According to Instagram, this is what the last two weeks in my life looked like. What it doesn’t show is one grizzly toddler, numerous piles of dirty laundry, three separate cases of head colds and two unpacked suitcases.
But let’s rewind a little, back to my walk through Camperdown Cemetery, where I found myself recently after another fruitless attempt to find childcare in Sydney’s inner west. It’s astonishingly beautiful for an inner-city cemetery, just metres from the endless traffic of Newtown’s King Street, and many of Australia’s earliest colonial settlers are buried there (including several of my ancestors). I really loved the little cottage with a lovely shingled roof within the cemetery grounds (top right).
I also went to the launch of the new IKEA catalogue and textiles collection in Tempe (hurrah! the new IKEA catalogue is out now!) and I got the most incredible care package from London courtesy of Miss B from A Girl, A Style (Jubilee tea canisters! a Liberty hankie! London souvenirs!), before heading to the airport for a family trip to New Zealand.
At the beginning of last week I found myself in the heart of Christchurch, pottering around the marvellous new shipping container stores which are part of the Re:Start initiative. More on that later. I also punted down the River Avon and admired the early spring blooms before heading to Mt Hutt for a bit of snow action. The scenery was spectacular and I don’t think we even took a particularly iconic ‘scenic’ route. Just before flying back to Sydney, I spotted a few penguins at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch.
Back home, I stumbled across a garden crammed with gnomes, Mr Birdy made me proud with his shiny new trophy for a mobile app he designed, and I bought some strawberries at the Farmers’ Market in Taylor Square.
Busy? Why yes, just a tad.
What have you been up to? And if you’re on Instagram, find me @WeeBirdy.
It’s Bastille Day tomorrow and Sydney is celebrating, so grab a baguette, beret, and any other French cliche you can muster and get your French on. Breton top optional.
1. Have breakfast at Le Petit Creme in Darlinghurst
Get the day off to a Frenchy start at this bijou Darlinghurst cafe. The legendary Eggs Benedict is rich and creamy and is served on toasted brioche with your choice of ham or salmon. And if you like hot chocolate, I heartily recommend that you request ‘le bol’, which, as you can imagine, arrives in a steaming hot bowl. You may need to loosen the top button on your pants as you waddle off down Darlinghurst Road.
Le Petit Creme
118 Darlinghurst Road
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Tel. 02 9361 4738
2. Head to North Sydney Markets for their Bastille Day celebrations
The monthly markets will be transformed into a proper marche tomorrow, with live French music, French food and French products in addition to the usual line-up of stalls. The organisers are also on the look-out for the “most fashionably dressed French shopper”.
North Sydney Markets
220 Miller Street
(Plenty of parking in Ridge Street car park)
Tel. 9922 2299
3. Grab a croissant from Saint Germain Patisserie
Arguably Sydney’s best croissants can be found at this wee patch of Paris in Redfern. The rich flaky buttery crescents of pastry are baked daily by French baker Gwenael “Gwen” Lecampion. Or you could always go for a pains au chocolat. Oh god, I really need to stop writing about French pastries right now.
Saint Germain Patisserie
88 Rosehill Street
(corner Gibbons Street)
Redfern NSW 2016
Tel. 02 9319 7161
4. Buy a French charm bracelet
If you’re after the gorgeous French friendship bracelets by La Môme Bijou that I featured on Wee Birdy yesterday, you can find them in Sydney at Mr Rose in Paddington. However, I’ve been informed that there are only two pieces left, so run, don’t walk. Mr Rose also stocks scarves by luxe Parisian label Jean-Jacques Rogers, as well as tights and stockings by Cervin Paris and Polder jewellery. Otherwise, head to Tiny Bird in Avalon for the range of necklaces and bracelets by French label Inspirations by La Girafe. Prices start at AU$39.
31 Norfolk Street (corner of Gurner Street)
Paddington NSW 2021
T: 02 9368 1423
Shop 9, 20 Avalon Parade
Avalon NSW 2107
Tel. 02 9918 0214
5. Head to dinner at Sel et Poivre
Personally, I can’t go past the incredible Creme Brûlée at this old-school French bistro, but by all means, go ahead and have all three courses. There will be live accordion and “bonne humeur” tomorrow to celebrate Bastille Day. Bookings are essential.
