Thursday, December 6, 2012

Melbourne’s BEST Ice Cream & Frozen Treat Spots



“Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.”
Don Kardong

I’m not going to go into a long winded story about ice-cream and how much my kids love it. It’s ICE-CREAM! Of course they love it. So with their passion in mind I created this cracking list of Melbourne's best places to get Ice Cream and Frozen Treats with the wee ones in tow. I’m not going to say enjoy – cos l know you will.


Jock's Ice Cream
83 Victoria Ave, Albert Park
Walking distance to Gasworks Park and the Beach Jock's also serve up Kid's Ice Cream Cones with loads of award winning lush flavours to choose from.

Gelobar

74 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Gelobar serve up $3 Baby Cones for the kids and also have a fancy new family friendly café opening next-door early 2013. The Coconut gelato is my favourite. Just saying.

Passionflower
Shop 2, 168 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Serves a variety of Asian exotic ice-creams and desserts. They are located a few blocks walk from the Myer Christmas windows

Casa Del Gelato
163 Lygon Street, Carlton
Choose all the colours from the rainbow at this busy ice-cream bar, they also have a large park next door with lush grass and shady trees. Tis’ the perfect spot to spend a sunny afternoon.

Fritz Gelato
Richmond – South Melbourne – St Kilda – South Yarra – Queenscliff – Lorne
Serves up organic ice-cream and gelato. They have loads of locations to choose from for city peeps and beach bums.

Orange Leaf
65 Bay St Port Melbourne
There are 16 delicious flavours of frozen yogurt to choose from and all are made on site daily. They also have colouring sheets and crayons for the kids with loads of room for prams. I also love the Coconut flavoured fro yo at Orange Leaf. Just saying, again!

Trampoline
Doncaster – Brighton – Camberwell – Chadstone Shopping Centre – St Kidila and The Royal Childrens Hospital.
I love that Trampoline have an outlet at the RCH, because sick bubs need ice-cream too! Not only do they serve up a mean gelato they also do smoothies, sundaes and ice-cream cakes for kids parties.

Yo-Chi Frozen Yogurt Bar
St Kilda
We all love a bit of organic action for the wee ones, it’s expensive but you know it made with love and good quality ingredients. This self-serve yogurt bar also offer over 20 toppings to go with your organic treat.

Yogurddiction
Food Van
Don’t run around town looking for frozen treats – let them come to you. The good folk over at Yoguraddiction are always popping up at various parks and shopping centres around Melbourne. Just follow them on Facebook and Twitter for daily location details. And here is the kicker – have an order over $30 and they will bring it to YOU! Perfect for Mother’s Groups meet ups in the park.

Lucky Pops Ice Delights
Food Van
Don’t you just love a food van – we’re just a little bit in love with them ATM. No mess. No fuss. All you need is cash and picnic blanket. Lucky Pops Ice Delights serves up homemade goodness on a stick. Using the best local produce in town these icy poles are packed with real fruit, herbs and spices to delight all ages. Follow their Twitter or Facebook page for daily locations. They could be at your local park this week! 

Other spots worth a little mention……

Story In A Cup
South Yarra
Give 15% off when you purchase a Family Tub

Goodness Me in Richmond

295 Bridge Rd Richmond
Have $3 ice cream cones for the kid's

Gioco Gertz in Reservoir

Aurora Foods in Coburg North

Lick Me Ice Cream in Camberwell

Cacao Green located in Camberwell as well as the City

Ben and Jerry’s on the trendy Chapel St South Yarra

Don’t be shy! If we’ve forgotten your favourite frozen treat spot please add it below.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Road-Test :: Cooking For your Baby and Toddler

We all like to eat healthy food and we all like to think we’re passing on our good eating habits to our children. And while we all may say with hand on heart we give our kids the best nutritious meals every day, sometimes it just doesn’t happen and things like cakes, sweets and crisps get mixed into the diet.

