PPS: Breakfast Cookies- Bread and Wine – Shauna Niequist

PPS: Breakfast Cookies-  Bread and Wine -  Shauna Niequist

Breakfast Cookies at Cowaramup, Easter 2013.


I made these delicious, easy to make, sugar free breakfast cookies from  Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist  for Angela, Jason and Rachel when they came to stay at Easter ( the dogs loved them too!) This is a recipe that can easily be adapted – add your own favorite nuts or dried fruit – dried cranberries and white chocolate for a decadent touch!

I dont think I will have the time to try the toffee before they leave.





Reflections – The Importance of Self Love

Lately I have been thinking  a lot about relationships, the construct of “family” and how we find our place in the world. It is not easy. We don’t get a manual on how to live a good and full life, we have to try things out for ourselves – and hopefully along the way we do no damage and we learn and grow.

I suppose we have our peers to set examples- but often they are just trying to figure it out  for themselves. A good place to start developing into the adults we want to become is to practice the art of self love – and it is an art, something to practice and practice till it flows easily for without it we are stunted emotionally, we are unable to give freely of ourselves and our ability to love another is restricted. I think self happiness and selfishness are under rated, often these qualities are attached to negative images. Why?

I wish I knew. Why do we need quotes or references such as the one above to remind us to care for ourselves?  Is it because as children we were constantly reminded to share and not be selfish? To think of others before our selves? To put our needs last.  Is it because a lot of us baby boomers have parents who lived through a depression or war and experienced frugality, hardship and rations?  Sharing was necessary. Selflessness was expected as there were others worse off than you? Be grateful.

We need to make changes.

I am not suggesting that we become hedonistic creatures of  exaggerated self importance  but merely that we need balance in our life. The more we are happy with our own existence the more we can share with others, the more love we will attract – love begets love. In essence, you, your family, the community will be better for the sharing of love that starts at home – within yourself.

Give yourself a mental hug today.  You are worth it. You are great!

Tell someone you love, you love them.  Love you babe. Love you both my darling girls.


Feels better already doesn’t it?

Post Script: Marilyn- Gloria Steinem


Norma Jeane

Gloria Steinem

Open Road Integrated Media

ISBN: 9781453295335


Gloria Steinem’s insightful and uniquely sensitive account of Hollywood’s brightest star from the Golden Age
Few books have altered the perception of a celebrity as much as Marilyn. Gloria Steinem reveals that behind the familiar sex symbol lay a tortured spirit with powerful charisma, intelligence, and complexity. The book delves into a topic many other writers have ignored—that of Norma Jeane, the young girl who grew up with an unstable mother, constant shuffling between foster homes, and abuse. Steinem evocatively recreates that world, connecting it to the fragile adult persona of Marilyn Monroe. Her compelling text draws on a long, private interview Monroe gave to photographer George Barris, part of an intended joint project begun during Monroe’s last summer. Steinem’s Marilyn also includes Barris’s extraordinary portraits of Monroe, taken just weeks before the star’s death.

My View:

This was a very sad and poignant read – Steinem writes a very empathetic story about the life and death of this tortured and fragile individual and reveals more about Marilyn Munroe (stage name of Norma Jeane) than we are usually presented with, more than mere gloss, Hollywood hype and cheesecake photo shoots; Steinem reveals the ghosts of Norma Jeane’s past that so critically affect the adult Marilyn Munroe.

Norma Jeane had a tragic and emotion deprived childhood – she grew up in a series of babysitters and relatives homes, often only seeing her mentally unstable mother on weekends.  When her mother was hospitalized Norma Jeane continued to flit from home to home, from relative to relative to family friends, foster care and an orphanage (where Marilyn alleges she was sexually assaulted at the age of 8). She later lived with a distant relative – an aunt who encouraged the teenage Norma Jeane to marry the boy next door (for security and protection). Norma Jeane was just sixteen. The adult Marilyn continued to look for happiness, security, love and approval in her many marriages.

Steinem’s account of Marilyn Munroe’s life is one that shows talent, promise, intellect, neediness and insecurity; a complex individual largely a victim of her unstable upbringing and the social mores of the time that defined women as mere homemakers, sexual objects, and dependant.  I was surprised to hear of Marilyn’s political voice, her activism – writing letters to the editor, using her fame to influence decision makers, “she told us of her strong feelings about civil rights, for black equality…..her anger a red baiting…. ( p.72) Steinem shows us a Marilyn that is not obvious in the public persona, the actress whose roles largely related to the one dimensional “dumb blonde”.

I enjoyed learning that there was more to Marilyn than was obvious or that was portrayed in the media.  Steinem has cleverly created a narrative that allows the reader to step back in time to see the world through Marilyn’s eyes.

Despite the fact that Marilyn Munroe died fifty one years ago her name and image remain fresh in our minds. Marilyn’s life made an impact on Hollywood and popular culture and the manner and timing of her death, whether accidental or murder or suicide, will intrigue the media hungry public forever (or until a suicide note is made public or a conspiracy plot is revealed). Steinem suggests (p. 96) that after Marilyn’s death it is “likely that Peter Lawford employed a private detective to sweep the house… and to destroy any evidence embarrassing to the Kennedys, including a suicide note or unfinished letter.”  The intrigue and mystery lives on, the legend of Marilyn Munroe, screen goddess, still very much alive.

