facing the unthinkable….

Breast Cancer Awareness

The recent passing of Connie Johnson had a profound effect on me, along with many other Australian’s.

I found myself shedding tears for, a sister, a wife, a mum – a woman I had never met or had any contact with, other than the knowledge of the incredible work she had done in raising money for cancer research and awareness of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

It was a result of this awareness that I found myself a few weeks ago in Esperence WA, on the morning that I was about to run a half marathon, remembering that maybe I should do a breast examination.

In the shower preparing to get to the start line, I found a lump in my right breast.

I didn’t say anything to anyone.. I got myself ready and ran 21.1 kms. The whole time with the thought swirling around my head that there was a lump in my breast.

I tried to put it to the back of my head for the weekend so we could enjoy the time together as a family. Dave has been working pretty long hours while we’ve been in Kalgoorlie so it was important that we had some time together.

On the trip back to Kalgoorlie I told Dave what I’d found. We discussed that we shouldn’t worry about it too much but I would make an appointment with a GP the next day and get it examined.

A week later I fronted at the GP, she examined me and confirmed that there was indeed a lump there, as well as another one that I hadn’t felt. She referred me to the hospital for an ultra sound, telling me it could be a couple of months before I got an appointment.

A day later I got a phone call from the hospital offering me an appointment within two days.

The ultra sound seemed to be clear according to the sonographer. However, she said the ultra sound won’t pick up anything in early stages and I would also need to have a mammogram.

I tried to get into the pink breast bus, which was actually in Kalgoorlie, but because we are travelling and my address is a South Australian address they couldn’t see me. Seriously I get that there are funding issues, but so many people now are living nomadic lives the system really needs to catch up with things.

Anyway I phoned the doctor back and got a referral for a mammogram at the hospital. As this is a visiting service I would just need to wait until the mammographer is next in town.

Again, depending on availability it could be months. I got a phone call within days offering me an appointment the next week when she was in Kalgoorlie next.

I rocked up to the hospital and had my first mammogram. It wasn’t as bad as I expected but I could certainly think of a few hundred other things that would have been more pleasant. It was over relatively quickly and I was on my way.

An hour later I got a phone call asking me to go back to the hospital so they could take more images.

When I got there the mammographer told me it was ok, the radiologist was on site and just wanted a few more images but not to worry about it and to make an appointment with my GP to get the results by the end of the week.

I was worried about it.

I made doctors appointment and of course she didn’t have all the results by my appointment late Friday afternoon.

She looked at the ultra sound results and said they all look great. She was happy with that and there was nothing to worry about. She would phone me on Monday when the mammogram results came in and tell me over the phone..

phew.. I was so relieved it had come to nothing.

Although I didn’t get a call from the doctor on Monday I wasn’t really worried about it because she had been so certain of the results. I followed it up on Tuesday morning and phoned the surgery just to get the results. I then got a message that I would need to come in asap to discuss the results.


First appointment I could get was Thursday. By this stage I had spoken to a friend who has been through the experience of breast cancer and was fairly certain I knew what was going to transpire.

As expected on Thursday the mammogram results showed that the lump in my breast required further examination and I would need to go to Perth for a biopsy.

The GP did the referral, gave me the spiel it could be two months and sent me on my way. The next day I got a call from Perth and the appointment was made for two weeks time.

Two weeks later we made did the seven hour drive from Kalgoorlie to Perth. At least we were staying at the beach in Scarborough so we would have plenty of opportunity to breath in some vitamin sea. Something clearly missing from the desert.

On the Tuesday morning I arrived at the Perth Breast Clinic and the doctor examined me before sending me down to get another ultra sound. This time also focusing on a shadow they couldn’t identify on the other breast.

Because I had come from a rural area they schedule all tests and results for the same day, which is awesome because it means if there is something to worry about then decisions can be made at once and treatment organised.

So off I trotted back to the doctor to get the results.

Thankfully the doctor was happy with what she saw. She said the left breast was clear but they still needed to do a biopsy on the lump in my right breast.

I had the results of this in no time.. and thank goodness none of the cells were cancerous.

This was the best result possible, and it was all done by lunch time so we could spend the afternoon at the beach.

I have a family history of breast cancer, this is why the medical professionals were so thorough with checking things out.

I can’t fault those that examined me. Despite me being in a rural area, the experience has been highly professional and fast.

As mentioned above the only issue I have is that I needed to be referred back to the hospital for further testing rather than being able to access preventative services, but then even if I had used the bus I’m told that if you have found evidence of a lump they tell you to go through your doctor anyway, so the result probably would have been the same.

The reason I’m writing this is to pay it forward. I only checked because of the experience of someone else.

Thankfully my experience has worked out incredibly well but if this serves as a reminder to one other person to check then its worked.

Seriously, this has been the biggest wake up call for me.

Check your breasts. Check all your other bits, Make sure you are up to date with all your smears and other health checks – not only the girls but also the boys.

The people that love you want you here for as long as possible.

Peace out.

Kelly x

You’ve got a friend in me..

Recently my girls were watching the film Inside Out, which if you haven’t seen it, is a Disney film that is based around emotions and the complicated workings of the inside of a little girls head.

One of the film’s characters is Bing Bong, which is Riley’s imaginary friend from when she was young.

