HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 1 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

Maribyrnong Makers Market is a sweet little arts and crafts market held several times a year in Seddon. The market is at Seddon Uniting Church, a small and charming venue which hosts stalls inside the church hall as well as the outside grounds.

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 4 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

The focus of the market is about showcasing the work of local craftspeople and artists. Every stall holder has made their products themselves and the community feel extends to the charity sausage sizzle set up on the pavement outside.

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 3 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

I bought some treats from Helen’s Kitchen Favourites, a local sweets and preserves business based in Williamstown.

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 2 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

I even got to meet Helen and her husband Simon and her sales patter convinced me to buy her handmade and preservative-free pate and shortbread. Both were delicious but particular mention must go to the buttery, crumbly biscuits – three of us devoured 8 large rounds of passionfruit topped ones in one afternoon!

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 7 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

I also loved Little Puddles’ DIY felt ball garland and wreath kit but wasn’t sure of my handicraft skills as to whether I’d be able to make one. Maybe by Christmas I’ll have worked up the nerve!

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 6 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

It’s not every day that you see someone like Raxor, a craftperson actually hand spinning yarn in order to make her woollen goods.

Maribyrnong Makers Market Seddon Uniting Church cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts Seddon 5 HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

The Maribyrnong Makers Market is a great place to buy some lovely, unique and often handmade things and meet the makers who come from the local area. It’s also within walking distance to Seddon Village with cafes and more shops to explore.

Maribyrnong Makers Market’s next dates in 2014 are tomorrow Saturday 22 November where it will extend down to the nearby park Harris Reserve and Thursday 18 December, just in time for Christmas.

Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

Saturday 22 November 9.30am – 3.30pm

Thursday 18 December 4.30pm – 8.30pm

HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra


The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 4 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

For a cafe that’s not on a high street or eating/shopping strip, The Stables of Como is one super-busy eatery.

It’s a spacious place (though not cavernous) and on a weekday lunch hour there was still a  queue for an indoor or outdoor table. And it wasn’t just the ladies-who-lunch and the yummy-mummies of Toorak and South Yarra turning up. I saw hipsters! Hipsters at a National Trust property!

For The Stables of Como is not just any old cafe. It’s located amongst the beautiful landscaped gardens of Como House, a 160 year old property just minutes from urban Melbourne, and is housed in, you guessed it, the former stables of the grand mansion.

Perhaps the reason people are making The Stables of Como a dining destination  is because of its pedigree. The group behind Eastern suburb favourites Porgie + Mr. Jones, Snow Pony and Friends of Mine are the people behind the cafe and the diverse menu, friendly smiling staff and attention to detail in the decor demonstrate their hospitality experience.

On a sunny day the picnic benches resting on fake turf are in hot demand, but the interior decoration is just as beautiful. Enamel pendant light shades, white bentwood chairs and elegant floral arrangements offset chalkboard walls, a back shelf groaning with colour-coordinated jars of produce…and one huge wooden bench beckoning you with glass-domed cakes, biscuits and pastries, like a grown-up version of a toddler’s birthday party lolly table.

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 5 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

The kitchen offers all day breakfast menu and lunch dishes which start at 12 midday. I opted for a main serve size of a spring risotto, a velvety mix of rice, spanner crab and fennel, finished off with prosecco and herbed marscapone for extra decadence ($24.90).

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 8 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

My dining companion Gourmet Chick had the Tuna Nicoise ($24.90), an outrageously large slab of just-seared tuna served with a mix of vegetables, a drizzle of smoky lemon vinaigrette and crowned with an oozy soft-boiled egg.

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 7 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

As I mentioned before it is well worth saving room for dessert. We shared a frangipane and blueberry tart ($5.50) which was very pretty but too dry, leaving a rather unpleasant mealy texture in the mouth.

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 2 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

A better option was the orange Bergamot NY baked cheesecake with gingerbread ice cream ($13.90). I have not had a New York baked cheesecake since those solid doorstopper cakes were all the range in the 90s, but this is a very good version – not too heavy, not too light, just right and with a hint of citrus to spike the dairy richness. The gingerbread crumbs and ice cream also elevated it above the norm.

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 1 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

Other old-fashioned treats which will be sure to appeal to children or those with a fondness for sweets that hark back to sticky childhoods include the musk sticks ($1.90) and giant chocolate freckle ($2.50).

The Stables of Como Como House and Gardens cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave South Yarra 6 HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra

If you’re visiting Como House and Gardens but don’t fancy a sit-down mea, The Stables of Como offers picnic packs and you can even rent a croquet set, frisbee and rugs to loll on! What a beautiful way to spend a day (and from 22-24 November the Paris to Provence French Festival will be taking over the grounds as well – check out my review of last year’s event).

The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra (03) 9942 3630 

Monday to Saturday, 9am until 5pm
Sunday, 10am until 5pm

minilink HOT: The Stables of Como, Como House and Gardens, cnr Williams Rd and Lechlade Ave, South Yarra


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HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

Lark Store 94 Gertrude St Fitzroy 1 HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

Lark Store has been synonymous with cute homewares and party supplies since it opened its shopfront in Daylesford four years ago. They’ve now closed their Daylesford store and have decided to take the show on the road at various pop up locations, starting with a residency in Fitzroy until February 2014.

Lark Store 94 Gertrude St Fitzroy 4 HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

At Lark Fitzroy you’ll find a selection of covetable goodies from their online store – and anything that’s not in store physically can be bought online and collected for free at the store. Alternatively, you can buy in store and then have it giftwrapped and shipped direct to the gift recipient. Talk about seamless bricks-and-mortar/online service!

Lark Store 94 Gertrude St Fitzroy 5 HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

They even serve you fresh lemonade at the counter.

Some of my favourite items from the Fitzroy store include:

Lark Store 94 Gertrude St Fitzroy 2 HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

The mint green bike in the front window. OK so it’s not for sale but it is a Beg Bicycles bike from the UK which is rarely found in Australia (I particularly love the coolbox that goes with the bike).

Lark Store 94 Gertrude St Fitzroy 6 HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

Their range of party decor. Very helpful for those with zero styling credentials as it all matches and has a super cute/retro feel, from the paper straws down to the pom pom garlands.

Lark Store 94 Gertrude St Fitzroy 10 HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

The pastel coloured carry tins, great for storing small items like bobbins and thread or little girl’s treasures.

Lark Store 94 Gertrude St Fitzroy 3 HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

The fire engine red metal bread box which I think is a bit of a bargain at $39.95. Even Allison, the owner, thought she’d get one for herself when she did a double-take of the price!

Lark Store 94 Gertrude St Fitzroy 8 HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

I might also return for the ‘Yay Biscuits!’ tin because that’s exactly what I think when I see biscuits.

Lark Store 94 Gertrude St Fitzroy 7 HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

I love these retro milk bottle holders – for me they evoke long summer days and garden parties. I really want one but can’t think of a single use for it!

Lark Store 94 Gertrude St Fitzroy 9 HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

For those on Instagram if you visit the store and Instagram a photo (tagging @larkstore and #larkstorefitzroy) then you’ll receive 10% off your purchase! So get snapping.

Lark Fitzroy, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

Monday to Saturday, 11.00am to 4.00pm

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HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

DSC07482 540x364 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

Join the busloads of grannies this weekend and check out the 18th Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, which has taken over Carlton Gardens until Sunday 24 March.

I have a habit of regularly killing potted herbs (the extent of my gardening) and I enjoyed wondering around the beautiful displays and exhibits of Australia’s biggest flower and garden show. It’s an event that will appeal to lovers of architecture, design and art, even if you’re not into gardening.

DSC07477 368x540 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

The Royal Exhibition Building has been transformed into the Great Hall of Flowers and inside you’ll find a small flower retail stall and a general showcase of beautiful floristry, from designer shop windows to flower arrangements to student-designed dining centrepieces and ‘living’ fashion by RMIT fashion students.

DSC07446 540x350 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

DSC07468 540x453 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

DSC07475 381x540 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

DSC07454 356x540 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton



DSC07466 340x540 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

DSC07458 291x540 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

>My eye gravitated towards more modern, sculptural aesthetics rather than traditional posies, but I still appreciated the abundance of creativity.

