Hello weekend

22 March 2019

Hello! I am on my way home from a work trip to Sydney that also included surprising my mum for her birthday. After any kind of travel (even short trips away), I am busting to make my own food again. This weekend, I have two exciting recipes to test and eat. Maybe some planning for Hong Kong too. To share:

Six months on the road (with four kids and a caravan). Loved reading about the everyday moments that make it worthwhile.

Last year, I became a manager for the first time. It was a little scary (hello self doubt), but it also got me thinking about the different ways that each of us work. So I geeked out with this Without Fail interview with Patty McCord, Netflix's former chief talent officer.

Molly Yeh's baby meal prep is next level (and applicable to non-pregnant folk too).

While it isn't new, I adored this video from This American Life's Video 4 U series.

And from ABC Life - falafel wraps with a two-minute spicy yoghurt and harissa sauce. I made a batch on Sunday night, and they kept us fed for four nights, including one night entertaining. Will definitely make again. Meal prep = more weekday Netflix.

Settling in

17 March 2019

Here's a tiny glimpse into our new place. We're starting to feel settled and at home after our first few week here. A couple things have helped, mainly unpacking, getting the internet sorted and...

Homemade meals. Right after our old apartment was inspected and we returned the keys, I went to a lovely book launch where my friend Sarah presented me with a giant bag of food. Inside, a homemade taco kit featuring this very delicious pulled brisket and a box of almond brownies.

It was perfectly timed - we'd eaten out a lot by that point, out of necessity and exhaustion - and I knew we wouldn't get to unpack the kitchen until the weekend. Plus, tacos are the perfect moving meal because they require almost no cutlery :)

And then on Saturday morning, we received a delivery from my parents. A very exciting box, filled with more than a week's worth of dinners (and a large strawberry and rhubarb crumble!) from The Dinner Ladies. They'd chosen all of our favourites (meatballs for me, lasagne for Tony, plus some warming curries and soups), and I love seeing them lined up in the freezer. Food truly is the best gift!

One of my favourite things about our new place is the view of the mountains, which is so very Canberra to me. Being higher up also means we get the nicest views of the sky. The other day I went out onto the balcony to stare at the sunset and realised we had a view of the iconic Telstra tower and Parliament house (just).

March is a big month of festivals in the city, and on Saturday night we discovered that we had an excellent view of the whole city when the fireworks festival kicked off. We're already excited about New Year's here :)

And something kind of silly... one of my favourite bakeries started making hot cross buns a few weeks ago. I waited til we were moved in to buy our first box, as a mini celebration.

We got through a lot of unpacking this weekend, and will are planning to return to normal life tonight with Netflix and couch time. And we'll welcome our first guest tomorrow night. My friend Sean is in town for work, and we'll have a simple dinner with flatbreads, grilled veggies and falafel. I'll share the recipe soon, I'm testing it this weekend for work.


Hello weekend

15 March 2019

Hello! We're dedicating ourselves to unpacking this weekend, starting with a trip to IKEA after work today. I am looking forward to spending time in our new place and just hanging out, which doesn't seem too far away. Loads of good things to share, including plenty of podcasts that powered me through the last few hours of packing last week:

I've been really enjoying the culture episodes of The Daily, specifically What Hollywood keeps getting wrong about race and Reckoning with the real Michael Jackson (which managed to be entertaining and chilling). Both feature Wesley Morris, a critic for the Times, which made me curious about checking out the Still Processing podcast again. Having read Michelle Obama's book Becoming, I found the episode about her book especially great.

If you're in the mood for something more poetic and heartfelt, try this interview with restauranteur Jose Andres. His views on fatherhood and community are particularly insightful.

I also found this episode of Radio Cherry Bombe very inspiring. In it business owner Michelle Mannix shares what it was like to open and then close a cafe in Brooklyn. It's also March, so I also appreciated the refresher on setting goals and reevaluating how you want to feel in different aspects of your life.

Contemplating making another sourdough starter - I managed to neglect and kill two last year but am feeling ready to dedicate some time to it again.

Smitten Kitchen is 13! Deb posted the recipe for perfect spaghetti and meatballs to celebrate. This was the first recipe I ever tried.

Nigella's chicken in a pot (with lemon and tiny pasta) also looks very comforting.

Plus, the easiest and crumbliest shortbread cookies from Thalia Ho, inspired by Greek biscuits dipped in icing sugar. I shared some with my honorary nephew, who just turned 5 (!), and he said they made a very good gift :)

P.S I went to the loveliest book launch in a Canberra backyard earlier in the week, hosted by the lovely Lean. It was the launch of two books by Emiko Davies and Annabelle Hickson. The food was so delicious, I am hoping to pick up a copy of Emiko's cookbook soon!

