How Not To Kill Your Indoor Plants

So that trip to the markets on the weekend fooled you into thinking you’re a green thumb, taking home more cacti and succulents than your tiny apartment can handle. And now you’ve stuck them all on the windowsill with the hope they’ll outlive that fish you bought on a whim, as they don’t require food (or a clean bowl to live in). But keeping these pretty plants alive is easier than you’d think. I managed to get a few tips for ‘succulent survival’ from Stackwood’s in-house plant expert and landscape architect Claire Greenhill.

#1 Drainage

When growing succulents in pots, good drainage is essential. Make sure your pot has at least one good drainage hole and is planted into free draining soil. If you live on the coastal plain in WA, the soil is generally sandy and very free draining and little amendment is needed. If you are in the Hills or elsewhere on clay soil, some organic matter and a bit of gypsum will help break up the soil and provide better conditions for your succulents.

#2 Water

While Succulents are very tough plants if they are situated in full sun and planted into pots outside they will need to be watered regularly over the hot summer months so they don’t dry out. If the leaves or stems or your succulent look deflated, the plant probably needs a drink. If they are in the ground they will need less water than in pots and the twice-weekly allowed sprinklers should be more than enough all but for the hottest days of summer where some supplemental hand watering may be necessary.

#3 Light

Succulents love good light. If attempting to grow inside, a window sill where your plant receives direct morning sun through the window it a great spot for these hardy plants. If growing outside they will grow in part sun to full sun. These are not plants for the damp shady corners of your garden or a dark cool corner of your home.

#4 Gravel

Sometimes the hole in the bottom of a pot can get plugged so putting a layer of coarse gravel at the bottom of the pot can ensure the hole doesn’t get blocked by the roots of the plant or by compacted soil.

#5 Positioning

The less light and sun your succulents receive, the less water they will need. A succulent grown indoors on a window sill where it receives some direct light may only need water once a week and less in the winter months.

To start your cacti collection, check out Stackwood in Fremantle.

10 Stack St, Fremantle WA 6160

Not All A Dream: A Coffee With Grace Chapple

In case you haven’t noticed, Fringe World 2018 is in full swing, and the line up of talent seems to get better every year. Fortunately I managed to have a quick coffee with the young and extremely talented writer, Grace Chapple to get the scoop on her latest work “Not All A Dream”.

The story dates back to 1816 when 18 year old Mary Shelley goes on a holiday with Romantic poet, Percy Shelley to visit the infamous Lord Byron at Lake Geneva. During their stay the weather proved so bad that they were confined to the house for days. Seeking entertainment, it was decided they each write out ghost stories and compete against one another to come up with the most spine-chilling, hair-raisingly terrifying tale. 

Presented by Brushstroke productions, the WA base theatre group has a coterie of local beginner and experienced creatives on board bringing new and unique performances to Perth. Not All A Dream is playing over two weekends in February and I highly recommend you check it out.

Without giving too much away, can you tell us in a nutshell what this play is about?

Not All A Dream is based around the central character – Mary Shelley, who was the author of Frankenstein. It’s a play that looks at how she came up with the story of Frankenstein.

And how did you come up with the idea?

I actually read about it in Andrew Bovell’s play When The Rain Stops Falling. One of the main characters mentions this particular story, and that’s how my idea was formed.

Did it take you long to write up the script?

Well I came up with the idea in one day, and wrote about half the script in that same day. I just couldn’t stop until I knew what was going to happen with these characters. It’s an incredible story. I was lucky to stumble upon it.

Do you have a favourite character in the play?

The most fun character is definitely Lord Byron. He’s a real classic. There’s kind of that joy that he’ll just say anything, which I think is a beautiful thing to watch on stage. But I think the audience will favour Mary Shelley the most. Besides the fact that we’re seeing it from her point of view, she’s got that ‘weight on her shoulders’ thing going on. And she is, after all, the ultimate victor of the story.

So can we expect a happy ending?

Spoiler alert: none of the characters lives have happy endings… but we’ve tried to end our story with a little hope. There’s definitely something to be said about the price of great art and the toll that it took on their lives.

Where did the title “Not all a dream” come from?

It’s from the first line of a poem by Lord Byron called Darkness. He wrote this poem in the year that the play is set, and it’s essentially about the inclement weather and how it all seemed ‘not quite real’.

And it’s set in Lake Geneva, so how will that work for the location of the show?

Well I’d always imagined this play would take place in a traditional theatre space, just because that’s where most shows do. So initially I was looking for something like that, and I happened to come across Lake Nenia in Mundaring. It’s a boutique events venue in Mundaring, and it just so happened that they wanted to be involved in the fringe festival. It’s this beautiful naturalist Australian landscape with a natural lake in the middle of it. To be able to create viscerally for the audience the atmosphere and the setting, I thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Being set on a lake, what can we expect for the set designs?

We have a very talented set designer, Reinette Roux, she has worked really cleverly with the scripts to create a set that compliments what we’re trying to say and what’s going on with the characters, and what the story really is. While it’s very simple, it will really bring the emotional landscape to life. The set itself is very soft and Romantic. It’s beautiful.

And what about the audio?

Well, fortunately the stage is really acoustic friendly, so all the actors will be able to be heard. But the music is what will really make the play. We have a really great sound designer, it’s actually my brother, Ronan Chapple. He’s created a piano score with atmospheric background music that will be played over a PA system. It will create this kind of eerie atmosphere, almost echo-like. We’ve rehearsed in the space a few times and I can promise it’s going to be amazing.

Speaking of rehearsals… how do you manage to keep the cast entertained?

