Melbourne: Vegan Foodie Paradise…

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The chocolate chip cookie of dreams, seriously I dream about it.

Invita was a chance find by my friend Kate on our first stroll through the Queen Victoria Market. A little cafe on the outskirts of the food court hosting vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and Paleo foods. The majority were in fact vegan and I tried a whole bunch of sweet treats and yummy wraps over the three days. My favourite was this cookie above and also the almond milk latte I had! The staff are lovely and were patient with all of my vegan enquiries.

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The menu at Sisters of Soul was a dream, so many Asian inspired flavours (which are my most favourite) and though not every option was vegan, about 90% were. I went for stir fried veggies with a satay sauce and rice, it was so good. Not too oily, not too heavy. The only gripe me and my friends had was with the service from the floor staff, they weren’t entirely friendly or helpful, didn’t really go out of their way to make us feel welcome. Usually I wouldn’t complain about bad service, I work in customer service and I get it, but we weren’t causing any trouble and it just seemed unnecessary. The kitchen staff however, who we could see cooking away, seemed to be having a blast. Despite the service I would recommend this to anyone, even my none vegan friends were delighted.

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Take one hangry girl on a long walk from the centre of the city and a road of half closed, half not up to scratch restaurants and a consequently fed up attitude and you might just stumble into one of your favourite restaurants ever. We had no clue it was all vegan, though it advertised vegan eats, we assumed there were just a couple options. Turns out the whole menu is vegan. I went for chips and dip, the chips were the perfect amount of salt and crunch, a beautiful ode to the tortilla chip and the dip was cashew cheese and black beans and I am not getting carried away when I use the term ‘foodgasm’ I actually think my mate Amy said it once or twice over her bruschetta. It tasted, to me and my two year vegan tastebuds, like any of the insane nacho cheeses I’ve ever tried. Love is what it is, love. And this is one of the main reasons that I have to live in Melbourne.

I am always open to vegan food suggestions, so if you have any for anywhere up the East Coast of Australia be sure to let me know!

Three Days in Melbourne…

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Two hours in Melbourne and the vibe is surreal. It’s grungy, graffitied streets are alive with activist intention and colourful statements about love, death and life. But these same alleys feel hollow, archaic, haunted and broken at night. A lost civilisation off the streets of the modern urban landscape. There’s something sinister in the dark, bars tucked away in dead ends, people in blackened attire with lethal smiles from whiskey shots and puffs of weed lurk around forgotten corners, chic restaurants and niche bars seem cold in their industrial settings and the whole thing is some bewildering mix of dirty London and sunny Sydney. But the line between Melbourne’s Jekyl and Hyde sides is a flexible one, blurring into each other, softening in the lonely lit skyline. With just a handful of skyscrapers it looks smaller than it is from the viewpoint over the Yarra river. Like in any other city parks and puddles of green scream out loudly from their imprisonment in the smokey grey grid, fountained lawns meet tram lines and hipster clad trends pass a steady helping of grey suited business men and homeless bodies hunched under the weight of the belongings they smuggle through the streets.

In the sunshine the city is transformed. A halo of light dances off glass fronted towers, showers down on the beaten, shop lined streets. Victoria Market bustles with keen tourists and laid back locals, St Kilda sings a promise of city escape with its stretch of white sand, and even the varying levels of pretence from sunglasses cannot hide the smug satisfaction on the faces of the cities inhabitants. Even a homeless man smiles as I pass, though I share nothing but my own blissful grin, he wishes me a ‘g’day’ and carries on with the tinkling tune he hums to himself. Melbourne sheds its soul in the sunlight, is possessed by deep mystery by the moonlight, conceals secrets of liberation in its twists and turns, and encourages diversity through its music, style, food and people. It’s a broken culture, more united than anything I’ve witnessed. I feel free here, I sense change here and most of all I find a weird peace here.

A Day At Coogee Beach…

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Coogee happened by accident. Mardi Gras weekend in Sydney hit too soon, Base (our home) was overpriced and soon full, the city was over run with people, the overpriced beds were all taken and unless we wanted to pay for a night in a hotel, hostel world told us we were homeless. So we booked beds at Surfside Coogee beach, hopped on a bus with all of our stuff and were there in half an hour. The first noticeable factor of our hostel, after the initial pleasure of seeing it was on the beach, was that it was upstairs from McDonalds, hilarious. The second factor was the harsh smell of weed and loud music emanating from up the stairs. At first it was exciting, the adventure I’d always anticipated from hostel living, but after we realised there were no safe’s in our room and that the room actually didn’t lock at all, we realised we probably shouldn’t risk staying there.

In the morning Coogee was a different world entirely. The stretch of beach was clean and illuminated in the sunshine, the ocean a blue wistful haze. Walking along I pass a guy and his guitar, singing more to himself then to the passers by. So I grab myself a latte (soy of course!) and a vegan treat (a fig and nut vegan brownie) and sit outside, watching the steadily busying beach and the waves rolling in. With the soulful humming floating around, the scattered, muted voices of the few early beach goers and the warm zing of caffeine in my veins I’m blissed, completely bewildered by how I got there but also extremely grateful.

