So we went to Paddington yesterday. I didn’t post about it at the time because when I got home I was suffering from shopper’s affliction. No, not credit card fever (I rarely suffer from that), but fatigued feet. Sore soles. Tired tootsies. That’s what I get for wearing unbroken-in pixie boots across town on foot.
The Jacarandas are out
It’s not my fault, not really. I blame the atmosphere of Paddington. In West End, my stomping ground, one can go down the street and into most bars in pyjamas and if you have a bold smile and a friend, no one cares too much. This is not an exaggerated example. I have seen this happen and he was wearing thongs with his stripy PJs. Paddington is, well, a great place for suits and upper class white women. It doesn’t have the hipster vibe- a little eco grunge, a little pretending there’s no money- it has the crisp, well organised look of serious retail. Despite my funds not matching the expected demographic, I love Paddington.
It started when I moved in next door as a student at Red Hill, Paddington’s poor cousin. We (my superb housemates and still great friends of mine) were only a 15 minute walk away from the most expensive Woolworth’s in Brisbane (and quickly discovered that Ashgrove was better on a student budget and on the bus line) and some amazing cafés. But I digress. A Paddington afternoon consists of several things:
a) Sensible footwear choice, whilst still looking half decent so shop assistants talk to you
b) A short argument with Ben about why he should go with me (promises of coffee and beer)
c) Said coffee and beer
d) Moaning about feet on the long walk home.
To a West Ender, Paddington is a 45-60 minute walk away, depending on footwear, weather and handbag weight. It’s a lovely walk over the bridge and past Suncorp stadium, but keep it simple and carry water. This ain’t no Westfield walk in the park ladies, this is shopping boot camp. You’re gonna be tired, you’re gonna want your mummy, you’re gonna walk further than you’ve ever walked in nice shoes before, you might cry when Maiocchi doesn’t have your size left and you’re certainly going to want sunscreen. Oops, this just turned into GI Jane…
Ok, onto more important things. I guess I’m not talking about street locations because Paddington just has one: Latrobe Terrace. Head off Latrobe and you discover well renovated Queenslander houses perched on the sides of THE most disgustingly difficult hills to walk on. We got there and promptly wanted coffee, so tried somewhere different for us and popped into Eurovida. I have a friend who loves to go here for breakfast on the weekend. Her thoughts were “You pay too much for breakfast anywhere. Why go to Coffee Club for $45 when for $55 you can get an amazing breakfast?” For us, Eurovida is almost sacrilegious as it’s just across the road from Fundies, an amazing organic café attached to a health food store called Fundamental Foods. It’s seriously one of my favourite places in Paddington and deserves its own post sometime in the future.
Paddington shopping is based around two sections of Latrobe Terrace. The lower section, which is the section that runs from Suncorp stadium to Given Terrace and the upper section, which runs almost up to Bardon, the next suburb over. If you walk, choose an end and do a big lap. Beginners should park! The shopping is stretched out over this long piece of road because Paddington is largely residential. Lower Paddington has some old shopfronts, many of which are lovely cafés and shops, but upper Paddington had shops in converted Queenslanders, so your shop may have a front yard and footpath up to the front door.
In lower Paddington I discovered a two places that’s been there for a while but have never had the chance to go to (promises of coffee and beer don’t always work and it’s a long walk by myself!): Olive and Olive women. The first is home and kitchen wares, the second is clothing. Both are full of colour and texture and are huge fun to look at. We hope to move over the next few months and I WILL be back to purchase a couple of the (poorly shot) photo hangers, which would look great with the high ceilings at the new place.
Maiocchi and Witchery are also places we like to drop by. Maiocchi is beautiful Asian and floral prints with bold colours and clean lines. I have two Maiocchi skirts, they’re some of the most expensive purchases I’ve made, and I don’t regret either one bit, as I wear them constantly and still get lovely comments from people. Witchery is located in a Queenslander and has menswear as well (yay for Ben). The lady serving us said she often gets people coming in saying “I used to rent here”. The shop, although yes, belonging to a big chain and therefore perhaps not of interest to all Paddington shoppers, has regular sales, huge changing rooms and a much more relaxed atmosphere than the shopping centre or city Witcherys.
My weird find on Lower Latrobe was a gorgeous bathroom place with a chatty and lovely owner. We talked about decorating and she approved of my (intended) colour scheme for our next place. Ben even came in, lured by the giant shower heads which he plans to install at our next place. Hmmm… if there’s an eco-version by then…
Sassafras from room. Another Queenslander Conversion.
We needed a pick me up at Sassafras. Ahhh Sassafras. Anyone who knows me knows I love Sassafras to the point where Ben and I had our wedding reception there. As a student, I used to come here with my house mates regularly and came by myself about once a week for a semester, to study and draw (huh!) and eat scramble tofu on sourdough and drink a pot of T2 chai (or an iced chocolate; They used to line the glass with melted chocolate which would then solidify from the cold milk. Bliss). Although meat is served, we had a 100% vegan wedding reception here in their “backyard” which was relaxed yet very professional. Love it. Be prepared to line up on weekends if you don’t have a booking.
Although we walked right up past the “Trammie’s Corner” park and back down the other side, weariness was getting to us and we went into fewer places. Back on the other side of Lower Latrobe, there are about three clothes shops closing down with great deals ($5-$30) but they either had so few clothes or so little room in the shop, that it wasn’t pleasant and we moved on quickly. I got a call from my mechanic that my baby (perhaps toddler? He is going through the Terrible Twos) was ready to pick up, so we had to leg it quickly enough to get back across town before they closed for the evening. The nail in my foot health coffin.
So what did I get out of my marathon visit? A new top (Ben got jeans), nice coffee, pretty photos and the determination to bug some of my girlfriends to go back with me next time. Paddington ain’t no shopping place for a man, you need a real woman.