So this is Christmas | 2015 Gift Guide

Someone keeps telling me that Christmas is only 6 more Fridays away. How did that happen?! I promise myself every year that this one, I’ll be better organised. And what do you know? I’m not. You probably aren’t either, so at least we are in this together.

You’ve probably seen the posters up in windows, maybe being shared on Facebook, on why it’s so important to shop local, particularly at this time of year. Shopping local helps pay rent and mortgages, buys kids new shoes and school fees, literally puts food on the table – not buying a CEO from Amazon an extra week skiing in the south of France (even though I hear it’s really nice there this time of year).

Image via Jasmine Dowling Instagram

Image via Jasmine Dowling Instagram

I had so much fun compiling last year’s guide and there are SO MANY amazing new businesses that have popped up in the last 12 months, that I’m doing it again!

You can check out last year’s guide here.

The Herb Cart

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I read about Michael Ballentine’s adorable cart a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t stop thinking about how clever it is – kitchen ready herbs in biodegradable cups. How cute is that? He’ll be at this weekend’s Beaufort Street Festival, if you want to stop by and check out his chives.

La Luna

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A brand new addition to the already awesome Beaufort Street, La Luna has captured my attention with our shared love of all things astronomy. There is a gorgeous range of homewares, jewellery, and books. I’m obsessed with the copper fairy lights and artwork by Chi Borello.

Hampton The Label

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This is some seriously luxe lounge wear. There’s little I love more than a lazy day in my pajamas, but when you can look this damn gorgeous while you’re at it? I firmly believe in having nice things to make yourself feel beautiful, even when you’re sleeping, and I don’t think there’s anyone who does it better.

They’re also stocked by Clique Arcade, who I LOVE.

Strange Lane

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I love the girls at Strange Lane for their slightly out-of-the-box range, and hilarious, body positive Instagram (they try to use size 10-12 models). Their ‘Okay but first, coffee’ tee has my name allll over it.

Floral State

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Floral State has quickly become my favourite florist for their bright, cheerful posies. As a bonus, they come in a lovely jar, so you don’t have to worry about them wilting in the heat! Order before 11am for same day delivery.

WPN Wear

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Perth lad Daniel Jones has developed an awesome range of men’s active wear, for those who go hard. For all those Crossfit junkie out there, the extra stretch shorts look like a winner! There’s also a Kickstarter, if you’re out to stretch your dollar further.

Get Ya Fix

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If you’re one of the many asking Santa for a bike this Christmas, the guys from Get Ya Fix have you covered. Stocking beautiful fixies, the guys will kit you up while you carb-load in their rather excellent cafe.

Once Upon A Run

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West Coast Fever badass Shae Brown and her West Coast Eagle husband Mitch Brown have developed a line of awesome activewear that looks so good, I almost want to take up running. Almost. There is also a ‘push up’ store at Claremont Quarter.

Maslow & Co

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Subscription boxes are the gift that keeps on giving, and the beautiful new start-up Maslow & Co are no exception. Bi-monthly beauty boxes full of Australian goodness? Sign me up!
Note: You can buy just one as a gift

Sweet Little Box 

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Sweet Little Box is another subscription, but this one delivers you (almost) everything you need to make delectable baked goods, and then decorate it like a pro. I have a box due any day now, and I can’t wait!
Note: You can buy just one as a gift.

Olly’s Box

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Why should your four-legged friend miss out? The team from Olly’s Box deliver you a stash of awesome doggie treats, toys and accessories. Best of all, part proceeds go to dog shelters and charities across the country. P.S. Their Instagram feed? Full of adorable puppies. Get on that.
Note: You can buy just one as a gift.

Monstrositea

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Did you know that everyone’s oh-shit-back-up gift T2 is owned by Woolies? Because they are. So, if you want to love local, I firmly get behind Katherine’s gorgeous venture. Monstrositea have a special Christmas tin this year, where you can order a black/green or herbal tin (or a bit of everything, if you’re unsure) with a strainer, to have all your bases covered. They also offer some of my favourite packaging. Easy!

Also check out this piece on all the upcoming summer awesome. Perhaps your friends and family might like tickets to the Rooftop Cinema? The Lion King? Piaf?

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There are also PLENTY of upcoming markets:

If there are other events or businesses I should know about/include, PLEASE put them in the comments!

All images via their respective Instagrams, and links to websites are in bold.

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Head & Heart | February

So, we’re back to Head & Heart. Check out what everyone else is up to over at Helarious, and join in!

 

What I’ve been grateful for:

Support. Last week was one of those weeks. It was manic busy, incredibly stressful, and just hard. Find your tribe. They make your world better.

 The person who’s responsible for this. It’s my new standard for mind blowing adorable.

The person who sent me this, because this is pretty much going to happen, and he doesn’t find that weird about me.

Grown up

 

What I’ve been thinking about:

Doughnuts. Because, always doughnuts. What would be your dream flavour?

Love this post (and all of her work) by Elise from I Fucking Love Science to celebrate the really cool discoveries by women in science that you probably didn’t know anything about. Fuck yeah!

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What I’m excited for:

RAIN. Please, please, please, please, please, rain.

Stationery. I was given some gorgeous stuff by Kelsie from K Gets Organised, and I’m pretty sure she’s unleashed my inner monster. I need pads! books! pens!

The new Avengers movie. I’m a massive nut for Marvel, and I’m pretty sure 100 of these views are from me alone. 7 weeks to go!

The Good Food Month Night Noodle Market. Photos from the events over East flood my Instagram when it’s on, and my jealousy knows no bounds. I’m pretty keen to see what the guys from Lucky Chan’s can do in the lead up to their opening, as well as stuffing my face with Low Key Chow House’s mantou buns (which is the best thing on their menu). It runs from 18-29 March, from 5pm on weekdays and 4pm on weekends, in the Perth Cultural Centre (around the Library and Art Gallery). The event is free, and dishes cost less than $14. Woooo!

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New Openings:

  • Max + Sons
    The gorgeous, light-filled coffee shop that is just what 140 William needed! They serve 5 Senses coffee (using a gorgeous Synesso machine) and doughnuts by my dough-bros at Top Dup.
  •  Asado
    I attended their launch recently, and was impressed by their beautiful space, the quality of their meat (I tend to walk into barbecue joints with slightly low expectations, because it’s hard to get right) and the lovely attitude of their staff. I haven’t had a chance to get back, but I assure you, it’s on the cards.
  • The Old Laundry
    A new haunt on Angove Street. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’ve heard lovely things from multiple sources.
  •  Sauma
    A pretty gorgeous Indian restaurant on the corner of William and Francis Streets (next to Lot 20), Sauma is a welcome addition to one of my favorite strips. I hear the servings are veeeery generous, so take a group to get a good taste of the menu.
  • The Modern Eatery
    Some seriously fancy looking Japanese has come to Freo. Check out Miss Eats a Lot for her review.

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What I’ve been doing:

The recent long weekend saw me down south (I’m sticking to my promise of more time out), which was amazing as always. Vasse Felix. Morries Anytime. UGH, FANTASTIC. From here on in, I’m putting miso butter on everything.

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I finally won my office bake-off. I’ve been competing against Alex from Little Red’s Cupcakes for 3 years, and at long last, I am triumphant. My savoury dish kinda sucked, but panna cotta lamingtons saved the day! You can get the recipe here, and it’s bloody fantastic. It’s not hard at all, you just have to be organised.

My new day job has a more political skew, and has introduced me to my new addiction: Parliamentary Question Time. It’s like your favourite reality TV soap opera. I love it. There’s yelling and petty name calling and it’s amazing.

I’m only 1 million years too late, but The West Wing. I love you, CJ. And Rob Lowe.

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 What I’ve been reading:

The Obsession issue of Lucky Peach. This piece on making gnocchi is a beautiful read.

I’ve got my hands on copies of Bad Feminist and Trigger Warning. I’m going to build a pillow fort and hide for a couple of days while I devour them.

This post from my friend Michelle at Foodie Cravings.

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What I’ve been spending money on:

Of course, I came home from my weekend down south laden with goodies from Providore, the Margaret River Chocolate Factory, Bahen and Co and Olio Bello.

Flowers from Debra Hayes Floral.

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I swear, I start nesting in the lead up to winter. I’m all about homewares right now. Blankets! Pillows! Vases! A Cup of Chic is responsible for most of my current lust list.

More Cards Against Humanity (I bought booster packs), because I love this game. From Planet Books, if you’re looking.

 

Tell me about your month. What’s news?

What I Love – Monstrositea Edition

Of course, not everyone is a coffee drinker. So, if my last post wasn’t quite your… Well, you know. Settle in, I have something for you.

The magic of a cup of tea is well established, the romance and ritual of something so small and simple is truly one of life’s great pleasures; no matter who you are.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am new to this whole tea drinking thing. I drink French earl grey with milk (gasp!) and sugar (shudder!). I like ginger tea when I’m stressed, jasmine in the afternoon, and Chinese over yum cha.

