Four nice things

10 June 2021

I am very excited for the long weekend. Our friends Angie and Dave are visiting, we're going to see an exhibition our friends have on and maybe go to a coffee pop-up on Sunday. Here are four little things that've made the work week nice... including a full biscuit jar for my 3pm snack.  I bought some chocolate dipped digestives, inspired by a novel I've been reading where the character regularly enjoys them with a cup of tea. 

Gravity is a new podcast hosted by Lucy Kalanithi that feels so perfect for this still uncertain time, more than a year into the pandemic. I initially tuned in because Lucy is the twin sister of Jo, from one of my all-time favourite blogs, A Cup of Jo. I loved her interview with her sister and the episode on loneliness, which explained how you can be rich in intimate relationships (a partner, close friends, family) but still need the incidental contact and community of acquaintances. Lucy is a doctor, so brings a really interesting perspective to topics like loneliness and depression. I also recently finished listening to the audiobook of her late husband Paul's memoir, When Breath Becomes Air.

When I'm in the office, I mostly listen to yoga playlists to... block other people out when they're in calls or video meetings. But when I'm home alone and WFH, I need something more energising. My current fave is this Momofuku one from David Chang's podcast, which includes a version of Madonna's Borderline that I've never heard before. Someone in my team would call this very older millennial but I don't care. 

And I made these baked chicken, leek and parmesan meatballs the other night, because I loved the idea of serving them in a baguette with mayo, lettuce and pickled onion. They were really, really good for dinner, late night snacks and a fancy work lunch.

Hope you have a cosy weekend. I hear it's going to be freezing even in Queensland!

A new study

03 June 2021

The funniest thing about our new place is that it used to be a serviced apartment. There are a couple of clues around the house like a sticker on the back of the front door, reminding us to take our keys. We also have... a spa bath!

A surprisingly nice thing about this move has been setting up a dedicated study. It feels neat, new and cosy. It's very different to our last place where I was working from a spare/junk room that accidentally became a home office. 

Now that it's winter, I'm making food like Hetty's sweetcorn soup with silken tofu and Julia Turshen's any-fruit cobbler to warm us up. I'm going for chilly walks and runs listening to the same podcasts that still somehow make me teary, week after week. Mostly Modern Love and the opening story to this episode of This American Life. I'm thinking of making a lemon delicious pudding soon. I love sunny yellow food in winter. 

I hope you're doing OK wherever you are but especially if you're in lockdown in Victoria. My team sent Pizza Camp to our workmates caught up in it, which felt like a fun small thing we could do. Also, check out this guy making his own Iced Vovos!


Unnecessary things

24 May 2021

It's been so nice to feel excited and not stressed about the future again, post-move. I suddenly have time for unnecessary things, like making Alison Roman's key lime pie. I treated it like a project and bought the exact pie plate she recommended, re-watched the video, then missed the plate when serving a slice 😂

We're slowly hanging art, including two poems we brought home from our New York honeymoon, which we've never actually hung (I framed them for our first wedding anniversary... six years ago!). And after more than a year of WFH, I finally bought myself an office chair that looks nice too.

Still to come... finishing this book (which reminds me a bit of Sorrow and Bliss), making slightly bigger plans in an XXL Moleskin I bought while procrastinating, re-watching Your Name before it gets made into a live action film and taking more week-long Instagram breaks to make room for other things.

A holiday in the mail

18 May 2021

My week was off to a very ordinary start when a surprise package arrived this morning. Inside was a rainbow striped dress and a card from my friend Angie. It was a just-because gift, and somehow exactly what I needed. It's suddenly raisin toast weather in Canberra and it feels nice to be settled in our new place just in time for winter. Here are a few things I've been saving to share, hope you find something to enjoy:

Tony's making carrot and cabbage okonomiyaki for dinner tonight, a Hetty McKinnon special.

This episode of Esther Perel's work podcast helped me understand why WFH has felt so much harder this year. It was such a relief hearing her join the dots of a very disjointed 12-18 months.

On a simpler note, a reminder to choose good things for yourself throughout the day wherever possible.

Very happy to have the Modern Love podcast back for another season.

A cult lip balm that's saving me from putting on the regular stuff every half hour.

Pandora Sykes on letting rigid routines slide.

A foster child's first birthday.

Fascinated by Haley Nahman's Grub Street food diary.

Also James Park's hotel quarantine food diary from South Korea. Wow.

And The Cut's very good episode about anyone on the fence about having kids (guest starring Anna Sale!).

