Tag Archives: Book Review

New Gardening Books!


I know I’m getting old when I get excited about the arrival of gardening books!.

Last year at the Ellerslie Flower Show, I brought some special publication books from NZ Gardener magazine. I really liked them as they have good local knowledge tips in them. I was aware there were more, but they weren’t on sale at the show.

roll on to this month issue of the magazine, and there on the second to last page was an add for back issues and reprinted special interest publications, for $10 each. I jumped on the phone and ordered 5!. I really wanted 6, but decided to leave herbs for a later date.

they arrived today –


they are, homegrown (plot to plate), fresh vege, tomatos, potatoes and root vege, a self sufficient type one.

they are just good no nonsense gardening information from a wealth of local gardeners and while I’m still learning the growing season here,they are really helpful!. and they have great recipes to use the produce you grow.

Plus, my parents have decided to buy a new house, so there’s plenty of inspiration for the new bigger and brighter kitchen garden!!.


a good baking day


opps….its been a while since my last post!. i have been taking photos but not getting round to writing up posts – must do better!.

about a month ago there was a voucher in the local paper for 25% off the price of books at a particular bookshop. the bookshop was located in the eastern part of the city – an area i dont visit much, so my dad and i went on a little trip!. sadly the bookshop didnt have the range i’d have hoped for as i was after a particular book. they didnt have it, so after a nosey around, i decided to get this book i had borrowed from the library. i have another in this series and love them as they are real recipes from real everyday cooks, not chef designed restaurant meals that arent practical in the everyday kitchen.


my mum had requested i do some baking and wanted chocolate chips and brownies. i wanted to try a recipe from the book called oddfellow slice, and more cheese scones wouldnt go amiss!.

below is the brownie – this is a recipe from the internet as the book didnt have a recipe – its not a tradition NZ bake. as you can see, its a semi fail – even though i had the tray quite small, it was still too big and the brownie spread rather than grew!. the taste is ok, but not chocolatey enough for me, so i wont be trying this recipe again.


below are Ethel’s choc chip biccies from the book – they seem quite nice, maybe a touch too much butter or a touch over cooked. it was hard to tell as they are quite soft when they come out of the oven. i would make these again.


below are cheese scones – i use Brett McGregor’s recipe and they are lovely.


i didnt get a photo of the oddfellow slice. its a peppermint slice made with crushed oddfellow sweets and chocolate biscuits. its ok – i didnt crush either enough so its a bit chunky and didnt bind well. still delicious though!!

i’ll be back soon with a project life update, and some garden photos.

book review – author recommendation


over the past 4-5 days I have read 2 books in a 4 part series by a New Zealand born, Australian based author, Deborah Challinor.


about 3 years ago I picked up one of her books, Band of Gold, and thoroughly enjoyed it – historical setting with a lovely side of humour as it weaved its tale. when I came home for Xmas the year before i returned her (i.e 2 yrs ago!), i spied the book on the left and brought it, and left it in NZ knowing I was coming back, so no point carrying it back to then pay to ship it home a few months later!.

when I was leaving Brisbane earlier this year I saw the book on the right and brought that, not realising at the time it was part 2 in the series. 

once back home, I realised this and was pleased I’d spotted and brought it. then the books sat on the shelf!. til last week when I needed to take a book with me, to an appointment with my mother.

the books tell the story of 4 girls who meet in Newgate Gaol in London in 1828. they are full on interesting characters and at times I felt like I was watching it all unfold, rather than reading it, they are so well described!. the books follow the trials and tribulations of the girls as they are transported to New South Wales, and Sydney in its early days. full of interesting details, laugh out load passages and suspense. 

I was hooked and as soon as book one was finished I started straight into book 2!. it helped there was the F1 qualifying to wait up for last night, which gave me plenty of reading time and I had bk2 finished in 24hrs!.

now I have to wait til about November for book 3 in the series. 

in reading the notes at the end of book 2 I read a sentence that sums up beautifully the authors ability to instil humour into her work –

” Francis Rossi (1830s Sydney police magistrate and superintendent) should not be confused with the Francis Rossi in Status Quo” Deborah Challinor

I highly recommend these 2 books, as well as Band of Gold, to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, and early settler type stories.

Book Review :: Toxin Toxout


I read a book recently!. and I thought I’d share my thoughts on it, since the subject is what set me on the path to wanting to live a self reliant lifestyle.

the book is called Toxin Toxout, by Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith. they are the authors of Slow Death by Rubber Duck, a book I haven’t read, but was aware of.

in this book they talk about how we can get rid of the toxins that are in a lot of the foods and products we use and consume in our everyday lives.

I found the book interesting and enjoyed the easy going nature of the authors. I am now tempted to read Slow Death, but since this is the follow up book, I wont rush out for it, but rather wait until I spy it at the library. it goes over some of the information in Slow Death, and then talks about all the ways we can let those nasty toxins out of our body. and lets face it, we don’t want them there in the first place since they disrupt our hormones, the way our body functions and slowly making us sick. the book gets a little hard going in places, if you aren’t into chemistry like me- trying to pronounce some of those names!, but it’s well worth wading thru in order to understand what’s really happening.

reading this reminded me why I first started looking into a more natural way of life and has me now looking for home made deodorant recipes!.

I think we all need to read about this kind of thing – manufacturers use any synthetic ingredient they desire with little regard to our well being or that of the environment. we are not going to be able to sustain this for long without serious consequences. for many years consumers were unaware of the harm these products were causing us, but now we know, and as consumers we have to vote with our wallets and not buy toxin laden items, just because they are cheaper. they might be helping your wallet, but that’s about all!.

Toxin Toxout is a book everyone should read if they care at all about their own health and well being, and especially if they have children. I might have lost a few jobs if I known half this stuff when I was nannying!.

kinda related to this is an advertisement running in NZ at the moment. one toilet paper company has introduced the concept of using wet wipes after toilet paper – I cringe every time I see it – more chemicals on our body, more stuff going down the drain potentially harming the environment. crikey!, we’ve survived on loo paper for years, we don’t need wet wipes as well!