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.

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