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LOCAL LIFE: The mamas behind The Village Markets

Established in 2008 and loved by locals and visitors alike, The Village Markets aka TVM is a boutique market and community for creative entrepreneurs. With an emphasis on highlighting local emerging designers and creatives and supporting small business, TVM hosts over 100 carefully selected stalls with fashion, art, homewares, as well as mouth-watering food trucks and local live music. 
Held on the first and third Sunday of every month at Burleigh Heads State School, TVM is a must visit on the beautiful Gold Coast. 
We sat down with co-founders Marissa Bowden and Sarah Schoeller to talk family, work and an exciting new event being launched in Brisbane.

How did the idea for The Village Markets come about?

Sarah: After being made redundant, Marissa and I brainstormed the idea of a community event that celebrated local talent. We had some time off between jobs and our original idea manifested into TVM. Marissa and I both worked together in marketing and events, so our professional backgrounds and personal passions lead us to creating the event as it is today.
Marissa: We really wanted a unique, creative event on the Gold Coast and a meeting place for likeminded people like ourselves, to hang out on a Sunday morning, while also supporting emerging creatives starting out on their business journey.

How many children do you have?

Sarah: Lola (4) and Posie (2)

Marissa: Stevie (7) and Pepper (5)

How would your kids describe you?

Sarah: Lola would say, ‘Mummy smells nice, helps me and loves me’ and Posie would 
say ‘Love Po’.
Marissa: Haha! depends which day you ask them! Today, Stevie said ‘Mum’s awesome!’ and Pepper said ‘I love you’!

What’s your favourite thing about being a mum?

Sarah: The love… so much love.
Marissa: The constant learning and deep deep love – oops that’s two.

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Sarah: We get my rather large family together for a BBQ breakfast by the beach. The kids run wild and we enjoy bacon and eggs with the whole family. It’s such a nice time to get the whole family together and spoil our Mammas.
Marissa: Well first things first, it’s beautiful homemade gifts and cards from my little girls – the absolute best! Followed by coffee in bed. Then we usually have a casual lunch or BBQ with my family including my mum and sister. Very simple, the way we like it.

What advice do you have 
for mums wanting to get back into the work force?

Sarah: Do what is right for you and your family, whether that’s working full time 
or pursuing your own thing. For me, 
working keeps me sane, so it’s as much 
about contributing to my family as my personal happiness. 
Marissa: Do what makes you happy! 
Follow your heart.

What do you love about 
the Gold Coast?

Sarah: The beautiful coast, lifestyle, friends and family.
Marissa: The lifestyle for sure. The ability to create a work/play balance you cannot find anywhere else.

What is your favourite 
kid-friendly place to eat?

Sarah: We love Back Bone in Tugun, 
The Bread Social in Tweed, Wazen at West Burleigh or Justin Lane pizzas at the beach.
Marissa: The Salt Mill for morning bowls, fish and chips at our local beach in Palm Beach is pretty hard to beat, or Zipang in Currumbin for Japanese.

What is your favourite place on the Gold Coast to spend a day with the family?

Sarah: We frequent Tallebudgera and Currumbin creeks a lot, or on other days we’re regularly at David Fleay Wildlife Park and hanging at home playing in the yard.

Marissa: A perfect Saturday for us is spent at home in Palm Beach. Starting with a trip to our local farmers’ market to get or organic produce for the week, a morning surf and swims, catch up with friends and make some yummy food at home listening to our fave music, then a late afternoon bike ride! Easy and slow – the best!

You’ve launched an event in Brisbane, tell us about that! 

Yes! We launched our first Brisbane event late last year prior to Christmas. Held down Logan Road, Stones Corner, the event brings TVM Good Vibes to Brisbane with 90+ boutique stalls, live music, street eats and our famous Rack Sales. The next event is 30th June 2019.

Originally published on 10 June 2019 on

LOCAL LIFE: 14 year old musician Amy Elise releases debut single

Local Gold Coaster Amy Elise has a big future ahead of her. At just 14 years old, Amy has just released her debut single ‘How Bout No’.

With her love of music starting at an early age, Amy has written and recorded her debut single in Nashville USA. The song is a story about teenage girls and boys and social media – a song of its time… a teenage anthem.

Amy was awarded most promising contemporary performer at last year’s Gold Coast Eisteddfod. With so much talent on offer for this Palm Beach local, we wanted to know more, so we sat down with Amy to get to know her better.

When did your love of music start?

When I was six month’s old, my mum started taking me to a Kinder Music classes, and since then I have pretty much always had music in my life – at home and at school, through private lessons, on my own and with my friends, and now through writing, recording and performing as well.

What made you get into the music industry?

I started singing lessons and guitar lessons when I was about eight years old and have always loved to perform. At school I took every opportunity I could to perform on stage. I was in choir, band, dance, school musicals, and then I started entering competitions as a vocalist. I started busking, rather than getting a regular job because it was a good way to earn money and then started performing at Open Mics gigs anywhere that I could get the chance. Last year I started songwriting, and I learned with the help of a mentor through some workshops. I then did my first recording, and now I can’t imagine doing anything else! My passion for music made me want to share it with others. I want to make people happy with my music… the way that many other artists have done for me.

