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BAYSIDE

mamamAg Dec/Jan 2020

WIN shrek the musIcal tIckets Swim into Summer A mum’s kingdom Let’s talk about ‘it’ The art of packing Festive fun

free Local fun for the Bayside mum 1


FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

6pm SUN 8 DECEMBER

BICENTENNIAL PARK - CHELSEA

* Australia Day Awards * Citizenship Ceremony * Brunch Come join us at our Australia Day celebration, we have 100 free community tickets up for grabs. Get yours at kingston.vic.gov.au/australiaday

AUSTRALIA DAY • SUNDAY 26 JANUARY 2020 • KINGSTON CITY HALL, MOORABBIN


Hawaiian-themed fun!

Every Friday in January • 1 - 4pm giant pool inflatables aqua disco

wave pool fun roving entertainment

WAVES leisure centre HIGHETT • MORE INFO AT KINGSTON.ACTIVE.com.au

MORDIFEST SAVE THE DATE! All included in regular admission fees

CITY OF KINGSTON PRESENTS

SATURDAY 29 FEBRUARY + SUNDAY 1 MARCH peteR scullin resErve • MORDIAllOC


the SILLY Season Here, here, for the end of the year! How is it almost 2020 already? They say time flies when you’re having fun, so I must have had a fabulous year as this year has absolutely zoomed by! Now Summer is here and this mama is excited. It’s my favourite time of the year. The tail end of the year starts with Halloween fun as a warm-up, then we move into the Christmas spirit and warm sunny nights filled with BBQ’s and beach hangs. Speaking of Christmas, there is SO much going on. We’ve pulled together a bit of a guide of our favourite things happening in the area, so check it out on page 14. We also chatted with gorgeous mama Debbie Gasser who runs Santa’s Magical Kingdom with her family. What a fun family to grow up in! Santa’s Magical Kingdom is in full swing now at Caulfield Racecourse and it is simply amazing and well worth the trip. There is plenty of other fun stuff on if you don’t get into the Christmas spirit. Artvo has just reopened with 80 new original artworks which are simply amazing. The kids had a ball taking photos in there. Gumbuya World is open all Summer long and has an awesome new wave pool and heaps more water slides to entertain the kids. There are some great family shows coming up at the Arts Centre Melbourne including the latest Treehouse instalment, the 91-Storey Treehouse in Jan. With no major holiday plans for my little family, we will be filling our summer holidays with lots of fun day trips. Time at the beach, maybe some mini golf, a day on the Peninsula to check out the new Animalia sand sculpting at Boneo Discovery Park. Melbourne kids are really spoilt for choice over the Summer months, there is really no need to leave Victoria. So as we wrap up the year, I get to sit back and appreciate all that 2019 brought me. I’m still on a massive high from my recent 36km hike at Wilson’s Prom, raising money for Canteen. This was such a rewarding challenge on both a physical and emotional level. It’s also been an incredibly rewarding year at MamaMag with my team growing and the magazine bringing me such joy. I can’t wait to continue the MamaMag fun for you all in 2020. xxx @localmamamag

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Local fun for everyone • Bayside • Eastside • Northside • Westside


WIN

Contents A mums’ kingdom

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Debbie from Santa’s Magical Kingdom

The art of packing

8

Supermarket checkout stress

Swimming into Summer

10

Worth

Our local swimwear picks

Parklife 12 Booran Reserve, Glen Huntly

Festive fun

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Family Passes to SHREK THE MUSICAL

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Enter at www.mamamag.com.au/shrek

Talking ‘periods’

Positive transition Be ready for kinder/childcare

Mama can cook

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Celebrate with Chyka Keebaugh

Holiday pet-fection

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shrekthemusical.com.au

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MamaMag is published bi-monthly for the mums of Melbourne’s South by Grizzle Design Pty Ltd.

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ABN: 26 042 138 550. PO Box 8018 Brighton East 3187 Phone: 1300 771 446 Email: info@mamamag.com.au www.mamamag.com.au | www.grizzledesign.com.au

Mama’s top book picks

New year, new you 5 health goals to set

Connecting with kids How to create quality time

Shall we dance

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Dancing, a positive impact on kids

The art of Summer

38

Potato print fun

Squeeze to sneeze

40

Incontinence issues

Christmas your style

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Fun decorating themes

Colour to WIN 1 of 4 family passes to Gumbuya World

The Broadway smash hit SHREK THE MUSICAL is coming to Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne this February. Each 4-ticket set is for the 18th Feb 7pm show.

Entries are open to Victorian residents only. Competition starts Dec 1st 12.01am and closes Jan 31st 2020 at 11.59pm. ©Dreamworks Theatrical Limited 2018. All rights reserved ©SHREK THE MUSICAL. Visit www.mamamag.com.au/competitions for full terms and conditions.

Happy pets while you’re away

Turn the page

h

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What’s on in the South

Let’s talk about ‘it’

WIN 1 of 9

$360 eac

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12,500 copies per issue distributed bi-monthly across Melbourne’s South with 50,000 copies in total across all four MamaMag areas: Bayside • Eastside • Northside • Westside. Editor in Chief/Creative Director: Sarah Cavalier: sarah@mamamag.com.au For advertising enquiries contact: Olivia Wilson: olivia@mamamag.com.au For distribution enquiries contact: info@mamamag.com.au Want to write for us or have an article idea? submissions@mamamag.com.au The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publishing staff. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without permission of the publishers.

MamaMag Dec/Jan 2020

Health related articles are designed to be informative and educational. They are not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace one-on-one advice from your health practitioner.

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A mum’s kIngdom For years we have been visiting Santa’s Magical Kingdom and wondering who the clever people behind it were. Well turns out it’s a gorgeous local family! Debbie Gasser, along with her husband Tony and their three kids, are from Gisborne in Melbourne’s outer North and together they bring the Christmas magic to Caulfield Racecourse every year!

Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and your family. My husband Tony and I run our business Unique Attractions full time with our youngest son and I am step mum to the oldest two, who are adults now and also work in the industry. Fortunately we are able to work together on quite a few projects.

Your husband Tony is part of the family behind the amazing Silvers Circus. Tell us about your time in the circus together. Tony started performing with his parents from a very young age and has performed everything from flying trapeze, lion taming, clowning and numerous aerial acts. Tony and I performed together in our Wheel of Death act and Flying Trapeze as well. As Silver’s Circus is also a family business, everyone is involved in all aspects of the business, you definitely have to be adaptable as you wear many hats. Behind the scenes, aside from being involved with assembling and dismantling the tents and equipment, I drove trucks, made our costumes as well as the domestic duties in taking care of my family.

Your youngest son is now 7th generation circus. How involved are the kids in your businesses? Our youngest son is definitely kept very busy as he has just finished year 12, however he has been very hands on in the business as well. In between his studies and school commitments he is working on-site with the installations 6

for events which could be anywhere in the country. On top of all of that he is very involved with the social media for the business.

How did Santa’s Magical Kingdom originally come about? We thought that it would be a great opportunity to put a Christmas event together with our family and friends in the industry as we believed that we had the expertise, equipment and know-how between us to make a great event. Originally it was held in Burnley however from how well it was received, it was moved to its new home at Caulfield Racecourse which has allowed us the space to expand the event to the scale that it has become today.

How long does it take to bring the annual magic of SMK together each year? The administrative side of the business is run almost all year round with research and development into the upcoming production but to actual build Santa’s Magical Kingdom on site takes approximately four full weeks with a team of approximately 70 of Santa’s Little Helpers.

