Hello weekend

22 March 2019

Hello! I am on my way home from a work trip to Sydney that also included surprising my mum for her birthday. After any kind of travel (even short trips away), I am busting to make my own food again. This weekend, I have two exciting recipes to test and eat. Maybe some planning for Hong Kong too. To share:

Six months on the road (with four kids and a caravan). Loved reading about the everyday moments that make it worthwhile.

Last year, I became a manager for the first time. It was a little scary (hello self doubt), but it also got me thinking about the different ways that each of us work. So I geeked out with this Without Fail interview with Patty McCord, Netflix's former chief talent officer.

Molly Yeh's baby meal prep is next level (and applicable to non-pregnant folk too).

While it isn't new, I adored this video from This American Life's Video 4 U series.

And from ABC Life - falafel wraps with a two-minute spicy yoghurt and harissa sauce. I made a batch on Sunday night, and they kept us fed for four nights, including one night entertaining. Will definitely make again. Meal prep = more weekday Netflix.

Settling in

17 March 2019

Here's a tiny glimpse into our new place. We're starting to feel settled and at home after our first few week here. A couple things have helped, mainly unpacking, getting the internet sorted and...

Homemade meals. Right after our old apartment was inspected and we returned the keys, I went to a lovely book launch where my friend Sarah presented me with a giant bag of food. Inside, a homemade taco kit featuring this very delicious pulled brisket and a box of almond brownies.

It was perfectly timed - we'd eaten out a lot by that point, out of necessity and exhaustion - and I knew we wouldn't get to unpack the kitchen until the weekend. Plus, tacos are the perfect moving meal because they require almost no cutlery :)

And then on Saturday morning, we received a delivery from my parents. A very exciting box, filled with more than a week's worth of dinners (and a large strawberry and rhubarb crumble!) from The Dinner Ladies. They'd chosen all of our favourites (meatballs for me, lasagne for Tony, plus some warming curries and soups), and I love seeing them lined up in the freezer. Food truly is the best gift!

One of my favourite things about our new place is the view of the mountains, which is so very Canberra to me. Being higher up also means we get the nicest views of the sky. The other day I went out onto the balcony to stare at the sunset and realised we had a view of the iconic Telstra tower and Parliament house (just).

March is a big month of festivals in the city, and on Saturday night we discovered that we had an excellent view of the whole city when the fireworks festival kicked off. We're already excited about New Year's here :)

And something kind of silly... one of my favourite bakeries started making hot cross buns a few weeks ago. I waited til we were moved in to buy our first box, as a mini celebration.

We got through a lot of unpacking this weekend, and will are planning to return to normal life tonight with Netflix and couch time. And we'll welcome our first guest tomorrow night. My friend Sean is in town for work, and we'll have a simple dinner with flatbreads, grilled veggies and falafel. I'll share the recipe soon, I'm testing it this weekend for work.


Hello weekend

15 March 2019

Hello! We're dedicating ourselves to unpacking this weekend, starting with a trip to IKEA after work today. I am looking forward to spending time in our new place and just hanging out, which doesn't seem too far away. Loads of good things to share, including plenty of podcasts that powered me through the last few hours of packing last week:

I've been really enjoying the culture episodes of The Daily, specifically What Hollywood keeps getting wrong about race and Reckoning with the real Michael Jackson (which managed to be entertaining and chilling). Both feature Wesley Morris, a critic for the Times, which made me curious about checking out the Still Processing podcast again. Having read Michelle Obama's book Becoming, I found the episode about her book especially great.

If you're in the mood for something more poetic and heartfelt, try this interview with restauranteur Jose Andres. His views on fatherhood and community are particularly insightful.

I also found this episode of Radio Cherry Bombe very inspiring. In it business owner Michelle Mannix shares what it was like to open and then close a cafe in Brooklyn. It's also March, so I also appreciated the refresher on setting goals and reevaluating how you want to feel in different aspects of your life.

Contemplating making another sourdough starter - I managed to neglect and kill two last year but am feeling ready to dedicate some time to it again.

Smitten Kitchen is 13! Deb posted the recipe for perfect spaghetti and meatballs to celebrate. This was the first recipe I ever tried.

Nigella's chicken in a pot (with lemon and tiny pasta) also looks very comforting.

