Living Your Best Life Vs Living Beyond Your Means

FeaturedLiving Your Best Life Vs Living Beyond Your Means

The other day, I was picking up my morning coffee before class. It was an expensive affair, from one of those Melbourne speciality cafes that manages to produce miracles out of the simple combination of coffee and milk. As I tipped out my purse to salvage the last few coins that I had left, I got to thinking: Am I spending too much money on ‘treating myself?’. And more broadly, where is that line between ‘living your best life’ and living beyond your means.

The Bigger picture

My generation spends more money on treating themselves than any other generation has before us. This was first highlighted in the news a couple of years ago when Australian millionaire, Tim Gurner, advised Millenials that if they want to get a house, they need to stop wasting money on ‘$22 a pop toast’ and put the money towards a mortgage instead.

Now, I am in no denial as to where my money goes. I only need to log on to my Commonwealth bank account to see that my wages have been spent on numerous transactions for daily coffees, brunches out and a few too many fancy cocktails at the weekend. My bank app even puts my spending into handy categories for me, telling me that I spent $100 more dollars this month than the last on eating out. Whoops.

Living Your Best Life Vs Living Beyond Your Means

In defence of brunch

So, I’ve established where my money is going. Now, what should I do? Work more, pay the rent, say no to Friday night drinks out and save the money instead? Well I know that’s the sensible thing to do- and as an accountants daughter, maybe that should be instinctive. The thing is, what’s life without those little luxuries? What’s the point of living in Melbourne, a city famed for some of the best food and coffee in the world, if I’m making pasta pesto for dinner every night instead. Life’s a balance and if it’s a weighing game between living beyond your means and living your best life, If you’re going do it, do it while you’re young.

I say, Get Smashed, Avo good time and don’t worry about it 

So as I go into another week, I can safely assure you that I’ll be picking up another one of those fancy coffees tomorrow morning- and I’ll be meeting my friend for a bite to eat after that. Of course, life is about balance, and I don’t advise brunching out daily if you can’t afford to pay the bills. However, with that extra little bit of leftover cash, why not treat yourself?

Soon you’ll be so busy in that full-time job, fixing up that house you just bought and paying for the extras that you’ll only dream about the days you had time to eat avo toast in a grungy Melbourne laneway cafe.

What’s your favourite way to treat yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

Confessions Of A Melbourne Barista: Spilling the beans of what it’s like to make coffee in Melbourne 

Confessions Of A Melbourne Barista: Spilling the beans of what it's like to make coffee in Melbourne 

I love the routine that I have going in Melbourne- and when I’m not busy writing or out exploring the city, you’ll find me at my cafe job, making coffees.

Coffee making is something that I’ve been doing on and off for the last few years back in England- ever since I was seventeen and I got my first cafe job. It’s a job that I not only enjoy but it’s one that has enabled me to fund many a trip over the last few years.

If you’ve never done it and you too love drinking coffee and enjoy chatting to the public then I would encourage you to go on a barista course: it’s a valuable set of skills to have that you can use anywhere in the world- plus cafe work can be a lot of fun.

Having said that, before I got to Melbourne I was very doubtful that I’d manage to find a coffee making job at all. Melbourne is famous for its coffee and boasts some of the best baristas and cafes in the world.

I was worried that I wouldn’t make the cut.

Thankfully, by some miracle, I managed to find some work pretty quickly. Since then my coffee-making abilities and my caffeine tolerance have been pushed to the limit- but being a barista has never been more fun than here.

On difficult coffee orders

It’s always when I have a ton of dockets up that I get that request for- an extra hot, dirty chai latte with almond milk, please. To the average person, coffee is coffee, right? Well to many customers there are a lot of variables and common requests include everything from burning hot to weak, 3/4 full, in a mug, made using particular brands of milk or made with varying quantities of foam.

On coconut milk

Soy, almond and lactose-free are fine but I’m sorry coconut milk is just a nightmare to work with.

On regular customers

We have a lot of regular customers who come to get coffee and chatting to them makes my day. Most people are really friendly and will always ask questions about you and what you’re doing. I always try and remember the names of our regulars, but between staff members, we often refer to people by their coffee order instead.

