Taking stock: December 2017

Taking stock: December 2017

I’ve spotted these ‘taking stock’ posts (first seen at Meet Me at Mike’s) around the place. I haven’t taken part in it before, but being the end of year and feeling all 懐かしい (find the meaning here) I decided to take some time out and declutter my brain. I don’t know about you but I don’t really make any new year’s resolutions either. I like to think I just go with the flow. 

December has been a blur of constructing greeting cards, wrapping presents and just general life. We purchased an apartment off the plan and now it’s coming to completion, it feels as if there are a billion and one things on the list that never, ever seems to get shorter.

blog-christmas

Making: A bunch of knitted Christmas gifts. I can’t reveal what they are just yet, but I thought I had started early on these. Turns out not early enough. I’m making a mental note for next year to start earlier if I want to go down this path again.

Cooking: Over the weekend we had a dinner party with some friends, on the menu were marinated chicken wings, roast pork, veggies, lasagne and a hummingbird cake. So good.

Drinking: Copious amounts of water. Sydney weather is forecast to be in the high thirties, so staying hydrated with my fancy new Memo Bottle.

Reading: Classic Style by Kate Schelter. Well really I’m admiring the pretty watercolour illustrations that accompany minimal living.

Next read: There isn’t anything on my list at the moment, but I’m really into biographies these days. I recently finished reading a book by Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector.

Wanting: Time off work. It can’t come soon enough. I thought this time of year would be winding down, but nope. It’s all gogogogo.

Looking: For my next craft on-the-go project. I like having something to do on my (short) train ride into work.

Playing: A really interesting YouTube video on why people are awkward. See here.

Deciding: On which phone to purchase next. Tossing up the X or the Pixel. Both have their pros and cons but I am running out of time and need a new phone, stat.

Wishing: For the Sydney weather to show some mercy for the Christmas break.

Enjoying: The prospect of having 2 weeks off work. No meetings. No phone calls.  No emails. Yes.

Waiting: For this day to be over. Meetings hurt my head.

Liking: This taking stock process. It is forcing me to reflect back on myself and what I’ve achieved this past few weeks.

Wondering: If I’ll do this more regularly. It feels quite therapeutic.

Loving: A giant therapeutic stuffed bear I bought from MiniSo the other day. He sits on my bed and looks super cute.

Pondering: How many questions are left on this thing?

Considering: Finishing this later, I’m running out of steam here. Hah.

Buying: Nothing really, I’m trying to stay away from the shops these last few days. I hate hate hate the holiday crowds.

Watching: Brooklyn, starring Saoirse Ronan. I’ve been meaning to watch it since it came out, and got super excited when I spied it whilst browsing SBS on Demand last night.

Next watch: The OA on Netflix. It stars Emory Cohen who starred in the previously mentioned Brooklyn.

Hoping: The lead up to Christmas would slow down a little. I love this time of year. Being able to enjoy festive food and celebrate non-stop!

Marvelling: At all the Christmas lights in my neighbourhood. I love it.

Cringing: All of the vloggers clutching at straws for vlogmas. Taylor R started her viral Christmas tree eyebrow trend the other week.

Needing: Coffee. All. The. Time.

Questioning: Whether I want to redo the layout of this blog.

Smelling: Wild Bluebells from Jo Malone. Loving this scent for summer. It is just so floral and fruity at the same time.

Wearing: Dresses and skirts. Aforementioned heat has dictated it be so.

Following: A bunch of JVLOGGERS. I’m getting obsessed with Japan all over again in preparation for my next trip and I’m SO EXCITED.

Noticing: The ladies that wear slippers to work. Is that appropriate in a corporate environment?

Knowing: There are only 5 days to Christmas. Eep!

Thinking: About how much there is left to do before Christmas! Double eep!

Admiring: How creative some people are getting with wrapping their Christmas pressies.

Sorting: Through life.

Getting: Antsy.

Bookmarking: I’ve been pinning loads of homeware and furnishing ideas lately.

