summer travel guide: frances baker on melbourne
Josephine Frances is the mastermind behind the label Frances Baker, giving new meaning to the term handmade by expertly designing and crafting each creation herself at her home studio in Melbourne, Australia (I currently have a Frances Baker dress in my closet and it's become a fast favorite!). While Melbourne (and the rest of the southern hemisphere, for that matter) are going into their winter season, Josie thankfully agreed to play summer vacation for an afternoon and answer a few questions about her local hotspots. Here she is!
I should preface this by saying that Melbourne is a sprawling city with lots of ground to cover, and personally I tend to stick to my home suburbs in the north as well as the city (downtown for you Northern Americans!), but there is lots of amazing stuff to visit in the south, east and west as well, it's a great place to explore!
Where to eat? When my boyfriend and I were living in the city/downtown, our Sundays used to consist of a lazy late morning breakfast at Jungle Juice, followed by buying our veges for the week at the Vic Market. We no longer trek in to the city to do our groceries, but we do sometimes make the effort for Jungle Juice! The tiny little cafe makes out-of-this-world bagels, and they brew a mighty good tea if you enjoy such a thing. I also quite like De Clieu, Luncheonette and A Minor Place for delicious breakfasts (I think breakfast is probably my favourite meal to go out for). For a cheap lunch in Brunswick, I love the rolls at La Paloma. Melbourne is in a bit of a Mexican craze at the moment, and my boyfriend and I are totally on board. We are obsessed with and completely addicted to Trippy Tacos (I am not the only person to refer to their chips as crack fries). Recently for a special dinner we treated ourselves to a meal at Senoritas, complete with a tequila tasting session, which might just be the most fun meal I've ever had.
Best coffee shop? There are so many coffee shops worth checking out in Melbourne it's a little hard to know where to start, so I shall just mention some of my regular favourites! Coffee drinking is a bit of an obsession here, but being a tea drinker myself i am not particularly knowledgeable on the brown beverage. My caffeine loving housemate Sarah swears by Brother Baba Budan in the city for a good cup, and my other coffee drinking friend Josh makes an almost daily visit to the East Brunswick Project. Personally though I am more interested in the tea and cakes on offer, for which I tend to head to Milkwood, Sweet Source, Little Cupcakes, and Grigons and Orr.
Favorite afternoon excursion? It's a bit cliche, but doing some vege shopping at the Vic Market really is rather fun! In summer I will spend my fair share of afternoons with a picnic in the Carlton or Edinburgh Gardens. It's not really an afternoon trip as you will have to get up early but the Camberwell Market on Sunday mornings is fun, thought the crowds can get pretty crazy later in the morning!
Favorite night time entertainment? For a nice drinking venue I like Meyers Place or the Alderman, and Rooftop is spectacular in summer. I also used to live around the corner from Madame Brussels which I love though I can rarely afford to drink there. When I occasionally go out dancing my all-time favourite is Cherry Bar on a Thursday night for some soul!
Where to shop? My wallet generally confines me to being a window shopper at anywhere other than op shops these days, but I have lots of window shopping favourites. Fitzroy has heaps of great (though often pricey) shops - both vintage and otherwise; I love strolling around Gertrude, Smith and Brunswick Streets! The Lost and Found Market in East Brunswick has plenty of vintage treasures too. I also like places like Mag Nation for magazines, Mr. Kitly for dreamy homewares and such, and Metropolis for books.
Favorite neighborhood? That is so hard! I love Fitzroy for vintage shop browsing and cafes and such, but it can get rather expensive. I love East Brunswick for the shops and bars and cafes up the top end of Lygon Street. I also love Rathdowne village in North Carlton where I used to live for its sweet, friendly community vibe, and I love Coburg where I live now for amazing cheap Turkish food, still decent op shops and beautiful backstreets.
What travel advice would you give to those visiting Melbourne for the first time? As in all travel, going for an aimless wander can always be very fruitful. I find most in Melbourne suburbs have beautiful backstreets to explore! Also, I know most foreigners would tend to associate Australia with summertime and beaches and such. The beaches are definitely pretty lovely, but if you can appreciate the cold without snow, Melbourne is actually pretty awesome in winter too (which we are just coming into now). The city is full of hidden cobblestoned laneways to explore, and I always love sitting in a cosy cafe with a hot drink and doing some people watching.
Thanks, Josie! Check out her blog and shop her collection here.