Friday, 20 November 2015

A Homemade Gift | Chocolate Dipped Oranges

I'm struggling a bit with this whole Christmas in Summer thing. We started playing Christmas carols in the office at work today and it just felt so funny listening to 'Let It Snow' in 30 degree heat. But I'm trying to embrace it and still continue with a few Christmas traditions (gingerbread men and carol concerts are on the agenda) whilst getting down with the whole BBQ on the beach thing.

Chocolates and clementines/satsumas are both so festive and this is a fresher and lighter version of the much-loved Terry's Chocolate Orange. Here I have dipped oranges in chocolate as these are in season, but feel free to use any citrus fruit. Packaged up with a nice ribbon for the host of a Christmas party, or served to guests after dinner, orange and chocolate taste so good together.

I used Lindt Lindor orange flavoured truffles for an extra citrus hit but plain good quality dark chocolate would taste delicious, too. Simply heat your chocolate over a bain-marie, then dip your segments in before laying on a baking sheet and leaving to cool. Dust a little sugar over them for decoration. These are best eaten fresh as the fruit tends to dry out otherwise. Enjoy!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Byron Bay

When I look back at these photos, Byron Bay kind of feels like a dream even though we were only there last week. We nipped up for a three day weekend break, short but sweet. Luckily the moment you step into Byron, the chilled vibes take over. I've never seen so many surfers/dreadlocks/gorgeous tanned people in one place! And I was in food heaven... acai bowls, raw cakes, and fresh produce at every corner. Topped off with turquoise waters, lovely little boutiques, and palm trees, it's kind of heavenly. Take. Me. Back.

Three Blue Ducks restaurant at The Farm is a must-visit at Byron Bay. A short drive out of the main town, The Farm grows veggies, pigs, cattle, and chickens, and has THE most gorgeous farm shop and restaurant. We went there for breakfast with fresh air and beautiful views, and ended up going back that same evening for live music, fairy lights, and delicious red wine.

For most of the three days we wandered, sunbathed, and ate, but we also did a stunning trek through a rainforest to Minyon Falls. Starting with a terrifying view at the top of the 100 metre waterfall, we walked down into the depths of the forest to the bottom. We came across some pretty scary creatures throughout the walk, including some giant goannas (a bit like a monitor lizard!) and snakes. Australian wildlife is crazy.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Just a Minute | A November Catch-up

I can't believe it's November already and I haven't done a Just A Minute post since back in January! I love looking back on these posts and reading what was making up my life at that time. Last time it was all about preparing to go travelling and move to Australia. And now I've been here for 9 months already. Crazy.

It's only just over 6 weeks until my family arrive for Christmas. Although I'm getting really excited now, I'm feeling kind of tired of waiting and counting down the days. It's going to be such a relief to go and pick them up at the airport and spend two weeks with them. I can't put into words how much I miss them.

I'm glad that things are pretty busy at the moment. I can't keep track of how many of Alex's friends are getting engaged over here at the moment. We've got three engagement parties this month (yay!). It's funny how suddenly we are doing such 'adult' things, where did the time go? I don't feel like a grown-up at all, I think we're all just pretending, really ;)

So here's a bit of a current list. Let me know if you do one on your blog too!

Reading // Shantaram and loving it. A true story about an Australian who escaped from prison and fled to India
Visiting // Byron Bay for the weekend! More on this very soon...
Listening // To Kyle Lionhart's beautiful voice. We saw him busking in Byron Bay and bought his album
Loving // This three day week, and the fact that I just booked in a much-needed haircut for Saturday morning
Walking // Around a reserve that we discovered near home. It's like walking through the Aussie bush for hours
Eating // Smoothie bowls for breakfast with ALL the toppings, yummy salads for lunch and too much ice cream, whoops
Missing // My girlfriends back in London
Drinking // Cold rose or white wine in the sun. Also trying to stick to only one coffee a day!
Trying // New yoga studios around Melbourne. The current one smells too much of incense for my liking!
Feeling // A little tired, and lost on the creative side. Time to pick up some paintbrushes this weekend I think
Listing // The many, many places I want to travel to
Indulging // In a pedicure on the way home from work the other day. Well they're half the price here than at home...
Buying // New dresses for work - my work wardrobe was not ready for this heat!
Dreaming // Of being reunited with the fam
Posting // My prints to Denmark, USA, and Brazil recently. I love imagining them in these different parts of the world
Watching // I've just started Downton Abbey. I'm loving it so much!
Planning // So many daytrips and activities for when my family visit

And some links that I've been loving lately... 
This post by Sophie on the little things she's been learning recently. It's so great to be conscious of these things to constantly tweak ourselves and how we are living.
This post 'Screw Finding your Passion' made me think a lot. Instead of worrying about whether we're doing the right thing, sometimes it's better to go with the flow and also just spend time doing what you enjoy as much as possible.
I'm sure you've all heard about Essena O'Neill online this week. I find it so interesting that maybe we are seeing the impact of social media on young people now that it's been around for a few years. What do you think?


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

10 Things I Miss About London

It's been almost 10 months now since my parents drove Alex and me to Heathrow airport at 5am (with me crying all the way ha, what a mess!). I don't miss London as much as I thought I would, just mainly family and friends. It definitely helps that I love Melbourne as a city to live in. Though recently my mind has been drifting more and I've been daydreaming about my home city. I wish so much I could hop on a plane and nip back for the weekend, but with the flight being a minimum of 26 hours, it's just not feasible sadly! 6 months ago I wrote a list of things I love about Melbs, so here is a list of things I miss about London (some of them are suuuuper random and little things that I used to take for granted!)...

1. Family and Friends
This is an obvious one and makes up 99% of the things I miss, but I had to include it in here. I love the new friends I've made here but nothing beats the people who know you inside-out. I miss family gatherings, Sunday lunches, walks in Richmond Park with my mum, being silly with my brother and sister, drinks with my girls. 

2. The Beautiful Architecture
Sorry Melbourne, but you've got nothing on London. I miss all the gorgeous old houses, the skylines you get from the bridges across the Thames in Central London, and the lovely mix of old and new architecture.

3. Cycling Culture
It hasn't quite caught on here like it has in London. Not many people ride to work so when I'm on my bike at 8:30am there will only be 1 or 2 other bikes on the road, whereas I used to be surrounded by them during my London commute. I used to like feeling like I was part of a cycling club haha! There is definitely more space on the roads here, but I feel like drivers aren't very aware of bikes so I am more wary. I also miss Boris bikes! They are such a good way to nip around London and also get home at 3am after a night out.

4. Exhibitions/Art Galleries
I haven't been to one art exhibition since I got here (shameful red face). I definitely could make more of an effort to find some to go to, but here isn't such a museum/exhibition culture. There just always used to be something I wanted to see in London at Somerset House/Tate Modern etc, and there's nothing that I've had a hankering to see here.

Haha this is sooo random but seriously there just isn't an equivalent! I thought Amazon was totes international, but nope. Amazon is so cheap and I'm so used to ordering everything and anything, with free delivery, and it arriving within a day or two. Online shopping isn't as easy here with Australia being SO huge, and I guess there's just not such a big population. Also: no free returns for ASOS, waa.

6. UK TV
This is something else that I never thought I'd miss, especially as I'm not really a big TV watcher. But Australian TV is seriously awful. There are about 3 trashy TV shows that seem to repeat 3 times a year. I need the BBC dramas! And Downton Abbey! I haven't watched TV since we first arrived in February - Netflix and streaming English TV on my laptop all the way. 

7. Night Buses
OK night buses are pretty hideous but they can be kind of hilarious after a drunken night out and here there isn't much of a transport system at all after 1am, so Ubers it is. 

8. Pubs
There are pubs here, but not as rife or as good as we do them in England. There isn't so much of a pub culture where you go for a relaxed drink in a beautiful, cosy, and traditional pub. 

9. Wifi in Cafes
When we first arrived in Melbourne we obvs didn't have internet for about 2 weeks, which makes job hunting and Skyping family pretty hard! So we picked up our laptops and walked to a cafe... which didn't have wifi. And neither did the next, or the next. It's not as common here to have wifi, which we found weird right after being in Cambodia and Thailand where wifi was everywhere. 

10. British Chocolate
Minstrels, Galaxy chocolate, Snow Bites around Christmas time. Also the chocolate here is designed not to melt in hot weather, so the average Cadbury's chocolate bar just doesn't taste as good... Luckily Australia does food pretty amazingly in all other areas. 

Did I miss anything out?! I'm sure I will think of lots more after I post this! x

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

5 Small Ways to Decorate Your Home (That Don't Cost the Earth)

One of the first things I want to do when I move into a new place is spread little nice things around. Like white ceramic pineapples and little chopping boards made from olive wood. Because those things are so essential, right? More so than a sofa and chairs and knives and forks.

