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Children’s books on Separation: Helping them understand and cope

Separation or divorce can be an emotionally challenging experience for both parents and children. It’s essential to provide children with age-appropriate resources to help them understand and cope with the complexities of this transition. One powerful way to do this is through children’s books. In this blog, we’ve curated a list of children’s books on separation that address various aspects of this sensitive topic.

These books not only help kids navigate their emotions but also provide valuable insights and comfort during a challenging time.

1. “Two Homes” by Claire Masurel

This beautifully illustrated book explores the idea that a child can have two loving homes after their parents’ separation. It emphasizes that while homes may be different, the love and care from both parents remain constant. “Two Homes” is an excellent choice for young children who may be struggling to understand their new living arrangements.

2. “Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families” by Marc Brown and Laurie Krasny Brown

Written and illustrated with humor and sensitivity, “Dinosaurs Divorce” takes a creative approach to explaining separation and divorce to children. Through the adventures of dinosaur characters, it addresses various aspects of the process, including the emotional ups and downs, living in two homes, and understanding the reasons behind separation.

3. “The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst

Although not directly focused on separation or divorce, “The Invisible String” is a heartwarming story about the unbreakable connection between loved ones. It’s a comforting book for children who may be dealing with feelings of separation anxiety or longing for a parent who lives in a different home. The story beautifully illustrates that love knows no physical boundaries.

4. “Was It the Chocolate Pudding?: A Story for Little Kids About Divorce” by Sandra Levins and Bryan Langdo

Geared toward younger children, this book uses a relatable story about a boy who navigates the changes in his family after his parents’ divorce. “Was It the Chocolate Pudding?” introduces the concept of divorce in a simple, age-appropriate way, helping children understand that their parents’ separation is not their fault.

5. “It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear” by Vicki Lansky

In “It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear,” young Koko Bear learns about his parents’ separation and experiences a range of emotions. The book addresses common questions and feelings children may have when their parents divorce, providing gentle reassurance and guidance.

6. “Standing on My Own Two Feet: A Child’s Affirmation of Love in the Midst of Divorce” by Tamara Schmitz

This empowering book focuses on a young girl’s journey of self-discovery and self-affirmation during her parents’ separation. “Standing on My Own Two Feet” encourages children to find their inner strength and resilience as they adapt to a changing family dynamic.

7. “When My Parents Forgot How to Be Friends” by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

This book offers a thoughtful exploration of the changes that occur when parents divorce. It addresses the emotions children may experience, such as sadness and confusion, while also emphasizing that love from both parents remains constant. The book provides reassurance and guidance for children facing this challenging transition.

8. “My Family’s Changing” by Pat Thomas

Written for slightly older children, “My Family’s Changing” explores the emotions and practical aspects of divorce, including custody arrangements and living in two homes. It encourages open communication and provides a safe space for children to express their feelings.

9. “The Boys and Girls Book About Divorce” by Richard A. Gardner

This comprehensive guide addresses divorce from a child’s perspective, covering topics such as understanding feelings, visitation, and dealing with conflicts. “The Boys and Girls Book About Divorce” is suitable for older children and preteens who may have more complex questions about the separation process.

10. “The Family Book” by Todd Parr

While not specifically about separation or divorce, “The Family Book” celebrates diversity and the various forms that families can take. It’s an inclusive book that can help children understand that there is no one-size-fits-all definition of a family. It encourages acceptance and celebrates the uniqueness of every family, even those that have experienced separation.

In summary…

Children’s books on separation play a crucial role in helping kids understand and cope with the complex emotions and changes that come with their parents’ separation or divorce. These books provide comfort, guidance, and reassurance, showing children that they are not alone in their experiences. By reading and discussing these books with your child, you can create a supportive environment where they can express their feelings and gain a better understanding of this challenging life transition. Remember that each child is unique, so choose books that align with their age, maturity, and specific needs to ensure the most effective support during this sensitive time.

Activities for all age groups

Hey Dads, whether you have a 5 year old or teenagers living with you, I thought it might be helpful sharing different types of activities the kids can do during Covid-19 lock-down or simply over school holidays.

