April, All Wrapped Up

In many respects, April, as a month, wasn’t that flash.

Weather wise, it’s been a mixed bag. It rained all Easter and when I say it rained all Easter, I mean it RAINED ALL Easter. It pelted down. Since then it’s been gloriously sunny and (thankfully) is cooling down at night.

The sun isn’t coming up until after 6am these days so we’ve been starting our walks in the pitch dark and watching the sun come up while we have our post-walk coffee.

Work-wise (ie day job) it’s been busy. But enough said about that.

There have, however, been highlights – and they’ve been pretty high highlights. So, let’s wrap this month up.


Although she finished her degree late last year (Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Hons)) Sarah’s official graduation was in April. She was so proud and we were proud of her and for her.


It’s been a big month for telly with new series of my favourite shows: Masterchef and Great British Menu.

Grant and I also inhaled the latest series of Unforgotten. Not only is the writing amazing, but each series just gets better. We’re also working our way (slowly) through Line Of Duty, but are still three seasons behind on that one.

I just started watching Mare of Easttown on Foxtel. Kate Winslet is just fabulous in this one. It’s bleak, taut, and very watchable.


It hasn’t been a great month on the reading front. I think because of the afore-mentioned day job anxieties, I’ve had trouble focusing on anything not real. For the first time this year there was a book that (according to everyone else who read it) I should have enjoyed, but just couldn’t finish. It did, however, help me fall asleep. Once I realised that I’d read just a few chapters in a week I decided to put it away – perhaps until I’m in a better frame of mind, perhaps forever. In any case, I won’t be naming it in my round-up.

Seeing Other People by Mike Gayle, an author I normally love, left me feeling flat. It was, however, one of his earlier books so I’m forgiving him. 

Audible had Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I as their free book so I grabbed it and had a listen. While I loved Bridgerton, I was left cold by this one. I think if I’d been reading it, I would have put it aside. Even listening to it, it felt as though it needed a good edit. While my characters shrug a lot and raise their eyebrows a lot (as evidenced by the yellow highlights in my edits), Quinn’s cock their heads (and yes, I know exactly how that sounds). Anyways, I shouldn’t be so judgemental – millions of people obviously disagree with me and that’s millions more people than buy my books. In any case, it wasn’t for me – and I hate saying that.

The three books I did enjoy were all foodie related, with my read of the month being Bella, by Annabel Langbein, closely followed by Tom Parker Bowles’ new one for Fortnum & Mason, Time For Tea. How could I resist that title?

Anyways, I’ll post a full rundown of my reading month on my author site during the week.

Bella – My Life In Food, by Annabel Langbein

Seeing Other People, by Mike Gayle

Hiakai – Modern Maori Cuisine by Monique Fiso

The Duke and I, by Julia Quinn

Time For Tea, by Tom Parker Bowles


Writing in Sarah’s backyard

Okay, this has been one part of life that has been productive during April. I’m almost done with the rewrite for The Café At Beach Road, which means it’s almost ready to go off for structural editing.

I’ve written lots of words in the first draft for It’s In The Stars – and deleted or rearranged most of them. I’m midway through and have an ending (unusually for me) – but am missing the beginning chapters and a way of getting from the middle to the end. No, it doesn’t make much sense to me either.

I did, however, get a post up nearly every week on the author page. I chat about my process – and my progress in an (almost) weekly writer’s digest. You can find them here.

Because the day job has taken up so much of my brain space this month, I’m running a long way behind on tasks such as organising print covers for Escape and doing all those other little things that need to be done for me to actually sell what I’ve written.

It’s a public holiday here tomorrow so if I get a chance I’ll sit down and make a list of what I’m behind in – and set some targets for May. Heavy sighs.


Urangan Pier from underneath

I’ve spent this last week in Hervey Bay with Sarah. Sure, I’ve had to day job, but I do enjoy the change of environment and the opportunity to spend some time with her. While we need to drive to get to our beach, hers is at the back door – literally – and it’s lovely working away with the sound of the waves lapping at the seawall.

It’s also a great opportunity to catch up with a bloggy friend, Debbish. Our catch-ups are always one of the highlights of a visit to the Bay. This time we caught up over lunch at Hervey Bay General Store. I had roast pork bao – that’s them in the pic below.

Sares and I headed across to Fraser Island for the day yesterday, but given that happened on May 1, it will be included as a highlight in May’s wrap-up. I will, however, post something on it during the week, but for now, here’s a teaser…

In the Kitchen

I didn’t bake nearly enough in April and am itching to get my hands into some flour. Baking always relaxes me and for a few reasons I didn’t do nearly enough of it in April – and my mood has suffered accordingly.

I did, however, manage some posts on BKD:

Inspired by my current bookclub read – Bronte’s Agnes Grey – I baked a soda bread. The recipe is yet to be posted.

And, not to be outdone, Grant dug deep into his Scottish heritage and made a batch of teeth rattling Scottish Tablet. The recipe is also on the way for that one.

Looking Ahead…

May is busy busy busy – on all fronts. I’m also FINALLY heading into Sydney and will spend a few days in the office. I haven’t seen any of my colleagues since November 2019 and have been wondering whether that disconnection isn’t contributing to my mood.

More importantly, most importantly, I’ll be seeing family and catching up with a couple of friends – although on this trip family is the higher priority. I haven’t seen my parents since March last year – and they don’t do the zoom thing (more’s the pity) – so am very much looking forward to that.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

30 thoughts

  1. Sorry to hear about the job wobbles – I am sure a face to face meeting will make you feel a whole lot better. My mum isn’t great on video calls either, I wish she was, it would make the absence so much easier! I didn’t love Seeing Other People either – it was not one of my favourites. I love some of Mike’s earlier stuff but he’s definitely a writer that is maturing with age. Thanks for the tips, I think I’ll give Bridgerton a hard pass and wait for the next series on TV instead. Your Fraser Island trip looked fab – can’t wait to hear more about it!

    1. The video calls would make it all easier. Mum and Dad did one on FB messenger a couple of months ago – only because my sister was there and set it up.

    1. It is similar to fudge but more crumbly. It lasted for ages because you only need a tiny bit.

  2. Jo, Sorry to hear about your job anxieties. I hope your trip to Sydney goes well and you have a wonderful time with your family there and good re-connections with your work colleagues. Fraser Island looks gorgeous with the white sands and clear water. Thank you for your #WeekendCoffeeShare

  3. I’ve not been to Fraser Island – looks magnificent. I’ve not heard of those books either. Have a great time in Sydney. Comedy Festival is on so plenty of good times to be had.

    1. It’s a great place to visit for one day or a few. I’m especially looking forward to dumplings in Sydney. It’s been way too long.

  4. It was lovely to catch up and looking forward to the next one already.

    It’ll be great to get back to Sydney and see your family and colleagues. We could not have imagined this world in December 2019.

    I’m yet to watch Line of Duty but hearing about it everywhere so it’s next on my list. I’m currently watching Blacklist.

  5. You never cease to amaze me how much you achieve in a month! Yes, I can relate to the stomach churning and the lack of connection. It is a strange world we live in at the moment. Fresh bread is one of my weaknesses and pleasures.

    1. I think the reason I do get so much done is so I can get to what I really want to be doing. It’s a weird kind of logic. And I’m exactly the same with bread – it’s both a weakness and a pleasure.

  6. Hi Jo – well that was a real combo of ups and downs – sorry about the day job feeling less great than usual. Hopefully the office visit will refresh you (or at least give you a clearer idea of how to proceed in the days ahead). Lovely that you got time to spend with Sarah (and that she likes having you for so many chunks of time – my kids worked on the “left and cleft” principle (my husband used that term for not seeing too much of his own parents – based on Genesis 2:24).
    Lots of your usual lovely food, pics and adventures – I feel like I need a cuppa and a cupcake now to recover from it all! x

    1. I said the other day how she loves having me – knowing I’ll be going home once the freezer is stacked.

  7. Sorry to hear you’ve been having job struggles. Your working view this week is fabulous! I bet you are so excited to see family! We have plans to go visit my sister next month and I can not wait.

    1. I’m very excited to see family & I think work will iron itself out at the same time. Hope your week is a great one.

  8. Always love to read about your visits to your daughter in Hervey Bay. Seems like that is your happy space right now. As for troubles with your day job…stress is stress. When we are stressed in one area of life, all other areas suffer. Hope this situation resolves itself soon. Love your teaser!

    1. It is a bit of a happy place. I think she enjoys me being there – because she also knows I’m going home once the freezer is stacked lol.

  9. It’s hard when the day job stuff leaks into the non day job parts of your brain. I feel that. And I also just wrote a list of the “stuff” left to do to publish a book and I’m now thinking my date is overly ambitious haha. We’ll see.

  10. Sorry to hear that April wasn’t the best especially on the job front. Great news on the writing and your daughter’s graduation. Oh yay! You’re coming to Sydney! I wonder if it’s going to be when I’m away 😛 I also always forget you have a separate author blog! Need to add it to Feedly so I don’t miss posts. I hope you have a lovely week ahead!

  11. I can imagine it would be lovely to spend some time with your daughter and great opportunity to catch up with Deb! How lovely to be right near the ocean and to enjoy all the associated sounds of it. I hope things improve with the day job soon! Speaking of rain … more today … it’s pouring outside!

    1. Yeah we had a massive storm yesterday too. I really enjoy my days up at the Bay – and thankfully it’s cooler up there now.

  12. LOVE your photos…So pretty. And WHAT! There’s a new season of master chef? I need to check it out! Lol.

  13. Hi Jo, you did have some high points in April, especially being the proud Mum at Sarah’s graduation and also your time spent with her in her new home. My April went in a blur and most of it I had square eyes from making a Minecraft cake LOL 🙂 Have a great April xx

  14. Oh Jo, it was a mixed month for you I know..and good on you for sharing the challenges as well as the joys. No-one is immune from them and making it “look like” life is perfect is just not honest..that’s my 2c worth.

    Sarah looks sooooo proud as a new graduate and all credit to her for this AND scoring a job where you get to see her and catch up with Deb.

    Fingers crossed you get to Sydney..as I write there are new (sob) covid restrictions in place for greater Sydney…

    Thanks so much for linking up for #lifethisweek. I am always grateful to see your blog post there. Next week my guest poster is ready to comment…I have done one training session with him…and I will be there too. Cheers, Denyse.

    1. Thanks as always for your words Denyse – and thanks for providing a regular place for us to link up to.

  15. I think I remember seeing a picture of Grant’s Scottish Tablet before and thinking how mouth-watering it looked. A lot like fudge, I am thinking?

    And that bread. What a hearty loaf. Would be delicious with a savory bowl of chowder or soup. I love soup-for-dinner days.

    Your early morning walks are rewarding you with stunning photo opportunities. Wow. Just wow. I think I could pop out of bed much easier if I had such lovely sights awaiting me.

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