Category Archives: Reviews

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ONCE: Melbourne’s Newest Favourite Musical and Why It May Get a Visit From the Tooth Fairy

I was given complimentary tickets to the show thanks to Nuffnang.

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The cast of ONCE get their musical on and bring the Irish Pub vibe to life.

At six years of age Summer Moore has a lot on her mind. It’s her first week back at school after the holidays so she’s getting back into the routine of school days and homework. She also has two wobbly teeth! This is all pretty normal six year old stuff, except that Summer may lose her wobbliest tooth on stage at the Princess Theatre tonight during a performance of Once.

After enjoying immensely successful seasons in New York, London and Dublin the multi-award winning stage musical has come to Melbourne and celebrated it’s official opening on October 4th, receiving a well deserved standing ovation.

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Tom Parson’s and Madeleine Jones making beautiful music together.

I was there in the audience on opening night and had fallen in love with the music a few bars into leading man, Tom Parson’s opening song. My adoration grew stronger as the show went on, the music uplifting and soul-filling accompanied by foot stomping, hand clapping and an Irish pub vibe that made me want to move to Dublin immediately.

Summer plays Ivanka, the child of the female lead, played by Madeline Jones. The age of Ivanka is one of the little things that they have changed when adapting the story from the much loved and likewise multi-award winning movie of the same name. Ivanka in Once, the movie, is a toddler. I imagine toddlers are just as hard to work with on stage as they are anywhere.

With this age change aside, the show stays pretty true to the original story, introducing several stronger characters and more humour, making it all a bit more “theatrical” yet maintaining the simplicity of the original love story behind the music and manages to do it all on the one set – the Irish Pub which only ever acts as a pub during intermission when the audience is invited on stage for their refreshments.

Summer shares her role of Ivanka with two other girls which makes it easier to juggle the late nights and early school mornings by performing only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Nights. Mum Melani has arranged with Summer’s school for her to come in late on Wednesdays and Fridays to ensure she still gets the sleep that she needs as well as making the most of this amazing experience.

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Summer Moore plays Ivanka

When asked about the audition experience, Summer says she was so nervous as it was her first ever audition and she kept shrugging her shoulders. She must have done something right as she is now enjoying being a part of Once and is no longer nervous, saying that being on stage in front of all those people is not much different than being up on stage at her end of year dance concerts.

One thing that may set it apart is losing that wobbly tooth on stage. Ever the professional, Summer knows that if it happens tonight she needs to stay in character and remain cool. Assurances have been made that the tooth fairy will find it and all will be well.

Once, The Musical is currently playing at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre. Bookings can be made online

I received complimentary tickets to attend the show but was under no obligation to write about it. Summer Moore attends school with my son and graciously allowed me to interview her. 

 

A Little Bit Of Luxury – Veronica Foale Essentials

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I’ve been using shower gel for as long as I can remember. So long in fact, that when we recently went on holiday and stayed in a holiday park, my kids were very impressed with the little hand soaps that were in our bathroom. They had never seen soap before and were very impressed. Hilarious.

They were even more impressed when a package arrived for me from my good friend Veronica Foale.

Veronica lives in Tasmania and makes soap. She makes it from home and has shelves full of soap doing it’s thing. “Curing” and such. Can you imagine how amazing her house smells?

The package Veronica sent me was full of soapy goodness and smelt amazing.

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Maple Sugar Candy, Lime, and Lemon Meringue Pie.

I have been trying a different soap every couple of days and they are little bars of luxury. My skin feels really good and I always smell nice. Some of the soaps smell intense, like coffee break, but it leaves only a subtle scent on the skin. I was afraid I was going to smell like a coffee canister, but no, I just smell awesome.

My favourite is the bar of lemon soap that I keep in the kitchen. My hands now always smell like a very clean lemon and they are also smooth and the dry scaly patches I used to get from washing my hands 7 billion times a day are disappearing.

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Coffee Break

 

It’s quite clearly the difference in ingredients that is helping my skin feel so good. There are about thirty ingredients in the liquid soap and shower gels that I usually use, that I cannot even pronounce.

In Veronica’s lime soap -for example- there is: Olive Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Water, Coconut Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance and Colour. That’s all.  All that oil. No wonder my skin is so silky.

Veronica recently opened her online store and I can already see a million new soaps I need to try immediately. Also lip balm. She does lip balm too! Check out the store and have fun trying to decide which delicious bars of luxury to buy. It’s a tough decision.

As well as using soap in the bathroom, and kitchen, I also want to put soaps in my drawers and cupboards. I want to be surrounded by these beautiful smells always. This will be my go-to store for gifts. Soap for everyone for Christmas!