  1. Toddlers: Allocate jobs, if you have a “smart” TV, jump on youtube and search for kids dancing lessons, there are plenty of use educational videos to keep them entertained and active when indoors by having jumping, skipping or dancing sessions – it will tire them out and give you a bit of a workout too;
  2. 4-6 year olds: Making dens and forts, colouring in/creating worlds for their toys, help with meals, small job around the house (chores), read books, making arts & crafts and leggo!
  3. 7-9 year olds: Set treasure hunts, get crafty, reading books, pocket money chores around the house.
  4. 10-12 years olds: Arts and craft activities, learn how to cook, set educational challenges, colouring in, Pocket money chores around the house, watch educational TV or YouTube and set study tasks for the kids to create as book or summary of what they have just learnt.
  5. Teenagers: Allocate jobs (either paid or paid) i.e. cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, their room, wash the cars, bake a cake or some treats , suggest projects, order some adult colouring books or free pages online, make plans – possible career choices, future holidays and design a dream board with all their thoughts and ideas.

If you and your children are proud of what they’ve accomplishing, send me a picture of what they’ve done and I promote it in a future post. Happy time off everyone and don’t forget t be patient and nice with everyone.

My family tree activity

Author & Illustrator: Odette.

Looking for a great learning activity that the kids can do at home, that’s also fun! All you need is a large sheet of paper or cardboard, some colouring pencils, a ruler and a little creative mind.

A family member in the UK who is a principle of 3 schools gave us this idea and shared the link to some great kids projects Click here for the schools activity link All the primary age children in her 3 schools were doing these whilst locked down at home because of Coronavirus.

The family tree project aims to provide opportunities for your child to gain a better understanding of their own family. Learning may focus on what differences makeup your families, what traditions your family has, stories linked to your family etc.

Here’s how it works:
Can your child name all the people in their family and write sentences about them? Turn the paper into a booklet, each family member great a portion (section) of the page and a unique story written about them with a nice drawing, for example; Who are they? What do they call them? What do they like? Why are they special to them?

Send me a photo of your child’s work, a little story about them and I will post it on line with credit to them.

Encouraging your kids to keep a journal

Keeping a diary is something of a dying art among the youth of today. Social media posts have largely replaced the angsty diary entries scribbled out by teenagers of times gone by. This is a great shame, as journaling can be very good for kids. Here are a few of the benefits of journaling for young people:

  • Journaling allows self-expression in a non-judgemental context. Social media posts tend to be open to peer scrutiny and judgement. Diary entries, however, can be private and free. Which is very important.

  • As a method of free expression, journaling allows children to work through their feelings and experiences, thus learning and developing from them.

  • Journaling is a way of processing and healing from negative feelings and experiences – things which aren’t uncommon during puberty! Journaling is so powerful a mental health aid that it’s commonly recommended as a form of therapy by mental health professionals.

  • Journaling helps children to develop their creative side.

  • Journaling helps children to develop their observational skills, their powers of perception, and their intuition.

  • If read back through, journaling can provide a degree of self awareness which can be very helpful both in your child’s personal development, and in their social development.

All pretty good, no? Journaling is not for everyone, and some kids may find it too much of a tiresome chore to get anything out of it, but some kids may really flourish under the influence of a journal! So how can a devoted dad ease the phone from his kids’ hands, and replace it with a pen? Here are some suggestions…

  • Provide stationary they like. More than a few people have been brought to the joys of journaling through a love of good stationary…

  • Write a journal yourself. Kids are instinctive mimics of their parents, and will often feel drawn to the things you do.

  • Don’t nag about the journal – this will turn it into a chore, which makes creative free expression (i.e. the good stuff) far less likely to occur.

  • Introduce kids to diarists or diary-form literature that they may like, or show them films in which a character prominently keeps a diary. These aren’t hard to come by – it’s a popular creative form!

  • Leave them to it. The best journaling tends to occur in solitude, and often concerns private matters. Don’t look over their shoulder, and DO NOT read their journal – unless you have very serious cause for concern!

DIY Building a vegetable garden with your kids

DIY building a vegetable garden with your kidsBuilding your own vegetable garden is a rewarding and enjoyable experience, you can save money and have fresh vegetables in the comfort of your own home. You don’t need to have a garden either, if you’re living in an apartment or don’t have a garden, then there are supplies available in hardware stores with which you can grow a garden patch in your own kitchen window!

