After dropping my Mum off at the airport for an early morning flight I headed over to Summer Hill in the Inner West to check the area out (and inspect some houses).
I've heard a lot about Summer Hill since moving to Sydney - about its villagey, the new Leichhardt type feeling. Having lived in Marylebone in London, and been incredibly spoilt by its villagey atmosphere (with possibly the nicest High St I've ever know) and the villagey atmosphere of Hampstead, I went to Summer Hill with reasonably low expectations.
I was pleasantly surprised. Summer Hill isn't Marylebone, nor is it Hampstead, but it comes pretty close for a non-waterfront Sydney suburb. It does have a villagey atmosphere and real shops owned by real people - no chains here. And that makes it really attractive as a place to spend a Saturday morning or do your general neighbourhoodly business. Lots of people my age and lots of young families. I can see why it has been recommended to me as potentially a good place to live. Florists, cafes, local fruit and veg, butcher, multiple 'hot bake' shops, gift shops, charity shops make this place a really chilled place to be. It does have a great feel (and a station connecting it to the city - I drove though, and had absolutely no problem getting street side park).
I had breakfast in one of the best cafes I've been to in Sydney. Decolata (134 Smith St, Summer Hill). Can't recommend this place highly enough - it was such a nice surprise. Today has been a stunning Sydney Autumn day and I ate my breakfast soaking up the sun. Decolata is run by true proper Italians (I even heard Italian being spoken) - it is really cute and cool at the same time. Photos on the blackboard of babies and a huge array of homemade Italian sweets (they looked great and exactly what you would expect an Italian Nona to make). Menu consists of an all day breakfast, coffee, panini, gelato and of course the Italian sweets. I had one of the best coffees I've had in Sydney and tomato and avocado sourdough (not exactly on the menu, but they made it for me without even flinching, and added herbs and olive oil - just perfectly how I like it). All in all a faultless experience. And all for under $12. Check it out. It did remind me of a cool European cafe.
Another good find - My Messy Room. This is a top quality, special kids shops. Unusual cool things that I hadn't seen before (and I've been to so many kids shops). I must admit that I had recently read about My Messy Room, but I didn't realise it was in Summer Hill. Definitely a top find and I think I'll be back for special presents. Not really a KMart type of shop, but definitely a shop for good quality clothes, toys and books for kids you won't find elsewhere. It definitely reminded me of shops in London.
And a stained-glass window shop! Bob Bush Leadlights Stained Glass Design. You can even do classes in leadlighting. How many local neighbourhood shops in Sydney can offer that!?
I'm off to see if a cinema in Randwick is as cute and quirky as my favourite. Will report back!
Also, special thanks to Renee, Daniel, baby Isaac and James for a lovely day in the sun with delicious food, fabulous company and lots of yummy cuddles. Cheesecake was divine, and I think I've found some great new wineglasses (so different, loved them).