All wrapped up

All wrapped up

I am obsessed with furoshiki, which is the traditional Japanese wrapping cloth used to transport items such as clothes, gifts, or food. I purchased a few squares during my trip and have been using them to wrap my bento box that I bring into work every day. Well. I try to bring it. I usually forget it, but on the days that I do remember, it’s nicely wrapped in a furoshiki. I find it so quaint.

This furoshiki from Cochae is so adorable and playful. I have too many squares right now but that doesn’t stop me pining over these. Kawaii!

Do you wrap your things in furoshiki?

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Eating my way through the capital city

Eating my way through the capital city

For the Queen’s birthday long weekend, we decided to do a road trip down to Canberra which is an approximately 3 hour drive. Let me just say that the Australian capital city has changed quite a bit from what I remember. There are loads of jobs in C-town which I guess means the foodie scene has been flourishing. We stayed in the New Acton area, which was pretty much hipster central. We made Japanese pancakes (AMAZING) before setting off on the drive down.

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We got to Canberra late in the afternoon, driving to Joe’s Bar for a late tapas lunch. No regrets. We got three dishes to share (admittedly 2 fried dishes #noregrets). I started off with a floral G+T, too pretty to drink.

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We got the burrata con tartufo, an oozy mozzarella made from fresh cows milk and cream, finished off with fresh local truffles. Did I mention it was truffle season? Oh and some arancini and calamari as well. Jokes aside, the calamari was pretty amazing. It was the most tender calamari I’ve had. You didn’t even need cutlery to slice it up, it was that soft. The calamari was paired with a black squid ink aioli, which despite it’s scary hue, was quite salty and went nicely with the seafood.

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Arancini di Riso on the left, and Burrata con Tartufo on the right.
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Calamari Fritti with black squid ink aioli hidden underneath.

We stayed at the newly renovated QT hotel, which was previously the Rydges hotel. The verdict? It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t horrible either. Each QT hotel has their own theme, and in Canberra it’s no surprise that the theme is politics.

There are multiple prior Aussie prime ministers hidden within the wallpaper in the lobby and streaming political tweets all over the walls. Overall it was a good stay, however we found the mini bar fridge didn’t work well. It was faster to chill a bottle of champagne on the balcony in the sub-zero temperatures!

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A stunning view at sunset.

Dinner that night was at the Capitol Bar and Grill at the hotel, famed for their enormous tomahawk steaks. Naturally we chose to have some truffle mac and cheese on the side. Amazing. I love truffle season. M&C didn’t look too attractive, but believe me, it was the most delicious thing ever on a winter’s night.

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The handmade markets happened to be on during the weekend we were visiting. We stopped by at EPIC, the Exhibition Park In Canberra. It was like a slightly less crowded version of the Finders Markets that they hold in the other capital cities. We ate a few things, bought a few things, and had a pretty good day.

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Cinnamon donut ice cream and a cute wall shelf stall.

I have a part 2 Canberra post lined up as we ate at so many great food places, but for now, thanks Canberra, you’re alright.

09 sunset

Five things

Five things

One. Have you guys been down to see any of Vivid Sydney? I really want to go and check out the cathedral of light before it closes but I don’t like my chances as time is running out. I walk over the Pyrmont bridge after work, so I got a peek at the laser light show. I can see a lot of effort has been put into it, but I’m not sure about the music choice.

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Two. I’m spending every spare moment I have to get into crafting. I took a bit of a break and was a bit slack these last few months, but after buying a whole lot of yarn from the 50% off sale at Lincraft the other week, that passion has reignited. I bought some amazing fabric scissors from Japan that I’m in love with. I’m on the hunt for some really amazing craft blogs. The majority of them seem to be the traditional quilting/sewing hoo ha, which I don’t really have an interest in. If you know of any great blogs, please let me know!

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Three. I’m eagerly awaiting the next retina MacBook Pro release. The announcement is imminent. My laptop is still going strong, but it’s been many years now since my last upgrade, and well, my daily use of it at work now warrants a newer, faster machine. There you go. I’ve justified it. I’ve even found some conceptual 3D renders from MacRumors.

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Four. Yep I’m still super obsessed with Japan. I’m going through all my holiday snaps ever so slowly. Trying to decide which ones to print larger to put on the wall is always so difficult. I try to do a bound book of photos in lieu of a photo album (who has actually put together a physical photo album recently?). On the plus we got a custom frame made for a tenugui we purchased and hung it up on the wall. Loving it. P1050053

Five. I’ve been listing bits and pieces up onto eBay these last few days. I find eBay super fickle – one day they’ll be all over your item and bid crazy amounts, then the other moments where there are zero bids on an item no matter how many times you list them. I’ve inherited minor hoarding traits which I’m trying to break free of, so selling items feels very therapeutic right now. Besides which I’m on a spending ban post-Japan. Hah. As if.

In conclusion, I’m craving Mexican food for lunch today.

