Where to Find the Best Almond Croissants in Melbourne

We all know where to find the best chocolate and butter croissants in Melbourne, they’re about as French as they are Aussie by this point. But what about the Almond Croissant? The underrated younger sibling is by far and away my favourite type of croissant, from the powdery tops to the sweet filling and crunch of almonds. These are (in my opinion) the cafes in Melbourne who host the best almond croissants!

The Kettle Black Cafe: Gotta start with the faves! These guys are my number 1 go to for the perfect almond croissant. Run by The Darling Group, they also have great coffees! https://darlinggroup.com.au/venues/thekettleblack/

Black Cat Cafe: I think what puts these guys on the list is also the atmosphere of their cafe which of course improves their croissants! A 35 year-old cafe and beer garden based in Fitzroy, they also boast an array of art from some of Melbourne’s best local artists. https://www.blackcatfitzroy.com/

Lune Croissants: I don’t think these dudes need to much of a description, there’s a reason they’re the one-stop-shop for croissants in probably the whole state. https://www.lunecroissanterie.com/

Clement Coffee: Situated in the bustle of the South Melbourne Market, Clement have somehow mastered the perfect ratio between crunch to gooey ratio. https://clementcoffee.com/

Trillium Cafe: Maybe it’s because these guys are walking distance from my office. My only critique is there short operating hours in lockdown which let’s face it, Dan that’s on you http://trilliumsouthmelb.com/

Monforte Viennoiserie: These guys (I don’t know how they did it), but have nailed the sweet to savoury kick which i bloody LOVE! With their almond croissants wreathed with fat flakes of sea salt it truely is something to behold. https://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/carlton-north/shops/monforte-viennoiserie

The Aesthetic of Morocco

A few thoughts:

The hum of merchants rising to the desert sunrise, the vibrant world of colour and noise awakens the Moroccan heart. As it beats to the untamed rhythm of the cities, one need simply stare in wonder.

Asilah, Morocco

Here: In daytime we pray through flowers, orange peels in peony shaped waves that crumble like linen.

Below us a seawall tiles of starfish deconstruction in sand with the hamam of the ocean.

A full moon below already inside us now glowing divine twilight.

Phosperescent sisters humming Arabic

The body as lace,

A geranium and how I name it

A clean bed mirrors the mind asleep or awake the record continues,

The flower as messenger

Hair extensions… the new go-to

All too often my Instagram feed appeared to be mocking me with girls who had long flowy and most importantly HEALTHY hair and while I have a tendency to preach about how Instagram is just a “highlight reel” of an individuals life, I must confess that more often than not I too succumb to the beauty standards that social media continues to force down our throats. Thus, after countless vitamins and different shampoos I decided that the best course of action was fake it till you make it. I had heard very mixed reviews about hair extensions over the course of my life so was a bit hesitant at first. Turns out like everything, the number 1 tip is research.

After searching high and low across every single salon in Melbourne, I finally discovered the place for me. I was absolutely amazed at how fast the whole process was and how invisible my real hair was. Fast forward a few months and I seamlessly have the hair of my dreams and a new level of confidence i didn’t even know I had!

But be warned, the first few days are no easy feat. While I was tossing my hair over my shoulder to every poor soul who passed me, I did notice in the first hour the beginning of what I though was just a very poorly timed headache. As it turns out, my scalp was not approving of my luscious locks and the new weight that they carried. Later that night I found myself guzzling down a few Panadol and trying to find the least painless position for my head on the pillow. If only I had been made privy to the discomfort I would endure over the next two days. But I slowly developed a routine and a tolerance to my new-found fibers by conducting the following:

  • Flip your head upside down and hold for 30-60 seconds
  • Sleep with your hair out for the first night, and then in a single braid down the back on the second
  • For the love of god DON’T KEEP TOUCHING IT!!!
  • Tilt your head in multiple directions so your roots can get used to the wait
  • Use a smoothing serum

Much to my surprise getting hair extensions turned out to be much more than just a one-time trip to the salon. It actually required a little bit of a lifestyle change. I had to actually start looking after my hair a bit more. This meant not letting it air-dry, more frequent brushing and using as much detangler as I would holy water. But I can confidently say that i have absolutely NO RAGRETS! If this is something you’ve been considering I highly recommend going for it. Do your research, make the investment, be prepared for a slight lifestyle change and enjoy.

