HOT: Little Hugh, 150 Rooks Rd, Nunawading

Little Hugh Nunawading

Nunawading isn’t a suburb that comes to mind when you’re thinking of hip cafes – so architect-designed Little Hugh stands out from the crowd.

Little Hugh Nunawading

The cafe is long and narrow and makes the most of its small frontage with lots of lights panels in geometric shapes contrasting with rich teal accents.

There’s still room to push a pram, you can find high chairs and there is a children’s menu for the younger folk.

Little Hugh is owned by the same people behind Hutch & Co in Lilydale and so you’ll notice that the menu layout and various food items are similar.

Little Hugh Nunawading

I have the fritters stacked with pumpkin, avocado and fetta ($17). The fritters are crispy and crumbly without being dry and the crunchiness contrasts in each mouthful sandwiched between with the avo smash and pumpkin hummus.

Little Hugh Nunawading

The French toast is a single eggy slab of brioche ($16). It’s almost like a bread and butter pudding with fruit and coulis and the kids devour most of it.

Little Hugh Nunawading

The children’s menu features cereal, eggs, hotcakes nuggets and mini burgers ranging from $6-$13.

Little Hugh brings unexpected inner-city sophistication to the industrial ‘burbs, with additional family-friendly touches to make it worth a detour past the homemaker centres.

Click here for the best child-friendly cafes in Melbourne. 

HOT List:

  • pram access;
  • high chairs;
  • children’s menu;
  • standard menu suitable for kids;
  • free street parking; and
  • close to (long walk or short drive) Whitehorse Centre and Base Camp Kids.

Little Hugh, 150 Rooks Rd, Nunawading 03 8838 8899

Mon-Friday 7-3pm

What’s on – Friday 10 November to Thursday 16 November

Christmas countdown is starting now with various festive events happening around the city.

This Sunday I’ll be at Boyd Community Hub facilitating Our City Road a free cardboard creating workshop with Little Art Big Art as part of City of Melbourne’s Sunday Streets.


  • Night Noodle Markets (Fri 10 Nov – Sun 26 Nov ) – all the sights, sounds and smells of an Asian hawker market plus the buzz, hype and vibe of a huge outdoor festival
  • MPavilion (Fri 10 Nov  – Sun 4 Feb 2018 ) – 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.
  • Play Pod State Library of Victoria (Fri 10 Nov – 5 Dec) – Play Pod is the SLV’s program for children aged under 8 years with activities to read, create and play. This season’s theme is The Very Noisy Bear.
  • MSO Frank Woodley (Sat 11 Nov) – The Composer is Dead is a brilliant musical mystery and a wonderful introduction to the symphony orchestra, with text by Lemony Snicket and music by Nathaniel Stookey.
  • Queen Street Plaza (Sat 11 Nov – Sun 12 Nov) – A place to sit, eat, have a drink and enjoy free family entertainment right in the heart of the city.
  • Polish Festival Federation Square (Sun 12 Nov) – Bringing a taste of Poland to Melbourne.
  • Sunday Streets Southbank (Sun 12 Nov) – street party for families at Boyd Community Hub, including Our City Road cardboard creating workshop with me!
  • Under 8s Ice Fun (Sun 12 Nov) – unique toddler experience in shoes or skates.
  • Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman (Fri 9 Nov – Sun 29 Jan) – take an extraordinary trip from sketches and models through to elaborate sets as these beloved characters take shape on screen. Full review. 
  • MPavilion (Fri 9 Nov  – Sun 4 Feb 2018) – 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.
  • The Pool: Architecture, Culture and Identity ( Fri 9 Nov – Thu 1 Feb 2018) – A multi-sensory installation of water, light, scent and sound, The Pool is an interactive space, complete with wooden decking and pool lounge chairs.
  • Aladdin the Musical (Fri 9 Nov – 22 Jan 2018) – Disney film turned into lavish musical. Read the review.
  • Palestinian National Day (Wed 15 Nov) –  entertainment, market stalls and raising of the Palestinian flag.
  • Queen Victoria Night Market (Wed 15 Nov) – 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.

play streets






  • Eastland Lighting of the Tree (Sat 11 Nov) – Enjoy Christmas carol performances by Rob Mills, Bonnie Anderson and Choir Victoria, roving magician from Kids WB’s Anthony De Masi, lighting of the tree, fireworks.
  • Melbourne Tram Museum (Sat 11 Nov) – Visit a Melbourne icon at this quirky museum. FULL REVIEW.
  • Heide Makers’ Market (Sat 11 Nov) – Once a month visitors will find an eclectic mix of art, design and handcrafted goods all made with skill by a curated selection of stallholders.
  • Eltham Festival (Sat 11 Nov – Sun 12 Nov) – music, food, kids activities.
  • Christmas Workshop Chirnside Park (Sat 11 Nov – Sun 24 Dec) – The Christmas Workshop is home to both a Christmas store and Santa Photography.
  • Santa’s Arrival Doncaster (Sun 12 Nov) – Santa’s Arrival will feature a live stage show with The Nutcracker, caroling angels and Jimmy Giggle.
  • Yarra Valley Railway (Sun 12 Nov) – take a trip on the historic Walker RM22 Railmotor from Healesville to Tunnel Hill. Full review. 
  • Belgrave Big Dreams Market (Sun 12 Nov) – discover original and bespoke design pieces, some of the yummiest and freshest produce the area has to offer, live music, bouncy castle and facepainting  for the kids.
  • Maroondah Festival (Sun 12 Nov) – hundreds of free activities for the whole family including Kids Kareoke, Aradia the mermaid, Crazy Feet Dance Studio, Gardening 4 Kids and much more.
  • Belgrave Big Dreams Market (Sun 12 Aug) – discover original and bespoke design pieces, some of the yummiest and freshest produce the area has to offer, live music, bouncy castle and facepainting  for the kids.
  • Moonlit Markets Eastland (Thu 16 Nov) – up to 60 stalls from local designers, artisans and artists. Find an assortment of fashion, jewellery, art, homewares and delights for the kids.



HOT: Mess Matters, Factory 4, 3 Exley Drive Moorabbin

Mess Matters

Do your kids love messy play but you hate mess? Then book in to visit Mess Matters which offers term-based and casual classes for art, craft and messy play in Moorabbin.

Mess Matters is about providing a creative and sensory play experience for toddlers and preschoolers.

Mess Matters

During each 45 minute session kids have fun playing with paint, seeds, water and craft materials – and you don’t have to clean up!

Every week the space is configured with different furniture and activities.

Mess Matters

On our visit Baby 2.0 particularly enjoys scooping rice into funnels and tubes, the playdough and craft with paint.

Mess Matters

I notice that some of the younger kids like the water play, painting easels and craft.

Mess Matters

Everyone is free to explore as they wish and the staff are on hand to reset each table after a child moves on. Their guiding principle is that a kid shouldn’t have to start their work sitting in someone else’s mess, which is great attention to detail!

Mess Matters

Each session permits a maximum of 17 children and their adults, with 3 staff members on hand to reset places, clean up and generally monitor the activities. As the kids are young, adults are expected to help and guide them.

The sessions are popular so if you intend to drop in it’s important to book ahead to avoid disappointment. They also hold parties with tailored activities.

      For more places to play in Moorabbin try Jump Central.

For places to eat in Moorabbin try The Tradesman or Genoa Place.

HOT Tips:

  • Each session runs for 45 minutes;
  • Suitable for 18 months – 5 years;
  • Session times are Tuesday and Friday 9.30am and Monday and Wednesday 9:30am and occasional Saturday sessions
  • Sessions are $15 per child, 5 visit card $70, 10 visit card $125;
  • Bookings are recommended though it is possible to drop-in subject to availability;
  • Smocks are provided but best to pack a change of clothes for everyone;
  • Dress your children in old clothes and shoes that they can get messy;
  • free parking on street.

Mess Matters, Factory 4, 3 Exley Drive Moorabbin 0425 808 219

Tuesday 9:30am

Wednesday 9:30am 11am

Thursday 9:30am 11am

Friday 9:30am

HOT: The Strawberry Forest, 391 The Avenue of Honour, Bacchus Marsh

The Strawberry Forest

The Strawberry Forest is a small family-run u-pick strawberry farm in Bacchus Marsh. It’s the only farm located on the right of the picturesque Avenue of Honour leading into the small town from Melbourne.

The Strawberry Forest

The Strawberry Forest is unique because it’s the only fruit-picking farm around Melbourne where the strawberries are grown vertically. So no bending or scrabbling around in the dirt for your berries!

The Strawberry Forest

It is open during the warmer months only – basically when strawberries are in season. Usually, that means October to March.

The Strawberry Forest

At The Strawberry Forest young and old can enjoy picking fresh chemical spray free strawberries. Because the aisles are wide and berries are able to be picked from top to bottom even people in wheelchairs or babies in prams can be picking.

The Strawberry Forest

There’s $2 entry fee (under 5s are free) and you pay for the strawberries you pick at $12 a kilo. You can snack on berries while you pick, though they ask you to be fair to others so there are enough berries for everyone!

The Strawberry Forest


We arrive at 10:30am and already there are people leaving with bags of strawberries. We spend a hour or so picking the very best strawberries and by 1pm the farm is all picked out. It is early in the season during our visit so there are fewer strawberries, but The Strawberry Forest is getting more and more popular, so to avoid disappointment arrive early.

The Strawberry Forest

Afterwards we head into town for lunch at Baby Black Espresso Bar before doing our grocery shopping back at The Fruits of Life (who also own the Strawberry Forest) when we return to Melbourne.

I highly recommend heading to The Strawberry Forest for a relaxing fruit-picking experience with no back-breaking work! The strawberries are very sweet and juicy too and the children relish their fruit even more because they’ve hand-picked every single one. Make sure you check their Facebook page before heading out to ensure that they’re open.

Every year Bacchus Marsh hosts the Strawberries and Cherries Weekend and in 2017 the dates are 17-19 November.

For more fruit picking locations try Cherryhill Orchards and Tuckerberry Hill.


HOT Tips:

  • $2 entry, under 5s are free;
  • Make sure you check their Facebook page before heading out to ensure that they’re open;
  • wear gumboots as it can get muddy;
  • Local produce market The Fruits of Life is next door;
  • Pram access;
  • Take a hat, sunscreen and water. Go early to avoid the heat and to ensure the best strawberries;
  • Pets are not allowed in orchards;
  • No toilets; and
  • Free limited parking on site.

The Strawberry Forest, 391 The Avenue of Honour, Bacchus Marsh

Sundays 10am-4pm during season, check Facebook for updates for additional dates or when picked out

Elf on the Shelf – Giveaway!


The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition® is returning this year to capture the hearts of many more families this Christmas.

This year the return of The Elf on the Shelf brings three NEW enchanting traditions – Letters to Santa™Elf Pets®: A Saint Bernard Tradition and Scout Elves at Play™.

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition® is a magical story that explains how Santa’s scout elves help him manage his naughty or nice list. Each beautifully illustrated children’s hardback book comes as a part of a keepsake boxed set including one of Santa’s scout elves, whose job is to watch during the day and report to Santa every night.
When a family adopts a scout elf and gives it a name, the scout elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day’s adventures. Each morning the scout elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the festive fun, creating a unique family moment. Children love to race around the house and see where their scout elf has landed.
The Elf on the Shelf is encouraged to be used every day from 1 December until Christmas Day, when the scout elf returns to the North Pole for another year!
The Elf on the Shelf traditions is available nationwide with official retail “Adoption Centres” opening across Australia including Myer department stores, Dymocks booksellers, and independent specialty store locations.


Thanks to The Elf on the Shelf  I have 4 x The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition® box sets to give away.
To win just follow the instructions below. The competition closes midnight Monday 20 November and the winners will be randomly drawn and contacted by email. Winners must respond within 48 hours with their contact details or new winner/s will be drawn. Victorian residents only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

HOT: The Ascot Lot, 448-462 Mt Alexander Rd, Ascot Vale

ascot vale food trucks      

Melbourne’s west has a new food truck park in Ascot Vale – The Ascot Lot!

ascot vale food trucks

The Ascot Lot is parked along a former car yard on busy Mt Alexander Road – blink and you could miss it as the street frontage is car-parking for visitors. Look out for the pastel pink and blue colour scheme and the big ‘Coffee and Jaffles’ signage.

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday there is a bar and a rotating lineup of twelve food trucks, with savoury and sweet options covered. There’s also live music in the evening from 5pm.

ascot vale food trucks

We eat up at Dip’d Gourmet Doughnuts and Easy Eats – a cheap and easy meal. 

ascot vale food trucks

Monday – Friday weekday you can still come by for drive-through coffee and jaffles 6:30am-2:30pm by DICS and Jaffles. They are also open 9:30am – 3:30pm weekends when The Ascot Lot is also open. A coffee and jaffle combo is only $10.

The bar serves $10 Espresso Martinis!

ascot vale food trucks

The Ascot Lot accommodates Melbourne’s changeable weather with an undercover area with huge brick booths (and the bar). You can even book a private booth with table service and drink tabs.

ascot vale food trucks

Outdoors is a smattering of sorbet coloured picnic tables with umbrellas. There’s plenty of room for kids and pooches to roam.

For the moment The Ascot Lot is slated to be open for at least the next 12 months. Make it the most of it this summer!

HOT Tips:

  • pram access;
  • arrive right on opening time 5pm/12pm  for the best seats and the shortest wait time for food;
  • free parking on site and in nearby streets, though note the clearway for Mt Alexander Road on weekdays;
  • Note some vendors may be cash only.

The Ascot Lot, 448-462 Mt Alexander Rd, Ascot Vale

Fridays 5-10pm

Saturday  12pm – 10pm

Sunday 12pm-9pm

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