Geelong Blogs & Bloggers

12 May

If you’re like me and devour content like it’s a marshmallow infused cronut, you may have discovered the lack of  bloggers with klout from down this way.

Marketers targeting the region could use bloggers with influence in the region. Bloggers who have a uniquely individual voice and focus on all things local. For a while we were delighted by the  beautiful Oh! Hello Geelong blog, the discovery of a new town by  “two girl who were not from here” [Geelong], however after its creators Laura Blythman and Penny Phipps left town the blog fell into disrepair. It now seems to have been invaded by nasty code (thus why I haven’t linked to it here). Such a shame.

We have seen a few foodie blogs emerge including The Geelong Manual which give us the cool guide to great food and drink in town. Tells us where to hang, be seen and most importantly, how the coffee holds up!

The Life of Clare is also a relatively new blogger in the region. Via her pretty blog, Clare shares her green and frugal adventures on the Bellarine.

Geelong Fashionista is a fashion and lifestyle blog with styling and fashion finds and ideas. A great blog, however for the most part content is not centred around Geelong. Look back through the posts and you will find Geelong content, but as the site lacks a search field or a Geelong category tag, we find it hard to add this to our Geelong blogs list.

Mama Geelong is the go to blog bible for many mothers however unfortunately the updates are few and far between.

We like what Sequence Digital are doing with the Wholesome Fun blog, however with the branding on every image and in the sidebar it loses that individally blogger voice and vibe.

If you know a blog that fits that criteria and it didn’t make our tiny list, then hola out loud and we’ll investigate!

 

 

Five of the Best Espresso Martinis in Geelong

19 Jun

Espresso Martini GeelongWhat better sort of post for a Friday than one about Cocktails. Surely one of the Kings of the Cocktail list has to be the Espresso Martini. With it’s rich coffee bean hit served in a chilled Martini glass, topped with foaming rich goodness and a subtle coffee bean or two for decorative purposes it’s after dinner Apéritifs at their best! But where is Geelong should one head for such treats? We’re done the leg work and tracked down the Top 5 Espesso Martini’s in town.

Tulip
Pakington St, Geelong West

We’re always impressed with the wine knowledge and cocktail skills of the guys and girls behind the bar at Tulip. Order up an Espresso Martini here and you won’t be disappointed.

Denny’s Kitchen
66 Brougham Street Geelong

Relative newcomer in the city Denny’s Kitchen has the goods on the cocktail mixing. The great vibe, good food and rollicking atmosphere make this a go to destination. Its likely coffee runs in the veins of this authentically Italian eatery, and top notch coffee is a perfect way to start off a very decent Espresso Martini. Be prepared to enjoy a strongly brewed, full flavoured Espresso Martini.

Opium Bar
James St, Geelong.

This place is made for Cocktails so its no surprise to find a great choice of interesting mix ups confronts you. If you decide to opt for the classic Espresso Martini rather than opting for one of their tantalising, unusual creations you’ll be served up a delightful, professionally prepared mix. You can tell the pros come out to play at this little, dimly lit cocktail bar.

If you’re up for trying a few other cocktails we can also recommend the Lemon & Sugar Pancake – it’s quite extraordinary how exactly like a Lemon and Sugar Pancake this cocktail tastes!

Dive Bar
84a Lt Malop Street

The Espresso Martini here is as decent as you’ll get, if you’re not a coffee fan you can try their Chocolotini – the chocolate lovers Martini.

Gin & Co
30 Aberdeen St, Geelong West

If you like your bars refined, finely furnished and dimly lit then make tracks for Gin & Co. An impressive Cocktail list awaits. Here they serving up an Espresso Martini with classic ingredients and prepared by someone who obviously knows their way around both a coffee machine and cocktail bar.

Special Mention:

An impressive cocktails menu awaits at Mr Umamis on Pakington St and we were thrilled to see (and try) a few unusual cocktail combinations. However, as they don’t currently have an Espresso Martini on their drinks menu (hint hint!) they didn’t make this list. But high fives for some great, inventive cocktails – we’ll be back soon!

Fancy a spot of Second Hand & Vintage Shopping in Geelong?

8 Jan
Vintage, Junk & Second Hand Shops Geelong

Henderson’s Vintage Warehouse Geelong

Sometimes the best treasures come from things someone else has thrown away. We love a bit of junk shop digging and though you might to, so we’ve listed the best second-hand and vintage stores we’ve come across.

Barwon Booksellers If books are your bag then Barwon Booksellers is your little slice of second-hand heaven. Frequented by locals and has fans from far and wide, Barwon Booksellers is a second hand bookshop institution. Find them at James St, Geelong and also Hesse St Queenscliff. http://www.barwonbooksellers.com.au/

Relative New Comer Geelong Vintage Market is a huge shed full of vintage, rustic and second hand delights. Be careful though, with over 60 stalls and 200 square metres of footage, you could be here for a while. Lucky there is an onsite cafe to keep you sustained! http://www.geelongvintagemarket.com.au/

If you’re an Op Shop bargain hunter then the Salvo’s Op Shop Bus is for you. For $10 bucks the bus will wander you along thrift Shops in Leopold and Ocean Grove and the Salvo Store in Drysdale. http://salvos.org.au/bellarinepeninsula/available-services/salvo-thrift-shops/salvos-op-shop-tours/

The Mill Markets are a collection of permanent stallholders offering a range of vintage, retro and refurbished treasures. 114 Bellarine Highway, Newcomb http://www.millmarkets.com.au/

If you love ebay but miss the frivolous wandering of isles viewing random items then check out the Geelong Tender Centre. You’ll find a fair bit of household knick knacks, but dig deep and you may uncover a vintage find or two http://www.tendercentre.com/gtc/

Vintage Trader was a mega treasure trove of rustic industrial styled vintage delights when it traded from it North Geelong premises, sadly now it trades only via its Facebook page. However we’ve noticed they don’t seem to update regularly which leaves us all pining for more vintage treasures. https://www.facebook.com/vintagetradergeelong

A visit to How Bazaar is an exciting adventure even if you don’t manage to take home a treasure of two. Packed inside this shed is an amazing collection of second hand treasures. Unlike many second hand markets How Bazaar is operated by a single owner. Actually their website is pretty impressive too http://www.howbazaarantiques.com.au/

I.H.R Industrial Antiques, Slevin St, Geelong. We haven’t had a chance to check this one out but their wares look impressive. https://www.facebook.com/pages/IHR-Industrial-Antiques-vintage-Geelong/1435082286778041

We think we’ve left the best to last. If you like your second hand shops big, dirty and bursting at the seams then Hendersons Vintage Warehouse is your go to destination. A cross between and industrial junk yard and a vintage warehouse at Henderson’s you’ll find industrial building materials, architectural salvage and warehouse items. Find them at 20 Corio Quay Road, North Geelong.

Are you a second hand lover? Maybe you’ve got another to add to this list, comment below to let us know!

Five great bookshops in the Geelong region

14 Nov

Once long ago Geelong was home to a magnificent bookshop called Griffiths. There was ample space to wander, happy knowledgeable staff, well stocked shelves, delightful children’s area and all this was housed inside a historically divine building. If you’re a bookshop lover like us then you’re likely wondering where this treasure is? Well, sad news, this store is no more.

Griffiths Book shop Geelong

Griffiths Bookstore Geelong. Image: intown.com.au

Geelong’s bookshop culture was harmed when international book giant Borders swept into town. Borders survived in Geelong just long enough to kill off a few of our smaller, quaint and loved bookstores. Whilst Griffiths may have said goodbye we’ve hunted down a five wonderful independent bookstores that Geelong has managed to hang onto.

Patons Situated in Newtown this popular bookshop is a favourite among locals. There is always friendly staff on hand to assist with book selection or to help track down that title that you can’t quite recall the name of! 3/329 Pakington St, Newtown VIC

The Bookshop at Queenscliff  If we could live inside a bookshop this is the one we would choose. Set in the quaint seaside town of Queenscliff and just down the road from spectacular Vue Grand, this spacious bookshop has an interior straight out of the pages of Vogue Living. With floor to ceiling bookshelves (drool!) and over-sized tables the bookshop is so welcoming and well styled that everyone wants to stay just that little  bit longer.
Where: 44 Hesse St, Queenscliff VIC

Torquay Books If you were ranking bookshops by their knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication, Torquary Books would be high on the list. A delightful bookshop to whittle away many hours as your browse the shelves. 9 Gilbert St, Torquay VIC

Itty Bitty Book Van Kid’s delight in this 1950’s vintage caravan which has been converted into a pop-up bookshop. Travelling the state, but thankfully calls the Geelong region home so it can be regularly found in the region. See website for pop up locations.

Children's Bookshop Geelong

Image: PhotoArt Geelong

Book Grove This light filled, locally owned haven was launched in 2009 and going strong. Set along Ocean Groves main shopping strip, the store boasts a wide selection of titles including latest releases, junior fiction, young adult fiction and children’s favourites. 1/73 The Terrace Ocean Grove VIC

Sometimes you just don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. Lets hope these independent book institutions continue to be supported so the are around for years to come.

Have you visited any of these? Do you know of any that we’ve missed? We’d love to hear your bookstore stories.

Our top 5 kid friendly cafes in the region

11 Sep

Whenever you pull a list like this together you inevitably leave off someones favourite, so note that this list is OUR top places. Feel free to add your favourites via the comments, and maybe they’ll become a favourite of ours one day soon too!

1. Cafe Botticelli

Once a bustling restaurant styled venue in Pakington St, Cafe Botticelli has reinvented itself as modern, funky cafe on Minerva Rd in Herne Hill. With their recent edition of playground space ‘Jabi’s Garden‘, undercover seating for around 16, great coffee and decent parking and you can bet you this reinvented version of Cafe Botticelli is the new mothers group favourite.

2. Little Creatures Brewery

Whenever we suggest this one as a great place to meet with the kids we’re thrown a sideways glace indicating we may have gone a little cray-cray. But stay with us. Think sandpits, concrete floors, easy going vibe, wide open spaces and food and coffee on the go at all hours and you are starting to see that this is no regular beer swilling brewery.

3. Cafe Moby (Torquay)

Provided you don’t mind a big black crow or two practically sitting on your shoulder whilst you devour some lunch, the back yard at Moby’s can be an absolute haven for kids and mums who need a little cafe outing. A rockwall, open space, casual outside dining and a climbing friendly playground make Mobys a top place to reacquaint yourself with a coffee and grab some peace and quite from your little ones!

4. Portarlington Bakehouse

Did someone say bakery? Hell yes and a kids playground in a well spaced out rear yard. These are the makings of a great place to head with the kids. Take a newspaper (or your e-reader if that’s your thang!) as its likely you’ll get a little reading time as the kids amuse themselves!

5.Barwon Edge Boathouse

We can’t quite decide if we love or hate that the fact that this cafe playground is some distance from cafe tables. It does mean you don’t hear the squabbles and screeching of 10+ busy kids, but it also means if you have to attend to the kid version of WW3 then you do have to leave your coffee and make your way over to the play space. That point aside, Barwon Edge is a decent spot to hang with some friends and enjoy a coffee or a meal or both. Park down river a way and you can even build in some exercise into your coffee catch up, which of course just means you get to have a guilt free muffin with your coffee!

What’s your favourite kid friendly cafe in the Geelong region?

If these walls could talk

13 Nov

bluestoneIf these bluestone blocks could talk I’d wonder what they say? Would they elaborate on the chatter of school children which they had listening into over the years as they stood as school walls. Perhaps they could reveal controversial dealings and questionable connections from when they housed council chambers, perhaps they would tell of sporting triumphs and disappointments from fans as they watched their footy team on the ground at Geelong West, where they reside today.

These bluestone block began their life as the walls of Mowbray’s Free Church School which was located in Pakington Street Geelong West. Mr Joseph Dibbs Mowbray had been conducting classes in Preston Street, but as student numbers grew, a bigger premises was required. Much community support and funding was collected to establish Mowbray’s School in 1867.

In 1875, again bigger premises was sort for the school, which by now was known as Ashby State School. The school was relocated to its present day location on Lawton Ave. The former school-house, complete with its bluestone brick walls were auctioned off, won by the newly formed Borough of Geelong West for use as council chambers.

The building continued in use as council chambers, it was remodelled a number of times including one which included the addition of a clock tower in 1884.

As the escalating councillors egos demanded more elaborate premises, it was eventually agreed upon to fund a new Town Hall. Whilst there had been motions to again remodel the premises, and despite many concerns regarding the financing of the project, the popular movement was for an elaborate new premises. In 1924 the former school-house and first location of council chambers for Geelong West came tumbling down. In that same year council moved into their new elaborate premises, where it continues to reside today.

