Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Published November 18th 2012
Heaven in Collingwood: Paper Craft and Elegant High Tea
It's a tough decision: what's more appealing? The super tactile fun of making your own cards, gift-wrapping and stationery with beautiful bespoke papers, or getting dressed up with the girls to enjoy one of Melbourne's most exquisite high teas? The nice thing is, you don't have to choose, as at 'Where a Girl Goes' you can do both.
Craft or Sugar? Workshops in Cristina Re's 'What a Girl Wants'
Elegant is the word which drips from the every surface of Cristina Re's beautiful concept store, situated in the most inelegant (if hip) surrounds of Langham Street, Collingwood. Christina is a stationery designer and crafter, who specialises in gorgeous papers and wedding stationery, but she has taken the idea to a higher level. Her bespoke store offers a myriad of paper craft classes, teaching people how to make their own invitations, decorations, cards etc - you name it, then combining this with wonderful high teas. Who would have thought? But somehow it really works. There is a real hint of Audrey Hepburn about the place, and I kept expecting Reese Witherspoon or Kate Hudson, of 'Bride Wars' to walk in the door, intent on ordering the most beautiful, the most elegant, the most exquisite of all wedding stationery.
I was lucky enough to attend one of their free 'taster' workshops, called 'Paper Revival' - where we were working with left over Christmas paper cut-offs and pearlised paper to create decorative bows for our Christmas wrappings:
The craft tutor, Joanne, is a seriously gorgeous person, and nothing like the homely Home Economics teachers I remember from my high school craft days. She wrangled two tables of us with grace and patience, and is clearly passionate about crafting. You can opt for dedicated craft workshops like 'The Brilliant Bride' or 'Cardmaking and Scrapbooking' or combine crafting with a high tea for an additional $20 on top of the high tea price.
Paper Revival Workshop at Cristine Re's (c) JP Mundy
The Signature High Teas are $49, but there are a huge range of options, including parties, games, gift hampers, private rooms - and some pretty delectable looking miniature cupcakes and macarons on offer. On the day we were there, there were certainly lots of groups of women, dressed to the nines, celebrating bridal showers and Christmas get togethers in there very own Grace Kelly moments.
So think about a visit to 'What a Girl Wants' if you feel like harking back to a gentler age, or just indulging your inner-girl. Perhaps you are Maid-of-Honour for your best friend and need to take her somewhere to indulge and spoil you all: it's perfection. Maybe you have a houseful of unruly not-quite-grown-up 14 year olds who would be awed and inspired by a quite-grown-up birthday party here. Maybe you are looking for ideas about making your own gift cards for Christmas, and just want to slow down and enjoy the pleasure and simple magic of handcrafting something beautiful. Tick the boxes, and get your frock on: this store is definitely for you!