March 2014

The GrampOut- Part Two.

by Lori Dwyer on March 31, 2014 · 6 comments

This post brought to you by Aerogard, Mortein and Nuffnang.


The weekend before I start work, we go gramping.

All good gramping trips start with packing the car. It’s one of those completely irrelevant life skills I like to pride myself on. It’s almost like a life sized game of Tetris. I expertly stack and slot Eskies, washing baskets full of food, Aerogard, tents, camp chairs and numerous bags of stuff to assist with every possible situation.

The kidlets, seasoned travellers by now, strap in, sit back, and we get cruising. Their excitement level peaks somewhere around Shepparton, when the bouncing and countdown of kilometres begin (”How far to go? How long until we see our Nonna?”).

Arriving makes for two very excited little campers and one grandmother beaming with joy. We don’t mess around when it comes to setting up camp. The tent is up, sleeping bags unrolled, and camp chairs popped open within an hour or so of parking the car.

It’s ridiculously easy. I’m not sure why gramping ever seemed liked an idea fraught with trepidation. An extra set of very willing hands to keep the kidlets entertained makes setting up the tent a very simple process. Mainly because the Chop and the Bump don’t want to ‘help’ quite so much.

It’s lovely, having my mum camping with us. She takes the kidlets for a walk to explore the campground, and the Most Amazing Man and I get to chill out for a while, just the two of us. We relax, listening to the occasional murmur of people and the birds tweeting around us.

Time slides away so quickly when you’re camping. The afternoon fades away rapidly. We sit and chat for a while. The kids begin to get absolutely feral, so, after spraying them quite liberally with the Aerogard Odourless Protection, we walk down to the river. It’s not really bushwalking. But there are trees and bugs for the boy–child and dozens of gumnuts and rocks for the girl–child. She is a bower bird, but not just for all things blue. She collects little bits and pieces, anything that takes her interest. Her Nonna and the Most Amazing Man and I ferret things away in our pockets for her, keeping her treasures safe until she forgets about them (which usually takes about twenty minutes, or until something else catches her attention).


Then there’s UNO– many games of UNO, as predicted. There’s also Monopoly on the iPad, which kind of feels like cheating. But I really don’t think we could have fit the Monopoly box in the car. We light the Mortein Citronella candle Outdoor and he ambience is beautiful. Everyone looks better by candle light. It smells divine and there isn’t a moth or mozzie for miles. In fact, the kidlets not only don’t get eaten alive by mozzies, they don’t receive one single bite.

Dinner is a fairly simple affair. Because, much to my mother’s continual dismay, the kidlets are fussy eaters. As am I. So we cook sausages and have sausage sandwiches and, for the actual grown-ups (not me, obviously), there is salad.

After that, we have a campfire. Because it’s not quite authentic, camping without a campfire. We also have marshmallows, for the same reason. The kidlets love the idea of marshmallows cooked on a campfire, but not so much the reality. They end up eating them ’raw’. I prefer mine with a charcoal crust.

What with the sugar they’ve just ingested and the absolute novelty of camping in general and gramping in particular, we don’t even bother putting the kidlets to bed until we’re ready to sleep, too.


Waking up to spreading sunlight and birds tweeting is entirely peaceful. Only slightly less so when it’s combined with the excited early morning chatter of small children.

I thought yesterday went quickly. Today disappears even faster. I feel as though I’ve only just woken up properly by the time we begin packing up.

Pulling down a campsite is a weird thing. It’s been a living space for almost 24 hours– a family space. Somewhere to eat and sleep and laugh. Twenty minutes later, and it’s bare ground again. Apart from the peg holes hidden beneath the grass, it looks like we haven’t been there at all.

I hug my mum goodbye and there’s that sadness that’s always there when I leave her. I know I’ll see her again soon enough, and I talk to her on the phone all the time… but it’s just not quite the same.

Gramping has been entirely more awesome than I thought it would be. And the whole process is much, much less stressful than driving to Sydney and back for the weekend. Camping with the grandparents– 10/10. Would gramp again.


For more on how to enjoy gramping with the people you love, visit the Gramping Association, and sign up for the chance to win* one of seven Gramping Adventures for the whole family. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway on RRSAHM– there is a stack of cool stuff to be won.

*terms and conditions apply, visit for details.



Single Mums.

by Lori Dwyer on March 26, 2014 · 7 comments

Attempting to rent out the TinyTrainHouse has been a comedy of small town real estate. I’ve had to work hard not to take it personally. Who wouldn’t want to rent out my beautiful little shack, with it’s sprawling cottage garden and native bushland backdrop…? 

Applicants have come and gone, either been rejected or found properties more suited to their needs. My mate Kristabelle has rented the place since I moved to Melbourne. My only complaint with Kristabelle is that she decided to go and fall in love and move out. Given my own way, I would have kept her as custodian of my safe place forever, knowing that the rent would be paid like clockwork and that she would take good care of the little house I still think of as mine.

