Casual chats with Peninsula people - YAZMINE LOMAX - By Kate Sears


Two years ago, a wee Irish lass wandered into our office to ask about writing positions. Her confidence sold us, as did her Bachelor of Arts majoring in Professional Writing, Editing and Public Relations from Swinburne University of Technology, and since then Yazmine Lomax’s interviews with fascinating Peninsula residents have featured in Mornington Peninsula Magazine’s In Conversation and Frankly Frankston Magazine’s Frankly Speaking. Now as 21-year-old Yazmine prepares to leave Mornington for Ireland, Sweden or the US — who knows; this girl just doesn’t stop travelling and pursuing her writing — we tracked her down for one last interview. This time, however, we’re the ones asking the questions. 

When did your love of writing begin?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I loved making ‘books’ from sheets of folded A4 paper when I was very little and thankfully was always encouraged to write throughout primary and high school at Padua College. I remember being especially inspired to write after reading the Harry Potter series for the first time when I was about nine years old. 

What’s your favourite style of writing or subject to write about?

I love interviewing interesting people. It’s so exciting to learn more about people I admire and find the questions that will give the best information. I’m excited to try out different styles and subjects in the future; I’m a huge music fan so would love to get more into music journalism, and after reading Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone In The Dark and watching Netflix’s Making A Murderer I’d be super-interested in trying my hand at crime writing. 

Where else has your writing taken you?

I spent a semester in my final year of university studying in Boston, which, as anyone who knows me can tell you, is my favourite place in the world. The college I studied at there had so many clubs and publications and I loved getting involved with those. After that I interned at a magazine group in Dublin for a month, which was also fantastic. I got to write about pop culture, attend press days, help out on photoshoots and interview famous faces like Sting. The great thing about writing is that you can tie it in with your existing travel plans. I visited Iceland over New Year’s last year and wrote about my horse-riding adventure, which was then published by a tourism website. 

VIKKI PETRAITIS IN CONVERSATION Casual chats with Peninsula people by Yazmine Lomax


Former Seaford resident Vikki Petraitis is the author of over a dozen true-crime stories, including The Frankston Murders. More than two decades after the release of her debut novel, she’s still as passionate as ever about tales of justice and human perseverance.

Where did your interest in crime writing begin?

It came from being in Year 7 and finding Agatha Christie’s Sparkling Cyanide, plucking that off the shelf and then reading every single Agatha Christie book. When I was 18 or 19 I bought a book called Inside The Mind Of A Murderess, about Myra Hindley, and once you read true crime the ‘body in the library with the 12 suspects’ just doesn’t cut it. The heart of it is that it’s about real people.

What do you love about being a crime writer?

I get to meet the most amazing people. I’ve spent 25 years talking to people who have been changed by adversity and that helps me in my life; I think being a crime writer has given me an insight into the world that I would not have if I didn’t do what I do. On occasion I’ve had nightmares but I guess that’s my brain processing the stories.

August was the 25th anniversary of the Frankston Murders. How do you feel this event still affects the community today?

When I did the talk for the 20th anniversary, I had an hour-long book signing line where everyone who came forward had a story and a connection to it. About 150 people showed up to the memorial this year and all of them had a story. Everyone was so moved to see Baby Jake there — he was 12 days old when his mother was murdered — and everyone just hugged him. When you take three women out of a close-knit community, years and years later so many people are still going to feel that connection.

What’s your writing process like?

For The Frankston Murders I did 50 interviews with family members, cops, SES … everybody. I also had a 900-page homicide brief and all of Denyer’s confessional videos and transcripts so I processed the whole thing like a big jigsaw puzzle 

Why do you love this area and how does it inspire your work?

I lived in Seaford when the Frankston Murders happened and there’s a connection that will never be broken. If anything shows the strength of this community it’s the way they’ve embraced Baby Jake and turned up to give Brian and Carmel Russel a hug. As a writer, that’s what you want to connect with. 


STEPHEN CROUCH IN CONVERSATION Casual chats with Peninsula people by Yazmine Lomax


Stephen Crouch is a Frankston High School maths teacher who moved to Australia from India when he was a child and now calls Cranbourne home. Stephen chats to Mornington Peninsula Magazine about his passion for teaching, the wacky online world of today’s teens, and why he loves where he works.

Why did you want to become a teacher?

I've loved mathematics since I was a little kid, and as time passed I knew that I wanted to pass this passion on to the next generation. I really believe that education makes an immense difference, so to be part of that is humbling. Besides, I have heaps of fun teaching and my students are really enthusiastic.

What current teen trends baffle you?

There are a lot of acronyms and abbreviations that I have trouble understanding. I also notice apps such as Snapchat being used more often than they probably should, which does baffle me.

Is there anything about school in India that you would like to see in Australia?

The content that is taught in India is at a higher level — for example, there are topics I learnt in Grade 6 in India that aren’t learnt until Year 9 in Australia. So the maths content in Year 12 in India has a few explorations that we don't get the chance to carry out here in Australia, and it'd be nice to see an opportunity to carry those out here.

What makes working at Frankston High School so great?

The learning culture here is amazing; students love learning and the staff love helping them succeed. Parents play a very active role in their child's education, and the school encourages communication to help further educational outcomes. The principal and staff are also all very friendly and supportive. I love Frankston High School!


