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Tuesday, 20 December 2016

My Favourite Christmas Recipe & Why I Love It!

Originally posted on Hello Chick Lit on Dec 8th 2016

Christmas is synonymous with so many things for so many reasons for each of us. I could write a list of all my go to Christmas food, films, books and things to do but nothing beats my favourite Christmas recipe, which is mulled wine.
I’m not sure if mulled wine is enjoyed around the world but in my little flat in West London, the month of December will see at least one saucepan of this lovely, warming drinking being made and devoured.
I first got into making mulled wine the very first time I decided to throw a Christmas time party. I was living with my sister and a friend at the time and we invited a bunch of people round. Mulled wine is good drink to make for a group of people because it goes a long way, is inexpensive and can be as alcoholic as you want it to be or not.
Since being married, my husband and I make mulled wine every year and one of the biggest reasons I love it is because of the memories it evokes every time I think about Christmas. My hubby and I tend to have a small gathering of friends drop in around Christmas time and they’ve come to expect the tradition of our mulled wine evening. So when I’m out buying the ingredients for mulled wine I’m always reminded of the great times we’ve had with friends and family, especially those we don’t get to see very often. For me, Christmas is a time for family and friends and I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love a warm glass of this delightful little drink. It works whether you’re eating something savoury or indulging in a mince pie or two (or three).
Over the years, we’ve experimented with different recipes because there are so many ways to make it. The biggest cheat is to buy a box of mulled wine spice from the supermarket and follow the directions. Yes even a mulled wine connoisseur like me resorts to cheats every now and again. And why not?
Where you mustn’t skimp is on the wine. Very often I’ll buy a cheaper wine to make it with but if you do that, just make sure it has a full body to it – just my little tip!

So now onto a starter mulled wine recipe:
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 60g/2oz demerara sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • grated nutmeg
  • 1 orange, halved or slices
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 60ml/2fl oz brandy/spirit of your choice amount of your choice :)
  1. Put the wine in a saucepan with the orange, sugar, bayleaf and the spices.
  2. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Taste to see if you want the wine sweeter, and add more sugar to taste.
  3. Off the heat, stir in the brandy if you are using it.
  4. Strain into heatproof glasses and serve.
Remember you can modify as much as you like and please feel free to experiment – I certainly do!.


Monday, 12 December 2016

A Chilled Christmas

I've been patting myself on the back since completing the first in my three book Magenta Bright series. In case you didn't know, Magenta is the heroine of my up-coming romantic comedy.

The first book is called Magenta Bright: A Year In The Life and it's all about Magenta having to fulfil her grandmother's dying wish in order to get her hands on a quarter of a million pounds! Well that's the 'in a nutshell version' you'll learn more about Magenta in the new year so watch this space ...

I had so much fun writing this story. It started off as one idea and sort of developed into a whole other story; one I'm very happy with and can't wait to share with you.

Of course, now book two and three have to be completed. But, at the moment, I'm taking it easy for a while and preparing myself to get back into story telling mode. I've been enjoying all the lovely reviews that have been coming in for my other books and I'm catching up on my mile long reading list. In other words I'm chilling.

Let's face it, it's not long until Christmas and I want to enjoy it with my family before the world of Magenta Bright takes over.

How are you spending the run up to Christmas? Will you take it in your stride? Panic? Or is it just another day?

As for me, I'm looking forward to a chilled Christmas!

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

My Ideal Christmas

Originally posted on Hello Chick Lit on 24th October 2016

For the first time ever, I wrote a Christmas book of my own. Usually when I’ve written Christmas stories it was for a ghostwriting job I was being paid to do. And, because I have to follow an outline for the story, I just wrote on auto-pilot and it really didn’t register with me that I was writing about Christmas in the late summer or early autumn. I was just going through the motions and getting paid for a job.
In reality I’m just not one for getting Christmassy until right on top of Christmas day itself!
Seriously, I normally buy Christmas presents, decorate the tree and the house just a week before the big day. I know a lot of you will think I’m cutting it a bit fine but I’ve always been like that – compacting all the festivities into a small time frame rather than let Christmas take over a whole month or more. In fact you wouldn’t catch me going near a mince pie before December 20th – crazy right?
But this year, with just over three months to go until one of the best holidays in the year, Christmas feels like it’s just days away to me this time around. My Christmas build up has started now and I’ve already got my eye on my favourite Christmas sweater, even though it’s still quite warm here in London.
And the reason I’m getting in the mood for the holidays is because I spent most of my year creating my first Christmas novel and it’s all I’ve talked about, dreamt about and thought about for months!
With that in mind I started thinking about what makes Christmas special for me – apart from the book :)
Mainly it’s the idea of seeing family I don’t get to see very often because we all have such busy lives. People make more of an effort for a get together – which is fantastic.
My ideal Christmas looks something like this:
  • Watching all my favourite films with a cosy blanket and a warm drink. Some of my favourites include: Meet Me In St Louis and It’s A Wonderful Life.
  • Getting stuck into an equally snuggly Christmas story in the evening. I like to pull out a classic some years like, Little Women or A Christmas Carol.
  • Look around my living room and bedroom, wondering how I can spruce it up or do something different with it. Some years it meant new cushions, a sparkly quilt over, sometimes just some scented candles did the trick. I mean apart from having a huge tree in your living room, I always think something more than the usual is needed.
  • On the day itself, I traditionally get out my favourite music ie jazz collections of all the Christmas carols and Christmas songs I know and love, then I turn up the music while I’m cooking and sing along. Loud. If I’m annoying people I just don’t care – it’s Christmas.
I have also been known to over indulge on the food and drink and I use the fact that it’s Christmas as an excuse.
And who knows, if I publish a Christmas book next year, I might make getting into the spirit of Christmas sooner rather than later a habit! I’m enjoying it so far.

Friday, 2 December 2016

The Jolly Holly Chick Lit Hop

Make the holiday season even merrier by discovering new reads from some of today's best chick lit and romantic comedy authors during the Holly Jolly Chick Lit Hop on Facebook.

Here's how it works: every day from Monday, December 5 through Friday, December 16, readers are invited to hop around to more than 60 authors' Facebook pages (with about five stops each day) to receive gifts and enter to win prizes.

Here is the schedule, which includes the list of authors posting each day and links to their Facebook pages in case you'd like to give them a "like" and follow along:













We will also give away several Amazon gift cards as bonus prizes on the event page. Every day that you participate and leave a comment on the main post for the day, you will be entered into the drawing to receive the prizes. Be sure to check back every day to maximize your chances!

Happy Holidays to all and to all some fabulous reading!