The Lego Discovery Centre is now open at Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne!
Earlier this week I was lucky enough to take my 7 year old daughter Lottie and 4 year old son Sol along to the launch. The multi-million dollar attraction is filled with more than 2 million LEGO® bricks and 13 family friendly attractions, making it the ultimate indoor LEGO playground and is as awesome as it sounds!
What I found surprising was that unlike traditional play centres where everything is self-guided, the LEGO Discovery Centre is an evolving, experiential journey through different stages. It’s very interactive, with experiences including: rides, a 4D movie theatre, café, and an incredible play space and construction zones where kids are encouraged to play and create with all different types of Lego. There are even creative workshops.
The highlight for us was seeing an intricate reconstruction of Melbourne made entirely from LEGO, which was a brilliant way to teach the kids about our home city. For visitors to Melbourne, this is a great “highlights package” of our famous landmarks that you can then go explore in real-life.
Both of my children loved the whole experience and we will definitely be going back, especially during the approaching winter months.
Individual Admission tickets are $32.50, and annual passes $81, which I think is well worth it for the hours and hours of fun to be had. To help ensure everyone who visits has an enjoyable experience, entry is spread out into pre-allocated sessions, so I would advise you book ahead by visiting https://melbourne.legolanddiscoverycentre.com.au
Note. My family and I were a guest of LEGOLand Discovery Centre.
If you are looking for a unique and special Mornington Peninsula experience, I highly recommend a picnic at one of my favourite wineries – Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove.
Montalto Picnics run from 1st of October to the 30th April and are $90 per head. The picnic includes a complete lunch with a selection of savoury and sweet items served platter style. Tea and coffee are included and are served in the Piazza Café until 4pm. All wine is additional. Recently Montalto opened a few extra picnic sites that can be used in all weather.
When I recently visited with some friends and our kids, we all met in the sun drenched Piazza courtyard. From there we moved to the cellar door to try some wines before selecting a bottle of Montalto Estate Chardonnay and Pennon Hill Pinot Noir for our picnic.
To get to our picnic site my daughter Lottie was given a map to guide us. We walked past amazing sculptures and vines to get to our beautiful private location set in a picture perfect Australian bush landscape. Our picnic table was layed out beautifully with white linen and crockery. Inside a storage box, we found our amazing menu items, which included:
- Spelt and fennel seed ciabatta, olive oil,estate olives
- Lamb ham, Terrine/rillettes/pate, pickles
- Carrot hummus, ricotta
- Hot smoked salmon, quinoa, lemon and herb
- Drunken chicken, carrot, radish, cabbage and chickpea salad
- Buffalo mozzarella, marinated tomatoes
- Potato, watercress, caper and onion salad
- Cheese plate and accompaniments
- To finish, the most decadent Chocolate cake.
It was absolutely delicious and a wonderful experience to share with friends. This would also make for a very romantic day out for two and I plan on taking my husband in the near future.
For more information – Montalto Picnics.
Note- I was a guest of Montalto
Looking after a baby in your home environment is a juggle, so the thought of being in a confined pressurised metal tube with hundreds of others is a daunting thought. I completely understand that. Even though I am very familiar with being in an aircraft environment and I have assisted thousands of parents flying with babies. The first time I flew as a passenger with my baby I was nervous, anxious and a little worried. I was mainly worried about the people around me. What if my baby was unsettled and cried, disturbing others around me? What if this is the worst idea I have ever had? How will I change my baby in the small aircraft toilet? What if a nappy leaks? It’s natural to worry as a new parent and I would like to share with you “My Top Ten Tips For Babies First Flight” that will hopefully make you feel more relaxed and confident flying with your little ones.
- Baby’s First Passport– Organise your baby’s passport well in advance of travel. Getting the passport photo right can be tricky. From personal experience, I found Teds Camera shop the best. You can find everything you need to know about applying for your child’s first passport here.
- Request a bassinet – As there is only a limited amount of bassinets available and with so many families travelling these days, they are in high demand, so request one well in advance of travelling. Also, do check with your airline before travel to see if your baby will meet the criteria, as there are weight restrictions. I highly recommend a Fly Babee bassinet cover that blocks out light, giving your baby more chance of a peaceful rest.
- Getting through the airport – Allow lots of extra time for nappy changes and feeds. The Ergo baby carrier was so handy as it allowed me to keep my arms free and comfort my baby while we went through the airport process of security, immigration and walking to the gate. I also preferred to ditch the nappy bag and use a backpack, meaning I could be comfortable and balanced, instead of jugging a bulky bag on one shoulder
- Try not to worry– if you are doing your best to comfort your child and they are still unsettled, please don’t pay any attention to any eye rolls you get from passengers around you. You and your baby have every right to be traveling and really we all need to be a little tolerant and patient when sharing a space with so many others. It’s not a private jet, it’s a commercial airline and we are all human. So please if you are doing all you can and your baby cries do not feel bad. I’m sure a lot of adults feel like crying when flying too.
- Nappies– Pack lots of extra nappies at least 10 more than you think you will need in hand luggage. Invest in good quality ones. Woolworths have recently launched their Little One’s range and they are fantastic quality and reasonably priced. It’s best to stock up before you travel, brands overseas (especially in Asia) don’t compare with our Australian quality. Remember to pack extra in case of delays and diversions. A little trick I did which really helps once on board with nappy changes is to keep a few nappies in a freezer bag with some wipes and keep it in the seat pocket. You don’t want to be rummaging through the overhead locker for nappies and wipes you, want them to be accessible. Wipes are your best friend; they are so handy to have. Not just for nappy changes but also for wiping little faces, wiping tray tables, getting stains out of clothing.
- First Aid – Always bring your own baby Panodol, Bonjela, etc. Always handy to have. Also keep hand sanitiser handy and be sure to use throughout the journey.
- Ask the crew – The crew are there to help you and they should offer to assist before you have to ask. Some useful questions to ask the crew are: Where is the closest infant change table? How do I use the extension seat belt? Can you please heat up this bottle? Can you please sterilise this dummy?
- Little Ears– Please make sure your baby is sucking (milk or dummy) during take off and landing. Little ears are so sensitive to the changes in aircraft pressure. That piercing scream you hear on take off and landing can be avoided if your baby is sucking during this time.
- Hydrate- Throw the meal schedule out the window and hydrate your baby with extra feeds. It is so dehydrating up there and it can really help with jetlag and recovery if you are hydrated. If you are breast-feeding make sure you are drinking lots of water.
- Clothing- Always dress your baby in layers so you can adjust accordingly as the temperature in the air can fluctuate, usually on the cooler side. Pack spare clothes for you, in case of nappy leaks or some milk comes up. If you want your baby to sleep on board dress them in their pyjamas and bring their sleeping bag and sleepy time toys. Sleep cues can help comfort a baby who is feeling disorientated and over tired during a flight. Finally pack a few wraps, as they are so handy to use during nappy changes, to add extra layers and for privacy when breastfeeding.
Hopefully “My Tips for Babies First Flight” can help you have a relaxed stress free flight with your little ones. Safe travels, Jade Szonyi
Note. This post is sponsored by Woolworths Little Ones Nappies.
My words are my own opinion and 100 per cent true.
A child’s first flight should be an exciting experience as it can set the foundations for a life long love of travel. What a beautiful gift to give our children. However, flying for the first time can be overwhelming and scary for the little ones – let alone us adults! It is for this reason I advise preparing your child for their first flight to reduce their apprehension, hopefully resulting in a more relaxed and happy child and parent.
Here are 5 ways to prepare your child for their first flight:
- Explain the airport process. There are some great children’s books that explain the whole airport process. My favourite is the Usborne Wind Up Plane Book. I read this book to my children from a young age. It covers all the steps from bag checking & security, through to take-off and landing and even getting a taxi once you land. I never forget how worried my daughter was as a toddler when we checked in our bags, asking “where are our bags going Mummy?” I explained remember in your book our bags are going on a special belt to be loaded in the undercarriage of the aircraft. I also loved telling her “that is what mummy does” when they showed the flight attendant doing the safety demo.
