I’m sitting here on the terrace, with crickets and frogs serenading me as I type - overlooking Tutukaka harbour on the North Island of New Zealand. The rugged sea is smashing against the rocks and the whole landscape is one of barren majesty.  Lush green forest swoops down until it meets the rocks and shoreline that border the most dramatic beaches.  Autumn has arrived in New Zealand and the temperature is a very pleasant 70°.

This has to be one of my favourite places in the whole wide world. The air is like fresh water, each lungful leaves me feeling refreshed and cleansed. The Major and I are taking a day or so to be calm and breathe after a very hectic, but WONDERFUL trip to Sydney.  It’s a city that welcomes us back with open arms and one that there is never enough time to see and do everything. We managed to pack in quite a lot around work, including trips to the beach at Manly and Watsons Bay, supper at Doyle’s looking back over the Sydney city scape, a visit to the art gallery of New South Wales as well as clocking up a good few k’s hiking up and down the back streets of Surry Hills where my new book is going to be set.

Australia was a tad cooler than it was ten weeks ago when we last visited and it made working a bit more bearable! It was wonderful to visit some fabulous bookshops like Abbeys and Dymocks and talk to the marketing bods who do such a fab job with my books down under.

HarperCollins (my publishers in Australia and NZ) whisked me from one engagement to another, including radio shows, interviews and even a cheeky photo shoot outside the Opera House, which as you can imagine, I found mortifying!

Sydney is without doubt THE coffee capital of the world – with the most incredible coffee shops, serving rich, aromatic, organic blends that have just the right amount of kick. Needless to say I had to spend a lot of time in them, researching my new novel ‘Abigail’s Coffee Shop’ that is set in Australia and Scotland! A fact that I think will make my friend Flora very happy.

Whilst I stuck to the coffee, the Major indulged in banana bread, crumbly carrot cakes, moist, fruity muffins and slabs of chocolate brownie. I am pleased to report that I am sticking to my ‘little bit fitter and trimmer today than I was yesterday’ plan and am well over half way to achieving my goal.

I’ve been on my regime for a little over 2 months and it is now second nature. The increase in my energy levels is enough motivation for me to keep going… I promise to share a photo or two when I’ve reached my goal.

We are heading back down to Auckland tomorrow in preparation for a busy week talking about and promoting A Little Love over here. I shall be on TV1 Good Morning on Tuesday for any viewers in New Zealand.

I hope all is good in the UK, haven’t heard from the boys for a few days, which I am told is a good thing… I reminded my other half that when they were quiet in the past, it was because they were colouring in the sitting room wall, giving the dog a haircut or stuffing nachos into the DVD player. He says I worry too much. Perhaps he is right.

This time next week, I shall be writing in Hong Kong – which should be exciting. However, I MUST stop singing the Hong Kong Phooey theme tune in my head; it can only lead to trouble….

Sending you love from the other side of the world.

Mandy x