Archive for ‘shopping’

October 22, 2011

Would you like a cappuccino with that withdrawal madam?

Wandering somewhat aimlessly around Richmond last week, (it was a lovely sunny Spring day), I came across a very cleverly designed and beautifully executed new hybrid. The owners have taken the old National bank building and turned it into a very glam antique shop merged with a coffee shop that offers a snug reading/sitting corner, indoor and outdoor seating, and a very pretty garden area. I couldn’t resist…

Cleverly called ‘The Bank Bazaar’

 it is open Mon – Fri from 9.30am until 5pm, Saturdays from 9.30am until 4pm and Sundays 10am until 4pm.

This sitting area looked so inviting but since it was such a nice day I opted to sit outside in the garden…

How cool…you can have lunch next to the original vault…

The courtyard area outside is shaded by a huge Jacaranda tree, which will look gorgeous in summer when it flowers…

I chose the smoked salmon and dill rissole, (poor MD had to work so I was flying solo), which was interestingly served with both salsa and a delicious youghurt and cucumber sauce…

And, of course I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to try one of the tempting cakes on show…this one was a coconut and lime…it was quite dense and not overly sweet…

October 8, 2011

A retro find in Richmond…

Let’s face it old is in again, and whether you prefer to call it vintage, antique, retro or just plain old, you’ll find something gorgeous at Queenie’s! On the main street of Richmond, it’s cute pink and white striped sign promises a shop full of interesting finds. From the swagged silk ceiling to the wooden counter top inlaid with mother-of-pearl it is an enticing mix of boutique and antique shop.

Straight out of the wardrobe department on Underbelly Razor…silk smalls…

If you pop into Queenie’s you’ll meet the lovely Kimberley…

And while you’re in Richmond there’s a few interesting old buildings to spot…

This is the Richmond School of Arts building…it was first opened in 1861 and is still used by aspiring thespians today…

There are quite a few beautiful Victorian mansions built in Richmond…I’m afraid they’re still privately owned so this is as close as I could get to this one…

St Andrew’s Uniting church was built in 1845, (of course, originally it was a Presbyterian church)…

July 5, 2011

Carey and Co – charming curios in a Kurrajong cottage…

Try saying that six times fast! Another in my series of cool shops in Kurrajong…this little gem is a 1920’s cottage that has been carefully turned into one of those shops where every time you venture into another one of its little rooms you find yourself saying wow!!!

It’s name is Carey & Co, it opens from 9am until 5pm Tuesday – Sunday and just happens to be handily situated right across the road from Sassafras Creek restaurant, (they are both owned by a lovely lady named Natalie)…

From the big…(I seriously fell in love with this lounge)

to the small…(how cute are these hair clips)

For the kids…

to the mums…

and for other assorted odd bods and aunties…

They even sell a book about the history of the Kurrajong area…it has loads of interesting photos…

 

May 31, 2011

Windsor markets: from bonsai to button necklaces

Continuing on from last weeks extravaganza about our local Sunday markets comes the other half of the promised post. While we’re at it I should probably warn you that the Windsor markets are primarily a craft market rather than a produce one, although there are a few stalls that offer fresh local produce, mainly its oh-my-god-that’s-so-cute type of stuff!! I was a little constrained by how many photos I could reasonably expect you to sit through so only featured the unusual stalls, many others sold clothes, handbags, snacks, plants etc so if that’s what you need its got you covered…

This weeks installment begins with bonsai carefully crafted by Chris and Cindy…the first one has been growing since the 90’s!

These bright and colourful wooden puzzles are handmade…any name, colour or combination of pictures can be ordered…

How cool are these metal sculptures…the proverbial flying pig and a chook! 

The stall is quite aptly named ‘Yeah, but it’s unique’, they used to be in a shop at Windsor mall but now can be found at the markets…

As you can see these jams are called ‘truly tasty’ and are made by a lady in Kurrajong…man, they’ve brought home a lot of ribbons!!

This stall sold the most gorgeous and detailed wooden dolls houses, it was very busy so I couldn’t get close enough to take more than these two photos, but they had every little girl’s dream, a house that opened completely on a hinge…as well as all sorts of miniature furniture, even teeny tiny food!

How beautiful are these colours, they are scented wax melts and the names sound positively delicious…just peachy, coffee break, strawberry fields, amber and patchouli, lavender lips, jazzy jasmine, rosie cheeks, luscious lime and kiwi kiss, to name a few… 

Mmmm…cake…pardon me while I drool a little…

How cute are the old-fashioned roses on the patty cases…

The sweet ladies-of-the-icing even make handmade flowers for you to buy and pop on top of your own cake!

A practical demonstration of the honey making process, it’s fascinating to watch the little guys work…

This stall offers everything you can think of that’s honey related: soap, beeswax furniture polish, clear honey, honey with the wax comb in it…

This apparatus I found really interesting…apparently it is an IVF system for reproducing the queen bee…not quite sure how…

This lady’s stall had masses of beautiful fuchsias all in flower…I had to just take one photo…

Fancy a carriage ride m’lady?

And now we come, dear reader, to the last of the stalls…these unusual and pretty creations are by Christine on Terrace, from Terrace Road, Freeman’s Reach…

May 24, 2011

Windsor markets: from Annie’s jam to vegemite teatowels

Every Sunday come rain, hail or shine, (well, within reason anyway), Windsor holds it’s markets. As the main street is paved to create a mall it provides the perfect traffic free area for strolling and gazing at the lovely local produce and bits n bobs for sale. It runs from 9am until approximately 3.30pm and is very handy to three historic pubs so hubby can take a load off while you’re shopping!

MD and I took a wander around them again on a lovely autumn day a couple of weeks ago…I got so caught up in the gorgeous items that I ended up taking 176 photos!! To save you from having to look at anywhere near that amount I will only be able to show a few from each stall I photographed, (and there were lots I didn’t), and I will have to do this post in two parts…so keep an eye out next week for the next installment!  Firstly, before we dive into the lovely colours of the pictures I must say thank you to all the generous stall holders who gave me permission to take them, if anyone would like a copy of the shots I took that day email me at: convictstock@hotmail.com and I’ll be happy to send them to you.

Here is where it all begins…next to our old post office…

Annie’s stall is first, with a colourful array of anything edible that can be put into a jar! 

Shiny things, snuggly things and dangly things…

These felted items were made by a lady named Denise Hill, if you look closely you can see the ribbon she won from the Castle Hill show for her beautiful scarf…

These colourful dishes caught my eye immediately…

How nice do these pretty, (and natural), handmade soaps look…and take it from me, they smell even better! They are made by a lady called Kim Julius, she has her own website at: www.kimsclassichandmadesoaps.com

 How’re these for some cute and quirky tea towels…and how patriotic is the vegemite one!

This is Nin – she makes delicious cakes, biscuits and slices…and she was the only one brave enough to have her picture taken…

April 27, 2011

Sassafras Creek – restaurant/art gallery/cool things shop!

So now we come, once again, to the subject matter I like best to write about – food. Sassafras Creek is a magnificent hybrid of a place perched somewhat precariously on the edge of a cliff at pretty-as-a-picture  Kurrajong, (do you think I could’ve possibly crammed any more adjectives into that sentence), sorry…I’m passionate…what can I say! It manages to successfully combine, (as the title says), a licensed restaurant with an art gallery space that showcases local talent and a shop that would look very comfortable on the well-heeled streets of Double Bay or Surry Hills.

 Whilst the entrees and mains are lovely, where Sassafras Creek really excels is in its desserts – and we all know by now how much I love dessert. As well as the usual menu of dishes there is a looong blackboard filled with the sweetie delights of the day, although as the weekend wears on some things can get rubbed off, so better to get in early if you can. Thus, it is a great place if you are after a little spot of morning or afternoon tea instead of the whole meal thing – they also serve a wicked breakfast if you are up and about that early – Bill’s eat your heart out!!

There is rather an embarrassment of riches when it comes to deciding just where in Sassafras you want to eat: there’s a sunny outdoor area under a vine-covered pergola out the front, (of course, nice if it’s a nice day), inside the restaurant itself, (there’s an open fire that’s perfect on a cold, wet day), or out on the rear verandah with its views clear out to Sydney!

