Oct 2nd

The 'F' Word

By Janelle

Today my kids were babysat and I had the luxury of being in a department store.  In the women’s wear.  By myself. Without a curfew.  I got to browse racks at my leisure, not worrying about sticky little fingers touching garments, not having to chase a 5 year old, not shushing, not having to go hunting for dummies under shelving in the dust bunnies, not having to maneuver a pram through spaces that were designed wide enough only for only a size 6 bum to pass through comfortably.  It was bliss. 

But something happened in the change rooms that really put a dampener on my day.  I was in there with the loot I’d collected from the sale racks, happily trying things on while mentally determining the best place to hide my purchases at home so my bloke didn’t know how much I’d spent in one trip ‘What? This? I’ve had it for yeeeeeaaarrss, Babe!” Then I heard other voices in the change room next to mine.  ‘No, no, no Liana.  You can’t wear that.  You’re too fat for it.  You need to lose weight.’  Wow, I thought, she’s not shy in speaking her mind. Then she said ‘ You’ll just have to get a bigger one, I’ll send the girl out to get a size 12.  Pfft, really, Liana.  Do you want to be fat? You need to lose weight. It’s disgusting. I wasn’t fat when I was your age....you need to lose at least 4 kilos, don’t you think?’ and then I heard a sad little voice respond by saying ‘Yes, Grandma.’

Now, I didn’t see this girl or her Grandma (whom shall henceforth be referred to as Rude Bitch Mole, or RBM for short), but Liana sounded like a young teenager to me.  And not a very happy one.  What in the actual name of all that is good and holy was this woman thinking? Berating her granddaughter in public about her body?  What kind of message is that sending to the poor kid?

When I was 18 I went to Singapore on my first ever overseas holiday.  My Dad is from there, so I had a lot of family over there that I’d never even met.  Now, despite inheriting my Dad’s dark hair, almond eyes and an innate ability to seek out the best Chinese roast pork in any given city, I sadly don’t have the physique of your typical Asian lady.  I take after my mum’s side in the department.  And she comes from a long line of carb-eaters.

I’m a size 14, and I have been since puberty.  It has never changed (apart from during and after pregnancy, of course).  I have clothes I’ve had since the 1980’s (and I don’t just mean my Bros t-shirt) and they still fit. This is the body I’ve been dealt, and it goes alright, as far as I’m concerned.  But in Asia, I’m gigantic.

The first time I met my great aunt Girly in Singapore she didn’t hold back.  She’s the matriarch of the family and very wealthy (she even had a servant!) and very respected and I was very nervous meeting her for the first time.  I nervously pecked her on the cheek and stammered ‘Hello, Auntie Girlie...’ She took one look at me and said, and I quote, ‘Eeei-yoh! You are so FAT Lah!’  Because she’s a big bitch.  I was crushed.  I’d never been spoken to like that before in my life, and that was just the start of it. ‘Oh, Janelle-lah, such a pretty face, but so FAT.  What a shame!  No man will want you like that, Lah. Why you want to be so fat?’ and on and on it went.  And let me tell you, Aunty Girly was no Twiggy, she was more like an Asian Gina RInehart, only not as nice.

One day we were at her house and she shouted at me from her dressing room ‘Janelle-lah!  Come here! Aunty Girlie got a beautiful suit for you!’ Now, although she was harsh, as I said before, she was loaded, so I’m thinking she’s going to cast off a Gucci, Dior, Prada suit and I was thrilled, because back then the only label that I could afford was ‘Avoid Naked Flame’.  So I go into the room, and she holds up a maroon, velour, tracksuit.  It was horrifying.  Beyond hideous. And the knees and elbows were rubbed away.  I didn’t want to offend the woman (wanted to stay in the will), so all I could think of to say to get out of it was ‘Um, I don’t think it would fit me.’ ‘Why?’ Aunty Girly asked. I replied ‘Because I am too fat....Lah.’

But I can’t stop thinking about poor Liana in that change room today. I wanted to wait for her and throw her a wink or a little smile or maybe accidentally on purpose trip her RBM grandmother up arse over tit in the middle of the shop floor. Because that’s not on.  This is not the message we want to be passing on to our children and grandchildren.  Kids get enough of that kind of body image negativity outside of their families.  Isn’t it up to us to just accept, love and support them and whatever shape and size they happen to be?  