What new amazing fun can we expect at Santa’s Magical Kingdom this year? There are exciting new acts in the Circus Spectacular with very talented young performers. New decorations have also been installed throughout the Kingdom as well as the inclusion of new rides and attractions.

What’s your favourite thing about what you do? As Santa’s Magical Kingdom has become a Melbourne Christmas tradition, we have many families that come back every year so it is wonderful to be a part of their celebrations and see the children and families getting bigger every time. We put a lot of effort and focus on


keeping the event and performances fresh for all of the families while making sure that we hold on to the Santa’s Magical Kingdom feeling that makes it so special.

What’s the best thing about being a mum? I am fortunate to be in a situation where I have been able to spend a lot of time with my son as well as being able to work alongside him. I enjoy passing on family traditions with him and doing the things that I enjoyed to do with my family.

What does the Gasser family Christmas look like usually? We incorporate the family’s European heritage and start celebrating with a big family meal on Christmas Eve and open our presents. This is a wonderful time with my mum, my husband’s parents, siblings and their families where we enjoy a delicious Swiss/German dinner which my mother in-law prepares. On Christmas Day we celebrate the day with extended family and friends.

Where do you see yourself in 10 year’s time? As our business and our life is intertwined, I can see myself continuing to be as involved as I am now and surrounded by my family. Although I would like to think that I won’t be working so hard, I know myself too well!

And finally, care to share with us a funny parenting story? I am known to be a clean freak and my friends have a saying that “It is not clean unless it is Debbie clean”. I went to one of my good friend’s houses one day with my son who was 3 years old at the time and we took our shoes off at the door. My son saw a little bit of dirt on the floor and asked me if it was ok for him to put his shoes back on because the floor was too dirty. Thank goodness it was one of my very good friends who knows me very well because she just laughed and said “Yes, that is the mother’s child”. We still laugh about it today but I was so embarrassed at the time. Catch Santa’s Magical Kingdom at Caulfield Racecourse until Dec 29. santasmagicalkingdom.com.au 7


THE ART OF PACKING Before I had children, I used to leisurely stroll each and every aisle of the supermarket, picking things off the shelf absentmindedly. I didn’t bother with a grocery list. There was only two of us and if I forgot something then I’d return another day. No big deal. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought of this simple act of necessity as being an enviable task. I mourn the days of languid and uninterrupted meandering, just like how I wish I had appreciated sleep-ins. Nowadays, I go to the supermarket with either one or two kids in tow and the most pleasurable part of the experience is getting the kids back into the car and going home. I don’t know about other parents, but to me having two pipsqueaks continually saying, “Mummy, can we buy this?” and “Mummy, can I get that?” drives me insane. I almost never leave home without a grocery list, and I speed down aisles to collect items like I’m on a My Kitchen Rules cook-off. I obviously pass the chip, chocolate, and soft drink aisles because seriously, who needs the drama of wrestling contraband off a toddler? Normally, I go through self-serve because it’s the quickest way out of the store. With a toddler that can drop a tantrum like a hot potato, it’s best not to procrastinate in a place with too many temptations. On this one particular day, I had too many things in the trolley to go through self-serve and seeing a calm Henry, I opted for the manned checkout. I methodically place items in groups that I hope get bagged together. The young man at the register begins packing the bags, arranging items in particular positions like he’s a Tetris prodigy. Simply perfect for my anally retentive grocery packing personality. I can appreciate good packing skills. No one wants a dirty tango between raw meats and fruit.

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As he continues to pack at the rate of one item per minute, Henry starts to grumble about wanting to hop out of the shopping trolley. I try to placate him with a yoghurt and silently pray for the dude to hurry up. Henry’s about to throw down and no one will be ready for the impending Hiroshima-like explosion that will be unleashed. I twiddle my thumbs, glancing nervously at Henry’s whining and thrashing about. I give checkout dude one more minute for good measure but my eye twitches at the sight of him taking out a punnet of tomatoes and replacing them with the punnet of mushrooms. They are the exact same size! “Mummy!” Henry wails, his little fists gripping the bar and shaking it furiously. I suddenly jump into action. I grab the tomatoes off the dude and shove them into a bag. “How about you scan and I’ll help bag,” I tell him with a smile that’s too wide to be considered normal. He recoils at the sight of my crazed look and starts quickly scanning. I shove items left, right, and centre into bags, practically arm sweeping them in. I work at a rapid pace and only pause for breath once I hand over my credit card to pay. I stand back and take stock of my surroundings. The people behind me and the checkout dude are giving me strange looks. I start from the realisation of my erratic behaviour. Embarrassed, I quickly leave with my screaming toddler. It’s a sobering moment of selfawareness at how different my life has become. Do I regret having kids? Definitely not. Would I change anything? Probably not. Oh, wait. Yes. Avoid the Tetris guy. By Kathy Ha. Kathy is a creative writer, storytelling enthusiast and Eastside mama of two, sharing snippets of her journey through life and parenting on her blog, KN J Tales and Snippets. She aims to inspire, empower and ignite laughter, with every word that she writes. www.knj.home.blog


HAPPY

&

HEALTHY

HIGH ACHIEVING Mentone Grammar’s academic, cocurricular and wellbeing programs are designed for the holistic development of our students so that they can achieve their personal best and be happy and healthy young people. This is delivered within our highly acknowledged Together-Apart-Together coeducational model. From our Early Learning Centre through to Year 12, we provide age and stage appropriate programs designed to engage the modern learner in a dynamic environment. EXPERIENCE MENTONE GRAMMAR AT A SCHOOL TOUR Book online or contact us for more information at:

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swImMING INTO SUmmer

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4. Australian Swimwear all the way: Monte & Lou - monteandlou.com Founded in Sydney by best friends, Monte & Lou understand that no two women’s bodies are the same and they design with that very uniqueness in mind. 1. Monte & Lou Cross Front Bralette $99.95 and regular pant $74.95 2. Monte & Lou Copperhead Long Sleeve Surfsuit $199.95 Zella Swim - zellaswim.com.au Shiralee is a busy mama of 2 energetic boys and a self proclaimed curvy-girl. After kids she wanted to create what women want in a swimsuit, something that reclaims your confidence, makes you feel sexy and proves to you that you’ve still got it. 3. Zella Swim Rhi Rhi Adjustable Bikini Top $84 and Rhi Rhi High Waisted Reversible Bottoms $96 4. Zella Swim Ariella Versatile Reversible One Piece $170

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Marvell Lane - marvell-lane.com Designed in Byron Bay by Rachael Marelle, Marvell Lane caters specifically to style conscious fuller-busted women. Not only do they manufacturer ethically but do so as sustainably as possible, even limiting their use of plastics to almost nil! 5. Marvell Lane Sofia One Piece - Valentina Print - $169.95 6. Marvell Lane Ava Bikini Top $129.95 & Arianna Bikini Brief $69.95 Infamous Swim -infamousswim.com Famous for twinning your family, local Melbourne mum Gemma Crowe’s stunning range is for women who want to feel empowered in their swimwear no matter what stage of life. Purchase a pair of their Marshmallow Leopard swimwear and they will donate $5 to Share a Dignity Australia to support women in crisis. 7. Marshmallow Leopard GIA top $69 Marshmallow Ginger bottoms $66 8. Monochrome Miranda one piece $128


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Mara Swim - maraswim.com.au Sisters Kirsty and Naomi are behind the iconic Australian Made luxurious swimwear label - MARA swim Australia. After Naomi was diagnosed with melanoma, the siblings started a movement to spread awareness of sun damage while producing the long awaited style that has been missing from sun protection – and so MARA swim Australia was born. 9. Mara swim ADORE One Piece $275 10. Mara swim FLORALE One Piece $275 Une piece - www.unepiece.com Living by the mantra “Life is Beautiful” founder of UNE PIECE, Carly Brown, launched the brand with a single-minded passion to empower women to feel beautiful by the water. 11. Une piece Classic One Piece Leopard RRP $189

MummActiv - www.mummactiv.com 12. Breastfeeding friendly Mums Gone Wild swim top $69 Sunsoaked - sunsoaked.com.au 13. SunSoaked originated from a desire by the Australian founderKate Davis Steer to enjoy her outdoor lifestyle by the ocean, pool and beyond to the fullest. Bree Half Sleeve One Piece – Bahia. $239.00 SomerSide Towels - www.somerside.com.au 14. They’ve transformed discarded plastic bottles into the most uniquely designed and versatile towel. Each towel contains 8-14 plastic bottles $55 Tesalate Towels -au.tesalate.com The idea for Tesalate came to Aussies Jacky and Volkan when they were out hiking and when it was time to leave their towel was wet, heavy, and sandy and they started questioning if they could make a towel that not only performed much better but looked amazing too. 15. Tesalate Phoenix - Towel for Two $139 au.tesalate.com

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ParklIfe Booran Reserve, Glen Huntly The award winning Booran Reserve is the $10.8 million jewel of the City of Glen Eira’s play spaces and the number one spot for water play this Summer. It has been billed as ‘Melbourne’s best playground’ and rightly so, it’s pretty darn impressive! Built on the site of an old reservoir, the park celebrates its unique history with parts of the reservoir wall retained to accommodate a climbing wall and sports area. The play space features a giant, 10-metrehigh double dome rope climbing net with slide. The net provides climbing challenges to provide expansive views of the play space and surrounding areas from the highest lookout platform. Other unique play equipment includes: a giant bird’s nest swing, dual flying fox with all abilities access seat, a 5-way swing, inground trampolines, a human hamster wheel,

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Image: Lark Industries

imaginative sensory play areas and cubbies, two-tiered sandpit and a water pump with gates flowing into a rock-lined trickle stream. The awesome water play area reflects the former use of the site with large and small fountains on cobblestones with trickling areas surrounding stepping stones which are fun to jump across. Kids will definitely need bathers and towels, but they will get wet even if you don’t bring them! An active sports area along the reservoir wall features painted on cricket stumps, basketball and netball hoops, tennis wall, as well as passive spots for relaxation, picnic shelters and BBQs. Mama says pop over the road to the beautifully decorated Upsy Daisy cafe for a coffee and a snack after all the fun.

Cnr Booran Road and Glenhuntly Road, Glen Huntly.


festive fun In the south Carols by Kingston

Mornington Carols in the park

Sun 8th Dec, 6-9.45pm Bicentennial Park, Thames Promenade, Chelsea

Sat 21nd Dec, 5.30-8pm Schnapper Point Drive, Mornington

Come on down to Bicentennial Park in Chelsea to enjoy a festive program including live performances from Tim Campbell, Rhonda Burchmore and guests. There will also be a Christmas Gift Market, Kids Zone and as always, the spectacular fireworks finale.

Bayside Carols in the park Tues 10th Dec, 7.30-9.30pm, Dendy Park, Brighton East. Pre-show activities for children start at 5pm and the main concert kicks off at 7.30pm and is headlined by a variety of performers including the Southern Area Concert band, Vocally Wild and Mosaic Choirs. There is a variety of food stalls available to purchase from on the night. There will be a special appearance by Santa and Channel 10’s Mike Larkan will once again host the celebrations. This fantastic event will end with a spectacular fireworks finale at 9.30pm.

Glen Eira Carols in the park Sat 14th Dec, 5.30-8pm Bentleigh Hodgson Reserve, Bentleigh ARIA award-winner Anthony Callea will host Carols in the Park. Anthony is one of Australia’s finest vocalists and performers. His debut single The Prayer became the highest and fastest selling single of all time in Australia. The evening’s festivities will feature Melbourne Gospel Choir, Glen Eira Band, Pevan & Sarah Christmas Show and a secret special guest in a red and white suit. A wide selection of food will also be available.

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Mornington Carols in the Park is a special night out for the whole family. It will be jingle bells all the way, with festivities for the whole family. Carols for 2019 will be hosted by none other than the Superband and other roving entertainment. There are children’s activities, food trucks and entertainment and of course, you better watch out because no Christmas celebration is complete without a visit from the big man himself, Santa Claus.

Santa’s Post Box On now until 14th Dec. Australia Post is encouraging young Australians to write to Santa this Christmas. To ensure Santa can reply, please attach a 65 cent stamp on the front of the envelope and write your name and return address on the back and post it by Dec 14. Please note that Santa will only reply to Australian addresses. Letters to Santa can be placed in a dedicated Santa mailbox at most Post Offices or any red street post box. postcard from Santa.

Stonnington Christmas at Central Park Sun 8th Dec 7.30-9.30pm. Central Park, 83 - 141 Burke Road, Malvern East. Hosted by award winning pop rock artist and Eurovision entrant Ella Hooper (Killing Heidi and re-formed Killing Heidi Version 2), this year’s event will feature incredible performances by Jason Herrah (2014 Australian X Factor), Fem Belling (South African born vocalist and violinist) and local Stonnington-based theatre performer Blake Bowden (The Book of Mormon, Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific). Enjoy roving entertainment, a special visit by Santa, spectacular fireworks display and Auslan interpretation.


Santa’s Magical Kingdom Spirit of Christmas Friday 13th Dec 10.30am and 1.30pm, Frankston Arts Centre. Undoubtedly one of the most popular shows for the year is Daytime Music + Theatre’s Christmas show. Star Australian and Victorian Opera baritone and Frankston resident, Roger Lemke will be joined on stage by the wonderful tones of star tenor Roy Best in a Christmas show not to be missed. Packed with all the Christmas favourites ranging from classic Christmas carols to some contemporary Christmas songs combined with a whole lot of laughs and no doubt many surprises, this new Christmas production from Promac will again have audiences leaving in the true Christmas spirit.

Christmas Kingdom Mon-Sun, 10am-5pm. Mentone and Dandenong All the Christmas shopping fun you can want in the one store. Discover the magic of Christmas at Christmas Kingdom. A wonderland of inspiration, with all your festive decorating needs under the one roof.

The Dandenong Christmas Tree Farm Weekdays: 23rd Dec: 9am-8pm Christmas Eve: 24nd Dec: 9am-4pm Weekends: till 22nd Dec: 8am-6pm 336 Brown Road, Officer. The Dandenong Christmas Tree Farm has been growing real Christmas trees for almost 50 years. They nurture the trees to various heights, expertly pruning them by hand twice a year.

On now until Dec 29th, Caulfield Racecourse. The magic of Christmas will come alive at Santa’s Magical Kingdom with an interactive walk-through adventure land including everything that you love about Christmas, plus the Bertocchi International Spectacular Christmas Show that will amaze everyone at Caulfield Racecourse. Lasting memories of fun, laughter and special ‘family time’ will be remembered by guests long after the event has come to a close. Santa’s Magical Kingdom is for every child and the ‘inner-child’ in all of us. www.santasmagicalkingdom.com.au

Santa train at Bellarine railway 14th–15th Dec, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm & 2pm, Queenscliff Station. Make this Christmas extra special by joining Santa, Mrs Claus and the carolling elves on board the Santa Train. Enjoy a steam train ride from Queenscliff to Lakers Siding and return.

Gingerbread Village by Epicure On now until 24th Dec, 9am-8.15pm daily. St. Collins Lane, 260 Collins St, Melbourne. This festive season, the Gingerbread Village will be showcased at St. Collins Lane (only 2 minutes walk from the Melbourne Town Hall), with plenty of activities organised for the kids to ensure a fun day out for young and old. EPICURE’S pastry chefs will also be baking and selling delicious treats – the perfect Christmas gifts for friends and family! Entry to the Gingerbread Village is by gold coin donation, with all proceeds going to the the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Your picture-perfect Christmas tree is busy growing right now, waiting for you to come and choose it. Standing at just the right height and boasting a classic shape, this is the tree to create special yuletide memories for your family this Christmas.

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Children’s ideas and thinking form the basis of our learning environment Open and progressive flexible indoor and outdoor programs. Experienced staff who value learning and what each child has to offer. Community based local incursions and excursions.

1300 786 794 www.shel.edu.au

Let your child’s early learning story begin with us

Cheltenham

337 Bay Road 9553 9971 cheltenham@shel.edu.au

Clyde North

1-3 Selandra Blvd 5999 0697 clydenorth@shel.edu.au

Building independence through exploration Exciting environments inside and out with interest based onsite active programs. Family events held regularly throughout the year. No bond or enrolment fee required.

1300 786 794 www.shel.edu.au

Black Rock

173 Bluff Road 9598 4103 blackrock@shel.edu.au

Lynbrook

10-12 Northey Road 8768 7564 lynbrook@shel.edu.au

Noble Park

Opening 2020

61-63 Chandler Road 1300 786 794 noblepark@shel.edu.au

Springvale South

808-814 Heatherton Road 9540 9479 springvalesouth@shel.edu.au


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Let’s Talk About ‘IT’ At thirteen, I was the second last girl in our group to get ‘IT’. If this was a race, it seemed I was destined to languish at the loser’s end. If having your period signified maturity, was I to remain a child forever? Worse still, was there something fundamentally wrong with me? I was interstate when my daughter first got her period. The texts were never ending. Despite having discussed menstruation with her, the reality was as emotional as it was physical. I’d abandoned her during this deep, dark, mysterious rite of passage and she had to fess up about bodily functions to a babysitter. As over fifty percent of girls these days get their first period younger than thirteen and starting at nine is not entirely unusual, it’s imperative that we assist kids in demystifying periods. Culturally, it does seem we are learning to attach less shame to periods, but there’s still a way to go. We need to be open and honest and remove stigma from a completely normal process.

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The only novel from my adolescence I can recall that openly discussed menstruation was Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume. I wrote The Last One in the Universe partly as a homage to Judy Blume; updated for modern audiences but still entirely frank about an experience that affects half the population. In children’s fiction, readers generally ‘read up’, looking to characters a year or two older than they are so as to vicariously experience their future. So, this book (as well as others in the Girl V the World series) is aimed at readers from 8 up. Kids are crying out for knowledge in this area. So, let’s talk about ‘IT’. Let’s talk about emotions, cramps, tampons, pads, leakage, what the blood looks like, how it feels, how symptoms can vary from person to person. Let’s talk about PERIODS - Period. By Chrissie Perry (who also writes as Chrissie Keighery). Chrissie is the author of thirty-five books for children and young adults, including the popular Go Girl series which has sold over 3 million copies. The Last One in the Universe, a Hardie Grant Egmont book, is refreshingly honest and deliciously heartwarming, perfect for readers aged 8 to 13.


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Get more from mama - www.mamamag.com.au | Get social with mama - @localmamamag

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POSITIVE TRANSITION 8 tips for a positive transition to childcare or kindergarten Starting at an early learning and care centre (childcare) or kindergarten for the first time is a big step and can be a daunting experience for both you and your child. It’s important you feel comfortable with the environment and with the educators who will be caring for and educating your child. For some children change is easy. They embrace it and will confidently smile, wave goodbye to you on the first day and not look back. For others, it may be the first time they’ve been away from their immediate family, and it can take some time for them to settle into a new environment and routine. Both responses are perfectly OK, and a sign of healthy emotional development.

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To help in this transition, Early Childhood Management Services (ECMS) has put together a few tips to support you and your child navigate this emotional time:

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1. Visit the centre or kindergarten several times before you leave your child for the first time so they can start to develop relationships with the educators and familiarise themselves with the space, equipment and toys. The more familiar they are, the easier it’ll be when it’s time for you to go. Many early learning centres offer staggered orientation to suit individual family needs, so ensure you have conversations with your child’s educator about what you believe will work best for you.


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2. Prepare your child for the upcoming change. Talk with your child about what will happen when they go to kinder/childcare and who’ll be there to look after them. 3. Building strong relationships with your child’s educators is important. Talk to your child’s educator about any concerns you may have. They will be able to support you in a consistent strategy that will assist your child to settle into their new environment. At times your child may need an educator to support your farewell. Work together to assess the best way for the transition or handover from parent to educator. Each child is different and requires different support, but by working together you and your child’s educator can plan and adapt strategies to meet your child’s needs. 4. A consistent and predictable routine at drop off time can help promote a positive separation. A simple routine such as putting your child’s bag in their locker and spending a couple of minutes with them doing an activity they enjoy can help a child to feel comfortable. Then let them know it’s time to say goodbye. Telling your child you’ll be back after lunch/afternoon tea/outside time can help them feel secure. Keeping your language predictable (by having a little script) can also be reassuring for the child, builds a sense of familiarity and comfort and they learn to predict ‘what comes next’.

5. 6.

5. A comfort item can assist in the transition. If your child has a special teddy, toy or small blanket they use to comfort themselves, ensure you let educators know and bring it along. Transitional comfort items can assist the child to feel safe while they’re adapting to a new environment. 6. Be part of the centre! Children love sharing their new space and friends with their family. You could volunteer to help for a session as educators are always on the lookout for willing parents to spend time reading stories, gardening, cooking, making music, or sharing any other special skills. The more involved you are with the centre, the more your child

will see you have a strong relationship with educators, which assists them to feel secure and safe. 7. Once you’ve said goodbye to your child, it is time to leave! Dragging out the goodbye or going back several times because they are upset is not helpful for you or your child. It’s hard to walk away knowing your child is upset, but educators are highly skilled at settling children. And the more confident you appear with this routine (even if you end up having a quiet cry in your car after drop off), the sooner your child will develop responsive relationships with the teaching team, and feel settled and safe. 8. Feel free to call the centre to check in with. It’s important you’re confident in the team supporting your child, and that you’re working together in transitioning your child into the program. With some thoughtful planning and preparation, you can support your child’s transition to their new environment to ensure their early learning experience is filled with exploration, discovery, friendships and fun! By selecting an ECMS childcare or kindergarten program, you can rest assured your child will have access to the best possible start to their educational journey. They have been helping thousands of Melbourne children through high quality, play-based programs for over 22 years. In fact, now more than 6500 Melbourne families each week entrust ECMS with their child’s early learning and care. For more useful tips follow ECMS on: Facebook: @ecmschildren Instagram: @ecms_childhood Twitter: @ecms_childhood By Shannan Mudie, Deputy Director Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Management Services. Shannan holds a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and a Certificate 4 in Workplace Training and Assessment. www.ecms.org.au

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Are You Looking For Child Care or Kindergarten in 2020?

Secure your child’s place on the waitlist

Enquire today on 8481 1100 or visit ecms.org.au for a list of centres in your area

ECMS is a leading community not-for-profit provider of early learning and care services across Melbourne.

Let’s Connect @ecmschildren @ecms_childhood @ecms_childhood


G E A T T T TO O G

Victoria’s ONLY Water, Wildlife & Theme Park Tickets at Gumbuya.com.au 23

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mama can Cook! Peach glazed ham Ingredients

5–6 kg (11–13 oz) ham leg, skin removed and trimmed Glaze: This glaze can be made up to two days ahead. How’s that for getting organised? 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small brown onion, roughly chopped 2 star anise 1 teaspoon ground cardamom 2 yellow peaches, stoned and finely diced 125ml dark rum 125ml white-wine vinegar 230g dark brown sugar

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Serves: 8 Time: Approx 1 hour 30 min

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C. To make the glaze, heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium– high heat. Add the onion, star anise and cardamom and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the peaches and rum and continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and cook for 4 minutes. Add the sugar and cook for a further 4 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the star anise with a fork and carefully pour the mixture into a blender, then purée until smooth. Using a small, sharp knife, score the ham fat in a large diamond pattern. Cover the hock with aluminium foil. Place the ham on a lightly greased wire rack in a roasting tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Brush the glaze all over the ham, then cook for 40–50 minutes, basting with the glaze every 10 minutes, or until golden, caramelised and cooked through.


This is an edited extract from Chyka Celebrate by Chyka Keebaugh published by Hardie Grant Books $40 and is available where all good books are sold.

Photography ©Commission Studio

Christmas Pud Ingredients

Method

Butter, for greasing

Grease a 1.5 litre/6 cup pudding bowl with butter.

100g pitted dates

Roughly chop the dates, then combine with the ginger in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until very well combined.

3 tablespoons chopped crystallised ginger Zest of 1 orange 500g mixed dried fruit, such as cranberries, cherries, apricots, sultanas and raisins 125g plain (all-purpose) flour 125g caster (superfine) sugar 150g fresh breadcrumbs 2 tablespoons brandy Handful of chopped nuts, such as pecan nuts, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts 1 large, free-range egg 150ml milk

Transfer the mixture to the greased bowl and cover with a double layer of aluminium foil. Tie a piece of string around the bowl to hold the foil in place. Place the bowl in a large stockpot with a tight-fitting lid and pour in enough water to come halfway up the side of the bowl. Bring to the boil, then place the lid on the pan and simmer for 3 hours – don’t forget to check the water level regularly to make sure it never boils dry. If it does, it will burn and the bowl will crack. After 3 hours, remove the foil and turn the pudding out onto a plate. Serve warm. Chyka likes to serve it with cute gingerbread reindeer antlers on top! 25


HOLIDAY petfection How to make sure your pet is happy and cared for when you and the family are away! It’s holiday season! But you’re a pet owner... Even though you love seeing new places and revisiting old favourites, the one thing that is always difficult is leaving your pets behind. Here are some of my favourite tips on how to make sure your furry family members are happy and healthy while you’re gone!! Plan ahead. Before taking off, give yourself time to find the right person or service to care of them. Consider the dates you’re leaving, if it’s at peak holiday times get organised early to book your pet care. Leave your pets at home. We understand some pets are happier at home in their own environment with their usual smells, and surroundings. A lot of pet owners also have more than one pet and possibly fish, rabbits, birds the list can go on and on. See if you can have a friend house/pet sit or engage a professional service like My Pet Watch to come to visit them each day, walk them, play with them, clean the yard and feed them. This means your pet(s) get to enjoy the comforts of being in their own home. Insurance. A lot of pet owners these days have pet insurance, but what about the people who care for your pets? Using a professional service can alleviate this concern. Leave prepared. Leave your pet’s minder with detailed instructions about how to reach you if there’s a problem and what to do in case you are 80 feet underwater diving or staying in a safari camp and she or he can’t contact you. Your vet’s details, microchip numbers, your pet’s like and dislikes, food intake and meal requirements, favourite toys, beds, blanket and 26

an emergency contact if you’re unreachable. The more information the better. That way you can be assured that they can proceed until you can be reached. It also makes it a lot easier for you to relax when you’re gone. Collars and name tags. Even at home, have your dog or cat wear a collar that has your phone number on it. You’ll be happy you did this, in case they ever try to run away. Communicate. Take a tip from ET: Phone home. Your pets love to hear your voice! Thanks to technology nowadays, we can also visit “in person,” thanks to Skype and FaceTime. There is now even a PetCam device that you can hire through My Pet Watch and selfmonitor your pets through an app on your smart device. Take your pet with you — in photo form. Kids often miss their pets when away. Slip photos of them in your purse or wallet to pull out when they are needed most. Alternately you may have hundreds of photos of them on your smartphone. Sharing your photos with other animal lovers while you’re on holidays is always a great conversation maker! Don’t make a big deal when you leave and return. Long goodbyes and hellos can make your pets feel nervous and can lead to separation anxiety. To help keep your pet calm, walk out like you’ll be back in a minute, and when you return, greet them like it hasn’t been that long. Pretending like it’s not a big deal will help them think so too. By Natasha Morgan, security and pet care expert and founder of My Home Watch. myhomewatch.com.au


Coming Soon!

Discover an early learning adventure like no other. Early Learning Centre in Elsternwick coming in 2020. At Niño Early Learning Adventures, everything we do is about providing opportunities for children to become brave, creative, resilient and kind. Discover how our unique curriculum and Positive Education program gives every child the opportunity to have meaningful learning experiences, build positive emotions, strengthen relationships and evolve to their full potential.

Enquire today! Niño ELA Elsternwick 31 Nepean Hwy 9421 6755

ninoela.com.au


turn the page Ask Hercules Quick, by Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by Andrew Joyner A hilarious and entertaining story about a boy who does a series of odd jobs for his eccentric neighbours, from the bestselling creators of The Terrible Plop. ‘How much money do I have in my piggy bank?’ asked Hercules. ‘Actually,’ said Aunt Alligator, ‘I don’t think you have a piggy bank, Hercules.’ Hercules sighed. No piggy bank, no money. I need a job, he thought. That’s what I need. He got out his paints, his paintbrush and a big piece of plain paper. On the paper, he painted some words. NEED SOMETHING DONE? ASK HERCULES QUICK!. Published by Allen & Unwin. RRP $19.95

The Great Escape: Wolf Girl 2 by Anh Do, Illustrated by Jeremy Ley The wait is over - Wolf Girl returns! I held onto the bars of the truck and howled to my dogs as they fell further and further behind. Sunrise, Brutus, Zip, Nosey and Tiny all ran as hard as they could, but there was no way they could keep up… After four years alone in the wild, Gwen is overjoyed to see another person. But when she is thrown into the back of a van and stolen away to a prison camp, things don’t look good. How will her pack find her? Where is her human family? Will the other kids in the camp be friends or enemies? Luckily, Eagle is fast, the dogs are brave, and bars and fences are no match for the one and only Wolf Girl! Published by Allen & Unwin. RRP $19.95

The Sound of the Dark, by 13 young Australian writers If you want to be thrilled, excited, tantalised, horrified, frightened and shocked all at once, you’ve come to the right book! The Sound of the Dark features puppets, creepy girls, headless teddy bears and rashes to scare the pants off you! (Disclaimer: We are not responsible for run-away pants). Our 15 editors received 135 submissions from young Australian writers, including one by beloved children’s author Oliver Phommavanh. They have collected the very best stories and illustrations to deliver a creepy horror themed book like you’ve never experienced before. Available at www.100storybuilding.org.au RRP $16.99

But We’re Not Lions by Karen Young The animals were mighty and magnificent, but they were miserable! For way too long, they’d been forced to become something that didn’t feel right - something that felt too much like bad days and scratchy things. The animals needed a hero, or someone to show them that a hero was in each of them all along. A book about boundaries, peer pressure, self-esteem, and self-acceptance, and a reminder for all kids that the very best thing about them, is them. Available at heysigmund.com. RRP $24.95 28


SummeR Series From Sunday 1 December immerse yourself in a summer season of family fun as the Summer Series rolls into Prahran Square.

Paper Trees

Visit daily until Christmas to see a Paper Tree forest move around the Square, or make your own.

Just Another Square

Watch artists from Just Another Agency create striking street art.

Prahran Square Live

Free live music sessions every Thursday evening.

Sunday in the Square

Round out the weekend with a Sunday afternoon session of chilled out music.

Busking Saturday

See buskers at Commercial Corner every Saturday.

Active Stonnington

Daily health and wellbeing sessions proudly presented by Active Stonnington.

There’s plenty to keep the kids busy with an adventure playground and fountain in the middle of the Square creating a cool and fun water play area!

prahransquare.com.au


Free Events SUMMER 2019 / 2020

December

2019

January

2020

February

CHRISTMAS CONCERTS

SUNSET SOUNDS

THE CLASSICS

Christmas at Central Park

Victoria Gardens

Opera

Host Ella Hooper Sunday 8 December 7.30pm – 9.30pm Central Park, Malvern East

Carols at Como Park Host Rob Mills Sunday 15 December 7.30pm –o 9.30pm Como Park, South Yarra

Sunday 5 January 5pm – 8pm Victoria Gardens, Prahran

Central Park Sunday 12 January 5pm – 8pm Central Park, Malvern East

Malvern Gardens Sunday 19 January 5pm – 8pm Malvern Gardens, Malvern

Keep up-to-date with events in Stonnington What’s On Stonnington @whats_on_stonnington STONNINGTON.VIC.GOV.AU

2020

Puccini’s Tosca Saturday 1 February 7.30pm Victoria Gardens, Prahran

Broadway

‘S Wonderful with Jack Earle Big Band feat. Rhonda Burchmore Saturday 15 February 7.30pm Ardrie Park, Malvern East

Symphony

Stonnington Symphony with Archie Roach Saturday 22 February 7.30pm Malvern Gardens, Malvern


New year, new you Let’s all be honest, very rarely do we set ourselves a new year’s resolution that we actually stick to. This is largely due us falling into the trap of setting ourselves unrealistic or unachievable goals, especially when it comes to improving our health and well-being. Be Fit Food shares their top 5 (achievable!) health goals to set yourself with easy ways you can change up small parts of your day to day and improve your health in 2020.

1. Swap it Simple swaps with your food choices can help you feel more energetic and get all the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy body.

Practice a balanced, respectful and healthy relationship with food. Become aware of your hunger cues to learn when you are hungry and what you are hungry for. This can stop habitual eating for the sake of it. After eating a meal, take the time to notice your feelings of fullness. Pause for a moment to contemplate what you’ve eaten and how it made you feel. Don’t simply eat more because you can... we all know food comas lead to fatigue and bloating!

5. Take the stairs There can be some very easy ways to slowly incorporate more movement into your day to day:

Some easy and simple swaps can be:

• Choose the stairs rather than escalator

• adding herbs or spices to your meal rather than salt

• Park further away when at the shops

• swap deep fried food for grilled, sautéed or poached options

• Take your runners to work and walk 10-20 minutes on your lunch break

• choose water or soda/mineral water rather than sugary drinks or alcohol

• When you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or the microwave, squeeze in as many squats or lunges as you can.

• trade processed meat like sausages, hamburgers or bacon for chicken breast, steak or fish

It’s always a good idea to seek support with practitioners in the field who may support you in achieving personal health goals.

• make a fruit platter for dessert

2. Add variety and colour Add as much colour as you can to your dinner plate from veggies. Try to buy a vegetable you aren’t familiar with each week and explore the different ways you can cook it. Variety ensures you get an array of different vitamins and minerals into your diet.

3. Morning routine Allow 10 minutes at the start of your day to make time for a healthy, wholefood breakfast. If you’re wanting to get active, set your alarm 40 minutes earlier and to make time for a 30-minute walk around the block. Walking can have hugely positive impact on both our weight and mental health.

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4. Practice mindful eating

Be Fit Food provides the food, resources and dietitian support to help you lose up to 5kgs in two weeks. For more information head to www.befitfood.com.au.


ConnectIng wIth KIds It’s important to find time to connect with your child every day, even when you work full time. There is a lot of research on the amount and quality of time that parents spend with their children and how it effects their relationship and future outcomes.

“Children have to feel they get enough of you, whether you’re in the house or not.”

“It’s about having a warm, physical connection, talking to them, playing with them, being responsive to them. You don’t have to be at home all day to do that,” says Dr Markham.

Based on the above research and ideas about finding times to connect with your child one on one, look into their eyes, hug them and listen to them…

Oxytocin is a chemical in the brain released during times when a person feels love and connection. It has been shown to help parents bond with their children, adding a sense of trust and support between them. This bond most likely helps our brain produce and use oxytocin, causing a child to feel more positive emotions.

Here are 15 times of the day when you can find a few minutes to talk, engage and enjoy the connection with your child. 1. When getting your child out of bed in the morning – Start the day with a big kiss and cuddle, tell your child you missed them, ask how they slept (even if they can’t talk you can talk to them as though they can). Tell them what the plan is for the day.

5. When getting them dressed – It’s a good time to talk about what to wear, what colour are their socks etc. You can also get in a little cuddle at this time. This is one of my favourite moments, as I get to hug my child with just his nappy on and hold his whole body close to me.

2. When changing their nappy – This is a great time to have a little chat, tickle, sing a song with your child. It’s also a great time to give them a big cuddle when you put them down on the change table (or floor, or mat) and again when you pick them up.

6. When walking out to the car – Take them by the hand (or carry them depending on their age) and count the steps together or have a look at the flowers in the garden, or the clouds in the sky. Have a quick chat on the way to the car.

3. When making and eating breakfast – Even if they are too young to talk, you can ask them what they’d like for breakfast, toast or Weetbix for example and they will likely respond in some way to you (they may point). 4. While packing bags – Have some random dance time after breakfast, if you aren’t running late. I like to put a song on and dance around the kitchen holding my child and singing to them. They usually laugh and find it very funny if I spin them around and sing.

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7. When putting them in the car and doing up their seat belt – Pick them up and give them a squeeze as your put them in the car. Say “clip” as you clip in the seat belt and they will tend to copy you. 8. When dropping them off – Get down to your child’s level and say goodbye, give them a hug, say have lovely day, ask them who they are going to play with today.


9. When picking them up – Pick up your child, tell them you missed them, and give them a huge hug and kiss. Ask them about their day, what did they have for lunch, did they create/draw/paint anything, who did they play with, did they go outside? 10. When giving them a bath in the evening – Kids need to be supervised in the bath, so it’s a great time to get a few minutes with them. You can play with ducks and boats in the bath, use bath crayons to draw on the bath and your child. 11. When giving them dinner – Similarly to breakfast time, you can discuss what you’re going to have for dinner. Talk about the colours of the food, why they are healthy (e.g. carrots are good for your vision, protein helps build muscle). 12. When brushing their teeth – You may do this in the bath or at a different time. You can talk to them about their teeth and all the parts of their mouth they need to brush. It’s a good

Finish off the day with a little chat; if they are old enough ask how they are feeling, talk about what will happen tomorrow (e.g. kinder, weekend, a party). You may want to have a little night time ritual such as doing round and round the garden on their hand, or laying with them for a few minutes. Connecting with your child every day will build your bond with them, and these will become moments that you will treasure and reflect back on when they grow.

chance to get down to their level and look in their mouth and their little face. 13. When getting them into their pyjamas – You can talk to them about what a nice day it was, something nice that happened today or if something not so nice happened how tomorrow is a new day. Again a great time for a kiss and cuddle. 14. When reading a book before bed – This is a really nice time to connect, ask your child to choose a book and then read together. If they are quite young but can talk you can ask what’s happening on the pages, what animals they see, you don’t have to just “read” the book. 15. Bedtime feed – If your child has a bottle or or breastfeed before bed, you can hold them in your arms and get them to relax. This is a good time to sing softly to your child, look into their little face and enjoy them. Hug them close. When two humans hold each other closely for an extended period oxytocin is released which feels great.

By Kristen Dias from Travel Karma. Kristen created Travel Karma to help parents feel calm and prepared when getting on a long-haul flight with their children, knowing they would be captivated and engaged with educationally designed activities. Travel Karma’s activity packs don’t distract your kids, they Teach them. www.travelkarma.com

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shall we dance? Did you know Australian kids love to dance! More Australian children participate in dance classes per week than in any team sport. And the good news: it’s good for them. Here are the top five reasons why dance has a positive impact on children.

1. It promotes social interaction and fosters relationships Dance classes pulls kids out of the bubble of screen-time and brings them face to face with each other. Learning choreography together requires patience and partnership, and teaches the value of working as a team. Children can develop new and lasting friendships and build trust and openness with others. Socialisation can help kids break out of their shell and improves their self-esteem and communication skills. Dance friends are forever friends!

2. It improves physical health Dance is a firm foundation for health in later life. Dancing can increase a child’s flexibility, physical strength and stamina, and instilling a love of dance from a young age can help motivate kids to stay active as they grow up. Learning to dance can improve posture, balance, coordination and overall cardiovascular health. When a child is more physically active, they are more likely to participate in sports and other school activities, and less likely to put on unhealthy weight. Dance also offers a positive physical outlet for kids with boundless energy who need to release pent-up excitement.

3. It teaches discipline and focus Eyes on the prize! As children practise for endof-year concerts, they learn about perseverance and hard work. Dance is the ideal creative outlet in that it balances freedom of movement with instruction and structure. During dance classes, teachers inspire kids to try new things while promoting self-motivation and selfdiscipline. 36

4. It nurtures confidence and boosts self-assurance Find your light … As children begin to understand the movements and postures required in dance, they gain a better sense of their bodies and themselves. As they become more comfortable in their own skin, their confidence and self-esteem also significantly improve. Dance lessons can encourage children towards more positive attitudes and help them explore their own self-expression.

5. It sparks creativity Dance happens outside the box. It encourages kids to open their imaginations, and to explore the creative worlds inside them. Because dance incorporates many other art forms, it may also lead to the discovery of other creative outlets such as art, music or drama. Early childhood is the best time to foster creativity, and creative problem solving will serve your child for life, whatever field they pursue. Looking for a way to inspire your child to dance? The Australian Ballet’s Storytime series is designed especially for kids aged 3 and up. At under an hour, these interactive, narrative versions of the great classics are the perfect introduction to the magic of dance. Storytime: The Nutcracker will be running in Melbourne and Sydney these summer holidays. Written by Rose Mulready and Keshia Contini The Australian Ballet australianballet.com.au


Just for kids

T H E N U TC R AC K E R 11 – 15 DECEMBER 2019 Arts Centre Melbourne

Performances: 11am, 2pm and 4pm

The perfect Christmas gift your tiny dancers won’t forget!

Artists of The Australian Ballet. Photography Jeff Busby

Summer Adventure Awaits! Hedge Mazes, Formal Gardens, Tube Slides, Brain Teasers, Canopy Walk, 3D Maze, Mirror House and more! Looking for even more? Try our Tree Surfing or Big Zip experiences! Bookings are essential. COMING SOON in December! New ‘Sky Scramble’ attraction! www.enchantedmaze.com.au 03 5981 8449 55 Purves Road, Arthurs Seat

Get more from mama - www.mamamag.com.au | Get social with mama - @localmamamag

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the art of Summer Not all mamas are inclined to enjoy DIY or the clean up afterwards, so here are some tips to get you through the Summer break when the cries of “I’m bored” echo through the house. Firstly, like going into most battles, you need to be prepared! Have a basic art kit ready to go by investing in: • Acrylic paints in primary colours as well as black and white so you can mix ANY shade!

And lastly, this stuff doesn’t have to cost a fortune or require much forethought, you can use whatever you have laying around at home. The humble potato print can easily bring the fun!

How to: • Grab a potato or three from your pantry – firmer is better but use up the ones that are starting to sprout by all means

• Paint brushes in a few different sizes]

• Cut them in half so you have nice flat edge and a big enough round end to act as a stamp “handle”

• Coloured paper and card

• To make “patterns” in the flat surface you can:

• A watercolour palette

• Scissors • PVA glue • Hole punches in different shapes Be like the magpie and keep all the bright and shiny wrapping and ribbons from Christmas to use on a rainy day. Make inside a glitter-free zone or you’ll be sparkling until at least Valentine’s Day (and remember that the “eco” variety is best when you’re hosing or sweeping the mess into the garden). Combine two activities like a nature walk with a creative project. Figure out your purpose before you leave the house and then forage for leaves, sticks and rocks, to paint or print or weave with when you get home. Pay attention to the process over product. Not all budding little designers are created equal, so try to find the fun and focus in the making and not necessarily a “perfectly” executed final piece. Use this as a mindfulness time. No really! Hear us out. Leave your phone in a different room, embrace the mess and the imperfection and just be present with your offspring. Remember what it’s like to get paint on your hands or peel glue off your fingers; put your mum guilt in the bin and worry about the housework later, your small folk 38

value laughing with you way more than having a steady supply of clean socks and undies (it’s summer after all, they can wear their togs).

