Weekend links

31 July 2015

We're heading to the Kangaroo Valley this weekend to spend time with Tony's family. We'll be hanging out with our nephew, taking turns to cook and hopefully checking out the famous donut van in Berry. I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead. Here are a few links to get you started:

A simple and sweet weather app. I'm hooked.

This story about the birth of my baby niece, written by my brother-in-law.

I made this peanut butter and banana granola this week and it's pretty great.

My friend Sophie has a flower farm in her backyard, and now subscribe to her blooms.

A lovely small gift for the babies in your life. On sale too :)

Photo by Sophie.

Home alone

29 July 2015

Do you do anything different when you're home alone? Tony started working part-time in Canberra last week and I fell into a familiar routine of eating pasta, reading cookbooks at every meal and having the radio on constantly.

I've been getting into Late Night Live and caught a brilliant interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates discussing US race relations and this segment on worrying. I'm catching up on current affairs too, and thought this Foreign Correspondent episode about Ireland's gay marriage referendum was excellent.

I'd love to read more on the nights I'm home alone and would love any recommendations you have. I just finished reading my friend John's first book The Ghost Estate.

Angela Osborn - Life in Adelaide, SA

27 July 2015

I’m excited to share another instalment of the Life In series today. I met up with the lovely Angela Osborn when I was in South Australia recently. Angela grew up on a farm and moved to Adelaide after she finished school to study fashion design. Now 30, the full-time psychology student gives us a glimpse into her everyday life in the city of churches. 

I moved to Adelaide after I finished Year 12 and I've been here ever since.

I grew up in Naracoorte, which is about three-and-a-half to four hours away in the south east. Naracoorte is a really lovely little town but it's a small town. We've always had family in Adelaide and it was a big exciting thing to visit for a holiday. 

Often people from cities like Sydney or Melbourne think Adelaide is just a big country town and not a real city. It doesn’t bother me because it's all relative. Growing up on a farm I was like - Adelaide is so big, there's public transport!

I'd always planned to move to Adelaide when I finished high school, it’s just the thing you do. Initially I hadn't decided if I wanted to do psychology or fashion design and I ended up going with fashion design. I moved around a lot through different share houses. I probably lived in half a dozen suburbs, which was stressful but in one sense moving to a new city and moving to all of these different areas did give me a better understanding of the layout of the city. 

I've certainly considered moving to Sydney or Melbourne.

When I was considering moving to Sydney I was just feeling a bit lost and wanted to move away, and then I met Matt. I might have put aside that plan to move because I thought this guy's really cute and nice. We've been married for six years now and we really love where we live. 

We live in Oakden, which is a little suburb about 15 minutes out of the city.

Matt's parents and a lot of our friends are on the north east side, a bit further out of the city. We didn't want to be too far away from our sense of community there but we wanted to be a bit closer to the city. We wanted to be smart and buy into an area that might increase in value and that's one of the things about Adelaide - a young couple can afford a mortgage for a three bedroom house. If we were in Sydney that would not be happening.

When we were looking around at different houses we'd never heard of the suburb Oakden. It's quite small and it was actually only built in the '90s. Prior to that it was agricultural land or CSIRO land and then it was developed into housing. The houses are mostly quite small and because of that there are a lot of parks and outdoor communal spaces.

On a typical day I study at Uni SA

Two years ago I decided I really wanted to study psychology. I thought, it's 10 years later and I’m still interested it, maybe I should just bite the bullet and go to uni, and that's what I've done. 

Most of my subjects are at the Magill campus, which I love because it's green and there's a little creek that runs through it, it's really beautiful. But this last semester, I've had two subjects at Magilll and two subjects at City East. So I might go to a lecture at City East at 8am - 8am lectures that's cruel - and then have another class, and then I'd go to Magill for another class, then home to listen to a lecture online.

I don't drive because it scares the shit out of me, I'm working on that. I usually rely on public transport.  If you were driving it would probably take 15 minutes tops to travel between campuses but buses always take a little bit longer. But it's not too bad, for people from other cities getting somewhere in 20 minutes is amazing.

We absolutely love the beach so we'll often drive to Semaphore.

There's a really cute little cafe there called Whipped, we'll often go for brunch and for a walk along the beach. That's one of the things I love about Adelaide, you can drive for 30 minutes and you're at the beach and 30 minutes in the opposite direction and you're in the Adelaide Hills at a winery. 

Another one of our favourite cafes is in Stirling, again it's not that far away but you feel like you're far from the city. It's a cafe that's attached to an organic market, so we'll often go there for brunch and then wander around the market. There are two bookshops in the street, we are obsessed with books so always look, Matilda's bookshop is new books and the other one is secondhand booksThere's also Topiary cafewhich is part of Newmann's Nursery. The food is incredible.

We went to a new microbrewery on Saturday night, I think it’s Adelaide’s first but generally speaking, we more often hang out at a friend's place. 

It's easier, you don’t have to worry about parking and a lot of our friends have kids now, so we're more likely to go for dinner or grab a pizza and watch the football, just something relaxed. Because there are a lot of kids there will be barbecues and lunches, which I like. It's interesting seeing that shift from going out to a pub to being at someone's house and now daytime activities with all these little kids running around. 

With visitors we’d want to take them to a coastal location like Glenelg or Henley beach and there will have to be a winery, there are so many nice wineries.

Maggie Beer's Farm Shop in the Barossa is a great place to take visitors. The shop overlooks a lake and once we saw little turtles swimming in it! They have yummy picnic baskets on offer and we're actually planning a trip there with Matt's parents as a really late Mother’s Day present. 

I was at the Two Hands cellar door in the Barossa recently and they have two gorgeous young Rhodesian Ridgebacks - Saffy and Daisy. I'd never been to this winery before but I'd highly recommend them to anyone visiting the region. Their wines are delicious, the atmosphere of the cellar door was lovely and I appreciate their philosophy - they charge a small fee for wine tasting, which is entirely donated to the Uganda ProjectRockford cellar door have beautiful old buildings and their wines are amazing. 

Hahndorf is really beautiful and as well as the pubs and eateries, there's some lovely wineries as well. Hahndorf Hill winery do this thing that's chocolate and wine tasting, it's called ChocoVino and they might have single origin chocolates or a mix of chocolates from different places. It's amazing, they'll pair each of these chocolates with a wine and they even had a little bit of a raw cacao bean, so you can see what it tastes like raw. It’s really fun. 

I like being part of a city that’s really diverse.

I just like wandering around the city, I like seeing the buskers and seeing all of these different cultures coming together. In Naracoorte, it's a lot more diverse now than it used to be but what I love about Adelaide is that you see people from so many different subcultures and that's just embraced, it's just normal. 

Thank you Angela! She's on Instagram if you'd like to see more snippets of her life in Adelaide, including a few more photos of her super cute cat. Thanks too to Tim and Sophie for the introduction :) You can find more Life in interviews here.

Photos by Angela Osborn.

Weekend links

24 July 2015

I've spent a full week in Wagga Wagga after a month of travel and have been busy, getting back into cooking, taking yoga and ballet classes after work and meeting some new puppies too! I've also stockpiled so many great links to share, so here goes:

Truffle and cream spaghetti.

Beautiful minimal stationary.


Molly Ringwald re-watches The Breakfast Club with her 10-year-old daughter.

A week with food blogger Molly Yeh. I have serious kitchen envy.

I love this clever video series.

And in case you missed it, Rachel Khoo's Melbourne series has started.

Have a lovely weekend :)

Angie's go-to winter dessert

22 July 2015

We stayed with Angie when we were in Sydney last week and on our first night, just as we were getting settled in front of the fire, she pulled out these amazing peanut butter and chocolate fondants from the oven.

She swears by this Gordon Ramsay recipe, which you can freeze for dessert emergencies. And while some fondants can be full-on, Angie used tiny ramekins, which means equal parts fondant and ice cream :)

To add peanut butter to the original recipe, Angie recommends half filling a ramekin with the fondant mixture before adding some peanut butter. Then you top it up with more fondant batter and bake. Genius!

