Owls and other feathered friends are visiting Watergardens – The Aviary

The Aviary, Watergardens Shopping Centre
Saturday 2nd – Sunday 10th July, 2016

“Escape to a paradise of natural beauty and bird life in Watergardens’ very own aviary. See Parrots, Cockatoos and Owls soar and dive in breathtaking shows, delight in the colourful plumes of exotic birds and learn all about our feathered friends from specialised handlers.”

It’s raining, it’s pouring and there are so many things to do no matter what the weather, especially during the school holidays. You’ll find adventures to be had everywhere if you just take a look.

On the weekend our little explorers took to Watergardens Shopping Centre and spotted some feathered friends including exotic parrots and a wise and handsome owl with their talented handlers.

Live bird shows, teepee talks and fun activities for the kids – another great way for the kids to learn something new plus have fun during the July school holidays. And it’s all free, which leaves mama with more money for shopping!

Saturday 2 July to Sunday 10 July
Live bird show in Town Square, 11am and 1pm
Activity Centre located opposite Pumpkin Patch, 11am – 2pm daily
TeePee talks in Town Square, 12pm and 2pm.
FREE

Below are some more free school holiday fun for the kids!:

Marvellous Messengers – Communicating at Wartime – Shrine of Remembrance (designed for 6-10yr olds)
Can you decipher the coded message in the walls of our courtyard?
Discover the fascinating ways, both openly and secretly, that service people on deployment have communicated with each other, headquarters and home. Learn how – before the internet – people from faraway countries kept in touch with their families and how news from home travelled to them. Children will be given an opportunity to create a mysterious message of their own.

Wild Things at Woodrove Shopping Centre
Get wild these School Holidays with our life size animatronic Zoo animals. Join us on one of the educational Zoology Tours, plus learn all about threatened & endangered species at our Live Shows with real endangered animals!

Daily snowfall 5-8pm at South Wharf
Experience a touch of European winter in the heart of South Wharf, Melbourne. Explore Dukes Walk Promenade through gently falling snow, enchanting lighting and fir trees. Take advantage of an abundant variety of restaurant and bar winter offers at South Wharf.

Playground and cafe fun at Woodlea 
A brand new playground with flying foxes, trampolines, a tall towering slide and more! Plus there’s the wonderful Go West cafe where the ham and cheese croissant is a must-try! Something for both the kids and adults.

Friday Fireworks at Docklands Waterfront
Start your weekends off with a spectacular fireworks show, free at Docklands. Every Friday night in July and August live music and roving performers will be entertaining crowds from 6.30pm with the fireworks starting at 7.30pm. Make sure you check social media for last minute cancellations.

The Waterboy Cafe – Phillip Island

The Waterboy Cafe
58 Chapel st, Cowes Phillip Island 

Last time we stayed at the Island my dad found the best pie place on Church street called Pieland. We had to go back for more this time round and whilst in the mood for some coffee we spotted a sleek modern cafe across the road.

The Waterboy Cafe serves 5 Senses coffee and the menu was perfect for breakfast or lunch. Or brunch as we had it!

Water views towards the back of the cafe. Plenty of tables inside and outside the front. The place was buzzing with customers waiting for their take away coffee but we just sat back, read the paper and waited patiently for our meals.

Mum ordered the ricotta pancakes and we all couldn’t help but have a mouthful or two…or three – they were amazingly! Soft and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness from the coulis and other toppings.

I ordered fried eggs on sourdough toast with extras on the side – the pork and fennel sausage and mushroom were so tasty!

And finally the almond croissant -please can I have some more? I love almond croissants! Especially when they’re sweet and dense like the ones from Laurent and this one from the cafe was fabulous.

So far we’ve tried a few eateries on the Island which have been amazing in both their food and their service.

I wonder where else we should eat next time we’re there..

Any suggestions?

