Tag Archives: Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Things To Do In The Spring

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Welcome again to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in
. Check out the site to see who else is playing along.

This week’s topic needs a bit of adjustment because it’s autumn here and spring for us is a whole winter away.

Favourite Things To Do In The Spring Autumn!

Where to start? Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year because the days are usually mild which makes it great for doing things I adore, like golfing and lunching and generally being out and about and soaking up those warm rays before the winter cold arrives. Activities that are a tad curtailed thanks to the world health crisis.

But there is one thing I love to do in autumn that hasn’t been affected (much) and that’s cooking. So many opportunities!

Autumn is fig time, one of my favourite fruits. Which means I can make fig, prosciutto and mozzarella salad or simple desserts like honey roasted figs Bake With Anna Olson by Anna Olsonor fig and hazelnut tart. And mandarins come into season too. They’re lovely to eat on their own or they’re great in this mandarin, pistachio and chickpea cake. Yes, chickpeas! It’s delicious, I promise.

Apples come into season too giving the perfect excuse to make crumble, tarte tatin and other goodies. I’ve been binge watching excellent television series “Bake with Anna Olson” and recently bought the companion cookbook and now have lots of new apple things and more to try. Rah!

Autumn is also the start of the Australian Rules Football season. The Hein house becomes veeeery noisy on Sydney Swans Sydney Swans on tellygame days. I love my boys and like to dress up in my fan gear and cheer loudly. I know they can’t hear or see me through the telly but that’s not the point. It’s the vibes. And I do my best to send plenty of good ones their way. Although last season my vibes must have been duds because we were a bit disappointing. That’s okay. I’ll just try harder this year. Assuming the competition continues. It’s uncertain at the moment. (It’s now on hold.)

I also like to cook footy food to enjoy with the game. Things like celebrity chef (and my crush as discussed here) Home made samosas and bhajisRick Stein’s delicious Cornish pasties or my own made up little beef pie recipe. Or spicy satays, barbecued ribs, hot and sticky chicken wings, and Indian inspired feasts with homemade samosas and vegetable bhajis (pictured left with raita). And Jim makes a mean barbecued steak sandwich, dripping with onions, egg and bacon. All completely bad for you but pffft. Who cares? It’s footy season!

March brings us St Patrick’s Day too. A perfect excuse to stock the fridge with cans of Guinness and Kilkenny, along with the occasional bottle of Australian sparkling shiraz – a lovely autumnal drink. The beers also remind us that it’s time to break out our favourite beef in beer recipe. Delia Smith’s, from her Winter Collection, is awesome.

Casseroles need homemade, slow-rise bread. I came across a recipe for a A slice of cheesy mustard breadno-knead version years ago and have been using it ever since. But if I’m in a hurry I make do with this soda bread recipe, which I shared on my now archived blog series Friday Feast. Or, with more time, I make this focaccia, although I’m very keen to try Anna Olson’s focaccia recipe to see how it compares. If it’s like any of her other stuff, it’ll compare very well. Total new-born Anna fangirl, that’s me.

Hooly-dooly, I nearly forgot to mention Easter! The traffic tends to be diabolical around here then, with everyone heading up the north coast, so we usually stay put and stuff ourselves with seafood, footy and multiple rounds of golf. Chocolate too, although not too much – I can’t remember the Secret France by Rick Steinlast time we bought Easter eggs – and hot-crossed buns. I’ve been making this recipe for years but this Easter I’m going to put Anna’s to the test. I can’t go around buying new cookbooks and not use them, can I?

Speaking of which, I have Rick Stein’s new Secret France cookbook to play with too. Squeee!

So that’s me and my autumn loves. It’s handy that the weather tends to be excellent for golf because if I cook all the things I’m hoping to, I’m going to need all those walky miles, swings and more to wear them off. Golf also gets me outdoors and I don’t know about you, but this self-isolation is starting to send me a bit kooky.

What are your favourite things to do in autumn?


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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: The Weirdest Thing I Learned Reading Fiction

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Welcome again to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in. Want to see who’s playing along or join in yourself? Check out the challenge here.

Oh gawd, I’m on deadline and running waaaay behind, so my response to this week’s topic is going to be short.

The Weirdest Thing I Learned Reading Fiction

Um… probably how to kill someone painfully and inventively? God knows, I read enough horror novels to be a near expert on the subject. This is not an expertise I ever plan to use in my life. In case you were wondering.

