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)

4 Ways to Wear Linen (and not look like a dag)

Working in fashion, I’m expected to know a lot about fabrics. One that I get asked about all the time is linen. Linen is a summer staple in many a wardrobe and across a stack of popular brands. It’s a natural, lightweight, breathable, durable fibre, so particularly good for summer. With the introduction of new technologies in fabric production, there are new blends being developed all the time, and linen is no longer the super-expensive luxury choice it once was. However, it does crease very easily and has the potential to go from sleek to scruffy pretty quickly. I get asked a lot for suggestions of how to wear linen in a more polished, less beachy way so I thought I’d put together a little file of images and some styling ideas for you to refer to when considering making a linen purchase.

Idea #1: Prep it up!

Shirt from Shop Heist, found on Pinterest

Shirt by JCrew, found on Pinterest

Styling found on Pinterest


Keeping your pants and accessories preppy and more on the conservative side help bring polish to the whole outfit. Another plus: stripes are great for hiding creases!

Idea #2: Try a tee

A lot of brands are doing linen or linen-blend tees (try these faves of mine from Witchery, Country Road, JAG or Sussan). These are especially great if you’re young and fear linen might make you look like your Mum or Grandma (although in my case I’m always flattered when people say I look like them) OR if you’re a curvy gal like myself and feel a bit frumpy in linen. Tees are the ultimate layering piece and choosing a linen one is a smart move for a blisteringly hot Aussie summer.

Idea #3: Keep pants roomy.

Try a complete tonal outfit and keep accessories fine

Yes, you CAN layer with linen!


Tight linen is all kinds of uncomfortable, and can be all kinds of unflattering. Whilst it certainly stretches out a little (and actually doesn’t bounce back into shape very well), it’s not one to buy two sizes too small on your butt just because you like the skinny fit on your legs. If you do, you risk pulling and tearing. If in doubt, go oversized. Feel free to play with proportions up top, but always keep in mind your body shape and the overall look you’re going for with the outfit.

Idea #4: Have fun with colour and print.

Bright blue modernises a preppy cut

Who said linen isn’t office-appropriate?


As I said before, stripes can minimise the appearance of linen’s creasing, but so can other prints. And don’t feel constricted to a white linen shirt or cream linen pants. Colour is a great way to make your linen feel more youthful and fun, without being too ‘out there’. The natural, earthy texture of the fabric will tone it down a notch anyway, if you’re scared.

So, I hope those little ideas have inspired you to try something new and include a bit of linen in your winter wardrobe.

If you have any other fabric or trend you’d like me to investigate for you, let me know!

Lxx

P.S. One more thing! When you do buy linen or a linen blend (or really any other fabric for that matter), please read the care instructions!! Every fabric is slightly different and can behave differently depending on the cut of the garment too, so following them will ensure your garments remain in tip top shape for years to come.

Book Nook: The Wishlist

With the proliferation of digital content and e-readers and immersive media, there’s something special about holding a hard-copy book in your hands; the feel, the smell, the specialness of it all. My shelves are currently overflowing with all sorts of titles – some for study, some for leisure, some for inspiration, some I’m not even sure why I bought them. I’m hanging out for Madre to finish her Ph.D. at the end of the year so she can clean collection out a bit and maybe I’ll be able to find some spots for my ever-expanding collection on the many, many bookshelves that fill our home. I thought I’d make a little list of some of the titles that I’m currently longing for, firstly to remind myself to actually buy them, and also to (hopefully) provide a bit of inspiration for you to expand your own collection*. Here goes…

Frankie Spaces, Volume 2

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Unfortunately I missed out on getting my mitts on a copy of the first volume of Frankie’s Spaces book, so I’m desperate to get stuck into this one. I just love getting a peek into people’s homes, especially those of creative types. Those of you who know me will know how homewares-obsessed I am, which is just plain silly for someone who is unlikely to be able to move out of home for at least another five or so years. But then again, at least I know that when I move out I will know exactly how I want to decorate my own little space, with the help of this here compendium and my mother’s many, many homey mags.

