Posts categorized "travel"

san francisco tourists

Last December we travelled to San Francisco. The decision to go on a family holiday was very last minute. Within a month of travelling, we booked onto one of QANTAS's new direct flights to San Francisco, booked our accommodation with Air BnB and packed out bags. We stayed about 12 days in San Francisco, so we had plenty of time to wander the streets and see the sights.

Here's a list of some of the touristy things we did whilst in the city.

Golden Gate Bridge

There are several places to get a great view of the bridge.

Fiona Carter Golden Gate Bridge

Wander around Crissy Field, a large parkland near the Bridge....


From the ferry, passing Alcatraz Island in the afternoon....

Fiona Carter Golden Gate Bridge

Another perspective of the bridge is to ride across on a bike. There are companies along the wharf areas that hire bikes. You ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and down to Sausalito. You can either ride back over the bridge to San Francisco or catch a ferry back to the wharf areas (with your bike).

Alcatraz Island

Book this early as the tours to the island book out, this was the one activity we booked before leaving home. The island is a short ferry ride from the wharf area of SFO, you enjoy pretty views of the Bay and Golden Gate bridges and back to the city during the ride over to the island. (Book the tour to the island HERE)


When you arrive at the island you wander up the hill from the wharf to the prison. One of the first landmarks on the island you see is the water tower with reminders of the American Indian occupation of the island from the late 1960's. 


The Alcatraz cell house was really interesting. You wander around with the audio tour which guides you around the prison, while listening to stories told by former prisoners, wardens and family of prisoners.


The kitchen and dining hall...


One of the stories talked about the prisoners amusing themselves in their cells by crocheting blankets.


The Cable Cars

We jumped on one cable car, and wound up riding them for the rest of the afternoon criss crossing the city.



The drivers and conductors provide the entertainment, they are really funny, from singing to directing traffic (yes if cars are in the way, they jump off the cable car and tell the drivers where to go). There are three main cable car routes across San Francisco. The turntable areas can get busy, my tip is to wander up to the street to the next stop and jump on the car there. And buy a ticket before you get on board.

Union Square

This was very pretty at Christmas time. The big Christmas tree and the ice skating rink made it very festive. Many well known shops are in this area of town with Macy's taking up prime real estate over looking the square.

Twin Peaks

Fantastic views of the city, the whole bay area and in the other direction out to the ocean. The road to the top winds around the hills until you reach the top of the peaks.


The Embarcadero

There is a great system of wharves on the bay side of San Francisco from the Bay Bridge round to Fisherman's Wharf. One favourite was the Ferry Building Marketplace. Great farmers markets, food hall (many of the foodie and coffee places of San Francisco have stalls/stores in this area) and restaurants.

As you're wandering along the wharf system, pop into Pier 39 and see the SFO bay resident seals.


The Painted Ladies

San Francisco is full of beautiful old style houses, but this little strip of houses looks very impressive with the city skyline as their backdrop. If you're in the area, visit Alamo Square to see this row of Victorian homes.


That's the first part of our San Francisco trip. I'll be back with my favourite part of our holiday, seeking out the best bakeries and coffee in San Francisco.

Thanks for visiting.


Fiona x

[Story 5 / 50 stories for 50 years]


welcome 2013


Here's wishing you a happy, healthy and creative 2013.

The Sydney new year's eve fireworks did not disappoint this year. We watched the 9 o'clock display and the midnight show from Lavender Bay.

Before the fireworks got underway, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the harbour. The night was clear and still, so perfect for fireworks. Lavender Bay (and the rest of Sydney Harbour) was filled with boats.


We had a great view of the fireworks from my parent's apartment...



Then there was the midnight display, which featured the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It's always spectacular...


We are certainly very lucky to live in a beautiful city, and to see in a new year in such a spectacular way!

Last week we enjoyed some time away up at Hawks Nest. Just thought I'd share one of my favourite photos... Phoebe teaching Bella to "surf". Not sure how Bella would cope if a wave actually came her way, but she was still very cute sitting up on the board. 


I started a new crochet project while I was away... I'll be back very soon to show it here :)

'til next time, thanks for visiting, and enjoy your new breaks break!



whale watching

We went out on a whale watching trip while in the south west of Western Australia.

This was the my first whale watching adventure, we saw humpback whales and I loved it... here's a few photos from our morning with these beautiful creatures.

whale watching

whale watching

whale watching

Thanks to Naturaliste Charters for a very pleasant morning somewhere off the coast of Dunsborough.

whale watching


whale watching




free tickets to better homes and gardens live in sydney


 Discover all you need for your ideal home

at Better Homes and Gardens LIVE

14th to 16th September 2012 at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park 

Here are the top ten reasons why you can’t afford to miss Better Homes and Gardens LIVE:

  1. Shop gadgets, accessories, tools, gifts and home wares from 350+ hot brands.
  2. Watch the experts in action with some essential DIY and renovation projects.
  3. Supercharge your imagination with inspiration and new ideas from celebrity experts.
  4. Don’t miss the very latest releases from leading brands and specialist retailers.
  5. Join all your favourite Better Homes and Gardens experts for a packed schedule of live workshops and demonstrations.
  6. Explore a whole new way to decorate for style and comfort in the Home Zone.
  7. Give your taste buds a treat with delicious free samples and recipe ideas in the Food Zone.
  8. Discover green fingers you never knew you had in the Gardening & Pet Zone.
  9. Enjoy colourful displays and stock up on fabric, wool, paper and essential accessories in the Craft Zone.
  10.  Make it a day to remember with a celebrity encounter – Tara Dennis, Rob Palmer, Fast Ed, Dr Harry, Jason Hodges, Graham Ross and Johanna Griggs will all be there.          

