Wednesday, April 16, 2014

On the road - vintage goodies in regional Victoria

It has been nearly two months since we went to Daylesford and there has simply been no time to blog about it at all. In fact there is a major backlog of posts swirling around in my head that hopefully will flood out when I have some more time. Life has been full, too full in fact for my liking, so it is nice to slow down and reminisce over those Daylesford days.

One of the things I like most about exploring a new place is sniffing out all the op shops and second hand stores. To find something to add to the collection back home and also give fond memories of the places we went to. While we didn't have any luck in the oppies around Daylesford, it didn't matter because just around the corner was the biggest collection of vintage ephemera I have ever seen.

Would you believe that when we planned to go to Daylesford I had no idea that on the edge of town was one of the largest collections of vintage and second hand goods in the southern hemisphere? I'm talking about the Mill Markets of which there are three locations - Daylesford, Ballarat and Geelong.

If you can picture a warehouse the size of a football field and then some,  you get the rough idea. It was so big we had to take a pause half way around and have lunch in the cafe! Trying to choose goodies from this kind of smorgasbord was a little challenging, but knowing I had to squeeze any purchases into a suitcase did help.

When overwhelmed with options only the most special items would be coming home but I was more than happy to swoon over all that retro colour.

So how about the goodies?

A lovely child sized apron for my girl,

An amazing retro pvc lined bag that  knew I have a true passion for pvc lined bags (this is my third),

an amazing hat the exact size for my girl ( this was the one item I chose from the Ballarat store),

a lovely old print,

and a roll of wallpaper that was sealed up and I chose for the colours ( presuming it was florals) but opened to discover it was in fact a bunch of crazy disco floral animals. Check out the 'fro on that lion/poodle creature!

As if the Mill Markets were not enough, there was also the Daylesford Bazaar in the main street but thankfully nothing was calling  my name there.

On the way to Ballarat we stopped at a tiny town called Talbot, population 258. Incredibly there was not one, but two antique shops in this tiny town. It turns out they were owned by a husband and wife, and they each had their own shop. His was enormous and chock full of more traditional crockery and furniture. Hers was more my style with vintage kitchenalia and early Australiana items. Their shops were on either side of their house, where they could pop back for lunch and to see the pets. To me it seemed a wholly ideal scenario for two collectors with different tastes. I not only found the little green egg cup but also this lovely pastel set of bowls.

The unexpected highlight was the drive back to Melbourne on our last day and all those outer suburban op shops. These three pieces of milk glass set me back $5 for the lot.

I was however very restrained and left this lovely collection for someone else.

And then at the final hour I stumbled over a wonderful pink sewing case for $5 shortly before getting on the plane - a perfect carry on bag.

In our last few hours we also made a flying visit to Gleaners Inc in Brunswick, what a lovely, lovely shop ( I may or may not have bought a dress (or two) in here).

A brief visit to the site of  "The Block",

and that was Melbourne and Daylesford and all the goodness in between.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


a portrait of my chidden, once a week, every week in 2014 inspired by Jodi

He : getting his rock shop ready, I think he has been "trading" with his sister which probably means fleecing all his favourites out of her pile.

She : is  choosing a design for me from her face painting book. We drew lots of different designs - butterflies, mermaids, cats, dragons then she coloured them in. Into a plastic sleeve folder they go for her face painting shop. Then all she needs is a cup of water and a paintbrush and she carefully paints your face with the chosen design. This particular day she decided to treat me to a free face paint- at six am while I was still asleep!

Monday, March 31, 2014


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014 via Jodi

He : kicking back with his new best mate. That little paw poking out just cracks me up.

She: say Cheese Mama. We have progressed beyond plaits to actual real hair accessories. It has only taken five years to become tolerable.

Monday, March 24, 2014


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014 inspired by Jodi

He : give this child a rope, a plank of wood and a tree and he is good for a few hours

She : is devoted/mad enough to test out her brother's crazy stunts - just stand on that platform while I winch you up to the top of the tree............

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Daylesford delight

I have wanted to go to Daylesford for the longest time. I have been to Melbourne many, many times since I was a girl, visiting my dad on school holidays. I also know the Gippsland region east of Melbourne well too from countless visits to Dad's farm. But other than a visit to Hanging Rock as a teenager I have never been  into the Macedon ranges area.

For many years I was longing to visit the Lark shop in central Daylesford ( how devastating to have the shop close 18 months before I made it there and her pop up Melbourne store close up just weeks before we arrived) and then there is the matter of that gorgeous inspirational Kate from the Foxs Lane  blog who lives somewhere near Daylesford. There just seemed to be some magic to be found in that  little town. So, we scootled out of the big city, into a land of clear blue skies, parched yellow fields, gum trees and sheep.

