Weekend links

27 October 2017

I am loving everything about spring - the lovely bright nights, the faint smell of flowers whenever I open our doors, the hopefulness of it all. I chilled out a lot this week, eating meals that had been stashed in the freezer and going for long walks after work. This weekend I'll get a start on my brother's 21st birthday cake, which is going to be a three-layer cake with chocolate, hazelnut and coconut! And I'll continue to be consumed by A Little Life. Some internet-y things to share:

Lots of good things arrived in time for the weekend, including a copy of Peddler journal by Hetty McKinnon, of Neighbourhood and Community food-fame. As with all delicious things, Lee Tran Lam tipped me off. If you're keen to sample the publication, she's published an interview here.

I bought a filter coffee machine (a Moccamaster!) and it feels like a big deal. I'm planning to enjoy my first brew with these sticky cinnamon buns. The recipe is yeast-free and makes quite a few, perfect for stashing in your freezer for weekend treats :)

I am a huge fan of The Strokes (I once lined up overnight to get tickets to a secret gig! My friend Garry photographed the queue) and stumbled across a release I missed last year - Future, Present, Past. This is my favourite song.

Two women that inspired my week with their common sense advice, heart and persistence - Anna Sale sharing the 11 things she learned while making a career leap and Lolly Bowean from The Chicago Tribune on how she gets things done. Both listens may seem super specific to the media but their advice is solid.

For my expectant friends - 'Ten Things I Always Tell Pregnant Women'.

And a movie we're watching this weekend (a Netflix new release!).

Catch you next week :)

Finding a morning routine

24 October 2017

I did something funny the other day - I went shopping for a clock radio, which made me feel like I was in high school again. I ended up getting this one, and after it was set up, I moved my phone charger into the lounge room. 

Now my phone doesn't come into the bedroom, which has made more time for reading at night and has helped me get up when my alarm goes off in the morning. The switch took a little getting used to - I always think of a million things before bed, like Christmas present ideas for friends or something I could do on the weekend. So I've put a small notebook by my bed to capture any end of day thoughts or things I want to look up later.

I've been curious about setting up a morning routine ever since I had a week off work, because I wanted my weekdays to feel less rushed and include some creative time too. So far there are only two things I do every day - I wake up to classical music (Tony's idea!) and make myself a hot drink in my morning mug. 

I'm not waking up any earlier but without the distraction of my phone, I have time to brew tea or coffee (I used to only have time to wolf down my breakfast), plus time to do one good thing before I have to leave for work. 

The thing changes day-to-day but lately it's included a few chapters of my book, a short yoga sequence at home, a yummy breakfast (I've been scrambling lots of eggs lately), a bit of blogging or coffee at a favourite cafe. Exercise always perks me up (and keeps worries at bay) so I'm keen to try a mountain walk and a morning class at a new yoga studio some time soon.

It might sound crazy but limiting my time on social media has helped me focus on what it is I want to be doing at any given time. Aside from deleting the Facebook app on my phone (I check in when I'm at a computer), I've turned off notifications on Messenger and Whatsapp too. It's surprisingly freeing.

P.S - Because I'm a nerd, I researched other morning routines and loved this illustrated guide. Right now, a very loose routine is working for me :)

Weekend links

20 October 2017

I'm so looking forward to a quiet weekend after a quick trip to Brisbane during the week. I'm going to bake an almond and blueberry cake from this sweet book, go for a hike and pick up some new seedlings for my balcony garden. Hope you have a few fun things planned. Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:

I deleted the Facebook app on my phone last weekend and really enjoyed this (short) podcast episode about using Instagram more mindfully.

Excellent camp food inspiration - warm breakfast bowls and chunky spaghetti sauce.

Speaking of food, Julia made me curious about taco rice bowls. I'm giving this recipe a try.


"Even the term 'violence against women' is problematic."

And daily affirmations for the week ahead.

P.S - The gardens in my apartment complex are so green at this time of year :)

How to feel at home anywhere

18 October 2017

I am packing my bag again this week for a quick trip to Brisbane. There will be just enough time to stick my head into GOMA and check out some foodie recommendations from Hannah before a day at work and my flight home.

These last few months have been full of travel and from them I've learnt to pack light and move quickly. I've finally invested in a retractable make-up brush (!) and most importantly a carry on bag with wheels that fits my laptop and saves my back (I scored this Crumpler bag on super sale!).

