Make the most of summer holidays

Nikki Parkinson Beauty, Fashion 30 Comments

When I was a kid the summer holidays used to stretch on forever.

There was the pre-Christmas part and the post-Christmas part. Six weeks beautifully divided by a much-anticipated day in the middle.

Most years we’d spend the first half at the Gold Coast; the second half at Hervey Bay.

Our original Gold Coast holidays were in an old beach shack not far back from what’s now Millionaire’s Row at Mermaid Beach. Then Mum must have got a taste for the highlife because we shifted camp to the Florida Car-O-Tel at Miami, with, as the name suggests, accommodation options in caravans and motel/apartment-style digs.

As kids we frankly didn’t care what the digs looked like. My brothers needed a TV for watching the cricket and we couldn’t get enough of the two big pools in the complex. Mornings were spent across the road at the patrolled beach; afternoons Mum took a nap and we hit the pool.

Supervision. PFFF. Who needs that?

There was little supervision during the January end of our holidays either. What Scarness Caravan Park at Hervey Bay may have lacked in terms of pools and surfing waves (not to mention the fact that the water disappeared with the tide), it very much made up with a caravan park filled with just about every one of our friends from school, our cousins and an open-air skating rink.

The regulars had their beachfront van spot (nabbing their spot from October) and we’d be situated somewhere back from there but still a stone’s throw from the beach. I remember one year we snared a front position but I think that was engineered by our grandparents who’d done the early van park. Still, we felt pretty damn special.

Days were spent roaming the park, swimming in the sea, playing in the playground or pumping for yabbies on the low tide. A holiday treat would be buying a lime flavoured milk from the milko who drove through the park every morning.

As we got older, one of my cousins and I would basically latch on to a random family of babies and little kids and take over minding them all day, even taking the kids swimming. The mums in question must have had extremely high trust levels – or a late Christmas request for five minutes’ peace – as we often had the babies with us well away from her van.

Inevitably our time at The Bay would be brought to a rapid end with the arrival of the first cyclone each season. Vans would be packed up and hurried escapes made 20 minutes away to our home in Maryborough. If we were lucky, while the adults were packing up we’d sneak in a swim, riding the cyclone-swell waves on our boogie boards that had been gathering dust since pre-Christmas on the Gold Coast.

I wonder how many people actually get to do the long summer holiday thing in 2014/15?

Cabana Life UPF50+ coverup @ Sequins and Sand | Karen Walker sunnies | David Jones hat | NIVEA Ultra Beach Protection sunscreen | Knotty Towel | Holidays by William McInnes

Cabana Life UPF50+ coverup $84.95 @ Sequins and Sand | Karen Walker sunnies | David Jones hat | NIVEA Ultra Beach Protect sunscreen | Knotty Towel | Holidays by William McInnes

I guess it helped back then that all my parents were teachers. They had the same holiday time as we did. No work juggle to be factored in.

I know you could probably visit any beachfront caravan park right now and find families who have been holidaying in the same spot for generations.

I like that.

Something that may have been started by grandparents now being continued by the children and those children’s children.

For our little family (the bigs now holiday independently – Miss SY is at Falls Festival in Byron as I type #holdme), the aim is to get away for a week each summer.

Last summer we were moving. That ain’t no way to spend a summer vacay, I can tell you. So this year we’re hanging for some real down time.

We’re heading off on Friday to the New South Wales’ Central Coast. Road tripping. Staying with friends in their family’s beach house and catching up with other friends who holiday in their own beach house nearby.

It may be only one week but, as with all our beach holidays, I love to re-create a little of what I had as a kid. That rhythm that plays out on long, hot days.

Mornings swimming at the beach, getting sandy and salt encrusted.

Lunch of sandwiches made from bakery-fresh bread and a hot chook.

Compulsory quiet time in the heat of the afternoon.

Back on the beach in the afternoon for a game of cricket before drinks is called.

Simple barbecue dinners.

TV viewing swapped out for book reading.

Can you tell I’m READY?

Sunbella umbrella | Idlebird cover-up | Karen Walker sunnies | Knotty beach towel | NIVEA moisturising sunscreen SPF50+ | Daring and Disruptive by Lisa Messenger

Sunbella parasol | Idlebird UPF 50+ tunic cover-up | Karen Walker sunnies | Knotty beach towel | NIVEA moisturising sunscreen SPF50+ | Daring and Disruptive by Lisa Messenger

Summer reading

Have you got your summer reading sorted?

I’ve got a pile of books (ones to hold in my hand and ones on my iPad) to read. It’s a mixed bunch. A variety is a good idea, I think. That way I can pick and choose depending on my mood. I’ve featured a few in the photos in this post.

