Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm : Guest Post by Jo from Little Melbourne






Sun, fun, food and only a 90 minute drive from Melbourne.

On a glorious sunny Sunday we headed off on the 1.5 hour journey to Daylesford to our very favourite 'home away from home', Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm just 10 minutes north of Daylesford and swapped some City life for a little bit of Country.

We adore it there as it sums up everything we want from a country escape. Relaxation, fresh air, nature, a picturesque vista, somewhere to eat and if you watch your little one's face....it really says it all....Freedom!

Lavandula is positively beautiful in all seasons. With Winter being our most recent visit we were greeted with vibrant red, orange and yellow vines and leaves, bare branches and the daffodills were just beginning to bloom.

Get back to nature with the farm animals, there's lots of friendly faces here. Theodora the Donkey is keen for a pat or get amongst the geese, to add to the punch you'll also find Emu's, Pascal the black pony, chooks, llamas, Flora the terrier and a cat.

On the way out you'll pass through the barn where you can shop for all sorts of products that are good for the body and soul and edible treats include jams, relishes, chutneys, biscuits and honey, while artworks, gifts and homewares add to the rustic charm of this little shop. As well as offering a top day out, Lavandula caters for Weddings and parties, private functions or stay put with Accommodation on offer (sorry, Grown-ups only), festivals and of course the lavender harvest come Christmas time. Bring on Harvest Festival, we'll see you there...

Lavandula is as easy going as it gets! So enjoy the space, explore, picnic on a rug, take in the view and relax.

La Trattoria Cafe

Is there nothing better than al fresco dining? Nestle under the Ash trees, take in the view of the rolling hills and olive trees, the kids can chase the butterflies and the grown-ups can indulge in a vino as La Trattoria is fully licensed and lavender lemonade for the little people. If outside doesn't seem inviting enough snuggle up in the warmth inside the timber room or the stone loggia. The kids can grab one of the numerous books from the pile then tuck into lavender scones with a dusting of icing sugar made on-site with a side of fresh cream and homemade jam. Truly the best. Our family shared the lavender scones, lemon polenta cake and fresh bread, olives and oil. Healthier options are available and they serve up fresh, seasonal European fare. There's also a kids menu. For take home treats or a gift for someone special you can purchase Lavandula's own lavender cordial or lavender honey.

The vegetable gardens and fruit orchards throughout the property are used to supply the cafe with fresh, seasonal produce and the food is fresh, simple and generous.

What we love about this cafe is the kids can be free to wander. Our little ones were in safe distance while we watched them play boules and have a run around on the grass. Just be mindful there is a lake within distance.

To Visit...

Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm
350 Hepburn-Newstead Road
Shepherds Flat via Daylesford

www.lavandula.com.au

Farm Hours:

Lavandula is open daily 10.30am-5.30pm until the end of May. In wintry June, July and August the farm is open weekends, Victorian school holidays and Queens Birthday holiday.
The cafe is closed right through August and is closed 24, 25 & 26 December.

Admission: Adults $3.50, school-age students $1.00, annual membership $10

Leashed dogs are welcome.

If you're after more 'Out of Town' escapes or City Adventures turn to Little Melbourne - Putting the fun back into Activities and Events for Victorian Families.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Five cheeky men for your Friday




Let’s hear it for the Boys! 5 cheeky men for your Friday


Jerry’s Milkbar
Kids Menu – Play Area – High Chair

Oscar’s Bistro

Kids Menu – Activity Sheets – Change Table

Enrik’s Cafe
Kids Menu – Box of Toys – High Chair

Leroy’s
Kids Menu – Play Area – High Chair

Café Moby
Kids Menu – Playground – High Chair

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday Love

Just living is not enough.

One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

~ Hans Christian Anderson

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Malaysian Adventure : KL Bunga Raya : North Melbourne


This is my first of many Malaysian Restaurants l will be reviewing on the blog, which is part of my role as a Malaysia Kitchen Ambassador.

I dragged the family out last Friday night and the food and experience was enjoyed by all. I only had one requirement that had to “tick my box” before we went. Do you have a high chair? After trying several places we finally got a YES from the lovely folk down at KL Bunga Raya in North Melbourne. We had eaten a light lunch so we were pumped to get stuck into as many different Malaysian dishes as possible before the kids had had enough and wanted to go home. Luckily for me l was well prepared and packed loads of toys for Mr 2 along with his chopsticks and his Bubbaccino plastic cup.

