Saturday, October 28, 2023

Weekend Cooking: What We Ate on Holiday - Hawaii

This year has definitely been a year for crossing things off of our must do list! Earlier this year we went to Europe, then we went to Broome and New Zealand. Now, it is  Hawaii (and more specifically Pearl Harbour). To be honest, this post probably won't be that long because whilst we like Hawaii, I'm not sure Hawaii liked us!

Because of the International Date Line we actually got to do Saturday 14 October twice. In the first version of that day, we got up early to go and vote in the referendum, then I went to bookclub, then we packed, went to the airport and got on a plane. We flew out of Sydney at about 9.40pm and then arrived in Honolulu at around 11am the same day. We are time travellers.

In the second take of Saturday, we walked along the beach, watched the sunset and then every month they close off the main street of Waikiki and there is a festival where there are all sorts of different stands selling anything from food, jewellery, clothes and all other sorts of things. It was a great vibe. We walked from one end of the market to the other just taking in the vibe. We decided to have barbecue on a stick. This stall was amazing. We ended up getting a mixture of shrimps (prawns), lobster balls, teriyaki chicken, sausages and more! Delicious

The next morning we had breakfast on the 23rd floor of the hotel! What a view!! And that's when it all goes downhill from there as a few hours later I started feeling really unwell. After 2 days of doing not much at all in the hotel room, I finally emerged for a walk along the beach version of caesar. Unfortunately, by this time my husband was also feeling sick

Because we had been feeling unwell, we had to cancel a luau and also move our tour to Pearl Harbour to a different day, so instead of being all nicely spaced out everything was all just crammed into a couple of days.

Despite not yet feeling 100% we did a circle tour of the island tour which wasn't specifically foodie, but there was lots of foodie content! Along the way around the island we started with a visit to a coffee farm where you could see the beans growing on trees and then taste some really interesting flavours

We then visited Dole Plantation where there was so many pineapple related items and I got to try Dole Whip. Who knew that we needed pineapple flavoured soft serve ice cream in our lives?

We also visited  a roadside stand where the tour guide recommended the shaved ice (which I didn't try) plus another farm where we could take a turn at cracking macadamia nuts. I will definitely need to try shaved ice the next time we go to Hawaii.

One of the highlights though was eating at a food truck which has previously featured on the TV Show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It was parked in a car park with 4 or 5 other trucks, and we would never have found it without the tour. I had the Coconut Shrimp and it was so good! I only wish I could have eaten more of it! 

We also got to see the big waves on the North Shore and the area where movies such as Jumanji and Jurassic Park were filmed.

Because we had to reschedule the luau, we basically got home from the tour, freshened up and then went to a luau which fortunately was only on the rooftop of the hotel across the road so we got to enjoy the cooler night and an amazing sunset. We really enjoyed the luau experience, which was a buffet style dinner, along with cocktails, although we only had one because, you know, not feeling 100%. The best part of the dinner was the roast beef which was amazing! And there was a coconut cream cake which was one of the dessert options and that was delicious too!

The next day we went to Pearl Harbour. We organised a private guide, who was amazing. Luis was a veteran who loves World War  II history which is the perfect combination in a tour guide! This was definitely a bucket list item for the both of us. I will say though, it was hot. It was hot every day but it was particularly hot on this day, or at least it felt like it.

After another big day we wanted to go to Dukes for dinner, which is a pretty famous bar, but there was going to be a long wait so we went to the Cheesecake Factory instead. We hadn't ever been there before and we liked it, but the portions were huge. I think I ate less than half of my Chicken Katsu but it was really good!

Our last day was spent in the water and chilling waiting until it was time to go to the airport ready for this next leg of our trip to Canada. We did manage to have lunch at Duke's which was pretty cool! The fish tacos were delicious!

We are already talking about when we might be able to go back to Hawaii!!

