Lesson #1: Rome wasn’t built in a day.

It was a cobble-stoned, garlic infused, balmy night that we arrived in Rome, and the days that turned into nights- and vice versa – were no less magically authentic. In the dark, we would chase through the silent, lamp lit avenues with new best-friends, and as morning dawned we would explore this ancient city purely in the direction of our latest gelato cravings. My time in Rome truly was all fun and games, and these are the lessons I learnt.

  1. Know that there is only one place to stay.

And that is: Yellow Hostel.

Like the Colosseum, this place is a Roman Institution. If you’ve ever stayed there, you’ll rave about it to anyone that even drops the Rome bomb on talks of their travel plans, and if you haven’t yet been to Rome, then I’ll be THAT guy (girl) now.

You need to stay here! Besides what you’d think, this place isn’t yellow, the beds aren’t yellow and the reception girls aren’t dressed in yellow body paint. It’s a useless name really, but one you need to remember.

Be completely lured by the bar and outdoor area upon arrival, and be utterly ready to relinquish your attempts at Merlot aided Italian sophistication, in exchange for €1 shots freely poured by your new favourite bartender. Let these run their course and give you the confidence to partake in dance-offs, to the songs that will compose the “EUROTRIP ‘14 YEEWWWWW” playlist you will keep on your iPod forever.

The Yellow.

The Yellow.

  1. Skip breakfast.

You’re in Rome, why waste a perfectly good meal opportunity on breakfast when you can go straight for the main attraction. Pizza and fettuccine, I’m talking to you!

There are way too many places offering “the best pizza” on the block, and it seems that homemade pastas are a standard procedure. My best advice is to see if Nonna is out the back whipping up her traditional Bolognese. Yum!

Breakfast of Champions.

Breakfast of Champions.

  1. Pop bottles.

Water bottles that is, and take advantage of all those random water fountains streaming pools of ice cold H2O.

Acqua Fresca!

Acqua Fresca!

  1. Try before you buy.

This is a universal rule, but even more vital when it comes to gelato.

Always, always try, and if they didn’t give you enough on the taster spoon, try again, you’ve only got two scoops, make them 2 to remember.

Memorable scoops.

Memorable scoops.

  1. Make yourself at home.

Hostel style.

When it’s disco-nap time, it’s disco-nap time, and a disco-nap requires all the love it can get.

Most of the time, the world keeps going when nap hour begins, so you are generally free to dominate the dorm room. Our favourite plan of attack was to place all of our mattresses in the middle of the room and have a good old afternoon spoon, or Siesta – call it what you want.

When annoyed dorm mates enter and object to your dictatorship over the 12 bed room, just ask them if they want to join – they are probably just jealous. In the off chance they reject your offer, pretend to fall back asleep.

DIY bedding arrangements.

DIY bedding arrangements.

  1. Cover up.

Against popular demand, all churches and religious places worth seeing require a huge lack of skin on show. In the risk of spending unnecessary cash on a nun-length dress you will never wear again, or worse, wearing pants on a 34C day, grab a scarf and wrap it around a few times.

Voilà! New skirt, with the added functionality of being twirled off and stuffed back in your bag immediately after you exit the Vatican.

After all, you need to let those legs breathe, and that tan to keep developing. Thank me later.



  1. Ask for a skinny latte.

Just for fun. Know this, Skinny Milk is not a ‘thing’ in Italy. Go fat or go home!

No chance in skinny heaven.

No chance in skinny heaven.


These are the commandments, if you’re in Rome, you must follow accordingly.


Mornings in Thornbury-ish, Melbourne.

Thursdays are my current “trav” day, and by “trav”, I am acutely referring to travel. I just thought I’d cut the word short, because I am not travelling overseas, interstate or even outside my city: I am simply travelling in my land vessel  (car) to a new ‘burb.

The “Hood” in question: Preston, a.k.a the resident location of my latest efforts at being a cool, hipster intern.

So basically, the Preston/Northcote/Thornbury areas are quite foreign to this south-eastern gal, and for anyone completely lost, I am talking about the regions of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Southern Hemisphere, World, Earth, 3rd Planet from the Sun, Universe.

And yeah, in the realm of travelling, a 50km radius is hardly any cause for commotion, homesickness or a packed lunch, but I am a travelling fanatic, so any excuse to wear my Dora the Explorer mentality is met with obscene amounts of enthusiasm.

Hence, here is my first attempt at travel writing, ironically, on an area somewhat close to my hometown.

Let me give you a prologue: I HATE traffic.

Traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, slow drivers, peak hour, unnecessary road works, tractors unfit to accelerate above 15k/h (I Mean seriously, why don’t farmers just run more, it would be THAT much faster – and yes, I am a seasoned farm girl and tractors, as well as horses are not unusual on my local roads), school zones and – did I already say – peak hour traffic?

