Mama Monday – Breastfeeding looks different for everyone


Medela

My Breastfeeding Journey 

Breastfeeding is different for everyone. Just as no one person’s journey through parenthood is the same, the breastfeeding journey comes with its own set of highs and lows. To be honest, I never really gave breastfeeding much thought until I became pregnant with Daniel. I’d seen all these stories in the news about women being shamed when breastfeeding in public or I’d hear of mums arguing with other mums about whether formula or breast milk was best. In my head I just thought, I’m sure they know what they’re doing, let them make their own decisions and let them be. Then as soon as we found out that we were going to be blessed with a little baby, I started paying more attention.

The Lead Up – When I found out that I was going to be a mama to a vulnerable but powerful little human being, something changed. In an instant it wasn’t just about me anymore. A tiny little person was in the making, and would be dependent on me for everything. Inside my belly he was growing…his little fingers and toes, his brain everything! All of a sudden, every decision I was making I was making for the both of us and I wanted was give him the best. So I spoke to friends, spoke to mum, read books like What to Expect When Expecting, resarched online, watched videos and research and, decided I wanted to try breastfeeding when Baby was born.2-hours-old

I stopped drinking and tried to get rest. I drank lots of water and followed suggestions from by OB about what things to eat. Being my first pregnancy I was so pedantic about checking everything I was eating to make sure it was fully cooked, thoroughly washed etc etc. When I was a baby Mum said that she had no milk and so I was put straight on formula while we were still in the hospital. I was hoping it would be different when it was my turn! Unlike some of my friends who were pregnant at the same time as me and whose bra sizes had increased significantly, my boobs stayed the same throughout my pregnancies. I was really hoping they’d get bigger! Why were they still small? I thought I was going to have no milk like Mum but that all changed as soon as Baby arrived.

The Arrival: My boobs started to become a little fuller in the very last couple of weeks of pregnancy. I got excited that I could finally use my new maternity bras (nowadays I’m more looking forward to the day I can wear those sexy lacy bras again!). I was fortunate to have an extremely quick, albeit dramatic, labour (I gave birth to my son in the passenger seat of our car as my husband sped over the Westgate. Second time around I made it to the hospital in time for Hannah!). As soon as we got to the hospital and the OB and midwives checked that me and Baby Daniel were okay, Daniel was put on my chest where he seemed to just magically work his way up to start feeding…it was the most amazing thing to see. Hannah was exactly the same. As soon as she was born she was placed on my chest, and even without opening her eyes she just wriggled her way up towards my boobs and started feeding. I was enthralled.hannah's first feedThis is what an exhausted mama and daughter looks like one day post partum

The midwives taught me how to hold Baby in the optimal position for feeding and then away he went. Being tired from giving birth I don’t remember it hurting right at the start but what I do remember were the contraction type pains in my tummy as my uterus slowly shrunk back in to place with each feed. There was no milk yet, but there was the “liquid gold” – colostrum that was rich in nutrients that Baby needed. The nurses were very encouraging and I knew that I just had to keep Baby feeding in order for the milk to come through. That’s where it was different for my Mum. From the stories I hear about back in the day it didn’t sound like they were as encouraging about breastfeeding as they are now because Mum said they just put me on formula straight away. These days they are very aware that the milk can take anywhere from a few days to weeks to come through so they were very encouraging of my decision to decide to try breastfeeding. It helps to have supportive midwives and I loved that the hospital had a breastfeeding room and dedicated lactation consultant available for us whenever we needed. I think it really helped that I was made to feel at ease and relaxed. Stressing out doesn’t help and I think a baby is so in tune with its mama that he/she can sense what you’re going through and stressing out will stress them out.keep calm

Those first few days: When Daniel latched on immediately after being born I thought, wow this is so easy I wonder what everyone is complaining about? But then the next day my nipples were so sore and it felt like I was doing it wrong. Was I holding him in the wrong position? Is he not latching on properly? The midwives came and showed me that he really had to get the whole nipple in his mouth and it seemed like they just shoved it in his face LOL! I was thinking oh my goodness how can he breathe if it’s that far in? But the midwives showed me and assured me that he was just fine. As soon as they did that, I could see the difference and Daniel was latched on much better. However my nipples felt so sore and raw. Luckily for my baby shower I was given Lasinoh which I had packed in my hospital bag and it helped a lot to ease the pain. I remember Daniel preferring the right boob over the left and I would dread every session when it was time to alternate him to the left one. It hurt so much because it felt so raw but I kept thinking, it’ll be ok, just keep going and it will get better. And it did.