Well luckily there is this cook book to keep us on track. It’s filled with loads of fresh recipes and cooking ideas for when it comes to catering for the little ones.

Let me tell you all about “Cooking for your baby and Toddler” by Louise Fulton Keats. Yes you read correctly, Louise is the daughter of the great cook book icon and fresh food ambassador Margaret Fulton. So before l even start waffling on about this book you know it has street cred with a name like Fulton associated with.




The good folk over at Hardie Grant popped a copy in the post for us and we were only too happy to give it a test run in the Bambini kitchen. Here’s what we got from it.

The book is mainly aimed at young babies who are starting on solids right up to toddlers and young pre-school children. Although l must confess the whole family had the Asian Chicken Bites for our dinner the other night and we loved them, so basically some of the recipes are suitable for all ages.

The book teaches new parents how to incorporate solids into their child’s diet while offering a diverse range of ingredients, textures and flavours to try and use. It also touches on what essential vitamins and minerals should go into young little tummies for healthy growth and learning, while exploring all different types of cuisines and tastes.

Louise shows parents how to puree, whip, chop, bake, stew and mince wholesome food for your little tackers.  She even has suggested weekly meal planners, which makes mum’s job a little easier in the kitchen. With beautiful recipes on offer plus photography to match, it will change the way you think about the nightly meal and give you loads of inspiration on what to dish up the wee ones. Because let’s face it, we all get into a cooking rut, and it’s nice to try something new now and again.

Here are some of the meals we’ve be whipping up from the book.

 
Apricot and Coconut Balls



 
Asian Chicken Bites
 

 
Carrot, Potato and Zucchini Frittata Fingers
 
 
I believe it’s the prefect Christmas Gift for any expecting parent, l only wish l had been able to get my hands on it a few years ago when my babies were starting out on solids. 

**********

Try before you buy! Check out this yummy Salmon Cakes recipe over on the Cooking for your Baby and Toddler website. Enjoy!



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pre-Christmas Detox

Over the past few weeks the adults in the Bambini household have been on a bit of detox. The booze fridge has been empty. Loads of salads and extra vegie helpings are being consumed along with copious amounts of piping hot Green Tea. I read online (as you do!) that Green Tea is great for the metabolism and has loads of antioxidants, so l thought why not give it a crack. Lord knows l drink far too much caffeine anyway, a few weeks off won’t hurt.  

Well can l report that I’ve gone a bit mad for the stuff and have even been taking my Green Tea on the kinder run, to work and to the shops. Sounds a little extreme that I would be carrying around my cup and saucer to all these places, but l’ve managed to get my hands on a reusable beverage cup, which has made the Green Tea consumption a success.

I couldn’t have done it without the help of my Joco Beverage Cup of course. This re-useable beverage cup is the best. It’s made of glass, has a splash safe lid, a thermal silicone sleeve so my little pinkies don’t burn and l’m doing my bit for the environment by saving a paper coffee cup!



The Joco folk are that passionate about hot beverages they even have a tea and coffee booklet in the cup packaging. With tips on brewing temperatures and a coffee chart you’ll be spoilt for choice on which beverage to decide on when next indulging in a five minute break from life.




Some other facts you may like to know about my new Joco cup is that it’s dishwasher safe, microwave safe, it’s barista certified, BPA free, and the packaging is 100% recyclable.  In my mind the Joco cup is the perfect Christmas gift for any café hoping mamma or papa.



*Babycino Cup Coming Soon

*Join the coffee community and check out their blog which is jammed packed with coffee news and reviews.

**Disclaimer :: The lovely folk over at Joco popped one of these in the post for me. No money was exchanged nor will l be getting any commission from the sales of these fab little cups. (I WISH!!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

{Spotted!} Mini Bus Plate


Make meal time speedy with this super cool Mini Bus dinner plate. 





 
This has just been added to the Bambini bubba’s wish list!
 
Want it NOW!

 Then click on over here to find out how to get one on your dinner table.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Are you on Pinterest?



