Welcome to the inaugural Smart Strong Stylish newsletter, where I round up the interesting things that captured my attention, had me thinking and make me laugh this week. Composed and sent to you with joy every Sunday morning, over a strong black coffee.
This week, I chat about my thirst for batch brew coffee, share insights on aligning goal-setting to your values, and introduce you to the 'Banana Candle'.
Brew of the week
Australia is a country of coffee lovers, influenced by Italian migrants who fostered a deep love of espresso-based coffee, such as the renowned flat white. Third wave coffee, where coffee is an experience and provenance matters, arrived here early and is evident in our uniqe cafe culture where high quality coffee from specialty roasters is served alongside gourmet brunch.
Filter coffee, languishing in a luke-warm carafe on a diner counter, has not been a part of our culture since the 60s. However, the combination of beans from local specialty roasters and new technologies using filter brewing to highlight the qualities of these beans has introduced the new trend of batch brew.
As explained by Five Senses Coffee,
Batch Brew is all about the equipment which allows the user to prepare large batches of filter coffee in one, automated go.
As Aussies, everything gets a colloquialism, and so when your barista offers you a 'batchie' they're referring to the batch brew speciality coffee of the day!
I drink a lot of coffee. Two or three per day. During quarantine I switched from alternative milk latte to black coffee. Finding double espresso too acidic, tried a batchie and I was hooked. The flavour of batch brewed specialty beans is obvious yet sublime, with coffee becoming a gastronomic experience rather than the milky meal-replacement while running between meetings (experiences being a prediction for the fourth wave).
It is fitting then, as this obsession with batch brew grows, that each week I'll showcase the batch brew I've enjoyed most that week.
- Roaster: Floozy Coffee, Newcastle, NSW
- Coffee:Mexico - Isabel Aragorn and Colombia - Finca El Casino
- Recommended by: Artem Coffee, Mount Pleasant, WA
Floozy is a woman-owned Australian business working with a goal to showcase women in the coffee industry, including women coffee farmers. The Isabel Aragorn roast is a great example, named for the producer Isabel who farms from her family farm in Mexico:
Coffee has always been their only source of income, and when her parents passed away, Isabel inherited the piece of land so she took control over the farm, starting to work, not only in the farm activities, but also improving the quality of their harvest.
Not only does Floozy roast great coffee, they provide opportunity, recognition and partnership with small producers around the world. It's a great thing to consider while enjoying a great brew from our privileged position in this complex globalised world.
Three things offering a fresh and brilliant insight.
The Empowered Body Podcast
In Episode #189: Clarity, Vision, Goal-setting and Daily Habits, podcast host Adam Willis asks listeners to consider their core values before setting goals. Three insights I gained from this episode:
- He suggests that goals incongruent with your values are less likely to be achieved, as what you value is what you put effort towards. Unsure of your values? Try this exercise at MindTools.
- When setting goals, people often default to external opinion - what they should do - rather than asking themselves who they want to become as a result of their goals. Guilty as charged right here!
- He then provides a model for the daily habits and actions that support achievement of goals in this context of your values and future vision. You can see that model illustrated on his Instagram page.
This is all quite logical, yet most advice on goal-setting leaps straight into crafting SMART goals. That is impossible when you haven't spent time thinking about who you are and who you want to be!
Take a listen here, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on Adams' approach to goal-setting:
Apps, tools, products or things that bring joy - and usefulness.
MiGoals 90 Day Progress Journal
Nearing the end of the year, my mind has clearly turned towards planning, as the tool that has brought me joy and usefulness this week is the MiGoals 90 Day Progress Journal.
With goals and plans thrown out in March, 2020 has turned into the year of bumbling through, not knowing what is next. Having decided I needed control over something, I set myself the 100 Days of Simple challenge, where for 100 consecutive days I'd swing kettlebells and eat keto. That stopped going to plan around day 75, with work stress and bad habits creeping in yet good habits having taken sufficient hold to be life-changing.
With 90 days remaining in the year, I decided I'd set three simple focus points (one per month) and write in the journal, daily where possible (reality is every 3 days). This practice is helping me maintain intentionality in my days and mindfulness of my actions. Even if I'm not sticking to 'plan', I am at least more aware of each day passing, which is great in the mental fog of 2020!
What has me laughing like an idiot?
Move aside banana bread, here comes the Banana Candle.
We have a thing in my office for Banana Bread, alas most commercial loaves are fully of nasty preservatives. Hunting for a better banana bread receipe, I stumbled upon this gem, straight from the 1970s. Introducing: The Banana Candle.
This monstrosity is brought to us by the 1972 Australian cookbook, Be Bold With Bananas and received this incredible review:
Almost every photo in here is stomach-churning.
This monstrosity is called a Banana Candle, which consists of a banana stuck in a pineapple slice, with mayonnaise and a maraschino cherry on top. And it is a crime against nature. If someone brought this into my home, I would slap them, and then burn my house down and salt the ground where it stood. This photo is the reason flocks of birds inexplicably die and fall to the ground. Goats and gangrene, who approved this picture???
I highly recommend reading the entire review over at Book Riot for shits and giggles - but do not attempt these recipes!
So concludes the first Smart Strong Stylish newsletter. In future weeks, I plan to expand on one topic more than others (such as the discussion on Coffee above) and add more style. I am keen to know what you'd be interested to have curated for your inbox, to read about, see photos of, or learn about. Please share your feedback by contacting me via the site or Instagram.
Have a great week!
Illustration by Freepik Stories