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In Too Deep – Deep Oceans Exhibition

Event:  Deep Oceans Exhibition

Where: Australian Museum

Cost: $17 per adult, $9 per child (5 to 15). Family passes and discounts for AM members available.

This morning I bravely set off with my the two princesses to experience the much hyped Deep Oceans exhibition at the Australian Museum. Approximately 20 minutes after we had arrived, I realised that there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity and I’d just crossed it. Mumrades I implore you – DO NOT attempt this activity alone with pre-schoolers. Call in re-inforcements, especially if you are interested in actually seeing the exhibition yourself.

The morning got off to an unauspicious start with both girls deciding that they must dress in theme like mermaids. A ferocious battle over our only mermaid dress ensued. I put my foot down declaring that if they refused to wear normal clothes we weren’t going. This triggered a screaming fit but eventually P1 agreed to dress in “underwater colours”.  It sounds like a good solution but its so easy when your wardrobe is 99.9% pink.

When we entered the museum we were greeted in the atrium by a life sized inflatable whale hanging from the soaring ceiling. Impressive as it was, I should have viewed it as a bad omen – my own personal “fail whale”.  A white inflatable tunnel lead us to throuh to the deep sea abyss. The girls shrieked with joy and used the springy tunnel walls as an inverted jumping castle.  Almost every other child in attendence that day, (and there were hundreds) had the same idea. It became treacherous when some hefty primary school boys got in on the act.

Pathway to the abyss or jumping castle?

The exhibition space was dimly lit in blue and green hues, mimicking the bottom of the ocean. As I very soon discovered, the bottom of the ocean is a great place to lose children. With two and a half year old P2 darting everywhere I lost sight of her at least a dozen times. An Octonauts themed play area, featuring a climb on model of the Gup D, soft sea creatures and a dress up box full of amazing giant squid hats was set up in one corner. Episodes of the popular kids show were screened accross the entirity of one wall. My almost 5 year old, P1 took up residence there and refused to move. Meanwhile P2 was running laps of the place and climbing on exhibits despite clear instructions not to. The final straw came when  she charged out the door and refused to go back in. We had lasted about half an hour. Frazzled and beaten I retreated to the sanctuary of Kidspace where they could not escape.

Octonauts to the GUP D!

Attack of the giant squid!

After lunching at the Museum’s cafe with a hundred of our closest friends, P1 wanted to return to the under water world. We had more success the second time around. P1 once again established herself in the Octonauts section whilst P2 hooked up with another toddler for a game of chasing. I even got to glance at some of the displays.

Mumabulous’ Verdict – 7/10

I am fascinated by the almost alien life in the deep oceans and was very much looking forward to this event. In between chasing kids, I glimpsed some interesting stuff. The giant anglerfish model was scarily impressive, as was the replica of the bathysphere – the first submersible to descend beyond light. The model of the distingrating whale carcass and explanation of how it supports bottom dwelling life for decades was eye-opening.

Overall I was slightly underwhelmed. Despite the intriquing subject matter the exhibits seemed small and lacked that “wow” factor. Perhaps I would have felt differently if I had the chance to interact with the displays. Meanwhile the kids had a wonderful day and didn’t want to leave. In Mumabulous terms that’s a success.

The Bathysphere

P1’s Verdict

It was really good. We saw amazing stuff. I cant wait to tell my friends about the Octonauts.

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For Budding Master Chefs

GET THE KIDS INTO THE KITCHEN

Brasserie Bread Bakery Cafe

1737 Botany Rd, Banksmeadow

The renowned Brasserie Bread Bakery hosts FREE baking classes for kids every Saturday at 10am and 12pm. I cant think of a much better way to spend a chilly winter’s morning. Parents can settle in the celebrated cafe whilst the kids rustle up some baked goodies. The cafe has a glass viewing wall so that patrons can watch the artisian bakers at work. There’s also a retail store with an assortment of home-made relishes, jams, muesli and olive oils alongside an eclectic range of cookbooks. Allpress coffee beans are sold fresh and can be ground for you to take home and enjoy.

Unsurprisingly the kids classes are very popular and bookings are essential.  Please call 1300 966 845.

Longer workshops are run on weekdays over the school holidays with separate classes for 5 – 9 year-olds and 10 – 14 year-olds. Its not bad value at $35 per child, considering that the whole family will get to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

http://www.brasseriebread.com.au/baking-classes/kids-schools/kids.aspx

Putting on the final touches

Mini Master Chef at The Southern Cross Hotel

340 Princess Highway, St. Peters

Dates: 3 – 13th July (weekends excluded)

Times: 10.30 am and 12pm

Cost: $10pp

If you need an excuse to go to the pub these school holidays, Mumabulous has got a great one for you. The Southern Cross Hotel, St Peters is holding 90 minute fully supervised kids cooking classes for 5 to 12 year olds. The kids get to eat their creations so that’s lunch taken care of for the day.  The event had a good review on the Weekend Notes website and is worth checking out. Perhaps you could visit IKEA Tempe afterwards (or not).

http://www.southerncrosshotel.com.au/pics/fullres/mini_masterchef.jpg

Fun is directly proportional to mess.

