Monday, January 20, 2020

A Zoo Visit

We paid a visit to the zoo over the holidays. We got there first thing in the morning, before opening, as we needed to borrow a wheel chair for our family member, and there was already a queue waiting to get in. It had been  a while since my last zoo visit and below are some of the photos. I didn't get a terribly good pic of the Capybaras as it was feeding time when we arrived and there was a huge gathering watching them. The kereru was hilarious; he perched on his own sign. It was a good day though, and great to see so many people there. I will add I burnt a zillion calories pushing the wheel chair around, up hill and over dale (so to speak). But it was worth it.

The Capybaras

A Kereru, wood pigeon

Galapagos Tortoise

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Cover Reveal

It's been a long time, but here it is.
The cover for Bringing Back Emily.

Most of my covers I make myself using Gimp software and You Tube tutorials. The hardest part is finding an image and I had planned to use this one for another book.
But thinking about, it's perfect. It suits the character of Emily so well.  Emily  has fair hair, she lives in the country, and she wears boho style dresses, so what could be more perfect?

I may tweak it a bit more, and try some different colours for the wording... perhaps... but I get the feeling I won't stray too far from this.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Remembering winter

I took this photo a few months back in winter, but since its winter in other parts of the world, and since I'd forgotten I even took it, and found it when I was deleting all the rubbishy pics on my phone, I thought I'd post it. It's the Makatote Viaduct, north of Waiorou in the North Island. It has a heritage listing as an important heritage structure around rail in New Zealand, and it was built between 1905-1908.

I was driving up the north island, and it was a beautifully freezing day. Snow wasn't falling but it was lying everywhere. The roads had been cleared, but it was just lovely and picturesque. The viaduct was repainted a few years ago, and I usually see it with all the green around, but with the red paint, against the backdrop of the snow and ice, it was quite something. I stopped and took these pictures.

I don't know how many times I've driven under the viaduct and admired it and it's surround nature, but in the snow it was quite wonderful to look at it.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Empty buses

It’s holiday season here, and for a few weeks, while so many people leave town for beaches and camping holidays, I like to keep working, because it’s so quiet.
When anyone asks if I’m taking a break over Christmas and New Year, it’s “Heck, no!” Why leave town when it’s the best time to be here?
There’s hardly any traffic on the roads, the motorways run smoothly, you get a good seat on the bus... 
I especially love that the other night when I got on the bus, a double-decker, I went up to the top deck, and I was the only one there.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Welcome 2020

Two thousand and twenty.... how amazing. 
How amazing the millennium was 20 years ago. 
I'm looking forward to this new year, just like I do every year. I've got a plan. I have a nice new orange bullet journal and I will use it!
And yes, I hope to get fitter this year. Older middle age demands it, actually. In fact, I went through a bunch of aerobics DVDs I'd picked up for next to nothing in a clearance sale (I really do like owning actual DVDs), and to complement the walking, that could be the go. 
I'm not at all sure the fam will appreciate the jumping and subsequent earthquake-like effects, however,  but now is not the age time to be complacent about health and fitness.

Writing wise, I'm a whisker away from releasing "Bringing Back Emily," the follow up to Falling for Jack.  I'm tidying up the next Frazier Bay book, "The Heart of Matthew McLeod", and will finish book three in the Clearlake series, "Belinda's Valentine". To finish all that by this time next year would be great, but I am hopeful, terribly hopeful, there will be much more than that published.
So.... Happy 2020. Onward and upward, all!!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Christmas Cake Part 2

So where was I with the Christmas cake?

So I had made it, and cooled it, and did the brandy thing.
Then I did the first batch of icing, the almond.
I actually had some almonds, so ground them up, and made the icing mixture, which tasted yummy.
Then I rolled it and laid it over the cake and extended it down the sides. Let it sit for a day or so and did the white/royal icing.
In the end the recipe was simple to make. Some egg whites with icing sugar added, beaten and beaten until it goes like meringue in glossy peaks. All the recipes said to add glycerine, which I didn't have so I added a few drops or more of lemon juice (not sure why) and then spread it on the cake, and left it a day.
Thus the cake was complete. The glycerine is to keep the icing soft, as it sort of went hard-ish but that didn't bother me.
So,  my first attempt and how was it?

It was a bit dry on the outsides, a tad over-cooked on the underneath but all in all, it was pretty good.
A bit crumbly but nothing to get too upset about. That's what spoons are for, right?
The flavour was great, and icing pretty yum.
I would not hesitate to serve it to someone outside the immediate family, put it that way.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Picturesque Seasons Greetings

Images of post cards from Heritage Collections, Auckland Libraries.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019


Mince pies are one of my favourites treats at Christmas and I do like making my own, and I think they're cheaper, and generally nicer (though not always...!). I made my own fruit mince with what was left over from the Christmas Cake, and added in a diced apple. Plus I'd inherited brandy so added some of that, since I had it anyway.  There was a bit more 'stuff'' in the mixture than usual, courtesy of the Christmas cake ingredients. 

I also decided to make mini ones, not the muffin-sized ones, and I had two lots of mini muffin tins. I can't say that I've used them a lot, they are quite fiddly, really,  but it was a bit of fun, too, playing Christmas music and making a mess in the kitch.
Plus I'd watched the Great Kiwi Bake off that week on the telly, so was a bit inspired to try and make a decent job of  the pies/tarts.

So there wasn't really a recipe for it, a bit of a hotch potch of ingredients, but they were baked, and tasted,  deemed suitable to allow everyone else to eat, and were quite perfect with a cup of tea. 

They were also gone by the end of the day (to be fair they were 'mini'),  and there is now the conundrum of what to do with the left over fruit mince. Make some more pies, freeze for another time, or do something else. I suspect it will be freeze.

Best of the season to you!!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

An angel and a Jacaranda tree

Years ago, a friend was throwing out stuff and she gave me this set of lights. I think it was some time before I thought I'd plug it in, and see what it was, and it turned out to be this cutie. An angel blowing a trumpet. Its taped to a window, and it does look pretty neat.

There are heaps of Jacaranda trees flowering, and I just love them with their purple flowers. I've never really appreciated them before (maybe there are actually more, hence I notice them) but this is one I pass often. The ground is littered with petals, which isn't so great in the wet weather. I nearly did come a cropper the other day. But they are so attractive, and with the red flowers of the Pohutukawa tree also blooming at the moment, there is a lot of gorgeous colour outdoors to marvel at.

A Zoo Visit

We paid a visit to the zoo over the holidays. We got there first thing in the morning, before opening, as we needed to borrow a wheel chair...