Sentence a day – January 2018

We’ve been doing a lot of this time last year type comparisons of late:

  • this time last year we bought our Queensland house
  • this time last year we put our Sydney house on the market

This time last year…

It doesn’t seem so long ago – but at the same time, it feels like a lifetime.

Anyways, that’s all by the by – the first month of 2018 has flown by. Looking forward to February, it’s a busy one with work trips to Adelaide and Sydney on the schedule and a mini break to Melbourne. In between that, I have some freelance projects that are under deadline and a book that needs to be rewritten. So without further ado, let’s wrap up January so I can get my teeth into February already!

1.Happy New Year…and farewell to Fraser Island…for now.

Dinner at Maroochydore Surf Club…for somewhere different.

view from the Surf Club on a hazy evening

2. Brekky at One Block Back, Nice Kiwis back to NZ – it’s been fabulous having you here.

3. Back to work…enough said.

4. Testing and more testing, but also a big afternoon scheduling posts for January on the astro page.

5. Business plan (and post) completed for the year, Word of The Year post scheduled, Wellness goals and Creative Goals posts scheduled, and astro posts written and batched for the rest of January. That’s a huge tick in the box.

6. Markets, Jimmy’s for brekky, Nigella’s herbed lamb roast and olive oil chocolate mousses for dinner.

7. Another hot one on the coast, but glad we’re not in Western Sydney where it’s 45C! Secrets on the Lake for lunch and some respite from the heat.

Made a batch of corn and ginger soup with the corn I bought yesterday. The recipe is here.

8. Walk this morning, the gym at lunchtime, and the office in between.

9. Cut this morning’s walk short to have a swim as well. It’s hard to imagine that at 6.30am this time last year I would have been on the M2 bus into the city and doing a 90-minute commute to work with no time to exercise and absolutely no walk by the beach.

10. Back into the pool for some black line swimming. I reckon it’s been about 8 years since I did lap swimming, but man, it felt good.

11. Mum and Dad’s 54th wedding anniversary – seriously admirable in this day and age – and Adventure Spaniel gets a clean bill of health from the vet. In other news, my hair is green – I suspect from the chlorine yesterday.

12. Hairdressers – to get rid of the grey…and the green! She sent me home with some gunk that will protect my hair from future green episodes – although sadly not future grey ones. Back into the surf this arvo, so the fresh hair thing didn’t last long.


13. Winnie at Woombye for brekky, followed by a day of swimming, floating, reading…and some more swimming. Saturday done well.

14. Sunshine Coast Collective Markets this morning – scored some great earrings for $8. Pitaya bowls at Little Boat Espresso afterwards.

15. Walk, work, laps – all under a blue sky.

16. Dragged myself to the gym again at lunchtime – poked my bicep to see if it has grown yet…disappointment sets in.

17. Wednesday is usually a writing day, but sadly not today – I had to log into the office instead. Managed a walk in the morning and a swim at lunchtime in between. Big dumping waves down at Mooloolaba thanks to tidal surges and southerly winds.

18. A catch-up call after work with the friend in France I’ll be road-tripping with in April – love planning roadies.

19. My one day of the week to get some words done and boy the writing was a struggle this morning.

20. Went to buy a tart pan and bought a madeleine one instead – which meant I had to make some. The recipe is here.

21. Noosa Farmer’s Market for a change.

22. Friends from Sydney for dinner after work. Barbecue, potato salad and an apple and berry crumble.

23. Happy 76th birthday to my Mum – so grateful for how fit and vital she is and proud she still rocks a bikini.

24. Finally nailed the France road-trip itinerary…watch this space…

25. So humid at 5.30am on this morning’s walk. Train disruptions in Sydney so had to be at my desk early.

26. Australia Day – sun, pool, repeat.

27. Markets, writing and coq au vin and some little almond and apple cakey things (from the Rick Stein French Escapes cookbook) on the menu for diner a la maison. (See how I’m practising my French?)

