It was my Birthday last week and nearly every present I got fitted in perfectly with my Autumnal nesting habits; cosy pyjamas and fluffy socks for these early evenings, indulgent chocolates and bubbly that were the perfect accompaniment to our home movie night this week (Avengers Endgame – another birthday present, and yes, I cried bucket loads!), treats from Lush that are scenting the entire bathroom in gorgeous warming scents, and books, lots of good books. Even Orla picked out a gorgeous burnt orange super soft blanket that is perfect for family cuddles on the sofa. It’s that time of year where I love going out in to the brisk Autumn air and walking wherever there are trees on the turn but then I equally love coming in again and settling down in my cosy home for evenings of hygge indulgence.
And, of course, what is a better wrapped up, warm and cosy Autumn activity than reading a good book! Here is what I am reading at the moment:
Book I last read: Winter Kitchen by The Great British Bake Off
Winter is a time to nourish, when our instincts lead us to make generous casseroles and hearty roasts, wholesome soups and aromatic breads, comforting puddings and golden, deep-filled pies. It’s also time for an array of festive occasions celebrated with chilly nights around bonfires, ghoulish parties and Christmas gatherings.
In Winter Kitchen, the Bake Off team shares over 130 inspirational recipes to keep you warm on frosty days and dark evenings. Bake impressive breads and mouth-watering cakes and serve them with homemade chutneys, marmalade and jams. Try our recipes for show-stopping Sunday roasts and slow-cooked stews as well as quick, clever weekday meals, from risottos to winter salads, that are perfect for sharing with family and friends.
Does anyone else read through cookbooks for fun, without any intention of making the recipes? I borrowed this from the library and went through it cover to cover the other evening, just enjoying the picture and the descriptions. I find cookbooks very soothing, and the Great British Bake Off is so heart-warming that I knew this book would be a good soul-comforting read. I will probably pick it up again in a day or two to see if there are any recipies that I fancy having a go at. The Peanut butter and white chocolate chip brownies look very tempting, and since watching a Hairy Bikers special on game meat the other week, I would quite fancy trying the Creamy Pot-Roast Pheasant. I’ll keep you posted if I do manage to make anything out of this splendid book!
Book I am currently reading: The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale
It is 1917, and while war wages across Europe, in the heart of London, there is a place of hope and enchantment.
The Emporium sells toys that capture the imagination of children and adults alike: patchwork dogs that seem alive, toy boxes that are bigger on the inside, soldiers that can fight battles of their own. Into this family business comes young Cathy Wray, running away from a shameful past. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own.
But Cathy is about to discover that the Emporium has secrets of its own…
My friend Rachel, bought this for me and she was a bit nervous that I might not like it. I get that. It’s always a gamble choosing a book for someone else to invest hours in reading. But in this case she needn’t have worried. I’m loving this story. The Emporium is beautifully described and I’m already emotionally invested in Cathy getting a happy ending. The Toymakers perfectly fits a niche of books that I am particularly fond of; the Everyday Fantasy genre; where magic is real but the story is still driven by relatable characters, where hidden worlds and societies blend almost seamlessly with our own ‘real’ world. I’m only a third of the way through but I can see when I am finished it is going to fit right in on my bookshelf with other magical stories like the Night Circus, Bellman & Black and the Snow Child.
Next on my To-Read List: The Night Visitor by Lucy Atkins
Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life she loves, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch of her new bestseller she can barely pretend to smile. Her life has spiralled into deceit and if the truth comes out, she will lose everything.
Only one person knows what Olivia has done. Vivian Tester is the socially awkward sixty-year-old housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the Victorian diary on which Olivia’s book is based. She has now become Olivia’s unofficial research assistant. And Vivian has secrets of her own.
As events move between London, Sussex and the idyllic South of France, the relationship between these two women grows more entangled and complex. Then a bizarre act of violence changes everything.
The Night Visitor is a compelling exploration of ambition, morality and deception that asks the question: how far would you go to save your reputation?
Picked this up from the library and am looking forward to delving in to it as it looks like a solid thriller, which I think will be a good choice to time with this spooky time of year.