My mum took time off work for both of my pregnancies so that she could be there for me after giving birth. With Daniel, Mum and Papa cooked lots of soupy Filipino dishes like Nilaga and Tinola which contained a lot of water and helped me keep hydrated whilst breastfeeding – it’s surprising just how thirsty you get when you breastfeed. I always kept a water bottle with me when Daniel was a baby. When I came home from the hospital with Hannah, it was my cousins who prepared an amazing feast for me with lots of veggies and a Filipino dish called Bulalo. I was so happy to have everyone around. That’s one thing that a new mama needs – food! So if you’ve got a friend that pregnant or new to the parenting world, a simple drop off of a tasty home cooked meal is a small but super helpful gesture that does wonders.
I remember Mum would also just pop over in the evenings after she finished work and clean. She cleaned the kitchen and benchtops up so that all the dishes were clean and the clutter gone. Again it may seem small but it makes the biggest different waking up to a clean house instead of a messy, cluttered one. Thank you Mum…you’re the best.

definition

The first couple of weeks: I left the hospital feeling well equipped with what I needed to be able to continue breastfeeding at home without the help of the nurses. A close workmate gifted me with a breastfeeding pillow which I found really handy especially with Baby being so small. Just as I thought everything was going well, the first night home after all our visitors had left, I suddenly felt extremely dizzy, feverish and sick as I climbed upstairs to go to bed. I was so weak that the hubby had to practically carry me into bed. My boobs were killing me and they were so hard…like rocks. Hubby was so worried he called the 24hour doctor and explained my symptoms. He was told that I needed to feed the baby and that would ease the pain. I couldn’t even hold Daniel or move at all, that’s how sick I was feeling, so the hubby lay me on my side and positioned Daniel so that he could feed. It was probably only about fifteen minutes in total that I all of a sudden felt so sick but as soon as Daniel started feeding, I felt a hundred times better and my boobs softened and stopped hurting. I must’ve not alternated my feeds evenly between my left and right boob. I was using a hair tie to try and remember which side Baby fed from last but I must’ve forgot to change wrists! So many things to remember! – it makes it hard when you’re running on minimal hours of sleep and navigating your way through those first few weeks of becoming a new mama and a tired wife.
One thing I continued to do from the hospital is track my feeding times. I used my “notepad” on my iPhone but now Medela have this super handy app (MyMedela app) where you can not only track feeding times but where they have a whole bunch of useful information all in the once place. Best thing ever. The app includes a problem solving centre with commonly asked questions, information on your baby’s progress and so much more. It means you can have just one thing open on your phone and spend more time closely bonding with Baby…especially helpful during those midnight and 3am feeds.
During those first couple of months when Baby was still finding a routine and I was up at all hours of the evening morning, I spent most of my time on our Snuggle couch. It is the most comfiest corner of our house and I ended up watching Larry Emdur on the morning show, I thought he was so funny lol! With Hannah I watched the whole Glee series in those first couple of months when she was awake around the clock. Even though it was exhausting being up all the time and not getting enough sleep I miss those times. Those peaceful times when it would just be Daniel/Hannah and I awake while it was still dark. So much closeness. It was these precious times on our own in the stillness of the night that were some of the most moving moments of motherhood in the early days.
alternating