But for the bluestone bricks this was not the end of the road.

As it happens, the council had a number of financial obligations, including a recreational reserve in Church St (today’s Geelong West Oval). Concurrently, a new grandstand at the West Oval was being planned. With the purse strings within council now pulled tight due to a severe dent in the financials cause mainly by the underfunded new Town Hall, it was decided that cost savings could be made if the bluestone from the former town hall building were transported to the reserve and used. These bricks along with some quality materials which had been acquired from the old market which had stood on the site of the new town hall, would form the new West Oval Grandstand. The Grandstand was completed in May 1925.

So next time you wander down Weddel Rd, listen carefully as you pass the grandstand and perhaps the bluestone walls will tell you their secrets!

Bluestone | Geelong West Town Hall | Mowbrays Free Church School

 

Images: Geelong Heritage Centre

References
The Ashby Story | A History of Geelong West. (1978) Seaton, G. Geelong West City Council
Geelong West – 100 Years (nd), Seaton, G.

 

10 free things to do with kids in Geelong

5 Aug

Geelong Playground - Free activity for kids

1. Playgrounds
Geelong has a wide variety of playgrounds to suit kids of all ages. Many playgrounds have BBQ facilities, nearby public toilets and plenty of tables and shade. Here’s just a couple of great ones:

Sparrow Park:
A great park located in Geelong West. This park has the usual swings, slides and climbing things. But it also has a mini maze, a mini skatepark that is great for kids with scooters and a basketball and netball ring. Plenty of parking, shade and public toilets. Could use some more tables, so if you’re headed here its best to throw in the picnic rug!

Rippleside Park:
A huge community built timber  playground with swings, slides, cubby spaces, sand pits, balance beams and climbing equipment. There is heaps of parking, public toilets nearby and a BBQ facility not to far away. This adventure playground it set up on a huge park allotment with plenty of wide open space so bring the football and be ready for a kick once the kids are finished with the playground. Oh, and its by the beach so if the playing and football doesn’t wear the kids out, a spot of shell collecting on the beach is just a stroll away. (They will be feverishly looking for ages – there’s hardly any shells on that bit of beach!)

2. Visit a library
There are thirteen libraries in the Geelong region (with a few more on the way). All these libraries offer a number of story time sessions each week, catering to different ages and totally free of charge. See the Geelong Libraries website for session times and locations.

3. Art Gallery
conveniently located just beside the City Library, the Geelong Gallery is a great, but often forgotten place to take the kids. The Geelong Gallery is not overly large making it ideal for small attention spans. Kids will be captivated by the large artworks, abstract pieces and the intriguing sculptures. Best of all, entry is free.

4. Feed the animals
Watch the snakes, chickens and birds being feed every Saturday at Best Friends Pet Superstore.

5. Stop and smell the flowers
Kid love to run amongst the trees, flowers and bush scrub – so why not take them to a place where these things are ample Wombat Gully Plant Farm. Mum and Dad can plan an attack on their own garden at the same time.

6. Hit the shops
Ok, so shopping with kids can be a recipe for disaster but time it right and you can join in the free kids mornings held every second Tuesday at Westfield Shopping Centre. Music, dancing,  storytelling even card making are all part of the Free fun!

7. Toot Toot
So often we are rushing here and rushing there that we hardly have time to stop and watch the world go by. The Geelong Train station is always a hive of activity with people rushing for trains, dragging assortment of luggage and people buying tickets. Perch yourself on the top of the wooden bridge that crosses the tracks and watch the activity as the trains roll in and out of the station.

8. Lap it up
This one calls for a bit of warm weather, but when the sun is shinning there’s no better free kids space than Eastern Beach.  A paddle in the waters, a picnic on the sand and a stroll along the boardwalk is some of the best free summertime fun a kid can have.

9. Shoot some hoops
A great way to burn some energy is to grab your basketball and head for the hoops. Round the world and one on one are just a couple of fun ways to tire out the troublemakers! Nine parks in Geelong have basketball ring facilitates, or you could just head to your local primary school.

10. A great catch!
Grab your fishing line, some stale bread and head to the water. Piers along Western Beach, Corio Bay or the jetty’s set up along the Barwon River are a great place to angle for the catch of the day. Sunday mornings at Barwon Valley Park you can even catch (terrible pun!) the Fly-fishing Club of Geelong giving out free fly-fishing lessons.

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