So you get the gist, I HATE TRAFFIC. In order to avoid the experience of annoyingly stalled vehicles, I leave my house 2 hours before humanly appropriate, in order to arrive at my location prior to the emergence of the said roadblocks.

This early bird fixture leaves me with ample free time before my 9am start. Hence, the opportunity to explore unknown lands, and in this case, neighbor-hoods.

In these wee hours of the morning, there is so much room for activities and I am glad to report that the strolls, chirpy baristas, haunted churches and Colombian Single-origin espressos have been quite delightful, and if you happen to find yourself in a similar predicament, here are my top picks:

1. Take a stroll through the Yarra Flats Park: The Main Yarra Trail goes through some pretty neat areas, just be careful for those helmet –wearing bandits on two-wheels, you may just get run-over.

Main Yarra Trail, Yarra Flats Park, Melbourne.

Main Yarra Trail, Yarra Flats Park, Melbourne.

Main Yarra Trail, Yarra Flats Park, Melbourne.

Main Yarra Trail, Yarra Flats Park, Melbourne.

Memorial, Yarra Flats Park, Melbourne.

St. John’s Anglican Church, Melbourne.

St. John’s Anglican Church, Melbourne.

2. Little Henri: Super talkative baristas are always a plus, and this place has really nice toilets, and a courtyard. Actually, make that an AWESOME courtyard. You’ll love life until you realize you can pay by cash only, and your phone fails to find the non-existent Wi-Fi (how am I going to check-in now?). C’mon Henri, c’mon.

Little Henri, Melbourne.

Little Henri, Melbourne.

Little Henri, Melbourne.
Image by @kleeborg via Instagram.

Little Henri on Urbanspoon

3. Lowlands: legit a hop-skip-and-jump across from Little Henri lays a place where Santa comes early, in the form of: EFTPOS, Wi-Fi, Clap your hands say Yeah! Gleaming from the speakers, incredible coffee, even better iced teas, delicious bagels (so I’ve heard), nicer baristas, and wait for it: THE BEST GODDAMN COURTYARD I HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED IN MY LIFE!Huge call, but I stand by it 100%.

Picture this: you died in a sea of marshmallows, which became clouds, and propelled you to the golden gates of heaven itself. That, my friends, is what you experience when you head to Lowlands is. It would be rude, NOT to go there!

Lowlands, Melbourne.

House Blend Magic. Lowlands, Melbourne.

Iced Tea.

Iced Tea. Lowlands, Melbourne.

So there are my Thornbury Morning Picks. These will be totally relevant if like me, you are interning on High Street, hate traffic, like long walks on the beach, enjoy fondue by the fire and have time to kill in Melbourne’s North.

Keep Experimenting! xo

The ‘not-so-chocolate’ ripple.


Even though I clearly said “not-so-chocolate”, don’t pretend  your not already  frothing at the mouth as you imagine yourself devouring one of grandma’s guilt-ridden, brandy-soaked, cream-filled, peppermint-crisp topped chocolate ripple cakes.

But seriously, this post has nothing to do with your lovely Nanna, her roses, how good she is at knitting, or even  just being so adorably cute….or her famous chocolate ripple cake.

It has to do with this ‘ripple’ thing I’ve been experimenting with lately.

I am yet to determine the proper name for it, and it’s been the first time that old mate Google hasn’t been able to hook me up with a credible answer from his mate, wiki.

So ill try explain it.

Basically, I recently started working at a cute little cafe, and appointed myself a little mission to make every customer I serve smile – this was especially exciting when a stressed/rude/ignorant customer would come to the counter.

What I found is that, with just a little nudge, everyone: the run-down mum, the senile old man, the time-poor executive, the ambitious 20-something chick with the amazing windsor flats and perfect ombré (I must ask who her hairdresser is), are all capable of having an AMAZING day.

What got me excited, was thinking about how the course of their day had now been altered, by my teeny-tiny, one-dimpled, colgate-brushed SMILE.

I am a massive advocate for the whole “law of attraction”, “you are what you think”, “get what you give” etc., etc. movement, and it is profound to think about how circumstances, events and occurrences may have changed as a  result of an altered perspective.

Sure, I only gave Mark his weak cap in a latte mug with extra chocolate dusting and a side of a friendly grin, but I wonder if that little extra, just maybe, inspired him to do something nice for the next person he came into contact with, and then if that person did the same…… and then if that person did the same……and then if that person did the same……and then if that person did the same……and then if that person did the same…….

You get where I’m going with this right?

Moral of the story, start a ripple (it will fit your macros I swear!).

I challenge you to do just one thing nice for someone, and rest happy knowing that you’ve actually changed the world, albeit in a small way.

PS. For anyone who is not shredding for stereo, heres a chocolate ripple recipe.