There’s nothing I love more than chilling in a café with a coffee and watching the world go by. But with two kids and those pesky “Don’t leave your kids in the car alone” laws, that is now a rare occurrence. Enter, drive-thru coffee from fast food joints at 8am on the school run. But fear not! You no longer have to sacrifice quality for convenience (unless you are a bit hung over and need a hash brown) Try one of the three cute cafes listed here instead and get your caffeine fix stat without having to unstrap the kids.
Little Olive Café Mt Eliza.
Currently located at Eden Garden Nursery in Mt Eliza.
204 Canadian Bay Rd, Mount Eliza VIC 3930
This coffee cart is as cute as a button and being positioned in a car park makes it perfect for a quick coffee dash. The coffee is great and you can grab a baked treat while you are there.
Hot Tip: You can purchase really cool reusable coffee mugs here. Think ceramic, glazed and arty.
Coffee hut outside Tipples Backyards in Baxter
167 Moorooduc Hwy, Baxter VIC 3911
This little spot is literally on the highway so there is no excuse. It sells toasties and is right next door to a petrol station so you can pretty much get all your morning shiz sorted.
Hot Tip: This place has Eftpos. Winning!
Apple Espresso at Tully’s in Mornington
630 Moorooduc Hwy, Mornington VIC 3931
Imagine this scenario: You’ve dropped the kids at school and 5 minutes into your drive home the baby falls asleep in the car. Don’t waste your life away sitting in the driveway scrolling Facebook and fearing the transfer wakeup! Head to Tully’s and grab a coffee underneath a pear tree while bubba snoozes a metre or two away (obvi with the windows down and in full view and all those other legal/ethical/perfect-parent-patrol things.)
Hot Tip: If you have time to eat in, head out the back into the courtyard and grab a coffee and cake. Delicious!
Know of any other convenient little coffee stops? Drop them into the comments!
Woah. I tell you what, organising a party for my two kids just about sent me over the edge. I am just not naturally very organised so sorting out the cake, catering, venue, balloons & decorations, games and goodness knows what else I forgot, was stressful to say the least.
Having a party at home is not exactly painless either but I have found a few party businesses that make the organising a breeze.
Pamper party with Relax and Unwind Massage
This is perfect for a mummy and daughter day or for preteens/teens. The therapist comes to you and brings everything they’ll need for your party guests to relax and feel pampered. Pedicures, massages, foot soaks and more-this is a gorgeous way to bliss out and spend time together.
The prettiest sleepover I ever did see came courtesy of the duo at Twilight Teepees. They set up, pack up and supply all the little touches like dinner trays and cushions. This Boho Lace theme is next level sweet but you can also go with basketball, camouflage and a whole host of other themes. Check them out for a fuss free party. Here’s their Facebook Page
3. Faery Emma
Faery Emma is an actual real fairy. I can tell.
She does shows and markets and, luckily for us, parties! Dancing, face painting and fun, you cannot go past her for a children’s entertainer.
We discovered this cool outdoor activity through the Moongala Community House. The concept is simple:
paint a rock
hide the rock
find some painted rocks that others have hidden.
The handy Facebook page (VIC ROCKS) is a great help in seeing where the rocks have been hidden (rock drops) and for the finders to share their discoveries in the hopes that the original hider will see the post. The VIC ROCKS Facebook page has almost 10000 members so you will be sure to find someone painting and hiding rocks somewhere near you.
Here are our favourite spots to hide and seek:
Beauty Park: Spring Street, Frankston.
This park has a playground, lake, plenty of trees and even a little bridge. Heaps of places to search for hidden treasure. In the Summer, the park transforms into Little Beauty Market. Interested? You can read all about that here.
We found one of our very first rocks here (pictured above.) Mini re-hid it and was thrilled when it reappeared the next day on the Facebook page having been found again by another little person.
Mornington Beach Park: Bottom of Main St, Mornington.
This park has an awesome wooden playground and plenty of space for the kids to move around. We absolutely love the big trees (perfect for hiding under in the rain) and the best part is that it’s just a short stroll from one of our favourite cafes; Soul Press.
We found a few rocks here on a rainy day and loved spotting the painted tree stumps too.
This is just hands down one of our favourite places to visit. It has all the factors that make it a great day out with the kids; free of charge, space to run around and not boring for parents. Winning! We came across this beauty after an afternoon of searching. Mini fell in love with is and has kept it on her bed side table ever since. If she ever finds a new favourite, we will swap it out.
