february

  1. A surprise scrapbook I received in the post from some special humans I had to leave behind in Australia. I’m a sentimentalist so it goes without saying this is one of the best presents I’ve received.
  2. Make-up. A foreigner to my skin, which has had a very lovely year of sun kissed freedom. I like nude by nature, it’s cruelty free, mostly vegan and this foundation is the sheer sort which still lets my imperfections shine through (It’s the Luminous Sheer foundation which I can’t source on the website). I don’t like full coverage, just enough to keep me confident but also keep me, me. The powder is nice too but I don’t really use it all that much.
  3. Coffee Dates with my best friend. I had to go a year without them so this month has been all about filling those missing spaces and investigating what awesome cafe’s my city has to offer. Pictured is Pink Lane Coffee a creative little nook, with a menu and vibe that has me reminiscing about Australia (can you tell I miss it?) I’ll be sure to do a little review of it soon!
  4. A Book and a cup of tea. I don’t really enjoy regular tea (terribly un-British of me I know) but I’ve developed an addiction to green tea as of late. I’ve also been re reading my favourite books to encourage more words and less telly in my life. Hush hush is just as heartbreaking to finish the sixth time around. Yes this is a young adult fantasy, yes I’m a twenty two year old woman, what of it?
  5. Instagram – My favourites this month have been my friend Jody’s – She’s a photographer so her feed is always perfect shots of beaches and travel fun. And also Tia Hendricks for style inspiration and empowering captions.
  6. I have too much time. I HAVE TOO MUCH TIME. With too much time comes too much youtube so here’s a bundle of joyessness to fill your time, if you have too much time, like I have too much time. Time, ya know?
  • Meghan Hughes – specifically the Pizza Talks, her one with Arden Rose just recently was delightful, go Check it!
  • Negative Feedback – I’m Miss. Amateur everything so I’m trying to use this space in my life to learn things. I super love photography so this little Youtube channel is expanding my mind (even if some of it is a little too smarty pants for me). P.s. give me money so I can afford this hobby.
  • Neverland Boys. Co – I like adventures, they do adventures. I like the sea, they film the sea. I like Australian accents, they have Australian accents. It’s win, win, win. Also checkout their blog and instagrams for insane pictures of insane places, it might hurt your wanderlust a bit!

So there we have it, a couple pieces that made my month, inspired me and kept me busy during too many lost days of moping around. How about your favourites? Any book, music, instagram recommendations?

N x

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23.01.2017

Last hugs, last Jetty trip, last supply coffee, last poolside chats, confusion at the airport, deep travel chats, a vague plane journey, the frightening reunion with the city, loud traffic, busy streets, skyscrapers, pollution, clouded skies, cement instead of sand, tarmac instead of ocean, reunions and surprise meetings with old new friends, drinks in secret bars, maze like laneways, rum, rain, exhaustion

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24.01.2017

Alone in the city, anxiety, yummy coffee from the quirkiest cafe’s, sitting by the river looking out to the skyline for the third time, feeling like a new person for the third time, uninspired by familiar store names, cute chats and photoshoots in the Botanical Gardens, skyline views from the top of the memorial building, the first lord of the fries in four months, drinks in overpriced hipster bars, honest chats in tipsy whispers, heavy emotions, stranger sadness.

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25.01.2017

More Coffee missions, acai bowls, bonding more with friends when you didn’t think it possible, art galleries, laughs, Hosier lane, buying new clothes and feeling like an alien, printing boarding passes for flights you don’t want to board, persistent anxiousness, getting ready in the air bnb with the girls, packing up the remainder of my belongings for the last time in Australia, ABC bar, $8 jugs of beer, more reunions, pure uncontainable happiness, selfies, lots of selfies, singing, dancing, a cheeky air grab or two, memorising my favourite smiles, walking the streets, bottle shop blues, too many bodies in our too small flat, crying…a lot, saying goodbye’s…

N x

A Magical place called Coffs…

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Sunset at Sawtell Headlands
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View of Coffs Harbour from Muttonbird Island
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Jetty Beach
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More of Jetty Beach
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and again…
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and again…
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and again
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Frothing…

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Supply Coffee feat. vegan carrot cake
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Park beach
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more park beach
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Hike to sea dolphins…Boambee Beach
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Emerald Beach

Coffs Harbour is a little beach town somewhere between Sydney and Byron Bay. Maybe I’m bias because I called this magical little piece of the East Coast home for four months, when even four days would be more than enough to see everything, but I really think you should stop to check it out if you’re given the chance. Many of the popular East Coast tour companies skip it out, take you from Port Macquarie to Yamba without so much as a nod at Coffs. But you gotta stop bro!

