I'm going to be back in London in the nick of time for Guy Fawkes night which is great news because I absolutely love fireworks!
When I lived in London full-time I used to watch the displays from my apartment. I lived in South London on the river and there were so many parks nearby that staged firework displays.I had a 180-degree view of London and I could see fireworks going up in every direction. It was absolutely breathtaking.
I'm not a big fan of the cold, and I tend to get scared in big crowds, so sharing the view from my cozy lounge room with friends and Champagne was just the ticket for me.
Some of my friends do head down to their local parks to see the fireworks and it always makes me laugh when I see photos because they're soooooo rugged up against the cold.
Some of my friends have even made the pilgrimage down to Lewes in East Sussex, which is reputed to be the biggest bonfire night celebration in the whole of the UK, and it sounds wild. Crazy crowds, marching bands, bangers going off, processions of people in costumes marching by torchlight, like being transported back to Medieval times.
One thing I love about London is that there are fireworks galore at this time of year and if you can't make the bonfire night celebrations for some reason, there's always the Lord Mayor's Show the following weekend (November 12). Apparently there will be half a tonne of fireworks launched from a barge on the Thames at 5pm that night!!! Victoria Embankment, between Waterloo and Blackfriars Bridges is the best vantage point for that display.
I have three top Guy Fawkes night accessories for you. The first is glow wristbands. When you have lost your friends in the crowd at the fireworks display, all you have to do is wave your hands in the air – and voila – friends reunited!
The second tip is to take care of your bubs. They need to wear ear protection because loud noises like fireworks can do lasting damage to little ears. There's a company in the UK called Sunproof that makes 'Ear Defenders' in lots of cool colours for infants and young children. Check them out at babybanz.com.
Take care of your bubs! Loud noises like fireworks can do lasting damage to little ears. Photo courtesy of Baby Banz
The third must-have accessory is a flask of soup to help combat the chill. You'll probably want to secure a good viewing spot early to beat the crowds so there might be some standing around waiting. Trust me, you'll really appreciate something warming to sip to wile away the time. This yummy vegetarian soup is a fabulous winter warmer, just perfect for taking along on a bonfire night excursion.
Honeyed Butternut Pumpkin Soup
1 kg butternut pumpkin (AKA butternut squash in the UK), peeled, de-seeded, cut into large-ish chunks.
1/4 cup of honey.
3 tbsp olive oil
2 brown onions, chopped.
3 cloves garlic.
2 sticks of celery, chopped.
1.25 litres vegetable stock.
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, woody stalk removed, finely chopped.
2 tbsp of cream (optional).
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
- Put pumpkin, two-thirds of the olive oil and honey in a baking tray.
- Toss to coat the pumpkin thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast pumpkin until the flesh is soft and cooked through (but not blackened or crispy) and put it to one side.
- Put the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, garlic and celery and soften over a low heat until the onion is almost translucent.
- Add the pumpkin, stock and rosemary to the onion, garlic and celery mix in the saucepan, stir and allow to simmer for five minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a blender and whiz it up until the soup is smooth ensuring that you keep your hand on the lid to prevent boiling hot soup flying everywhere! (You can also do this with a hand blender but make sure your saucepan is nice and big, again so you don't accidentally spray yourself with hot soup.)
- Pour your soup back into the saucepan, add cream (optional) and simmer for a couple of minutes to make sure it's thoroughly heated through.
- Use boiling water to warm a flask for a couple of minutes, then pour away the boiling water and replace with your pumpkin soup.
- Sip while gazing skyward!
For more musings from Ms Minogue, visit her MyDaily editor page.
Heading off to see some fireworks this weekend? See our pick of the best winter warmers: