This is a recipe from New Zealander, Jo Seagar’s cooking book, A Bit of What You Fancy. I’ve made it twice now with great results, and it’s a recipe I’ll make again and again. Easy and tasty. My kind of recipe!
4 crushed WeetBix (Weetabix in America or you could use something like crushed bran flakes – 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup walnuts
1 3/4 cup self-raising flour
1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 360F
2. Grease or line a loaf tin with baking paper.
3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat the egg and milk together and mix with the dry ingredients.
4. Place in the loaf tin and bake for 40 – 45 minutes until golden and brown.
5. Cool on a wire rack.
1. I didn’t have raw sugar and used white sugar once and brown sugar another time. Either worked well, although I found that 1 cup made the loaf too sweet for my taste. I reduced the sugar to half a cup.
2. I’ve used other fruit instead of apricots. I used apple and berry, which was frozen when I added it. You could also use cranberries. As long as the fruit isn’t too “wet” it will work.
3. I didn’t have any self-raising four so I used 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 3/4 cups of standard flour.
4. This loaf is good fresh or toasted and keeps for one week. It also freezes well.
This is a delicious loaf, and one I will make again and again.
Alpha Males, Heroines with Unusual Occupations…Romances by Bella Jewel!
I’m thrilled to showcase Bella Jewel’s latest cover. I loved the first book in this series, Hard to Fight, which is currently available. Hard to Fight reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, but with hot love scenes.
HARD TO FORGET
An Alpha’s Heart Novel
By Bella Jewel
St. Martin’s Press Paperbacks
On Sale: December 15, 2015
ABOUT THE BOOK
The third book in the sexy Alpha’s Heart series by USA Today bestseller Bella Jewel.
Delaney, a professional bodyguard, has spent years trying to prove herself in a male dominated industry. Now she’s facing her greatest challenge yet.
Bad boy billionaire Jax Shields has made plenty of enemies on his climb to the top, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time has put his life at risk. Now he’s putting his life in the hands of Delaney and her team. He demands the best in everything, and he doesn’t think she has what it takes to protect him. He’s also made it clear he’d rather have her on her back then covering his. Will Delaney be able to prove herself to the most arrogant-and devastatingly handsome-man she’s ever met?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bella Jewel is a USA Today bestselling author. She lives in North Queensland where she’s working on her next novel.
ON SALE NOW!
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1OOLpzr
PREORDER YOUR COPY NOW!
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1MURkBP
Google Play: http://bit.ly/HardToForgetGoogle
I’m certainly looking forward to reading books 2 and 3 in this series. If you enjoy reading romances with alpha heroes and heroines in unusual occupations then give this series a try.
New Zealand has some fascinating birds, some of which are rare these days due to man encroaching on their habitats and predators killing chicks or eating the birds’ eggs.
While I’ve been privileged to see many of our rare birds, I’ve never seen a kakapo. When hubby and I had an opportunity to see one, we grabbed it and flew to Wellington to visit Sirocco.
So, what is a kakapo? It’s a large, flightless parrot—the largest in the world—that is native to New Zealand. Not so long ago, there were only 18 left. A disaster, since kakapo do not breed every year. Breeding depends on whether there is sufficient food, and in the kakapo’s case this is the fruit of the rimu tree.
The kakapo were taken to predator-free off-shore islands where they were monitored and given supplementary feeding.
Sirocco hatched in 1997. As a chick, he suffered respiratory problems and it was decided to hand feed him and treat his breathing problems. Sirocco responded well to the treatments, but when it came time for him to return to the wild and the other kakapo, he refused. He’d imprinted on humans and didn’t recognize his species. The rangers attempted various ways to get him to stay with his own kind. One night, a ranger carried him to the other side of the island sanctuary, several miles away and left him before returning to the rangers’ hut. Sirroco was there to greet him on his return.
Sirocco became world famous when he jumped on wildlife photographer Mark Carwardine’s head and attempted to mate with him. The video appeared on YouTube and Sirocco became an overnight sensation.
These days, Sirocco is the ambassador for conservation. Although he spends much of his time in the wild, he also visits different parts of New Zealand to help raise awareness of the kakapo species.
Hubby and I visited Sirocco at Zealandia in Wellington. We watched a film about kakapo and Sirocco, then walked through the sanctuary to visit Sirocco and his handler.
At 18 years of age, Sirocco weighs 2.5kg and is the size of medium-sized cat. He’s very friendly and loves people. He was so cute – I wanted to steal him. I told hubby and one of the guides overheard me. She threatened to frisk me on the way out.
Sirocco is in a special enclosure with perspex windows. It made photos difficult due to reflections, but I liked this one of me and Sirocco.
Sirocco with Shelley (reflection in the window)
Sirocco, the VIP (Very Important Parrot)
Sirocco has the cutest face with green and brown feathers. We spent about twenty minutes with him, and it went so quickly. It was a privilege to see Sirocco in person, and I’m so glad we made the effort to visit.
PS – The kakapo numbers now stand at 125.
As a booklover, I adore libraries, and I spend many happy hours working and researching in my local library.
Libraries have been around since ancient times, and today I thought I’d highlight the Library of Celsus at Ephesus in Turkey. This is one of the best preserved ancient libraries, and it was built to commemorate Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus.
Over the centuries the library was damaged by earthquakes and locals plundered the materials to build their homes and other buildings. While some of the facade has been rebuilt, the Library is still very impressive. The first glimpse a visitor receives is down a long avenue.
This is the avenue leading down to the Library of Celsus. This is a very popular tourist attraction and it’s very busy with people year around.
Close up views of the Library of Celsus. (Click on photos to see a larger view) The facade is decorated with reliefs – the same fashions in use in Rome at the time. The building was both a library and a mausoleum for Celsus who is buried in a stone sarcophagus below the library.
A bit different from my local library but definitely fascinating.
Take one alpha, army hero intent on offering protection and one virgin, country girl craving action and adventure, and you have the set-up for my latest release, Innocent Next Door.
Innocent Next Door is set in Auckland, New Zealand.
Summer, the heroine, works in the city and sees a similar view when she grabs a cab or drives to Dare’s restaurant.
This is Albert Park, not far from the library where Summer works.
This is the Sky Tower where Dare took Summer for lunch. They dined at the revolving restaurant at the top.
This is Rangitito Island, (the cone shape in the rear) another view that Summer sees while driving around Auckland.
Both Summer and Nikolai live in Bottle Top Bay, not far from Papakura. Above are two shots of Bottle Top Bay, taken from the other side of the estuary. As you can see the tide is out, and when it’s out, it is really way out! It’s pretty though, and out in the country, but still not far away from the amenities of town.
And here’s the cover…
I’m conducting an experiment, and this book is only available at Amazon. If you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can grab a free copy.
Here’s the link to Innocent Next Door.
The second book in the series, Soldier With Benefits, should be available for pre-order very soon.
Do you enjoy books set in real places or do you prefer fictional settings?
I’m a real fan of paranormal romances–both reading and writing them. Although I’ve written a couple of wolf characters most of my shapeshifters are feline.
So, why do I like feline shapeshifters? Let me tell you…
Cruising is a growth industry within the travel sector, and hundreds of thousands of people spend their holidays in this manner. When I was younger, I dreamed of cruising to warm climes and interesting destinations. I collected brochures, but this type of holiday seemed like a dream to me. Too expensive for a Kiwi girl for a start, and there was the annoying fact I wasn’t old enough to get a job!
These days, cruising is more affordable than ever. Pick a destination anywhere in the world, and the chances are a cruise company sails there.
So, how do you choose a cruise? What factors should you consider?
These are the things you should consider before forking out your money.
1. What do you want from your cruise? Are you looking for relaxation or a party? Some lines cater for the younger crowd while others attract more retirees. Some of the shorter cruises are party cruises. Check it out first!
2. Are you traveling with children? Most cruise lines have a kids’ club and also one for teenagers. Some provide babysitters (for a fee)
3. What time of the year are you traveling? If you want relaxation don’t travel during Christmas/New Year or school holidays because most ships will be teaming with children. Children = noise.
4. Do you want sunshine and beaches? Stick to a cruise around the Med, the Carribean or perhaps the Pacific.
5. Do you like to dress up for dinner? Some lines expect a higher standard of dress, so if you like to wear shorts and a T-shirt all day go for one of the lines that are more casual. No Queen Mary for you.
