an Agricultural show to show of a community and its industry! Like the Perth Royal Show, but on a smaller scale, local producers enter and show off their prized cattle and (tradionally) the wives bake their best cakes.

"An agricultural show is a public event exhibiting the equipment, animals, sports and recreation associated with agriculture and animal husbandry." (Source:

These events are hugely important for the local community, they give a sense of pride and unity, they allow for a break from day to day business and they provide a social aspect for the locals young and old.

This weekend I went along to the Bridgeown Agricultural Show and enjoyed the festivities and even won some prizes.

Cost: children under 16 free and Adults $15
          Food: a range of vender type food options available, a very busy bar on site.
          Rides: $8-$10 Assortment, mostly suited for teens and above
          Other entertainment: Assortment of free and low cost entertainment

TIP: if you have small children, look for the "passport" type activities. Many shows have them and they are usually a cheap way to go around the show and collect/learn new things.

TIP: You don't always have to be a local to enter some of the events. Sheaf tossing anyone?

Entertainment: As mentioned above, rides, passport type activities. Many free exhibits. Market type stalls.
The Bridgetown Show had a closing fireworks display which was much enjoyed.

Many of the towns have annual agricultural shows and are worth checking out or marking in the calender. This site is handy, but do check the websites/facebook pages for dates and details of individual events.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Test taste

We road tripped again last weekend.

Another trip down to Bridgetown to visit the lovely Lela and her babies. I am calling it a meeting. We met and we talked.

The view from our South West Office

We saw a pantomime (despite the way it may seem, yes I do have a other things on in my life other than attending performances), featuring my gorgeous Goddaughter (aka Lela's beautiful daughter). She was a fairy. I am pretty sure I am now a fairy Godmother!

Most importantly for the purposes of our travel blog, Lela took us on a taster tour of Greenbushes. What a stunning town! I didn't take any pictures, because Lela and the girls were taking heaps. I am expecting some will surface soon. We have made a date to go back and visit and do the walking tour properly, and I will post more then.

We had a quick stop in Donnybrook. Mostly because we saw that there was a Cafe Tiffany, and while we didn't have breakfast, the urge to visit just couldn't be resisted. Plus I needed coffee. I also had peppermint hedgehog slice which was divine, and the girls' gingerbread men passed the teenager taste test.

The girls have requested that we go back for breakfast one day. Breakfast at Cafe Tiffany (Donnybrook) is now on my travel list as well as Breakfast at Tiffany's in New York. I suspect one will happen a lot sooner than the other!

Cushion. Being held weirdly so her face is all skewy.

Some more driving tips:

  • Miss 11 suggests that you find out what station plays "cool" songs before you leave.
  • I suggest packing snacks so that you don't have to deal with grumpy children.
  • Make sure you stop and stretch so you don't get too sleepy.
  • Christmas carols will either be very exciting, or a call for mutiny. Hopefully the car vote isn't a 50/50 split.
Happy adventuring everyone.

Cath xx

Monday, 8 December 2014

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

This weekend was all about Christmas celebrations for me. I attended two local events, one massive family orientated one, and one smaller but still awesome adult one.

Firstly was the Channel 7 & The West Australian Christmas Pageant (which I have probably named incorrectly despite my best efforts, and will henceforth be referred to as "the Christmas Pageant").

An annual event down the streets of Perth, the Christmas Pageant is a free event; there is no cost to attend. That said, most parking in Perth is paid parking. Public transport would be my recommendation.

I would also suggest going early. The streets are packed. Take a picnic blanket and/or chairs to sit on. I sat straight on the pavement this year and I would not recommend it. I would also strongly suggest taking a picnic and anything needed to keep children entertained in the wait.

While it is super crowded there are also some free activities, and some pre-pageant entertainment.

The Christmas Pageant was a day time event for around 10 years, so I never got to take my girls to a night time pageant when they were little. This year we went with a group of Girl Guides aged 8 to 15, and the look in the younger girls' eyes was magical. They were so excited and were busily telling me about all the best floats. In their view the main guests were Fat Cat, the Telethon Kids, and Santa. This seems pretty reasonable to me.

