Nov 21st

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes

By Janelle

My daughter Mairéad tells it like it is.  Always has.

The other night as we were eating a casserole I’d made, I said (mostly to myself) as I tasted it ‘This dish is just missing something....’ ‘Yeah,’ she said, ‘Yumminess.’

Then there was the time we were at the supermarket and she pointed at quite a large lady in another checkout aisle and said ‘Look, Mum!  That lady has a baby in her tummy!’  The lady in question was easily in her mid-sixties, and the only thing she had in her tummy by the look of it was cake.  Mortifying.

And I mustn’t forget to mention the time when she spotted a man with a completely bald head and she pointed dramatically and shouted across the Murray Street Mall ‘Look, Mum!  That man with no hair doesn’t eat salad!’  I have to take some (all) responsibility for that one.  Telling Mairead her hair would fall out if she didn’t eat greens was the only way I could get her to eat lettuce.  Don’t judge, it works.  Well, it did up until that incident, anyway.

There was the time she lost her mind in a giant maze, stamped her foot and screamed ‘Mum! Why did you bring me to this boring place?!’ The time we were at a friend’s place for dinner and she sternly told everyone at the table ‘Less talking, more eating.’  The time she pointed at the lady in the full burqa on a plane and loudly told everyone to watch out for the Lego ninja.

She’s a shocker.

This week before her swimming lesson, I let Mairéad go into the pool by herself.  My little one Maeve was getting over a cold, so I kept her in the pram next to me by the side of the pool, and let Mairéad make her own fun (within a safe distance, of course) in the water before her class started.

I watched my girl play in the water, happy and content and I thought about how she was growing up.  Then I caught her watching another boy intently, a little way away from her.  This boy was probably in his mid-teens, and was plainly mentally and physically disabled.  He was making big splashes in the water, and shouting sounds and stamping and grinning and having fun. Mairéad couldn’t take her eyes off him.  I watched her, watching him, wondering what was going on in her head.  Her little face softened, and she wore an expression of maternal sweetness, the kind of face she usually reserves for tiny animals and sleeping babies. My heart swelled with pride at her obvious compassion and sensitivity. Then she stood up in the water up to her waist, cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted across the pool at top of her voice ‘HEY MUM! THAT BOY GIVES ME THE CREEPS!’

‘Be nice’ I tried to instruct her quietly, wishing the concrete floor of the pool would crack open and swallow me up. ‘Mum, he keeps SPLASHING! Why is he DOING that?’ I said ‘Maybe it’s a game he’s playing? Why don’t you go and see if you can play it too?’ ‘Oh YUCK!’ she screamed ‘NO WAY!’

‘Come here, now!’ I hissed at her.  She came out reluctantly while I frantically tried to work out how to explain disability and acceptance on the spot to a 5 year old. ‘Listen,’ I began, ‘that boy is.... (different? I didn’t want to say different....it seemed too negative - she already knew he was different and didn’t like it....um....weird? No...um....) special.  Listen, you know how Pa was born with a wonky finger and the nail grew funny?  Well, when that boy was born, I think maybe he had a wonky brain, and that made him grow up a little funny.’ She’s not buying it at all. ‘But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to him or play with him if you both want to.  He might like to make a new friend.’  She’s still looking sceptical. ‘And it’s definitely not nice to shout out things like you think he’s creepy - would you like it if someone shouted out about you?’ ‘No, that would hurt my feeling’ she admitted. ‘Ok, Mum.’

So she got back in the water.  She didn’t try to talk to the boy, or make friends with him, but  she also didn’t just stand there pointing with her nose screwed up.  She just let him get on with his splashing.

I’m going to go back early next week and get in the water myself with both the girls and hope that the boy and his carer are there again and maybe we can introduce ourselves.  Maybe we can all play the splashing game.

I’ll have to get new bathers though with an underwire, though.  Last time Mairéad saw me in my old ones she told me my boobs looked too long.  

My daughter Mairéad tells it like it is. Always has.

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’.
www.janellekoenig.com
www.facebook.com/janellekoenigcomedy
www.twitter.com/janellekoenig       
 

 

Nov 19th

Rottnest Island

By Buggybuddys

Review of Rottnest Island – November 2014 – Kate Vallance
www.rottnestisland.com

Rottnest Island (Rotto) is a little piece of paradise… the beaches are unspoilt and it is so relaxing to ride around by bike without the worry of cars. Rottnest has also just been named WA’s top major tourist attraction at the 2014 WA Tourism Awards.  As the website says, ‘with a choice of over 63 secluded beaches and 20 bays, you will be spoilt for choice’.

Rottnest is a wonderful place for a family holiday or day trip. We have been several times over the years both before children and with children and we really love it. Less than a half hour ferry ride from Fremantle or a little longer from Hillarys or Perth City, Rottnest is very close but seems a million miles away. There are no cars allowed on Rottnest other than service vehicles and a few little buses so most people cycle around the island which is quite small and there are no end of beautiful beaches. It is also home to the Quokka, a small cute marsupial, after which the island is named.

