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Japan With Kids: Our Family Travels To Japan to Experience The Best of Spring Season and Tokyo Disney

We recently returned from a family holiday to Japan! It was an amazing and unforgettable experience - seeing the cherry blossoms, experiencing the magic of Tokyo Disney, exploring Universal Studios in Osaka and visiting the many temples and historical sites across Japan - memories I will cherish forever.

The people of Japan are so friendly, helpful and welcoming, the country is exceptionally clean and it is very safe - making it the perfect choice for a family holiday destination. Japan itself is a quite a large and populous country, spanning over 3,000kms with a population of over 126 million (WorldBank.org data). Japan offers a range of experiences for travellers young and old - from historical masterpieces, awe-inspiring landmarks, built up cities, waterfront views and fun-filled amusement parks. It is well serviced by excellent public transport infrastructure, easily accessible pedestrian walkways (perfect for prams and young explorers), and offers plenty of stunning parks and green open spaces to explore. 

Below I share some of my favourite parts of our Japan adventure:

Tokyo 

Encompassing over 30% of Japan’s total population (livejapan.com), the bustling city of Tokyo (and surrounding prefectures) are the perfect place for excited travellers to experience the essence of Japan.  

There’s so much to see and do in Tokyo and surrounding areas, we would recommend allowing for at least one full week. Tokyo is the perfect walkable city with world-class public transport options from trains, to buses, to subways and the humble (yet slightly expensive) taxi service.

Tokyo Station is quite easy to navigate, with plenty of maps illustrating the various train lines, allowing you easy access to the region’s many sights and landmarks. There are also many lifts throughout the station, making it easily accessible for parents with prams. Many delicious treats and nourishing meals can also be found within Tokyo Station too - perfect for hungry travellers!

Tokyo’s Bay area is where the magic is at, with the area being home to Tokyo Disneyland and Disneysea. An easy train ride via Tokyo Station (using the JR Keiyo Line to Maihama Station), the Disney Resort area itself is serviced by the wonderful Disney Resort Line - a Mickey Mouse themed train and bus line. Tokyo Disneyland and especially the Disneysea theme park (as it is unique to Japan) are a must visit if you are in Japan with your family.

Top Sights to See and Experience with Kids in Tokyo, Japan:

  • Visit the historical sites of the Meiji Jingu Shrine, Senso-ji Temple and the Imperial Palace.

  • Take a stroll in the beautiful Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens, filled with cherry blossoms during springtime.

  • Explore Tokyo City by foot - take in the breathtaking views via Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree.

  • Visit the breathtaking Mount Fuji.

  • Take in the majestical rows of cherry blossoms with a picnic and stop by the Zoo at Ueno Onshi Park.

  • Ride on the trains at Tokyo Station - there’s so many different models of trains to see - it’s great for train lovers! Don’t miss the opportunity to travel on one of the fastest trains in the world, the Shinkansen (also known as the '“bullet train”).

  • Enjoy sushi, shopping and waterfront views in Odaiba, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay.

  • Experience the magic of Disney in Tokyo Bay with a visit to Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Disneysea and a stay at one of the Disney Resorts.

Best Vegan (or Vegetarian) Restaurant or Cafes in Tokyo:

  • T’s Tan Tan - serving vegan ramen and other delicious vegan foods within Tokyo Station: 〒100-0005 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Marunouchi, 1 Chome−9−1 JR東京駅(改札内)KeiyoStreet内 1階

  • Raw Life Ginza - serving raw vegan delights at Yurakucho Station, Tokyo: 銀座2-4-19 浅野第3ビル 7F 中央区, 北海道 〒104-0061 Japan

  • Organic Cafe LuLu - a cafe serving organic meals (no egg and no dairy!) with a children’s playarea in Kiba, Tokyo: 東京都江東区木場5-6-30 Kiba, Koto-Ku, Tokyo

Kyoto 

Famous for it’s historical temples and beautiful landscapes, Kyoto is the perfect place to experience Japan’s traditional beauty. With plenty of temples and shrines to visit, stunning cherry blossoms blooming and traditional architecture to behold, Kyoto is a must-see on your visit to Japan.

Sights to See and Experience with Kids in Kyoto, Japan:

  • Take in the historical Kiyomizu-dera temple.

  • Explore the amazing Fushimi Inari Shrine with it’s famous red gates.

