Imagine a store filled to bursting with all your Babyology favourites. Where darling layette pieces from Dwell Studio mix it with super-cool denim jeans from Little Rivet and shoes from See Kai Run. Where Heavenly Creatures, Baobab, Knuffle Kid, Aunty Ollie and Alex & Ant hang in perfect harmony on the racks alongside delightful dresses from Fabrik, play clothes from Claesens and uber-cool everything from Shampoodle.
Where you can gasp and coo in delight over threads from SoSooki, Polka, Three Little Trees, Redfish Kids, Babushka Baby, Acorn hats, and dither over beautiful children’s jewellery from Little Lamb. Yes, such shopping nirvana does exist… if you happen to live in Melbourne. Come window-shopping with us at Chocolate Freckles – you won’t believe your eyes!
My absolute favourite children’s boutique, this unassuming little shop in Melbourne’s north is a treasure trove of cool clothes and accessories for kids and the exact store we’d open (if Babyology was ever inclined to open a store, that is). A little voice inside my head did urge me to keep this particular gem to myself. One visit and you’ll be thanking your lucky stars that I’m not the selfish type!
There’s plenty of my own personal favourites too among the labels – the always edgy Littlehorn, the retro-classic Chalk n’ Cheese and the beautiful Edenstar. It doesn’t stop there – Minti, Chook Leak, Nanny Pickle, Milky, Toshi, And Me Too, Hucklebery Lane, Cheeky Little Soles and Cocoon Clothing are among the other labels you’ll find.
What I especially love about this shop is that owner Julia Mendola – a mum after my own heart – has stocked her boutique with clothes that children can actually wear, using her own two kids as yardsticks. Sure, there’s plenty that can do double duty for “good” but they’re handpicked to be perfect for the playground, the park, preschool and everywhere else you need to go, day in and day out, with kids in tow.
There’s a wonderfully eclectic cross-section of Australian designers and the best European labels as well. I also like how Julia starts with beautiful babywear but stocks bigger sizes too – up to a size ten in many labels – while most other boutiques cater strictly to little kids. There’s also a mind-boggling array of toys and gifts from Lark, Dumpling Dynasty, Alimrose, Melissa & Doug, Tiger Tribe and others, as well as some of the cutest hair accessories I’ve seen anywhere from brands including the delightful Shanghai Ruby.
A quick thanks now to photographer extraordinaire Suzanne Downer from Maple Gallery for the stunning images! You can find Chocolate Freckles at 194 Buckley St, Essendon. Go, enjoy… and don’t forget to tell Julia that Babyology sent you!