Not scripted

I'm sure that a trip to the local chemist is purely needs based for the majority of us. Blue Goose has turned that theory well and truly on its head! Pitching at the opposite end of the market to the likes of Chemist Warehouse and all those cold kelvin fluro-lit pharmacies that dominate the middle ground, Dean (pictured) and Ross Taylor have reinvented the category.  This father and son team combine pharmacy and business skills, and upon deciding there was room in the market for specialised cosmetic brands and customer service, whilst dispensing scripts, they engaged the talented  RED Retail group to design them, well, a designer pharmacy. I believe they met the brief beautifully.  Blue Goose Pharmacy, Ground Floor, Vogue South Yarra (the new development on Chapel Street near Toorak Road where you can also find Big W and Woolworths)

Before and After

After has doubled in size since I first discovered it. Just before Christmas the friendly owner, Phoebe Munro, and her dad knocked a hole in the wall to the shop next door and now have more room for found objects and furniture. From what I could see the effort was worth it as the shop was super busy with customers when I popped in this week.  Always good for a gift with a difference, I thought the 'hippos taking tea' salt and pepper shakers were hilarious. You can find the bigger and even better After at 99 Therry Street Melbourne (opposite the deli hall entry at Queen Vic Market).

After Other Melbourne

Kooky crochet

Shannon Gerard likes to crochet cacti and other kooky stuff. Her Jam Fancies and potted plants have been exhibited in Toronto. I found them when googling something completely unrelated. BFF loves a JF so thought I'd post it.

Design Other

Living the High life

Sometimes you ignore the obvious because it's far too familiar. High Street Prahran East has been my local shopping strip for the past 25 years. It has come a long way since the Midas Muffler man was the main retail "feature" and, according to the local goss at the time, some serious dodgy characters hung out of the Mt Erica pub shifting stolen goods. Today the strip is a hit with chi chi la la locals who take their latte and lunch at Spoonful, furnish their homes from the high end interiors stores and drop a bomb on yet another fab frock or bauble from the likes of Anna Hoffman, Torsa and Tin. Fenton & Fenton is a destination for interior designers looking for a splash of "eclectic and colourful".  For a lookie see at the fab stuff Lucy Fenton finds on her regular travels to France, Morocco, India and other international destinations head to 471 High Street Prahran East.

A contemporary take on cottage

Since graduating from textile design in the late 1980s, Penelope Durston has worked in many fashion and textile departments in the Australian design industry. For the past decade Durston has been turning old into new, with a particular bent for 1960's teatowels that she transforms into contemporary cushions that tell a nostalgic tale. Whilst it is obvious from the pics that I visited Cottage Industry before Christmas (don't you love those vintage sparkly baubles) I am thinking I will have to pop back for some of her pop coloured fingerless gloves before I head to chilly Germany for EuroShop at the end of the month. You can find Cottage Industry at 67 Gertrude Street Fitzroy (open 11am to 6pm). It's an absolute treasure trove of bespoke treats ... just look for the green door with the chalk writing.

Mmmm Mud

The label has been around for quite a few years now and whilst I've spotted the product in shops from Paris to Port Douglas, their own retail presence has been somewhat limited. Having coffee at De Clieu and a snoop along Gertrude St Fitzroy before Christmas I discovered the first Melbourne store for Mud Australia, the stunning porcelain label known for their beautiful organic shapes, strong pastel hues and a gorgeous chalky matt finish. In all my travels I hadn't seen their fab light fittings before (and we all know yellow is the hottest colour on the interiors planet right now).  Go fling some mud (or preferably some cash at Mud). You can find them at 181 Gertrude Street Fitzroy or on-line.

