November 01, 2018

The Books I Read in October

Okay. I read a lot of picture books in October. Which means there are a lot of books on this list. So its just gonna be a just-the-titles-and-authors-no-frills-list. And I'm gonna get on with it. Here is all the books I read in October.

  • A Fly Went By - Mick McClintock and Fritz Seibel
  • Diary of a Wombat - Jackie French and Bruce Whatley 
  • The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat - Nurit Karlin
  • Tales of the Greek Heroes - Roger Lancelyn Green
  • Cozy Minimalist Home - Myquillyn Smith
  • The Shopping Basket - John Burningham
  • The Emperor of Absurdia - Chris Riddell
  • Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
  • Titch - Pat Hutchins
  • Old Hat New Hat - Stan and Jan Berenstain 
  • I Like It When... - Mary Murphy 
  • This is the Bear - Sarah Heyes and Helen Craig 
  • Pete the Cat: Pete's  Big Lunch - James Dean
  • A Dark, Dark Tale - Ruth Brown
  • Mouse Moves House (Usborne Phonics Readers) - Phil Roache Cox and Stephen Cartwright
  • Go, Dog! Go! - P. D. Eastman
  • I Wish I Were A Dog - Lydia Monks
  • The American Girls Collection: Molly's Cookbook
  • Stars, Stripes and Surprises: An American Girl Classic Featuring Molly- Valerie Tripp
  • The Indian in the Cupboard - Lynne Reid Banks
  • 006 and a Bit - Kes Gray and Nick Sharratt
  • There's a Nightmare in my Closet - Mercer Mayer
  • Green Eggs and Ham - Dr Seuss
  • Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
  • Pants - Giles Andraea and Nick Sharratt
  • Meg and Mog - Helen Nicole and Jan Pieńkowski
  • Penguin - Polly Dunbar
  • Mrr Gumpy's Outing - John Burningham
  • Jump, Frog. Jump! - Robert Kalan and Byron Barton
  • A Winning Spirit: An American Girl Classic featuring Molly - Valerie Tripp
  • La Cabane Magique: Le Mystérieux Chevalier - Mary Pope Osborne 
  • Six Dinner Sid - Inga Moore
  • Little Beaver and the Echo - Amy MacDonald and Sarah Fox-Davies 
  • A Quiet Night In - Jill Murphey 
  • The Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum 
  • Three Billy Goats Gruff - Paul Galdone 
  • Frog and Toad are Friends - Arnold Lobel 
  • Farmer Duck - Martin Waddell and Helen Oxenbury 
  • A Fish Out of Water - Helen Palmer and P. D. Eastman 
  • The Tunnel - Anthony Brown 
  • Follow the Swallow - Julia Donaldson 
  • Hacking Your Education - Dale J. Stephens 
  • The Pig in the Pond - Martin Waddell and Jill Barton 
  • That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown - Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton 
  • The Little House - Virginia Lee Burton
  • Dear Zoo - Rod Campbell
  • Maisy's Bedtime - Lucy Cousins 
  • Where's Spot? - Eric Hill
  • Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - T. S. Eliot
  • I'm Not Scared! - Jonathon Allen 
  • Owl Babies - Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson 
  • Bear on a Bike - Stella Blackstone and Debbie Harter 
  • So Much! - Trish Cooke and Helen Oxenbury 
  • Dogger - Shirley Hughes 
  • Handa's Surprise - Eileen Browne 
  • Snip, Snap, Alligator! - Mara Bergman and Nick Maland 
  • Guess How Much I Love You - Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram
  • Kipper's A to Z - Mick Inkpen
  • Peepo! - Janet and Allan Ahlberg
  • Look Out, Suzy Goose - Petr Horáček
  • The Gingerbread Man - Catherine McCafferty and Doug Bowles 
  • The Blue Balloon - Mick Inkpen
  • Where's my Teddy - Jez Alborough 
  • Little Polar Bear - Hans de Beer
  • Leo the Late Bloomer - Robert Kraus and Jose Aruego 
  • Pumpkin Soup - Helen Cooper
  • Would You Rather - John Burningham 
  • Hairy MacLary from Donaldson's Dairy - Lynley Dodd
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea - Judith Kerr
  • Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
  • Simply the Quest - Maz Evans 
  • Beyond the Odyssey - Maz Evans 
  • Something  Else - Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell 
  • Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus - Mo Willems 
  • Toot and Puddle - Holly Hobbie

October 10, 2018

The Height of the Wuthering Slump

I've been considering writing this post for about 2 weeks. 

That, by the way, long enough to get past the 'Wuthering Heights slump' as I like to call it. Mainly, because as of yesterday I have officially finished the book. For the fifth/sixth time. I dont know. Its the first time Ive read it in the last 5 years tho, I can tell you that. 

I have read Wuthering Heights more than once. Considering I was about 13 the first time I read it - doing the math I have to say that I read it about once a year for five years. I am no stranger to this book. And yet there are several things that I forget EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 

(Please note - I'm not going to hold off on plot points here. If you've not read it and don't want the classic work of literature spoiled for you - go away, read the book (or watch a movie adaptation) and then feel free to come back and finish reading the rest of this blog post.  

  • That actually - there is still another half of the book after Catherine dies. I always think of Wuthering Heights as the 'love story' between Catherine Linton/Earnshaw and Heathcliff. And so I always feel overcome by a sense that the book is never ending when I get to the bit where Catherine dies, and realize I am still only half way though the book. 
  • That everyone is related. Somehow. Apart from Nellie Dean, Joseph and Mr Lockwood. Seriously. Everyone else is related. Girlguiding UK released new interest badges, one of which could involve drawing up the family tree of a famous real or fictional family. I really hope no one ever chooses the Linton/Earnshaw/Heathcliff family tree cause I would have no idea how to draw that much interconnection. 
  • That the book is so freaking long. Never mind that Catherine dies half way through the book - thirty four chapters is just very long. And they're not short chapters either. 
  • That someone really needs to tell Cathy she is allowed to marry someone who is not her cousin. And that actually, today, both of her marriages would not be allowed. 
  • The entire book either takes place in Thrushcroft Grange, Wuthering Heights, or someplace in-between. Emily Bronte apparently didn't want us to have to worry our pretty little heads about acquainting ourselves with various locations. There are literally only two. 
  • That even though Heathcliff is (unofficially) adopted by the Linton family - its still weird that he and Catherine are so madly romantically in love. THEYRE BROTHER AND SISTER. 
  • That I have never once seen mention of the fact Catherine is pregnant before she gives birth. Apparently there is one line in there; but it has never made itself apparent to me when Im reading it. The birth of Cathy always comes as somewhat of a surprise to me because WHERE EXACTLY DOES IT SAY SHE WAS PREGNANT? 
  • That I still cant always tell when one of the characters is ill, and when they're just being dramatic. 
  • That it is not a love story. The emotions that Catherine and Heathcliff feel for each other may be very strong, but people who love each other do not do that to each other. 
  • That I still know absolutely nothing about Heathcliff. Where did he come from? and where did he did go for all those years? 
  • That this book should really be given some kind of 'for mature readers' label. I know theres nothing 'overtly sexual or violent' in it - but just because its a classic does not mean its appropriate for children. 
  • Have I mentioned that THE BOOK GOES ON FOR EVER. 
  • And that its FREAKING WEIRD and just not quite right? 
Seriously - I may give this impression right now - but its not that I do not like Wuthering Heights. I think. I am not entirely sure. Wuthering Heights is like an entity to itself - one where you cant apply normal laws of opinion to it. 

May 30, 2018

Comfort Food - Banana's and Custard with Melty Chocolate

There are times when you should never go shopping. 

Everyone says that you should never go shopping when you're hungry. To be honest, I've found that this isn't too much of an issue for me. Usually - what's appealing to me in the grocery store when I'm hungry is anything you can smell - which is usually the same as anything that's hot. 'Baked in store' is  usually what draws me in - and I don't actually buy that much from the bakery section. Especially as I usually buy my bread when it's on reduced, and so it's been taken to the refrigerated section. If I am buying something from the bakery section - it's usually because I have a specific end result in mind and so I normally know exactly what I'm getting, and so there aren't many impulse buys. 