When we dine out we usually stick to dishes we know, especially when the kids are with us, but we decided to live large and go for some different tastes.

First was the Gado-Gado (which to me is an Indonesian influence) which was a dish made up of freshly steamed vegies with homemade peanut sauce. (Lucky for us we have no allergies in the house!) Next we ordered the Spring Rolls for Mr 2, which are a real guaranteed winner when we take him out. We also tried the Lobak, which is pork wrapped in bean curd. I’m not a massive pork fan but Mr Man quickly devoured them on my behalf.



{Lobak}

{Nasi Goreng}

{Eggplants & Mince Pork Clay Pot}

{Ayam Bakar Padang}

For mains (Mr 2 had lost interest by this stage and was playing cars under the table while Mr 10 months played with my car keys) we ordered THREE dishes. Yes 3 – our eyes were bigger than our stomachs that’s for sure.

The three dishes were the Nasi Goreng (which every time l hear that name l think of that cute phone company ad) Ayam Bakar Padang and the Eggplant and Mince Pork Clay Pot.

I’ve never had Nasi Goreng before and l was pleasantly surprised. Basically it’s a rice dish with Malaysian chilli paste, chicken, prawns and fried shallots. The Ayam Bakar Padang (which is grilled chicken marinated with turmeric, lemon grass, onion, garlic and galangal) was my absolute favourite. It came with a light salad of cucumber and tomato and the chicken had a crispy skin. It was truly delicious. And finally the Eggplant and Pork hot pot which was also very tasty and came with a very thick black bean soy sauce and fried shallots. Mr Man enjoyed this the most – he is a die-hard pork fan.

All in all we really enjoyed the different flavours and textures in the variety of dishes we tried. But, most importantly the kids enjoyed the flavours too. I would highly recommend KL Bunga Raya for a casual early mid-week dinner with the family.


{Lucky Cat}

Friday, August 19, 2011

Five Sweet Little Ladies for your Friday


Yay its Friday AGAIN and here are some sweet little ladies to help you with your café hopping weekend. Enjoy!

Miss Marie
High Chairs – Change Table – Books – Room For Pram

Miss Marmalade
High Chairs – Change Table – Toys - Babycinos

Madelines's at Jell's
High Chairs – Change Table – Playground - Bike Tracks

Ester’s Table
High Chairs – Change Table – Toys – Kids Menu

Lulabells Café
High Chairs – Change Table – Toys – High Tea

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SLEEP! Guest Post from Bec at Nurture Nanny


I'm delighted to have Bec from Nurture Nanny do a lovely guest post for us on the topic of Sleep. Yes Sleep, we ALL love it and always complain we are never getting enough. Today Bec shares with us some tips on getting the bubbas to sleep so us parents can also get some "Zzz" time too.

SLEEP! When we are kids we never want to go to sleep, once we are grown-up we never seem to be getting enough of it. But once we become parents we really understand what sleep deprivation can do to our well-being and how without it, we struggle to do the most simplest things.

Getting babies and toddlers to sleep can sometimes be a real test of wills, but with persistence and patience I believe every child can and will learn to sleep.

There are countless books and Internet articles available offering help and advice on this topic but parents now have real difficulties in filtering out the important messages from all this information. On top of that every so called baby expert has different views and offers a different way to deal with sleepless nights. In my opinion the most important step for parents is to make up their mind what they are comfortable with and how they want to deal with the problem. There are a lot of different strategies which will help your baby or toddler learn to sleep. It just depends what you are comfortable with. I personally like to try the gentle, as little crying as possible approach first.

The earlier you start to teach your baby to fall asleep without any help, the better. Until three months of age a baby’s body clock hasn’t developed. They basically sleep when they are tired and wake when they are hungry and stay awake a little while afterwards.

Here are some tips to make bedtime a little easier:

• Have a consistent, soothing bedtime routine. It doesn’t have to take long but try and follow the routine every time you put your baby to sleep. Babies (and adults alike) thrive on routine and clues and giving them the right clues at the right time will make it easier for them to go to sleep.

• From as early on as possible, let your baby fall asleep without your help. Watch out for tired signs and put him to bed sleepy but not asleep yet. I realize that having your baby fall asleep in your arms is one of the nicest feelings in the world but try and limit this pleasure to only sometimes unless you are happy to get up every time your baby wakes at night.

• Avoid overstimulating your baby close to bedtime. Concentrate on quiet and soothing activities like reading, cuddling, singing lullabies etc.

• Discourage night time waking. Babies have to learn the difference between day and night. Try to keep your baby as calm and quiet at night as possible. Keep the room as dark as possible, and don't play or talk to them during the night more than necessary.


If all the above doesn’t work or you are just too exhausted to deal with it all, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Don’t underestimate your need for sleep. Trying to do it all by yourself will just make you feel even more exhausted: It won’t make you a better parent. Call in help from your partner, family, friends or a health professional. If you can afford it hire a Nurture Nanny to come to your house and help you care for your baby for a few hours or even the whole day and night. You will be surprised what a difference a few hours of sleep and a nice hot shower can make. For more information please visit our website www.nurturenanny.com.au


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Road Test :: Bubbaccino Cup by Hookturn


We love to test out new products. So when the good people over at Hookturn Industries asked us to road test their new Bubbaccino cup we jumped at the chance.

I hear you asking “what is a Bubbaccino Cup?”. Well it’s an essential item to add to any nappy bag for all you café hopping parents.

The Bubbacccino cup is the first babycino cup that’s made from food-grade silicone. Basically it’s a plastic babycino cup that will withstand the most turbulent toddler tantrum and won’t break on impact. Yes throw it on the ground or against a trendy café wall and you won’t be leaving red-faced (unless it’s filled with babycino) as this little gem won’t break. It bounces!
Here are a few little cheeky facts about the Bubbaccino Cup.


**Unbreakable and guaranteed for 3 years
**Contains no petro-chemical materials, so it’s completely BPA free
**Easy to clean – dishwasher friendly – microwave friendly – eco friendly
**Save cafe staff and mums the embarrassment of breakages



We’ve been taking our little ones out this week along with our new little bubbaccino cups. First stop was Each Peach in Brunswick for a babycino and a piece of carrot cake. I asked the waitress to fill the bubbaccino cups with her finest babycino. Little Bubba loved playing with his and we got babycino everywhere and Mr 2 enjoyed his when he wasn’t distracted by the toy box. When we were done l just wiped them clean with a baby wipe of popped them back in the nappy bag to take home and to be washed by the dishwasher. {Ahem’ – we don’t have a dishwasher – I’m the dishwasher}

We also took Mr 2’s bubbaccino cup out on Friday night to a KL Bunga Raya; he wanted to drink his orange juice from his brand new pink cup. {Yes my 2 year old son loves pink, l have no concerns – who doesn’t love pink, it’s so pretty!} The bubbaccino cup worked out well because they didn’t have any plastic cups, so no embarrassing breakages for us! Mr 2 drank his orange juice from it and as he sipped a little at a time he didn’t spill the whole drink down the front of him. I found that the bubbaccino cup was easy for Mr 2 to hold as it’s small enough for tiny hands with nice a rubbery feel for good grip.

The bubbaccino cups will stay in my nappy bag now because they are so small, compact and unbreakable without taking up much room at all. They are now squashed between the wipes, portable highchair and the nappies.

I would highly recommend the bubbaccino cup to any café hopping family and they are an easy small addition to add to the nappy bag.

Would you like to get your hands on a Bubbaccino cup? Well the lovely people over at Hookturn Industries have generously given us some of these cuties to give away to some lucky bubba’s. Simply share with us a dining disaster story. Could be broken babycino cups, food thrown on walls or toddler tantrum.

Just leave a comment to go into the draw. GOOD LUCK!


**Having trouble leaving a comment? Email contact@heybambini.com.au & we will post on your behalf**



Monday, August 15, 2011

Brunswick Community House Meets Aunty Rozzy


My Mr 2 goes to the local community house twice a week. We call it ‘kinder garden’ at our place, not occasional care. Just too long and confusing for a 2 year old! So twice a week we trot off to kinder where Mr 2 enjoys painting, reading books and playing games with all the other kids.

The centre is modest and has all the mod-cons but as you know I’m a re-cycler so I am always donating magazines and other odds and ends. Recently l donated the **Aunty Rozzy educational book pack l received at the Bloggers Brunch. The books at the centre were looking a bit tired and the walls were also looking a little bare. They were thrilled when l gave them the colourful Aunty Rozzy books and large poster filled with colourful fruit and vegetables for the wall. God knows we have enough books and posters at our place (Nanna and Grandma are teachers so we are always being showered with books!) So instead of The Aunty Rozzy books becoming lost among our HUGE collection at home l thought the books would be more appreciated at the community centre.

A big thanks to Aunty Rozzy for supplying the gift pack for us and the feedback l have so far on the donated books is that the kids are loving them and the poster is placed on the wall above the play-dough table. Very colourful indeed!

The Aunty Rozzy pack also came with some great healthy recipe cards – stay tuned for them to be cooked up in the Hey Bambini kitchen soon.


**Aunty Rozzy encourages kids to read, dance, and sing, all while aspiring to healthy eating. LinkAunty Rozzy’s books and CD’s have been designed to encourage healthy eating and she understands the importance of kid’s nutrition. Kids will love the fun, colour, and catchiness of her children's music and music videos, while parents and carers will appreciate the opportunity to read their children story books that are loaded with educational value... and nutrition for kids isn't where the educational aspect ends! For more info on Aunty Rozzy click here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Adam Liaw :: Two Asian Kitchens

We all love a new glossy cookbook sitting on our kitchen shelves. The excitement of trying a new dish here and there is something we love to do in our house. I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Adam Liaw’s cookbook, Two Asian Kitchens, who is incidentally the Master Chef winner for 2010. As part of my role as a Malaysian Kitchen Ambassador we were all given a copy of this lovely cookbook. Let’s take a peek inside….






Looks nice yeah? Can't wait to try some, stay tuned for Hey Bambini kitchen adventures!

Friday, August 12, 2011

5 Colourful Cafes for Friday

Have a colourful Friday & enjoy the weekend.

Here are 5 cafes that splash a little colour about.


Brown Cow

High chairs - Crayons & Colouring Sheets - Kids Menu

Famous Blue Raincoat


High chairs - Toys - Kids Menu

Lemon Tree

High chairs - Crayons & Colouring Sheets - Mini Milkshakes

Pearl Oyster

High chairs - Toys - Kids Menu

Marmalade Cafe

High chairs - Toys - Kids Menu

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Strawberry Jam

I know it's still winter time and strawberries are expensive but this recipe caught my eye and l just had to share. One to pop aside for the warmer months.

Simple Strawberry Jam Recipe

1.75kg Strawberries
2kg Sugar
6 Teaspoons Pectin
15g Unsalted Butter

Method

Place strawberries in a large saucepan and crush with a fork. Add sugar and pectin and heat slowly, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved. Add butter, increase heat and bring to the boil for four minutes. Remove from the heat, cool for one minute, then pot and seal.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Do you know your Cafe ABC's?


Last month l did a guest article for Alphabet Street Melbourne. Alphabet Street is an online destination for all things to do with kids and they list all the current child friendly activities happening in New Castle, Melbourne and Sydney. I was so chuffed with this article that l had written (nothing like a bit of self praise eh!) that l thought l just had to share it on my blog. You may or may not have seen it so here it is again for your reading pleasure....

Love to eat out? Love coffee? Love ANY meal you haven’t had to prepare yourself? (Of course you do – well derr!) Check out these cafes and restaurants for size. It’s Hey Bambini’s quick guide to Melbourne’s best and what better way to remember them by – it’s the Hey Bambini ABC guide to fabulous family dining.

A is for Afternoon Tea at APTE in Alphington

B is for BABYCINOS. Get your Babycino fix at Babycinos Garden Cafe

C is for Coffee Beans – Roasted on site ‘coffee heads’ can check out The Auction Rooms in North Melbourne

D is for is for Family DAY TRIP. From Ballarat to Sassafras we have 20 “Out Of Town” Cafes and Restaurants to choose from HERE.

E is for ETIQUETTE. Kid’s table manners start at home. Teach kids to chew with their mouths closed, use spoons and forks and push in their chairs after meals.

F is for Fairfield Boat House. Great family day out on the River

G is for GOOGLE maps, the best app going around guiding you on your way from cafe to cafe.

H is for HIGHCHAIR. Call ahead and book a highchair if you’re dining out at a busy time of the day or BYO Totseat

I is for ICE CREAM. If dining out at night time, order the children’s Ice Cream with your mains. Ice Cream is sure to keep active toddlers in their seats while Mum and Dad eat and enjoy their meals.

J is for Junior Republic Cafe & Boutique – shop – play – learn and eat

K is for KIDS MENUS. From fresh fruit salad with yogurt to nuggets and chips loads of cafes and restaurants cater for the kids if you know where to look.

L is for Leroy’s Cafe in Newport. It’s one of the BEST new kid friendly cafes in town.

M is for Miss Marmalade Cafe. They cater for kids and mother’s groups and serve delicious food.

N is for NAPPY. Jack and Daisy’s Cafe stock emergency supplies of Nappies for forgetful parents

O is for ORGANISED. Some cafes do have toys, books and games but always pack some extras yourself just in case.

P is for PATIENCE – bring it by the bucket load!

Q is for QUIET the time of the meal when children are happily eating. Silence really is golden.

R is for READING – Combine the love of books, coffee and cake, pop into Teatime and Tales in Carlton North for a tea party.

S is for SPACE – Let the kids roam the parklands in Bulleen then have a light lunch at the stylish Cafe Vue at the Heide Museum

T is for TOYS – find all the fun cafes in town HERE with the BEST toys

U is for UNDISCOVERED – jump in the car and drive to the other side of town.

V is for Verb Cafe in Flemington has Highchairs – Pencils - Books and Activities for the kids.

W is for Warren Glen Cafe – has Highchairs, kids menu, ducks and Thomas the Tank Engine.

X is for XYLOPHONE is case you didn’t know!

Y is for YUM CHA - dumplings, won tons, spring rolls – oh my!

Z is for Zzzzzz – the sound of sleeping in the car on the way home from a fun dining out adventure.

So now it’s time to bundle up the family and with a tiny bit of adventure and the Hey Bambini cafe knowledge you will have this weekend mapped out in no time with fun eating out experiences for the kids.

How well do you know your ABC’s?



Tuesday, August 9, 2011

High Chair Hygiene


There is nothing worse than going into a café or restaurant and plonking your little one into a dirty highchair. They say there are more bacteria growing on a highchair compared to your own toilet seat. Yeah – revolting right.

So let me pose the question to parents who use highchairs in cafes. Do you clean up after your little one has covered the highchair with the daily special? Are you the type of mum or dad that cleans up after them and leaves it nice and clean for the next tiny bottom. Or are you the type of parent who thinks, “l just paid good money for that meal and l believe the staff should clean up after us, we’re paying right”? Then there is also the unknown, do the staff even wipe down the highchairs well or do they just dust it off half-heartedly for the next customer?

Personally l’m a cleaner. I don’t wipe down before we place the bubba in the highchair – l’m not that germ mad but l do clean up afterwards, with a packet of wipes and some elbow grease. Only on one occasion l've totally freaked out about the “hygiene levels” and that was when a large cockroach emerged and crawled over my son’s tray and then disappeared. l did the freak-out-jump –up and down on the spot for 10 seconds following that episode. Cockroaches freak me out!

I understand the café staff are PAID to clean up after us but l just can’t bring myself to walk away from such a devastating mess of bread, fruit, yogurt and god knows what else has been mashed up in my young son’s mouth and then spat back all over the highchair and the floor. And even if the café staff do clean up after l have, at least l know it’s been given a good clean, twice, for the next little bottom.

My husband has been known to give me the ‘hurry up’ on several occasions because l’m down on all fours under the table frantically picking up tiny crumbs and crusts from the floor – slightly a bit obsessive l know but l like to leave things the way l found them. Clean. So next time when you are out and about have a think, are you a squeaky clean mamma or a messy mamma?

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