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Friday, October 27, 2023

Blog Tour - The Christmas Love Letters by Sue Moorcroft

I am sure that we all think we know the stories of our parents or other significant people in our lives, but what happens if we really don't? What would happen in your family if suddenly a man turns up at your door claiming to be related to your beloved auntie - the person you are closest to in the world -  who has never, ever mentioned anything about the story the man tells. 

Maddy Cracey's life is already complicated. She moved in with her aunt to be her full time carer when her husband Adey disappeared nearly 7 years before. Adey never knew that she was pregnant with the now 6 year old Lyla. There are people in the small town who never let her forget about her missing husband and the mystery of what happened to him. Maddy has her close knit friends and is getting by, but she is looking forward to the day when her husband can be declared legally dead and she can move on.

One day, a man knocks on the door and tells a story involving Ruth and a love affair with a married man. Maddy is completely shocked, but that is just the beginning. What follows is a story that unfolds through the letters that both Ruth and her love kept over the the years. Of course, there are complications that occur when such a situation occurs, and Maddy needs to do what is best to protect her elderly aunt and daughter.

The man, Raff, has his own family to protect with their own individual issues. His sister Ffion is unwell and her teenage daughter is scared about her mother, confused by all the truths that are being unveiled, and subject to changing her mind about everything at any time, as teenagers are known to do. Meanwhile, Raff, by trade a teacher, is trying to write his own fantasy novel while helping out his sister before she goes in for an operation.

I really enjoyed the whole premise of this book. There were the twists of turns of Maddy's story, the strong female friendships and inter-generational relationships, the incredibly moving story about Ruth and great chemistry between Raff and Maddy. There were times when there was some miscommunication that could have prevented a few misunderstandings, but this is a minor quibble really.

There are some Christmas books where the story is set at Christmas and there is a mention of Christmas now and then. This is not one of those books. This book is all about Christmas - food, crafts, fetes, markets, so much snow!

This is the second novel I have read by Sue Moorcroft but it is the first of her Christmas novels. I am definitely excited to read more! 

Thanks to the publisher, Netgalley and Rachel's Random Resources for the review copy.

About the book

The Christmas Love Letters

A secret romance was just the start of the story…

Tucked into a crook of the Norfolk coast lies Nelson’s Bar – an idyllic village where time seems to stand still. Maddy Cracey has called this beautiful spot home all her life, as had her husband Adey – until an epic row sent him storming out into a blizzard, with no sign of him since that fateful night.

Six years on, and Maddy’s life in the village has settled into a gentle pattern with her young daughter and Great Aunt Ruthie. However, when handsome stranger Raff turns up with a handful of long-forgotten love letters, their quiet life is upended as family secrets from the past are unearthed.

As Raff and Maddy get to know each other, they grow closer and a love story of their own seems inevitable. But when Maddy receives a mysterious message, she can’t help but wonder whether her own past is as distant as she'd thought it was…

The festive new novel about love, family and the power of words from Sunday Times bestseller Sue Moorcroft, perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Phillipa Ashley.

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About the author

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, and her books have been #1 on Kindle UK and Top 100 on Kindle US, Canada and Italy. She writes two books a year for publishing giant HarperCollins and has won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Novel of the Year, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award, a HOLT Medallion and the Katie Fforde Bursary. She’s president of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and past vice-chair.

Her novels, short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Blog Tour: Snow Days with You by Leonie Mack

It’s fair to say that the idea of living in the French Alps, with mountains covered in snow, skiing, mountain climbing etc is completely foreign to me. I mean, I live in Australia. We do have snow regularly a couple of hours away from me, but it is something that you go and make a special effort to see as opposed to something you expect to see., or that you live and work in. It's enough snow to ski on, and of course, has its dangers. To make it even more foreign to me I was reading this book when I was on holidays in Hawaii – not a place known for it’s snow.

Luna Rowntree is supposed to be heading to her cousin's house in Sheffield, but she makes an impulsive decision, instead heading to the town of Chamonix in the French Alps. Months before she had received a significant inheritance from a man she had never heard of before and she doesn't know why. She doesn't feel comfortable spending any of the inheritance until she knows that it is really meant for her.

