5 things…

This week in pics

Okay, settle in guys, we have a lot to get through this week…

The Ruby Announcement

Remember a few weeks ago when I said I had some news that I couldn’t wait to tell you about? It was this: “Happy Ever After” is a finalist in the Romantic Book of The Year Awards. Even though I honestly don’t believe that my little book and I have a chance of winning, to be placed in the final 3 is something I didn’t think could happen and I couldn’t be more chuffed.

It was also a thrill to see my cover as the feature pic for the article about the RUBY announcements in the publishing trade newsletter…on the same page as Trent Dalton. There you go. Speaking of which, I still haven’t read that book…

Blue Skies

My oh my it’s been a cracker of a week weather wise here on the Sunshine Coast. Just glorious. The days have been around the low to mid 20’s and the ocean temperature is still at around 22. Now, that’s what I call winter done well.

Morning coffee at Mooloolaba


In the interests of attempting to move more I’ve been doubling up on the walks this week and heading out at lunchtime with @adventurespaniel to wander the neighbourhood. That means podcasts and this week, in addition to catching up on Margie Nomura’s Desert Island Dishes, I’ve also been listening to Jay Rayner’s “Out To Lunch” and Giles and Esther Coren’s “Giles Coren Has No Idea” – which is pretty much them chatting about what he’s going to write in his column that week and where the ideas come from.

10,000 steps

Although I so a 5km walk most mornings before work, my job is a sedentary one and because I work from home there is little accidental movement. As a result, I rarely get to my 10,000 steps a day. Part of my goal for July though is to average 10,000 steps over the course of the month. This week, with the help of the extra walks at lunchtime and a couple after work, I exceeded my 70k goal.

Almost Dry in July

Well, definitely much dryer than usual in July. Two weeks down and I’m not reaching for my usual glass (or more) of wine between Monday and Thursday.

Massive congratulations 

Massive congratulations to my niece (and birthday twin) who was competing with NSW Country in the U18 National Schoolgirls Rugby Union Championships. After three days of competition they got pipped in the final by NSW City. Well done girls!


Of course. This week, just to mix things up, we took a different route on Friday morning and watched the sun come up over the ocean at Kawana Beach. 


I knocked off 30 minutes early on Thursday so @adventurespaniel, Sarah and I could catch a sunset. As sunsets go it wasn’t a particularly spectacular one, and because it’s still school holidays the beach was mobbed, but any sunset seen is, in my opinion, a good one.

Is that a doggy grin or is that a doggy grin?

Surprise catch-up

I love unexpected catch-ups so it was great to beet up with a friend and ex-colleague on Friday afternoon. Special enough, in fact, to use the last of the mandarins in another batch of these muffins.

Don’t worry, mandies were $2.50 for a huge bag at the markets yesterday so maybe the next batch will make it into the freezer.


If you’re ever on the Sunshine Coast a visit to the famous Eumundi Market in the hinterland is an absolute don’t miss must do.

It’s a really lovely town to visit away from market day as well. We were up there last Sunday for lunch at the Imperial Hotel, but while I managed a sneaky look in Berkeleow’s Books and snaffled a couple of pairs of boots at The Emporium most of the other shops were closed. 

Grant and I dropped by again on Friday and spent ages in Bees And Honey learning all about, well, bees and honey. I now have plans for him to make me a little native bee house – naturally he’s not fully across those plans just yet.

We’ve been buying raw honey direct from producers since we moved up here and continue to be amazed at how much better and deeper the taste is when compared to what’s available in supermarkets.

The Imperial Hotel is a great spot for lunch (we shared a pizza between us) – especially sitting out in the beer garden on a sunny winter day. I love all the art in the pub too.


In my quest to cook my way through Nigella’s “How To Eat” I’m up to making bread. The recipe in that book, however, calls for live yeast which I haven’t yet been able to source (note to self: ask my local baker) so instead I made these dinner rolls from her “Feast” book.

I think that counts. We had them for lunch on Saturday with some lentil and vegetable soup from the freezer. If you’re interested, the recipe is here.

Saturday Night Kitchen

This week in the kitchen was French-themed in view of Le Quatorze Juillet, or Bastille Day. On the menu was a salmon pate I made with a bag of smoked salmon offcuts that the lady at the market sells. She vacuum packs the offcuts from her larger packages of home smoked salmon and trout and sells them for just a couple of dollars. It’s a perfect size for a pate like this. To make the pate I combined the salmon with about 100g of light cream cheese, the same amount of crème fraiche, a little horseradish, and the juice and zest of ½ a lemon. Normally I’d also chop up some dill but Sarah doesn’t like it. Anyways, we served this with some veggie crudites.

Our main dish was Braised Chicken with Red Wine Vinegar and Tarragon that we had with mash and green beans. It’s a creamy sauce, so absolutely only for a planned cheat night, but the vinegar and tarragon cuts through the creaminess.

I didn’t take any photos, but of course it looked just like the book said it would. Truly.

I had a go at making my own rough puff pastry for a Tarte Tatin, but we decided to save that for Sunday night. I used this recipe for the caramel and apple bit, but I used puff pastry instead of shortcrust. I didn’t try it, but Sarah and Grant seemed impressed.

Sunday Picnic

Instead of our usual Sunday lunch excursion this week we went for a picnic to the Botanical Gardens not far up the road.

