Hidden Gems of Melbourne: Laneway Bars and Cafes

Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Every city seems to have fabulous little cafes, bars, and restaurants tucked into areas only locals seem to know how to find. Melbourne has no shortage of amazing secret laneway eateries. But often, it can be impossible to know where to start looking. Often, you can walk right past the entrance of these bars and cafes with little knowledge they even exist. But I braved the hustle and bustle of the CBD to find some of these amazing, hidden laneway gems.

Spending the day sightseeing all around Melbourne? Are you hungry but not quite hungry enough for a full meal? Tired of being around heaps of people? MoVida is the place you've been searching for! Many people flock to Hosier Lane to see the incredible artwork, but it's quite easy to overlook the little cafes and eateries along this lane. MoVida offers a quiet sanctuary for a quick rest while allowing guests to view the incredible street art. While the menu can become quite expensive, one can quickly grab a few tapas and a glass of wine without spending heaps. This is the perfect retreat to recharge your batteries before taking on the rest of Melbourne’s CBD. 

Lane’s Edge
Do not be fooled by the address; there is a hidden laneway cafe here. There are two entries to this cafe: one being on Bourke Street and the other on Meyers Place. The front section of the cafe tends to be where most enter and stay. But if you walk through a door and down a short narrow hallway, you'll find the secret garden. On most days, you'll be able to enter the garden via a small door on Meyers Place. This place is perfect if you want to feel secluded from the hustle and bustle of the busy CBD. Food is available in both the cafe and the gardens. Perfect for after work drinks or a quick drink when in the city, make sure this is a stop on any trip to the CBD.

Loop Roof
Hidden close to Parliament Station is this beautiful, rooftop bar. Be prepared to walk up a few flights of stairs to reach this bar. Trust me, the walk to the top is well worth it. This bar has fantastic decor, a great view of Parliament, and allows for some pretty amazing sunset views. Worried about freezing during the winter months? Don't! There are outdoor heating lamps to help keep you warm. This bar is ideal for after work drinks or anyone who enjoys photography. Loop Roof has an excellent selection of small share plates, perfect for after work drinks. If you're there during winter, try the astounding mulled wine and a glazed bourbon doughnut. I am a sucker for a good mulled wine. 

Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters
With the abundance of cafes in Melbourne, it can be quite challenging to figure out which ones to try. Hash has found a secret to get you interested in the cafe. Not only do they have amazing coffees, but they also have a speciality hot chocolate! This is no ordinary hot chocolate but a fairy floss hot chocolate! You heard correctly... Fairy Floss Hot Chocolate! Like something out of a science experiment, you're presented with a massive mound of fairy floss and your hot chocolate in a science beaker. From there, you get the enjoyment of pouring your hot chocolate over the fairy floss and watching the fairy floss disintegrate. It's perfect for little ones and adults. I will be 100% honest; I am not one for coffee. It has never been my thing. But I decided to give the ice coffee a go at hash. Holy heck was it delicious! I highly recommend it. 

Bowery to Williamsburg
This used to be a cute little New York inspired cafe down Hardware Lane. If you stumble down Hardware Lane, you will see Bowery to Williamsburg still rests tucked into the charming brick facade. But do not be fooled. It is not longer an American’s sanctuary; it is now Bowery to Williamsburg Tel Aviv. If you want an amazing bagel with schmear, you’ll need to travel to Oliver Lane. And now I want a pastrami sandwich. Excuse me while I go indulge. 

If you’ve ever been to Melbourne, what are some of your favourite hidden laneway bars and cafes? Do you have any favourite hidden bars and cafes in your hometown? Be sure to share them in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

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5 Reasons Why You Should Never Diet Again

Wednesday, 10 May 2017
It has been theorised that most diets will fail within the first week. Not only will most people fail at their diet, they actually have a higher chance of gaining weight after. I will be the first to admit, when I was younger I attempted to diet. Actually, let’s be 100% honest, I wouldn’t call it dieting in the slightest. Any time I’ve “dieted”, I’ve actually danced around an eating disorder. My version of dieting, extreme restriction with allocated binge days. Sounds totally healthy right?

