Thursday, 26 March 2015

Home Picks {March Edition}

This whole opposite season thing has thrown me off blogging-wise (me being in Australia, most readers being in the UK). It's made me realise how much I base my posts around the seasons so it's a challenge to move away from this (#firstworldproblems). Here are a few homely picks that I'm loving at the moment. 

Copper Basket I've been eyeing these up in H&M Home for a while but I just can't find a reason to buy it ha. I will find a use for it! 

Hanging Planter I'm absolutely obsessed with these hanging planters at the moment. Aren't they gorgeous? It would be so nice to have three hanging together. The problem is I have no idea how to hang them in a rented flat. Any ideas? 

3am Notepad My current notebook is filling up fast with plans, goals, and lists. It's so true that some of the best ideas come to us at 3am, don't you think? 

String Lights It's the giant bulbs on these string lights that make them so pretty. They would look so lovely hanging in a garden or on a balcony for a Summer BBQ 

Thug Candle I spotted this candle at the South Melbourne Night Market and it made me laugh. The thug life and candles just don't go together. 

Eye of the Dreamer Pillows I've loved these pillows by Jasmine Dowling for a while. And they have open eye illustrations on the back so you can have them open or winking, how brilliant. 

What do you think? X

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

South East Asia Travels Part 2 | Battambang + Siem Reap




Today I'm sharing the second part of our South East Asia adventures, but you can find Phnom Penh here! On the morning we travelled to Battambang I came down with some horrible food poisoning. I so wish I'd felt better in Battambang as it was such a lovely and laid-back little city. I stayed in the hotel while Alex had a little wander but I'm really glad I felt well enough for the bamboo train the next day.

All trains were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s, so after the regime locals worked hard to clear the tracks which had become overgrown and dotted with landmines. They introduced bamboo trains - rickety and about the size of a double mattress which trundle along the warped tracks somewhat precariously. Now, it is mainly a tourist attraction which will apparently not be around much longer as they are bringing 'proper' trains back in.

It was a unique and magical experience to be hurtling through Cambodian countryside with really not a clue about where you are or where you're going! Which turned out to be a group of huts with friendly people selling food and clothes. When we met with another train, the driver simply lifted our train off the track and we waited on the side while it passed by. And then we were off to Siem Reap...








Siem Reap is a must-do if you're in Cambodia. It's completely impossible to capture the vastness of the temple of Angkor Wat through photography. Angkor Wat was amazing, but what I didn't realise was that there is a whole complex of temples which take days to get around! We went to Angkor Wat, Bakong, Banteay Srey, Bayon, Ta Prohm... and possibly some others too ha. Angkor Wat is obviously a must-see but also Ta Prohm (famous for being used in Tomb Raider) as it is so atmospheric with the giant crazy trees growing through the ruins. However I would recommend exploring some more off the beaten track, because the temples are most magical when they're not full of other tourists waving selfie sticks.

Recommendations: 

In Siem Reap I would really recommend finding a tuktuk driver that you like to take you around the temples each day. Compare some prices, chat to some drivers, and go with someone you trust. We used the same driver 3 days in a row and he was so wonderful and even put refreshments in the back for us! Go to the Landmine Museum at some point - again I feel like it's really important to learn about Cambodian history and there are a lot of people around Cambodia who have been injured by landmines, including kids. The Landmine Museum was really interesting and is helping support children who have been affected by the landmines.

Have you been to Siem Reap? What did you think? X

Monday, 23 March 2015

Reading List | 02


Hello Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty non-eventful and lazy apart from hosting a BBQ with friends on Saturday and then heading out for drinks which was lovely. I went exploring on Sunday and found a reserve near to my home where I read in the sun for an hour, and it inspired me to do another reading post.

I have put this list together specifically with the books that I read while I was travelling. My first reading list post is here and includes some of my favourite books. I resisted getting a Kindle for a long time, because I love the feel of holding a book, the slow progress through the pages, and then putting on your shelf amongst all the other stories you've read. But I knew that I'd want to do a lot of reading on my month's travels on the way to Australia, and yet my packing space was limited.

So my parents kindly gave me a Kindle for Christmas and I absolutely love it. I love the ease of being anywhere (airport, a random cafe with wifi in Thailand...) and being able to buy any book you fancy. They're also cheaper than the hard copies which is a good bonus. This doesn't mean I'm writing off books completely - I still want my home to have shelves stuffed with books - but it's so great for reading on the go as it's so light.

I read good mix of books while I was away and here are most of them. These aren't proper reviews but briefly sum up what I thought of them...

Orange is the New Black Piper Kerman
I read this before I had seen any of the series (which I started yesterday and wow, but that's for another post) so I'm not sure how it would read if you'd already seen the series. I enjoyed this so much. I love reading books based on true stories - it adds so much depth and reality to the stories.

Sharp Objects Gillian Flynn 
I chose this because I loved Gone Girl but this is a darker and comes with a word of warning! It's a weird and slightly disturbing murder mystery, however it has some great twists and I was gripped I have to say.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
I really recommend this! It's all about a girl who was raised alongside a chimpanzee as her sister for the first five years of her life. Fast-forward almost two decades, the book is all about how Rosemary was affected by this and also by her sister's mysterious disappearance. This book manages to be warm and heart-breaking at the same time, and I loved it.

Wild Cheryl Strayed 
This is such a beautiful book about Cheryl's hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995. She walks it to help herself through a difficult portion of her life following her Mother's premature death. There are ups and downs and I found it so inspiring. I actually just went to see the movie this afternoon, and while it didn't go into nearly as much detail as the book, the scenery was stunning and I now want to take a trip there!

