Summer holiday reflections

So this summer break has been a massive learning curve for us all.  We chose to stay home, in Bangkok for the summer break and do some local trips instead, taking advantage of the long weekends that Marc has had during the last couple of months as he wasn’t taking any annual leave this summer.  This is partly because he is super busy with his new role, and partly because we want to save up those annual leave days for trips further abroad and for times like Christmas, and partly because we thought it was too soon to return to Brisbane after only leaving Australia in February.

What we didn’t realise is that Bangkok becomes almost completely void of all expats who have school aged children over the summer break.  More importantly and more impactful on our lives, was the fact that all our newly made friends were leaving Thailand for most of the break.

The Clowns were tired.  I mean, really exhausted, by the time the school year ended in mid-June.  Starting at a new school in a new country was taxing on everyone.  I get it.  I lived it with them.  They were totally happy hanging out at home, swimming, playing on their Xbox or iPads and generally doing a whole load of not much.  While I fully recognise that they needed the down time, this didn’t suit me for very long, however.  I had plans!  I had ideals as to what the summer break was going to look like!  I wanted to DO stuff with the Clowns!

I thought we would go and hang out at the park and feed the turtles, go to the movies, try out any activities in the many shopping centres, visit friends that were still in the city, hang out by the pool, try some new cafes, sleep in, go to the beach, have a couple of short breaks away from the city….  You get my drift.  I actually thought these summer holidays would be similar to summer break in Queensland.

But nope.  No.  Not even remotely excited by any prospects, all three Clowns didn’t want to do ANYTHING.  It was too hot (agreed), it was raining (well, yeah it’s the rainy season), there was no one left to do anything with (OK, but we can still do stuff), everything they wanted to do was super expensive (we do not have unlimited funds, to their utmost disgust), we want to play online with our friends (both local and O/S), we can just order Food Panda and watch movies (well yes, but not every day), we don’t want to walk that far or try and work out how we are going to get from A to B (I completely agree with this one.  I think I’ve got Transport Logistic Fatigue.  Yes, I made that up.  Yes, I’m sure it’s a real thing.  Yes, it’s going to totally catch on).

It’s hard to argue with them when they have pretty decent arguments…  And when I don’t have rebuttal at the ready, I lose!

Fast forward to today… It is now exactly one week until school starts for the 18/19 year.  I have been looking back at my trusty Google calendar, attempting to reassure myself that these guys haven’t been sat inside on screens for eight weeks…

Things we did do:

  • Spent four days in Phuket, catching up with Brisbane friends
  • Continued Thursday Club (pizza and wine at alternating friends’ houses) while TC people were still in Bangkok
  • Went to a cooking class where they made cupcakes from scratch and then learnt how to use fondant and pipe buttercream icing
  • went to Bounce
  • Spent three days in Pattaya
  • went to FlowHouse and rode the man made waves
  • had lunch with Marc in at his office
  • went to Amped Tramp park
  • spent some time with a new-to-Bangkok Aussie family
  • played with kids who were still in Bangkok on various play dates
  • walked to our favourite bakery and had morning tea (several times)
  • went to the movies
  • had friends over for a swim
  • had movie days at home

Things we didn’t do:

  • visit the Neilson Hays library
  • do any weekday trips further out of the city
  • shopping for school supplies
  • visit some local wats
  • visit any new parks
  • find any free/low cost school aged activities

Looking at it in list form, it doesn’t look too boring… But honestly, these three are more than happy to stay home and read, watch movies, colour in, play board games, and have screen time.  They really don’t want to have to work out how to get anywhere, and that is our main issue here in Bangkok.  We can’t just jump in a car and GO!

In hindsight, we probably should have just bitten the bullet and spent a few weeks back in Brisbane without Marc.  There’s always next summer break to get in more ‘right’ 🙂


Young Readers and Growing Bibliophiles

Marc and I are big readers.


We have always loved to read and have tried to encourage a love of books and reading from the time each Clown was born. Books have always been readily available and accessible to the Clowns. I may have a book collecting habit that has had to be tamed since we have moved… it’s so hard to leave a book behind! But I digress…! As the Clowns get older we are seeing them develop their own joy in reading and it’s so wonderful to watch!

I enjoy reading what Owen, in particular, reads and is interested in. We have similar tastes, so it’s easy to buy him novels I see in passing or to pick up what he’s reading and thoroughly enjoy it.

