Hello weekend

23 May 2019

Hello! We're getting ready for another long weekend here in Canberra and I am ready. It's been a bit of a crazy week 😜 To unwind I'll be making chocolate cookies, watching Beyonce's Homecoming, and making some french toast on Sunday which is forecast to be rainy. Thank you for being here - a couple of things to share:

How good does this bowl of udon with chicken and garlicky peanut sauce look?? Definitely going on my to-make list.

Loved this - what makes you come alive?

I also enjoyed Louis Theroux's Desert Island Discs interview, where he touches on how he got his start in TV and developed his approach to documentary making (via The High Low).

I used to work with Alex and when I heard that he was quitting his job to travel and write, I was surprised and a little envious! On Instagram it can look like plenty of crosswords, cups of tea, and playing in the snow but he shares what it's been like in the low points too.

Confession: I have never made a skillet brownie. But I do have very good memories of eating one (in a tiny skillet-for-one) as a kid at Tony Roma's ribs in the America! Love to make one for my next dinner party.

And a silky pasta and bean soup from Julia (Ostro). I loved this soup so much and am planning to make it again soon! Fun fact: It makes your house smell like rosemary.


Life lately

19 May 2019

We've been hanging art these last few weekends, which has made our apartment feel like home - just in time for winter. So far the cooler days have been exciting - an excuse to enjoy heartier dinners and hot cocoa. They've also been a good reminder to spend time outside when the sun is out. Election day was especially lovely, it was sunny and warm, and we took our time at the sausage sizzle and cake stalls, just taking it all in. It's been a lazy weekend and I wanted to share a couple of notes from the last month or so:

We didn't really hang much art in our last place, mainly because the walls were brick and difficult to screw into. Since then, the rules have changed for tenants in Canberra, and you can put up as many 3M sticky-hooks as you'd like without asking for permission. We're onto our fourth packet but we're also taking our time, hanging two or three pieces each week and just seeing how we go.

On our walls are some of Tony's paintings (the one above the sofa was a gift from my birthday last year), plus pieces we've bought or been gifted. The blue and white one is by Canberra artist Emma Beer. When my niece visited over Easter, she was excited to ride the lift and said that she'd been "to a hotel home" like this before. Adding art has definitely taken added colour to our place, and taken the anonymous edge off too!

It's also been cold enough for a few morning fogs, which can be surreal because our apartment in quite high, with a view of the mountains. When it's foggy, I wander out of bed to put the coffee on and it feels like our apartment is in the middle of a cloud.

Cooking and eating: 
I'm into fun soups at the moment, which is new for me! I tend to be more excited about pasta for dinner than soup, but then I made a soup with pasta and beans and changed my mind (recipe coming soon!). I'm planning try two new ones soon, a sunshine-y lemon soup and a black bean tortilla soup from Hetty McKinnon's latest cookbook. I've started doing my market shop on a Friday afternoon, after work. It's something I really look forward to, and the shops are pretty quiet. I take my time buying food for the week, which also means my entire weekend is errand free.

We've also been spending time with heaps of friends and family lately, which has helped me see that comfort food is made even better when enjoyed with comfort people :) We've shared everything from cheesy moussaka to hot chunks of freshly baked banana cake, silky quiches and doughnuts of late.

And nothing tells you that the seasons are changing quite like your favourite apple stand shutting for another year. Most weekends, I've been driving to a nearby orchard to buy freshly picked pink lady and granny smith apples. It's one of my favourite rituals of the week, and one I was excited to share with my parents when they were recently in town. The owners say they'll be back in early Feb, 2020. I may have bought 3.5 kilos of apples on their last weekend.

Maybe it's the season but I'm easing off on a few things and trying to slow down and enjoy myself where I can. I'm still doing a few yoga classes a week but have added some slower, stretchier ones in and am leaving more days between classes.