On the people that don’t know what they want

In Melbourne more than any other city, there are a lot of customers who know exactly what they want when it comes to coffee. The other half- Well they don’t have a foggy clue. Requests for ‘just a coffee’ are the norm. Sometimes you’ll bring over a short mac and they’ll laugh or complain that their cappuccino is too foamy. Difficult requests are the worst but those customers that require a breakdown of every single coffee on the menu, well they come pretty close.

On making coffee

Melbourne is famous for its coffee and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what makes the coffee different here to coffee at home in England- and I’m sorry, there is a difference. The fundamentals are that coffees in Australia are generally weaker, with a regular size containing just one shot of espresso. However, the coffee sizes are also smaller here so it evens it out. in Australia, a lot more emphasis is given to the espresso shot here- whereas in England its all about the aesthetics (aka latte art). Here the baristas know the importance of packing the coffee properly and they can spot the difference between an over and under-extracted shot: something that I had to get to grips with.

On coffee making hacks 

A barista will know that there is a difference between a latte and a flat white-despite the cup. That being that a flat white should have virtually no foam. However, if you’re inundated with coffee orders, you can use the same milk to make the two. Just pour the flat white first, holding the milk jug at a height so that the foam doesn’t sit on the coffee. Then use the remainder of the milk to make the latte.

On Magic Coffee 

Contrary to the name, no special powers are required here. Magic coffee is a special Melbourne creation- and it’s quite a particular one. Technically, a magic coffee is like a smaller stronger latte that is made over a double ristretto or restricted espresso ( that’s the first half of the espresso shot only). If you were to serve this is in a normal latte glass, you would then top it up to two thirds full with steamed latte milk.

On Melbourne

There are a lot of fantastic cafes and baristas in Melbourne. I don’t claim to be anywhere near the best however I wanted to assure anyone that’s coming to the city and hoping to find cafe work. There’s a lot of prestige that goes with being a Melbourne Barista- but you don’t have to be a latte art genius or a pro at grinder calibrations to get a job. You need to be chatty, hard-working, enthusiastic and most importantly, you need to have a love of coffee and a drive to find out as much as you can about making and drinking it.

So don’t let your fears hold you back. If you’re looking for a coffee-making job in Melbourne, just get out there, get chatting and hand out some CVs. After all, it’s worth a shot.

Vertue Coffee Roasters: Is This Melbourne’s Quirkiest Cafe?

Vertue Coffee Roasters: Is This Melbourne's Quirkiest Cafe?

Anyone that knows me will be well aware that I like to devote a good proportion of my spare time to hunting out the best coffee around. This week, I took one of those outings to Melbourne’s suburb of Carlton to check out Vertue Coffee Roasters.

This cafe reputation proceeded itself so, it was somewhere that had been on my list for a while. Like all good Melbourne cafes, Vertue coffee is tucked down a narrow alleyway that’s hidden behind the hustle and bustle on Lygon Street. In fact, the only way you’d know it was there is because of the little signpost labeled ‘coffee’, that’s pointing in its direction.

I’m completely in love with the decor of this cafe. The building actually used to be an old stable and as a consequence, it has the high ceilings and a large amount of space that’s generally lacking from Melbourne cafes.

Once you get into the cafe, the first thing to tempt you is the gorgeous selection of cakes and pastries that are displayed next to the takeaway coffee section. Head further in and the cafe opens up into a spacious and bright seating area where you can sit down to a cup of coffee of a full-on brunch.

Vertue Coffee Roasters: Is This Melbourne's Quirkiest Cafe?Vertue Coffee Roasters: Is This Melbourne's Quirkiest Cafe?Vertue Coffee Roasters: Is This Melbourne's Quirkiest Cafe?Vertue Coffee Roasters: Is This Melbourne's Quirkiest Cafe?Vertue Coffee Roasters: Is This Melbourne's Quirkiest Cafe?

Vertue Coffee Roasters, 8 Raffa Place, Carlton, Melbourne 3053

This one of the many quirky cafes that I love in Melbourne. Be sure to check my other cafe suggestions in Melbourne as well as other cafes over the world. 

Melbourne: Favourites Of The Week

operator 25 brunch

 Sakuratte, brunch at Operator 25, Australian Footy and cheap eats at Dodee Paidang

The week is fast approaching that I was set to end my working holiday in Australia, leave Melbourne and head back home. However, I have a surprise for you- I am leaving to travel around Asia for a few weeks with my best friends from home but then, guess what- I’m coming back to Melbourne.

