As the weather turns a little more chilly, don't your thoughts start turning to comfort food and one-pot meals? There's something about ladling out great spoonfuls of a homemade stew crammed with vegetables that is so fulfilling and heart warming.♥
(Image actually chicken stock - I didn't have a photo of stew!)
I was watching River Cottage Autumn last night and LOVED Hugh's idea of a 'Stew Club' so immediately started planning my own version - 'Stew Monday'. I am going to invite four couples of our lovely neighbours to join (that includes you Jane!). The idea is that each couple takes weekly turns to cook a stew large enough to generously serve ten people and then delivers it to the others for them to reheat for Monday night's supper. How exciting is that?! I'll let you know if they tell me to get knotted! :-)
Lynda is one of the warmest and most honest bloggers I've come across so I thoroughly recommend you pay her a visit.
A condition of accepting this award is to tell you seven facts about myself.
1. I currently seem to have a big crush on David Cameron!
2. I don't mind blood and can watch the most gruesome of operations or horror movies but sick, bogies and poo all make me heave. Even talking about them makes me feel queasy so I shall move swiftly on ..!
3. On a similar theme, I cannot bear people who spit. If someone walking in front of me spits on the ground (or 'flobs' as we used to call it), I tap them on the shoulder and politely say "excuse me, I think you've dropped something". It can invite a variety of reactions!
4. I absolutely love cryptic crosswords and all word games especially Scrabble.
5. I wasn't very good at being pregnant. I'd love to be able to report that I floated serenely around in pretty ditsy floral maternity clothes with a self-satisfied glow on both occasions but the truth was that I was tired, ratty, emotional and wore dungarees for the whole nine months. I did however thoroughly enjoy childbirth! Two natural births with just gas and air, twenty-five and seventeen hours respectively.
6. I am petrified of spiders. I was held hostage in my own house just last week by a spider the size of a hand lurking outside the front door. Thankfully my wonderful postman came to the rescue and removed it with somebody else's letter.
7. I am very much a summer person and really don't like the cold and short days of winter. Give me Easter and its promise of spring and summer over Christmas any day. Bah humbug.
I get so much pleasure from all the blogs I follow and I truly mean that. The five blogs I nominate for this award however are:-
Goodness me, is it really that long since I last posted? It's not that I've been away. Au contraire, I've been here doing normal me, mummy and wifey things. Since the blondies went back to school two weeks ago, I've been quite happy pottering, sprucing and preparing my little nest ready for the colder weather. I've also had a stinky head cold and spluttery cough for the last few days so have been feeling a bit bleurgh.
Anyway, one of my favourite Cath Kidston summer dresses got perhaps it's last 2010 outing yesterday ...
Mum and I went to London for the day on the train. It was wonderfully warm and sunny. We browsed around Camden Market (you'd love the vintage clothes shops) and then sat with a huuuge glass of wine in Covent Garden and indulged in another of my favourite pastimes - people-watching.
I was a very good girl and, other than a couple of little birthday pressies, only had a teeny fritter on some new fridge magnets from Paperchase ...
Other than slightly tired feet and a croaky voice from too much talking and laughing, I feel positively recharged today.
Must pop off to the Post Office now to post a few parcels. I'm heaping a lot of my clothes on eBay in an attempt to justify buying a couple of new items for the winter get a little nearer my goal of a capsule wardrobe! :-)
PS. Thanks so much for your fab book suggestions - I'll keep you posted! x
Sure, I pick through magazines, the odd newspaper, reference books and, of course, blogs but I can't remember the last time I got lost in a novel.
I always had my nose in a book when I was younger. I would find a writer whose style I really enjoyed and then devour anything and everything I could find that they had ever written. I would read four or five books a week, every week.
When I was very young, I read every Enid Blyton book in existence. The Enchanted Wood and The Magic Faraway Tree were favourites, along with the Mallory Towers series.
I then progressed to Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy. As for Laurie Lee's Cider With Rosie, well, it remains my favourite book of all time. I remember sitting on a bus in near tearful meltdown as I read Watership Down. Unfortunately, we had to drag our way through several of Chaucer's painful Canterbury Tales at A' Level which I think, with hindsight, put an end to any further interest in the classics.
When I had the children, my concentration levels took a bit of a nose dive so I turned to Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher. Catherine Alliot, Cathy Kelly and Sophie Kinsella seemed the natural progression and then I don't know what happened really. Perhaps I was all chick-litted out.
I miss reading but I think I've sort of gotten out of the habit. Do you know what I mean?
As a starting point, I had a browse through the BBC Big Read's 100 Greatest Books Ever Written and rather fancy picking a couple ...
1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce (does Homer's The Odyssey count?)
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
For a start, I can't believe Cider With Rosie isn't included!!!
Anyway, I've highlighted those that I have already read in pink. Is your favourite book of all time in the list? Have you just read a fabulous book you can recommend? I know we each have different tastes but I'd love to know what you think.