As this was an impulsive decision, Luna is ill prepared. She doesn't have the correct tyres or snow chains, or the right shoes or clothes. When she runs out of petrol outside the headquarters of the elite mountain rescue squadron of the French Gendarmerie Nationale, the PGHM (the Peloton de gendarmerie de haute montagne) she meets a gendarme who assists her to find somewhere to stay for a few day.

Luna is determined to find out more about her mystery benefactor. She does know that he is somehow linked to this town, as her mother lived here briefly before she was born. she starts asking questions, which once again brings her into contact with Yannick.

Whilst Luna is searching for answers, it seems as though Yannick is hiding from life. He is an experienced rescuer, one of the best, but that isn't enough to prevent him from being traumatised by the rescues that went wrong. His marriage is over and he knows that a lot of that is to do with the pressures and dangers associated with the job so he is reticent to get involved with anyone His biggest joy in life is his young daughter who loves to ski with him, much to his ex-wife's annoyance.

It seems that for Luna to get the answers she needs, she will need to ski and climb the mountains, and Yannick is the one to teach her. In return, Luna will teach the members of the PGHM how to use English in emergency situations.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved how Luna and Yannick were together, even before they were together, together. Yannick was patient and gentle with Luna as he taught her some unlikely skills such as skiiing and mountain climbing. He also helped her piece together a past that seemed very different to the past that her mother had told her about.

I liked reading about the work of the PGHM. It is incredibly vital and dangerous work, rescuing people who find themselves injured or lost on the mountains. These are people who put their lives at risk to save others and it was fascinating to read about their lives, and to see the camaraderie which exists amongst such close knit groups.

I have read several of Leonie Mack's books now. One was set in Paris, one in Italy, and now this one set Chamonix. What they all have in common is the sense of place that the author is able to convey. I can't wait to find out where Leonie Mack will be taking us next!

Thanks to Netgalley, Rachel's Random Resources and Boldwood Publishers for the opportunity to read this book. Check out other reviews on the blog tour stops below

About the book

Snow Days With You

When Luna Rowntree gets an unexpected and life-changing legacy from a man she’s never met, she’s determined to find out why – even if it is Christmas Day and her family are expecting her.

So, with only her mother’s ashes for company – it’s a long story, but Luna knows her mother would have wanted to come on the adventure too – Luna sets off in her trusty Astra to the skiing resort in Chamonix, where her mysterious benefactor had lived.

But her little car isn’t designed for driving through snow-covered mountains, and when she runs out of fuel heart-breakingly close to Chamonix, Luna is relieved to be saved by her very own knight-in-shining armour. Well, knight in mountain rescue uniform anyway.

Yannick is charmed and baffled by Luna’s mission, and before he knows it, he has agreed to help. But Yannick has his own secrets calling him from the mountains, and his own reasons to run away. As he helps Luna understand her past he realises he has to face his as well if he’s ever going to risk opening his heart to love

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About the author

Leonie Mack is an author of romantic comedies with great international locations. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings!

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Saturday, October 14, 2023

Weekend Cooking: Spring Clean for the Peach Queen by Sasha Wasley

This month my read on a theme bookclub theme was "books with a colour in the title", so I chose to read this book, and the added bonus is that the book is good for a Weekend Cooking post.

Charlize Beste is up and coming actress who would probably be about a C-list celebrity, but she has a particular knack of making it look like she is doing much better than she actually is. However, she moves to be more infamous than famous when she is pictured in a compromising position with a famous actor who then dies later that night. The situation is not helped when some artistic semi-nude photos are released in the aftermath.

Charlize's real name is Charlotte Benze, known as Lottie, and given the media attention that she is receiving Lottie decides that it is time to return to her home town of Bonnievale and make some changes in her life. Lottie is going to Marie Kondo her life, getting rid of her phone, all her acting paraphernalia, social media - everything. Unfortunately Lottie's feminist mother is disappointed in her and so the welcome home is less than warm. To be fair, Lottie often feels like she is a disappointment to her mother.