Rottnest is a great place to go with children and there is plenty to do. The beaches are mostly very calm and shallow which is great for young kiddies. If you are going for the day, it is worth getting as early a ferry as possible as the last ferries go back in daylight. In summer ferries start at around 7am and the last ferry back is around 6pm. Check details and availability on the individual ferry websites as the times depend on which location you are travelling to/from and the time of year. Ferries sometimes need to be booked in advance at busy times.

It is really worth having a good look around the Rottnest Island website in advance of your trip as you can download maps of the island and get lots of information about all the different things to do. The website is fantastic and contains pretty much everything you need to know, including links to ferry services, tours, accommodation booking, special events, what’s on, attractions, bike hire, bus timetable, etc. Having said that, it is certainly possible to just turn up and go with the flow particularly at off-peak times. 



Visitors Information Centre
When you arrive at Rottnest you disembark at Thomson Bay, the Main Settlement. The first thing you come across at the end of the jetty is the visitor’s centre which is really worth a visit as you can pick up maps, bus timetables and information about what is on.  They can also direct you to the bike hire shop, give general information about any special events and they can also give you the details of any tours that are on around the island (some are free).

A map of the main settlement can be found at http://www.rottnestisland.com/docs/maps/main-settlement-and-street-map.pdf

And a basic map of the whole island at http://www.rottnestisland.com/docs/maps/explorer-map.pdf?sfvrsn=6

The visitors centre is also where you check in and pick up keys for your accommodation, if staying on the island. You can also make accommodation bookings in person. There is a little café/kiosk to one side where you can get a snack and there are also toilets at the back and some lockers.

A short walk from the ferry, behind the visitors information centre is the main street and a short walk to the left of the visitors centre is the cycle hire shop (Pedal and Flipper) where you can hire a whole heap of things as well as bikes. It is also possible to hire bikes as part of your ferry package, or bring your own over for a handling fee of $15 per bike.

If your children are confident on bikes you can spend a lovely day cycling around the island stopping at different bays. The island is a little hilly so for smaller children this can be more of a challenge. You can also hire adult trikes or a kiddie trailer, kiddie seats, etc. You can hire snorkel gear, stand up paddle boards, surf board racks, etc If any of your party has a disability there are also gophers, beach wheelchairs and disability buggies. See the website for more details http://www.rottnestisland.com/about/pedal-flipper

You can buy a day ticket for the Island Explorer bus which stops all around the island and allows you to get on and off as much as you like. If you are staying for a while you can also buy tickets for a few days or even an annual ticket. A day pass for a family (2 adults, 2 children) is $50.

There is a free shuttle bus that goes between Longreach/Georgie Bay – the airport – the barracks – the Main Settlement. There is a trailer at the back of the bus in case you have anything bulky like a pushchair, etc but you need to load and unload it yourself. The shuttle bus is new and air conditioned so very comfortable.



Things to Do
Apart from the island itself which is really the main attraction, there are a number of things to do during your visit.

There are a few shops:

·       A pharmacy which also sells t-shirts, hats, sunnies, etc

·       A wellness centre (where you can get a massage, hair cut, etc)

·       Indianic Surf - a shop selling rather nice beach/summer clothes and swimwear for adults and children

·       The Rottnest General Store – a supermarket selling a wide range of food and drinks including wine and beer. They also sell souvenirs, books, magazines, fishing equipment, etc. The store also offers free delivery to your accommodation if you are staying on the island at approximately 11am and 4pm each day

·       BankWest ATM


And some places to eat:

·       The Rottnest Bakery – selling bread, various cakes, snacks and other food to eat in or take away

·       Quokka Joe’s – a good quality café which sells fresh juice and does lunch and breakfast, including gluten free options

·       The Lane – a coffee bar also selling fresh juice and freshly made wraps

·       Subway

·       Simmo’s Ice-creamery

Along the beach there are a few more options:

·       Dome Café

·       Aristos Seafood Restaurant and pizza bar

·       Hotel Rottnest

And behind the main street:

·       The Lodge which has a restaurant and a pub style venue

At Georgie Bay there is also:

·       Another smaller version of the general store and bottle shop

·       Geordie’s – a great café/restaurant which does coffee, fresh juice, breakfast, lunch and dinner some evenings

Playgrounds

There are a few playgrounds on the island:

·       Next to the bakery there is a large rope climbing frame

·       There is a large playground right on the beach front next to Aristos restaurant which has shade sails

·       Just beyond the Rottnest Hotel, near the beach, if you are walking away from the visitor’s centre (I have not been to this one but it is on the map)

·       There is a shaded playground at Georgie Bay near the café and general store

Paid Attractions

·       In summer there is a water park called Just 4 Fun Aqua Park which is on the right as you get off the ferry. It has a shallow area for little ones (under 7) and a deeper area for older children.

·       There is a deckchair style Cinema some nights, held in the cinema hall in the main settlement

·       Mini golf/family fun park – Shady mini golf course, trampolines and arcade games.

