Sometimes glimpses are just enough to stir something inside of you.
There’s a beast we try to tame inside all of us and moments like these ignite its repressed desire to be let loose. Afterall a cage was never fit for any beast, least of not, the beast that quietly resides within us.
You’d told me before that one decision could completely change our lives. One step off the pavement could lead to a fantasy come true, all you needed to do was to make that step. With you shining the light in the crack, I felt it once again; I felt the enormous power of potential and the lurch of a moving heart. It makes you think that if only you wished it, one day you could really have it all.
And they don’t stop calling her that.
Even when she’s tainted, closed off or on the brinks of an inevitable end. Because the moment she bloomed was the moment she’d be remembered for, forever.
It’s somewhat dangerous when it’s gone.
Because now you feel nothing. You’re drained. Empty…
But everybody wants to feel something.
So, you begin to search, trying to alleviate yourself from hollow voids, from the boredom that walks with you in life, from being nothing, to find anything that will make you believe you are something.
Even if it means crashing into rocks, fueling yourself with poison, loving recklessly or setting your heart on fire.
Yes, it may gone, but it’s a dangerous game trying to get it back.
Location: Shop 391 (Level 3), 1 Anderson Street Westfield, Chatswood NSW
Monday – Sunday (8am-4pm)
Open late Thursdays (8am-9pm)
A very suitably-named botanic oasis inside Westfield that definitely lives up to the hype. Filled with flowers and an assortment of plants suspended in terracotta pots, it feels like you’re having one of those much-needed moments with nature… Only you’re sitting under a glasshouse of a busy shopping centre.
Cold Drip Filtered Coffee $7
The coffee had strong flavours and delicate, sweet undertones. Really nicely presented on a silver tray with a touch of flora.
Chai Latte $4
This is exactly how I like my chai lattes; creamy with hints of sweetness and peppered with cinnamon on top.
Ocean Trout Bagel $21
If Spring were translated into a dish, I’m guessing it would probably look like this. It’s pretty, refreshing and filling all at the same time. There was the crunch from the croquette and toasted bagel, sweetness from the apple and beetroot, gooeyness from the poached egg and the smoky flavour from the house cured ocean trout. I loved this dish and would definitely recommend it.
Aussie Beef Burger with Fries and Bacon $21
The burger was great with a juicy patty and generous fillings of pineapple, beetroot and caramelised onion. The fries, however, tasted like dry cardboard after some time… The lady next to us had left a whole plate of fries unfinished and I get why because they really don’t taste good when they’ve been sitting for even 10min. So eat them quick! And I’d probably ask for sauce too.
Lychee and Mint Shake $7.5
Great distinct flavours in a gorgeous shade of pale green. Very satisfying lychee taste which wasn’t too overpoweringly sweet; just very icy! I constantly got brain freezes and became a shivering mess so I’d only recommend this when you feel hot and in dire need to cool down.
Coffee lovers will enjoy this. Once again, a very strong, bitter black coffee with an extremely smooth texture.
This space is like every girl’s guilty pleasure. I didn’t want to leave. There were so many pretty corners and you really feel like you’ve walked into a refreshing oasis. Only thing is, I felt a bit pressured to eat somewhat quickly as you’ll constantly see waitresses’ talking in their earpieces about seatings and ushering people in and out.
Overall though, it’s a beautiful space and a great place for a catch-up. However, keep in mind that this is a really popular cafe so you might need to wait before being seated. If you’d like to get in quickly, definitely go on a weekday and stay clear of the weekends where you could wait for about 40min. Nonetheless, I would definitely come back to try more of their menu. It’s designed by the people that brought you the Grounds of Alexandria so trust me in saying that it’s a visual paradise.
Recommended: Chai latte, Ocean Trout Bagel
Located: Newtown Railway station, 324A King St, Newtown NSW
Monday – Friday (6am – 4pm)
Saturday (8am – 4pm)
Sunday (8am – 3pm)
Newtown is definitely a foodie hub that I want to explore more of so I dropped by one afternoon for a quick meal at Cuckoo Callay. This cafe is tucked right outside Newtown Station and you feel so at-home once you set foot inside. The waitress was so lovely and helped give this cafe much of its pleasant character. Classic white walls and sleek awnings frame the exterior but when you look closer, there are definite drops of retro, as you’ll see with their lighting, flooring and tables/chairs.
When this was brought out, it looked like another level of coffee; it looked so incredibly silky and milky. I don’t think this photo does any justice because I crown this as the most beautiful coffee I’ve ever seen. Their coffees use a house blend called ‘Alchemy’ which is produced locally in Marrickville.
Chamellia Organic Matcha Green Tea Latte $4.5
This looked really kawaii. I appreciate the Hello Kitty and its organic origins, but it just tasted like warm milk. The green tea flavour was too subtle to notice.