And so it is that Lottie finds herself staying in a run down caravan on the farm that belongs to Angus Brooker. It just so happens that Lottie is the reigning Peach Queen of the town, and Angus was her King. The contest hasn't been run for years though as the town has been going through a really hard time. Years before, the peach trees were infected with disease. For many farmers this meant ripping out all of their orchards, and replanting resistant trees or just walking away. Things are better now, but it has taken a long time for the town to recover.

Whilst on the farm, Lottie helps Angus' mum with her own de-cluttering projects and gradually Lottie learns about the Brooker's life, and also some of their secrets. It soon becomes clear that there is something not quite right with Mrs Brooker.  There are signs of forgetfulness, and Angus is worried that she is going to endanger herself by doing things like leaving the oven on, or leaving the house and getting lost. Angus is glad of the help with his mum, but otherwise he would not be best please with having Lottie around. He has been through a nasty divorce, and he now has a "policy" which basically means that he is avoiding any kind of romantic entanglements.

In the meantime, his well meaning but bossy Aunt Pris has decided that it is a perfect time to reinstate the Peach Queen contest and that Lottie is the perfect person to be the face of the contest, whether she likes it or not. After all, a little bit of scandal will be good for publicity, although publicity is exactly what Lottie is trying to avoid.

This was a really interesting story which covered a lot of subjects from celebrity to the plight of farmers, dementia, de-cluttering and starting over.  The characters were interesting to read about, and I liked the way that each of them were facing up to their issues, and how each of them were able to help the others move forward with whatever their current reality was. I also enjoyed the chemistry and banter between Angus and Lottie. For example, they had a fun game between themselves where they were hiding money that Lottie was trying to give Angus as rent and he was refusing to accept it!

Bonnievale  is based on the town of Donnybrook in the south of Western Australia. I have been there before as my cousin lives and works in the town. It is a town which is build around the fruit farms in the surrounding areas.

So what about food I hear you ask? Obviously there is lots of information about peach farming. Mrs Brooker is also a stereotypical farmer's wife in that she is a fabulous cook. Lottie really isn't,  but soon she is learning all about things like making jam, scones, plum cake and so many more different delicious sounding foods.

I thought I would share a passage from the book because it entertained me

Mrs Brooker and I spent the morning making chutney from some unripe nectarines Angus had brought down.

"Chupney, I called it for many years," she confessed when the diced onions were frying in a pot.

"Chupney?" I couldn't help laughing.

She smiled. "Nobody corrected me for ever such a long time. My mother taught me how to make it and I'm still not sure if she simply never noticed I was saying it wrong, or if she thought it was funny and let me be. I was still saying it as an adult, you know. I would make it with my mother-in-law She never said a word about my pronunciation either. It was Pris who broke it to me, in the end."

"Why doesn't that surprise me?

Mrs Brooker tinkled a laugh. "I was writing up the labels and she looked at me and said, "What one earth have you done? You've spelled chutney wrong!" I was confused until she told me in no uncertain terms it was a t, not a p. I didn't believe her at first, but I took a stealthy look at my old CWA cookkbook and my heart sank when I realised she was right. What a blessed fool I must have made of myself for all those years, down at a school fete or in the Progress Association meetings. Why did no one ever tell me?" She shook her head.

Have you got a story about when you have mispronounced something like this?

We are on holidays for the next three weeks so expect some "What We Ate on Holidays" posts coming up!