Beachy weekend away

13 March 2019

We booked a little beach stay for the Canberra long weekend, not knowing we'd be moving house the day before. It turned out to be the very best timing. We stayed in the cutest Airbnb (with zero boxes in sight!), swum in ocean pools, and made some easy dinners at night. Here are a few highlights...

The previous day had been a big one, we moved house and stayed up getting the basics unpacked before our legs turned to jelly. On the drive out of town, we stopped at my favourite farm store in Collector to stock up on supplies (honey crisp apples and figs to snack on, plus basil pasta and veggies) and caught up on The Dropout podcast.

We were headed towards Wollongong and stopped in Moss Vale for lunch, to visit The Highland Merchants, which I'd seen on the Design Files while making very last minute travel plans. We had slushies and a fancy hot dog for lunch, along with a grain bowl for balance ;)

I loved getting house inspo for our new place at The Mossy Store (still daydreaming about owning a Rachel Castle cushion one day). Tony was more into the cheese and wine shop next door. Then it was onto Coledale to check in to our Airbnb, listening to the music we grew up with on the drive down.

We copied my friend Ebony and booked Jenga House, a newish Airbnb that's right by the beach. In January, Ebony posted some photos of her stay on Instagram, and I'd lined up our stay less than 24 hours later. I am all about getting holidays in this year, and love having trips to look forward to.

The host is a floral stylist, so there were plants in every room, plus raspberries, creamy milk and white wine in the fridge. We've had a few awkward/average Airbnb experiences of late, so this was the best kind of reset.

I've only discovered ocean pools recently and this area has lots of them! There's a rock pool in Coledale, two ocean pools in Austinmer, and friends have recommended ones in Wombarra and Coalcliff too. I love it as a way to enjoy the beach and the ocean without getting dumped by waves.

Another highlight was impromptu catch ups with friends for drinks. It definitely had us daydreaming about living here one day, or at least visiting more often.

Aside from the beaches, there were so many great places to eat and go for coffee. Our accommodation was a two minute walk from Earthwalker & Co General Store, where we filled up on our favourite coffee and Pure Pops. They also serve and sell Iggy's sourdough, which is a cult Sydney bread my brother loves that I was finally able to sample.

At night, I loved to make dinner in our Airbnb. On the first night I winged it and made a hybrid of this lemony eggplant pasta with cheese and an eggplant and tomato pasta sauce that I picked up in Griffith, NSW. It turned out great - lots of cheese always helps.

Our trip the happiest combo of naps, cheese, wine, swims, seeing friends and visiting cafes. I finished reading Lily Allen's My Thoughts Exactly, and also read a new short story from Sally Rooney which was excellent. I am currently in between books, so any recommendations are welcome!

We have been easing ourselves back into the working week, and slowly making progress with the unpacking which feels so good. I'll share some photos of our new place at some point. We handed the keys over to our old place yesterday, and feel grateful that everything's gone so smoothly.

P.S If you're curious about holidaying out this way, here's a lovely round up of all the things you can do while you're here.

Hello weekend

28 February 2019

I'm starting to get excited about our move. I've been daydreaming about the first meal I'll make in our new place and a friend is going to give me some seedlings from her garden when we're settled. I'm also looking forward to having a bedroom that doesn't face a main street (first time in almost 10 years!), and silly things like having a shelf in the shower.

We'll have our hands full with packing this weekend but we'll take a break to ride our bikes to the Night Noodle Markets, which always has a lovely atmosphere (and delicious food). We also have friends visiting from Wagga Wagga, and it'll be so nice to see them. For your weekend:

A favourite crepe recipe, found online after I reached for The Little Library cookbook only to realise that I'd packed it.

Lily Allen is the latest guest on Dolly Alderton's podcast Love Stories.

A green smoothie with apple and peanut butter. Yum!

How to host a dinner party in a small space. Also, tablecloth envy.

Olivia Colman's Oscar speech was so funny and sweet.

I needed this: What happens when you put in 97% effort instead of 100%.

And a Netflix show to zone out to - Dating Around follows a NY single on five blind dates. It cleverly cuts between them (they all take place at the same restaurant), and it is so awkward at times.

I'm going to take a short break while we pack everything and move at the end of next week.

Speak soon and take care.


Life lately

24 February 2019

Tony and I are getting ready to say goodbye to our little apartment, which has been my favourite of all the places we've lived. I will miss its white walls, sunny balconies and walk-in pantry. But I'm also excited to be moving just down the road, and into an apartment with a newer oven :) This month has been a bit of a scramble, the last week especially, so it's nice to have a pocket of time to write, reflect and take a break from packing boxes.

Relieved to have a new apartment to move into. We didn't expect to move this year but our landlord is moving back to Canberra at short notice, so we spent last weekend inspecting as many properties as we could and working on applications. We saw 11 apartments in less than 24 hours!

When we first found out that we had to move, I was devastated. I love my home, am a homebody and had imagined we'd be here for a little while longer. We signed a lease on a new place within a week, which had been full of uncertainty and stomach flips. Things are settling down now, and the experience has made me more empathetic because it gave me a tiny glimpse into what it's like to juggle something other than work and home.

We started packing this weekend and surprised ourselves by getting through a lot done in a few solid hours. This Momofuku-inspired playlist helped, I also stumbled across some beautiful things in the process like a written tribute to my late grandfather and the readings from our 2014 wedding.

Lily Allen's memoir My Thoughts Exactly, which I'm really enjoying. I've been listening to her first two albums as I'm reading about them, and they're so nostalgic for both Tony and me. On weekends, I've been reading celebrity features (!), most recently the Vogue interview with Justin Beiber and Hailey Baldwin, and Miley Cyrus's Vanity Fair cover story.

I've been flipping through Ottolenghi's latest cookbook, Simple, and bookmarking recipes to try. I had borrowed a copy from the library and just before it was due back, Tony's brother and sister-in-law gave me a copy as a belated Christmas present. Yay.

And I'm saving the latest instalment of Single Women and Their Spaces for a packing break, along with Cup of Jo's cheery weekly round up of links.

Eating and cooking:
Lots of stone fruit at the moment, especially peaches and plums. I am definitely feeling those end-of-summer vibes, and am trying to cram in as many sunny things as possible before it's officially autumn. Last weekend we had yellow peach, jamon, hazelnut and rocket salads for a late Sunday lunch. It took 5 minutes to make but felt super luxurious.

There have been peaches on top of muesli and in galettes too. And fish and chips as the sun went down one Saturday night, following an afternoon of packing. I haven't had fish and chips all summer and loved people watching down by the lake - it was so busy, I felt like I was in the middle of a Where's Wally? My favourite thing was seeing people of all ages enjoying the last hours of sun, from little people finding their feet to grandparents who were rugged up and on walkers.

Fried food aside, I've eaten a week's worth of ABC Life recipes. Testing recipes and working with recipe writers has taught me a lot about shopping for food, but also being more flexible in the kitchen when it comes to substitutions.

Recently we've had a run of Heidi's recipes from a tomato, red onion and feta frittata using leftover tomatoes from her magical linguini. There was a can't-be-bothered-to-shop macaroni made with leftover pesto from her no-cook lentil salad (which we had for work lunches), frozen peas, rocket and chilli flakes.

Heidi's often raved about Nigella's chocolate olive oil cake on Instagram, and I had a chance to try it out this week when a colleague turned 40. There was something so calming and satisfying about baking a cake on a Thursday night. We had it with double cream and blackberries and it felt like the very best way to end the work week.

We just finished watching Dirty John on Netflix, which was based on a LA Times podcast. It was so intriguing and intense. I have a terrible habit of completely forgetting the plot line of movies I've seen - it turns out that this also applies to podcasts! I don't normally watch thrillers (too scary/gory) but felt more comfortable knowing vaguely where things were headed. We'll get stuck into the latest season of Chef's Table soon :)

Our lovely friends, family and workmates who kept our spirits up this week - from sending texts to check in, to offers of places to stay if we got stuck, packing dinners and moving day snacks, and rental references too. I always appreciate Tony's calm head in times like these (even when we got a place, my brain skipped ahead and worried about whether it had a laundry and where we might put the toaster!), and our yoga studio is such a calming constant in our lives.

March is going to be fun and busy. My favourite Canberra festival starts on Friday, we'll move house and then have a beach break for the long weekend... and our first trip overseas in many years when we head to Hong Kong. So lots to look forward to!

And on a very random note... I bought a linen shirt in Melbourne (in Sofia Coppola blue!) and was given a peach one for Christmas and have been wearing them non stop.

Life Lately post inspired by Heidi and Pip.

Hello weekend

21 February 2019

I have some fun errands to run this weekend, many of them birthday related. We'll be doing a cookie run on Saturday to pick up some delicious salted chocolate and rye cookies for a friend. Then I'll be wrapping presents to gift in person or put in the post (I bought these solar powered bugs for my honorary nephew who is turning 5 - they're so fun!). More cheery things to share:

'An introvert in overalls' - I loved this NY Times profile of Milk Bar owner Christina Tosi and want to watch her episode of Chef's Table again soon.

There are only a handful of podcasts that Tony and I both enjoy. The Drop Out is one of them, especially for weekend drives.

We're also racing through Dirty John on Netflix and only have two episodes left. I listened to it as a podcast last year and find it just as fascinating and chilling as a TV show.

How to care for a grieving person.

Really into My Place by Nowness - a series of short videos that take a peek inside the homes of creative folks like Tavi Gevinson and Florence Welch.

And an end of summer galette, with your favourite stone fruit and berries. This brightened an already great weekend. I went white peach and blackberry and hope to make another before summer's out.

P.S Hope you' re well X