French Toast

February 17, 2013

You may have read the blog title and thought, 'Really? Another sweet-treat of a breakfast straight after Shrove Tuesday.' Well let me address this qualm, firstly this would be a very silly complaint to make because, let's face it, one can't have too many delicious breakfasts to start off one's day, and secondly I DIDN'T HAVE ANY PANCAKES. Yes, I know, so I think it's settled that I deserved this (little) indulgence.
This is the first time I made French Toast, but I don't know why because in reality if anything needs using up it's stale bread rather than the flour etc used for pancakes. What I'm saying is that you really can justify this seemingly decadent breakfast.

It was perfect on a Sunday morning accompanied by the chirping of birds outside my window and catching up with online newspapers.

The recipe:
Stale bread
2 eggs
150ml milk
Vanilla extract

I appreciate that this is very vague, but it is as accurate a recipe as I followed. Who really wants a particularly detailed recipe when they're having a relaxing brunch?

Beat the eggs, milk, and a little sugar. Soak the slices of bread for several minutes and then fry in a pan with the butter.

Then top with your favourite flavours, I had these delicious summer berries with a bowl of sliced banana.

Cup of tea break: Not another Valentine's Day Post

February 14, 2013

So today is Valentine's Day, as if you hadn't had enough difficulty averting your eyes from the onslaught of advertisements, and this year apparently an incessant need for everyone to tell us all how 'Ben and Jerry are the only men for me' via every social media network. I won't apologise for enlightening you with the fact that it is the 14th February, because I'm going to share the most wonderful protestations of love through the written word. A written note is a gesture that I would find far more romantic than roses, chocolates, the generic Clinton Cards bear that you won't know what to do with when the giver is no longer in your life. Sorry, but it's true. Whereas on a practical basis you could just burn the written note or wallow in your pain like a romantic heroine rather than having deranged thoughts about mutilating said bear.

Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina, The Great Gatsby are all seen to be beautiful love stories, but for me they don't offer the same kind of requited and perfect love that Austen presents. So my favourite romantic passage has to be:

Jane Austen, Persuasion. 
“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F. W.
I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never.” 

For others see this list
On my list of books to read recreationally this year is Lolita, Love in the time of Cholera, Atonement amongst many more. So who knows, maybe this will all change by next year. However at the moment, some of the words expressed by Austen's characters remain unsurpassed, in my mind, in terms of idyllic love.

With that in mind if you don't receive anything this Valentines Day, or even if you do, I think you should treat yourself to this mug. ardently I admire and love you' (Darcy, Pride and Prejudice)

I would argue that it's everything you could want out of a relationship: romance and a warming beverage, principally tea, to cuddle up with on the sofa.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! 

Cup of tea break: Looking after book

February 08, 2013

I don't know about you, but I was never taught how to look after a book or how to open it with care.
My mum would always tell me to turn the page from the corner rather than from the middle, to put it in plastic bag/ dustcover when transporting it, but I didn't quite get to grips with the concept of caring for my books until my collection rapidly expanded and I fell in love with the physical specimen as well as the stories inside. Last year I was given an old copy of Villette, from the Folio Society, but when I attempted to read it the spine was falling to pieces and left remnants of itself all around the house. It was disintegrating and I didn't know what to do. This book was perhaps beyond revival, it needed more of a palliative treatment, but for the future here are the tips I have learnt to take care of my books.

  • Be careful when transporting your books, preferably use a dustcover, and don't just put them in the bottom of your bag with lots of objects piled on top.
  • Avoid pulling them off the bookshelf from the top. 
(This is my beloved copy of Villette which wasn't looked after by its previous owner.)

Opening a Book:
DO NOT suddenly jerk the book open in one go.

You will notice that the pages will gradually seperate themselves as the binding loosens.

Step 5: Repeat the whole process several times.

This should prevent the spine from breaking and avoid pages from coming loose.

And there we have it, a book that has been cared for!

I hope this helps to keep your books in good condition!

Do you have any tips of your own?

The Brontes and Haworth

February 03, 2013

At the end of last year, I visited the Yorkshire village of Haworth. The Brontës were born in Thornton, but lived in Haworth for most of their writing careers. We went for a walk and submersed ourselves into the minds of the talented sisters in replicating the steps they would have taken in these Pennines. I could easily discern from where their inspiration might have derived in exploring the beautiful and wild scenery. On this walk it occurred to me that it wasn't surprising how many authors and poets have been inspired by their surroundings.

Looking less than stylish in our 'trekking gear'.

It was a lovely day out, the cold air was fresh and a perfect excuse for a good cup of warm hot chocolate on arrival back into the quaint village with lunch.

I found the village surprisingly unspoilt; it felt like I had stepped back in time as I walked through the cobbled streets. We didn't actually have time to visit the Parsonage, which is now a museum dedicated to the Brontës, although I think that we might be planning on returning with this in mind.
I would definitely recommend a trip if you're in the area, it was a wonderful way to spend a wintery day.
In fact, I have decided that there is little that's better than going on a brisk walk, admiring the beautiful countryside, and then returning home to warm up with a hot drink and a big knitted jumper.

What is your favourite thing to do on a Sunday or on a cold wintery day?