The Sideways Shuffle $24
This dish reminds me of summer. It’s light, refreshing, colourful and dotted with little blobs of lemon jelly and flowers. The egg actually toppled off when they served it, so when you get your Sideways Shuffle, it will look taller and grander than shown. I’m actually really into eggs when they’re cooked this way; 63 degrees, in wobbly form and encased in slippery egg white. The blue swimmer crab cake was also really delicious with the avocado, corn and salsa bits. A very satisfying and tasty dish.
We Found Mary’s Lamb $23
As its name suggests, this was not a great ending for the lamb. This dish was on the drier side with tough meat despite being cooked for 8 hours. The ingredients didn’t seem to blend as well as I imagined it would when I had read it on the menu; the ingredients just felt separate from each other. Despite there being Israeli couscous, spicy chermoula marinated eggplant, minted yoghurt and pistachios, there was no magical umami blend. It sounded fancy on paper but it was nothing special.
M.A.C CosmeChips $14
Another case of, “I got this because it looked good on Instagram.” I don’t even like Mac n Cheese but I hoped that eating pretty food would mean a satisfying meal. When I had my first bite, I almost felt happy-tears. It is truly the perfect combination of flavours and ingredients; there is nothing not to love about this dish. Cheesy and creamy textures with flavoursome bacon bites and really good chips. This is a must-try.
Cuckoo Callay is a gem with great vibes and a fairly extensive menu. Gluten-free options and a kids menu are available plus believe it or not, a pets menu. There are various cocktails, beers and wines too for those anytime drinkers.
One thing I love about this cafe is their commitment to ethical trading practices and their local sources. It definitely does its part for the community, enforcing a positive change in the way we consume and source food. I think a lot of people will appreciate their free-range eggs, award-winning pork, Jersey cow milk (my favourite!) and freshly handpicked vegetables.
Really wanted to try some cakes and desserts afterwards, but for 2 people, the 3 dishes we ordered were more than enough.
Recommended: M.A.C CosmeChips, The Sideways Shuffle
As the Olympians have been preparing to compete in Rio, I’ve been making my way to piano eisteddfods in pretentious dresses that I’ve found no occassion for otherwise. It doesn’t sound like much of an event, and honestly it isn’t when compared to something like the Olympics, but when I thought about my long hiatus from competitive stages, the stress made it seem larger than life.
During this period of preparation, I actually noticed that sport and music were really similar; the endless hours of training and practise, the bid to push yourself to move just those milliseconds faster, the determination to be your absolute best. Both careers mandate excellence in high-pressure environments and both sportsmen and musicians alike aim to get one step closer to perfection with each new day. There’s so much work to be done behind the scenes, so much pressure to be at your peak form that with music, I find it is just as much about refined technique as it is tremendous passion and just as much about frustration and failure as it is about enrichment of the soul.
It’s been 5 long years… I have really taken a great deal of time off from the competitive side of piano-playing and I feel the years would likely have rolled on into eternity had I not snapped out of my self-encasing doubt.
Piano competitions used to be a religious routine since I was 7, but as a kid, it was different; you just did it. Your parents enrolled you in something and it was just another activity to do to pass the time in your day. As adults though, oftentimes stress, illogical emotions and the ease with which you can simply choose to give up finds itself in the mix and it really stops you from being in an ideal state of mind. As each year whizzed by during this time off, I lost more and more chunks of my sense of foundation and my need to perform at a high-standard.
My purpose in playing was chipping away and I dipped my toes in other things, trying to find the passion I felt I had lost. However, with the numerous new beginnings I realised one important thing; the problem was never really with piano itself. The problem was actually always with me.
The issue wasn’t with what I was doing, it was with how I was doing it. It was simply a lack of zest with my approach to my activities which caused this internal conflict to build up, making me think that I was better suited to other things. So many people seem to fall into this trap; they chase passions blindly, thinking that they can find happiness simply by pursuing a different path. However, they usually find that they’re just as miserable as before even in new settings. Attitude is the absolute key. So instead of trying to search for passion, try taking passion into the work that you are doing. This shift in perception makes you realise that happiness can be found almost anywhere. For me, in these recent weeks, I’ve become more and more aware of my direction, learning a lot about myself, others and life in the process.
In terms of what I’ve rediscovered, I think the attribute I’m most thankful to re-embody is confidence and belief in myself. I actually have some friends to thank for making me see myself in another light, making me see the limits I had unconsciously imposed.
Fear stops you from doing a great deal. It makes you become comfortable with not trying, enclosing you behind pretty fences, leaving you to doubt your potential and capabilities. Don’t do that, don’t allow yourself to stagnate. Life, you’ll find, exists between your greatest fear and your deepest desire. Just make sure you keep dancing in between.
“Don’t you think it’s better to be extremely happy for a while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?”
“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.”
– Marsha Norman