Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Blog Takeover: Lynn Marie Talks New Year's Resolutions and Frou-Frou Cocktails

I'm handing my blog over to Lynn Marie Hulsman, a fellow Harper Impulse Rom-Com author! She's talking New Year's resolutions. Take it away Lynn Marie! 

I’m usually eager to make New Year’s resolutions. This year I’ll lose enough weight to fit into my high school jeans. In the next 12 months, I’ll organize my closets in so well they make Martha Stewart’s look like a hot mess. Even though I am not a medical doctor, this year I will find a cure for malaria. While it’s good to have goals, overshooting the mark can leave me feeling inadequate and defeated.

This year, I have a better resolution. In 2014, my plan is to support myself through gentle reassurance instead of force and criticism. I treat my best girlfriends this way, why not myself? Each time the “shoulds” start, I will remind myself that I’m OK as I am. At this weight, with my house the way it is, and with the achievements I already have in my quiver. I’ll conserve the energy I used to put into struggle to be a different person, and put it into something worthwhile like my writing.

As a kick-off to this new way of behaving, I’m going to do something I rarely do: Go to a lot of trouble for myself. I love fancy cocktails when I’m out at a bar or restaurant. At home, I usually settle for a simple glass of Sauvignon Blanc. This year, I’m going to push out the boat and treat myself to a Sparkly Peach and Cranberry Cocktail. I hope you’ll do the same!

Sparkly Peach and Cranberry Cocktails

Of course champagne is lovely for toasting the New Year, but why not kick off 2014 with something a notch more special? Here’s a cocktail that would be equally at home at a winter wedding or a black-tie event.

Perfect for holiday gatherings, the visual “wow” factor of this simple-to-make cocktail would have even Carrie Bradshaw tweeting a selfie with her gorgeous glass. The cunning combination of evergreen rosemary sprigs and the deep, wintry red of the cranberries will leave your guests gasping! But art is not the only trick these sparklies have up their sleeves: They taste sublime. One sip of the silky peach, offset by the tang of the cranberry, and rounded out by the aromatic Prosecco, and you’ll swear you’ve heard angels sing.

Makes 8 flutes

2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/2 cup / 118 ml peach nectar
2 750ml bottles Prosecco
8 thin sprigs fresh rosemary, each slightly taller than the bowls of your champagne flutes, washed and patted dry

Place the cranberries in a small, heatproof bowl, and cover them in boiling water. Soak the berries until cool, about 30 minutes. Drain, gently pat dry, and refrigerate until serving.
Divide the peach nectar evenly among eight Champagne flutes. Now, divide the cranberries evenly among the flutes. Pouring down the sides of the flutes, add the Prosecco.

Garnish each glass with a rosemary sprig, and serve.

Christmas at Thortnon Hall blurb

When Juliet Hill unwittingly discovers a most-definitely-not-hers-rhinestone-studded lace thong in her high-flying lawyer boyfriend's apartment, this usually feisty chef is suddenly single and facing a very blue Christmas - with only a ready meal for one to keep her company!

So when she's personally requested to cater for the family at Thornton Hall three days before Christmas, it's not long before Juliet's standing at the (back) door of the impossibly grand ancestral pile.

The halls are decked, the guests are titled, those below the stairs are delightfully catty, and all-American Juliet sets to work cooking up a glorious British Christmas with all the trimmings.

But other flames are burning besides those on the stove... Sparks fly with Edward, the gorgeous ex-soldier turned resident chef, and are those sidelong looks Juliet's getting from her boss, the American tycoon Jasper Roth?

As the snow starts to fall on the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, so does the veneer of genteel high society and there are more than a few ancient skeletons rattling out of the Hall's numerous dark cupboards!

CHRISTMAS AT THORNTON HALL is a country house romance for the modern age, a must-read for fans of the scandals and drama of Downton Abbey and the charm and wit of Helen Fielding.

Lynn Marie Hulsman is a novelist in New York City, where she lives with her husband and two children. You can find more about her on the links below!

Thank you so much, Lynn Marie! Happy New Year everyone!

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