I am also three-quarters of the way through this planner. Tracking my goals, priorities, schedule and feelings over the last two months has helped me see that my best days are the one where I leave room for changes and surprises. On work days and weekends.

I have also been hugely inspired by my recent Ruth Reichl deep dive! I read three of her memoirs in a row - Garlic and Sapphires, Save Me The Plums, and My Kitchen Year. The last book was a cookbook she wrote, almost like a diary, as she processed losing her job and the team she'd built. She approaches food with such curiosity, gusto and intuition. I am making one of her pastas for dinner tonight.

Fun stuff:
I'm listening to four podcasts religiously at the moment. The Death, Sex & Money maternity leave line up is a knock out. I've linked to a couple of episodes before, but I really liked Somebody Needs Me with GQ editor Will Welch and musician Jason Isbell in conversation. There's something special about two people who know each other talking about some pretty deep stuff while being recorded. Also regularly tuning into two Gimlet podcasts, The Motherhood Sessions (don't be put off by its title!), and Without Fail. Plus, Unstyled is back after a little hiatus.

Finally, cos we've been around a lot more, we've been enjoying all of the warming food Canberra cafes have been offering. I am all about soba noodles, ramen and toasties right now.


Life lately posts inspired by Heidi.

Hello weekend

16 May 2019

We have zero plans this weekend, I don't even have a recipe to test. So, aside from casting our votes (at the school with the best fete!), we'll be seeing where the days take us. I'd love to go for an afternoon walk, start reading a new book (I just picked up a copy of Boy Swallows Universe from the library and have heard great things), and maybe go out for dumplings. For your weekend:

Zucchini pasta has been on my mind lately - I love this version from the River Cafe with creme fraiche and lemon but am also intrigued by this one too, which features zucchini and zucchini flowers.

Love this thoughtful response to the question - 'Can I love my baby AND my work?'

If you feel like baking, ABC Life has a white chocolate and raspberry muffin that's surprisingly light. I served these over Easter and they were as popular (if not more so) than my hot cross buns!

And this sounds delicious - an extra lemony bundt cake with buttermilk. You brush sugar and citrus syrup over the cake when it's fresh out of the oven, which reminds me of a orange cake my mum used to bake.

Can you research becoming a parent? (Or did you?)

15 May 2019

Confession: for the longest time (and especially after I turned 30), I've paid special attention to books, podcasts, blog posts... anything really that touched on what it's like being a parent - a mother in especially. I've read birth stories from blogs, was obsessed with a podcast where a couple tries to work it out for themselves, and consumed countless novels and non-fiction books on the topic.

Initially it was out of curiosity but as I edged into my early-to-mid thirties, part of my interest was genuine problem-solving. Could I do the work and discover whether or not I am meant to be a parent (or would like to see if it's a possibility)?

In 2018, I was especially focussed in my research, so much so that a co-worker with a similar approach gently suggested I take a break. I ignored her advice until I read this essay by Sloane Crosley called The Doctor Is a Woman last December. For a story about fertility in your thirties it's surprisingly funny. This line stood out: "... as a literate female, it's difficult to control the flow of stories debating the merits of motherhood..."

There was something about that particular essay that made me stop seeking out more material to consume. It also freed up a chunk of brain space that had been freaking out about making a call either way. While I still think about whether or not Tony and I will have kids (it's something we talk about often), it's no longer an anxiety or a problem that needs to be solved. At least for now.

The only thing on the topic of parenting (or not-parenting) I've tuned into recently is Motherhood Sessions, a podcast that I knew of but wasn't sure was for me until Erin described it as a show that explores the "psychological big-bang" of motherhood.

I've listened to two episodes so far and they remind me of Death, Sex & Money and Esther Perel's Where Should We Begin? combined. A reproductive psychiatrist hosts the show and sometimes I let my brain drift back into research-mode but most of the time they're just fascinating stories. This episode about rethinking your cultural identity and roots after motherhood is especially good.

Sunday morning

11 May 2019

Ever since the Easter long weekend, I've been rethinking Sundays. Now that it's cooler, it makes less sense to jump out of bed and head to yoga or do a market run. Instead I want to sleep in, drink cups of tea, and eat breakfast in my jammies.

The other night, I was having dinner with some workmates and the conversation turned to the weekend and what we typically get up to. I loved hearing about how different our days were, and especially loved learning about weekly family rituals.

As a kid, Sunday morning meant croissants. Sometimes they came from the freezer, out of Sara Lee cardboard boxes, the foil trays slipped into the oven to warm while my dad made orange juice. When we were a little older, they were bought freshly made, with one or two kids joining my dad for an excursion to a nearby bakery. They sold croissants the size of plates - more crab-like in shape than crescent. Going to a bakery meant other pastries and desserts were on offer. My littlest brother would almost always get an apricot or apple danish, and I'd go between individual custard tarts and apple pies dusted in sugar.

Right now, I'm settling into Sundays being the only day of the week without an alarm. It's been pretty easy :) We take turns making coffee and breakfast, but usually start the day lazing around with tea and books in bed. I'm keeping my plans for the day simple too, which means more time for sitting on the couch and zoning out.

Hello weekend

09 May 2019

The temperature has suddenly dropped in Canberra and I've been settling into some cold weather routines - making stock at night, and stopping for a hot cocoa and a chapter of my book on my way to work.

All week, my head has been buried in Ruth Reichl's memoir. It's prompted me to think quite deeply about food and recipes and the role they play in my life and at work, which has been exciting. To that end, I have only a handful of internet-y things to share:

Ruth related - if you're also a fan, her interview on the Salt and Spine podcast is lovely, whether you're reading her memoir or not.

I'm also planning to make her spicy sausage spaghetti sometime soon, it's dead easy and the nicest way to spend an afternoon.

Speaking of comfort food, I loved Heidi's take on cottage pie for ABC Life. The pomegranate molasses is a small but genius addition. I had the best time making the pie last Sunday night - even the process is comforting.

A sweet piece on loving the home you're in with all of its quirks.

Finally, have you ever had a Swedish apple pie? A friend served one the other night and said it was her go-to last minute dessert. Instead of making pastry, the apples cook under a quick dough that tastes just like pie crust. It tasted insane, and I can't wait to try it.

P.S Does your family celebrate Mother's Day? My parents are visiting from Sydney this weekend and I've gone with a simple seasonal gift of my favourite oats, some hand cream, and a bag of locally grown apples.


Hello weekend

03 May 2019

Happy May! Isn't it crazy to think we're in the last month of autumn? I'll be taking an early mark from work this afternoon and getting the food shop done, so I have fewer reasons to get out of bed in the mornings and more time to cook, potter and read over the weekend.

All week I've been looking forward to making zuppa inglese, which is like a trifle and a tiramisu combined (I bought my ingredients on Tuesday!). We'll be taking some over to a friend's place on Saturday night and cuddling their baby Summer. I'm also taking Tony out to dinner tonight! To share this week:

Christina Tosi has a mug cake recipe.

"It wasn't a sheet mask or a manicure or a bubble bath". How one woman found self care in a pair of discounted pyjama pants via Erin.

Sweet instructions for a really nice day. Nutella is involved.

Have you watched Street Food on Netflix? It's a new series from the creators of Chef's Table and it's been recommended to me a couple of times this week.

Planning to make Nigella's eggs in purgatory soon, for a quick mid-week meal.

Looking forward to digging into this NY Times special that has a lot of people talking: How to shop, cook and eat in a warming world.

And the ABC Life recipe for this week is a pumpkin soup with a kick. It comes from Hetty McKinnon, who has added Thai red curry spices and crunchy coconut cashews (which my friends ate by the handful when they tried the soup). I also loved editing Hetty's story about how she went from being a carnivorous kid to a vegetarian food writer.

Have a happy weekend.


Two fun things to listen to in the kitchen (or anywhere)

28 April 2019

I've spent a lot of time in the kitchen these past few days. There was a double batch of mac and cheese with gruyere and caramelised onions - one for our freezer and another for friends. I also made a whole lemon lemonade with rosemary, more Anzac bikkies, and tortellini from scratch that had us dining at 10.30pm (!). Keeping me in the company in the kitchen...

The TASTE podcast, which I stumbled across while Googling podcast episodes with Ruth Reichl. It's an interview podcast which features some of my favourite cooks, from Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman to Christina Tosi, Alison Roman and Dorie Greenspan. I've loved hearing about their perspectives on food and cooking. It's not a new podcast - it's been running for about a year - but at the moment, it's my favourite thing to listen to while making a meal. I'm super keen to sample their daily podcast during the week.

And because sometimes it's nice to just zone out and listen to music, I've also had Anderson .Paak's new album Ventura on repeat. It's kind of old school and new at the same time and very sunny. My brother Derrick messaged me months ago to say I'd like his music - and this is my fave album of his so far.

Have a lovely week ahead. I am a tiny bit nervous about heading back to work after so many days off. I'll miss messing around the kitchen, going out for coffee, and crisp Autumn walks. All things that can be done during the working week, just not all on the same day :)

Hello weekend

26 April 2019

And just like that it's the weekend again :) On Saturday we'll be having Emiko Davies's tortellini with meat sauce for dinner. It's a two-day project that involves making the sauce and leaving it to rest so the flavours can develop. Tomorrow I'll make some fresh pasta and the tortellini filling. We'll also be celebrating my nephew's third birthday with cake (and a toy dinosaur), and meeting a friend's new puppy.

Four quick things to share this week, because the Internet's been down at our place and it's only just been fixed. Fun fact: It was my fault.

A five-minute chocolate pudding that makes me think of Yogo (but is probably healthier).

How beautiful does this mentorship between two bakers sound? It's also a lovely reminder of all the different ways we can check in with the people we love.

I had no idea that Jonathan Van Ness was learning to figure skate but loved the sentiment of this article about why it's so great to watch him learn a new skill, falls and all.

And I made these spiced potato wedges last night and served them with some pan-fried white fish and plenty of lemon. It was so very comforting.


Autumn notes

23 April 2019

Long weekends are lovely but having four-days off in a row is especially magical. There's time for everything, from sleep-ins and catch ups with friends, to tackling the last of the unpacking. I went back to work today and already miss lazy pyjama mornings and grazing on Easter eggs throughout the day. To keep the holiday vibes going, I wanted to share a few things I've been enjoying lately, from a classic podcast to surprise dates.

Two new cookbooks:
I bought a copy Nigella Lawson's 1998 book How To Eat right before Easter, after listening to so many stories about its 20 year anniversary. It is as excellent as everyone says it is, though I'm glad I'm reading it now after I've built some confidence and skills in the kitchen. I also loved this conversation between Nigella and Samin Nosrat that covered everything from cooking for yourself to being a TV personality who isn't skinny.

I also ordered Simple Cake by Odette Williams, who is an Australian living in Brooklyn. It's the loveliest book of cake recipes, with 10 cakes and 15 toppings, and lots of suggestions for when to make, eat and gift cake. I got so hungry while flipping through the book one night that I had to go and defrost some cake from the freezer before I could continue.

New recipes to share: 
Speaking of frozen baked goods, my freezer is full of them at the moment, leftover from recipe tests for work. First there was a chocolate olive oil cake with a super glossy ganache. I decorated mine with cacao nibs for crunch and sea salt too.

I also commissioned a special Anzac biscuit. Part of the recipe involves browning butter, and when you mix in the honey it smells like honey joys. I can also recommend Anzac biscuit ice cream sandwiches, which we wrap in foil and leave in the freezer to soften. The best.

