The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition at Rippon Lea House & Gardens

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post bought to you By Nuffnang. All opinions expressed are the author’s own.


If you also fell in love with the magical gowns that transformed the uncouth residents of Dungatar into alluring femme fatales in the movie The Dressmaker, you too can be like Tilly Dunnage and make your own fashionable return visit to Dungatar for The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition where a lavish collection of exquisite costumes from The Dressmaker feature film are now on display at the Rippon Lea House and Gardens.


The Dressmaker Expo 1


The Dressmaker movie shows the quirky and bittersweet tale of beautiful couture and sweet revenge, based on the best-selling novel penned by fellow Melbourne local, author Rosalie Ham. The collection of remarkable haute couture costumes is an ode to the glamorous decade in which the story was set, in the 1950s. But just as the fabulous couture pieces stand out from amongst the dusty barren backdrop of the fictional small Australian country town of Dungatar, the striking costumes make just as much of a magnificent impression standing or rotating in their fixtures throughout the exhibition, housed in the ornate rooms scattered side the Rippon Lea Estate. The fitting setting makes for an excitable, voyeuristic treat with the charmingly vintage interior design and artwork lacing the walls amongst the exhibition.


Take a peek into Tilly’s workroom, learn how the costumes were developed and see the outfits worn by the cast of the movie including Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving (including a complete room dedicated to the costumes of Sergeant Farrat – check out the size of his ballet slippers) and Judy Davis. The unforgettable figure-flattering gowns, the elegant outfits, the large collection of headwear pieces and props, all beautifully on display as you walk through the estate like a beautiful maze, turning corners to discovering another little room containing the next beautiful collection of outfits from the next scene.

The Dressmaker Expo 2


The costumes initially left quite an impression on me when I viewed the film, however seeing the remarkable detail, fabric, textures and shapes up close gave me a new level of appreciation. Therefore I would recommend the exhibition to fans of the movie as well as anyone with a love for costume design, haute couture, vintage fashion or anyone who has a penchant for the charm of the 1950s will definitely enjoy a trip to The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition.

For visitors who also are also up for an even more unique experience of the exhibition, keep an eye out for the special events running during the exhibition which includes a ‘Meet the Makers’ Q&A session, a pop up bar and a night to recreate the Footballers dance as seen in the movie.


The Dressmaker Expo 3


The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition

Address: Rippon Lea House & Garden: 192 Hotham St, Elsternwick VIC 3185

Dates: 10am – 4pm, Friday April 22nd until Sunday 31st July.

Tickets: Can be purchased online or at the door.

Adult $20

Concession $18

Child (5-15 yrs) $10

Family (2 adults, 2 children) $50


For more information, visit the Dressmaker Exhibition website.

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DJB World Photography – Melbourne Photography Walk ‘Laneways, Rooftops and Street Art’ Review

Looking for a unique and interactive way to discover and explore some of the overlooked areas within the city of Melbourne whilst brushing up on your photography skills? DJB World Photography offers a fun way to discover and appreciate the quirky, colourful city of Melbourne through the lens of a camera for photography beginners. Let me assure you that I am probably the best example of an absolute beginner photographer, I can barely work out the number of automatic camera settings and functions on my camera let alone dare to brave the switch on my camera dial from automatic to manual. However, DJB Photography School aims to help its students do exactly that, offering a casual introduction to what could be the start of your new love for photography. DJB World Photography runs a number of different Melbourne photography walks and I attended the two hour sphotography walk ‘Laneways, Rooftops and Street Art’.

DJB World Photography Melbourne Photography Walk

DJB World Photography Melbourne Photography Walk

The session was run for two hours on Sunday afternoons in a small size group (eight people maximum). My session was led by the ever knowledgeable Rachael. Upon joining the group of attendees at the designated meeting spot on a Sunday afternoon, I was at first a little intimidated seeing the rest of their group with their serious photography gear, SLR cameras and big lenses. However, attendees are invited to bring whatever camera and photography gear they feel comfortable using. You can simply choose to bring along an iPhone if you wish and my Sony digital camera ended up doing the job perfectly!

We started off with an introduction on the manual settings, and the features of shutter speed, aperture, ISO and exposure levels, but keep in mind this was really the only time during the session we were taught about manual camera functions as this is not intended to be an instructed class about camera functions, but more of an introduction to manual settings and a guided tour focused on exploring different areas of Melbourne for creative photography. Although if you do have any questions about camera functions (as trust me, I had many!) Rachael, our guide was always more than happy to help. All of the locations we stopped at during the walk were perfectly selected as I found myself taking notes on where each was so I could come back and explore on my own. That being said, we were able to explore different areas at each stop at a very leisurely, relaxed pace and were never rushed to move on.

DJB World Photography Melbourne Photography Walk

DJB World Photography Melbourne Photography Walk

Whether you are looking to learn photography techniques, explore the often overlooked pockets of Melbourne’s CBD or meet new people, a DJB World Photography course offers an artistic new perspective on Melbourne city streets while allowing you to brush up on your photography skills.

For more information on DJB World Photography and the Melbourne Photography Walks on offer, visit the link below:

DJB World Photography- Melbourne Photography Walks

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and Melbourne Darling was not invited to attend the DJB World Photography walk as a guest. The opinions shared in this article are based completely on my own honest and personal views, thoughts and experiences.

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Ask Melbourne Darling: Best place to shop for Mother of the Bride dresses in Melbourne?

Dear Melbourne Darling,

Where can I find the best Mother of the Bride dress?

A mother of the bride outfit can initially seem like a daunting outfit to search for. In my previous styling experience I assisted a number of Mother of the Brides and after a while I would tend to hear the same things:

  • No white
  • Preferably not a black dress
  • Something that won’t clash with the outfits of the bridal party
  • Above all, something that is flattering and elegant

This may seem like you have already ruled out some of your favourite options but I want to show you that you can most definitely find a stunning outfit if you know where to shop in Melbourne!

Similarly to my post on finding wedding shoes in Melbourne, just like a mother of the bride outfit or any special outfit for that matter, when first embarking on a big shopping quest for the perfect outfit, I would always suggest not dismissing Myer and David Jones as your starting point. I find the department stores to be the quickest and most effective way to firstly get a sense for the prominent trends, styles and designer collections currently available. The exposure to a variety of different designers in the one place also makes the department stores the best first stop to allow you to start hitting the fitting rooms. Try on as many different styles as you can, as sometimes it’s the best dresses that don’t look great hanging limp on a rack but do wonders when slipped on the body!

I also want to point out that you may not want to wear a dress, and that’s absolutely fine too! Whether you decide on a perfectly paired two-piece suit, mix and match coordinates, prefer a feature skirt with a simple top and blazer or a gorgeous top and simple black pants set off by a remarkable pair of shoes, you want to choose something that you will be comfortable in and will make you feel and look your best!

After a visit to the department stores, you may want to check out the stand alone stores of the designers you liked the best as they may have a larger selection of new styles or matching coordinates and accessories in the same collection of the pieces you liked. Below are my top suggestions to get you started with the retailers I believe are reliable in regularly stocking a wonderful assortment of styles that can be beautifully suited (pardon the pun) for a mother of the bride outfit. Keep in mind, it will also depend on the personal taste of the individual, so I’ve tried to cater for some different tastes:

Coast London

Coast is still fairly new to the Australian market, only arriving to our shores in 2011. This actually works to our benefit, as Coast has saturated the UK market to the point that I have heard if you were to go to a wedding in the UK and wear a Coast dress, it would not be uncommon to see another wedding guest wearing the same outfit as you! However, it tends to be the opposite in the Australian market where their smaller presence works to our benefit. I still like to refer to Coast as the best kept secret when shopping for occasion wear in Melbourne, with their more traditional yet versatile range of fancy and feminine occasion wear pieces. (Check out their gorgeous collection of mid-heels! Comfy and funky!)

Put simply, Coast London was made for weddings and special occasions. They are a popular destination for bridesmaid dresses and create cleverly designed garments to flatter different body shapes with sizing ranging from a size 6-18. Many of their dresses also come with added practical features like detachable and adjustable straps, boning in the bodice, secret pockets and design features to allow you to wear one dress, multiple ways. Coast London in Australia is hard to find online, but I can tell you that they do have a stand-alone store in Melbourne Central (click here for more details) and a concession store in Myer Bourke Street. You can also buy Coast online at their global website and on ASOS.

Karen Millen

If Coast London is the girly, sweet girl next door, then Karen Millen is her sleek and sophisticated, seriously on-trend sister. Karen Millen, sister brand to Coast London, produce beautiful, ultra-modern floral and graphic patterns and statement prints in dresses and coordinates, usually created with perfectly matching clutches and shoes crafted from the same material.


