Kids // Lola's Unicorn Fantasy 3rd Birthday

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A couple of weeks ago Lola turned 3 and we celebrated with a special party at home, surrounded by our family and friends. Lola has never had a proper birthday party before, we had to cancel her party last year as she was sick as a dog. I felt she deserved a proper birthday party so this year we went a bit ‘extra’ for our much-longed for babe. For about a year I’ve been taking Lola to a weekly dance class run by Talia from Jump and Jive Events. For Lola, this dance class is life! She adores it so I approached Talia to help us and so, a Unicorn Fantasy birthday party was born. Talia and the girls from Jump and Jive Events totally got my vision, and while we worked together on the concept and styling, they took over and did everything, leaving me to enjoy the day stress free.

I can’t tell you how good it was to have Jump and Jive Events and the gorgeous ‘Fantasia’ to entertain the kids, leaving me to enjoy the birthday and really take it all in (which never happens if you’re doing all the work, am I right?). Lola had the BEST day, she had so much fun with all her friends and was mesmerised the whole day. And that’s what it was all about. Welcome to Lola’s Unicorn Fantasy!

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How amazing is this set up! Balloon garlands are all over Instagram I know, but they are so effective and just look so good. My brief was pastel unicorn colours and Up Up and Away nailed it! The unicorn balloons (which I had to have) are also from Up Up and Away and the pink jumbo balloon from Poppies for Grace. The garland perfectly frames the custom made neon Unicorn sign by Little Pineapple Neon.

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The dessert buffet was a massive hit with the kids (it wasn’t just for looks!). The unicorn shakes by the Jump and Jive girls were filled with strawberry milk and topped with mini donuts, in the unicorn colour-way of course!! Kids loved those. The glass jars were filled with pastel coloured marsmallows, musk sticks, coloured popcorn, sherbert cones, bananas and edible candy jewellery.

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The exquisite chocolate unicorn pinata smash cake was made by Little Dot Chocolate. It was an absolute work of art! The smash cake was filled with lollies and chocolates so you can imagine how much fun it was for the kids. Lola needed a little help smashing it to pieces, I think she was slightly overwhelmed and confused that she was actually allowed to smash it! It’s such a fun idea. The kids went wild when the pinata finally smashed and the lollies spilled out!

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In the days leading up to Lola’s birthday all Lola talked about was having a cake and everyone singing Happy Birthday to her (bless!). She didn’t ask for a specific cake, she wouldn’t have cared if it was a $4.99 mud cake from Coles, she really just wanted cake (which she said she wouldn’t share!! Happy to report she happily shared her cake with her friends LOL). A couple of days before the day, Talia from Jump and Jive Events found an amazing cake maker to make this amazing creation! So many talented people in Adelaide, wish I make something this amazing. Thank you Ivy-Lee! It was the most special birthday cake we could have ever have had, it looked amazing and tasted delicious.

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Fantasia the Unicorn did an amazing job at entertaining the kids for an hour and a half (a whole hour and a half to relax and watch the kids enjoy themselves while having a champers - bliss!). Fantasia kept the kids attention by playing games (pass the parcel, pin the tail on the unicorn, unicorn pinata), lots of dancing, giving out prizes to the kids and a bubble machine pumped out the bubbles. They thought of everything. The unicorn pinata was hilarious and I may have got a little involved. The words “I gave birth to her so pass the stick” may have come out of my mouth LOL. In my defence, the pinata needed a little helping hand…see for yourself!

 You go girl!

You go girl!

 Don’t worry hubby I won’t hurt you

Don’t worry hubby I won’t hurt you

 Promise.

Promise.

 Gee, this feels good!

Gee, this feels good!

Once the kids were thoroughly entertained and on a sugar high, we sang Happy Birthday to Lola. She surprised me on the day by not being shy or clingy, which she tends to be in a large crowd. We were left to eat cake, while the kids ran around, and the adults caught up over nibbles and a champagne or two. With the current unpredictable weather we’re having in Adelaide, we were so lucky to have the sun shining on us all day. I’m sure my late brother was shining on us from above that day, too.

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A special day for our rainbow babe. Happy 3rd birthday, Lola. You know this, because I sing it to you every night, you are my sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey. All those recent sleepless nights (ok, ok only a couple!) over jumbo pink balloons were all worth it to see your face light up with joy and happiness. You bring so much joy to our family, thank you baby girl. I hope one day you read this and know just how much we love and adore you. XO

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Big thank you to Jump and Jive Events for making it so special for Lola and our little family. You put so much effort in to make this an unforgettable birthday for our little girl. And thank you to these wonderful suppliers for their amazing contributions to the day! xxx

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Travels // Palm Cove, Queensland

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Our annual winter getaway this year was to the beautiful and totally palm-ilicious Palm Cove in tropical North Queensland. We decided to head as north as we could to get some decent sunshine during the cold Adelaide winter. We'd never been to Palm Cove and after some research (including chatting to the acclaimed Australian travel photographer, Kara Rosenlund, on Instagram!) it seemed like a great choice for a relaxed family holiday.

Palm Cove is a quiet and laid back town by the sea, the pace is slow which is the perfect anti-dote to our busy lives (that's the whole point of a holiday, right?). She might be laid back but gee, Palm Cove is an absolute stunner! The beach is lined with palm trees and the esplanade with paperbark trees...it really puts the 'tropical' in tropical paradise.

