Five… songs I can listen to on repeat

I’m one of those people who likes to re-watch favourite movies and TV shows, and re-read favourite books. It’s the same with music. Every now and then I feel like listening to a certain song on repeat for a while, because I love it so much. These songs are typically catchy (hence wanting to listen over and over again!), easy to sing along with, and fairly emotionally neutral (no power ballads or angry rock!). Here’s a list of five of those favourite songs!

1. Slide by Goo Goo Dolls

2. Dark Blue by Jack’s Mannequin

3. Gimme Sympathy by Metric

4. Get Lucky by Daft Punk

5. Boomerang by Lucy Schwartz

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Wedding Wednesday

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - the gown

Even before Dannii and I got engaged, I had daydreamed of buying my wedding gown from The Babushka Ballerina, a wedding boutique here in Brisbane. I would pass by on the bus and swoon a little at the beautifulAnna Campbell gowns I saw in the shop window, with their vintage-inspired details and flowing silk chiffon skirts.

Fast forward several months, and I walked into The Babushka Ballerina with my mother and my maid of honour, ready to shop for my gown. The first dress I tried on was the Anna Campbell Sophia gown – and I fell in love. I tried on a few other dresses, but I always came back to Sophia.

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - the gown

The gown made me feel so elegant and beautiful, I never wanted to take it off! I absolutely loved the floaty layers of silk chiffon and the different ways I could wrap and tie the straps. I added a beaded embellishment to the bodice and a silk sash, but that was all I needed. It was the perfect wedding dress.

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - the gown
all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - the gown
all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - the gown

On the big day itself, my mum and bridesmaids had a bit of fun wrapping and tying me into the gown (we’d had to organise a night for them to practise before the wedding!), and they did an excellent job. Maybe a little too good of a job – I had to get my maid of honour to loosen it all up when I got to the reception, as I was getting a little short of breath!

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - the gown

I love that my actual wedding dress matched up with my daydream dress. I felt like a princess, and I know Dannii thought I looked beautiful – and in the end, that’s what you want from a wedding gown, isn’t it?

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - the gown

Images by Lily & Thom

Red pepper risotto

I really love risotto, but I usually don’t have the time to spend half an hour standing over the stove, stirring continuously.

But the other weekend we had fewer plans than normal, so I found myself with a bit of time on my hands and a fairly familiar craving for some risotto. So I made this delicious red pepper risotto recipe from SORTED Food for lunch!

all the little happy things - red pepper risotto

I omitted the cream, goat’s cheese and rocket purely because we didn’t have any and I couldn’t be bothered heading to the shops. Instead, I added some baby peas for added vegetable content, which definitely made me feel like I was being healthier. I also love the mix of vibrant colours in this meal!

all the little happy things - red pepper risotto

The recipe was very easy, and relatively quick (stirring time aside). And really, it was just nice to have some time to try out a new recipe and make a tasty and filling lunch!

Carrot coconut soup with ginger and lime

all the little happy things - carrot coconut soup with ginger and lime

Sometimes when my mum goes grocery shopping, she buys larger quantities of things because they’re on sale or there’s a special on, and then she’ll give me whatever she knows she won’t use. The other weekend, I scored a bunch of fresh coriander and a big knob of ginger out of her jaunt to the farmer’s market. Since I also had a bag of carrots in the fridge, I decided to break out my new immersion blender and make some carrot soup!

I ended up figuring out my own recipe based on a few that I had previously found while browsing blogs. So my recipe is really a kind of Frankenrecipe, concocted out of parts of this carrot coconut soup recipe from Shutterbean, this ginger lime carrot soup recipe from A Beautiful Mess, and this carrot and ginger soup recipe from Taste!

It was pretty delicious, and I loved the combination of all of those flavours. The coconut and spices gave it a flavour a little reminiscent of a curry, and the sharpness of the lime cut through everything nicely. It also had the benefit of being pretty easy and quick to make. Dannii really liked it, and it made for a filling meal with some good crusty bread!

Carrot coconut soup with ginger and lime

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped/grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1kg (approx. 6) carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups (750ml) chicken stock
  • 400ml can coconut cream
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • Salt + pepper
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped, to garnish

Method

  1. Cook onion, ginger, garlic and spices in a large saucepan over medium heat until soft, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add carrots, stock, coconut cream and water to pan and simmer, partially covered, for 35-40 minutes or until the carrots are cooked and tender.
  3. Puree the soup until smooth, either using an immersion blender or by processing/blending in batches.
  4. Stir in the lime juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with crusty bread and an extra lime wedge.

Five… excellent picture books

I love picture books! As a kid, I loved reading, and I read and re-read books all the time. As an adult, I still love reading – and I still love reading picture books. A few of my friends and I even buy picture books for each other as gifts every now and then. In some ways I think I can appreciate picture books a little more now that I can better understand the work that goes in to them. Dannii and I are slowly building up our collection as we come across new treasures and some old favourites.

Here’s a little list of five picture books that I really love!

1. Nobody Owns the Moon by Tohby Riddle
obody Owns the Moon by Tohby Riddle
Image from Boomerang Books
“Clive Prendergast is a fox with a regular job and a place to call home. His friend Humphrey is a struggling donkey with no fixed address. Life in the city is a mixed bag for these two, but a special-looking blue envelope is about to change everything – at least for one wonderful night.”

I came across this book whilst visiting an exhibition on Australian children’s books at the State Library of Victoria with Dannii a few years ago. We were both really drawn to the strangely bittersweet story, and the unusual collage art style. Tohby Riddle’s notes on the book pretty much sums up why I really like this book – it’s a lot more thoughtful than it first appears, with a lot of hidden depth.

2. Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
Image from Oliver Jeffers
My friend Katie gave this book to me as a birthday or Christmas gift several years ago because we had a weird sort of inside joke about penguins. I fell in love with it instantly – it’s just so charming! The artwork and the story are very sweet, and I love how much emotion the shows penguin despite it not really having any facial features to speak of!

3. Sometimes I Forget You’re a Robot by Sam Brown
Sometimes I Forget You're a Robot by Sam Brown
Image from explodingdog
“For a boy who’s always dreamed of having his own robot, actually getting one isn’t what he expected at all. The robot can’t fly, swim, or even talk. All it does is BEEP BEEP BEEP. But this robot does have some hidden talens – and one of them is being a great friend.”

Dannii and I have been reading the explodingdog webcomic for a long time. We both particularly love the red robot character that frequently features in the drawings – one year I gave Dannii a cross-stitch I’d made of the red robot as a birthday gift. So when Sam Brown released his first picture book, featuring none other than our favourite red robot, I bought a copy to give to Dannii for his 27th birthday. It’s another sweet yet poignant story, with that classic Sam Brown art style that we’ve loved for so long. It’s definitely a great addition to our little library.

4. Letters From Felix by Annette Langen & Constanza Droop
Letters From Felix by Annette Langen and Constanza Droop
Image from Amazon
Poor Sophie! It is the end of the holidays, and her favourite little toy rabbit, Felix, is lost at the airport. Then, a week later, a letter in wobbly writing arrives for Sophie from London, and it’s from Felix. Other letters follow from Paris, Rome, Cairo, a safari park in Kenya, and from New York. When will Sophie see her beloved toy rabbit again? Felix’s funny letters are exciting and informative about the places he visits.

This was my absolute favourite picture book as a little girl. I loved the story, I loved opening the envelopes and reading the ‘handwritten’ letters, and I loved reading about all the different places that Felix visited. It’s entirely possible that my affection for letter-writing stemmed from my love of this book. It’s definitely one that I’ll hang on to and treasure for many, many years!

5. I Don’t Believe in Dragons by Anna Walker
I Don't Believe in Dragons by Anna Walker
Image from Anna Walker
Everyone in Miss May’s class believes in dragons – except for Jack.

I stumbled across this adorable book while browsing in a bookstore in Melbourne, but I made the sad mistake of leaving the store without buying it. Over the next few years, I tried looking for it in pretty much every bookstore I came across, but never with any luck. Then my friend Katy found it in a bookshop in Bulimba and bought me a copy as a ‘just because’ present. It was such an unexpected treat! I really love Anna Walker’s illustrations, and I especially love the big orange-spotted dragon in this book. I’m so pleased to finally have a copy of my own!

Wedding Wednesday

all the little happy things - Wedding Wednesday - Dannii does the dishes

Photo by Lily & Thom

I love how well this photo captures Dannii’s servant heart. He moved into our new place a few days before we got married while I continued to stay with my parents, and even on the morning of our wedding he was making sure that everything was in order for when we returned from our honeymoon and officially made the unit our home together. I married a man who, willingly and without complaint, washes the dishes and does the majority of the housework pretty much every day… I’m very lucky and grateful that this is one of the ways that he shows he loves me!