Hello weekend

19 April 2018

Hello! It's been scone weather this week - chilly but not cold, good for hot drinks and warm snacks. I've been choosing presents and mailing birthday cards this week, and thinking about going for a hike and making Anzac biscuits (this recipe looks easy and good). I hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever you're getting up to! To share:

Grown up chocolate crackles.

15 Modern Love essays by millennials.

Nigella Lawson on cooking as a feminist act.

Very tempted to buy this insulated coffee cup.

The cutest slice of toast!

Would you ever try a shopping ban?

This is so nice :)

Loving this brow pencil.

And here's what I'm planning for dinner next week: baked gnocchi (!!), and mushroom burgers with coriander pesto because we've grown heaps of it. Also on my radar - a 30 minute pasta with all the charm of chicken parm.

P.S My sister's in a book that's coming out soon! Carla wrote a chapter of The Motherhood, which is edited by Jamila Rizvi, and about her experience of life as a new mum. If you're in Canberra, we're going to the launch (and would love to see you there).

My favourite things to do in Sydney: the short stay edition

16 April 2018

Whenever I visit Sydney, there are a million things on my to-do list. But most of my trips are flying ones - overnight stays for a niece or nephew's birthday, an art exhibition, or work. Still, I persevere ;) Here's what I try and squeeze into those super short trips:

A swim somewhere scenic

I used to be all about trying somewhere new to eat, but lately I've realised a swim is the nicest way to start a busy day in Sydney. It also makes the three-hour drive home a lot easier if I've had some sun and exercise.

Outdoor pools are my favourite. The Andrew Boy Charlton pool near the Botanical Gardens is pretty special but it can be a bit tricky to get to. If you're based in the city, there's also the Prince Alfred Park pool in between Redfern and Surry Hills. When we lived in Chippendale (eight years ago now!), I loved Victoria Park pool, and lounging on the grass post-swim.

Breakfast and brunch

I'm a huge fan of Paper Bird in Potts Point for a weekend brunch. They serve an iced filter coffee that tastes like chocolate, and diner classics with an Asian twist :) It's also near this book shop, which stocks some hard-to-find magazines like Cherry Bombe.

If I'm having a quick breakfast on my own, I like Brickfields Bakery in Chippendale. It's in my old neighbourhood, which is full of memories, like the showroom where I spotted my wedding dress in the window.

Lunch and dinner

I became obsessed with ramen after we moved to Wagga Wagga - because I couldn't find it anywhere. The Rising Sun Workshop in Newtown is my favourite place to eat it in Sydney (this place comes a close second). The cafe used to serve ramen for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but have recently started a separate dinner menu.

At the moment, you can order the best dish I've eaten in a long time for eight dollars. It's a version of egg and soldiers made with fluffy Japanese milk bread, and a Vegemite-inspired spread that's seaweed based. I also really love their ginger soda and chocolate and ginger cookies. 

For quick lunches and dinners, I love Boon Cafe in Thai town, for cold coconuts and noodles. We often stay in Airbnbs around Alexandria, which usually means pizza at Da Mario and a short wander down the street to Gelato Messina :) 

Other things

If there's time, we'll usually pop into the MCA to see their latest exhibition. We can usually get a park nearby, and get a quick bite at the Gateway Centre (The Burger Project! Gelato Messina!) before driving home. It's also near Tony's favourite art supplies shop in the Rocks.

I also love to wander around Kinokuniya, during the day there's a Black Star Pastry cafe inside the bookshop. They're also open late, which is nice for a post-work browse.  

Hello weekend

12 April 2018

Guess what? I'm back in Sydney :) Tony and I came down separately for work and we're hanging around to check out the Biennale and maybe this yoga studio too. Being in Sydney these last few weeks has made me a bit nostalgic. I've had coffee in our old neighbourhood and fallen into a few familiar routines - from dessert runs to Newtown (which used to be the halfway point between Tony's share house and mine), to early morning swims at a favourite pool.