After the TinyTrainhouse has sat empty for many financially stressful weeks, I get a call from the real estate agent.

“We have a possible tenant! They’re not perfect, though. But we thought we’d run it past you anyway…”

My stomach flips slightly, wondering how desperate the situation has gotten. What kind of person are they suggesting move in? A convicted felon? Someone who will gut the storage space under the floors and fill it with a hydroponic set-up that’s definitely not being used for growing tomatoes?

“She’s a single mum. Three kids.”

I wait for the agent to say more. Something along the lines of “….and she runs a small prostitution business from home.”

But there is no more. That’s it. This woman has a perfect rental record, and all her previous property managers say they would happily rent to her again. After giving up an obscene amount of information on her history and her income, it’s been determined that she can definitely afford the weekly asking price.

It’s just that she’s a single mum. With three kids. All the hesitation I hear in the agent’s voice oozes from that.

I’m too shocked to take a stand over a few hundred kilometres of phone line. I’m too flabbergasted to tell the real estate agent that until a few short months ago I was a single mum myself, and it doesn’t at all mean that she’ll trash the place, or be unable to pay the rent. Most single mums I know are particularly conscious of keeping a roof over their children’s head, making that their first and biggest priority. It’s kind of a vital necessity.

Not that saying any of that would have made much difference. It likely would have fallen on deaf ears, dismissed with an eye roll and a few estate agents and office staff discussing the crazy lady on the phone after we hung up. The best I could do was squeak “That’s fine- please, rent her the house!”

So the TinyTrainHouse has a tenant. It’s a single mum.

I am, not surprisingly, quite okay with that. 


The Grampout- Part One.

by Lori Dwyer on March 19, 2014 · 17 comments

This post bought to you by Aerogard, Mortein & Nuffnang.


Apparently, there’s a whole new trend called ‘Gramping’. Not to be confused with ‘glamping’, which is also a thing. ‘Glamping’ is glam camping– roughing it with all the luxuries included. ‘Gramping’- which is what we’re discussing here- is camping with your kids…. and your parents.

I’m not sure why that sounds so terrifying. It shouldn’t, really. It’s all about spending tie together, bonding, and sharing experiences. And with my mum so very far away now, any shared experiences are good ones.

Gramping is such a thing that they even have its own representative body– the Gramping Association, sponsored by Aerogard and Mortein. For some reason, they decided to ask me to try out the whole experience of gramping and report back my findings. Maybe because they’ve read that post about how camping makes me feel like a better parent even when I’m yelling at my kids. Maybe because they know the Most Amazing Man is all kinds of crazy for the outdoors. Maybe I’ve blogged about my kid’s horrible mosquito bite allergy and how we should virtually own shares in Aerogard. Who knows?

Anyway. My mum (bless her) has quite happily agreed to forgo her regular weekend trip to Melbourne and meet us in sunny Cobram instead. She’s excited about the prospect of gramping- it’s been quite a while since she’s slept in a tent. We’ve promised her she need only bring herself and her sleeping bag, and we’ll supply the rest.

Packing and preparing to go gramping for the weekend takes just as long as the actual camping trip itself. Especially when you’re providing for small children, and extra people. We make lists, mentally working through all the possible scenarios to ensure we’re prepared for everything. Amidst the slight stress of packing, the excitement level is huge and we’re all very much looking forward to getting away from the city for a few days.

And we shop. An extra, smaller tent. Completely adorable matching camp chairs for the kids. Many, many, many groceries. The list of essentials includes ten litres of water, UNO cards, torches and batteries, wet wipes, antiseptic cream, butane, swimmers, towels, instant coffee, mini boxes of cereal, Barbies and phone chargers. And, of course, much mozzie spray. Aerogard sent us some of their Odourless Protection spray- which, to be honest, is what we use anyway. It doesn’t smell at all and doesn’t feel yucky and greasy on the kidlets skin, and lasts for hours. Mortein provided another essential in the form of their outdoor candle with natural citronella, which looks stylish enough for glamping and gramping and burns for 25 hours.

I’m anticipating much excitement from the kidlets on seeing their Nonna, many games of UNO, some bushwalking, campfire cooked meals, high energy levels from the two small people, and maybe even some relaxation time squeezed in.

I’ll let you know how we get on.


Sign up to the Gramping Association to receive gramping tips, events, giveaways and offers. You could WIN* one of seven Gramping Adventures for the whole family.

While we’re talking about winning stuff, I’ve got a stack of prizes for you guys to WIN, including….

  1. 4 x $100 Turu vouchers to give away
  2. 4 x “Gramping essentials” pack which includes Mortein and Aerogard products
  3. 4 x $250 Anaconda vouchers

To enter, leave me a comment telling me how and where you go camping, and how a Mortein and Aerogard pack would help you out with that. Entries close 6/04/2014. T’s and C’s can be found here.

*terms and conditions apply. Visit for full details.