5 things – Monday 9 November 2020

Okay, Monday again, and it’s a grey Monday here on the Sunny Coast. This morning I was lying there at 4.30am waiting for my alarm to go off (as you do) and the rain came pelting down. Once upon a time I would have turned the alarm off and pulled the doona up but these days we just get up and go – regardless of the weather. I mean seriously, once you’re wet you can’t get any wetter, right?

We have not missed a weekday morning this year. Sure, there were those couple of weeks where I couldn’t walk far due to the calf injury, but we still got up and went down to the beach. I have the attention span of something that doesn’t have a very long attention span so for me, it’s all about the routine. Habits – at least the good ones – tend to form slowly for me but can be broken just like that.

Anyways, let’s get on with the five:


It was fabulous to hop on a plane for our flight to Cairns. In these covid times, air travel is different, but I’m aware of how lucky we are that intrastate travel is possible. Also, I’ll never get over how fabulous it is to see the Great Barrier Reef from the air.

I’ll tell you more about what we got up to in Cairns during the week.

2. New life

In Mooloolaba there is a pair of ospreys that nest on a pole at The Spit. We say hello to them each morning. (The pics below are by Helen, one of the regular early morning walkers.) 

Each year they hatch a couple of chicks and this morning the babies were out of the nest and having some wing lessons. Last year we were lucky enough to see them ready to leave the nest. 

Last year’s progeny ready to leave home

Also spotted out and about are the first of the scrub turkey chicks. These little guys don’t have anything like the parental support the ospreys give to their young – something which makes their survival even more impressive.

Male scrub turkeys build a massive compost heap to impress the females who will lay their eggs in it. The heat of the mound incubates the eggs and while the male guards the “nest” the female goes on her merry scratchy scrub turkey way. 

When the babies hatch they have to be able to fend for themselves with the first gauntlet they need to run being to get past their father. I don’t have any decent pics yet this year, but they are very cute indeed.

Anyways, I love how nature sends us these little reminders from time to time regarding cycles and perspective. 

3. Festive reading festival

As far as I’m concerned, it’s perfectly acceptable to begin planning for Christmas once Melbourne Cup (run on the first Tuesday of November) is done (not that I follow the Melbourne Cup these days, but that’s another story). My festive reading festival, however, kicks off after Halloween, ie the 1st of November so is already underway and three of the four books I’ve read already have been absolute winners.

4. Nanowrimo update

Because we were in Cairns for the first two days of the month, I was late in starting nanowrimo. (For those who don’t know what it is, essentially it’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. I posted something about it on my author page.)

A busy day in the day job had me also register a zero day on Thursday so rather than being 1667 words a day that I need to chase, my target is now closer to 1900. That being said, I scored good word counts on the weekend so am a smidgeon off 10,000 words so far.

I don’t have a title for this book yet, but it’s a sequel to Wish You Were Here and Happy Ever After. It’s also set in Queenstown, so I suspect I’ll be messing about with some classic Kiwi slices and baked treats over the next couple of months while I’m writing the first draft.

In other news, I’m almost decided on the cover for Escape To Curlew Cottage and have now received the copy edits back from my editor. Over the next week or so I’ll confirm a release date, but it’s looking to be March. I’m also having the cover of Wish You Were Here done in the same style and will re-release that (complete with a few recipes in the back) prior to publishing Escape.

The covers will be more “cutesie” than I’m used to but this fits in well with the UK market for this style of novel and given that both are set in The Cotswolds it makes sense.

Finally, I’m not making a hoo-ha about this, but Careful What You Wish For is out on the 14th. There’s a pre-order link on my author website. It will be available in Kobo and other retailers by the end of the week, but print is still a couple of weeks away.

5. In the kitchen

I’m loving Ottolenghi’s “Flavour” and this week made a smoky aubergine cream for the Caesar Salad we had the other night. The recipe is here.

While on the subject of vegies, this platter of tomatoes with a tarragon (from my garden) and balsamic dressing was the centrepiece for a barbecue with friends the other night. 

While I made Nigella’s chocolate and raspberry pavlova for dessert (and ice cream with the 6 egg yolks left from the pavlova) I haven’t done much other than business as usual cooking in the kitchen over the last week. 

Hopefully I’ll get my hands into some flour this week.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

10 thoughts

  1. Hi, Jo – I’m completely with you in the belief that good habits take time to build but without vigilance and routine can quickly fall apart. I’m super impressed with your daily morning walk.
    Oh, and those tomatoes with tarragon and balsamic dressing — amazing!!

  2. Did they have to do distancing on the plane? I got a train to Brissy a couple of months ago and they were particularly careful with seating but someone else commented that planes weren’t doing that?

    And not missing a weekday morning walk is AMAZING. God, that’s phenomenal. Well done!

  3. Ugh! Waiting for your alarm to go off at 4:30 does not sound pleasant. So sorry! Good for you for not letting the rain interfere with your walk. Dedication! The osprey photos are great! One of my favorite birds. Your tomato platter looks gorgeous and delicious. So simple and so good!

  4. Hi Jo – I’m with you and Donna about habits. I walk every day and usually twice a day. I don’t go as far as you, but I try to get my 10,000 steps in as often as possible. There’s been a rare day when I haven’t walked, but then I make sure I go a bit further the next day to help maintain the pace. Walking is the only exercise that I’ve found that’s easy to access, free, fills my senses, and leaves me feeling satisfied at the end. So glad you sorted out the calf so you could maintain your morning excursions.

  5. Hello,
    I have that pavlova earmarked to make, so would love to hear an honest opinion of it. Was it wonderful?
    Regards from Brisbane,

  6. I am so impressed with your walking habits Jo! Go you :). I’m happy to say my walking is increasing and is less painful each week so I am very happy. Also impressed with the new book out soon – heading over to pre-order as we speak. I’ve not been to Cairns yet but one day I’ll get there. And how cute are those ospreys? Another fabulous 5. #lifethisweek

  7. Good catch up. Loved seeing a plane that was actually taking you somewhere…and what a place your visited. Lovely.

    Christmas…will be different for you and yours I guess with borders etc.

    Congrats again for getting up (no matter what) and down to that water’s edge.

    Thank you for sharing your images. Always appreciated.

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week the optional prompt is 46/51 Exams. 16.11.2020 Hope to see you then! Denyse.

  8. Love how writing, and preparing for another book, equates to new dishes to try in the kitchen. Such fun that your books revolve somewhat about food.

    What a blessing to be able to follow those chicks as they launch themselves into the world. One of the Sunday Stills words or prompts was birding in my backyard which has proven difficult. I have my October post ready to go with the exception of a photo to satisfy that prompt. Your photos have reminded me to step out back to see what I can find.

  9. Those ospreys look amazing! Love that you go to go to Cairns. I’ve stopped planning holidays for the moment but hoping next year will be better. NaNoWriMo started and stopped very quickly for me – new role has required a lot of brain space! Hope you’ve been having a lovely week!

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