28. Sunday lunch at Woombye – a real Queensland pub.

29. Walk work gym work walk.

30. Dinner and movie date with my daughter – The Greatest Showman. Spectacular.

Fabulous wave action at Mooloolaba Beach

31. Stupendous surf this morning, laps at lunchtime (with a visiting AFL team on pre-season training as a distraction) and work in between.

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishSeize the Day ProjectWrite of the Middle50 Shades of Age,  and, of course, me.

Happy Ever After – Week 9

I’m not long back from my morning walk. The surf has been spectacular over the last couple of days. It’s because of the Super Moon bringing super high tides, and a tropical low off somewhere in the Coral Sea.

I could have stayed down there and watched it for hours. Plenty were. I don’t think I’ve seen so many people (outside of whale season) just standing and watching the ocean – or quite as many surfers in the water at one time. There is, however, work to be done. And, as I have to log on later this afternoon into a teleconference for the partition job, a limited number of hours to do it in.

So, progress on the novel. I’m nearly done – with the first draft anyway. A couple of chapters will have it finished – hopefully by the weekend. I’ll be going straight into re-write mode with this – it has an appointment with my editor mid-March.

I also pulled out I Want You Back over the weekend and did another proof-read. It feels as though I’m missing something, but I don’t know what. Perhaps it’s because I intended releasing this as part of a three-book mini-series that I’ve managed to interrupt with Happy Ever After, I don’t know. At just 73,000 words it’s also much smaller than anything I’ve written previously – again because I intended it to be the first in a three-book mini-series. It’s not much longer than a genre romance. At that length, there’s very little room for sub-plots.

Anyways, I’ll write the blurb this week and send it off for formatting, but I’m still undecided as to whether I release as a stand-alone. The alternative is waiting until I’ve completed Tiff and Alice’s stories. I’ll need to think about that, but if anyone has ideas, please let me know!

Until next week…


How to make honey madeleines…

Two things are consuming most of my thoughts at the moment – planning my upcoming road trip in France (I’ll tell you about that another time) and finishing the first draft of my current manuscript (working title Happy Ever After). As an aside, if you’ve ever wanted to know the mechanics behind writing and publishing a book, I’m blogging this one week-by-week on a Wednesday. The series is here.

As things tend to do with me, the two have combined a little with my protagonist Kate Spence making a batch of the honey madeleines I baked last weekend.

These happened quite accidentally and coincidentally. You see we’d been watching the first episode of Bake-Off on telly earlier in the week and I happened to mention that madeleines (the subject of that week’s technical challenge) were something I’d always wanted to have a go at, but couldn’t because I didn’t have a madeleine pan.  Then I forgot all about it – as I tend to do.

On Saturday I was all set to make a ginger and pear frangipane style tart, so decided that I absolutely needed a long fluted tart tin. I couldn’t find one, but I did come home with a Madeline tin – and we had madeleines instead.

Although madeleines look simple, they’re actually not. You really do need the tin and you really do need to take the butter to just this side of burnt – it needs to be nutty brown.

Speaking of the butter, rather than creaming it with the sugar and then adding the eggs and finally the flour as you do with most batters, with madeleines the butter is added last.

Finally, the batter needs to sit in the fridge for at least an hour but preferably longer. Some people would say to pop it in the fridge overnight. Kate, my character, made hers in the morning so that when her friend dropped by in the afternoon she could simply pour the batter into the trays and pop them in the oven. I allowed it to rest just a few hours.

Why does the batter need to rest? At the risk of making your eyes glaze over, it’s about allowing time for the gluten to relax and the flour to be hydrated – it makes the batter thicker and gives the madeleines their distinctive little hump. Some people say that chilling your buttered (and floured) tin also helps with this. I’m not sure about that.

Anyways, this recipe is for honey madeleines. It’s a touch of sweetness that works perfectly with the lemony syrup that you spoon or brush over the top of them. For the pic I dusted a couple with icing sugar.