Post Script: In Broad Daylight- Seth Harwood

In Broad Daylight

Seth Harwood

Amazon Publishing

ISBN: 9781611099720


During the endless days of an Alaskan summer, FBI agent Jess Harding treks back to Anchorage to hunt down a sadistic killer who’s

re-emerged from a five-year hiatus—a killer who has already slipped her grasp once before.

The newest murder, signed with the fiend’s barbed-wire calling card, has sent authorities on a desperate chase to find the killer. But when Jess finds her own name written in blood at the crime scene, it’s suddenly, chillingly clear that she’s no longer the hunter—but the hunted. With the assistance of local detective Oscar Linstrom, an old colleague who wants to be more than friends, Jess must ingrain herself back into the provincial communities of the Great North to overcome their distrust of outsiders, and save herself if she wants to see another sunny Alaskan day.

My View:

A compelling and heart racing, fast paced, action packed crime bonanza; this story leaves the reader with little time to breath whilst hastily turning pages. The murders are savage, bloody.  The heroine, FBI agent Jess Harding, once the hunter now the hunted is desperate, determined and ruthless in her pursuit of the killer. She will not let him win.

Harding fights sexism, discrimination and crime with a tough, take no nonsense attitude. She is fit, feisty and only concerned with one thing; bringing this killer to justice.  Believe me you want her on your side.

Set in the height of the Alaskan summer and its long bright nights we are transfixed by the wildness and isolation of the countryside; a land of hiking and float planes and flourishing tourism that is marred by the bloody redness of death. No young woman is safe be they from the city or the rural towns.  When Agent Martinez is asked “You see anyone in these you think could have done this?” He replies “I’m from Ohio and hunted as a kid, but these folks up here kill bears and eat them. I don’t know what they’d do.” ( p.68) Add to the mix a cult like  community that doesn’t abide interference, strangers and most certainly not the FBI, salt liberally with a hint of romance and you have a mystery that is bewitching, deadly and intriguing.

An exciting and exhilarating read, you will not want to stop reading until you reach the satisfying conclusion. Seth Harwood is a crime writer to add to you must read list.

Post Script: Fractured – Dawn Barker



Dawn Barker

Hatchette Australia

ISBN: 97807333629853


A compelling, emotional knockout debut from a brilliant new Australian author.

An unforgettable novel that brings to life a new mother’s worst fears.

Tony is worried. His wife, Anna, isn’t coping with their newborn. Anna had wanted a child so badly and, when Jack was born, they were both so happy. They’d come home from the hospital a family. Was it really only six weeks ago?

But Anna hasn’t been herself since. One moment she’s crying, the next she seems almost too positive. It must be normal with a baby, Tony thought; she’s just adjusting. He had been busy at work. It would sort itself out. But now Anna and Jack are missing. And Tony realises that something is really wrong…

What happens to this family will break your heart and leave you breathless.

My View:

Something in the prologue of this book warned me that something terrible was about to be revealed. I recognised the room (I have been a social worker/youth worker/refuge worker in the past and knew where that room was, what it was.) My interest was stirred but I was hesitant to proceed, in fact I did procrastinate quite a bit before picking this book up again. I do not enjoy reading “lifelike” tragedies- I feel too much.  And this book certainly made me feel.

My chest tightened as I read the first forty or so pages – the pages describing the time up to what was to be referred to as “the event”, the unspeakable act…I knew what was coming. I couldn’t breathe.   I ask myself, is it my studies or work history or my own experience of childhood/motherhood that instilled this tension within me? Would a childless woman or a man be so affected by this script?   I don’t know I can only read and interpret the world through my eyes, my experiences.

An emotional and tension packed introduction to a topic that no one mentions out loud. (I deliberately avoid “spoilers”) It is time the taboo was broken and maybe this book will be the catalyst that will drive this conversation into the open.  It is a conversation mothers should have with their daughters, and daughters should have with their friends and partner.  It is a subject the world should be talking about and thinking about and changing.  Each one of us can help create this change.

Back to the book – emotional, VERY. A suspenseful start, a sad, sad truth then unfolds – the truth about the event itself and the truth  how others respond to this situation.   We see through the reactions of the other characters; the mum, mother in law, husband, friends etc  how they responded, the responsibility they did not embrace. I hope I would react differently.  It is a credit to the author that the characters evoke such strong reactions: I hated the mother in law, her smugness, her selfishness, her inability to show her feelings, her lack of charity. I wanted the husband to be berated- he was selfish, he did not respond the clues and hints that something was really not right and he did not intervene; he went to work.  I was angry that society put so much pressure on women, especially young women – to be pretty, thin, perfect, caring, a housewife, a provider, a mother, a cleaner and unselfish. I felt so sorry for the Anna. I felt she had been let down by all those around her – and had been since a child. “Life is fine”, we have that throwaway line spoken everyday; listen. We all cope when everything is going well, it is not until we are tested that the fractures begin to show. I think this novel demonstrates the need for more honesty in life and relationships and the fact wemen and women have forgotten how to ask for help and maybe some of us have forgotten how to respond.

A great read – keep the tissues handy.

Post Script: A Bat in the Belfry – Sarah Graves

A Bat in the Belfry

A Home Repair Is Homicide Mystery

Sarah Graves

ISBN: 9780345534996

Random House Publishing Group


When it comes to home repair, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree is a fervent wielder of power drills and paint brushes. And when catching criminals, she’s been known to really bring down the hammer. But when a shocking murder rocks the small town of Eastport, Maine, Jake may be the next victim for whom the bell tolls.
It is nearly midnight when the enormous bell in the belfry of All Faith Chapel—silent for decades—booms forth, startling awake the entire town of Eastport. Upon inspection of the steeple, the police uncover the body of local teenager Karen Hansen, who had climbed the belfry’s dark, rickety stairs for a midnight rendezvous. But instead of the promise of an exciting new life, Karen meets her death.
Meanwhile, as an epic nor’easter bears down on the idyllic island town, Jake Tiptree hurries to shore up her ramshackle old house against the big blow. An amateur detective, she has sworn off chasing criminals. But when the news of Karen’s murder spreads and much of the evidence points to Jake’s likable houseguest, she and her sleuthing partner, Ellie White, get to work.
They discover an unexpected ally in newcomer Lizzie Snow, a woman from “away” who seemed to have blown into town with the nor’easter, and who also seems to know a lot about the mind of a killer. Can Jake and Ellie trust her? As a killer roams free and the townsfolk struggle against the pounding, screaming storm, the resulting tempest of gossip and suspicion rivals anything the Atlantic could brew up—and threatens to keep Jake and Ellie from putting the final nail in this cold-blooded case.
Complete with Home Repair Is Homicide repair tips!

 My View:

I should first point out that I am not familiar with any of the author’s previous works and had not read any of the previous novels in the Home Repair is Homicide Mystery books. I was not familiar with the main character – Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree. Despite this lack of history I enjoyed the humour , the “ home repair tips” at the beginning of the chapters which alluded to more than the literal meaning of the advice,  the well developed and likable  characters and the and the use of colloquial language in this novel. I chuckled along with the writer.  I heard myself speak in some of Jake’s witticisms; some of the thoughts she shared only with reader were also my thoughts. I applauded Jake’s attitude to life, her just get on with it attitude, her sense of humour and her honesty (even if only spoken in thoughts directed to the reader). I liked being privy to this thoughts.  I was, however, a little confused at times by the various and many perspectives the author used  to tell her story – I often found myself turning back pages to make sure I fully understood whose voice I was now listening too.  Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention.

Despite this I found the plot intriguing, the action fast paced and the humour a wonderful refreshing change. I want to know more about Lizzie Snow and her search and her life after this novel. I wanted to know what happened next to Jake’s son; I wanted to discover Jake’s history and learn more of her and Ellie’s previous adventures. I can understand why Sarah Graves has developed a strong following; readers who know and love her main characters and the town she lives in.  Her style is very inclusive. All in all an enjoyable read. 



I am Suspended…why? Any ideas? Amazing I am back

That was very worrying….for a few hours I had trouble trying to log on…I just thought there was a problem with the server and left  the computer for  awhile, had dinner etc . I came back – tried to log on and got the …”this page has been suspended  page”  I  read over the terms and conditions of use … couldn’t see anything I might have violated  but did see  wordpress should notify on my dashboard if I have posted any material that I shouldn’t ( HAH! AS if) and give me an opportunity to remove or change…I couldn’t even access my dashboard…. a few more  minutes pass I send this post and  suddenly I could see comments coming through… and then the whole blog was back….very  very strange and discomforting.

Any ideas what happened?

Update from WordPress:

We experienced a temporary technical problem that made some sites appear incorrectly as being suspended. This issue has been resolved.

Is this How it Works? Life?

I have noticed that since the time I openly and publicly declared that I was heading into early retirement, that I had lots of time and not too much to do, that I was happily learning and practicing the art of doing not too much, ( well maybe I was getting a little bored I have been practicing the art of doing nothing for most of the past 4 years and getting quite good at it )  Since this declaration I have been inundated with …stuff to do.

I have had paid production accounting and consulting work.  I have found NetGalley, Good Reads and The Reading Room and have access to so many ebooks I will never be bored again. ( Though there is a cost, I have to review these books, and that takes time, slows me down) We sold the car and soon will be caravan hunting which leads to….holidays 🙂

I have been cooking and cooking – Kasundi, relishes, pasta sauces, freezing excess fresh produce, chocolate beetroot cakes….helping daughter and son in law move house, dog sitting coming up soon……and the documentary I have been workings on, researching for the past couple of years in finally in production!

Is that how the universe works?  Put ‘it” out there and you get a surprising response?

If so I would loudly like to proclaim that I am broke (not emotionally just financially, my disposable income is…disposed of). There. Done. I don’t mind working for the money ( well as long as I am not working full time that is), or gifts, or Lottery wins…..$$$$ is $$$$$$. Universe can you hear me?