5 things – Saturday, March 6, 2021

Tuesday morning lifeguard training on Mooloolaba Beach

Here we are again – Saturday morning. I’m being sneaky and have actually had a little sleep-in. My alarm goes off at 4.30am during the week (so we can go walking) and 5.30am on a Saturday (so we can go to the markets) but this morning I just couldn’t be faffed getting out of bed. Besides, the Noosa Red (tomatoes) man said he won’t be there and out lettuce lady (whose leaves of lettuce must have been hand-harvested by fairies while the dew is still on them – they are that good) is off in her caravan and heading south for a week or so. Anyways, I think the extra hour’s sleep has done me some good.

I’ve been completely out of routine this week. We’ve had friends in town (more on that below) and I worked on one of my days off and swapped another so I could go to Brisbane for the day. It’s really made me feel a tad off-kilter – but in a good way. My walking routine has also been out of whack as I have a blister the size of New Zealand on the back of my heel at the moment (okay, maybe it’s not the size of New Zealand, but it’s definitely the size of a fifty-cent piece) and I can’t pull trainers on. I’ve still been walking in the mornings, but barefoot on the sand, but my afternoon walks haven’t been happening.

Then yesterday it was the first anniversary of the passing of my mother-in-law. I can’t believe a year has passed by already. I still go to call her and let her know we’re home safely if we’ve been away anywhere.

Alrighty, with no further ado, let’s wrap up the week.


Friends – old and new…or, rather, old friends and newish friends that feel like old friends. It’s been a week of catching up.

On Sunday we gathered in the drizzle on Mooloolaba Beach with old friends to celebrate a special birthday with a special cake – just look at it. Was there ever a more perfect cake for a mermaid?

We had the same old friends over for dinner during the week. One of my favourite things to do in life is feed people – I love the whole palaver of cleaning the house, deciding on the menu, preparing the food and sharing the conversation over it. This time though, because it was a workday, I rustled up a lemon drizzle cake during my lunch hour and popped a couple of trays of chicken thighs in the oven when they got here. It’s a traybake we have every few weeks and a real cheat way of having roast chicken during the week. This one is done with potatoes, Spanish onions, chorizo and mushrooms. When it has about ten minutes to go I toss in green beans and cherry tomatoes and serve it with a green salad. Too easy.

On Thursday I caught the train into Brisbane and caught up with a couple of special blogging buddies – Sue from Women Living Well After 50 and Deb from Deb’s World. We had lunch at Eagle Street Pier and chatted and laughed. It wasn’t until we were about to leave that I realised that while I’d met Sue before, it was the first time I’d met Deb in real life. It certainly didn’t feel like that.

And then last night we caught up with more old friends. These ones were up from Melbourne for the weekend. They were even brave enough to do our 5am beach walk.


I demolished Lucy Diamond’s An Almost Perfect Holiday during the week (a 3 hour round train trip to Brissie will do that) and presently have a couple of books on the go (I do that…): The Killings at Kingfisher Hill, by Sophie Hannah (it’s the new Hercule Poirot Mystery) and The Schoolgirl Strangler – true crime (NOT my usual genre) by Katherine Kovacic.


I found an entire scene in my new (still untitled) Queenstown book that needs to be rewritten – which means that I need to rewrite a couple of scenes that come in and out of that scene. I’ll get that done during the week so it can go off to the editor.


Back in 2018, we visited a village high in the hills in Burgundy – Châteauneuf-en-Auxois. I wrote about it here. When we were exploring the village I declared to Grant and Fiona (the friend we were travelling with) that I’d one day write a book set here. I could picture it – I even had the title: The Lilac Queen. What I didn’t have was the right character or the story.

I’m not sure whether it’s because yesterday morning on our beach walk Fiona asked me if I’d written the story yet, but I woke this morning with both – the character and the story – in my head almost fully formed. I grabbed my laptop, opened a new Scrivener project, and typed in the notes before I could forget them. I won’t get to even beginning that draft for another few months, but now it’s in my head it can percolate a little.


Inspired by both Wuthering Heights and my own book, Escape To Curlew Cottage, I made some pikelets during the week – although why autocorrect is convinced that I really mean to type spikelets is beyond me. Just what is a spikelet anyway? In any case, I blogged the recipe – and some for-the-book-of-useless-knowledge history about the pikelet over on BKD. You’ll find the link here.

I scored a couple of kilos of cherry tomatoes from one of my visiting friends – she’d been given them and couldn’t get them back to Sydney on her flight (go figure) so brought them to me.

