Monthly Archives: November 2014

Book: Inkheart

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inkheartFinally I have finished reading a whole book, and a pretty chunky one at that. This week I’m recommending Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (published in 2003). I had originally watched the 2008 film before I realised that it was actually based on a book. I was inspired to read the trilogy (Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath) and as I write this I’m half way through the second book.

I think the most important part of the book that appeals to me is its extraordinary concept. The book is about people who are able to read characters out of their books. A skill that only a handful of people in the world have and a skill that only a few people care to demonstrate. It’s an extremely complex concept and is well explained in the novel so that the reader doesn’t get confused; although things do become even clearer in the second novel.

I think it’s apt to insert the novel’s blurb now (because if I keep going, I’ll end up spoiling something): ‘Dare to read aloud… Meggie loves books. So does her father, Mo, a bookbinder, although he has never read aloud to her since her mother mysteriously disappeared. They live quietly until the night a stranger knocks at their door. He has come with a warning that forces Mo to reveal an extraordinary secret – a storytelling secret that will change their lives for ever.’

The characters are fantastic. I genuinely love them, even the ones you should hate. Mo and Meggie have such an amazing and loving relationship as Father and daughter, Elinor goes through such a massive character development, Capricorn is a captivating villain and finally, Dustfinger is an incredibly complex and interesting character and as such is my favourite of the book.

These characters are not only well created and described, Cornelia Funke has been able to show the many points-of-view, and the many thoughts of her many characters, and through this, has been able to deepen the characterisation without utterly confusing the reader. The novel is seamless in its ability to show so much in such a subtle style.

In addition, the author is amazingly well-read and this is shown through her knowledge of so many things relating to books from simply reading a lot and knowing about trades like Mortimer’s, in the novel, in bookbinding and being a book doctor, so to speak. The book is structured by chapters, of which each chapter begins with a quote from another work of literature. This is a format that is the same throughout the trilogy and it’s not only incredibly informative and interesting and proves how well-read Funke is, it stands as an introduction to each chapter and gives some form of foreshadowing or a notion of where the chapter stands in the whole of the narrative.

As a stand-alone novel or as part of the trilogy, this is a very well-written, brilliant book. I think the characters are superb and that every inch of the story is told in detail. It is this quality of the book that makes it hard to put it down, as the narrative flows so well and ever so flawlessly.

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Disclaimer – I do not own the picture, it is from: http://www.adazing.com/young-adult-book-covers/

Tradition: Remembrance Day

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remembrance In England, and perhaps for many across the world, it is once again the time of year where we remember those who have fallen and wear a poppy to show our support of those dead  from war and of those still fighting wars.

For those who are not familiar with the Remembrance Day tradition, it is a day ‘to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts’. Traditionally, Remembrance Day is celebrated on the closest Sunday to the 11th of November but two minute silences are held on both the Sunday and on the 11th, known as Armistice Day. The Nation takes the time around the 11th of November to create memorials, lay and wear poppies which are sold to raise money for The Royal British Legion (which provide welfare for our service men and women, veterans, and their families).

It always makes me incredibly proud to see the effort that everyone puts into showing respect during this time and along with many, I will be having a two minute silence at 11am tomorrow with my poppy proudly displayed.

The reason for this blog post is that I find Remembrance day extremely important and a day that deserves so much respect as do the men and women it commemorates. I could not have posted any other blog so close to the 11th of November.In-Flanders-Fields

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PS. For more information do not hesitate to visit these websites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_Day and http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved

Disclaimer – I do not own the images, they are from: https://www.gwc.org.uk/news/lest-we-forget/ and http://runninggrooveshark.com/tag/in-flanders-fields/ and I gained information from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_Sunday and http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/poppy-appeal

YouTube: Tanya Burr

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Tanya Burr's make-up tutorials on You Tube have attracted a wide audience.  Photo: Bill SmithTanya Burr is a vlogger and beauty guru on YouTube. She is the sweetest and kindest person I know. She currently uses just the one channel where she posts make-up tutorials, hauls, follow-me around vlogs and challenges.