COMMON PEOPLE Jasmine Ward - Tiny Wild Collective director, graphic designer and small business innovator By Liz Rogers

Are you ready to experience cuteness beyond cuteness? Adoring mum and full-time creative entrepreneur Jasmine Ward creates small things that are big on ideas, beauty and brilliant functionality. Jasmine’s Tiny Wild Collective custom-designed products for babies and tiny tots are made right here in our own backyard and are brimming with fresh bouncing baby goodness. Mornington Peninsula Magazine chats to Jasmine about swaddles, blankets and being environmentally conscious. 

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How do you get so much ‘adorable’ into such little items?
I am and always have been a very visual person obviously to do the job I do. I’ve been working in print and media for 10 years now. I have always had a love of art, design, colour and typography, which led me down the path of design and media. It’s a mixture of creativity and bringing something different to the market; going a bit wild and stepping outside the lines of the usual. 

When did you start the business and why?
It’s funny, actually - I started when my little boy went into a bed and I couldn’t find anything I liked for his sheets. I took myself down to Spotlight, bought some fabrics I liked and tried my hand at sewing again. It really was like riding a bike. 

How did the name Tiny Wild Collective come about?
We nicknamed our son “baby tiny” when he was a newborn because, although he wasn’t small in terms of a newborn, he seemed so small to us. It kind of stuck. I wanted to incorporate Collective into our name because I hope to continue to bring out new products and didn’t want to be tied to one specific description. 

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Tell us about the Tiny Wild Collective range. What can ‘on the hunt for cuteness’ clients find when they go to your online store?
I try to be versatile and have something for everyone. I don’t think I have a particular ‘style’ and I can be really flexible in bringing ideas to life and seeing what other people envision. My personal favourites are florals and monochrome designs, but I’m always open to suggestions and seeing what we can create. Some of my favourite orders have been completely custom and some I’ve added permanently.

Your range has expanded quickly. How does the order process work and what’s the turnover time?
It’s all done online via my website. Once an order is placed I receive a notification and I send everything to print of a night time when I get home from work. Because everything is printed in Australia my turnaround is quite quick. Two weeks from order placement to shipping is our guideline, although I can have orders filled within a week depending on where I’m up to with my print run and delivery dates. I usually get a delivery once a week of 20-30m; I bring it home, cut it all up, separate it into orders, and get to work.

Why go hand-made?
I’m very hands-on and I love creating everything from concept to sewing to shipping. I would love to have a second pair of hands one day to help with the incoming orders. But I set reasonable expectations, and to me this entire idea was an exercise in creativity.  It’s all a marathon and not a sprint. 

What’s your favourite thing to create for babies and tiny tots?
My favourite are the swaddle sets. I get so excited when people tag me in their baby’s photos.

Your products are made from organic cotton. Please explain what you mean by ethical and sustainable and why that matters.
To be succinct, our printers are very environmentally conscious and that’s another reason I love them and love working with them. Everything they print is eco-friendly. They have minimum impact on the environment and minimal waste. Our inks are water-based and non-toxic, the cotton is all ethically grown and farmed and rotated, and no matter if I have a busy week of 30m to print or a quieter week of seven, there is no minimum requirement so therefore no waste. Ethical to me also means to be supportive of other brands and individuals, so some of our designs I create from pen and paper to computer, and some I purchase commercial licences for to support other artists too. 

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Any new designs for 2018 you’d like to give our readers a sneak peek at?
I have so many ideas for 2018! I’m actually having some quiet time when this will be published as my printers will be taking a much-deserved break, so I’m working on my website as well as some new designs and products. 

You work as a graphic designer at Mornington Peninsula Magazine, are owner/operator of Tiny Wild Collective and a mum. What do you do in your downtime if you have any?
It sounds crazy but Tiny Wild Collective is my downtime. I have such a love for creating. When I’m up to date with orders you can usually find me at the beach or at a park with my fiancé, our son and our dog or at home.

Any other local baby and children’s clothing/accessory makers you admire?
Piccolo & Mi - I adore their line and we have similar visions and ethics. Their products are incredible! I also absolutely love Something for Squirt. We have a great friendship too. I don’t see anybody as “competition” in all honesty. We can all learn from one another and love each other’s work. 

Do you ever collaborate with any of them?
I have a couple of collaborations coming up in the New Year so stay tuned. 

And finally, if you could give one piece of advice to all those newborns sleeping soundly in a Tiny Wild Collective swaddle, what would it be?
I think it’s more for the parents: be kind to yourselves and don’t blink. They aren’t tiny for ever. 

FB: tinywildcollective
INSTA: @tinywildcollective

Kicking goals with Paul Clark – Peninsula Raiders AFL Masters player and creative director of creativesweat By Liz Rogers

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We’re talking “old farts footy”, peeps. Well, that’s what Paul Clark, the 50-something runner of 11 marathons and ex-triathlon junky calls it. Playing footy on the back line with the Peninsula Raiders AFL Masters is a pastime Paul loves – and, as you’ll see, his reasons for thumping foot to ball are more about the support he gets from his teammates who collectively refuse to stop kicking goals than the game – although he loves that too! Mornington Peninsula Magazine asks this Mount Martha resident a few questions about his life, work and addiction to the Aussie rules game of champions.


Tell us a bit about your experience with the Peninsula Raiders.

Well, it’s really about hanging out with a bunch of blokes who are over 55 that can’t stop playing footy. (The Peninsula Raiders also have an over 35-group and the oldest dudes are about 63.) It’s proper footy – we still get to play the full game and play hard. I crash into people and get hurt a lot. It’s great! A few of us in the over 55s just represented the state at the elite level at the 2017 AFL Masters Football Carnival in Geelong where we played three games over 10 days. Each state puts up a team in this national carnival which rotates to a different city each year. Let’s see, each state has 10 sides and there are seven states so there are thousands of people who come along. It’s exciting. We just missed out on the Over-55s flag. Still pretty good.


