It’s time for another edition of The Monthly Mint – a chance for you to join in the Peppermint office chat about all the things we’re loving and living for each month.
Here at Peppermint we’re forever on the hunt for the best in sustainable reads, eats and wears to inspire you all. But have you ever wondered what we are really liking in our off-screen lives? We thought we’d open our front doors (despite how messy it might be inside) and share a few of our favourite things each month. That way you get the chance to get to know us a little better and if you’re ever in need of a recommendation next time you find yourself stuck in the “I don’t know what to watch/wear/read?!” scroll, you know where to start.
In short: perimenopause ruined my life and no-one cares. OK maybe that’s overly dramatic, but seriously – it’s such an issue for women and menopause is a taboo topic that no-one is willing to discuss. So I am reluctantly putting my flushed, achey self forward to try and encourage all women to learn more about this often debilitating issue that many suffer in silence about. I had several years of mysterious illnesses (frozen shoulder, joint pain, sore feet and achilles, dry eye syndrome, fatigue, insomnia, weight gain and more) – and traipsed around multiple specialists, none of whom ever mentioned the dreaded M (or P) word. I lost many years to pain and suffering and wish I had known the truth – and benefits of HRT – much sooner. My unqualified advice? Don’t wait. At the very least, learn what you can and don’t be afraid to talk about it – with medical professionals, with friends… with the internet! Places to start: Mia Freedman‘s chat with hormone specialist Dr Ginni Ginsberg, Ginni’s book The M Word, the soon-to-be released book The Menopause Manifesto by The Vagina Bible author and Dr Jen Gunter and Dr Louise Newson’s podcast My Menopause Doctor needs to be on your high rotation, hormone hit-list.
Sometimes you just need a feed cleanse, and my current belly laugh obsession is Alina Bock and Lisa Gilroy. In her series ‘Conversations With My Period‘, Lisa chats with her messily lipsticked monthly alter ego, who is always up to some crampy mischief. Alina’s 90s Girl (using TikTok in a 90s world) is painfully – hilariously – accurate, and other faves on repeat are ‘What Catcallers Expect To Happen‘ ‘Self-Help Books Be Like‘ and ‘When The Pandemic Is Over And I’m Not TikTok Famous Enough And Have To Get A Real Job‘.
It’s nice when I get to combine business with pleasure, and such was the case last weekend when trekked to Caloundra for two features in the next issue. One of the visits was to shoot Pottery For The Planet – a sustainable ceramics company on a mission to reduce single-use plastic, one beautifully handcrafted item at a time. It’s always fun to see behind the scenes at one of your favourite brands, and the lovely Renton and Claire were incredibly gracious in showing me around their warehouse and studio, stacked with drool-worthy dinnerware, cups and vases. I heart my Travel Bowl; it always elevates my last-minute, thrown together lunch to fancy fare!
Women everywhere are being triggered at the moment, with so many heartbreaking stories in the headlines. Womens’ rights may be top of mind right now, but I’m sure we all have lived experiences – big or small – from a lifetime of harassment, abuse, discrimination or worse. What to do is a much bigger question that I don’t have the answers to, but these talks are a few that I listened to recently that hit home: this speech from Jameela Jamil on what she hopes women tell their sons and brothers (a must-see talk on toxic masculinity, feminism and sex); these words from journalist and author Chris Hemmings on the role of men, responsibility and violence; and, of course, everyone needs to listen to Grace Tame’s address at the National Press Club: “It is my mission and my duty as a survivor and as a survivor with a voice to continue working towards eradicating child sexual abuse. I won’t stop until it does.”
As much as I’ve been trying to get off my phone, I’ve just discovered the Brisbane City Library’s digital reader, Libby, a super handy app that you download, plug your library number into and then can borrow from your nearest library’s catalogue of ebooks. With one-click borrowing and a helpful (read: pressurising) countdown to when the book is due, it’s much more seamless and convenient than my usual library experience. (No, I would never rack up library fines, because I’m perfectly organised and return all my books on time, ahem.) On my reading list right now: Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko, The Yield by Tara June Winch, The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (thanks Lauren!) and City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I’ve come to the Schitt’s Creek party late (yes, I know, I sound suspiciously like a post Emmy-haul bandwagon jumper here) but it’s quickly risen to the top of my Netflix algorithm. At first glance it seems too silly – though, we could all use a bit more silliness in our lives – but after a few episodes, the clever character development, savvy social commentary and just downright relatable humanity of them all is so infectious. Celebrated for normalising same-sex relationships, David and Patrick’s storyline is ‘simply the best’. Added to that, the 20ish-minute runtime is perfect for a quick injection of feel-good viewing while doing mundane life-tasks like folding the washing (yep, I’m a regular party animal!).
After working on our latest issue’s upcycling DIY, I’ve remembered my once much easier (my son does not have the patience for rummaging, let me tell you) passion for thrifting – and just how much treasure there is to be found in op-shop and vintage stores. My sewing skills are on the up too (*self back pat*) so now I’m looking at old doonas and sheets that I can use for all of our amazing sewing patterns – and even some that I’ve bought still wallowing in my stash.
ASSISTANT AND DIGITAL EDITOR
It’s been a tough month in the news cycle and I, like so many other women, am at once saddened and full of rage. As a result, and for my own mental health, I’ve found myself tuning out from traditional outlets and turning to other sources of media. My latest find is a newsletter founded by (lord and saviour) David Byrne of Talking Heads under the banner of his non-profit organisation, Arbutus. Labelled “part magazine, part therapy session, part blueprint for a better world”, Reasons To Be Cheerful is exactly that: a tonic for your overflowing inbox inspiring a better world.
A quick stop in at my local brewery the other day led to a casual encounter with a stranger, bonding over our mutual footwear choice – Cariuma, the Brazilian-born sustainable sneaker brand. I was (full disclosure) very kindly gifted a pair recently (OCA Low in off-white canvas for those interested) and the moment I slipped that memory foam under my tootsies, I knew we’d be the best of mates. Ethically hand-made using fair trade cotton and natural rubber, they not only look mighty cool but the brand even plants two trees for every pair sold.
I’m a big fan of Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s work (if you haven’t watched Parasite yet, rectify that immediately then meet me in the comments to discuss). So when I saw they were creating a TV show based on his 2013 film Snowpiercer, I was instantly hooked. Think a self-sufficient train (1001 carriages long), created to allow humanity to survive a frozen Earth – come about from attempts to reverse global warming – with a plot that involves class warfare (#eattherich), a miniature ocean (for fresh sashimi, of course) and – dun-dun-dunnnnnn – murder. The second season was recently released on Australian Netflix and it makes for damn good, eating-dinner-on-the-couch, let-me-pour-another-glass-of-wine, shall-we-watch-another-episode, how-is-it-2am-already? entertainment.
COMMUNITY AND PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER
A Forest Green Sweatsuit from Universal Standard. I know, I know: we never REALLY get winter here in Queensland. But does that stop me wishing for cooler weather? Never! The second the temperature drops even slightly in our hot old city, I immediately start to seek out the cosiest pieces possible, like this glorious Forest Green tracksuit from american brand Universal Standard. Everything from the shape of the ankle cuffs to the rich colour makes this my ideal cold-weather outfit and I have been happily dreaming of wearing it on chilly, lazy afternoons or even to work on wintry mornings. The brand’s sizing looks excellent (they offer sizes 00-40) and I love their commitment to social justice. All in all, I think I have my winter aesthetic sorted: fancy tracksuit it is!
The Peppermint office is, I assume, very tired of me starting sentences with “On TikTok I saw…” but I just can’t help it! This little app that used to be the playground for dancing teenagers is now full of hilarious adults honing their character comedy in 60-second bits and I am absolutely addicted. I could list many excellent creators I’m loving right now, but my current favourite is Ceara O’Sullivan and her Pencil Lady character. Maybe it’s because we are nearing the end of Term One, my energy is flagging and my brain is turning to a puddle, but I honestly find myself ducking over to her page once a day to rewatch Pencil Lady requesting takeaway for dinner, lamenting a lack of romance or berating her long-suffering boyfriend when he doesn’t appreciate her cat cinematography. Apologies in advance Peppermint team, you’re all going to be hearing about these ones…
Whenever I am at a loss for “what to watch next” I am reminded of how lucky we are to have the ABC and its associated iView app. It just brings me so much joy to look at all that good Aussie-made drama and comedy and somehow I feel more wholesome as I binge a series on our beloved Aunty rather than Netflix or Stan. Case in point, I recently spent a delightful afternoon watching the first season of Aftertaste! It’s the story of celebrity chef, misogynist and super jerk Easton West, who disgraces himself and has to move home to South Australia where he begrudgingly begins to work with his niece Diana who is not only an aspiring pastry-chef but also a sex-positive plus-size queen (you might recognise the actress Natalie Abbott from the joyous stage musical version of Muriel’s Wedding). Family history and food culture is woven together with an examination of toxic masculinity and topped off with genital-themed desserts – six delicious, 30-minute episodes that I loved inhaling. Onya ABC!
A not so comfortable listen this month – David Leser’s Women, Men And The Whole Damn Thing. There are a lot of voices in this space at the moment, and it’s hard to know who or what to listen to. Presenting a view of where we are now and how we got here, this book is also a man’s view of himself and his role in this space. He invites the reader/listener to acknowledge the past and the present and to embrace a better future. There is truth, history (always a good thing), blame, judgement, realisation and hope. The author reads the book and I am grateful to have been able to listen to him, if I had read the physical book I would not have heard his voice and maybe the book would have had a different effect on me.