In any case, however and wherever you chose to start your vegetable patch you will find that the flavour and texture of your own home grown plant will exceed the products you find in grocery stores.

Have you ever thought about how nice it would be to share the experience with your kids? Growing a vegetable patch with them is an excellent way to bond and teach them some new and reliable life skills which they can use again in the future. It can be a fun and relaxing experience which can offer you and your kids some time outdoors and in the sun.

It’s not difficult to grow your own vegetables and anyone can do it, it’s much easier than you think. If the process is carefully planned then you and your family can enjoy the fruits of your labour – literally! You don’t have to spend hours and hours tending to most vegetable plants unlike certain exotic flowers, and if the whole patch is planned correctly if you are working in a large space then it certainly doesn’t need to be an eyesore either. You can incorporate flowers and other plants also to make your patch beautifully landscaped and still remain productive in your space.

The first thing to do is to decide which vegetables you would like to grow, and then start off small! Don’t overdo it as unfortunately many amateur gardeners will plant too much of what they need, and may end up wasting food or generally feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work and upkeep. So pre-plan with your children just how much you think your family may consume, this is also an excellent way to teach them about how certain plants can keep providing throughout the season. Meaning that plants such as tomatoes and peppers will carry on growing throughout the season so you will need less plants of these vegetables, whereas carrots and corn will only grow once, meaning you may want more of these.

Remember that its always quality over quantity, if you can highly maintain a small patch you will reap more produce than you would from a poorly maintained larger patch. So that means you can even grow in containers, which is the perfect solution for those who want their patch to be in a balcony perhaps as opposed to a garden.

Having a healthy vegetable patch requires three key factors; plenty of sun, abundant amounts of water and healthy nutrient-full soil. So before you start, choose a good location which can offer all three of these, keep in mind it is much easier to have your vegetable garden close to home or a water source so there is less hassle when it comes to watering. Be sure that your soil is full of organic matter so that your vegetables can use the best nutrients – you’ll certainly be able to taste the difference!

You can learn a lot and teach your children so much from growing their own vegetables, there is an added sense of responsibility as well if you set a schedule for your child for the days that they need to water the plants. As plants are live organisms they need tending to and protection, we can teach our kids about predators and disease too, there is a lot of science and nature that will naturally be addressed as you walk through your garden with your child.

Although kids may turn their noses up at the idea of growing plants as it may sound boring, but by seeing their parents tend to their growing plants will be sure to excite them and have them on board in no time. However you’ll find younger children will love the idea of getting dirty in soil and planting their own seeds.

Growing your own vegetable garden with your kids is also a great excuse to get your kids to eat their vegetables too! They’ll be sure to find them much more enjoyable when they know they have grown them themselves. Not only this, but by growing a garden with your child is also a fun way to get them interested in cooking their own food. These are healthy lifelong habits and skills you can teach your children from an early age that they will thank you for when they are older and can also pass onto their children one day. Your child will remember the quality time spent with their dad and it can be something special between just the two of you.

Although not much time is required in growing your own vegetable patch, a healthy amount of time weekly can be spent between parent and child with this gardening habit. Then once you’re both confident enough, you can move onto other gardening and landscaping projects together with more difficult plants and fruits. Not only can you increase your communication together but also you will give your child a whole new sense of appreciation for nature itself.

So don’t hesitate too much, even if you don’t have naturally green fingers it’s not a hard skill to master. Learn with your child and neither of you will forget the time spent together in the sun whilst you planted and then later harvested your fresh home grown produce.

AFL Season 2016

AFL teamsRegardless of who you barrack for there would generally always be a game in any of the capital city stadiums between 24th March to 28th August. Why not pack some food and drinks and take you daughter or son and enjoy a game of footy, remember you don’t have to stay for the whole game?

Toilet tip: For those who are new to footy, go during the game as they get very crowded at quarter time and half time!
Food tip: Food is expensive at the venue’s, pack some snacks,nibbles, lunch, dinner and drinks
Weather tip: If your in Melbourne, wear layers, scarf and beanie because it can be cold and hot all in the same day.

You can buy tickets at the gate on the day for general admission but I recommend you get there early.
For a price guide to any stadium check out AFL’s price guide it has all the games and all the stadiums.

