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Adapted August

The year is flying away like crazy! I’ve continued to spend a lot of time hibernating this month which really helps with writing (at times). It only works at times because I suffer from Writerโ€™s block on some days. I managed to get somewhat close to finishing another paper. I say โ€˜somewhat closeโ€™ because I am not sure how much work it will require. I worked on revising another paper which is almost ready to go.

In other news, Iโ€™ve started doing a bit of teaching again and taken on an admin role at journal club. Sometimes, it really helps to change up tasks and expose myself to other activities. I’ve also been finalising the finer details of my last project which finally received ethics clearance last week. Obtaining ethics approval was definitely the highlight of the month as it has taken almost two months to come together. I am so looking forward to starting the next chapter of my PhD.

There are still a few things I need to set up but I can definitely see light at the end of the tunnel. I have written up a monthly plan for the rest of the year which is a little unusual for me (I only write one at the beginning of each month). While I know that things may not fully go according to my plan, I still find it really useful to write as it helps me stay focused. It is so easy to get caught up in the little project and lose sight of the big picture!

Overall, it has been a pretty productive month. I have tried to get around Writer’s block and adapt to the situation by constantly telling myself that the output I am producing towards my PhD will never be consistent. Some days will be super productive while other days won’t be. It is okay to have both.

Here are my eats for this month ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m currently obsessed with strawberries!

Dessert with yoghurt, fruche, ginger, strawberry, kiwi and almonds
Teff and pear teacake (recipe coming soon)
Khichdi or khichuri with a twist (recipe adapted from here)
Sourdough with peanut butter, strawberry and chia
Lunch on a sunny day ๐Ÿ™‚

Joyous July

Another month down! It is crazy how fast the year is going. I have mostly been hibernating because I have been writing. One of the challenges that come with writing is that some days are better than others and I often underestimate the time it will take to do something (i.e. writing a section on X, finding a reference on Y). So, it can feel like I am not making progress on some days. However, the good news is that I have managed to finish the paper I was writing and moved onto the next one.

I have also been working on a few other side projects. It can often be quite rewarding to have tasks like this when I need to take a break from writing. Speaking of which, I went to a workshop on thesis writing workshop earlier this month. I found it pretty overwhelming because it made me realise how complicated and all the little things that I need to consider during write up.

In other news, I managed to finish my conference blog from Hong Kong. Overall, it has been a pretty stressful but productive month. I have realised that thereโ€™s so much left that needs to be done, so I am trying to pace myself as much as I can and priortise what needs to be done first.

Here are some of my July eats ๐Ÿ™‚

Stir-fry noodles with cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, corn, pea and edamame beans
Bliss balls with oat, dates, walnut and chia
Spiced apple porridge with cinnamon and nutmeg
Toast Tuesday with sourdough, guava and chia
Snack with walnuts, carrot sticks and cream cheese
Meatless Mondays with broccolini with chilli flakes
French toast with cinnamon, honey and blueberries
Sourdough with cream cheese, radish and chia
Porridge with chopped apples and cinnamon
Banana, teff and chia pancakes

ISBNPA Conference | Hong Kong

Summary: I travelled to Hong Kong to attend the ISBNPA conference which was held at the Grand Hyatt and Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel.

Duration: 7 days

Where we stayed:

  • Glenealy (booked through TripAdvisor for 5 nights)
  • Hotel Icon (1 night)
Travel essentials

Places visited:

Where we ate:

Day 1

I travelled with Qantas and caught a morning flight from Sydney. I could feel the humidity as soon as I stepped out of the airport. I met up with a friend and we caught an urban taxi to our apartment. We had booked our apartment in Glenealy through TripAdvisor. This was our first time booking trying TripAdvisor as I have always gone with Airbnb in the past.

It took quite a bit of effort to find our apartment (without Wi-Fi) and get our luggage up through the different style of lifts (lifts are much smaller and have an extra gate). It was 8pm by the time we arrived at our apartment, so we headed straight for dinner. It was really nice to go out but I also found it challenging to walk on the streets as it was very busy (it was a Friday night). We wandered around for some time and came across a nice Thai place.ย  I found the weather to be very humid so opted for a cool salad. It was refreshing to have a coconut drink which kind of reminded me of Fiji. We went for a walk after dinner to get groceries. We bought a few things for breakfast from M&S and came home. It was finally time to take a much needed shower and sleep!

Opting for a salad cause I’m forever craving vegetables when I’m travelling!
Made it just before sunset and caught a glimpse of the mountains
Home for the next week

Day 2
We started off our day at Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens which was closest to us. Here, we got the chance to see Bornean Orang-utans, Buff-cheeked Gibbons, Emperor Tamarins, Golden-headed Lion Tamarin, De Brazziaโ€™s Monkey, Red-Crowned Crane and common squirrel monkey. I still remember how sad the Orang-utan looked. While it was nice to see some of these exotic species, it sometimes makes me sad when I think about the captive state they are in. We were sweating by the end of our walk and needed to go find some shops to cool down. We spent some time in Marks and Spencer and wanted to get a drink from a cafรฉ. Eventually, we came across a nice hipster cafรฉ and cooled down with a vegetable juice. After this, we spontaneously visited Jamia Mosque, Man Mo Temple and local markets. We were struggling with the humidity and needed to take another break.

Brekkie in our apartment
First day exploring
Getting used to having so many tall buildings..
First stop: Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens
I’ll never forget how sad he looked ๐Ÿ™
Red Flamingos
So nice to see some green in the middle of the city!

These look so interesting!
Cooling down with a carrot, apple and ginger juice
Jamia Mosque
Man Mo Temple
Local markets have never looked this exciting..
Came home with a bunch of lychees (possibly overpriced)

We headed back to our apartment with some fresh lychees from the local markets. We had plans to have lunch at Tim Ho Wan; the closest one to us was located in IFC Mall. We made multiple attempts to find the restaurant and decided to give up after a while. We were starving by then so we just settled for Pret a Manager. The rooftop garden view here was pretty amazing and made up for the time we lost looking for Tim Ho Wan. We then went on the star Ferry to the other side of the island. We explored shops, Kowloon Park and watched the sunset from Kowloon Bay. We headed back to HK Central for dinner but found it really difficult to settle down for a restaurant. We ended up going to Big Sur which to our surprise, turned out lovely. We grabbed some food from Marks and Spencer and headed home.

Pretty amazed at the way the buildings are connected which kind of helps people stay off the road

IFC Mall – view from the Apple store
The architecture of this building is pretty amazing..
View from IFC Rooftop

First touristy shot in HK
First lunch in HK
This is def one of my favs from this trip
Catching a ferry to the other side
Made it to the other side!
1881 Heritage Hong Kong
Kowloon Bay
A sunset to remember

Warm salad with grilled squid, potato, broccoli and anchovies
It was a very eventful day!

Day 3
We left home around 9:30am but I had to come back because I was feeling lightheaded. At first, I thought it would go away once I walked outside in the fresh air. But I soon started having really awful cramps and felt like I was close to passing out. Thankfully, one of my friends came to the rescue with some electrolytes. Initially I wasnโ€™t sure why I got sick but then it all made sense once I factored in the dehydration from yesterday. ย We had walked way more than usual and I didnโ€™t hydrate myself enough at night after I returned home. The symptoms were confusing at first, the cramps hung around all day. I assumed it was food poisoning because we had eaten at a small market place yesterday (in Kowloon). However, I later realised that it was due to heat exhaustion. I spent all day in bed and tried to nap with the belief that sleeping it off will make it better. I was so cooped up in my room and didnโ€™t even step out to eat because of the nausea. Eventually, I felt well enough to be up and managed to go out for dinner. We went to Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Soup as it was recommended to us by our host. I decided congee here for the first time and loved it (was basically like a savoury porridge). We walked around the roof top garden at IFC afterwards and watched a mini lightshow at 9pm. The view from here was just as amazing at night.

