All the books I read last month

Juliet Sulejmani | May 31, 2016

I literally could not put my reading books down in April. I just powered through each one and ended up finished eight books, which I think is the most I have ever read in one month.

May, on the other hand, has not been as successful in terms of book reading.

Here’s a list of all the books I read, with links included for the ones I have already written a post about.

The Post Office Girl by Stefan ZweigCLICK here to read my review

How to be Danish by Patrick KingsleyCLICK here to read my review

The Dry by Jane Harper – CLICK here to read my review

Why Fashion Matters by Frances Corner – CLICK here to read my review

The big 5 by Dr Sanjiv Chopra with David Fisher – CLICK here to read my review

The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent – A kooky, typically French and romantic story. The protagonist, who reads random pages from books to the riders on the 6.27 train, finds a usb containing the diary entries of an unidentified girl. He then falls in love with this girl through her words and successfully tracks her down.

The Woman I wanted to be by Diane Von Furstenberg – This book is great value. You really get to know Diane, her life, her loves and her passions. She has some truly fantastic and enviable life experiences. DVF’s fashion story is also incredible. Diane goes through all the stages of her career and business, the beginning, the mistakes, the successes and all the in between parts.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – I honestly think part of the reason I haven’t read much this month, is because this book was so good. It’s still resonating within me. Burial Rites is Hannah Kent’s first novel and is based on a true story and set in Iceland in 1829. It is about Agnes Magnusdottir, a woman accused of murder for which her punishment is execution. You will have all the feels in this book. A much recommended read which will keep you eagerly turning the pages and googling ‘flights to Iceland’ at the same time.


Matt Corby @ The Palais Theatre

Gracie Crowley | May 10, 2016


Matt Corby @ The Palais Theatre 30/04/16

My Matt Corby addiction has only grown since the release of his album Telluric earlier this year, seeing him at the Forum back in November of last year was just not enough to keep me satisfied. Thank whatever god or otherworldly creature there is that the Palais Theatre is still up and running. It has a certain atmosphere as you enter, the old-school vibe is emulated inside as you are shown to your seats by the wonderful staff while admiring the rather spectacular interior as it all sets the perfect mood for the evening ahead.

The opening act was none other than Vera Blue, who only a few weeks ago was featured on Triple J’s like a version. Her sound gave a Florence Welch meets Flume vibe and the pulsating electronic base of her music captivated you until she introduced an acoustic element throughout a few songs, providing warmth to the synthetic accompanying instruments. Her cover of the Gorilla’s ‘Feel Good’ was a definite crowd pleaser and her original tune ‘Turn’ was powerful to put it lightly.

Matt Corby came to the stage in almost perfect timing, opening with the first track from his latest Telluric, Belly Side Up. From then the entire performance commanded complete attention as he lured you in, built you up then broke you down with his entrancing voice and sound that mixes soul and blues with funky guitar riffs, flute solo’s and then of course the impressive use of his own voice as the backing for Monday. Those that reviewed Corby’s Telluric as somewhat cold and ‘lacking depth’ can happily swim in the warm ocean of depth that Corby’s performance provided. Having seen him perform a few times now I have noticed that he has become more confident, seeming to be more at home on stage after the first couple of songs.  Corby replied jovially to the crowd’s yells of ‘I love you’ with ‘thanks mate’ and a little chuckle and he even returned for an encore this time. Yet even though he appears more confident Corby maintains a humble demeanour throughout his entire performance that cannot help but make you love him even more.

It is clear that Matt Corby has shaken the old image of former ‘guy from idol’ and has created a something that is both unique and personal. His sound and artistically written lyrics are more beautiful than the man himself. The vast amount of talent that his accompanying band possesses is impressive to say the very least and the Palais was the perfect venue for this performance. I truly cannot wait to see and hear what this impressive human does next.

Dark Wonderland – Toni Maticevski

Juliet Sulejmani | May 6, 2016

If you thought the exhibitions at Bendigo Art Gallery couldn’t get any better, well, here’s news for you.

Bendigo Art Gallery has just announced Dark Wonderland, which will be Toni Maticevski‘s first ever exhibition. With work spanning over Toni Maticevski’s 20 year career, including objects from his early practice to his most recent work, the Monaco Gown worn by Princess Mary to the King’s 80th birthday, and the commissioned gold lame gown worn by Jessica Mauboy for Eurovision 2014.

Maticevski is one of Australia’s most talented fashion designers, who is also recognised internationally for his designs, and has created a body of work that is diverse and focused on ideas and creative challenges.

Karen Quinlan (Director of the Bendigo Art Gallery), commenting on the exhibition, said: “Toni Maticevski has managed to morph, adapt and defy the boundaries of fashion, crossing the line that divides fashion design with fine art. For anyone who has ever dreamed of wearing a masterpiece, this is a must-see exhibition,”

The exhibition opens 13 August  – 20 November 2016. Bendigo Art Gallery


200 Years of Australian Fashion

Juliet Sulejmani | April 26, 2016

NGV Australia
Ground Level, Temporary Exhibitions
5 March 2016 – 31 July 2016
Open 10am-5pm daily

I attended a seminar at the NGV last week titled Fashion is Art and heard from a lot of interesting people, who had a lot of interesting stories to share. I think it would be a shame to keep all that information to myself, so this is the first of a few posts that I will write on the seminar. I hope that you enjoy.

The first speaker was Paolo Di Trocchio who is the Curator of Fashion and Textiles at the NGV. Paola introduced the topic ‘Fashion is Art’ and explained the details behind the exhibition ‘200 years of Australian Fashion’ that she curated.

Paola explained that she was extremely excited to be able to have the opportunity to curate an exhibition that would encompass ‘200 years of the remarkable, growth, design and innovation in this country.’

The exhibition starts with the earliest known surviving dress from 1805, which is made out of Indian muslin and ends with a special commission by Dion Lee which was created only two months ago specifically for the exhibition.

It took just over two months for the exhibition to be curated and because this is the first major survey of Australian Fashion, they also needed to create an image that would represent the 200 years.

The NGV worked with Virgina Dowzer and Bronwyn Kidd to create the image, which has been illustrated by me at the top of this post. The image is set at the beach, Wilson’s Prom, because they saw ‘the beach as representative of the optimism of Australia, the freedom, the light, and colour, themes and ideas that are referred to in relation to Australian fashion.’

One piece was chosen from the various themes of the exhibition to represent the 200 years. The beach, the garments and models were photographed separately and then photoshopped together to create the image.

The Themes that you will see in the exhibition are:

1805: the earliest known dress and the beginning of a network of international trade
The Department Store: the shopping platform at the time, including Bright and Hitchcocks/Geelong, Farmer and Co, La Petite, Robertson and Moffat
Dressmakers and Tailors: the first makers, Miss Scott (Brisbane), Doak and Beatty (Sydney)
The Salon, from 1930s to the 1950s.: a more intimate shopping environment, represented by Lillian Wightman who opened Le Louvre and moved her boutique to the top end of Collins street, which is still referred to as The Paris End of Collins street
1960s: this part celebrates the mini dress through facets of 1960s, futuristic space age hippy movement, flower power and sports.
Flamingo park: 1973, Jenny Kee, opens her frock salon in the strand arcade
Art clothes: exhibition in 1980 in NSW, that places contemporary Australian fashion, previous to that it was large international fashion or historical fashion that was celebrated in the art gallery.
Fashion Design Council: which was an organisation founded in 1983 in order to nurture and support young talent and talent, e.g. Martin Grant, Christopher Graf, Jenny Banister.
Fashion Weeks: presents Australian fashion on the international stage, firstly with Colette Dinnigan who presents in paris, in 1995, then with the development like Australian fashion week in 1996 and the Melbourne Fashion Festival.
Contemporary Fashion: strong individuals and examples of Australian fashion, and purposely  isolated on individual platforms so as to celebrate the unique signatures of our incredibly strong and incredibly talented contemporary Australian Designers.



