Monday, 27 May 2013

Paul Hollywood's Bread

In case you hadn't guessed it this review is on Paul Hollywood's BREAD. When I first started this blog I thought it would just contain my general ramblings about fiction etc. However I really do feel like this needs a mention!

I will be honest I watched the TV show, about the book, just to have a little eye candy. I know am not alone in this, and many people have told me that they did the same.

Surprisingly he did actually inspire me to get baking some bread, and after a successful soda bread my Mum kindly bought a copy of the book for me. (Really I think this was a hint to bake her more bread) 
I think now is the time to admit that I am a bread snob, I really can't help it, from aged 15 I worked in a Bakery and got to take the bread home, meaning most of the bread I ate was from 15-19 was fresh bread (great for when I was at Uni) and when my parents moved they bought a bread maker and everyday we have a fresh loaf. And honestly I just prefer it (see snob).

Anyway back to my review, So the TV show was great and I did get my eye candy, However I did find the delivery of the recipes left me a bit less than satisfied.  Seeing him mix the ingredients without weights at the time was a bit annoying, and I was a bit worried the book wouldn't flow. However my fears where unfounded since its clear and easy to follow each recipe.

Right now my bread goal if you will is to make the tasty looking enriched bread at the end.......

...................Oh sorry am back, yeah so am a long way off from that level of skill but am working on it.

The recipes are so easy to follow, so far I've made:
Soda bread,
Cheese and rosemary scones (on stew and baked separately),
Chickpea curry (not a bread but tasty)
And wraps.

And am so pleased with each result, what I also love is that the recipes are something you and integrate into a normal meal, unlike some book I have where the recipe's look and sound great but I wouldn't normally cook it or attempting it just seems like a mountain to try and achieve it.

My only concern is that a lot of the recipes contain cheese and bacon/ham, this really is a plus for me as he is apparently a man after my own hear, though I could see it being a bit of a issue if you really don't like them.
As a recipe book I would give it 5 Stars since I use it all the time now and it continues to make me want to push my baking skills.

Have you tried BREADS? Whats your favorite recipe? Favorite cook book?

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Reading update

How is everyone?
Sorry this post is a bit late I've had a bit of a random week and blogging seemed to fall off my radar  Having finally come back to the land of the living from my Matcha Tea incident, I thought I would get my week alone with reading. However it seems I've been hung over and showing my friend the sights of Derbyshire instead.

My lovely friend Emma decided to visit me on Tuesday (having us both plan this on Monday night) Which was great but also meant I ran into "Hostess with the Most-est"  mode, meaning pies needed to be baked, along with bread and cake, beds needed to be made and generally a quick run to Tesco for lunch, and of course the wine.

This lead to a very giggly girly night were we where both a bit delicate the next day. Though we managed to get some Derbyshire sight seeing in, and drop by Ellie's fantastic book shop (because its on of my favorite bookshops and all my friends from the south are being told about it, and how when they visit its part of the tour!) as well as visit, what I now know is called Blue John Caverns, not John Blue! *slams palm of hand to forehead* 

After Emma sadly left me to return to the flat land of Cambridge, I collapsed in a heap and stayed there staring at the Light Box (telly) for a few days to recover. 

So am very behind on my reading, oops! However while pressure washing the tiles today (that's right I get to be all domestic while the folks are away) I did manage to get some more audio book in, and am going to read some more tomorrow, and hopefully catch back up. 

And may have found my way onto amazon and trying to convince myself to hold back on the book ordering :S

Hows everyones reading? Good week? Also any recommended books??

Monday, 20 May 2013

Bout of Books

So I sort of completed my Bout of Books week, and what a week its been aye!
Sorry I dropped out part way through the weekend, I feel like I had Death staring at me in the corner in the end :( 
Just couldnt perk myself back up, I swear I am NEVER drinking Matcha tea again, I think the moral of this story is that it just doesn't agree with me, since its seems to have rave reviews and aledgaly 98% of people would recomend it I think its just me not the tea.

Apart from that I was helping my parents get ready for there 3week holiday, which means 3 weeks of house freedom for me YAY!!
Double YAY is that its been confirmed that I got though all my check for my new job and I finally start next month. So I have two weeks to read all the books I can and catch up on my last 2 days reading. 

I managed to take part in 1/2 a twitter chat, complete one Challenge, Finish 1 paperback, 1 audio book. Read 106 pages and somehow manage to listen to 14 hours of audio book.(both need to be finished)

All in all I think not bad for my first ever Readathon.
I think next time, yes next time, I will aim to do more challenges, and not have to stop just as the finish life looms into view. 

Sorry this post is a little late, hope you all managed to complete yours more successfully :D

How did you find it? Best part?

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Saturday Bout of Books

HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM well today hasn't been as productive so far as my other days.
I've managed about 1 hr 10mins of my audio book Shadow Of Night and that's it, this late in the day :(
I woke up this morning not feeling well, in all honesty I think one of my "Get Healthy" things back fired! See I bought some Matcha Tea to try, just one sashay, drunk it yesterday morning before my walk, and haven't felt right since :( This morning when my alarm went off I just couldn't get out of bed, considered not going for my walk but then decided I had to go. This meant I didn't get out of for walk until 10am (compared to my normal 7-8am) And have since been really unproductive.

I have however discovered you can vacuum pack coffee! See we are BIG coffee drinkers in my house, I remember that we always had bags of ground coffee and in my early teens we always had a grinder and coffee beans. This is in part due to my parents refusing to drink "that instant crap" in fact my mum has to buy instant coffee for when people come round because the stuff she brews burns peoples taste buds.
With their up coming holiday the news was broken to me, the grinder was going with them!!!(yes I know its weird, I did respond with "WHAT?!" however its there one addiction and vice, well that and chocolate)
This has resulted in me having to grind 3 weeks worth (plus extra if someone visits . With a jar/tub not big enough, I discovered that the vacuum packer will also vacuum and seal ground coffee :D

So unproductive reading, well of course, but I have managed to enable my addiction :P

Friday, 17 May 2013

Friday of Bout of Books

Today am going to try an more journal type style with my blog, I've noticed that am not great at the whole summary the day after/at the end of the day. Also I've noticed over the last 2days I seem to be leaning more towards that. I think its because I apparently treat my poor little blog like a ranting/one sided convocation with the rest of the world.

On that note, Morning Bout of Book-ers *excited wave* sorry for you all who come over to have a look at my sad blog, having looked around other peoples I released just how Legendary all yours are, and how far mine has to go. I thought I was all about the 21 century (unless its came to books) turns out am way behind the times! As in the 90's when we thought the Millennium would result in all technology just stopping and the internet crashing.

So I have decided that after this week my blog shall be getting an overhaul  just don't think I can fit it in this week. Am also aiming to do today's Challenges because I have been really lacking in them.

Books I've read from:  Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness and Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
Pages read today: 106 pages and 2hr 15min of audio books
Books finished today:  x
Running total:  2 books;  106 pages  
Non-reading progress: I've looked at today's challenges and will complete them after lunch?
Menu: chai tea with honey, peanut butter toast
Today #insixwords: reading books I've naglected

Teapig Update
After my very silly email (believe me it was really silly) I sent yesterday I got a reply this morning saying they will send me the missing sample from yesterdays order and a few more XD YAY now I shall have more delicious tea to try/drink, first time I moaned about something and it turned out well. Though I will NOT make it a habit.

~~Final Update~~
Yesterday worked out quite well in the end I managed to read a 106 pages and get back into Guilty Pleasures. However I did discover that I had actually read about 40-50 pages of it already, making me question further why did I put it down?! 
Thankfully I seem to be getting more involved in the book, its starting to set itself up nicely and you can see sub plots and character development appearing. I have to admit though the thought of rat rape (sorry Were-rat rape) was just a little bit too much. And honestly I cant tell you why, I've studies Criminology  I've read A life Stolen, and other true accounts of rape, far far more graphic and disturbing than what was written in the book. I also have not got big objections of it being a theme in a book. However there was something about it that really did make me uncomfortable and make me go "If this is the start of this book, do I really want to continue?
That said, I do aim to make it to the end, and hope that I enjoy it, since I did buy the second book at the same time!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Thursdays Bout of Books

Morning its 10.48 am and its a SUNNY DAY!!! I've already had 2 hours of my audio book, so I feel positive about the rest of the day, also today I get the house to myself for some of the afternoon so I get a chance to have some quite reading time :)
Finally my TeaPigs teas are supposed to arrive today :D After the success of Chocolate Flake Tea I have ordered some samples, though sadly just before I took a sip of the tea so I shall have to wait for another order to get some more. However hoping the new flavors will be just as tasty and give me a reading boost.
Am off to stalk other blogs to try and get to know everyone a bit better, start challenges and do some more reading, will be doing more updates later.

Here was the view on my walk this morning:

Books I've read from:  Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness ,Dead and gone by Charlaine Harris and Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
Pages read today: 85  pages and 2 hr 20 mins of audio books
Books finished today:  1
Running total:  2 books;    
Non-reading progress: I went for my morning walk which gave me audio book time :D
Menu: creme caramel tea, tuna salad
Today #insixwords: its reading book time! *theme of "its peanut butter jelly time*

1.20 pm
So today is a up and down day apparently. Am full of mixed emotions since I have FINALLY finished Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris so I get to do my second review on the series so far, which shall be following this. Plus give got in an get 30mins of my audio book Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness since there is no-one around that I should talk too :)

On the book front we all gravy, thought now am about to go into the depths of unknown, left of a shelf because I might read it someday. The result may mean that the next book review might not be as positive. 