This recent turn in events wasn’t actually an easy decision to come to. Staying here means that I won’t get to see my friends and family for that bit longer and it means that I’m swapping a warm summer in the UK for a cold Australian winter. However, when it came down to it- I’m having way too much fun in Melbourne to go home and quite simply, I’m not done here yet.

Anyway, my upcoming trip to Asia brings the chance to take a break from working, an opportunity share my adventures with you guys on the blog and then a fresh new start when I return to Melbourne mid-July. So, in the meantime, I’ve been soaking up as much of my favourite Australian city as I can and I wanted to share a few of my latest discoveries with you guys. So here we go.

Brunch at Operator 25operator 25 brunch

Brunch at Operator 25

Brunch at Operator 25

Last week, my friend and I decided to spend a hungover day like all true Melburnians do- by going for brunch. We decided to check out one of the city’s favourite brunch spots, Operator 25.

This quirky cafe is housed in Melbourne’s first phone switchboard and it has an eclectic menu with everything from peanut butter caramel french toast to a Japenese octopus omelette on the menu- so Melbourne, I know.  I went for the Matcha and Avocado smoothie bowl and my friend for the pulled pork benedict. Both of which were good and very aesthetically pleasing.

Thai Food on a budget at Dodee Paidang

Another foodie outing I took last week was to Dodee Paidang- a budget Thai eatery housed in an underground basement and that’s repeatedly hailed as one of Melbourne’s best cheap eats. I got here for an early lunch by myself but there was already a queue- looks like it’s a favourite with office workers on their lunch breaks. However, once I sat down my Pad See Ew came almost right away and I was in and out in about 30 minutes. What’s more, lunch only set me back $10.

Sakuratte

Japenese Sakuratte at Little Rogue

Next, I went to one of my favourite Melbourne coffee shops: Little Rogue. I usually come to this cute little cafe for their delicious matcha lattes but last week I decided to try something different and ordered the Sakuratte.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about- a Sakuratte is a milky drink made out of Japenese Sakura Cherry blossom. The drink comes with the blossom syrup drizzled in it which you then have to mix, turning the drink a greyish colour. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I really liked the subtle sweet taste of the drink and it was a really enjoyable caffeine alternative.

melbourne footy match

Experiencing my first Australian Footy match 

You’ll be surprised to hear that my last big Melbourne experience of the week was not food related (well not entirely). I finally made it to an Australian footy match. This had been on my Melbourne bucket list for a while so I was really excited.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this unique Australian sport- let me try and enlighten you. Footie is a contact sport that’s played on an oval-shaped field between two teams of eighteen players. Points are scored by kicking the oval ball between the goal posts (which are essentially large poles with no net). You get six points for a goal.  You can also score a behind in between the back posts (worth one point). The team with the highest number of points at the end of the game wins. What’s interesting is how much of a hybrid between football and rugby this game is- with contact between players and handballing allowed.

I was lucky enough to watch the game at the MCG- Melbournes most impressive stadium, where the atmosphere was insane. I also got myself a meat pie with ketchup on top and a cider- neither of which are my favourite things but I was advised this was how the Australians do it- All for the cultural enrichment, right?

Living and working in a city like Melbourne is so much fun and getting to explore this city slowly is one of the many benefits of doing a working holiday in Australia. Do you have any questions about life on working holiday or suggestions for things to do in Melbourne? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Melbourne: Two Quirky Cafes To Try This Week

Featuredmelbourne little rogue coffee

Little Rogue Coffee and Brother Baba Budan, Melbourne

I can’t believe that it’s already February! Life just seems to be going by way too quickly here in Melbourne. At the start of the new year, I decided that 2019 was going to be the year that I really push myself to achieve my goals (or at least try to). As I’m in Australia on my working holiday, I figured starting the year off on the other side of the world was a good place to start.

So far in between working, writing and seeing friends, It’s fair to say that I’ve not had much downtime. However, there’s always time for coffee (or in this case a Matcha) and I wanted to share a couple of quirky Melbourne cafe with you guys that I’ve stumbled across recently.

melbourne little rogue coffee

melbourne Little Rogue Coffee

melbourne little rogue coffee

Melbourne Little Rogue Coffee

Melbourne Little Rogue Coffee

L I T T L E  R O G U E  C O F F E E 

I’d never really got into the whole Matcha thing. That is until I came to Little Rogue. Their little menu has four main drink options: Black, White, Sakuratte (I’ll be doing a specific post about this drink soon) and Matcha. I’d seen photos of their Matcha lattes online so I decided to pass on my usual Flat White and give it a try: I’m so glad I did. The matcha latte comes slightly sweetened, with really balances out the strong taste of the green tea powder. It was so delicious and I honestly have been daydreaming about it ever since.