Lest We Forget

Gracie Crowley | April 25, 2016

ANZAC Day this year marks the 101th anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landing at Gallipoli, and the battle that ensued. To a wide number of Australians it means a great deal, therefore warranting a degree of respect that seems rare in our times. There has always been a range of differing views on the subject of this historic day. Over the years ANZAC Day has faced speculation, criticism and a wide variety of suggestions that have tried to take away from the respectful and commemorative occasion that it is.

War is a horrible occurrence in our world, where unspeakable acts occur. Human beings are not meant to kill one another, and there are horrific physical and psychological injuries that live with the survivors for the rest of their lives, if they are so lucky to survive. Every single person is allowed to have their own opinion on all things in this life. However perhaps an event that means such a great deal to a vast number of Australian and New Zealanders, that the negative comments and criticism that people make should be respectfully put aside for the day.

In our world right now, we have service men and women currently deployed in war torn areas worldwide. They sign up for service to protect their country, to help others, they sign up with the intention of doing what they perceive and what they have been taught is the right thing to do. Just as those young men did all those years ago, and women. For a human being to dedicate their lives to the service of the safety of others is an act that I personally think should be respected.

This ANZAC Day, like every other, I will wake up and I will remember those brave men and women at Gallipoli. I will remember the men and women who have given their lives in the service of others. I will remember the sacrifices they made and those that are still made today. I will remember the families of those they leave behind, the spouses who raise their children alone, and the children who grow up missing their parents. For those who care for the returned, and importantly the returned that do not survive life after war. I will put aside any personal thoughts I have on why they had to fight, of those that sent them to their deaths, and our the state of world right now to show respect to service men and women, past and present. I will commemorate the ANZAC spirit that people worldwide know and admire. I will do all of these things because it is important to remember the sacrifices people of our past made for our future.

I will think of my own Father who has dedicated his life to the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force), who put the needs of his country above all else. I will remember for the same reason hundreds of thousands of others do, because it is important, even after all these years.

Lest We Forget.

Prince Tribute

Gracie Crowley | April 24, 2016

Prince Rogers Nelson left this world on the 21st of April 2016. To most of this world he was known as Prince, the flamboyantly extraordinarily talented vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. His music was a variety of funk, rock, rhythm, blues, psychedelic touches and pop. Luckily for our ears and eyes, since his debut album For You was released in 1978 our world has been graced with his magical sounds.

His passing is devastating for a great number of people who held him dear and for the music industry itself. It is a shattering moment for those he inspired and his adoring fans. The way in which he passed is irrelevant, and not something that should be a focus. The fact that he has passed is a cause for mourning, remembrance, and for celebrating a life and career of a beloved artist.

I will say this once, and once only. Fans are allowed to be sad and to mourn when their heroes die. People may not have known Prince personally, but they knew his music, and they followed his journey as an artist.

Fans of Prince connected to him through his music, through the sounds and lyrics he created and performed. I am not going to try to communicate what he meant to all of his fans and admirers, because that is a grossly impossible task.
You need only to scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram to read tributes to him from people all over, read within the newspaper’s of the moment and watch on our television screens as we see an overwhelming amount of tributes pouring in.

It is clear that this human being meant a great deal to a vast amount of people and the sudden realization that he is now gone from this world at the young age of 57 is a sad and somber one at that. Reading certain tributes, like that of Harts and Frank Ocean amongst the vast sea of tributes that have appeared since his passing are both moving and tear jerking. It is clear that our world has lost a human that inspired, moved and entertained, who changed our world and the music industry for the better whilst paving the way for future artists to follow in his funky footsteps.

