Category Archives: Food

Fruit in my wardrobe

ImageOne of the best things about summer in Austria is the abundance of yummy fruit. Melons, kiwi-fruit, berries and my new favourite, saturn peaches. As the seasons change, I enjoy picking fruit that mirrors the weather and my mood. The bright citrus colours in summer fruit stalls inevitably make their way into my wardrobe because someone informs the fashion gods about the amazingness of neon. There has never been a colour trend I’ve enjoyed more than this. Small doses are key however, as I am not a teenager, impossibly cool or of small proportions. Like happiness, just a little goes a long way. 

To avoid looking like a bumble-bee, traffic-cone or police-car, I team my vibrant wardrobe choices with muted earthy tones or white. A pair of white jeans (I found for all of €1 in a fleamarket and then bleached) were a step up from my usual khaki shorts and helped me wear my citrus to work without shocking anyone. I am happy to report that fruity tones are now accepted in some of the most conservative working environments known to man.

Take the often misunderstood kiwi-fruit, for example. Wearable? Oh yes. This hairy fruit with a hidden brilliance was my inspiration when choosing a dress for a wedding. I skipped on the hairiness and angled for the simple sophistication of the intense clover-green. This couldn’t have been more fitting for a celebration in Ireland.  As someone who owns too many black clothes, I would never have imagined saying that done right, bright colours have a way of making anything special. Playfully chic.

Some might argue that crazy neons just don’t work with their skin-tone or personality or some other unique thing so here’s a solution, pick a different fruit! Switch red for peach and white for cream like a saturn peach does and watch the delectable outfit unfold. If you’re not sure how bright you can go, look at the humble plum. Deep blue-violet-grey on the outside and muted brown-red-yellow on the inside, what’s not to love! Keep it simple, accessorise with delicious colours to warm up and you’ll be well on your way to getting some fruit in your wardrobe.

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The North Sea

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I love the sea. Having spent most of my childhood breathing in salty air, it is strange to now live in a country with no coast. Our recent family reunion was therefore extra-special for being by the sea despite it being a distinctly British holiday. I know Britain does not normally conjure up images of sunny sands and cocktails with umbrellas but it just doesn’t need to. In all its overcast glory, the British coastline has the ability to make you feel relaxed and happy even if you are fully clothed.

On our first day in North Yorkshire, we ventured into Whitby, a beautiful, old, ship-building town that once waved goodbye to Captain James Cook long before Australia’s sunny shores were discovered. The drizzly, grey weather did not stop me enjoying the colourful quay, the serenity of the ancient harbour and the feeling of the wind whipping my hair around my face. Ok, maybe I didn’t enjoy the whipping but for nostalgia’s sake, I thought I did momentarily.

Standing by the lighthouse on one of the weathered entrance piers, I realised that I was looking out at the North Sea, a new sea for me. Just across the way were Denmark and Germany! I then remembered that the only times I catch a whiff of anything like my childhood now is when I pass a Nordsee restaurant. I then imagined the long drive the fish must have had to get to Vienna and instantly wanted to find a fish’n’chip shop to top up on my fresh fish quota. Nothing like the greasy spoons we find inland, Whitby’s offerings were clean, comfortable and with good service to boot. I think the smile must have come across the Atlantic but it was still a nice surprise. Perhaps the same can cross the North Sea and trek inland to me.

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Starter for 10

There are few things I relish more than a leisurely breakfast. I usually don’t make time for this important meal during the week however, as I relish my sleep more. A muesli bar on the train to work usually does the trick until I find time to get a second. In an effort to revolutionise my poor eating habits, I have chosen to simply start work at 10 a.m. on two days a week. So far, so good. The temptation to cram more productivity into my waking hours is creeping in but for the sake of my health and wellbeing, I hereby recommit to guarding my breakfast-time like a dog guards a bone.

The best part of slowing down is the quality-time I get to spend with my husband when he is cogent. A vast improvement on the 6:30 a.m. comatose version. We get to catch up in reverse. Look forward, speculate and share trivia. Not just which sock finally found its partner in the laundry basket but also our favourite didyouknows. I think we would have both been amazing at University Challenge. Then again, I’m still not sure why the sky is blue. Maybe I shall find out before our next starter for 10.

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Roasting Beans

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I like coffee but I don’t drink it. It’s akin to liking dogs but not owning one. I appreciate from a distance, bask in the warmth when it’s there and happily let others enjoy it when I’m ready to leave. My husband, however, is the coffee-drinker and potential dog-owner. He contemplates his next coffee, ponders its origins and then says something like, “I think we should get a dog bowl and a heat gun.”

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“Sorry, what?”, spills out of my mouth as images of animal cruelty fill my mind, provoking a sudden wave of affection for canine creatures.

He doesn’t hurry to explain but I wait. Apparently, armed with a standard, smooth, steel dog-bowl and a heat gun, you can roast coffee beans to perfection in the comfort of your own home.

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I have a few reservations about owning a dog-bowl but am no one to stand in the way of healthy initiative. Just this week my husband showed me how much he believes in my DIY abilities. He got me an overlocker as an anniversary present and all I could do apart from squeal was assure him that I couldn’t match his offering by any stretch of the imagination. To encourage the caffeine-lover, however, I picked up a simple coffee grinder and just in time for his birthday, added some great fresh roasted Mexican beans from Alt Wien Kaffee.

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This artisan roastery is a treat for the senses, filled to the brim with specialty beans from around the world, custom-blended for you right there by helpful staff who know their stuff. That wonderful aroma would convince even the most staunch tea-supporter to come in and nibble at some biscotti while the coffee-lover in their life discusses the smoothness of Arabica beans or the roasting process.
All this without a dog-bowl in sight.

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Better Together

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The last few days have been heavy on the milestone-making and light on the mundane. The highlight of them all was the birth of my nephew on Friday. What affected me most was the tidal wave of support and encouragement produced for the parents-to-be. It was stunning to see how they got through the long and exhausting labour together. Personal victories are much better shared and better yet are the shared victories.

Today, my husband and I went through our wedding photos with some friends,
re-living our happy celebration exactly one year on. I was enjoying reminiscing of course but it was fantastic to share the completion of one exciting year of married life with new friends. Friends who I couldn’t imagine knowing a mere 365 days ago.

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There are places I want to go and new experiences I want to have but more often than not, I have no clue where or how it will be. The constants in my life take the fear out of the unknown and replace it with anticipation and excitement. I would like to Vespa across Europe, for example, but only with the love of my life. Colour-coordination is par for the course.

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There are some things that are great by themselves and there are others that are better together. Recently, I found this strange and wonderful combination of strawberry and pineapple preserve in one of my all-time favourite shops and I keep telling myself that I must give it a try. I don’t know how the combo works but it definitely looks interesting and experience-stretching. Two fairly normal fruits might just be perfect put together. Without insulting my husband too much with the fruit analogy, I feel blessed to be with someone so different. I think we’re better together.

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