The phrase ‘like mother, like daughter’ could not ring more true for Cristina and Isabella Toscano. This dynamic duo are two of the warmest and most generous people you will ever meet, and their effervescing spirit follows them wherever they go.

Growing up as a child in an Italian family in Australia in the 1960s, Cristina has always been surrounded by those who passionately love food. Her father especially would make traditional panettone and colomba cakes in his biscuit and cake factory and in the process started a popular business that would support his family in the ‘lucky country’. Forty odd years later in 2011, Cristina along with her daughter Isabella decided to start their own business, a bespoke food and gifting business called Cristina Toscano Everything Food – and honestly if there are two women to entrust with food prowess and knowledge it is these two. 

Starting their business from their dining room table with a friends and family night, the duo took a risk and ordered 1000 empty gift boxes with the challenge of filling them up with luxury food and homewares and selling them all. Lo and behold, almost six years later and business is booming in the epicurean city of Melbourne, with two tiers of the business emerging: CTEF’s famous panettone and colomba cakes that are sell out well before Christmas or Easter has even arrived, and their luxury gift boxes that are sought after and have become a popular fixture on the corporate circuit. 

This mother-daughter team’s success is largely due to their fastidious attention to detail, from the products they choose (including balsamic glazed pears imported from Italy and candles from Greece) to their packaging that makes it feel like it is Christmas every day and their optimistic customer service that keeps you thirsty for more. The same approach for detail is extended to their shoe collections featuring Italian and European classics, soft leathers and shoes that make a statement and are worth the investment. 



What was the first pair of shoes you remember owning as a kid, and why did you love them? 
Cristina: Black patent t-bars! All the Aussie girls at school had this, and this Italian girl wanted a pair. I used to sleep with them next to my bed so I could look at them. I truly loved them! 

Isabella: I had a pair of gold Mary Janes that I wore as a flower girl when I was 3 and I would wear them everywhere. I have an entire playgroup photo album where I am ‘pretending’ to play in them, I still recall that I refused to step in the sandpit for a photograph just in case I ruined my gold little shoes. 

What pair of shoes are you still lusting over from childhood? 
Isabella: I am still lusting over a pair of white platform Sketchers a la Baby Spice from the Spice Girls. I had an all white pair but I still wish I had an all black pair too. Mum says I was always so close to twisting my ankles in them but I would still never take them off. 

What do you think your current shoe collection says about you?
Cristina: I spend a lot of money on shoes, I love them! And still sometimes never the right suit for something. 

Isabella: I have way too many boots and have finally realised that perhaps I need to invest in some more everyday classics. 

What is your all time favourite pair of shoes? 
Cristina: I love a sexy black evening shoe. 

Isabella: I love an embellished or jeweled high heel, especially Manolo Blahniks. 

The age-old debate: Heels or flats? And why? 
Cristina: I have always loved and bought heels, which have slowly transitioned into a wedge for comfort over the years. My secret to wearing them all night is that I take two anti-inflammatories before I leave the house – it works wonders! 

Isabella: Similarly to mum, always heels! For me heels really elongate your legs, are seriously flattering and have the ability to finish off all outfits. 

What has been your biggest splurge on shoes? 
Cristina: I can’t even say! Too much! 

Isabella: Over $1000 on a pair of Valentina Rockstuds in Paris. The colour was sold out worldwide, so when I found a pair in the colour AND in my size I had to have them. Have only worn them three times in two years, oops. 

Where’s the best place your shoes have taken you? 
Cristina: Beautiful parties, overseas travel and my dad’s biscuit and cake factory. The last is particularly important to me as it eventually led me into starting my own business 40 odd years later, where I am able to re-produce and honour his panettone and colomba cakes and share them with the community. 

Isabella: Shoes have led me to the most memorable family holidays, including watching the sunset over the sand dunes in Dubai and finding the most authentic pizzeria in Rome, where waiters carry 12 pizzas at a time. (PS. It’s called Pizzeria Ai Marmi). 


Be honest, do you keep your shoes in out of the box?
Cristina: Both, it really depends on how special they are and if I wear them every day. If they are an everyday shoe, they normally stay out of the box for convenience. 

Isabella: Outside of the box 90% of the time. I finally invested in a shoe rack, so I can see them all on display and most live here, except for the odd pair of heels that are in their box or dust bag. 

What type of shoe would you never be seen in?
Cristina: I would never ever be seen in plastic shoes! 

Isabella: Crocs! Still trying to figure out how they can be comfortable or look good on your foot. It’s a mystery to me! 

What’s your biggest shoe regret? 
Cristina: A pair of summer Furla sandals. They looked great in Sicily and when I brought them back to Melbourne I instantly thought, ‘WTF, when and where am I ever going to wear these?’. 

Isabella: A pair of Hogan runners in Italy. The Italian girls rock that sporty jeans, white t-shirt and runners look so well and I just can’t. My friends used to try and throw them out when I would do a wardrobe clean out! 

Your verdict on ugg boots out in public, yes or no?
Cristina: They are a 100% no go zone in public. 

Isabella: Not in public, especially since there are so many other shoes you could wear instead. 

How many pairs of shoes is too many? 
Cristina and Isabella: Never! Everyone lusts over more shoes and we are definitely included! 

Finish this sentence: Whatever happened to the Old Lady who lived in a shoe…
Cristina and Isabella: She kept on buying shoes.  


To find out more about Cristina and Isabella visit their website here or follow Cristina Toscano Everything Food on Instagram here.

Cristina chooses habbot’s Razzle and Isabella chooses habbot’s Crumble to get them from A to B this spring season. 




* Required










#shoesnoop | Emma Nicholas-Jennings

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Gelato always saves the day. Gelato brings people together. Gelato can lift your mood from zero to hero in less than five seconds. Now imagine being the person who owns the gelateria? Emma Nicholas-Jennings is that person. She saves lives with a daily dose of good cheer that is frozen and sold by the scoop. We call her the gelato doctor. 

Emma, alongside her husband Gary, opened their gelateria Miinot in Pascoe Vale South in 2015. Their idea was simple: to offer the finest gelato made from the finest ingredients. After returning from home to Melbourne after a 15-year-stint running restaurants in London, Emma and Gary decided to start their own business. A gelato shop was the obvious choice, Emma’s parents had run them for years, and she always had a passion for food and flavours. This was Emma’s chance to combine the two and unleash her delicate, frozen creations onto others. 

Since opening, Miinot has become a local favourite known for gelato that doesn’t just taste good but gelato that tastes really, really good. Emma pairs unlikely flavours together that you might not think of but are happy to learn exist. She suggests trying Miinot’s walnut, salted pistachio and liquorice together for a surprising frozen revelation. Similarly, Emma’s shoe collection pairs the unlikely with the everyday, embracing high end designer finds and classic comfort trainers. On her feet 12-hours a day, we got the shoe scoop from Emma, literally. 



What was the first pair of shoes you remember owning as a kid, and why did you love them? 
My first pair of shoes that I remember, and still have one of, are my tiny white Swedish clogs. My father took me to the Queen Victoria Market one day and lo and behold one of my clogs fell off! I kept repeating “KOG! KOG!” all around the market in my little pushchair but he didn’t realise until we got home and I only had one shoe on. 

What pair of shoes are you still lusting over from childhood? 
I am still lusting after my pair of Jean Paul Gaultier red kitten heeled flip flops that I purchased in London at the age of 22 (that feels like childhood to one as old as me!). I wore them to death and threw them out when they finally fell apart. I still ask myself, “Why, Why, Why? Why didn’t I keep them and get them repaired?” One of life’s great regrets!

What do you think your current shoe collection says about you?
My current shoe collection says: Eccentric weirdo lives here.

What is your all time favourite pair of shoes? 
My wedding shoes! They were Japanese-inspired, wood block, platform, suede knot shoes by Eley Kishimoto. 

The age-old debate: heels or flats?
For years and years only heels! Now that I stand on average 12 hours per day it is flats, mostly trainers.



What has been your biggest splurge on shoes? 
Biggest splurge? There have been too many! There have been multiple Miu Miu purchases when I was on a waitress's salary in the ‘90s, which often meant no food for a week. But I looked fab so didn’t care. A recent splurge was a pair of Acne trainers. 

Where’s the best place your shoes have taken you? 
The best place my shoes have taken me (probably those JPG flip flops) were to the street market in Marseille, Southern France on a regular basis where there used to be a guy selling samples/dead stock from Robert Clergerie and Stephane Kelian. I would make my pilgrimage to him twice a year on holidays!

Be honest, do you keep your shoes in out of the box?
Shoes out of the box!

What type of shoe would you never been seen in?
N.E.V.E.R wear Crocs.

What’s your biggest shoe regret? 
No shoe regrets to report. Just buy/hoard everything! 

Your verdict on ugg boots out in public, yes or no?
Uggs only to be worn under the cover of darkness.

If you were a pair of shoes what would you look like? 
If I were a shoe I would be a traditional, handmade and stitched, leather soled, lovingly made piece of art. Most likely a two-toned tan and white, slip on, brogue.

How many pairs of shoes is too many? 
No such thing as too many! 

Finish this sentence: Whatever happened to the Old Lady who lived in a shoe…
The Old Lady who lived in a shoe ended up as a 1970s plastic bedside lamp in my childhood bedroom, sold at Camberwell Market six years ago for the princely sum of $15. 


To find out more about Emma Nicholas and her amazing gelato visit her for a scoop or seven at Miinot Gelato, 71 Melville Road, Pascoe Vale South, and follow her on Instagram

Emma chooses habbot’s Prickle to get her from A to B in style and comfort. 





#shoesnoop | Alice Oehr

Monday, January 02, 2017


Not all illustrators are created equal, most can draw and do it superbly, but then there are others who can REALLY draw. Melbourne-based graphic artist and illustrator Alice Oehr falls into this latter category. Working out of her home studio in Abbotsford alongside her trust intern/British Shorthair cat Otto, Alice creates a wonderful world of colour. 

Obsessed with food, much of Alice’s work is steeped in the edible, and when she’s not drawing food she is most likely cooking and eating it. A published editorial, commercial and book illustrator, Alice extends her love of graphics and art to her wardrobe, which is jam-packed with printed textiles, colour and tactile fabrics that all tell a story. It’s a similar situation with her shoe collection, where even a basic sneaker is not a basic sneaker when Alice is around. 

What was the first pair of shoes you remember owning as a kid, and why did you love them? 

A pint-sized pair of jelly sandals! Throughout my childhood I owned many pairs, gradually the size would get larger, but the glitter and style of the shoe remained pretty consistent. The standouts for me were my green, hot pink and gold glitters pairs. To be honest I think any shoes that feature gold glitter are loved by children and adults alike. 

What pair of shoes are you still lusting over from childhood? 

I had narrow feet when I was young, which meant that there were just some shoes styled that would never fit me, no matter how much I attempted to delude myself they would. I remember quite vividly that there was a pair of Converse All Star suede slip-ons that my friend owned in primary school that I was green with envy over. But wearing them would have been a constant OH&S nightmare, so sadly I never realised this footwear dream!

What do you think your current shoe collection says about you?

My collection says I’m all about comfort and practicality, which is a necessity when you ride a bike to and from everywhere, like I do. Fingers crossed, my collection is also chic. 

I own no heels, but do love a platform, which are very bike-friendly. My sneaker collection is getting a little out of control, but there are so many dressy varieties available these days, it’s NOT adding to the collection. 


You love a platform, obviously! What is about Tape that makes it the ultimate chic shoe for the bike-rider?

If I need some extra height I'm going for a platform or not at all. Tape sandals are the ultimate day-to-night/dress-it-up/dress-it-down shoe. They'll be getting a lot of outings on the bike this summer.

Where do you hope your habbots take you this Summer?

To many good parties and the dance floor!

What is your all time favourite pair of shoes? 

I love my dressier pairs of shoes and feel great when I wear them. Having said that I am super loyal to my white leather Spring Court sneakers. I have never had a more comfortable pair of shoes in my life and you can kind of get away with wearing them anywhere, even fancy places. Not bad for a modest pair of sneakers!

Heels or flats? And why? 

Flats. I’m always on my bike and while I do love wearing heels I love riding my bike more. 

What has been your biggest splurge on shoes? 

A pair of criss-cross Marni sandals. It was just one of those situations where there were a few signs from the universe that these sandals were meant to be mine or so I keep telling myself. They were the last pair, in my size and I was on holiday, that’s the retail justification trinity right there. 


Where’s the best place your shoes have taken you? 

Those Spring Courts have taken me all round Japan, France and Italy. I couldn’t really ask more of a pair of shoes. 

Be honest, do you keep your shoes in out of the box?

Absolutely out of the box. I’m a messy person.

What type of shoe would you never been seen in?

Toning shoes! I remember them being big in the ‘00s, they had a curved sole and apparently when you wore them felt like you were carrying bags of sand. No thanks. And I could never wear heeled thongs. Sooooo wrong!

What’s your biggest shoe regret? 

Once I got a touch of Tokyo fever and bought some Jeremy Scott x Adidas collaboration sneakers that were inspired by Pebbles Flintstone. They were white with aqua, purple and leopard skin panels and each one had three large plastic bones up the front that attached to the laces. I still like how wild they were, but outside of Tokyo, just not a good look for me.

Your verdict on ugg boots out in public, yes or no?

Definitely not. Uggs aren’t even that easy to walk in once you leave the lounge 
room, surely there’s always a better option for public consumption. 

If you were a shoe what pair would you be / what would you look like?

I hope I would be a pair of those sneakers that are a bit more dressy (translation: a bit over the top, a total rip off), but they’re nice enough to wear to a smart occasion and great for day-to-day.


How many pairs of shoes are too many? 

I reckon anything more than 20 is getting a bit dangerous. Where would I keep them? 

Finish this sentence: Whatever happened to the Old Lady who lived in a shoe…

Old-age and a desire for comfort got the better of her and she downsized into an ugg boot.


To find out more about Alice Oehr website here, follow her on Instagram
Alice chooses habbot’s Tape to get her from A to B this summer. 





Roasted Capsicum and Labne Salad

Spice up the endlessly boring festive dishes with this spectacular salad. The middle eastern spices give it the right exotic touch that is sure to please crowds.

Salad
2 medium orange capsicums (400g)
2 medium red capsicums (400g)
2 medium yellow capsicums (400g)
2 medium green capsicums (400g)
80g baby rocket leaves
1 small red onion (100g), sliced thinly
300g labne, drained
2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
1 tsp za'atar
1/2 tsp chilli flakes

Red Wine Vinaigarette
1/3 cup (80ml) olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed

- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Quarter capsicums; discard seeds and membranes. Place, skin-side up, on an oven tray. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until skin blisters and blackens. Cover capsicum with plastic or paper for 5 minutes; peel away skin, then slice capsicum thickly.
- Make red wine vinaigrette: Combine ingredients in a screw-top jar; shake well.
- Combine capsicum with rocket and onion in a large bowl, add vinaigrette; toss to combine, season. Arrange salad on a large platter, top with labne and oregano; sprinkle with za’atar and chilli.

Accompany with crusty bread and enjoy!

Featured shoe is Orb

#keyingredient | Mushroom Sliders

Thursday, December 08, 2016


Mushroom Sliders With Pickled Fennel and Harissa Creme Fraiche

Slider is the affectionate name coined in the States for a small hamburger found in any worthwhile restaurant or cool party. In our travels (of the internet not U.S.) we stumbled across a super yummy vegetarian alternative for the festive season. An absolute must try.

Mushroom Sliders
2 tbsp olive oil
8 x 8cm portobello mushrooms (400g)
120g vintage cheddar, sliced thinly
8 soft white bread rolls, split
40g wild rocket (arugula) leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Pickled Fennel
Baby fennel bulb (120g), trimmed, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/3 cup (80ml) white balsamic vinegar
2 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Harissa Creme Fraiche
- can be made a day ahead; refrigerate in an airtight container.
1/2 cup (120g) creme fraiche
2 tsp harissa paste
2 tsp lemon juice

- Make pickled fennel: Combine ingredients in a medium bowl; stand 30 minutes. Before serving, drain fennel mixture; discard liquid.
- Divide oil between two large non-stick frying pans, heat over medium heat. Divide mushrooms between pans; cook, covered, for 5 minutes each side or until golden and tender. For the last 2 minutes of cooking time, top mushrooms with cheddar until melted.
- Meanwhile, make harissa creme fraiche: Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste.
- Spread harissa creme fraiche on roll halves. Sandwich with mushrooms, pickled fennel, rocket and parsley.

You will never want to eat mushrooms any other way!

Featured shoe is Hazel

#shoesnoop | Simone Haag

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


There are two types of people in the world: those who wear shoes and those who love shoes. Stylist and designer, Simone Haag, belongs to a third category: those who really, really love shoes. As a busy mum of two young daughters, Simone’s shoe collection is a combination of the practical and impractical. She doesn’t flip flop in-between, as she puts it: “Give me some trusty trainers or heels so high I won’t be able to walk by the end of the night, but none of this business in the middle!” 

Simone is the original hunter and gatherer. Working as an interiors stylist for residential projects and editorially as Real Living’s Melbourne contributor, Simone’s that person who is always sourcing the best stuff from the most unexpected places. It’s part of her charm. 

From her Scandi-inspired family home to her recently renovated beach house the Anglers Shack and the homes of her clients, Simone’s aesthetic is hard to miss: it’s meticulous, considered and fun. The same ethos applies to her shoe collection, a place where a $10 op shop find will sit next to a pair of Chloe boots. When it comes to shoes anything goes for Simone, as long as the PPW (price per wear) works out in her favour.


What has been your biggest splurge on shoes? 
Chloe boots. They were on the wish list for close to three years, so there was no chance of buyer’s remorse with this pair after lusting over them for so long. Thankfully, my husband doesn’t begrudge me spending money on investment purchases. We have an agreement, as long as the PPW (price per wear) works out in the end, I can add to cart. 

What is your biggest shoe regret? 
My biggest shoe regret is an ongoing disorder I call USSD (Underestimate Shoe Size Disorder). You see, I know what size I am, I have been the same shoe size for many years now, but this won’t stop me from buying the perfect pair of shoes even if they are one size too small. 

I will convince myself that they ‘fit’, take them home and wear them just enough that they are non-returnable. It’s a few weeks later, when I am hunched over with a shoehorn and sweaty brow that I know I am in trouble, and when I hope the client’s house I am about to walk into isn’t a ‘shoe off’ home. 

I bought a pair of suede ankle boots from French label IRO a few years ago, I knew they weren’t going to fit, but I purchased anyway. This pair has actually turned into one of my best styling props for shoots, and I am counting down the days until my first-born Goldie can fit into them!  





Your verdict on ugg boots out in public, yes or no?
My gut feeling is to say absolutely no, but on reflection, I think a postcode related response is required. I live in what was generally known as a fairly bogan suburb, and likewise, my beach house is on the daggy coast line, so to be fair I have worn my uggs out in public. Would I wear them out in 3142 aka Toorak? Um, hell no! 

The age-old debate: Heels or flats? 
I love both but when I say I love both I mean I love heels or flats, don’t give me that mediocre business in the middle that tries to be a heel with the comfort of flats. When I’m wearing heels I want a pair that’s super high that I fear I will not be able to walk by the end of the night. To me, that’s part of the fun. Or give me some trusty trainers or an ankle boots. In my job I shift from having to be on-the-go on a shoot day to running to client meetings in something a little more upbeat. 

Where is the best place your shoes have taken you?
My trusty pair of Converse Chuck Taylors (the black leather ones) have taken me around the world! I’ve worn them snowboarding in Japan, Canada, France and the States. I popped in some of those lambswool inserts and they became a quasi snow boot. 

In my twenties, I worked for Quiksilver the surfing company for a few years all over America, and this pair of shoes saw me through that time. I then did a stint in rainy London, and my socks were never wet. The perfect travel companion, they squashed up nice and small when I backpacked around Europe, and got me from A to B safe and sound. 





Be honest, do you keep your shoes in out of the box?

I’m split down the middle here. Expensive shoes in the box, knock about pair of trainers out of the box. Having said that I once tried to be super organised and went out and bought matching boxes for all of my shoes. I then proceeded to stick a Polaroid photo of each pair to the front of the respective box. Now would be an appropriate time to say: What the?!
 
What is your all time favourite pair of shoes?
A cracking pair of thigh high leather boots found at an op shop in Barwon heads for under $10. And I do love my Versace two-toned pumps (cream and peach) worn on my wedding day. It’s important to note here that my USSD syndrome snuck in again with this pair, so as much as I would like to get the PPW down, I just can’t ever where these beauties again!
 
How many pairs of shoes are too many?

When they start collecting dust!

Typically Walnuts are a hard nut to crack, but not the habbot variety. What is it about this style that you're a fan of?
Well funnily enough I did say I wasn't a mid heel kind of girl - but this one has a summer sandal elegance and is comfy enough to run after a naughty toddler in between client visits!
 
Where do you hope your habbots will take you this Summer?
I was really hoping they would take me to the Indonesia resort in Nihiwatu, but I think I will need Qantas for that.
 
To find out more about Simone Haag visit her website here, follow her on Instagram, or stay at her beach house the Anglers Shack in Philip Island. And of course, feel free to wear your ugg boots if you visit!
 
Simone chooses habbot’s Walnut to get her from A to B on busy styling days. 


Words | Lisa Marie Corso
Photography | Amelia Stanwix


#keyingredient | Choc Chip Goodies

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Choc Chip Goodies

Some days call for choc chip cookies to get you feeling good in the afternoon. Personally, we've been dunking ours in an iced latte around the meeting table while Annie designs AW17.

1 cup (220g) firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
1 1/2 cups (225g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
1 cup (150g) coarsely chopped macadamias, toasted
185g butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g dark eating chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 packet of silver sugar beads

- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Combine sugars, sifted flours and nuts in a large bowl.
- Add combined butter, egg, egg yolk and extract; mix to form a soft dough. Stir in chocolate.
- Place 2 level tablespoons of dough for each biscuit, about 6cm apart, on lightly greased oven trays. Top with silver sugar beads.
- Bake in moderate oven about 16 minutes or until browned lightly. Cool on trays.

Hide from all the cookie monsters.

Featured shoe is Bubble

#keyingredient | Liquorice Slice

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Liquorice Slice

There are many strong opinions around liquorice. You either love it or hate it. However, we think this tasty treat will definitely persuade you towards the love side of the fence!

185g plain sweet biscuits
60g plain sweet biscuits, coarsely chopped, extra
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
90g unsalted butter, chopped
155g licorice twists or allsorts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
250g milk eating chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tsp vegetable oil

- Grease 20cm x 30cm (8 inch x 12 inch) rectangular pan, line base and long sides with baking paper, extending paper 5cm (2 inches) over sides.
- Process plain sweet biscuits until fine. Chop extra plain sweet biscuits coarsely.
- Combine condensed milk and butter in small saucepan, stir over medium heat until smooth. Combine processed and chopped biscuits with licorice in medium bowl. Stir in condensed milk mixture. Press mixture firmly into pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.
- Meanwhile, combine coarsely chopped milk eating chocolate and vegetable oil in small heatproof bowl, stir over saucepan of simmering water until smooth, spread chocolate mixture over slice.
- Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.

Have allsorts of fun enjoying this treat!

Featured shoe is Rings