Little did I know that there is an art to tea. Different temperatures and steeping times, and for the love of god, no tea bags if it can be helped. Turns out, I have a lot to learn. What a delicious education awaits me!

Via Pinterest

Via Pinterest

Enter Monstrositea to show you how tea should be done. Five generous sample size teas in the cutest tin you’ve ever seen, delivered every month. Let the wild tea rumpus begin!

If you know someone who even remotely likes their tea, bundle up a tin from Monstrositea into their next gift. They will take you.

What I Love – Monstrositea Edition

Who are you/what do you do?

I’m Katherine, the Chief Curator of Monstrositea. I collect teas from all over the world, research them and their stories and then package them up to all of my subscribers in a monthly tea sample delivery. Tea adventures!

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Where did your love of tea come from?

Tea holds many different memories for me. My extended family have roots throughout China, Hong Kong and Malaysia, I grew up drinking Chinese tea at pretty much any opportunity but most commonly at Dim Sum and family get togethers. I distinctly remember cups of English Breakfast tea with my great grandmothers whilst we played scrabble in her lounge room. I guess I realised that I loved tea once I started exploring the world, tea and travel go hand in hand for me. Tea is full of culture and tradition, it’s a peak into everyday life and is something so many people hold dear and are very proud of.

How did Monstrositea come about?

Well…firstly practicality –  I buy a lot of tea, many of which I drink a few times and then put in my tea cupboard, to the point that my tea cupboard became a whole shelf in my pantry, a shelf in the kitchen and more… tea overfloweth! I thought it would be great to be able to try teas with enough to get a good feel for it, without committing the money and shelf space to a whole box until I knew that I loved it.

Second, I love travel and talking to people about tea. I have collected teas from all over the world, I have brought home more tea than a sane person would be expected to from every trip I’ve been on.  I have a fantastic collection of sensory experiences I can enjoy again and again. The dream is to travel the world curating incredible tea and cultural experiences. I truly believe you can travel from your tea pot, its what I do whilst saving for my next trip!

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Why Perth?

I happen to live in Perth, and despite Australia Post not being all that helpful to small ventures, it’s all too easy to run a business from here. I work full-time (the real job) so I value the flexibility of my employer and my lifestyle in Perth which allows me to juggle many things at once.

Perth people are generally open minded and looking for new experiences, it’s a good crowd to pitch new ideas at and get honest advice and experience back.

Your dream food day?

Dim Sum at 10am with a big pot of silky oolong tea, lunch of fresh sashimi salmon with a cup of freshly whisked matcha, followed by dinner of chipotle pulled pork tacos with fresh mango and avocado with a pot of peppermint tea.

What’s the best thing you ate recently?

I just came back from Japan and I’m currently feeling like everything I ate prior to this trip has been blown out of the water by the sheer incredibleness of all the amazing things I ate whilst there. A particular piece of marinated salmon sashimi is still playing on my mind, it just melted… However! prior to this, The Tuck Shop in Northbridge create some incredible things. They had a slow cooked lamb on their specials a couple of weeks ago and it blew my mind.

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Where do you love to go to eat?

Breakfast/brunch is my most favourite meal to go out to eat for, but only when its not your standard bacon and eggs, its got to be something a little left of centre, and come with great tea (of course!). I love the Tuck Shop (as mentioned previously), Harvest Espresso in Vic Park, Typika in Claremont, and Chapels on Whatley in Maylands.

Where do you love to hang out?

In the shady courtyard at my place. During my lunch hour I love to hang out in the Urban Orchard in the sun.

What’s your favourite thing right now?

Studio Ghibli films. I am in love, I guess I have been for a long time but having just come back from Japan my heart has been refilled with adoration. Lets watch Ponyo again, right now!

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What inspires you?

Nature, green spaces. I am inspired by urban greenery and well designed parks where people gather to relax, chat, eat, food truck, drink and be merry. I love that people can use space together and have a shared experience which not only connects them to the community but also to nature.

When I’m feeling flat, pessimistic and tired, getting outside is what I need to get my energy back. Even better yet, to be accompanied by wonderful friends and a thermos of chai.

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

(un)fortunately I packed all of my travel for 2014 into the first half of the year. It was a bit silly to go to India, Nepal and Japan in the space of 3 months, because… now what?!

Lucky for me Revelation Film Festival is about to begin, I look forward to this wonderful showcase of films every year and it has most certainly meant that I’m not getting the post holiday blues.

 

If you would like to know more about Monstrositea, check out their website, Facebook page, these reviews here and here.

All images via Monstrositea instagram

Attention please: Perth is amazing. That is all.

I like to think I’m a relatively easy going person. Little ruffles me. C’est la vie, water off a duck’s back, all of that crap.

There are, however, particular things that frustrate me:

  • People who have their collars half up, half down
  • Slow walkers who seem to take up the whole damn footpath
  • Those who line up in cafes forever, then aren’t ready when it’s their turn
  • Ejjits who can’t merge on the freeway. It’s not rocket science!
  • Those who whinge that Perth is ‘Dullsville’, backwards and boring, but don’t participate in the awesome stuff going on.

Please excuse me while I get on my soapbox.

This beautiful little city is never going to be Melbourne. Melbourne is never going to be Sydney, who’s never going to be London, who’s never going to be New York. Let it go.
What you need to do, is embrace the good things we do have. And there are many many many good things. A place can only be what you make it, and those who are working so very hard to make it spectacular… They need your help.
So go. Get out. See live music, try new restaurants, check out exhibits at your local gallery or museum.
Go! Do! See! Taste! Experience!

So, ladies and gentlemen, get out your diaries, because I’m about to tell you. Huzzah!

First off, today is the launch of Eat Drink Perth, a food festival showing off some of the best Perth has to offer. There’s something for everyone! There are degustations (many small courses, pretty fancy stuff) at some of our top restaurants. High teas, picnics, markets, fairs…
There’s so much on, and I leave it to my lovely friend Jax from Where The Wind Blows Her, she has broken it down in brilliant style.
I am attending the Taste of Spain degustation, Yum Cha in the Park and high tea. This event has also presented me with my greatest dream in life. Dessert degustation. Many courses of dessert. That’s all. I can die a happy little dessertress.
I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t recommend enough that you check out the Twilight Hawkers Markets on Friday nights in Forrest Chase.

Perth’s own Upmarket is THIS WEEKEND! It’s like Etsy, but real. Go, meet the people who make all the lovely things. It’s a great way to spend a morning. It’s on the 4th of March, at Winthrop Hall, UWA.

March 10 & 11 is the Araluen’s Fremantle Chilli festival, held at Esplanade Park in Freo. It’s really simple. Chilli. Lots of it.
Though, there’s also beer, chocolate, produce and other tasty things. Plus, you’ll be in Freo, if it’s too much for you, head over to Creatures for a pint. Everyone wins!

The William Street Festival is held on March 18. In all its street-filled chaos glory, there’s live music, stalls, snacks and fun for the whole family. You can’t say no to that!

The hugely popular Sculpture by the Sea is back at Cottesloe beach until the 19th of March, which is always worth a visit.

Foto Freo is showcasing works from some of the most talented photographers from Australia and around the world, starting on March 17.

Claremont Quarter is bringing the Taste of Asia to its square, with stalls, food and so many activities; every Thursday in March.

From the team who brought you the incredible Fringe World, comes Rooftop Movies. An awesome line up of films, you have to go at least once.

There’s cricket, if you’re so inclined. Hey, may as well enjoy the last of this perfect summer, right?

My good friends at Fat Shan’s are celebrating their first birthday. These guys work hard to promote amazing local musos, and you should really come to The Bakery on March 24 and buy them a beer. Festivus for the rest of us!

If you are not sound of mind, or enjoy watching people torture themselves, the 2012 Nissan Corporate Triathalon series hits our lovely shores on March 11. Sit on the sidelines and eat KFC, that’s my plan.

The awesome team at KULCHA are putting on Oz Concert; a celebration of our country’s spectacular diversity, which is definitely something worth celebrating.

March 17 is Australia’s favourite adopted holiday – St Patrick’s Day. An excuse to drink too much, wear green and smooch the Irish. All in all, a great day, I believe. Head down to your local, or Northbridge always puts on a big night. Don’t drink and drive.

Scitech is hosting Innovation Festival. I really don’t see why anyone needs a reason to go to Scitech (I love the place, and still go regularly), but this event is definitely worth a visit. Talk to the people who make awesome things!

Also on March 31st, is An Evening on the Green at Kings Park – The Oz Rock edition. Noiseworks, Ian Moss, Richard Clapton, Choirboys, Dragon and 1927. Possibly the best drunken singalong night ever, certainly one for the ages.

But look, these events are just this month. And it’s not even all of them! Sign up for newsletters, ‘like’ stuff on Facebook, get involved.
I love and subscribe to the gorgeous girls at We Love Perth, the team at Show Me Perth and OnWilliam. That way, well, maybe the event you’ve been waiting for may just fall in your lap after all…

This high horse was a little taller than I imagined, can someone please help me down?

What event are you looking forward to? Have I missed anything? Please let me know!