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Dads home office hacks

We have all been thrown into working from home (some call it remote) and it can be the best thing that has happened to us in our career or is it something we need to get used to?

Having more time on our hands is a gift, the time saved travelling to and from the office can give us a couple of hours back in our day. How are you using that extra time? using it to sleep in, are you getting up to exercise now you have some extra time, enjoying a longer breakfast or starting your workday earlier? Do you get dressed or stay in your PJ’s all day 🙂 All of the above is normal and you need to do what works for you.

By having that extra time on your hands and all that flexibility can be too much for some, it can make you unproductive. Let’s not discount the negative effects all that time on your own can have on your mental health. How are you looking after yourself and maintaining a positive mental attitude?

For Dads at home with the kids, how’s that working? Are you loving the extra time with your kids and getting to know them a lot better? It can take intentional efforts to balance the needs of your kids and the demands of your workday when you are all at home together.

Lets look at how you can work from home successfully

Make time for getting some fresh air and reduce cabin fever.
Start the day off with a walk, walk again around lunchtime and then again at the end of the day. This will help blow out any cobwebs, clear your head and reset.

Have a dedicated area set up as your office.
I have my office outside in an under-cover balcony. I purchased a outdoor radiator for warmth, a camp table for my desk. If you are lucky enough to have a desk/table inside? Its a good idea to set up two screens and keep your desk free of clutter. Buy a telephone/ computer headset so you can plug in for zoom meetings or connect into your smart phone enabling you to be hands free.

Stay in the same schedule as you would at work.
Meaning, get up, shower and get dressed. Its the Pajama thing that can dampen your self image. Sit down at your computer at the same time you would if you were at work, Take a break, have lunch and knock off at the same time each day. Routine is not just for kids.

Use video chats where-ever possible.
Connection is everything. We are used to seeing our colleagues more often in and around the office. That break in connection can be isolating, replace it with video conferencing when ever possible, its amazing the dfference it makes. There are lots of ways to use video meetings, some people use zoom, Facebook messenger, Teams, whatsapp and skype to name a few but there are plenty more…

Be organised with what you want to accomplish today and the week.
A daily to-do list and weekly goals is essential for some who can be easily distracted. Use your diary to place the tasks that need to be accomplished for the day. Work on the big one first, if you have ever read the book “East the Frog” will understand this. The trick is to write down plenty of things you want to accomplish and be busy!

Get dressed
I mentioned earlier the Pajama’s or trackie dacks should be avoided for your preferred work-wear. You have to dress for performance and effectiveness and be in the right mind set. Pajamas are for sleeping…right? Its also been mentioned that at the end of the day you should change again or put on a different shirt. If we don’t our home becomes our all consuming office rather than our home.

Try not to snack all day.
Having a pantry at your finger tips or within a few steps is very tempting. Snacking all day is a sure way to put on weight. Stay busy and enjoy your Breakfast, lunch and dinner with water in between. You will get used to it and your body will thank you.

Headphones with a mic will be your best friend.
If you can make them noise cancelling even better but just headphones to plug into your computer and smart phone will keep your hands free for working, if you’re an online gamer you will understand this completely.. I needed to buy an adapter to connect to my iPhone and then take it off to plug into my computer. Best home office purchase I have made aside from my 2nd screen.

Friends and family need to know you are working.
Just because you are home doesn’t mean you are 100% available to your friends and family. They need to know you’re working, so set some time limits and catch up on your breaks? If you have small children its nearly impossible, yet set them up with their own work station and get all the craft, coloured pencils and give them a daily project like The Family Tree which we recently blogged about and let them know you’ll check their work on your break 🙂

Work with a colleague on mute.
Have power sessions and dedicate time to tasks i.e. dedicate a 1 hour block to focus on any task, like, writing a report, planning for your team, calling prospects to make appointments, customer follow up calls etc. But here’s the twist, video in a colleague who wants to focus also for a couple of hours on their own task – and mute the mic! you can work like in the same office but on your own project – can see each other working but can not hear them… I love this!!

Coping strategies to keep you and your family sane…

Talk to people

Remember to pick up the phone and ring people.  We still need to hear the sound of other people’s voices.  Ring at least one person a day, whether it’s work colleague or personal friend.  Ring someone and discuss what’s happening for you and how you’ve been affected.  Listen to them also, hear their experiences, compare and discuss.  Understand that while we are all going through this together, every individual is having their own experiences at the same time.
Make it a habit to ring at least one person each day.

