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Play Central, Port Melbourne

On Saturday, we had the opportunity to attend a birthday celebration at Play Central in Port Melbourne. We arrived at around 12:30PM and found an off street parking. There are limited parking spaces provided for Play Central customers but during weekends, you can easily spot parking spaces around the area.

The best thing about Play Central is having two separate areas for playing. Upon entrance, there is a space for little ones. There is an allocated room for musical toys for infants, kitchen area for toddlers, veterinary clinic, lego blocks and grocery for pre-schoolers. But of course they can swap around and everything is for all to share.

 

If your kids are more into running, sliding, driving and jumping, they can enjoy all these on the other side:

I took these photos while it wasn’t too busy yet, as you can see the place is so clean and well maintained. They also have lovely and friendly staff at the reception and café.

The party room was big enough to accommodate 2 sets of rectangular tables maybe up to 20 kids or more. Four guests tables were reserved right outside the party room, each table served with finger food platters – sandwiches, baked wedges, assorted fruits and pies. Kids were served with fairy bread, hotdogs, chips and chicken nuggets. Just like in other playcentres, all drinks were on tab. One thing that really stood out that day is how organized the staff were. They were attending to 3 different party rooms but I did not see any exhaustion or rolling of eyes from the staff, just pure professionalism.

For mums out there who might be looking for a potential party venue, you might want to consider Play Central located at 27-53 Crockford Street, Port Melbourne. xoxo

 

 

 

 

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Legoland, Chadstone

Legoland at Chandstone Shopping Centre is yet another remarkable family tourist attraction in Melbourne. They offer a day pass or annual pass for the kids and kids at heart to enjoy.

Take a look at what’s inside…

xoxo

Vanessa

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Docklands

Winter kept this ice cream from melting 😂

One of the best places to visit around the city is Harbour Town Melbourne in Docklands. Children can enjoy the amusement park with rides and attractions like Carousel, bump cars, jumping castles and many others. There are cafes like Coffee Club and Degani, variety of restaurants like Chilli Padi (Malaysian), Nando’s (Spanish), fastfood like KFC, Subway and a lot more. These are all located at the ground floor.

Escalators and lifts provide easy access to the second floor which I believe caters more for families. There’s arcade, Artvo 3d gallery, toy store and chinese restaurant servicing Yum Cha! They are soon to open their playcentre Chipmunks and an early learning centre too. This is very clever and convenient for working parents who use the shopping centre’s car park for a fee of $12/day. It will be easy for them to pick up their kid/s from the learning centre without the need to rush home. 

The main attraction I believe is the Melbourne Observation Wheel. I haven’t tried this due to acrophobia. ☺️

Last but definitely not the least is Costco. Located across the shopping centre, you can easily burn some dollars in here 😂 

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Cancer

We all can relate to the pain cancer causes not only to its millions of victims but also to the family of cancer-stricken patients. In one way or another, we know someone who was afflicted by it – a family member, a relative, a friend or even a celebrity. One thing is for sure, it brings us closer together.

In 2015, in our facebook chatroom called Tuesday Group, a dear friend of mine messaged us 4 of her friends about her breast cancer diagnosis. It was an early stage at that time and she was positive she can get through it through proper treatment. I remember how awful that day was and it took a while for me to gain the courage to comfort her. I typed my replies “You can do it”, “We will ask for miracles”, “Nothing is impossible with prayers”, but behind that courageous facade, I was weeping. What were the right words to say to someone you love so much who’s diagnosed with cancer? It wasn’t sinking in. I found it hard to accept. But my friend is a tough chic. She talked about it openly in our chat room, updated us of her chemo sessions and asked us for support and prayers. Finally, she was down to her last chemo session, later on she got the good news – she’s cancer free!

January 2017, I was scheduled to meet my friend overseas to check how she’s doing after what she’s been through. We both had a tight schedule so I called her up and asked if we could meet somewhere. Unfortunately, she was working during weekdays while I was busy spending time with my family and my husband’s family during weekends. I was hoping we could hang out just like the old times so I invited her to the city, sadly she couldn’t travel far. I came back to Melbourne in February without seeing her but we’ve been in constant communication in our social media accounts. I’ve seen photos of her happily carrying her dog, attending work related events and she’s been back to work ever since. She’s good and happy. That is what’s most important.

Today, May 17. It was a usual day in the office, reading my work mails as soon as I got in. At around 9:30AM, I got a message from my friend breaking the news that the cancer is back. It had metastasized to her skull, shoulders, rib and knee.  I couldn’t reply back. I tried holding back my tears but I couldn’t. I asked God for a second, “why her?” There are a lot of other people  out there who do not have the right to live in this world, why did she have to go through this again and this time even worse? I have no answer. Again my mind went completely blank and I immediately regretted that I didn’t meet her when I had the chance. I was shaking, devastated and felt like the world fell upon me. She’s like a sister to me and I’m afraid for her. I’m afraid that her pain will cause her to just give up and not give it a big fight. I’m afraid of the fact that I may not see her again, ever. I’m afraid to show her I’m afraid during our chats. There’s nothing but fear in me right up to this very moment. She said she was ready to go. I’m not ready to let her go. Not just yet.

As I write this post, my heart is in deep pain and I share this pain to all of you who are going through the same journey. You may be parents, siblings, relatives or friends, who are like me, afraid to face the possibility of losing someone you love so dearly.  But despite the pain, the fear, the regret, one thing we still have left – faith. Let’s all be prayer warriors of each other. Does praying together make the prayer stronger? I don’t know. Does the number of people praying for the same request matter? Maybe, again I don’t know. But we just do it, because we believe that it will heal our loved ones. If it doesn’t heal the sickness, I believe it will eventually heal us and lead us to acceptance. xoxo

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La Spaghettata, Carlton

 I would like to greet all the mothers out there a very happy Mother’s day! I hope you were given the special treatment you truly deserve.

For this year’s celebration, we decided to avoid the hustle and bustle on Mother’s day itself. Yesterday (Saturday), we opted to have a nice and quiet family dinner at La Spaghettata  situated at 238 Lygon Street, Carlton. Lygon Street is famous for it’s variety of restaurants and La Spaghettata is one of them, a two-storey Italian restaurant that provide good food and excellent service.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a cheerful elderly bearded man at the entrance. We went in with our pram and the service staff led us to our table. I picked up the menu  and saw a photo of the same man who greeted us outside. His name is Tony Cattafi, the owner of La Spaghettata. Having the owner at the restaurant when it’s busy and crazy somehow gives me an assurance that it’s going to be a night of an awesome dining experience.

We were seated at a table for four people (2 adult and 2 children) beside a nicely painted wall. We ordered the following:

Entrees: Garlic bread and Mornay, bechamel (white sauce) and grated parmigiano  (6 pieces Oysters)

Main: Moreton Bay Bugs with fresh salad and tartare sauce, Fillet Gordon (eye fillet with demi-glace brown sauce, avocado, prawns and mushroom), Lasagna (kids meal)

Drinks: cocktail and white wine

Dessert: Profiteroles

We started with our entrees, my kids devoured the garlic bread while me and my husband enjoyed the oysters. I love the cheese on top and as we scooped out the oyster, it was juicy and fresh. The fillet gordon was so tender, cooked just the way I like it. They were very generous with the brown sauce (I usually have bernaise sauce with my steak) although it was a tad salty for me. I’m not really a fan of salt. Even a pinch could be salty for me. So again, this is just my personal taste. Side dish veggies were all cooked perfectly – the corn, carrots and beans.

Portion size is generous but not too much. White wine Moscato went very well with the steak. I finished my food very satisfied. It was our first time at La Spaghettata and I must say it was a great choice. Then came our for time for dessert. My husband ordered Profiteroles and I was picturing small chocolated-coated balls with sweet cream inside (Coles profiteroles) so I said maybe I’ll skip desserts. We waited for a good 7-10minutes and we were served with this beautiful pastry dripped with chocolate and vanilla ice cream on the side. I said “ok well I’ll try it” and ended up eating half of it (or more). It was delicioso! The chocolate wasn’t too sweet, cream puff did not taste like there’s sugar in it and it just matched perfectly with the ice cream. That was the highlight for the night.

I would recommend La Spaghettata to Melbourne diners, couples or families. It was definitely worth a try.

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La Spaghettata, Lygon Street Carlton

Food for the Week

Food for the Week

Every week I find it hard to think of what food to put on the table. There’s so much work to do during the week and the last thing I want is to spend hours in the kitchen. To lessen the burden on busy days, I started this habit of food preparation by writing down all the available food we have in the pantry and in the fridge that will make it in my menu plan for the week. It’s only been a few weeks since I tried this and so far I find it really helpful.

Breakfast

  • Pancakes
  • Spam
  • Corned beef
  • Granola
  • Milo cereals
  • Porridge with fruits (usually banana)
  • Eggs and toast
  • Tapsilog

Lunch / Dinner

  • Beef stir fry with vegetables
  • Roast chicken with vegetables
  • Baked macaroni
  • Baked or fried fish
  • Pinakbet
  • Sopas
  • Tortang Talong
  • Tinola
  • Nilaga
  • Sinigang

Part of the preparation also is to cut the ingredients beforehand. By listing down the recipes, you’ll get an idea on how to cut your meat and vegetables. I place cut veggies in a tight container and place them in the freezer. I also try to cook a bulk of food before lunch time so I don’t have to rush and cook again for dinner. Most of the time I still cook dinner separately but when I want to reduce my time in the kitchen, I choose baked or roast food for dinner.

I try not to put these menu in an actual day-by-day plan so I can use them interchangeably.  I find it hard to strictly follow a 7-day menu plan but by listing down what’s available, I don’t have to stress on what food will I serve next. All I need is choose from the list. ♦