And anyway - we all know what smells good in the bakery section are the sweet pastries, and I don't actually even like them all that much and so they're not that hard to resist.

What I found out last December is that you should never go grocery shopping when you are studying. A lot of things found their way into my basket that I'd managed to resist all semester. (Yes, I'm looking at you vegan yogurt, permissions, snow peas, avocados, fresh peppers, fresh broccoli, and beetroot.) 

What I found out on Friday? You should never go shopping on the way home from sitting an exam. Especially one you've sat just after moving into your new apartment properly. And when your finger is so numb from writing you won't actually be able to hold a knife properly when you get home (I wish I was joking - it took several days to go back to normal. It's still slightly numb if I press it.) 

So this time it wasn't to bad. 

Except at least last time most of what I bought was healthy - you know - fruits and veggies. 

This time? 

Super noodles. Curry flavor. You know - those ones that come in a blue foil packet with a flavor sachet that is 110% salt and 5% yellow food colouring? And vegan custard (why? I have custard powder at home. And that isn't full of sugar.) 

Several other things did make their way into my basket as well. The flour and banana that I had actually gone in for. 

For canned spaghetti which was 12p each or 3 for £1. Yes, you read that right. Please, if anyone is able - explain that one to me. My brain is physics-addled. I just can't make it add up. 

Seriously - I have no idea why those noodles made their way into my basket. Probably because they require no cooking- and are warm and savory. But I am really not proud. But last time I had an exam I went straight to bed and forgot to eat - at least this time I remembered to eat. Maybe. Are super noodles an improvement? 

I know why the custard came home with me. Plainly - who doesn't like custard - nobody that's who. Well - I never liked school dinner custard - but that was lumpy. 

And what better way to eat custard than with bananas (apart from apple crumble obviously)? Bananas - that's fruit right? That cancels out all the bad stuff. And it tastes good. What is it about bananas and custard that taste so good together? Apart from the fact that it's NOT fish fingers and custard?

And I had the perfect finishing touch already in my kitchen - chocolate.

The best way to eat bananas and custard (I have found from many trial and errors) is... heat the custard. Put it over the banana. Then top with chopped up chocolate, and leave it for a moment until the chocolate melts and forms a sort of chocolate sauce.

Sorted. Totally. And its fruit.

Yay me. 

March 02, 2018

Snow Day Number 3

How you know your on snow day 3? 

You have rearranged the magnets on your radiator and done a chapter of your Chinese workbook before breakfast. Which you eat at approximately 0740. 

You have very nearly finished the (more than nine hour long) Always and Forever, Lara Jean audio book. Which you got yesterday. After 2200. 

You have cleaned the kitchen counters. 

And out a load of laundry on. 

And watched two episodes of Sesame Street (and not the current series with half hour episodes.) 

You have spent hours waiting for your flatmate to come home because she's bringing home sugar and you want to make cookies. 

What happens when you have watched two episodes of Sesame Street (hello, Cookie Monster) and listened to the majority Always and Forever, Lara Jean, in which Lara Jean spends several chapters in the quest of the perfect chocolate chip cookie? 

You want to eat chocolate chip cookies. 

And what happens when you want to eat chocolate chip cookies? 

You want to make them. 

The trouble? I have very little food in the flat. (Something to do with the fact that Tesco didn't deliver my groceries due to this thing called snow....) 

So I had to try and find a recipe that included at most, one ingredient that I didn't have in. Which is a real problem when you have neither sugar or brown sugar, and you want to make cookies, which generally require both. 

(My flatmate was also getting me more necessary groceries than baking ingredients, or trying to, so I couldn't ask for a whole ingredient list.) 

I ended up using the "World's Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookies" from Chocolate Covered Katie's blog, which required brown sugar, granulated sugar optional.

Also, look at these tortilla chips!!! All the pretty colors!!! I'm not convinced that these are an essential grocery, but I'm glad that my flatmate brought them home.