Why do I take such an interest in what the Clowns are reading? A few reasons… Partly because I love to read and am partial to great young adult novels. Partly because I want to make sure the Clowns are reading appropriate (and sometimes challenging) material. Partly because it is a way for me to connect with the Clowns individually. They all have very different tastes in their reading choices. I find it interesting to see what they come home with after a library visit or what books they are drawn to at a bookshop. It’s the Observer in me, I guess. 🤔

Owen is a vivacious reader. He takes either a book or his Kindle with him wherever we go. We cannot keep up with the volume of books he gets through.

We bought him the Kindle for Christmas to help keep the book storage to a minimum, although for me, nothing beats a proper paper novel.

He loves to talk about books with us and share moments from their stories, sometimes while he’s smack bang in the middle of an exciting part. He likes to discuss the characters and imagine them in larger places than just the confines of the pages.

He readily and enthusiastically recommends authors and novels to his siblings and to friends at school. I’m surprised he hasn’t thought of starting a YA Book Club…

It still amazes me that all this comes from the Clown Who Would Not Learn His Sight Words in Prep, all those years ago and struggles with orthographic dyslexia and orthographic processing. Neither of which have stopped him from challenging himself.

Upon his recommendation, I started reading The Land of Stories series with him. I am yet to catch up to Owen so today, I am starting Book 5 – An Author’s Odyssey. I love fairy tales and Chris Colfer’s take on them and their characters is always an entertaining read.

You’ll know where to find me on this rainy Thursday afternoon! Who could want more than a rainy afternoon, a good book to begin and a coffee, of course!


New school and new friends…

From all around the world!

One of the main reasons I was all for moving to Bangkok, when Marc was very unsure about suggesting we pack up our lives and those of three children (and a dog too.. we can’t forget about Rosie!) was the amazing opportunity the Clowns would have, not only living somewhere completely different and seeing another side of the world, but because they would be exposed to so many different people and cultures, just by going to an international school every day.

We have chosen where the Clowns are attending with much consideration to the fact that Owen was about to begin his high school years in Australia this year. Reuben and Ella, we weren’t as concerned for as they are still smack bang in the mix of middle primary years. They have time to adapt an embrace a different way of schooling before they tackle high school as well.

Anyway, back to our schooling choice…. In Thailand, the school year runs fairly similar to Australia and follows the seasons, but since their Summer is mid year the school year begins in August and runs though until June.

So… We have started the Clowns in the grades they completed in 2017 – Owen is in grade 6, Reuben grade 3 and Ella in grade 2, until the 2018-19 year starts in August. then they will move up grades along with their new classmates. We thought it would give all of the Clowns time to focus on getting to know the school and their classmates with less pressure on their academic focus, as they will basically be revisiting the last term of the grades they have just completed in Australia. Long winded, but I hope that makes sense?

Now, onto the actual school the Clowns are attending… This is something that we researched a whole lot, before we even relocated or started looking for our home. Where we are living was narrowed down to being close to the BTS for Marc to get to work easily and for close access to school.

Thankfully we were able to chose a school that runs the Australian curriculum, (hopefully!) making the transition even easier for the Clowns.

The Australian International School Bangkok is a smaller school than what we are used to, running all grades up to eight at the moment. The classes are half or less than those of the Clowns old school (I think Ella has 12 or 13 children in her class) with grades running a maximum of fours streams. The strangest thing for the Clowns to get used to? No vast green outdoor spaces! Living in Bangkok, land is at a premium, so the school buildings are storeys high, with play space/green space a lot smaller than what they are used to. The classes are on a play time rotation, so everyone gets a chance to really expend some energy and run around.

Class rooms are very spacious (there’s not as many desks with so many less kids per room!) and they are sun filled, bright, colourful and welcoming spaces (but also lovely and air conditioned!!). There are many Australian teachers. Owen and Ella both have Aussie teachers this year. Reuben’s teacher is from America.

Here’s what the Clowns all thought of their fist day. Please excuse the moving mess in the background – we are waiting for the removal company to pick up our empty boxes.

We chose to pay for the schools meals as well as the bus service to pick up an drop off the Clowns – something I am very thankful for today! Initially I had thought we would meet the bus somewhere on our street, but nope! They drive right up to our building. It’s been storming all morning, and the bus picks the Clowns up from our front door right and goes to their building at school, and repeated in the afternoon. Much better than arriving at school drenched!



Big things have happened around the Circus of late. Those of you, lovely readers, who follow our travels through Instagram have seen us pack up our lives, rent out our little house in the ‘burbs of northern Brisbane, say teary ‘see you later’s’ to our friends and family and make our first international flight as a family to Thailand, to make it our new home.