Plus, the easiest and crumbliest shortbread cookies from Thalia Ho, inspired by Greek biscuits dipped in icing sugar. I shared some with my honorary nephew, who just turned 5 (!), and he said they made a very good gift :)

P.S I went to the loveliest book launch in a Canberra backyard earlier in the week, hosted by the lovely Lean. It was the launch of two books by Emiko Davies and Annabelle Hickson. The food was so delicious, I am hoping to pick up a copy of Emiko's cookbook soon!

Beachy weekend away

13 March 2019

We booked a little beach stay for the Canberra long weekend, not knowing we'd be moving house the day before. It turned out to be the very best timing. We stayed in the cutest Airbnb (with zero boxes in sight!), swum in ocean pools, and made some easy dinners at night. Here are a few highlights...

The previous day had been a big one, we moved house and stayed up getting the basics unpacked before our legs turned to jelly. On the drive out of town, we stopped at my favourite farm store in Collector to stock up on supplies (honey crisp apples and figs to snack on, plus basil pasta and veggies) and caught up on The Dropout podcast.

We were headed towards Wollongong and stopped in Moss Vale for lunch, to visit The Highland Merchants, which I'd seen on the Design Files while making very last minute travel plans. We had slushies and a fancy hot dog for lunch, along with a grain bowl for balance ;)

I loved getting house inspo for our new place at The Mossy Store (still daydreaming about owning a Rachel Castle cushion one day). Tony was more into the cheese and wine shop next door. Then it was onto Coledale to check in to our Airbnb, listening to the music we grew up with on the drive down.

We copied my friend Ebony and booked Jenga House, a newish Airbnb that's right by the beach. In January, Ebony posted some photos of her stay on Instagram, and I'd lined up our stay less than 24 hours later. I am all about getting holidays in this year, and love having trips to look forward to.

The host is a floral stylist, so there were plants in every room, plus raspberries, creamy milk and white wine in the fridge. We've had a few awkward/average Airbnb experiences of late, so this was the best kind of reset.

I've only discovered ocean pools recently and this area has lots of them! There's a rock pool in Coledale, two ocean pools in Austinmer, and friends have recommended ones in Wombarra and Coalcliff too. I love it as a way to enjoy the beach and the ocean without getting dumped by waves.

Another highlight was impromptu catch ups with friends for drinks. It definitely had us daydreaming about living here one day, or at least visiting more often.

Aside from the beaches, there were so many great places to eat and go for coffee. Our accommodation was a two minute walk from Earthwalker & Co General Store, where we filled up on our favourite coffee and Pure Pops. They also serve and sell Iggy's sourdough, which is a cult Sydney bread my brother loves that I was finally able to sample.

At night, I loved to make dinner in our Airbnb. On the first night I winged it and made a hybrid of this lemony eggplant pasta with cheese and an eggplant and tomato pasta sauce that I picked up in Griffith, NSW. It turned out great - lots of cheese always helps.

Our trip the happiest combo of naps, cheese, wine, swims, seeing friends and visiting cafes. I finished reading Lily Allen's My Thoughts Exactly, and also read a new short story from Sally Rooney which was excellent. I am currently in between books, so any recommendations are welcome!

We have been easing ourselves back into the working week, and slowly making progress with the unpacking which feels so good. I'll share some photos of our new place at some point. We handed the keys over to our old place yesterday, and feel grateful that everything's gone so smoothly.

P.S If you're curious about holidaying out this way, here's a lovely round up of all the things you can do while you're here.

Hello weekend

28 February 2019

I'm starting to get excited about our move. I've been daydreaming about the first meal I'll make in our new place and a friend is going to give me some seedlings from her garden when we're settled. I'm also looking forward to having a bedroom that doesn't face a main street (first time in almost 10 years!), and silly things like having a shelf in the shower.

We'll have our hands full with packing this weekend but we'll take a break to ride our bikes to the Night Noodle Markets, which always has a lovely atmosphere (and delicious food). We also have friends visiting from Wagga Wagga, and it'll be so nice to see them. For your weekend:

A favourite crepe recipe, found online after I reached for The Little Library cookbook only to realise that I'd packed it.

Lily Allen is the latest guest on Dolly Alderton's podcast Love Stories.

A green smoothie with apple and peanut butter. Yum!

How to host a dinner party in a small space. Also, tablecloth envy.

Olivia Colman's Oscar speech was so funny and sweet.

I needed this: What happens when you put in 97% effort instead of 100%.

