#serialpodcast

It’s almost ridiculous that I’m yet to put this out there… if you haven’t already, listen to Serial, the new podcast from the people behind This American Life.

I don’t want to tell you a thing, just that it’s a story, a true story, told week by week and it’s my favourite thing right now.

The production is perfect. You can tell Sarah Koenig, the host, spent a whole year researching this story because every episode is rich with content. It’s gripping and emotional and I’m completely hooked. Everybody I’ve recommended Serial to is hooked too, and recommended it further… which is a sign you’re onto something good!

Don’t be put off that it’s not visual, not a movie or TV show. Just give it a go. It’s an excuse to spend 30 minutes with yourself. After Episode 1, Thursdays are the best day of the week!

Things to do in Melbourne…

We’ve been in Melbourne for 6 months already. We’ve stayed in three different neighbourhoods, found work, found a house, settled in and drank a lot of coffee. But since our time is limited it’s appropriate that I think about the things I want to do before we leave. There is still a lot of coffee to be enjoyed before we leave, but branching out a little I’ve compiled a list…

1. Eat at Chin Chin. (I know that I’m shallow and obsessed with food. But at least I know).
2. Eat at Mamasita. (See above).
3. Actually get inside Hammer & Tong for brunch (always a queue, always).
4. Get up to that viewpoint in that skyscraper… The details are escaping me right now.
5. Go back to Torquay in the summer and surf. (Our first time happened mid winter, here.)
6. Go to the beach on Christmas Day.
7. Visit all of the museums I wanted to during winter but couldn’t because I was broke.
8. Have my mum and dad visit. (I know this one is beyond my control, but it would be an absolute highlight!)
9. Go on the famous Great Ocean Road trip.
10. Take a weekend trip to Hobart (not strictly Melbourne).
11. Travel the city circle tram.
12. Get off the train at Flagstaff (this is a nerdy, orientation, public transport kind of desire of which I have plenty).
13. Visit the Yarra Valley. (Done! 8th November 2014.)
14. Go back to the Yarra Valley, drink some wine.
15. Visit the hot springs.
16. Give the Melbourne 50 Best Fat Feeds list a good go.
17. Visit the National Gallery of Victoria. (Done! A while back, here.)
17. See some more Aussie wildlife. Perhaps at the Healesville animal sanctuary. (We saw some kangaroos here!)
18. Watch some AFL (Aussie Rules Football). (Done! Three times over, the first here.)

This list doesn’t include the stuff we’d like to do in all of Australia, but the reality is that there is simply too much to do! It’d be pointless to write a bucket list that was just 1. Do everything. Even though that’s pretty close to the truth.

bagels

I’ve spent a weekend making bagels. Actually almost a week. I’ve made four batches. Toby says one more and I’ll have a problem. I found a recipe and made some little adjustments and baked the most delicious bagels I’ve tasted since I was in Virginia a good few years ago.

Bagels should be poached before baking, something that few people seem to realise and even fewer bagel makers. Because round bread with a hole is not a bagel.

Anyway, I’m very smug because I managed to make something at home that I thought I’d have to search out from a Jewish bakery in Balaclava. Which I’ll still have to do, just to compare.

I’ll share my secret recipe one day.

IMG_2035.JPG

IMG_2036-0.JPG

IMG_2048-0.JPG

IMG_2038-0.JPG

Back garden makeover!

About a month ago Toby had an inkling that he was a gardener, underneath being an astrophysicist. And I am an established gardener, albeit an established gardener of metre squared patches of soil in Chorlton. Along with Oliver we decided it was time to tackle our overgrown mess of a back garden. There was a huge fancy looking barbecue hidden under weeds and a child’s paddling pool inexplicably thrown over some climbing plant.

Here are some pictures of our untamed wilderness… Before & After!

IMG_2027.JPG

IMG_2028.JPG

IMG_2026.JPG

IMG_2029.JPG

IMG_2025.JPG

So now it’s a lovely place to be! We have herbs growing (rosemary, parsley, mint and oregano) as well as some sad looking lettuces. There is a genuine compost heap in the corner, that was hidden under weeds and overgrown trees. That was the purpose of the child’s pool, to cover the compost heap!

DSC_0526-0.JPG

DSC_0529-0.JPG

DSC_0385.JPG

DSC_0386-0.JPG

It’s a bit bare for now but soon everything should grow and fill in the spaces. Oliver already went crazy on the front garden so we’ll have a perfectly preened outside space and somewhere lovely to cook at the weekend and drink coffee in the morning.

A very good Saturday…

DSC_0467.JPG

DSC_0466.JPG

Any day that begins with that cheese has to be a good one. And it was surprise cheese. As in Toby’s making breakfast and says “help yourself to bread and cheese”. Ugh, the best.

DSC_0468.JPG

DSC_0473.JPG

DSC_0476.JPG

You may have noticed that this Saturday morning is taking place outside, because we’re just soooo comfortable in our lovely garden now. Toby’s grilling steak on the barbecue for breakfast… how will we ever fit in in England again?

DSC_0481.JPG

DSC_0486.JPG

This is Carlton Gardens next to Melbourne’s Exhibition Centre. I think that’s where documents were signed a long time ago to say “this is Australia, and Melbourne is the capital”. I certainly need a history lesson but I think that’s the gist of it. For the record, I know that Canberra is the capital, but I’m sure it was once Melbourne. I’ll get back to you.
DSC_0502.JPG
DSC_0482.JPG

It was 27 degrees on Saturday and I know that I’m British because it gets me everytime. “It’s so sunny today, isn’t it so nice?”. Can I really say that every other day for the next 5 months?
DSC_0504.JPG

DSC_0516.JPG

DSC_0522.JPG

We had a drink on the roof bar of a place just behind where we live. It’s a distinctly Fitzroy view from the terrace. Not especially beautiful but interesting, lots of metal roofing and construction. My kind of view anyway.

Tour of the Salt Flats of Bolivia, Day Two, Part Three

DSC_0370.JPG

DSC_0373.JPG

DSC_0383.JPG

DSC_0369.JPG

DSC_0389.JPG

DSC_0387.JPG

DSC_0388.JPG

DSC_0386.JPG

DSC_0391.JPG

DSC_0390.JPG

Note on our tour: We took our tour with Hostal Los Salares and Moses and Carla were our driver and cook/guide respectively. The hostel is based in Tupiza, so we took the 4 day trip from Tupiza, ending in Uyuni. Our group highly recommends this tour for the landscape, really good Bolivian food and the lovely tour staff. You can book the hostel on hostelworld.com and book the tour when you arrive.