Mama Mondays – Planet Kids


Planet Kids Play Centre
10-12 Cecil Street, Southbank

The challenge – two mamas from opposite sides of Melbourne to catch up in a central location, comfortable for both kids and mamas to play and relax. The solution – Planet Kids!

It was my first venture out alone with my two little ones – a newborn and a 2 year old. It was a hot summer’s day and it was my first attempt at catching up with my sister in law who also had a newborn and a one year old in tow.

Planet Kids was air conditioned, spacious but not with a warehouse feel and had what us mamas needed – coffee! After what felt like half an hour of getting a parking spot and finding a ticket machine, making it inside this parents’ haven was a huge relief.

There were different areas for the kids to play in depending on their age. We loved the soft toddler play area for kids ages three and under and Daniel also loved the cars and the tall play gym structure with a huge slide. All the different areas felt clean and well looked after.

– Soft toddler play area
– play rooms with different toys in each
– party rooms where you can host a party for your little one
– open space in the middle of the play centre for kids to drive around the ride-on cars
– an interactive space also in the middle of the play centre for games and some dancing fun
– a cafe selling reasonably priced snacks and food (We had two ham and cheese toasted croissants and a cappucino. They use Five Senses Coffee.)

Planet Kids is adjacent to Cafe Ciel, and this is where you also enter the play centre if you’re entering via the ramp. It has a sophisticated, industrial feel to it and if you feel like more “grown up” snacks and food, you can purchase some here instead of the cafe inside Planet Kids. It can also be hired as a function space – we attended the launch of the Wonderful Mama online magazine at Cafe Ciel last year and the drinks and canapes were gorgeous.



Daniel had a great time!

Where are some of your favourite play spaces to take catch up with friends and kids?

Style Saturdays – Watch this space

Daniel watch

Our little dude got a watch for Christmas from his Nanna and he insisted on wearing it everywhere. Daddy got one too, from Mummy. They both teamed up their new watches with blazers from Seed and Zara and I may be biased but I thought they looked quite the handsome duo!

Of course a monster truck is part of every outfit Daniel wears as he is always carrying one around – this time it was Northern Nightmare which was one of the presents he got from Santa for Christmas. He is so good at looking after his toys – he hasn’t lost one monster truck yet because he always seems to make sure that he puts them safe in the pram or in our bags when he’s out and about.

Styling Daniel The Urban Ma ootdSeed blazer size 4, Bonds top, Target pants, Converse shoes
Daniel Wellington The Urban MaZara blazer, Daniel Wellington watch
The Urban Ma menswear DJ AtomikIMG_8357Mix Apparel denim loose fitting tee, Cotton On skirt, Zara boots, Sportsgirl earrings, Monday Project necklace
behind the scenes Such a cheeky little boy!
The Urban MaFamily photo from the day of Hannah’s welcome mass
BTS the Urban Ma

Pinoy Fridays – Birthday Boodle Fight

Melbourne Kamayan Boodle Fight The Urban MaMelbourne Filipino drinks

A Birthday Boodle Fight!

Ever since our first time creating a boodle fight for my dad’s birthday a couple of years ago I’ve been getting a lot of people ask me if they can come to the next one or recreate the kamayan experience for them! We started this year celebrating one of my cousin’s birthdays eating military style with our hands a variety of food served on top of banana leaves.

It all starts off with a big shopping trip in the Asian stores and markets in St Albans. To see a detailed post on our preparations for this kind of meal you have got to check out Kenny’s account of it – he captured our first boodle fight brilliantly from start to finish here. I love flicking through this post of his as he documented it all plus pictures of my dad and the huge smile on his face.

This time round my cousin also had a huge smile on her face as we celebrated her birthday eating with our hands. Though some may think it unhygenic, the boodle fight meal, according to Google, demonstrates a sign of comraderie and equality among Filipino military by sharing a meal together regardless of rank.

What a feast! Some of the things pictured here are:

– grilled pork belly (liempo)
– Filipino noodles (pansit)
– jasmine rice
– grilled stuffed squid
– fish
– skinless hotdogs (Filipinos love hotdogs, corned beef and Spam…all that processed meat lol)
– grilled eggplant, capsicum, corn and some other veggies
– gulaman and melon drinks (Yum!)

The Urban Ma Boodle fight MelbourneThe boodle fight set up!
IMG_8486All hands on deck are needed in order to get all the food out at the same time so that it is still hot/warm ready to be eaten
Boodle Fight prep Melbourne The Urban MaA few condiments that elevate the meal to an ultimate Pinoy feast – chopped green mango and tomato, salted egg and also bagoong (shrimp paste). My cousins also cooked kwek kwek and the yummiest fish and grilled liempo (grilled pork belly). Yes it looked burnt but Filipinos love their meat well done.

Have you tried this before? What’s your favourite Filipino dish?