Cue has become quite similar to Karen Millen with their focus on modern, sharp tailoring and darker colours for a more edgy yet refined style. Cue pieces sometimes appear to create a more corporate look, so offset this by adding some extra sparkle with statement accessories like a headpiece, cuff or necklace from Mimco.


If you are after something more suited for a day wedding, or something a little more casual or girly, Review is a great option for floral and colourful vintage inspired pieces. Accentuate a very soft and feminine look with accessories from Alannah Hill.

Charlie Brown

For something a little less structured but still makes a statement, Charlie Brown create spectacular patterns in comfortable stretch fabric that can be more suited for day weddings. They particularly produce outstanding maxi dresses too.

Anthea Crawford

Anthea Crawford stock an extremely sumptuous collection of striking dresses with delicate and ornate detailing. They make enough of an impact on their own so all you need to add is a simple pair of shoes and you’re done! Perfect for those who like to keep their accessories to a minimum.

David Lawrence

Alternatively, when less is more head to David Lawrence for more classic, understated pieces and understated coordinates. You can always dress up a classic with some fun accessories and keep it for years to come, creating an entirely new look with the help of on-trend accessories each time you wear it.

Now I wouldn’t be a Melbourne Darling if I didn’t appreciate how to wear a little black dress just as much as the next Melbourne girl, but if you do opt for black or a simple and classic style, don’t underestimate the power of a pop of colour using clever and playful accessories. If you are up for some colour, jewel tones like purples, blues and greens tend to suit most skin tones and make for stunning evening wear options. Alternatively, pastel colours, graphic prints and florals are wonderful choices for daytime, garden themed or more casual weddings.

Don’t forget about comfortable footwear too! For a long day ahead in heels, try a supportive stack heel, a mid heel or choose a shoe with lots of inner support such as the Airflex brand heels. Otherwise prepare to pack Party Feet or invest in a good pair of soft insoles. You’ll be thankful when you hit the dancefloor!

Here are some fantastic finds to inspire you you Mother of the Bride outfit:

Mother of the Bride in Melbourne Outfit - Purple

Mother of the Bride in Melbourne Outfit - Pink

Mother of the Bride in Melbourne Outfit - Blue

  1. David Lawrence Orchid Embellished Corded Lace Dress
  2. Mimco Flashback Clip
  3. Karen Millen Crystal Metallic Asymmetric Court Shoe
  4. Airflex Blake Nude Heel
  5. Anthea Crawford Garnet Sequin Embellished Mesh and Stretch Satin Dress
  6. Anthea Crawford Shiraz Stretch Velour Drape Gown
  7. Jo Mercer Zalia Heel
  8. Samantha Wills Love Like Libra Cuff
  9. Meri By Design Black Rabbit Fur Cape
  10. Review Dion Jacket
  11. Mimco Mini Origami Envelope in Blossom Pink
  12. Oroton Freshwater Pearl Earrings
  13. Coast London Ariel Shoe
  14. Lady Petrova Wonderland Coat
  15. Fillies Collection Pillbox with Large Flower
  16. Swarovski Bolster Bracelet, Atelier Swarovski by Christopher Kane
  17. Coast London Matilda dress
  18. Alannah Hill Close My Eyes Flower in Navy
  19. Samantha Wills Heart of Aries Earrings in Silver
  20. Coast London Jasmine Printed Shoe
  21. Cue Double Weave Origami Dress in Navy
  22. Karen Millen Graphic Stripe Suit Jacket
  23. Cue Stretch Satin A-Line Skirt
  24. Review Eliana Dress in Petrol
  25. Mimco Sporto Large Pouch in Absinthe
  26. Mocha Brighter Than Gold Earrings
  27. David Lawrence Sleeveless Synergy Print Silk Top
  28. Diana Ferrari Tanzy in Black Patent
  29. David Lawrence Synergy Print Wide Bangle

Happy Shopping Melbourne Darlings!

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Luk Beautifood’s Lip Nourish Lip Balm Review

‘A lipstick so natural you can eat it!’

That is the line I eagerly begin with when telling someone about Lük Beautifood’s Lip Nourish. My first experience with lip balm was in early Primary school when I managed to find myself in ownership of a Watermelon flavoured Bonnebell Lip Smacker. I can remember quite clearly it smelled so delicious, in fact, it smelled good enough to eat… and yes maybe I did try to test out that thought but don’t deny you’ve thought about it too, a quick lick of the lips and your tastebuds get a bit too excited over the hint of strawberry in the lip balm you’ve just applied!

As ‘delicious’ as most of our favourite lip balms smell, we often overlook the fact that majority of popular cosmetics contain a number of nasty, toxic ingredients. While the trend of superfoods and clean eating has made us become more aware to make smarter choices with what we put inside our bodies, most people would not think to reconsider the harmful chemicals and toxic ingredients we put on our bodies through our make-up and cosmetics, particularly our lips. There are debatable claims over the average amount of lipstick women consume in their lifetime, but basically, there is no argument in the fact that it is a substantial amount, substantial amount it’s a large amount of chemicals and harmful ingredients entering your body with each swipe of lipstick!

That’s where Lip Nourish offers a fantastic new offering in cosmetics. Created by food scientist Cindy Luken, Lip Nourish is a 100% natural, Australian made lip balm using real food ingredients. Staying true its perfect choice in name, The product that stays true to its name, there really isn’t a better word to genuinely describe this lip balm than beautifully nourishing. Lip Nourish contains natural substitutes for many of the usual ingredients in lip balms and lipsticks such as the use of sesame seed oil, avocado oil, honeycomb and spices.

I tried two variations, ‘Lemon and Mint’ and ‘Orange and Juniper’. They say old habits die hard so of course my first instinct led me to remove the twist top to smell the lip balms and I was delighted with the divine, zesty and fruity fragrance. Lip Nourish comes in a number of shades, all which contain a very subtle hint of colour that when applied, create a lovely sheer appearance that is not overly glossy, but provides a very natural gleam.

Lip Nourish Shades

Lip Nourish Shades. Image Via Luk Beautifood.

The texture is soft, creamy and rich but never sticky or too heavy. The product leaves lips well moisturised, but for those who have become used to the feeling a heavy coat of lip balm, you may find yourself frequently re-applying, as Lip Nourish quickly sinks well into the lips, leaving them soft, smooth and velvety.

The packaging needs to be pointed out as a feature in itself because it is absolutely adorable. Reminiscent of the care and nurturing that Cindy has proudly placed in this product’s creation and development, each Lip Nourish is carefully packaged in a colourful, reusable microfiber cloth that unravels to reveal it’s not so secretive, full disclosure ingredients list and an uplifting message from Cindy on recommendations for usage.

Lip Nourish is perfect for soothing your lips with moisturising goodness every day.  The broad range of easy to wear, soft and neutral shades will suit a large spectrum of skin tones, to allow individuals to easily find a perfect shade to accentuate and complement their own natural lip colouring.

Lip Nourish is an effective, natural alternative to your daily lip balm, or a fantastic substitute to lip stick for those that favour nude and neutral lip shades. At the mid-range price point of $24.95, it is a high quality product that can also make for great gift for younger girls being introduced to lip balm, or those that wish to get their eager hands on their first cosmetic product, due to the absence of the chemicals normally found in cosmetics, and the subtle colour and shine. I honestly am a fan of Lip Nourish because of its natural benefits and I loved the way it left my lips feeling well moisturised and velvet like. As a result, Lip Nourish is a product that has quickly cemented itself as a daily essential in my hand bag! Now I’m not encouraging everyone to start chomping on their lip balm like a Twix bar, but I will say that with Lip Nourish, your lips never tasted so good!

Lip Nourish is available to purchase online for $24.95 including free shipping Australia wide via the following link:

For more information, I found this video to provide great insight into Cindy Luken’s  inspiration and development of Lip Nourish:

Disclosure: The products featured in this post were provided to me for consideration but this in no way influenced my review in any way. As always, my reviews are my 100% honest opinion.

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Melbourne Dining Review – Third Wave Cafe, Prahran

Nestled in Cato Street, a side street off Commercial Road in Prahran is Third Wave Cafe. Don’t be discouraged by the side street location and the exterior design of this restaurant /cafe. I wasn’t sure what to think as I approached the dark, modern, flush exterior design of the café, until I was pleasantly surprised to step inside a modern yet cosy, warm and inviting space. The rest of my experience at Third Wave Café can basically be summed up by saying it really was one pleasant surprise after the next. The menu is fantastically extensive. Third Wave not only serves an array of your staple breakfast and lunch items, such as egg dishes, focaccias, burgers, pastas and salads, but also specialises in Russian cuisine and American BBQ dishes as well. In addition, there is a page of the menu solely dedicated to Paleo dishes. Usually, I approach a menu that crosses over into too many different cuisines with a bit of caution, a restaurant that tries to do too much. However I am so glad to find that this is most definitely not the case here. It does appear to be quite an odd combination to see such an extensive range of dishes listed side by side on the same menu, but upon tasting the dishes, it became clear that this crazy combination and choice of specialisation works brilliantly at Third Wave Café.

