The Australian Drinks Festival – 2016

If you’ve outgrown your usual drink of choice (or decided drinking Espresso Martinis in Melbourne has become too normcore) then get ready to shake things up, (pun intended) raise your glass and say cheers this weekend at The Australian Drinks Festival.

Formerly known as the Top Shelf Festival, the premium drinks festival will see lots of cocktail shaking, wine sipping, beer skulling and dare we say shots poured as the two day event returns to Melbourne this weekend. Collect your Australian Drinks Festival passport and travel through stalls in the ‘Bar Safari’ sampling featured drinks and specials on offer from top Melbourne cocktail bars and restaurants or take part in one (or a few) of the extensive selection of tastings, classes and presentations on offer. Sit in on a Tequila Masterclass with Nick Peters from Melbourne’s Mamasita restaurant and bar or a Sensory Blindfolded Beer Tasting run by ‘Beer Diva’ Kirrily Waldhorn. Learn the Art of the Martini with Phillip Jones, aka ‘the Martini Whisperer’ and taste some of the world’s finest gins with ‘Gin Queen’ Caroline Childerley.

Participate in a Vodka and Food Pairing class or sign up to learn how to distil your own gin with McHenry Distillery. Visit the world’s smallest bar, ‘The Monkey’s Shoulder’ or make your way through the wide selection of premium and craft liquors, spirits, whiskies, beers, ciders and wines available directly from the distillers, winemakers and brewers exhibiting in the ‘Boutique Market’. Then once you’ve found your favourite drinks of choice, sit back and sip away in the wine garden surrounded by local food trucks and live music.

The Australian Drinks Festival

Saturday 16th July 2016 12pm – 7pm

Sunday 17th July 2016 12pm – 6pm

Venue: The Royal Exhibition Building, 9 Nicholson Street, Carlton, VIC 3053


Advance tickets cost $45 or $50 on the door.

Tickets available to purchase online now.

For more information on the Australian Drinks Festival, visit their website at


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Muse of the Month November 2013: The Lindy Charm School Headmistress – Chrissy Keepence

Chrissy Keepence

Chrissy Keepence

Miss Chrissy is Melbourne Darling’s Muse of the Month not only because she is a refreshingly fine example of embodying grace and lady-like charm in today’s modern world, but because of her inspiring passion for empowering girls of all ages to enhance their own, natural outer & inner beauty through the best of vintage styling, etiquette and manners.

I was lucky enough to attend one of her engaging and fun filled vintage workshops by The Lindy Charm School of Girls (review coming soon) and Chrissy shared with me some personal reflections and thoughtful words of advice on vintage styling in the modern world:

Why do you think there is suddenly such a cherished appreciation for all things vintage?

Not only do the eras between the 1920’s to the 1960’s epitomise the glamour, style & the razzle dazzle we all crave in our lives, but these eras represent times of strength, stoicism, innovation, rebellion, fun and edgy designs in hair, makeup, clothing, ideals and lifestyle.

Instead of looking to be just ‘on trend’ many individuals now look to be individual, different and cutting edge and vintage styling ticks all those boxes as most vintage is individual. However, I do think the media recycles it into the mainstream every few years but this gains exposure for the next generation who may otherwise not always get on board. In this case, I think it is a good thing that every few years a Hollywood Starlet walks the red carpet in a Vintage Gown with Old World (as they call it) hair and makeup and just like that, Vintage styling is popular and in demand once again. Lastly, the increase in education and interest surrounding the concern to save our environment leads individuals to more likely take on the old-fashioned ‘make do and mend’ mentality. As a result, the re-use, re-cycle and up-cycle trends become more popular and mainstream.

I think I was born in the wrong era!’ I have heard this statement a lot and I also wonder whether this is something you hear often from ladies who take part in your classes? 

