Master Wu Needs You these school holidays for LEGO® NINJAGO® fun!

Look out folks, an awesome, activity-based experience is already underway at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne and if you’re not Ninja fast you’re gonna miss out!

Until the 25th April uber Ninja, mentor and leader, Master Wu, is opening the doors to his exclusive Ninja Training Camp as he looks to train and recruit a new crew to join his Ninja team. 

LEGO® NINJAGO® is under threat and Master Wu needs more Ninjas than ever to help save LEGO® NINJAGO® from the evil forces that threaten it’s very existence. Young Ninjas can enroll to attend LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne, join the Ninja Training Camp and level up their Ninja skills to master the six Ninja virtues – courage, balance, honesty, generosity, curiosity and wisdom. 

Your kids are going to have so much fun as they adventure through a series of exciting challenges! The new recruits will be taken on a journey to prove their Ninja skills and make it into Master Wu’s elite team of Ninja: 

Level Up BALANCE – Make your own Ninja stop motion video 

Level Up HONESTY – Make a pledge to be truthful 

Level Up GENEROSITY – Build a unique gift for Master Wu 

Level Up CURIOSITY – Join the Ninja hunt and search MINILAND for our missing Ninjas

Level Up WISDOM – Show quick thinking and play our Ninja Bingo 

“The journey to Ninja mastery continues, and we are excited to bring Master Wu’s Training Camp to  LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Melbourne. Focusing on the six Ninja  virtues – courage, balance, generosity, curiosity, honesty and wisdom – the children will be immersed  in a real-life LEGO® NINJAGO® master class, an exciting Training Camp Experience, helping to train the  body, heart and mind and to help save LEGO® NINJAGO® from looming threat. We can’t wait to open  the doors to our Master Wu Training Camp and inspire kids to experience the values that LEGO  NINJAGO represents and create some fun memories at the same time.” ” General Manager Katie Isaac.

Take your kids to this exclusive event and see them revel in an engaging, enjoyable and rewarding experience that will leave them bursting with a fantastic sense of accomplishment. They will earn a Ninja certificate, a Ninja headband, and a virtual gift from Master Wu. Plus, as part of the entry into the LEGO® NINJAGO® experience, guests can go on to enjoy everything else within the LEGOLAND  Discovery Centre too. We’re IN!!!! Who’s coming??

Buy Your Tickets Here

Welcome the year of the Tiger with a feast of flavour at Sovereign Hill

Icon

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Victoria’s iconic living museum, Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill, is celebrating the goldfields’ rich Chinese history this Lunar New Year with a food festival fit for an emperor.  Held in collaboration with the Chinese Australia Cultural Society – Ballarat, the weekend of the 5th & 6th of February will see a riot of colour, noise and movement as the Year of the Tiger is welcomed with a bang. 

Bursting with multi-cultural life, Sovereign Hill’s iconic streetscape will come alive with Chinese lantern decorations, lion dancing, parades, outdoor activities, music and an abundance of Chinese inspired food created by the renowned Peter Rowland Group

In celebration of the Year of the Tiger, Trudi Gray, Head Chef, Peter Rowland Group at Sovereign Hill, has infused her own history and heritage into this year’s Lunar New Year menu. Trudi’s grandfather was born in Hong Kong where Chinese food and family banquets have been part of her life for as long as she can remember. Having worked in Asia, learning from local chefs, Trudi mastered the skills, techniques and special flavours that now layer her own cooking.

Open until 9pm on Saturday 5th February, visitors will be able to experience all Sovereign Hill’s much-loved experiences during the daytime and bring in the Year of the Tiger with a feast of flavour in the evening.

Head to Main Street in the evening for ‘LNY@Night’ and indulge your cravings. There’ll be steamed dumplings, roast pork buns and classic sweet tarts, then for a more substantial second course, head further up the street to the Universal Transit Office or Charlie Napier’s Hotel, venture inside and choose from a range of delicious noodle and rice dishes to take you to the goldfields of old.