  • Stroll the streets of Kyoto’s historical Gion District.

  • Walk the Philosophers Path amongst the beautiful cherry blossoms.

  • Visit the Arashiyama bamboo forest and nearby Tenryu-ji Temple.

  • Explore the grounds of the Kinkaku-ji Temple.

  • Experience Kyoto’s Railway Museum - a delight for train lovers!

Best Vegan (or Vegetarian) Restaurant or Cafes in Kyoto:

  • Veg Out - serving a range of vegan options, with a full vegan menu: 〒600-8133 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, 七条通加茂川筋西入ル稲荷町448 鴨川ビル1F

  • Mumokuteki Cafe - a trendy cafe serving vegetarian and vegan meals in downtown Kyoto: 2F Human Forum Bld., 351 Iseya-cho, Gokomochi-dori-Rokkaku-sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, 中京区御幸町通六角下ル伊勢谷町351 ヒューマンフォーラムビル2F

Osaka 

The second largest city in Japan, Osaka is a another must-visit if you are on holiday in this beautiful country. Osaka is home to many kid-friendly activities, so the little ones will really enjoy their time in this city.

Sights to See and Experience with Kids in Osaka, Japan:

  • Visit the majestic Osaka Castle.

  • Experience Kid’s Plaza in Osaka’s Kita District.

  • Play with the Sesame Street Gang, and hang with the Minions, at Universal Studio’s Osaka.

  • Explore Osaka Bay’s Tempozan Area, with great shopping, an Aquarium and a fun ferris wheel!

Best Vegan (or Vegetarian) Restaurant or Cafes in Osaka:

  • Green Earth - delicious vegetarian options in a relaxed setting: 〒541-0057 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Kitakyuhojimachi, 4 Chome−2−2 久宝ビル1F

  • Shizen Bar Paprika Shokudou Vegan - for simple but yummy vegan bento boxes and rice bowls: 〒550-0013 Osaka, Nishi Ward, Shinmachi, 1 Chome−9−9 アリビオ新町1F

  • Organic & Vegetarian Cafe Atl - range of vegetarian and vegan options in Osaka’s Chuo Ward: 〒542-0085 Osaka, Chuo Ward, Shinsaibashisuji, 2 Chome−1−24 アーバ ネックス心斎橋ビル 2階

Planning, Packing and Preparing for our Japan Adventure:

Planning

Booking.com was our top choice for all our accomodation needs. Booking.com was such an easy way to find and book our accomodation (including efficient communication directly with our hotels of choice to secure baby cribs/baby beds), it really took the stress out of planning our overseas adventure. If you’re looking to plan your next overseas (or interstate) stay, you’re welcome to use this code NIKZ0893 to save on your stay via booking.com!

Qantas Airways are a great choice for travelling families. Their staff are welcoming, friendly and provide a good service from booking through to arrival. If you are a vegan or vegetarian mummy or daddy you can even select your meal requirements ahead of time online to ensure your dietary preferences are catered for. Once you’re on board your flight, your meal will usually arrive early along with your child’s meal (which is a welcome treat for a hungry parent and child!). The flight to Japan is only a little over 10 hours from Melbourne, so it’s a good idea to use that time to sleep by booking a flight that travels overnight. Melbourne Airport features some neat play spaces for children, including a play area in Terminal 2 (International Departures) near Gate 15, to tire out those little legs before they get some rest. When travelling home, there are plenty of larger fun play spaces for kids at Narita Airport (our children particularly loved the play area in Terminal 2 on the 3rd Floor after passport control) - these play areas are a blessing for parents looking to tire out their little ones before boarding a long flight.

Japan is most easily accessible by train. Therefore, we highly recommend grabbing a Japan Rail (JR) Pass before you go, to help you to travel Japan with ease. The JR Pass gives you access to all of Japan Rail’s trainlines (aside from a couple of the Shinkansen lines). You can purchase a JR Pass for 7 days, 14 days or 21 days. Children under 6 travel for free (however please note they are not entitled to their own seat, so if you are travelling on a crowded train they will need to sit in your lap for the duration of your journey). There are several websites that allow you to purchase your desired JR Pass and will mail it directly to your door. 

When planning the finer details for our trip to Japan we discovered a great blog by a fellow Mummy Blogger, Teni Wanda, who originally is from the States but now resides in Japan - the Baby Kaiju Blog. The Baby Kaiju blog is full of fantastic tips specifically on travelling Japan with a family - including toddler friendly eats in Japan and kid-friendly activities across Japan…well worth a read if you are soon to be travelling to this exciting destination!

The good ‘ol Lonely Planet guides are always a great way to plan your adventure too, and often come with handy maps embedded in the guide book. They even offer Kindle versions too, if you are planning to pack your Kindle for your travels.

Packing

My top travel items to pack when travelling with an infant or toddler include:

  • A few small toys - whilst little ones are very resilient and often easy to travel with, in my experience they do love having a few familiar toys from home to play with or to cuddle at night. Small is best - this way you can choose a few favourites to easily fit in your luggage.

  • Suitable clothes and a blanket for layering - When travelling to a different country (where you’re not 100% sure on how the weather will pan out) it goes without saying that it’s best to pack items of clothing that can easily be layered - both for yourself and your little ones (from long sleeve tops to pop on under t-shirts for extra warmth, to a lightweight rain jacket, sunhat and beanie, sunglasses and a blanket for the stroller). 

  • Snacks and/or Baby Food for the Plane - Snacks are a great distraction for your little ones when travelling on the plane (or train, or bus for that matter!) - so it’s a good idea to pack several options into your carry on luggage. It’s common knowledge that something to chew on and/or something to drink can also really help their ears on take off and landing (even more so if your little one is still breastfeeding or taking a bottle). Airlines don’t always provide meals for children under 2, so it’s also a good plan to have one of their favourite meals packed in eco-friendly resealable bags or airtight containers with you. 

  • Sleepsuits/Baby Crib Sheet - When travelling with my kids I’ve always packed a couple of sleep suits as well as a crib/baby bed sheet for my youngest. I find that it helps them to have that familiar smell when bedtime comes, and as most crib sizings are universal it is easy to slip your own crib sheets onto the hotel’s baby bed/crib.

  • Baby Carrier and Travel Pram - It’s always a good idea to make sure you pack a baby carrier and/or a travel pram when travelling with little ones. You will be doing so much exploring on foot - those little legs will need a good rest from time to time. A baby carrier or travel pram also allows for your baby to take naps in between your daily travels, so they are well-rested and happy on your journey.

  • Use packing dividers to make it easy to find the essentials - there’s nothing worse than getting to your hotel after a long day or night on the plane and forgetting where you’ve put the essentials in your suitcase! Packing dividers have changed my travel game! They have made it so much easier to separate my clothing, the kids clothing, toiletries, and to fit just that liiiittle bit more into the suitcase. They also allow for an easy unpacking/repacking experience when travelling from place to place.

Preparing

My native language (English) isn’t necessarily wide spoken in Japan, so I found it very helpful to learn at least a few phrases in Japanese before embarking on my travels. The locals truely appreciate you attempting to speak the language - and I find that learning a new language is always a fun and exciting part of the overall travel experience. The basic hello (Konnichiwa), goodbye (Sayonara), thank you (Arigatogozaimas), excuse me (Sumimasen) are a place good start! There is also a Google Translate app that comes in very handy if you are looking at menus just in Japanese or you are wanting to purchase food or other products and aren’t sure of the ingredients. Simply download the app and place your phone’s camera in front of the text for easy translation (warning - sometimes it can give pretty funny results, but overall it is quite accurate!).

If any member of your family has allergies we recommend notifying the airline you are flying with, and also downloading and printing allergy translation cards. There are many websites with these handy cards available in many different languages, and for a wide variety of allergies too - just search google to find a suitable card for you or your family, or visit the website linked above. 

If your children are old enough, it can also help to discuss the trip with them in advance, showing them pictures of where you will be travelling, reading stories about the location(s) and getting them excited for the adventures ahead!

If you are travelling with your young family, and you do happen to run out of baby (or toddler) supplies while in Japan, never fear! There are multiple Babies R Us Stores within the major cities of Japan - yes that’s right at least at the time of publishing this article Babies R Us are still in operation across various cities in Japan (including Tokyo, Tokyo Bay, Kyoto and Osaka). If you are looking for a special gift or momento for your little ones there is also a great range of boutique baby wears stores in Tokyo including Kagure and Miki House.

traveljapanwithkids

Please note: this blog post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a small commission if you purchase anything through these links, at no extra cost to you. At PlantBasedMum.com, we only ever link to products, events, stores and/or activities that we truly recommend. 

Thank you for reading, and Happy Travels!

traveljapanwithbaby

Easter Bunny’s Basket - Vegan Apricot Danish Recipe

With Easter coming up fast it’s time to plan treats for the little ones! This allergy-friendly, vegan apricot danish recipe is super easy to make, very tasty and the perfect sweet treat for Easter.  

You will need: 

  • Puff pastry (1-2 sheets)

  • 20g Dairy-free Butter (melted)

  • 50g caster sugar

  • 50g icing sugar

  • 2-4 tablespoons water

  • 4 Large Apricots (peeled and halved)

Method: 

Take your puff pastry sheet, and cut it into even squares (note: you will need the squares big enough to accomodate the ‘borders’ surrounding your apricot, as well as the apricot itself). Fold in the sides slightly to make your ‘borders’, leaving enough room in the middle for your apricot. Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Place half an apricot into the middle of your pastry square. Brush your pastry with your melted vegan butter and sprinkle apricot and surrounding area with a little caster sugar. Place your pastries in the oven for around 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Once cooked, set your pastries aside to cool. Mix icing sugar in a small bowl with two tablespoons of water, adding more tablespoons of water until you reach a smooth icing. Drizzle your icing on top of your cooled danishes and enjoy your Easter bunny’s prized “egg” sitting proudly in it’s basket!

veganapricotdanishrecipe


 

Best Organic Food Stores in Melbourne

Today on the blog we share top picks for local organic stores across Melbourne. Organic produce, food items and household goods are free from herbicides, pesticides and other harmful chemicals and make a great choice for the environment and personal health.

The Environment Working Group (EWG) shares a great resource on pesticides in food, identifying twelve foods with concerning amounts of pesticides - often dubbed ‘the dirty dozen’. Going organic, especially when shopping for the ‘dirty dozen’ items can be of great benefit. Choosing to shop organic also helps you to focus on what fruits and vegetables are in season, meaning fresh and vibrant produce for your pantry.

This May is Supermarket-Free Month, making it the perfect time to visit your local organic food store. Some of our favourite organic food stores in and around Melbourne include:

Aunt Maggies Organics - Malvern

Aunt Maggies Organics have several locations across Melbourne - in Malvern, Fitzroy and Carlton. They stock a range of items from fresh organic produce, to pantry and baking goods, and eco-friendly household cleaning products.

Where: 72 Glenferrie Road, Malvern

(They also have stores at 188 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy and Shop 7/8 Lygon Court, Carlton)

More Info: Aunt Maggies

Eastfield Natural Food Store - Croydon

Eastfield Natural Foodstore stocks a variety of fresh, organic and biodynamic foods. They also have a selection of supplements and eco-beauty products in the back part of the store. People travel far and wide to shop here, so you can be assured the quality and range of produce is top-notch. The store itself is very small, so leave the pram at home - this one is best for baby carriers only. After you have visited be sure to stop by Soul Pod Foods for a good coffee and a delicious treat! 

Where: Eastfield Natural Foodstore - 41 The Mall, Croydon South

More Info: Eastfield Natural Foods

Golden Age Vegetarian and Health Food Mart - Box Hill

This quaint but friendly health food store stocks a wide range of Taiwanese vegetarian and vegan produce and foods.

Where: 18B Rutland Rd, Box Hill

More Info: Golden Age Vegetarian and Health Food Mart

Green Mumma Organics - Rippleside

Green Mumma Organics really are a one stop shop if you're out in Geelong or on the Bellarine Peninsula. They stock a wide range of organic goodies from essential oils and fresh organic produce to nourishing smoothies, delicious takeaway meals and healthy snacks - there's something for everyone.

Where: Green Mumma Organics - 169 Melbourne Rd, Rippleside

More Info: Green Mumma Organics

Hello Charlie - Bundoora/Online

Hello Charlie stocks all your essential baby needs, plus something for mummy too! Hello Charlie stock a wide range of excellent organic, sustainable and eco-friendly products - safe for baby, mumma and the environment. You can shop online at hellocharlie.com.au - and you have the option to collect your order direct from their warehouse in Bundoora, or to have your items delivered.

Where: 4/30 The Concord, Bundoora

More Info: Hello Charlie

IHerb - Online

For the largest range of supplements and eco-beauty products online be sure to check out iHerb.

Joe’s Organic Market - Northcote

Joe's Organic Market is open 7 days and offer a range of organic produce and package goods. There is even a small vegan cafe on site.

Where: 64 Victoria Rd, Northcote

More Info: Joe’s Organic Market

Miss Spelt’s - Healesville

Miss Spelt’s Grains and Goodies are located in Healesville, so they make for the perfect spot to pop in after a nourishing breakfast at Healesville Harvest (Yarra Valley Harvest). The store itself is quiet small, so not really suitable for prams. Miss Spelts stock a range of organic goods; from eco-beauty essentials to personal items to frozen pies!

Where: Shop 1/2/232 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville

More Info: Miss Spelts

Natural Balance - Mornington

Natural Balance can be found on the main street of Mornington. They stock a wide range of organic goods and vitamins. There is plenty to do while you are in Mornington too - find out more on the blog!

Where: 148 Main St, Mornington

More Info: Natural Balance

Organic Empire - Mount Evelyn

What can't Organic Empire do? They sure are true to their name - an empire of all things organic! Organic Empire is a beautiful farm store with fresh organic produce, nutrition and health books, eco-beauty products and a range of local goodies. They run cooking classes too, which mummy green highly recommends! With a heavy presence online, Organic Empire also has an e-store with delivery available, for when you're too busy to venture out.

Where: 138 Monbulk Road, Mount Evelyn

More Info: Organic Empire

Organic Food and Wine Deli - Melbourne

If you're exploring Melbourne, the Organic Food and Wine Deli is a great place to stop by for a bite to eat, or to pick up some organic produce and a sweet treat.

Where: 28 Degraves St, Melbourne

More Info: The Organic Food and Wine Deli

Sherbrooke Health Foods - Belgrave

Sherbrooke Health Foods (or ‘Hilltribez Natural Health’) is a small heath food store offering a range of supplements, eco-beauty goods, organic produce and assorted health food items. They even run raw food workshops!

Where: 1658 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave

More Info: Sherbrooke Health Foods

The Common Good Store - Hawthorn

The Common Good Store stock a large range of organic and gourmet goodies to fill your pantry. From organic vegetables to cleaning products, you can always find what you need here. There is a large range of vegan, dairy free and gluten free products in stock, and the staff are always extra helpful.

Where: 77 Church St, Hawthorn

More Info: Common Good Store

The Cruelty Free Shop Melbourne - Fitzroy

One of Melbourne’s most loved organic goods stores, The Cruelty Free Shop stocks some of the most well known vegan, organic and health-food brands. From your pantry, to household cleaning, vitamins, gifts and beauty needs there is a big range in store.

Where: 124 Johnston St, Fitzroy

More Info: Cruelty Free Shop

The Staple Store - Ripponlea

The Staple Store houses all your organic needs from personal items and specialty teas through to dried fruits and nuts.

Where: 19 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea

More Info: The Staple Store

This Is Life Family Wellness Emporium - Elwood

This Is Life Family Wellness Emporium is just as the name suggests - an emporium of wellness for your whole family. From holistic health services (such as chiropractors, nutritionists, naturopaths), to workshops and a wellness store this place is well worth a visit!

Where: 109 Brighton Rd, Elwood

More Info: This Is Life

Wholefoods Store - Frankston

Wholefoods in Frankston stock a range of organic produce, condiments, eco-beauty products and a wide range of specialty teas. 

Where: 28 Wells St, Frankston

More Info: Wholefood Frankston

Wholefood Merchant - Ferntree Gully

Looking for a one-stop-shop to buy all your essentials? Somewhere that caters to you as a vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or paleo mum? Be sure to check out Wholefood Merchants in Ferntree Gully. Wholefood Merchants are the largest stockists of health food products in the outer eastern side of Melbourne. They offer allergy friendly everything and anything from fresh produce to eco-cleaning products to organic beauty items to baby food. As a bonus, Wholefoods Merchants also have a vegetarian cafe, where you can enjoy a treat and a nice coffee before embarking on your shopping journey.