I never got to see Liana.  But I hope she got a fabulous dress that made her feel amazing.  And I hope the RBM felt bad for being so horrible to her own granddaughter. And I hope Liana is the type of girl that has a sense of her own self-worth and doesn’t give two hoots about anything anybody else says. 

And I really, really, hope that the dress she ends up with isn’t made of maroon velour.  Because no bugger on earth deserves that.  Lah.

Janelle Koenig is an accomplished comedian, a mum of two little girls (aged 5 and 1 and no there won't be any more thanks for asking) and mediocre guitarist. She’s proud to consider herself a ‘real woman’ but keeps her skinny jeans ‘just in case’.


Oct 1st

Cake 2 The Rescue – Snow Princess Cake Review

By Georgia

Cake 2 the Rescue is an online business that aims to help mums cope with the pressure of baking a cake for their kid’s birthday or any occasion. The DIY cake kits make it fun and more affordable to do exciting themed cakes for your little darlings. Simply choose from hundreds of cake designs on their website, place your order, and your box will arrive in the post with everything ready for you to begin the baking fun.

I decided to give the Snow Princess cake kit a go – of course she looks like Elsa from Frozen, so this is a perfect choice for a Frozen Party, which is all the rage this year.


The sturdy box of supplies arrived intact and inside I found everything neatly arranged for me, with plenty of clear instructions and care taken to wrap each item individually (so that it’s all hygienic).

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The cake kit comes complete with step-by-step instructions and the following:

Templates for the design
Disposable Baking Tray
Silver Cake Board
Silver Cake Slice
Premixed Dry Ingredients for the cake
Icing Mix & colouring
Pre-coloured Fondants
Small Rolling Pin
Disposable Gloves
Snowflake stamp
Glitter & a small tiara
Candles (a lovely extra touch)

Additional decorations needed for your chosen design 

All you need to add is fresh eggs, milk and butter for the cake mix, and a bit of butter and milk for the icing. The Snow Princess cake is iced partly with fondant and partly with butter icing.

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The first step is to familiarise yourself with the contents and read over the steps that you need to take to achieve the end result. It’s best to do this a few days before you intend to start so that you can organise yourself. For example, you can precut the templates. A useful tip is to bake the cake on one day and then decorate it in another session the following day (or even up to 48 hours later if you store it in an airtight container). The cake can be completed up to 24 hours before it is needed.

The cake baking itself couldn’t be easier – what a pleasure. You simply pour the packet of dry ingredients into your mixer, add your fresh ingredients and mix for 3 minutes. The disposable baking tray is already greased so you can pour the cake mix straight into it, and pop it into your preheated oven to bake. When your cake is cooked, simply fold down the sides to easily remove the cake and throw away the tray.

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I must admit I was a tad nervous about how effective this disposable tray would be, but it worked a charm without any sticking – no mess, no fuss and no cleanup either! The cake took 60 minutes exactly in my oven and about 45 minutes to cool completely. It had risen slightly so I needed to slice off the dome to flatten it for decorating. This is quite easy with a large sharp knife.

IMG_1339.JPG IMG_1340.jpg

The template of the princess shape needs to be cut out with scissors and placed on top for you to cut the basic shape out of the rectangular cake. The offcuts can then be discarded (or nibbled on).

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Transferring it to the silver board was a touch tricky as the sponge started to split, but I could rescue it! And the icing covers any flaws like this anyway.

While the cake was cooling I mixed the butter icing – also very easy. Simply pour icing sugar packet into the mixer and add butter and milk as instructed. I found the consistency to be perfect according to the instructions.

As I started to ice the cake I felt nervous that there might not be enough butter icing. I’d advise not layering it on too thick to begin with and spreading it evenly so as to make it stretch. The sides of the cake were only just covered with the icing when I was done, so hold back on eating icing as you go too!

I have never attempted fondant icing so I was nervous but the kit provided everything with tips, and I found it very doable and fun! All you need is some playdough skills.

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The fondant supplied is already coloured and rolls out very easily. Gloves are provided but although I used them briefly I found that I couldn’t handle the fiddly bits well enough, so I went back to bare hands. There was no staining on them or any real mess to worry about.