This got me thinking about my girls and their relationship and connection to their toys and their imagination in their play. (I know the big issues right?)

Avalon, when she around three years old, had an imaginary friend who used to come everywhere with us. She told us that her name was Fonga and she was tall, with long green hair and big black eyes! Seriously sounded like a character from the Labyrinth to me, but Avalon loved her and it was clear that there was real interaction, in Avalon’s mind anyway, between the two of them.

Avalon and Fonga played together for hours every day until one day she just disappeared completely. We reminded Avalon about her recently and she desperately tried to find her for a couple of weeks but was obviously unable to conjure her back up again.

So how do kids develop imaginary friends?

The first studies on imaginary friends began in around the 1890s, and since then its estimated that around 37 percent of children will have an imaginary friend.

Many people firmly believe that imaginary friends are spirits that still have a connection to the real world.

Psychic, Denise Litchfield, is known as a ghost whisperer and believes children who have imaginary friends have a connection to the spirit world. She says that imaginary friends are not actually imaginary but are a spirit, and usually a relative or someone with a connection to the child and are watching over the child.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been related to someone with long green hair and big black eyes.. they must be from Dave’s side of the family but I like the idea that there is someone watching over the child.

Science however says its a developmental thing, when a child starts to see themselves as a person separate from others, they will begin to work through this in their own minds and an imaginary friend can be a way to start understanding difference in people.

Fonga didn’t hang around in our family for too long, she had disappeared after a few months, however some people’s imaginary friends can stick around long after childhood. Some studies have shown adolescents with imaginary friends, and contrary to what you would believe, these were not just children with social issues, they were often socially competent but creative kids who turned to an imaginary friend to help process things in their minds.

If they are generally the more creative kids that have imaginary friends, perhaps these children and adolescents go on to become artists, and writers and these friends then become characters in a story?

It is also shown that oldest children, only children or children who don’t watch a lot of television are more likely to have imaginary friends.

Maybe this is why Avalon had one, but so far, Marla has not.

Do or have your children ever had an imaginary friend? What was their name? What did they look like? Did you have to made allowances in your family for their friend, like setting a place at the table for them? Maybe the imaginary friend was mischievous and would ‘get your child into trouble’?

Body positive parenting

Today I saw an article pop up in my news feed which struck a bit of chord. Pop singer Pink, who while I don’t find her music inspiring, I do think is a great role model for girls, this week accepted an award at an awards ceremony where she made an acceptance speech aimed at her six year old daughter.

Pink said her daughter had recently told her she thought she was ugly. Again, her daughter is six years old.

I will reprint Pink’s response and her speech in full below because I think it’s kickass. It’s parenting done right in my humble opinion. The issue however is not one that Pink is just dealing with.

My five year old daughter has also recently said something similar to me. A couple of months ago she came home from kindy and told me she is fat. My five year old is not fat, in fact for much of her life we have fought to keep her even on the weight percentile. That is not really the issue though. The issue is that a five year old should not even be thinking about whether or not she is fat.

I know I am super careful about the language and messages we give at home around weight and appearance. I have suffered with terrible body issues almost my entire life and I have previously written about it so I’m not going to go into it in detail again, but I do know the words fat, skinny, or any other potential negative is not used in our house. We talk about being fit and strong and eating foods to give us energy.

It broke my heart the day she came home thinking she was fat. She has since also called her three year old sister fat, which we’ve had to have a discussion around not using language to hurt people.

I know I will not be able to protect my children from these ideas as they are everywhere. I guess I thought that a five and six year old child would still be more interested in superheroes, ponies and fairies than whether they fit into a unachievable media construct.

So now that there is an awareness, I guess the next challenge is to how to build a positive body image so that my girls do not go through their lives hating their bodies, but love the power and strength their bodies have and that they can use them to achieve whatever goals they set themselves.

Pink’s speech to her daughter:

I know I don’t have a lot of time, but if I may tell you a quick story. Recently, I was driving my daughter to school and she said to me, out of the blue, ‘Mama?’ I said, ‘Yes, baby?’ She said, ‘I’m the ugliest girl I know.’ And I said, ‘Huh?’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, I look like a boy with long hair.’ And my brain went to, ‘Oh my god, you’re six. Why? Where is this coming from? Who said this? Can I kick a 6-year-old’s ass, like what?’

But I didn’t say anything. Instead I went home and I made a Powerpoint presentation for her. And in that presentation were androgynous rockstars and artists that live their truth, are probably made fun of every day of their life, and carry on, wave their flag and inspire the rest of us. And these are artists like Michael Jackson and David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and Annie Lennox and Prince and Janis Joplin and George Michael, Elton John, so many artists — her eyes glazed over. But then I said, ‘You know, I really want to know why you feel this way about yourself.’ And she said, ‘Well I look like a boy,’ and I said, ‘Well what do you think I look like?’ And she said, ‘Well you’re beautiful.’ And I was like, ‘Well, thanks. But when people make fun of me, that’s what they use. They say I look like a boy or I’m too masculine or I have too many opinions, my body is too strong.’

And I said to her, ‘Do you see me growing my hair?’ She said, ‘No, mama.’ I said, ‘Do you see me changing my body?’ ‘No, mama.’ ‘Do you see me changing the way I present myself to the world?’ ‘No, mama.’ ‘Do you see me selling out arenas all over the world?’ ‘Yes, Mama.’ ‘OK! So, baby girl. We don’t change. We take the gravel and the shell and we make a pearl. And we help other people to change so they can see more kinds of beauty.’

