Spring is here in Melbourne - thank goodness. It makes for beautiful days with bursts of sunshine that are perfect for walking and exploring, for taking your time. Over the last few weeks I’ve found myself taking the long way home, eating lunch outside, exploring the back streets - anything I can do to soak up a little extra vitamin D. Luxuries that weren’t possible only a few weeks ago are slowly becoming every day joys. Pictured here is a little springtime posey of flowers I made for myself after walking home from breakfast at a local cafe, making the most of a sunny morning. But the weather is still changeable and unpredictable. By the afternoon, as I was making myself a pot of tea and a little treat, the wind was picking up and the clouds starting to fill up the sky. Time to close the windows, throw on a cardigan and curl up on the couch with a book.
How Did You Get This Number is the perfect book for a grey afternoon. A collection of essays which are half observations of the every day, half travel stories, whether Crosley is at home in New York or away. Perfect for hiding away from the world while exploring it through a book. There are the tales of New York, like the wrestling of smells, traffic and the quirks of cab drivers in ‘It’s Always Home You Miss’. In others, Crosley plays the role of the comically out-of-town-New-Yorker such as in ‘Light Pollution’. Finding herself in bear country in the woods of Canada, Crosley is instructed to tie a bell into a high ponytail so as to scare off any likely predators.
Usually I am hesitant about wearing my hair in a high ponytail. I didn’t cheerlead for a reason. … But now that my pinnacle danger has been transferred to getting scalped by a fucking bear, I am only too quick to loop the ribbon around the tight elastic.
In How Did You Get This Number some of Crosley’s best material comes from her evocative travel writing. She is at her best when she’s the outsider looking in, like this scene in ‘Le Parisi’ where Crosley and her friend Emily are hoping for a religious experience at Notre Dame:
As we moved up the line, Emily kicking her giant backpack ahead of her, visitors solemnly but efficiently wove their way between the pews. They seemed disproportionately thrilled to be in a place that allowed flash photography.
Sloane Crosley’s publicity team seem keen to market her as a female David Sedaris (who's book Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls I talked about here). It is a good indicator, but she somehow lacks the nuance of Sedaris’ stories. Somehow they’re a little sarcastic without being as biting, neurotic without being as emphathetic, and lacking the heartfelt undercurrent that comes through in Sedaris’ work. But that doesn’t stop these stories from being highly entertaining and a perfect way to wile away an afternoon.
Over the last few weeks - since I posted about My Salinger Year a few weeks ago - I’ve been making a very conscious decision not to drink coffee. When my anxiety spikes one of the best things I can do is help myself stay calm. Caffeine does not help. I still drink caffeinated tea, but much less than usual. It becomes a treat, rather than a life-force. I sleep better. I’m less anxious. I don’t snap at those around me. My body clock resets and I’m just as productive. I feel tired, but naturally so. I also save a fortune when I’m not buying two or three or four coffees a day. So I make a pot of tea. This little green teapot has been with me for years. It was one of the first things I bought for myself when I was building a new sense of home back in Australia after moving back from New Zealand in 2004. The two little cups that came with it were both sacrificed to my clumsiness years ago, but this gorgeous handmade ceramic cup I picked up from a design market a couple of years ago has stood the test.
My every day favourite tea in recent times has moved from earl grey to T2’s Melbourne Breakfast. It’s a strong brew with a hit of vanilla that when served with milk is sweet and comforting. On warmer spring days I turn to Market Lane’s Cascara Tea. Made from dried coffee cherries it’s fruity and refreshing and would make a great iced tea in summer. But when I need an afternoon pick-me-up or something a bit more creamy, I make chai. Those who don’t drink it often will think that it’s only for hippies or women who wear exercise outfits to cafes, but for me it is truly comforting, warming and replenishing. It’s like a grown up cup of warm milk, perfect to have alongside an afternoon treat, in this case an oat cookie. The recipe is another from What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today? (I’ve previously made Marta’s Milk Rice with How Should A Person Be? here) and works just as well as a mid-afternoon pick me up as it would a morning treat. Like the Stovetop Granola I posted last time alongside Your Fathers…, these cookies are quick and easy to throw together and make enough to keep you going for a few days. Perfect for mornings and afternoons to come, no matter what the weather.