Shop here: Preston Artist Market, Melbourne

Preston Artist Market – PAM LANE
Corner Murray Rd and Cramer St, Preston
http://www.pamlane.com.au/

I said it a year ago; the hipsters are on the move. Real estate is running out in the Fitzroy/Collingwood/Brunswick areas, so the young, cool and enterprising are moving outwards, and creating some amazing spaces and opportunities in the process. Look at High St, Northcote and Thornbury to start off with, which is now home to some beautiful homes, apartments, shops and eateries now (like Sookie La La and Lievita), places that take what they do seriously and are really making big efforts to put out good food to the community, as well as big new food truck park Welcome to Thornbury.

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Move a little further out, and even Preston, the area I spent so much of my childhood in, is getting a little bit nice and fancy now. It wasn’t like that 30 years ago. Back then, it was factory after factory, run down pubs filled with bums, crappy little milk bars on street corners with piles of trash out the front. Fine dining options were McDonald’s or Hungry Jacks; now, we’ve got some seriously amazing food, places like Chew Burgers, Boundary Espresso, Cheshire, Chumanchu, hell even another food truck park.

Even little old Preston Market, the place I used to visit with my grandparents when I stayed with them on school holidays, is getting a bit of a make over with the addition of shiny new PAM Lane – the Preston Artist Market. From the crew that brought us the Rose Street Artist Market (another favourite of mine), this little corner of the Preston Market has been created as a space for makers to “create and sell their wares in the one location.”

It’s not just a space to sell; while the market is only open to the public four days a week (Wednesdays – Saturdays), stall holders have access to their spaces on Mondays and Tuesdays, too. From Pam Lane themselves,

The best part is, we’re on the lookout for all types of makers to fill the space and showcase to a huge market audience! Want to open a pop-up shop? Here’s your chance. Need more space to get creative and make your products? We have just the spot!

Each studio can be customised as you see fit and has great lighting and access to power.

What this means in effect is that you’re going to be able to find gorgeous hand crafted jewellery and one off pieces of artwork, sold by the creative souls who are actually making them. And it’s not just homewares and art; you can get yourself some fancy coffee down there now, too. And chocolate. Oh my goodness. Wawa Chocolatier has set up shop down at PAM Lane, and they probably need to be your first stop. I’m a lucky lady and was a little bit spoilt when my husband dropped in and picked me up a block of balsamic salted caramel dark chocolate, and that stuff is MAGIC!

I’m down there every Friday night to do my grocery shopping, so now that PAM Lane is officially open to the public, I think I’m gonna need to start budgeting a little more for groceries/a treat-yoself slush fund…

Photo Journal: Preston Market, Melbourne

I can’t believe I haven’t thought to bring my camera along before, but I thought it was about time to give some love to one of my favourite places in Melbourne; the Preston Market!

I used to visit the market pretty often as a kid with my grandparents – there are a lot of Italians in the market, both as vendors and buyers. I remember trailing Nonna and Nonno while they spoke to store owners, catching up on the latest gossip while purchasing their fresh produce. I loved it 🙂

Now, I visit every week with my husband, to do our grocery shopping. While I still have to visit supermarkets for some staples like milk, dog food, some toiletries, those sorts of things, I can’t imagine ever going back to buying all of my fruit and veggies and meat at a supermarket anymore! The quality is unbelievably better, as are the prices, not to mention the experience of the market atmosphere itself. I’m a huge market lover, and always make a point on my travels to visit as many as possible – I’m pretty lucky that I can get that same experience so close to home, too!

The fruit and veggie section is always my first stop…

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I absolutely LOVE the deli section!!! Tasty cold cuts, more cheeses than you can poke a stick at, and the incredible selection of antipasti… those are the tastes of my childhood!

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The meat section is a carnivore’s dream. You can get anything and everything there, up to and including internal organs, pigs trotters, tripe, the absolute works! I like to be organised and write up my grocery list before I get there, but sometimes the best way to go about it is to find an incredible cut of meat and plan the rest of the meal around it!

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The seafood is pretty fantastic too – my Nonno Giovanni (dad’s dad) hosts an enormous, traditional Italian seafood feast each year on Christmas eve – I’m talking lobster, calamari, prawns, the whole shebang. Anyway, he gets his seafood here every year, placing his order ahead of time, so he can roll in the morning of the feast to collect his fresh bounty.

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One of the not-so-traditional places in the market that I’m a big fan of is the health food store – I visit this place every week to stock up on the most fantastic organic oats I’ve ever eaten, as well as chia seeds and cacao nibs. They have a truly fantastic range of other supplies that can often be hard to find and/or quite expensive – quinoa, coconut sugar, dried figs, and almost every type of flour you can think of. AND the prices are top notch!

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But my favourite part of the market? The fact that it’s a place to meet and eat and relax and enjoy life. This table with the 6 old guys literally stopped me in my tracks and made me smile so much – you see it in markets around the world, the older generation sitting around and enjoying some local food together, catching up on the good old days, speaking their own languages, and completely oblivious to everything else going on around them.

It’s a genuine and truly beautiful scene, there’s not much more to be said about it… this is why I love markets. Yeah, the food is always amazing there, the prices are always great, but it’s also where you experience life, real life with all it’s flaws and imperfections that add up to a perfect scene like this 🙂

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Photo Journal: The old buildings of Preston & Northcote (2014)

I’ve been sick with the flu for a week and a half. Second time in a month. Husband and I usually go for a pretty long walk (around 12km on average) most Sundays to and from a breakfast or brunch spot. Last weekend was the first time in over a week I’d had the energy to actually do anything, and also the first time it hasn’t really been raining in a while, so we decided to head out for a walk and a feed. That review is coming up soon.

In the mean time, I quite enjoyed my time being let lose for a 10km walk in the fresh air, and really noticed for the first time that there are some really beautiful old buildings along High Street, spanning the Preston and Northcote suburbs. A lot of them now have shiny new signage for new businesses that have popped up, but there are still hints of the good old days to be seen. More still have that retro, vintage, gorgeously run down and dilapidated look to them. They’re all little bits of history, though. Here are some snaps I took and played around with on the VSCOcam last weekend…

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