And to all the artists here, I’m so inspired by all of you. Thank you for being your true selves and for lighting the way for us. I’m so inspired by you guys. There’s so much rad shit happening in music. And keep doing it. Keep shining for the rest of us to see.

And you, my darling girl, are beautiful, and I love you.  – PiNK

Searching for the Nullarbor Nymph…

There are a huge number of epic and iconic road trips in Australia. One of the most iconic has to be crossing the Nullarbor Plains.

The Nullarbor is the stuff of legends.. the greatest of all is the Nullarbor Nymph. She was first spotted in 1971 in Eucla, just over the Western Australian border. The legend was that a half naked white woman, just wearing a kangaroo skin, was spotted in the bush with the kangaroos. A huge number of media from across the world descended on Eucla in search of the mysterious woman. The legend persisted for some time, until it was eventually revealed that the Nullarbor Nymph was invented by a group of blokes having a beer at Eucla Hotel. I've heard a couple of different stories as to who the woman who appeared in the grainy photo was. One story was she was a backpacker working in the hotel, while I believe her actual identity was the wife of a local kangaroo shooter who was in on the hoax from the beginning.

Our adventure across the Nullarbor was no where near as legendary but we did see some incredible sights.

After visiting family and friends around Adelaide and the Yorke Peninsula we said goodbye once again … bound for the wilds of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Our first stop was Port Augusta where we stayed with a friend of Dave's. There may or may not have been some beverages consumed, and there may or may not have been an application submitted to a reality television show.

It was a late start from Port Augusta the next day once we stocked up on food and got some other jobs done before getting proper on the road.

With just a limited amount of travel time we passed a few legendary 'big things' like a big Galah in Kimba and made it as far as Poochera where we set up camp at the back of the Poochera Hotel.

I have heard of Poochera and was aware of its notoriety as the home of the 'Dinosaur Ant'. Poochera has a total population of around 130 people, however it indeed is home to an ant species that still exists from prehistoric times. Although I have to say, I saw a few ants while we were in town and they pretty much looked the same to me as any other garden variety ant.. except for the giant one outside the roadhouse, but I'm pretty sure that was a recreation 🙂

Day 3 we headed up the coast of the Eyre Peninsula, which despite the fact it rained almost the entire day, was still pretty impressive. We saw many more jettys, the biggest windmill in either Australia or the world, I can't really remember, and went searching for the famous but seemingly hidden, Cactus Beach at Penong. I think our little Jayco Dove got a bitten shaken up on that side trip.

Finally we reached Fowlers Bay, where we camped for the night. And oh what a night… we were hit with the first real bout of sickness for the girls since we set off over 18 months ago. First Avalon and then Marla both vomiting the entire night! I was considering turning back towards the nearest town the next morning to find a doctor if the vomiting didn't stop. The next morning it seemed to have cleared up, so we decided to keep going. However there wasn't over and my poor babies both had an awful day of sickness, which as quick as it started, thankfully stopped by the late afternoon.

Of course the girls being sick happened on the one day that we had planned to do the really fun things like see the whales at the Head of the Bight. They still wanted to do this but they were much more subdued over the experience than they would have been as they were pretty excited in the lead up to see the whales.

I was pretty excited though to spot the sign telling us we had finally reached the Nullarbor Plains. The Nullarbor (also known as the Nullar-boring – which I strongly disagree with) is the earth's largest piece of limestone at 200,000km square and 1,200km from east to west.

There is one section of the highway that at 146.6km is the longest straight length of road in the world.

The landscape is incredible, it is arid and sparse but hosts some of the most incredible coast line in the country. The Great Australian Bight looks just like a giant has taken a bite out of the bottom of Australia but its here that every year there are hundreds of amazing Southern Right Whales come to calve. This was such an amazing sight. It was better than I could have ever imagined and another bucket list item ticked.

I really wanted to do a run on the Nullarbor but I reassessed this once I saw the enormous amount of road kill on the road.. I really hadn't trained for hurdles over dead kangaroos and didn't really think I needed to start.

There are roadhouses along the plains around every 200km but of course the most well known one is the Nullarbor Roadhouse. I would have loved to have seen a sunset from here.

I've already talked about the legend of the Nullarbor Nymph and you can see how a legend like this can be born out here. Another amazing fact that I had no idea about was Balladonia, at the western end of the Nullarabor is the site where the NASA spacestation Sky Lab crashed to earth in 1979.

There is a museum with pieces from Sky Lab at the roadhouse and apparently US President Jimmy Carter phoned the hotel to apologise for the mess!

We eventually got to the South Australian / West Australian border where we stopped for the night.. mostly so we could use up as much of our fruit and veg we had on board before we had to throw it out to cross over the quarantine stop.

Day 4 we were prepared to have to completely unpack everything so that quarantine could make sure we weren't smuggling any produce but we got through pretty quickly and spent our biggest day travelling. We travelled from Border Village right through to the western end of the Nullarbor, a little town called Norseman.

So Day 5 we only had a short distance before we made it to Kalgoorlie… which will be the subject of my next update!

