Jan 17, 2019

Lovin' Life 17/1/2019: A Business As Usual Top 5.

It's been a finding joy in the everyday kind of week for me.  It's business as usual as we all return to the daily grind until Easter.  It feels good to be back into the swing of things but I am also mindful and even a little scared at how fast this year is going to fly by....

Here's five of the things that brought joy to my everyday this week.

Woolworths' sushi for dinner instead of a second frozen pizza for the week.

The Body Shop's tropically themed refresh of the packaging of their Hemp Hand Cream.  I can't tell for exactly how many years this has been my number one for dry, leathery work hands but its lots and its double digits.  TBS, I hope you never ever discontinue this.  If you have to, could you wait until after I retire?  Okaythanksbye...

The sun setting around 8pm these days means that I can kick pack in the back garden for a while after dinner with my book before bed.  With a couple of dried figs on the last of the Christmas serviettes and a mug of peppermint tea.  It really is the simple things about summer in Sydney, isn't it?

I have possibly (nay definitely) loved these Sydney summer sunrises a little too hard.  It's been the summer of hill runs for me (just in case you might have missed the fact from a casual glance at all my social media channels).  Predictably, my 43-year-old body has protested and even more predictably, I've been needled and taped again this week.

So here I am, back at the gym on a no running week.  I've just started using Apptiv which is a personal training audio app that covers a wide range of exercise types and levels.  I got a 50% off promotional email a few weeks ago and have now signed up for a full year.

The best things for me about Apptiv are:
  • its easy to use interface that lets you download workouts, save them and even schedule training sessions on your phone
  • the clear descriptions of what each workout will involve and require equipment wise
  • the music - there's a Justin v Britney running workout I want to do soon
  • the punny class titles
  • the range of both one-off workouts and more integrated fitness programmes
  • I find the positive vibes and chirpiness of the instructors inspiring and engaging even at crazy o'clock in the morning
  • if you schedule a class in the app, it also appears in the calendar of your iPhone so no excuses
  • it got me doing a soul cycle type / indoor cycling workout again and I enjoyed it!!!!!
And last but not least, the sweaty confetti...

Which is what rains down on your phone screen when you finish a workout.

How's back to business as usual for the new year looking for you?

Jan 15, 2019

In Which I Discover Zanzan, Amongst Other Things.

Hello and good, good morning to you!

Today I bring you my word of the moment (because I'm too commitment-phobic to make it my word for the year)...
Image result for zanzan


It's a Maltese word that translates to 'the feeling of wearing something special for the first time'.  I just love how 'zanzan' rolls so richly off the tongue, how its letters look.  It's onomatopoeic, even.  

Image result for pippa middleton zan zan
I know that you know where this is heading.  My embracing the word zanzan has come about as a consequence of my latest of bout of Middleton mania.
Image result for pippa middleton zan zan
who what wear
Do you feel as much love for Pippa's sunnies as I do?  Both pairs are pitch perfect in that elusive combination of classic and quirky yet luxe without having to resort to strategic logo placement to do so.
Image result for zan zan le tabou
It turns out that one of Pippa's go-to designers for her sunglasses is Zanzan - a British eyewear and accessories label that was co-founded by Megan Trimble (an expat Aussie) and Gareth Townsend.  Their eyewear is handmade in Italy using materials such as hand-polished acetate for the frames.

Image result for zan zan le tabou

The pair I've been stalking are the Le Tabou in tortoise which went on sale recently. 

Image result for zan zan le tabou

This is Laura Bailey, another of my favourite British style icons, wearing the style (indoors but who am I to question details like this) in black.  I also got a further 15% off at checkout bringing the grand total to $120.70 down from the regular price of $374.  Expect a breathless update when they arrive.  Possibly from London where I may well find myself if wearing the Zanzans will make me pick up a new accent, flip my hair into a casually chic updo, make myself a strong mug of tea to sip as I book (and take) that long, long flight...

Meanwhile, from the kitchen benchtops of suburban Sydney, batch cooking for 2019 has begun in earnest.  I've been making Malaysian Chicken Curry.  Not so much making but rather placing several tins and tubes of things into a slow cooker with chicken, vegetables and stock in the manner of this recipe from Homemade Recipes.  The curry as made from the recipe has a soupy rather than gravy-like sauce.  Which made it perfect for me to eat with buttered toast.  Because I'm lazy and eating curry with toast takes me back to my childhood.

The purists may be offended by the decidedly processed approach in the recipe but I was very happy with the taste.  I also snagged the last two tins of Yeo's curry sauce at the supermarket so I guess I'm onto a good thing with it.  It is on the mild side but it does have that heady, complex taste of the Malaysian curries I love.  I added some chilli sauce to serve.

Other things that materialized in the kitchen as the curry cooked: peanut butter baked oats and a stack of sushi rice salads for work.
Moving ever further from the glamours lives of British It Girls, I'm ever so proud of myself for completing a little sewing project the other day...

I didn't sew the shorts from scratch but I did mend a torn seam all on my own.  Without even watching a YouTube video tutorial.  Perhaps I should have but it's all done now.  In the process, I think I've figured out what those pretty pearlescent headed pins are for.   It was one of those better late than never a-ha moments.

On Sunday, the planets aligned.  I managed to clock off from work just before lunch.  Two words.  Afternoon run.  Seven more words.  How beautiful is Sydney in the summer?  I took myself up that hill to Darling Point Road, a part of Sydney I find endlessly fascinating.  It's the contrasts of the various epochs of architecture of our relatively young nation that just come at you if you choose to look up (or away from your damn phone) while you're moving along on foot or by car.  And all around these buildings (and The Bridge) are trees that rustle reassuringly overhead.

Then it was down a steep hill to Rushcutter's and the adjoining cricket ground.

I'm usually a (very early) morning runner and it was exhilarating in a flushed and sweaty kind of way to be revisiting familiar routes under the afternoon sun.  Through lashings of sunscreen.  I don't ever forget the sunscreen these days.

An apres run drink with my feet up in the backyard that needs a bit of attention.

A solid starter tan gleaned from said run and a mozzie bite.  Not bad for a Sunday afternoon.

I'm on the home stretch to a bit of annual leave.  In the meantime, I'm doing everything I can to spare myself a serious injury.  Do you struggle with lowering the seats on office chairs?  I have a habit of falling off them or skidding across a room while fiddling with the levers and forgetting that I need to keep my feet firmly on the ground.  This week, I did things a little differently and close the office door before attempting any adjustments.  The closed door serves two purposes: it ensured I didn't have far to skid as I flew along on the runaway chair and it also saved me from the potential embarrassment of anyone outside seeing me faceplant as I fell off the chair.

Be well and talk soon.

Jan 14, 2019

Life This Week 14/1/2019: Intentions.

Looking back on my summer posts, I don't think there's anything left to adore.  The sense of celebration palpable in the air, the change of pace, the traffic, the weather, the downtime, the family time, the me time.  I've covered it all at least once over the last few weeks.

Everything except the sense of clarity all this time has given me.  I've had time to both reflect on the year just gone as well as to establish some kind of approach for the year ahead.  I'm not a resolution person but I want to become a 'you only have one life to live' person.  

Which all sounds great but how to go about it?

I will make each day count.  Even the trying ones.  They're sent to teach us about ourselves and to make us stronger.

I will repurpose and try to resist the lure of cheap eventual landfill purchases.  Except for Coles Mini Shops.  I can't help but change my shopping habits every time a new collection launches.

I will continue to find the joy in the world around me.

And its colour.  

I will jump in those puddles rather than complain bitterly about local flooding and leaking rooves.  Actually, I take that back, I probably will continue to complain the moment I walk home after jumping in those puddles...

I will enjoy the simple pleasures of games played with Master SSG.

I will not lose my sense of awe in the world around me.

Both that which we have created and that which has been entrusted to us to protect and conserve.

I will make my vote count.  And quite possibly enjoy the sausage sizzle afterwards.  I hope the catering for the upcoming election will be nothing short of 11/10.  Heaven knows, the electorates of Australia deserve at least this after everything we've been put through.

I will remember to water my herbs.

I won't 'save' my 'good' things for 'special occasions'.  Every day is a special occasion.

Not only will I treasure my family and the time I have with them, but I will also tell them as much at every opportunity.

I'll also drink more peppermint tea than black just before bed.  It'll help me get a better night's sleep.

I will continue to enjoy my morning runs but also be kind to my joints in the offseason.  I will make sure that I have offseasons.

Activewear.  Lululemon.  Enough said.

I will continue to explore the world.  Yes, I know, it's not really exploring if its travelling for work and spending your free time abroad doing what you do at home but still.  This is me we're talking about...

I will continue to say that prayer of thanks every time I see home from the window of the plane.  Home is where I belong at the end of my travels.  It is a place, a state of mind, a feeling in my heart.

What are your intentions for 2019?  Do you have resolutions for it?

Jan 10, 2019

Lovin' Life 10/1/2019: The Return of My Mug.

Miracles do happen.

My favourite mug has found its way back home to my office.

I spotted it as I walked past the work kitchen Monday morning, casually waiting for me by the edge of the sink as if the last three weeks of life without it had never happened.  Sure, someone tried to eat a meat pie with it character acting as a bowl (!!) but once I got past that (literally with several tablespoonsful of washing up liquid) it was in perfect condition.  I took it home and bleached it overnight, ran it through the dishwasher and voila!  Everything is now right with my office.

Why do I love this mug so?

Where do I begin?  While it is only a mug, it holds a special place in my heart as well as literally holding some of the most life-sustaining drinks of my day.  I'm not a pet person, but if I were, I think it's safe to say that the magnitude of love I would have for my hypothetical dog (sorry, not a cat person...) would be in the region of what I currently feel for this mug.

I bought it on sale at the Myer up the road from where I was working in my first 'boss' role in Liverpool.  It was a year of firsts, nerves, adventure and friendships.  A trip down the road from work to the shops was always a sign that things were under control at the mothership, that all was well.  I have fond memories of the Oliver Brown store and its dark chocolate mochas, Priceline, Aldi and of course Schnitz...

Bringing it back to the mug.  I cannot fault a single thing about it.  It makes everything taste better.  I suspect it holds twice the volume (at least) of your average mug.  It's got a sturdy handle and a substantiality to it that soothes me as I sip a Moccona from it at the start of the working day and green tea at lunch.  It was from the Maxwell Williams brand and I haven't seen anything similar to it in their current range at Myer.  It is literally irreplaceable.

How strongly attached are you to the china at work?  Does your work supply it or is it BYO like mine?

Jan 8, 2019

Tuesday's This and That.

Before I forget and I'm terribly late to the party, I know but here is my Hot Cross Buns at Woolies in January photo for 2019.

It was actually taken January 5.  Aside from the buns, the front of my local Woolies is now wall to wall MaltEaster bunnies and Creme Eggs.  I know, I know.  But I'd rather Easter merchandising overkill than Valentines' Day which I just can't seem to get on board with no matter which way I look at it.

The pace of life in my little bubble of Sydney has started to pick up over the last few days.  There's the beginnings of a peak hour most weekdays now and the street parking is filling up a little too.  Work email volumes are increasing while at home, there's been a drop off in the summer and post Christmas sales missives.

But I'm not giving in that easily.  I've been staking my claim on the grassy bit at Redleaf whenever I can and living like it's still the beginning of the Christmas / New Year break.

I'm also keeping that dream alive away from the beach.  Travel plans for later this year are underway.  It's always a good feeling having a trip on the horizon and a travel itinerary (or several) stuck to the front of the fridge.

It is summer but storms always make me crave comfort food for dinner.  This is a beef and red wine stew I made in the slow cooker featuring all the vegetables in the fridge that were close to retiring anyway.

Chang's Noodle Salad has been on high rotation for lunches this summer.  I add mint and cold cooked chicken to mine.

Meanwhile in news from the ceiling, I replaced the battery of my smoke detector on the first day it started beeping.  How good am I?

The cockatoos slept in this week and the ducks took over down at Rushcutter's.

I found comfort / orthopaedic sandals on sale at Ecco that don't actually look comfort or orthopaedic.  I reckon I deserve both pairs based on how much clutter I've managed to liberate from my wardrobe this week.

Because my world is so exciting right now and I wouldn't want you to miss a minute of it, I'm going to close by sharing a photo of the last box I opened.  How long do you think it will take for me to lose all 12 of these biros? Longer or shorter than how long it would take to lose the equivalent number of new hair elastics?

Until next time.


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