Sachie’s Kitchen

Sachie’s kitchen

Ever since I was a little girl I remember loving Japanese food. My very first memory of it was being introduced to sushi by my aunt, uncle and cousins at a little sushi stand in a local shopping center in Melbourne, Australia. I must have been about twelve years old but I’ll never forget the experience; Popping the tiny little pink parcel of salmon nigiri into my mouth with a dot of wasabi some pickled ginger and soy. I remember the smooth silky texture of the fresh raw pretty pink salmon and the sweetness of the fluffy white rice. I remember my cousin showing me how to snap the wooden chopsticks apart and mix the wasabi into the soy. This was the start of my obsession with sushi and Asian cuisine. As a twelve year old, sushi was not only very tasty but also a lot of fun and still to this day I find the same enjoyment when I go to a Sushi restaurant.

Over the last ten years in Israel sushi has taken off and grown to become one of the most popular cuisines eaten by Israelis in a restaurant setting. Back in 2005 there was only a handful of sushi restaurants in Jerusalem, and nothing to write home about either (literally, as I was on my year abroad in Israel after school)- and yet just a little less than ten years later there are more than ten different sushi restaurants in the city, the majority of them being kosher. Tel-Aviv too can boast well over one-hundred restaurants that serve sushi with around 20% being kosher.

 Super Sushi- Dizengoff st Tel Aviv (kosher)

Sushi Rehavia- Emek Refaim Jerusalem (Kosher)

Israel in-fact has the third highest per capita consumption of Sushi in the World! That’s huge! In laymen’s terms basically in order of highest sushi consumption Japan is first, followed by New York and then Tel-Aviv!

Eat your sushi-filled hearts out rest-of-the-World!

Israelis just love eating sushi,  so much so  that to celebrate the sushi-eating culture that’s been cultivated here, Israel hosts an annual sushi making competition with around 30 Israeli sushi restaurants competing for the top prize. Over 500 people attend the competition every year including Japan’s ambassador to Israel Ambassador Shigeo Matsutomi.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wpKFYQFQO0

It with this obsession that Israelis seem to have with Sushi and Asian cuisine that The Food Channel has introduced the latest cooking show and celebrity chef to its viewing repertoire; Sachie’s kitchen.

 

Image: Sachie on set

Sachie is a Japanese born chef who lives in New Zealand and I recently had the pleasure of interviewing her all about Japanese food and her personal food Journey.

Sachie’s food obsession began at a young age but it wasn’t until she moved to New Zealand where she found herself sharing an apartment with some Japanese chefs that things started to really take off. There they taught her ‘a variety of invaluable techniques’ and particularly ‘how to be creative using domestic appliances and ingredients’.

On her show, Sachie goes through different Japanese recipes, mainly noodles and fish and beef dishes but occasionally Sushi makes an appearance. I asked Sachie if Sushi is considered an everyday food in Japan. She explained to me that growing up she would only eat sushi ‘3-4 times a year because it was very expensive and usually was eaten to celebrate an occasion.’ In Israel many people would consume Sushi 3-4 times in one month! Sachie believes that sushi has become a kind of ‘healthy fast food’- A trend that is reflected all over the World and Israel is no exception!

Sachie’s show is really all about making Japanese food simple. She believes that ‘the biggest myth about Japanese cuisine is that it’s complicated- because of the beautiful presentation’. Her ‘whole mission is demystifying Asian food for people so they can cook at home and enjoy the meal with friends and family’. Personally I love watching Sachie cook up a storm with her Japanese- New Zealand accent which reflects the style of cooking which is often a mix of Asian and Western recipes.

Every show starts with an adventure to a market or factory in Japan, followed by a trip to the local supermarket in New Zealand and then finally an explanation of how to assemble the dish at home. With her beautiful bubbly personality as passion for food and life that comes through the screen of the TV (her philosophy is ‘Happy food-happy home’) Sachie is slowly taking over and becoming one of the first mainstream celebrity chefs to grace our screens with Japanese cuisine- and I for one love it!

Sachie now owns the largest Asian cooking school in Australisia (That’s Australia and New Zealand for those who were wondering) with over 13,000 students in the last five years alone!

Sachie celebrating the release of her cook book

As for her career aspirations there seems to be a lot in the works.

Sachie’s cooking school in New Zealand is doubling in size and she also plans to host more TV shows featuring different Asian cuisines. She also has ‘something very exciting in the way of consumer products range’ but when I asked her what exactly she told me with a figurative wink ‘I can’t tell you too much about that just yet….shhh’.

As for coming to visit us over here in Israel she said she’d never been but it was ‘on her list of things to do’ and if an opportunity came up she wouldn’t say no!  Perhaps we could convince her to come and help judge the next Kikkoman Sushi Master competition here!

We wish Sachie the best of luck in all her endeavors! I for one will continue to enjoy Sachie’s easy no fuss approach to simplifying Japanese cuisine with her warmth and effervescence coming through the screen while I put my feet up at the end of a long day!

You can stay updated with Sachie’s adventures via her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sachieskitchen and watch her show most days at around 4pm on The Food Channel.

 

 

 

 

Firewall to Greenwall

Firewall to  Greenwall Have you noticed the growing obsession with Green? Yes, emerald was the Pantone colour of the year last year, but that’s not quite the direction I’m going with this one. More and more the idea of ‘Green’ living is taking over. As far as I understand it, the term basically refers to being environmentally mindful of how and what we consume…not necessarily living in the forest as some kind of dreadlock wearing Hippie off the grid- although more power to you if you are one of those…literally… It seems that our busy bustling lives are giving way to the idea of getting back to nature and this is one trend that takes form both in food and design. Green juice is all the rage. Throw a whole bunch of green fruit and veg into a blender, blend and drink. Super healthy and actually tastes pretty good. Try it!

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Consuming something GREEN is one way to be healthy in body, but how about in mind and spirit? I recently did a piece entitled ‘the outdoor room’ which was all about how to bring the indoors OUT. The idea however of surrounding ourselves with nature and bringing the outdoors IN is becoming increasingly popular in design as well.

In recent years numerous experimental studies have be done which suggest a direct link to being in a natural environment and an overall feeling of well-being. Certain studies even suggest that the mere presence of nature diminishes feelings of exhaustion, something I believe we could all attest to feeling when in a natural environment.

The idea of creating an oasis among the hustle and bustle of modern city life has always been a popular notion and now even more so in the computer obsessed, gadget controlled, Instagramming, Facebooking, Twittering, and uhhhh, blogging World that we have become accustomed to. Enveloping yourself in a green cocoon really isn’t a bad way to get away and have a break from all the technology and one of the latest ways to do this is with a system called ‘Greenwall’. I must admit I do have a particular obsession with this trend and I am just waiting for the right project to come across my desk which I can throw one of the babies into. Basically a Greenwall is just that, a wall lined with plants flowers or shrubs. The Greenwall system is essentially a pallet with rows of holes designed to nest the greenery in, with spaces for watering and drainage. Image

A Greenwall not only creates a beautiful looking piece of natural artwork but also has many other benefits like air purification and insulation amongst many, if used correctly. The idea that we can use nature in our built environments to affect our wellbeing and overall mood is a very attractive concept for me as an Interior Designer. After all, that is what we seek to do when we design a space for people to live, work, eat or shop in and the Greenwall concept has applications across all of these fields.

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The most recent example of a Greenwall implementation in Israel is visible at the Isrotels’s newest resort Cramim in the Jerusalem forest. A beaut……………… To keep reading please visit  http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/firewall-to-greenwall/

 

Fuss Free Food

There’s a new player in town on the Jerusalem eateries menu and they are serving up delicious, rustic, fuss-free food. Just what this passionista loves!

Bardak is Jerusalem’s newest Pizzeria and boy, are they good! At Bardak, what you see is what you get; delicious fresh pizza (with the perfect crust) and locally brewed beers served by some of the friendliest staff in Jerusalem. A good honest meal in a casual environment, what’s not to love about that?

