Sweet things

28 March 2019

Here's a favourite cosy corner of our new place, where I've been watching a lot of Netflix, writing in my journal and eating snacks :) I wanted to share a few cheery things before I head off on holidays at the end of this week...

I started using the Seize the Day planner over the weekend, after hearing about it on Radio Cherry Bombe. It's a 12-week reset, that's focussed on how you want to feel as you go about your days. It's a slightly different take on goal-setting journals (I've tried a year-long one in 2018 but found it hard to maintain), that's based on the premise that most of us know what is good for us but often need a reminder to put that into practice.

The timing is especially good for me - our surprise move and work picking up for the year pushed me into some stressful territory. I'm excited to take a step back from it all, and try to be a bit more thoughtful about my time. Side note: I emailed and bought the PDF version which cost $US10, because the actual journal costs a bomb to ship to Australia.

I love the idea of a Sunday night roast, and this one just past I tested this chicken and plum tray bake from Julia Busuttil Nishimura (of Ostro fame). It's a brand new ABC Life recipe that also breaks down the anatomy of a tray bake, in case you'd like to branch out on your own. I was so looking forward to the meal (and was thinking about it on the way to yoga at 7am!) but also the fact that it was going to be simple to make. Bonus: We had a strawberry and rhubarb crumble in the freezer, a gift from my parents, which made the perfect post-roast dessert.

Queer Eye is back and is the ultimate pick me up! So far I've watched the two episodes featuring women, which both had real tear-jerker moments. Watching them made me see that I too am terrible at accepting help, but needn't be. Just this week, instead of trying to buzz around and do it all, I said yes to Tony making dinner and asked him to organise it another night when I wanted to jump in the shower instead. No regrets.

And finally, holiday planning! We'll be heading off to Hong Kong soon and I've been collecting tips from all over the place. My former workmate Alkira sent through a five-page document of all her favourite food places (from soupy dumplings to where to buy the best roast goose). And Lena sent me a copy of her book How to Hong Kong, an illustrated travel journey, which I'll definitely be packing for context, story and inspiration. Right now, I am reading tons of blog posts about packing but not actually doing any packing :) Here are my faves from Leslie, Jordan and Caroline.

I'll be taking a break while we're over there to soak up all of the food, atmosphere, and art so catch you here again soon. X

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.