Congee with fried scallops
Back at the Rooftop Garden at IFC

When you haven’t eaten all day- dessert is a must!
Bought myself some supper and brekkie for the next day

Day 4

Today was the first day of the conference. The ISBNPA conference was held in Wan Chai which was a 25 minute walk from our apartment. I presented my PhD research which was really exciting because the audience was larger than usual presentation. My favourite session from today was on reshaping food systems for health. It presented some major challenges that our food systems are currently facing (overweight/ obesity, diabetes, food insecurity, micronutrient deficiency) and made me realise the power of food because of the economic opportunities it provides while nurturing communities. It also got me thinking about how food can be leveraged for health. In the evening, I went on an antique tram tour for a conference networking session. The tram itself lasted around two hours but we also needed to catch a shuttle bus to and from the tram shed. It was really nice to network with fellow researchers and see the different parts of the city at night. I caught a taxi back and made it home just before 10pm.

How cute are these pomegranate tarts?
Loading up on colours
Afternoon teas have never looked this bright! #everythinginmoderation
Conference networking + antique tram ride
View from the tram

Day 5

We woke up super early because we wanted to go up to see The Peak before the conference started. We realised that early morning was our best shot because we heard about how busy the lines can be during the day. The view at The Peak was absolutely breathtaking; it was definitely one of my favourites. I would have loved to hike it up here if I had more time (only takes around 45 mins). It was another great day at the conference; I presented another poster and attended some great sessions. After the conference, we went to Hong Kong Park on our way back. It was nice to take a detour and enjoy the afternoon walk. When we returned to our apartment, we learnt about the level one warning for typhoon and felt puzzled because we werenโ€™t sure what it meant. For dinner, I met up with my old mates who now live in Hong Kong. They took me a very hipster cafรฉ. It was nice to catch up and hear about how the dietetic profession is different on this side of the world. Before heading home, I had a go at one of the traditional HK desserts which was pretty interesting.

Waking up early has its perks- we had the whole carriage to ourselves!
We are going up!

Waking up early for this was so worth it!
Such a pretty concrete jungle
Brekkie with a view
Managed to get a shot before it started raining!

A very interesting smoothie made with tofu, pistachio and maple
Conference food at its best!
These carrots were the best!
Hong Kong Park- taking a detour

Came home and learnt about the typhoon
Catching up with old friends
Habitu salad with cabbage, pomegranate, snow pea, pine nuts, cheese, pumpkin and avocado- was a pretty interesting combo
Sugar coated glutinous balls in a broth

Day 6

We started off our morning at Grassroots Pantry for breakfast. I fell in love with this plant-based cafรฉ the first time I saw it, and the food did not disappoint either. Unfortunately, the rain had started by then so we found it really difficult to find a taxi after we checked out of our apartment. We made it to the conference by morning tea. After the conference, we went to Goods of Desire for shopping and finally got ourselves an egg tart from Paper Stone Bakery. We caught the ferry to TST despite the bad weather and checked into Hotel Icon. Our room had a harbour view, it wasnโ€™t the best view but still so much nicer than our apartment. It was so nice to be able to relax, so glad we decided to splurge after reading Heidiโ€™s blog. As we were exploring the rooftop pool, we also visited the hotel restaurant on our way. To our surprise, they were able to book us in for a window table. It was fancy to be dining with a view, for change. We ordered two dishes that were of canton origin (was our most expensive dinner in HK). We were very tired by the time we returned to our room and fell asleep soon after.

Grassroots Pantry
Sautรฉed mushrooms and spinach, zucchini carrot slaw, pickled kohlrabi, cilantro, cashew browned butter (vegan)
This charcoal bread was an interesting one…
And that’s a wrap for 2018! Time to recycle these..
Post-conference exploring

Fell in love with these without even eating them!
Catching a ferry to our hotel
We made it!
Now it’s time to wind down and enjoy my first egg tart!
Too good to be true?
That view though
Dinner with a view

Hot and sour soup + vermicelli with mushrooms + stir-fried fresh yams, lily bulbs, lotus roots and celeries + braised eggplants and bean curd in chilli sauce
Last night in HK

Day 7
Today was our last day in Hong Kong. I woke up feeling confused because the time showed to be 9am. We had been waking up early every single day so this was very late. I honestly couldnโ€™t believe that we slept so much but obviously, our bodies needed the sleep. I woke up feeling very refreshed. We took our time getting ready while sipping coffee and munching on M&Ms from our mini bar. We then stored our bags and checked out of our hotel. We still had some exploring to do on this side of the island! We went to a tiny hipster cafรฉ called N1 and worked out a plan for the day as we did not have much time left. We wanted to as much sightseeing as possible, as well as try some local foods and I also needed to purchase some souvenirs. We stopped at a few bakeries where I purchased some souvenirs and tried local items (pineapple cake from Hang Heung bakery; red tea walnut bread from A1 bakery). We had also looked up a place (Hoover Cake shop) thatโ€™s supposed to have the best egg tart in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, it took us a while to find it because we could not read the shop name and kept going past it. I tried a pineapple and peanut bun and the famous egg tart here. We found it difficult to communicate here because no one spoke English at this bakery. We walked through Flower city market which was a wonderful experience. We went to Kowloon City Walled Park after this. This park was like no other, it was so tranquil. We sat down and enjoyed our baked goods we had bought. We realised we had walked way too far from our hotel and decided to catch a cab back to our hotel. From there, it was another taxi ride to the airport. I ate my last egg tart and picked up some souvenirs in attempt to bring a piece of Hong Kong back with me.

Time to say goodbye!
You will be missed HK!

 

Tsim Sha Tsui
Egg and mushrooms on toast
Kowloon Walled City Park
Fav park in HK

Red tea and walnut bread
You will be missed!
Home bound

Advice for future travellers

  1. Be wary of hill and uneven surfaces – flat shoes are a must! I didnโ€™t realise this until I landed but luckily the shoes I had packed were super comfortable. I would definitely recommend hiking- the mountain views are pretty amazing (The Peak was my fav).
  2. Carry cash when possible. Hong Kong was just as expensive as Sydney (if not more). Most places will accept card but some of the smaller/ local shops may not, so best to carry cash.
  3. Be wary if you are buying things at local markets. The prices can vary a lot depending on where you go. It is possible to bargain at some places but I didnโ€™t even try because I am so bad at haggling!
  4. We chose to walk to most places (when possible) but the transport here was pretty convenient. Taxi is another great option and worked out to be much cheaper than Sydney.
  5. Make sure to visit the local bakeries, literally every single bakery is amazing! I would’ve loved to have tried out more foods, egg tarts were my favourite.
From Hong Kong, with love

Jolly June

My month started off with ISBNPA conference which was held in Hong Kong this year. This was my second time attending this conference (after Victoria, Canada last year). I really enjoyed the conference as it is closely related to my PhD topic. I also had a chance to explore Hong Kong. It was nice to get away from the cold and take a mini break (click here to read the blog).

In terms of PhD work, I had a super productive month. I was bogged down writing a really big ethics application which will form the last section of my PhD.ย  When I started, it seemed like an impossible task because I hadnโ€™t done anything this big before. It took some time to come together, with the help of my supervisor and PhD colleagues. Honestly, I am so grateful to all the people that supported me, because I couldnโ€™t have done it all on my own.