Homemade pasta has also made a reappearance at our house, partly because we're more settled but also because we're rewatching The Trip to Italy, the TV series this time instead of the movie. Over the long weekend, I also made Alison Roman's olive oil roasted tomato sauce for the freezer, so we can have this tomato and anchovy bucatini down the track.

Surprise dates:
Surprise dates are still going strong in our house :) They started about a year ago, inspired by a Japanese reality show. Basically one of us will invite the other out for a mystery outing, with the asker organising and shouting. In the beginning, the dates were quite fancy and involved dinners at favourite restaurants usually reserved for special occasions. 

Lately they've been a bit more low key. Last Sunday Tony took me to a ramen pop-up and then for hot cross bun gelato, which I loved. Next on my list... a lasagne and movie night at home, two of Tony's favourite things. I'm just waiting for the movie he missed at the cinema to come out on iTunes.

A favourite podcast: 
The first podcast I ever listened to was This American Life. My friend Vanessa told me about it, shortly after I moved from Sydney to Wagga Wagga. I spent a lot of time driving when I lived there, mainly to different country towns and back again, sometimes spending 5 hours on the road in a day. The TAL back catalogue kept me entertained on those long solo drives but I switched to shorter podcasts when I moved to Canberra, to match my new commute.

I've started listening again - this time during long stints in the kitchen, usually when Tony's at the studio painting. I've really missed this kind of surprising and emotional storytelling. Some episodes (old and new) that I've especially loved - No Fair!, Left Behind, Unconditional Love, Anything Can Be Anything.

Something nerdy - this is one of my favourite stories from This American Life. It's only five minutes but so very visual.  


Ready for Easter!

18 April 2019

I love spending Easter at home. By this time of year, I'm often ready for a break and a lazy one at that. This one also has more days off than usual, and I've taken the Friday off after Anzac Day to make two long weekends in a row :)

Over the extra long Easter weekend, we're planning to cycle round Lake Burley Griffin with a picnic (I'm making these pressed mozzarella sambos and will pack some lunch dessert too!), host an Easter egg hunt for my niece and nephew, and have some friends from Wagga Wagga around for soup. I also want to see the giant candle sculpture at the NGA - its head fell off the other day!

I'm also planning to spend a good chunk of time curled up on the couch, reading my fave magazine which arrived from America just in time! I'm also enjoying Ruth Reichl's memoir about her time as a NY Times food critic and Michel Lewis's podcast, Against The Rules, I've recommended the first episode to at least four separate people this week.

Two more things: this heartfelt ep of Death, Sex and Money (the maternity leave line up to fill in for Anna Sale is really lovely), and a creamy cauliflower pasta from Alison Roman.

Finally, a little tradition for Easters at home, I've just picked up a pretty bunch of Autumnal flowers for our place.

Have a lovely and relaxing Easter.


Hello weekend

11 April 2019

I spent a good chunk of this week adjusting to both Australian time and daylight savings. It was the best reminder to be kind to myself as I settled back into work/non-holiday life. I've been on the move too, and have just come back from a trip to Sydney where I had dinner with one of my closest friends and gave a (slightly nerve wracking) presentation at work. As always, I am excited for the weekend! We'll be having ragu with friends and Tony's planned a surprise date for Sunday night, which I suspect will be a ramen date :) To share:

I had to choose a iron-free outfit for work recently because I got distracted by this episode of Style Out There from Refinery 29, that's all about Calabasas style.

Another excellent and heartbreaking episode of The Daily that tells the story of one family's story of loss and survival in the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Also from the NY Times - is human contact now a luxury? Made me think about just how much time I spend on my phone.

Erin Lee Carr has just published a memoir about the death of her father, NY Times reporter David Carr. This excerpt details the night he died.

Would love to try this baked apple oatmeal.