Rest assured that wherever he has moved onto, he has excellent company. This year has been a shocking and devastating one for the musical, literary and entertainment industry. From the end of last year with the loss of Lemmy, to this years loss of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Merle Haggard, Frank Sinatra Jr, Harper Lee, and Glenn Frey amongst others. It is an odd and very heartbreaking experience for human beings to experience their heroes’ passing. It is as if we view them through a lens of immortality, we never give thought to an ‘end’ when it comes to them and I offer my sincere condolences to all that are touched by this saddening event.

I hope we do not focus on the way in which he left our world, yet imagine him dancing off into the distance through a bout of purple rain – leaving behind him a haze of purple (of course) that lingers over all who loved him.
In his time here he created a total of 39 studio albums that for years to come will be comfort, entertainment and a connection to him for all who love and admire him. This is not the end of his ‘purple reign’ as many are saying, as although he may be gone he leaves behind a legacy that will inspire and influence generations of future musicians, artists and fans that are gathering by various means worldwide to get through this thing called life.

The big 5 by Dr Sanjiv Chopra

Juliet Sulejmani | April 19, 2016

The Big 5, by Dr Sanjiv Chopra with David Fisher
PUBLISH DATE 10.05.2016
Health and Personal Development
Dr Sanjiv Chopra, Professor of Medicine & Faculty Dean, Director of Clinical Hepatology and Author
David Fisher , Author


Pan Macmillan sent me this book a couple weeks ago, it is a proof copy and will be published in May.

The big 5 things that Chopra says will enable you to live a longer and healthier life are:

Vitamin D
Nuts and

This book explains why each of the above is good for you and also provides many examples of studies to prove the point.

I used to be concerned with drinking a lot of coffee, only because other people kept telling me it wasn’t good for me. However, thanks to Chopra and his research, I will be drinking coffee happily without any concern whatsoever.

After reading even just the first chapter, it felt like this switch in my mind flicked on to ‘activate’ and my focus became much sharper. This book gave me the foundation and inspiration I needed to make simple adjustments to live a healthier, longer life.



Notes and Quotes:

  • “Worldwide, an estimated 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day”
  • According to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos “you haven’t had enough coffee until you can thread a sewing machine while it’s running.”
  • “If it wasn’t for coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever.” David Letterman
  • “As Honore Balzac wrote almost two centuries ago, ‘As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move…similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to struggle.'”
  • “The best time to produce vitamin D is when your shadow is shorter than your height.”
  • “…during prehistoric times if a person couldn’t move quickly and wasn’t strong, that person died.”
  • “In 2838BC Chinese scholars listed the hazelnut as one of the five sacred foods that the gods had bestowed upon human beings.”
  • “The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting them control you.”
  • “Let me leave you with an ancient aphorism. You should meditate once a day, and if you don’t have time for that, you should meditate twice a day.”
  • “Popular diets today are designed and marketed for profit.”

Watch. Read. Eat. Vegan

Emma Noack | April, 18 2016

Watch. Read. Eat. Vegan

Veganism is more that just what you eat. It becomes a way of life. To me it is about making conscious choices and knowing what I am spending those dollars on and what the ethical, environmental and health impacts those choices are having. Over the next few months I will write some posts about things that interest me as a vegan. These posts don’t have an agenda to convert everyone into vegans, but rather I’m just interested in putting some ideas out there about the choices we all make and creating a discussion about what impact they have and why we make the choices we do. I guess I just want to give you, quite literally, some food for thought.

Watch: Step one: watch Bag It! This documentary explains not only the environmental effect plastic has on the planet, but also the health risks (both mental and physical) that plastic has on us as individuals.