My Heart Wanders – Pia Jane Bijkerk

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“What would happen if one day you decided to follow your heart? Where would it take you?” That’s the question Pia poses in her divine travel memoir/photo diary, My Heart Wanders. Now, I am not in the slightest bit a spontaneous person. I hate feelings of insecurity – in my surroundings, in my future, in myself, in those around me. Yet I often find myself drawn to all things whimsical and risk-taking and ‘follow your dreams’-y. Perhaps I do have a less sensible, logic-loving side to myself, and perhaps I should be paying more attention to it… If that’s so, this book will be my perfect source of inspiration. Click here for further glimpses inside this gorgeous little number.

What Katie Ate – Katie Quinn Davies

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I have a penchant for buying recipe books for their perceived usefulness, and then never actually using them. Katie Quinn Davies’ food photography is all kinds of lovely, so I’m hoping this book’s aesthetic appeal might actually convince me to cook up a storm more often (although I’m sure my family would be happier, and safer, if I didn’t). If a book can get the thumbs-up from both Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop website and Martha Stewart, it’s gotta be pretty decent, right?

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls – David Sedaris

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I first stumbled across this curiously-titled collection of essays at a local gem of a book store/cafe/book club hub, The Mockingbird Lounge. I wasn’t game to snap it up then, but I sure am now. I’ve never read any of Sedaris’ work, but if there ever was a sign that I’ll like a particularly quirky book it’s this: The Sydney Morning Herald wasn’t a big fan. It’s had good responses on Goodreads though, and I think the look of the cover will complement the other picks in this list (yes I am that shallow).

The Fictional Woman – Tara Moss

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Tara Moss‘ appearance on Q&A a couple of weeks ago proved to me once and for all that the woman is nothing if not well-informed. She knows her stuff, and makes a point of doing so. She showed up most of the other panel members on this front, which impressed me mightily. I’m interested to see whether she conveys her messages as eloquently in print and to see if I have as many “YESSS, ME TOOO!” moments reading this memoir/social commentary as I did listening to her on the tele.

Anything John Green

With the new movie, The Fault in Our Stars, proving uber popular amongst my fellow not quite teen/not quite adults, I figure I’d do well to give some of John Green’s stuff a go. I usually find adolescent fiction characters a bit too self-indulgent and melancholy, but perhaps that’s what adolescence is like… I’m undecided, but maybe Green will help me make up my mind.

*This has nothing to do with the fact that my 20th birthday is fast approaching. Nothing, whatsoever.

My AW14 H&M Edit

Melbourne has gone officially crazy over the opening of Australia’s first H&M. Ladies (and gentleman, but mostly ladies; let’s be honest) are still queuing up around the block to load up their shopping bags with goodies from the Swedish mega-chain. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of H&M when I visited Europe but I totally understand its appeal. The peeps at H&M AU have also cleverly customised their ranges for the Australian market, probably to lure in people like me who are unlikely to make a pilgrimage trip east just to suss it out. For me, the biggest attraction is that the store is in Melbourne’s GPO building, which is all kinds of gorgeous. Shop Til You Drop and a heap of other online and print publications have put out their own lists of the top picks from the AW14 collections (although I don’t think you can really call them that when they’re putting out new product virtually daily) so I thought I’d do the same. We all know H&M do great basics, but here are some of my favourite pieces from the selection currently available beyond the tank top and leggings section…

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Jersey skirt $29.95

This shape of ‘trumpet skirt’ is everywhere at the moment and make a pretty alternative to structured pencil skirts for the office or leather minis for the weekend.

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Embroidered georgette blouse $69.95

Just the right amount of boho and a lovely weight for trans-seasonal wear. At this in-between, cropped length it goes well with high-waisted styles.

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Lyocell jumpsuit $79.95

This sharp all-in-one flashes just the right amount of skin and would be perfect with shoes like these (I know, in my dreams) and a silky black blazer (with a waterfall front, perhaps) for Friday night drinks with the girls.

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Woven top $39.95

The combination of Frenchy-chic stripes and boxy shape makes this top a bit of a modern classic. This is a tricky shape to pull off (see here for ELLE’s guide to styling the silhouettes that are around at the moment) but done right, it can look stunning.

