Tag Archives: preloved

Rhythms Op Shop, Seven Hills

21 Aug

Sssh don’t tell anyone but this one of my favourite hunting grounds.


Rhythms Op Shop in Seven Hills is a sure thing, a place where I can always find great preloved clothes. It’s also a joy to visit. The staff are super friendly and love a chat often asking me if I would like a cuppa whilst I browse the racks. The stock is edited so that only items in good condition make it onto the floor, no sifting through racks of pilled Kmart t-shirts or jeans with busted zippers.


My other favourite reason for visiting this store on a regular basis is to check out the visual merchandising. These guys have a clever stylist on their team who has really lifted the edge of this store above other op shops. I’d compare the styling to the overpriced vintage stores in Newtown, only better with price tags comparable to Vinnies. The stylist uses their own collection of vintage/retro items which sadly are not for sale. Recently the shop had a face lift and I was bowled over by the effect of chalkboard walls used as price points lit with vintage lamps.






This week’s visit didn’t let me down. I found an out of print book I’d been searching for quite a while for just 10 cents. Yes 10 cents! Also two linen tops, a classic Country Road shirt and a black Hammock & Vine oversized jacket. All that for under $10. I did of course take a much larger armful of clothes into the generously sized change room but as is the way with op shopping not everything fits. Everything is like a one-off, you have to take what you can get. Of all the great finds I had to put back on the rack I was saddest to leave this gorgeous raw silk Akira piece.

akira Collage

Rhythms Op Shop is run by a local church who believe in grass-roots level community assistance. Yes the op shop itself is fabulous but there is also a lounge area at the back of the store to take a rest & have a chat.  They offer all types of assistance to those in need whether it be food or contact with relevant community services. As a nonreligious person myself I find this type of work really inspiring but not because it’s the work of the church, I’ve never once had that pushed on me in all my years of visiting this store but because it’s about community building. Good people doing good for others. Of course many of the big charity stores run on this principle also but it is always at Rhythms that I feel the love. The genuine care for those that walk through their door.


Rhythms Op Shop is located at 154 Best road Seven Hills.

Tip: while you’re there… Pop around the corner to Boomerang Place where you will find some great Indian supermarkets and authentic Sri Lankan & Indian restaurants. Don’t leave empty-handed.




Front Porch by Fiona Lenord

15 Jun

Upcycle: verb. To reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original, moving it ‘up’ the consumer goods chain.


I love creative people who breathe new life into old things. I’m not talking about The Toy Story theory of extending a discarded item’s life by passing it on to another to be loved all over again but rather upcycling. Pushing the boundaries of an item’s original purpose and creating a new form. Front Porch is one such brand riding the upcycling wave. Front Porch was launched in 2012 by Fiona Lenord after making a tree change to the Blue Mountains, NSW. Behind the brand is Fiona’s 23 years experience as a Textile Designer specialising in hand painted florals, including 13 years with iconic Australian brand Sheridan. This wealth of experience shines through her apparel and homewares designs. The attention to detail and the love put into each piece is really beautiful.

FP cushion

The Front Porch signature piece is a dress made from upcycled textiles. The design is a simple strappy A line cut with a soft rope drawstring, tapering down to varying lengths. Fiona describes her latest best seller, The Foofoo, as “the love child of a poncho and a kimono. Both styles can be layered up and down for all seasons. Worn casually or dressed up for weddings and formal events”.

FP foo

A keen op shopper who loves hunting through secondhand stores and flea markets for vintage items, Fiona found herself “rescuing” old fabric like brocade, seersucker, vintage lace, retro 60’s prints, Australian printed tea towels, embroidered and crocheted tablecloths and doilies. The textiles span across the decades creating diversity in Front Porch, “I have a collection that is constantly rotating from soaking tub to a dye bath, clothes line, sewing machine and ironing board” notes Fiona. The history of the textiles also strike up sentimentality in her customers, some have even commissioned dresses made from family heirloom fabrics. “My biggest surprise has been the repeat customers. I have some customers who own over 30 of my dresses! I have met an amazing network of creative women and friends through this venture and feel lucky to have bonded so quickly with the Blue Mountains community”.


In keeping with the nostalgia of her products is Fiona’s brand name: Front Porch, “I wanted a name with nostalgia, history and quintessentially Australian. I grew up on a fruit Orchard in Kurmond. Our fibro 1960s bungalow had a decorative Besser block Front porch. It was a backdrop to many family photos, a place to greet visitors and hang out.”



This is my Front Porch dress (above) made from a white tablecloth with pale blue embroidery and trimmed with vintage lace. Not only is it cool to wear on hot days and perfect for throwing over my cossies at the beach, it’s also super comfy! I honestly feel like I’m wearing my PJs but I must look fabulous as I always get comments whenever I wear this.

FP plum

I first met Fiona on her stall at The Bluebird Market in Leura and now I have the privilege of calling her my friend. Talented designer is but one of her many hats. Fiona is also a wonderful mother, a professional wearer of red lipstick and owner of a great infectious laugh. I urge you all to seek her out. Front Porch has a stall at The Glenbrook Rotary Market on the 3rd Saturday of every month in the lower Blue Mountains. This is a lovely market full of local farmers, bakers, artisans and producers. Front Porch also visits other Sydney markets so please Like the Front Porch Facebook page for updates. Fiona regularly sells direct from her Front Porch Facebook page so even if you are not in Sydney you can still own one these unique pieces.


Do you own a Front Porch original?

* Thank you to Fiona Lenord for the use of some of her images.