If you don’t want to be disappointed on the day because it is a sell out, then contact the AFL ticket agent Ticketek and pre purchase you tickets.
Online: Ticketek AFL tickets
Phone: 132 849

Times: Night games are usually around 7.45pm, Sat 1.30pm and Sundays 3.15pm

For more detail around times and games follow the link to : 2016 Toyota AFL Premiership Season Fixture

A game every child should learn

A clapping game for the young and old

Mirror mirror on the wall
It doesn’t matter if I am short or tall
If I have skinny legs or my hips are wide
It only matters who I am inside
Blue eyes, brown eyes, black or green
What makes me most beautiful cannot be seen
When you look at me, don’t judge me by my parts
The most beautiful thing about me is inside my heart.

Join the outsiders

girls playing squashI’m always trying to get kids outside and do some exercise. Normally i am successful with either a walk or a bike ride and lately I have sneaked in the occasional game of squash. I learnt quickly not to ask if they would like to go but rather say “Ok, lets get our gear on and go for a bike ride, meet you at the front door in 10 minutes”! much more successful by not making it optional 🙂

I have been impressed with Uncle Tobys, they have started a fun initiative to reduce the “screen time” that most kids seem to get hooked on. Its called #jointheoutsiders and I am happy to give them a “shoutout”.

Aussie swimming legends, Cate and Bronte Campbell call on the kids to #jointheoutsiders

Cate and BronteCampbell sisters and UNCLE TOBYS call on kids to ditch the screens and reconnect with the outside world

According to research from The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, almost 60 per cent of Australian adults agree excessive screen time is a big health problem for children.* With this in mind, 2016 Olympian hopefuls, Cate and Bronte Campbell, are laying down a challenge to all Aussie kids to get outdoors.

Off the back of the successful relaunch of its muesli bars, now Australia’s largest range of 4 Health Star Rating muesli barsi, UNCLE TOBYS has partnered with the Campbell sisters to call on Australian kids to get back to the outside world and ‘Join the Outsiders’.

“Having come up through the ranks of competitive swimming, we have a good understanding of the pressures children face to prove themselves in the world they live in, but we also know how important it is to have downtime and just be a kid,” said Cate Campbell.

Cate says being an Outsider is easy.

“Get out the skipping rope, play in the sandpit or play backyard cricket – this is not about being an elite athlete, it’s about getting outside and having fun,” said Cate Campbell.

This is the stuff that memories are made of, says sister Bronte.

“When Cate and I were growing up we loved playing cricket in the garden, going to the beach or just swimming in the backyard pool. We played until we were starving, then ate and played some more.

“We love the new reformulated UNCLE TOBYS muesli bars because they are super delicious and portable, so there’s no need to go inside because there is a snack at hand. Plus they have a 4 star rating so we know they’re a healthy choice,” said Bronte Campbell.

UNCLE TOBYS new reformulated muesli bars now have 50 per cent wholegrains and less than 1.5 teaspoons of sugar per bar. Nestlé Group Nutritionist, Susan Kevork, says the new chewy and yoghurt range of 4 stars is all about giving kids healthy fuel to play.

“UNCLE TOBYS knows parents want to give their kids healthy foods and snacks that they love to eat.

“Primary school aged kids are busy and need fuel to give them energy throughout the day. Child-friendly portions and easy to unwrap packaging makes them easy lunchbox partners for active kids,” said Ms Kevork.

Cate and Bronte and kidsSupporting the Campbell sisters on their call for Aussie kids to ‘Join the Outsiders’, is an exciting new TV commercial produced by UNCLE TOBYS. The half-animated commercial blends animation with live-action to show the importance of ditching the digital world and noticing the real world outside; engaging mums while helping kids to realise they spend too much time in front of screens.

For more information, families can visit Join the Outsiders at for great outdoor activity ideas

How to become an Outsider:

An Outsider is someone who wears grazes as badges of honour. Someone that likes to feel their toes in the sand more than their fingers on a keyboard or use a sunscreen more than any other screen. Here’s some ideas to help you become an Outsider:

  • Go out on a limb – Find a tree (one that’s big enough to support yourself) and climb like jack up the beanstalk
  • Build a Cubby – It can be in your backyard or even a park.
  • Park Discovery – Become an urban pioneer and search out and find a new park to play in.
  • Catch a Tadpole – Find a creek, grab a net (or a jar) and see if you’re quick enough to get yourself a little tadpole.
  • Cloud Story – Take a long hard look at some fluffy white clouds. What shapes or objects do you see? Can you turn all these objects into a story?
  • Water Bombs Away – Want to soak your neighbours? Then have a water bomb fight with them (ask first!)

STRIKE at anytime

Strike bowling friendly staff member

Whether its school holidays or you’re just looking for something to do with the kids, don’t look past Strike Bowling. Recently I visited Strike with my daughter and a couple of her friends.

We played a game of bowls, had lunch and then played Laser skirmish… they had so much fun 🙂 and the girls won both bowling and skirmish.

The minute we arrived we were greeted by a friendly staff member (that’s him in the photo) that didn’t seem to be annoyed by the girls not knowing there shoe size and he having to get a few different sizes to make a fit 🙂

We booked online as it gets pretty busy!  and we didn’t need to wait to long because the booking was in the system and all paid for, here is the link to the booking page, you just need to click on the  suburb you want to play and then click on “book a game” don’t to forget to check out there special offers in case its a better offer than just buying a straight game.

strike bowling laneWe played 1 game, had gourmet pizza and soft drink for lunch, they had a bit to choose from the menu but the girls chose pizza as they don’t eat it much. The girls chose to have the automatic pop-up lane rails come up when it was there turn so that it helped guide the bowl down the bowling lane.

It’s so exciting playing at a Strike venue, the lighting is awesome, they play great music and it just makes everyone feel happy.
Strike Bowling lounge areaWe had lunch in the lounge area, there was plenty of room to sit and relax and congratulate the winners. The pizza were really good, better than what we thought they would be. The staff members said they make them fresh out in the kitchen.

We had our names down for 1 game of Laser Skirmish too. A little scary, exciting and fun all wrapped up into one. The main question from the girls was “If we need to get out in a hurry, which exit we we go to?”
Strike Laser Skirmish

Laser Skirmish is a maze of corridors and rooms, its dark and you are either on the blue team or the green team (it was them against me of course) there is a pre-game briefing whereby the staff showed us exactly what to do and how to play. Skirmish was easy and very safe, you do get warmed up from running around. We ran around like crazy people laughing and screaming. It didn’t feel like we were playing a war game, it was more about tagging your opponent – when you hit them with your laser beam, there lights go out and you have to wait 6 seconds before you can play again, a little like “hide and seek”.
You are guaranteed to have a good time together 🙂
Strike Bowling

I highly recommend Strike Bowling as a place that will tick all your boxes.
Check out Strike Bowling for a location near you.

How to entertain the kids (cheaply) during the winter school holidays

collingwood childrens farmtop twelve tips from the nannies
School holidays often provide an excellent opportunity for dads to spend quality time with their children… nevertheless everyone can also go a little stir-crazy!

With their years of experience in entertaining children all day, the nannies (in-home childcarers) at Government-approved agency Placement Solutions have put together their top twelve tips to make the most of school holidays in Melbourne, without going broke.

All at free or affordable prices, the kids can explore their creative side at ArtPlay, Birrarung Marr (behind Federation Square). Funded by the City of Melbourne and other partners, the centre runs more than 300 workshops, events and performances each year with children working with professional artists. Ensure you book ahead for special programs or alternatively check out the ‘free stuff to explore’ such at the ArtPlay Backyard. The Centre caters for babies through to children aged up to 12 years of age; Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

Library at the Dock
This new Library in Docklands only opened on 31 May 14 and as part of the Melbourne Library Service, it supports gaming culture. Library at the Dock offers the latest games and consoles free to the public to experience and learn about the many aspects of gaming. From 13 June to 8 July on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11am to 1pm, the venue is hosting the 2014 Soccer World Cup Competition on PS4. Open to all ages, kids can get a team together, select their country and take part in this gaming challenge (and potentially win some prizes). Register online.

