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Strawberry Pavlova Recipe

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I absolutely love Pavlova. The variations are limitless, with strawberries, and kiwi fruit, or chocolate and nuts with pears.

Here is my never fail Strawberry Pavlova recipe

Ingredients

4 egg whites 

250g caster sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping
250ml cream
500g fresh strawberries

Optional
2 tbsp icing sugar

Method

  1. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan. Using a pencil, mark out the circumference of a dinner plate on baking parchment. Whisk the egg whites with a hand mixer until they form stiff peaks, then whisk in the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until the meringue looks glossy. Whisk in the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla.
  2. Spread the meringue inside the circle, creating a crater by making the sides a little higher than the middle. Bake for 1 hr, then turn off the heat and let the Pavlova cool completely inside the oven.
  3. When the meringue is cool, chop the strawberries. Cover in 1 tbsp icing sugar (optional). Let it stand to sweeten. Whip the cream and spread it over the meringue. Put the strawberries on top of on the cream and dust with the remaining icing sugar if desired

 

I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

 

 

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The Perfect Holiday Reads

Many people don’t know that we Authors also have our own Must Read list of books.

These are books we eye out from other Authors and we promise ourselves that we will find time to read them in the coming months.

I thought I would share my wish list for the holidays with you, so that we can explore these gems together. I haven’t limited them to any particular genre, as I like to read a combination of things.

If you find yourself reading any of these, please do find me on Social media so we can chat about them together.

You can also chat to me about my own book, because of course it MADE THE LIST!

1a

Title: The Rome Affair

Author: Karen Swan

Available on Amazon & Kindle

Synopsis: 1974 and Elena Damiani lives a gilded life. Born to wealth and a noted beauty, no door is closed to her, no man can resist her. At twenty-six, she is already onto her third husband when she meets her love match. But he is the one man she can never have, and all the beauty and money in the world can’t change it.

2017 and Francesca Hackett is living la dolce vita in Rome, leading tourist groups around the Eternal City and forgetting the ghosts she left behind in London. When she finds a stolen designer handbag in her dustbin and returns it, she is brought into the orbit of her grand neighbour who lives across the piazza – famed socialite Viscontessa Elena dei Damiani Pignatelli della Mirandola. Though the purse is stolen, Elena greets the return of the bag with exultation for it contains an unopened letter written by her husband on his deathbed, twelve years earlier.

Mutually intrigued by each other, the two women agree to collaborate on a project, with Cesca interviewing Elena for her memoirs. As summer unfurls, Elena tells her sensational stories, leaving Cesca in her thrall. But when a priceless diamond ring found in an ancient tunnel below the city streets is ascribed to Elena, Cesca begins to suspect a shocking secret at the heart of Elena’s life.

1b

Title: A Window Opens

Author: Elisabeth Egan

Available on Amazon & Kindle

Synopsis: In A Window Opens, beloved books editor at Glamour magazine Elisabeth Egan brings us Alice Pearse, a compulsively honest, longing-to-have-it-all, sandwich generation heroine for our social-media-obsessed, lean in (or opt out) age. Like her fictional forebears Kate Reddy and Bridget Jones, Alice plays many roles (which she never refers to as “wearing many hats” and wishes you wouldn’t, either). She is a mostly-happily married mother of three, an attentive daughter, an ambivalent dog-owner, a part-time editor, a loyal neighbour and a Zen commuter. She is not: a cook, a craftswoman, a decorator, an active PTA member, a natural caretaker or the breadwinner. But when her husband makes a radical career change, Alice is ready to lean in—and she knows exactly how lucky she is to land a job at Scroll, a hip young start-up which promises to be the future of reading, with its chain of chic literary lounges and dedication to beloved classics. The Holy Grail of working mothers―an intellectually satisfying job and a happy personal life―seems suddenly within reach. Despite the disapproval of her best friend, who owns the local bookstore, Alice is proud of her new “balancing act” (which is more like a three-ring circus) until her dad gets sick, her marriage flounders, her babysitter gets fed up, her kids start to grow up and her work takes an unexpected turn. Readers will cheer as Alice realizes the question is not whether it’s possible to have it all, but what does she―Alice Pearse―really want?

1c

Title: Whiskey & Charlie

Author: Annabel Smith

Available on Amazon & Kindle

Synopsis: Whiskey and Charlie might have come from the same family, but they’d tell you two completely different stories about growing up. Whiskey is everything Charlie is not ― bold, daring, carefree ― and Charlie blames his twin brother for always stealing the limelight, always getting everything, always pushing Charlie back. By the time the twins reach adulthood, they are barely even speaking to each other.

When they were just boys, the secret language they whispered back and forth over their crackly walkie-talkies connected them, in a way. The two-way alphabet (alpha, bravo, Charlie, delta) became their code, their lifeline. But as the brothers grew up, they grew apart.

When Charlie hears that Whiskey has been in a terrible accident and has slipped into a coma, Charlie can’t make sense of it. Who is he without Whiskey? As days and weeks slip by and the chances of Whiskey recovering grow ever slimmer, Charlie is forced to consider that he may never get to say all the things he wants to say. A compelling and unforgettable novel about rivalry and redemption, Whiskey & Charlie is perfect for anyone whose family has ever been less than picture-perfect.

