All posts by Leigh-Anne Wrighter

July School Holidays in Wollongong

School holidays are all about FUN! We have listed the best of the best when it comes to keeping your kids entertained in Wollongong these July school holidays.

Note: To make your life easier just be sure to confirm details with individual venues prior to attendance of any event. Most importantly ENJOY the holidays!

A CDP Production: Snugglepot and Cuddlepie
When: 11-12 July
Where: IPAC

This exquisite new stage adaptation will spark the imagination and sense of adventure in children and their adults, as together you experience the timeless charm of Snugglepot & Cuddlepie.

Recommended for ages 5+. All tickets $29 from

UOW Early Start Discovery Centre School Holiday Program
When: 2 July – 15 July
Where: Building 21, UOW

The kids will love the fun filled and exciting workshops for all ages including Tap Dancing, Puppet Making, Teddy Bears Picnic, Create your own Comic Character plus so much more!

There is a diverse range of activities to keep the children (and you) entertained during the break. Some session require pre-booking. Spaces are limited!

Full program and booking details at

Nitro Nora Presents Holiday Hodgepodge
When: 13 July 2016
Where: Dancespace 383

Super Circus hero Nitro Nora is always a hit with the kids providing barrels of laughter with lots of fun. School aged children aged 6-12 are invited to spend the day with Nitro Nora discovering their super creative powers.

Activities include art, circus, music and movement. Cost: $65 per child. Book at

Fun-damentals School Holiday Activities
When: 4-18 July 2016
Where: Lindsay Park Primary School

Fun-damentals have every child’s interests covered, with a focus on games plus activites such laser tag, arts and crafts, dancing, acting, building and much more. Also open pupil free day.

Cost: 1st child $50 discounts for siblings (CCR and CCB available).
Contact Daniel Morris on 0423661911 or

Little Leonardos Art Studio
When: 4-15 July 2016
Where: 3/4 George St, Warilla

Little Leonardo’s Art Studio offers a fun and creative environment for anyone who is wanting to explore their artistic side!

Enjoy abstract painting, glue art on canvas, anime character drawing,  sculpt your own cheshire cat in clay and so much more. Activities to suit 3-16 years plus adults.

The Art Studio is open to young and mature students starting from as young as three years of age.

Call 4295 1042 or visit

Lagoon Restaurant ‘Fun Room’ Special Event Dinner
When: 15 July 2016
Where: Lagoon Restaurant

Lagoon invites you to enjoy a sophisticated night out. While kids are entertained by an array of fun activities for the kids you can enjoy your meal and the ocean views.

$49 per adult for three course menu or $99 per adult for Seafood Platter, breads & dessert. $21.50 per child for kids’ meal and dessert.

Bookings essential. Call (02) 4226 1677. Visit

Five-day Merrigong Creativity Camps
When: 11-15 July 2016
Where: Wollongong Town Hall

Offering children aged 5 –13 years a range of fun performing arts activities that ignite imagination, build self-confidence, develop their communication skills, improve their flexibility, deepen their confidence, work as a team and foster friendships.

Cost: $290 per child and $250 for additional siblings.


Circus Monoxide Winter Holiday Program
When: 5-15 July
Where: 3/3 Jardine St, Fairy Meadow

Keep the kids active and creative these July school holidays with Circus Monoxide’s FULL days of fun.

With 8.30 starts and 5.30 pick ups, it is great for working and busy parents.

Cost: $70/day or $40/half day.
Book now

School Holiday Disco Party
When: 13 July 2016
Where:Dapto Leagues Club

Join Iron Jay and his team of Super Wrestling Heroes these school holidays over at The Dapto Leagues Club for an action packed show full of laughs and comedy for the kiddies

Time: 11am-12.45pm
Tickets: $10 each (FREE Entry for parents)

Tickets from Dapto Leagues Club Reception or call 02 42611333

Wild Rumpus Workshops
When: 10-17 July 2016
Where: Various locations

Wild Rumpus invites grown ups to do Fun Stuff with your kids! They have 4 fun, cool classes on offer to suit ages from 6-96! Pom pom garland making, intro to leather craft, beach fishing and mandala drawing.