Sel et Poivre
263 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Tel. 02 9361 6530
Header image of My Darling Clementine ‘Paris’ cards via Home Girl London.
Bastille Day garland Fine Art Photography print by Magalerie’s Etsy shop.
Are you doing anything to celebrate Bastille Day tomorrow?
Click here to read about my favourite shops in Paris.
It’s been a busy week here at the Wee Birdy nest. I’ve been reading my favourite childhood Christmas books to Harry (can you spot the Raymond Briggs and Dick Bruna?), putting the finishing touches on the tree and decorating the house with Australian summer flowers (the brilliant red blossoms of the Flowering Gum and Christmas Bush look a treat in my vintage Bitossi and Holmegaard vases). Then there has been all the festive eating: my Mum’s stained glass Christmas Cake, the zingiest pineapple, lemon and mint frappe from Cafe Mint in Surry Hills, and a special Christmas afternoon tea at Patisse (the very pretty Bouche de Noel was decorated with fresh flowers and tiny red meringue mushrooms).
What’s been happening at your place? Are you ready for Christmas?
Phew. I'm a bit puffed. We moved into our new place last weekend and I've been trying to conquer the seemingly expanding mountain of boxes (I think they're breeding) while dealing with a 27-week baby bump and an ever-growing list of utterly mad pregnancy maladies.
But I was so delighted to take a break on the weekend and finally delve into some Australian independent design, in the form of the brilliant Finders Keepers market at Eveleigh's CarriageWorks.
It was my first visit to CarriageWorks and my first real foray into Australian independent design since returning from London. And after covering so many design markets in London (including Bust) and seeing the best of UK talent, I wasn't really sure what to expect. After all, when I left Sydney in February 2007, there wasn't an awful lot happening with local design and craft, but the scene has really taken off since then.
And joy, oh joy, Finders Keepers was an absolute treat! I was not only impressed by the high standard of work but also the diverse and beautifully collated line-up of 75 exhibitors, spanning furniture, fashion, ceramics, textiles, jewellery and stationery. The carefully considered mix of designers offered a new surprise at every turn (my head was just about spinning), neatly avoiding the trap of 'samey-ness' that can sometimes plague design markets.
CarriageWorks itself is a wonderfully cavernous and light-filled industrial location to hold a busy Christmas design market on a humid Sydney weekend, complete with an excellent bar and cafe.
Here are some of my Finders Keepers highlights, with more posts to come over the week. Overseas readers can also purchase some great Australian design by clicking on the websites, which link through to contact details, blogs and online stores.
Super-sweet rabbit characters adorn The Storybook Rabbit's collection of vintage plates.
Loved the 'Noice' biscuit tea-towel at Materialistic's stall.
Sophisticated simplicity from Mr & Mrs White's range of homewares and furniture.
Charming handprinted stationery at Write to Me features adorable vintage motifs.
Cory Child's beautifully pleated fabric necklaces.
Loving Bride and Wolfe's Scandi-inspired circle wall shelves – perfect for collectables and displaying children's figurines.
Vintage fabric and a whimsical timber panel illustration combine to make a gorgeous and unique handbag at Oktoberdee.
The Missing Piece's handcrafted stools feature beautiful organic design and unexpected pops of colour.
The most splendid pre-loved vintage books have been repurposed as journals, photo albums, diaries and sketchbooks at Rebound Books.
'Scratchie' cards, advent calendars and beautiful graphics at TMOD.
Adorable handcrafted creatures (think pugs, owls and foxes) and whimsical embroidery at Cat Rabbit. (Nice website, too.)
Lox+Savvy's brilliant installation of a paper metropolis and eye-popping collection of stationery.
Finders Keepers markets are bi-annual events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Visit their website (and check out their brilliant blog) for more information about the next event.
For more photos, click here for my Flickr set.