Travel Thursdays – Geelong’s Waterfront playground

Geelong Waterfront The Urban MaGeelong Waterfront The Urban Ma

Summer fun at Geelong Waterfront
1 Eastern Beach Road, Geelong

We’ve been blessed with such an awesome summer this year. Sunny days and warm, balmy nights with only a few days of cold, rainy weather, which is extremely good for Melbourne standards! We have been making the most of this summer by enjoying the great outdoors and taking Daniel to the beaches and water playgrounds, and the Geelong Waterfront has got to be one of our favourites! Another place we love is the Riverwalk Estate’s water park in Werribee!IMG_8368

We used to go to Geelong with the whole family (around 32 of us aunties, uncles and cousins!) to celebrate birthdays at the all-you-can-eat Smorgy’s on the pier. As a kid I loved the long drives in the car listening to our Dad’s music selection of Elton John, Bread and Dionne Warwick and the anticipation of arriving at a magical place where food was ready for the taking and us kids could indulge ourselves at the self serve pancake and dessert bar

With Smorgy’s no longer there and our tastes in restaurants having drastically changed, I hadn’t been to Geelong in a while. On our recent trip there to celebrate my niece’s second birthday, we discovered a whole new waterfront to the one we remembered and I cannot wait to go back!

We parked up the hill and as we got out of our car, the amazing view greeted us. There was so much to see and do and most of it free!

– outdoor pools
– ferris wheel
– a nice stroll along the pier
– swimming for both kids and adults with heaps of structures to jump off!
– cafes
– bbq and comfy grassy areas
– train rides
– ice cream trucks and more!

We went on a Sunday and there were lots of families enjoying the sun and sea but it wasn’t too crowded. I can only imagine how much more busy it would be if there was a festival or event. Luckily we were able to find street parking close to the beach and a tree to set up our picnic.

Geelong Eastern beach Waterfront
Geelong Waterfront Eastern beach The Urban Ma
What are some of your favourite places to go during summer?

Mama Mondays – Three Months Post Partum


3 months old The Urban Ma

Mama Mondays – Three months Post Partum

Height/weight: Baby – Hannah now weighs 5.7kg and is measuring 60cms long. She is fitting nicely into 00 sized onesies and I’ve already had to pack away boxes full of clothes she has grown out of.

Mama – Still stuck at weighing around 68kg right now but I’m not too hung up on it because I know I haven’t done too much this month – the kids have been sick and the top priority was nursing them back to health and giving them lots of cuddles (amongst all the yelling and crying!). I did however manage to make it to two of Rewind’s rehearsals and have been continuing to follow along with Brett Larkin’s amazing yoga routines most mornings!3 months post partum update The Urban Ma

Routine: Baby – Hannah normally wakes up around 6-7am to have her first feed for the day. Then I take her downstairs while Daniel is still asleep, put her in her swing and then practice some yoga while she watches. She usually falls asleep after some play time and then ready for another feed at 11am or so. By this time Daniel is awake and off playing with his monster trucks or going through some activities on his Maths Seeds and Reading Eggs program. He tells me that he’s “a little learner”! Lately he’s been asking me to play music videos on the tv as he proceeds to dance around the living room throwing in a few floor tumbles here and there. It looks a little bit like he’s doing capoiera. After lunchtime both Hannah and Daniel have a nap sometimes for an hour but normally they sleep a long stretch until around 3pm or 4.30pm if I’m lucky. Then snack time and playtime. Wes will get home from work or finish working from home in time for dinner so we all eat together and then it’s more playtime or time to walk around the lake and parks. Bedtime has been all over the place this month because of the kids being sick and I’m woken up by the kids two to three times due to their coughing.

Mama – This past month has been the most hardest I’ve had to go through with both kids being diagnosed with whooping cough. Thankfully Daniel had never really gotten too sick before and so this was my first time experiencing what it’s like having a sick kid – truly an arduous few weeks. One day it got so bad that I even started crying and just couldn’t clean up one more puddle of Daniel or Hannah’s vomit (it was like they were taking turns having coughing fits and then vomitting). So Wes ended up coming home to the messiest house ever with two puddles of half cleaned up vomit and me rocking away in the corner with the biggest migraine so drained from the kids and needing to get away. Several trips to the Royal Children’s Hospital and appointments at the doctor took up most of our time this month.

Sleeping: Baby Hannah is stretching her sleeps out longer during the night now that she’s getting better from the whooping cough so it’s been such a relief. She naps a few times a day and has fallen asleep a few times just lying on her play mat.

Eating/feeding: Baby – As per my last post partum update yes I was able to go out for a few dinners during my birthday week! The hubby took care of the kids and Hannah was so good for him she didn’t even wake up while I was gone so there was no need for the expressed breastmilk I had prepared. So far Hannah has only been fed by Wes once with the bottle and I’ve been just breastfeeding the whole time which means she’s stuck with me. Sometimes I feel like I need to be getting her used to the bottle early, and other times I think there’s no need because I’m always here anyway. Yes there are times (quite a few times this month!) that I’ve craved for a night out but then I think, this stage isn’t going to last long and I’m enjoying being with her so why push her onto the expressed milk? Ahhh we’ll see how we go.

IMG_9117Weekend breakfast for the hubby and Daniel! Walnuts, strawberries on pancakes topped with maple syrup is such a good combo. Quick and easy!

