Mayfield Antiquity

“I want brides to be able to bury their head in their bouquet!” Melanie laughs.

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A coolroom warbles away in the back of the private studio, filled with the heady scent of roses, the beauty of a garden and the sound of pop ballads jamming from inside.

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“The acoustics in the coolroom are fantastic!” Melanie grins. “When I prep a bouquet, I pump up the music and sing LOUD. There’s Whitney, Bryan Adams… they all help the job get done!”

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We are visiting the private studio of Mayflowers Vintage Florist – home of the vintage tea cup posy.

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 Ben’s sister, Melanie Stewart, tells us how she opened Mayflowers Vintage Florist four years ago, “With $20, a teacup collection and some Mother’s Day orders!”

Now a booming fulltime business for Melanie, we take a look into her passion for everything pretty.

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An advocate for the use of seasonal blooms from local growers, she loves supporting the local flower farms and believes that the best smelling flowers are ones produced naturally, at the right time of year.

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“I want brides to be able to bury their head in their bouquet!” Melanie laughs.

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“Floristry is to paint a picture with flowers, it is an art and every florist has their own form of expression, their own style,” Melanie explains.

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Melanie’s expression is to blend her lifelong love of flowers, with her ever-present passion for everything vintage and Victorian.

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Melanie’s Nan,had a magnificent garden, where a love for foliage and colour was ignited, while her Aunty May further fuelled the flames sending exquisite bouquets to young Melanie home every sunday, via her Grandmother Ethel-May.

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Its a beautiful botanical nod of the head that the business is called Mayflowers.

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And the vexation for vintage?

“It started with a pink Victorian jug that Mum displayed in my room as kid. I would take it out of my room and she would bring it back in. It grew on me eventually, then I became an antiques addict too.”

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Studying Naturopathy and Aromatherapy while working in Glebe, Melanie would purchase a special tea cup set each week from various second hand and antique shops.

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“Each cup is specially picked, some are from the late 1800s while others are unique gifts, like sets from people as they went off to war in the early 1900s,” Melanie tells us as we take a look at her extensive collection, cups adored with Remember Me and Think of Me sit lovingly on display.

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“I love roses, and Queen Anne’s Lace is gorgeous to work with,” Melanie tells us when we ask about her favorite bloom. “Also, garden Carnations have a wonderful smell if they are the heirloom variety.”

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Being in this industry, Melanie has come to know and love many of her clients, “Grooms return each year to buy a bouquet on anniversaries – clients have become friends as I get to collaborate for their special occasions.”

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Melanie recently provided a tea cup posy to be displayed in lieu of a casket spray.

“A lovely local family had been buying tea cup posies from me for four years for their Grandmother. Last week I was honoured to complete her final bouquet.”

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Melanie’s passion for everything vintage and anything blooming is alive in every corner of her bright smile. Her love for her craft and the community that she serves is infectious.

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“I’ve been in Mayfield for sixteen years now, we have raised four children here and its just beautiful,” we are told as we ask what Mayfield living is like. “Not only is it a great place to live but its rich in history – obviously something that I appreciate!”

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“The old homes, the architecture, the community and the remnants of an old orchard here and there. It really is a place with a rich history and an exciting future.”

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To learn more and love a life you love, contact Villager Property. 

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Surf & Certainty

While surfing has always been a big part of life for Bede, so has his connection to people.

From friendships to teaching, and now volunteering, which is one of his biggest missions.

“Do you like children?” Asked a Career’s Advisor.

“Take them or leave them. Preferably leave them,” answered Bede.

While a morning surf at Caves Beach every day was a certainty, an RSI injury 6 weeks out from completing his trade in Carpentry, left a 22 year old Bede Thoroughgood with a lack of direction. 

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With some slight persuasion, Bede was showing up for his first shift at the local preschool.

A day full of engaging, supporting and encouraging 3 – 5 year olds.

A massive shift in direction. 

And he loved it.