6. Does the ship have a launderette available to the public? If you have a longer cruise this is important. Laundry and dry cleaning can be very expensive if you pay the ship staff to do it.
7. Do you want/enjoy sea days? Some cruises have several sea days, sometimes in a row, so if you loathe sea days check the itinerary carefully.
8. Hidden costs. The price of the cruise includes travel, onboard entertainment and meals. Be aware that travel to the port, alcohol, special coffees, signature restaurants, internet, ship excursions, and some hobbies will attract extra charges.
9. Room service – some cruise lines charge extra while others provide this service for free.
10. Incentive program – most cruise lines run an incentive program for frequent travelers. Instead of chopping and changing cruise lines, sometimes it is better to stick with the same one and reap benefits like free laundry and internet.
11. Are tender boats used at the ports? Some ports are not equipped for large ships to berth at the wharf, and passengers must be ferried ashore on smaller boats (tenders). This can take some time if the ship is a large one with several thousand passengers.
12. Don’t like a crowd? The ships vary from a few hundred passengers to several thousand. If this is important to you, choose your cruise accordingly.
Shelley Munro is a romance writer who lives in New Zealand and loves to travel. You can learn more about Shelley and her books at www.shelleymunro.com
I’m taking part in the Supernatural Summer Specials promotion. This is an opportunity to stuff your e-reader with loads of paranormal titles (over 50!), each available for a short time for 99c.
My title Claimed & Seduced (book 2 in my House of the Cat series) is one of the books in the promotion.
Shapeshifter Prince Jarlath Leandros of the planet Viros is a man who understands duty. As heir, he’s had his future as leader of the House of the Cat mapped since childhood. Boring! Jarlath yearns for an indefinable more.
Keira Cloud is beautiful and sexy, she’s independent and confident, and not only is she an enemy from the House of Cawdor, but her stepchildren accuse her of murder. Not a suitable woman for the prince, but Jarlath aches to claim her.
When the House of the Cat comes under attack, Jarlath is thrust into the middle of danger where life or death is the only option. A war is brewing, one that brands Jarlath and Keira enemies, yet their hearts shout otherwise and their animal selves—the leopard and the crow—care nothing for conventional barriers. Right or wrong, passion blooms out of control and with the city under siege soon Jarlath’s life is anything but boring. Now all he needs to do is survive…
And don’t forget, book one in the series, Captured & Seduced, is currently FREE. Grab your copy here:
Have fun shopping. I know I will!
Filling the creative well…
The run-up to our recent holiday was wrought with tension and stress, and there was a moment there when I thought we’d never get on the plane. We had a death in the family plus my father had an unexpected op and a month-long hospital stay. He has subsequently been diagnosed with dementia, so we have a new set of problems, which are ongoing.
However, despite the setbacks, we did get on the plane and flew off to Barcelona and the start of our Med cruise.
I have to say that this is one of our favorite parts of the world. We love the food, the spring temperatures and the wealth of old buildings and history. Centuries of history, which I’m envious of. New Zealand is a young country and while we have gorgeous scenery the breadth of our history isn’t quite as impressive as the European one.
For once, I didn’t pay much attention to the online world. I scanned my emails since I had a few business coals in the fire, but mostly, I ignored the internet and what was happening in the rest of the world.
We embraced the local food and culture and had a blast.
Here are some of the highlights, which I’ll blog about in greater detail in the weeks to come.
1. Visiting the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, which was full of gorgeous art deco features.
2. Tapas in Barcelona
3. Sicily and Mt. Etna
4. Herculaneum and Mt Vesuvius
5. Santorini, the donkeys, the scenery and the food
6. Kotor, Montenegro – a welcome surprise
7. Food tour in Istanbul, Turkey. Awesome!!!
8. Italian food – pasta and pizza. Wow!
9. Rhodes, Greece. History, castles and gorgeous food.
10. Mdina, Malta. More history and good food.
We soaked up the culture, and I took notes and many, many photos as ideas for future romance novels exploded in my mind like popcorn. Watch this space.
I’m slowly getting back into writing and have several projects underway. The writing is going fine, although I’m still on a bit of a go slow when it comes to the internet. I’m sure I’ll get with the program soon, although it has been good to switch off from online drama.
When you go on holiday, are you able to switch off from the internet and social media?