The incredible new immersive $1.5 million jellyfish exhibit at SEALIFE Melbourne will open to the public on the 12th December, just in time for school holidays!! Yes, SEALIFE Melbourne have done it again! They have created another jaw dropping exhibition full of learning opportunities with plenty of “oohs” and “aaahs”.
I went and had a peek inside the most incredible deep blue exhibition, and descended into the fascinating world of jellyfish! They are truly magnificent, and completely mesmerising to watch! Everything has been thought about in this exhibition from the lighting, to each of the three interactive zones, almost bursting with multiple species of jellyfish! This really is a Jellyfish lovers dream!!
Ocean Invaders at SEALIFE Melbourne immerses you in the beauty and wonder of a jellyfish invasion as you are surrounded by thousands of mesmerising creatures and spectacular lighting projections across multiple displays! I loved the amazing spherical globe filled with swarming jellyfish. It is a sight to behold!
Further in to the exhibition you will find ‘The Jelly Lab’ where you can discover strange facts about the jellyfish lifecycle and take a peek behind the scenes as SEALIFE Melbourne staff tend to the blooms of these graceful (and sometimes dangerous) sea creatures.
In the third zone, children and adults alike can escape the invasion by crawling through an amazing cylindrical tank filled with oscillating jellyfish. (Got to be seen to be believed!)
My kids absolutely love the interactive SEA LIFE Melbourne’s Art Aquarium, and this time they will get the chance to design their own colourful jellyfish, which will be brought to life on a giant projection wall. Take your camera!!
Ocean Invaders works hard to educate all visitors about the causes behind the increasing population – or invasion – of certain species of jellyfish in our oceans and the actions people can take to limit these exponential and sometimes problematic population increases, so make sure you don’t miss a thing!
There really is so much to see and even more to learn about these incredible creatures, so make sure you have plenty of time to make the most of this truly special exhibition!
We were so excited to be invited to be amongst the first tasters of the Peppa Pig High Tea at the world famous Langham Melbourne, before it arrives later this month!
What a treat to be sitting in the iconic Melba restaurant surrounded by squeals of delight, sweet treats and happy faces!
Don’t be fooled in to thinking that Poppy & Monty are too old for this exciting high tea. Both of them were Peppa Pig super fans back in the day, and whilst ‘nostalgic’ may not be the right word, they definitely loved being able to embrace their old love for everyones favourite piggy and I would say that all children are the perfect age to appreciate the deliciousness that comes with a Langham High Tea, Peppa Pig style!
Peppa Pig will swap muddy puddles for The Langham, Melbourne during the summer school holidays. On weekdays from Friday 27 December 2019 until Friday 24 January 2020, The Langham, Melbourne will host a Peppa Pig-themed high tea for little piggies and grown-ups.
Just like our loveable friend Peppa, we all enjoy dressing up and adore a fab day out, which makes thePeppa Pig High Tea at The Langham, Melbourne an ideal outing for families with Peppa Pig fans who love a bit of luxury.
Little Piggies are encouraged to dress up as their favourite Peppa Pig character and have an oink-tastic time tasting Peppa’s shortbread cookie, muddy puddle dip cups with strawberry and marshmallow fruit skewers and more. Yes mums, there’s a lot of sweetness, so be prepared!!
Whilst the children ate their way through lashings of fairy bread (I’ll never get used to this Aussie delicacy), cheese and Vegemite brioche, chive and Parmesan quiche and honey and soy chicken skewers (Monty’s favourite), I got to devour the Langham’s signature Wedgwood high tea and sip on sparkling wine! Sounds prefect doesn’t it? It was!!!!
The Peppa Pig High Tea is incredible, however it is not for the faint hearted! Go with an open mind, deck yourself in your favourite pink outfit (not compulsory) hold your sugar rationing at the door, make sure you’re hungry (really hungry) and take your camera as it’s just too cute not to snap! All little Piggies will be given a plush toy, colouring activity and Peppa Pig ears which they will love to take home and cherish!!
This would be the perfect Christmas gift for a little Peppa Pig fan!