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Shorts in a silk mix $59.95

I luuuurv the pretty pattern on these shorts, and the combination of silk mix material and a sensible length makes them winter appropriate. Layer with chunky charcoal tights (or scrunched socks, if it’s warm enough to show some leg), heeled boots and a rollneck cableknit.

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Lace coat $199.00

Just look at it. Look at all the loveliness!!! In case you can’t tell, I’m squealing a little inside over this one. I don’t even mind the slightly higher price tag because, well, lace.

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Draped blouse $29.95 and wide satin trousers $59.95

I’ve put these two together not just because they make a beautiful outfit (especially with pumps – either nude to elongate the legs or a little flash of leopard), but also because they’re classic pieces. Wide legs go in and out of fashion regularly, but I think after almost 15 years of skinny-legged domination, it’s about time we gave them another proper shot. The draping on the front of the blouse is super flattering, especially if you’ve got a bit of a tum like me, and would work well sitting out with fitted bottoms or tucked in and cinched at the waist with wider-legged options or a fuller skirt.

How about you: Have you visited the new H&M? What do you think about my picks? What will you be adding to your Autumn/Winter wardrobe this year?

Lxx

What I’m Listening To – Elli Belle

My music playlist at the moment consists of a lot of beautiful folksy-type singers: Katie Noonan, Clare Bowditch, Thelma Plum, Gabrielle Aplin… I really appreciate the way all of these ladies combine thoughtful, bittersweet lyrics with simple melodies and their completely unique voices. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing an old school choir buddy of mine, Elli Cleary, take her own unique voice more public. Under the name Elli Belle, she posts her videos on her Youtube channel and Facebook page, where she also puts up other little updates for friends and fans, all the way from her tropical paradise in Darwin.

Elli has covered artists as diverse as Fever Ray, Beyonce, The Lumineers, and I distinctly remember her doing impressive renditions of jazz classics in our school days. However, it’s her original, ‘He Said’ that really stands out to me. It’s where she seems most comfortable; sharing from her heart a story of (in her own words) “how falling in love with someone makes you see things in your life that have always been there but that you never noticed”. This song, and indeed Elli’s style more generally, has all the features I mentioned appreciating above and this song is such a perfect expression of the “sweet sadness” (again, Elli’s own words) behind it. Her voice has certainly matured since our choir days but she’s kept that sweet fragility I remember 15-year old me could only ever wish of having. Funnily enough, she lists many of the artists I mentioned at the start of this post as her influences, and it shows.

Unlike so many artists who post their stuff on Youtube, Elli doesn’t over-polish her videos. She’s not manufactured. The fragility in her voice isn’t a put-on, cutesy, token gesture. Perhaps that’s the thing I appreciate most about the ladies I listen to: like Elli, they put themselves out there unapologetically but also humbly.

Follow the links throughout this post to see and hear more of Elli Belle, and don’t forget to hit ‘like’ on her Facebook page or subscribe to her Youtube channel while you’re there.

Lxx

What I’m Reading – April 2014

Just a quick little update on some of the things I’m reading and loving at the moment, and some things I’m about to start on.

 

The end of your life book club – Will Schwalbe

ImageAs I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve recently joined the CWA (SA website here).One of the many rad things about my particular branch is that they have a door prize (or three) at each meeting. My (not so) inner competitive spirit came out as soon as this was mentioned at my first meeting and I was more than a little intrigued as to what the prizes could be. As it turned out, I won – first go and everything! I scored myself a lovely bottle of sauvignon blanc and this here book. I’d heard of it before but hadn’t been particularly motivated to go out and purchase a copy. I think you should though. I think everyone should. ‘The end of your life book club‘ tells the true story of the author, Will, and his mother, Mary Anne (/Mary/Mary Ann… you’ll see), as they form a two person book club when Mary is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Filled with pearls of life wisdom, charming anecdotes and plenty of literary serendipity, this tale really affected me. Schwalbe’s writing is inspirational without being preachy or melodramatic and manages to delicately balance rich imagery (especially in relation to his mother’s work) and simplicity (especially when discussing her battle with cancer). I loved this little gem.