Where: 3/794 Burwood Highway, Ferntree Gully

More Info: Wholefood Merchants

YourGrocer.com.au - Online

Featuring stores such as Aunt Maggies Organics, Dench Bakery and produce from the Queen Victoria, South Melbourne and Prahran Markets, Your Grocer is a convenient way to purchase your organic goods from the comfort of your own home.

bestorganicfoodstoresinmelbourne.jpg

The Importance of Self-Care in Motherhood

It is so important to fill our own cup in order to be the best parent we can be.

Everybody has their own unique needs when it comes to self-care and “me-time”. Some feel refreshed and re-fueled after a monthly girls catch up, others will crave weekly brunches and chit chats. For some, it’s more about that pampering ‘sesh - getting your hair done each month, an indulgent massage every now and then or having a manicure. Others enjoy time at night once the kids are asleep to curl up with a good book (or Kindle as I prefer!) and a cup of tea for an hour or two, or perhaps a movie and popcorn night-in with your partner. It’s all about what works for you as an individual. 

As a mumma of two, I am always conscious of carving out some time for self care when I can - to ensure I am refreshed and rejuvenated to bring my best self to my ever important role as a parent. Below are some of my fave ways to spend some “Me-Time”:

Exercise 

This is a must for me, and I really feel it if I let this one slide down the priority list. I tend to do a quick 30-45 minute work out every other day, mainly involving a mix of stretching/yoga to start with followed by some higher intensity exercises. I also enjoy a good walk most days, and with two little ones in the double stroller this pretty much doubles as a workout itself when climbing those steep hills! You will know what works best for your body, and what it responds best to...but a bit of exercise personally always helps me feel better!

Podcasts

I love the fact that the podcast world is full of educational opportunities. It’s fantastic that we live in an age where you can listen to some of the best minds/ideas out there all while driving to your next destination or even vacuuming the house. Some of my favourite podcasts include: No Filter, Happy Mamma with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz, Dr. Justin Coulson’s Happy Families Podcast, TED Talks Daily, Background Briefing, Dr. Karl on Triple J Podcast and ABC’s All In The Mind to name but a few. I also enjoy listening to a few podcasts specific to my line of work to keep abreast of issues, trends and initiatives in that space.

Kindle E-Books

After my little ones are asleep I enjoy reading a few chapters of a good novel to relax. I’m currently reading Notes On a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig. Recent reads include; The Mother of All Jobs by Christine Armstrong (as recommended on the No Filter Podcast), Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I love discovering new authors and books!

YouTube

When my little guy was still waking at nights and wanting to feed I would usually reach for YouTube to help me stay alert at 3am! I don’t tend to watch much nowadays, however some of the parenting vloggers on YouTube really got me through those sleepless nights and I’ve even picked up some great tips and tricks from the parenting journey’s they share, too.

Relaxing with a Cuppa

This is probably one of my favourite pastimes, whether it is grabbing 15 minutes to myself with a cup of tea and a read through my Twitter feed before the little ones wake up, or having a cuppa to wind down at the end of the day. I was lucky enough to try out some of the new Asha Tea range recently. Asha offers a variety of Australian Certified Organic and Fair-trade teas - from a ‘Morning Time’ blend (Assam and Kenyan Black Tea), a ‘Sleep Time’ blend (consisting of camomile, spearmint, lemon peel and peppermint), a super refreshing Mint blend and a blissful Green and Jasmine Tea blend (my fave!) - these blends are the perfect way to clear your mind and indulge in a little ‘me-time’ before the tasks of the day begin!

What’s your favourite way to indulge in a little relaxation and clear your mind?!

This post is sponsored by Asha Tea - a new range by Twining’s Australia.

The new range of asha tea - perfect to unwind and free your mind this autumn.

The new range of asha tea - perfect to unwind and free your mind this autumn.

Cafe of The Month - Small Graces

Small Graces favours sustainable and seasonal local produce. This quaint cafe is allergy-friendly, with some great gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian choices on the menu too. They have some amazing options to share - from a variety of salads, small dishes/sides and larger sharing plates - making it a great place to stop for brunch with your family on the way to the playground.

