Recent reads

17 September 2017

Did you read much over winter? I'm usually a very slow reader but lately I've been blitzing through books. Here are three I especially loved:

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

My friend Irini gave me this book for my birthday last year, and I wanted to make sure I finished it before my 32nd year was up! It took me three chapters to really get into the book and after that, it travelled with me everywhere.

Its full title is The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, and each chapter explores loneliness through the work of an American artist, while also touching on the writers experience of a break-up shortly after relocating to New York from London. It was a fascinating way to get into art history, and even though the theme is loneliness, I came out of the book with a strong sense of what it means to be part of a community.

Goodbye, Things by Fumio Saski

I've read a handful of books about minimalism, two favourites being The Art of Frugal Hedonism (hilarious and wise) and Simple Matters (especially good for homebodies). This one is practical, logical and challenging too. I am fascinated by Japanese culture and loved the layout of this book. The first section profiles a few Japanese minimalist households in pictures - including a family and a frequent traveller. The author also shares how he came to pare down his belongings, and the final section of the book is filled with quick and easy tips. Bonus points for a beautiful cover :)

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway 

My sister-in-law is a dedicated reader and I asked her for a novel recommendation earlier this year when I was in a reading rut. The Old Man and the Sea was recommended quickly, and she added that it should be read in a short period of time, if possible. It's a skinny book, with no chapters, and I finished it in a day. It's a beautiful story about a surprising relationship that features some very surreal scenes.

Three more books that I've mentioned before but wanted to re-recommend -
Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan for something entertaining and fun,
Things That Helped by Jessica Friedmann for thoughtful and beautiful writing, and because it helped me understand my own brushes with depression in ways I'd never considered.
And I still smile at Insomniac City by Bill Hayes whenever I see it in a bookshop, I'm keen to re-read it before the year it out.

P.S - Tony gave me a Kindle for our third wedding anniversary. The theme was leather, so it came in a leather case :) I've been curious about Kindles for ages but wasn't sure whether I could make the switch from real books, which I love to collect. The verdict: I've had it for a few weeks and love it. It takes up hardly any space, which is great because I try to have a book on me at all times. I adapted to using is almost instantly, and my first purchase was an older book that has to be ordered at the book shop, which I was stoked to get for $10.

Weekend links

15 September 2017

I'm heading to Hobart next week for work and I'm so excited. I'm taking a day off while I'm there and am planning to eat a scallop pie, check out the new James Turrell installation at MONA, and try an American-style burger. But first things first, I'm going to make eggplant parmigiana for dinner and chill out :) Have a lovely weekend:

A cute Instagram feed for foodies.

A tiny house in the hills of California.

Things to try at Aldi (chocolate, brioche buns, fancy frozen pizza!) via Jodi.

10 fun lunches to take to work.

This is high on my baking wish-list - rhubarb-strawberry milk bun pudding.

Two new podcasts I'm listening to - Ladies, We Need To Talk and Pretty for an Aboriginal.

And this is a long read but it made me think: "Women enter workplaces filled with ambition and optimism and then, by 30 or so, become wise to the ways in which they are stuck."


14 September 2017

Whenever things get a bit crazy, I have a sudden urge to bake a cake. It's almost always a sign to take a breather. Yesterday, I decided to take the afternoon off to do just that.

I walked into the city after lunch to stock up on supplies, caught the bus home, and started work on a dark chocolate olive oil cake. It didn't look like much when it came out of the oven (I also kept wondering... would it be too olive-oily?) but later that night with a scoop of yoghurt and some berries, it was perfect.

A few hours away from the office helped me realised that as things have gotten busier, I've given up on some of the no-brainer things that keep me sane - like riding my bike. This morning, encouraged by the re-opening of a bike path cafe near my work, I hopped on my bike. I left time for a coffee and a chapter of my book (I'm reading this at the moment), and patted the cafe's pet pug Pudding, who wandered hopefully between customers, in search of a treat.

Two quick things - here's the amazing cake I discovered last year, when I hit a similar busy patch. I also have my eye on Simple Fare, the cookbook that the chocolate cake comes from.

P.S This week I've come to see just how hard the same-sex marriage debate and vote has been on some of my friends. If you can lend an ear, share some cake, take your friend out for something totally distracting - please, please do. X

Spring clothes

11 September 2017

I went shopping a week ago, busting to get out of my end-of-winter clothing rut. I had a short wish list (a first), and found almost every item on it. At the top of my list was a striped shirt with a twist. I went with this pyjama style shirt but this ruffled is cute too, and not too puffy ;)

Inspired by my sister-in-law, I'm giving wide-legged pants a go. I picked up this pair on sale, they're surprisingly flattering and comfy too. I'm going to wear them to work with a white t-shirt (this one's my current fave). You could also try spotty culottes.

I treated myself to a Mimi Holvast jumpsuit at the end of autumn - it's been waiting patiently in my wardrobe ever since! I'm going to wear it with a plain t-shirt until it properly warms up. I also own this big-tee, which is cosy and versatile. This denim jumpsuit is cute too.

And to wear with all of the above - a pair of blue suede block heels :) Lately, Nine West has been my go-to shop for shoes. Their styles are simple and cute, and I can walk in their shoes all day long. Plus, I've been super lucky with sales. I can't wait to put my boots away for another year. And when it gets even warmer, these mules would be lovely too!

Weekend links

09 September 2017

So much happened this week. I ate a cheese souffle, met Richard Fidler (!), caught a too-early flight to Sydney. I went to OzPod yesterday, a conference about one of my favourite things - podcasts! The highlight was this session with Jenn White, who was behind Making Oprah. I asked a question at the end (my heart was pounding!). If you're a true crime fan, this session was also great.

Tony was in Sydney at the same time, to see some art fairs. I tagged along to Spring 1883, a small fair spread across three floors of hotel rooms! It's still on today if you're curious - it's such a fun experience. We're off to Wollongong today to see the ocean, some friends and more art.

Here are a few things to share:

I've been getting into overnight oats this week - there are some super cute breakfast puddings in the latest issue of Lunch Lady magazine. There's also this recipe, with blueberry and chia jam, which is perfect for the abundant berries that seem to be around.

We watched this Netflix doco during the week about returned US soldiers with PTSD who learn how to surf. The surf instructor is such a great dude.

I've been listening to the Show and Tell podcast, which I found via Edwina's feed (in between ace beauty recommendations). It's been keeping my energy up - the Megan Gale episode was a highlight, there's a Zoe Foster Blake episode too.

And if you're in a cake-baking mood (it's still so cold in Canberra!), here are three different options - a vanilla bundt cake with a fancy praline topping, a dark chocolate olive oil cake, and a spiced rhubarb upside-down cake.

Have a lovely weekend!


An (almost) offline weekend

04 September 2017

On a whim, I decided to give Instagram and Facebook a rest over the weekend. I still used my phone to check the weather, read blogs and look up recipes but instead of scrolling through other people's weekends - and sharing photos of my own - I found other things to do.

I read my book, picked out some new recipes for the week ahead, did the food shop, and spent time with Tony and his family. I put a small present in the post, rode my bike into the city, and filled a few gaps in my wardrobe too.

The pace of my weekend felt different, and I had more purpose and focus, which surprised me. It's definitely made me curious about taking a longer social media break, or taking short breaks on a regular basis :)

P.S I made these Portobello mushroom burgers and they were so good! We ate them with sweet potato fries with fancy mayo dipping sauce. 

Weekend links

01 September 2017

How did you go this week? I had my head down for most of it but tried to start each day with something fun and new, like a trip to Canberra's newest doughnut shop :) This weekend, I'm going to take a little break from social media, curl up with the latest issue of Lunch Lady magazine, and try out some new recipes. Catch you next week!

The cutest print.

A new vegetarian cookbook that's right up my alley.

Humans of New York is now a video series!

Busting to try this Sydney eatery.

A breakfast I've been copying (side note: this is the best peanut butter, you can find it at Coles!).

A deep-dish pizza that got better with age.

Plus, one for the diary. The biannual Feminist Writers Festival has stops in Melbourne and Canberra this year. The program looks great!