North Wales in September is magic. The sun is still warm and the light lingers late into the evening in a defiant last stand against autumn's inevitable turn. The hoards of August holidaymakers have returned to their city lives leaving the towns, beaches, and coastal paths splendidly uncluttered for those of us lucky enough to remain. The lanes are lined with plump ripe blackberries and the orchards are heavy with late summer fruit. The big skies, changing seas, slow pace, and ancient roots of this place make the process of switching off easy - I mean, who could remember to check their email when looking out at a scene like this?
A few months ago I read that Brisbane's first cat cafe had opened and I was S U P E R E X C I T E D. But after screen-shotting this article I sort of forgot to give it another thought ... Until yesterday when Nick arrived at Showroom in the middle of the day with a packet of antihistamines and one last birthday surprise tucked up his sleeve.
It wasn't until we walked up to the block of shops and I heard the digital meowing sounds being pipped from a basement doorway plastered in puns that I had any idea where we were headed. When I realised I was in for an afternoon of kitty time, I could barely contain my glee!
Bookings are essential at the Cat Cuddle Cafe, open Tuesday through Sunday on Musgrave Road in Red Hill. An hour timeslot will set you back $10.50 per person plus the cost of tea, coffee, and a treat (the selection was actually very nice).
Run by a charitable animal welfare organisation, the purpose of the cafe is to offer rescue cats and kittens a safe temporary home where guests can fall in love with and potentially adopt their favoured furry friend. Even if you're not in a position to obtain a new pet, visiting the Cat Cuddle Cafe is a super relaxing way to support cute kitties and important rescue work in the city.
I had a brilliant plan to take 33 photos of my 33rd birthday, but today's light is fading and I've only made it to 22. A big THANKYOU to my friends, family, Natalie at Kindred Toxin Free Facials and especially to Nick for making this year's celebrations so wonderful... Roll on the birthday week!
About a month ago, the day before Showroom opened downtown, I took a break from frantically setting up shop to spend the morning helping out on a photoshoot organised by Diana from The Third Row for the pages of Peppermint Magazine.
Styled and captured by one of my favourite Brisbane photographers, the completely charming Nicolette Johnston, this was the most naturally flowing, least stressful, fun professional shoot I've ever been a part of. I think that ease really comes across in the images. Of course it also helped that the three of us all really loved the things we were tasked with incorporating into the editorial spread.
The theme of the issue in which we've been featured - as well as the photo editorial itself - is slow living. It was the perfect fit for us, as more and more our focus at Showroom has centred on how to scale back, derive joy from fewer, better things, and allow room within our hectic schedules for simple, fulfilling pleasures.
If you do get a chance to flip through the issue, look out for Showroom's contributions, including ceramics from Antler and Moss, PF Candles, Nukuku slate boards, Fog Linen trays, wooden kitchenwares, and a brass garland, Anise skin care, Iris Hantverk brushes, and textiles by Once Was Lost. You can shop our Peppermint edit here.
5:45am | I almost never set an alarm, but after a late night thanks to Homeroom's inaugural Business Planning 101 Workshop, I need a little help getting going this morning. I pull on my new Lululemon naked yoga pants (the softest, most comfortable exercise legging I've ever worn!) and a thick wooden jumper before making my way to the bus.
6:30am | Arriving at Southbank as the sun rises higher, I stroll by the river and snap photos of brightly coloured bougainvillaea en route to my breakfast & yoga date at Kiss The Berry.
7:15am | I meet up with a group including Brisbane's top health and wellness bloggers for 30minutes of yoga on the cool grass. Afterwards we're treated to bliss balls and acai bowls from Kiss The Berry's new spring menu. (I recommend the strawberry jam doughnut bowl... it's incredible!) The spread is beautiful and as an added bonus, Anwyn happens to be on hand to capture all the thoughtful details!
9:45am | Walking on a cloud after an indulgent event, Anwyn and I head across the river to Showroom where things take a bit of a turn. The front door wouldn't open and I have to call an emergency locksmith before we're able to open for the day.