1d

Title: Last Seen

Author: Lucy Clarke

Available on Amazon & Kindle

Synopsis: Seven years ago, two boys went missing at sea – and only one was brought to shore. The Sandbank, a remote stretch of coast dotted with beach huts, was scarred forever.

Sarah’s son survived, but on the anniversary of the accident, he disappears without trace. As new secrets begin to surface, The Sandbank hums with tension and unanswered questions. Sarah’s search grows more desperate and she starts to mistrust everyone she knows – and she’s right to.

Someone saw everything on that fateful day seven years ago. And they’ll do anything to keep the truth buried.

1e

Title: Perfect Imperfections

Author: Taryn Leigh

Available on Amazon & Kindle

Synopsis: Sarah Lewis desires nothing more than to begin again after a failed marriage and a tragedy so terrifying, it forces her to leave her life in London to stay with her best friend a world apart in South Africa.

Despite immediate success in her business, she struggles to understand who she really is and where she belongs in the world. So begins a journey of discovery as Sarah re-unites with Katy in the land where she was born, where the air is lavender scented, and weekends are spent cycling on the beach.

Until the day when she has to return to London to face the ghosts of her past and confront a situation that has grown more complicated in her absence. Perfect Imperfections is an intriguing tale which hints at wrongdoings and deceit without giving too much away.

The author cleverly weaves a tale around fragile yet strong Sarah as she tries to reconcile her past with her future, engaging the reader to the point where we simply want the best for her and for happiness finally to come her way.

Book Lovers

The Power of Fiction

Fiction may be seen to some as a way of escaping reality. Journalists or Political Activists might feel that an Author writing fiction has no power to influence society, culture, and an individual.

That however is vastly untrue.

For centuries books have been a source of knowledge, the gateway to understanding, and a platform for debate. Fiction novels, have been at the forefront of these in many instances.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence is a book about an aristocratic woman who commits adultery with a working-class man. This book was subsequently banned in the UK due to its sexual content and language. However, it brought to light the plight of censorship and helped to overthrow it.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beacher Stowe is given credit for transforming American views about slavery.

Animal Farm by George Orwell strongly affected readers’ views of government and politics.

The question stands that how could a story, primarily brought together by the Author, have such a profound effect on society, and how we view things?

The answer is found in how these stories have a way to cause the reader to:

  • Have empathy for the lead character
  • Feel the pain of what they may be going through
  • View painful circumstances through the eyes of someone else
  • Go through the suffering from a distant yet involved view
  • Share in the frustration of societal problems and dysfunctions, and explore possible solutions.

These stories have a way to connect the reader emotionally to a fictitious stranger. It causes people to empathise with a stranger, where they might not empathise with someone they know. It causes them to tap into their emotions and review their stance on real issues.

As an Author of Fiction myself, I have made it my mission to write books that can bring a change to someone else’s life. Whether it’s showing them the power of forgiveness or allowing them to have empathy for someone else who is going through the hardest moments in their life. For me, it’s important, to not just write beautiful stories, but to have a lasting impact on the very person whose hands grace the pages of my books.

Book Lovers

Book Secrets you didn’t know

We all love to read our favourite books. Yet there are those secrets we rarely hear about, and its those little things we love to know.

So here are a few just for you! …

 Secrets of Thirteen Reasons Why

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 Not every character in the series is in the book.

When the writers brought the 288-page book to life as a 13-hour series, they had to expand the world of the story with new characters.

“I think of the book as this outline of Hannah’s story, and then from that, the writers of the series — with Jay’s blessing — added so many details and plots that allow the viewer to unpack the story to a greater extent,” Hannah said. “The new characters help out flesh out this world.”

 

Her character Stephanie is among the new additions, which meant Hannah was acting from a clean slate. She’s one of Courtney’s best friends and “a ditzy take on the typical mean girl,” Hannah explained. “When I got the breakdown for this character, it was funny because the script just said, ‘Stephanie (pretty, dumb.)'”

Read more from the source here

 

Secrets of Perfect Imperfections by Taryn Leigh

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“Edward’s character in the book is actually inspired by my real life husband. Also the mention of Wuthering Heights in the book is a hint towards my husband, as Wuthering Heights is the very first book he gave me when we had just started dating.

One day we were walking in a flea market, and he picked up a used copy of Wuthering Heights sold by a book merchant, and bought it for me. He then took me to the park, and sat playing with my hair as I read the first few chapters. He won my heart that day!”

 Secrets of JK Rowling, Author of Harry Potter

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JK Rowling finds ways to bring elements of herself into her books.

She and Harry Potter share a birthday, July 31st. She is reported as saying that Hermione is a bit like her when she was younger, and her favourite animal is an otter—which is, of course, Hermione’s patronus. Plus, both Dumbledore and Rowling like sherbet lemons (Rowling said that the wizard’s “got good taste”). 

Read more from the source here

 

Secrets of Karen Swan, Author of Christmas at Tiffany’s

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Karen Swans real name is Karen Anne Swan MacLeod

Much as she loves her very Scottish name, Swan had to drop the MacLeod when she started writing blockbuster fiction since the shorter name suited the flamboyantly embossed covers of her saucy books,

“I’d always written as a journalist as Karen Swan MacLeod. Dad’s family name is actually MacSwan MacLeod, so we’re very Scottish. I think Karen Swan sounds like a made-up name for someone who writes sexy, romantic novels”

Read more from the source here

 

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Taryn Leigh