March, all wrapped up…

Okay, without any faffing about, let’s get into the March wrap-up.

Reading

I was on holiday for a week during the month so that meant pool time, and also reading time on planes and trains. As a result, I read 7 books over the month:

  • An Almost Perfect Holiday, by Lucy Diamond
  • The Promise, by Lucy Diamond
  • The Cherry Tree Cafe, by Heidi Swain
  • The Killings at Kingfisher Hill, by Sophie Hannah
  • The Paris Secret, by Natasha Lester
  • The Schoolgirl Strangler, by Katherine Kovacic
  • Elizabeth and Elizabeth, by Sue Williams

You’ll find a run-down on these in this post.

Watching

The highlight of the viewing month has been the return of Great British Bake-off. Sure, it’s the 2020 series, but bake-off is bake-off and it’s still the nicest show on TV – and we all need a little nice. On Foxtel.

Over on ABCTV Kitty Flanagan’s Fisk is flipping hilarious. Wednesday night has never been so funny. She plays a probate lawyer who really doesn’t like people, but loves her dog.

I know I’m a little late to this party, but I’ve just started watching Line Of Duty on Netflix. It’s a British police procedural and no one does police procedurals quite like the Brits do.

Travelling

I spent a week in Cairns and Far North Queensland during March.

So far I’ve blogged something about the tour I did through the rainforest, and something about the food, but keep an eye out for something about a foodie tour I did through the Atherton Tablelands.

We spent last weekend up in Hervey Bay with Sarah – even the dog got to come on the mini road trip and loved the dog friendly cafes and accommodation we found. More on that in a couple of weeks.

A Urangan sunset

On Sunday morning we took a short drive up the coast and had a look at Burrum Heads and Toogum. Beautiful, quiet and almost nostalgically beachy. While I was taking the pic below a pod of dolphins swam leisurely through.

Anyways, I’ve earmarked a couple of cafes I’d like to try some other time.

Burrum Heads

Writing

Escape To Curlew Cottage has been released. As per usual I’m running behind in getting the print covers finalised to make it available in print. One day I’ll plan a launch and have the book finished and ready to go well before its release date. I suspect though that won’t happen whilever I’m juggling day job, writing and marketing. Hey ho.

I now have the notes from my editor back from her first read-through of the next Queenstown book (which I’m beginning to feel should be called The Beach Road Cafe). As they always are, her comments are thoughtful and wise. As I’ve been reading through I’ve been nodding a lot. I’ve already booked in the copy edit on this I have some tight timeframes so will start working through these over the long weekend.

I’ve also made good progress on the next book in the Melbourne Girls Chick Lit/Romcom series It’s In The Stars – if you can call progress deleting a lot of words and writing new ones. Unusually for me I know how I want this one to end so am working backwards from that point. Anyways, I’m updating my progress on my author blog. The most recent episode is here.

While I have dates to finish each of these, I’m especially keen to do so as I have ideas banking up in the background – including the next two Brookford outings.

Watch this space.

Excess Baggaging

Aka health and fitness.

In full disclosure I’ve gone backwards – which isn’t the direction I was aiming to go – and unwound much of the good results from 12 months ago.

I’m pretty sure I know what’s messing with my head (and, therefore, my habits) so, well, I either do something about it or I don’t…and I’m feeling inclined to do something about it.

I’m fortunate in that as much as I love to bake, I tend not to eat my own baking (I don’t have a sweet tooth at all). I’m also fortunate in that the Asian-style food we mostly eat during the week is also naturally healthy; but portion creep, midweek alcohol, more socialising, and a reduction in the number of miles I’m walking have all had an impact.

Cooking

Inspired by Wuthering Heights, my bookclub and I cooked these crumpet-like pikelets. My don’t eat my own baking rule doesn’t apply to pikelets and scones…more’s the pity.

Our book club has now moved onto reading Agnes Grey and my first bake inspired by that book was this lemony, syrupy steamed sponge pudding. The dinner guests I cooked it for gave it the thumbs up.

My cookbook of the month was Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey. I wrote a little something about it here. The Kecap Pork, a Balinese-inspired slow-cooked pork dish has been the stand-out from this one so far – I’ve already cooked it a few times for dinner guests and will be taking it as my offering to a Balinese inspired feast next weekend.

I’ve also cooked a few more dishes for my Nigella Diaries mini-series (the one where I cook my way through her cookbooks) but haven’t yet gotten around to posting an update. Keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks for this lemon risotto.

I scored a pasta making attachment for my Kitchenaid for my birthday, so I’ve also been having some fun making pasta dough. In the pic below we made fettuccine with crab, garlic and cherry tomatoes. The recipe is here.