Milestones:  Baby – Hannah is quite the chatterbox already! She absolutely loves when she sees a face looking at her – she’ll smile and coo straight away and it’s the cutest thing to hear. She has also started to roll to her side this month and moves around her play mat into a totally different position trying to look at the hanging toys.

Mama – I haven’t been able to get to dance class this month but I did manage to make it to a couple of rehearsals with the crew for a gig at St Kilda Fest on February 14th! I’ve been so sleep deprived this month with a million things happening so I feel like a total beginner when dancing with the rest of the guys :( Hopefully I can slowly pick things up again. If you’re free on the 14th of next month, come and watch our show!baptism traditionI was so happy to have Hannah welcomed into the community this month as she begins her journey of faith.
Boodle fight kamayan Birthday The Urban MaFor my cousin’s 21st birthday she organised a boodle fight! – Filipinos sharing a meal eating with their hands! (Kamayan)

I’ve been so stressed out and tired this past month…any of you out there have any tips you can share on how you get the most of your day and manage stress?

Travel Thursdays – Why We Love Next (And You Should Too!)

IMG_6337IMG_6421Next Hotel room bed

Next Hotel, Brisbane
72 Queen St, Brisbane

Mixing work and pleasure, we stayed at the Next Hotel for the time on our trip to Brisbane last July. Next hotel is situated right in the middle of Queen street mall and its retail shopping with sleek, modern finishes greeting you as soon as you arrive. We can’t wait to stay here when we visit Brissy again.

Location
Perfectly situated down the George street end of Brisbane’s Queen street mall, Next is only a doorstep away from stores like Forever 21 and the Myer Centre. It is also a very short walk to the Treasury Casino and the Brisbane River, which connects you straight to Brisbane’s Southbank precinct. We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon just in time to catch the farmers market in Radcliffe place operating from 8am to 6pm every Wednesday – I bought two punnets of strawberries and they were the juiciest, tastiest and sweetest I’d ever had!

Brisbane hotels

Rooms
We stayed in a deluxe king room on the 22nd floor with a view of the Brisbane City Hall clock tower and the room was comfortable and well-lit with modern decor. Everything was crisp and clean from the bed linen to the towels and bathroom areas sparkled which is a must for me when travelling. One thing that sets Next apart from other hotels is the way almost everything in the room is controlled by an app. The Samsung device is provided to control the rooms functions from lighting, to the tv channels and you can also use it as a room key. When using it as a remote for the tv, service was friendly and prompt when we needed the connection reset. There is also the traditional remote and room key available for use if you’re into more the traditional way of using things. We loved the coffee machine and the four complimentary mini bar items per day – Daniel made the most of it making sure he had a drink and snacks in his bag before heading out for some sightseeing. Of course, Next also provids free Wi Fi, what more could you ask for?
IMG_6406Next Hotel Brisbane
Next Hotel interiorIMG_6403

Amenities/Facilities
We stayed at Next for two nights and got to take a look around the pool and lounge area. There were sleeping pods for those that wanted privacy while waiting to check in or just for some along time and the pool deck area was so pretty. It has a great view overlooking Queen street mall and the lighting and atmosphere at night is uber cool.

You can check in and out without having to go to the front desk and Daniel loved the buffet breakfast we had before I went of to work. There are many different areas where functions could be held from meetings in the boardrooms to cocktail parties out in the stylish alfresco area.


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Staying at Next Hotel gave us the key to accessing so many awesome things to see and experience in Brisbane from the Night Noodle Markets and romantic park walks on Southbank, to the cafes and shopping in the city. If you want to find out more about how we made the most of our time in Brisbane before a fun roadtrip to Noosa, see post here!

What are some of your recommended places to stay and things to do in Brisbane?


Sleeping pods Next HotelNext room closetNext Hotel loungeNext Hotel lounge refreshmentsNext Hotel poolside The Urban MaNext Hotel Deluxe King

A good feed after outlet shopping at UniHill – Ziffano’s Seafood and Rissotto Bar 

 

Ziffano’s Seafood and Rissotto Bar
UniHill, 9 Janefield Drive, Bundoora 

UniHill has always been a go to for us when outlet shopping. Wide aisles, a great range of brands and it just feels comfortable shopping there not having to fight the crowds for a parking spot or line up at the stores.

I’d only ever shopped there and not really checked out any of the cafes and shops on the outside of the centre but after a solid and fruitful shopping spree before Christmas, we were in need of some sustenance.

Ziffano’s with their lunch special, hit the spot. The steak and mash I ordered was good value and juicy, medium rare just how I like it. It was my first time eating steak after being pregnant so I was doubly excited! All the staff were attentive and served us promptly.  There was also enough room for all our shopping bags and our pram with seating both inside the cafe and outside.

If you’re looking for somewhere to take a break from all the fabulous bargains and enjoy a meal or drink, try Ziffano’s just outside opposite the Coles building.

If you missed some of our UniHill shopping hauls, you can find them here and here.

Ziffano's Seafood & Risotto Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato