Brought to you by Nuffnang and Melbourne Rising

I must admit that I am not well versed in sport. I come from a soccer family and that was about the extent of my interest in things involving organised running with a ball until coming to Australia. There is such a culture of activity here that on any given night there will be something played somewhere to a crowd of happy fans. As my kids are growing up here, we are fast becoming part of the chorus of cheering crowds, adding new sports to our repertoire often!

This was our first time heading to anything Rugby Union related. In fact, up until I started reading about the game in preparation of being guests of Melbourne Rising, I had no idea there were so many clubs and competitions! I still don’t understand the rules/laws and types enough to explain it here, but what I can say is that it was an excellent family night out. Have a little look at the images from our time with Melbourne Rising and then read on for my thoughts.

We started with a tour behind the scenes at AAMI Park where the home games for the Melbourne Rising happen. It is a gorgeous stadium that is also home to the Melbourne Rebels, the Rugby Union team that the Rising feeds into. We had a look at all the rooms from the drug testing to the medical bay (only two beds, I was expecting an entire ward for Rugby!) There is a huge swimming pool for recovery and workouts plus a MASSIVE gym with more weights than I have ever seen in my life. After meeting the gentle giants who play the game of Rugby, I could see why they were needed. These men are running around on muscle bound legs the size of tree trunks. 

Gemma had the honour of tossing the game coin and both captains plus the head referee were so kind to her. She was a bit nervous, but they came out and offered her hand shakes and genuine smiles. The toss went in favour of our Melbourne Rising, so with that and the fact that they are on top of the leader board, we were feeling like it was going to be (to quote the Black Eyed Peas) a good, good night.

The kids loved being able to be on the ground with the teams as they warmed up before the game. Kieran was simply in awe. Clover brought her pink purse to hold the essentials, her phone camera and pink puppy. She was the cutest paparazzi there. Despite being a Thursday night and a team we had not heard much about before this week, the seats began to fill up (nearly 2,000 spectators was the final count!) so we left the ground to get our spots. 

I was worried that the game might be too rough for a family sport or that the crowd would be a bit rowdy, but I was wrong on both counts. Despite power and size, the game is played in a very sportsmen-like manner and the fans were just happy to be there. The ref took a bit of flack from some enthusiastic Canberra fans, but not a bad word was uttered. Lots of kids were there and my three were enthralled. There were fireworks and cheerleaders. Something for everyone! Halftime saw audience members brought out onto the field for a kick of the ball to win merchandise and there were lots of other times the fans were involved. Players even came up to the sidelines to take selfies with the crowd.

I am still trying to figure out why Rugby players bunch up and hug like a giant spider (scrum) at certain points, but I think with a little more reading, I will understand the rules/laws. The price point is great for a family of five (kids under 12 were free at least for that game) (Under 12’s are always free for home games excluding Finals) so I can see us attending more matches in the future. I will remember to bring food though…not much on hand for vegetarians except very expensive french fries! 

In Melbourne and keen to see a Rising match for yourself? I have tickets to the next home game to give away! (1 x double pass to the Melbourne Rising game on 6pm Sat 18 October at AAMI Park against Queensland Country)

In the comments, just let me know your best description of a scrum and why it happens! 

Contest ends Monday the 6th of October! Click here for T&C

share tweet pin email


Welcome to the #snackosphere. I think that is the current subtitle of my life. Seriously, every day with these kids has become a game of how to get them from point A to point B without starving or at least complaining that they might.* They finish one thing and with the crumbs still falling from their faces say; “I’m hungry.” Despite being the worst face stuffing offender, Kieran is still wearing a size three toddler shorts because he is so skinny. Clearly the kids are burning off the fuel as fast as I throw it at them. A mother of teenage boys warned me that the massive appetite just grows from here. Yikes!


School holidays are upon us again and the weather is outstanding. While I have to work most mornings, I reward the kids for their patience with trips to excellent parks. This is the city to live in if you and your kids enjoy going to a playground. We have a great adventure playground within walking distance from our house and then the possibilities with a car are nearly endless… I use this Playground Finder app to locate new ones all the time! I don’t need the kids to know that I am getting my workout while we are at these playgrounds. If they think I am enjoying it too much, they will not want to go because they are rats like that.;)Heading to new playgrounds is one of my personal favourite adventures with kids. For me, finding new area of Melbourne to love (and photograph) is a thrill and the kids are always happy where we end up if they get to run around and play. I had not worked quickly Friday, so with less time allocated for getting lost, we just drove to one of our favourites, Bicentennial Park in Chelsea. This huge playground really has it all from multiple activity areas, to long hill slides and even the coveted “nest” swing. When we remember to put the scooters in the boot, there are skate ramps, netball courts and paths to ride for hours! We can easily make an entire day of being down in this area because the beach and another great playground are just minutes away from this spot. In fact, this stretch of beach from Edithvale to BonBeach is our most visited during the summer months.

