Category Archives: My world

Plant based recipe of the week – Week 8 – Lisa’s Vegetable Curry

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Apologies for the delay in posting. I’ve not been trying new recipes, but instead eating food I know will be good while I focus on the latest Witchlit novel, The Flowerpot Witch, which will be published on Thursday 21st June.

But I did cook this curry again last week and remembered to take photos for you.

This curry is from my friend Lisa. It’s delicious with dahl and rice or with popadoms or naan…. in fact, it’s just delicious!

Lisa’s Vegetable Curry

2 tablespoons oil

2 onions

1 tablespoon fresh ginger

Vegetables:

My favourite – ½ butternut squash, 1 large sweet potato, 2 carrots (plus 1 head broccoli, 200g spinach)

2 teaspoons garam masala (I ran out and used 1 tspn madras curry powder and was good)

Salt

3 whole peppercorns

Big bunch of fresh coriander

1 tin of coconut milk

1 heaped tablespoon of peanut butter

Green pepper

150g green beans

Fresh parsley (optional)

Fry chopped onion for about 2-3 minutes until softened.

Add ginger and cook for about one more minute

Add chopped vegetables – you could try parsnips, peas, potato or swede. (I chopped up a whole butternut squash and roasted in the oven for about ten minutes and used the other half for making soup)

Add garam masala, salt, peppercorns, the chopped stalks of the coriander and, if you have it, about a teaspoon of a kebab spice mix containing chilli and dried mango. (I checked out Ras Al Hanout and used that. It contains coriander, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, salt, pimento, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and aniseed)
Continue to cook for about 5 minutes stirring constantly.

Add a tin of coconut milk and a heaped tablespoon of peanut butter.
Bring to the boil while stirring then leave to simmer for about 45 minutes.

If using cauliflower or broccoli then add after about 25 minutes. (I added green pepper and green beans with the broccoli)

After about 30 minutes taste and add more spice/peanut butter if you think it is needed.

If using spinach add it about 8 minutes before the end.
At the end add a large handful of chopped fresh coriander and/or parsley. (You can leave out both but fresh coriander is fab in this dish)

If freezing don’t add spinach or fresh herbs until you reheat.

 

 

 

 

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The Wonderful Wendy Woo Witch Lit Team

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The Flowerpot Witch blog tour is nearly here and it’s all thanks to the newest member of the team, Rachel Gilbey.

Welcome Rachel to my blog!

Thanks Wendy, it’s my pleasure to be featured on your blog.

Your services were recommended to me online as the lady to create a perfect blog tour but how do you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as incredibly fortunate to be in a position to be running my own business and doing a job that I am thoroughly enjoying. I am organised, a huge lover of books and just want to help authors get their book out and seen to the wider world.

How did you come to be supporting writers?

Three years ago I started up a book blog, and then from there started taking part in blog tours. From that I realised it was something that I had the skills to do, but it took a year of procrastination and research before I was able to set up the business.

I have been an avid reader my whole life and with social media and the internet it was probably inevitable that I would eventually find likeminded people and be able to share my love of books with a wider audience.

 

Have you considered writing yourself?

No, I just about got an A in English Language GCSE back in 2000, and that was the last time I tried to write creatively.  If I ever had a persistent idea for a book I may give it a go but have no burning desire to write, I would rather enjoy the fruits of everyone else’s imaginations!

 

What is your favourite genre to read and why?

Chick lit / romance – I like pure escapism.  Romance in real life doesn’t seem to agree with me but in fiction I get to experience many varieties of book boyfriend, and with chick lit and women’s fiction I get to enjoy some humour too and generally realistic well rounded identifiable characters, which I can then pretend to be for a short while.

 

If you were stranded on a desert island, with food and shelter provided, what five items would you want with you?

Kindle – I have so many books on it that even without Wi-Fi I have enough to keep me going for a few years

Sun tan lotion – need to protect my skin as I turn into a lobster otherwise!

A sexy man – well I need to entertain myself too!

A genie in a lamp – Having someone to cast unlimited wishes seems like a plan to me

A puppy – I love dogs and don’t have one and need some company when I get bored of the sexy man!

 

You can invite three people to dinner, who would you invite and why?

Gordon Ramsay – I need someone to cook the dinner and I like him!

Gary Barlow – a mix of entertainment, great music and well I’m a huge Take That fan but don’t want to invite only them for my 3 spots!

Dave Gorman – he’s a lesser known comedian but I love his jokes and observational comedy and I reckon he would fit in well to this party.

 

Thank you so much for sharing a little of what makes you tick.

Use these links to contact Rachel and view the wonderful random resources she offers.

 

Website – https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rachelsrandomresources/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rararesources

 

And that’s The Wonderful Wendy Woo Witch Lit Team, the creative, inspiring, sexy, awesome women behind my books.

Look out for The Flowerpot Witch blog tour coming to a blog near you very soon!

 

The Wonderful Wendy Woo Witch Lit Team

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Now you’ve met my first readers, it’s time to meet my cover designer, formatter and all round tech supporter, Kate Murray. Kate is an artist and author in her own right who kindly offered to help me when I’d been let down.

I asked her some questions…

1 How do you write and draw? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

Sometimes there is a plan, but more often there isn’t. It depends on how complicated I’m going. When I plan a large piece of work that has meaning then it has to be meticulous in pre drawing and notes. But if I decide to work to a feeling then there are no plans – I simply have a go.

In my writing there tends to be more of a plan although the characters very rarely stick to it.

 

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

 Trousers? No… I do have a specific set up. My computer, which is a Wacom drawing tablet, earphones (have to be red) and music, normally from the mid 80s to present day. Oh! And Queen. A cup of coffee and a handful of peanuts. Then I’m ready for anything.

 

 3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I love to bake, knit and do creative things.

I grow stuff, from herbs to flowers.

If I can I will have some DIY project on the go, although my partner is the one who has to bail me out.

I love that my home is full of family that come and go as they please. That the house always seems busy.

I collect ornament cats. And I name them. Give them characters and places in the house.

 

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

My partner – Roland. I would forfeit the other four things for him…

 

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

The Prowlers by Christopher Golden. This book isn’t about curses but the stark reality of the werewolf if they existed.

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson. He survived but how he did it is amazing.

The Fireman by Joe Hill. I love all Joe Hill’s books but this is about love and sacrifice, and is just brilliant.

Hollow World by Michael J Sullivan. Because it is a future I can see happening. And love without the barriers of gender.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. It starts with murder and carries on from there. Beautiful, modern fairytale.

 

6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

Tricky, but I would have to chose Freddie Mercury. He had a hell of a creative mind and I have a feeling I would just listen. Anyone who can put an operatic section in a rock song has got to be interesting. Scaramouch Fandango; where does that come from?

 

7 Your current writing projects?

I have a Tudor colouring book for Key Stage 3 on the go at the moment. A murder mystery screen play and a couple of artworks. Life is busy and a lot of fun.

 

8 Other published work and links….

 

‘Nomora’ – Aberystwyth Masters Magazine 2012

‘The Wait’ – Female First (magazine) 2013

‘Searching Pride’ – Female First (magazine) 2013

‘Oil and Water’ – The Lampeter Review 2013

‘Vanilla and Caramel’ – Ether books and in Twisted Tales Anthology 2013 published by Raging Aardvark Press

‘The White Ghost’ – Ether books 2013

‘A fur coat, a guitar and a song’ – in the ‘Busker’ anthology published by What the Dickens magazine (ebook) 2013

‘James Herbert – biography’ – Thresholds (University of Cirencester) 2013

‘Vanilla and Caramel’ – Twisted Tales Anthology, Aardvark Press 2013

‘Dust’ – published by Jotters United Literary Magazine 2014

‘Crimson and Scarlet’ – published by Jotters United Literary Magazine 2014

‘The Phantom Horse’ – Self-published flash fiction collection 2014

‘The Constant Bicycle’ – in the ‘Spooky Tales’ anthology published by What the Dickens magazine (ebook) 2014

‘Love Just Is’ – Short story Collection published by Raging Aardvark Press 2014

‘Shadows Close’ – Short Story Collection published by Raging Aardvark Press 2014

‘Truth and Lies’ – Self-published crime novella 2015

‘The Gone’ – Self-Published horror novel 2015

‘The Shallow Sea’ – Self-published disaster novel 2016

‘Here Be Dragons’ – Self-published children’s novel 2016 (Shortlisted for the Firefly prize 2015)

‘Tunnels’ – Self-published Children’s novel 2016

‘Fey’ – Self-published Children’s novel 2016

‘How the Moon Lost the Stars’ – Self-published picture book 2017

‘The Gone 2 – Evolution’ – Self-published Horror Novel 2017

‘Here Be Wolves’ – Self-published children’s novel 2017

‘Adult Tudor Colouring Book’ – Self-published colouring book 2017

 

Most are available through my Amazon page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kate-Murray/e/B00IS2FP98/

Or my website: http://kate0murray.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kate.murray.author.artist/

https://twitter.com/the_toymaker

 

Kate is wonderful to work with! She’s patient and thoughtful and meticulous in all her work. Her artwork is stunning and her books magnificent and she’s far too modest to tell you, but she’s been accepted to study for a PhD at Swansea University. She’s a truly inspirational, unstoppable creative bombshell and I’m privileged to call her friend.