How sweet is this little man?!

You know we have heaps of cool vintage images over on our Pinterest Page.

We have other stuff too like cupcakes, colour inspiration, flowers, quotes and other fun things that make us gush and goo.

Are you on Pinterest? We’d LOVE to follow you. Leave your link in the comments. Happy Pinning!

Monday, November 19, 2012

5 Beauty Products l Can’t Live Without


I’m not going run out the “busy mum” line. I think everyone is busy, even the folks without children. Although a typical morning at my place is chaos, l still want to look half decent before l let the outside world get a look at my sleep deprived face. So here are my top 5 beauty products that help keep me looking presentable and a little bit polished.

1.    Avon Magix Face Perfector is an amazing primer that is smoothed on before your foundation. I’ve used many primers in the past and this product is simply wonderful for a flawless coverage.

2.    Prestige Brow Perfection is a clear gel that shapes those wolverine brows. Your brows frame your face and this light weight gel holds them in place all day.

3.    Rimmel Soft Kohl Eyeliner in White brightens up those tried eyes. Applied on the inside bottom eyelid this will make your whites white! This is eyeliner not laundry powder, but seriously, your whites whiter and brighter!

4.    OPI Nail Envy Strengthener is a quick drying clear polish that keeps those nails hard and growing strong. Just perfect for picking stickers from lounge room floors, kitchen cup boards and any other obscure place your toddler has stuck them.

5.    Chanel Lipstick :: No 19 Gabrielle is my favourite and l wear it often. It’s deep red. I LOVE bold colours on lips. But most of all my 3 year old LOVES my bright lipstick. I kiss him on his hand before l drop him at day-care and he carries my kiss around with him all day and looks at it if he gets sad. (So true and SO sweet!)

All of this can be done within the time of a Charlie and Lola episode or a Super Hero Squad episode. Pick your child’s favourite show, hop to the bathroom and get to work sister!

 **********

*I was a Make-Up artist before l had children (actually still am!!) so l do have some knowledge of what l’m talking about. Just saying!*

**Disclaimer :: All of these products are MINE and have been purchased from my own money. The only thing that was given to me was the Magix Face Protector which was sent to my by Avon.**

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Melbourne’s Best Sweet Spots


There is a small child in all of us. Who doesn’t love peering over a glass counter filled with sweet treats? Lollypops, jelly beans, freckles, red skins, scorched almonds, snow balls, chocolate mates, big boss cigars……

Are visions of mixed lollies dancing through your head now?

Next time the sweet tooth attacks why not check out some of these places we’ve spotted in the city.

All are kid friendly – goes without saying really!!

155 Queen St Melbourne
A one stop shop for all that is great in confectionery.

191 Swanston Walk Melbourne
Stocks a range of lush boutique chocolates

 Level 1 243 Collins St Melbourne
Imported sweets and treats from Great Britain

Ground Floor :: Melbourne Central
An old-fashioned lolly store crammed with sweets &
lollies, including retro sweets and old-school candies
Royal Arcade :: 335 Bourke St
 Handmade rock candy which is made on site

Have we missed your favourite lolly store? Feel free to add them in the comments below.

Monday, November 12, 2012

{Spotted!} Kids Pocket Notebook

We are loving these cute pocket note books by the folk over at Noodoll

They would be the perfect addition to any bubbas café hoping bag....

 – just add crayons and imagination.




Monday, November 5, 2012

{Spotted!} :: Colourful Donkey Pinata


Here's a splash of colour to start the week off. We heart checking out Mini Eco and this Donkey Pinata was recently featured and caught our eye.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Road Test :: Steelcraft Strider Compact



*Disclaimer: Steelcraft kindly offered us the Strider Compact Pram as a travel pram when they became aware of our family trip overseas to Asia. There was no money exchanged & these honest thoughts are my very own. *

A family holiday overseas is like a wedding. It takes months of planning and when you least expect it, it rolls around and then you’re back home, stuck in the laundry washing tacky $5 souvenir T-shirts. Although l wouldn’t be washing T-Shirts after a wedding, instead l would be getting my gown dry-cleaned. Well you get the general gist!  

