So, it’s the end of July, and it’s been a good one with possibly the best mix of work and play so far this year. In other words, for the first time this year I’m finishing a month without feeling overwhelmed. It’s also the first time this year that I feel as though I’ve made any sort of progress.
Okay, without further havering (I love that word) or waffle, let’s wrap this month up!
Mostly blue – some cold starts and absolutely picture-perfect mid-winter days. Just gorgeous. The days have been early-mid 20s and the ocean temp is also around 21C.
None. That’s right, none. Normally this would have me feeling a tad on the restless side, but this month I’ve been grateful for it.
Having said that, as this post is published, I’m at Sunshine Coast airport waiting for a flight to Sydney from where we’ll pick up a car to drive to Canberra to see hubby’s mother and then onto Eucumbene for the weekend.
Excess Baggage update
I’m finishing the month 2kgs lighter than I started it. Plus, as at the time of writing, I’d smashed my step target to pieces. After a few months of inconsistency on the exercise front, I’d set myself the target of averaging 10,000 steps a day. As at the time of writing I was sitting at around 325,000.
I’m happy with that.
Absolute high point
The announcement that my novel, Happy Ever After, is a finalist in the Romantic Book of the Year Awards – the RUBY. For my little indie published novel to get to the final three is absolutely humbling. The winner is announced on the 10thof August in Melbourne. I’ll be there with my bestie and celebrating whatever the outcome.
Watching a mumma whale and her calf off the coast of Mooloolaba with Whale One. Watching these magnificent animals is an absolute privilege that never gets old.
I’m on the home stretch of the rewrite for my 2019 novel, Escape To Curlew Cottage. It will be going back to my editor for a structural edit very very soon.
Because I’m writing something that’s a cross between chick-lit and cozy crime at the moment, I’m reading completely out of genre and indulging in a little light romance.
The best book I read this month, however, was Felicity Cloake’s One More Croissant For The Road.
I’m addicted to Felicity’s foodie columns in the (UK) Guardian newspaper – to the extent that I’ve used them as inspiration for my character Claire Mansfield in Escape To Curlew Cottage. She does this series called “How To Cook The Perfect…” This book, though, is the sort of book I’d love to write someday – a travel foodie memoir. It’s about how she rode a bike called Eddie through France pretty much following a foodie trail. It’s the travelling through France following a foodie trail part that I like – not the cycling bit and especially not the cycling long distances and up a lot of hills that are like mountains bit. Yeah. Nah to that.
- The latest series of Shetland (Foxtel)
- The latest series of Hinterland (Netflix)
- Masterchef (I’m missing it already)
- James Martin’s French Adventure (Foxtel)
- I’m also enjoying Channel 10’s new My Life Is Murder.
To a lot!
Margie Nomura’s Desert Island Dishes remains a current favourite.
Also, this month I discovered Giles Coren Doesn’t Have a Clue– essentially a podcast about how he arrives at the subject of his column each week – and Jay Rayner’s Out To Lunch. His interviews with ex actors Richard E Grant and Stanley Tucci were really interesting.
I also listened to Nigella, Nigel Slater and Jeremy Clarkson on Desert Island Discs; Nigel Slater on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day, Rick Stein and Yottam Ottolenghi on Diana Henry’s At The Kitchen Table.
It wasn’t all foodie heroes though, I also enjoyed “Falling For A Fake,” journalist Stephanie Wood’s story about falling for a romantic fraudster on Conversations.
By far, though, the best podcast I listened to all month was George Megalogenis and Christos Tsiolkas in discussion at Sydney Writer’s Festival talking about The Football Solution – how the game of AFL can teach us a lot about Australian politics as it currently is.
The Annoyed Thyroid’s Mandarin Mini-Muffins. They still haven’t made it to the freezer.
I’ve also been making these amazing brownies for Sarah to take into her work. They feature in my new novel. The recipe is here.
101 things in 1001 days – an update
I’ve ticked off another 3 items:
- Make puff pastry from scratch
- Make a tarte tatin
- Make soft white dinner rolls
- Make flatbread
Although time consuming, there was something quite rewarding about making the puff pastry from scratch. It was even more rewarding seeing those layers in the finished product.
As for the tarte tatin, I’ve now made it a couple of times. Sarah has declared it her new favourite pudding. I’ll pop up the recipe in the next couple of weeks.
The dinner rolls too worked well and were beautifully soft.
I made them, and a French-style terrine to take on a picnic.
July was perfect for weekend picnics – blue skies and mild temperatures.
One Sunday we went to the Bushland Botanical Gardens near our house.
And another day we took some sausages and bread rolls to the park on the top of Buderim Hill. Not a bad view, is it?
Okay, that was my month…how was yours?