Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meet Me In … {Queensland, Australia}

Hello friends! I am so excited to introduce a new blog series with you today, one that will take us all on a beautiful journey. I am such a huge fan of travel and have had the amazing opportunity of seeing much of the US and many extraordinary countries on this magnificent planet. But I'm in a season of life where I don't get to travel very much and I find myself completely enraptured by photos of people who are exploring the globe. So I came up with a plan. Let's invite a few creative women the world over to be a part of a series that brings some adventure to this little space and to my life. Hopefully to yours too.

So let's start with Queensland, Australia! Meet Raina, a mom who lives far, far away from my home here in Wisconsin, calling the beautiful country of Australia her home. These pictures are amazing and man, she's just such a cool mom! 
"I am delighted to have been asked by the lovely Kirsty to share a little about me, my family and our life in paradise, aka Coolum Beach.

But firstly, hi my name is Raina O'Brien. I love to paint, surf and collect vintage dresses … I love vintage in general. I was raised by parents who carted me and my siblings around the op shops and scouring the tips for treasures. I also spent a lot of weekends helping my dad at his vintage clothes market stalls and later a shop in Noosa. I have worked in aged care and hospitality but for now my biggest and best job is being a stay at home mum.
There are three other very important O'Briens i would like to include. My husband Rhys, partner of 9 years, old car enthusiast, tattoo collector and beard grower. Then there is our 5 year old son Izrael Zedekiah, sweet, caring and extremely social with a crazy sense of humour and the most brightest sparkly blue eyes. Lastly our 3 year old daughter Sanzia Willow, obsessed with dresses (don't know where she gets that from?!), all things pink and forever up to mischief.  We are your typical Aussie family … Rhys gets mistaken for Ned Kelly daily and we each drive a 77' Kingswood. You can't get more Australian then that, right?!
We are very lucky to call Coolum Beach home. It is a small coastal town located on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Our town might be small (it literally has only two streets with shops) but it is completely surrounded by amazing natural beauty. There are long sandy beaches and beautiful bays lined with pandanus trees, full of rock pools to explore with rocky headland and forest looming above. There are plenty of walking tracks around Coolum going through National parks full of native trees, flowers and wildlife. In certain areas of Coolum it is quite common to see kangaroos hopping about. I can't forget to mention Mount Coolum. It sits just out of town and can be seen from most areas of the coast. A trail winds up through the forest to the top with the most amazing almost 360 degree views. It holds a special place in my heart as it is at the top of there he proposed to me and I am also a bit chuffed with myself that I made it up there while pregnant :)
{a lookout called Point Perry}

My most favourite place in Coolum would be Lowes Lookout. We are up there almost every weekend, we park on the side of the hill and pull the back of the boot down on my wagon where we all cram on and watch the sun set behind the mountains. In the summer when the days are longer we will pack our dinner up and take it up there to eat. We won't always be able to do this as the land on the side of the hill is for sale and once it is bought no doubt big houses will be built completely blocking out those western views of the mountains. A real shame but at least we will have our memories and photos to look back on.
{the Learn to Surf House, an icon in Coolum Beach}
{Lake Weyba, a short drive from our house where we go lots for swimming and picnics}

The Sunshine Coast is well known for its beauty and relaxed lifestyle, i don't know how anyone could live here and not be an outdoors person. It is abundant with rain forests, waterfalls, bush land, creeks, lakes, beaches, mountains and farmland. 
{Buderim Falls, a beautiful rainforest walk with swimming holes and waterfalls}
Some times we are happy to just chill at home and work on DIY projects and get creative but a majority of our time together is spent outdoors. We are always at the beach surfing or hunting for shells and creatures of the sea in the rock pools. Also we do a lot of bush walking, mountain climbing and picnics or just get in our car and go for long cruisy drives. We like to turn down roads we haven't been down before to see if we can find any new lovely spots unknown to us. Sunday drives are the bomb!
The only place we frequent that isn't outdoors is an old school diner called "Ricks Garage" in a small country town called Palmwoods just at the base of the hinterland. It is filled with retro furniture and relics and there are always cool old cars and motorbikes parked out the front. When I was a kid it was a petrol station so it still has the old pumps out the front which add to its charm. The kids absolutely love going there but I have a feeling it is the milkshakes and hot chips that play a big part in that!
I never take for granted where we live and I never want our children too. We make the most of our beautiful surroundings, it really is the simple things in life that give us the most pleasure. We are all about making memories for our family with loads of photos along the way to document all our time together.
{one of our favorite places, Lowes Lookout}
{the view from the top of Mount Ninderry looking towards Mount Coolum which shows all the surrounding farmland}
I have enjoyed sharing some snippets of our life and hope you have enjoyed reading :)"

Thank you so much Raina! What a incredible look at your life and at the place you call home. It's wonderful taking a more personal walk through a new place isn't it? I love how wildly different your everyday is to mine. It's just stunning. 

(Just in case my American friends need a bit of a translation for some words, in South Africa we said some of the same things. A "boot" is a "trunk" , a "petrol station" is a "gas station" and "hot chips" are "fries". Some are easier to figure out than others ;)

Friends, if you have a photographic eye and live anywhere other than Green Bay (ha!) please get in touch with me. We'd love to meet you in your city as well!

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Thanks for reading!
xx Kirsty

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