Until then

The GudLanges xx








Winter in the Clare Valley

Brrrr, after spending last winter bathed in the warmth of the Sunshine State to say this winter has been cold has been an understatement! Of course it doesn't help when you see the news reports telling us that its been the coldest winter in 110 years.

Anyway, as I sit in our van writing this with the heater blasting and a beanie on while the rain comes down outside I again make the promise that I will never, never ever ever, do winter again.

However, Clare is beautiful, its colourful, and its a lovely community. In the short time that we've been here we've connected with so many people.

Of course being a wine region there is exceptional wine to drink, and it's probably true that the odd glass of shiraz to relax and warm up on a Saturday night has been consumed.

But Clare is much more, there is the amazing Riesling Trail which follows the old railway line which currently stretches around 32 kilometres from Auburn to Barinia. However it also incorporates sections of the Mawson Trail and is close to the Heyson Trail. The Mawson Trail connection means that in reality its possible to either run, walk or cycle from Riverton through to Spalding, which is around 86 kilometres.

The reuse of sections of the rail line for the trail and for some of the local wineries is a great nod to the recent history of the area and allows access to some of the best views in the Clare Valley. Its also a great way to visit some of the cellar doors in the area, either on foot or by bike.

Clare is very much built around the wine industry, but when you are travelling with kids they are not going to be happy to spend their time sitting quietly while the parents have a nice civilised wine tasting.. no siree. On the two occasions I attempted to do this I spent more time in state of high anxiety, chasing them down to stop them playing hide and seek around the mountains of wine bottles, or creating a river from spilt water at the water cooler, than actively tasting wine.

There are some lovely parks in Clare though so there is no shortage of playgrounds for them to run out the crazy.

The best kid experience by far though is the Lakeside Railway at Melrose Park. Avalon decided she would quite like to do this for her 5th birthday so we gathered a couple of her friends and some high sugar party food and spent a fantastic sunny winter afternoon riding the model trains, which are run by the Clare Valley Model Engineers.

The trains run every 2nd and 4th Sunday afternoon during winter and Saturdays and more often during summer. Of course the Sunday we wanted to go it was not a scheduled time for them, but David and Dean very kindly heeded our call and rolled out one of the trains to give the kids, the little ones and the big ones, a couple of hours of train rides.

The track is great, its 1km long, with plans to further expand it another 350metres. It traverses across the park, over bridges and through a tunnel, which has all been constructed by the Model Engineers group members, with some local community assistance.

The joy the kids got from this experience was awesome… Avalon has not stopped talking about the train and wants to go back again before we leave Clare and at only $1 per train ride, it's one of the best value family activities in the region.

Another great family activity in the Clare Valley is the Mintaro Maze, a traditional living hedge maze with lots of twists, turns, dead ends and fairy tale quirkiness. The girls had a fantastic afternoon trying to find the middle, answer the quiz questions and find our way out again. There are also a lot of life size puzzles outside of the maze that could keep the kids busy for hours and one of the most comprehensive gnome gardens around.

Not right in Clare, but not far away, is the historical town of Burra. Of course my primary reason for wanting to visit was the see the 'Midnight Oil' house.

This is the house that graces the cover of the band's 1987 album 'Diesel and Dust' and for this reason is one of the most famous ruins in Australia.


We had a great visit to Burra though and while we didn't make time to visit all the museums and mine sites, you would seriously need a few days for this, we did wander the historical streets, have a picnic lunch on the river and feed the ducks.

Shout out also to the Valleys Centre where we spent many hours doing swimming lessons, trying roller skating, play gym and kids in the creche while I ran out my crazy on the treadmill on days where it wasn't possible to be outdoors.

And to the Clare Valley Children's Centre where both girls where made to feel so welcome for their term of kindy and child care. I can't praise the educators here enough.

So thank you Clare, you made a long, cold winter not only bearable but enjoyable.

But now its time to pack up again and after a week or so to say good bye to family and friends we are again hitting the road.. this time we are heading west!

The GudLanges




Dream a little dream

This week my 5 year old daughter asked what my dream was. Sadly, I actually couldn't answer her. 

She could easily reel off dreams including wanting to meet a princess; live in a castle or have magic powers. (I'm sensing a theme here). 

It's got me thinking though. I used to have lots of dreams. I dreamed about achieving in my career; I dreamed about finding love; I dreamed about finding my place in the world; and exploring and experiencing new places and adventures. 

So what is different? I guess I've realised many of these dreams or my focus has changed. My focus on career is now very different. I am loving writing again and my role within bubbed has given me a new focus. I found my soul mate and have since been blessed with two beautiful girls; I still haven't really found my place in the world but we did get the Australian mortgage dream. The biggest dream I've realised is packing up my family and beginning to travel Australia. This is now a long term plan where we regularly change our mind and refocus depending on financial stability, travel plans and finding work.

My big personal dreams have been around achieving things with running and music. I used to dream about being in a band, playing music and recording. I achieved this with The P90s and while I would desperately love to still be playing music it's not on my short term plan. (Although I am planning on starting to teach myself harmonica since it doesn't take up a lot of space). As for my running dreams, I've done 3 half marathons and an ultra marathon and my next goal is a road marathon. 

I guess there for me is the difference. I still have lots of goals. I have running goals; travel goals; work goals and goals for my family but I see these as things that I am actively working towards. 

