Monday, January 19, 2015

How to do New York City in 5 days

When I got back I hit the ground running and swore I had posted this but nope it appears I never did so here it is. Better late than never.

I recently had the opportunity to go to New York City for business reasons which were only one day so had to make the most of being there and that I did by having 5 days to play.

19 years ago I moved to the city for work and spent almost a year there. It now seems like someone elses life. I was a different person then and the city was a different place. The madness is still there but I was so disoriented due to all the changes. I swore I would come up out of the subway and know which way to walk to my old apartment. 2 different businesses on 4 different corners was very confusing. Luckily I lived across the road from a fire station so googled that and found where to go.

First up, the city is expensive, so expensive to stay in. My travelling companion Gail and I wanted separate beds which meant that a lot of B&B places did not suit. We absolutely did not want to stay in midtown Manhattan so chose  The Cosmopolitan hotel in Tribeca. There was a Starbucks on the ground floor...tick for great tea for me. There was a subway stop right outside the door...tick and a Wholefoods around the corner...tick. Nice and quiet and less touristy than midtown. Our room was tiny and very basic and you could barely swing a cat (which I would never ever do) in the bathroom. Honestly it didn't matter as we were out from 8 am till midnight every day and the beds were super comfy.

I HIGHLY recommend getting a CityPass before you go. BEST value ever and will make your life so much easier. I also had these in California last year and it was amazing value there also. With a CityPass you get discounted tickets to major attractions and the best thing is you do not wait in a regular line with everyone else, you have a priority line. Saves an amazing amount of time and you feel a little rock star'ish'.

You should absolutely get a subway pass as well. 7 days for $29 was hands down the best value ever. We took the subway everywhere and at all times of day and night. Very safe.

Our first day was pouring with rain, like torrential and we have never ever seen as many Hunter boots as we did. We headed straight to the amazingly glorious Grand Central Station that has an Apple store in it now. It was built by the Vanderbilts and is very opulent. I walked through here every morning to get to work back in the day and it never lost its wonder.

Next stop using our CityPass was The Metropolitan Museum. This is an incredibly building (easy to get lost in, even with maps) filled with amazing art. Well worth the visit and if weather permits the roof top garden is worth a peek.

We got there to HUGE lines and managed to find another entrance away from the main one and were once again faced with big lines inside but spotted a CityPass representative walking around who took our tickets and off we went. About 30 minutes saved.

I really love the Egyptian exhibition

And you simply must get a hot dog from one of these guys.

Day Two was a slow (stopping at shops) up 5th Avenue towards The Empire State Building. Always an amazing view and a super impressive art deco building. We passed the iconic flat iron building on the way.

Once again the lines were long and we were told out front it was a 90 minute wait but we zipped through with our passes. Flatiron building from above.

Miss Liberty


The Chrysler Building is equally grand

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is located 10 minutes walk from our hotel and was high on our list to visit and is not included on the CityPass. The memorial is free for anyone to visit but if you would like to see the museum which really is a must then you need to make a booking in advance. It is a very sobering experience that left us feeling pretty broken. We both had lots of tears, there are plenty of tissue stations around. We all remember the day and where we were and all those images we were confronted with.The museum has been done in such a caring, thoughtful and provoking way. The memorial itself is stunning, the noise of the waterfalls drowns out the city noise so it is just you and it. I had 2 friends lose close friends here and I shed extra tears for them here.

After a beautiful dinner we head back to the Empire State Building for the night view. You can do this for free after 8pm on the same day you visited.

Our super decadent treat was a helicopter ride, I was a total pauper when I lived in New York so things like this were just a dream. It really was very cool to see New York from above and all the surrounding boroughs. If you cans wing in, do it.

Through one of my gorgeous Australian friends we got to have a tour of still my beating heart. You can read the full post on the visit here.  A big highlight of our trip.

One thing that Gail really, really wanted to do was a bike ride around Central Park. I was lukewarm about the idea but man am I glad we did it. It was an awesome way to see this amazing space and one of my very favorite places in the city. If there were no park I don't think New York would be as amazing as it is. It would just be a huge metropolis with nowhere to escape to. We took the bikes for 2 hours and did the 8km up to Harlem and back. Warning, lots of surprisingly big inclines. If only we had time to just lie on a blanket and people watch like I used to do.

A new addition to New York is The Highline, an elevated freight rail line transformed into a free, public park on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues. We bought delicious cupcakes at Chelsea Market and parked ourselves on a park bench to have them for breakfast. Make sure you make this a priority, it is a great way to see a new part of the city and peek into people's apartments if thats your thing. (It's soooo mine). Even in the dead of winter there are activities going on.

Last stop for us on the morning we left was Top of The Rock, that is also part of the City Pass.  Yet another amazing view from a new and unique perspective. Situated at the top of the iconic Rockerfeller Centre, this has the best possible view across the Park.

We followed this with a trip to Tiffany's, an absolute must even if it is just for a look and to feel like Holly Golightly for a small while.

Although I have not mentioned much about it, we did ALOT of shopping. We walked everywhere and brought home most of New York. One does tend to get a little carried away here.

We also ate at some of the most amazing restaurants and cafes but I will try my hardest to get that out in a new post.

I still love New York as much as I ever have and can not wait to return.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Piccadilly Market LUXE Christmas Gifts $50 plus

Our last installment of gift ideas for Christmas. This is the Luxe category priced at $50 plus

Everything is available at Piccadilly Market in Geelong on 29/30 November

1. "Skull Miranda" print that is a part of my 'Into the Woods' series.
Its 11x14 inch printed on FSC certified felt embossed paper. The print is $50 market day special

2. KATE Pendant $155  -Koolaman
Sterling silver pendant and chain which can be hand stamped with a message or words for it’s recipient. Kate ring style pendant is perfect for today’s busy woman. Contemporary yet eternal, Kate faces the world head on with its fixed jump ring design. Wear a single Kate sterling silver pendant or up to three pendants – each ring lovingly hand stamped with words or the name of someone special.

3. Snap Pearls LUXE  The Mietta Bracelet  $145.00
The Mietta bracelet with large rustic freshwater pearls and pewter beads strung on leather, complete with 925 magnetic clasp- just gorgeous!

Amindy clocks can add a pop of colour to your home, or keep a clean and classic look with our neutral shades. Available in multiple designs with a choice of many diverse colours, the options are endless! 

5. Macrame Plant Hanger from Noodie and Frank

They are back! But I think they never really left it the first place! 
Modern macrame plant hangers, available in a range of bright and neutral colours, in plain styles or accessorised with copper, rustic/industrial or timber beads. Great outdoors or indoors with ferns or even a hanging fish bowl! Prices start at $70.

Hand painted children’s blocks made from sustainable beech timber, painted with non-toxic acrylic paint and finished with a non-toxic, allergy free water based varnish.
Designed to enhance imaginative play. Price: $59 set

7.  Obsession tea pack from Organics for Lily - $60. 12 organic teas with a stainless steel strainer.

8.  Retrobub - christmas day dress / girls gift  - spot dress with metallic gold spots $50 

9.cLily pily The Fox cushions (and many others) are $50 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Piccadilly Market Christmas Gift Ideas $25-50

Here is the 3rd edition of Gift Ideas for $25-$50. Some wonderful choice sin here. I am hoping to get number 2. I am ordering number 3 but triple chocolate and I am getting a custom order adult cape for me #5 which I will be wearing at the market.

1. Miss Moi Handmade Earrings & Necklace Set On Mother Of Pearl Shell $45

2. Tea Bottle - $32 - perfect to drink tea on the go.  Sleek double walled glass keeps your tea hot for up to an hour and doesn't burn your hands.   It also has an Eco- friendly bamboo lid and stainless steel strainer.  Great for your body and the environment.  Also try an ice tea in summer or add some berries to your water.  Holds 300ml

3. Spoil your friends and family with one of Mandi's Kitchen boiled in the cloth dessert logs - with a shelf life of over 12 months they can be enjoyed throughout 2015 and just need to be stored in the cupboard until opened.  $44

4. As dreamt in greyscale Midnight Gelato wooden colour block necklace in midnight navy, beige-pink and white wooden beads. Accented with eye-catching wooden spikes in the centre and small copper beads! Range of colours available. $30

5. Superhero Costume from Fickle Fickle - $45 - Includes quality handmade satin cape and felt mask. Be your own superhero!!!

6. Playground Your Memory Box' by Playground Road Collections, makes a unique keepsake. And beautiful 18th birthday present for when your baby is all grown up.

Each box includes 24 assorted milestone cards, envelopes, notepaper and other record keepers to capture important moments in your little person's life. Fill your box with special memories, then use the included label to personalise the lid. Designed to create your own time capsule to pop away until your little one's 18th birthday. Proudly designed and printed in Melbourne, using recycled paper stocks. Piccadilly Market Special $35 (RRP $40)

7.Visual and tactile, two ingredients for the perfect teething and breastfeeding necklace. Add to that, striking colours, soft texture and a bundle of style... introducing the Infinity collection from Gumigem! RRP $30

8. Makassi Bags from Mamoochi.  2 styles available. ‘Afro (pink) and ‘Sunbed’ (blue) $38. Fully lined with inner zip pocket. A great casual ‘weekend’ bag.

9. Custom name cushion from NOD  $39.95

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Piccadilly Market Christmas Gift Ideas $15 - $25

Here is the 2nd installment of gift ideas at Piccadilly Market geelong on 29/30 November.

This category is the $15-25

1.  Mandi's Kitchen Classic Christmas Cake $22

2.  Love heart home -  Hand Poured in Geelong, our pure soy wax candles provide a unique Christmas present for your loved ones. Our small candles are $16.00 with an average 65 hour burn time; while our large candles are $20 with an average 80 hour burn time. Designed to be an affordable gift to buy for yourself, or someone special, they'll add a personal touch of luxury to any occasion.

3. Cassia essentials We have some goodies from $15-$28 for coin purses & cosmetic purses - playful and vibrant all made from sustainable materials - cotton canvas and cotton lined - our own print.

4. These lightweight, comfortable everyday earring designs add the perfect, subtle way to add a pop of colour to an outfit. Amindy earrings are hand painted so slight variations are what make our products so niche  $15 a pair

5. Throw Kindness around like Confetti Wall Art Shelfie

The new Shelfie's range by Simply Type is here! These shelfie blocks are to decorate a shelf, inspire & make a room complete! They are 200mm x 250mm x 18mm thick & stand up on their own! Such a sweet quote that would be a lovely gift for anyone... $25

6. Lace Drop Earrings $25 
Stunning colours available :: rose pink, magenta, orange, red, aqua and turquoiseSmaller size available, one quarter the size :: Single Leaf Drop $15
Amazingly light weight and comfortable to wear :: non-allergenic hooks
Josephene by Jo Lucchesi

7. Kunas Pure Food traditional Gingerbread House Medium $ 18

8. Our illustration prints with polymer clay necklace attached. The necklace is removable, chain measures 60cm and all is handmade!  by Totally Innocent $ 25

9. Children's accessory pack from Rileah Design that is valued at $15.00

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Piccadilly Market Gift Ideas Under $15

It's only 6 weeks till Christmas but who is counting.

I am sure like me you have some teacher gifts to think of, perhaps some kris kringles for friends or work colleagues or you just need some stocking stuffer ideas.

We have put together some great ideas for under $15 all available at Piccadilly Market in Geelong on the 29th and 30th of November.

1. ·       I love my bike bell $10 - Cute bell printed with the very clear declaration of love: “I (Heart) My Bike.” See more at:

2.     Bellalu - Lip Balm. 100% made by hand.  $10 each

3.    “Looking for the perfect teacher gift? You can’t go past these sweet Apple Brooches. They are created with laser cut cherry wood and finished of with a gorgeous vintage kimono button. Gift boxed and ready to give for $15.00”

4.   Amindy KEYRINGS    $7 each or 2 for $10
With the vivid colour choice of Amindy keyrings, you will easily spot your set of keys from a distance, or in the bottom of your handbag. The keyrings can also be doubled as a keyring for schoolbags . A perfect idea for gift giving.  Request your own colour combination of hearts or combine a heart with your initial letter in a different colour for an individualised look.

