The Beauty of England … @josieriviera, #mgtab

England, in fact all of the British Isles, are beautiful and intriguing. Ancient to modern often stand side by side. The countries of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales at one time ruled independently. Kingdoms were eventually joined, yet each remains unique and distinct.  

There is mystery, too! The story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were real.

Or were they?

Some believe that Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, is where King Arthur ruled. His sword, Excalibur, is guarded by The Lady of the Lake in Dozmary Pool, on Bodmin Moor, if the legends are to be believed.

Some of the most beloved authors, poets, and playwrights are from within the borders of the British Isles. From Jane Austen, who told of the lives of the upper-class society during the Regency Period, to Shakespeare, whose plays are often reimagined into movies.

And then there is Mary Shelley the author of Frankenstein.

Architecture, old and new is often found side by side. The Tower Bridge, often incorrectly called London Bridge, was built in 1886. Along the banks of the Thames is the London City Hall, an ultra-modern glass egg, shaped building.

From castles to landscapes, museums, and theaters, there is history around every corner.

Love inspirational Regency romance set in England?

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The Beauty of Chocolate @josieriviera, #mgtab

Why not celebrate chocolate? Typically, it’s a Valentine’s thing, but let’s face it, this year has thrown us a LOT of curveballs. An August celebration of creamy, delicious, delectable chocolate is in order and well deserved.

Chocolate was first used as a fermented drink around 400 BC. The Aztecs believed the cacao seeds were a gift from the god of wisdom, Quetzalcoatl. The seeds were thought to be so valuable they were even used as currency. While the history is interesting, here are some ways you can ENJOY chocolate:

A childhood favorite and staple is Chocolate Chip Cookies. Enjoyed with a glass of milk, it seems they can make any little problem fade away. Just the smell can bring you a sense of comfort. 

I am sharing this delicious recipe today. Perhaps you can bake a few cookies and revisit your memories around these delightful treats.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, bake time 10 minutes. Yield 2 dozen.

  • 4 ounces butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (your choice of what type, I use semi-sweet)

Cream the butter until fluffy. Add the brown and white sugar, cream until blended. Mix in the egg and salt. Next, add all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips. Also known as, the yummy goodness!

Form into small balls, place on your baking sheet, leaving room for them to spread out and bake for 10 minutes. Serve with a glass of milk, for dipping, if desired.

 

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The Beauty Of Spring…@JosieRiviera #mgtab

The beauty of Spring is obvious. Green replaces the brown of winter, the flowers bloom, the birds sing. Basically, we have a rebirth. Fresh and new.

However, this year is different.

Daily, we hear what is happening throughout the world because of the pandemic, and it is devastating. Certainly it is changing how we live. Let’s look beyond that, enjoy Spring and celebrate with joy. We can make the choice to see beauty.

Here are some suggestions.

  • Social Distancing is a new word for us, but we still are home with our families. Bring out the board games, which inevitably brings a great laugh or two.
  • Cook together. Prepare your family’s favorite meals and pass those recipes from grandma to the next generation.
  • While we may be “stuck” at home, no one says we have to be ”stuck” inside. There are no bans on enjoying your yard. As I write this, birds are searching for worms just outside my window.
  • Is there a wonderful craft project you’ve wanted to try? Do it now.
  • As I LOVE chocolate, let’s indulge. In fact, I declare chocolate calorie-free for the month of April. Why not?
  • Read, or listen to, a good book. We have the time, our to-do lists are smaller because of these changes, so take advantage.

Choose to see the good in this downtime and make the most of it.

Today, I will sit in my reading chair with a great book, a cup of tea, and some calorie-free chocolate. (Wink, wink!)

What will you choose to do today? Please leave your comments below.

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The Beauty Of March And Springtime…..

Winter has begun to loosen its grip on many areas of the country, and we can now look forward to the lovely month of March and perhaps some more spring-like weather. For many, this winter has been harsh, for others quite mild, but I think it is safe to say we are looking forward to the beauty of what lies ahead.

Where I live in North Carolina, we have had a mild winter and I have seen the occasional spring blooms popping from the ground. So bright and cheerful, announcing that we are nearly through with winter. Telling us to hang on just that little bit longer, that the daffodils, crocus, and tulips will appear to brighten our days. The chill will be gone, and everything will be new. What a great time of year!

We also have St Patrick’s Day, St Paddy’s to the Irish amongst us. A time when everyone claims to be Irish. A fun fact, 7 times more people are claiming Irish heritage in the US then there are Irishmen in Ireland!

The Irish will tell you there is no such thing as leprechauns or pots of gold, but fairies are another story.

Fairies are real and alive still to this day in Fairy Forts or Rings in the woods. The Irish claim they exist and will do their best not to disturb them for fear of what mayhem they may cause!

The beauty of spring, the renewal, the celebrations and the reminders of childhood fantasy are all here to enjoy this month. Be sure you take time to do just that!

Enjoy a spot of tea with a cozy blanket and read one of my books set in Ireland. May I suggest 1-800-Ireland, Oh Danny Boy, or Maeve? Or get all 3 romances in 1 sweet bundle: Irish Hearts!

Do you love the beauty of the season, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations?

Please leave your comments below.