On a crochet roll

On a crochet roll

I hope that everyone managed to stay relatively dry this weekend. My succulents got a good battering in the strong winds yesterday, but at least they’ve gotten a good soak. There were some stray leaves around the place which is good for propagation. Which reminds me that I should get some more pots for them to grow into.

The weather allowed me to catch up on my crochet. I finished up making the second of the baby cardigans that I started. Picking out an appropriate applique for the colourway was the most difficult. I ended up picking between a rose and cherry, with the cherry winning out. I had some dramas picking which button to use as well. But I finished the cardigan and am more than pleased with how it turned out.

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I thought I’d switch back to toy making post-cardigans. I’ve shied away from amigurumi because of the complex shapes and increases/decreases etc. BUT seeing as I’ve conquered The Cardigan, I saw no reason to tackle a complicated pattern. Granted I invested in a set of crochet hooks during the last Spotlight sale. Woops.

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I bought an amigurumi book years ago that has remained untouched for too long. I picked out a giraffe pattern and am happy to report that I’m almost done. All the pieces are made up and all that’s left is sewing them all together. I even put a jingly bell inside. I can’t wait to see him pieced together.

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I almost forgot about this long weekend – I always tell myself to book something in advance and always neglect to organise a thing! The last interstate trip I took was to FNQ, with the intention to snorkel and make the most of the warm weather. This time around we’re thinking Canberra. There are so many new restaurants popping up that I’m keen to try. Let’s see whether we make it down. I’ll report back on what we find!

Who else is excited for the long weekend? Are you up to anything fun?

The weaving game

The weaving game

I’m obsessed with crochet at the moment. I tend to flit between different mediums and projects at any one time so writing about it is a good chance for me to take stock of what I have left to complete.

I’m working on a teeny tiny baby cardigan (everyone I know seems to be having a baby). I’ve not really crocheted or knitted anything more than a square or rectangular flat shaped piece, so I’m pretty excited to see how this project turns out. Perhaps I’ll move onto making me-sized clothes next. I find crochet so therapeutic on the train. Besides which I love seeing garments slowly come to life.

One crochet hook offers portability and zero risk of poking the passenger sitting next to you (unlike them pesky knitting needles). Although during the recent Lincraft 50% off everything sale, I stocked up on circular needles which are perfect for travel.

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I found a pattern on Ravelry called the 2.5 hour nap cardigan (believe me I was under no illusions that I would finish this in under 2.5 hours). I’ve been working on it on and off for a few days now and it’s starting to take shape! I’ve even made a small rose to attach on the chest.

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I’m loving it so much I’m thinking up different colourways for my next project. I need to find some boy cardigans too.

What have you been making lately?

Bringing the outside in

Bringing the outside in

I’m determined to make my desk clutter-free.

At the moment it is very much the opposite. I won’t indulge you with a photo of the current state of my desk post-Japan, as it is akin to my suitcase exploding all over the house. I’m taking a bit of time to find a permanent home for all the goodies I got.

In the meantime I’ll start by injecting garden blooms into the house. The unusually warm weather has kept my frangipani tree in bloom, and although they don’t last long when they’re cut, I love the room fragrance they offer.

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Oh I also bought some new shoes last month. I gave into the lace trend and got a cheap and cheerful brown suede pair from Zara. If you know anything about me you’ll know I’m all about black, so these brown shoes are a step outside my comfort zone, so let’s see if I can mix and match them into my daily wardrobe.

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And now I think I’ll be on a spending ban. Have you bought anything new? Show me what you’ve bought! I want to live vicariously through everyone else. <3

Japan!! (Part 1)

Japan!! (Part 1)

Guys! Japan is amazing and I’m staying in Japan forever because Japan is awesome and cool and has everything I could ever want slash need. But not really, because I have work. But seriously. One month in Japan is just not enough!

Perhaps I’ll do a more thorough post as we travelled through multiple cities: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Kobe and Nara. One regret was not going to Hokkaido (However I got to sample a tonne of Hokkaido soft serve in a delicious lengue du chat cone), but all in all it was an amazing trip. Lots of shopping and lots of culture, I think it was a pretty good balance.

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I was a little intimidated by the language barrier, having not spoken Japanese since my high school days, where the most advanced thing they taught me was how to read hiragana and ask for someone’s phone number. We survived! On the plus my pronunciation was spot on as I multiple people attempted to have full on conversations in nihongo thinking I was fluent!

We made it just in time for the tail end sakura season and were treated with beautiful blooms on our shinkansen trips. It means no traditional hanami, i.e. laying out tarps and eating and drinking sake all day. I’m not complaining! I got my fair share of sakura. The photo below is from Ueno Park.

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The other thing that killed me was all the cute, crafty Japanese wares. I wanted to take it all home, and believe me I tried. I. Bought. So. Much. Stuff. So many DIY craft instruction books that I had to pass on because I couldn’t understand them. Sadface.

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The main reason for the trip was to celebrate some upcoming birthday milestones *cough30cough* and celebrate we did. We went to a small fishing village and stayed at an onsen (WITH THE BEST VIEW EVER: see below).

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More Japan to come.