Life Lately #6 – plus a Christmas Giveaway!

The Urban Ma blog meets Ms Claus SMK

The last leg of 2013!

Can you believe it’s almost November!? Lately I’ve gotten accustomed to the fact that time just seems to go by way too quickly and the past few weeks have been no different – I can’t believe I have an almost one-year-old! Being October, the wedding season has started along with Christmas parties many more celebratory events and with an 11-month old in tow this has proven to be just a tad bit more tiring than usual (sorry for my lack of blog posts last week – I’ll make up for it this week!). If you’ve been following me on Instagram (@jacqfruit) you will have seen what my past few weekends have been like. Thank you to all of you for your comments and messages on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts lately and as always if you have any suggestions on any topics you’d like to see in my blog posts please feel free to leave a comment or email me! Also, keep scrolling down to see details on how to enter my first Christmas giveaway! 🙂

– I originally set out to make October the month where I don’t buy anything new…umm, epic fail! I bought a few new things for my little man (shopping haul here) and also for myself as sadly my mat leave is ending soon and I thought I should buy a few new things for my first week back at work.
– visited a few eateries for the first time and also ate at some old favourites! (a local favourite, see here , a variety of new places I’d never been before ranging from Indian cuisine to American style chicken and burgers!
– we took Baby D to his first ever Melbourne Show and I had such a great time I wrote a massive post on it – photo heavy! See here.
– we had lots of nice and quiet family time and walked to the lake every time the sun was out so Baby D could feed the ducks! #itsthesimplethings
– Baby D spent some quality time with both sets of grandparents 🙂
– I attended the 6th annual AHC Dance competition this year not as a competitor but as a volunteer and it was so amazing to see life backstage and all the talented dancers live their passions on the stage at the prestigious Crown Casino venue, The Palms (blog post coming soon)
– I spent some time with Baby leisurely strolling through Melbourne city and South Melbourne visiting little boutiques and eateries
– celebrated lots of birthdays and had a few mothers group get togethers 🙂
– attended a few bloggers events, see here and here
– And finally yesterday, after a week of rehearsals, we took part in a proposal flash mob gig complete with dancing, beautiful log-stemmed roses, a percussionist ensemble, a curious Bourke street mall crowd, a film crew and a very much in love and most organised groom-to-be I’ve ever met! It was a success – she said YES! ❤

The Urban Ma shops UniHill FO bargains The Urban Ma at Crown Metropol The Urban Ma blog jacqfruit at the RoyalMelbShow The Urban Ma blog in MelbourneThe Urban Ma 6th birthday party fairy themeThe Urban Ma blog at Crown Metropol The Urban MA blog jacqfruit The Urban Ma blog jacqfruit Brimbank Cairnlea lakes The Urban Ma blog nanna The Urban Ma blog mothers groupKstar ueg ahc2013The Urban Ma blog backstage at AHC The Urban Ma blog at Estellas The Urban Ma MishandaThe Urban Ma styling Daniel Flashmob proposal flashbmob

SMK The Urban Ma blog craft handmade SMK The Urban Ma blog sweets table SMK The Urban Ma blogSMK ootd The Urban Ma blog styling daniel

A Christmas Giveaway! – Santa’s Magical Kingdom, Melbourne, Burnley Oval.

Melbourne get ready to see a truly magical experience. Burnley Oval will be transformed into Santa’s Magical Kingdom this November and December. The magic of Christmas will come alive at Santa’s Magical Kingdom with an interactive walk-through adventure land including everything that you love about Christmas, plus a spectacular Christmas themed circus show that will amaze everyone. Enjoy an enchanting walk-through wonderland that includes regular snow falls, rides, amusements and a variety of Christmas activities including ginger bread decorating and Christmas sand art. And of course the day would not be complete without the jolly man himself; even Mrs Claus and Rudolph pay a visit!

Tickets include entry, gingerbread decorating, sand art, unlimited rides and access to the Magical Kingdom! Great family value! Tickets are $39.50 plus Ticketek charges. Kids under 3 years of age do not require tickets. To purchase tickets click here. Santa’s Magical Kingdom sold-out in 2012! Dont miss out and get your tickets now.

Santa’s Magical Kingdom Giveaway Details!

