December in the Shed

And it’s starting to look a lot like December in the Shed: there’s snow in the air, and a scent of smoke, and a sense of expectation.

On Twitter, from December 1st, #Shedvent begins, with a little surprise or gift behind each door.

On Kofi, I’ll be posting a new chapter of my serial story every week, as well as a few little seasonal extras.

On Bandcamp, I’ve reduced the price of both STORYTIME and A POCKETFUL OF CROWS to a piffling £5 each, so there’s no excuse not to indulge.

On Amazon Kindle, CHOCOLAT is on offer at only 99p, but if you’re not into e-books, just check out this gorgeous new jacket design!

And if you’ve had a look at HONEYCOMB and decided how gorgeous it would look under a loved one’s Christmas tree, I’ll be sending out signed bookplates to anyone who would like one. Just buy me a coffee (or two, if you’re outside the UK) to pay for postage, e-mail me your address at – plus any name or message you’d like included – and I’ll pop one in the post for you.

Otherwise, I’ll be mostly hard at work in the Shed, surrounded by books, SAD lamps, blankets, hot water bottles and cashmere socks and fingerless gloves. Winter doesn’t stand a chance: I’ve got this.

And here, just for you, is my ultimate winter hot chocolate recipe, best enjoyed during the dark months, with all the sprinkles and whipped cream and brandy and marshmallows you can fit into one giant mug…

Recipe:  Vianne’s Spiced Hot Chocolate (serves 2, or 1 if you’re in the mood)

  • 1 2/3 cups milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 hot red chilli, halved and seeded
  • 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet (70 percent) chocolate
  • brown sugar to taste (optional)
  • whipped cream, chocolate curls, cognac or Amaretto to serve
  • Place the milk in a saucepan, add the vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and chilli and gently bring it to a shivering simmer for 1 minute.
  • Grate the chocolate and whisk it in until it melts.
  • Add brown sugar to taste.
  • Take off the heat and allow it to infuse for 10 minutes,then remove the vanilla, cinnamon and chilli.
  • Return to the heat and bring gently back to a simmer.
  • Serve in mugs topped with whipped cream, chocolate curls or a dash of cognac or Amaretto.