When we first moved to Wagga Wagga, I found myself noting all of the things that'd changed whenever we found ourselves back in Sydney. This trip, I've started to get a sense of how much I've changed too. Surprisingly, it's a really nice feeling. Onto some things to share:

Lemon pull apart bread - yum!

The funniest best Instagram account.

The latest season of Alone, A Love Story is out! I'm trying not to rush through it.

Something my old boss used to draw for me all the time.

What is Facebook exactly? Fascinating and funny.

As a kid, I loved the spicy fruit roll biscuits. Deb's posted the recipe for them.

This bonus episode of Making Obama made me so happy!

A beautiful site featuring interviews with Asian-Australians.

Chef's Table: Pastry is here. Especially excited for the Christina Tosi episode.

I'm also listening to the Lady StartUp podcast, after spotting this interview with the co-founders of The Dinner Ladies. I've sent a few of their meals to Sydney friends and family in some not-so-great times, and loved hearing the backstory of their business.

P.S This travel tip still rings true. I'm also on the hunt for a new book - so if you're reading anything great please let me know!

Tiny things

10 April 2018

Lately I've been noticing the small things that brighten my days. Starting a new job could have something to do with it - one week in, things are still daunting and new. Or it might be the shift in seasons. Here area few to share:

The still-warm weather and the chance to wear my favourite summer clothes a few more times.

Leftover Easter eggs to accompany cups of tea :)

Holiday plans - both made and in the works.

It's the best weather for riding to work.

Poke bowls at any time of day. Same goes for cold coconuts.

The chance to read a few pages of my book.

And lastly, the cool air in the early mornings and late at night. It's especially lovely from bed.

I hope April is treating you well!


Hello weekend

06 April 2018

Did you have a good week? I've just come back from a trip to Sydney, where I started my new job. It was a busy, nerve-wracking, and exciting week... and now I'm spent. I have the humblest plans for the weekend - making spaghetti and meatballs, raiding my Easter egg stash, and finding time for a face mask and bath. Yay. For your weekend:

The funnest thing I saw this week via Caroline.

A classic birthday cake with chocolate icing.

For anyone starting something new, RadioLab's Jad Abumrad has a name for how you might feel. It's called gut churn.

Louis Theroux's Scientology movie is on iView.

This week I've been obsessed with Mari Andrew and her new book, which was the perfect thing to read before starting a new gig. Three lovely related things: her book launch with cookies, a smile-inducing interview about her life and career to date, plus her daily routine.

A new workmate introduced me to Bodyshock, a podcast that explores how having kids impacts your body and your mind.

And while it's still warm, I've been adding lemon oil to mineral water. A drop per glass does the trick. It's something I picked up from my yoga teacher who recommends this brand of essential oils if you're adding it to food and drinks.

Have a lovely weekend!

Dropping the ball

02 April 2018

When things get busy, I cling to the weirdest things. Lately, it's been cooking and trying to make most things from scratch. It's one of my favourite things to do when I have time but when there other things on, it can be pretty draining.

The other weekend we were going to my sister's place for an early dinner and to play with the kids. I'd planned to make her these peanut butter cups but as the afternoon ticked on, I realised that the whole week had been a little crazy. So instead of trying to make a slightly messy dessert at short notice, I walked down to the shops and bought a box of chocolates and a fancy fizzy drink instead.

Since then, I've been looking for tiny ways to drop the ball and not fuss so much about the little things. Even if they sound really nice in theory :) I'm not the greatest at relaxing but finding little things to miss - like a Saturday morning yoga class - means more time for other important things like sitting in the sun reading my book.

P.S - My cousin is reading Drop the Ball, and I'm curious to give it a try. It's all about expecting a little less from yourself, which sounds pretty good to me.

Easter plans

29 March 2018

I'm super excited about the Easter break and hope you are too! My parents are coming to visit and I'm making baked salmon and sticky date pudding for their first night in town. We're all heading to my sister's place on Sunday for an Easter egg hunt and lasagne, and I can't wait to give my niece and nephew their eggs.

