Tag Archives: High Tea

High Tea and High Fun at the 2015 Australian Romance Readers Awards!

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It was a gala day last Saturday with the Australian Romance Readers Association‘s A Romantic High Tea event and the 2015 Australian Romance Readers Awards, both held in Sydney at Cello’s Restaurant in the Castlereagh Hotel. And what a brilliant time was had!

Stuck in front of our computers, deep in imaginary worlds, writers tend to live comparatively solitary lives, which makes it huge fun to get out, frock up, and meet with passionate readers and writing buddies. Events like these are also terrific for the romance genre. They’re where we get to show off what enthusiastic readers and talented writers we have in Australia. We’ve known for years how special and important the genre is but many others have no idea. The message is getting through though, as was demonstrated by the industry representatives present at the awards and their generous sponsorship.

Here are a few photos from the High Tea and 2015 ARR Awards dinner. If you’d like the full list of awards and winners, you’ll find them all on the ARRA blog.


On Friday night before the High Tea, I caught up with Rachael Johns and Emily Madden at Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in Sydney. Naturally, there was fizz!

Rachael Johns, Cathryn Hein, Emily Madden at dinner

Hot Chocolate the Blow-Up Wonder Horse has been coming to events with me since last year’s Australian Romance Readers Convention in Canberra. Admittedly, he doesn’t get a lot of care, being thrown around in suitcases and the occasional bar, but I had hoped he’d last a bit longer than a year. Sadly, with only a few hours until the High Tea, Hot Choc sprang a leak. As you can see, it left feeling him very deflated…

A saggy and flat feeling Hot Chocoalate

Guests on my High Tea table received April’s Rainbow mugs filled with Chupa Chups and decorated with ‘love’ butterflies. Cos we’re all about the luuuurve at Chez Hein and ARRA!

High Tea guest gift

Here are my gorgeous High Tea people! We had such fun. I can’t thank them enough for coming along and being such great company. As you’d expect there was LOTS of book talk. Cello’s Restaurant is a lovely venue too, full of light and pretty architecture. Perfect for A Romantic High Tea.

L-R: Malvina, Amy, Belinda, Me, Veronica, Suzanne, Jo (who came all the way from Edenhope, Victoria!).

High Tea guests

Some of the scrumptious treats on offer.

High Tea treats

Amy, me and Belinda.

Amy, me and Belinda at High Tea

Me and Suzanne.

Suzanne and me at High Tea

ARR Awards MC and Favourite Paranormal Romance winner Shannon Curtis doing her stuff. And do it very well she did!

ARR Awards MC - Shannon Curtis

Guest speaker Kat Mayo. Her speech “There’s never been a more exciting time to be a romance reader” was excellent. You can find the transcript on her Bookthingo Blog. Well worth a visit and read.

ARR Awards guest speaker Kat Mayo

Rachael Johns with one of her two ARR Awards. Way to go, buddy! Rachael won awards for Favourite Short or Category Romance and Favourite Contemporary Romance.

Rachael Johns with one of her ARR Awards

Me and special person Len Klumpp who’s a great supporter of Australian romance and ARRA, and who, along with his wife Carolyn, travelled all the way from Tamworth for the event. Len also presented Helene Young with the award for Favourite Australian Romantic Suspense (great stuff, Helene!).

Great fan and ARRA supporter Len and Cathryn at the ARR Awards

We had a lovely lady named Linda on our table. Linda had come all the way over from Western Australia, and was absolutely delightful company. I was so thrilled to have met her. The photo-bomber is Amy Andrews who just can’t help herself!

Cathryn and Linda at the ARR Awards

Me trying to pinch Shannon Curtis’s and Cathleen Ross’s ARR Awards. They really should share… Cathleen won her award for Favourite Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance.

Cathryn, Shannon Curtis and Cathleen Ross at the ARR Awards

And finally, but not in the least bit last – in fact she was first, first, first! – Anne Gracie, who took out three awards on the night: Favourite Historical Romance, Favourite Continuing Romance Series and the big gong, Favourite Australian Romance Author. Well done, Anne!

Anne Gracie collecting one of her ARR Awards

I would like to thank the hard-working and dedicated members of ARRA for making the High Tea and ARR Awards such brilliant events. It was a very special weekend that I’ll remember very fondly. I, and everyone I spoke to, had a ball. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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FRIDAY FEAST with Christina Brooke

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What a fantastic Friday Feast we have this week! Drape yourself over a lusciously velvet chaise-longue and get ready to indulge because you are about to be delighted (in the politest possible way) by best-selling regency-set historical romance author and two-time RITA finalist, Christina Brooke.

Christina is a bit of a star in the Australian romance writing firmament, being the first Australian to win a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Besides best-sellerdom and RITA finals (the Romance Writers of America’s equivalent of an Academy Award nomination), Christina has also been nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best and our own Romantic Book of the Year Award.

