Feminism: Where Did We Go Wrong?

If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a huge advocate for women’s rights. I believe in the political, economic, and social equality of men and women—i.e. the traditional definition of feminism.

When I first started becoming aware of the discrepancies between men’s and women’s rights—somewhere around year 9, I think—I loudly and proudly declared myself a feminist. I was always on the defence and was ready to argue with anyone at any time about anything that even remotely differed from my point of view. But slowly I realised how counterintuitive that was to the movement I support.

The first and second waves of feminism were all about moving toward concrete goals—women’s suffrage, property rights, the establishment of safe houses and shelters for domestic abuse/rape victims, and so on—usually politically or economically rooted. Third wave and fourth wave feminism also arguably work toward some concrete goals, but a big part of modern feminism is to make people aware of the smaller, maybe less obvious ways—usually socially—that women are discriminated against.

This includes cat-calling (and just generally being objectified), bodily expectations and beauty standards (for example: instead of just wearing no makeup, we’re expected to wear makeup in a way that makes us look like we’re wearing no makeup—yes, it is exactly as dumb as it sounds), etc. And don’t get me wrong—those are definitely things that need eliminating from societal norms.

But here’s where the trouble lies: whereas things like equal pay and the right to vote are objective and measurable, social inequalities are often a grey area—subjective and different between each person.

I fear that feminism has crossed the line into nitpicking and shaming. Instead of hearing out someone with a differing opinion, and then explaining where we are coming from, many feminists automatically resort to verbally abusing anyone (whether face-to-face or online) who even slightly disagrees with them. Many fall into the trap of taking offence at everything that they perceive to be different from what they believe. Small things that in the long run do not matter are suddenly magnified and blown out of proportion. Bluntly, this behaviour gives feminism a bad name and does not contribute constructively to the feminist narrative whatsoever.

I think it is a dangerous thing to assume that every person who identifies as a part of a certain ideology (in this case, feminism) should have exactly the same beliefs as the person next to him/her.

Feminism for me is first and foremost about choice and agency. Agency over your own body; the choice to work or to stay home with children; the choice to get married or not—and if you choose to be married, who you choose to marry. This should also include agency over your own beliefs. We can work together for equality between males and females without all believing the exact same things, down to the dots over the i’s and the crosses on the t’s.

No big social movement is ever perfect. And yes, I know that not all feminists do this. Obviously I know that. But those that don’t are unfortunately within the silent majority. And the longer we stay silent, the less that I, and many others, feel totally comfortable identifying as a feminist.

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Your Melbourne Weekend Itinerary: Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

Maybe I’m a tad biased, but I reckon Melbourne is the best city in the world. We’ve got it all: beaches, mountains, a beautiful city, amazing food, an awesome art and music scene, and tons of festivals and events to fill your weekends with. You can never be bored in Melbourne—there’s always something to do. Whether you’re taking a vacation or you’re just in desperate need of a staycation, here’s how I would fill a perfect weekend in Melbourne.

Friday Night

Grab dinner at one of Melbourne’s best restaurants

There’s no shortage of dinner spots in Melbourne. If you’re aiming for something on the fancier (read: more expensive) side, Dinner by Heston, Attica, Rockpool Bar & Grill, and Vue de Monde are all safe bets. Want something more casual (ahem, cheaper)? Hit up Mamasita, Vegie Bar (or its sister restaurant, Transformer), Hochi Mama, or 400 Gradi. Since calories don’t count on weekends, satisfy your sweet tooth and grab dessert at N2 Gelato.

Holey Moley

Mini golf isn’t just for kids anymore. Past 5pm, this indoor mini golf joint is only open to 18+. It’s got 2 levels, 2 bars, 18 holes, and private karaoke rooms.

Grab a drink in a hidden bar

Melbourne has a knack for making things more complicated than they need to be, but still way more fun than anywhere else. Boston Sub in Windsor makes a mean roasted veg sandwich. But its real attraction is the bar it’s hiding behind the inconspicuous cool room door.