In other news, I’ve joined as a DAA Media Spokesperson this month. I had applied for this role back in April after learning that a position had become available in NSW.ย  I started writing for the media last year and I knew itโ€™d be the perfect opportunity to hone my media skills. I was so thrilled when I heard the good news, it literally made my week and was probably my highlight from this month!

On a personal note, Iโ€™ve had some past issues resurface this month. It has been tough and it has been giving me major anxiety at times. But Iโ€™ve mostly been trying to focus on the positives and reminding myself of the great things that happened this month. Iโ€™m going to keep my focus on the sunny side, just like my eggs!

Here are some of my June eats ๐Ÿ™‚

Eat the rainbow with carrot, capsicum, lettuce, tomatoes and red kidney beans
#ToastTuesday with sunny side on chilli flakes
Roast chicken with thyme and carrots
Veggie platters make me happy ๐Ÿ™‚
Sourdough topped with berry yoghurt, banana and chia #ToastTuesday
Scrambled eggs and tomatoes will never get old for me!
More veggie platters cause you gotta eat the rainbow ๐Ÿ˜‰
A fridge raid meal at the end of the week
A rainbow salad with cherry tomatoes, carrots, corn, edamame beans and tuna
Berries and pancakes for lazy Sundays

DAA conference | Sydney, Australia

Last month, I attended the DAA conference in Sydney. This was my third DAA conference after becoming a dietitian. Previous conferences in Melbourne and Hobart presented great travel opportunities. But I had a lot going on leading up to this conference (preparing for my oral presentation and another upcoming international conference) so I was kind of relieved that I wouldnโ€™t have to travel anywhere.

Asking the BIG questions โ€œHow can we be the change we want to see in the world?โ€

The theme for this yearโ€™s conference was #ThinkBig. The conference started with motivational speaker Jeremy Meltzer who spoke about business as a force for good and millennial power. This was one of my favourite sessions as it really got me thinking big picture.

โ€œWomen entrepreneurs and business leaders are the fastest-growing economic force in the worldโ€-Muhtar Kent (CEO, Coca Cola). Women are the greatest drivers of economic growth this century.

We also learnt about new terms like ‘nutribollox’ which describes the utter rubbish we are exposed to on social media. Another interesting one was ‘nutribabble’ which is not absolute rubbish but it is information that conflicts (like a popular womenโ€™s magazine).

Why do we so readily reject expert advice? One reason: as humans, we favour information that confirms our pre-existing ideas.

My beautiful city be looking ever so fine on a cold morning

 

Taking a moment to appreciate the architecture of this building..

Did you say salmon and avo? I’m in!
Pearl couscous and barley salad – vegetarian lunches have never looked more exciting!
Woke up super early to make this breakfast seminar!

On Friday, I attended a breakfast seminar which was hosted by Australian Eggs presenting some latest research. A few people asked me about this on Instagram already, so I thought I’d put in a summary here as well:

  • Eggs are an economical, nutrient rich food and contain 11 of the essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, E and B12, as well as antioxidants, choline and lutein. The advice in Australia has been to consume up to 6 eggs per week. However, recommendations around the world have been much higher.
  • The latest Australian study (DIABEGG) looked at the of high-egg diet on cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes. It was a randomised controlled trial. This essentially meant that people either got a high egg diet OR low egg diet. The main findings from the study was no change in cardiovascular risk factors when compared between the two groups. They looked at a range of measures which included blood pressure, pulse, body fat, weight, total body fat and waist, total cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL (bad cholesterol), HDL (good cholesterol) and novel markers to measure vascular and systemic inflammation.
  • So, what does this mean? This means it may be safe to include eggs in your diet more regularly (even if you are at risk of type 2 diabetes or have type two diabetes). โ€œA healthy diet based on population guidelines and including more eggs than currently recommended by some countries may be safely consumed.โ€ย  Click here if you want to know more about the published research.
When your nail polish matches your juice!
Eggs and mushrooms make my day!
Getting my dose of nuts at Nuts For Life
Yes, dietitians do love their cake! #everythinginmoderation
We love our carbs, with veggies of course!

Food fairness everyone’s business especially if we are going to feed 9 billion people by 2042. All stakeholders need to be involved and engaged. It’s time to advocate for change! Most would not think of food security in the modern age of social media where we see so much food porn and endless brunch posts when we are scrolling

On the last day, we had workshops on food security/ hidden hunger which was quite insightful. We are so caught up in the social media world with brunch porn and decadent desserts, we often forget how common food security can be. The plenary session ended with a great debate on the weighty issue which questioned whether BMI should be regularly used to assess obese patients.

BMI is a real issue but not the only issue. But it should not be reflective as a single measure of total health. Focusing on diet quality may be better for improving health and well-being rather than talking only about weight.

These bran muffins were a hit!
Poached salmon, turmeric and coconut with bean shoots and pickled cucumbers
Mango sorbet to treat the 3pm slump
Eat the rainbow!
And it’s a wrap!

Overall reflection

#DAA2018 has been my favourite DAA conference I have been to thus far. Happy to say, it sparked some really big ideas in me. #DAA2018 has gotten me to think bigger than ever before! Now Iโ€™ve got a million dreams that are keeping me awake!ย  It has helped me realise that I need to work on rebranding my account and aligning my passion/ personal interests closer to my professional work.

My favourite sessions included the motivational talk by Jeremy Meltzer, workshops on engaging for success and creating your dream career. The latter workshop focused on branding and becoming an entrepreneur which was highly valuable. It all got me thinking about making changes in my personal and professional life so it aligns better with my passion.

While there is an endless amount of โ€˜nutribolloxโ€™ out there, itโ€™s also an exciting time to be involved. Our profession is not headed in one direction, itโ€™s headed in multiple directions. There is a lot going on which can be puzzling but we now have an international audience.

Here are my top 5 learnings:

  1. We as dietitians need to connect over food and look out for each other (rather than competing). We really need to support the work that other dietitians are doing.
  2. We have lost the enjoyment with food. We need to take your weight-centric glasses off! We should focus on improving diet quality and having a healthy relationship with food (rather than weight per se).
  3. Despite having the expertise in food and nutrition, we must say we โ€œdonโ€™t have all the answersโ€.ย  We must stop saying sorry for changing diet advice. When the evidence changes, we should not be sorry and stand firm on evidence-based practice.
  4. As dietitians, we have a lot of compassion in our profession already which is great! But we need to work on empathy- we should focus on how patients want to be treated rather than how we want to treat them.
  5. Last but certainly not least, we must have courage, an evidence-based opinion and bring out our passion in everything we do!

Thanks for reading! Check out my Twitter if you’d like to see more conference updates from #DAA2018 ๐Ÿ™‚

โ€œYou have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you chooseโ€- Dr Seuss, Oh the places youโ€™ll go

 

 

Miraculous May

It has been a rather strange month. At times, it felt like everything was in my favour while at other times, it felt like an absolute chaos. But happy to say, I am mostly starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. But there are times when I have been hung up on how things used to be and I am trying my best to get past this phase. Iโ€™m just taking it one day at a time and waiting on a number of different things to unfold in my life. Despite the uncertainty, everything feels like a miracle after having a recent disruptive change in my life. It almost reminds me of Albert Einsteinโ€™s famous quote, โ€œThere are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.โ€ I have always believed in miracles and I think theyโ€™re great because it gives you hope to go on under any circumstances.

In terms of my PhD, I spent this month preparing for my oral presentation, creating my posters for my next conference, finalising work on a student project, writing up a survey paper and planning the last chapter of my PhD. I attended the DAA conference which was held in Sydney (blog coming up soon). The conference was so insightful and probably was my favourite DAA conference out of the three I have been to. Itโ€™s only early days but Iโ€™ve been super pumped after the conference. I feel like I have now discovered a purpose and now I somehow just need to connect the dots between my core values and my love for dietetics. I havenโ€™t figured it out all yet but definitely feeling more optimistic about everything.

In other news, I finally managed to finish my London blog after almost 3 months. It honestly feels like a huge accomplishment because I havenโ€™t been able to blog at all and it felt like everything had come to a roadblock. I am spending more time in the social media space and working on planning some new content.

Here are some of my May eats ๐Ÿ™‚

Plain vanilla muffins with ricotta icing (Mother’s Day bake)
Mother’s Day platter with veggie sticks, crackers and cheese
Cacao and banana pancakes with chia seeds
Ricotta pancakes
Rainbow platter with cucumber, carrots, radish, beetroot hummus, cherry tomatoes, French cheese and crackers
A veggie filled lasange with broccoli, cauliflower, pea, corn, beans, carrot and ricotta
Sliced up pancakes served with Greek yoghurt and The Chia Co breakfast booster
Dressing up my toast on a fine sunny day!
Avo on toast with chilli flakes and egg

CBC Digital Health Conference | London, England

I flew over to London to attend the 4th CBC Digital Health Conference (Behaviour Change for Health: Digital and Beyond) at UCL. I was very keen on this one as Iโ€™ve heard lots of great things about this conference from other people in my research group.ย  I also had an oral presentation presenting a section of my PhD research which was super exciting!

Flight essentials

Our approach

My friend and I spent quite a bit of time planning our trip when we went to Canada last year. However, this time, I asked a few of my friends for recommendations which gave us plenty of places to cover. We basically winged it on the spot. Well, technically we planned it the night before. I think it worked well in London because the Tube is so well connected and everything was pretty close (relative to Sydney).

Where we stayed: The Academy

We chose to stay at The Academy because it was located really close to the conference venue. It was listed as one of the top 10 character hotels. The hotel is from the Georgian period and felt very British/ old school, as you would expect. The room felt pretty congested at first but I reminded myself that that this was one of the bigger rooms I had shortlisted!

Where we ate:

Places we visited

Airport snacking

Day 1
We were feeling very tired after getting out of the plane after almost 24 hours. It felt pretty awful at first but I soon recovered after I started walking. We caught the underground tube to our stop Russell Square which took almost one hour. Initially, the tube was fairly light (got a seat) but it got packed later. We found it hard to get out with luggage and almost missed our stop! The walk to our hotel was a short one and we settled down in our room which felt rather small at first. We went out for a late lunch/ early dinner to Thai Bushaba Restaurant. We went for a brief walk after dinner and settled for an early night.

Love being able to see our own journey- blessed with new technology!
First photo after landing #LondonBaby
Visiting the conference building on our way to the hotel
We made it!
Always craving veggies after a long flight

Day 2

We woke up super early and were out of the hotel by 7:30am. We looked up a breakfast place in Bloomsbury on Tripadvisor and arrived at Salt & Pepper. We were very hungry and we found their breakfast to be very satisfying. We walked to Madame Tussauds from here which took about 30 minutes. We arrived there before it opened so we decided to take a detour to Sherlock Holmes Museum. Exploring both museums took a long time; especially Madame Tussauds which involved taking a gazillion photos with the celebrities! Our phone batteries were exhausted and we needed to head home soon. We had lunch on the way at You me sushi which claimed to have the best chicken katsu in London. We headed home, rested and went to dinner at Mondello Italian restaurant. We headed for an early night again and was in bed by 10pm.

Why is it so cold and gloomy?
Matchy matchy brekkie (almost)
Toast with eggs, avocado, salmon and veggies- I could not ask for anything more!

Where shall we go first?
Bollywood be calling!

Could not go past this promising sign….

 

This berry cheesecake was so divine! #EverythingInModeration

Day 3

We were slower getting out this morning and left home around 8:30am. We caught a tube to Westminister and ate breakfast at The Red Lion. We had learnt about Big Ben undergoing scaffolding last night but we didnโ€™t think it would be fully covered! We visited Westminster Abbey after this and took the self-guided tour. I really enjoyed learning about the tombs, monuments and seeing some of the finest architectures that goes back as early as 1200’s.

We visited London Eye after this which was a nice way to transition into the modern world. London Eye sits in the heart of London, opposite the Houses of Parliament on South Bank. I loved the views from here although I am sure it would have looked even better on a sunny day. We had lunch at Bao Garden which was the first Chinese restaurant in London. We visited Tower Bridge after lunch which was another walk through history. We both fell asleep around 7ish after heading back. It was supposed to be a nap but we found ourselves waking up 11:30pm and going without dinner!

Avo, poached eggs and chilli oil on sourdough
The vegetarian big brekkie

Having lunch at the oldest restaurant in London; Big Ben undergoing scaffolding in the background- we almost had a view!
Soaking up the view and wishing it was sunnier…

Seeing this made me so happy! I must be homesick or a really proud Aussie ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 4
Today was conference day. I was very excited for this conference as I had heard a lot of great things from my research group. Thankfully, we were only two minutes away from the conference which gave us the luxury to go out for breakfast at Le Pain Quodien. The baked eggs with salmon were delicious. My day was very well spent at the conference while my partner explored British Museum. We went to a Turkish restaurant near our hotel which exceeded our expectations. It was a really nice experience as I am not very familiar with Turkish cuisine (other than pide). I didnโ€™t have much veggies at the conference so I chose to go with a vegetarian dish (loved the spinach).

Love starting my day with sunny sides
So excited to attend my first conference at UCL
Fruit platter at the conference #EatTheRainbow
But first, let me drink my coffee..
Dinner time!
Red lentil soup = comfort food

 

This was one of the best spinach dishes I ever had!

Day 5
Today was my presentation day and also the last day of the conference. I left feeling so inspired and a little sad because it had come to an end. But it was exciting at the same time, we still had a few things we wanted to tick off before we left for Sydney. We went to Pataya Thai to catch up with a cousin who I hadnโ€™t seen in quite some time. We absolutely loved the night vibes at Oxford Circus because it was something we hadnโ€™t quite experienced yet in London (thanks to our jet lag and falling asleep early).

Eating my breakfast and reading food labels- I just realised that bread is fortified with vitamin D here, pretty cool huh?
Conference lunch

Day 6

Today was our second last day in London. We started our day at Dishoom for breakfast as we heard great recommendations on the egg naan roll. I am not a huge fan of most Indian foods but the egg naan roll here was absolutely amazing. It was nothing like I had tasted before! We then caught a tube to Buckingham Palace. We were there quite early which left us enough time to explore Green Park. The changing of the guards happen at a certain time but you really need to arrive early to get a good spot. Unfortunately, it was very cold that day. It was between 1-3 degrees and we were both freezing. We ended up with a semi-good spot and still had around half an hour to kill. The wait was excruciating because it was too cold to take my gloves and use my phone (we had to grab coffee to warm up after this).

We visited Tower of London next. I absolutely loved because it was almost like I had a ticket to visit the past! We took our time absorbing moments from history. However, we were starving when we finally finished! It was around 3:30pm and we needed to find food ASAP. We came across Wakanama which provided much comfort food and warmth (we had ramen and udon soup). For dinner, we had plans to go to Ottolengthi as it was recommended by a friend. However, we were a little disappointed with our order and had to leave already (there was a booking after ours). We explored more of Oxford Circus and grabbed another light meal at Wasabi before heading home. We got home just before 10pm. We were exhausted as we are normally in bed by this hour.