Weekly meals

Saturday -  Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta Bake
Sunday -  Out for dinner
Monday - Chicken Shwarma
Tuesday - 
Wednesday - Mexican Chicken and Rice
Thursday - Beef Teriyaki Bowls
Friday - Sausages, mash and broccoli

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Blog tour: In the Greek Midwinter by Mandy Baggot

Once upon a time if you mentioned travelling to Europe, my first thought would be France. These days, I am a little more equal opportunity and the thought of France will be folowed pretty quickly to Italy, and more recently, Greece. I seem to be going through some kind of Greek period. I've bought a Greek cookbook, watched movies set in Greece, and one of my close friends recently visited so I was living vicariously through her photos.

Jen also had a plan to visit Paris on a romantic getaway with her boyfriend, David. Unfortunately David needs to cancel  the trip as he needs to take a last minute trip to Athens for work. Jen's friend Bonnie is determined to make the romantic trip still work so she convinces Jen to head to Athens and surprise David. Let's just say things don't exactly go to plan.

Jen loves Christmas, and she even owns a party/events company called Christmas Every Day. This is her busiest time of the year, and she really needs this year to be successful, as the business is struggling a bit, well, a lot. She hasn't told anyone that things are so bad that she has had to give up her flat. Given how badly things are going, the disastrous trip to Athens is the last thing she needs, but a series of unfortunate events means that she is unable to get home. She therefore has to rely on her Ukrainian assistant Natalia, to keep her business afloat, whatever it takes.

In directly inverse proportions, Astro hates Christmas, and he wants to ensure that not even the slightest hint of Christmas enters into the bar he works at. Unfortunately, his co-workers have decided that a bit of festive cheer is exactly what the accountant has ordered. Among them are a young boy called  Achilles whose mother works hard to just make ends meet and Astro's uncle Phillipos is at a cross roads in his life

When Jen stumbles into Astro's bar, little do they know that their path's will continue to cross. Soon Astro is showing Jen the real Athens, and revealing the secrets that he has kept hidden for so long. And Jen is sharing her truths, including her very rough childhood, and the reasons why she loves Christmas so much.

I must confess that I haven't really ever considered what Athens would be like as a Christmassy destination but the world that the author shares with us in the pages of this book is definitely one that sounds enticing. We do visit the obvious sites such as the Parthenon, but Astro also shows her off the beaten track locations - the real Athens.

Overall I enjoyed this book. There were times when everything felt a bit frantic, especially as Jen tried to manage her business issues back home from a distance, with David and to get home. I really loved the final scenes. I also loved seeing Athens in a different light! 

I have read one other Mandy Baggot book set in Greece. Now I need to find some time to read more!

Thanks to the publisher, Netgalley and Rachel's Random Resources for the opportunity to read this book

About the book

In the Greek Midwinter

It was supposed to be a holiday of a lifetime…

But when Jen’s boyfriend David suddenly cancels their romantic Paris trip, needing to urgently travel to Athens for work, it’s best friend Bonnie who suggests they surprise him.

Having already booked the time off from her events company – Christmas Every Day – Jen decides an impromptu and romantic gesture might be just what their relationship needs?

Arriving in Greece and finding David is not there, Jen has a lot of questions. And when she gets her answers she has a choice – should she go home or should she stay a while?

With the help of Astro, the handsome yet Christmas-hating waiter from the local bar, she sets about a little Greek Christmas research. But what starts as a ‘business trip’ soon turns into something more…

Purchase Link -

About the Author

Mandy Baggot is a bestselling romance writer who loves giving readers that happy-ever-after. From sunshine romantic comedies set in Greece, to cosy curl-up winter reads, she's bringing gorgeous heroes and strong heroines readers can relate to. Mandy splits her time between Salisbury, Wiltshire and Corfu, Greece and has a passion for books, food, racehorses and all things Greek!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Jobs


Welcome to this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's theme is 

Bookish Jobs I Would Do For Free (Real or Imaginary) (Submitted by Susan @ Bloggin’ bout Books)

Book Lovers by Emily Henry - This book features a literary agent and an editor!

The Bookbinder of Jericho by Pip Williams - This is set in an Oxford printer where the main characters starts as a bookbinder.

