Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Grandparents Playgroup at the Australian National Botanic Gardens

As a mum of two young preschool kids, I completely appreciate the number of playgroups and activities in Canberra for this age group. It is heartening to see the number of grandparents that also attend these children's' groups and activities. It is also encouraging to see playgroups set up specifically for grandparents. Grandparents' groups are fantastic as they also offer a way for mature carers to socialise whilst spending time with their little ones, especially if they are retired and would like to make new social connections. Read more...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Thursday Talks at the Australian National Botanic Gardens

The natural world is a fascinating area that is very easy to talk about from a variety of perspectives. This is why the Thursday Talks run by the Friends of the Gardens at lunchtime have become so popular. The talks are open to everyone and are aimed at a well-informed general audience. Read more...


Monday, August 29, 2016

Exhibitions at Australian National Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre

Beautiful gardens AND art - what more could you want?
The Visitors Centre at the Australian National Botanic Gardens is a beautiful space for taking in an art exhibition. The centre regularly features exhibitions in fine art, photography, craft, sculpture and other creative areas. There are new exhibitions every month that focus on a variety of themes such as environment, science, history, and culture. Read more...


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Wattle Walks at the Australian National Botanic Gardens

Wattle you think of the Botanic Gardens Wattle Walk?
It's impossible not to notice the profusion of yellow lining many of Canberra's roads, and popping out of suburban reserves and parkland at the moment. For most of the year, you'd be pressed to spot unassuming Acacia (Wattle) trees and bushes, but when August/September rolls around…WOW! Read more...

Friday Storytime for Preschoolers at Australian National Botanic Gardens

Children's stories at Canberra's stunning Botanic Gardens
Children love stories at the best of times, but stories told against the stunning native bush backdrop of the Australian National Botanic Gardens become even more magical. Read more...

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Canberra Writers' Festival 2016

A treat for lovers of literature
Calling all aspiring authors, reading enthusiasts and those who just want to enjoy some intelligent conversation. The Canberra Writers Festival is back for another year with a stellar line-up of events such as conversations and author talks, book launches, workshops and other special events. Most events – even the free ones – require booking due to limited space. Check out the program for the weekend below and book in your favourite events to avoid disappointment: Read more...
Carmel Bird - "Family Skeleton". Image from www.canberrawritersfestival.com.au

Friday, August 26, 2016

Shine 20th Anniversary Screening & Special Events

Three unique events to celebrate Shine's 20th anniversary
The 90s was the decade for iconic Aussie films, such as Muriel's Wedding, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and of course, Shine. Now all of these films are commemorating their 20th anniversaries, Canberra's National Film and Sound Archive has been instrumental making sure they're celebrated accordingly. Read more...
Image from www.nfsa.gov.au

Snugglepot & Cuddlepie at the Canberra Theatre

May Gibbs' classic characters take to the stage
Having grown up with author and illustrator May Gibb's Snugglepot & Cuddlepie stories, I was very excited to discover this stage adaptation created for a new generation of children. The Canberra Theatre will host two performances of the show at 11am or 2pm on Saturday 20 AugustRead more...

Monday, August 8, 2016

The National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) Canberra

For the last 30 years, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) has been collecting, preserving and sharing Australia's audio-visual heritage. Read more...

Iconic Australian movie, Picnic at Hanging Rock is turning 40!

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Vinyl Lounge Listening Party at the National Film and Sound Archive

The best way to spend Friday afternoon
I often wonder if vinyl records will still be around when my grandchildren (or even children) are old enough to understand different music formats. Read more...
The Vinyl Lounge listening party - the first Friday of every month at the National Film and Sound Archive

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Belconnen's Best: Top 18 Things to do in Belconnen

Belconnen is one of Canberra's best assets
Belconnen. Canberra's great city of the north-west has so much to offer. I've lived in this beautiful area for over four years now, and I'm still discovering new things to do. Here is a list of my favourites so far... Read more...
Belconnen Arts Centre. Image from www.belconnenartscentre.com.au

Monday, July 25, 2016

Australian Sketchbook: Colonial Life and the Art of S.T. Gill at the National Library Australia

Be transported back to 19th century Australia
Now you can enjoy more than 200 works from Australian artist, S.T. Gill (including paintings, drawings, watercolours, and prints) at National Library Australia exhibition, Australian Sketchbook: Colonial Life and the Art of S.T. Gill until 16 October 2016. Read more...
Title page from The Australian Sketchbook by S.T.G 1864–65, chromolithograph, State Library Victoria

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Author Talk with Cheryl Strayed at National Library of Australia

Meet the author of bestselling book ‘Wild’ in person
If you enjoyed the book (or movie) 'Wild' by Cheryl Strayed as much as I did, you will be pretty excited about the opportunity to meet Cheryl in person at 6-7pm on Wednesday 10 August 2016 at the National Library of Australia (NLA). Read more...
Author talk with Cheryl Strayed at 6-7pm on Wednesday 10 August 2016 at the National Library of Australia. Image from www.nla.gov.au

