5 things – Monday 7 December 2020

Okay, so it was a massive week all round. The day job was busy (it’s getting to that time of the year) and also last week I resigned from my voluntary position as president of the RWA (Romance Writers of Australia) – something I’d thought long and hard about. It had unfortunately become a case whereby I could just about juggle the day job, writing and family commitments, but this year had spread myself too thin taking on the additional voluntary role – which meant that I didn’t feel I was doing any of the other parts properly. Anyways, the decision has now been made and communicated to members and I’ll be transitioning across to the new president during January.

Okay, let’s get on with the wrap-up.


I made it – 50,000 words in November. I think I have a title, I think I have an ending and by the end of this month I’ll have a credible first draft.

2. Hervey Bay


Sarah and I headed up the coast on Friday for the weekend. We need to find some rental accommodation for her to move into early next month. Unfortunately, it’s not as straight forward as we might have hoped – the rental market is very tight and while we have some applications in, we haven’t yet secured a property.

The pier at Urangan

I have to say though, the more I see of this town the more I understand the attraction of it. The colour of the water needs to be seen to be believed and there’s a real laid-back coastal vibe with some good places to eat too. I’m looking forward to spending more time here – especially during whale watching season.

A rare photo of she who will not be photographed ie Sarah

On Friday night we wandered down to the seafront for Food and Groove Friday. A free community event, Food and Groove is essentially a heap of food trucks, a stage with live music, and plenty of space for picnicking and for kids to run around. And it’s right on the water. They were also lighting the community Christmas tree so there were heaps of people down there. Good food and a great vibe.

The owners of the Airbnb we stayed in have a food truck – Bay Tacos – so it was that one that we chose to eat from and I have to say, they were very very good tacos. They serve them with the consomme, or juices, that comes from the slow cooking of the brisket. The idea is to drink this or dunk the tacos in it – we did both.

If ever you’re in Hervey Bay (who knows, you could be) Tropical Bay House was a fabulous place to stay. Stylish, comfortable, quiet, and a 10-minute walk to both the pier and the marina so super handy.

There was a gorgeous little reading nook in the flat, but I enjoyed taking my morning tea and a book out into the garden. And, best of all, Claire (our host) provided some cookbooks for me to browse.

If you’re interested, the link to the property is here.

The property is across the road from the beach so I found my happy place and wallowed a tad in the ocean. The smoke haze you can see is from the bushfires at Fraser Island – and yes, I was absolutely sun-safe.

While we were in town we also checked out the Saturday market at Urangan Pier, caught up with Debbish for lunch, and generally found our bearings.

3. Christmas tree

Yesterday was the first Sunday in December so that means the Christmas tree went up.

We make a bit of a ceremony out of it each year. The Christmas playlist gets an airing, bubbles are poured and little canapés are eaten – potato scones with smoked salmon and creme fraiche, little prosciutto and cheese pinwheels…that sort of thing.

We also have a tradition where Sarah chooses a bauble each year. This year she chose this silver reindeer, but also new to our very eclectic tree was a bauble we bought at the National Trust in Lacock in the UK on New Year’s Eve last year.

4. Poinciana Trees

Just like the fabulous pohutukawa trees in New Zealand, the poinciana blooming is our sign that Christmas is coming. Just how vivid is that red?

In other news, our frangipani is (finally) flowering.

5. Foodie stuff

No baking again this weekend and my fingers are itching to get into flour. Thanks to Hervey Bay there were some foodie adventures though.

In addition to the tacos at Food and Groove, there was also tapas on the marine at The Dock.

tuna croquettes

The whale-watching fleet leaves from here and there’s also a Chinese here that we visited on Saturday night whose black pepper prawns are worth the trip alone for and another cafe that we didn’t get the chance to try. Next time.

We caught up with Debbish for lunch at EAT at Dan & Steph’s. For those who don’t know, Dan & Steph won the reality cooking show (although these days I’d dispute that it’s about cooking – back then it was) My Kitchen Rules.

I indulged – and indulged was the right word – in a sweet potato and brisket mac and cheese. Very very good.

We also managed a sneaky gelato late one afternoon.

Okay, that was my week…who else is counting the sleeps until Christmas?

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

25 thoughts

  1. Jo, Congrats on completing NaNoWriMo! Hervey Bay and the Tropical House look beautiful. I hope Sarah finds a place soon. Maybe Clare can recommend. The holiday red on your Christmas tree and the poinciana red are gorgeous. Here we have red, pink, and white poinsettias for Christmas holidays. Glad you and Deb met up. Have a wonderful week! #lifethisweek

    1. Thanks – it was a real juggle to do this year – much harder than usual. I adore Christmas colours and your poinsettias sound lovely.

  2. Hi Jo – well done on breaking up with the RWA presidency – go you! Hervey Bay looks amazing and I’m sure Sarah is going to love it there. Qld seems to do markets exceptionally well – and the food looked great – I definitely want that potato and cheesy thing! Oh and congrats on 50,000 words – blooming amazing!

    1. The members and the committee deserve someone able to give more time than I can – and my writing is too important to me to compromise. Hervey Bay is lovely – we just need to find some accommodation… sigh.

  3. Wow, Jo, I don’t know how you manage wearing all of your hats. Congratulations and inspirational with the 50,000 words. Challenging to find a place for Sarah. It will be a good excuse and lots of fun to visit with Sarah. Your decorations help put me in a festive mood. Your food photos are resulting in drool on my laptop. I have some “chippies” (I think Leanne calls them this). I have not made French fries for possibly 5-10 years. I goggled a recipe “The best ever” and so on. Something new to try tonight. My immediate go-to lady would have been you, Jo, although I did not want to bother you with your busy schedule. xx

    1. It’s probably good you didn’t ask me for advice on chips – we only ever have oven fries so I’m not great on the real thing lol. I know the proper English ones are cooked 3 times.

      1. Only oven fries here, too, Jo. I tried a recipe where they insisted on sprinkling with sugar for 30 minutes beforehand to help remove the moisture. Patted dry and baked in oven. Good results.

  4. So lovely to catch up and I’ve got my fingers crossed one of the places comes off for Sarah! I’m looking forward to more visits as well. It is very laid back. Like many places there’s a segment of unpleasant types in town but I mostly live in my own little world, spend time with like-minded people and skip all sorts of things I should go to.

    I hope the transition to the new RWA President goes well and it certainly makes sense as you have a lot on your plate.

    1. Thanks Deb. We certainly saw examples of what you’ve mentioned…but that’s the same as any place you go to.

  5. Girl, you find the best things to eat!! Oh, my stars!! Brisket mac and cheese? Those au jus tacos!! Tuna croquettes. So scrumptious. And we started Weight Watchers this week and I am soooo hungry.

    Proud of your good writing. I need something like that to motivate me to write. Can’t wait to see the finished project of this NaNoWriMo effort.

    Stunning photos, as always!!

    1. Thanks as always for dropping by. I find Nanowrimo is a great motivation for me each year – thinking of doing another early next year…maybe you could join in?

  6. Well done on breaking up with your President. I know it’s not easy as I’ve had to do it myself. But sometimes the hard de idiots have to be made. Looks like you’ve had a lovely week #lifethisweek

    1. Thanks, it was a really tough decision. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a team that works as hard as these guys do – and all volunteers. They’re just awesome.

  7. All you food photos look fantastic! That weekend getaway looks like it was just wonderful too. I am loving those sea photos. I hope you are able to find a rental for Sarah soon.

  8. One of the things I miss SOOOO much in this pandemic (and we are still well in the midst of it here) is eating out. It’s just too risky with so many new cases ….every. single. day. Most foods just do not travel well for take-out. And it’s also the entire restaurant experience – the atmosphere, the service – that I miss. I am very much looking forward to being able to explore new restaurants again… and have even started a list for Florida – maybe by April May?

  9. Look at you smashing goals! Congrats on your writing and your resignation – yay you! Hervey Bay looks fabulous, the Airbnb is great and those tacos had me drooling. Fingers crossed Sarah finds a place soon, who would have thought it would have been so tricky to find a pad? The tree looks great, I was a bit keen this year and put ours up on the 1 November!

  10. Your week looks full and exciting. Life as it should be! I’ve been watching your IG posts and your beautiful photographs tell the story. So, how many cocktails did you have while decorating the tree? We have the same tradition of a new ornament each year. Not sure I want one to commemorate this year though. Take care and good luck with the apartment hunting. So sad when the little chickies fly, but good for them, and eventually good for us too.

  11. Wow! Good for you. 50,000 words in November is a big accomplishment. Food and Groove in such a beautiful setting must have been wonderful! I hope your daughter finds a place soon. That would be a great destination to go visit. Your tree looks good. Now I need to convince Hubby it’s time to put ours up! 🙂

    1. We’ve just found out that she was successful with one of the applications so that’s one less thing to worry about!

  12. Sounds like you had a well balanced week. Here’s to us all getting that balance right. Love the photos and we’re receiving some of your warmth here in the Bay!

  13. Well done on your words Jo, a great result! A lovely recap of your week and I’m pleased you’ll get to enjoy the area once Sarah moves there. #lifethisweek

  14. My fingers are crossed for Sarah to find a place to rent in Urangan. It looks like a gorgeous place to live. And congratulations on conquering Nanowrimo! 50,000 words is a massive achievement. #lifethisweek

  15. Yay just read above that Sarah has somewhere to live. That’s a relief. It’s such a time of big transitions for you both, but it will be tough times for both of you for a bit. Hanging on to catch ups will be good and then, over time, families eventually do become accustomed to being ’empty nesters’. True.

    So good to see you got to catch up with Deb and get into the water. Sure does look amazing.

    I so hear you on volunteer roles. I have done a few and over time, I too have had to bow out. Not even because of paid work nor family but I was no longer interested in some of the politics. I had 40+ years of that in employment.

    The role I have as an Ambassador for head and neck cancer is one I can choose how much time to put into it. That was strange for me initially and I went back to ‘old me’ as in putting all the efforts into it..but I am much better at compartmentalising it now and …I have FREE time. I am just learning to enjoy that aged 71.

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week is the last Share Your Snaps for 2020 and then only one week to go after that before a short break with Life This Week returning on Mon 4 January 2021. Hope to see you next week too. Denyse.

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