Coveting: A capsule wardrobe. But I like things too much and that will never, ever happen. A gal can dream.

Disliking: Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy. I really admire Jake as an actor, but this movie did not do him any favours.

Opening: The Hey! VINA app on my phone – I love finding (platonic) friends to match with on the app, but I’m so terrible at

Giggling: Not really.

Feeling: Like I really need to go to the bathroom after drinking aforementioned copious amounts of water to get through this heatwave.

Snacking: ThinkFood Munch snacks. I love the entire range but almond trail is probably my go-to right now.

Hearing: Sia’s Christmas album (on repeat) – after seeing her in concert the other week, she has pretty much dominated my playlist.

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Ikea paper shop

Ikea paper shop

I saw a preview of the Ikea paper shop on the Decor8 Blog the other day. Needless to say I’m pretty excited and I  hopehopehope HOPE it comes downunder. Surely it has to. Right? So far it is available in the UK + Sweden.

There are some great colour and patterns in the range. I don’t even know where to start with what I want. I’m a bit reluctant with getting non-original washi tape (I’ve had some bad experience with them not sticking nicely in the past), but I’d definitely check out the rest of their stationery. I’ve been told I have enough, but really, when is enough ever enough.

Here are some bits and pieces that I thought were particularly noteworthy. The paper shop spans notebooks, gift wrapping, note paper, ribbons and more!

Ikea paper shop

Please tell me I’m not the only crazy stationery freak out here?

Marathon weekend of rain, macarons, coffee and pigs.

Marathon weekend of rain, macarons, coffee and pigs.

Another weekend over. I had a pretty full on weekend. Lots of happenings which is just how I like them. Friday was St George OpenAir cinema. Sydney-siders would know that a scary storm rolled in just before 5pm, and we doubted whether we’d actually make it to the screening. I monitored the announcements on Facebook during dinner, which was spent at the always-amazing Cafe Sopra. H and I split the lamb ragu, lemon + chilli linguine and rosemary + garlic focaccia. Finished off with a lovely pink dessert wine matched with the chocolate fondant. Perfection. Please excuse the grainy mobile phone photos.

Fratelli

We wandered over after 8pm, and the storms had passed. We watched Broken City with Mark Wahlberg Marky Mark, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones and a whole bunch of other people. The premise was captivating, albeit a little predictable. I did enjoy it, but probably not as much as the boy. It’s classified as a thriller, but I thought it was a bit “dumbed down” and there were a lot of points where it was quite predictable. Maybe I’m being overly critical. I wore my HK gumboots.

open air cinema

Open Air cinema

We walked back to Pyrmont afterwards, but not before stopping by Adriano Zumbo, where we caught a glimpse of previous Masterchef Australia contestant, Julia Taylor.

Julia Taylor

Anyway. Saturday was spent picking up a pig. Yep. A pig for a family gathering I had later that night. Whole pigs are particularly horrifying for me, despite being delicious. It is known as lechon for the Filipinos playing at home.

Piggy aka lechon

After picking up the pig, we decided to have a quick brunch at Bread and Circus complete with iced coffee + espresso ice cream that I spoke about in a previous post. I figured we needed a bit of a pick-me-up before the family dinner.
bread and circus + campos
I had the egg salad sandwich (a-m-a-z-i-n-g). It came deconstructed. I love their bread too. H got some toast with haloumi and some chocolate coconut spread. It sorta tasted like Nutella, but with more of a virgin coconut taste. So tasty.

Bread and Circus

H’s spread looks a bit icky here, but trust me, it was good. Bread and Circus can never disappoint! Haloumi is always a winner too. A perfect tasty and salty flavour.Toast

Hopefully you had a good weekend too!

Pugs + cake

Pugs + cake

I should be used to the disappointment that hump day brings, but I’m really not. I do wish the weekend would return in all its glory. The last one was filled with adorable catch ups with cute babies and bouncy puppies. I finally got around to meeting this little guy. Who enjoyed chewing on one of the pom poms I made.

