Everything else Melbourne



I’m no expert on vintage brands or styles. I don’t even know much of anything about current brands and styles. But I like what I like, and I like what Melbourne has to offer.

While there we stayed in the heart of Melbourne’s gentrified bohemian scene – Fitzroy/Collingwood. The area is dominated by excellent cafes and vintage shops. I spent $100 on a second hand dress from Vintage Garage in Collingwood, mostly because I loved the pattern and it fits perfectly, but also because I really loved the shop. It’s curated by a number of collectors and arranged beautifully with rows hanging clothing racks and glass cabinets displaying all manner of accessories and collectibles.

Vintage Garage really was a delight to shop in and we were left to explore the store as long as we liked.

A few streets over in Fitzroy is Brunswick Street’s Red Cross store. It stood out enough that I made a note on my phone to remind myself of the great selection, cute staff, and good music.

You really can’t go wrong if you just spend a day exploring everything on Smith and Brunswick streets.

The majority of my Melbourne purchases were made at a couple of Savers stores. Savers is a long established warehouse style recycled clothing chain with most of its branches in Melbourne. I first visited the branch in Footscray and found a blouse that I’ve worn a lot since. But one of the Kiwi staff from the Proud Mary cafe suggested I catch a tram to the Brunswick branch. (Note that Brunswick St and Brunswick are completely different areas. Every fucking name in Melbourne is duplicated at least once and it can get very frustrating and confusing!) I’m so glad I did! I picked up a huge amount of swag, including 2 pairs of shoes.

National Gallery of Victoria

I do like art, but I can’t spend a long time staring at a single painting or a small collection. I get bored. But the National Gallery of Victoria has free entry and once inside I realised I do actually love art, mostly 19th century, mostly dark.
While exploring the National Gallery I fell in love with the salon style Victorian Room. In a top corner hung Anguish by August Schenck, one of the most beautiful and distressing paintings I’ve seen.



The Queen Vic Market is a must visit if you haven’t been before. The food is excellent and the trinkets will make you appreciate just how much crap you could possibly have in your life. If you’re looking for cheap clothing you’ll find it here. And at $5-$10 off inner city prices (for the exact same item).

For something more special you should check out the Rose St Artist Market. It’s a handmade market open on Staurdays in Fitzroy. We left with a Carey Potter painting and a Write to Me stationery brochure.


  • If you like movies then you have to see something at Astor Theatre. It’s big and old and beautiful and has a resident cat.
  • Olympic Donuts at Footscray Train Station cannot be beaten.
  • The pho at Hien Vuong (Pasteur), 146 Hopkins St, Footscray is excellent. The large size bowls are ridiculously HUGE.
  • Dumplings from Shanghai Street Dumpling, 342 Little Bourke St are worth waiting in line for.
  • Rooftop Bar on Swanston St is moderately priced and has excellent views. The novelty of being so high up without being pushed around by the wind was not lost on this Wellingtonian.
  • The State Library of Victoria is quite stunning if you’re into architecture. We didn’t look at any of the books but spent some time looking at the exhibitions.

Girl and Elephant graffiti
Yarn bombed
St Kilda
Roller Coaster
Luna park and wolf
Baby dino
State Library of Victoria
Birdman Eating
Burgers and Fries
Train Station
Sunrise in Collingwood // Fitzroy // Vine covered house // Bars in alleyways // Graffiti // Yarn bombed bike // St Kilda // Luna Park // Melbourne Museum // State Library of Victoria // Birdman Eating // Alleys // Sebastian // Burgers and Fries at Rooftop Bar // St Paul’s Cathedral // Flinders St Station

Gingerbread Houses

Last weekend I was lucky enough to participate in a tradition totally new to me & not at all new to the boyf. Every year since they were youngins he & his sisters get together to make gingerbread houses.

It was pretty obvious it was my first time unfortunately. I’ve not yet mastered the roofing weight limits or the decorative sugar cement placement. I did however create a gummy bear fire pit scene. (The fire was a jaffa!)

The real masterpieces came from Brend’s sisters (and boyfriend) with decorative shutters, flake gravel roads, chocolate button tiles, and jaffa baring apple trees. There was even a chocolate car!

Brend’s house was less ‘perfectly pretty’ and more ‘all the colours & all the candy’. Closer to what our real lives are like instead of the lives in magazines.

We elected to keep our gingerbread house at Brend’s parent’s until xmas. Lest I start trying to sneak the bits no one will notice till the house is bare and crumbling.

gingerbread car & tree

Carlucci Land


The rain could not keep us from Carlucci Land for long.

Despite the biting wind and our hangering bellies (we went straight after work and stupidly neglected to bring snacks) we battled through 18 holes of mini golf on a crazy course covered in metal sculptures we were encouraged to interact with.

Sure it’s not a very manicured or maintained place: the greens have been reused from old tennis courts and are covered in bits of trees; there’s an angry rooster which was, thankfully, safely tucked away in the shed while we played; and the course is full of potentially unintentional sinkholes.

We had a great time though. It took six of us around two and a half hours so we didn’t finish till just before closing time. Probably because we spent so long on the shit talking aspect of the game.

There were mandatory scorecard nicknames (Sexy Jesus TYVM) and 66.6% of us got into the hole in one club!


Extra notes: Lots of interesting putting stances from Laura, brandishing of putters like croquet mallots and hockey sticks from Pia (and the penis statue she found in the bush), hip thrusting from me, backfiring of the shit talk for Brend, winning in a totally understated way by Fi, and Tim not losing despite every indication that he was going to.

26 in 26: Visit Mum [by train]

On Saturday I took my very first trip on the Overlander, the train that runs from Wellington to Auckland. Mum is in Hamilton so our journey wasn’t quite as far as Auckland, but still a good 10 hours.

Thankfully I’d had a bit of train practice in Asia. In Asia we bought cheap tickets and ended up with a) seats with no leg room, b) hard sleepers, which are planks of wood with thin covers and bed bugs, or c) plastic chairs. There was none of that in the Overlander. Lots of leg room, some bigger couches in a lounge at the back of the coach and clean enough toilets. Though in typical train fashion the door to the toilet was extremely awkward to get through I’m not sure that anyone much bigger than me would have been able to manage it.

Our carriage did come with the requisite “conspiracy theorists” though. Grow From Here on twitter was kind enough to explain to me how odd people are assigned on public transport: “they are allocated by the travel people – sometimes you get screaming kid instead- or paper rustling snarler”. Pleased to say I only had to deal with a guy explaining to me how an Egyptian prince and a Jewish Princess were married way back to broke a deal between feuding families (etc etc on and off for 10 hours). Cool story bro.

But thankfully no screaming children.

Waiting to board
Kapiti Island
Views from the North Island to the South Island
Ohakune train station
Art/graffiti in Ohakune
Art/graffiti in Ohakune
Reflection and gorse

Waiting for 7am to check in // My favourite stretch of highway with views to Kapiti // You can see the South Island in good weather, that faint shape in the distance // Ohakune for a pie and coffee break (shit coffee good pie) // Art in Ohakune // Crossing one of the tall viaducts // The windows were annoyingly reflective // What NZ does well – farms

I dressed up as a feminist for halloween except actually I didn’t, but that’s a great idea for next year.

Saturday involved another trip to the food mecca that is Petone, and a final cheese toastie at Cultured (their store is now closed D:), a bag of biltong from OnTrays, licorice from the Dutch shop, and a hanging planter for Brend. The planter is the only new thing I bought in October that wasn’t food or entertainment! A present for someone bought from a store owned by someone I’ve met in real life totally doesn’t count as failing Buy Nothing in October.

While in Petone we popped in to Sweet Pea, a new high tea place that looks so fucking cute. I absolutely adore Martha’s Pantry in the city but Sweet Pea was really spacious and felt like it would be more relaxed. When I’m next in Petone and not full of cheese I’ll definitely try it out.


After drooling my way around Petone I drooled all over the awesomeness at Craft 2.0 and then dragged myself home in the hot sun to finish the icing on my Halloween party cookies! They had scary words on them like ‘Babies’ and ‘National Government’ and ‘Feminist’.

You know I can't eat your ghost cookies

Hungover on Sunday meant french toast and reliving the costumes from the night before. Best dressed went to Tim as Ron Swanson that time he got back with Tammy 2 and ended up in prison with corn rows; and Fiona dressed as Al Swearengen from Deadwood. She wore a chest merkin, and kept a glaring scary look in her eyes. We managed to not die before seeing Drive at the Embassy, where we also sighted John Waters in the wild!

Also I never used to understand the Ryan Gosling hype, but now. Daymn.

New Shop Things and Xmas Shipping

I’ve been temping again for the past month (with another month on my contract) in order to get some dollars ready for xmas and new years and all the fun things that happen without me when I’m not getting much money in. And as always the reality of being cooped up in a cubicle sent my brains into over drive and all I wanted to do was make all the things, and photograph all the things, and write all the things.

But I can’t do it all so I just made a few of the things:

Ampersand necklaces
Ampersand necklaces in Quicksand, Baskerville, and Futura fonts

Bunting necklace
Bunting in pink white and blue

Black bone bead necklace

3 finger ring
Faux 3 finger rings

There’s only one finger hole and the bar sits above your digits, way more comfortable and allows heaps more movement than a true 3 finger ring.
Futura ampersand brooch

Heart brooch and ring
Heart rings and mini heart brooches

More things soon

I’ve got a few more new designs that need to be photographed and listed so look out for another update in a week or two. Expect bows and anchors and bone beads in more colours and ceramic hearts.