Although only rostered on for 3 days a week, Bede found himself turning up daily.

“I just loved it. If the surf was no good, I’d be back to help out at the preschool.”

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It wasn’t long before Bede was studying for his Teachers degree. In the first 12 months he received the Ralph Basden High Achiever Award.

“I’d never been really academic,” Bede tells us, “But when you find something you love, it all becomes so natural.”

During his degree, an emotional trip to the Stockton Centre would again change the path Bede was travelling. A passion for teaching students with disabilities emerged. 

Bede has been a commited teacher for local children with disabilities ever since. 

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Villager Ben met Bede and his wife Bronwyn when they moved to Newcastle, helping them to find the perfect home to raise their 5 children and also with their investment property portfolio. 

“Growing up in Valentine I never thought I’d be a town clown”, but i couldn’t have hoped for a better place to live and raise our family. I love living in Hamilton –
wild horses couldn’t drag me away”

Many years after his property purchases, a great friendship continues between Ben and Bede. The pair surf together regularly and Ben’s 2 daughters think Bede’s Donald Duck impersonation is world-class comedy. 

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While surfing has always been a big part of life for Bede, so has his connection to people. 

From friendships to teaching, and now volunteering, which is one of his biggest missions. 

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And just like in his career, life steered him in this direction.

In 1992, as a glass of water slipped out Bede’s left hand, he spun his right hand around and caught the glass but in the process twisted his spine, resulting in a prolapsed disk which left him partially paralysed from the waist down.

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“The first thing I asked the Doctor was when I could surf again. “You’re joking right? Was all he said to me.” 

Through a long period of rehabilitation, getting back in the water reamined Bede’s goal.

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This twist of body, became twist of fate as he found himself involved with the Disabled Surfers. 

“They needed volunteers and while my back wasn’t yet fully recovered to be lifting right out of the waves – there was plenty for me to do.”

Disabled Surfers has around 200 volunteers and are always looking for more – from surfers to cooks, supervisors and helpers. 

“I understand how incredible a day in the surf is, for both mind and body, when you are feeling constrained.”

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Bede completed his training at Blacksmiths Beach in 2010 and by 2013 became the Hunter President of the Disabled Surfers Association.

“It’s great to spend the day helping kids with disabilities have a surf, while the whole family spend a day at the beach together – something that without volunteers, is near impossible for some families to do” 


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“Volunteering gives you the opportunity to lose yourself and you become a better person in the process,” Bede says. 


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“Yes, I’m passionate about it, but I do get paid. I get paid in smiles.”

Now his mission within the association is building a bigger and better future, with more volunteers and traveling events to places like Stockton Beach and Fingal Bay. 

A testament to committing to your passion and finding a way to live it. 

“I said to my son recently,” Bede recalls, “If you are getting up in the morning and doing what you do because you love it, then you’ll always have work.” 

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To find out more living a life you love in Newcastle, contact Villager Property.

An Adventure in Apothecary

A journey through this establishment takes you from drinks that taste like life in a glass, to food in bowls that feel like a hug from Nanna.

Villager often grab lunch at Apothecary Kitchen on Tudor Street.

BTW it’s a cafe – not a compound chemist.

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People walk in and around this Hamilton Cafe like you casually walk around your own home.

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Most give a smile and nod to Ben, the owner.

“Hi Ben – a few packages today,” calls the Postie.

“Morning Ben,” says a local, stopping by for her porridge.

“Hey Ben!” Call 2 small children and their baby-wearing mum as they come in to collect the weekly compost bin from the kitchen.

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Originally from Perth, Ben came to Newcastle with his partner Kate many years ago,and have since become much loved locals.

Ben and Kate raise five children in the family friendly community of Hamilton.

 Ben founded the ever-growing Hamilton Running Dads group which has competed in many local events and serves to be a community for like minded local fathers.

Their lucky kids, along with Ben and Kate, are up early every Sunday morning – crates in hand – to pick the weekly stock from the Newcastle Farmers Markets.

“I think it’s really important to support the locals and to know where our produce comes from.”

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Loves local?  Yep. Locally loved? Definitely.

Working his way through a tourism degree at a local establishment, it was in hospitality that Ben found the opportunity to reach people, create things and design a life that was authentic to him.

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Being a father of a busy family, he is passionate about the importance of healthy, affordable meals.

But being Ben, the cafe has a twist – which is where the “Apothecary” comes in.

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Originally, local apothecaries’ concoctions of herbal remedies were sought for medicinal help, a precursor to the modern science of pharmacology.

But with the power of food and nourishment, Ben is taking the name “Apothecary” back -right here in Newcastle.

Ben’s kitchen creates magic food.
Healing food.

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Food that is alive.

Lactococcus lactose and Leuconostoc mesenteroides cultures are the centre of our kitchen,” he tells us.

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A journey through this establishment takes you from drinks that taste like life in a glass, to food in bowls that feel like a hug from Nanna.

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Bubbling Kombucha made from a huge gut loving 4 year old scoby, is flavoured with lemon myrtle this week but the next batch will be whatever seasonal produce Ben has invested in.

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Bens custom Ginger beer and Kombucha dispensery

The homemade ginger beer, that bursts with sweet earthy comforts, comes from a ginger ferment made right in the shop.

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Housemade Ginger Beer Ferment

The yoghurt that adorns the oats for breakfast is cultured from the “waste milk” from the previous days coffee froths.

The compost is collected weekly for a local community garden.

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Vegetarian curry

The left over buttermilk from the creme fraiche goes into the next days vegetarian curry.

A symbiotic harmony.

Experiments being tinkered here, boundaries being pushed there.

An  Apothecary Adventure.

To find out more about local life in Hamilton and Newcastle, visit Villager Property to start living the life you love.

Chop, chop!

The social,  infectious energy of the salon drew Lee into the industry and the creative outlet of hairdressing inspired him… hanging out with lots of fun women, was a nice bonus too. 

Passion, education and fun.

This is the foundation of the Nesbitt Hairdressing empire.

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Add to that a commitment to organic, eco friendly hair care and genuine client engagement, this is a formula for long term growth.

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Lee Nesbitt is ambitious.

Entrepreneurial.

Dedicated.

And all of these things spring from his passion for his industry.

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Although a third generation hairdresser, Lee started his working life in the building industry. After a while, for some extra income, he started picking up a few shifts at his father’s salon.

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The social, infectious energy of the salon drew Lee into the industry and the creative outlet of hairdressing inspired him (Hanging out with lots of fun women was a nice bonus too).

He laughs, “I just love this atmosphere – its alive, fun and energetic.”.

In his teens, he sold raffle tickets so that his young team could hire a bus to go to Brisbane and participate in hairdressing competitions. Learning from mentors in the industry and having a ball at the same time.

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Lee is now one of these mentors. He judges at national competitions and two hours every week is dedicated to training staff in the Darby Street Salon, Nesbitt.

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“I love this place, I love this job. I could easily work seven days a week and love every moment of it,” Lee tells us.

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After running many other salons, Nesbitt was opened in 2008.

A business Lee opened with wife and fellow local hairdresser Mikhali.

They have nurtured the growing business into a beautiful success story.

Awards, staff that are more like family and returning clients – both local and international.

“We have a client who moved to Europe. She always books in when she visits Newcastle each year.”

Nesbitt values it’s clients business, their experience and their health. That also goes for his staff – which is why Lee insists on organic products in stores and flexible rosters for staff to ensure everyone is cared for.

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While the boutique Darby Street salon may be their baby, the growing business of Chops Hair Bar has been an exciting new venture for the pair.

Pop-up hair bars – convenient no appointment salons with quality and spunk. And a free cappuccino: winning!

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Villager’s Ben Tindall and Lee are lifelong friends, growing up locally and sharing the journey together.