A dream is something I see that is almost unattainable. Something I would have to change many things to realise. 

As a mum I've felt myself slip away, my identity is now entwined with my kids and partner. 

I am a big advocate for mums making sure they have time for themselves and to make sure they have their own identity, and I guess dreams. So I guess it's time to take my own advice and figure out who I am again and figure out what my dreams are for the future? 

Time to dream big. I'll be sure to report back when I figure it out. 

Bubbed, is this the new way for mums?

Recently I reconnected with a friend who I met doing pre natal yoga while I was pregnant with Avalon. That was back in a time before children took up every waking and non-waking hour, and I could afford the luxury of a weekly yoga class.

Liz and I were both first time older mums and really connected. We would sporadically meet for coffee and managed to maintain this for a around a year after the birth of our babies.

Then, as it does, life gets in the way, and while we never really lost contact, thanks to social media, we weren't an active part of each others lives. I do feel however, that I could have called Liz to catch up and vented on the trials and tribulations of #mumlife whenever I wanted to.

That's because mum friends are different to other friends. They understand the feeling of hopelessness and being on edge from your fourth night of no sleep because of any number of reasons with a new baby, they can truely empathise with you when you are banging your head against the wall trying to encourage a child to toilet train. They do not judge you that your dishes haven't been washed in two days or there are toys from one end of your house to the other.

Mum friends are integral to survival through the first five years of your journey as a mum. Whether you are a stay at home or working mum; a first time mum or veteran fourth time mum; or have the luxury of a large supportive family or are struggling as a single mum with no one around, mum friends are a lifeline.

My experience as a first time new mum was probably the most isolated I had ever felt in my life. Being an older first time mum meant that none of my friends were in the same stage of life. Most of my closest friends lived interstate or overseas, already had kids who were older, or they were on the path that I thought I was also on – being child free. I was actually ok with this and it was only that I fell in love with Dave and changed my life style that kids even came into the picture.

The group of friends that I spent the most time with at the time that I fell pregnant with Avalon were on a very different life path and were all suddenly awol, so apart from a small number of friends, none of whom actually lived in the same city as me, I felt pretty lonely. Add to this, the trauma of a complicated birth where my baby was delivered early, requiring surgery and a four week stay in the NICU, followed by another six weeks of not being able to leave the house once we got her home, I was left feeling like I had made the biggest mistake of my life.  I couldn't understand how you could feel so much joy and so much pain simultaneously. I desperately wanted someone to talk to though.

By the time I attended my first 'mother's group meeting' run by the local community health nurses I was feeling pretty desolate. I needed to connect with other women who understood, someone who I could share the highs and lows with. I am still friends with a small number of the women who I met that first day, we have shared so much growth, both with our children, and as mums. A few of us also went on the have second babies all around the same time, so our second children are also close in age.

Of course our story changed considerably in December 2015, when Marla was almost 18months old and Avalon only 3 years, we left South Australia with a loose plan to travel around Australia. That means we are no longer able to physically catch up with many of our friends but thanks to social media and the ability to FaceTime and Skype my mum friends are still some of my closest friends, and we have to fight over the phone with the kids to talk.

We made a decision to come back to South Australia in December 2016, after 12 months on the road for a work opportunity and did consider staying. However, it turns out the travel bug has bitten hard and we really weren't ready to stay in one place yet.

At the same time, Liz was holidaying close to where we were working and we organised to catch up over Easter. She was telling me about a new app she was developing for mums and I honestly thought this could be something quite amazing.

I thought how different could things have been if I had access to something like bubbed when I was trying to figure the way through the emotional roller coaster of a baby in NICU, or when I was house bound with a baby that was being fed through a tube. If I could have connected with someone else who had been through something similar, I may not have felt so isolated and scared.

Now, as a travelling family, I see enormous potential for bubbed to become the lifeline for me and the kids to connect with a community when we stop for an extended work stop. We are often in a place for up to three months and if we were able to already put out the feelers for other mums and kids to connect with and to find out what was available locally it could provide a fantastic social network which I've found can take the entire length of time we are in a place to put in place.

So, as it does, life has a funny way of working out and while we thought coming back to South Australia to work in a caravan park was going to be our future, it wasn't. However, within days of us finishing up there Liz offered me the opportunity to work with her in the development of bubbed.

Long term this was exactly what I was looking for. The chance to get back to doing what I love, which is to write, and the ability to essentially work anywhere with a wifi connection.

Bubbed will offer mums something on so many different levels. It will have such an important role in being an online meeting place when mums are finding it hard to physically leave the house, it will provide the mechanism to connect with other mums, it will provide a central place for finding information on issues, milestones and products, through experience of other mums and through expert opinion, and it will provide a way for mums to find information about products in a central location. We are now seeking emerging mum bloggers and businesses who would like to be part of the bubbed community to get on board.

If you are a mummy blogger or a mum focussed business who would like to be part of bubbed please get in touch with us through our facebook page or website http://www.bubbedclub.com.


Post race update…

Well I made it! I finished UTA50 and can say I’m an ultra marathoner. 

I won’t pretend it was pretty or easy.

In fact in was brutal.

The relentless rain in the lead up at least cleared up for the start, which was delayed for 2 hours. And resulted in a complete course change.

The 50km was now to be the first half of the 100km. And most reports are in many ways it was a tougher course. It was very muddy and slippery and the hardest thing I have ever done.