This holiday also marks a tiny change for me. I start a new job next week, which I'm really excited about :) I'm also grateful to have a bit of a breather in between. We'll be home this Easter, so I bought myself some flowers to make our home extra joyful. Here's what's planned:

I feel like everyone on Instagram is reading this book. I picked it up after Jessica and Megan gave it rave reviews. I'm planning to pack it on my a picnic for one!

I'll be making hot cross buns on Good Friday, plus these beautiful chocolate drops using some edible flowers leftover from this birthday cake. In years past I've made hot cross bun pancakes for Easter Sunday. Side note: Nigella's latest cookbook is all about home cooking and it's great.

There are so many good plays on in Sydney at the moment (very sad I missed this one!) and one of them is coming to Canberra. We have tickets to see Black Is The New White on Saturday night and I'm hoping for some pre-show dumplings and post-show gelato.

And here's my overly ambitious home project ;) My friend Adele gave me a copy of Beci Orpin's book Sunshine Spaces last week. I'd love to replicate this indoor plant stand at home so our apartment will be colourful come winter.

Have a safe and happy Easter!

Photos: Chocolate drop photo by Julia Gartland for Food52, cast photo from The Sydney Theatre Company, Sunshine Spaces photo by Chris Middleton.

Hello weekend

23 March 2018

We're heading to Sydney this weekend and I'm excited for a mini road trip! We're taking my mum out for a belated birthday lunch - fish and chips followed by Gelato Messina :) And Tony's part of an exhibition that opens on Saturday afternoon. Hope you have the best weekend. Here are some nice things to share:

Obsessed with these Easter chocolates.

Umami noodles with Chinese sausage (lapcheong was a childhood treat - my grandfather cooked it for us most weekends). 

One of my favourite TV shows is back! Terrace House is set in Nagano this time. I love observing how the housemates interact with and look after each other.

My sister lent me her slow cooker, so I made beef brisket! We've been eating tacos ever since. I'm super curious about slow cooked veggie dishes - shout out if you have any favourites. 

This episode of The Daily was thought provoking and great.

I love the idea of adding an evening stroll to my daily routine, even if it's getting cool and dark in Canberra.

I feel like I've been sharing this recipe for citrus lentil salad with everyone this week! Don't judge it by its ingredients, its actually really comforting and bright. I want to make the accompanying oatmeal choc chip cookies on my next free day. 

And I was fascinated to read how Lou and Tim divvy up housework in their relationships. Thank you for sharing :)


Who does what in your house?

22 March 2018

Did you see the comic about the mental load last year? It really made me think. I am a worrier and a planner, which means I'm right across the tiny goings on of our little household from how much money we have in the bank, to what's running low in the fruit basket.

After the mental load comic, I wanted to reclaim some of that brain space. It sparked a long conversation with Tony about all the things that need to be done in our home each week, and how we were divvying them up.

And then we came up with a solution that we've managed to stick to. We thought about the two biggest and most time consuming jobs and split them. He does all of the laundry, and I do all of the shopping. It's helped me stop thinking about a whole chunk of house stuff and best of all - it works.

It's not super strict - every now and then Tony will join me at the markets or I'll help hang out a load of washing if it's late at night. But it's really nice knowing who's responsible for what. If the washing basket is looking full, or I need a particular item washed - I just ask. Same goes for Tony if he needs something from the shops a bit more urgently. I also love being the food person - and I've always had a strange love of grocery shopping :)

And here's a little confession... we also have a cleaner who comes once a fortnight to do the big stuff - the kitchen, bathroom and floors. I initially resisted the idea, thinking we didn't need it but that kind of cleaning, and getting it done on weekends, was something that we'd struggled with and fought over in the past. Having some help has also made bursts of travel and intense work periods so much easier, created pockets for things like blogging, and made weekly cleaning not a big deal.