And the recipe? You’ll find it here. It’s from Darren Purchese’s book “Lamingtons and Lemon Tarts.”

Ambrosia Salad

It’s Australia Day tomorrow and these days the concept of Australia Day is – to me and many other Australians – a complicated and conflicted one…so we’re not going to talk about that.

Anyways, given that this is a politics-free site, and given that it was my Mother’s birthday just 2 days ago, I want to chat about a classic Aussie dessert. I use the term “classic” in its loosest possible reference – in that it’s been around for a while. I also use the term “Aussie” loosely as (ahem) extensive research on the subject has taught me that this particular recipe probably has its origins in the southern states of the US. I like to imagine it was picked up by the Australian Woman’s Weekly in the 60’s as being seriously exotic and a dessert that could proudly take its place on the buffet table of the hostess with the mostest – right beside the punchbowl.

I know what you’re thinking: not another variation on the lamington, the iced vovo or the pavlova – or even the iced vovo lamington. No, this is pure Aussie 60s/70s kitsch – and it was the height of hostessing fashion for a time. From the same decades that brought us devon slices filled with potato salad and skewered with a toothpick, little toast boats filled with creamed corn, vanilla slice made with sao biscuits, and tablecloths decorated with hobbytex, I bring you…ambrosia salad – a sickeningly sweet pina colada in dessert form.

I can still see Mum preparing this dessert at our red brick house in Carlingford in suburban Sydney when I was a kid. At one point she had four of us under seven (I was the eldest), so I imagine anything that was quick and easy would have been at the top of her list. Ambrosia salad requires no cooking (so no need to turn the oven on and heat the house up), has no fiddly icing or fancy ingredients, no complicated processes, and can be served in the same bowl it’s prepared in – so no extra washing up. It’s no wonder that it was Mum’s go-to dessert for so many years.

a pic of Mum and me – when I was at my most photogenic

Of course, Mum didn’t call it ambrosia salad. To her, it was (and still is) Five Cup Salad – because that’s what the recipe was:

  • 1 cup marshmallows
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup (canned) pineapple pieces
  • 1 cup (canned) mandarin pieces
  • 1 cup sour cream

It’s all then mixed together and popped on the table as is.

I remember thinking that it looked a little bit like…well, let’s not go there. The pic below will give you an idea – although Mum doesn’t put glace cherries on or in hers (thank goodness for small mercies).

A random pic I found of someone else’s ambrosia salad

In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t enjoy it – it’s way too sweet for me and I really dislike the texture – but kids love it and it still brings a smile to my face when I see it. It’s as much a part of my childhood as Mum rocking a bikini with a book in hand (which she still does at 76), Dad watching the cricket (and listening to it on the radio at the same time), and sao biscuits for afternoon tea. (Thanks to my sister for those words…)

Although I wasn’t there for her birthday dinner on Tuesday evening, Mum put together a five cup salad for the occasion. In deference to the season, she used mango instead of mandarin. Very enterprising of her.

Have you ever had (or heard of) ambrosia salad?

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishSeize the Day ProjectWrite of the Middle50 Shades of Age,  and, of course, me.

Happy Ever After – Week 8

Yes, I know I’m late again in getting this out. Another Wednesday where I had to log into the partition job this afternoon. Sigh. The things we do to make money, hey? I am, however, fortunate I have the flexibility – plus, I had a few hours this morning where I got some decent words out.

Speaking of work, I had someone ask me this week what I meant when I refer to the “partition” role. Essentially it’s how I differentiate between my work – i.e. my writing – and my corporate gig. Both of the jobs happen from the same home-office, but if I were still in Sydney, I’d be doing the corporate gig from a real office – one with partitions. Therefore it’s the partition job.

Ok, now that we’ve got that sorted out, how’s the writing going?

