Hill Side Story is an online store based in the Perth Hills of Western Australia offering vintage apparel and accessories. These items are high in quality and versatile in design. Hill Side Story’s handpicked stock is sourced from markets, vintage and antique stores as well as garage and car boot sales around the world. Lets create an eco-sustainable environment by buying vintage!

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My mum and I have shared a dream ever since I was old enough to appreciate architecture: to live in one of the black and white colonial-style bungalows at home.  These Art Deco style houses in Singapore were built from the 19th century until the second world war.

Unfortunately, the monthly rentals of those houses aren't very friendly towards our budget.  They took one look at it (our budget) and went, “Yo! Small fry, this isn’t gonna work!’  Our poor budget now refuses to even look at those mean rentals.  I don't blame them; nobody likes to be picked on.

A week ago,  I resigned myself to the fact that the dream house would remain a dream for longer than forever... or at least, for a while yet.


Who says you can’t have something just because you can’t afford it?

We make do with what we have.
And what we have is a 1940s cottage in the Perth Hills.
So what do we do?
We paint it black and white.
Okay, what actually happened was, we left our painter to do whatever he wanted to the outside of the house and lo and behold, we have our black-and-white house!!



A touch of colonialism in the Australian bush.  I like it J

Do YOU like it?  Leave a comment with your preference - Before OR After?

Anything can happen if you let it!’   ~Mary Poppins

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My Shoe Philosophy

Mum’s going home (Singapore) to sort a couple of things out.  I cannot wait for her to come back! Why? Because she’ll be bringing these (and Smucker's Goober Peanut Butter) along with her:

Left to right: Tatiana peep-toe sandals,  Aliya-cannot-remember-the-brand-of-the-boots boots & Bally loafers

Mum was lucky enough to be able to afford really good quality shoes, that last, when she was younger and so, I am really lucky to have inherited these three pairs from her.  There is a problem, however. No, not with the shoes, with my feet.  They’re abnormally small.  They are so small, they’re freaky!  As usual always, the shoes are too big.  In this case, 2 sizes too big!!!

Okay, the old me would have said something like:

‘Give a girl the right (sized) shoes and she can conquer the world.  Give a girl the wrong (sized) shoes and it’s the end of the world.’   ~ Aliya

Not the new me.
It’s a ‘glass half full life’, for me... Sing with me!  Aw, c'mon!  Don't tell me you don't know the tune to ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’?... from Annie?... Nevermind!

I NOW live by the motto:

If the shoe fits, buy it. If the shoe doesn’t fit, buy an insole.’   ~ Aliya

I have expanded on this gem (if I may say so myself) of a motto as of late… well, as of a minute ago:

'If the shoe still doesn’t fit, put it down and walk away. It wasn’t that nice anyway.'   ~ Aliya
(NOTE: Cheesy rhyming intended)

Best part of all?  These 3 pairs are vintage.  Not retro.  Vintage.

While we’re on the topic of shoes; I bought these kitten heeled pointy toes for AUS$12.50 from NOVO in Harbour Town. Twelve dollars fifty for a brand new pair!  I paid less than a quarter of the original price!!  Now THAT is a bargain ☺

Whoops, lets try that again!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why but the shop just happened to have the particular style in an AUS Size 4!  In fact, it was the only pair of shoes in that size!  Sitting in its box, waiting for me! Well, I suppose there has to be balance in the universe after my 'Australia's Got Talent' tickets refused to print, resulting in me and a friend not being able to go. *shakes fist* 

Surprise, surprise!  They’re too big.  Told you my feet are freaky!

Fear not!
I have my insole.

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Tastefully Thrifty

Firstly, I have a very important announcement to make:
We have a dining table!!!!

Thanks to me! J I found this gorgeous mahogany dining suite on Gumtree which my mother quickly disregarded because she had her mind set on a particular shape and length.  I went ahead and expressed my interest nevertheless and… dot, dot, dot… it’s now ours! (And ‘could not be more perfect’ according to my mother).  Anyone other than me find this ironic?
Here’s a sneak peak:

We spent most of last Saturday in second hand stores... again!  Thrift shopping has sort of weaved its way into our little weekend routine.  At the time, we were still on the hunt for a dining suite and my ‘yet-to-be-decided-on’ piece of furniture to house my piles of folded garments.  My wardrobe scores a 2 out of 10 for practicality but I just had to get it.  This is why:

Isn't it pretty?!

framed pressed flowers: Simply Secondhand, Midland
The oval frame was a dollar and the rectangle one, two dollars but the lovely lady gave both to me for $1!

My parents purchased the cutest side table!  It has since become a permanent resident in the lounge.

Midland’s the best suburb in Perth for thrifting, in my opinion.  Where do YOU thrift shop?

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Paging inner country girl… time to come out!

When I said I was going to fit right in, in the country, I meant it.  I did grow up in the city but I dare say I had a much more outdoor-sy upbringing than most of the kids I knew (and know) back home.  We were fortunate enough to have a massive garden that surrounded 7/8 of the house. Being exact here.

Let’s see, I spent my days:
  • climbing trees
  • going round collecting leaf prints and bark shadings
  • studying leaf vein patterns
  • keeping track of phases of the lunar cycle
  • crawling into drains to feed the poor stray cats
  • making home made weather instruments out of corrugated cardboard and plastic cups
I was a mad scientist of a girl!
Look at our gorgeous ground cover!

I was obsessed with botany at 8.  A year later, I switched addictions to meteorology… and after another year came astronomy – hence the telescope.  I was even awarded the *insert drumroll* ‘Young Botanist’ and ‘Young Meteorologist’ awards by the Singapore Science Centre! Beat that!  Ok, you probably could.

Whatever my current addiction or obsession was then; I was always interacting with nature.
So, you could say I was a teensy bit the country girl.  Now, it’s just about me embracing that long-lost country kid in me.

Paging my inner country girl… time to come out!
Gasp!  I just thought of something but I’ll have to save it for another post as my poor ethnomusicological readings are begging to be read.  Hold on a second.

Alright, hush already, I’ll be right there.  Turn yourself to page 128.

Sorry about that, they’re getting impatient.  I really have to go. Bye.


Oh yes!  Just one more thing before I go.

Due to the fact that we live ¾s up Gooseberry Hill AKA two hundred and seventy-seven metres above sea level, every time we drive downhill... our ears pop!!!  No! Not from the excitement of getting into the Perth CBD, from the increase in air pressure.

Cool, huh? Well, I think it is so humour me!
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Yesterday, mum and I invaded the antique shops in Fremantle!  We still need to find a dining table!!!  We’ve been to all the antique shops in Guildford, thrice… and we’ve rummaged through vintage and second hand stores around Perth.  Yes, we rummaged hoping to find anything that resembles a dining table buried under old books, records and horse shoes that were stashed in crates at the back of shops.  We’ve become that desperate!  

That’s why, I deem yesterday productive.

We bought a lamp!

A very pretty one I should add!
... and before I forget,
Happy St Patrick's Day!

Sláinte chugat
(Good health to you)
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Feeling Good

Just felt like posting some pictures I took in the last few months.

and this is how I feel right now.

Well I'm off to a seminar by Anthony Seeger, Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles.  No I'm not in LA, I'm in Perth.  He's giving a public lecture at uni on 'Who Owns Music and Why Should You Care?  Only I would be so excited about something like that!

Last week I met Jason Robert Brown.  Today I'm meeting Anthony Seeger!
Could life get any better?

Yes it can!

I have tickets to the Perth auditions of Australia's Got Talent this Sunday!!!
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Home in the Forest

In about a month's time, our local paper will not be the 'Western Suburbs Weekly' but the 'Hills Gazette'!  Our new house is in a suburb called Gooseberry Hill which is located east of Perth in the hills of the shire of Kalamunda.  The suburb takes its name from (Surprise, surprise!) a hill named Gooseberry Hill.

Kalamunda is named from the Aboriginal words “cala” meaning home, and “munnda” meaning forest, thus Kalamunda means “a home in the forest“

There is a stone bench at the top end of our backyard and if you stand on it, this is the view you see.

I am going to fit right in to these surroundings!  You’re probably thinking, ‘Yeah, right!’
Just you wait Henry Higgins, just yo... uh, I mean, just wait and see.
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Once upon an outhouse

You know how you hear of great writers who wrote their finest stories in the little shed or out building in their backyards of their country homes?  Well, this is exactly what I think of when I look at our little outhouse in the backyard of our hillside home.

My Grade 3 Speech and Drama examiner was an old neighbour of Roald Dahl’s.  Yes, the  Roald ‘a little magic can take you a long way’ Dahl!!!  She told me he used to go for long walks in the countryside and then come home to his little shed in his backyard to write down what he came up with on those walks.

I should try writing my essays in our little outhouse.  Who knows? I may even write some of my best ethnographs in there some day!  Except for the fact that ethnographs are not fictional pieces so maybe I should skip the long walks (ie, the creative thinking process)!  Wouldn’t want to include big, friendly giants and bald, blue-tongued witches who point their magic fingers now, would I?
"When you're writing a book, it's rather like going on a very long walk, across valleys and mountains and things, and you get the first view of what you see and you write it down. Then you walk a bit further, maybe up onto the top of a hill, and you see something else. Then you write that and you go on like that, day after day, getting different views of the same landscape really. The highest mountain on the walk is obviously the end of the book, because it's got to be the best view of all, when everything comes together and you can look back and see that everything you've done all ties up. But it's a very, very long, slow process."
— Roald Dahl
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The Last 5 (no, not Years) Days

Guess who I met last night?

No! Not Charlie Sheen...

He's only a Tony award-winning composer, lyricist and playwright, you know... Not like he's a Pulitzer prize winner or anything... Hey, he said so himself! (If you didn't get that, I was being sarcastic.)  I still cannot believe someone I admire so much travelled halfway round the world to perform in a shabby old theatre in my university.  Now I can say I've performed on the same stage as Jason Robert Brown! Hah! Well... I can't say I shared the stage BUT I have sung on the same stage before on a number of occasions.

Everything about last night's concert was amazing and oh my goodness, can he play the piano!  I love the fact that he absolutely loves the university's concert grand.
To top everything off, he told me I have a very pretty name!
He then asked me if I'm Jewish. I couldn't be bothered to explain so I just said 'yes'!  Christian Campbell (Neve Campbell's brother) asked me the same thing at the premire of Tick, Tick Boom! in Singapore a couple of years ago.  I cannot actually remember my reply;  not that that's not worrying.
My Aliya's sort of more Arabic than Hebrew!  Go figure!


The day before yesterday (Tues), Amanda and I had a mini picnic at the Synergy end of King's Park.  I must have been a duck in my previous life because I was constantly surrounded by them.  It was like being watched by camera-less paparazzi.  I decided to turn the tables around and take pictures of my adoring fans.

See how close this little fellow got


My entire weekend was spent up in the hills. Skiing! Ok, unpacking. What else?  As our kitchen has yet to evolve into a functioning one, we had all our meals at the local cafe and each and every time, this was placed in front of me -

What an insult!
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Leaf it to Me!

My cracked table now has company.
  • My telescope is ruined - Ooo I am mad! This was a gift from my parents for my 9th birthday
  • My music stand snapped - I thought the movers would know better than to use this as a hockey stick.  What were they thinking?! 
  • Mummy’s plates display stand is a little damaged; at least its still functional unlike... (read next line)
  • Mummy’s big porcelain bowl
Don't even get  me started on how I feel.

On a brighter note, Casper need not worry. Our nextdoor neighbour (whom I have yet to meet) has a cat. A SHE-line! No I didn’t look down there… I just assumed because she has a pink bell on.  Now unless, that cat’s... well, a little different, she'll be more than interested in our 2010 Most Eligible Bachelor runner-up.  (Casper didn't win, he's a little on the tubby side so he lost out on viewer votes)

Its about time you met Casper.

This is him doing his ‘Super Cat to the Rescue’ impersonation (with expressions and all) – I’m sure this will go down well with her.
Just a side note: Sleeping Casper looks like a cross between a racoon and an uncooked tiger prawn!
Um, let's just keep this between us.

