Making fa[vourites] while the sun shines – November Favourites!

This blog post is part of a new Monthly Favourites series, where I’ll be recapping not only my Perth favourites and 1001 Project favourites, but also anything that really stands out to me over the month! These will be posted on a Wednesday with a follow-up video on Fridays and you can see previous Monthly Favourites by clicking here!

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It’s summer! And though November is technically still Autumn in Australia, the weather in Perth has been scorching for a few weeks now so I’ve definitely been moving into summer styles and summer products, so the theme of this November Favourites is very much “time to make hay while the sun shines” and get into these cool, refreshing, light and sometimes just pretty items!

~ Health & Beauty Products ~

While I am the first to admit that I probably don’t take an appropriate amount of care for my skin over the summer, or at all, as I mentioned in my December Haul & Anticipation post, I’m definitely trying to work on that currently, mostly to protect the damage from increasing, but also just because I haven’t before and I’m excited to take it a little more seriously – so I have two top favourites from November in this category, the first being Lush’s Ocean Salt face and body scrub.

My mum tells this really terrifying story of scrubbing her face with almond seed based exfoliant in the dark when she was younger, and long story short – a lot of blood. That story, and the knowledge that most exfoliants contain ocean-polluting microbeads, and a potentially irrational aversion to coffee-scrubs because I’m scared of caffeine, has actively persuaded me against exfoliants in the past unless I’m at the beach and sand is readily available. Note: I am not often at the beach.

But Lush’s Ocean Salt SMELLS LIKE MOJITOS. Not that I can confirm this, being anosmic, but trusted sources as well as the ingredients list which contains salt, vodka and lime are all I need to hear as I wash my face and imagine pool-side lounging and sharp, sweet cocktails. It’s also just GOOD. I’ve been using this product for a fortnight now, a few times whenever I feel like a pick-me-up, and it never fails to make me feel better, from the combination of smooth skin and the knowledge that I’m actively helping my skin. I have also luckily never had problems with acne or breakouts, but a good friend assures me that it’s done wonders with her skin over the past year as well.

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It’s also just really cool colours with the mixture of blue and white swirls!

Also in the “health and beauty” category, my NUMBER ONE favourite, and the product I am just suggesting left, right and centre this month is the De Lorenzo Tricho Natural Scalp Therapy – Scalp Balance Cleanser aka De Lorenzo Purple.

I have a lot of hair – trust me – for example while I am certain that hairdressers exaggerate all the time, I am unable to visit one without hearing about how they have never seen such thick hair. Now while that fills me with concern about my hairdresser EVERY TIME I HEAR IT, I have also not met a person with thicker, more annoying hair than mine who is not also related to me, so I understand.

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That explained, it can be very tricky to not only care for but balance what is going on, which means that unable to be avoided by myself, dandruff is an ongoing nuisance and while it still is – I have made peace with that knowledge – it has been much less exhausting and embarrassing since using De Lorenzo Purple. Yet again another manoeuvre to learn and take care of myself, this however was an accident I was manipulated into trying by my hairdresser, but I’m honestly so much happier with how much healthier my hair is since changing from supermarket brand Shampoo (even though I haven’t Conditioned myself to fancy step two yet). If you’re looking for a product to help with scalp control, I have been recommending this to people for weeks. And that annoys them as they usually only come to me for television recommendations.

~ Active Wear & Equipment ~

Now for something a little closer to home for me, an active wear specific recommendation during the warm summer months to keep you cool and protected during the sport of your choice: legionnaire hats are back and better than ever.

If you live in Perth like I do, or anywhere else where fossil fuel pollution has caused a big disgusting hole in the ozone layer, and you participate in outdoor activities, you’ll know the bite of the sun can be uncomfortable and difficult to combat. You also probably remember legionnaire hats from primary school, basically like the mullet of hats: business up front, party in the back. Usually made from gross semi-plastic material and almost always yellow or a weird blue to match your school uniform. All of that makes you sort of unlucky to live where you do, but on the other hand we also have Get Flapped.

