Cake and Cover Competition

This week, The Cake Maker’s Wish finally made it out into the world after I began working on it five years ago! I had a wonderful time launching it online last Sunday afternoon. If you’d like to see the video, you’ll find it on Facebook here.

Now… for your chance to win a gorgeous prize pack!

Once you have your copy of The Cake Maker’s Wish, simply take a photo of it with some cake (any cake!) and post it to Facebook or Instagram, tagging me so I know it’s there, and using the hashtag #cakeandcover

Here’s an example:

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The winner will be chosen from a shortlist and win this wonderful prize pack, including a brooch and matching earring set from Ruby Olive, a copy of The Beekeeper’s Secret (for you to enjoy or pass on to a friend), my favourite brand of chai (and this one is chocolate chai!), and Lindt chocolate.

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The winner will be chosen on 2 July. I can’t wait to see your entries 🙂

Happy reading and caking!

Jo x

Four Chances to Win!

** FOUR CHANCES TO WIN these prize packs! **

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I’ve been dying to share this news!! To celebrate the release of THE CAKE MAKER’S WISH I have FOUR of these wonderful prize packs for you to win. Each pack contains:

* An adorable petunia brooch with matching half moon earrings set from Ruby Olive ($49 value, either lilac or mint)
* 125g The Fresh Chai Co. chocolate chai (which is my favourite chai brand ever, and you KNOW how much chai I drink… $11.95 value)
* one of my signed back list novels (various titles, valued at $19.95)
* Lindt dark chocolate, 70%, which is one of my favourite chocolate choices.
That’s over $80 worth of gorgeousness right there, delivered to your door.

HOW TO WIN:

(1) Join the Facebook live stream book launch on my AUTHOR page (not my personal page) on Sunday 31 May at 3pm AEST and leave a comment. One winner chosen at random at 5pm 1 July.

(2) Once you have your copy of THE CAKE MAKER’S WISH, photograph your book with some cake and post it to your FB timeline or Instagram account and make sure you TAG ME (so I know it’s there… you’ll need to make sure your privacy setting is on PUBLIC) and use #cakeandcover The MOST BEAUTIFUL photos will be shortlisted and put to public vote to find the winner.

(3) Make sure you’re signed up to my MAILING LIST because one of these boxes will go out to someone on that list! That’s all you have do, then wait for my next newsletter for your chance. You can do that here: https://josephinemoon.com/become-a-vip/

(4) Once you’ve read the book, leave a review on either Goodreads or Amazon and share it to my timeline/tag me. One of these boxes will go to the review that I think best captures the spirit of the story.

Enter in each category and get four chances to win!

I can’t wait to share these boxes with you! A big thank you to Adam from The Fresh Chai Co. for providing the scrumptious chai and to Skye from Ruby Olive for the beautiful jewellery.

Wishing you the best of luck!

Jo X

T&Cs: Australian postal addresses only (sorry!). All entries must be in by 5pm on 2 July 2020, except for the Facebook live stream, which will be chosen at 5pm 1 June.

Top Ten Tips: The Writer (and Mother) as an Athlete

Written on my fridge right now. Remind yourself--you are an athlete!
Written on my fridge right now. Remind yourself–you are an athlete!

I have often been heard to say that I feel like I’m running a marathon every day. And I hear a lot of other mothers say it too. What can we do? Here are some thoughts.

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I am an unashamed ‘Swiftie’ (that is, a fan of Taylor Swift), and I once heard her say how much time she spent at the gym. Now, I’ve been to a Taylor Swift concert and trust me that entire performance is more than any gym work out could be. Why on earth did she need to go to the gym as well? I asked this of my husband, who is a physiotherapist.

‘It’s a huge misconception,’ he said. ‘I see it a lot in guys who work in labouring jobs. They think that because they’re active all day that they don’t need to do any more exercise. But what they don’t understand it that to work continuously at their optimum performance, they actually need to be fitter and stronger than what they are required to do.’

Big. Lightbulb. Moment.

To get through everything in my life I need to think of myself as an endurance athlete.

A green smoothie I made with a stick blender - banana, flaxseeds, spinach leaves, fresh mint, parsley
A green smoothie I made with a stick blender – banana, flaxseeds, spinach leaves, fresh mint, parsley

It’s not okay to be just fit enough to do our jobs. We have to be MORE fit so we can do it easily AND have energy left over to play with our kids and have quality time with our spouses and make awesome food and maybe even play and have fun.

‘Writer’ and ‘athlete’ don’t normally conjure up similarities. In fact, most writers I know complain about how sedentary their job is and how much weight they’ve gained and how unfit they’ve become. It’s not even just that we’re sitting at a computer for many hours a day, as many people do who work in an office. It’s also that we don’t have to leave the house, so there’s a serious decrease in all the incidental exercise you get if you have to walk to and from a bus or a train, or escape outside the building for a walk during your lunch hour, or have to walk from one side of the building to the other to talk to a co-worker. I noticed this dramatically when I gave up work that required me to leave the house. My weight bloomed, almost overnight.

After writing for thirteen years through full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and even unemployment, I finally got my agent just five weeks after my son was born, and three book contracts very soon after. Suddenly, I had to juggle first-time new motherhood with serious contractual requirements, severe sleep deprivation, renovating a house and moving, and living in the country and driving obscene hours in the car with a newborn. I coped, but only just. And with a lot of coffee and chocolate.

I’ve come to understand that if I’m going to have longevity in the game of being an author, and be energetically and emotionally present for my child, husband, family and so on, AND look after my self, my animals, house, friends and all of that, then I have to think of myself as an athlete. I need to train regularly — and yes, I do mean with physical activity. I need to fuel my body with the best resources possible: protein, vitamins, juices, power smoothies, organics, fresh produce. I need to put energy IN in order to get energy OUT.

