HOT: The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

A bit off the beaten track in Geelong you’ll find a bright and sunny cafe called The Pickers Union, adjoining the Geelong Vintage Market in North Geelong.

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

While it doesn’t have views of Corio Bay or the beach (it overlooks a car park in a semi-industrial area) it makes up for the lack of scenery with cute interior design in sorbet colours.

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

There’s a predilection towards pink and flamingoes and at the back there’s a large window where you can peek inside the weird and eccentric goods inside the antique market. (There’s also a ‘secret’ access to the market from the cafe as both businesses are owned by the same family).

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

When the weather’s sunny the hanging swinging chairs are our favourite spot to hang out (pun intended!).

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

We are invited to try out their menu, which is available all day. You’ll find cafe standards, a kids menu as well some interesting combinations, such as the waffles and pulled pork.

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

My BBQ pulled pork is a little too dry but otherwise I enjoy the perfectly poached runny yolk egg and the crunchy exterior of the cornbread (no there’s almost no heat coming from the jalapeño).

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

The waffles are dense American style and pretty as a picture. If you check out The Pickers Union on Instagram you’ll notice the same bright, colourful aesthetic.

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong

The coffee is made with beans from Geelong’s Coffee Cartel Roasters.

Judging from the steady stream of take away coffee customers, The Pickers Union is a destination cafe for Geelong locals. If you’re not local and you’re driving along the ring road then it’s not as much of a diversion as Geelong CBD so it makes a great pit stop from Melbourne enroute to the Great Ocean Road.

Click here for more places to go with kids in Geelong.

HOT Tips:

  • pram access;
  • High chairs
  • Kids menu;
  • Standard menu suitable for kids;
  • Free parking;
  • Adjoins the Geelong Vintage Market.

The Pickers Union, 3 Mackey St, Geelong 0447 531 844

7 days 8-3:30pm

The Pickers Union Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

What’s On – Friday 17 February to Thursday 23 February

Lots of fun this week with festivals, outdoor cinema and for one night only, White Night Melbourne!

CBD / Docklands

  • Victoria Harbour Pop Up Cinema (Fri 17 Feb) -free open-air cinema, Park Cinema, popping up at Victoria Harbour’s Buluk Park. 
  • Invisible Light Garden Artplay (Fri 17 Feb – Sun 26 Mar) – Discover the interaction between digital imagery and physical action in this interactive art installation. Full review. 
  • QV Outdoor Cinema (Fri 17 Feb – Sun 26 Feb) – live entertainment, free cocktails, special food, red carpets, instafamous dogs, charity screenings, a film festival and more.
  • Play Pod State Library of Victoria (Fri 17 Feb – Tue 28 Feb) – free play space inspired by Herman and RosieFull review.
  • Viktor & Rolf For Kids NGV (Fri 17 Feb – Sun 26 Feb) – interactive children’s gallery exhibition developed by designers Viktor & Rolf. FULL REVIEW.
  • NGV Car Wash (Fri 17 Feb – April 2017) – enjoy a neon pink installation in the sculpture garden inspired by a car wash. FULL REVIEW.
  • White Night Melbourne (Sat 18 Feb – Sun 19 Feb) – 12 hours of non-stop light installations and art in the CBD.
  • Family Footy Fun Zone Queen Victoria Market (Sat 18 Feb – Sun 19 Feb) – Every Saturday and Sunday until Easter the Vic Market’s A Shed near Victoria Street will be transformed into a footy extravaganza with inflatable kicking goals, a specky-marking zone, handball challenges, footy arts and crafts and more.
  • Summer Pirate Adventure Harbour Town (Sat 18 Feb – Sun 19 Feb) – Neverland Adventure Experience and Pirate Craft Village. Full review.
  • Sustainable Living Festival (Fri 17 Feb – Tue 28 Feb) – Earth-lovin’ activities including workshops, DIY-days, pop-ups and markets in both central and outer Melbourne.
  • NGV Summer Sundays (Sun 19 Feb) – free family friendly concerts in the NGV Sculpture Garden.
  • Queen Victoria Night Market (Wed 22 Feb) – 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.

Queen Victoria Night Market, Elizabeth St & Victoria St, Melbourne


jolie petite chose


  • Burrinja Kids Stay and Play (Fri 17 Feb – 31 Mar) – free family activity by local studio artist Andrea Innocent
  • Gasworks Farmers Market (Sat 18 Feb) – monthly farmers market. Stop off at kid-friendly cafe Priscilla Jones afterwards.
  • Hank Marvin Market (Sat 18 Feb) – weekly Saturday market with awesome playground at Alma Park.
  • Como House Tours (Sat 18 Feb – Sun 19 Feb) – A Como house tour offers a glimpse into the privileged lifestyle of former owners, the Armytage family, who lived there for nearly a century.
  • Sandsculpting Frankston Waterfront (Fri 17 Feb – Tue 25 Apr) -Twenty sculptors carve out themed sculptures from the sand. 
  • Party in the Park at Princes Park (Sun 1921 Feb) – A day of free entertainment for the whole family.
  • Summer Sessions Rippon Lea (Sun 19 Feb) – Spend Sunday afternoons trying your hand at croquet, bocce or quoits, listening to live music or simply pulling up a rug on the shady lawn of Rippon Lea every Sunday until 12 March.
  • Summer Sundays by the Pool (Sun 19 Feb) – Join resident DJ Mike Gurrieri and special guests for a mixture of laidback soul, funk, jazz and world music grooves
  • St Kilda Twilight Market (Thu 23 Feb) – artworks, vintage wear, craft, hand designed fashion and jewellery, exotic clothes, produce, emerging designers and foods of the world.
  • South Melbourne Night Market (Thu 23 Feb) – street food, copious stalls, eclectic entertainment and music every Thursday night until 23 Feb. Full review.


Yarra Valley Chocolaterie


HOT: Golden Sun Moth playground, 327 Grand Boulevard, Cragieburn

Moth Playground

Golden Sun Moth playground in Cragieburn is a fantastic playground for adventurous climbing kids and it is one of Melbourne’s best playgrounds in the north.

The playground is split into two areas – one for 1-4 years and one for 5+ years.

The park and area for 5+ years is dominated by a huge structure in the shape of a Golden Sun Moth, an endangered species found in the area.

Moth Playground

You can climb up or slide down each of the moth’s six legs…

Moth Playground

…walk along its back and nestle in the cubby made of the head and eyes of the moth…

Moth Playground

…slide down its tail…

Moth Playground

…or climb along its underbelly of ropes and ladders.

Moth Playground

You can also learn more about the Golden Sun Moth from info boards at the top of the moth.

Moth Playground

There are also two very tall rope climbing pyramids for older children though 4yo Baby 2.0 (who has no fear) still clambered up.

Moth Playground

A single flying fox and birds nest swing is also popular with the older kids.

Moth Playground

Younger children are catered for in a separate area with springers, spinners and smaller slides.

The playground is surrounded by a bike/scooter/walking track and basketball courts are nearby.

Golden Sun Moth Park has has numerous picnic tables, sheltered BBQs and public toilets so it’s the perfect destination for a day out. Kids will have hours of fun exploring all the challenging equipment in the playground.

HOT Tips:

  • Not much shelter so bring hat and sunscreen;
  • Suitable for toddlers;
  • Suitable for older kids;
  • Flying fox;
  • Water taps;
  • Picnic tables and free BBQ shelters;
  • Public toilets;
  • Free street parking;
  • Bike path and basketball courts nearby; and
  • Across the road from Highland shopping centre.

Golden Sun Moth playground, 327 Grand Boulevard, Cragieburn

The HOT List: Top 12 Beaches in Melbourne for Kids

best beaches for kids in melbourne

So Melbourne isn’t really a beach city – not like Sydney, not like the Gold Coast, not like Perth. But we’re still lucky to live close to a stretch of water that provides safe, calm and picturesque beaches. You won’t get much surf but they’re great for a paddle with the kids.

Here’s a list of the best beaches in Melbourne for kids. Click here to check the daily water quality of Melbourne’s beaches.


  1. Altona Beach

An unsung hero in Melbourne’s west, Altona Beach is my favourite beach in Melbourne. The sand and water is expansive, the parking’s not a nightmare and there’s a great playground at Logan Reserve with some decent eateries around. Shhh don’t tell anyone!


2. Carrum Beach

Carrum Beach Playground, 15 Old Post Office Lane, Carrum Beach Foreshore, Carrum

We love the nautical themed playground at Carrum Beach foreshore and the calm and quiet beach is great too.


3. Mordialloc Beach

Another bayside beach and playground combo, with the added bonus of ‘best in Melbourne’ fish and chips from Tommy Ruff or the excellent award-winning Hendriks Cafe in Mordialloc (which is not close to the beach, requires a drive).  


4. Frankston Beach

Frankston Regional Foreshore Playground, Frankston Waterfront Reserve, Pier Promenade, Frankston

The 12km stretch of sand from Carrum ends at Frankston. The beach is always busy with activity with people walking, cycling and fishing. The foreshore playground has a magical castle theme.


5. Williamstown Beach

Williamstown Beach, Shelly's Beach Pavilion and The Kiosk d'Asporto, The Esplanade, Williamstown

Williamstown Beach is one of the few beaches in Melbourne where you can watch the sun set. It’s book-ended by Shelly’s Beach Pavilion at one end and authentic Italian beach kiosk Kiosk d’Asporto at the other end plus a playground.


6. Dendy Street Brighton Beach

Brighton Bathing Boxes, Dendy Street Beach, cnr Dendy St and Esplanade, Brighton

The most expensive strip of sand in Melbourne thanks to a row of brightly decorated beach boxes in Brighton. There aren’t too many facilities around (at the moment) but the unique beach boxes provide great hiding places for kids, plus the beach is reputed the cleanest in Melbourne.


7. Ricketts Point

Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary, 420 Beach Rd, Beaumaris

Ricketts Point in Beaumaris includes a small curve of sand and large rock pools where you can spot marine life.


8. Albert Park Beach / South Melbourne Beach

plum garland playground albert park

A sandy, narrow stretch of coastline with safe, sheltered waters with the advantage of being close to the city. The highlight is the amazing fenced playground with water play, the Plum Garland Memorial Playground.


9. Half Moon Bay

A shallow and still nook full of local families. There’s also excellent fish and chips from the kiosk of Cerberus Beach House.


10. Chelsea Beach

victory park chelsea

A cute playground, small scooter trail and quiet beach with a long strip of shops makes Chelsea Beach a great destination for families.


11. Point Gellibrand

Point Gellibrand Coastal Heritage Park, Battery Road, Williamstown

There’s not much sand at Point Gellibrand (adjoining Williamstown Beach and Jawbone Sanctuary) but you will find rockpools and a decent playground nearby.


12. Eastern Beach

Eastern Beach Reserve, 95 Eastern Beach Rd, Geelong

A bit further afield but so good it’s worth a day trip! Eastern Beach in Geelong offers a free swimming pool, sea baths, playground, picnic areas and rides in summer.

Other reader recommendations:

  • Edithvale/Aspendale beach
  • McCrae Beach

So…I’ve left off St Kilda Beach. Melbourne’s most famous beach is one of the most popular tourist attractions and hence it can be busy, crowded and somewhat dirty. The advantage is that it’s close to the city and Luna Park, great fish and chips at Paper Fish and over summer there are pony rides in Catani Gardens and the eat streets of Fitzroy Street and Acland Street are nearby.

Click here for more places to go with kids with free water play. 

Where is your favourite Melbourne beach to take the kids?

HOT: MSO Jams for Juniors, National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

MSO jams for juniors

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra have been running their popular Jams for Juniors program for under 5s for many years, but this is their first time to the National Gallery of Victoria.

And what a spectacular setting it is for a classical music concert!

Originally the concert we are invited to attend is in the Great Hall but at the last minute it changes to the 17th and 18th century paintings gallery. This is in fact a better space, as it is more enclosed and away from the distractions of the forecourt, the sculpture garden and Leonard French’s stained glass ceiling.

MSO jams for juniors

Although Tieopolo’s Banquet of Cleopatra is a pretty stunning backdrop!

MSO jams for juniors

Each Jams for Juniors is a 30 minute session where kids aged 0-5 and their carers play along with musicians from the orchestra.

MSO jams for juniors

The kids have maracas, castanets and bells and are encouraged to bang, hit and shake them while also learning about rhythm and melody.

MSO jams for juniors

We are aptly playing music from Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and keep a keen eye on the conductor to know when to stop and when to go!

MSO jams for juniors

Note that the gallery’s bare walls and floors, plus the enhanced sound from microphones and speakers, means that the volume can get loud. If you have a child who’s sensitive to loud noises then sit at the back.

MSO jams for juniors

At the end of the concert you can get closer to the instruments and have a bang of a snare drum or see a cello string being plucked.

The next MSO Jams for Juniors concert is also at the NGV before moving to the Iwaki Auditorium for the rest of the year.

While you’re at the NGV make time to check out Atelier: Viktor & Rolf for Kids and the NGV Car Wash!

HOT Tips:

  • pram access (via lifts);
  • seating is on the floor;
  • every adult and child requires a ticket;
  • Other family friendly exhibitions at the NGV include Atelier: Viktor & Rolf for Kids and the NGV Car Wash;
  • The Gallery Cafe has high chairs, pram access and a kids lunchbox.

MSO Jams for JuniorsNational Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

Next concert Sat 25 March 10, 11, 12, 1pm

Future concerts (number 3-8) at Iwaki Auditorium Southbank


Thanks to Melbourne Symphony Orchestra I have 1 x double pass (1 adult and 1 child) pass to the next MSO Jams for Juniors concert on Saturday 25 March 12pm.

To win just follow the instructions below. The winner will be chosen randomly after midnight Monday 20 February and notified via email regarding pickup information. Good luck!

The HOT List: Top 15 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2017 Events for Kids

melbourne food and wine festival

I look forward to the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival every year as it’s an opportunity to share, learn and eat with Melbourne’s community of committed foodies and my family!

Here are my picks for the bestMelbourne Food and Wine Festival 2017 events for kids and families. This year’s festival runs from Friday 31 March to Sunday 9 April.



  • Little Foodies (Fri 31 Mar – Sun 2 Apr) – With interactive produce patches, kids can pick, smell and taste seasonal produce straight from the soil themselves, and then try that ingredient in a dish. There will also be cooking demonstrations, face painting stations and, stalls with delicious, healthy snacks, and a range of other entertainment.
  • Food Truck Stop Southbank (Fri 31 Mar – Sun 2 Apr) – Our city’s best food trucks, handpicked by Beatbox Kitchen’s Raph Rashid, will converge along the Yarra, bringing with them their traffic-stopping fare plus a special dish they’ve created just for the Festival.
  • Sweet Alley (Fri 31 Mar – Sun 2 Apr) – artisan ice-creams, chocolates, pastries and doughnuts, or keep it cleaner with fruity flavours, raw desserts and frozen yoghurts.
  • Crown Live Pizza Festival Southbank (Fri 31 Mar – Sun 2 Apr) – Discover elements of the winemaking process, partake in a pizza making Masterclass with Gradi’s Johnny Di Francesco and enjoy the live music and entertainment.
  • Fed in French Federation Square (Fri 31 Mar – Sun 2 Apr) – showcasing French fare from all regions of France including take home as well as eat on the spot.



  • Coburg Food Race (Fri 31 Mar – Sat 8 Apr) – Race around Coburg, competing against other teams in search of key ingredients before a shared lunch at the end of the race.
  • South East Asia Festival Carlton (Sat 8 Apr – Sun 9 Apr) – unites communities from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam by sharing their culinary and cultural heritage through food, music and dance.



  • Everything Old is New Again Toorak (Sat 2 Apr) – The Country Women’s Association of Victoria and Melbourne Farmers Markets collaborate to bring the people and the produce of Victoria together for a day of picnic grazing, with old skills to learn and new things to taste.
  • Dandenong World Fare (Sun 2 Apr) – Circumnavigate the globe at this enchanting “food fare” extravaganza. Experience the delicious abundance and tempting aromas of global cuisines and entertainment inspired by some of the world’s most exciting cultures.
  • Kids in the Kitchen – Healthy Burgers Grosvenor Hotel (Tue 6 Apr – Thu 8 Apr) – hands-on burger class to encourage nutritious eating amongst children.
  • Farm Food Fun Green Olive at Red Hill (Sat 8 Apr) – The farm stage will be teeming with local farmers ready to share their secrets, the olive grove will transform miraculously into a ‘book grove’ with books specially chosen for young bookworms to read and be read to, we’ll be teaching basic farm skills and showcasing our best gardening tricks…plus on the lawn there will be kids’ activities galore!



  • Venetian Carnivale Hawthorn (Sat 8 Apr) – Traditional Carnivale food and wines, street artists, lively entertainment, dancing classes.
  • HarvEast Eastland (Sun 9 Apr) – one-day food and wine event showcasing chefs, producers and suppliers from the local region.
  • Yarra Valley Wine and Food Festival (Sat 1 Apr – Sun 2 Apr) – Yarra Valley’s finest food producers, top Melbourne food trucks, tutored tastings by award-winning winemakers, live music and entertainment. Plus even more special activities for the kids on Sunday’s Family Day.



  • Pigs Pots and Pinots Footscray (Sat 1 Apr) – Western Plains pigs, pots from Footscray’s own West City Brewers and pinot from Shadowfax, all set to the soundtrack of local bands and fun family festival.


Click here for more information about the best cooking classes for kids in Melbourne to continue the foodie adventure all year round.

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