30 Day Challenge

While trawling the interwebs, as one does, I came across a pretty blog with a great idea.  They called it the March Challenge and the objective was to do something new every day for the month of March. Seeing as March has come and gone I’ve decided to adopt and adapt it:

The goal is to do something new every day for a month.  I started on the 4 April but my posting is a little behind.  If you decide to do the challenge you can document it anyway you like but I plan on doing it through photos.

It can be something dramatic like going sky diving or getting a tattoo or something small like ordering something new at your favourite restaurant or exploring a street or neighbourhood you don’t know or coming up with a creative way to express love to someone.  The point is to intentionally decide to do something new daily, thus opening yourselves up to new people, experiences and fun.

(Disclaimer: This has clearly taken over a month; henceforth it shall be called the 30 (nonconsecutive) Day Challenge:)

I'm starting to get more accustomed to shopping and cooking here so with my newfound confidence and abundant free time (it's school holidays) have been trying out some new recipes.  I am inexplicably and determinedly mistrustful of recipes and generally make adjustments to recipes, with varying degrees of success.  My first attempt at Roast Tomato Soup went well I think...onwards!

Roast Tomato Soup
Very roughly, this is how i made the soup:

Roast chopped tomatoes, garlic, leftover red pepper

Fry onions and add roasted contents

Season with pepper, origanum and fresh basil

Blend all with a can of white beans

Serve with toasted baguette, a glass of red wine and enjoy with good company.

If you prefer exact quantities you can find a good recipe here:

picture source:http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6229/7022454343_6bb275dfcf_z.jpg
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
You can find the recipe I used here:
2 points on the recipe:
  • Don’t bother to remove pepper skin if you don’t want to (I started but then got over it and it’s fine I promise)
  • The recipe calls for half a cup of tahini..I used 2 tablespoons instead and still felt it was a bit much so just use your discretion and add it bit by bit.
It's really good on toast, wraps or as a dip.

Browsing a new bookstore
Yesterday, while shopping for school supplies, I found myself aimlessly wandering around a book shop with very little on offer.  Eventually I found myself staring at the expectant mothers section in a stupor.  When I finally pulled myself away and went home a friend told me about her favourite bookstore in Phnom Penh and so I decided I had to find this gem.  After getting lost and traipsing the streets dejectedly I finally found it, amd my heart sang.  It is called Boston Books and it is situated on St 240, number 8 in an old French Villa.  It has the best selection I’ve found so far, from Classics for around $2 to Modern Literature for around $6 – 8.  There is also a decent Non Fiction section. A very happy hour was spent here:)

Easter Egg Hunt
Chocolate eggs are hard to come by here but thanks to my housemate who bought some from SA and another friend who sent some from Hong Kong, we managed to collect a few.  A friend's mom obligingly hid them for us and even left instructions and a map in case we couldn't find them.  So even though I've hunted for eggs before, I've never done it with these friends in Cambodia.

Skype with my dear friends, the McCrindles
No picture for this one, just a very full heart from speaking to 2 of my favourite people.  I love the power of technology to connect us.  Having not seen these friends for a few years, I so appreciated the opportunity to talk "face to face"and to meet the cutest baby ever, their 8 month old son.

Explored Siem Reap Night Market

Some friends spontaneously decided to go to Siem Reap and invited me along.  As I'd never been there before, I did many new things, all lots of fun.  One of the highlights was definitely the Night Market.  It's packed with beautiful silk products, from scarves to bags to wallets; coconut lamps, Tintin prints (which I loved!), clothes, jewellery and sunglasses, to name a few.  Meandering among stalls while eating Rocky Road ice cream and enjoying a cool breeze rank among one of my favourite experiences this year.

Watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat
I've wanted to explore Angkor Wat for years and so this one was a big tick on the bucket list!  It's difficult to do justice to the magnificence of the buildings and the awe they inspire, especially considering they were built hundreds of years ago. As we sat and watched the sky changed from pale yellow to shades of pink and blue before the sun burst through the low clouds, casting shafts of sunlight through the surrounding palm trees.  It was beautiful.


 Read Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
An 8 hour bus trip enabled me to indulge my love of reading and I lost myself in the crazy, tragic, funny, barely believable world of a boy given away by his unstable mother to her equally crazy psychiatrist.  While parts of the story are difficult to stomach, I marveled at the brutal honesty and will to survive that carried Augusten through his highly dysfunctional and at times hilarious upbringing.

Boat Trip to an Island
Everything about that sentence is exciting to me.. I love boats, being on the water and have dreamt of having a holiday on a desert island!  The trip out there was lovely.. the water was calm and we passed a few stilted houses before heading out into the open water, the hills of Vietnam on the fishing boat dotted horizon.  After an hour or so we arrived in paradise.. see day 10:)

Island Holiday
Koh Thmei Island, a place of peace, simplicity and refreshing.  I was going to only put one photo but couldn't decide, so there you go:)

Sunrise Over the Sea
I got up early to watch the sunrise and was treated to a display I've never seen before as the sun rose over the South China Sea.

