5 things…

As I write this it’s just after 6am in Singapore. We’re into the second week of our holidays but I’m still rising early – mainly because we walk so much during the day (and it’s so incredibly hot and humid) that we’re both exhausted by 9pm! Yep, we’re real party animals these days.

Sunrise is later here though, somewhere around 7am – it has to do with being so near the equator.  In Penang, our hotel was right on the water and the sunrises were, as a result, fabulous from the balcony. Here in Singapore, we’re on the 25th floor of a hotel that has windows that, shall we say, need cleaning. The sunrises are a tad less impressive. Anyways, here’s some colour from this morning.

It all leads me neatly into the first of the things that made me smile last week – and I’m trying to keep my list to just five because I’m on holidays and that means there’s plenty to smile about!


The ones from our balcony at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel were just fab with colours ranging from a watercolour wash of pastel to golden glory. Here are a few…

Hainanese Chicken Rice

If I was to be asked what my desert island dish would be, it would be a toss-up between roast chicken and chicken rice, but whenever I need deep comfort, it’s the latter that I crave. We make it at home – and I’ll share a recipe when I’m back, but in Malaysia and Singapore, it’s difficult to find a bad one. Which is why yesterday when I had one for lunch at Maxwell Food Centre, a hawker market in Chinatown, it was a pretty big call for me to declare it to be the best I’ve ever had.

Usually, the chicken and rice are great but the stock needs work or the stock is great but the chicken rice is flavourless. I’m seriously fussy, but this one was absolutely perfect. And it cost a grand total of $5.

Christmas at Curlew Cottage

The draft is done and sent to my editor for a read-through. This started life as a Christmas novel, but I’m no longer sure that it is. All I know is that somehow I wrote almost the whole thing in April and finished it on the flight to Penang. It needs so much work, but that’s the point of first drafts, it’s finding the story, finding your characters and seeing which way it goes. Now it’s about finding the space between the first draft and the next to put the structures and voices in place.

For now though, I’m not writing for a couple of weeks and am instead reading other people’s writing ie catching up on some reading – both books and blogs.

Schedules and stuff-ups

Between the day job, trying to finish the novel and business as usual, the last couple of weeks before holidays was pretty manic so a lot of things were, as I tend to do at the best of times, left until the last minute. I have no idea how I’ve done this but I had it in my head we were arriving home on Friday morning – so booked our car parking at the airport until Friday, and our duty-free pick up for Friday when in fact, we’re home on Thursday morning.

I think partly it’s because I have to be back on a plane to Sydney on Sunday (don’t ask) and have been thinking I have a day to sleep and get my washing done and partly because our flight out of here is at a ridiculous time of the morning (close enough to 1am) and partly because I just wasn’t thinking because I was stupidly trying to write a novel and leave the day job in reasonable shape. Whatever the reason it actually gave me a good laugh when I worked it out the other day. My husband wasn’t quite as amused but, as I pointed out, there was nothing stopping him from making those arrangements. Exactly.

Instead of worrying about it, I did this. So much more satisfying – and yet another thing to smile about.

Street Art in Penang

I wrote a whole post on this last Thursday (here’s the link) so won’t dwell on it more now. Here are a couple more that didn’t make that post.


Okay, I know this is number six and I was going to keep to five, and whisky always makes me smile, but in Marina Bay Shoppes (the double p is ridiculously deliberate) there’s a whisky shop that had bottles for ludicrous amounts of money. Mone fifty year bottle of Glenfiddich – one of my favourite tipples, but at a substantially lower price – was on the shelves for $61,000. Yes, I’m serious. The words crazy and rich sprang quickly to mind. Singapore is, after all, where “Crazy Rich Asians” is based and was (mostly) filmed.

Of course, I had to go in and had to ask the guy behind the counter whether people actually buy any of it. ‘Sometimes,’ he said. ‘But you have plenty of time to stream Game of Thrones?’ I asked. He smiled in that way that people do when they know that what they’re saying could get them in trouble.

Anyways, the cheapest bottle I found was around $800, and that $60,000 Glenfiddich was NOT the most expensive. The average was around $40,000. Just laughable.

and finally…

I’ll leave you with this sunset over the beach.

Have a great week…





Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

17 thoughts

  1. I’ve loved seeing all your holiday snaps – sunrises and all. Hope you have a great week in Singapore – I love it there but it’s been way too long inbetween visits! Hope to see you in Sydney 🙂

  2. Wow, I love your five things Jo! Great news about the book, looking forward to it 🙂 Your street art shots are amazing and good on you for making those arrangements and admitting you got it wrong, I love that! It’s something I would do too and I like your comeback 🙂 So relax and enjoy other people’s words for a while now – enjoy!

    1. Sometimes there’s nothing for it but to laugh. Interestingly, he hasn’t mentioned it since lol.

  3. Love those sunrise shots! I’m not a morning person and rarely see a sunrise. The sunsets are pretty stunning also. And great news about finishing your first draft. I’ve never created non-fiction so am amazed when people can create stories and characters inside their heads.

    1. Thanks Pat. I’m absolutely a morning person & flag pretty quickly in the evenings. This first draft was particularly heinous because of work stresses but it’s done. I have a friend who jokes about all the people living in my head waiting for a chance to have their own story told.

  4. Love your five things, Jo. I hope you had a fab time in Malaysia and Singapore. Mix-ups happen and keeping a sense of humour helps. I think I had the best Hainan chicken rice when I was in Hong Kong. I went back to the same restaurant for a second visit. #lifethisweek

    1. Aaaah yes, I’ve had some very good chicken rices in HK too. I had an extended work sting there a number of years ago when I was in and out for a few weeks at a time. The food was fabulous.

  5. HI Jo I love you theme of 5 things and I’ve never visited Penang but it looks like another place to put on my bucket list. I’m excited about Christmas at Curlew Cottage and looking forward to when it is published. You have been a little stressed of late with work etc but look at you, not worrying about the car or the duty free just relaxing by the pool – you go girl. We all tend to get caught up worrying about little things and missing out on the good things of life. Enjoy your second week of holidays #lifethisweek

  6. It’s lovely when you and Sam, SSG & others travel because “I” get to pretend along…thanks for all the sharing. I know we won’t travel but i get tastes and glimpses thanks to blogging and good old social media.

    Thanks for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week’s optional prompt: 19/51 Contentment Is…13/5/19 I hope you will join in! Denyse

  7. Nothing beats sunrises and sunsets over the water! Beautiful pictures! The food looks yum. The street art…oh my! I love street art – always in awe of it! Yay for sending the book off to the editor! Hope you have a fab week ahead!

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