Another update!

Hello there! Long time, no speak. Yet again I have let this blog fall by the wayside a bit, but I can assure you there are very good reasons for doing so.

Last time I wrote, I was in the thick of my internship at the exquisitely ebullient little hub that is CityMag. I was there for about ten weeks in the end, researching and cold-calling and interviewing and tap tapping away on stories. That experience was a real eye-opener to the fast-paced world of journalism and really helped me sharpen my writing, as well as forcing me to not be so precious about how and what I write due to the speedy turnaround times for online publication. Funnily enough I ended up with a few articles about local eco-fashion businesses (read them here and here), which was really thought-provoking for me.

I’m most proud of the last couple of articles I wrote, which were way out of my comfort zone in terms of content and also presenting myself as a professional journo (which I guess you could say I am now… but more on that later). After a bit of a double-booking kerfuffle one afternoon, I was asked if I could help out by covering the launch of JamFactory‘s new furniture line. I thought I’d pop down to their Light Square workshops with a photographer, ask one of the designers a few quick questions and then just write up a very general, “LOOK AT THIS COOL STUFF” kind of article… But Josh and I arrived to find that we were in fact getting a bit of an exclusive sneak peek before the rest of Adelaide’s media, and that I’d get to interview all of the designers as well as Jon Goulder, Head of Furniture, and CEO Brian Parkes. No biggie. I was terrified but threw myself in anyway, and the article got a great response, even from JamFactory themselves, so that felt really lovely. Interviewing some of Adelaide’s best emerging health and medical professionals from SAHMRI was similarly daunting, but was also completely fascinating (all three women were what you might call “kick-ass”) and again, had a really positive outcome, with the article being shared on SAHMRI’s Facebook and other platforms.

Thanks to CityMag’s partnership with InDaily, some of the articles I wrote also got picked up for InDaily’s site, so I have a contributor page with them now (squee!) and also had quite a few pieces featured in their weekly emails. Yays! I miss popping into the office and seeing these charming folks on the reg., but I do have a contribution coming up in the next print edition of CityMag (014), so I still get to be part of it all – albeit from a bit further afield now.

The main thing that’s keeping me away from town geographically is that I’ve got a new job! I’m still doing the retail thing on weekends because it’s fun and I love my workmates and I kind of never want to leave them, but now I’m a proper employed editor person, which I’m still pinching myself about. Empire Times is the student magazine at Flinders Uni, where I’m completing the final semester of my highly-prized Arts degree (you’ll be glad when I save you from the robots). One of their 2016 editors, Simone, completed her Honours mid-year and as such could no longer be a student editor so they were on the lookout for someone to step in and wrap up the second half of the year (issues 43.6-43.10). I applied, I interviewed, I pitched my heart out, I got the job and I leapt straight into the deep end. Armed with my linguistic and journalistic know-how, one InDesign lesson and the support (and patience) of my co-editors Liam and Eleanor, I’m already well into the thick of things! Issues 6 and 7 have already been released, 8 is about to be printed and today we’re starting work on 9! People keep asking me what exactly we do as editors and the answer is basically everything except the actual printing: recruiting and liaising with contributors, editing, sub-editing, graphic design, distribution, social media, writing articles ourselves, producing content for our blog… the works! It’s a lot of work, but it’s work I take great pride in doing and which brings me a lot of satisfaction and even the occasional squealy moment of joy.

Also at Uni, I’m taking a Life Writing topic, for which I get to read and study some of my favourite authors like Helen Garner and Benjamin Law (Joe Cinque’s Consolation and The Family Law, respectively). I woke up in the middle of the night and scrawled through my journal like a woman possessed; my final piece for the topic spilled out of me like it had always been there waiting for the right moment. I’m looking forward to submitting it, and I may even share it on here down the track depending on how it goes.

On the side of all of this, I’ve been doing some freelance copyediting and copywriting as a sub-contractor for Little Bird PR & Communications, which has helped me hone a whole other set of writing-related skills. Producing copy for an exhibition is very different to writing a journalistic piece, as is reducing articles to 140-character Twitter posts. Each form has its own challenges, so combining them all keeps my overactive brain occupied.

I’ve also been reading a lot of Rookie (try this article here) and Lenny (especially this) and Darling (this was pretty inspiring) and Frankie (the cover art of their current issue is a dream) and Womankind (this story about the women of the Italian mafia was fascinating given my background of studying Italian), all of which are fabulous for reassuring myself that I’m on a promising path and that I am a perfectly flawed but full and whole human being. I recently spoke to some folks from Frankie at Finders Keepers markets and they were such darls and really encouraging, so that was a nice little moment.

So, what’s next? We Empire Times editors are heading to NYWF soon, which I’m hoping will basically just be a whole weekend of stimulating conversations and speeches and… well, just a whole lot of words really! I’ve tentatively agreed to do a spoken word piece at the next Speakeasy event on campus. I’ve got about 8 weeks left of my undergraduate degree and then who knows what’s next! I’m tossing up between a few options at the moment but am open to the possibilities, and feeling more and more comfortable with the unknown.

Until next time,

Lxx

 

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5 Print Clashing Basics

I love a good print clash. They’re a great way to shake up your look if you’re not comfortable buying into the latest trends (I’m lookin’ at you: midriff-baring, culottes, funnel-necklines, long layers, et al.) but still want to look edgy. My Mum is going to baulk at the idea of this post, as she doesn’t “get” the print clash and she often gives me a very perplexed look when I emerge from my bedroom wearing spots and florals at the same time (an awesome combo, if you ask me). It is, however, a topic I get asked about a lot at work so I thought I’d share some tips and pics with you.

1. Start with monochrome

Black and white are always chic, and usually pretty forgiving when it comes to mixing prints. They rarely look too ‘busy’ and are able to be worn just as easily at work or off-duty. Olivia Palermo rocks this look a LOT.

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2. Keep a classic print as your base

Whilst trends constantly swing between florals, geometrics, tribal, and so on, there are certain classic prints that will be around forever. Stripes, spots, leopard, checks and snakeskin are my top five. They work just as well together as they do clashed against busier/brighter prints because they are often found in neutral tones like black, white, tan, khaki and grey. As I mentioned at the start of this post, I reckon florals work particularly well with spots and stripes.

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3. Pick a common colour

Start with one print and pull out one colour you’d like to highlight. This doesn’t have to be the colour that dominates the piece – in fact it’s probably better if it’s not to maximise clashage (yes, that is the technical term). Your second print should also feature this colour to make it stand out. Finding a common colour between two or more prints helps create some flow through your outfit and again, prevents the busy-ness from being too overwhelming. The pics below are some awesome examples.

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4. Keep styles classic

If you’re just starting out, try not to overcomplicate things. Start with a simple t-shirt/collared shirt on top and slim or straight pants/pencil skirt on the botton and keep your accessories in a complementary neutral tone (black/white/nude and metallics are the easiest). Opt for a classic silhouette and build from there.

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5. Trust your gut

There are certain combos that you would never think would work, but somehow do. Ultimately, if you feel good in what you’re wearing and you wear it with confidence, it’s probably going to work. People will either not notice at all, or (like my mother) still be perplexed, but kinda accept it anyway. Wear what you love.

Here are some other print clash collages/posts for inspiration: 1. and 2. and 3. And here are some of my other fave print clash outfits: 1. and 2. and 3. and 4. Margherita Missoni, Olivia Palermo, Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine and Miroslava Duma are reeeeally good examples of print clashing done right. There’s also HEAPS of awesome pics over on Pinterest if you search “print clash” and refine from there using key words for colours/styles/shapes/prints you already have in your wardrobe or are looking to buy. So there you go! Hope that’s got you excited to start print clashing and given you some confidence to get started!

Lxx

Ethel’s back, back again!