However, as I mentioned earlier I have been waiting on my order of Teapigs tea, in fact I went and check the post twice before it turned up. I opened my little box all excited about the delicious-ness inside that awaited me. After my "ahhh its here, mmmmm look at the tasty tea, awww the packaging for 2 tea bags looks the same as the big boxes but smaller" moment I checked my adorable boxes against the order, and disaster stuck! One of my boxes wasn't there!!!!
Now I had a dilemma on my hands, firstly I NEVER complain, seriously never, because always working in retail/cafe type places I used to get it ALL the time and I just find it a bit unfair to who ever on the receiving  end of the rant. Secondly my mum (who I live with) ordered from them and when she opened one of her big boxes one of the tea bags had no tea inside, so she emailed them to tell them and being a amazing company they sent her another 30 tea bags and 2 samples. One of those samples (Chocolate Flake Tea) was part of the reason for my order(the other was reading Discovery of Witches made me crave fancy tea). This was only a week ago.
I have to admit I have emailed them to let them know the packet was missing, however I tried to be light hearted about it, though I am worried they will think we are trying a scam or something since two complaints from the same address in 2 weeks..........

I know this was not Bookathon related but it has been a part of my bookathon......

~Final Update~
I finally finished my book however I am unsure bout the book review, since I am thinking I might read the whole series and then do a review that way?? Basically am still thinking about it, though have the review ruffly sketched out.
I did however manage to get an extra hour of my audio book in, while cooking dinner!! YAY I feel like am making book progress.
I've Started Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton, though I should rephrase that, I've re-started, since I've discovered I have already read the first 20 pages but for some reason, now unknown to myself, I put it back on my book shelf :S I normally don't ever do this, and see books through to the end, as I feel like I owe it to the author, they put the time in writing it the least I can do is finish it before passing any opinion. 
So either some past/present/future Sarah did some Time walking and messed with my books or some really good book came into my possession and I weirdly stopped reading to start it and forgot.
Either way I will now try and finish it!

How everyone doing? Any Books recommended? Any flavored teas recommended? Also how do you think best to complain? Any odd reading rules?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Bout of Books Wednesday

I have decided I WILL finish my book Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris! and I WILL right a review about it by the end of the day/night AND I WILL have picked my next book!!!!

Now my little pep talk to myself is done will give my update

Books I've read from:  Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness and Dead and gone by Charlaine Harris
Pages read today: 149  pages and 1hr20mins of audio books
Books finished today:  X
Running total:  1 books; 276 pages   
Non-reading progress: I went for my morning walk which gave me audio book time :D
Menu: Chai Tea, egg toast
Today #insixwords: *Rocky theme* training in use!

I went for my morning walk, so this gave me a good hour of Shadow of night which so far am enjoying though the newish "Tell Dianna what to do, and expect not argument" is bringing the feminist out in me that i didn't know i had. Which I suppose is the point, and what is the point in reading if it doesn't teach you something/evoke something in you. Though I have to admit that am loving the Elizabethan theme, it may be because of my love of history when I was a kid or the fact that I've secretly always wanted to time travel back then to see what it was really like, rather than what we interpret and assume.

Am also started to get the ball rolling on Dead and gone however I would be lying if I didn't say that am going to be upset when I run out :(

Final Update
Yesterday did in fact get better YAY! After my initial panic and worry about a Bookathon fail I managed to read 149 pages meaning for Thursday I only have to read 45 pages to finish my book and write the review :) I also didn't watch telly (okay one Grand designs) so really devoted myself to Bout of Books.
I also got to take part in my first challenge which is bellow this. Am actually really pleased with it since its the challenge and looking forward to Thursdays. 

Hows everyone getting on? Any suggestions for my next book?

~~Book Cover Challenge~~

So this is my first challenge of the Readathon. I chose the book Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor firstly because am a big fan of the series, and secondly it was one of the only books I could think of besides the obvious cover for Breaking Dawn.

I still prefer the original (Right) however am pleased with how my concept (Left) eventually turned out :)

How are you finding Bout of Books? Any tips?

Bout of Books Tuesday

So you know I thought yesterday was bad, well today hadn't happened!

So here is my very sad overview:

Books I've read from:  Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness and Dead and gone by Charlaine Harris
Pages read today:  20 pages and 40mins of audio books
Books finished today:  X
Running total:  1 books; 126 pages   
Non-reading progress: I did have a look at some blogs and went for a picnic/drive with my mum :)
Menu: Chai Tea, fresh Coffee and homemade fish pie
Today #insixwords: NO EVOUGH HOURS IN THE DAY!