Your local library
Check out your library for its calendar of events – which are usually free – such as storytelling, book discussions, and even children’s theatre. In the city, State Library of Victoria is holding the free exhibition ‘Once upon a time: a world of children’s picture book art’ until 31 August 2014. See classic characters like Blinky Bill and the Magic Pudding, as well as fun favourites such as Miffy. The kids can view original drawings, dummy books and videos about the artworks to discover the magic behind creating illustrated stories then create their own story with a free activity booklet.

Belly Dancing at Fed Square
The whole family can shake their groove thing at The Atrium at Fed Square on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 12.30 to 1pm. The free belly dancing lessons are led by professional instructor Trisnasari, no bookings are required and all ages are welcome.

Friday Night Fireworks at Docklands
Enjoy free music, entertainers and an incredible fireworks display at the Piazza at Docklands on 4 and 11 July. Festivities kick off at 6pm and the fireworks are at the family-friendly time of 7pm.

Child-friendly cafés
For the price of a coffee, enjoy some priceless relaxation at one of the many child-friendly cafés around Melbourne. Some of our nannies’ favourites include: Miss Marmalade, Brunswick – as well as amazing food and beverages, Miss Marmalade has a kids’ menu, small play area and baby change facilities; Little Tommy Tucker, Bentleigh – with a shelf full of toys and a kids’ menu, this is a popular spot for locals; Birdy Num Nums, Carlton North – the large, covered courtyard at the rear features a sandpit and a variety of toys; Lulabelle’s, Camberwell – this gorgeous pastry shop and café features giftwares, babywares, toys to entertain the kids, and change facilities.

Victorian Farmers’ Markets
Enjoy the fresh air and ambience at one of many Victorian Farmers’ Markets held each weekend at different locations around Melbourne. Usually requiring a gold coin donation, the markets are a great opportunity to buy fresh produce and often provide a free petting farm as well as other attractions for children.

MSO Family Jams
Anyone six years and over can jam with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) for free on 28 June at Federation Square. Bring your own instrument (or borrow one of MSO’s) and work together during the fun hour to develop an original piece of music. Each workshop culminates in a performance open to the general public. Bookings are necessary.

City Circle Tram
For a free tour of Melbourne city, the City Circle Tram is a convenient way to see the sights of central Melbourne and Docklands while experiencing a ride on the charming, heritage trams. An audio commentary provides details of city landmarks and major attractions and you can hop on and off as you like. Trams operate between 10am and 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and between 10am and 9pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. No bookings are required.

Port of Melbourne Boat Tours
A free boat tour of the Port of Melbourne will exhilarate the kids as they see massive ships and cranes up close, and the port’s most historic facilities. The tours usually run on the last Sunday of each month so spaces are limited and bookings are required. Round-trip tours leave from Gem Pier in Williamstown and Victoria Harbour in Docklands and last from 60 to 90 minutes.

Collingwood Children’s Farm
Open every day, this is your child’s perfect opportunity to get up, close, and personal with a range of fuzzy, feathery and furry creatures. Just $16 for the entire family (two adults and up to four children), the kids can also see cows being milked and enjoy a picturesque setting at the Collingwood Children’s Farm in Abbotsford.

Heide Kitchen Gardens
The fifteen acres of spectacular gardens at Heide in Bulleen will give the kids plenty of space to run free and also learn about fresh produce through the amazing kitchen garden adjacent to the original farmhouse. The Gardens & Sculpture Park are open to the public and the kids can enjoy a range of free activities during the school holidays such as ‘Architecture Detective’ and ‘Art Detective’. Museum admission is free for children under 12; Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

Placement Solutions is a Melbourne-based niche recruitment firm specialising in in-home childcare, also known as nannies and household management. The government-approved agency has been operating for 25 years and is a member of the International Nanny Association and the National In-home Childcare Association.


Simple DIY tasks to keep your bike on the road

bicycle ridesLet’s be real; maintenance is such an ugly word. Whether it be the lawnmower, gutters, chainsaw or pool, each weekend is consumed by something that needs to be maintained. While there are no shortcuts if you want things to be in perfect working order, there are simpler ways of making sure you don’t spend your leisurely weekend couped up in the shed. One apparatus you can apply these tips to is your trusty bicycle. Contrary to popular belief, you’re bike doesn’t demand hours of tinkering nor an expensive trip to the specialist every other week. By giving your two-wheeler a measly ten minutes of TLC every week, you’ll be saving yourself from trying to find a few hours (let’s face it: half a day) every couple of months. Assuming you are a regular rider, this simple DIY guide will encourage a long-lasting bicycle without extended downtime at the shop.