Latte at Third Wave Cafe Prahran

Latte at Third Wave Cafe Prahran

The coffee was great, very smooth and each cup was served with a delicious biscuit too (yes, that’s right, a free biscuit that was actually worth eating!) I highly recommend the Russian Sampler Plate for those who are up for trying some new and a little different. The Russian Sampler Plate came with a Russian salad (a cold potato, roast chicken, boiled egg and vegetable salad with a creamy Dijonaise dressing, which I wasn’t sold on by the menu description, but the tastes came together wonderfully), two varieties of blintzes (Russian filled crepes), which I got to try the Mushroom blintze and a Meat blintze, a small bowl of Pelmeni (Russian meat dumplings) and Syrniki (savoury pancakes). I found the standout was the Mushroom blintze which was very full and rich. I also really enjoyed the dumplings that had a thick texture that was chewy but not rubbery. I found the savoury pancakes were a bit of an acquired taste. The small, thick and very dense pancakes of ricotta, cinnamon and nutmeg were not as sweet as pancakes in Australia are traditionally served, but it was wonderful to sample all the different textures and flavours, and I think The Russian Sampler Plate worked really well on the menu, even in comparison to ordering one of the Russian dishes alone, and I would very likely order it again.

Russian Sampler Plate at Third Wave Cafe Prahran

Russian Sampler Plate at Third Wave Cafe Prahran

The Zucchini fritters were fantastic. Made from Zucchini and Buckwheat flour and fried in coconut oil, served with house made smoked bacon and a cherry tomato confit, a poached egg and dukkah, the elements of this meal just worked so well together. The bacon was incredible, laced with a delicious smokey flavour, the bacon was thick and meaty so you could really sink your teeth into it, whilst also being very lean with just enough fat for added flavour. Based on the taste of their house made bacon, I look forward to tasting their American BBQ dishes next! The tomatoes were extremely flavoursome and I am happy to say the egg was poached to perfection which is something I am always on the lookout for! This dish is also available on the Paleo menu, and I highly recommend this dish on your visit. Overall, Third Wave Cafe was a fantastic dining experience and I cannot wait to return!

Zucchini Fritters at Third Wave Cafe Prahran

Zucchini Fritters at Third Wave Cafe Prahran

I dined as a guest of Third Wave Café, but I honestly am already planning my next visit, as I would happily pay for their reasonably priced meals and look forward to bringing my friends here too. I highly recommend Third Wave Cafe, a brilliant venue for breakfast, lunch or dinner, that would also serve a group of diners well, as the wide menu selection is bound to cater for everybody. Third Wave Café shows a lot of pride and a lot of heart in their menu and their carefully prepared, delightful dishes do not disappoint! For the daring, or super hungry, follow the link to check out their American BBQ Ribs Eating Challenge!


Check out their menu online

Third Wave on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: Melbourne Darling was invited to dine as a guest of Third Wave Cafe. This in no way influenced my review and as always, I maintain a promise to provide my readers with content that is my 100% honest opinion.

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The Shadow Electric Open Air Cinema Melbourne – Review and tips to help you plan your visit

The Shadow Electric is an independent open air cinema nestled amongst the quaint grounds of The Abbotsford Convent. Back for it’s third season, running from 21st November 2013 until 9th March 2014, the movie program features a selection of cult classics and art house flicks.

The Shadow Electric Openair Cinema

The Shadow Electric Openair Cinema

Open six days a week throughout the warmer months, the movie screenings commence each night at sundown. The cinema area is located in The Abbotsford Convent, in a courtyard area hidden around the corner from the Lentil As Anything restaurant. As soon as you enter The Abbotsford Convent from St Heliers Street, there is clear signage that makes the cinema area easy to find. It is strongly recommended to pre-purchase your tickets online, before attending. Tickets are generally priced between $18-$21 plus a booking fee, but also keep an eye out for special $10 screenings on Mondays.