We found a beautiful little studio on Air Bnb, walking distance from the centre of town with a view across a paddock and a hedge of lavender. While the flowers were finished, there was still just a hint of lavender in the air.

Our first morning we awoke to kangaroos grazing near the bedroom window.

We explored the towns around Daylesford by car, venturing into Kyneton, Malmsbury, Hepburn Springs and Ballarat. Sometimes we just turned off onto little dirt roads, just to see where we would end up. This is the view from the top of Mount Franklin.

We stopped often, to soak in a view, ferret in a second hand store or photograph a hedge with a hole for a gate ( I have a weakness for these).

Even the letterboxes were inspired. (I wonder if all these neighbours pop down at 4pm for a beer and a chat while they collect their mail).

We paused for long, slow meals at Cafe Koukla at dusk. Sitting under the grape vines with the golden light all around, dipping Churros in chocolate sauce is a memory that will not fade quickly.

It wasn't until the last day that my back had improved enough that I was able to walk the ten minutes to the centre of town. So many gorgeous details to notice in a place were the climate and seasonal change are so different from home. From the rambling rose gardens,

the hedges,

the murals on garage doors,

the wall of the community garden,

the yards full of feasting sulphur crested cockatoos,

the street art,

the architecture,

and the quaint little shops.

Goodies were found in shops and fossicked from the nearby paddocks.

And quite a few hours were spent with a cup of tea and a book gazing out at this view.

And did you know that Daylesford has one of the largest warehouses of vintage and secondhand eclectic ever seen? Nope, neither did I and goodness what a treat that was to stumble onto, but that is a whole other post. Back soon with the rest of the goodies.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

One night in Melbourne

This time last year my mum made me a wonderful offer. As it was one of those milestone birthdays with a zero on the end, she offered to take care of the children for a few days so we could get away for a holiday. The sort of holiday that doesn't involve 5 am starts,  theme parks, waterslides or mini golf.

Unfortunately due to the chaos of last year which included  being robbed, packing and unpacking our entire house twice , a six month renovation, my mother in law breaking both her hips, a melanoma and forty stitches in my leg,  we couldn't really take advantage of this marvellous gesture. Until now.

So, with five days up our sleeves, we planned our escape. One night in Melbourne and the rest in Daylesford. But because this is real life and things don't always go to plan, I hurt my back, three days before we were to leave.

A few years ago, a setback like this would have had me ranting about the unfairness of it all. I have never hurt my back before, so what are the odds that it would happen just before my first proper time away from my kids in eight years. But, these days I am wiser and I know that sometimes sucky times happen, to everyone, and you just have to push through and wait for your luck to turn.

At the airport I saw a five cent piece on the ground. Despite being drugged up on painkillers my back was too sore to even contemplate picking it up for luck. But when I saw another five cent piece on the airport tarmac in Melbourne, I made Legoman stop and pick it up. Find a penny, pick it up and all the day you'll have good luck.

We picked up our budget basement hire car and were about to leave the airport when one of the Europecar staff noticed we had a flat tyre. When I thanked him for saving us from disaster and told him it was our first holiday away from our kids, he came back with an entirely different car. An entirely nicer, upgraded zippy little VW kind of car. Look how you open the boot. Fancy pants.

After we checked into our hotel and discovered we had arrived in Melbourne the same night as White Night festival, I really knew my luck had changed. As we started walking the city streets with half a million other people, I was grateful for good painkillers and lucky five cent pieces.

Aside from just taking in all the amazing shop fronts like this florist,

spectacular shoes ( with spectacular matching price tags),

and shops with stools that look like liquorice all sorts,

there were the most amazing light projections I have ever seen. This is the top end of Flinders St, outside The Forum theatre.

and if you stood quietly and waited while the throngs of people swelled around on all sides, suddenly it would change from this,

to this. For a colour lover like me it was pure magic.

We walked a little further and stumbled across this gorgeous little church. Lit up with magical patterns that changed constantly. I thought it was on some sort of loop and waited patiently for one pattern to come around again.

Every now and then it would reset, back to original sandstone then bit by bit the colours would appear.  We watched for about twenty minutes and then turned to head home.

As we left the courtyard, we noticed a little booth. With a little sign on the side.

Amidst the throng of thousands of people, there was a little booth, with a set of stairs and no queue. It seems that amidst the masses, many people stop to look, but most do not see.

And inside was this.

So as half a million people wandered past, I created my own design.

Bit over the top but I was a tad excited and had to cram every possible option in. Legoman was a little more sedate.

On a colour high, we walked the zillion blocks back to our hotel, stopping everyone who still had children awake with them at 11 pm. We told them about the little booth of pure magic just a few blocks back that half a million people never even noticed.

One night in Melbourne, with a lucky five cent piece and a whole lot of magic.