Saturday, July 23, 2016

On War with Dr Meleah Hampton at National Library of Australia

Learn more about the First World War battle of Pozières
The battle of Pozières was a brutal two-week fight for the French village of Pozières, as well as the ridge it is located on. This battle is particularly significant in Australian history, due to the high number of Australian casualties incurred during this First World War battle. Read more...
Free talk: On War with Dr Meleah Hampton at National Library Australia. Image from www.nla.gov.au

Friday, July 22, 2016

Zest Cafe at the Raiders Club, Gungahlin

Great value meals and drinks, plus a playground for the kids
As our kids have grown older, we have tried to establish a regular 'family night out'. The kids are still pretty young (both under 5) so our restaurant of choice needs to have:

1. Family-friendly seating – so the kids can move around without annoying other patrons. Read more...
$12 Chicken Schnitzel Special every Wednesday night at Raiders Club, Gungahlin. Image from Raiders Club Facebook page


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Art Pack Creative Workshops for Children at Belconnen Arts Centre

Art and craft workshops (without the mess at home)
I'd love to do more art and craft activities with my children (aged two and four). I enjoy craft, and consider myself quite a creative person, but am never sure what activities to do with them. Some things I've tried have been too tricky, (leading to lots of frustration and toddler tantrums), and others much too messy! I was pretty excited when I discovered the Art Pack creative workshops for children 2-5 years old at Belconnen Arts Centre on Saturdays, 9:30-10:30am from 30 July - 12 September. Read more...
Art Pack - creative workshops for 2-5 year-olds at Belconnen Arts Centre

HART.R8 for Hartley Indoor Cycle Challenge

Get your HARTR8 pumping in the 6hr indoor cycle challenge
With the Tour de France in full-swing at the moment, there's no better time to don some Lycra and unleash your inner cyclist by participating in an indoor cycle challenge. Read more...
Image from www.hartley.org.au

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Small Art Adventures for 5-7 year-olds at Belconnen Arts Centre

Winter craft workshops for 5-7 year-olds
The weather is not great - it's not outdoor playground weather, but the kids are climbing the walls on the weekends. How can you get them out of the house, whilst keeping them warm and dry? Small Art Adventures at Belconnen Art Centre could be just what they need. Read more...
A Small Adventures creation. Image from www.belconnenartscentre.com.au

Friday, July 8, 2016

Bush Capital Bush Marathon Festival 2016

In comparison to running mostly on roads and footpaths around my local suburb, running in the bush feels like a complete indulgence for the senses. The refreshing scents from the native vegetation, coupled with glimpses of native fauna make for a very special experience. Often referred to as "the bush capital" Canberra is a prime location for the Bush Marathon Festival on the weekend of the 6-7 August 2016.  Read more...


Monday, July 4, 2016

Resolution Run Series 2016

Lake Tuggeranong fun run series
Your pre-dawn alarm goes off. You roll over and look at the temperature outside on your phone. The figure displayed is below 0 degrees Celsius! It's cold Canberra winter mornings like these that take every fibre of your being to roll out of bed, put on your running gear and head outside for a run.

From my experience, nothing inspires you to get out of bed and brave the cold like an impending running race. Read more...
The picturesque course around Lake Tuggeranong. Image from www.resolutionrunseries.com.au

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Show & Tell Market

Handmade market at Belconnen Arts Centre
Handmade markets are one of my favourite places to find unique gifts. Before I hit a handmade market, I make a rough list of forthcoming birthdays or occasions that I need to buy pressies for, such as baby showers, new babies, engagements/weddings, etc. You can even start thinking about Christmas presents and relieve the pressure of having to buy everything in November/December when you'd rather be at a Christmas party or on holidays.

Show & Tell Market is an exciting new Canberra design market that will be launched at Belconnen Arts Centre on Saturday 23 July 2016, 10am-4pm. Read more...
One-of-a-kind soft toys by What I Made. Image from www.showandtellmarket.com

Monday, June 27, 2016

Gardening Talks at The Garden Plant Nursery (Winter 2016)

Get expert advice for your garden this Winter
The Garden Plant Nursery in MacGregor is one of my favourite nurseries in Canberra to wander around, so I was excited to learn that they also offer weekly garden talks on site. Read more...
Image from The Garden Plant Nursery Facebook page

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Stadium Stomp 2016

The ultimate stair-climbing challenge in four of Australia’s
What is Stadium Stomp?This is a unique, fun sporting event that focuses on a stair-climbing course within some of thelargest sporting stadiums in Australia. Participants climb up, down and around the stairs within the grandstands, covering thousands of stairs before finishing on the ground itself. Read more...