All tickets are general admission so it is advised to arrive earlier to find your seats. I also recommend this, as it is a great opportunity to explore the grounds of The Abbotsford Convent, visit one of the interchanging food trucks on site, grab a drink at the bar or play a game of table tennis on one of the many ping pong tables located next to the bar area! It is helpful that all the deck chair seating is provided, so there is no need to pack your picnic rug and pillows! On that note, I would still advise you to bring a jumper and/or a blanket if you tend to feel the cold easily, especially with the unpredictable Melbourne weather! The choice of food truck changes on a rotating basis, and the popular not-for-profit Vegetarian restaurant Lentil As Anything is situated around the corner from the cinema space within the Abbotsford Convent. If you are more interested in sweets or other movie snacks, you can always bring your own food and drinks also. It is important to note that The Shadow Electric is a licensed venue and all movie screenings are strictly for audiences aged 18+ only.


Ping Pong tables at The Shadow Electric Openair CInema

Ping Pong tables at The Shadow Electric Openair Cinema

The grand 12 m screen was wonderful to watch. The picture quality was great, although I did worry a little when the wind picked up. The sound quality was also clear and strong. If you do pre-purchase tickets and are worried about the weather conditions, do keep an eye out on The Shadow Electric’s Facebook and Twitter pages on the day of the screening as movies can be cancelled due to bad weather conditions. The night I attended, the surrounding streets experienced a power failure which caused the screen to turn off during the screening. I was impressed with how the situation was handled, staff were quick to explain the situation to the audience and resumed the movie in no time. In fact, I even enjoyed having an intermission in what was actually quite a long movie!

The Shadow Electric’s laid-back atmosphere and beautiful environment makes for a very relaxed and enjoyable movie experience. The Shadow Electric is an excellent open air cinema to visit, particularly if you prefer their alternative movie selection over the new releases playing at mainstream cinemas. To find out more information on upcoming sessions and ticket bookings, visit The Shadow Electric official website.

The Shadow Electric Open Air Cinema

21st November 2013 – 9th March 2014

Abbotsford Convent

1 St Heliers St
Abbotsford 3067

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Lygon Street – Si Parla Italiano movie review Melbourne

If you only thought of Lygon Street Carlton as the place to get a plate of pasta and cannoli, then you need to head to Cinema Nova to watch the next screening of  the movie ‘Lygon Street – Si Parla Italiano’.

Lygon Street - Si Parla Italiano Movie. Image Via.

Lygon Street – Si Parla Italiano Movie. Image Via.

The wonderful movie ‘Lygon Street – Si Parla Italiano’ restored my hope in Melbourne’s beloved Italian precinct. Just as I started to believe Melbourne’s Little Italy had begun sacrificing its vibrant offering of cultural dynamism in exchange of heading towards a gaudy tourist trap,  this fascinating documentary reminded me to see past the few annoying spruikers and handful of over priced pizzerias. Instead it encouraged me to recall the classic Italian delis and food stores, the number of restaurants still serving traditional Italian dishes, the old buildings and the fond memories I have walking past each of the changing shop fronts through the years.

From the arrival of the first Italian immigrants to the arrival of the Australia’s first espresso machine, this charming documentary narrated by Anthony LaPaglia uncovers a truly rich history that may have otherwise been lost through the generations of families, shop owners and development changes that have occurred in the area. The intimate and detailed interviews, stories and personal photos provide the audience with a highly engaging and insightful trip through time. Sharing stories of hardship and success, of assimilation and inspiration, this movie will provide you with a fresh perceptive of this iconic cultural and social hub.

Even if you were not there to experience the sentimental stories first hand, there is much to take away from this enjoyable viewing.  This movie provided me with a newfound appreciation of what has become a great deal more than just a popular Melbourne street. ‘Lygon Street – Si Parla Italiano’ not only allows you to relive the moments when Italian people migrated to Melbourne, but the moments when Lygon Street migrated to become a solid and special place in the heart of our city of Melbourne. ‘Lygon Street – Si Parla Italiano’ is now showing at Cinema Nova on Lygon Street, Carlton.


Lygon Street – Si Parla Italiano

Movie sessions now screening at Cinema Nova

380 Lygon St Carlton

Click here for session times

Click here for official movie trailer

Click here for official movie website

Official movie Facebook page

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Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema Melbourne – Review and tips to help you plan your visit

Summer has arrived and if lounging outdoors on a warm night with your friends, eating ice cream and watching movies sounds like one perfect summer night to you, then you’re definitely going to want to check out the Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema. Running from 1st December – 22nd December, the Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema has set up its own sectioned off area of St. Kilda’s South Beach area.

With a great selection of both new releases and all your favourite oldies, you can take a look at the listing of movies planned to screen each night. Gates open at 6pm with local DJs supplying some chill out tunes while you find a spot on the lawn and get comfortable with bean lounges and deck chair hire as well as the option to enjoy the Italian food offering from Ladro, or the drinks and snacks at the bar before settling in to watch a movie once the night sky falls at about 8.30-9pm.

Sundae Sessions take place each Sunday from 5pm, described as ‘music by day, movies by night’ you can enjoy the tunes of a live band, and have a go at the lawn games set up in a fun and chill atmosphere whilst savouring some complimentary scoops of delicious Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream!

Thanks to the Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema, I attended the Opening Night – Sundae Sessions Charity Launch and it was great fun. I advise that whatever night you decide to go, make sure you try to get there early to ensure you reserve yourself a good viewing spot. This is also a good idea to allow for a good amount of time to catch up with your friends and enjoy the atmosphere before watching the sunset and getting ready to watch the movie.

Ben & Jerry's Openair Cinema

Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema

You can pack a picnic and bring your own food, or if you get there extra early you can even take a walk down Ackland Street beforehand and pick up some takeaway (I did see some people bring in Grill’d bags) as well as bring along non-alcoholic beverages like a bottle of water. However you are not allowed to bring in any alcohol or glass to the venue, but you can purchase alcoholic beverages on site. It is good to note that the bar did serve complimentary water in plastic cups as an alternative to buying bottles and I enjoyed the tangy and citrusy Aperol Spritz on offer!

Restaurant Ladro does cater inside the venue, serving up a selection of Italian food. I tried the ‘Gamberi’ prawn pizza which was nice, albeit the burnt edges of the base  and the tomato sauce and pea overload, but it was the addition of the lemon and garlic prawns that made the pizza worthwhile. If you don’t like pizza, they also served smaller hot snacks like calamari and aranchini. You can view the menu on offer at the event here. For one dollar extra all pizzas can be made on a gluten-free base. Of course you can also sample one or more of the wonderful flavours of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream which can be purchased at the snack bar.

Ladro Gamberi Pizza

Ladro Gamberi Pizza

You can hire deck chairs and bean lounges on site, but it is still a good idea to bring your own picnic blanket and perhaps an extra blanket if you get cold. Being the beautiful but moody-weathered city of Melbourne it would also be smart to bring along an umbrella or light, emergency raincoat, as we all know how unpredictable the weather can be. While cinema screening can be cancelled due to foreseeable bad weather (in which case pre-puchased tickets will be transferrable for another night) it is noted that screenings will go ahead during intermittent showers. So it’s always better to be prepared!

The Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema and it’s laid back, festival like atmosphere makes the perfect setting to catch up with friends and make the most of warm summer nights. Check out their website for more information, session times and booking information.  Don’t forget its only on for three weeks so get your friends together and organise those tickets soon so you don’t miss out!


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Dining Review – Gelato Messina Gelateria Melbourne

I think it’s fair to say Melbourne’s excitement for gelato has just increased at least 3 fold. I feel I can justify this because as a city we’ve recently been introduced to nitrogen gelato, we hosted the Gelato World Tour last month and this past week we finally reached the anticipated opening of Sydney gelateria, Gelato Messina which opened its doors on Thursday, 14th November.

The shop façade on Smith Street, Collingwood features a very modern, sleek and minimalistic design, with dark tinted windows and its name gilded in thin gold lines above the door, it would be easy to not notice this place if there weren’t such a long line of people stretching out from its front doors. I visited on Friday night, the day after it opened and the line wrapped down the outside of the store to the next door front, so were quick to snap up a spot in line before actually deliberating whether or not we were willing to wait in such a long line. However, it didn’t take long for us to notice the helpful implementation of crowd control that Gelato Messina had in place. That’s right, this gelato bar needed crowd control. Gelato Messina would be no stranger to long lines and eager crowds, I have heard that the enthusiastic masses that flock to their Sydney stores can almost be compared to the level of hysteria that would normally be saved for tween girls at a One Direction concert. However, their highly organised method of handling the line was great. There was one gentlemen who had the task of who working his way down the line, handing out menus and pointing out the flavour ‘specials’ of the day as well as guide the flow of traffic into the store at a reasonable time.

Gelato Messina Store Exterior

Gelato Messina Store Exterior

I applaud Gelato Messina for their well organised crowd control outside their store, but once I made it to the front of the line (I am going to say it took about 10 minutes maximum) I was shocked at how quickly the atmosphere turned to a manic free-for-all where waiting to be served became an entirely different story. I was directly in front of the window encasing the high pillowed mountains of gelato where behind it stood a dozen employees in cute Breton striped tops. I was patiently waiting to be served but ended up being numerously ignored as ice-cream servers gravitated towards the most pushy, forceful, demanding customers first, despite order of arrival or length of time spent patiently waiting. So, after my experience, take this lesson from me; once it’s your turn to order, speak up, smile and be quick to lock eyes with the next available server to rein in their attention like a lasso wielding cowboy before you get trampled on or pushed back by overly brazen folk.

Gelato Messina Interior

Gelato Messina Interior

You are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to flavours at Gelato Messina which gets another favourable tick for the number of variety and level of creativity when it comes to their flavour assortment. A full listing on the regular flavours on offer can be viewed online, as well as their top 10 flavour combinations. They also Gelato Messina won first prize in the Gelato World Tour with their ‘Cremino’ flavour – salted caramel gelato with Italian meringue, gianduia fudge, fresh meringue and crushed amaretti biscuits. Once I spotted this the Specials menu, I was sold. I also tried the ‘Pannacotta with Fig Jam and Amaretti Biscuit’ and what I learnt to be another extremely popular flavour, their ‘Gianduia Bianca’ – white chocolate & hazelnut gelato with hazelnut praline, pictured below.

3 scoop gelato cup at Gelato Messina

3 scoop gelato cup at Gelato Messina

Gelato Messina were thoughtful in their approach to cater to a variety of customers and specific dietary requirements. The menu’s helpful addition of the allergy checklist ensures to state which flavours contains nuts, gluten, egg, or alcohol and in addition to their indulgent ice cream selections, the menu also feature a large selection of refreshing, dairy free sorbets. They are not shy to promote their use of high-quality, fresh ingredients and this was further promoted though the design of a glass window through to their kitchen where you can watch the gelato masters churn their confectionary creations. Also look out for their cabinet of gelato cakes. I did not get to try one but they look incredible! You can see their full range of cakes online.

Gelato Messina Cake Cabinet

Gelato Messina Cake Cabinet

I found the prices were reasonable, but for the length of effort it took to order my gelato I was not settling for one measly scoop or limiting myself to sampling only one flavour (by that I also mean I apologise I do not remember the price of 1 scoop!) but at $6 for 2 scoops and only one cheeky dollar extra at $7 for 3 scoops, you can easily be persuaded for going all out and you won’t regret it later. What really makes the gelato so special is not only the unique and hyperventilating level of exciting flavour combinations. Although the flavours sound decadent and rich to the possible point of being overpowering, the gelato has such a surprisingly delicate texture and incredibly soft, smooth, buttery consistency, juxtaposed to the luscious explosion of taste bud frenzy it produces. They could have been a little more generous with their servings and the ultra-soft consistency caused it to melt in rapid time, resulting in all the gelato combining into one soupy flavour surprise. That being said, it was one amazing treat, Gelato Messina really does serve a superior level of quality gelato and I dare say that if you decide to make the trip here, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Gelato Messina 

237 Smith Street, Fitzroy.

Sunday to Thursday 12pm-11pm
Friday to Saturday 12pm-11.30pm

Gelato Messina Fitzroy on Urbanspoon

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Melbourne Spring Fashion Festival: Hub Events

Melbourne Spring Fashion Week is now in full spring, but even if you didn’t manage to get your hands on tickets to a runway show, savvy fashionistas can still take part in this exciting week with the many great free events and activities taking place:

Melbourne Darling’s top 5 picks of free MSFW 2013 events:

  1. Mecca Maxima Nail Bar - It’s a funky phelangies free-for all!
  2. New Designer Market – Discover your new favourite designer before anyone else…
  3. Spring Is In The Air – This vintage fashion exhibition will transport you through time with fashion through the ages.
  4. Review’s Spring 2013 Runway Show – Review’s free runwayshow is going to leave you daydreaming about which of their floral, flirty and feminine pieces will be your perfect outfit for the upcoming party season.
  5. Levi’s® Revel Fit Safari - Finding the perfect pair of jeans can be a nightmare, but this personalised fitting service should have you find your perfect fit in no time.

MSFW runs from August 31st to September 8th, 2013. For more information and a full listing of events, visit the official Melbourne Spring Fashion Week website.


Melbourne Darling xo

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