The Details:

57 Byron Street, Footscray

Suitable for:

  • Vegetarian mummas

  • Vegan mummas

  • Gluten free mummas

Opening Hours*:

  • Monday - Wednesday: 7.30AM to 4PM

  • Thursday and Friday: 7.30AM to 10PM

  • Saturday: 8AM to 10PM

  • Sunday: 8AM to 4PM

Playgrounds nearby: 

  • Fordham Reserve - Cowper Street, Footscray

*Opening hours subject to change, please visit the Small Graces website for up to date details.

smallgracesfootscray

Best Gluten-Free Friendly Cafes in Melbourne for Coeliac Awareness Week

March 13-20 is Coeliac Awareness Week, and 1 in 70 Australian’s are living with coeliac disease - with many more going undiagnosed. Coeliac disease is a serious disease, where symptoms can vary greatly - and with long term risks there, a diagnosis by a qualified medical professional is always important. This week on the blog we share our pick of kid friendly cafes, bakeries and eateries with great Gluten-Free options on the menu, located across Melbourne and surrounding suburbs.

Melbourne CBD and Surrounds

Eastern Suburbs 

Southern Suburbs 

Western Suburbs 

Northern Suburbs

Bon Appétit! And for more information on Coeliac Disease visit www.coeliac.org.au

Kid-friendly cafes with gluten-free options in Melbourne.

Kid-friendly cafes with gluten-free options in Melbourne.

What’s in my Make-Up Bag: Cruelty-Free Beauty

March 5-11 is ‘Be Cruelty-Free week’, so what better time to take a look at our favourite cruelty-free beauty products in the lead up to Be Cruelty-Free Week.

Personally, I consider my ‘beauty routine’ (if you can even call it that!) very low maintenance - only opting to wear make-up for events and usually sticking to the simplicity of a good moisturiser, some mascara, a touch of concealer and some sunscreen for my day-to-day mum-life. 

Choosing cruelty-free is an important way to help your own health and wellbeing by using products with natural ingredients - after all your skin is your biggest organ. Using products made from natural oils, plant extracts and minerals helps to ensure you are taking care of your body - inside and out. 

Below are some of our favourite cruelty-free beauty products:

Face 

Natio is a well-known natural Australian skincare and beauty brand. They do a great monitoring sunscreen with SPF 50 for those hot Australian summers, and a nice intensive moisurising day cream - which is perfect for use in the cooler months.

Ere Perez make a lovely nourishing lightweight vegan Quinoa Water foundation, available in three shades. Ere Perez’s full coverage concealer is super easy to use to mask those heavy eyes for when your little ones don’t let you get much sleep! Inika Organic’s blush is the perfect pink tone for your cheeks and Inika Organic can also help you to lengthen those lashes with their award winning ‘long lash vegan mascara’.

Sukin Australian Natural Skincare are (as the name suggests) Australian made, vegan and cruelty free - and they are a very affordable brand. Sukin’s Sensitive Cleansing Gel gently washes away the day leaving your skin smooth and refreshed, while Sand and Sky’s Australian Pink Clay Purifying Face Mask is the perfect fortnightly treat to hydrate your skin before you get your much needed beauty sleep. Dermalogica ‘Barrier Repair’ (free of irritants and cruelty-free) locks in moisture and Lush Enchanted Eye Cream takes care of your delicate eye area with soothing lavender honey water and organic jojoba oil.

Lips 

Hurraw lip balm is a great choice to keep your lips nice and moisturised throughout the day. Hurraw lip products are all natural, organic and vegan! There’s a wide range of ‘flavours’ on offer - from sweet options like banana, raspberry, grapefruit and pineapple through to more subtle options such as vanilla, coconut, earl grey and of course unscented for the ultra-sensitive to name a few.

Nails

Mummy Green always loves Kester Black for her nails. Kester Black is a fantastic Australian cruelty-free vegan beauty brand. There’s a variety of stunning colours to choose from, all with inventive names. There’s beautiful nude tones like ‘coral blush’ (the perfect blush shade), ‘petra’ (rose pink), ‘the future is female’ (baby pink) and ‘in the buff’ (the perfect nude shade). Kester Black stock several lovely darker hues too - perfect for the cooler months - such as ‘nightshade’ (a nice shade of grey), ‘periwinkle’ (dark blue) and ‘pinot nior’ (deep red). And if you’re wanting to turn things up there’s plenty of bolder choices on offer, including ‘pulp fiction’ (a cool red tone), ‘rouge’ (bright red), ‘sorbet’ (candy pink), ‘sugarplum’ (bright purple) and ‘thypoon’ (a moody blue).

To find our more about the fight to end cosmetic animal cruelty visit the Humane Society International at www.hsi.org

crueltyfreebeauty

Best Vegan Markets and Festivals In and Around Melbourne

Some of our favourite markets and festivals are the vegan markets held across Melbourne and the wider state of Victoria throughout the year. Vegan markets support locally and ethically made vegan products, vegan wears, vegan eats and vegan produce.

Whether you identify as fully vegan, enjoy a partially vegan lifestyle (for example; you may choose to eat the occasional ‘vegan’ option on the menu and/or you might opt for more ethical and organic beauty and fashion choices) - or you are simply ‘vegan curious’ - these markets are fun to explore for the whole family.

There is always something different to see, and you can browse items that are great for the environment and the animals, as well as discovering products that help to support your overall health and wellbeing.

Melbourne Collective Vegan Market - Melbourne

As part of the Melbourne Collective Design Market, Melbourne Collective are also hosting a Vegan Market at Deakin Edge in Melbourne’s CBD. The vegan component to this market stocks all things organic, ethically made and 100% vegan - including crafts, beauty products and eco-wears.

Where: Deakin Edge @ Federation Square - Corner Swanston Street and Flinders Lane, Melbourne

When: Sunday 3 March, 2019

Big Vegan Day Out - Melbourne 

Delicious vegan eats, giveaways and discounts galore all located in one of Melbourne’s most loved vegan goods stores - The Cruelty Free Store. 

Where: The Cruelty Free Store - 124 Johnston Street, Fitzroy

When: Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 March 2019

Vegan Market of Melbourne - St Kilda

Previously held at the Abbotsford Convent, the Vegan Market of Melbourne is now hosted by the popular St Kilda Esplanade Market as a pop-up event. Be sure to visit the Vegan Market of Melbourne website for up to date information on dates, times and venues.

Where: Fitzroy Street, St Kilda (Upper Esplanade)

When: Every Sunday from 10am (excluding February 10 due to the St Kilda Festival)

Vegan Makers Market - Mornington Peninsula

This popular annual market is held on the stunning Mornington Peninsula. There is over 50 different brands offering food, eco-beauty products, organic skincare, vegan fashion items and other health and wellness products.

Where: Civic Reserve - 350 Dunns Road, Mornington

When: TBC - stay tuned for updates!

Big Vegan Market - Melbourne

Melbourne’s largest vegan market is held annually in Melbourne’s CBD. Hundreds of exhibitors showcase their ethical, vegan and organic goodies - from vegan beauty and skincare products, to ethical clothing and crafts there is something for everyone. Of course the most important thing on the day (at least for me!) is food - and there are plenty of delicious vegan wholefoods and beverages on offer too. Previous stallholders have included much loved brands such as Allergy Train, Cocowhip, Happily Made, Nzuri Organics, Scarlett Vegan Bags, The Living Pantry, The Vegan Box, The Smoothie Bombs and Vegan Leather Co to name but a few! Don’t miss this one if you’re in Melbourne in May!

Where: Royal Exhibition Hall - 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

When: 10am - 6pm, Saturday 11 & Sunday 12 May 2019

World Vegan Day Festival - Melbourne

If last year’s festival was anything to go by, this year will be fantastic! Think delicious vegan food, fantastic vegan products to discover, informative presentations, cooking demonstrations and even showbags! 

Where: Melbourne Showgrounds - Epsom Road, Ascot Vale (Venue TBC - stay tuned for updates!)

When: Sunday 10 November 2019

Spring Vegan Festival - St. Kilda 

During Springtime, Animal Liberation Victoria holds a Spring Vegan Festival full of good food and a range of other vegan goodies. Visit the ALV website for up to date information on the next event!

Where: St. Kilda Town Hall - 99A Carlisle St, St Kilda

When: TBC - stay tuned for updates!

Geelong Vegan Lifestyle Market - Geelong

Featuring delicious raw cakes and treats, vegan food and other vegan goodies this market is held in the beautiful seaside town of Geelong. Head to the Geelong Vegan Lifestyle Market Facebook Page or their website for upcoming market dates.

Where: 1 Barwon Heads Road, Belmont

When: TBC - stay tuned for updates!

If you love markets and are looking for more inspiration, you can also read about some of our favourite general Farmers Markets across the state of Victoria here.

veganmarketsmelbourne