So we run, eat, slide, swing and eat…over and over for hours under the gorgeous Melbourne spring skies. We have a long list of snack options, from fruits and veggies to the occasional frozen yogurt but sometimes they want a savoury treat. Whatever it is, it must be bite sized because my kids don’t stop for daytime meals in the holidays. We eat breakfast and dinners together around the table, but from morning tea through the afternoon snack, it is all about the “bite break” and getting back to playing. Before we head out, I pack up the cooler bag with the contents of my kitchen so we can mix up the options when we are on the road. I let the kids decide on one packaged snack to include. We have been trying out the range from Healtheries. The kids love them and selected the New Potato Curls for this adventure. They have 70% less fat than regular potato chips and contain no MSG nor Palm Oil. We are not a gluten free family, but if we were, these snacks would be perfect. They are low sugar and free from artificial colours and flavours. This time the kids grabbed the “Chicken Flavour” so I can’t tell you what they taste like as I no longer eat chicken.** They were not sharing with me anyway. Clearly they taste great to them. Some of the other flavours we will test are vegetarian, so I am going to dig into those! I love me a savoury snack.


As a Kidspot Voices of 2014 finalist, I have been given a supply of Healtheries brand snacks to test. I will tell you what we think over three blog posts in the #snackosphere!


*Yes, my kids are overly dramatic and I know there is true starving in the world. I try to share with them how lucky they are to live in a part of the world where access to food and clean water is abundant. We are always looking for ways to help those who do not have the same fortune.

**As a family we have been pescetarian for nearly two years now. While Alec and I are pretty strict, we have let the kids have some grace periods like during birthday parties or when gifted something like this snack. I won’t break the habit for myself though…except that one time in Salt Lake City when I somehow found myself having a turkey sandwich. 

share tweet pin email
  • Lisa Bentley via Facebook - Your children are absolutely beautiful. ♡ReplyCancel

  • kasandra - learned a new word – pescetarian :)ReplyCancel

Since Sesame Ellis was gong to Salt Lake City for a conference (and LA on the way back to visit with friends) I was not all that fond of the notion of continuing to work in a demanding job and at the same time looking after 3 primary school kids (without either outsourcing some of it to unsuspecting friends, or leaving one or more of them alone  at school pickup or in the house). 
So I took the time off and decided that we were all going to sunny warm Noosa, Queensland for most of that time.  It would let me take a well needed break from work, spend some quality time with the kids (which I rarely have the chance to do) and warm up at the end of a typically cold Melbourne winter (i’m talking Australia-cold not Canada-col here).
So my first few guest posts will be focused on the planning/booking of the vacation – I tend to think of myself as pretty knowledgeable in travel (in some respects to a level of detail way beyond most travel agents) – partly because travel is a life long passion of mine, and partly because I have been lucky enough to have done quite a lot of it, and plan to do still more in the future.
So firstly – booking flights.  I use this “trick” almost every time I book family holidays.  Our aim is to travel as cheaply as possible (given there are 5 of us) while not slumming it – sometimes the cheapest option is either going to ruin your holiday or end up more expensive in the long run (or both). 
jetstar price beat guarantee
Typically Tiger is the cheapest option.  But I don’t fancy the ultra-low cost model and all of its “acoutrements” (eg cancelled or delayed flights, bare basic airport experience, etc).  Plus since I have access to Qantas Club lounges when flying Jetstar I prefer to fly on Jetstar at Tiger prices.  Here is how we do it.
For the dates we want to travel I price our itinerary on Tiger.  I then call Jetstar – they have a Price Beat Guarantee where they will match and beat by 10% a lower price for flights at similar times on the same day from a competitor (both domestic and international). I quote the price and airline to the phone agent at Jetstar, who validates it and then provides a 10% cheaper jetstar booking for their flights within 2 hrs either side of the Tiger flights.  Plus an added bonus – they don’t charge the credit card fee for these bookings as they do on their site or otherwise by phone – which for 5 people is around $75.
Note this doesn’t include checked baggage (but neither does Tiger).
In the end we get even cheaper flights to where we want to go, no credit card fees, and get to enjoy the lounge before our flights – where we tend to feed the kids and ourselves (as well as lubricate ourselves) with food and drink much better than available on the Jetstar flights (plus it’s free).
Our flights (4 of us  this time) from Melbourne to Brisbane including all checked baggage cost me $549.48 round trip.
Next post – how to save on car rental.


share tweet pin email
  • Kate - Oh dang it! I wish I knew this last month! Have had to travel to QLD 4 or 5 times from Melbourne in the last 6 weeks due to a very ill mother in law who has since passed. Flying 4 adults (my kids are teens) to and fro Brisbane/Maroochydore has cost us a couple of thousand! We flew a combo of (mainly) tiger but with Jetstar and Qantas thrown in there too.