If you prefer a unique, sit-down dining experience, the New York Bakery is hosting a Lunar New Year Banquet on Saturday 5th February with pre-booking and payment of tickets required to secure a limited place at the table. Excellent value at $59 per adult, $25 per child, the banquet will celebrate the culinary traditions that Chinese migrants brought to their new home with a moving feast of soup, starters, roasted and traditionally prepared meats, fish, rice, desserts and a range of classic Chinese teas to choose from.

Head to https://summer.sovereignhill.com.au/event/lunar-new-year-banquet/ for more information and bookings (Sovereign Hill entry is not included).

If you’re a dedicated lover of Sovereign Hill’s Hope Bakery and the New York Bakery you’ll love the Chinese-inspired pie, available for a limited time only, from late January until the conclusion of the Lunar New Year festival.  The Chinese Char Siu pie delivers a flourish of flavour, and is chock-full of Char Siu pork, bok choy, mushrooms, baby corn and with a sprinkling of good year luck, it’s sure to be a roaring success.


Visit https://summer.sovereignhill.com.au for information and bookings about Sovereign Hill’s Lunar New Year Festival and Summer Series.

Sovereign Hill is located at Bradshaw Street, Ballarat and sits on Wadawurrung Country.

Like Sovereign Hill on social media

Facebook –  www.facebook.com/sovereignhill

Instagram – www.instagram.com/sovereignhill

2020 has taught me I’m only nice when I can go out!

Ugh! Day 45,765,024 of lockdown and now we’re under curfew here in Melbourne. A State of Disaster is currently underway! For most of us who have been doing the right thing, this is just another smack in the face from the assholes that seem completely unable to think about anyone but themselves. Yes I’m looking at you, the party people and the 25% of people with a positive covid test who didn’t stay at home and isolate! IMG_8161

As I now have even more time to sit at home, #thankyou, I thought it was probably a good time to find a space that isn’t covered with pencils, umpteen Apple devices and crumbs, open my lap top and write about what this whole covid-19 disaster has taught me and what, if anything, I have learnt.

 


Liv’s Lockdown Learnings

Remote LearningIMG_4438

From very early on in this whole debacle, I came to the conclusion that in order to be a great teacher you must have oodles of patience, you must be kind all of the time, and you must be gently accepting of handwriting refusal. I can confirm I am not a great or even a good teacher. I have found the whole remote learning thing intolerable, unrelenting and downright cruel. I can honestly say I haven’t enjoyed a minute of it. Remote learning has left me even more in awe of what teachers do every day, and when this is over I will be making a placard and marching for better pay, even longer holidays, and regular expensive gifts for all teachers!!

Staying Home, Staying Safe

The novelty of “staying home & staying safe” very quickly wore thin in our house!! There are only so many movie afternoons, and sweet little family games of scrabble you can play before you start turning on each other and throwing monumental tantrums. Being Super Mum, arranging all sorts of wonderfully educational activities, very quickly IMG_4472turned into 9 hour stints on the x-box and days without even seeing the children leave their rooms. I have battled with the screen time thing, I have gained about 20kg from insisting we all bake together, and I have vacuumed the bedroom carpets so often I think they need replacing.  I understand we need to do this for the sake of humanity but staying home for this length of time is brutal… Let me out!!

IMG_3875

Working from home

Is there even such a thing anymore? How can anyone work from home, whilst the dog whines for another fucking walk, the children need help with their work, and snacks need to be made every 18.2 seconds?

I work from home even when we’re not in the midst of a global pandemic and I’ve always been great at organising myself and my time, not anymore! The thought of actually having to get work done within any sort of time frame, has become a gargantuan task that feels like walking with my eyes closed, through treacle with splinters in every one of my toes. Yes, it’s that bad!IMG_3839

Meal times

Where do I even start? How can anyone even…….

Being nice

This far into lockdown, I have almost given up even attempting to be nice if I don’t feel like it. It’s all I can do to grunt at my family when I get up in the morning. The thought of what lies ahead each day literally mutes me from the instant my eyes peel themselves open through the mascara I’ve slept in. *Hey, don’t judge me, I’m living through a pandemic…  I appreciate we’re blessed to have a roof over our heads, to have food and warmth, but god, everyone is annoying me!! The way they speak, ask for food, drop stuff, trip over things, breathe, chew their food, change the channel on the tv, ASK ME QUESTIONS ALL THE TIME….. I’m a grenade right now and my pin has been pulled!IMG_4976

So, what have I learnt?