One of the best ways to spend a winter’s night – Your own private degustation

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p style=”text-align: center;”>It’s winter. It’s wet. It’s cold. Actually it’s freezing.
You want to go out and indulge in a gastronomic affair but at the same time you’d rather just stay within the comforts of your own cozy home.
Recently we pampered ourselves with both.
With the organisation and creative skills of some friends, the date, table and decor was set.
Simple, sophisticated and inviting.
All that was needed were the dinner party guests and oh, maybe a master chef?
Enter Chef Sang Tran.

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p style=”text-align: center;”>I had seen these private dinners with a personal chef before on sites like Maynila where they come to your home to cook for you.
Chef Sang completely exceeded my expectations of what the evening would be like as he not only put together plate after plate of beautiful modern French cuisine, he also shared his knowledge of food with us. And the L&D nerd in me came out – I was so excited to not only eat but learn. Nerd alert!

From his favourite cuts of meat and places to shop, to his infamous ash emulsion where we had to guess the main ingredient (which I swear tasted like Cheetos Cheese n Bacon balls!), the drinks, laughter and conversation flowed like wine. I love learning new things and Chef Sang’s professional yet easy going nature got the whole table enthralled each time he presented his next course.

And did I forget to mention that we had matching wines for each meal? It was perfect.

And with no need to drive home from the city I would have completely finished each glass of wonderful wine had I not had a big night out the night before and the responsibility of having to breastfeed when I got back home.

Nevertheless I was excited to be able to taste each one and loved ending the night on the sweet note of the Punt Road Semillon pairing with the ginger bread sponge dessert. The flavours of cumquat marmalade, citrus peel and honey complimented the our last dish brilliantly. And that mascarpone ice cream – please can I have some more?

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Using fresh seasonal produce, Chef Sang’s menu moves with the seasons. Below was our menu for the night including the matching wines which I may have to buy a few bottles of – I see a winery road trip coming up!

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p style=”text-align: center;”>- Arrival drink
(NV Dominique Piron Cremant)

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p style=”text-align: center;”>- Sang’s version of Sunday roast with charred pumpkin, pumpkin pearls, beef essence, smoked yoghurt, pickled radish and baby herbs
(2015 Chalmers Rose)

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p style=”text-align: center;”>- Seared scallops, miso cauliflower puree, chorizo foam and an ash emulsion
(2014 Shadowfax Chardonnay)

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p style=”text-align: center;”>- Texture of beets, purple carrots, shaved radish, curd, olive oil powder and mushroom soil
(2014 Airlie Bank Pinot Noir)

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p style=”text-align: center;”>- Hanger steak, charred cauliflower, brussel sprout leaves, onion jam and a parsnip puree
(2011 Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon)

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p style=”text-align: center;”>- Ginger bread sponge with spiced carrot fluid gel, rhubarb ribbon, candied walnuts, and mascarpone ice-cream
(2013 Punt Road Botrytis Semillon)

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Chef Sang made us guess what ingredient the base of the ash emulsion was – you’ll have to book him in to taste it and let me know what you think!
Who knew two trestle tables, overgrown ficus trees in the front yard and a spare curtain could transform the area into this! Nice work Chloe and Anna 🙂I love the beautiful presentation and freshness of nouvelle cuisine.
This cut of meat is so flavoursome 
Bringing it home – I am still dreaming of this grand finale of a dessert!

From the gorgeous plates, wine glasses, cutlery and even a sous vide cooker, to the food, wine, experience and expertise, Chef Sang and Cynthia brought everything leaving us all to just sit back, relax, eat, drink and be merry. Ahh if only this was every night!

For an unforgettable and easy night in I highly recommend having a personal chef do the work for you while you relax with friends. Thank you for having us and I can’t wait for the change of season to see what Chef Sang has in store next. A must add to your foodie bucketlist!

Chef Sang Tran is at your service.

The Big Freeze Festival is almost here! 

