Christmas 2020

Hmmm. I’ve always loved a good Christmas tree. One that is glowing with lights and glittery decorations. So this year I was especially excited to get my lovely white Christmas tree out of its box, and to decorate it to cheer us up.

The weird thing is, I’ve never really seen snow, but having a white tree brings snow right into your front room, even on a 37 degree day (100F), makes you feel like you are right at home in the Northern hemisphere, not stuck inside in South Australia, because it’s too hot to venture outside.

I should have known that in 2020, having something soothing and lovely, that reminds you of years gone by, would not be the ticket. Enter Sparkles.

My gorgeous little rescue kitty became entranced/obsessed/fixated on the tree. It became her personal boxing ring, her ‘greatest prize I’ve ever gained’ award (as she carried the decorations off into the house), and having four ferrets to help her stash these prizes around the house proved too much. I must have redecorated the tree three times in an effort to stop her. But it was to no avail.

After a night listening to her attacking the tree while I lay in bed, my muse (hubby) and I gave up. I packed everything away, and that was that.

Hubby couldn’t quite go there though, and bought home a really sad little twig of a tree with fibre optic lighting. The first thing Sparkles did was to try and climb up it. Undeterred, I put aluminium foil around the base, put it on a chair and put masking tape around it, with the sticky side up. All good cat foils, according to YouTube videos.

Well, Sparkles breeched all the above, and climbed the tree. It tumbled over onto the blind, and I saw her fleeing up the corridor like Satan himself had whacked her on her bum. After I removed all the crud from the base of the tree (what’s the point?), I noticed she’s left it alone!

Is there a moral in that? Probably, but for now I’ll take our tragic twig tree and just be happy that I’ve discovered solar lights. Yup, being in the Southern Hemisphere means it’s light for ages, so the solar fairy lights have fired up. Hubby announced the other night, as we gazed out onto the backyard, that at least now the aliens have a place lit up enough for them to land. I have to agree with him.

So maybe the lesson is this. 2020 has stopped us doing things we could normally do that bring us pleasure. But if we look a bit further afield, maybe we can create something new to make us happy. And be part of history when the aliens finally do decide to visit!!

If You Had Told Me…

This was my overlocker (serger) on the weekend. It turns out, you shouldn’t try to rethread one without reading the instructions first. Frankly, I think it’s also a very good representation of 2020. Where do you start to untangle it all?

If you had told me this time last year, that I’d be sitting in the front room, having just watched the Melbourne Cup on TV, with no spectators at the race track, I would have thought you were clinically insane. What’s so good about the spectators? Well, this might sound terrible, but it’s the drunk people falling down, showing their knickers, that make Melbourne Cup so damn special. It’s practically an institution, and with no knickers on display, it seems pointless to me.

Then there is possible civil war in the USA post their elections tomorrow, the lockdown/beheadings in Europe, typhoons and earthquakes and… I could go on but I might give myself a panic attack.

One thing I’ve really enjoyed this year (apart from putting butter on everything, because who cares about your cholesterol if we are all going to die), is listening to Vedic astrologers on YouTube. I say this, because they have predicted nearly everything that has happened!! It’s been quite comforting to know that the universe is unravelling, and that the aliens might land soon. It’s literally written in the sky.

If the aliens did land, I think they might turn around and drive away in their space ships. It’s a bit of a shit show here at the moment. But, just in case, I’ve put up enough fairy lights in the backyard for them to use it as a landing strip.

Stay safe, and stay sane!

Thank You Nurses and Frontline Workers

I gave up nursing a few years ago, but my God I remember how stressful it was. I worked a lot in emergency and it inspired me to write my novel Looking For Wonderland, which is a nursing comedy eBook, with the main character being a germaphobic nurse who falls in love with an Infectious Disease consultant. When this pandemic struck, I thought, what would Celine do? If you haven’t followed my blog, you may not know that Celine Dion is my touch stone for how to deal with life’s little stumbling blocks (and fucking enormous mountains that you think you will never get over). After reflecting on what my idol would do, I wondered, how can I support the front-line workers? It’s so bloody stressful dealing with the public, and the madness of working in a hospital.

Then I had a vision of tired nurses kicking off their germ ridden shoes outside their homes, boiling themselves alive in a shower before they felt safe, and maybe they could sit down with a glass of wine (or a bucket of gin), and have a read of something a bit light hearted. So, my publisher in the UK is making Looking for Wonderland a free download from May 1-5th, from any of the Amazon sites. It’s just a little something I feel I can offer in these weird and stressful times. Something a bit lighthearted that maybe can take you back to a time before…

Thank you to everyone out there putting themselves on the front line. I know it feels like you are not always appreciated, but please know, you are.

See you on the other side.


The end of the road…


Hmm, I could have done with a camel recently. Two weeks ago I was sitting in my car at the end of our road, waiting to turn into the main street, when some hoon (for non-Aussies, that’s a person in a car who is driving like an idiot) came barrelling into the back of me, ripping off the bumper and wrecking the boot. My trusted car of eleven years was promptly written off by the insurance company, and taken to the scrap yard. The stupid driver of the other car was whinging at me about his insurance excess (being a 19 year old. Yes, it was $1,500), but I wish I had said to him, ‘hey dickhead, I’m on foot now.’

I’ve been catching public transport ever since.

Still, I wasn’t injured, and I’ve found a new car which I get tomorrow, so all is well in the world! This experience came shortly after we lost two of our little ferrets to cancer and old age. They passed away together on the same day. We’ve had a lot of change happening around us lately, and it’s made me think about the whole idea of letting go of things, and moving into new phases of your life. Not the easiest thing to do.

Sometimes you simply don’t get a choice. The best thing to do is try and accept the situation and make the best of it. While I hate public transport, I’ve rediscovered that 30 minutes to work is the perfect amount of time to get stuck into a smutty book a friend has lent me. And two new fur babies have found a home with us, from the animal shelter.

It’s hard to trust that the future will work out, but these last few weeks have shown me just that. And I got a great new car to provide it.


Dark Days Are Here…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYup, it’s winter in Adelaide. That means frozen feet and fingers, cold noses, tasty stews to eat, and lovely warm fabrics to wear. I really don’t like the summer because I get exhausted by the continuous sunshine, I get super sweaty at times, and we are prone to 40 degree days, which is no fun for anyone. However, now winter is on our doorstep, I’m yearning for the sun, dreaming of swimming in the sea, and I’m missing the long days. It’s dark by 5pm now. My muse thinks I could win a prize for the biggest weather whinger in the Universe.

So Jane, I hear you saying, where are you going with this dreary post? Well, I’m going to quite a fabulous place as it turns out. Now it’s winter, I had to take a long, hard look at my neglected oven, realising that it had to be cleaned if I was going to use it. I’m not keen on the thought of all those scary chemicals being used in oven cleaners, so instead, I googled a method that seemed weird, and too easy to be real.

I bloody wish I’d taken a before and after photo (but then you’d be looking at a dirty oven door photo, not a nice sunny shot of Sydney), because it was like a science experiment. My oven door was filthy, as were the oven racks. Yes, I know that’s disgusting, but really, cleaning the oven is just not something I have made a priority when there are manuscripts to be worked on. So, without further ado, let me share this amazing cleaning tip with you, which resulted in an oven that literally sparkled!


You need a bottle of ammonia, and a jug of boiling water. Firstly, preheat the oven to 150 C, or 300F, for about ten minutes. Turn the heat off. Next, place 1-2 cups of ammonia into an oven proof dish. I used a ceramic casserole dish, but you can also use a heatproof glass dish. Put this on the top shelf, and put another oven proof dish, containing 2 cups of boiling water, on the shelf below. Now shut the door and leave it overnight. In the morning, take out the dishes and wipe out the oven with a cloth. My oven door was so bad I used a scouring pad on it, but the dirt just seemed to lift off! Next, I did the inside of the oven, then I soaked the shelves in the laundry tub, in hot soapy water, with a splash more of ammonia. I scrubbed them after about half and hour, and was amazed to find their colour was actually silver, not black!! The oven sparkled. I was amazed. You will be too.

Remember to ventilate your room well if you are using ammonia (it’s pretty stinky), and wear gloves when handling chemicals. Don’t mix the ammonia with anything else. All in all I can’t recommend it enough. Here is the original article I found on the net. I hope they don’t mind me sharing it with you, but somethings are too good not to share.

In the presence of a princess…

IMG_4746I’m not talking about myself being a princess, although my muse likes to think he is the king of the castle from time to time (good luck with that!) No, this week was super exciting because Prince William, Princess Kate (I’m going to call her a princess because she is so lovely), and baby George have been in Australia, and on Wednesday, they came to little old Adelaide. They flew in to town in the morning and left in the afternoon. My friend Jess and I decided to go along and see them, joining in the 50,000 crowd lining the streets, to wave them a royal hello.