Fun night! A bit of Christmas magic, and worth the effort if you have children who appreciate the magic.

Here comes Santa Claus! Here comes Santa Claus! Riding on Santa Claus' sleigh.!

My second event was not a family friendly one. However it did support a good cause, and it was lots of fun.

The Freo Santa Fiesta is an annual event that raises funds for the Princess Margaret Children's Hospital. It is also annual event where you get to dress like Santa (or an elf, or one girl was a gingerbread man) and go on a pub crawl around Fremantle.

It is an event that is lots of fun with lots of friendly people. I went to one place I had never been before, and it even included a free sausage sizzle.

This year it was a $10 to participate. I strongly suggest thinking about the weather before you don the actual full Santa suit. This year the hat was hot enough.

Information on both events could be found via Google in November.

Happy celebrating! Let us know what fun events you have found.

Cath xx

Monday, 1 December 2014

Road trippin'

My daughters and I went on a mini-road trip this weekend. Orginally we were just going to go to Bridgetown to visit Lela and her tribe, but we ended up detouring via Boddington to visit the girls' dad at work (Miss 14 is currently in Singapore, and he wanted to see her before she went. Plus her camera was in his car).

Boddington is not on the way to Bridgetown, so it meant that we got to travel some new roads and see some new things. Unfortunately this time we had time constraints, but it was still fun.

I had been intending on writing about how we amuse ourselves on long car trips, but this time Miss 15 stayed at home to babysit for a friend, and Miss 11 had been at a sleepover the night before so she slept most of the time. When she woke up, we fed her and she went back to sleep. Miss 14 and I had a great time with Car-e-oke (aka she played songs and we both sang along).

A favourite place to stop on the Albany is the roadhouse at Bannister (there is also one at North Bannister, don't get confused). We like the Bannister Roadhouse because of the alpacas. There is seating so you can have a coffee while the kids stretch their legs, and for a few dollars you can buy food to feed the alpacas.

From our first visit to the alpacas. Four years ago, and we still love visiting.
Lunch was at the Boddington Hotel. For $20 I got a massive chicken bacon schnitzel. Miss (Starving) 14 couldn't finish her massive meal. Warning. Very limited option for vegetarians, as Miss 11 found out, but her $8 serving of chips was massive.

On the road between Boddington and Bridgetown, via Collie (thanks googlemaps), we saw lots of churches and cemeteries. We also saw a castle in a "moat", which is on our list to visit next time as we didn't want to wake the sleeping tiger (I mean pre-teen), a dam which was so blue we are still discussing it, and lots of wildflowers, sheep and cows. It was a really lovely drive.

Travel tips
  • I love having a roadhouse meal when traveling, but nothing beats McDonald's for a $1 frozen coke and a $1 waffle cone to soothe grumpy travellers.
  • It is very hard to get lost in South West WA. I suggest knowing which towns you need to travel through, and then follow the signs. I am pretty sure I didn't actually go on the roads I was planning on using, but we found our way no problems.
Interesting side note, I have worked out I judge the size of a town by if there is a fastfood chain. I automatically decided Collie was big when there was a McDonald's. There is not logical or reason behind this; it is my own prejudices.

We are planning our next South-West adventure in two weeks, so stay tuned. Happy travelling everyone.

Cath xx

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Culture Vultures

Vultures is probably a good description. I am certainly not an expert on what is considered "good". I just know what I like, and I love the theatre. While I enjoy going to see "big" productions when national or international companies tour to Perth, I also love going to support amateur theatre.

Over the last couple of weeks, my daughters and I have gone to see three plays. We like the theatre, but if you have never been before it is a great way to experience something a bit different without having to travel. If you have been before, you will be nodding and agreeing so that is good too.

There are so many opportunities to see performances. It often supports local groups, and it is usually a great night out, and often at very affordable prices.

We saw:
  • Cymbeline by William Shakespeare, by Black Martini Theatre at Murdoch University, for $10;
  • A Rogers & Hammerstein version of Cinderella at Koorliny Arts Centre for $20; and
  • A production of Taming of the Shrew at a local high school for $8.
All three productions were enjoyable, engaging, and had fabulous costumes. Two of the three productions had live orchestras.

