From Sydney, it’s hard to decide which direction to drive — with friendly possibilities in all directions. After discussing all the options with the girls, we chose to head north to Newcastle, where Aunty Gwenda lives. The girls still call my father’s sister the Yummy Lady because she delights in spoiling them with the sort of treats that they’ve never before had access to.

Gwenda Darling with Brioni, Lana and Calista, June 2014
Living up to her moniker "The Yummy Lady", Gwenda cuts a toffee apple in quarters for the girls.

In visiting a home like Gwenda’s, I get my own ideas about how to continue to make my home child-friendly — even when my girls have grown up and moved out. Gwenda hasn’t forgotten how to talk wiith children, she keeps a selection of interesting toys and games on hand, and she prepares fruit platters so the kids can snack while they play. This week, Gwenda is caring for a friend’s three children so we’re simply adding to the already happy atmosphere in her home.

House entrance, June 2014
The stone animals at the entrance to Gwenda's house immediately set the girls' imaginations alight.

Aisha playing with wooden toys, June 2014
Aisha chooses to play outside in the sunshine, setting up an elaborate game with Gwenda's beautiful set of wooden figures.

Fairies in the garden, June 2014
The girls fossick the garden for decorative stones and create an enchanted circle to keep the fairies safe.

Brioni playing with Lego, June 2014
Still a very strict vegan, Brioni is careful to not touch the cowhide rug with her bare feet while she plays with the lego.

Thank you for hosting us, Gwenda! It’s lovely to catch up again and I’m glad to see you’re enjoying this special phase of life.