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Baby Bistro: Making the right choices easier

organic baby food

All parents want to give our children the best start in life, so when it comes to starting solid foods, it’s up to us to make the right choices.

There is plenty of research showing that organic food — fruits, vegetables and grains — is superior in vitamin, mineral and nutrient content, while at the same time, is much lower or is free from harmful herbicides, fungicides, pesticides and artificial fertilizer chemicals that can be present in non-organic produce.

Organic food is especially higher in antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, and lower in nitrates. Studies have shown that organically grown produce has significantly lower levels of mercury than fruits and vegetables grown by chemical farming methods.

But while many of us make an effort to choose organic foods for our babies, the time required to prepare organic meals can sometimes be challenging. This is where Baby Bistro offers a solution. Providing a menu suitable for babies from four months, Baby Bistro uses certified organic foods, 100% free from chemicals and other nasty additives.

Organic veggie starters ensure your little one gets a taste for a variety of whole foods, while baby main dishes (suitable from 8 months) offer healthy and well-balanced organic meals. There is even a range of cereals and snacks for parents too!

Visit the Baby Bistro Website ( for more information and discover their entire menu.

baby bistro











By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management

Can spending time with animals make you a better person?

According to a 2012 study run by Pets at Home in the UK, 79% of children believe so.

The study asked children who owned pets what they felt were the positive effects that their pet had on their lives. Among the responses, children answered that their pet had a positive effect on their homework, made them a more responsible person and made them feel smarter.

The study revealed that children who owned pets tended to have an increased sense of self and confidence, which the children themselves put down to their relationships with their pets.

There have been many studies into the positive effects of animals on children, that often look into the psychological, physical and emotional impacts of animal interaction. The results show that some of the effects can be subtle: like an increased inquisitiveness or thoughtfulness of others. Others are more obvious: Children with dogs, for example, are more likely to be physically active than children without dogs, leading to a lesser instance of obesity in dog owners.

As adults we can recognize the health and psychological effect that a simple walk with the dog can have after a busy day. Our children can just as easily benefit from 10 minutes playing with the cat, cuddling the guinea pig or time spent feeding the fish.

Whether you have pets or not, you and the kids have a chance to get up close and personal with some furry, feathered or scaled creatures these school holidays, and feel those intrinsic de-stressing qualities first hand.

Melbourne locals can visit Centro Box Hill for some furry fun with their school holiday program, Vegecation Farm. There will be a baby animal farm for the kids, a leaf decorating competition, grain activity and plenty of other things to see and do.


What: Down on the Vegecation Farm - a fun and engaging community school holiday activity

Where: Centro Box Hill North Precinct (opposite the food court)

When:  8 – 12 April, 2013

What time: 11am to 2pm each day

Who: Aimed at children aged six – 15 and their families

Price: FREE to attend. Every child receives a goodie bag to take home


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management

What’s on in the garden this winter?

With the winter weather well and truly here, getting the kids out and about can be a tough task. But coaxing your kids into the backyard is a great way to keep them occupied over the school holidays and, with a little creativity, they may just bring some life back to your little patch of green. Try these handy tips from the team at Vegecation Melbourne to get your kids excited about your garden this winter.

1) Get Farming: Building a worm farm not only appeals to kids’ innate love of all things dirty, it is also a great way to introduce them to the concept of composting. You can use an old drawer, plastic tub or wooden planter with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage as your base. Set it up in a corner of your garden that is protected from the elements and fill with shredded newspaper, cardboard and soil and moisten with water. Bury a few fruit scraps and tea bags among the shredded paper and then add your worms. Cover with a lid or blanket to provide shelter and remember to add food scraps every so often to maintain food levels for your new squirmy pets. 

2) Build a kitchen planter: Make a start on a kitchen garden by planting herbs in a window sill planter. Coriander, basil and lemongrass are great introductory herbs. You can even build the planter from scrap wood pieces and have the kids decorate it with paint for extra colour.

3) Get back to Grass Roots: Remember Chia pets? Why not make them at home for a fun little afternoon project that you can watch grow throughout the winter. They are easy to create: Simply add a sprinkling of grass seeds to the toe of an old stocking or sock and fill with soil. Tie the ends of the sock together with an elastic band and get creative drawing a face on your soon-to-be-hairy friend. Place the base in a basin of water somewhere where it will receive sunlight and watch those follicles grow!

4) Feed the birds: Encourage a menagerie into your garden by hanging edible decorations from your trees. Thread popcorn on a long string, roll lightly in peanut butter and then sprinkle with bird seed. String the popcorn up among the branches of your trees and those hungry birds will come visiting in no time.

5) Watch it! Create a bird-watching journal to keep track of the different kinds of birds that visit your newly winterfied garden. Kids can take note of the sizes and shapes of the birds, identify breeds and listen out for their bird calls. Or you can keep a gardening journal just like dirtgirl, recording all your green thumb adventures.

It may be cold out, but Melbourne’s backyard beasts will be warm as toast this July when Centro Box Hill opens the gates to a Vegecation Winter Wonderland this school holidays. Come join us as we explore the fun to be had in your backyard during the colder months, and take home your very own winter seedling to grow in your backyard.


What: Vegecation – a fun and engaging community school holiday activity
: Centro Box Hill North Precinct (opposite the food court)
:  9 – 13 July 2012
What time
: 11am to 2pm each day, interactive play times: 11.30am and 1pm
: Aimed at children aged six – 15 and their families
: FREE to attend. Every child receives a free apron to take home


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management


Living in a dirtgirlworld

Treat the Earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children.”
— Native American proverb

Dirt Girl WorldOn World Environment Day (June 5) this year, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by encouraging kids to get grubby with our favourite mini environmentalist — Dirt Girl.

One of the best ways to help your child connect with their natural environment is to spend time outside, do some growing in the garden and, even better, get them to keep a scrapbook of their adventures.

The new dirtgirlworld scrapbook can become a daily diary, a garden journal, a recipe book, an art pad or a field guide — in fact, anything kids would like. There’s also an expansion pack, with planting guides, weather stickers and more great ideas for keeping the journal.

I love that this is an item that your child can use and expand over time to express themselves and record their own experiences in their natural environment — and hopefully to foster an appreciation for the great outdoors as well. I also love that it’s printed in Australia on 100% recycled paper.

To celebrate the release of the dirtgirlworld scrapbook and World Environment Day, there are some wonderful eco carnivales happening throughout Australia. Visit for more information and for a chance to win some amazing prizes too, including a Plan Toys Eco Charging Station from Itty Bitty Greenie!

The dirtgirlworld scrapbook and expansion pack are available at Itty Bitty Greenie.




By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management

Earth Day: Then and Now

While I like to think that every day is Earth Day in our house, I know that when the internationally recognized Earth Day pops up on the calendar, it’s a chance to get others thinking about things they can do to show their consideration for this great big planet of ours.

Earth Day started in San Francisco in 1970 to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. Why San Francisco? Well it’s the city named after Saint Francis, the patron saint of ecology. That, and there was a senator there who decided to hold a “teach-in” on April 22, 1970 to educate and mobilize people on environmental issues. To everyone’s surprise, 20 million Americans participated in colleges and universities, while environmental groups also came together recognizing they shared common values.

Now lead by the Earth Day Network, 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities on April 22 each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. The network works year round to broaden the environmental movement through education, programs and partnerships that affect change at the local, national and international level.

And for little ol’ you and me, Earth Day is a chance to reflect – ideally with the whole family – on ways to help preserve and protect our environment, and more importantly, act. Whether you have a discussion at the dinner table, get the kids involved in some garden activities or crafts, or simply pledge your act of green along with millions of others on the Earth Day website, no gesture is too small.

Tell us your act of green right here and you have a chance to win a $100 gift voucher from Itty Bitty Greenie. Add your comment below – and one lucky greenie will be chosen and notified on April 23.

For more information, visit the Earth Day Network, which has a variety of tools to help you plan your own Earth Day event, or simply pledge your act of green, right along with millions of others across the globe.

Also, visit our “Earth Day” board on Pinterest, for more tips and activities to get your green on this year.

Project Veggie Patch

How much time do you spend wrangling with your kids to make sure they get their five a day? Getting kids in the garden from a young age can help them appreciate what’s on their plate and let them see how gardening, vegetables and cooking combined can create delicious meals.

Vegecation Melbourne shares tips on how to grow your own veggie garden. Where possible, get the kids to help to make this an experience you can share as a family.

Stake your claim: first things first, pick the spot for your veggie plot. It needs to go in an area that gets a lot of sun, in a place where your veggies won’t have to compete with the roots of trees and shrubs for nutrients.

Know your limits: don’t overstretch yourself; make sure the patch is small enough so you – and little hands – can reach everything that’s growing.

Prepare the ground: mark out the area and dig the soil over to the depth of about four inches. Add compost, decomposing leaves and fertiliser to make the soil nice and healthy and rich.

Get planting: choose your plants wisely – if you know your children like a particular kind of vegetable, make sure you include it on the garden menu. Follow the instructions on the back of the seed packet or given with the seedling; each plant needs different care.

Water well: your plants will need a lot of water over the first few weeks, and after that, establish a schedule of giving your seedlings a deep soak twice weekly to save water where you can.

Don’t let space be an issue: if you don’t have an outside space, create a green area inside: grow things like rocket and cress which can be grown on any surface indoors.

Vegecation is an educational program organised by Centro Box Hill that encourages children to get outside and learn what happens in the veggie patch. Vegecation Autumn will have an Oriental Garden theme where children can plant Asian vegetable seedlings to take home – bok choy, Asian red bunching onion, mild chilli and coriander.


What: Vegecation – a fun and engaging community school holiday activity
: Centro Box Hill North Precinct (opposite the food court)
: Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 April 2012
What time
: 11am to 2pm each day, interactive play times: 11.30am and 1pm
: Aimed at children aged six – 15 and their families
: FREE to attend
: Every child receives a FREE apron and book bag

For more information, visit the Vegecation Melbourne facebook page or the Vegecation events listing on Time Out Melbourne.


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management



Fine dining in a world without waste

Ever since the Greenhouse restaurant in Sydney was featured in an episode of Australian MasterChef last year, I have been waiting with anticipation for Joost Bakker, the brainchild of the pop-up sustainable restaurant concept, to bring a similar event to Melbourne. This year during the food and wine festival, I had my chance.

Last night some girlfriends and I popped in to this city’s first pop-up restaurant, which is built using only recycled or sustainable materials. The floor is made from old conveyor belting, the chairs from disused irrigation pipes, recycled bottles and jars are the drinking glasses of choice, and terracotta-potted strawberry plants line the façade of the structure, which is mostly timber and old shipping containers stacked four-high.

Bakker is a Dutch-born florist, artist, builder and environmentalist who has inspired people across Australia with his visionary concept of “no waste” dining, and everyone at our table last night had to admit it was impressive.

The dinner was a four-course French-inspired feast created by Auckland chef Simon Wright (The French Café) and Melbourne’s Nicolas Poelart (Embrasse), which celebrated fresh, local and seasonal food in some most unexpected ways.

The standout dishes were Wright’s first course of marinated kingfish, spanner crab, apple jelly, verjus, shaved fennel and crème fraiche – which awakened the palette and made us all hungry for more. This was followed by a dish of Australian marron, then another of roast pheasant and finally, the piece de resistance, was Poelart’s dessert called “forest floor”.

Served on a piece of plywood covered in chocolate “dirt” were chocolate and meringue “mushrooms” along with fresh mint and sorrel granita. It looks like something straight out of a fairytale and it disappeared in record time.

In addition to the wonderful food was a jovial atmosphere and quirkiness that made the entire experience unique. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Rod Barbey, Australia’s only certified organic chef, from Organic Matters Food & Wine Store in Hawthorn East, who like me, wanted to experience the Greenhouse above all else at the festival.

Even a trip to the loo was educational, as diners were told in a note on the bathroom wall that their “wee” was going to be used to help grow mustard plants. From the light fixtures made from vintage tins to the herb gardens planted outside in old metal barrels, the resourcefulness and attention to detail was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

There is only a week left to experience the Greenhouse in Melbourne, as Bakker’s masterpiece will be taken down from the banks of the Yarra after the festival, which closes on March 21. I hope I can get back there just to have a drink at the rooftop bar!

By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management

We’re on the hunt!

Welcome all Cloth Nappy Hunters! And for those of you who don’t know about this eco-fabulous event, The Cloth Nappy Hunt is an internet scavenger hunt that involves hundreds of amazing businesses – and not only those that offer cloth nappies, either. Many are run by Australian work at home mums (WAHMs) and many sell wonderful handmade and eco-friendly items too. The idea is to visit sponsor websites and collect as many icons as possible during the month of September.

Why, you ask? Well for one, it gives you a chance to discover some pretty cool businesses – many of them offering exclusive discounts to hunters for the month of September. Best of all, there are more than $10,000 worth of prizes up for grabs for hunters who find the most icons, find them the quickest or simply those hunters who win the daily prize draw.

As part of Itty Bitty Greenie’s sponsorship, we’re offering hunters 15% off storewide and one lucky winner will receive one of our very popular Goodbyn lunchboxes.

If you haven’t yet registered for the hunt, click here to submit your details and get the low down on all the rules.

We hope you enjoy our mini hunt – there are four clues hidden throughout the site. If you get stuck, make sure you pop across to the Itty Bitty Greenie hints page on the nappy forum.

Be warned though – joining the hunt is very addictive…

And now, your first clue:

Twinkle twinkle eco star,
How I wonder what you are…
Lighting up the world so keen,
in all the colours, not just green

Click here to go back to the Itty Bitty Greenie eco-shop, so you can search for the rest of the clues on our product pages!