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Saturday, 5 December 2020

Vuly Play: REVIEW

Kids never stop wanting to have fun. No matter if they're on the cusp of teenage-hood - get them on a swing and watch them spin, daydream, and just relaaax.

Now, I'm going to preach to you about the perils of excessive screen time. You know the drill, and so do I.

And as a mamma of 12 year old twins who are on devices a fair amount, I feel like a superhero when I wrangle the electronics and GET THEM OUTSIDE.

We had a hand me down swing set which had kinda had its day, kinda lifted up on the ends when used, and kinda needed an upgrade.

We are lucky Sydney folk who bought a house in the 'burbs and therefore have the space to have a swing set, a trampoline, a granny flat, a cubby house, and a pool (not bragging, super grateful, and the hubby and I bought this space pre kids).

Vuly Play is a brand I have been curious about for some time - but with a pretty full backyard with all the accoutrements, we didn't give it much thought.

When the offer came to trial a set, we jumped at it. Well, I did. Le Husband simply got the measuring tape out and thought about the logistics. I am glad he is the practical one because I'm not gonna lie - you need that skill in spades (plus a big dash of patience) when you commit to buying a Vuly swing set.

Don't worry - it's absolutely worth it in the end!

The choosing process itself is super easy - simply jump online and browse the options.

The only hard part is choosing which three attachments you'll get on your ports. Or of course go the even larger set where you get to put attachments on the outside of the frame, even one with a cubby house! Super cool and imagine how much your kids will have and the memories they’ll make.

The FANTASTIC thing is: the options for your swing set are SO easy to interchange, you may as well get several attachments you like and chop and change as you go.

Trust me, I don't like relying on anyone when it comes to doing things when the kids want to play, so the capability to interchange the attachments is very appealing to me.

The flat bed attachment was also a no brainer for me.

It was reminiscent of a flat bed swing at my son's special needs one on one sessions he'd have at Learning Links with his Occupational Therapist, where sensory needs were met by the sensation of the swing.

Delving deeper, a swing set in general - and anything with jumping, spinning, swinging, and rocking - are motions that all work to help regulate the vestibular system in our bodies.

For kids with autism, swinging can impact the brain’s ability to process sensory information, which assists in the early stages of brain development.

Swinging has the potential to strengthen specific sensory experiences for a child with autism.

Sensory movements are described as touch, motion, bodily awareness, sight, sound, and the natural pull of gravity. As kids swing, they're able to process these sensory movements which work in conjunction with therapy solutions.

Swinging movements can help kids with special needs relax, ease their anxiety, and calm their minds. These types of therapy solutions can also assist at the times kids with autism feel upset.

Swinging also can help kids with special needs combat their difficulties with balance and coordination. The simple act of enjoying swinging into their daily routine can help the development of their gross motor skills and muscles. The more swinging is practiced, the more balance and coordination can be achieved.

THIS is the set we chose, the 360 Pro Max!

And you can see that and the whole range right here:


And here are some photos of handy husband putting it all together.

All the pieces are delivered in separate boxes, then my advice is call a mate or enlist yourself/your partner to put it together as a team,

Instructions are included, and we also found that Vuly YouTube how to videos are very helpful.

Simply go to YouTube and look up Vuly Play and all the videos are there.

Here are some snaps of the process:

























And voila!




For more info and pricing:

https://www.vulyplay.com/en-AU




Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Shoal Bay Country Club: REVIEW

I'd never been to Port Stephens.

I know!

But I broke the drought with style, and made sure I included a visit to the place I'd heard about for years: Shoal Bay Country Club.

It's more beach club than the kind of country club you might be picturing, as it's located directly across the road from the beach, and has a buzzy vibe and quite a family feel, and it's also a perfect spot for post-beach, pre-dinner drinks after you've drunk in the sun all day at glorious Port Stephens.

Insider tip: ask for a table overlooking the water... better still, a table outside under the fairy lights opposite the ocean, while you enjoy the late afternoon breeze, devouring your lunch or dinner.

Another insider tip: order that seafood platter.



The highlight: oh my GOSH, that kingfish ceviche!

The deluxe seafood platter - feeding two-four people, at $179 - also features a whole lobster mornay, fresh Port Stephens oysters, Aussie prawns, delicious marinated octopus, sweet blue swimmer crab, grilled barramundi, salt and pepper squid, and chips.

Ah, that tender crab meat:

Back to the ceviche: with a deliciously zesty dressing, and laden with jalapeƱos, radish slices, lime, and a side of crunchy flatbread, it rates up there with the plentiful lobster mornay.

We had seven in our party, and I am pleased to say that Shoal Bay Country Club also caters for fussy eaters.

One of our mini diners yells 'PIZZA!' when asked ahead of time what he wants to eat at SBCC, and luckily, they have two hard working, on fire pizza chefs who pump out those pizzas like nobody's business.

Here are some sneaky shots of pizzas at the pass, ready for some hungry diners.





Are they good? Yep, he gave them the thumbs up, choosing the Italian classic margherita pizza.

We started with the crispy fried buttermilk chicken wings which were craved by my daughter, and we all enjoyed these. They're served with a lime and chilli mayonnaise. Fifteen bucks for a generous serve to share.

The classic fish and chips is always a good choice at a seaside restaurant, and these did not disappoint our mini diner. Beer battered, with tartare sauce, $25.

Burger aficionados (again, my daughter) will love the grilled beef burger. Melted American cheese, crispy bacon, tomato, lettuce, pickles, onion, garlic and lemon aioli, and served with chips. It was so big she couldn't finish it. Twenty fours bucks and a good feed.

We also enjoyed a woodfired garlic and herb flatbread to share ($10).

A serve of chicken nuggs and chips ($12 for kids under 12) can also fill the belly of a small member of the group. Usually, my young guy goes for this dish. Instead he chose the chicken schnitzel and chips and salad. We ate the chips and salad... standard for this super fusspot.

We were so full we couldn't order dessert!

Should you be able to squeeze it in, they have assorted cakes for $15 each, served with whipped mascarpone, or a trio of ice cream for $12 per serve.

We did have room for drinks, though! A robust glass of red, and an Aperol spritz: the latter is Aperol and fresh lime topped with French sparkling wine and a dash of soda (we do prefer it with Prosecco, though this was still refreshing). $17.

See the full drinks menu HERE.

We came to enjoy Shoal Bay Country Club after seeing it from across the road on a beach day during our mini break from Sydney.

I love nothing more than a day at the beach then off to dinner at the local, so the experience feels almost European, and depending on where you sit and the time of day you go (it can get quite busy inside during dinner time, though feel less busy if you're sitting al fresco), that's exactly how you'll feel!

It's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the venue also features live music. And if you want it to be a super quick pitstop in the am, then Mermaids Cafe is the place you'll head (downstairs at street level, for a quick bite to go).


HERE is the full menu.


HERE is more about the venue.


The Shoal Bay Country Club kitchen is open from 11.30am til late, with a 3pm - 5pm bar menu also available.


More specific hours are here:


Monday 6:30am – 2am

Tuesday 6:30am – 2am

Wednesday 6:30am – 2am

Thursday 6:30am – 2am

Friday 6:30am – 2am

Saturday 6:30am – 2am

Sunday 6:30am – 12am


Bottleshop opening hours: Monday-Sunday 10am-10pm


Bonus: they operate a courtesy bus for those living or just visiting locally, which operates Wed-Sun from 5pm, and is available for pick ups and drop offs. The service covers Shoal Bay, Fingal Bay, Nelson Bay, and Corlette. You can call the bus driver on 0431 725 928, during bus operation hours only.


Oh, you can download the SBCC too! It'll keep you up to date with day to day activities, featured events, live entertainment, weekly performing artists, dining menus and daily specials.


Apple download HERE. And Android HERE.


You can call them on 02 4981 1555, and email them here info@sbcc.com.au


And find them here: 35-45 Shoal Bay Road, Shoal Bay.


See you there!



Friendly staff at SBCC:






Yep, that seafood platter was demolished:



More on that seafood platter: