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Lego Discovery Centre opens in Melbourne.

April 22, 2017

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.

Home Life Mornington Peninsula Plan & Pre-Travel

The week before Paris

July 29, 2016

Before a long flight and holiday you need to prepare. This is what I have been doing the week before Paris.

  1. Travel documents – Double checked flight details and expiry date on my passport
  2. Travel insurance –  This time Ben and I used Insure and Go, we have also registered our trip details on Smart Traveller
  3. Chemist shop – Stocked up with Panodol, Hydrolyte, hand sanitiser, hair ties and tampons. Yes, Australian tampons are often very different to ones found overseas..Best to stock up before  you travel.
  4. Waxing appointment- No need to pack a razor or worry about shaving legs on holiday if its all done prior.
  5. Hair appointment- I can’t stand regrowth, My pet hate. I have recently  started going to Blisque Salon in Mt Eliza who do a great job. If hair is fresh at the start of a trip its a good start for me
  6. Hydrating – Air travel is extremely dehydrating. To keep my skin hydrated I made time for some hydrating treatments at The Wellness Manor in Mornington.  Absolute heaven on earth. I  arrived a little late as my daughter had a fall at school and I went to check she was ok. I hate being late to appointments as I  worry about the knock on effect that to has for the staff and their other customers, However when I arrived rushed from my hectic morning  I was made to feel welcome and told no problems, they can push my appointment back for me so that I will have time to enjoy the beautiful spa’s first. How accomodating! Another really nice touch was that no paperwork was thrown at me as soon as I walked in the door. This was discussed  in a friendly personal way once I was within the first treatment room.  The Wellness Manor is an old vicarage, a beautiful building that has been renovated and styled so tastefully. The feature tiles are  stunning and when I stepped in the change room to take off my winter layers and put my bathers and robe on, it was a moment of bliss feeling the heated change room floor tiles on my bare feet. The spa was 38 degrees and so relaxing. Lovely Cartier from reception brought me an iced water to drink and on delivery reminded me its important to stay hydrated.  I didn’t have to watch the clock,  When it was time for my first treatment the lovely Emily reminded me. I dried off and went into the first treatment room, where a pod was installed. I  had  a ‘Driftaway in time which include, Exfoliation,Vichy Rain Shower,Body mud,Steam Infusion,Scalp Massage and Body Hydration.  It was so relaxing. I moved outside to the sheltered relaxation area and was very comfortable snuggled on sheepskin.  The next treatment I experienced was a Hydra Facial, which involved exfoliation and deep cleansing to the surface layer of the skin. Prue, the in-house nurse applied part glycolic part salicylic acid, exfoliated, then vacuumed off the dead skin. Then, antioxidants and nutrients were applied to my  fresh skin and a moisturiser was applied to seal in the benefits. Prue explained that this new technology improves skin health and creates an instantly noticeable improvement in skin tone and texture.  My skin was glowing after this amazing treatment!  My experience  was far from over, back to the day beds where I was offered and served champagne, herbal tea and an amazing platter that had all my favourites. White anchovies, marinated octopus, cheese, ham and pickled onions.  I took my time relaxing and was given privacy and space to do so.  I didn’t want to leave, but unfortunately school pick-up was looming. I’m definitely feeling hydrated and relaxed before my flight and holiday. You can find more information on the Wellness Manor visit their website.

note. I was a guest of The Wellness Manor.

Home Life

Age appropriate Chores for Children

July 8, 2016

It is currently winter school holidays here in Victoria. A break from the school run and daily routine is nice. It’s also a time to reconnect with your kids, slow down and to stop and see how much they have grown and developed over the past school term. This to me has felt like a fleeting rush and blur of car rides and yelling out “Get dressed”, “put your shoes on”, “brush your teeth”. Can you relate?

My daughter is six and a half and now, clever and independent. She loves reading chapter books and is quiet capable of getting herself ready and helping her little brother, who is three and a half.

There are four of us in our immediate family and to keep the wheels turning we need to work together as a team, respect one another and all contribute to the daily running of the house. By doing this children learn to be responsible and that is an important life skill to develop.

Recently I upgraded my Dyson vacuum to the amazing Cinetic Big Ball model. It is simple to use, super tough and it self-rights when toppled and won’t snag on furniture, making vacuuming the most kid-friendly task in the home. Plus the bin is really easy to empty and clean, which makes the whole vacuuming experience much more pleasurable. Both of my children love using it and treat it like a fun game to play. I think the key is to find things that your kids enjoy doing, that can also help with the smooth running of the household. My three year old loves doing the dishes, but its painful to watch him spend five minutes rinsing a single cup. Some things are better just done yourself! He is however, really good at using the Dyson. So I delegate that task to him.