11am | As soon as the locksmith leaves I discover that my laptop has died. Ugh. Maybe it got bumped on public transport. Maybe it was feeling overworked, and under-appreciated. Either way it won't boot up and I almost start to cry. I decide not to trouble-shoot re-installing the operating system myself and make an appointment with an Apple genius.
1:30pm | After an unproductive morning spent sorting out problems rather than getting down to my real to-do list, I take myself off to Gramercy to eat and regroup. It's a good move... their chicken sandwich with the little pickely bits is the very definition of restorative.
2:00pm | Staff training session on the new POS system. I've switched the whole store online and offline to Shopify over the past few weeks and I'm so glad I have - it's simple, user friendly, and having one system that covers all aspects of the business is cost effective too. I like running all our sales off the iPad, and the inventory management system is simpler to adjust than Vend's, which is super important given how many products we have pop up and pop out of Showroom.
3:30pm | At my Apple appointment Sam, my genius, says the four magic words I most wanted to hear... "Your data is safe." Elated, I resit the urge to kiss him, relinquish my laptop for the 4-5 days it'll take to fix, and skip back to Showroom where my team is waiting with tea and cookies, anticipating my despair if things hadn't gone well.
4:40pm | I decide I need an early mark and catch the bus back home.
7:00pm | Unable to get on with any work without the use of my computer, I take a bath, finally read the old issue of Cereal Magazine that's been waiting on top of my coffee table for the last 2 months. After a day of highs and lows, the simple pleasure of relaxing at home and away from a screen is exactly what I need and it feels wonderful.
SEE | Ontario born (just like me!) musician Afie Jurvanen of Bahamas play the The Spiegeltent at this month's Brisbane Festival.
EAT | Now that Showroom is closed on Sundays, I'm making the most of my newfound weekend morning by working my way through this list of Brisbane's best breakfast dishes. I can vouch for #6, #15, #16, and #29 . I'm dying to try #7 and I'd add the curried lentils on toast at Harvey's on James St. Yum.
SHOP | Brisbane's newest farmers markets at Red Hill seem to be taking off in a big way. I've heard nothing but good things from friends who've already been to check them out, so after breakfast this weekend I'll be heading over to pick up my groceries and discover what else is on offer.
EXPLORE | Stradbroke Island. It's still whale season, and you might just be lucky enough to catch sight of a pod off the coast at Point Lookout.
LEARN | Work-Shop launched in Brisbane last month with a very cool roster of creative short courses (some of which are being taught by our friends). You can check out their offerings here.
Copper's popularity continues to rise in the design world, and it's not hard to see why. These pieces are among my favourites in store and online right now and Showroom's customers seem to be loving them too.
Working with artisans to bring designs from inside my head into life is one of the most exciting aspects of running The Spring Collective. I especially love those moments in store when customers discover something they've not seen anywhere else - that's when the whole design and curation process comes full circle.
My new Moscow mule mugs and julep cups are the latest additions giving me that thrill. I tried sourcing them for the shop for months from another local business in the end never could find anyone making them in Australia from 100% copper. (I didn't reckon copper plated would wear as well over time.) Not wanting to give up on my vision of the perfect summer drinking vessel I decided to look into having them manufactured aboard. Over the internet I found a small workshop in Jaipur that hand makes copper crockery. The lead artisan and I went back and forth via email, working our all the design details to create the perfect shape and finish.
They've come up perfectly and I can't wait for the weather to turn a little warmer so I can fill them with crushed ice and ginger beer to be enjoyed out on the verandah.
Your can shop our copper edit online or in store at Showroom, 104 Edward St in the Brisbane CBD.
Minimalism, as a concept, appeals to me.
I find clear surfaces soothing. Clutter has always felt chaotic. I believe that when one is encumbered by too much stuff, it's harder to derive joy from things which are truly precious.
The trouble is, becoming (more) minimalist requires release. Like most people, I find it hard to throw away things that might be useful someday, that I paid good money for, or to which I have an emotional attachment.
This weekend I read a book that's begun to change all that. Yesterday, riding high on the motivation of Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I began the long overdue process of decluttering The Spring Cottage.