Frank the pug

I took the train into work as I do each work morning. It was all smooth sailing until I hit the Sydney CBD. Out of the blue there was a toddler yelling discernible words at the top of his/her lungs. This continued all through the underground tunnel journey. The parents did absolutely nothing to pacify or discipline the child.

Mind you this is an early morning peak hour train crammed with people. I’m not saying all children should be seen and not heard, but a little consideration for fellow commuters and trying to control your child would go a long way. Anyway.

Anyway. Enough ranting. I did a bit of present hunting. We went over to Westfield and parking was horrendous. And to think that it will only get worse from here. Better get cracking on those presents.

H got the keys to the apartment. I have to say that it will not be good being so close to such great food and desserts. The first night there and I’m already buying Zumbo cakes.

Zumbo cake

The best steak pomme frites

The best steak pomme frites

Last week was some crazy Sydney weather. On Thursday it started off cloudy and horrible, so I wore my Melissa flats just in case of a torrential downpour. Let me tell you, it didn’t happen. Instead it turned out sunny and humid. I even enjoyed the stroll down to my usual lunch time haunt. Just glorious.

Sydney laneway

Did a bit of late night shopping although I didn’t really buy anything. I suppose I should get cracking on the Christmas shopping, but I think I’ll be doing most of it online anyway. Leaving the stores empty handed, we decided to go have dinner in the Westfield Sydney food court. Reuben and Moore was the obvious choice to satisfy H’s steak craving.

Steak pomme frites from Reuben and Moore

Now I know they are best known for their Reuben sandwiches, but their Steak pomme frites is TDF. Seriously. The gravy is the best ever. Of course nothing caps the day like a nice glass of red wine to go with dinner.

Wine o'clock

I hope everyone had an amazing weekend. I went to the Coldplay concert on Saturday, which was also amazing. To be continued…

Fairy bread and coffee

Fairy bread and coffee

It is the hump day of yet another working week, and I’m still struggling to get into serious crack down mode. I am really craving more weekend. Luckily it is almost here. It seems everyone I know is either going on leave, going overseas, coming back overseas, or doing something that is generally so much more fun than my own life.

At least I have my nail polish. I toyed with a pearly white Orly polish topped with Australis Fairy Bread. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not really a glitter kind of girl. I topped it with another layer of white, and made it into a jelly sandwich.

Australis fairy bread

I went to the International Airport the other day to pick up my dad. I was running to work so I had to catch a train. All I have to say is, I paid a whopping $16.20 for a single trip to the city, and all I got was a lousy pink train ticket (that I didn’t even get to keep). Haha.

City rail airport train ticket

H and I went over to Nespresso after I heard rumours that they were releasing a coconut flavoured pod. I was dreaming of bounty-like coffees. Turns out they’ve not released one, but three specialty flavours, including macadamia, hazelnut and coconut. They sell three sleeves for around the $25 mark.

Nespresso coconut, macadamia and hazelnut

H tried the coconut one. I had a sip as it had dreaded dairy (read: lactose) laced throughout. It had the most subtle hint of coconut. It was nice, however being the sugar fiend that I am, I think I’d prefer to just have the usual luongo pods flavoured with some good quality syrup.

Nespresso coconut

Recipe: Zucchini flowers stuffed with three cheeses

Recipe: Zucchini flowers stuffed with three cheeses

I’ve always loved the cheesy zucchini flowers at Cafe Sopra. When I saw a tray of fresh flowers at the fish market, I knew I had to try making it for myself. I didn’t really have a recipe, so I sort of just made it up as I went. I stuffed them with fetta, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses – with some parmesan on top. I used my onion ring batter recipe to coat.

Here is the end product. They were light and crunch and delicious, and definitely a recipe to pull out for the dinner parties! The recipe is under the cut.

Zucchini flowers stuffed with three cheeses

Zucchini flowers with cheese stuffing

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