I’ve been reading the 1969 edition of the Daphne du Maurier novel, The House on the Strand. Regular readers (all two of you) will probably know that du Maurier is a favourite writer of mine. I’ll be reviewing this book in an upcoming post, but what really struck me were the illustrations throughout the book.

I remember as a kid and teenager reading books that had these sorts of illustrations. I still remember The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. My parents gave me an edition with the most glorious illustrations that I can still remember.

Of course, children’s books are beautifully illustrated to this day, but contemporary novels don’t benefit from the sort of illustrations that featured in older books. I wish they’d bring them back.



Let’s talk about Vienna coffee. When I was growing up in Sydney, Vienna coffees were pretty popular. I’m not sure if they’re an Australian thing, but a Vienna coffee has two shots of strong black espresso, topped with whipped cream and dusted with cocoa powder or cinnamon.

I remember seeing them in cafes all over the place. Then, it seemed they weren’t as popular anymore because cappuccinos were all the rage. Before cappuccinos, the flat white was the coffee of choice, along with the Vienna. Flat whites are still big in Oz.

I forgot about Vienna coffee until last year when I gave up milk. I needed to find a substitute as I don’t like black coffee. In New Zealand, we have a brand of whipped cream that is around 2.6% sugar – anything less than 5g of sugar I do. So I swooshed whipped cream all over my coffee and thought – OMG Vienna coffee!!

I then asked some Australian pals if this coffee has disappeared from cafe menus. One friend said she sees them occasionally but they are not as popular. Another friend responded Vienna what?

I’ve looked at the menus of all the cafes in my local area (around ten) and no Vienna coffees. I asked at one cafe and was met with a blank stare.

And so, every morning I make my own Vienna and I rarely buy a coffee these days. What about you? Have you heard of a Vienna?


I follow the Keto programme – high fat; low carbs. So it’s lashings of cream for me. I’ll be reviewing this book in late July or early August.



This week has been nothing short of monsoonal. When the Far North gets rain, it sure gets rain. Since June 19 we have had 108.6mm of rain and I reckon I copped all of it when I came out of my hairdresser’s the day before yesterday. I was having a great time showing her how to set up an Instagram account and the rain seemed to be clearing. But…as my luck would have it, the moment I leave the salon, the monsoon rains came on down. Whatever great hairdo I had was drenched, as was the rest of me.

I managed to make it across the road and then into a local shop to shelter. I wanted to get to the library though, so I went back out and was making my way along when I spotted a cafe I hadn’t seen before. Apparently, it’s been there for nearly a year but I don’t get to this part of town all that often.

The sign said it was a wholefood cafe so I dropped on in. I decided to try a slice they make – no sugar and with plenty of good stuff like nuts and seeds. It was yummy, as was their organic free-trade coffee. I huddled in the cafe for about 30 minutes then dashed to the library.

I joined the local library about a month ago and have been enjoying borrowing books again after so many years of buying them. You can even suggest they purchase a book (which I’ve done) and the library informs you that they’re purchasing the book if they think it suits their collection. You are first in line to read that book if they decide to purchase.

Today is the first day we’ve had sun in nearly a week. And yesterday (June 21) was the Winter Solstice here in New Zealand – shortest day; longest night. Now, we begin the upward climb to Spring and can look forward to the days getting lighter as we near September (September 1 being the start of Spring in NZ). Bring it on!

I was a bit perplexed that I wasn’t given a saucer for the coffee. The cup was pretty full and was in danger of spilling over. But the slice was yummy and the coffee was just what I needed.

I’ll be doing a review on this book I borrowed from the local library. I made a Vienna coffee to go with my morning reading!

Well, looks like the house frames may not be ready by June 25. That’s when our builder arrives (by leaping over the fence since he’s our next door neighbour). So not quite sure what’s going on yet. The next few days will reveal all.

Meanwhile, I’ve had great news. My wonderful Aussie mate and my god-daughter have decided they are fed up waiting for me to visit Sydney again. They are coming here on September 29 and will stay until October 6. Unfortunately, there’s no room in The Shed for guests, but I recommended a great lodge that we stayed in several times on our scouting missions around the area.

My god-daughter we actually call my god-niece and I’m Auntie Kim. I last saw them both in 2013 – five years – and now Emily is nearly 7 years old. I’m bracing myself for the shock, although we’ve talked on Skype quite a few times.

I’m busy thinking of things we can all do from dolphin and whale cruises to visiting the local chocolate cafe (naturally!) to riding horses. Apparently, Emily wants to learn to ride. Really looking forward to their visit.

We are also thinking we might have to go to South Africa for Christmas. El Hubs has not seen his mum or sister since 2013 or his son (who lives in Brazil) and is thinking of also going to South Africa to visit the family. I think this would make it my sixth visit to South Africa. I’m really keen to go back to Madeira and also Lisbon. I’d like to visit Brazil again and we’ve talked about going to Peru with El Hubs’ son. All up in the air at the moment.

The Z Team continue to love the Far North and spend all their time outdoors. Except night-time of course. Zsa Zsa has a special place she likes to sit in the morning to soak up the sun.

I think there was a chocolate cafe called Death By Chocolate in Sydney, back when I was living in Neutral Bay. That would have been the late 1990s. I know I visited there with some work colleagues and indulged in some fancy chocolate stuff.

Speaking of which. I must show you my birthday cake. It is most definitely death by chocolate. I gave up sugar ages ago and am pretty good but I do bust out on birthdays and at Easter. My goodness. This was too much. Too sweet for me.

But what a beautifully decorated cake, don’t you agree? El Hubs chose it (and, I might add, has scoffed a few slices to my one slice so far).

May 8, dear reader. At least it is here in New Zealand. It’s my birthday. Can’t believe how the last year has zoomed on by. I’m going to have a quiet day, maybe read some Raymond Carver short stories and take the Z Team for walks.

El Hubs has ordered a birthday cake for me from the local chocolate cafe. I think it’s an ice-cream cake. I’ll be all over it.

Meanwhile, I spotted this flower in our garden. So pretty.


We had some action on the building site this week. My next post will bring you all the news. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying using my hand-me-down iPhone 7 Plus. I think it has a good camera and I’ve been enjoying taking snaps with it.

Zsa Zsa likes it so much that she has joined Instagram and her feed is called ZsaZsarama. She wanted Zsa Zsa Galore (since she was named after Zsa Zsa Gabor) but that name was taken. You can follow her here.

The photo below is taken with the iPhone 7 Plus and a filter. I’m also enjoying all the filters the phone offers you. I really want to get back into lomography but can’t find any place that processes film. Think I’m going to have to teach myself that process and I’ve been meaning to do that for years. So maybe it’s time. Check out some of my lomo shots here.

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