Mothers Day, Marmalade, Books and a Recipe

Its Mother’s Day this weekend in the UK and like our friends across the world (who celebrate the day in May), today won’t be a day spent with family, friends or loved ones. The Coronavirus is affecting everyone and it is a very strange time for all of us, wherever we live.

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#StayStrongTogether is a great hashtag on social media and little acts of kindness that are taking place are bringing us together as communities. Remember the elderly and the isolated during the weeks ahead and help out wherever you can; even a phone call can make a huge difference. All my talks, guest speaker events, book signings etc are now cancelled for the months ahead and I will use the spare time to make some calls, keep in touch and up my writing and also hope that my books will sell online.

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BOOK

My new book Hattie Goes To Hollywood is on promotion this weekend, so if you are stuck inside grab yourself a feel-good read and escape for a few hours with super sleuth Hattie and the shenanigans of British village life in Hollywood – a little place nestling in the beautiful Lake District hills where murder and mystery abound. Hattie Goes To Hollywood is only 99p / $1.30 whilst on promo.

FUN

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It’s the little things in life at the moment that are giving a lot of joy. I entered three pots of marmalade into the Dalemain UK Marmalade Festival which was to be held last weekend but was cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak. I’ve never entered before and more or less forgot about it. Imagine my pleasure when the post came yesterday and I learnt that I’d won a silver certificate and a merit! A big thank you to the judges.

RECIPE

BANANA BREAD

An easy and inexpensive recipe for you in this newsletter is my lovely Canadian daughter-in-law’s delicious banana bread. If you have bananas on the fruit dish that are dark and need eating, mash them together with a few store-cupboard ingredients and you will have a tasty treat for your tea today. A tip – don’t throw away dark or discoloured bananas, pop them in the freezer and use whenever you fancy making this recipe. You can cut down on the sugar content as freezing bananas seems to make them sweeter. Enjoy!

Ashley’s Banana Bread

4 mashed bananas / 2 eggs / 1 ¾ cups Self Raising Flour1 ½ cups white sugar / 1 ½ cups veg oil / ¼ cup milk

1 teaspoon baking powder / I teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients, mix well and pour batter into 2 loaf tins (greased & lined)

Bake at 170 C / 325 F until golden brown

Note: any cup size as long as uniform throughout

USA: If using plain flour double the baking powder

Take great care of yourselves in these difficult times, please keep safe and stay healthy

Sending love to you and yours

Caroline xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

New Books in a banner

 

Meet the Author – Morton S Gray

I’m thrilled to have Morton S Gray on my blog today. Morton’s latest book, The Truth Lies Buried, is now available in paperback and audible as well as all ebook platforms. Morton, like me, loves beautiful Cumbria…

Thank you for inviting me over to your blog, Caroline. When you asked me to Meet the Author, I tried to think of a linking factor between us to spark the blog post and came up with The Lake District! Why? Because your super novel The Best Boomerville Hotel is set there and I have enjoyed many holidays in the area over the years. So, I thought I’d talk about a few snapshots from those visits.

Author Morton Gray

A favourite teenage holiday photograph sees me on the ferry across Lake Windermere. I had just become conscious of what I wore and can still remember the feel of the turquoise flared trousers and green floaty tunic top. I felt amazing.

Fast forward to when my eldest son was small – I used to take him to the Lakes at least once a year. After driving up the motorway, I very often couldn’t face the car for a few days, so we used to explore by bus or ferry and had lots of fun. One year, son insisted on wearing his pirate bandana and carrying his plastic sword all of the time – surprisingly we made lots of friends that year.

Fast forward again and I had my first holiday with my now husband in Bassenthwaite. Hubbie severely overestimated both my level of fitness and the length of walk across the fells I could cope with. I had never climbed that far up a hill in my life and had never seen Windermere laid before me like a map as we were so high up. I think it was when I was exhausted and finding it difficult to put one foot in front of the other on the scree slope on the way down that I began to seriously question whether our relationship had a future! (P.S. we’ve been married sixteen years!)

We’ve had several holidays with youngest son in the Lakes (who if we were celebrities should by rights be called Bassenthwaite, but he gets embarrassed when I say that!), but these days it’s usually hubbie and I on our Lakes holidays whilst youngest son is on some school camp or other.

Our favourite place to stay is Grasmere, as you can walk off in all directions without having to travel in the car. Last year, we stayed at the lovely Daffodil Hotel on the banks of Grasmere Lake. And, no trip to the Lakes is complete without a visit to the wonderful restaurant, The Jumble Room.

Thank you, Caroline, I’ve enjoyed reminiscing about Lakeland holidays, but what I really wanted to tell your readers and that feels almost cheeky now, was about the paperback and audiobook release of my second novel for Choc Lit, The Truth Lies Buried on 12 March 2019. You’ll find details below.

“A brilliant read and I would highly recommend anyone to read either of Morton’s books.”
Amazon Reviewer

February Newsletter, winter walks with the Westie and more.

February started with snow and ice in my neck of the woods and I’ve enjoyed some lovely wintery walks with Freddie the Westie, my new best friend.

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As the weather got colder I’ve thinking about warmer climes and was pleased to see that readers were too, as my novel, Coffee Tea The Caribbean & Me went up the charts to being a #1 best-seller on Amazon again. Huge thanks to everyone who is buying this book and enjoying a slice of sunshine escapism on those cold wintery days.

TRAVELLING

I’m off to the USA this month and can’t wait for my visit. I’ll be wrapping up warm and taking lots of photos and will share my trip with you in the next newsletter.

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DAYS OUT

I had a lovely day out at The Barn at Scorton – an interesting venue if you are in the North West. I was there to interview the owners of this business, located in a pretty picturesque village. I write food related articles for a Lancashire magazine and this place is a real find. Wonderful food, served all day and an eclectic mix of gifts alongside a garden centre with some unusual plants. I can recommend a visit, if you are in the area.

 

Another find on my foodie haunts was on a recent trip to my favourite county of Cumbria in the Lake District. Many of you know that I love to have a tipple of gin occasionally and enjoy sampling flavoured gins.  Gin seems to have exploded onto the beverage scene in the last year or so and I am told that there are now more alcohol distilleries in England than in Scotland. Imagine my delight when I came across a shop that sells over 500 different gins! Chestnut House in Pooley Bridge, Cumbria is brilliant little shop with knowledgeable staff (thank you Darren!) who encourage you to sample their delicious drinks.

 

Warm and fuzzy from several tasters, and with a bottle to take home safely tucked up in the boot of the car, I enjoyed a glorious walk around Lake Ullswater, one of my favourite lakes. Cold, windy and so atmospheric, with snow on the mountains and that divine light that peeks through the clouds on a wintery day and sparkles off the water. As William Wordsworth said about Cumbria, “The loveliest spot that man hath found.”

 

VALENTINE’S DAY

Be sure to follow APRICOT PLOTS this month. This author group, that I a member of,  is running an event for readers in the build up to Valentine’s Day and there will be some great give-aways and interaction. I am hosting on 7th February and want to know all about your worst date ever. There’s a box of chocolates for the one that amuses me the most.

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COMPETITION DRUM ROLL…

The winner of last month’s competition is Linda Gawthrop who correctly named the chef in my novel Jungle Rock .

Many congratulations Linda – a Bertie Bear is heading your way.

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Linda Gawthrop wins a Bertie Bear!

FEBRUARY COMPETITION

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Win a signed copy plus chocolates!

This month’s competition is for a signed copy of my latest book plus chocolates to enjoy while you are reading. Simply name the county in England where my novel The Best Boomerville Hotel is set. Can you name the county? (Hint – my favourite county). Please email your answer to me: caroline@carolinejamesauthor.co.uk The winner will be announced in my March newsletter.

NOSTALGIA

I took a step back in time a few days ago, when I visited the Westminster Tearooms in Southport. This delightful venue is a 1930s time warp and an absolute delight.

 

I was lost in time for a couple of hours as I listened to gentle background music, reflective of the era and ate a delicious afternoon tea.

The ladies on the next table were celebrating a birthday with glasses of Babycham.

$_35Were Babycham glasses really so small? Babycham was launched in the United Kingdom in 1953 and in later years when I was growing up, I remember it being a celebratory drink with the ladies in my family.

As the clock on the mantlepiece chimed the quarter hour in the Westminster Tearooms, I felt that I’d stepped into a bygone period. It was delightful.

I do love afternoon tea, especially one as special as this with cucumber sandwiches and scones. What’s your favourite afternoon tea?

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

If you’ve got a good book to recommend do get in touch and I’ll share your thoughts here. I’m reading Magnolia House by Angela Barton at the moment. It’s her new novel and I’m loving it.

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New novel by Angela Barton

 

Have a brilliant February, lovely readers and followers.

Stay warm wherever you are and keep well and happy.

With love

Caroline xx

BOOKS BY CAROLINE JAMES

Books by Caroline James