The Archibald Prize

19 July 2015

It's been a crazy two weeks in our house ever since Tony was named a finalist in the 2015 Archibald Prize. It's a huge achievement, being one of Australia's most recognised and celebrated art prizes and we've just come back from Sydney where the exhibition was launched. Here are a few snaps from a very exciting trip:

Tony entered a portrait of our friend Luke Grealy in the prize and the pair spent two days at the Art Gallery of New South Wales attending a bunch of different events, from an artist and sitters lunch to the all-important announcement of the winner. I snuck in some family time before the opening party on Friday night.

It felt like a proper celebration, with fancy lighting, a paint-splattered red carpet and waitstaff in bow-ties. We had six tickets all up - two for us, two for Tony's sitter Luke and his wife Moyra (who works with me at the ABC) and Tony saved the last two as a surprise for his father's birthday, which was the next day :)

Tony's painting is the very first on the right as you enter the exhibition. It was so exciting to walk into a gallery that I've been visiting since I was a child, where my parents took me to see everything from surrealism exhibitions to Renoir, only to see my husband's painting on display.

Moyra made a snap-decision to buy the painting of her husband at Tony's exhibition closing party a few months ago but won't see it for about a year because after the Archibald exhibition wraps up in Sydney, it'll go on a tour of regional Australia.

While the opening night was pinch-me great (Annabel Crabb was there and we chatted with artists whose work I've long admired - Richard Bell was the first person I met!) it's been some of the more personal celebrations that have been the most memorable.

I threw a surprise party for Tony the night of the Archibald finalists were announced and had friends and neighbours help to hide the booze and cheese around town to keep things under wraps. My parents had a special lunch for Tony and my extended family showed up to celebrate, and our friends Angie and Dave busted open a special bottle of whiskey and had us stay for the weekend.

And after driving close to 3000 kilometres in a few short weeks, we arrived home in Wagga Wagga last night and went straight to our friend Tim and Sophie's house for a home cooked dinner, baby cuddles and a very special bottle of wine.

I love that Tony entered a painting of our friend Luke who has been so generous and welcoming ever since we arrived in Wagga Wagga over four years ago. Both Luke and Moyra have shown us how to contribute and be part of a community that has been so supportive of us both. It's felt like the town has been right behind Tony and his Archibald news in these last few weeks.

If you'd like to see the show, it'll be on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until September 27. My sister says she'll take my gorgeous niece to the city for the first time to see her uncle's work on display, which warms my heart. I can't wait to buy the catalogue :)

Weekend links

17 July 2015

While I normally dread winter, I've been so excited about the cold snap that started last weekend. Breathing in the super cold air makes me feel so awake and alert. We're back on the road again this weekend, in Sydney this time to see family and for the Archibald Prize announcement :) I can't wait to eat Mexican food with friends and give my little niece a squeeze - I'll be posting a few pics on Instagram. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Hayao Miyazaki has another film in the works!

Should we be more critical of the Pill?

A puppy in the snow.

My magic new scarf.

How to go slow.

I made my lemon delicious this week and it was great! Thank you to Amy for sharing her favourite recipe for a sticky lemon pudding.

A cool way to get stuff done

16 July 2015

Last month I met a woman who had just been to a deadline party. A bunch of friends set a date three months out and everyone picked a creative project, big or small, to complete in time for a celebratory dinner.

At first I was confused - a deadline party sounds kind of stressful but she explained that the party was like an exhibition opening where everyone had made a work. The party was something to look forward to and a friendly prompt to start and finish something creative, whether it was writing a series of short stories or tackling a complicated woodwork project. And there was no pressure to show off your work on the night, it was just a celebration for everyone who took part.

I'd love to know what you'd pick as a mini creative project for a deadline party. Planting a cute flower box (and keeping it alive) has been on my list for a long time, along with learning how to use a DSLR on manual settings.

P.S You might also like 'A party for your thoughts' from my friend Vanessa.

Photo by Wattle + Lace.

South Australian holiday

14 July 2015

I'm a big fan of mid-year holidays, the last time we took one we got engaged, and this time we were celebrating the end of Tony's PhD. We road tripped around South Australia, exploring the wine regions and getting some city time in Adelaide. After a few really busy months, it was so nice to spend some solid time together, with lots of great food and a newfound appreciation of wine :)
Here are a few highlights:

Barossa Valley

It took us a little while to get our bearings in the Barossa because it's made up of a few different towns, with 10-20 minutes driving time between them. We went straight to Maggie Beer's farm shop in Nuripoota where I sampled everything on offer and Maggie popped in to say hi, which was so exciting :) It was too cold for a picnic but we still enjoyed a lovely lunch in the sun from the cafe and went for a walk around her property. Fun fact - the supermarket in the Barossa stocks every flavour of her ice cream line, including ones I'd never seen before.

Artisans of the Barossa was recommended by a friend because it stocks six small wine labels. We deliberately skipped breakfast so that we could take full advantage of the 'Feed me like a Barossan' menu at Harvest Kitchen, which is part of the Artisans set-up and it was a highlight of the trip. There was fried chicken, insane fig and beef empanadas and a salted caramel and popcorn sundae that Tony had to fight me for.

Because we ate so much during the day, we never got to eat dinner in the Barossa but FINO in Seppeltsfield came highly recommended, and we poked our heads into the JamFactory that is in the same complex to see the studios and check out the craft and design shop that's downstairs.

We bought local camembert from a cheese shop on the main street of Angaston after learning that it only needed to be refrigerated of a night and could come on the road trip with us - thank goodness it was winter - and then returned the next day for breakfast burgers at Barossa Farmers Markets where Maggie was spotted again :) Casacarboni, a well-known Italian cooking school, was closed while we were there but looked pretty great from the outside.

We stayed in a really cute shed beside a vineyard but if we visited again, we would probably stay in Tanunda just to be in walking distance of a town and the German hotdog shops of a night.

McLaren Vale

Of all the wine regions we visited, McLaren Vale was the prettiest. We had some excellent recommendations, which led us to Samuel's Gorge, a cellar door that specialises in red wine and overlooks a national park. The wine was delicious but a little bit pricey so we bought a bottle that we're going to save for a special occasion - we're aiming for our 10 year wedding anniversary! Chapel Hill is nearby and while we didn't buy any wine, I did stock up on the most delicious roasted almonds.

One of my favourite cellar doors was Coriole. It was super cute, the service was friendly and they had great wines and special olives. The grounds are beautiful for a picnic and there's also a restaurant on the property that looked great for lunch. We just stopped in for cheese :)

I made sure that we were in McLaren Vale on a Saturday night so that we could try out a special pizza restaurant that my friend Angie discovered a few years ago. Russell's Pizza is a local institution and is only open Friday and Saturday nights. I booked months in advance! The seafood pizza was hands down the best pizza I've ever eaten and I loved that the restaurant was inside an old stone house.

Clare Valley

We were in the Clare for just one night and loved how cosy it felt. We rode part of the Riesling Trail, past vineyards and bonfires (next time I'd hire a bike from here) and discovered wineries in little clusters that were quite close together. We especially liked Tim Adams, Pikes Brewery (for beer I actually liked!) and Mr Mick. If we had more time, I would've loved to have had lunch at Mr Mick's kitchen. Tony was keen to try the local beers on tap at the Sevenhill Hotel and we ended up having dinner in their wine cellar. If you're planning a visit, we found this website really helpful.

And finally, Mildura

We drove to South Australia via the Victorian town of Mildura and stayed there on the first and last night of our trip. Everyone kept talking about Stefano's so we booked in for the surprise seasonal dinner and on our way home we discovered The Mildura Brewery, a beautiful art deco building where pub-style meals are available from Stefano's. Amanda suggested The Grand Hotel, and staying there felt like travelling back in time.

Big thanks to Caryn for sharing some of her favourite South Australian spots. Soon I'll share what we got up to in Adelaide.

Weekend links

10 July 2015

We're back in Wagga Wagga after a lovely mid-Winter holiday - here's a shot from the beautiful McLaren Vale - I'll share a few more photos soon. In the meantime, we're getting ready for a busy weekend. A special little boy is being christened and I'll be baking a few batches of cookies for the afternoon tea and practicing my reading :) Lots and lots of good links to share this week, so here goes:

A sweet birthday weekend, complete with a treehouse.

An eye-opening interview with an 11-year-old boy with ADHD.

A workmate has quit her job to write a book in the middle of nowhere.

I tried lemon delicious for the first time on holidays and am obsessed with making my own. I'm thinking of starting with this recipe, if you know a good one, please let me know :)

I loved this episode of This American Life, especially Aziz Ansari's hilarious look into how people text each other when they've just starting to go out.

And some big news for Tony this week. I am so proud.

Wendy's classic cheesecake

08 July 2015

We're up to sentimental cake number six, which happens to be a lemon cheesecake that Tony and I shared on our first date. The recipe belongs to my mother-in-law Wendy and it's simple to make and is creamy without being too heavy.

I first sampled it when Tony and I had just started going out. We'd met up after uni one day and spent a whole afternoon and evening together - stopping for tea, walking to the art gallery and then onto a movie (No Country For Old Men !!), a dumpling dinner and then to Tony's house to watch The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Tony happened to have two slices of cheesecake in the fridge, leftover from his brother's birthday. His mum had made it and a year or two later, she passed on the recipe to me. I made it over Easter to mark the first day of Tony's exhibition and successfully hid it in the fridge beneath a tea towel :)

Wendy's classic cheesecake

You'll need:

1 packet of Nice biscuits
125g butter, melted
250g cream cheese, room temperature 
395g can of sweetened condensed milk
2 lemons, juiced

Here's how:

To make the crust, crush the biscuits in a food processor and mix in the melted butter. Press the mixture into a 10 inch cheesecake tin and put in the freezer to set. I use my mum's trick of squashing the mixture into the tin using the bottom of a drinking glass :)

To make the cheesecake mix, blend the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice together. If you have Kitchen Aid, the whipping attachment does this really well. Pour into your cheesecake tin and refrigerate to set.

And just a tip:

For Easter I decorated the edge with mini dinosaur eggs. Strawberries and blueberries would look cute too. Also, don't go for light cream cheese whatever you do. Apparently it doesn't set properly because the fat content is too low.

P.S - Catch up on all of the recipes to date here.

Great gifts for anybody

06 July 2015

In my family and within my group of friends, birthday season is well and truly upon us, so today I thought I'd share and handful of gifts I've given and also own. Best of all, they're all unisex :)

My friend Ana introduced me to the most delicious chocolate ($10 per bar) that is made in Mudgee, NSW. It's sold in Wagga Wagga and you can order it online. It's a bit pricey but is lovely and rich, which stops me from scoffing it - something that normally happens with supermarket chocolate :)

I was given a watch from The Horse (from $139) last year and love it. The design is classic and there are heaps of different colour combinations but best of all - it's really comfortable to wear. Tony and I bought the all black version for my brother-in-law as a gift for MC-ing our wedding. Matching ones would make a cute wedding gift!

My friend Sean gave me a special leather notebook and this beautiful pen ($40) for my 30th birthday and I carry it everywhere. Aside from making me feel quite grown up and organised, it writes beautifully and I love that I can use it every day.

Between us, Tony and I have given six Swell bottles (from $40) as gifts (!). I bought Tony one a few years ago before he started a drawing residency because it looked nicer than the plastic variety and is also insulated. There are heaps of different designs now, and lots of shops that sell them.

Finally, these Scrabble mugs ($15) with our initials on them are a present idea that has been handed down a few times. I first noticed them at my friend Sophie's house, and later met her friends who had given them as a Christmas present. Sophie and her husband Tim gave us these ones as a wedding present, which I loved because as far as couples go, we have the same initials. I'm planning to buy Scrabble mugs for an upcoming Christmas in July with Tony's family.

P.S A simple gift wrapping trick.