Read: After watching Bag It! you may need to visit Trash Is For Tossers to put into practice everything you have just learned. I recommend taking small steps so you don’t feel overwhelmed. By making small changes in your life to create less waste and use less plastic you can minimise the waste you contribute to our oceans and minimise your own exposure to plastic. My top three tips to creating less waste are:

  1. Carry a spare tote bag with you everywhere. It comes in handy so often and prevents you needing to get yet another plastic bag.
  2. Carrying your own plastic free water bottle, like this Klean Kanteen one around with you to stay hydrated. This choice means less plastic bottle waste, and it also may encourage you to drink more water, and possibly chose water over other less healthy options.
  3. Visiting grocery stores that have bulk foods available (such as Friends of the Earth, Source Bulk Foods and Terra Madre in Melbourne) and bring your own bags and jars to put the foods in. This is an efficient way to decrease packaging waste (and it’s actually a cheaper way to shop and the foods tend to be healthier options). Buy your pasta, grains, nuts, tea and more this way and save on plastic and money.

Eat: Just one meal a week OR day that is vegetarian or vegan is a way of having an effect. Voting with your dollar and spending money on less animal based products is a way to tell companies and the planet that more ethical and less wasteful commodities are in demand and important to you as a consumer. Either pop into Smith and Deli for a delicious ‘Foghorn Legless’ sandwich and a delicious desert or make this pasta (adapted from Minimalist Baker) below:

Creamy Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes


  • 3 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 250g quinoa or spelt pasta (or any pasta you prefer)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, diced
  • 8 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 3-4 Tbsp spelt flour
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (Pure Harvest and Nutty Bruce are tow of the better ones available)
  • A large handful of spinach
  • ¼ cup of Kalamata olives, pitted and halved


  1. Preheat oven to 200C and toss tomatoes in a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Place cut side up on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish. Then set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta. When done, drain, cover and set aside.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. In a large pan over medium-low heat, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and the garlic and shallot. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper and stir frequently, cooking for 3-4 minutes until softened and fragrant.
  4. Stir in 3-4 Tbsp flour and mix with a whisk. Once combined, slowly whisk in the almond milk a little at a time so clumps don’t form. Add another healthy pinch of salt and black pepper, bring to a simmer and continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes to thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. (Optional: You can also add a few shakes of vegan parmesan for extra flavor at this time if you wish.)
  5. Once the sauce is to your desired thickness add spinach and olives then add pasta and roasted tomatoes and stir.
  6. Serve immediately and garnish with extra black pepper, fresh basil and/or vegan parmesan cheese.

Natural Banana Protein Bars

Juliet Sulejmani | April, 15 2016

Cooking is something I actually really enjoy doing. I really love being to be able to create something delicious from a bunch of random ingredients, and then be able to share that delicious food with my friends and family. I have noticed that when I share food that I have made, it makes the people I share it with really happy and in turn it makes me  really happy.

The latest recipe I have tried and shared was from Jessica Sepel’s first book The Healthy Life (which was also the first book I illustrated). I made the ‘Natural Banana Protein Bars’.

I loved making these because like most of the recipes in this book, preparation time is minimal, all the ingredients are quite good for you, and they are really delicious.

These were great to wrap individually in baking paper and pop in my bag on days I didn’t have time for breakfast, or as a snack after exercising.

I will totally be making these again.


Jessica Sepel’s Natural Banana Protein Bars

1/2 cup rolled organic oats (gluten-free option: quinoa flakes)
1/2 cup LSA or protein powder
1/4 cup mixed seeds
3 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts and/or almonds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup psyllium husk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 banana, mashed
2 tbsp nut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup or rice malt syrup
1 tbsp milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 180.C (160.C fan-forced). Line a standard loaf tin (approximately 21cm x 11cm) with baking paper (you can grease with olive oil as well).
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Pour the batter into the tin and press down firmly. Bake 20-25 minutes or until cooked through and the top is golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool in the tin then slice into bars.These can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.

    Makes about 10 slices.
    PREP Time: 35 minutes, including cooking.

A basket on my bike

Mel Howard | April, 15 2016

Little Things That Make My Life Easier-Part 5

I don’t have one yet, but already I can feel the ease its presence will bring to my life. Having the milk carton corner dig into my slightly sunburnt (yes I’m still getting sunburnt) back, although pleasantly cooling, does not make for comfortable bumpy rides home.

Also I really want to thread something pretty through the cage.