  • Take some small change for a program, and for raffle tickets.
  • The bar prices (when applicable) are usually quite cheap.
  • Google the synopsis if taking children (just in case it is M-rated. I have been caught out and I know better).
  • Small theatres are great. Nothing beats being close to the stage.
  • Take a jumper, just in case.
I highly recommending having a look to see what is around next time you are looking to do something in your local area. I

Cath xx

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Bali ... a beginner's experience

As Lela mentioned the welcome post, this blog was conceived on our recent trip to Bali. We will blog later on prices and tips and actual links to places, but this post is a quick snapshot to Bali through the eyes of a first-timer.  

This trip was my first time to Bali, and my second time to Asia. My other Asian experience was Cambodia, so my perception of Bali was very much based on that earlier experience. Cambodia, when I went there, was still very untouched by tourism, and the extreme poverty and effects of the Khmar Rouge was still very evident. I went to Bali mentally prepared for the same level of poverty, and it was very different from that aspect.

If I had to pick one word to sum up Bali it would be “beautiful”. The scenery is beautiful, the people are beautiful, and the atmosphere is lovely and cruisey. As we were only there for a few days, we didn’t do anything along the lines of tourist attractions. We wandered around and lazed at the hotel. It very much catered for the tourist market. Most of the poverty, including the begging, that you would expect from a developing country is hidden from the tourist view. The upside to this, of course, is that the tourist dollar is a big part of the economy. There was comparatively little litter and the restaurants were clean. We did see a cat with kittens in one, but no mice so this has to be a good thing.

Lazing by the pool

The money totally did my head in! So many zeros. However the Balinese people were lovely when I made mistakes and tried to pay them the equivilent of 20 cents rather than 20 dollars. I also totally admit that I was a little lazy when it came to converting, because Lela  was there to do it for me. I may have to take a cheat sheet next time! I did work out by the end that if I said “dollar” amounts, I could usually barter with that and then convert to rupiah for actual payment. 

While we are on the topic, I struggle with bartering. I know it is part of the culture, but it still gets to me when you know you are in a comparatively privileged position. That said, no-one seems to mind, and if you can’t get something for a price you are happy to pay you know someone else will be selling it just around the corner. Just don’t make eye contact if you don’t want to seriously look, and smile, say thank you, walk past and don’t engage if you're not planning on stopping.
The locals were lovely. We discovered that the men “like chubby women” and some were very persistent in telling us this. I don’t think the Australian ad with Rhonda did us any favours (or did us lots if you want to look at it as a bonus). I am quite fair and blonde, and I was a little sick of being touched by the time we left. Not inappropriately! But still a bit of invasion of personal space.

I love my rainbow Bali hat!
Tip: if you want to make some local people happy, take some Australian gold coins. It wasn’t something that occurred to me, but it is something I will do next time as we were asked quite a lot.
The food was divine. The bonus to it being in small servings, and cheap was that  it was a great excuse for long meals with more than one course which is something I wouldn’t do at home. I very much recommend going to a nice restaurant and having a three or four course meal. We had three courses plus cocktails for less that A$30 each. So very worth it. We were so full that we had to go back and sleep, but was a lovely night. Also try some traditional Balinese food. The one meal that I had was so good. Next time I will definitely be expanding my cuisine selections to include some more.

The beginning of each day ....

Tip: Order water at the beginning and end of every meal. As you can only drink bottled water there it is a good way of getting at least two bottles in each time you eat.

One of the bonuses to going with Lela was going to see the wholesale craft places. So much prettiness. I left wanting to start some sort of business just so I had an excuse to wholesale shop. Ribbons, bells, buttons, lace, materials and so much more. My favourite purchases were spiderman-monkey-bells and green ribbon purple cows. I have no need for either of these things, but they were fun.

Allow nap time. To either sleep or laze by the pool. So if you forget a book, do not fear! Firstly because it is a holiday, and secondly it is hot, and thirdly time just seems to move slower in Bali. Except the traffic. The traffic moves fast, unless you walk in front of it, then it stops. Which is quite convenient really, because no-one wants to spend their holiday in a hospital. (If you are looking for books in English, we found at least three second hand book shops. Full of lots of holiday type reading.)

