Friday, October 22, 2010

National Architecture Week - Only two more sleeps

NAWmelbourne: Only two more sleeps: "Only two more sleeps until Melbourne starts celebrating architecture! National Architecture Week Melbourne starts this Sunday (October 24) ..."

Did you know, this is the Innaugural celebration of its kind in this town, and of course we are leading the way!! head down to Federation Square to look at the UB archipad! OR join in one of our exclusive tours! - just for the National Architecture week

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Melbourne is 175years young

August 30, is known to insiders as Melbourne Day, 1835 was the year our home town was founded, as a boat sailed up the Yarra River, and this site was chosen upon to start a village.. little did they know what we would become!!
The Melbourne City Council of today has chosen to celebrate this milestone, by celebrating August! 2010 is  175th year of the city, 150th year of the Melbourne Cup, 100th birthday of our beloved Flinders Street Station, and 20th August is the 150th Anniversary of the fateful Bourke and Wills departure from Royal Park to find a northern coast line.

Next week is the start of the mayhem... good mayhem!! First mark for us is the Melbourne Day debate
That Melbourne is still the Foodies Capital - what would you bring to the debate!?
Indulge in the Melbourne we are so lucky to call home!

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Winter is STILL here - fluff on up

I am a little excited, so much so its taken me too long to write... but lovely little Howey Place has redeemed itself with a Melbourne Local label filling in the vacant store, left behind by jasonGrech - Rosemary - of Nevenka brings her FIRST fully fledged boutique to life... after a pop up success earlier in the year..
I have certianly succumbed, but if your struggling with this long winter, then look at that fabulous "gillet" the window... cosy!
PS there is a little sale on too!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

THIS SUNDAY - to MARKit ... Fed square et al

Its cold out side... but when you think of all the flurry of energy and creative brain space that is happening in Melbourne town at the moment, you cant help but feel the warm inner glow!

So much activity .. its like friction.. rub those bark and wood pieces together and Fire will be yours! Well this Sunday that fire may burn a hole in your pocket!

Can you believe it.. the State of Design Festival is not even upon us yet, and Federation Square is to play host to not one but TWO design markets this coming Sunday..

In the CARPARK are of Federation Square - you will find all sorts of incredible DESIGN focused stalls, some more established labels that others - look out for NEST and Melbourne's own KeepCUP to name just a few - there is a promise of many new Stall holders this year... so worth heading down..

Beware.. there are CROWDS at these things... and you may want to be aware - not all stall holders have EFTPOS or Credit card.

The inaugural MARK it ( reference to decorative and illustrative design) market in the Atrium will bring some new player to the already successful market precinct with local design favourites such as Beci Orpin, our own tour hotspot Corky St Claire ( look out for their special signage made just for the event!) and my own personal BLine will be made for these great little note books!

OH and f course there will also be the Arts Centre Sunday Market - up on the Lawn area on St Kilda road - due to the Hamer Hall renovations..

Wave if you see us!.. we love show and tell....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Leonard St.- New Melbourne city store

Fantastic to see that Leonard St. has opened a new store in the city-289 Flinders Lane. Melbourne designer, Amanda McCarthy, represents the fourth generation of her family to operate a fashion business in Flinders Lane. I couldn't resist a look the other day...a stunning collection of colourful winter jackets, print silk pieces, statement knits...suffice to say I did not come out of there empty handed!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Choosing a coffee and a charity....

The other day whilst I was exploring, for me, a somewhat unfamiliar area of the city-the west end of Bourke Street.... I stumbled across a new cafe, Kinfolk, a non for profit business that supports international development projects.This was intriguing to me so I went in to find out more.
Delightfully welcomed in for a coffee, I was shown the current selection of four local & international charities, creatively displayed on chalkboards and using photos, the likes of an anti-traficking program in Ghana, a Malawian development project 'Pump it'and Melbourne based charity, Urban Seed.

