The inspiration behind sub-urban

Imagine a long lunch with girlfriends – like-minded, trustworthy people. The conversation is diverse – a new job, the latest must-watch TV series, a bestselling novel, a new fitness regime. As you eat, you discuss the food, other local restaurants & cafes. The conversation flows naturally – swapping stories, sharing information. Someone’s starting a new business; another is taking dance classes. You feel inspired by their passion and their energy.

sub-urban is your online ‘long lunch’, where the conversations keep rolling. You still feel connected, informed and energised – even when you’re home in your ugg boots. We’ll post regular conversations – both our own reflections, plus interviews with innovative people. Artists, entrepreneurs, charity workers…they’re not well-known celebrities, just everyday people from your urban neighbourhood. But like most of us, they have a story to tell – stories that engage and inspire, and spark a conversation.

Love to read? Then check out our complete book club list – all the way back to 2009. Read along with our monthly novel, and share your opinions. Our Search function makes it easy to find previously-reviewed books and venues. We’ll also keep you up-to-date with exciting initiatives – new cafes/restaurants, businesses or upcoming local events. If you have any tips for people living and working here in Melbourne’s inner east, then please let us know. 

sub-urban is all about being informed, inspired and connected through honest conversations. So pour yourself a wine or a tea, sit back and imagine you’re still at lunch. 

                                       Carmen & Helen

                                       Carmen & Helen

About us: We’ve been great friends for ten years now, and during that time we’ve spent countless hours chatting about the topics that inspire us – books, cafes & restaurants, health & fitness, our families, films, local events and interesting people and ideas. Prior to launching sub-urban, we’d both spent many years in the worlds of Advertising & Marketing, working across a range of industries in both Melbourne and London. With a combination of common interests and complementary strengths, we make a good team.

So when our husbands (an Irishman & a Welshman) suggested that we start writing about our conversations, we agreed that it made sense. It’s been easy and enjoyable to put together our content, because it’s a mix of everything that makes us tick.

Helen’s great passion is food & eating out, and she’s often the ‘go to’ person for recommendations.  She knows everything there is to know about restaurants, bars and cafes – both in Melbourne and beyond. Helen is a great cook, and has strong family connections to many of Melbourne’s top dining establishments, including Bondstore Cafe, European, The Melbourne Supper Club, Siglo, French Saloon and Classico. She’s a coffee connoisseur and a great lover of Haighs chocolate bullets – as well as enjoying her pilates, running and boxing.  

Where Helen loves cafes, Carmen loves bookshops, and would happily spend hours browsing through the shelves. She enjoys anything to do with books, films, reading or writing – studying English at uni was actually a pleasure.  When she suggested a book club ten years ago, Helen agreed, so long as the first meeting involved vodka martinis – and from there, Helen was hooked. Now, Carmen is a freelance copywriter (see She loves listening to people’s stories and discovering what makes them tick. Running and yoga are favourite pastimes – and where Helen loves her coffee, Carmen loves her herbal tea. 

So sub-urban is a mix of all those things – it’s quite a personal journey for us, and a reflection of what we love doing best. We look forward to keeping you inspired, informed and connected.  Thanks for joining the conversation.

Helen & Carmen