I’m rambling already aren’t l? I miss my pool bar.

But enough daydreaming about the pool bar, I’m here to share with you our adventures we had in Hong Kong and Vietnam. 

We weren’t alone in our travels, there was Mr Bambini, Mr 2, Mr 4, Gramps, Granny, yours truly and the Steelcraft Strider Compact. Yes the pram gets a mention as the 7th family member, but only because l spent so much time fussing over it like a small child, hauling it in and out of planes, trains and automobiles, making sure it was safe and sound.


{Mr 2 at Hoi An Market}

In a word – it’s not a travel pram. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fabulous pram for parents who like to go to the park, the supermarket or even on a short day trip. But for lugging around busy airports, hotels, tour buses and train stations it’s not the best thing to have around.

First here are some basics. This pram suits all stages of a child’s growth and development. Optional accessories include a Bassinet, InfantCarrier and a Second seat. We only used the one seat as Mr 4 likes to walk and we only needed the pram for Mr 2 for the big walks. 

The pram actually clips apart in two pieces. There is the sturdy frame that folds down, then the stroller seat is easily released from the frame, thus making two. The pram will not fold down while the stroller seat is still attached. It must be removed. Let me go through the PROS and CONS of our overall experience with the Steelcraft Strider Compact.

{Mr 4 at Hong Kong Disney Land}


PRO:: The stroller seat can face both ways – front and back. Your child can either choose to sleep facing in or face out. Mr 2 mainly faced out, he loves watching the world go by when he is having some down time while on the move.

CON:: That stroller seat was my new BFF. It couldn’t be checked under the plane and was included in my carry on because it wasn’t attached to the pram. So along with the nappy bag, my handbag, the kids backpack l now had one more thing to carry, as well as watch the kids. Although it was fun to use the stroller seat to poke the children with if they weren’t moving fast enough to get to their seat on the plane.

CON:: The stroller frame and the accessory bag had to be placed in giant plastic bags when checked as luggage. This took up extra time with a feeling of the unknown, will we see you at the other end dear pram? Again with the fussing.

PRO :: The stroller seat did fit in the above overhead locker. Yippee!


{Over Head Locker :: Flight from Ho Chi Minh}

PRO :: Loved that the wheels can easily clip off when you need to put it into a small Hong Kong taxi 

CON :: Hated that we had to put one piece of the pram in one taxi and another piece in granny’s taxi. I don’t know if the word compact immediately came to mind in this situation.

PRO :: The pram is FANTASTIC for sleepy children. We loved that the seat has THREE backrest adjustments with pillow and full leg support. The kids really slept soundly while we were out and about.


{Mr 2 having a Catnap!}

CON:: Hated that while Mr 2 was asleep l couldn’t get the pram onto a Hong Kong Peak Tram because it was too big to fit into the carriage. I had to wait at the bottom while everyone went to the view point to take in the Hong Kong scenery. And just a word – there are A LOT of stairs in Hong Kong. A lot…..

PRO :: We loved that the Steelcraft had a sturdy frame. We especially loved it more when Mr 2 got T-Boned by a crazy Vietnamese Cyclist. The frame took a really good beating and didn’t bend or bow. No one was injured. Maybe my pride more than anything, l was the one driving the pram. 

CON :: In Hong Kong they don’t allow prams on the escalators, therefore we had to seek out every lift in town just to get around. If we had a smaller pram we may have been cheeky and risked the escalator.

PRO :: We loved the accessory bag storage system which sat under the pram. We stashed all our sunscreen, bug spray, water and shopping with ease. See picture below. 


{Ready for the day - nappy bag all packed}

CON:: Who ever invented the buckle up system on this pram needs a good talking too! There are 4 separate harness straps with buckles that have to be placed into one giant buckle. This is NOT an ideal system when trying to restrain a back arching, tantrum throwing 2 year old.

CON :: The Steelcraft Strider is not good for using around the streets of Vietnam. The footpaths are non-existent or jammed with bikes or junk, and the option of walking on the road is just too dangerous. A much smaller and lighter pram would have been better to use. But that’s just in my opinion.

PRO :: The pram is the perfect height for wheeling up to tables in restaurants. We hardly asked for a high chair as the pram doubled as one. Yay!


{Walking on the road in Hoi An - footpath not wide enough for us!}

In a nutshell it was hard work lugging around such a large pram. 

I hated checking it in at the airport as it was too big to take through to the boarding gate. It was also hard work getting it into taxi’s and buses and it was just another thing to juggle along with two very excited children. 

It’s not the pram’s fault, it’s just that it’s not suitable for this location. On the flip side it was GREAT for the kids to sleep in and for storing their bits and pieces. 

I won’t take this travelling again but l will use it to walk up to the shops and maybe pop into a café, although like l said, the frame is rather large and not suitable for small spaces.


{Take me home...}

 **We never used the arm bar, rain cover, mesh sun shield or boot cover – it was just more stuff to carry in my mind. I’m sure these extras will come in handy when we are just cruising around our neighbourhood.**
 


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Spotted! Uber Cool Highchair

This Highchair looks pretty slick to me.
 
Just add baby + soggy weetbix = fun mess for mum!
 


 
Get all the COOL deets HERE

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spotted! :: Cute Dinner Plates

 
I'm such a big kid - l would totally LOVE eating off these plates too.
 




You can BUY them HERE

Monday, October 8, 2012

Let's Play! Cafes with Cool Play Areas

 
 
It's 10am.
 
You need coffee.

The kids need to get out of the house.

And you need some inspiration on where to take the youngins.

Here are our Top 4 cafes to visit that have excellent play areas for the kids.

 
North Folk
Head to Maxxii Moo :: Unleash the kids into the mini kitchen play area and let them cook you brunch! 
 
South of the River
Skip your way over to Cowderoy’s Dairy :: One word - PLAYGROUND – they have one next door – need l say more.
 
West Side
Get on that West Gate Bridge to Leroy’s :: On offer is a good little play area for the kids, complete with sandpit. So the wait in traffic is totally worth it.
 
East Peeps
Look no further than Fordham’s Milkbar. :: Bake treats are sure to add pounds to your waist line but who cares, the kids will love the milkshakes, mini cupcakes and of course the train playground.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Family Day Trip :: Ballarat

Readers of this blog know that I’m originally a Ballarat girl. Most of my teenage days were spent munching on chips and gravy at Central Square and hanging out at Lake Wendouree talking about boys, as you do.

Being Melbourne based now l usually jump at the chance to head back home, and recently l was invited to a preview of Ballarat in Bloom which was held by Ballarat Regional Tourism. Basically, Ballarat in Bloom will be a festival celebrating the vintage side of Ballarat. The festival will showcase everything from local food, fashion, art and blooms which is planned for the months of October and November.


We experienced a stunning gourmet lunch at The Botanical Gardens and a guided tour of the Capturing Flora exhibition currently on show at the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. And while this was all lovely, for a mum without her kids, l got to thinking how Ballarat in Bloom would be appealing for families. And here is what l came up with.


Capturing Flora :: 300 Years of Australian Botanical Art
This exhibition is perfect for the art loving mums with a baby bub. If you want to get out of the house to check some local botanical art history then this exhibition is for you. The Gallery has changing facilities on site with a cute café next door serving tasty eats and treats to re-fuel.