Luckily that’s not my job, it’s the directors. But we do this fun thing where every rehearsal it’s somebody’s turn to bring a packet of biscuits, and then we have to rate them accordingly.

And what’s number 1 so far?

It’s actually the one I brought, so i’m super stoked about that. But you’ll have to check out our Instagram page to find out.

How do we get tickets to the show?

They’re available on Fringeworld’s website, and so far we’re at about halfway sold out, so I’d recommend getting onto them pretty fast!

Not All A Dream will be playing on the 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th of February 2018. 

2225 Martin Road, Mundaring. For more event details check out their Facebook page. 


Image Credit: Bruno Kongawoin

Brunch At The Little Resident

Serving up arguably some of the best corn fritters around Perth, there’s not much The Little Resident can do wrong.

The restaurant and bar in Nedlands boasts a welcoming vibe with its white-on-white interior and arched windows. But for the best seat in the house it’s recommended you head out the back to their beer garden, where the sunlight creeps through the umbrellas and hits your back, giving you your daily dose of Vitamin D.

With former head chef at Jamie’s Italian, Grant Greyling in charge, you can expect to find only good things in the menu. Normally I wouldn’t pass up the chance to spoon into an ice-cold acai bowl with seasonal fruit and house made granola, however, the corn, zucchini and sweet potato fritters seemed like a must-try. These crispy fritters were served up with a side of spinach, smashed avocado and peperonata – sweet bell peppers with olive oil, onion and tomato. For a vegan and gluten free dish, they set the bar pretty high. 

After much debate on whether or not to dabble in a breakfast dessert, a serve of the Insta-famous Red Velvet Waffles were ordered. These waffles were dressed up all pretty with a brownie gravel, marscapone, fresh berries and maple syrup – talk about heart attack material!! Not only were they the perfect waffle consistency, fluffy and moorish, but that brownie gravel was next level good. 

The coffee here deserves a special mention. The specialty grade coffee beans are supplied from Perth local roasters, Backyard Coffee, and the barista is nothing short of passionate when it comes to serving up her finest brew. But if you’re not a caffeine addict, you have got to try their hot chocolate. The cocoa is supplied by Ballarat’s Grounded Pleasures, so you can expect nothing but the best. 

Brunch here is available until 11:30am, and I highly recommend you get yourself there ASAP.

The Little Resident
156 Hampden Road, Nedlands
Open from 7am Mon-Fri,  8am Sat-Sun

Canteen Trigg

If there’s one thing us Perthian’s love, its summer days spent by the beach. And now with Trigg’s latest cafe or ‘Canteen’, you can enjoy a swim and a feed all summer long.

I think it goes without saying Trigg beach is now that much better with its latest addition, Canteen Trigg. Welcoming only the sandiest of feet, the Canteen boasts an open space and a menu to suit all kinds of appetites. Think hotcakes with whipped cream and blueberry compote, smashed avocado with persian feta and smoothie bowls aplenty. And if the brunch options just won’t cut it, they’ve got fish taco’s, salad trays and even Poke bowls. Needless to say, you won’t be going home hungry, just sun-kissed. Oh and if you’re after something sweet for the drive home, the guys here make housemade raw treats that are good for you and your tastebuds.


A Curry Toastie With Pankaj Sharma

If you haven’t been lucky enough to get your hands on the world’s best curry toasties, then I suggest you cancel your plans this weekend and find out where Toast My Curry will be parked. Toast My Curry is a food truck providing the people of Perth with a different kind of curry experience, and I was lucky enough to chat to the food truck owner, Pankaj Sharma about his business venture.

Firstly, what a great concept. How did the idea come about?

It all began about two years ago. My wife started teaching Indian Curry Cooking Lesson’s while she was trying to find a job, and we noticed that a lot of people loved the flavours we were creating. We wanted to do something with this, but also wanted to stay away from the typical ‘curry and rice’ thing. Full disclosure – we are not chefs. The recipes we use are all home recipes and have been passed through generations within our families.

That explains why they taste so good! So how did the toastie aspect come into it?

Back in Mumbai, toasted sandwiches are a common street food, but the fillings used in these toasties are more traditional – things like fresh vegetables and cheeses. One day while washing the dishes after a curry night at our house, we thought, why not use the toasted sandwich aspect, but instead of having a cheese/vegetable filling, we use a curry filling. And that’s essentially how the idea of Toast My Curry started. After six months of making traditional toasties, we decided to introduce Naastie’s, where regular bread is substituted for naan bread, creating an authentic Indian food experience.

My mouth is salivating!! So what made you take it to the streets in a food truck?

It was after we thought of this idea, we called in five of our closest friends (all Australian) and they all loved the concept. Not too long after that that I decided to do this full time. Since we started almost two years ago, we’ve done almost 150 events around Perth and are ready for 150 more!

Tell us about the Curry Karma aspect?

When we started this venture, our mission was how could we use the power of food to motivate kids around the world. We found that children that aren’t fortunate enough to have food see the donation of food as a motivation to study. So after some research, we decided that we would match every sale of a curry toastie with one donation. In the last year and a half we have managed to donate more than 10,500 curries to children less fortunate than us. It’s called Curry Karma and eventually we want to spread this around the world.

Wow, 10,500 curries, that’s amazing work!! So if you had to pick one of your favourite curry toasties, what would it be?

I’ll pick two. For a meat option I’d have to pick the Chicken Vindaloo, which is not hot at all. But for a vegetarian option it would have to be the Bombay Marsala, which is basically the Indian version of mashed potato cooked in light spices with coriander chutney and cheese, toasted in naan bread and topped with a samosa.

Toast My Curry is on the move every week. To find their whereabouts and get your hands on their naasties, follow them on Facebook or Instagram.