Join me tomorrow to meet the final member of The Wonderful Wendy Woo WitchLit Team.

 

 

 

 

The Wonderful Wendy Woo Witch Lit Team

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On the run up to The Flowerpot Witch blog tour, I’ve been introducing you to the fabulous team of women who help me get my book from my imagination into the public domain. Today is the turn of my final first reader, Melanie Collier.

Hi, I’m Melanie, dance and movement teacher, crafter, blogger and provider of document services such as proofreading, copy-editing, data entry or just plain old typing.

I teach belly dance in Pembrokeshire, where I also provide cover for LIFT (Low Impact Functional Training) gentle exercise sessions for Age Cymru. My first love was ballet, but I’ve been to workshops or courses in lots of other dance styles. I also studied contemporary dance, and through that was introduced to somatic movement practices. Since I was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis several years ago, (something of a hindrance and embuggerance to a dancer) I’ve found yoga and Pilates useful and become increasingly interested in somatics, both as physiotherapy and as applied to dance.

When I’m not dancing, exercising, proofreading and editing, I like to mess around with yarn (I always have a pair of socks on the needles), wire, beads, sequins, sea glass, fabric, ribbons, paint/pens/pencils or Photoshop. I take commissions for things like socks, jewellery and fabric flowers. Various bits of my digital art are gradually being added to the print-on-demand sites Zazzle, Redbubble, Cafepress and Deviant Art as I engage in the perpetual fight with my antiquated PC to load them.

And when I’m not doing any of that, I’m gardening, watching wildlife, recording moths (like proofreading, identifying moths requires an eye for detail) and butterflies, blogging, doing mindful meditation, and trying to find time to practise drumming, learn other new skills and curl up with my cats and a good book. Housework is low on the list of activities!

I met Wendy through dance and it was only later that I learned she’s an author. I was quite flattered to be added to her team of first readers for The Naked Witch, a new genre and activity for me. I immediately fell in love with Lizzie and her daughter, and was enthralled by the way she thinks and works and the descriptions of her sessions in her sanctuary, so was very glad to get an early look at the following two novels. I’m not sure if Wendy likes or loathes my nit-picking (especially the lack of commas before clauses beginning ‘but’, which drives me NUTS!). However, I am sure that readers will enjoy the books very much indeed.

Melanie is a creative, vibrant spirit and a beautiful dancer. Of course I like her nit-picking! With Melanie’s sharp eye and unflinching determination for perfection, she helps me whip my books into shape, ready for you readers.

http://dancingmoth.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DancingMoth/

Join me tomorrow to meet the cover designer and formatter of the Wendy Woo Witch Lit books. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the blog tour poster and, if you haven’t yet been introduced to the Lizzie Martin series, check out my books on my author page.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

 

 

The Wonderful Wendy Woo Witch Lit Team

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On the run up to the blog tour for The Flowerpot Witch, here’s another first reader for you to meet, Melanie Jackson Bridge. If I was married, she’d be my sister-in-law, so she’s married to my partner’s brother, but I’m lucky to call her friend as well as family.

I’m Mel and currently I don’t really do very much at the moment. I’m an older parent to a 7 year old who keeps me on my toes. In the absence of employment, I’m a wannabe polymath. I feel that you’re never to old to learn something new, and over the last year I’ve participated in a number of short courses on a variety of subjects including creative writing, critical thinking, eminent Victorians, Jane Austen, and understanding autism. At the time of writing this, I’m 2/3 through an evening adult education course, and I’m about to sign up for some online learning. If I’m not filling my time with my evening class, you may find me at my local ecology group, at yoga, bellydancing, doing school governor things, doing parents association things, or reading. Occasionally I make cards, or jewellery. From time to time I help my husband out with the admin side of his photography business.

I’ve known Wendy for many years and its her resolute spirit and ability to apply herself 100% to what she does that really inspires me. Therefore, it was a great honour to be asked to be one of Wendy’s first readers, as I greatly admire Wendy’s ability to tell a good story. Lizzie Martin is a wonderful character; wise, measured, compassionate, warm and a genuine friend. Just the sort of person we all aspire to be. What marks Lizzie as different is her connection to the natural world and the unseen, and her magic always strikes me as beautiful and practical in equal measures.

Like others in Wendy’s circle, I see myself as an author, but as yet, my story is unfinished and so unpublished. At least once a week I remind myself I’m trying to write a novel, but I spend so much time researching the WW2 period I get sidetracked by reading different accounts from the Mass Observation. Because of my propensity to procrastination I’m in awe of Wendy’s determination and focus as an author.

