Here’s a topic we’ve been chatting about in the back room at Parnassus: What exactly is a “beach read”? Lately we’ve realized that we — booksellers and customers…
Erin — a twenty-something Australian who’s a baker, maker, teacher, and Beyonce’s number one fan — peppers her delicious recipes with delightful stories and stunning photos.
The first concert I ever went to was with my Mum. We went to see our favourite band Savage Garden at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. It was amazing and probably my favourite concert I’ve ever been to. The lead singer of the band is Darren Hayes and he penned a beautiful letter to his 15 year old self. I’m also inspired when I read the letter and it reminds me to not take things for granted, and to not dwell on the little things.
If I could tell my childhood self 5 things about the future they would be:
- The HSC exam at the end of school doesn’t and won’t define you. You’ll become a successful teacher and love your job. The HSC mark didn’t get you there, you won a scholarship where YOU got the chance to shine, not your essays
- Don’t take things so personally – those without tough skins can easily fall apart. Besides, constructive criticism makes you a stronger person
- It doesn’t matter about being popular – when you finish school the ‘popular’ group fade into the sea of new people you meet at university. No-one bothers to ask if you were popular or not!
- Don’t get caught up with having a high-school boyfriend – enjoy the time with your friends!
- Thank your teachers – they do a darn good job!
Have a read below at Darren’s letter:
I know this is going to sound insane, crazy even – but I’m writing this to you from the future. Of course, I can’t tell you what really happens. But I know you are in a lot of pain. You hide it from your friends and from your family, but I know you’re having a rough time. I know, for example, that the first two years of high school were hell for you. In May 1987 the bullying should be just about winding down.
If it makes you feel any better, that group of boys who called you ‘faggot’ and ‘gay boy’ – the ones who beat you up and harassed you so much you sometimes wanted to die? Well they end up getting the futures they deserve. What I want you to know is, the thing that made you a target is the thing that makes you beautiful. There will be times in your life where you will try to dull down your magic because it draws too much attention. But please, don’t do that. Please remember to shine because one day people are going to pay a lot of money to see you light up.
Don’t get too hung up on whether you like boys or girls. I know right now you’re confused because you have a crush on a boy in your maths 1 class and you had a crush on a girl in your French class. Stop thinking you have AIDS. You haven’t even kissed a boy … you can’t catch it from watching Bruce Willis movies.
Take that position in the girl’s choir. Your voice will stand out and Mrs. Landsdowne is going to realise you have a gift for singing. Imagine you’re Luke Skywalker. Being true to yourself is really no different to using the force. Remember that money changes everything. … the people who love you, won’t expect you to pay for your own birthday dinner. This will make sense in the 90s.
This will trip you out but in the future you live in London. Yes I know this is insane. You’re thinking ‘But I’m obsessed with America!’ Don’t worry, this won’t change, you will be there for seven of the best years of your life.
Today, in the future, you get a train to Paris to spend it with the love of your life who also happens to be the person you are married to. You’ve got a keeper. More than a keeper. You end up with someone who makes you laugh every single day of your life.
Ok, I’ve tried not to spoil too many secrets – but something pretty amazing is about to happen. You’re about to go to a Michael Jackson concert. November 25, 1987, am I right? Well just to prove to you I know what I’m talking about – the show is supposed to be in a football stadium but soon due to a ridiculous rumour about him performing behind a bubble, ticket sales are going to be so bad that several concerts in Australia will be cancelled and yours will be moved to two nights at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Through a twist of fate, your cheap field ticket will be randomly exchanged for a seat 4 rows from the stage and you’ll witness a performance so spectacular it will inspire you to do what you do for a living in the future. Hint: it’s not teaching.
Never give up!
I love you,
Darren Stanley Hayes!
London, May 7, 2012
Here goes – my first fashion-related post on Greenwich Lane.
With so many trends coming and going in the fashion world, it seems like every season you need to update your wardrobe as last years clothes are no longer fashionable. With such updates comes expenses so I thought I’d share my tips for
- Neutral colours – For my brothers engagement party I bought an expensive dress from Kookai, I think it was close to $200. I was in love with it. It was a dark green with a pattern on it (almost like a peacock pattern), and I felt great in it. I’ve never worn it since. Why? I hate the pattern and the colour. Also, being such a distinct pattern there’s not a whole lot of ways I can wear it – I can’t accessorise it because any accessory will clash with the pattern and be too much, and I can’t wear it a cute jacket or scarf because it’s busy as it is. I’ve made a conscious decision from that purchase onwards to buy neutral colours that are easy to mix and match and wear a multitude of ways. Also, I don’t find myself getting bored with the item as it’s neutral and can easily feel like a different piece depending on how I wear it. Another bonus? Patterns are memorable, neutrals aren’t. Meaning you don’t look like you’re wearing the same outfit again!
- Planning outfits – I find when I’m in a rush in the morning I’ll rummage though my wardrobe and find the first thing that catches my eye. This gets me in to a pattern of wearing the same thing all the time. When I consciously plan my outfits for the week on the weekend I find I have more time and I actually look through my entire wardrobe. This means I find pieces I haven’t worn in a while and suddenly I’m feeling like I’m wearing new clothes! If we’re putting this into a cycle it means I’ll feel less like I “need” to shop. The best store is in your wardrobe!
- Investment pieces – I’ll put my hand up and claim that I am often guilty for sticking with the trends and buying cheap clothes so that I have every trend and a bursting wardrobe. Overalls were in last year so I went to CottonOn and bought a cheap pair – I would not be caught ever wearing overalls again. Khaki pants were also big – I bought two pairs, one from Kmart and one from Target – they really don’t suit me and Khaki hasn’t been big this year. Quality also plays a role in the price for some of these stores and I find after a few washes my fad piece no longer holds its shape or its stitching! I’m not saying everyone needs to shop at high-end stores (and I definitely don’t), what I mean is that I think we can avoid buying as many clothes and keeping up with the fashion fads, and instead investing in a few pieces that are versatile (i.e. neutral), and of high-quality. Meaning they will last for seasons to come. I have had great experiences with shopping at Country Road, Witchery and Seed. Fair enough I walk out with a bag full of clothes, but rather one or two pieces that will last and I will get my moneys worth.
- Work/Life balance – When I first started working full-time I was adamant that I would keep my work and social wardrobe separate. It worked for a while, until I started slowly wearing some of my favourite pieces to work and vice versa. I have the luxury of not having to dress strictly corporate as I am teacher, however we still need to dress professionally (pants, pencil skirts, suits for meetings etc.). What I’ve decided to do is buy pieces that are transferrable across both wardrobes. Buy something for work that I could easily dress up or down when heading out to dinner or a bar. It’s a delicate balance, and I’m still working on it – stay tuned!
- Online shopping – Some people might disagree with me here, but I actually believe online shopping leads to less impulse purchases than actually shopping in store. I find I leave items in my cart for days and days until I can convince myself to buy them. When I’m in store I make rash decisions and end up buying things I probably wouldn’t have bought online. If I do shop in the shopping centre then I make sure I leave the store, go elsewhere, have lunch, and then if I’m still thinking about the item, go back and buy it.
I hope these tips help. Any other obsessive shoppers out there? Let me know your tips in the comments below 🙂
You may or may not know that Lex and I have recently moved in to our first home together. It’s been amazing, but has also made me realise a few things about myself and the type of person I am to live with. I’ve decided to make some promises to our new home (and also to Lex). Think of them as my mid-year resolutions.
- Make the bed – Without fail Lex makes the bed every single day. Even when he’s running late he will still make it. I used to be of the opinion that an unmade bed is no biggie, however I’ve come to realise that it a) makes the room look a lot neater and b) makes hopping into bed after a long day at work a little more satisfying. I also read that making your bed every morning leads to a happier you. It’s worth a try! Yesterday I made the bed, so I’m off to a good start!
- Dry the dishes straight away – Sometimes I’m guilty of leaving pots and pans in the drying rack and it makes the kitchen look messy. I promise to get my act together and start drying!
- Clean as I cook – Lex thinks I make a mess when I cook. I think I get this trait off my Mum! Lately I’ve been washing up as I go and it makes the task seem so much less daunting. The last thing you feel like doing after a nice meal and a glass of wine is getting up and cleaning everything.