Yes. Yes. And yes!

For the moment, we are living full hotel life mode out of our suitcases, before we can move into our apartment and properly settle in to the amazing city of Bangkok. Rosie flies over from Australia soon too. She’s not missing out on our adventures!

Hotel living sounds like the dream, right? Well…. It is. And it isn’t. With three loud, very much outdoorsy clowns to keep occupied, there isn’t much r&r going on! On the other hand, there is the daily serviced room that I look forward to every afternoon… Fresh towels and linen and beds made by someone else? I’ll take that everyday… To me, that is a luxury that will be missed once we leave our hotel.

Marc’s two minute commute to work will be something that will be sad to leave as well.

And the decent wifi that the Clowns (and I) are making the most of, FaceTiming friends and family and playing online games with their buddies has helped them transition a little. The small three hour time difference helps a whole lot too.

Eating out and the daily, sometimes more than daily, trip to the local Tops Market has become a habit. I will be happy to have the coffee machine, thermie and slow cooker back once we move. While eating out for most meals seems like it would be great (no prep and no cleaning up!!) – the decisions for five people have become too hard after a week of meal negotiations and menu preferences. Some nights we have ordered room service just so we don’t have to go out again for another meal. Tough life, right?! But the food (even the room service) is fantastic. I can’t wait to try more places and share them with you!

School starts for them in a few weeks time, and they will hopefully enjoy the diversity that comes with attending an international school. I can’t wait for them to start, and they are (now) keen to make a start.

In the meantime, we are keeping ourselves busy by exploring on foot and making the most of the BTS line to navigate our way around the area. The clowns have seen some pretty cool things and have been exposed to a very different culture and way of life already.

I’m sure there is a lot that Thailand has to show and teach us!


Nothin’ but blue skies

I look up. Sometimes.  I need to look up more.  I find I get stuck in a looking down rut at times. And that’s sometimes interesting, but mostly means I’m in rush mode or get all the things done mode. And that’s not always happy or helpful to my frame of mind or mood.

But when I look up?

The sky is refreshing and recharging and perspective shifting.

Blue with a few fluffy lovely clouds is preferred!

Blue skies at the park are great too. Especially when spent with friends.

Remembering to savour the sunshine on windy wintery type days.

Nothin’ but blue skies….

Adventures In Thermomixing : Sunday Baking

I try and bake at least one or two things for the Clowns lunch boxes on a Sunday. It makes everyone’s lives heaps easier and a little more organised in that crazy weekday morning rush!

So today I decided to make a few of Leilah’s (AKA Thermomumma) super easy and delicious recipes.  If you are looking for anything bread related, her recipes have always worked beautifully for me and they taste great!

Starting with Leilah’s Cheese and Bacon Rolls, which I made into baby sized portions. That way I can use them for snacks as well as lunches. I have made this recipe loads of times, and it is always a winner with the Clowns.

Finger Buns were next on the baking list. Again, super easy to make.  I made them a bit smaller too as I don’t think my kids lunch boxes need a normal sized finger bun for their morning tea!

Lastly, today I tried out the Blueberry and Choc Chip Muffins. Except I replaced the blueberries with raspberries.  They smell aaaahhhhhmazing!

That should keep the Clowns happy for the week!

Happy baking!

Guiltlessly NO! 

Do you? Do you say no to things, completely (or almost) guilt free? I used to be in the Say Yes to Everything! camp. And it was stressful. For me. And usually ONLY for me. Over extending and putting unnecessary pressure and stress on myself, just so I wouldn’t have to say that dreaded word…. And if I did have to say no, I had to have a mega super important reason why. So I could justify the No….

Ridiculous….  Right?! 

Ridiculous because the recipient of the No doesn’t really need to know the why or the why not, nor need understand your choice. 

So I had a little pep talk to myself (please tell me I’m not the only one who does this?!) and took my own advice. And I started saying Guiltlessly No! when I saw red flags for me and/or for the rest of my family. 

So I have said Guiltlessly No! to a few kids parties that were going to stretch out a fun day to a really long and tiring day/night, or we had overlapping commitments. I have said Guiltlessly No! to volunteering for a few school projects, one big one being the biannual carnival. I have said Guiltlessly No! to family events, especially ones that really don’t suit our routines come Sunday afternoon/evening.  I have said Guiltlessly No! to some recent girls nights out, which are usually great and fun and good therapy for the soul, however they also impact everyone else in my family. Probably the biggest Guiltlessly No! I have said is to the Clowns going to our school carnival, endless cues and crowds and Clowns who weren’t really keen to take part in their class performances (all not compulsory) meant we chose to miss it this year. 

