HOT: Gallery of Modern Art, Stanley Place, Southbank, Brisbane

Given that we live in Melbourne this blog is very Melbourne-centric. But we do travel occasionally (especially to Queensland where our extended families live) and sometimes we come across fabulous places and things outside Melbourne that we feel deserve a mention on the blog.

The Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane is one of them. This space didn’t exist when I was living in Brisbane but it’s one of my favourite haunts now.

It’s a very kid-friendly place to visit. The building is light-filled, spacious and filled with pockets of small exhibitions that aren’t too overwhelming for short attention spans and sometimes include kid-height explanation panels to engage young visitors.

There’s loads of access for prams (wide corridors, lifts), change facilities for babies and the atmosphere is not so rarefied that kids can’t roam and skip and talk.

What’s even better is that they have a specialist Children’s Art Centre, with exhibitions and interactive activities designed to introduce children to visual art. On our recent visit the Children’s Art Centre was showing two art works created especially for children and families – Yayoi Kusama’s The obliteration room  and Australian artists Pip & Pop’s glittery, sugary fairyland installation ‘we miss you magic land!’.

I also like the sound of Toddler Tuesdays, a free weekly session where children aged 18 months to 4 years are given the opportunity to engage with one Collection work through games and activities. If I was living in Brisbane I’d be sure to make this event a regular feature in the calendar.

If you want to make a day of it I can highly recommend the GOMA Restaurant. The site has lovely views over parkland and the Brisbane river, the lunch menu is interesting beyond the usual sandwiches-and-hot-chips museum offerings (though our dishes were a little bit on the salty side for my palate) and the service impeccable. While it is the fine dining option in the gallery they do provide high chairs, which means they’re used to young diners who may be a bit noisier or BYO food. NKOTB was very restful, happily looking out the window and gnawing on the the complimentary crusty bread.


Week 46: The Week of New

A new week and a New Year!

This week NKOTB has been visiting her relatives in Queensland and with the new environment has come a whole host of new experiences.

NKOTB got up close and personal with an animal. She loved her grandmother’s daschund at the first waggle of those floppy ears, but only from a distance. She didn’t like it when he got up too close, licking her feet, and she blinked in fright, bottom lip quivering, when he barked.

After a couple of days, they were good friends. She could be on the floor on the same level as him and they played chasey around and around the lounge room to a stream of giggles. She even tolerated him licking her face. Apparently the dog has been quite bereft since we’ve left the house.

NKOTB hitched a ride on a bike.  One set of grandparents own numerous bikes and live by a river bike path, so I took up a detachable Yepp handlebar bike seat for her so that we could go riding together. She loved the views whizzing by, flapping her arms and singing a little ditty from her vantage point. She learnt to ring the bike bell too :–)

NKOTB goes in a big pool. At home we visit the local toddler pool where the water’s shallow and warm. In Queensland we’ve been dipping into the adult pool which NKOTB has enjoyed splashing in despite the freezing water. It’s odd how she likes the pool but hates bath tubs.

NKOTB tries all sorts of food – pumpkin pie, chocolate ice cream, grapes, watermelon, pawpaw, mango, blueberries, scrambled eggs, steamed fish, corn chips, panettone, Vegemite, cream cheese, wheat biscuits and blueberry yoghurt. Her eating mood comes and goes though on the whole she’s been pretty receptive. A small victory!

NKOTB interacts with art. The Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane is holding an exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s works, including an installation called ‘The Obliteration Room’ where kids are given a sheet of stickers and invited to stick colourful dots all over the interior of a living room. Even NKOTB could participate! Seriously fun.

The Best of 2011

At this time of year the media proliferates with ‘Best of’ and ‘Worst of’ lists and so we’re joining in with our Best of 2011 blog posts.

These are our favourite posts from our blog this year – we hope you enjoy looking back on them.


  • Waiting, waiting, waiting….with cankles.


  • NKOTB arrives! I opt for a drug-free natural birth using Hypnobirth techniques. I can’t quite believe I actually did it.




  • We know we’re being marketed to, but we still have a little cry at Google’s ‘Dear Sophie‘ ad.


  • One of the cool things about being a grown-up is that we can buy Lego whenever we want! So we buy the Lego Winter Toy Shop.




  • I discover one of my favourite Mum and Bub activities – Artplay Bubs.




HOT: First Christmas

As an adult I’m a bit bah humbug about Christmas, but I do remember my childhood of wonder and excitement at Christmas time. Santa and presents and the one roast a year I’d get to eat with potatoes and Christmas pudding and bon bons snapping.

Experiencing Christmas through a child’s eyes is what it’s all about for me now and even though NKOTB will be too young to remember her first Christmas I think she enjoyed the experience.

The day started with a relative sleep-in (5:40am!) then the traditional Kwok Christmas breakfast with panettone, ice cream and fruit, with NKOTB sampling her own mini panettone happily. Next, present opening (boxes! ribbon! paper!) and the obligatory First Christmas photo shoot before a good snooze in the car enroute to the Watts Christmas lunch.

There, some more sneaky holiday treats – corn chips, pavlova, pumpkin pie and cookies plus games with her relatives and a developing fascination with her 16 month old cousin. And miracle of miracles, she let other people hold her and generally charmed the socks off everyone.

Hope your Christmas with little ones was just was delightful.

Week 45: Baby on strike

Merry Christmas! Hope you’re having a wonderful, restful time with your family and friends and enjoying the feasting and festivities.  

Me? I could do with a lie down in a dark, silent room.

I read somewhere that when you have young children you don’t have holidays…you just move your kids to a different location without any of your usual props and supports. Well, earlier this week I moved NKOTB to Queensland for the beginning of our Christmas/New Year tour and she did not like it. And she told me in no uncertain terms – Angry Demon Baby appeared and decided to go on strike as well.

NO! I’m not eating. NO! I’m not sleeping. NO! I don’t want a bath. NO! Don’t move more than 3 metres away from me. NO! You’re not my mum, don’t touch me. NO! NO! NO! *vicious hand swipe*

It was exhausting and frustrating and the terrible honest truth is that it was the closest that I’ve ever come to shaking my beloved little girl. Intellectually I understood that she was hot and sweaty and uncomfortable and blocked up and fearful and not used to her new environment. Emotionally I didn’t have the strength to deal with a red-faced squalling mess on my own. Especially at 5am, thanks to Queensland not being on daylight saving time.

It was particularly stressful because I wanted her to make a good impression on her grandparents, who she doesn’t see very often, and they saw her behaving at her worst. She would stare balefully at them from her high chair while we coaxed her to eat. She squirmed away from their cuddles. Screeched at the top of her lungs at bath time.

I’ve told Tim that after our overseas family holiday next year I’m handing in my passport for the next 5 years.

HOT: U Can’t Touch This

NKOTB is not mobile yet but having older kids visit us has highlighted how non-baby proof our house is. Lots of things to touch, pull, tear, eat, open, throw!

While the serious baby-proofing hasn’t started for us (dread) I did like this hack from Parent Hacks.

Nate Smith came up with a way to show his son which stuff not to touch. It gave me a giggle at least!


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