Good, thanks for asking. I’ve got through the tricky bit where I kept crying into my keyboard and I’m pushing through. I had a good chat with Debbish the other day about a bit of a plot problem that I’ve written myself into a corner with and have a clearer idea of how I’m going to resolve that. And as much as I loved her suggestion about turning the whole thing into a murder mystery, I’m not going there – as it is my browsing history (solely for research purposes) is a concern to my husband.

It’s something I’ve done a bit with this book – write myself into knots, that is. Partly that’s because this is the first time I’ve written a story that’s not purely about a romance. It absolutely does have a romance at the heart of it, but the story is much wider than that. It’s also partly because my story has changed so much from when I first started writing it. It’s one of the reasons why I’m glad that I’m an indie author. I don’t have to explain to anyone why the story that’s being delivered is profoundly different from the story that was pitched.

Another thing that’s occurred to me this week is just how much layering in of texture I’m going to need to do in the next draft.  There’s an excellent cast of family members in this book, but not so many friends or colleagues. I’ll pick that up with the rewrite.

So, that’s your update for the week. I’m still on track to finish the first draft in another week or so – although I’m now going to be away for most of the middle of February. It’s part work and a little bit of play. What it means is that I need to make the most of every spare minute.

Until next week.


Diary of a Bookworm

I’m an author, so, therefore, I’m also a reader – it goes with the territory. I’ve recently done my budgets and added up just how much I spend each year on books and music – you don’t want to know the exact details, but here’s a spoiler alert: it could pay for a very nice holiday.

Anyways, inspired by Sanch Writes, here’s by bookish Q&A…

Do you have a specific place for reading?


It’s my red chair. We bought it, especially for me to read on. It sits in the corner of our bedroom under a chandelier. I always wanted a reading chair in the bedroom and now I have one. My dog has a cushion beside it so she can snore while I’m reading. It’s where I head for half an hour when I knock off from the partition job.

Outside I read on the sun lounge beside the pool while I’m drying off, and on the pool lounge when I’m in the pool. I have the whole get settled on the inflatable and edge across to get the book and sunglasses thing down pat. I can float like that for hours.

Oh, and I read in the bath too.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I’m a corner folder…Shhh, don’t tell anyone. And if the book has a slipcover I have to take it off before I read it.

Do you eat or drink whilst reading?

I have a little table beside my reading chair just for my wine. I never eat while reading though.

Music or TV whilst reading?

Nope. I tune out to everything.

One book at a time or several?

Multiple. I like to have different books for different moods.

I usually have one real book…sometimes two…and one digital book…sometimes two…on the go. I’ve never had any issues with keeping up with each.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I read mostly at home these days but will read on buses, trains, planes, on the beach, wherever.

Read out loud or silently?

Silently – unless I’m reading Bill Bryson – then I can’t help but laugh out loud. I’ve been known to sob out loud too – but not to Bill Bryson.

Break the spine or keep it like new?

Yeah, my books are read and they’re loved. If the spine is broken in the process, it was for a good cause.

Do you write in books?

Only Lonely Planet guides. I use highlighters on them too.

What books are you reading now?

“The Black Ship” in the Daisy Dalrymple series is on my kindle. I’m also reading “The Sunshine Sisters” by Jane Green. On my bedside table half finished is “The Little Paris Bookshop” and the Lonely Planet Guides to Paris, France and Belgium and Luxembourg.

What is your all-time favourite book?

It would have to be one of the classics – Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, The Buccaneers, or Wuthering Heights… actually anything by Jane Austen, Henry James or Edith Wharton. I re-read at least one of these at least once a year.

As for everything else? I re-read “Something Borrowed” by Emily Giffin and “Eat, Pray,Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert a few times. When I think of favourites, I think of series. I enjoyed the Dalziel and Pascoe series, buy everything Ian Rankin does, loved the Phryne Fisher and Corinna Chapman series by Kerry Greenwood, the Murray Whelan series by Shane Maloney, the Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn, and Inspector Lynley by Elizabeth George…I probably should stop now, right? Oh, and Harry Potter – I love Harry Potter.

Give up or read on if you don’t enjoy the book?

I used to read on, these days I give up.

Would you lend your books?

Absolutely…unless it’s one of the above-mentioned series, I’m happy to pass them around and don’t mind if they don’t come back. Books find their way to those who need to read them.

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishSeize the Day ProjectWrite of the Middle50 Shades of Age,  and, of course, me.

Happy Ever After – Week 7

Ok, I know that it’s not really week 7 – it’s more like week 9 or maybe week 10…but that’s just too confusing for my poor fried brain, so week 7 it is. I also need to apologise for not getting this out earlier, but due to unforeseen circumstances – ie I needed to work in the partition job today – it is what it is.

Ok, where am I up to?

On the writing front, I had to skip a couple of scenes. Why? Because I was sitting in a coffee shop on Mooloolaba Esplanade just after 6 am the other day rubbing tears from my eyes. And that’s just not done when the sun is shining and the sky is blue and the surf is dumping and it’s still school holidays.

All I can say is that I hope my readers have the same reaction when they read that scene…or, more correctly, those scenes. Anyways, I skipped some scenes to something I was more in the mood to write in public.

I’m pretty sure that I know how it’s going to end now – which is good given that I’m 60 odd thousand words into the first draft.

I’m aiming to finish this first draft now by the end of January. I’m booked in with my editor for a first read in the middle of March, so that should be plenty of time to do a second draft.

We’ve decided to do the structural work in two steps again. We did it this way for Wish You Were Here and I Want You Back and it seems to work for me. Essentially my editor does a read through and lets me know what’s working and what isn’t. I go back and re-write it and then send it through for a full structural edit.

That extra pass with her suggestions seems to make the full structural edit much easier. It also works for me given that I draft relatively quickly and by the seat of my pants – hence the term pantser. I often don’t have a good idea of my characters and their motivations – or the way that the story is headed – until I’m well into the second half. As a result, this tends to also be a cost-effective alternative for me – but only because I really take her comments and suggestions on board. Having said that, it wouldn’t work for everyone.

I’ve already booked in the first structural read for my next book, so absolutely have an incentive to get moving on this one. I’m still loving the story and am really attached to my characters so would be perfectly happy to spend even more time with them. But, I’ve set a deadline, so will need to bid them farewell possibly before I’m ready to.

Anyways, that’s your update…until next week when hopefully I’ve taken some cement and hardened the f$%^ up and finished writing those tear-inducing scenes…

How to make chocolate olive oil mousse

My protagonist, Kate Spence, makes a batch of these chocolate olive oil mousses in a scene in my new novel (working title Happy Ever After). It’s one of those scenes, you know, the ones where the story changes direction, and these little mousses are partly responsible for that change.

My daughter, who has never read a word I’ve written – and probably never will – nevertheless agrees that these have the power to create a change in direction. They really are that luxuriously good.

The recipe comes from Nigella’s At My Table, but I’ve also experimented with adding some orange rind to the melting chocolate. It makes the finished result a little like a Terry’s chocolate orange.  I’d encourage you to play around with them. I haven’t tried it yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if chilli wouldn’t also work – just a touch, mind you.

These are quick and easy to make, but I’d urge you to make sure that you use the good olive oil in them – you know how you have your cooking olive oil and the one you use for drizzling? It’s the drizzling quality one that you want – just not too peppery. I know, I’m getting picky. You also want to make sure that your chocolate is the good stuff – 70% cocoa solids – and have your eggs at room temperature. Oh, and sea salt flakes – don’t be tempted to use the stuff in your salt shaker.

You need to pop them in the fridge to set for at least 20 minutes, but if you’re making them ahead, it’s best to have them at room temperature to eat. You want them to be smooth, not hard set…if you know what I mean.

