What’s On – Friday 18 August to Thursday 24 August 2017

whats on in melbourne

This week I’ll be presenting Dancing Lights on Saturday 19 August as part of West Projections. It’s going to be huge – see you on the dance floor!

I’ll also be celebrating my Chinese heritage at Chinese Fortunes Festival and there are National Science Week events ending this weekend. It’s also Book Week (19-26 Aug) this week and we’re looking forward to admiring everyone’s costumes! Have a great week!



  • European Night Market (Fri 18 Aug – Fri 25 Aug) – take in the rich European aromas of mulled wine, German sausages and freshly baked pretzels as you browse the mix of new and returning food stalls every Friday night.
  • Slide, Skate and Chill (Fri 18 Aug – Thu 31 Aug) – undercover riverside ice rink and toboggan slide. Full review.
  • Aladdin the Musical (Fri 18 Aug – Sun 22 Oct) – Disney film turned into lavish musical. Read the review.
  • MIFF Kids Gala (Sat 19 Aug) – Walk the red carpet and join the party with delicious Cobs popcorn and fun festivities before the screening
  • Queen Street Plaza (Sat 19 Aug – Sun 20 Aug) – A place to sit, eat, have a drink and enjoy free family entertainment right in the heart of the city.
  • Book Week Melbourne Library Service (Sat 19 Aug – Sun 26 Aug) – Drop in to a storytime or book into a fabulous event.
  • Leempeeyt Weeyn’ – Indigenous Campfire (Fri 18 Aug – Sun 20 Aug) –  live performances, storytelling, learning and sharing over a continuously burning fire. 
  • Sunday Family Funday Munich Brauhaus (Sun 20 Aug) – mobile farm experience, face painter, kids’ entertainer and yummy food at Munich Brauhaus.
  • Chinese Fortunes Festival (Sun 20 Aug) Immigration Museum courtyard will be transformed into a Chinese street market with stalls selling authentic street fare, crafts, live music, calligraphy demonstrations, dumpling-making class and Chinese chess.
  • AFL Sunday Funday (Sun 20 Aug) – free entry for kids and activities on at Sunday AFL games.
  • Winter Night Market Queen Victoria Market (Wed 23 Aug) – best of winter food, design and theatrics to the market every Wednesday during winter. FULL REVIEW.
  • Play Pod State Library of Victoria (Fri 18 Aug – 5 Sep) – Play Pod is the SLV’s program for children aged under 8 years with activities to read, create and play. There’s a new theme every season for Winter 2017 it’s inspired by Penguin Problems
  • Fiona Hall: Uneasy Seasons NGV (Fri 18 Aug – Sun 8 Oct) – interactive and immersive exhibition for children at NGV International. Full review.
  • Artplay Inside Out (Wed 23 Aug – Thu 24 Aug) – free indoor play and explore a different idea and activity each week every Wednesday and Thursday. FULL REVIEW. 



  • Sausage Fest Preston (Fri 18 Aug – Sun 20 Aug) – vibrant, edgy and attractive venue offering Melbourne’s favourite food trucks on rotation, events and entertainment. FULL REVIEW.
  • Bug Lab Melbourne Museum (Fri 18 Aug – Oct) – exploring the world of bugs. Full review. 
  • National Geographic Photo Ark (Fri 18 Aug – 1 Oct) – exclusive photo exhibition is using the power of photography to inspire people to save animals before it’s too late.
  • Donut Fest Coburg (Sat 19 Aug – Sun 20 Aug) – Think hot chocolate, mulled wine, hot jam donuts, coffee, plenty of outdoor heating and cheery festoon lighting.
  • Artists on Were St (Sat 19 Aug – Sun 3 Sep) – Fashion art and styling, mosaics, sculptures and painting in many genres at Montmorency Shopping Village.
  • Diamond Valley Railway (Sun 20 Aug) – miniature railway and two adventure playgrounds. Full review. 
  • Book Week at Melbourne Museum (Mon 21 Aug – Sat 26 Aug) – Come along dressed up as your favourite character and attend one of our Museum Stories reading sessions throughout the week or join our spectacular dress-up Book Parade through the museum galleries!







