Grounds: Café Gardens & Garden Cafes

Paddock Bakery

For many Brisbanites, Easter is their final beach holiday before the weather turns cool. (I would personally chew my own arms off for a touch of cool weather, but that's another story...)

Each year the precious four days are anticipated and longed for, over weeks of perfect sunshine and blue skies. Invariably the result involves torrential rain or <shudder> flooded campsites.

Whatever hand fate deals you, if you’re heading to the Gold Coast, or even just passing through, it’s worth a detour to enjoy the garden at Paddock Bakery.

Paddock unfolds itself along a big corner block, one street back from the Gold Coast Highway at Burleigh. A white-painted timber house has been converted to become home to the café.

Glass doors at the rear reveal the bakery engine room and kitchen. Tight t-shirts and singlets reveal the arms of tanned, bemuscled patrons.  

There are inviting seating choices inside, all with good views out.

There are more options out in the garden itself. At the front, picnic tables hunker under big shady trees.

To the side, a new edible garden is taking shape. Chunky timber framed raised beds are home to the usual suspects of culinary herbs, as well as flowers, lush vegetables and citrus.

Passionfruit tendrils have laid siege to the elegant arbour; the whole structure will be invisible this time next year.

Little tables and chairs are dotted around, and the ground surface is relaxed – old bricks, slabs of stone, deco…nice.

Have a coffee and a freshly baked pastry, read the papers, get a loaf of chewy sourdough to take away and you’ll be set for another day of boardgames in the caravan.


Note: Paddock Bakery is at 20 Hibiscus Haven, Burleigh. Open 6:00am – 2:00pm. 

Design: the second-nicest thing you can do with another person

What a pleasure it was for me to collaborate on a project with the almost indecently talented Nicole Phillips. As well as being super-brilliant at just about everything to do with typographic and publication design, Nicole is also a tirelessly supportive friend…what Brene Brown would call a “move-a-body” friend!

We met years ago in our past lives working for an international design firm.  Since then Nicole has been my go-to person for all sorts of visual communications. I’ve been especially lucky that she agreed to do the graphic, visual and cover design for Future Park, my forthcoming book.

In between my book deadlines, and running her own thriving business, Nicole jumped at the opportunity to collaborate on a public art project for a new community centre at the Gold Coast. We were fortunate enough to be shortlisted to one of three teams to develop and present a concept design to the local council and others involved in the project.

After analysing the site and it surrounding context we knew we wanted to explore ideas of folding, creasing and weaving. This was inspired by the geology of the area, the rows of pointed roofs on nearby houses, the creek bed at the end of the street, and even old-style folded entry tickets referencing the theme parks up the road.

We also had to locate the artwork on a north-facing wall, so we were keen to create something that would cast dynamic shadows over the course of the day.

Here are some of the pages from our presentation, showing a snapshot of our experimentation.

Although the panel awarded the next stage of the project to Belinda Smith (another of my talented pals), Nicole and I had a great time bringing together our respective skills to collaborate creatively.

This project has also given me lots of ideas for future work…if you’ve seen any of my Instagram pics you’ll already know I’m a huge shadow nut!

If you haven’t, why not head over now and check them out. Otherwise let me know what you think about the experiments. I’d love to hear which ones appeal to you and why.

And embrace collaboration, it really is one of the nicest things you can do with another consenting adult.