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

maribyrnong makers market

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

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

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

maribyrnong makers market

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

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

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

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: Agathe Patisserie, Rear 97 Chapel St, Windsor (Entry via Artists Lane ) and Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

agathe patisserie

You know the reason why I could never be (willingly) gluten-free or sugar-free? Because I’m a pastry FIEND. And I love discovering French patisseries in Melbourne, with my newest find being Agathe Patisserie in Windsor.

agathe patisserie

I have been stalking and drooling over Agathe Patisserie on Instagram for a while and finally had the opportunity to visit Agathe at her little artisan stall at Prahran Market, where she sets up on Saturdays. The rest of the week she bakes in a pop up store/lab in Windsor.


When I threatened to buy one of everything I wasn’t kidding. It was really, really hard to choose what to buy (with a major case of FOMO given I don’t get to Prahran very often) so what the heck!

agathe patisserie

In the bag went a plain croissant, a salted caramel brioche/croissant ball, a croissant square with  almond cream, raspberries and pistachio, a chocolate croissant, an escargot, an almond coated croissant with chocolate inside and a canele.

Of the selection my choices were the almond croissant, with its beautifully flaky centre and sticks of dark chocolate, and the plain croissant.

agathe patisserie

Just look at those airy layers – it was so buttery and light that I ate it unadorned. Didn’t want any jam weighing it down!

agathe patisserie

I had high expectations of the canele but I found mine just a little bit too dense, though the outside was beautifully caramelised. Given other people have rhapsodised about them I’d give them another go (twist my rubber arm!).

Agathe Patisserie make her cakes to order and her items are only stocked in a few select locations at the moment. So set aside some time in your diary to make a visit and don’t miss out!

Agathe Patisserie, Rear 97 Chapel St, Windsor (Entry via Artists Lane )

Friday and Saturday from 8 to 12

Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra

Saturday 9 to 4 (or until sold out)

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HOT: Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy

Lark Store, 94 Gertrude St, Fitzroy (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!


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


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!


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: Japanese Afternoon Tea, Hihou, Level 1, 1 Flinders Ln, Melbourne


Hihou’s limited edition Japanese Afternoon tea represents all that I love about the food scene in Melbourne.


A hard-to-find, hidden situation (walk through Nama Nama from Spring Street or ring the doorbell on the unmarked black door on Flinders Lane). An urban location with a scenic view of one of Melbourne’s beloved green pockets. And the opportunity to relax on a weekend afternoon over tea and treats.



For three Saturdays in July (future dates are 13 July and 20 July) as part of City of Melbourne’s Look.Stop.Shop winter program, Hihou are offering  Japanese afternoon tea with Lupicia teas or coffee from Market Lane in their beautiful bar. It’s possibly the best value afternoon tea you’ll find in the CBD as the 2 hours of indulgence will cost you only $25. 


I’m not normally a fan of fruit flavoured teas but I’m in love with the Ume Vert – Japanese plum green tea – by Lupicia. It’s sweetness and clarity in a cup and I’m stocking up at Lupicia‘s QV store. I urge you to try some of the green teas on offer in the tea menu and eschew the boring Earl Grey/English breakfast/peppermint route.


Hihou’s riff on the traditional three tier afternoon tea tray means three courses of savoury and sweet bites. The first savoury course consists of a fat scallop siumai embedded in a whole fleshy shiitake mushroom and soy dipping sauce. A small laquered plate holds some panfried oyaki dumplings filled with chilli miso whole soy beans. The finger sandwiches are not your usual cucumber or smoked salmon – rather they are filled with nuggets of pork tonkatsu, some slithers of cabbage and mayo.


Next comes a laquered box which opens to reveal a gasp-inspiring selection of delicate sweets. Our favourite bite was the matcha and macadamia nut cookie, followed by two sweets which are currently appearing in Nama Nama’s winter picnic bento box – the chocolate shochu coconut truffle and sticky pistachio and peanut caramel shards. I quite like the bean paste texture and faint sweetness of wagashi but my friend wasn’t as much of a fan. And we both found the miso paper and sweet potato cigar curious, but not particularly appetising given its savoury notes and combination of slippery and mushy textures.


The third course is more sweets in the form of an almost savoury rectangle of black sesame cheesecake and a fluffy warm yuzu tofu cake covered with a white chocolate sauce. The plate came served with a matcha whisked tea, a large bowl of frothy powdered green tea of the kind that I don’t often see served in Australia and a lovely way to neutralise the palate after all that sweetness.