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Get Flapped are a Perth small business designing attractive, fun patterned legionnaire hats ready in time for Perth summer. With a range of designs, and made from polyester, these hats are fun and practical, will dry quickly when wet and are light enough to not be a bother on summer days. While I can only confirm their convenience during roller hockey games and not other physical activities however, I can vouch that their elastic “one size fits all” generally do a good job of staying put on your head while you move too.

~ Food and Beverages ~

While I have already posted about MOP Donuts on this blog, they are of course in my November favourite food/beverage section. You can read that review here, but basically as my friend Clinton put it “my review would be: [donuts that] contain booze. 10/10”.

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My beverage related choice for November is the classic T2 Turkish Apple, which is an iced-tea variety which goes perfectly with summer and hot days. You can have it warm too of course, but with chilled water and a lime wedge, this variety makes the perfect summer relaxing drink, well at least when you’re not drinking mojitos inspired by Lush Ocean Salt, that is.

~ The 1001 Project ~

Finally the things I know most about and can provide the most educated recommendations for: television and books, as I only watched terrible movies in November.

My first recommendation is a book from the 1001 Children’s Book List, and it’s a picture book for kids ages 3-6 (possibly younger), called Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. As always with kid’s books I’m not certain how to “review” them, but this one was a really sweet look at how dogs are perfect and had “lift-the-flaps” for younger readers. Definitely one to consider gifting to young ones around Christmas time.

This month I also re-read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams for the Roosevelt Reader’s Club which is to me a perfect summer read. Low investment, quirky humour and a really short read, it’s perfect for days at the beach or road-trips as it won’t give you a headache or weigh you down.

Finally, another item I’ve already blogged about this month is Glee. I know, I know, but as is the argument with Hitchhiker’sGlee is another light, fun show with some pretty sweet #bangers PLUS season three’s episode nine is the only Christmas special I have both rolled my eyes at AND laughed with in several years, and a post I’m going to be making in December is all about how I detest seasonal episodes of television, so stay tuned. Glee is 100% a guilty pleasure show, but if “last fortnight before Christmas shutdown at work” isn’t the time for GP shows, I don’t know what is, so if you’re in the market for a show that’ll make you sigh but not require any effort, Glee is the show for you.

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This is still also my #2 Instagram shot of all time, so that has to say something about bloggers on Instagram.


So that is what I’ve been trying out in November! Maybe there’s something here for you, or maybe you have a recommendation for summer-lovely products, books, tv series or just something that was your favourite this month! I actually really enjoyed making this post, especially the motivation to try new things in order to make it! I’ll definitely be continuing this series.

Let me know in the comments what your recommendations for SUMMER are and maybe you’ll see them in a January haul video sometime soon!

x Casey

New Leederville donuts store MOPs the floor with Krispy Kreme

Food of Perth is an ongoing series for whatever it sounds like. To see other blog entries on the topic, click HERE.

MOP [Made on Premises] Donuts on Facebook
Specialty Desserts
Open 24/7 at 747 Newcastle Street, Leederville
Prices ranging from $5 for donuts, to $30 for crazy dairy concoctions

As you wander through Leederville after dark on a Wednesday night, you’ll be hard pressed to consider the viewpoint that Perth has no night-life at all and that we’re “just not as good as Melbourne”. As Oxford Street thrives with traffic into the later hours, now people looking for late-night meatballs or careful coffee can be joined by those looking for alcohol infused sweet-treats as MOP Donuts opened a fortnight ago and they offer just that.

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Yes, they’re called Drunken Donuts and I enjoy the pun.

While I’m not overly a desert person, and would probably spend my calories on a block of mint chocolate or a pint of ice-cream as opposed to devouring a slice of cake or some kind of fancy parfait (is parfait even considered dessert), MOP’s start up event was free Baileys and Butterscotch donuts at midnight when you gave them the password and of all people this girl loves a gimmick.

So following a friend’s birthday, hence the meme shirt pictured above, I headed to MOPs small but cosy Leederville store where I stood with twenty other people in line for free donuts at midnight. The store itself is tucked next to Meatball and close to other small cafes similar to Leederville’s “small but variable” aesthetic. Its clean and clear interior is almost nondescript enough that if you blink you’ll miss it, so you need to know what you’re looking out for, but once you’re there, the choice is yours.