- Explain why the flight attendants do a safety demonstration. It’s nothing to be afraid off and we are very safe in the air, however in the unlikely chance that there was an emergency in-flight it’s important that children know to listen to the flight attendants instructions. I always show my kids the closest emergency exit in case we have to exit in a hurry. This has never scared my children and if anything they are reassured. You know your child and how to best word your safety conversation, I think its very important.
- Most general Turbulence is normal and safe. Explain to your children that the plane might be going through a few bumpy clouds once are up in the sky. Unexpected turbulence can give any of us a little shock, so best to pre warn your children that if it does happen its normal and we are safe.
- Following your journey on a map.Showing your child where you are going on a map is a great way for them to visualise the journey before you fly. Your child’s concept of the world, like travellers of all age, increases with air travel. What a gift to open your child’s perception and teach them about another place beyond their home.
- Get your child to start a travel journal before you fly. Travel journals are a great keepsake for children. Get your children to write in their travel journal before you leave, or draw some pictures that you can help annotate. Provide them some prompting questions like “how are you feeling about the trip?” or “What do you think the plane journey will be like?” You can also use the journal as a prompt to discuss the up coming flight and allow them to keep filling it in on the rest of their travels.
If you are a nervous flyer yourself, try to plan some coping strategies for the flight. For all of you though, I encourage you to take some time before you travel and use my tips to reassure and encourage your child that flying is safe and exciting, hopefully resulting in a relaxed and happy little traveller.
I love Autumn on the Peninsula, The summer crowds have eased and mother nature starts to get a bit moody. I want to share with you 5 things I love to do during Autumn here in my home region, The Mornington Peninsula, and hopefully give you some ideas to get out with your family and enjoy the season.
- Seawinds- Arthurs Seat State Park – I love Seawinds in all seasons but Autumn has to be my favourite time to visit. The deciduous trees provide hours of fun! Playing in autumn leaves, throwing and crunching them. It’s an amazing sensory experience and the bay views from Seawinds are breathtaking. Always a great free Autumn day out. More information can be found here.
- Red Hill Show – The 88th Redhill Show is on Easter Saturday, March 26th. A fun family day at the show will cost $50 for a family ticket (2 x adults and 3 x children), which includes all the traditional agricultural show things like animals, wood-chopping, music, demonstrations, baking, arts and crafts. For the kids there is a huge range of options like the Kids Adventure zone that has includes free activities such as a kite workshop, catch-a-duck, circus workshop and fire rescue challenge. Plus, free face painting, jumping castle and pony rides. More details here.
- Red Hill Epicurean- With the change of season our weekend lunches generally start to move indoors, seeking somewhere warm and cosy to shelter from the potentially windy and rainy Autumn weather. Red Hill Epicuran is the pick of the bunch as it utilises delicious local produce and is a huge space. Once the Red Hill cool store, it dates back to the 1920’S. There is an extensive local wine list and the kids yummy fish and chips were delivered in individual boxes, which was a cute touch. More info here.
- Flinders Blowhole- Another free Autumn idea, the Blowhole is located on Blowhole Track off Boneo Road (opposite Razorback Road). There are amazing views of the scenic rocky coast line and Bass Straight. The walk down to the water is via a wooden boardwalk, with the Blowhole itself situated at the end of Elephant Rock. Autumn is a great time to visit as its just so moody and theatrical down there. Its breathtaking and my kids love watching the water squirt up through the blow hole. Visitors are advised to take extreme care in this area as the rocks can get slippery and large waves have been known to wash over. I’ve always felt safe there and just kept to the designated tracks. More info here.
- Frankston Arts Centre- You don’t have to be in Melbourne to experience a live performance. Just on our doorstep, the Frankston Arts Centre which is hosting a kids show as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Sean Murphy presents Kids Party Confidential. It’s a wild ride through the highs and humiliations of the best birthday ever. Equal parts stand-up, storytelling and riotous celebration, this is a show that educates and entertains kids and (their parents). You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, you’ll learn how to tie an incredible balloon sword! Suitable for adults and kids ages 5 to 12. Date: Monday 4 April, 11am. Tickets: $15. Also coming to Frankston Arts Centre is The 52-Storey Treehouse, 19 & 20 April 2016. Book online here.
When traveling with children there are some pre-flight tips you can apply that will ensure a smoother journey when in the air. The key is to think ahead and be prepared, you know best the needs of your children. There is only so much the crew can do once in the air, What you do before the flight is the game changer. Here are my top 10 tips of things to do before you travel with children – from my family to yours:
- CHILD’S PASSPORT AND VISAS: Organise your child’s passport and visas (if required) well in advance, i.e. months. Most governments are very particular and strict with their specifications, including on photos. For Australian readers, I recommend Ted’s Camera Shop over Australia Post Office’s. In short, the cost of using professionals is often less than having to re-submit applications.
- FIRST AID KIT: I always stock up pre-travel on trusted first aid products like children’s pain and fever relief (e.g. Panodol & Nuerofen), anti-histamine (e.g. Clarintyne), antiseptic & anesthetic cream (e.g. Savlon) hydration supplements (e.g. Hydralite) and plasters & bandages. Hand Sanitizer is something I always travel with. There are chemists at most airports, but I suggest you stock up well in advance of your trip.
- SEATING REQUESTS: For those with infants, request a baby bassinet if they meet the specifications. For those with young children, I recommend an aisle seat in close proximity to a toilet with baby change facilities. You can request seats from booking your ticket and potentially as late as the boarding gate, but not once in the air.
- FOOD ON BOARD: If you would like a child’s meal you need to order this in advance of travel and confirm at check-in, as all catering is done on the ground. Once in the air, the flight attendants will do all they can to improvise for any non pre-ordered requests, but you will need to manage your expectations. I recommend packing snacks that you know your child will like, e.g. infant food packages, for the airport and during the flight, as it can be a long time between services once on board.
- CARPARKING: Think about where you will park your car. There are a lot of specials around at the moment and I advise shopping around. For my Melbourne readers, my favourite place for value and service is Andrew’s Airport Parking –there is nothing like a friendly face and sparkling clean car upon arriving home. Better still, Andrew’s are offering mum with wings readers a 10% discount, right up until Christmas. Book at http://www.andrewsairportpark.com.au/melbourne.aspx and use the Discount Code WINGS.
- LAGS: Liquid and Gel regulations are something that parent’s travelling with infants are exempt from, as long as the amounts are proportionate to the duration of the flight, with a little extra in case of delays. I strongly recommend reading up about these regulations for those airports you will be visiting to avoid any undue worries when passing through security checks. You can find everything you need here http://travelsecure.infrastructure.gov.au/international/lags/exemptions.aspx
- ENTERTAINMENT: We are very lucky that these days we have access to iPads/ tablets, but remember to charge and load it up before you travel with your children’s favourite shows, games and books. For a number of airlines, usually non-premium, you can pre-order iPads for in-flight entertainment. I still pack activities like stickers and colouring books, which are handy when electronic devices cannot be used during the flight, e.g. taxiing.
- PREP YOUR CHILDREN: Explain to your children what is about to happen and the processes at the airport. I find when children know what is about to happen they will be relaxed and not afraid of any checks.
- HYDRATE and REST: If children are hydrated and well rested before travel they will be more comfortable once in the air.
- CABIN BAGGAGE: Think about packing well in advance, especially cabin baggage. One tip I always recommend is preparing some freezer bags with nappies and wipes to keep in the seat pocket and a wrap. This means every time your child needs changing you don’t need to get your bag down from the overhead locker. Packing is a blog post of its own.coming soon.
Travelling with your family is an amazing thing to do and I want everyone to experience it. If you do these 10 things I mentioned before flying with children you will be prepared and organised for a great flight with your family. Safe travels.
Mum with Wings