I was recommended this cafe by my flatmate’s boyfriend and I don’t think I would have found it on my own. Little Rogue is tucked down a graffiti-filled alleyway and there’s very little to indicate it’s there at all apart from the occasional person emerging through a non-descript door carrying coffee. This quirky cafe even markets itself as being ‘the blue door next to the white cat’.

The cafe is really small inside so the best way to guarantee a seat is to go by yourself. However, if you can bag a seat, It’s one of the most relaxing cafes in Melbourne to pass the time. Little Rogue also has a small selection of cakes to choose from including a delicious looking matcha cheesecake. I’ll be back soon.

melbourne cafe brother baba budanmelbourne cafe brother baba budan

B R O T H E R  B A B A  B U D A N 
I have been wanting to visit this eclectic cafe for a while now and I finally stopped by the other day. This cafe is hailed by coffee snobs all over Melbourne for its fantastic coffee and highly trained barista’s. However, what I went there for, was the aesthetics. Brother Baba Budan has the craziest decor around, with a whole load of chairs hanging off the ceiling: great for your Insta’s. They probably could have done with a few of those on the floor, to be honest, the only downside is that seating is pretty sparse.

There are lots of new blog posts and exciting projects coming up over the next few so stay tuned on the blog. I’m also always on the lookout for any Melbourne related recommendations so please drop me a message if you have any recommendations too.

Melbourne: The Best Cafes For 20- Somethings

FeaturedMelbourne: The Best Cafes For 20- Somethings

I thought that it was time for a bit of Melbourne-related cafe inspiration today and in particular, cafes that are great for 20-somethings. I know that there’s nothing more that my generation loves than spending all of our money eating and drinking but we’re very picky about where we go. It goes without saying that Melbourne with its endlessly growing choice of cafes, is a fantastic city to be a 20-something in, however with so many great cafes to choose from, it can be exhausting trying to choose where to go- especially before you’ve got that coffee in your system, right?

To help you out I’ve put together this list of my favourite cafes for 20-somethings in Melbourne’s CBD. These are cafes serving great coffee and food, with chilled staff, space to sit and work and most importantly, these are cafes that don’t feel imposing to go in to.

Here’s my list of the best cafes for 20-somethings in Melbourne’s CBD

Melbourne: The Best Cafes For 20- Somethings

V A C A T I O N  C A F E

1 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, 3000

Vacation is a really chilled, spacious and welcoming cafe in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. It’s contemporary and bright decor makes it seem like it would be more suited at the beach than in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the city: hence the name I’m guessing. 

Melbourne: The Best Cafes For 20- Somethings

M R  T U L K 

32 Swanston Street, Melbourne, 3000

 Mr Tulk is probably my favourite cafe in Melbourne and it’s quickly becoming one of my regular haunts. This bustling cafe is located right next to the beautiful State Library (a place that everyone visiting Melbourne needs to check out) and its location, plus the fact it was named after the library’s first chief librarian, has transformed the cafe into a student hangout and an ideal place to work or study. If you’re after food then their house -made banana special is award winning- Just saying. 

Melbourne: The Best Cafes For 20- Somethings

B R O T H E R  B A B A  B U D A N 

359 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, 3000

Brother Baba Budan is one Instagrammable Melbourne cafe for sure. This tiny cafe is tucked away on Little Bourke Street and has a really quirky decor with loads of chairs hanging off the ceiling. The baristas are super chilled and the coffee is fantastic. It definitely wins the cool for me.

Melbourne Little Rogue Coffee

L I T T L E  R O G U E 

12 Drewery Lane, Melbourne, 3000

This cosy little cafe is tucked down an alleyway and you wouldn’t know it was there if you weren’t looking for it. This cafe has such a chilled vibe and it’s the nicest place to spend an afternoon in the city. Little Rogue does great coffee but what’s it’s really known for are it’s matcha latte’s- in my opinion the best in all of Melbourne.