After purchasing my coffee I was shown a big jar of coffee beans on the counter, asked to take out a bean and place in one of four jars, each labeled with a selected project. My small coffee donation in contribution to others....
Kinfolk Cafe is situated within 'Donkey Wheel House' a 'new dynamic social space' for artists, philanthropic organizations....well worth a visit.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

There's Nothing Like Australia!

Tourism Austrlia's new tourism campaign has been launched, and the TV ad is a little cheesy, but some of the imagery is beautiful.

I was able to share my Melbourne with Anson Smart, and after what I can guess to be days of preparation and consultation with the AdAgency, this is what they ended up with.. I dont think it was just my infuence, but am pretty chuffed with the end result!.... lets hope with the reno of Hamer Hall such a beautiful bar will exist!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nitts, Lice, and all things nice.. Dandruff = Art

Its all in the way you sell it... Hair, Dandruff, Lines, ....

No Vacancy gallery - a clever use of space in the corridoor filled QV - in Jane Bell Lane.. has a new show next week... with Indonesian born Melbourne artisit Eveline - check out her Video...:)

Eveline Tarunadjaja is ready to share her love if hair with us in the middle of Fashion Week - and its Dandruff... :) Her lines, and mischevious details have caught my eye before, and I look forward to seeing more works in this great open space.. whether for Opening Night on 11th March, or heading in just for a quiet look, No vacancy and the team will always in spire with local and international works.. see you there...

March Madness is HERE -- start with the MOUSE

The fabulous team at MOTH have shone the spot light on yet another one of Melbourne's Relics... this time the ill-fated, and yet to be redefined,( not from want of trying)... Military and Navy Club - up on Little Collins Street -

This Friday those in the know, will celebrate the return of the always inspiring, but fleeting Penthouse Mouse... and if you have been before... this year promises more of the same in a less industrial wasteland space.... though industrial is still a flavour - of sorts - then of course the rest of us will visit in a more calm environment on Saturday - or the days that follow - all the while artists, sound makers, and the newer breed of Local fashion folks.. will share, indulge and sell... Join in the fun.. it will be gone before you can tell your friends... so even more reason to be part of it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Join the busy bees at the HIVE - FEB 23rd

Wow, doesn't time pass ...

When visiting Melbourne sometimes its not just the monuments that make the trip, BUT the amazing people you meet or learn about during your stay....
and Michelle Matthews is one I of course talk about a lot.. Hidden Secrets Tours would not be around if it was not for her!
Its been well over 6 years that the little Deck of Secrets cards have been on the market, and you can hear her story next week in a great local bar setting!

From an innovative pager service, to delicious shopping books, tiny free press adventure - A7, and her eventual plans of world domination... ( a bar discovery job, many would die for) :) there is lots to love about the city that inspired her, and Michelle's savvy business model that enables us to love it too!!

Next Tuesday 7pm make the most of the opportunity to hear the story from Michelle herself - There will be many other locals who have inspired Michelle's projetcs to continually expand - Join the conversation!! - Head to the Emerald Peacock at 233 Lonsdale Street for the latest HIVE event in Melbourne.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Festival of the Photocopier.. more productive than you think!

Campbell Arcade has had its fair share of distraught times recently.. not least of which was Thursdays Flood!! but as always, its best to rise above it all,.. change the attitude, or space...

Love Sticky, and the crew.. the Photocopier survived the deluge.. and the show must go on!

today was the ZINE FAIR.. such fun to see them all lined up the length of Campbell Arcade.. selling all sorts..
I bought the most beautiful Audrey & Audrey book by Ayano Takeuchi. Such a delight to find a new copy of WIPE, Where did my sock go by Frankie Pan.. and so much more.. The energy of enthusiasm is infectious.. thanks Sticky. Tour clients loved it too!!

Now the festival is winding up, done forget to head down the stairs in Degreaves street, and see some of the works at Platform Art Space..

Share the love!:)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Unique Valentines Day shopping options.. for next 3 days only

This week The Lovely Marche Rouge is on again! - just in time for Valentines Day... today is the First day!

over Thursday, Friday and Saturday heading up to the second floor of the Nicholas Building for another Shopping Event! - head into the Cathedral Arcade - just off Swanston Street and Flinders Lane.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fashion ADDICTS... - September Issue on for Free at FED Square

Film Buff's, some hilights of the 2009 MIFF festival will be on show at Federation Square this month! head on down to the big screen, and perhaps join us for the wonderful insider film THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE - to be shown on Thursday 18 February, 7.00pm
Hang out on the Deck chairs.. and enjoy the FREEdom...
grab a friend.. and soak it in .. we'll be there..

An engrossing glimpse into the life of Vogue Editor, Anna Wintour and the glamour of the fashion biz.

The guys and gals at  Madman have arranged all the legal stuff to get it on the screen for you, so go support them... The picture here is shown courtesy of the Promotional Material of the Film in 2009

TROP FEST UPDATE - to be at Fed Square - Feb 21st

Movie Extra Tropfest is pleased to announce Federation Square as the new Melbourne host venue for one of Australia’s most iconic cultural events.
Movie Extra Tropfest - the world’s largest short film festival – will take place on Sunday 21 February 2010 at Federation Square, the cultural and entertainment hub of Melbourne
See all finalists in Pic below.
John Polson, Director and Founder of Tropfest, said today: I’m incredibly excited about our new Melbourne home. Melbourne’s interest and involvement in Tropfest has been growing exponentially over the past few years, culminating in the increasing number of Victorian entrants and finalists. Federation Square couldn’t be a better fit for us. It’s the perfect place for Melbourne’s film lovers to come together and celebrate the best of Australia’s up and coming film talent.

Federation Square will be one of eight free, public, outdoor venues across Australia hosting the festival live via satellite:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

FREE fashion Seminar Feb 19 - Sustainable Living Festival

The Sustainable Living Festival started this weekend - 6th - 21st Feb - so many things to see and learn- this is one we can highly recommend!

A forum  at BMW Edge Feb 19th - with Australia's leading ethical and sustainable fashion experts including Cameron Neil, Emer Diveney, Sue Thomas, Grace McQuilten and Tiffany Treloar. Hosted by Kate Luckins.Following a very successful ethical fashion forum hosted by Alice Euphemia earlier in the year,This will be an opportunity to ask all the questions about fair trade, sustainable textiles and design principles, while picking up some tangible tips to reduce their fashion footprints.
Cameron Neil is the Operations Manager for the Australian and New Zealand branches of Fairtrade. He has founded 'otherWISE' - a capacity-building program that educates young people about sustainable consumption. Cameron is a very well-informed and engaging speaker with many ideas about how the fashion industry can embrace sustainability and get the Fairtrade stamp of approval.
Emer Diveney has a solid background both within the fashion industry and the corporate responsibility sector. She is the author of numerous research reports on the social and environmental impacts of the Australian fashion industry. Emer is the National Coordinator of Ethical Clothing Australia and is Chair of the RMIT Fashion Program Advisory Committee.
Sue Thomas is a renowned sustainable fashion academic from RMIT University (The Fashion Department, Architecture and Design). She is currently completing her PhD in Sustainable Fashion Ethics and Buddhism while she teaches the RMIT fashion students. Sue's witty commentary can often be heard on the radio as she is one of Australia's sustainable fashion experts.
In 2009 Grace McQuilten founded the Social Studio, a not-for-profit organisation which facilitates education and employment pathways for the young refugee community in Melbourne. Grace's interest in social enterprise developed after working in community development for several years, along with extensive research on the relationship between design, sustainability and social change.
Tiffany Treloar has been sewing since she was just 10 years old and she has been working in the fashion design industry throughout various incarnations of her own label. In recent times, she is working towards a complete synergy between her environmental values and her work. This journey has influenced her design process, studio footprint and material selections for her collection entitled PROJECT 332.
Kate Luckins is the founder of The Clothing Exchange, a unique clothes swapping event that has inspired a swapping movement in Australia! She has a Masters of Fashion from RMIT University (on sustainable fashion consumption) and is currently finishing her PhD research into the sustainable lifestyles of young people. Kate is a sustainable consumption researcher who writes for Peppermint Magazine