WIN a family pass to Santa’s Magical Kingdom for Sunday November 17th, 11am 2013
1) Share on Facebook, tweet on Twitter or repost on Instagram (use tags #smkgiveaway and #jacqfruit)
2) Email with “SMK Giveaway” in the subject line and the following information:
– your name
– the age/s of your children/s
– where you have shared or reposted (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram)
Competition closes and winners will be drawn at random on Monday November 11th. The winner will be notified by email and must reply within 3 days otherwise another winner will be drawn. The family pass is not transferrable and is available for use on Sunday November 17th 2013 for the 11am session.

Good Luck!

SMK collage giveaway The Urban Ma blog

Vanilla slice, slice baby

IMG_9935 IMG_9936

VicPies Cafe, Shop 6, 100 Furlong Road, Cairnlea

Maybe they should change the name of the store from VicPies to VicRice or something along those lines because after eating lunch here with fellow blogger Consider the Sauce, hubby and I are hooked! – only it’s not their pies that have made our lunch dates there a favourite – we are loving their Vietnamese rice dishes and ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee)! Oh and also their homemade vanilla slices (only $2.80!) 🙂

Even though it looks a little confused with lunch dishes printed on paper and stuck to the windows and then pies and coffee on offer in the display unit, I guess that’s the charm of this local cafe. VicPies is not at all pretentious – they offer friendly service and fabulous food at reasonable prices – that’s a winner in my books! The dishes are served with lots of tender meat and veggies and even though they don’t have highchairs available, VicPies is pram friendly 🙂

Our favourites are the beef claypot, pork chop and broken rice with fried egg and the beef stew, and of course the smooth vanilla slice. What are your favourite local eats!?

Vicpies Café on Urbanspoon

vicpies beef The Urban MaIMG_9934IMG_9931IMG_9929

My Little Man’s shopping haul at UniHill and more!

A UniHill Factory Outlet Sponsored Feature
Model Daniel
UniHill Factory Outlets 2 Janefield Drive, Bundoora
Open 7 days 10am-6pm

When I found out I was having a boy I was so excited and at the same time thought it would be hard to find it fun dressing him – there always seemed to be so much more girly clothes with frills, bows and glitter everywhere.  Boy was I wrong! I have loved putting together outfits for Baby D and this week I took my little man back to UniHill to find us some bargains for a sprucing up of his wardrobe. Armed with some vouchers and comfortable shoes we shopped up a storm –  check out the goodies we got below! 😀

Baby D’s shopping haul!

Cotton On Kids
$5 down from $24.95 a pair of gumboots $24.95 down to $5!  (handy for next winter when Baby D can splash around in the puddles!)
$20 down from $39.95 denim jacket  (I really wanted a denim jacket for myself so when I saw this I had to get it for my little one!)
$10 down from $24.95 long sleeved shirt (I was looking for a denim shirt but found this light coloured one perfect for summer layering!)
$5 down from $14.95 “Talk to my agent” tee (love this pop of aqua colour! I’ll do a blog post soon of Baby wearing some of these!)
$5 down from $14.95 Raglan long sleeve (I currently have a thing for anything raglan!)
$10 down from $29.95 Skinny jeans (love this colour, so bright and happy for the summer days ahead)

Total: UniHill price for 6 items = $55
                  Retail price for 6 items = $149.7
Saving of $94.70!

$14 down from $20 Blue checkered backpack (I’m moving on from a nappy bag to a backpack so it’s easier to carry both Baby and Baby’s things!)

– Lonsdale baby onesie and Russell Atheltic shorts (I can’t remember the prices for these as mum bought them but seeing that mum bought them means that they were a pretty good deal!)

It was Republica Brands’ opening day when we went and there were some really handsome shirts I wanted to buy but we were pressed for time so I’ll have to go back and check them out on another visit soon as they have 50% off until Saturday! I can’t wait to show you how Baby D has been incorporating his new clothes with some favourites from his current wardrobe (below are some outfit pics).

Okay so the shopping didn’t stop there! After we used up all Baby D’s vouchers, my mum and cousins bought so many other things at places like Cotton On where they were able to buy 6 pairs of shoes for a total of $21 (see pics below)! Tees, raglan tops and some funky purple Gola shoes were just some of the things they picked up. Glad to see that the whole family scored some bargains and we’re already planning our next attack visit to UniHill to get started on the Christmas shopping list.

Happy shopping everyone – I hope this has been helpful to those looking to find some great bargains out there!

What are some bargain buys you have recently purchased and where did you find them!?

Check out my Facebook page and Instagram for more shopping, food and events pics!