Later in the day we grab lunch at a place called The Courtyard on Coogee road. It’s a pretty spot with wooden picnic benches, plant pots and awesome acai bowls. It’s serene and takes you off the otherwise characterless street. The watermelon juice was heaven, the best thing on a hot beach day and the acai bowl yummy, fruity and fresh. I’ve since developed a wee acai addiction, opting for one whenever they’re on the menu.

Taking ourselves to the beach we choose the grass over the sand and head to a hilly patch with great beach views. Coogee is a lot smaller than Bondi and Manly beach but just as bustling, if not a little more welcoming in that its easier to walk around and find a good tanning spot. There aren’t great surfing waves so we missed out on that (not actually surfing ourselves, but rather watching the pros). Though watching the locals drinking and partying on the grassland before the beach was entertaining. Coogee is the only beach in Sydney where alcohol is semi legal, though only on the lawn, not actually on the sand. Seeing as it was a Saturday and Mardi Gras too, there was a lively vibe about, people drinking and dancing, smiling and laughing.

Overall it was an odd little segment of our adventure but also a pleasant one. I guess when people think of Sydney they often associate it with Bondi and that’s great. But there are so many beaches here and I think this day at Coogee made me realise what I was missing out on. I need a different beach every day!

Journal Scraps: Port Stephens…

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Where: Port Stephens (or there abouts), Australia
Part of the UltimateOz intro week, at base camp – https://www.ultimate.travel/ultimateoz-sydney/
Worth checking out if you’re planning a trip to Australia, awesome group leaders, fun activities and a great way to meet people. 


We walk down the footpath in the darkness for the first time, barefoot on rural earth, cider in hand, slight stumbles and whispered slurs. As we step onto the warm sand there is a still silence as we take it in, the constellations so clear above, alive in a way our city hooded eyes had never seen, in the distance the waves leap onto the shore in a serene melody and the air around stirs clean and calm.

A bunch of backpackers from cities around the world are brought together in this moment to admire a nature so lost and so unfairly alien that we are all connected in our awe, our desire to reconcile with mother earth and her secrets, secrets like this one.

To be away from the place we’ve come from, to be there in the moment on a high from natural bliss, to be something more than our physical boulders, cementing us down in our man made chaos. And I talk to them in clusters around the beach, listen in on conversation, lose lips tangle up truths. shakey minds let tidbits slip through the gaps. We’re all at our most vulnerable and filled up with emotion. Some people are there for adventure, for stories to write home about. Others are seeking a new life, a chance for a fresh start, experience to still their panicked minds.

Then there are us , the youthful, the reckless, the ones blind to expectant reality, wanderers with uncertain fates. But we’re all united here on a desolate beach, in Port Stephens, Australia, looking up at the same star filled sky, seeing all varying possibilities in their illuminations, all comforted and terrified simultaneously by what is and what will be and what could be.

Doing Brunch in Darlinghurst…

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It’s not all vegan sadly but they make a darn good go at it. I’ve tried my fair share of fake croissants, all of which have left me a tad disheartened, but this one was scrummy and didn’t taste like “special” food. The jam was super too, very sweet. My travel buddies are not vegan (though thankfully they are open minded) and were able to choose from a few diary and even meat rich options (these options are paleo too if thats your kinda vibe). There was a lot of egg and green stuff on their plates and nothing but crumbs by the end of the meal. Everything on the menu looked to be flavoursome and full of healthiness, with big bowls of salad stuffs and a pretty hefty selection of smoothies. My smoothie was like a chocolate desserty paradise with cocoa, banana, dates, coconut milk and chia seeds but there were fruity ones too as well as some quirky speciality coffees (which I sadly did not get to try) one of which included coconut ice cream. Overall it was a well needed break from asking for salads with no cheese, meat or dressing. I’d love to go again and try some falafel and vegan ice cream.

Ooo and there may have been a raw bounty bite for afters too, rich dark chocolate covered, sweet coconut bliss. Mmmmmmm…

Journal Scraps: It’s about the journey…

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I sit crossed legged, half dazed, in Changi airport, Singapore. My head aches faintly whether because of lack of sleep or lack of caffeine I’m unsure but the feeling leaves my brain tender, thoughts hazy. The sun is rising as I sit, though I haven’t experienced night yet. It was morning when I left London and then there was a timeless void somewhere inbetween here and there, up in the heavens where humans haven’t had their meticulous measuring ways just yet. But now dawn is breaking again and its already tomorrow and I’ve travelled through time, this last fact has me in a stupor, eyes squinting, subdued by the magic of it all. Time travel, wow. And though I left my teary eyed parents behind and felt homesick somewhere around breakfast time (which was actually dinner in the sky where we were living in tomorrow) on the plane I’m yet to allow the panic to hit.

My viens thrum, heart beats a little quicker, letting me know that somewhere the anxiety is creeping, though not about the flight or the prospect of living on the other side of the globe but instead about the people I have yet to meet. But it’s okay because the thrill of adventure is thrumming deliciously through my veins and the line between my reality and hearty imaginings is blurring for the first time in my life and despite the distant jibes from my killjoy subconscious, about lowering my expectations and not getting carried away, my domineering gypsy soul is finally in control and she is the most liberated she’s ever felt.

I can feel myself becoming someone else but that’s comforting because this new person, she smiles at me with reckless promises and embraces me unconditionally as we meet. This is it, finally, I’m living.