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Questacon - Free Entry Weekend

Rediscover Questacon this weekend
Questacon has long been a one of Canberra's family-favourite destinations. If it's been a while since you paid a visit, this is the weekend to drop in as entry will be free all weekend - 25-26 June 2016. Read more...
Questacon free entry weekend 25-26 June 2016. Image from www.questacon.edu.au

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New Exhibitions at Beaver Galleries: Alexander Boynes, Maria Chatzinikolaki, and David Frazer

Three new exhibitions at Beaver Galleries this month
Alexander Boynes: Body / Time / Light (paintings)
I've always been fascinated by light, movement and the human body," says Alexander Boynes. Body / Time / Light is Boynes' latest exhibition of work at Beaver Galleries this month. Pieces included in this collection have been inspired by two collaborative projects the Canberra-based artist has been working on recently. Read more...
Alexander Boynes, Carbon Copy – pigment and enamel on aluminium, 120 x 120cm. Image from www.beavergalleries.com.au

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Birrigai Café

A hidden gem on Lake Ginninderra
The "Cafe Open" a-frame sign lured us from the walking path around Lake Ginninderra into Cafe Birrigai. That was a few years ago when we first moved to Canberra, and we've beenhooked ever since. Read more...
View of Birrigai Cafe from Lake Ginninderra

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Lifeline Bookfair Winter 2016

Canberra's best source for pre-loved books, CDs, DVDs more
What do you do with books when you've finished reading them? Do you keep them until you gradually run out of space on your bookshelf, and then make some tough decisions? Or perhaps you pass them onto a friend?

I was in my local library the other day, and overheard a conversation between the librarian and a patron who wanted to donate some books. The librarian informed her that, sadly, Canberra libraries no longer accept donations. She went on to suggest donating her books to Lifeline for their Bookfairs. This made me realise the importance of Lifeline Bookfairs for recycling and reselling second hand books in Canberra. Read more...
Lifeline Bookfair, Southside. Image from Lifeline Facebook page

Monday, June 13, 2016

Let's Play Indoor Playground

Get the kids out of the house on cold, wet days
It was a cold, wet Sunday morning – the second consecutive day of rain we'd had. The kids were climbing the walls; my husband and I were going insane. We needed to get out of the house. We knew every indoor playground in Canberra would be overflowing with cabin-fever-suffering kids like ours, but it seemed a small price to pay if it meant leaving the house and not getting wet. Read more...
The big slide at Let's Play

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Free Meditation Classes: Sri Chinmoy Winter 2016 Program

Quieten your mind and relax your body
"Meditation is acceptance. It is the acceptance of life within us, without us and all around us. Acceptance of life is the beginning of human satisfaction."— Sri Chinmoy

Many international leaders, world-class performers and influencers attribute much of their success to the daily practice of meditation. When thought-leaders such as Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss talk about the benefits of their daily practices, you know they must be onto something good. Read more...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Perisher Peak Festival 2016

Australia’s “coolest” festival
A winter trip to the snow is a treat at the best of times. Throw in a music festival as well, and you've got the makings of one awesome long weekend. The Perisher Peak Festival celebrates the start of the snow season and the Queen's Birthday long weekend. Running from 10-13 June 2016, the Festival is an unmissable event for skiing and boarding enthusiasts who love their music. Read more...
Enjoy the unique sounds of 35 artists at the Perisher Peak Festival. Image from Peak Festival Facebook page

Monday, June 6, 2016

Workshop: How To Have A Successful Break Up

Do you need help moving on from a break up?
Traditionally, break-ups are a taboo subject that many people are reluctant to talk about. We just assume that "time heals all wounds", but sometimes it's not that clean-cut, regardless of how long you've been in a relationship that's broken down.

Imagine for a few moments though, how much easier the whole experience would be if there was someone who could help you through those raw feelings of "shame, fear, blame and guilt" that arise from a breakup. Read more...
How to Have a Successful Break Up Workshop, 7-9pm, 22 June 2016, Melbourne

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Hartley Hall Markets

Country markets a stone's throw from Canberra
Country markets bring communities together by celebrating unique local produce, art, craft, and entertainment. If you're seeking a charming country market in close proximity to Canberra, then the Hartley Hall Markets are for you. Read more...
Hartley Hall Market, Hall. Image from Hall Market Facebook page

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Little Faces at the National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery program for kids 6 months-3 years
Charles Teo, 2012 by Adam Chang. Image from www.portrait.gov.au
When you think of a gallery, you traditionally think of a minimalistic, silent space where hard-core art enthusiasts hang out. The National Portrait Gallery is throwing this notion on its head by encouraging more children into the gallery through their Little Faces program. Read more...