Finally, because they’ve got raw egg in them, don’t eat them if you’re pregnant or immune challenged…I’m sure that you know the drill about raw egg.

One last thing – I know I’ve only just finished posting my wellness goals for 2018, but these are quite rich so a little bit really does go a long way…

What you need

150g chopped dark chocolate

100ml extra virgin olive oil

4 large eggs, separated

50g caster sugar

sea salt flakes

What you do with it

Melt the chocolate in the way you normally would. I do it in the microwave at 30-second intervals, but you can also do it over simmering water if that’s the way you normally do it. However you do it, take it off before it’s completely melted and stir until the last of the chocolate is melted. Leave it to cool for about 10 minutes and then stir in the olive oil.

Whisk the egg whites and a pinch of sea salt until you get firm peaks. As old as I am I still love turning the bowl upside down over my head to make sure it doesn’t fall out.

In another bowl whisk the egg yolks, caster sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt until it’s pale and fluffy and almost doubled in size.

Gradually pour the chocolate and olive oil mix into the eggy mix and fold until it’s all combined. Now take 1/3 of the egg white and fold it in. You can smash this about a bit until it’s all smooth, but you’ll need to be gentler with the rest – which you’ll do in two more batches.

Once it’s all folded through and there are no white streaks, spoon it into your ramekins or espresso cups. I also put some into a sherry glass – just so I can have a taste.


Salmon Fishcakes

With apologies to my Scottish husband, I’ve long held a belief that the Scots invented whisky to make haggis more palatable – or to make you forget that you’d eaten it. Yes, I know there are plenty of people out there who like haggis – my husband is one of them – but I am not. Regardless of the reason behind it, the Scots do whisky well – in fact, I consider myself just a wee bit of an expert on the subject. The Scots also do salmon – and that’s what this post is about.

Salmon Fishcakes

These are, I think, the best salmon cakes ever. Dead easy to make and seriously good to eat. We had them with some steamed curly kale and a vegetable stock based butter sauce, but they were equally as good the next night (or lunchtime) with a leafy green salad and a dollop of aioli (as above). You could also, if you wanted, posh them up with a creamy noilly prat sauce. You’d definitely need the kale then to cut through the richness.

Anyways, you need equal quantities of salmon fillet and mashed potato. I used 450g of each. The mashed spud is just done the usual way with a little bit of butter and milk. As for the salmon, we’ll be roasting this, so preheat the oven to 230C and grease a roasting tin that’s big enough to hold the salmon fillets. Oh, before I forget, don’t forget to pin-bone the salmon – we’ve all seen that Masterchef episode where a bone has sent someone home. Don’t bother to skin it – it’s easier to do this after it’s been cooked.

Dot about 25g butter over the salmon, drizzle over 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, some salt and pepper and 1 long red chilli that you’ve de-seeded and diced finely. Bake the fish for between 5-8 minutes – you want it to be a little under-cooked in the centre. Once it’s out of the oven, let it stand for 5 minutes and then flake it.

Put the mashed potato into a bowl and stir through 4 tablespoons of finely chopped spring onions (just the white part – I used the green leaves to flavour a chicken stock for the best ever cock-a-leekie soup…but that’s another post entirely), and 3 tablespoons of chopped flatleaf parsley.

Add the fish and mix it through.

Dust your hands with flour and shape the mixture into patties. If you keep them about palm size, you should get 8. I like them a tad smaller than that.

Pop them onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper and freeze for an hour or so – until they are solid enough to handle.

To finish the fishcakes, do what you’d usually do to crumb something – set out some flour in a shallow bowl, a couple of eggs whisked in another, and some panko breadcrumbs in another. Dip in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. If you want, you can freeze them at this stage. To cook afterwards, you’d need to bake them in a low oven (150C) for about 45mins.

If, however, you’re cooking now, simply fry them in sunflower oil (or whatever you have – just not olive oil) for 4-5 minutes until they’re nicely golden.