2020 has taught me I really, really like going out!! I like going out to eat, for walks, to socialise, to drink, to dance, to visit places, to travel, to sightsee, to explore, to meet new people, to work, to exercise, to shop; and if I can’t go out, I’m not a very nice human…….. So, for the sake of my family, please, please stay home, stay well and do the right thing. Our sanity is relying on you all!!!

 

 

Do the right thing, even when no one is watching. It’s called integrity!

IMG_7440Liv xx

 

Facebook instagram

 

Tow small, travel big! Go by Go Pod

Camping and I have a strange relationship! I love being outdoors, I don’t love the dust and dirt. I love the wildlife, I don’t love the creepy crawlies. I love the freedom that the children have, I love the camp cooking, I love the kids excitement at bed time when we’re all snuggling down. I do not love (or even like) tents! Nope! If all I have is a tent, you can go without me.

IMG_0372

Part of me envies the hoards of families who camp, and have all the stuff! Their camps look like they could sustain life for years and years, in a perfectly happy state, with not one meal missed or one iota of sleep even slightly disturbed. We do not camp like that! We don’t have nearly enough equipment, we barely have any camping knowledge, and to be honest I have always felt that ‘holiday sleeping’ requires, at the very least, a decent bed and a fluffy duvet! (Aka a hotel!)

IMG_0308

Hold on though….. You may find this hard to believe, but even I have been persuaded to fall in love with camping after testing out the gorgeous Go Pod Teardrop Caravans last weekend!

We picked up our beautiful GoPod at about 11am, on the hottest Victoria day since records began. Honestly, the thought of arriving at a campsite and having to erect a camp in this heat would have been hell. Not with our GoPod. With lots of great tips and advice from Kayleen, we hooked the teardrop caravan up to the car, and drove off toward the ocean, knowing there would be very little do do, in order to get comfy on arrival!

We have never towed anything before, not even a trailer, and as Mr W was a little ‘tired‘ after his work Christmas party the night before, I was in charge!  The glory of the GoPod is that it is very lightweight and super easy to tow. Thank goodness!! We made it safely to Anglesea with me at the helm, even negotiating Bunnings and Hungry Jacks on the way! *You may applaud now!

Set up was done and dusted in about 20 minutes. We unhooked the GoPod, rolled it into the best position, plugged it in and put up the tent! Once the table and chairs were up, and the kids were bouncing on the jumping pillow, we kicked back to enjoy our weekend. That is perfect camping in my mind! No stress, no arguments about who put the groundsheet in the wrong place, just an easy set up and a perfectly snug place to sleep…. with the fly screens tightly shut!!!

The GoPod 90 has double doors ( a godsend for extra air and midnight toilet trips!) and a deliriously comfy queen bed. (Bedding can be hired on booking). There was so much storage I felt like we could have travelled for weeks and weeks even with Monty’s desire to change his clothes every thirty six minutes. Everything has been meticulously thought about from the mattress to the tool box. Even the MukMat, chairs and table were included. Like I said, nothing had been left out!!

We make sure you have the confidence to set off and are always a phone call away for our hirers. With the support of YouTube, a manual and our advice you have everything you need for a great trip’- GoPod

The GoPod kitchen was lovingly filled with everything your little camping heart could desire! Gas burners and fridge, crockery and lights, enough storage to be able to make a Christmas feast if you so wish! The GoPod has plugs for chargers, USB sockets, heaps of storage for clothes, toys, UNO (of course), and all the other camping paraphernalia you need. There really is no easier way to hit the road!!

Everything you need for a simple getaway is right here. – GoPod

As we were four and the GoPod 90 sleeps 2 (or two adults and a small child), we added on a tent for the boys! Everyone was happy! Even the tent had a fab mattress, duvet and fan which doubled as a light. It barely felt like camping, as we were all so comfy!

I know camping is a little like Vegemite, you either love it or you hate it, however, if you are anything like the Wilsons, and are divided down the middle,  you need to look at the GoPods. These cute caravans are wonderful alone, and a marvellous addition to any camp setup. They are especially splendid for those of you who like to have home comforts whilst on the road! (Think cuddly duvet and wine glasses).