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GETTING THERE + AROUND // A 3 hour direct flight from Adelaide to Cairns, Palm Cove is then a half hour drive from Cairns. We booked a car online with Thrifty (I'm an RAA member which gets you 15% off) so we had wheels for the week.

STAY // We stayed at the Mantra Amphora on Williams Esplanade. Mantra Amphora is beachfront but our two bedroom apartment was set back within the resort itself. Our apartment was lovely and had all we needed, kitchen, laundry facilities and air con. We hired a cot for $10 per day. The only negative was the fact we were on the third floor and accessible only by stairs...fine for us adults but a bit annoying with a toddler and whilst we are past the pram stage, it's worth pointing out it was definitely not pram friendly. Lola managed to fall down the concrete stairs which gave us a fright. Next time I'd ask for a ground or level one apartment. That said, it was centrally located and everything was a short walk away so super easy to get out and about to Williams Esplanade. 

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FOOD // 27 Degrees for great coffee, smoothies and ice cream, just set off the esplanade, look for the blue bean bags. Vivo, the restaurant in front of Mantra, had the best pork belly, so good I had it twice. It's a little bit on the pricey side, but the food is worth it. Portofino does great pizzas and cocktails. Try and nab yourself a booth at the front which is great for the kids to lounge and relax in (our kids did colouring in and had screen time while we had a relaxed dinner - which was some kind of miracle!). It gets super busy though so we found the service a little slow. We had lunch at the Rising Sun (opposite the playground), great for people watching and hubby tells me they had a great selection of craft beer. They sell kids activity packs for $2.50. All of the places we ate at had kids menus. Palm Cove is very family friendly.

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We ate most of our meals at the apartment which made things more affordable as Palm Cove is not just pretty she's also pricey. Being able to make your own meals helps keep costs down. It was also great being able to eat in our apartment after a full day out or at the pool (because overtired kids do not make for a pleasant dining experience!). Pete's Place, the local corner store, is very expensive. We did a food (and booze) shop at Woolies in Clifton Beach (5 minutes drive from Palm Cove). There's also a Liquorland Express in Palm Cove.

We didn't get to venture to any more restaurants but we were told by a local that the Mexican restaurant on the esplanade is very good and the tavern has a playground for the kids. Nu Nu's looks (and I've been told is) AMAZING. So nice we didn't even bother taking ourselves there because our two year old is a menace! It's the kind of restaurant you want to savior and enjoy as a couple, and has a price tag to match (I looked up the menu online and mains were $45 and upwards). Maybe next time?!

THINGS TO DO IN PALM COVE // There's not a whole heap to do in Palm Cove, which is perfect if you want to just relax (well, as much as you can with kids!). My kids loved the resort pool so we didn't need much more than that to keep them happy and entertained. They would have been happy to swim and play in the pool all day for the whole week. But there's also...fishing off the jetty (our 7 year old loved it, hubby packed his rod from home), the playground on the beachfront is shaded and kept our two well entertained, the esplanade has a great footpath for walks (and scooters if you bring them - we didn't) and of course, beach play and swims. We saw a beautiful pod of dolphins jumping in and out of the water. On Sundays they shut the main street off for the Palm Cove Markets which were surprisingly very good! I always like to bring something home from my travels so this was a real treat for me (not so much for Lola - ha!). Palm Cove also has fireworks on the esplanade on Saturday nights.

Hubby and I had treatments/massages at the Palm Cove Retreat Day Spa which were divine. My body scrub (with a Vichy shower - have you had one? They are the bomb!), facial and massage was lovely - I'd definitely go back. They are located in Mantra but anyone can make a booking. 

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DAY TRIPS // While there isn't an abundance of things to do in Palm Cove there is a lot to see, with Palm Cove half hour from Cairns and Port Douglas each way, so it's handy having a car to explore. We took the kids to Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, an easy 15 min drive north, for some croc feeding and viewing which was a good 2-3 hour excursion before heading back to the pool.

Fitzroy Island was a full day trip from Cairns. An early start, but it was a great day (the island also has a resort so you can stay here if you wanted to linger a little bit longer). The ferry to the island takes 45 minutes, easily do-able with a toddler. There are a number of ferry/island providers to choose from, we left Cairns at 9am and got back at 5pm. The boys went snorkelling and saw heaps of fish and coral, but the glass bottom boat was disappointing, we didn't see much except for some ordinary looking coral...if you want the colourful stuff you'll have to go to the outer reef. That said, we saw a sea turtle and a whale from afar - yes, a WHALE! This was a definite highlight. Nudey's Beach (where we saw the whale) has been voted Australia's No. 1 beach in 2018, it's about a 10-15 min walk through bush and over some boulders with some steep sections in parts. Perfectly do-able with kids. Lola loved it and didn't complain once. It's a lovely little beach with snorkelling off the shore. Some parts of the island like the toilets and eating area are a bit outdated and dingy but I've been told by a couple of other travellers that Green Island was a huge disappointment and awful in parts so I think we chose the right island. 

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Port Douglas is about a 30 minute drive north, we went for a drive and some lunch. And I got to check out Ahoy Trader - yay. Lots of lovely Spell and The Gypsy Collective, Jai Vasicek and Bonnie and Neill. Those Jatana Interiors tiles are to die for! 

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I'm really pleased we chose Palm Cove, a first for us but definitely not a last. An average of 27 degrees in winter, it was perfect weather for swimming, day tripping and relaxing (without the sweaty upper lip!!)...if only we could have stayed longer. We will be back! Till then, stay beautiful Palm Cove.

MARIA x  

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