After I got diagnosed with my autoimmune disorder, I went to the other extreme. I followed the list of what most people can eat. This did not work for me for one big reason: NOT EVERY PERSON IS THE SAME. For example, most people with Crohn’s tend to be able to eat soy. It’s often encouraged to remove dairy entirely from your diet and substitute it with soy. Yea...no….Soy is a huge NO for me. I’m pretty sure smelling it causes my body to hate me.

So how was I able to redirect my inherent American nature to cater to the extremes? It definitely took some time, but through a lot of experimentation I’ve found a few tips on why diets simply do not work for me and why I will never diet again:

The body tends to rebel. I may be alone in this stance, and that’s ok. Whenever I try to diet or restrict what I’m eating, I begin to obsess with all the foods I cannot eat. Usually, my body tends to crave pretty healthy foods. In a sense, your body starts to go through a type of withdrawal which can often leave you lacking energy and moody. This tends to occur when we decide to restrict too much at once. An easy way to fix this (if you are choosing to diet), slowly add changes and restrictions. Start the first week by cutting out fast food. The following week cut out soda. Continue to eliminate foods from your diet until you reach your goal.

Eating foods, you do not like for the sake of them being healthy. I feel like I constantly hear people complain about how much they hate what they're eating when dieting. This seems like an obvious solution, but maybe DON’T EAT FOOD YOU DON’T LIKE. If you’re not enjoying the foods you’re eating, the chances are that diet is going to crash and burn fast.

Social Pressure. In most cultures, social gatherings tend to revolve around food. Whether it be nightly family dinners, catching a meal with friends, or going out for coffee on a first date, we tend to reward ourselves with food. When you’re on a diet, this social aspect of your life can be severely hindered. You may have all the self-restraint in the world, but eventually, you’ll be tempted to eat a few chips or have that small bite of cake. From there, it’s very likely that the diet will be destroyed and self-deprecation will set in leaving you feeling like a failure.

The Mental Health Implications. You may be asking yourself, “How can diets cause mental health issues?”. When most people diet, they restrict various things in their diet. They tend to make goals such as no fast food, no added sugars, and no soft drinks. But what happens when you slip up and have a ginger ale? Or when you forgot to grab your lunch one morning and needed to quickly run through a drive-thru? Chances are, you’re going to get upset and beat yourself up because you slipped up. One can often become incredibly frustrated or depressed because of this. Instead of setting goals for what you’re going to remove, you should focus on what you’re going to add. This way, even if you eat a little amount of the food or only go on a short walk, you’re going to feel accomplished and better about yourself.

The final reason why I hate diets is definitely a personal one. I don’t diet because of my autoimmune disorder. I’m already extremely limited on the foods I’m able to eat, why push the envelope and make it worse? I can't cut carbs out of my diet as carbs tend to keep my disorder stable. I can't eat too many leafy greens, fibre, or acidic foods as it tends to exacerbate my symptoms

Unfortunately, western society has very much become influenced by instant gratification. We want access to everything immediately. This is where the appeal of certain diets come into play. We want to lose the weight now and fast. But the weight didn’t magically appear in one day did it? NO! It gradually accumulated. This is why it is important to make healthy, permanent lifestyle changes. It’s ok to eat healthy foods and occasionally have a burger. The world will not end because of it.

What are your thoughts on diets? Have any diets have worked for you? Let us know in the comments below!

And until next time...

Stay Curious!

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5 Secrets to Hosting Visitors When You Live in a Foreign Country

Wednesday, 3 May 2017
Moving to a foreign country can be one of the scariest, most exciting things you could possibly do. There's the excitement of experiencing a new culture, making new friends, and seeing a new part of the world. But with the excitement comes a little bit of sadness. This is the sadness of leaving behind the familiar as well as friends and family. Everyone says they're going to come visit, but living on the other side of the world, coming from a country who frowns upon its workers actually taking their holiday doesn't equate to a lot of people coming to visit. But occasionally, after about a year or so of planning, people will come to visit!

It can feel slightly overwhelming knowing that you will have visitors (for probably a long period of time). But fear not! Whether its family or friends, there are a few simple things that can help the visit go smoothly: