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?

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Melbourne: ‘Not All Art Belongs In A Gallery’

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Love to Brussels, Love to the World…

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Image Source: Bondi Ink Instagram
I fight with myself because I believe love can fix things, I believe the answer to the tumultuous problems of this world are down to lack of understanding and compassion and when I voice it people ridicule me, patronise me. When terror happens we react with more terror, create more terror and then anticipate more terror. Instead of uniting with each other, we oppose each other, we throw hate at each other and find reason to point the blame. We forget that love is a weapon too. That bombs, guns, knives and corruption are alive and thriving because of us. That terror rests on the shoulders of humanity as a whole, or rather our lost humanity. People tell me to hate a religion because individuals hide behind it to inflict pain, what they don’t remind me is that there are billions of individuals belonging to that religion who spread powerful messages full of light and meaning. There are poisonous minds in this world its true and I appreciate that people are afraid but they’re not afraid of Islam, of Muslims, they’re afraid of the darkness we created when war became the only way we could reason. If someone believes the sacrifice of innocent lives will take them to a holier, brighter place, its because someone used their faith, their reason for living to pollute them, to inflict pain. I’m sad for Brussels and for every other country forgotten in their struggle against terror. My love is with the families who lost their loved ones, I hope the souls lost find peace and those left behind can find hope.

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!

#internationalwomensday

 

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Women have intrigued me, inspired me, created me. I have never accepted that I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. Maybe it’s my strong mother, my fascination with women in all careers making life their bitch, the girls I’ve befriended with awesome personalities and ambitious aspirations. When I was young I would play sport to prove I could beat the boys who mocked me, I would wear clothes that were deemed unfeminine, I’d embrace it when people told me I shouldn’t be doing something because I was a girl. Now? I don’t think dresses make me less of a feminist, don’t feel I have to prove anything because of my gender, I’m proud of my body, my beliefs, my role as a female in a society not bending to accept me. Most importantly though I’m aware. I’m aware of what it took the women before me to get us to where we are today, I’m aware of the women still battling mass prejudice in countries around the world, women deemed inferior in intelligence, physicality and political input. I’ve become a strong supporter of intersectional feminism, realising that to be female is not the only challenge. Our world is twisted but we’ve made it this far and with bright, vocal, even poetic voices in the media, literature, music, making waves everyday in the common acceptance that women are equal, we’re gonna go places. Basically I’m proud of the women who shaped me, who encourage and inspire me. I’m positive we can make a bigger change by respecting, accepting and supporting all women, of different races and classes, ages and sexualities. Once we stop bringing each other down, stop giving in to the stereotypes and images we’re forced to perceive of ourselves and fellow women, we’ll be free to charge through with more victories. We’ve got something flowing, however faltering it sometimes may seem, we can only go forward. So yeah this is just a shout out to all the girls out there, I’m proud of us, I support you, we’re doing a damned good job.