It’s so simple, isn’t it? And yet it’s so easy to overlook. And the more tired we are, the easier it is to reach for coffee and a bowl of cereal for dinner rather than juicing vegetables and cooking energy-enhancing foods. It becomes a vicious cycle, one that’s very hard to break.

This is still a work in progress for me, but I’ve been steadily improving for the past couple of months. And here are my Top Ten Tips for what’s worked for me. Maybe some of them will help you too.

  • Design a daily checklist of everything you feel you need to (or want to) do to help your body. Most of the time, I get so lost in the work I’m doing that I truly and simply forget to take my vitamins, get on the cross trainer, do my physiotherapy exercises, make a fresh juice, defrost something from the freezer. Checklist. Get one. Leave it on the bench in the kitchen and tick it off over the course of the day. Write down everything you eat. You’ll start to see patterns and it helps keep you on track.
  • You don’t need an expensive juicer! You can do almost anything with a stick blender. I was feeling blocked about juicing because we didn’t have a juicer (cheap or expensive) and have no cupboard space or bench space to have one. Then I worked out that you can do almost anything with a stick a blender. Throw ingredients in and whiz. Simple. The only things it will struggle with are really hard vegetables, like beetroot or carrot. BUT, if you want them, grate them first and throw them in. Simple.
  • Protein for breakfast. Salmon, eggs, protein smoothies (as supplements, not as replacements), steak, baked beans, mushrooms. Get your high quality protein in early in the day (rather than at the end). It reduces sugar cravings and keeps you going longer.
  • Grow some leafy greens. Seriously, spinach, kale and chard are SO simple to grow (I’m growing them in styrofoam boxes), so cheap and quick to sow from seed, and so fabulous to pick fresh and throw into a juice or smoothie for some LIVING food that is packed full of vitamins and energy boosting goodness. IMG_3178
  • Start the day with a fruit bowl. In our house, as I know is true of many others, we have resistance to eating fruit unless it is chopped up. So we now start the day with a fruit bowl of freshly chopped fruit. We take turns at making it in the morning while the other person is generally tending to our toddler. Your fruit is done for the day and it is yum yum yummy. (We also like to top the fruit with extras like chia seeds, flaxseeds or goji berries — you can buy in advance and store in jars or paper bags and throw them on).
  • Exercise. 20 minutes. Any time, any where. Every day. There is always something you can do. Personally, I am challenged with multiple (and complicated) rheumatic conditions, I’m always carrying at least one severe injury at any given time (which usually lasts a good six months or more) and have to be so careful about how I exercise. But I married a physio. And what I discovered was that it is a (good) physiotherapist’s job (and calling in life) to find a way for you to move. And they will. Example, if I lift even 1kg weights, I sprain my wrists. So, my husband bought me strap on ankle weights and strapped them around my forearms so no load goes through the joint. Presto. Problem solved. Find yourself a GOOD physio (because, like all things, they aren’t all created equal).
  • Stop drinking coffee. Oh boy, this can be hard. I never really drank coffee until I had a baby. (True story: My husband had never had a coffee in his life until we walked into the hospital to have our baby and he decided that it was going to take a while so perhaps he should start. It took him the next two years to give up.) After I had Flynn, I was shattered, in every way. Coffee became the only thing that would keep me safe on the roads and even vaguely able to do my job. But by the time Flynn was two years old, I realised that I couldn’t keep drinking coffee. It stimulated my adrenals and gave me a false sense of energy when really it was just draining me even more. Now, my rule is that if I think I need coffee, I will make a chai. And if I still feel like having coffee after the chai, then I’m allowed to have one. But I never do.
  • Spirulina / Power Greens. When all else fails, throw a teaspoon of high-density greens in powdered form into a juice. You’d be amazed.
  • Vitamin B. You burn lots of vitamin B when you’re stressed. Make sure you’ve got enough, are getting enough, or supplement with enough. Iron. Same goes there. I’d fallen into a false sense of safety with iron. I used to have to take it all the time but I thought things had changed. Wrong. I didn’t even have a clue until a GP randomly tested for it and phoned to tell me it was below the line. Wow. What a difference to your life iron will make.
  • Dark chocolate! Oh yes indeed! Dark chocolate is good, good, good for you. It’s a power food, people. Eat it. (But it has to be dark! I can eat up to 85% cocoa quite comfortably, but if you’re just beginning, try something around 40 or 50% and build up.)

The Awesomeness of Tea and Books

Trust me, you don’t ever want to be the person who serves me a ‘pot of tea’ in a cafe only to bring out a teabag swimming in a tank of water.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me" (CS Lewis)
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me” (CS Lewis)

I love tea. I love it so much I wrote a whole book all about the business of tea and designing teas. Hopefully, you’ll get to read this book in its published version in 2013. I called the book, Take a Chance on Me, and (quite seriously) nearly called it Take a Chance on Tea.I’m passionate about not only tea but the beauty associated with it: the teapots, the teacups, the doilies, the butterfly cakes, the sugar cubes and tiny teaspoons. While writing the book, I began collecting teapots and cups before I eventually realised that I live with a soon-to-be-running-around-the-house baby, two large dogs and three wild cats and the chances of any of these china beauties lasting in our tiny house would be a minor miracle.

So while drinking my cup of chai this morning, I did enjoy this post from Book Riot on bookish teapots. I’ve pasted my favourite one from that post and look forward to part 2.

Enjoy!