Spotted this on our way to Dishoom
Egg naan roll *drools*
Everything in this shop is so pretty!
I got way too excited seeing Bengali on the wall. Loved reading the history in my mother tongue ๐Ÿ˜›
Soup for the soul- there is nothing else we would want on a cold day
Green Park
We made it to the palace!

Our tickets to the past awaits us..

Raven romance?
I always wonder how they stay so still..

Taking a moment to appreciate the architecture of this place..

The Shard

Steamed buns with eggplant
Seafood udon
It’s almost time to say goodbye!

Day 7
We had breakfast at Dishoom again because both of us had fallen in love with the egg naan roll. Today was our last chance to tick off some places before we hopped on the plane at night. Our list included Covent Garden, Hyde Park, Primrose Hill, Notting Hill, St Paulโ€™s Cathedral, Covent Garden was a great place to hang for entertainment because thereโ€™s always someone to look at or listen to (in addition to shops). We walked around Hyde Park and decided to have lunch at Soho at Wildwood cafรฉ. After lunch, we went over to the British Museum which was the last thing on my list (was recommended by many). Seeing British Museum was an eye-opening experience for me. It is the oldest museum in the world and I was amazed at their rich collection of treasures and artefacts from almost every corner of the globe. The Egyptian section was my favourite as it is one that I have loved since I was young.

WHY SO COLD!!
Chocolate chai

The famous Hyde Park

Risotto = comfort food
Eating heavy carbs to beat the cold?
Last stop- British Museum

Spent way too much time in the Egyptian history section…
En route airport

Love the bright colours!

Made it to Abu Dhabi
From London, with Love

Overall

The perks of jet lag and sleeping early helped us wake up early every single day. While it meant that we couldnโ€™t have much of a night life, we still managed to see quite a lot in the short time. London is definitely a place Iโ€™d love to come back and visit again. To be honest, I donโ€™t know when I will be back but hereโ€™s a list for next time, just in case I forget!

  • Within London (Primrose hill, Camden markets, Notting Hill, Kensington gardens, St James Park, Shoreditch and Sky Garden)
  • Outside of London (i.e. Scotland, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Oxford, Newcastle)
  • Other places in Europe (mainly Santorini, Switzerland, Paris and Italy)

Anxious April

Iโ€™m not even sure how to begin. The word ‘anxious’ barely covers the emotions I have felt this month. April has always been a happy period in my life as my birthday falls on this month.ย  In my last post, I felt like things were finally looking up in my life. I could have never guessed that the glimpse of sunshine would move out so drastically and be replaced by pitch darkness.

A part of me wasnโ€™t even sure how to write this out. But I felt the need to write something because I often find it therapeutic to write in times of stress. Moreover, I felt it was important to document my PhD journey despite the recent changes in my personal situation. Iโ€™ve had to take some time off to attend a family emergency. It has been really tough because family has always been my number one.

For the first week, I had to disconnect from everything in order to cope. I am a huge task planner so I felt very miserable when I didnโ€™t know what was going to happen tomorrow or the day after. All my plans had become non-existent. Then I realised that I needed to pick up things from where I left off. I knew that I wasn’t going to make great progress because Iโ€™m not in the same mindset I used to be. But I knew that I am better off making an attempt rather than not trying at all. To be honest, I am still struggling but I am trying to normalise my routine to what it used to be. I have started to work flexible hours, communicate with others and appear somewhat active on social media.

In other news, Iโ€™ve had my ‘gestation paper‘ accepted for publication. It was probably my happiest moment from April that came out of my PhD. But Iโ€™ve also had a paper rejected which probably makes it even. My current priorities include screening for a review and preparing for upcoming conference presentations.ย  Of course, there’s so much more that needs to be done but I am taking it one step at a time.

Overall, this month has been incredibly challenging and emotionally exhausting. There were times when I completely broke down and other times when I did my best to remain strong. I have come to learn just how unpredictable life can be, the hard way. So, I am doing my best to be grateful for the present and for the little things in life.

Here are some of my April eats.

Dinner platter with veggie sticks, chicken skewers and tzatziki
Made cacao pancakes for the first time.
Risotto with pearl barley, risoni and mushrooms
Second batch of cacao pancakes
Pineapple fried rice with egg and prawn
First attempt at semolina halwa
Banana pancakes with stacked apples and peanut butter

 

Motivating March

I honestly cannot believe how fast the year is flying away! March didnโ€™t start off all that great for me. I started on a brand new project, so there were some initial challenges. Thankfully, I was able to resolve them within a couple of days. I was also working on putting a summary of my conference learning. I find it really inspiring to attend conferences as it helps me think about the big picture (I sometimes get too bogged down with the smaller details).

Other major tasks this month included two paper revisions. I am back to do doing some teaching and supervising an interesting project (the semester started earlier this month). It is hard to juggle at times, but I still find it to be very rewarding and fun!

In other news, I am also working on creating some content for my blog. However, progress has been slow because most of the time I am in the โ€˜blog planningโ€™ phase and struggle to find the time to put my plans into action. Happy to say, I am working on ways to manage my time better, so hopefully there will be more content coming up soon.

There were a few personal struggles too (was sick for a couple of days and dealing with an ongoing internal conflict which has been going on for longer than it should). But I know that itโ€™s probably not going to stop until I get things off my chest. I know that wonโ€™t be happening anytime soon, so I decided to start a gratitude journal this month. I tried the #30daysofthankfulness challenge on Instagram last year, and I have been thinking about making it a regular thing since then. It has only been three weeks, but I like it so far.

Overall, it has been a pretty good month. I was able to tick off a few things off my list, so I feel like things are finally starting to look up, yay!

Here are some of my fav eats from March ๐Ÿ™‚

Sultana and almond teacake (baked after so long….)
I have always loved pancakes but it’s hard to make them on a weekday. So, I made a big batch and chopped up pancakes into bite-sized pieces and paired with cottage cheese. Oh, so delicious!
Not the best photo of Chinese Broccoli…but I’ve fallen in love with Asian greens this month. My favourite type is Kangkung
Cacao spread on sourdough. This is another new obsession.
Rainy days call for my favourite comfort food ‘khichuri’. I have been obsessed with this ever since I was young, but the only difference is that mine is now packed with a lot more vegetables! Click here to get a similar recipe.
This is now go-to snack. I’m currently obsessed with corn thins. My favourite toppings include peanut butter, cacao and cottage cheese. I sometimes put two when I can’t decide!
White quinoa, lentils and veggies. I have recently rediscovered my love for beetroot and boiled egg. They are so great for work lunches.
Leaving my favourite till the last,ย  I made a big batch of oat banana pancakes and topped it off with chocolate chips. It also served as a weekday breakfast once cut up #winning ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Jolly January

Um, where did the first month of the year go? :O

I spent the first week of January holidaying in Fiji and taking a break has sort of helped me get a fresh start. The good news is that I finally had a pretty productive and positive month! A few people had expressed their concerns about the way I had been naming my blog posts towards the end of last year. Yes, I have had some pretty dark times. But I am finally starting to see the light at the end of a tunnel.

Iโ€™ve finally submitted my โ€˜gestation paperโ€™ after almost 1.5 years. I started this paper towards the end of my first year and been carrying it since like a baby. While I know that it still has a long way to go until it goes out to the world, it was nice to get it out of my hands (for now at least). Iโ€™ve also been busy writing up a new ethics application which is one of those things that always takes much longer than you anticipate. But I am pretty happy with how things are coming along so far.