The instructions were easy to follow using the templates to cut out shapes, and the pictures as a guide, so it wasn’t long before a princess started to form before my eyes! It wasn’t identical to the one in the picture – it had my personal (clumsier) touches such as larger eyes, fatter arms etc. You can also tweak a few other small details to feel like it is your design – call it a bit of artistic licence...

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A lovely final touch is a little pot of glitter that is provided to sprinkle over the dress to give it that icy feel. And a cute little sparkly tiara to complete the design. Birthday candles and a cake cutter (plastic silver with a serrated edge) are also provided, so you really are good to go!


There was a fair amount of leftover fondant that could be used on cupcakes if you have the time and energy. You also get to keep the snowflake punch used on the dress detail and the cute roller for the fondant. All in all it’s a great value kit!

The final cake really impressed my daughters, and as professional tasters they declared that the vanilla cake was delicious! It was light and spongy – perfect to accompany the sweetness of the icing. Although the cake seemed on the small side, it was actually plentiful and definitely enough to feed a hungry party crowd of Frozen fans (20-25).


I highly recommend this Snow Princess cake kit. It took me 3½ hours from start to finish (including the cooling time), and I felt a huge sense of achievement especially as my first thought had been “I can’t bake a cake like that!”. And VOILA, I did!

TIP: Keep the box that the cake kit arrived in for you to transport the cake safely to another venue if you need to!

Check out www.cake2therescue.com for prices and other great product ranges such as cupcake kits, party décor kits and even cake ideas for twins and triplets. Their Pinterest Page also has inspiring Party Theme Idea boards. 


For a chance to win click here.
Competition closes Sunday 2 November 2014.

Oct 1st

Perth Royal Show 2014

By Alisha

Highlights from Our 12 Hour Day at The Perth Royal Show 2014

Our family had the most Amazing Day at the Perth Royal Show this year!  We were on a mission to complete the entire Yellow Brick Road, see the Racing and Diving Pigs, Watch Titan the Robot, Pat the Bunnies, Visit the Lego Max, and watch the Horse Power and Fireworks display.  I'm happy to report that we fit it ALL in!  It took us nearly 12 hours, but WE DID IT!

First, we picked up our Yellow Brick Road Showbag. It contained a map and a passport that we had to get stamped at several different stops.  Our favourite stops on the Yellow Brick Road Route were: The Sports Stop, The Face painting at The Creatures Great & Small Pavilion , and planting a Sunflower at Greenfinger's Garden.  We also liked the stops that involved free food and samples such as the free popcorn at Centenary Pavilion , the 4 pieces of fruit at the Orchard & IGA Fresh from WA Pavilion, and the discounted banana smoothies and cheese toasties at Brownes Dairy Pavilion.  Yum!

The kids had a blast at the Sports Stop playing cricket, footie, and soccer.

Next it was a quick visit to The Lego Brick Zone.  We met a Lego guy, played a little Lego game on the Wii, and had some fun building Lego creations.  There was a competition starting as we left, but we didn't stick around... we had places to go!  The Lego Brick Zone is open 10am-6pm.

A photo with Lego Guy, Max.

Just outside Lego Zone, we ran into Bubbleman. He scoots around the Royal Show blowing bubbles... so keep an eye out for him!

After collecting a few samples from the IGA Pavillion, we got a front row spot for the Titan the Robot Show.  A crowd quickly gathered into a circle and Titan entered to entertain us.  The kids were captivated by this huge, walking, talking, robot with a crude sense of humor.  He's loud, he's funny, and worth fitting into your Perth Royal Show schedule!  Showtimes: 12:45 pm, 2:45pm, 4:45 pm (F2 on the map).

Next stop was The Creatures Great and Small Pavilion for some animal cuddling and Free facepainting as part of the Yellow Brick Road.  My three kids especially loved the little chicks and holding the various types of bunny rabbits.

Just outside The Creatures Great & Small Pavilion were the
Diving and Racing Pigs.  Don't miss them!  The show was short, but tons of fun!
Showtimes: 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm, 3:30, and 5pm.

Another favourite spot for my kids was The Scouts WA Challenge Zone (H3 on map) where there were loads of free activities for the kids including mountain climbing, laser tag, rock decorating, and face painting.

