The Gentlewoman.

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Country Road silk crepe de chine blazer & silk shorts, Everlane silk blouse, Molten ‘The Life Aquatic’ ear cuff, b’tempt’d lace bralette, Country Road Adriene patent loafer.

Funny but tragic story. I was running an errand at the local university last week when I had to get some cash out. As I stood in front of the ATM (with a long line of uni students behind me, no less), the screen stared back at me with two words most students are probably familiar with: Insufficient Funds. The last time that happened to me was probably 10 years ago at the local university. Funny how some things come full circle. Between that and not being able to justify buying Alphabet Journal (like how I can’t afford to get a haircut so if you’re about to ask why my hair’s looking so long these days…), it’s been a week of emotional meltdowns (the kind where you don’t wanna get out of bed – ever – and want to get off the internet for the entire year – at least), as well as crazy exciting happenings (like me leaving for Europe this week).

And whilst the word ‘busy’ has become so overused in my vernacular that it means nothing to anyone close to me these days, I’ve got so much time for black on black, even if the current pastel-hued storefronts try to convince me otherwise.

There’s only one week left to instagram your #COUNTRYROADSTYLE entries. Take a photo of yourself, your friends, your family, your home or a flat-lay featuring at least one Country Road item (old or new!) and hashtag it #countryroadstyle on Instagram to have a crack at winning the very last $1000 Country Road gift card. Get snapping!

Melbourne in a day with Farage.

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How does one ought to spend 36 hours in a city that boasts the best coffee (and cafes with the most Instagram handles) in the world?

This is how: hand-dipped doughnuts for breakfast, raspberry Ispahans for lunch, and popcorn macarons for dinner.

After all, when in Rome…or in this case, the capital of coffee supremacy, Melbourne.

I love this city. Heck, I was ready to pack my bags if it wasn’t for this guy I had just met (who, erm, also happened to take these photos). But it’s the grey sky on a good day, the electricity in the air down Flinders Lane. The pour over and the stirring of a Synesso on any given streetcornered cafe; and the places and spaces in all their white-washed glory. It’s the appreciation and celebration of which – according to Market Lane – making coffee for the city that loves drinking it. It’s this paying-it-forward that kind of makes me want to wear my heart on my sleeve, too. Above everything else, it’s the doing what you love and only what you love, that speaks to me now, more than ever.

Meeting the wonderfully inspiring and uplifting team at Farage during the time I spent in Melbourne last week made me realise how staying true to yourself teaches us something about survival. And aside from the two things that struck the world for me (the very fact that the incredibly lovely and down-to-earth Joe & Katy have been in the business for a remarkable 17 years and Farage have never been stronger; and that all the beautifully crafted clothes are still made right here in Melbourne) that maybe it’s not always about charisma, but instinct. Honesty. Trusting yourself. And being okay with making mistakes. As I got back on the plane en route to home, it gave me so much food for thought.

Speaking of, I wasn’t about to come home without my take on tuxedos (men’s silk bow tie essential) as well as my mini-guide to Melbourne’s best sweets, best coffee, best brunches, best everything. Next time, I shall be bringing friends.

Bon appétit!

Sweet Tooth?

LuxBite | 38 Toorak Rd, South Yarra | @luxbite

Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio | 647 Chapel St, South Yarra | @burchpurchese

Adriano Zumbo Pâtissier | Claremont St, South Yarra | @ilovezumbo (the popcorn Zumbarons!)

Doughboys Doughnuts | Mercat Cross Hotel, 456 Queen St, Melbourne | @doughboysdoughnuts

Chez Dre | Rear of 285-287 Coventry St, South Melbourne |  @chezdrecafe

Gelato Messina | 237 Smith St, Fitzroy | @gelatomessina 

 

Notable Coffee

Market Lane | 109-111 Therry St, Melbourne | @marketlane

The League of Honest Coffee | 8 Exploration Lane, Melbourne | @LeagueofHonest

Bluebird Expresso | 134 Johnston St, Collingwood | @Bluebird3066

Proud Mary | 172 Oxford St, Collingwood | @proudmarycoffee

Industry Beans | 3/62 Rose St, Fitzroy | @industrybeans

Barry | 85 High St, Northcote | @barrycoffeeandfood

 

And if you have more than a day…

Tall Timber | 60 Commercial Rd, Prahran | @tall_timber

Top Paddock | 658 Church St, Richmond | @toppaddock (the pancakes!)

The Kettle Black | 50 Albert Rd, South Melbourne | @kettleblackcafe

Hammer and Tong | Rear 412 Brunswick st, Fitzroy | @hammerandtong

The Grain Store | 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne | @GrainStore517

Supernormal | 180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne | @supernormal_180 (the lobster rolls, the white cut chicken, everything, really.)

 

Photographs by Michelle & Jamie Lau. Creative Direction & Styling by Michelle. 

I’m wearing the Scarlet tuxedo, men’s silk bow tie, Monica silk shirt and the Goldie soft pink trouser from the upcoming Farage SS14/15 collection.

Thank you Farage, Emily/WM Media & The Olsen.

Falling in love falling apart.

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The year of falling: Falling in love and falling apart. Of living earnestly and honestly in sun-dappled everything. The year of letting it flow through me like rain, like honey. Like nothing. The year of memories stored in biscuit tins, office cubicles, and happily ever afters in the half-tones of day. Waiting for the toast to pop as I draw the curtains and throw the covers off. The year of leaving it all behind. Of taking a left turn. Setting my life on fire. And seeking those to fan my flames. The year of letting in pain more than the light. Because if there is one thing my 20s have taught me; it is suffering which gives us the most valuable lessons. The year I discovered I wanted it more than I was afraid of it. Being so content I could cry. Of smiling at people I’ve never spoken to. Coffee with those I’ve never known. Taking the road less travelled. The year of making peace with myself, right here, right now. The year of running ’til we see the sun.

Thank you Natasja. I love them all.

Waking up slow.

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Some things are worth waking up for. For me, it’s cream cheese on toasted bagels and sunlight on the window pane.

Actually, you know what’s making me really happy right now? The very fact that today, I was able to shut the laptop, sit on the couch and spend thirty minutes catching up on celebrity gossip (well played, Marlon & Delta. Also, will Jay Z and Beyonce make it to Paris unscathed?). 

The only other thing that’s bringing a little joy in my life is Country Road’s Spend & Save, which starts today. I’ve got my eye on some silk shorts from the new spring arrivals as well as some homewares. The S&S ends Aug 24th, which also happens to be closing date for the #COUNTRYROADSTYLE competition (remember to tag your CR outfits, homewares and flat lays #countryroadstyle when sharing to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for your chance to win a $1000 CR gift card – enter as many times as you like).

The Tapas Bread Plate (above) has had no chance to gather dust in my cupboard, even if I came home with it in, erm, three different colours.

Class in progress.

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I must admit, I was feeling a little selfish driving home from my first blogging workshop last Saturday.

I didn’t expect to be graced with the presence of such an extraordinarily creative, diverse, and driven group of people. I loved that everyone had so many blogging aspirations to bring to the table, whether it was taking a daunting leap to carve their own personal space online (kudos), getting a great business idea off the ground, or making economics sexy (double kudos).

It was as much of a learning experience for me as it was for the beautifully inspiring people I was so lucky to meet – and teach (!) – at my first Art of Blogging workshop, organised by The Creatives and Perth stylist extraordinaire (and possibly my new favourite person) Stacey Clark. Did I mention Stacey is travelling to Portland shortly to meet and stay with Katie and Nathan from Kinfolk over Thanksgiving? I kind of wish I was joking.