In other news, I have been focusing on lots of self-care routines this month. Some of you would know that 2017 has been a very overwhelming year for me. It was crazy and hectic; I canโ€™t remember a time or month when I wasnโ€™t out of my comfort zone. There were so many ups and downs in the same week or sometimes, even on the same day. Iโ€™ve tried my very best to keep my focus on the sunny side, but it hasnโ€™t always been that easy. Nonetheless, Iโ€™d like to think that I am stronger and in a better space now. But one of the things I realised in 2017 is that I have been a โ€˜people pleaserโ€™ more often than I should be. So, my goal for this year is to show more of the real me, engage in regular self-care and posting more blogs! Letโ€™s do this ๐Ÿ˜€

Here are some of my January eats ๐Ÿ™‚

Current summer breakfast: yoghurt, fresh summer fruits (mangos, or stone fruits) and muesli
White quinoa, lentils, salad, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and egg (keeping it basic after returning from holidays)
Fettuccine, mushrooms and broccolini for a #meatlessMonday (vegetarian)
Pumpkin, eggplant, green beans, capsicum, white quinoa and lentils (vegan)
White quinoa, lentils, broccolini, capsicum, and carrot, with pan-fried Nile Perch
Finally made the pancake stack I have been dreaming about for a while now ๐Ÿ™‚
White quinoa, lentils, broccolini, olives, carrots and beans, with pan-fried Hoki fillet
Curried potatoes, eggplant and pumpkin (vegan)
Fettucine with olives and broccolin, topped with parmesan (vegetarian)
Work lunch with white quinoa, lentils, eggplant and pumpkin (vegan)
Banana pancakes, topped with cottage cheese, with a side of veggies
When dietitians do picnic ๐Ÿ˜‰
Potato, chickpea and egg salad (vegetarian)
Gnocchi with mushrooms, broccoli and peas, topped with parmesan (vegetarian)

 

Disappointed December

I decided to push myself to the max this month and was trying harder than ever to finish my two papers. I was spending most of my time working on revisions and was feeling hopeful that Iโ€™d be able to submit before Christmas. It was coming along pretty well until I hit mid-December when I realised it wasnโ€™t going to happen like I had planned. This meant that I wouldnโ€™t be able to submit anything until next year. I felt quite demoralised after this point; it felt like none of my goals will get accomplished. But I told myself that every delay happens for a reason.

I tried to finish up other pending tasks but unfortunately, I wasnโ€™t able to tick off all that I had on my list. Again, I was a bit disappointed initially but I have decided to remind myself that it is okay. I have done the best I can and they will eventually be finished. No one really looks at anything over Christmas, anyway!

Saying goodbye to my desk for the year was bittersweet because I hadnโ€™t accomplished what I wanted to. But I told myself, itโ€™s okay, because thereโ€™s always next year, right?

In other news, I completed a teaching course this month which was an eye opening experience for me. Iโ€™m not sure if I will end up taking up teaching, but it was interesting to learn about it from a student perspective. The other good news that made my month was hearing back from a conference that I had put in my abstract for and really wanted to attend!

Here are my eats from this month ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Sourdough with pumpkin puree and poached egg
Yoghurt and granola on sourdough
Work lunch with chickpea, potato, tuna, cucumber and medley tomatoes
#MeatlessMonday with broccolini, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms and asparagus
Greek yoghurt + summer stone fruit + mango + Mediterranean spread on sourdough
White quinoa, lentils mushrooms, chickpea, asparagus, tuna and carrots
White quinoa and beans mix, cauliflower, broccolini, carrot, baby capsicum and tuna
Red and yellow capsicum, broccolini, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and carrots, topped with cashew nut and chilli flakes
Zucchini, broccolini, cauliflower, carrot, red onion and capsicum
Yoghurt with granola, summer stone fruit and mangoes
Chicken, carrot and capsicum skewers
Garlic, butter and chilli prawns (Xmas day special)
Stir-fry with broccolini, red and orange capsicum, cherry tomatoes and zucchini (Xmas day special)
Roast chicken with potatoes, carrot and pumpkin (Stir-fry with broccolini, red and orange capsicum, cherry tomatoes and zucchini (Xmas day special)

Nightmarish November

This month has been a relatively terrifying month for me. I thought I was getting close to settling down but it ended up being quite the opposite. To be honest, a part of me was very reluctant to write about that other fragile side here. I usually try not to bring up personal sides in these monthly posts because I want them to be purely about the progression of my PhD. But my emotional health has not been at its best this month. Safe to say, I am in a slightly better space right now, but I am well aware that this is temporary and it may just hit again. But unfortunately, there isnโ€™t much I can do now other than waiting for the right time and hope for the best!

Whoops, that ended up sounding mushier than I intended, but I am kind of glad I got that out of the way. Now letโ€™s move onto the more exciting parts of my life, shall we? I have been really trying to push myself with my current tasks because I really need to pick up my game. I have set myself a few targets that I want to achieve before the year ends. I am working on a few different papers right now which is really exciting because I have never worked on so many at any one time. But it can sometimes be hard to juggle!

Overall, this month has been very rocky but one of the things I really enjoyed was the #30daysofthankfulness challenge on Instagram. It kind of forced me to be thankful about something every single day. It was challenging on some days but it made me realise that we often get so caught up in our own tangles, we forget to cherish the blessings we do have in our life. You can read more about it from my Instagram.

Finally, here are my November eats from this month ๐Ÿ™‚

Asparagus + wilted baby spinach + chicken meat balls + cheese on toast
Sweet chilli cottage cheese and avo spread for #toastTuesday
Asparagus + baby spinach + slawed veggies (carrot and cabbage), topped with chilli flakes
Broccolini and asparagus stir-fry for a #meatlessMonday
Veggie toast with leftover asparagus, beans and broccolini
Baby cucumbers, tomatoes and carrot with a fruity yoghurt toast
Leftover pasta salad with potato, chicken and carrot + stir-fried slawed veggies (cabbage, carrot, corn and baby spinach)
Veggie packed penne with baby spinach and slawed veggies
#toastTuesday with scrambled eggs and homemade ricotta
Veggie toast featuring homemade ricotta + leftover stir-fry veggies: asparagus, broccolini, mushrooms and carrot
Blueberry and yoghurt toast
Egg noodles with celery, carrots, beans and pea
Potato and tuna patties with salad
Blueberry smoothie
Dessert toast with Chobani mint yoghurt + chocolate crunch and rice crisps on sourdough

Home

Overwhelming October

I have literally a million things on my mind. I almost feel like I will never be able to reach a level where I am happy with the amount of work I am doing and not feel like I am behind! I am trying to get things done one at a time. I really hope it calms down for me soon. It is so hectic right now and itโ€™s probably because I want to do a bit of everything.

I am working on a few different things right now which includes paper writing, finalising statistical analyses and recruitment for focus groups. Stats has probably been the hardest out of these because I tend to forget the steps once I switch to a different task. Recruitment has also been challenging because getting a bunch of humans to arrive at the same time is hard work!

On the bright side, I managed to finish a draft of one of my papers. Thatโ€™s probably the only milestone from this month, other than additional lecturing opportunities. We celebrated 50 years of dietetics in Sydney which was an exciting event. It was so nice to be able to attend this event and learn about some of the pioneers in nutrition and their stories. It also made me realise just how far our profession has come in 50 years!