·       Mini train ride up to the army guns on Oliver Hill (there was an army presence at Rottnest island during the war)

·       Lighthouse tours

·       There are various tours of the island both on foot and by bus - some you pay for, some are free

·       Rottnest Museum – entry is a gold coin donation

·       Various boat trips for whale watching, island tours, etc

·       Scenic flights by helicopter

·       Massage, fitness sessions, etc

·       Rottnest Island Country Club – this has conference facilities, a bowling green and golf course

·       There are a couple of tennis courts on the island and you can also hire racquets


Free Attractions

·       Wildlife on the island: there are lots of birds, lizards, snakes and of course Quokkas to look out for. Underwater there are heaps of fish, crays, rays, crabs, etc and also the odd shark or sea lion. You can also see whales during the whale season.

·       The snorkelling is great all around the island. A snorkel trail can be followed at Parker Point and there are also plaques on location at Kingstown Reef.

 

·       The fishing is excellent although you have to make sure you stick to areas which are not sanctuary zones and you need a licence which can be obtained from the Department of Fisheries. There are also heaps of crayfish if you have cray pots or know how to dive for them. As with the mainland you need to observe bag limits and have the relevant licence where applicable. Spear guns are not allowed in the marine park.

 

·       The Salt Store – a mini one room museum

·       Lomas Cottage

·       Pilot Boathouse

·       There are usually special activities put on for children during school holidays some are free and some at a cost

·       Some of the walking tours are free – see tourist information for details or the board outside the Salt Store or the visitors centre

 


Getting to Rotto

Most people get to Rottnest by boat. Some use their own private boats, but most get the ferry. You can also fly by air taxi or helicopter. Full details are on the Rottnest Island website.  http://www.rottnestisland.com/travel-to

We usually go by ferry which for a family of 4 from Freo costs $84 each way plus a $50 government fee which goes towards the upkeep and conservation of the island (a total of around $218). There are often discounts available and you can get a discount of about 25% if you have the Entertainment Book. On this trip we had a 30% discount from the Perth Royal Show so we paid. $167 plus luggage, bikes and parking at the ferry terminal.

It is often possible to turn up and buy a ticket on the day you travel but at busy times it is worth booking in advance as ferries can get full. If you book more than 8 days in advance of your travel date you will be mailed a set of personalised luggage labels (2 free luggage labels per person). If you book less than 7 days in advance you have to pay for labels but they are only $2 each. For day trips luggage labels are not usually necessary as you would usually pack light if cycling around the island. There are also lockers at the visitors information centre on the island.

Luggage that you ‘check in’ with the ferry company is delivered to your accommodation for no extra cost which is fantastic. However, it is left outside your accommodation and not inside.

Because there are no cars on Rottnest most people either hire bikes from the ferry companies or from the bike shop on the island which has a huge range of bikes. If you prefer you can take your own and it costs $15 per bike on the Ferry.

Rottnest Express luggage information can be found at http://www.rottnestexpress.com.au/Travel-Info/luggage/

You can park at the terminals at Hillarys and Fremantle and we tend to go from Freo’s Northport terminal as you can park very close to the ferry. However, it is important to check the ferry times as they differ depending on the terminal you are going from and Northport has limited departure times. So, if you are going for the day you may prefer to use another terminal so that you can go earlier and stay later. You pay for parking at Fremantle’s terminals so it is important to factor this into the cost of your trip. 6 days parking cost us over $70 at Northport on our most recent trip. If you go from the main Freo terminal you can get to the ferry by public transport so you don’t need to park at all. The terminals also have cafes so you can get a drink or a snack.


Accommodation

There is quite a range of accommodation on the island. From camping at the campsite, dormitories, various standards of self-contained accommodation and hotel accommodation at the Rottnest Hotel and The Lodge. The majority of the accommodation is around the main settlement but there are also options at Longreach/Geordie Bay and also Kingstown Barracks. Details of the accommodation types can be found on the website and bookings can be made online or over the phone. Bookings must be paid for in full at the time of booking. http://www.rottnestisland.com/accommodation/accommodation-types

Accommodation bookings for school holidays periods used to be by way of a public ballot but now bookings open approximately 18 months in advance and it is a case of first in best dressed. During peak times it is essential to book accommodation in advance and Easter and Summer school holidays often sell out very soon after booking opens so at times you will need to book 18 months in advance! This is also the case with Leavers weekend which usually happens around the end of November. Most people avoid visiting the island during Leavers weekend as it is very busy and full of mostly school leavers!

However, outside school holidays and Leavers week you can often get accommodation at short notice. If you want a particular villa or an ocean view room you may need to book further in advance.

To book the Hotel or The Lodge, you need to contact them directly or book directly through their websites.

Our current favourite place to stay is at Longreach as it is very beautiful and you can stay right on the beach. It is a short bike ride or bus trip away from the main settlement so is a little quieter.

