Thursday 13 November 2014

Book Review - The Advent Recipe Book

A different kind of Advent Calendar

The Advent Recipe Book has a festive recipe for each day during Advent, for example, chocolate haystacks, Christmas tree biscuits, home-made mincemeat - but there's much more besides. 

Readers can follow the nativity story by turning each page to a new window. 

Learn how to make a Christingle, and why.

Each day there is a quirky Christmas fact, such as where was the tallest snowman built? How do you play the card game Donkey? How do you make an Impossible Pie? What can you do with Turkey leftovers? Why does Easter move when Christmas doesn't? And lots, lots more - see below.

The Advent Recipe Book is available from Amazon - click here to see inside

Saturday 8 November 2014

Book Review - On Clouds of Words

This lovely little diary is an everlasting calendar in book form.  

Each month has an interesting photograph accompanied by a poem.

The poems, and indeed the entire publication, were composed in a Creative Writing Workshop led by the editors. The members of the workshop also provided the beautiful photographs.

On the facing page is a calendar with dates but no days of the week,  making it everlasting. There is also a space for notes.

A lovely and useful Almanac, which also makes a really nice gift.

Available from Amazon - click here to see inside

Saturday 27 September 2014

The World's Biggest Coffee Morning: Macmillan Cancer Support

'Let them eat cake!" - Famous words allegedly spoken by Marie Antoinette, which sparked some controversy.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that she said this when she heard that 'the peasants had no bread'.

The problem here wasn't that the bakery had run out of bread, but that the peasant's didn't have the money to buy any. In other words, she, like all the French aristocracy, was so out of touch that she didn't understand what poverty was.

There is no evidence, however, that Marie Antoinette did say this.

Each year, in September, Macmillan Cancer Supporters hold coffee mornings across the country. Over 98% of Macmillan's income comes from voluntary donations and fundraising.

Yesterday, I was lucky to be invited to two such coffee mornings - although one was in the afternoon, which meant I could go to both. I ate more cake than is good for any one person to consume - but it was fun, and the cakes delicious.

The first coffee morning was hosted by Eamonn Cassidy, Wealth Management Gaulby Lane, Stoughton, Leics.    Lauren's Mars Bar Crispies were stunningly scrumptious.

Popular brownies

Empty plates - full collection box

Mr Cassidy looking longingly at the cakes - well done, sir.

Post meridian we moved on to Loughborough for afternoon tea (from china cups and saucers) more mouth-watering cakes, and, a glass of wine. 

Rich chocolate cake, more crispie cakes and Bakewell Tarts
Carrot cakes and chocolate malteser buns
Considering Gill in Loughborough didn't have an oven, the selection of home-make cakes was epic.

For the recipes to the delectable cakes, just go to The World's Biggest Coffee Morning and if you would like to host your own, it's never too late and there is a pack available from the Macmillan Coffee Morning website

Well done to everyone who hosted a coffee morning event for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Book Review - The Bullet Catcher's Daughter by Rod Duncan

The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

Elizabeth Barnabus lives with her brother on a barge in the Republic having fled a life of servitude in the Kingdom – or does she?

The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter is a riveting tale which moves swiftly and the reader will be gripped from the first page when Elizabeth has taken the persona of her brother, Edward Barnabus, a private intelligence gatherer. Disguised as a man for her work, Elizabeth meets with the Duchess of Bletchley who hires her, as Edward, to find her brother who has fled with an arcane machine, sought after by The Patent Office.

Set just after the British Revolutionary War and the Luddite Revolution, when Britain is divided into two nations - the Kingdom of England and Southern Wales and the Anglo-Scottish Republic, The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter enthralls and there is no point at which I wanted to skip to the next point of interest as every sentence is compelling and so well written, that each is the next point of interest.

Elizabeth encounters agents from the Patent Office, a travelling circus of curious, and frightening, characters, allies and tricksters. An exile in the Republic, she needs to cross the Boarder to The Kingdom in the knowledge that she could be caught and returned to a life of enslavement.

The chapter headings are in themselves, intriguing and this first volume of The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire really is unputdownable.

Rod Duncan has successfully written an absorbing tale from the perspective of a woman in the early nineteenth century.  This is science-fiction with the sub genre of Steampunk, so technology is unorthodox and fascinating.

A cracking read, but I would advise starting with The Glossary at the end of the book before settling down to enjoy The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter and your reading experience will be further enriched.  