Here are all my eats from October ๐Ÿ™‚

Avo and chilli flakes on sourdough
Muesli and yoghurt for #Wednesdaybreakfastclub
Green bean, zucchini yellow thai curry with Jasmine rice and roasted cashews (a HelloFresh meal)
Work lunch with broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, cherry tomatoes and sourdough
#ToastTuesday with omelette and a ricotta, honey and pistachio toast

 

San choy bau with minced meat and veggies
Chicken shawarma wrap with garlic sauce and salad
Mango smoothie
Two layer chocolate pudding cake for daddyโ€™s birthday (my highlight of this month is always his birthday)
A simple stir-fry with asparagus, tomato and cashew nuts

 

Stagnant September

This month has been pretty intense. I set myself a large number of goals, both professional and personal. I probably made more progress on my professional ones which is still a good thing. My tasks this month included preparing two posters for a symposium and an international conference. I love making posters, but they can be so fiddly and always end up taking way longer than I plan. Unfortunately, I could only present one in person as the other one was in Argentina.

In other news, I have been working on redoing some stats analyses and have also started recruiting for next round of focus groups. The other important milestone from this month was delivering my first ever lecture. I had to step in to cover for someone so I only learnt about it last minute. I was pretty comfortable in a tutorial setting but preparing for a lecture took a lot of effort and I ended up spending an entire weekend reading. ย Happy to say though, it ended up being a great experience. I am glad I took up the opportunity.

Overall, it has been a very busy month, filled with some new milestones. Unfortunately, new responsibilities come with longer hours. It has left me feeling a little burnt out and has severely hindered my PhD progress and work-life balance. But letโ€™s hope I can adjust and things will settle down soon!

Here are all my September eats ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Strawberry clafoutis to celebrate mumma’s return ๐Ÿ™‚
Roast pumpkin, feta and sage tart with silvered almonds (a HelloFresh meal)
Broccolini + balsamic vinegar + baby spinach
A veggie-based pasta dish with broccolini, beans and capsicum
Cottage cheese on toast + pumpkin + broccolini + spinach
Almond, coconut and chia seed porridge
Stir-fry using capsicum, zucchini, carrots and broccolini
Daddyโ€™s favourite plain vanilla cake for Fatherโ€™s Day ๐Ÿ™‚
Ciabatta with chicken and halloumi and salad
Egg noodles with zucchini, broccoli, capsicum and carrots
Stir-fry veggies, leftover chicken and bread
Eggplant and mushroom lasagne, topped with parmesan
Porridge with strawberries, blueberries and apple
Curried pumpkin on sourdough and salad
Leftover banana waffles and cottage cheese on sourdough
Cottage cheese on olive oil and garlic sourdough, topped with a sunny-side
Morning snack with apples, strawberries, tomatoes and carrot
Pesto halloumi burger with baked potato wedges (a HelloFresh meal)
Indonesian fried rice (a HelloFresh meal)

 

DAA conference | Hobart, Australia

Day 1ย 

I got very sick two days before my flight so I was feeling rather cynical during the flight. Part of me was wishing I didnโ€™t have to go; I just wanted to be in my bed. But seeing this amazing view as we descend made me pretty excited again. I told myself I will do everything I can to speed up my recovery and enjoy my time here.

Let the #TasteTassie adventures begin!

We dropped off our luggage at our accommodation (Airbnb). We were feeling very hungry as it was almost 3pm. We ate at Brook St Pier and absolutely loved our lunch with a view. I loved the abundance of mushrooms in my dish!

We walked around the harbour to soak up more views; we all know that first day views are always the best!

We bought some groceries to make dinner and headed home early as it was getting very cold. Luckily, our cute cottage had a fireplace and one of my friends knew how to light a fire. While I tried to rest and keep warm, my girls made the most delicious pumpkin, red lentil and soup. It was one of the best I ever had and just what I needed for my throat!

Soup for the soul!

Day 2

Initially, we had planned to go to Wineglass Bay which is a long drive from Hobart. However, we decided not go as it would be too hectic to drive for 6 hours on the same day. Our plan B was to catch a cruise but we realised it would be super windy and might make our health worse. This also did not work out as none of us were feeling very well this morning so started our day quite late which left us enough time to have lunch and only see one place. We only had time for brunch and see either Richmond or mount Wellington.

Buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and whipped vanilla cream

I’m so glad we chose to go with Mount Wellington. The view was absolutely spectacular, so breathtaking! We were freezing- it was about to 6 degrees but the chill felt like 2 degrees (according to our phones).

I had my presentation the next day so I decided I needed to rest my body and stayed indoors that night. I drank lots of soup and tea with lemon and ginger and hoped for an overnight miracle recovery!

Day 3

Let the conference fun begin!

Today was the first day of conference and I presented my first ever oral at DAA. To be honest, it wasn’t quite how I imagined it to be. I would’ve liked to have a healthier voice to speak, but at the same time, we can only control so much, right?
On a brighter note, I managed to get through 15 mins without having a cough attack ๐Ÿ˜›

We felt very tired after a long day at the conference. We went home and had soup + roast chicken. One of my girls had her 25th birthday today. Unfortunately, all of us in the house had a rough start to our day so wasn’t able to do anything during the day. But as we all know that birthdays must end with cake, one of my other friends was able to find this beautiful Belgian chocolate and salted caramel roulade from one of the top patisseries in Hobart. It was very rich but deeply satisfying!

Day 4ย 

Since my sickness didnโ€™t improve yesterday, I had almost given up. We had our workshop today in the afternoon and I feel like I could have done a better job. I was feeling a bit disappointed with myself but I realised, I should stop beating myself up over it. This is not the end of presentations, there will be many more to come. So it is completely okay if one does not go as planned. We finished a little early and hit the shops. We were walking into town to find a place for dinner and came across the cutest welcome message!

We looked hard to find a nice place for dinner- this was supposed to be our big celebratory night so we wanted it to be something all of us would enjoy. I had planned to eat some Tasmanian salmon tonight but the sicker me ended up going with risotto when I saw it on the menu. Iโ€™m so obsessed with risotto, especially when I am sick. I must find it easy to go down. I’m so glad I did though because it was one of the best I’ve ever had, filled with a decent amount of eggplant, spinach and mushrooms (my favourite).

We came home and had some leftover cake from the previous night. Ending our last night with chocolate made it even more perfect ๐Ÿ˜‰

Day 5ย 

Our checkout time was around midday so we needed to pack before we left. I always underestimate how long packing takes me. I thought there wouldnโ€™t be much to pack as we had not purchased anything to take home at this point.

The weather was pretty spectacular today, didn’t have to wear my beanie and gloves for the first time!

After the conference was over, we went straight to Salamanca Markets. I had heard about this market from a few people, so was very excited to see an open-style market. Unfortunately, I could not purchase my souvenirs here as there were too many stalls, I found it hard to pick! Also, because some shops did not take card (tip for future self would be to carry cash to places like this!)

#FromWhereIStand

For lunch, we decided to try our luck at the famous cafรฉ we had planned to come two days ago. Luckily, it was a short walk from the markets. Their menu was outstanding- I couldnโ€™t decide what I wanted to eat. In the end, I decided to go with a dish that had salmon so I can get it off my list. This was one of the places on my bucket list and having salmon here just made it even better. I felt very satisfied after finally getting some Tasmanian salmon in my belly. For anyone who’s in Hobart, I highly recommend you visit this place- they have awesome savoury and sweets! You will not be disappointed ๐Ÿ™‚

Nori and sesame crusted salmon fillet on black rice pickled ginger cake with buttered leeks

Calm before the storm!
Goodbye to our yellow door!
En route to airport

To make up for my lack of souvenirs, I shopped at the airport before I hopped on to the plane.