We’re holidaying with BabyMac, so I might dip into her pile that she featured here.

And my friend Deborah (we went to school together!), who blogs at Debbish, regularly reviews books on her blog. If you’re stumped for something new to read from 2104 fiction releases then you will find something on her list of favourite novels for the year.

My mate Mrs Woog who has been availing herself of the summer holiday situation for a couple of weeks now asked the “what to read” question on her Facebook page recently. Some great ideas there too.

Summer style

I plan on packing very little in the clothing department for this week away.

Swimsuits. Check.

Cover-ups (check out the UPF 50+ cover-ups in the photos I’ve included in this post) and hats. Check and check.

The odd kaftan arrangement. Checkity. Check. Check.

Shoes will consist of sandals for fancy; Havaianas for everything else.

Sunsoaked rashie | Blue Illusion hat | NIVEA Moisturising sunscreen | Miu-Miu sunglasses | Knotty beach towel | The women who stole my life by Marian Keyes

Sunsoaked UPF 50+ swim top $129 | Blue Illusion hat | NIVEA Moisturising sunscreen SPF 50+ | Miu-Miu sunglasses | Knotty beach towel | The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

Summer beauty

Now you don’t think I could leave home without some kind of beauty scenario going on, could you?

It is, however, a very much cut-down version of my regular.

There is ALWAYS sunscreen.

There is always some kind of coloured pedicure. Butter London in Ladybird from Flora and Fauna The Natural Boutique was my pre-Christmas choice that will roll on into summer.

A insect repellent is a must – I’m loving the natural alternative from Vanessa Megan (also from Flora and Fauna) pictured below.

I love aromatherapy essential oils and the the Peace and Meditation synergy blend from Twenty8 is ideal for this time of year when it’s all about reflection and goal setting.

As for makeup colours. I’ll be keeping them to a minimum and only if we venture out. Having a colour palette or sample kit like this one from Jane Iredale makes it easy to have the basics on hand without bulking up the beauty bag.

And you’ll always find me touting some kind of tinted moisturiser or BB Cream.

This summer, I feel I’m cheating on the BBs with my latest love (pictured below). Remember in this post when I talked about the facials I’d had of late? Well, one of the products that was given to me after the Rationale facial has turned out to be my surprise summer skincare/makeup hit.

The premise behind the Rationale Beautiful Skin Luminizing Serum SPF50 is that why put “gunk” on your face if you’ve been looking after it so well with consistent use of great products? Instead of makeup, Rationale suggests this is all we need.

I’m not quite there on the “this is all we need” bit for when I’m heading out but for casual, I’ve been embracing it … with a lick of mascara and a pop of lippy, of course.

How does it work? It’s a liquid crystal formula and the structure of those crystals works to visibly enhance your skin’s natural luminosity while correcting skin imperfections and protecting it.

Now, it’s not cheap. It’s $85 for 30ml. I can, however, tell you in its defence that it does go a long way. You shake the bottle to mix it and use the medicine dropper to dispense a couple of drops of the liquid on to your fingers before patting it in to your face. I’ve only used a third of the bottle and I’ve used it daily for the past month.

summer beauty essentials

1. Rationale Beautiful Skin Luminizing Serum SPF50 $85 | 2. Jane Iredale Color Sample Kit $45.90 @ Adore Beauty | 3. Vanessa Megan Bug Off Me Insect Repellent Roll On $19.95 @ Flora and Fauna The Natural Boutique | 4. Twenty8 Peace & Meditation essential oils synergy blend $41.95  | 5. Butter London Ladybird nail lacquer $22 @ Flora and Fauna The Natural Boutique

Happy 2015

This is my last post for the year. It’s been a fabulous one. Thank-you again.

I’ll be back on the blog next week but not every day while we’re away. A spa – and a restaurant lunch out – has been booked though as a little holiday treat … so don’t think I won’t be sharing that with you!

Cheers to the New Year.

So tell me are you on summer holidays, gearing up for an escape, slaving away at work? As a kid did you holiday in the same place every year – where was that? Are you still going? Tell me what you’re reading!