- Bring the washing in as soon as it’s dry – We live in an apartment and next door they are building a new complex. This means there is often a lot of dust flying onto our balcony. Of course this means my freshly washed clothes get dusty. I also hate how the washing takes up the whole balcony, so my promise is to get it in when it’s dry! No-one likes a city view with a side of washing.
- Light a candle every night – There’s something about candles that instantly makes me feel content and calm. I’m going to start lighting a candle every night to find that little bit of serenity in a bustling city. Lex’s brother works at Muji and has a demister on most nights, it makes the house smell great and it’s calming too.
- Hang my clothes up instead of leaving them in a pile – The thing is, when I’m ready for bed, I’m ready for bed. Every night I just throw my clothes on the floor instead of putting them in the wash or back in the wardrobe. Not only is this bad for the clothes, but also makes the room look untidy. My promise? Hang them up straight away to avoid them staying there for 3 days!
- Don’t be a hoarder – Clutter stresses me out, so my aim is to cull as I go. Sometimes I do like to keep things, however I need to really assess, is this actually sentimental?
Alvhem Mäkleri & Interiör
My love for History is really what makes me tick. History has always been a part of my life and I continue to be intrigued by the discipline. My Ancient History teacher at school single-handedly passed down his passion to me and he is the very reason why I am an Ancient History teacher today. Sadly, he is no longer with us and I feel that I am not only forever in debt to him for sharing his gift with me, but also responsible in many ways for continuing his legacy and sharing my passion with my students, just like he did.
Our recent Ancient History trip to Pompeii reignited every ounce of passion within me for the Ancient world. In the last couple of years, I have leant towards Modern History as my preferred discipline as I find World War II a vast and fascinating period in time. I also did a lot of my university studies in Modern History. However, seeing the Ancient Roman world in all its glory really made me appreciate how far our society has come, and more importantly, how necessary it is to remember and reflect on societies past. We live in such a fast paced world and present day Rome is a fitting example of how easily Ancient History can be forgotten and neglected. Seeing the Villa of Oplontis in Naples completely left to deteriorate made me really upset, and also grateful that I had the opportunity to visit, because who knows how long it will be around.
When I was at Pompeii I bought a fantastic book about the Ancient Romans called “Veni, Vidi, Vici – everything you wanted to know about the Ancient Romans but were afraid to ask”. It covers the entire period of the Roman Empire and rule in an accessible way to History buffs and newbies. If you’re wanting to know more about the legacy of the Romans (think Caesar, gladiators, Vestel Virgins, Colosseum), then I recommend you have a read. It’s a light read and I read a chapter at a time – i.e. a couple of hundreds of years!
Choosing the right neighbourhood to stay in Manhattan can be the difference between an authentic trip to NYC and a tourist-trap trip to NYC.
Most tourists visiting NY for the first time will stay in Midtown to be close to where the action is. I understand the logic, trust me. In fact, I even did it myself when I first went to NY. However, there is a saying around town that locals don’t go above 14th street and there’s a reason why – it is home to great neighbourhoods such as Chelsea, the West Village and of course, Greenwich. Whenever I visit NY now I avoid the highly-populated touristy areas and head downtown for a true New York experience. It can be a bit daunting staying away from the main attractions (think Empire State and Central Park), however it should ease your mind to know that NY has such an incredible subway system that makes travelling around the city a smooth and easy process. Lex and I purchase a weekly subway pass that has unlimited journeys and it is a more affordable option to explore the city – we soon discovered taxis were costly once factoring in the traffic.
Have a look below at my fav spots to stay when in the Big Apple!
- West Village/Greenwich – By far my favourite spot in Manhattan. It has a distinctly ‘local’ vibe and is buzzing with trendy shops and delicious restaurants such as ‘The Spotted Pig’. There aren’t many hotels in the area so your best bet is to get an Air BnB and stay in a real New York apartment. The West Village is also home to celebrities – SJP leaves amongst the tree-lined streets, and we even saw Hugh Jackman walk past whilst shopping. Bluestone Lane cafe is also on Greenwich Avenue – a cool, Aussie-run cafe serving good coffee and amazing brunches (smoked salmon and avocado bruschetta!). The best part? It’s only 12 minutes on the subway from Midtown. So you can explore the sites during the day and then come back to the Village for a nice dinner and a drink.