*****Giveaway now closed*****Win-Tickets-to-TBF-1

You would’ve read about our fun day out at the launch of The Big Freeze Festival back in April posted here. The wait is finally over as the festival opens this July 2nd and will be run through until July 10th at the Cranbourne Racecourse.

The purpose of the festival is to empower kids to be active, creative and use their imaginations within a spectacular winter wonderland setting. Bringing the magic of beautiful white snowfall to you, The Big Freeze Festival will have nine magical and interactive winter play zones and activities to keep everyone active including snowboarding and construction play, stage performances and workshops to name a few.

What we love is the fact that organisers of The Big Freeze Festival are giving families a fantastic opportunity to keep healthy and active during the chilly days and bringing both the snow and interactive workshops together in one family-friendly place. Some of the workshops include:

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p style=”text-align: center;”>~ hip hop dance
~ family Zumba
~ cartoon drawing
~ karate
~sword fighting
– family yoga, and so much more.
Plus, fresh snow three times a day, a giant snow globe (great photo opp!), a snow pit, snow toss and snow village all in one venue!

Win a family pass to attendThe Big Freeze Festival this July! ***Giveaway now closed – Congratulations to our winner Lucy Wilson. Thank you for all your entries, we love being able to share these exciting events with you all**
 We would love for you and your family to experience the fun at this first ever year of The Big Freeze Festival by giving away one family pass (2 adults + 2 children) to attend this fantastic event on Saturday July 2nd 2016*
*A snow pit session time will be allocated for the winner at the time of ticket processing
and is subject to availability
Total prize pool $89.
TO ENTER:
Like The Urban Ma Facebook page and comment on the competition post.
Note: You must be subscribed to The Urban Ma – you can subscribe in the form at the bottom of this post.
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Terms & Conditions

This competition closes at 10pm, MONDAY 27 JUNE 2016 AEST.  The winners will be randomly drawn and notified via email.
Any specific conditions outlined above must be taken into consideration (specific dates and times are not negotiable).
Prizes will be posted to the winners from the individual organisation, The Urban Ma Blog takes no responsibility for lost postage.
Entrants must live in Victoria Australia (sorry it’s Vic only due to different state legislations).

By entering you are giving your consent for your name to be published on the giveaway blog post if you are the winner. Prize is not transferable, changeable or redeemable for cash. Your email will never be given or sold to anyone and the winner will be emailed and has 24 hours to respond with their details – otherwise the prize will be drawn again to obtain another winner.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.

*Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. The Urban Ma Blog was gifted a family pass for the purposes of giving to our readers. We love bringing you events like these so any comments or feedback on what other things you’d like to see here are very welcome. Just send us a greeting using the form down below.

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Kids and adults alike will love this new cafe – Go West

Scandinavian interiors. High quality offerings. Smooth coffee. Spacious table seating. Outdoor play.

The perfect combination for delicious and hassle-free brunch date for four mamas and eight kids.

Eight kids?! When did that happen? In the blink of an eye we’ve got preschool aged kids plus four prams with toddlers in them, all of us wanting somewhere easy but pretty to eat and play.

Enter Go West Tuckshop and Eatery. A hot tip from one of our mothers group friends had us heading to the new Woodlea Estate as she said it was worth the trip (thanks Alison!). She was so right!

We played. We ate. We ogled beautiful display homes with huge his and her wardrobe spaces.

All in all it was a fabulous day out.

So fabulous in fact that we were back the next day practically inhaling their cheeseburger with bloody Mary aoili and fries! Daniel ordered the ham and cheese croissant and I patiently waited for his leftovers however I only got one bite! It was heaven…that creamy bechamel sauce.The menu is well rounded with something for everyone and a kids menu as well!

Where: 27 Woodlea blvd, Rockbank
When: Open 7 days a week. For opening hours visit their website here.
What: A gorgeous family friendly cafe. It totally made me want to go home and redecorate our home to get this same Scandinavian vibe. Wonderfully friendly and professional service, we ended up dining here two days in a row!

