Spring things

18 September 2018

In the last fortnight, like clockwork, the plants on our balcony started coming back to life. It caught me by surprise because I was sure I'd killed them all. Even the parsley. So is the magic of spring, and with it the temptation to change it up in small and simple ways.

In our little home it's meant some spur of the moment spring cleaning. Over the weekend I sorted through the thirty-odd books that'd been stashed under my bedside table and put them away. Now there's a smaller stack of things I'm reading now and am planning to read soon. Makes me happy just looking at it.

I'm waiting til October to bring my spring/summer clothes out of storage but I got a little head start this weekend, folding up heavy coats and bagging a few things up to give away. 

And I actually put some effort into food prep this weekend, after I edited this story about meal planning. The point that stuck? Scheduling regular days and times to do it each week, and making it part of your routine. I make time most days to exercise, but had never thought about food prep in the same way. I always assumed it'd somehow get done.

Over two days I made a half-day rye bread for our lunches this week, a batch of veggie stock, curried coconut lentils for the freezer, plus and a banana, coconut and pineapple loaf. It felt surprisingly easy... possibly because I've been listening to Dispatch to a Friend non-stop since last Thursday and it's all about finding pleasure in cooking. Also, I only planned to make two things (the bread and the stock). Everything else was a because-I-felt-like-it bonus :)

And on Sunday night, the perfect spring meal that's part winter and part summer. I made a roast chicken with potatoes (I love Nadine Redzepi's recipe). Then there was takeaway Gelato Messina for dessert and Flavours of Youth on Netflix. 

Hello weekend

14 September 2018

It's been so sunny and bright in Canberra this week, which has made me feel (and dress) like I'm on holidays. There have been holiday moments - an especially relaxing pose in yoga, leftover homemade muesli that we brought home from our Airbnb, smiley stickers in the mail. And at work, we launched a project that's all about finding more time in your days for the good stuff. I've been working on it for a little while and it's nice to have it out there. Onto some good things to share:

A trail mix cookie recipe with a lovely backstory.

My new favourite Oprah quote courtesy of Girls at Library (thanks Adele for the recommendation!): "Opportunity may only knock once but temptation leans on the doorbell."

Dispatch to a Friend is a podcast I discovered this week. It's all about food, books and our everyday lives as told through letters two friends record for each other. The episode notes of this show are especially beautiful, with beautiful photos, recipes, text conversations and videos that've made me laugh. Can't wait to properly look through it on the weekend.

I found Dispatch to a Friend via The Food Podcast, which I'm getting back into. This episode about walking in Paris was so lovely.

I'm only a few days in but I'm really enjoying Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hoby. My second Brit author in as many weeks :)

Current night-time obsession.

Three Australian Indian girls try on saris for the first time.

A recipe for taco bowls from ABC Life. I'd never made taco bowls before and now I am hooked. The quinoa in this one keeps it light which means more space for chips and toppings :)

And a lovely list of simple pleasures. Some of mine are... cara oranges in spring, hearing my next door neighbour practice her ukulele at night, a whole afternoon to make dinner or bake, walking home with a fun podcast, babies waving, and seeing new leaves unfurl on houseplants.

Chat soon!


Life lately

09 September 2018

I've been loving these early weeks of spring, where the changes are subtle but very welcome. Most mornings I see the sun rise on my way to yoga and then set as I travel home from work. And after an intense month of working on the launch of ABC Life, I'm starting to feel a little lighter too. Here's what I've been getting up to, from learning to fire up (and clean!) a BBQ to a quick trip to the coast.

So many good things at the moment, plenty of them gifts from my recent birthday. My sister gave me a subscription to The Gourmand, a food and culture magazine that comes out of the UK. I've not read anything like it before. The photography is super fresh and the interviews feature chefs, musicians, artists, and even... Cookie Monster. Highly, highly recommend.

I also picked up the latest issue of Lunch Lady, which coincided with our little trip to the coast. There's an incredible interview with Dee Tang about the death of her daughter Kawa, which I read so slowly. Plus, a lovely piece by Yumi Stynes about taking her teenage daughters hiking in Tassie. On the top of my to-make list, the easy pear cake.

I'd been saving Dolly Alderton's Everything I Know About Love for our weekend away. My friend Sarah gave it to me, and the coast always reminds me of her because we've adopted all of her favourite haunts. I love listening to Dolly on The High Low, and her memoir is entertaining and excellent.  Finally, two books I adored last month, Alone Time by Stephanie Rosenbloom and Less by Andrew Sean Greer. But I had to give up on My Year of Rest and Relaxation early, because it was a bit too dark for me and was starting to bum me out.

Milky tumeric tea in the afternoons in place of a black tea. My friend Tegan put me onto it, and gave me a box of her favourite tea bags from Higher Living, which you can find at some Woolies. I was a bit afraid of it at first (so... yellow) and drank it with honey. But now I love it as a slightly spicy pick-me-up in the afternoons and even appreciate its sunshine colour.

I also feel like I've been treated to lots of very lovely red wine in the last month, from my birthday and other special events. I only ever manage one glass in each sitting but it's always lovely to have a taste.

Eating and cooking:
Weeknight dinners have been extra simple of late. Making a double batch of congee on Sunday nights is easy and gets us through the start of the week. This is also a simple but hearty dinner, a coconut curried lentils with salad and rice. Simple meals at home also help balance out the lovely meals we've had out lately, and the fact that we've become very regular visitors to Gelato Messina since it opened in Canberra last month.

On weekends, I look forward to testing recipes for my new job. I made my first ever burger on a BBQ one Friday night (we only lost one patty!), and this week I'll be trying out a one-pot pasta for spring. I try to only make these recipes when I have plenty of time and am looking forward to cooking. I'm all about cooking for pleasure these days! I'm also slightly obsessed with cooking with fire and can't wait to BBQ again. Is a whole fish too ambitious?

We've also been experimenting with Dinner Ladies, since they're now delivering to Canberra. I've bought meals for friends and family in Sydney before, but this was our first time actually ordering for ourselves. It really saves us during the weeks that we're both flat out. We can cook at the start and the end of the week pretty well, it's often Wednesday night that brings us unstuck. We normally order a soup, a pasta sauce, and something for the oven like a spinach pie or lasagne. A funny side effect - because the main part of the meal is already made, and just needs reheating, I put more effort into making some veggies as a side.

Some time away. I often daydream about going overseas but actually get so much out of long weekends and road trips. We spent a couple of nights in Milton, in a lovely loft with chickens and bees and a big veggie patch. I made pizza on the first night, and a continental breakfast for us the next morning :)

We had a few lazy days chatting, going for walks and hanging out in cafes. The weather was cool and grey, which made piping hot fish and chips by the lake extra satisfying. One of the highlights was stopping into Casanova's, a newish cafe in Braidwood, for scrambled eggs and coffee on the way there and mind-blowing sourdough pizza and pasta on the way home.

I used to come home from weekends away and rush into prep mode for the week - unpacking my bag, doing a grocery run, and a bit of meal prep. Now I'm all for stretching out that holiday feeling for as long as I can! Which mainly means putting a movie on at night and eating something easy for dinner.

I started and finished the Caliphate podcast in a single week and learnt so much. I also loved this episode of The Food Podcast, featuring Australian lifestyle and food photographer Luisa Brimble. It was a perfect weekend listen, gentle but inspiring too. Lindsay Cameron Wilson also has the most imaginative episode intros, and an enviable voice too!

Music wise... I'm still hooked on playlists from my yoga teachers. This one from Evie always peps me up, and I've added this playlist to my rotation for work tasks that need my full concentration.

We saw Crazy Rich Asians the first weekend it was in cinemas, and it was a pretty trippy experience, sitting in a full cinema waiting for it to start. It was a little bit nervous too, because lots of Asian Australians and Americans had said that seeing so many Asians on screen had made them cry.

It did get me in an unexpected way, the music during the wedding reception scene reminded me of all of the Chinese weddings I'd been to as a child. It helped me see that while I don't feel especially Chinese in my day-to-day life, my culture is still very much a part of my life. The movie was fun but I still prefer the book to the movie! There's a bit more chaos and drama. I'm also keen to see Spike Lee's latest film BlackKkKlansman soon.

A trip to Hong Kong, which we might take in December. I've been curious about it for a little while (it looks like Bladerunner), and a few friends have moved there in the last little while. Let me know if you've been and have any hot tips! We've also been talking about going back to Wagga Wagga for a weekend, before it gets too hot. And I promised my niece I'd make her a unicorn cake for her fifth birthday! Thankfully professional cake-maker Le has given me some much needed pointers.

All the signs of spring. Not having to wear a jacket outside, the flowers on our deck blooming, being able to open up the doors of our apartment to let fresh air in. Heading back to the farmers markets on a Sunday. Having things calm down a little at work, and leaving the office on time. Celebrations of any kind! Birthdays, anniversaries, retirements. Hanging out with friends new and old.

Hopeful and energetic now that spring is here! I'm also feeling creatively inspired from reading a handful of excellent books, hearing Bridie Jabour at the Canberra Writers Festival, and from working with food writers and chefs. It's a really nice feeling and I'm going to try and hang onto it for as long as I can.

Thank you for being here, as always!

Monthly recap posts inspired by Melbourne ladies Heidi and Pip.

Hello (long) weekend

06 September 2018

I'm posting a bit early this week because we're about to head to the coast for a long weekend. We're celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary and plan to make pizzas in our Airbnb, drink loads of  coffee and sit by the sea. But first, we're going out for a pork knuckle at a favourite local cafe. Cute, huh?

In lots of ways, I feel like our wedding day was a little preview of things to come. It was so much fun, overwhelming in parts (walking down the aisle! Seeing all of our friends and family!), and a totally uplifting experience. While the joy isn't as extreme in everyday life, it's definitely there. And it is endlessly comforting.

Only a handful of things to share:

When Obama checks your homework.

Two new books that I can't wait to read - a book about joy and where to find it and Bill Cunningham's secret memoir, Fashion Climbing.

How I Work, a new Australian podcast I've been listening to this week. I especially enjoyed this interview with Rachel Botsman, which came highly recommended by Sophie.

A recipe for Hetty McKinnon's pumpkin and lentil salad with honey-miso dressing, which also happens to be the very first recipe I commissioned and tested for ABC Life :)

And The High Low is back!! Can't wait to dig in.

Catch you next week!


Five things I've picked up from slow living books

03 September 2018

I've read a bunch of slow living and minimalism books over the last few years. Some came highly recommended by Insta friends, others had beautiful covers or grew out of blogs I read regularly. I've loved the ideas they've explored, and on a practical level, how they've influenced my spending habits. Out of the books I've read, here's what stuck:

Try going without

There's a section of Erin Boyle's Simple Matters book that's about... baby stuff. And while we don't have kids, her advice on acquiring new things makes sense. She writes, "At the very last, you can stall the onslaught (of baby gear) by deciding to wait and see what you might end up needing rather than making many purchases in advance."

It's helped me see that even though a fancy bag for yoga clothes (and the very substantial amount of food I take to work everyday) would be lovely, a green bag actually does just fine.

Some habits are worth breaking

Reading The Year of Less helped me see that I had a handful of habits that I'd continued without much thought. Like... buying the latest issue of an indie magazine because I owned all of the other issues to date (and their spines collectively made a rainbow!).

What you paid for an item isn't a reason to keep it

Of all the books I've read, Goodbye Things is probably the most extreme when it comes to decluttering. The most useful tip I took from it was not to get hung up on what you originally paid for something you'd like to get rid of. It's a privilege to be able to take this approach. But it helped me sell boxes of books to the second hand store in Canberra.

There's no need to stock up

Another tip from the book that mainly applies to my pantry: There's no need to stock up. Our pantry used to be so full that I'd accidentally buy things we already had that were stashed away in hard to see places. This has also applied to my greeting card collection, which used to be huge!

Find free 'third' spaces

I loved the concept of a 'third space' from The Art of Frugal Hedonism. Basically it's anywhere that's not your home or your work, where you feel at ease and part of the world. That space is easily cafes for us!

Now that it's warming up, Tony and I can return to a favourite third space - our balcony. It looks onto a busy-ish street and it's lovely for people and bird watching, morning sun, and lazy breakfasts. We also live close to the lake, and sometimes take snacks, tea or even a pizza down to the foreshore for more people and dog-watching and a change of scenery. 

Hello weekend

31 August 2018

I made one really good call this week. Midway through the week I left work on time, instead of trying to finish a million last minute things. Home alone, I put on a funny soundtrack and made spaghetti and a salad for dinner. It sounds small but I was super chilled out by the time Tony got home. This week I've been listening to Caliphate (truly amazing journalism) and finished reading Less. I'll miss it! For your weekend:

How to make a kitchen altar.

A winning pear tart from Hetty McKinnon's new cookbook.

On managing the tricky balance between work and who we really are.

Adore this series on single women and their spaces. Every now and then I daydream about what my apartment would look like if I could choose all of the things.

Plus some recipes I worked on for ABC Life recently - the pink grapefruit drizzle cake from this post (note the instructions for getting a bundt cake out, inspired by my mishap), and a grilled cheese sandwich with jalapeno cream.

P.S - Here's an update on how I went with my daily vacations this week. On Monday I started a new podcast, on Tuesday I went for a lunch break walk with a friend. Wednesday featured lunch and a hot chocolate from my favourite cafe. I planned to walk through town and buy a gift on Thursday but lucked out with a lift home instead. So I went with some extra nice face stuff at night (mainly birthday exfoliant and fancy face oil). And today's vacation was homemade burgers, beer and my very first  attempt at barbecuing! We lost one patty but it was worth it.

Daily vacations

26 August 2018

The weekend felt both exciting and long. There were pockets for reading, a surprisingly thrilling carousel ride with my sister and four-year-old niece (the Canberra merry-go-round goes fast), time for coffee and pastries out with Tony, plus a trip to the Canberra Writers' Festival to see Bridie Jabour. It was a happy weekend and I didn't get the Sunday blues, at any point in the day.

It could be because on Saturday I stumbled across a lovely idea in Stephanie Rosenbloom's book Alone Time. It comes from two researchers, Fred B. Bryant and Joseph Veroff, and it's called the Daily Vacation.

'Here's how it works: 

Each day for a week, plan and take a daily vacation by doing something you enjoy for twenty minutes or more. The vacation can be something as simple as going for a walk around your neighbourhood, or thumbing through a book or gardening. Aim to be in the moment, and "to see things as if for the last time."'

I'd love to try it this week! I could read my book (just started this, and already loving it), walk into the city after work as the sun goes down, take a bath with the last of my winter candle, listen to a new podcast, bake a salted caramel slice.

More ideas on how to spend your daily vacation, and savour happy moments, right this way.

Hello weekend

24 August 2018

Hope you had a great week, though how zany has the news been? We just spent the last hour catching up and I almost forgot to write to you here, for the first time ever. But onto the weekend. I have some really fun things planned, including a girl date with my sister and her daughter. On the agenda: an afternoon carousel ride and then cake and tea at this super cute cafe. And on Sunday, I'm going to the Canberra Writers Festival, which should be really fun. Things to share:

So keen to try Rachel Khoo's Swedish meatballs.

Do you ever worry about being overdressed? I always stress about what to wear when I go to Sydney for work.

Enjoyed this episode of Radio Cherry Bombe featuring UK cooks Anna Jones and Melissa Hemsley.

Loved this snapshot of a gear shift and feel like it can apply to so many situations where our expectations can change for the better. Also, we are now having pizza for dinner as a result.

A recent lunchtime read, on rebranding motherhood. Mamas, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I probably recommend every other episode of How To Be A Girl but this one is especially moving, and builds empathy so beautifully.

One reason I'm super excited to see Crazy Rich Asians when it comes out in cinemas next week. I've also read and loved all three books. My friend Kristy put me onto them years ago. The first one is hilarious as an audio book, and I read the most recent one on the plane home from Darwin last year. I must've been super engrossed because when we landed the  woman sitting next to me wanted to know what it was all about.

And this week I've been loving Alone Time, by New York Times travel writer Stephanie Rosenbloom. Over a year, she travels for a week at a time overseas and by herself. She writes about her time in Paris, Florence and Istanbul with a bonus staycation in New York. It's part travel writing, part exploration of how our perception of life and moments change when we're on our own.

Cosy things for the very end of winter

23 August 2018

The end of winter is often the iciest. It's been freezing and grey these last few weeks, so I'm leaning into the cosy. Most of the time that means being easy on myself and making plans to roast a chicken/make brisket ragu/eat more porridge. Here are a few late winter essentials to get us through the next few weeks.

First up, this tiny candle that my friend Irini gave to me. It has a subtle wintry scent of oakmoss, amber and sage that also masks the smell of anything I've burnt in the oven recently :)

On a cold Saturday night, we put on a DVD and heated up some cinnamon scrolls. I found Listen Up Phillip at the library and it reminded me of a few favourite movies from Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig, Wes Anderson and Woody Allen.  I completely missed this when it came out in 2014. The soundtrack is lovely too. 

For when it's way to cold to leave the house to go shopping, I recommend Julia Busuttil's winter tomato sauce. I usually have the ingredients on hand, and while it simmers, Tony's been making spaghetti from scratch (!!!). We often take turns making dinner, and it's been super nice to make it together instead. 

Finally, I'd love to try these Nutella thumbprint cookies because turning on the oven heats up our little apartment. Plus, I can 100% vouch for these chai choc chip cookies from Thalia Ho. I tested the recipe for ABC Life and they make the house smell faintly of gingerbread as they baked. And they're really delicious.

Hello weekend

16 August 2018

What are your plans for the weekend? On Saturday we're having lunch with our friends and their twin babies by the lake. I'm hoping for some winter sun and a cuddle with each twin :) Other than that, I'll be chilling at home, with some new books and other lovely things that were given to me for my birthday. It should be really nice! To share:

How good (and quick) does this salmon sandwich look?

This mini-episode of Forever 35 is helpful and funny.

Surviving maternity leave - a list of essentials that could be easily adapted for busy weeks and challenging times.

Malted chocolate cake. Seriously contemplating a post-birthday cake.

Five novels to read. I've reserved three titles from the library.

What new parents actually want. Nappies came up way more than I expected.

How to make Tartine's jam slice.

And I loved this (and promptly sent it to one of my besties): When your sense of self includes your best friend.

See you next week! X

Coconut scrambled eggs with avocado and chilli sauce

15 August 2018

This is my favourite at-home breakfast. It's inspired by a beautiful French bakery on our street that serves poached eggs on toast with a generous amount of chilli jam. There's something about hot eggs, toast and coffee that makes me very happy.

For ease (or because I'm lazy), I make scrambled eggs. They're less fussy than poached and more festive than a boiled egg. Using coconut oil, instead of butter or olive oil, also gives the eggs a lovely subtle flavour.

To keep everything hot, I put on a pot of coffee, pop my bread in the toaster and get my avocado and condiments ready before I start on the eggs. It's extra luxurious if you can find a really nice loaf of bread, like the kinds served in cafes.

Coconut scrambled eggs with avocado and chilli sauce

Serves 2 (or one if you're extremely hungry)

You'll need:

1/2 to 1 tsp of coconut oil
4 eggs
A dash of milk or water
Salt and pepper
1 avocado
2 extra large slices of bread (or four regular slices)
Chilli sauce (our favourite, chilli jam would be lovely too)

Here's how:

I like to get everything ready before I start cracking the eggs, so get your bread in the toaster, and have a chopping board ready with the avocado and chilli sauce.

Then, crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl, add a dash of milk or water and whisk lightly.

Heat the coconut oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat. Now's a good time to put your toast on. When the oil is melted, pour in your eggs, and give them a moment to set slightly before you start stirring them gently with a small whisk.

Continue to stir until they're scrambled but not completely cooked. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper.

Call in some help to spread the avocado over your toast if you have it. When the toast is ready, gently scrape the eggs onto the toast, and top with chilli sauce. We normally have one slice with avocado and eggs, the other with butter and jam.

Enjoy with hot coffee or tea, and some fruit to finish.

P.S - Tony's favourite eggs on toast - a folded omelette with cheese.

Hello weekend

10 August 2018

I am counting down the days til my birthday :) In preparation, we're going to... IKEA to stock up on bowls for a pasta party (somehow we're down to two in the house). I want to try the Swedish cinnamon buns while we're there, my friend who has excellent taste in coffee and cafes rates them. And my sister's making me a chocolate ripple cake for my family celebration, which should be really fun. Good things to share:

One of my heroes, Miranda July, on making art.

Beyonce in her own words.

Related: How to spend your privilege via Jocelyn.

Listening to lots of Emily King this week.

South-Sudanese Australians on police, politics and the media.

Salad win: trade croutons for grilled cheese squares.

And I thought I'd share some of my favourite stories from my new gig at ABC Life, because it launched this week:

My week without plastic.

A beginner's guide to meditation.

Finally, The Baker and the Beast podcast, which follows a family after the mum is diagnosed with motor neurone disease. I had very little knowledge about MND, and watching this video of Cath gave the audio series an extra dimension. It sounds heavy, but I got so much out of listening to the story of this family.

See you next week (I'll be 34!).


