Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Grounds of Alexandria

A few weeks ago, my friend Alyssa and I went to The Grounds of Alexandria for breakfast. It is situated in a converted warehouse in Alexandria (hence the name) which used to be a pie factory.The Grounds incorporates a cafe, coffee research and testing facility (sounds scientific!), an outdoor courtyard and garden complete with fresh herbs and vegetables used on the cafe's menu, a chicken coop (for the eggs, of course) and a bakery. 

Since opening earlier in 2012 it has become the talk of the town among Sydney coffee connoisseurs, hipsters and families alike. Since I apparently fall into one of those categories (guess which one!?), it was only natural that I was eager to visit. Like many trendy joints in Sydney these days, the cafe does not take bookings for groups under six people and I had heard the wait was often up to an hour. With this in mind, I met Alyssa around 11am on a warm Sunday. We put our names down, went to the bar next door for a cool drink and before we knew it our buzzer was going off. I'd say it was only about a 20 minute wait for us, so we were stoked.

I ordered the turkish eggs and a cappuccino. I was impressed with how quickly the food arrived despite how busy they were that day. I wouldn't say it was the best breakfast I've ever had (maybe because I burnt my tongue on the beans) but it was still tasty and the coffee was good enough for me (by now you're probably guessing I don't fall into the coffee connoisseur category!). 

We enjoyed having a wander through the gardens, inspecting the chooks and veggies before we left. On weekends, they also have different 'pop-up' market style food stalls selling the likes of egg and bacon rolls or homemade lemonade and the pictured boxes of delicious mangos. I'm currently investigating their options for larger groups as my birthday is coming up and I'm planning a brunch. Something in the garden might be nice!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Veggie Patch Van

I've known about the Veggie Patch food truck for a while now. I think I first heard about it in Frankie magazine. It's a Sydney-based food van that offers vegetarian and vegan fair and utilises fresh, local produce. The founders are a mash-up between a Sydney vegetarian restaurant called Yulli's (yet to try) and a local design firm called TMOD. Interesting combo! 

To my delight, the Veggie Patch parked itself at the Finders Keepers markets this weekend which I was able to head along to for the first time. The markets were extremely crowded so I found myself heading outside for lunch pretty early on. The line for the Veggie Patch was dauntingly long, but to my delight moved really quickly. I ordered the zucchini burger and a grapefruit soda. I was super impressed! For $10, the burger came with beetroot, caramelised onions, mayonnaise, tomato relish, coriander and spinach leaves. The patty itself was really tasty - made from chickpeas, zucchini and feta cheese. The burger bun was nice and soft meaning it was easy to eat and not messy - important when you're on the run, methinks. I would have liked to try the sweet potato and kale chips but will have to wait until next time.

Being so crowded, I didn't get any good photos at the markets. It was frighteningly packed! I only managed to purchase one small Christmas gift before I needed to escape. Ah well, at least my lunch was superb!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Girly Saturday

Top: Cotton On, Skirt: Cotton On, Boots: Tony Bianco, Glasses: Emporio Armani, Bag: The Iconic (possibly an Alexander Wang knock-off)

Welcome to my first official outfit post. What an exciting day it is! Ben and I went out for breakfast this morning and I managed to convince him to take a few photos of me outside our apartment. I went for the element of surprise, sneakily grabbing my camera before we left and quickly turning to him to say 'Babe, can you just take a few photos of me here?' before he had time to think about what was going on. Sucker! I think I'll try this tactic more often.

Apart from whatever is going on with my hair, I think I did okay for my first outfit post. It all happened very quickly! This skirt/top combination is one I haven't tried before. The items themselves are nothing fancy - the top was a Christmas present last year and the skirt I scored from a work colleague who was trying to get rid of clothes a few months back. These boots have been serving me very well, though. They've just returned from the doctor's (ahem..boot repairer) because I somehow managed to lose the cap off the bottom of one heel without even realising. It wasn't until I was walking on some tiles that I noticed one shoe was making an odd hollow sound. Don't have any idea when or where I lost the cap, but I'm pleased to have my favourite booties back and in good nick again. 

Have a happy weekend, comrades!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Liebster Awards

The lovely Molly from The Cottage Diaries has nominated me for a 'Liebster Award'. These 'awards' are designed to spread the love among up and coming bloggers. Thank you Molly!

The rules are as follows:

1. Post 11 things about yourself.
2. Answer all the questions your nominator set for yourself.
3. Come up with 11 questions for the people you want to nominate.
4. Choose a number of blogs (they say 11, but I think I'll break the rules here) you feel deserve the award - must have 200 followers or less.
4. Go to their page and let them know you have nominated them!
So, let's get the ball rolling, shall we?

11 things about myself:

1. I'm currently home alone drinking a glass of Rose. It's been a huge week and I'm starting to feel really sleepy after just one glass of wine.
2. Ben and I recently bought a chilli plant and we are excited to announce we have three chillies growing! Very exciting times for two novice gardeners.
3. I get really annoyed when I see bundles of messy electrical cords. It is a weird pet hate and I need to get over it.
4. I've been a vegetarian for just over four years but a few months ago at my work conference I accidentally ate an h'orsevdourves that had duck puree in it. Was haunted for quite a while after that.
5. One of my friends always talks about her 'irrational fears'. I recently realised that mine are: getting my shoelaces caught in the escalator and sitting on the railing of a balcony or ledge and falling off backwards. I guess they are kind of rational, really.
6. I have a collection of teacups that I never use.
7. I really like babies but I am terrified of getting pregnant (one day, just not right now!).
8. I got my first pair of glasses when I was 18 months old and I have had four operations to correct my eyesight (I'm still pretty blind though).
9. I am planning a trip to Mexico (and the US again) in May next year!
10. I've never spoken to any of the other people that live in our apartment block. They are a really quiet bunch (which is probably a good thing).
11. My all time favourite food is Mexican - I could eat it every day! This makes the impending trip to Mexico even more exciting.
Molly's Questions:

1. Describe yourself in three words.

Nice, creative, observant.

2. What is your absolutely mega-favourite blog?

Hmmm. I think it would have to be Here Comes the Sun. Amanda just seems like such a lovely person. There are plenty of blogs out there that I love but I've been coming back to hers for years. I have always felt her style and interests are similar to mine.

3. What made you decide to start blogging?

I have been blogging in different forms for a while now. I had a food blog and tumblr before this and I've been an avid blog reader for a long time. I started this one because I like writing, I wanted to improve my photography and because I have a bad memory so documenting things I get up to kind of helps with that! 

4. Do your family/friends know about your blog?

Yes! I don't know how often they read it, though. I reckon my brother and sister probably read it the most.

5. What is your favourite movie?

I am really stuck on this one. I'm gonna go with The Boat That Rocked because I've seen it about seven times.

6. Who is your favourite celebrity?

I'm gonna go with Mindy Kaling. She's funny.

7. Describe your perfect holiday.

Traveling to me is all about the food, the people and just getting out and walking all day. I find that the best holidays I've had are the ones where I get back to my room and I'm absolutely exhausted, full of food but so happy to have seen what I saw that day. I haven't had a 'lay by the pool' kinda holiday in a while though, so that would be nice too.

8. What is your favourite animal?

Definitely a dog person. 

9. Where in the world do you dream of going?

Absolutely everywhere, but if I had to pick I'll say Europe. Despite doing a fair bit of travel around Asia and the US, I still haven't made it to the UK/Europe. That's on my list after Mexico and the US - I think I'll plan a trip for 2014. I'd like to spend a few months traveling around Europe - none of that hop on hop off bus tour business. Too rushed!

10. If you had a few spare hours of 'me time', what would you do?

Pretty much exactly what I am doing right now. Feet up, wine by my side, food at the ready and the world wide interwebs at my fingertips.

11. Tea or coffee?

I feel like I should be faithful to tea, because that was my first true love. I didn't start drinking coffee until about two years ago, but now I'm a once a day kinda gal (except today I had two - scandal!). 

I know this is really lame, but if you are reading this and want to play along, please feel free to answer my questions below. I'm finding it a bit hard to nominate people as most of the blogs I read have more than 200 followers. If you know of any smaller ones I should be reading, please let me know!! And if you do answer these questions, make sure you leave me a comment.

1. What is your favourite cold beverage?
2. Your favourite breakfast food?
3. Gold or silver jewellery?
4. Do you think you can sing in tune?
5. The best item you've ever purchased?
6. Name one blog you've been reading for more than two years.
7. The last time you were on a stage.
8. Favourite item in your home.
9. A band you have seen live more than twice.
10. Your last encounter with a famous (or mildly famous) person.
11. What did you have for dinner last night?

Phew! Thanks for reading if you got this far and thanks again to Molly for nominating me. Sorry I didn't play strictly to the rules but I had fun nonetheless. Have a happy weekend, friends.

P.S How pretty are these jacaranda trees? Seeing the amazing purple flowers in bloom from October - December is definitely one of the best things about living in Sydney. Purple rain, purple raiiiin. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Veronica and Ming

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending my manager Veronica's wedding. It was my first Asian wedding - she is Vietnamese and her new husband, Ming, is Chinese. The ceremony was held at Bicentennial Park and thankfully the heavy rain of Friday night let up on Saturday morning and the sun came out for the rest of the day (note our squinty eyes). The reception was a huge affair with around 400 guests and a 12 course traditional Chinese dinner. Yes, 12! I had a heap of fun celebrating with my work mates and Ben. In fact I danced a little too hard and am experiencing extreme muscle pain in my legs and arms today. I never thought I'd say it but I feel like I may have done a bit too much fist pumping for one night.

As you can see V (as we affectionately call her) looked absolutely stunning! She had kept the details of her dress and head piece a complete secret at work so we were all super excited to see her. The dessert table pictured was styled by another colleague, Linda. You can check out her work here. Unfortunately I didn't get to sample many of the goodies on the table because people started lining up for dessert before all the main courses had been served! Nonetheless, I had a fantastic time. Congratulations V and Ming :)

My outfit details: Quirky Circus dress, Kimchi Blue heels from Urban Outfitters, bag used to belong to my Grandma.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Just a few bits and pieces from around our place lately. I'm enjoying having some me time tonight as Ben has gone to Newcastle to see some friends. I've almost caught up on episodes of The Walking Dead. I just watched the final episode of Season Two. Holy mackerel that show has me on the edge of my seat every single episode. Can't wait to catch up on the new season so Ben and I can enjoy it together (he's all up to date)!
Lately I feel like life is flying by at a million miles per hour. It seems ever since I started working full time and my life has gotten busier this has been the case. I seriously can't believe it is November already! 

This past week I've been trying to make a conscious effort to slow things down a little. I'm usually the kind of person that wants to get everything done yesterday and I like having plans! I am all about planning - planning what I'm gonna eat, planning what I'm gonna wear, planning when I'll do the cleaning - yep you name it. I don't think I'll ever be able to get rid of that trait (I'm sure it's Mum is the same) but I'm trying to slow things down a little and really try and enjoy every moment. Even little things like taking in my surroundings while walking to the train every morning instead of keeping my head down as I rush to get there. 

This morning I woke up earlier than usual for a weekend as I was planning (ha - see there I go again) to go to the Farmer's Markets and stock up on some fresh produce. Unfortunately it was raining today so I decided to go to a shopping centre nearby instead. There's a great fruit and veg shop there so I gathered some bits and pieces for a nice big breakfast. Meanwhile,  Ben was sleeping soundly! Lucky boy. I came home and cooked up a nice vegetarian breakfast for us both. The rest of the day I spent doing a thorough Spring clean of our apartment. Keeping with my new aim of slowing things down, I made sure I did everything properly and didn't just rush through it in order to get it done. I know I'm getting older because having a spotless apartment makes me so happy! Enjoy your weekends friends.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sculpture by the Sea

Each year, between Tamarama and Bondi beaches in Sydney, there is an event called Sculpture by the Sea. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like, with around 100 artists competing for the top vote at the outdoor exhibition which runs for a few weeks.

Today, my friend Alyssa and I decided to check them out. We had lunch at Coogee Beach before making the coastal walk all the way to Bondi. The sculptures were clever, funny, huge and a few were just...weird. It must be such an enormous production to set them all up. I think my favourite was the fishing rod one or View (Trademarked). Simple but effective! The walk itself was spectacular - I'd been meaning to cross that off my bucket list ever since moving to Sydney. We really are so blessed with our beautiful beaches here.

P.S I downloaded the font used on some of the images from A Beautiful Mess. One day I hope to make my own! 

P.P.S That's an actual graveyard on the cliff face - not part of the exhibition! Hehe.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Quiet Weekend

Apart from checking out that little street festival yesterday, Ben and I really didn't get up to a whole lot this weekend. It was nice to lay low and enjoy some home-cooked meals, do a bit of Spring cleaning and catch up on episodes of The Walking Dead. I'm a bit late to that bandwagon that's for sure! I've seen most of the first season but not in order, so I've gone back to the start. It's such a distressing show, but so addictive.

In our normal style, we ate ourselves into food comas at every possible occasion this weekend. Last night Ben cooked up some delicious ricotta and spinach cannelloni and today I ate two breakfasts. The first was my homemade granola, thanks to Elsie and Emma's recipe over at A Beautiful Mess. The second were my take on Heuvos Rancheros. Well, it was all I could manage from the ingredients we had at home! Not bad I say. Next time I'll try and have some tortillas handy. Not pictured is the massive burrito and soft serve ice-cream I just ate. Please excuse me while I unbutton my pants. Just as well Ben and I have started the Couch to 5k program. We're onto our second week tomorrow!

Aside from the eating and sitting on my butt, I also found a temporary home for the prinstagram photos I ordered from my trip to America. I'd like to find a suitable frame or some clever way to display them, but they can live in our bedroom for now. I'm so happy with how they turned out - I think I'll have to order some more! I also had fun sifting through my special suitcase of random cards, photos, stationary and other sentimental bits and pieces that I can't manage to part with.

I hope you had a smashing weekend wherever you may be. xoxo

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Granny Smith Festival

Today I discovered there was a street festival of sorts going on in a suburb nearby to where we live - Eastwood. Turns out this festival is an annual affair called 'Granny Smith Festival'. This is because the original Granny Smith (as in the apples, yes) was from this region. So, there you go. We didn't see many apples, but we (Ben and I) ate some delicious quasedillas, chocolate coated strawberries and slurped up a pineapple slushie each. It was a perfect way to spend a sunny saturday afternoon. Last minute adventures are always the best kind.