We share our top picks of the best playgrounds near a cafe in Melbourne and surrounds.Read More
A welcome addition to the Hawthorn food scene, Shade Cafe offers up some of the best brunch options we’ve had out East in a long time! The coffee is on point, and the staff are very friendly too. ‘Shade’ is also located not far from the lovely Hawthorn Central Gardens, for a nice walk with the pram, and fun at the playground, once you have finished your meal!
Shade Cafe - 684 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn
- Vegan mummas
- Vegetarian mummas
- Paleo mummas
- Gluten Free mummas
- Monday - Friday: 7AM - 4PM
- Saturday and Sunday: 8AM - 4PM
- Hawthorn Central Gardens: Henry Street, Hawthorn
With nourishing smoothies, organic whole food meals and devine buddha bowls, there's something on the menu for everyone. The interior of this cafe is just as amazing as the food, with a stunning wall of greenery providing a peaceful backdrop to your delicious meal. Elwood Park is just up the road too, and has a nice little playground for your little ones to explore once you are finished eating.
Little Sunflower Cafe - 15 Ormond Rd, Elwood
- Vegetarian mummas
- Gluten free mummas
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday - Sunday: 6.30AM to 4PM
- Elsternwick Park: St Kilda Street, Brighton
We recently returned from a fantastic family getaway to Northern NSW. It was full of great memories, awesome adventures, costal walks and seaside fun - just what we needed to escape the cold Melbourne winter!
We ventured to Byron Bay, enjoying the scenery, viewing the stunning lighthouse and brunching at Three Blue Ducks restaurant at The Farm.
We explored the quiet costal town of Kingscliff, trekking the seaside walking paths with the double pram, helping our toddler hunt for ‘treasure’, playing in the sand with baby and relishing in a much needed latte at the other end of the trail.
And, we took a day trip to the Gold Coast checking out the views (and cafes!) at Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta.
Here were some of our top finds on our trip:
Our trip began on the Gold Coast, with our family arriving at the Gold Coast airport to pick up a hire car. Hiring the car made it a breeze to get around and explore the coast with our two little ones as we had baby seats hired, installed and ready to go from Avis the moment we touched down. Also a dream was the double pram we hired from Hire For Baby, who were an absolute pleasure to deal with and even had the pram waiting for us in the boot of our hire car on arrival - too easy!
We left the Gold Coast and made our way down to NSW for the majority of our trip, however we did make a day trip back up to the GC and found a few great cafes along the way - the Cardamon Pod is my absolute fave cafe on the Gold Coast - I wish there was one in Melbourne, Brumbles Cafe in Surfers was lovely - they do a delicious salad and the coffee is stand out (right up there with Melbourne coffee snob standards!). Another must visit if you are in the market for dinner on the Gold Coast is Greenhouse Canteen for it’s amazing take on street food.
The sleepy town of Kingscliff, in NSW, is a perfect stop on your seaside adventure, with it’s beautiful beaches, costal trails and great coffee. Our favourite spots to visit for brunch were Mockingbird Cafe for their amazing juices and delicious chia pudding, and Saltbean Expresso for their smoothies. Saltbean is located right opposite a great playground for your little ones to enjoy, and also right near the lovely Peppers accommodation and Salt Spa in Kingscliff.
Heading to Byron Bay with kids presents a slightly different vibe than my formative years, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had! We all enjoyed the stunning views at the Byron Bay lighthouse. The Farm, home to the infamous Three Blue Ducks restaurant, was another massive hit with our little ones. As the name suggests it is in fact a working farm - with animals to see, vegetable crops to admire, a decent sized playground and lots of land to explore. The food at Three Blue Ducks was on point, with some great vegetarian options on offer - and they do a good cappuccino too. Santos Organics is also a must visit to stock up on some delicious organic produce for your trip.
If you’re visiting this beautiful part of Australia with your little people I wish you a fantastic time! It sure is a beautiful part of the world.
We love the look of No. 19 cafe, and we love their food even more! There are lots of options on the menu for vegetarian, paleo and gluten free mummas. And, Walter Reserve and playground isn't far away, for an adventure after you have finished your meal!
