Puffing Billy: a truly magnificent way to travel these school holidays!

On Monday we went on an adventure. The kind of adventure we’ve all spent the past two years longing for. The kind of adventure you beam throughout and realise at the end of the day, your smile hasn’t budged an inch. We went flying through the Dandenong Ranges on board the world famous Puffing Billy Railway.

I often wonder what memories my children will have of their childhood. Having moved about a fair bit, I wonder if certain places have felt more like home than others. Have we spent enough time making those moments that will be cherished for years to come? You know the ones. The ones they’ll jump to relive with their children!

With my legs hanging over the side of Puffing Billy, the smoke billowing past and enthusiastic ferns waving us by, I looked across to the children. We were in the throes of life long memory making right there and none of us knew it! We were too busy watching the countryside flying past, waving at dog walkers, pointing out kookaburras and laughing at our feet dangling over the pristinely preserved carriage sides as we crossed trestle bridges and passed long ago landslides.

Since 1900, Australia’s premier preserved steam railway has transported over 11 million passengers through the magnificent landscapes and lush greenery of the Dandenong Ranges, and for more than 100 of those years, Puffing Billy Railway has shared a truly iconic experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the world – sitting on the sill of the traditional open-side carriages with your legs hanging out!

Sitting on the sills with your legs ‘overboard’ is a truly magnificent way to travel no matter your age.

“This is a one in a lifetime experience”

We took flight on the 11:15am train from Belgrave and travelled to Lakeside, where the new visitor centre stands proud in amongst the glory of the rainforest, and rightly so! This brand new centre is home to an incredible (spotlessly clean) café, gift shop, local art and the museum which cannot be missed! We loved discovering the steam artefacts and learning about the rich history of Puffing Billy before buying our own body weight in lollies from the gift shop! I quietly wished I had been around in the old days to enjoy First Class and the sumptuous trolley service!

The wonderful thing about landing at Lakeside is you have so much at your fingertips to enjoy. If you love exploring the outdoors, this is the place for you, with magnificent walking trails, swimming (during summer), paddle boats on Lake Treganowan and bike hire at COG Bikes . Now that’s an adventure we’re keen on!! Yes! You can jump off the train and on to two wheels. Simply book your trail bike or ebike, collect them once you arrive, and off you go, even deeper into the Dandenong Ranges at your own speed (or that of your fastest child!). I can almost hear the Kookaburras as I type.

Combine your Puffing Billy Train Trip or your visit to Emerald Lake Park with bike hire allowing you to explore the surrounds of Emerald Lake Park on the Eastern Dandenong Ranges Trail that runs along Puffing Billy between Emerald and Gembrook.COG Bike Hire

I know you’re thinking.. Wow! Hungry work!! Well, do not despair! We picked up a delicious picnic at the visitors centre which we devoured. This is a fab option for those of you who, like me, love a picnic if it’s made by someone else. This was mega! We had an Adults picnic for 2 and a Kids picnic for 2 which gave us a feast!! We enjoyed a banquet of baguettes, cakes, brownies, yoghurt, fruit salad, cheesy scrolls and freshly made salad with dressing! We even had some leftovers for the car ride home!

If you’re looking for a school holiday adventure, you’re visiting Melbourne and want a truly Victorian treat, or you’re on the lookout for a Spring time Saturday afternoon activity, you must head to Puffing Billy Railway!

This is the place memories are made!


For more information and to book your next adventure head to https://puffingbilly.com.au/

We were invited to check out Puffing Billy Railway and the new visitors centre, however, (as always) this is my honest review of our day out!

‘CIRCUS – The Show’ coming to Melbourne Fringe Festival 2022 

“Roll up, roll up!” The fastest growing family circus spectacular – CIRCUS : The Show – is heading back to Melbourne for an incredible return to the stage, as part of a trailblazing new  festival hub right near Queen Victoria market, for Melbourne Fringe 2022! Who’s excited?  