Mission accomplished!  These two were determined to collect every stamp at every station, and they succeeded!

The day ended at The Main Arena watching the BMX Freestyle Air Raiders and the FMX Freestyle Motocross jumping while we waited for Horse Power (7:30 pm)  and The IGA Fireworks Spectacular (8:30 pm).  Both were worth the wait, and the day ended in a BANG! 

The kids were weary but happy with their Showbags!

The Perth Royal Show is on until Saturday 4th October. For more information visit www.perthroyalshow.com.au

Find more school holiday activities

Oct 1st

AWESOME Festival 2014

By Buggybuddys Jennie

The 2014 AWESOME Festival will again inspire Perth’s bright young things and their families to unleash their creativity during the October School Holidays. The AWESOME Festival presents a spectacular array of theatre, dance, music, and lots of free hands-on activities for the whole family to enjoy.


Here at Buggybuddys we are HUGE fans of the AWESOME Festival! Located at the Perth Cultural Centre from 4th – 13th October the Festival offers heaps of free activities for kids aged 0 – 12 years, so if you take along a packed lunch and ride the train, the day will cost you no more than the price of a family rider.


What we also love is that the festival runs over the last week of the school holidays and the first week of the start of the new term, so those of you with babies to pre-schoolers can choose to go along in the second week when all the big kids are back at school.


Here’s our pick of free activities taking place during the 2014 AWESOME Festival.

Plain Jane
Based loosely on one of the world’s most popular children’s fairytales Cinderella, Plain Jane celebrates the joy of dance, music and storytelling.
A whimsical and enchanting look at the joy of movement and tangled relationships, this performance is sure to capture your imagination. Accompanied by the sublime cello music of Tristen Parr, Jane and the Prince finally find their harmony. This beautiful free event is sure to delight both little princes and princesses alike, and have their hearts dancing for the remainder of the day.
Mon 6th – Sat 11th October. Perfomances at 11am, 12.30pm & 1.30pm.
Location: State Theatre of WA. Duration: 20 mins Suitable for: All ages


Tristan’s Monsters
Tristan is a 9 year old boy with a passion for sharks. At 2 years old Tristan was diagnosed with Autism. His love of art allowed his parents into his world, and through their unconditional love and unwavering support, Tristan has created stunning artworks of sharks, dinosaurs and other monsters! Bright young things and their families are invited to experience Tristan’s Monsters and inspired by Tristan’s world, create their own work of art at the Art Gallery of WA.
While you’re at the Art Gallery of WA, why not pop in to the Animal Ark Family Activity Space . Animal Ark features works from the State Art Collection that highlight the many ways in which the animal motif has been used by generations of artists. It’s an exhibition to be enjoyed by the entire family!
Mon 6th – Mon 13th October. 10am – 4pm excluding Sundays and Tuesdays.
Location: Art Gallery of WA. Suitable for: All ages


Imagination Playground
Parents, do you need some time to relax? Why not chill out at The West Australian Tent in the Urban Orchard? Grab a cup of coffee, sit and watch the kids entertain themselves in Imagination Playground.

Using giant Imagination Playground Blocks children can build a new world every day of the Festival. This interactive activity is comprised of a wide variety of loose parts including cubes, bricks, cylinders, cogs and curves for children to move and transform a play space including imaginary houses, sky scrapers, ships or even animals. Imagination Playground is child-centred and encourages self expression through play.
Ages: 2 and up


Discover and Play
Join Playgroup WA with your youngsters in a world of Imagination and Creativity. Relax with your little ones and enjoy this magic moment of special time while creating something awesome with your child. Take the opportunity to talk to the staff from Playgroup WA and learn more about playgroups in your area. There’s even a special baby-zone for the littlies to relax and kick their legs while doing some tummy time and playing with homemade baby toys.
AGES: 0 to 5

Better Beginnings Books-to-Go
An AWESOME Festival Favourite Returns! Visit
Better Beginnings Books- To- Go and create your very own book to take home. You can even publish your work for others to enjoy, adding to the growing library of books made by families from all over Australia. Better Beginnings Books-To-Go is brought to the AWESOME Festival by the State Library of Western Australia’s Better Beginnings Family Literacy Program and Kids Own Publishing.
Ages: 5 and under


Other Free Events include
Shaping Stories – 4- 13th October. State Library of WA. Age Range: 5 and up
Be Active Artlink & stARTSPEAK with DADAA 6th – 13th October. The Hive Creative Space. Age Range: 5 and up.
AWESOME Kids Book Club – The Last Viking Returns – Monday 6th October 10.30am. State Library of WA. Age Range: 4 – 10 years.
AWESOME Kids Book Club – Near & Dear. – Sunday 12th October 11am. State Library of WA. Age range: 7 – 12 years.

