Monday, 18 February 2013

Style notes: A bayside native garden

For this bayside gardener, a parched piece of earth became a labour of love....with stylish results.
The owner inherited a perished piece of lawn with the house five years ago.

She says there were also a couple of random tall trees which weren’t fabulous but provided shade at various points.

"The thing I liked best was the existing bluestone front fence - with its deep grey colour it was going to provide the perfect backdrop for my vision of a modern urban native garden,'' she says.

"I have always loved native plants, their variety of textures but especially their colours – from superb lime green grasses to that unique silver grey foliage of a towering banksia tree.''

Drawn to the features and colours of coastal design,  this was her starting point in deciding on the colours for this garden.

Her first job was designing a sort of coastal style walkway which would meander through the garden.

Inspired by the coastal walking tracks along the clifftops in bayside Melbourne, she got a contractor in to lay a path of compressed sand.

However that is where the outside help began and ended - she completed the rest by hand.

"I started with my grass garden first and used my local council’s indigenous nursery as a starting point, finding grasses unique to this part of Melbourne.

"I wanted to mix up the colours to provide contrast and interest, with a row of grasses lining the main path to the front door.

"The other parts of the garden needed to have more height and colour.

"I mixed correa, rows of westringia, grevillea in the most shocking lollypop pink and mini flowering gums. Later I filled out empty spaces with a native hibiscus and woolly bushes.

"Along the side fence I wanted a traditional hedge but using native trees and I chose coastal banksias,'' she says.

To complete the mix the owner has dotted some timber chairs and benches found by the side of the road along the path as places of respite, and added some birth baths as a water source.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

News and views: Jenny Macklin and her weekly budget.

So Australian Families Minister Jenny Macklin declares she can live on $35 a day when asked by a reporter if she could live on the level of welfare payments the Government will be paying single parents. Frankly it's hard to think of a more insulting aside to the many Australians struggling on this amount of money. And that's why her comments have caused such uproar. All I can say - as are many others - is that it is time for Jenny to stand up for what she says and actually try and live on that amount for a couple of weeks. Then she will be qualified to make a judgement call. It's interesting when you think about $35 and then think about what sort of costs as a family you incur on a typical day. Petrol, school lunches, dinner, bills, etc etc. And that doesn't even begin to account for all the little incidentals. Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt has cleverly put his hand up and declared he will give it a go and report back. Looking forward to hearing about his experiences.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Style notes: Dressing the tween - and other great fashion dramas

I had a vision when I had a little girl - a fashion vision. It would be navy, navy, navy for me...well, for her, maybe with touches of raspberry and other reds and whites. Pink didn't really cross my mind but is most certainly burst across my my front door step very quickly in the shape and form of the many frilly polyester clothes my daugther gravitated to. We found a happy medium, I think, in those early years and now I find myself on the threshold of yet another great fashion trasition - the modern tween. These girls have clear ideas of what they want. As someone who has occasionally forayed into bits and pieces of fashion journalism and has always loved it, I hope I have imbued her with some appreciation of the art of fashion. But what she chooses to do with it at such an impressionable age is another thing. Truth is, this age daunts me. Much of the choices on the market I find are versions of women's clothing, with motifs and cuts with way too much attitude for young kids. So I am slowly finetuning an approach to dressing a tween which hopefully satisfies my vision as well as's hoping! Finding dresses in great styles and fabrics which are still in essence, girls dresses I find I stick to a couple of great labels and then supplement with fun little sun frocks picked up at places like Cotton On Kids and Gumboots. One of my favourite labels is One Red Fly, an Australian label which make the most divine girls clothes in vibrant stunning patterns and colours. I have included a couple of pictures of some of their dresses I have kept even though my daughter has outgrown them! They are so lovely they look beautiful draped on hangers on her wall. Tees and basics I like to source out cotton sleeping gear amid the great sea of polyster pjs out there. Recently found great top and bottom pjs in packs for around a tenner at K-mart. As for t-shirts, I stick to plain solid colours and avoid those with text on them for children - that way they look great under anything and my daughter is not a walking 'statement.' Jeans Love the Next website for denim in all colours for kids. FOr locals, take a look at another fave of mine - the Little by Little boutique in Black Rock where Helen presents a fabulously well picked lineup of children's clothing every season. Visit:

Style notes: Nail love

I first discovered Butter London nail lacquer at a pharmacy in Byron Bay. In true northern NSW style, they were stocked because they are one of the rare nail products on the market which don't contain many of the usual harmful ingredients. For me, that was a huge appeal. But what drew me then and keeps drawing me back is the almost candy like nature of the colours. So beautiful I could try them all. I now find them stocked at lots of little boutiques all over Melbourne. Take a look at the website for some serious colour temptation.

Thursday, 29 November 2012


The Beaumaris North Primary School Christmas boutique markets is an event which has been growing steadily each year. Put together by some creative mums with a great eye for stylish goods, it's a great spot to get the Christmas shopping kickstarted. It's on tonight from 4-7pm at Beaumaris North Primary School, Wood Street, Beaumaris.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Home & Hearth: My 'greening' thumbs

My gardening journey began about ten years ago, although it began primarily indoors. I was one of those people who used to love devouring gardening and design books, but had no idea how to actually transform my own patch, which at the time consisted on a small courtyard.

These days I am addicted. I love everything about the garden, it's colour, texture, scent....and the fact it changes every day.

After stumbling out of bed and attending to the dietary needs of my brood, one of my first daily tasks is to take a stroll around my newly planted and designed front garden and just take a peak at what's doing. Amazingly I can usually see changes happening every day.

I also love the fact that almost everything about this space is it is my own construction. Apart from bringing in two guys to construct my compacted sand pathway, I have planted every plant, a process which has provided immense satisfaction in a kind of meditative way.

This area of the garden was just six months ago a patch of dying lawn with a few exotics (read azaleas and other totally impractical plants).

I've filled it with Australian grasses, kangaroo paws, grevilleas, native hibiscus, mini flowering gums and banksias. When it started to flower this spring I also realised I had planted mostly white and purple flowering plants. I love the crispness of white blooms in a garden and the mix of pale and deep purples work really well with our bluestone fence.

There's a lot to go and a whole backyard to do, but I'm amazed just how much this area already looks like it has been here for years.....

I will post more 'macro' shots soon....

Thursday, 1 October 2009

A return from the wilderness

OK it's been so long between snippets on this site - the urge, time and ability to post was somehow lost amongst all the other daily demands.
So to mark the return to Baysidemama being an active site, here's a pic of another fresh face - our new household member!'