‘There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea’ – Henry James
All the info
Dates:27th December 2019 and concluding 24th January, 2020 Weekdays only
Cost: Child: $69* per child including one plush toy, colouring activity and Peppa Pig ears. Peppa Pig high tea stand and toy items are charged per head. Extra toys can be purchased on the day subject to availability.
Adult: $69* per adult for Christmas with Wedgwood menu including a glass of sparkling, coffee or tea * +$5 on public holidays. Toys can be purchased on the day subject to availability.
The Being Brave Book: A novel & guide about finding courage and strength by Sema Musson and Hester Leung.
I have recently enjoyed this delightful book with my 11-year-old daughter, who herself has moved schools and walked, in many ways, in the shoes of the main characters. Not only did it encourage us to discuss the power of positive thinking, but also started conversations on the importance of being determined, brave, honest, imaginative, and best of all, kind. Lessons that we could all take on board and talk to our children about a little more frequently.
‘Ellie and Alyssa have been best friends since pre-school. One chatty, one shy, one adventurous, the other considered, one Australian, one with Chinese heritage, both supportive and giving. It’s easy together. Then they change schools.’
Being Brave is a novel and personal development guide for young girls with themes on self-esteem and resilience. It’s the first novel/guide we have read and I’m glad we did!
We are all aware of the challenges children face while growing up, but it’s stories like this that teach us all how to put one foot in front of the other regardless of how big the climb! It’s an important read for youngsters as it confirms their feelings are not out of the ordinary, and therefore they’re not alone.
Please grab a copy and join Ellie and Alyssa on this important journey through the everyday pressures of school and family life in this all-Australian girls’ adventure story, where girls triumph and the main characters reflect Australia’s wonderful ethnic diversity.
Get a copy, cuddle up with your girl, and take some time out to enjoy the togetherness whilst learning some positive personal development tips!
If you are a parent in Melbourne, you will have heard of the amazing gang at Friend in Me. If you haven’t, keep reading because you need to know about the wonderful work they are doing!
Friend In Me enhances social inclusion and spreads kindness in childhood in the effort to break the cycle of mental health conditions that derive from being ostracised from society. These guys deliver all the magic that is sadly missing from some children’s lives! Talk about AMAZING!!!
Friend in Me are on a mission to make sure that no child is left behind.
‘We want to children to be empowered to celebrate their uniqueness and have the confidence and the tools to build their tribe so they can go forth with life when they never thought possible. We are working and collaborating with organisations to have an impact on social change through our events and workshops.’ – Friend in Me
Friend In Me is having an end of year celebration at the iconic Melbourne Museum on Saturday, 14th December 2019 with some amazing acts including;
Headlining act by Harrison Craig winner of the second series of ‘The Voice’
Snow Queen Elsa
To join in all the fun at Melbourne Museum, in support of Friend in Me, you can purchase adult tickets for $30. All of the money will go directly to Friend In Me to make sure even more kids are supported! Kids are free (or gold coin donation).
**Tickets include free entry into the Museum after the event so you can all make a day of it.
We are so excited to tell you that the NGV Kids Summer Festival returns in 2020, and this year it’s inspired by the NGV’s summer program featuring KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness and Keith Haring | Jean Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines. If you haven’t seen this exhibition yet, then you need to get to the NGV pronto!!
Running from Saturday 11 – Sunday 19 January this year’s summer program follows the theme of Party Time featuring hip-hop workshops, dance parties and hands-on art-inspired activities hosted in the NGV’s Great Hall. Now who could possibly turn that down?
Drawing on the emotive characters featured in KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness,kids can design a portrait using bright colours and expressions to explore identity and emotion. Taking inspiration from Keith Haring’s iconic New York subway chalk drawings, kids can share their own chalk art on an installation responding to the NGV’s Great Hall stain glass ceiling.
KAWS: PLAYTIME Relaxed Mornings will run from Monday-Friday during the Kids Summer Festival offering children with autism or disability a quiet and relaxed session in the free kids space.
During the January holidays, teens get the opportunity to master a new skill at a screen printing workshop at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.
Make sure you head to the NGV website and get hold of all the information, so that your little darlings don’t miss out on all this wonderful fun!
