Yarra Glen Racecourse Craft Market, Melbourne 

Yarra Glen Racecourse Craft Market

Happy Monday morning, everyone! I’m more than ready for the cooler weather, but it seems that Melbourne hasn’t quite got the memo that it is in fact now autumn; we’re still getting bright, hot, 30°C sunny days! I usually turn into a frightened little vampire in that kind of weather, having super pale skin and light-sensitivity induced migraines, but I was actually kinda feeling it yesterday! The husband and I took a little drive up to the Yarra Glen Market, which we used to go to a fair bit but haven’t been to in a couple of years.

If you’re not familiar with it, it’s one of Victoria’s biggest and best craft markets, held on the first Sunday of the month, full of carefully selected vendors selling the highest quality products. Home made preserves and cakes, children’s clothing and jewellery are the most popular stalls, as are the little food stalls. It gets pretty busy, so it’s good to arrive early so you have your pick of the goodies, and there’s plenty of room to enjoy a tea or coffee and breakfast out in the fresh country air.

Good to know bit of information when you visit:
– On site car parking costs $4.00
– Most vendors are cash only
– Yes, if you’re planning to get there early, they so have a few coffee stalls to wake you up!
– It is family and kid friendly, with things like face painting and a petting zoo around
– It’s also a great place to stock up on treats for your furry friends, with a few dog treat and “clothing” stalls. Marley recommends the Dog Snack Company.

The next market is to be held on Sunday 3rd of April, so you’ve got plenty of time to clear your schedules for it! In the mean time, hope everyone has a great week  : )


Chelsea Market shopping & eats (Beyond Sushi & Tuck Shop), New York, USA

We’ve done Europe and South East Asia; let’s head back around the world and visit New York this morning 🙂 We were there this time last year, actually, and it really was the trip of a lifetime. Of all the cities we visited (and there were quite a few), New York was obviously a highlight…

The Chelsea Market was my kind of place; we got to it after spending a while walking The High Line, and it was a more than welcome break from the frosty January cold. There’s a bit to see and do in there, including a world class food hall, which was our first stop. The first place that jumped out at us was Tuck Shop, because they claimed to be “the great Aussie bite” (see what they’ve done there?!). We’d be the judge of that, thanks. They do pies and sausage rolls, and thank goodness for that, because I was absolutely craving a sausage roll! It was a pork and sage number with a whole lot of other yummy bits inside it, and it was bloody delicious. Well done, Tuck Shop, very nice!



The next place that caught my eye was Beyond Sushi – a vegan sushi place, of all things. But, the pictures on the wall looked amazing and people were flying in and out, so we figured why the hell not?! We grabbed an orange coconut juice from the fridge, which happens to be the best juice I’ve ever drunk in my entire life, as well as a set of the Mighty Mushroom rolls – six grain rice filled with enoki, shiitake, tofu and micro arugula. It sounded so pretentious, I almost wanted to hate it on principle, but it was absolutely incredible! I wish we had this in Melbourne!!



After fueling up, we decided to check out the other main offerings – Artists & Fleas. It’s a nice big market space within the market, where a few dozen makers and collectors showcase and sell their goods. Art, vintage, home wares, clothing, jewellery, it’s all there!



The market itself is beautiful, and you can easily spend half a day eating and shopping your way around it. It’s a great way to extend your High Line visit too, detouring off to visit the market, and then heading back up to walk the food off. Prioritise this place when you visit!


Another Christmas gift guide… for the classic bookworms

Well, this is it! Saturday morning and time to get that Christmas shopping done! Before you get started, here’s one last guide – some of the literary classics for the bookworm in your life! Bonus? They can all be ordered online at Book Depository to arrive in time for Christmas!

Clockwise from top left…

1. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
What’s it all about? The classic teenage struggle against life and death and loneliness and isolation and all of the difficulties that come with those tumultuous years.
Buy it for: The one who’s had a rough trot.