There are, I'm sure, more relaxing ways to spend a day off than turning my home upside down in order to discard bags and bags of once loved belongings.
But the clutter had brought me to my breaking point. In the wake of Showroom's move from Paddington to the Brisbane CBD, bits and pieces from the old shop that weren't needed in the new one came home with me. Our small house was already bursting at its seams with things N and I have carted from home to home over the past seven years - I can't tell you how much stuff we have from our student days in England still stashed under beds and in wardrobes... Stuff we haven't needed for years and don't even like! The result? Not a whole lot of visible floorspace in the rooms where we come to wind down at the end of a long day.
Marie Kondo's method is for removing stuff in pursuit of a more ideal lifestyle is as sensitive as it is simple, and that's what I like best about it. Here're the basics of her approach.
1. Discard first, store later.
Kondo believes that you can’t organize clutter. The first step is to get rid of everything you don’t need.
2. Tidying is a special event.
What Kondo calls tidying is purging to the rest of us. Her point, though, is that purging excess stuff thoroughly one time results in a shift so wonderfully profound that you'll never end up in a messy semi-hoarding state again.
3. Storage experts miss the point.
Putting things in drawers and closets creates only the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. Organised clutter is still clutter.
4. Sort by category, not location.
Don't tidy room by room. Rather, sort through every item you own by category in the following order: clothes, books, papers, miscellany, then mementos. The idea is to start with the things that are most replaceable with the least amount of sentimental value so you can practice making quick decision about what to keep and what to remove.
5. The spark of joy.
How do you decide what to keep and what to throw away? Kondo's method is to hold each possession in your hands and think about how it makes you feel. If this item sparks joy, you should keep it. If it doesn’t, don't. NB: Important documents are the one exception to this rule, but there are fewer of these than you’d think.
6. Embrace vertical storage.
Kondo's method centres around taking care of your possessions by showing them respect and gratitude - crushing things at the bottom of stacks is an organisational no-no: it encourages you to keep too much stuff because you can stack much more than you can store vertically and stacking is hard on the things at the bottom.
7. Learn how to fold.
Kondo is adamant about proper folding technique, which I love because it enables you to store clothes standing up rather than laid flat. The great thing is that you can see everything in a drawer at a glance when you fold this way, which really helps me keep track of what I have and what my options are for getting dressed in the morning.
For a demonstration of the Kondo method for folding various clothing items, I like this video series:
It's not often enough that we get to stand in a room, surrounded by people we've brought together, who we like and admire, and who like and admire each other.
That's what I was thinking during and after Showroom's launch party last Thursday night. That and also how worth the trouble this move has been. The new shop looked beautiful, and seeing it come to life really filled with friends, family and laughter really was the actual best.
images: Anwyn Howarth
I can't quite believe it's been a month since I last posted - it feels both like an entire era and mere moments have passed since I sat in our Paddington Queenslander, dreaming big city dreams.
Over the course of four short weeks last month I decided to close my first store, move the whole kit and caboodle downtown to a 1880s loft space in the Brisbane CBD, fit out the new shop, throw a party, and re-open our doors. It's been a crazy, hectic time and as daunting as the process has been, I couldn't be happier with the result. The Edward St store is even more paired back in terms of its styling and colour palate and fits exactly my taste right now.
I'm also thrilled that our downtown launch coincides with the start of a 6 month pop up by Melbourne furniture designers and manufacturers Tait and the 3 week residency of Brisbane's most beautifully curated online ceramic retailer Antler and Moss.
For the past few weeks I've been busy like a duck, paddling furiously under the water while on the surface doing my best to get smoothly on with business as usual. Aside from running the shop and building an updated version of it's e-comerce sister site, I've been negotiating a new home for Showroom and The Spring Shop in the Brisbane CBD. My hardball game was strong and now I can finally announce (giddily!) that the deal is done and #teamshowroom is preparing to close down in Paddington and pop right back up in the city all within the month of July!
As it goes with many big changes, this one came about through a combination of successes and failures. And I think it's important to talk about both, because entrepreneurship really is all about the ups and the down. Success, it seems to me, hinges on how honest and responsive we're willing to be in the face of everything our businesses throw up. Changing won't be easy for us (oh, the packing!) or our customers who love to visit us up on Latrobe, but I know it's the right decision at the right time for the business and all the artisanal brands we support. Here's why:
Over the past year and a half since we opened our doors I've grown more confident as a curator with a keener eye for how I want to represent Showroom aesthetically. I'm proud of the warm, welcoming feel of our Paddo Queenslander, but I have made the mistake of adding products into our mix that didn't quite fit because I hoped they'd cater to broader tastes and generate revenue.
Maintaining the discipline of a strong point of view is something I've learned; our new herritage-listed, loft-style city space will feel just as beautifully welcoming as our first home, but Showroom 2.0 will have a cooler edge that reflects our clean, modern take on heritage and hand crafted design. The downtown shop ticks all the boxes for how I want Showroom to look, and, with the addition of air conditioning, it's going to be such a pleasure helping people find the perfect gifts come the holiday season in this bright, airy new space!
Alongside the factors pulling is into the city, there's also a push away from the suburbs. Simply put, it's been challenging to attract enough shoppers to sleepy Paddington throughout the week. In order to make enough money to take on excellent staff and become everything I envision this business to be, I think it's important to move to a more customer-rich environment - the kind of place where a specialised shop like ours can really thrive.
There are few, if any, beautiful independent designs shops in the Brisbane CBD, so I hope city-goers will find the addition of Showroom to their midsts an exciting prospect! We'll be at 104 Edward St, across from Metro Arts and sharing a building with Le Bon Choix. Close to Folio Books and equidistant from the Queen Street Mall and the Botanic Gardens, we love this little indy pocket of the city and can't wait to be spending our days downtown amid the hustle and busle .
Sunday, July 12 | Last day of trading at 135 Latrobe Tce.
Monday, July 27 | First day of trading at 104 Edward St.
Stereotypically on July 1st, Canadians who've left the Great White North for school, jobs, or love scramble to secure an adequate supply of Molson's, maple syrup and beloved Tim Horton's coffee - the essentials for ex-pats celebrating Canada Day. Here in Australia, you can add canned pumpkin to that list.
For me, nostalgia resides less in hometown brands (I don't drink beer or coffee anyway) and more in the kind of hometown cooking that evokes scent memories of lazy summer days up at the lake. All smugness and flag-waving patriotism aside, the long, idyllic days of early summer are the stuff sentimental daydreams are made of and at this time of year I reckon most of us who are far away start to feel the pull.
Since for me life's celebrations tend to revolve around food (who's with me?) I've assembled a collection of links to my favourite recipes that recall Ontario summers down below. Enjoy, and, to my Australian readers... don't forget to hug a Canadian today!
SHOP | The Finder's Keepers Markets return to Brisbane on July 4th and 5th at the Old Museum in Bowen Hills
EXPLORE | Escape to the country for Warwick's Jumpers and Jazz festival. Queensland's favourite quirky winter festival mixes music and yarn with a dash of Christmas in July - bookings are essential for many of the events on offer, so if you're keen to embrace the Granite Belt chill, be sure check out the full program here.
EAT + DRINK | Hot chocolate at John Mills Himself in the Brisbane CBD. It's the best (and t'is the season).
LEARN | Video is where the future of the web is headed and the most connective medium for telling our stories. Creating good quality clips is a pretty daunting prospect for those of us without much experience planning, shooting, and editing video, so I'm super excited for HOMEROOM's Video For Storytelling Workshop at Showroom on July 17th. Tickets are $395 for a full day's practical tuition and can be picked up here.
CULTURE | Painting With Light, an exhibition of William Bustard's art depicting Brisbane and surrounds, is on at the Museum of Brisbane. Bustard was a 20th century artist, illustrator and stained-glass window designer, whose work portrayed an optimistic view of a changing city and the unique qualities of the Queensland light. Entry is free and there's no real need to hurry - the exhibition runs through January 2016.
The Grey Attic is a creative concept that merges styling, creative direction and writing. More than just a blog, Annika and Dean love creating longer form articles with more substantial content. In their professional lives the stylish duo help like-minded brands create beautiful content. I met them recently on a photoshoot at Showroom and we instantly connected over shared passions and experience as creative entrepreneurs here in beautiful Brisbane. Not only did they pen a piece about my business, Showroom, on their blog, but graciously agreed to answer my most burning questions for publication here. Enjoy!
What did you do before starting The Grey Attic?
A | I was a creative director in a fashion retailer’s marketing department.
D | I did all sorts of things from running my own business to studying engineering, to joining the army.
What are the key elements that go into creating The Grey Attic’s unique vibe?
We’re pretty particular and (borderline) obsessive perfectionists. We bring lots of attention to detail to everything we choose to collaborate on or feature so make sure that everything we put into the world truly reflects our point of view. Our style is minimal, clean and crisp. We’re really interested in shooting concepts and pushing high fashion boundaries.
What do you love most about running your own creative business?
Lots of things. Like being able to work together every day. Creating fantasy lands in photo shoots. Challenging ourselves. It’s so rewarding to starting with an idea, watch how quickly it changes, molding it into something that reflects our aesthetic, and translating it into something that works for our clients. We love having control over all the intricate details that go into creating imagery, so from inception to delivery, it’s key that things feel like they work for us.
How do you define your personal style?
We tend to choose pieces that are effortless, not showy. (Although Dean does like his accessories!) Our personal style is more about uniform dressing and exploring concept than embracing trends.
Give us some awesome tools that simplify your workflow as a creative and entrepreneur:
1. Our editorial calendar
2. Our social media plan
3. Checking emails first thing and keeping our inbox clear
4. Having regular meetings with each other.
We still write endless notes and lists, but we input them all into Excel saved in Dropbox. This system’s been brilliant for pulling together all our client sheets, ideas, and schedules.
We also find it helpful to have structures in place each day to check in on what’s going on, and what needs attention. Free-for-all creativity still needs some bounds so we all know what the end game is in a work sense. When bouncing ideas it’s great to be endlessly creative, but when it’s about putting a project together you need an actual plan.
Which other design / creative brands inspire you?
A | I’m mostly inspired by print magazines like Acme, Paper, Interview Magazine and Industry Magazine. Large print magazines really inspire me because they’re not so functional – they’re print media as print media was originally intended. There’s so much thought put into the paper, the ink, the binding, etc… I love all those details.
D | I’m inspired by visionaires like Rick Owens and Yogi Yammamoto who know what they wanted and followed through. I’m also personally inspired by buildings and music. I love light and white.
What’s the first website you load when you wake up in the morning?
Gmail. Pinterest. Style.com
What’s your favourite hashtag?
A | I don’t like hashtags, but I do search hashtags to find imagery of events I wish I’d seen in real life.
D | I follow particular photographer’s hashtags so I can see their whole body of work. That’s pretty conveninent.
Do you feel optimistic about the creative scene In Brisbane? Why or why not?
Yes and no. Brisbane is a fast moving market where people are always interested in the next cool thing. From a fashion perspective, it can be competitive in a way that tends to make people somewhat guarded, simply because there isn’t a huge amount of work on offer here. Still, the fashion scene in Brisbane is more open than in Sydney. It’s exciting to see how much Brisbane has grown and how much great talent is coming out of here.
How do you like to recharge creatively? (Where do you go, what do you do?)
A | Yoga. Read. Watch TV shows. Take our dog for a walk and not bring our phones. Red wine.
D | Petting Arlo our dog. Really loud music. Reading. Grabbing a coffee and walking in New Farm Park.
Fancy toast is all the rage and as dead-simple-but-totally-photo-worthy breakfasts go, I think it's just about the best thing since... sliced bread? Here're four versions I'm loving now, all of which start with a couple pieces of fruit toast and a dollop of fresh ricotta.
- Ripe Strawberries & Fresh Thyme
- Banana, Walnut & Honey
- Blueberry, Pepita & Cinnamon
- Fig, Slivered Almonds & Hone
I recently hosted a 13th birthday party at the shop for a super fun group of girls. The newly minted teenager (my honorary niece) wanted to do something with her friends that none of them had every tried before, so we decided terrarium making would be the perfect party activity. She loved the idea that everyone would make something awesome to take home and we reckoned it was the kind of activity that'd leave lots of room for chatting, snacking, and singing along to Taylor Swift.
To make pulling the party together easier, I ordered terrarium making kits from That Flower Shop for each girl. They came beautifully presented in a timber box with each element neatly packaged inside. Doing things this way also turned out to be cost effective, as I didn't want to spend heaps of time and money sourcing large quantities of each separate 'ingredient' from local garden stores and the internet.
If you've ever wanted to make your own terrariums, keep reading for all the materials and steps!
Terrarium Making Materials:
- glass vessel
- soil mix
- 2 parts regular potting soil
- 1 part peat moss
- 1 part perlite
- spagnum moss
- activated charcoal
- bark, pebbles, larger stones for 'landscaping'
How To Make A Terrarium
1. Start with a clean, dry glass container.
2. Add a layer of gravel. The quantity will depend on the height of your container and the look you're after.
3. Spring 2 - 3 pieces of charcoal. Charcoal whips orders away and your terrarium 'clean'.
4. Soak a handful of sphagnum moss in fresh water. Squeeze well and add a layer to your terrarium. This will create a barrier between the soil and the gravel.
5. Now it's time to add soil and plants! Give your plants a once over to make sure there're no insects or diseased bits. Remove soil from around the edge of the root ball near the base of the plant and carefully untangle the bottom roots. Place the largest plants first, followed by progressively smaller ones.
6. When all the plants are in, firmly tamp down the soil. Cover with moss, orchid bark or pebbles, depending on the look you're after. Using cover like this prevents soil disturbance when watering and reduces evaporation later on.
7. Plants need to be watered in slowly with room-temperature water. Distilled water is optimal because the minerals in tap water can build up in the soil and leave residue on the terrarium glass. The soil is adequately saturated when it becomes dark all the way through. Any excess water that gathers in the drainage layer should be carefully siphoned off.
8. Using a clean cloth, wipe down the sides of your terrarium glass. Pop your lid on if you have one, and set your terrarium somewhere with ambient natural light, but out of the way of direct sunlight.
If you'd like to pick up a terrarium kit of your own, they're available on a custom order basis from That Flower Shop in Alderly. Or, if you'd like to buy a ready made version, they're available and ready to take home at Showroom.
There's nothing quite like nestling deep into a lounge chair with a mug of something hot and your favourite magazine. They're a great help in distracting from "that thing I haven't done yet that I should probably be doing right now", and take you away from the monotonous everyday to exciting places and introduce you to fascinating people. I use each precious moment with a beloved mag as an opportunity to soak up fresh inspiration, to hear and see the world outside, and simply to relax. I put together my top 5 favourite journals of all time, a couple you may know and love yourself, some that might bring new inspiration of your own.
Founded in 2011, Kinfolk is now the leading independent lifestyle magazine for young creative professionals and also produces international editions in Japan, China, Korea and Russia. Published quarterly, Kinfolk maintains a vibrant contributor base from Copenhagen to Cape Town and hosts hundreds of global events that bring the community together. It is my main port of call for imagery inspiration.
2. Smith Journal
Smith Journal is a quarterly, Australia-based publication that takes unexpected, interesting, funny and sometimes complicated stories and tells them the way you would to a bunch of friends at the pub. The minds behind Smith wanted to create something they'd be happy to read themselves. That smart, creative people could peruse without shame, slap down on the coffee table, whack in their favourite old satchel or display proudly on the toilet reading rack. A mag that looked really good, but had substance, wit and inspiration. Smith isn't obsessed with the latest stuff or being first in line. While it does keep an eye on what's current, it's much more intrigued by things that stand the test of time. Smith isn't about being nostalgic. Admittedly, it does love plenty of things from the past but knows that nostalgia can be toxic, so it's constantly looking toward the future too. It happily confesses to knowing nothing, but considers that a positive, because it means it's fascinated by everything.
