BRIO Railway 33730 Roller Coaster Set TOY REVIEW

Recently we were offered the opportunity to test drive some toys of our choosing through Childsmart, and given the range of great products available it was no easy task to decide! For this review we selected the Roller Coaster Set by Brio, part of the Railway 33730 range.


I’ve always loved wooden train track sets and after we had our family holiday to the coast in January this year, where Rafa (aged 4.5) got to play with the amazing set they had at the holiday house, I knew he would really love to start building his own Brio world.


I must say, the whole experience as soon as we received the box was really positive. Rafa enjoys reading and following instruction booklets, so as soon as we opened the box he was into it, and the beauty of these types of toys is that they are so simple to construct, he pretty much did it all by himself, with just a little help from dad.




Once the initial excitement wore off we were able to move the set into the playroom, where he really got stuck into it. He started making up little narratives for the kids in the roller coaster carriages immediately, and soon started playing with different configurations of the track to fit with the pieces of track he already has.



This toy is for ages 3+, but when Harriet got a hold of one of the pieces, I wasn’t worried (as long as I was watching her), because they are well made and not small enough to be too much of a hazard.


As I’m writing this I can hear Rafa in his playroom knocking things about, pretending the rollercoaster cars are rocket ships and having Lego Batman come and save the day in Brio world ;)


The Brio branded sets are really high quality, they are well made – smooth edges on the wood pieces, no rough or splintery bits, the plastic pieces are sturdy and well moulded, no random flakey tags or weak spots. I have a feeling this toy is going to last many, many years!


Overall I really like the Roller Coaster Set, the fact that the kids can let the cars go at the top of the ramps and they run all the way down themselves is really fun, and the configuration of the flat tracks will allow us to build onto the set in the future.


If you have the chance to invest in a Roller Coaster Set from Brio, I definitely recommend it =)


Disclaimer: All opinions stated in this post are my own, are genuine and truthful. Compensation for this post was received in the form of the toy, no monetary compensation was received.

Rafael turns 2

Here are the photos I took in the lead up to Rafa’s 2nd birthday and on the day. We had a lovely “Teddy’s Bears Picnic” themed party down on the oval near our house. People arrived around 2pm and were directed to follow the footprints down the path to the picnic spot. We had set up lots of picnic blankets and teddies and hung decorations from a big oak tree. I decorated his cake (2 small mud-cakes from the cheesecake shop) and had the rest of the food catered by a local company (who has just shut up shop, but is re-opening soon with a new name and new concept). We also had Tam from Crazy Kids Entertainment there painting faces, which was a huge hit and completely affordable.

Setting up the party was SO much fun, I can’t wait for next years now =)

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We asked for no gifts, but of course little Raffi was spoiled rotten anyway… Next year we might have to try put a dollar limit on gifts instead!


Mid-Winter Coast Trip

We decided to have a little getaway a couple of weekends ago, and took ourselves, the toddler and the dogs off down the mountain to Malua Bay. It was bloody freezing! The dogs had a good time though ;)

wetsplishpuddles jump determinedbeanierunningmoodysnot-facesalty-sandy-coldinvestigatingbliss fatherandson

So even though it was terribly cold and wet and soggy, I’m still so grateful to the universe that I am lucky enough to have my family and the means to zip down the coast for the weekend to be with them.



Easter 2013

Today would have also been Altarra’s 32nd birthday, if she were still with us. She would probably have 2 or 3 kids, be living in Sydney and be crafting it up every weekend. I miss her.

Thank you my families for a really lovely day, we had breakfast with JA’s side and lunch with mine, and our first Easter egg hunt with Rafa was deliciously fun and adorable =D

Our DIY vegetable garden

I guess most gardens are probably classified as DIY, aren’t they?!

Well, I decided to build a small 1.2m sq in May of last year, to plant vegetables and fruits in time for the current summer.

Getting my handy-girl on. Manny and Bob would be proud

After a few false starts (buying treated wood at first, then correcting the choice with hard wood pails) I built the structure all by myself (proud! ps, corded electric drills work WAY better than cordless ones whose battery never charges properly) and using the giant fat Kitchen Garden Companion by Stephanie Alexander, I prepared the soil and got the bed ready.

Next birthday present please somebody

Annnnnnd 7 months later HOLY WOW! We have been rewarded with humungous zucchinis and the juiciest, best tasting tomatos ever.

A small selection of our tomatoes, at last count we had about one billion

People keep asking me what I’m doing to yield such good results, and the answer is “nothing”! So far, we’ve been lucky to avoid any caterpillars or birds or snails trying to eat anything, and all I do is give it a good water every few days if it hasn’t rained. Lucky or what?!

Thank you garden!Yummm #nofilterFirst crop!

I planned spaghetti for dinner tonight, and forgot to check if we had any zucchinis before I went to the shops, so I got one just in case. I came home, and picked these two beauties right off the vine. Makes the shop bought zucchini look pathetic really!