When I moved into my flat in Melbourne we didn't have many of these things because, well, we had to also ship clothes and hairdryers, and other practical things across the world. So I had to get a bit creative, and here are some tips to making your interior more homey.

1. Frame postcards, cards, wrapping paper 
Or anything else pretty you can find. Love that gift card that your friend gave you for your birthday? Frame it, hang it. Now it's art.

2. Candles, and not the expensive kind
It's easy to get pretty carried away with buying candles that smell of 'Brown Butter Popcorn' and 'Spiced Pumpkin Pie', when actually there's still something beautiful about natural beeswax candles in a lovely candle stick, and they don't break the bank. I'm loving these simple church candles from Watts & Co, who have been hand-making candles for 150 years. Plus their packing is just gorgeous, all wrapped up in brown paper and raffia. 

3. Get creative
I spend so much time on Pinterest these days, that I almost forgot how fun and relaxing it is to create a real moodboard. Like, actually pick up a pair of scissors and a magazine and get cutting and sticking. And the fun thing is you can change it every week. Use postcards/ photos/ magazine cuttings and grab some MT Masking Tape that won't leave marks on the walls. 

4. Put things in jars and then arrange them artfully 
Go to one of those cheap independent shops that sells anything and everything (pretty sure every highstreet has one) and stock up on big jars. Throw in a couple of pretty ones from a cookware shop too. They're also so practical for having on hand for ingredients as well.

5. Plants
B&Q are so good for little cacti and succulents. Just make sure you Google how often to water them. Because I took the desert to be even more extreme than it actually is and somehow underestimated how much water a cactus needs. I killed one of my baby cacti. So be a better mother than I.

Do you have any little tips for prettying up a home without spending too much dolla?

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Country Escape To Daylesford

You know those weekends that you just want to repeat over and over again? Last weekend was one of those. We had a public holiday on Friday, and an early Spring heatwave of 34 degrees set in for the weekend. We headed to the beach on Friday for some fresh sea air and lazing on the beach. On Saturday, Alex and I drove a couple of hours up to Daylesford, a town in Victoria. It looks exactly how you imagine an Australian country town to be, lovely old buildings with little antique shops, boutiques, restaurants, and a farmers' market. We had lunch at Larder which was delicious - best B.L.A.T. sandwich ever!

After exploring Daylesford, we dropped in at Trentham Falls which we had passed on the way. It was a popular spot that day, but there's something so magical about waterfalls. Tucked away in the forest, I didn't expect this one to be so majestic, and it took my breath away. We wandered down the river for a paddle. Alex dropped into a warrior one yoga position in true Instagram fashion, which made me laugh as he is so not a fan of yoga!

If you're not living in Australia, you'd probably have no idea that the Australian Football Grand Final was last weekend. It's a huge deal here... so much that we got a day off work for it. Not wanting the day to end, we stopped at this gorgeous country pub in Trentham with a very pretty and relaxed beer garden. Alex managed to catch the first half of the footy game, while I read my book outside in the sun with a cider.

I would so recommend a day trip to this area if you're in Melbourne. Daylesford is also a spa town so perfect for a weekend away, with plenty of wineries to explore too! Too bad we were driving home that day so we couldn't get involved with this! I love a busy Saturday like this, followed by a lazy Sunday of pottering and cooking. What have you been up to this weekend?

Oh hey Melbs...

Monday, 28 September 2015

5 Happy Things

I haven't done one of these posts in a while! Here are a few of my favourite things from over the last week...

1. On Saturday I was feeling under the weather so I took it easy. Alex and I pottered around the area in the sun, and ended up buying some more plants for our balcony. I love this little succulent so much! I've called her Frida Khalo < 3

2. Saturday evening cook-up at the public BBQ at the end of our street with friends. Homemade burgers, beers, and veggie kebabs and cider for me! So yum. 

3. 83 days is a long time but when you've been waiting all year to see your family it doesn't seem too long at all! I've been chatting proper plans with the fam on our Whatsapp group this week and I'm allowing myself to actually get really excited for them to come over from the UK. 

4. This photo was taken a few weeks ago, but last week I went to my first yoga class in a while with a friend and remembered why I used to love it so much. It feels so good to stretch out, and breathe properly. I'm going to find some classes near my work to trial. 

5. I don't buy clothes very often but had a little splurge in the Gap sale this weekend and I love this tropical clutch for nights out, and summery skirt for work. 

What has been making you happy this week? 

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