CIRCUS is an Australian trailblazer in children’s entertainment featuring world-class  illusions, tumbling acrobats, highly skilled jugglers, breath-taking and elegant  aerialists, comedy and an endearing clown. The show has received countless 5 star  reviews as well as winning the award of Best Children’s Show at Adelaide Fringe. 

Following a sell-out debut season at the 2021 Adelaide Fringe, overwhelming  demand for tickets at the Melbourne Comedy Festival – which saw the entire 16  performance season sell-out in just two days – PLUS ground-breaking seasons at Her  Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide and both Theatre Royal and Princess Theatre in  Tasmania – the latest return to Melbourne is bringing with it a star-studded cast that’s simply not to be missed!

For the return Melbourne performances, CIRCUS’s Ringmaster will be played  by Magnus Danger Magnus of Showmen Productions – one of Australia’s most  prominent touring circus companies (The Greatest Magic Show, Adults Only Magic  Show, CIRCUS); while the clowning talents of Simon Wright will be on full display in  a range of hilarious stunts including climbing completely inside a gigantic 6FT  BALLOON! Simon has just completed an invitation-only residency at the famed  Philippe Gaulier clowning school and is one of the most famed clowning talents in  Australia! 

This season will also star several high-class Melbourne-based performers; including  aerialist and hula-hoop extraordinaire, Chelsea Angell, who will be presenting her energetic and unique aerial performances of grace and beauty while keeping  everyone fully captivated with hula-hooping tricks you will have to see to believe!

Also joining them is Bavo Delbeke, an urban circus legend from the Norway who  brings his energetic experimental style of circus in a completely unique display of  basketball juggling which has graced halftime performances at NBA games in the States; alongside one of Australia’s top jugglers – Richard Sullivan – who was trained  by the best in the world in Stockholm, Sweden before returning to Australia to star in  shows produced by companies including Circus Oz, YUMMY, Circus Trick Tease  and now Showmen Productions!   

CIRCUS brings together years  of experience and skill in the industry. We have some of the most talented family  circus performers on the Fringe circuit on board to help teach children the  importance of celebrating difference. The show concludes with a powerful message  to always embrace your weirdness and never lose sight of your dreams – no matter  how wild!’ CIRCUS producer and performer Sam Hume

“What you have experienced keeps you smiling, wondering and shaking your  head long after the show is over!” The Advertiser ★★★★ 

“This is definitely a winner in family entertainment!”  GLAM Adelaide ★★★★★ 

“A punchy 60-minute fun ride full of thrills, spills, gasps and laughter”  The Clothesline ★★★★★ 

“The Greatest Circus Show Around!” KIDDO Magazine 

Showmen Productions – the creative team behind CIRCUS and The Greatest  Magic Show! – have toured to the Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and  Edinburgh Fringes to critically acclaimed reviews and sell-out seasons in all cities.

Make sure you and the fam don’t miss what promises to be one hell of an extravaganza!!!


All the details!

WHERE

Runaway Festival Hub – Near Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent + The Vault 

WHEN

Saturday 8 Oct, 11:30am & 3:00pm – The Vault Sunday 9 Oct, 11:30am & 3:00pm – The Vault 

Saturday 15 Oct, 1:00pm – Magic Mirror Spiegeltent 

Sunday 16 Oct, 1:00pm – Magic Mirror Spiegeltent 

Saturday 22 Oct, 1:00pm – Magic Mirror Spiegeltent 

Sunday 23 Oct, 1:00pm – Magic Mirror Spiegeltent 

TICKETS

Adults: $27.00 

Concession: $23.00 

Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au 

Social Media: Facebook Instagram

Show Website: www.showmenproductions.com.au/circus-the-show

Duration: 60 Mins

Age suitability: 4+

Event warnings: This event has haze effects, some infrequent/low pressure audience interaction.

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

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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

Chats with Elmo & The Cookie Monster

It may only be 9am, but the Wilsons got up for a 7am phone chat with none other than Elmo and the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. There’s definitely excitement in the air this morning as we prepare for the 50th Season of Sesame Street which kicks off this Wednesday 15th July at 9.30am on ABCKids.

