Thursday, 19 June 2014

Feeling thankful - #100happydays

Day 3 #100happydays

Today I am feeling thankful that our prehistoric dinosaur of a lawnmower still works.  It is over 30 years old and it is getting incredibly difficult to source parts for it when it has a breakdown.  We were lucky this year that my husband was able to find substitute parts to fix it. In the future we may not be so lucky.

To replace this beast will require a lot of money - somewhere in the region of NOK 50K .  So, as you can imagine, we'd rather not be burdened with that expense any time soon.

To cut the lawn (tamed meadow) takes over 2 hours, so this isn't a luxury garden toy, but an essential one. Here's hoping we have have a couple more, trouble free years of grass cutting.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A challenge

Joanne, a friend of mine recently completed the #100HappyDays challenge. I read most of her posts, as she documented each day and I must admit I looked forward to seeing what she photographed and talked about.  So, when the challenge finished, I admit to missing the daily anecdotes and pictures.  So, to fill the void Joanne's #100HappyDays has left, I've decided to take up the batten myself and begin my own journey of discovery.

The question: Can I be happy for 100 consecutive days?  Hmm, I'm not sure, but I am going to give this a try.  I'm not a card wearing member of the "grinning Cheshire cat society," nor am I miserable.  If nothing else, I hope that this is an exercise in appreciating what we have and not taking things for granted.  The geek that I am has already figured out that this challenge will be finished on 25th September and it seems such a long way away.  This isn't about wishing my life away, but what life lessons can be learned.

Day 1 #100happydays

This arrived in the post today, my husband's PhD certificate... much work to achieve, but I am very proud of his accomplishment.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

It's that time of year again.  The poppy plant in the garden is flowering again.  Nothing unusual about that, except this year the first flower began opening on 30th May.  I can't remember a flower before June before (at least in the Summer).

This photo was taken just as Oskar was leaving for school this morning .  The background story as to why I take photos of Oskar and the poppy is here.

Monday, 17 February 2014

***Sweetheart Smackdown*** - Elite Eight - Vote for Kathleen

The heroine of The Kathleen Turner Series by Tiffany Snow has made it through to the final "Elite" Eight in the Sweetheart Smackdown competition run my the book blog : For the Love of Books.

Kathleen needs you vote!



Thursday, 13 February 2014

***Sweetheart Smackdown*** Vote for Kathleen!

For the Love of Books is running a Sweetheart Smackdown on their blog between 11th-22nd February.

Kathleen Turner from The Kathleen Turner Series by Tiffany Snow has made it into the last 16 in the competition.

Voting for Kathleen begins today.  Please cast your vote and gain entry into the Mega Prize Draw by using the Rafflecopter link below

Voting /Giveaway

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Author Interview + Giveaway - Out of Turn by Tiffany Snow

I'd like to wish a warm welcome to author Tiffany Snow.  I feel very privileged to host today's blog stop for Tiffany,  as I am a fan, rather than a book reviewer.  Tiffany is currently promoting her latest release - Out Of Turn.

About Tiffany
I love to write and am thrilled to be a part of the Amazon Montlake family. My debut novel, NO TURNING BACK, is the first book in The Kathleen Turner Series. I write about things I love to read myself - a heroine who could be a neighbor or best friend; two men who each portray their own version of darkness and light, each vying for her affection; and a story that focuses as much on the characters as it does the suspense. NO TURNING BACK, TURN TO ME, and TURNING POINT currently comprise The Kathleen Turner Series. The fourth book, OUT OF TURN, will be released 12/17/13. There will be a total of five books in the Kathleen Turner Series.
As for me, I've been reading romance novels since I was way too young to read such things, have an unhealthy obsession for all things Doctor Who, prefer Pepsi to Coke and Absolut to both, think men who drink girly cocktails are wusses, have learned to never stop believing in my beloved St. Louis Cardinals, and can recite the entire scripts of When Harry Met Sally and Apollo 13. George Washington is cool, Bon Jovi still rocks the house, and Bruce Willis is the ultimate alpha-male hero. Most of all, romance never, ever gets old.
Visit my website for more information and special extras.


Why did you choose Indianapolis as the setting for The Kathleen Turner Series?
I’m born and raised in the Midwest and wanted that to be the setting for this series.  Indianapolis is the quintessential Midwest city, in my opinion.  I love it there and visit a couple of times a year.  It has the four distinct seasons, which I also wanted to incorporate into the books.  NO TURNING BACK begins in the chilly autumn, TURN TO ME continues with the beginning of winter into Christmas, TURNING POINT is late winter/early spring and OUT OF TURN is the heat of summertime in Indy.

Are there any characters you've written that you just don't like in series?
There are always villains, those characters you love to hate.  I don’t have a character that I don’t like, but I will say that I have a soft spot for Kandi.  A spoiled little rich girl who wants no one’s pity, she fell in love with the wrong man and couldn’t ever move past that.  She’s a sad character at her heart.

Now that you've finished writing the final book in the series - Point of No Return,  is this the end of Kathleen, Blane and Kade once this book is published on May 20th '14, or will they come back and visit occasionally?
You might see them pop up now and again in other books, a little wink and wave to readers of the series.