The Urban Ma UniHill shopping haul
The Urban Ma's Baby D and VansThe Urban Ma shops AdidasThe Urban Ma boys ootdThe Urban Ma ootd for a baby boyThe Urban Ma blog UniHill shopping haulThe Urban Ma family at UniHill

Melbourne Monday: Chemistry? Yeah, chemistry!

The Urban Ma N2EGIMG_0310

N2 Extreme Gelato – 329 Brunswick st, Fitzroy

Happy Monday everyone!

Our freezer is stocked up with ice cream all year because just like my grandma, the hubby too, loves his hit of creamy coolness no matter the season. I think his favourite thing about being an adult is the fact that he can buy and eat ice cream whenever he likes (today he had a serving of caramel ice cream before and after his afternoon siesta!). So when we a friend took us out for dessert at N2 Extreme Gelato I knew it would be a sweet end to our night out.

The use of liquid nitrogen at N2 Extreme Gelato plays on the strength of a phenomenon called nucleation-dominated ice crystallisation, it forms a large number of microscopic ice crystals in seconds, resulting in exceptionally smooth textures – N2 Extreme Gelato’s website

After about a fifteen minute wait for our  Black Lava salted caramel cup of silky smoothness (it was a very busy night and all the flavours are freshly made), we tucked into our first taste of N2’s infamous gelato. Oh so smooth with such a divine taste we didn’t stop until our cup was licked clean. Tip: if you’re ordering the black lava salted caramel flavour, don’t eat all the black bits of topping at once or you’ll have an extremely salty surprise! Share the salt around with the rest of the gelato! 😉 N2 also serves their gelato several degrees warmer than your average ice cream so say good bye to those brain freeze moments!

N2 is decked out with green faux grass in the front window and more towards the back of the store so you can sit and have a gelato picnic. Combined with the artwork and daily flavours drawn onto the blackboard painted walls, N2 makes for a cool hang out with friends or a good book as you enjoy the liquid nitrogen show that takes place behind the glass windows. Definitely need to visit this place again!

The menu changes weekly so follow N2 Extreme Gelato on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for their latest news and concoctions.

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Jacqfruit Randomness!: The title of this blog post comes from which 1950 musical starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra? 🙂

The Urban MA eats salted caramel


Jacqfruit The Urban Ma IMG_0311
Jacqfruit N2 menu

The 2013 Royal Melbourne Show Wrap Up!

wes and daniel at the show

The 2013 Royal Melbourne Show – Melbourne Showgrounds Epsom Road, Ascot Vale Saturday 21 September – Wednesday 2 October 2013, 9.30am – 9.30pm

I hadn’t been to the Show in over 10 years so this year I made up for it by taking in the sights over 2 days! I knew Baby D would get excited seeing all the animals and I wanted to take family and relatives visiting from overseas. My parents had taken me as a kid and now as a big kid I found so many new things to see, eat and enjoy that I already can’t wait for next year! – there truly is something for everyone!

So before my stream of photos begins here are some tips if you’re planning on making the most of the last day of the Show:

#1 Events and show times schedule: Check out the Royal Melbourne Show’s iPhone app  or their website if you’re planning on making the most of the events, free cooking masterclasses, show times, celebrity appearances, blue ribbon competitions etc.
#2 Pack some drinks: Keeping hydrated will see you through the queues and crowds if the day is busy. There are plenty of food stalls and also many free samples to keep your tastebuds happy! (See below)
#3 Set a budget: With an 11 month old baby we didn’t really spend much on rides or showbags and we were lucky to have media passes to take care of the entrance fee. If you’re coming with older kids setting an expectation of how many rides and how many showbags they can purchase is a good idea. There are so many free things to do and take home – you’ll be pleasantly surprised! I came home with my own bag of free goodies! – mostly from the My Backyard area and the Woolworths & Tastes of Victoria Pavillion! See below.
#4 Bring a  camera and some patience 🙂 Being Baby D’s first time at the show, I was so happy to capture his expressions and wonderment as we watched the goats in the Animal Nursery, watched the rides spinning around and all the people having a great time. We went on both Sundays and the first Sunday was perfect! We arrived at around 2:30pm and didn’t have to line up for most of the activities. Even with all the queues on the second Sunday, Baby D loved it! He loved watching all the different faces, prizes, showbags, and stuffed animals walk by. I learnt a thing or two from my little one that day –  Don’t rush. Take it easy. Everyone will get their turn and meanwhile, enjoy a bit of people-watching to pass the time! Ahhh the things our kids can teach us at such a young age!
#5 Cash out: There are plenty of ATM’s around the Showgrounds and when buying showbags most places do take EFTPOS but cashing out beforehand will help you avoid unnecessary queues 😉

