October 16, 2014

Let them eat brioche

It's long been fabled that Marie-Antoinette once uttered the words "let them eat cake" and with that set the wheels of the French Revolution into motion. Or in French, qu'ils mangent de la brioche. Literally translated into English, it actually means "let them eat brioche" and while that perhaps doesn't have quite the same ring to it when said in English, the rich, buttery and decadent bread that is brioche is as good a stand in for cake as you can get. While there's no verifiable historical evidence that Marie-Antoinette ever said such a thing, in fact it's hotly contested, what is undeniable is quite simply how delicious brioche is.

I generally don't eat much bread, not at all due to any carb phobia (goodness no!) but just because bread isn't something I like that much. I don't regularly eat sandwiches or toast, however bread like products such as croissants get the big tick of approval from me. I ate croissants daily for breakfast when in France. Of course. That's what you do. Brioche is another delight I regularly enjoyed in France and it's been a disappointment to not have been able to find a decent brioche in Perth. However, if you're after a good croissant look no further than Jean Pierre Sancho.

When I received an invitation from V Burger Bar to the launch event for their brioche burger range, the little Franchophile in me was of course interested. Burger and brioche. It's genius, really. I've had the brioche burger at Rockpool Bar on a couple of occasions and using the brioche as the bun really does turn the humble burger into something of a masterpiece.

Starter #1: crumbed mushrooms with spicy mayo
Starter #2: Crumbed haloumi
The new range has been a couple of months in the making, according to their chef Anthon who told me that it took many back and forths with their baker to get the brioche just right. Offering up the Americana, your classic style beef burger; the Piggy Back which is a delicious tender boneless pork rib and the cheesy and crunchy meat free Space Mushroom, the brioche range is worth trying. The soft and squidgy brioche is like a buttery cushion for your meat, or mushroom if you're on your meat free grind. Often when I eat burgers, I leave about a quarter of the bun but with my brioche, I scoffed the lot.

Thank you again to all the staff of V Burger Bar for the invitation. The brioche range is available at their East Victoria Park and Floreat stores from Friday 17 October, and guess what? It's half price for Friday through to Sunday so that means we can all eat brioche.


All photography by Shu Daniels of SOUL of SHU.  

V Burger Bar on Urbanspoon V Burger Bar - Floreat on Urbanspoon

October 10, 2014

Get Lucky, homie.

It should come as no surprise, if you have read anything I've ever written in this little space of mine,  for me to say that I immensely enjoy a good meal. One which may or may not be accompanied by an equally satisfying alcoholic beverage. I'm not a food blogger. I just like to eat. Part of this includes checking out newly opened venues in Perth. I have my old favourites, but I'm always looking to add more to this list.

It's one thing to try out a new place within the first week or two of its opening but it's an entirely different thing to dine at a venue that is so new it hasn't even opened. In fact, so new that the construction of it isn't even complete, but that's what I did last night at Lucky Chan's Laundry + Noodle Bar in Northbridge.

Chefs waiting to feed us
Invited by Team Chan to be amongst the first to get a taste of what will be on offer, once construction is complete and the doors are officially flung open, the night was an opportunity to learn more about what Lucky Chan is planning to bring to the dining scene of Perth and of course, taste their culinary offerings.

Lucky Chan is the creation of the dynamos behind The Classroom and is a true labour of love for them. They've rolled up their sleeves to demolish the existing buildings and are working through the day in rebuilding the premises before they head off to their jobs at the bar.

Not just investing their physical resources into Lucky Chan, they are also busy working on ensuring that their recipes, techniques and ingredients are top notch. Just in perfecting their ramen recipe the chefs toiled for months to make sure that it was not only delicious but also authentically honoured the Asian roots of the dish.

We were treated to this ramen, the comforting broth filled with sliced pork and a slow poached 62-degree egg. The noodles themselves were superbly made. Washed down with a choya umeshu cocktail, it was a great introduction to Lucky Chan. Along with ramen and other noodle dishes, they also plan to include dumplings on the menu.

Before all this can happen though, the restaurant needs to be finished. They need a roof over their heads. Literally. One portion of the restaurant is still without a roof and there's still much work to be done. It's this part where they are looking for the ramen loving folk of Perth to get involved.

Lucky Chan is currently crowd funding to get its doors open and the ramen and dumplings (plus other dishes which I will keep a secret) into your bellies. If you want to be part of what is possibly the first ever crowdfunded restaurant, visit their site and get to pledging. Not only will you get the warm and fuzzies but there's plenty of different rewards to choose from. Get Lucky!

October 05, 2014

Snap 'n' Share

During Telstra Perth Fashion Festival I was provided with the Instax SP-1 Share and film by Fujifilm Australia for the purpose of this post, however opinions regarding the product are my own and without bias.

I can remember my utter excitement and delight the first time I saw an instant camera in use. Of course I had seen them on TV and in movies but at that time so few people had them and the idea of this camera that instantly printed your photo was quite the novelty. 

One day while out shopping with my mother a rep spruiking these cameras offered to take our photo. I think I was around seven years of age. Seeing it develop before my eyes was indeed some kind of sorcery. We didn't ever own one of these cameras and as the years passed I saw them being used less and less but their cool factor remained. 

There is something about instant photography that continues to draw us likes flies to honey. We climb into instant photo booths and wait around eagerly to see our photos drop down the chute. We love the candidness it offers; the ability to freeze that moment in time with just one click. 

It's been many decades since the first instant camera was introduced to the market and we are now living in the social media world. Dominated by Facebook and Instagram, it's never been easier to share our photos. Instagram, and other photo editing apps, have also never made it easier for us to look like we are on our A-game each and every day. That was the one thing you couldn't control with an instant camera; what you saw through the viewfinder is what you got and sometimes what you saw through the viewfinder wasn't even what developed on the film with a head or limb getting lost in the process.

But Fujifilm has changed all of that. Imagine pairing the fun of instant photography with the ability to edit your photo and know exactly what it looked like before it printed? Your mind is blown, right? No more wasted film packs because you looked a hot mess or half your friend's head was missing from the shot. 

The Instax SP-1 Share is the newest product to the Fujifilm range of instant photography products. Almost like a cousin to the Instax Mini camera, the Instax SP-1 Share is a portable printer which connects wirelessly to your smart phone and works in conjunction with a downloaded app, available for iPhone and Android handsets. What this means is that you can personally select the images you like, edit them to your heart's content, even add a cute little template and when you're entirely happy with how it looks, you send it to your Instax SP-1 Share printer. Hey presto, out it comes! Printed on the same credit card size as that used for the Instax Mini it captures all the fun and immediate gratification of instant photography but gives you that user control to make your photos exactly as you want them to be. 

Using the Instax SP-1 Share during Telstra Perth Fashion Festival, it was a breeze to snap the street style of many of Perth's bloggers and stylistas with my iPhone and then send it to print. It takes only 16 seconds for the image to print, and then it's just a matter of watching it as it develops right in front of you. Just as the name implies, it's all about snapping and sharing and the kid in all of us makes an appearance when you get your very own instant photo of yourself.

Connecting wirelessly was no problem at all. It is powered by batteries and as an energy saving feature it will turn itself off after a couple of minutes of no use, although this does get a little annoying as it doesn't have to be inactive for that long before shutting off. If you're at home you can also use it while plugged into a power outlet but unfortunately this does not charge the unit, so when on the go it will draw its power from the batteries.

The Instax SP-1 Share has the ability to access your phone's own camera roll and it can also select photos from your social media accounts. The reprint feature within the app allows you to print additional copies of any photo even if you've deleted them from your phone which is definitely handy! 

I have loved using the Instax SP-1 Share. As well as just being a whole lotta fun to use I really dig the idea of being able to print any photo I want in the instant format which gives it a definite advantage over other products in the instant camera category. Perfect for birthdays and other special occasions as well as being handy for those days you had great hair and want to show it off, it's undeniable that we are all attracted to these little photos. The Instax SP-1 Share is definitely the bomb.

Available at most major retailers with a RRP of $309 for the bundle pack with contains the Instax SP-1 Printer and film packs.

Harvey Norman Osborne Park have got the hook up for all the readers of Oyster & Pearl! Until October 31 2014, they are offering $20 off their price of the bundle pack. To take advantage of this offer all you need to do is show the image below when making your purchase. Should they be out of stock you may place an order prior to the end of October and the discounted price will be honoured once your order arrives. For all other terms and conditions please refer to the image. Fujifilm Australia has no involvement in this promotion. 

September 29, 2014

Old is the New...New?

Given enough time, everything comes back around. Style, fashion, food trends. Almost everything we see now has had its time once, sometimes even twice, before. This is sometimes a great thing but sometimes there are certain remnants of the past you'd prefer stayed in the past. I don't particularly wish to see the return of Hypercolor fabric or dark brown matte lipstick. I was a child when Hypercolor was all the rage and I recall walking through Kmart with my mother and rubbing my hands and body all over the clothing, probably much to her horror. As for the matte brown lipstick, my first lippy as a twelve year old girl was Australis Smooth Suede. How very suede it was. A very deep brown shade in a super matte formulation, I felt like Drew Barrymore sans the daisies in my not quite blonde hair.

Then there are the things I would warmly welcome should they ever return. Nestle once made a family size chocolate block which contained cherries and coconut. It was called Cherry Slice. I know this because I emailed Nestle in 2011 describing this chocolate to them and asking if it would ever be reintroduced to the market. In their response they advised it was their Cherry Slice variety but it was no longer produced. I think we all need to send an email to Nestle and urge them to rethink their stance on this.

I think the reason why we have a fondness for things of a time past is due to the nostalgic memories that they often bring with them, and we all know you never really miss things until they are well and truly gone. For myself, it's a combination of this and also the history attached to a particular item. Whether it's a vintage piece of clothing or a tattered old book with handwritten notes in the margins, it makes me wonder who used to own this and what could it tell me if it could speak? I've always had an attraction to older character homes and I love them because I imagine the people and families who have lived there throughout the many years and all the life experiences that occurred within those walls. They may not all be of a positive nature, but life is a journey that has its peaks and its valleys. Additionally, I find so many older products to be extremely well made and produced in a fashion that you just do not see anymore whether it be because that skill is no longer taught and learnt or because modern manufacturing processes have seen it discarded due to being too time consuming or costly.

One person who I know understands where I am coming from is Claire Bissett, owner of In Retrospect. Having opened in July 2014, In Retrospect occupies the old Crystal Waters Irrigation building on 239 Albany Highway in Victoria Park and offers a large range of antique, retro and vintage homewares and decor along with the odd piece of memorabilia and quirky knick knacks.

All the pieces sold here are hand selected by Claire, so it is fitting that she refers to herself as a hunter and gatherer. Claire is personally responsible for seeking out all the unique pieces sold in her store and given the nature of her business all her stock is either one-off or very limited in quantity. Claire devotes two days each week to source new stock and as such the store is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

A special feature of Claire's business is that she can custom make cushions and wall art from the reams of vintage and retro fabric she has on hand, however I have to stress again that the quantities of each fabric type are limited so when it's gone, it's gone. The cushions are locally made while the wall art is produced by Claire herself.

This wall art is made by Claire and is her favourite item in the store.
I came to know In Retrospect after receiving a birthday present from a friend which she had purchased for me from the store. It was a gorgeous china tea set and I came to learn from Claire that tea sets are one of the items she is specializing in. Offering packaged and wrapped three piece sets of a tea cup, saucer and bread plate, these are the perfect ready-to-go gift idea. Although I have a full china tea set I also have a number of different pieces as I find that serving high tea with mismatched pieces to be just that little bit more interesting and fun. For the high tea lovers, Claire can definitely cater to you as she not only stocks many different tea sets but also cake stands, serving dishes and tea pots.

Being situated right at the end of Albany Highway just prior to crossing over onto the Causeway, this little store is a conveniently located treasure cave. If you love your antiques and all things vintage and retro, you must visit. Just be warned that you very likely will not leave empty handed.

The units that the glasses and pitcher is displayed on were repurposed by Claire from a set of drawers she found during verge collection!

September 25, 2014

The Accidental Model

Within all of us there are dreams. There are the dreams we conceive as adults and that we work so diligently to see come to life. Then there are the dreams we carry from our childhood, the ones that may not be the most logical or feasible, but nonetheless we hold onto them in the hope that one day the stars may align just so and fortune will smile in our direction.

As a child, I grew up in the era of The Supermodel. The cohort which was made up of the likes of Christy Turlington, Elle Macpherson, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford. The original and the best. Though some may debate exactly who make up the original band of supermodels, these ladies are it for me. I grew up seeing them splashed on the covers of all the magazines. Long, bronzed and toned limbs generally sporting a high cut bikini. It’s no surprise then, as it is no surprise now, that little girls often grow up with the dream that they can one day find themselves plastered on the cover of a glossy magazine and sashaying down international runways.

I was no exception. Throughout primary school I was very fond of the after school activity and often asked my mother to enrol me in various programs. One I always drifted to were the modelling and deportment classes, although it was more for the fun aspect than anything serious. I certainly was not blessed with the necessary stature nor the luscious locks or impressive facial bone structure that almost all models possess. A model, I would never be.

Fast forward twenty years to the present time where I find myself on the receiving end of an email inviting me to be one of the Restyle Runway fan models for the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival. I guess the saying “never say never” is continually uttered for a good reason. Though it was hardly an invitation to Paris to be a clothes horse for the European fashion houses, the ten year old in me was awakened. Me, on a runway during a fashion festival. Okay then. We can do that.

The two Restyle prompts I played along with at home - stripes and lace!

For those unfamiliar with the Restyle challenge, it is something that has taken place during PFF since 2012. Its purpose is to showcase to the public how op-shop clothing can be incorporated stylishly into your wardrobe, in turn supporting charities and the people they assist. With bloggers invited to apply, each year a group of official Restyle bloggers ise chosen and for the first time this year the ‘fans’ were encouraged to play along at home and follow the daily outfit prompts. I shared two outfits (here and here), the best I could do given the lack of time on my part. It really is a time and labour intensive exercise and full credit must be given to all the bloggers who have been involved with Restyle since its inception.

After a week of emails back and forth between the event organizer and the Restyle stylist, the day of the first show arrived. The most difficult part of it all was waking early on the Friday to make it to the city in time for our hair and make up call. I’m not a morning person so this was a big deal for me. It's times like these that I am most certainly thankful that I live a short drive from Perth city. All the more time for me to sleep in.

Spending so much time back of house prior to the shows was an eye opening experience. The amount of work and sheer number of people needed to pull together what an audience sees as a thirty minute fashion show is immense. Two or three hands working on one head of hair, two people pulling your clothes on and off for you and make up artists hustling to get everyone’s face ready as the clock ticks. For myself, my hair was still being worked on barely five minutes before the commencement of the first show. With two stylists setting the final section of my hair, it was a mad dash to rip off my clothes to change into my runway outfit and head backstage with my shoes in hand.

Runway photos by SOUL of Shu

The second show was definitely a more easy paced affair. We had all been through this once already and we knew what to expect. I was smart enough to ensure that I got into the stylist’s chair early in the morning, so with my hair and make up finished with a couple of hours to spare, it was a waiting game. This is something else I learned. Models do a lot of waiting. Back of house was filled with models, the real models, waiting to get their hair styled, waiting for make up to be applied, waiting for the next show to start. 

Though initially somewhat apprehensive to participate in the show, ultimately I am glad I accepted the invitation as the entire experience was a bundle of fun. It was wonderful to meet new people as well as catch up with the bloggers who I already know. I can now tell that ten year old girl to hang in there because she'll realize her dream when the time is right.

Photo by official TPFF photographer Stefan Gosatti
Yep, took a photo of the media pit!

Gotta have the iPhone selfies!

Just chilling pre-show in front of Myer with Fashion 2.1, Hayley and Jenelle from Inspiring Wit
The look for the first show. My hair had been washed the night before so it had to be worn in its naturally curly state.
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