Hit the sack in an Airstream on a rooftop

The fun doesn’t stop just because you’re going to bed! Hands down one of my favourite places in Melbourne is Notel, a rooftop in the CBD filled with airstream caravans, all decked out with bathrooms, double beds, iPads, and minibars. One caravan even has its own private jacuzzi. A bonus of staying here? Everything in the minibar is free and you get a free round at Holey Moley. Although breakfast costs a little extra, I highly recommend ordering a breakfast box ahead of time. The hotel is positioned on top of Saluministi’s Flinders Lane location; you tell them the time you want your breakfast and they’ll give you the best breakfast (and coffee!) you’ve ever had.

Saturday

But first, coffee

Obviously everywhere in Melbourne does fantastic coffee, so if you decide to wander around and walk into the first café you see, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed by their coffee. However, some people like to have a plan, so I’m gonna give you a list of my favourite places to get coffee in the CBD. You’re welcome. Standing Room is small, but their coffee packs a punch; Rustica does an amazing smashed avo if you want a little breakfast with your coffee; I’m a huge fan of the batch brew at Shortstop (and their doughnuts are to die for—my favourite is the maple walnut & brown butter); Hash Specialty is home to the Insta-famous fairy floss hot chocolate, but it also has fantastic coffee; Trunk is the cutest café/restaurant/coffee shop/bar/beer garden and one of my favourite—if not my favourite—places to eat and get coffee in Melbourne; last but not least, Market Lane is one of the most popular coffee spots in Melbourne (but be warned—their coffee spritz nearly killed me).

Go walkabout

I can sit here and give you a million suggestions of things to do and places to go and attractions to see in Melbourne (and don’t you worry, I will without a doubt still do that), but the one thing I tell everyone who visits Melbourne is that you can’t go wrong just walking around the city, wandering aimlessly and without a plan, exploring on foot. Melbourne’s charm lies in the laneways and hidden coffee shops and street art. You’ll miss a lot of things if your nose is stuck in a map (lol, as if anyone owns an actual map anymore) or you’re on a tour bus. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve said to someone, “I would’ve never found this place if I hadn’t just happened to walk past it!”, I could probably pay for Ubers so I wouldn’t have to walk everywhere.

That being said…

Melbourne has so many things to see and do that it can be overwhelming heading out without a plan when you’re spending a day in the city. There’s a bus tour of Melbourne and tons of walking tours, too. But it’s more fun for me if you let me play travel agent and map it out for you.

Start North. Soak in the street art and funky vibes in Fitzroy. Visit a thrift shop (don’t worry, it’s cool to do that now). Find a rooftop bar (Naked for Satan will never disappoint), grab a coffee, and check out the incredible views of the city. After that, make your way down to the Carlton area. Take a peek inside Melbourne Museum. Walk around Melbourne Uni (I guess it’s actually pretty beautiful when you don’t associate it with assignments and all-nighters and stress). Take a lap around the Royal Exhibition Building and the Carlton Gardens. Head down just a liiiiittle bit farther and you’ll get to the Queen Vic Markets (hot tip—the markets are best viewed on Wednesday night during the Summer or Winter Night Markets).

A little further South and now you’re in the CBD. The CBD is full of street art (check out Hosier Lane if that kinda thing sounds good to you), live music (walk down the street and come across about a million buskers), and amazing food. Grab a burger and a drink on the rooftop of Curtin House (this place also becomes an outdoor cinema in the summer!) or hit up Easey’s if eating your lunch in a refurbished train carriage sounds cool to you. Don’t forget to hit the token touristy spots like Federation Square (ACMI in Fed Square is worth a visit if you like film and digital media), Town Hall, State Library, and the clocks at Flinders Street Station.

Keep walking down and you’ll reach the Southbank area. This is an awesome part of Melbourne because it’s home to the NGV, Southgate, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Have a picnic in the Gardens or catch a movie at the Moonlight Cinema if you’re in Melbourne in Summer. If you’re in this area at night, you can’t not lose a little bit of money at Crown, the southern hemisphere’s largest casino—there are some amazing restaurants and even shopping in the complex, too.

Now you might wanna catch a tram down St. Kilda road all the way to the Esplanade. Walk along the beach, go for a ride at Luna Park, and grab dinner. Some of my favourite restaurants are in St. Kilda: Trippy Taco, Sparrow’s Philly Cheesesteaks, Rococo, and Little Blue. After dinner, take a stroll down the pier at sunset and watch the fairy penguins emerge from the rocks and dive in the water when it gets dark.

Sunday

Rise and shine, it’s day trip time!