“I do” like this

Regular readers cannot help but notice I am a fan of the fab Jason McLaren Jones foodie ventures (Snow Pony, Porgie & Mr Jones, Friends of Mine). Bright Young Things is his catering biz, established just a few years ago, with Kate Stewart. I love the location and look of this wedding they created recently. According to BYT's the bride and groom are serious foodies - both having spent their childhoods wondering through the Vic Market with their respective families and then as a couple they lived in Barcelona and spent a huge amount of time at St Josef's Boqueria. According to Kate the guest tables were all named after sausages ... chorizo, bratwurst, kabana, cevapcici etc. (love it!) and the menu was inspired by the market. Guests started with freshly shucked oysters and ruby grapefruit/campari cocktails and, once seated, dined on what sounds absolutely divine:

From the Deli Ortiz anchovies with salsa verde Green sicilian olives Crispy artichoke hearts with lemon yogurt, parsley and toasty almonds Whole buffalo mozzarella with colouful tomatoes and sweet summer basil From the Fishmonger Yellowtail kingfish ‘pastrami’ with crispy caper flowers, watercress and lemon oil From the Butcher Twelve hour braised shoulder of goat with chestnut puree and gremolata From the Vegie Man Heirloom carrots and beet with bintje potato and goats curd Tendrilly snow pea shoots, radicchio and fine fennel with toasted walnuts and sherry vinegar

A fun "chocolate explosion" cake created by a dear friend was cut instead of a traditional wedding cake. Hot jam doughnuts direct from the doughnut van, blood orange sorbet with sherbet and espresso martinis rounded out the evening. I gather there was dancing in the Deli Hall (as you do!) until the wee hours (oooh I wish I had been invited). Big thank you to Kate & Jason at BYT's for sourcing permission from the happy couple to share this, and congratulations to the Bride & Groom - may you eat, live, love etc. happily ever after!

VM Food Melbourne

One out of the Box

The smart money is bravely placed on not following the crowd. Opportunity is often found where no man has gone before. Today I took a trip out to sleepy, suburban Box Hill (Melbourne) and had breakfast at Red Cup. This suburb is not familiar territory to me and as I drove along in the lashing rain looking for the street number I spotted a red Vespa in a service lane and decided 'that must be the spot' ... I pulled over and was proven right. The place was packed, the coffee good, and the owners obviously knew what they were doing having owned and operated espresso bars in the CBD for numerous years before packing it all in and heading to the burbs. Michael (pictured) and Kelly Olsen have set up their latest coffee machine in what was a local icon for more than 50 years, WAM, a washing machine & electrical repair shop. A simple, contemporary cafe menu based around excellent coffee makes a welcome contrast to the dumpling house domination of Whitehorse Rd and surrounds, and it has been more than enthusiastically embraced by the locals. Open 7am to 3pm, 7 days (actually the lights are on and the coffee is flowing from 6.30am for the tradies take away during the week), Michael and Kelly have achieved their vision for  a 'cosy local' and created a menu and space the same person can use for different reasons (coffee to go on a weekday morning, weekend breakfast with family and friends, pop in with the laptop for a snack and some social work time ... their strategy made good sense to me). It's definitely one out of the box in Box Hill.  Red Cup, 1124 Whitehorse Rd, Box Hill, Melbourne (almost opposite local landmark, Our Lady of Sion school).

Red Cup Food Melbourne


Iconic sporty swimwear label, Speedo, really know how to keep the story simple. I liked their Christmas window and their latest one is to the same exacting standard. Streamlined cozzie design showcased with the same thinking behind the instore VM strategy ... so on brand. Spotted at Chadstone.

Chadstone Speedo Fashion

Elegant Elektra

Love the look of this bakery in Edessa, Greece. I spotted it on Coolboom and thought it so stylish I should share it with you. Designed by Studio Prototype and covering only thirty-five square metres it occupies a strategic corner site on the main pedestrian high street.  Here's how they describe the design thinking: Working with a narrow, linear floor plan a rigorous language was developed for the shop based on a long marble food counter acting as a monolithic focal point of the spatial arrangement. Light and luminosity flood the interior of the bakery to hero the food display. Carrara marble, wood and brass serve as the backdrop. The exterior of the shop is clad in cedar like a well tailored suit. Punctuating the cedar on the long facade, a black powder coated steel window box projects outwards beyond the ‘crust’ of the shop to serve as a seating area and bar for customers both inside and outside the shop. Nice prototype!

Design Food Greece