I Ate the Sheriff by James Scott BellI also know far too much about the eating habits of zombies thanks to James Scott Bell’s Mallory Caine, Zombie-at-Law thriller series. Still gives me the shudders when I think about it. These books are hoot though. Totally over the top bonkers, which is just how I like them.

On a nicer note, and not particularly weird but I’m going to mention it anyway because this book is gorgeous, I recently discovered a lot about hand-lettering and calligraphy thanks to reading Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn.

What weird things have you learned from reading fiction?

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: One Skill I Wish I Had But Don’t

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Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in. Want to see who else is playing along? Visit here and click on the Miscellaneous Musings link near the top of the page.

As you’ve probably determined from the title, this week’s topic is

One Skill I Wish I Had But Don’t

Hooly-dooly, these topics seem to be getting harder. I suppose it is meant to be a challenge though.

Hmm… what skill would I love to have?

I wish I knew how to design my own website. I like this one. The colours are bright and clean and suit my brand, but the site is getting a bit on now and the list of things I’d like to change and add keeps growing. A shop would be nice, for example, and I’d change the layout of the book pages and probably the home page too. I’d also put the subscription form for this blog at the top of the page, above the book covers, instead of below, and make my newsletter signup more prominent because I adore newsletter subscribers. They’re clever, darling book-lovin’ people and I do cherish them so.

Computer Rage pop art picKnowing how to do this stuff would also stop me hyperventilating every time I accidentally crash my website. Something that happens with horrible regularity and is made worse by not having a clue what it was I did wrong.

Doing it myself would also save money. Websites can be bloody expensive. This one was done as a favour by a friend and even then the cost made me wince. Yes, yes, I know there are platforms like Wix and Weebly out there but they’re not all beer and skittles. And call me precious, but I’d like one designed and tweaked just for me. Which I would be able to do, if I had the skill.

Except I don’t and I’m not about to learn because I’d much rather be writing kissing books.

Or playing golf.

Or cooking, restauranting, cheering from my beloved Sydney Swans, or any number of things that does not involve shudder-inducing technical computer stuff.

Best to leave that sort of thing to the experts.

What skill do you wish you had?


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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Characters Who Remind Me of Myself

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Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in. Want to see who else is playing along? Visit here and click on the Miscellaneous Musings link near the top of the page.

Oh yikes. This week’s topic is personal.

Characters Who Remind Me of Myself and Why

Well. *taps pencil against chin* I can certainly think of plenty I’d like to be, but remind me of myself? Tricky.

Very tricky.

Okay. Here’s one, and I feel like I should apologise for choosing a character from one of my own books but I’m not going to because the bottom line is he Horsemans Promise by Cathryn Heinthat Sophie from The Horseman’s Promise fits the brief.

And I do try to do as I’m told.


I should also probably apologise for sharing another horsey story (last week’s post was about the day I got my first horse) but… nah. Because HORSES!!

Eh hem.

The Horseman’s Promise was my debut novel, although back then it was simply titled Promises. Sophie is a once-troubled young lady who’s finding her strength, and who makes a deal with a neighbouring racehorse trainer to buy a steeplechaser of his that she’s seen jump and now has her heart set on.

Before I start, I want to make clear that despite some similarities, I’m not Sophie. She is, I hope, her own unique person. However, there is a scene in The Horseman’s Promise that I don’t mind claiming as ALL me.

I was quite young when I finished year twelve – only sixteen, which meant I’d be heading off to uni 400 kms away, having barely turned seventeen. No one was thrilled with that idea and it was decided I’d be better off taking a gap year. That was fine by me. I was more than happy to spend the year concentrating on my horses and growing up a bit. But a girl can’t flop about being a gap year lazy-Daisy all the time, she must work. At least, that’s what my parents insisted.

Cathryn Hein and her dad on horseback

Me and my dad at home. Dad is riding my ex-racehorse George and I’m on my other horse Dinks. With Milly the dog.

So I took a couple of jobs riding racehorses for local trainers. On my very first day at a yard not far from where I lived, I was plonked on the back of an old campaigner who was being brought back into work after a long paddock spell.

It should have been an easy ride and it was for most of the workout, but the circuit included a long uphill stretch before the home turn, where the horses were usually given free rein to enjoy an easy canter. Fine and dandy, you’d think. Except my horse didn’t feel like an easy canter. He wanted to go fast. Race fast. I was a skinny, just out of school seventeen-year-old and no match for a horse of this determination and though I tried, in this battle of strength I came out the loser.

We whipped around the tight turn toward home at a terrifying gallop and proceeded down the hill toward the yard at an out of control sprint, me clinging on for dear life and cursing that this just had to happen on my first day.

As we thundered toward the driveway, I could feel the wily old bugger lining it up. At the speed we were travelling there was no way we could safely make that turn. It would mean going from sandy loam to slippery compacted crushed limestone and I might have been young, with a teenager’s bulletproof mentality, but that didn’t mean I felt like taking a skid on half a tonne of horseflesh.

What to do though?

My dad as a jockey riding Beau Kudeen.

My dad as a jockey riding Beau Kudeen.

At some point during this mad dash I remembered my dad – an ex-jockey – telling me what he used to do when a racehorse bolted. He used to kick them on and on until they wore out. Admittedly it wasn’t much of a plan, but it was all I had.

And with that driveway seconds away, I was running out of time to do anything else.

So I pulled on the right rein with all my might to keep the horse’s head straight and kicked liked crazy, and drove him flat-out past the property entrance. There was a wobbly moment when we hit the crushed limestone but we crossed it without mishap and continued up the grass track until the horse worked out that unless he wanted to do another lap of the block, he’d have to slow down and turn around.

We arrived back in the yard panting and sweating as hard as each other to a welcome of teases about knocking the poor old horse about, and probably quite a bit of relief from the trainer. As for my biceps the next day… Ouch!

I was never put on that horse again. Which was a shame, because I would have liked another go. But maybe the trainer decided he didn’t need the heartburn.

I didn’t either, to be honest, but I’m bloody glad of the experience. Without it, my debut novel wouldn’t have had this memorable scene..

Okay, spill. What character reminds you of yourself?


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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Favourite Memory and Why

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Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in. Want to see who else is playing along? Visit here and click on the Miscellaneous Musings link near the top of the page.

This week’s topic is a hard one.

My Favourite Memory and Why

I mean, from all the brilliant memories I have, how am I meant to choose just one? It’s like choosing your favourite book or song. Nigh on impossible.

So this won’t be my favourite memory but it sure is one of them.

The day I got my first horse.

I was ten and I’d been nagging my parents for a horse since I learned to say the word. I wouldn’t be surprised if I hadn’t nagged them before I could speak by stretching out my arms in a ‘gimme’ gesture whenever I sighted anything even remotely equine.

I love horses. Luuuuuuurve. To get one of my own was a dream come true. A cliché, yeah, but having my own horse was my dream. Nothing else mattered more.

My horse’s name was Mysty (note the romantic spelling). She was a two-year-old bay filly whose sire was a well-known stud thoroughbred. Her dam? The stud owner’s daughter’s pony. In other words, Mysty was an “oops”.

A few weeks before, Mum and Dad had taken me down to a property near Drumborg, just across the Victorian border, to meet her and it was love at first sight. She was the most magnificent creature I’d ever seen. Enchanted didn’t even begin to describe my feelings.

Oh, the excitement that she’d be coming home!

Mysty, me and Dad on her first day home

Mysty, me and Dad on her first day home. My first ride!

As you can imagine, when she did arrive I was beside myself. My own horse! And she was beautiful. Beautiful! More beautiful than any other horse that ever existed anywhere. And best of all she was mine. No more begging pats and rides from friends who had horses. No more fretting that I’d never have a horse of my own. No more crying over The Black Stallion books because I would never have a relationship with a horse like Alec shared with the Black.

My own horse. A miracle.

At only two-years-old and just broken, Mysty might have been a miracle but she was also completely inappropriate for a ten-year-old learner rider. But my dad had been brought up around horses and been a jockey in his younger years, and Mum used the justification that Mysty and I would be able to grow up together. Not smart thinking when it comes to horses. Usually, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Cathryn Hein horsing around

Me (left) and a friend, horsing around.

We were lucky though. So very, very lucky. Mysty was exceptionally gentle and sweet natured and whoever broke her in did a brilliant job. What followed was not disaster but years of fun and adventure and friendship, both equine and human from the world she’d opened up.

We did pony club, hunt club, trail riding club, dressage club, show-jumping club. We did horse shows, gymkhanas, and eventing across South Australia and Victoria. I even won champion rider in my age class riding Mysty at the Pony Club State Championships in 1986 (? – could have been ’85, I can’t quite remember). I also whispered all my secrets into her swivelling ears, cried into her silky neck, laughed at her funny behaviours (she once walked through the front door of our house), and dreamed a thousand daydreams while stretched out across her back.

She made my childhood exciting and special and magical. Mysty, my dream horse. A star.

What’s your favourite memory?

PS. If you’re curious about my top 5 horse stories, you can check out my list here.


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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Types of exercise I enjoy

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Welcome to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in. Want to see who else is playing along? Visit here and click on the Miscellaneous Musings link near the top of the page.

This week’s topic is going to be short and fun. A bit like me, really.

Types of exercise I enjoy

Oooh, this one is easy-peasy and won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s read any of my bios.

I am a golfer.

Not a very good golfer, mind, but I’m out and damn proud.

Playing Golf at Port Fairy Golf Links

Golfing in the winter at Port Fairy on Victoria’s wild south-west coast. Golfers do it anywhere.

It can be a dangerous sport though. No, don’t you laugh. It can! I’ve given myself a few injuries in my golfing career.

One of the most dramatic was a black eye when the ball I struck hit a tree branch which broke off and clobbered me in the face. I dropped like a schoolcase and was convinced my eye had burst because of the masses of liquid pouring from it. It hadn’t, thank god. It was just watering. The black eye was impressive though.

But get this… The ball landed on the green and when I’d finally recovered I putted it in for par (a good score, for those non-golfers out there).

I also managed to smack myself with my own ball once. I was on the eighteenth tee and had had a bad day, but it was the last hole and with it came a chance to redeem myself.

Yeah, right.

My tee shot hit a concrete path edge and ricocheted straight back at me, leaving barely time to turn aside. The ball struck me on the shoulder like a bullet and oh, the pain! It was so bad it outdid the ignominy of being whacked by my own ball.

I don’t usually lose my temper on the golf course but I spat it after that. Picked up the horrible white thing and trumped to the clubhouse in a (perfectly justified) huff.

When the bruise came out it was patterned with golf ball dimples. Very pretty. Not.

Then there are the golfer’s and tennis elbow injuries and the countless times I’ve banged the steel head of my putter into my shin or ankle bone.

Black snake basking in the sun

A sunbaking blacksnake at my old golf club Glenmore Heritage Valley, NSW.

And snakes. Snakes love golf courses and being Australia they’re not harmless snakes either. I came within a foot of running over a taipan with my buggy in Townsville (north Queensland) once. My other half nearly had heart failure. Mind you, so did I when saw how close I was.

See? Very dangerous sport. But excellent exercise.

You should try it.

No, really. It’s fun. Promise.

What’s your favourite exercise? Book reading doesn’t count!


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Wednesday Blogging Challenge: Books I re-read or want to re-read

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Welcome again to the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, a year-long challenge set by the good folk at Long and Short Reviews that anyone can participate in. It’s not too late for you to play along either. Interested? You can learn more about the blogging challenge here.

This week’s topic is another beauty.

Books I re-read or want to re-read

It used to be normal for me to re-read books. My copy of Jilly Cooper’s Riders is so wrecked from being read so many times it’s creased and grubby and has a cover held together with packing tape, and my copy of Well Groomed by Fiona Walker isn’t much better. My collection of Wilbur Smiths was the same (I could not get enough oRiders by Jilly Cooperf those Courtneys!).

Re-reading was normal because one, I couldn’t afford to buy new books all the time and two, other than the library, my only source of books were local bookshops. Now, bookshops are marvellous places but they can’t stock every book, and nor should they. Which meant that whenever I ran out of money or books that turned me on, it was back to the ones already on my shelf.

In the early 90s I had a brilliant local bookshop that I would visit every few weeks, sometimes more. I travelled a lot back then and spent many weeknights in boring hotel rooms and needed books to keep me sane. It was a small bookshop with limited shelf space, but a highly curated fiction selection. Thanks to their recommendations I read some extraordinary stories during that period. Many remained on my keeper shelves for years and were enjoyed again and again.

In the early 2000s we moved to Aix-en-Provence in France and my book collection went into storage in Australia. Aix had several fabulous bookshops but only one that stocked English titles. I became a frequent visitor to Book-in-Bar (yep, it was a bookshop with a bar – heaven – and I still have booksmarks from there). The selection was great and compared to Australia the books were incredibly cheap, which meant lots of stocking up on new goodies. Then along came Amazon UK and an even greater book selection, and a period where I really got into romance novels and couldn’t buy enough of them. When I was banned from buying more books (it was getting a bit silly and we couldn’t ship them all home), it was back to re-reading.