What does the training schedule look like for a team of over-55s?

We train once a week every week. That’s 50 weeks’ training for 10 games. Crazy, huh? But being part of the club is so much more than feeling fit and scrambling for the ball. We call it the Men’s Health Club and that includes men’s mental health. You know you can tell when a bloke turns up to training and he’s not feeling great. Maybe he’s broken up with his partner or work is getting him down. It’s a very supportive environment. It’s real role model stuff. Every guy brings his son, so the good stuff gets passed down.


And what about the ladies?

All partners are involved in the club too. It’s a family thing. We have loads of social functions throughout the year, a ladies’ day and most of the families that join the club are in for the long haul. The majority stay because we make them feel welcome.


What do you do with your time off the field?

I’m the creative director for creativesweat, my graphic design and creative solution business. I started in Richmond, then moved to Mount Eliza in 1985 and had an office in Main St, Mornington. We’re now in Mount Martha. We used to service a lot of government departments and big business, but the digital revolution almost killed graphic design. We now do a lot of interstate work with clients we never meet and a huge amount of business and corporate branding, logo design and visual identity (think Broo Premium Lager Australian Draft, Padua College and Mornington Racing to name a few). The world of graphic design has certainly changed since I graduated from Swinburne, but we continue to give birth to original ideas and concepts. I’m also a frequent winery visitor.


What do you love about living on the Mornington Peninsula?

What’s not to love? I mean, we live in a place where people come to holiday. I open my door and head on down to the beach over the rocks and there’s always things to do. Head to Balcombe Creek – but you’d better watch out not to get run over by a car - ha ha! I had an uncle who trained horses with Morning Star when I was a kid and my family (mum, dad and sister) had a holiday house in Dromana. We had boats. I’ve still got a boat.


And finally, any advice for other over-35s who are thinking it’s too late to pull up the socks and lace up the boots?

It’s never too late. Get fit, keep fit and hang out with mates. That’s all you’ve got to do. Just have some fun. Kick a goal or two.


Log on to  to view Paul’s work or to find out more about the Peninsula Raiders AFL Masters.


COMMON PEOPLE Peter Houghton – Rye Hotel owner/operator By Liz Rogers


Peter Houghton is a Peninsula native. Born in the now demolished Dromana Hospital to hard-working parents Dorothy and Norman, and growing up in Blairgowrie/Sorrento with his three siblings in a world where time moved serendipitously slow, Peter is a tried and true southern seaside boy. Yes, he went to boarding school for seven years, as all his siblings did. Yes, he’s travelled extensively. And yes, he’s always returned to the place he loves most - the wide-open Rye foreshore and family-owned hotel he calls a home away from home.  Mornington Peninsula Magazine chats with the man who comes from a long line of hoteliers about how things have changed, what’s in store for the Rye Hotel, and long remembered summers on the Farnsworth Brothers passenger ferries Hygeia and Weeroona that stopped off at Portsea on their way to Sorrento.


When did your parents take over Rye Hotel?

Let’s see. I think it was 1974. They leased it first. It used to be a CUB Brewery lease hotel. There used to be a huge beer garden out the back with all these fabulous fruit trees. I think they bought it in 1999.


What is it you love about the hotelier lifestyle?

My dad was a hotelier, so was my grandfather, so I grew up with it in me. It’s always been part of my life. I started worked at the Koonya and loved being around people. It’s the people that make it great. We have generations of families coming to the Rye Hotel so you build long relationships. The only sad part is that we lose some of them along the way.


You lost your mum, Dorothy, who was very well known around these parts, at the beginning of the year.


Yes. She was 97 years old. She and Dad were very business-minded. They worked tirelessly. That’s the way it always was.


How have things changed at the Rye Hotel over the past decades?

We built the One Four Nelson in 2003 and won a State Hospitality award for it. There’s 30 suites built around a pool, which has been a great complement to the 14 suites upstairs which were completed last year. We’ve also got the Hit the Deck Bar and a games room with billiard tables and we have live shows. We keep doing new things. Time moves on.


Yes, I can’t believe how quickly it goes. But some things never change?

The township of Rye has kept that real down-to-earth family feeling. There’s the launching ramp, the massive foreshore park, the Octopus’s Garden Snorkelling Trail and a traditional and vibrant sailing club. These things don’t change. Spending time with family. The Rye Hotel is about forging those ties with generations. And we’re right in the centre of the golf coast too. 


How did you spend most of your time while growing up?

Well, we didn’t have iPads then. There was always something to do. We used to spend the whole day at the beach. Maybe pop home for some lunch, then back again. I was never bored. I loved the Farnsworth ferries. You could just walk right on. We used to go to the local footy match at the Sorrento Football Club – of course it’s the Rye Football Club now, which we’ve sponsored for 40 years.


What’s in store food-wise for summer at Rye Hotel?

Seafood! There’s a great new seasonal menu and there’ll be lots of fresh seafood. We also offer a really good seniors’ meal deal. The fillet steak is delicious! Then there’s all the pub favourites like chicken parmigiana and pasta, and of course a menu for the kids.


From kids to parents to grandparents, the generations of Rye Hotel punters just keep growing under the Peninsula sun. Stop by this summer for the history, home-style food and friendly service. Everyone is welcome.