I also highly recommend getting a massage on your first day. If you don’t like it, it is cheap. If you do like it, it  means you can get one every day. Biggest mistake we made I think was waiting until the second day to get a massage! Definitely a mistake I wouldn’t make a second time. (I should also note here that this was something people told me and I didn't pay attention! Learn from my mistakes). 

There will be a next time. I am planning a family holiday there next year and doing some more of the touristy things then. I have definitely been bitten by the travel bug.

Stay tuned for some more posts as I research that trip. Until next post …. Happy dreaming, and happy planning.

Cath xx

Sunday, 9 November 2014

B is for....Bridgetown Blues

**A-Z South West and A-Z Perth is an occasional series where we are tourist in our home state and explore WA with new eyes**

The Bridgetown Blues is an iconic music festival bringing new and old talent to the south west, and has been for 22 years! Held on the 2nd weekend of November, it is located in the beautiful Bridgetown, with the music festival spanning the main part of town.

The best way to describe ' the Blues' is to liken it to the entire town putting on a house party. And everyone is invited!
The buzz around town is contagious. Schools, business, council, residents....they all get involved in true down to earth country style.

Entertainment: Tickets can be bought via the organising body, Blues at Bridgetown, with varying options.
There is a mix of ticketed events, pubs with door charges and numerous free events and stages.

My absolute favourite was the street party. The main street is closed down, a market is set up and numerous stages are located along a strip of almost a 1km of road.

Street Party.....It. Is. Awesome.

Free Entertainment
This is followed closely by the Sundowner session on Sunday, located at the stage called "the Owls Nest", it is a casual finale for the weekend. Kids are welcomed, locals can have a catch up and its a great atmosphere.

Favourite band of the weekend...without a doubt, 19twenty and at 7 gigs in 3 days, including one at the local primary school, they were much loved by the crowd.

Transport: South West Coach lines has a bus service that will deliver you to the main street of Bridgetown. Or Bridgetown is a 225km drive from Perth.

On transport....this is a small country town. Normally the resident numbers don't exceed 3000. So you can imagine, no car parking high rises here.

Don't be a Dick. Park your car in a considerate manner. You may need to park on a side or back street. This may be a 5min walk to the action. Bridgetown does have a ranger, and he will issue fines.

Hot tip: Point your GPS to Roe St, especially the northern end, generally good parking opportunities are available on this street, in designated bays, and only about 3min walk to the main street.

 Accommodation:  Bridgetown has numerous levels of accommodations. Chalets, caravan parks, B-n-B's ect. However these book out super fast.
If you are coming in a campervan, the Showgrounds over is designated for you. If you are camping, space is available at the high school oval. Both of these venues have more info on the Blues at Bridgetown web site.
Also check out Gumtree, Air B-n-B and Couchsurfing for more options. Locals often let out a spare room or their front yard over the course of the weekend.

Hot tip: Bring warm clothes for the evening. Its spring, it might reach the low 30's during the day, but that doesn't mean the evening won't drop to 2 degrees overnight!
So overall, such a worthwhile event to go to! You'll get your money's worth.
Hot Tip: You don't need to be a fan of blues music to still have a ball.

Monday, 3 November 2014


What can you do with $5 a week. A coffee? The newspaper?

Go to Bali?

Yep. Go to Bali. It started several years ago. We, Cathy and Lela, friends from way back, needed something to look forward too, a collective goal.

We could only afford $5 a week and our original goal was to go on a trip to Europe by the time we hit 40.

Time went by and a lot changed. We realised time was short. And life was too awesome to wait until we are 40 to pursue travel dreams.

We took that $5 a week and went to Bali! (future post to come!). Whilst in Bali we realised the travel bug had bitten. We realised that we loved talking, dreaming, saving and sharing our travels and ideas just as much as the travel itself.

And so it was that Kris' Angels was born. It's a play on St. Christopher, the patron saint of safe travels and the hot chicks in Charlie's Angels. We might not be the hot and nimble chicks (and we are a duo), but we hope to have safe travels and a damn good time!

We hope you enjoy our little space on the blogosphere!