Fast forward to my first e-reader, a Sony PRS that I bought in 2010 and that pretty much ended my re-reading days. Unless it’s a cookbook (I re-read those babies all the time) or a writing craft book (ditto), it’s now quite rare for me to re-read. I’m simply too spoiled for choice.

Rare, but not unheard of. Which brings me to my list.

Here are some of the books that I plan to re-read.

Watchers by Dean KoontzWatchers by Dean Koontz

I read this book years ago, in the early 90s, and loved it. It stars a dog and I’m a dog person. Not just any dog, mind, but the dog we’d all adore to have.

I gave my print copy to charity during a clean-out in one of our many house moves and recently purchased it again in ebook, which means I can read it with lovely big print. An important consideration when you have crappy eyesight like me.

It by Stephen KingIt by Stephen King

Scariest book I ever read (or re-read). It’s about time I had the pants scared off me again.

Again, another book I’ll read in ebook because my print copy went the high-jump donkeys ago.

I’ll probably have nightmares and Jim will get cranky but it’ll be worth it.

A Place in the Hills by Michelle PaverA Place in the Hills by Michelle Paver

One of the few print copies that I’ve managed to hold on to. This is the book that cemented my love for the romance genre. It’s amazing. You should read it.

Even though she no longer writes romance, Paver remains an auto-buy author for me. Wakenhyrst and Dark Matter were brilliant and I adored her Daughters of Eden trilogy. So romantic. Sigh.

The Gargoyle by Andrew DavidsonThe Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Fantastic book. Read the opening scene and prepare to be gobsmacked.

I read this when it first released and was mesmerised by both the story and the way it was structured. I’ve had a story premise in my mind for about eight years that I’d like to structure the same… when I get around to writing it. No idea when that’ll be, but when I do I’ll re-read The Gargoyle for inspiration.

The Glittering Hour by Iona GreyThe Glittering Hour and Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey

I think Iona Grey’s books are beautiful and emotional and deserve multiple re-reads. Total fangirl.

If you’re interested in my rave comments about them, you’ll find my comments on My Favourite Reads here (for The Glittering Hour) and here (for Letters to the Lost).

This is only a small selection of the books I’d like to re-read. There are a bazillion others, but you know what it’s like. Too many books and not enough reading time!

What book(s) would you dearly love to re-read?


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Wednesday Blogging Challenge: My Celebrity Crushes

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It’s time again for the Long and the Short Reviews Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge.

Week five brings another cool topic

My Celebrity Crushes

Like for most of the world, Australian actor Chris Hemsworth is a maaaaajor crush for me. That man… sigh. So, so beautiful.

But here’s one out of left field. I’ve had a crush for years on celebrity chef Rick Stein. I have most of his cookbooks and have eaten at his famous seafood restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall and if I don’t get to Bannisters Port Stephens this year there is going to be trouble in the Hein house.

Me at The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow

Me at Rick’s Seafood Restaurant in Cornwall. It’s England, so naturally it was raining the night we went.

I also embarrassed myself badly when I met him in person at a cooking demonstration.

This was back in the 2000s, before Rick decided to spend half his life in Australia. I’d learned he would be hosting a cooking demonstration in Port Melbourne at the Essential Ingredient to promote his new book Seafood Odyssey.

At the time I was living in Newcastle, a thousand kilometres away, but no way was I missing this. I resolved to drive down for the demo and conned my Melbourne based girlfriend Carol into coming along.

It was fabulous! I still remember the dishes he cooked and how chuffed I was when he was discussing substitute fish species for Murray cod and mentioned mahi-mahi but couldn’t remember its other name. Me, having been on a recent fish-cooking frenzy, remembered it was also called dolphin fish and called the name out, earning me a small accolade from Rick. Oh, the flushy-niceness that caused!

Then came the booksigning.

I was so excited that when it came to my turn in line and Rick asked me my name all I could do was giggle. Not a proper giggle, but one of those dopey teenage nerr-hee sounding things that makes you want to smack some sense into the giggler.

It was appalling. Anyone would think I was in the presence of Chris Hemsworth dressed as Thor instead of a celebrity chef. A very nice and erudite celebrity chef, I must say, but still.

Eventually I pulled myself together and told him my name and how to spell it, while Carol stood on the sidelines damn-near wetting her pants laughing at me.

Me with my personally signed Seafood Odyssey

With my precious signed copy of Seafood Odyssey.