Common People - Mark Patterson (Ting Tong Kanteen)

It’s all colour and smiles when walking into Ting Tong Kanteen in Balnarring. Accessible, open and full of Asian flavour and ambience, this little gem generates five-star flavour-sensation dishes with a twist of southern coastal flair. You’re welcome here.  Mornington Peninsula Magazine chatted with owner/operator Mark Patterson who is as colourful and creative as his menu.

Why the name Ting Tong Kanteen – does it mean anything?

Ting Tong is a character in an English comedy series which we love, so it’s partly because of that. Ting Tong also means “crazy” in Thai, which we thought was funny too.

How long has Ting Tong Kanteen been in existence and why Asian Fusion food?

We’ve been open three years this coming January. We opened because we found a need for great fresh (not processed) Asian Fusion food on the Peninsula. We were driving to Melbourne to eat it which became a little hard with a young child in tow. So we opened Ting Tong.

What inspired you to plant business roots in Balnarring?

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We live in Somers, so it was a lifestyle decision. We could also see Balnarring expanding, so we jumped in!

Please describe some of what’s on the menu over the next month or so.

The menu is about to change slightly, but we have some great new specials about to hit like our BI BIM BUB, which in short is a Korean chilli beef rice bowl with fried egg and pickled vegies. There’s a great new Thai salad coming too which consists of watermelon, lime, mint and a special fish crumble which is deliciously fresh for the warmer weather. Our specials board is constantly changing too.

Was there another professional life before Ting Tong Kanteen?

I had two retail stores before we opened Ting Tong - one in Flinders and the other on High St, Prahran. Prahran was also the head office for my main design business and furniture company 4M Pty Ltd. 4M was all about designing/manufacturing commercial quality furniture and lighting in Australia and selling it through the Australian architectural market and specifiers. We custom-made furniture for past prime ministers, archbishops and celebrities through to large and small corporates, hotels and restaurants. I also did a lot of interior design work on my own property developments, friends’ properties and restaurants, which I suppose led to me designing my retail stores and now Ting Tong.

What’s your favourite style in design and art?

I have a contemporary eye and I’m not afraid of colour. I love to mix things up a bit. I can work to a tight budget without it being blatantly obvious in the end result.

Tell me what you love about living on the Peninsula and how long you’ve been here.

We have lived here permanently for about eight years now. We had beach houses in Somers for a number of years, and like a lot of people loved it and made the sea change. We haven’t looked back since.

The new Ting Tong Bar has a dramatic continental cosy style – any favourite local designers or artists you follow?

We follow heaps of local artists and designers. A couple that stand out to me personally would be Tash Carah Photography from Mount Eliza and Manyung Gallery, also in Mount Eliza. Neil Williams from Flinders is great and I love Kate Walker’s Interior Design.

You’ve just been away on a trip. Any new decorations to add to the Ting Tong interior or your home?

Only a traditional straw hat for the bar from Vietnam … and heaps of great fresh food and market pics from Paris, Barcelona and London for our Instagram page!

How do you like to spend down-time with your family?

Because I’m working most nights and weekends I love to cook a meal … and that’s anything but Asian Fusion!

Any favourite haunts on the Peninsula other than your own restaurant?

The two most regulars would be Fontalina Pizza, for the best lasagne and pizza, and Le Bouchon, for fantastic French food and wine - both in Balnarring.

What’s next for Ting Tong Kanteen?

Maybe it’s time for a coffee and cake café and flower shop. Both are in the planning and under the same roof. Watch this space as we continue to grow!

Follow the news regarding Ting Tong developments on FB @Tingtongkanteen and on Instagram @tingtongkanteen

Common People – Kobi Watson By Andrea Kellett


Kobi Watson isn’t your average teenager.  The Balnarring 17-year-old is a chef and business owner. With the support of his parents, he bought his first business in November at the age of 16 – now a casual pizza and pasta bar in McCrae called Kobi Jack’s. You could say business is in his DNA.  Mornington Peninsula Magazine sat down with this remarkable young man and his mum, Carol, who works on the restaurant floor, to find out more. 

How did this come about at such a young age?
Kobi: It’s a long story. Mum and Dad have always had cafes and restaurants and I’ve always worked in them. I worked for a florist when I was about 10. Mum and Dad also had a milk bar and I helped out there too.

Carol: When he was three he had a fully operational post office in his bedroom where we used to have to write letters and post mail, and Kobi was so disciplined in sorting the mail and making sure it was always delivered. I thought back then, “He’s going to be a businessman.” He was born with it. He’s always been passionate about business.

How has Kobi Jack’s been received?
Kobi: I’ve been humbled by the overwhelming support of all the locals and our regular customers. I guess how busy it’s been reflects how it’s been received.

How did you come to buy the business?
Kobi: I was in London and I saw it advertised online and I thought, “I could buy that!” I said to Mum, “Do you reckon I’m too young?” 

What does Kobi Jack’s stand for?
Kobi: Kobi is my first name, Jack is my middle name. Dad has always called me Kobi Jack. It was a name used by other people and it sort of stuck.

Do you have a celebrity chef you admire?
Kobi: Chefs don’t usually idolise celebrity chefs. I just admire the incredible quality of what’s being forged on the Peninsula by the hard-working producers.

Do you watch celebrity cooking shows?
Kobi: No, I’m at work at 7pm on a Friday night, cooking for my own customers, living my own food dream.

What do you do when you’re not at work?
Kobi: I do a fair bit of running, all the normal things. I like going out to other restaurants and I try to catch up with friends and watching sport. I try to be 17.

Is Mum proud?
Carol: Very. I always say to him, “Take a breath and look at what you’ve created.” He’s like an old soul with such a level head.

Do you use local produce?
Kobi: Yes, I try to source local where I can, of course, and I’ve had incredible help and support from all the local producers and suppliers that I’ve used. They’ve really backed me.

Open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 5.30pm
A: 677 Point Nepean Rd, McCrae
T: 5986 2100




COMMON PEOPLE Ben Comelli, founder of The Tempo Group

How old were you when you founded the Tempo Group?
I founded The Tempo Group in my early 20s (Ben is now 34), growing the business to where it is today. 2017 is a significant year for me (and The Group) marking Tempo’s 10th anniversary. I feel like the journey has just begun and we have some exciting time ahead. 

That’s quite young. Did you always want to own your own business?
Yes, I did.  I commenced as a labourer in Rosebud and immediately knew I liked the building game. I was accepted into an adult apprenticeship, qualified and then pursued project management. It was a grassroots start, but this hands-on experience has been paramount to the growth of my business.

Remind us about The Tempo Group’s mission.
Our mission is to create high-end homes for clients looking for something beyond the ordinary. We have more than 10 years’ experience building luxury homes on the Peninsula. We understand the landscape. There are challenges with different blocks and we understand those challenges. We are very project-specific.

Please describe Tempo in a couple of words?
Innovation, Custom, Lifestyle, Flexible

What’s your style?
Relaxed. Our family is big on lifestyle. I also appreciate quality and beautiful finishes. A home has to be functional as well as an extension of yourself and the life you live. We are big on entertaining with family, extended family and friends. We live our life around a central indoor/outdoor entertaining area with barbecue, kids in the pool and a lot of fun.

Where can we see Tempo’s builds?
You can see our projects across the Mornington Peninsula, from Mornington to Mount Martha, Mount Eliza, Balnarring and Sorrento and also in St Kilda, Clifton Hill and Geelong. 

Are you a local?
Yes, my entire family is. I was born and bred on the Peninsula, and I live in Mount Eliza surrounded by friends and family.

What do you love doing on the Peninsula when not at work?
I am always focusing on work. I love what I do, so it's part of how I live my life, looking for new ideas or the next challenge. I have three young boys, and that is a handful and a lot of fun. My escape is dirt bikes, motocross and endure riding.
The team are also heavily involved in a house-gifting scheme – Global Village Housing in Cambodia. We plan to raise enough money to donate 50 homes over the next 12 months. 

Your mantra?
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give (Winston Churchill). I also think it’s pretty important to give it your all!




E: [email protected]

T: 0439 368 181


Taylah Carroll, 21 has been hooked on music most of her life. This Mornington melody maker creates music to soothe the soul and is managed by a boutique agency in Prahran called Melodic Management. I caught up with her via FB and email while she was backpacking through Peru and Colombia!

Back on the Peninsula and having completed her Bachelor of Arts, she’s ready to devote all her time to the medium she loves. Get set to hear more of Taylah in 2017. Follow her at TaylahCarrollMusic on FB or on Instagram @taylahcarrollmusic to see how.

Have you always been a musician?

There is no time I can recall that I haven't been in love with music and performing.

When did you start singing/ playing?

When I was six or seven I joined a children's performing company, so I suppose that's when I started singing and performing music in an organised capacity. I was putting on little shows when we had people over for dinner and performing whenever and wherever I could long before signing on to CPCA (Children's Performing Company of Australia) though.

I started piano to accompany my vocals and song writing. I started taking lessons in high school, though I only attended them sporadically and didn't really like them. I much prefer to play by ear or to simply compose. I picked up the guitar about two years ago and have been teaching myself little bits and pieces.

How do you get started on a song? Where do they come from?

It depends on the song. They all come out differently. Sometimes I start with a lyric or phrase. Sometimes I write out the whole song lyrically and find a vocal melody or I'm playing around with an instrument and find a melody that I love and a song will flow on from there. Sometimes they seem to write themselves, as though they flow through me, like a stream of consciousness. These are the ones that are often the strongest songs.

What instruments do you play?

I primarily play piano, but have recently been writing more on guitar. Now that I've finished my undergraduate degree I really want to buy an electric guitar and a synth. To play the trumpet would be amazing too, although I hear it's super difficult.


How would you describe your style?

I always find this question challenging to answer and usually just say alternative, but recently a friend described it as "sad indie pop". I think that encapsulates better than I could.

Any favourite peninsula musicians/ artists?

Ruby Whiting is one of my closest friends and creates beautiful heartfelt, wandering tunes. Harrison Storm is great. Millie Souter who did the promo artwork for my Ep launch is a wonderful visual artist too.

Where have you played on the Mornington Peninsula and how was the experience?

I've played a lot at Gods Kitchen, The Bay, Portsea Pub and venues of the like.  It's been great playing on the Peninsula and being a part of the music scene here. I have made many amazing friends and been given loads of opportunities to perform.

Where were you brought up and where do you live now?

I did my primary school years in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs in Blackburn and Mt Waverley and moved to Mornington when I was 11 just before high school. I am currently based at my family home in Mornington.

What's your favourite Peninsula beach and why?

Cameron's Bite in Blairgowrie. We used to moor our boat there. It is secluded and quaint, the water is always a beautiful blue in the summer, and a tiny rickety white pier stretches into the bay from the sand.

Do you write poetry?

I started writing poetry in year seven as a form of catharsis and long before I started writing songs. The songs (not including some terrible ones written when I was about six), only really started to come out of me once I could play with instrumentation as well.

What course are you doing at Melbourne University?