But back to the workshop – we laughed, we learned, we mingled, we shared our wisdom and so much of our experiences. I peppered our conversations with things like how to start a blog (what is a blog?), how to write and how to photograph (for Instagram, too!), how to get out of that creative slump (because we’ve all been there, right?) as well as so many other tips and tricks that I’ve drawn from my own humble experience in my eight years of blogging.

If you’re thinking about taking that leap of faith head first into blogging and keen to learn how (as well as meet inspiring creatives in Perth), my next workshop (and the last one before I head off overseas for a month!) will be held at the jaw-droppingly beautiful Wine Store + Kitchen on Saturday 16 August. Spaces are filling up quite fast, so get your skates on and snaffle a ticket. There’ll be fun stuff for free. There’ll be yummy food and delicious wine. And there’ll be me, of course.

P.S. A huge thanks to the Raw Kitchen Fremantle for providing the beautiful venue, Stacey for working tirelessly behind the scenes (and in front), and Sarah & Jinn for being so patient and so creative behind the lens all day long (and it was a long one, I know)! And last but not least, to all the girls I was so lucky and privileged to meet and chat with, thank you so much for coming along. I hope it was as rewarding and enriching for you as it was for me.

Photographs by me and the impossibly talented Sarah & Jinn from The Silver Lining.

Every damn day.

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Eska Alikai classic singlet (the best tees ever – the kind where you ought to buy back-ups. They’re on sale, too, but please don’t get to them before I do), Witchery ponte leggings, Nike Free 5.0 trainers.

It’s been a while. I’m still training. I’ve stopped clean eating (I mean, I went and ate a whole pizza after these photos were taken) and it’s also been 18 months since I first stepped into a boxing gym. 18 months. My quads have officially doubled in size – or at least it feels like it. Oh, and I also I took up Bikram yoga eight weeks ago.

I know, I’m about five years late to the Bikram party but it has taken me that long to convince myself that it’s perfectly normal to contort myself in a 40C room for 90 minutes alongside clammy, half-naked individuals who have no qualms about dripping sweat on your towel. There was also a small part of me that felt Bikram wouldn’t challenge me like boxing does. Ha, how little I knew…

I was losing motivation to train at the start of the year. I went from working out four times a week to two, if I was lucky. I was recovering from a back injury with the help of my physio and my boxing training started to plateau. In 12 months, I had reached the point where there was nothing else for me to really improve on – or more to the point, nothing else I felt motivated enough to improve on. And with my work schedule getting busier and busier, it was just so hard to find the time.

When I quit my job, I knew I couldn’t keep up with the $240-a-week clinical pilates any longer, so upon the advice of my physio I decided to give Bikram a go. At the quarter of the cost, I figured I had less to lose. I’m a wimp once the mercury dips to below 10C; I find the heat much more tolerable. But being inside a torturous hot room sweating out of every single pore (I wish I was exaggerating) was an experience unlike any other.

Some poses claim to cure gout and insomnia…and I may be better convinced if I wasn’t married to a pharmacist, so whilst I don’t completely agree with some of the Bikram posture benefits, practising it has physically been the best thing I’ve done for myself since I took up boxing. The best. I can’t even begin to describe how quickly I started to see results, how flexible – really flexible – I became just after a few classes, how much my skin felt amazingly smooth from just one class, and how much it has actually complemented (and made me appreciate!) my boxing training.

I’ve been balancing two Bikram classes with 2-3 boxing sessions a week, which helps to alleviate the sedentary working-from-home curse.

And after two months of Bikram, I still don’t know if I like it, let alone love it. It’s not for everyone and it’s bloody intense – give me a pair of boxing gloves any day. And for that, I will eat my hat. It’s one of the most challenging workouts I’ve ever done but I find it incredibly heart-opening, oxygenating, awakening. I didn’t know what sweat was until I sat inside a Bikram torture chamber, but I think I’ve always been drawn to testing my inner limits. To realise how far I can go from the point where I thought it was the end has given me a reason to keep going. And if I had a choice between being sore or sorry, I’d probably be sore every damn day.

Photographs by Jamie.