 

And, like all of my Wonderful Wendy Woo Witch Lit Team, Mel has failed to mention her degrees! She has a BSc and MSc in Conservation (management) and studied while pregnant and managing a new baby. She’s a stickler for grammar and a stern critique of my work but I love her for it. She knows she’s lazy and incredibly pedantic, but she’s a feminist, a pagan, an LGBTQ ally and a great charity supporter. My most remembered magical moments are with Mel, sharing magic in my circle beneath the moon. I’m blessed to have her on my side.

Check out her writer page on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KMacDonaldAuthor/

and on twitter: https://twitter.com/tooftalf

 

You’ve met Sarah, Eve and Mel so pop back tomorrow and meet another Mel, Melanie Collier, to complete The Wonderful Wendy Woo Witch Lit Team first readers.

Keep your eyes peeled for The Flowerpot Witch blog tour coming soon to a website near you!

 

 

 

The Wonderful Wendy Woo Witch Lit Team

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With less than a week to go until The Flowerpot Witch blog tour begins, I’m showcasing on my blog the women who have made my writing and publication possible. Today’s first reader is Eve Merrick-Williams…

I’m Eve, a retired lady of a certain age, but don’t buy the stereotype. I sport large tattoos and some recent body piercings. I love Rammstein, Junksista and Suicide Commando to name a few of hundreds of loved bands. I had the great luck to meet Wendy four years ago when I joined her belly dance class.

I was hugely flattered when Wendy asked me to be one of the first readers of The Flower Pot Witch, as I greatly admire Wendy’s writing. I love the Lizzy Martin character  who is the sort of woman we’d all like as a friend. Lizzy is a modern woman who deals with all the challenges faced by  modern women; a modern woman who just happens to be a witch.

I write myself, mainly dark, gothic short stories and flash fiction. I’ve had some success getting published in small press magazines. I always joke that I can only get published in magazines I wouldn’t want to be seen reading.

 

Eve is a good friend, but one who can be totally honest with me. She’s far too modest to tell you but she has BAs in Classical Studies and Ancient History and an MA in Ancient Philosophy and Myth and inspires me every day. Despite insisting that she has no rhythm, she’s a fab dancer and valuable member of Tribal Unity Wales.

You can find her on Facebook here:https://www.facebook.com/Eve-Merrick-Williams-783933638314022/

And on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EveMerrick

 

Pagan Tribal Gathering – The power of women

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Last weekend I was invited to teach American Tribal Style® Bellydance at a brand new Pagan Tribal Gathering in Upton, Nuneaton. I spent three nights in a field with a brand new tribe.

Organised by Pia Morgan and a team of fabulous, dedicated helpers, I enjoyed a relaxed, friendly weekend in tune with the Earth Mother, taking part in ceremonies and rituals and learning new skills. There was no pressure to join in, only respect requested for those who wished to. There were crafters, traders, artists and wise folk, sharing their work and beliefs, and selling their wares. Together, three hundred people birthed a new tribe and laughed, danced, drummed and danced some more.

New enterprises are never easy to get right, yet one woman’s dream was brought to fruition by the belief and endeavours of others and the blessings bestowed by the Goddess.

And that’s why I write Witchlit. Women are awesome and, guided by the Goddess, unstoppable. Who doesn’t want to read about strong women? If Witchlit is a new reading genre to you, think Helen Fielding, Sophie Kinsella and Candace Bushnell stories with witches.

Witch Lit is contemporary, magical realism, where the magical and the mundane co-exist. The stories are gritty and believable while magic is sprinkled through the stories, offering the reader a new perspective on reality.

You can find all my books on my author pages https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

and for FREE Witchlit short stories and extracts, subscribe to my YouTube channel Phoenix and the Dragon https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber

Join the Witchlit revolution and demand more fiction about real witches. Follow on Twitter @WitchLit1 !

New moon blessings to you all xx

 

When the muse takes me

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Planning and writing began on The Flowerpot Witch in September 2017 but since January 2018, I’ve been totally immersed in Lizzie Martin’s third story.

Writing the first ten chapters last year was a breeze …before I had a crisis of confidence. The writing was easy because I was following on from the previous book, The Orphan Witch, giving readers time to acclimatize themselves in Lizzie’s world, but that wasn’t what the book was about. I needed The Flowerpot Witch to begin with flowerpots! Since stopping smoking on 21st January, I sleep for four hours and then wake, sometimes only to drop off to sleep again but usually to stay awake for at least an hour. This is the time when the muse takes me.