Along with their signature Drunken Donuts – of which I’ve now tried both Baileys and Butterscotch and Limoncello Lime Brulee – there are also many options for the underage or less adventurous of us, including a “rich and compelling” Belgian Chocolate, the flavour of which was “enhanced by the softness of the dough” and an “all-weather, fresh and light but also cosy for warm nights and post-midnight swims” Madagascan Vanilla Bean.

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Quotes attributed to good pals Rachel and Honor respectively as we had midnight adventure donuts on Wednesday night.

While I can’t speak to the other concoctions that MOP offers, although I’m definitely looking for an opportunity to try their Unicorn Freek Shake at some point, their donuts are basically everything you want them to be – soft, fluffy, and dusted with sugar – as well as having the potential to be alcoholic, so what more could you want?

Option I Chose: My first choice was of course the Baileys and Butterscotch “Drunken Donut”, which was of course fantastically soft, fluffy and dusted with sugar, however one caveat on the experience being the Baileys aftertaste which could be a little unsettling.

Notable AlternativeThe Belgian Chocolate would be the ideal addition to the standard MOP donut shell, speaking from experience now and is a good non-alcoholic version to try first.

I always enjoy seeing creative spins on an any-time treat, and while the novelty of getting drunk from donuts may fade, the taste and presentation of MOP donuts as well as the ability to get them 24 hours a day and in a really convenient hub like Leederville may not. Pair them with a trip to Meatball, or if you’re pescatarian Sweetlips is also a great option, followed by coffee at Greens & Co to round out a night with friends. Or stumble there from Blue Flamingo at 2am – there are options for everyone!

Don’t just take my word for it: The Urban List of course lists MOP among their top locations in Leederville!

x Casey

Introducing: The Roosevelt Readers Club

The Roosevelt Readers Club was created as a component of The 1001 Project, and is therefore the junction between loving reading and the outdoors, just as Teddy Roosevelt himself was a fan of both. We meet once a month to discuss a book from the list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, and we pick a new location in Perth to do so and eat food.

This month, just as a rookie would do, the book I chose was The Children’s Book by AS Byatt and we visited Aliment in West Leederville.


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The Novel: The Children’s Book, by AS Byatt

A spellbinding novel, at once sweeping and intimate, from the Booker Prize–winning author of Possession, that spans the Victorian era through the World War I years, and centres around a famous children’s book author and the passions, betrayals, and secrets that tear apart the people she loves.

When Olive Wellwood’s oldest son discovers a runaway named Philip sketching in the basement of the new Victoria and Albert Museum—a talented working-class boy who could be a character out of one of Olive’s magical tales—she takes him into the storybook world of her family and friends.

But the joyful bacchanals Olive hosts at her rambling country house—and the separate, private books she writes for each of her seven children—conceal more treachery and darkness than Philip has ever imagined. As these lives—of adults and children alike—unfold, lies are revealed, hearts are broken, and the damaging truth about the Wellwoods slowly emerges. But their personal struggles, their hidden desires, will soon be eclipsed by far greater forces, as the tides turn across Europe and a golden era comes to an end.

x Goodreads

At a substantial 617 pages, The Children’s Book was a mistake to choose for a book club. After initially planning to meet three weeks ago, our meetup date was changed twice to accommodate the length and difficulty of the novel. Even then only one attendee had read the entire book, and I still had 60 pages to go. It’s not the easiest novel to digest either – with large blocks of historical context and almost as many characters as Game of Thrones, it’s not an ideal choice if you’re interested in light reading and many of the book club members were feeling the struggle by the opening scenes.

That said, in my opinion (because I run this blog and the book club), the novel is wonderful. It’s clearly a novel about artists, by an artist. With heady descriptions, thoroughly researched background and literary allusions, it’s a very difficult but rewarding read that unlike many novels succeeds in absorbing you completely in the story. It’s not fluffy, and many of the themes are confronting – sexual coercion, incest, suicide and mental illness to name a few – which is unsettling, but the story is immersive and kept me constantly interested and invested.

