This building is flirting with me.

In the often architectural wasteland of Australia’s major cities (that’s a largely unjustified statement that I may come to regret) it was very pleasing to be up close with the structural equivalent of the cool, interesting man in the room. The room being Sydney. This building caught my eye on my two previous visits to Sydney and this time, thanks to my good friend Jill who knows me well, we got to go inside!

It was Easter Sunday and most of the units were closed so we wandered up inside and out and bought some doughnuts. Green meets dream, below.
  

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Get shit done; February 2016

This tiny platform of the Rooftop Bar on Swanston Street might offer one of the best Melbourne views I’ve seen. So perfectly framed, interesting building on top of interesting building, light and shadows. I’ve become really fond of the Melbourne city skyline; contrary to a year ago when I told Toby it was kind of ugly. I like its diversity mostly; the contrast of old and new and typical and atypical whichever way you look. It makes for lovely pictures.

Visiting the Rooftop bar wasn’t on the get shit done list, but documenting views like this are. We came here before we saw Beach House play in the city, a surprise ticketed treat from Oliver; very pretty pictures below.

The band was so good. They’re long time favourites of ours and they sounded fantastic, the lighting was beautiful.


We saw Beach House for the second time in a week at Laneway Festival, along with Diiv and Churches and some others. This was also a surprise ticketed treat, but I knew about this one for a while. It was a beautiful sunny day, we bumped into friends and enjoyed sitting on the grass all evening like the 28 and 30 year olds we are.

This may also be on the list of best views. It ticks major boxes… city skyline, train lines. 

On our to do list for a while was a trip to the Mornington Peninsula. This reminds me of a post from a year ago (or so) which listed things I wanted to do in Melbourne. I’ll seek it out and update it… I have a feeling I may not have crossed much off that list but hopefully it’s evolved into something more crossable.

We rented a car and drove down to the Peninsula, passing Mount Martha, Rye, Blairgowrie, Sorrento and Portsea, maybe not in that order. We stopped and had a dip in Rye, we had a walk to a paradise looking beach in the National Park and we visited some very beautiful rock pools at the back of Blairgowrie. Oliver had pulled a muscle in his back, so he was a trooper for even getting out of bed, let alone driving us all that way and walking around with me. He couldn’t swim in the rock pools, so I guess that’s a reason for another visit.
     

There were some very brave souls jumping from rocks into the pools. Not I. I took a leisurely dip from ground level.

Oliver’s third tickets surprise of the month was Sufjan Stevens. Another great show. I’ll freely admit my favourite album is his Christmas Album, but I knew far more of the music than I expected to. There was an awesome light show that felt like meditation, or something. And Hamer Hall is such a treat to be in again. We saw Amy Schumer here the first time, and it was really nice to watch a band here too. It’s a clear distinction of age; sitting watching a band in Hamer Hall, drinking a glass of wine. Woah. Times have changed.


These may be the worst pictures you’ve seen of a gig. Apologies.

I took a mini trip with Maree to the State Library. It was just a way to pass the time before a movie, but it was such a treat. It’s a beautiful old building that made me nostalgic for the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester and days when I would write essays in the Manchester Metropolitan University library till late. Made me wish I had a 3000 word essay and a stack of books to pore over. If only my 22 year old self could imagine that.


The year so far, in food…

A selection of cooked and bought, delicious meals that I’d like to keep track of. As a belated Valentine’s gift I bought Oliver a ridiculous Nigel Slater tome that we are already in love with. It’s an indulgent half diary, half cookbook stepping gradually through the seasons. I feel guilty to say that I am craving Autumn and Winter, for a chill in the air and big warm layers. In the UK I wasted so much time longing for sunshine and long days, pretty ironic.

Hopefully to come will be far more elegant home cooked meals, but for now…

 Homemade French Toast, peaches and sausage… half kind of adapted from the Guardian’s ‘how to make the perfect’ series here.
 Oliver made plum cobbler on a Monday evening in the middle of summer. I told you we are craving the cold.

 I made this Rick Stein fish madras but it wasn’t oily or salty enough for me. I suppose that speaks volumes about my takeaway curry habits in England.

 This was such a winner! Delicious first time attempt at chicken cacciatore, thanks to Oliver. I was so impressed at how tasty this was.

 Aubergine and prawn thai green curry with noodles.
 … and we ate the curry with a huge platter of grilled prawns!

 We finally went to one of the dozens of Japanese restaurants on Smith Street to find that it was precisely as expected… minimal, delicious and expensive.
 Another cookbook was added to our small collection; The Kinfolk Table. My Mum bought it for me when I was in England, and I carried it back to Melbourne all delicately wrapped in brown paper. I love cookbooks. We’ve made this cabbage salad a couple of times, very tasty.

 I came across this tikka masala soup at The Modern Proper and it sounded like the perfect way to get my curry fix without telling Oliver, yet again; “we’re having curry”.  It was pretty delicious, I’ll admit. We added roasted sweet potato and yoghurt and ate it with sub par naan bread.