You can also find Veronica Foale Essentials on Facebook and Instagram

Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal

Dyson Digital Slim Discount -Giveaway closed

Disclaimer: Dyson gave me a Digital Slim DC59 Animal to use and to keep. I use it everyday and seriously love it.

You know when you are looking for advice on what vacuum cleaner to buy and everyone, like EVERYONE says “get a Dyson!” and so you go and check them out and your wallet screams a little bit and you think to yourself…. really? Gosh… I think I’ll just buy this other one because it’s cheaper.

Less than a year later and you hate the guts of your cheaper vacuum cleaner and its incompetence and you want it dead so again you seek advice on what vacuum cleaner to buy from trusted friends, family and Facebook, and again they ALL say “get a Dyson!”. You should really listen. Really.

There is no denying that Dyson is not the cheapest vacuum cleaner out there so I’m not going to scoot around that. But they are not the cheapest, because, well, they’re not cheaply made pieces of crap. There’s a whole lot of technology and testing behind these cyclonic babies and they stand the test of time and do the job properly.

There is also no denying that Dyson are the best vacuum cleaners and you will struggle to find anything else that comes even a little bit close.

I have been lucky enough to be given my very own Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal. I love it. Like totally, actually, very deeply love it.

Here are some jaw-dropping facts about dust and yuckies thanks to Dyson’s research team.

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In my house, I vacuum every day. Sometimes more than once. The children are messy people with their crumbs and glitter and their smuggling the school sandpit home bit by bit in their shoes, clothes and hair. There was also the added mess created by dog hair. So. Much. Hair. The living room rug is always in need of a clean and my Miele vacuum cleaner with it’s bag and it’s crapness was just not doing the job right.

On it’s first day in my house, the Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal sucked up more than I thought possible. It was horrifying to see how much crap was in that rug.

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Seriously, this was just from one large rug that gets vacuummed daily with the Miele. Amazing.

Here are some things I love about my Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal:

The most important attribute for a vacuum cleaner is that it sucks good. This baby sucks really good and even has a couple of settings to change the sucking intensity, so it has that covered. It will also never, ever loose suction.  It is the perfect little stick vacuum that doesn’t know it’s a stick vacuum and sucks like the big boys.

If you vacuum something up which clogs the pathway, the Dyson will flash its lights at you and then stop so you can deal with the clog and then continue. It wont pretend it can still work like other vacuums try to do, making all that sucking noise and not actually picking anything up. (I’m looking at you, every other vacuum cleaner in the world). The Dyson is honest and tells you when it needs you to remove the lego ninja turtle from it’s throat.

It’s really, really light. Even for a stick vacuum, it’s so light. My kids love using it, and I really like them doing the cleaning.

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It’s really easy to empty. Just push down this button here and the bottom pops open. Then, if needed, you can slide the whole thing off to get at any bits around the top.

You can also remove the turny brush cylinder thingo from the large head, so it is easier to clean. The filter can be rinsed under the tap and it has pictures of taps on it so you remember that handy piece of info.

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I also love that it can be taken out to the car and used there too! I can remove the long stick and attach any head straight to the handle thing and I’ve got myself the best little car vacuum ever. I’m also going to take this camping with us next time we go.

My house is a pretty small 3 bedroom home, and this vacuum is perfect for it. I still vacuum the living room every day and when I do my full house clean, the Dyson can manage.

If you have a very large house and like to vacuum all at once and it will take more than half an hour, you might want to look at getting a bigger Dyson. Like the upright DC65 Animal.

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It all clicks together really easily and clicks apart really easily.

It is also beautiful. I mean look at it! I love the colour and it’s just so sexy.

Look! Even attractive men wearing kids' shoes can use it.

Look! Even attractive men wearing kids’ shoes can use it.

Dyson says:

About Dyson:

  • Dyson has 1,536 engineers and scientists working on a pipeline of technology that stretches out over twenty-five years.
  • Dyson invests £1.5 million a week on research and development and has doubled the number of engineers employed at its UK research and development laboratories in the past two years.
  • Dyson has expertise in fluid, mechanical, robotic, electrical, thermal, chemical, acoustic, motor, thermo dynamics, testing and software engineering, and is thought to be the only vacuum cleaner manufacturer with an in-house microbiology team.