Along those lines... how do you cook your porridge? I used this BBC recipe for years, but have switched to soaking my oats the night before. The quest for perfect porridge is seemingly endless.

Been listening to a lot of Without Fail episodes recently, this one about the hunt for the Golden State Killer is especially good.

And I can 100% vouch for this cheesy mushroom tart that's made from six key ingredients. It's quick to make and will leave you with two tarts - one for now and one for later.

Have the best weekend!


Hong Kong holiday

07 April 2019

Hello! We've just come back from a week in Hong Kong and I have about a thousand photos to share :) This trip reminded of our New York honeymoon in so many ways. We spent our days eating delicious food, breaking it up with trips to art galleries and wandering the city.

It was a big and busy trip, and one that left an impression on both of us. Here are some highlights, from Michelin starred snacks that cost less than $10 to the touristy activities I secretly adored.

The biggest surprise for me was how familiar the city felt. I'd never visited before but so many things reminded me of my childhood - from the smell of dried herbs and ginseng on the streets that made me think of excursions to Chinatown, to the very particular flavours of the food that took me right back to my grandparent's dining table.

I don't always feel Chinese, especially since I left Sydney and moved away my extended family. But in Hong Kong, the majority of people spoke to me in Cantonese. Although I don't speak the language, I was able to remember a handful of words and phrases, mostly in my late grandfather's voice. Unfortunately I wasn't so great at repeating them, and frequently mixed up Cantonese and Mandarin when trying to say something simple like thank you. Also, so many of the older men dressed exactly like my grandfather, which boggled my mind but also made me smile.

We rented a studio apartment in Sheung Wan, on Hong Kong island. We were a few minutes walk from a train station, and walked by shops specialising in dried herbs, fresh fruit and incense every day. If we were venturing into the neighbourhood for coffee or dinner we'd often pass coffin makers too!

Hong Kong is such a vertical city (some of the buildings were impossible to comprehend) and we spent a lot of time climbing stairs. Some would open up between streets, which always felt a little magical. It took me a little while to get my head around the different districts and the layout of the city. My main references were the Hong Kong episode of Travel Man (so fun!) and this illustrated travel journal that Lena sent me. I'd often flick through it at night to read up on places we'd visited, or to plan the next day.

I loved some of the more touristy activities, like a trip to The Peak which overlooks the city. My uncle suggested we avoid the crowds by taking a mini bus from Central, which wound around the mountain and gave us a different view of the city (most of the time we got around on the train or on foot).

One night we ordered xiao long bao (soupy dumplings) at the Din Tai Fung in Tsim Sha Tsui, before walking down to the pier to catch the Star Ferry across the harbour back to Central. Our ferry was called the Morning Star, and it was super fun to see the city lights and their reflections from the water.

I also wanted to ride the Central to mid-levels escalators, because I'd heard they were the longest in the world and I'm a dag. Tony's friend Anton lives in Hong Kong, and met us for lunch before taking us to the escalators. We didn't ride the whole way up (they go through different suburbs) but hopped off at Tai Kwun, a grand colonial style building for Chinese tea. The city can feel really busy, so it was nice to spend some time in the quieter parts. Anton also took us to two places we loved...

The PMQ building in Sheung Wan where we stopped for cookies and cake at Levain bakery before wandering through the building, checking out the craft and gift shops on each level. There was also an entire floor that was dedicated to cooking classes!

Tony's favourite place in the area was easily Craftissimo, a low-key craft beer shop with streetside seats, which suited us a lot more than some of the high end bars in the city.

I left for Hong Kong with a nine-page document full of food recommendations that I'd pulled together from my friend Alkira, our Airbnb host, Hetty, and Heidi's blog.

I printed it out and kept it in my backpack, ready to reference whenever we were hungry and in a new location. My favourite meal was at Forbidden Duck in Causeway Bay, where we went specifically to eat char siu, which is barbecued pork that's sticky and sweet. As a kid, this frequently made an appearance as a takeaway dinner, in the same way a charcoal chicken might. This version was nostalgic and new all at once, which very much summed up my Hong Kong experience. We ate it with garlicky gai larn, big bowls of jasmine rice and pesto chicken spring rolls (Tony's pick!).