  • LightTime Scienceworks (Fri 18 Aug onwards) – a collective of 11 Melbourne based artists who have created hypnotic and mesmerising works. Full review.
  • Due West Immersive Arts Festival (Fri 18 Aug – Sun 27 Aug) –  immersive arts experiences which allow participants to interact, engage and participate.
  • West Projections (Fri 18 Aug – Sun 27 Aug) –  projection art will illuminate creative spaces, VU campus, businesses and public places.
  • Essendon Traffic School (Sat 19 Aug) – mini road set up for kids aged two to ten years, complete with road signs, railway bells and traffic lights.
  • Altona Beach Film Festival (Sat 19 Aug) – interactive evening of film and entertainment by the Bay.
  • Toddler and Preschool Circus Club (Sat 19 Aug) – Explore aerials, balances, circus circuits and games. FULL REVIEW
  • Altona Miniature Railway (Sun 20 Aug) – Every third Sunday of the month the Altona Miniature Railway is opened to members of the public and members take kids and adults on rides on the mini steam and diesel engines. READ THE REVIEW.
  • Bulla Hill Railway (Sun 20 Aug) – Every 1st and 3rd Sunday the ride this the dinosaur trail on the miniature railway.
  • Kensington Market (Sun 20 Aug) – monthly market showcase of talented local artisans and crafters.
  • Mastermind Highpoint (Mon 21 Aug) – free creative workshops for kids.
  • 100 Stories Before School Celebration (Tue 22 Aug) – Jeanette Rowe will read from her collection of ‘Whose’ books, light refreshments for children, colouring activities.
  • Hot Chocolate Festival at Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie (Fri 18 Aug – Thu 31 Aug) – 31 limited edition hot chocolates and hot chocolate tastings.


HOT: Alison Lester Gallery, 1 Falls Rd, Fish Creek

Alison Lester Gallery Fish Creek

Fish Creek is a small town in the Prom Country on the road to Wilsons Promontory. While it only has about 800 residents it is known as the artistic hub of Gippsland as it boasts an unusually large number of galleries and arts and craft outlets, mainly catering for tourists who pass through Fish Creek on their way to Wilson’s Prom.

One of the most famous residents of Fish Creek is Alison Lester, beloved children’s author and former Australian Children’s Laureate.

alison lester gallery

At Fish Creek you can visit the Alison Lester Gallery, where you can find all of her books (and even get them signed), limited edition prints, cards and stationery, and toys.

alison lester gallery

You can also get a glimpse of Alison’s working process with preliminary working drawings, sketches and displays.

alison lester gallery

You can’t miss it as the verandah is a throng of excited kids waiting their turn to ride Noni the Pony!

Alison Lester Gallery Fish Creek

Lady AB loves the cosy reading nook, where you can even read Alison Lester books in foreign languages (though not to buy) by the sunny window or cosy up on a couch.

alison lester gallery

Unfortunately we don’t have enough time to explore the rest of Fish Creek as we were enroute to lunch at Waratah Hills. However readers recommend visiting Fish Creek Hotel, Flying Cow cafe, Berry’s Creek cheese and the Celia Rosser gallery.

The Alison Lester Gallery can also organise signed books to be posted to you if you cant make it down, just call John at the shop and he can arrange that for you.


Click here for more places to go with kids in Gippsland

Alison Lester Gallery, 1 Falls Rd, Fish Creek (03) 56832352

Thursday – Monday 10-4pm

Everyday in the Victorian School Holidays, or by appointment.

Free admission

The HOT List: Melbourne Fringe Festival 2017 for Families

melbourne fringe

Melbourne Fringe Festival returns for the 35th year between Thursday 14 September – Sunday 1 October 2017 with lots of imaginative and creative children and family programming.

Here are my Top 25 events of Melbourne Fringe Festival for kids, with events suitable for babies right up to teens.

1.Only A Year

A delightful and poignant immersive, sensory theatre work for 0-12 month olds and their carers.  Performance runs for 30 minutes with playtime afterward.

Chunky Move | Wed 20 Sept – Sat 23 Sept| $25 | 0-12 months

2. Trash Test Dummies

Award winning, sidesplitting slapstick comedy routine takes the household wheelie bin to new heights, and delivers a dump-truck full of hilarity!

Emerald City – The Gingerbread House | Sat 23 Sept – Sat 30 Sept| $25

3. Fizzy Kids!

Multi-award-winning comedian Isabel Angus is joined by theatre-maker Harley Hefford to present Fizzy Kids!—a brand new theatrical comedy show for kids and their adults.

Gasworks Arts Park | Tue 26 Sept – Sat 30 Sept| $25 | 4-12 years

4. WouldMan

WouldMan is not your everyday knight in the theatre, but an original, funny and dynamic one-man theatre show for all ages.

