Bel and Joelene went to the Hachette blogger evening in Sydney recently to meet and listen to Holly Black speak. They had and awesome time, and here is the first of 4 videos they made to share it with us.


Belinda_kisses_tnBelinda’s been checking out Netflix and discovered the Secrets Of… series. If you like castles then this might be for you!



Secrets-of-Highclere-CastleThe PBS Secrets Of series.

The great thing about watching commercial free stuff, especially things like documentaries from America is that there isn’t the constant recap that tends to happen once we, the viewer, comes back from the add break.

As we know from the Vikings review, I love me some history. So it’s no surprise when I was sucked in by, The Secrets of the Tower of London, and then, The Secrets of Hampton Court. There are a few others, and I will be watching them, you can be sure of that.

I’m glad they chose to use a British Narrator, because an American accent wouldn’t feel authentic.

We look into the back stories of the monarchy and the motivations behind much of what went on inside these magnificent buildings. It really makes me want to head off to England to check this stuff out in the flesh… or stone as it may be!

The big question is, do they actually divulge any secrets we didn’t already know? Guess you’ll have to watch and find out.

Belinda_kisses_tnSince Marianne is on a sugar fee-ish kick, I have a cottage cheese pie recipe I’d like to challenge you with Mandy (and I think it’s gluten free). It’s about the only recipe I make that people outside my family actually enjoy. It could make a snack for the Wrangles troops.



Bel’s Cottage Cheese Pie


1/2 cup white rice

2 tblsp snipped chives (optional)

30g melted butter

500g cottage cheese

6 eggs

6 rashers of bacon (diced)

5 spring onions (snipped finely)

1 spanish onion (diced)

pinch of salt



Cook rice and allow to cool

Sweat off the bacon, onion, spring onion and allow to cool

Preheat oven to 200c

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix gently until combined

Pour mix into a greased pie dish

Cook until set and is a nice golden colour

*use a fork to stir the pie gently every 15-20 minutes during the cooking process


Mandy Says:


Mandy_HThis month in Cook Club, Bel and I traded places. That is, she was the one to challenge me with a new recipe. Well, if this one is anything to go by, Bel can challenge me – or as it turned out, us – any time. Life has been crazy-busy for our family lately, mostly due to the amount of time we’re spending with our skateboard-mad sons at skate parks.

On Saturday, I did the skate-mum thing with our three boys plus an extra, while my husband stayed and did the home-duties thing. Yes, that’s right. I passed the buck. Simon was the one to take up Bel’s challenge and make the pie. And…it was a HUGE hit with all our exhausted skaters (even the two who won’t eat rice. And the one who says he doesn’t eat cheese. They seriously demolished this thing without asking once what it contained. I call that a win for parents of fussy eaters everywhere!)

cottage cheese pie - Simon

Simon making Cottage Cheese Pie


cottage cheese pie 2

Ready to cook!


cottage cheese pie 3




SONY DSCIntroducing Belinda Hamilton:

How long have you been writing for MDPWeb, why did you join the group, and what do you like about being part of it?

I started writing for Marianne in 2009-ish putting out her e-newsletters. It turned into guest blogging, then reviewing. I was so impressed with Marianne for her drive to give a hand to the up and coming that I grabbed hold of the offer and ran with it.

I love the fact our crew is diverse in age, culture, and we’re flung pretty far across the globe. If I do say so myself, I think we’re pretty lucky to have Marianne to bring us all together.

What creative piece are you working on, and what author would you liken your work too?

Currently, my brain is numb from real life getting in my way. In my day dreams I write paranormal fantasy and would love it to be akin to Keri Arthur, or Yasmine Galenorn.

What book have you most enjoyed reviewing for MDPWeb?

This is a hard one. I have discovered SO many new authors, like Jennifer E Smith, and Ben Chandler. I got my hubby hooked on Monster High thanks to the Lisi Harrison books about the dolls. But I think probably the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and getting the chance to meet Laini Taylor was pretty damn epic.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your downtime?

Read, watch tv, head to the movies and hit the farmers markets.

Is there somewhere else online/in bookstores we can find your work?

Vision antho coverWhen I was president of Vision Writers, we put out an anthology to celebrate 18 years of our group meeting. I don’t have a story in there but it’s still my baby.

What’s your favourite TV series?

Gilmore Girls is my go to when I’m in need of a pick me up.

Who or what is your current crush?

Travis Fimmel could give me his icy Viking glare any day of the week, and Johnny Depp, well, that’s just a given.



Belinda Hamilton is a 30 something wife and Mum of one. She attributes her love of books to her Mum and hearing the phrase, “The more you interrupt me, the longer it will take,” more times than most kids.

She is a sucker for a beautiful cover, and loves a happy ending, but by-golly, don’t let the prince do all the saving. Darwin’s theory needs to apply, even in high fantasy.

grandin-ThinkingInPicturesNewIn 1947, there was no name for autism.

In her early years Temple Grandin had doctors completely stumped, and kids who were mentally ‘challenged’ in that era would ordinarily be institutionalised. Her mother was adamant; this wouldn’t be the fate of her daughter. She spent many years going through psychological testing, therapy and analysis. Speech therapy helped her to be able to communicate, but it’s still a constant challenge for Dr Grandin to assimilate with the world in her public life.

Spending a holiday on a farm with family members when she was a young girl was a pivotal moment for this extraordinary woman. Temple discovered she could empathise with the livestock far better than she could with her fellow man.

So, her name may be somewhat familiar to you. She’s known as one of the first autistic people to write an autobiography, and is a world renowned animal behaviourist.

In the US, she helped to revolutionize the abattoir industry. Creating a far more humane situation for beasts meant a better product, and by achieving this brought great respect from those in positions of power.

There’s a great BBC documentary, The woman who thinks like a cow, and a HBO film on Dr. Grandin if you want to see more, and numerous books of both autism and animal behaviours if you want to read more.

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum

Hardcover, 206 pages

Published April 30th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2013)

ISBN0547636458 (ISBN13: 9780547636450)



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