No.19 Cafe - 214 Union Rd, Ascot Vale
- Vegetarian mummas
- Gluten free mummas
- Paleo mummas
- Monday - Friday: 7AM to 4PM
- Saturday and Sunday: 8AM to 4PM
- Walter Reserve: Walter Street, Ascot Vale
- Maribyrnong Park: Off Epsom/Maribyrnong Road, Moonee Ponds
As a parent there are many things you wish to teach your children. From those first steps, manners and their ABC’s, to counting, cooking and life’s big questions there’s plenty of diverse educational moments along the way. It got me thinking what are some of the key things I would want to teach my children, even if it were advice for when they were a little older? Well, I came up with my personal top five - and here they are:
1. Don’t ever apologise for being you
In life you may run into individuals who think they know you better than you know yourself. Who think you’ll listen when they say you can’t do something. Who try to persuade you to do something you don’t want to do. Who give you the feeling they never believe in you. Who may call you names behind your back (or even sometimes to your face). Well, I’m here to tell you that those people usually don’t know s**t! You can do anything you set your mind to, and you can be anything you want to be. Your body, your mind, your rules. Be proud of yourself - you do you!
2. Let Go and Let God
When life brings you down, or something hasn’t quite gone your way, let go and let God. Your problems are never too big for God. If there is something troubling you, or you just don’t know what to do next, know that God (and mummy and daddy) are there for you. You can tell us anything - and I mean anything -and we will be there for you unconditionally. You are never alone in this life.
3. Trust Your Intuition
That little voice (or feeling) that tells you there’s something not right about something, or someone, is there for a reason. It’s called intuition. And it is usually (almost always) right about a person or situation. If you get a funny feeling remember it is always your choice to say ‘no’. You never have to do something you don’t want to, or give someone an answer straight away - you can always say “I’ll think about it” or “I’ll ask Mum or Dad”. If you’re ever unsure of this feeling, or why you might be getting it, make sure you talk to mummy and/or daddy and they (we) will help you.
4. Respect Begets Respect
As I get older it never ceases to amuse me to hear someone who is themselves very disrespectful - or just plain self-absorbed in their behaviour - harp on about respect. There’s always that old school of thought “respect your elders” - to which I say no, not necessarily. If someone does not show you respect whether they are older than you or not - or worse, who’s actions may put you in danger - that’s wrong. There’s also too many parents that demand respect from their little ones without giving it back - or more importantly without teaching them how to be respectful themselves. I have always been a believer in the fact that respect is earned, that it goes both ways. So, respect those who respect you, and gracefully ignore those who don’t. It’s not a given that ones idea of respect will be the same as yours, so always act with grace and if you find yourself faced with individuals that are rude, unkind or disrepectful of your wishes (especially if it happens on multiple occasions), simply act with grace until you no longer have to see that person. In the unfortunate event that you are dealing with someone you see on a regular basis (whether a family member, or otherwise), who fails to show respect then I recommend practicing mindfulness in their presence and know that tomorrow is another day.
5. Always Treat Yourself With Kindness
We only get one life to live. Always treat yourself with kindness. You don’t always have to say ‘yes’ to plans - especially if you are in need of a rest - take time out and take it easy when you need to. Treat your body and mind well - make sure you nourish yourself with delicious real food everyday, drink lots of water, and get a good nights rest. Think positively about yourself - there are so many people out there who love you and believe in you (mummy and daddy especially are your biggest fans!) - you’ve got this!
There are plenty more things on my list to teach my little ones, but these are the top five ‘life lessons’ that spring to my mind. There’s always the day to day learnings and milestones (such as walking, brushing teeth, potty training), but to me it is important to also teach on a more spiritual level as well. I am forever in awe of the people that my little ones are becoming and I am forever grateful to be by their side as they continue to learn and grow.
What are some of the teachings you’d like to pass on to your littles?
With winter well and truly on our doorstep, we are stocking up on our cold and flu prevention tools. Whilst good food and nutrition is always our main form of defence (keep an eye on the blog for a special post on this in the coming weeks), as a busy Mumma I also use other natural goodies to help keep those germs at bay, and to help me heal faster in the event I do catch something.