You know what’s fun? Road trips. You know what’s even more fun? Road trips in a Kombi van to some of the most beautiful spots in Victoria/Australia/the world. Tour company Hike and Seek runs day trips out of Melbourne to tons of different places: Mornington Peninsula (including the hot springs), Phillip Island, Great Otway National Park, Wilson’s Prom, the 12 Apostles/Port Campbell, Mt. Buller, and the Grampians. The folks at Hike and Seek provide you with transportation (the Kombi, duh), a guided tour (usually including hiking, so dress accordingly), coffee, and vegan snacks.

If hiking and vegan food isn’t exactly your kinda party, maybe you’re better suited to a wine tour in the Yarra Valley. There are tons of different tours to choose from since Yarra Valley has no shortage of vineyards. Yarra Valley is only about an hour-long drive from the CBD and most tours include transport to and from the CBD and between wineries. Most tours range from $100-$200 per person.

Don’t drink? Or maybe you just don’t like to spend over $7 on wine? That’s cool too, Victoria has tons of spots that are perfect for day trips. Catch the V-Line to Bendigo, rent a car and coast down the Great Ocean Road, hike the Dandenong Ranges, or make your way to Healesville to check out the animal sanctuary where you can feed a kangaroo or cuddle a koala.

Melbourne is my favourite place in the world and no matter how far I travel, I’ll always call it my home. Here’s hoping you love it even half as much as I do.

Cheap Date Ideas For When You’re Broker Than Broke

Having a significant other is the best—you have someone who’ll compliment you but also be brutally honest with you, someone to zip up the back of your dress, someone to binge-watch Netflix with (your cat doesn’t count), and someone to laugh at other people with. But let’s be real: my boyfriend and I are both in uni and we can barely afford to use the bathroom at a Michelin-starred restaurant, let alone eat in one.

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Here’s us being very cute and in love and broke.

Wanting to shower your s/o in expensive gifts and dinners and holidays when in reality you can’t even buy them a scented candle is awful. Luckily, I consider myself a master of the art of Cheapskate Dating™, so here’s a comprehensive list of my go-to date night ideas that won’t force you to eat ramen for dinner for the next 2 weeks.

Free

Museums

I never get tired of wandering around NGV on a rainy day, especially since it’s free entry into their permanent collection—and if you’re lucky, you can sometimes catch a free temporary exhibit (their current temporary exhibit, Triennial, has free admission!). Melbourne Museum and ACMI also have free entry.

Art galleries

Something I love about Melbourne is that there’s no shortage of artistic talent. On any given day there are dozens of open art galleries that cost you nothing to have a look through. Some of my favourites are the Ian Potter Gallery, Seventh Gallery, and the State Library of Victoria.

1,000 Steps (Kokoda Track)

If you don’t mind your date seeing you sweaty and out of breath, the 1,000 steps is a beautiful hike in the the Dandenongs. It’s 5km uphill, but totally worth it (and not as painful as it sounds!)

Beach

This one’s obvious, but exploring a new beach on a warm day is one of my favourite things to do. Beaches along the Peninsula (St. Andrews, Blairgowrie back beach, Sorrento back beach, Mt. Martha) are stunning, even in winter.

Free dance classes

There are tons of free dance classes in Melbourne if you’re looking for a fun way to fill in a weeknight. Free beginners salsa classes are held in the CBD at 6pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Watch the sunset together

Yeah, this is a cheesy one. But if you know me at all, you’ll know how much I love watching the sunrise and sunset everyday (okay—maybe just the sunset. I’m not a morning person). Here’s a list of a few of the best places to watch the sunset from in Melbourne.

Melbourne Walking Tours

Melbourne offers free walking tours around the city, exploring laneways and street art and different monuments around the city.

Botanical Gardens

One of my favourite places in Melbourne are the Royal Botanical Gardens. They’re a beautiful place to have a picnic and watch the sun set or rise over Melbourne. It’s also the site of Sidney Myer Music Bowl, my favourite concert venue and home to one of my favourite events of the year, Carols by Candlelight.

Free concerts

Speaking of Sidney Myer Music Bowl, the venue collaborates with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra each summer and plays host to free concerts each week.