Peppermint Mag

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Peppermint‘s tagline of “Style, Sustainability, Substance” could not ring more true than in the current issue. It’s full of inspirational tales of ethical and sustainable businesses and the innovative entrepreneurs behind them, as well as plenty of prettiness (the shoot that the cover image comes from is particularly divine). Unlike a lot of other environmentally-minded publications (online or print) that I’ve read, I didn’t feel guilty or ‘told-off’ after reading Peppermint. I felt well-informed, inspired and positively positive, which I think is a much better way to make people feel if you’re trying to engage them with a particular message or point of view. Peppermint is only published quarterly, but I kinda like that about it. I feel like the content is all the more thoughtfully produced that way; it makes it a bit special. Also, if I only have to fork out four times a year for it, I don’t mind a slightly exxier price-tag than something more commercially-minded like Shop til you Drop or Cosmo.

God’s big instruction book – compiled by Juliet Mabey

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I’m not part of any particular religion, but I find religion endlessly fascinating. I also sometimes need a bit more guidance than my favourite A.A. Milne quote (although it does suffice in most circumstances). This book is one of the few things that can give me that comfort. A compilation of quotes and teachings from religions and schools of philosophical thought from around the world, it was gifted to me from my Aunty for my 16th birthday. From Judaism to Taoism to Christianity to the Baha’i Faith, it covers a whole lot of the world’s major religions and a whole lot of the minor ones, too. The thing that struck me the most when I first read it was that regardless of the religion, they all teach pretty similar things when it comes to basic (but often complicated) concepts like love, grief, family, etc. Whether you’re religious or just religiously curious, this is a great little book to keep by your bedside to remind you of the commonalities of the human experience and for those times you need a little guidance.

The Fry Chronicles – Stephen Fry

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You may have noticed how I like reading about people’s lives. Maybe it’s the influence of my Mum’s oral history Ph.D that she’s currently tapping away on, but I think real lives provide just as much (if not more) drama and intrigue and funny coincidences as any work of fiction. I’m looking forward to borrowing The Fry Chronicles (my first audiobook) from my Dad and hearing some of the stories Fry has to tell about himself and his life. I’m especially looking forward to hearing him talk about his time at Cambridge, especially his theatrical collaborations and friendships with Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson (1979-1980 President and Vice-President of the Cambridge Footlights, respectively).

Home is where the heart is

I love my little city, I really truly do. Being away for it for two months last year while I was travelling through Europe helped me realise that. Leaving Copenhagen airport, I realised that while I’d loved my time away, sometimes the best part of a holiday is coming home. And yeah, Adelaide is home.

What I hadn’t bargained for, however, was feeling so at home anywhere else on my travels. I thought that I would just be a tourist, an outsider, on the edge of all of these wonderful places, peering in. For the most part this held true. Most places I was just as content to leave as I was excited to arrive. Most places except one.

The land of Strindberg, ABBA, vikings, IKEA, the best seafood I’ve ever tasted, Bergmans (Ingrid and Ingmar, and I’m presuming many more), H&M, meatballs and lingonberry jam stole a little piece of my heart and I’m yet to get it back. You’d be justified in thinking that it felt so familiar because I have family there (seriously awesome family, might I add) who made me feel at home. I guess that is part of it, but there are plenty of places in the UK and even in Oz that equally as awesome members of my family live in and whilst I might feel at home with them, I don’t feel at home actually in their towns. Trudging through the cobblestoned streets of Stockholm’s Gamla Stan, sneaking into the back of a fisherman’s shop on the island of Orust to hold a ginormous lobster, strolling along the canal on a blustery afternoon in Gothenburg; these experiences were some of the many highlights of my time away and these places felt like home.

I’m so glad I got to spend some time in this most stunning part of the world with one of my best friends. I felt so grounded, so alive, so myself. Sweden, you’ve stolen a little bit of my heart. It’s okay, you can keep it, just as long as that means I can come back and see you again.

Lxx

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