A Backlog of Books, Podcasts, TV, Movies, and Food

Well, the year is half over and I’ve set myself a new financial year resolution (though not related to finance) to keep on top of Very Good Things. Here are a few highlights since my last, long ago post in March:

Conversations with Friends
by Sally Rooney – her second book, Normal People, swept me away so I had to read her first book. I didn’t want it to end.
Becoming by Michelle Obama – this was a book club pick and wasn’t on my personal list to read but I loved it and became quite teary by the end to think who has taken their place in the White House.
Can’t wait to read Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, available in July in Australia.

Clementine Ford on Wilosophy – she’s warm, open and intelligent and he really struggles with this interview but credit to him, he openly admits it.
Fresh Air with Terry Gross – the queen of interviews talks with Phoebe Waller-Bridge (13 May) and Christina Applegate (5 June).

– HBO’s five-part series is chilling.
The Letdown season 2 – the Barossa episode is hilarious.
Fleabag season 2 – just when I thought nothing could top the first season, along comes a second and it’s perfect. Waller-Bridge is also a writer on the brilliant Killing Eve.
Easy season 3 – I particularly loved the episodes about the couple who are navigating an open marriage.
I’m currently watching the second season of Big Little Lies and could possibly be enjoying it more than the first.

Free Solo – a documentary that will have you picking your jaw up off the floor.
Always Be My Maybe – after Chernobyl, light comedy was in order and this was funny, sweet and easy viewing. Worth watching just for Keanu.

Everything on Fad Free Kitchen – a shameless plug for a site I do with my dietitian friend that’s all about quick and healthy food using versatile, everyday ingredients, but honestly, I rarely cook from anywhere else.
Kindred restaurant in Darlington – order the cabbage with pine nuts, currant, pecorino and buttermilk dressing to go with your pick of their excellent pastas.

Fad Free Kitchen – Quick, Healthy Recipes, No Overhyped “Superfoods”

If you want quick, healthy recipes without the fuss of using overhyped, expensive superfoods and spending ages in the kitchen, check out Fad Free Kitchen.

Fad Free Kitchen is a collaboration between a dietitian and a writer who are time poor but love to eat healthy food. They refuse to use to overhyped and expensive “superfoods” in their recipes (because there is no such thing as a superfood) and will never ask you to ferment anything.

Read the Fad Free Kitchen story.

Follow Fad Free Kitchen on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

(Full disclosure: I am one half of the collaboration).

Empathy Cards and Book

I love the idea behind this book There Is No Good Card For This: What to Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful and Unfair to People You Love. We’ve all been there and sadly the older you get, the more likely you’ll hear that crap stuff has happened to those you know and love. I doubt many of us can confidently say we’ve handled these moments with aplomb. One of the authors of the book also creates these brilliant empathy cards that are a sweet, honest and often much needed/appreciated way to tell someone you’re thinking of them and there for them when bad shit happens and you don’t quite know what to say. Like this ‘Infertility Judging‘ card or ‘Everything Happens‘ card. The creator, Emily McDowell, also has a range of cards you can send via Paperless Post to make it even easier.

Banaban Coconut Oil Sugar Body Scrub – Effective, Natural and Economical

This is hands down the best body scrub I’ve ever used. It contains only natural ingredients, turns your skin silky smooth and it’s only $12 (AUD). There’s not much in the beauty market that can claim to be natural, effective and cheap – many products that purport to do something, do little or nothing and can often command a high price tag. Banaban also make a Tropical Spice version of this scrub with cinnamon, cloves and ginger. You could probably make a scrub at home for less but let’s be honest, you’re not going to. If you aren’t into scrubs, gift it to someone that is – they will thank you, I promise. Find a stockist or buy online.

Pocket App – Save Articles and Videos to View Later

The next time you find an article, video or link you want to read or watch later, save it to Pocket. It’ll sync across your phone, tablet, and computer so you can come back to it whenever and wherever you’d like, even when you’re offline. It lets you read what you save in a distraction free layout, i.e. no annoying ads, and if you’re too lazy to read the article you can also convert it from text to speech. There’s an option to subscribe to the Pocket Hits curated newsletter (you can choose how often you receive these emails) that showcase the very best stories in Pocket. I’ve found some interesting and worthwhile reads through this. Plus, the Pocket app is free. Find out how it works and how you get it.

Love Home Swap – Save on Travel

A friend told me about the Love Home Swap website (also an app) a while ago and I am kicking myself that I didn’t get onto it sooner.

Love Home Swap is a site where you put your home up to swap with others around the world, which means you can save a lot of money when you travel.

It’s not limited to swapping houses at the same time though. You can also earn points by having someone stay in your home while you’re away and use those points for future holidays. There is also the option to rent someone’s home.

The properties range from studio apartments to grand mansions so there is something for everyone. It’s also reassuring having a stranger stay in your home if you’re staying in theirs.

There is a membership fee but they often and are currently running a 2 week trial period if you join in October. See how it works.

Moss & Fog – Beauty, Design, Smart Ideas

Who doesn’t like looking at beautiful things?

Moss and Fog is a project by a creative guy, Ben. It grew out of his overwhelming desire to share cool and beautiful things he sees. He covers areas of design, science and nature that appeal to the eye and the brain. Like this crazy $150 Million Stair to Nowhere (pictured) that New York will be getting some time next year and this Perfectly Preserved Mid Century Home in Dallas and these Incredible Geometric Desserts.

In his own words “Design/culture blogs are plentiful, but I think when well curated, they can be beautiful respites on the internet to get inspired and find new ideas.” Agree.

Visit and sign up to Moss and Fog.

Little Flowers – Online Florist

little flowers
When Little Flowers launched a few years back, I thought why has no one done this yet? I love sending flowers (and receiving them) but it was never straightforward – too expensive, too many options, too many tacky flowers in the bouquet, ugly packaging. It was all a bit hard. Little Flowers‘ story is simple and clever: ‘Every day we’re up early gathering the best flowers we can find. We follow the seasons and our instincts, offering you one fresh bunch of little flowers to send each day for just $30, and that includes same-day delivery.’ A friend of mine was a worthy recipient today so I sent her some. Her day was brighter, I felt happy and it was all easy. Read about their delivery areas and how it all works here. Do something nice for someone and send a bunch today.

CluckAR App

Choice has launched a free augmented reality app, CluckAR, that aims to help consumers navigate the free-range egg market. Very handy given the recent news regarding the misleading claims on numerous free range egg brands in Australia. All you need to do is download the free app for iPhone or Android, point your phone camera at the label and let the 3D chooks tell the story as to whether the eggs live up to the ‘free-range’ claim.

Buy Me Once Online Shop

Buy Me Once launched earlier this year and lets you shop online for products that last a lifetime. The benefits? Good for the environment and saves you money in the long run. It’s aims to be the go to place for finding the most durable products available from cutlery and clothing to luggage and children’s toys. They currently operate in USA and UK and are expanding. Learn more about the story behind this brilliant idea.

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