Fun Fact: The cafe is managed and owned by those behind the esteemed Melbourne restaurants of Entrecote and Second Home. Head west next time you’re after something delicious to eat and a playground to unleash the big kid inside. More pics of the playground can be found here!


It’s all in the details – potted herbs line the front entrance

Their amazingly mouthwatering cheeseburger! – grilled O’Connors, beef patty, Monterey Jack cheddar, Bloody Mary aioli, greens and pickles with frites
Piadini – tomato braised meatballs, bechamel, mozarella and spinach with a little salad
Veggie patches outside the land sales office

Powder room goals – display homes at the Woodlea estateI need this hanging set up in my laundry!

We want to play too! – Woodlea playground

We could see the tall tower from the highway calling us to play. As we got closer there were slides and flying foxes comfortably nestled among the beautifully landscaped playground. We could not get out of our cars any quicker!

This is one of the latest estates in Melbourne’s outer suburbs boasting a well-planned playground to entice home buyers to secure their own little piece of the world. The other space we enjoy visiting especially in the summer time is Werribee’s Riverwalk park.


What: Explore one of Melbourne’s latest playgrounds for some outdoor fun
Where: Just off Woodlea blvd in the Woodlea Estate west of Melbourne. An easy drive along the Western Highway turning right off the Leakes road exit.
When: All year round
Cost: Free
Features: Basketball ring, footy park, table tennis table, bbq’s, cafe (Go West Tuckshop and Eatery), flying foxes, slides, swings, exercise equipment, sand play, trampolines, tunnels and natural elements encouraging kids to use their imaginations
Age: Something for everyone. There are even two flying foxes, one of them has a seat with seatbelts to secure the younger ones
What to bring: Balls to play with the basketball ring, footy posts or table tennis table, a picnic or something for the bbq, a jacket during the winter months as it can get quite cold.
Fun Facts: There are currently only around five homes being occupied in the estate as this is published but land blocks have been selling so fast as each new stage opens, so we predict that this will quickly become a popular meeting place. The cafe next to the playground is run by a few business partners responsible for the restaurants Entrecote and Second Home in Melbourne and Eltham, no wonder our brunch and coffee was on point! A great partnership between the property developers and restaurant operators that if successful will be replicated in the later stages of the estate.Undercover BBQ and seating areaUs adults trying to get in on the swing actionSand play with pulleys, buckets and even a ride on digger, similar to the one at the Ron Barassi playground in the Docklands.Let the kids use their imagination to run around and enjoy the parkFresh and newAnd some exercise equipment for the adults!More sand play at the Woodlea land sales office

Bouncy holes surrounded by rubber surfacesThe letter of the day is…D for Daniel!

We ended up driving out here two days in a row that’s how much fun we had! – first day was with my mothers group and the next day Daniel wanted to take Daddy to show him the “big sandpit” and also to bring his bike and a basketball. I secretly wanted to come back to try the burger for lunch! It was amazing.

Here are some other playgrounds to visit if you want to spend some quality outdoor fun with the kids – Docklands, Yarraville, Werribee.

Have a great long weekend everyone -xx-

What are some of your favourite playgrounds?
Daniel would love to check them out!

Mama Mondays – Was it on sale mummy?

I just had to capture his crooked haircut courtesy of Daddy!

When we were getting changed the other day…

D: Where did you get my trackies from Mummy? I like these ones!

Mum: I got them from Bardot Junior!

D: Were they on sale?

Mum: Yes babe, they were on sale.

D: Oh! That’s good then!

He’s only three years old but he’s already checking up on the shopping I do! He seriously surprises us everyday with the things he says.

I love his early awareness of budgeting. Hopefully he’ll be way better than I am when it comes to spending! I’m trying to be better though.

What are some little things you do to keep your budget in check?