Washing Your Bike

You’re car gets the special treatment every month, clearing it of leaves, bird droppings and that coffee you accidently left on the roof. So why wouldn’t you do the same for your bike? Unlike a car, cleaning your bike doesn’t take nearly as long, and with the right tools, you can head back to that midday lifetime repeat in no time. While you can invest in a bike cleaning brush and a chain scrubber, a toothbrush works just as well to get into those hard-to-reach places. Strapped with a bottle of degreasing solvent, a hose and a rag, your bike should be as good as new in only a few minutes.

Lubricating Your Bike

In the world of bicycle maintenance, lubricant is your best friend. If you’re unsure of which sections need attention, a good rule of thumb is: If it moves, you need to lube it. Lubricant is a magical sticky potion that prevents your two-wheeler from becoming a victim of excessive wear, stiffening and rust. While lube is great, overdoing it will do as much damage as leaving it alone. If you’ve gotten too enthusiastic with the lubricant, wipe it away before it dries.

Assessing Your Tyres

Checking your tyres before you hit the road while decrease the likelihood of being stuck walking your bike roadside while a million cars zoom past. Before you jump on the seat and take off into the sunset check the surface tread and sidewall of the tyre ensuring there are no cuts, bulges or debris lodged in the rubber. If you do find any glass or nails piercing the rubber, you will need to replace the tube. Any specialty parts can be found at places like 99 Bikes, click here to view their range.

Evaluating Your Brakes

Newsflash: it’s not a good thing if you are dragging your feet along the ground to stop your bike. It’s an issue commonly ignored by the average rider that can be easily assessed and fixed. To do this, simply hop on your bike and give the levers a good squeeze to ensure it comes to a halt with stretching or fraying the brake cables. Then take a look at the brake pads. Are they hitting the rims evenly?  Any unevenness means you will need to replace them.

Avid riders, do you have any simple maintenance tips? Let us know in the comments below.

Making the most of school holidays

Torquay Back BeachSeptember School Holidays are a great time to get away, particularly the second week as everywhere is a little quieter. I first checked with my daughters mum that she didn’t have any existing plans.  It is never a problem unless there is something already locked into her calendar. Whenever I plan a trip away I always get in early with plenty of notice. I have also locked out a long weekend in February (not my normal weekend) but because I plan ahead and have given plenty of notice it’s not a problem,  I am also happy to reciprocate if requested.

These school holidays we have gone to Torquay in Victoria. Its on the west coast and known for its surfing, they hold the rip curl Easter surfing pro events at Bells Beach. I booked in advance the sea-view cabins at the Torquay foreshore caravan park. I booked online after seeing a friend’s Facebook posts that looked so good.
Torquay foreshore seaview cabinsWhen I arrived I found there were premium positioned cabins and then the other cabins. I was allocated to the “other” cabins. Still in the same area but not absolute beach front which is what I was expecting. There was also the promise of BBQ’s provided on each cabin balcony (as per the online photos), however, there were no BBQ’s…  I went to reception and queried this and they said they just took them off the balconies because of the rust and maintenance required?

They said we could use the communal BBQ’s? But there is a big difference in my mind between private and communal.

With all of this being a bit disappointing on our arrival, I chose to practice what I preach “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it” so I sucked it up and got onto having a good time – one on one with my daughter.

bike riding torquayWe brought our bicycles with us and rode along the beach track and into the main township. We also went for walks, lounged around watching TV and playing iPad Scrabble. I could not believe that my daughter was triple my word score until i caught her using the “best word” button 🙂

Torquay back beach cafeFound the best cafe located right on the back beach where each day we walked to get a latte and hot chocolate Mmmm.

The weather has been wild, I thought the roof was going to blow off from the high winds . On the first night, my daughter called out in the middle of the night to tell me she was scared (I don’t blame her, it was very loud). We have enjoyed the time together just stopping for a week and spending quality time without the pressures of work and busy schedule. Would recommend it to anyone.