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.

The Royal Treatment Tumblrolivia palermoellewwd

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.

babbleman repeller mtvlolobu

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.


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.

fabsugarmarie clairealixexpressbuzzfeedbloglovintrendy traveller

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!


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…

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.


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.



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!



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.



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.


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

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


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


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


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).

The Book Nook: What I’m Reading

When I finished school, I felt so fatigued and overloaded and, as strange as this sounds, sick of words. I was sick of writing them for my Studies of Society subject, reading them for English, translating them for Italian and listening to them from the endless stream of people trying to give me advice for the new stage of my life I was about to begin. It’s taken me a full two years to fall back in love with language (especially the written word) and I’ve only just started to read novels for pleasure and interest again. In my usual manic style, I’ve gone from reading only trashy magazines and the weekend newspapers (which are arguably just trashy magazines themselves) to having my head in three or four different books at once. I’m still nowhere near my Mother’s power-reading capabilities but I’m getting there, and I’m enjoying it. Slow and steady, easy does it.

Thought it might be nice to share with you what I’m reading at present and I might even make this a regular thing…

First up is Traces of Absence, written by one of my ex-teachers, Susan Holoubek (published by Pan Macmillan).

ImageSue (Ms. Holoubek? Still not sure if I’m grown-up enough to use the first names of teachers…) was one of those rare teachers who just had a real spark about her and was one of the warmest, kindest presences in the school. This really translates onto the page as she weaves the story of Dee and the desperate search for her missing daughter, Corrie, between Adelaide and Buenos Aires. Written with such humour and heart, every little idiosyncrasy of Holoubek’s characters have resonated deeply with me. Really truly worth reading.

Next up, something a little less weepy but equally as thought-provoking. Advance Australia… Where? by Hugh Mackay (published by Hachette Australia).

ImageI’ve been feeling incredibly disillusioned by the state of politics in this country for the last few years and very disappointed by a lot of the widely-held attitudes of our society in general so it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I’m an avid Q&A watcher, occasional reader of The Monthly (this edition was my favourite) and subscriber to about 3500 advocacy and charity group emails. I devour healthy political debate like Gwenyth Paltrow devours her bloody kale-maca-quinoa-chia-coconut-acai protein ball shake crap (see Goop for more if the sound of that tickled your fancy. If it did though, I’m unfriending you). Even though I’m a few years late in jumping onto the Hugh Mackay bandwagon, I’ve been really enjoying ploughing through (yep, that’s the most accurate way to describe it) his analysis of post-millennial ‘Straya’.

To round out the mix, I’ve got a few magazines that I’m loving at the mo whose stories have significantly more depth than your average NW/OK/WHO/Grazia. Apart from old faves Frankie, Yen and Peppermint, I’ve been picking up copies of Dumbo Feather and Renegade Collective and getting all inspired from their stories of innovative creatives, businessy folk and all ’round extraordinary people. Both of their websites are worth a squizz, so click on through those hyperlinks and check them out. The editors of these two publications, Berry Liberman (DF) and Lisa Messenger (RC) are two of my biggest role models at the moment too; I really respect their work so much.

So there you have it! That’s what’s occupying (part of) my busy little mind at the moment! If you have any book suggestions for me, feel free to add a comment below and send them through!


A Letter to My City

As you may have noticed, writing is an activity I find quite therapeutic. The focus it requires helps me clear my head of all the ‘stuff’ that I have going on in there and see things in a new light, or at least help me affirm how I feel about them. Sometimes when I’m struggling with something especially big and scary, or if I’m having problems connecting with a particular person in my life, I’ll get my thoughts out onto paper in the form of a letter. Recently, on returning home from my travels around Europe, I found myself with a bit of a case of post-travel-blues. I was happy to be home, sure, but the comforting cosiness of my little town felt claustrophobic and limiting and I was finding it difficult to feel settled again after my time away. So what did I do? I wrote a letter to my city. I thought it might be nice to share some of it here.

Dear Adelaide,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I hope you’ve been enjoying yourself while I’ve been gone. It certainly seems like you have! Cruising through your familiar framework of streets, I noticed you’ve gone and fancied yourself up a bit. New cafes (they seem to be all organic or burger places; what’s up with that?) and bars seem to have popped up all over the place. I see you’ve finally listened to at least one thing I was raving on about before I left and started to include some cool little arts spaces in your mini makeover too. Props for that one (pun intended)!

I don’t think your changes are entirely superficial though, are they? Something bigger’s going on here, I can feel it. Well, whatever happens, however you think you need to change, remember you don’t have to try and compete with the sleek, sprawling metropolis of Sydney or the quirky cool of Melbourne. You don’t have to copy the ‘big kids’; you can go your own way, babe. And you don’t have to figure out what your ‘thing’ is straight away. It could be your sumptuous food and wine, your unspoiled landscapes, your country town charm, your hidden laneway treasures, your festivals, your business start-ups, your sporting events, anything. It could be all or none of those things. Don’t rush to find it, it’ll happen. Try new things, make mistakes (you know how I feel about the debacle that is Rundle Mall) and figure it out as you go. You have time.

You’ve had a lot of people leave you over the years (myself included) for brighter lights in bigger cities. A lot of us come back, though. And even those who never do end up realising what a brilliant foundation you’ve laid in our lives so that we’re prepared for the glare of those brighter lights. Adelaide, you’re like a microcosm of the big scary world out there. You’ve taught me so much, not least of all that humble ambitions are no less valid than grand plans and that sometimes the safe path isn’t a cop-out, it’s looking after yourself. Now that I’m back, I’m committed to making the most of the rest of the time I have with you, however long that may be. I might come and go, like so many of the others before me. But you’ll always be ‘home’ to me and I know I’ll always be welcome.

My dear Adelaide, you’ve got a lot going on these days and a lot to be proud of, so don’t let those cocky Victorians tell you otherwise. Keep changing, keep growing, but don’t lose what makes you, you.

With love,
Lauren xx

I’m Having a Moment

Whilst I love all things fashion and all things loveliness, I don’t usually bother too much with the fantastical world of haute couture. I get the idea of high-end fashion being aspirational and something we average lasses lust after rather than fill our closets with, but usually I just find it all a bit too much. Until now. Until Ellie Saab’s SS14 haute collection starting filling up my inboxes and newsfeeds and generally just BLOWING MY MIND. If you are in any way a fan of feminine/girly/whimsical/downright beautiful gowns then may I introduce you to your 2014 holy grail.

Fashion Gone Rogue has done a great post with all the pretty pictures of all the swoon-worthy gowns right here, so go make yourself a cup of tea and settle yourself in for what will most likely be at least a solid 20 minutes of hardcore gown lovin’. Just try and pick your favourite. I seriously can’t.