2. On The Road by Jack Kerouac
What’s it all about? One of my favourite books of all time, Jack Kerouac’s semi-autobiographical piece is based on the travels he and his friends took across America which defined a generation, and continues to capture those of us with gypsy hearts even now, almost 50 years after it was published
Buy it for: The gypsy heart and wanderluster

3. Dracula by Bram Stoker
What’s it all about? It’s the classic Victorian horror tale about the vampire that inspired all the tales and movies to come. And it’s a classic for a reason.
Buy it for: The fantasty and horror buffs

4. Slaughterhouse5 by Kurt Vonnegut
What’s it all about? A satirical look at the experiences of the protagonist’s journey through World War II, told in flashbacks and memories
Buy it for: Anyone who’s seen a “everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt” tattoo and not known where the quote came from.

5. 1984 by George Orwell
What’s it all about? The original Big Brother – the classic dystopian tale of a society where nothing is sacred and nothing is secret.
Buy it for: The skeptics. And the optimists.

6. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
What’s it all about? This is another huge favourite of mine – it’s about Dorian Gray, a beautiful young man who wishes to stay that way. This isn’t about a piece of art, it’s about the evil within us all and the lengths we’ll go to to get what we want.
Buy it for: The one preoccupied with youth and beauty

7. Around The World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
What’s it all about? The premise of the story is quite simple: Phileas Fogg, an upstanding but eccentric English gentlemen makes a bet with his mates to the tune of, today, what is around £1.6 million (or just over AUD$3 million!) that he can travel around the world in exactly 80 days
Buy it for: The escapist.

8. Lillytales wooden bookmark
What’s it all about? These gorgeous wooden bookmarks are handmade in Melbourne, and they are the best accessory for a new book!
Buy it for: Everyone! Obviously!

9. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
What’s it all about? The romantic comedy with a sad twinge about a young woman with commitment issues in New York who’s just trying to find her way. Still quite relevant, despite being written over 50 years ago…
Buy it for: The one who doesn’t realise the movie was based on a book.

Also gift guiding…
for the travellers
for the foodies
for the tea lovers

Another Christmas gift guide… for the travellers

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is ready for the weekend Christmas shopping anarchy that’s about to hit… A little more help coming your way this morning, your gift guide for the travellers and explorers…

Clockwise from top left…

1. Scratch map
What’s it all about? A world map with a foil layer that can be scratched off to reveal the countries you’ve visited. Amazing! Available all over the place – Australian Geographic stores, Etsy, eBay, etc…
Buy it for: The visual record-keepers.

2. Mini globe & stickers
What’s it all about? I decided to take my scratch map idea to another level – I found this cute little globe for $7 at Kmart and bought a pack of stick on sparkles to lay over the cities I’ve visited. Awesome little piece to add to anyone’s bookshelf.
Buy it for: The travellers who like to decorate with their travels.

3. Notebook
What’s it all about? Pretty straightforward – I always carry a notebook when I travel, and I’d rather have  a pretty one! I picked this one up for $4 from Officeworks; Typo also have a lot of very cute ones around.
Buy it for: The travellers who like to record as they go.

4. Luggage tag
What’s it all about? Finding your suitcase on the conveyor belt is never fun – a colourful luggage tag is a no-brainer. I love the ones from Typo and have bought them for heaps of family and friends over the years.
Buy it for: The easily frustrated and impatient traveller.

5. Lonely Planet’s The World’s Best Street Food
What’s it all about? One of the best parts of travelling is experiencing all the different food. This is a part travel guide, part cookbook. It’s a great way to re-live the memories you’ve eaten, and it gets a lot of use at my house – the gozleme are a massive favourite!
Buy it for: The travelling foodie.

6. Lonely Planet’s The Travel Book
What’s it all about? It’s a classic for travellers – all of the places in one nifty little volume with all the basic information to get you motivated to pack your bags and visit Tunisia or Belize or New Caledonia…
Buy it for: Everyone!

Also gift guiding…
for the foodies
for the tea lovers
for the classic bookworms

Another Christmas gift guide… for the tea lovers

Next up is the tea lover gift guide, because how could I not?!