  • you took me back to my lazy long holidays with my teacher parents also. That was such an exciting time as we had access to the school library when nobody else was there and would go and collect boxes of books to read. I spent days and days lost in books and playing outside and headed to the beaches which were dotted all around our little country town. We had a week at our family beach shack after Christmas – the feeling fades so quickly you need to be totally mindful while you are in it. Have loved your social media pics xx

  • This post was such a pleasure to read Nikki. I’m in the thick of looking after my little ones and it’s been exhausting. I see everyone sharing what they’re reading and I am flat out reading anything but a blog on my mobile while breastfeeding Phoebe. But it’s such a short season and I know when the girls are older I will be able to indulge in books and enjoy more time to myself. I actually went to Endota at Rosalie on Saturday for a facial and massage. The two hours went fast, but they were divine! 🙂

  • Patrice Willoughby Cox

    Pleased to note while holidaying in Brisbane last week, we went to the exhibition at the Museum “Undressed” and in the gift shop – your book! Excited for you. Happy New Year.

  • Reen

    Happy New Year Nikki! We are on holiday at the moment and enjoying exploring our local area. Well, local for my hubby, new for me! He’s having a great time taking us to places that he frequented as a child and reminiscing. I am really enjoying reading again after losing my mojo when I became a parent. I’m currently reading ‘What Came Before’ by Anna George, and can’t put it down!

    Enjoy your break with the MacDonalds!

  • Myree Isbester

    Happy New Year to you Nikki, thanks for your blog, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it and following your tips and tricks and I love your book. We are heading off on a road trip end of January along the coast to Sydney and then heading back via Hunter and coming home inland for a different trip. We lived in the blue mountains and always headed to Lake Macquarie or Toronto in the caravan on boxing day for 3 weeks of fun in the caravan parks where there was swimming at the beach at 5am with our dad which was fabulous or hire a tinny and fish on the lake until breakfast where we head back to the caravan ravenous and wake up mum for a hearty breakfast then back to the pool in the park until lunch and afternoons were spent around the van playing with neighbours kids and parents sitting under trees drinking and yes your right pfff to supervision that we had. Our kids were raised in Darwin so there holidays were always on a plane south to visit grandparents and we too used to go to the caravan parks with them too. Great memories

  • Debbie P

    Amazing memories. We travelled religously up from Newcastle to the Florida Car-O-Tel at Miami. It was the highlight of our year. It was all you wrote about and more. I particularly enjoyed the pool races and competitions and meeting kids from everywhere. Is it still there or demolished?

  • Jenni from styling curvy

    We used to head from mt Tamborine up to Noosa.Caloundra or Maroochydore, camping or in the caravan. I loved Marco Polo around the pool, bubble o bill ice creams in the afternoons and playing tennis or hand ball. Making friends was easy, sausages in bread was mandatory. I remember one year being in a tent when the cyclone warning went out and being bummed we had to pack up early and leave early…I’d been promised a chip sandwich and it never happened! I lived in Harvey bay with my mister (it’s why our dog is called Harvey) and I’ve done a spot of skating on the skating rink…it would be heaving with people at this time of year. We are off in the morning on a road trip to Melbourne, the fun is in the road trip 🙂 enjoy your break Nikki x

  • Hey there! I’m only just catching up on blog reading (‘holidaying’ at my mother’s while she’s at my place!). Thanks for the shout-out! Enjoy your break!!!

  • countrymum

    Love summer holidays!! As youngsters we used to holiday at Nelson Bay (near Newcastle) or Lake Cathie (near Port Macquarie) and have some lovely family memories. I work in Education so am on 6 weeks Summer Holidays with the kiddies – love this time of year! After a hectic few weeks over Christmas, we are heading off to Sydney’s Lower North Shore to stay with a family member who lives right opposite the beach. I have a new cossie, sunhat and 3 recently bought books. Bring it on! Enjoy your New Year everyone!

  • chrisatpb

    The first holiday I ever remember was in a borrowed caravan at Cotton Tree caravan park – way back in the early 60s. Was fabulous, we took our dog – I climbed the huge (even way back then) cotton trees, splashed about in the calm waters, walked over the dirt road to buy the paper for mum and dad every morning and looked on enviously as the big kids used the platform and slippery slide out in the “deep” water.
    Nikki, my 24yo son is also at falls festival. If Alex has any problems or needs any help at all, just let me know and I’ll be happy to pass on his number. xx

  • Samantha Keogh

    Oh what a wonderful trip down Summer’s sandy memory lane! I think we shared the same childhood, except in a different part of the world, lol. Though I have a sneaky suspicion that my family also stayed at the Florida-car-otel on a road trip North one year. Small world! Congratulations Nikki on all your achievements this year – professional and personal. I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog Enjoy your Summer break. Look forward to seeing what 2015 holds for us all. X

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    Thank you for your blog and sharing your memories with us Nikki,have an amazing holiday and rest up and read your books and enjoy your spa treatments,you’ve had a very busy year!
    I’ve not got a holiday planned BUT I think I will play resorts a bit next week I’m exhausted and emotional I think a lot of it is from trying to be strong and do all the things.I do think I will have to have a rest and take some time out for me for my mental health.I wish you and your family a safe happy and restful new year and thank you for your kindness this past year ,you’re a very special woman Xx