And a Netflix show to zone out to - Dating Around follows a NY single on five blind dates. It cleverly cuts between them (they all take place at the same restaurant), and it is so awkward at times.

I'm going to take a short break while we pack everything and move at the end of next week.

Speak soon and take care.


Life lately

24 February 2019

Tony and I are getting ready to say goodbye to our little apartment, which has been my favourite of all the places we've lived. I will miss its white walls, sunny balconies and walk-in pantry. But I'm also excited to be moving just down the road, and into an apartment with a newer oven :) This month has been a bit of a scramble, the last week especially, so it's nice to have a pocket of time to write, reflect and take a break from packing boxes.

Relieved to have a new apartment to move into. We didn't expect to move this year but our landlord is moving back to Canberra at short notice, so we spent last weekend inspecting as many properties as we could and working on applications. We saw 11 apartments in less than 24 hours!

When we first found out that we had to move, I was devastated. I love my home, am a homebody and had imagined we'd be here for a little while longer. We signed a lease on a new place within a week, which had been full of uncertainty and stomach flips. Things are settling down now, and the experience has made me more empathetic because it gave me a tiny glimpse into what it's like to juggle something other than work and home.

We started packing this weekend and surprised ourselves by getting through a lot done in a few solid hours. This Momofuku-inspired playlist helped, I also stumbled across some beautiful things in the process like a written tribute to my late grandfather and the readings from our 2014 wedding.

Lily Allen's memoir My Thoughts Exactly, which I'm really enjoying. I've been listening to her first two albums as I'm reading about them, and they're so nostalgic for both Tony and me. On weekends, I've been reading celebrity features (!), most recently the Vogue interview with Justin Beiber and Hailey Baldwin, and Miley Cyrus's Vanity Fair cover story.

I've been flipping through Ottolenghi's latest cookbook, Simple, and bookmarking recipes to try. I had borrowed a copy from the library and just before it was due back, Tony's brother and sister-in-law gave me a copy as a belated Christmas present. Yay.

And I'm saving the latest instalment of Single Women and Their Spaces for a packing break, along with Cup of Jo's cheery weekly round up of links.

Eating and cooking:
Lots of stone fruit at the moment, especially peaches and plums. I am definitely feeling those end-of-summer vibes, and am trying to cram in as many sunny things as possible before it's officially autumn. Last weekend we had yellow peach, jamon, hazelnut and rocket salads for a late Sunday lunch. It took 5 minutes to make but felt super luxurious.

There have been peaches on top of muesli and in galettes too. And fish and chips as the sun went down one Saturday night, following an afternoon of packing. I haven't had fish and chips all summer and loved people watching down by the lake - it was so busy, I felt like I was in the middle of a Where's Wally? My favourite thing was seeing people of all ages enjoying the last hours of sun, from little people finding their feet to grandparents who were rugged up and on walkers.

Fried food aside, I've eaten a week's worth of ABC Life recipes. Testing recipes and working with recipe writers has taught me a lot about shopping for food, but also being more flexible in the kitchen when it comes to substitutions.

Recently we've had a run of Heidi's recipes from a tomato, red onion and feta frittata using leftover tomatoes from her magical linguini. There was a can't-be-bothered-to-shop macaroni made with leftover pesto from her no-cook lentil salad (which we had for work lunches), frozen peas, rocket and chilli flakes.

Heidi's often raved about Nigella's chocolate olive oil cake on Instagram, and I had a chance to try it out this week when a colleague turned 40. There was something so calming and satisfying about baking a cake on a Thursday night. We had it with double cream and blackberries and it felt like the very best way to end the work week.

We just finished watching Dirty John on Netflix, which was based on a LA Times podcast. It was so intriguing and intense. I have a terrible habit of completely forgetting the plot line of movies I've seen - it turns out that this also applies to podcasts! I don't normally watch thrillers (too scary/gory) but felt more comfortable knowing vaguely where things were headed. We'll get stuck into the latest season of Chef's Table soon :)

Our lovely friends, family and workmates who kept our spirits up this week - from sending texts to check in, to offers of places to stay if we got stuck, packing dinners and moving day snacks, and rental references too. I always appreciate Tony's calm head in times like these (even when we got a place, my brain skipped ahead and worried about whether it had a laundry and where we might put the toaster!), and our yoga studio is such a calming constant in our lives.