Here is my photo-heavy blog post including my top 40 things to do at the Royal Melbourne Show! I hope this helps you take advantage of the last day! 😀

The Urban Ma jacqfruit visits My Backyard

My Backyard

1) Check out Animals of Oz were you can meet some of Australia’s native animals. 2) Bring home a grassy caterpillar and watch it grow (free). 3) Plant some seedlings to take home – we got some basil, coriander and parsley (free). 4) Check out the chook enslosure and pat-a-chook! 5) There are also some ducks to see (this was Baby D’s favourite, ahhh the simple things!) 6) You can even dress a scarecrow! (free). 7) Check out the salvage and permaculture gardens for ideas for your own backyard! – the better half still owes me a herb wall from Mother’s Day so we got some ideas from this area of the Show! 😉

The Urban Ma at The Royal Melbourne ShowMY Backyard free jacqfruitmy backyard collage MY Backyard collage 2 The Urban MaThe Urban Ma grandma with Daniel

The Tastes of Victoria Pavilion

8) Visit the pop up restaurant of the day on your left as you enter the pavilion. We were lucky to taste the delectable desserts of Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio, when we got to this stall it was close to the end of the day and the desserts ranged from $3-$5! Mum & I loved the coconut, passionfruit, ginger and mint tube and the caramel chocolate hazelnut choux (bliss!!!). 9) Stop by the Caramelicious stall and taste their salted caramel butter! 10) I also tried some goat chorizo and sausages! 11) If you get there early, check out Kids’ Food Fun with Alice at 11.30am! 12) There are lots of Masterclass sessions and the one we caught was the beer tasting session. 13) Right next door to the Masterclass stage are the cooking demonstrations where you can learn how to cook a variety of dishes and maybe even get to taste them at the end!


IMG_0364 IMG_0368Tastes The Urban MaTastes The Urban Ma blog

Masterchef Kitchen

14) We visited the Masterchef Kitchen late in the day so we didn’t have to line up. It was so cool to see the set up and it was quite warm inside. 15) There are some Masterchef celebrities to meet and greet and on the day we went Lynton was there at the front of the building greeting fans. 16) Outside at the front of the Masterchef Kitchen are all the little gardens of veggies and herbs! 17) Right next door to the Masterchef Kitchen was the Advance Dog Pavilion but we didn’t have time to check it out.

IMG_0285Masterchef collage The Urban MaKale and Masterchef The Urban Ma

The Animal Nursery

18) We visited the animal nursery late in the afternoon and there was a line to get in but it moved pretty swiftly. I suggest you come in early at 9.30am if you want to visit the animals when it’s not so busy! Baby D was in awe of all the animals walking around! We didn’t spend too much time in here as it was so crowded but it was lovely to see all the little ones so enthralled by all the farm animals as we walked through the big shed. 19) You can get your photo with a little lamb as you exit but my camera was full of pics of Baby D that we skipped this one.

The Urban Ma and Daniel in the Animal Nursery Animal Nursery The Urban Ma Paddock to Plate, Weekly Times Livestock Pavillion and the Arts, Craft and Cookery building

20) Check out the award winning livestock in the Weekly Times Livestock Pavillion. We got to this pavilion quite late in the night so we just walked around to see the animals up close! We saw the Merino studs and beef cattle. 21) Next door to the livestock pavilion was the Arts, Craft and Cookery Building. Check out the yarn car and caravan as you walk in – so colourful! 22) Again we visited this shed quite late in the day so there were no arts and craft workshops taking place so we walked around admiring all the works of various competition entrants. 23) Check out the cake decorating entrants! Ranging from Christmas themes to Disney characters these cakes had so much detail! 24) The Paddock to Plate building is in between the Masterchef Kitchen and My Backyard and there we saw some cows being milked. 25) There are also some interactive activities like grain grinding and an activity to get the kids thinking about where their food actually comes from.

The Urban Ma visit the Royal Melbourne ShowLivestock and ArtsPaddock to Plate

Coca Cola Arena and the CommBank Entertainment Dome

This year was the first time I had visited the show in the evening and it had such a great vibe! 26) Check out the Commbank Entertainment Dome for a DJ dance party at 5pm and Looney Tunes and Yo Gabba Gabba shows throughout the day! We got to this dome late so we didn’t get to see the Looney Tunes show but the Comic Daredevil and DJ Dance party rocked it! 27) In the Coca Cola Arena we saw some polocrosse action (lacrosse on horses!) and the fireworks lighting up the Melbourne skyline.