The one thing that makes me feel at home no matter where I am is a good cup of tea. I take this little pouch of tea bags wherever I go, usually with a mix of English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Peppermint teas. And when I stay at a hotel with individually wrapped tea bags, I take a few for the road :)

A quiet tea in a hotel room keeps me going after a 4.30am start, and has soothed a sore throat after a cold and far too much talking. Tony drinks Rooibos, so before our trip to the mountains, I bagged up some of his loose leaf tea so he could have it at the ready.

A few other things that make me feel at home on the road - texts from my sister, funny Whatsapp messages from my girlfriends, quick calls home and a good book. I'm reading A Little Life at the moment. It's brilliant but I am bracing myself for what's to come.

Recent discoveries

15 October 2017

These last few weeks have been filled with small and satisfying discoveries. This weekend, at my brother's recommendation, I listened to Stevie Wonder's classic album Songs in the Key of Life from start to finish. When I listen to music, I tend to listen to individual songs over and over again but listening to the whole album and concentrating on it was something I really enjoyed.

I've also been listening to Dirty John, a new podcast from the LA Times. It's an addictive tale of a deceptive relationship that begins to impact a whole family. It's based in Orange County and the opening minutes of the first episode almost put me off - they're violent and graphic - but it's worth listening even if it means skipping that part or listening with one ear.

My very first housemate (we shared a little cottage in Sydney's inner-west) used to work in the organic shop in our neighbourhood. We could rarely afford to buy anything but every now and then she'd bring home a block of Green & Black's dark chocolate. I stumbled across it in the supermarket the other day and I am hooked. It's much richer and more satisfying than other dark chocolate, so it gets savoured. Also - have you tried dark chocolate Maltesers? Another recent obsession :)

We had a book sale at work last week to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Fund and I was lucky enough to pick up Brooke McAlary's new book Slow. Tony and I have been taking turns reading chapters, and of all of the books on slow living and minimalism I've sampled recently, this one really brings everything together. The best thing? It encourages slow change, which feels exciting and achievable.

And I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Anna Jones's new cookbook, The Modern Cook's Year. Every Christmas I receive a book voucher from work and I've been saving my 2016 one for something great. We make her kale, tomato and lemon spaghetti all the time and have been shifting towards veggie-filled meals of late. The new book is due out in a few week's time.

Speaking of new cookbook releases, I've been loving the sample recipes from Helen Goh and Yottam Ottolenghi's book Sweet. I've bookmarked this apple and olive oil cake with maple frosting.

Weekend links

13 October 2017

I am so excited about the weekend. I'm getting my haircut, making a sponge cake for an afternoon tea, and going to see Bladerunner 2049 with Tony. It's great to be feeling capable and energetic again :) Now, some things to share:

Coconut berry layer cake.

I am obsessed with Esther Perel's podcast Where Do We Begin? Every episode features a couple who attend a session with the relationship therapist. It's fascinating but still dignified for everyone involved.

The best plants for your desk at work ;)

A beautiful advent calendar (we're at that point in the year!).

I watched a bunch of movies last weekend and these are my kind of rom-coms. We started with Begin, Again, which was made by the same writer/director of Once.

I have been looking for this advice - and courage - everywhere. This article made me feel like it's in me - handling offensive comments and conversations.

And two recipes from the Joy the Baker archives that I'd love to make - sit and stay awhile apple crisp and peanut butter pecan biscotti. Joy made a version on Instagram stories this week with chocolate chips. Yum.

Real Girl Kitchens: Sarah Malone

10 October 2017

I'm excited to bring you the second instalment of Real Girl Kitchens, this time featuring my friend Sarah Malone. Sarah grew up in Canberra and was one of the first people I really clicked with when I moved to the city last year. She knows all the best local things to do and eat, has great advice on surviving the seasons, and is always listening to a fun podcast.

Sarah and I work in the same office and I love finding out what she's having for dinner. Her meals always sound cosy, nourishing and delicious. Today she shares the recipe for a favourite pie, what she's craving during her first pregnancy, plus how she came to have her own pudding recipe.  I'll let her take it from here:

Weekend links + a new video

06 October 2017

This week I am grateful for hot showers, Frozen-themed boxes for sending presents to my niece (she's four this weekend!) and the weather for being so warm and lovely. It's been a funny one - I've been without a voice for most of the week and at home a lot while I waited for it to return.

While I was taking things easy, I read my book, watched episodes of Midnight Diner (my brother's recommendation!) and binge listened to a new podcast, Alone: A Love Story. I have two episodes to go and I'm saving them - for a nice long walk on the weekend - or just because I don't want the story to end. You should give it a go - I haven't been this into a podcast since S-Town came out.

I also made another video, this time featuring clips from my birthday, travels to Hobart, Blackheath and Sydney. I hope you like it!

Now a few more things to share:

Two recipes I'll be trying next week - cauliflower 'meatballs' with Marsala sauce and an easy baked pasta for a little crowd.

Did you read In The Company of Women? This is a sequel of sorts - the extraordinary lives of older women.

14 things to do with friends other than dinner.

Wes Anderson's cafe in Milan is beautiful - exhibit a and b.

I'm a big fan of Noah Baumbach films and recently watched The Squid and the Whale. It's on Netflix and had elements of Woody Allen and Wes Anderson movies too.

And for the all the aunties and uncles out there, here's what I chose for my niece's birthday - a rainbow mermaid's tail for dressing up, a giant crazy crayon with 64 colours, and a pink hat with a cloud on it (from here) for playing in the backyard. I watched her open them over FaceTime and she was so so happy!

I also think these hand knitted dolls are beautiful - they come with their own birthday, character notes and every doll helps feed 10 children in need.

Catch you next week :)

Good stuff - the food edition

05 October 2017

I've been keeping an eye out for some nice-looking reusable produce bags and found these cute ones from a new-to-me Australian brand called Sustomi.  When we shop together, Tony often laughs at the impractical lengths I'll go to in order to avoid bagging my fruit and veg (picture apples almost rolling away at the register). I've ordered the 3-pack polka dot mesh set to avoid future embarrassment.

I am slowly working my way through the archives of Heidi's food blog Apples Under My Bed. So far I've made the stovetop granola (so clever and perfect for the warmer months), and I've been snacking on peanut butter filled medjool dates, inspired by her Instagram account. Lately I've been gravitating towards really personal writing and cooking, and more whole foods too. Heidi's blog delivers all three with heart.

Soon I'm planning to try Pinch of Yum's 30-minute marsala paste recipe, which I've seen a few times on Heidi's Instagram stories. It could be me but I love watching other people making their weekday dinners in real time :)

I was very curious about the Simple Fare cookbook after sampling the dark chocolate olive oil cake recipe several weeks ago. A found a copy at Kinokuniya Sydney (they have a cookbook sale on at the moment!), and it's easily one of the most beautiful cookbooks I own. It's quite a tall book, with glossy magazine-like pages and beautiful design.

Despite this, the recipes are achievable and everyday - with a tiny bit of decadence. The banana bread has hidden chunks of dark chocolate, a crunchy cinnamon sugar top and is served with creme fraiche and a pinch of salt! I made it for a recent hike and have tried the slow cooked coconut oats with honeycomb too. If you live in a different hemisphere, the Fall/Winter edition came out last week.

I've been making lots of pesto lately using greens other than basil while we wait for summer to arrive. We keep a jar in the fridge to cheer up sandwiches and mix into scrambled eggs or green beans. This coriander and pepita pesto is a recent favourite, I'm not sure how it can be so delicious and cheese-less at the same time. Joy the Baker also has a great spinach version in her latest cookbook, there's a similar version here, and another from the Love and Lemons blog.

Lastly, I've been at home sick this last week, so there's been a lot of time to read and rest. I downloaded a stack of new magazines from the library (all free!). I sampled Slow Living and read the latest issue of Bon Appetit in one sitting. It's such a fun food magazine that's full of inspiration, good humour and very practical tips. I'd love to make the cover menu - classic spaghetti and meatballs served with a big salad and cheesy garlic bread.

I also started listening to their podcast, Bon Appetit Foodcast, starting with this episode about Chinese food in America. Late last year Adam Rapoport, the magazine's editor-in-chief, spoke about food media and politics in this episode of Radio Cherry Bombe. I really admired what he had to say, and love that the magazine is so culturally diverse in the people and food that it features.

P.S - I'm also tempted to order a copy of Peddlar Journal, a new indie food magazine by Hetty McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen. 

Real Girl Wardrobes: Anne Barnetson

03 October 2017

It's been awhile since I posted a Real Girl Wardrobes interview so I am extra thrilled to introduce you to Anne Barneston, an illustrator, keen reader and a very snappy dresser. Anne works in a Fremantle bookstore with my friend Kristy, which is how I came to follow her on Instagram.

I admired her bold and colourful outfits from afar and took to reading books she'd draw too (I'm halfway through this one - it's fantastic!). In winter, I plucked up the courage to email and see if she'd share her approach to getting dressed. Today Anne shares some of her favourite Perth stores, two style lessons she learnt from her mum, and a good whisky for beginners. Let's get started: