What’s On – Friday 9 December to Thursday 15 December


Less than 3 weeks till Christmas! This week we have been exploring one of the best places to scoot in Melbourne, the new educational playground at Box Hill Central and the amazing Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery at Melbourne Museum, plus working our way through the TOT Christmas Advent Calendar.

Also don’t forget to have your say in the TOT Reader Survey and have the chance to win a fantastic prize pack. Have a great week!


  • Basket Making Christmas Stall (Fri 9 Dec) – Find the perfect Christmas gift at this bespoke market stall held by Basket Makers of Victoria.
  • Christmas at Stamford Plaza (Fri 9 Dec) – Market offers Christmas gift ideas like homemade ginger breads, an exclusive range of loose-leaf teas, gift certificates, handcrafted Christmas cards and much more. Also Christmas carols, coffee and ice cream pop-up carts.
  • MPavilion (Fri 9 Dec  – Sun 18 Dec) – An event hub, a meeting place and an invitation to experiment, each MPavilion brings creative collaborators together to present a free, four-month program of talks, workshops, performances and installations from October to February.
  • Royal Croquet Club (Fri 9  Dec – Fri 23 Dec) – food, entertainment and croquet at Birrarung Marr. READ THE REVIEW.
  • Christmas Projection Show (Fri 9 Dec – Sun 25 Dec) – This Christmas will see City of Melbourne’s annual Christmas Projection Show at Melbourne Town Hall extend to Fed Square, decorating the Swanston Street facades with festive cheer.
  • Christmas Cringe at Melbourne Central (Fri 9 Dec – Sat 24 Dec) – Deck yourself in Christmas jumpers and so-bad-they’re-good accessories, snap a pic in front of the classic Christmas backdrops, and share them with your friends and family on social media using the #ChristmasCringe hashtag. On 30 November is Melbourne Central is also hosting Christmas Shop the City with 12-hours of offers and events from 10am to 10pm.
  • Gingerbread Village by Epicure (Fri 9 Dec – Sat 24 Dec) – Admire iconic Melbourne landmarks and locations all made out of gingerbread. Entry is by nominal gold coin donation and all proceeds go to the Royal Children’s Hospital. FULL REVIEW.
  • QV Outdoor Cinema (Fri 9 Dec – Sun 26 Feb) – live entertainment, free cocktails, special food, red carpets, instafamous dogs, charity screenings, a film festival and more.
  • Viktor & Rolf For Kids NGV (Fri 9 Dec – Sun 26 Feb) – interactive children’s gallery exhibition developed by designers Viktor & Rolf. FULL REVIEW.
  • NGV Car Wash (Fri 9 Dec – April 2017) – enjoy a neon pink installation in the sculpture garden inspired by a car wash. FULL REVIEW.
  • Smurfs Exhibition Harbour Town (Fri 9 Dec – Sat 24 Dec) – Meet Smurfette, Lazy Smurf, Clumsy Smurf, Papa Smurf, Painter Smurf and many more.
  • Christmas Square (Fri 9 Dec – Sun 25 Dec) – Discover nutcracker soldiers, interactive candy canes and get a free photo with Santa. As part of the TAC’s #BePresent campaign, a giant interactive present will find a home in Christmas Square. Deck yourself out in festive decorations for a free, personalised photo and Christmas card!
  • Crown’s Christmas Spectacular (Fri 9 Dec – Sun 1 Jan 2017) – Watch the Crown Towers Atrium come alive with our magnificent Christmas tree and a spectacular lighting and musical display. Shows begin every 30 minutes. Plus, get a free photo with Santa from 12-6pm until 24 December.
  • Christmas at the Old Treasury (Fri 9 Dec – Thu 5 Jan) – The Maynard family’s basement home is decorated in period-appropriate 1920s decorations, some lovingly handmade just as mother would do.
  • Myer Christmas Windows (Fri 9 Dec – Thu 5 Jan 2017) – The 61st Myer Christmas windows is based on the book ‘One Christmas Eve’ with a particularly Melbourne and Australian flavour. FULL REVIEW.
  • Myer Giftorium and Santaland (Fri 9 Dec- Thu 5 Jan 2017) – Your one-stop Christmas shop plus meet Santa and ride on his train.
  • Santa’s Christmas Spectacular (Fri 9 Dec – Sun 18 Dec) – See the crazy acrobatic elves get themselves into all sorts of mischief in Santa’s Toy Workshop. FULL REVIEW.
  • Christmas Village Wonderland (Fri 9 Dec – Sun 18 Dec) – Live shows at the Spiegeltent, Christmas markets, live entertainment, festive food and more.
  • Recycled Christmas (Fri 9 Dec – 13 Jan 2017) – See the Galleria Shopping Centre’s Christmas display, with decorations all made of materials recycled off the site.
  • Christmas at Melbourne Library Service (Fri 9 Dec – Wed 14 Dec) – Jolly storytimes, parties and craft sessions at Melbourne Library Service branches.
  • QV Outdoor Cinema  (Fri 9 Dec – Sun 26 Feb 2017) – It is back for a second season with more dog friendly screenings, themed weeks and pre film entertainment.
  • Santa’s Christmas Academy (Sat 10 Dec) – Join us for Breakfast with Santa and his friends in Santa’s Christmas Academy.
  • African Music and Cultural Festival (Sat 10 Dec) – music, dancing, diverse arts, cultural performances and authentic African food.
  • Koorie Kristmas (Sun 11 Dec) – Come along for an appearance from Koorie Klaus,  as well as activities for the whole family, the best Koorie performers in town and more.
  • Markit at FedSquare (Sun 11 Dec) – Approximately 100 designers setting up for this unique one-day market.
  • Queen Victoria Night Market (Wed 14 Dec) – Eat and drink your way around the world one dish at a time with more than 50 street food traders cooking up a global feast plus specialty shopping and entertainment.



christmas wunderland highpoint


  • Twilight Christmas Festival Ripponlea (Fri 9 Dec) – Christmas carols, games, artisan market stalls, Christmas craft workshops and mansion tours.
  • Santa’s Magical Kingdom (Fri 9 Dec – Tue 23 Dec) – magical Christmas walk-through wonderland, Snow Castle and Activity Land, Christmas craft area, Ferris Wheel, Santa’s Sleigh Ride and Australia’s largest super slide. FULL REVIEW.
  • Hank Marvin Market (Sat 10 Dec) – weekly Saturday market with awesome playground nearby.
  • Carols in the Park Bentleigh (Sat 10 Dec) – Justine Clarke, special surprise visitor! Including roving performances by The Bouncing Elves.
  • Christmas at Central Park (Sat 10 Dec) – A Christmas celebration for the whole family, with craft activities and unique performances for the kids until 6:45pm, including the Mik Mak’s Christmas Show! Carols follow for those who can stay up a bit later.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas (Sat 10 Dec – Sun 11 Dec) –  When Charlie Brown starts to doubt the true meaning of Christmas, his neighbourhood chum Lucy suggests he should become the director of the Christmas pageant.
  • Carols by Candlelight Jells Park (Sun 11 Dec) – free children’s activities including Scouts Australia adventures, face painting, a jumping castle and Santa’s Reindeer.
  • MSO Jam for Juniors Chadstone (Mon 12 Dec – Tue 13 Dec) – 30-minute workshops designed for children up to five years and their parents.
  • Habitots Christmas workshops (Mon 12 Dec – Fri 16 Dec) – Christmas cookie decorating and gingerbread house making.



HOT: Children’s playground, Box Hill Central Shopping Centre, 1 Main Street, Box Hill

Children's playground, Box Hill Central Shopping Centre, 1 Main Street, Box Hill

Box Hill Central shopping centre has undergone a major redevelopment and in the new North precinct they have created a cool indoor play space for kids with a space theme.

We were invited to see it first hand and were there for almost 2 hours!

Little astronauts will love the rocket ship (that lights up) with climbing boulders and a mini slide….

Children's playground, Box Hill Central Shopping Centre, 1 Main Street, Box Hill


…take your photo in an intergalactic costume….

Children's playground, Box Hill Central Shopping Centre, 1 Main Street, Box Hill

and play with the touch screens for learning and fun. The multimedia system currently features over 20 games and applications focusing on creativity, reaction and logical thinking.

Children's playground, Box Hill Central Shopping Centre, 1 Main Street, Box Hill

There’s a quiet nook for snuggles and reading, including Chinese language books.

Children's playground, Box Hill Central Shopping Centre, 1 Main Street, Box Hill

Children's playground, Box Hill Central Shopping Centre, 1 Main Street, Box Hill

The whole area is fenced and the soft flooring means that it’s suitable for babies and toddlers. There’s a small pram parking area within the gate too. Note no food, drinks or shoes are allowed in the area.

In the main food court area the space theme extends to a long table with decorative elements and more touch screens.

Children's playground, Box Hill Central Shopping Centre, 1 Main Street, Box Hill

It’s great to see Box Hill Central consider the needs of its littlest patrons and the new educational play space provides a respite for kids and parents alike. Entry is free.

Children’s playground, Box Hill Central 1 Main Street, Box Hill

Mon-Wed 9-5:30pm

Thu 9-7pm

Fri 9-9pm

Sat 9-5pm

Sun 10-5pm

The HOT List: Best Places to Scoot #1 – Altona Beach

Micro Scooters Altona Beach

This year Christmas has come early for Baby 2.0! He was gifted his dream green Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter so that we could share with you one of our favourite places to scoot in Melbourne – Altona Beach.

Altona Beach is a gloriously wide beach on the western side of Port Phillip Bay framed by huge Norfolk pines on the shoreline. Running all the way along the long sand line is a smooth bike/walking track that’s just perfect for scooters. 

Micro Scooters Altona Beach

We like to start our scooting at the Millers Road end of the beach with a babycino from child-friendly cafe Bezirk. They have a small play area at the back of the cafe for kiddies.

Bezirk Altona

Then it’s a smooth path straight to Pier Street, past the rock pools…
Micro Scooters Altona Beach

…pass the historical wooden pier (we had a short scoot on it – not sure that’s allowed!)…

Micro Scooters Altona Beach

then another pit stop at the beach kiosk Norfolk.


You can divert off the path with some sand play, a quick splash in the calm, shallow and safe water, discover marine life at the rockpools or play at the beachside playground at Logan Reserve.
Logan Reserve Altona

If you are in Altona on a Tuesday explore the weekly Altona Beach Market with fresh food stalls and local arts and crafts with a bit of a trash-and-treasure feel.

Altona Beach Market

Every time we visit the beach is calm and uncrowded and it really feels like a local, hidden gem. No fake tans, no lycra speed demons, no pretension. 

Speaking of locals – they are particularly friendly here! Everyone is very accommodating of Baby 2.0 as he learns how to handle and manoeuvre the Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter on the path. Everyone smiles, waits and ding their bike bells merrily.

Micro Scooter Altona Beach

We think that Altona Beach is one of the best places to scoot in Melbourne – a fantastic beachside destination that provides all the facilities for a fun day out.

Where are your favourite places to scoot in Melbourne? Baby 2.0 loves his Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter so much that I’m going to start compiling a list!

For more information about the Mini Micro Deluxe Scooter click here. 

TOT: HOT OR NOT Reader Survey + Warner Bros Products giveaway!

Warner Bros Christmas

This year the blog has been growing exponentially so I thought it was time to take stock and connect with readers with my first reader survey.

Some of you have been reading the blog from the start (when it was a bit different to what it is now) and some of you have just discovered it. I would love all your feedback and I will use the information to help me plan and make improvements for the blog in 2017.

The survey only takes 3-5 minutes, I promise!

And if you include your email at the end you go into the draw to win an awesome pack of Warner Bros Christmas products valued at over $150 (Australian residents only). I was a guest of Warner Bros. Consumer Products at their Christmas Showcase at Lucky Penny, and I came home with this bag of goodies to share with you!

The pack includes something for everyone, from Peter Alexander Superman boxers, Batman: A Visual History, the adult colouring book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and kids toys. They will make perfect presents for under the Christmas tree!

You can complete the survey for a week until midnight Monday 12 December so that I have enough time to get the gifts out to you in time for Christmas.

Go to the survey HERE or complete below.

Thanks so much for your time and for reading the blog.


Create your own user feedback survey

HOT: Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery, Melbourne Museum, Nicholson St, Carlton

Pauline Gandel Children's Gallery Melbourne Museum

The new Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery at Melbourne Museum is open after a complete redevelopment that has resulted in a world-class immersive learning and play experience.

Melbourne Museum Children's Gallery

The new gallery features more than 2000 square metres of indoor and outdoor play spaces, with input from children, early childhood educators, playground creators, landscape designers and many more experts including museum staff.

Pauline Gandel Children's Gallery Melbourne Museum

Children can enter through a child-sized tunnel, past a 1/3-scale steam engine and railway-style tiling and soundscape.

Outside, there are sculptures that tell the indigenous story of Tiddalik, the frog who drank all the water. The final sculpture features Tiddalik laughing and spilling water across the land.

Melbourne Museum Children's Gallery

There are dinosaur footprints leading to a sandpit where junior palaeontologists can excavate a mamenchisaurus skeleton, along with areas for building with foam, swing seats and quiet spaces.

Pauline Gandel Children's Gallery Melbourne Museum

One of the centrepiece installations is a huge net climbing structure up to three metres in height. This is a huge hit but note that little kids may become frightened up there and it’s large enough for adults to climb into to rescue them.

Melbourne Museum Children's Gallery

There are also great spots for quiet story telling, light displays, magic mirrors, block and magnet play… the list goes on.

Pauline Gandel Children's Gallery Melbourne Museum

The new Children’s Gallery is certain to become a Melbourne icon. At the gallery launch a new “Museum Generation” initiative was unveiled, with every child born or fostered in 2017 eligible for a free six-month household membership that will be offered at eight-week checkups or upon application. The museum already hosts 650,000 children a year – this figure looks set to grow as it reaches out to new audiences in spectacular new ways.

The Children’s Gallery is a permanent gallery at Melbourne Museum. Adult entry to the museum is $14; children and concession holders receive free entry. There is no extra charge for the new gallery.

Thanks to journalist and mum of two Erika Jonsson for her review!

HOT Tips:

  • Pram parking is available at the cloakroom free of charge, along with storage for large bags;
  • there is also pram parking at the entry of the gallery which can spill out into the gallery corridor when busy;
  • Give yourself and your kids plenty of time to explore the new gallery. It is aimed particularly at kids aged from birth to five but children (and adults!) of all ages will enjoy the space;
  • The new gallery has change facilities, toilets and extensive room for feeding babies, including microwaves and comfortable seating;
  • There is a small cafe offering drinks and light snacks; there’s also seating inside and out for people to eat. The kids lunchboxes ($9.50) are a hit with my kids and include a sandwich, fruit drink, choice of piece of fruit and cookie. If you’re a Museums Victoria member you get 10% discount and you can swap the fruit drink for bottled water; and
  • Don’t forget hats and sunscreen if you’re planning to play outside as not all areas offer shade.

Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery, Melbourne Museum, Nicholson St, Carlton

Daily 10-5pm

Adults $14, children and concession free

HOT: Second Home, 21 Brougham St, Eltham

Second Home Eltham

Second Home is a large cafe housed in an Alistair Knox-designed brick industrial building in Eltham. It’s by cafe maestro Jason Jones (The Stables of Como, Friends of Mine, Go West) and worth a special trip to the leafy ‘burbs.

Second Home Eltham

Second Home takes the bones of the 70s building and transforms it into a light-filled, expansive dining room, courtyard and art gallery set amongst the gum trees. The kind of stylish, warm place that I WISH is my home.

Second Home Eltham

I adore the olive tree taking centre stage.

Second Home Eltham

Prime position are the tables along the cushioned banquette lining the walls, though in winter right in front of the wood fire would be ideal. The tables are all lined with butcher’s paper so kids can scribble to their heart’s content. 

Second Home Eltham

The menu is large and shares many similarities to Jones’ other cafes, with separate sections for bready things, healthy things and sprinklings of cheekiness. Lunch is a build-your-own affair with a rotation of proteins plus salads and main meals.

Second Home Eltham

A lighter menu has just been installed for spring/summer but I remember the dark hot chocolate from winter. Luckily they are still serving it (while there are still some marshmallows left) and the huggable mug of slick chocolate is soothing to the soul. Those needing a caffeine hit will note that the coffee is made with Rosso beans, a supplier for most of Jones’ cafes.

Second Home Eltham

I try the pink dragon fruit bowl of banana, kiwi, berries, coconut and buckinis. It’s like a giant smoothie so on my waitress’ recommendation I add the optional granola ($4) for textural crunch.

Second Home Eltham

The hot cake comes straight off the pan, fluffy and warm and topped with berries and mascarpone and maple syrup on the side.

Second Home Eltham

Baby 2.0 devours the molten slabs of triple cheese toast ($12.90) in a few greedy mouthfuls along with his green smoothie ($9.90). Lady AB enjoys her version of the McMuffin ($6.90) with ‘famous’ golden folded eggs, grandmother ham and cheese sandwiched abetween a toasted English muffin.

Second Home Eltham

Second Home brings inner city cool to the suburbs in a uniquely beautiful setting. If you’re not local Eltham makes an enjoyable day trip with Montsalvat and the Diamond Valley Railway just a short drive away.

HOT Tips:

  • pram access;
  • high chairs;
  • standard menu suitable for kids;
  • drawing and colouring-in;
  • outdoor courtyard;
  • disabled toilet with change table;
  • free limited parking on site; and
  • Montsalvat and the Diamond Valley Railway close by.

Second Home, 21 Brougham St, Eltham 03 9439 5362

Open 7 days 8am-4pm (kitchen closes at 3pm on weekdays)

Bookings available on weekdays only

Second Home Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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