The Raising Children Network recommends the following guidelines for children and chores they should be able to do:

2-3 year-olds:

  • Pick up toys and books.
  • Put clothes on clothes hooks.
  • Set placemats on the dinner table.

4-5 year-olds:

  • Set the table for meals.
  • Help with preparing meals, under supervision.
  • Help put clean clothes into piles for each family member, ready to fold.
  • Help with grocery shopping and putting away groceries.
  • Hand you wet clothes to be hung out to dry.

6-8 year-olds:

  • Water the garden and indoor plants.
  • Take care of food and clean water for pets.
  • Help carry garden refuse, under supervision.
  • Clean bathroom sink.
  • Wipe down kitchen benches.
  • Help wash and hang out clothes.
  • Help fold dry washing.
  • Mop floors.
  • Put away crockery and cutlery.
  • Do some dusting.
  • Take out rubbish.
  • Help with meal preparation and serving, under supervision.

You know your child’s ability; so don’t be too strict with the above recommendations, do what suits your individual family needs.

I highly recommend the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball for a number of reasons however, the top reasons are that the advanced ball technology provides easier steering for the whole family and the muscle head floor tool automatically seals in suction. For more information on the Cinetic Big Ball Vacuum Cleaner head to this link.

Note. I was gifted a Dyson. All words expressed are 100 percent true.

Home Life

5 easy craft activities for children

April 2, 2016

Recently I attended the launch of Spotlight National Craft month with my daughter Lottie. We were inspired by some amazing creatives in the room including Rachel Burke from I Make It You Wear It and Trixie from Coloured Buttons.

I’m certainly not a craft extrodonaire myself, but that has never stopped me trying something new.  Since my children were small I have given them lots of creative opportunities to make and create.  I wanted to share with you  5 easy craft activities, to give you some ideas to get creative with your little ones too.

  1. Autumn Leaf Painting – Collect autumn leaves and place them on some paper to create a stencil and paint over.
  2. Make a city out of cardboard – After a visit to the city, we got creative with our our old cardboard boxes and made a city, using tape and glue to hold it together and decorate away! You can make houses, cars, anything.
  3. Play Dough – This is my favourite recipe and requires no heat so the kids can help. Ingredients – 2 cups plain flour, 1 cup salt, 1 tbs oil, 1 cup cool water, 2 drops  food colouring. Method- Mix plain flour and salt, then add water, food colouring and oil. Knead until ingredients are mixed in an even consistency.  If it is too dry I add some more water and if its too wet add some extra flour. My kids enjoy making the Play Dough, but the real fun begins when they start creating with it. I give them dry spaghetti broken up for them to make echidnas.
  4. Nature Treasure Hunt – Give the kids a container and ask them to find  different leaves, bark and  flowers. Get a large sheet of butchers paper and let you kids paste or tape their treasures, they might make a collage or a pattern or just display their treasures. They enjoy exploring different textures and shapes.
  5. Yarn Bombing-  I have to thank Susan at Little Gardeners at the Briars for this idea. Get your kids to find a stick in the garden and use brightly coloured wool to decorate it. I tried this recently when i was looking after 5 kids and they loved it!

If you are looking for more ideas Spotlight are hosting some great  instore events this month as part of National Craft Month.
· Fabric Fiesta (2nd April)
· Crafty Party (23rd April)

I hope this gives you some ideas to get crafty with your kids these school holidays. Its great to get out and about but some quiet days at home are always nice too. One more week of holidays school mums, but who is counting 😉

Home Life Melbourne My Stories

City Mini Break – Review of White Night Melbourne 2016

February 21, 2016

After traveling the world you can really come home and think like a tourist in your own city and make the most of what we have on our doorstep. We headed into the City for a little mini break last night to be close to the action of White Night Melbourne. We booked last minute and found a great deal on Expedia to stay  at the Melbourne Marriott in a room with two double beds. When we checked in my husband and I were given a glass of cold sparkling wine and our children little lolly bags. It was a really nice welcome. First impressions absolutely count and we were off to a great start.

We went up to our room and the kids were very excited, Especially Mr Three who explored every cupboard and switch! We had a nice view of Exhibition Street below and Miss Six was thrilled when she saw a horse and carriage go by below.

We put my son in the stroller and we walked with our daughter to Flinders Lane where we lucky enough to get a walk-in table at Fonda. Once up the stairs at the entrance we found the experince very child friendly.  We sat at the rear on picnic table style seating. Music was loud enough that children could be loud and blend in. Food was quick, fresh and really good value. Very yummy Mexican! Mr Three fell asleep and missed the whole experience. Thank god we had the stroller for him. Its so good for napping when you are on the go.