The kids prepped their questions, Elmo grabbed his snacks, and here’s how it went! *Heart melt

 

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Monty- What’s the best thing about living on Sesame Street?

Cookie Monster: Me love singing songs with Elmo, going to Hooper’s Store with Big Bird, gardening with Abby, and baking in the Foodie Truck with Gonger. 

Elmo: Elmo loves living on Sesame Street. There are so many fun things to do, but Elmo’s FAVOURITE thing to do is sing songs with Elmo’s friends. On Sesame Street we sing songs about letters, numbers, fruits, vegetables and even Snuffleupagus’.

Poppy- Who has been the funniest celebrity you have met? 

Cookie Monster: The funniest? Oh boy, so many famous people coming to Sesame Street lately! Not sure who the funniest but they all fun. We had Joseph Gordon-Levitt Chrissy Teigen, Charlie Puth, Meghan Trainor, Misty Copeland, Elvis Costello, and Dave Grohl… yeah, they all came for a nice visit.

Me played new game with Chrissy Teigen called “Name that Fruit,” where Chrissy had to guess the fruit’s first names. Like Abe Apple or Breanna Banana. It pretty fun. chrissy-teigen-2-c-sesame-workshop-richard-termine

Poppy – We love all the music in Sesame Street, do you have a favourite song? 

Elmo: Elmo’s favourite song is called ‘Elmo’s Song.’ La la la la, La la la la, Elmo’s song…

Poppy – Did you like Australia when you came here to visit?

Elmo: Elmo loves visiting Australia, especially the beaches to put his furry toes in the sand. Elmo swam with a dolphin when Elmo was last in Australia. That was so cool. Next time Elmo visits Australia, Elmo wants to learn how to surf! Elmo wants to try “catching a wave” and “hang ten,” baby! 

Cookie Monster: Me did a foodie truck tour of Sydney–that was definitely a highlight! We tried a toastie, pizza, tacos, and finally a chocolate mint cookie for a delicious dessert! Me have fond memories of the sights, sounds, smells and cookies of Australia. You call them biscuits, right? Oh, me getting hungry.

Monty – What have you been doing to keep busy while staying at home on Sesame Street?

Elmo: Elmo’s Daddy set up video chat so Elmo can have virtual playdates and sing-a-longs with his friends. Elmo has also been doing Grovercise with Grover– that’s when Grover teaches you exercises. He falls down a lot. And Elmo’s also been learning mindfulness activities. Yeah, like belly breathing and how to calm down before bedtime. the-great-sesame-cake-off-1-c-richard-termine (1)

Cookie Monster: Me organising snack chats with me friends, making healthy snacks and trying new foods like hummus.

All me friends on Sesame Street been giving me recipes. Big Bird shared his Granny Bird’s sunflower seed cookie recipe, Chef Gonger gave me banana bread recipe, and Oscar gave me recipe for grouch goulash…. me not sure me gonna try that one

“As we mark our 50th season, we want to remind families everywhere of the timeless lessons Sesame Street has always taught. Everyone, no matter where they are from, is equally deserving of respect, opportunity, and joy.” Steve Youngwood, President of Media & Education and Chief Operating Officer of Sesame Workshop.

Monty -If you had one wish what would it be? 

Cookie Monster: Dat an easy one. Me wish for a delicious cookie to share with all of me friends on Sesame Street.


Elmo: Elmo really likes the virtual playdates with Elmo’s friends on Sesame Street but Elmo can’t wait to go back outside to visit Hooper’s Store with Elmo’s Mommy, play with Abby and Rosita, and have a dance party with Big Bird and Snuffy. They make the whole street shake.

Poppy – Can you please give a shout out to all the kids who may be feeling sad or disappointed while they’re staying home.

Cookie Monster: There lot going on right now. Me talk to me mommy about how me feeling and she gives a nice warm hug. And sometimes you just need moment for self. Listen to your favourite song, or watch a favourite show. 

Me also learn that it physical distance, not social distance. Me still get to see me friends and family, but in a whole new way, and me know that you can still see your friends and family, too. 

Stay healthy and me sending you a big, virtual hug – and cookie – through the internety – Cookie Monster

Elmo: You can do a lot of fun things at home. Elmo loves building pillow forts, making obstacle courses, and going on a scavenger hunt with Elmo’s Mommy and Daddy.

Elmo is sending you a big hello and hopes Elmo can see all of you very soon. 

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This 50th season will launch in Australia on ABC Kids on Wednesday 15th July at 9.30am and will also be available on ABC iview and the ABC Kids app.


Sesame Street content continues to be available via ABC Kids each weekday morning at 9.30am. The episodes are also available any time on ABC iview and the ABC Kids app. 
About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organisation behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been reaching and teaching children since 1969. Today, Sesame Workshop is an innovative force for change, with a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We’re present in more than 150 countries, serving vulnerable children through a wide range of media, formal education, and philanthropically-funded social impact programs, each grounded in rigorous research and tailored to the needs and cultures of the communities we serve. For more information, please visit www.sesameworkshop.org.

 

Even big kids need to be sun safe!

Since touch down in Australia, I have been incredibly aware of how desperately important it is for our whole family to protect our skin from the sun. We’re all very English in the skin department, me more than most! Keeping the kids protected is a mission (think Ethan Hunt) and it doesn’t get any easier the older they get! In fact, I think it becomes harder.

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Click for the details…

With 2 in 3 Australians being diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70, Australia needs a generational sun-safety shift.

Even big kids need to be sun safe!

Once your kids hit a certain age, they need to be able to take responsibility of being sun safe, however it’s not always a walk in the park!  We’ve taught our two about applying sunscreen properly, why it’s important, and how often it needs re applying. We have gallons of sunscreen at the ready, enough hats to kit out a footie team, and ‘rashies’ of all sizes fill our swim cupboard. No matter how many hats we have, the kids always end up without one on their head! It’s a constant circus act of taking them off, throwing them back in the bag, hiding them, or “accidentally on purpose” forgetting them. I’ve tried everything. Like all children down under, they are used to the school’s ‘no hat, no play’ policy, but no matter how hard I try, as soon as they’re at home and the sun makes an appearance I’m wrestling with heads and hats. Too hot, too uncomfortable, uncool, itchy, scratchy… I’ve heard it all believe me!

 

 

Introducing BedHead Hats

My prayers might have been answered. We have just discovered the most beautifully made sun hats which are so soft and easy to wear, the kids actually kept them on…for hours! Yay!

“Like many parents, I know first-hand that teaching children to wear hats can be a trying time. I really wanted to make this life skill easier to learn. My research found that familiarising a baby early on with the sensation of wearing a hat is the first step in teaching responsible sun safety skills they keep for the rest of their life. I want to educate parents about this and provide them with the most comfortable and protective hats for children of all ages” Rachel Ellis founder of BedHead Hats.

 

Comfortable hats make a whole world of difference when it comes to keeping our kids sun-smart. Comfort and funky designs. Our kids are a little older now, and like the average 10 and 6 year old, they are all about the baseball cap, and give no thought to the lack of protection it gives. **I took photos of the sun hitting their necks whilst they had caps on, just to prove my point. #mumwin. This summer we’re ditching the caps!

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Not everyone realises that sun exposure in the first 10 years of life plays a large part in determining your lifetime potential for cancer.

Why Bedhead?

  • UPF50+ Excellent Protection rating
  • Made with a resilient stretch cotton that grows with the child
  •  Anti-flop brim
  •  Made to suit the hot Australian climate
  • Pram and baby carrier friendly
  • Soft around the neck
  • Providing both sun and glare protection
  • Great designs even for the biggest kids
  • Pony tail holes (Godsend)
  • Easy and comfortable to wear

Thanks to BedHead Hats, summer is looking like it’s going to be the least stressful for all Aussie (and expat) mums and most sun protected for all kids!!

Have a beautiful summer everyone!

Olivia xxx


 

Bedhead Hats is an Australian, family run business who are taking the sun hat market by storm, and leading the way in sun safety for kids.  We just need a couple of adult prints now! *hint!! 