Over two nights, a new chapter one and an inspired idea put The Flowerpot Witch back on track and I’ve been knuckling down ever since, focussing on brewing up a storm about this book before launch day on 21st June.

My sleepless nights are now a constant source of time with the muse. Her idea to persuade me to concentrate on writing was magic. I can focus on writing a cracking story while amazing women who excel in other fields like formatting, cover design, editing and marketing, form a supportive team around me and the books. I’ll introduce you to them over the following weeks.

The muse inspires my dance teaching too, helping me trust my abilities and style.

In Ibiza last week, holidaying with my daughter, out of the blue came a crazy idea…revisit the first novel you wrote, all 100k words of it, and write THIS story instead. From two o’clock in the morning, plot lines and subplots wound their way around my brain and characters played out scenes in my head. At four o’clock I had to get up and write them down.

The muse will not be denied. Once The Flowerpot Witch is formatted, checked and done ready for reviewers and bloggers, I will be revisiting Hubble Bubble.

Live the chaos. Be ready for when the muse takes you.

 

 

Plant based recipe of the week – Week 7 – Tracy’s Curry

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This week I’m sharing a favourite recipe from my friend Tracy. She’s a dancer and one of the most inspiring women I know, remodelling her own home and designing and building her own garden.

Tracy’s Curry

5 tblspoons vegetable oil (I use 3)

2 tspns mustard seeds

1 tspn fenugreek (I used punchpooran – cumin, mustard, nigella, fenugreek and fennel seeds)

2 fresh green chillis (Original recipe was 3 but too hot for me!), finely chopped

 

1 handful curry leaves

3 large onions, peeled and chopped

 

Veg

 

1 tspn chilli powder

1 tspn turmeric

6 large tomatoes (or 1 tin/carton of tomatoes)

 

1 or 2 glasses of water

1 tin coconut milk

Salt

 

 

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek (or punchpooran) and chillis and stir for a couple of minutes.

Add curry leaves and onions and cook until they are light brown.

Add your vegetables, depending what you have in the fridge. You could try one large white potato, one large sweet potato, two large carrots, 150g green/french beans and a head of broccoli. Mushrooms work well with parsnips and butternut squash. You can use frozen veg too but be sure to adjust the additional water.  (if I’m using frozen veg, I don’t add any water until it has all broken down with the tomatoes and I’ve added the coconut milk.)

Add spices and tomatoes and coat all the veg.

Add water (or not!). Add coconut milk and salt…I start with half a teaspoon and add more if I need it.

 

This curry is good the day you make it but even better the next day!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I’ll leave you with a picture of our elderly cat, Tiggy, sixteen years young but loving having new family to snuggle with.  He and Odin get on really well.

 

For short stories and extracts from my books, subscribe to my YouTube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon, where I read to you from Pan’s Grotto on my Welsh riverbank

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA

 

 

 

 

Plant based recipe of the week – Week 6 – Wendy Woo’s Flapjack

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Eating plant based is about getting the balance right. I find eating enough veg a challenge, especially in the winter when a salad just doesn’t hit the spot, but chillis and curries are perfect for this. I try and include as many colours as possible too, as variety is also important.

But there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a sweet treat, as long as it’s part of the balance. This is my flapjack recipe, a merger of three old recipes plus a Wendy Woo twist! I learned this recipe by heart in ounces. I’ve used 1oz = 25g for the conversion.

 

Wendy Woo’s Flapjack

9oz (225g) butter/dairy free margarine

2oz (50g) brown sugar

1oz (25g) Demerara sugar

1 large tablespoon syrup

 

12oz (300g) oats

2oz (50g) sunflower seeds

1oz (25g) pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons chia seeds

1oz (25g) dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, chopped cranberries, dates or apricots)

Line a baking tray ( 25cm X 35cm) with baking parchment and set oven to Gas Mark 6/200 C/400 F.

In a large saucepan melt margarine, sugars and syrup.

Off the heat, add all the dry ingredients and stir well.

Press into baking tray and bake for 12 minutes (May need two more minutes – test by lifting edge of sheet and if bottom of flapjack is light brown, it is done)

Once flapjack has stopped bubbling, divide into 16 (4X4) for big pieces or 20 (4X5) for smaller ones with a large knife. Leave to set.

 

The original recipes I merged had more than twice the sugar of this recipe. You may be able to cut down even more but your flapjack may be more crumbly and not hold together whereas this recipe travels in a tin to writing group and dance class to share!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I’ll leave you with Jibby being cute, the feral cat who came with our house, who has adopted us as the humans who feed her.

If you’ve found me for the first time, you are most welcome. Do check out my books on my author pages https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref 

And for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref