Jul 29, 2019

Life This Week 29/7/2019: Share Your Snaps.

It's been a hectic couple of weeks at work and by extension the rest of my life.  There's been a fair bit of rushing, a similar amount of impatience (I'm sad to say) and moments where I've wondered how I'd manage to fit it all in.  So while I'm on theme regarding sharing the week's snaps, there's also a fair bit of navel gazing writing in between as well.  It was what it was, I guess.

So I was pretty glad to shut the door to my office on Friday.  The good thing about the Fridays that end horrendous weeks is that sense of achievement and closure I get when I walk out the door to leave things for the weekend.  I even turned the page over in my diary before I left so that I'd be greeted on Monday by a blank page calmly anticipating the week ahead.  Or at least, that's the plan.

I'm getting a bit smarter in managing the overwhelm.  There was a day that I knew was going to be crazy so I took some time out before the working day began to just move, listen and see.  I took a walk from the carpark through Jubilee Park to The Tramsheds for coffee and a bathroom outfit selfie.

And do you know what?  The day was hectic.  I couldn't control the way it played out. 

But starting the day with that time out there in the real world helped me smile through it.  Professionally, there were many rewarding and humbling moments in a good kind of 'bad day'.

Moving beyond the at times all-consuming world of work...

Several parcels came my way this week and they definitely turned those work-related frowns upside down.

Two weeks to go.... eeeekkkk!!!!!!

My City2Surf race top arrived as did my order from Adore. 

Love the caption on the calico gift bag, Adore!

It was one of those freebie heavy orders plus I got to use a gift card so it was all practically free.....

It was Mecca Beauty Loop week as well.  What are the odds of my falling in love with at least one of the samples I was gifted with?

It's crunch time in the lead up to the City2Surf.  I'm equal parts excited about race day with its manic energy but also a bit anxious about how my time will be on the day.  In the meantime, I'm trying to enjoy each training run and the beauty they allow me to run through.

Here's to the weekend and Saturday morning coffee runs!  They're hard-earned at the moment but perhaps that's what makes me enjoy them so much.

Jul 25, 2019

Lovin' Life 25/7/2019: After A Good, Good Night's Sleep....

What a difference a day makes!

I'm reporting to you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed today after a solid night's sleep.  Nothing, not even an empty school morning tea shelf in my pantry on the first morning of term 3 could rain on my parade this morning.  Say hello to these gingerbread men who went home with me and my coffee order to take pride of place in a lunchbox or two over the next few days.

This was Monday in a photo.  A bit broken.  A favourite NARS blush whose lid just snapped off for no good reason, forgotten phones and lunches, various mini fires at work outside of the work online program whatsit passing out at lunchtime....  It was memorable to say the least.

But that is all a distant memory today.  It's been nothing but sunshine and downtime as far as the eye can see.

My mum and aunty are over so of course we've been to Aldi.  I'm loving all things almond at the moment so I'm looking forward to trying this almond spread.  I also needed to stock up on my favourite chocolate to stash at work.

Speaking of Aldi, remember The Great Non-Stick Saucepan Special Buy of the weekend before last?  No?  Here's a visual to trigger your memory.

I'm here to report that the hype is to be believed.  The cookware is solid, well finished, relatively lightweight and washes like a dream!  I used the small casserole pot to make Budget Byte's Curried Chickpeas with Spinach.

I'm a big fan of the Woolworth's Macro range of tinned beans and legumes so the chickpeas of the range were a key ingredient for me.

Image result for macro organic chickpeas
via google images
The dish is super fast to make and is perfect for meal prep.  I'm trying to add a few more meat-free dishes to my rotation of meals and I also like how this is a curry in contrast to the other things I make.

I found Ayam's Malaysian Curry Powder at a local Asian grocer.  

And I used fresh rather than frozen spinach.  I like the texture and colour of wilted fresh spinach in things like curries.

Image result for ayam light coconut milk
via google images

The original recipe is light and healthy but I had to stay true to my South-East Asian roots and sneak in a tin of coconut milk.  I regret nothing.  It makes for a richer curry and I didn't feel the need to serve it with rice.  A slice or two of toast though.... You're welcome.

How good is that first day of life after a really, really good night's sleep?

Are you guilty of beefing up light and healthy recipes for the sake of your tastebuds?

Jul 23, 2019

Sunday Afternoon On Campus.

It was one of those beautiful winter weekends in Sydney.  The kind that was all sun after the chill of the morning.  The kind that give you hope for the spring that's just around the corner.

Saturday.  Everyone else was out under the sun while I was out under the cafe ceiling heater waiting for my double shot cappuccino en route to work.  Dying swan, much?

And of course, it would have to be the weekend that I was working.  Saturday was hence a write-off, my only interaction with the weather being at the crack of dawn when I went down the road for a pre-work coffee.  There wasn't any sunshine for love or money but that crisp air definitely put some colour in my pasty, sleep-deprived cheeks.

I was feeling much more optimistic about life on Sunday morning.  The hint of sun as I went in search of coffee was definitely a good omen for the day because I managed to wind things up at work by lunchtime.

Which left me with an afternoon of weekend freedom.  Naturally, I spent it a block down from work - running around the campus of The University of Sydney.

Isn't that campus an especially special part of a special part of Sydney?  My love of the Inner West has grown even deeper with this run.

The sandstone and eclectic mixture of architecture that makes up the buildings that house the university's faculties had me looking up and around so much as I ran that I forgot about my achy old woman joints and I barely felt the frustration of my pace being as slow as it was this close to City 2 Surf.  It'll be alright on the day.  Failing that, it'll be a whole heap of fun.

To break the monotony of building awe, I had ample opportunities to be in awe of that bluer than blue sky and its streak rays of sun.

The campus abuts Victoria Park so I went around that too.

There's a totem pole at the edge of the park that looks over all it surveys with the promise to protect it.  Or at least that's the feeling I got as I ran beneath its proud etchings.

Park life on a sunny winter's Sunday in Sydney.  What is not to like?

The Gardener's Lodge at Victoria Park is now a cafe.  To the right of the lodge are one set of the park's gates.  I have this thing about park gates.  They make me feel safe and anchored in whichever city I may be in when I find them on my travels.

Running right along, I looped back into the campus for a bit of an Airpod guided wonder.

The grounds seem to be a popular place to sightsee judging by the crowds I found wherever I ran.

Universities are a dynamic celebration of learning and shared knowledge.  The contrast of old and new in the architecture, sculpture and furniture give campuses life and relevance in the current society while also having solid bonds with the past. 

I am not an alumni of this university but I felt waves of nostalgia as I remembered my life as an undergraduate all those years ago.  Decades actually.  Shudder.

I remember all the study and the anxiety about exams and then jobs.  But the things that I recall more vividly are the friends I made and have kept to this day, walking around campus, the way that life was both much simpler but also harder as a student.

And here I am now with a life that I owe to those years at uni.  It's a pretty terrific life but at the same time a life that's nothing like how I imagined my life would be.  Then again, does anyone's vision for their life from the perspective of age 23 match the reality of it at 43?

Say what you like about thirst but it is a pretty effective way of getting your mind back to the present when it's been flitting between tangents.

Those ubiquitous e-bikes that seem to have invaded Sydney.  They do seem to fit in at a university campus, at least.

Rehydrated and stretched (thanks to the slick benches around the nature strips of one of the new sparkly building of the campus), I was ready to head home to enjoy the rest of my weekend.

Thanks for the memories, USyd.

Jul 22, 2019

Life This Week 22/7/2019: Winter - Like / Loathe.


I don't hate it but I do dislike its ability to dictate how I can go about my day with a flick of the switch that turns on the rain or the blustery winds.  But then again, I also love winter for its ability to force me to slow down and potter by doing those very same things.

We're incredibly lucky to live in a part of the world where the winters are relatively mild (our love of wearing black puffer jackets and vests the moment there's just the hint of a chill in the air in the city is infamous) and our winters themselves are a more than tolerable mix of a few days of cold, many of sun, some of rain and then that glorious count down to spring/summer.

Let's start with my likes and loves first.

Explorer socks and layers in general.

Mug after mug of tea.

The sofa with its pillows, cushions and blankets.

Or my bed.  So long as I've got my Kindle and that ubiquitous mug of tea at hand.  I'm not fussy.

Pea and ham soup with lots of fresh and thickly buttered sourdough.

And then there's the not so great stuff that I'm not a big fan of.

How the rain slows everything down and makes me a more highly strung driver.  But at least we do get those rainbows.

The colds and sniffles that seem to linger forever.  No matter how many vitamins you take and hours of sleep you try to steal.

The electricity bill from leaving the heaters on.  Both to keep warm but also to help the laundry dry as you drape it around the house to get rid of the moisture the winter sun and or the dryer can't seem to fully address.

Leaving for and returning from work in the dark.  Thankfully this only happens for but a few weeks but gee those weeks are painful.

The fiddling around with vaporizers and humidifiers.  Annoying but worth the effect on those post infectious dry coughs that seem to last longer now than they did decades ago.  Must be a mutation those viruses have picked up over the year.

It is fun wearing extra layers to work and elsewhere but it is a bit of effort to unwrap yourself when you reach your destination - work, the cafe up the road...

Lastly, the way the cold stiffens you up despite the latest technology you might be wearing in your running gear and ski gloves.  It's the kind of stuff that only be fixed by an extra long, extra hot shower.

Winter.  Do you like or loathe it or do you make the most of its control on your life while it's around?


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