New Venue - Red Bennies

Out on a Saturday night on Chapel Street is not always on my radar of a great night ( traffic, queues, hoons, and an acute awareness that time has changed... The New Orleans, The Black Prince, Greville street amazing furniture markets... oh dear! was is that long ago..)

And - when I am told we are heading the old Viper Room... hmmmm - really??!!

BUT.. The guys behind Red Bennies are up to adding a new slice of amusement to this strip...

We went to the 3rd of three opening nights, on Saturday, and were greeted with a room full of a supportive and funky crowd.. comedic MC, yoyo mime act, and a couple of Burlesque acts including swings and parasols as apparatus.. - though would have loved more!

Some live music the crowd danced to, finishing up with 2 good DJ's and a few more waxed Moustaches than I had expected to see. (The circus is in town after all I suppose...)
I left with a certainty I'd be back, and that the venue will continue to improve as a spot to watch for in the haze of sameness in Prahran / South Yarra Chapel Street.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Flash Girls occupy Bar Nancy in Northcote

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but for Michael Brady it's also in the flaws of human composition. In Flash Girls for the 2010 Midsumma Festival, Brady presents harlots of the nineteenth century and Vogue cover models of the twentieth century, continuing his exploration of the concept of beauty and the role of the façade. The result is a new series of contrastive black and white paintings revealing subjects that appear surgically enhanced or unrealistically beautiful. On closer view however, this façade veils a heavily textured surface of cracks, lumps and other imperfections rendered in plaster, acrylic, enamel spray and ink.

While Midsumma 2010 is (sadly) coming to an end, Flash Girls will remain open to the public until at least March, as a semi-permanent installation in the northside Bar Nancy (which doubles as Vivurtu Gallery). See Michael’s latest works (all for sale) at the bar during regular opening hours - installed high above the front bar or tantalisingly low in the back room, where each flash girl occupies her own private booth. Naturally, they are best viewed after dark, with a cocktail in hand.

Bar Nancy is open Tues - Sun 5pm - late
Michael can be contacted on 0430 111 061, or

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

To Market.. to Market.. Sisters Market!

So yes there is another Market that has come within my radar..
so many these days...
Maru designs directed me this way... and if you have done the Rose Street Market thing.. then perhaps this another option!?
Brunswick Town Hall 233 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Saturday 13th Feb - 10am-4pm

Trop Fest... Sunday 21st - Melbourne venue still TBC!

It started for us as just a little bit of curiosity... but Tropfest is high on our Melbourne ( Australian) calendar of Must Do's - especially when its free!
Tropfest - an amazing showcase of amateur and professional short films that are exclusively made for this festival... they must include a signature item somewhere in the film each year, ( this year the item is DICE ) and the film must be of a specific length, so each film entered has never been publically seen before.. then a final group of 16 are presented in a simulcast style event ( beamed out of Sydney) its a laugh, inspirational, and always surprising who you may see on the screen...
Traditionally its been at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in the Kings Domain - Melbourne... so lets hope if not there.. its as fabulous..
Grab a cooler bag, a few epicurean supplies, and pull up the picnic rug.. and settle in Sunday 21st.. we will let you know where when we know!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Drink - your shout... make the most of this Summer"sunshine week

We know its not Friday yet... but wow.. if only it was!
Seamstress... or should I Sweatshop - basement hang out... brings Chinese New Year good times early... and 5-8pm Every Friday 'til Autumn... :)            - pic supplied by Seamstress..

Here's a deal to wash away working day worries
all so very retro too:)

Cooler Cups with a refreshing blend of seasonal fruit and vodka, all elegantly topped off with a West Coast Cooler - $8

Gents, come to the party with a Coopers Green for a fiver, or have two for a tenner... One for you, one for Barry. Cheers!

Wash away bad 'round the water cooler chat' from the week in the air-conditioned basement or enjoy the sunshine in the courtyard.

Laneway Festival 2010

Its a discrace I know, I never got to the Real laneways festival in the City urban laneways... some may say I am not a true believer... but know this... I was there, next to it, in the crowds, working! :) so this year... it came to be that I could venture off, and join the throng of 2010!

Here is a little pic of Dappled Cities... too much in their GOLD one piece suits on back to front... in 36degrees.. madness ... :)
XX, Florence and the Machine, as well as youngsters Frowning Clouds kept the folky vibe upbeat... NICE work Footscray!

So if you are like me, the re-discovery of a label is always like finding an old friend...!
this little pop up shop in Collins Two3four is just the same, and this time we may actually be friends...
Well after buying 2 dresses last friday... it could be love...
Say hi to Rosemary... the designer and WATCH this label...
dont miss out!
Fiona... :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

dont spit :) on the Sommelier's Walk - Melbourne City

Tonight was just one of those lovely Melbourne nights... the sun was out, people are about for the Australian Tennis Open, and I had a small possy of folks join our Sommelier's City walk..
2 from Woolongong, 1 from Dubbo, and 2 guys of East Melbourne... ( they bought voucher at a Charity Aucton for The Warwick Foundation in Oct 2009
First stop was La Vita Buona - a little wine store
right in the city square - and Jeanette served a few little delicacies.. includng the not so buttery ( thankfully) Chestnut Hill Chardonay.. and the Greenstone Heathcote Rose..

The Pop corn school prawns were fabulous with the Rose' and the pear and goats fetta salad worked well too.

Next stop was the always fabulous Verge, where Simon was on board for the night, after having a busy festive / opening season down at his new place Izakaya Den .. but at Verge, Chef Dallas Cuddy surely must entertain himself.. with mouth watering Veal tartare with Olive crumbs, or pickled vegetables in yuzu.. oh and the white almond Gazpacho was something to behold!! We loved all!

OH.. and wines were a sparking trio.. Prosecco italian style first up!, followed by Gembrook Hill Blanc De Blanc, then Gossett champagne.. hmmmm!

Last stop for the night... Seamstress - after walking Crossley Street, Ridgeway Place, and a few more side streets..
Here we had the dollar scallops stuffed with water chestnuts,, the Zuchini flowers, and Pigs ears.. despite what you think... wow.. all amazing.
To accompany we had a Wild Duck Creek estate Heathcote Shiraz, a Crittendens Los Hamernos - Savignin and a lovely Fratelli Sauv Blanc..
( sorry pic was not todays lot.. but is at Seamstress! - scallops are at front!)

Thanks Narelle, Peg, Greg, and local lads James and John for a great evening.. and I am sure to see you again out and about..

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A little Vintage Outing...

We had a group of Melbourne girls head out on the Vintage Outing today.... Danielle was well prepared for the likely hot day - that didn't really evenutuate! check out Florence the car!
Join us on one of these cute little Shopping Tours.... one of our tours.. but around the city..  book here...

Melbourne Burning... no... its a visual of our weather..

It is amazing how much we discuss our weather in Melbourne... and not just because we have nothing else to say...
      Here.. is a clever time waster.. thanks to Lime Drop clothings FB for the alert.. Love the visuals..  Graphs of humidity, temp, and forcasts.. just 72 hours... so concise and easy.. :)

Scrummy Coffee @ Dr Jekyll and courtyard too

We spend so much of our time in the city, that sometimes I forget to check out my own backyard.. just before Christmas I found a fabulous little haunt.. and I dropped in to grab a takeaway coffee as I was running late for a big Saturday of tours...