They were definitely past their best so I popped them in a tray, chucked in some peeled garlic cloves and a bunch of oregano from the garden and popped them in the oven for 90 minutes. Once they were cool I blended it all in the nutribullet and now we have roasted tomato and garlic sauce in the freezer,

Linking up with Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

28 thoughts

  1. Happy Saturday Jo! What a delightful way to start my Saturday. I usually run Saturday mornings so up and away early to drive to Brisbane, but tomorrow is the International Women’s Day Run so I’ve swapped my running day. I’m starting my Saturday easing into the day and I really enjoyed reading your 5 things post with a coffee. Those pikelets look delicious and I’m not sure I’ve had them since I was living at home and that is too many years to count! So pleased you found some inspiration for your new book. The highlight of my week was seeing you and Deb and we really should try to do it more often. I do feel like we have all been friends for many years and isn’t that lovely? Have a fabulous weekend, my friend. xx

    1. I was so tired this morning I’ve just given in to catching up on blogging etc. I’m possibly too tired to bake even yet I’ve been looking forward to doing just that all week. Have a lovely weekend.x

  2. I wish I was a confident entertainer like you! I love the ease of what you made for your friends… and it sounds so yummy!

    The three of you bloggers look so happy together. I know what you mean about meeting other bloggers IRL for the first time and feeling as if you’ve known them forever.

    1. Entertaining old friends is so easy. When we lived closer to these guys we used to have regular clean out your fridge nights where we’d combine the contents and make something up. Casual and no fuss. Love it. Have a great weekend.

  3. Jo, Your family and friends are lucky that one of your favourite things to do in life is feed people. So great that you met up with Deb and Sue. I love everyone’s smile in the photo. Awesome that you’ve got the character and story for your The Lilac Queen book. Thank you for linking with #WeekendCoffeeShare. Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. It comes from a Welsh word. They’re like mini pancakes but with the little holes you get in crumpets.

  4. Hi Jo – sorry about the giant blister – I seem to follow in your footsteps – first the calf tear, and now I have a heel blister too (but mine’s only the size of Tasmania). A bit jealous of your blogging lunch (actually a LOT jealous of your blogging lunch) and nice to read about all your other adventures for the week – happy re-writing of your scene for your book – it’s amazing that you do it all so easily x

  5. That cake is beautiful!! Walking on the beach each morning sounds positively perfect but I am sorry to hear about the blister. How fun to meet up with fellow bloggers in real life!

    1. It’s ridiculous how something so minor can have such a massive impact…the blister, that is…

  6. Good grief about your blister, Jo. Hopefully it will begin to heal. An absolutely delightful cake! I agree with some of the comments how you make entertaining look fun, easy and tasty. I left a note on your more recent post how I want to preorder a paperback or hardcover of “Escape to Curlew Cottage” yet, Amazon.ca has only ebooks. I may have to wait?

    Thank you for sharing a fun post with great photos! Especially the three stunning women with their big smiles.xx

    1. Hey there Erica, print will be a few weeks away yet – the covers have to be designed for it. Hopefully though I’ll have links for print books up by the end of the month…

  7. How precious that the 3 of you blogging buddies got together. So glad you took a photo to mark the day. Love the smiles. I bet the conversation was lively and interesting.
    The photo of the cross is just outstanding. Would make a beautiful sympathy or Easter card. Could almost smell the heady fragrance of the lilac. Takes me back to a tree from my childhood that stood outside my parents’ bedroom window. Filled the whole house with fragrance.
    I look forward to meeting the Lilac Queen.

  8. Well, if I wasn’t hungry before I got here, I am now. First the cake, then the pikelets… YUM. And then that pasta sauce? I could use some of that in my freezer. If only the birds would stop pillaging my veggie garden and leave some tomatoes for us. Haha. Have a great week! 🙂

  9. I’m the opposite re hosting visitors – the stress of tidying up and planning a menu makes me anxious. Perhaps if I enjoyed cooking or baking more I might be more enthusiastic?

    I love that inspiration strikes you like that. It never happens to me other than pesky thoughts that plague me I have to blog about them to get them out of my head.

  10. I used to get up early and walk like you do but can’t do it anymore. Great photos as usual and that cake is spectacular! I’m quite sad I wasn’t invited along to the bloggy catch up TBH. I would have very much enjoyed it. I’m sure you’ll get back into the swing of your walking soon. I’m looking forward to the cooler weather as I find it easier to walk them as I don’t need to go really early or late in the day to avoid the heat. Have a great week. xo

  11. I love that you love ‘feeding people’ 🙂 It was so good of you to swap days so we could catch up, I smile so much at that photo of us! You’ve had a big week and deserve a sleep in.

  12. Hearing about you traveling and socializing makes me long for the days of normalness again! That cake looks amazing! It IS perfect for a mermaid.

    I have never written a book before (or anything longer than a blog post – except my thesis) but don’t you just love it when you are inspired and the words just flow? Looking forward to reading your “lilac” book.

  13. I enjoyed your post. How fun to meet up with blogging buddies. I’ve had the honor to meet two bloggers in person and one has become a dear friend.

  14. Wow. That photo from the hill. Loved that you caught up with Deb and Sue…I did wonder about whether you drove and now I know, you trained it!

    Your updates, apart from the blister, are full of joy. Being a Queenslander suits you methinks.

    That is so hard after a loved one’s death….Oh I can’t do make that call any more can I…

    Thanks so much for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, we are #11 and the optional prompt is Floral. Hope to see you there and in the meantime, may you be well, may you be safe and may you be content. Denyse.

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