I do hear that a lot from ladies. I believe that some of us are just ‘old souls’ and this is why we gravitate to an old world. Most people who attend the classes feel they develop a sense of belonging when they are surrounded by vintage styled & vintage loving women who share the same enjoyment in defining, finding or just embracing their own individual vintage style and it’s lovely to watch their confidence blossom.

I had a young girl of just 13 years of age attend a workshop last week. She was not interested in iPhones, iPads or iPods as there was no ‘I’ in ‘us’ and it was the group aspect of ‘us’ that she was enjoying – so cool. She loved being surrounded by a group of women of all ages, excited to learn all the hair and makeup techniques from the 40’s and 50’s. All the women in the room embraced and relished in the brush up of manners, etiquette & good posture and their feedback was that they all admired it and they all wanted to see more of it in the today’s modern world.

Chrissy conducting a hair tutorial at one of her workshops

Chrissy conducting a hair tutorial at one of her workshops

To all the old souls and vintage inspired women out there living in the modern world of today, what is your most important piece of advice?

Make the effort each and every day to spend a few moments on yourself, with yourself and for yourself. Also, don’t be so body conscious. If you look and feel uncomfortable then find another style and don’t try too hard at something that doesn’t come easy to you. Find a look that suits you, your body, your hair, your skin and your lifestyle. Watch some old films and search fashion archives on the internet for some inspiration. You will be amazed with what you find! Even if you cannot find true vintage originals, I believe anyone can still find a vintage inspired look that suits you.

You can be subtle about it, by selecting one piece to be the feature of your outfit i.e. a gorgeous blouse from the 40s, a statement hat from the 20s, a swanky pair of gloves, even a jewel encrusted brooch. On the other hand if you are confident enough to go head to toe, I think it is most important to pay attention to the detail!

Lastly, carry with you in your day to day life a bit of the innocence and modesty that our foremothers possessed and always be charming. Don’t forget the importance of hair and makeup as well as The Lindy Charm School for Girls Oath, ‘Thou shall endeavour to always wear red lipstick.’

How did The Lindy Charm School for Girls come about?

I have been involved in the world of vintage styling and dancing for the past twenty years and The Lindy Charm School for Girls was a natural progression from teaching my own dance students how to re-create and style themselves based on the swing era, which was the music they were predominately dancing to. These home based “styling days” became so popular that I decided to take it on the road and share the knowledge around Australian, New Zealand and more recently in the US.

Most people seeking out a vintage lifestyle usually have a bit of an old soul to start with and have a penchant for the history of old. I grew up with the music and films of the 40’s and 50’s with my dad. My favourite memory growing up was Saturday afternoon movie time with him, always with a black and white Jerry & Dean or an Elvis flick on.

My eye for vintage fashion and style started then, but it was when I was introduced to the dance (“Lindy Hop”) that my passion for swing music grew, and then my further interest in the fashion and lifestyle of the 30’s and 40’s. I remember when I got my first 1940’s original crepe, A-line frock, embellished with beautiful beading. I was in heaven and I matched it with the right hat, accessories, hair and makeup. When I walked into my parents’ home, my dad teared up (and being a soldier, that NEVER happened), he said he thought his mother had walked home.

The name “The Lindy Charm School for Girls” comes from my love of the dance “Lindy Hop” The name also means I often get cute questions like ‘So, does Miss Lindy Ever attend these workshops and teach them herself?’ Since 2005, when I registered the business, I travel almost every week to a different place from my home in Queensland. My team has grown and I now have Mistresses of Style in every state in Australia. I am so lucky that my ‘assistants’ are also my closest friends and we all believe we have come together for a reason. Each special one has entered my life at different times for different reasons and there was once a saying I used to have painted on my bedroom wall from Shakespeare that was never truer, ‘your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years

What has been the most rewarding aspect of running The Lindy Charm School for Girls so far?

The feedback I receive in the letters, emails and calls saying how The Lindy Charm School has changed one’s life, saved one’s live or rebuilt a person’s confidence. It’s comments like these that are very humbling and make us also believe even more in what we are doing and The Lindy Charm School is something that I am so blessed to be at the helm of.