March is going to be fun and busy. My favourite Canberra festival starts on Friday, we'll move house and then have a beach break for the long weekend... and our first trip overseas in many years when we head to Hong Kong. So lots to look forward to!

And on a very random note... I bought a linen shirt in Melbourne (in Sofia Coppola blue!) and was given a peach one for Christmas and have been wearing them non stop.

Life Lately post inspired by Heidi and Pip.

Hello weekend

21 February 2019

I have some fun errands to run this weekend, many of them birthday related. We'll be doing a cookie run on Saturday to pick up some delicious salted chocolate and rye cookies for a friend. Then I'll be wrapping presents to gift in person or put in the post (I bought these solar powered bugs for my honorary nephew who is turning 5 - they're so fun!). More cheery things to share:

'An introvert in overalls' - I loved this NY Times profile of Milk Bar owner Christina Tosi and want to watch her episode of Chef's Table again soon.

There are only a handful of podcasts that Tony and I both enjoy. The Drop Out is one of them, especially for weekend drives.

We're also racing through Dirty John on Netflix and only have two episodes left. I listened to it as a podcast last year and find it just as fascinating and chilling as a TV show.

How to care for a grieving person.

Really into My Place by Nowness - a series of short videos that take a peek inside the homes of creative folks like Tavi Gevinson and Florence Welch.

And an end of summer galette, with your favourite stone fruit and berries. This brightened an already great weekend. I went white peach and blackberry and hope to make another before summer's out.

P.S Hope you' re well X

Doing less (and feeling fine about it)

Every now and then I remember that weekends are for chilling out - not just getting a bunch of things done. This hit me a few Sundays ago, when I was planning to go the farmers markets, do my meal prep for the week, wash the car, and then as a reward - take myself out to lunch.

By 11.30am I'd done two of those things and was already hungry and exhausted. So I went back to bed to read, snack and write and called it a day.

The day before, I'd read an article (via Cup of Jo) about how scheduling our free time can make us unhappy. For someone who even makes to-do lists on holidays, it was a revelation. It also reminded me of a really sweet concept called 'should-less days' that I'd heard about on Death, Sex & Money a couple of years ago from Ellen Burstyn.

"I only do what I want to do. And if it's a nap in the afternoon or watch TV, and eat ice cream, I get to do it," she said. "I have wiring in my brain that calls me lazy, if I'm not doing something. I haven't been able to get rid of it. But what I can do is I can put in another wiring, I can put in should-less days, so when that voice goes off and says you're being lazy, I turn to the other wiring in my brain that says, no, this is a should-less day, and I'm doing what I want."

And while we're here, this interview with Heather Havrilesky struck a chord.

Hello weekend

15 February 2019

This week ebbed and flowed. Some days I felt flat for no reason, other days were extremely busy with work. On not-so-flash days it helped to make some plans for the weekend. On the agenda, making a belated birthday present and road tripping to a nearby farm for some fresh produce. It's starting to cool down so I'm thinking about quiches and curries. To share:

For a good dose of joy and wisdom, I cannot recommend this episode of Death, Sex & Money enough - an interview with poet Nikki Giovanni.

My favourite part of Michelle Obama's Grammy appearance.

Clicked on a house tour, got way more than I bargained for. The story of this family with teens cheered up a stressful afternoon. (Doughnut holes helped too).

Been eating lots of red onion lately, which is how I discovered watermelon mints! Sounds a little strange but I promise they're good.

And the very best tomato pasta recipe that I've been dying to share! I tested it for work a couple of weeks ago, and had it again this week. I love that it's a delicious weeknight dinner and worthy of a special occasion too. I roast the tomatoes on the weekend and chuck them in the fridge so I can make this on a weeknight in 15 minutes flat.

I am convinced the linguini would pair well with these mini chocolate fondants. Maybe I still have Valentine's Day on the brain :)

Catch you next week.


Morning muesli with seeds, nuts and fruit

10 February 2019

I am someone who needs to snack often, usually in hour-and-a-half intervals. Often I know what time it is, simply because I'm hungry... again. But the other week, I made some muesli on a whim and it kept me full right through til lunchtime. A mini miracle!

Here's a rough recipe if you'd like to make your own. When it comes to the nuts, spices and seeds, you experiment with what you already have at home. I made the first batch with dried apricots (my favourite), chopped almonds and toasted coconut flakes that were leftover from a giant lamington cake. I added pretty much every seed I could find in the cupboard (thank you pantry clean up!) and I think they helped keep me full.

It's especially great topped with yoghurt and summer fruits, like mango, white peaches and blueberries. I like it with a generous splash of milk too.

Morning muesli with seeds, nuts and fruit
Makes a large jar, usually enough to feed 2 for a week

You'll need:

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp pepitas
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/3 hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup sultanas
1/3 cup dried apples, diced

Here's how: 

Add the oats to a large mixing bowl, and then add the coconut flakes, seeds and cinnamon. Stir to combine, and add any extra toppings or oats depending on your preference. Then add the hazelnuts and dried fruits, stirring again to mix well. Store in an airtight jar or container. Serve with yoghurt, fresh fruit and milk.

Hello weekend

07 February 2019

Hands up if you're ready for the weekend? I'm especially excited because Tony's coming home on Saturday after a week away, and we'll have a family yum cha to mark Chinese New Year and my niece's first week of school. I'm also planning to make a peach pie (the weather forecast says it'll be a sweet 24 degrees on Saturday) and watch Black Panther before the Oscars. Some fun things to share:

Alone, A Love Story is back for a third season!! Thanks to Sarah for the heads up.

I've also been listening to a lot of Salt & Spine this week, it's a podcast about cookbooks and their authors. I especially enjoyed the episodes with Yotam Ottolenghi and Julia Turshen.

Speaking of Julia Turshen, I made her confetti meatloaf on Sunday night and it was so good!

To go with it, I made this chopped Caesar salad with jalapenos (and no bacon).

Also, peach salad.

Meanwhile, imagine if this was your home at 21! A peek inside Kylie Jenner's home.

I also started reading Sally Rooney's Normal People this week and am really enjoying it. If you have a Kindle, it's only $10!

Chat next week.


Weekly meal prep with two new things

03 February 2019

I made a few kickass salad dressings over summer and they made eating greens with most meals so much easier. So I'm adding at least one bulk dressing to my Sunday food prep, along with roasting some nuts to chop up and sprinkle on top. I also prefer to snack on roasted nuts compared to raw ones, so I roast extra for the week.

For summer, I highly recommend Julia Turshen's shallot vinaigrette. It might be my favourite salad dressing of all time, and it's super simple to make. I also made a jar of Alison Roman's lemony tahini dressing, originally to go with some leftover Christmas turkey. We also ended up eating it with salads and falafel bowls. Molly Yeh has a slightly thicker tahini dressing with sumac, which I love.

Currently, Sunday meal prep is mainly about getting lunches ready for the week - making quinoa, roasting veggies and now nuts, washing greens and making a dressing. Thankfully over the holidays I made and froze a big batch of Heidi's baked falafel, which I'll definitely do again for weekend and work lunches.

I feel like the relationship between food and health has only really clicked for me in the last 6 months or so, and it's mainly come from commissioning and editing stories for work. Specifically Dr Sandro Demaio, whose advice on what to eat is logical and easy to remember (and reminds of me of Michael Pollan). I've also picked up so many practical tips from how to meal prep, snack and cook from nutritionist Heidi Sze. She also sneaks nutritional facts into her recipes, which has made me more aware of good fats.

Finally, after reading a NY Times Cooking story about how to stock a modern pantry, I was inspired to tidy my own and get rid of anything I hadn't used in a year. One thing I noticed... I often buy faddish ingredients like almond milk or alternative flours. I don't have any food allergies so it was a good reminder to stick to the foods I actually like to eat.

Hello weekend

31 January 2019

What are you up to this weekend? We're going to try for a bike ride and taco date on Saturday night because Tony's on the early train to Sydney on Sunday. It's been a long time since I've been home alone (I'm usually the one that leaves!) but I'm planning to keep busy.  On my list of fun things to do - a yin yoga class, breakfast at the markets, mint choc chip ice cream, Free Solo and this yoghurt and onion pasta. Not sure if I can fit it all in around work but I'm going to give it a shot :) To share:

From the NY Times, how to build a modern pantry. Mine is somewhere between an expanded and expert pantry!

Loved this perspective on work from communications strategist Natalie Guevara: "The time spent in the office fretting about something fairly minuscule is better spent out in the world, meeting people, and having real-life conversations. There were so many nights I wasted obsessing over every email left in my inbox, or drafting and redrafting a press release. I could have been meeting with journalists, business contacts, mentors, or people doing things I want to learn more about."