There are also heaps of other events that start in price from $5. For a full program guide visit www.awesomearts.com 

 This year AWESOME has developed its very first guide to assist parents with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  You can download this guide from the AWESOME website.

Join Buggybuddys and 720 ABC’s Gillian O’Shaughnessy from Afternoons for an AWESOME festival broadcast in front of the big Screen at the Perth Cultural Centre.  We have heaps of activities for kids  - Imagination Playground and Afternoons will be joined by AWESOME acts - Fluff, Sticks, Stones, Broken Bones,  Antler Man, Yuma Yeti and  lots more!  Plus we’ll have fun and fantastic live music by Tingley Turner.  Relax on a bean bag with the family or have a boogie with the kids on the steps.  It’s a great snap shot of what is on offer at the festival, and to join us on the day it’s free and it’s totally AWESOME.  720 ABC Perth Afternoons program live in front of the PICA screen on Tuesday 7th October from 1-3pm.  For more info head to abc.net.au/perth

For more information visit www.awesomearts.com

Find more school holiday activities

Oct 1st

The Playground Indoor Play Centre, Rockingham

By Buggybuddys

The Playground Rockingham reviewed by Kerrianne Millington.

Location: 5 Mackinnon Street, Rockingham
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 5:00pm 7 days a week
Entry: $8 per child aged 1 – 4 years old
            $12 per child aged 5 – 12 years old
Parking: Large carpark at rear of building

Is your ideal indoor playcentre somewhere the kids have plenty of space to run around and things to keep them busy whilst you can sit, relax and enjoy a conversation with friends AND actually be able to hear each other without shouting over noisy toys and screaming kids? If so then The Playground is the place for you!

Image source: The Playground

This place, even when full with kids, is still so quiet compared to your typical indoor playcentres. The new owners took over in February and opted to leave really noisy toys like air operated ball cannons out! They believe that their space is not just for kids but for their parents too and as a result wanted to make it bearable for them. This really makes a huge difference in the noise levels. They also offer FREE WiFi making it an ideal place for parents who work from home to get out of the house with the kids and still be able to do a bit of work.

Image Source: The Playground

The centre is divided into 2 main areas, the Under 4 area and the Over 4 area.

Under 4 area:
This area is fully fenced with a latch locking gate. There is a bouncy castle, ball pit, climbing frame and general toys. There is café seating along the fence and there is also a big comfy couch inside the fence so you can stay with your littlies.

Image Source: The Playground

Over 4 area:
This area basically runs throughout the rest of the centre in the form of a massive climbing frame. There are plenty of slides, obstacles, bouncy castle, flying fox and arcade games throughout (these do cost extra). This area kept my eldest 2 flat out for a while!

 Image Source: The Playground

There are 3 party rooms; The Haunted House, The Fairy Glade and The Superheros Room. Each comes with a host costumed in the theme of the room. You can find more information about the party rooms here: http://www.the-playground.com.au/entry-prices/themed-parties

Image source: The Playground

There are 2 baby change rooms here, a disabled toilet and separate toilets for boys & girls. One thing I found to be very helpful in the toilets were the fact they had a normal size toilet for adults and 2 smaller kid sized toilets. The basins are also kid friendly heights.

The Café has a vast selection of foods and all are reasonably priced and reasonably sized. We ordered a small bowl of chips and a small bowl of wedges with 2 coffee’s and waited no longer than 10 minutes for these to arrive HOT at our table. You can also view the menu on their website prior to going in to help you budget for your visit.

Image Source: The Playground

This is a great medium sized centre with fantastic, friendly staff and plenty to keep the kids entertained. Get on down and check it out!

For more information visit www.the-playground.com.au

Playground on Urbanspoon

Find more playcentres in Perth 

Sep 30th

Sayers Leederville

By Buggybuddys - Lorraine
Just off the main hustle and bustle of Oxford Street in Leederville you'll find Sayers Leederville restaurant.  


There are several seating options at Sayers which include; the alfresco tables at the front of the restaurant, two seated tables along the side alley way complete with cobbled stones, inside the main restaurant (which can get very noise and looks a little cramped in my view) and lastly the small courtyard area situated at the back of the alley walk way.

The cute little courtyard has bar stool seating and benches with throw cusions to make yourself VERY comfortable :-)


We started our dining experience with our usual Latte and pot of blended fragrant tea.  I couldn't quite manage whole pot which was actually for 2 people but I do love my teas.


We ordered from the breakfast/brunch menu and had a very large portion of spicy sausage, scrambled egg and toasted french bread.

I devoured the perfectly poached eggs with bacon and avocado which was nicely presented with a slither of lemon and some pea shoots.

Miss nearly 4 insisted on trying the Chocolate Banana Bread lathered in lashings of maple butter and a shake of icing sugar.  

This came presented on a wooded board which Lollie thought was quite exciting.  She devoured the whole lot and said it was extremely deeeelicious!

There's a beautiful array of Gluten Free cakes, scrumptious looking muffins and slices to choose from at the main serving desk.  Nice to see lots of Gluten Free options :-)


Our service was prompt, pleasant and polite and will definitely be revisiting.

Sayers on Urbanspoon 
Sep 27th

Nesbar Design and Coffee, Swanbourne

By Buggybuddys

by Establle Ang

Along the quiet street of Swanbourne lies a simply stunning cornerstore. Nesbar – Design store for kids is ‘a place curated with little people in mind’. They have toys, clothes, shoes, homewares, micro scooters and they serve great coffee (Darkstar) too. A great local store to visit if you want to look for a special gift for someone, or even for yourself. They even offer free gift wrapping. Shop and sip your coffee at the same time. Pure bliss.

Nesbar - 21 North Street, Swanbourne
Nesbar – 21 North Street, Swanbourne
little coffee shop within
little coffee shop within
Darkstar coffee
Darkstar coffee
Enjoying a babycino outside
Enjoying a babycino outside
chairs outside
chairs outside


Nesbar stocks an impressive range of Micro Scooter, sizes for big and small. They’re on display outside, where you can also sit back and relax on the grass patch with your coffee.

micro scooter galore
micro scooter galore

Every corner of the store is filled with beautiful things. Toys, dresses, cute homeware pieces, ‘monster feet’ and so much more. I could literally spend hours just browsing. Sarah kindly brought out a bucket of toys for Caleb to play with whilst I’m kept busy mopping up my drool. I just want to take the whole store home with me.

cutest button hooks
cutest button hooks

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Nesbar also carries a huge colour range of Saltwater Sandals for both kids and adults. They’re super duper comfy and most importantly waterproof, a definate summer staple. Could not help but get a pair for myself. Bring on summer!

IMG_3562_Fotor_Collage more inside

HK Living bunk bed
HK Living bunk bed


Next time you’re in the area, do pop into Nesbar. I guarantee you won’t go home empty handed.

'Thank you for shopping local'

‘Thank you for shopping local’

Nesbar – Design and Coffee
21 North Street, Swanbourne
Mon – Sat: 7am – 5pm
Highchair: No
Change facility: No

Nesbar Design & Coffee on Urbanspoon 

Find more Toy Stores in Perth
Find more family friendly cafes in Perth 

Sep 27th

Vans Cafe, Cottesloe

By Buggybuddys

Review by Estabelle Ang

Opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday of the week, Vans Cafe is one of my favourite place to dine. Had lunch at Vans one day with the little one and the food and service was excellent. They even offer colouring sheets, which doubled-up as a kids menu, and crayons. Kept the little one very happy.

Vans Cafe is located along Napoleon Street, Cottesloe, just next to the train station. There's ample parking available as well.