Moving in

09 May 2021

Hello, here are a few photos of our new place. We moved in last Monday and have spent the last few weeks packing, unpacking and watching Twin Peaks :) If anything, it's been a huge relief to know where we'll be for the next year. It's even nice to work from a new home office!

My favourite part of the apartment is the balcony, which is huge and has planter boxes around the edges filled with succulents and flowers. It started pouring the night we moved in and the rain has only stopped today, so I hope to get a few sunny afternoons out there before winter kicks in. 

This move I got heavily into our local Buy Nothing group. It was a really efficient way to pass on some things we weren't taking with us, plus I managed to get 85% of our boxes and packing paper for free before passing them on when we'd finished.

Our old place looked tiny by the time we'd finished moving all of our things. I'll definitely remember it as the place that sheltered us from many unexpected things - from the horrific bushfire smoke to those very early days of the pandemic, where watching the news each night in lockdown was frightening. 

It's really nice to be unpacked and settling back into regular life again. I'm making my first loaf of sourdough in the new place and have been cooking again (mostly from Julia Turshen's new book - it's excellent). 

Autumn updates

18 April 2021

Aside from one big thing (we're moving apartments!), autumn has mostly been about lovely weekend rituals like trips to the apple orchard or buying dahlias from side-of-the-road stands. And chipping away at our Easter chocolate :) 

There was a lot of life admin this week as we plan our move. We thought we might be looking at rentals for weeks but the day we found out our current place had been sold, Tony found an apartment in my favourite building in Canberra. We signed the lease just this week! While we were both hoping to avoid a move altogether, moving to somewhere we love (with a bath tub and a courtyard with flower boxes) has definitely helped me feel excited about it all. I'm also still working from home most of the time and am very ready (read desperate) for a change of scenery.

I felt like cooking more than usual last weekend and made a care package for a friend with a new baby. There was a kale and mushroom pot pie from Julia Turshen's new cookbook (so delicious!), some chocolate chunk cookies and a jar of red pesto from a recipe coming soon to ABC Everyday.

And for a weekend dessert, I made us some maple roasted apples (I'm going through a Julia Tushen phase) that are served with roasted pecans and ice cream. It tasted just like apple pie filling and meant I didn't have to fuss around with pastry. The apples also went into a dutch baby pancake the next day. So good.

I'm going to miss this view! I've always squeezed moves inbetween days at work but this time, I'm taking a week off so this homebody can truly settle in. Hopefully it'll take some of the stress out of the situation too.

Some other things to share:

This cover of the Hollywood Reporter felt huge to me. It's still so rare to see Asian people on the cover of magazines and as a Minari super fan, I thought the cover story was great too. 

Loving these spring onion oil noodles. I made them late on Saturday night and they tasted as good as takeaway.

And we're watching the original Twin Peaks and loving it. I'm not sure I've seen anything by David Lynch in full.

Happy Easter

04 April 2021

Hope you're having a lovely Easter! I love this four-day break so much, it always feels much-needed and the autumn weather is so lovely. One of the highlights of our Easter so far has been a trip to Bundanoon to visit and stay with Tony's parents. We did the quiz over hot cross buns, ate lamb and potatoes, and played tip with our nieces and nephew until I got a stitch.

Even though we're both out of the house a lot these days, for work, yoga and to see friends, it still feels extra special to be somewhere new. I loved an afternoon walk around the area (it's so green) and a Saturday morning drive to a nearby bookstore, with bonus stops for coffee and roadside flower stalls.

We're back home now and the weather has been perfect for bike rides and laksa by the lake. Another nice thing - we got to have brunch with a friend who we hadn't seen since before the pandemic. 

I finished reading Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous this week. It'd been recommended to me before but it wasn't until I listened to this conversation between the author and Bryan Washington that I knew I had to give it a go. The podcast is beautiful even if you don't read either book, the topic is 'All The Ways To Be' 💛

I also have a copy of Julia Turshen's latest cookbook on order. I haven't seen it in store anywhere yet but I was convinced I needed it after listening to this episode of her podcast all about diet culture and intuitive eating. I have the best memories of cooking Julia's food. Last year during the nationwide lockdown, I'd saved my tins of tomatoes and froze some leftover basil so that we could have her lasagne for Easter dinner.

Hope you have a lovely long weekend. I have the simplest plans for the rest of the break - I'm making some red pesto spaghetti for dinner tonight, maybe a loaf of bread tomorrow and am going to drop off some Easter eggs to my niece and nephew after yoga tonight.