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.

Summer fun

18 December 2017

Things are definitely feeling summery and relaxed around our way. We're home for the holidays, and are starting to settle into days with no alarm clocks or set agendas. If you're about to finish work or are already on holidays, here are some things you might enjoy for the slower days ahead:

One movie I highly recommend is the Japanese animated film Your Name. I watched the trailer a few months ago but found it a bit bizarre. Then it showed up in my brother's e-newsletter as a must-watch, and in the iTunes store that same week. I watched it on a rainy Sunday afternoon, it was surprisingly moving and very beautiful too. We had to go out for ramen afterwards :)

This is a bit of a guilty pleasure - lately I've been tracking down my favourite restaurants and local businesses on Spotify and listening to their playlists. Here are some fun ones - Lazy Su made a Yes! playlist to celebrate the same-sex marriage postal vote result, and shared the playlist for their hip hop ramen nights. I keep an eye on the new softserve flavour at XO, a fusion Asian restaurant near our place, and their music is always eclectic.

And if things are really busy, I love tuning into my yoga studio's playlists. The Joey Pecoraro tracks remind of me the days when I used to take a beginner's ballet class in Sydney. It was the best way to wind down after work and shake out my computer posture.

I bought a pair of Springcourts sneakers when I was in Sydney earlier this month to replace my white Vans. They are ten times more comfortable ... and the same style that Yoko Ono wore on her wedding day :) I'm excited to wear them with summer dresses and on weekend bike rides.

And ahead of my desk warming party, I bought a copy of Charlotte Ree's baking e-book Bakeree, after Catherine gave it a great wrap. I made the chocolate and macadamia cookies with white choc chips and they were super yum! We have a small stash in our biscuit tin and home, and I am still sneaking one every day.

Weekend links

16 December 2017

Hello from Wagga Wagga! We are here for two short days because Tony has an exhibition at the art gallery and an artist talk too. It's been great to be back, to see friends and the town that was our home for five years. I can't help but try and spot what's changed since we left.

Things have been buzzing along this week - we celebrated Tony's birthday with a banquet at one of our favourite restaurants, saw the new Star Wars (mixed feelings!), and I finished work for the year!

I've been making a few holidays plans, mainly stocking ups on cookbooks and DVDs at the library and making a list of special food for Christmas Day. This next week is mainly fun stuff with a few little jobs in between. I'll be trying new recipes (kale pizza tonight!), biking around town, and sleeping in.

Onto a few good things:

A beautiful t-shirt, designed and made in Canberra.

If you're looking for a quick and bright pasta - this one is for you. It's a twist on a River Cafe recipe with creme fraiche, lemon, zucchini and rocket. It comes together quickly, so it feels more like combining ingredients than full-on cooking, and it's so good. We used fresh pasta for the markets to make it extra yum.

This recipe site is lovely! You can find meal recommendations based on your mood and setting. Most seem pretty simple, with the focus being on the pleasure of eating and spending time with others.

A little holiday gift to self :)

And if this heatwave passes, I'm going to try this spaghetti and meatball dish. My ultimate comfort food.

Have a festive weekend, catch you next week! X

A desk warming and a cookie lucky dip

11 December 2017

Every now and then a silly idea takes hold. Years ago, it was an Easter egg hunt for my apartment block in Sydney. I set my alarm for 5.30am on Easter Sunday, roused Tony, and the two of us quietly hid eggs and put up posters in the common areas.

This week it was a desk warming party, because I've moved from one end of the newsroom to the other and closer to a window :) There was a cookie lucky dip (featuring gingerbread, my favourite choc chip cookies, and double choc macadamia cookies), filter coffee from my new machine - there was even an e-invite.

There hasn't been too much time for baking or silly projects for the last while (unlike 2016 when I made cakes in the shape of rubber ducks, owls and horses!), so this felt extra silly and festive.

If you want to host your own desk party - it's easy! Put up a bunting, brew some coffee, and bake or buy some sweets. Don't forget to invite your buds. To make a cookie lucky dip, wrap different combos of cookies in a layer of baking paper and then pretty wrapping paper, find a vessel to put them in and you're good to go.

Weekend links

08 December 2017

It's been a crazy busy week, with stops in Melbourne and Sydney and a few nights in Canberra too. Melbourne was a highlight - I bought a summer dress at Obus, picked up the Martha Stewart issue of Cherry Bombe at Magnation, had dinner with my friend Danie, and made it to a favourite breakfast spot too. That marks the end of work travel for 2017, it's been a whirlwind, and I'm so excited about sleeping in my own bed for a good while.

This weekend I'll be making a few Christmas plans - sketching out a menu, picking up a panettone, and putting a few last gifts in the post. On that note:

A simple tip for the festive season - just be there.

Christmas cookie inspiration.

Just finished this book, which is crazily my 22nd of the year!

Same-sex marriage is finally legal. Watch David Marr pay tribute to "those wonderful warriors" who paved the way. And this made me teary at my desk.

The two new Broadsheet books are beautiful - What to Eat & Where to Get It featuring Sydney and Melbourne.

And I'll be flicking through Sophie Hansen's Christmas Baking e-book. I've been really enjoying her happy and food-filled e-newsletters, perfectly timed for when that Monday feeling kicks in.

Catch you next week.

Presents in the post

04 December 2017

Every second year we spend Christmas at home, and this is one of those years. It's so nice to chill out at the end of the year, and not have to worry about travel or accommodation. This year I'm trying something new - instead of putting a big box of presents in the post, I'm mainly giving vouchers. They're super easy to mail and can be really fun. (Spoiler alert: if you're family - it's time to bail!)

My Dad is a sweet tooth, just like me. He's getting a voucher for Black Star Pastry in Sydney. It's a crazy gold token, which he can use to try their new mango cake. It should cover coffee and cake at one of their cafes, plus a few takeaway goodies too!

I'll still be buying presents for my niece and nephew. My friend Kristy recommended this beautiful book for my niece (it has the loveliest message and I especially like how multicultural it is). She's also getting a packet of bright markers that are part chalk, part crayon and part watercolour! I have my eye on this Thomas the Tank Engine wagon for my nephew, who has just found his feet and loves Thomas.

And I am sending two small presents overseas, to my brother and sister-in-law who moved to London this year. I thought it was important that they had proper gifts for their first Christmas away. I flipped through Michelle Mackintosh's Care Packages book before deciding on a few light but comforting items. There are two thick pairs of woollen socks (from the Big Merino, no less!). There's also a block of my favourite dark chocolate for my brother, and some clippings from The Good Weekend for my sister-in-law, who loves to read and write.

That's Christmas gifting pretty much done :)

Weekend links

01 December 2017

Happy December! We're hosting an early Christmas lunch tomorrow, and might even put up our tree. I'm serving mushroom burgers with sweet potato fries, followed by choc chip cookies and mangoes :) Then on Sunday I'm off to Melbourne for work. I hope most of the rain will have passed! I'm excited to see my friend Danie (we're going here!), and want to check out The Big Design Market too. To share:

You make your own paradise.

A new foodie and farm blog to love. Perfect pikelets please!

A funny podcast episode with a great take home message - to eat less sugar, bake a cake - featuring Yotam Ottolenghi.

A super cute Canberra wedding.

The New York Times coverage of Manus has been amazing.

Christmas gifts for kids and adults for less than $25.

And I've been cooking from The Savvy Cook this week, which I borrowed from the library. We've had fennel and lentil bolognese with tagliatelle, a veggie and haloumi bake, and brown rice bowls with miso broccoli. Yum.