Sunday, March 17, 2013

autumn : in surry hills

photos by luisa brimble

Surry Hills is south-east of the CBD, an inner-city suburb with a fabulous personality. It's the perfect place to wander; passed dilapidated terraces, bustling cafes and beer-stained pubs.

Tucked behind the main streets are quiet alleys decorated with pot plants and green. Perhaps the most famous is McElhone Place, commonly referred to as "Cat Alley". Lined with terraces, awnings with scalloped edging, pretty little windows, this alley attracts the local community of cats who weave in and out of pink bougainvillea. Fairy lights hang from above and between the aged steps and doorways are park benches, ever-green succulents and an abundance of herbs, ready-to-pick. As you walk further in you hear classical from the left and jazz from the right, cigarette smoke blends with just-brewed coffee and a local closes his front door, nodding as he leaves. 

It's the stuff of stories, this jigsaw piece of the city - a life-size terrarium. 

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Luisa and I started our day at Bourke St, Bakery - the iconic boulangerie. After coffee and pear pastries we walked Crowne and Bourke St, stopping in front of ivy walls and stable doors for photos. 

If you walk further up Bourke St, towards Redfern, I recommend stopping at St. Jude for lunch. Otherwise you could walk back to Devonshire St and into the rather quaint The Book Kitchen. That's where we met up with Gaby and her blossoming belly to talk baby names, pre-natal yoga and our latest read, The Way of the Happy Woman. If you can get past the hippy title you'll find gentle and beautiful wisdom in this book. Written as a seasonal guide, author Sara Avant Stover offers simple yet profound tips for a wholesome, healthy and happy lifestyle.

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I'm wearing indus oversized cardigan c/o Lilya, top by kissincussin (a few seasons ago), pants by Secret South from StyleMilk, alera ballerina shoes c/o Lilya, mala beads* from the ashram, ingenue bag c/o Elf, anywhere sunglasses by Karen Walker (found for a steal on ebay!). 

*mala beads are meditation garlands used by Buddhists, Hindus and yogis. They are often used for chanting or meditation but can also be worn as gentle reminders - of a good intention or sankalpa (positive affirmation). Malas always feature 108 beads - a spiritually significant number. When I wear mine I'm more aware of my breath - a simple blessing. 

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