Tomorrow morning I am off to New Zealand for 10 days to visit my family and all my favourite coastal places. There will be small port towns (Lyttelton), delicious food (Oamaru and Moeraki), estuary walks (Waikouaiti), and cliff walks up and down the coast. I will be hanging out with sheep, and I may even get to milk them. If the weather is good I’ll help my parents make hay. If the weather is bad I’ll sit in the sunroom with Ben the cat and watch the rain on the glass.
It was very wet in Sydney this weekend. I combatted the bleak weather by wearing red lipstick and gumboots, and making an ice cream designed especially for rainy days.
Earl Grey Ice Cream (adapted from David Lebovitz)
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
2/3 cup of sugar
1/4 cup French Earl Grey tea leaves
5 large egg yolks
Warm tea leaves, milk, half the cream and sugar in a medium saucepan. Cover and set aside to steep for 1 hour.
Rewarm the tea-infused milk. Pour the remaining cup of cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer into the cream, pressing gently on the tea leaves toextract the maximum flavor from them, then discard the leaves.
Chill and then churn in an ice cream maker for 30 minutes.
This predominantly country mix was one of the soundtracks to my summer this year. Many miles were traveled to this music, and many a game of scrabble played.
Little Mountain Town – The Unfaithful Ways
Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show
Frankie’s Gun – The Felice Brothers
Love Vigilantes – Iron + Wine
South Tacoma Way – Neko Case
Helpless – Neil Young
Each Coming Night – Iron + Wine
The Ship Song – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Please Be Patient with Me – Wilco
Nobody’s Baby Now – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Across the Border – Bruce Springsteen
Look at Miss Ohio – Gillian Welch
New York Times – Simone Felice
Wings – Joan Baez (cover of Josh Ritter)
You and I Belong – Simone Felice
Bad Luck – Langhorne Slim
Locesick Blues – Hank Williams
I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry – Hank Williams
Amanda – Waylon Jennings
I Ain’t Marching Anymore – Phil Ochs
Workin’ for the MTA – Justin Townes Earle
No Depression – Uncle Tupelo
Wichita Lineman – Glen Campbell
The Stable Song – Gregory Alan Isakov
Into My Arms – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
It can be nice having something gorgeous to wear when you are traveling. Clothes are our shelter, but in the absence of a home or place to rest, they can also help remind us of who we are. Travel clothes need to be practical, however. They have to be lightweight, versatile, easy to wear with almost anything, and okay to get a little crumpled.
I had this in mind recently when I sewed my new favourite top – a Wiksten tank in a lovely Liberty print. It’s the perfect summer top. It goes well with shorts, jeans and loose pants, but can also be worn tucked into a high waisted skirt or pants. It looks lovely under a cardigan or a blazer and could also been worn pinny-style over a merino base layer in winter. It will need an iron occasionally, but if it gets a little crumpled I can hang it in the shower with me to smooth out the wrinkles.
But most importantly, it makes me feel really pretty.
I have a song that I like, by Lyttelton band The Unfaithful Ways, called Little Mountain Town (sometimes I wish I lived in a little mountain town, where everybody knows your name and nobody gets you down). This summer, I discovered an adjacent fantasy – longing to live in a little seaside town.
The day is slow to get going in Singapore… Singaporeans start work at about 9.30am and shops usually don’t open until 11am. The good news is that this means the shops are also open really late – it’s not unheard of for people to go shopping at midnight!
But if you’ve just arrived from Australia or New Zealand, you’ll probably be awake at the crack of dawn. When you’re in a city for a short period of time, every day is valuable. You don’t want to waste a minute.
Here are some things in Singapore that you can do during the morning before the shops abnd museums open
- Spend a peaceful hour with the 1000 buddhas in the rooftop garden of the Buddhist Temple in Chinatown. The ground and top floors are open from very early in the morning, and then at 10.30am the other floors open, including a museum.
- Find your local wet market and have a walk around looking at all the produce that’s available. Find a vendor to buy some of the ubiquitous packs of tissues you see everywhere in Singapore. You’ll need them for #3
- Go to your nearest Hawker Centre and queue up with all the Singaporeans buying takeaway food for later in the day. You can have a second breakfast or get something wrapped up to eat later. It’s a great way to check the Food Centres out before it gets crazy busy later in the day.
- Make an early morning trip to Singapore Zoo or Jurong Bird Park. By the time you get there the park will be open and ready for business. You can have breakfast with the fauna while all the stores on Orchard Road remain closed.
- Go for an early morning walk (before it heats up!) at Macritchie Reservoir or Canning Fort Park, or sneak your way into a hotel to go swimming.
You might think that Singapore is all skyscrapers and shopping malls, but there is a quiet little oasis in the middle of the island called MacRitchie Reservoir that is perfect for an escape from the city one afternoon. By catching a train and then a short bus ride, you can find the start of a bush walk that takes you on swing bridges across bush canopy, past cheeky monkeys and other wildlife, to a large network of boardwalk around the edge of Singapore’s main water supply and then through a public park. You will meet lots of joggers and other walkers, but for the most part this 10+ kilometer walk is very peaceful, and teeming with wildlife (we saw monkeys, birds, terrapins and giant water lizards).
If anyone tells you that Singapore is sterile and boring, ignore them.
This cosmopolitan island may have a lot of shopping centres, flash hotels and fancy restaurants, but it also has an incredible local food scene, a rich and multi-layered cultural history, and lush wilderness. And with a brilliant (and cheap) public transport system, it’s easy to get around and explore. I spent 10 days in Singapore in November, and didn’t come close to running out of things to do. I felt really at home and all the locals I met were very enthusiastic about their city. I think that rubbed off on me a little bit. I’ll definitely go back.
It can be expensive eating in the Sydney CBD. If you’re travelling through Sydney and are spending time in the city, but don’t want to have to eat greasy food court fare, here are some of my favourite cheap and stylish places to eat within walking distance of Pitt Street Mall.
I didn’t intend for them to all be asian, but that’s how it worked out (the bonus for me is that this makes it easy to avoid gluten!)
Garage Sales are brilliant for so many reasons. You get to meet your neighbours, hang out with your friends, feel like a part of a community, get rid of all the things you don’t want, and make some quick cash. It takes a little organising, but is totally worth it. Here are our tips for a successful and stress free garage sale:
Read the rest of this entry »