The sculpture park is huge so it would be a good idea to leave a clue for the finder when hiding your rocks. Even a bit of faux grass or a monkey’s face in the background will give them a hint!
We are really spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor play spaces for kids. Check out our fave park here.
Where are your best rock drop spots? Have your found a painted rock on your travels?
Okay, I admit it. I am now addicted to The Beauty Emporium in Mount Eliza.
Last week I was in need of some serious pampering – the kind where you can bliss out and pretend like the two tiny soul suckers that call you ‘Mama’ are not your responsibility for an hour. That’s where beautiful Caroline, one half of The Beauty Emporium Boss Lady team, came in with the oxygen facial. Side note: the salon is owned and run by two friends-how gorgeous is that?!
FYI: The Beauty Emporium hosted me for this treatment. All words and thoughts are my own.
Let’s splice in a ‘before’, ‘immediately after’ and ‘a few days later’ pics here because the results are probably more important than the experience itself in this case:
While I am still obviously uncomfortable with the concept of selfies (and a hair brush it would seem), I can see a huge difference in skin tone in the far left and far right pictures. And today, 10 days later, my skin still feels much softer than usual. Immediately afterwards my skin felt plumper. I daresay I felt like I looked a bit younger too.
So, what’s it all about? Do they just spray you in the face with the tyre pump from a petrol station as my babysitter A.K.A my dad suggested? No. They do not.
First of all I settled down on the cosy treatment bed which was warm and electric-blanket-toasty. Then Caroline had a quick look at my skin and we talked about how I often break out on my jaw line #hormonalbiatch and then it was lamp off & chill. When Caroline mentioned that she would talk me through the treatment but that there was no need for me to respond I knew that not only was she completely in tune with the client experience but that she knew exactly what women/mums/people in general need.
Over the course of an hour, vitamins and minerals were massaged into my face and neck aswell as something that seemed to painlessly eat all the dead skin cells. Then 100% medical grade oxygen was applied all over my face which felt almost like water. In fact, maybe there WAS water involved. I was so half asleep by this point that anything is possible.
We finished off with a cup of peppermint tea. I stayed in their sun drenched sitting area for as long as possible before returning home relaxed and rejuvenated. Perfect. The treatment is designed to be undertaken several times although I really do notice a difference after just one.
You can find The Beauty Emporium at Level 1/12 Ranelagh Drive, Mount Eliza, 3930.
Oxygen Facial is $160. Book 5 and receive your 6th of free.
Before I go, I just need to urge you to check out their Fabulous Friday treatments because TODAY IS FRIDAY. Book in for a glass of bubbles for you and a friend plus a 30 minute treatment each (choose from Becca Makeup, Brow Make Over or a mini pedicure) for just $30 each. Seriously. Do it. I wish I could but it’s date night and Insta-Bae is weird about people touching his feet.
Check out their latest Instagram post for more details here. And if you want to learn more about The Beauty Emporium in general, check out the first post I wrote about them here
On a chilly, wintery morning a couple of weeks ago, my friend Kate and I found our way down onto Kookaburra Street in Frankston and discovered Kindred Art Space.
We’d been invited down by the lovely Kez and with my background in Art Therapy and a keen interest in getting away from my kids, I jumped at the opportunity to dip my toe in the water (colours) again. Kez is a Transpersonal Art Therapist who has masterminded the Self Care Sundays workshops.
FYI: My friend and I were given complementary places in this workshop. All thoughts and terrible paintings are mine.
Some questions we pondered beforehand which you may be asking yourself too:
Is it weird?
No. It wasn’t weird at all. The meditation portion of the workshop was conducted in front of a beautiful fireplace and I felt very comfortable in the small group of participants.
Is Art Therapy in the Woo-Woo space or the psychotherapy space?
Definitely the latter. Yes, we did create art in a silent room for two hours but no one burnt incense or tried to show me an angel card.
What if I don’t paint a masterpiece?
Then you are a normal person. Art as therapy is all about the process and not the product. While creating, you can ask yourself a series of questions which will shape your creation. It has something to tell you!
The workshop itself was made up of an introductory activity, a meditation, 2 hours of painting, some reflection and then a sharing/debrief at the end. We also all participated in a short labyrinth mediation.
Kindred Art Space is warm and inviting with coffee and tea making facilities as well as a bathroom. There’s an open fire, plenty of art supplies to choose from and lots of on-site inspiration to get the creativity flowing. You don’t need an art experience to engage in these workshops; just turn up with yourself and an open mind.