    And add car hire too! Can’t wait to see your car hire tips.

    Thanks – great firsts post and I look forward to more travel tips!ReplyCancel

While I am the emotional/creative side of the family, my husband is the travel planner, chef, technology help desk and entire department of financial affairs. As this blog grows, I am always looking for ways to help readers with great content. With that in mind, it occurred to me that Alec’s extensive research into ways of doing awesome things as a family for as little cost as possible would be of value to many of you! I did not think he would be willing to contribute as he is sort known for being the silent and mostly invisible member of our family online, but he surprised me with enthusiasm!

I’m excited to be brining you a new advice column (think Dear Abbey with way less emotion and more travel advice) from the elusive Alec called “Mr. Devine.” 

MR. Devine
His first post will be coming up in the next few days with great tricks to getting the best airfare for a family trip! He was to be guest blogging while we are both on the road…he with the kids and me on my own in the states, but the internet in my hotel has been unusable!  Hopefully things will be back up and running when I am in Los Angeles tomorrow!

share tweet pin email
  • Jane Dando via Facebook - Looking forward to it!ReplyCancel

  • Michele Botwin Raphael via Facebook - Awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Breanne - I’m excited to hear from Mr. Devine!ReplyCancel

From fashion forward to serious and from friendly, fun and adventurous to crafty, knowledgeable, approachable and even classic, these head shots needed to represent so many different personalities in a very small window of time.

I am thrilled that ProBlogger had me up for the conference to do these head shots in the Olympus booth. I consider it an honour to be trusted to photograph people who usually run from the camera…there is a reason bloggers live on the internet. The spots were completely booked out within five minutes of the session times released online and everyone showed up (not always on the correct day) despite their nerves! While not one person walked into the booth saying having their photograph taken was their most favourite thing to do, everyone left with a smile if not actually laughing. I am proud of each and every photo and that in the 15 minute sessions, we were able to get such different shots to fit the individual blogger’s needs.


While many bloggers needed a simple and more corporate look others wanted carefree and artistic. Some hadn’t a clue what they needed, so we quickly got to know each other and down to the work of summing up one side of their selves in a photograph. Olympus pulled the whole thing together with brilliant organisation, fantastic people and amazing equipment for me to use. It was a wonderful opportunity to trial their excellent prime lenses and let me tell you, shooting head shots on their 25mm and 45mm prime lenses at f/1.8 while keeping eyes sharp was a breeze. The light weight and small size of the gear made shooting in challenging light and tight spaces fun. The whole weekend was a blast and I look forward to keeping up with all these new internet friends.






Thank you to everyone who came and said hello. I am sorry that I was not able to fit anyone else in and that I had such limited time to chat, but there will always be a next time. Stay tuned! For the bloggers I photographed that day, please look for an email from Olympus with details on how to get your full resolution files (two different shots each!) for download. I can’t wait to see them popping up on social media and other websites soon!

share tweet pin email
  • lori - DUDE. you were WORKING it!!! That’s a lottta pictures ;) Great job!ReplyCancel

    • sesame - Twas a lot of pictures, but you just get through each session at a time and suddenly the day was gone!ReplyCancel

  • Kylie - Hi Rachel, thank you again, so much for the opportunity to have you take my headshot photo. You made me feel so calm through the whole process, and I actually had fun, which I was not expecting!!
    You are such a lovely person, and I am so glad I got the chance to meet you!

    • sesame - It was lovely to work with you! I am excited to see where you take this blogging journey!ReplyCancel

  • Annette of I Give You The Verbs - Thank you so much! Such a great gift to get a professional shot for my blog. You were a real pleasure to work with, put me at ease straight away – it’s ALL about the dappled light!ReplyCancel

  • Debs - Love these! Wow, you did an AMAZING job. To get these shots with a 15 minute time slot for each person.. no makeup or hair, just you getting to know a person and shooting. Amazing! Thank you so much xReplyCancel

  • Kelly - GORGEOUS!ReplyCancel

  • Maxabella - I was gutted to miss out on one of your sessions and now I am GUTTED. Everyone looks polished and beautiful and friendly and special. xReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Cooker and a Looker - Rachel, thank you for being such fun during my session. You’re a magician – I’ve seen the before photo in the mirror! xxReplyCancel