I just completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in psychology and Minoring in media and communications. Philosophy filled my electives and is my true love within the realm of academia.

Favourite fashion spots?

To shop? I love Aurelia and Herman in Main Street Mornington. And for homewares, gifts, and jewellery - Greedi Lulu and Page 8.

How will you spend the rest of your holidays?

I'm in Colombia now and I will be backpacking here for the next two and a half weeks. I then finish with a week in Mexico and will be back home with my family for the rest of the break. I intend to hug and hang out with everyone I love, walk lots, go to the beach lots, and start writing more songs.

What does the future hold for you?

Now that I've completed my BA, I'm giving myself a year or two to solely concentrate on music. I will be playing more shows, writing new music and producing a new Ep. I haven't really thought much further than that, although I would love to go to India.

Which musicians inspire you and why cover Life on Mars?

I love the song! It's my favourite Bowie song. It evokes nostalgia in me and the melody is just so lovely. My musical inspirations include Tori Amos, Sarah Blasko, Laura Marling (lyrically), and, not so much an inspiration but a new love, Julia Jacklin. She has inspired me to write lately.

Fiona Parry-Jones

Fiona Parry-Jones, known as the ‘colour guru’, delves into the dreams of her clients to create beautiful homes with personality. She is the owner of Von-Haus Design Studio, which offers a range of colour and design services that are tailored to each individual client.

Having recently moved to the Mornington Peninsula with her husband and little boy, Fiona and her team are motivated with a mission to bring excitement and charm to every project. We sat down to talk about her love of the Peninsula and how it inspires her design.

What made you move to the Mornington Peninsula?
We wanted a change of pace from the hectic inner city lifestyle and somewhere close to a beach that would be a good place for our little boy to grow up. The new roads make it so easy to still commute to clients, both city bound and locally, and I love how friendly people are here.

Do you think the Mornington Peninsula has its own particular style?
Yes, it does have its own style. I feel the Peninsula has a more relaxed, beach vibe with the variety of styles in architecture and design to enhance this. There is a lovely sense of community all over the Peninsula, which makes each suburb have its own special style unique to the area, ranging from rustic country to elegant Hamptons depending on where you go.

What type of design do you love at the moment?
I love any type of design that embraces colour in unique ways. It’s hard for me to pick one trend or design style because I am always looking at new ways to bring different styles together. What I do love is how colour is coming back into kitchens. Kitchens and bathrooms should have personality and why not make them colorful too!

Where are your favourite places to shop for design pieces on the Mornington Peninsula?
Tyabb Packing House has always been a top favourite of mine since I first discovered it back in 2003 when I came over from the UK. I love Mynd interiors in Frankston and all the markets too. My newfound discoveries are The Colour English in Mount Eliza and Greedi Lulu in Mornington. It’s very dangerous living so close to such beautiful shops but I’m very passionate about investing in local artisans and retailers.

Where do you draw inspiration from on the Mornington Peninsula?
I draw a lot of inspiration from the diversity of elements the Peninsula has to offer. I feel very spoilt here to have both amazing landscapes and beaches as creative reference. Every weekend I will try to explore a new area and I have come across some amazing talent with local retailers and artisans.

Where did your love of colour come from?
It started at university when I was studying fine art, I investigated the significance of colour on the human body and how we interacted with it through visual art.  This led me to learn more about the effects of colour in our daily lives and particularly in our homes. From there my obsession grew to interior design and the ways I could use colour to make homes beautiful as well as reflecting the personality of people who live there.

What is the most interesting project you have worked on?
I recently completed a very colourful project in Northcote where the client wanted every room to have a different colour theme. They had an amazing collection of artwork that helped to explore this more and there was a special kids zone where their artwork became the wallpaper for the room. It was such a fun project and was wonderful to see how the family all had input on the overall use of the space and style.

What can people expect from your ‘Colour Your Home’ workshops?
There are lots of people out there buying houses and renovating, but don’t know what style they like or how to pull their ideas together. This workshop is a great starting point for any interior decorating project and helps you map out the direction you want to go in. You leave with a moodboard ready for your next step, along with a pack filled with information on local suppliers in the area to help with your purchasing decisions.

Fiona is running a ‘Colour Your Home’ workshop at Co.Co Place in Mornington on November 12. Tickets: For more information visit

Marlene Miller

What sets Marlene Miller apart from the rest is her eye – an eye for spying a history-laden find to add to her already eclectic array of wonderful antiques in Sorrento. This southern tip of the Peninsula person has been collecting for around 30 years and her store on Ocean Beach Road takes you to a world where craftsmanship and detail take centre stage and age is a thing of beauty.

I’ve had a few chats with the marvellous Marlene in the past and have found out two things for sure. One, she likes to laugh a lot and two - she is not so common after all.  

(And by the way - isn’t it amazing how waiting for a ferry can change your life’s course?)

Did you find things as a child and bring them home?
The only time I did find something was when I picked up a toy from the Doherty's lawn (they were a big family who lived down the street). I took it home and got into a lot of trouble for it. I had to go and confess! I have not ‘picked’ up another thing since.

What makes you want to collect?
It is just so lovely to be surrounded by beautiful things and preserve history at the same time. I think it is really important for our future generations as well.

Is there a history of collecting in the family?
Not really, but my grandmother had very beautiful things. I am lucky enough to have some of those things now.

What’s the oldest piece of furniture you’ve had in store?
I have a lovely old Georgian Oak drop-side table at the moment which is close to 200 years old.