I’d bought a huge beetroot at the markets yesterday, added a tin of chickpeas, a splurge of tahini and a squirt of lemon juice, threw it all in the food processor and the outcome was a gorgeously pink beetroot hummus. We had some lebanese bread in the freezer so Grant cut it into pieces, sprinkled over some sumac and baked it in the oven to use as crackers for the dip.

I also made a terrine – just how pretty does it look? Also in our esky was some local cheese that we bought at the markets yesterday, some oven baked chicken wings, the leftover dinner rolls and some salad and out we went. 

Although cold outside, it was a glorious blue sunny day.

Please bear with me…

I’m working on my sadly neglected author site at present and transferring across to here any travel or foodie posts. While I’ll be back-dating the post date to when they were originally posted, those of you who follow the blog by email may get additional emails. If that’s the case, I apologise, but please bear with me for another couple of weeks.

In case you missed it…

Okay, that was my week…how was yours?

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

25 thoughts

  1. Oh I love Eumundi – it’s one of my Australian highlights!

    I really shouldn’t have read this post before brekkie because now I’m so hungry and salivating over your French fare and gee, you guys know how to picnic!

    Once again hearty congrats on being a finalist and if it makes you feel any better, I haven’t read Trent Dalton’s masterpiece yet but it is on my list!

    And if it makes you feel any better I was at a meeting with a dietician/obesity specialist a few weeks back and she said that just moving is good, that 10,000 steps isn’t scientifically proven it was all a marketing strategy or something random. I see your furbaby is keeping you on your toes – she’s such a cutie!

    I’m heading North this week so am looking forward to some of your wonderful weather! Have an ace week!

    1. I remember reading something about how it was from a Japanese marketing something or other? In any case it’s a good goal, otherwise I’m way too sedentary. I think I read somewhere else that to make a decent difference we should be at the 12k a day & then I read soemwhere else that the number should be 15k & then I read somewhere else…as you say, it’s the moving that matters. Have a fab week. x

    1. The colour is fab at this time of the year. I appreciate them more because I know that in another few months they’ll be way too early – even for me – and the colours are more muted in the summer. Have a great week.

  2. What a fabulous week, Jo. Congratulations again on your Happily Ever After book being the finalist of the RUBY award! It’s a huge achievement so you have bragging rights. I know when I look for books to read, I check the finalists so I think you’ll definitely get more readerships. I love all your photos in this post. You really have mild winter compared to my Canadian version. And good on you for doing 10K steps. From my personal experience, consistency gets results so go out and enjoy all the glorious sunrises and sunsets. #lifethisweek

  3. Stunning pics as usual and you’ll note even I’ve gotten out and about more lately. Well, a little more. I need to somehow make that a habit or something.

    My Dry July is still going though each day at 3pm or so I start to wallow thinking how the night before me is going to drag. I struggle until about 7pm and then I”m kinda in ‘dinner and bed’ mode. I suspect it’s the idea of wine and the release it gives me more than the wine itself!

    1. I’ve noticed that about you – the getting out part. I’m finding the hardest wine not to have is the one I have when I knock off work. So I’m going for a walk instead. Then I have to miss the one I’d usually have when Grant is cooking dinner so I’m sipping sparkling water. No matter what they say about how it tricks the brain it absolutely doesn’t.

      1. True and I don’t drink much else other than diet coke – which I’m not allowed to drink after a certain time cos of the caffeine. And… I don’t like hot drinks, so….

  4. Another fantastic week Jo – your picnic lunch looks 100 times more exciting than the ones I do (but that’s okay because we don’t picnic all that much anyway!) Congrats again on your Ruby nomination – and your book’s title was perfect for their marketing wasn’t it? Lovely sunrises and another great post x

  5. Hi, Jo – The quote about the Bee and the Bear totally cracked me up. On our recent Camino, my husband and I had an ongoing banter about the Ant (me) and the Grasshopper (him) which is the same story as that of the Bee and the Bear with slightly different characters. I can’t wait to share this version with him!

    1. Thanks Pat, it is super exciting and yes, as weeks go, the last one was a pretty good one 🙂

  6. Fabulous news Jo and what a great week. I wish you all the best for the awards and great company you’re in with that pic! Your foodie pics make me drool and your beach shots just make me insanely jealous! We went to Eumundi just a few weeks ago and loved the main street and book shop too. So many clever people and it’s all done really well. #lifethisweek

    1. I could do serious damage in that bookshop. Thankfully Grant was with me & while he’s a better shopper than me, he doesn’t read so doesn’t understand my fascination with bookshops.

  7. Hi Jo, well, I picked a great time to read your blog and officially “meet” you just in time to say Congratulations! What an honor! I always feel like writers are my people and I am glad to meet more writers. I also seem to have a lot of Aussie friends due to Sue and Leanne and all the folks at MLSTL. I know I have been reading your comments on my blog lately, and it is nice to finally read your blog and learn more about you.

    1. I’ve met some lovely bloggers through Sue & Leanne’s MLSTL. I didn’t link up for a long time as I mostly post food, travel & catch-up, but then figured, why not join the party? It’s lovely to meet you too.

  8. What a great catch up with you. Congratulations on the Ruby finalist. And wow you pack a lot into your week for someone who is working at her day job. All power to you.

    I knew about the 10K per day steps but have been delighted to read for my age (69) 7.5K is great. I am doing part of the NSW Premier’s Sporting Challenge with my old employer and am managing most days to be over 7K. The apple watch helps!!

    Thank you for sharing on #lifethisweek. Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 29/51 Winter: Like/Loathe 22/7/19. Hope you link up again too. Denyse.

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