I lost my team for most of the race, catching them here and there but really had to deal a lot with my own mental demons on the day.

I almost gave up before we’d even reached the first checkpoint because almost immediately we were faced with a ferocious lot of stairs. Feeling like I was going to pass out and this fatigued so soon, I doubted I could do it. But I took a gel. Got my head together and pressed on.

I found Jo and the girls just out of the first checkpoint where Sandy had had a stack. She was a bit beaten up but is tough as nails and pushed on. 

After here we eventually made our way to Tarros Ladder where we had to wait for more than an hour! The ladder wasn’t nearly as scary as what I thought though.

I lost everyone agin not long after here until the next checkpoint and played catch up for much of the race with them.

I was doing ok , just going at my own pace until checkpoint 3 when I started to again doubt myself. This was around the 37km mark and when I spotted Jo and the team I burst into tears. 

It was starting to get dark now so with very special, highly fashionable high vis vests and head torches we set out again. I lost everyone pretty quickly and while I got up the massive hill at about 43km, when we got to the 1000 stairs l started to really struggle mentally. I doubted my bodies ability, my feet to keep going and my brain to talk me through. Thank you to all the people on the track that helped get me up the stairs, and the girl I stayed with for a bit while you puked and I blubbered. Thank you. Also thanks to the 2 volunteers at the top of the stairs who basically caught me and walked up the next hill with me talking me through it. You guys were amazing. Although when you excitedly told me only 4km left, if I had the strength, I may have thumped you.

But I got through the streets and the little muddy bush tracks, stacking it in the mud and landing in a prickly bush and to the finish line.

I have no idea what my time was but it would have been around 11 hours. I cared about what my time might be before the race but now I’m just thankful I finished, because I almost pulled out a couple of times.

So ultra marathon is a tick. Don’t need to do that again!

I also want to thank Dave and my beautiful girls. The training for this has not been easy for them. Love you three x

Thanks to Jo and all the team for your support. And to Sel. You are one of my biggest supporters always. 

So now for recovery and to set the next goal 😉


The GudLanges xx

Journey to an Ultra Trail

This post isn’t so much about our travels as a family as about my personal journey to a point I would never have imagined I’d be. 

On the day before I can (hopefully) call myself an ultra marathoner I have been reflecting on how I got here. I won’t be offended if it’s not something to interest everyone, especially if you read this blog out of interest on how we travel with children, but here is my hijacking of the blog for a long winded moment.

As a child and during my adolescence I was never sporty or athletic. In fact I was mostly overweight and had very little confidence in my physical ability.

As I got older and encouraged by friends, I started to have bursts of activity periods where I would regularly exercise, drop weight and feel better about myself. Then I would get complacent or have an event that impacted my mental strength and stop working out, pile the weight back on and ultimately feel like I had again let myself and everyone else down.

I didn’t really start running until around 2010. I was regularly walking and hiking with a group of friends. The previous year we entered a charity hiking event in Adelaide,  Trailblazer which raised funds for Operation Flinders. The event was just over 30km.

In 2010 we decided to up the anti and enter the 50km event. As part of my training for this I began to run. It was incredibly difficult and I’m not really sure I enjoyed it all, but I persevered. I entered my first ‘fun run’, The Mothers Day classic. It was 7km and at the time, the furthest I had attempted. I remember the feeling so clearly that day. I really thought I was going to die. But I didn’t and I got to the finish line and burst into tears. That year we also successfully got through the 50km Trailblazer event. We were never going to set any records but we finished.

Of course the next year we made the decision that the 100km should be done.

Running didn’t come naturally. It is something I have to work at and still do – a lot. To attempt the 100km though I really needed to work on my fitness, so  I embraced running within my workout schedule.

In 2011, in the leadup to the Trailblzer 100km, I ran the City to Bay 12km, where in previous years I had walked it. And I was happy with my time. I also did my first half marathon. The Greenbelt half in Adelaide. Truth be told I chose this event because the course was on a downhill incline over most of the event and I didn’t think I had the ability to do a more difficult course. It rained during the race, which when you run wearing glasses is a consideration. 

The moment I crossed the finish line in the Greenbelt Half

I surprised myself that day (and maybe a few others as well). I was so proud of myself that I not only finished but it was an ok time and I did not stop and walk. Crossing that finish line was probably the point I can look toand say that’s when I began to enjoy the feeling running could give. And then I burst into tears.

In October 2011, along with my team, and after a huge effort we completed a 100km event through the Adelaide Hills. It took around 30 hours and I think we limped over the line in second last place. To finish that though was pretty amazing before I burst into tears.

Straight after this I fell pregnant with my first child. Followed two years later by another. Being mum is amazing but physically it was pretty awful. I was again struggling with my weight and really struggling with how to fit in exercise. With the support of Dave and a decision that it needed to change I threw out all the processed food in our house, overhauled our eating with the help of a step by step program and slowly reintroduced being active. Eventually I began to reintroduce running and had to start right back at the start again. 

Back where it was slow and painful and I had to talk myself into each pre dawn attempt. As I started to lose weight and jiggled less I was less self conscious and I began enjoying it again. That’s about the time we decided to pack up our lives and move into a tiny caravan to travel around oAustralia.

