Pip-Life Taking Stock

Taking Stock: January 2020

January 15, 2020

Amazingly we’ve ticked over into 2020 and much less amazingly we saw the new year in with catastrophic bushfires across Australia.

It’s hard to know what to say about this really, when so many have said it better than I ever could. Perhaps start with this piece by Jackie French if you are keen to find out more (because a lot of readers aren’t in Australia and might not have a clear idea of what’s happening).

Here’s a bit of a January catch-up …

Taking Stock

Making: A pet quilt! I auctioned a quilt in the Twitter #AuthorsForFireys fundraiser and it sold for $250 with all funds going to the firefighters.

Cooking: So many things, as usual. One particular favourite is herby rice, which is good hot or cold sidled up against everything from curries to braises to a plate full of salad, to roasted tomatoes, to ratatouille. Here is how to make it:

Herby Rice

Serves four as a side dish. Keeps nicely in the fridge for 2 days.

500g of basmati rice
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 cup of loosely packed fresh herbs
2 cloves of crushed garlic
salt and black pepper

Heat a large pot full of water and when it’s boiling add the rice and a teaspoon of salt.
Simmer until rice is tender (not chalky or mushy!)
Drain the rice and then tip it back into the pot.
Heat the olive oil and add the garlic and herbs. It will spit a bit but so would you if someone tossed you in hot olive oil. Stir for a minute or so.
Tip oil and herbs on top of the rice, season with salt and pepper, and stir well to combine.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

(Adapted from Lorenza De’Medici’s recipe for ‘Riso alle Erbe’ in Lorenza’s Italian Seasons)

And right this minute? I’m making Lamb Vindaloo, to eat with Herby Rice later on. I just marinated the lamb in their vinegary paste and fried it off and then simmered some onions and added the meat to them. Later I add more spices, water and when it’s close to being tender, throw in some big chunks of Dutch Cream potatoes and make the rice while they cook in the curry sauce.

Charlotte Wood The Weekend

Sipping: Lots of tea! I’m doing A Year Without Booze in 2020 so it’s tea, tea, tea for me. Also lots of mineral water. A bit of ginger beer. And some coffee too.

Reading: Lots and lots and lots of good stuff for my Creative Writing course. Short stories and poetry and more. I also read Charlotte Wood’s new book The Weekend over the break (I LOVED IT! Have you read it?)

Looking: At the haze through the orange tree in my garden. It’s not as smokey here today as it was yesterday, thank goodness. That said WE ARE FINE. Just a bit of smoke. Nothing compared to what some people have endured.

Listening: To the radio. We’re tuned to ABC News Radio at the mo.

Wishing: A mosquito had not bitten me ten minutes ago. Where even did it get in? Gawsh.

Enjoying: Each day.

Tomatoes with butter and ginger
Eating: These tomatoes on toast. They are so delicious!

Liking: The rain. It’s raining now! There is lightning and thunder too. It’s all on like Donkey Kong.

Loving: The poetry book I am reading. It’s by Mary Oliver and it’s called A Poetry Handbook.

Buying: Peaches, plums, apricots, lovely tomatoes. Hooray for summer produce!

Watching: ABC News 24. The Bold Type Season 3 (just finished it!) I am a bit slow to the party but I watched Lady Bird on the weekend. It’s so good! Then I watched Brooklyn which I liked too. How brilliant is Saoirse Ronan. I only just learned how to correctly pronounce her name – SER-sha. Such a pretty name and such a talented woman. I really can’t wait to see Little Women now.

Hoping: That it will rain all night.

Needing: To put my laundry away. Does that pile ever disappear? I think not. It’s like an extra member of the family, really. Maybe that’s the way it’s meant to be? Like a sort of pet?

I also need to get a nut for the axel of my market trolley because the current nut fell off and disappeared. Don’t want my wheel to fall off. Nothing worse than the wheels falling off. It’s an old wicker trolley from Vinnie’s and apart from the missing nut it’s perfect.

Wearing: An old cotton dress from Obus. I feel like I say that a lot, but it’s because it’s true.

Following: Pip Magazine! So much good info over there.

Noticing: That my youngest turns 20 next week. How on earth did that happen?

Sorting: Out my pantry. Halfheartedly to be honest. It’s a big job. Don’t want to rush into it. #snort

When Life is Not Peachy by Pip Lincolne

Getting: Excited about my book coming out! I got an advance copy on New Year’s Eve and had a little weep. It’s always amazing when a plan comes together and with a book you get to hold that plan in your own two hands. And it came from your own two hands too! (Via your brain!) Anyway, my book is available for preorder locally (March) and from NZ via Booktopia. If you are in the US it’s ready for preorder via Amazon for a June release. If you are in the UK it’s ready for preorder for June release on Amazon too.

Saving: Up. For Christmas. I KNOW! What a dork!! I just find that if I don’t start in January I get super stressed out by November. So it’s so much easier to tuck away a few dollars a day and not deal with the stress of funding presents and food and time off from work and things.

Bookmarking: Lots of good things to put into my Something Good For The Weekend post this coming weekend.