Been eating this lemony porridge with peanut butter for breakfast all week.

I am super late to the party but I started listening to Sooo Many White Guys this week and the theme song alone was enough to crack me up. My fave was this episode with Constance Wu, who played Rachel in the Crazy Rich Asians film. Phoebe's interview with NPR host Terry Gross touches on so many interesting aspects of building a career and making a choice about having a family. I also loved the small acts of revolution at the end.

Speaking of Crazy Rich Asians, here's a look at how the costumes were chosen. Fascinating to know that the actors often had a big say.

Finally, it'll be Chinese New Year's Eve on Monday. I'm contemplating making steamed buns for the occasion, either traditional barbecue pork or carrot buns that looks a smidge easier. I also love the tradition of long life noodles (they used to be my favourite dish at wedding banquets), and Hetty McKinnon has a recipe for mushroom and sesame noodles that happen to be vegan.

Have a lovely weekend!

Life lately - summertime

28 January 2019

We've having a lazy long weekend at home and with the summer holidays almost behind us, it feels like the year is about to truly begin. I'm a tiny bit nervous about adjusting to full-time work again but I'm also feeling relaxed and ready. Here's a little look at the last few months, which has been filled with cold food, good books and a few short trips...

We had two much-needed road trips in January, after spending much of the Christmas and New Years break at home. First we headed to Sydney, to celebrate my grandmother's birthday with a family yum cha. Because we hadn't been away for awhile, I splurged on a night at the Paramount House Hotel in Surry Hills. It was beautiful and wonderfully cool - a nice change from the hot nights we'd been struggling with at home.

We spent Saturday checking out some exhibitions, Nick Cave's Until installation at Carriageworks and an exhibition of David Goldblatt's photography at the MCA. Both were excellent, and I feel lucky to have seen them.

At night, we stuck close to the hotel to make the most of our stay. My friend Angie gave me a voucher for the Golden Age cinema, a retro theatre within the hotel complex. We saw The Big Lebowski (my first time!) and it was really fun to watch it in a crowd. In one scene, the girl sitting next to me accidentally shouted 'Ow!' when The Dude gets punched :) Each ticket also came with popcorn with special sriracha and lime salt. I'm normally more of a choc-top gal but am now a popcorn convert.

Before we left the next morning, we joined a yin class at the rooftop recreation club, which is my favourite spot to do yoga in Sydney. It looks like something straight out of a movie set, and always gets me out of my head. Then we were on our way to a family yum cha, where we squeezed 17 onto a table (!) and my dad took charge of the ordering.

I went back to work for a couple of weeks, which was easy because we had a beach trip coming up. This year we stayed in an Airbnb in Narrawalle, which is the next beach along from Mollymook and close enough to our favourite places in Ulladulla and Milton. We lucked out with the weather - it was warm and sunny every day except the morning we were heading home, when it started to rain.

Our holiday routine was especially lovely - a swim in the morning, breakfast at our apartment and then a trip to Maverick's Roastery for coffee and books. We'd often share a lunch out before it was time to swim again, and make something easy for dinner.

This time round we discovered the Bogey Hole in Mollymook, a tidal pool that's enclosed by rocks. And we kept up a new tradition, booking a dinner at St Isadore on our final night where we shared grilled octopus, charred cos lettuce and a warm chocolate tart.

The trip was so relaxing. A day in, I'd stopped worrying about all of the little things that come with travel - whether I'd packed everything, if the accommodation was going to be better or worse than the pictures, all the things I had to finish up at work before we went - and just relaxed. Also, this time last year I was holidaying and squeezing in some job interview prep, because I had one scheduled a few days after we returned. It made me appreciate just how much can shift in a year.

Eating and cooking:
A couple of things on repeat and most of it pretty simple, especially when it's too hot to cook. After yoga, I've been craving icy green or coffee smoothies and eating my weight in with avocado toast. On really hot nights, I've been making salads like this lentil, feta and pesto salad or this rainbow one with edamame, mango, red cabbage and peanut dressing. If I'm organised, I'll make a gravlax in preparation of a heatwave (we've had so many this summer, and Feb is still to come!), so we can just slice it and eat it with salad and bread.

About once every week or so we pack up a meal and eat it outside, somewhere shady and pretty. The other night, we were having salad and beers by the lake and witnessed a proposal. It was so exhilarating! First we saw a friend setting up tea lights in a heart shape by the lawn, and then the couple wandering by, the guy semi-casually pointing out something on the grass, before getting down on one knee.

Speaking of beer - I have finally found a drink that I like. My Sydney girlfriends put me onto sour beers, which don't feel too beer-y or too sweet either. My favourite is a raspberry one from Wayward Brewery - they have a passionfruit and yuzu variety out for summer too. I also really like Wildflower's Amber Ale and only wish they sold it in smaller bottles.

Sometimes, it feels like we're exclusively eating ABC Life food, which can seem a little nerdy but I really enjoy it. Aside from testing one or two recipes each week, a couple have become part of our regular rotation. I've made Hetty McKinnon's mango and haloumi tacos at least three times now, because they taste so summery and are super quick to assemble.

I discovered that you can freeze cakes with cream in them, which is how we enjoyed this lamington loaf for weeks on end. And soon I'll be able to share the recipe for a slow roasted tomato linguini from Heidi, which I can't wait to make and eat again. It's easy enough to make as a weeknight dinner (if you roast the tomatoes over the weekend) but also fancy enough to serve on a special occasion. I can see us enjoying this dish for years to come.

My favourite thing to watch is still Girl Meets Farm, Molly Yeh's cooking show. Season 2 is still airing in the US, so one pops up every week on YouTube and I grin at the TV like a lunatic when it's on. I've learnt a lot from watching it - mainly cooking techniques that are hard to explain in text - like how to shape balls of dough properly or how to fold a dumpling.

For laughs, we're watching Conan Without Borders on Netflix. I hadn't watched any Conan O'Brien up until this point but really love this series, especially the Seoul and Italy episodes. And we've seen heaps of movies, in part because our apartment doesn't have air con but also because my uncle gave me a voucher for Christmas. Our favourites have been The Favourite and Roma (on Netflix). Neither of us liked Vice (so preachy) and we were split down the middle with Mary Queen of Scots (Tony really liked it, I found it a little slow but adore Saoirse).

I am still easing my way into podcasts for the year, and many are still on break. I am really enjoying Death, Sex & Money's new series Our Sex (Mis)Education. And my friend Sarah recommended this delightful episode of Dolly Alderton's podcast Love Stories, which features actor Stanley Tucci. Finally, this has been my fave song of the season.

Two super funny books that both happen to be about finding your feet as a twenty-something in New York, and bad break ups. I read Emily Gould's And The Heart Says Whatever on holidays and loved it - it came recommended by Jess. And I'm midway through Abbi Jacobson's I Might Regret This, just as the final season of Broad City is being released. It's also excellent.

Over summer, I edited a column about being single and owning it, which I really enjoyed. Even though I'm married, I'll often fret about large chunks of time spent alone and what I should fill them with (travelling for work has helped with this), and could relate to feeling extremely anxious about being single in my twenties, energy I wish I'd spent elsewhere.

Online, I've been rediscovering Leslie's columns for Cupcakes and Cashmere (her weekly link lists are my fave). She reminded me of this lovely series from The New York Times - Sunday Routine.

Summer things like yoga shorts because my studio has just started an advanced class, and I'm keen to challenge myself once a week. I had my first class today and was quietly very nervous about it but the teacher was kind and the vibe was fast-paced rather than competitive. Plus I didn't end up in emergency child's pose at any point :)

I also bought a few tops from the Bassike sale, because I realised in the middle of a heatwave that I only owned one singlet top.

Grateful for a super relaxing summer, with lots of catch ups with friends, my whole family visiting for Christmas, plenty of ice cream, and lots of time spent with Tony. I've finally started to listen to him when we go to the beach, and no longer get pummelled by waves.

I am also thrilled anytime the weather cools down for a few days - cool nights are the very best and it means I can turn the oven on again. It's a breezy 30 degrees today, so I'm making bagels and more slow roasted tomato pasta sauce.

And I'm feeling good about the work year that's ahead. I had the chance to fill in as editor over the summer break and really enjoyed myself. It gave me so much confidence in myself and my abilities (ordinarily I excel at second-guessing myself), not to mention the knowledge that I could do it! Seems like a good place to start the new year.

Thank you as always for reading. X

Life lately post inspired by Heidi and Pip.