Spring Fest Market (my personal favourite!)
We’ve been going to Spring Fest for many years now with the bubbas. Set on Lake Wendouree foreshore the Spring Fest market has over 350 stalls to visit. From food, fashion, kids clothing, baked treats, ice-cream, face-painting, vintage cars, carnival fares and more. A must visit in my book. Pack the pram along with your best walking shoes. There are toilets available all around the lake with FREE parking on site, plus loads of fun things for the kids to experience and look at.


Ballarat Botanical Gardens
A visit the Botanical Gardens with the Kids is a must. The gardens host a variety of fun activities for the wee ones like the BotaniKids Playgroup and the Great Big Garden Play Day.

The BotaniKids playgroup program welcomes families with open arms, aimed at children between 0 and 4 years of age, they meet up at the Robert Clark Centre in November for music, craft and fun. BYO Kids Snacks. See HERE for dates and times.

The Great Big Garden Play Day celebrates international children’s day in style. With a range of fun activities on offer for the kids, from bug hunting, water fun, dress up’s, treasure hunts, giant spiders and nature story time, there is sure to be an activity your little one will LOVE.  The Great Big Garden Play Day is on the 24th October. See HERE for a full list of more BotaniKids activities.

Kid Friendly Eats
How could we not mention some of our favourite spots to get some good country style family eats. Whether it’s lunch, dinner or morning tea these places will re-fuel your tiny tourists in no time.




The most important thing to pack when planning a day trip is your sense of adventure. The folk are friendly and the weather can be slightly cool, so pack an extra jumper, just in case. To me its home and Ballarat sure is fun for families.

For more information on other events during Ballarat in Bloom see HERE.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Spotted! :: Train Set Table Top

This Train Set table top puts a whole new meaning to ‘playing with your food.’ Check it out!



 



The Bambini bubbas would LOVE one of these in our kitchen.

Purchase details HERE

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Little Taste of Taste

Last week we were treated to a preview of Taste of Melbourne. For of all of you who don’t know what Taste is, basically it’s one of Melbourne’s finest food festivals which showcase the best local restaurants, wines and produce. This year it will be outdoors in Albert Park, which in my mind makes it more attractive to families. Mainly for the reason that if the kids spill food or drink on the grass no one is going to care, right?




The alfresco gourmet setting will not only be a relaxed environment for families it will give them the opportunity to try out some of Melbourne’s finest dishes going around. As a family we’d never in this great wild earth consider packing the kids up and taking them to say the likes of Taxi Dining Room (which is very fancy pants by the way!) But instead we can take them along to Taste and have a sample of what they have on offer, then organise a babysitter for a date night. Sounds like a plan yeh?

Here are some of the delightful mouth-watering eats we got to sample.







We especially love the opening times too, pop down for a cheeky bit of lunch or early dinner with the wee ones.

More family friendly features that are worth a mention include disposable crockery and {we love}…. FREE picnic rugs in the Lilydale Gourmet Picnic Garden.

SOME OF THE STARING RESTAURANTS INCLUDE :: The Point :: Albert St Food & Wine :: Taxi Dining Room :: Libertine :: Movida :: Mamasita :: Sake and Living Room just to name a few…

OPENING TIMES

Taste of Melbourne operates like a restaurant with a lunch and dinner service. A Taste Session lasts for 4 hours (5 hours on Sunday) to give you time to enjoy your pick of restaurant dishes, browse the artisan stalls of the Producers Market and enjoy complimentary features including the Taste Kitchen, Chef’s Skillery, master classes. Tickets are sold for each session and are only valid for the time and date indicated on the ticket.
                                                     LUNCH                     DINNER
Thursday 15th November              Closed                  5.30pm – 9.30pm        
Friday 16th November            12.00pm – 4.00pm        5.30pm – 9.30pm       
Saturday 17th November        12.00pm – 4.00pm        5.30pm – 9.30pm       
Sunday 18th November          12.00pm – 5.00pm 
                                                             
This event is truly one to pencil into the diary this year.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Spotted! :: Cute Crayon Treat Bags

How cute are these! 



These crayon treat bags are going on our “to-make” list.

See full instructions HERE

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