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fernwood Belconnen Gym

Workout in a safe, clean environment
If you've made the commitment to get fit, then the first thing you need (after a pair of trainers) is an inspiring workout environment. Sure, you could bounce outside into the fresh air for a brisk run, but running isn't for everyone, so sometimes a gym membership is the only way the work gets done. But if you're a woman, the last thing you want is a daggy gym with sweaty, grunting men throwing weights around (unless they look like one of the Hemsworths).

This is where a dedicated women's gym comes in handy. The best one I've discovered so far is Fernwood Belconnen. Read more...
Fernwood Belconnen gym front entrance

Thursday, June 2, 2016

West Belconnen Kids Winter Festival 2016

Winter fun for kids aged 0-8 years

If you get to Saturday arvo and the kids are climbing the walls, West Belconnen Kids Winter Festival could be just the ticket to save your sanity. Read more...

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Kippax Uniting Church Monster Garage Sale

Grab a bargain, find a treasure or donate to a great cause
Garage sales. They're a great way of off-loading things you don't need anyone, finding a hidden treasure (or buying "stuff you don't need and will never use," says my husband!). Ok, so maybe garage sales aren't for my hubby, but I LOVE them - especially when the proceeds go to a good cause.

I was pretty excited to learn that Kippax Uniting Church is holding one of their tri-annual garage sales this month, Saturday 25 June 2016. Read more...
Kippax Uniting Church Garage Sale, Saturday 25 June 2016. Image from www.morguefile.com

Friday, May 27, 2016

Giggle and Wiggle Program at ACT Libraries

Get your groove on with Giggle and Wiggle
Giggle and Wiggle was the first "proper" kid's activity (aside from my allocated New Parent Group) that I took my eldest daughter to when we first moved to Canberra a couple of years ago.

Giggle and Wiggle is an ACT library initiative and takes place at all ACT libraries at various times throughout the week (see timetable below). Read more...
Giggle and Wiggle for 0-2 year olds at Canberra libraries

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Winter Gardening Talk with Tracey Bool at Kippax Library

Make the most of your garden this winter
The last of your summer marigold and petunias have faded, but it's still weeks before your spring bulbs pop through - let alone flower.

Winter is a tricky, often dull season in many Canberra gardens, but there are still lots of things you can do to breathe a little life into your winter garden and enjoy getting outdoors on sunny winter days. Read more...
Winter garden, image from www.morguefile.com


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

New Exhibitions at Beaver Galleries: Dean Bowen and Judy Holding

Dean Bowen: New morning (paintings, prints & sculpture)

Dean Bowen's vibrantly coloured compositions of insects and animals have a quirky, naïve quality that appeal to one's inner child. Bowen's bold, deceptively simple oil paintings are so captivating that they appeal on many levels. In fact, his striking images wouldn't look out of place in an exquisite children's book. Read more...

Red parrot watching ladybirds – oil on linen, 153 x 137cm. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Permeate Exhibition at Belconnen Arts Centre

Permeate is Belconnen Arts Centre's group exhibition for Emerging Artist Support Scheme (EASS) recipients, running from 27 May to 19 June 2016. Visitors to the Art Centre can enjoy work from artists including: Ned Bott, Hannah Gason and Clare Peters, Janis Lejins, and Madisyn Zabel. Read more...

Doric Stacks, Janis Lejins

Black Fire Restaurant, Braddon: the best 'date night' we've had in a long time!

Date nights are few and far between now that we have kids, so when we get the opportunity to have a meal out, our expectations are high. Black Fire on Mort St, Braddon was recommended to us by a friend, and it certainly didn't disappoint. Read more...

A dish from Black Fire, Braddon. Image fromwww.blackfirerestaurant.com.au

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How to buy a book as a gift

My dad received at least one book for Christmas every year as a child. In fact, everyone in his family received books for Christmas (among other things). He fondly remembers blistering hot Christmas afternoons spent lounging on the veranda reading his new books after the Christmas lunch dishes had been cleared away. 

I’m pleased to say that dad carried this tradition on in our family and I regularly receive books for my birthday, as well as Christmas. The other lovely thing dad does is write a short inscription with the date in the front cover of the books he gives me. I love looking back at the books I’ve received in the past, as they really reflect what I was into at the time. For example, I received craft books at age 13-14, and a book on Witchcraft at age 15 (anyone remember the move The Craft?!) 

I passionately believe there’s a book for everyone – even those who claim they “don’t read”. Everyone has something they’re interested in, or that they’d like to learn more about, and books can help. Books aren’t always about reading either - there are plenty of inspirational books with high-quality glossy images (enter the Coffee Table Book). This is why books make an excellent gift for everyone. Read more...




Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How to buy gifts for kids

It’s the day before the birthday party, and you still haven’t bought a gift for your child’s friend. You have no idea what they like, or even where to start looking. With your kids in toe, you hit the local shopping centre, and the nightmare begins. Read more...