#protectthepotential 

Bedhead Hats established the ‘Protect the Potential’ initiative in 2017 to ensure that Aussie babies get the best start they can to live a sun-safe life. This year, with the help of charities, maternity wards and post-natal services nationwide, Bedhead Hats will provide $200,000 of sun-hats to babies who need them most.

Throughout Spring and Summer 2018, a selection of charities, maternity wards and post-natal services nationwide will be provided with UPF50+ newborn Bedhead Hats to distribute to new mums and bubs to start the sun-safety journey of Aussie babies. Additionally, as part of the ‘Protect the Potential’ initiative, Bedhead Hats will be giving away five baby hats a day until the end of Summer through social media.

All Bedhead Hats have a UPF50+ Excellent Protection rating, are made with a resilient stretch cotton that grows with the child and an anti-flop brim, all made to suit the hot Australian climate. Bedhead Hats are pram and baby carrier friendly; soft around the neck, while providing sun and glare protection.

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Available via www.bedheadhats.com.au

The Cotton Originals Bundle includes a plain hat and a printed hat and has an RRP of $50.00

Smashing it again!

Brand New Boxes, just in time for Santa!

Yes, you guessed it! Smash Enterprises have only gone and developed some awesome new grub gear for our little folk! Not only is it fab, it’s also here just in time to be added to Santa’s delivery!

We’ve been test driving the brand new Bento Bite which not only makes me a healthy food goddess when it comes to packed lunches (I love filling all the little compartments with goodness), it’s also, most importantly, Monty proof. If that’s not a unique selling point I don’t know what is.

When it comes to lunch luggage, Smash seriously give us the goods. Every damn time. This years special for my gang has to be the glow in the dark ‘Fashion Tritan’ drink bottle. I’ve been telling Monty, that it glows even brighter the more he drinks… Summer hydration win!!

Reasons to choose the Brand New Bento Bite:

  • Removable inner tray
  • 6 compartments
  • Leak proof snack pot
  • Sealed lid to resist spills
  • Child friendly latch
  • Durable outer case
  • Cute designs
  • Sealed lid
  • Ice brick included
  • Two awesome designs (llama or Dinosaur)

Healthy, rubbish free lunches are now totally achievable, even for the most exhausted mama’s. Be gone to Woolworths and gather the goods for your gang!

Olivia xx 

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If you want to get your mitts on these awesome new lunch boxes, head to Woolworths from December 15th when they’ll be lining the shelves waiting for you super mums! *Only available whilst stocks last!


SMASH ENTERPRISES IS AN ICONIC AUSTRALIAN OWNED COMPANY THAT HAS RELEASED OVER 20 MILLION PRODUCTS, QUICKLY BECOMING A HOUSEHOLD NAME IN THE LIVES OF CHILDREN AND ADULTS WORLDWIDE. AS ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S LEADING AND MOST RECOGNISED BRANDS, SMASH IS KNOWN FOR ITS IMAGINATIVE AND EXTENSIVE RANGE OF INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS ACROSS A VARIETY OF CATEGORIES INCLUDING LUNCH BOXES, DRINK BOTTLES, STATIONERY, OUTSIDE DINING AND MORE! TODAY, SMASH HAS ALL THE PRODUCTS YOU WILL EVER NEED!

 

 

Give the gift of reading this Christmas!

No matter how hard to try to ignore it, there’s no denying that Christmas is well and truly on it’s way. It’s time to stop pretending you have ages to get sorted. The kids are almost down from their much hated Halloween high, and I for one am totally ready to get the tree up and start singing “Do they know it’s Christmas” at anyone who walks past.

Let’s take a moment to think about what Christmas entails. The frantic search for this years most popular toy, the dash round the shops to get the precious ingredient that Jamie Oliver absolutely insists you have with your turkey this year, not forgetting the outdoor Christmas show in 42 degrees of heat…(down under anyway).

Buy the tree, sort the gifts, hunt wildly for the sticky tape, wrap the gifts, try and find out which bloody bulb is broken and stopping the Christmas tree lights from working.. Oh, and did you really forget to send Aunty Marg a card??????