$15 and under

Cook dinner

Cooking dinner together is a cheap alternative to going to a fancy restaurant and a fun way to spend some time together. It’s not hard to find an simple recipe for steak and potatoes or lasagne or chicken—at the very least, throw some pasta in a pot and call it a day. Or make brunch together, because who can afford a $20 smashed avo?

Eureka Skydeck

Eureka Skydeck is the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere with amazing views of the whole city. Entry is only $15.50 for students. Pro tip: go in the evening so you can catch the sunset.

Drive-in cinema

This is one of my favourites. Concession tickets for Lunar Drive-In are only $11 each; every Tuesday is Discount Night, which means $10 tickets and free classic video games. They also have a super cute old-timey café with cheap food and drinks.

Food Truck Park

The Food Truck Park in Preston (there’s also one in Coburg) is an awesome place to go when you don’t want to splurge on an expensive restaurant and want more options than just one menu. Check their website for what the food theme of the weekend is—to save you a click, this coming weekend is cheese & wine and next weekend is chocolate. Come armed with cash and an empty stomach. Note—although it’s free entry, be prepared to line up to get in!

Bounce, Inc.

Bounce, a warehouse full of trampolines and trampoline-based activities, is another one where you can’t be afraid to have your date seeing you sweating and exhausted. It’s only $11.70 for student entry, which gets you an hour of bouncing time.

Studley Park Boathouse

Recreate That Scene™ from The Notebook by hiring a rowboat with your date. It’s $26 for 2 people for half an hour (that’s only $13 each, in case math isn’t your strong suit). There’s also an adorable café there if you’re feeling extra boujee and can spare another $20.

GlowGolf

This glow-in-the-dark mini golf venue in the Docklands is $15 for adults—and only $5 for a rematch! Wear a white outfit to really stand out.

Board Games at 29th Apartment

29th Apartment is a bar in St. Kilda that encourages you to sit down with a few friends and whip out the Cluedo or Cards Against Humanity or Jenga. Throughout the week they have a  $15 pizza and drink deal and if you go on Wednesdays you can snag unlimited pizza plus a drink for $10.

If you actually made it to the end of this list and still can’t find something that tickles your fancy, hop on Groupon or Scoopon and find a cheap date that’s more up your alley.

How To Not Flunk Uni

Not flunking uni: it seems like such a simple goal when you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in week one with your fresh, clean notebooks and your new uni clothes and your will to live—then all of a sudden it’s week seven and you’re somehow ten weeks behind and you have a million lectures to watch and you don’t even know how to access your readings and you’ve got three tests and four assignments coming up and now you’re thinking stripping doesn’t sound that bad after all.

Remarkably, I’ve made it to my third year without failing a subject (Ps get degrees, Ps get degrees, Ps get degrees). I can’t sit here and give you tips on how to get straight HDs or ace every single test, but I can give you advice on how to avoid failing your subjects.

Actually go to your classes

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know lectures are recorded and put online. And I know some classes don’t have attendance requirements. And, yes, I know that it’s way more convenient to sit at home in your undies with week-old leftover Indian food while your lecture plays in the background than it is to actually put some clothes on and sit in a musty lecture hall for an hour or two. But seriously, I learned the hard way that you’ll do so much better if you go to class whenever possible. It may be less convenient, but it’s so much easier to pay attention when your mum isn’t telling you to clean your room or your housemate isn’t blasting the ABBA Gold Greatest Hits album at full volume in the next room (it’s me, I’m your housemate). Plus it gives you the chance to ask questions if you have any.

On that note, ASK QUESTIONS!

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There’s that common saying “there are no stupid questions”, but let’s be real: there are tons of stupid questions, and yours may very well be one of them. Chances are, though, lots of people in your lecture/tute/seminar/lab/wherever the hell else you might be have the exact same question. Plus, who really cares? You’ll most likely never see those people again—and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that no one really cares about you anyway so you might as well just ask the stupid question.

Take notes

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I know you can buy class notes online for $20 and not have to worry about listening to your lectures all semester, but it’s actually been scientifically proven that taking your own notes helps you retain the information better—bonus points for handwritten notes over typed notes! If you’re sitting in a lecture, it won’t kill you just to jot down a thing or two. It’ll make assignments and exams way easier; then at the end of the semester, you can sell your notes for money.

