Sunday, April 23, 2017

C is for Chocolate

I'm very much a fan of chocolate, so when Easter comes around I like nothing more than a huge Cadbury's Easter Egg. Cadbury's has always been my favourite chocolate but I'm not very fussy, I often have Galaxy or a supermarket own brand instead.

JD has always said he doesn't think I could tell the difference between the brands if I didn't know what I was eating so I had to put my chocolate-lovers reputation to the test.

Quite nervously too, because previously I've completely failed to tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke and between various flavours of crisps! Plus we're always laughing at people on Eat Well For Less when they have no idea their favourite brand has been swapped for a cheaper option. Not so funny now!

We picked a variety of higher end, regular and cheaper chocolates to try.


We had:

Galaxy
Cadbury's
Lindt
Tesco mid range
Asda value range
Hotel Chocolat
Thorntons

We chopped the chocolate into small pieces to disguise it even more. Any chocolate aficionado can tell the difference between Cadbury's chunky bar and Galaxy's smoother rounded bars.



We took turns trying each chocolate and guessing which was which. All while blindfolded. This is serious stuff!



The results:

JD was the winner guessing 4 correctly and the rest of us recognised 3 of them each.

Most importantly, I recognised Cadbury's chocolate. I completely mixed up Hotel Chocolat and Asda value, so I don't seem to know which is good quality and which isn't. We all liked the Asda value chocolate which is impressive as it's only 30p a 100g bar. I found the Thorntons chocolate quite tasteless after trying the others.

My reputation is intact for now, I can smugly claim to know my favourite chocolate without reprisal from JD. It probably won't last long if we do more taste tests though!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Another Writer in the Family


Our 13 year old daughter Erin is following in her step-dad JD's footsteps as it seems she's caught the writing bug. She spends a lot of her spare time writing and has so far completed two short stories and has started a third. They seem to be a bit macabre so I'm hoping she'll be the next Stephen King. I won't spoil the plots of either but one has murder and the other has zombies. What will she write about next?
She's been reading her stories to us as she writes them for feedback and advice. We can tell she's already improved as she continues to develop her own style. JD's advice is to write lots, not worry about a title and to finish what you start. It seems to be working for Erin. I'm proud of her for sticking at it.

Here's an excerpt of one of her stories titled 'Robbie'. Jack's wife Zoe has been recently bitten by a zombie:

---I woke up and looked over at Jack. He was sat against the wall; empty whisky bottles laying on the ground and a half full one in his hand. “Morning, Jack,” I said. “Morning,” he grunted. I smelt the booze on his breath. He was drunk. “You know, this is your fault,” said Jack, drunkenly. “None of this would have happened if you hadn’t shown up!” 
“Jack, you’re drunk,” I said, placing my hand on the bottle. He smashed it to the ground and picked up his axe. “Well, Zoe’s hurt and it’s all your fault!” He yelled, swinging his axe, aiming for my head. I darted out the way and shouted “Jack! Stop! You don’t want to do this! Zoe wouldn’t want this!” 
“Oh, you think you could tell what Zoe wanted! Should’ve killed you at the beginning!” I grabbed my knife and with tears running down my cheeks, I said “Don’t come any closer, Jack! I will stab you! I don’t want to but I will!” “Go to Hell, Iris!” He screamed before lunging towards me. I jumped out the way and stabbed him in the back. He howled in pain. He fell to the floor with a thud. He turned onto his side. I could see that he was sobering up. He said “Please, promise me something. If you see Precious, please look after her. She deserves to have a parent.”  
“Okay, I will,” I said, tears streaming down my face. And like that, he was gone.---

 Dramatic stuff! Well done, Erin, keep going :)

Friday, January 6, 2017

B = Books I Enjoyed in 2016

Carrying on with my A-Z blogging thing here are some books I enjoyed from last year!

Last year I set myself the goal of reading some of the books from my to-read shelf that had been hanging around a long time. Some of the bigger books I'd put off reading. I was glad I did. This trio of books from people I admire were all great reads.



Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela

As expected, reading this book is incredibly humbling. He had such a fantastic attitude to life despite what he'd been through. Almost all his thoughts on any subject make me feel close to tears. His life is a lesson to us all. Trite, maybe? I can't help it, it's so great! I'm only sorry I waited until after his death to read it.





 A Slip of the Keyboard by Terry Pratchett.

A collection of non-fiction essays and letters by one of my favourite authors. Equal parts hilarious and sad it had me laughing and weeping throughout the book. His take on illness and death has given me lots to think about. What an insightful man we've lost, although his wisdom will live on through his books long after he's gone. Another book I didn't read until after it's author's death.




 The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry

I was pretty determined to read this while he was still alive but felt fearful of news of his death all the way through. Nothing bad happened though! An uncomfortably honest book which again made me cry and laugh in parts. I felt he was brave to share so much and admired him for it. Another great book.

The next set of books are all fiction books I've particularly liked.





A Bell For Adano by John Hersey

Written in 1944 and a pulitzer prize winner. A story about the town of Adano who has it's bell taken during the war to be melted down to make bullets. An American officer decides to make it his mission to find another bell for the town. A lovely tale of compassion and justice.





Elizabeth is missing by Emma Healey

One of my favourite things about reading is the experiencing of life through someone else's eyes and mind. An old woman in early stages of dementia is convinced her friend has gone missing. Heartbreakingly sad and a fascinating insight into memory-loss and aging.




 The Sea The Sea by Iris Murdoch

I didn't enjoy this book at first but came to love the descriptive writing style of the author. Another story about how life changes as you age and how youth is remembered. An aging actor becomes obsessed with his first love after meeting her again many years later.


I've read a lot of books this year, some good and some bad but even the bad ones can teach you something at least. This year I'm hoping to read more non-fiction and have set myself the task of reading at least 5 non-fiction books. See you back here next year to find out if I managed it. :D