Life lately

08 August 2018

Today I wanted to write a slightly longer post to catch you up on a few things I haven't shared here yet. Mainly, I started a new job in April and have told you almost nothing about it! And it's a bit of a dream gig. So, inspired by Heidi and Pip, here's a little update about my new job and while we're at it, everything in between:

Right now, a cup of filter coffee that Tony made and some mineral water.  Lately, I've been trying to get as much sleep as possible, so I've been having coffee first thing, a milky tea mid-morning (my parents brought these fancy tea bags back from London for me - I'm obsessed!), and switching to peppermint after lunch.

I'm also thinking of drinking even less alcohol than I already do. My allergic reactions have been so unpredictable and uncomfortable, and I'm starting to understand that my body probably wasn't made to drink it at all. Still, I am okay with half a glass of plum or red wine sipped with food, over several hours!

Eating & Cooking: 
Most weekends (and some weeknights), I'm testing recipes for my new job. I'm excited to share some of them with you, there are more to come. The new lifestyle website I've been working on, ABC Life, launched on Monday. At the moment, I'm in a deputy editor role, and part of it includes commissioning recipes. It's pretty dreamy.

For winter, there's baked fish with spiced potato wedges (the wedges are the best!), and a brown rice congee with kale that's super warming and nourishing (and great to eat after a big weekend of cake). I've been eating a lot of ABC Life leftovers on my lunch break and also getting back into bircher muesli for breakfasts, and making lots of quick pasta dinners on weeknights.

To a lot more music lately, especially during the week. The Carters and this Kanye album have been on high rotation, and I listen to a playlist my yoga teacher made when I need to focus at work or zone out at the end of the day. It sounds counterintuitive but it works!

I'm listening to a handful of podcasts regularly, mainly The High Low (which has just gone on break), ZigZag and Ladies, We Need To Talk. I've also been sampling Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness (almost cried in the Tan episode!), and Forever 35. And I'm keen to try Caliphate when I have a little extra brain space.

I finished An American Marriage on the weekend. All I can say is oof, what a rollercoaster of a read. I loved it, for touching on relationships, time, and race. It's one of the best books I've read this year.

The bulk of my books have been coming from the library but I did cave at Kinokuniya when I was in Sydney last. I picked up Convenience Store Woman from the 'If you like Murakami' stand, partly for its sunny yellow cover and also because I'm a sucker. It's a quick read that's super quirky and a little dark - so it totally fits the Murakami bill!

The latest season of Terrace House, which came out on Netflix a few days ago. It's my happy place, and I've cried out of happiness and sadness during the first few episodes. So. much. is. happening.

I've also been watching some moving Australian documentaries. I bought Tender on DVD, having first seen it four or so years ago. It's about a community group in Port Kembla that wants to set up a not-for-profit funeral service, who find themselves caring for one of their own after he receives a cancer diagnosis. It's a story of community, family, opportunities and regrets and I highly recommend it (you can watch it on iTunes too). Namatjira Project was on iView recently and I'm so glad I caught it. BIGhART do some amazing work.

A trip to the coast for our fourth wedding anniversary. I've been busting to book another holiday in ever since we came back from our cabin stay in the Kangaroo Valley. But we've been waiting to see what hours Tony is teaching this semester, and whether we could make it a long weekend. He's just started back and scored all morning classes on the Friday, yippee!

And for this weekend... a little dinner to celebrate my birthday. It'll be a pasta party, and we might make the pasta ourselves. I'm going to make my own birthday cake again - I think this is the one (although I always associate birthday cakes with plenty of icing!).

The To-doist app on my phone and desktop, especially for staying on top of work. It's taken me a few weeks to get the most out of it - I used to set too many tasks for each day and then get bummed if I couldn't tick them all off. Now it helps me set my priorities for the day and stick to them, leaving enough wiggle room for the unexpected.

I've also been using the Momentum dashboard, mainly to set an intention or positive reminder for the day. Some days it's a reminder to take breaks, which sounds silly but has been really helpful. Other days I write out how I'd like to feel during the day. The dashboard pops up every time I open a new tab, so it's a nice reminder that keeps me in check.

Some new make up to replenish my stash, and my favourite - presents. We've had a first birthday and a 30th recently, and I've already found my Father's Day gift for next month. I also have my eye on this oversized denim jacket but am waiting to try it on, and I'm actively avoiding the new MUJI store in Canberra, at least for now :)

Breakfasts at home, because they only happen a couple days each week. During the week I go straight to work after yoga and have breakfast at the office. So a slow breakfast at home feels extra luxurious. I'm going to share the recipe for my favourite breakfast soon! And mornings above zero -  because it means I can ride my bike to work.

This year has feel like an adventure in parts but right now, I'm feeling good. I've been doing heaps of yoga, and it's helped keep me grounded and on top of my thoughts. It's shown me that I can be physically stronger than I realise too.

That said, I've had my fair share of tired and emotional days too. The other day I came home from work overtired, because I'd forgotten to take a break. Tony was making fresh pasta (inspired the Leo episode of Queer Eye) but it was taking awhile - AND I ALMOST CRIED. Luckily, Tony has a lot of experience with my hanger (he's developed a 1-10 scale to help me communicate how urgent/dangerous things get). And the homemade spaghetti was worth the wait.

I'm also feeling... a little bit grateful. I've been wanting to work in the lifestyle space for ages, and am so excited to be able to do it from Canberra and be part of a team that built something from the ground up. Plus the website is now out there for everyone to see.

This week I've learnt about actively celebrating other people's successes. A handful of colleagues have walked round to my part of the building to say congrats on the launch of the site and see how we're going. It's meant a lot, and I'm making a mental note to return the favour whenever I get the chance.

Thank you for reading! I hope you're doing well this August.

P.S Top photo snapped by my friend Sarah, as we packed up a winter picnic.

Hello weekend

03 August 2018

Hello! I hope you had a nice week. Mine's been a bit more frantic than usual because the project that I've been working on for the last little while launches next week, and I can't wait to share! In the meantime, I'm excited for a few days off to help me catch my breath. Tiny things to share:

A polka dot house! Via Swiss Miss.

Truffle cheese that doesn't cost a bomb.

My brain on a busy day.

This Swedish cookbook looks lovely (and I'm first on the list to borrow it from the library!).

Coolest wedding outfit ever.

On Monday night, Tony made a white chocolate and banana cheesecake and it saved the week.

And two short podcast episodes that I loved this week - How To Be A Girl never fails to warm my heart, and the Hot Dates episodes of Death, Sex & Money are really fun.

P.S After I post this, I'm starting another offline weekend. Catch you on the other side!

Zoning out with...

01 August 2018

What do you do when you're in the mood for a major distraction?

I've been escaping with my favourite adventure blog, The Importance of Elsewhere. It's written by Kasey Koopman, who is currently hiking and posting updates from the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), which crosses US five states and runs between Mexico and Canada (!!).

I love her musings from solo hiking - there are lots of life lessons among her descriptions of trekking through snow, climbing through fallen tree trunks... and keeping an eye out for bears. Plus, the photos are out of this world. If you're curious, I recommend going back to day 1 of her current hike.

While I've never been on a long walk (or slept in a tent!), reading Kasey's daily updates somehow makes me feel a tiny bit more adventurous and capable. It also takes me out of my day-to-day, and gives me a little perspective, especially when work gets busy.

And if you're curious about how she hikes and maintains a blog... I asked her about it a couple of years ago when she started posting her blog from the Pacific Crest Trail, made famous by the book Wild.

P.S - An easy stress buster and night rituals for big days.

Hello weekend

27 July 2018

Lately I've been relying on comfort food to do its thing. Last night Tony's parents took us out to dinner and I ordered pappardelle lamb ragu followed by tiramisu. Afterwards, I felt great. My belly was full and my mind suddenly clear. It sounds ridiculous but it's been a big week, and it was just what I needed. Seven good things to share:

Finding your style when your clothing budget is $30 a month.

Equal parts terrifying and fascinating - the pelvic flaw in all of us.

Next level caramel slice.

Because I always have leftover herbs in the fridge, I'm going to make chimchurri and try it over some scrambled eggs.

Keep seeing this hair tie everywhere.

One of my favourite Canberra cafe reviewers has a new blog that covers food, motherhood, travel and lifestyle. It's beautiful and I'd love to try the hummingbird cake.

See you next week! Thanks always for hanging out here x

Five favourite newsletters

24 July 2018

Ever since I deleted the Facebook app and stopped leaving it open in a tab at work, I've been relying on a handful of newsletters to fill the gaps. The best bit? Most pop into my inbox one a week and I can dip into them whenever it suits (usually over breakfast). Here are five faves:

Sophie Hansen's 5 Reasons to be Cheerful on Monday is the nicest way to start of each week. It's a picture-filled newsletter with podcast, TV show and article recommendations. Bonus:  Sophie usually shares a seasonal recipe each week - the peach pie from January was especially good.

Quarter Cup Crisis is another favourite food newsletter that I read every week. It's really entertaining and relatable (ahem, ambitious holiday house cooking projects gone wrong), and it's all about learning to cook in your early twenties. There's a recipe each week, some nerdy cooking facts, a funny GIF and my fave - Kitch Sitch, a flat lay of ingredients and objects that inspired the week's meals. 

A post shared by OKREAL (@heyokreal) on

For career advice and online pep talks, I subscribe to the OKREAL newsletter (which happens to look great too). It features interviews with a diverse range of women who work, whether they're in the media or own their own businesses. Their interviews are always funny and motivating.

Laura Olin sends a weekly list of 'lovely and/or meaningful things' that I love for being surprising and political. Two recent recommendations I enjoyed recently - this piece about creating your own dress code (choose a colour palette, and stick with it), and the 1963 March on Washington in GIFs. I was a huge fan of Laura's previous offering, Everything Changes newsletter, which wrapped up last year.

I also love... Cup of Jo's newsletter (even though I visit the site daily!), Extraordinary Routines (for excellent summaries of new interviews, and its take on creative life), similarly Creative Mornings and Jocelyn K. Glei's offerings (if you're interested in work and creativity). And I always get cooking ideas from Food52's weekly recipe highlights. This week they posted an Oreo ice cream cake!

(Photos: Citrus cake by Sophie Hansen, Kitch Sitch by Tanya Sichynsky, Letter by Letters of Note, Katsu and rice by Food 52)

Hello weekend

20 July 2018

Did you have a good week? Mine was a happy mix of productivity and down time. Most days, I managed to leave the office while it was still light (also, more than halfway through winter woo!) and there was time for some after work cookie baking too.

This weekend I'm taking Tony on another surprise date (we're going to the Scandinavian film festival!), and we're going on a winter picnic with friends. I can't decide whether to make Nigella's olive oil chocolate cake (feels like everyone is raving about it), or a pear tart...
For your weekend:

10 minutes of pure wanderlust - parenting in Provence.

Spelt choc chip cookies - super satisfying, quick to make and not that bad for you either.

Planning to watch Namatjira Project this weekend.

Short stories aren't usually my thing but I'm averaging a story a night from Curtis Sittenfeld's latest. So funny and scarily true to life.

And a new-to-me Anna Jones recipe that came highly recommended - sticky green bean and chilli paneer. I've never made paneer before but I'd like to try it!

P.S I've been warding off colds with a combo of echinacea and olive leaf extract tablets that I take daily. I had one really bad cold at the start of the season, which motivated me to sort out my vitamin situation. So far, so good.

My birthday wish list

18 July 2018

I'm starting to make plans for my birthday, which is less than a month away. I'll be turning 34, and while it isn't an age I've ever tried out in my head, I'm still excited to celebrate. My whole family will be in Canberra (minus my brother and his wife who live in London), and we're booked in for yum cha. I might also have a small celebration with friends, and make my own cake again.

Because I love to daydream, here's a wish list of things I've been eyeballing lately, starting with a Golden Age Cinema gift pass for my next Sydney visit.

They serve Gelato Messina choc tops at the bar, play cult films like Do The Right Thing, and the entire fit out looks it's straight out of a Wes Anderson film.

Because it's winter and we live in Canberra, some fancy face oil would boost my spirits! It was minus seven on Monday.

A new book, which requires zero waiting because it's not part of a library reserve queue :)

I feel like your thirties is when you start to accumulate beautiful things, like ceramics. I'd use this sweet Girl Nomad mug for my morning coffee. This is my night time tea cup!

And for extra luxurious baking, I'd savour a tiny bottle of vanilla extract from France.

Now to think of any last things I'd like to get done as a 33 year old!

Hello weekend

13 July 2018

My friends Irini and Angie are visiting from Sydney this weekend. I'm excited to have some of my favourite people along for regular weekend things like yoga, brunch and a cosy dinner at home. And one thing I remembered this week - taking breaks at work helps me stay productive and happy. Things to share:

On order... this funny tee.

Jonathan from Queer Eye has his own podcast! Via Laura.

Excellent life advice from former Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth.

Kids try 100 years of party snacks.

If you were captivated by the Thai cave rescue too, I found this recap of how the boys were lost and then found fascinating.

And I just finished reading The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, which I picked up on the recommendation of Anne. It was practical, real and only $1.89 in the Kindle store).