Who inspires you?

I am inspired by the artists I listen to, bands like Panic! At the Disco, Waterparks, Paramore, Billie Eilish, and also local Live Music Artists making a living through their craft on the Gold Coast like Benny D Williams. But I am also inspired by others around me in my music journey such as my music teachers and my peers.

Have you collaborated with any other artists?

My debut release is a writing collaboration with Katie Cole, recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville in January this year. I also recorded another track in Nashville which will be released later in the year, and that was co-written with Chris Brush. These are the only two of my songs that have been co-written, the rest I have written myself. Locally I have collaborated with Benny D Williams for production and recording of some of my tracks.

You’re about to release your debut single! Tell us about it.

The song ‘How Bout No’ is a song about negotiating first relationships, teenage angst, not knowing if you can trust people and standing strong in your right to say no if it doesn’t feel right. It’s also about karma – that for those who don’t treat you right “what goes around comes around”. It was written in a co-writing session with Katie Cole at Blackbird Studios in Nashville. Katie is from Australia but is working in the industry in Nashville. She is an amazingly talented musician and writer amongst other things and is a touring musician with Smashing Pumpkins. The song has an alt/pop vibe, and an acoustic sound. It was recorded in the studio with a single session guitarist on an acoustic guitar. It is a great song to sing and play on guitar, and has some fun melodies, hooks and chord progressions in it. It will be released towards the end of March on all streaming platforms, and Triple J Unearthed. I am also recording a music video soon to go along with it.

Do you have other exciting things coming up?

Yes, I am just continuing to build the foundation for what is hopefully a long term career. I am planning to release other tracks this year and will be back in the recording studio in April. I am playing my first Festival in April at Beaudesert Rock and Country Festival. I just hope to continue writing and recording, gain a following for my music and continue to get better and better.

What do you love about the Gold Coast?

I love the friendly atmosphere and love that there is easy access to many different types of places – the beach and Hinterland and Northern NSW. I also love that there is lots of good quality free live music on the Gold Coast at community events, and a great local music industry that I really want to be a part of.

Where can we see more of you?

I am currently busking at 19th Avenue Shopping Centre every week, and sometimes at Piggabeen Markets, and often play at Get Hooked Seafood at Tweed Heads. I regularly perform at Open Mic at Palm Beach Hotel, and I am really excited to be appearing as the First 15 Act at the Mudgeeraba Summertime Sessions in the Village on Friday 8 March. I will also be doing a Youth Week performance at Coolangatta on 6 April, and I am playing at the Beaudesert Rock and  Country Festival on 20 April. I am really keen to get more gigs and perform more often – I hope that the release of my single may open up other doors. Opportunity can sometimes be limited by my age, but I keep searching to find gigs that are a right fit.

What do you like doing when you’re not singing?

I like to watch Youtube, listen to music, go to live gigs whenever I can. love to spend time with my friends, I play netball and dance for fitness, and I need to take time to keep on top of my school work too because I have a really busy schedule. What would your advice be to anyone who wants to achieve their dreams and goals? You need to say yes to opportunity when it’s offered even if it might feel scary or overwhelming – I was offered by Vocal Adrenaline Performing Arts to travel to Nashville with a group of students to write and record, and it was the best opportunity I could have had to progress towards my goals although it was daunting. You need to persevere, make the effort, keep going, stick to what you love and don’t give up, achieving your goals takes a lot of hard work, and you need to keep it up for the long haul.

Keep up to date with Amy’s journey on Facebook amyeliseofficial

Originally posted 19 March 2019 on Kids on the Coast magazine

REVIEW: Brooklyn Depot – Surfers Paradise

Located in the heart of Surfers Paradise, in the 4217 building, is Brooklyn Depot. For burger lovers, this place is heaven! For people visiting the Gold Coast, Brooklyn Depot is a short walk away from most accommodation and for locals, you can either catch public transport or park in the Bruce Bishop and get your ticket validated once you have finished your meal.

The kids enjoyed the Brooklyn Classic burgers with the biggest side of fries they had ever seen! My two older kids are in that in between age where kids meals are too small but adult meals are too much – these burgers were perfect.


I was after a bit of spice so I ordered the Nashville burger which included Southern Fried ‘Howlin’ hot chicken, coated in Nashville hot sauce, sliced lettuce, sliced pickles and chipotle mayo – the burger was huge!


Verdict? The kids loved their burgers and skinny fries along with some cheesy sticks and potato nachos. I also ate every single bite and even though I was busting at the seams, it left me wanting more. The portion sizes are bigger than average so you will definitely get your money’s worth.

Side note: While the kids wait for their meals, they can enjoy some colouring with colouring pencils and paper provided or they can enjoy playing a range of board games, cards or Jenga.

Brooklyn Depot definitely ticks the boxes for being family friendly. There is also some great art work on the walls and props around the place so you can ask the friendly staff to take some family snaps – they’ll all be framers, I promise!

