Catching Up – June 19, 2021

I’ve been a tad quiet on the blogging front of late. It’s not so much that I have nothing to say other than things have been a bit loud of late – if that makes sense. I tend to go through this at this time of year every year. Weirdly, there is an astrological reason (which I won’t bore you with) why Gemini time is when I struggle the most – but this year it feels as though it’s noisier and messier from a headspace point of view. Mercury retrograde hasn’t helped – but i said I wasn’t going to bore you with the astro.

Also, I’m struggling with blogging catch-ups as opposed to something more meaningful. Given, though, that this blog is ostensibly for me, grab a cuppa and we’ll head into another catch-up…

Winter Woolies

I think I’ve captured my best side…

Yes, winter has arrived in South-East Queensland. While our winter temps mightn’t impress anyone in the northern hemisphere or the south of this country, we’ve had some chilly nights and even a couple of days below 20C and the winter woolies have made an appearance, albeit a probably fleeting one.

Wasting time with Voila

I wasted a good 20 minutes the other day with this app that changes your selfies into cartoons or renaissance paintings. I rather like the cartoon version of myself – even with blue eyes.

The app itself though, while free, does my head in with the number of ads for pointless games.

Mindful Photography

With my online women’s group we’ve just completed a 4-week photo editing course. It’s helped me be more mindful about what I’m photographing and has taught me more about the editing tools on my phone.

Sadly, that doesn’t mean that I won’t still bombard everyone with unedited images each morning on Instagram, but it’s been a lot of fun.


While I’m still drafting the final novel in my chick lit series set in Melbourne, I’m busy researching the first of my cosy crime series set in Yorkshire – the Philomena Barker Antique Mysteries.

I’ve been wanting to write an antique led book for years. My mother has always been interested in antiques – and through her I’ve had an interest (and a cabinet of vintage china I rarely use) and learnt a few things along the way. I can’t walk past an antique shop or a bric-a-brac stall without having a rummage – although these days I don’t buy.

Anyways, this all means I’m having a fabulous time on instagram down the hashtag rabbit hole to really interesting pieces. Instagram gets a bad wrap for many (some very good) reasons, but as a research tool or for inspiration, it’s fantabulous.

I’m also reading a couple of memoirs by the auctioneer and regular on shows such as Bargain Hunt and Antiques Roadshow, Philip Serrell and watching pretty much anything I can.

That’s what I love about writing – especially something new – the ability to follow my curiosity and learn something without seriously learning it…there is a difference.

I won’t be starting to write until the beginning of August, but am so excited about starting this one – something completely new for me.

If you want to keep up with my writing process, I blog most weeks on my author site. You can find this week’s post here and last week’s here.

Hervey Bay

I’ve been up here in the Bay for the last week staying with Sarah. While I’m still day-jobbing as normal, it’s lovely to do so somewhere else – and even better to spend some quality time with my daughter.

My walks have been to Urangan Pier each morning instead of the beach, and my office has a very different view.

I’ve also been able to catch up with my friend and fellow blogger Debbish a couple of times. #winning.

As always there’s been some great food, but I might blog that separately… maybe…


ABCTV is showing the final series of Jack Irish (which I’ve already binged) and a fabulous British production, Manhunt, based on the true story surrounding the investigation into the death of a French student in London. Based on the diaries of the investigating officer and starring Martin Clunes, it’s great TV.

In the Kitchen

Parsley Sauce in progress

Sarah has had a list of her faves she’s wanted me to cook for dinners while I’m up here – everything from curried sausages and salmon in lemon butter (a new fave) to mushroom risotto and smoked chicken pasta – but there’s been no baking in the last week.

Before I went away I did, however, make a lemon drizzle cake, a smoky aubergine dip and these rather moreish vegemite and cheese rounds.

Okay, that’s my catch-up…how have you been doing?

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

30 thoughts

  1. Your photos are beautiful! How fun to get to fall down the rabbit hole each time you write and research a new book.

  2. Hi Jo – I totally get how blogging needs to go on the back burner now and then. My whole internet life is on the backburner atm – while I try to rekindle an IRL after contentedly living in my pjs for the last 18 months! Anyhoooo lovely catching up on all your news – one culinary thing though…… I’m not sure I’d enjoy “curried sausages and salmon in lemon butter” it seems like a strange combination to me…..🀣🀣

      1. PS – I just got sucked into that cartoon face app – and 30 mins of my life disappeared! Although I now look like a Disney princess in one of them so I guess it was time well spent???? Ridiculous amount of ads (you’re right)…

  3. Jo, the Urangan Pier image is lovely and I quietly pictured myself standing on it admiring the view. As always your cooking abilities impress πŸ™‚ Seems a few of us are having more quieter times on the blogging scene.