Last Sunday night my Husband (Who will henceforth be referred to as Jason) took me out to Bardak for rare date in between studying for exams. As we sat down at the bar we were greeted with warm smiles and menus straight away. We then began deliberating on which beer to order.

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Bardak has a selection of six different beers on tap from local breweries. To assist us in our deliberations we were presented with a tasters plate of all six options (free of charge) -nice touch! We sampled Shapira’s Pale Ale, some lagers and finally settled on the Blonde brew which was light and fruity.

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We then began browsing the pizza menu. Jason had already been to Bardak a few weeks ago with some mates while I was in Australia. He told me about the delicious salmon and ginger pizza that his mate Suddy had ordered.

Honestly, as much of a foodie as I am, this did not sound appealing, but I am willing to try pretty much any food once, just for the experience. I ordered a ‘Romema’ pizza with Tuna, anchovy, olives, chili and Kavshaval Cheese and Jason ordered his salmon ginger pizza.

Both pizzas were delicious but the salmon and ginger pizza was something else! I highly recommend it…talk about fusion cuisine! The concoction is reminiscent of a mix between Napolitano pasta and sushi, my two favourite foods. It sounds repulsive I know, but for some reason this pizza works. It just does. Don’t argue.

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There are other delicious combinations like the ‘Rehavia’ with Alfredo sauce, root vegetables, olives pesto, Satureja (some kind of herb related to Rosemary) and Kavshavl Cheese. Or the ‘Musrara’ with Shakshukah sauce, egg, chili….

 

TO CONTINUE READING PLEASE VISIT http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/281694/

 

 

Yom Ha’atzmaut refelctions- Israel’s Independence day.

Yom Haa’tzmaut Reflections

Last October I flew back to Australia for my Dad’s 60th Birthday celebrations which took place in my home city, Melbourne.

I was in Australia for a total of ten days during which my Dad treated me to a day at the horse races, formally known as Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival.

My Father, Willie owns a successful travel agency and often gets complimentary corporate tickets to events. On this particular occasion Emirates sponsored our tickets and we found ourselves in the Emirates marquee on Oaks Day in The Bird Cage (A particularly fancy, celeb filled marquee). After being there, and feeling completely out of place (I mean which Jew needs another excuse to get dressed up to the nines, wear some fancy fascinator-yes that’s a headpiece for those who don’t know and prance around? It’s like Yom Tov for the goyim!) I started writing out a piece entitled “From ElAl to Emirates, and back”. The piece was going to be about how much I loved Australia and everything fancy that came with my lifestyle there, but at the end of the day how happy I was to be going back to Israel.

Needless to say, I somehow didn’t get around to posting that piece but on my morning walk today I starting thinking about the topic again.

I was running along the beautiful new walking/riding track called Park Hamesilah which backs onto my Jerusalem apartment listening to the lyrics of a song as the grey clouds rolled in:

I was left to my own devices Many days fell away with nothing to show
And the walls kept tumbling down In the city that we love Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above But if you close your eyes, Does it almost feel like Nothing changed at all? And if you close your eyes, Does it almost feel like You’ve been here before? How am I gonna be an optimist about this? How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

The words describe perfectly and succinctly my tumultuous relationship with Israel after having made Aliyah five years ago. Since then I’ve spent many days, months and years of my life in Israel, questions, wondering, complaining and asking myself “What am I actually doing here?”. But as I hear the words, “And if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like you’ve been here before?” and after having just returned again from an overseas visit to Australia, I can finally answer a resounding “YES”. It does. It feels familiar, it feels like I have been here before, it finally feels like home.

The friends, the experiences (dancing last night in Kikar Safra, with good friends and Israeli music), the challenges and the emotional hardships that my husband and I have faced together over the last five years since making Aliyah have not only bonded us as a couple (we feel like partners in crime) but also enveloped us in a deep appreciation of this crazy, dynamic, amazing, developing, intense, vibrant, innovative and sometimes infuriatingly magnificent country that so many of us call home. And as I run on the beautiful musical track that brings the modern Jerusalem into the spotlight of the Symphony that is Israel’s Independence, actually today, On Yom Haatzmaut all I feel really is privileged to be here.

