Friday, December 23, 2011

Five for Friday :: 5 Christmas Holiday Activities

Hello again Friday. It’s a bit sad today – yes it’s the last 5 for Friday for us. Well the last one for the year anyway! And like everyone else we have been running around like crazy to get ready for Christmas day and of course our beach holiday. So to celebrate the summer holidays here are five things that we will be doing that may inspire you to do the same. Have a wonderful Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year.

Checking out the Little Melbourne Summer Holiday Guide

Drinking Champagne

Hitting the Beach

Taking a trip to the Cinema

Monday, December 19, 2011

Warren Glen Nursery Cafe :: Revisited

I love surprises and what an AMAZING surprise the Warren Glen Nursery café was. Set in a lush garden centre on the outskirts of the Yarra Valley, this was a haven of all things beautiful.

Firstly, this is a nursery, with a massive range of all sorts of plants and garden paraphernalia. Wandering around with the kids was a great learning experience. Little Miss was keen to point out the coloured flowers, ‘waterfalls’ (fountains) and smell the herbs, all whilst pushing around the Little Man in his pram.

The gift shop at the entrance is full of beautiful clothes, toys, Christmas decorations, hand made cards and other gift ideas. I must head back without the kids one day to have a proper look. Note to self – kids and fragile, breakable items don’t mix!

The café itself is located at the back of the garden centre, across the creek and up the hill. Overexcited kids, mums with prams and anyone unsteady on their feet should take care with the steep slope.

There are four main areas to the café, with plenty of room to move a pram around. The first room is long and narrow with only a few tables opposite the counter, so not much room to sit with little ones. Running along this room is the wide balcony with beautiful views of the garden centre and surrounding countryside. The largest area is in a marquee to the back. This is undercover and protected from the elements by plastic blinds. For the kids, the main attraction is the train playground, in the other outdoor area. Here the tables are widely spaced with big market umbrellas to provide shade.

Little Miss was in her element with the train. It’s made to look like Thomas, with the engine and carriage perfect for running through and playing on. On the day I visited, six or seven eager kids were all bustling to have a go!

Kids amused. Check. Now on to the food. The menu has plenty to offer the kids and parents. There are kids options for breakfast and lunch, with a special lunch pack even including food to feed the ducks. Kiddie favourites of pikelets, eggs on toast, hot dogs, pizzas and mini burgers are likely to be winners.

Adult options include eggs anyway with extras, French toast, roasted field mushrooms and daily specials. The lunch menu gets a bit more fancy with frittata, smoked salmon quiche, gourmet focaccia and a selection of yummy tapas dishes.

The cake display case is truly to die for! My pear and walnut friand, served with cream and a caramel sauce was divine.

For those with a gluten intolerance, there are plenty of gluten free options on the regular menu and in the sweets department.

Aside from the wonderful food and beautiful setting, there are high chairs aplenty and a change table in the toilets adjoining the café.

What a fantastic place to go for some quiet time in a lovely environment.

** Big thanks to Mel for the cheeky re-visit to Warren Glen Nursery Cafe. For more details on this fab little spot pop on over to our website for our review.**

Friday, December 16, 2011

Five for Friday :: Christmas Kitchen Tunes

Happy Friday All!

Christmas is very much around the corner and we have been busy getting all our Christmas baking done. To get us in the mood it’s always fun to throw on a few cheery Christmas tunes. Daggy but true!

Here are Five of our favourite Christmas Carols that get our Christmas kitchen rocking.

Have a great weekend all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Road Test :: JO Tracks by Sweet Georgie Pie

Well it’s definitely the silly season at our place. There is not a morsel of food in the fridge because we have been hopping around from christmas party to christmas party. Yes the pants are starting to get a little tight and the kids are being loaded up with cheap plastic toys like there’s no tomorrow. I must say though with all this running around, the kids are holding up a treat. We’ve endured some long car rides, extended meals at relative’s homes and dined out at a handful of cafes and restaurants. Of course l have to plan ahead with the entertainment department with Mr 3. As much as he likes hanging out with the adults and putting on a show he does get a little bored thus resulting in me needing to find things for him to do. That’s where the wonderful JO Tracks by Sweet Georgie Pie come into the picture.

Mr 3 being a young boy is obsessed with cars and trucks, as all young fellas are and the best way l’ve found that keeps him busy is by pulling out the JO Tracks from the nappy bag. JOT who? Well let me enlighten you. Basically the JO Tracks is a light weight portable play mat which folds out to a super cool racing track, it even comes with mini garages to store the cars. The track has pictures of colourful roundabouts, a petrol station, car parks and even a toy store! The imagination certainly gets a work out here. It’s been a god-send to pull out and it’s had a few runs at various cafes, a 70th birthday and a Christmas function. Mr 3 loves it and always brings different cars along to play with. It can be propped up on a table or used on the ground but the best thing is that is fits right into the nappy bag - actually it’s about the same weight and size of a medium nappy. I guess my favourite feature is that being made from plastic makes it easy to clean and neatly folds away into any size nappy bag, making it instant entertainment. We’ve really enjoyed road-testing the JO Tracks, well Mr 3 especially, l’ve enjoyed the peace and quiet it’s given me, I’ve even been about to finish a coffee and a sandwich without being interrupted, now that’s priceless!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gingerbread Village :: Melbourne Town Hall

A guest post from our favourite Brunswick Foodie Mumma - Mel.....