Hello weekend

16 March 2018

How did you go this week? I wrapped up a couple of biggish projects at work (hooray!) so I'm heading into the weekend with a bit of extra brain space :) Two good things from this week: meeting a baby girl and gathering a few special supplies for her parents. I made a lasagne and brought nappies with smiley peaches on them!

And my chef friend visited my favourite Thai restaurant in Wagga Wagga and worked out the recipe for my most-ordered dish. It's called Yum noodles (for real!), and I can't wait to make it at home. A few things to share...

A choc chip cookie for autumn.

If you've been loving the politics of Ugly Delicious, I reckon you'll enjoy the latest episode of The Sporkful - Other People's Holidays.

Also worth checking out - a day in the life of a line chef at one of New York's fanciest restaurants. Watching Ugly Delicious made me crave more stories about women in food and Bon Appetit delivers.

Two great posts from Cup of Jo - a dreamy little Brooklyn studio (imagine if this was your home in your early twenties!) and why life is beautiful (this stayed with me all day).

"This company was built on cake."

A classic dessert I'd love to master.

And I finished the Making Obama podcast today. I've raved about it here before but finishing the series made me think about its producer, Jenn White. She knows how to tell a story that's uplifting and yet real, she nails gender and cultural diversity, and each episode is full of funny moments. Respect.

Breakfast on the run

14 March 2018

Tony and I have been doing heaps of yoga lately - we made it to five classes last week! We found a studio we really love (they serve coffee right after class) and signed up for the six month pass. We go to an early morning class which means taking breakfast and lunch to work. It's taken a bit of getting used to but here are a few things we've landed on :

Bircher muesli + berries

I make a batch of bircher muesli most Sundays. I mix it up in containers (it's less washing up) so we can grab them from the fridge during the week. It's great with berries and cut up stone fruit.

Coconut muffin + smoothie

These double coconut muffins are quick to make, don't have too much sugar, and are so satisfying! I've made them with mangoes but you could use peaches or pears. They keep for 3-4 days, and freeze well too. I bought myself an insulated smoothie cup recently, and will make a green smoothie or a banana one before class so I'm not just eating cake for breakfast :) 

Yoghurt + banana + granola

This is my end-of-the-week special that takes 2 minutes to pack. It's some greek yoghurt, granola in a separate container to keep it crunchy, and a piece of fruit. I make a breakfast bowl when I get to work and it's super filling. You could also make this with a heaped teaspoon of peanut or almond butter instead of the granola, a holiday trick I pinched from Heidi.

P.S One of my teachers has a habit of saying 'feeling strong' when we're in the middle of a tricky pose. It makes me smile because I do not feel strong in that moment but appreciate the positive prompt :)

Autumn wish list

12 March 2018

Autumn has long been one of my favourite seasons. It's when Tony and I started dating, which makes me smile every time the leaves start to turn. It's good weather for cosying up, cooking comfort food, and it's (finally) time to buy Easter eggs. My dream autumn includes... this lambswool alphabet jumper, which would be a super splurge but sure to cheer up the chilly days ahead.

I've also been admiring these smart frames, which are a lot lighter than the black frames I've been wearing for years.

I have a weakness for pyjama-style clothing, and could imagine myself going out for coffee dates or watching the latest season of Love in these stripey pants.

Last but not least, we're heading into excellent eating weather. I'm excited about getting back into hearty pasta bakes and trying out a new cheap and cheerful Italian restaurant in town.

Pasta bake photo by Bobbi Lin for Food 52.

Hello weekend

09 March 2018

I hope you had a good week! Tony's making beans and bacon for dinner and I'm watching the sky change colours from our spare room as I write. I secretly love being home on a Friday night, catching my breath,  lounging around in my pjs and making tiny plans for the coming days :) To share:

This Netflix baking show looks so funny.


15 remarkable books by women, which would you choose?

Trying to make falafel this weekend - wish me luck!

Yum - pink lemonade bars.

And I'm trying out This Is Love, a podcast from the creators of Criminal that's about love in all of its forms. It's subtly captivating.

A funny stress buster

06 March 2018

Did February fly by for you too? It was like the year suddenly kicked into gear. My mind's been racing lately, so instead of putting on a podcast after work, I've been listening to... old albums from my high school and uni days.

It's nostalgic and fun and I can feel myself suddenly relax. I've been listening to The Magic Numbers, this Foo Fighters album, Sufjan Stevens, The Rakes and even a bit of Macy Gray :)

Another magical mood shifter - this calming shampoo, a little gift leftover from Tony's birthday.

P.S - I'm excited about wearing jeans again and making porridge now that it's officially autumn.

Photo is from the Pipilotti Rist show at the MCA. 

Hello weekend!

02 March 2018

Happy Autumn! To mark the change of season I've been updating my veggie patch, planning a few soups and getting into hot cross buns. It's an excellent time of year. That said, I've been a tiny bit restless this week. My friend Cate says it's because a full moon is coming. Let's hope a slow weekend sorts me out. A few things to share:

Great things are happening around you.

This conversation between directors Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) made me want to watch both films again.

Something sweet - a first-time Dad captures his son's life in cartoons and letters.

How to cook for a crowd. 'Pick a showpiece' is my favourite piece of advice!

Humans of New York is in my father's home country - Indonesia.

P.S On Thursday, Tony and I marked 10 years together. I've been calling it '10 Years of Tony' as a joke :) This is us in Tokyo in 2009. Time flies.

Plans for the week...

27 February 2018

Some weeks are full of small but exciting plans. Here's what's on my list for the week:

Watching Ugly Delicious on Netflix. It stars Momofuku chef David Chang, plus Alan Yang (of Master of None) is behind it. I hear it's clever and political.

Having my first hot cross bun of the season (going here!).

Making a roast chicken on the weekend. I'm trying a recipe from this book.

Listening to the latest episode of Layers.

Putting a few presents in the post :)

Picking up a fresh stack of library reserves - nerdy but always satisfying.

And possibly making a single lady pancake for a solo breakfast at home.

Hope your week is going well!

Holiday snaps

26 February 2018

It's a cold and wet Monday here in Canberra. So I thought I'd share some photos from our mid summer holiday on the south coast. Late last month we drove to Mollymook and spent just short of a week going to the beach, exploring the nearby towns and chilling out. It was such a relaxing and happy trip. Here are a few highlights :)

I was a tiny bit nervous about taking a surfing lesson but I really loved it! The lessons were my Christmas gift to Tony, and we took a class together at Mollymook beach. I've never been super confident in the surf but going out with an instructor on our second day really helped me feel braver in the ocean and have more fun. Contacts also helped :)

Tony had a private class on our last day, so I watched with a cinnamon scroll and coffee before going for a one last swim ahead of the drive home.

We stayed in this new Airbnb, which came with freshly picked cherry tomatoes, homemade marmalade and a welcome plate of chocolates and grapes. It was such a cosy base, especially on the  rainy days where we lay around watching movies, cooking and playing chess. One day I'd love to stay in this retro house with friends.

One of our favourite things about being based in Mollymook was being close to Ulladulla and Milton. We had a handy list of must-visit places from our friends Sarah and Mark. They pointed us in the direction of Maverick's for coffee, and we were there most days.

On our final night, we treated ourselves to dinner at St Isadore in Milton. This pork katsu cutlet was delicious! There was a summer crumble for dessert, which I'd love to replicate at home before stone fruit season is over.

We're hoping to plan a few trips this year and have a tiny cabin stay booked for May. For now, I have a few extra freckles to remind me of this year's summer holiday :)

P.S Does anyone else make a to do list on holidays?? I make a similar one for weekends. 

Hello weekend!

23 February 2018

Just three things to share this week because I've had my head stuck in this book! It's made me stay up late and late for yoga - I am sneaking chapters whenever I can :) I hope you have a fun weekend ahead. We're excited to have a few interstate visitors. We'll be going out for pizza, drinks and ice cream on Saturday night and packing a birthday picnic for Sunday. To share:

I finally watched the Obama episode of David Letterman's new Netflix show. It's a great companion piece to the Making Obama podcast, and I especially loved its focus on civil rights leader John Lewis. For balance, I've reserved this from the library.

Excellent career advice from Greta Gerwig.

And a tiny magical home in the forest (in the shape of tinned ham!).

Catch you next week!

An end of summer pie + a third birthday

18 February 2018

Sometime in January, I became obsessed with making a peach pie. I planned to bake one for a weekend away with friends who were visiting from Iceland. I bookmarked this recipe but time got away and I didn't want to rush it.

This Sunday, with summer coming to a close, I made my pie. It's a white peach pie and we ate it a la mode on a 35 degree day. It might become a summer tradition.

I also wanted to say that somewhere along the way, this blog turned three! So much has changed since I started writing it from my dining table in Wagga Wagga.

I now have five nieces and nephews, live in Canberra, and have gone from driving around regional New South Wales for work to flying to different capital cities. I've tried a gazillion different recipes and shared a handful of favourites here, and become even more of a podcast nerd (I listened to this while pie-making).

Thank you for joining me here. I can't wait to share more interviews, musings, podcast recommendations and recipes this year.


Hello weekend!

16 February 2018

Happy Chinese New Year! I hope this new lunar year brings you many good things and only challenges you can handle. This week I've been playing a couple of movie soundtracks non-stop (this one and this one), and getting lots of things ticked off at work. It feels good. Our weekend plans are simple - a market shop, some yoga, seeing friends for drinks and trying out a few new recipes. Hope you have a lovely weekend! To share:

I'm getting back into Reply All, courtesy of this episode.

Settling into my first big novel of 2018, and it's a good one.

This is such a cool house. The interview is very sweet too.

My friend Sarah alerted me to the fact that Alone: A Love Story will have a second season! Listen to the preview here.

I've been cooking from Heidi's blog, Apples Under My Bed, for the last little while. The recipes are unfussy and reliable. This week we tried the tuna, lemon and chilli spaghetti and loved it. I was a little under the weather when I made it but it came together quickly and perked me right up.

And I've just discovered this fun online fashion series - Style Out There. Each episode explores a fashion subculture in a different country. The second season is being released now, here's my favourite episode from season one - Korea's matchy-matchy couple outfits.

My favourite things to do in Canberra

13 February 2018

A few times a year, I'll get a text from a friend asking for Canberra recommendations ahead of a weekend visit. When Lou, a reader from the UK, sent me a message about her upcoming visit, it made me think of sharing some of my favourite places with you too.

So, here's my mini guide to Canberra. I've narrowed it down to the places Tony and I visit lots. They're the places we take friends and family when they're here to see us. It includes a heart-pounding hike, a hidden art installation, plus where to sample a cheeseburger-inspired spring roll:

Breakfast, brunch and coffee

Go for coffee at Barrio, a tiny cafe in Braddon that always has good vibes and hearty food. On a cold winter day, their ham hock toastie and a hot cocoa makes everything okay. They've just started opening at night on weekends for drinks and snacks, and it's worth keeping an eye on for their casual dinner events too.

We often take friends and family (or just ourselves) to Local Press on the Kingston Foreshore. It's right by the lake and has plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans. Head here if you have a busy day ahead, the meals are delicious and filling.

Then there's a series of diner-style cafes run by the ONA coffee house. Their newest one is Highroad in Dickson. The fit out is beautiful and Tony's always looking for an excuse to go. We'll often share a souped-up shake and some halloumi bites.  ONA On The Lawns in Manuka is especially good if you're brunching with kids. There's a little grassy area out the front that's great for dog-spotting and running around. My favourite book store, Paperchain, is nearby. There's also The Cupping Room near the New Acton precinct.

Or if stocking up on local supplies is more of your thing, visit the Ainslie IGA and pick up Bombolini doughnuts, The Muesli Bar's honey toasted granola, and some Three Mills bread. Recommending a supermarket might seem strange, but this one has a cult following (and an insane cheese wall too).

Dinner and drinks

If we're going out for dinner, Lazy Su is always our top choice. I love the music, the playful atmosphere, and we always order the Wagu cheesesteak spring rolls :) You only need two people to get the banquet, which serves up their greatest hits - they also have a vegan banquet.

We tend to skip dessert so we can head to the nearby Frugii for the best gelato and ice cream in town. My Dad always visits multiple times when he's in Canberra and they'll always have a seasonal flavour like Hot Cross Bun and Anzac Biscuit.

If my parents are in town and we want to take them somewhere special, we go to XO in Narrabundah. It's contemporary Asian food, and as an Chinese Australian, eating there is always an emotional experience. The food always reminds me of dishes I grew up eating. If you go - listen out for the medley of TV theme songs they play in the bathrooms, and order the soft serve for dessert.

There's also Pulp Kitchen in Ainslie, which has a cosy neighbourhood vibe while still being a bit fancy. We went for our most recent wedding anniversary and love its sister restaurant, eightysix. Sometimes we go after the movies just for the banoffee pie.

There are plenty of quick and filling options too - Locale in Deakin is our favourite pizza joint. We order the Locale, which has hot salami, blue cheese and mascarpone. Grease Monkey in Braddon serves up Mary's style burgers. Bistro Nguyen in the city is our favourite place for Vietnamese (order the pork belly stew!), and we also love Thai Chiang Rai and Sammy's Kitchen in Kingston.

For drinks, Bar Rochford is refined and cosy - they have a fire in winter and the food is really good. If you're into craft beer, Capital Brewing is a relaxed place to spend a sunny afternoon. They also have a Brodburger van - Canberrans love Brodburger for unfussy burgers and hotdogs. And while we haven't been, the Pop Inn wine bar always looks pretty no matter where it's set up.

Places to visit

The city is surrounded by mountains, and climbing them can be a really nice way to start or end a day. The Mount Ainslie walk is probably the most popular, and it gives you a beautiful view of the city. The track starts off gently but you should save your energy for the stairs near the summit. The return trip takes about an hour or a little longer if you keep stopping to take photos :)

Out of all of the museums and galleries, the National Gallery of Australia is my pick. There's usually a blockbuster exhibition and a range of free shows. If the weather is nice, it's lovely to walk through the sculpture garden. I especially love the fog work. Just outside the entrance is one of James Turrell's sky spaces. You can visit it at any time but it's best viewed at sunrise and sunset, when a special light show plays. The optimum viewing times are posted here every day.

Other things we love, Here yoga studio in Downer, Palace Electric cinema in New Acton (get a hand-dipped choc top and head to Monster Kitchen & Bar  afterwards for a snack), riding around Lake Burley Griffin, and Tony's busting to try Go Boat.

Fun things for kids

Questacon is really popular with toddlers and young children - our friends buy an annual family pass. For smaller folk, we've spent some time at the Yarralumla Play Station in Weston Park. There's a mini train and an adventure playground.

The most impressive playground is at the National Arboretum. They've built giant acorns that sit on top of ladders of varying heights, which kids can climb into. Across town, Manuka pool has a sweet wading pool, and then there are free play spaces for kids at the big institutions like old Parliament house and the national gallery.


While you're in town, Her Canberra and Visit Canberra are great for getting a sense of what's happening that week. I also love Megan Sparke's Instagram account, especially when I'm looking for somewhere new to eat.

The city has plenty of festivals too. Enlighten is my favourite because there's a night noodle market and it reminds of when we first moved to Canberra :)  We also have a food truck festival and a hot air balloon festival.