Vans cafe
Vans Cafe
plenty of parking
plenty of parking
outside seating
outside seating
inside seating
inside seating
kids menu, also a colouring sheet on the reverse side
kids menu, also a colouring sheet on the reverse side

We ordered the mac n cheese from the kids menu and the portion was pretty big. Had some and it was delicious! For myself, I ordered the BBQ Mekong chicken salad. Perfect for the warm summery day that we were there. The little one loved the chicken too. We also order the coconut slushy, coconut water, mint and pineapple all blended up. Loved it. And how cute is their babycino!

clockwise: Coconut slushy, kids mac n cheese, Mekong BBQ chicken salad.
clockwise: Coconut slushy, kids mac n cheese, BBQ Mekong chicken salad.

If you still have room for dessert, feast your eyes on their sweets cabinet. Tough choices to be made.

cakes, muffins, macrons, cookies
cakes, muffins, macrons, cookies

We had a wonderful time and will definitely be back for more. They take lunch and dinner bookings and offer free wi-fi as well. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or coffee and cake, it's always a good time to say “lets go to vans’.

Vans Cafe
1 Napoleon Street, Cottesloe
Mon-Sun: 7am till late
Highchairs: Yes
Change facility: No

Vans Cafe on Urbanspoon

Find more family friendly cafes in Perth 

Sep 25th

TheSpare Parts Puppet Theatre Production: Farm

By Alisha

The Spare Parts Puppet Theatre productions have become a bit of a tradition that me and my kids look forward to. 

The productions are artsy, in depth, stir up emotions, and make us wonder.

Farm is playing at the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre 27 September through 11 October.

Suitable for ages 5 and up, the story portrays a young girl living on a farm in rural Western Australia with her mom and dad.  The story runs through many emotions including anticipation, excitement, heartache, love, disappointment, sorrow, hope and determination. 

There is very little dialogue in this production, but the story comes to life with the help of music, creative use of lighting, shadows, smoke, and even bursts of "fire". 

As always, the amazing way the cast manipulated the props on stage kept us wondering what would happen next.  The creative use of dance to portray the animals and the elements such as a big red kangaroo, wind, fire, and rain were amazing.  Our favorite scene was one in which the big red kangaroo came to the farm in the middle of the night and destroyed the crops.  The kangaroo's costume and the way it bounced around the stage had us mesmerized and on the edge of our seats.

There was a lot of research involved in the making of  Farm, including the cast and crew living and breathing real life on a rural farm in Western Australia.  They went on research missions and lived on a location, fully immersed in life in the Wheatbelt farming community of Merriden.  The small community and The Spare Parts Puppet Theatre developed lasting friendships as a result of bringing Farm to life on stage.

Come and see all of the "people" scattered across the lawn outside the theatre created by the children of Merriden. 

Farm is a cultural experience not to be missed these School Holidays!

Book tickets online here 
or call 9335 5044
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Sep 24th

The Happiest Day of My Life?

By Janelle

I was recently asked in an interview what the happiest day of my life was. And I know that the answer they were gunning for me to reply with was the day my first child was born.  But let’s be honest, here.  The arrival of a child is an amazing thing, but happiness isn’t the overwhelming emotion I remember feeling on the day, by any means.

My first daughter Mairead’s due date was May the Fourth (be with you), 2009.  She arrived on May the 14th at which point I was 41 weeks, 3 days pregnant.  After extensive research on natural ways to induce labour....curry, raspberry leaf, sitting on expensive white couches (I found one website that suggested that a surefire way to induce labour was to swallow semen, at which point I thought, ‘Bugger that, she can stay in there for all I care’), I ended up being induced in the hospital.  FIVE times.


The night before I was induced the first time I lay awake all night thinking about how tomorrow would be the day my life (and probably my vagina) would be changed forever and I would be holding my brand new daughter the very next morning. Two days later I was still in the hospital, they had tried to induce my three times (seriously, I think every person in the hospital had given me an internal examination, by the third time I was offering the dinner ladies and janitors a go).  The worst part of that was because I had been given medication, I had to stay overnight in hospital. In the shared maternity ward.  With new mums and their new babies and the only thing that had come out of me was swear words.

After the third attempt at induction didn’t take, they called in the big wig obstetrician. I had yet another internal examination during which the medical staff discussed me at the bottom of the stirrups like I wasn’t even there (and I quote) ‘Hey Susie, I’m trying to hook the cervix but I can’t quite reach it....can you call Simon? He’s got the really long fingers’ (I suppose I should be grateful for the small mercy that he didn’t request the staff member with the wide fingers). After some discussion I was told that I could either try to induce the baby with the gel again, have a caesarian then and there or go home.  My partner Phil and I decided that we didn’t want to try to induction for a fourth time, I wanted to try for a natural birth if I could so the only option left was to go home, with our empty baby capsule.   Again.

We didn’t go back to the hospital until the 14th of May, my doctor advising that it would be best to see if I just went into labour naturally, by which time I so pregnant I thought when the baby did come out, she’s probably arrive with teeth.  I was treated by exactly the same midwives I’d seen the first (three) times. One particularly dim one laughed and exclaimed ‘What? You’re back again? I can’t believe it! I thought you’d had your baby days ago!’ and it was all I could do not to reply ‘Yeah, you and me both, Bitch’ (did I mention I was grumpy by this stage?).  Again they administered the gel and nothing happened for hours.  Then the senior obstetrician suggested we have one more go.  So we did.  And I went from nothing to full-blown labour in what felt like about 5 minutes. 

They rushed me into a delivery room and monitored mine and the baby’s heartbeats. I threw up.  I was in agony.  I kept trying inhale and hold onto the gas like it was a ciggie. The gas made me go on the nod, then I’d be wracked with a full-blown contraction.  I crapped myself (in more ways than one).  I laboured for about 4 hours with no broken water and only 2 centimetres dilation (I mean, really, I reckon I’ve involuntarily dilated more than that in some cake shops).  Then suddenly the baby’s heartbeat plummeted.

Bells and whistles were going off all around me and all the medical staff were whispering furiously out in the hall.  Then Simon (the one with the really long fingers, you remember) came in and said ‘Janelle, the baby’s in a little bit of distress so we think it’s best if we just get you in for a caesarian straight away.’  I just wanted her out and safe so they whisked me off and prepped me for theatre.   

Getting the epidural was terrifying.  I had a very nice but sickly sweet midwife with me who had one of those posh TV kids’ show presenter voices. You know the ones, annoying and condescending.  She said ‘Nnnnnnnow Janelle, what we need you to do is bend over, that’s right, just arch your back because we need to get access to your spine, so I want you to do a pose that I like to call ‘the scared cat’ just like this!’ and she hunched her shoulders over and arched her back to show me.  I had just enough sarcasm left in me to ask her ‘Do I have to make the face too?’ as I did what I was told.  Then she said ‘Now, Janelle, it’s super important that while the needle is going in that you absolutely do not move, because as you know we’re injecting into your spinal column, okaaaaay?’ Of course, just when the needle was going in, I felt a contraction coming on. So there I was, bent over the table like the stupid scared cat, my body in agony and dying to squirm into a comfortable position.  So I wriggled my tongue from side to side.  Because that was literally all that I could do.

But once those drugs kicked in it was awesome.  I didn’t feel any pain or even pregnant anymore (I couldn’t feel pretty much anything at all from the nipples down).  Phil said when  he left me I was screaming and crying and terrified and when he walked into the theatre I was on the table laughing and joking and asking the surgeon if he could do a bit of liposuction while he down there (that actually wasn’t a joke - I think that should be part of the service, don’t you?).

And then suddenly there she was.  And there was silence. And there was a lifetime of waiting as I lay on that table unable to see anything. And then she cried, and the relief the flooded over us was immeasurable. And the midwives cleaned her up and put her into my arms, and I couldn’t believe she was finally really here and I’d done it. So I bawled my eyes out. 


So, no.  I don’t think the day my first child was born was the happiest day of my life.  It was a day filled with overwhelming fear, with staggering pain, with crippling worry.  It was an undignified day full of anxiety and despair and relief and messy bodily fluids. But we got our beautiful, slightly purple squashed potato baby girl at the end of it, and that was an all-encompassing emotion like none I had ever felt before.

But the happiest day of my life? That’s an easy one. That would have to be the day I was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune.  That day was freakin’ awesome.  And no-one even saw my fanny. TOP DOLLAR!


Janelle Koenig is an accomplished comedian, a mum of two little girls (aged 5 and 1 and no there won't be any more thanks for asking) and mediocre guitarist. She’s proud to consider herself a ‘real woman’ but keeps her skinny jeans ‘just in case’.

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