Email or visit

Meet Sleepy Burrow Wombats at Illawarra Fly these School Holidays
When: 3 July, 16 July and 17 July 2016
Where: Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures

Illawarra Fly Treetop Adventures and their friends at Sleepy Burrows Wombat Sanctuary invite you to meet Warra the Wombat.

Warra is a rescued wombat who currently resides at Sleepy Burrows Wombat Sanctuary. Warra was found injured and required rehabilitation before he could be released.


The Wizard of Oz Show
When: 17 July 2016
Where: Dapto Leagues Club

Come and click your heels together and get ready to follow a yellow brick road full of fun, adventure and wacky characters.

Tickets $14.  Call 4261 1333 or visit reception at the club.
Follow event on Facebook.

Minecraft Workshop
When: 5 and 13 July 2016
Where: 103 Crown Street, Wollongong

This introduction to Game Development workshop is for students taking their first steps with game design and development, using the same tools as industry experts.

Cost: $80. Visit

SplashDance Live!
When: Woonona Bulli RSL
Where: 13 July 2016

SplashDance Live! will have kids up and dancing from the get-go. 45 minutes of fun, imagination, and pop-infused dance songs with SplashDancers, Adrian and Monique.

Tickets: $15.40. Visit

Puppet Pals Holiday Workshop
When: 7 July 2016
Where: Eaton Gorge Theatre Company

Sydney Puppet Theatre will be running this holiday workshop. The cost includes all materials and your own puppet to take home. Puppet Pals is a creative rod puppet making workshop that encourages children to imagine, design and create their own unique puppet character.

Cost: $40 per child. Tickets:

The Katy Perry Tribute Show
When: 13 July 2016
Where: The Fraternity Club, Fairy Meadow

The Australian Katy Perry Show is a Sydney based Five (5) Piece Live Band set up in tribute to Katy Perry The Australian Katy Perry Show delivers a high energy tribute to Katy Perry, reproducing not only the sounds of Katy Perry, but the Onstage Antics, images and Costumes.

Visit for tickets.

Fairy Gardens Workshop
When: 7 and 8 July 2016
Where: Sunrise Nursery, Helensburgh

In this workshop, children will create a Fairy Garden to take home. On completion, there will an extra surprise! I will provide little ‘goodie bag’ with a few additional items: everything needed to entice the Fairies into your garden. Ages 2-5 years.

Cost $28. Bookings:

Danielle Deckard – End Of The World Tour (w/ Rosie Catalano)
When: 9 July 2016
Where: Janes Wollongong

To celebrate the one year anniversary of the “End Of The World” EP, Danielle Deckard will be hosting a series of intimate performances in Sydney, Wollongong, Canberra, and Melbourne. The coming months will see the release of three music videos for tracks from the EP, and a deluxe “anniversary” edition of the EP with bonus acoustic tracks.

Danielle will be accompanied by indie-folk singer/songwriter Rosie Catalano. This is an all ages event.

Tickets from

Science Centre Workshops
When: Various dates
Where: Science Centre, Wollongong

Spark your childrens’ passion for science with workshops designed to provide children with inspiring learning experiences to ignite their curiosity in science! Choose from over eight interactive workshops including music and movement for preschoolers and Madlabs hands-on electronics workshops.


Big Foot Detectives
When: 4-8 July
Where: Wollongong Botanic Gardens

Kids can enjoy the amazing outdoors these winter school holidays as they participate in some engaging and educational activities that will help them make our environmental footprints smaller.

Holidays of Discovery Daily Activities include Eco Footprint Treasure Hunt, Waste Wise Crafts and a Big Foot Detectives Garden Show .

Activities suitable for children aged 3 to 12 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Cost: $10 per child, $20 for family of 2 or more children. Payment with debit/credit card (except Amex) only.

Wollongong City Libraries
When: Various dates
Where: Libraries within Illawarra

Our libraries provide a host of amazing FREE activities throughout the school holidays. Lego engineering, kids movies, paper mache hot air balloons, 3D wooden rockets, sand people, toy hack and so much more!

Click here for a full list including dates and times.

Bubble n Bounce
When: Various dates throughout holidays
Where: 8 Fox Ave, Wollongong

Home of the Bubble Soccer craze in the Illawarra, is now also home to a world of inflatables for kids 0-10 years old.  With obstacle bouncers, game bouncers, jumping bouncers and creche bouncers, it’s bound to be a bouncing good time!