DSC07449 391x540 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

DSC07442 424x540 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

DSC07444 338x540 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

Once you get outside make your first stop the awesome Kids Under Cover 2013 Cubby House Challenge display.

DSC07521 540x352 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

Then wander down the ‘Avenue of Achievable Gardens’ (achievable for whom? Not for me!) where my favourite display was called ‘Grey to Green’ as it looks like a better version of my own backyard and to my mind is quintessentially Melbourne – cobblestone laneway, bike, tram roll and Skipping Girl Vinegar.

DSC07526 377x540 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

Check out the winning entries for the Landscape design competition, including gold medal winner Cube-Ism by Philip Withers, Semken Landscaping and Garden World.

DSC07541 540x340 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

DSC07535 540x359 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

The rest of Carlton Gardens is mainly taken up with gardening-related retailers. Personally I avoided all the turf, mulch, tool and seed merchants but a couple of displays did catch my eye. One guaranteed way to stop foot traffic is to install a robotic dinosaur in your display!

DSC07546 540x359 HOT: Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

The entry fee is a bit pricey ($25) I think the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is worth visiting (especially in this lovely weather) even if you’re not a green thumb. I didn’t participate in any activities or do any shopping and still managed to spend a couple of hours there.

Just don’t have lunch at the show – avoid the overpriced fast food and bad coffee, get a pass out and take refuge at Cantina della Casa or Sonido on nearby Gertrude Street.

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens & Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

Wednesday 20th March to Sunday, 24th March 9-5pm

– Adults: $25.00
– Family (2 adults & 2 children): $55.00
– Concessions#: $19.00
– Child (6-16 years): $10.00
– Child (5 and under): Free entry

– Group (10 or more): $19.00 per person

HOT: Kids Under Cover’s 2013 Cubby House Challenge, Melbourne International & Flower Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton

DSC07514 374x540 HOT: Kids Under Covers 2013 Cubby House Challenge, Melbourne International & Flower Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton


DSC07511 358x540 HOT: Kids Under Covers 2013 Cubby House Challenge, Melbourne International & Flower Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton

DSC07497 355x540 HOT: Kids Under Covers 2013 Cubby House Challenge, Melbourne International & Flower Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton

I think playing in cubby houses is a game universally enjoyed by children and even some adults! Most grown-ups still retain fun memories of building cubby houses under dining tables, in trees and on bunk beds – but the ones I saw at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show are in a whole other league!

DSC07513 412x540 HOT: Kids Under Covers 2013 Cubby House Challenge, Melbourne International & Flower Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton

DSC07510 356x540 HOT: Kids Under Covers 2013 Cubby House Challenge, Melbourne International & Flower Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton

Five cubbies designed by leading architects and designers are being displayed and auctioned off at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show this weekend as part of the 2013 Cubby House Challenge.

DSC07506 379x540 HOT: Kids Under Covers 2013 Cubby House Challenge, Melbourne International & Flower Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton

DSC07498 540x367 HOT: Kids Under Covers 2013 Cubby House Challenge, Melbourne International & Flower Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton

The five designer cubbies include drool-worthy details such as a rectractable roof, mezzanine levels, chalkboard walls, miniature fireplaces and rope ladders. Not sure if any of the miniature (Eames) furniture is included but I want to move in!

DSC07490 357x540 HOT: Kids Under Covers 2013 Cubby House Challenge, Melbourne International & Flower Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton

The cubbies are on display (and available for exploring if you’re small enough to climb inside) for the duration of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (Wednesday 20  March to Sunday 24 March) and will be auctioned off on Sunday 24 March at 3pm. You can make an online bid for any of the five cubbies or purchase a raffle ticket to win another amazing cubby house designed by Better Homes and Garden valued at $10,000! The money raised from the auction and the sale of raffle tickets will go towards Kids Under Cover, a charity that supports homeless and at-risk youth.

DSC07508 346x540 HOT: Kids Under Covers 2013 Cubby House Challenge, Melbourne International & Flower Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton

I’ve bought my raffle tickets and am crossing my fingers – I have nowhere to actually put a cubby house but we’ll deal with that problem if by chance I win!