 The Hospitality Est

47 President Avenue, Caringbah

Dates: 3 – 13 July

Cost: $35 pp

I had never thought of Caringbah as a gourmet destination but I’ll happily stand corrected. If the beautiful looking website is anything to go by, The Hospitality Est. is a well worth the trip beyond Miranda Fair. Its a cafe and retail outlet, function venue, catering service and cooking school rolled into one. Over the school holidays they host three marvellous sounding kids programs – Mini Masters 6-8, Mini Masters 9-12 and teens. The youngsters get to choose from the following workshops – party foods, sweet stuff, pie perfection, cookies and cupcakes, chocolate factory and the intriguingly named fairy feast. (Turns out its fairy bread, pastry wands and cup cakes). The 9 to 12s can enjoy more sophisticated offerings including Italian, Mexican and Japanese themed workshops. Teens can go hardcore with French desserts and Mediterranean foods.

http://www.hospitalityest.com.au/what-we-do/cooking-classes.aspx

The work of Mini-Masters

Sparkle Cupcakery

132 Fouveaux St, Surry Hills

Dates: 4 & 10 July for 10-16yo

2, 6 & 10 July for 4-10yo

Cost: $59pp

This hip inner city eatery was on the forefront of the current cup cake craze. A visit to Sparkle makes for a very civilized morning’s entertainment. The coffee is creamy and satisying and the raspberry red velvet cupcakes are heavenly. For the upcoming holidays they are running kids baking classes with a Christmas in July twist. For Tweens to Teens (10-16yrs) there’s Christmas Cookie Connoisseur sessions and Chocolate Chill Cupcake classes for the younger crew (4-10yrs). At $59 per child there’s better value around.

http://sparklecupcakery.com.au/for-kids

Sparklicious

And then there’s

The Sydney Cooking School – Kids Mini Masterchef School Holiday Classes

73 Military Rd, Neutral Bay

Dates: 3 & 5 July

Time: 9.30am to 2.30pm

Cost: $150pp

These classes go way beyond the humble cupcake and for $150 per child they’d want to. In the first workshop participants prepare all three meals of the day – a very gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner. The second workshop is an extravagant Christmas in July where the kids busy themselves making roast turkey dinner, plum pudding and custard, shortbread and more. Wow. It appears to be a top notch establishment with prices to match.

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Little Pixies Buzz, Bump, Jump and Dance

When: Mondays 9.30am to 10.15am

Where: Logan Dance Studios, Cnr of Alison & Belmore Rds, Randwick

If you’ve got pre-schoolers who like to get down and boogie this fun, hi-energy class is a great alternative to your run of  the mill dance schools. The multi talented teacher Karina Hannan is a registered exercise therapist, personal trainer and a massage therapist. She has a passion for teaching kids about health and fitness and her enthusiasm is infectious. The 45 minute session is more like playtime to cheerful pop music than a structured class. Kids get to use props like hoola hoops, pom poms, balls and soft toys and parachutes. There’s a alot of mimicry with where the little ones growl like dinosaurs and flap their wings like birds etc. Parents are welcome to join in or not. I usually decline because Karina is such a good dancer it really hi-lights how un-cordinated I am. This morning the kids learnt a short  uncomplicated routine to the Purple People Eater song and were promised a visit from his purpleness in the near future. Sounds like something to look forward to.

The classes are suitable for ages 2 to 5 and drop ins are welcome. Moreover there’s a refreshing lack of ballet “prissiness” to these sessions so boys should enjoy them as much as girls.

http://www.yourbodyresolution.com/

Shake a groov thang!

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Just Don’t Tell Them It’s Educational….

SCHOOL HOLIDAY RESCUE – PART 5

Expand their curious and malleable minds with these fantastic Museum activities.

  • The Australian Museum

6 College St, Sydney

Keep this one in your repetoir for rainy days. There’s so much for kids to do at this fantastic facility. There’s Kidspace – a lovely kids play area for the under 5s,  packed with dress ups, art materials and other cool stuff. Kidspace is home to weekly programs for littlies throughout the school term. On Thursdays at 10.30am there’s Mini-Explorers, for the 3 to 5 brigade. These sessions are based upon a theme (currently Penguins) and involve stories, craft, dressing up and singing.  The 1 to 3 year olds get their turn on Fridays at 10.30am with the Tiny Tot Explorers. NB: bookings are essential.

Over the July school holdiays the Museum will be hosting 9 separate kids events mostly centered around their latest exhibition – Deep Oceans. These include interactive shows, behind the scenes tours, a sleep over and torch light tours. The live squid dissection sounds very cool and ought to appeal to primary school kids with a fascination for all things grisly. There are a also a number of workshops where kids get to be a marine biologist or a palaeontologist for a day. Why cant adults get to do this? – its like sooooo unfair.