Travelling hasn’t been all easy to maintain  fitness and weight. However I have managed to somewhat incorporate it into our lives now. With a very supportive husband and children who now accept that mum disappears ‘to go running’ I use it as my ‘time out’. And have found I’m now well on my way to achieving a goal to race in every state of Australia. Obviously South Australia is done, and with two half marathons in Queensland (Noosa and Gold Coast), a half marathon trail in Tasmania, and this weekend, the UTA50 in the Blue Mountains of NSW. 

The Tassie Trail Fest Half and Gold Coast Half

So how on earth am I running an Ultra marathon? I blame two people. My best friend Sel and my cousin Jo. Sel challenged me to do a marathon after Gold Coast last year. We were planning on doing the Great Ocean Road Marathon together. And Jo introduced me to trail running while we where in Townsville for a work stop on our travels. Both Sel and Jo separately did UTA50 last year and guess who had serious FOMO? 

So while living in the tropics in a Queensland rainforest at the time of registration last year Jo calls me and gives me 5 minutes to decide if I am in for this year. 

Fast forward to today. I am on a plane on the way to Sydney, then the Blue Mountains. I am crapping myself. I do not feel prepared. The weather forecast is for a months worth of rain on race day. But there’s no backing out now. 

Right now I just need to line up tomorrow morning and put one foot in front of the other until we reach the finish. Before I will no doubt burst into tears.

Wish me luck and I will check back post race!


The GudLanges xx

Great Ocean Road to Tasmania…


In March we drove down the Great Ocean Road, making our way to Melbourne, and over to Tasmania to attend our good friends, Nicola and Mike’s wedding.

We wanted to take our van over but left things a bit late and we weren’t able to get a return trip on the boat when we needed to, so we opted to drive to Melbourne and fly to Tassie and hire a camper van for a few weeks.

The trip down the Great Ocean Road was pretty incredible.

Our first stop was at Naracoorte in South Australia. We camped overnight at the showgrounds and then the next morning visited the amazing Naracoorte Caves.


The limestone caves, which are the only place in South Australia that is world heritage listed, are around 800,000 years old and with the fossils that paleontologists have discovered here, much of the history of South Australian and Australian wildlife has been pieced together.

There are 28 known caves in the area, one of these, the ‘bat cave’, is one of only two known places where the endangered Southern Bent Wing Bat breeds. You are able to look into the cave with infra red cameras and watch them flying around without disturbing them. It was pretty amazing to sit and watch them. Many people don’t like bats but I think they are remarkable! Anything that can sleep upside down has to be.

From here we ventured into the Coonawarra wine region. I was allowed to choose two wineries to stop at and do a lightening quick tasting (and buying). So thank you to Brand’s Laira and Katnook. I got amazing attention and enjoyed my brief visit to both cellar doors. I would very highly recommend a visit to both these amazing wineries if you are in the Coonawarra. Safe to say I don’t have any of the bottles left now.. lucky I bought the drink now bottles and not the cellar for 10 years ones.

Before we knew it we were over the border and into Victoria. We overnighted in Portland and the girls were very excited to spot their first lighthouse of the trip. There was much discussion about whether Grandpa Rabbit lived in the top of the lighthouse and whether he would help Grandpa Pig find his way. (Only those with young children who watch Peppa Pig will understand).


We stopped for lunch on the third day in Port Fairy with some aggressive seagulls, had at a quick look around Warnambool, visiting the Whale nursery but obviously the wrong time of the year, before we really hit the Great Ocean Road.

The coastline along here is seriously amazing! We stopped at most of the lookouts including London Bridge, the Arch, The Grotto, the Bay of Islands and lots of others. The story around the falling of London Bridge back  in 1990 was amazing, helicopters had to rescue people were stranded on the other side of the structure after it fell into the sea. However even more amazing is the stories you discover about events like this from other sources. I love that when I posted a photo at the time, a friend shared that his parents knew the couple that were stranded and, lets say it was a very public outing of a relationship between two people, who were married to other people at the time.

We stayed overnight at a lovely little town of Port Campbell before continuing the next day to the 12 Apostles. Amazing! We walked to the Gibson steps so we were able to see them from the lookouts and from the beach. On our travels I am so constantly in awe of the landscape that we are so lucky to have access to.


Keen to climb a lighthouse, our next stop was at Cape Otway, where we were able to climb to the top of the lighthouse (and almost get blown away!) before stopping at Apollo Bay for the night.

Apollo Bay meant we had now passed the shipwreck coast and were heading down the surf coast. Amazing beach after amazing beach! Lunch at Lorne, then a quick visit to the mecca of surfing, Bells Beach, before stopping at Torquay.

Before making our way to Melbourne we visited the National Surfing Museum at Torquay, which is a fantastic place to learn the history of surfing in Australia. However, we needed to move on so we could board our flight to Hobart and begin our Tassie adventure.


The girls were very excited to be flying again, despite the fact they spent most of the flight fighting over who could look out the window *sigh*

We splurged our first night and stayed in a hotel!

Ha that was shortlived and the next morning we picked up our camper van… I knew it would be small but even I wasn’t prepared for just how small. Makes our tiny van look like a three story mansion.


Anyway it is what it is and we just had to suck it up and put it in the compartment of experience.

All folded into the van we headed north, where we stayed overnight in Ross on route to Derby where I was registered to run in the Tassie Trail Fest half marathon on Sunday, through the amazing Blue Tier forest.