Stressed? Go step-by-step

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I’ve spent tons of nights freaking out about assignments that I should’ve started two weeks earlier (what can I say? Gilmore Girls was calling my name). Over the years I’ve developed a very sophisticated, very scientific three-point method of dealing with assignment stress:

  1. Give yourself a moment to freak out. Allotted freak-out time will vary depending on your approaching deadline—it can range from one minute of panic to a whole day. But never freak out for more than a day. A couple of hours should do the trick.
  2. Plan. Get down to business. You’ve had your time to cry and scream and complain and stress-eat, and by the time you get to this step you’ll have realised that none of those things wrote your essay for you. Creating a step-by-step plan for writing your essay or studying for your exam is going to make it infinitely easier for you.
  3. Actually do the damn thing. Hands down, the worst part of doing an assignment is doing the assignment. But the sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll be free and you can treat yourself to ice cream or wine or something more student-budget-friendly like a high five.

When all else fails, coffee

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Coffee is $2 from 7-Eleven and 80 cents from Coles Express. Enough said.

Look Good, Do Good, Feel Good

Despite what Donald Trump tries to tell you (not that anyone is really listening to him, anyway), climate change is very real. Our environment is suffering and will continue to suffer if we don’t make big changes as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, when it comes to industries that threaten the state of the environment, the fashion industry is second only to the oil industry. The way our clothes are sourced and produced, combined with the high turnover rate of our garments, are slowly ruining the world around us.

Think about what you’re wearing right now. Do you know where each item of clothing on your body at this very moment actually came from? This may be news to you, but clothes don’t just magically appear in stores one day. A lot of time, materials, and human labour go into producing a garment; in fact, the fashion industry is actually the most labour-dependent industry in the world.

Most materials and processes by/from which clothes come aren’t sustainable. We just can’t keep mass producing items of clothing in the same way that we do now. Resources will be depleted and the environment will keep taking massive blows because of it.

It gets even worse when you think about the people that are making your clothes. Women in countries such as Indonesia are forced to work shifts of up to 24 hours in garment factories where they don’t even get paid enough to be able to buy a sufficient amount of food to give them energy to keep working. What kind of fresh hell is that?! Why are we letting this happen?

And then, as if all that isn’t bad enough, we as consumers have the audacity to get rid of clothes after only wearing them a couple of times! While the whole “out of sight, out of mind” mindset is nice and easy, take a sec and think about where your clothes are ending up after you get rid of them. Sure, some might end up in landfills; but those are filling up fast and are running out of room to hold more waste. A lot of waste actually ends up at the bottom of the ocean, destroying ecosystems, killing marine life, and polluting our water.

But here’s the good news: there are super easy fixes to these issues!

Did you know that if you expand the lifespan of a garment an extra nine months, you’ll reduce its carbon footprint by 30-40%?

Instead of buying a cheap jacket at the beginning of winter and getting rid of it a few months later when the weather warms up again, why don’t you commit to saving up for a more expensive coat? Investing in an expensive piece of clothing will actually save you money over time because you won’t have to keep replacing it the way you would a cheap garment; you’ll also reduce the amount of waste you generate.

Try to shop from sustainable and transparent brands. Labels such as Everlane make a point of sourcing sustainable, ethical materials, and showing consumers exactly how much money was spent at each stage of the supply chain, making you feel good about how much you’re spending on their clothes. Brands like Reformation use only sustainable methods and materials, and are completely transparent about their manufacturers and the manufacturing process. Shopping from brands like those ensure that you’re purchasing clothes that weren’t harmful to any workers or the environment while they were being made.

The fashion industry is amazing, dynamic, and super progressive on so many fronts—don’t be part of the reason it falls behind in environmental consciousness.

Want to know more?

Here’s a podcast

Here’s an article

Or two!

Here’s a great doco if that’s your thang

And here‘s a list of some awesome ethical fashion brands (plus ethical menswear!)

51 Thoughts I Had On My Last First Day Of Uni

Call me a nerd, but I love going to uni. I don’t know what it is—the pretty buildings, the abundance of good coffee, the feeling of accomplishment after actually going to a lecture (even if I sit on Facebook the whole time), or maybe all of the above. And between you and me, I actually enjoy writing essays. I mean, it’s eight uninterrupted pages of me telling everyone what I think—that’s my kinda party.

This morning marked my last first day of uni (or at least, my last first day of undergrad) and I was really, really sad about it. Here’s a peek at what was going through my mind today.