Australian retailer The Reject Shop has just launched it’s fab range of wheelchair-inclusive Halloween costumes for children, part of a mission to become more inclusive and allow children of all abilities to be a part of special occasions. Can we get a “Hell yeah!!”
Partnering with national charity HeartKids, the range features two costumes that fit over a child’s wheelchair, and easily attach to it with velcro. With the puff of a magic wand, one of the costumes transforms the chair into a gorgeous princess carriage, while an ‘Ahoy Captain’ will see the other transform into a pirate ship. As every wheelchair is different, multiple velcro pieces are included with each costume to ensure that it fits.
“The Reject Shop has long been known as the place for affordable Halloween costumes, but we wanted to ensure that all children were able to join in the fun of Halloween celebrations,” says The Reject Shop’s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dani Aquilina.
For the launch, The Reject Shop is collaborating with their charity partner, HeartKids, who is dedicated to working with children with congenital heart disease, who often find themselves in wheelchairs post-surgery and throughout their recovery stage.
“Our wheelchair-inclusive range is the first step in ensuring that inclusion and diversity are inherent in our organisation. We’re excited to introduce the range to parents and children this October, as part of our broader strategy to help more families live on a budget.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with The Reject Shop on such an important initiative,” says Rob Lutter, CEO of HeartKids. “These costumes will allow wheel-chair bound children a much needed distraction from their time in hospital, and the chance to simply be kids again and enjoy Halloween celebrations.”
Along with The Reject Shop’s full range of kid’s costumes, the Halloween wheelchair range will be available in selected stores nationally, just in time for Halloween.
Retailing for $49 each, it’s hoped that the range will make children in wheelchairs feel every bit a part of the Halloween celebrations.
When we landed in Sydney almost 5 years ago, it was probably the most overwhelming yet exhilarating time of our lives. Where would we live? Where would I buy my groceries? What is the traffic like? And most importantly, how on earth am I going to find the right school?
In order to settle into life ‘Down Under’ and get sorted with all the things necessary to ‘live’ as a family, we had given ourselves about 10 weeks leeway.
A few days after arriving, our relocation consultant, turned up! Lisa drove us around for three days looking for the best location in Sydney, to fit what we were looking for to build our new life. (A dream right??)… Yes, we were spoilt, but using a service like this, meant we landed on our feet in the perfect spot for the whole family!
I am well aware that lots of expats arrive in Australia without this kind of assistance, and that’s why I want to introduce you to a couple of amazing women who are dedicated to helping you find the perfect school & location for your family even if you’re not on Aussie soil!!
Steph is a mum to 3 kids, who lives in Bayside, Melbourne. Steph worked for 6 years at Kilvington Grammar before having her first child and taking 6 years off to expanded her family. She completed her masters while away from the classroom and got involved in community kindergarten where currently she is President. Steph went back to the classroom in 2017 working in the state system and now works 2 days a week teaching Year One. Steph loves teaching because no day is the same, the kids make you laugh and you’re always kept on your toes.
‘Teaching is so rewarding! Seeing your students ‘ah ha’ moments and pride in their success makes all the tough moments worthwhile’ – Stephanie Murphy
Claire is also a mum and has worked for 11 years in the Catholic system across different areas of Melbourne from Cheltenham to Melton and now based in East Malvern. She has her masters in ‘Inclusive Schooling’ and is currently working 2 days a week in Year 6. Claire has taught extensively in Prep and has been a transition coordinator welcoming children in at the beginning of their primary school journey. Conversely Claire has also taught 3 years in Year 6 and has seen her students graduate and transition to secondary schooling. Claire is a lover of learning, challenging herself to always think differently, try something new and see where it leads. She also has the most infectious laugh making it hard to not all end up in stitches.
School Finder was borne from our own personal experiences. When I (Steph) was looking for a school for Henry (my eldest) I found not only were my choices limited (at the time we lived further down the Peninsula) but the variety of offerings was so diverse it was hard to really decide what I wanted. At the same time Claire had just had her first baby and so, as I searched Claire answered my phone calls about what I liked, what I didn’t and things I noticed while looking at different schools. 2 things were really clear – even with our teaching background, we still needed a clear criteria and set of parameters that met our children. Parents on tours with me spent most of the time smiling and nodding uncertainly, whilst I spent a lot of my time deciphering jargon for them.
After I had chosen a school for Henry and we were in the process of moving and finding him a kindergarten, we decided to write down some of the things that Claire did with me, informally, as a framework for what now we call our Welcome Survey. My husband built the website, we started putting our name out there and between friends, family and word of mouth our little start up was born and we began to get clients and test out our service.
‘In our first year we didn’t charge any of our clients, we wanted to see if what we did worked for families, we wanted to review and refine our service and build relationships with new people and schools. Now we have clients from all over Melbourne and interstate Australia. Including several international moves also’ – Stephanie Murphy
What services do you offer expat parents moving to Australia for the first time? Can you assist parents even when they have never visited the area?
When families move to Australia we want to ensure we talk to them about what the Australian school system looks like, how the calendar year & terms work, and educational approaches. We then walk them through the online resources they can access including MySchool, Find my school and bettereducation.com.au.
As with all of our clients, whether local or far away, we start by sharing our welcome survey which really identifies what parents are looking for in a school setting. We question the pragmatics of location, after school care, and canteen, to the values and ethos by which people raise their families and what they want from a school. We also question how much involvement a family wants to have in a school community.
Then, via Skype or if in Melbourne in person, we coach parents on how to use online tools, how to build a personalised criteria and how to write direct questions that relate to that criteria. If parents have never visited the area, we go for them and report back or book them in for when they arrive in Melbourne!
School Finder has 3 staggered packages depending on need. So if parents are happy after the one on one they are not locked into the next step. If we tour on behalf of the client we go with their criteria and questions and operate like a proxy for them. Schools are often really happy to take us through and because we are teachers who walk the walk and talk the talk, we can be quite direct in what the family is looking for.
If a parent was moving to Victoria, from overseas, what would be the reason they would choose your help?
For a family moving to Victoria we would start with the welcome survey then set up a Skype or Zoom meeting to chat and talk through the Australian schooling, personalised criteria and questions. We use multiple screens to teach parents how to use online tools and we discuss some of the issues with sites like bettereducation.com.au which is advertising heavy. This is the ‘Check In’ and is vitally important for introducing families to us and the Australian Education System.
Our next package up called the Line Up – sends us away from the check in to do the research and take the leg work out of ‘what’s out there?’ After we have done our research we come back to the client with 3-5 schools to tour, how they meet their criteria and contact/tour information all in one document ready to go. We also tour for our clients so if they have completed the Line Up, then they want us to tour, we can do that on their behalf, either charged as part of the full relocations package or by the hour depending on the clients needs. In some cases we have already toured the school so we don’t need to tour again but do some fact finding in terms of class sizes, entry points, availability of spots.
We try to keep our service really personal, so what we do for one client may not match the needs of another. We make sure we tailor our service to your family’s needs. Stephanie Murphy
In your opinion, what is the most challenging thing when helping overseas/expat families find the best school for their child?
Apart from the time difference which makes it near impossible to get on the phone to chat to the schools, we have found that expat families find the difference in the Australian and UK education models quite significant. That, combined with understanding the VCE end of the journey can be tricky.
Why do you think your services are important for parents moving to a new country?
As one of our clients recently said ‘You’ve been our woman on the ground’. Moving to a new country is exciting and daunting but when you’re migrating with children there are so many things to consider. Where do we live? How far is that really to work? What is close by? Do we want to go to the local school? Can we walk there? Is there childcare I like close by?
We believe we can give expat families a helping hand in understanding what Australian schooling is like and help them to feel a bit more ready for what they are arriving into when they get here.
Recently I was on a school tour and met a family who had arrived from Scotland 4 weeks earlier. The family had toured over 12 schools, been looking for housing in 5 suburbs and were still living in their AirBNB feeling utterly overwhelmed. Their kids were, on the whole, happy to be living in a new place but, their youngest was struggling without a routine.
Within a week we found them a school, helped them settle on a location to live and now 3 weeks on they are much more relaxed into Aussie life.