Swimming in the Rain
This sounds like fun and would have been.. except that we chose the worst spot on the stretch of coast and after getting scraped and cut by rocks I kept going, optimistically expecting the water to deepen, only to be stung by a sea urchin..after a few more minutes of dejectedly floating on the water, trying to avoid both scrapey rocks and malevolent urchins, we eventually came into clear, deep water and hightailed it out of there as quickly as possible

Watched Titanic 3D
I loved Jack and Rose the first 10 times I watched them, back in 1997 and I was not disappointed all these years later.  My heart revelled in their 3D overly sentimental glory and to my surprise, a lump even formed in my throat a few times.  I'd forgotten how long and dramatic it was and I got totally swept up in it all.

Started Volunteering at Precious Women
Another step towards my dream of joining the fight to abolish human trafficking as I start working with an organisation that reaches out to women at risk of exploitation and abuse through their work in karaoke bars and beer gardens.

Ate a Freshwater Snail
Freshly plucked from it's shell; squishy, slimy, salty, no need to repeat.

Dinner at South American restaurant, La Cita
After navigating a somewhat confusing menu while being bombarded with questions by the effusive owner, I settled on delicious Taco's with marinated beef, cheese, salsa and guacamole at $2 dollars each! Highly recommended.

Discovered a new band
Of Monsters and Men.  This song is called "Little Talks." Their music makes me want to pack a picnic basket and find a field of wildflowers to enjoy it in. How great are they?!?!!

Best Breakfast Ever
So the one day we laid out a breakfast spread fit for a king..fruit, yoghurt, toast, spreads, coffee. We didn't have butter and so, not being a fan of dry toast, I spread some yoghurt on it and added some fruit, honey and cinnamon.  Oh my gosh, my tastebuds were ecstatic!  Another equally tasty option is to spread a layer of peanut butter on hot toast, followed by a layer of plain yoghurt, a drizzle of honey and sliced banana.. bliss.

French Jazz Band
Rooftop bar, view over the river, cool breeze, good company, Nina Simonesque singer = good night out.

Bought a Fan
Yip it's a boring one, hardly very exciting but in this sweltering climate, it was a very happy making purchase!

Ate a Deep Fried Cricket
I never thought the day would come but I walked into work to find my colleagues snacking on them and decided to accept the offer without thinking too long about it.  For the uninitiated, you pull off the wings and the legs below the knees and chomp away.  It's crunchy, oily and surprisingly tasty.  In any case, surely better than a cockroach or tarantula!

Early Morning Walk Near Independence Monument
Strolling past the open air aerobics sessions, I made my way in the direction of the riverside, hoping to get some photos of the numerous pigeons in the square in front of the Royal Palace.  However the silhouetted Ferris Wheel caught my attention and I spent the last remaining minutes of sunrise photographing it before making my way back home.

Phnom Penh Hippie Orchestra
Despite having taken History and Appreciation of Music at University (which sounds WAY grander than it is) I am not a skilled music reviewer.  I know if it sounds nice and evokes emotion in me.  That's about it. So, I'll say this about it: Good friends.  Russian, Hassidic and Irish music.  Dancing. Good times.

More Good Music Discovered
And it's free.  And legal.  Go right now and download it.
Quill - Bison

High Tea at Raffles
Having never set foot in anything quite as grand as Raffles, I was very excited when a friend invited me to her birthday tea.  My determination not to betray my small town roots meant only very small exhalations of breath and exclamations of "wow!"  All good intentions were nearly unraveled as platter after platter of delicious treats were bought out by uniformed waiters and I'd like to think the only hints that this was not the usual standard of living I was accustomed to were the 3 cups of coffee I drank (the shakes and woozy head were totally worth it) and the little squeals of delight that occasionally slipped out (Caviar! Ooh what's this?! Pistachios!).

Finished A Book: One Day by David Nicholls
This is the kind of book that reminds me just how much I want to write.  I loved everything about it; the unique premise, the characters, the story line, the use of language to evoke strong emotions of both glee and sadness.  It is warm, engaging and I found myself moved to laughter and tears respectively, at one point feeling a physical ache in my heart, as if I was reading the story of a treasured friend.  Ok, so if you haven't read it your expectations are probably unattainably high.. It really is that good though.

Flea Market/Second Hand Sale
First time going to a flea market here and I loved it.  Delicious cupcakes, fascinating apple concoctions, owl rings and books were some of the highlights.



  1. wooh! go you!! so glad you're taking on this too! good luck and enjoy the challenge!!

    1. Thanks, I'm having such fun with it:)

  2. So cool!!!! :) I think I might have to do this too xxx

  3. Hi Vicky! I so enjoyed this post! and you've got so clever with making your blog look pretty! I'd love to try this too, maybe in a few months when my days have a bit more variety other than many feeds and dirty nappies ha ha, but Jack and Em are just too too precious and I wouldn't change these days for anything :-) Love Lauren

    1. Thanks Lol, I'm having such fun with it..I highly recommend it! a bit behind on updates now that I'm working full time but trying to keep at it:)I imagine with kids it would be difficult to get enough alone time to write a post or 2:) if you ever start one, I know some great websites with lots of freebies to get you started:)