Tanya’s vlogs regularly and has recently finished vlogging every day for the entirety of September. They followed her adventures at London Fashion Week as well as her ordinary life of meetings, hanging out with her YouTube friends (Alfie Deyes, Zoe Sugg, Joe Sugg, Marcus Butler, Niomi Smart, Tyler Oakley and her fiancé Jim Chapman), going to the gym, going to Premieres, baking and watching the X-Factor.

Check out her channel!

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Disclaimer – I do not own the photo, it is from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2087822/Tanya-Burr-Blogger-YouTube-sensation-make-tutorials.html

Beauty: What’s in my shower?

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DSC07804Today I’m going through the products I have in my shower, since I’m absolutely loving them recently.

First, Shampoo. I’ve been using the Anovia Head On Detangling Shampoo. It’s a wonderful product as it is so easy to lather and then to wash out so that you get the cleanest hair and no horrible residue. It treats the hair as well since it has tea tree oil in the formula. If I’m not using this shampoo I tend to use Head and Shoulders for the same reasons.

Conditioner. I don’t use conditioner often because to be honest, I don’t feel like I need to. When I do use it though, I’ve been using the Wilko’s Fruits Rhubarb and Vanilla conditioner. I love the smell and I love the whole Fruits range which is why I have a lot of it.

Shower Gel. At the moment I’ve been alternating between two Fruits shower gels. The Strawberry and Pomegranate one and the Lemon and Black Pepper one. The scents are so strong but not in an overpowering way. They’re just so delicious. The Fruits range are currently 3 for £3, so they’re a good bargain too.

So far, these tend to be my typical shower products but recently I’ve found or been given some hotel ‘freebies’. First I have two from a London hotel, I think, it doesn’t say on the bottles, and I’ve got a body wash and a shampoo. They’re Refresh products ‘enriched with natural extracts of Aloe Vera’ and I have to say they’re quite good. The next three are from Letoonia Resorts (in Turkey I think) and I was given these by my grandma. I have a shampoo, a shower gel and a hair conditioner. Once again, these work pretty well and I’ve had no complaints from any of my hotel ‘goodies’.

That’s it!

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Food: Doug’s Microwave Cake

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Is this a food recommendation? Or is this a YouTuber recommendation? I think it’ll be both because I want to recommend a wonderful microwave cake recipe, but it’s not mine. I learnt it from Doug Armstrong, a vlogger on YouTube.

Making cakes by using a microwave is not a new invention, but it’s becoming seemingly more popular. Or at least in my opinion it is. Microwave cakes are easier on ingredients, on time and on the portion sizes. You can make a single cake and not have the others lying around to tempt you when you’re feeling peckish.Brownie

The recipe is…

  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, although Caster Sugar can be used instead.

And mix and microwave for approximately 1 minute. This timing may be different for different models and wattages. For 800w, which is what my microwave is, I usually have to microwave the mixture for 1 minute or 1 minute and 10 seconds.

To see this recipe in action, you should visit Doug’s channel and watch the video I’ll add below. You should also subscribe to his channel if you want more delectable treats especially cheesecakes, as these are his favourite. But he doesn’t just bake and make food on his channel, he also does challenges, vlogs, collabs and most popular are his life hacks videos.

Here is his channel ‘about’ blurb: ‘Hey I’m Doug Armstrong, a British vlogger living in London. I like to make fun-filled, creative videos with varying themes inspired by my love for entertainment, food/cooking and music. From Life Hacks and Bacon Pancakes to One Direction parodies and funny challenges, you’ll find a wide array of content centred around my life and I have grand plans this year for bigger & better videos than ever before! Oh and I love cheesecake a lot 😀 Join our community and become a Dougling by clicking the red ‘Subscribe’ button above 🙂 http://Youtube.com/Doug’.

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