Managing Life
Life hasn’t stopped.  It certainly has changed, but life is still going on.  Babies need to be born, people need to be educated and the whole administration part of life continues to need attention.  Try and stay on top of your responsibilities and if you can’t ask for help.  It’s alright not to be alright.

Back to basics with Board games, art, hobbies
Dig out old games and have a think about projects you were inspired about in the past.  Bring out the artist in you, whether it’s piano, paint or playdoh, you now some to time spend on an old or new project.

Manage your exposure to media
on’t spend too much time watching or listening to the news or reports on the situation.  Getting an update in the morning, a small amount of news during the day and another update in the evening is all that’s needed.  If you spend too much time watching those reports, there is potential for everything seem worse that it really is.

These are strange and unprecedented times and while we need to know what is happening and stay up to date, we also need to look out for ourselves. 

Talk about any changes that you’re feeling
Be aware of your moods, attitudes and outlook at this time.  Are these changing for you and who do you talk to about these changes?

If you don’t have anyone that you talk to about this already, read the above paragraph on phone calls and think who in your circle of family, friends or colleagues could you talk to about what’s challenging you at the moment.

If you wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to anyone else, you can always ring lifeline on 13 11 14   24/7/365 – Always there to talk.

Thank you to Malcolm Guy
M. 0403 583 927 
Malcolm is a call center supervisor with Lifeline and a trained Mediator. Malcolm helps individuals and couples with mediation, parenting plans and will help prepare you for difficult conversations. Please reach out to Malcolm directly by the contacts details above.

Activities for all age groups

Hey Dads, whether you have a 5 year old or teenagers living with you, I thought it might be helpful sharing different types of activities the kids can do during Covid-19 lock-down or simply over school holidays.

  1. Toddlers: Allocate jobs, if you have a “smart” TV, jump on youtube and search for kids dancing lessons, there are plenty of use educational videos to keep them entertained and active when indoors by having jumping, skipping or dancing sessions – it will tire them out and give you a bit of a workout too;
  2. 4-6 year olds: Making dens and forts, colouring in/creating worlds for their toys, help with meals, small job around the house (chores), read books, making arts & crafts and leggo!
  3. 7-9 year olds: Set treasure hunts, get crafty, reading books, pocket money chores around the house.
  4. 10-12 years olds: Arts and craft activities, learn how to cook, set educational challenges, colouring in, Pocket money chores around the house, watch educational TV or YouTube and set study tasks for the kids to create as book or summary of what they have just learnt.
  5. Teenagers: Allocate jobs (either paid or paid) i.e. cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, their room, wash the cars, bake a cake or some treats , suggest projects, order some adult colouring books or free pages online, make plans – possible career choices, future holidays and design a dream board with all their thoughts and ideas.

If you and your children are proud of what they’ve accomplishing, send me a picture of what they’ve done and I promote it in a future post. Happy time off everyone and don’t forget t be patient and nice with everyone.

My family tree activity

Author & Illustrator: Odette.

Looking for a great learning activity that the kids can do at home, that’s also fun! All you need is a large sheet of paper or cardboard, some colouring pencils, a ruler and a little creative mind.

A family member in the UK who is a principle of 3 schools gave us this idea and shared the link to some great kids projects Click here for the schools activity link All the primary age children in her 3 schools were doing these whilst locked down at home because of Coronavirus.

The family tree project aims to provide opportunities for your child to gain a better understanding of their own family. Learning may focus on what differences makeup your families, what traditions your family has, stories linked to your family etc.

Here’s how it works:
Can your child name all the people in their family and write sentences about them? Turn the paper into a booklet, each family member great a portion (section) of the page and a unique story written about them with a nice drawing, for example; Who are they? What do they call them? What do they like? Why are they special to them?

Send me a photo of your child’s work, a little story about them and I will post it on line with credit to them.

Will you spend Father’s Day with your kids?

I hope so, its 2019 and these days there is more equality within the family home and fathers are finally recognized as being a positive influence, role model and in most circumstances crucial for a child’s healthy development.

Experts say;
Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections.

It was very different 20+ years ago and in some cases still a challenge even today to be recognized as a 50/50 parent. We were classed as second rate citizens when it came to being respected as an equal parent. Its getting better but I still see and hear the cave man views and opinions from TV presenters or radio hosts when the topic comes up.

Some Dads still struggle with the lack of access to their children after separation or divorce. Its just not fair! Some mothers still try to punish the Dad by preventing access, they don’t realize that they’re hurting their child. Yep, if you’re a mother reading this and fall into this category? Wake up, you are hurting your children!

So I trust all Dads will enjoy their day with or without the kids. I am lucky enough to have an ex partner who values fatherhood and we share our beautiful daughter 50/50. Even if Fathers Day landed on her week, I’d still spend time on the Sunday with her. This weekend we are having a buffet breakfast at a 5 star hotel because we both love that type of breakfast.

If you don’t have your kids this fathers day, do something that makes you happy i.e.

  • Visit a friend and have coffee &/or a drink
  • Go out to lunch
  • See a movie
  • Get a massage
  • Go for a bike ride and blow off some frustration
  • Go for a hike
  • Go for a long walk
  • Grab your favorite beer and cook a BBQ
  • Go fishing
  • Go to the gym
  • Read a book and stay in bed all day
  • Find a sports bar with a big TV and watch the game

Remember you are amazing

You are amazing and believe it! Many conflicts arise when people try to change you into who they think you should be, how you should act and what you should say. Instead of focusing on what you should do differently they should accept you for who you are, because you are enough. They should accept your lifestyle choices, your personality quirks, and your past choices. Not just on Father’s day but every day of the year.

Have a great day Dad’s with or without the kids.

Mountainside Wines Getaway

Hey Dads, if you’re like me, I look for interesting and enjoyable things to do on a weekend. Sometimes with a friend, sometimes with the kids or sometimes with both. Well, I have found the perfect spot for all of that.


Mountainside Wines
197 Mount Cole Road Warrak Vic 3377
03 5354 3279
Winery Owners: Shane & Jane Goninon

Tucked away at the south eastern end of the Grampians and at the base of Mount Cole, this Victorian premium Boutique Winery is well worth a day trip.

Approx 2 hours from the Westgate bridge, take the western ring road exit and follow the signs to Ballarat. By pass Ballarat on the Western Hwy and continue through to Beaufort where you should stop at the Beaufort Bakery for a great pie and sauce or other freshly baked food and while you’re there, check out the second hand garage and nick nack shops..

Continue up the Western Hwy towards Ararat and follow the sign to Warrak and 197 Mount Cole Road (Mountainside Wines).

Meet Shane and Jane, 

They produce premium wines from vineyards that are hand tended and hand-picked.  This allows them to focus on quality and consistency of flavour.  All their wines are made using grapes from a single vineyard and showcase the best of the region.


At Mountainside Wines they have warm days, cool nights, and a long growing season.

Added to this are the unique soil conditions of granite loam over red clay allowing the flavours of Shiraz to shine in the wine.  This means wines produced in this little corner of the Grampians are rich and full of flavour and aroma and represent a unique picture of the area.

The property itself has been growing grapes and making wine since 1998 with just under seven acres of Shiraz vines, two and one-half acres of Viognier vines, and one acre of Nebbiolo vines.  The vines produce approximately 1000 cases per year with a focus on making premium wines.

Take your time, try some wines, have a chat (Shane is always up for that) order a cheese platter and sit back and enjoy the peaceful views of this magnificent winery. I’m sure if requested you could take a walk through the vines if the weather was right.

If you don’t feel like driving back, plan in-advance to stay over in the comfy “Blue House” – bookings online essential. There’s not a better spot to open a bottle of Viognier or Shiraz or both and have a cheese platter sitting on the Blue House balcony overlooking the Vines and Mountains.

Don’t forget to mention “Dads Online” for a 10% discount on anything purchased…..enjoy 🙂

AFL Season 2016

AFL teamsRegardless of who you barrack for there would generally always be a game in any of the capital city stadiums between 24th March to 28th August. Why not pack some food and drinks and take you daughter or son and enjoy a game of footy, remember you don’t have to stay for the whole game?

Toilet tip: For those who are new to footy, go during the game as they get very crowded at quarter time and half time!
Food tip: Food is expensive at the venue’s, pack some snacks,nibbles, lunch, dinner and drinks
Weather tip: If your in Melbourne, wear layers, scarf and beanie because it can be cold and hot all in the same day.

You can buy tickets at the gate on the day for general admission but I recommend you get there early.
For a price guide to any stadium check out AFL’s price guide it has all the games and all the stadiums.

If you don’t want to be disappointed on the day because it is a sell out, then contact the AFL ticket agent Ticketek and pre purchase you tickets.
Online: Ticketek AFL tickets
Phone: 132 849

Times: Night games are usually around 7.45pm, Sat 1.30pm and Sundays 3.15pm

For more detail around times and games follow the link to : 2016 Toyota AFL Premiership Season Fixture

Clip N Climb Melbourne

clip n climb melbourne staffNothing better than finding a good idea just became great! Well that is exactly what has happened to Indoor Rock Climbing. Move over because Clip N Climb has arrived and its  great fun 🙂

double timer wall clip n climbI went along with my daughter on a Saturday morning and we were happily surprised to find an indoor venue that was Part room clip n climbcolourful, adverturous, well organised, fun, unusual climbing walls, friendly, and with happy staff members. Initially i thought “is this a place for under 10 year olds”? there was a kids party going on in one of there party rooms and it was hard to hear anything over the screaming and singing but it was all good fun.

They have a briefing area outside of the main climb area, this dads and kids in clip n climb saftey briefingis where they take everyone who will be climbing through a safety briefing, It was conducted well and simple to understand for both children and adults.

I asked the staff members is it always this young? They said Saturday morning is but they tend to get older children (12+) and adults in the afternoons and also adults after work. They even cater for adult corporate team building events, school sports excursions and parties.

There is a cafe, the coffee was ok, they have snacks, drinks and ice-creams.

rotating wall clip n climbThe main difference with Clip N Climb is that you do not need someone standing at the bottom of the wall belaying you. You are connected the same way with a karabiners but your rope is through a retractable mechanism on the roof. It first there is the “trust” factor but it all works perfectly.

My daughter summed it up perfectly:

I loved it because my Dad gets to climb with me and we had lots of fun together, we even had a race on the double timer wall…I won! haha

safety first clip n climbSafety is a priority and everyone gets checked, even Dads 🙂 There are so many different styles of climbs that make you want to climb every one. They have “The Leap of Faith” OMG that’s an experience.

Check out there website for more details Clip N Climb a highly recommended activity to do with your kids.

Clip N Climb

44 Murphy Street, Richmond, Melbourne
03 9421 6600

coloured light wall clip n climbOpen hours

TUE – THU 10am – 7pm
FRI 10am – 8pm
SAT 9am – 8pm
SUN 9am – 7pm
School holidays
MON – THURS 9am – 9pm
FRI – SUN 9am – 10pm


Move over Ricciardo Dads are in the F1 Simulator

Motionators F1 simulatorDaniel Ricciardo has been sidelined whilst Dads & Grandads take to the seats in the new F1 simulators at Motionators facility in Docklands Melbourne.

Last week we took the ride of our lives with full motion switched to ON. The F1’s can be programmed to any race track in the world, so if you wanted to experience tracks like Monaco, Singapore  or even our own Albert Park Lake Grand Prix track , the simulator is ready to GO!

The simulators are high tech and can be programmed for a variety of experiences, drive skill, reaction times. Motion can be set from subtle through to full sound and sensory simulation – highly recommended 🙂

Drivers such as Alonso and Webber have stated that F1 simulators are critical in the training of drivers and these machines are as close to the real thing as you can get.

F1 simulators fits all sizesThe F1 Simulators are the real deal.  You squeeze into the seat, connect the steering wheel, hydraulically adjust the pedals to fit your body size.  If you take your kids, a cushion is available which my daughter used, she did a great job at negotiating the corners but often found herself in the side barriers. 🙂

Sudin at MotionatorsPrior to getting into your F1, Sudin takes your through a short briefing session, asks what track you want to race on, and gets you fitted into the simulator and provides some coaching if required.
The Motionator facility is equipped with plenty of F1 simulators and is soon to install a flight simulator too. They have a bar area, karaoke and pool table so once you have finished your race and can carry on the fun. They cater for groups, clubs and corporate team building events.

motionators bar areaIf you are a solo driver or have some mates, either way Motionators have coordinated race nights so you can compete against other drivers and enjoy a social experience.

We thoroughly enjoyed our experience, I personally drove the Albert Park Lake track, our new dad and our Grandad raced on the Belgium Grand Prix track against each other and my daughter raced the Suzuka Circuit in Japan.  Overall a great experience for all dads and their kids. The hour we purchased we shared between ourselves.


Motionators PodiumMotionators – Motion Simulator Entertainment
2G/439 Docklands Drive, Docklands
03 9642 3203
Motionators packages
Google Map: Motionators location


For a weekday treat, more acceleration than a go-kart, a school holiday outing or just an activity to do with the kids, get down to Motionators, you will have fun 🙂

STRIKE at anytime

Strike bowling friendly staff member

Whether its school holidays or you’re just looking for something to do with the kids, don’t look past Strike Bowling. Recently I visited Strike with my daughter and a couple of her friends.

We played a game of bowls, had lunch and then played Laser skirmish… they had so much fun 🙂 and the girls won both bowling and skirmish.

The minute we arrived we were greeted by a friendly staff member (that’s him in the photo) that didn’t seem to be annoyed by the girls not knowing there shoe size and he having to get a few different sizes to make a fit 🙂

We booked online as it gets pretty busy!  and we didn’t need to wait to long because the booking was in the system and all paid for, here is the link to the booking page, you just need to click on the  suburb you want to play and then click on “book a game” don’t to forget to check out there special offers in case its a better offer than just buying a straight game.

strike bowling laneWe played 1 game, had gourmet pizza and soft drink for lunch, they had a bit to choose from the menu but the girls chose pizza as they don’t eat it much. The girls chose to have the automatic pop-up lane rails come up when it was there turn so that it helped guide the bowl down the bowling lane.

It’s so exciting playing at a Strike venue, the lighting is awesome, they play great music and it just makes everyone feel happy.
Strike Bowling lounge areaWe had lunch in the lounge area, there was plenty of room to sit and relax and congratulate the winners. The pizza were really good, better than what we thought they would be. The staff members said they make them fresh out in the kitchen.

We had our names down for 1 game of Laser Skirmish too. A little scary, exciting and fun all wrapped up into one. The main question from the girls was “If we need to get out in a hurry, which exit we we go to?”
Strike Laser Skirmish

Laser Skirmish is a maze of corridors and rooms, its dark and you are either on the blue team or the green team (it was them against me of course) there is a pre-game briefing whereby the staff showed us exactly what to do and how to play. Skirmish was easy and very safe, you do get warmed up from running around. We ran around like crazy people laughing and screaming. It didn’t feel like we were playing a war game, it was more about tagging your opponent – when you hit them with your laser beam, there lights go out and you have to wait 6 seconds before you can play again, a little like “hide and seek”.
You are guaranteed to have a good time together 🙂
Strike Bowling

I highly recommend Strike Bowling as a place that will tick all your boxes.
Check out Strike Bowling for a location near you.

Watching The Footy: What to do when the boys come around

boys watching the footyThe boys are coming over. What results is a football frenzy that may, or may not involve drinking, eating and possibly a little bit of raucous behaviour. When your team loses it could spoil the day but if you follow these tips, regardless of the results, you’ll always be a winner.



You want something that’s easy to prepare so you’re not distracted from the business of watching the game. Rev up the BBQ and you can knock out some delicious and easily prepared food that will satisfy everyone. If you’re going for steaks and chops, make sure they’re in the marinade on the morning of the game. Overnight is even better. Throw them on the BBQ and away you go.


Chips (hot and cold), dips, something healthy and something not so healthy. Know your friends and their dietary choices – you don’t want to exclude Keith the Vegan by laying on a meat-feast and forgetting to include some vegetables. Cover all your bases by supplying a wide range of snacks but remember that it might be a good idea to stagger the snack distribution; you don’t want everyone filling up before those chops and steaks come off the barbeque.


Yes, beer and footy-watching go together like steak and chips but it may be the case that not all of your friends want to throw down booze and shout at the television. Maybe they’d like to shout at the television while drinking an orange juice or a non-alcoholic cocktail? Never pressure anyone to drink and always respect their choices. But for those who do want a beer, wine or rum and coke, be sure to keep the esky filled with ice and selections. Maybe suggest a pre-match kitty so everyone contributes?

