You know what I like? When you pay for a service and it is provided well or you buy something and it works for purpose without any dramas. Goods and services are a bit like a mixed bag of lollies when you are new to a town. You have to try a whole lot of different kinds to figure out which ones you like. You fall in love with some and taste them regularly and others you will leave for someone else. People have different tastes too so some people like something and others will be totally displeased. If you get desperate you might end up consuming something you don’t love but I guess that is life sometimes. As you spend more time (and money) the selection is more like making a trip to the local corner store/milk bar; you get to select the individual lollies and weed out the unpalatable ones. Even in a town of Ballarat’s size there are the good the bad and the ugly which why I am a firm believer in celebrating the good.
In my search for lunch box fillers I did make a trip to visit Ballarat Brew Centre, located in quaint green corner house in Ripon Street South. Not that I was looking to send my child with some brew to kinder but they sell loads of flours, grains and bread mixes as well as honey, cheese making supplies and yogurt cultures. I don’t mind the kids having baked goodies, both savoury and sweet and I am lucky the kids still like cooking with me (I will make the most of it while it lasts) so I try to include good quality ingredients in them so that I can maximise the nutrients they do get. A trip to the Brew Centre is filled with opportunity to fill the pantry and to cook and create. I have only been served by Russell, the owner and he is really great; very knowledgeable about the products and willing to help with anything. Not pushy either which I liked and he often speaks very highly of his wife and her cooking/creating skills. I would encourage anyone to visit and get some goodies. I know it isn’t as convenient as the supermarket but you just never know what you might find or how you might be inspired. Plus, it is local.
Another local gem is Tilly Mint. This little shop is fun. It is fresh. It is inviting. They have a kids area and are welcoming to children. They stock goodies for children after all; gifts, toys, clothing and hair accessories. A lot of which is sourced locally by some very clever people. I could go bananas in here, although you might need a loan if you go too nuts, it is lovely to know you are supporting those local small business owners. On our last visit we got some lovely hair clips and a head band for my nearly one year old (where did that time go???) which are just beautiful. My four year old spent his time at the counter talking to the gentleman owner. They were telling each other knock knock jokes and discussing all things numbers which was making me smile. Little miss two just wanted to touch everything but Lynnie, the shop owner, was not perturbed at all. How refreshing! She spoke to my daughter calmly and with kindness. I am always on edge when I shop with kids, especially in such a beautifully presented space but they could not have made us feel any more welcomed. Once we had made our selections the kids were able to choose a button to go on the gorgeous gift wrapping and then left with a lollipop in hand. What a pleasant outing.
Speaking of kids growing up, with my middle daughter being a big sister and having to move into a big bed to make room in the cot for her little sister I was keen to create her a bedroom space that would reflect her new role as ‘big sister’ and no longer the baby of the family. Now, to say I had no styling ability would be an understatement. Seriously, I am completely useless so I needed help. There is an incredibly engaging piece of art in the waiting room of the Obstetrics office I attended while pregnant with the kids and I have always loved it. It has really lovely pastels and I could sit and look at it for hours. I don’t know much about art but I do know when I love something and I really love it. I knew I couldn’t have it so I found out who the artist was and made contact. Wow. Lauren Layton Art didn’t disappoint. I gave her a very wobbly brief, basically something for my little girls room that she would love but could grow with and with beautiful colours. Not much to go on by she was so delightful to deal with. IN LOVE. Love the lady, love the artwork, love the service. I felt like I could ‘style’ (I use this term very loosely) her room around the picture and I couldn’t be happier. There are so many great talented people in Ballarat and I think I am a whole lot in love with this little sweetie and plan to retaste.