Dem Beaches:

The beaches were my sanctuary after brutally hot days blueberry picking. Jetty beach is a haven, rarely busy unless it’s a school holiday, mostly sheltered from the wind and the waters are clear and still. You get the chance to jump off the jetty or even swim with the wild jetty dolphin if you’re lucky. For waves the surfer types prefer Boambee beach (Gallows) or Park beach, they stretch out longer and the ocean is wilder. Still picturesque and brilliant for tanning and swimming but definitely wavier. A little further on you’ll find Emerald beach with it’s wild kangaroo’s too!

Shopping:
The jetty was my stomping grounds so I’m familiar with that area most but there are fair shopping opportunities up in Coffs town centre, the palms shopping centre has bigger stores like kathmandu and franchises like Boost juice, whilst the surrounding streets are home to more local treasures like the wholesome Happy Frog cafe where you can grab THE BEST vegan friendly smoothies and organic local produce. You’ll also find Wrecked vintage here, a young independent vintage store, with some unique finds as well as home grown designs. Further afield you’ll find the plaza, a bigger mall where you can find chain stores like Cotton on and JB HiFi. And if you have a little more time to spare try out the surrounding area’s for more trendy, aussie style digs. Sawtell and Belligen are home to some nifty spots to grab coffee and mooch in local boutiques and if you plan your visit you can even catch the Bellingen markets which happen on the third Saturday of each month.

Eats and Drinks:

Around the Jetty area you won’t find shops but you will find hipster worthy cafe’s and bars aplenty. By the Jetty, on the Harbour there is a small row of restaurants including an ace burger joint called ‘Attitude Burgers’ amongst other little eateries. Further up by the train tracks you’ll find Fiasco, a little Italian restaurant and bar with the BESTEST staff. I worked here a few evenings a week, enough to notice the familiar faces of happy regulars and to sample one of each cocktail from their extensive, slightly unique, list. It’s great for wines and the manager Al will help you out if you’re a little overwhelmed by their catalogue. Oh and their pizza’s are pretty good too! If you carry on again you’ll come to a strip of nooks, among them you’ll find the cool Coffs locals chilling at element bar, a city type, industrial styled space with hard working kitchen staff (my friend Riva smashes it as a chef there) and super friendly waitresses full of helpfulness. Again you can find yourself an awesome cocktail here and live music on a Sunday night. There are other little gems dotted around element, try Sakura for tasty Japanese food or Old John’s cafe on a Wednesday night for slider’s. Best of all, all of the places mentioned recognise what vegan means and are more than happy to help you out with their menu’s.

Coffeeeeeeeee:

If you’re in need of coffee then Supply on Orlando street is where it’s at. A very new, trendy coffee shop, with fresh white brick walls and lots of open space, you can catch a whiff of ocean breeze from the seating outside or keep cool inside with wifi access. They do the most delicious vegan cakes…like the best I’ve tried. The raw snickers bar is bomb and the tiramisu so indulgent and they’re also made with whole food ingredients so technically they’re healthy…right? I always opt for an iced latte made with their in house mooless milk, a combo of almond and coconut milks, lighter than soy and not as invasive a taste.

A place to call home:

So again this little tidbit is slightly bias but I would full heartedly recommend the YHA as the place to stay. With options of private, family, four bed and six bed rooms it’s a great place for families and backpackers alike. Despite the branding it’s family run so you’ll often catch Bret or his wonderful daughter Rory at reception. The night manager Kate is the loveliest girl alive and if you have a spare minute you should definitely stop at the reception desk for a chat because they’re all more than capable of making your day with a good convo and a giggle or two! The longterm backpackers who work for their stay do a spiffing job of keeping the place all clean and tidy and it’s one of the nicest hostel environments I encountered. It’s also a two minute walk from both Jetty and park beach as well as being in amongst all those cafe’s and restaurants I mentioned. So get excited and book your stay there!

N x

Soma

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I threat majorly about eating vegan when I head out of my home security and into a whole new place. When I mentioned to people that I’d be taking a trip to Bali those who new me well feared for my ‘selective’ diet. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Ubud is by far home to some of my most favourite vegan spots ever! Yep, ever! So I’m gonna pop up a few reviews to help y’all out whether you’re vegan yourself, have vegan friends or just want some yummy wholesome food.

First stop, Soma. Not 100% vegan, but making a good go at it, soma is located on ‘Jalan Guatama’ my favourite little side street in Ubud. The place itself is beautiful, a peaceful vibe with water features, lanterns and peaks of nature everywhere. When I thought of Bali I had this specific Buddhist, hippy, type image and this restaurant for sure lives up to that. We sit in the centre of the place and take it all in, gushing at some of the items on the menu. There’s a good choice for vegans, vegetarians and health food fanatics. My friend is not vegan but something in me sees it as a challenge, luckily she’s won over by pretty much every place we try. She opts for a raw pad thai and I go for the Gado gado rolls.

One thing about being vegan and into travel is that you can’t always experience the culinary aspects of a place. Luckily Indonesian and Balinese food tend to be quite vegetable based, so even if they aren’t originally vegan friendly it’s pretty easy to substitute and remove items to make it so. The gado gado rolls are traditionally vegetarian, and often times advertised as vegan so its a win win! I get to care about the animals and experience some local flavours. This dish was so fresh and yummy and the peanut sauce is something I crave still now. I could have eaten this every day.