However Christmas rolls in your house, I’m here to take a bit of the pressure off!

I have done a really clever thing, and put together a list of totally awesome books that you absolutely must buy for your kiddos this year.

Buying your child a book, not only makes you feel like an awesome parent who positively encourages reading, but it also gives your child an experience which can be shared with others, time and time again. Reading not only creates a strong bond between parent and child, it also has many benefits including building confidence, and enhancing a child’s imagination. You see why buying a book this Christmas is a great idea. It’s the gift that really does keep on giving!

Nearly nine in 10 children say they love being read aloud to a lot, with the main reason being that it is a special time with their parents. – Scholastic


The Wilson’s Top Christmas Books

 

Judy Moody and the right Royal Tea Party by Megan McDonald

RRP $19.99

Judy Moody

Another day. Another mood. Meet Judy Moody at her moodiest-best, in this laugh-a-minute fourteenth adventure in the international bestselling series. If you have fans of Jacqueline Wilson then this is a great book to add to the bookshelf. It’s funny, a little bit silly, and a great easy reader (7+) for bedtime giggles.

Bab Sharkey and the Animal Mummies: The Giant Moth Mummy (Book 2) by Andrew Hansen & Jessica Roberts

RRP $14.99

Bab Sharkey

Can Bab and his smelly friends defeat this ancient evil? You what?? My thought’s entirely… This doesn’t sound like the most delightful book, but let me tell you, it’s worth a read! If your little readers love comics, gross stuff, and insanely wacky characters then add this to Santa’s list. *super Santa award heading your way!

Where’s Wally? The Spectacular Spotlight Search by Martin Handford

RRP $24.99

We love ‘Where’s Wally’ in our house, I have been known to flick through these on my own! This is Wally like you’ve never seen him before! Use the paper spotlight searcher as a magic torch to illuminate the six spectacular scenes in this book, and there are bonus games on every page! That means hours of entertainment! Kids get to turn the pages and search six spectacular darkened scenes! By using the paper spotlight searcher inside as a magic torch they will reveal Wally and his friends. Each scene contains all five classic characters plus bonus hidden content. This is a great book for old and new Wally fans!

**All light-up magic is designed from paper, and extra spotlight searchers are available to print from online, no batteries necessary.

Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett

RRP $24.99

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Who wouldn’t want their child to read a fiery story about friendship and asking for help? And as if that’s not enough, this is being hailed at ‘The Jolly Postman’ for a new generation! Hurrah! The JP was one of my all time favourites which I have handed down to my little ones.  I’m hoping Dragon Post will join the bookshelf that my kids hand down to theirs. Love the little letters!!

One day Alex finds a dragon living under his stairs. He isn’t sure what to do – but luckily he knows just who to ask for help. Open the envelopes and read the hilarious letters Alex receives from the fire brigade, the butcher and more as he tries to take care of his new friend. Who would have thought having a dragon for a pet would be so tricky? – Walker Books

Among kids aged 6–8 whose parents have stopped reading aloud to them, half wish their parents had continued – Scholastic

Discovery Globe- Build Your Own Globe Kit – Leon Gray

RRP $34.99

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For all of you parents out there with kids who love to build things, here’s a kit to make your own spinning globe! How awesome does that sound! This is the ultimate gift for families who love to travel, and who’s children have all sorts of questions about the world! This kit comes with everything you need to build your own spinning globe plus plus an illustrated explorer’s guide packed with information, providing a unique introduction to our world.

Make your own globe and discover more about the people and places on it with this stylish kit, containing all the pieces for an easy-to-make spinning model plus a highly-illustrated explorer’s guide. The sturdy card globe features icons labelling everything from natural wonders to famous faces, topics which can then be explored in more detail in the explorer’s guide. As well as referring closely to the model globe, the explorer’s guide covers a variety of themes including the Earth’s biomes, animals and World Heritage sites, providing a fascinating introduction to the world, its people and places – Walker Books

•Publisher’s note: adult assistance recommended when building globe.