Serve with green veg or salad.

It’s a Wrap – January 14, 2018

Ok, the first weekly wrap for the year…and I have a couple of weeks to cover, so without further ado…

What I’m grateful for…

Not being in Sydney for those disgusting 40+ days. I don’t miss them at all. The weather guys have been calling it a heat wave here, but other than yesterday and today (36 today) it’s been in the early 30s.

What I’m reading…

I’m completely out of my genre comfort zone at the moment with a Jack Reacher novel – and I can’t put it down. It’s my first Lee Childs and I don’t think it will be the last…but having read it, I just don’t get the Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher thing.

What I bought…

These fabulous Turkish earrings for $8 from the Sunshine Coast Collective markets this morning.

What I blogged…

Heaps…despite being back in the corporate gig! I got up to date with all my annual goal posts. You’ll find my business plan here, my word for the year here, my wellness goals here, and my creative goals here.

For Thursday’s Lovin’ Life linky I also posted something on self-care and I popped up a recipe for corn and ginger soup…just because.

Over on the Sunny Coast site, there’s something on two new coast foodie offerings – Saltwater and Nguyen Brothers.

What was weird…

This sky last night. It preceded a cracker of a light show.

Where we lunched…

Secrets on the Lake at Lake Baroon – down the back of Montville. Set in a rainforest on a lake – yeah, the name was a bit of a giveaway – it was a few degrees cooler than on the flats. I think it’s to do with all of that green.

Where we breakfasted…

Ok, we’ve been eating out way too much over the past week or so.

On Friday, it was #bennybagels at Hashtag Phresh


Yesterday it was avo smash at Winnie in Woombye

and this morning it was pitaya bowls at Winnie’s big brother, Little Boat Espresso at Marcoola.

What’s pitaya? I’m glad you asked. Essentially it’s dragonfruit and is served much like acai is – in a sort of frozen smoothie bowl with granola, fruit (in this case mango, shredded coconut, banana, kiwi, strawberries, apple and oranges). It’s said to have much the same health benefits as acai and is rich in magnesium, antioxidants and a handful of other vitamins.

Plus, it’s PINK…in capital letters…so is yummy and pretty.

What I cooked…

Ok, I’ve been giving the cookbooks a workout of late too. I turned the fabulous corn that we got at the markets last weekend into corn and ginger soup – with more kernels in the freezer for next time. If you’re interested, the recipe is here.

I also made these super easy chocolate olive oil mousses from my new Nigella cookbook. Oh, how I like a new Nigella. I’ve made these a few times now and mucked about a bit with the salt flakes and adding orange rind. I’ve also experimented with chilli. Anyways, they’re very cute, very rich, and I’ve scheduled the recipe to post on Tuesday, but you can find the original Nigella version here.

Last night I made a batch of dragon wings with a cooling avocado dipping sauce. You can find that recipe here.

Finally, inspired by the fabulous fishcakes and aioli at Saltwater, we had salmon rissoles/fishcakes/call them what you will for lunch today. (I’ve posted my recipe for these before – you’ll find it here). I topped them with the easiest aioli recipe in the world – also from my new Nigella book. There’s none of that whisking and drizzling in of olive oil – everything just goes in the jug and is jooshed about a bit. Done.

How I moved…

Ok, there was some indulgence over the weekend, but other than that my body has been treated like a veritable temple. Seriously.

I got back into my morning walks (photographic proof is up on the Sunny Coast site), and on a couple of mornings started earlier so I could have a dip in the surf as well.

I did two sessions of strength training at the gym, and I went lap swimming for the first time in about 7 years. That 50 m pool seems so much longer than it ever used to! I managed just 10 laps – but I guess that’s a start.

What I didn’t expect…

My hair to turn green, but turn green it did from the chlorine – a very manky, mouldy looking green. I think I must not have been as blonde as I am now when last I was swimming regularly.

How was your week?