Making Lemonade


A few weeks ago my little family was MEGA spontaneous...

Imma start at the very beginning; I'd invited a few of the girls over to watch the Roosters Vs Tigers, we watched the game, made dumplings and drank rose. The Roosters smashed the tigers and Aidan scored 2 tries and played exceptionally well (or so i thought), which was awesome! So we continued to talk about Karl Stefanovic, who was going to Mykonos this year and other such serious issues, enjoying each others company and getting wine drunk.

What happened next was a massive blow (the lemon) which transformed into one of the best holidays of our lives (the lemonade).

For anyone who doesn’t really know how The State Of Origin selection works, the players only get a phone call to say if they’re in/out of the team late on Sunday night and then they have to pack their bags and head off for a 10 day camp first thing Monday morning, I had been assuming Aidan was off first thing in the morning after playing such a great game, even after a huge dark question mark had loomed over his selection for a little while now, so I had well and truly settled in for the night with my girlfriends and rose.

Eventually I decided to drunk dial Aidan and wish him a big congratulations on his two meat pies, and a great game overall, however as soon as he answered the phone I knew something was wrong and he quietly told me had gotten the phone call he was dreading and wasn't going to be leaving for camp in the morning. 


After 10 games in a row representing Queensland my heart broke for him, there isn't much career wise that means more to Aidan than being able to play in this series. But such is life, like any career there are going to be moments where you under perform, face challenges,  and in life you don't always get everything you always want, and that's okay, that's the roller coaster that is life. 

Anywayyyyyy, onto the lemonade. Aidan quickly blurted out "Lets go to Fiji with the Gordons who have already booked their trip, leaving first thing in the morning" - like FIRST THING, "Set your damn alarm clock for 3am, and get your arse packed, now first thing!"

If you’ve ever travelled with a baby the idea of having to pack for a holiday to another country with only a few hours until departure......and being an entire bottle (and a half) of rose deep is enough to put you straight into a straitjacket. I poured another wine and kind of semi cross eyed looked over at my girlfriend Kristine who was the last woman standing, and stone cold sober and told her that this was now her responsibility and she was in charge of consoling me through my emotions, and also packing for both me and Olive as i was a big hot mess by now, crying because I was sad for Aidan, and crying because i was drunk and chicks always cry when they're drunk.

Kristine: Legend.

Belinda: Hot mess.

The alarm clock went off after what seems like 3.5minutes of sleep and we were off to the airport in the pitch black, fog of the night and I had no bloody clue what I had or had not packed in my over sized suitcase, but I do know Kristine had specifically taken out Olive's fur coat as she deemed it "unnecessary". The four hour flight flashed past, maybe because I slept majority of it nursing the queen hangover, and before I knew it we were arriving at our beautiful hotel with our wonderful friends, the three kids and that phone call, even though technically only hours old, seemed like a lifetime ago.

Travelling with friends is hard, travelling with kids is hard. Traveling with friends WITH kids should be hard. but this trip was quite the opposite, we lucked in HARD.

cloud 9 laughing.jpg

Mick and Aidan are the type of men your mum wishes you’d end up marrying, and well I guess Tess and I are probably the women they hope you don’t. (jokes…kind of)

Mick and Aidan spent most of the time running around after the kids making sure they were organised with babysitters and booked into kids club whilst Tess and I enjoyed our Pina Colada’s and Mojitio’s by the pool soaking in the much needed sunshine and actually having a proper rest. It may sound like we are lazy, which we were for a few hours a day. But we certainly are not, both the boys travel ALOT for games, camps and training and are away all the time, so we are both just fortunate enough to have two hands on dad's who didn’t mind doing the boring stuff which they actually seem to enjoy, and left us to our own devices, making the most of the never-ending happy hours.

Talk about making lemonade from some big fat sour lemons. 

Hours earlier the world had almost stopped rotating, and i was absolutely devastated at the idea of Aidan not being selected, then the bigger picture happened. We were in one of the most beautiful places in the world, with wonderful friends and our beautiful daughter and realised how damn good life is, sure this sucked, but life goes on, it’s a part of the job and is just more motivation to strive even harder to be better than yesterday.

Where we stayed:

The Raddison Blu in Denarau, fantastic for kids and the staff go above and beyond!

Where we ate:

Amalfi, Bone fish, Mamacita’s and finally Flying Fish at the Sheridan (AH-MAZING but leave the kids at home for this one)


Full day jet ski tour of the Islands, snorkelling, Aidan attempted to paddle at Cloud break (Mick surfed) and Kelly Slater even made an appearance, full afternoon spent at local village ‘sabeto’ who’s local rugby league team just happened to be The Roosters.

Where we got drunk:

Cloud 9! Fiji’s version of the Island


Tess was a genius and asked one of the banana boys (the crew who run the kids club) where his village was and if we could go have a look, he was more than happy and we arranged to meet up with him on his day off, went to the kava market and then into his village which was potentially the highlight of the trip, he took us to meet the Chief, play with the amazing children, watch some footy training and then to his house where they cooked us a traditional lovo (a earth oven using banana leaves) and we all drank kava together. Experiencing fiji like this is priceless, and at no cost.

Overall opinion: The flight to Fiji is almost half that of Bali, so we found flying with Olive was almost too easy for this short amount of time, the people were absolutely amazing, and so accommodating I cannot recommend this place enough if you are parents travelling with kids who just want to swim, soak in the sun and relax.




Belinda Bartholomew