You may not know that the Museum is a party venue. They offer party packages for 4 to 8 year olds based around a museum themed tour or treasure hunt. They’ll do the catering and hosting, making it an easy and enjoyable option for parents. Mumabulous will keep this one up her sleeve.

http://australianmuseum.net.au/whatson

It’s education Jim – but not as we know it.

  • The Powerhouse Museum

500 Harris St, Ultimo

The Powerhouse is another sensational option for rainy days. However I cant stress this enough – get there early to avoid queuing outside with a few hundred of your closest friends. Once inside, there are heaps and heaps of activities for kids of all ages to enjoy. The Wiggles and  Narnia exhibitions, the great play spaces and craft activities, just to name a few.

The July School holiday program is crammed with cool stuff. There’s digital workshops and jam sessions for teens and tweens using Minecraft, Scratch and Lego, Arduino and Lilypad (which I’d never heard of until now). The ATYP are running a film making workshop using the Museums editing software –  I wannna go! For the less technically minded, there’s a number of shows and craft activities focused on the head-lining exhibition – The Chronicles of Narnia.

Mumabulous notes that the cafe is getting a much needed revamp. We look forward to checking it out.

http://play.powerhousemuseum.com/whatson/school_holidays.php

These workshops are a blast!

  • The Sydney Observatory

Do you have a budding astronaut or sci-fi geek? The Observatory’s program of telescope tours, night time telescope viewing, planetarium and 3D theatre is sure to get them excited. There’s also a drop in space lego workshop open everyday. A word of caution – your husband may enjoy this even more than your kids.

The Observatory also conducts evening courses for adults. They’re pitched at the complete novice and the amateur enthusiast and are a brilliant way to spend 2 hours a week.

http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/whatson/school-holidays/

Release their inner nerd

  • Sydney Opera House – Kid’s Discovery Tours

Dates: 30 June – 15 July

Times: 10.15am, 10.45am, 11.45am, 12.15pm and 1.15pm

Cost: Adults – $35 pp, Kids: $24.50 pp

Adventure on our special kids discovery tour and discover a House of fun, magic and history – go underneath the sails, watch clips from our favourite Kids at the House shows, uncover the story behind the building’s creation and explore the theatres where the magic happens. At the end of the tour, hop into our the Creative Play area or have a special kids lunch at Studio Café.

http://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/whatson/Kids_Discovery_Tour_2012.aspx

A creative play session at the Opera House

  • Military Madness – Fort Denison (meet at Cadmans Cottage)

Date: 9 July

Time: 9.15am to 12pm

Cost: $20pp (includes return ferry)

Fancy a bit of history? Get carried away with ‘Military Madness’. Become a marching soldier at Fort Denison. Re-enact a cannon firing and have fun with our blockbuster quiz. A certificate of merit will be presented to all our soldiers. Suitable for 5 to 12 year olds

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/NationalParks/parkTours.

Ka Boom!

  • Centennial Parklands Holiday Program

A trip to Centennial Park with its three playgrounds, bike tracks, duck ponds and cafes is a failsafe day out (if you can get parking). Over the holiday period Parklands puts on an excellent, low cost program. This time around you can choose from Aussie Animal Olympics, Crazy Creatures Cartooning, Little Green Fingers, CP Bushrangers Day camp and loads more.

I can personally vouch for these activities, having taken the princesses to a fairy wing workshop. The host was fantastic and the posse of little fairies had a magical time trapsing through the enchanted forrest to find bits and pieces to decorate their wings. If you’ve got a nature lover or you want your kids to get a healthy dose of the great outdoors this is for you.

http://www.centennialparklands.com.au/activities/whats_on/school_holidays

Kid vs wild at Centennial Park

  • Taronga Zoo – Zoo Adventures

A visit to the spectacular Taronga zoo is always a treat. Joining the Zoo Adventures will make it even more memorable for young animal lovers. Suitable for 5 to 12 year olds the day long sessions involve getting behind the scenes with the animals and their keepers,  experiencing the live shows as well as craft activities and games. At around $90 per child, its an expensive option but think of it this way – its cheaper than skiing.

A very special day out

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Westfield Round Up

SHOWS FOR MALL RATS

Westfields are the last refuge for the desperate over the school holidays (but the first port of call for the shopaholic). Nevertheless if you can brave the crowds of frazzled families and loitering teenagers, you can often find the holy grail of free kids entertainment.  This July is no exception. Whilst scouring the internet I happened accross these free events coming to a Westfield near you.

  • Sponge Bob Square Pants Show

A free show and meet and greet afterwards at Miranda Fair and Eastgardens.

Dates:

Miranda: 1-2 July @ 11am & 1pm

Eastgardens: 6-8 July @ 11am & 1pm

I’ll endure alot for my kids. I sat through Chipwrecked – Alvin and the Chipmunks 3 and even a Barney the Dinosaur sing- along. However I absolutely can not abide Sponge Bob.

An hour of your life you wont get back

  • Looney Tunes Show

Hurstville and Penrith Westfields are holding a free show featuring the iconic characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Tweety Bird. This sounds marginally more tolerable than spending an hour with Sponge Bob.

Dates:

Hurstville: 3 – 7 July @ 11am & 1pm

Penrith: 9 to 13 July @ 11 am & 1pm

Could be worse, could be Sponge Bob

SCHOOL HOLIDAY MOVIES

Conveniently Westfields always house cinema complexes, giving me a tidy segue to my next topic – the holiday movie releases.

  • Brave

This much hyped holiday release has excellent credentials. It is made by uber studios Pixar and features the heavy weight talents of Emma Thompson, Billy Connelly and Julie Walters. Moreover its a princess movie where the heroine kicks serious butt ensuring its appeal to both boys and girls. Given the marketing push surrounding this film, I am sure you are au fait with its central premise about a Scottish princess who turns to socerery in order to control her own destiny. The critical reception has been warm but not red hot. The consensus is that whilst Brave is a visual feast, it comes up short on plot and characterisation compared to other recent animated films like Toy Story, Up etc.

Mumabulous aims to go along and let you know our verdict. A visual feast is enough to satisfy an almost five year old. My girls aren’t concerned about intricate plots or nuanced characters as their love of Alvin and Chipmunks will attest.

Gotta love a ranga Princess

  • Ice Age 4 – Continental Drift

P1 is madly keen on this one. I think that’s because she can sense that I am not. With the possible exceptions of Harry Potter and Fast and Furious, any series gets tired by the fourth installment. In any case it wont be widely released until June 28, so we will withhold judgement. I will probably cave and end up taking the girls along so watch this space for a review.

By the way, the Ice Age franchise has spawned a spectacular live show due to begin in London in October this year. Its likely reach our shores eventually.

A mammoth hit?

  • The Three Stooges

Good Lord! This is the latest offering from the Farrelly Brothers – the gross out comedy kings who brought you Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber. One of my pet peeves is Hollywood’s constant re-hashing of old classics so I’ll be boycotting this. I doubt I’d see it even if it starred Michael Fassbender. The reviews on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes are mixed. On one hand we have this from the Los Angeles Times -

There is an appealing nyuk, nyuk nostalgic spirit to The Three Stooges. To fully appreciate this paean to slapstick and silly nonsense simply requires that cynicism be temporarily shelved and the thinking side of the brain shut down. “

By contrast the San Francisco Chronicle says -

“It’s just not enough to say that The Three Stooges is the death of comedy. Rather, it’s the death, burial, putrefaction and decomposition of comedy. It is where comedy, once alive, ends up as dust blowing in the wind, like something out of a really bad Kansas song.”

Hmm – sounds like it is not to everyone’s taste but your 10 year old boy will probably love it.

This may appeal to your 10 yo son (or your husband)

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School Holiday Rescue cont.

PART 3: IT’S SHOWTIME

Pry your kids away from the TV screen and let them experience live entertainment. They’ll love it, especially if they can get up close and personal with their favourite characters. You might find yourself pleasantly entertained too. You can also enjoy the inner glow of knowing they’ve been culturally enriched. (or not in some of these examples).

I’ll start with the mother of all live shows -

  • Disney on Ice – Allphones Arena, Homebush

Dates: 11 to 16 July

Cost: $28.50 to $69.50 pp

Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they celebrate a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter; Mardi Gras with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen; a Royal Valentine’s Day Ball with the Disney Princesses; a Hawaiian luau with Lilo & Stitch; a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear; a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe.

It sounds truly spectacular. Unfortunately I am still suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the last Disney concert we attended. If you are brave enough to go make sure you pack your own snacks and whatever you do – DONT be tempted by the merchandizing.

http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows

Disney Spectacular

  • Emily Eyefinger – Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre

Dates: 3 to 15 July

Cost: $18 to $25 pp

Emily Eyefinger, based on the book by Duncan Ball,  is straightforward children’s entertainment from Sydney’s Monkey Baa Theatre for Young People. Like their other kid-lit spin-offs  (Pearlie in the Park and Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat) it’s essentially a page-to-stage enterprise. But director John Saunders’s  orchestration of panto-theatrics and the unflagging energy of his cast make for  a diverting hour in the theatre for the five-to-10-year-olds. (From review in SMH 11/07/11).

Throw in a romp at the famous Darling Harbour Playground and a decadent hot chocolate at the Lindt Cafe and you’ve had yourselves an exhausting day out.

Scene from Emily Eyefinger

http://www.monkeybaa.com.au

  • Me and My Shadow – Seymour Centre, Chippendale

Dates: 6 to 12 July

Cost: $18 pp

A gentle story of the fanciful escapades of a girl who finds a way to be friends with her shadow. The show has been described as “a feast for the eyes that reaches straight, crystal clear to the hearts of all ages.” – David O’Brien (Db Review).

Taking in a play at the Seymour Centre is a great wet weather activity. If the meteorological gods are smiling you can combine the show with a visit to the revamped Victoria Park playground and a stroll down Glebe Point Road’s cafe strip.

Scene from Me & My Shadow

http://sydney.edu.au/seymour/boxoffice/program.me-and-my-shadow.shtml

  • Dora The Explorer Live – Concourse Theatre, Chatswood & Theatre Royale CBD

Dates:

4 July – Concourse,

6 & 7 July –  Theatre Royale

Cost: $23 to $49 pp

Dora the Explorer has lost her teddy bear, and the search is on to retrieve him! With the help of the audience, Map, Backpack, Boots, Diego and their courageous friends, Dora uses her map-reading, counting, musical and language skills to successfully pass through the number pyramid and the mixed-up jungle to reach the City of Lost Toys. But watch out – you never know what that sneaky fox Swiper might be up to along the way! Dora the Explorer fans will delight in this two act, song and dance spectacular that invites them to think, sing and play along. (from Nick jr website)

http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=DORATHEE12

  • Young Talent Time Goes Live – Touring a number of venues around Australia

Dates:

30 June – The Concourse, Chatswood

4 July – Penrith Panthers

5th July – Mounties, Mt Pritchard

6th July – Campbelltown RSL

8th July – Bankstown Sports Club

10th July – Castle Hill RSL

Cost: $50 pp

Hosted by Rob Mills and featuring the crew from the TV show. If you can sit through this you’re a better Mum than I am.

http://yttlive.com.au/

  • Dr Seussical Jr :The Musical – Zenith Theatre, Chatswood

Dates: 6 to 14 July

Cost: Family pass – $70 ( 2 adults, 2 kids)

In this fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza, Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty have lovingly brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters, including Horton the Elephant, The Cat in the Hat, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie and a little boy with a big imagination–Jojo. “”Oh, the Thinks You Can Think”” captures the show’s spirit of imagination, as the colorful characters transport us from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus to the invisible world of the Whos.

http://www.zeniththeatre.com.au

The Luck Child – Sydney Theatre, Walsh Bay 

Dates: 6 to 15 July

Cost: $15 pp

The Luck Child is the story of the luckiest boy in the world, an evil king and a three-headed hound from hell … well, one head’s a cat but it’s angry. Based on an Old Russian folk tale, The Luck Child is full of adventure and laughter and perfect entertainment for the kids these July school holidays. Writer and Director Jonathan Biggins from Sydney’s annual laugh fest, The Wharf Revue, has teamed up with David Collins, one half of the Umbilical Brothers and a co-creator of The Upside Down Show to create this hilarious new take on this old folk tale.

http://www.sydneytheatre.com.au/2012/the-luck-child

 

Lah Lah’s Musical Wonderland – Recital Hall Angel Place, CBD

Date: 9 July

Cost: $21 pp

A wonderful 50 minute live performance featuring Lah-Lah, who loves to sing and dance, her best friend Buzz the Bandleader, and a band of four – Lola the dancing double bass, Squeezy Sneezy the allergic piano accordion, Mister Saxophone and Tom Tom the drums. Together they will take audiences on a unique interactive musical journey combining entertainment and education.

http://www.lah-lah.com/

Lah Lah

Finally for pre-schoolers there’s

  • Play School Live Concert – Various Locations Around NSW

Dates: 27 June – 28 July

Cost: $14.50

Prince Big Ted has a royal crown, he has a royal cloak but doesn’t have a royal castle. He sets off to find one, and is joined by his friends Humpty, Jemima, Little Ted and the Play School toys as he travels through a fun filled world of nursery rhymes, songs and stories. Get ready to sing, dance and jump for joy, with a live show that will delight and captivate all Play School fans.

http://www.kidspromotions.com.au/whats-on/13-play-school-2012/event-info/tour-info

All your Play School friends

  • Dorothy The Dinosaur’s Beach Party – Various Locations Around NSW

Dates: 12 to 25 July

Cost: $20 pp

Dorothy the Dinosaur’s Beach Party is the stompy-wompy show full of super sandy songs that will fill your day with sunshine! Dorothy and her friends, Captain Feathersword, Wags the Dog, Fairy Clare and Henry the Octopus, are joined by sensational singers and dancers, Clare Dee and The Dance-A-Lots, in their dazzling beach party outfits!

http://www.thewiggles.com.au/au/events/

Get Wiggling.

Whilst that’s quite a comprehensive list, I’ve probably missed some fantastic stuff.  If you know of any great shows worth catching over the school break, I would love to hear about it.

Over to you.

Mumabulous.

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School Holiday Shenanigans cont.

PART 2: BRING OUT THEIR INNER ARTIST

Mumabulous is all about encouraging creativity.  Unfortunately many of our craft activities at home end with the princess’ attention span wilting or me getting frustrated with their inability to follow instructions. The school holidays is the perfect time to hand them over to the professionals.

  • Art Est – Leichhardt

This school and gallery space describes itself as “Sydney’s  dynamic creative hub for the visual arts”. It runs a huge number of courses and workshops for all ages. There’s a workshop on everyday of the July school holidays for kids aged 5 and up. The activities include painting, drawing, cartooning, collage and clay modelling. It sounds very cool indeed.  I would have gone crazy for this stuff as a kid.

http://www.artest.com.au/

Colourful creations

  • MCA – Circular Quay

The Museum of Contemporary Art is back – groovier and more accessable than ever. As part of the Biennale of Sydney they are running fabulous and free kids workshops througout the school holidays.

Familes are welcome to drop in anytime between 10:30am-4pm from 2 to 7 July. Mumabulous will be checking this out. The MCA also funs Family Fun Day on the last Sunday of each month

http://www.mca.com.au/series/kids-families/

Workshopping at the MCA

  • Biennale ‘School’s Out’ Holiday Program – Cockatoo Island

This event sounds like a lovely family day trip. Take a ferry to Cockatoo Island and drop in on this free activity where kids get to participate in a large collaborative artwork. The program runs from the 9th to the 13th of July and is suitable for ages 5 to 12.

http://bos18.com/whats-on-event#67

  • The Art Gallery of NSW – The Domain

AGNSW is holding a number of workshops based around the Japanese Tanabata or Star Festival (held is conjunction with the Kamisaka Sekka exhibition). Dates: 9th – 13th July. Cost is $30-$35 per child.

http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/calendar/kamisaka-sekka-holiday-workshop/

  • Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre – Gymea

Who said the Shire had less culture than a tub of yoghurt? Hazelhurst is hosting an awesome array of workshops for kids aged 6 to 18.  The young artists can get involved in old school activities like painting, drawing and clay modelling or venture into the brave new world of digital media.  Sod the kids, I would love to do these classes myself. At around $30 per session its reasonably priced.

http://www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/Arts_Entertainment/Hazelhurst/Art_Classes/Child/Winter_School_Holiday_Program

  • Waverly Woollahra Art School – Bondi

This is a fun and varied program for kids 5 to 11. The workshops range from dioramas (remember those?) to print making.

http://wwas.org.au

And then there’s

  • The Messy Spot – Maroubra

The Messy Spot is a drop in arts and craft venue and party place where toddlers through to primary school kids can let their creativity run riot. Kids get a tray of paint, including glitter and are invited to let loose all over the white washable walls. There’s a lovely array of materials such as sponges and stamps to experiment with as well as a variety to knick knacks to decorate. The playdough is made fresh “in house” and garnished with glitter and loads of other bling. There are no organised workshops or classes as such. It is simply a place where littlies can enjoy free play and see where their imaginations take them. Its also a Mumabulous standby for rainy days. (Being close to Gloria Jeans is a plus).

www.themessyspot.com.au

Don’t try this at home boys!

Wow – I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ll be back soon to provide you with a list of activities and events for theatical types.

Cheers

Mumabulous

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Dont Get the School Holiday Blues

Are you stranded in Sydney these school holidays? Dont get jealous of your fancy pants friends who are hitting the ski fields or jetting off to Bali. Mumabulous is here to help.

During the school holidays there’s a smorgass board of kids activities on offer. I’m putting together some lists of fun things to do if playdate falls through or you just want to break out of routine and shake things up a bit.

PART 1 –  FOR KIDS WHO LIKE TO MOVE IT, MOVE IT


Sporting camps for primary school age children spring up everywhere over the school holidays. There are hundreds of them run by local councils, franchises, special interest groups and more. Narrowing it down to a short list was no mean feat but I’ve scraped together a small sample of whats on offer.

  • Sports Fundamentals – Moore Park, Neutral Bay, East Lindfield and Freshwater

The program is designed for 3-8 year olds and includes tennis, cricket, basketball, T-ball, soccer, football, hockey, throwing and obstacle courses.

http://www.sportsfundamentals.com.au/

Fun at Sports Fundamentals

  • YMCA  – Various locations throughout Sydney

Has run school holiday programs for the past 30 years catering for ages 5 up to 15. Its budget friendly and the variety of activities on offer is dizzying.  Dont let the Villiage People put you off – check it out.

http://www.ymcasydney.org/activity/holiday-adventures

  • Football NSW – Glenwood, Bexley North, Emu Plains, Richmond, Ashfield, Winmalee

Football (read – soccer) NSW runs camps for aspiring David Beckhams in the 5 to 13 age bracket. Kids will have a great time learning important technical skills from qualified instructors. Sounds like one for hard core sporting nuts.

http://www.soccernsw.com.au/

  • Star Sports – Balgowlah, Dee Why, Kellyville, Mona Vale, St Ives, Queens Park

This franchise runs small group soccer coaching clinics for ages 5 to 14. Fortunately they have a wet weather program.

http://starsportscamps.com

  • Tiny Tots Tennis & Mega Tennis – 15 different locations in Sydney’s north, Western Suburbs, St George and Sutherland Shire

This group offers school term and holiday classes designed to teach kids the fundamentals of tennis in a fun and relaxed environment. Tiny Tots caters for 3 to 6 year olds whilst Mega Tennis is for older kids.  It sounds like a great program but the website is dysfunctional. Give it a shot anyway. (ha, ha, ha – the puns keep coming).

http://www.tinytotstennis.com.au/

The next Roger Federer

  • Sydney Olympic Park – Homebush

The Kids in the Park program has a truly awesome range of activities. There are over 50 events catering for kids of all age groups. The events range from 30 minute classes to 3 to 4 day long camps. Your kids can choose from rugby league, soccer, AFL, golf, gymnastics,  archery, BMX biking, skateboarding, trapeze and diving. As the man says, “the list goes on and on”. Even non-sporty types get a guernsey with art, drama and creative writing workshops. For those willing to make the trek to Homebush its well worth the effort.

http://www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au

Kids on target at Homebush

  • Kidsportz – Randwick

Normally a play centre and party venue, Kidsportz will be running camps over the holidays for ages 4 through to 14. The activities will include soccer, tee-ball,  cricket, basketball, and mini-olympics. If it rains the kids will simply be shunted inside to play on the wicked collection of inflatables. Looks like fun to me.

http://www.kidsportz.com.au

  • Sutherland Shire Leisure Centre – School Holiday Fun

Our friends in the Shire can pop into the fab Sutherland Pool complex which is holding a bunch of sports and swimming clinics. Activities include track and field, volley ball, bush walking and flippaball. However the highlight for primary school kids is getting let loose on the giant inflatables.

http://www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au

Sutho pool – all weather fun

Finally I’m added a couple of activities especially for the littlies.

  • Toddler Tumbles – Bondi

I can personally vouch for this terrific gymnastics group. I took both my princesses to a session at Bondi Pavillion and they threw themselves enthusiastically into the “circuit” loving every moment. Doing rolly pollies, swinging on bars and negotiating obstacles was fun and just challenging enough. Toddler tumbles runs holiday workshops for the 4 to 6 age group.

http://www.toddlertumbles.com.au/camps.php

Fantastic gymnastics

  • Playball – Bondi

Playball is a troup specialising in sports coaching for pre-school kids but extends to 8 year olds. They are holding a couple of interesting camps where kids participate in a mix of sports, crafts, music and cooking. There’s a big emphasis on teaching kids about health and fitness and we parents can’t argue with that.

http://www.playball.com.au/bondicamps

Mumabulous hopes you find this helpful. I’ll be back shortly with a list of holiday activities for the crafty creative types . Of course any suggestions you have are welcome with open arms. Please share.

0

Two Hiddens Gems & a Bubblicious Surprise

It was a tricky day. We wanted to make the most of the first sunshine in what seemed like eons but the still sodden ground ruled out a trip to the park. For want of a better plan the four of us bussed into the city to explore.  At the entrance to the Strand a new (well it may have been there for five years) chocolate shop – Bon Bon Fine Chocolate, caught my eye. It displayed pyramid shaped chocolates bearing the ASX logo. I smiled inwardly remembering a wannabe I used to work with who wore bull and bear cufflinks.  I was tempted to enter and of course Dadabulous and the princesses needed no persuasion. We’d encountered a veritable pleasure dome with real chocolate (I’m talking over 70% cocoa) and a wonderful selection of exotic nougats.

Mmm – that’s what I’m talkin’ bout.

It was less than five minutes before both girls chanted in unison – “I’m hungry, I’m hungry”. Before I could answer “well you should have eaten your breakfast then”, I serendipitiously noticed a narrow staircase in the corner leading to a basement cafe. We ventured down the marble stairs like Alice through the rabbit hole to discover the most charming little cafe/wine bar. Decked out in dark timber with the original ceiling beams exposed, it felt Parisian. The creamy, satisfying cappucinos were accompanied by tiny dark chocolate frogs. Unfortunately I didn’t get to savour this novel touch as the girls pounced on them. Apparently their fruit toast  and fresh juice didn’t fill them up. Upon leaving the waitress gave us two golf ball sized boxes and told us we could take them upstairs and ask the shop assistant to put a free chocolate in them. Score!

We moved on to Dymocks bookstore where the whole lower level is a dedicated kids section. There’s tables and chairs and a steam engine for them to play on. There’s also a very cute Disney nook featuring all the characters from the classics, Peter Pan, Bambi, Snow White etc through to the new guard – Toy Story, The Incredibles and the like. Dadabulous scrutinized the sale tables whilst our princesses set about destroying the place. P1 had a wonderful time trawling through all the Disney Princess books whilst P2 ran riot  kidnapping both an Elmo and a Zoey Monster doll. Bookstores are an endangered species but I hope Dymocks can hang on. Kids and books is such a worthy combination.

Disney at Dymocks

Our final stop for the day was Hyde Park. There we were surprised to find a busker encircled by kids. He was wielding some heavy duty bubble making equipment and producing gianormous soapy creations. The audience was captivated. Kids hurtled about trying to catch them with P2 leading the charge. Our princesses did some serious mileage chasing those mega-bubbles. Conveniently they were worn out for the bus trip home with P2 sweetly falling asleep on Dadabulous’ lap.

