Life lately

18 October 2018

Hello! How are you finding spring? Aside from daylight savings (still adjusting!), these last few weeks have been my favourite of the year so far. We had a quick trip to the mountains, lots of friends and family come to visit, and all of my favourite shows have returned to Netflix. Here are a few notes...

Eating & cooking:
So many new eateries have popped up in Canberra, and we've been making the rounds. My favourite is Taco Taco, a night-time spin off of one of our favourite cafes in town. They serve tacos and burgers but my pick is the bowl with braised meat, pickles, salsa and chips. Next weekend I'm going to try and recreate it at home, with this slow-cooked brisket.

For breakfast and brunch, I've been digging Kyo Coffee Project in Braddon that serves Asian-inspired food and really good coffee. One day we went for filter coffee, and the barista ground it by hand :) I am fascinated by cafes with tiny kitchens that can punch out seriously delicious meals!

And for a recent surprise date, Tony took me to a Canberra establishment, My Rainbow Dreams. It's a vegetarian cafe that we've been meaning to try for months. I ordered the baked beans because I've been wanting to try this recipe for a long time but haven't been able to find the time (it takes 12 hours!).

Despite all of the above, we've been eating the bulk of our meals at home and packing breakfasts and lunches for work. The desserts have been the highlights, an apricot jam tart made late one night to share with a friend, and these insane salted caramel brownies that I tested for work. They are so good that I feel like I could sell them! It was also my first time making caramel - I stuffed it up the first time (took it off the heat too early cos I was nervous) but tried and again and now feel like this will be my brownie recipe for life.

Lots of delicious filter coffee. I bought Tony a Mecca coffee subscription for our wedding anniversary (figured it kind of fit the fruit and flower theme) and it's been super fun! It's been about a year since I bought our coffee machine (we have a Moccamaster) - it seemed like a big purchase at the time but we've both been really enjoying it. We're not home for coffee much so it feels like a luxury to make a pot on weekends.

Like things are under control for the first time in a long time, which is such a relief! I have a bit of a routine at the moment - we go to morning yoga classes about five days a week which is such a nice way to start the day and physically wake up. Tony and I have been buying 6 month subscriptions to our yoga studio which means you can go to unlimited classes. Three classes in a row used to be my max (and I'd be so sore!) so it's been satisfying to build up strength and make it an almost daily practise.

Thanks to these pro tips, I've worked out that Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings are my food prep days, which has given me more headspace and time after work. Speaking of work, I'm still using the To Doist app to keep me focused (along with an online calendar)... and leaving on time. There were a couple of months there where I'd stay an extra 30-40 minutes just to get one extra thing done. It wasn't enough time to finish a task, and I noticed that it kept work on the brain in the evenings, which made switching off hard.

I've also been super protective of my sleep (which I've read is extra important in your thirties!), and we try and get 7-8 hours a night, especially if we're getting up early for yoga. And I've started taking vitamins, mainly echinacea and olive leaf extract for immunity. I think it's been working because I've felt more resilient these last few weeks and I only caught one cold over winter. Last year I was sick at least four times, and once really badly.

Time away, even if it's just an overnight trip. We drove the back way from Canberra to the Blue Mountains the other weekend, through Taralga and Oberon. It was scenic and beautiful - and looked almost English in some parts.

We went to Tony's cousin's wedding, in Wentworth Falls, which was such a beautiful spot. I'm much more sentimental about weddings, since we had one, and I especially loved learning more about the bride and her family. It was an intimate wedding, and a really nice way to catch up with Tony's family.

Before we drove home, we stopped in Blackheath to visit one of my favourite book shops. And for the road there was coffee from Anonymous, and fancy sambos and a homemade wagon wheel from the deli next door.

We also went over to my sister's house at the start of the month for my niece's fifth birthday cake! I love kid's birthday cakes (this one was chocolate cake covered in freckles and Smarties), and my niece seems to enjoy her birthday more and more every year. It's a delight to observe.

All of my favourite shows are back on Netflix! We're making our way through the lastest season of Chef's Table. I feel like the show has always been about finding your voice but this season feels far more political than previous ones. It's no longer about finding your creative voice, or vision as a chef, but understanding your place in the world and wanting to make the world better.

We've also started watching the fourth part of Terrace House: Opening New Doors. It can really perk me up, even when I feel exhausted. I'm keen to try Samin Norsat's Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix (so exciting to see cookbooks turn into shows!), and Sorry For Your Loss.

Three different books at the moment. I just picked up Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends form the library (been on the wait list for at least six months!), this book about finding joy in everyday life, and just before bed an interview from this book of Parisian women. I also finished and loved The Incendiaries and The Terrible last month, which are both by women of colour.

To a handful of podcasts every week - Dispatch to a Friend, Without Fail, The High Low, and mini episodes of How I Work. This episode of Soul Music, about Sam Cooke's song A Change is Gonna Come gave me goosebumps... and somehow sent me down a rabbit hole of watching YouTube vids of Obama's inauguration party.

To make mac and cheese for dinner tonight! It's perfect weather, it's cool and grey, almost like the seasons are going backwards. We've also been slowly replacing things in our house that were handed down to us that've seen better days. We had an iron and ironing board from Tony's grandparents (!) that we just upgraded and are thinking about buying our very first couch. We've had one from my parents, and one set from Tony's. It feels really nice to be able to buy these things for ourselves, and have a stronger sense of what we'd like (a chaise part of the lounge for afternoon reading please!).

We're also starting to think about Christmas and summer plans. I'm not sure whether we'll be in Canberra again or go to see family in Blackheath and Sydney. But I have started thinking about presents, just a little, which is always fun.

Hope you are well!

Monthly recap posts inspired by Melbourne ladies Heidi and Pip.

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