Get shit done; January 2016

Our trip home to the UK came at an awkward time for my workplace; lots of change and uncertainty. So I didn’t exactly ring in the New Year with a clear view of what I’d do in 2016, more an idea of how I’d like to approach the year. My approach involves doing things I’m afraid of (plenty of those) and travelling as much as possible. I’d like to learn to drive too, stability permitting though.

In that spirit, here’s some stuff we did in January…

 Bucket List kind of stuff in Dubai on the way home from the UK. More of this in another post.
 Got to the MCG for the end of the Big Bash League season. We saw the Melbourne Stars lose, but I still enjoyed myself.

  Wandered along Port Melbourne, a place we’d never really explored. Beach volleyball and fit people working out outdoors.
Summer wander through the Botanical Gardens and their humid as hell tropical greenhouse.

The view from the pier in Port Melbourne.
  Negotiating THIS. What is this? This is Melbourne weather. Hot and windy hairdryer kind of weather. This is what Buenos Aires felt like when we visited two years ago. I nearly lost my shit when we were there. As long as it’s a day here and there in Australia I can cope. 

A very familiar Yarra view of the city. I must have taken this same picture about a dozen times in the last year.
  We went to the Australian Open! This was definitely a treat for Oliver, I didn’t expect to enjoy it too much, but I loved it. We went on Day 1 and saw a great women’s singles match. I think Wosniacki… she’s Danish?

A very drunken, greasy picture of a nice rendezvous with drunken, greasy friends.

Australia Day 2016, celebrated like a true Melburnian; using a communal bbq on the Yarra River. Too much beer and too much sun. A lovely national holiday! Unfortunately I missed my favourite part of Australia Day; the citizenship ceremony in Canberra presided over by the Prime Minister. It makes me well up.

Thanksgiving, babysitting and visitors.

 A casual thanksgiving sandwich dinner with Maree and Adam.  
    

Huge box of leftover chocolate from the UK, thanks to kind Jemmah at work.
  

The loveliest visit from Jill and Liam a couple of weeks ago! Haven’t seen them for two years since we left England and they’ve both moved to Sydney, so this should happen far more often.
  

Very late drunk pizza selfie.
  

Babysitting for Shamah’s kids and ending up with three big kids on the monkey bars.  
    
 

Changing seasons…

We just enjoyed a long weekend, which was so insanely overdue in my eyes. Even though work is pretty interesting and challenging I have been dreaming of a holiday since February, when my parents came to visit and I last had time off. Come December when we fly home, I will be so ready for a break.

Melbourne has gone from a genuine winter, wind and rain and hail and 6 degrees, to summer! In about 3 weeks. Spring happened for about 17 days it seemed. This long weekend was 28, 30, 31. We went to the beach, to the pool, ate 50% of our meals from a barbecue, as was always the intention!

I’ve been anticipating season 2 of Serial, as has half the world. I’ve seen the odd article on the suspected subject of season 2 but I’ve tried to avoid detail, just give me a date!

And finally, I’m letting my early summer be soundtrack by Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift’s entire 1989 album. Smitten.

Last week…

These are a few pictures from Saturday 19th to Thursday 24th September! It’s truly Spring now in Melbourne, with bright warm weekends and slightly longer days. Getting up at 6am means it’s light outside now and when we return from work we can still spend 30 minutes in the garden.   

Oliver and Toby spent last Saturday afternoon building the bbq we bought from Bunnings. It’s by far our favourite garden feature! We plan to eat by bbq all summer!
  

Last Sunday we spent our first day in the park this Spring. The trees are still bare, so it doesn’t look like the seasons are changing but in Melbourne there are golden leaves on the ground for about 9 months of the year. You never know what the day will look like till it happens.  
  

This monster is living on the side of the house. It could be harmless, it could be a killer. Any ideas?  

We finally visited Pelligrini’s on Bourke Street last week. It’s a lovely, cosy old school style Italian serving home cooked comfort food and big servings of familiar desserts. It’s the perfect late night spot after a chaotic evening. 
  Lasagne!

 Oliver picked the blueberry pie, but I couldn’t resist the chocolate plum tart. I wish I did because the blueberry pie was so fantastic! I’ve recommended it to every North American I know, since they’re always hankering for cherry pies and blueberry pies.
  

This was a steak night that unexpectedly included so many lovely people like Pierce and Shamah! And loads of wine. And tequila. On a Wednesday.  
  

And then I finally granted my mother’s wish by letting a professional colour my hair. Forgive my sullen expression; I’m not really the selfie taker.  
    Woah! Cringe! Returned to my ginger roots, but still, selfies are not my natural state. Aside from these I want to remember that this week was sunny and Spring like, I finally got paid and I let go of routine a little to drink too much and have a lovely time.