Melbourne: The Best Cafes For 20- Somethings

D U K E S  C O F F E E  R O A S T E R S

247-251 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, 3000

You know how I said that us 20 -somethings are picky when it comes to cafes, well you can rest assured that Duke’s really is one of the best in Melbourne. This well established cafe is really popular and it’s best to get there really early if you want to bag a table. Even if you do have a wait though, it’s worth it for a fantastic cup of their own roasted coffee and their huge cake and pastry selection. Great vegan options available.

Melbourne: The Best Cafes For 20- Somethings

J O U R N A L  C A F E

253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, 3000

Journal cafe is about as Melbournian a cafe as you can get so it’s great if you want to feel just like a local. Journal is located in the city centre on bustling Flinders Lane in the same building as the City Library. It’s the ideal place to grab a bite to eat and a cup of coffee in the morning. The upstairs canteen is the best place to people watch from as its window seats overlook the crowds wandering through the busy Centre Place laneway. 

Melbourne: The Best Cafes For 20- Somethings

T U L I P  C O F F E E

7 Delgraves Street, Melbourne, 3000

I love Tulip Coffee so much. It’s a really tiny little place located on Delgraves Street right opposite Flinders Station and it’s absolutely gorgeous. The staffs are always welcoming, the atmosphere is always calm and the whole place is pink so it’s another place that is good for your Insta’s.

melbourne cafe brother baba budan

 

I’ve only just touched the surface of Melbourne’s coffee scene in this blog post but don’t worry, I’ve got plenty more time here to explore and copious amounts of coffee to drink. Keep a lookout for my next post where I’ll be exploring the cafes in Melbourne’s inner-city suburbs such as Cartlon, Fitzroy, South Melbourne and St Kilda. Any must visit cafe recommendations? As always, drop me a comment below.

Hoi An Roastery Cafe Review Hoi An

review cafe hoi an roastery

Best for: Vietnamese coffee, International coffee, cakes, lunch, solo coffee outings

The beautiful lantern filled ancient town of Hoi An in Vietnam is somewhere that holds  a special place in my heart. It was a place that I had been desperate to visit for long time and when I went there on my solo travels in Asia Last year, I loved it even more than I’d expected to- in fact I loved it so much that I stayed twice the length of time that I’d originally intended. So, what makes Hoi An so special?

What I loved moved about Hoi An was its sheer beauty. Narrow lanes, covered in colourful hanging lanterns, with a little river running through the centre of it. There’s no denying that the town is touristy but having said this, it somehow manages to maintain its authenticity. I loved tucking into a big bowl of noodles at the bustling Central Market in the day, perusing the night market in the evenings and of course exploring the many wonderful cafes that Hoi An has to offer.

There are a lot of places to get your caffeine fix in Hoi An and out of all them, Hoi An Roastery was my favourite.  It’s actually a local cafe chain and they have six locations in the town but my favourite one was their original location by the Japanese bridge. I came here most days to  read my book and enjoy a Ca Phe Sua Da or an egg coffee.

review cafe an hoi roastery an hoi

review cafe an hoi roastery an hoi

review cafe an hoi roasters an hoi

The Decor

What I loved about Hoi An Roastery was the way that it managed to look really contemporary yet still in keeping with Hoi An’s traditional buildings. All of the cafes locations are all really spacious, light and open plan. That means that even if it rains- and when I was in Vietnam it rained a lot- it still felt like I was outside in the hustle and bustle of the towns streets even if I sat inside. Each and every one of the cafes locations offers a different scenic view of Hoi An. The cafe by the Japanese Bridge was my favourite for people watching but I also loved the upstairs balcony on the one by temple and the views over the river from its riverside location too.

The Menu

Hoi An Roastery specialises in great coffee- in fact they source their own beans from nearby in Dalat, roast them in Hoi An and they have the best range of coffees around. While I would always advise to stick to the more traditional Vietnamese coffees (because once you get a taste for Vietnamese condensed milk coffee there is no going back), they also do fantastic espresso based coffees, great for travellers missing a taste of home. They also offer a section of sandwiches, traditional Vietnamese dishes and cakes. My advice- get the banana bread.

I’m not going to sit back and pretend these are the cheapest cafes in Hoi An- the little street side stalls frequented by the locals will always be your best bet, Hoi An Roastery’s cafes are however, still fairly cheap and as a chain, it beats Starbucks anytime.