Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Stopping of Summer Special

Well, the end is here. Thankyou to all who helped out, commented and visited during my month of summer madness. I hope you picked up some tips of things to do, places to see, recipes to try, authors to read and/or blogs to visit. I'd love to hear what you thought- maybe you could leave a comment or make a blog post to tell me. Hopefully this will be the beginning of more events that I'm able to hold.

Just before I leave you to go back to normal broadcasting, I bet you want to know who won what. Well, here you are:

The Winner of Bloody Jack is Mystica
The signed bookmarks were won by Sahina Bibi
The personalised magnetic bookmarks were won by Jade Walker and Janhvi Jagtap
The Winner of the Hairdresser of Harare is Mazz Nixon
And, finally, Anne was the winner of Murder in the Dark.

Congratulations to all the winners. You have been contacted by e-mail and now have 48 hours to respond.

If you didn't win this time, don't despair- you can still win with my 100 followers giveaway (see the sidebar of 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' for more details.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Caught in The Winds by L.D. Wenzel (A Review)

From the blurb:

Try though he might, Morrie Schiller just doesn't fit into the Christian college scene. The girl he loves sees him as only a 'brother', and he's in the crossfire as conservatives rage against the school with extremist religious views. Add to the mix, he's rankled by unasked for longings to become a Roman Catholic. He feels alone, 'caught', as postmodern winds toss him about like an autumn leaf.
Enter Jack Joplin, a mysterious stranger, who lures him into embracing a spurious philosophy, promising to 'transcend' religious conventionality. Morrie is catapulted into Faust-like adventures that go beyond his wildest dreams.
Time was when Morrie only wanted to meet a nice Christian girl and settle down as an ordinary evangelical. However the Socratic dictum: 'Know Thyself' seems to be his sacred calling. Spiritual maturity comes only by passing through the refiner's fire.

My review:

A tale of three parts full of philosophical and moral ideas to challenge the Christian mind. I really enjoyed the discourse that this book took about a wide-range of issues. Although sometimes reading like a university text-book, it was worth perceivering with for the pure inventiveness and originality.

I think that this story could possibly have been told over three individual books, since the sections were so different in style. In places the descriptions were unecessary to the plot, in others I would have liked to know more of the character's feelings. Having said that, I did truly feel for the main character.

I'm glad that I got a chance to read this book annd am hoping to get a chance to read the sequel sometime in the future.

Book source: This book was sent to me by the author in return for an honest review

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Suggested Activity 14: Visit your local farm shop

Today's suggestion: Visit your local farm shop

Why not support your local economy, whilst knowing exactly where your food comes from, by visiting your local farm shop. There are a whole variety of different types of farm shop serving, amongst other things, : bread, cheese, meat, fruit and vegetables, cakes, jams, plants. Some have cafes or pick-your-own attached to them. Others have nearby garden centres or children's activities. Why not check out what's near to you, do your shopping and maybe make a whole day of it.

Over to you
Do you have a farm shop near you?
I'd love you to tell us about it, maybe other readers would be interested as well.

If you fancy knowing how I make beetroot cake, then pop over to 'Living In A Time Warp' where I'll be sharing my recipe this afternoon.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Suggested Activity 9: Get together with friends

Get together with some friends

'The Story Factory Reading Zone' readers say:
I also love having friends over to play Wii or board games into the wee hours of the morning. Most of my friends don't live here, so when they're home during the holidays it's fun to meet up and do something together.

This is a great one for those in the uni years, or for those whose friends might travel away for schooling. But it can also be good for other people as well. Think about it- kids are on holiday, the schools are closed, people may be taking vacation time, the sun is out and its a great time to catch up with mates. All you have to decide is how to do it! But the most important thing is, whether you have a picnic, a BBQ, play Wii, board games or simply drink coffee- have fun!

 Over to you:
What sort of things do you enjoy doing with you friends?

For the next 'Suggested Activity' pop over to 'The Story Factory Writing Zone' tomorrow.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Places to Visit 1: New South Wales

New South Wales

'The Story Factory Reading Zone' readers recommend:
"Brunswick Heads, Ballina, Bangalow, Byron Bay, Mullumbimby, Tweed Heads... these are all around the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales. A very beautiful part of Australia."

Over to you: Have you ever been to New South Wales? We'd love to hear about it!

Tomorrow's 'Summer Special' post can be found on 'The Story Factory Writing Zone'

Suggested Activity 4: Take a road-trip

Take a road-trip

'The Story Factory Reading Zone' readers say:
I love going on short road trips on sunny days (especially with my Mum!). Maybe drive to the nearest city and go shopping or eat at a nice restaurant, or just drive someplace we haven't been before and enjoy the ride.
I totally agree with this one. I love going out driving and experiencing the joy of the open road. I particularly like going into the countriside with the windows wide open. Of course, having air conditioning or a sunroof is good to stop it getting too hot in the warm weather.

Over to you:
Where do you like to take a road trip to?
Tell us about it in the comments, or share some pictures and your blog and leave a link.  

Pop back this afternoon for the first 'places to visit' 
(this one's particularly for those in the southern hemisphere ;) )

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Recipe Resort: Peach Sorbet

Welcome to the 'Recipe Resort'- the 'Summer Special' feature where I'll be sharing some of the recipes that I enjoy using during the summer months.

Today, I'll be sharing with you how to make a simple peach sorbet.
The inspiration for this sorbet was the fact that we had several left over peaches that were too far gone to eat but which I didn't want to waste. It was a boiling hot day, so I was looking for a way to make something cool from them. Plus, I had a craving for ice-cream or sorbet. Since my Mum's lactose intolerant I plumped for the sorbet. After searching around the internet I found a simple recipe that could be adapted for the purpose.
The result was a peach sorbet that, whilst not as soft and creamy as shop bought, was certainly melt in the mouth. I see no reason why this couldn't be adapted to use other fruit if necessary.

The recipe

You will need:
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 200ml water
  • 4 large ripe peaches
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  1. Put the sugar and water in a pan.Warm on the hob until th sugar dissolves then bring to the boil. Boil for one minute.
  2. Take the resulting syrup off the heat and leave it to cool for 30 minutes. Then place in the fridge to cool for a further hour and a half.
  3. Cut peaches into slices and take out the stones (I like to leave the skins on, but you can peel them if you wish)
  4. Put peach slices into food processer and blend for about a minute.
  5. Add syrup and lemon juice before blending until the mixture is make up of fine pieces in a creamy mix. 
  6. Place in the freezer for at leas 3 hours before serving.

Over to you:
Try and then let us know what you thought of this recipe.

Tomorrow, you can read another 'Activity Suggestion' back on this blog, as well as the first 'Place to Visit' of this 'Summer Special'

    Monday, 1 August 2011

    The Week Ahead: Week One

    Welcome to the first of 4 'Week Ahead' posts during my August 'Summer Special'. The aim of these posts is to keep you updated with what will happening each week, including any changes from the published schedule. They may also include my response to the 'It's Monday: What Are You Reading?' meme (I don't do this every week, just when I have new reading to announce).

    WEEK ONE- Welcome To The Summer!
    This week is all about getting the feel for what the 'Summer Special' is about. As well as the launch post, I'll be taking you round all my blogs as I share with you some suggested activities for the summer, one of my favourite recipes and a place to visit. The week ends with the first 'Summer Sharer' and blog feature.
    Click on the blog titles to be taken to their main pages.

    Day One-     Launch Post (all blogs)
                        The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                        Suggested Activity 1 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Two-    Suggested Activity 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Three-  Suggested Activity 3 (Crafty Creations)
                        Recipe Resort: Peach Sorbet (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Four-    Places To Visit 1 (Blog For The Thought)
                        Suggested Activity 4 (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Five-     Suggested Activity 5 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Six-       Suggested Activity 6 (Crafty Creations)
                        Summer Sharer: Wanderer's Tales (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Seven-  Blog Feature: My Book-Crazy Life (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    Over to you: What does summer mean to you?

    Summer Special Starts!

    Apologies for the late start to this 'Summer Special'.
    Who knew it would take me over an hour to write this post!?

    Welcome to the first ever 'Summer Special' taking place across various blogs run by Abigail Ann (aka neeuqfonafamai).

    So, what is 'Summer Special'?
    Basically, its a change to our regular schedule where you can hang out during your summer holidays. Or, if they're already over, then you can use the opportunity to imagine them back again and begin planning for next year. Every day in August, I'll be leaving you some ideas of  things that are good to do in hot weather. They'll also be giveaways, blog features, author interview(s), recipes for you to try, and a chance for you to join in during our 'summer sharers'. That's in addition to all my usual book reviews and memes. And, at the end of each post, will be an 'over to you'- something to spark discussion in the comments, or to post about on your own blog (if you want to).
    Let me now tell you some more about the types of posts you may come across during this month:
    • The Week Ahead. At the start of each week in August, I'll be putting up a post saying what's happening that week. This will be an updated post and will include the 'It's Monday: What Are You Reading?' meme. 
    • Suggested Activity. These are posts talking about activities that myself or my blog readers like to do. They contain ideas of things that could be good to do in warm weather. 
    • Places to Visit. These are brief posts telling you about various places that could be good to go and visit. These are specific places that you might want to see if you live nearby, or to go to on holiday in the future.
    • Blog Feature. Telling you all about some of the blogs that our readers run. 
    • Giveaway. Your chance to grab a prize. Thanks to the generousity of our readers most of these are international! Plus, I'll be adding a surprise giveaway if the followers of 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' hit 100 followers during this event!
    • Author Interview. Your chance to find out more about an author that may be new to you. 
    • Blogger Interview. Your chance to learn more about a fellow blogger.
    • Summer Sharer. Essentially a series of one-off memes, these posts are your opportunity to join in by sharing your photos, summer exploits, or writing. Let us know what you're up to this summer on your own blog, or via the comments.
    • Recipe Resort. I'll be sharing some recipes that I've found to be good for the summer.

    Enough of the posts, where do I find them?
    They'll be spread across my blogs. But don't worry, they won't be hard to find as each day I'll leave a note for you of where you can find the next post. Plus, there's a list below of what will be happening when and where, which I'll leave (and update as necessary) on the new 'Summer Special' page of each of my blogs.
    Just to make sure you don't miss anything, here's a list of the blogs participating:

    The Schedule
    These are the posts that I've already got planned for the 'Summer Special' event. Also, look out for all my usual posts, as well as the possible additional giveaway or interview.

    WEEK ONE- Welcome To The Summer!
    Day One-     Launch Post (all blogs)
                        The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                        Suggested Activity 1 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Two-    Suggested Activity 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Three-  Suggested Activity 3 (Craft Creations)
                        Recipe Resort: Peach Sorbet (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Four-    Places To Visit 1 (Blog For The Thought)
                        Suggested Activity 4 (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Five-     Suggested Activity 5 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Six-       Suggested Activity 6 (Craft Creations)
                        Summer Sharer: Wanderer's Tales (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Seven-  Blog Feature: My Book-Crazy Life (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    WEEK TWO- Giveaways Galore!
    Day Eight-   The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                        Suggested Activity 7 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                        Summer Sharer: Recipe Resort (Cradt Creation)
    Day Nine-    Suggested Activity 8 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Ten-      Places To Visit 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Eleven-  Suggested Activity 9 (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Twelve- Suggested Activity 10 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
                         Giveaway 1: Bloody Jack (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                         Blog Feature: Ann's Reading Corner (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
    Day Thirteen-Suggested Activity 11 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                         Giveaway 2: Assorted Signed Bookmarks (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Fourteen-Giveaway 3: The Hairdresser of Harare (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    WEEK THREE- Sharing the Summer
    Day Fifteen-  The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                         Suggested Activity 12 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Sixteen- Places To Visit 3 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Seventeen- Suggested Activity 13 (Crafty Creations)
                         Summer Sharer: Crafty Capers (Crafty Creations)
    Day Eighteen-Suggested Activity 14 (Blog For The Thought)
                          Recipe Resort: Beetroot Cake (Living In A Time Warp)
    Day Nineteen-Suggested Activity 15 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
    Day Twenty-  Suggested Activity 16 (Living In A Time Warp)
                          Summer Sharer: Holiday Snaps (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Twenty-One- Giveaway 6: Magnetic Bookmarks (Crafty Creations)

    WEEK FOUR- Writing and Reading the World
    Day Twenty-Two-   The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                                   Places To Visit 4 (Living In A Time Warp)
    Day Twenty-Three- Suggested Activity 17 (Crafty Creations)
    Day Twenty-Four-   Suggested Activity 18 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                                   Summer Sharer: A World of Writing (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Twenty-Five-   Author Interview: Karen Tyrrell (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Twenty-Six-     Places To Visit 5 (Living in A Time Warp)
                                   Recipe Resort: Bread-maker's Bread (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Twenty-Seven- Suggested Activity 19 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Twenty-Eight-  Blogger Interview: Hilde (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    WEEK FIVE- Reaching the End
    Day Twenty-Nine-  The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                                   Giveaway 7: Murder in the Dark (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
    Day Thirty-              Places To Visit 6 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Thirty-One-      Wrapping Up The Summer (all blogs)

    I hope you'll be able to join us for some summer fun this month!
    If you want to be certain not to miss anything, please consider following one (or all) of the blogs

    Over to you: What are your plans for August?