National Theatre | Tue 26 Sept – Thu 28 Sept| $20 | 4-12 years

5. Le Petit Circus

Le Petit Circus has been performing shows around Australia since 2008, featuring acrobatics, juggling, hula-hoops, trapeze, and more, with a fun sense of humour to keep the kids and parents entertained throughout.

Gasworks Arts Park | Wed 27 Sept – Sat 30 Sept| $23 | 3+ years

6. Spookmaster

Spookmaster is an engaging, touching and energetic play that weaves storytelling and puppetry with digital projections.

Gasworks Arts Park | Sat 23 Sept – Sat 30 Sept| $23

7. Beneath

Come and explore an underwater landscape created from recycled plastic, in this interactive installation in the ArtPlay gallery.

Artplay | Fri 15 Sept – Sun 1 Oct | FREE

8. West of What?

Join Footscray Community Arts Centre in this one big day of artistic cremations, enraptured performances, creative activities and installations.

Footscray Community Arts Centre | Sat 23 Oct | FREE – $13

9. Playing UP at Fringe

Kids and adult workshops from yoga to drawing.

Emerald City – Bar | Sun 17 Sep – Sat 30 Sep | $15-$25

10. Cha-Cha-Change it up

This interactive comedy cabaret invites all little legends to come create their own sequinned armour and join the dance floor as we learn practical and fun ways to change the world together.

Arts House | Sat 23 Sep | $20

11. Hazel’s Circus Suitcase

The show is a spectacular mix of circus and clown with plenty of opportunities for kids to star in the action.

Emerald City – The Gingerbread House | Sat 23 Sep – Sat 30 Sep| $14.50-$20

12. The Kabooms are Ridonkulous!

Angus & Liam Kaboom, brothers and best friends, want to read their favourite story book. But something has gone horribly wrong – their bestest book has exploded everywhere! They need your help to figure out which page goes next, and to finish their tale.

Bluestone Church Arts Space | Sat 23 Sep – Sun 1 Oct | $14.50

13. I Hate Children, Children’s show

Edinburgh Fringe’s top rated kids show is back for another year of kinder kicking komedy. Your little monsters are the stars of this award-winning magic show that’s truly fun for the whole family as every child is invited on stage to star in the show and help with the magic.

Melba Spiegeltent | Sat 16, 23, 30 Sep | $20

14. Scott’s BMX Trick Bike Show

The story of when I was given my first BMX bike. Then asking myself—is there another way to ride it?  What follows is how I then joined Circus Oz and toured the world doing BMX tricks on stage.

Emerald City – The Rabbit Hole | Mon 25 Sep – Thu 28 Sep| $24

15. Express Yourself

Join Double Denim in this feminist party for girls, boys and everyone who is neither, either, both or in-between. There will be games, songs, giggles and special guests to celebrate everything that makes us, US.

Artplay | Thu 28 Sep | FREE

16. Rainbow Paradiso

Funky jungle jam full of re-appropriated pop songs, gender-bending folk tales, high-octane group dance numbers and special guests from across the Festival rainbow.

Artplay |Sun 1 Oct | FREE

17. The Fountain of Youth

This participatory art dance party is all performance and no spectators, a chance for you and your little ones to go on a transcendent journey through yoga asanas, creative dance, astrology and the rolling wheel of the year.

Artplay | Sat 30 Sep | FREE

18. Escape From Trash Mountain

Join our puppet hero Bright Eyes as she escapes the dreaded landfill in search of a better life. Be amazed as she fights trash bats, surfs giant trash waves, and makes some great new friends along the way!


Gasworks Arts Park | Tue 26 Sept – Sat 30 Sept| $15

19. Pivot

For the duration of the 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival, our city will transform into a playground for adults with Pivot, a live art conversation kick-starter that connects you with your fellow citizens in a tête-à-tête mediated by a talking seesaw.

Federation Square | Thu 14 Sept – Sun 1 Oct | FREE

20. Design It. Make It. Wear It.

Work with theatre and installation designer Jennifer Tran to create your perfect party outfit made from upcycled materials.

Artplay | Sat 30 Sep – Sun 1 Oct | $16

21. Kooky Spooks

Step inside the playful and imaginative world of Japanese Butoh. With a smiling shaman as your guide, you’ll jump headfirst into a world of transformation and shape-shifting, unleashing your inner animal, object, kook and spook.

Artplay | Wed 27 Sep | FREE

22. Starting School

From Andrew McClelland, mastermind of Melbourne’s iconic party Finishing School, comes a dance marathon for kids and adults alike.

Artplay | Fri 29 Sep | FREE

23. Design in Space

Use upcycled materials to create mysterious, textured hanging objects in this workshop with theatre and installation designer Jennifer Tran. Come back to ArtPlay in the afternoon to move amongst your creations as you’re swept up in free participatory performance events facilitated by some Fringe favourites.

Artplay | Wed 27 Sep – Fri 29 Sep | $16

24. The Children’s Party

Guided by an expert team of policy advisers, speech-writers and industry experts, this group of pint-sized politicos aged 8-12 are gearing up to transform the Australian political landscape.

Arts House | Sun 24 Sep | FREE | 8-12 years

25. Dinosaur Time Machine

Full of up-to-date science and fun dinosaur facts, incorporating circus, puppetry and imaginative play in this unique educational theatre production, for kids 3-9.

Wonderland Spiegeltent | Sat 23 Sep – Sun 1 Oct | $24



Melbourne Fringe 2017

14 September – 1 October 2017

Disney Princess Festival – Giveaway!

disney princess

Reading Cinemas is bringing your favourite Disney classics to the big screen nationally with their Disney Princess Festival!

Each weekend for a month your local Readings Cinema will feature one of your favourite Disney princess. Upcoming sessions are:

Saturday the 19th & Sunday the 20th of August
Sleeping Beauty
Saturday the 26th & Sunday the 27th of August
Saturday the 2nd & Sunday the 3rd of September

All screenings are at the family friendly time of 10am, but come a little earlier at 9.30am and soak up the fun with activities such as face painting, activity corner to keep the kids entertained and a best dressed prize. Tickets are only $10!

For more information and to book tickets visit www.readingcinemas.com.au.


Thanks to Readings Cinemas I have 5 x family passes (4 tickets per pass) to give away to any Disney Princess Festival screening at any Readings Cinemas around Australia.

To win just follow the instructions below. The winners will be notified on Friday 18 August via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

HOT: The General Food Store, 377 Belgrave-Gembrook Rd, Emerald

general food store emerald

The General Food Store is THE place to eat in Emerald if you’re serious about your food. It’s often named in good food lists and Dandenong Ranges travel guides and is popular with locals and visitors.

      general food store emerald

The reason? They focus on using seasonal ingredients sourced from Victoria. Their coffee is by Coffee Supreme and their providore stocks Victorian produce and house-made goodies.

The General Food Store is small but it does have an outdoor courtyard. We visit on a wet and rainy day so everyone huddles into the front room.

general food store emerald

We settle into the front bench and Baby 2.0 completes some colouring-in while we ponder the menu. It is more expansive than you’d expect to come out of a small kitchen.

We try the Well Grounded – slow roast field mushrooms, goats curd, olive oil potato hash, poached eggs, fried enoki, crunchy savoury granola ($19.50). It’s the perfect combination of melting and crunch, all wrapped up in wintery earthiness.

general food store emerald

For dessert we have The King – Belgian waffles, burnt butter candied chestnuts, bacon bits, whisky preserved apple, maple mascarpone ($17.5). Salty, sweet, creamy and crispy, all at once!

general food store emerald

For kids they offer granola, eggs and soldiers, toastie, and a kids mixed plate  ($7-$10). Baby 2.0 decides to go fancy with a toasted croissant with leg ham and cheddar cheese instead ($8.80). Plus a babycino with marshmallow.

general food store emerald

The General Food Store is a homely cafe in the Dandenongs that still offers city sophistication. Before you leave I recommend bringing home a jar of their Chilli Jam. It isn’t very spicy and delicious with simple eggs and toast or sausage rolls.

general food store emerald

HOT Tips:

  • Pram access (just);
  • High chairs;
  • Kids menu;
  • Standard menu suitable for kids;
  • Limited time free street parking.

The General Food Store , 377 Belgrave-Gembrook Rd, Emerald (03) 5968 3580

Mon-Sat 7:30am-4pm

Sun 8-4pm

The General Food Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

What’s On – Friday 11 August to Thursday 17 August 2017

It’s Love Your Bookshop Day this Saturday 12 August so check out this list to find out what’s happening at your local bookshop, join in the festivities and support our local booksellers.

It’s also National Science Week and the start of West Projections with projection art and events all around the inner west. As part of the festival look out for more info on my event Dancing Lights on Saturday 19 August. It’s the first event produced through my new identity Wheelie Good Fun.  Have a great week!


Readings Kids Bookshop Carlton




Melbourne Tram Museum at Hawthorn Depot, 8 Wallen Rd, Hawthorn





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