And everyone is still OK!  

Do you know what? Life around the Big Top is calmer and a little less hectic for all my/our Guiltlessly No! calls. And I am really happy about that and I can see the Clowns and Marc are too.  Slower weekends mean more productive Clowns during the week. We are getting more little projects started (and finished!) around the house.  Monday mornings are not so hit and miss now. 

I have stopped feeling the need to explain my invitation declines. But this was hard in the beginning!! I have hardly any problem saying no to something that I know immediately is going to mean me running around like a crazy person trying to fit everything and everyone in.  And if I’m not sure, or want to check with Marc first, I can happily and comfortably state this to the person and get back to them with a response. Before, I would have committed to the thing without hesitation and without thinking it through first. And then just made it work. Somehow.  Crazy, I know! 

Saying Yes! to commitments and people has also become easier. We now have clearer priorities, workable boundaries and windows of time to play with (hello Google synced calendars!!). Happily Saying Yes! has been an unexpected byproduct of my Guiltlessly No! project. 

Guiltlessly No! has made a big, positive difference for us. Do you think it would help your family too? 

Adventures In Thermomixing : apple crumble

We here at the Circus love love love apple crumble! 

I finally thermomised (totally a word!!) my recipe and thought I’d share it here with you too!

Apple Crumble


150g whole almonds

110g brown sugar

90g butter 

1tsp vanilla extract 

150g self raising flour 

1 large tin of pie apples


Set your oven to moderate or around 180 degrees, depending on how hot your oven runs. You don’t want your crumble to cook too fast and burn! 

Add the almonds to your Thermomix, then 8 seconds on speed 8 (or whatever you usually grind almonds to almond meal). 

Throw in all other ingredients and blitz on the Turbo 2 second option for two or three times, depending on how crumbled you like your crumble.  


Then you’re pretty much done! 

Just spread the apples in your favourite crumble baking dish and pour the crumble over the top. 

Bake for around 20 minutes or until you can smell the crumbly goodness! 

We like to serve the crumble with custard and/or icecream, and eat it while it’s still warm…. And then sometimes I may have some of the leftovers with yoghurt for a way too delicious breakfast! 


Choc Protein Balls

This is a super easy and tasty protein ball recipe that one of my PT friends shared with me a couple of years ago.
I have tweaked it a little to suit my tastes since then.
It’s one of those combinations that will hit the sweet spot, if you are looking for that hidden chocolate stash 😉


Choc Protein Balls


1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons peanut butter

60 grams almonds

2 scoops protein powder

1 cup rolled oats/quick oats

1 tablespoon honey/rice malt syrup

1 tablespoon milk to bind

Coconut for rolling (optional)


Process the almonds into meal consistency in your Thermomix or food processor.

Throw all your other ingredients in and blend well.

Roll about a tablespoon of the mix into a ball and then roll in coconut if you choose (I don’t do this, only because I’m not a huge coconut fan) and then either freeze the balls or just pop in the fridge.


  • If you haven’t got a food processor, you can still make these by hand.  I would suggest using quick oats and perhaps melting your honey and peanut butter to help bind everything together more easily and with a lot less elbow grease!
  • If you don’t like/can’t use almonds, you can replace the 60 grams with anything like coconut, or another nut or a mix of chia seeds as well.  The combinations are endless!

Primary version of Mother’s Day 

Today was the Mother’s Day morning at the Clowns’ school. There is an art show (awesome, my fave part!), a concert (normally skip this bit and cross the road for a coffee, yeah mum of the year won’t ever go to me!) then morning tea (in years past, this was something you didn’t want to miss). 

I love seeing the art from each primary class – they are all usually really interesting and I actually want to have a browse.  I love being able to pull each child out of class individually to do this. As a general rule, the Clowns don’t get a whole lot of one-on-one time with either parent so this is special regardless of what we are actually doing.  And I love having the chance to catch up with some mums that I may not usually see around school, now the eldest two are out of prep.  This year is also the first time I have been younger sibling free. It was kinda weird. But great.  No appeasing a bored child/ren was awesome!   To be able to talk, uninterrupted is still a thing I take great delight in! 

Here are each of the clowns with their art for the show….  

Reuben and his crazy cats
Ella and her painted flower pot
Owen and his emu