Monday, 24 December 2007

Saturday, 22 December 2007


We just got back from a week at the beach, on Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula. I'd like to say that I am a completely organised person, and I chose to take our holiday the week before Christmas because there would be less people around on the beach before school ended on Friday, but the truth is I am so completely disorganised that I left it too late to book a beach house for January and this was the only week I could get!

Having said that, it was gloriously quiet on the beach and we had a wonderful, sunny week. I've never holidayed in this area before (we usually prefer the Bellarine Peninsula) and there were loads of places to explore. If you're heading over there this summer and it's your first time, here are a few suggestions...

Well the beaches are fabulous, Merricks and Balnarring are great for swimming and playing about with boards, but we also loved Somers for its rock pools and interesting walks before bedtime. Hayne Farm near Red Hill was awesome - a really chilled-out place where you can feed and pet all kinds of farm animals, take a hayride and get totally grubby.

On the one day that it rained we went to the new bowling alley at Rosebud and that was great, with friendly staff who the kids loved (there's an indoor swimming pool too). We also had a fun time at Ashcombe maze, getting lost and looking out for the gnomes and fairies. The rose maze was especially beautiful.

One thing though - the maze cafe is really disappointing, with rubbery, microwaved scones, weak tea and bad service, and no tap water available (this always annoys me). Very disappointing! If you head up Shoreham Road a little, towards Red Hill, there is a much better cafe called 'On The Hill' in the little shopping centre there, it has fantastic food and a little room full of toys and small tables for kids to sit and play, plus a good selection of mags and papers for grown-ups, and a super-lovely owner.

No, the temptation to thrift-shop in a totally new region was much too strong for me to resist! Everyone in our family loves op shops (it's the only time we allow the boys to buy plastic toys) and we managed to find at least one in each of the towns we visited. Balnarring has the best church op shop (recommended to me by my friend Beck), well worth a visit, as does Hastings, which also has a Salvo's and a Vinnies. There is a great Red Cross shop in Dromana too. Rosebud has no less that ten op shops, but they were pretty much lacking in decent vintage stuff, sadly. There is also a church op shop in Red Hill, which yielded a vintage Fisher Price Happy Houseboat (above) to add to my FP collection, for just $2! Here are some of my other oppy finds...

Aside from op shops, I found lots of special goodies at two huge antique centres - the Tyabb Paking House (the largest antique shop in Australia and totally awesome, yay!) and the Bottom Drawer at Morrooduc, which is especially good for old shop fittings, ads and signs.

There is a Sunday morning car boot sale at Dromana - there wasn't much on offer but I was totally awestruck by its setting in one of Australia's oldest drive-in movie venues, complete with its original 1960's signage. Cool!

Red Hill is a totally gorgeous area and there is a little shopping centre that is home to a couple of fab homewares shops (as well as the aforementioned On The Hill cafe). Red Hill House (one of our stockists) is beautiful, packed with unusual things for kids and home, while Tree is a stunning new shop in a huge old tin shed, run by Daniela of Succulent Designs, who I met at Magnolia Square. I guarantee you will love Tree and want to buy lots of things there. And watch this space - a new shop is about to open in the same cluster of shops, called 'Miss Kitty's Emporium'. I am particularly excited by the sound of this new shop, which will have a cafe serving tea and cakes on vintage crockery alongside rooms stuffed with vintagey gifts! The owners have ordered some Lark goodies to sell, yippee!

The peninsula is awash with fabulous wineries and top restaurants but, let's face it, with two small boys you aren't going to ever get the chance to enjoy one, so we concentrated on the more child-friendly places, like Red Hill Cheese, where we all had fun tasting a dozen different types of cheese. I am a sucker for old General Stores and the one at Merricks is gorgeous, stacked high with local goodies and with a great cafe too. We feasted on fish and chips from the chippy at Balnarring, which has lovely owners and the coolest vintage ice cream sign!

So that was our holiday, we all loved it but it's nice to be back home, with our cats and our Christmas tree and our own bed! If you are holidaying this season, have a good one!

Friday, 14 December 2007


I haven't had much opportunity to visit my favourite charity shops recently, but that hasn't deterred me from sniffing out a few vintage beauties at garage sales and on eBay. Here are a few of my best finds...

A set of ballet placemats

A cute vintage Swiss clock with a girl on a swing!

A set of children's mystery books, I love the jacket designs.

Various old shops signs and boxes to decorate my verandah (watch this space!)

An old Sylko shop display, complete with dozens of old rolls of thread!

Vintage Christmas pillowcases, I am always looking out for these, the boys will be hanging them out for Santa to see this year!

And finally, vintage wooden tree decorations. You can't really see them here on this photo of my tree but they are very cute!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

If, like me, you're in a panic about where to find decent last-minute Christmas gifts, and have despaired at some of the rubbish on offer in the big department stores this year, have a look at this list of lovely gift shops who all stock some Lark things alongside lots of other unique and gorgeous stuff. There is bound to be one near you. These shops all deserve our business for supporting independent Australian designers. Most of the shops are small businesses run by people who are passionate about great design. You'll find lots of inspired hand made and sweatshop-free gifts. Have a look, do, and pop in to your local shops today!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

I am SO ready for my holiday this year. In Australia we are lucky that Christmas coincides with summer and the long break from school. Lark has kept me unbelievably busy this Christmas and I am just counting the days until I can get away to the beach. How appropriate that I should find this framed vintage 'Holiday Map of Melbourne' at a garage sale today!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Busy day today: got up at 7.30; fed two boys and helped them get dressed, find swimming clothes, sunhats and library books; dropped one boy off at school and one at childcare; drove with Paul to Woodend and stopped for a breakfast-time vanilla slice from a bakery that claims to be Australia's vanilla slice champion; drove on to Melbourne; went to a cookware shop in Malvern called Scullerymade to search for some new bread tins with Paul; found an op shop (two large red woollen blankets, vintage Christmas pillowcases, Marlier book, old tablecloths and a bag of wool oddments); drove to Prahran (old stamping ground) to visit another cookware shop to buy 'grey sea salt' for Paul's bread, also shopped for some Christmas presents; ate sushi; visited our screen printer to pick up new stocks of the Keep Calm mugs and tea towels; dropped off a Lark knitted toy order at The Works (Bed Bath 'n Table store) in Hawthorn; drove across to Bridge Road, Richmond to visit Mike's, drove into town to the National Gallery to drop off an order of Keep Calm items and story book accessories and visited the Modern Britain exhibition; took the Citylink through Geoff's shed back to Coburg; dropped in to Gervasi's to stock up on Italian goodies - parmesan, tomatoes, oil, panettone, capers - then across to Dan Murphy's to stock up on wine; drove back to Woodend; stopped at Target to buy a few stocking fillers for the boys; drove back to Daylesford; emptied out very full car boot; wrote down messages off answerphone to call on Monday; drove to childcare centre to pick up two boys; went to childcare end-of-year party; ate veggie burgers and drank champagne; came home; read 76 email messages; ate some pumpkin ravioli from Prahran market; made some mirrors and fridge magnets fom an old photo-love annual; tidied up and put a load of washing on; wrote blog entry; am off to bed... roll on Christmas holidays!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007


A new Aussie website launches today - Living Creatively, which is all about design, craft and inspiration. I am very excited, firstly because Cintia from My Poppet has a big mention on the front page, with all of these lovely handmade goodies she sells, including stuff from Melbourne crafty gals Violet and Rose and Lovely Button! Secondly because Lark has been interviewed and is going to appear on the website in a few weeks, alongside such creative luminaries as Akira Isogawa, Lotta Jansdowner, and, of course, our very own Pip! Check out the site, it is lots of fun, there is even a contest to make a Celebrity Softie!