Don’t take my word for it though: while several members of the group agreed it was difficult to continue after Part I, those who continued reading expressed the same sentiments about characters and descriptive text, and most agreed to needing to know how the story ended.


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The Cafe: Aliment Cafe, West Leederville

Aliment Cafe on Instagram
Cafe
Location: 170 Railway Parade, West Leederville
Cuisine: Cafe; Breakfast Bar; Locally Produced Beverages
Price Range: $18 – $30

Having extra people with you to try a cafe is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand you can steal Clinton’s brownie stuffed pancakes to photograph (see above), but on the other hand Clinton has brownie stuffed pancakes when you chose the mushroom hash because yesterday you sugar crashed after an Iced Chocolate, but now you have food envy.

Aliment is a small but cosy restaurant along the main street in West Leederville, that was made pleasantly quite by roadworks along Railway Parade. With a wide range of foods and local artisan beverages, the only things missing were options for vegans, which was a condition for my choice when consulting The Urban List, and was therefore a little disappointing.

Option I Chose: Mushroom Hash with Eggs Benedict and Spinach – a hearty and tasty vegetarian option.
Notable Alternative: The Brownie Filled Pancakes special! Pictured above, this sweet treat breakfast was coveted by the whole table.


The Club: A Success

“One of the better outcomes of The 1001 Project” is quite a statement as this project has brought me nothing but joy and positive experiences, but this first meeting of the Roosevelt Readers Group was better than most. What was going to be a discussion of the book, devolved into a few hours spent discussing reading, literature and life in general with a really great bunch of people, and something I’m really looking forward to continuing in future.

However, we continue to welcome new members! If you’d like to be part of a group that loves reading, meeting new people and trying new food places in Perth, send us a message on Facebook or email the1001project@gmail.com!

x Casey

Burgers of Perth: Hood Burger

Burgers of Perth is an ongoing series for exactly what it sounds like. To see other blog entries on the topic, click HERE.

Hood Burger on Facebook
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Location: Friday 5:00pm – 8:30pm – Bayswater Bowling and Recreation Club
Cuisine: Burger Bar
Price Range: $12-$18

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to comfort food, I have the worst habits. If it’s not cheesecake or a burger, it’s a waste of time, and I could SAY that the inclination to exercise is strong enough to counteract this predisposition, but really what I’m doing is heading to exercise locations where there will be food for me to eat afterwards…

Enter Hood Burger.

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Photo credit: Hood Burger Facebook page.

Partnering with the Bayswater Bowling and Recreation Club to monopolise on the hungry Friday night Street Roller Hockey League crowd was a smart move on the part of Hood Burger, and everyone benefits. With simple, straightforward flavours (a choice between single or double cheeseburgers made with high quality ingredients) plus a range of extras to mix it up a little – spicy Jalapeño sauce or Hotline [onion] Rings, Hood Burgers satisfy those basest of cravings, perfect for a Friday night treat.

Option I Chose: I always go with the single burger with cheese as it’s exactly the right amount. I always think about asking for no onion, but am often too caught up to remember.
Notable Alternative: Add chips on the side if you want a little extra, particularly if you like your fries a little crunchy.

While “burger lovers who want to spend their night watching roller hockey” might be a niche market, the Venn diagram of that niche market and “burger lovers who want to spend their night watching roller hockey and who agree that Hood Burger is the way to go about it” is a circle. I may be biased, based on how I spend my Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays too, but Fridays at the hockey with a Hood Burger are becoming a tradition. And hey, they’re also perfect for a first date if you like to know your other half doesn’t mind getting down and messy.

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Don’t just take my word for it: The Urban List also considers them in their “Top 25 Fat Feeds of Perth” list.

x Casey

Mr Munchies Sushi, Mt Lawley

Mr Munchies on Zomato
Cafe
Location: Arcade 669, off Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley
Cuisine: Japanese; Sushi-Bar
Price Range: $8 -$20

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Secreted away at the back of an arcade on Beaufort St, behind the culinary distractions that are Grill’d and Gelare, is Mr Munchies Sushi, a tiny sushi shop with anime wallpaper and Japanese pop music, where you can choose to create your own sushi combinations, or from a list of the store’s original, inventive specialties.

A chain store with one other Perth location – Victoria Park – Mr Munchies is the imaginative solution to all your sushi cravings, with few options you’d recognise, and new spins on the old favourites. It’s not just sushi either, if you like your Japanese in a Bento Box, or you’d rather swing for sashimi, there are plenty of options and they even have Japanese-style potato salad, which I hadn’t ever considered to be a thing before.

Option I Chose: Surf n Turf Roll – grilled steak rolled with steamed prawn and snow-pea sprout, topped with garlic chips and chili flakes, served with sweet onion sauce.
Notable Runner Up: Cheesy Potato Roll – potato salad, sliced carrot and kanpyo with melted cheese, mayo and teriyaki sauce with furikake.

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While the price was a little more than I’d normally spring for sushi, don’t be dissuaded by that finer detail. With generous serving sizes and the option to go for a large or small roll (pictured above), Mr Munchies is a great option for something different on a relative budget. If you’ll permit me one piece of advice however, I’d consider saving this date night for after you’ve learnt to use chopsticks, the large pieces are awkward and I was quite relieved to be eating there alone.

x Casey

Don’t just take my word for it!
Great About Perth, Urban Walkabout and the ever faithful Urban List Perth also have positive things to say about this hidden gem.

 

Mondays are what you make of them

If you’re ever in a position in your life, financially and professionally where you can take four day work weeks, I can’t recommend them highly enough. It’s currently Monday pre-lunch, and instead of sitting at my work desk wishing the time would show 12:30, I’m listening to Rocketeer, looking at wall art of Astro Boy defeating Godzilla and helping myself to free soy-sauce in a cute, empty sushi-bar tucked away off Beaufort St and eating surf’n’turf sushi. I say alone thankfully, because my chopstick skills are non-existent.

munchiesFor someone who has become accustomed to packing every minute of life over the past two months with work, extra curricular volunteering, running and roller hockey, having Mondays to myself the past three weeks has proved to be a creative blessing. Writing has been an interest of mine for a long time, but something I never had the energy or time to focus on long enough for the word vomit to form something marketable. I’ve created a lot in the past, I’m no stranger to blogging, or video production and I can finally say I’ve contributed and even led groups to professional publications, but writing and performing has always been a backdoor ambition, something that took a back seat to filling every moment with preparation for the real world, to give myself the best chance of success possible. Without any regrets however, I can say that I’ve set myself up as well as I possibly can for my future and will always continue to do so, because there can be no sushi without perseverance, but time has finally opened up enough to have a stronger work/life balance, even factoring in four games of hockey and two runs a week.

For the most recent examples of my writing, see the Bayswater Barracudas SRHC Facebook page, where graphic designs are Zac Jury, and text is (most often, Casey Causley).

While there is the handicap of living on a lower wage, there are other benefits of the constant three-day weekend. Having the time to prep meals which saves not only money, but time and health springs to mind as a huge advantage. Sleeping in an extra day when parkrun takes over a Saturday morning, spending a day with the dog so she doesn’t think I completely abandon her, using the time to clean the house and most of all to watch Pretty Little Liars in my pyjamas. But most of all, it gives me the extra time I need to get out and do the things I always said I wanted to do, but never had the time for. Not necessarily on Monday, but when I get to live an active life on the other six days of the week, I can save the recharge time for Monday and begin the work week refreshed.

Unfortunately, having a four day work week is not something that everyone can do, or
afford or even wants to do. But life is all about thinking best case[y] scenario now, and therefore all about focusing less on what it means going without, and more on making the most of what there is.

As for the finer points of Mondays, I think trying new places for lunch is going to become a thing, and I’ll be posting a little more about Mr Munchies and their sushi later tonight, but for now I’ve lurked online for too long today and productivity is calling. Welcome to bestcascenario though.

x Casey