 

Some Tips

·       If you are going for the day go as early as you can and stay as late as possible to make the most of your visit. Try to go on a day that is warm but not ridiculously hot, especially if you are planning to cycle around the island

·       Make sure you factor in all costs when budgeting for your holiday (ferry, parking, luggage, bike hire or transport cost if taking your own bikes/bus ticket, accommodation, eating out, food, any attractions, etc) as it can all add up

·       Stay at least one or 2 nights if you can seeing as the ferry costs a fair bit and is not much cheaper for a day return. There is plenty to do and it is a very relaxing place to stay

·       If staying overnight, try to book accommodation over-looking the ocean as I think it makes a big difference

·       Check in is at 2pm but check out is at 9am at the accommodation we stayed at in Longreach. Our luggage had to be ready to be collected by 8am

·       Get your groceries delivered by the general store if you are staying, it is great to get to your accommodation to find your food already in the fridge including beer and wine J

·       Quokkas are very easy to see, particularly if you go to the main shopping area near the bakery or eat in a restaurant. You will find them hopping around your feet in no time! However, feeding and touching quokkas is discouraged.

·       When eating outside watch out for seagulls. They will not think twice about stealing any unattended food! This goes for eating at restaurants and on your balcony too. I also had a lizard once eat some fruit I forgot I had left in a bag outside my accommodation.

·       There is also the resident peacock which can often be seen wandering around the main settlement area

·       If you do not want to go far, The Basin is a great place to visit. It is a short bike ride from the main settlement and is great for snorkelling and has shade, an outdoor shower and toilets. Without even going in the water we saw lizards, a very colourful crab hiding in a rock cave and a sea lion sunning itself at the end of the beach.



·       Carry plenty of water and snacks as there may not be water available if you go outside the main settlement

·       Bring your own shade if moving away from the main settlement as there often isn’t any on the beaches and it can get very hot

·       If you are planning to ride around the island by bike, make sure your kiddies are comfortable going up and down hills. Unfortunately, one of ours was not and this made for extremely slow progress!

·       If you are not sure about riding around by bike then the bus is a great option and very easy.

·       Watch out for snakes. Snakes on Rottnest Island are dugites and are extremely venomous. However, they will usually stay away from people as they are shy. They would only usually bite if trodden on or harassed. I have only ever seen one there once but only because someone pointed it out to me and it was just slowly gliding past.

·       Bring a bike lock just to make sure your bike doesn’t get ‘borrowed’ while you are away from it!

·       Keep a note of emergency contact numbers just in case http://www.rottnestisland.com/travel-to/emergency-contacts-safety

·       Relax and enjoy, it is a truly beautiful island and we love it there!

 

Nov 17th

Blank Canvas Gifts

By Alisha
Blank Canvas Gifts is the "brainchild" of a Perth mum. Budding artists from age three can create their very own personalized works of art on projects like t-shirts, library bags, sunhats, pencil cases, and even dresses.


What a surprise yesterday to come home to three gift bags from Blank Canvas Gifts on our doorstep. It was like an early Christmas for my kids as they hurriedly opened the canvas bags to see what was inside.



I loved the way the gifts were packaged in a reusable drawstring bag.  There was a gift tag on each featuring a cute Blank Canvas Gift character. 

  

Inside the bags the kids found a blank canvas, or project, suited for them to complete with all the tools necessary for them to unleash their creativity.



My 13 year old daughter received a cushion, my 11 year old son a T-shirt, and my 4 year old son a Santa Sack.  It was so much fun watching them open the bags. They squealed with delight when they pulled out the paints, brushes, glitter and gems from their bags. 

 
My daughter's Blank Canvas was a cushion with a removable cover for her decorate.  Her gift bag contained paints, a little palate, paintbrushes, gems and glue.

My eldest son's T-shirt project came with 3D paints, brushes, and some very special glow in the dark paint.  He was pretty excited about that!
My younger son's project was a "Santa Sack" complete with a blank letter and envelope to mail to Santa himself.  I love this idea for Christmas gifts this year!  His Santa Sack came with paint, brushes, and a "finishing touch" of red glitter.  

I loved these brushes for my youngest.  They were perfect for his little hands to grasp onto!
Letter to Santa

Glitter!

It was a beautiful day outside, so I set up a crafting table on the patio, and the kids eagerly got to work!

Each project came with a blank piece of card for the kids to plan and practice drawing out their masterpieces before putting it on the actual canvas.  It gave me such joy to see them concentrating so hard, and putting so much effort into their projects. 

 
This handy little pamphlet was full of tips descriptions of all the different projects and supplies. 

It wasn't long before the Blank Canvas projects started looking like amazing, personalized works of art!  I loved how each project was so completely different from the other, just like each one of my kids! 


My 11 year old son took the longest with his project.  I found him mixing his primary colors to create new paint colors when he needed them.  



The paints and supplies provided in the kits were top quality!  The projects themselves were high quality 100% cotton.  The paints, brushes, glues, and embellishments were all renowned brands I had heard of and used before such as Scribbles, Tulip and Aleene's. 

 

I was very impressed with the quality of all the paints and supplies, and we had plenty left over for future projects.  In fact, my teenage daughter has already used the paints on a white pair of canvas shoes she had that needed some personalization! 

