My girls (mostly) like reading too. The eldest and youngest can usually be found - when not upside-down somewhere, playing repetitive tunes on the piano to annoy each other (Old Macdonald's Farm for the thirtieth time today anyone?) or screaming, which are their other favourite pastimes - with their nose in something fairly commendable. For the eldest, anything mythical, greek, ancient, adventurous and magical with plenty of unpronounceable names fits the bill, currently the Percy Jackson series. For the youngest, it's classics like Wind in the Willows, Ballet Shoes (when reading together) and the whole series of 'Daisy and the trouble with... ' by herself. The middle one, mostly likes more pictures, and naughty boy characters (Horrid Henry, Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and absolutely, definitely does not like anything greek, mythical, classical, magical, or featuring anyone called Daisy, or anything suggested by me, or really anything that doesn't appear on a screen of some sort. Thankfully, after spending some time upside-down, shouting at someone for playing Old Macdonald's Farm, she can be persuaded to indulge in a bit of Enid Blyton's Enchanted Wood series
I enjoy reading a lot too, but find it hard to put a book down once I've started. My job involves way too many late nights and I actively avoid reading during busy periods to try and ensure I have a fighting chance of more than 6 hours sleep a night. Recently though, I have found myself with a cookbook on my bedside table - not the Mrs Beeton, practical sort of affair, but beautiful staged and dressed photographs of mouthwatering food. Both satisfying to look at and informative, I can pick it up for 10 minutes and hope the recipes and techniques of the likes of Thomas Keller and good old Jamie Oliver will seep into my head via some strange nocturnal osmosis so I wake in the morning cooking like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, rather than just looking like him.
I think the perfect solution for me would be a book of simple, beautiful, inspirational bakes for families interspersed with some fun but not-too-challenging prose. Easy to look at whilst still keeping half an ear on a child's daily reading, but beautiful enough to block out another trying to sabotage any one-on-one time with Old Macdonald's Farm for the 26th time today.
I would love to know what sort of food books you like reading and what you'd like to see in a baking book, whether simple and practical or more complex and aspirational, so please do get in touch via my website and send me any ideas.
Of the four cakes I made this week, I think this one will continue to be a popular theme for years to come. It's actually surprisingly easy to make and doesn't require loads of specialist tools. When I have a bit more time, I must get round to a tutorial!
And on the subject of literature - for those of us who were brought up on Enid Blyton, what on earth is the point of The Folk of the Faraway Tree if the names have all been changed, Rick and Frannie... Really??!