We spent a bit of time in local diners, and especially loved the Sang Kee Congee shop in Sheung Wan, which was a last minute recommendation from Hazel. We ate big bowls of beef congee, which arrived with lava-like bubbles forming in the middle of the bowls. We also lined up for a late-night second dinner at Kau Kee, which specialises in beef brisket and also serves Ovaltine.

Early on in our trip, we had lunch at Maxim's Palace, a beautiful yum cha restaurant in City Hall that overlooks the harbour. There were chandeliers in the dining room, an English-style tea setting, and the food arrives on carts. It was the nicest way to ease ourselves into the city.

My friend Laura took me to Dim Dim Sum in Wan Chai, which is casual and excellent. I am still dreaming of the rice noodle rolls and custardy pig buns - I only wish I'd been hungrier that day! In the same area we loved Cheung Hing Kee (there are also shops in TST) for pan-fried soupy dumplings and Kam's Roast Goose. Both have been awarded a Michelin star recently. We joined the line too late to eat dinner inside Kam's and ended up getting takeaway, which included a small bottle of goose gravy which was insanely good.

We mainly ate savoury food but I tried a Hong Kong egg waffle and loved it. We stuck to the Mammy pancake chain (some of the locations have been awarded Michelin stars) and the most popular order - egg waffle with banana and choc chips. The fillings are baked into the waffle, and they make each one to order. They became a favourite afternoon snack.

Finally, we took a few breaks from local food. I have a soft spot for Shake Shack, and was super excited to find it in Hong Kong. There are two shops but the one in the IFC mall also comes with an incredible view of the city. For coffee, we often found ourselves at NOC Coffee, The Cupping Room and Barista Jam (with lots of expats!).

We timed our trip to coincide with Art Basel, an international art fair, but by the time we arrived in Hong Kong the event was sold out. Feeling more than a little crushed, we quickly bought tickets to Art Central, the alternative art fair to make the most of the art scene. By the end of the day, we'd been given a VIP pass for Art Basel, and were pinching ourselves.

We raced back to the convention centre for the night viewing, and one of the first pieces I saw was a Takashi Murakami flower sculpture, which I adored. We returned the next day, and I watched Tony nerd out as he saw the works of some of his favourite artists - often for the first time beyond a picture in a book.

Outside of the art fairs, we both really enjoyed the Pedder building. It houses a handful of contemporary art galleries, including Gagosian, and you can walk up and down the stairs between them. We also visited Pace and White Cube galleries nearby, and saw a James Turrell installation at Asia Society Hong Kong Center.

We hardly did any shopping while we were away but my favourite souvenir from our trip are easily these polaroids, where we attempted to recreate an Erwin Wurm sculpture!

I loved how colourful the streets were in Hong Kong - from the brightly coloured buildings in pinks, purples and pale greens to the neon signs. It was also surprisingly green, from pot plants lining the streets, to orchids spied in other apartments from our Airbnb. I'd love to add a bright purple orchid to our apartment as a little reminder of our trip.

I'm so glad we could make trip, it's something we've been talking about for some time. It was the perfect city for both of us and affordable too. While our days were packed, there were things we didn't get to do this time round - mainly hiking and trips beyond the city to the sea side village of Stanley but we feel like it's a place we'll visit again.

P.S - If you're planning a trip, one of the most practical tips we were given was to pick up an Octopus card for public transport at the airport. You can return it when you leave and get a refund for the cost of the card and any credit left on it. We found public transport to be so easy to use and inexpensive. Also - there's an in town check in service at Hong Kong station! It meant we could check in our bags in the city in the morning, and explore the city unencumbered before our evening flight.