MADE Publishers are a boutique periodical and book publisher with offices in Melbourne (Australia) and New York (United States). Founded in 2007 by partners Thomas Williams and Amber Hourigan, they produce editions and books dedicated to design, photography, fashion, art, architecture, health & lifestyle. With an emphasis on quality content and high production values, their publications have been recognized internationally with various awards and accolades. Whilst MADE are committed to producing the highest quality printed publications, they also embrace new technologies and continue to explore the increasingly growing sector of digital publishing, adopting a ‘hybrid’ publishing philosophy that both print and digital can exist in harmony, often enhancing and complementing one another in unexpected ways.
The magazine, published twice a year, is divided into city-specific chapters. Each chapter comprises features on places, people and products, paired with striking photography. An interlude section, included in every volume, features a selection of style and culture articles. As well their physical publications, Cereal have written up city guides, providing a tightly edited selection of beautiful places in a number of cities around the world. Each online guide comes with an introduction to the city alongside essential information, and features anywhere from 10-20 locations and laid out in an editorial style. Their imagery is to die for.
5. Fete Press
Fête regular issues – four per year, fête/kids – an annual special issue dedicated to celebrating parenthood and the joys of everyday life with children and fête/holiday – an annual special issue, a go-to guide for busy people wanting to celebrate the Christmas season with easy, achievable entertaining and gifting ideas. Each of their titles are created for people who love to enjoy the small things and good times in everyday life. They write for readers that are on the go, showing them how life can be beautiful in a simple, authentic and achievable way. With a strong design aesthetic, fêteincludes interviews with inspiring everyday people, their workplaces and homes as well as a variety of articles that will inspire you to improve your quality of life and relationships. Delivered in a sensitive and lighthearted narrative, the stories in fête are all personal and real.
I'm a big fan of a good Avocado Mash. There is so much to love about avocados, such as their high levels of potassium and fibre, as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Over the years I've tried variations on the classic ranging from average to mind-blowing, but this right here has knocked 'em all out of the water. A little bit of Danish feta mixed into the avocado creates a deliciously soft texture, pepitas and shredded mint leaves adding an unexpected zing and pickled strawberries stealing the show with a fruity bang.
Avocado Toast with Pickled Strawberries
- 4 slices of sourdough
- 1 avocado
- 20g of Danish feta
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 Tbs of pepitas
- Jar of pickled strawberries
- 2 tsp of shredded mint leaves
- Salt & pepper to taste
Mash together the avocado, feta, lemon juice and seasonings. Spread thickly over toasted sourdough, then sprinkle with pepitas, mint and strawberries. Grab a magazine and a cup of tea and enjoy! Serves 2.
There's something about baking in a skillet. The sturdiness of it, the feel of the rugged cast-iron handle, a reminder of soul food well earned by the most intrepid of explorers, land workers miles from civilisation, and those who searched for home in the conquest of America's West. Somehow the skillet is charged with these stories of people who worked hard to achieve the things they believed in, and like the passing of the torch, holding it in your hands comes with a sense of possibility and expectation.
The other week, I made up something pretty special in this black beauty that had the whole house in a trance from the heavenly scent of cooking berries and pastry. I thought I'd let you all in on the recipe, you can thank me later.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 24 Tbs. (3 sticks) plus 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup ice water
- 4 cups blackberries, blueberries or a mixture
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 Tbs. flour
Mix the dough
In a food processor, combine the flour and salt and pulse briefly to mix. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse just until the mixture forms coarse crumbs about the size of peas. Drizzle the ice water over the flour mixture and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour.
Roll out the dough
Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celcius. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 30cm round. Fold the round in half, transfer to the skillet and unfold round.
Fill and bake the galette
In a bowl, lightly stir together the berries, lemon juice, sugar and flour. Spoon the filling onto the dough, then fold the edges up and over the filling, forming loose pleats. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown, about 25 minutes.
The skillet is very hot and heavy when it comes out of the oven, so make sure you have a clean, heat-friendly surface to set it down on nearby. Serve immediately with ice-cream.