  • se7en - This is just the most fabulous work!!! Love how I can spot friends I know in there… love it all… great job!!!ReplyCancel

  • Julie @ meybestandi - AHHHHHHHHmazing , love your work & thanks you so much! xReplyCancel

  • VegeTARAian via Facebook - Wow, they look fantastic!! Thanks so much Rachel. xReplyCancel

  • Sam - Thank you so much Rachel !!! You made it so easy and fun :)ReplyCancel

  • Kristy @ Loulou Zoo - Thank you so much for the photos Rachel, you made it so much fun! It was lovely to meet you xReplyCancel

  • Karen Morley - Hey Rachel,

    Holy Moly what great photo’s!

    Thank YOU sooooo very much for taking the time to read up on my site and for taking care of me :)

    You are very talented my dear!!

    Oh and you will laugh, but I just read your About section on your site and how you got your blogs name! Get this, my stripper name would be:

    Fluffy Haer

    Mmmmm Fluffy Haer or The Morley Report…..

    It’s a toughy hehehe

    Thank you again

    Me xxxReplyCancel

  • Jayne - What an amazing collection of shots and in such a short time. You’re amazing and I’m so grateful for the opportunity you/Olympus gave us. JReplyCancel

  • Fran @ Travelgenee - Thanks you so much. I look years younger even if I am not smiling!! All the photos are amazing.ReplyCancel

  • Sonia from Sonia Styling - Oh my goodness, Rachel – you are the best! Thank you so much for my photoshoot. I adored you instantly and you made me feel so comfortable and camera-ready. You’re a gem! xReplyCancel

  • bigwords - Oh my gosh – everyone looks stunning. xReplyCancel

  • Amber Melody - Woah – they all look so good Rachel. Thank you so much for your amazing work – and your stamina!! This was a major endeavour to undertake. My personal note to self is: don’t be scared to look at the camera { hahahaha! } and button your jacket girl! ;) Yay Olympus! <3ReplyCancel

  • Kym O'Gorman - Wow Rachel, these photos are incredible. You have such a talent!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Johnston - Rachel – now I know why you have been on the top of your game for so long. Wow you have captured so many people in such a short time frame – so fabulously – me included and I never like having my photo taken. I am happy to be behind the lens not in front of it! Thank-you so,so much. And thanks Olympus as well. Lovely to meet you as brief as it was and keep it coming – mothers of twins know nothing can stop them (maybe slow them down!) xo Jennifer from Travel Bug WithinReplyCancel

  • Sia - Wow! I love them all.

    Well done Rachel. I can’t wait to start using my photo :-)ReplyCancel

  • Janina Lear - Sooooooo happy with Rachel’s picture of me. I love it. Thank you for the generosity rachel and Olympus.ReplyCancel

  • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot - Hi Rachel,

    I truly appreciate your time, professionalism and creative talent. Thank you for shooting me – and what a good looking bunch we all are ;)ReplyCancel

  • Linda ~ Journey Jottings - What a fun encapsulation of 50 faces from the ProBlgger event :)
    And super excited to be included in the mix!
    What an amazing job you’ve done – we all (big sigh of relief) look gorgeous LOLReplyCancel

  • Janet aka Middle Aged Mama - I definitely recognise some of these faces! Wish I’d been one of the lucky ones to bag a session! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Veggie Mama - you are SO clever!ReplyCancel

  • Claire @ Claire K Creations - Thanks so much! Can’t wait to see the final shots!ReplyCancel

  • Gold Coast: We came, we snapped, we ate and we laughed - Fat Mum Slim - […] and you’re done. You can then upload to Facebook or Instagram or whatever. ♥ I wanted to share some photos that Rachel Devine took at ProBlogger with the OM-D E-M10. Beautiful […]ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa - If only I had been at a computer when the bookings were released!! :)ReplyCancel

  • ProBlogger Event 2014 – Wrap Up : @ProBlogger - […] 50+ Blogger Headshots in Two Days And Other Reasons I Missed Everything Said At The Problogger Event…via Rachel Devine […]ReplyCancel

  • ProBlogger Event 2014 – Wrap Up « - […] 50+ Blogger Headshots in Two Days And Other Reasons I Missed Everything Said At The Problogger Event…via Rachel Devine […]ReplyCancel

  • ProBlogger Event 2014 – Wrap Up | - […] 50+ Blogger Headshots in Two Days And Other Reasons I Missed Everything Said At The Problogger Event…via Rachel Devine […]ReplyCancel