Weekend links

19 January 2018

Hello, I hope you had a good week! I've been enjoying the pastel skies, hazelnut gelato, and this salad that's equal parts cabbage and cheese. The biggest highlight of my week was  welcoming my niece and nephew to Canberra, and watching them play with the Christmas presents I've been saving. My parents and brother will arrive on the weekend to help my sister unpack. We'll be floating around to help and go out for meals :) Briefly to share:

A sweet recipe zine I ordered earlier this week.

The cutest swimmers via Nirrimi.

A relaxing after work album.

The perfect heatwave meal - sushi bowls.

Followed by a heatwave-friendly dessert - almond butter cups. It'll be my third Pinch of Yum recipe this week!

I've started listening to podcasts again and am enjoying Reveal, an investigative journalism podcast. The topics are so varied, I started with this missing persons story and followed it up with an episode on contraceptive rights in America.

"We get into tricky territory when we try and see the spaces that we live in as a reflection of ourselves." Loved these thoughts on making a home as a renter.

I'm excited to work my way through this brand new video series. I am endlessly curious about how or when you make the decision to have kids. Meanwhile, I love how New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been talking about her pregnancy news.

And here's a podcast series about consent from last year that's worth revisiting. Especially this week.

An easy peasy breakfast with friends

17 January 2018

I made my very first batch of cinnamon scrolls in 2017. They were on my list of tiny fun things to try, plus they seemed to be popping up everywhere - in this little book of hygge, on Instagram and in recipe books I bought and borrowed. I tried a recipe from Violet Bakery. It's so good that I now feel like I have a cinnamon-scroll-making superpower :) 

Here's what makes the recipe so great: it's unfussy because it doesn't use yeast, and you can make them ahead of time and store them in the freezer until you're ready to bake (and eat) them.

On the last weekend of the year, we invited some friends round for breakfast. We kept things simple and served cinnamon scrolls, mangoes and coffee. I made the buns the night before, so all we had to do in the morning was prep the mango cheeks (Tony's specialty), make a pot of coffee, and pop the buns in the oven (which also made the house smell delicious).

Easiest breakfast party ever!

Weekend links

12 January 2018

What did you get up to this week? I went back to work and it was fine! It was nice to see everyone, I also packed plenty of snacks and went for walks on my lunch breaks. It was also my very first  short week :)

We're heading to Thirroul today to meet up with some friends who live in Iceland (one was a groomsman at our wedding).  Best of all, we're going to meet their baby girl. We're hoping go to the beach a lot, visit this bagel cafe, and chill out at our Airbnb, talking, eating and playing with the baby. Here are a few good things I discovered during the week:

Delicious lunch box ideas - I'm especially keen on the Italian chicken schnitzel roll.

Kate Berry's cute new photography project.

Salmon patties are on the menu for next week.

I'm also busting to make a peach pie.

Two slightly bigger things:

Right before Christmas, I found out that an old friend from uni had died. It's been on my mind a lot. We didn't stay in touch but the time we did spend together was formative and memorable. So when I read this story last week, it made me curious about The Bright Hour. I read it over the heatwave weekend, and it's very much a story about living. I especially enjoyed her descriptions of being in nature and mothering two thoughtful and funny boys.

And I'm trying out a new podcast and loved a thought that came up - it doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful. I am a bit of a perfectionist, and can easily ruin my own fun or fritter it away with worries. Sarah Wilson also writes about 'Perfect Moment Syndrome' in her book about anxiety. It's about having fewer expectations, instead of thinking that weekends are always relaxing, and birthdays are always 100% happy. I think of it when I'm tempted to save something (a podcast episode, a new top, a phone call) for a more perfect time.

Have a lovely weekend. I'm super excited about next week - my sister moves to Canberra on Tuesday! It'll be just like this ;)

New Year goodness

09 January 2018

This time last year I made a list of fun things to try in 2017. They were small things I'd never done before, like order an affogato or go boogie boarding. Some things were ticked off right away, while others had to wait until the last few weeks of the year. It was really fun and I'm doing it again this year. I'm still building my list - so far making jam is the only thing on it!

The new year brings so much expectation and promise, and I'm trying to be extra kind to myself as I transition back to work. I've been leafing through Meredith Gaston's beautiful illustrated book The Art of Wellbeing for inspiration. It's full of recipes and meditations, and is about making our daily lives more joyful. I bought it as a New Year's gift to myself.

I didn't listen to many podcasts over the break but when I did, I picked an episode from this list of 2017 highlights. The hosts of Call Your Girlfriend recommended She's All Fat, "the podcast for body positivity, radical self-love and chill vibes only."

It's really good. I started with an episode about confidence, and immediately texted my sister about it. The theme song makes me smile and the show is super fun, inclusive and challenging. It also leaves you feeling good about yourself and your place in the world. My sister also recommends bodyposipanda on Instagram.

One other nice thing, Death, Sex and Money put out a mini-podcast in the first week of this month called Pull Quote. The episodes are super short, usually a couple of minutes max, and they're clips from memorable interviews. Each one offers something to ruminate on over the day and I hope the series continues in 2018!

My cousin Melissa shared this poem by Rupi Kaur on New Year's Day. I've been craving mint choc chip ice cream ever since. I've also been scrolling through excerpts from her latest book on Instagram, while I wait for my copy to come in from the library.

Libraries are great btw! Mine has so many new release cookbooks, which is going to save me a lot of money this year (fingers crossed). I request books all the time, and it's kind of nice not knowing what's going to come in when.

Here's what I'm waiting on: The Tivoli Road Baker by Michael James, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, The No Spend Year by Michelle McGagh, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, and Bread is Gold by Massimo Bottura.

Summer 2017

04 January 2018

Hello again! It's nice to be back, I hope you had a relaxing summer break. On Monday I head back to work after three weeks off. It's been so good. We stayed in Canberra and our days were filled with summery things - books, movies, and plenty of delicious food. We had a handful of really hot days, but most mornings and nights have been lovely and cool. Here are a few photos, beginning on Christmas Day, which started with presents, panettone, mangoes and coffee:

I was chuffed to unwrap so many thoughtful gifts, especially two new cookbooks to inspire slow summer meals. I actually claimed all of the Christmas cooking this year, which is manageable if it's just for two. I baked sourdough for a lunchtime picnic by the lake and for dinner, I made jerk chicken that cooks sitting atop a half-empty beer can (nerve-wracking!), corn cobs with lime mayo, a peach and fennel salad, and my mother-in-law's cheesecake for dessert.

Because we were home for Christmas, we called our families and FaceTimed our niece and nephew before settling in with a bunch of DVDs - Le Week-End was especially good. We saw a few movies at the cinema too, and my favourite was easily Call Me By Your Name. Watch it on the big screen if you can, it's mesmerising.

It always takes me a good week to settle into holiday mode and somewhere between Christmas and New Years, I stopped waking up at six and thinking about errands and lay around reading instead.

I finished A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work in two days, and highly recommend it to any Helen Garner fan. Each chapter is dedicated to a book and period of her life, and draws from letters and journals from the time, as well as interviews with friends, publishers and Helen herself. I immediately followed it up with The Feel of Steel, and am listening to True Stories as an audiobook. It's especially enjoyable because Helen reads it!

I also read... a finance book. This one to be exact. It's a little cheesy in parts but it's straightforward and practical. I've been fudging it this far! Here's a cheat's guide from Monique Bowley.

Peak happiness hit when I could ride to the shops and buy a Calypso mango and a punnet of raspberries for five dollars. Being at home meant I could cook anytime I liked. Swedish crepes were a highlight, I'm planning to make them for my sister's family who are moving to Canberra in a few short weeks (!!!!). I reckon my niece and nephew will love filling them and rolling them up. Nutella and strawberry was my favourite combination :) I made currant buns from the same book, and we ate them warm for afternoon tea.

On New Year's Day, we took a homemade pizza and a bottle of wine down to the foreshore. Looking back on 2017, I'm reminded of the fact that we helped made marriage equality law, and that people finally started saying 'We believe the women'.

2018 is already looking different. I am so excited about living in the same city as my sister, brother-in-law and their two kids. I'm making spaghetti bolognese to help them get through the first busy week and will take over some local ice cream too. And when I get back to work, I'll be trying out a nine-day fortnight. I feel like a long weekend every other week will make way for more creativity and life :)

Everything we talked about in 2017

22 December 2017

I had a head start on the holidays and it's been great. We tackled jobs around the house that'd been neglected for months (changing tricky lightbulbs, getting rid of wasps!), wrapped Christmas presents, and watched The Room so that we can see The Disaster Artist on Boxing Day. Best of all, it's all been done at our own pace, which could be the very best thing about being on holidays.

Thank you for hanging out here this year! Have a relaxing, fun and delicious summer. Tell me if you cook something great, finish an excellent book or figure out something big over the break - I always love hearing from you. I'll catch you in the new year, in the meantime, here's a round up of some of my favourite posts from 2017:

But first, Christmas weekend links:

From the blog, things to make and eat:

Fun things to read, hear, and watch:

Super fun style tips from Real Girl Wardrobes:

Things I worked out in 2017:

Travel notes from:

And a shortlist of my favourite on and offline finds of the year:
  • Good stuff, the girl power edition
  • Spring things, including a hilarious and moving dance tribute to a late friend, and Australian creatives talking about burnout
  • For the hungry, a simple recipe blog from Melbourne and one way to cut back on plastic bags

Happy holidays! X

Morning smoothie with a caffeine kick

19 December 2017

Do you drink coffee all year round? In summer I love having mine cold. Last week I started making a morning smoothie with coffee, banana and cinnamon, based on a favourite smoothie from a Sydney cafe called Bloom. Theirs is called the Crazy Ape :)

This smoothie is best enjoyed iced cold. So if you have a few minutes the night before, brew your coffee and store it in the fridge, and pop a few peeled bananas in the freezer too. This is my go-to breakfast if I'm running around (or running late!) in the morning.

Morning smoothie
Serves 2, though it's easily halved if you're just making one for yourself

You'll need:

2 ripe bananas, frozen
1 cup of espresso, chilled
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
2 sprinkles of cinnamon
A dash of milk to blend, roughly 1/4 cup

Here's how:

Add your frozen bananas to your blender, breaking them up as you go. Then add the espresso, yoghurt, cinnamon and a dash of milk. Blend and add more milk as required. I like mine as a thickshake, so add as little as possible.

One last tip:

The riper your bananas the better, as they'll be extra sweet. My green grocer discounts them, and lets me choose them from the cold room! I buy about a dozen at a time, and leave peeled frozen bananas in the freezer for smoothies and homemade ice cream. You could also add a teaspoon of cacao or hot chocolate mix (I love Mork Chocolate) to mix it up.