Location of the TV

outdoor lunch watching the footyIt’s no good having the barbeque outside and the television inside. How will you catch all the action if there’s a wall between you and the game? Hearing your mates screaming in excitement is no match for actually seeing what’s going on, so either move the TV to a spot that’s visible from the barbeque or move the barbeque to a spot where you can see the TV – even if it means bringing the barbeque inside the house. That’s a joke. Don’t do it.

Sore losers and bad winners

Everyone knows the terrible pain of watching a favourite team lose and most people know the exhilarating joy of watching their team come out victorious. No one likes a sore loser and no one likes a graceless winner. Rubbing your team’s victory in the face of a loser is not good form and will often result in the breaking down of a friendship. As winner, offer condolences such as Well played, old chap. Better luck next time. And extend your hand in a gesture of solidarity and love of the game. Or just yell Sucker and run away.

What pre-footy rituals do you have? How do you like to watch the action? Share your answers in the comment box below.

How to entertain the kids (cheaply) during the winter school holidays

collingwood childrens farmtop twelve tips from the nannies
School holidays often provide an excellent opportunity for dads to spend quality time with their children… nevertheless everyone can also go a little stir-crazy!

With their years of experience in entertaining children all day, the nannies (in-home childcarers) at Government-approved agency Placement Solutions have put together their top twelve tips to make the most of school holidays in Melbourne, without going broke.

All at free or affordable prices, the kids can explore their creative side at ArtPlay, Birrarung Marr (behind Federation Square). Funded by the City of Melbourne and other partners, the centre runs more than 300 workshops, events and performances each year with children working with professional artists. Ensure you book ahead for special programs or alternatively check out the ‘free stuff to explore’ such at the ArtPlay Backyard. The Centre caters for babies through to children aged up to 12 years of age; Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

Library at the Dock
This new Library in Docklands only opened on 31 May 14 and as part of the Melbourne Library Service, it supports gaming culture. Library at the Dock offers the latest games and consoles free to the public to experience and learn about the many aspects of gaming. From 13 June to 8 July on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11am to 1pm, the venue is hosting the 2014 Soccer World Cup Competition on PS4. Open to all ages, kids can get a team together, select their country and take part in this gaming challenge (and potentially win some prizes). Register online.

Your local library
Check out your library for its calendar of events – which are usually free – such as storytelling, book discussions, and even children’s theatre. In the city, State Library of Victoria is holding the free exhibition ‘Once upon a time: a world of children’s picture book art’ until 31 August 2014. See classic characters like Blinky Bill and the Magic Pudding, as well as fun favourites such as Miffy. The kids can view original drawings, dummy books and videos about the artworks to discover the magic behind creating illustrated stories then create their own story with a free activity booklet.

Belly Dancing at Fed Square
The whole family can shake their groove thing at The Atrium at Fed Square on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 12.30 to 1pm. The free belly dancing lessons are led by professional instructor Trisnasari, no bookings are required and all ages are welcome.

Friday Night Fireworks at Docklands
Enjoy free music, entertainers and an incredible fireworks display at the Piazza at Docklands on 4 and 11 July. Festivities kick off at 6pm and the fireworks are at the family-friendly time of 7pm.

Child-friendly cafés
For the price of a coffee, enjoy some priceless relaxation at one of the many child-friendly cafés around Melbourne. Some of our nannies’ favourites include: Miss Marmalade, Brunswick – as well as amazing food and beverages, Miss Marmalade has a kids’ menu, small play area and baby change facilities; Little Tommy Tucker, Bentleigh – with a shelf full of toys and a kids’ menu, this is a popular spot for locals; Birdy Num Nums, Carlton North – the large, covered courtyard at the rear features a sandpit and a variety of toys; Lulabelle’s, Camberwell – this gorgeous pastry shop and café features giftwares, babywares, toys to entertain the kids, and change facilities.

Victorian Farmers’ Markets
Enjoy the fresh air and ambience at one of many Victorian Farmers’ Markets held each weekend at different locations around Melbourne. Usually requiring a gold coin donation, the markets are a great opportunity to buy fresh produce and often provide a free petting farm as well as other attractions for children.

MSO Family Jams
Anyone six years and over can jam with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) for free on 28 June at Federation Square. Bring your own instrument (or borrow one of MSO’s) and work together during the fun hour to develop an original piece of music. Each workshop culminates in a performance open to the general public. Bookings are necessary.

City Circle Tram
For a free tour of Melbourne city, the City Circle Tram is a convenient way to see the sights of central Melbourne and Docklands while experiencing a ride on the charming, heritage trams. An audio commentary provides details of city landmarks and major attractions and you can hop on and off as you like. Trams operate between 10am and 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and between 10am and 9pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. No bookings are required.

Port of Melbourne Boat Tours
A free boat tour of the Port of Melbourne will exhilarate the kids as they see massive ships and cranes up close, and the port’s most historic facilities. The tours usually run on the last Sunday of each month so spaces are limited and bookings are required. Round-trip tours leave from Gem Pier in Williamstown and Victoria Harbour in Docklands and last from 60 to 90 minutes.

Collingwood Children’s Farm
Open every day, this is your child’s perfect opportunity to get up, close, and personal with a range of fuzzy, feathery and furry creatures. Just $16 for the entire family (two adults and up to four children), the kids can also see cows being milked and enjoy a picturesque setting at the Collingwood Children’s Farm in Abbotsford.

Heide Kitchen Gardens
The fifteen acres of spectacular gardens at Heide in Bulleen will give the kids plenty of space to run free and also learn about fresh produce through the amazing kitchen garden adjacent to the original farmhouse. The Gardens & Sculpture Park are open to the public and the kids can enjoy a range of free activities during the school holidays such as ‘Architecture Detective’ and ‘Art Detective’. Museum admission is free for children under 12; Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

Placement Solutions is a Melbourne-based niche recruitment firm specialising in in-home childcare, also known as nannies and household management. The government-approved agency has been operating for 25 years and is a member of the International Nanny Association and the National In-home Childcare Association.


Simple DIY tasks to keep your bike on the road

bicycle ridesLet’s be real; maintenance is such an ugly word. Whether it be the lawnmower, gutters, chainsaw or pool, each weekend is consumed by something that needs to be maintained. While there are no shortcuts if you want things to be in perfect working order, there are simpler ways of making sure you don’t spend your leisurely weekend couped up in the shed. One apparatus you can apply these tips to is your trusty bicycle. Contrary to popular belief, you’re bike doesn’t demand hours of tinkering nor an expensive trip to the specialist every other week. By giving your two-wheeler a measly ten minutes of TLC every week, you’ll be saving yourself from trying to find a few hours (let’s face it: half a day) every couple of months. Assuming you are a regular rider, this simple DIY guide will encourage a long-lasting bicycle without extended downtime at the shop.

Washing Your Bike

You’re car gets the special treatment every month, clearing it of leaves, bird droppings and that coffee you accidently left on the roof. So why wouldn’t you do the same for your bike? Unlike a car, cleaning your bike doesn’t take nearly as long, and with the right tools, you can head back to that midday lifetime repeat in no time. While you can invest in a bike cleaning brush and a chain scrubber, a toothbrush works just as well to get into those hard-to-reach places. Strapped with a bottle of degreasing solvent, a hose and a rag, your bike should be as good as new in only a few minutes.

Lubricating Your Bike

In the world of bicycle maintenance, lubricant is your best friend. If you’re unsure of which sections need attention, a good rule of thumb is: If it moves, you need to lube it. Lubricant is a magical sticky potion that prevents your two-wheeler from becoming a victim of excessive wear, stiffening and rust. While lube is great, overdoing it will do as much damage as leaving it alone. If you’ve gotten too enthusiastic with the lubricant, wipe it away before it dries.

Assessing Your Tyres

Checking your tyres before you hit the road while decrease the likelihood of being stuck walking your bike roadside while a million cars zoom past. Before you jump on the seat and take off into the sunset check the surface tread and sidewall of the tyre ensuring there are no cuts, bulges or debris lodged in the rubber. If you do find any glass or nails piercing the rubber, you will need to replace the tube. Any specialty parts can be found at places like 99 Bikes, click here to view their range.

Evaluating Your Brakes

Newsflash: it’s not a good thing if you are dragging your feet along the ground to stop your bike. It’s an issue commonly ignored by the average rider that can be easily assessed and fixed. To do this, simply hop on your bike and give the levers a good squeeze to ensure it comes to a halt with stretching or fraying the brake cables. Then take a look at the brake pads. Are they hitting the rims evenly?  Any unevenness means you will need to replace them.

Avid riders, do you have any simple maintenance tips? Let us know in the comments below.