Another week in the home office and I’ve taken to doing complete looks on some days ie wearing proper shoes as it just helps me get into work mode. I’ve also taken to reworking my activewear and popping on some brights to mix things up a bit. I’m embracing the comfy WFH pant more and more, while I’ve still managed to make blazers very much a part of my work from home wardrobe (they’re a great for “I’ve got a video call in five minutes and need to look decent” scenarios). All in all, I’m trying to have fun with my outfits which helps give my days a little normality, as it’s definitely something that I would always have done pre-isolation.
A little injection of brightness always helps me feel energised. We’ve had some warm days in Sydney this week so I opted for this yellow dress by S/W/F. I’ve really been loving my Aje chainlink necklace, it’s so easy to work back with several of my outfits.
This is one of my fave office looks as it’s comfortable but looks polished at the same time—perfect for video calls. I can’t praise these white Uniqlo t-shirts enough. They hold their shape well and are a great staple to have as they’re so reasonably priced. I popped on this longline jacket by Manning Cartell just because and these Bottega Venetta heels because I just felt like doing a complete look.
I saw a friend do this look on her Instagram Stories and loved it (thanks, Jess!). I’ve been really getting into this new activewear set by Camilla and Marc as it looks really polished and is unbelievably comfortable too. The shirt just helps it feel a little more like a fashion look and helped me rework these pieces in a different way.
Credits: Crop and bike shorts, Camilla and Marc; Shirt (similar here), Anna Quan; Headphones, Huawei FreeBuds
I’ve been getting a lot of use from this long sleeved Bec & Bridge knit. It’s a great autumnal shade and I love the thumb holes in the sleeves which gives it an interesting design element. I’m all about comfy WFH pants and this white pair, also by Bec and Bridge, ticks all the boxes. Also loving these mules by Seed—they’re priced well and go with so many things.
Being at home with both Sophia and Grace over the last few weeks has made us have to be re-think screen time. With Luke and I still trying to work, it means that at times we have to rely on screens to keep the girls occupied. And while sometimes all they want to do is watch Frozen or another Disney princess movie, we have been trying to balance that with being able to watch and engage with shows or games that are educational too.
One of the most helpful things over the last few weeks has been the list of recommendations I’ve gathered from friends and family and Grace’s pre-school for great educational programs, games and shows for kids. With the focus of most of these online resources being on literacy and maths, it has been great for building on the things the girls have been learning at school and at pre-school. There have also been some really fun activities such as visiting some of the world’s best museums virtually or story time online that has entertained the girls and allowed them to learn at the same time.
I know there are countless parents out there in the same boat right now so I thought I’d collate the most popular sites that parents can check out, based on the recommendations I’ve been using during isolation. There’s a great mixture of learning tools, shows and games so hopefully it makes navigating screen time a little easier.
There’s a mixed bag on this list, with the majority focusing on reading and writing and maths. There are different levels with most of the programs so they’re suitable for different ages. Some require sign up whereas others you can just launch straight into the program or games. Hopefully there’s something here that you and your kids will approve of.
YouTube: more than just cat videos! There are some really good educational channels to check out on this platform. While you can find virtually anything on YouTube, I’ve found most of the kids’ channels are great for science and geography content as you can check out everything from sharks and dinosaurs to doing experiments and profiling different countries around the world. I’ve listed a few below but a quick search based on subject matter will unearth plenty of options.
If iso life has you feeling like you’re spending a helluva lot of time in the kitchen trying to prep meals then you’re not alone. So why not just make it easier by cooking once but eating twice? These recipes by nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge are nutritioust, delicious and best of all, can be eaten for dinner and lunch. Because less time cooking is something we all could use right now.
Meatballs with ragu and zoodles
SERVES 4 PREPARATION TIME: 25 MINS COOKING TIME: 35 MINS
1 kg tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano leaves
1/4 bunch basil, leaves picked
4 zucchini, spiralised
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
400 g turkey mince
400 g chicken thigh mince (it’s important you use thigh meat as it stops the meatballs from drying out)
Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced) and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Spread out the tomatoes on the prepared tray and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes or until soft and collapsed. Allow to cool slightly, then purée until smooth.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and cook for a few minutes or until softened. Stir in the tomato paste and thyme.