0-1 Years – FREE per session
1-5 Years – $9 per session
6-10 Years – $12 per session


Free School Holiday Fun at Figtree Grove
When: 5-7 July 2016
Where: Figtree Grove Shopping Centre

Anchors Aweigh Art Studio will be in Centre for some Art workshops Tues 5 & Wed 6 July, kiddies can get active with Yoga Bears Yoga workshop on Wed 6 Jul and Go4Fun will be bringing some fun fitness games on Thurs 7 Jul . All activities will be from 10am to 12pm daily.

Follow the events at Figtree Grove on Facebook.

2 Weeks of Making Stuff at Dapto Mall
When: 4-15 July 2016
Where: Dapto Mall

From 4-8 July between 10am-2pm daily create your own Minions puppet, fridge magnet or mosaic poster and from 11-15 July between 10am-1pm colour ceramics with all sorts to choose from – ice crea cones, cake slices, cupcakes, dinosaurs or money boxes. All on level 1.

Follow the events of Dapto Mall on Facebook.

Wollongong Central
When: 4-8 July 2016
Where: Carnival Central, Wollongong Central

Keep the kids entertained these holidays at Carnival Central with a slithering Reptile Show, a Uni-Cycling Balloonist, RIO the movie & more!

Book Now

Meet Sponge Bob Squarepants
When: 5-8 July
Where: Warrawong Plaza

You’re invited to Spongebob Squarepants Bikini Bottom Beach Party! Come down to Warrawong Plaza for FREE live shows this school holidays. Tue July 5- Fri July 8, 11am and 1pm at Centre Court. There is also Meet and Greet sessions daily at 10am & 12pm. These sessions are limited so please arrive early to avoid dissapointment.

Follow Warrawong Plaza on Facebook.

Winter Wonderland 
When: 9 July-15 July 2016
Where: Warrawong Plaza

Skate into Warrawong Plaza and experience a winter wonderland. You can glide around on their free skating rink, Sat July 9 to Fri July 15. Located in centre court, 10am-2pm daily, with free skate hire for all ages. It’ll be snow much fun!

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Had a Baby

Guest Blogger Briony Goodsell of The Nesting Place

Like many women, during my first pregnancy I spent a LOT of time preparing myself for my labour and birth. I read endless books, hundreds of birth stories, watched as many birth DVDs as I could get my hands on and became obsessed with all of the birth documentaries and shows. I did prenatal yoga, got regular massages, drank copious cups of raspberry leaf tea, attended private birth classes and took a hypno-birthing course.

I went on to have an amazing labour and birth with my daughter, I was totally blissed out and felt stronger and prouder of myself than I’d ever felt before, I thought if I could do this, I could do anything! And then I entered the world of postpartum.

Why didn’t anyone tell me about this part? Or maybe they did, but being in my blissed out, birth focused state I didn’t want to listen. I fell to earth with a thud in those early weeks postpartum. I was totally unprepared, I had no confidence in my own abilities to care for this new little person and I felt completely overwhelmed.

After my first initiation into new motherhood, I went on to experience another two postpartum periods with my sons, each time being less shocking than the first, but certainly still bringing new challenges with each different baby and my own personal circumstances.

Birth is only just the beginning! Being a Mother is a lifelong experience.

Here are 10 things that I wish I had known before I had a baby (and listened to!):

You will be sore – whether you have a vaginal or caesarean birth your body will hurt. If you have a vaginal birth, you will hurt in places you never even imagined you would! And I mean your bottom, it hurts A LOT. So be prepared for this part. You will also feel tender, sore and stretched in the more obvious area, plus the muscles in your back, arms and legs – or even your forehead if you are leaning on the side of a bath (personal experience with this one).

Postpartum is messy and unglamourous – birth is arguably the most primal experience a woman can have, its also messy and raw. One might view it as a bit of a prelude to what comes next, because there’s nothing glamourous about your postpartum period. You will be leaking fluids from all sorts of places – breastmilk from engorged breasts and your lochia (bleeding) following birth. You will more than likely be spending a majority of your time in a state of undress whilst you are learning to breastfeed and a lot of time doing so (up to 8 hrs per day is an average for new babies).