Coveting: A Bamix stick blender. I know, I know. I just want one though! It would be good for when I make blended soups because you can just stick it in and whizz it up. No messing about with the food processor (which I do now.)

Feeling: Like I want to make Tomato Kasundi. Do you ever feel like that? It’s a good time to do it, if you do. Perfect slathered under grilled cheese on some chewy brown bread.

Hearing: Drip, drip, drips from the lemon tree.

Perhaps you’d like to copy and paste the list somewhere and do your own ‘Taking Stock’? Here is a blank list for you …

Taking Stock




  • Reply Carni February 25, 2020 at 12:49 PM

    I read The Weekend and thought it was very well written. Can’t say it was the most uplifting read or a comfort, as the subject matter was quite painful at times. But it told some sharp truths about women’s friendships and relationship dynamics. At first I thought it was going to be a novel without a whole lot of plot or much of an ending but boy was I wrong, the ending was climactic and satisfying. It was a sad and depressing read but I just felt it was honest and real.
    by the way, I love that British shorthair – is it really yours? Gorgeous face! and the whole look of this beautiful blog.

    • Reply Pip February 25, 2020 at 7:20 PM

      The cat is not mine! But I used to look after her at my house when her ‘parents’ went on trips to Japan. So we are very close friends! Thank you for your mini-review of The Weekend too, Carni! x

  • Reply Skye February 17, 2020 at 10:46 AM

    I LOVE my stick mixer! It was handed down to me nearly ten years ago by a family member moving interstate. I suspect they bought a “modern one”, however I like its brown and yellow stripes that indicate its era. Bung it in a pot of soup, run it under the tap and throw it back in the drawer! Perfect

  • Reply Clare Davis Etheridge January 21, 2020 at 2:06 AM

    Oh how I love a good Taking Stock! Saving for Christmas is something I do all year too and buy pressies nice and early.

  • Reply karoline hughes January 20, 2020 at 9:12 PM

    Dear Pip. This is so inspiring. You are so inspiring! I cannot wait to read your book. Your craft books are already on my shelves and have meant so much for my own crafting adventure. Having had a real sucky year with death and sickness, stress and turmoil, I am sure your book will be a way to make it to the other side where some acceptance and happiness might be <3 Thank you for bringing it out to the world. Also really looing forward to the blogger course here in February. All my love, Karoline http://www.skandimama.com

  • Reply Kylie January 16, 2020 at 9:42 AM

    Hi Pip,
    I’m happy to read there’s another “Something Good for the Weekend” coming up, I’ve been missing them 🙂

  • Reply Kim W. January 16, 2020 at 2:33 AM

    You know what, I think it’s time for me to finally do a taking stock on my own blog, for a couple reasons:

    1. I have already decided that 2020 is going to be an overall year of self-reflection (I turn 50 in February so there’s something in the air with that), and

    2. Even more so I think I need to find free Things To Do because I kind of unexpectedly and dramatically found myself unemployed, and yet I somehow think it’s like one of the best things that happened to me in a long time.

  • Reply Deb Baker January 15, 2020 at 9:39 PM

    Oh my gosh it’s so good to read this post. I love these taking stock posts so much. I’m very excited about the release of your new book. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. You must feel super proud.
    Also I have to tell you about my Bamix stick blender. It is probably the greatest, most used kitchen item in our house. I’ve had it for over 30 years and it hasn’t skipped a beat. It is quite remarkable. I use it for soooo many things. And recently my 20 year old son discovered it and he now uses it every morning to make his super duper healthy smoothies. You will love it!!
    So, so good to read what you’re up to. xx

  • Reply Reannon January 15, 2020 at 8:24 PM

    I always love these posts Pip.
    And I totally want to make those tomatoes! I’m so sad that most of my tomatoes plants have shirivelled up & died. But I think one of the grocers best by sell super good ones so I might grab some.
    Also, I almost cried at the thought of rain in a lemon tree. That weird, I know it’s weird, but it’s just been so hot & everything is so dry over here that the thought of rain is just too lovely!
    Take care Pip xx

  • Reply Carolyn January 15, 2020 at 8:23 PM

    Ooh I am going to see Little Women tomorrow with my girl! She has already seen it twice and LOVED it and said I will too! But she has sobbed and sobbed seeing it so we will take tissues!

  • Reply Kate January 15, 2020 at 8:22 PM

    What a start we’ve had to this year, I sure hope it’s all up from here.
    I’ve preordered and golly am I excited to read your new work.
    I had a stick mixer, mum gave it to me over 30 yrs ago when I moved out, it wasn’t bamix maybe sunbeam? It finally died last year, I looked high and low for a replacement but there just wasn’t anything built to last. I ended up sending hubby to buy me a red bamix because I couldn’t bring myself to spend that much money. I love it. I don’t have a food processor and trying to mix winter soups with a potato masher and then a sieve well I’m sure you get the picture. I use it for smoothies and all manner of mixing things. The best bit is no fiddly washing up like a blender or food processor.

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