My kids loved ‘A World of Discovery’ by Richard Platt

  Reading is so great for your kids because amongst other great benefits it:

Enhances their imagination

Improves their grammar

Improves their writing skills

Leads to academic success

Helps them build their self confidence

Expands their vocabulary

Discipline and increased concentration


Go on, buy a book this Christmas and give the gift of reading to a child you love!

DINOSAURS WILL BE TAKING OVER MELBOURNE!

 

Did you hear a roar? A stomp? The Dinosaurs are coming!

Have you got dino obsessed little ones in your house? If so, we have just the thing for your school holiday diary!! The Wilsons are so excited to tell you that Jurassic Creatures is set to open in Melbourne this September. These amazing creatures will be taking over St Kilda and we’re pretty sure you won’t want to miss out.

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Jurassic Creatures is an exhibition with over 30 + dinosaurs that will captivate young and old alike. Explore a prehistoric world full of life like moving dinosaurs and be amazed and thrilled as the greatest creatures ever to walk the earth return before your eyes and come alive.

You and the family will get chance to learn all about the dinosaurs 165 million year domination of life on earth. You will watch them move, hear them roar, and from the ripple of their skin to the glint in their eye, you will begin to think that the dinosaurs really are back!

Apart from this amazing animatronics show, you will be able to become a Paleontologist for the day. Children will be provided with their expert digger outfit, and chip away at their very own fossil. Plus there will be many more dinosaur activities to take part in including dinosaur sand painting, dinosaur 3D Jig-saw Land, fossil displays, dinosaur inflatable activity lands, dinosaur eggs to have photos in, walking dinosaurs and so much more.

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School Holidays are coming and this looks like it may be one of those awesome holiday experiences for the whole family. Hey, it may even stop the tricky bath time questions like “Mum, why did the T Rex have such small arms?” …. “Ask Siri darling”

Jurassic Creatures is set to bring all the wonder and excitement of the prehistoric world of dinosaurs back. Get ready to be thrilled as you see Triassic period comes to life!


ENTER OUR COMPETITION TO BE IN WITH THE CHANCE OF WINNING 1xFAMILY PASS

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All the Information

Open from 15 September -14 October – Jurassic Creatures will deliver a realistic animatronics show like no other that will capture the imagination of children & parents everywhere.

The event includes:

  • A spectacular dinosaur exhibition with realistic animatronics
  • An Interactive Fossil digging area
  • Dinosaur Sand painting
  • 3D Jigsaw Land
  • Dinosaur Inflatable Activity Lands
  • Plus so many other dinosaur activities for the whole family

Melbourne get ready to feel the Dino-Roar!

JUST THE FACTS

What Jurassic Creatures

When Saturday 15 September 2018 – Sunday 14 October 2018

Where St Kilda Triangle, adjacent to Palais Theatre

Cost

General Admission $31.56. Family Ticket $99.44 (2 adults, 2 children). Under 2 year old are free – Sessions are 3 hrs each

Website www.jurassiccreatures.com.au Tickets Ticketmaster

Make a Wish come true this Father’s Day

Father’s day is fast approaching, and if you’re anything like me you’ll be fed up with the racks and racks of crap mugs, horrid ‘Best Dad’ underpants and depressing plastic crap that will inevitably be in landfill two weeks today.

Do you want a better way to show dad you love him whilst doing your bit for an incredible charity? Well look no further.

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Introducing a fantastic Father’s Day gift idea that supports Make-A-Wish , in granting the wishes of critically sick kids.

Father’s Day is a perfect time to celebrate all the wonderful dads out there and thank them for everything they do. Make-A-Wish Australia and Tarocash have joined forces to launch a Father’s Day pack filled with custom made essentials to make your dad feel super special.

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The new range is only on sale for the month of August (** you have a week left) with a portion of the proceeds made going towards Make-A-Wish. Come on Australia, get on board, walk straight past the obvious Father’s Day rubbish, and buy a gift that Dad will love and will really make a difference.

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#WishForce #WishesfromTarocash