The Bookstore Sisters by Alice Hoffman  - A short story set in a bookstore

Elodie's Library of Second Chances by Rebecca Raisin - Elodie leaves her job in publishing and becomes a librarian in a small town

The Great Passage by Shion Miura - This is about the creation of a dictionary

Beach Read by Emily Henry - Two writers end up living next to each other for a summer

The Women's Pages by Victoria Purman - The main character in this book is an early war journalist

Aria's Travelling Bookshop by Rebecca Raisin - A travelling bookstore owner!

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan - Or on the shores of a Scottish lake

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George - Or Paris. Le sigh!

Did any of these books appear on your list?

Sunday, October 08, 2023

Six Degrees of Separation: From I Capture the Castle to The Fatal Shore


Welcome to this month's edition of Six Degrees of Separation, which is a monthly meme hosted by Kate from Books Are My Favourite and Best.  The idea is to start with a specific book and make a series of links from one book to the next using whatever link you can find and see where you end up after six links.  I am also linking this post up with The Sunday Salon, hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz. 


This months starting point is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, which is the diary of Cassandra Mortmain.

I instantly thought of a book but I couldn't remember the name of the book, I had no idea why I thought it would connect to the starting book, and I only had a vague idea that the author's first name was Michelle. Eventually I figured it all out out, thank goodness. The book is called A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper.  This is a book which tells the story of the royal family of an imaginary kingdom. The family lives on a small island in a crumbling castle in the mid 1930sand the story is told through the diary of Princess Sophie. And it turns out both of these books have been released as Vintage Children's Classics.

For my next step I am choosing Australian historical fiction author Tea Cooper. There are any number of her books I could choose but I guess I have to pick one which is.......The Cedar Cutter.

In the end I could have chosen any of her books because I am choosing my next link in the chain based on the word Tea. My next choice is The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. This is the first book in the Tea Rose trilogy set in Victorian London. I was very excited to see an email from this author this week to say that she is releasing a new short story set in this world! Yes!!

This made me think of other novella's I have read so my next book is The Fish Girl by Mirandi Riwoe which is a reimagining of a short story by W Somerset Maughan. This was a book I featured in a Weekend Cooking post a number of years ago, and it was winner of the Seizure Viva La Novella Prize back in 2017. It is set in Dutch Colonial Indonesia

I tried to think of other books set in Indonesia. There was one that came to mind but it was one I would rather not feature, so instead I am choosing Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw.

My final choice is another with a map on the cover, The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes. 

Next month's starting point is 

Western Lane by Chetna Maroo, which is a novella that has been nominated for the Booker prize

Saturday, October 07, 2023

Weekend Cooking: What I Baked (In My Kitchen) in September

The first Saturday of the month is when I share all the things that I baked in the previous month. This month, I am not sure I really need to use the word all, because I actually only baked two items, and they were both exactly the same recipe. There will be even less this month because we are away for most of the month.

I have been making my go-to chocolate cake for years. Every now and again I try a new one but I hadn't found one that replace it....until now.

This month I thought I would try making the chocolate cake from Nagi Maehashi's cookbook RecipeTinEats: Dinner. Like most of the recipes I have tried from this cookbook it was another really successful bake. I then topped it with her recipe for chocolate buttercream frosting.

First, I made the cake just for fun, and then I made it for my son's birthday and everyone who was at dinner loved it. I like to think that I had ALMOST convinced my 16 year old nephew that it was so simple that even he could make it. I say almost because I don't think he ended up trying, but he definitely could. So here are the two versions that I made:

I did offer people sprinkles which they could add themselves if they wanted!

I thought I would share the video from the Recipetineats website for this cake.  The recipe in the book is ever so slightly different in that you add some coffee but other than that it is fundamentally the same:

Each month I link up with In My Kitchen hosted at Sherry's Pickings. It is an opportunity to share anything new in your kitchen.

