Booking Through Thursday – Winter

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It’s the depth of winter here where I live right now … what books do you like to read when it’s snowy and white? What books do you read to evoke a real feeling of winter (good or bad)?

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme about books and reading. Every week a question is asked which can be answered on your own blog. This week’s question can be seen above. It is about what books you prefer to read in winter.

Below I’ve listed the books that I like to read around winter/Christmas time.

 Hogfather – Terry Pratchett

This is a Christmas must read for me! This is the 20th novel in the Discworld series and is focused on my favourite character in the series (Death).

“It’s the night before Hogswatch. And its too quiet.

Where is the big jolly fat man? Why is Death creeping down chimneys and trying to say Ho Ho Ho? The darkest night of the year is getting a lot darker…

Susan the gothic governess has got to sort it out by morning, otherwise there won’t be a morning. Ever again…The 20th Discworld novel is a festive feast of darkness and Death (but with jolly robins and tinsel too).

As they say: ‘You’d better watch out…'”

 

A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings – Charles Dickens

I bought this beautiful hardback book last Christmas when I was working at Waterstones. I used to read a copy of A Christmas Carol every Christmas but now I’ve got a beautiful version to read. It’s good to read the lesser known Christmas stories as well. Dickens just screams Christmas to me.

“Dicken’s Christmas writings-in a new, sumptuous, and delightful clothbound edition.

Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol has had significant influence on our ideas about the Christmas spirit, and the season as a time for celebration, charity, and memory. This handsome edition features appendices on A Christmas Carol and The Haunted Man, an essay on Dickens and The Arabian Nights, and Dickens’s prefaces to the collected editions of the Christmas books.”

 The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey

 This is a beautiful story set in the snowy Alaska woods. Perfect for winter.

“Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he struggling to maintain the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young girl running through the trees.
This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel come to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they begin to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent territory things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform them all.”

What books do you read in the winter?

A Vegan/Gluten Free Christmas

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday. I spent the day in the house with the family where we watched kids films, played games, had a gorgeous dinner and watched Doctor Who. 

I spent a lot of the day preparing food I could eat for dinner. Usually I have a Cheatin Roast or a Linda McCartney Roast but since I am now gluten free and trying to eat more whole foods (and less processed food) I decided to make something myself. 

I followed a recipe for Lentil Loaf from The Almost Vegan (http://thealmostvegan.com/vegan-lentil-loaf/) which contained mashed and whole green lentils, carrots, onions and walnuts. The walnuts gave a really nice crunch and the herbs made this roast delicious. I won’t post the recipe as you can get it from the link above but here is a photo of my loaf.

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I also made my own gravy from scratch. I’ve tried many vegan/gf gravy mixes and hated them all. I didn’t follow a recipe for this but I had a mushroom stock cube and a lot of mushrooms so I decided to use them to make my gravy (if you don’t know, I LOVE mushrooms). I don’t think it’s worth a recipe as it was very simple. I fried some onions and mushrooms in a tiny amount of oil then added water, the stock cube (I use Kallo), some rosemary, some onion powder and a handful of nutritional yeast. I boiled it for about 30 minutes and then took the vegetables out and thickened the liquid with cornflour. I ended up with a really nice gravy that tasted very different to the old bisto I used to have!

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Here is my whole dinner. I had the same vegetables as everyone else – sprouts, carrots, red cabbage, roast potatoes and roast parsnips. I also had a few stuffing balls which I made using a Mrs Crimbles mix. It was the best Christmas dinner I’ve probably ever had! The lentil loaf is really nice on a sandwich too. I’ve had two sandwiches with it since my dinner.

I got some really good presents this year as well! The photos below are just a selection.

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My first ever Gluten Free AND Vegan cookbook! This book looks really good and it saves me the time of searching through and putting sticky notes on recipes I can use. Apparently it is a sequel so I’m on the hunt for the first one now!

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I’ve wanted this book ever since I heard it was coming out. It’s a beautiful edition too.Image

Maybe the best present! Read, Set, Novel is a workbook with lots of exercises in it to help you plan your novel. I also got my first fountain pen! Writer presents are brilliant.

ImageAnd everything else (well nearly – I also got a TARDIS that makes noises, a hairdryer and a Coldplay DVD).

 

I gave out a lot of homemade gifts this year. I got the recipes/instructions online and it’s really satisfying giving something you’ve made yourself. Here are some of the things I made.

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I forgot to take photos before I gave these goodies away so the images above are from the tutorials which I will list now.

Sock Monkey – A really cute and easy to make gift! Tutorial – http://www.craftbits.com/project/sock-monkey

Candy Cane Fudge – Vegan fudge but you’d never know it! Tutorial – http://www.godairyfree.org/news/nutrition-headlines/the-best-holiday-fudge-ever-and-it-just-happens-to-be-vegan

Cherry Coconut Truffles – Like vegan bounties! Tutorial – http://dadavegan.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/vegan-mofo-1st-truffles.html

 

And the best part of Christmas is my cat Wicca! A few days ago he was diagnosed with kidney failure and the vet wasn’t very hopeful but he’s getting better and better. We’re so proud of him!

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So that’s my Christmas! Today is a bedroom cleaning and writing day. I hope you all had a great time!

 

 

Getting into the festive spirit!

I started the day watching a Christmas film on Christmas 24 (which was rubbish by the way but most good Christmas films are!). Needless to say this put me in the exact mood for putting up my Christmas decorations. I got out my little black Christmas tree and I also decorated my desk so the festive spirit will be there while I’m writing!

The baubles in a jar idea I got from pinterest and my little tealight holders are currently burning Strawberry Buttercream Yankee Tealights. Not an overly festive fragrance but it smells delicious anyway.

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Are you in the festive spirit yet?