5 things

the week in pics

Okay, we haven’t done one of these for a while. January is nearly over and, this being a public holiday in Australia, I’m enjoying an unusually lazy morning propped up in bed as I write this, the rest of my house still asleep.

After a busy week it’s been a lazy long weekend in that other than dinner at a friend’s house in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland (as an aside, check out their view, wouldn’t you love to wake up to that?) it’s been a weekend for turning off Facebook, catching up on some writing, and finally making some headway on sorting the photos from our UK trip.

There has, however, been plenty for me to smile, or think, about. Because it’s my first week back on the 5 things to be cheerful about on Monday morning caper for 2020, I’m not even going to try to keep it to 5.

1.This article by Nigella on turning 60 – yes, she’s 60. If you can’t get past the paywall on The Times, this final paragraph sums it up:

I do have to say that getting older is so much easier than being young. The two great enemies of happiness are self-consciousness and pressure to conform, and the older one gets, the easier it is to throw off those shackles. And while I never quite believe those who say that the great benefit of age is that one no longer cares what anyone else thinks — we are social creatures, and thus we are always somewhat reliant on the reactions of others — it is true that one cares ever more fleetingly. Or rather, one just doesn’t have it in oneself to care as much. Ageing happens whether we like it or not, and to mind about it is so futile as to be a waste of energy. Denial has an unfairly bad reputation: I am quite happy to block out those signs of ageing that, were I to focus on them, would make me unhappy. There is, however much one might want to glory in what the years have brought, both good and ill, something really quite perturbing about ageing, the withering on the vine. Ignoring it is the only way to go. Most of us spent our youth hating things about the way we looked, and now, from a more elderly vantage point, that seems so ridiculous. I try to learn from that. Why worry about being 60 when, in 10 years’ time, it will seem laughably young by comparison? And if I don’t get to see 70, then looking older will be the least of my troubles.

2. This music video by James Blunt. Watch and listen with tissues – it’s heart-breakingly good. The article explaining why is here

3. This Instagram account. It’s essentially pictures and videos of fluffy chickens, some in crocheted chicken caps – and who isn’t immediately cheered by a picture of a fluffy chicken? @herechookchook

4. Regular readers know of my obsession with Midsomer Murders and my ambition to be an extra on set. This article, a tongue in cheek guide to not getting murdered in a quaint English village made me laugh.

5. Silent book clubs. This is a thing now and one I’ve heard about from a few different sources – which means that it’s something I need to tell you about. I’ve never belonged to a book club but would love to do so. Too many tend to pick books that are either a tad too highbrow or serious or gory or just not my thing. The idea of meeting in a pub or a bar, ordering a wine and having a chat before reading (silently) something of your own choice for a prescribed period of time before you can stop, have a chat, maybe another wine really appeals to me. This article tells you more about it.

6. Because it’s my first week back and it was Burns Night on Saturday, this short clip came up in my feed – it’s Sam Heughan from Outlander reciting a couple of lines from two of Robert Burns’ most famous verses. The clips are ads promoting Burns night and are just 20 seconds long but let me just say this, you’ll want to hear more. 

7. In the lead-up to Australia Day (which was, for the benefit of overseas readers, yesterday) there’s always opinion pieces about how it is to be Australian. This one by Richard Glover was good. What got me thinking though was this article and then this one debating what Australia’s national dish would be.

At first, I was on the sausage sanger and spag bol bandwagon, then my vote went to salt and pepper squid (below).

But then a comment that Erica from Behind The Scenery left after she’d read Happy Ever After came back to me. What about fairy bread? A mainstay of children’s birthday parties, many of us grew up with this, but it got me wondering whether other countries make fairy bread. Maybe this – a slice of supermarket white bread with butter and hundreds & thousands – is worthy of a nomination for our national dish? What do you think?

Iconic traditional Australian party food, Lamington cakes and Fairy Bread,

Have a great week!

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

34 thoughts

  1. I love part of the quote that says, “The two great enemies of happiness are self-consciousness and pressure to conform, and the older one gets, the easier it is to throw off those shackles.” Well-stated.