I walked away from the workshop feeling like that fire of indwelling had been ignited again. It has been so long since I spent time reflecting on….well, anything really. For me, it really cemented the fact that I need to commit to doing something for my own development and health every single day. And that I need to be responsible for giving myself that (because sure as shit, my kids are not going to serve me up some me-time any time soon.)
The next Self Care Sunday session is on September the 24th. Contact Kez on 0450 253 990 for more details.
Okay. Let me start of by pointing out a couple of things:
My marriage is very stable. I know how lucky I am. Insta-Bae not only tolerates my nonsense, he seems to find me quite funny.
I had a chakra cleansing recently and have been manifesting like crazy.
I am in love with Matty J.
Right, now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you about the day I met my one true love AKA Matty J AKA the rejected guy on the Bachelorette AKA the new Bachelor.
This story begins on the night that Georgia Love rejected poor Matty on the season finale of The Bachelorette and I turned to Insta-Bae and proclaimed that if Matty became the next Bachelor, we would have to get divorced so I could go on the show. He agreed and said something about Shakira.
Fast forward through a bit of Instagram stalking, obsessive reading of that article about his Tinder activity and confession at the Peninsula Hot Springs by at least 2 other women who I know that we would definitely divorce our husbands for Matty, to Chanel 10 announcing that Matty was, in fact, the next Bachie. Swoon.
I made a decision one morning as I drove home from school drop-off. I may not be able to go on the show (would he NOT be interested in a twice divorced 36 year old unemployed mother of two?) But I was going to meet him. So be it and so it is.
About an hour later my phone pinged with a notification on Insta from my wonderful friend Tegan, tagging me in a Nova 100 post about a V.I.P viewing of the premiere of The Bachelor. I tagged her back with a “Yass” and a few eggplant emojis. Then I took a nap and listened to a manifesting meditation because that’s how I role.
When I woke up, my phone pinged again with a notification from Nova 100. I had won. Just like that.
So, because I had planned a party at my house for the premiere already and hired a giant inflatable screen I thought I’d better get some more details about this VIP thang before I cancelled my truck load of champagne. There were some contact details attached to an email so I called the number and a nice person answered the phone. The convo went like this:
Me: “Hi, I just won a comp and I’m just wondering when it is and where it is and will there be wine?”
Nice person: “Oh, that’s the “Watch the premiere of the Bachelor with Chrissie Swan and Matty J event.”
Me: “Wait. What? Is Matty going to be there?”
Nice Person: “Please hold”
die die die die die die die die die
Nice Person: “Yes. I can confirm that Matty with be there.”
Me: “Are you serious? Oh. My. God. I need to call my husband and get divorced.”
Nice Person: “I think a divorce can take about a year. Hopefully Matty doesn’t call in sick.”
Me “I don’t think he would,.”
Nice Person: “Me either. He seems like he’d be a really good provider.”
Me “And what about the wine?”
Nice Person: “There is an open bar for the 32 guests.”
32 guests? 32? I only have to claw my way over 32 other woman to get to the man of my dreams?? Amazing.
I call my sister. I call my bestie. I call Insta-Bae. Everyone is so excited for me and I can’t stop looking at all my photoshopped photos of Matty J and myself.
My love of the Bachelor franchise incidentally started during my divorce from my first husband. I think that’s why I love it so much: it represents a fog clearing and being able to really embrace my own spirit and my love of crap T.V. I used to go over to my sister’s place after a personal training session on a Tuesday night and watch Emily and Brad fall in love and then later we’d watch Emily and Jef fall in love and it was always accompanied by Japanese takeway and a feeling that everything was going to be okay.
So of course when I read the email properly and realised I had a plus one, I sent a screen shot to my sister to invite her along. many swear words followed.
At this point, I probably went a bit insane. I went and got a spray tan and eyelash extensions. I think somewhere deep in my psyche I believed I was a contestant and that the whole show had not already been filmed and he wasn’t already shagging his new GF senseless. However, eyelash extensions are amazing and I felt that it added to the whole experience.
So, we get on to Chapel Street and start heading towards the Jam Factory (where the screening is) and it is TRAFFIC. I start hardcore putting it out there that we will get a park and with 1 minute to spare, a car park opens up directly across the road from our venue. YAY. We sign a quick gag order at the entrance about posting to social media and suddenly we are in a swanky cinema with wait staff, roses and Matty’s massive face all over the movie screen.
We’re still insane at this point. Throw back a couple of glasses each of bubbles, nab some front row seats, chat to some other over-excited women and then do the jacket on? jacket off? dance while we wait for my boyfriend.