DSC07484 362x540 HOT: Kids Under Covers 2013 Cubby House Challenge, Melbourne International & Flower Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton

Kids Under Cover 2013 Cubby House ChallengeMelbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Carlton Gardens, Carlton

Wednesday 20 March to Sunday 24 March 9am – 5pm

Tickets $25 adult, $19 concession, $10 children 6-16 years, free for children under 5, $55 family 2 adults 2 children

 

HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

DSC06133 298x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

Melbourne loves pop up design shops and this weekend there are three worth your attention – The Design Files Open House,  The Cool House and Crop at Lightly Showroom. Not to mention the popular twice-yearly Melbourne Design Market at Federation Square. Make that four!

DSC06148 540x350 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

DSC06154 331x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

Design studio Lightly have opened up their two-level warehouse and showroom to 25 other Australian designers showcasing jewellery, homewares, stationery, accessories and toys. They even have free wine tasting by Jamsheed Wines to get you in to the shopping mood.

Here are some of things that caught my eye…

DSC06137 377x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

This decorative sculpture, a Christmas nest, by Wona Bae. I’m not sure that it’s for sale but it would certainly make an eye-catching Christmas wreath for someone’s massive door. She has also made some miniature hand-tied Christmas trees in the same organic sculptural style which are for sale.

DSC06179 347x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

I loved these Jumble macrame rope plant holders by Jessie Tucker but as I was on my bike I couldn’t figure out how to get the poinsettia home.

DSC06139 357x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

This teepee from Gather. I want one for my back yard!

DSC06141 337x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

These sustainable cork and rubber placemats by Lightly come in a range of designs, sizes and colours and are named after the founder’s grandmother’s bridge playing friends (cute!). I bought a red one and green one for my festive table. Also note that during Crop you get to save 20% off all Lightly products.

DSC06158 540x310 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

To match my new table setting, some reindeer glass place by Fi Fy Fo Fum.

DSC06150 282x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

And finally, my gifts beautifully gift-wrapped. Thanks!

DSC06184 432x540 HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

10:00am-7:00pm Friday 30 November
10:00am-6:00pm Saturday 1 December
10:00am-5:00pm Sunday 2 December


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HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

DSC04602 396x540 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

What’s better than a pop up shop? A pop up house!

Melbourne design blogger extraordinaire Lucy Feagins has brought her blog The Design Files out of the interwebs and into real life. With the help of The Project Agency’s Esther Navarro-Orejon, Lucy has turned a swoon-worthy Fitzroy warehouse conversion into an even more swoonworthy display home – where everything is for sale!

DSC04587 381x540 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

That means inside The Design Files Open House all of the furniture, artworks, homewares, textiles, plants and food (and in theory even the Mini) can be popped into your shopping basket. Here’s your chance to bestow the gift of good design to your friends, family or let’s be honest, yourself.

DSC04580 540x361 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

Here are some of my favourite picks:

Baggu backpacks and totes in an array of colours.

DSC04574 369x540 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

A coat rack from Tractor Home that reads in rainbow colours ‘It’s beautiful here’. Very Miranda July I thought.

DSC04557 540x356 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

Maiike softies and Made by Mosey fabric mobiles. Awww.

DSC04559 540x278 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

DSC04554 372x540 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

I am obsessed with lamps. And my current obsessions is with these Workroom lamps. See them here…

DSC04564 340x540 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

..and here….

DSC04566 540x409 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

….and here!

DSC04576 367x540 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

A festive table full of kitchenware and sweet treats from Phillippa’s.

DSC04598 361x540 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

And when you’re done shopping and browsing, hang out on the rooftop under the  Basil Bangs umbrellas and enjoy some coffee and sweet treats from Coffee Supreme/The Abbotsford Club.

DSC04582 540x363 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

DSC04593 540x353 HOT: The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

The Design Files Open House, 40 Little Napier St, Fitzroy

Thu Dec 1 – Sun Dec 4, 10am-5pm
Online from Mon Dec 5 – Sun Dec 18

HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

DSC02930 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

It’s been a while since my last visit to Cafe Vue at Heide and this time we decided to try the a la carte menu rather than the Menu du Jour set menu.

On a sunny weekend the cafe is a real drawcard for visitors to Heide Museum of Modern Art. There’s often a queue for one of the indoor or outdoor tables serving a casual, reasonably priced sit-down meal or you can get take away and picnic in the grounds of the sculpture garden.

The a la carte menu lists museum-cafe favourites with a twist. So instead of just a toasted sandwich there’s a duck cassoulet jaffle ($13). The burger isn’t just any meat, it’s wagyu beef ($15). And the famed Cafe Vue lunch box is a little surprise package of something savoury, something sweet and a salad ($15).

DSC02918 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

The jaffle was declared extremely satisfying, with beautifully grilled thick-cut bread (I dread to think the amount of butter needed to create such a golden crust) encasing a luscious stew that didn’t turn the innards of the sandwich soggy. The burger was also very well cooked with a brioche bun replacing the traditional burger bun.

DSC02913 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

The lunch box of the season contained a tomato-based chickpea salad (which would have been better warmed through), a spicy dukkah dip with crispy tortilla chips, a small sandwich bun filled with Provencal vegetables and a little tub of cheesecake with a crumbly macadamia top.

DSC02915 HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

A museum cafe is often just a pit-stop for museum visitors but Cafe Vue at Heide is a destination in its own right. It’s a lovely cafe in beautiful, artistic surroundings – a perfect combination for a leisurely lunch.

Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen +61 3 9852 2346
Tuesday to Friday 10am – 5pm
Saturday and Sunday 9am – 5pm
Thursday to Saturday 6pm – 9pm
minilink HOT: Cafe Vue at Heide, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Rd, Bulleen

HOT: Design Made Trade, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

My favourite event during State of Design is Design : Made : Trade. It’s a showcase and market for small manufacturers and designer / makers, some local and some from interstate. Lighting, furniture, jewellery, stationery, ceramics, household goods – it’s all there.

Some of my highlights this year:

DSC01831 HOT: Design Made Trade, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

DSC01838 HOT: Design Made Trade, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

DSC01835 HOT: Design Made Trade, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

Karton. Living with a cardboard box never looked so good. I LOVED the low-lying Paperpedic bed (solid and very comfortable) which packs flat and can be stored in a cupboard or under another bed for lucky houseguests, the shelving units which you can paint in all sorts of colours and most of all their ram, part of their ‘Barnyard’ method of storage. I went online to buy a ram and it’s sold out already! But I’m told that new stock will be arriving in about a week.

DSC01829 HOT: Design Made Trade, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

Write to Me. I love the fitout of this stationery stall, especially the miniature typewriter that was apparently sourced from a store in Doncaster. Sadly, the machine doesn’t type teeny-tiny letters.

P1070549 HOT: Design Made Trade, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

Edible Islands. Being an apartment dweller and quasi-green-thumb I like the idea that these planters designed for growing plants and veges on roof gardens, backyards and urban areas. Even better, they can be fit into lifts, through doors and up stairs. The planters are designed in Melbourne, made in Pakenham from 100% recycled plastic and come in a bunch of different colours.

P1070551 HOT: Design Made Trade, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

DesignByThem. A Sydney-based design studio with a naive aesthetic. The cute StemTree brings a little bit of the outdoors to your indoors. It is gorgeous but unfortunately out of my price range.

DSC01826 HOT: Design Made Trade, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

Acewood & Mejo‘s Emotion Machine. Strap into their bike, start pedalling to power the car to play the music. As you pedal faster, your heartbeat increases and the music becomes more intense. The motion of your head and your mood’s brain waves are transformed into visuals on screen.

P1070560 HOT: Design Made Trade, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

Chandelier and lamp by Jorge Criollo-Carrillo for Jam Factory. Jam Factory is a studio/gallery/shop in Adelaide which provides Associate training for tertiary-educated artists and designers. Staff and Associates work on Jam Factory products and commissioned pieces as well as their own work and commercialise it under the Jam Factory umbrella. I loved this chandelier by industrial designer Jorge Criollo-Carrillo made from unvarnished wood on the outside and smoked wood on the inside, barely treated with varnish. The lamp is made from walnut and oak and shares the same organic texture and shape as the chandeliers. Simply breathtaking.