  2. What a great quote from Nigella. I can’t believe she’s 60! I loved reading this post. I found myself identifying with some things. I do smile at fluffy chicken posts on Instagram. I hadn’t heard of silent Bookclub but think it’s a great idea #MLSTL Sharing

  3. Well there were a couple of extra “things” this time – and I’m not surprised seeing it’s been a while since your last update. Let me start by saying how could you tempt me with with poetry read by Outlander’s Jamie – WITH NO FOOTAGE OF HIM??!! He is indeed gorgeous – and his accent nearly made up for the loss 😀
    I also enjoyed Nigella’s thoughts (and her plummy diction) 60 is looming on the horizon and it’s always good to read how others are coping with getting “old”.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

    1. Thanks. I must confess I “borrowed” the idea from another blog I love called Local is Lovely but it seems so right for now.

  4. Joanne, Your photos are stunning! Sorting photos is a constant challenge for me. I fell behind after our NZ trip last year. This year I am back to my end of month sorting and organizing. I love everything about bringing “cheerful” to the forefront. I appreciate all the over 60 role models. Nigella is one of them. I appreciate her use of the word “shackles.” I did listen to James Blunt song last week and pouring tears. Very beautiful, heart-wrenching, poignant. The Silent Book Club is interesting.

    Thank you for the shout out about my blog site, Joanne. 🙂 Funny you should mention the Fairy Bread. Since I read about this in your book, we have come up with a unique variation in our household with the grandchildren. I think I will save it for a separate post and include our Fairy Bread story. I also looked up “Lamington Cake” just now. “Layers of beaten gold.” Many variations of recipes. You likely have a favourite one. Great post! Thank you for spreading the “cheerful!” (#MLSTL sharing SM and I read your posts ‘anyways’) 🙂

    1. Awww thanks. I can’t wait to see your fairy bread variation. We were at a picnic area not long ago and a kids party was happening at the table beside us & the mother passed us the plate of fairy bread too. Love it. I don’t make lamingtons only because my husband doesn’t like them – he dislikes the coconut. They are, however, iconic & good ones are so very good.

  5. Hi Jo, love your 5 things and can I join you as an extra on Midsommer Murders? I’ve always been a fan although have to admit my favourite was John Nettles. What a great idea the ‘silent’ book club is. I’m like you and never really been in a book club because when I read, I read to relax and not always want anything that makes me think too hard. Have a great week and thanks for sharing at #MLSTL x

      1. Not really but I do…and he was very handsome in that. I saw an old episode only the other day when I was looking for episodes of Lovejoy.

  6. I also love the idea of 5 things to be cheerful about, and who can look at that fluffy chicken without smiling? Certainly not me! Thanks for spreading the cheer! #MLSTL

    1. I must confess to “borrowing” the idea from a newsletter I receive but I defy anyone to look at a fluffy chicken and not smile.

  7. Ageing has its benefits. However, now I am 70 I am definitely in the ‘lot less to look forward to’ somewhat group but meh, I can take it too. OK, I HAVE to share this somewhere and this Aussie blog is it. Have you seen Fairy Lamingtons..or 100s and 1000s on lamingtons instead of coconut. Look, I get people don’t all like coconut and a lamington IS about chocolate icing and coconut …but no this Australia Day I saw Fairy (Bread) Lamingtons. Sigh.
    Denyse #mlstl

      1. Coconut is one of my fave flavours and textures and despite my mouth challenges I have it a lot. I really missed textures in food when I didn’t have upper teeth. Go, order a lammo with your next coffee!

  8. So much to love here Jo! I love that James Blunt song, Nigella’s advice is spot on, fairy bread is a winner, that clip of Sam reading poems is classic, the article about English villages is so funny (and spot on), Richard Glover always writes well, and who doesn’t like fluffy chickens? We have so much in common 🙂 Fabulous start to your year of 5 things!! #mlstl

  9. Hi Jo, the fluffy chicken gave me a good laugh, so thank you for that. And, I’ve never been a Book Club kind of person, but the silent type as you described would be right up my alley!

  10. WHOA! James Blunt had me in tears! I lost my dad a couple years back. I loved him but I wasn’t as close to him as my brother was. Now I see why my brother seemed to be so much more upset and sad over his passing. He mentioned they had become friends but seeing the relationship between the Blunt men I see the one between my brother and dad deserves more respect. They were no longer son and father but kindred spirits.


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