In other words, Feasters, she’s a bloody good author!

Her latest release, A Duchess to Remember, is out now. Check it out.




For a lady of breeding and wealth, the Ministry of Marriage can always ensure a suitable match. But sometimes, the heart wants what it wants—in spite of the risks…


Lady Cecily Westruther is nothing if not practical. By agreeing to marry an older duke who already has an heir and a mistress, she can assume a wifely role—without the wifely duties. Only one thing stands in her way—a  letter that could destroy her betrothal. Desperate to retrieve that letter, Cecily must match wits with the most dangerously seductive man she’s ever known…


Disguised as a footman, Cecily gains entry to her adversary’s house—only to be unmasked by London’s most powerful man. Rand, Duke of Ashburn, is accustomed to getting any woman he wants—and he wants Cecily. He will stop at nothing, including seduction, to make her his. But Rand holds a secret more shocking and destructive than that letter could ever be…

“A delightful confection of secrets and seduction…will have readers craving more!”—Tracy Anne Warren on Heiress in Love


Oh, you want that, don’t you? I can see your itchy mouse clicking finger from here. Well here is all the linky goodness you need to indulge.  For Australian readers, try Booktopia and Bookworld.com.au, both of which also have the ebooks. You can also buy the paperback and Kindle versions at Amazon.  For more links, visit the A Duchess to Remember page on Christina’s website.

Now, crook that little pinkie, arrange that napkin, and settle down for a spot of high tea with Christina Brooke!


Living the high life

Hi everyone and thank you, Cathryn, for having me here today for Friday Feast! I love these segments, so I jumped at the chance when Cathryn asked me to write one.

I love writing about food. I often have to cut paragraphs of deathless prose on dining from my Regency-set historicals 

The French said the only good thing about English cuisine is breakfast, but I can’t agree with that. My absolute favorite meal of any must be the English cream tea or, if you want to go the whole hog, the high tea.

Cream teas are what many in Australia call the Devonshire tea: scones with jam and cream accompanied by a pot of tea. The last time I was in England I ate so many cream teas that I didn’t want to look at another scone for quite a while afterward! And of course, here in Australia you don’t get that amazing clotted cream that’s almost as hard as a pat of butter like you do over in England. Certainly not brilliant for the waistline but pure heaven when you’re eating it.

Particularly if you’re eating it in the garden of a stately home or in the Pump Room in Bath.

And of course there’s the cream tea’s fancier, more refined cousin, the high tea. This is usually served on a three-tiered plate, with ribbon sandwiches made of cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and baby capers, ham and Dijon mustard and so forth making up the lowest tier.

Then you have the hot savory tier, which will be tiny quiches, savory tarts, little crostini, pinwheel pancake treats or other tidbits. And on the final level, there are sweets. Bite-sized lemon curd tarts, heart-shaped cakes dusted with icing sugar, pastel macaroons, meringues studded with lavender, and of course the scone, light as air and topped with strawberry conserve and cream.

There is a magical place in Brisbane called “Room with Roses” where I like to go with my mother and enjoy an excellent high tea. Some serve champagne with a high tea but I say you cannot go past a good strong cuppa.

So, given that I’m a historical writer, today I thought I’d bring you a recipe for macaroons from Margaretta Ackworth’s Georgian Cookery Book, edited by Alice and Frank Prochasca:

TO MAKE MACKROONS Take the whites of eight eggs and beate them very well with a white rod. Take a pound loafe sugar very firmly beaten a pound and half of blanched almonds very well beaten with a little rose water. Mix them altogether, put to them a little rose water, so lay it on White Wafers, a spoonful in a Place. Make them up long Ways, Scrape hard sugar on them and bake them.


So what was the best afternoon or morning tea—high tea or otherwise you’ve ever had? One lucky commenter receives a tasty morsel: A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER, signed by yours truly 🙂 


Ahh, macaroons. Such sweetly civilized morsels and a perfect accompaniment to a good cuppa. And now we have whole shops dedicated to them. In fact, I discovered one just last weekend in Hardware Lane in Melbourne, complete with line-up of slavering customers out the door.

So, my lovely Feasters, you heard our fabulous guest, start commenting. There’s a wonderful prize up for grabs.

Best morning tea for me has to be Devonshire tea in Devon, enjoyed outside on a stunning summer’s morning. A good brew, gorgeously light scones, delicious jam and that amazing clotted cream Christina talked about. Nothing special yet somehow absolutely perfect.

Giveaway closes midnight, Tuesday 4th September AEST and it’s open internationally. Yippee!!!!

If you’d like to know more about Christina and her amazing, award-winning books, including the famous Ministry of Marriage series, please visit her website. You can also connect via Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

This giveaway has now closed. Thanks to everyone who took part. You all gave Christina and me a lot of smiles. Congratulations to Julie who has won a copy of Christina’s gorgeous new release, A Duchess To Remember.