Yes we have lots of great coffee places in and around this city... but when you get such a welcome as I did on this particular day.. how can you not go back...!
I walked in, no doubt looking a little tired - mornings are not my thing really, and was greeted with an enthusiastic Hi! - subsequently introduced by Roy, and Matt.. - and a little more banter.. that made me laugh out loud... I wonder how often that spontaneous laugh really does remind you of whats simple and precious!... coffee made, and a giggle about what bread should be served or some amazing muesli... and I was off to work with a smile and a need to tell more people of this lovely cafe!

Its called Dr Jekyll... and its on 107 Grey Street - just near the Hotel Barkly.. not much from the front.. not even a sign on the wall.... but the welcome aura is all you need.. follow your nose.

Back to my first days... I went back the next day and just had to tell them the impact they made on my day... and ended up in the lovely courtyard out the back.. with Scrambled eggs Viennoise.. no wonder the gym is calling!.. and since I have visited a few more times.. including today!
Fruit salad with amazing yoghurt (with real Vanilla seed, nectarines, plump blackberries, half a passionfruit.. and more...) and coffee -organic I am pretty sure.. (see scancal -labels are not the issue for me.. the quality and treatment of the bean is the high note! )Tom in the kitchen works wonders in a small space - right in front of you!
Well done Boys.. I have already told too many people.. the quiet little corner will soon not be... but am sure I am not the only one to spread the word! LOVE it..

Friday, January 15, 2010

Geoffrey Rush in MTC theatre - grab tickets fast

New Tickets for The MTC's Drowsy Chaperone will go on Sale tomorrow - after a great start to the season has instigated an extension - they go on Sale at 9am Sat 16th.

It will be the Australian Premier.. and starts on Monday.. there are still a few tickets forpreview shows.. and I would be jealous to say the least.. might just try for Monday night...
Check the MTC ( Melbourne Theatre Company) Website for more shows.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wireless - free or otherwise - this is not New York!

Its Wednesday morning and a lovely friend of Fiona's, Romy - amazing local paste up adventurer.. called for a catch up, and her limitations were that she needs to access the internet...  I wont get into the broadband debate.. but suffice to say there really is a lot to be learned from the practice of FREE wireless that abounds in NEW YORK.... to be able to leave the office for even just an hour and sit in a park, and do some catch up on the all important Vitamin D.. as well as little social networking, or general emails...
    WHY doesn't Melbourne have more of it!  So today is my starting effort to share those little gems of Wireless Hotspots.. where business owners are keen to keep your loyalty by sharing the love and their Wireless access.

As with all things of Hidden Secrets Tours... we are not out to exploit such generosity.. I will scout out those that actually tell you of their services!..
  1. first of the rank FED SQUARE... the WHOLE place is free!!! - Swanston Street, Melbourne
  2. The New Middle Park Hotel  - Canterbury Road, Middle Park
  3. Presse Cafe Wine Bar - Brighton Road, Elwood
Please stay intouch and tell us any that you know of! - PS.. this is one of Romy's Paste ups... at Wall280 cafe Balaclava...
x Fiona

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Artisan in Middle Park.....

Just been to visit my lovely friend Shelley - when looking for local designers.. yes the city of Melbourne is a great places to start.. but just a short tram ride or two, and you can find such gorgeous things as Shelley Pantons local store - and old shop front in a back street of Middle Park - 88 Park Road - head and say hi!

oh and they are on SALE.... :)
get there - catch the 112 tram (Fraser Street stop), or the 96 tram ( Fraser st stop)

love your work Shell!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Its HOT!

Yes , we know its a little warm out there! but remember the little things.. perhaps an iced coffee at Koko Black may help... or a drink at the Martini Bar at the Westin hotel - its going to be the way of it for the next few months... but of course we will soldier on... the laneways are cooler than the mains streets - so join us!

OH, and perhaps play at some of the markets.... got a few to share... next blog!
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There's nothing like Australia!