Where are your favourite places to visit in Melbourne?

You are indeed spoilt for choice in Melbourne and when I visit I find that the following never disappoint:

The Vintage Garage  is one of my most favourite places. Mainly because I get to hang out there often when we are doing our Pin Up/Vintage Makeover photoshoots with the amazing Brooke Orchard Photography and also because the gals Marissa and Lisa are so helpful and quirky and fun!  They also stock HEAPS of cool stuff like Bonnie Rose Vintage clothing and Fossil Vintage clothing. Both collectors have amazing vintage finds. The Circa Vintage Clothing is a store  that stocks vintage clothing that is always of the utmost quality.  Owner, Miss Nicole Jenkins is well known for being the pre-eminent authority on all things to do with vintage clothing and because of her knowledge, you don’t just buy the outfit but you learn the history behind it as well.

My favourite restaurant is Longrain on Little Bourke St. Because I had to wait until 10pm for a sitting to dine there and it was totally worth it and I have never tasted Thai food as amazing since! I have many favourite cocktail bars in Melbourne, but I have to say I’ve had the best times with our darling friends at The LuWow and Madame Brussels.

My favourite place to stay and indulge in afternoon tea is at the Hotel Windsor. My team and I presented an ‘Afternoon Tea with a Sip of Manners‘ to 150 patrons two days in a row a while back and the place left such an impression on me with its glorious surrounds.

Chrissy has done a fantastic job at guiding women of all ages to rediscover the old-school glamour and style of the early 20th century. You can meet the charming Chrissy at the Love Vintage Show in Melbourne next year or attend one of her workshops. Keep your eyes peeled for my review on the workshop Chrissy held in Melbourne recently so you can be ready to book yourself into the next Lindy Charm School for Girls Workshop in 2014 and experience the magic of vintage styling for yourself!

Men, don’t feel left out! Look out for the Suave School For Gents, an upcoming feature of The Lindy Charm School, featuring fashion, manners and grooming guidance and advice. This is currently an online feature, with hopes of it becoming a workshop in the future so stay tuned!

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Ask Melbourne Darling: Bachelorette Party / Hens Night Ideas for Melbourne CBD

Hi Melbourne Darling,

A few friends and I (aged late 20′s early 30′s) want to organise a fun filled hens night for our work friend who is getting married in October. We’d like a fun girl’s night out, but want to keep it classy. We’d like to start in the CBD for dinner and then head out for drinks and dancing (the bride to be likes RnB). Any recommendations will be really appreciated! Also any suggestions of what we can do to make the night a memorable one will be great.

I think there some great options you can choose from in the CBD for a fun (but classy) girl’s night out on the town for your friend’s Hens Night.
Wherever you choose to go for dinner, because there will be a group of you, I strongly suggest you choose a restaurant where you can book a table in advance, as a lot of popular restaurants in the city usually have a no booking policy, so I haven’t suggested many of these, as unless your group is extremely patient, you will not want to spend the majority of your night lining up for dinner!
I’ll  provide suggestions for three places, restaurants, cocktail bars and clubs. I think going to different venues is an exciting change of scenery and hopping from one venue to another becomes a bit of an adventure in itself to make it an exciting night! But don’t worry, I’ve tried to keep the places fairly close to each other so they are as stiletto friendly as possible!
Please note I have provided links to the Urban Spoon website entries for all restaurants and bar locations, as I find you get a more honest judgment of the venues through the reviews and votes on Urban Spoon, as I’ve been to most of the places noted, I haven’t yet written a review on my own blog about them all yet! All Urbanspoon entries also have links to the venue’s official website.
Here are my suggestions:
A wide range of different cuisines, depending on the preferred tastes of your friends, please note that calling at least a week before hand to secure a booking is ALWAYS advised…
(Popular Asian eatery)
(Thai food, similar to Chin Chin, also do great cocktails)
(Mexican food, festive atmosphere, similar to Mamasita but take bookings)
(Asian fusion cuisine, again, similar to Chin Chin, delicious cocktails!)
Cheaper options:
(great Japanese sushi train venue, small intimate space, you may be seated on a bar setting ie. not facing eachother as a group, so if you don’t mind that its a great, fun place with delicious food!)
(Authentic modern Italian and pizza restaurant)
Gingerboy. Image Via.