Use a chopstick or skewer to poke holes for polka dots Use a paring knife to make cross-hatches for a waffle pattern Use a melon baller to remove lines for stripes Use cookie cutters to make a template for various shapes and cut them back carefully with a knife • Place a generous amount of acrylic paint on a takeaway container lid and either dip the potato pattern-side down straight into the paint OR use a brush to coat the paint onto the spud • Press the pattern-side down firmly onto paper – try to avoid moving it or it might smudge your pattern – and voila, a print! • Experiment with colour, shape and different amounts of paint to create all sorts of artworks • If you want to change colours just rinse your potato under the tap, pat dry on paper towel and start again By Bel & Bree, Melbourne mamas with four kids between them, besties and co-owners of The Windsor Workshop on bustling Chapel Street, where they run craft classes for adults (with wine!) www.the-windsor-workshop.com


Get more from mama - www.mamamag.com.au | Get social with mama - @localmamamag

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squeeze to sneeze There have been a few things I’ve noticed going on in my life in the last few years. Firstly, my grey hair count is going through the roof and secondly, if I’m going to sneeze, I sure as hell have to concentrate on squeezing those pelvic floors or I end up in a little puddle! It’s actually a running joke in my house, with my 9 and 11-year-old laughing when they see me sneeze, as I’m usually in a weird semicrossed legged position with a severe look on concentration on my face. And thank god we don’t own a trampoline anymore! That shit’s totally off-limits these days. It makes me think back to my two pregnancies and my OB banging on about doing pelvic floor exercises. I mean everyone had the best intentions to do them, but did we? Maybe a couple of times, but who remembers to squeeze their bits often enough to make a real difference? Well seems now, not me, but perhaps I should have. Almost 80% of women are unable to properly contract their pelvic floor muscles one year after a natural birth. Whether we’re worried about the consequences of sneezing (hello), or just not enjoying sex as much as we should be (yep, it affects your sex life too, not that I’ve got one), issues with the pelvic floor can make life pretty shit. Like myself, most women are both reluctant to discuss this problem (which actually goes by the glamorous name of urinary incontinence, UI) with their healthcare provider, and usually just put up with it thinking ‘it’s just one of the downsides of having had kids’. So when I was recently told about a magic chair that can help me, naturally I said “PLEASE, let me try this out, because if it works I NEED to tell my readers about it”. This magic is called the BTL Emsella Chair. You simply sit this fancy chair for 28 minutes fully clothed and it uses advanced electromagnetic energy to zap your bits! It literally produces thousands of pelvic floor muscle contractions and a single session is equivalent to the intensity of over 11,000 pelvic floor exercises. The recommended treatment schedule is two treatments a week, for three weeks, so it’s quick and simple and you can rest assure on its safety as this baby is TGA certified. So I took one for the team. Actually, I took 6! And the result... I CAN SNEEZE! It was totally painless, more like a tingly vibration, and hey, who is complaining about that feeling downstairs? Plus this isn’t just for the ladies and little weemishaps. In men, it is important for UI plus erectile function and ejaculation. In women, voluntary contractions of a strong pelvic floor contribute to sexual sensation and arousal. Now if only I could just find someone nice to have sex with to verify these results! #singlemumlife Find out more at Davlin Health in Elwood. 0498 111 996. www.davlinhealth.com.au. Naturally results and patient experience may vary and as with any medical procedure, ask your doctor if the procedure is right for you. But this mama is loving it! 40


SAY NO TO BLADDER LEAKS Laugh, run and sneeze without worry

Davlin Health in Elwood have a revolutionary, non-invasive treatment for pelvic floor muscle strengthening which addresses bladder leaks, sexual challenges and postpartum pelvic floor issues. One treatment of 28 minutes on our BTL Emsella chair is equivalent to 11,200 pelvic floor exercises. Isn’t that an easier way to pelvic floor health? Phone or email Davlin Health today for more information on the BTL Emsella chair.

P: 0498 111 996 E: Davlinhealth@tpg.com.au www.Davlinhealth.com.au Facebook: @DavlinHealth Instagram: @davlinhealth

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ChrIstmas Your Style In Australia, we make our own rules - and that goes for traditional holidays as well! While some of us still love the traditional Christmas themes and colours – these days – anything goes! Although we cringe at the outrageously early arrival of Christmas at the shops, it’s worth starting to think about what your Christmas might look like this year. Getting organised early allows you time to add some additional detail with some fun DIY projects. Not only does a bit of DIY add some budget-friendly finesse, it’s also a great opportunity to wrap the family, (particularly the kids) in the effort and the Christmas Spirit. At Hirestyle we love all events… but have an extra soft spot for events where families gather, and special memories are made! Our team brainstormed our favourite on-trend 2019 Christmas and have shared three that you can easily adapt to your home decorating, whilst not breaking the bank, and having a whole lotta festive DIY family fun!

Going Natural With the gorgeous clean white spaces and natural materials of so many homes, a traditional Christmas isn’t necessarily complimentary. Bringing together natural elements and either taking it rustic or ‘Scandi’ can work really well and be just as ‘Christmasy’. Grabbing a packet of clear baubles is a really fun and easy base to use to bring the kids in to help. This theme allows for some very simple and yet ‘on theme’ decorations by the kids and works perfectly stretched over two days. A good nature hunt in the park to gather small sticks, leaves, moss, even pretty pebbles, will provide the perfect working materials.

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The next day, with working materials laid out, everyone can get to work filling the baubles. Some may be as simple as some flexible curved vine inside, others may be stuffed full of moss. Whether jammed full or highlighting just one hero piece, as a group they will work perfectly together. If it is all feeling a little too rustic just add a flourish such as some tartan or red bows to the top.

A Coastal Christmas We are never going to have a white Christmas in Australia, so let’s embrace a new look. Why not take Christmas coastal? I am sure, like my kids, there isn’t a child that doesn’t love beachcombing. So why not give them an additional reason to fill their buckets by repurposing their finds into sparkly Christmas decorations… Shells can be dipped in glue and glitter with some sparkly wire wrapped around to hang them over your tree. Driftwood can be tied together as a start and left natural or again dip just the ends in. The trick is doing the decorations in a consistent colour and in enough volume to suit the size tree you are working with – don’t be apologetic… the quality of workmanship won’t matter when you have plenty. To really change it up, grab an old longboard, stand it on its end, pop a star on top and wrap it in Christmas lights. You now have the perfect canvas to decorate your ‘surf tree’ Go to town decorating with any of your old decorations or just get a pile of colour paper and have the kids cut out stars and shapes of various sizes. The new framework will give your old decorations a whole new look and the kids will have a ball working on such a novelty.


Pretty in Pink Think pink when planning Christmas decorations that are fresh, pretty and easy to pull together. Although pink seems to be a perennial fave you could choose any colour and team that with whites or metallics or just make it a ‘splash’ to contrast within a traditional palette. There is something a little magic about teaming pink with whites and metallics. If your tree is green, or a live tree, then grab yourself some bags of artificial snow and a glue spray. Spray downward to the top of the branches and then let the snow fall (and stick) down – this way it looks a little more authentic. Make sure you do this outside and place something underneath so you can gather up everything that didn’t stick and reuse it for a second or third layer- you can build it up as suits. To create the easiest colour-led Christmas, it’s time to get out the spray paint! Don’t throw out the colour decorations or baubles you no longer want… blast them with your new colour for 2019! Yes, that includes all those scratched ones that are looking less than joyful. Get a can of spray paint and start spraying. Some may need a few coats. Did you know that you can actually get spray paint to match almost any colour and custom mixed if you have your heart set on a certain shade – just ask around your local paint shops for the nearest supplier. And check out your local craft shop for all the trimming usually used by scrap-bookers – they could also work well as a finishing touch on your baubles. And just a tip for all those baubles that have lost their tops and remain in the bottom of the box year after year. Get out some glass vases and pile them up inside. Such a simple but stylishly Christmas effect. By the team at Hirestyle, Moorabin. Hirestyle are specialists in the hire of decorative elements, props and party hire. Come and create a fun and beautiful theme to make your next event stand out. www.hirestyle.com.au

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