Blank Canvas Gifts were a huge hit with all of my children.  It appealed to my 4 year old, on up to the teenager.  I plan to buy some projects for Christmas gifts this year, and it will be my new go to gift for birthday parties!

Here are my kids showing off their works of art:

This Santa Sack will sit under our tree waiting to be filled for years to come!



My kids were all so proud of their work, and were thrilled with themselves... a definite self esteem booster!  I know we will cherish these projects for years to come!








Gift packages range from $30-$45 and include everything needed to create a self inspired work of art. Each pack comes with fabric paints and brushes or markers to complete the project.  There are also a variety of "finishing touches" which you can add to your gift pack, such as the gems, glitter and glow in the dark paint. 
To see all the Blank Canvas Gifts has to offer, check out their website, or find them on Facebook.

Nov 17th

Run Amuk Hotdogs Unleashed Fremantle

By Buggybuddys - Lorraine
Hot dog hot dog hot digity dog!  My kids LOVE hot dogs, my 4 year old can easily consumer 2 full sized hotdogs with all the trimmings in one sitting.  So when I heard about Run Amuk Hotdogs Unleashed in Fremantle I knew I had to take little Miss 4.

After an energentic swimming session at Frementle Leisure Centre we drove a few minutes to South Fremantle and found street parking directly outside the restaurant.

At 11:30am, it was already getting busy proving that these guys do a mean hot dog that keeps the customers coming back for more.  We weren't disappointed either!

Choose from alfresco seating on the pavement outside, fun printed tables and stools and 70's style bench booth seating next to the wall of cars.  Yes it's a wall of mini cars!!





No Miss 4 they DON'T come off the wall...that's the point, it's arty :-)



After studying the menu hard we all decided a Hotdog would be good - that's all they sell so we were in luck.  Choose from a variety of well thought of combinations.  I follow a Paleo (no grains or dairy) low carb diet AND I'm allergic to potatoes (NO CHIPS for me!) so I was super pleasantly catered for by the manager who mustered up a beautiful looking and tasting lunch for me that wasn't on the menu.  I had my sausage, sauerkraut, avocado, pineapple, bacon and fried onions and it was delicious.  Big thanks for catering for people with ridiculous allergies.



My friend ordered the Scoundrel Hotdog which is served in it's own little silver tray and napkin looking so deliciously scrumptious, which it was. 



The kids had a Puppy Dog Hotdog complete with Cheese and Chips.



Hard at work on the Hotdog train! Love watching other people cook my food, makes a refreshing change from my kitchen at home.



Cloudy homemade Lemonade with Ginger, very refreshing and good for replacing all that burnt up energy!



I think it's safe to say the girls had a blast at Run Amuk and we would most definitely be visiting again.  Happy tummies and mummies!

  

Find other family friendly restaurants in Perth

Run Amuk Hotdogs Unleashed on Urbanspoon
 
Nov 16th

Taylor's Art & Coffee House, Swan Valley

By Buggybuddys Jennie

Why oh why oh why have I not visited Taylor’s Art & Coffe House until now??? This gorgeous café is an absolute hidden gem!  Its rustic charm sums up everything I love about the Swan Valley.

 

Step through the entrance and discover the quaintest courtyard garden, shaded by gum trees and overhanging vines.  Mismatched tables and chairs tucked into nooks and crannies around the courtyard add to the charm.

 

The charm also extends inside where you’ll find an array of cosy dining areas catering for small to large groups.

They have several high chairs available including this cute retro one. The toilets have baby change facilites plus a boaster seat for the toilet. 

 

There is a large sandpit filled with sand toys that kept our kids busy for the whole time we were there.

 

Taylor’s Café are passionate about serving fresh, organic food and quality coffee. There menu changes with the season so there are always new dishes to enjoy.  

The café is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. They do not hold a liquor licence but you are welcome to BYO at a cost of $2.50 per person. Breakfast is served 7.30am – 11.30am and lunch 11.30am – 3pm.

We arrived at 11am so we ended up ordering items from both the breakfast and lunch menu which meant we had to wait a few minutes extra for the lunch menu items to come out from the kitchen.

 

It was hard to make a choice from the menu as everything sounded so good! In the end I opted for the Grilled Chicken Salad ($24) which consists of marinated free-range chicken breast with a feta, pear and walnut salad, roasted pumpkin, fresh cucumber, capsicum, mixed greens and candied walnut. The portion was a great size and it was so yummy!

 

My companion went for the Bacon and Eggs ($17) which a side of avocado.

 

Taylor’s Café also offer a kids menu.

 

We went for the Kids Pancakes ($10) which are 2 pancakes served with maple syrup, banana, strawberries, cream and icing sugar. The portion was huge!

 

We also opted for the kids bacon and eggs ($9).

 

Lunch options include burger & chips ($13), Risotto ($13) and a ham and cheese Panini ($10)

Kids juices, smoothies and milkshakes are all priced at $3. Our kids went for the Chittering Valley orange juice which was freshly squeezed and tasted divine!

 

If you are just popping in for coffee and cake then you won’t be disappointed with the amazing array of cakes that are baked fresh in the kitchen each day. All coffees are served with two shots.

 

Taylor’s Art & Coffee House is now firmly on my list of favourite places to visit in the Swan Valley.  If you choose to experience it for yourself I am sure it will make it on your list too!

 

Taylor’s Art & Coffee House is located at 510 Great Northern Hwy, Middle Swan. There is a large car park to the rear of the café. Opening hours are Tuesday – Sunday 7.30am – 4pm.

 

For more information visit www.taylorscafe.com.au

Taylors Art & Coffee House on Urbanspoon

Find more family friendly restaurants and cafes in Perth 
Find more places to visit in the Swan Valley 

 

Nov 14th

Very Scary Katy Perry Part 2

By Janelle

For those of you who have been playing along at home, you might remember that I took my 5 year old Mairead to the Katy Perry show last Friday night.  Here now, for your reading pleasure is a timeline of how that day went.  From start to finish...

Friday, 7th November, 2014.

5.10am  Mairead comes screaming into our bedroom screaming ‘IT’S KATY PERRY DAY!‘           

5.11am  Mairead is sent back to bed

5.17am  Mairead screams from her bedroom ‘IS IT TIME TO GET UP YET?’

5.18am  Baby wakes up

5.19am  I hide under the doona and make various elaborate mental deals with the devil in return for making the kids go back to sleep for 2 hours.

5.20am  Everyone’s up

8.20am  Kids fed, watered, dressed, brushed. School bag packed. ‘Roar’ video been played on repeat on my phone at least 30 times.

8.30am  Drop her at school

8.45am  Back at home. Put finishing touched on Mairead’s Katy Perry costume.  Boring house stuff (you don’t want to hear about that, believe me).

2.30pm  Collect Mairead from school.  Mairead announces to all and sundry that she’s going to Katy Perry.  Numerous kids ask their mothers why they aren’t going to Katy Perry.  Get dirty looks from other mothers.

2.40pm   In car.  Mairead realises she has left her gluing creations at school on the drying rack.  I tell her if we go back to school we’ll be late for Katy Perry.  Mairead accepts this. WIN!!

2.45pm   Home.  Mairead has a shower and puts on her costume and tells me she’s ready to go.

 

5.30pm   We actually go.

6.00pm   Think I’m being clever by parking away from the arena in a carpark on Murray Street.  Give myself mental pat on the back.

6.10pm   Car parked.  It’s freezing.  Mairead is wearing a leopard print halter top and a  fake grass skirt (like Katy Perry in the Roar video, but not skanky).  She won’t  wear a cardigan because Katy Perry didn’t wear a cardigan.

6.11pm    We walk down to Perth Arena.  At least four different carloads of people beep at  us and sing ‘Roa-or-or-or-o-o-o-o-ar’ at us.  Mairead loves herself sick.

6.15pm    Arrive at Perth Arena.  A little girl looks at Mairead’s costume and says to her mum ‘Why didn’t I get that?’ A big lady looks at Mairead’s costume and says to her friend ‘Why didn’t we do that?’

6.20pm    See my mates Heidi and Woody from 92.9fm doing an outside broadcast. Woody says on live radio to Mairead ‘Well, you’re a little live wire, are you  excited about Katy Perry?’  Mairead squeaks ‘Hello!’ and runs away. Great radio.  

6.25pm   We start to line up at the merchandise stand.

6.35pm    Still lining up at the merch stand.

6.55pm    Still lining up.

7.10pm    Get to the front of the merch stand.  Mairead doesn’t know what she wants.

7.12pm    The t-shirt Mairead wants is $60.

7.13pm    Regret telling Mairead I will buy her a t-shirt.

7.14pm    Buy the fricken’ t-shirt.

7.20pm    Go into the Arena.  Look for food.

7.30pm    The only food is rubbish but we have no other options.  Buy hotdogs and chips and drinks.

7.35pm    There’s nowhere to sit and eat other than on the concrete stairs. Memories are made of this.

7.45pm     She’s eaten about 3 chips, none of the hotdog and doesn’t like the orange juice. FML.

7.56pm     I give up trying to make her eat and decide to go in to watch the support act. We find out door and open it.  The noise is so cacophonous Mairead  immediately covers her ears with her hands and is terrified to go in.  The door  lady looks at us with sympathy and says ‘If I was you I’d go and buy ear plugs -  his is only half as loud as it will get. Plus when Katy Perry comes on they’ll start  screaming.’

8.10pm     Ear plugs purchased. Toilets visited. We sit in our seats.

8.11pm     Mairead says ‘Mum, that’s not Katy Perry.’

8.12pm     ‘Mum, where’s Katy Perry?’

8.13pm     ‘Mum, I’m sick of waiting for Katy Perry.’

8.14pm     ‘Mum, this is boring’

8.15pm     ‘Mum, I’m hungry’

8.16pm     ‘Mum, I’m cold’

8.17pm     ‘Why is Katy Perry taking so long?’

