HOT: Little Creatures Dining Hall, 222 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

 HOT: Little Creatures Dining Hall, 222 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Features:

  • pram access
  • change tables
  • chalk, crayons and paper
  • kid-friendly standard menu

Most people know of Little Creatures through their beer, so it’s great to see this WA-based boutique brewery branch out into a natural partnership of Little Creatures beer served with good pub grub in Melbourne.

The Little Creatures Dining Hall is no run-of-the-mill boozer though. It’s a lofty warehouse converted into a friendly diner, with low booths and easygoing wooden tables and chairs. On the Sunday of our visit it was filled with families and I can see why – the atmosphere is relaxed and hums with enough noise so there’s no need for kids to be hushed, there’s space for running antics, plenty of interesting paraphernalia to poke through and the aisles are wide enough to fit prams. They also provide change tables, chalk, crayons and paper and books for entertainment but no high chairs.

 HOT: Little Creatures Dining Hall, 222 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Little Creatures Dining Hall, 222 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

The menu, while not being particularly challenging, does go beyond the usual beer hall fare of burgers and fish and chips. I tried the pizza with chorizo, feta and unusual pops of sweetcorn ($19), Tim had the melting lamb shanks and we shared a large bowl of chips ($8) which I was pleased to see still had their skins on.

 HOT: Little Creatures Dining Hall, 222 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Note that they don’t take bookings but given you’re probably eating at ‘parents’ hours and not ‘adult’ hours getting a table shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re in a massive group.

 HOT: Little Creatures Dining Hall, 222 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

 
 
Little Creatures Dining Hall, 222 Brunswick St, Fitzroy +61 3 9417 5500

HOT: WALLS 360 and Lifting a Dream

One of my friends came to visit last week and on entering NKOTB’s room she pointed to the wall and exclaimed ‘is that a Twitter fail whale??’.

Not quite. Though a fail whale would go well with NKOTB’s newest art acquisition in her nursery/art gallery, a super-sonic eBoy poster of London.

This whale is by Yiying Li, the Australian creator of the fail whale, and is part of her new collection of premium wall graphics available at WALLS 360. The Lifting the Dream Classic Whale was kindly provided to us by WALLS 360 after our previous post.

WALLS 360 wall graphics are printed on demand in the US at high-resolution with eco-solvent digital inks on self-adhesive re-positionable fabric paper. Having decal-ed a lot of NKOTB’s room I think the WALLS 360 decals are excellent quality – the vinyl is noticeably thicker than other decals I’ve purchased and don’t bunch up in a sticky mess when they’ve been removed from the backing. On the wall they stick well but were also able to be moved around easily without damaging the paint.

We think NKOTB likes her Lifting the Dream Whale too!

HOT: Classical Babes – Music of the Romantic Era, Melbourne Recital Centre, 31 Sturt St, Southbank

NKOTB has been fed a steady diet of classical music since she was in utero.

Not because I necessarily think that listening to Mozart will make her more intelligent or help her get better grades, but basically because I have become an Old Person. The kind of Old Person who can’t keep up with and doesn’t know anything about Young People’s music and who is increasingly exclaiming about how Young People’s music is too loud, too repetitive, too derivative, too boring. My ears can only deal with ABC Classic FM these days.

So I was very excited to hear through Little Melbourne about Classical Babes – Music of the Romantic Era, a classical music concert presented by Mini Maestros and The Sutherland Trio at the Melbourne Recital Centre. The 40 minute concert for infants and toddlers combined classical music, movement and fun props like shakers and colourful parachutes to introduce children to composers such as Schumann, Brahms, Beethoven and Chopin.

The adults sat on the floor on cushions with their kids and the performers introduced themselves, their instruments (‘Charlie the Cello’ ‘Valentina the Violin’) and each piece with comments directed at children as to what to listen out for. It was fun, engaging and NKOTB enjoyed it, laughing along to the glittery streamers dancing to the Can Can.

The Melbourne Recital Centre provided pram parking outside the Salon and the disabled toilets were spacious enough to manoeuvre a pram inside, though there are no change facilities – we just changed nappies on the lobby’s carpet!

The tickets are not particularly cheap at $20 per child (including two accompanying adults), but as a once-in-a-while treat for parents and babies it’s a really nice way to spend a morning.

As a related inside, here’s an interesting article by composer Andrew Ford about how his baby daughter loves Bach, but Mozart not so much.

 

Week 30: Snotty

This week NKOTB reached another milestone – her first real cold.

To mark the occasion, she decided to pass on her bundle of germs to mum and dad as well. Ugh.

While Tim and I have struggled with streaming noses and chesty coughs this week, NKOTB has been a model patient. She slept pretty much as usual – two longish naps during the day and overnight with one or no wakeups, breastfeeding well, eating food with increasing enthusiasm. (Yesterday she ate artichoke. Artichoke! I’m a VERY proud mum.)

Evidently she’s not feeling too uncomfortable, as she’s still frequently smiling and laughing. Except when we spray saline solution up her nostrils. She’s getting smart about that too – as soon as she sees that bottle of Fess she scrunches up her face and pushes away with her legs with all her might.

This week as the mornings have started getting lighter we’ve decided to install another set of blinds in her room to keep the light out, otherwise it’s regular 6am wakeups. Also with the daylight hours getting longer we’ve been experimenting with pushing her bedtime later by half an hour. We were finding that her usual bedtime didn’t seem to be working any more – she was really excitable and animated when she’d normally be feeling drowsy and instead of going straight to sleep she’d talk/whimper/cry for half an hour before finally nodding off. Frankly we’re ready for daylight saving any time now!

After getting over our colds NKOTB and I embarked on a couple of interesting outings – to see the film Senna at the mums and bubs session at Palace Westgarth cinema (an activity I really look forward to every week), to the art gallery for lunch and to meet up with other parenting bloggers at Cafe Bursaria at Como House (reviews coming soon). The weather has been a bit variable so we haven’t been cycling as much and when I put her in her capsule this week I’ve noticed that her little legs are starting to stick out over the edge! Aw my little girl is getting big.

 

HOT: Auction Rooms, 103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne

Auction rooms errol street north melbourne

Features:

  • pram access
  • highchairs
  • kid-friendly menu

Auction Rooms is a casual cafe/restaurant set inside the old WB Ellis auction house in North Melbourne. In fact, buy the long wooden floorboards, buy cialis exposed beams, dosage distressed brickwork and high ceilings hoisting a series of whirring fans reminded me a lot of the interior of an airy Queenslander home. It seems like the kind of place where the dress code should be to kick around in shorts and despite its large size (plenty of space for manouvering prams and high chairs are also available) the atmosphere was still warm and cosy. Unfortunately my iPhone photos don’t really do it justice.

Auction rooms errol street north melbourne

Auction rooms errol street north melbourne

Already in love with the stylish interior, we delved into the extensive dinner menu which contains about twenty dishes ranging in small bites to full meals. In the interests of research, we tried something from all parts of the list: extremely moreish rosemary polenta chips with a slightly bland smoked paprika mayonnaise ($7.50), melt-in-your-mouth tender salt and pepper squid with caramelised lemon mayonnaise ($13), a light and spicy coconut duck salad with wombok, green papaya, snake beans and tamarind which could easily have been a meal in itself, and a rich beef cheek ravioli with hommus and braising reduction ($28).

Every dish was punctuated by exclamations of ‘OMG this is so good!’ ‘Delicious’ ‘We’ve got to come back!’. We didn’t have room for dessert unfortunately, but my choice would have been the chocolate and banana spring rolls with vanilla bean labna ($12).

Auction rooms errol street north melbourne

Auction rooms errol street north melbourne

The food at Auction Rooms is so fantastic that I would happily cross town to try the rest of their menu of hits. Apparently their coffee is very good too and they are one of a slew of speciality coffee shops (with siphon coffee) that have recently opened in Melbourne.

It’s the sort of place where I think there’s something for everyone, whether you have kids or not.

Auction Rooms, 103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne +61 3 9326 7749
Mon-Fri 7.30am-4pm Sat 8am-10pm Sun 8am-4pm

Baby Bunting Guest Post + Giveaway!

We have to admit that we were quite chuffed when baby brand Baby Bunting asked us to write a guest post for their Facebook page as part of a series called “The Nappy Diaries”.

The guest posts are all written by young parents to share their experiences with the Baby Bunting Facebook community. Previous topics have included eating out with kids and express beauty tips for busy mothers.

Our contribution is a perfect amalgamation of our interests – Melbourne, babies, cycling, fun things to do around town and places to eat out. Entitled ‘Where to ride, play and eat with your tot‘ we decided to do a slightly different take on the ‘places to go and things to do with kids’ angle as we’ve picked out places based on whether they are accessible by bike.

That’s because we don’t own a car and we have ridden a Taga pram bike with NKOTB since she was 6 weeks old (and in fact Joyce cycled throughout her pregnancy) – that makes us pretty unusual! We want to show families that they can get around by bike to do fun things with their kids too.

Have a read of our guest post here (and please LIKE it on Facebook if you like it, it’ll make us feel happy :))

The post doesn’t include any of the links so for ease of reference here are all the places linked for you:

Giveaway! Thanks to Baby Bunting we have a $20 gift voucher that can be used at any Baby Bunting stores in Australia (physical, not online). To win just browse the Baby Bunting website and leave us a comment to let us know what you’d buy with the voucher – prams, car safety, cots, furniture, manchester, high chairs, feeding, babywear, toys, swings, bathing, safety equipment and nappies, they’ve got it all. The winner will be drawn randomly on Monday 12 September. Good luck!

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