A Christmas Celebration - WIN WIN WIN

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WIN WIN WIN - Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and you could win a double pass to the concert on Friday 14 December at St Mary's Cathedral at 11am. Let me know why you would like to win. 

 

On Friday 14 December St Mary’s Cathedral will celebrate this special time of year with carols and Christmas joy for the annual, and much anticipated ‘A Choral Christmas Celebration’ concert. Year after year sell-out crowds have been delighted by this traditional Christmas experience which sees the world-famous St Mary’s Cathedral Choir and celebrity readers offer glorious music and verse sure to fill every heart with Christmas cheer. From Silent Night to excerpts of Handel’s Messiah, there will be glorious music to celebrate this festive time of the year for the young and the young at heart.

“There is nothing like the traditional Christmas experience: choristers singing beautiful music in such an inspiring building at this special time of year. What a great way to start Christmas.” said Cathedral Director of Music Thomas Wilson.

The concert, this year involving orchestra, Sinfonia Australis, will perform music by J S Bach, Handel, Bruckner and others. Prominent public figures will read seasonal texts, both sacred and secular, and the Archbishop of Sydney will give a Christmas reflection (at the 7pm performance only).
The highlight for many audience members will be the opportunity to join in singing with the choir and orchestra for such favourite carols as ‘O Come, all ye faithful’, ‘Hark the herald angels sing’, ‘Once in royal David’s city’, and more.

Ticket Prices:
11am Matinee:
Premium (non-reserved seating): $50
General Admission(GA) (non-reserved seating): $20
Groups (10+) in GA: $18pp
Family (2 adults, 2 children*): $60

Tickets can only be purchased via the City Recital Hall Box Office 2-12 Angel Place, Sydney; via Phone (02) 8256 2222 or via the event website:

*children under the age of 12 years.

**children under the age of 2 are free on the knee
NB: City Recital Hall booking fees are in addition to the listed prices.

*******Doors will open half an hour before the performance at 10:30am*******

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What's on at the Opera House this Winter Holidays!

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The Sydney Opera House is letting imaginations run wild these July school holidays with literary classics jumping off the page, epic illusions and true stories of Australia’s displaced past.

Direct from the West End, Wilde Creatures is an exciting new production based on Oscar Wilde’s best-loved tales, including The Happy Prince and The Nightingale and the Rose. Parading onto the Playhouse stage from July 7 – 14, Wilde Creatures features a jaunty quartet of actor-musicians who mix imaginative storytelling, live music and a generous dash of comedy.



Can you spot the mythical Snark hiding at the Sydney Opera House? All aboard – the whole family is invited on a riotous quest to catch the legendary creature, from July 17 – 22 in the Playhouse. The brilliant modern musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark is complete with life-like puppets, fantastical creatures and of course a knitting beaver.



Direct from a sold-out season at Sydney Festival, Australia’s colonial past and refugee policies are put on trial in this powerful piece of political theatre for audiences of 12 years and over. Tribunal features monologues and real-life testimony from guests airing the experiences directly affecting their communities. Held in the Studio from July 6 – 7, Tribunal is led by Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor, a Darug-Yuin elder, and will feature a Q&A session at the conclusion of the performance.



The closing act of the July school holidays is the enchanting story of a young boy who longs to be an illusionist. Supported by Performing Arts Fund NLThe Great Illusionist invites audiences into the Studio from July 21 – 29 to experience cleverly executed illusions, tantalising tricks, live music and magical puppetry as they uncover the truth of how magic works – we want to be fooled!



The free, immersive Creative Play returns to the Western Foyers with Reach Out Sounds. Encouraging children to make music through connections, Reach Out Sounds will invite little ones to touch the top of a sound pod and then hold hands, fist-bump and even high-five their way to the next sound pod. Only once the circuit is complete will music fill the air.

Behind the scenes, young ones with a passion for discovery and love of the spotlight can find out what it takes to be an Opera House star on the Junior Adventure Tour. In a fast-paced, one-hour experience, kids will venture beneath the famous sails to uncover a world of magic and theatre with costume dress-ups, games and astounding facts to learn. For those with an appetite for more, the Junior Day Packincludes a Junior Adventure Tour, ticket to Wilde Creatures and lunch at Opera Bar – a well-earned treat for little kids and ‘big kids’ too.

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The Beanies

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The Beanies is a podcast the entertains and encourages active listening for kids while providing parents with a much needed screen free and guilt free break. With 10-12 minute long episodes full of wacky stories, sing silly songs and learn important lessons taught by the blunt but loveable Professor Know-It-All The Beanies are drip feeding 10 brand new episodes over the July School Holidays.

-         The Beanies podcast offers screen free entertainment for kids so parents can have a well-earned guilt free break!

-         The podcast invites little ears to come along on a ‘Big Day Out’ which follows the Beanies from sun up to sun down while they brush their teeth, select the perfect outfit, play car games, construct a sandcastle and even read a bedtime story

-         The Beanies are one of the most popular children’s podcasts in Australia boasting over 150,000 downloads across their series and recent winners of ‘Best Family & Kids’ Podcast at the Australian Podcast Awards 2018.

 

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Why bags are best!

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I have been lucky enough to have experience the SEBO vacuum clearner. My parents had one of the first SEBO vacuum cleaners and they last and last and last. My dad always said that the upright vacuums are the best vacuums ever made and of course he is right. 

I now have my very own SEBO FELIX which I totally love. My house has never been cleaner with my new vacuum as I test out all the functions and my kids do as well. I love the fact that it is lightweight and versatile and easy to move around the house. 

I think the thing that most appealed to me about the vaccuum was that it had a bag system that works well.  The SEBO filter bag system not only enhances filtration, but it also allows you to hygienically dispose of all the dust and dirt. 

Think of your kitchen bin: undoubtedly you use a bin liner. This is for the very good reason that without the convenience of a bin bag, emptying it would be very messy. You would have to frequently clean it - which would be an unpleasant and time consuming task.

Dust becomes airborne very easily and will almost certainly contain hazardous material such as dust mite faeces and bacteria. With a SEBO sealable high filtration bag, dust isn’t a problem: It is safely retained within the filter bag and can cleanly and easily be disposed of in the bin, inside or outside. The filter bag housing of a SEBO remains free of dust and does not require cleaning. For allergy sufferers the filter bag protects you from the risk of exposure to dust.

 

 

 

Contrast this with a bagless vacuum cleaner: The dust container and its internals can rapidly build up with dust and require cleaning. The filters can require monthly cleaning. Because of the high probability of dust becoming airborne many people empty them outside, or empty them into a bag first. With SEBO you have a purpose designed bag which the vacuum cleaner fills for you.

And there's more - the bags are so easy to buy as they can be bought online and they arrive in the post, no more going to the shops in search of the correct vaccuum bag only to be told they don't stock these - SEBO stock your bags and they are easy to buy. 

The FELIX is amazing the way it can go under my beds and furniture!

 

And the dog hair - not a trace of hair - the vacuum comes out 5 minutes before my husband comes home and he doesn't know the dog has been in the house!!! Quick kids! 

 

The FELIX is designed to be suitable for all floor types; the power brush can be turned on or off and the SEBO Parquet Brush can be fitted for optimum cleaning performance on any floor. The swivel neck lets you steer around obstacles with ease. The handle height can be adjusted for comfort and is ideal for storage, whilst variable power lets you choose the optimum suction level. 

I love the way the power head can be removed at the push of a button to clean my car and the brush roller can be turned off for delicate floors. 

The red light comes on below when you need to change the setting to go between carpet and tiled floors - a perfect reminder for me as it is so easy to know what to do when the light comes on. 

 

My kids can't get enough of vacuuming these days and my floor is always clean and I can relax while my kids have all the fun vacuuming.  Hope you can experience a Sebo vaccumm and realise how great they are. 

 

 

Visit http://www.sebo.com.au 

Use code "SEBOVIP" to receive free delivery Australia wide on their vacuum cleaner and a free packet of bags (which can generally last a year depending on usage). We guarantee next business day shipping on all online orders.

 

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Megan's Miracle Babies

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After what I thought was an uneventful pregnancy with my first baby in 2006, I was told at an appointment that he was very, very sick and if there was any chance of saving him he needed to be delivered immediately, and that he was. Angus was born at 28 weeks and 2 days gestation due to severe IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction) he weighed a tiny 790 grams. After 12 weeks of ups and downs in the NICU he came home, only to return to the NICU 10 days later where he required a tracheostomy which he had for 11 months. Angus had some complex health problems for his first 18 months due to his prematurity and when he was 15 months old he had a complete reconstruction of his trachea.

When he was 2 years old we decided that we were brave enough to try for another baby. Unfortunately that journey continued for the next 19 months. A miscarriage and IVF treatment and then miraculously we fell pregnant naturally. Things never felt right. I was on medication to try to avoid another premature birth, which was not to be the case.

On the 18th April, 2010 our angel baby Hamish was born at 19 weeks. Hamish had passed away sometime before he was born due to being severely growth restricted. Our hearts were broken and we had a little boy who couldn’t comprehend that his brother had gone to heaven before he even got to meet him.

Immediately we started to try again. Then another miscarriage. 9 months later I was pregnant again. I had problems from the start and at 19 weeks I was told that this baby would not make it. How could I lose another baby? I was offered a termination. I refused. Week after week my baby held on surprising all the specialists, who to this day are still amazed that he made it. At 24 weeks my waters broke and I was admitted to hospital. After many weeks and daily ultrasounds, the baby was struggling.

Saxon was delivered in October 2011 at 28 weeks and 4 days weighing 846 grams. He spent 16 weeks in hospital and then was home on oxygen until he was 6 months old. He completes our family. I have 2 earthly angels and 1 heavenly angel. I still yearn for another baby, but acknowledge just how lucky I am to have my 2 miracle boys.

 

 

 

Visit https://www.miraclebabies.org.au and support Miracle Babies for the Month of May. 

 

 

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A special Miracle Baby

A special Miracle Baby

My husband and I were due to have our son Byron on the 2nd of February 2013. Just after Christmas in 2012 I went for my 30 week check up and was rushed to hospital straight away as my blood pressure was high and I had way to much protein in my urine sample, upon arrival at Rockingham hospital W.A  I was transferred to King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth CBD about an hour and a half from where we were living. My husband is Navy so we both lived somewhere with no family support as they were on the other side of Australia. 

They then discovered that I had severe preeclampsia and that  Byron was shunting blood through his brain and he had actually stopped growing 2 weeks prior, they told me I had to go in for an emergency c section straight away as the preeclampsia will stop once he is out. 

Byron was born and I briefly saw him then off he scooted in NICU and myself upstairs, I remember the conversation with my husband going into the C section, I said to him " no matter what, never leave his side " lucky for me my mum got a red eye flight and was there to support me.

I went up to my room and kept begging to go see my baby, they told me that once I could feel my legs again I could go down and see him. 

My last set of Obs where done before I could go down and see Byron and next minute it turned into an emergency and I was rushed to ICU, my blood pressure had sky rocketed and they were worried that I was going to go into cardiac arrest. My husband Don was caught in between 2 worlds, he had a son in NICU and a wife in ICU. Lucky for him everyone in NICU was extremely welcoming and helpful and my husband put up his hand because I was in ICU and did the skin to skin ( as seen in one of the photos ) because I wasn't there to. He knew all of everything that was going on and all the NICU staff made sure he felt comfortable and calm and knew what was going on every second of his time there.

Byron was gorgeous, he was just small, he held his own temperature and he was breathing fine. He weighed in at 1kg then dropped a bit of weight. 

After 3 days I finally got to go to NICU and meet my gorgeous little boy, he was perfect.  We had problems with Byrons weight for about 8 weeks, he was tube fed for 7 weeks and I remember every night at midnight going to weigh him and finding out he had lost 10grams and just breaking down because it took 4 days for him to put on that 10grams, then I also remember celebrating when he had put on 20grams. It was such an emotional rollercoaster, I made some life long friends including staff throughout our time there. 

Byron is now 4 he is still a little fella for his age but he is strong, he is strong at heart and in his mind. 

He has the best sense of humour and everyone falls in love with him.

Yes he still has ups and downs and still gets hit pretty hard when it comes to viruses a bit more then the bigger kids do.

But nothing puts him down, ever. 

  

 

Visit https://www.miraclebabies.org.au and support Miracle Babies for the Month of May. 

 

Thank you to Melissa for this personal story. 

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Sunset20°N Barangaroo Reserve.

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A celebration of music, food and culture Barangaroo Reserve

Entry via Towns Place

Twelve Spectacular Sunsets on Four Weekends from Friday, 2 February to Sunday, 25 February 2018

For the full program please visit www.sunset20north.com

Over twelve spectacular sunsets this February, Sunset20°N [sunset twenty degrees north] invite families to celebrate music, food and culture at Sydney's spectacular Barangaroo Reserve. And it’s free!

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, families will love exploring the Grandmother Tree, a large-scale site-specific interactive artwork created by Lucy Simpson and Archrival, a not-for-profit architecture organisation.

Live music performances from amazingly talented female artists from around Australia and DJ sets will have everyone up and dancing. (All the live music before 6pm is family friendly however we suggest parents listen to headline acts on Friday and Saturday nights to determine if the music is suitable for your children).

Sunset20°N is also a delicious food series, with each weekend showcasing a different female guest chef. Kids have their own yummy menu while adults will be treated to seasonal, local and delicious food curated by Claire Van Vuuren of Bloodwood Newtown.

Each weekend, Sunset20°North will offer free Aboriginal Cultural Workshops. Learn to weave, explore Aboriginal language, join in the creation of Aboriginal music or make possum skin art.

For the full program please visit www.sunset20north.com

 

 

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Celebrate the Season - Join St Mary's Cathedral for the Spectacular Lights of Christmas Show!

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St Mary’s Cathedral will again be the star of Sydney’s public Christmas celebrations, with the Lights of Christmas presented by PAYCE returning to capture the imagination of audiences with a spectacular light and sound show.

Lights of Christmas presented by PAYCE will run from 6-25 December 2017 – including Christmas Night. Starting each evening at 7:30pm with a choir performance – the light show will start around dusk and continue through until midnight.

What a wonderful way to celebrate the Christmas season, take the family a long for a look you won't be disappointed. Check out the stunning photos below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Tips For A Better Night Sleep

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Let's face it as mums it can be quite rare to get a good night sleep, I mean a really good night sleep where you hit the pillow, doze off into dreamland and don't wake up until your alarm goes off.

 

Depending on how old your children are you may have different sleep patterns, if you have a baby you are most likely still waking a few times a night, if you have school aged kids you are probably getting a bit more sleep, unless you are staying up and doing their homework for them, which is a whole other blog. No matter what stage you are at there are still ways to improve and ensure that you get a restful night sleep.

At the beginning of the year I was burnt out, yep this was before school even started. I really assessed a lot of areas in my life and sleep was one that I knew needed improving, I was constantly tired irritable and low on energy. I did some research and started to change a few things when it came to sleeping and this is what I found helped.

Remove any technology, electronics or TV from the room. I know this is hard I love nothing better than curling up in bed when the kids are asleep and binge watching the housewives of Beverly Hills. But this actually got me into a routine of not going to sleep before midnight, even though I had climbed into bed at 8pm. Since we have removed TV from the bedroom not only have I been getting to sleep earlier but my husband and I have also connected more as a couple. The same goes for mobile phones, if you use it for your alarm clock place it outside of your door so you won't be tempted to pick it up if you go to the bathroom during the night or before you sleep. I have also set my phone to silent, and it is amazing not only how much I get done during the day but how much more sleep I get at night.

Reduce caffeine intake, now from someone who has 3 coffees before 10am this can be hard but the truth is it does keep you awake, after all isn't that why we drink it? Experts suggest that you drink your last cup before 2pm to ensure you aren't kept up at night. Caffeine can also dehydrate you which will have you drinking more water and up to the bathroom more frequently at night as well. So swap the coffee after 2pm for herbal tea.

Avoid alcohol as a sleep aid, we have all heard the old wise tales of take a nip of Baileys or a glass of red wine to make you sleep better, but it's been proven that drinking before bed can actually make you wake up more during the night and also feel foggier the following morning.

Exercise but if you are someone who gets energised after exercise then consider doing it no later than 4 hours before you plan on sleeping. This way you are sure not to feel wide awake after a night gym work out.

Keep pets off the bed, yep sorry fluffy but no more sleeping with us. If you have a cat like ours that feels that they can sleep on your head and push their claws into your neck then it doesn't make for a good night sleep. Give them plenty of cuddles before bed and then pop them to sleep somewhere else.

Limit your water intake before bed so you are not getting up to go to the toilet at night, and try not to overeat or eat heavy foods that sit in your stomach as you are more likely to feel uncomfortable in bed and change positions frequently.

Access your bed, pillows and linen.  We use a high thread count for our sheets and to me it really makes a difference in comfort, we also have good feather pillows that are good for our necks and not long ago we got introduced to Protect-A-Bed the Number 1 producer of mattress protectors worldwide. Protect-A-Mattress protects your mattress from moderate spills and stains, dust mites, mould and bacteria, which is great because I suffer from bad allergies. What’s great is they include “Miracle Layer”, so the mattress protector is soft and comfortable yet waterproof and breathable.


Since using our Protect-A-Bed mattress protector we have had better night's sleep. The Signature Tencel Mattress Protectors are made from odourless wood-based fibres, which means it stays cool in Summer and warm in Winter. It’s also ideal for people with sensitive skin, rhinitis, or eczema, and we have them on all the beds in our house and as they are great quality we know they are a good investment, especially since they are washer and dryer friendly. Our main reason for switching out our old Mattress protector to this one was because my allergies were keeping me up at night especially once seasons changed. Since we put the Protect-A-Bed® Miracle Layer™ on our bed this has been limited dramatically. The TENCEL Signature Series is also approved by the National Asthma Council Australia Sensitive Choice Program and Red Nose (Sids and Kids) as well as the Eczema Association as Sensitive Skin Tried and Tested.

You can buy all these products at https://protectabed.com.au/collections/all 

And my last tip is try to relax before bed, I know life can be stressful especially as mums we often have a lot on our plate. A pre bed ritual like a bath, meditation, reading a book or just sitting and relaxing will make for a better night sleep.

If you are having trouble sleeping try these tips and let us know how you go!

 

 

 

 

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Awesome Christmas Gift Ideas With Haggus and Stookles!

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This year I am doing most of my Christmas shopping online and I have found the perfect store for unique and great quality gifts for little ones Haggus and Stookles. They have a huge range of products and they also take Australian Baby Card, which is a great saving this time of year.

We have put together a great list of products that are useful, worth their money and that parents love. Click on the images below to read more about the products or to place an order.

Starting with My Little One Natural Infant Skin Care from Natralus. This range is designed specifically to help care for babies, toddlers and children's delicate skin and all ingredients are organic. They contain no nasty products and are paediatrician approved. These would make a great Christmas gift done up in a basket for an expecting mum, or parents of little ones in general.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up is Brolly Sheets, these take the Hassel out of bed wetting. They are a waterproof sheet and mattress protector. I love that they sit on the top of your fitted sheet and not under the sheet as this saves a lot of time with changing sheets. They are also great for travelling and generally make life with bed wetting a whole lot easier!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theses Zum Ride on Toys and Balance bikes are a brand new product of active toys from leading USA brand ZUM. They help promote motor skills, coordination, balance and confidence in your children. Fun while learning that's what we love!

Do you have family or friends who love camping or being outdoors, then the Sunsational Brand Sunscreen and Insect Repellent, would make a perfect gift. Australian made, safe for the whole family to use, a practical gift that is sure to be well received over the school holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How cute is this Design your own Birds house? This is a perfect gift for a child who loves art and also animals. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Design your own headphones set would be great for a tween, they come with bright colour paints, stencils and your own set of head phones to deck out as you please!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We always head to the beach on the Christmas holidays and these DriPouch Lite Water Resistant Smart Phone Pouches are genius! This would make a great gift for a teen or adult with a phone, the case is water resistant, splash proof, sand proof and dust proof. the clear front allows you to still use your phone and chat as you normally would. great for taking photos out on the water without risking damaging your phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out Haggus and Stookles for a range of other great Christmas gift ideas and dont forget you can use your Australian Baby Card to receive a discount as you will save 10%!

Dont have an Australian Baby Card? Thats ok sign up here.

 

 

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Check out Sand Song at Barangaroo – a mesmerising Aboriginal dance and theatre performance and workshop!

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Families will love SAND SONG. A fun and uplifting contemporary Aboriginal dance and theatre performance and workshop, performed at the Cutaway during the October school holidays. Kids will learn to do the Emu dance and create their very own dream holder to take home with them!

3 – 8 October

the Cutaway at Barangaroo

Tickets from $20 and you can purchase here.

Barangaroo is easily accessed via public transport with a public car park beneath the Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve. Stargazer Lawn at the top of Barangaroo Reserve is the perfect place for a picnic pre or post the performance. BYO Picnic!

 

There are many options located in Barangaroo's food precinct - only a short walk from The Cutaway. Please note we don't allow food or drink inside the venue.

Ordering a Pop Up Picnic is a great option for families wanting to picnic in the Reserve before or after the performance.

 

 

 

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Come visit Australian Baby Card At The Essential Baby & Toddler Show This Weekend!

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This Friday, 22-24 September, we're excited to be attending the  Essential Baby & Toddler Show at Darling Harbour. Come visit us and say hello we will be at stand G30 and will be giving away FREE gift bags with every ABC card purchased along with two year memberships for the price of one. We would love to see you there!

Be sure to register for your free ticket before 5pm AEST, 21 September 2017.

With over 250 brands to shop from, advice from the experts including Dr Howard Chilton, Tresillian and the Australian Breastfeeding Association, live entertainment for your little ones from Hi-5 and Poppy and Branch from the DreamWorks movie Trolls and so much more, it's going to be a great day out for the whole family.

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Thousands of complimentary gift bags on entry

  • Over 250 local and international brands to shop from (inclusive of Blackmores, Joie, Chicco, Philips AVENT, Redsbaby, Baby Zen, Gro and more)

  • Blackmores Wellbeing Zone with Blackmores Gummies giveaway (while stocks last) and complimentary naturopathic consults

  • Bio-Oil Seminar Series featuring parenting expert Dr Howard Chilton

  • Fisher-Price Play Lab where your little one can "test trial" all the hottest toys on offer from newborn to toddler

  • Expert guidance from professionals at The Advice Hub

  • Entertainment and Meet & Greets with Hi-5 and Poppy & Branch from the DreamWorks movie Trolls

  • Pram Trial Track

  • Limited First Aid Courses by CPR Kids

  • Dedicated Play Areas

  • BIO-OIL SEMINAR SERIES

The Bio-Oil Seminar Series is back with another great line-up of experts to help you on your journey. Leading Sydney paediatrician, Dr Howard Chilton will answer all of your questions about babies, whilst CPR Kids will demonstrate how to manage a choking emergency at home. 

Also heading to the stage will be the Australian Breastfeeding Association consultants, Safe Sleep experts from Red Nose and Tresillian talking about Responsive Settling.


 EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO SHOW-ONLY SPECIALS
Our amazing Exhibitors are offering some great brands, products, and deals that will be available to our Sydney Show visitors.

Some of the Show Specials to look out for include:

  • 17% OFF Stokke Tripp Trapp products

  • 20% OFF all products at 2XU

  • 30% OFF Organix Fruit Pots

  • 20% OFF Earlyview 3D/4D Ultrasound

  • 20% OFF Ripe maternity & nursing

Save $20 by registering for your free ticket before 5pm AEST, 21 September 2017.

 

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Why do people love Hot Mikado!

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Ty Arnott

 

1)    I love Hot Mikado as a musical because it is a fun and wacky musical, not just to watch but also perform in. 

2)    Music has always been a big part of my life… (I’m sure you’ve heard people say that before). I never really knew what musical theatre was until my first show and have never stopped performing since. I would love to make this a career as theatre is a big passion for me. 

3)    I play grade 1o violin, dance, play soccer at representative level and, of course, perform in amazing shows like Hot Mikado!! 

Kristian Babian

1/ I love Hot Mikado because of the great music. There are so many different music styles rolled into one and I'm so excited to be able to tap!!!

2/I feel I was born to perform it’s the way I express myself and my dream is to one day perform on Broadway and I believe with enough training and dedication I will get there.

3/I'm a finalist in Sydney Eisteddfod singer of the Year junior

Mariah Gonzalez

  1. I love Hot Mikado as it is an exciting and vibrant musical to be part of where I can sing, dance and act. 

I love working and building friendships with the cast and seeing everyone characters come to life. So excited!!!!

  1. I currently attend Brent Street Academy where I am able to do my studies through correspondence and at the same time I am able to work on developing and involve as dancer, singer and performer. The best of both worlds!!!
  1. When I was 8 years old I was the voice of Didi from "Didi and B" which currently still airs on Nick Jnr and ABC. I also played Princess Kanika in the King and I my first ever musical which was performed at the Opera House

Abby van Balkom

  1. Why do you love Hot Mikado as a musical?

I love Hot Mikado because it is such a hilarious, upbeat musical that everyone will love! It’s so fun because we get to explore a range of styles of singing and dancing, and we get to play lots of different characters. The cast is all so lovely. 

  1. Why did you decide to do musicals? (please include what you do outside of musical theatre, or mention if you are pursuing a professional career)
    I’ve been dancing and singing from a young age, and as I got a bit older I became really interested in acting, and musical theatre was the perfect way to combine them all! I love the whole process – from the very first rehearsal, to being in the theatre, to performing on stage. Performing is my passion, and I really hope to pursue it professionally. 
  1. Any fun facts I should know about you that the press will love? 

I’m part of the vocal group who are currently the National AUSACA Acapella Champions. As a result of this, I recently had the opportunity to perform and do an interview for Disney Channel Australia, which was so much fun!

 

The Independent Theatre, North Sydney

Now in its 66th year, there’s no luckier time for Chatswood Musical Society to transport audiences to Japan than for fast paced jazz comedy Hot Mikado from 22 September to 1 October at The Independent Theatre, North Sydney.

Cultures glide and collide in Rob Bowman (music) and David H. Bell’s (lyrics) hilarious and "hot" updating of Gilbert and Sullivan classic, The Mikado.

Featuring popular musical tunes such as “Three Little Maids” in fully-fledged Andrews Sisters style and big band song and dance numbers, Hot Mikado promises to be a night of fun for the whole family.

The musical sees characters navigate life-or-death stakes while still finding time to tap their toes and scat a tune. Japanese culture meets 1940s America in a land where outlandish laws sentence people to death for almost any indiscretion, and jazz, the blues and gospel are spoken fluently.

“Packed full of funny plot twists and quirky characters, Hot Mikado will be a fun night of message-free theatre; just pure enjoyment for enjoyment’s sake. The musical is such a clever updating of the original 1885 Gilbert and Sullivan production, audiences will love the high energy routines, slap stick comedy, and lots of visual gags,” said director Declan Moore.

“Many previous productions have staged Hot Mikado on a large company scale, but I've always felt the show would work best with a small ensemble of talented players. We’ve made an intimate production and - without giving too much away - been quite contemporary with our gender casting!”

www.chatswoodmusicalsociety.org/hot-mikado

SHOW DETAILS

Friday 22nd September - 8pm Saturday 23rd September - 2pm & 8pm Wednesday 27th September - 8pm Friday 29th September - 8pm
Saturday 30th September - 2pm & 8pm Sunday 1st October - 2pm

The Independent Theatre, 269 Miller St, North Sydney.

 

 

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11 Perfect Kris Kringle Gifts For Under $50!

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It's no secret that Christmas is the most expensive time of the year, which is why Kris Kringles are such a great idea.

In our family we buy for any nieces and nephews under the age of 18 and then the rest of the family does a Kris Kringle up to the value of $50. It's a great way to save money and it is also fun when everyone gets together and guesses who purchased their gift.

You don't have to head to the two dollar shop just because you are on a budget, you can actually get some really lovely gifts if you know where to look.

Below are 11 gifts that are sure to cater for all tastes, click on the photos to purchase:

For the pet lover, this Heavy Duty Pet Bed is perfect and is a steal at $39.95

 For the gym junkie this Future Bottle and Banana Leaf Carry Cover is sure to be put to good use, it's also on sale for $28.95, awesome value!

 

 

For the adventurer this Ultimate Pen Knife will come in handy on camping and exploring trips and it comes in well under budget at only $29.95.

 

For the entertainer, this 4 Piece Cheese Knife Set will come in handy its almost half price on sale to for $26.95.

 

For The Collector you can't go past these Royal Albert Vintage Spoons Set 4 priced at $49.95.

For the Fashionista this Diamond Portable Beauty Make Up Case is sure to be put to good use and a great buy at $44.95.

 

 

For the Gardner, these Oval Flower Print Potting Gloves will be put to good use and only $39.95.

For the executive this A5 Navy Leather Journal comes with custom initials to really make an impression and priced at $44.95 it makes a perfect gift!

 

For the beach goer this Farrah Cotton Velour Beach Towel will be well received, great quality and only $44.95.

 

For the technology minded this  Dryz iPad Protector is perfect for keeping ipads and tablets dry outdoors and comes in way under budget at $14.95.

For the gamer this Classic Chinese Checkers Set will be put to good use and only $39.95.

Our top tip for buying great Kris Kringle presents is knowing what the receivers interests are and looking for quality items on sale that fit into that category. But most of all have fun and remember to stick to the budget!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Look what is in on at the Sydney Opera house these school holidays!

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Looking to get the kids out of the house these school holidays for some fun, then look no further then the Sydney Opera House. 

The Sydney Opera House has the following shows on:

Little Big Shots

An international film festival for kids, featuring the best international and local shorts, animations,

documentaries and amazingly, child produced films.

Dates: 8 September – 10 September

Venue: The Studio

Ages: Various

Tickets:  From $19 + booking fee.

Bookings: 02 9250 7777  

 

Frank Woodley, Noodlenut  

Introduce your little noodles to the master of comedy in Frank Woodley’s first ever show for kids!

Dates: 25 September – 8 October

Venue: The Playhouse

Ages: 6+

Tickets:  From $25 + booking fee

Bookings: 02 9250 7777

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium

Dive into the historical depths of the ocean and unlock some of nature’s greatest mysteries in this interactive experience.

Dates: 23 September – 8 October

Venue: The Studio

Ages: 5+

Tickets:  From $29 + booking fee

Bookings: 02 9250 7777

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Junior Adventure Tour

From secret stage-markings to flabbergasting facts, our expert guides take you through the inner workings of the Sydney Opera House.

Dates: 25 September – 8 October

Venue: The Sydney Opera House

Ages: 6-12

Tickets:  From $20 + booking fee

Bookings: 02 9250 7777

 

 

 

 

 

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Top foods to boost kids' brain power!

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It’s no secret that growing kids need lots of love and attention. But it’s not just their bodies that are growing and developing at a rapid rate, their brain is too.

That’s why it is so important to keep children active, healthy and engaged in learning. It’s not just about a balanced diet to keep their bodies healthy and growing, certain foods are good for their brain’s development too.

“Similar to the body, the brain absorbs nutrients from food which assist in development,” says Dr Ryan Harvey of House Call Doctor. “The childhood years are a critical time for brain development, focus and cognitive skills.”

There are certain foods which can offer great support for little minds and boosting brain power:

 

  1. Salmon

    “Fatty fish like salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids,” says Dr Harvey. “These are essential for brain growth and function.”

    Try sneaking salmon into salads, sandwiches, sushi or just pan fried.

  2. Egg

    “Eggs are a great snack packed full of protein and choline,” says Dr Harvey. “This is a nutrient which helps with memory development.”

    So keep those boiled egg and Vegemite soldiers coming! Eggs are a great snack to have on their own or on a wholemeal sandwich.

  3. Berries

    Not just a pretty colour, berries can help improve memory and are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants.

    “Strawberries, cherries, blueberries and blackberries are a great source of fuel for kids brains,” says Dr Harvey. The richer the colour the more nutrition lays within.

    Add them to a smoothie, eat them on their own or blend them with greek yoghurt to make your own frozen yoghurt ice blocks. 

  4. Oats

    A winter breakfast favourite in most households, oats provide an excellent source of energy. “Oats are a great source of fibre, vitamin E, B and zinc,” says Dr Harvey. “They are a great food to help the brain function optimally throughout the day,” says Dr Harvey.

  5. Peanut butter

    Peanut butter is a childhood favourite of many and it turns out peanuts are actually packed with vitamins E and thiamin. “Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect nerve membranes,” says Dr Harvey.

    So not only is it a delicious snack that most kids won’t put up a fuss about eating, it is beneficial to brain development too. Either on a sandwich or as a dip for fruit and vegetables, the more the better.

  6. Vegetables

    Colourful vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants which help keep brain cells healthy. Particularly tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and spinach are full of antioxidants.

    “Fresh vegetables are not only a great source of nutrients for brain health but a regular intake is fundamental to overall health and wellbeing of adults and children alike,” says Dr Harvey.

  7. Dairy

    Yoghurt, milk and cheese are go-to snacks for many kids. Luckily they are just as good for you as they taste.

    “Dairy products are full of B vitamins, vitamin D, proteins and carbohydrates which are essential for brain tissue, neurotransmitters and enzymes,” says Dr Harvey.

  8. Lean Beef

    Lean beef is a rich source of iron which is essential for energy production, helping kids focus during the day.

    “Beef is also a great source of zinc, which aids in memory,” says Dr Harvey.

 

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Simple tips to keep your kids healthy and active!

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 Exercise is a fundamental activity for maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. For kids, these activities should be enjoyable and and incorporated every day in a way that does not make it feel like a chore.

“Regular exercise has a myriad of health benefits for a young and developing body,” says Dr Tony Tanious of House Call Doctor.

“These include maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level, strengthening muscles, developing new skills, honing coordination and even bonding with others through team sports.”

While most little adventurers relish at the thought of running, bike riding and playing with friends, there are some simple tips to help keep your kids healthy and active.

 

  1. Make it a habit

    “It only takes 30 days to make a habit,” says Dr Tanious. “Set your family a goal for exercise and healthy and try it out for 30 days. You will find it soon becomes second nature.”

    This could be anything from going for an afternoon walk together every day, ensuring you eat nutritious meals for dinner each night or getting the recommended hours of sleep per night for 30 days.

    Small changes to your diet and daily routine can have a tremendous impact on yours and your children overall wellbeing.

  2. Try team sports

    Team sports are an excellent way to get little bodies moving and to foster relationship and personal skills.

    “Team sports are highly beneficial for young children,” says Dr Tanious. “Not only do they provide an outlet for activity, they encourage friendships, personal development and teamwork.”

    This doesn't have to be limited to team sports like netball, football or basketball. If your kids aren’t particularly interested in these, they could participate in swim classes, dancing or gymnastics. While they aren’t directly team related they still encourage social interaction and keeps them on their feet.

  3. Ditch the tech

    While it may seem impossible to ditch technology in today’s world encouraging kids to get outside rather than play on their phones or laptops can help keep them active and healthy.

    “Limiting your child’s access to smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices before bedtime will assist with a good nights sleep and may encourage them to be more active during the day,” says Dr Tanious.

    “Electronic devices disrupt the bodies melatonin levels, which is the hormone responsible for the natural sleep and wake cycle.”

    Instead of playing on devices before bed try reading books to wind down for the evening. During the day try to keep them busy outdoors as much as possible.

    “Simple things like teaching your children to grow their own vegetables or encouraging them to help out in the garden will keep them active,” says Dr Tanious. “Spending time outdoors will also increase your child’s vitamin D levels, assisting with energy, mood and overall wellbeing.”

    Remember to practice sun safety when spending time outdoors and keep hydrated.

  4. Get the whole family involved

    Kill two birds with one stone by including exercise in quality family time. “Making exercise enjoyable for kids is one of the best ways to foster a life-long positive relationship with working out,” says Dr Tanious.

    Working out can be fun for the whole family! Family fitness can be as simple or complex as you like. To keep it simple try a nice bike ride on the weekend, swimming, a mountain climb or just a walk around the neighbourhood.

  5. Make nutritious foods fun

    It’s not uncommon for kids to turn their noses up and vegetables but they don’t have to be boring or bland. “Making nutritious foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, fun can make encouraging healthy eating easier,” says Dr Tanious.

 

        Here are some tips to make nutritious foods fun:

  • Make faces and shapes from food

  • Make it bright and colourful

  • Use fun names for the vegetables and dishes

  • Encourage your kids to help in the kitchen

  • Try growing your own food

 

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4 foods to help boost your child’s immune system!

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With winter now in full swing protecting your kids immune system is integral to helping them avoiding the cold and flu season.

Typically our immune system does a wonderful job of defending our bodies against disease. Every day we come in contact with many potential illnesses through human interaction, holding hand rails and even food. Our immune system is on call 24/7 to safeguard us against these dangers.

“The immune system is made up of the tonsils, thymus, lymph nodes and vessels, bone marrow and the spleen,” says Dr Ryan Harvey of House Call Doctor.

“It is comprised of antibodies, white blood cells and other chemicals and proteins which attack pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses.”

While we may not often pause to think about how we can help our immune system out, ensuring it is functioning to its full potential is vital. Luckily, there are some easy and natural ways to help give your immune system a boost.

If your little one has come down with the sniffles a few times already this year it might be time to look at their diet and the role food plays in supporting their immune system.

 

  1. Green Leafy Vegetables

    “In order to maintain a healthy and functioning immune system fresh food, such as fruit and vegetables, are key,” says Dr Harvey.

    Green leafy vegetables in particular are rich in nutrients that help boost the immune system. “Green leafy vegetables are a rich source of iron,” says Dr Harvey. “This helps with the production of white blood cells and antibodies which fuel your immune system.”

    When it comes to getting kids to eat green leafy vegetables it’s often easier said than done. Try sneaking them into delicious smoothies.

  2. Fresh fruit

    “Maintaining a diet rich in vitamins is important to overall health and immune function,” says Dr Harvey. “This includes lots of colourful fruits which are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and water.”

    The added bonus is that most kids enjoy the taste of fruits, making it easy include more in their diet.

    The best fruits for immune health are:

 

  • Kiwifruit - high in vitamin C and vitamin E

  • Blueberries - high in vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidants

  • Papaya - high in beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A when eaten

  • Strawberries - high in vitamin A and vitamin C

  • Oranges - high in vitamin C, vitamin A and fibre

  1. Garlic

    Garlic has been hailed since the dawn of time as a miracle working food. “Garlic contains anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties,” says Dr Harvey. “These help stimulate the immune system and increase the production of antibodies.”

    Raw garlic is most beneficial for health as heat and water can activate sulphur enzymes which diminish antibiotic affect. However, adding garlic to the kids favourite pasta dish may still offer some benefits.

  2. Probiotics

    “Foods rich in ‘good’ bacteria, such as yoghurt, can help strengthen the immune system,” says Dr Harvey. “They also help the body digest nutrients in other foods.”

    It’s not yet fully understood how probiotics affect the immune system but studies have identified a connection between the immune system and gut bacteria.

    If you have a fussy eater on your hands there are some other tips Dr Harvey suggest to help give their immune system an extra boost:

  3. Get adequate sleep

  4. Exercise regularly

  5. Teach them to was their hands thoroughly

 

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Health benefits of having a childhood pet!

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If you’ve been considering adding a four-legged friend to the family, or are just looking for an excuse to love your pet a even more, it turns out they have a positive affect on children's health.

While stress is something that affects most adults at some point in their lives, what is largely unknown is that stress can also affect children.

“Stress is often a result of what we should be doing, versus what we are actually doing,” says Dr Ryan Harvey of House Call Doctor. “Therefore, it can affect anyone at any time - including kids.”

It may be confronting to hear that your child could possibly be stressed throughout the day, but there is some good news. Engaging with their furry friend can help.

A recent study found that children who pet their cats and dogs when stressed have lower cortisol levels.

“Cortisol is a hormone produced in response to a stressful situation or event,” says Dr Harvey. “The lower the cortisol levels, the less stressed individuals are.”

Just one pat of the neighbours dog won’t do, the study found that the levels of cortisol varied greatly depending on how much the child engaged with the animal. The more they played and petted their cat or dog, the less stressed they were.

“Understanding how stress functions early in life is crucial to preventing stress in adulthood,” says Dr Harvey. “The way we learn to deal with stress in childhood has lifelong consequences on our emotional health and wellbeing.”

If that’s not enough to earn your pet some extra dinner, or to convince you adding to the family is a good idea, the power of pets extends further. Whether you prefer cats, dogs, birds, mice or lizards there are a number of health benefits to owning a pet:

 

1. Increased cardiovascular health

Owning a pet can have an immense impact on your cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. This can be beneficial for the whole family.

Scheduling regular walking times of your dog can also help keep the family fit and active which is essential to overall well-being.

 

2. Boosts your mood

If you feel happiest around your pet this doesn’t necessarily make you a ‘crazy cat lady’. Science has proved that regular contact with animals boosts your mood.

Being with and regularly exercising pets increases serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. These are the happy, loving and calming hormones which circulate our body. Higher levels of these can increase our general mental health.

 

3. Strengthens the immune system for children

It may seem odd but research has shown that children who grow up with dogs are 33% less likely to develop related allergies. Overall they found children exposed to animals at a young age have stronger immune systems.

 

4. Encourages responsibility

Owning a pet is a big deal. It’s not all cuddles and wet kisses, there is a lot of work that goes into looking after another life.

“Owning a pet provides an excellent opportunity for children to develop a sense of responsibility early in life,” says Dr Harvey. From changing kitty litter to bathing, brushing and feeding, there is a lot to be done.

Encouraging children to look after their pets can help teach responsibility and empathy for another living being.

 

5. Great caregivers

Somehow our pets just know when we are feeling under the weather. Being curled up on the couch surrounded by a wall of snotty tissues is made infinitely better when there is a furry friend there with you.

 

 

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We Talk ABC Reading Eggs With Jules Sebastian!

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We recently got to speak to the lovely Jules Sebastian from Tea With Jules about motherhood, her and Guys charity and her recent partnership with ABC Reading Eggs.

 

Thanks Jules for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us today, we really appreciate your time.

 

Speaking of busy, you’re a stylist, TV presenter, blogger, trained make-up artist, and have your own YouTube show TeaWith Jules. You’re also married to Guy Sebastian - one of Australia's top music artists, and a mum to two beautiful boys. If that's not enough you also run a charity, The Sebastian Foundation, with Guy. I am exhausted just saying all that! Tell us how you manage it all?

 

I think prioritising is a huge one. You can only do what you can do. Even if things don’t get done that day, do it on another day and just give yourself a break. For me that’s a recent lesson, just to chill out with myself. I know when I go to bed at the end of the day I’ve done my level best to achieve everything.

 

Talk us through what a typical day is like for you?             

 

So no different to a lot of other mums really – I get Hudson ready for school and Archer ready for day care. After that my day’s taken up with work and various projects. Then it’s school pick up time. In the afternoon we may spend time in the backyard – the boys love jumping on the trampoline. Then it’s dinner time and getting the boys ready for bed.

 

The boys really love us reading to them at the end of the day when they’re nice and calm and need that winding down time. I find Reading Eggs is also a nice thing for Hudson to do before bedtime especially if I’m by myself and I’m reading Archie a story or having a shower! It’s a relief knowing he’s doing something educational. I’ll check in on him doing it from time to time, but he’s mostly fine to navigate it himself.

 

How do you find balance between work, following your passions and family life?

 

I try to take a bit of “me-time” in my day. I will have a cup of tea, watch Netflix and try to get through the 485 books I have next to my bed! It also sounds a bit teenage, but I have started writing in a journal as well, just five minutes each day. It’s like a gratitude journal. However if I could have a dream day, I’d go get a massage, have brunch girlfriends, watch a movie, walk in the sunshine and just chill.

 

So what are you currently watching and reading?

 

I just started watching Jane the Virgin and I also like Suits, The Good Wife and documentaries. I’ll also be interviewing author Jenny Valentish soon for Tea with Jules so I’m reading her book Woman of Substances about addiction and treatment.

 

Your son Hudson started school this year, do you have any tips for parents who are wondering if their child is ready for school?

 

Hudson was four on the first day of school in February and turned five a month later. Knowing he would be one of the younger ones in the class, I really put a lot of time and thought into trying to figure out whether he was ready for big school.

 

So I talked to a lot of friends who are teachers as well as his preschool teachers to get their opinions. I’d advise any parent who’s unsure about this issue to do the same. In the end we went with what we felt was right as well as the advice of his teacher who said if we held Hudson back for another year he might get bored as he’s a bit of a bright spark and handles himself really well in social situations. It was the right decision as he’s done so well, and really loves going to school.

 

Yourself and Hudson recently have partnered with the award- winning ABC Reading Eggs program that encourages children to develop and early love for reading in preparation for school? What is it that made you want to sign up with Reading Eggs?

I think it’s just great for young kids as it’s a really good online program, I’m so glad I discovered it! I think as a parent technology is one of those things you have to keep an eye on, so it’s wonderful that this is something kids can do online which is also educational and helps prepare them for school and continues to help after they’ve started.

 

Hudson likes how the program is easy to follow and gets really chuffed about how much he can now recognise words. He’s really motivated to go through the online books and all the activities and likes the competitive nature of going up levels and getting rewards. He loves it – he thinks of it as a great game!

 

What does Hudson love about reading eggs?

 

Mostly the element of it being competitive. Whenever he climbs up another level he’ll come and tell me about it. He just loves that sense of achievement and seeing the characters dance at the end of each task, it’s a fun affirmation for him.

Four years ago yourself and Guy set up a charity The Sebastian Foundation, can you tell us how this came about, and what is it that the charity does?

 

With our own family feel so blessed and lucky to have two beautiful healthy boys so we really wanted to create a charity which focused on families and give back to others. We support communities, groups and initiatives which benefit children and empower women whilst taking a stand against domestic violence.

 

For example, we’ve donated sleeper beds to The Children's Hospital at Westmead so that families can stay together through treatment and have plans to improve several domestic violence crisis accommodation centres to make them feel more like a home.

 

How can someone get involved or donate to your charity if they want to help?

 

By checking out the website www.thesebastianfoundation.org

 

We can imagine that you and Guy both have full on schedules, being parents keeps you busy enough, let alone all the other stuff you both do. What do you both do to unwind and stay connected to each other?

 

You could just go on and on and on with life after kids and not connect. So it is important to make time together, but it doesn’t have to be a big event. Sometimes we just catch up together at the end of the day and chat when the kids are in bed, or watch a move on TV together.

 

What's next for you? Are you working on any other exciting projects?

 

I’ve always got things in the pipeline. So aside from my usual projects, I’ll also be speaking at an inspiring upcoming event in Avoca in September called She the Change which aims to connect women change makers, entrepreneurs and creatives with their purpose and value the role they have to play in making the world a better place.”

 

Reading Eggs Video  

And finally just for fun!

 

What is the best thing about being a mum?

 

Can I be really evil and say bedtime?! No, apart from that, hearing my kids laugh.

 

If you had to choose another career what would it be?

 

A pilot.

 

Favourite holiday destination?

 

Paris because we went there on our honeymoon and I love it.

 

Listening to right now?

 

I just love pop. Guy is so mortified by my music choices. At the moment I’m obsessed with 2U by David Guetta featuring Justin Bieber. Honestly, I’m not normally into Bieber!

 

One food you could never give up?

 

I want to say chocolate and cheese however I’ve been on a health kick so I haven’t eaten either of them in two months. But don’t worry they’ll be back.

 

Thanks Jules for taking the time to chat with us today, we really appreciate it. We look forward to seeing yourself and Hudson in the up and coming campaign with ABC Reading Eggs.

ABC Reading Eggs also have a FREE trial right now, learn to read in 5 weeks for FREE!

 

You can connect and follow Jules here:

Face Book

Instagram

Website

Charity

 

 

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