Out and about: I am so grateful that Daniel and I worked well together. He was a good eater…still is. Hannah was exactly the same, thank goodness, and so it was even easier with her because I had done it all before. One thing I had learnt to do with Daniel was the art of feeding in public without looking too obvious. I used to be the most shy person who ever lived on this earth and even though I am a lot more outgoing now, I am still a little reserved depending on the situation. On my first trip to a shopping centre one month after Daniel was born, he started crying and being a first-time parent I freaked out that he was crying and being so noisy so I didn’t make it to the parents room – I just wanted to feed him straight away to stop him from crying in front of everyone (so different the second time around haha!) I had a light weight scarf with me and dressed in a tshirt with a singlet underneath. So instead of just pulling my top’s neckline down and feeding that way with my chest exposed, I did it the other way. I pulled up my tshirt from the bottom, and fed Daniel as discreetly as I could (I have eczema and have had it since birth so I still get a bit conscious about that every now and then). Even my friends commented that it just looked like I was holding Daniel while he slept. With Hannah, I found these amazing Nursing Mama singlets that are made specifically for breastfeeding with a slit in the middle for quick and easy access. I wish I had these when Daniel was a baby…I now have one in every colour and wear them even when I don’t have the kids with me as they are the softest piece of clothing and doesn’t make me feel itchy.boobsNursing Mama crew
Pumping and Going Out – Along with What to Expect When You’re Expecting, one of the many baby books I read was Save Our Sleep. It was recommended to me by a friend and so I tried to follow along with some of the routines in there including pumping my breast milk for Daniel to take through a bottle. It worked up until Daniel was three months old but after that I just couldn’t get him sleeping on his own so we ended up co-sleeping, which now I look back on and treasure. He’s grown up so fast I can’t believe how quickly time passes and I’m so glad we shared a million cuddles together. Everyone is different though and that’s why I’ve found the reading to be helpful to try different things to see what works for you and for baby. Everyone is different. With Daniel the hubby bought me a manual pump which was ok. The second time around, the hubby bought me the Medela Swing breast pump which another friend highly recommended and I wish we had bought it earlier. It is so quiet, convenient and gets the job done fast.

With both Daniel and Hannah, I ate a serve (or two) of ice cream every single day. When I’d go out for dinner I could eat the whole menu and know that Daniel would just suck it straight out haha! This time round with Hannah, the hubby and I have been trying to eat a lot more nutritious food and loads of vitamins and minerals.

calories

Nearing the end: Daniel took breast milk from the bottle once a day until he was three months old. After that he refused the bottle and didn’t want a bar of formula so when I was coming up due to go back to work I started stressing out a little. I didn’t know how to wean him off the boob so I extended my maternity leave an extra four weeks. I breastfed Daniel until he was thirteen months old, until one day he suddenly bit me while he was latched on and I almost slapped him it hurt so much and caught me off guard! That was it. After that, I stopped feeding him and he went on to get his nutrients from food and cows milk. We now drink more almond milk which he seems to like with his Weet Bix 🙂

Hannah is like Daniel in the way that she is not interested in the bottle. Lately though she has started to drink from it… only a few mls but it’s still something! I am loving the below meme because it totally describes how breastfeeding is nowadays with Hannah. She pulls on me so much and twists and turns around it’s ridiculous! So funny! And  little painful. And right now she has this thing where she likes pinching and holding one of my boobs while she feeds on the other. Even though her pinching hurts a little, I’m enjoying these little cheeky moments with her because it won’t be long now until my whole breastfeeding journey comes to an end.

gym nurse ticsniplash

When will my milk come?
My baby won’t stop crying? – Do I have enough milk? Is the milk too much for her?
How often should I feed?
When should I pump?
Is it supposed to hurt this much?
I’m due back at work – how long will it take to ween him off?

Almost four years since I first started breastfeeding after fluffing my way through so many questions and uncertainties, I now have so many memories to treasure and current moments with Hannah that I am desparately holding on to before it all ends. Some of my friends had an end-of-breastfeeding party when their little ones weaned off. Other friends hated the whole breastfeeding stage and couldn’t wait to stop. And some didn’t breastfeed at all. And you know what, that’s ok. Every mama out there is doing the best she can and trying the best way she knows how to raise a tiny little baby.Breastfeeding Hannah

We’re so lucky that these days there are so many resources available to us and with this year’s Breastfeeding Awareness Week having just passed, I’m feeling a little nostalgic knowing that this may be my last year of breastfeeding my baby. It has been a wonderful journey in which all the tiny joys of life together with the tough times, have enriched my life knowing that I have helped both my children grow and, strengthened the bonds I have with family and friends.

Just in case you missed it, I’d like to share a little video Medela put together featuring fellow bloggers and how breastfeeding was different for them.

Hopefully this helps you or your friend know that you are not alone when it comes to this journey. If you have any questions please comment below, tweet me, or send me a message via Instagram of Facebook. I love hearing your stories and knowing what you’d like me to post about next.

Good night -xx-

IMG_2724Flashback to when Daniel was only five months old…seems like just yesterday.

Mama Mondays – 8-9 months post partum update

9 months of funMama Mondays – 8 and 9 monthpost partum update

I can’t believe that it’s already the end of July and Hannah will be turning one in a few months.

Height/Weight: Hannah’s growing up fast and we got her checked and measured at the maternal child health nurse. She now weighs 9.9kgs! I was looking at hers and Daniel’s check up books and she is roughly around the same size as Daniel when Daniel was her age. Hannah is still fitting into size 0’s and with this cold, winter weather, she’s been wearing shoes more often. My favourites are Moccs Made With Love, Bobux and Attipas this month – they’re so easy to put on and don’t fall off as frequently as other brands plus they keep her little toes super warm.

Routine/Sleep: Hannah is now mostly having only two naps during the day time with the occasional three when she’s super tired or we’re driving around somewhere (she falls asleep in the car all the time!) She still isn’t sleeping straight through the night and the hubby loves it when she snuggles up next to him trying to find a comfy position.

Eating/Feeding: In her eighth month, Hannah loved being fed food that was mashed instead of being pureed. She liked feeling the texture and feeling like she was chewing something even though she still hasn’t got any teeth! Lately in her ninth month, I’ve found that she wants to be holding her food more and feeding herself, so she’s been eating lots of crackers, steamed veggies and fruit. We just need to keep an eye on her that she doesn’t bite off more than she can swallow. I love watching her little fingers trying to hold onto her food and her lips as she munches are so cute!

9 months post partum

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p style=”text-align: center;”>Milestones: By her eighth month Hannah was well on her way at winning the fastest crawler award. If I turned my head for even just a couple of seconds, she’d disappear into the cupboard, under the dining table or behind the couch. She’s so quick to crawl now on her hands and knees instead of her caterpillar-type movement which she started off with. Currently in her ninth month Hannah has just started to stand up on the sides of the couch or ottoman – I think the fact that Daniel tries to keep some of his toys up there out of reach is Hannah’s main motivation for standing up!IMG_8754

Hannah is also quite the conversationalist constantly babbling to herself and Daniel and trying to talk in the middle of storytime before bed. The hubby swears he heard her repeat the word “propeller” to him while he read Daniel his book about pilots. I wouldn’t be surprised – she’s able to make so many different sounds now, I love watching her mouth and lips move. Cutest thing ever!

Daniel has been such a big help especially with Hannah being so fast at getting around the house these days. He always makes sure the floor is clean for her by taking of his shoes and putting them away as soon as we get home, and if he sees her touching something she shouldn’t, he stops her and turns her in another direction. Daniel also knows just how to entertain her in her cot while I’m in the shower, singing nursery rhymes to her and making funny noise and faces to make her smile.

The past couple of months has also seen me head out to the club for my sister in law’s birthday! It had been so long since I went out and drank that it took me weeks to recover! Hannah also had her first sleepover at grandma’s house just last Thursday. I think I actually slept worse not having her with me because my boobs were SO sore and hard because she normally still feeds at night. By 5:45am I just couldn’t take the pain anymore so even though it was so cold and pouring down rain, I quickly drove to mum’s house and fed her.

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p style=”text-align: center;”>This past month we also went away with the whole fam to Silverwater Resort in Phillip Island and had so much fun! I’ll write up a separate post on the resort and the things we got up to as there is too much to mention!
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I feel so very blessed to have these two in my life and every night just after we finish saying our prayers I love hearing what our little family is grateful for. Tonight Daniel was so funny, I just kept hugging him and kissing his face!

IMG_7701I just love him so much…rain hail or shine, he just wants to be playing outdoors!

Grateful Daniel

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p style=”text-align: center;”>Me: Daniel what are you grateful for today?
Daniel: Dear God, thank you for mummy and daddy and Hannah and Tita Arielle.
Me: Awwww that’s nice…do you miss Tita Arielle?
Daniel: Yeah I miss her.
Me: Really? What do you miss? Like what do you like about Tita Arielle?
Daniel: I miss her and Tagalog (Filipino language)
Me: Awww! But doesn’t Mummy talk to you Tagalog more now?
Daniel: Yeah but I like Daddy to talk Tagalog too. Daddy needs to learn I think.