I am a big fan of accupuncture and osteopathy to help my body stay balanced, and I also use essential oils when I feel they can give me a boost. Essential oils make the perfect sidekick in your quest against germs and on your journey to heal. From lifting your mood, to disinfecting your benchtops and clearing your sinuses, essential oils can help keep your household healthy this winter.
Below are some of my favourite essential oils* to use during winter:
One to two drops in your washing machine with a dash of vinegar on a hot full cycle can help freshen things up and sanitize your machine to keep it extra clean - try not to use this mix too much though as it can actually damage your washer if used too much - once a month is perfect.
Lemon is known for its detoxifying, energising and revitalising properties. Simply add a few drops to your diffuser, and diffuse for just ten minutes while having some much needed Mumma time with a book and a nice cuppa - this can help to clear the mind and give you a good mood boost on a cold winter morning.
Tea tree oil is perfect for cleaning, especially in the bathroom. With its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties it can really help to keep germs at bay. Tea tree oil is extremely strong though, so go easy - two to three drops diluted in a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water makes a great shower cleaner. Just one small bottle of tea tree oil will last you many seasons to come!
The uplifting scent of orange is a welcome edition to any household. Add a couple of drops in a spray bottle, filled with white vinegar, and you have an easy bench top cleaner for the home.
It’s so important to take extra care of yourself during winter, and it especially helps to get lots of rest to keep your energy up - and your immune function in top form. Lavender is one of the best known oils for promoting relaxation and sleep. After your little ones are tucked in bed and peaceful in dreamland for the night, add 2 to 3 drops of lavender essential oil to your diffuser to help you get your much needed rest (we all know how much Mumma needs a good sleep!), or even better - you can wind down before bed enjoying some Mumma time by having a relaxing in a epsom salt bath with a cup of epsom salts and couple of drops of lavender oil - bliss!
[*Disclaimer: Remember, essential oils are very potent - so a little goes a very, very long way! It is important to always store your essential oils securely and well out of reach, as ingestion and/or skin exposure can be harmful - always keep out of reach of children. Consult a health professional before use if pregnant or breastfeeding. Always be careful using essential oils around pets too, especially as some essential oils can be toxic to animals. Essential oils can interact with some medications, so always do your own research before using. Do your own research, and use only as directed.]
Thanks for reading and I wish you good health and happiness this winter!
We are well into Winter here in Australia, and my family has been favouring hearty meals to keep us full and warm. For our ‘recipe of the quarter’ we share a Pumpkin, Lentil and Spinach recipe that is sure to keep you nourished.
- Gluten-free lasange sheets (375g packet)
- 500g Tofutti (or other vegan ricotta cheese substitute)
- 690g Tomato Passata
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 900g pumpkin, peeled, cut into small cubes
- 2 x 400g Cans Brown Lentils, rinsed well and drained
- 120g Baby Spinach, washed well and shredded
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- Good pinch nutmeg
- Salt and pepper, to season
Time: 2hrs and 20 minutes
(Note: This recipe makes enough for our family for two nights, plus a little for Mummy Green’s lunch too!)
- Preheat your oven to 190C and grab out your baking dish, a large bowl and a small bowl to be set aside.
- In a large fry pan, heat the oil over a medium heat and cook onion until golden brown.
- Add garlic to fry pan and lightly fry, before adding lentils, pumpkin and stock.
- Stir in the majority of a jar of passata (setting aside about a cup worth for use later).
- Cover frypan and bring to a boil. Once boiling lower the heat and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, until the mixture is thick.
- Once cooked, pour mixture into a large bowl and set aside to cool. Once the mixture has cooled down transfer the bowl to the fridge.
- Mash the Tofutti (or your chosen vegan ricotta cheese substitute) in a small bowl, add nutmeg and season to your liking.
- Grease your baking tray and add your bottom layer of lasange sheets.
- Add pumpkin mixture and top with ricotta and more layers of lasange. Repeat until baking tray is full, ensuring your last layer is lasange sheets.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Serve and enjoy!