Breastfeeding can be hard – no matter how much you read or prepare before your babies arrival, there are some things that you can’t truly prepare for. Breastfeeding is beautiful and it is one of the most natural things we can do as new mothers, but that doesn’t mean it is easy, it can be damn hard and painful work. I struggled with breastfeeding issues each time I had a new baby, from cracked and bleeding nipples, to mastitis and low milk supply. It’s not always an easy road, but there are people there to support you along the way so make sure you ask for help. And in the end, if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for you and your baby, that’s ok too.

Babies don’t always sleep – regardless of what other new mothers may say, babies don’t just sleep all of the time! And every baby is different, what one baby does is not going to be the same for another. Yes, some babies are cruisy when it comes to getting off to sleep whilst others are a lot more challenging, but this does NOT make you a bad mother and things will get better.

You will experience a rollercoaster of emotions – around day 4 postpartum you will usually feel pretty teary, this is when your hormone levels drop and is also known as ‘the baby blues’ (if feelings of sadness and not enjoying your new baby persist please seek help). But I’m not just talking about the feelings around this time, I mean your brain changes once you become a mum! It rewires and you become more sensitive than you were before you had a baby. Becoming a mum also brings about many highs and lows so be prepared to experience some strong emotions. Remember it’s normal to have a hightened sensitivity at this time and be sure to share your feelings with those close to you,

Trust your own intuition – so here’s what I learned after spending day after day on the phone to new mum support lines and asking everyone else I knew with a baby what to do after my first baby was born, please oh please TRUST YOURSELF! I’m not saying don’t ask for help sometimes, but I want you to know that your baby is unique and that YOU will know your baby better than anyone else or any baby expert tells you in a book. Here’s a secret, we all wing it in new motherhood, in fact I’m still winging it and I’ve been a mum for 12 years now!

Your relationship with your partner will change – becoming parents is HUGE, bigger than anything else you will ever experience together. It’s important to be aware of the impact having a baby has on a relationship (1 in 5 marriages end in divorce in the first 5 years after having a baby), and keep the lines of communication open between you and your partner.

Having a shower is the best thing ever – Never before has the simple act of having a hot shower felt soooo good! Trust me, you’ll understand this one once you have your baby (closely followed by someone making you a cup tea).

Create a postpartum plan – we’ve all heard of birth plans (which I think are a fantastic tool also), but like most things postpartum we don’t stop to think about what will happen after our baby is born. Creating a postpartum plan will allow you and your partner to discuss changes that will occur once you become new parents, and it will give you the opportunity to put plans into place to make your transition into new motherhood much smoother. I chat about how you can plan for postpartum in my free workshop for pregnant couples (you can find our more about this here).

It gets easier – motherhood is amazing, but it can also be exhausting, overwhelming and at times lonely. Just know that you are not alone and that the sleep-deprived haze of the early weeks quickly fade and before you know it you are feeling more human again. There are good days and not-so-good days in motherhood and this doesn’t change along the way. But I can tell you, the first 6 weeks of new motherhood are intense as you find your feet and get to know your baby, and it does get easier.

If you’d like support as you transition into new motherhood, learn more about how I can help here.

Briony is a Pre & Postnatal Specialist offering premium postpartum care services to mothers in the Illawarra.

Visit for information relating to Briony’s free parent workshops.

Briony also runs FREE workshops for pregnant couples to learn more about how you can prepare for a smooth transition into new motherhood.


At Briony’s workshop you will learn:

How you can have a smooth transition into new motherhood and manage feelings of anxiety, stress or being overwhelmed with a new baby

What you can do to feel confident, supported and loved as a newborn Mother

The benefits of ‘baby brain’ and your body’s natural love hormones

The importance of the ‘fourth trimester’ and how being looked after will benefit the wellbeing of your whole family

This workshop is ideal for both parent’s-to-be to attend so that you both learn how you can experience happiness and peace in new motherhood.


Briony was invited to share her blog as a guest of What’s On in Wollongong.

Kitchen Table for Six at Lagoon Seafood Restaurant

Have you discovered that one restaurant experience that sets the bar above all others?

I most definitely have and the good news is, it’s right here in Wollongong!

Let me introduce you to The Kitchen Table for 6 at The Lagoon Seafood Restaurant.

Table for Six Group

As the locals will tell you, The Lagoon is a bit of an institution in the Illawarra. Diners have travelled far and wide just for the Lagoon experience. I would go so far as to say you haven’t fully experienced Wollongong without a visit.

Having been in business for 30 years, Lagoon knows how to keep things fresh and the Kitchen Table for 6 is certainly no exception.

With a mouth watering 7 course degustation menu with matching wines, complete with a backstage pass to Australia’s favourite restaurant, this is no ordinary experience.

Table for Six 1

Here’s what went down

It all starts when you and 5 of your buddies are seated in the lounge bar. While you are relaxing with glasses of bubbles and fresh oysters, you will be introduced to Executive Chef Emmanuel Efstathiadis and his talented team from the kitchen. Yep that’s right, feeling pretty special now.

From here you move front row and centre to the kitchen pass. This is where the VIP feeling really kicks in. Watch, listen and smell as each yummy dish is prepared and plated before you.

Table for Six 6

Executive Chef Emmanuel and his staff are a super friendly bunch who are only too happy to share their tips and tricks together with a secret or two. I learnt the best way to cook a crab and the art of preparing the perfect scallops…yum yum yum!

Table for Six 3

We even had a visit from local seafood guru Mr Kordakis. Not only was he up for a good laugh but he shared his knowledge on how to pick the best produce and what to look for.  Those trips to the fish market won’t be so scary anymore.

Table for Six 8

The evening comes to a perfect end when you are seated at a table and served a Dessert Tasting Plate accompanied by a glass of Bird or Fire Semillion Botrytis. Absolutely heavenly.

So here’s my advice:

Recruit five of your best buddies, and get ready for a backstage pass to foodie heaven—super yummy food and a fascinating experience.

The Lagoon Kitchen Table for 6 is available Monday to Thursday at $220 per person.

To book call 02 4226 1677.

Visit or follow Lagoon on Facebook

Click here to register to receive Lagoon’s newsletter.

What’s On in Wollongong was a guest of The Lagoon Seafood Restaurant.

Example Menu*

Roasted Occy w horseradish, mayo and pickled fennel
Sydney rock oyster, dill crème fraiche, trout toe
Bruschetta Soup
Accompanied by: Geisweiler Blanc De Blanc

Abalone & scallop w Squid ink puree & chorizo
Accompanied by: Garfish Pinot Gris

Scampi w Ouzo butter
Berkshire Pork w Apple Port Jus
Accompanied by: 2002 Concerto Cabernet Sav

Native Pepper Berry crusted Wagyu
Accompanied by: Forster Shiraz

Dessert Tasting Plate
Accompanied by: Bird or Fire Semillion Botrytis

*Menu is subject to change




Lagoon Experimental Kitchen

There are not too many restaurants that can boast the scenery and water views that our very own Lagoon Seafood Restaurant grants us on arrival.

There is an immediate sense that you are somewhere special. Bringing together a feeling of elegance, calm and tranquillity is certainly no easy feat but somehow they manage to pull it off time and time again.

Having dined at the Lagoon in the past, I was eagerly awaiting my opportunity to experience the unique Lagoon Experimental Kitchen, a foodie’s heaven filled with degustation delights!

What is degustation I hear you ask?

Degustation is a French culinary term which refers to the sampling of an array of small dishes served one after the other. I mean really why decide on just one dish when you can have it all.

I have since had the great fortune to attend not one but two Experimental Kitchens at Lagoon and let me just say, the anticipation was worth it.

Picture this….

Your evening begins with drinks out on the deck overlooking the picturesque Fairy Lagoon. Here you are able to let out a breath and leave any stresses of the week behind you. Now you are ready to enter the opulent surrounds of the dining room where you will awaken your senses to the delights and wonders of what only a highly qualified and knowledgeable chef could create.

Do you get the picture? This could be the most memorable dining experience of your life.

Now if I had to choose between the McGuigan Wine Dinner and Degustation through the Decades, I honestly wouldn’t know which way to point you.

On one hand you have a 5 course degustation coupled with handpicked wines by the king of wines himself, Neil McGuigan. On the other you have a gastronomic journey from the 1920’s right through to 2010.

They both took me on an exquisite culinary adventure that I would only too happily repeat. The Lagoon chefs no doubt take meticulous care in selecting and creating a dining phenomenon and this is what you will receive.

My favourite dishes? Definitely the Gourmet Chicko Roll (yes that’s right, you will never eat a normal one again!) matched with a 2013 Stonefish Sav Blanc and the Iced Vovo Cupcake matched with a Wicked Secrets Pink Moscato.

The good news for you is that The Lagoon Experimental Kitchen will continue throughout 2016. This Illawarra icon will also be turning 30 in 2016 so expect big things.

Upcoming Lagoon Experimental Kitchens:

When: Friday 4th March  7pm (Around the World)

When: Friday 3rd June 7pm (From Farm to Fork)

Enjoy a degustation menu with matching wines. A menu prepared in culinary heaven. Experience cuisine using ALL 6 senses, including IMAGINATION!

$130 for 11 course degustation menu, or $150 with matching wines.

Bookings are essential. This would also make a wonderful Christmas gift. Vouchers are available.

Visit or call (02) 4226 1677.

The Messy Playgroup

Time to have some fun with some messy play!


I think most parents would agree that the words ‘kids’ and ‘messy’  go hand in hand.

As a child there is nothing better than free range play, exploring and getting your hands dirty with no such thing as time frames and procedure.

The Messy Playgroup in Thirroul provides this environment in a super kid friendly facility twice a week. Combine that with several craft activities based on a different theme each week and you have a winner!

On our first visit to The Messy Playgroup the theme was the much loved children’s book Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. It was a magical combination of wonder and delight created with great thought and care.

We were warmly greeted by owner Nancy, who much to my delight immediately engaged my two daughters in conversation, showing them what was on offer and making them feel right at home.

This was a relief for a mother of two girls who can sometimes take a while to warm up to a new environment. They were immediately comfortable with Nancy as they followed her to the craft table to make their very own baubles to hang on the Christmas tree.  All this without hanging off my leg as if they were safety poles.

Filling the baubles with glitter and paint and then shake shake shake…the girls were completely mesmerised.  It all seemed too easy and something I made a note of to do at home. I mean why didn’t I think of this earlier?

From bauble making to ‘green, green, grass‘ (in adult terms this means green spaghetti!), the girls gleefully ran their fingers up and down through the grass, pulling long pieces out. We discussed how funny it would be if our grass was like this and asked ‘how would daddy mow the lawn’?

The sensory rich play experience continued with some mud (i.e. jelly) and snow (i.e. shaving foam) where we could dig our fingers in deep to find if anything was hiding beneath. I mean really, it wouldn’t be a decent bear hunt without mud and snow!

We finished our bear hunt off with some torch play in the soft play area where we continued our search for that naughty bear. We didn’t find him!  They have a pretty amazing set up at Messy Play Thirroul, including a ball pit, soft play area, giant chalk board and even a toy kitchen for imaginative play.

Best of all the play is all ‘free style’.  There is no ‘you have five minutes here, five minutes there’ It is absolutely whatever interests your little one in that very moment.  Oh to live in the moment – what a wonderful feeling.

The kids are relaxed and therefore the parents are relaxed.  I took home two very happy children together with our new handmade baubles and hung them with pride on our Christmas tree for all to see.

The baubles have since been carefully put away for many Christmases to come.

Owner Nancy mentioned to me that The Messy Playgroup was her “labor of love” and this definitely resonates with the preparation, care and dedication she gives to making sure both the children and parents thoroughly enjoy their time at The Messy Playgroup.

Oh and did I mention the best part…you don’t have to clean up and the kids come home clean thanks to the art smocks provided.

The Messy Playgroup is a weekly parent participation class, providing sensory and creative art sessions for children 5 and under, with the objective of developing children’s social, cognitive and fine motor skills.

Children are encouraged to explore and get creative with a variety of messy materials during a 45 minute class.

Classes run on Monday and Thursday mornings from Thirroul or Monday and Friday mornings at Forestville. Each creative session includes an exciting new theme around which the messy play activities are based.

The Messy Playgroup
Phone: 0428 267 198

Follow Messy Playgroup on Facebook