Everything we talked about in 2015

29 December 2015

On the first day of the holidays I woke up at 6am. Since then I've settled into a nice pattern of sleeping in, trying out new recipes, catching up on movies and going for bike rides with Tony. Hope you're having an excellent break. Today I'm sharing some of my favourite posts this year.

Things to make and eat:

Fun things to read, hear and watch:

So many style tips from Real Girl Wardrobes:

Some thoughts on everyday life:

Important things aunts should know about:

Creative life according to these talented and busy folk:

2015 was a big one for personal milestones too :)
And just in case that's not enough, all of my weekend links from 2015 are here. Catch you in the new year!

Pics by me, Peppermint Studios, Rebecca Keane and Natalija Brunovs.

Christmas links

22 December 2015

I'm so excited for Christmas, are you? I have one more day of work and then a quiet Christmas at home with Tony. We're planning to have a picnic brunch, make our dinner from this early Christmas gift and pick up some special gelato for dessert. Here are a few fun links for your Christmas food coma ;)

What to pack for a day in the sun.

The best last-minute Christmas dessert.

Fete goes digital.

My kind of heatwave dinner.

Drake on cake.

A graphic novel reading list if you're just starting out.

On my wish-list - a visit to the Grayson Perry exhibition in Sydney.

There's a new edition of Salad Days, an excellent zine from Wagga Wagga.

And Tokena new podcast that I'm keen to check out via Tim.

It's been a huge year with lots of travel, some big news for Tony, a new job for me and a new city too. Thank you so much for hanging out with me here, for reading, for leaving me comments and sending treats too! Over summer I'll be sharing some of my favourite posts from this year. I'll have fun new things to share in mid-January. Have a wonderful break, catch you in 2016 x

Flower by Papetal.

A holiday packing tip

15 December 2015

Are you going anywhere fun for Christmas? Here's the simplest thing that keeps me organised when I'm travelling - a bunch of drawstring bags.

Earlier this year my friend Vanessa sent me a really thoughtful homemade gift - two drawstring bags for packing pairs of shoes. They come with me on every trip and to work too if I'm cycling and carrying work clothes. I have one or two others that I use to keep things separate, mainly small things like underwear and socks, or anything that could get tangled.

One year I made Tony a giant drawstring bag for laundry when he was on an artist residency and away from home. It's so big that we share it when we're away - it even came to New York with us. We used the New York wash and fold service and our clothes would come back squashed into a cube!

I bought my cute cat's pyjamas bag is from Mozi and I also have a great waterproof one that came with a  Lululemon bag my sister gave me (it's so good for gym clothes). They're also simple to make and some shops will use them in place of plastic bags.

Finally - a silly list I started on my phone of the important things I forgot to pack to consult before my next trip: an umbrella, deodorant (!), face cream, a laundry bag, hair product, water, mini tissues and a warm jacket.

P.S - Don't forget to check the weather forecast :)

Weekend links + a little note

11 December 2015

How are you travelling this week? Lately my mind has been buzzing with all the things I want to achieve both at work and home, and then I received some really sad news. This week my friend Erina passed away suddenly.

Erina was funny and loud and thoughtful too. When we worked together she showed me all of the best places to get lunch and later encouraged me to move to Wagga Wagga when a great job came up. She used to try and patronise the cafes in her neighbourhood equally so they would all still exist. I will miss her dearly.

When I found out that she was in hospital, things snapped into focus immediately. It was a painful reminder to be kind to yourself and others, always. Have a good weekend, have a relaxing weekend and if you can, don't sweat the small stuff.

The joy of missing out :)

A fascinating archive of photos deemed too hard to keep.

A new way to receive parcels. Tried it this week and now I'm obsessed!

The easy summer dessert I make every year.

Have you seen Away From Her? I just finished reading the short story that inspired the screenplay.

The quickest dinner.

And my favourite Christmas gift guide.

Photo by Sophie Joyce.

Real Girl Wardrobes - Irini Jordan

10 December 2015

My friend Irini is generous, stylish and has a knack for putting people at ease. She spends her days at a media agency in Sydney, where she's the head of production and lately she's been busy setting up her new home. Today the 30-year-old she shares some of the daring ensembles she's worn to work, the one thing she'll never wear, and her trick for looking great in photos.

Life lately

07 December 2015

Today I thought I'd share a few photos of our new home, and a little update of what has been happening since we moved from Wagga Wagga to Canberra.

It's nearly two weeks since we moved and things are beginning to settle down. Now it feels more like we're living in a functioning home and it's really lovely. Also - no more trips to IKEA for now - yay!

We love our new place, it feels much cosier than our last home and it's right by an amazing bakery and the lake too. Things that immediately made it feel like home - putting down my watermelon doormat, setting up my plants on the balconies (there are two giant ones!) and baking my first loaf of bread.

I'm still learning names at work and my way around town but things are starting to feel less daunting and more manageable. New things I'm loving - cycling around the city with Tony (especially if we're riding to gelato), checking out new cafes and markets, and working in an office with a weekly bake off.

I set a goal to ride to work within my first fortnight and did it today. It's about an eight kilometre ride each way, or slightly longer if you're still memorising the route :) And I know I'm missing my Wagga Wagga friends because whenever we discover something new and great, I make a mental note for when they come to visit.

Weekend links

03 December 2015

Did you have a good week? We've been settling in and celebrating small things like making dinner at home and finishing the work week somewhere new. There are so many events on this weekend and we've picked two - this twilight market and a barbecue festival! Catch you next week:

Very cute Christmas cupcakes.

26 things you should do for yourself every year via Jo.

And if you liked baking for Annabel Crabb, my friend Kristy gets a mention in the latest Chat10Looks3 podcast and Lee Tran Lam has just her Annabel Crabb interview too :)

My christmas wish list

02 December 2015

I really enjoy Christmas shopping, it's like a sport to me and I'm usually done by November. The hardest part is not buying people extra presents, especially as the shops and markets become more festive. Today, a handful of things I'd love to receive, beginning with this small plant stand, to kick start my indoor plant situation.

A subscription to Lunch Lady, a beautiful and fun new food quarterly. It's Australian too :)

This pretty and practical toiletries pouch for weekends away and camping trips - one day.

new fragrance because I've been wearing the same one since I was 18!

A really good book because we're spending Christmas in Canberra.

And just for fun, a waterproof radio, for uninterrupted morning listening.

Baking for Annabel Crabb

01 December 2015

My friend Kristy and I are big fans of Annabel Crabb, the political commentator, writer and host of Kitchen Cabinet. A few weeks ago Kristy went along to an event for Annabel's first cookbook in Perth and baked her something that made her Twitter-famous - Helen Garner gingerbread, or Helen Garnerbread.

Weekend links

27 November 2015

We made it to Canberra and despite feeling a little worn out, it has been pretty exciting to set up our new place. Our friends are going to bring us dinner tomorrow night and I'm so looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces and eating ice cream sandwiches on our balcony. Here are a handful of things I discovered this week:

Have you seen the Kmart Forecast? I'm addicted.

How to leave a job gracefully.

A pancake birthday cake.

For anyone who gets anxious waiting for people to text back.

My late-night packing playlist.

A fascinating and troubling report about the rise of anti-Muslim extremism in Australia.

And just in case you're having friends over, some super easy starters (and a cheesy olive recipe from Tanya Plibersek!).

Amazing cake

24 November 2015

On our last full day in Wagga Wagga we shared a spectacular cake in the park with friends. My friend Sophie even made a spreadsheet so we could vote for our favourite flavours and toppings. We ended up with a white chocolate cake with cookies and cream filling, buttercream icing, salted caramel drip, macarons, honeycomb and edible flowers. Phew!

Nadine did a big coffee order and we picnicked in my favourite park, feasting on amazing cake and playing with babies. It was the best possible send off. 

I have such mixed feelings about the move. I am so excited about settling into our new apartment and exploring the neighbourhood. I'm a little nervous about starting a new job and I am also so grateful for the time I've had in this town. We haven't left yet (the truck comes at 9am tomorrow!) but I'm beginning to wonder just how much I'll miss it. I suspect a lot.

Photos by me and Vanessa Keenan.

An excellent new podcast

23 November 2015

What are you listening to at the moment? I'm loving The New Yorker Radio Hour, it's like a variety show with a top-notch cast of writers, cartoonists and guests each week.

Weekend links

20 November 2015

Hello from the Blue Mountains :) In between finishing up at work and our move to Canberra next week, we decided to take a mini-holiday. Best decision ever. We've loved waking up late, going for walks and browsing a few favourite shops. I managed to save my copy of Lunch Lady magazine for this trip and adore it. Here are a few links for your weekend, have a great one:

Front door envy.

The simple pizza dough we've been making every week.

Amy Schumer speaks her mind.

Loving the new Blank Goods range - teeny tiny stickers, this Christmas stamp and special boxes for baked goods.

The very best chocolate cake (here's how mine compared).

A moving story from the ground - Paris The Day After via Garry.

And just in case you haven't seen it, a French father and his five-year-old son discuss the terrorist attacks.

Raiding the card stash

19 November 2015

I have a giant box of cards that I'm constantly adding to and this week it really came in handy. I sent this cute pineapple card to a newly engaged friend, wrote four birthday cards (!) and had some special friends and mentors to thank after finishing up at a much loved job and preparing to leave town.

I love buying cards in advance (I found a first anniversary card for Tony on our honeymoon!) and my favourite ones come from art galleries, bookshops and lovely gift shops. I bought these three from Kiki KPaperchain and Mozi .

I also love Rifle Paper, My Messy Room and spend far too much money at Paper2 when I'm in Sydney. I used to stock up on birthday cards but now a few extra varieties are sneaking into the mix - wedding cards, thank you cards, new baby cards and housewarming cards too. I must be getting older ;)

P.S A funny thank you card that I've picked up in Dymocks before.

Desktop -  Rachel Viski & Kath Priest, Melahomies

15 November 2015

Rachel Viski and Kath Priest are close friends and young mums with something surprising in common - both have survived melanoma. Together they run Melahomies, a Facebook page where they post their everyday approaches to sun safety and wellbeing. Today they share how surviving cancer has changed their lives, and what they hope people will get out of their personal posts.

Weekend links

13 November 2015

I hope you've had a great week. I've been loving the stormy weather (when I'm all tucked up in bed of course) but hope it clears so I can visit the Wagga Farmers Markets one last time before we leave. I have two full days of packing ahead and after the shock of the first few boxes, I've found it to be a nice opportunity to sort through my things. Here are a few favourite finds from this week:

Hello weekend.

Do you schedule down time?

A fun new food website with the best name.

My girlfriend and I laughed over this - lingerie vs real life.

Loved these social media dos and please don'ts.

A new app for the list obsessed.

My dream outdoor area.

great idea via my friend Kristy.

Flowers by Sophie.

Big news

12 November 2015

We're on the move. In less than three weeks we'll be leaving Wagga Wagga for Canberra so that I can start a new job. When my friend Vanessa found out she said she was sadcited - a combination of sad and excited. I am too!

We've spent close to five years living in Wagga Wagga and it feels like home. I've seen babies grow up and made new friends who now feel like family. Since we've lived here, we've been engaged and then married, kicked some career goals we never dreamed of, and learnt how to be part of a community too.

But I am excited about a new home (and one near IKEA no less!) and a new job. We've spent a bit of time in Canberra this year and I love that it's packed with great cafes and things to do - like cat film festivals (!) and off-beat food fairs.

So now we pack. I've done three boxes so far and broke into one of them hours later! In the coming weeks we'll be cycling around town, catching up with everyone we can fit in and getting ready to say goodbye. There have been no tears yet but I have a feeling they're just around the corner.

P.S This little rainbow appeared on Tony's shirt after a hectic day of house hunting in Canberra :)

Real Girl Wardrobes - Rebecca Keane

10 November 2015

Rebecca Keane is the boss lady behind a string of successful Sydney cafes (she opened her first one at 24!)  and a new mum to baby Harrison. She’s clever, down-to-earth and gorgeous too, and today she shares some of her favourite brands and how moving from inner-city Sydney to the Central Coast has changed her style.

Weekend links

06 November 2015

The shortest list of links this week because it's been a busy one. Tony bought a bike last weekend and we've been riding whenever we can. The other day we raced to get home before a big storm and just made it! I hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead. We're making an impromptu trip to Canberra and I'm looking forward to eating great pizza and catching up with friends.

De-stressing an hour at a time.

The French salad dressing we've been making all week.

A life-changing watermelon skirt. 

Modern love.

An stunning (and chilling) radio documentary about a small town murder and the family members left behind via Vanessa.

And a video I made a little while ago - my first time directing a drone :)

Would you take six months off?

05 November 2015

My friends Maayan and Sam, both 31, have just returned home to Canberra after spending six months overseas. They road tripped up the coast of Peru, went snorkelling off the Galapagos Islands and found excellent pizza in Bolivia. They made it to the States too, to spend time with family and visit Harry Potter World in Orlando.

Today the couple share how they did it, from packing up their house to putting work on hold, along with a really cute ritual that helped them plan their trip in 10 short weeks.

Desktop - Natalija Brunovs, photographer/artist

01 November 2015

I am thrilled to introduce you to Natalija Brunovs, a photographer, designer and artist who is based in Fremantle, Perth. These days Natalija is a very busy wedding photographer but a few years ago we were workmates at the ABC, only based in different states.

While we've never met, I've always been inspired Natalija's work, whether it's a professional or personal project. This blog post, where she shares four different crafting projects she tackling at home actually inspired this Desktop series. Today, Natalija shares what she's got on this week, what she's dreaming up and how she handles really busy periods.

Weekend links

30 October 2015

It's going to storm over the weekend, which means our camping trip is on hold but we're still going to catch up with friends to cook cheesy hot potatoes and make s'mores - I can't wait. Have a lovely weekend, here are some links to keep you entertained:

A pretty and affordable calendar for 2016.

Worthwhile problems.

A banana split - with donuts!

An ode to quick getaways.

The The New Yorker Radio Hour has started and the first episode was great.

The best (and tiniest) wedding car.

My favourite TV show is back - and has a cool online only spin-off too.

family photo shoot gone wrong.

And Making Families Happy :) has started. I cried at the end of Making Couples Happy when it aired a few years ago!

Photo by @luxeandthelady - her Instagram account always makes my day :)

A simple supermarket dessert

28 October 2015

When we first moved in together, Tony and I would go grocery shopping after work and had a habit of buying marked down donuts ($1 for six!) for a weekday treat. We're a bit more health-conscious now, and fruit platters have become my go-to lazy dessert.

They're colourful and quick to make, which is great if it's too hot to bake or you're having a busy day. I made one the other night when a friend came round for a midweek meal.

Here's what works:
  • Pick fruits with a variety of colours and shapes. Once I was helping to cater an event and accidentally made up a plate of honeydew, celery sticks, dip and grapes and got in trouble because it looked so bland!
  • Cut the fruit and make sure there's at least once piece of each fruit per person, so one slice of watermelon, half a passionfruit and so on. It's best if it can be eaten without cutlery.
  • A tiny ramekin to stop runaway blueberries.
  • Finally, chocolate. I've been buying the organic dark sea salt variety at Aldi and one packet per platter seems to be the perfect amount :)

P.S If I was having friends round for dinner around during the week, I'd make this simple vegetarian pasta and have the fruit platter to end. The leftovers make super easy weekday snacks - yay!

New things ahead

27 October 2015

This weekend I'm going camping for the first time. I am really excited and only a tiny bit nervous. It was one of my hopes for this year and a good reminder to continually try new things - big and small.

I've been loving this Instagram series about doing something for the first time every Saturday, whether it's catching the train to a city or having a milkshake at the beach. My friend Angie has the best approach to trying new things, she gives everything a go twice, just in case she was nervous the first time round.

Aside from camping, I have a few new-to-me things on the horizon. I'm booked into a one-day yoga retreat next month and now that I've mastered a white sourdough, I'm going to make an orange, yoghurt and poppyseed loaf. I'm also producing a short radio series at work.

Right now, I'm putting a few things aside for our camping trip, including jumbo marshmallows and my first aid kit! We're going away with our friends Sophie, Tim and Edwin so we'll be in great hands but if you have any tips for a first-time camper, I'm all ears.

P.S When was the last time you tried something new? A few months ago I held a puppy for the first time and before that, I drove from Berry to Wagga Wagga, my longest solo drive to date :)

Photo by John Mayer (CC-BY-2.0)

Weekend links

23 October 2015

What's on for you this weekend? I'm planning to bake a honey loaf, visit a Christmas fair and maybe even see this band on Sunday. All things fun! It has been a pretty good week all round, I've been busy meeting new people, recording radio stories and getting tangled up in my own recording gear (!). Here are a few things to enjoy on your days off, catch you next week:

This fun playlist.

Annabel Crabb being hilarious, as usual.

How to make a giant choc chip cookie :)

A very cute dress.

An unusual and heartwarming love story.

Mild mannered insults (so funny!)

An audio book I just finished and loved. This one's up next.

Coining the catchphrases on Seinfeld.

And an e-newsletter from one of my favourite kitchens.

P.S My pug bag has been helping me make friends at Aldi. My friend Alice gave it to me, with a clay pug inside!