Out grazing

Top Paddock

I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m slightly obsessed with breakfast. I live in an area rich with great cafes and I do my very best to try them all out. I’m also lucky that because I work shift work I get to start later than most people and eating out at 10am on a weekday is a reasonably common occurrence. No battling weekend crowds to get a table at some of the best places in the inner east.

My breakfast of choice tends to be a very simple scrambled eggs on sourdough toast with none of the trimmings, then a cappuccino and an OJ. If avocado on toast with eggs, French toast or pancakes make an appearance on the menu then I’m always interested and I haven’t met many corn fritter and smoked salmon combinations I haven’t liked. Oh and don’t get me started on the magic that is hollandaise sauce…

When I was on night shift last month my reward each morning was having breakfast out. I finished at 7am or just before, meaning I could access some of the best cafes in Melbourne without dealing with the queues. I also realised how many places don’t open at 7am or earlier – there was no way I was going to hang out waiting for a place to open at 7.30am because I wanted to get in and get out. Parking was an absolute breeze too.

One of the places I visited (twice) during the week was Top Paddock, which sits on Church Street right about the Richmond/South Yarra divide. It’s one of those places people rave about, with ordinary punters and hipsters and Chapel St princesses alike in raptures. I’d been there once before about a year ago and at 10.30am on Tuesday morning it was full to the brim and I had to wait for a seat. Not really my style. I had something called the drunken gingerbread which was beautifully displayed and tasted wonderful but the whole experience didn’t add up to something I was desperate to repeat.

I decided to give it another crack during my night shift tour and both times I went there the food was magnificent, the service was outstanding and I was one of the first people in there, meaning I had space to relax. On my first visit I had the blueberry and ricotta hotcake (above) and was expecting a stack – instead I got a single, cakey pancake doused in fresh berries, seeds and double cream. I got about halfway through before giving up but I would say it’s one of the best and best looking breakfasts I’ve ever had. The second time I went with the eggs benedict which uses ham hock along with the standard poached eggs, English muffins and hollandaise sauce. They piled the hock on and it was so moist and so beautifully cooked that it almost melted in the mouth.

Top Paddock is one of those places to be seen, though the food and service does live up to its high reputation. It’s the crowds and the queuing that I can’t stand and with so many other options in the area I won’t push myself to go there. However if you’re visiting Melbourne or looking for somewhere to eat on a special occasion – or you’re on a night shift – then I would absolutely recommend a visit.

Top Paddock is at 658 Church Street, Richmond. Open from 7am Mon-Fri and 8am on weekends, closes at 4pm.

The easiest

big easy

big easy swatch

Before I went to Hawaii I made a small list of the things I really wanted to hunt down there in Sephora or drug stores. Pretty much all of it was stuff from brands we don’t get here or products that haven’t arrived, though there were a few bits and pieces that I chose solely because they were incredibly cheap there compared to Australia. Benefit is a great example of that – their stuff is quite accessible here now but the mark up is hideous, so often I’ll look elsewhere for a product.

I’m very much a tinted moisturiser girl on weekends and I knew I wanted to get my hands on Big Easy. Benefit bills it as a ‘multi balancing complexion perfector’ (whatever that means) with SPF and a matte finish. It’s not quite a tinted moisturiser and not really a BB cream. I also liked the idea of the matte finish as I have normal skin that tends oily and I don’t like wearing powder.

It took me a while to get the hang of this stuff but now I absolutely love it. It is incredibly thick as you might be able to tell from the photo above (heavy on the left and blended out on the right) and it took some trial and error to figure out just how much product I needed to use. Too little and it was impossible to blend it all over my face; too much and it gave a mask-like finish. Now I use a little over a half pea-sized amount and add the smallest touch of Revlon Skinlights in Bronze and this is what works for me. I just use my fingers to apply. It gives a nice matte finish and a little more coverage than your standard tinted moisturiser, plus I’m not shiny at 3pm. If you have drier skin then sadly this is not for you at all I don’t think.

Big Easy was around US$36 plus tax at Sephora so I can’t say it was cheap even at American prices, however it’s AUD$55 in Australia at Myer, Adore Beauty etc. You can actually buy from the Benefit website at US prices and they ship to Australia, with free shipping if you spend over $100. Maybe grab and friend and do a joint spree. I’m undecided about whether I’ll get this again as I have quite a few other products in my stash but for now, it’s firmly on my current favourites list.

Things I bought #33 & 55.

asos baseball

Who said that eight ASOS baseball tees is enough? Not me! (Clearly.)

Honestly, I just love these. Well all except the grey one which is some type of poly blend and not as comfortable as the 100 per cent cotton versions. ASOS have slightly changed the cut too and they seem to be a lot longer with more of a curved hem now than the first incarnations.

I am a big sucker for stripes and purple tends to suit my colouring so I knew it was only a matter of time before I caved on this lilac version. It also comes in black/white and red/white though a few sizes are sold out in those. Oh and It’s on sale for a touch over $18 making it a bit of a bargain. I’ve worn this quite a few times to casual dinners or movies with friends and it looks great with jeans and a statement necklace.