There are a few different types of GoPod, some sleeping up to four people, so they are perfect for everyone, plus, they are offering great deals on long term hire too for you adventurers! Another great use for the GoPod is for guests when you don’t have the spare room at home! Imagine giving your guests their own GoPod for the weekend, within reach of your dinner table and witty conversation! Best sleepover ever!!!

For people who want an easy towing experience for a safe and amazing getaway. GoPod Teardrop Campers are the caravans you never knew you needed. – GoPod

If you love the idea of hooking up and escaping, without the hassle, if you love the idea of being in the great outdoors whilst sleeping and cooking in luxury, this is the caravan for you! Tow small and travel big is the GoPod motto, and trust us, these are 100% made for big adventures! Who’s coming with us on our next trip??


BOOKING INFO

IMG_0230

VICTORIA

GoPod 90    GoPod 82   GoPod Plus

NSW

GoPod

Prices start at $80 per night (insurance included)

Click here for all the contact details

 

One who lives, sees much. One who travels, sees more!

Liv xx

Will you find the $400 nugget at Sovereign Hill these school holidays?

We are so lucky to live in such a wonderful part of the world where there seem to be endless ways to entertain the children!! It’s no mean feat trying to keep everyone happy, all summer, but I’m pretty sure, this may be the answer to your prayers!! 

This summer, Sovereign Hill is set to be busier than it’s been since the goldrush of the 1850’s. With brand new activities every day and the chance to win a $400 gold nugget every week, it feels like the gold rush is happening all over again! We cannot wait to get over to Sovereign Hill to experience some of the fun!

Sovereign Hill - Diggings.jpg

Each day of the week, for six weeks, a different adventure awaits. From ‘Make it Mondays’, to ‘Find it Fridays’, there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

All of your favourite Sovereign Hill activities will also be on, including bowling, the gold pour, costume photos, as well as Sovereign Hill’s new sound and light show, AURA. 

You can read about our last adventure to Sovereign Hill here!!

If you think you and the family would love to experience everything that’s on offer, you absolutely can!!!! Purchase a  *Sovereign Hill Annual Pass, which provides you with unlimited entry to Sovereign Hill and the Gold Museum, 364 days a year, as well as discounted mine tours, coach rides, and other special offers. 

Sovereign Hill Annual Pass.JPG

For full program details visit www.sovereignhill.com.au

PROGRAM OF EVENTS:

MAKE IT MONDAYS – Try your hand at butter churning and cheese making, make your own block candle or help us sew the Eureka Flag. 

TROTTING TUESDAYS – Meet the Sovereign Hill horses, get your photo taken with a Clydesdale and watch our horse team change over the horses that pull the Sovereign Hill vehicles. 

WHATS’ THAT WHISTLE WEDNESDAYS – Learn about steam engines, take a tour of some ruins and hear stories of child miners on the goldfields. 

TRADE THURSDAYS – Watch rare trades in action, have a go at the traditional process of Cyanotype, go behind the scenes of the Sovereign Hill coach builders. 

FIND IT FRIDAYS – Rush to the diggings for the chance to discover a $400 gold nugget, take a photo with the Australia nugget (worth over $85,000) and see a coin press machine in action. 

The Gold Pour Sovereign Hill.jpg

SWEET SATURDAYS – Take a walk around lollipop lane, take a photo with a giant jar of Raspberry Drops and join an exclusive hands-on experience in Brown’s Confectionery. 

SOLDIERING SUNDAYS – Dress as a redcoat and join their parade, learn a Trooper drill and watch on as a mass license hunt takes place in the Red Hill Gully Diggings. 


All the info

What: Sovereign Hill’s Summer Gold Rush

When: 26th December, 2019 until 27th January, 2020

Time: 10am – 5pm 

Where: Sovereign Hill, Bradshaw Street, Ballarat, 3350


*Sovereign Hill Annual Pass

PRICES Annual Pass Single Entry
Adult $119.00 $58.20
Child (5–15 years) – only available when purchased with an Adult, Family or Single Family Ticket/Pass $31.50 $26.20
Concession* (To be purchased as Adult Pass) N/A $46.80
Family (2 Adults and up to 4 Children) $255.00 $148.00
Single Adult Family (1 Adult and up to 3 Children) $165.00 $106.00
Conditions: Annual Pass is valid for 12 months from date of purchase. Current Annual Pass card and photo ID must be presented on each visit. This Annual Pass is not transferable. A surcharge may apply for entry to special events. Only the Annual Pass holder whose name is listed on this card is entitled to free entry to Sovereign Hill. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Discounts are not accumulative – only a single discount can be applied to purchases.