Add the stock, oregano, most of the basil (leaving a few leaves to garnish) and the puréed tomato and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, to make the meatballs, combine the turkey and chicken mince, oregano, parsley, olives, garlic and parmesan in a bowl. Add the egg and then the rice breadcrumbs, ensuring everything is evenly mixed.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Roll the mince mixture into golf ball–sized balls and place on the prepared tray. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Place the meatballs in the oven and reduce the temperature to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
Meanwhile, briefly blanch the zoodles until tender.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Stir through the meatballs and season to taste.
Divide the zoodles among four bowls and serve with the meatballs and ragu on top.
CHANGE UP THE PROTEIN: Omit the turkey mince and use 800 g chicken mince, or try a mix of half pork and half beef mince. Lamb is good too. In fact, any mince will do!
FOR CARB-LOVING FAMILY MEMBERS: Serve with pasta.
Chicken and Cauliflower bake with creamy tahini sauce
SERVES 4 PREPARATION TIME: 15 MINS COOKING TIME: 30 MINS
Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Combine the olive oil and ground coriander in a bowl.
Remove and reserve half the mixture. Add the chicken to the remaining spiced oil in the bowl and toss to coat well, then set aside to marinate.
Use your hands to coat the cauliflower in the reserved spiced oil. Spread it out on the prepared tray, taking care not to overcrowd it, and roast for 10 minutes. Stir the cauliflower and add the chicken to the tray. Roast for another 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Meanwhile, to make the tahini sauce, place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork or stick blender until smooth and creamy.
Serve the roast chicken and cauliflower on a bed of rocket or spinach, topped with the tahini sauce and parsley.
GO VEGETARIAN: Use almonds or GMO-free firm tofu for protein, roasting just as you would the chicken, reducing the roasting time accordingly.
NIX THE TAHINI: Replace the tahini with a soft goat’s cheese or feta, or plain full fat Greek style yoghurt.
FOR CARB-LOVING FAMILY MEMBERS: Serve with quinoa or brown rice, or add a serve of legumes, such as lentils or chickpeas.
Scrumptious fish cakes
SERVES 4 PREPARATION TIME: 15 MINS COOKING TIME: 15 MINS
1 tablespoon olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
lime wedges, to serve
sweet chilli sauce (preferably low sugar), to taste
700 g firm white fish fillets (such as flathead, snapper, whiting or dory), skin and bones removed, roughly diced
2 tablespoons coconut cream
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons green curry paste
1 bunch coriander, stems and leaves chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
2 spring onions, white part
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease eight holes of a standard muffin tin with the olive oil.
To make the fishcakes, place all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a medium coarse texture.
Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared muffin holes, filling them only three-quarters full. Bake for 15 minutes or until firm and cooked through. Rest on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, mash the avocado flesh and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the fishcakes with the mashed avocado, lime wedges and sweet chilli sauce.
MAKE IT A NEW MEAL: Turn these muffins into meatballs and toss through konjac noodles dressed in sesame oil and lime juice.
FOR CARB-LOVING FAMILY MEMBERS: Make the patties bigger and serve on wholegrain buns as burgers.
Now how to turn dinner into lunch…
(Clockwise from top)
Tahini chicken salad
Make a salad with the roast chicken and cauli above – just add a green leaf of your choice, 1/4 tin drained chickpeas, some diced red capsicum and thinly sliced red onion, then drizzle over the tahini sauce as a dressing.
Serve the fishcakes above with a rocket, tomato and cucumber salad dressed with olive oil and your favourite vinegar.
Meatball salad bowl
Take the turkey meatballs above and transform them into a salad bowl by adding cooked brown rice and fresh greens, and seasoning with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle some flaxseeds on top and you’re ready to go!