5. Kunas Pure Food Gingerbread House $12

6.  Why not treat your favourite teacher with an original and unique Custom Artwork by DiNamic Images! 

DiNamic Images can transform your very OWN favourite photograph into a digital masterpiece! 
This can then be created into a greeting card which you can use to write a special message to your teacher in! It can also be created into a Custom Artwork, 10 x 8 inches, and comes framed in a 11 x 14 inch matt frame. 


For more information visit the DiNamic Images stall or visit........

7.  Dozey Boo Bookmarks are $5 each. "Using only the highest quality quilting fabric, each bookmark is lovingly created. Perfect as stocking fillers and teacher's presents."

8.  Illustration prints for teachers from Totally Innocent  - Teachers change the world one child at a time $15

9.   North of the Hill  xs concrete tealight $8   s concrete pot $15

All sizes can be used for succulents or cactus, you can even use them as toothbrush holders or for tealights.  Can come in multiple colours.

This is just a teensy tiny sampling of all the goodness that will be available at Piccadilly Market Geelong.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thank You Piccadilly Williamstown

Our 2nd event at Williamstown Town Hall was held yesterday and what a great day.

The sun always shines for Piccadilly Market (pray I have not mozzed myself)

Over 50 fabulously talented small  businesses brought their wares out to showcase. Everytime I say I need to refrain on spending and everytime I never do. How can you? Too much goodness under one roof.

Thank you to all the shoppers who came to see us. Many of you gave us amazing feedback on your way out. Thank You.

You can view a slide show from the day here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Not long till we are back in Williamstown again

50 fabulous stalls all under cover. Here is just a sampling of what is on offer.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

In the Spotlight: Popcorn Blue

Meet Sarah from Popcorn Blue who will be showing her work for the first time at Piccadilly Market on Sunday 9th November in Williamstown.

Tell us a little about yourself? 
I have been an illustrator and graphic artist for twenty years. My business Popcorn Blue was born with a twinkle in my eye and a pencil in my hand in 2010 (although the dream started much earlier…) with a vision of being more than just a picture. My intention is to spark the imagination with an ever changing story that unfolds before your eyes.
I have 3 gorgeous boys … I mean art directors… who think i am the coolest mum because I draw dinosaurs!

How did you come up with your business name?
My first child Ben named out fish PopcornBlue and i vowed that if ever I had a business of my own I would call it PopcornBlue as it is such a fun and catchy name.

Tell us how your product/range came about?
I started creating prints from my illustrated children’s book “Barnowlby Bubbles” published in 2010 and from that point on I started creating images purely for the joy of someone buying it for their wall. I now print on wood and stone and I have a few mores exciting ideas up my sleeve for 2015 so stay tuned!

How long have you been in business for?
I have been in business since 2010 and i love it.

What inspires you?
 My work is about the whimsical & the quirky, deliciously fun and as always a little bit dreamy……I love illustrators and artists that explore these themes, and I am very drawn to the lighter side of pop surrealism.

Have you always been ‘arty’ and/or ‘crafty’ or has it bloomed later in life?
I have always been arty as long as i can remember…. i always made Christmas cards for my family when i was a child - and I have a large family… that’s a lot of illustrated Christmas cards!

What is something cool that most people wouldn’t know about you? 
Hmmmm let me get back to you on that one.

If money were no object what would be your dream destination right now?
I would love to take my family on a 6 month trip overseas , in particular Rome - and throw an exhibition into the mix (that’s a dream of mine)

What book can you read over and over again?
Any kind of high-fantasy… I’m obsessed

What is your favorite website(s) ?   I don’t have a favourite website      

Have you ever met anyone famous? 
i got invited personally to a party by Robbie Williams at the Langham Hotel in London. I just saw him in concert so that is very cool

Friday, October 31, 2014

In the Spotlight: The Little Green Project

Meet Jules from The Little Green Project who is a first timer at Piccadilly Market on Sunday November 9th in Williamstown.

Who doesnt love a terrarium?

Tell us a little about yourself?
Hi. I'm Jules, florist by trade,  lover of things vintage glass and creator if The Little Green Project terrariums.

How did you come up with your business name?
It was very quick actually. We knew it had to include green and a little brainstorming during a short car trip and The Little Green Project was the end result. We love it.

Tell us how your product/range came about?
So how did I come to making terrariums? Well this all began almost 5 years ago, just after my son was born. I had collected way too many vintage jars and bottles.     Filling them with little blooms was cute, but I was wanting something more unique. So I started experimenting with moss. It thrived. I loved the idea of bringing a little green inside the house other than a pot plant or flowers, so I started experimenting with other greenery in my terrariums. I felt inspired. I spent many many             months trialling plants, finding out which ones thrived and which ones didn't. Family and friends all wanted one of my creations. Let's just say birthdays and christmas were sorted that year.
So after having my second child and our little family being relocated to the other side of Australia, it felt natural to start selling my terrariums. It was the right time. I needed to meet people,  to get to know Perth and feel a sense of belonging in my new city. So The Little Green Project was born.
We have recently again moved. Returning to the east and I am excited to bring my terrariums to the lovely Melbourne folk.

How long have you been in business for?
The Little Green Project has been trading since mid 2012.

What inspires you?
I'm inspired by the colours and shapes in nature. I'm also a big fan of all things vintage, upcycled and recycled and I get very excited with my glass finds.

Have you always been ‘arty’ and/or ‘crafty’ or has it bloomed later in life?
Yes I have always been a crafty...I have fond memories growing up of pom pom making, cross stitch, sketching, flower pressing (I was always picking wild flowers).    It was no surprise to my mum that at the age of 5, I told her I wanted to own a flower shop.

What is something cool that most people wouldn’t know about you?
Um...I wouldn't say that this is particularly cool, but this little 5 year old me was right...I  did end up owning my own florist. At 27. A successful one actually, in the heart of Melbourne's design district of Flinders's still running today.  That is awesome...go you!!!
If money were no object what would be your dream destination right now?
I feel like i should say somewhere more glamorous,  but I really want to go to New York. It's going to be my 40th birthday present to myself.

What book can you read over and over again?
I actually never read a novel more than once......but a kids book...well, The Gruffalo I just love and never tire of.
What is your favorite website(s) ?    
Pinterest?! I have a slight addiction I need to overcome!  Yep, I think a few people have this addiction
 Have you ever met anyone famous?
No, but my husband has! Being in the hotel industry for the past 20 years the list is long and varied. Here's just a few....he chatted to Ringo Starr while being transferred from the airport,  hung out with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, met Beyonce, and had to deal with Justin Bieber and his recent antics!  He is never one to ask for an autograph except for the time he met Ridge Forrester.....he had to get a signed photo for his mum!  Fun job

Sunday, October 26, 2014

In the Spotlight: Epona Co

Meet Colleen from Epona Co who is bringing some fabulous homewares to Piccadilly Market in Williamstown on 9 November.

Tell us a little about yourself? 
I'm a Mum of two boys and we live on the coast.  I'm an outdoor person often paddle boarding and entertaining with family and friends.

How did you come up with your business name? 
Epona co. is an established family business based in NSW whom are friends of mine hence the name was already established.

Tell us how your product/range came about?  
The product range was introduced to me through my friends whom furnished my brothers house (his house is featured in the online catalogue) with outdoor and indoor bean bags.  I then bought a Dog Lounger for my dog and fell in love with the product instantly (and so did my dog!)

How long have you been in business for?
I launched the business here in Victoria at the Torquay Cowrie Market on Sunday 21st Septemeber

What inspires you? 
Entertaining, lounging, the outdoors, pride within my home, class and sophistication.

Have you always been ‘arty’ and/or ‘crafty’ or has it bloomed later in life?
I have always owned small businesses throughout my adult life, ones which allow me to socialise and express myself.  Epona co. and I have established this classy, sophisticated but yet relaxed and social relationship which is represented within the product.

What is something cool that most people wouldn’t know about you?
I love restoring furniture!

If money were no object what would be your dream destination right now?
The Caribbean!  Me too

What book can you read over and over again?
The Celestine Prophecy

What is your favorite website(s) ? 
 Pinterest and Kip & Co.

Have you ever met anyone famous?
Willam De Foe, Steve And Sarah Vizard (I was their nanny at one stage many moons ago!)

Make sure you pop by and say Hi on Sunday November 9th


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