I’m sorry but this was the best photo I could get on the day as the verandah was full and I try not to take ones of people without their permission… especially when they’re eating, not a good look: 

On this particular beautiful autumn day we had gone up on a whim, therefore weren’t able to get a table outside for lunch – it’s always wise to book ahead on a weekend. We decided to share the pesto and parmesan bread first: mmm fat sourdough bread smothered with rich pesto and topped with lightly grilled tangy parmesan…are you hungry now? Sorry…

MD decided on one of the specials for the day, Italian homestyle spiced meatballs and penne in a fruity tomato sauce…it was delicious, and a huge serving…

I chose the pork butterfly fillet that came with a mushroom and red onion ragout, Australian brie sauce and spinach polenta…

The prices vary but are very reasonable for the level of quality and taste: the bread was $7, pasta $18 and the pork $26.

The breakfast menu includes such tempters as: Toasted apricot and date loaf with honey and ricotta for $8.50, Omlette of three eggs with olives, parsley, sautéed chorizo, spicy lentils and grilled vegetables for $15 and mini croissants with Enniskillen seasonal jam, butter and hot chocolate dipper for $15.    

And then…do you know what happened? I was too full for dessert…I’m sorry but this means you’ll have to schlep up there and experience it for yourself…either that or the next time we go I’ll just order two desserts and do a new post!!!

As well as eating and looking at the view there’s also the gallery space for added interest…again, I didn’t take any photos because I didn’t have permission from the artist that was being featured that day…the exhibits change quite frequently, there have been sculptures, watercolours, collages, beautifully made hats and gorgeous indigenous paintings that we’ve seen, their website has the information about what will be exhibited and when.

Then there’s the shop…

April 13, 2011

Millthorpe – the grand old dame of the Central West.

Now I like a bit of history maybe slightly more than the next person so when I found out that there was a whole town classified by the National Trust I was dead keen to go there! Millthorpe lies almost exactly in between Orange and Bathurst and is a cornucopia of historical buildings, quaint shops, delicious eateries and country scenery. Unfortunately, it’s cute size is also a little bit of a drawback in that there’s not a lot of options when wishing to stay the night somewhere. MD and I tried in vain to get accommodation but the town was full, (we found out later that there were a couple of weddings on that weekend), so we settled for a day trip on our way back from Orange.

This artistic shot was taken by MD, I was a tad worried about getting run over but as you can see, the road was lovely and quiet.

The main street could be a set straight from the movie ‘Australia’, the two-story buildings complete with enticing shady verandahs and black slate cobbled streets vying with the pretty countryside for attention.

And if you’re feeling a little peckish, of course there are lots of choices, all showcasing the wines and produce of the local area.

This old shop now houses a cafe…

This lovely little house is owned by the nicest lady…I’m afraid I didn’t get her name but we talked for ages. She and her husband bought it recently and she sells beautiful handmade paper products, cards, photo albums, journals etc, as well as offering tea/coffee and the yummiest looking homemade cakes in her back room. It is all fitted out with eclectic chairs and tables painted in pastels and overlooks a riotous garden complete with hundred year old fig tree. I was sorry we had couldn’t stay as the following day she had arranged for an Elvis impersonator friend to do a concert in the garden to benefit a local charity.

Another interesting shop we discovered is called ‘galvanised’ and was originally an old potato storage barn, the owners bought it, (complete with a yellow dart hanging from the highest wooden beam in the ceiling – which they kept of course), then took 18 months to completely renovate it and turn it into this amazing place which sells an enticing mix of homewares, furniture, books, antiques, art, lollies, soaps and bath products, and soon they’ll add jewellery.

Of course, just for the sake of research we had to check out the local hotel for you…aptly named ‘The Railway Hotel’ it sits in front of…you guessed it…the railway station…how cute is the matching colour scheme?

Millthorpe Station…

Inside the hotel has been modernised whilst still retaining its period charm…

 Charcoal sketches done by a local artist hang on most of the walls, this one shows the hotel and surrounds blanketed in snow one epic year…

This antique shop was a great, dusty, higgeldy piggeldy mass of the most authentic antiques I have ever seen, not necessarily beautifully presented but real and old!

And how come my hydrangeas never flower like that?