Last week I brought you a little intro to one of my fave cafes (and one that I should visit more often), E for Ethel. I interviewed owner-operators Amanda and Dan one afternoon way back in May and we chatted for so long that I decided to split my article about it in two. Now, I’m uber excited to bring you part two!

Pic from E for Ethel's placemaking story - click through to read!

Pic from E for Ethel’s placemaking story – click through to read!

Lauren (me): Have you found the Adelaide business community to be a supportive one? How have you found building partnerships and relationships with other local businesses?
Dan: Yeah, I’d say there’s a lot of businesses out there that are supportive of new businesses. A lot of the newer businesses are really supportive actually, so there’s definitely a community feel. And lots of people were able to share tips and hints and that was good. Knowing there’s support there is nice.
Amanda: And we had all that before we opened as well, you know. We would just go to cafes and do research and hang out and chat to owners and a lot of them are people we work with now in terms of suppliers because they were really open and willing to share and willing to sit down and just chat about stuff. There is definitely an older business mindset that isn’t as supportive to small businesses and businesses like ours – I think they think we’re just crazy hippies or something, but that’s okay. Definitely within our circle, we’re surrounded by businesses that are really supportive.
D: The council has been a great support and their networks have been really supportive, which is good.
A: Yeah, Adelaide City Council have been really good and especially through their Placemaking initiative. Melbourne Street‘s been identified as one of their pilot projects for the Placemaking program, so it means there are a lot of opportunities and there’s a lot of support out there and big conversations happening which is really cool. It just feels like there’s about to be a change down here and it’s a real chance for the community to make it their own and for businesses to start doing new stuff, so it feels good.

L: Great! So what sorts of areas do you see opportunities for growth and new businesses/ventures in Adelaide, or Melbourne Street in itself even?
A: Melbourne Street needs so much more!
D: Yeah, with Melbourne Street we feel like it has a lot of potential but it just needs a few key businesses.
A: It needs a newsagency – the one that was just on the corner out there has been closed for a couple of years now – and it needs a little local continental kinda deli.
D: Maybe a few cool bars.
Amanda: Yeah we’ve got all these big pubs, which have their place and they do their thing but yeah, some little cosy bars would complement them well. Hopefully some of the stuff going on in the CBD will start to branch out and happen up here too.
D: I think part of the Placemaking thing is determining what areas need and working towards that; actively seeking it out rather than just taking what comes.
A: They’re also helping in negotiations with landlords too which I think is really important for small business because quite often you don’t know what you’re signing up for or what you’re stepping into and sometimes that can work really well and sometimes not so much. But the council have been really supportive in that regard which is great.

L: What are some of your favourite local businesses?
D: Well, we love Sarah next door at Clarity massage. She’s become a friend of ours just through everyday interaction and seeing each other around. There’s a lot of people like that actually. Justine who was in here before, she’s from a hairdresser’s just out there.So yeah, it’s just grown from people who come in here and say hello. We like to offer support to those around us. We’ve been quite lucky I think. Most people we’ve worked with have been really supportive and have a more collaborative mindset.

L: What do you think is the importance/role of small business and keeping things local in a society dominated by big business, and a city that’s undergoing so much change in itself?
D: I think we need small business so much; it keeps things personal. I think you need small business to balance out all the big businesses. It’s a bit tricky these days because the big businesses are just getting so big that it’s hard to compete but there are always ways around that. Doing things slightly differently, offering something that people can’t get from bigger companies all helps. People still need connections. It’s nice to go into a place and know that the people are going to be nice and friendly and know who you are. I mean, you can get that in bigger businesses but it’s a lot harder. You’ve got a bit more freedom to move around within small business, to make things your own.

What a quote to finish on – thanks Dan! If you’d like to see E for Ethel‘s placemaking story about Melbourne Street, click here.

I just want to say thanks again to both Dan and Amanda for being so welcoming and open and sharing their story with me. If you know of a local business/person/initiative that you think I should focus an article on, please do leave a comment below and I’ll try to get onto it on the ASAP!

Until next time, lovelies,
L x

E is for..?

Ethel, dahhhhlinks! And who’s behind E for Ethel? Amanda Matulick and Dan Harland, crafty couple, placemakers and small business ninjas. Seriously, they must have some kind of superpowers to get the amount of stuff done that they do. All the way back in May I paid them a visit to try and uncover those superpowers, or at least a few of their secrets about how to build such a well-loved local business. Just a quick heads-up though, we had a looong chat (I couldn’t believe how generous they were with their time!) so this is just part one of my E for Ethel feature… Part one is all about Amanda and Dan themselves, who they are and what makes E for Ethel the special little space that it is. Part two will be all about small business, Radelaide and placemaking!

It was one of the first chilly, drizzle days of May and E for Ethel was (and is) a perfect spot to shelter. I ducked my head inside and snooped around the racks and shelves and various displays of crafty goodness before introducing myself to A & D. Dan whipped me up a delish coffee (they serve them complete with choccie freckle and book quote snippet on the side) and one for himself and we settled in for a chat. First of all, I wanted to know about Amanda and Dan themselves. How did they find themselves running such a lovely nook of sweetness?

Dan: Amanda’s always wanted to have her own space and her background’s in hospitality so it was kinda natural for her. Myself, I was a panel-beater before this and I’d done that for maybe 15 years – straight out of high school – and had never done anything else. Amanda had the idea to open this place about five years ago and we just decided to jump and go with it. I think if you have a big idea like that there’s no point putting it off and then down the track regretting not doing it, or eventually getting around to it but regretting not doing it sooner. I’d always thought about owning my own business but more to do with panel-beating. I’d never really thought of having a retail/hospitality business before because I’d never worked in either of those industries. It was quite daunting actually, and I’m still learning, but that’s the nature of business.

Lauren (me): How do you see E for Ethel as a hub for your community, now and in the future?
Dan: We’ve been chatting about this a lot lately. It’s something we always wanted; back in our business plan we always intended the place to have a community feel to it. It’s something we can’t quite put our finger on exactly how it’s happened, but I guess we just love getting to know anyone who comes in and we want people to feel like they’re at home and the more we try and make people feel comfortable like that, the more it’s going to grow.

At this point, there was a little lull in cafe activity so Amanda was able to pop over and join us.

L: Have you found that community feel has helped you build up a group of regular customers?
Amanda: There’s lots of people that feel so comfortable here and have been coming in for a really long time – or even people that haven’t known us that long but they feel at-home here and that’s really special. When we originally talked about names for the shop, one of the names we liked was ‘The Cosy Cafe’ and that’s kinda what people feel in here, like they’re in their lounge room and they’re really cosy and do things like they bring their dishes back up to us and that’s really cute.
D: Actually, this place was a cafe about 20 years ago called ‘The Cosy Cafe’ or ‘The Cosy Place’ or something.
A: I think it was an Austrian Schnitzel bar or something, so slightly different! It sounds very cute though and people reminisce about it a lot so maybe there’s something in this building that makes it a cosy place to be. This space is somewhere where we can have visits from our friends and family and we have customers who’ve become friends and family and that’s a really beautiful thing.

L: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way, especially for Dan, not coming from a hospitality or retail background?
A: When we’d been in to do set-up and we were packing down for the night and we were opening the next day and we were pulling out of the car park, Dan said to me, “Do you know what my biggest fear is?” and I was like, “Nooo” and he was like, “Serving people” and I was like, “How did we get to this point, after two years of research and all of the fit-out and all of the craziness for you to tell me that right before we open?” and he was like “It’s your thing, I’m not going to spoil your dream just because I’m a little bit scared of people.” So yeah-
D: But yeah, you learn pretty quick!
A: But he’s amazing now.
D: Part of that was just that it was doing things that I’d never done before, like coffee and food and serving and I didn’t even know if I could do it so yeah…
A: You can! Hahaha… But other than that, I guess just what every business faces, you know, having to build a brand, build a name for yourself, having to cover your overheads and all of your expenses and making sure that you’re still enjoying it too. If you didn’t love it, you couldn’t survive in business I don’t think; you have to be passionate. Especially in small business. So I think all of the standard challenges, but we kinda see everything as an opportunity, as cliched as that sounds, we can always flip it and go, “So what does that mean and how can we change that and how can we create something different?” just trying to be clever about things.

L: What do you think makes E for Ethel a unique space? And a unique business?
D: I think just what we offer the customer. I mean, obviously it’s different to a normal retail space. We’re a dual business, with the food and retail space – not every store has that. We originally started as more retail and just did coffee but we’ve sort of grown into the space since then. I guess just that we’re still owner-operated too. We have friends and family who help out but if a customer comes in, we’re always going to be here and I think that offers a unique experience in itself. A lot of people talk about the ‘E for Ethel experience‘ as a thing, which is nice. It’s nice that a lot of our customers have that connection with the place. You can even see how big businesses are trying to move back towards that connection, personalising everything and styling themselves like a small business would, which is interesting. It’s a good thing, they should be doing that.

So there you have it, guys! Part one of two of my chat with Ethel’s own Amanda and Dan. Stay tuned for the next and final installment, and in the meantime why not pop in and say hey to the team? Make the most of that community atmosphere; it’s pretty special!

Lx

E for Ethel
Shop 7/116 Melbourne Street,
North Adelaide SA 5006
Phone 08 8367 0312
Email ethel@eforethel.com.au
Instagram @eforethel

TRADING TIMES
Wed to Sat – 9am to 5pm
Sun & Mon – 10am to 4pm
(Tues Closed)

New series – Meet the Local

I put the call out much earlier this year for friends and fam and acquaintances alike to send me suggestions of locals they love, find inspiring or who they know are doing some cool stuff out and about in lil Radelaide. One of the very first, and most enthusiastic, suggestions that came through was from Cat from Wouldn’t it be Loverly. She said that I simply had to speak to Amanda and Dan from E for Ethel, and that I would know why as soon as I popped in for a visit.

So I did, and I did. One far too chilly afternoon in May I popped in to chat to this crafty duo and I was blown away by their warmth, their humour, their delish coffee and most of all their passion for what they do. I recorded our convo for what was to be a new bloggy venture and was giddily excited to get cracking on turning my interview into an article. And then… and then life happened. The way it does, getting in the way of our best intentions. Uni and work ramped up, I took up managing the social media for the SACWA (a gig I love, but that takes up more time than I anticipated; mostly because I love it and so want to devote so much time to it) and I got a gig writing for Hello Sunday Morning (publication imminent!). New blog got pushed to the side again and again and now I’m realistic about saying that it’s probably not going to happen, for now. Instead, I’m going to use the interviews I’ve already done as a new segment on this blog. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring more to you over the coming months, but they won’t have the consistent regularity as I had intended for the stand-alone site.

So folks, stay tuned! I’ll be bringing you my chat with with the uber-charming Amanda and Dan very, very soon. In the meantime, feel free to suggest any local lovelies you love! I’d love to hear about them, and maybe even chat to them myself soon…

Cafe Love: Sublime

Today is a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” My heart has been stolen by someone new. Someone who serves a giant wedge of brie as a meal. I mean, I can’t expect you to compete with that! Things are going really well. In fact, they’re sublime (sorry, couldn’t help it). My move eastwards has been for the best, but I promise we’ll stay in touch.

After my first lunchtime visit to Sublime, I went back four times in the next fortnight. I have drunk enough coffees there to be ready for a freebie on my Rewardle card. I’m afraid our love might burn out, but then I remember the baked brie and I know this relationship is one for the ages.

As well as the baked brie, I’ve also sampled the big brekkie, the smashed banana on toast, the chai lattes, the coffee, the lemon slice, the teas, the juices, the burger (that thing could feed a small village), the mushies and fetta on toast and more… I have enjoyed each and every bite on each and every plate. Seriously, not a bad word about any of it. Prices are definitely reasonable (cheap even, for the portion sizes and quality, especially for this part of town) and gluten free-ers are accommodated for easily. The courtyard out the back is ‘jaaahst goooooorgeous, daaaahling’ in the warm sun too, and I hear a liquor license is in the works… Can you say, ‘Sunday sesh?!’

At first I was a bit protective of our relationship and wanted to keep Sublime all to myself, but I know it’s nicer to share, so in the interests of being a good person and all that jazz, I’ve been spreading the word far and wide. Friends have been chuffed with their visits too and I feel so proud every time I hear more good stuff about my new boo. So go, my friends. I give you full permission to take advantage of my new love. Cafe monogamy really ain’t so fun.

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Sublime Cafe
55 East Avenue, Clarence Park
Click here for website
Phone (08) 7225 2006

Foodie Finds: Mr. Pilgrim Cafe, Semaphore

What better way to spend a sunny Sunday morn than on a little family adventure?!
Today was my first Sunday off work in what feels like forever (but is probably only a couple of months) so I decided to pay a visit to a new little cafe on Semaphore Road, Mr Pilgrim. Actually, it wasn’t a complete break from work because this cute spot is actually owned by one of my workmates, Nadia, and her hubby Paul. Now Nadia didn’t ask me to write anything about her new venture and had actually kept news of the cafe’s opening pretty quiet, but I’m all for supporting local businesses and even moreso when they’re new and run by friends, so I thought I’d pop in and say hi anyway.

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Semaphore Road is a hive of activity of a Sunday morning, it would seem! There were heaps of people out and about enjoying a leisurely brunch or morning tea, but as far as I was concerned, Mr Pilgrim was the place to be. The bold black ceiling and tiled wall behind the counter clashed perfectly with the rustic exposed brick and vintage tables and chairs. My fave feature was the door panelling on the wall opposite the counter. Super cool. Whoever was in charge of the design here got it spot. On.

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Paul’s expert barista-ing of the delish Coffex Coffee perked my brunch date (Dad) and I right up and got us ready for our brekkie. Dad’s a pretty boring breakfast-er and stuck with poached eggies on toast. I, however, went for the zucchini and corn fritters with haloumi, bacon and avo (it also normally comes with a sweet chilli sauce, but I’m not a huge fan so opted outta that one). Boy oh boy, I was not disappointed. I find a lot of cafes’ fritters too bland and floury but Mr Pilgrim’s had just the right amount o’ kick, the bacon was cooked poiiiifectly (and not too greasy) and haloumi is always a winner in my books! Did I mention they serve breakfast all day? Well they do. Winner winner, chicken dinner!

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Ever the multitasker, I took the opportunity to get started on interviewing Pa for this book I got him (/us) for Father’s Day (I think it was from Fireflies…?) so after eating we slid on over from our table into the cushy couches by the window and I asked him the first few questions in the book. Another coffee and a piece of Nadia’s awesome rocky road pushed us over the edge from satisfied tummies to serious food babies, but it was so worth it. Nadia’s rocky road rocks. Oh, and as for the rest of the cakes cabinet? I think I’ll be making a return trip for that torta della nonna. Man, that looked awesome.

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Menu options at Mr Pilgrims are slightly tricked up versions of all-time faves. This means there’s pretty much something for everyone, and if you can’t decide you can always share a Ploughman’s Platter. I know there are a lot of foodie options on Semaphore Road, but I reckon Mr Pilgrim strikes a balance between the fancy shmancy stuff and the cheap and cheerful. It’s right by the Odeon too so perfect for pre-movie lunches or post-movie coffees. You’ll want to get in before the hoards discover this gem, trust me.

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Mr Pilgrim Cafe
67 Semaphore Road, Semaphore
Open Tues-Fri 8am-4:30pm and weekends 7:30am-4:30pm (closed Mondays)