Happy Eating!

N x

Peace, Love, Glebe…

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Glebe is a quirky little Sydney suburb, not incredibly exciting on a normal day bar the infamous Donut Time and the cute little cafes and bars. On a Saturday though Glebe is alive with vintage wearing, coffee drinking, record collecting, youth. Any Saturday, anywhere in Sydney, will be busy but this is uncharacteristically so.

The market is a mess, a colourful, patterned mess, of flea market type thrift stores, second hand bargains, crystals, independent boutiques and food vans. There is live music by the field where groups sit in there 60’s style clobber eating from brown paper boxes and drinking from coffee cups. There is chatter and laughter and freedom dancing through the warm air. It’s an energetic space, an inspiring space, a space you go to connect and reflect and escape.

The stall runners are warm, encouraging purchases but more interested in getting a good chat out of you. My vintage denim obsession thrives here and I’m talked into buying crystal donned jewellery from a gypsy soul enthusiastic about the properties of the stones and there value to enhancing life. I grab a coffee from van, a soy vanilla latte before approaching my favourite stand, 80 raw 20 paleo, of vegan treats for a banana and peanut butter pop. In the warm breeze I sit and take in the space around me, the music soothing and the people are living.

If your trip to Sydney is short and you’re there over a weekend then Glebe Markets is definitely one of my first recommendations, you’ll probably see me nosing through some stalls and stuffing my face with vegan cake, so come say hi!

A Day in Seminyak…

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Following an eclectic street of typical tourist tack gift shops, small airy boutiques, tattoo parlours, and all manner of foodie traps from Kuta is how we make our way to Seminyak. The road gradually fizzles into boutiques only, leaving the messy open stores lining the raging roads of Kuta behind, with room only for tidy store fronts, Australian inspired coffee shops and a more varied selection of vegan and health food shops. Seminyak shows the least of Balinese culture of the few places I have time to explore. The beach gives more of that western holiday makers vibe with up market hotels meeting the sand, advertisements for rooftop bars and a serious lack of salesman in comparison to the haggling background noise on Kuta beach.

Our day has turned cloudy by the time we reach the shore and the chill in the air takes away any previous excitement I had about swimming but the grey hues of the water are a steely wonder and as you hit where the ocean laps onto the shore you walk on the ghostly reflection of the clouds. As we take a seat on the sand a dog comes over sniffing at my friends taco’s and I try desperately to be friends but he backs away nonchalantly at my excitable, petting ready, hands. His cheeky attitude brightens our day after an earlier encounter with a stray dog, blind in one eye, covered in bites and rashes, thin and lost on the busy street. He stopped bewildered in our path and though I tried to encourage him to drink some water, he looked at it confused before considering his surroundings again. We lose him down an alley eventually but like the netted dog in Kuta I regret not helping him enough.There are so many dog walkers going by, joggers panting along and families strolling by in a chorus of giggles. This beach, more than any of the others, reminds me of Australia and that gives me comfort.

Seminyak is definitely worth a day of your time but personally I’m glad I chose not to base myself there for the trip. I love a pretentious coffee shop, shopping in trendy overpriced stores and munching on vegan brownies but I do all of that in Australia. It was an awesome day, definitely a nice spot to chill out and relax and we stumbled on a cute little market too. Maybe if we’d have explored a little  more we would’ve branched out into a more realistic Seminyak, I’m not sure I researched the area quite as well as I should of. A day of cafe hopping and scrummy vegan food at The Earth Cafe (I’ll do a vegan food guide soon) still made the trip worth it.

Cafe Organism, Darlinghurst, Sydney:

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A dim, cosy lit, space with yummy coffee, curious creations and the best vegan banana bread. The crazy exterior draws you in, especially if you’re instagram inclined like moi and the interior is just as aesthetically pleasing in a hipster kinda way. I opted for a sweet potato latte made with soy milk on my first visit, completely unaware of what I’d be presented with. It was a yummy vanilla milkshake tasting drink with little pieces of sweet potato floating about. My friend opted for a gluten free brownie and an orange juice and was equally as pleased. I’ve since been back and sampled their iced coffee, both as an americano and as a latte and recently gave a soy chai latte a go when I was ill. It never disappoints and the family who run it are the loveliest, especially once you’re a regular and they recognise you. If you visit Sydney, and you’re slightly obsessed with having coffee in the quaintest, quirkiest (albeit hipsteriest) cafe’s then you gotta go to this one, you just gotta. On a week day it’s also the perfect place to sit and write, none of the noisy, stubborn wifi, you get in Starbucks (though ironically I sit in Starbucks writing this post) but good wifi and a peaceful space full of creative energy to vibe off. You’re welcome!

Any Sydney cafe suggestions?