Heart attacks, cheap eats and all the quails.

Hawker

I usually update you guys on the amazing cuisine in Auckland, but (as you may have picked up) I’m not actually IN Auckland currently. As the boy and I travel, we’ve had a checklist, a kid of culinary ‘to do’. Not masterminded by me (I’m having a hard enough time trying to tick “paleo” off as is), but from the boy. Our adventures have be a sort of foodie tour of South East Asia, with decisions on places to stop being made purely based on where historically makes tasty noms. My personal tour guide is quite partial to hawkers markets, or street vendors (despite every warning against this) and I’ve found it to be one of the best ways to truly chuck yourself in the deep end, (both culturally and digestively) and discover the real essence behind a city. So, for my readers in this area (or my readers heading this way), I give you my two favourite street markets spots (so far).

Hawker2

Gluttons Bay – Singapore

This hawkers centre is very well documented, but still, it deserves the hype. What serves as the ‘creme de la creme’ of Singaporean street food, bands together to create a buzz of finger lickin’ traditional fare, right on the (rather breathtaking) water front of Singapore.

When we headed here we completely lucked out and happened upon an installation art exhibition (that quite literally lit up the sky) going on along Marina Bay too.

For this, our first Friday traveling, the boy decided we had to have the most decadent looking dish available, chilli crab. This is a Singaporean specialty consisting of an actual whole crab just hanging out in a pile of delicately spicy, full bodied, tomato sauce. It was swimming in so much of the stuff I swear it had died by drowning. Paired with sticky rice and crispy sweet buns for my dinner date (no sexual reference intended), this messy but oh-so-much-fun dish left us wanting more.

Other notable Singaporean dishes worth a try are chicken rice, oyster omelet and carrot cake (which is neither a cake, nor contains carrots – who ever named that was on something whack).

Soak up the sounds of Singapore whilst sipping on a coconut, but be prepared to fight (like really, really hard) for a table.

Hawker3 Hawker4

Night Markets – Trang

This little spot was almost over looked! We only stopped in Trang for one night (as most do). It’s a sort of transit town for tourists heading to Thai Islands. Lucky for us, our one night also happened to be a Friday, the evening the small patch of town right outside the rundown train station (and, it turns out, our equally run down digs for the night) comes alive with food, fashions, and odd trinkets galore.

Eating here was like dinner and a show all rolled up into one, with small elderly ladies making fresh roti, whole fish slung on coals and squid kebabs going round the barbie. Everywhere you looked there was something amazing to watch and some new oddity to taste. Often food choices were a bit of a lucky dip, not understanding the offerings (just the price – the price always seems to be easy to translate), but none were a disappointment.

I settled on a papaya salad, mixed up in front of my eyes (and allowing my control over spice levels – thank god), fried quail eggs and big chunks of watermelon for dessert. Needless to say, I was one insanely happy camper as this was my first proper healthy style eating since we had set off on our travels. Also, all that probably came to under $2.50 (NZ), leaving plenty of money for other things (these “things” may or may not have been a new handbag*). The boy, who doesn’t give two hoots about healthy, went for spicy squid, quail egg money bags (we are yet to discover where all the quails were hiding) and a sweet roti filled with banana and covered in not only chocolate, but sugar and condensed milk too (aka heart attack on a plate).

I don’t know whether it was because we had absolutely no expectation of this little town, or because the food was spectacular, or because I finally felt nourished in a healthy way, but this was one of my favourite food memories on our adventure.

*Ok, ok, they were definitely a new handbag.

Hawker5 Hawker6

Mondayitis

20140406-161844.jpg

I seemed to have just skipped out on that ancient tale of waiting by the phone for a guy to call. You know, the one that features in romcom classics, made for desperate women around the globe? And, before you judge me, it’s not because boys always called, it’s because by the time puberty hit me (and boys hit my raider) texting was the thing.

For some reason I think text communication (or rejection) is a little easier to handle. You can text other people as a distraction, you can take your mobile with you when you’re out (to eliminate the fear off missing that all important beep), or you can even text the illusive party to relieve some of the tension. (Followed, of course, by huge amounts of self loathing because you ‘broke’ the illusion of playing hard to get).

Well, ladies of the pre-text era. I’m feelin’ ya.

No, the boy hasn’t gone array. He’s still here (not much texting though, more grunting). I’m talking about potential employers. Sending my blood sweat and tears (aka work-to-date for the less dramatic of my readers) into an automated email black hole is starting to get a little heart breaking.

I’m constantly checking my gmail, my phone and my LinkedIn for news from London shores. Hell, I’ve even started to over analyse my blog readership stats to see if I can somehow spy my future boss’s googling me.

They haven’t.

Questions fill me up, like “am I not good enough for you?” or “maybe I should just ring them?” and the age old “what if they lost my number?”. I am turning into every female character in He’s Just Not That Into You, except my hair isn’t as shiny.

So, this Monday I would freaking love my inbox to be full of responses to my beacons of hope sent in the direction of the UK. Or at least just ONE email that isn’t spam.

NB If you are in fact a potential employer reading this, I’m totally cool and laid back I swear. This post is just a total joke. If you email me, and I respond within 30 seconds it’s totally just because I was already online. I swear.

20140406-161859.jpg

The month that was.

March

March has zipped by and I’m still not quite sure how I fitted everything in. Six different cities, eight modes of transport, one family reunion and (as always) way too much food. Follow me on Instagram here for what will continue to be a sneak peak of my adventures around Asia and India. With lots of food. Like lots.

Mondayitis

MondayCoffee

This morning I am not beating around the bush. There is no witty way to package it, and no amount of clothing lusting to cure it. The only thing to cure my mondayitis, is coffee.

You can throw gorgeous, designer dresses at me until I look like Joey from that episode in Friends when he wears all of Chandlers clothes at once (minus underwear), but it won’t do. Because all I want is a real caffeine hit.

It’s barmy outside and I want to walk around naked (I hear its inappropriate or something). But I don’t care. Halfway through this glorious trip, and the only words that are falling out of my mouth right now are complete gibberish and sound (or look) something like “blahblahblah CRAZY HOT LIKE A CRAZY THING blah”.

Between overnight trains, jet lag, and nights that are screamingly hot, sleep is at an all time low. I am craving the taste of my sweet local brew to pump me full of the energy needed to see me through this incredible Cambodian morning.

Next time you are in Auckland, hit up my three favourite coffee joints for your glorious taste of a “proper coffee” as my mother puts it. (A “proper coffee” being one made in a fancy machine, rather than that “instant stuff”.)

Rad This Mount Eden spot is the new kid on the block, and they use Wellington born Flight Coffee in there technicolour cafe. These beans have a deep, caramel-y hit to them and my pick off the menu would have to be the classic Latte. The endless creamy milk will lap up the richness of the shot. Also worth a note, are the scrum my smoothies.

extra

Twenty Three This little gem was right next door to me, so I had a wee soft spot for it. Not only are the brunch options stella, but the short black is a must try, and the amazing staff will know your order after only a few visits.

extra2

The Espresso Coffee School A ‘gift economy’ cafe (basically, you pay what you think your item is worth, rather than having a set price – food included), which has a rotation of uni students all learning the ropes of the coffee machine. This a pokey place is always stuffed full of business men and suit clad ladies on their way to work, not only because it’s cheap (or you can make it cheap), but because, under the watchful eyes of the owner, those kids are making pretty damn good baristas. Go there and try the kiwi traditional Flat White for a “proper coffee” with a full bodied flavour. If you don’t like it? Don’t pay!

MondayCoffee2

Pimple cures, ego deflating and my (new) bestie.

Lemons2

You know that phrase, the one featured in like every sappy 90s love song (or any love song at all for that matter), the one about not knowing what you’ve got… ‘Till it’s gone? Well I’m suffering from that a little right now. To friends and family back home – you can stop that head of yours getting any bigger, because I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about lemons.

Yup. Do you know how hard it is to hunt down a damn lemon in Asia? I don’t know if I’m looking in all the wrong places (and yes, I looked in fruit shops, supermarkets and even asked at restaurants), but I could barely find any. This doesn’t sound like much of a drama right? Well, I guess it’s not on the scale of life events (weddings, children and lemon draughts will probably make my obituary), but it has made me realise that lemons are one bloody brilliant fruit.

For the last 12 months in NZ I’ve been consistently guzzling a glass of water with the juice from half a lemon and a tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar every morning (except a few hungover occasions that we won’t talk about). To be honest, I didn’t really understand the good it was doing me. I just kind of did it, because (like any good blogger) I read somewhere online that it’s super duper for all things digestive and helps out your skin too. (And yes, if the internet told me to jump off a bridge, I probably would do that as well).

Lemons

As much as I wanted to squeeze 9 weeks worth of lemons and ACV into my luggage, the boy had already been lenient with my packing quoter (he double checked the necessity of each item in my bag and even let me keep the third pair of shoes), so I decided to test my life – lemon free. Well, you know what? My life is oh-so much better with a little acid in the morning.

Even just a few days in from my morning ritual hiatus, I notices more spots. A week in and my skin tone was hella blotchy, and food was aching my tummy (this could also be because I’m traveling south East Asia… Or, you know, lemons are magic). Three weeks in and I’m reminded of my sixteen year old self, and not in a good way (in a hormones expressing themselves through my pores sort of way).

As well as doing wonders for your skin, lemons claim to boost your immune system (with all that tasty vitamin C), balance out your PH levels (aiding healthy digestion and knocking out toxins) and even reduce inflammation in joints!

So, when I stumble upon these citrus fruits on my journeys around the orient, Im buying as many as I think will stay good, and strapping them to the side of my already overflowing pack. I’ve even started using the juice directly on a pimple to clear it up quick (when I’m done drinking it obviously).

To all you people who are spending up large on fancy name skincare brands that promise to rid you of acne for life, save a buck or two and go to your local grocers* to pick up some lemons. Maybe some apple cider vinegar too – but that’s a love story for a different day.

*unless your in Asia, then good luck to ya!

 Lemons3

Mondayitis

MondayTee

My time as a Fashion Editor is often spent in pursuit of the archetypal wardrobe must have. And, although I can never quite cut that list down from my 387 strong clothing collection, to some what more manageable number (like 10), there is one piece that I’m even more convinced than ever should be in everybodies (men and women alike – hell, maybe even small dogs too) closet… I’m talking (of course) about the classic T-shirt.

This Monday, like so many before it, I felt like I had nothing to wear. My traveling pack has began mimicking my everyday wardrobe; it’s stuffed, scrunched and piled high with a tousled mix of clean and dirty clothes (and some “undecided”), all of which just don’t seem quite right for the day ahead. But you know what would fix that? Whether you too are living out of a suitcase, or a badly organised wardrobe? The perfectly fitting, loose but not-too-loose, T-shirt.

MondayTee3 MondayTee2

For me it would fix the dilemma that comes with temple touring – it’s so freaking hot, but you have to cover your knees and shoulders (and it would be an added bonus if you could still look cute for those travel pictures). For you it would master the art of looking chic and sophisticated at work (pair a crisp white tee with a well fitted blazer then layer up the statement necklaces).

Basically all sartorial choices would just be so much more enhanced with a T-shirt shaped partner.

So, please T-shirt gods, set me up with a good scoop neck, cuffed sleeve, boyfriend fit, and I will be forever in your grey marl debt. And officially snapped out of my Monday morning blues too.

MondayTee5 MondayTee4

Wet therapy, tiny spaces and the worlds least active human.

Workout

My family and friends are still in disbelief that I actually write a blog with an element of exercise to it. I’ve gone from being the worlds least active human (when I was a teenager) to being addicted to running, boot camps, bikram and anything else that likely to make me sweaty (get your mind out of the gutter). I completely love it all. Exercise not only plays a role in my physical wellbeing, but a huge role in my mental wellbeing. It’s like therapy (wet therapy). So, traveling around, going from backpackers to small hotel rooms, has left me without my usual variety of incredible running and workout back drops! But I would never let that stop me – no, no, no.

I created myself a series of ‘small place friendly’ workouts before I headed off. So, if you find yourself in a tight spot – here are a couple of workouts to help you keep moving.

Indoor Cardio Booster

Cardio can be one of the hardest things to tackle in a small space. When there isn’t a gym full of treadmills or a vast open space to run around, people tend to just skip the heart rate rising cardio set. But you don’t have to! Try this workout… the key is to do each round as fast as you can and only rest when indicated. If you are competitive (like me) time yourself and try and beat yourself each round.

  • 10 x burpees
  • 10 x star jumps
  • 10 x mountain climbers
  • 10 x high jumps

30 SECOND REST

  • 25 x burpees
  • 25 x star jumps
  • 25 x mountain climbers
  • 25 x high jumps

30 SECOND REST

(Repeat both sets again, then follow with a nice stretch out.)

Workout2

Body Weight Strength Session: 10 to 1

Mix up that awesome cardio set with some strength training on alternate days. Don’t worry, no dumbbells needed… just you and your body. This one is super easy to change up depending on what you want to do. Fancy a full on leg day? Why not do squat jumps and lunges or kick backs and side raisers. Abs need a workout? Give v-sits and leg lowers a trial. Play around with it and have fun (very sweaty painful fun).

  • 10 squats – 1 push up
  • 9 squats – 2 push ups
  • 8 squats – 3 push ups
  • 7 squats – 4 push ups
  • 6 squats – 5 push ups
  • 5 squats – 6 push ups
  • 4 squats – 7 push ups
  • 3 squats – 8 push ups
  • 2 squats – 9 push ups
  • 1 squat – 10 push ups

To add an element of cardio, inbetween each set either sprint the length of your hotel room (if its long-ish) or do 10 x star jumps.

(Finish up with a nice stretch out.)

Top Travel Tip: One thing I made sure I found a wee bit of space for in my pack was a skipping rope. It’s not huge, it packs up small and its a great one for getting that heart rate up! Either break up one of the above work outs with 20 second skipping bursts or just go hard out for as long as you can – just you and your jump rope.

Workout3

Mondayitis

MondayLeopard

It is Monday, although (just to rub it in) days of the week are kind of smooshing (yup, that is a word) into one big unidentifiable blob right now. After four blissful nights at a beautiful beach resort, I have not one tiny inkling of Mondayitis… but being the lovely and giving human that I am (hey – I saw that eye roll) I’ve been thinking about some nifty things that could brighten the start of your week.

I’m about to head onto an overnight train from Ko Lanta to Bangkok, to see my family. (Yes, yes, I can hear you all gasping… I’ve only just left them, how am I already homesick? Well, don’t underestimate the power of my “mummy/daddies girl” combo. If the boy would let me, I’d probably try and fit them both in my back pack.) My mother is celebrating a pretty big birthday (woop, woop – happy twenty first mum) and as a family, we are coming together in Thailand to have a knees up just for her.

To keep up with these celebrations, I thought I would do what every good daughter does for her mother on her birthday – disobey her. You see, my mother used to tell me that tattoos were for sailors or prostitutes, and animal print was tacky*. Well, last year I got a tattoo, so I guess it’s time I whipped out my best Mrs Robinson impression, don’t you? Leopard print has long since left the realms of cougar-only wardrobes and has been seriously welcomed into the fashion elite (not that it ever left Donattela’s life).

MondayLeopard3 MondayLeopard2

Just like Kate and Wills’, denim and leopard is a match made in heaven. The love affair between two heavy duty fabrics is the fashion equivalent of a commoner marrying into the royal family. The play of dressy vs casual, of plain vs out there, and of workwear vs um…play-wear… (?) strikes a brilliant balance. Taking the simple pairing of skinny jeans with a classic white tee and throwing on some (fake) animal skin heels really shakes up your look and lifts your style game. Other noteworthy partners for your lovely leopard pieces are camel (think traditional style trench) and leather (think texture combination to die for).

So, this Monday, in order to fight off your morning blues I suggest you all (maybe not you dad) throw on some animal inspired prints and act like Pippa isn’t the only hot piece of ass.

*Now, before I start getting angrily worded emails, please note that my mother has a fabulous sense of humour and this is a running family joke. NOT a comment meant to make sailors, prostitutes or wearers of animals cry.

MondayLeopard4 MondayLeopard5

Goodbyes, celebrations and the tart that has it all.

Tart

The other week the boy and I had a party to celebrate our impending departure. We filled our house with beautiful fresh flowers, picked up some incredible cheeses (the most important guest at any good party) and had bubbles all round. It was a beautiful night with beautiful friends.

Tart2

You know what else was beautiful? These super cute mini “cream tarts” I made. They were paleo (duh), raw, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free orange and rosewater tarts – who knew one tart could be so many things!

Recipe makes 12 mini tarts

Ingredients

Almond Case

  • 1 cup mejdool dates
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup almonds

Cream Filling

  • ⅔ cup cashews (soaked overnight)
  • ¼ almond milk
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp rice malt syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp rose water essence

Instructions

Get started on the nutty casing first by adding all of the ingredients into a blender and processing until roughly combined and sticky. I like mine to be fairly chunky and “rustic” (aka lazy), but finer is just as good.

Once you’re done with the base, line a mini muffin tray with glad wrap and split your sticky mixture into 12. Push your 12 pieces down into the individual muffin moulds until a tart case is formed. (You could also opt for larger muffins and this recipe would make 6.)

Then pop your cases into the freezer to set, whilst you get on with the cream.

Tart3

For the orange and rosewater filling, put the soaked cashews into the blender and process for a few minutes. With the processor still running, add the juice of an orange, almond milk, rice malt, rosewater and vanilla. Keep all this yummy-goodness blending away until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.

Once you have the desired consistency for your cream, pull the tart cases out of the freezer and fill each tart to the top (with the cream). Then put these into the freezer for a few hours to set. Your tarts can be kept in the freezer until serving (let them defrost for 10 minutes or so for cream to soften).

We popped some raspberries on ours, but anything you fancy could go on top. Seasonal fruit? Hell yeah! Toasted nuts? Yum! Cacao nibs? Why not! All of the above? Even better!

Enjoy.

Tart4

Mondayitis

MondayPinterest

Easily the hardest thing about packing up shop is leaving some precious people behind (that and having to cut my shoe collection down to three, way too practical, pairs). One of such people, who I’m missing like crazy this Monday, is my bestie. I love her (mushy-bel alert) for a million different reasons, but one of them is because she introduced me to Pinterest.

I also hate her for this.

For those of you not on Pinterest – whats up with that? You do know that it’s not just for people planning weddings right? There is literally an endless supply of beautiful fashion shots to inspire. It is like a beautiful home to build your perfect wardrobe… then just keep looking at it. Admiring it. Lusting after it.

So, while I live my life out of a backpack, in a miniature hostel room and in the same pair of cut offs everyday, I’m waisting away my early morning, jet-lagged, hours filtering through the outfits I wish I could be wearing (and owning).

To cure your Monday morning blues, check out my favourite fashion ‘pinners’, Elle, Lauren Santo Domingo and Rachel Gadiel  and get your wardrobe wish list flowing.

Blog at WordPress.com.
Customized Esquire Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 668 other followers