What is the most interesting piece of jewellery you’ve found?
I love the Gold Rush jewellery and do have quite a lot of it, but one of the most interesting pieces I have is a beautiful 15ct brooch/necklace (with love tassels). It has the photograph of a lovely lady in the back and she is wearing the necklace. You the lift up piece at the front and there is a photo of her husband. It’s probably dated around l860. Another great piece is a black cameo necklace made from the lava from Pompeii c.1830.

What’s the oldest book you’ve got and what is it about?
So many old books have come down from the book room upstairs over the years. Some of them go back to the 1700s. I’ve just gone up to find one called 'The Horse, in the Stable and Field' printed in 1875. There are lots more but the book room is a little messy and it takes a while to find things!

How long have you been in Sorrento and what do you love most about the area?
I grew up having holidays houses in the area, but in 1985 I noticed a derelict building (106) in the street for sale. Whilst waiting for the ferry to Queenscliff one day, I signed up to buy it.  I was pretty much into art back then and thought Sorrento needed more galleries and I also loved doing up buildings. I sold my partially renovated house in Brunswick and holiday house in Sorrento - left my really good job which I loved and have been here ever since. The art passion turned into a passion for antiques.

Why live near the sea?
Probably because of the relaxed atmosphere, fresh air and the lovely people who live here and visit the area.

How does Sorrento compare to other places here and overseas that you’ve been to?
Extremely well.  It is a beautiful place to live and has everything I need here.

Do you have any favourite spots to eat on the Peninsula?
We take turns to eat at our fabulous restaurants. We are very spoilt with such good food, coffee and ambience.

How would you describe your style (if you have one)? Do you think there is a Peninsula style?
Maybe a bit edgy so I am told. I think Peninsula people are rather casual in their style.

Do you have a favourite period of design you keep being drawn back to? What’s your favourite period in history?
Design wise I do not think you can beat the 1920s. I do not think there has been anything like it before or after.

How has Ocean Beach Road changed since you opened? (When was that?)
Ocean Beach Road was very country when I opened in 1985. You could see the tumbleweed rolling down the street at weekends.  I do like the way it has evolved and think the buildings blend really well.

Do you think there is a future in collectables? How has the collectables business changed?
Antiques have been out of fashion for a while, but teenagers are now starting to love them. Girls are buying the old cups/saucers for their friends for birthdays and loving the old books because they are interested in the history. The beautiful old furniture will again be appreciated, but it’s getting harder to find as there are not many antique shops left. It is much harder to find good antiques these days for some reason. You would think it would be easier as they are out of fashion - but it’s not.

Open seven days a week 10am(ish) till 5pm (closed Christmas and Good Friday)
A: 128 Ocean Beach Rd, Sorrento
T: 5984 1762
M: 0438 537 757

Singer/songwriter Harrison Storm

There’s a storm coming - or for many who already know Mornington local Harrison, it’s already landed.

Harrison grew up in Mornington, moved to the city to study civil engineering for two and a half years and came back to ‘the best place on earth’ after realising that music and the beach were his true loves. He’s never looked back. Visit YouTube to check out his music.

When did you first become interested in being a musician?
I'd been mucking around on mum’s guitar growing up and started really getting into it in high school. In my last year at Mt Eliza Secondary College I decided to jump up at a lunchtime performance with no-one really knowing I sung or played guitar. The response was pretty inspiring and I haven't stopped since. 

How would you describe your style?
It’s quite soft, relaxed and personal. Growing up by the beach has had a huge impact on my sound. 

What music inspires you and any local bands you’d recommend?
I listened to a lot of Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Fleetwood Mac growing up, so I'm drawn to more introspective singer songwriters like Ben Howard, Nick Mulvey and Angus and Julia Stone. As far as local acts go, Young Vincent, Zombitches and Ruby Whiting are all making interesting music that I recommend checking out.

Where have you played and where can we see you play in the future?
I busk nearly every week on Bourke St and Queen Vic Markets in Melbourne. It's always a humbling experience to meet all the different sorts of people who walk the streets. I also play the odd wedding and have just supported Woodlock at The Grand in Mornington. After seeing The Beautiful Girls play at The Grand and hearing about other acts like Saskwatch and The Basics playing there too, it's pretty exciting for me as someone who is a fan of live music and lives in Mornington. I hope these sort of awesome acts keep playing there. My next local gig will be at MOTH (Music on the Hill) in Red Hill on July 1 with Sweet Jean.

Do you have any views on the state of the music scene on the Mornington Peninsula?
There are a bunch of talented musicians on the peninsula who need somewhere to play, so the more places that support original live music, where the focus isn't selling $10 jugs but rather the artist, the better.

And lastly, are there any other artists on the peninsula who come to mind when thinking about talent?
Besides the musicians, there’s a lot of other great art being made.  I follow photographer Hayden O’Neill on Instagram and love the way he captures the ocean and the Mornington Peninsula. 


Jade Szonyi, travel blogger, Mum With Wings

Mt Eliza’s Jade Szonyi is a mother of two, an international flight attendant and a travel blogger with a rising Instagram profile. This month marks the first anniversary of the 32-year-old’s blog Mum With Wings (@mumwithwings) and in that time she has racked up 16,100 Instagram followers. She reflects on how it all happened.

Tell us about Mum With Wings and how you got those 16,000-plus Instagram followers!
I am a local Mornington Peninsula mother of two (Lottie, 6, and Sol, 3) and I have been an international QANTAS flight attendant for more than 10 years. I love looking after families on board and I was nicknamed the ‘on board nanny’ at QANTAS way before I even had my own children. I LOVE taking my children travelling around the world. Travelling teaches children so much and I believe it to be the best way to learn. My first overseas trip was to Sri Lanka when I was seven and it was a life-changing experience. I started Mum With Wings because my friends and their friends were constantly messaging me and asking for advice before they travelled with their children. So I decided to condense my experiences and knowledge into a blog. I want to encourage more families to travel and not be so scared of the thought. If parents are prepared before the flight, the journey will be much smoother once in the air. 