If there’s one wardrobe staple that’s guaranteed to be getting plenty of use right now it’s pyjamas. With plenty of time at home, there’s no doubt we’re probably spending a little more time in them, so why not make them fun to wear? I know pjs aren’t the most exciting thing to buy, not compared to a great bag or beautiful pair of shoes, but there is something about having a pretty and cosy pair of pyjamas that makes going to bed, or just relaxing around the house that much nicer. I know for me, I’m really appreciating the small things that can make a day in isolation that much better and a luxe pair of pyjamas is definitely a nice little treat amongst the craziness right now.
If your current sleep wear situation needs a little update then you’ll be happy to hear there are so many great sets available right now. I think it’s always nice to have a chic pair of pyjamas up your sleeve, it just makes lounging around that little bit more stylish—and if there’s one thing that’s important right now, it’s finding a way to make even the simplest of daily activities feel that little more special. So, prepare to cosy up in these…
I’ve discovered very quickly that during this time of self-isolation it’s the little things that matter. Without the distractions and busyness of life, I’ve grown to appreciate that often it’s the simplest of acts which make the days all the better. In our house we’ve learned to embrace fun new activities as a family, started new rituals and tried to find a different groove. Here’s what’s currently helping me to get through another week in iso.
My girls love them and they have got me hooked too. We try and do ones that the whole family can enjoy so we can all work on one together.
Ozark on Netflix
It’s always so great when I find a new series on Netflix that I can binge watch with Luke after the girls are down. We’re currently watching Ozark. Only a few episodes in but loving it.
Take away once (or twice) a week
At the moment I’m cooking kids’ and adults’ meals three times a day, which is a lot more than I usually would be doing. So it’s a welcome break to order in. As a family we usually would go out for dinner once or twice a week so now we make that a take away night from our favourite local restaurants.
This ritual has become a real thing in our house. My girls ask if it’s Pancake Sunday every day!
Long family bush walks
Being indoors for such a long time has meant that we really savour the times we’re out and about a lot more. We’ve got a trail that we like to do that’s pretty quiet and secluded so it’s a nice way to get a dose of fresh air and some exercise, let the girls stretch their legs a bit but maintain social distancing at the same time.
What’s currently helping you get through the week?
I had a few work calls this week so it called for a few dressier pieces. It’s actually something I was quite happy to do as it gave me an excuse to get dressed up a little more—sometimes you just need a break from comfy clothes to change things up! Also I did a little experimentation this week with a few alternatives to jeans, and I have to say, I’m becoming all about relaxed pants. They’re so great to wear while working and it helps me feel a little more polished. Here’s what I wore this week:
Getting maximum wear from every purchase is key to me so I decided to wear these pants from a Manning Cartell suit I own and pair with with a simple black tank given the weather was a bit warmer in Sydney this week. I’m also wearing heels! I was just missing that feeling of being dressed for a day out so thought why not? I didn’t have them on the entire day but it did feel nice to look put together.
Back in jeans here because I cannot live without them right now. I love the jeans as they’re comfortable, and I love the fact they have a high waist. I paired it with a simple brown skivvy and popped on a pair of Aje earrings to elevate the look.
Credits: Skivvy, Bec and Bridge; Jeans, Levis; Earrings, Aje
Here I am in my other go-to WFH pants. They’re so unbelievably comfortable and perfect for working but also for running around after the girls. I just popped a tank as it was a warm-ish day and added a great Aje necklace to finish off the look. Also I can’t stress enough how important good basics such as simple tanks and tees are right now. They’re easily the workhorses of my wardrobe right now and I’m wearing them non-stop.
Credits: White tank, Cotton On; Pants, Manning Cartell; Necklace, Aje
Work call day. I could’ve just worn the blouse with some pants but I was in the mood to wear something dressy so I paired it with the matching skirt. Also I had all these new winter pieces ready to go so I’m trying to at least get some wear out of them even if I’m not really leaving the house. I’m a big fan of this pink hue and wearing bright colours is a nice way to lift my spirits and help me feel more energised to tackle work.
Spending a serious amount of time at home over the last few weeks has meant that we’ve really had to step up our entertaining game at home when it comes to Sophia and Grace. Sophia is being home schooled but she’s currently on school holidays which means that we’ve had to come up with a a lengthy list of activities to keep both the girls occupied. We have a few favourites in our home, which I’m sharing below.
The girls love building things with LEGO, and there are so many different play sets available now that you’re guaranteed to find one to suit any child’s interests. The one above is a house, which the girls absolutely love playing with and keeps them entertained for ages.
Reading books is always a go-to activity in our house. The girls really enjoy being read to and have a collection of favourites that they love. They’re also fine to just flip through a book themselves as well so it’s a great activity they can also do on their own.
We’ve always got a healthy supply of colouring books on hand and have found that it’s one activity that the girls really enjoy as they’re able to do it together and unleash their creative side. Also colouring books are generally pretty inexpensive so it’s something we can always replenish.
Working on a puzzle is a great activity to do as a family. Now that the girls are a bit older we’re able to work on bigger puzzles together and it’s something that will keep them (and us) occupied for a long time. However they still enjoy completing puzzles on their own and as an added benefit it’s a great mental workout, no matter your age.
Independent play is particularly important right now as Luke and I are trying to get work done at the same time, so we’ve made sure that the girls are readily able to access all their favourite toys any time. They’ve got plenty to keep them occupied but I’ve read that it’s also a good idea to switch out toys and put some away, so whenever they see their old toys again they feel brand new.
Good ol’ fashioned board games are a favourite in our house. And depending on what kind of board game it is, it’s something that the kids can do regularly and not get bored of. This is another activity that’s perfect to do as a family.
Are you even in isolation if you haven’t baked? We have been tackling a lot of different cooking projects of late, and it’s something that that girls really enjoy. It’s also a good way to sneak a little maths into an activity as the girls are tasked with working with different measurements.
Sophia and Grace are really into play dough and I’ve found that just popping a few pots in different colours in front of them will keep them occupied for awhile as they go about creating different things. There are lots of different play dough sets available too, from cooking to unicorns and fire trucks which steps up the play dough game even further. Plus if you want a project to tackle for the day you can always make your own.
Another week in isolation and another week of trying to style work from home outfits. I’m getting to the point now where I sometimes just throw on something quite dressy just to break up my wardrobe a little and give myself a little pause from my usual quarantine staples of knits, jeans, activewear and loungewear. As a result, here’s what I’ve been wearing.
These two pieces look dressy but are probably as comfy as wearing activewear. They jeans are lovely and soft and the jumper is really cosy. Plus I am loving the colour combination of baby blue with white, it’s quite fresh and a departure from the usual deeper, richer tones that are synonymous with autumn.
Credits: Pants and knit, Bec and Bridge
Yes, I felt like dressing up one day and this was the result. I am really loving all things pink and this set was something that I could throw on and not have to worry about mixing and matching. One of the many, many reasons why I love a co-ord set—it’s like getting dressed on autopilot.
Credits: Top and skirt: Manning Cartell; Sneakers, Chanel
I am a longtime fan of white shirt worked back with denim. This blouse is a different take on a classic white shirt. I love the corset effect (don’t let that fool you, it’s actually really comfortable to wear) and the voluminous sleeves. It was a fun way to do the classic combination of white tee with denim, but just a little more polished.
Credits: Top, Joslin Studio; Jeans, Levis 501; Chain Necklace, Aje
I wanted something easy to throw on and honestly what’s easier than a maxi dress. When you go for a relaxed style such as this they’re just as comfy as loungewear but you feel a little more put together when wearing one.