Strangely, they chose to go to the suburb of Elisabeth. This is not a suburb with a great reputation. I think a lot of people got offended that they weren’t been taken to our wine region, or to somewhere equally upper class. Instead, they got taken to a break dancing demonstration in a suburb known for missing front teeth and unemployment, and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Jess and I had a ball too. The secret service guys were good looking (which is excellent, because when you are standing around for five hours, you want something good to look at), the people around us were hilarious, and they shared their sweets with us. All in all, a great day. Oh yeah, and we got to see William and Kate from a distance. They looked very nice. Despite the fact Jess and I got badly sunburnt (it’s autumn for crying out loud. Who gets sunburnt in autumn?), we feel we were privileged to be part of history in some small way.

So, what is the point of all this? Well, I came away from the day glad that I am not royalty. I think I would find it hard not to swear, and even harder to be so nice all the time. I probably wouldn’t be as thin as Kate either, nor would I want to have to sit up so straight in my chair all day at receptions. No, I’m glad to be me, and I’m glad my muse is my prince/king (whatever), and that I can slouch down and watch Dr Phil at lunch. It’s a bloody good life.




Summer in the City

photo-90 A big truck rolled up outside my house today. I was inside, doing housework on a 43 degree day (110F). At first, I thought ‘oh my Lord, my muse has got me a smart car for Valentine’s Day!!’ In fact, it was a new neighbour moving in next door and this was the truck with all his stuff in it.

photo-89Things got a bit hairy when I realised they were trying to back down the lane beside my house. Please note, that’s my car they are just about squashing!! I went out into the street, dressed in a completely inappropriate outfit (pole dancing shorts with not enough fake tan on my legs to go anywhere in this getup), only to find out that my new neighbour is a really nice guy, who works as a nurse too (although I’m not sure if he is a writer as well). I think they put a big scratch on my car, but I can’t prove it…

‘What’s the point of this post Jane?’ I hear you saying. Well, there isn’t any point to the above story. However, here are my top five fabulous features of a heatwave! Cos I can’t listen to anymore whinging about the heat, including my own voice banging on in my head. Here’s a photo of me wearing a jumper, which makes me nostalgic… Although one of my ferrets caught their nail in this said cardi, and it ended up in the rubbish bin.

photo-87I’m trying to return to my zen zone, instead of ‘my body is about to spontaneously combust and I’m ready to kill you’ zone.


1) You can wash ANYTHING in this heat, and it will dry. I could drag my king sized mattress out onto a plastic mat on the back lawn, spray the whole thing with water, drench it in sheep dip, and leave it to dry. It would be done in an hour.

2) You can ditch the diet. During a heatwave, no one has the strength for discipline. Lemonade, chilled beer, red wine, chips and anything else your body fancies are allowed. After all, losing all that sweat is bound to create some sort of electrolyte imbalance. The same excuse can be used to ditch your exercise routine.

3) If you get grumpy, you can blame it on the heat. I like to stand over the hot stove, with a face like a beetroot, yelling things at the TV, that normally I couldn’t get away with. My muse knows to leave well alone.

4) You are stuck inside all day. Even going out to the washing line for five minutes can result in heatstroke (but the washing is dry in 20 minutes), so there is no excuse not to get on with all those creative projects you would normally do in winter.

5) You can throw all your dishes into the cupboard dripping with water, because they will dry themselves in about 30 seconds. In fact, you can stand under the shower fully dressed and soak all your clothes, then go for a stroll up the road to the shops. You will be dry by the time you get there!

So there we have it. Time for bed, and if I wake up baked in my own sweat at 2am, at least I have the Winter Olympics to cool me down!

Lessons Learnt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOkay, this photo is pretty radical. Clearly I am not in IKEA buying my dream bookcase.

“What’s happening Jane?” I hear you say. “Are you performing a tracheotomy in a restaurant on a dying person, has someone thrown up on you, or are you in pain from being shot in a hold up?” Well, it’s none of the above. It’s me in a Bali toilet (it’s a selfie!) God, I hate public toilets. It’s what puts me off traveling overseas. If I was one of those blessed creatures who don’t care about what goes on around them, then I would have been to Bhutan and back, several times. But I hate it. I hate plane toilets. I hate all toilets that are not my own. I have nightmares about going to the loo in public places.

