Posted by Anna Sugden Mar 22 2013, 1:12 am in Anna Sugden, desserts, quick five
As many of our long-time BB’s know, I don’t have a hugely sweet tooth. You’re more likely to tempt me with a savoury snack than a sweet one – well, most of the time!
Except when it’s a special occasion, or when I’m out for dinner. Then, my normally dormant sweet tooth wakes up and gets excited! In fact, if I’m honest, I’d be happy to eat just starters (appetizers) and desserts and forego a main course altogether. *g* Of course, if I have to behave and eat the main course, I always check the dessert menu first to see if I’m tempted by anything. That way I can decide which to sacrifice – starter or dessert.
And, I’m not always tempted by chocolate (but that’s the topic for next month’s post!). I often find chocolate desserts too sweet or too … chocolate-y! That said, there used to be a chocolate mousse to die for at a restaurant in London called Smolensky’s Balloon. I don’t know if it’s still around or if they still make it – but yummmy!
So what does catch my eye on a dessert menu? Any of my favourites – trifle, creme caramel, banoffee pie, Eton Mess, tiramisu and zabaglione. If I’m feeling cold and in need of comfort food, I love rice pudding, blackberry and apple crumble with custard or apple pie and custard. Okay, so I love custard! Banana custard is another fave! I also love cream!
As an aside, Lovely Hubby is an excellent cook and makes me one of my faves whenever we have a special occasion! The trifle in the picture is one of his.
For those who don’t know what some of the desserts are:
Trifle – a triple layer dessert – bottom layer is jelly with sherry soaked fruit (I love strawberries and bananas). Traditionally, there should be pieces of cake in this layer too, but I’m not too fussed about that! The second layer is custard and the top layer is cream.
Creme Caramel – I think those of you Stateside call this flan. It’s basically a caramel custard pudding. (Did I mention I love custard?)
Banoffee Pie – also known as banoffee tart – a tart/pie or biscuit base with a layer of toffee pudding (made from condensed milk) and topped with slices of banana and cream.
Eton Mess – as in the famous boys’ school – a delicious combination of strawberries, meringue, cream and ice cream, all in a mess. The apocryphal story for how this was invented is that a golden retriever ran amuck at the annual Eton College cricket game and messed up the dessert at one of the family picnics.
Tiramisu – the Italian coffee and marscapone dessert.
Zabaglione – yes, another custard dessert, this time with Marsala wine mixed in!
What turns me off dessert – pears (can’t stand the texture), rhubarb (allergic to it), any kind of citrus peel, Turkish Delight and rose or any other type of flower water.
Over to you! Here’s today’s Dessert Quick Five:
1. Savoury or sweet tooth?
2. Appetizer or dessert – or would you rather have those two and forego the main?
3. Favourite desserts?
4. Least favourite desserts?
5. Do you, your other half or anyone else in your family have a signature dessert?
In case you haven’t seen it yet, my new author page is up on Facebook. Feel free to pop across and ‘like’ it. It would be awesome if we could get my page up to 100 likes today! Many thanks to those of you who have already stopped by.
Posted by Anna Sugden Feb 22 2013, 1:05 am in Anna Sugden, beds, quick five, sleeping
I know many Banditas and BBs love their beds. Whether it’s to cozy up with a good book or to sneak an extra nap, we love to find ways to creep back to bed beyond our usual sleeping time. So today I thought it would be fun to do a Quick Five on Beds and Sleeping.
I love being in our bed! I think some of it is that I love our bed *g*. I always wanted a sleigh bed with carvings on it. We couldn’t afford an antique bed, but did find a gorgeous one in the Macy’s sale one year. We added lovely deep mattresses and climbing into bed (literally!) is a real pleasure.
Our bed is topped with another item I always wanted – a handmade Amish quilt, which we bought on our visit to Pennsylvania Dutch country. I could have bought out the whole store – there were so many stunningly beautiful quilts! The work that went into them all was amazing. It makes me feel good to know the love and care that went into our quilt.
Other than my lovely husband, I’m usually accompanied by at least one of our two cats. In fact, they commandeer the bed when we’re not in it too! Especially on those afternoons when the sun shines on the bed – very cozy.
It’s probably a good thing I enjoy our bed as I need a lot of sleep! It’s a myth that as you get older you need less sleep. At least it is for me! With a Big Birthday approaching this summer, I find myself needing more hours, not less. Perhaps that’s because I rarely sleep through the night anymore *sigh*. I need 8-10 hours to feel well-rested, but can get away with 7 at a push. Anything less and I’m grumpy!
I’m also one of those people who would rather be up late and sleep late. When I was a student, I’d work through the night to get projects done, rather than get up early. Mainly because I knew I’d never make it up when the alarm went at 5am! I HATE getting up early! Honestly, I don’t know how I managed it all those years when I worked in business – I got by with as little as 4 hours sleep a night and was often in the office for 7am!
So, how about you?
1. Four-poster, sleigh bed, futon, hammock, sofa-bed or just a plain bed?
2. Left side or right? How many share your bed (furry babies included!)?
3. How many pillows? Duvet, quilt, sheets and blanket, just sheets or nothing?
4. Early to bed, early to rise or late to bed, late to rise? How many hours do you need to be well-rested?
5. What’s your favourite thing about your bed?
Posted by Anna Sugden Oct 22 2012, 1:15 am in Anna Sugden, Mondays, quick five
Welcome to another Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend – your sports teams won (mixed bag for me and we won’t even mention the hockey lock-out!), the weather was nice (not so much), ‘honey’ did what was on the ‘honey do’ list (yup!) and you had a chance to chill out or do whatever it is you enjoy on the weekend (read, watch a film, eat nice food, hang out with family).
So are you a Monday Morning Blues person or are you one of those people who embrace each new week with joy and optimism? I suppose some of it will depend on whether you’re a morning person to start with, or not!
One of the joys of being a writer is that there are no Monday Morning Blues. We suffer Deadline Drearies, Absent Muse Panics and Sagging Middle Sagas (of both the book and physique variety), but as there is no need to get dressed, commute or deal with colleagues in a place of work, we don’t suffer the same feelings of uggh. Then again, most of live with those who do, so we don’t escape! And we aren’t that far removed from having to do the Monday to Friday, 9-5 drudge that we’ve forgotten what it was like.
However, despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to escape the routine of working during the week and not during the weekends. I wonder if that’s because the world around us is geared up to ‘the work week’. Just like many of the older people I know follow the ‘Monday Wash Day’ routine.
So, in honour of Mondays, I thought I’d liven up the day with a Mondays Quick Five:
1. Are you a morning person or an evening person?
2. Do you hate Mondays (like in that famous Boomtown Rats song?) or is there another day you dislike? Or do you like all days equally?
3. Do you work a traditional Monday to Friday, 9-5 or do you work another schedule? For those of you who work at home – what’s your work-time? Do you do Monday Wash Day?
4. Do you give yourself a Monday treat, to cheer yourself up? If so, what? If not, what would you give yourself, if you could?
5. In the rhyme, Monday’s child is fair of face – which child are you?
Addendum: For those who can’t remember the rhyme – here it is!
Mondays child is fair of face,
Tuesdays child is full of grace,
Wednesdays child is full of woe,
Thursdays child has far to go,
Fridays child is loving and giving,
Saturdays child works hard for his living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
Posted by Anna Sugden Aug 22 2012, 1:41 am in Anna Sugden, hot weather, keeping cool, quick five
It’s been a strange summer for us, weather-wise, here in England. a few glorious weeks, followed by endless rain. At one point it was so cold at night, we had to put the heating back on!
For the past few days, it’s been scorching hot. Lovely to see the sun and bask in the heat, but a little tricky having such high temps when there is no air conditioning! Especially, trying to sleep at night. Did I mention we also don’t have screens on our windows? So opening them is great, but you do tend to get the bugs in! And, fans are so noisy. What to do?
Now, as a nation we can tell you how to deal with cold – though obviously we’re not the experts as we don’t often have it REALLY cold and snow doesn’t fall two foot deep in September and last for six months. We can tell you how to deal with wet/damp and chilly – though it doesn’t rain as much as people would have you believe. At least, not in a normal year!
But when it comes to temperatures in the 80′s and 90′s, we just can’t cope! I thought it would be fun to ask all of you about keeping cool with a Quick Five – so please share …
1. Tips for keeping cool at night if there’s no air-con?
2. Favourite cooling drink?
3. Favourite cool food?
4. Do you kit up (shades, hat, cover-up) or do you strip off (sun-screen and as little as possible – shades optional)?
5. Favourite ice cream flavour (well, what’s more fun on a hot day than ice cream? *g*)?
As a special thank you, I’ll give one lucky commenter an official London 2012 Olympics pin. These have pretty much sold out across the country and are now collector’s items!
Posted by Anna Sugden May 22 2012, 1:28 am in Anna Sugden, language, quick five, regional differences
As most of you know I live on a relatively small island – from Lands End to John O’Groats, the full length of our island is 847 miles! Yet it never fails to amaze me how much variation there is in the language from region to region.
Take the simple bun or roll (the thing you slice and make a sandwich from or put around a burger). In some parts it’s called a bread-cake, in others a barn cake. In some it’s a stottie, in others a bap or a cob!
Then there is the soda … fizzy drink … soft drink … carbonated beverage, which can also be known as pop. American lemonade is the stuff from fresh lemons, where ours is fizzy, clear stuff like Sprite or 7-Up.
Or, meals! Is the mid-day meal lunch or dinner? Is the evening meal, dinner, supper or tea? (not to be confused with high tea or afternoon tea!)
And while we’re on the subject of tea – hot or iced? We have ours hot and served, not with lemon or honey, but with cold milk (never cream … the cream in a cream tea is put on a scone!)
Then, there is the jumper (what Americans call a sweater) or the jumper (what we Brits call a pinafore)!
And finally … for a bit of a giggle, what do you think a thong is? For us it’s those uncomfortable cheese-wire knickers! (trust me, you do not want to see the pics that come up when you Google thong!)
So, for today’s Quick Five …
1. What do you call one of those things you put around a burger?
2. What do you call a carbonated beverage?
3. What do you call your mid-day and evening meals?
4. What do you think a thong is?
5. Is there a word local to where you live which is different everywhere else? For example, where we used to live, to have a go at someone or tell someone off is to ‘chow’ at them.
Posted by Anna Sugden Mar 31 2012, 12:41 am in Anna Sugden, Biscuiteers, cookies, quick five
I rarely go to a grocery store these days, as most of our grocery shopping is done online and delivered to our front door. However, recently, we had to go to a local supermarket to pick up some things for my father-in-law. Because he has a sweet tooth, we ended up in the biscuits and cakes aisle.
Those of you know me, know I’m usually tempted more by savoury snacks than sweet. So, I didn’t see this as a problem aisle … until I spotted some childhood favourites! Before you could say chocolate chip cookie, several packets of biscuits had made their way into our trolley!
So what treats popped themselves into my trolley?
First, Fox’s Iced Party Rings. Iced biscuits with a hole in the middle in pretty colours.
Fox’s Jam Creams. Biscuit sandwich with jam and cream in the middle. Not to be confused with Jammy Dodgers, which are a prettier biscuit, but only have jam in them!
McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives. Digestive biscuits are delicious plain, but add a layer of chocolate to them and these sweet, wheaty biscuits rock!
McVitie’s Chocolate covered Hobnobs. Hobnobs are the crunchy, oaty version of Digestives and also yummy. Yummy x 2 with that extra layer of chocolate!
McVitie’s Boasters. The ultimate chocolate chip cookies with big chunks of chocolate and whole nuts.
Now, if I really wanted to treat myself, I’d pop over to my favourite decorated biscuits site – the fabulous Biscuiteers! Not only are their cookies delicious, they’re gorgeous too! They have so many wonderful designs, from these cute shoes to the wonderful Royal Wedding biscuits and everything in-between! Look at the fun biscuits they’ve done for the Diamond Jubilee – complete with Corgis! (And, yes, they ship worldwide!)
Over to you …
1. What childhood favourites tempt you in the cookie aisle?
2. Do you bake or do you buy all your cookies?
3. If you bake – what’s your specialty? If you don’t, where is your favourite cookie stop?
4. How do you eat your cookies – nibble, cram it all in, twist and lick any filling etc etc?
5. Do you have a favourite cookie jar, or don’t they last long enough in your house?
Posted by Anna Sugden Jan 22 2012, 12:22 am in Anna Sugden, Easy Sunday, quick five
Isn’t January going quickly? The holidays have faded into a dim memory, but it’s still dark, cold and grey out there. At least, it is over here.
It’s been a pretty mild winter for us. So mild that some of our cherry trees have started to blossom! Daffodils have started poking their heads above the ground too. I hope that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad year for farmers.
One of the problems with the mild weather is that it hasn’t really been cold enough to light the fire. What better way of spending a rainy and miserable Sunday than snuggled up in front of the fire, cats at your feet (Or on your lap, the chair, the bookcase …) and a good book in your hand?
Luckily, in the Lair, we can make such things happen! The hockey hunks have stoked up the library fire and Paolo is bringing round a tray of hot chocolate for everyone. So sit back, relax, snuggle up and have a great Sunday!
What better way to enjoy hockey hunks and hot chocolate than with an Easy Sunday Quick Five?
1. How do you like your hot chocolate? Plain, with toppings, with added flavours (like a shot of caramel or a dash of brandy) or both toppings and added flavours?
2. Where do you like to curl up on a wet, miserable, cold day? A favourite chair, in bed or somewhere else?
3. Do you have a favourite blanket, quilt, throw or other snuggly covering?
4. What will you be wearing? Pyjamas, sweats, other comfy clothing, bed socks, slipper socks, slippers …?
5. What are you reading right now?
Posted by Anna Sugden Nov 1 2011, 12:52 am in Anna Sugden, November Coming Attractions, quick five
Another busy and exciting month in the Lair! More wild and wacky fun with the Banditas and the Lair regulars, more fabulous guests and more craziness with that pesky rooster.
We will also be sending out the inaugural issue of the Romance Bandits Newsletter. Aside from being a fun way to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the Lair, there’s also the chance for one of our subscribers/members to win an exciting, new, exclusive prize. This month’s prize draw features a fabulous bundle of books and goodies – so make sure you’re signed up!
As always, we have a wonderful array of guests joining us in the Lair this month.
Tomorrow, we welcome back a lair favourite and all around sweetheart, Cara Elliott with the first in her sexy new LORDS OF MIDNIGHT trilogy, TOO WICKED TO WED!
Addison Fox shares the fun of BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, the first book in her new contemporary romance series, in her interview with Suzanne Ferrell on November 3rd. What happens when a big-city-NY-girl travels to an isolated town in Alaska just as the annual bachelor auction begins?
On November 4th, the fabulous Debra Webb visits to talk about the characters and setting of her new e-book, OBSESSION: FACES OF EVIL, and her decision to self-publish.
Laurie Kingery joins us on November 9th to talk about her sweet, second-chance-at-love, western historical romance from Love Inspired, THE RANCHER’S COURTSHIP.
On the 16th, Nancy chats with author and BelleBooks CEO Debra Dixon about what makes a book memorable.
Lair favorite Annie West returns on 21st November to talk about her latest dangerously sexy romance THE SAVAKIS MERGER.
Robin Perini makes her first appearance in the Lair on November 27. Nancy will interview Robin about IN HER SIGHTS, her debut romantic suspense novel from Amazon’s Montlake publishing division. And there will be prizes. :-)
Last, but not least, debut author Julie Benson visits on November 28th to tell us all about her book, BIG CITY COWBOY, a fish-out-of-water tale about a handsome rancher, turned model in NYC to raise money for his mother’s medical care, and the woman set on making him a star.
Be sure you’re here on November 26th (the day after the Black Friday Holiday Shopping Frenzy in the US), when Cassondra and Jeanne join Nancy in mall avoidance and chat about the full spectrum of romance reading, “The Dark, the Gritty, The Sweet, and the Light.” Come join the fun, recover from shopping if you need to, and give us your preferences.
Don’t forget to check out Anna Campbell’s website contest. Anna is celebrating the new-look Romance Bandits site by giving away a bundle of books by her Bandita sisters plus a book from her backlist. There will be FOUR lucky winners!
To start off the November fun, I’m offering a couple of packs of Cadbury’s Dead Heads (chocolate egg-shaped heads with red caramel filling!) – one each to two lucky commenters today. All you have to do is answer this Quick Five!
1. Slippers, socks or barefoot?
2. Gloves or mittens?
3. Hat or ear-muffs?
4. Favourite pair of boots?
5. Finally, Sven and the cabana boys are kitting out the spiffy new spa suite in the Lair. What should we make sure they include?
Posted by Anna Sugden Sep 3 2011, 4:06 am in Anna Sugden, make-up, perfume, quick five
by Anna Sugden
One of the problems (or joys, depending on your perspective!) of working at home is that you don’t have to wear make-up. Personally, I’m very happy about this, as that means extra time in bed before my long commute to my office (approx a dozen steps *g*).
There is, of course, a down-side, in that you don’t use up your make-up as fast as you used to, so it goes out of date. Some people may be surprised, but even make-up has a ‘best before’, even if it’s not on the package. Logically, of course, you should be careful about anything that goes next to your eyes or on your lips.
A quick internet search came up with recommendations for various make-up products. Some of them will surprise you!
Mascara: no more than 4 months!
Nail polish: 12 months
Lipstick: 1-2 years
Liquid Foundation: 12 months
Powder foundation/concealer/blush: 2 years
Eye-shadow: liquid – 1 year, powder – 2 years
Eye-liner: pencil – 2 years, liquid – 1 year.
Perfume: As long as you keep it cool and out of the light, it can last several years. Otherwise, 1-2 years.
Looks like it’s time to clear out my make-up bag!
The next eye-opener is just how many things there are in my make-up bag! Given that I don’t use a lot of make-up when I wear it, I seem to have an awful lot of ‘just in case’ items, freebies and ‘I’ll give this a try’ products.
Which brings me to my Quick 5 for today. Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to out yourself about how much of your make-up needs tossing . But, out of curiosity, and to prove that I’m not alone in my make-up hoarding, I’d like to know:
1. How many lipsticks, lip-liners, lip-glosses?
2. How many bottles of nail polish?
3. How many eye-shadows?
4. How many eye-liners and mascaras?
5. How many compacts of blush or other face powder?
And a bonus question, how many different perfumes do you have?
To play the game and start you all off, here are my answers … *gulp*
1. 12 (but I only seem to wear the same two or three!)
3. 8 (again, I wear the same three or four)
Bonus: 2 – I’ve worn Chanel No. 19 ever since I was 16, but occasionally I also wear CK1 by Calvin Klein. I have also been tempted by Ralph Lauren’s Romance and DKNY’s Be Delicious.
Over to you … share the secrets of you make-up bag (or, for you fellas, if you’re brave enough, the secrets of your lady’s make-up bag!)
Posted by Anna Sugden Aug 22 2011, 4:47 am in Anna Sugden, quick five
by Anna Sugden
G’day! Yes, as you read this, I’m Down Under! I’ll have been having a faboo time with fellow Banditas, Anna and Christina, and a number of our favourite Lair authors and BB’s. I promise to share all the details and pics when I return!
I’m writing this before I go, as I don’t know what my internet access will be like where I am, plus I’ll be travelling a lot.
So, knowing how much you enjoy Quick Five posts, I thought I’d do a Book Fun post today.
Share with us:
1. The last book you read that wasn’t a romance and did you enjoy it?
2. The book you’re currently reading.
3. What are the opening line and final line of the book you’re reading?
4. Turn to page 51 and tell us what the sentence in the middle of the page is.
5. Turn to page 105 and tell us what the fifth sentence from the top is.
Here are my answers:
1. Thomas Perry’s The Butcher Boy. I love Thomas Perry’s books – especially his Jane Whitefield series – he writes great thrillers. This was his debut novel about a mafia hit man and the female agent from the Justice Department who is hunting him. It was really clever, especially the way he made the reader empathise with a cold-blooded killer. Can’t wait to read the sequels Sleeping Dogs and Informant.
2. My dear friend and Lair Favourite, Julie Cohen’s latest book, Getting Away With It.
Funny coincidence about this book – Julie did her ice cream research with a company in Dorset called Purbeck Ice Cream. My husband’s nephew has a charcuterie business called The Dorset Charcuterie Company at the Purbeck Larder. What’s even more fun is that in this photograph of the ice cream developed in honour of Julie’s book, you’ll see that the ice cream is wrapped in meat from … you’ve guessed it, The Dorset Charcuterie Company at the Purbeck Larder! Check out Julie’s blog for the background to horseradish and beetroot ice cream!
3. The opening line is … I sat on the cliff edge with my legs dangling over the drop, in a gold lame dress barely long enough to cover my arse.
The final lines are … okay, I cheated a little *g* … And this kiss, definitely, was the best one of my life. Except for the next one. And the next.
4. “You’d have fun if you let yourself.”
5. The carpet here was some sort of natural fibre, jute or whatever, woven into a tight herringbone.
Over to you. Share your Quick Five!