Perth has just had its hottest and driest summer on record.  The heat wave continued into autumn and yesterday was the first day I didn't feel like prancing around the house in my underwear!  I knew it would get cooler but I did not expect such a sudden drop in temperature;  I thought that was only the case in Melbourne.
Listen up, at midday, I had to put on a jacket!
Alright it was 24.5°C but that still deserves an 'ONLY' before it, especially when it was 32°C just 24 hours before!!!

Also, yesterday I saw the first sign of autumn:


I cannot wait till more leaves turn... well, not-green, and fall!  I always go out of my way to step on that invitingly crunchy dried-up leaf.  If you don't too, I suggest you start making the effort because the 'crunch' sound is an instant pick-me-up.
A word of caution: sometimes a crunchy-looking leaf isn't crunchy.
This will lead to disappointment.  It could go either way. really.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Scrap the 'everything in moderation' nonsense.  The more leaves the better.  Rake them up into a huge pile and jump in it.  It is the best feeling! 

Right, I have to go now. 'Why?' you ask? Well, see that leaf.  That's why. Pin It

Signed, sealed, delivered... and unpacked! I wish!

We have unpacked our 76 boxes. Phew! 

These would be the boxes we shipped from Singapore and from... well… um, from Singapore only :) Before you say anything,  I think you should hear me out. 76 because most of the boxes had furniture parts in them and others were 70% filled with bubble wrap!

Obviously, that amount of bubble wrap wasn’t enough because my beloved vintage 1960s bedside table, that originally came from the convent, cracked badly!  INSURANCE!!!!!!!

Note: This is the BEFORE picture.  The AFTER picture is too upsetting for me :(

Part II of our big move began today (Thursday) and with the number of things we still have to do, Part II might will take more than a few days.

The Move: Part II

  1. Introduce Casper to the new place; be prepared that he might throw a tantrum when he finds out we aren’t just visiting but moving so he won’t be seeing his girlfriend (our current neighbour’s Persian) again.
  2. Move boxes from our current place over (moving is the easy bit, we then have to unpack them!)
  3. Get the last of our necessities:
  • dining suite or at least a table - We can always sit at the table on a pile of books or something (I mean, for the time being!)
  • bookcase - Have you ever seen a house without one? That would just be plain weird!
  • chest of drawers for my room - No, I do not have too many clothes, my wardrobe is just too small! Wait till you see how unique it is.  You will then understand why I could not resist getting it.
  • lamp - At least one or there shall be no light. Earth Hour: Fun!  Earth Week: Not fun!
  • TV - Do I even have to explain the importance of this?!
  • washing machine - or we shall have to start finding creative ways of wearing our bedsheets.  Toga party, anyone?
  • fridge - I like my drinks chilled, thank you!
  • beds - I actually don't mind sleeping on the floor but Casper does.

I am finding it rather tricky living out of two large suitcases at the moment. This is what you get for moving houses in two different continents at the same time!!!  My clothes and belongings are in boxes everywhere – in the new house, in sealed boxes at our current place and at home in Singapore.

I had a strong feeling last week that I would have lots of trouble putting outfits together for uni once term starts. It is now Thursday of the first week of uni and I must admit, it wasn't just hard; it was a total nightmare!  I knew which tops I wanted to pair with which bottoms and which accessories to add but I ended up in the same pair of jeans and two T-shirts the entire week.

And 'Why?' you may ask? Yes, another one of my conjunction-starting-sentences...

I could not find ANYTHING!
Just so you know, I alternated the T-shirts, I didn't wear them both at the same time :) That would be suicide in this weather!! 

How am I supposed to remember which box or suitcase I put something in?  I felt oh so clever labelling all the boxes when I packed my things into them but now I realise it was absolutely pointlessssss! (Take note of the extra Ssss!) What is the use of a label like CLOTHES #3 when I can't remember what I put in 'Clothes Box No. 3'??!

Tomorrow will be a day of more unpacking.  Guess what I'll be wearing?!
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