Meet Liana Skewes – the fashion and style blogger showing people all over the world what it’s like to live like a local in Ballarat.
“If you love vintage-inspired style, bicycles with baskets and wandering through small regional cities, you’ll be right at home here,” she writes on her blog, Finding Femme.
We spoke to Liana about good food, great perfume and her love of roller skating.
What’s your Ballarat story?
“I was born in Ballarat. I did live away for a little bit and then came back. No matter where I am in the world, Ballarat has an irreplaceable spot in my heart.”
Tell us about Finding Femme….
“I started a little online diary in 2010 and then, in 2014, decided to have more fun on it, sharing more regularly. It started as outfits I would wear places and then naturally began to include places I went, activities I did and adventures I had because I love adventuring and doing things. Because I’m Ballarat-based, it has mostly Ballarat and surrounds featured.”
What do you love most about Ballarat?
“The sense of community. Ballarat is small so it feels like no one is forgotten, no one is anonymous and that makes people accountable. There is an opportunity to make sure everyone is seen and everyone matters. If you road rage someone here, people will know who you are. Kindness has very real repercussions and the way people treat one another matters.”
Where are your favourite Ballarat places to eat, drink, shop and explore?
“My favourite place to eat is Pancho.”
What do you do for fun in Ballarat?
“If I’m having fun in Ballarat, it will be with one of my pairs of roller skates in a car park somewhere, a playlist of disco tunes on, enjoying the fresh air.”
“I also love picnics, riding my bike and I never do anything without my camera firmly in my hand.”
“Oh, and I’m also an actor which is quite fine and there is a lot of that to be had in Ballarat.”
What’s Ballarat’s best kept secret?
“The Titanic Bandstand in Sturt Street. It was erected with funds raised by local musicians after the sinking. Every year at 2.20am on the anniversary of the sinking, people meet there for a moment of silence.”
Can you share with us some of your favourite Insta-worthy locations?
“The things that make Ballarat insta-worthy are those iconic skylines, streetscapes and structures. If you want to capture something that’s Ballarat-iconic, the best place is the corner of Sturt and Lydiard streets. Another great spot is the entrance of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens.”
And, finally, what has 2020 taught you so far?
“Every lesson I have ever learned in life has become a 2020 survival skill. I have been reminded of everything I had learned about how to interact with my mental health, how to care for my staff, how to lead with my heart, how to trust my instincts, how to love my friends, how to face my own mortality, how to chase my dreams. The list is endless. Yet there are a thousand things I do not know. The not knowing, the uncertainty, finding a peace with that when the stress it causes has a toll on the body is not easy.”
“I have no pearls of wisdom. Not a single answer. The one thing I do know is my heart and who I hold in it. Some days, it’s cherishing that that is all the difference.”