“Lee would cut hair at parties when we were young, hair flying everywhere!” Ben reveals.

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From boutique Salons to boutique Real Estate, Ben and Lee both create success through their passion for their work, while having a lot of fun. Now owning businesses across the road from each other in Darby street, there is more fun than ever.

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When not in the salon – or judging competitions interstate – Lee has a hobby farm in the Hunter Valley to retreat to.

“I like to get out on the tractor,” he tells us that he enjoys the wide open space and fresh air, “but I’m always eager to get back into the salon.”

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With two small children to share their life with, Lee and Mikhali enjoy a work-life blend between the salons, family time and their hobby farm.

Their children are being raised in an environment where their parents are doing what they love and loving what they do.

Recently Lee’s daughter mused,  “I wonder where I will work when I am grown up?”

His advice, “Don’t work.

You find something you love to do and create a life around that passion.”

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Find Lee at Nesbitt and Ben at Villager

 

What Ben loves about a career in real estate

One of the reasons Ben loves his job so much is because Ben loves people, and especially enjoys the fact that he has built good friendships with so many of his clients.

They say that if you love your job it never feels like work.

Ben loves his role at Villager Property and this resonates in his positive personality. His attitude helps people around him feel positive, too.

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One of the reasons Ben loves his job so much is because Ben loves people, and especially enjoys the fact that he has built good friendships with so many of his clients.

Just last night, Ben attended the 90th birthday of a client turned long term friend, Len.

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After a close working relationship with one family to sell their mothers home and move Gwen into a nursing home, Ben became good friends with Gwen – visiting her regularly with wife Alissa and daughters in tow.

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Ben recently sold a house for an elderly lady who was moving closer to family in Queensland. She didn’t drive, and just happened to mention that she had to get to the airport one day to go to Qld.  Ben being Ben, he said happily: ‘I can take you to the airport’. And that’s how Ben came to be picking up a client at 4am for a 6am flight

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A recent sale of home in Wallsend saw Ben and the client, Kath, work very hard to help get it ready for sale. Together, they set about the task of ‘de-cluttering’. Things disappeared into the skip, slowly at first,but in the end it became an hilarious game and they became friends. Ben and Kath still keep in touch to verbally spar with each other.

He even met his wife, Alissa, through his work. They worked in the same building and invariably met in the lift. Ben began calling Alissa ‘elevator girl’, and eventually asked her on a date. The rest is history.

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The point is that Ben always displays absolute respect towards clients and colleagues.

He is just one of those great people who cares about everyone’s wellbeing.
To connect with Ben and Villager Property – Click  Here 

A dash of fun…

Villager Property is being built up as an agency with a difference.

Ben.

Ben is the visionary at Villager Property. 

But his vision isn’t really what you might expect.

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Villager Property is being built up as an agency with a difference.

Ben and his fellow agents have the skills to bring a fresh approach to property and marketing.

They all work to make the clients journey smooth and supported.

One that puts the wellbeing of the client first. The agents listen, discuss, and get to know the clients’ needs and preferences. They do this in a light-hearted, non-judgemental and supportive way that gains clients’ trust and confidence. Villager works WITH  the clients, not for them.

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Ben himself is always empathetic with clients, and not just in words. 

He is the definition of going beyond the call of duty, working extraordinarily hard to fulfil the needs of the client. 

Then calls it fun!

In fact, he makes it fun!

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When Ben makes contact, and he does so very often, his first question is always regarding the welfare of the client. He genuinely cares. And he is always available to answer those questions that wouldn’t be asked of the common garden variety agent. Nothing is too small or too silly. Ben will put your mind at rest. 

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Ben’s wonderful team at Villager Property really do work together to facilitate your journey through the property market. Each of them is an expert at cooperation, as well as in their own field. 

Villager Property IS different. 

And everything is done with that dash of fun.

To connect with Ben and Villager, click here

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