Home bound

Reflection

Overall, the last couple of days have been so incredible and has gone by so quick! I’m honestly so grateful for all the wonderful experiences I’m getting from my PhD journey. I always find conferences to be so great because it opens my mind and helps me put my work in perspective. Now it’s time to go back to work and THINK BIG for Sydney. I’ve always been and will be a Sydney girl, so can’t wait to showcase our city to the rest of the dietitians around the country ๐Ÿ™‚
As for Tassie, I know my adventures here aren’t over yet, in fact this is just the beginning! I’d love to come back someday and explore more because this trip has made me realise how much there is to see in this beautiful land.

Summary

Travel month: May

Where we stayed: with Airbnb on Barrack Street (historical workersโ€™ cottage)

Places visited:

  • Brook St Pier
  • Constitution Dock
  • Mount Wellington
  • Pilgrim Coffee
  • Rockwall Bar and Grill
  • Salamanca Market
  • Jackman and McRoss

 

Augmented August

I’ve made some dramatic changes to my sleep habits this month. I was struggling to get enough work done after returning from Canada. I knew this was partly because I had set myself way too many goals and some things did not go as I had planned. I was struggling with the cold last month so I decided to make a fresh start. I told myself that โ€˜I was not coldโ€™ and โ€˜I can do thisโ€™. I knew I needed to make some changes in my day for this to happen. I have always secretly wanted to be morning person. But the truth is, I love my sleep way too much so I have struggled in the past. I decided to have another go and I started a new routine to get to work by 8am. I started drinking coffee regularly for the first time in my life and happy to say, my early routine lasted the whole month. Making a change to my routine and adding coffee to my list seemed to boost my productivity levels! #winning

For the first two weeks, I was also able to finish already which kept me super motivated (as it meant getting a glimpse of sunshine as I was getting home). However, the work hours got longer after I started teaching. The combination of an additional teaching load and a pending ethics application pushed my hours so long that I barely got to see daylight.

In other news, I have started working on a very special project this month. I have wanted to do this for a very long time but I wasnโ€™t sure where to start. Iโ€™m so glad that I have finally made a start. I know it still needs a lot of work before I can reveal what it is. Canโ€™t wait to share soon ๐Ÿ™‚

Ricotta, strawberry and chia seed toast
Lentil soup with mixed vegetables and baked leftover chicken
Vegan lentil risoni with beans and carrots
Oats, sultanas, chopped nuts, yoghurt and a drizzle of honey
Work lunch featuring a veggie sandwich with cheese, carrot, pumpkin and baby spinach
Oats, ricotta and strawberry pancakes- featuring maple syrup from Canada!
Savoury zucchini pancakes
Broccoli, beans and cherry tomatoes for a #meatlessMonday
Big Saturday brekkie toast with avo, chilli, cottage cheese, chia seed and banana
Oats, berry and raspberry crumble
Sourdough with avo, egg and chilli + cottage cheese and strawberries

Jerky July

July has been a very rough month for me; anyone that has watched me closely would have noticed a difference. Coming back from Canada, I set myself a million goals this month.
Perhaps, I had set myself way too many?
Perhaps, I wasn’t productive enough?
Perhaps, I couldโ€™ve done better?
These are thoughts that haunted my brain almost every single day last month. What I failed to recognise at the time was that I was having a โ€˜mid-PhD crisisโ€™. July was the official half-way mark for me; I honestly cannot believe it has been 18 months! I knew that feeling the mid-PhD blues was a thing because I had read about it here a long time ago; but I just didnโ€™t realise I was having the symptoms, until recently.

I also ran into a major statistics problem which has taken me a long time to figure out. It wasnโ€™t that I didnโ€™t try. I was trying to recover from the situation I was in, but I was feeling quite unmotivated. On top of that, I was under the weather for a couple of days which added to my misery. I felt cold, sleepy and lacked energy more often than usual. I started wondering if it was due to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) AKA the โ€˜winter bluesโ€™. I could see that my drop in productivity levels was starting to take a toll on my health. I knew I needed to push through and just keep swimming, so thatโ€™s what I tried doing. Happy to say, I have somehow recovered from my โ€˜mid-PhD crisisโ€™ and was able to change my mindset! But I donโ€™t want to talk about this just yet as I feel it is still early days. I am certainly not where I want to be, but I am in a much happier space, will reveal more on my next post ๐Ÿ™‚

In other news, Iโ€™m still cooking lots of soup due to the cold. But Iโ€™ve tried a few different things this month to help me uplift my spirits! Here are my July eats:

Apple and cinnamon porridge, topped with walnuts and almonds

Morning toast with homemade ricotta, banana and chia seeds

Green, yellow split lentil cauliflower and carrot soup, with leftover lamb

Homemade ricotta, walnut and pear toast

Avo on toast with pepper, chilli, lemon

Linguini with avocado, pesto, pea and parmesan

Banana, walnut and chia seed porridge

Big batch of mixed lentil, celery and carrot soup

Veggie and prawn stir-fry using pretty much everything I had at home (cauliflower, broccoli, beans, carrots and pea)

Roasted Brussel sprouts with EVOO, pepper and chilli

Strawberry, chia seed and peanut butter porridge

Italian soup mix with green beans, carrots and celery

Hoki green curry with green beans

Lentil soup with carrots and beans, topped with leftover roast chicken

Active April

Gosh, I honestly donโ€™t know where the month has gone! Yes, I know youโ€™re going to say that I say that literally every month. But I suppose time does fly quicker as you are getting older. Speaking of which, I turned 24 this month. My dad insisted on celebrating, but I think I am just getting to the age where I prefer to keep my birthday a quiet business and hide away. I got spoilt with some great presents and cake, of course! I had a lot of cake this month. I have had a few moments of hibernation this month, it does help with my internal struggle sometimes which is still ongoing, but Iโ€™m trying to deal with it in a different way (some of you would probably know about this from my previous monthly blogs).In terms of work, I have been juggling endless things this month. The student projects have been quite time-consuming, particularly because I needed to obtain ethics approval for one of them which needed a lot of work. The good news is that we were recently approved and currently recruiting for our focus groups! Iโ€™m also trying to work on my statistics paper, but it has been difficult to switch back and forth with this. I feel like statistics needs a mind of its own and I am still finding it really difficult to juggle it with other things. Unfortunately, I have not made substantial progress with this, really hope things change over the next couple of days.

In other news, I attended FameLab NSW as a semi-finalist (this was the news I mentioned last month). It was very exciting to be chosen for this. We received training for this on the day which made us feel even more underprepared! However, it was such a wonderful evening because I got to meet so many like-minded researchers from many disciplines and we talked about all things science. The presentation itself was very nerve-racking as it was given to a large unknown audience, but it was such a great learning experience. As a result of this, I also had the opportunity to attend two radio interviews with Dr Karl. Meeting this science legend was a very memorable and special experience; he was very supportive and so down-to-Earth. Iโ€™m honestly so grateful for the opportunities that I am getting from my PhD journey.

Click here to read about a media piece from this month on โ€˜The French secret to beating obesityโ€™.

Finally, here are all my April eats ๐Ÿ™‚

Curried sweet potato and cashew nut soup (recipe here)
Snapper Saddletail curry with tomato and parsley
Pearl barley and vegetable soup (recipe adapted from here)
Roasted aubergines with yoghurt and mint (recipe adapted from here)
Hearty lentil soup with tomato, carrot and capsicum
Pearl barley, apple and almond bake (recipe adapted from here)