February

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Rincy  Adam-014
To embracing conversations that matter, challenge and inspire.

Let's spread compassion and love to ourselves and one another this month friends.

The anatomy of a winter garden party

Monday, January 18, 2016

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When Kate throws a Wildflour Bakery garden party prior to the Christmas holidays that involves a mix of savoury (Whipped St. Tola goats cheese, ash, espresso, nettle syrup) and sweet (spiced clementine, earl grey cake with ricotta) to name but two of the many, many offerings - you know it's going to be a treat. Loved getting to see the anatomy of this evening take place, how this lady creates such unique flavour profiles with food is a natural gift.

Togetherness

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

On Christmas day, everyone gathered in the park to take family photos.  The photographer had cancelled earlier but we congregated anyways-Isabelle's babysitter and fiance offering 'official' photographer duties and nearly anyone who wanted to grab a free camera to take a memory did so (myself included).  It rained at one stage, the humidity challenging but it was the sort of environment where none of that sort of stuff mattered.  It was togetherness.  It was family.

As anyone who has lived away from 'home' knows, feeling connected to something bigger and rooted is both nurturing and necessary.  Sometimes hard and improbable at times but necessary.  My brother said when we were leaving that this Christmas was full of the warmth of family.  Such a massive thing for both of us.  It was time spent together.

Nurturing and necessary.
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Thank you Nina for being such a firm advocate for that.  I adore these people.

Comforting words

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal. Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep travelling honestly along life’s path.

From here.  

Houston Favourites (for food)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Every outward bound trip I promise myself to take a journal- to document where, who and what for memory keepsakes and also for fellow travel friendly companions.  Mostly it turns into 'that little place on the corner of that museum' or a deliberate google search of the most random descriptions to jog the memory.  Houston trips involve a copious amount of food, mostly due to my beautiful sister-in-law who adores the culinary scene and takes everyone along for the ever-expanding-waistline ride.   She works it off in the gym, I usually waddle for the next month. (Keeping the balance strong)

A few of my favourites this time around:

1.  Rustic Oak Gastropub:  My brother had told me about the shrimp and grits and the bread pudding here but what wasn't mentioned was how beautiful the space was.  Comfy, upscale brunch fare.
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2.  The Breakfast Klub:  A Houston hallmark.  Chicken and waffles that may read like an unlikely pairing at first but suddenly makes sense here for all the right reasons.  Unreal goodness.  Light fluffy pancakes and crisp chicken is all I'm craving these days. IMG_1107

3.  Tout Suite:  My favourite.  A diamond in the rough that serves the best avocado toast I have had to date.  Simple food done right. (and also the spot where we took a ridiculous amount of photos of Isabelle)DSC_0287

and finally 4.  Hotel ZaZa : for that fancy pitstop nibble and cocktail fix.
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Also, this place.

Houston Holidays

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

We've just returned from spending the holidays in Houston, Texas.  Unconventional in its warm temperatures for Christmas but happily conventional in its time away for family- it was a trip that left me crying at my brother's house before leaving, again at the car waving till next time and at the check-in line for departure.  As big of a softie as I am, crying is not a common occurrence for me. (Stubborn genes!)

I'm not sure what it was about this particular trip that pulled at me in so many ways.  Maybe the fact that my sister-in-law's beautiful Filipino family has consistently welcomed my brother (and as an extension, me) with open arms, food fit for a small village and the vibrancy of a love that has weathered storms and come out stronger.  Or the time spent with my brother away from the hustle and grind of the hospital.  Or the joy that is my niece.  Perhaps it was the time getting to learn about travelling with someone and experiencing opportunities for thought, for change.

Maybe it was a combination of all of these things and many more to be shared another day.

As for Houston, it still remains as diverse and eclectic as ever.  Fourth time visiting in the last year and now, there is a comforting familiarity about it.  It's a really good feeling. DSC_0273 DSC_0296 IMG_1108 IMG_1294 IMG_1176 DSC_0271 IMG_0962 IMG_1113 DSC_0258 IMG_1063

Jingle Belle

Friday, December 25, 2015

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Not surprisingly this lady had us wrapped around her little finger the second we laid eyes on her this holiday.

Merry, bright and all sorts of sweetness this Christmas.
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Morning baking | Spiced brown sugar cookies

Saturday, December 19, 2015

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For those mornings when you get that random whim (as infrequent as they may be!) to make cookies. If you like spiced cookies, these have a lovely balanced note to them.  Moderation has never been my strong suit especially when it comes to sweets, so powdered sugar and cinnamon toppings end up looking more like snowballs than the 'light dusting' that may be more appropriate.
DSC_0068 Easy to assemble and a great little surprise for the unsuspecting recipient around the holidays.  You know, for when you try to be that friendly neighbour that makes cookies ;) DSC_0084 (1)
Spiced Brown Sugar Cookies
(from Donna Hay, Winter Magazine 2012)

Biscuit
 2 1/4 cup plain flour
 1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp groung ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
120g butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup golden syrup
1 egg
1 tsp (or liberal dash) vanilla extract 

Dusting
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
Place icing sugar and ground cinnamon in a bowl and mix well.

In a separate bowl- beat together butter, brown sugar and golden syrup until fluffy.
Add in egg and vanilla extract.
Combine well and then add in dry ingredients.
Roll small amounts of dough onto baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Allow to cool before coating with icing sugar mixture.

A little sponsored post | With Marks & Spencer

Friday, December 18, 2015

This time of year is always a favourite. Yet truthfully at times with Christmas decorations in shops by early October and holiday ideas in November, the Christmas spirit can often feel watered down, diluted even by the time December arrives.  But then as it does, an unexpected afternoon or evening comes when the smell of cinnamon and spice sneaks out from the kitchen and suddenly, nostaliga hits and you're six years old again in your family home and it really is Christmas the way you know it to be.

(I adore when that moment happens).

In a few days we head back to spend time with my brother, sister-in-law and her beautiful family.  It will be a home full of little ones who can't help but take in the magic of the holidays with open arms. Little voices that somehow work in overdrive once the 24th arrives and that unmistakable giggle and clamour that is without a doubt my favourite part of our visits.

Not so secretly though, getting to take it all in with this little squish of a lady for her first Christmas? The best gift yet. picisto-20151215094838-377141 (1)

Beyond excited to be spreading the joy that noise brings with Marks & Spencer this holiday season. Tucking in tomorrow to sneak in a few more presents to keep under the tree for them. Adore anyone who supports that sort of cheer and merriment and this video is a lovely reminder that M&S is always in that corner.




Sponsored posts are somewhat new for me so the tagline of everything written above is of my own opinion goes without saying.  Thank you friends for allowing me to share it here with you.

p.s. A peek of the giggle, clamour and noise in our family that I miss terribly (adjust your volume!)

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