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Blog to Book: Kerri Sackville

This is Kerri Sackville.
You are late to the party if you’ve not heard of her, and I pity you. But that’s okay – you can make up for it by reading her new part-memoir, part-guide to family life; When My Husband Does the Dishes, which will be released on Monday, May 2. And I pinkie promise – you will laugh out loud and possibly wee yourself if you use TENA Lady.

Kerri is witty, charming, honest, and best of all, fluent in sarcasm: the fairest and cleverest language of them all. Her writing has appeared in SMH, The Age, The Telegraph, and pretty much everything else, and she is a regular contributor to Mamamia.
Kerri started freelancing after becoming a mum in 2001. She popped on to Twitter and her blog, Life and Other Crises, in 2009, following writer’s block after the death of her sister. She has written her heart out ever since, encouraged by her followers every step of the way (and she rightly has a ton of them). It’s also pretty clear that she’s a MILF.

Because I’m a fan of hard-hitting journalism, I asked Kerri the following questions after storming her home and shining a bright light in her face. Not really, but that was great for dramatic effect.

Sneaker Freak: I Dig Your Sole Man

There are a plethora of street style fashion blogs out there, but after you click on one after the other you kind of tend to get the picture that all they really look for are socialites in expensive outfits. They can tend to get rather monotonous, and oh so occasionally, obnoxious. Which is why we get a little excited when one comes around with a point of difference, particularly if it's home grown and awesome. This is precisely the case with I Dig Your Sole Man, a photo project devoted to telling the stories of people who wear cool sneakers. That doesn't make it sound like much, but then when you visit the site and realise that the photos are amazing and the style is completely unique, you can't help but come back for more, as you would do with all awesome things. We chatted to the man behind the concept about, er, the concept, and why he decided to be different. Then we thanked him and gave him a cookie.

For Every Family: Relay for Life

I’ve never been much of a joiner or activist or raiser of funds. I have always found it hard to connect with the needs of the ‘greater community’, but when it comes to the small & personal, I have always been the gal you can count on. When my friends are sick, I’m the one who makes sure they’ve got enough home-cooked dinners in the freezer to last a couple of weeks. When someone I care about is in dire financial need, I’ll happily give them a guilt-free gift to see them through the rough spot. These are situations I have been able to see and therefore, empathise with. Your ‘big breakfasts’ and your ‘red noses’ et al, are all very noble and worthy, but I have found it hard to muster up enough… whatever it is… that is needed to participate.
Until I got a wee smack in the face. Followed up by a good wallop to the head.

Emerging Exposure: 100 Squared

Every so often a retail experience comes around that endeavours to transcend mere moneymaking for something with a little more purpose behind it. This is exactly the case with the new city Westfield’s 100 Squared, a fixed marketplace for today’s emerging designers. Providing them with a flagship-type retail space in an area that boasts huge traffic, 100 Squared gives said designers a means to transgress the flurry of stockists and agents and sell direct to the public. The designers rotate every six months, giving plenty of fresh ideas a chance to take part in the concept.

100 Squared was founded by Sydney entrepreneur Justin Levy, who explains that the concept's measure of success is “to have an emerging designer come to us and leave us as an established designer.” By scouring the city’s markets, studios, fashion runways, and schools, Justin eventually sources fresh talent and asks them to submit their range or plans for the space. “The final selection is based on uniqueness, quality, commerciality and their future business goals,” he says. Benefiting from Westfield’s huge consumer market and exposure is an obvious bonus, but Justin stresses that it is the knowledge that the designers gain through the experience that benefits them the most, such as how to communicate on a daily basis with a large customer base, how to retail in a fast paced environment and develop staff.” As for where 100 Squared fits in with the world of retail, Justin puts it simply: “we offer customers a more intimate experience with direct access to the makers of the garments they are buying, as compared to the young sales assistants that are just trying to meet there sales targets in traditional retail stores. Most importantly, we maintain the discovery essence of a market where a piece of fashion you buy now could be from a designer that may just be the next big thing…”

We profile three of these “next biggest things”, who you can purchase over at 100 Squared today.

The Voice

The voice has a proposal
I would like to propose, he says, tenaciously
That there is,
No past, no future,
Only the present moment.

It’s difficult to argue with The Voice,
Because you’re the one who got
Him talking in the first place
When you realised that the anchor
Near your lungs, sinking, expanding,
Gathering tremendous weight and speed,
Wasn’t your body malfunctioning,
But your head.

For the Love of Sydney Light

photo: Lisa Zhu

Art, Not Rhyme: This Little Teapot

This little teapot went to market, this little teapot stayed home, this little teapot had roast beef…. Wait a minute, that isn’t right! I’m mixing my nursery rhymes. It doesn’t matter really because This Little Teapot is not just a silly rhyme; it is also the theme for an exhibition by a group of local artists, i.e. literal teapots. The exhibition’s curator, participant and all-round megamind is Side Street, Sydney favourite Rebecca Murphy. The beautiful Burnt Feather, aka Fee Harding, is also taking part in this group ode to tea, along with many others such as Bec Winnel, Caitlin Shearer, Emma Kidd, Matthew Roland, Qwux, Tabitha Emma and TEZ. Rebecca and Burnt Feather kindly chatted to Side Street, Sydney about the exhibition, embracing melancholy, tattoos and accessories.

Rebecca Murphy

Sidewalk Dreams: Streets of Sydney

Every so often we get sent a press release that is just so US, which is exactly what happened when we got sent information on an exhibition entitled Streets of Sydney. I know, right? It was as though they named it in HONOUR of us, or something. As the winner of the Dead Space Living Artists competition via Higher Learning, Luke Williams got the chance to transform the entire General Pants Bondi Junction store into a living installation of his work inspired by Sydney's streets (side streets are of course included). Talk about ego satisfaction. It's clearly Luke's moment to shine, as the judging panel loved what he had done so much that they soon offered him a job as an in-house designer with General Pants. It's all been made possible by the team at Higher Learning, and you should know by now that "dream come true" stories make us feel ridiculously fuzzy inside. Yes, we are corny and enjoy wearing UGG boots. That is not entirely relevant but GOD they are comfy.

All of the artworks have been available for purchase via a silent auction, with all proceeds being donated to Oasis, a great Sydney charity for youth in trouble.

This Thursday evening, everyone is invited to view the artworks, place a bid on the pieces, celebrate dreams and cool charities and share a beverage at the project's closing exhibition party at Lo-Fi Gallery in Darlinghurst. It's on from 6pm and Lo-Fi is located at 383 Bourke St. Go and get FUZZY.

Food Orgasm: Aperitivo

If Australia and Italy decided to get married, they would throw the reception at Leichardt’s Aperitivo, a modern wine, tapas and pizza bar that makes a fabulously standout addition to the delectable Norton Street. This is where you will find Italy in the 21st century, complete with a modern, minimalist décor and a friendly young Italian-blooded owner, who does a mighty fine job of embodying the hospitable charm of Italian grandmothers everywhere.

After spending eight years in the IT industry (with frequent trips to the motherland) Giuseppe Zagari followed his passion for drinking and eating, Italian-style, and brought it with him to Aperitivo, a term that actually stands for the popular Italian tradition of sharing small plates with friends. And just as it is in the country the custom is famous in, the experience is relaxed, casual and unassuming – you can well and truly leave the pretention with the hipsters in Surry Hills. I mean, at the front door.

The Relationship Oracle

I got married young. I’m still the only one of my friends that is married. My husband andI not only love each other, but we really LIKE each other too. I’m also an opinionated know-it-all with a heart of gold. This has turned me into the relationship oracle with my friends. So I figure, why not share these bounteous pearls of wisdom with the world?

Everyone says communication is key. Seriously, what the fuck does that even mean? What it definitely does NOT mean is telling your significant other about your every emotion as you have them. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s about knowing when to talk and when to just shut the bollocks up. Just because you’re right doesn’t mean it helps you, him/her or the relationship to say so. Same goes with ‘feelings’. Pick your moments and pick the stuff that actually matters. The rest is just noise that will get in the way.

Words with a Cause: Fault Lines

It may not be glaring in headlines anymore, but the earthquake crises in Japan and New Zealand are still very much current affairs for the people whose lives they shook – literally and figuratively – a few weeks ago. The outpouring of support from great artists across the world has been truly inspiring, and on home soil, we've had our fair share as well – but by far my favourite initiative would have to be Fault Lines, an eBook featuring some of Australia's best up and coming writers.

One of said writers is actually one of my best friends and former colleagues, the über-talented Rick Morton, who made me very happy by landing a job as news editor at Mamamia and moving down to Sydney Town a few weeks ago. I tell you this because in the Q&A below, he responded to the "where do you write?" question by explaining where, physically, he likes to write. We enjoy writing on the couch too, Rick!

Why do write and where do you write?

I write because I do as I am told. And something, though I am not sure what, tells me I need to write. It's almost a primal thing. That sounds absurd, I know. But there is a little tingly spidey-sense somewhere deep within me that tells me to write and smacks me when I don't. So I do what I'm told. I also happen to love writing. I like playing with words. Shoving them. Twirling them. Tweaking them. Stretching them. Pulling sentences along with pace and rhythm. It's the best fun. I'd do it just for myself, but it's always a bonus when people read it. A bigger bonus if they like it. If they don't, that's fine too. Sometimes. Where do I write? Anywhere. On the couch. At a desk when I'm working. I carry little notebooks around with me to jot down ideas when they come to me because I think it's fun, but more often than not I just end up writing the ideas down on my phone because I left the cool little notebooks at home. I'm together like that.

Tell us about this book. Who/What/Where/When/Why?

The book is about nature. It's as broad as one wants to take it because, ultimately, everything is natural. Even something man made is made from materials that we found on this planet. There's no escaping it. Particularly if you live in Japan or Christchurch, New Zealand right now. Writer and advertising/marketing guru Matt Granfield came up with the idea of giving something back to people if they donated $10 to the Red Cross. People like to donate to help, but this way they could have an eBook with some great writing in it as well.
My piece is about natural disasters and why we feel the need to name them. Or personify them, more to the point. It starts from my first memory of a major flood which tore a friend's house from its foundation and discusses my feelings as a child who knew nothing of how the world worked. Or why we needed to name a cyclone. The book can be downloaded here: and includes the works of writers like my favourites Clementine Ford and Matt himself. It's a seriously engaging read.

Congratulations on being awesome.
Thanks! I'm just reflecting the glow of those closest to me :)

To read the book, all you have to do is donate $10 to the Red Cross and then download it from the site. It's kind of like an honesty system but this time, the people who don't donate and instead download for free actually go to hell.

Happy reading & being a good person!

words: Seema Duggal
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