Address: 4217 / 10 Beach Road, Surfers Paradise

For more information go to

LOCAL LIFE: Ben Hannant – on life, parenting and the secret to a happy family

Former Rugby League player, breakfast radio host and all-round superdad to seven 
(yes SEVEN!) kids. But what is Ben Hannant’s 
secret to a happy family? 

Born and raised on the Gold Coast, Ben Hannant has a long list of accomplishments. A former Rugby League player, a State of Origin and Australian international representative and now the host of Gold Coast 90.9 Sea FM breakfast show, but Ben’s greatest accomplishment is being a husband to his amazing wife Emma and father to their seven beautiful children. We sat down with Ben to find out more about his family, life and traditions.

You’re one of 11 children, did you always want a big family for yourself too?

I had six brothers and four sisters and although we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, we had a lot of love in the house, sibling fights and joking around but a lot of love and laughter. When I was in my teens I was lucky enough to meet the right girl so we got married and decided to have 
a baby, and that turned into two, then 
three and now we’re sitting at seven kids and I love it!

I feel like my life is full of wealth because of the joy my kids bring and I couldn’t imagine my life without them, it’s the 
best thing ever.

What do you love about 
the Gold Coast?

I grew up on the Gold Coast. We now live out the back of Tallebudgera on a big property with horses, cows, sheep and motorbikes for my son and I love living there.

I am a big kid and I love doing things together as 
a family, taking my kids 
to any of the great the great beaches and pushing them on their boards in the waves, that’s what brings me joy.

Every Monday we do a family activity. It might be a board game or ten pin bowling, but every week we have to do something as a family.
The Gold Coast has so much to offer, there is always something to do that the whole family can enjoy.

How would your wife and kids describe you?

As someone who is always trying to improve and reach his potential. They will tell you 
I don’t like taking short cuts and I don’t want them taking short cuts. They’ll tell 
you I’m always trying to make myself and them better, to grow and to make ourselves the best we can be.

What is your goal as a dad?

To make my kids the best citizens and the best role models who contribute to society. My Dad’s job was to make me better than him and my job is to make my kids better than me. My kids will be great husbands and wives and great fathers and mothers. The more time I put into my family, the more growth and happiness that will come. The more growth you have, the longer it takes, the harder it is and the more you’ll appreciate it. You never have growth in your comfort zone and you’ll never be comfortable in your growth zone.

What is Christmas like in the Hannant house? Do you have any special traditions?

Christmas is all about food! We have a huge breakfast with the works, everything you can think of is on the table!

We have so many kids and grandkids in our family and instead of buying for everyone we play the $10 game every year. You each buy one gift which can’t cost over $10. You pick a number out of a hat. Number one goes first and picks a gift from the Santa sack, then number two has a choice of taking number one’s gift or taking a gift from the sack. Number three can either take number one or two’s gift or pick one from the sack and so on until everyone has had a turn. It’s such a fun game and can take hours! There’s banter, there’s fun and laughter and with some really cheeky gifts in the Santa sack, everyone loves it! Christmas for our family is all about coming together, and enjoying one another’s company.

How do you prepare for the start of a new school year?

Apart from buying uniforms and school books, I sit down with every one of my kids, every year just before school starts, I take them out one by one, with my daughters I take them out on a daddy and daughter date and with my sons I have some father and son time. My wife does the same with mother and son dates and our daughters on mother and daughter days. I sit with all of them one by one and find out where they’re at, whether they’re struggling with anything or need to talk about anything and we are religious so I give them a father’s blessing which is pretty cool and it gives them confidence for the school year. It’s really about communication with each of them
 to see where they may need help and giving them the tools to be able to handle what 
will be happening throughout the year.

You can listen to all the stories, adventures and antics Ben and his family get up to every morning on 90.9 Sea FM’s breakfast show with Heather, Dan and Ben from 5am to 9am!


Originally published in January / February 2019 issue of Kids on the Coast magazine and 13 Febraury 2019 Kids on the Coast magazine

WELLBEING: Extreme heat conditions: Preparing our kids

This heat is affecting both children and adults. My 10-year-old daughter came home from school last week and told me during and after practising for the school cross country she had a throbbing headache and felt quite ill. She continued to tell me this was the most intense headache she had ever experienced. It sounded like a migraine. For the rest of the afternoon, I made sure she had kept hydrated and went to sleep with a bottle of water next to her bed. She also had a cool shower to cool down which seemed to work a treat!

She was fine the next day, however, I gave her a few things to be aware of.

  • Drink water throughout the day, because in this weather we can lose a lot through sweat. Drinking water before outdoor physical activity is especially important.
  • Wear a hat at all time when outdoors, it may not look cool, or it may be annoying but it will definitely help especially if you’re in direct sunlight.
  • Try and play in shaded areas if possible. Kids at my daughter’s school can go into the library or the computer area and sometimes teachers allow kids to stay in the classroom and play.
  • Eat all the lunch, especially fruit in the lunchbox. An empty stomach can make things worse.
  • Early bedtime to allow the body to rest and recover from a hot day.

As easy as these reminders may seem, children can get busy playing at school, they forget to eat their food or consistently drink water, so a reminder every day or two may benefit your child greatly.

Originally published 19 February 2019 on Kids on the Coast magazine