Dyson Digital Slim™ DC59:

  • Testing: Dyson prototypes are subjected to 636 different validation tests. On/off buttons are punched 20,000 times. Prototypes are drop tested 10,000 times.  Cleaner heads are slammed into iron table legs.
  • Patents:There are 350 patents and patent applications worldwide relating to the technology used in Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners, including patents relating to Dyson digital motors.
  • Run-time: This machine will run for 20 minutes, 17 minutes with the motorised tool, and for 6 minutes on boost mode.
  • Hygienic bin emptying: Just push the button to release the dirt directly into the bin.
  • Weight: 2kg.
  • Guarantee: The machine comes with a 2 year parts and labour guarantee.
  • Energy Star Rating: The machine’s battery charger has qualified for the Energy Star rating, due to its energy efficiency.

There is still that question about price though and I can’t give away a whole vacuum cleaner today, I would really, really love to but what I CAN do is give you your very own super discount!

  • If you want to buy the Dyson Digital Slim DC59 Animal, then you can win a 30% discount right here. That’s a fair chunk of change off the cost of your brand new Dyson.
  • In the comments below, tell me the most frustrating thing about your current vacuum cleaner.
  • Entries close at Midnight AEST on Sunday 14th September and I will chose a winner and advise them by email on Monday 15th September.
  • The winner will be emailed a special code that they can use at the checkout on the Dyson website to get their very own 30% discount.

Scienceworks. Family Favourite

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Xanthe checks out a terrarium

Saturday was a busy day for us with the quick visit to the snow in the morning and then we headed off to ScienceWorks for the afternoon and finished the day off with dinner with the Sister in Law and her Husband.

I was lucky enough to get some free tickets to ScienceWorks so we could properly check out the new Think Ahead section and visit the Planetarium.

I am loving the new Think Ahead section. It opened in January this year and we saw some of it last time we went but this time we spent a bit more time there and were able to enjoy some interactive exhibits and email the recordings to ourselves.

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Here, Xanthe is designing a futuristic car. She was able to chose all the body parts and materials and the colour. The car is then displayed on a large screen in the “showroom”. We were able to email those designs to ourselves.

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As you can see above, you are able to name your design. Millar chose his own name while Xanthe went with “Aeppkkbvcg”.

We also played a virtual reality game. The kids LOVED this. There are two booths with large screens and the player needs to stand on the red carpet strip to be seen by the cameras.

Inside the booth, everything is controlled by your own body movements. The player is able to choose the body parts they want superimposed onto themselves and then they play a game to see how many targets they can hit with hands or feet and it is all displayed on the screen in front of them. Afterwards, you can select your game from a screen outside the booth and email it to yourself. Which we did and for some reason I cannot get the little videos to embed on this blog, so you’ll have to take my word for it!

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Xanthe being scanned before the game

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Playing the game and hitting the targets.

One of my favourite sections is the sound booth. The subtleties of this one is lost on my kids as they run around pushing buttons and kind of missing the point, but I would love to spend more time in here creating the perfect calming sounds with lights to match.

SW2 SW1Think Ahead is a permanent exhibition so it will be around for quite some time. The old favourites Nitty Gritty Super City and Sport are still there too.

If you’ve never been to ScienceWorks then you don’t know what you are missing. It is my favourite thing to do with the kids in Melbourne. The price is so reasonable that we are able to visit often. My kids never tire of it and would spend all day there if I had the energy to chase them around all day. Hands on action with an educational slant. Love love love.

Prices:

GENERAL ENTRY
Adult Child (to 16 years) Concession
Scienceworks only $12.00 Free Free
Optional Extras
Planetarium Show $6.00 $4.50 $5.00
Lightning Room Show $6.00 $4.50 $5.00
Rescue Exhibition $6.00 $4.50 $5.00

ScienceWorks is part of the Museum Victoria family, so MV members can enter free of charge. We should really get a family membership, it would be well used!

The new Rescue Exhibition has replaced the circus section and we didn’t visit it this time but it is on the list for next time, along with the Lightning Room.

This time, we visited the Planetarium. Arriving too late for the show aimed at young kids, we chose to see Black Holes instead. Millar is very interested in space and has been asking about black holes a lot lately. I can’t answer those questions so I’m glad that the lovely Geoffrey Rush could do it for me. The show is long enough to be informative and short enough so that Xanthe didn’t have time to realise she didn’t understand what was going on and get bored. After the show about black holes, we were treated to a night sky tour. This is always very interesting and inspires my kids to look at the stars at night and point out Mars and Venus and the Southern Cross.

If you plan on visiting the Planetarium, check out the show times first and plan your trip accordingly.

Young kids under 8 will really love Tycho To The Moon. My kids saw this on our last visit back in January and still talk about it.

Beware of falling asleep in the planetarium. It is very dark and the reclining seats are very comfortable.

I seriously cannot get enough of ScienceWorks. We’ll be back in a month for more awesomeness.