After dinner my son woke up and  we walked over to Birrarung Marr. The sun was setting and the colours in the sky were purple and pink while the city lights flickered on one by one.  Birrarung Marr had hot air balloon baskets shooting flames into the sky, There was great music playing in a brightly decorated circus style marque and lots of people lining up at food vans. My husband and daughter had a little dance before we walked along the river. I was hoping to see some floats and light installations but at 8.30 pm there was nothing to see on the water – it was beautiful all the same.  Federation Square/ Flinders Street Station precinct was packed with people expecting a light display on Melbourne’s iconic station, but unfortnately were no projections happening.  From there we headed around the corner where the Australian Centre for the Moving Image was brightly illumunated with colourful patterns that the kids loved.  We knew of some fantastic displays at the National Gallery of Victoria and Royal Exhibition Building, but as it was 10 pm we decided to not push the kids and head back to our hotel.

Back at the beautiful Marriott we had a wonderful rest in very comfy beds.  When we awoke we drove up to Queen Victoria Market and tried Frances Cafe on Franklin Street. Great food and service. After brunch we walked over to Flag Staff Gardens and the kids loved exploring a new park. The sun was shining and it was a great way to spend a Sunday.

I highly recommend White Night Melbourne, Fonda, Melbourne Marriott, Frances Cafe and Flag Staff Gardens. We were only one hour from home but it was a great change of scenery and mini break for my family.  I hope you have had a happy weekend with your family  too.

 

 

Note. This post is in no way sponsored.

Home Life My Stories

Balancing Motherhood and working as a Flight Attendant

October 6, 2015

In this blog post I answer the question I get asked every time I tell someone I am a mother of two and an international flight attendant –‘How does that work?’

The truth is it’s a really great balance.

Being a shift worker means I have a bi-monthly roster that includes 3, 4 day trips. Approximately 14 hour flights each way. This means that I get a couple of days to myself each month (a 5 star hotel room to myself is bliss), and then get to spend the majority of my time at home, which is more than someone who works 9-5 would get to do. It is busy and tiring but I love my family and my job, so I make it work. I’m no different to all you mums out there – we do what we need to in order to keep our families healthy and happy.

Here are some insights into how I juggle everything and some tips that will hopefully help you going forward:

SUPPORT NETWORK is my number one tip. I am grateful to have an amazing network around me and I utilize it. My husband Ben is amazing – he works 9-5 in a busy job but still manages to be home every morning and night, running the house and getting the kids organised while I’m away. Big shout out to Ben! My mother-in-law Pam is also incredible, helping with school and creche drop offs and pick ups, along with after school activities.

If you don’t have a support network think about how you could build one. Start researching the crèches in your area well in advance and add your name to waiting lists. Also, join mother’s groups in your local area so you meet people in similar situations to your own. That way you can help each other out when you need it.

TIME TO MYSELF is so important. While my daughter is at school and son is at crèche I seize the free hours I have to myself by doing things I enjoy such as blogging, sleeping/ resting or treating myself to a massage or facial. If the sun is shining I have a rest in my hammock or spend time at my local beach. All of the above gives me more energy and clarity to be a better mum. I like to refer back to the safety demonstration on the plane when I talk about this. Look after yourself first before helping children. It is so true and as parents we can use that in all aspects of our life.

INVESTING in products and services that make my life easier and will help me in the long run. Something I believe is worth its weight in gold is a good mattress – mine is invaluable in ensuring I get a good rest before crewing a long haul flight or chasing around after small children. I am one of those people who needs a decent night sleep to get on with the day.

Also, recently I was introduced to the vacuum of vacuums – the Dyson DC50. Lets be honest, if the house is organised and looking tidy we are generally more relaxed. The Dyson is the smallest upright vacuum cleaner on the market and stores away really easily. It’s light to carry which is a god send as my body strength is just not the same after having kids and it makes vacuuming so much quicker. I’m not an engineer but it does lots of fancy stuff that my old one couldn’t do. Most importantly it sucks up large quantities of dust quickly, leaves my floors looking cleaner than they have ever looked and it’s super straightforward to empty when it’s full. It’s so easy to use that even our kids have been getting in on the action – they think it’s fun! I guess it’s the modern design? This leaves us more time to get out enjoy life. If you are in the fortunate position to do so I suggest you invest in the Dyson DC50. Definitely weigh up the cost of your time and energy. We also have assistance with our garden every now and then and a lovely house cleaner who comes to help out once a fortnight.

EATING WELL is important for me. Not only to get the vitamins and minerals I need to get through a long day with the kids (or a long shift at work), but also by adding variety in what I eat makes my day more interesting. Doing what I do for work means keeping hydrated is also critical, which I do by drinking a litre of coconut water on my drive to work. I also like to bookend my day with coffee at the start and wine at the end – everything in moderation right? Food is fuel and we mums must run on something other than love and sloppy kisses!