What a fantastic race festival. We camped on the river in Derby on Saturday night.. even spotting a platypus.. before heading to the start line at Weldborough. The trail was on the mountain bike trails which have been developed through Derby, which have completely revitalised the town. I managed to complete two of my three goals of the day.. I finished and I didn’t come last. I wanted to do sub three hours but didn’t quite achieve that one.


At least it gave me a good taste of what I’m in for in May when I run the UTA50 in the Blue Mountains in NSW! Yikes.

After a cold shower at the Weldborough Hotel, we headed to Launceston. I have a special connection here, as I lived here for around a year and a half back in the early 2000’s when I worked for the amazing Michelle O’Byrne MP. Back then she was the Federal Member for Bass when we spent most of our time travelling backwards and forward between Launceston and Canberra. Now she is a very respected and highly effective State Member for Bass, and while currently in Opposition in Tasmania, she has been a very respected Minister in the previous Tasmania Labor Government.

It was so good to catch up with Michelle, as well as some other old friends – Lee-Anne, Mark, and Michelle’s Mum and Dad – Colleen and Brian. It was great to also able to show my family some of the places that were important to me here.

From Launceston we took a few days to travel down the east coast of Tasmania. Stopping at some places I had been to before but many more I never got the opportunity to see when I lived up the road.

St Columba Falls, just north of St Helens was amazing. One of the biggest waterfalls in Tasmania at 90m metres high. In summer 42,000 litres of water flows down the falls per minute, this increases to an incredible 200,000 litres per minute in winter!


We stayed overnight in Bicheno on the east coast. I had never been here before and I loved it! We chose here because we wanted to treat the girls to a night time penguin tour. So glad we did! The guides were great. They have set up such a special encounter with the penguins that give the tourists a close enough look that you can almost touch the animals but far enough away that the penguins are not scared.


Avalon and Marla thought this was a highlight and were very impressed that they could see the penguins waddling up the beach. Of course from then we all had to walk like penguins for two days.

Thankfully, they forgot to walk like penguins the next day though when we hiked to the Wineglass Bay Lookout at Freycinet National Park. I love this place. However, while I had previously stayed at the Lodge, I never actually walked to the lookout. Its a great walk and very achievable with kids. As long as you leave enough time and have enough food for them. We did have a close encounter with a local though when we were sitting eating lunch. One of the wallabies got a bit upset we weren’t sharing our sandwiches and jumped right over Avalon’s head. Only just missing her!


After our big walk I got to quickly run into Devil’s Corner winery and pick up a couple of bottles of amazing Tassie Pinot Noir before heading to Kate’s Berry Farm at Swansea for some amazing ice cream…. which Avalon may have eaten far too much of because she threw it all up in the car around an hour later *sigh*

So that meant we need to find somewhere to stay the night that had washing machines…

Triabunna was the place, a cute little town where the ferry to Maria Island leaves.

Next day we headed back to Hobart for the whole reason we’d made the trip.. the wedding of the year… Mitchell and Mike!

I even made it to the girls dinner a couple of days before hand.. after remembering how to apply make up, I had a fantastic night out in Salamanca Place with Nicola and her girl crew.

The next couple of days we hang around Hobart, exploring a bit before the wedding on Saturday. Including a side trip to Port Arthur… what an experience! This place is amazing. I just can’t fathom what the people who were incarcerated here and lived here experienced.


It was so special to be there to see Nicola marry Mike. Nicola and I have been friends since she was an ABC journo in Launceston and I was a political staffer trying to get my MP some media space.. she was always kind enough to turn up to our media events, and then we’d go for a drink. Eventually, she moved to Brisbane and I moved to Adelaide but we always stayed in contact and saw each other when we could. If fact, I was on a road trip through the Flinders Ranges with her when I met Dave…

So thank you Mitchell.. It was a privilege to share yours and Mike’s special day.

After the wedding is when things turned to shit.. so you could say..

I thought I was hung over the day after the wedding but it turns out I had a severe tummy bug and our plans to see and hike across the west coast were reassessed. We did travel up the west coast but mostly what I saw was from the car, or I can tell you where every public toilet is from Hobart to Burnie.

This is a trip we need to go back for. There is so much I want to see up the west coast, especially through the Franklin Gordon Wilderness. Next time..

We did make it up to Burnie and then back down the midlands to Hobart to fly back to Melbourne.

We did drive back up the Great Ocean Road but only stopped at a couple of places we wanted to go back to. We stayed at Apollo Bay again on the way home and met up with Dave’s sister Kathleen and her troupe who were on holiday. We were all going to do the Forest Walk together but of course the one day of the year we wanted to do it the weather was so bad they shut it down!

So just before we made it back to Port Vincent we stopped at Mount Gambier and got to visit the incredible Blue Lake! Wow! The color of the water is because its a dormant volcano but its amazing to see water that color. Then the weather turned on us here too..


We did however get to catch up with an old school friend of Dave’s who lives on a farm out of Millicent – thanks for the visit Wombat! And congratulations to you and Leonie on the new baby Wombat 🙂

What an epic adventure.. I haven’t even touched on how we fared in the teeny tiny camper van.. some things are best forgotten, or put down to survival.

Until next time..

The GudLanges xx