Friday, 30 October 2009

View from the Forest Floor

Yesterday evening I went to a seminar about design and retailing with my friend Sonia from Bob Boutique. There were some good speakers with a lot of experience gained at Myer, Westfield etc., and some interesting points were made about the way that retail is changing. There was however a lot of talk about how large retailers can capitalise on the popularity of 'ground up' or 'forest floor' retail such as farmer's markets and handmade markets, which seems sad somehow.

I would have liked to hear a presentation from a small shop owner like Sonia, who has been running her Bendigo store for five years already, and has a better understanding of retail than anyone I know. I often wonder why I bother doing what I do, but Sonia is proof that if you love it, you can get your business through those first 3 or 4 years of pure graft to a place where it is thriving. Here are some of the latest pics from Sonia's inspiring store, especially check out Bob's new wrapping paper (used as wallpaper), and lab specimin softies.

Excuse the poor quality of the photos, we had quite a few glasses of wine by the time we returned to the store and it was hot and late!

Talking of hot, today has been a lovely, balmy day in Daylesford. We were inside in a meeting all day with a very creative pair who are helping us to make over our website, but we did escape for lunch at Cliffy's and a post-work Pimms at A Perfect Drop. Vive le weekend!!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Raspberry & Toasted Coconut Muffins


From The Thrifty Kitchen book I wrote about. Mmm, yum. And so easy.

This afternoon I went to visit a pretty place that is potentially extremely very exciting for Lark and our family. Fingers crossed, all will be revealed soon!x

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Do you have any good cauliflower recipes?

Just discovered in the veggie patch...

The world's biggest cauliflower. Help!

Hooked

I don't know what it is, maybe it's the diet, maybe it's just because I am feeling all happy and content and loved, but I am really, really into cooking at the moment. I have been buying all kinds of cookbooks, I just can't stop, if I find a book with some lovely-looking food, a bit of vintage china, some cute photography, I am hooked! You can't get me away from that cash register! Here are three particular favourites that I have bought just this week and have been happily cooking from ...

Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights: Mmmm, comfort food, here we come. But look, it is reasonably healthy too, and certainly good for your soul, yay! And with lovely names like Tawny Granola and Teddy's Lettuce Soup!






Life Is Sweet: I have long been a huge fan and admirer of Hope & Greenwood's Confectionery Emporium in London. Miss Hope and Mr Greenwood make simply the best sweets, in the most delightful packaging. They are also rather charming people. At last they have put some of their secret recipes into a pretty book. Such marvellous delicacies as Rose and Violet Creams, Pulled Butter Toffee, Proper Peanut Brittle, Rhubarb & Custard Crumble Cups, Fluffy Vanilla Marshmallows and Cherry Chapel Hat pegs can be easily made with these splendid recipes.







The Thrifty Kitchen: I picked up this Aussie cookbook in a shop and was hooked. Written by Suzanne and Kate Gibbs (who come from a seriously famous foodie family), it is a warm and lovely guide to cooking beautiful meals in a thrifty and environmentally-conscious way. I have previously bought a lot of books on this topic, ranging from practical 'composting and chooks' books to student recipe books and 'how to use leftovers' books, but this is the first one that has really appealed to me as a foodie mum. It has yummy, family-oriented recipes, a focus on seasonality, and great photos.








I'm off to cook something right now!

Cath Kidston back in stock

The new Cath Kidston book 'Sew!' is back in stock. Our first batch sold out in two days but we have just received a few more copies. Please call the shop on 03 5348 1853 if you'd like to order a copy in the mail ($39 plus freight). We also have 'Make!' and 'Tips for Vintage Style' for Cath fans, as well as some sweet little girl's dresses and a few other pieces.

Please call again!

The Lark website is offline at the moment. We are making some changes to prepare for a big makeover of the site, and the hosting company have managed to lose our site for a while (as always seems to happen when you're doing something like this). But I am assured we will be back on air soon! Any queries, please call the shop on 03 5348 1853.

UPDATE: WE ARE NOW BACK UP AND RUNNING, YAY! PLEASE EXPECT FURTHER INTERRUPTIONS OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS. X

Monday, 26 October 2009

Have you lost your glasses?

A customer left these sunglasses in the Lark shop last week. If they are yours please let me know and I will send them back to you!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

My Place and Yours... the bedside

Here's what is currently at my bedside. Emergency Sex, the book I am reading for my monthly book club. It's about three UN peacekeepers in Somalia, Cambodia and Rwanda during the 1990s. I didn't think I would enjoy reading it but I am. Cup of tea. odd button.

My book pile. I never get enough time to read everything I would like to, so there is always a pile of magazines and books waiting for me by my bedside.

Next to the books is this pretty cabinet. It has some framed fragments of wallpaper that we found under the plaster when we renovated the house, a journal, a glass of water and my favourite perfumes (Daisy for Summer, Chanel 19 for anytime).

What's on your bedside? Play along here. And thanks to Pottymouthmama for this week's theme!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Birthday - Part 1

Party time! A trip to Luna Park in Melbourne for an eight-year-old, his little brother and his three 'besties'.







Lots and lots of fun was had by all.


And the worn-out guests went home with a goody bag and a sticker book. The parents had a large glass of Pimms.

This is only part one of the birthday. There will also be a trip to the movies, a birthday lunch for just the four of us, and a 'family birthday tea' with our extended family and old friends. I love to stretch birthdays out over a few days. After all the months of anticipation it seems a shame for it to be over in one afternoon, don't you think?

Friday, 23 October 2009

Stories

Today was a day of happy endings in our shop. A customer whose baby (now a lively 11-month-old) was born at only 28 weeks and spent 10 weeks in hospital; another customer who could not have children herself but has recently adopted a 3-month-old baby girl born to her autistic niece. And with only one day's notice, not the nine months most of us have, can you imagine? A local family moving back to the country after a year in the city. I also got to cuddle a beautiful 7-week-old girl while her mum shopped. Sigh. Hearing people's stories is an unexpected bonus that I had not even imagined when we decided to open a shop.

PLEASE NOTE: TOMORROW (SATURDAY 24 OCTOBER) THE LARK SHOP WILL BE CLOSED FOR MOST OF THE DAY DUE TO A FAMILY GET-TOGETHER. IT WILL BE OPEN AS USUAL FROM 10.30-4.00 ON SUNDAY.

Ooh La La!

'zer is a French theme in ze Lark shop at ze moment...