Hahahah! Gosh he just surprises me everyday. Looks like we really have to get our act together and speak more Tagalog to him!

Do you practice daily gratitude with your little ones? Try it – you’ll be amazed at the things they say 🙂

Have a great week everyone.

Night! xx

Date night CalMex style by the bay


Bay City Burrito interior bar Bay City Burrito interior

Date night in St Kilda

“Do what you did in the beginning of the relationship and there won’t be an end.”

When I used to hear the words date night I used to think why does it have to have a specific name? Isn’t every night date night? Going out on spontaneous trips to the movies, rollerblading by the beach and flying to new destinations to explore the world with your bae. But that was before we had kids. Before having to juggle breastfeeding, nap times and various other preschooler and baby needs before ours.

Our world has become a much more colourful place since our two little munchkins joined us. I never thought I’d get so excited to watch Sesame Street again (it helps when people like Usher, Bruno Mars and Emma Stone appear on it!) or be so enthralled watching Hannah’s little fingers trying to grasp food for the first time.

In the midst of hearing the monster truck song on YouTube over 20 times in one day that my son is completely obsessed with, and having to remember doctor appointments, nurse checkups, dinners with friends, catch ups with my mothers group, visiting relatives, play dates, birthday parties and events, the kids are on my mind 24/7. And that means sometimes someone misses out…hence the need for highly anticipated date nights! I remember when we got engaged and started our marriage preparation, one of the many questions our priest asked us was about communication. How were we going to talk and stay close to each other when/if we had kids? I thought well we’d just make sure we find time to listen and talk. Hahaha! A lot easier than it sounds. Little did I know it would take a little bit more than just positive thinking to be able to get out and about with the hubby

Thankfully we have family close by who also believe in the importance of spending time together even if it’s just for a couple of hours, so last Thursday we headed off somewhere new that we hadn’t been to before…the Mission district in San Fran.

Bay City Burrito menu

Just kidding – although going back to States for a family holiday is on our list!

Instead of the fourteen hour flight across the Pacific, we headed out to Bay City Burrito in St Kilda right next to the iconic Luna Park to try their Mission San Fransicso – style burritos. With Hannah already nine months, we’ve been able to get out a lot more lately as she is now on solids and lasts longer in between her breastfeeds. Our last date night took us on a tour of Europe at the alluring Copper Pot restaurant in Seddon. This time round we switched it up and got our CalMex on.

Bay City Burrito’s St Kilda installment has been open for three years now,with their first Hawthorn restaurant serving customers seven years strong. We met ever-charismatic owner Gary, who informed us that their style of food is Californian Mexican as opposed to TexMex. It’s widely known that Californians generally tend to want more healthy options in the food they consume and, as a result CalMex cuisine utilises more of the fresher ingredients such as lettuce, tomato, avocado, black olives and leaner cuts of meat in their dishes. Fish tacos and other fusion extras can also be found on the menu of CalMex style eateries.

The hubby ordered the Bay City Bomber burrito and it was seriously massive! He had to take a break towards the end to have a breather but it tasted so good he still managed to finish it off!

At first glance of the BCB menu, I was excited at the huge variety of burritos I could choose from, and then even more impressed when I saw that there were some flavoursome vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options as well – need to keep this place in mind next time I have a catch up with friends!

We ordered:

– the Bay City Nachos – warm tortilla chips smothered in BCB’s home made queso sauce & topped with fresh pico de gallo
– Sangria
– The Mission Special Burrito – Pick any two items (grilled chicken, lean steak, carnitas pork, tofu or veggies – I picked the lean steak and pork…it was amazing!) with cheese, black beans, Spanish rice & mild salsa in a grilled flour tortilla
– the Bay City Bomber Burrito – steak & chicken, black beans, Spanish rice, cheese, guacamole, lime sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, Spanish onions, black olives, & mild salsa in a grilled flour tortilla

There were also specials like their warm chicken and tortilla soup and the Sampler Basket which included a small chicken burrito, a steak street taco, with chips and salsa. Maybe we’ll try those next time.