Princess Corner

Chugga chugga choo choo

That’s one BIG bubble

12

The Upside To Middle Age

I recently attended the 40th birthday of an old flame.  For anyone with even the smallest shred of vanity this is an occasion where you want to look good, if not smokin’ hot. I aimed for the latter, squeezing my dipples into black lacey spandex and sucking my tummy in. After carefully engineering my hair and makeup I glanced in the mirror hoping to confirm a vision of sexiness.  What I saw was a middle aged woman! Elegantly turned out but more like a news reader than the ageless MILF  I was aimed to project. Bummer.  These moments are becoming all too frequent as I approach 42.

Even super heroes cant avoid aging

The iconic musician Nick Cave recently said  ‘The only person who can say they’re happy getting old is someone who isn’t actually old yet. Every day, I get  less and less happy about that idea. It’s awful. I  don’t recommend it to anyone.”  I cant help thinking that in Nick’s case the decline has been hastened by the mountains of narcotics he’s consumed. Nevertheless one has to admire his candour. I’m not enjoying watching my chin(s) melt like cheese into my neck or the crevices on my face eroding like the grand canyon either. But before I call the cosmetic surgeon or rush out to buy a red ferrari (do they come in automatic?), I must consider the upside. Sure aging is bad but its not ALL bad. There’s a silver lining to becoming a silver fox.

Nick Cave then – A gothic god

Nick Cave now – not so much

In March my favourite magazine, New Scientist ran a piece titled “Marvellous Middle Age” with the caption ” Far from being over the hill, humans in their fifth and sixth decades are at the pinnacle of evolution”. (10/03/12). Things are looking up already.  Amongst a lot of palaver about evolution, hunter gather tribes in South America, comparisions to other species, blah,blah,blah sits the argument that our mental decline during this time is minimal. Middle aged folk are on top of their game and ergo rule the world. The author (himself 42) concludes that “without the evolution of middle age, human life as we know it could never have existed”.

Gee wiz – I’m bursting with self-importance now.  Coming back down to earth, ruling the world is an unlikely prospect for me – aren’t the AIs on the verge of doing that?  Whilst I cant quite bring myself to celebrate it yet, I’ve listed four good reasons to relax into middle age.

1) You dont have to go to night clubs anymore.

Did we really enjoy this back in the day? The loud, monotonous music, the over priced drinks, the pretentious scene, the constant energy zapping prowl for a potential mate. Aaarh- I am tired just thinking about it.  Social life now, involves going to a friend’s place and enjoying a few wines and some cheeky conversation whilst our kids play together. I feel no compulsion to battle the elements on a winters night just to end up at some seed dive. I’m far happier at home with a good bottle of red, a pizza and a DVD. Call me boring if you like.  Another advantage of middle age is that I just dont care.

2) You can ignore pop culture.

Last year we drove past Sharkies – the Cronulla Leagues Club where there was a sign promoting a Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus tribute show.  I wondered why they were holding it in an over 18s venue when the target audience was mostly under 8.  My husband remarked “why are they having a tribute to people who are unknown?”. He had never heard of Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus and that my friends is no bad thing.  We’re excused from knowing much about the pop tarts and boy bands of today. At the same time we’re reluctant to bemoan the lack of talent nowadays like our parents did in the 80s. Ironically this is because we dont want to draw the young, hip crowd’s attention to some of the crap we liked in the 80s. Remember A Flock of Seagulls, Adam Ant, Plastic Betrand, Wang Chung or (cough cough), Milli Vanilli?

3) You can enjoy good rant.

You’re entitled to be disgusted about the carbon tax, the IR laws, boat people, revenue raising speed cameras, the family court, Kyle Sandilands, Carmen’s undignified exit from the Voice, the dumbing down of society led by Kim Kardashian, Telstra, the size of Tony Abbott’s ears, the size of Tony Abbott’s speedos, those filthy, pornographic videos clips and those clowns at the local council etc etc. You’re entitled to share your disgust with everyone via Facebook or even in person around a BBQ. We didn’t do this in our younger years when the conversation revolved around sex. Which is a neat segue to my next point.

4) You realise there’s more to life than sex.

Its been around for a while. It wasn’t invented by Don Draper in the 1960s as Mad Men implies. However now it is absolutely everywhere. Plastered on bill boards, clogging cyber space, blaring out of TV screens and polluting the radio waves with lyrics like “blow my whistle baby”. So much human endeavour goes into the pursuit of sex. Yet how much of our lives are spent actually enjoying the act. If you’re getting it three times a week you’re considered very fortunate. Realistically this would equate to about 30 minutes per week of ecstasy, leaving a 10,050 minute void to fill (so to speak). Its often said that “you only worry about sex and money when you’re not getting any”.  As a consequence of being married with kids, sex isnt always at the front of my mind like it was when I was young and single. This is wonderfully liberating and brings a renewed appreciation of life the universe and everything.

I’m sooo down with this sentiment

There must be thousands more reasons why we should saviour middle age like the frivolity of the mid life crisis and the allure of greying hair on men. Thinking on this keeps me from collasping into depression when I notice a new wrinkle – something which is happening nearly everyday.

Love

Mumabulous

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