October Catch Up with Jo

by Jo Kenny

Wow life has felt busy recently! Between launching a cookbook, finishing maternity leave, working on new projects (more on that below) and expanding Girl Eats World it feels like I haven’t made time to talk about anything informal for a very long time… and I miss it!

There was a time when all I wrote on here was informal, personal accounts of my food and travel adventures. Now we are much more focused on offering meaningful, useful content. But perhaps it would be nice to maintain a bit of personal stuff every now and again?

I thought we could start a new blog series of quarterly catch ups. Nothing specific, just a nice chat about what’s been going on. So here we go!

More cookbooks are coming in 2023

Starting with the biggest news of all! I can’t quite believe that I am saying this but I have just signed a three-book deal and will have two more cookbooks will be releasing in 2023!

Releasing my first book Cook It Eat It Live It has been an incredible journey. Of course not without its nerves! But I was so delighted that it received a positive reception, which has now paved the way to release more books. So a huge thank you to everyone who has supported, bought a copy and taken a moment to leave a review. This was not possible without you!

As always, the heart of my cooking is honest, wholesome food. And that will remain across all books that I release. I cannot wait to share more details about what the next book will include but for now I am sworn to secrecy. Keep up to date at @jogirleatsworld for news as it comes.

I caught covid

I know I know, what’s new? Well for me it was a first because up until now I have managed to dodge the dreaded rona. We had a great run but it finally got Alex and Callum and I all spent at least a week feeling pretty rough.

I thought we only had colds, but one night I made (what should have been a lovely) leek and potato soup. Usually when eating a home cooked meal Alex and I spend a good while exchanging compliments and talking over what tastes great, what the cooking process was etc… we really get into our food.

But for this meal? Stony silence. It was tasteless and odd-tasting all at once. For one thing there was absolutely no leek flavour and the only taste I could pin point was the acidity of the balsamic. I felt pretty embarrassed that I had made such a dud soup and went to bed, disappointed and full of ‘cold’.

It was only a half-asleep thought at 3am, putting two-and-two together about our tasteless soup and not feeling well that I realised something might be up. Tests the next morning confirmed it.

Losing our sense of taste was awful, and so strange! Thankfully it only lasted at its worst for a few days and then flavours returned in stages. First to come back was the taste of sweet things, then savoury slowly followed with a few flavours still tasting strange. Sadly, cheese! That took the longest to taste normal again.

I am loving Autumn

The changing of the seasons is always my favourite, and whilst long days and blue skies are lovely I never feel at home in Summer. The colours, the wardrobe, the vibe… it’s lovely but it doesn’t speak to me. Y’know? I joke to Alex that Autumn feels like the ‘restore factory settings’ on your phone… but for me.

My best friend recently said to me “You really thrive at this time of year, don’t you” when we were talking about cooking. Never a truer word spoken! I live for hearty, rich meals full of texture. Winter food is definitely my favourite.

I have struggled with world affairs

The world is scary right now. And having a child to raise in it makes things even more frightening. I had become terrible at doom scrolling and obsessing over what is going on. The lack of stability, and threat of sudden, dramatic changes to our way of life had me wanting to check, almost ‘supervise’ the news constantly. Perhaps this is my way of feeling more in control.

But one day in mid-October I found myself in a really dark mood and not feeling like myself at all. I realised that I needed to take control of my behaviour or I was going to become utterly miserable.

I never want to be ignorant. But I also recognise now that obsessing over what I am powerless to change brings absolutely zero good qualities to my life. And feeling powerless is not conducive to happiness, or being motivated towards achieving your personal goals.

So, what have I done to change my behaviour?

  • Blocked words from my social media: any dark topics are now banned from my TikTok and Twitter feeds. Bad news and sad subjects can no longer ambush me. I heard someone on TikTok comment how it isn’t healthy to be crying with sadness at one video, scroll, and suddenly be laughing at the next. I completely agree with that, so I want my feeds to be purely for entertainment when I have some downtime. We should come away from social media feeling amused, not depressed.
  • Limited visits to news websites: at my worst I was checking the news hourly. I now only allow myself to visit a news website twice a week.
  • Embrace the memes: humour is the best medicine. When it’s a ‘If you don’t laugh you’ll cry’ situation I choose to laugh. Munya Chawawa has been a favourite of mine for making comedy out of crappy situations.
  • Positive affirmations: I admit, I find affirmations a little cheesy. But I’ve been willing to try anything to get me out of this funk and I have to say a little 10 minute YouTube video of confirming good things about myself and my life when I get ready in the morning has really helped to switch my mindset from negative to positive.

I cannot wait for Christmas in our kitchen

We completed our kitchen extension in April, and then life ran away with us we still haven’t completed the interior. We’ve got skirting board to install and new furniture to purchase to make this new space a real part of our home.

With the bigger space we can now have a much needed larger dining table, and I was unbelievably sad to say goodbye to our beautiful antique dining table! That table has been the back drop of hundreds of meals, even the backdrop to my first cookbook. It was sad to see a slice of Girl Eats World history go. But now we make way for a lovely new table to make memories at.

But what do I want from the next one? Well something nice and flat for starters. The problem with an antique is the planks are a little uneven which always made glasses of red wine feel precarious.

I also want something wider. This table was perfect for our narrow kitchen but now we have more space I would love a wider table that makes it easier to serve food in the centre. You know how I love family style dining!


What are you looking forward to as the year approaches the home straight?

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