Ruby Slipper @ Discover Your Own Backyard Stonnington

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With a sunny Saturday forecast, a pair of Vivienne Westwood flatties and my trusty Myki card in hand, I was ready to join  fellow bloggers on a day out for Discover Your Own Backyard Stonnington (see it on Twitter & Insta : #dyobstonnington). Shenanigans and adventure on the High Seas (or High Street) awaited me!  The #dyobstonnington project encourages locals (and not-so-local types such as moi, a north-sider) to find out more about Stonnington’s artisans and stand-out small businesses. Here I am, looking camp with a vintage cycle outside House of Orange in Armadale (more on them later).

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We started things off with a ‘behind the scenes’ with designer Lisa Barron, who welcomed us into her work room with High Street, Armadale views. This is where all the pattern making and dreaming happens! Lisa is an industry stalwart, celebrating 30 years of private enterprise this year – no small achievement, particularly in the clothes trade where competition is fierce. If there is one thing I learned from Lisa in her brief chat with us, it was her insistence that listening to the customer and being responsive to their demands means longevity in business. Lisa is on the floor in her business, building relationships with her clients – she intuitively understands what her customer wants.

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Next stop: House of Orange where it’s all Dutch! With a deliciously playful, minimalist approach, visit House of Orange for unique furnishings from Holland. With everything from large-scale furniture (tables, beds, chairs etc.) to decorative pieces (we love the fluoro twig mobiles – could be a replacement for a chandelier?), House of Orange will have you re-thinking minimal palettes shot with  bright and fun accessories. Find House of Orange at 917 High Street, Armadale.

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It was all smiles at fun homewares emporium Market Import, 19 Morey Street Armadale. Joining Cheryl from Business Chic, Sarah from Sarah’s Style Emporium and Erica for Melbourne Girl, we explored the array of affordable, beautiful things for your casa. Being a big fan of Nacho Libre (the film where Jack Black plays a Mexican brother who wants to become a luchadore, oh the larfs!) I was delighted at all the Mexican/South American kitscherama available. I will be back for this boob-tastic mermaid (below) and decorative ceramic candelabra. Aye, carumba!

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We hopped on the tram to venture down Chapel Street, and enjoyed the company of one particularly fashionable, extremely portable fashion icon. Cheryl from BusiChic has been sent a Barbie for a Mattel PR event, and as such has been enjoying Instagramming Barbie’s adventures around Melbourne. #dyobstonnington Barbie didn’t have her own Myki card, but we figured to hide her away before any Metcops might discover her public transport infraction.

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Hungry bloggers are hungry! Lucky that Parlour Diner at 64 Chapel Street, Windsor were there to feed us. This isn’t a kitchy red and white striped Americana diner. This is one hard-core, bad-assed burger joint with nary a wall decoration and a mouthwatering scent of onion rings and roasting meat. It’s the kind of place you’d imagine a salty sea-dog venturing into, with a stylish beanie on his head and maybe a bluebird tattoo on his buffed, hairy chest. In short – the Parlour Diner is everything you want in a naughty food joint without the girly nabobs and 50’s decor. I enjoyed The Captain burger with curly fries and onion rings, plus a Tamarind Jarritos drink. I had to take a photo of Cheryl (and Barbie’s) gigantic plate of sweetly melting ribs.

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Time for a little sweetness after all that down-home fried goodness. We made our merry way to The Red Balloon Candy Artisans at 3 King Street, Prahran where head Meister of Sweeties, Pascal, allowed us to blind taste-test his nommy array of products. Like the Willy Wonker of Stonnington, Pascal’s artisan business produces visually beautiful and uniquely flavoured sweets – great for branding/promotional exercises, bonbonniere or thoughtful thankyou gifties. They also do a fine line in moustache lollipops (as modelled above).

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After a brief browse in Greville Street, all those carbohydrates were taking away our will to shop (shock, horror). Time for coffee at none other than Market Lane Coffee. We were treated to a session of coffee education, and learned about Juan Ticona’s blend  – the blend most often served at Market Lane, sourced from a single Bolivian family business. Market Lane is a true specialty purveyor of coffee – and they’ve piqued my interest in trying the ‘pourover’ method at home.

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Bloggers duly caffeinated at Market Lane on the #dyob Stonnington adventure

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Finally, we enjoyed viewing cylk‘s latest collection at their Chapel Street store, which was fragrant with their bespoke soy candles and decorated with a crystalline origami banner. This large paper work was crafted by the ladies at Studio Twocan, reflecting the colorscheme of cylk’s new season palette.

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Tuckered out by our most comprehensive #dyobstonnington adventure, Cecylia and I relax at the final destination of the day – The Lyall Hotel  – where we were plied with an array of delicate finger food and tootsie-relaxing champagne. Chin chin, Stonnington! We traversed your terrain, enjoyed your hospitality and were impressed by the array of small businesses thriving in your community.

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