Clockwise from top left, we’ve got…

1. T2’s Melbourne Breakfast Tea
What’s it all about? My favourite black tea – deliciously rich, with an amazing vanilla flavour.
Buy it for: English breakfast tea drinkers who are due for a change

2. A T2 tea set
What’s it all about? T2 have the most stunning tea sets, at a range of prices to suit everyone. The one pictured was a gift from my sister for my birthday, but it’s not my only one!
Buy it for: Everyone. Whether they’re being used to drink or decorate, there’s something for everyone in there!

3. English Tea Shop tea
What’s it all about? Organic, fair trade and utterly delicious, these are my favourite tea bag teas. I go through a 20 pack box of English Breakfast tea probably every 6 weeks or so, and I’m also in love with the lemongrass, citrus and ginger first thing in the morning.
Buy it for: The tea lovers who care about what goes into their tea, and where it comes from.

4. The Old Tea Shop almond & vanilla tea
What’s it all about? One of my favourite places to buy tea from, the range is enormous (over 200 different types), the gem scones baked on site are fantastic, and you can order online if you don’t have time to get to Warburton. My favourite is the almond and vanilla black tea.
Buy it for: Again, everyone – with over 200 teas to choose from, it shouldn’t be too hard!

5. Target glass teapot
What’s it all about? I’ve always wanted a glass teapot, and when I found this one for around $20 at Target, I jumped at it – there’s something beautiful about watching the tea infuse…
Buy it for: The tea lovers who have every other type of teapot.

6. The Spice & Tea Exchange coconut oolong tea
What’s it all about? Hands down the best non-black tea I’ve ever had. Found it in New Orleans and just found out I can order it online to be delivered to my door! It’s the most incredible coconut, woody, fresh flavour, get on it!
Buy it for: An alternative to the standard black or green tea options.

7. Op shop tea accessories
What’s it all about? Underrated way of shopping for tea accessories; hit the op shops and see what you can find! I got that teapot at an op shop for $10, and the vintage cup and saucer for around $15, and they’re my favourites in my big collection because they’re the two pieces that really have soul 🙂
Buy it for: The special tea loving hipster in your life.


Also gift guiding…
for the foodies
for the travellers
for the classic bookworms

Another Christmas gift guide… for the foodies

So, I was watching Sunrise yesterday morning before work, and heard that this weekend is meant to be the BIG one for Christmas shopping, both online and in store. And while I’ve finished my Christmas shopping already (yes, I know, freak), I’ve been thoroughly enjoying all of the holiday gift guides that are popping up on my dashboard – because once Christmas is done, the birthdays continue, so the ideas are still much appreciated!

So just for funsies, I thought I’d also contribute to the 50,000 gift guides already circulating for the big weekend of shopping ahead! I’ll have a few over the next few days to help get you all sorted, but let’s start with a book list for the foodies – here are some of my favourite food-related books and cookbooks…

Clockwise, from top left…

1. I Quit Sugar: Simplicious by Sarah Wilson
What’s it all about? Healthy food, simple and essential, full of nutrients and low on sugar. It’s about making life easy for yourself, reducing waste and increasing sustainability by buying and cooking in bulk, freezing and preserving food, and using scraps.
Buy it for: The time poor, yet health and budget conscious.

2. Eating Well by Australian Women’s Weekly
What’s it all about? Shunning the bulls#!t diets and cooking with real foods, while catering for those of us with food intolerances (like the gluten and lactose intolerant) as well as those who’ve made special diet choices (like the sugar free and paleos).
Buy it for: Anyone who has special dietary requirements.

3. La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy by The Italian Academy of Cuisine
What’s it all about? I’ve had this book for years, and it’s one of my absolute favourites. It’s the most stunning and complete collection of Italian food from every part of the country, often with multiple recipes for the same dish, each with minor variations according to the different regions it’s made in.
Buy it for: Anyone who loves Italian food and doesn’t need photos in their recipe books.

