How Cook Jessica Nguyen Stays Energized While Working From Home
Welcome to Bedtime Stories, an interview series where we ask inspiring individuals to share their nighttime routine and sleep secrets – from the beauty products they can’t live without to the tricks they swear by when they’re too tired to function (no coffee needed). For this instalment, Australian home cook and Put on a Spread alumni Jessica Nguyen, takes us through her morning and night routines.
Melbourne-based home cook Jessica Nguyen used to work in a corporate position before turning cooking into her full-time job. She now has 88,000 dedicated followers on Instagram who adore her easygoing and carefree attitude to cooking. And while this might be her job, it's also meditative and helps her recharge.
Several of Jessica's recipes have featured in the Bed Threads' Put on a Spread series, including her moreish prawn and ginger wontons and simple vegetable dumplings. These much-loved recipes are quick, easy, and most importantly, downright delicious. She has a particular knack for at-home entertaining, and is a firm believer in being able to host a wonderful soirée at home even if you're on a budget.
Below, Jessica shares the morning and night routine that help support her day-to-day life as a home chef and her go-to meals to cook when she's feeling tired.
Jessica Nguyen's Morning and Bedtime Routine
What do you normally eat for breakfast to kickstart your day?
I actually don't eat breakfast. But I do drink coffee. All I need is a really big mug of strong coffee, just a normal latte with full cream milk, and then I'm pretty much good for the day and don't eat until lunch time. I'm normally cooking and shooting by then and I tend to tie that into lunch and dinner.
What time does your alarm go off in the morning? Can you walk us through your morning routine?
I'll wake up around 8 or so and take my two little dogs out. I'll make my coffee and check what I need to do that day. I try not to look at my phone in bed otherwise I'll hang there for ages.
What time do you go to bed? Walk us through your bedtime ritual.
I'm a bit of a late night owl, so it really depends. Most nights I won't go to bed until midnight. I like to shower before bed because I like the feeling of being clean and rejuvenated and ideally having fresh sheets is great.
My husband and I sleep with our two dogs and they actually help me fall asleep because they're so nice to cuddle and I'll pretty much be knocked out within a couple of minutes - I don't really need to do anything else! We also sleep with a fan on which creates white noise that I find soothing and it's also nice in summer.
What sleep or beauty products do you swear by that you won’t go a night without?
Most nights I put on some kind of serum or oil and I do also like to either spray a linen spray or light a nice candle, but I try to keep it simple.
What is your solution for those nights you simply can’t nod off to sleep?
I think on nights when I'm stressed and I'm overthinking I'll whip out my phone and write a list so I remember the next day what it was that I was thinking about. Hopefully it then means I can compartmentalise it into my notes and think about it tomorrow. I'll write it down, and then deal with it the next day.
What are your go-to meals to cook when you are feeling tired?
This actually happened to me the other week when I came home from South Australia off the back of a massive two weeks. On the Sunday I cooked four meals in one go to set myself up for the week. When I feel tired I really default to comforting, warming meals, which for me is things like fried rice, vegetable soup, and lamb ragu.
What are three things (besides coffee) that help you when you're too tired to function?
When I'm too tired to function I have to just get out of the house because it's also my place of work. It's equivalent to getting out of the office to go for a walk. So generally I need to get out, exercise, or catch up with a friend. I find if I need to reset one of the best ways to do that is to get out of Melbourne for a couple of days.
I also tend to cook myself something, because that's my way of recharging myself. That sort of stems from when I was working a corporate job and I used to use cooking as a way to either wind down or pick a recipe on the weekend and that would be a way to have a fun, meditative exercise with a delicious output.
For more from Jessica, follow her @jessica_nguyen_
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