The Rosie Project Graeme Simsion 
There was a lot of hype around this, and being a super popular book of the moment, I decided to see what the fuss was about. I have to say I was pretty disappointed. It's about an autistic man who decides he'd like a wife and goes about it in an unusual way. It's just all very predictable and left me feeling a bit 'meh'. The characters are great, but apart from that I didn't love it.

The First Last Kiss Ali Harris 
I read this on the plane leaving England, as I needed something light and easy to read. It turned out to be super sad but I really enjoyed it! It tracks the relationship of a couple through their ups and downs. It's a bit hollywood/cheesy at times but I couldn't put it down. As I mentioned in my other reading list, I love a book which makes me cry ha.

I'm currently halfway through Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day and it's great so far. What books have you read lately? Any recommendations? And what are your thoughts on the Kindle?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Cacao + Peanut Butter Healthy Bites

Bahh these are amazing! If you are a fan of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, you will love these! I'm trying eat more healthily but I can't help but snack on sweet things, so these are the perfect thing to keep a batch of in the fridge. I was inspired by the Rollin' Goodness balls I had last week. These contain no refined sugar, dairy, or gluten, and they only have 4 ingredients! (With an optional 5th). I had never made bliss balls or anything before, but I've been meaning to give them a go for a while. There are so many recipes with the same basic ingredients so I thought I'd chuck in whatever I felt like/whatever was in my cupboard, and it worked so well. 
 




Ingredients
3/4 Cup of dates
1 Tablespoon cacao powder (if you're using cocoa powder, maybe use 1 or 2 more)
2 Tablespoons smooth peanut butter (as natural as possible)
3/4 Cup almonds 
{Optional chia seeds for rollin'}

Method
Put your dates, cacao powder, and peanut butter into your food processor and blend until you have a smooth paste. Then add the almonds and pulse until they are small pieces but still have a bit of texture. If you blend them too much it will all just turn to mush. The next part is a bit messy - pick up pieces of the mixture and roll with your hands into ball shapes. My mixture made 10, and I rolled half of them in chia seeds on a plate which added a nice healthy crunch! Then pop in the fridge to set a bit. They'll keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a few weeks.

These are so ridiculously easy, it feels like a bit of a cheat's recipe. They make the best treats for that 11am hunger. Let me know if you make these and how you get on! X

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Road Trip to Lorne


On Friday we took a road trip down to Lorne for the day, along the Great Ocean Road. We only drove for a couple of hours to get there and it amazed me how close I am living to such a beautiful place. More road trips need to be booked into the diary, me thinks! I mean, I love UK beaches and everything but this is so different.

It wasn't the sunniest/hottest of days but it was warm enough to enjoy burgers along the seafront at The Bottle of Milk which were delicious. We then wandered along to the pier, watched people fishing and surfing, and then drove back via Torquay for fro-yos. The pictures kind of sum up the day really...







^ Can you please just take a moment to gaze once again at those chips and feel my terrible pain due to the fact that they weren't gluten free? They looked like pure perfection. ^






Tuesday, 17 March 2015

I'd Like to Live Here | 05





It's been a while since I posted in this series, where I bring together a collection of rooms from different homes to go together. I've noticed that Australian (interior) design is very colourful, playful, and unique. The styling of bedding especially is super cheerful, colourful, and often mis-matches colours and patterns which is lots of fun. Today is a bit of a dreary day in Melbourne so I thought I'd put together a cheery colourful dream home. And actually a lot of these happen to be from Australian homes. I love all the textures and mix of old/new in these spaces, and the shades of green and apricot pinks stood out to me. 

My favourite image here is the one with the framed places from around the world, all torn from a Rifle Calendar. I actually bought a herb Rifle Calendar from Papermash with this exact intention. I probably wouldn't frame so many, but I thought the beautiful illustrated herbs would look so lovely framed and displayed in a kitchen. What do you think? I also love the painted chest of drawers beneath it - so simple but so much fun again. 

Sources 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 

Monday, 16 March 2015

5 Happy Things




Because it's all about the little things in life... 

1/ At the weekend I came across Abbotsford Market down the road from us. It wasn't much to rave about except for a few of the stalls including Cand 'Elish. I can't find a website for them but they were selling scented soy candles at really good prices. I've been burning Mimosa Mandarin today and yesterday and it is gorgeous. 

2/ Alex's Mum kindly dropped off a couple of boxes of these protein energy balls from Rollin' Goodness for us. I love trying new healthy snacks like these and they were really nice both after a work out, and then following a BBQ later on with friends (we added ice cream ;) 

3/ Meet Raul! He is our new lemon tree and latest addition to the family! He lives on our balcony with Monty the mint plant and one day he will give us lemons. Mmm hello gin and tonics... 

4/ I've been wanting a pair of running shorts for a while and I scored these babies in Cotton On Body for $5.

5/ Talking of running, I took my new shorts for their first ride yesterday and discovered the most beautiful running track right behind my apartment. Seriously the sun was shining, the air smelt of eucalyptus, and butterflies were flying around. I did learn one thing though: when running on a hot day in Australia, bring a water bottle. I started to picture that scene from the Inbetweeners 2 (if you've seen the movie, you'll know which scene I'm talking about). Drama queen much. 

Not pictured: A twenty minute stretching session along to this soundtrack after a long run, skype sessions with my loved ones back home, making a mug cake for the first time (I know, I know, so two years ago). 

What has made you happy in the past week? x
 

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