The only major new thing for us is that we bought a barbecue this month!! It is un-Australian not to have some sort of barbecue in the backyard but when we were moving house over a year ago we had to throw ours out as it had definitely seen better days! Now, we have a nice shiny new one which we have used a couple of times already! It's just a middle of the range barbie, not really fancy but it does have a sideburner which I have never had before. No idea what we will use it for but we will figure it out I am sure!

One of the reasons why we didn't make much is that I went to Perth to see my dad who isn't well, and then we went to Adelaide for my mum's 75th birthday dinner. Every time I go to Perth I make sure that I get some Spearmint Milk which is something we can't get here! This month I'll be baking even less as we are about to go on holidays for 3 weeks.

We did visit the fabulous LaManna supermarket this morning and I was finally able to track down an ingredient I have been looking for for months. It took four staff members to help me find it but I finally got hold of some Nduja paste which is a Sicilian ingredient. Now I have to remember which recipes I needed it for. One of them was a recipe for Broken Eggs from Rice Table, but at this particular moment in time I can't remember what the other one was.

I also bought one new cook book. This was the Jamie Oliver cookbook of the month for September and I wasn't going to buy it but succumbed at the last minute as there were some delicious sounding recipes being cooked!

Weekly meals

Saturday -  Out for dinner
Sunday -  Roast pork rolls
Monday - Steak and salad
Tuesday - Pork chops, mash and gravy
Wednesday - Zucchini Risotto
Thursday - Cheese on toast
Friday - Takeaway

Friday, October 06, 2023

Blog Tour: Finding Family at the Cornish Cove by Kim Nash

Last year I read my first book by Kim Nash which was set in a small town on the Cornish coast called Driftwood Bay, and really enjoyed it. I therefore jumped at the opportunity to read the follow up book, again set in the town.

We first met Gemma in Hopeful Hearts at the Cornish Cove, where she was one of the more welcoming members of the town to Meredith, whose story we read in the first book. Gemma has been running the local cafe since her beloved mother passed away but now it is time to make some changes. With the help of Clem who we met in the first book, she is expanding the space which means doing renovations. When she meets another newcomer to town, Jude, who is the local fire safety officer, it is safe to say that they don't hit it off straight away. Gemma makes some assumptions about Jude which makes her distrust him.

In addition to needing renovation work, Gemma is going to need some new staff. One of those new staff members is a young girl named Occy. Gemma is able to connect with Occy in a way that her single father can't but she is sure to respect the boundaries that have been put in place.

Like all of us, the characters in this book all bring their own issues to the situation. For Gemma this includes an ex husband.  She also isn't sure what it going on with her sister, who she is normally close to. Jude has his own history, which erupt in a wholly unexpected way. I wasn't sure at first about some of these aspects of the story, but  it all worked out well in the end

I once again enjoyed my time in Driftwood Bay. It has just been announced that there are at least two more book coming in this series, and you know that I will be jumping on board for those too!

Thanks to the publisher, Netgalley and Rachel's Random Resources for the opportunity to read this book.

About the book

Finding Family at the Cornish Cove

Family is everything…

In the years since her death, Gemma has been running her late mother’s cafĂ© with devotion, and when an opportunity comes to buy out her next-door neighbour and expand, she jumps at the chance.

She knows she will do her mother proud – keep her legacy going strong – but deep down she knows there’s still something missing. With her mum in her mind more than ever, and the knowledge that she may never start a family of her own, she can’t stop thinking about what life has in store for her.

But sometimes family are those you choose, or those who choose you! And with a growing community of supporters cheering Gemma on – including some new faces at her blossoming bistro – and maybe one in particular, will she really spend the rest of her life alone?

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About the author

Kim Nash is an author of uplifting, romantic, feel-good fiction, having wanted to write books since she was a little girl. She works as both Digital Publicity Director for publisher Bookouture and a book blogger at She lives in Staffordshire with her son Ollie and English Setter rescue dog Roni. When she's not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog and reading, as well as running a book club in Staffordshire and organising local and national reader/author events

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