With many restaurants closed right now, that has left many of the world’s biggest names in the culinary world with a little more time to focus on cooking at home. Lucky for us, they’ve let us join along! With some of the Australia and the world’s most esteemed chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Yottam Ottolenghi and David Chang now sharing their fave recipes and even doing live demos on their Instagram accounts, there’s never been a better time to be an amateur cook. Tap into their expertise and you may walk away from self-isolation with some flashy new cooking skills, and a lot of new favourite recipes.
She’s an awarded pastry chef, the founder of Momofuku Milk bar and often called the queen of desserts so if you’ve got a sweet tooth don’t miss Christina Tosi’s baking club. She manages to create some pretty epic desserts using simple pantry staples so you’re going to be well covered for this entire quarantine period.
You can bet anything with Hamish Blake is going to be wildly amusing but enter Ben Shewry, founder and head chef of Melbourne’s Attica which has frequently been named one of the best restaurants in Australia and was in the top 20 in the world and you’ve got yourself and you’ve got one of the most watchable cooking partnerships around. Together they’re teaming up to make date night meals on Instagram Live so be prepared for a great meal with plenty of laughs.
If you want a quick meal on the table in 10 minutes and fancy cooking you alongside Gordon Ramsay then get into #Ramsayin10. The meals he prepares are all family friendly and features easy to find ingredients so give it a go if you want dinner on the table fast.
Dan Hong is the chef behind dining heavyweights such as Mr Wong, Lotus and Ms G’s and his at home cooking videos—complete with his three adorable kids making cameos—are relatable and easy to follow. He made cheeseburgers in the below video, but he’s also done rigatoni alla vodka and XO king prawn linguine.
When else will you be able to cook along with a three-Michelin star chef and the man behind the Osteria Francescana, the restaurant named the best in the world in 2018? Massimo Bottura is doing a kitchen quarantine series which has already featured faves such as tiramisu, mac and cheese and gelato, and he’s pretty entertaining to watch too.
Chef and restaurateur Matt Moran is doing warming recipes perfect for this time of year on his IGTV channel so why not take advantage of the expertise of one of Australia’s best chefs and whip yourself up a delicious, restaurant quality meal at home.
French chef Eric Ripert is the owner and head chef of Le Bernadin in New York City which holds three Michelin stars and regularly features on the list of the best restaurants in the world. Not only does he have some really useful how-to videos such as how to preserve vegetables but there are plenty of tasty meals including ratatouille, crepes and a roasted leg of lamb that is sure to impress.
Momofuku founder David Chang is a chef, author and TV presenter and his culinary dispatches from his New York City apartment are one way to learn how to utilise whatever you may have in your pantry or fridge. He regularly offers substitutes for ingredients even prepares food using a microwave.
English Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton is doing an at home cooking series with classics such as rhubarb and apple crumble to Eton Mess and burgers. The best bit is you’ll have plenty of new recipes up your sleeve post-quarantine.
Tasty, comforting dishes are what Ottolenghi does best and he’s now doing a quarantine series that features his recipes along with other chefs. All the dishes shared are tasty and hearty and the kind of dishes we all need right now.
Personal video calls with family and friends are great as you can pretty much be in your PJs and no one will bat an eyelid but work calls are another matter. It’s still important to look presentable even if people can only see you via a tiny square. So while you can be wearing your fave fluffy slippers and tracksuit pants on the bottom, your top is another story. You need to look business ready up north so it’s a great idea to have a few comfy, yet polished tops that you can quickly throw on when it’s time to jump on a call.
While working from home outfits are largely about staying comfortable, I think it’s still possible to achieve that and maintain an element of polish to most of your ensembles. And your choice of top is an easy way to do that. Think man style button down shirts, cosy knits that are made for snuggling in, wrap tops or simple long-sleeved tees with statement details like a subtle puffed sleeve or ruffle. These are great for wearing when you’re jumping on a call but are appropriate for being in WFH mode.
I’ve rounded up a few great options for you to check out, and there are some gorgeous picks at every price point. And yes, you’ll definitely be able to transition these tops to the office once everything is back to normal so you’re guaranteed to get plenty of wear out of them.
Shop my edit of work-appropriate video call tops below.