Gingerboy. Image Via.

Cocktail Bars:
I like to suggest girly cocktail bars for Hen’s nights, because a girly night out is what Hen’s Nights should be all about!
All gorgeous venues, and full of yummy cocktails! The Emerald Peacock is notorious for being strict on entry so it’s always good to have a back up option, just in case!

Madame Brussels. Image Via.

Younger crowd (18-28)
Modern Rnb and Hip Hop Music
Live Jazz / Soul band playing before 11pm
Guestlist recommended ($10 entry charge before 10pm, $15 after 10pm)
Contact Nathan on 0431 237 553 for all your guestlist needs or group packages at Club YoYo.
Older crowd (25-35)
Mix of dance music
Guestlist recommended
Cover charge (generally $15)
Older crowd (25-35)
Very pretty and elegant venue (used to be a bank!)
RnB music and Top 40
Guestlist recommended
Cover charge ($15-$20)

Silk Road. Image Via.

That being said, I’ve some of these options together a couple of suggested itineraries to help you plan out your night:
Restaurant: Sakura Kaiten Sushi or Gingerboy
Cocktail Bar: Lily Blacks or Madame Brussels
Club: Spice Market



Restaurant: +39 Pizzeria , Red Spice Road, Cookie or Touche Hombre


Cocktail Bar: The Emerald Peacock or Seamstress


Club: Key Club


Here is a link to a Google maps I created to help you see how close each place is to one another and help you plan your night.
Place the below link in your browser to access it:
In addition to that,  I think a good combination of delicious food, exotic, girly cocktails and lots of dancing will be a perfect Bachelorette Party / Hens Night for the modern cosmopolitan woman! There are always little things you can do as a group if you want to make the night a little more fun. For example, your group could all wear a matching accessory ie. a playful beaded necklace or bracelet. It doesn’t even have to be a typical flashy, borderline tawdry piece, it could all just be the same cute but inexpensive cocktail ring or wearing the same flower in your hair or flower crowns (visit Colette, or Lovisa for some cheap and chic pieces) for a nice alternative to a hot pink flashing sashes or tiaras. Alternatively, if you did want to incorporate small games into the night, it could be as simple as getting the bride-to-be and or/ guests to try an exotic food item or making the bride-to-be hold the cocktail menu and closing her eyes, she must order and drink the first cocktail her finger lands on!
Hope these suggestions assist and inspire you in planning your fun and memorable night!
Melbourne Darling xo

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Kester Black & Trophy Wife Nail Art Launch Party!

Kester Black Tropicana Range

Kester Black Tropicana Range


Jay Z and Beyoncé, Sofia Coppola and Dior, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy

Sometimes a collaboration is just so fantastic it’s worth celebrating, and that’s just what Kester Black and Trophy Wife Nail Art are doing this Friday, to celebrate Kester Black’s lush new Spring / Summer nail polish range ‘Tropicana‘ and to launch the two stunning new nail polish shades the duo has created:

Kester Black Alimony Nail Polish by Trophy Wife

Kester Black Alimony Nail Polish by Trophy Wife

Kester Black Gold Digger Nail Polish by Trophy Wife

Kester Black Gold Digger Nail Polish by Trophy Wife


Head down to West Space this Friday night 6pm-8pm for this free event to sneak a peek at this exciting new range, sip on cocktails and be treated to free nail art!

Event Details:

Friday, September 27th


West Space,

Level 1 / 225 Bourke Street

Melbourne, 3000

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