Ambience:

We had such a fun date night thanks to the vibrant music, comfortable furnishings and of course the alcohol we consumed – it doesn’t take much these days to get me a little red and happy as I am quite out of practice when it comes to the drinking side of things haha!

Service:

We were served by a really friendly guy who I also saw go around to each of the tables afterwards just to check if everyone was ok with their meals. It was nice to see the attention they paid to their customers even though they also had quite a few takeaway orders coming through. I loved my burrito so much that I actually ordered another one to take away. Yes,Little Miss Piggy right here!

How cool are these coasters under our drinks!? The colours of the decor and furnishings were a great combination drawing inspiration of the Mission district back in the States. And see that plate of Bay City Nachos there? You can’t see the special queso sauce because it is perfectly layered underneath so that it is evenly distributed – every single tortilla chip gets a dunk in the cheesy goodness.
We almost licked the plate clean. That queso sauce was sooooo good! Check out our warm, tightly packed foil packages…ahhhh I was in burrito heaven. It was nothing like I had ever tasted. So jam packed with a balance of rice, beans, cheese and meat. 
Bay City Burrito St Kilda
The hubby’s burrito compared to mine. The menu got it right – “It’s MASSIVE”! You’ll have to try it for yourself as the picture just doesn’t do it justice. Even just looking through these now makes me want to drive out there to get my hands on one…or maybe I’ll go for lunch tomorrow…Ok so I haven’t tried everything on the menu but this has got to be a winner – the Mission Special Burrito with beef and pork.Bay City Burrito service St KildaThe hubby loves hot sauce. He puts Tabasco on everything. I never used to be able to eat spicy food before…even when I worked at Nando’s back in the day, I always only ordered my chicken with the lemon and herb dressing. That all changed when I tried tom yum at a Thai restaurant for the first time. It was sooooooo spicy but the flavours were so spectacular that I had to just keep slurping the soup even though the spice levels were insane. Ever since then I love spicy food and luckily so. The hubby and I tried out the sauces on our table and they elevated our burritos even more!
Bay City Burrito hot sauces
hot sauce Bay City Burrito St KildaThese two sauces were amazing! The Chipotle and Cayenne one on the left had a gorgeous smokey taste while the one on the right had a kind of acidic vinegar taste to it. Very different but both complemented our meal really well.

All in all we had such a fun night out together chatting about anything and everything without the kids interrupting our train of thought. We were so full that even though it was cold out, we took a nice stroll down Acland street to get a little air. When we left Bay City Burrito we saw these cozy blankets just outside the door for people who may have wanted to dine in the outdoor area. How thoughtful!

Burritos N’ Blankets for the homeless

Speaking of blankets and Melbourne’s freezing weather, not only do Bay City Burrito aim to make the best burritos in town, the crew at BCB also aim to help the homeless by going out every fortnight to hand warm, clean blankets to those in need. I found this on their Facebook page!

Here’s how it works and how you can help:

For every clean blanket you drop off to our St Kilda OR Hawthorn store we will match it with a fresh warm burrito and every fortnight go hand them out in Melbourne to the homeless in need.

But we need YOU, yeah YOU. Have a check in your closet, donate some of your extra blankies or if you are especially a kind soul buy a nice new one for someone that really needs it.

Help us help those in need. Changing the world one burrito at a time.

One world, one love…

BCB Crew X
Hawthorn: 838 Glenferrie Rd
St Kilda: 4 Shakespeare Grove

CalMex Bay City BurritoSan Fran Bay City BurritoDate night Acland St St Kilda Bay City BurritoA relaxing stroll down Acland street. All those windows filled with neverending shelves of cake were sooooo tempting!

Do what you did in the beginning of a relationship…keep dating, keep learning and trying new things. Something so simple is as good as a holiday and can help strengthen and nurture your connection to each other. We found a new place we both loved and a cuisine we thought we new but learnt more about thanks to BCB! Next time we’ll be back for Happy Hour. Meet you at the bar – cheers!

Where was the last place you went to for date night?

-xx-
IMG_0046When we got back to my mum’s house ready to pick up our little ones, this is what we saw – a content little boy cozy in bed with his aunty! Awwwww!

#The Urban Ma dined as guests of BCB. All opinions are our own.

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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p style=”text-align: center;”>
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.
TBF_web_600x4001

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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