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Darcie Boleyn

Heartwarming Romance

Darcie’s Warming Festive Mulled Wine #recipe #Christmas #winterwarmer

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Darcie’s Mulled Wine

This is a firm family favourite – adults only, of course!

Ingredients:

2 bottles of red wine

2oz/60g brown sugar

2 oranges – 1 sliced and 1 left whole

1 lemon sliced

8 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

60ml/2floz of sloe gin or Cointreau

 

Instructions:

Stud one of the oranges with the cloves.

Put the wine, sugar, spices and fruit – including the clove studded orange – into a large saucepan and heat gently. Do not boil.

Taste then add more sugar if required.

Remove from the heat and stir in the sloe gin or Cointreau.

Strain carefully into heatproof glasses.

Garnish with a slice of orange or lemon.

ENJOY!

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Darcie’s Top Five Festive Movies

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No Christmas would be complete without movies. There’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa with my family and a festive film.

Here are my top five festive movies:

#1 has to be National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – Growing up I watched this movie with my Dad every year and every time he would belly laugh until the tears rolled down his cheeks. It has such good memories for me and these days I watch it with my husband and children.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=decUIVkZ4GI

 

#2 is Home Alone – This movie is a classic. I loved it as a child and my children love it, especially my son. It never ceases to amuse us all and the ending sees me in tears every time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4qLXp2kX3k

 

#3 is It’s a Wonderful Life – A beautiful movie that always reminds me to appreciate what I have and, again, that makes me cry!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewe4lg8zTYA

 

#4 is The Grinch – I just love that wicked green guy with his bah humbug attitude and I’m always moved by his turnaround and acceptance of the error of his ways.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD0m9t4WHEQ

 

#5 Die Hard – I can’t believe this was made back in 1988! Its exciting action scenes featuring the fearless, wisecracking Bruce Willis AKA John Maclane and its messages about family values get me looking forward to Christmas every year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TQ-pOvI6Xo

 

 

What are your favourite festive movies?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Love, Darcie XXXIMG_6311

 

My Christmas Cake Recipe #cake #bake #bakeoff

Today I’m going to share the recipe for my Christmas cake. It’s one I’ve adapted over the years and I think I’ve now got it just right. This year though, as I’ve been rather busy writing, I only managed to make my cake last week. This means that it won’t have long to mature, which is a shame, but sometimes the best laid plans…

I enjoy baking because it relaxes me and because I enjoy eating the results! If my children join in too, it’s even more fun, and I love seeing the satisfaction they feel when they make their own cakes, biscuits and more. Life is so busy that being able to spend some time together in the kitchen gives us a chance to talk and laugh and to share memories and these times are so special.

 

Darcie Boleyn’s Christmas Cake 

Ingredients:

1kg of mixed dried fruits – raisins, sultanas, glace cherries, cranberries… (Use whatever fruit you prefer.)

50g stem ginger – chopped

zest and juice one lemon, zest and juice one orange

150ml of a spirit of your choice – brandy, whisky, rum or sherry – plus extra for feeding (I prefer brandy.)

250g butter (This year I’ve used Stork block as a family member has developed a lactose allergy.)

200g soft brown sugar

1 tablespoon black treacle

175g plain flour

100g flaked almonds

150g chopped pecans

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons mixed spice

½ teaspoon ground cloves

4 large free range eggs

1teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Method:

(1) Place all of the dried fruits and stem ginger into a large mixing bowl or pan then mix in your choice of spirit along with the lemon and orange zest and juice. Cover with a clean cloth or tea towel and leave to stand for at least 24 hours. Stir regularly to ensure that the fruit plumps up nicely.

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(2) Mix together the almonds, pecans, flour, baking powder and spices in a bowl.

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(3) In a different bowl, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and treacle together. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour with each. Finally, gently fold in the dry ingredients.

(4) Tip the creamed mixture into the fruit. Stir well with a wooden spoon.

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(5) Prepare a 23-25cm and 8 cm deep cake tin: grease then double-line the inside of the tin with greased baking parchment. Allow the parchment to come about 1cm above the top of the tin. Cut a double circle of parchment with a diameter approximately 5cm bigger than the tin. Fold and cut a hole in the centre about 4cm across.

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(6) Preheat the oven to 150 C / Gas mark 2. Pour the mixture into the lined tin. Even out the surface and make a slight indentation in the centre with the back of a spoon. Put into the middle of the oven and carefully balance the circular disk of parchment on top of the tin. (This stops the top of the cake over-browning and drying out, but it won’t work in a fan oven as it tends to blow the parchment off.)

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(7) Bake for 3 hours and 45 minutes.

(8) Place on a rack and allow to go cold in the tin – preferably overnight.

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(9) Remove from tin and take off the side parchment, leaving the bottom in place. Pierce all over with a skewer and carefully spoon over 5 tablespoons of your chosen spirit. Wrap carefully in a double layer of parchment then in two layers of foil so that the cake is completely covered.

(10) Leave to mature in an airtight tin in a cool, dark place for at least 3 months. ‘Feed’ every 3 to 4 weeks with four additional tablespoons of your chosen spirit. Rewrap carefully each time.

(11) Two weeks before serving, cover with marzipan and allow to dry for 5 days.

(12) Before serving, ice with fondant or royal icing, and decorate as desired. (The photograph below shows last year’s cake as this year’s is currently maturing.)

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If you make your own cake, do you have a favourite recipe?

Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2018!

Love, Darcie XXX

#boookreview – Now You See Me – by @Kierney_S @bookouture

Unknown-2.jpegWOW! WOW! WOW!

I LOVED this FABULOUS thriller from Kierney Scott!

Now You See Me is intense from the word go. The author knows how to write an FBI thriller with style and I was hooked from the start! There were twists and turns and moments when my stomach churned and if I could have sat in my chair and read it in one go I certainly would have done. The main character Jess Bishop is bright, intuitive and deliciously flawed, exactly what I want in an FBI heroine. She’s got plenty of secrets of her own and the author weaves them into the plot in a way that made me gasp.

All I can say is get a move on with the next one, Kierney, because I’m ready and waiting to read it!

#bookreview – The Forgotten Room by Ann Troup @TroupAnn – #amreading

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I loved this book! It was creepy, dark and full of twists and turns. There was a rambling old house, an eccentric family, plenty of secrets and betrayals and lots of moments where I shivered. Ann Troup does psychological thriller with panache; she creates characters and plot lines that get under your skin and leave you with goosebumps long after reading. There are plenty of secrets in The Forgotten Room waiting to be uncovered and if you like your chillers with a gothic veneer and a deep exploration of the human psyche, then this is the book for you!

#bookreview – Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances @suewatsonwriter @bookouture

Now I’m ready for Christmas!

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This book is wonderfully funny, romantic and festive and I loved every page! Reading it was like snuggling in front of a log fire in a fluffy dressing gown while sipping a hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and whipped cream. It’s that good!

I loved Chloe and Gianni, as well as the rest of the colourful characters. Chloe was so sweet, real and believable and I shared her joy in simple pleasures and identified with her pain. She has suffered a loss that will resonate with many readers, but despite this, she is strong and she knows she has to accept that her life will not be how she’d thought it would be and make the most of what she has. As Chloe and the passionate, fiery Gianni are thrown back together in the beautiful seaside village, they start to rethink their past decisions and behaviour and rediscover feelings they thought they had lost long ago.

The setting was absolutely magical, especially with the festive details. I wish I could walk on the beach at Appledore before sampling one of the amazing sundaes at the local ice cream parlour. Along with the romance comes another delightful sensual journey, and that is linked to good food and wine. My mouth was literally watering at the vivid descriptions.

This is a story about love and loss, about wanting things from life then being disappointed and taking for granted what you actually have or failing to communicate with the person you love so that a rift develops between you.

If you’re looking for a gorgeous Christmas read, then I highly recommend Snowflakes, Iced Cakes and Second Chances.

(Thank you to Sue Watson, Netgalley and Bookouture for the ARC.)

#bookspotlight #bookreview Ours Is The Winter by @LaurieEllingham

Recently I was lucky enough to receive an early review copy of Ours Is The Winter by Laurie Ellingham. The book releases on 17th November 2017 and you should go and preorder your copy now because it’s fabulous!
Here’s the gorgeous cover and the blurb:
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Journeying across the Arctic, their pasts are about to catch up with them.

Erica, Molly and Noah are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime, driving Siberian huskies across the frozen wilderness of the Arctic. Cut off from the world and their loved ones and thrown together under gruelling conditions, it isn’t long before the cracks start to show.

Erica has it all. A loving husband, a successful career and the most adorable baby daughter. But Erica has been living a double life, and as she nears her fortieth birthday her lies threaten to come crashing down.

Molly was on her way to stardom. But when her brother died, so did her dreams of becoming an Olympic champion. Consumed by rage and grief, she has shut out everyone around her, but now she’s about to learn that comfort can come from the most unexpected places.

Noah has a darkness inside him and is hounded by nightmares from his past. Tortured, trapped and struggling to save his fractured relationship, he knows this journey is not going to help, but try telling his girlfriend that.

As their lives and lies become ever more entwined, it becomes clear that in the frozen wilds there is nowhere to hide.

 

My thoughts 

Ours Is The Winter is a gripping tale about love, loss, longing, regret and trying to move on with life. The story focuses on three characters – Erica, Molly and Noah – who are thrown together when they embark on an Arctic challenge.

I loved the way that Laurie Ellingham gave the perspectives of the three characters as they set off on the challenging and gruelling adventure, while providing details about their backgrounds. As I read, I felt that I knew the three characters well and I hoped that they would find what it was that they were looking for.

Laurie Ellingham has a lovely style that seamlessly transports you into the story and my favourite thing about Our Is The Winter was the descriptions of the settings and the dogs. Being mad about dogs, it made me want to meet the huskies in the story and I would love to have the opportunity to visit the setting of the novel. I also felt the biting cold that the characters endure during the trip and shared their longing to see the Northern Lights.

This story is gripping, exciting, emotional and beautifully written. Laurie Ellingham is a talented author and I look forward to reading more of her books!

5 GOLDEN STARS FROM ME!!!

 

Christmas at Conwenna Cove #amreading #christmascountdown

Today I am delighted to share the cover and blurb for Christmas at Conwenna Cove. This festive novel is the second book set in Conwenna Cove and can be read as a standalone or enjoyed as part of the series.

Christmas at Conwenna Cove will be released on 9th October 2017 and is available for preorder here.

 

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Christmas at Conwenna Cove: A gorgeous, uplifting seasonal romance set in a beautiful Cornish village

A heartwarming, romantic and Christmassy novel set in the gorgeous Cornish village of Conwenna Cove.

When Grace Phillips travels to Conwenna Cove to help her parents move there 30 years after their honeymoon in the village, she sees why they fell in love with the place. The festive decorations, carols in the air and constant supply of delicious mince pies certainly make it hard to leave. Grace soon meets local vet Oli Davenport and initially finds him rude, but learning about his passion for animals and how much he cares for his two kids helps Grace to see a softer side to Oli.

It’s been two years since Oli lost his wife to cancer. Though he loves eleven-year-old Amy and five-year-old Tom more than anything it’s hard to be mum and dad. He has no interest in romance until he crosses paths with beautiful and kind-hearted Grace. The sparks fly but both Oli and Grace are holding onto fear about letting someone into their heart.

As the snow falls and Christmas wishes come true can Conwenna Cove work its magic and help Grace and Oli find the happiness they both deserve?

 

Here’s an early review from Netgalley:

 

This was such a delightful read. It was a treat to return to Conwenna Cove and I was completely romanticised again by the landscape. The fictional coastal village that the author has created sounds so idyllic with its quaint cottages and the little independent shops together with the beachside ambience but what makes this story more heartfelt is the occupants of the village. There is a real sense of community in the village from those that were born in the village to those that have sort solace and have been welcomed with open arms to this wonderful seaside location. I feel like I want to pack my case and have my own Conwenna Cove hug. This story focuses on Grace Phillips who has travelled down to Cornwall from her home in Cardiff to help her parents settle in their new cottage in the Cove. Grace and her parents have suffered such a terrible loss and her parents are hoping that this new start will bring a new perspective to their life, a chance to reflect and a chance to embrace what life throws at them. Grace is an author so staying with her parents for a short while is no hardship to her career as she can work from anywhere. When Grace meets the village vet Oli Davenport she is struck by his handsome features but his aloof persona doesn’t help him win friends too easily. However, given time Grace discovers more about Oli and with his huge commitment to the health and welfare of animals and to his devotion to his children, eleven year old Amy and five year old Tom, Grace appreciates this side to Oli. Oli Davenport loves his children and loves his job but he is still grieving for his wife who sadly passed away two years ago. When he first meets Grace he is struck by her beauty but this sets off a chain reaction of confused emotions in him. His first priority is his children and he also feels like he shouldn’t be having any feelings for any woman since becoming a widower. However, the more Oli and Grace get to know each other the more they understand that they each are holding a heartache and are still grieving. Will the beautiful landscape, the wonderful honesty in children and the sad plight of the animals in need that Oli faces daily help these two people learn to love again? A wonderful, heartfelt, festive read that left me sighing with contentment.

Adele B, Netgalley Reviewer

 

#spotlight on author Rachel Dove @WriterDove

Rachel Dove.jpgHi Rachel! Welcome to my blog. 🙂

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

 I write romantic fiction and horror, full time now since I left my Post 16 teaching job to focus on my words and my family. I won the Prima and Mills & Boon Flirty Fiction Competition in 2015 and I haven’t stopped writing since!

 

Why did you want to become a writer?

I always read a lot as a child, and wrote my own stories. When I was younger, teaching and writing was all I wanted to do, but life gets in the way. It wasn’t till my early 20s that I started to learn more about the craft of writing, and working on my stories with a view to submission. I think it’s a compulsion, if I don’t write or read, I get a little stir crazy!

Tell us a bit about your recent release.

My new book released on 1st August, and is a romantic fiction book set in my lovely fictional village of Westfield. Some previous characters may make a guest appearance! I am really excited for this one to come out, as I have been writing three books since The Chic Boutique on Baker Street and I want to share them with the world!

What genre are your books?

I write contemporary women’s fiction, and I like to make loveable characters that people really fall for, and root for too!

What draws you to this genre?

Everyone loves a happy ending, and I am a hopeless romantic. I really enjoy the journey, the warm fuzzies you get when you know that a pair are destined to be together, and you get a front row seat from your sunlounger or your sofa in your PJs. Bliss.

I also love to see a love rat or a wrong doer get thwarted. Romance novels are a great escape from your troubles, and that constantly amazes me.

Where do the your ideas come from? / What was the inspiration to write your most recent book?

My most recent book came to me slowly, as they all do. Often I write a scene in my head, or think up a character or situation, and the rest percolates from there over time. I keep character profiles and ideas files which are invaluable to me.

How much research do you do? / How do you research?

I research by contacting organisations and professionals relating to the field I need, I use the internet, library, read books and visit places. I keep records and take photos as well to document my research.

Plotter or pantser? – Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

Bit of both, I have a plot and character profiles, but when writing the characters always surprise me. One character developed a crush and tried to kiss a character he liked out of the blue, and even I was surprised by his actions!

Describe what a typical writing day involves for you. / Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

I use the Writeometer app to keep track of my word count and deadlines etc, and I do try for a minimum of 500 words a day. I drop my children off at school, run errands and then write till 3pm. Then if I am on deadline, I write before they get up on a morning and after they have gone to bed too. The house is either a bombsite or really tidy, depending on deadlines and whether or not I am managing to get into the writing groove!

What’s the toughest part of the writing process for you?

The muddy middle part of the book I think, and the sheer amount of work and time it takes to get the book out there can be exhausting, but there is no greater high. I have written 4 books now and am onto my fifth, so I very much feel like I am still learning in many ways. Seeing your book out there is amazing though, there is no greater high.

What’s the most enjoyable part of writing?

Creating people and being able to make a living from writing stories. I get to work from home, around my family, and that is priceless.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I think I evolve and learn with every book, I like to improve and push the boundaries of my writing. The aim is of course to make each book better than the last.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

Not really, I can always find some scene to play with if one is proving tricky, and I think half of the battle is carving out writing time and making sure that you do work in that time. Biscuits and social media often win, but I use both in small measures when the writing beckons!

Out of all the wonderful books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I adore the story, the characters and the message within.

If you could spend the day with your favourite literary character, who would you spend it with and what would you do?

Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy. I think we would go pond dipping!

What can we expect next from you?

My next book, out in September time, is grittier than anything I have done before. It is still a romance, but it is different from my other romantic fiction and I am very proud and nervous about showing a different side to my writing. I hope that the readers will love it as much as I do!

Is there any particular writing advice you wish you’d been given at the start of your writing career?

Keep going, you will get there. Enjoy the ride, and concentrate on the writing.

Have you ever had a book rejected by a publisher / agent? How did you deal with it? How would you advise other authors to deal with rejection?

Loads! Even established authors get rejections, so I expect my file of rejection letters will keep growing over the years. I would say to keep trying, take on board any feedback, and enter as many writing competitions as you can!

What are you reading at the moment?

I have a strong relationship with my Netgalley account as I love to review, so I have a couple of those on the go all the time. I am currently reading Liane Moriarty’s backlist in paperback so I can read with a glass of wine in the bath.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

The power to clean a house in the style of Bewitched/Harry Potter.

What secret talents do you have?

I have a qualification in British Sign Language and Makaton, which I have used in the past working with children, and I like to do cross stitch and latch hook rugs.

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

I am pretty happy, but I would love to see grandchildren grow up, and go to all the places in the world on my list. Am working through them 🙂

 

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

 

Rachel’s latest release The Flower Shop on Foxley Street is available now!

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