Sorry this post seems to be getting longer and longer and I haven’t even shown half of the town proper…I’ll finish with a view of the main street from a grassy knoll, well…more of a hill really but knoll sounded so much nicer…

March 31, 2011

Goodie Goodie Gum Drops

Man, this one’s a cinch! Why spend ages trying to come up with an interesting title for this post when it has (literally) been handed to me on a plate? Goodie Goodie Gum Drops is the name of the cutest lolly shop I’ve ever seen, and it just happens to be down the road from me at Kurrajong, is that the result of good karma or what? The shop itself is a cool revisiting of those halcyon days when lollies were bought one or two at a time from separate jars – I know I’m showing my age but I can remember when you could get the classics like milk bottles, red frogs, freckles and musk sticks for the princely sum of two for a cent. The poor (usually young) shop assistant would have to patiently dole out lollies from each jar, then, of course, you would change your mind, and he or she would uncomplainingly put them back again!

Of course, there’s more than just lollies in this shop…lets’ see…there’s hand made chocolates you can buy individually…lollipops guaranteed to get you peace for the rest of the day, (although then there’s the sugar high to contend with), imported English chocolate biscuits, boxes of nougat, big, big cookies, and there’s even a little cafe for if, (God forbid), you need something non sugar related!!

And, like all shops in Kurrajong, there’s unusual little things to buy, how sweet would these be for a wedding or housewarming present?

March 25, 2011

Kurrajong: my favourite place for village atmosphere and cuteness!

OK, just for the sake of it, let’s put Bilpin and Kurrajong up against each other in the must-visit stakes. Who would win? Well, even though it would be a really close call, I’d have to go with Kurrajong. Once upon a time it was the area’s undisputed queen of the antique shops, unfortunately most have closed down now, however it still offers two very interesting ones. If that’s not enough to lure you there’s also a cute, eclectic row of shops, (including the most amazing lolly shop), an old sandstone-and-stained-glass church and a gorgeous hybrid called Sassafras Creek that combines a gallery, shop and restaurant and has a back verandah that literally hangs out over the hill!

Kurrajong is a cruisey, pretty drive about 15 minutes from Richmond. Firstly there’s the Hawkesbury river to cross:

Check out some of the local paddocks:

Follow the Bells Line of Road up through North Richmond then Kurmond then hang a left at the lights at the Kurrajong village sign…sweep past the church then come into…the village!

I have no idea why this fence is slap bang in the middle of the village street – I think it might be advertising for the guy who builds them – but it makes for an interesting picture!

Just off the main street there’s a big picnic area with a children’s playground, public loos and some interesting local handiwork:

At the bottom of the hill past the park is the old Kurrajong theatre, now turned into one of the antique shops still residing here, it used to also offer a cafe with old-fashioned grandma-style cooking but that’s closed now. The bathroom doors are still labelled ‘Actors’ and ‘Actresses’.

And finally, because I just can’t resist pretty things, here are a few of the cuties you can see there.

February 8, 2011

Wiseman’s Ferry, vintage style

Let’s face it – Wiseman’s Ferry has everything you could ever want in a day trip, first, not one but two ferries, (and they’re free), a really, really old pub and the cutest little clutch of shops for some retail therapy whilst hubby props up the bar! A very popular destination for those looking for a nice drive, the road down into the valley is picturesque and winding, perfect for a fun Fangio-style run.

Once at the bottom and just before the town of Wiseman’s itself you have the option of turning left and going over the Hawkesbury river on the Webb’s creek ferry which accesses an even more picturesque road… eventually ending up in St Albans, where another really, really old pub awaits you, (well, old for Australia anyway), but I’ll leave a post on that for another day. 

The other option is to continue straight ahead through the town, down the big streets-of-San-Francisco-style hill and into the lush park grounds perfect for a picnic, bbq or a swim in the river, here is also ferry number two, which leads to a road that winds alongside the river to a little town called Spencer then about 30 minutes later Wollombi, (famous home of Dr Jurds jungle juice), and then the Hunter Valley.  

While in Wiseman’s itself look out for the little arcade handily situated next door to the pub…I found the perfect little antiques/vintage/collectables shop called, funnily enough, Wiseman’s Ferry Vintage and Collectables! I spoke to the owners, Karlene and Paul, (cute couple but camera shy), who have only owned it since November. It opens from Thursday to Monday, from 10am – 4pm. You have to check it out, it has the most divine things, and really prettily displayed.

Here is a taste of their wares, and don’t worry men, I’m going to the pub next week!!