Friday, 6 July 2012

Chinese food, cute shops, and country towns

Holidays are the best time for getting away from the hustle and bustle, but you don't always have to leave town for weeks at a time to some exotic place! Who knows, there could be something really lovely tucked away just outside of the city you live in, hidden away yet right under your nose.

And like all things hidden and treasure-hunt-esque, once you find them, you feel super happy about discovering something so special.

During most holidays, be it long weekends or school/university break, my family loves to pack up the car, and head out to the Australian countryside for good food, wine and shopping, and it's a great way to experience the culture and see country life (while getting driving hours if you're still a learner driver like me haha).

Today we all headed out to Castlemaine and Maldon, two small country towns about two hours drive from Melbourne. Both are relatively small towns, but had lots of little things to see and be charmed by!

While I didn't take many photos, here are the ones that I did manage to snap up! (I took these on an iPhone so they're not the best quality ever, sorry!!)

Yum cha for lunch really is yummy!
These were actually the biggest dimsum, tsiu mai and dumplings I've ever seen,
as my Chinese mum called them, "they're Aussie size". XD
Golden parcels! Crispy, crunchy and all around delicious,
served with sweet chilli and mayo!
It's a bit hard to tell in this photo, but this roast pork bun (Char siu baow) was MASSIVE.
You could pick it up in your hands like a burger!!
Gosh, I love desserts! These are red bean sesame balls
- how can something so crunchy be so doughy and lovely in the middle?
I don't care, they were goooooooooood.
This was a kind of pumpkin flavoured mochi, which is a sweet made with rice flour.
(I have a thing for adorable fruit and vegies,
I may or may not have bought a tiny watermelon over the weekend the size of a grapefruit.)
Love a good yarn bomb <3
How do they do this, seriously? Did they knit around the bike or make like a bike-sock?
Even the library door in Castlemaine was yarn bombed! 
Even picket fences get chilly in winter.
Citrus cheesecake baked in-house at Apple Annie's Bakery.
So. Good.
I didn't get any photos of this shop (Much Ado, in Maldon), but it was heavs.
Vintage-inspired gifts and home-wares, and they were playing 50s swing!
Couldn't go past this cute mug, it'll keep me company filled with coffee as I blog away late at night!
This is the coolest card ever, it's a "scratchie card"!
They had a whole range at this deli/gift shop in Castlemaine,
 but this one was so cute because it's for a date!
It comes with a little scratching thingy,
which when used, reveals "will you be my date?" at the bottom of the card!
You fill in all the gaps, like the clock hands, date and place,
and you give it to someone special,
and once they discover the little message, cue warm and fuzzies!
What I Wore:

Coat - The Coat Department, Myer
Knit - Miss Shop, Myer
Jeans - Jay Jays
Boots - I can't remember, but they're pretty universal so you could pretty much find them anywhere :)
Scarf - Koko Ribbon Boutique
Bag - Equip

Until next time!

Don't forget to enter my International 
Butter London Giveaway
to win some gorgeous nail decals!


  1. Jess, those dumplings look enormous! And that BBQ Pork Bun, wow! What a feast!

    1. Hi Luke, thanks for stopping by! :) It was like Alice in Wonderland, all this huge yum cha food haha, and it was super yummy :) x

  2. It looks like you had a great time! Your outfit is so cool, especially the scarf! And the food looks sooooo delicious :P
    Thank you so much for your sweet comment and for the follow!!!! I’m following you back now on GFC and bloglovin (#22)
    Have a wonderful weekend<3


    "Sa├║de & Beleza - Health & Beauty"

  3. I can't wait to start exploring the smaller towns away from the city with my boyfriend, it will be fun! The food does look Aussie sized! I can just imagine that cha siu bao hehee :3

  4. oh I'm in love with your jeans!!
    I like your blog, so I follow you now, follow back maybe? :)

  5. love everything!

    Visit my blog? xx Miss Beatrix (

  6. i can relate! I love finding neat (sometimes not so popular) places to dine in. the food could be incredible! it's cool your family enjoys traveling together to try out good food~ i kind of wish my family did that more hahah. yay asian food!! yumm~ the dim sum tsiu mai is my favv lol.. and the red bean in sesame ahh to die for! looks like a fun! cute outfit too~ i like the red jeans. keep in touch <3


  7. You look so pretty,thank's for following,I follow you back :)
    Hope to see you soon in

  8. The food looks great (:
    Lovely Greetings !

    1. It was so yum :) Thanks for stopping by! x

  9. nice photos!!

  10. I have been craving Chinese food for a while now and these pictures did not help my cravings haha! Love your scarf btw!

    1. Haha how yummy is Chinese food! I hope you managed to find some to defeat that craving :) Thanks! :)x

  11. all that food looks seriously delicious! you look lovely, too. great outfit

    great blog too, definitely following!

    from helen at // @thelovecatsinc

    ps. enter my worldwide giveaway!

  12. Okay, now I'm hungry! :) Looks so yum!

    Love the look, too, especially the burgundy skinnies and the boots. Chic!


  13. That's one of the most thorough posts I've ever read, loved it!


Thank you for all of your lovely comments, I love reading them <3 Make sure to leave a link to your blog so I can come say hi! Otherwise look out for a reply on the post :) Love xx

© taken by surprise | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Developed by pipdig