Narrabeen Boot Sale markets

21 Feb

There’s some truth in the saying that the wares for sale at markets, like op shops reflect the area. So as a beach loving family we were pretty excited to find a second-hand market on Sydney’s northern beaches. We’ve been to a few markets along this stretch of the coast but never one selling pre-loved goods before. We heard about this Boot Sale via word of mouth from a stallholder at another second hand market. It’s not very well advertised and you won’t find much info about it online. A boot sale or a car boot sale is slang for a second-hand goods market. Stallholders are able to drive their cars onto the grounds to unload the contents of their car boot to sell. Simple enough.

We visited the November market on a very hot day. So hot that by lunchtime many of the stallholders were trying to flog off their wares cheaply in order to leave early. We persisted in the heat, protecting ourselves with umbrellas and layers of sunscreen and discovered that it is very difficult not to poke someone’s eye out with an umbrella whilst trying to pay for your purchase. Eye injuries aside others looked enviously at our brollies. There were quite a lot of stalls spread across the oval and most of them were local people trying to off load the result of their spring clean. As a buyer, the great thing about this type of stallholder is that they are open to negotiation. These people don’t want to lug all their stuff back home again. They have come to the boot sale in hope of clearing the lot. Often they are selling their items at a great price but if you feel the asking price is more than you are willing to pay, speak up. Make them an offer. I’m not suggesting you haggle like you did in Bali though. Keep it light-hearted and friendly, engage in conversation with the seller and you’ll be surprised how often you’ll get your way.


Usually at second-hand markets my man is only interested in hunting down CDs to download onto his ginormous iTunes account but as it turned out this was his sort of market. On arrival his eyes widened at the number of surfboards and wetsuits within sight. He completely outdid me on the purchasing tally buying a full wetsuit for only $5, an ipod dock in perfect working order for $2, Dvds and CDs for $2 each. Sadly he missed out on a great surfboard for only $20. Our water babies fared well also with a $5 foam surfboard, a ton of Littlest Pet Shop toys for $15 (we must own millions of them now!), magic wands for 50 cents with free tattoos, 3 (brand new still wrapped in plastic) artists canvases for $5, ballet slippers and 2 pairs of ballet tights for $10, an apple slinky machine $10 and metal detector that the stall holder gave them for free as she wasn’t sure if it still worked. Well guess what? It works perfectly and the beeping noise is doing my head in!

There is lots of surf branded fashion for sale here alongside Australian designer labels. I saw many beautiful things but the heat must have subdued my impulse shopping mode. Still I came home with some summery Von Zipper pants, 2 Billabong tops and a few other random tops for myself & the teen for a total of $11. I also picked up some sterling silver jewellery – a twisted chain necklace with matching bracelet and 2 unusual rings all for $7.

Seasoned Hunter Gatherers lugging their spoils back to the car.

Seasoned Hunter Gatherers lugging their spoils back to the car.

There is not much on offer if you’re hungry. A lone sausage sizzle stand also selling cans of drink was the only official food stall. A couple of stalls were selling home-made cupcakes or biscuits along with their preloved clothes & bric-a-brac. There is a food court in the shopping centre just across the road if you’re desperate.

The market is advertised as being at Narrabeen Sports High School but in fact it is held at grounds on Jacksons rd opposite the Warriwood Centro shopping centre. Map here. This is a quarterly market held on the last Sunday of February, May, August & November from 7.30am-3.30pm.

If you love the surf lifestyle then you should defiantly mark the next date for this market. We will. The Boy is dying to snatch up cheap surfboard for his collection.

We will be at the Boot Sale this Sunday, 24th Feb. See if you can spot us!

Haul list: Blacktown Drive In Market

25 Mar

This morning I met my father & sister at Blacktown Drive In market. My dad instructed me to make sure my station wagon was empty as he somehow always manages to find something enormous to buy. Today it was those big padded things that wrap around goal posts and a tackle bag along with an 8 water bottle carrier for his 2 grandsons who just started playing NRL. Dad got the lot for $50. I just looked them up and the gear is worth over $500! So after he loaded my car with these massive foam things and other miscellaneous purchases, my sister tipped the boat. She’d discovered a beautiful big wooden coffee table with built-in blanket drawers for only $70. We considered trying to get it up onto my roof racks but is was too hefty. We had to call in reinforcements, my husband with his 4WD.

Some days you find nothing but some days you find so much its a little overwhelming. Today was so productive that I didn’t even get to cover the whole market because after a number of runs back to the car to drop off purchases I eventually ran out of cash. That’s my cut off point. So what did I buy this morning? Lots of fashion, some of it designer for next to nothing.

A $3 Buddhist Punk top, Tsubi Lean Bean blackstich jeans $3. Three hoodies – Running Bare, Russell Athletic and Champion $2 each.

Tsubi Lean Bean blackstitch jeans

Chanel Irreelle Ombre multi effects in 25 Halo (Bronze). That’s a $55 eyeshadow for a tiny $2 folks.

Chanel Irreelle Ombre 25 Halo

Multi coloured Ray Ban wayfarers for 50c. My daughter is obsessed with this style of sunglasses and has several pairs though these will be her first Ray Bans. Not bad for a 10yr old!

A Black Wayne Cooper top, leather jackets in black & butter all for a mere $10 in total!

Gorgeous silk dresses $3 a piece. A bronze Morrissey mini and a petrol green Hussy Rainshower dress with the $389 price tag still attached!

Hussy Rainshower dress

On top of all that was the usual haul of kids clothes & shoes, and a leopard print cardigan because well you know I’ve only got three.

Want some? Then come get it. Blacktown Drive In Market is open Sunday mornings. You can get all the info and The Hunter Gatherers inside perspective here.

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