HOT: Bared Footwear, 1098 High St, Armadale

bared shoes

This warm weather heralds my first pedicure for Spring and a chance to wear my new sandals from Melbourne-brand Bared Footwear.

I’m on my feet a lot more these days which means that shoes need to be comfortable, supportive and last more than a few rides around the block. My search for the perfect sandals led me to Bared Footwear.

Bared Footwear is a unique footwear brand because every shoe has been designed by a podiatrist, Anna Baird, but they are not clumpy, sensible ‘grandma’ shoes. They are fashionable shoes that happen to be good for you as well!

The sandals all have a built in footbed which is moulded around the heel, arch and toes, much like a pair of Birkenstocks. Their closed shoes have a removable footbed which means you can customise the fit even further if you have narrow or wide feet or need to wear orthotics. You can read more about the benefits of Bared Footwear shoes here.

bared shoes

I bought a pair of Finch sandals, with an upper made of soft leather straps and a rubber sole. The ankle strap secures the shoe around the ankle so I don’t have to claw my toes to hold on to the shoe as I walk. The sole has a very slight heel for extra support.

bared footwear

They have been fantastic for my day-to-day routine, which includes heaps of walking, cycling and running after kids!

bared footwear

I bought the black and brown pair as I still wear black in summer (like a true Melburnian) although it was a difficult decision between them and the rose gold.

bared shoes

I also bought a pair of Pipit sandals, a cream pair of strappy heels with a subtle python print on the arch (they come in black too). The heels are comfortable for walking thanks to the stack heel, padding and the ankle strap. They are actually particularly great for cycling as the upper straps are at just the right locations so your foot doesn’t feel like it’s sliding forward or falling out when you pedal. These are shoes that transition from day to night and are about as comfortable as heels can get when I’m no longer used to wearing heels for long periods.

bared shoes

Bared Footwear only have a single store, in High Street Armadale, so I bought my shoes online (free shipping over $150) and they were delivered very quickly. They are more expensive than what I’m usually used to spending on shoes, but I’m now at a stage when shoes must be practical first and stylish second. Thankfully with Bared Footwear my shoes can be both!

Bared Footwear, 1098 High St,  Armadale +61 3 9509 5771

Monday- Friday 10am – 5:30pm

Saturday 10am – 5pm

Sunday 11am – 5pm     

HOT: Coin Laundry, 61 Armadale St, Armadale

It’s a testament to the power of positive reviews that a small cafe on the opposite side of the river to me, hidden in a residential area, can capture my attention such that I’ll make a special trip there early on a Sunday morning.

Such is the pulling power of Coin Laundry. Just like the sparkliest, cleanest laundry, Coin Laundry is a crispy white and vibrantly bright cafe in leafy Armadale. The space used to be occupied by, you guessed it, a laundromat, and the owners Steve Rowley and Matt Vero have cunningly retained the previous signage for their cafe.

Inside there’s no hint of dank clothes or spinning tumble-dryers – the only real remnant of its laundromat past is the use of tea towels swagged in loops from the ceiling as a clever decorative feature. Everything else is has been stripped back and replaced with a warm touch in the form of a high wooden communal table, blonde wood Thonet chairs, clean white and green tiling and a sprinkling of floral arrangements.

I perched myself at the communal table on top of a surprisingly comfortable sheet metal bar stool and perused the one-page breakfast menu. Always a sucker for beans on toast ($12.50), Coin Laundry’s version was a ‘cassoulet’ without the sausage, duck fat or white haricot beans – rather fat broad beans baked with feta with a scoop of green olive tapenade. It came on a little wooden bread-board and a big huggable white bowl, perfect for scooping up in your hands while perusing the Sunday papers.

The dish itself was warming and filling, with the beans gently soft but not to mush. My only negative was that I thought there was too much tapenade, as when it was mixed in the dish became a little too salty (but not in a gasping-for-water sort of way). The thick tomato-based sauce was perfect for dunking in the accompanying hunk of Noisette bread.

By the time I left, it was still early but the place was really starting to fill up. I had a chat to one of the friendly staff and they said that they had great intentions to bake their own bread but the unexpectedly large number of people visiting them hadn’t provided enough time for them to start doing so. That’s a good news story I like to hear.

For more reviews, check out The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I’m so hungreeeee and “…it pleases us”.

  • Coin Laundry, 61 Armadale St, Armadale +61 3 9500 1888

Coin Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon

HOT: Magnolia Square, Malvern Town Hall, cnr Glenferrie Rd and High Street, Malvern

Magnolia Square is a pop up market that comes to Melbourne a few times a year (and goes to other Australian cities) and it’s full of stylish goods aimed mostly for women. It’s mostly babies/kids stuff, with really ups the cute quotient, but there’s also handmade crafts, jewellery, clothing and gourmet food.

On my most recent visit to Magnolia Square I encountered some of the same stalls as my first visit, but happily also stumbled across some other new goods. Here’s what caught my eye and what went into my shopping basket this time:

Clucky handmade babies’ toys, blankets and clothing. I fell in love with the crochet rattle (more chewable than plastic presumably!) and the baby duck. Luisa, who handmakes all of the products, also told me that she’s about to start ‘Clucky Cravings’, a line of food to meet the cravings for mums-to-be.

Rabbit & Duck. Shannon handmakes all of her cushion covers, notebook covers, wallets and cases from pre-washed fabric. Being a cycling fan, I was immediately drawn to her bike-bedecked A5 notebook ($45) and told her that she should considering making tote bags for cyclists :–)

I spotted the last red polkadot raincoat made by Suzy Allen ($65) and kept circling around it for a bit before deciding to buy it. Suzy is from Brisbane and stocks a couple of stores on the East Coast with her girl’s trenchcoats, dresses, skirts and t-shirts.

Make Me Iconic. Natasha Skunca uses young local students from Sydney and Melbourne to design iconic city images and prints them on posters, cushion covers, tea towels and mugs  – from the Nylex sign to vintage Melbourne tram rolls. For a gift I bought a Skipping Girl mug ($20) and matching tea towel ($25). In about 2 months’ time she’ll be launching the wooden W-class tram complete with colourful passengers and a tram conductor!

Chook Leaf leather children’s footwear and accessories from Mornington. My camera ran out of battery at this point, so here are some images of their adorable shoes.

via Chook Leaf

I have a bit of a fixation on French kids’ clothes (well, French clothes generally), and whenever I got to the Paris sales I’d buy beautiful items for my god-daughter. Now that Paris is far, far away, I can shop at Castlebox, a new Melbourne-based range of vintage French-inspired fashion for kids aged 3-10 years.

via Castlebox

Finally, from Black Eyed Green, the Eco Cradle made of corrugated cardboard and flat-packed for easy travel. I also liked the other items from the range such as the flat-packed bench and table and Feedaway high chair.

via Black Eyed Green

If you missed out these markets, mark the following dates in your diary for the next Melbourne markets – 21, 22 and 23 October at Malvern Town Hall and 2, 3, 4 December at St Kilda Town Hall.

  • Magnolia Square, Malvern Town Hall, cnr Glenferrie Rd and High Street, Malvern

HOT Alert: Week of 23 November 2009

This coming week is filled with travel, rock, films, shopping, food and parties!

Unfortunately there’s only one of me, which means I’ll be missing these other great events on this week:

Less than a month till Christmas!

HOT: Supply & Demand, 1114 High St, Armadale

Supply & Demand 1114 High St Armadale

Supply & Demand seems to be a seconds/overstock store stocking an eclectic range of homewares, books, toys and kitchenware, but not in a trashy dollar-store kind of way. I’ve seen items from Supply & Demand featured in design magazines before, such as the wooden letters which seem to be so prevalent these days. My letters are an instruction to READ (or DARE) (4 letters x $2.95)

At the moment they’re having 25% off their already low prices so it’s a good time to have a browse and pick up items that you don’t really need but are wonderful for your home.

HOT: Magnolia Square, Malvern Town Hall, cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St, Malvern

I’d been really looking forward to my first trip to Magnolia Square, a temporary market in Malvern Town Hall full of beautiful handmade things. Evidently, all of Melbourne’s yummy mummies had the same idea and it could easily have been mistaken for a pram convention. I felt like I was missing an accessory!

Magnolia Square Malvern Town Hall cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St Malvern Crabapple cupcakes

Magnolia Square Malvern Town Hall cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St Malvern Crabapple cupcakes

To get you in the cutesy mood, at the entrance  Crabapple Cupcakes had a delectable stall of cupcakes. Unfortunately their pretty coatings were undone by a sub-par cupcake (I tried two, in the interests of research) – much too solid for my liking. Even Little Cupcakes were better.

If I had a baby or more babies to buy for then I would have gone nuts inside. As it was, there were lots of merchants worth noting, either for their products and/or their beautifully decorated stalls:

Magnolia Square Malvern Town Hall cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St Malvern Ellani Petite

Magnolia Square Malvern Town Hall cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St Malvern Ellani Petite

Ellani Petite – cute hair bows made of French and English ribbon and pretty fabric-covered button hair ties.

Adorning AL – a new online business run by two girls which sells stick wall mirrors in cute shapes. Perfect for kids’ rooms, although I was tempted by the tree mirror for myself ($49.95). But after the debacle with the ghost clock I’m too scared to buy decorative homewares without RM‘s approval anymore!

Magnolia Square Malvern Town Hall cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St Malvern Little Nest

Little Nest – Samantha Firestone’s former day job was to make furniture for hotels. When she had kids, she couldn’t find any funky furniture that she liked, so she decided to make her own kid-sized designer replica furniture, from Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair to Eames’ Vitra loungechair and footstool. One day I could buy a Le Corbusier for mini-me to match my adult sized Le Petit Comfort!

Magnolia Square Malvern Town Hall cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St Malvern Maggie and Sparrow

Magnolia Square Malvern Town Hall cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St Malvern Maggie and Sparrow

Maggie & Sparrow – colourful handmade quilts and animal mobiles, plus a stall reminiscent of a fairy dreamland.

Magnolia Square Malvern Town Hall cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St Malvern Gertie and Me

Magnolia Square Malvern Town Hall cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St Malvern Gertie and Me

Gertie and Me – Handmade toys for young and the young-at-heart. I couldn’t resist the adorable toy daschund ($20) but RM didn’t like him. What do you think? They were also selling a set of three large nesting baskets lined with white cotton waffle fabric for the bargain price of $25, but unfortunately I couldn’t think of a use for them.

Magnolia Square Malvern Town Hall cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St Malvern Michels Biscuits

Michel’s Fine Biscuit Co – They also sell at the Farmers Markets at my local farmers markets at Collingwood Children’s Farm, which means I can continue a ready supply of these oh-so-moreish fruit and nut cream-filled buttery biscuits ($12).

Pastry Lounge – tempting little tartlets with savoury and sweet fillings ($3). Their delicious poached plum and limoncello tartlet contained a crumby almond shortbread with baked vanilla plums, but the piece de resistance was the baked rhubarb and cream tartlets with a fluffy orange and cardamon scented cheesecake. Gorgeous! They sell at various farmers markets but unfortunately not near me.

Magnolia Square Malvern Town Hall cnr Glenferrie Rd and High St Malvern Sambellina

Sambellina – Pretty partywear stationary, although what really caught my eye was the adorable tea party table-setting.

Milk – My brush with fame! As well as being tall, slim, beautiful and friendly, Lindy Klim is the business woman behind a range of organic baby products. Her husband, the famous ex-swimmer Michael Klim, developed the men’s range also known as Milk.

The market continues until Saturday. Get ready to gush!

HOT: Phillippa’s Breads, 1030 High St, Armadale

Philippa Grogan is the doyenne of her eponymous artisanal bakeries in Melbourne, and her breads and pastries are right at home in chi-chi Armadale.

Although I really did fancy one of her expensive cakes for lunch, I opted instead for a pasty ($7.50) as I was starving and in need of carbs. It was an extremely good example of pasty-making – a fragrant buttery pastry, recognisable vegetables in the filling (not just a grey mush) and served with a spicy tomato relish.