And I know, that after just having come out of Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron, that both my paternal Grandparents (Alleheim shalom) who survived the concentration camps and my maternal Grandparents( Aleyha shalom) who planned at one stage to make Aliyah but never did, would be eternally proud and probably nothing short of amazed at our journey on this crazy path that we call Aliyah.

So Happy 66th Birthday Israel and happy Yom Haatzmaut everyone!

While I might not always be this optimistic every day, I’d like to think that yesterday and today make the other 363 days of pessimism worth it!

PEACE out xx

Jane Hill- A Bridal Legacy RIP

When I was about thirteen I discovered a bridal shop in my home town Melbourne, Australia called Jane Hill Bridal. It was situated on the corner of Kooyong Rd and High St in Armadale, a rather opulent suburb of Melbourne. In the glorious round display window there was always the most beautiful Cinderella dresses on dispaly, with tulle and lace and long veils. Whenever my Mum and I would drive passed the store I would look at the beautiful dresses in awe and think “One day, when I get married, I want to have a Jane Hill Dress”.

Fast forward ten years and I had just got engaged to a lovely South African chap named Jason and we were coming back to Australia from Israel to plan our wedding.

I’m not sure how but I guess some times, more often than not we get caught up in our adult lives and forget our inner child.  We forget what we’d dreamed of and revert to the convenient and sensible path.

Needless to say, I had long forgotten about those beautiful dresses and ended up being referred by a friend to another dress maker.  Her dresses were not even nearly at the same level as a Jane Hill dress, but she seemed competent enough to create the dress that I was imagining for what seemed to be a relatively good price. The dressmaker explained how each stage of the dress making process worked and it seemed reasonable, so I went with it.

Two and a half months later and two weeks before my wedding, she had jumped about three steps ahead in the design process. This all took place without my instruction as to the next step of the design and I was left with what’s safe to say, a bit of a dog’s breakfast.The design was bad, the execution was worse and to top it off, I could barely lift my arms because it was sewn so tight.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are less trivial things going on in this World than a messed up wedding dress, but at the time, for a bride-to-be, having an unwearable dress was a pretty big deal.

My cousin Belinda, who had come with me for a fitting on the Thursday and seen the dress and my face when I put it on and in her infinite wisdom jumped into action an called Jane Hill the next day to save the situation…

Image<—looking worried..

Jane was getting ready to fly to her holiday home in Byron Bay on Sunday morning but agreed to meet with me at 6am right before her flight to see how she could help.  So I set my alarm and without telling anyone, woke up at 5.30am, snuck out of the house and drove over to Jane’s studio.

Jane had since moved studios from the beautiful corner shop in High street that I used to marvel at when I was younger.

From what I understood, she had been battling breast cancer in the early ‘naughties’ and had sold the business. The new owners re-branded the business to Baccini and Hill and started importing the dresses from China.

Once in remission, Jane later re-opened a few years thereafter in a beautiful little studio on Williams Road. It was a lovely tree-lined street that seemed to capture the magic that the Jane Hill name embodied. the perfect location for such enchanting creations.

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It was there where Jane met with me, heard my disaster story and agreed with only two weeks to go to re make my dress from scratch.

Usually high-end designers in Melbourne take anywhere from six months to a year to make a dress, and a hefty feel for the pleasure, so you can imagine my surprise and relief when Jane agreed to ‘pull the strings’, so to speak in only two weeks albeit at a discounted price because she wanted to help me out.

From the moment I met Jane I knew I was in good hands. Not only because of the absolutely beautifully executed dresses that stood in the windows of her studio, or the way the entire place (probably only about 30sqm) was decorated so elegantly, but because she made me feel at ease.

The next day I had my mum go and collect the disaster dress form the other dressmaker in order to salvage the beading. Jane was already in Byron and had instructed me to mail her the beads so she could start to work on it over there.

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From the time that Jane landed in Byron it seemed that her entire mission was to put me at ease and make me feel confident that I would have a dress for my wedding (in two weeks time) and she was going to do whatever she needed to do to make that happen.

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Image<–Jane’s View as she was beading…

She was in constant contact with me via email, giving me updates about her progress  how the beading was coming along and liaising with her very talented dressmaker Sophie whenever I went for a fitting back at the studio.

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From the time I met Jane and Sophie the entire process was an absolute whirlwind, albeit a very smooth one and sure enough less than two weeks, three fittings and two interstate trips later (Jane flew back and fourth especially for fittings) I had my dress. New, improved and wearable; I was chuffed and it’s safe to say that shortly thereafter ‘selfie-mania’ ensued…

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After the wedding I emailed Jane and thanked her for all her efforts and she replied saying that it was her pleasure and how busy she was. I told her that I would tell all my friends that She had pulled of this amazing feat in less than two weeks and hopefully get her some more happy clients!

Come three years later and my brother Marc had just gotten engaged to Jayde.  Jayde  had only been in Australia for close to a year after immigrating from South Africa so I offered to help her on my next trip to Australia. Naturally my first thought was “Jane Hill of course!”.

I later learnt that sadly Jane had lost her battle with breast cancer and passed away only a few months prior to my brother’s engagement. I couldn’t believe it, I thought that it had to be a mistake.

I knew that she had been sick and was in remission at the time that she had made my dress, as she briefly told me about it at one of our fittings but only a few short years later she had relapsed and I hadn’t heard.

Jane, the fashion World has lost a great and talented designer and the rest of us have lost a lovey warm enchanting lady.  I will forever be grateful that I managed to have a ‘Jane Hill’ wedding dress just as the thirteen- year- old version of myself hoped for, but even more so that I had the pleasure to meet you and be touched by your and your team’s charm and talent. Three years later, I will always remember the beautiful red-head lady who saved my wedding and made me a stunning dress in only two weeks!

Jane Hill studio still continues to design bridal couture under the expertise of Sophie, Jane’s talented dressmaker and her team there.

Needless to say, I will be taking Jayde to meet with Jane’s team and I’m sure they will do her legacy proud.

I have made a donation to The National  Breast Cancer Foundation in honor of Jane and of so many women who die from the disease every year (including my paternal grandmother who passed away before I was born and whom I am named after). If you would like to do so too, please visithttps://my.nbcf.org.au/donate.

RIP Jane Hill xx

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Thanks to my Dad for passing this onto Jane’s family.

This was their reply:

Hullo Willie -I am Jane’s Dad and I have just read the piece  that Elise wrote and which you sent to Jaz and Bella yesterday
It was written delightfully and very much captured much of Jane’s character 
It was particularly poignant for Marie(Jane’s Mum) and I are at our beach house where Jane did the work on Elise’s dress .
The mannequin on which Jane rebuilt that dress now stands rather forlornly up in the top room -the Xmas just gone was the first time it was not used for  a couple of decades 
It was Xmas Eve 2012 when she was re-diagnosed and  by then the cancer had spread through much of her body 
But we came to Lennox(just south of Byron Bay) as we always did at Xmas  and she worked almost demonically on a new collection which is still the basis of our sales more than year later
Marie and I then went to  live with her and she died  in our arms at home on the 18th of October
To the end she was enormously courageous and graceful and that too gave us all great strength
We had a small Buddhist funeral in our garden at Sassafras and then a few weeks later a celebration of her life -lots of stories(Jane had always operated on the principle that it was easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission)many  laughs and a few tears
A number of brides spoke spontaneously along the same lines as Elise and it was a beautiful evening
We miss her enormously of course but know the best way to maintain her presence and legacy is to keep the Business alive and growing 
Both Jaz and Bella are heavily involved along with the rest of the great team Jane had assembled over the years  and we all remain committed  to the ‘Jane Hill look’ and to making our brides feel very special
We hope to have a Tribute Gown ready soon
So Willie thank you so much for sending this piece on -Marie and I and  the girls appreciate that a lot
Our best wishes to you and your family and will you also thank Elise for her words and thoughts
Travel well  John Hill

It Don’t Matter If You’re Black or White (or both..)

It Don’t Matter If You’re Black or White (or both..)

Michael Jackon’s prophetic words in his 1991 song “Black or White” talk about a girl and her skin colour “it don’t matter if you’re black or white”. The thing thatI find amusing about the song is that Michael Jackon (‘allavah shalom’) was in fact black and white at one point or another in his life, quite literally (shame you gotta feel for the guy!).

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Now although Jackson died nearly 5 years ago The King of Pop has not yet and will probably never go out of fashion as a pop icon and It seems that of late he is rather in fashion, a kind of posthumous  prophetic fashion, when it comes to couture and design this season…

That’s right folks black AND white is in and I just can’t stop lovin…it!

Yes boys and girls that’s a line from an M.J. song- I’m sorry to have to spell it out- fans unite!

Now often times trends tend to take place simultaneously with other trends and the black and white trend seems to be coinciding with the animal print trend that we keep seeing over and over again for the past few seasons- in particular leopard and ZEBRA print which I am somewhat obsessed with at present.

Zebra pint is the most classic example of black and white in nature and its come creeping back into fashion of late both in clothing, art and home-wears.

Check out my i-phone cover which I’m loving atm: OK yes- it’s true I’m also in this pic- and yep it is a ‘selfie’ which I must admit I very rarely indulge in, probably bc like in this one, the mirror needs a bit of a clean! (but that’s for my next blog post…).

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Its funny actually, that these two trends (animal print and black and white) should coincide this season- especially in Israel , where two unsuspecting groups who have been wearing these trends for donkey’s years,  are actually suddenly in fashion… YES ok, some of you might call me borderline prejudicial for even saying this but here it is:

1. The “Frechot” plural of “Frecha” meaning a lower class woman of Sephardic descent who dresses provocatively but arguably without taste.

My favorite example is the “Frecha” over the age of 50 who believes its OK to wear thigh-hugging spandex, stud-encrusted shirts and too much animal print! That’s right people, “Frechot” have been wearing animal print sine nineteen-seventy something. Turns out that if you wear a trend long enough it will eventually come back into fashion! Mutton dressed as lamb, or maybe mutton dressed as ZEBRA!? OI G’valt!

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2. The second unsuspecting group of Fashionistas are the “Charedim”, meaning ultra orthodox Jews, many of whom reside in Jerusalem.

These guys have some affinity to black and white stripes. mainly- from what I understand, because it’s meant to be more modest and less fashion-forward way of dressing…oops! Now Alanis, isn’t THIS ironic..

Despite the fact that Black and white is ‘trendy’ it is also a very classic example that you can find over and over again throughout history. As a quick example, black and white checkerboard floors can be found in many of the paintings from 15th C Europe.. (YES- i took Art History at Uni, and NO I don’t remember much of it- TG for ‘google search’..)
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And in fashion too throughout the ages black and white keeps creeping up… Check out Twiggy in this editorial pic from the 60’s in her black and white striped ensemble, too cute!

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Today you can find this trend in many places as it translates through from wearable items to floor coverings…Here are my top black and white picks for this season and a few little animal print pops to get you going!

1. Sports jumpers and tops in black and white.
These ones are from ZARA woman and Seed Heritage- they cost around $50- easy to wear and bang on trend!

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2. Black and white home-wears. This rug is IKEA and when it comes to black and white-even from IKEA you cant really go wrong!

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Or how about a little bit more refined sophistication with these amazeballs cushions from http://www.lorenagaxiola.com/shop/index.php/collection/bedding

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3. Even the boys can get in on the action! These T-shirt are H & M for men. Chuck it on with a pair of black shorts- or even a pastel colour for a little interest and walk out the door!

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4. Check out this Outfit from Seedheritage.com.au it mixes black and white with animal print perfectly! Spots luxe is the name of the game. Image

Cumfy and good lookin’- what more could we ask for!

Whether you choose animal print, black and white or both be sure to do it with confidence!

And when all else fails and you end up feeling like a jail bird, remember they wear orange in jail, not black and white stooopid!

Happy Monochrome trending boys and girls!
Peace out xx