 With 100s of products & 1000s of ideas for renovators, foodies, DIY and craft lovers, gardening and interiors addicts, Better Homes and Gardens  LIVE is the ultimate home & garden destination.

Tickets on sale now!  Visit to buy tickets now & save.

BUT... I have 20 FREE double pass tickets to give away to the Better Homes and Gardens LIVE show. If you would like a double pass (that's two tickets) to this event, please send me an email.

ETA: All tickets have now been given away. Thank you to everyone who emailed me and left a comment here on the blog for tickets. I hope you all have a wonderful time at the show.



sydney to dubbo {via bali}

It seems like a long, long time ago, but Sydney, Bali, Dubbo was our itinerary last school holidays.

The first week of the school holidays was spent in beautiful Bali. It had been almost 18 years since my last visit (that was on our honeymoon). Bali had changed, alot, but it was still beautiful.

I have many of our photos in a flickr album.


One special group of photos I've placed in a COLOURS OF BALI album. I created this little collection of photos because Bali is so vibrant, I wanted to capture some of the colour that surrounds you there.

A few special things I'd love to mention about our holiday:

Our accommodation in Canggu, SABA VILLAS. Absolutely stunning. We stayed in a two bedroom villa, with our own pool. Total relaxation. I wanted to pick this place up and bring it home to our little plot of land in Sydney! Below is our pool and villa at night, more photos of the villa can be found HERE.

Saba Villas, Canggu

Our accommodation in Ubud, KAJANE MUA VILLAS. A beautiful, beautiful place in the Ubud style. Again our villa was lovely with our own pool. Although the villa complex is on Monkey Forest Road, our two bedroom villa was right up the back of the property with rice paddies around us. This was the pool area of our villa, more photos of this villa can be found HERE.

our private pool at Kajane Mua villas, Ubud

The Bali Elephant Safari Park, out of Ubud, where we had the most marvellous morning feeding the elephants then having a ride through the park and forest. Here's Em with one of the baby elephants, more photos are HERE.

Bali Elephant Safari Park, Ubud, Bali

Kafe cafe, this was a great find amongst all the hustle and bustle of Ubud. Probably the best coffee we found in Bali. Delicious organic meals and juices.

Gaya Galato {part of the Gaya complex}. Oh, my goodness, I would travel back to Bali just to have this gelato again. The gelato at the bottom was Spiced Chocolate gelato, one of the best flavours of gelato I've ever tasted. This was well worth the short trip out of Ubud to taste this gelato. They also sell cookies and biscuits. These guys should write a cook book, cause I'd make every cookie they were selling! They do offer home delivery, not sure this extends to Sydney :-(

gelato from gaya gelato, ubud

Ubud markets, alot of fun, alot of interaction with the stall holders {and bargaining}. These markets are much better than those we found in Semenyak or Kuta.

On a slightly more serious note:

There was one slight emerency on our Bali holiday. During a visit to Monkey Forest in Ubud, I was bitten and scratched by one of the monkeys. Without going into many details of the following couple of days, I had to try to find two different rabbies vaccines which I needed to receive within a few days of the bite. Rabbies is a big problem in Bali at the moment and one of the vaccines required after a bite is very hard to find in Bali and is very expensive once you do find it. Anyway we did find the vaccines in an international clinic in Kuta and have continued to receive the rabbies vaccine back here in Australia (the course is given over 28 days). My arms were like pincushions during this treatment, but hopefully all will be well. I'm just writing about this to let others know. Monkey Forest is a big attraction in Ubud, would I rush back there next time... no way, the monkeys are cute but certainly not worth the trouble they caused.

We returned to Sydney from Bali, had 24 hours at home to un-pack, wash clothes, re-pack and leave for Dubbo.

We went to Dubbo for Phoebe. She was picked to play in the Far North Metro team at the Soccer NSW State Titles, which were being played at Dubbo.

We had a great week, Dubbo is a fantastic country town and we certainly enjoyed our week there. We did watch a lot of soccer, sitting on the sidelines. The girls on the team had a fun week together, and played some fantastic soccer. Their team came fourth overall.





While I was in Dubbo, I had a chance to meet up with Narelle, Neek and Leah one afternoon. It was so lovely to have a chat with these gorgeous ladies. We chatted for so long, the cafe closed around us, and the owners showed us the back gate exit, saying we were welcome to sit there as long as we liked. We did stay for quite a while longer chatting away....


Emily and I did visit the Dubbo Zoo one afternoon. One of the first areas we visited was this {not so little} baby hippo...


Then the gorgeous giraffes...


And we found some more baby animals...


One our way home we passed these beautiful fields of rape seed. We could see the fields coming from far away with the specatular colour...


We returned to Sydney exhausted, but happy, after a varied holiday. We probably needed another holiday to recover from this one, but it was straight back to work and school....

And that's our last holidays summed up. It's take me several weeks to finish this post, but it's finally done and published!

Thanks for visiting. Will be back very soon with some Ribbons Galore updates.