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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 10 June, 2019 on

TRAVEL: Byron Bay-by! A family holiday in Northern NSW for every budget

Famous for its laid-back lifestyle and gorgeous beaches, Byron Bay is the perfect place 
to reconnect with yourself and the family. Whether you’re looking for affordable, luxury or something in-between, Byron Bay has a family holiday for every budget.


Byron Bay Train

byron train

Mix new-world technology with a 1949-era heritage train and what do you get? The world’s first solar train in Byron Bay! 
The Byron Bay Railroad Company has received national and international recognition including the highest awards for engineering, solar technology and sustainability. The not-for-profit train service has generated enough power over and above what it has needed to run the train to power 13 homes* for a year! The 3km return service runs between ‘North Beach Station’ in Sunrise Beach and the ‘Byron Bay’ platform, seven days a week.

0–5 years travel free; 6–13 years $2.00; adult one-way $4.00

Discovery Parks – Byron Bay

Located just 2km from the city centre, Discovery Parks – Byron Bay offers the perfect escape for the budget-conscious family. Enjoy the gorgeous beaches, lush hinterland and peace along with exceptional holiday park facilities, including Byron’s Barrel Waterpark. 
Choose from standard or deluxe two- 
or four-people cabins or a superior safari tent. The park also features a bouncing pillow, swimming pool, restaurant, sports facilities and more.

399 Ewingsdale Road, Byron Bay | 02 6685 7378

Byron Bay Lighthouse


Image: Destination NSW

A must-do for locals and visitors, the Byron Bay Lighthouse is Byron’s most iconic image. Situated at Australia’s most easterly point, it is a great place to see humpback whales on their annual migration, and dolphins and turtles can sometimes be seen playing in the waves at the base of the Headland. For a small gold coin donation, you can be taken on a tour of the lighthouse and enjoy the 360 degree views from the top.

The Cape Byron Walk is another way to take in the stunning views. The loop takes you around beach, rainforest, grassland 
and clifftops to the lighthouse. After your walk, enjoy a swim at The Pass Beach, 
one of Byron’s most pristine beaches.

The Sun Bistro

A bistro and bar set among a spectacular natural bush setting, the Sun Bistro is a well-priced family friendly place to enjoy fresh, local food and a cold drink. With two big children’s play areas, 
a large TAB and sports bar as well as plenty of car parking, there is something for everyone. The Sun Bistro’s ‘Ride in Style’ offer includes an adult return train trip on the Byron Bay Solar Train and lunch with 
a schooner of Stone & Wood or glass of wine at $25.00.

Open 1–9pm daily. Courtesy bus pick-up from Sunrise to Ewingsdale for groups of four or more.

61 Bayshore Drive, Byron Bay 
02 6685 6500


Macadamia Castle

With over 150 native and farmyard animals, birds and reptiles, Macadamia Castle has been a popular family destination for over 40 years. Explore the castle and the animal park, and get up close with the animals by booking an animal experience. Taste a wide range of roasted and flavoured Macadamia nuts at the Nut Bar, along with a variety of locally grown and hand-made products for sale at the Macadamia Castle, or grab some macadamia-themed lunch at the onsite café. A trip to Macadamia Castle isn’t complete without a photo with the knight who stands guard in front of the castle.

Open 8am – 5pm daily

Hinterland Way, Knockrow, (02) 6687 8432 

No Bones Byron Bay

Mid range NoBones

With locally sourced ingredients, focusing on seasonal and organic produce, No Bones Byron Bay is a plant-powered restaurant even the biggest meat eater will love. 
A favourite spot amongst the locals, enjoy some delicious plant-based food while sipping away on their $11 cocktails – at that price you can have one, two or even 
a sneaky three!

No Bones make everything in house which means no packet pasta or store-bought breads, everything is fresh, sustainable, biodegradable and environmentally conscious. This family friendly restaurant is a must try when you’re in Byron Bay.

Shop 1 /11 Fletcher St, Byron Bay

Byron Bay Community Market

byron market

Image: Destination NSW

Held on the first Sunday of the month, the Byron Bay Community Market is one of the most popular markets in Byron Bay. Local stallholders showcase a huge variety of arts and crafts, jewellery and clothing along with fresh produce and delicious cuisine you can enjoy while soaking up the atmosphere. These markets do get busy so it’s best to arrive early to grab a car space.

Butler Street Reserve, Byron Bay

Byron Twilight Market

In the heart of Byron Bay, this night market is popular amongst locals and visitors alike. If you’re looking for original, authentic and sustainable pieces, the markets showcase the best of local artisans selling everything from jewellery, clothing to accessories. Make an evening of it with the family, bring a rug, and enjoy some wholesome, locally sourced food while listening to great, live music.

Open 4pm – 9pm. Railway Park, 
Jonson Street, Byron Bay

Waves Byron Bay


Located in the heart of town and just a hop, skip and jump away from Main Beach and walking distance from the popular Byron Bay lighthouse, is Waves Byron Bay. With a location so perfect, you won’t need to drive anywhere!

All the rooms have luxurious king-sized beds. The penthouses feature a private outdoor terrace with BBQ facilities. One of the suites offers a Teppanaki BBQ. Some 
of the facilities include free car parking, free Wi-Fi and family rooms, as well as facilities for guests with special needs. Guests are also free to use the beach towels and boogie boards. Guests can start their day with free muffins, coffee, tea and fresh fruit in the hotel foyer.

35 Lawson St, Byron Bay


Crystal Castle

Crystal Castle

Image: Destination NSW

In the Byron Bay Hinterland lies the stunning Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens, home to the world’s largest natural crystals. Children can connect 
with the calming, healing power of crystals, bringing back into harmony your mind, body and emotions amidst the tranquil surroundings. Kids can play at the ‘Fireheart’ Crystal Dragon playground while parents relax at the Lotus Café with local, organic coffees and teas, homemade cakes and desserts or a nutritious meal using ingredients from Crystal Castle’s very own organic food garden. Only 20 minutes from Byron Bay and 40 minutes from the Gold Coast, Crystal Castle is a beautiful spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Open 10am – 5pm daily

81 Monet Drive, Mullumbimby

Flying Fox Bistro

Located within Byron Bay Bowling Club, this rustic bistro offers a great atmosphere, quality food and ice-cold drinks. With a large family friendly alfresco area, enjoy the classic menu – make sure you try the Duck Spring Rolls on Vietnamese salad, which the Flying Fox Bistro is renowned for. The $10 kids’ menu is also hit, serving up pizza, burgers, calamari, and mac and cheese as well as milkshakes and ice cream.

Open Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am – 9pm

18 Marvell Street, Byron Bay

The Farm Byron Bay

the farm

Image: Destination NSW

Situated on 80 acres, The Farm encourages everyone to enjoy the surroundings of a real working farm and be inspired to talk, ask questions and experience where food comes from.

Take the family for a wander through 
the grounds, see what is growing on the land, meet the farm animals, or pick up some fresh produce to take home with you.

Whilst you enjoy a cuppa or a meal, the kids can burn off some energy in The Farm playground and run around the fields of macadamia and pecan trees, enjoying nature at its finest form.

Open 7am – 4pm 11 Ewingsdale Rd, Ewingsdale

Elements of Byron – Barefoot Luxury in Byron Bay


If you want something special, this award-winning beachfront resort offers luxury family friendly accommodation along with world-class facilities.

Younger kids can enjoy playtime in the dedicated Lagoon Pool precinct, while older kids enjoy the large temperature-controlled pool. The Parkour-inspired, all-natural kids’ playground is located among the native rainforest. With a sand base, it’s challenging but safe for kids of all ages. There’s a large lawn alongside and a tennis court (simply borrow a tennis kit from receptio), so it’s a great spot away from the central resort area to play and relax. For organised play there is an outdoor games area where you can enjoy 
a game of giant chess and bocce as a family.

Parents can calm the body and mind at the Osprey Spa, where you can choose from spa treatments including massages and facials or you can create your own package.

144 Bayshore Drive, Byron Bay

Originally published on 26 March 2019 on Kids on the Coast magazine

HEALTH: Teaching ALL kids about food allergies

26 May – 1 June is Food Allergy Week, and it is a timely reminder that we need to teach ALL children about food allergies, whether they have an allergy or not. 

Schools and day care centres are nut and egg free. However, without realising it, a parent may accidentally include foods in their child’s lunch box – something that could be highly dangerous to children with allergies.

Parents can teach their children about food allergies by: 

  • talking them through the different types of foods other kids are allergic to.
  • explaining the reactions these foods may cause.
  • teaching them what to do and who to tell if one of their friends has an allergic reaction to a food.
  • reminding their child not to share their food at school.
  • reminding their child to wash their hands after every meal.
  • teaching their child to be inclusive and not to isolate someone for being different.

For parents, it is a good idea to ask a parent of a child with allergies as many questions as they can to get a better understanding of food allergies.

Australia has one of the highest rates of food allergies in the developed world and the incidence is increasing at an alarming rate.

  1. One in 10 babies born in Australia today will develop a potentially life-threatening food allergy.
  2. Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia estimates that there are more than 650,000 Australians with diagnosed food allergy – which doesn’t account for the many who are undiagnosed.
  3. There has been a rapid increase of food allergy over the last 10–15 years. Anaphylactic reactions now account for 1 in every 500 hospital admissions for children aged 5-14.

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) is calling on Australians to join together for one week in May (13-19 May) to Be Aware. Show You Care. The week aims to help raise community understanding of food allergy and much-needed funding.

Be aware

“Allergic reactions to food can rapidly become life threatening, so education on daily management, prevention of a reaction and emergency treatment is crucial,” said A&AA CEO Maria. 

“It is essential for Australians to know the signs and symptoms of when a food allergy occurs. Food Allergy Week is about helping keep people with food allergy safe by making Australians allergy aware.”

Show you care

1. Donate at or hold a fundraiser to help raise much needed funds for food allergy research and education.

2. Educate yourself and others by sharing Food Allergy Week content with friends, family and through social media channels by using the hashtag #allergyaware

For further information, please visit

Originally published on 23 May 2019 on Kids on the Coast magazine