Xmas Shipping

Unfortunately my super dooper laser machine friend is moving cities in a couple of weeks so the laser cutter will be out of action for a while. I can still get things made but there will be a 2-3 week turn around instead of a week (max) turn around. This means custom xmas orders for pretty much everywhere need to be in by mid November! Not long! How is xmas so soon!?
You have a bit longer for jewellery in stock. Those orders don’t need to be in till the end of November if you need them to arrive by xmas.

Ozzies have till the around the 20th of November for custom orders and till December 9th for jewels in stock.

Kiwis have till the start of December for custom orders and till the 19th of December for everything else.

If you’re buying gifts I can send them direct to the recipient with a note! And even if you’re buying for yourself your jewels will be packaged with tissue and ribbon and love.

Mt Victoria

I’ve lived in 6 different houses since moving to Wellington. Three of them have been in Mount Victoria, including the one I’m in now. And it’s no accident.

Mt Vic is sunny, close to town, full of cute houses, and full of cool people. Kate and I took a walk around the burbs for a bit of sun and exercise and cat spotting.

Big downside of living in a city built on hills = no garages = cars parked in front of all the pretty houses.

Lasers and Baubles

Since Asia I’ve finally had some motivation to give the jewellery business much needed attention. The brain elves have decided to get off their asses, of only for a quick walk around the block.

I’ve been experimenting with new designs and techniques, filling laser etching with colour and using multiple layers of acrylic. I’ve been cross stitching as well (but still haven’t found an appropriate pendant frame to make cross stitched jewellery, boo).

Here is what’s new in the shop (click the photos to see them on Etsy)
Lightning Necklace
Silver Mirror Ag Necklace
Cupcake Ampersand
Camera necklace

All the old faves are still there – unicorns, narwhals, cupcakes, and plenty of custom designs.

Vientiane, Laos

Another minibus, another drive between cities. After being dropped at the out of town bus station in Laos’ capital we jumped in a cramped shuttle with a bunch of other tourists from the minibus and were taken into town. Like a few others in the shuttle we hadn’t booked accommodation in advance, thinking we could wing it like we’d been able to so far. We didn’t count on it being a holiday weekend though.

We found a cheap room, good enough and even came with a small window; unlike a few of the others we’d looked at. It wasn’t the most comfortable place though so we decided to head out to the Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge 30km from town. Being a hot hot holiday day we were sufficiently overcharged for our trip out to the “resort” (my excellent haggling skills got us an aircon minivan for the same price as a tuk tuk though!). We hadn’t booked, again, because we weren’t able to get hold of anyone on the phone the day before. I almost died when we were initially told they had no room for us. Thankfully it was just a communication mix up with neither of us speaking the other’s language.

Rivertime’s floating restaurant and “pool”

Is it just me, or do you expect snakeless bathrooms, rooms without huge bugs crawling up through the sizable gaps in the floorboards, and actual showers when you hear the word resort? In an ecolodge in Laos you’d be wrong to expect that. One night in the 3 bed dorm with outside bathroom and I’d had enough. I paid the difference for the 3 of us to be moved to a room with an en suite just so I could go to the bathroom in the night and not have to bathe in the river.
During the day the lodge was lovely, green, and relaxing sitting in the floating restaurant. Once the sun went down it turned into a bugfest so bad I almost wanted to go home. It’s one of the 3 worst things I remember about the trip.

Anyway. A few days later I convinced the boys it was time to leave and we went back to Vientiane, and back to exactly the same room we’d had when we first arrived. 4 days till our flight to Hanoi was plenty enough time for me to be eaten alive by bedbugs. I’d never encountered the critters before so I just assumed I was covered in mosquito bites, which wasn’t an unreasonable assumption considering the state of my legs before we arrived in Vientiane. But by the last night I noticed the patterns of two and three bites and spent an uncomfortable night terrified I was going to see the bugs crawling all over me as I tried to sleep. Ugh.

So long and good riddance Vientiane.

The Mekong River border with Thailand

Patuxai – The Victory Gate monument in the centre of Vientiane. Built with funds and concrete given to Laos from America to build a new airport.

See all the Vientiane photos on Flickr

Wellington Art

I think it’s the lack of talent I posses when it comes to wielding a paint brush, a HB pencil, or a spray can, that makes me love street art so much. As long as it’s got some artistic merit and isn’t just some dickhead scribbling their tag on my fence.

Wellington has some pretty great street art around at the moment. It helps that the more scribbly stuff is either colourful and confined to designated graffiti areas, or social commentary.

The polls might show that as a country we’re right leaning National lovers, but the Capital’s graffiti tells a story about leftist liberal greenies.

Fluoride causes cancer
botans + 1