Tara Dixon is a Melbourne mama we’ve had on our radar for a little while and we’re super happy to have scored an interview with the brains behind the fab blog No Cake For Breakfast. Like us, Tara writes about everything and anything, from her fave new kiddo fashions to her deeper thoughts on immunisation. And we’re not the only ones loving this super stylish mama either – 8000 Instagram followers? Wowee! We talk to Tara about her life in Melbourne and her tips for any mamas looking to visit Oz and take down under by storm…read on to find out more!
Would you like to introduce yourself?
My name is Tara Dixon, my blog’s name is “No Cake For Breakfast” and I have one beautiful little girl (at this stage) named Olive. Olive is 15 months old. She’s at the “very much a handful” stage but she’s still a whole heap of fun.
What city do you live in and how long have you lived there?
I currently live in Melbourne with Olive and my husband Brad and to be honest, we wouldn’t be anywhere else. I grew up on the Mornington Peninsula and made the move to the city around six years ago. I’d had enough of the small town scene and was in real need of some big town atmosphere so I decided to leave home, throw caution to the wind and see where it would take me.
What do you love most about your city as a mama?
Melbourne is such a beautiful city. It’s full of life and has such a positive friendly atmosphere. Architecture, parks and waterways make Melbourne one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world and that’s made more official by the fact that it consistently ranks in the top five in global surveys.
What would be your top tips for a family day out for visitors to your city?
It’s a tough one to answer. The thing about Melbourne is that it’s really a place for travelers less so than tourists. If you want tourism then I suggest you check out Sydney. It has all of the sites to see.
When coming to Melbourne though, there are a number of cultural things you can get stuck into. For one, venture through the laneways of the CBD and see what you can find from both a food and fashion perspective. It’s a little less of a family idea because the kids are likely to get bored but take some time for yourself mum’s and check them out. Melbourne is renowned for its trendy little laneways so it’s a must see.
If you’re here in the summer months and it’s a nice day, you can’t go wrong with a visit to one of Melbourne’s beaches. You can try Port Melbourne, Middle Park, Brighton, Elwood or St. Kilda beach. They’re not traditional Australian beaches in that they’re not surf beaches. Melbourne is located at the top of Port Phillip Bay so the beaches aren’t for surfing but they still are a lot of fun. If you’re really keen, a drive down to the Mornington Peninsula will offer some even more beautiful beaches and you can even venture to the surf beaches if you so desire. While you’re down there, you can visit Elephant in Sorrento!
The Royal Botanic Gardens are also a must see. It’s a real oasis in the middle of a big city and it’s a great place to pack up a picnic lunch and have a run around on a nice day.
If you want to see Melbourne from its highest point, you can venture up the Eureka Tower and view Melbourne from a 360 degree perspective for as far as the eye can see. The kids can also enjoy “The Edge” experience which is basically a glass room that opens up around 90 floors above the ground.
Finally, if the family are into sport, there’s usually something going on during the year at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The MCG was the home of the 1956 Olympic Games and is the home of sport in Australia. During winter you can check out a game of Australian Rules Football and in summer it’s cricket.
What are your favourite fashion brands for kids wear?
There’s a small store in South Melbourne called “Little Darcy” which stocks some of the coolest little toys and clothes for the little ones in our lives. They typically do wooden or tin related toys and only stock boutique brands. That usually leads to very cool stuff that you rarely see elsewhere.
“Seed Heritage” is a must for kids clothes. Olive has soooooo many things from Seed that she wears most days. The vast majority of her shoes were bought from Seed and she even has a pair of bathers that we got from there as well. Very cute and good for every day wear!
What are your go-to mama stores for fashion and home?
I have a few that I know I can always trust to have something good to swipe my credit card for.
“Elephant Sorrento” is a great store for homewares and the like, it’s not actually in Melbourne but they really do need a mention. They actually stock my kids accessory line which I sell through my Branche label but apart from that, they have some amazing prints and some great cushion selections. There are a heap of little nick knack purchases floating around between the larger products if you just look close enough.
“Seed” (as mentioned in the previous question) is also great for women’s clothing and definitely one of my favourites.
“Witchery” is another store I love. They have an outlet just over the road from me in the Crown Casino complex and I have to say, sneaking over there during the day when my hubby is at work is regular past time of mine.
Everyone loves Zara! We have a store in the huge Chadstone shopping complex and they always have something I can bring home for a good price.
For anyone that follows me, you’ll know I have a little thing for designer handbags. The Crown complex has 2 of my favourite stores, Prada and Louis Vuitton. I don’t get there as much as I’d like but if you have the cash and you want a new bag, pop on in!
What is your favourite holiday destination?
Port Douglas, North Queensland would have to be my favourite. Home to the Great Barrier Reef, beautiful rainforests and nice warm weather all year round. It truly is a beautiful place to be and I love visiting the area when we get the chance.
Have you ever been to Dubai? If so where did you stay, was it child friendly and what was your favourite activity? If you haven’t then would you be interested in visiting and why?
No, I’ve never been but there’s no doubt I’m interested in going. As you’d expect, given the incredible landmarks and the beautiful landscape it’s featured on Australian travel shows from time to time and of course who could go passed the amazing images you see on movies like Mission Impossible.
I think it’s definitely a bucket list destination, at least, it is for me and my husband. We just need to get passed these tough travel years with Olive before we go anywhere again. Our last flight with her (only 2 ours) ended up in her vomiting everywhere just before we touched back down in Melbourne after not wanting to sleep and eating a little too much. Given that experience, we’ve put a hold on any flight travel for the time being.
If anyone from Sassy Mama wants to finance our trip, then be sure to let me know (wink wink).
Describe your parenting style in 3 words
This is a tough one but I’ve come up with 3.
We’re both very protective of Olive and we always just want the best for her. She’s at that age of just wanting to climb on everything and if anything’s within her reach, she wants it. Like a lot of other toddlers, stairs are of particular interest to Ollie when she sees them and we all know that stairs can be a real trap to young kids so like any parent, we let her experiment with them but we’re always there to catch her if she takes a tumble.
With a 15 month old child, you have to be playful and to be honest, both Brad and I always want to be that way with her. Brad’s really just a big kid so he tips Ollie upside down, plays hide and seek with her and does all of those things that little kids like to do and he loves it. I’m much the same but on a slightly smaller scale and I figure that’s fair enough given I can’t do that all day with her when it’s just the 2 of us. I’ve got things to do!
There’s no doubt that we keep Ollie on a tight leash. We try hard to make her understand that there are certain things that she’s just not allowed to do. It’s tough at the minute because she really doesn’t understand but we do notice improvements from time to time when we tell her she’s not allowed to do something. I personally don’t like it when I’m out and other people’s children are running rampant and doing the wrong thing without any discipline. Sure, kids should be kids but there are boundaries and they need to understand that.
Do you capture your moments through a phone or a camera, tell us about it?
It’s always a bit of both. It all depends on what I have on me at the time and whether or not I’ve pre-empted the need for my “proper” camera.
I’ve had a Nikon digital SLR for a few years now and I absolutely love it. I try to have it in my bag with me all of the time. My tip to anyone looking for a good camera would be to consider the lens much more than the body. The camera is good for options whereas the lens is the part of the setup that will produce the right results for you. Personally I love a portrait lens with a wide aperture as most of the photos I take are of children so I find it works best for me.
When I don’t have my SLR, I just go for the trusty iPhone photo. I recently upgraded to the iPhone 6+ and I have to say, the extra screen size makes a huge difference to both viewing and taking photos. It’s great for quick spontaneous snaps.