Freelance Book Designer

Mummies go mild weekend

Gone are the days when I would stay out all night, drinking and talking with boundless energy. These days I call it a big night if I stay up past 10pm – whoa! Slow down there.

So what once could have been a girls gone wild weekend, turned into mummies go mild when I met up with two girlfriends in Melbourne last week.

As members of the ‘tall girls trio’ Ginger, Tini and I towered over colleagues when we worked at McGraw-Hill together, sharing a similar sense of humour and the same meteorological conditions* we became firm friends. As our lives took us in different directions (new jobs, new babies, new cities) we kept in touch and occasionally tossed the idea around of meeting up somewhere but never really committing. Then at the beginning of this year the stars and moons aligned and somehow Tini and I had booked our tickets to Melbourne and where we would all meet up and see Wicked (the musical) together.

*you know, like that joke short people ask tall people ‘how’s the weather up there?’

Not one to miss an opportunity I decided to make the weekend an extra long one and squeeze in a few visits with some of my gorgeous Melbourne based publishers on Friday and Monday. Little did I realise that it would mean Friday morning would become a screaming rush of blearily eyed pre-dawn wake up, hair & make up, flight and taxi dash to my first meeting with a new publisher (hello, here is my portfolio I am very good please give me work. K thanks bye). After which I rushed off to my next appointment to get my nails did at Trophy Wife (the original and best) with an Ashley Goldberg inspired design.


Then finally meeting up with the ladies a MoVida for an amazing lunch and much needed wine. The lunch quickly turned into a new business meeting as we celebrated Tini’s new career as a commissioning editor (hello, here is my portfolio I am very good please give me work. K thanks bye).

It was complete bliss to see those ladies and have a good laugh together. Sometimes you just don’t realize how much you miss a friend until they are sitting next to you regaling you with their child’s hilarious poo stories and it dawns on you that a little friendship piece has fallen back perfectly into place. Or maybe it’s the way you effortlessly complete each other’s spontaneous modern dance pieces late at night with such flair.

Playing the enablers to each other we shopped at a few of the outlet stores on Bridge Rd Richmond, spending a large amount of time trying everything on in the double wide Gorman outlet store. I really do like Gorman but had to admit defeat after 90% of the clothes I tried on did NOT suit my hourglass shape, they are designed for twigs to give them the illusion of an hourglass shape. I did however purchase a few bits and pieces including a pair of polka dot jeans that will replace my maternity skinny jeans that I shamefully still wear (at home and just up to the shops promise! Please don’t take my sartorial card away!).

Wicked surprised me. I have to confess to not being a fan of musicals. I find them contrived and unbelievable but Wicked caught me unaware and I enjoyed it immensely – although obviously not as much as others as, at what I can only assume were, the famous songs in the show there was enraptured applause and hootin’ and hollerin’ like it was a rock concert. Wicked fan club?

I had read the Gregory Macguire series of books, the first of which the musical is based on, years ago and had loved it. But more recently when I revisited the first book for book club found I had a different taken on the story and hated it (go figure!).

The next morning I experience potato dumpling euphoria at Babka in Fitzroy and was chuffed to introduce one of my favourite cafes to my tall ladies. Taking advantage of our current location and bidding a bitter sweet farewell to Ginger, Tini and I proceeded to vintage stop ‘til we pretty much dropped – right in to the comfy seats of Stagger Lee for another delicious meal. Where we were met by David and Evie and their brand new baby girl. The last time I was in Melbourne was for their wedding, so it was very special to see them glowing with happiness as new parents. Such a sweet family unit.

Saying goodbye to Tini on Sunday morning I headed off bright an early into the Melbourne mist on a mission to meet up with Jess for a day of markets and thrifting. First stop Camberbwell markets (and a separate post for that).

Monday saw me flitting between publishers crisscrossing the city, and enjoying the glorious non-autumnal weather.

I don’t get to visit my Melbourne clients very often but when I do it is highly enjoyable. Being able to sit down and discuss not only the projects we collaborate on, but book design in general, things happening in the industry and share a laugh are some of the reasons I steadfastly stick to trying to my make living in publishing. It’s the people AND the product that makes Australian publishing to rich (but not monetary rich, no if you want to earn your fortune don’t look at poor old publishing).

I arrived home travel weary and very happy to return to my little family late on Monday night.

Melbourne is a funny place. On maps it looks small and manageable but those blocks of streets are huge when you are walking and catching public transport. I like to think I know the city well (well enough for an outsider that is) but I am always shocked at how little I really see when I don’t have a car. I suppose you can say the same for Sydney.

It was a well earned break and I got lucky with the company I kept whilst in town.