- SoHo – there is a stack of amazing shops in the SoHo district and I feel it really is such a central and easily-accessible part of Manhattan. The SoHo Grand is a grand hotel that everyone should stay in at least once!
- Chelsea – I named my adorable cat after Chelsea. It’s a bustling and vibrant part of the city home to some cool places and things to do such as the Chelsea High Line and the Chelsea Markets. Every foodie should make a stop by at the markets to drool at the elaborate displays and taste-test some goodies. It’s also home to the Chelsea Piers – Lex and I went here for a night of bowling and laughs! You can also play aqua golf and go ice-skating!
- Tribeca – Lex and I stayed in Duane St Hotel and whilst we probably wouldn’t stay in that particular hotel again, I wouldn’t necessarily rule Tribeca out of the question altogether. Home to the locals and celebrities alike, Tribeca is the neighbourhood where you spot glam mothers pushing strollers in their Lorna Jane! Tribeca is almost like the Double Bay of New York. It’s also a great spot to visit attractions like Wall Street, Statue of Liberty and Battery Park. If you’re choosing between West Village and Tribeca I would opt for the Village as there’s a little more going on there, however Tribeca is easier to find hotels.
- Central Park – If I was to stay uptown then staying on Central Park or the Upper West Side would be my preference. It would be great to go for a morning jog around the park. It’s also a tad quieter than staying in Midtown, but still close enough to easily visit attractions (including Museum Mile). I say Upper West as opposed to Upper East and the West is home to young money, whereas the East is old money. With young money comes some more adventurous eateries and a more youthful nightlife vibe.
Heading to NY or have any questions? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
During our recent visit to the Hunter Valley, Lex and I found ourselves on a mission to find the best food in Wine Country. We had some fairly good meals but nothing to brag abut. All that changed when we took a visit to Enzo’s- a cosy dining spot with a courtyard, offering Italian dishes cooked with locally sourced produce. It is set amongst a few beautiful sandstone cottages, and has a distinct Hunter vibe to it. Booking a table wasn’t easy though so I do recommend calling in advance if you’re keen to visit.
Enzo is set in a Tuscan inspired village, among eclectic sandstone buildings in the heart of the hunter valley. Enzo is praised for its unique ambience and enchanting courtyard.Come and unwind and let the world drift away at the sacred oasis , known to locals as Enzo. Listen to chic tunes whilst feasting on Italian delicacies with homemade and locally grown produce. With our antique open fireplace dating back to the 1700s making you warm in the winter and total air conditioned comfort for those hot summer days. Established since 1996 offers excellent coffee, food and service making it a must do when visiting the Hunter Valley.
We went for lunch and were spoilt with choice by the varied but thoughtful menu. Every dish seemed to work with the other and for once I honestly couldn’t decide what I wanted. All I knew was that I needed something hot (it was freeeeeezing outside), and something big! I figured we’d be spending the day wine tasting so I need to do it on a full stomach.
I ordered the Tiger Prawn Linguine and a freshly squeezed watermelon and passionfruit juice. The juice was served in a little jar, with an old ‘Little Golden Book Classic’ as the saucer. It just so happened to be titled “The Shy Little Kitten”. Knowing how much I love cats, I simply couldn’t resist reading it to Lex using my best teacher voice. He was so embarrassed…
The Tiger Prawn Linguine was delicious, complete with fresh chilli, baby tomatoes, chorizo, lemon butter sauce, and a generous topping of shaved parmesan- have a drool at the pics below 🙂
P.S Have I mentioned that I’m collecting business cards of restaurants Lex and I go to? I’m going to turn them in to an artwork – stay tuned!
Super quick post today! Thought I would share my Pinterest boards with you all so we can inspire each other! Find out what’s floating my boat in terms of food, travel, interior decorating, fashion…the lot!
Feel free to share your links in the comments below!
P.S This is all a little high tech for me…I think the image below should directly link you to my profile or to my pins, or you can click “Follow on Pinterest” at the bottom of the photo…fingers crossed!