Extra charges apply for some activities and major events.

BUY NOW

 

Oink-tastic Peppa Pig High Tea at the Langham Melbourne

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

Time: The Peppa Pig High Tea is available at 10am until 11.30am and at 12.30pm until 2pm

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.

Bookings may be made via melbarestaurant.com.au  by contacting 1800 641 107 or by email to rest.res@langhamhotels.com.

 

Check this smashing kids dining range!!!

Yes folks, picnic season is back on! (We’re in Melbourne, so picnic season is definitely a thing!) Everyone loves eating outdoors, especially us Mamas, as it means fresh air, fun times, and the birds get to clean up the crumbs! That’s why I’m hitting you up with this intel before you finish your Christmas shopping, or complete your back to school haul, and before the weeks and weeks of school holidays where lunches last aaaaalllll day!!

IMG_9086

 

The clever crew at Smash Enterprises have come up with yet another fabulous everyday kids range which I can guarantee your babes are going to love! (Tell Santa the good news!!)

If you get yourself to your local Woolworths on the 27th November you’ll be one of the first to get your hands on these beauties for half price in their two week sale (offer ends 10th Dec)!!!

What’s not to love about that!

 

Things we love about the range:

  • Great designs – we all want happy kids, and happy kids who eat!!
  • Easy to clean– This is a must isn’t it?
  • Travellers – with the leak proof containers, screw top cups, flip top drink bottles, and durable plates and bowls, the whole range is great for travelling!!
  • Fun to fill – Makes my mornings a lot easier if the kids enjoy making their own lunch!

Screen Shot 2019-08-26 at 5.20.50 pm

  • BPA free– so important for our growing children!! 
  • Ice brick cooling – It’s warming up out there, and the ice block is a winner! (If they remember to pop it back in the freezer)
  • Durable – I’ve seen how kids treat their lunch boxes so the stronger the better I say!!!

Alongside the Bento Bite lunch boxes, and Hydro Sippers, Smash have launched the super cute bamboo plate & bowl, and some funky cups with ‘swirly straws’. Great for encouraging rehydration!!! Win!

IMG_9087.jpg

Kids dining just got a whole lot cooler and you need to get in on it before they sell out!

Prices

Bento Bite Lunch Boxes – $20 RRP

Curly Straw Tumblers – $9 RRP

 Bamboo Plates – $5 RRP

Bamboo Bowls – $5 RRP

 Hydro Sipper- $9 RRP

Don’t forget to head to Woolworths from the 27th Nov for the ‘Smash Kids Dining Range’ two week, half price sale (offer ends 10th Dec)!

 

Make sure you’re following our Facebook & Instagram pages for a ‘Smashing’ giveaway coming soon!!!

 

School Finder – Finding the right fit for your family!

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.

poppy school .jpg
First day at Aussie School!!

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!!

Meet Steph & Claire from School Finder!

school finder 2.jpg
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.

What made you decide to set up School Finder

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 needsStephanie 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.
pexels-photo-256468.jpeg
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 FinderStephanie 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!

Liv xx


 

School Finder Consulting

Qualified and expert educators guiding you through the school-finding process.

Our Team: Expert educators who have worked across the sector. But just as importantly, we are also parents.

Our Services: From a simple sounding board to a comprehensive one-on-one plan that will get your child from kindergarten to grade prep and beyond.

Facebook  Instagram

 

Melbourne International Comedy Festival -Top 5 for the kids

The whole family can enjoy this time of year! Not only because the school holidays are fast approaching, but because the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is in town!  Hundreds of insanely talented comedians from all over the globe, have hit the streets, theatres, pubs and clubs of Melbourne, and will be sharing their gags with us  until the 21st April. There is enough fab kids comedy to keep even the most miserable kids, highly entertained for the entire stretch.

It would be impossible to see every show (although we’d love to give it a go) so get your hands on a guide as soon as possible, highlight the shows you want to see, and get planning.

I thought I’d put our (very edited, mini) list up here to give you an idea of the variety that’s out there for the kids.

fest.jpeg

       Mr Snot Bottom’s Horrible, Terrible, Really, Really, Bad, Bad, Show

snot.jpg

Join the downright disgustingly distasteful Mr Snot bottom in a brand-new show as he attempts to perform the most elegantly magnificent and preciously important master-work of his career.

Expect an horrendous hour of the most appalling acting, stupidest scripts, just-dumb dialogue, pathetic pantomime and thoughtless theatre in a putrid performance of horrid humour, that will make you absolutely, utterly… love every minute!

Dates: 6th – 14th Apr 2019
Times:  Sat 6 Apr & Sun 7 Apr: 1pm;
Tue 9 Apr: 2.20pm;
Wed 10 Apr – Sun 14 Apr: 1pm
Duration: 50 mins
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall – Lower Town Hall
Location: 100 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Tickets: $18 – $68
Information: Mrsnotbottom.com
Ages: Suitable for audiences 5+

Read our review from 2017! 


Super Amazing Giant Girl – Anna Lumb & Jez Davies

SAGG
Adapted for the comedy festival and following an awesome smash-hit Australian tour, Super Amazing Giant Girl is an hilarious story of strength, fragility and triumph exploring the challenges of fitting in when you’re a super amazing GIANT – bigger than the Big Pineapple, stronger than super glue and cooler than an ice cream in the arctic!
An action packed, fast-paced and interactive theatre show for kids, Super Amazing Giant Girl created by Anna Lumb and featuring Jez Davies combines thrilling circus, absurd comedy and ingenious physical theatre and stunts at the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Super Amazing Giant Girl is for all little, strong people – it features an interactive hail storm throwing plastic white balls, hula-hoping while eating a banana, roller skating over bubble wrap, walking over glass bottles on tippy toes, contortion, juggling, skipping, some other really cool tricks and extremely awesome dancing. COUNT US IN!!!!
Dates: 6th – 21st Apr 2019
Times: 11.30am Tue – Sun
Duration: 45 mins
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall – Lower Town Hall
Location: 100 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Tickets: $18 – $25 plus booking fees
Information: annalumb.com
Ages: Suitable for audiences 5+

The Greatest Magic Show

image001.png

Sam and Justin are ready to amaze and excite you with the debut of their brand spanking new, hilarious magic show! They have promised us hysterical magic, breath-taking circus stunts, and a mystifying new character, The Ringmaster!  Audience participation is always an attention grabber isn’t it!? The show will feature incredible illusions, escaping from 200m of GLAD WRAP before being covered in a bucket of slime, incredible circus artistry, and invisibly shooting a very special guest out of a cannon across the stage; these are just some of the things that make this family-friendly magic show, the GREATEST! PLUS, every child who attends will receive a FREE magic wand on entry and may even be one of the lucky few to come up on stage and become a star of the show… what’s not to love?!

Dates: 7th – 20th Apr 7 Shows only (no performance Monday 15 April)
Time: 2pm
Duration: 60 mins
Venue:Melba Spiegeltent
Location:35 Johnston St
Tickets: $15 – $80 plus booking fees
Ages: Suitable for all ages

Captain Cauliflower and Marvin The Mischievous Moose (UK)

hero (1).jpg

What kind of Expats would we be if we didn’t encourage you to see some true British Comedy?? This show invites you to join the invincible Captain Cauliflower and his faithful companion Marvin on an unforgettable adventure filled with extreme silliness and unquestionable danger. He flies into outer space and swims deep under the ocean saving those in peril – but can Captain Cauliflower beat his arch-nemesis, the evil and odorous Onion Man? Now, Onion Man sounds like someone we’ve got to meet!! 

Joyous physical comedy for all the family!

British comedians Dan Lees and Neil Frost (aka The Establishment) are hailed as two of the best clowns around, adored by adults and children alike. They cleverly combine physical comedy and imaginative storytelling in a 50 minute non-verbal show that’s suitable for the whole family. This is their first time in Australia, so make them welcome, and grab your tickets before they sell out.

730or412.5bee5d4d39793.png

FYI:  These guys sold out their entire season at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2018. So you really must book early to avoid disappointment!

Dates: 6th – 21st April
Time: 10:45
Duration: 50 mins
Venue: The Coopers MaltHouse, Mini Merlyn
Location:113 Sturt Street
Tickets: $18-$20
Ages: Suitable for ages 5+

Comedy Club For Kids at Chadstone

hero (2).jpg

The comedy isn’t just hanging around the city! During the Easter holidays Chadstone The Fashion Capital, is hosting a whole heap of fun too!  Hosts Josh Earl and Tessa Waters (Click for our review of Tessa’s Rockstar School 2017) will be joined by a cavalcade of the best circus, musical comedy, sketch and stand-up from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Your little giggle monsters are going to love this jam packed show, full of the Festival’s best! This promises to be a super-sized, massively fun show, perfect for kids aged 6 – 12!

Dates: 6th – 21st April
Time: 1:30
Duration: 60 mins
Venue: Chadstone, The Parlour
Location: 1341 Dandenong Rd
Tickets: $16.50-$21
Ages: Suitable for ages 6+

Have a fab time, fun people! Let us know if you have seen something awesome, so that we can add it to our list!! 

A child’s laugh, could simply be, one of the most beautiful sounds in the world!

Liv xxx

Jump into another world at Gravity Zone Seaford!

Last day of the school holidays and we’ve had a massive treat! We were invited to check out the new Hologate virtual reality experience at Gravity Zone Seaford.

For those of you with kids who constantly beg to be taken to Gravity Zone (yes, we’ve all been through it..) please note, the begging is only going to get more persistent with the arrival of Hologate!

Just when you think Gravity Zone cant get any better, they go and install the best new VR games they could have possibly found. Now, I’m one of those people who gets dizzy just watching kids on rides, even swings make we ill, so anything VR and I shy away. Not today! I just had to get a go on this, and it was more than exhilarating.

img-0641 (1)
The kids and I donned our goggles, and jumped straight into another world!! 

 


What is Hologate?

Hologate is a VR experience like no other. It is insanely realistic. We were all hiding from enemies, shooting snowballs like there was no tomorrow and jumping up and down like crazy folk! It’s hard not to get immersed in this other dimension! Using high-end headsets and exhilarating graphics, Hologate transported all three of us to another world where every motion felt real. You can fight dragons, have a snowball fight or problem solve your escape from a sinking submarine, so there really is something for everyone. Gravity Zone provides everything you need-just bring your sense of fun and they will do the rest!

img-0652

‘Hologate is active and physically engaging. Get ready to duck, reach, grab and spin as Gravity Zone delivers the latest in VR technology.’- Gravity Zone

Play in teams or challenge each other  

A wonderful advantage of this experience is that you can create a team of up to four players and battle it out or work together as a group towards a common goal. It’s such a wonderful treat to team up with your kids and work together to get as many points as you can, or defeat a bad dude. The kids loved this team work just as much as I did! There aren’t many games where you can all have as much fun as each other!

How long does each game last?

Optimal play time for Hologate, like many virtual reality experiences, is 10 minutes per game. Trust me, it goes so quickly!! There is no denying that the premium content will leave you wanting more so The Wilsons absolutely suggest purchasing 3 games per visit. **Super mum!

Are there age restrictions?

Hologate is recommended for ages 5+. Some of the games are pretty full on, so Gravity Zone staff are there to guide you as to which games are appropriate for which ages. My two are easily scared so we went for the less confronting games.  Shooting snow balls and chasing coins had us all enthralled, trust me!!

img-0651
Great fun for all ages!

Hologate really has brought Gravity Zone up a notch. Not only can the kids jump their little hearts out on the trampolines and have a go at Laser Tag, there is now a whole new world for them (and you) to explore. Three cheers for Gravity Zone!!!!!!


 

The summer holidays may be over but why let that stop you having fun with your kids!

BOOK NOW and have something awesome to look forward to at the weekend! 


 

With anything we are invited to, I always give you my honest opinion. This is absolutely worth the money!