counting down



1. Homemade churros  2. Takumi sushi train  3. The Strand Arcade  4. Life of a stationery addict  5. Customs House  6. Tea weather has arrived  7. That time I woke up at sunrise for no reason 8. Getting my fill of yum cha for the year  9. Chur Burger  10. Easter donuts from Krispy Kreme  11. Strolls around Darling Harbour  12. Spring onion fried chicken

Somehow, the prospect of moving away for a year really changes your perspective on the things you usually take for granted. In particular, lately I've been thinking a lot in terms of lasts... The last time I'll be strolling down Sydney's familiar streets. The last time I'll have mum's cooking for a year. The last time I'll be able to see my friends without an ocean separating us.

So with one more day before I leave for Japan, I'm afraid this is all I have to share with you! The past month has been a flurry of meetings, visa applications, and catching up with as many people as is humanly possible. Not to mention there's the monstrous task of packing my life into a suitcase, which I've been putting off. It's been pretty hectic to say the least! Anyway, I think it's finally sinking in that I'm leaving, which is weird. At this point, I've done so much to prepare that all I have left to do is hope for the best.

It goes without saying but Instagram is my go-to social media, so follow me here if you're interested in the shenanigans I get up to! Let's be real though, it's mainly gonna be photos of all the food I'll be gorging on. Bye and I'll see you all on the other side!
Posted by : Mani

koi dessert bar

At this point, it's no secret that I'm completely obsessed with dessert. I miraculously form a new stomach whenever it's mentioned, no matter how full I think I am! So it was pretty much inevitable that I'd find myself at Koi, the latest dessert bar on the scene opened by Reynold Poernomo of Masterchef fame. I didn't even watch that season, but the hype surrounding it has been insane. While there's limited seating inside, you can just take away like my friends and I did. The cakes are still so darn pretty, not to mention absolutely delicious.



      

I went for the mookie, an indulgent combination of dark chocolate mousse and raspberry gel all on a cookie base. Be warned though, this one's not for the faint-hearted (at least when it comes to chocolate)! The dark chocolate mousse was so rich and smooth, punctuated well by the hint of raspberry in the middle. Not to mention that chocolate coating was so shiny I could see my own gluttonous face in it. Still, I have no regrets whatsoever.



Not gonna lie, I completely forgot what this one's called (worst food blogger ever)! But even though it was kind of hard to cut through, the chocolate brownie on this dessert definitely looked satisfying. Not to mention the meticulously placed raspberry and chocolate icing drops almost looked too good to eat.

      

A strawberry and lychee mousse cake, as well as the outdoor seating situation. Since Spice Alley next door had a lot more room, we decided to move there before indulging in our stash.
   

My friend only had one word to describe this mango yuzu creation – citrusy. The green exterior of the cake actually makes way for a shocking yellow mousse, which is super eye-catching!



     

If you prefer the classics, Koi also has old favourites such as fruit tarts for sale. Granted the selection changes from day to day, but I guess that's just a reason to visit more. Anyway, in case you were wondering all the desserts were $9 each. A bit on the pricey side, but considering how much skill obviously goes into the desserts I don't mind too much. I'll definitely be trying the set dessert menu when I get the chance!
KOI Dessert Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Posted by : Mani

by the seaside

While they definitely get on my nerves sometimes, there's no doubt that I'll miss my family over the coming year. Going from a house of six people to living alone will be a huge shock, so I'm definitely treasuring the time I have with them while I can! Last month we decided to visit Nelson Bay for a weekend, because why the heck not. Even though the weather wasn't so great, it was fun spending time with cousins I only see once in a blue moon. After all, there's nothing like a good old road trip to encourage some family bonding...





Boat trailers galore! While the weather wasn't exactly cooperating, I was happy to just gorge myself on snacks and take in the ocean breeze. Mind you the water was freezing, but that didn't stop the beach from being crowded (or my younger cousins from attempting to swim).







The best part of travelling with family? Being able to indulge in awesome home-cooked food, thanks to my aunties. Our spread included papaya salad, seafood marinara, and even a huge flathead that my uncle caught himself!
 

      



The next day the sun decided to come out, so we walked around the harbour for breakfast and a little sightseeing. I opted for a breakfast wrap which was sooo good, but ridiculously messy to eat. Surprisingly enough this area seemed to get a lot of foot traffic, despite it being a normal weekend! I can't even imagine what it'd be like during the holiday season.









And then it was time for the long drive home! Two days wasn't nearly enough to explore the area, but the change of pace definitely left me feeling refreshed. I'll definitely be visiting again sometime, hopefully when the weather isn't acting up!
Posted by : Mani

a little announcement



So I don't know the best way of going about this, but I have an announcement to make. In fact, it's kind of ridiculous that I haven't mentioned it on the blog yet, since it's pretty much been taking over my life lately. Anyway, it's official: I'm moving overseas for a year to study abroad. Specifically, I’ll be going to Japan to finish up one half of my double degree!

Honestly, I can't believe it's finally happening. I've pretty much been prepping for this year since I started uni three years ago. And now after months of paperwork (the stuff of nightmares), it's finally starting to sink in that I'm actually doing this. Anyway, I'm nearly set to leave and I'll be flying out from Sydney in less than three weeks. While I'm feeling quite level-headed at this point, I'm pretty sure that won't be the case as my departure date gets closer!



In case you're wondering, I’ll be living in far east Japan, which is nowhere near Kyoto (where these pictures were taken). Apparently it's super rural, but I’m not quite sure what to believe since most Japanese people consider 'countryside' to be anything that's not a major city. Not that it really bothers me though. There's something charming about small towns that draws me in, plus I plan on doing a lot of travelling in and around Japan while I'm there anyway.

Aside from that, I really don't know what to expect from this year. Everyone tells me they're excited for me, but it's not like I'm going on a year-long holiday. I'll be living, breathing and studying everything Japanese, which is equally exciting and terrifying. On top of that, having never lived alone before (let alone in a strange country), being away from everyone I know in Sydney will definitely be a hurdle.

As for my blogging situation? I have no idea. I could be bored out of my mind and have nothing to blog about, or I could be off having adventures everyday. Either way I'll try to be diligent in posting, but if you don't hear from me much in a few weeks that's where I'm at! As cheesy as it sounds, I'm so excited to take you guys with me on this chapter of my life!
Posted by : Mani

catmosphere cat café

To be perfectly honest, I've never been much of a pet person. Yep, not a dog nor a cat person, but just a pet person in general. Growing up my mum was pretty against the idea of fluffy things around the house, so that narrowed down our options quite a bit! Since I can barely take care of myself, let alone a small animal, that suits me just fine. However, it does mean that I'm totally awkward when it comes to hanging out with other people's pets. Surely I can't be the only one?



Anyway, with cat cafes everywhere in Japan it's no surprise that the trend has hit Sydney. My friend and I hit up Catmosphere recently for a session with the kitties, which is perfect for petless people like me. Surprisingly it was a lot of fun too! You can choose to hang out with either the cats or kittens, plus it comes with coffee. The kitties are also later put up for adoption, if you're so inclined.



      

The waiting area was decked out with the cutest drawings ever. If you order a latte like I did, you'll also be treated to this adorable coffee art! It killed me to have to eventually drink from it...





Trying to get a good photo? Nice try. Getting these babies to pose for the camera is hard, since they wouldn't stop wriggling around.







The time went by really quickly, and before we knew it it was over. Anyway, all in all it was such a pleasant experience! I can see why cat cafes are so popular now. Having a sleeping kitten on your lap is sooo relaxing, even if half the time my internal monologue was going 'please don't pee on me'. While actually owning a cat isn't on the cards for me, I'll definitely be visiting again!
Posted by : Mani

five senses



Happy first day of autumn or spring, depending on wherever you are in the world! Regardless of dates it's still prime summer weather in Australia, and it looks like the temperature's not cooling down anytime soon. Not that I'm complaining, though. Any excuse to keep eating ice cream can only be a good thing in my eyes.

Anyway, with a new season comes something a bit new on the blog! I used to do a lot of tag-style posts here, but stopped since I'm not quite sure if anyone finds them interesting to read. Regardless, after reading Tokyobanhbao's blog I was inspired to spread the love and try this unique spin on a regular favourites post. So here are some of the sense-related things I've been obsessed with lately!



SIGHT

Usually I'm not big on the shows that Australian TV has to offer, but The Family Law on SBS has quickly become my latest obsession. I'm a bit late in recommending it since it just wrapped up, but it's too good not to mention! Based on Benjamin Law's memoir of the same name, the show somehow manages to be equal parts hilarious and heart-breaking.

While I'm obviously tickled to be seeing Asians on primetime TV, this is such a heartwarming show in its own right. I can't wait for season two and even more awesome (and often TMI) one-liners that make you laugh out loud. If you're in Australia you can still catch it here!



HEARING

Even though I bought this ukulele almost a year ago, it's still a longstanding favourite of mine. It's nothing fancy, just a stock standard Mahalo that you can easily get from eBay. Regardless, I think it's the best thirty dollars I've ever spent! It's nice to have a hobby that doesn't involve staring at a screen for hours on end. Not to mention, I find it relaxing to sing and play along even though I'm not so hot at it.

     

TOUCH

Does this even count? After watching Sofie's video I decided to make these pouches in an effort to get more organised. Anyway, I'm in love with how they turned out! They make switching handbags so much easier, not to mention cuter. If you're interested in knowing how I did it, I actually posted about it awhile ago. In fact, I think I even used the same fabric as last time!



SMELL

Technically this isn't even mine, but I may or may not have borrowed it on more than occasion from my mum (worst daughter ever). I'm not even much of a perfume person but I can't help it, it's smells so good! Marc Jacob's Daisy never did it for me, and I never understood the hype surrounding it. But Daisy Dream's sweeter, and definitely more suited to my taste. I should really get my own bottle soon, huh?



TASTE

Lately I've actually been making an effort to sit down and have a proper breakfast, which pleases me a lot. While I'm a fan of eggs in any shape or form, lately I've been loving super soft scrambled eggs that aren't cooked any longer than they need to be. With just a crack of pepper over toast or English muffins, mornings don't get much better than that.
Posted by : Mani