Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

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Our first visit to the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show! We had a great time, there was plenty for the kids to do with performances, play areas and craft activities including flower crown making which was their highlight.

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The craft sessions with Ryobi and the Flower crowns book out so grab your free tix when you arrive to make sure you don't miss out.

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There's free face painting at the Ryobi stand.

The Friends of Melton Gardens are giving out duck food so pay them a visit.

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Accessibility is good and we were able to get to everything with wheels.

Parking is a bit crazy so book your spot online in advance or catch public transport.

Adults need tickets but kids are free!

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Lego Fun

When it comes to budget family entertainment few things top Lego! This weekend we have all been sitting around creating with the Danish gold and it's been so much fun.

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A great deal of our Lego comes from our childhood collections (this stuff lasts forever!!) with additions over the years. For this weekend's game we pulled apart some sets to try and recreate some favourite local landmarks. It is always more fun to go off book and get truly creative!

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Usually we just build and break up but this time we also photographed the creations and with the help of the free editing app Snapseed we tried to get them looking Lego box worthy. It's an easy app for kids to get the hang of with lots of great text options.

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Tips to bring out creativity:

1. Leave the Lego unsorted. Discovering pieces adds so much potential! 

2. Try timed challenges. 

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3. Swap half built creations to get new ideas. 

4. Download an editing app and get the kids to design the box too. 

5. Have a go at some stop motion animation, Lego is perfect for it! 

6. Grab 10 pieces at random and see what you can make. 

7. Use minifigures to retell a favourite story. 

8. Use an old lunchbox as a portable creation zone by supergluing a base board to the inside of the lid and filling it with bricks. 

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This is all part of the Moments Worth Millions campaign encouraging families to get out and make memories without having to spend a fortune. Check out Carnival Cruises for more ideas and a chance to win a family cruise!Β 

A Week of Family Entertainment in Melbourne for $100

So, here we go- how far can we stretch $100 to get a full week of family entertainment in the city?

Monday- morning: Start at the National Gallery of Victoria on St Kilda Road. The gallery is free and currently has the Triennial exhibition that has loads on offer for families including a dedicated Kids space. Afternoon: Head across the road to the Royal Botanic Gardens for a walk and this is a great spot to have a picnic so bring some sandwiches along. Be sure to visit the Ian Potter Children's Garden while you are there, lots to explore and great water play for hot weather.

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Tuesday-  Morning: ACMI (The Australian Centre for the Moving Image) is free to enter and has lots of interactive displays celebrating the history of film and tv. There are video games to play and often a travelling exhibition too. Afternoon: Cross over Flinders Street to famous Hosier Lane and AC/DC Lane to admire the street art and then back to Federation Square to drop into a free Art Play class or play at the big Playground in Birrarung Marr.

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Wednesday-  Morning: Visit Melbourne Museum for $28 ($14 per adult, kids are free). From the dinosaurs and bugs to the rainforest and daily eel feeding session, there is something to interest everyone and the new children's gallery is amazing! You could easily spend a full day here but if you'd like to explore elsewhere...Afternoon: Wander through Carlton Gardens and have a play on the playground or jump on the free city circle tram for a tour of the city. 

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Thursday-  Morning: Let's keep it simple with a dip at the local pool, costs vary but you can usually get a family of four in for $20. Afternoon: Jump on the bikes for a ride through Spotswood, you could catch the punt under the Westagate ($2.70 per bike per trip) or keep pedaling and grab a couple of ice creams along the way instead.

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Friday-  Morning: Have a play at the fully fenced, beachside Plum Garland Memorial Playground at Port Melbourne and then walk along the shore for some awesome ship spotting. Afternoon:  Drive further east to the iconic Brighton Beach Huts. These 'beach cubbies' as my kids call them are all painted differently and sit on a lovely beach. Evening: Take the whole family to the MCG for a Big Bash Cricket match for $42. Matches are fast paced and there is so much on for kids- acrobats, music, fireworks, mascots and lots of little freebies. It's one of the best value sporting events for families.

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Saturday-  Morning: Get an early start and go Hot air balloon spotting at sunrise. Afternoon: Grab a couple of books that aren't getting much love and trade them for new reads at one the the city's dozens of little free libraries. Evening: Catch a free outdoor movie. A lot of councils across the city run these in local parks and they are a fun night out. 

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Sunday-  Beach day. Grab the kite, the sandcastle tools and plenty of sunscreen and hit the sand for the day! 

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I hope this gives you some inspiration for budget fun in the big city!

  

Summer Holidays Photography Tips

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Are you off on a fabulous family holiday this summer and want to capture all those memories? Here are some tips for summer holiday photography:

1. The first and last hour of the day are referred to as 'golden hour' and have the best light for gorgeous photos.

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2. Be a storyteller. Focus on details like a melting ice cream or tiny toes in the sand.

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3. Play around with underwater photography while it's hot and everyone is splashing around. Underwater cameras can be pretty affordable or there are underwater cases for phones and cameras.

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4. Don't be afraid to shoot into the light. Have some fun with silhouettes.

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5. Remember to snap the moments that will make the family laugh in years to come! Like that time you bought a giant inflatable turtle and couldn't fit it in the car to get it to the beach πŸ˜„

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We are hoping to put all these ideas to use on a Cruise with Carnival Cruises later this year. At the moment they are running a Moments Worth Millions campaign encouraging families to get out and make memories without having to spend a fortune, check out their blog for more ideas. 

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Towel Creations

Towel critters are usually reserved for holidays but Carnival sent us this book so we could get in on the fun at home.

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It is an easy thing to try out with the kids, a bit like origami and the resulting creatures are pretty lovable.

We started with the rabbit, a fairly easy one to get the hang of this.

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And elephant was a big hit!

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This monkey was our favourite though, he is named Alfie and still residing on the end of the bed.

There will be plenty more towel critters popping up around here, hopefully one day we will jump on a cruise and see the expert towel artists in action! 

This is all part of our involvement in the 'Moments worth Millions' campaign run by Carnival Cruises encouraging families to go out and make amazing memories on a budget.