NOT COMPARING myself with others is my final tip. We all have our own things going on, be it diets, exercising, volunteering, etc. Do what you can, don’t get caught “keeping up with the Jones’”, it will only end in guilt and disappointment. For example, I am more of a jarmie than gym gear wearer at school drop-off – it saves time and is liberating not being like everyone else! I don’t get out of the car so nobody notices. Focus your energy instead on your family. Disconnect from toxic and draining conversations and people and try to keep positive. Don’t get caught up in any of the outstanding debates of breast over bottle, stay at home over working, etc. Walk to the beat of your own drum and do what is right for you and your family.

So this is how I balance motherhood and working as an international flight attendant. I hope you can take something out of what works for me and implement it in your life. The one measure I use for how successful I am at life’s juggling act is the happiness of my family and so far I am doing well!

How do you make it work? I would love to hear in my comments section.

Note. I was gifted a Dyson DC50 to review. My opinions expressed are 100% true.

Photography ( beach) Anya Maria Photography www.anyamaria.com.au

Home Life Mornington Peninsula

September School Holiday Ideas for Peninsula Families

September 16, 2015

September school holidays are here! Spring is a great time to enjoy the Peninsula with your family. Here are my September school holiday ideas for families living on or visiting Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and surrounds.

  • Beach:  The best things in life are free when you’re a “Peninsula Family”. There are pristine beaches down south when the sun shines or if it isn’t isn’t shining, rug the kids up and collect treasures, play games and build sandcastles on any beach.  For locals and regulars, with so many beaches to choose from, try exploring a new one for a change of scenery.
  • Park:  The Peninsula has a number of high quality parks.  We love the playgrounds at Flinders, Sorrento and Mornington. For nature’s best try Seawinds on Arthur’s Seat for amazing views and we often see kangaroos at dusk.
  • Briars: We visit Angus and Rose at the Briars every school holidays for the delicious cake, fenced in play space and brilliant children’s activities. http://www.angusandroseatthebriars.com
  • Pier Walk: Go for a walk down the local pier, I recently did this with my son and he loved it. It also brought memories flooding back of jumping off Mornington Pier as a teenager.
  • Gravity Zone: Recently we discovered Gravity Zone in Seaford. My kids loved it and next time we go I will be joining in on the action too. This is an energy burning activity. you may even get kids who fall asleep in the car on the way home. http://www.gravity-zone.com.au
  • Nature Hunt: Spring is a beautiful time to go for a walk on the many trails the Peninsula has to offer like the foreshore paths. Often we take baskets and my children collect little interesting leaves and treasures along the way to bring home for use in art and craft.
  • The Enchanted Maze: Look no further for a magical and fun day out. Book ahead if you plan on doing the ropes course.http://www.enchantedmaze.com.au
  • PARC: Penisula aquatic and recreation centre will be a fun place to be these holidays. They have Water Inflatables, Monday to Thursday 12-4, Fridays 12-6, Disco Night on Friday 25th September and a Movie Night, Lego Movie on Thursday 1st October.
  • Peninsula Hot Springs: Relax and unwind with your children in the tranquil setting. This is a quiet activity you know if your child would be suited to this or not. http://www.peninsulahotsprings.com
  • Moonlit Sanctuary: Animal lovers this is for you. There is over 60 Australian Species and a new wombat enclosure.http://www.moonlitsanctuary.com.au
  • City: We are just one hour away from the city. Go to the gallery or museum, sit at a café and people watch or spend the day at the children’s garden at the botanic gardens. The immigration museum is also great. I think its important to leave your local area every now and  then and and expand childrens perception of the world.
  • Melbourne Zoo: With the East link freeway Melbourne Zoo is just over an hour away. The zoo is always a fun family day out. Become a Zoo member for free unlimited entry. I recently joined and I wish I had sooner. http://www.zoo.org.au/melbourne
  • Melbourne Show:  Is running from 19-29 September. Although not on the Peninsula the show is definitely worth the drive. We go every year and its a real  highlight for the whole family. So much fun. i just had to include in this list as September holidays means Show time! http://royalshow.com.au
  • Rest: I have a preppie and she is tired after three terms at school, we will be going on a few adventures but importantly we will be having some down time at home to get some rest during the holidays. My kids love making cubbies using dining table chairs and sheets and snuggling up to watch some of their favourite shows. Its great to get out and explore but I think rest and quiet time is really important too.

 I hope this list of September school holiday ideas for Mornington Peninsula families gives you some inspiration. You don’t have to spend money every day to have fun, I’ve included 5 ideas that are completely free! Please tell me  if you try out any of my suggestions, I would love to hear about your holidays. My suggestion for parents is to sleep when you can and  have wine racks stocked. I hope you  survive and enjoy the September school holidays.

Mum With Wings