Spring things

31 August 2017

How are you feeling now that we've (finally) hit spring? I've just gotten over a lingering cold and it's been sunny enough to ride my bike again. Yay! September is looking good - Tony and my third wedding anniversary is next week, I'm heading to a conference about podcasts, and there's a Blue Mountains holiday on the horizon.

Other good things - my friend Beth shared the story of a water ballet on Facebook. The ballet was staged by friends in a wading pool to honour a dying artist's final vision. The dance was choreographed, the swimming costumes handmade, and the resulting performance so, so joyful. Here's a great quote from the article: "Be involved. Be engaged - appreciate your beautiful, awesome body that isn't failing you."

I recently discovered Thalia Ho's baking blog, Butter and Brioche, and I've been trying out some recipes. I started with her spelt choc chip cookies, next on my list is this chocolate sheet cake with thick frosting and a sprinkle of fleur de sal. Thalia's Instagram is beautiful too!

Was August busy for you too? I feel like time is going to keep flying, so I was especially thankful to see Madeleine Dore's series on being creative and burning out on her Extraordinary Routines blog. It includes interviews with many Australian women I admire, like Nirrimi Firebrace and Kate Berry.

I am reading Jessica Friedmann's debut book of essays Things That Helped that chronicles her experience with postpartum depression. I saw Jessica speak at the Canberra Writers Festival and was moved by her honesty and articulate account of early motherhood. I am only part way through this book but wholeheartedly recommend it.

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And I loved this tour of a houseboat in the Netherlands, which is home to an impressive cookbook collection and a cat named Smurf. The house is compact, colourful and afloat!

Photos: Top image by Erika Schultz for The Seattle Times, chocolate cake photo by Thalia Ho.

Weekend links

25 August 2017

This week was full and busy, so I'm looking forward to a chilled weekend. On the cards - yoga, some cafe writing time, plus a few sessions of the Canberra Writers Festival. I hope you have an excellent weekend ahead. Here are this week's finds:

A moving essay by Garance Dore about trying for a baby at 40.

Love this t-shirt (and wishing for warmer weather!).

This movie looks fun!

I made these dark chocolate chunk cookies during the week. I'm adding them to this list.

A tomato and basil pasta with brie.

An Instagram account that celebrates the culture and wisdom of women of colour.

I've finally learnt how to poach eggs. This video really helped (watch from 4.22).

Plus, my blog got a mention on the My Open Kitchen podcast. I'm chuffed!

Catch you next week.


A podcast series about consent

23 August 2017

Have you listened to The Heart podcast? I listened for the first time this month, and tuned into a mini-series called No. It's about consent and it's told through the sexual experiences of host Kaitlin Prest. It's compelling listening, and at times very confronting. It made me think about how we talk about consent - what we learn at school, from parents, friends, movies and magazines.

A couple of weeks ago, I joined an Ask Me Anything panel for a talk at a local high school. By going along, I was agreeing to answer any question the teenagers put to us as individuals or as a group. I was really nervous about getting a question about sex but none came up. Instead, I was asked a lot of questions about being a journalist.

In preparation for that panel, I spent some time thinking what I would to say if a question was put to me. I thought about this video, which uses the analogy of a cup of tea, and this open letter that was written by the victim of a university sexual assault.

Then I landed on this series. It might not be for everyone but if you're keen to sample it, and don't want to listen to anything too graphic, I'd recommend starting with the final episode. It focuses on questions listeners have sent in, which tackle some of the issues that are raised in the series like alcohol, communication and power.

Fun stuff

20 August 2017

What are you reading at the moment? While I was travelling for work, I raced through Kevin Kwan's latest book Rich People Problems. It was so much fun. If you're interested, it's worth reading the first two books, Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, before you get stuck into this one. And if you've read all three, a movie is coming soon!

Speaking of movies, Tony and I watched The Trip to Spain a few weeks ago and loved it! It's laugh-out-loud funny, so much so that our row of seats was shaking from laughter throughout the film. I've seen all three films and this one might be my favourite of the series.

I picked up these tassel earrings while I was in Darwin and feel extra cheery when I wear them. I get lots of compliments too! The remind me of these Muppets and dress up my usual jeans and stripey top combo  :)

Finally, I've been catching up on Death, Sex & Money episodes and really enjoyed this interview with comedian Jeff Garlin, who plays Larry David's agent in Curb Your Enthusiasm. Right at the end of the interview, he gives host Anne Sale some thoughtful advice on her post-baby body.

This quote also made me laugh: "Every morning when I get up, I look in the mirror and I smile to myself because I look ridiculous first thing in the morning ... that smile makes me laugh and then I set the tone for the day."

Weekend links

18 August 2017

I've been fighting off a cold this week, and using it as an excuse to drink plenty of brightly coloured juices. Also, some hand-knitted goodies arrived in the post and they've been keeping me warm in this latest cold snap. Are you doing anything fun this weekend? I'm going to slow cook something while I'm on the mend, and flick through my new (birthday) cookbooks. Here are a few things for your weekend, some very serious, some a bit more fun:

What happened in Charlottesville? I found this week's episodes of The Daily especially illuminating. Heartbreaking too.

Ten small ways to be happy.

Italian-inspired fried rice.

A break-up survival guide (which would work for glum moments too).

Have you seen Jay Z's new film clip? It's directed by Master of None co-creator Alan Yang. The ending really got me.

A widow at 32.

P.S I checked out one of my sister's favourite Netflix show this week, Terrace House, and I'm hooked! It's so fun.

Real Girl Kitchens: Carla Gee

17 August 2017

I love finding out what people are having for dinner, so I thought I'd give the Real Girl Wardrobes series a twist, and spend some time asking women I admire about their favourite things to make and eat.

First up is my sister Carla. She's a writer, podcaster, illustrator and an amazing mum. She shares her thoughts on cooking for kids, what podcasts she listens to in the kitchen, and the recipe for an impressive no-bake birthday cake.

The lovely list

15 August 2017

I turned 33 on Sunday and had such a relaxing day. There was brunch somewhere new, lots of sunshine, and cold coconuts too :) I find it hard to make solid plans for my birthday, so this year I made a list of fun things to do either on my birthday weekend or anytime in August. Here's what I managed to tick off the list...

First up: Take advantage of birthday perks. On Saturday, I went to see The Big Sick at favourite cinema for free with complimentary snacks too!

Also on my list: Make an elaborate birthday cake to share. Inspired by Molly Yeh (and my own indecisiveness), I made a cake with three different flavours - chocolate, sprinkles, and coconut and rose. I baked and froze the cakes during the week, and iced it on Saturday night, while listening to podcasts. Because it didn't have to resemble a bus shelter, I was done in time for a pizza dinner with Tony. We're obsessed with this pizzeria at the moment. They make a pizza with gorgonzola and mascarpone.

On my birthday, Tony and I walked to the NGV Sculpture Garden to see the fog sculpture, which is only on for a few hours a day. The best thing about having no real plans was that we just went from one thing to the next, depending on how we felt. There was some time at home for tea and present opening, and when we got hungry, a trip to the city for a big plate of noodles and coconuts.

From there it was time for a bit of window shopping and then my first-ever affogato. We went to Monster Kitchen and ate ice cream by the fire while we plotted our next move.

I really wanted to make my own birthday dinner this year, so we cancelled our dinner plans and headed home. I made a Mexican dinner, while listening to a playlist my brother Derrick made specially for my birthday. The photo he chose to go with it cracks me up! I'm the one clutching the Magna Doodle.

I received lots of lovely things this year. Tony gave me an overnight bag for upcoming adventures, and a copy Ivan Ramen. My sister included a favourite red lipstick in my birthday card, and my friend Sarah  gave me a copy of the The Desserts of New York. I've already found my cake for next year in it!

Keen to stick to my plan to make a fancy cake and share it, I bundled up three hefty chunks of cake at the end of the night to give to friends the next day. And here's what's left on the list... drinks somewhere with a fireplace, climb a new mountain (and pack lots of snacks), and make dinner for friends. 

P.S My birthday last year and ... turning 30.

Weekend links

11 August 2017

It's almost my birthday! My parents sent me this homemade card and I've been busy baking my dream cake after work. Did you have a good week? Mine dragged a little but I've been loving the brighter mornings and slightly warmer days. Spring isn't too far away! A few things to share:

Have you seen the trailer for The Crown, Season 2? Exciting!

'There is no such thing as being non-political'

A warming pasta.


Zoe Foster Blake's clothing collab is cute! I love her thoughts on fashion too.

A sweet and bright mantlepiece.

Sunday night dinner will be carrot soup and chicken enchiladas :)

And if you're a podcast-geek like me, Audiocraft have released a bunch of sessions from their conference on their podcast.

P.S - There's just under two weeks to register for the plebiscite on same-sex marriage. Here's how to check your enrolment.

A little video

06 August 2017

I'm excited to share a video I made of my travels in the last fortnight. I arrived home on Thursday night, having visited Sydney three times (!), as well as Adelaide and Darwin, with a few nights in Canberra in between.

Most of the time I was travelling for work, training other newsrooms who are about to start work on the project I've been piloting for a year. But there was plenty of fun things in between. I saw friends for dinners and coffee, and had just enough time to explore each city.

When we were in Sydney, we met our new niece Maeve, saw the Archibald Prize ... and had to get our car towed when it broke down on the highway at night! It was an eventful few weeks.

Here are a few highlights:


One of my favourite discoveries was Blackwattle Bay Park, which was a few blocks away from our Airbnb in Annandale. It's a beautiful city walk that's right by the water, with plenty of spots to picnic and rest. There's also an impressive kid's playground that I texted my friend about!

We swung by Black Star Pastry in Newtown to pick up pastries for a breakfast with friends. We ordered a few coffees too, and it was hands down the most satisfying coffee I've ever had.

A few quick city recommendations - the Jenny Watson exhibition at the MCA is fantastic, it's fun and feminist. It's also a free show. We grabbed lunch at the Burger Project nearby, they reminded me of Shake Shack burgers from New York. A very good thing.

On the days that I was visiting for work, I woke up early to check out The Grounds of the City, which was old-worldly. It's worth booking - I wandered in on a weekday and almost missed out on breakfast. I'd love to return to try the cakes. And I finally made it to Aqua S, which had an English Breakfast Tea soft serve special running. If you visit the Town Hall shop, you'll find it in an arcade that I'd love to visit at night. It's full of Asian eateries and shops, where I bought these fun phone stickers.

We spent a bit of time in Manly too, because Tony is part of a group exhibition at the gallery (the show's still on if you're keen!). One night, we had dinner at Papi Chulo and shared a delicious barbecue chicken platter. For coffee, we went to the Barefoot Coffee Traders, which happened to specialise in waffles :)


My time in Adelaide was shorter, I had a cosy Sunday lunch at Hey Jupiter!, a French-inspired cafe. There was also time to visit the JamFactory, a design space that my friend Sabine recommended. I was secretly hoping I'd be in Adelaide later in the week, so I could try Africola. Instead, I had breakfast at Crack Kitchen and dinner at a cute Hong Kong inspired diner. There are more Adelaide recommendations from our recent visit, and from a local too :)


My friend Georgia lives in Darwin, and every night after work she'd pick me up to see the sunset. We went to the Nightcliff Jetty on my first night, and I loved seeing how many people were there. Some were picnicking (there were some cute food trucks nearby), others were just taking it in with their dogs. I hear there's a lovely pool nearby too.

On my last night in town, we watched the sun go down from Fannie Bay. Next time I'd love to visit the Fannie Bay Cool Spot, which is an iconic ice cream shop! I had the most free time in Darwin, so I visited the museum and gallery, looked tentatively at the beach (it was so hot but no one was on it!), and swam at the hotel pool instead :)

This was my favourite dinner. We went to PM (worth booking ahead), and shared fries, calamari and the most delicious saganaki, which was covered in honey. On my lunch break, I loved poking around the Star Village. I bought tassel earrings from Lulu and Daw (they had stacks of them!) and joined the line for a salad and juice at Simply Foods.

I had such a good time but am very happy to be spending a Sunday at home. I managed to finish four books while I was travelling, which I'll share soon.

Weekend links

04 August 2017

I am so excited for the weekend - I'm home for the whole thing :) It's going to rain, so I'm planning to make some bread, see a movie (most likely The Big Sick) and read. I might make a few yummy meals too, and nail down my birthday plans. Here are a few things to share:

The greatest albums made by women.

On being flawed and ordinary.

An easy peasey breakfast bowl.

Kip & Co... the house.

Two things I'll be listening to this weekend, reimagining diversity and this episode of Planet Money.

And here's what I bought for Tony from my travels. It's huge!

My go-to green smoothie

03 August 2017

There's something really lovely about coming home after a solid period of travel. After packing my bag every few days for the last fortnight, I've been enjoying really little things about being back home, like making food for myself.

On slow weekends, I love to make a batch of peanut butter and honey granola for the week ahead. And after many delicious meals out, I've been craving fruit and veggies. I've been making this green smoothie, which is sweet, refreshing and not too spinach-y :)

Green smoothie
Adapted from New York Cult Recipes.

Makes one giant smoothie, or two medium-sized ones.

You'll need:

1 ripe banana, peeled and broken into pieces*
100g frozen mango pieces
1 cup mineral water, chilled
A large handful of spinach
1/2 tsp of your favourite honey
A few sprigs of mint (optional)

Here's how:

Pop everything in a blender and blend until combined. Add more water if required. Done!

* The banana can be frozen if you like your smoothie extra cold. My blender isn't the strongest, so I add a ripe room-temperature banana to speed things up.

P.S I've stopped looking at social media in the morning and it's been great. I feel far less rushed and have been using the spare time to make a proper breakfast - like porridge or scrambled eggs on avocado toast. Some days there's even time to make and photograph a smoothie ;) Here's another favourite morning smoothie, which I make a lot in summer.