Happy Maddfest!

This post is a big Happy Birthday shout out to one of the bestest, most hilarious, funniest, smartest and sportiest ladies I’ve ever known.

Madeline Kennedy

I decided to honour her in blog because The Shell Collection is all about Travel Treasures and Madds has been one of my all time favourite travel companions over the years, so it seemed fitting that here is where her tribute should be showcased.

Maddfest – (noun, verb and adjective) is a celebration of Madeline.  Usually, but not always, held in January, the month of her birth back in 1973.  Madds has no doubt been celebrating her birthday this way all her life, but for me it all started back in 2004 for the 2004 – “Stepping in 30 Something Maddfest” which included a massive group of great fun people out at the Belvoir Amphitheatre on the outskirts of Perth, WA for a fabulous night time, outdoor concert feature local band, The Waifs.  Drinks were had, memories were made, friendships solidified.  I was hooked.  From then on, I vowed to attend every Maddfest Celebration that I could physically manage.

Let me take you though the years…..

2004 – Belvoir Amphitheatre

Maddfest 2004 - Waifs - Where it all began

Now…… vowing to attend every Maddfest hasn’t been easy as midway through 2004 Madeline selfishly up and moved to QLD and I was finishing my final year of uni and then heading to the UK to live, so……

2005 – Maddfest

I didn’t attend. 😦  But I think I’ve more than made up for it since!

2006 / 2007 – Maddfest – The European Tour

I was living in the UK and Madeline, who had been learning French and had always wanted to visit France did exactly that and I popped over on the Eurostar to meet her.

We caught a show at the Moulin Rouge


And had a bit of fun at either the Louvre or the Rembrandt Gallery in Amsterdam…. it’s hard to keep track!


We then travelled to London and Belgium before heading to Prague for New Year’s Eve with my lovely friends from London, Tanya and Amanda (she’s the one in the pink hat)

Maddfest 2006-2007 Europe

2008 – Maddfest – Stuttgart / Sunshine Beach

This wasn’t this year ‘official’ Maddfes (as I was still living abroad, don’t you know), but this was the year that I moved home from the UK, so again, I missed it!  Madds did travel to Stuttgart in Germany early in the year, so naturally I couldn’t miss seeing her to have our own mini German Maddfest and on my return we, along with my lovely sister, Jodie had a week long Sunshine Beach Maddfest which was full of jigsaw doing, views, walks and eating yummy breakfasts that Madds cooked (they’re my favourite breakfasts!)

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2009 – Maddfest – The Richmond Pub, Victoria

This year’s Maddfest was a lovely low-key affair at a pub in Richmond, Melbourne.  She had flown down from QLD and gathered a fab group of people together.  I sent her a t-shirt beforehand and requested that she wear it without any further explanation……

A pub full of Malibu Staceys!

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This was also the year of “The Girlie Tour” which featured Madeline and myself travelling to Finland and France before landing in London to pick up the lovely Tanya and shooting across to New York.

We stayed in the town of Hameenlina where an old school friend of Madd’s lived.


Max and his family… and his neighbours were the perfect hosts – because the neighbours went to stay in their holiday house so we could stay in their house!


2010 – Maddfest – The Helicopter Ride – Airey’s Inlet

So back again in Victoria and this time we headed to Airey’s Inlet to take a helicopter ride over the 12 Apostles.  There was a Kenny Rogers infused road trip with our gorgeous friend, Lu and we stayed with another of Madd’s friends who, as luck would have it, has a house down there – win/win/win!

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There was a little beach action in between activities which was a little crowded, but it was great to see that people were able to find nice, quiet, secluded, relaxed places to get comfy and read their book……

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I was quietly (?) shitting myself before getting into this tiny helicopter, but I did it and it was amazing!

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And this was the amazing view


This Maddfest was a double edged event as on our return to Melbourne, we high tailed it to the Rod Laver Arena for a bit of the Australian Open!

Yeah we did!

Maddfest 2010 1

2011 – Maddfest – The Day on the Green

Always one for bringing the people together, Madds organised a big group of peeps to attend the Sirromet Winery’s Day on the Green in Brisbane.  Leopard print headbands were made and given out with the words Maddfest 2011.  This was such good fun!

Maddfest 2011 1

This was also the year of my 40th birthday and the only one that Madds has been able to attend….. even though I had to move the date of my birthday to suit her work needs!

So, this is Madeline at Treasure Island in Fiji

Happy Birthday to me


2012 – Maddfest – The Boat

Who doesn’t love a party on a boat?  Sailor hats were purchased and painstakingly written on with glitter glue – so worth it, I mean I’ve still got mine and will probably wear it again.


Maddfest 2012 1

M is for Maddfest!

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This was also the year of our “Living The” Dream tour – Madds, Lu and I hit the 2012 London Olympic Games.

With a brief stop over in Paris, cause…. why not?

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We then, along with our friend, Tanya drove around Ireland and Northern Ireland.


Playing hide and seek in castles, as you do.

Maddfest 2012 Living The Dream 1

2013 – Maddfest – 40th – The Roast

At Madeline’s own request, we roasted her.  Over the Australia Day long weekend we all defended on Brisbane for an Australiana dress party to beat all others then we told all (well nearly all) of Madeline’s most embarrassing stories.

Here you have iconic Australian stars – Kath and Kim with Rhonda Burchmore in the middle.

Maddfest 2013 The Roast

Mediterranean Maddfest – The Hot Air Balloon in Turkey

This was also the year that we travelled to Turkey for the hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia – A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

We visited Gallipoli.


Hot air ballooned like champions…. again, I was pooing my pants before we took off, but once we did, it was magical.


We stayed in a cave hotel.


Where she showed the locals how it’s done…

And then we drank ALL the Efes.IMG_2007

More laughs were had.


When in Turkey, recruit your harem.  I think that’s the saying.  This is Madeline’s partner, Rob and it’s his birthday.


We visited The Blue Mosque in Istanbul where shoulders, knees and heads need to be covered if you’re a lady – just knees and shoulders for the blokes.

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We sailed the Turkish coast


And did Santorini in Style

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Thanks Turkey and Greece.


2014 – Maddfest – The Pregnant Years

Madds was pregnant with her son Archie during Maddfest 2014 and so the celebrations were only slightly subdued due to the lack of alcohol.  Rob organised a surprise dinner at a Turkish restaurant.


2015 – Maddfest – With a Five Month Old

This is the first year that Maddfest has taken an official gap year.  Apparently there’s a bit to organise when you have a 5 month old and shenanigans is not one of those things.

So, thanks Archie!

2016 – Maddfest – Yamba

Camping at the Blue Dolphin Caravan Park in Yamba, NSW – And…… we’re back on board!  Archie is now 16 months old and tearing into everything – bolted down or not!  Thank goodness champas was on hand.  He’s such a gorgeous little bruiser.  The craziest thing we did this fest was hitting those local Iluka markets….. not a helicopter, rope bridge or hot air balloon in sight.

Maddfest has evolved over the years and I have had the opportunity to meet some fabulous people.  But the best thing about it is that we get to spend time with this woman.  She is wonderful and generous, talented and kind as well as smart and sporty.  I love her like a sister and hope that we continue to celebrate each and every year, cause it’s what the people want!

Happy Maddfest everybody.

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