Instagramming

The pic at the top of this post was, according to Instagram, my most popular photo in March. Rounding out the top 5 (in no particular order) was:

Sundowners in Sarah’s “backyard” in Hervey Bay…

A painted Mooloolaba sky…

Mossman Gorge…

This pic of my daughter taken in London in December 2019 (which I posted for her birthday)…

Okay, so that was my month…how was yours?

Author: Jo

I write, I bake, I chase sunrises.

26 thoughts

  1. I am loving Fisk as well Jo and I agree Wednesday nights are great comedy all round! I love your round up and all you’ve been up to! Enjoy Easter – I love the way it was announced – easter is good to go 🙂

    1. I watched the press conference (I’ve turned into that person) & the smile on her face when she said that. I think it’s cos when she removed the travel restrictions last June she said the same: Queensland is good to go. Enjoy your family time…

  2. Jo, I’m putting Lucy Diamond on my new authors to explore list… when I get back to reading. I think right now, I’m just going to live vicariously through you – my reading and cooking new recipes have both gone AWOL this month as we focus on the Big Move. From doing last doctor appointments (getting referrals and forms to forward records); figuring out how to get rid of stuff – sell, give away (friends & family), donate, trash; researching and contracting with realtor and mover; and then actually packing things… it’s been long days – mentally and physically exhausting. Well, we are selling a house and moving 900 miles! Your picture of a cup of tea is inspiring… I think I’m gong to have one now. I’m on a break from packing!

    1. Having done a similar move 4 years ago (1200kms interstate) I hear you! It absolutely consumes you. Enjoy your tea break – you’ve deserved it.

  3. Jo, I love that you have a heading, ‘Travel’ this week. I can’t wait to add that category to my monthly wrap-ups. Another point of envy is ‘dinner guests’ – oh what joy. I know what you mean about setbacks. I have had to acknowledge one of my own and am doing my best to get back on track. We can only be good for so long…

    1. I know! It might just be travel within my state, but… Having said that Brisbane has been in lockdown for 3 days this week & for the first time in the entire pandemic Queenslanders are mandated to wear masks in shopping centres and supermarkets. We’ve been so lucky.

  4. Great books, great food, and beautiful photos! I am kind of jealous that you don’t have much of a sweet tooth as that is my major downfall.

  5. I have gotten frustrated with the excessive baggage I am carrying and started Weight Watchers again this past week. Feeling better to have made the decision to do something. And to have begun doing it. But also feeling a little lost or unmotivated to do much right now. Hope that will figure itself out and dissipate.
    Lovely photos. The sky! The palms and the beach.

  6. Hi Jo, what a lovely March you had and you’ve inspired me on so many levels – my reading, my cooking and trying new recipes and also Mike and I are thinking of visiting Cairns mid year. Have a great April and yes it was great to hear ‘Easter is good to go’! #weekendcoffeeshare

    1. You won’t be disappointed if you go, although I think it is going to be a lot busier – which is good for that economy.

  7. Hi Jo – I looked at those books you read and kept thinking about ‘The School Girl Strangler” and wondering if it was a school girl who strangled people or a person who strangled school girls (I like the first idea best) – how fun to have a little girl running around secretly strangling people – maybe you could slot that into one of your romances for a bit of a side plot? Other than that, your March looked fabulous and you always manage to squeeze a lot into your days – unlike my quietly meandering ones…

    1. Sadly it was the latter – the Schoolgirl Strangler, that is…it’s unusual for me to read true crime, but I really enjoyed her fiction, so, well…I think I squeeze so much in to my days because I need to get to the things I really want to do. It makes sense in a weird sort of way.

  8. Congrats on the book! I know what a big job it is to get anything published and out in the world. Good luck.

    1. Thanks Antoinette. It certainly is a big job – and doesn’t get easier to do. I hope you’re enjoying your Easter weekend.

  9. Gorgeous photos, Jo, and lots of accomplishments in March. It’s wonderful to see you have “Travelling” heading. Happy Easter! Thank you for sharing your updates. #WeekendCoffeeShare

  10. It sounds like you have had a lovely month. I am in need of a vacation, but will have to hold out for another month. We get our second vaccine this week. I have finally started reading your books- such lovely escapism for me! I’ve found that the pandemic has made me enjoy lighter fare- the weight of the world has been enough. Everyone in America has been reading all of these WW2 french resistance and holocaust stories and I just can’t go there right now! Good luck with the launch of the next book! I am behind, but will get there soon!

    1. I think it will be a number of months yet before we get our first vaccine here, but in good news Australia and New Zealand are opening a travel bubble which won’t require either vaccines or quarantine. Very exciting. Thanks so much for picking up my books – I agree with you, I’m reading and watching only nice things at the moment. Anything more real than that is just too hard.

  11. LOVELY photos… so peaceful.
    I have considered a pasta attachment for my KitchenAid for years but just wasn’t sure if I would use it. You have inspired me to reconsider 🙂

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