Store bought at the bottom, home grown at the top. I think we can officially say the vege garden is a success.

This is my crop of tomatos from today:
And tomatoes aplenty

I also made a quick bruschetta for an entree from the mini romas, on top of some store bought garlic bread, and oh. my. It was super delicious.

Best bruschetta ever

I’m definitely going to make a bigger garden for next summer!

A beachy weekend

Last weekend we got up at O-dark-thirty to get JA to the bus station to go pick up his car from Sydney. Raf and I kept going and went down the coast, and JA eventually met us there later in the afternoon. We only had one night there with our lovely friends, but it was glorious to put our toes in the sand and duck our heads under the waves. I love the ocean.

Stretching out legs in Braidwood, aka run away from mummy as fast as I possibly can
Gloomy but wonderful
Buddies on the beach
Practicing his surfing technique
Check out those curls… Don’t get to see them too often in my pics because they’re only at the back ;)
Favourite everything
Last one… Having withdrawals already *sigh*

2012 in review.

It’s been a very emotional year.

I’ve watched my baby boy grow up so much, pass all the usual milestones and jump ahead in leaps and bounds, he’s such a clever little engineer (still yet to say a word though!). We are so lucky to have him and are amazed that we created him.

We were also devastated by the loss of JA’s dad Frank, in October. We continue to miss him every day, and all I can say is thank goodness for Rafael and his cousin Malia, putting smiles on our sad faces every day.

This is an extremely image heavy post, but it brings joy to my heart to see my little Rafa and remember all the great things we did this year.

(Images are in reverse order from December back to January)
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The baby turns one and throws a party

As promised, here are some photos from Rafael’s first Birthday Party. I LOVED doing all the decorations and setting everything up, it was so fun and I can’t wait to do it again and again every year.

Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (1) The welcome sign on the front door, I made using my Cameo cutting machine and different coloured textured scrapbook card.Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (2)The photo wall as you came in the door, showing all Rafa’s monthly photos from 10 days to 12 months old.

Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (3) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (4)I bought a plastic backdrop online for about $20 and put it up over our big front window, and it made the whole living room glow blue which was really cool. I hung up some netting (also bought online) and cut out some sea creatures on the Cameo to stick onto the backdrop.Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (5)I had SO much fun making the cake. I started very early (a week or so in advance) on the topper, made entirely of fondant and did all the ruffles myself (I watched lots of YouTube videos and got some advice from SIL Katie to learn how to do it). The dessert table didn’t have any real structure to it, I just plonked stuff where I thought it looked balanced and moved it around from there.Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (6)The pink jellyfish “baby” pinãta looked great I must say. I made it of papiêr maché and stuck cut circles of crepe paper to the outside, and hung lots of strands of curling ribbon from the bottom.Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (7)I hand-painted all the shells on the cake topper, there’s a few dodgy bits but I’m really happy with how it turned out =) The only things I didn’t make myself were the white balls (Jila Mints), the one little orange starfish and seahorse, and the cake itself (Boston Mud from the cheesecake shop).Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (8)I put together several of these table centrepieces which were so easy and fun to do, and relatively cheap if you already have some of the supplies.Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (9)I can’t get enough of fondant ruffles now! Might have to make a Christmas cake just for fun ;)Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (10)I picked up this cardboard cupcake stand from BigW for about $5, and made the cupcakes from a Betty Crocker packet mix, with added gel colouring. I made a simple cream cheese icing for them, and popped the little toppers on from The Style Emporium in Gold Creek. Super easy and really effective! Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (11) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (12)I didn’t really think about it but Katie pointed out it was probably a bit morbid to have Sushi to eat with an Under the Sea Theme =PMikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (13)I bought candy bags from Pack It In and filled them with blue and green m&m’s for the “sea” and yellow for the “sand”, to give as favours. Never mind that the dogs managed to eat 10 of them when I was in the middle of making them! Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (14) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (15)Little Heidi was a fan of the Jellyfish Pinãta, unfortunately it was a complete fail! I rigged it so the babies could grab a length of string and pull, and that would tear the bottom out of the Jellyfish and everything would come out, but the babies wouldn’t have a bar of it, they wouldn’t hold the string or tug it, so I ended up doing it for them (it would have worked great with 2 or 3 year olds I think!) and it ended in tears hahaMikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (16) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (17) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (18)The lucky boy received lots of lovely and thoughtful gifts!Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (19) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (20) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (21) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (22) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (23) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (24) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (25)And the dogs got way too many sneaky leftovers!

It was a wonderful day and I can’t wait until next year ♥


Rafa’s First Birthday Party | Sneak Peek

I started planning Rafael’s birthday party when he was around 2 months old, no joke. I LOVE planning parties, and having a kid is just about the best excuse ever to throw an awesomely decorated party =)

I went with an “Under the Sea” theme, and here is a sneak peek of the lead up to the big day.

Party post coming soon!