  1. Wow, I actually forgot what waking up at 8am feels like.
  2. I hate it.
  3. Why didn’t I do any laundry yesterday?
  4. Black jeans and a white t-shirt? For the first day of school? Groundbreaking.
  5. So we meet again, 9am train. I hope you know how much I loathe you.
  6. This is a coffee-scented, commuter-filled hell.
  7. It’s 9am. Shouldn’t everyone on this train already be at work?
  8. Maybe I should invest in a fake pregnancy belly so I’m always guaranteed a seat on the train.
  9. I should’ve bought coffee.
  10. Why didn’t I buy coffee?
  11. Okay, and I left my water bottle at home. Great start to the day, Monique, nice job.
  12. Omg. I had actually forgotten that I catch the tram.
  13. Dear Metro gods, why didn’t you bless us with a Parkville train station? Why must you force me to ride the tram?
  14. Honestly, the tram is just a humbling experience. It keeps me grounded.
  15. Okay, definitely don’t remember UniMelb being this big.
  16. And definitely don’t remember it having this many people.
  17. And definitely don’t remember first years being this small.
  18. Was I that small when I was a first year?
  19. Surely not.
  20. Do I look that small now?
  21. I’m 100% positive that when I was a first year I looked exactly the same as I do now.
  22. And I distinctly remember the third years being tall and scary.
  23. I’m not that tall.
  24. And I’m definitely not at all scary.
  25. Okay, first class. Media Psychology. Physics building.
  26. Where the actual hell is the physics building?
  27. I didn’t even know we had a physics building.
  28. I’m running 10 minutes late and I don’t even know where my building is.
  29. I swear, if this lecture theatre doesn’t have a back door, I’m leaving.
  30. Should I just ditch? I still haven’t had that coffee.
  31. HoHo’s is calling my name. I can hear it.
  32. No, Monique, find your class.
  33. Okay, so the physics building is literally the farthest building on campus. Great!
  34. Perfect, there are only 3 other people in the back row. Plenty of space for yours truly.
  35. Left my glasses at home. Awesome.
  36. Literally cannot read a single word in this powerpoint.
  37. Should I leave?
  38. No, stay. She might hand out free stuff at the end.
  39. When has that ever happened? Literally never. That has never happened.
  40. Oh, hang on. She sounds like she’s wrapping it up anyway.
  41. 20 minutes in and the lecture is over. I could definitely get used to this.
  42. What did I learn from that?
  43. Nothing.
  44. Except that I need to bring my glasses.
  45. And that I should’ve caffeinated before I got here.
  46. I’m coming for you, HoHo’s!
  47. I swear, if they spell my name Monic one more time I’m boycotting.
  48. Just kidding. I could never.
  49. My favourite barista! It’s been a long few months without you, Fabian.
  50. Damn. My last year getting HoHo’s in the morning.
  51. Gotta go take a depression nap now.

My Favourite Fashion Instagrammers

As a whole, Instagram is basically a booty-shot, fitness-model-filled, selfie-laden hellscape. And look, maybe you’re on there for the booty shots and heavily edited selfies and videos of fitness models yelling protein ball recipes at you. No judgment. But personally, I like my homepage to be filled with fashion weeks and runway shows and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s latest creative genius. So if you’re looking to add a little fashion to your feed, take some inspiration from this list* of my favourite fashion Instagram accounts.

*Watch this space for updates

Camille Charrière

@camillecharriere

Camille Charrière is easily my favourite fashion influencer. She’s a Paris-born, London-based freelance fashion journalist and full time fashion goddess. I’m absolutely obsessed with her cool-girl casual style and how she makes every outfit look utterly effortless—so obsessed, in fact, that I wrote an entire essay about her as a journalist and a microceleb. Her closet is universal and stylish, but made unique by key statement pieces like an acne fuzzy jacket, checkered wide-leg trousers, or a mustard velvet suit jacket.

Signature style: warm, neutral tones; long, ankle-grazing coats and dresses; chunky jackets and sweaters.

Monica Ainley/de la Villadière

@monicaainley_dlv

If you’ve followed Camille Charrière, you’ll inevitably run into Monica Ainley’s account sooner or later. She’s a fashion writer and co-hosts the Fashion No Filter podcast with Camille (which I listen to religiously, obviously). I’ve loved loved loved Monica’s timeless style since the day I hit the follow button, but the look that sealed the deal for me was her wedding outfit: a white tailored suit by Joseph. A suit! For her wedding! I have an embarrassingly huge girl crush.

Signature style: a mum from the 1980s. But not a regular mum. A cool mum. Who wears a pantsuit to her own wedding.

Caroline Daur

@carodaur

So basically, I don’t understand 95% of what Caroline Daur is saying in her Instagram stories since she speaks a German-English hybrid, but I watch them on repeat anyway because I don’t want to miss out on one of her killer outfits. She’s a fashion/beauty/fitness/travel/lifestyle/food blogger, i.e. a modern Renaissance woman and everything I aspire to be.

Signature style: schoolgirl prep meets street style.

Alex Badia

@thealexbadia

Alex Badia is the Style Director of Women’s Wear Daily and his Instagram is my go-to for fashion news (after, like, Business of Fashion, obviously). His feed is chock full of front-row views of runway shows, updates from fashion weeks, and street style shots. Plus, his own style is A+.

Signature style: bold prints and colours; layers; statement pieces.

Autumn Must-Haves That Aren’t Rain Boots and Sweaters

Even though it’s only February, I’m already craving the cool, crisp days of autumn. Autumn is hands down my favourite season; I love being able to drink hot coffee again, I love the colours in the trees, I love how cosy everything feels—I even love going back to uni (I know, I’m a nerd).

But one of my absolute favourite things about autumn is the fashion. By the end of summer I’m always totally sick of short shorts and tank tops and slip dresses. Every year I look forward to the transition into long sleeves and jeans and boots. It’s just cold enough for a blanket scarf, but still too warm to have to stack on four layers before leaving the house.

So in anticipation of the best season of the year, here’s my 2018 fall fashion wishlist.

Layered tops

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The early 2000s are making a definite fashion comeback, and while I struggle to get around a lot of the trends (let low-rise jeans die already!), I have to admit that I was pretty stoked about the whole tshirt-over-long-sleeves thing making a reappearance. As a kid, I really hated when my mum would make me wear a skivvy underneath a tshirt. But as usual, mum, you were right all along; it’s cute and practical!

How to wear it: boyfriend jeans, sneakers, and a dad cap (or a hair scrunchie—we are celebrating the 2000s, after all).

Embroidered ankle boots

Embroidered ankle boots, the love child of my two favourite current trends. I have approximately three pairs of embroidered jeans in my closet right now and countless pairs of ankle boots. If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m obsessed with any kind of funky footwear (this is often to the embarrassment of my family and my boyfriend). I just think that a fantastic pair of shoes is the perfect way to tie together an outfit. Plus, embroidered boots can be dressed up or dressed down; they’re ideal for every situation. Side note—also loving velvet boots right now!

How to wear it: these can be worn with so many different outfits and still look amazing, but I’m currently obsessed with pairing them with straight leg jeans (not to be confused with skinny jeans!).

Utility jumpsuits

As the ancient Chinese proverb goes, “it’s ugly until Rihanna says it’s not”. Jumpsuits are the perfect transition piece from summer into autumn. They’re just like playsuits, but you don’t have to shave your legs. I kind of love the utility jumpsuit. It’s definitely not for everyone, but come on—how many recent trends have looked this comfortable?

How to wear it: roll up those sleeves and pants and chuck on some cute sneakers. Add some jewellery to make it little more ~girly~.

Tartan skirts

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Alright, to be fair, tartan skirts have been a favourite of mine since I was about eight years old. I practically live in skirts during fall, and for some reason tartan just screams autumn to me—maybe it’s the whole back-to-school vibe it’s got going on? I don’t know. Anyway, you can catch me with about five tartan skirts in my closet.

How to wear it: with a graphic tee and ankle boots (bonus points if you wear contrasting colours!).

Flares

I’m so excited about this one! Don’t ask me why, but I have such a soft spot for flares—and really just 70s era fashion in general. Or maybe I just have a soft spot for Cher and her love of flared pants (seriously, though, she’s a fashion icon). Flares are just so comfortable and fun, and I love to see how the style has evolved over the years. They’re a great statement piece and can be paired with almost anything.

How to wear it: with confidence!

Where to Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in Florence

During my month in Florence, I found myself eating out at least once a day, everyday. I know, I know, it’s totally unhealthy and it sucked my money up. But what can I say—I just really, really love Italian food.

So here’s a list of my favourite spots for a nosh in Florence; strap in for a long post!

Simbiosi

Ah, Simbiosi. The promised land. This was easily the best pasta I had in Florence (read: the best pasta I’ve had anywhere). We stumbled upon it accidentally on via de Ginori; it consists of a pizza restaurant and a separate pasta restaurant. It’s all-organic, features tons of vegan and vegetarian options, and is relatively cheap (around €8 per plate).

I recommend: spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino con crema di broccoli, and berry cheesecake for dessert.

I Buongustai

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If you’re missing home-cooked meals while you’re abroad, this is the place to go. The pasta tastes just like someone’s Nonna made it, and do not even get me started on the desserts. Having had tiramisu at almost every restaurant I visited, I can confidently say that I Buongustai has the best tiramisu in Firenze—you get a giant slab for only €5 and you will never again be able to eat tiramisu anywhere else. I almost wish I’d never tried it, because it has officially ruined my taste for any other dessert; the ricotta cheesecake is just as amazing. My mouth is watering just thinking about this place.

I recommend: penne con broccoli and tiramisu for dessert.

Trattoria Za Za

Something we learned while in Florence is that trattorias usually have cheaper—and, honestly, often even better—food than ristorantes. I don’t know if it was because it was the first time during the month that I had had truffle pasta, or if it really was just that good, but this place blew my mind. They bring cheesy bread to the table before the meal, and from that moment on I was sold; the staff were also super nice about accommodating nine annoying tourists who didn’t have a booking on a Saturday night (lol). The only criticism I have: the wall lined with creepy dolls. Why? What’s the purpose of that? Are they there to stare at me while I consume twice my body weight in carbs? Is it a weight loss tactic? Otherwise, this place is well worth a visit.

I recommend: truffle tagliatelle.

Il Vivandiere

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Okay, so Europeans eat dinner late. Really late. I don’t know, maybe I’m just a grandma at heart, but I tend to eat dinner around 6pm. Is that normal? Anyway, most restaurants in Italy don’t start serving dinner until 7 or 7:30pm; most people don’t eat until around 8pm. The first night we were there, it was 6pm and we were already starving. So a few quick clicks on TripAdvisor and we were out the door and headed to (what seemed like) the only restaurant in Italy that starts serving dinner at 6pm. We weren’t disappointed. All the dishes are fairly small, so we ended up splitting them family-style. The only thing that sucked was the slow service; other than that, everything we ate was incredible. Plus—if you’re a fan of lemon-flavoured desserts, the lemon tiramisu was a home run with everyone who tried it.

I recommend: spinach and ricotta dumplings, roast potatoes, and baked cauliflower cheese.

Gusta Pizza

I’m pretty sure this one is on every single existing list of the best Florence restaurants, and for good reason! Everyone who’d been to Florence before me told me that I would be cheating myself if I didn’t go here. Once I finally made my way to Gusta, I was kicking myself for not going weeks earlier. This is the greatest pizza I’ve ever eaten. Ever. I would go back to Florence in a heartbeat just for Gusta. There are only seven things on the menu—all pizza, apart from drinks—and they’re all €8 or less.

I recommend: margherita pizza.

Shake Café

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I’m a huge fan of carbs. HUGE. Literally their number one fan. But when you’re eating straight carbs for every meal (croissants for breakfast because duh), your body tends to start hating you for it. So in search of some fruits and veggies, we wound up at Shake Café. They have a giant menu chock full of salads and wraps and sandwiches and shakes. After consuming my weight in pizza and/or pasta every night, this cute little café was like a slice of health food heaven. Plus, it was very reminiscent of a Melbourne café; it was like a touch of home.

I recommend: the black bean salad and a raw cacao shake with almond milk.

Universo Vegano

2 words: vegan heaven. There’s nothing I hate more than when restaurants overthink vegetarian/vegan food. Stick to the basics! Universo Vegano is full of plain and simple, classic [vegan] meals, as well as some not-so-traditional stuff (zoodles, anyone?). Their portions are huge and the food not once disappointed us.

I recommend: chocolate croissant and a rice milk cappuccino with cinnamon and a dash of agave syrup.