So, what does this have to do about my blog? Nothing really. It’s 10pm and I’ve just scratched some chilli in my eye by mistake (where did that come from??), I have a 5am wake up call for a nursing shift a the hospital which may, or may not be available (ahhhh, the joys of being a casual worker), and I’m in the middle of editing my new book, which I am having a mini meltdown over (it’s crap. I am crap. My writing is crap.) So perhaps that’s why I posted a photo of me looking at some crap in a loo.

On a brighter note, here is a fabulous way to restore confidence in all areas of life, when one is doubting oneself (that might be the lesson learnt, because the title implies something wise and deep, which is not really going to happen!)


Okay, so forget about spending loads of money on skin exfoliation products. Just grab some castor sugar, pour it into a bowl, and add a good dash of a body lotion. I find sorbalene works wonderfully for this. Now hop in the shower, and rub it all over your body. Rinse off, et voila! A polished skin. You won’t be disappointed. (Public health warning: obviously, don’t rub so hard your skin comes off and don’t rub it on your face).


It was the night before Christmas…

photo-76The day before Christmas…

Today is the equivalent of going on a complicated overseas holiday, to a destination you are not entirely sure how you should pack for. You get to the immigration gate and you can no longer pack another pair of knickers, or some more sunblock. All the shops are closed, and suddenly it’s too late to post anymore Christmas cards, or buy anymore gifts.

That’s how I feel about Christmas. As for the food situation, I blame all the stupid Christmas specials they put on TV in Australia for the mess in my fridge.

Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson (OMG, what a year she’s had. Love her to bits), Gordon Ramsay and Rick Stein. I’m so confused… We don’t have snow in summer, so why are we roasting a chicken tomorrow, and boiling a pudding in a big pot on the stove?

Well Jane, I hear you say, what’s so hard about that? What’s so bloody hard is that we just went through two days of the hottest temperatures in December ever on record – 43C degrees (110F). Sitting inside a house about to burst into flames from the sheer heat outside, while watching Jamie Oliver cooking in the snow (and everyone else mentioned above), is just wrong. I feel like I should be bounding out my front door, to carol singers, snow, and a hundred things roasting in the oven, while surrounded by loving family members, who never make you so angry you could murder them. Instead, we should all be at the beach, bounding out of the surf in our bikinis (another fantasy which won’t be happening,) drinking martinis and eating prawns with salad.

However, a gal and her Muse can make the best of any situation and we have a lovely Christmas day planned, with some friends, food which won’t need hours in the oven, and some bubbles in a glass (we can’t call it champagne anymore – Australian sparkling!)

On that note, I’m going to give the recipe for a lovely Christmas Day.

1. Forget your diet

2. Drink some nice bubbles

3. Hide when the cleaning up needs to be done

4. Listen to some Celine Dion

Have a great Christmas, and remember… the mince pies, Christmas pudding and brandy cream will all be gone for another year, this time next week, so enjoy.



Nearly Better Than Celine…

IMG_0741 About two weeks ago, I had the chance to grab a place in a masterclass with a famous Australian author, Fiona McIntosh. She was brilliant. So brilliant, I contemplated ditching Celine Dion as my ‘go-to-girl’ when I need advice, instead replacing her with Fiona McIntosh as my screen saver. However, there have to be limits to your loyalties, and Celine is pretty well up there for me. Having said that, I love Fiona McIntosh only a smidgen less than Celine (you have been put on notice Mrs Dion).

What did you learn on your course, I hear you say? Well, I discovered the novel I was writing was crap, and I am now working on a new novel as a result of the course. Sometimes, you just have to change lanes mid-journey and be true to yourself (that sounds deep!) Fiona showed me that discipline (ie. not lying in bed until 9am on your days off reading Hello magazine), determination (not watching Dr Phil instead of writing while lying on the couch on your days off), and belief in yourself (as opposed to lying in the fetal position while chugging down red wine, when you get home from being sent to work in the ER as a nurse, when you have no emergency training), are what you need to succeed as a writer. That and a lucky break.

So, having pitched my imaginary new novel to a Sydney editor who came to the course (it was a masterclass!!!), I now have to write said imaginary novel, in about eight weeks. I think that could be my lucky break. I hope so, but if not, then well, fucked if I know. I shall post some new spring recipes soon. Until then – leap, then look. It works!