And now the excuses. My folk's are going away for 3 weeks *celebration dance* on Monday, and this has resulted in my mum and I spending some more time together before they leave. So yesterday we went for a drive, bought some tasty food and sat beside a very wind/cold Lady-bower reservoir, to do our best Stiff Upper Lip impression and pretend that we didn't notice the weather!

Then drive around Derbyshire and marvel at how hilly it is, yes be have moved from near Cambridge were it is flat. So hill, real hills, are a very exciting phenomenon to us :P

So after arriving home very sleepy from the excitement I then cooked a fish pie from scratch (Thank You Saint Delia) though I did managed to listen to my audio book then!

Watched TV because was to tired to read (I know it upsets me too but if am too tired I just cant follow the plot!)

Wednesday shall be a better day I promise! 

Monday, 13 May 2013

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Am unsure where to start this review so I will just dive in and hope it makes sense....

When starting the book as I earlier confessed I found it a bit of a struggle to get into. It wasn't that it was bad it just wasn't grabbing my attention, however I have to admit this all changed as the story unfolded and the characters developed.

I found myself consumed by the story, it was slightly unpredictable in places. I think I may have scared a fellow walker a few mornings ago when there was a twist and forgetting the time and place (7am in a valley in Derbyshire) went "WHAT?!" to myself and the reader, of course not realizing there was someone walking behind me on the path to my left. Needless to say we did not do our polite "Morning" to each other  but instead I pretended to still not realize and stare at the view, as they raced pass the crazy book lady also politely ignoring me!
Personally if a book can shame me, because am caught up in it, then I think its good.

We follow Dianna as she calls a manuscript as part of her research, of course being a book its not just any manuscript and she is learning about the consequences and part of her fate through the book.

At the start I feel I couldn't connect with Dianna, as the book progressed though I found myself relating to her and hoping for the best. I think I started to connect with her as Harkness describes Dianna's loss of her  parents. My farther passed away 11 years ago, and I really understood with how you can accept something as part of your own life story but occasionally it consumes you. Similarly the difficulty of others comparing you to your parents, while knowing traits/stories you where unaware of them having.

Another part that I enjoyed were the different takes on things such as daja vu ect. the theories (which I will leave you to discover) appeared seamless making the book appear more of a reality than a work of fiction. There where defiantly Twilight flash backs in parts. I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing as I am a fan however it will be interesting to see how far these go in the next books, if they are too similar I feel the books will loose their appeal. I do accept that in all books there are similar themes and idea which get reshaped and reformed, its inevitable, though it doesn't stop me preferring my original, or craving something different.

I've also noticed that thanks to the book I have a bigger interest in Tea (Diannas favourite drink) this may be coquidental, though the people at Tea Pigs should properly send Harkness a Thank you letter :P

Overall I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I loved the book by the end and immediately started Shadow Night however it did take a while for me to get into.

Bout of Books Monday

So my first Readathon has not gone as I hoped so far, but there is still an afternoon and an evening to go (and then a week).

Having set my alarm for 6.30am to start my walk/listen to audio book, I didn't get myself out of the house until 9!
I have had a bit of a possitive turn as I have finally finished my 20 Hours of A discovery of witches which means I can finally write my first review for my blog and for Bout of Books. It feels like a big blogging mile YAY!

However I have been trying to write this post/review since 11 today, so really am trailing a bit behind in my targets for myself.

Trying to get back on track I will write/post my review and then spend the afternoon under a blanket with a never ending cup of Chi Tea and get cracking!

To give you a quick update of my reading....
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness..........FINISHED XD
Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris.............Page 18
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness.....28.04 mins into Chapter 2 Part 1 (chapter 2 in real book)


So yesterday wasn't as productive as I expected, I think I read more than I believed I had, however still need more time. Was one of those days where you should have loads of time but can't really seem to get 5 minuets, or you just get into your book and someone would go "Sarah can you come here for a minuet?" GRR

Books I've read from:  A discovery of witches by Deborah Harkness and Dead and gone by Charlaine Harris
Pages read today:  106 pages and 1hr 20mins of audio books
Books finished today:  1
Running total:  1 books; 106 pages   
Non-reading progress: I did have a look at some blogs and wrote/published my first book review (since I was in secondary school!) a
Menu: Chai Tea, Chocolate Flake tea,  and roast chicken
Today #insixwords: Firsts, not enough time, read more!!

SO am hoping to finish Charlaine Harris Dead and Gone today, though then I have run out of the series so might not finish them this bookathon. As a result I will review the series up till here and then hopefully review the series as a whole at a later date.

How did your first day go? Any tips for a first timer?