To get your copy click on: paperback or Kindle

Publisher: Angry Robot (26 Aug 2014)
Date: 26th August 2014
ISBN: 9780857665294

Karen Ette

Tuesday 27 May 2014

UCAS Application Guide - Book Review

If the time has come for you to prepare for the next stage of your education: Higher Education, then this is for you.

For anyone preparing to apply to be an undergraduate at a university in the U.K. this book will guide applicants every step of the way from registration through to sending off the completed form.

It's affordable, accessible and indispensable for assisting with that step from sixth form to undergrad. It is full of tips and information in a straightforward, easy-to-follow guide. At just £1.97 it's a small price for a huge piece of helpfulness.

I know from experience how stressful a time it can be for young people, and the knowledge and experience in the book has been gained over twenty years. I've even known students refuse chocolate treats because they were too worried about completing their UCAS form.

The ebook is available for download to Kindle by clicking here - and if you haven't got it yet, you can easily get the Kindle app for your ipad or iphone. 

A paperback version is also available from Amazon at just £3.99 and there are pages for your notes too.

Saturday 12 April 2014

Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding

Grandma (Nan) was one of six children; she had two sisters (one older, one younger) and three brothers (two older, one younger).  The three brothers all served in the First World War and all three came home.

Nan’s husband, my Granddad, also served and survived – both were very religious and Easter was a special time for them.

Nan loved Hot Cross Buns; the spicier the better and made lots on Maundy Thursday ready for Good Friday, but one of her best recipes came later – Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding.

It’s on the Menu at Fancy Pans and here is the recipe for you to try if you have any left-over buns.

You will need a 2-pint baking dish (or you can make individual ones should you choose) – 

make sure it/they is/are well-buttered and set the oven to Gas 4, 350F or 180C (less for a fan assisted oven).

8 hot-cross buns
½ pint of milk (whole milk is best, but semi-skimmed is fine too)
2 tablespoons of double cream
2 oz sugar (I like Demerara, but caster or granulated is fine – your choice)
3 eggs

Slice the buns in half, butter them, then slice them in half again. Layer them into the buttered baking dish.

Put the eggs into a bowl and whisk them, then add the milk, cream and sugar and give them another good whisk. Pour over the buttered buns and grate a little nutmeg over the surface (or not if you don’t like it).

Bake for about 35-40 minutes.

It’s nice hot, but can be served cold too – and if you really want to, you can add more custard.


To see more about Hot Cross Buns and Easter, click here

And if you want to know why Easter moves and Christmas doesn't - click here

 © Karen Ette 2014

Sunday 16 March 2014


* Make sure you go to the very end to see the real star of the show *

Dog shows did take place before Crufts was established and the first ever Crufts dog-show was held in 1886. It is, of course, named after its founder, Charles Cruft. He worked for a dog biscuit manufacturer where he made contacts in the canine world. He decided there was a need for a higher standard of dog show to those which already existed and his First Great Terrier Show took place in 1886  with 600 entries. The first dog show to bear his name: Crufts was held five years later, in 1891 at the Royal Agricultural Hall in Islington and there were over 2,000 entries.

Crufts did not take place during 1918 - 1920 because of the First World War.  The very first dog to be awarded 'Best in Show' was a Greyhound called Primley Sceptre, in 1928.

It's popularity grew year by year and when Charles Cruft died in 1938 his widow ran it for another four years. The organisation became too time consuming so to guarantee the future and reputation of Crufts she sold it to The Kennel Club.

Crufts was once again suspended from 1940 - 1947 due to the Second World War and in 1948 it was held for the first time under the patronage of The Kennel Club.

Obedience classes were introduced and in 1955 Cruft's became and Obedience Championship Show.

Today there are over 20,000 competitors and lots more to see and do than in those early days. 

In 1994, as part of the Kennel Club's commitment to encouraging responsible dog ownership, Discover Dogs was introduced and this is where you can see almost every breed possible, talk to the owners and learn all about them. 

American Akita Mitch

 Bleu de Gascogne (Grand)
 lots of unusual breeds to see

Then, of course, after much consideration and deliberation, comes the Best of Breed followed by the Best in the Group for the final line-up for Supreme Champion.

We have:


James to lovely Irish Wolfhound


AFTERGLOW MAVERICK SABRE  - This Year's Supreme Champion 2014


Photograph by Kelly White - thanks Kelly

© Karen Ette 2014