    1. It’s a fabulous place to walk and you never know just what marine life you’ll see below…

  4. Hi, Jo – Your Hervey Bay shots are absolutely stunning.
    I am super excited about your upcoming writing projects — I am long overdue for a new Jo Tracey read!
    And yes, yes, yes to a separate food post!

  5. What lovely areas you have for walks! I chuckled when I read about your “winter” though. We have summer and our normal is just above 20C – on good days. Today is not such a day, it seems.

    1. The hilarious thing is how we all rush to get our scarves and beanies out for what are really quite mild temps. Thanks for dropping by.

  6. A hot and humid Hi from Singapore πŸ™‚

    While you welcome the winter on your part, sweat runs a marathon throughout my skin.

    From writing, reading, baking to posting lovely pictures on social media, you seem to be an all-rounder. Cheers to your energy levels. Your Instagram pictures are lovely and would love to connect with you there. My IG id is @moumitaspeaks πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks for linking up on the ‘gram. I adore Singapore so hello back. In fact, if I close my eyes I can still taste the best Hainanese chicken I’ve ever eaten…and smell that Singapore smell – the one with the faint touch of orchids… Thanks for dropping by.

  7. Hi Joanne. I am a mystery writer also, although, honestly, I’ve been doing more blog post writing and poetry writing (on the blog) than mystery writing lately. I had a few circumstances that caused me to lose momentum, but I hope to dive in again. Your Philomena Barker Antique Mysteries sounds like something right up my alley, that I would enjoy reading. My mystery comedy book, Action Men with Silly Putty, does deal with a very particular antique item. I enjoyed reading your post … writing, cooking, baking, antiques … all good things. Even the Voila app looks like fun. πŸ™‚

    1. I adore that title! This will be my first foray into cosy mysteries – while I’ve had a little mystery in most of my books in the past, they’ve been more women’s fiction or romcoms with some romantic elements. Thanks for dropping by.

      1. Thank you. I’m glad you like my title. πŸ™‚ I can understand having more than one writing interest or niche. I’m a little varied also and have some kids’ books (that aren’t mysteries.) πŸ™‚ I tried to follow your blog but didn’t see a button for following. I think I subscribed though.

  8. It’s great to catch up with you, Jo. Hervey Bay is gorgeous and your food photos make me hungry. I’m excited about your foray into mysteries and your writing projects. Keep writing! Thank you for linking with #weekendcoffeeshare.

    1. It’s really fun to start writing outside my comfort zone and seeing where my imagination takes me. Have a great week.

  9. Hi Jo, well you have your photography photos for your exhibition! The pier shots are beautiful and very creative. The app to change your photo is fun isn’t it? I like them all really. I think having a week at Sarah’s has been just what you needed. Take care and I’m really looking forward to your Antique themed book. I used to love watching Antique Roadshow. Have a lovely week. x

    1. I love Antiques Roadshow & Bargain Hunt and Antiques Roadtrip etcetcetc. Wishing you a fab week too.

  10. I am thinking about writing a series of mystery novels built around a fictitious town I created in NJ. I am not a true novelist thought and prefer blogging smaller shorter stories and flash fiction from prompts. I have to do a lot of research as well though so I know about the rabbit holes.

    1. While I love blogging, I admire anyone who can turn their head to short stories and flash fiction from prompts. Half the time I don’t know what I’m writing until I’m into it.

      1. I have written numerous long length fiction from multiple prompts. Book one contains some, and book 2 and 3 were written mainly using Di’s three word challenge. I used her three words daily to write a new piece and then I started to combine some of the other prompts I do to it. I may or may not continue with a series of books. Book one was harder than I realized and I like writing short stories and flash fiction and posting them on my blog.

  11. Ooohhhh your research sounds fun for the new series, and that sounds like a great series. How fun to take a class on photo editing. It’s always fun to learn new things. I love your photos..the pier ones are amazing. Your menu items sound good too. YUM.

    1. Thanks Kirstin. I love learning new things too – it’s about following your curiosity. Have a great week.

  12. You always amaze me with the breadth of things you’re doing! I was an antique dealer for about 4 months once…. it was the best way to try and sell a number of vintage & antique things we had and didn’t really want anymore. Essentially I rented a stall at the local antique mall – but it sounds so much better when I say I was an antique dealer. Even with paying the rent & fees, I made some money, but it wasn’t as much fun as the shopping for antiques. Thanks for bringing up a fun memory for me.

    1. It sounds SO much better when you say you were a dealer. I enjoy following my curiosity and seeing where it leads.

  13. The vegemite and cheese rounds sounds so yummy! But first…I need to try vegemite. I live in the U.S. and I’ve been hunting for a jar!

    1. It really is an acquired taste, but pure umami. I also make a vegemite spaghetti and a vegemite miso noodles… It’s very versatile, but really is a love-hate thing – especially if you haven’t been brought up on it.

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