Social media is an amazing platform for sharing my tips. Mum With Wings has had a great response and has grown very quickly. It has also been a really good creative outlet for me. Before I was a flight attendant I studied Media and Communications at RMIT, I’ve always loved writing and photography, but nothing too technical, it has to be fun! Social media gives me that freedom to not take things too seriously.  I reply to every comment and question on my social media channels, I think interacting with my audience has helped it grow, I’ve also done a few things for QANTAS’ social media and an Expedia Blog which gave me huge exposure to a global audience. The content I share does really help families, I think that’s why it’s been well received. I’m a real mum doing what I love. I’ve assisted thousands of families on international flights over the last 10 years and I have learnt from their experiences too.  That’s the knowledge I draw from.  I also really appreciate what we have here on the Mornington Peninsula and I think like a tourist in my own back yard. I love sharing the best of my home region. The peninsula is such an amazing place for families, I do lots of local reviews and family friendly Mornington Peninsula posts. I often have the opportunity to serve Mornington Peninsula wines when I’m working in first class on board the QANTAS A380 and this makes me so proud of my home. 

What’s a normal day like for you?
I am really just a normal local mum. It’s the school run, the kinder run, cooking dinner, coffee at local cafes. I fly part-time so I only go to work once or twice a month max. I feel like a stay-at-home mum who gets a break in a hotel room in LA or Dubai every now and then.  My blog is something I do when I can. I don’t put too much pressure or deadlines on myself to get that done. If the sun is shining I take the kids to the beach. The blog post can wait.  I post on my Instagram a few times a day and I like to try to get one new blog post published every week if I can. The content has now built up on the blog and it really is a great resource for me to direct the many questions I receive daily to.

Favourite local spots?
I LOVE all our peninsula beaches and our national parks, Seawinds and The Briars, especially in autumn. I love visiting the wineries in Red Hill. Flinders is such a beautiful place. Sorrento. Too many! I can’t choose.  I like mixing it up and exploring different areas. My hammock in my backyard might just be my favourite spot.  

Favourite destinations with children?
Hawaii would have to be the most child-friendly place that I have been. Little things like kids’ drinks being served in a takeaway cup with a lid and straw are really big things when travelling with kids.  An immigration line with priority for families can be so nice at the end of a long flight. I have loved taking my kids around Europe and the USA. Closer to home we have had amazing adventures in Laos, Thailand and Indonesia.  

Instagram: mumwithwings

Stef Boadle, founder of More Tea and Co. Co Place

When Steph Boadle moved to the peninsula about 5 years ago, she knew it was time to create her own brand.  She had left behind a corporate career, which involved such things as launching Jetstar in Australia (while managing an ad agency), and attending Harvard Business School in Boston on a scholarship - studying entrepreneurship and negotiation.  

When it came time to do her own thing, Stef knew it had to be something she was passionate about.  Being a reformed coffee drinker and an avid tea lover, she wanted to make properly brewed tea accessible to people outside the home.  Not one to do things by halves, she gained her tea certification and she used this expertise to choose only the finest quality teas from across the globe.  But the star of More Tea became Stef's invention, her beautiful glass and bamboo tea bottles. She designed these to give people the option of taking their quality, properly brewed tea on adventures with them. In recent times, there have been imitation bottles popping up here and there, but the peninsula can lay claim to being the birth place of the original (and arguably the best) of these.  Thanks Stef! 

Stef has now opened a great little creative co-working space, Co. Co Place in Mornington and she says, "I can’t tell you, even in my own business, how much More Tea has gone in leaps and bounds, just from being around and being re-inspired by other people.  The more productive someone is next to you, it just feeds you.  I'm over the moon with how it's worked out and I can’t wait for the future."

What are a couple of your favourite blogs/websites and why?

Definitely Ted. It's a great way to stay connected with what is going on, and different views of the world. I do receive the Harvard Business Review blogs.  Again, a great way to keep up to date with what’s new, and see some of the great things that people are doing. I follow a few tennis players on Instagram for inspiration and training tips. Instagram becomes like a lot of little blogs for me.  Most of the products I buy I find on Instagram, and I like to support small business.  The social media examiner is a blog I will read, it is fabulous. And I’ll tell you where I get all my recipes, Melbourne Food Files.  It’s really great because I’m not the best cook but its all simple good food.  And impressive.

Can you tell us one or two of your fave local spots?

Definitely the Milk Bar in Mount Martha and the Mount Martha tennis club.  And the Golf Club in Cape Schank.  Those are my happy places.

Describe your style:

I definitely dress to where we live and who I am. The uniform here is cons. No heels allowed! I'm very simplistic, tom-boyish even.  I’m either doing active stuff in my active wear (I play tennis a few times a week), otherwise it’s mostly jeans, t-shirt and cons. Relaxed style. Even if Im going to Melbourne, I can still be me.  My style is just to be who I am. 

Do you think Mornington Peninsula fashion has a certain look or feel?

it is definitely that fitness and active lifestyle. Nothing over the top. No one takes themselves too seriously around here and if they do its pretty obvious.  I don’t think there is a set uniform but there are a lot of people who are just happy in their own skin.

by Penny Ivison