He’s here and so help me Oprah, he is fucking GLORIOUS. He’s not wearing socks. His blue suit brings out his eyes. I start getting a rash. My sister is already tipsy and although we are literally 2 meters away from him she starts heckling him like a drunk mum who has not been out of the house in a few months. He says some words – who cares! Take off your shirt! and then makes his way to a photo wall for a meet and greet.
We meet him and we greet him. It’s a bit of a blur – like a wedding day- but here are some key points:
I inadvertently stroked his back in a creepy way when he hugged me.
He seemed genuinely amused by the amount of keen interest we were showing.
He handed me a rose
He asked to see my wedding ring when I mentioned I was married but in love with him and I WASN’T WEARING IT because spray tan but also because I was a contestant on the Bachelor and that would be weird. So came across as woman lying about being married or married woman genuinely attempting to have affair with stranger.
Then we took some selfies:
At this point, I had a brainwave. I should Facetime my friends! He was bloody awesome as three friends tuned into a group chat. Even when one friend asked if I was touching him inappropriately. He thought we were so funny and proposed on the spot. Almost.
So, we watched the first ep. Someone bought us some food and more wine and then just like that, it was over. The fairytale had come to an end. Although my sister refused to leave the cinemas and return to our real lives that would involve at least 2 children waking up oduring the night and one of them weeing in our bed.
Have you discovered Bobux? There is so much to love about these shoes but what you are going to really love is that we are giving away a pair of limited edition custom shoes THIS WEEK.
What Mini loves about hers: Mini had a ball colouring in all the different animals with the accompanying set of Textas. She loves that she can wipe off any ‘mistakes’ (hello, five year old perfectionist!) and begs me to let her wear them to school. Luckily, there is a free dress day coming up so all her dreams are about to come true. She also loved walking through puddles on the weekend and watching some of the colour rinse off. The best thing? Once you wipe off the Texta, you can colour them in all over again!
What I loved: As a mum, I love anything that makes me slightly more redundant so I dig the quick and easy on and off-ness of a Velcro shoe. They keep Mini entertained for ages and I set a new world record in only having to ask her ONCE on Sunday to put her shoes on (normally we hit 5-6 times before I threaten to leave the house without her.)
You know what else I love? That these shoes really suit Mini’s sense of style and my own preoccupation with attempting to create a gender neutral household. P.S It’s not working but I am giving it my best shot. They also have a breathable cotton lining so no stinky feet.
For your chance to win a pair of limited edition, custom Bobux shoes check them out on the Bobux website. Once you’ve had a look, come back and let me know in the comments which cartoon animal design you think your little one would like to colour in first. Easy!
To stay up to date with all things Bobux and to be in the know about their Spring/Summer launch, follow them on Facebook here: Bobux Facebook and Instagram here: Bobux Instagram
Open to residents in New Zealand and Australia-Bobux will cover the postage.
Looking for the perfect midwinter get away? Then look no further; Sovereign Hill has you covered with its Winter Wonderlights event as part of the Ballarat Winter Festival. Now that school is back and the crowds have dispersed, take advantage of Ballarat’s budget accommodation for a holiday that is easy on the hip pocket.
Please note that we were given complementary admission to Sovereign Hill for this event. As always, each and every word in this post is mine. Especially the ones I have misspelt.
I’d not been to Sovereign Hill since my grade 4 excursion and I was delighted to find that it still holds all of the charm and curiosities that I remember. The lolly shop, the horse and cart rides, people in costume and of course the opportunity to pan for gold had Mini and I busy all afternoon.
But as the sun started to go down and the carollers started singing, we knew that we were in for a treat. Christmas in July announced itself as the giant Christmas tree lit up and thousands of fairy lights revealed themselves on buildings and trees.
By the time the (faux) snow started falling on the main street, children and adults alike stood in awe watching as each building was illuminated by projectors.
We stuck around to watch a giant gingerbread man jump from building to building (one of the projected images) and to finish a giant lollypop and famous sausage roll before bundling back into the car and turning on the heater!
Mini gave it 12 our of 10 and declared it the best night ever. She also disclosed that she only gives her sister 8 out of ten so that’s a little disturbing.
The Winter Wonderlights event is on at Sovereign Hill until July 30th 2017.
Family admission (2 adults and up to 4 kids) for Sovereign Hill including Winter Wonderlights is $150. Please note that if you get your ticket validated before you leave on your first visit, you can go back the following day and do it all again with no additional entry fee. How cool is that? Check their website for full details and T & Cs on the Sovereign Hill website
While in Ballarat, we also checked out some other events that were part of the Winter Festival including the giant slide in the centre of town. It was $5 for 10 or 15 minutes. The best part was that the wait time was about 10 minutes which is a win when you have impatient kids.