  • merliyn

    thankyou nikki!
    loving reading /savouring your child hood stories and ringing bells for me too! …
    we nearly always holidayed in Pt Elliot and now we live 5 mins away from there so we are on the holiday south coast where the beaches are the attraction! … I have my new sunbella parasol which I won from agent mystery case! thanks to the lovely raychael, for casing things!;x
    have a great night tonight! lots of love m:)X

    • Sounds beautiful M … and how good are the parasols? Great for me walking around near where I live too … not hat hair!! x

  • Petra

    Yeah, I remember the Florida Car-O-Tel when I was 13! We were on holidays from Sydney and decided to move to the GC so bought a house during that trip! Having just moved permanently to the Mornington Peninsula, I feel like I’m on holiday everyday, and it seems everyone from Melbourne is here camping along the front, which makes for a great holiday vibe! I’m happy to stay put! Have a wonderful NYE Nikki 🙂

    • Love that holiday vibe Petra and yes a new place does feel like you’re permanently on holiday! Happy NY x

  • Adrienne

    My daughter is at Falls too, Nikki and every year we go for a couple of weeks to a sleepy town on the NSW mid north coast for an old fashioned holiday similar to what you have planned. We head down from Brisbane and my sister heads up from Sydney. Love it!

    • It’s my daughter’s first time at a festival 🙂 Love that you meet each other half way!

  • Envious of your holiday. Thanks to hubby being on call we are attempting a staycation this year. We are still relatively new to Perth so it should be a lot of fun, if I can just manage to pry my three teens away from their new books.

    Happy New Year Nikki, enjoy your holiday.

    • Staycations are so much fun – our whole year has felt like one – and we’re off into the city to stay again tonight. A great way to see the fireworks without the transport hassles. Happy New Year to you x

  • Your childhood camping holidays sound exactly like the memories we try to create for our kids during our annual holiday to Poona. I hope they remember them just as fondly. Enjoy your break! xx

    • Ahh Poona … see you’re talking to a Maryborough girl. I know where that is!! As an adult I had friends who had a house at Tinnanbar and we had some great weekends there! x

  • Kathryn

    You must be well and truly ready for some down time Nikki. Enjoy every moment, it seems to go so quickly doesn’t it. I loved reading about your childhood holidays, sounds idyllic. Wasn’t it easier back then, just running around. We always went camping at Kingscliff every year, in a tent. I have the best memories of those holidays. I have enjoyed my xmas break, back to work next Monday. I’ve read two books, one was Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella (which was pretty lame) and the other which I read in one day because I just couldn’t put it down was Lyrebird Hill by Anna Romer. It’s not Xmas without a book! I even slept in Have a wonderful holiday, and Happy New Year! Kathryn x

    • It was easier Kathryn – and the gift of time is one that’s difficult to give our kids these days with most not having the long holidays. I love Kingscliff – would have been a village back then! Thanks for the reading tips and Happy New Year! x

  • The Bellarine Peninsula beckons along with nippers, VicSwim and resting a small with glandular fever. But sunshine is good for the soul. I’m onto those coverups – thanks for the tip – as several hours watching nippers will need protection. Happy holidays 🙂

    • Sounds very good for the soul. Has been a long time since I’ve been down that way – so beautiful. Enjoy x

  • Sonya

    Thanks for a great year Nikki, read your blog everyday and love it. We’re off to Tasmania in a couple of weeks for our first real holiday in a very long time. We’ll be visiting the Wooden Boat Festival and MONA and I’ve planned our own Taste of Tasmania adventure with all the good food and wine sites earmarked for a visit. Happy New Year!

    • Thanks for reading Sonya! Sounds like we might be in Tasmania about the same time! I’m going with my son for a brief trip for work (from the 12-15th). Have fun – and Happy New Year! x

  • Min Gillespie

    I hope you have a fabulous holiday Nikki! I loved reading about your childhood summer holidays! You’ve had such a busy and wonderful year – starting from your big move and then the launch of your book. All the time you have still managed to looked after your health and you’re looking slim, fit and fabulous! You work hard and you’re one very inspiring lady! I’m sure 2015 will be another year full of fabulous achievements and inspiration from you. Happy New Year! Min x

    • Oh Min, thank-you so much for your kind words. They mean a lot. It has been a big year – I don’t think if I’d focussed on my health that I would have got through it feeling ok. I’m very excited for 2015! Happy New Year to you x