After my yoga and driving lessons last Saturday, I went to the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens to check what The Finders Keepers is all about. As it turned out, The Finders Keepers is Australia’s largest design market featuring works and products of local, independent artists from all over the country. It is a massive three-day event which gathered over 250 designer stalls in one place for the artists to showcase and sell their curated products to market-goers and local-product enthusiasts. It goes around Australia all year round and it made its way to Melbourne last weekend (Oct 20 - Oct 22).
The moment I stepped into the building, I instantly felt like being transported into a different world. The market was huge and it was filled with brightness, lively chatters, pastels and cotton-candy colors. These are independent artists in my midst! I immediately felt the strong, creative vibe in there.
The ticket desk, with its colorful facade, was an eye-candy. An entrance fee of $2 was taken from those who are over 12 years old. In return, we were given a cute ticket and an equally colorful map to guide us on our spree. ♥
At first, I do not know where to start. I was overwhelmed by the market's enormity but later on decided to start from the left.
I walked slowly, scanning each stall that I walk past. From accessories, organic skincare, clothes to one-of-a-kind finds, it's all in there. It was truly overwhelming. If I don’t have the self-control, I would probably have bought everything in there. From handmade accessories to artisanal chocolates, It is the best place to discover unique gift finds for your friends or your loved ones this coming holiday season. Everything in there was made by hand and with love! Since I am not the curator type of person and I know that I don't have enough creative juice in my body to become one soon, I get so amused with artists. I am actually curious to see how their mind works. More than that, I want to see the the process they undertake to be inspired and to translate that inspiration to a work of art. It must be magical.
I walked some more and reached the center of the venue. A big stage was setup for the invited musicians to perform on and in front of them is a cozy setup filled with colorful tables and cozy chairs arranged in a manner where people can enjoy the music, their food and at the same time the company of their companions.
I sat for a few minutes to rest my tired feet and to just listen to the music. The chair was so comfy and the music was so good that I did not want to leave it anytime soon. However, upon realizing that it is neither the music nor the chair that I went there for, I quickly got back to my feet and continued on my journey.
Since I am not really into clothes and accessories which The Finders Keepers had a lot of that day, I had been set to keep an eye out for stalls that sell organic skin care products or pure essential oils. I have lately found Happy Skincare which is a nice, local brand of organic skin care products based in Sydney and since I only have high praises for the brand as they are working amazingly on my skin, I wanted to explore other organic skincare brands too! ♥
Well, I did not find any that grabbed my attention but I was blessed to find a brand that sells pure essential oils. I think they had close to a hundred different aroma under their sleeve.
“Why are you looking for essential oils?”, you may ask. I just finished reading a birth skills book written by Juju Sundin, a midwife based in Australia, and I found the book empowering as it gave me a lot of techniques that I can use to manage the pain during labour. I started reading the book with lots of doubts and anxiety in my mind but that book introduced and opened me to a different perspective of childbirth - that there’s something that I can do other than just lie on my back and feel like a victim. One of the techniques discussed in the book is the use of essential oil. You can put a drop or two of the essential oil in an oil burner, if the hospital that you’ll be admitted in allows its use, or in a hanky or toilet paper. A lot of women in labour had attested that whiffing or sniffing the scent of the oil had been useful in distracting them from the pain they were experiencing during labour. The author mentioned the use of Lavender, Mandarin or Lemon oil but I think any kind of oil that calms your nerves, makes you at ease or you think would be enough to distract you or overpower just a little bit the pain would already be enough. Be wary though of oils that can induce labour as it was mentioned that there were some out there that has the capability to do so.
Back to the market and the brand, I was so lucky to find Ziel Essence. Ziel Essence is a local brand born in Melbourne which sells natural skincare and aromatherapy products. Like what I’ve told you, I felt like they have close to a hundred aroma to choose from that day which made it a hard job for me to pick just one. I went first with the Lavender Organic but the smell did not sit well with me so I tried the other zesty aroma that Juju has mentioned: the Mandarin and Lemon. The Mandarin oil was so light for me so I did not go for it. The Lemon though is a different story as it was strong but at the same time calming. Just perfect for what I needed. I bought the Lemon oil for $16 which they put in a cute burlap pouch. I was so happy that I am able to add another item in my hospital bag!
I roamed around some more but I did not find anything else that suited my liking so I ended up checking the food stalls instead. Aside from the food stalls lined up along both sides of the food court, there were also 4 food trucks parked outside. Since I still was not hungry, I did not buy anything. If only I was starving, I would have gone for the donuts from St Gerry's or the popsicles from Popstic. Again, it's a tough choice because I only had to pick one.
Going to The Finders Keeper had been a great experience for me! I enjoyed looking around and discovering unique finds made by these talented, independent, Australian artists. Right after I left the venue, I was already looking forward to the next one!