The Urban Ma entertainment dome djThe Urban Ma arena

Woolworths Pavilion

28) The Woolworths Pavilion offers many different cuisines and as we visited this Pavilion around dinner time there were people everywhere! We weren’t too hungry so we had some Kaiser sausages. There were gozlemes, donuts, po boys, pies, and plenty more to choose from!  29) Mum and I also bought the two for $15 Taste showbags and we got some great samples of food, snacks, and household goods to try out at home (oh how our tastes change as we get older LOL!! Now I’ve got dinner sorted out for 2 nights! – Malaysian Chicken Curry and Tacos!) 30) The $2 Cheese Toasties were a hit with the crowd, with lines at this stall on both days we were there! Who said eating at the Show had to be expensive!?) 31) We also tried some free samples of Beechworth honey and saw some busy bees working hard. 32) If you get a little tired and need a massage or some timeout, the Smooth FM stand is for you! With comfy couches and smooth tunes playing, let the kids go crazy on the rides outside while you mind their showbags and put your feet up! 33) Baby D was excited to see Thomas the Tank Engine so we took a picture with the big blue train and the Controller! 34) If your kids are wanting to get their face painted, there’s a stand just outside the Woolworths Pavilion.

Woolworths The Urban Ma Woolworths The Urban MA dinnerThe Urban Ma showbag

Showbag Pavilion

35) The Showbag Pavilion or “crazy hall” is the must stop pavilion for almost everyone that attends the show and looking around at all the showbags there seems to be a showbag for every age, gender and taste! You have to line up to get in but like the Animal Nursery the line moves along pretty quickly. If you don’t want to line up you can pick up a showbag just outside the Showbag Pavilion and also some food showbags in the Woolworths Pavilion. When I was a kid I remember eagerly reading the weekend newspaper and circling the showbags I wanted within the budget my parents gave me. I bought my sis a Nerds showbag and didn’t buy Baby D anything – he’s happy with me just blowing bubbles! 😛

The Urban Ma at the Showbag PavillionShowbags galore with the Urban Ma

The Rides – Thrill Seekers Carnival, Family Carnival, Kids Carnival and the Adventure Zone

36) The Thrill Seekers Carnival is buzzing with people, rides and lights. We didn’t go on any of the rides in this section but my cousins went on the Sky Flyer and tried their hand at winning a huge stuff toy! 37) The only ride I went on this year was the Giant Sky Wheel ($8). It has the best view of the Showgrounds and Melbourne’s surrounds! The carriages fit 6 people in each so we spent some time up there chatting to the family we share a carriage with 🙂 Try playing Where’s Wally while you’re up and look for the giant crocodile and giant shark! 38) On the way out with some vouchers left for a few last rides, my cousins used them up on the fun slide 🙂 39) For one last sweet hit on the way out to the car there are vendors selling fairy floss and ice cream etc for the ride home. 40) Don’t forget to check the number of the area that you park in if you are driving to the Show! The car park is huge and I always forget to check! (Car parking $20).

All in all we had such a fantastic time at this year’s show and can’t wait for next year!

What were some of your favourite sights and activities this year? What tips do you have for those planning a trip to the Show today?

The Urban Ma ridesIMG_0243

Tantalizing Tuesdays – Smashed that burger!

smashed burger
Rockwell and Sons – 288 Smith Street, Collingwood

We spent last Monday night getting smashed. And no, not smashed with alcohol – I’m still currently trying to wean the little one! I meant we had our first taste of the infamous Double Patty Smash burger from Rockwell and Sons. Thanks to some friends who have become regulars at this Smith street burger bar, we were introduced to this good old  soul food in the best way possible – a tasting menu!
Before we even started, the chilli roasted pumpkin seeds hinted great things to come. Every dish was served to us by polished yet welcoming and friendly staff and I am already planning my next trip back here! I am drooling over these photos as I upload them so enjoy tonight’s food porn!
The burger and crispy confit duck wings were my favs and we were so full that in order to fit in dessert we decided to go for a walk down to N2. A perfect night of “cheat day” eating!

X.S Linda from gave us these little parcels of caramel goodness for the ride home! I must try this recipe!!!

Rockwell and Sons on Urbanspoon




IMG_0296Crispy confit duck wings – with Red Dragon sauce, scallions and sesame.





IMG_0301The infamous double patty Smash burger with melted Kraft cheese