"Some days are made for ginger cake. They are those days at the end of August - an Australian August, a Sydney august - when there are blue skies and bright sun but a stubborn, resistant chill in the air. I'm not going without a fight, it says. You can't get rid of me that easily. Because we try, how we try! to shake off the cobwebs of winter as we shrug on little chambray shirts and strappy sandals and defiantly parade our first bare legs of the season. And those are the days that you need ginger cake. You need it because it's cold and sometimes only cake will do, and if it's going to be cake you might as well make it something dense but not overpowering, with a handful of grated carrot thrown into the mix, and a practiced, too-easy shake of cinnamon (from the wrist, of course!) and a good cup - or two, if you're particularly generous, which we are, of course - of crystallised ginger which you cut into gem-like slivers and distribute with a fair but gentle hand (noblesse oblige) throughout the honey-hued mix in the scant few moments before you put it in the oven. That's why you need ginger cake. But you want ginger cake because it's really, really,really delicious.  
There were other things at this picnic for a trio of friends, too. Some ice tea and raspberry lemonade to drink. A loaf of crusty bread, some butter (not French, but Danish, which is the next best thing), two different types of jam (Rose Bakery's apricot and lavender leaf and home-made cherry and vanilla), Fromage D'affinois, which is a hard-working little crowd-pleaser of a cheese if ever we saw one, and some ham off the bone.
We planned this picnic spontaneously - as most of our food excursions are - over the counter at bread and circus as we saw the glimmer of a shared Saturday afternoon off. Lucinda, whose birthday celebrations we missed last month, was dragged along for the ride, and our duo became a trio. The problem with spontaneous picnics is that the weather doesn't always co-operate. It was just a tiny little bit too cold to be sitting out all afternoon, even this late in August, with just a cotton rug for warmth. As the sun sunk further and further out of sight and the wind kicked up - as winds are loath to do, cheeky little things - none of us wanted to be the first to pike out and make the move inside. Part of this was because of the array of food before us, too good to abandon because of a trifling little wind, but part of it was because of how great it all really was. Spontaneous and unpretentious and totally easy. An afternoon of laughter and advice and confidences shared with exasperated shrugs punctuated by that comforting and even a little therapeutic routine of sharing food. Just some rough-cut bread and butter and jam, some slices of cheese and ham, and a generous slab of ginger cake." HRY

Photos: Rachel Kara



There is yet to be a photo by instagramer @KevinRuss that I have double tapped. Do yourself a favour and follow this Portland photographer for a breath of fresh North American air and light that bounces around the four walls of his every shot but makes your mind see far, far beyond. 

Photos: Kevin Russ

for Elize


It was just what I was after. Somewhere to feel like a local but eat like I'm on a holiday. A twitter plea for Byron Bay secrets had more than a couple of people recommend The Top Shop and it didn't disappoint. You're served as though you've been there a thousand times before (which, when you haven't, perhaps comes across a little too on the hip IDGAF side of things - but I'm cool with that) and food comes at a pace that makes you know it's going to be ok to linger, order a second serving of (WORLDS BEST) onion rings, stare out the open window and really let it sink in that you're comfortably sitting without a jumper and no bone chilled muscle tension for first time in a few months after a pretty chilly Sydney winter. 

A blissful further 24 hours included panoramic views from our bed looking out over Clarkes beach and far far beyond, a wind swept lighthouse walk at sunset to the most Eastern point in Australia, a mountain goat on said walk, a workout on the way back up, dinner on the balcony, early night, early morning beach walk, coffee at Bayleaf, the anticipation of a vaguely mapped out antiques trail home - with a very handsome man who not only patiently lets me enjoy all of the above, but truly laps it up just as much as me. EEEEEE. I'm a lucky gal.

Byron, we'll be back.

Photos: Rachel Kara