The Ballarat Winter festival is on until July 30th. There looks like there is a great Ballarat Brew Festival this Saturday the 22nd of July at Ballarat Mining Exchange or you could aways go for The Red Series which showcases the regions top red wines. Yes please. Visit their website for more details.
My top tip is to take plenty of warm clothes and book accom as soon as you can for lots of options. Enjoy!
There is such an abundance of amazing small businesses, wineries, products and produce on the Pen that I find myself constantly distracted by something beautiful, delicious or clever. In an attempt to capture and share some of the things we love, I give you our top five Peninsula things for Winter (or for this week at least.)
One: Winter mushrooms and toadstools.
I am sure that people think I am looking for magic mushrooms when they see me traipsing through bushland and snapping pics of the fungi. I just think they are so gorgeously and perfectly formed. Also, fairies. And they seem to be everywhere at the moment.
Two: Hanging out with my Girl Squad alllll over the Peninsula.
Seriously, how good are your gal-pals? This group of women are all SO different, in fact it makes no sense that we are all in love with each other, but it just WORKS. The honesty, energy and bloody good laughs that happen when we hang is worth its weight in gold. Love them.
Also, Hanging with this squad 5% of the time makes hanging with my other girl squad 95% of the time more bearable.
Three: Talking of wine……Stonier Wines in Merrick.
It has a playground, people. Need I say more?
Plus Merricks General Wine Store is just across the path.
Four: Coffee from Little Olive Café coffee cart
Little Olive is currently parked in the car park of Eden Nursery in Mount Eliza. All the convenience of a drive through coffee but GREAT coffee! The owner, Kerrie, is an absolute delight and makes the school run something to look forward to rather than dread. Winning!
Five: Mini’s little hands. Okay this is a bit weird but as Mini grows, she is really changing from a baby into a HUMAN BEING. She’s so tall now and in between writing her teacher letters and telling me I am “ridiculous” she is just changing before my very eyes. But her hands still have some of the toddler-ness to them. They still fit in my fist when we cross the road and I just want to remember them this way forever.
Are you starting to understand why I am so scatter brained most of the time? I am sure by next week I will have another handful of obsessions so stay tuned!
I have been late to the party my entire life. I discovered public transport at about 25 years of age, Girls approximately 5 years after the premiere and a couple of weeks ago I caught my first Uber. I mean, I still can’t work out how to watch the internet on my T.V but at least now I have WIFI in my house. And on my phone.
So when The Beauty Emporium invited me down to their Mount Eliza salon to have a treatment of my choice, I jumped at the chance to have my eye lashes tinted and a brow wax à la 1998. Then the gorgeous beauty therapist asked if I’d also like a brow tint and the Earth tilted on its axis in a moment which changed my life forever. Like the day I discovered The Rachel Zoe Project or podcasts or INSTAGRAM. I knew that I would never be the same.
FYI The Beauty Emporium provided me with this treatment free of charge so that I could write about my experience in this here blog. All opinions and words (and errors!) are mine.
The Beauty Emporium is set in the leafy village of Mount Eliza. It occupies level one (enter via the back) of a corner block on Ranelagh Drive and looks out across the trees towards the bay. There’s a couple of pedicure chairs and a nail station strategically positioned to maximise the view and the waiting area gets flooded with afternoon sun as clients await their little bit of indulgence.
The treatment rooms feel more like a cosy boudoir than a clinic and the personable staff are happy to have a chat or let you zone out and enjoy the serenity. Private, quiet and in the hands of highly skilled professionals; there is nothing left to do but relax. And relax I did. I visited on a Friday afternoon and I left vowing to treat myself there once a month.
So should we talk about the results? Why don’t we just cue some awkward selfies? Seriously, how awkward is a selfie? Obviously this is something that I will get on board with in about 5 years but until then we will have to make do with the below pictures.
Anyway, the thing to remember is that I am now IN LOVE with my eye brows. I am a so happy with them. The eyelash/eyebrow combo makes me feel like I am a) Awake b) Wearing makeup when I am not and c) a thousand times more attractive.
If you would like to feel like a Bachelor contestant or just #liveyourbestlife OR you are just looking for a new place to get your nails did, then you must check out the The Beauty Emporium. You can find them on Level 1 at 12 Ranelagh Drive, Mount Eliza, 3930. Enjoy!