P1070556 HOT: Design Made Trade, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

The Traveller. Gift packaging for wine that’s safe to post! The cardboard is produced from recycled board using a  minimum of 95% post-consumer waste and is printed with various designs, including some specifically Melbourne ones like Federation Square and Southern Cross station. The packaging has been tested to the same extent as Australian wine packaging and has been dropped from 7 storeys just to check your bottle of wine will be ok in the gentle hands of Australia Post. There’s a space to write your personal message so it’s your greeting card as well. I loved it much I bought one ($6) even though I couldn’t think of anyone I was going to be gift-giving wine.

Design Made Trade is on 21-22 July for trade and 23-24 July for public entry, 10-5pm all days.

HOT Chat: Anna Brockhurst from Eco Christmas Trees

It’s fitting that the last HOT Chat for the year is a Christmas-themed one. I found out about Eco Christmas Trees via Twitter and was immediately captured by the idea of  having a real live Christmas tree in my home, without the waste that goes into cutting down a tree and then disposing of it afterwards.

logo tagline green HOT Chat: Anna Brockhurst from Eco Christmas Trees

Eco Christmas Trees is effectively a tree rental service whereby you are delivered a live potted tree for Christmas and then it is taken away to be replanted, ready for use again next year (and the year after that, and the year after that….).  I have ordered my 1.75m Cypress for delivery next week but in the meantime today’s HOT Chat is with Anna Brockhurst, the founder of Eco Christmas Trees. Thanks Anna!

Delivery Girl 225x300 HOT Chat: Anna Brockhurst from Eco Christmas TreesAnna, tell me a bit more about your background and how you came to start Eco Christmas Trees?

I am a freelance business consultant that works with businesses to help them manage changes successfully.  Last year whilst waiting for a project to commence I found I had some extra time leading up to Christmas and I decided to start a business to rent live potted Christmas trees.

It has always been a pet peeve of mine to see dead brown trees on the nature strip after Christmas.  They make me feel sad and frustrated at the disposable world we now live in. So I stopped moaning and started Eco Christmas trees to offer people a different option for their Christmas tree solution.  This way you can have your tree for Christmas without having to throw it away once you have done with it.

What makes your Christmas trees ‘eco’?

The eco refers to the living nature of our trees.  They are replanted after Christmas so your tree will continue to live and exchange CO2 into oxygen. Did you know that in one year, an average tree inhales 12 kilograms of CO2 and exhales enough oxygen for a family of four for a year! (Source United Nations Environment Programme).

By renting an Eco Christmas Tree, you don’t end a tree’s ecological cycle by cutting down a living tree, or impact green house emissions by the production of plastic.

Where do you source your trees?

Our trees come from growers local to Melbourne and are always unique to that year growing patterns.  For example this year has been so cold the trees are not as full as last year yet they are more whimsical and have more interesting shapes than the previous year.

Depot 1 1024x768 HOT Chat: Anna Brockhurst from Eco Christmas Trees

What has been the most challenging thing you’ve faced in starting up your own business? What advice would you give to a small business owner?

After working in corporate environments for so long I found the personal nature of starting a small business quite challenging. An eco Christmas tree is not for everyone, and when you believe in something it’s hard to not think everyone will want one, or even that they might try one year and not take another in the next year.

You have to learn to trust what you are doing and not take things so personally.  Take the compliments and the enjoyment from the people who love it and ignore any criticism unless it’s constructive, this way you can use your energy in planning and moving forward rather than sweating the small stuff.

What are your next plans for Eco Christmas Trees?

I would love to take it to Sydney and Adelaide next year; plans are afoot which is exciting.

Finally, where are your favourite places to visit or things to do in Melbourne around Christmas time?

I have just spent most of this year in the UK working so I am craving decent coffee.  Oliv sells amazing olive oils and makes the best coffee (328 Auburn Road Hawthorn +61 3 9818 3122 ).

I am looking forward to a Christmas dinner with the girls at Ananda (197 Gertrude St, Fitzroy +61 3 9415 6101) and have been reminded of the funkiness of Melbourne with an always-delicious Thai dinner at Cookie (1/252 Swanston Street, Melbourne +61 3 9663 7660).