8.18pm      ‘Mum it’s too noisy in here’

 

8.19pm      I put the $60 t-shirt on Mairead.  It looks like a dress. It also looks like it will fall  apart after one wash.  I feed her some cold chips. I let her play with my phone. I tell her all about the stage and the big screens and the sets.  I ask  her what song she thinks Katy Perry is going to play first.

8.31pm     Katy Perry concert starts.  

8.42pm     Please enjoy my daughter’s enraptured reaction to seeing her idol live on stage for the first time....

 

She fell asleep.  She fell asleep in the third song and woke up intermittently throughout, raising her head, checking it out and then going back to sleep.  On my arm. So I couldn’t stand, clap, dance, nothing.  She did wake up during the last song, Firework, because there WERE actual fireworks going off onstage.

I carried her back to the car, were she fell straight back to sleep (the lucky sod, considering it took 55 minutes to get out of the car park, I actually considered having a quick cat nap in the driver’s seat until the traffic thinned out).

So as much as it pains me to admit it, my kid was too young to go to a Katy Perry concert. I don’t mean the content - there’s was no twerking, bad language, excessive tongue exposure or suspicious foam finger activity like a certain other recent pop star I could mention. But it was too late, it was too loud and it was too crowded.   It freaked her out. And I was so disappointed.  I invested so much time and energy organising this special night out for us, but if I’m honest, maybe the show itself was more about what I wanted and not what my kid wanted or needed. So that totally sucked. 

Saturday, 9th November

7.15am I casually ask Mairead if she liked the the Katy Perry show.

7.16am  ‘No,’ Mairead says, ‘I like Katy Perry better when she’s in your phone.’  

Can’t win ‘em all

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’.
www.janellekoenig.com
www.facebook.com/janellekoenigcomedy
www.twitter.com/janellekoenig       

Nov 12th

Annie's Landing District Playspace, Ellenbrook

By Buggybuddys Jennie

Annie's Landing District Playspace
   
Stage One of the brand new Annie’s Landing District Playspace in Ellenbrook has opened up and it is a treat for both older and younger children.

 

Annie’s Landing District Playspace is located at the very end of Bandrock Drive in Ellenbrook. Just keep following the signs for the Annie’s Landing display village and you won’t be able to miss it. The playground has been sympathetically designed to make use of its natural bushland setting. 

 

There are lots of nature play aspects to the park including balancing logs and a stream that runs along the perimeter.

For the big kids there is a spider net climbing structure, birds nest swing and a flying fox (which was still being installed when we visited).

Climb up the rocky mound to access the rather high rope bridge.

 

Cross the rope bridge and take the easy route back down by using the big yellow slide.

 

Enjoy some imaginative play time in the fort.

 

There is also an additional slide which is modeled on a tree. Use the steps, ladders or tree truck to make your way to the top of the slide.

You’ll find a separate area with play equipment catering for toddlers which features 2 bucket swings.

A roundabout
 

And a very interactive climbing structure which features a slide, tunnel, sand play table and drums.

 

Next to the toddler area is a picnic shelter and grassy area but I didn't spot any BBQ's. They may have not been installed yet. 



Although the play area is surrounded by trees, they weren’t providing any shade to the area at the time of day we visited (morning).  Also you would need to keep a close on your child if they like to wander as the toddler area is within easy access to the creek and the lake.

There is a car park next to the playground but at present it doesn’t look like there is a provision for toilets. 

Annie's Landing District Playspace is located of Bandrock Drive, Ellenbrook

Find more playgrounds in Perth

Nov 12th

Roll n' Dice Barbershop, Canning Vale, Perth

By Alisha

My little man has a Big Birthday coming up next week!  He's turning 5 and having a party with all his friends, so putting off getting his haircut any longer was unavoidable.  


For some reason, the boy hates to get his haircut.  He usually sits on the chair kicking a screaming and refuses to wear the cape.  I end up with him on my lap while the hairdresser quickly trims up the mullet and side burns the best she can.  
 
But today, we were going to try something different.  We traveled to Canning Vale to Roll N Dice for not only a haircut, but an experience.  It's a traditional barbershop with a retro look, catering to all ages.  All kids are offered a milkshake, some popcorn, a lucky dip bag, and a pleasant experience.
 

Roll N Dice Barbershop is located inside Livingston Marketplace Centre in Canning Vale.
 
Before haircut

We entered the shop, and Hagen was cautiously looking around.  He seemed relieved to see that the customer before him survived his time in the chair. 



There were no appointments, just "Walk Ins", at Roll N Dice, which worked really well for our unpredictable schedule.  We only had to wait a few minutes for our turn, and Hagen had fun playing with the toys in the waiting area. 

Hagen happily playing with toys while we waited!

When it was Hagen's turn, he had a big decision to make!  Would he get his haircut in the Army Jeep, the Police Car, or The Red Airplane? 





He was still a bit apprehensive, but he had his eyes on the lollies he was sure to be awarded if he sat still for his haircut.



Before hopping into his vehicle of choice, he was offered a milk shake.  Would it be banana, strawberry, or chocolate?  So many choices to distract him... It was magic!



