Can you believe there are only nine more sleeps until Christmas? That means only nine more chocolates are hidden behind the doors of my advent calendar. It also means that the slight panic I'm beginning to feel having realised that I still have some presents to buy, is only going to get worse. On the flip side, the excitement that's building, because I'm one of those people who absolutely loves Christmas, is going to intensify - and that's a good thing. No really, it is!
And speaking of presents ... and excitement, I'm giving away a little present on this blog. It's the one in the photo and it consists of a cute robin cushion, a box of scrummy choccies and a signed paperback of my new book, Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row. A cushion, a book and chocolates - the perfect reading combination! Unfortunately, this particular giveaway is for UK residents only.
All you have to do for a chance to win this gift is to comment on this blog post and tell me your favourite Christmas tradition (but please don't worry if your comment doesn't appear right away. All comments have to come to me to be verified and that can take a little while. It will appear though. )
I was asked this question for a blog tour recently and I must confess I listed about ten things, because I simply couldn't decide on my favourite. So perhaps I should ask you to tell me just one of your favourite traditions. Hohoho! Is it decorating the tree? Making the Christmas cake and wishing while you stir? Finding the perfect Yule log for the fire? Opening one present on Christmas Eve? Or whatever. You get the picture, right?
This will close for entries at midnight on Monday 17th December and a winner will be selected at random and the name posted on this blog on Tuesday the 18th, so there's not much time. Sorry about that but I was busy running other competitions on Facebook, in my newsletter and in my reader group, and I completely lost track of time! I'll clearly be going on Santa's Naughty List. But hey, no change there.
I'm thrilled to reveal the utterly gorgeous cover of my new book, Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row. I'm so excited to share Juliet and Harrison's Christmas story with you. It's out now, so why not grab a hot chocolate and curl up with this heart-warming, festive romance.
Here's the blurb.
It’ll take a miracle to make Juliet’s Christmas merry, but Mistletoe Row is the place to be when you need some Christmas magic.
The last person Juliet Bell expects to see when she returns home for Christmas is Harrison Bow. Especially with the most beautiful woman in the world by his side. Twenty years ago, Juliet and Harrison had the shortest romance in history, consisting of one date – and one blazing row. But Juliet will never admit when she’s wrong, and Harrison doesn’t forgive easily, so they haven’t seen, or spoken to one another since.
Harrison Bow vowed he’d never visit his grandfather at The Grange, again, or drive along Mistletoe Row, the scene of one of the unhappiest times of his life. He hasn’t been back for twenty years and he’s only here now because his brother pleaded with him to come. At least, with his executive assistant joining him, he’ll be able to do some work.
I am so excited to be revealing the absolutely gorgeous cover for The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane - Part One: New beginnings.
Today is the BIG cover reveal and I'm hoping you may want to get involved and share the cover and pre-order link. But first, let me share with you what the book is about.
My fourth novel, 'Sailing Solo' was released at the end of July. It's a humorous romance set in Greece, where Willa Daventry runs sailing holidays for single people from her base at the beautiful, Argolis Bay Hotel.
Willa and her best friend, Blossom, like a drink and Blossom's favourite cocktail is a Screaming Orgasm. Well, who doesn't like those?
Any hoo... that got me thinking. (I have been known to do that.) Why don't I have a cocktail invented for Willa? So I set off to do some research.
Luckily for me I met the delightful, Tom at my local cocktail bar, 'Walkers', in Hastings town centre, and he agreed to help me.
My grandmother's Christmas cake recipe
This is the Christmas cake I've been making every year, since I was a little girl, old enough to help my grandmother. She was an instinctive cook, never weighing ingredients but judging by taste and consistency and everything she served, was absolutely delicious! This cake is no exception and without fail, every friend I have given this recipe to, has said that it is the best cake they've ever tasted. The best cake requires the best ingredients so do, please, buy free range eggs (not just because they are much tastier but also for ethical reasons-you'll be happier knowing the hens are enjoying a better quality of life!) and PLEASE do not use anything other than real butter - it just won't taste as good, nor will it be the correct consistency. Okay, lecture over. Here's the list of ingredients:
1 kg fruit (I use 300g sultanas + 300g currants + 400g raisins, but you can mix as you choose)
300g glace cherries (I like lots of cherries in my cake but you can use less)
75g mixed peel (you don't have to use this but it does add to the flavour)
200 ml brandy (NOT brandy essence)
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
half a teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)
300g butter (softened)
4 large eggs (free range)
100g chopped nuts (I use pecans and hazelnuts, grandmother used brazil nuts and walnuts, but use any nuts or combination of nuts, you like and chop fairly small. )
250g dark muscovado sugar
1 tablespoon black treacle
zest of orange and lemon (grated, unwaxed)
1. Put all the fruit including cherries and mixed peel into a saucepan with the brandy and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, cover (lid/tea-towel/plate) and leave overnight.