Not my finest hour, but pfft! I got to meet Rick and that copy of Seafood Odyssey is one of my most treasured books.

Okay, so I’ve embarrassed myself revealing my celebrity crush. Who’s yours? Come on, we’re all friends here. Share away!


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Wednesday Blogging Challenge: Best Book, Movie or TV Couples

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Yikes! It’s nearly the end of January. This month just whooshed by, didn’t it? Must be because we’re having so much fun with this Long and the Short Reviews Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge.

Week four sees us with another interesting topic

Best Book/Movie/TV Couples

Hooly-dooly, where to start with this one!

Best book/movie/TV couples? Gawd, they’ve been a bazillion of them over the years. Gorgeous heroes and heroines who’ve left me feeling sappy and gooey and warm and fuzzy.

I’m going to blow my own trumpet and say that all my book couples are best to me. I love every one of them, but my absolute worst crush was on Lachie from Heart of the Valley. Far out, I adore that man. Tristan from April’s Rainbow runs a very close second for crushiness.

Enough of me glorifying my own characters. Time to move on to others.

Okay, I’ll nominate Joan Wilder and Jack Colton in Romancing the Stone. That film has everything. Laughs, drama, intrigue and a gorgeous romance that leaves me grinning every time I watch it. Hugely entertaining and with all the feels. A classic.

Remember the BBC television series Hamish McBeth? It was on in the 90s and starred Robert Carlyle as police constable Hamish McBeth and his terrier Wee Jock. The tension between Hamish and local journalist Isobel Sutherland was brilliant. I was so addicted to this show. The Scottish setting and accents were fabulous, and it was so damn quirky! Loved the show and loved this couple.

Ballykissangel boxed set I could probably add Irish series Ballykissangel in here too. The relationship between Father Clifford and Assumpta Fitzgerald was deliciously forbidden. I loved that too. Until the final episode, which I won’t tell you about in case you ever see the series, but what the producers did was UNFORGIVABLE. I cried for a week!

Another couple I adore is Rupert Campbell-Black and Taggie O’Hara from Jilly Cooper’s Rivals. Rupert is so naughty yet he’s also completely Riders by Jilly Cooperirresistible. Riders, in which Rupert is introduced, is one of my all-time favourite reads and Rupert behaves very, very badly in that, which makes his comeuppance in Rivals all the more delicious. A super-rake felled by love? Poetic and oh so satisfying.

As I mentioned at the start, there are countless couples I’ve adored over the years. These are just a few, but I would love to hear yours.

Who are your favourite TV, book or movie couples?


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Wednesday Blogging Challenge: New Hobby I’m Trying (or would like to try)

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It’s week three of the Long and Short Reviews Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge and today’s topic is an interesting one indeed.

New Hobby I’m Trying (or would like to try)

This has given me great pause for thought. I haven’t taken on a new hobby in ages. My favourite pastimes are cooking, reading, morning walks, restauranting and golf, and there never seems to be enough time for anything else.

I did get very enthusiastic about cross-stitch several years ago. Sewing was another hobby for a while. I even went through a phase of making my own shirts and dresses, but it didn’t last. Mostly because I wasn’t very good at it.

One thing I do want to do this year is learn about distilling and have a go at blending my own gin. Local distillery Earp Distilling Co. has recently opened a classroom and are taking bookings for their “Spirit School” and I’m keen to have a go. I’m not much of a spirits drinker but I do enjoy gin and what fun to blend my own. I could label it Cathryn’s Curlies or something, or Hein’s Howler if my writing isn’t going well.

The Farmers Wife ginIn the meantime, I’ll just continue slurping this. The Farmer’s Wife Gin comes from another local distillery, about 45 minutes north of Newcastle on the Buckett’s Way, and is very, very tasty.

Just doing my bit to support local rural businesses, you understand.

I also want to get back into making my own limoncello and orange liqueurs. I started doing this when we lived overseas and continued when we moved back to Newcastle. I stopped when we relocated to Melbourne in 2012 and have yet to take it up again. Now’s the time. Making liqueurs is fairly easy, fun and they make lovely gifts, and it’ll give me a great excuse to make my favourite limoncello plum tart recipe. It’s scrumptious. I’ll have to remember to share it when I do.

Other than that, I think 2020 will see more of the usual – cooking, golf and checking out local eateries. Travel too, I hope. And books. There’ll be plenty of those for sure!

What about you? Are you going to be hobbying this year? What hobby are you keen to try?


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