Claire and I got into teaching because we love helping people, forging good relationships and a great rapport with those around us and seeing the results. This is exactly what we do with School Finder. Stephanie Murphy
I understand that leaving your home can be overwhelming, let alone struggling to build a new life so far away! Claire and Stephanie have made this process a whole lot easier for you, so I hope you will support them in their crusade, to make expat family life a lot easier to build! Recently the team at School Finder have connected with a relocation company who specialise in Melbourne rentals (hurrah)! This means that they can help you find the right school and get you into your new rental stress free.
I’d love to hear how you found the right school for your new expat kids!
Since moving to Australia, I have found buying gifts for friends children, here and overseas, a nightmare. I always want to buy something interesting, not made of plastic, and an experience rather than a toy! I try and choose a gift that is typically ‘Australian’ but other than books or cuddly Koala toys I find myself stumped for a unique idea. **You’re going to thank me for this, I promise!!
If you’re like me, and have searched to no avail, for the perfect gift for a special child in your life then let me end your searching! I have recently discovered The Adventures of Ash & Indigo, and would love you to check it out!
Give a wild gift of adventure, story telling and nature connection. Waste free, no plastic packaging, delivered to your door, and spreading beautiful messages – The Adventures of Ash & Indigo
The Adventures of Ash & Indigo is the brain child of Brenna and Becky, two ex-primary school teachers, who had a dream to bring the Aussie bush to children across Australia and the world. They are both mothers, trained forest school leaders and hugely passionate about inspiring kids to get out into the wild, wherever they may live, through their monthly letter subscription service.
“This work is so important to us because we know that kids who are in nature care about it, they are connected to it and they will act to protect it as they grow’ – Becky
Having received our first two letters, I can assure you that your children will delight when they receive theirs. With a subscription, a special letter will arrive each month from Ash and Indigo, two kids growing up in the Australian Bush. The letter shares their adventures and helps builds a strong connection with nature through the power of story telling.
Monty thinks these letters are the most wonderful treasures when they arrive in the mail. The letters have brought him so much joy whilst teaching him about life in the Aussie Bush, a place we love to explore. It has also sparked our imagination as parents, and we are much more conscious of creating numerous ways to bring more of the outdoors into our everyday lives!
Monty’s first letter (July) was so beautiful; bright blue paper with a majestic Cockatoo peeping at us from the envelope. The theme for July was focussed on the tracks wild animals make in the bush. Monty’s idea of heaven is following creatures footprints, so this was a winner!
We loved reading Indigo & Ash’s letter with Monty. The delightful way in which it was written, really took us into the bush, we could almost smell the eucalyptus trees and the lemon balm, and I adored the conversations it brought about in our house.
Monty’s imagination was ignited when he was wildly telling me about the footprints he thought he’d find in his ‘Track Trap’! I was a little unsure we would find crocodile tracks in the morning but he was full of hope!
A letter from Ash & Indigo would be the perfect gift for a little person in your life. How magical for your child’s long distance friend overseas to open the letter box and see an envelope all the way from Australia, teaching them some of the wonders of life Down Under. There’s nothing quite like receiving a letter that someone has taken time to pen, and these letters sent from the bush, are not only well written, they are well thought out, fascinating and encourage exploration of the outdoors (winning).
The fun tasks included are designed so that children of all ages can enjoy them. This makes a subscription the ideal birthday gift for a classmate, a Christmas gift for a relative or just a darn good gift for a jolly good soul!
Just to clarify, this isn’t a ‘paid ad’, this isn’t a friend of mine whom I’m celebrating. This work of genius is brought to you by two nature loving, Aussie mums, who have created something that I truly think deserves your attention. These letters will not only teach your family about the wonders of the Aussie bush, will not only encourage your family outside, it will give you a beautiful reason to sit down with your child and spend some time focussing on mother nature and the precious gifts she gives us all.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better – Albert Einstein
Your little builders are invited to LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre on Wednesday 11th September for a fun and inspiring morning with Playgroup Victoria to celebrate 50 years of DUPLO® fun!
The Ultimate DUPLO Playgroup will take place from 8:30am-10am, giving families with kids aged 0-4 the opportunity to enjoy building activities, storytelling, a visit from Emmett from The LEGO Movie (YAY!!!!), and enjoy the arts and crafts in the centre’s new DUPLO Farm Adventure zone at a discounted rate.
Playgroup Victoria and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre are hosting the special event to mark 50 years since LEGO created DUPLO, the big bricks for small hands.
DUPLO was designed to inspire toddlers to unlock their full potential through interactive, creative and playful experiences.
According to the LEGO Play Well Report, 95% of parents believe play is essential for children’s well-being and is a vital educational tool.
LEGOLAND Discovery Centre supports the important role Playgroup Victoria plays in bringing young children, parents, families and communities together to learn and develop through informal play and social interaction.
“Participation in playgroup positively impacts so much of children’s development as well as parent’s capacity to engage with their children through play,” Danny Schwarz, Playgroup Victoria CEO.
“LEGO is a wonderful tool that allows children to practice their fine and gross motor skills. Moreover, it encourages them to create, be curious, be innovative, share, imagine and play – all which feeds into their greater understanding of the world and its concepts,” Sinead Halliday, Playgroup Victoria.
The new DUPLO Farm Adventure zone at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is an interactive experience where toddlers can let their imaginations run wild. Behind the giant barn doors, children can explore a multi-level farmhouse where they can build with DUPLO and climb, crawl, slide and swing!
To purchase tickets to the special event, enter the promo code “ultimateplaygroup” at www.LEGOLANDDiscoveryCentre.com.au. Families can stay at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre after The Ultimate DUPLO Playgroup concludes.
As well as DUPLO Farm Adventure, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is also home to two thrilling rides, a 4D cinema and 11 LEGO build and play zones to keep kids of all ages entertained!
What: The Ultimate DUPLO Playgroup
Where: LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, Chadtsone Shopping Centre, 1341 Dandenong Rd, Chadstone, VIC 3148
When: Wednesday 11th September from 08:30-10:00 (families can stay after the event)
Cost: $25 per adult; $20 per child 3yrs and over, free for children 2yrs and under
Melbourne’s annual Anime, Manga and Gaming Convention is back, and bigger than ever before. It’s promising to be a weekend you’ll never forget!!
Are you ready for the giant that is the Animaga Expo? This years expo promises to be it’s best yet, so for any one who loves Anime, Manga and Gaming you do not want to miss out!
‘Animaga is bigger, better, bolder. Consisting of a team of anime lovers, the Animaga team aims to bring fans and creators together to celebrate their love for anime culture from Japan by presenting a range of fan-driven interactive activities to Melbourne’
Event organisers are promising more than ever before! More guests, more activities and lots more fun! This really is the leading Anime event in Melbourne!
Manga (漫画manga) are comics or graphic novels created in Japan or by creators in the Japanese language, conforming to a style developed in Japan in the late 19th century. They have a long and complex pre-history in earlier Japanese art
Created by fans for fans, the Animaga team is bringing world-class anime and first class manga games, all combined with the very best of Japanese fashion and pop culture! There will be so many awesome things to spend your money on, so make sure you take your reusable shopping bags and all your pocket money!
This event will be a Japanese pop culture fan’s dream.
Meet and greets with your anime, manga, and gaming idols.
The Animaga Maid Café, where the much loved kawaii Maids are happy to entertain guests with games, dancing and much more!
Gunpla Workshop where you can learn everything about the Gundam models- Gunpla and what you can do with them.
Animaga Gaming Area -Yes! It’s back!!! Take time out to enjoy a variety of games!
Karaoke Video Gaming
The famous cosplay competition featuring stunning guests Hakken and Onnies, who shall bear witness to the fascinating craftsmanship displayed on stage. Whether it’s the coolest armour or the delightful gags, these competitions always bring in a wide range of skills and characters who are just eager to show them off!!
TOP TIP: The immediate area surrounding the building offers an excellent setting for cosplay photography.
The word anime is the Japanese term for animation, which means all forms of animated media. Outside Japan, anime refers specifically to animation from Japan or as a Japanese-disseminated animation style often characterised by colourful graphics, vibrant characters and fantastical themes.