26 Lessons in 26 Years

26 Years Old! Another year to jot down in the history books and another year where I proudly say I still stand tall. So there have been 26 years worth of tears, laughs, collapses of exhaustion and moments or pure elation which I believe is in some constant David & Goliath battle with moments of pure depression and grief. Here are 26 little lessons I’ve learnt from 26 years of life. Lessons that I have learnt from my parents, friends, family, teachers and people from all walks of life.

  1. It’s all about the little things/ moments.
  2. You actually don’t need to be like everyone else and that’s ok.
  3. You have to try and live in the moment.
  4. It’s amazing the difference a hug can make.
  5. Social media isn’t actually the real world.
  6. Try not to overthink it.
  7. You don’t always need to forgive and forget someone.
  8. You’re not the only one fighting this battle.
  9. HOWEVER, you are still within your rights to feel sorry for yourself sometimes.
  10. Laughter will forever be your salvation in all of this.
  11. This too shall pass…? Not necessarily.
  12. Kindness will always take you further and it certainly isn’t as draining.
  13. I promise that your courage will shine through when you need it.
  14. Forget all the petty things.
  15. Hard work might not always pay off, but at least you’re not left wondering.
  16. Never say something definitively without having all the required knowledge. Things are not always as they seem.
  17. See, do, eat, and live everything you can get your hands on!
  18. You are not the only one who believes that they are right, everyone has a VALID opinion whether you like it or not.
  19. You don’t have to do everything at once.
  20. Just because you cant control it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stress the consequences.
  21. Nothing beats the food that you’re craving.
  22. Your time on this earth is determined by how you spend it and how you remember it.
  23. Life’s a lot easier when you can have a laugh at yourself.
  24. You’re allowed to trust the research
  25. Don’t let the sunshine ruin your rain
  26. Grief is apart of the healing… so scream if you must, then heal

Conquering the Introverted Extrovert

Realise that both sides of the coin are good for you:

This is something that took a long time for me to not only realise but accept. For so long I was worried that I wasn’t socialising and engaging in the world enough. And when I was out, I’d stress about not having enough energy and inevitably ruining my time out.

Thus, after much reflection I actually came to realise that it’s healthy to socialise and it’s healthy to be alone sometimes. And that I shouldn’t feel bad or out of place to be doing either of those things.

Trying to keep up with the Kardashians:

Ok, I’ll be amazed if this doesn’t affect you, because it sure as hell affects me. Our social media channels show us a daily influx of the lifestyle of the rich and the famous and for the rest of us mere muggles, it can be very draining; that we need to be constantly flaunting our wealth in order for society to accept us as having “made it”. This has not gone unnoticed and it has actually been brought light the dangers this notion can have on people; with many influencers and social media-goers started to discuss the issue saying that “Instagram is a highlight reel, not the whole movie”.

The Hustle Movement is not the be-all and end-all:

People come to believe that in order to be successful in life we need to be constantly on-the-go and interacting with people. I’ve written about this previously as I myself, still have moments where I feel like I am not doing enough. The hustle movement is basically the mindset that every waking moment of your time needs to be dedicated to your work or your financial goals. A self-sabotaging concept that can lead to a deprivation of basic human instincts and can make any introvert-inclined person feel like they’re not doing enough.

Personality is dependant on Environment:

Introverts are reserved individuals that prefer to reveal their social sides when they’re in their comfort zones. The difference between this introvert example and someone with extroverted traits is the stimulation they have irrespective of the environment’s coziness. One of the prudent signs you’re in the middle of this personality spectrum is when different moods determine how you relate with friends—even situations outside your comfort zone.  – Diary of an Introvert

You don’t owe anyone anything:

This goes for everyone, not just introverted extroverts. If you know your worth you will naturally attract similar people.

The Aesthetic of Australia

A few thoughts:
Doused in the hues of the sun that shine harshly on the plain, Australia lays sleepily among the crickets and the bushland. Where the sea meets the city and elements as harsh as the night storms bring about the create both the resilience of man and the sweetest of mother earths creations. In Australia, we marvel.

“LAST sea-thing dredged by sailor Time from Space,
Are you a drift Sargasso, where the West
In halcyon calm rebuilds her fatal nest?
Or Delos of a coming Sun-God’s race?
Are you for Light, and trimmed, with oil in place,
Or but a Will o’ Wisp on marshy quest?
A new demesne for Mammon to infest?
Or lurks millennial Eden ’neath your face?

The cenotaphs of species dead elsewhereThat in your limits leap and swim and fly,
Or trail uncanny harp-strings from your trees,
Mix omens with the auguries that dare
To plant the Cross upon your forehead sky,
A virgin helpmate Ocean at your knees.”

-Bernard O’Dowd

Best Apps to use in Isolation

This is a tough time for everyone there’s no denying that. But desperate times do call for desperate measures and just because we are all stuck in quarantine due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak doesn’t mean we get to slack off. (Ok we do a little bit). Perhaps it’s my new found motivation since being on Trikafta… or perhaps it’s because I’m stuck at home with nothing else to do… or it could simply be my narcissistic personality shining through as I pretend to be a tip-top person. Nevertheless, as I have nothing better to do i decided to try and improve my exercise regime. I don’t have enough will power to do it on my own so I bless modern technology and use apps. Here are some of my favourites fitness apps that I have been using even pre-isolation:

  • Keep It Cleaner: Praise be this app! These girls turned me around. Prior to getting sick I used their HIIT routines and even though they were brutal they were bearable because I had Laura and Steph encouraging me along the way. They have so many different variations of exercise from yoga, to pilates, to boxing, HIIT sessions as well as meditation exercises, this app has it all. They also give you a food plan for the week with so many different meals which are absolutely delicious yet so so healthy. If you’re going to try any app…let it be this one.
  • Asana Rebel: I actually downloaded this app a few years ago after my new years resolution was to become more flexible. Little did I know that there was so much more to this app including high intensity workouts as well as core strengthening and mediation. The app is divided into 5 sections: Exercise, sleep, nutrition, meditation and music for focus. The beauty of these guys is it reminds you to do the little things like drink a glass of water or breathe in deep. They also have weekly challenges that relate to both fitness and diet.
  • Nike: I had this bad-boy when i used to be a little fit bit. It’s handy for those of you who still wanna get out of the house and up your step count. The Nike Run Club tracks your KM’s via GPS for a VERY detailed analysis of your route as well as tips on how you can improve.
  • Smiling Mind: During these troubling times, it is more important than ever to keep our mental strength every bit as strong as our physical strength. Made by professional psychologists and educators in an effort to bring mindfulness into ones life, Smiling Mind is perfect for those who seek relaxation, enlightenment, or simply want to give meditation a go.

My TRIKAFTA Journey

After catching the flu in August it’s fair to say that my little lungs never really recovered from it. After a very rough Christmas and new year both my lung function and weight dropped concerningly low and my Dr suggested that it’s time we looked at a transplant. . I would be lying if I didn’t say that I (and probably my family) had moments where I thought that the year 2020 would be my last. An overwhelming amount of fear resulted in me irrationally crying on my dads shoulder telling him that “I wasn’t ready to die yet”.
That being said he also mentioned a drug that had recently been approved in the US that he was going to try and get for me. Keep in mind my family and I had heard rumblings about this drug already. It was the next best thing to a cure and had been 10 years in the making.

Low and behold after an excruciatingly long 5 week hospital admission of not being able to breathe, walk or eat properly I was given my little pills of hope.
Thus I present to you a new Laura! Within 4 hours of starting my cough was loose. Within 4 days I was breathing easier. And now 2 weeks on I cannot only laugh until I cry but I can also breathe in deep! Something I haven’t been able to do since before my birthday last year! There are no words to describe the feeling of taking a deep breath, stretching parts of your lungs that you thought were long dead and having newly found oxygen travel throughout your body. I am so eternally grateful to vertex Pharmaceuticals, the Alfred hospital and of course my big beautiful family who have been there every step of the way.
Cheers to a future that I can now see.

Trying to Keep up with the Kardashians

All too often I find myself lost in the abyss that is instagram perfection and all to often I find myself feeling drained and almost “unworthy” with a serious case of fomo.

I’ve seen this issue raised in other social media platforms about how we “can’t compare someone’s highlight reel to our own behind the scenes”, but as I live vicariously through the pictures of others and the fashion/ lifestyle influencers of the world I can’t help but feel envious and inferior.

I feel like my life is a perfect example in the sense that I am a very lucky person to have been to the places I have been and see the things I have done. But social media has made such a presence in every day life that my first thought is always “take a picture and post”. I’m not going to lie I almost get angry when this thought surfaces. Am I not privileged enough to just enjoy my time and live in the moment? Why do I feel the need to splash it all over social media?

I inevitably realised that I am contributing to the problem but is that not because I have fallen victim to it and am now trying to live up to these standards?

Please take my advice with a grain of salt but during my years of Instagram and blogging I have learnt to also take the post of others with a grain of salt. What you posted was more than enough as you are under no obligation what so ever to post anything. Photos caption but a second and you get to live and breathe for millions of them.

In the Limelight: Game of Thrones S8

Ok so, I actually wasn’t going to write a review for the final season to Game of Thrones because contrary to popular belief, I didn’t actually mind the last season and disagree with a lot of the hoopla. But, one of my brothers insisted so here goes…

So here’s the thing, I actually don’t see how this show could’ve been done any differently. If they did more episodes then yeah maybe but overall, my only real dislike about the season was the fact that Arya killed the Night King. (I think we can all agree that Jon should’ve done that one.) Anyway, other than that I wasn’t too fussed with how it all concluded because I honestly couldn’t see it ending any other way. It was well acted, well directed and inevitable well written.

I guess the main issue I have with all the uproar about it it the issue so many people had with Daenarys being killed off. I feel like this had been something that the show had been pushing for a few seasons. It had been made clear that if it hadn’t been for Tyrion whispering in her ear she would have destroyed slavers bay and “return it to the dirt”. They also pushed this idea when her and Jon first met. She was reluctant to help him defeat the army of the dead if he didn’t bend the knee, which was a fight that benefited her as well. From when her brother died, right up until the end the writers had hinted subtly at the idea that the only thing that interested her was Iron Throne which in the second last episode became clear.

Branching off from this I also take issue with the comparison people kept making between Sansa and Daenerys. A lot of people seemed disappointed by the fact that Sansa survived while Daenerys fell and a lot seemed to claim that neither character deserved that ending. I even saw a post that while Daenerys lost everything (life, lover, children, etc.) Sansa got exactly what she wanted………… Seriously?? This is where I have my biggest beef because this is so offensive to the character that is Sansa Stark and everything she went through.

When Dany first met Jon, she explained to him how she “had been sold like a brood mare, chained, betrayed, raped and defiled”, and a lot of people used this quote when she died because it had somehow been an injustice to her. Meanwhile, so many people forgot that Sansa went through every bit of trauma that Daenerys did as well. Abused by Joffery, sold to the Boltons, betrayed by Littlefinger, raped by Ramsay and tormented by Cersei. She went through every bit of horror and suffering that Dany went through and throughout it all remained good, kind and generous. She remained loyal to the North and only wanted what was best for her people. In contrast to this it was clear that overtime Dany’s perception of what was “good” became wildly misconstrued and almost selfish.

Overall, I do believe that Dany’s death is justified and while I understand why people aren’t happy about it, there wasn’t really another way. I agree in the sense that the last season did feel rushed but at the same time, believe that they did relatively well with what they had.

And now our watch has ended.