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Archive for January, 2016

Breakfast at Twenty 8 Acres, Sydney

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. It is an easy meal for a vegetarian, yet there is plenty for the meat lover too.

During our recent trip to Sydney, we checked Trip Adviser while flying over (Air New Zealand has a cool in-flight app) and came across a cafe called Twenty 8 Acres. They specialized in breakfast and lunch, and we decided to try them out since the reviews were excellent.

When we arrived, the restaurant was packed—a good sign. We waited ten minutes before securing a table. The owner/cook is Irish and the breakfast menu had an Irish flavor.

Mr Munro went straight for the full Irish Breakfast while I decided to try the Botanist and we ordered a pot of Irish Breakfast tea. The owner, with his Irish accent, was charming and efficient, a trait possessed by the rest of the wait staff. The service was excellent.

The meals were delicious. Mr Munro enjoyed his breakfast of black and white pudding, sausages, eggs, beans, potatoes and toast immensely. Mine, which was greens with poached eggs, avocado and toast, was enjoyable but there was a bit much kale for my liking. I hadn’t tried kale before, despite its current popularity, and to be honest, it’s not a vegetable I’ll ever want to have on a desert island!

Irish Breakfast

Hubby’s Irish Breakfast

Irish Breakfast Happy Hubby

A happy hubby.

Botanic Breakfast

My The Botanist breakfast with eggs, greens, avocado and seeds.

I’d be happy to visit Twenty 8 Acres again, but I’d try something else on the menu since I’m not a kale fan. Other offerings include fruit and cereal, eggs done in numerous ways. The full menu is here.

The seating area isn’t large, so I’d suggest going early, since Twenty 8 Acres is very popular with the locals for breakfast. They also do lunch. The rating on Trip Adviser is well-deserved, and I certainly recommend this restaurant.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

Innocent Next Door: A New Zealand romance 99c for a limited time

“I want you to look after Summer.”

So starts my contemporary military romance, INNOCENT NEXT DOOR. Summer’s uncle might be leaving on his honeymoon with a clear conscience, but Summer intends to enjoy her time in the city – much to Nikolai’s disapproval.

Innocent Next Door

Innocent Next Door is currently available for 99c (an Amazon countdown deal). Grab your copy now since this sale ends on 12 January 2016.

Hello, My Name is Shelley #Hello2016

My Name is...

We’re ringing in the New Year with lots of giveaways! And by sharing some fun and wacky facts about ourselves. There’s a new giveaway at each stop so be sure to visit them all!

Six Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

1. I cycle most days, and I enjoy it, which is a continual source of amazement. I ended up with a bicycle under protest about five years ago—the first one I’ve ever owned. Although I knew how to ride a bike, I was about as steady as a new born baby giraffe. A danger to myself and everyone else.

My husband purchased a bike for each of us, said it would be good exercise and we should take advantage of the miles of cycle/walking paths in the area. Fast forward five years, and hubby’s bike lives in the shed while mine gets an outing most days. Yep, color me amazed. Oh, and my riding has improved!

2. You’ll never find me lounging in pyjamas and dressing gown. The minute I get out of bed in the morning, I get dressed and make the bed.

3. When I first started thinking about a career, I wanted to be a vet since I love animals so much. Then, I realized I’d need to wield a scalpel and there might be blood. That sent me in the direction of banking/accounting. No blood there, but oh so boring. My current career of writing is much more fun. I can write about blood, talk about blood but I don’t have to see it. That makes all the difference.

4. I dislike driving and would rather walk or catch the bus or train. I’m a very capable driver, and I’ve just renewed my driving licence, but there are so many idiots out there on the road. It’s a scary place!

5. Birds freak me out a little. I can look at them, watch them in their natural habitat for ages, but the second they flap near my head, I’m out of there. A legacy of a budgerigar we had as children. It also used to poop on our hair, but it was a pretty blue color.

6. Travel is my middle name, and luckily my husband shares my love of exploring the world. If we’re not away from home, we’re busy planning our next trip. Only lack of money slows us down! A lot of the things I see and experience find their way into my romance novels.


Go into a draw to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Just complete the rafflecopter below and answer the question (in rafflecopter) in the comments section of my blog to go into the draw. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To visit other stops on the Hello, My Name is blog hop, follow the links below:

Wicked Alphas, Wildest Nights #paranormal #newrelease 99c



Wicked alphas reveal their wildest sides in this red-hot collection of short-n-sexy paranormal romance scenes. This limited-edition anthology of 18 ALL-NEW and EXCLUSIVE STORIES features werewolves, dragons, bears, leopards, vampires, cowboys, shifters, and more. There’s no better way to sample the latest works from your favorite authors and discover new must-reads by bestselling authors and exciting up-and-comers in sizzling paranormal romance!

Perfect for paranormal fans!

Wicked Alphas, Wildest Nights

is out today.

Purchase this box set now for 99c

A Delicious Ginger Crunch

Ginger Crunch

I really, really like Ginger Crunch, and I’ve been on the lookout for a good recipe for ages. This recipe comes from the recipe book A Treasury of New Zealand Baking and is from Jo Seagar. I liked this recipe because of the super gingery flavor and the fact that it has wholemeal flour, which makes it feel healthy…even though it isn’t really. Smile

Ingredients for base:

150 grams butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup long-thread coconut (I didn’t have any so used finer coconut)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats (porridge/oatmeal)

3/4 cup wholemeal flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup chopped crystallised ginger


1. Melt the butter, golden syrup, and sugar together in a saucepan.

2. Place the other ingredients in a bowl and stir in the melted ingredients from 1 above.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a slice tin with baking paper and flatten the mixture into the tin.

4. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.


100 grams butter

6 tablespoon golden syrup

2 1/4 cups icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

3 teaspoons ground ginger

Method for Topping:

1. Melt the butter and golden syrup together then add the ginger and icing sugar to make a frosting.

2. Spread the topping on the warm base.

3. Chill and cut into pieces

Shelley’s Notes

1. I added a little extra icing sugar since the frosting ran off the base the first time I made it. I put it in the fridge the second time and didn’t lose my frosting.

2. This is crunchy and gingery, although a little sweet. It was delicious and I can see myself making this often.

3. I used bake instead of fan bake, and the 20 minutes was the perfect cooking time.

Are you a fan of ginger?

Review: First Touch by Laurelin Paige #review

first touch cover

Laurelin Paige is a new-to-me author, and I enjoyed this book very much.


When Emily Wayborn goes home to visit her mom while on hiatus from her hit TV show, she receives a voicemail from her former best friend, Amber. Though the two were once notorious party girls, they haven’t spoken in years. Although the message might sound benign to anyone else, Amber uses a safe word that Emily recognizes, a word they always used to get out of sticky situations during their wild days. And what’s more chilling than the voicemail: it turns out that Amber has gone missing.

Determined to track down her friend, Emily follows a chain of clues that lead her to the enigmatic billionaire Reeve Sallis, a hotelier known for his shady dealings and play boy reputation. Now, in order to find Amber, Emily must seduce Reeve to learn his secrets and discover the whereabouts of her friend. But as she finds herself more entangled with him, she finds she’s drawn to Reeve for more than just his connection to Amber, despite her growing fear that he may be the enemy. When she’s forced to choose where her loyalty lies, how will she decide between saving Amber and saving her heart?


Emily Wayborn teamed up with her friend Amber when she was a teenager. Together, they sold their company and their bodies in exchange for somewhere to live and other material possessions. Then, one day, everything changed. Six years later, Emily receives a phone call from Amber, one in which Amber utters their secret code word that means she’s in danger and requires help. Thus starts Emily’s journey into the world of wealthy hotelier and mystery man Reeve Sallis as she searches for her missing friend.

Things I enjoyed about this book:

1. The main characters, Emily and Reeve. Emily is a multi-layered character with a definite dark side while the reader is never really sure about Reeve. We’re kept guessing. Is he a sexy, bad boy or is he a sinister murderer?

2. The author peels back the layers of the plot with a delicate touch, making it a real page turner.

3. The element of danger. As I mentioned, because this book is first person, we never know exactly what is going on with Reeve. He’s a real mystery man and he has dark and alpha tendencies.

4. The author is an excellent writer with an enticing style and voice. She pours on the emotion.

Things that gave me pause:

1. A couple of the love scenes were very dark and hard to read, although I will point out that they worked within the context of the story.

2. The ending. It really sucked for me and the cliff-hanger left me thinking, what? Now I don’t know anything more than I did when I started reading. While it’s obvious that this story will continue, the ending left me frustrated.

When it came to weighing up the story as a whole, I decided on 4 stars. If the ending had have been different, the rating would have been higher. Still, if you’re a fan of contemporaries with a darker edge, and you don’t mind a cliff-hanger, give this one a try. It’s an intriguing page-turner.

Review copy received via Netgalley.

Purchase: Amazon | Kobo | iBooks |

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year! Best wishes to all of you for a happy, prosperous and safe 2016.

I don’t make resolutions for a new year, but in 2016 (on the very first day), I intend to make a list of the things I want to achieve in my writing life for 2016. On 1st January,  I also like to add words to my work-in-progress, and start as I mean to go on for the rest of the year.

Are you a resolution person or do you just like to go with the flow?

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