There is a long standing radio show in UK called Desert Island Discs.  What choices would you make, if you were stranded on a desert Island?

a) Eight pieces of music? : Oh my, this is hard.  I’m stuck in the 80s so I’d have to have some Bon Jovi tunes (It's My Life, Bed of Roses, Bounce, Superman Tonight), a couple of Maroon 5 tunes (Wake Up CallHarder to Breathe), Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran, a recording of Carrie Underwood’s live performance of How Great Thou Art and One Day More from Les Miserables as performed by the original Broadway cast.
b)  One book? ( + Complete Works of Shakespeare + Bible or other Religious/philosophical work).  A book I’ve read over and over and which helped me learn to love first-person storytelling, DEAD UNTIL DARK by Charlaine Harris.
c) One luxury item?   A bottle of Absolut Mandarin.

What next for Tiffany Snow? Any clues or hints about your next book/series/trilogy?
I am looking at writing a trilogy, but mum’s the word for now.  I will say that it will not include a love triangle. ;-)

Kade leaned closer and his fingers lightly brushed my chin, lifting my head, and his lips met mine.
The touch was electric, as though a shock had gone through me, and I didn’t move, afraid that if I did, he’d stop. His mouth moved gently over mine, his touch maddeningly slow as he lightly licked and sucked on my lips. His tongue was soft, warm velvet.
Only his fingers under my jaw and his lips touched me.
The scent of the cologne he’d worn tonight drifted to me, its alluring aroma mixed with his own scent, creating an aphrodisiac that, combined with his kiss, had me clenching my hands into fists to keep from touching him.
When he lifted his head, his eyes finally met mine, their brilliant blue intense beneath long, dark lashes. His face was inches away and it took every ounce of willpower I had to not pull him back for a real kiss.
“Chocolate tastes even better on you,” he murmured.
My breath was shallow and quick, my pulse even more so. The effect Kade had on me was so profound and strong, and something I’d fought for so long. It seemed odd to think that I didn’t have to anymore.
Or did I?
I’d been with Blane, engaged to him, still had feelings for him that couldn’t be flipped off like a light switch, no matter how angry and bitter I was over how it had ended.
Where did that leave anything I might feel for Kade?
I felt confused and unsure and excused myself to go to the ladies’ room. I touched up my makeup, reapplied my lip gloss, and tried to regain the peace of mind I’d had earlier.
Kade had kissed me before. It didn’t have to mean anything more now than it had then. I was reading too much into it. Maybe because I was lonely, and hurting, and my ego could certainly use some stroking from a man like Kade.
I decided I wasn’t going to allow myself to ruin the night. I’d been having a good time and getting lost inside my own confusion hadn’t been part of the plan. I’d go back to Kade and just have fun doing whatever he had planned. I’d worry about my state of mind, and my life, later.
Kade had paid the bill by the time I returned, and when he ushered me outside it was into a waiting limousine.
“What’s the occasion?” I asked, as he slid in after me.
“To see the Strip, of course,” he said, moving to the seat across from the wet bar. “Champagne?”
I grinned, delighted at this turn of events. “Absolutely.” Sip champagne while riding up and down the Vegas Strip in a limo with a gorgeous man? Yes, please.
Kade popped the cork and poured two glasses. “What should we toast to?” I asked as he handed me a flute of the golden liquid. “To the future? New beginnings? World peace?”
Kade smirked at my teasing. “How about to how incredibly sexy you look tonight?”
That made me feel as though I’d swallowed a ray of sunshine and its warm glow was spreading through my body, melting me from the inside out.
I clinked my glass against his. “Ditto,” I said, and drank.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Rugelach aka Kade's Mom's Christmas Cookies

 I love baking/cooking, and one thing I like to do is try recipes/dishes that are connected or mentioned in the books that I read.
After reading the latest book in The Kathleen Turner series - Out of Turn, and nursing a major book hangover, it was a perfect time to do a bit of festive baking.
This particular recipe was mentioned as part of a blog hop promotion for Tiffany A.Snow about a year ago.  It was accompanied by this extra scene about Kade.

Extract :  “She used to make these cookies for me, every Christmas.”  Absently, Kade took another drink, lost in memories.  “We never had much money for presents, but she’d scrimp and somehow I’d have a full stocking.  Then we’d have Christmas dinner, and always these cookies afterword.  They were amazing.  Fruit and cranberries with nuts, rolled in cinnamon and sugar.  They used to just melt in your mouth.”

8oz / 225g Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 stick / 225g Unsalted Butter, room temperature
¼ cup Sugar
1tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups flour
¼ cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
2tsp Cinnamon
¼ cup Dried Cranberries
1 cup Walnuts, finely chopped*
1 jar Apricot Preserve
1 Egg, beaten for egg wash

Mix cream cheese and butter together. Add sugar, vanilla extract and flour. This makes the dough/pastry. Separate the dough into four equal parts, shape each into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour. When ready, roll each disk out on a floured surface to about 9″ /23cm circles.
Puree apricot preserve if chunky. Combine the dried cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Spread a thin layer of preserve on the dough, then divide the filling equally and sprinkle over each circle, lightly pressing it into the dough. With a pizza cutter, cut each dough circle into 12 equal wedges. Starting from the outside, roll up each wedge into a crescent. Chill for 15 minutes, then brush each cookie with egg wash and sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4 until lightly browned.
* I used 1 Cup Ground Almonds

My son Oskar loves these and keeps sneaking into the storage box and taking one!  A tasty Christmas treat that is now part of my family's Christmas tradition.  God Jul and Merry Christmas.