4. T2 The Book by Maryanne Shearer
What’s it all about? By the brain behind T2, it tells the story of how the empire today came to be. Also, great tea infused and inspired recipes, tasting notes, and history.
Buy it for: Your favourite tea aficionado (or nanna)

5. L.A. Son by Roy Choi
What’s it all about? I bought this book while I was travelling in American last Christmas, and I absolutely bloody love it. It’s part memoir, part cookbook, detailing his life from childhood to the edge of his meteoric rise to foodie fame.
Buy it for: Your legitimate foodie friends and anyone who likes a good not-so-old-fashioned underdog story. And food.

6. Flavours of Melbourne by Smudge Eats
What’s it all about? A breathtaking photo documentary on Melbourne’s streets and laneways, with a focus on the food found around them. Lots of signature recipes, too, from Melbourne’s big names in food, like Gingerboy’s sesame crusted kingfish tataki, Chin Chin’s crying tiger, Chuckle Park’s pulled pork rolls and Caterina’s Cucina’s baccala con polenta fritta.
Buy it for: Anyone who loves Melbourne’s streets and laneways, street art and incredibly diverse food scene. It’s like the ultimate Melways with all the good stuff.

7. Mug Cakes by Leslie Bilderback
What’s it all about? 100 easy recipes you can throw together and cook in a matter of minutes. All you need is a coffee mug and a microwave.
Buy it for: Anyone who appreciates quick and simple, or is prone to having a bad day and looking for solace in cake.

8. CWA Classics by the Country Women’s Association
What’s it all about? All of the classics – the cakes and slices, biscuits and preserves, puddings and tarts. This is the ultimate baking bible, for me, and because it’s CWA, the recipes are all super simple and never-fail.
Buy it for: Classic cookbook collectors, those who have been baking for years, and those who are new to baking and likely to be intimidated by lengthy recipes.



Also gift guiding…
for the tea lovers
for the travellers
for the classic bookworms

Tis the season… Chicago’s Christkindl Christmas Market

Christkindlmarket Chicago

Christmas season is in full swing, people! Tis the season! Deck the halls! Eat the pretzels and drink the mulled wine! Unless you’re in Australia, in which case eat the BBQ’s prawns and drink the beer! And pine trees aren’t really cool here – we’re all about giant lego trees instead.  But seriously, how amazing is this?!


Last year’s Christmas saw us in a very different climate to the one we’re used to at this time of year – icy cold Chicago. And I loved it! If I had it my way, I’d have frosty Christmases a lot more often, and I’m particularly keen for a Euro-Christmas soon (the first and last one I had was back in 2002… holy crap I’m so old!), which is actually on the cards… Anyway, reading Becky’s post late last week on Berlin’s Christmas markets reminded me of the Christmas market we got to experience in Chicago, which is a city with a surprisingly high European population. While we were researching things to do over Christmas in Chicago, we couldn’t have been more excited to have found out they had their own little German-style Christkindl Christmas Market!

The market in Chicago first ran in 1996, and has become more and more popular every year since. The history of the Christkind originates in Germany, and she is a fairy-like creature, resplendent in gold robes, a sparkling crown perched on her equally golden hair. Think of her as the prettier version of Santa Claus, being the official gift bearer to German children.


We arrived into Chicago the night of December 23rd, and decided to spend the afternoon of Christmas Eve at the market, along with a few hundred others. It was appropriately cold and a little rainy, the smell of mulled wine and pretzels in the air, beautifully decorated stalls selling intricately handmade Christmas tree decorations, beautifully decorated Christmas cookies, warm hats, scarves and gloves, and quaint little wooden handicrafts. I picked up a gorgeous little glass Christmas ornament, and made it my mission to get it home in one piece. God only knows how, but I actually did!

It might not be something you’d automatically think of doing in Chicago, but if you’re there in the weeks leading up to Christmas, it’s the most fantastic way to get into the holiday spirit, and it’s only made me even more determined to get to Germany to check out the markets that inspired this one!