He chose strawberry, and was soon sipping away while seated on the red airplane, cape and all!  He even had a glimpse of a smile on his face.  His hairdresser was super fast, and did a terrific job encouraging him to sit still. I'm sure she has seen his kind plenty times before! 



Hagen sat still through to the very end of the haircut!

Here's the dapper young man admiring his new look in the mirror. He's all set to celebrate his 5th Birthday!
Hagen left the shop happy with hands full of rewards.  A goodie bag, popcorn and a box of lollies.  


I know we will definitely be back for another haircut at Roll N Dice.  I'm not sure how much longer Hagen will fit into the little vehicles though! Perhaps next time he'll graduate to the regular chairs. They still look pretty fun!

Hours of Operation:

  • Monday: 9:00am to 7:30pm
  • Tuesday: 9:00am to 7:30pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00am to 7:30pm
  • Thursday: 9:00am to 8:30pm
  • Friday: 9:00am to 5:30pm
  • Saturday: 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • closed Sunday

For more information visit the Roll n Dice facebook page

Find more kid friendly hairdressers in Perth

Nov 12th

Gloucester Park Race Course

By Buggybuddys

Reviewed by Ceri Foster - Visited 24th October 2014 

We decided on a different last minute night out and went to the Friday night trotting races at Gloucester Park.

It was a regular Friday night meeting with 10 races, gates opening at 5pm with the first race starting at 6pm.  Parking on a Friday is in the City of Perth carpark next door behind the WACA and the flat night park rate was $12.40. On normal Friday nights entry is $12 per adult and kids are free.  On special nights where there are tribute bands and fireworks or themed nights like Italian Night and Chinese New Year the entry is $20 per adult but extra family entertainment is laid on with fireworks, bouncy castles etc.

While waiting for the first race we had a bite to eat in the Birdcage Café and had a walk around the stalls to see the horses being prepared for their races.  We were lucky to get talking to an owner and have a stroke of a couple of horses.

 

There are plenty of dining options at the race course with an a la carte restaurant on the top floor of the stands, a large carvery in the middle of the stand and Steelos Grill on the ground floor and for us Steelos Café and coffee kiosk.  There is also a fast food outlet selling the usual hot dogs, nuggets, sandwiches, hot chips and cold drinks.  There are plenty of licenced bar areas too.


The children got plenty of horsey interaction with the friendly staff.


There is lots of grassy area for kids to run and play without bothering anyone and wear themselves out. 


There is about 30 minutes between each race and entertainment was provided with great live music where the children were invited up on the stage to dance.

Once it got dark and a bit cooler it was hot chocolates and marshmallows all round  from the café kiosk.


The children got into the racing as much as the adults cheering on their choices with their $1 bets. All in all it was an unexpected great success and a fantastic family night out.  The atmosphere was relaxed with plenty of families bringing their own picnics and either setting up on the grass or on the picnic tables provided.  Children were easily entertained all night long and didn’t want to leave they were having so much fun running about and dancing to the live music.


 For more information visit www.gloucesterpark.com.au

 Find more places to visit with kids in Perth

 

Nov 12th

West End Deli, West Perth

By Buggybuddys

Reviewed by Estabelle Ang

West End deli has been around for quite sometime now but we finally managed to try it one day before heading to Beatty Park for a swim. It is really close-by and the perfect pre or post-swim cafe to go to, just 2 minute drive away. Located on the corner of Carr and Strathcona Street, there's plenty of street parking as well as a carpark round the back too.

West End Deli
Entrance to West End Deli

IMG_3850

quirky interior
quirky interior

IMG_3861

With inside and outside seats, the cafe is very roomy and spacious and they even have big tables for big group bookings as well. I love the quirky interior with chairs hanging on the wall and funky lamp shades. It certainly kept Caleb busy, probably thinking “why are the chairs on the wall?”

IMG_3863

extensive menu
extensive menu
 
coffee and babycino
coffee and babycino

IMG_3874

Hubs had the granola with spiced pear and vanilla yoghurt topped with freeze-dried raspberries. It was amazing. I on the other hand couldn’t help but order their house-made crumpet with honeycomb and honey vanilla. When the crumpets landed in front of me my first reaction was “WOWZERS! that's some humongous crumpet!” Almost the size of the plate! Humongous or not I finished the entire thing. It was that amazing. No wonder all I felt like doing in the pool was to just lie there (or rather sink) and sleep!

top left: Granola with spiced pear and honey Bottom left: House made crumpet with honeycomb and honey vanilla
top left: Granola with spiced pear and vanilla yoghurt
Bottom left: House made crumpet with honeycomb and honey vanilla

Their service and food are absolutely amazing. They’re opened breakfast, lunch and dinner* and we can’t wait to go back to try out their other dishes. Maybe this time we will go after swimming.

West End Deli
95 Carr St, West Perth
Tues-Sun: 7am – 3pm.
*Thurs, fri and Sat: Dinner from 6pm
Highchair: Yes
Change facility: No

West End Deli on Urbanspoon


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