Hihou’s Japanese Afternoon tea is only available for a limited time so make sure you book and catch it while you can. I hope that they’ll extend the season for it as it’s a wonderfully unique experience for a city that loves its afternoon tea.

Hihou Japanese Afternoon Tea, Level 1, 1 Flinders Lane, Melbourne +61 3  or book online

Remaining dates Saturday 13 July and Saturday 20 July, 3-5pm


HOT: Country Women’s Association of Victoria State Fair, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, 3 Lansell Rd, Toorak


The Country Women’s Association is a not-for-profit organisation which provides support for women, primarily in rural and remote areas of Australia.
Each state has its own branch and the Country Women’s Association of Victoria has its headquarters in urban Toorak, in a grand mansion called Umina.

Every year, as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, the CWA opens up the grounds of Umina to host their Annual State Fair Fundraiser. It’s a chance for people of the surrounding community to explore the bed and breakfast run by the CWA (which is available as accommodation for the general public as well as CWA members) and to support the work of CWA by purchasing items from the various stalls.

CWA STate Fair

Entry to the State Fair was free and it had stalls that you’d expect at any good country fair – a cake stall with homemade cakes, biscuits and muffins, a jam and preserve stall, lots of crochet and knitting and other craft items and of course Devonshire teas.


In fact, it’s probably a prerequisite to membership to CWA that you know how to make scones! I bought a dozen freshly made scones for $6 along and wrapped them up in a beautiful heavyweight linen teatowel I bought from the CWA merchandise stand.

The tea towel was designed by Australian artist Rachael Flynn of Red Tractor Designs and it features charming illustrations and a classic plain scone recipe. Maybe it’s even a recipe endorsed by CWA!

tea towel

As for the scones, they were light and fluffy even reheated a day later and especially delicious when slathered with some homemade strawberry jam purchased from the State Fair.

CWA State Fair

HOT: Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra


Melbourne’s unpredictable weather has turned on the sunshine this weekend – perfect weather for outdoor eating and drinking. And a festive garden party is a picturesque location for wining and dining al fresco as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013.

Put Victoria On Your Table: Cellar Door and Artisan Market is a weekend event that’s being held in the surrounds of Como House and Garden. Winemakers, brewers, butchers, fisheries, bakers and producers from all around Victoria have come together for an upmarket and festive farmers market with food and wine tastings, activities, demonstrations and live entertainment throughout the day.

If you’re a regular at Melbourne’s accredited farmers markets you’ll probably be familiar with a lot of the producers. I bought gourmet ice cream from Gundowring Fine Foods, chocolate hedgehog from Springhill Farm and Persian feta from Yarra Valley Dairy in the Cheese Room (yes! a room where you can eat your fill of cheese!).




For take away eats there were barbecues roaring throughout the grounds though the most popular item seemed to be cone of fried calamari from The Flying Calamari Brothers located in ‘Sustainable Seafood Square’.




The Seppelt Lawn Bar is the place to be when you need a rest. Spread out your picnic rug and goodies bought from the stalls and loll under the shady umbrellas while sipping on local wine, beer and cider.


Finally, my favourite stand award goes to Otway Forest Shiitake where they are selling grow-your-own shiitake mushroms on behalf of Special Effects Nursery. Apparently each log will yield around 500-1kg of mushrooms a season and they can last for several years. I’m wondering whether RM would agree to sharing the bathroom or bedroom cupboard with a mushroom log ….


There’s loads happening on the opening weekend of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival so check out the other events in the program here.

Put Victoria on Your Table Cellar Door and Artisan Market,Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2013, Como House & Garden, Corner Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra 

Saturday 2 March and Sunday 3 March 11-6pm

$45.00 Adult with tasting. Child/Youth (12-17): $10, Under 12: Free. Adult General Admission $20


HOT: The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90-94 Rokeby St, Collingwood

The Cool Hunter is a website/newsletter that does exactly that – hunts out the cool, unique and unusual in design, travel, art, food, fashion and events from all around the world and collects them all in one drool-worthy portal. So it makes sense that founder Bill Tikos has decided to bring the website to life with a pop up boutique concept called The Cool House, with Melbourne being its first stop.

The Cool House has transformed the warehouse space of Rokeby Studios into a temporary showroom of furniture, design and artwork from Australia and around the world. Here is a selection of the products that I liked but mostly couldn’t afford – it’s all very high end stuff…

Gorgeous leather pencil case by Dutch company Travelteq

The cutest miniature swivel chair – I didn’t catch the designer.

This amazing leather-framed round mirror resting casually by the bedside – again I didn’t note the designer, sorry.

I don’t have a pooch but these bags are adorable!

If you’re in the area and hungry for more design goodness then drop into Crop at Lightly Showroom for another design pop up retail event.

The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90-94 Rokeby Street, Collingwood
29 November – 2 December

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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!

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…

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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: Paris to Provence Festival, Como House & Garden, Cnr Williams Road & Lechlade Avenue, South Yarra

Paris to Provence, Melbourne’s favourite festival celebrating all things French, is back in the bucolic surrounds of National Trust’s Como House this weekend.

There’s market stalls, music, food and festivities and the festival gets bigger and better every year (this is its third year). Here are my highlights:

Grab some charcuterie, cheese and a baguette for a picnic lunch from the large stall by Carlton favourite La Parisienne Pates. If you want a sit down meal you can also try the pop up restaurant by Chez Olivier but personally I think it’s better to make the most of the lush garden surrounds.

Go to La Tropezienne and try some of the best French pastries (as stocked at Monsieur Truffe and L’Atelier de Monsieur Truffe) and the best macarons in Melbourne.

Buy a  ceramic Christmas decorations from Durance, great as stocking stuffers or Kris Kringle for only $2.50. Also check out the homewares from Malmaison. Sadly their pocket advent calendar that I bought last year is no longer available but there is still lots of French provincial chic to drool over.

As the weather heats up cool down with a creamy ice-cream sandwich from Pat and Stick’s. The biscuits actually make this treat surprisingly mess-free given the wedge of melting ice-cream inside plus the ice cream itself is high quality. I am going to look for my nearest stockist!

Over the weekend there is a timetable of presentations about French life and French cooking demonstrations plus you can participate in games such as croissant throwing, escargot eating and Notre Dame 3D puzzle reconstructions.

If you can’t afford to go to France then head to Paris to Provence for a fun, foodie, Frenchy day out in the sun. Take a wad of cash with you (there is a NAB atm on site but it wasn’t working when I arrived), slather on some suncreen, bring a large bottle of water given the heat (otherwise you’ll need to buy it) and Bon appetit!

Paris to Provence, Como Houe & Garden, Cnr Williams Road & Lechlade Avenue, South Yarra

Friday 23 November 4.00pm – 8.30pm
Saturday 24 November 10.00am – 6.00pm
Sunday 25 November 10.00am – 4.00pm

Adults $15 online -$20 at the gate, Youth $5, Children under 12 Free

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HOT: The Finders Keepers, Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson St, Carlton

The fabulous twice-yearly market The Finders Keepers is back in Melbourne today!

Inside the vaulted halls of the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building you will find a delightful array of independent and local artists and artisans – cute, handmade, whimsical, colourful is the name of the game.  There’s so much to see that it’s actually a bit daunting so here are my picks.

My favourite clothing stall was by North Fitzroy local Mariska Thynne under the label The Professor’s Daughter. She makes brightly hued tailored garments with a retro, glamorous feel. A very Mad Men / vintage airline hostess look which can still be styled in a modern way.

I loved her clothes so much that I bought a winter wool coat from her – I don’t care that summer’s coming, I didn’t want to miss out!

Marina from Marcue handmakes every shoe in her collection according to your size and in any colour combination you desire. Actually, I loved the shoes that Marina was wearing most of all!

Everyone on my Christmas list is getting a personalised Christmas ornament from Kylie Johnson of Paper Boat Press from me this year – imagine them as reuseable gift tags for boxes of home made baked goodies. This is Brisbane-based Kylie’s first Melbourne market, so show her a grand Southern state by visiting her stall.

This custom-made kid’s deckchair from Brunswick’s fable baby & nursery wins the cutest item award.

I really liked these berry baskets and paint-your-own Matryoshka dolls from Blank Goods. In fact, I liked a lot of their other crafty items too such as twine, miniature wooden pegs and washi tape.

The sculptural accessories by Renee Saliba of Maple and Gray were a departure from the general cuteness and whimsy on show.

My favourite stall set up was by Angus and Celeste. Their elegant hangings along the Swiss chalet border perfectly showcased their delicate handpainted work.

The Finders Keepers Melbourne Spring/Summer 2012 market, The Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson Street, Carlton
Friday 19 October 6pm – 10pm
Saturday 20 October 10am – 5pm