November Check-in…

So anyways, I missed last month’s update, being on holiday and all. I will, however, be telling you all about that gradually over the next couple of months. You’ll find the first of these posts here.

Alrighty, November…what can I tell you about November?

The jacarandas are still in bloom – although nearing the end of their season – and the flame trees are all in flower. The skies are (mostly) blue and we’ve been spared the appalling rain and wintry conditions that NSW and Victoria have had. As for the rest…


I arrived back from England and promptly got sick – actually, quite sick. A nasty head cold and squiffy tummy. Given the multiple time zones and lack of sleep it was hardly surprising but it was the best part of two weeks before I felt like my energy was back. I still have a lingering cough I can’t shake. There was, however, no rest for the wicked as I was back at work the day after arriving home. Heigh ho.

Despite this, it was a massive month by any standards…and I wonder why I’m still hanging onto this pesky cough!


Hah! You’d think that after being away for 5 weeks, coming back, and being ill that there’d be no travel to speak of… well, you’d be wrong as I spent last weekend in Wellington, New Zealand. It was a flying (no pun intended) visit to celebrate my bestie’s 60th at a roaring twenties/prohibition party.

I flew in on Friday afternoon, had a quick trip into the city for lunch (at Pravda) and a spot of shopping on Saturday morning, attended the party, and flew home on Sunday.

After being, quite frankly, miserable for much of the day, the weather turned fine in time for the party which was held at my friend’s house. And yes, I reckon they have one of the best views in Wellington.

Their garage was turned into a speakeasy complete with hooch, a grand piano, and even the waiters dressed in theme – as did we.

I channeled the fabulous Miss Phryne Fisher, but while the shoes were lost after the photos were taken, and the gloves after the first champagne, I tolerated the wig and (fake) pearls until it became clear I couldn’t dance madly with them on. Then I found a gangster hat and wore it instead.

While it was a super quick trip, it was fabulous to be back in Wellington (one of my favourite cities) after so long. As for December? I’m staying close to home and in the same time zone thank you very much.

Out and About

We’ve had some friends visiting from Melbourne so a midweek catch-up at a local restaurant – Il Vento on Mooloolaba Wharf – with them. Martinis at Boston Shaker on a school night; oh the decadence.

Grant and I also managed a date lunch at Dee Den in Buderim… We shared some salt and pepper cuttlefish, a duck red curry and a banana blossom salad.

And I caught up with another friend for lunch at Honeysuckle in Buderim. They do a fixed price yum cha at lunch and it’s little bites of yumminess.


I intended doing Nanowrimo this month and nailing the first 50,000 words of the new Philly Barker. Exhaustion and snot on the brain (too much information?) soon put paid to that as being a ridiculous idea. While I have no idea yet whodunnit I do have 20,000 words, a mystery for Philly to solve and a dead body, so that’s a decent start.

The structural read-through for Christmas at Mannus Ridge, the final in my chick lit/rom com series, came through so I’ve been busy with edits for that. It will, however, go off for copy edit at the end of this week.


Sadly, being sick and away and with guests I haven’t been baking much at all – and my mood has definitely been suffering as a result. Baking centres me in a way that most other things don’t. I think it’s the processes.

Anyways, I did bake my Christmas cake – as always using Delia Smith’s classic recipe…as I have done every year for goodness knows how many years.

I also had my first attempt at making Eccles Cakes – essentially fruit mince in a flaky puff pastry. Grant was well chuffed with the result.

What I’ve been reading

You’ll find the latest installment of What’s On Your Bookshelf here.

What I’ve been watching

  • Shetland season 7 – Jimmy Perez… do I need to say more? A fitting farewell for our hero.
  • Great British Bake-off – we’re not yet at the end of the current season here in Australia and I know this season has been slightly controversial in that there’s been more cooking than usual and, well, the Mexican episode. Regardless of the detractors I’m still a fan.
  • The Crown Season 5 – Speaking of controversy… I’m not really sure what to say about this. I love The Crown, but I’m not convinced about Imelda Staunton as The Queen, I’m not sure about the choice of some of the story lines, and (while it did get better) the first three episodes were, well, slow.
  • Cheesy Netflix Christmas movies… It’s never too early to start.

Over to you – how was your November? Have you begun watching cheesy Netflix Christmas movies yet?

On the last Friday of each month (Southern Hemisphere), the co-hosts of What’s On Your Bookshelf hold a link-up for readers to share their reflections and actions inspired by their Words of the Year (or goals/intentions for 2022). SueDebDonna and, of course, myself are looking forward to you joining us and sharing how you have focused on your WOTY during the previous month. The linky is below.

Oh… one last thing…For 2023, Deb, Donna, Sue and I will continue to share a monthly wrap-up post but with a new twist! Stay tuned for more.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

24 thoughts

  1. Hi, Jo – This is a fabulous catchup post. I found myself staring at (and coveting) that prawn in your salad….will I ever learn not to read your posts when I am hungry?!
    That Roaring 20’s Party looks like so much fun. Embarassingly, I had to look up who Phryne Fisher was. I honestly could not tell the difference between her Google photo and your first party photo in this post! 😀
    I am delighted to hear that you are feeling better. Sending you warm vibes for your cough to finally disappear completely!

  2. Sorry to hear that you felt sick after your trip. That birthday party looks like SO much fun! I’m excited that you’ve started working on Philly’s second book. I enjoyed the first one so much.

  3. Hopefully you’re on the mend now Jo and life is returning to some ‘normal’ pace for you. I loved reading your update and you look AMAZING as Phryne Fisher – not to mention happy 🙂 Great to have you back with us as co-host after all your travels and a twist is on the cards for our linkup in 2023.

  4. You’ve certainly been travelling a lot lately, I’ve enjoyed following your whereabouts on Instagram. The last event in Wellington looks like so much fun and how nice that you photographed the staff there too. I hope you’re getting back to your normal routine and will enjoy your December (with lots of baking included, possibly?).

  5. Hi Jo, wow how did you manage to fit so much in one month, especially when you have been sick for half of it! Your Wellington party looked so much fun and I loved your outfit. However I have to say I’m most intrigued by the food photos – the food looks amazing and I love the idea of cocktails on a school night 😂. Please do share what was in the banana blossom salad – I found a tin of banana blossoms at the supermarket and want to try them but wasn’t sure how to use them. The salad looks like a great idea

  6. This is a great catchup Jo. What a month you’ve had! You were a perfect Phryne Fisher. The speakeasy looks amazing and a fabulous night. I think it’s great to jump on a plane for a short visit. I’m sure you’re friend loved you being there. I’ve only been to Wellington once, just for a day, but I could hardly stand up outside due to the extreme wind. When I think of Wellington, I think of that day, but I’m sure it has more to offer than just wind.

  7. What a great catch up…but oh my goodness, you sure did come down to earth with a thud, getting sick. I hope you continue to do well now. It was great following your travels OS and I am glad you have such a visual record too. Take care, and thanks for the link up. Mine will continue each week on a Wednesday as per its name!! Looking forward to seeing what you and friends plan for this change too. Denyse.

  8. You certainly have had a busy second half of the year but what wonderful memories you have created. I love your outfit for the birthday party in NZ and although you hadn’t been well you look happy. I hope December will be less busy for you but isn’t life wonderful that we can have such beautiful experiences such as travel and friendship. xx

  9. Glad you had a lovely time over here in Wellington! I haven’t been to Pravda for a while even though the Pilates studio I go to is just above it. That view is perfect from your friend’s house.

    I’m also glad you are on the mend – getting sick is one of the hazards of travel unfortunately.

    1. I’ve booked a long weekend at the end of Feb so I can finally go to some of the foodie places I’ve been wanting to go to for so long. And yes, getting sick is part of the travel thing unfortunately.

  10. Jo – you’re such a busy bee! I cannot believe how much you fit into your life socially on top of all the workload etc. Just reading about your travels exhausts me – and to have been sick, still had visitors, lunch dates, book writing, book editing, and more just blows my mind!

    The fancy dress was gorgeous and you looked like you had an absolute blast.

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