Looking for somewhere a bit different to take the kids to before Christmas? LOVE gingerbread? Then Melbourne Town Hall has just the thing for you.

Epicure Catering have created a gingerbread village, complete with replicas of some of Melbourne’s icons, like the MCG, Arts Centre and Flinders Street Station.

Little Miss, the Little Man and I made a trip into the city and followed our noses to the sweet, sweet smell of gingerbread.

Entry is free, but donations to the Starlight Foundation can be made. If you do make a donation, the kids can hang a gingerbread man cutout on one of the Christmas trees with their name on it. Apparently it took two months to create the village, so given the amount of effort taken and the great work the Starlight Foundation do for sick kids and their families, a donation was the least I could give.

The room with the display is actually only quite small, but the detail in the creations is amazing! Little people made out of marzipan sell bread, fruit and vegetables from market stalls, children skate on a frozen lake and wait for the train at the station. Cricket players in their whites are even playing on the MCG!

As well as looking at the wonderful creations, you can buy some gingerbread to take home. Little Miss DEVOURED her beautiful gingerbread man and I couldn’t resist a small decorated heart to enjoy at home.

I wouldn’t make a special trip in to the city just to see the village, but if you happen to be there with the kids anyway, visiting the Myer windows and Father Christmas, then it’s well worth a stop in.

The village is open from 11am to 6pm daily, up until Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Farm Cafe :: Brunch Deal

What gift do you buy for the person who has everything? May l make a cheeky suggestion?? How about a wonderful brunch at Melbourne’s only city farm?

Christmas has come a wee bit early at Hey Bambini and we've teamed up with The Farm Cafe and Collingwood Children's Farm to bring you an amazing experience which includes a day's entry to the farm and a delicious selection from the farm's cafe menu valid for 12 months.

The farm cafe is one of Melbourne's most iconic cafes, serving delicious breakfasts, lunches and all things in between. After you have stuffed yourselves silly with delicious food, take the kids for a leisurely stroll around The Farm grounds to visit all the cute animals. From cows to sheep and chooks and ducks there is a fury or feathered friend for everyone to check out.

So here is the deal….

For the small price of $55 which is the special Hey Bambini price (RRP::$66) you can get:

**Family Entry to the Farm ($16 Value for 4 People) AND…
** A $50 Food Voucher to use in The Farm Café – DELISH!

Activity Highlights
See all the farm animals - including cow milking from 10am - 4pm daily
Delicious Food
Perfect for the whole family
On the banks of the Yarra River

What's included
Choice of food from the farm cafe's delicious menu valued at up to $50
A family pass to the farm (valid for 2 adults, 2 children)

Just use the special "Hey Bambini Coupon Button" on our HOMEPAGE & quote '11OFF' at checkout.

How easy is that! It’s the perfect for Christmas Gift for the Family that has everything.

Enjoy! x

**Please note: This experience is valid for two adults. Two children may also attend if accompanied by two adults. This experience voucher is valid for 12 months from date of purchase.**

Monday, December 5, 2011

Festive Family Favourite :: Summer Pudding

Summer Pudding for me is a new family favourite and l had no idea it even existed until l met my husband.

Our first big family Christmas together his mum served Summer Pudding for dessert, which l had never even heard of let along tried. Well l was in heaven as soon as that sweet pudding hit my mouth. Covered with fresh thick cream this is the easiest and healthiest (kind of!) festive pudding to serve at Christmas time.

Go on give it a whirl, you’ll be hooked! Enjoy!

Summer Pudding :: Serves 6

1kg mixed fresh berries
50 ml water
175 g caster sugar
8 or so stale slices good white bread, thinly sliced

1. Combine three-quarters of the berries with the sugar and water in a small saucepan and gently heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove and add more sugar if too tart. Add almost all of the remaining berries and strain the fruit, keeping all the juices.

2. Remove the crusts from the bread, and cut a piece to fit the base of a one-litre pudding basin or bowl. Cut the remaining slices into triangles or rectangles to cover the sides of the bowl. Now that you've assembled the shell, take each cut slice, dip it lightly into the reserved juices, and return it to its position in the bowl.

3. Add the berries, and some of their juices, and top with a final layer of bread, cutting to fit. Press lightly until the juices rise to the top, covering the bread. Place a saucer on top, weight it with a can, and refrigerate overnight. Refrigerate the remaining juices as well.

4. To unmould, ease a knife between pudding and bowl, place a serving plate on top and invert. Spoon the reserved juices on top and arrange the reserved berries on top. Serve with crème fraiche, pouring cream or yoghurt.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Five for Friday :: Classic Christmas Movies

Happy Friday! We usually do FIVE cafes with a theme each Friday (as you know) but seems Christmas is just around the corner l thought we'd get a bit festive and run with some Christmas themes. So here are FIVE all time classic Christmas Films (that we LOVE) to watch to get you in the festive mood.


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