The black version is part of what you could say is their ‘core’ range. ASOS does a lot of seasonal colours in this style but black, white and grey seem to be permanent. The black is especially versatile as it works at night with a heap of jewellery and heels but you can wear it with trackies to a café on the weekend.

I have so much love for these as you have probably seen. For around $20 – and usually you can get them far cheaper on sale – they really are a great staple to have in the wardrobe.

Thoughts of the week – 27/7


1. GO THE TAHS! My beloved NSW Waratahs beat the ACT Brumbies tonight to make it into the Super Rugby final. We’ve never won the competition so fingers crossed this is our year.

2. I also went to the AFL today to see Sydney play Hawthorn at the MCG. Sadly Sydney lost but it was still a great night out – my friend Jane and I pretty much talked through the whole thing (and checked out the players).

3. I had lunch with my brother through the week as he was down in Melbourne. My new job is a bit more lenient about lunch breaks so I got to take off for an hour and a half and eat a parma in a pub with him.

4. Topshop opened at Emporium in Melbourne this week and like the honey badger, I do not care.

5. Passive aggressive people are the worst.

6. I bought one of those battery pack things today that you can carry around in your back and plug your phone or other device into to charge while you’re out and about. I’m a little bit excited as my iPhone seems to lose charge so quickly these days.

7. I found this site called 20×200 that sells photographic prints and they are amazing – and cheap. There’s couple I’d love to buy.

8. My new work gave me an iPad and an iPhone in my first week and all I’ve used the iPad for is to watch all of the AFL Grill videos and wet my pants laughing.

9. I might have accidentally bought two more dresses from the Matches sale. And two tops from the J.Crew sale. And a skirt from ASOS. But I did get my tax money!

10. Seriously, I’ve been singing the Jersey Boys songs all week. I’m still thinking about what a great movie it was.

Who loves you pretty baby?

jersey boys

Let me start with this – you have to go see this movie. It’s amazing.

I went with a group of friends on Tuesday to see Jersey Boys at the movies and it was one of the best films I’ve seen in the past couple of years. I’ve seen the stage show and liked it but this was even better. It’s just a thoroughly enjoyable two hours filled with great songs and good acting – and I drove to the 24-hour Kmart after I got home just to buy the soundtrack. Plus I’m still singing all the songs.

Clint Eastwood directs and much of the cast is pulled from various incarnations of the stage musical. For those who are unaware, Jersey Boys is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, who has some of the catchiest hits of the 60s. Even if you’re not overly familiar it’s an interesting and engaging story that’s well paced throughout – plus once the songs start you’ll definitely recognise more than a few.

We went and saw it in Gold Class (don’t get me wrong, I like it but I think it’s overrated in general) and I got to sit next to my friend who has seen the show both here and in New York and is going again. I then had the pleasure of listening to her commentate every single song… Though I admit we all re-enacted the dance moves on the way out.


Pout about it

almay 4

almay 5

Almay is another of those brands that doesn’t get a lot of recognition. I’m always interested in their stuff – it’s generally great quality and easy to wear. Nothing fancy, just good solid every day make up and their eye products are often the stand out.

In Australia Almay is stocked by Priceline however they don’t carry the lip products. Which is a shame, because the Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm is fantastic. I picked up the shade Pink Pout in Hawaii and I’m wishing I had of gotten more. The colour range was fairly simple but it was packed with those every day kinda shades that are easy to wear.

Pink Pout is a lovely sheer bright pink that’s not overwhelming on your face and can be applied without a mirror. It feels like a gloss without the stickiness, however as it’s a balm it doesn’t give a huge amount of shine (more like a sheen). It’s really comfortable to wear and though I don’t often get dry lips, I can see why those who do would like this. This has become a bit of a handbag staple for me and again, massive regret that for under US$6 I didn’t get more.

Hopefully these arrive in Australia some time soon otherwise eBay seems to be the only option. Judging by Tamara Mellon’s recent Into the Gloss feature she’s a big fan too so I’m not the only one.

The July mix


Maps - Maroon 5 / Somebody to You – The Vamps featuring Demi Lovato / Don’t - Ed Sheeran / Bartender - Lady Antebellum / Mmm Yeah - Austin Mahone featuring Pitbull / She Came to Give It to You - Usher featuring Nicki Minaj / Break Free - Ariana Grande featuring Zedd / A Sky Full of Stars – Coldplay / Geronimo - Sheppard / If I Could Change Your Mind - Haim / California Love - SomeKindaWonderful / Waves - Mr Probz (Robin Schulz remix) / Sirens - Cher Lloyd / Stay With Me - Sam Smith featuring Mary J Blige / Compass - Lady Antebellum / Merry Go Round - Kacey Musgraves / West Coast - Lana Del Ray / Fever - Black Keys / Here You Come Again - Kacey Musgraves and Katy Perry / Wagon Wheel - Darius Rucker