This book is a limited edition hardback that was given out in the goody bags at the Terry Pratchett Memorial event at the Barbican Theatre in London oThis book is a limited edition hardback that was given out in the goody bags at the Terry Pratchett Memorial event at the Barbican Theatre in London on the 14th of April 2016. I did wonder if it was even worth writing a review for it since I don't think the book will ever be available to purchase but since I mainly write my reviews so that I can look back at them in years to come I'm just going to do what I always do.
I was lucky enough to be one of the fans who was given tickets to the Terry Pratchett Memorial and the whole evening was a wonderful tribute to Terry, there were some incredibly emotional moments but overall the theme of the evening was definitely laughter. I wrote about the event on my blog (HERE) so you can read all the details there if you're interested and for now I'll just focus on the book.
The team who organised the event obviously put a huge amount of effort into creating this book, aside from the iconic silhouette of Terry in his trademark hat on the front you also have the Roman numerals for his birth and death years (1948 - 2015) on the back along with a bee to represent the Venerable Order of the Honeybee which is an award Terry created to thank the people who most helped him during his writing career. Then on the inside you'll find a large image of the Pratchett family crest along with their motto "Noli Timere Messorem" (which translates rather appropriately to "Don't Fear the Reaper").
This is a fairly small book and has less than 100 pages but the contents are incredibly personal and very moving. After an introduction from Terry's long term personal assistant Rob Wilkins it includes several pieces of writing by Terry, from The Hades Business, the first story he ever sold (when he was just 13 years old!), to nonfiction pieces about his thought process and his love of hats, a very fitting excerpt from the last Discworld novel The Shepherd's Crown (I'm not going to say what it's about but I think anyone who has read the book will have a pretty good idea) and finally "A Little Advice for Life" from Terry that made me laugh and cry in equal measure.
It also includes a piece about Terry written by Neil Gaiman (that he actually read out at the memorial and I don't think there was a dry eye left in the whole theatre), this was written as the introduction to Terry's non fiction book "A Slip of the Keyboard" but was also posted on the Guardian website so anyone interested can read it in full HERE. If that wasn't enough to bring on the waterworks you'll also find Terry's daughter Rhianna Pratchett's obituary (that she also read to the audience on the night of the memorial) that was again posted online after Terry's death and can be read HERE.
This book is a wonderful keepsake from the event and it's one that I'll always treasure.
I'll leave you with a couple of appropriate Discworld quotes
“DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.” - Good Omens
No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away - Reaper Man
I'll warn you now that this is one of those reviews that is going to get bumped on a fairly regular basis so if that's something that bothers you feelI'll warn you now that this is one of those reviews that is going to get bumped on a fairly regular basis so if that's something that bothers you feel free to unfollow me. I can't really give this book a rating and mark it as read based on making one of a possible forty types of cake so I'll update this with each new recipe I try and I think I'm just going to rate the cakes as I make them.
What I will say is that so far this is proving to be a very easy book to use, each recipe has a clear ingredients list and simple, easy to follow instructions (even for baking novices like me!). It also has gorgeous full colour pictures of what your finished cakes are supposed to look like even if you never quite achieve it LOL.
1. Iced Madeira Cake
Made: 19th March Occasion: Dad's birthday Rating: 4.5 stars
This cake was incredibly easy to make and tasted absolutely delicious, it actually reminded me a lot of the lemon cakes my nan used to make when I was a kid which brought back lots of happy memories. It took less than half an hour to prep, about an hour to bake, and again less than half an hour to ice (although you'll probably have to wait at least a couple of hours for it to cool first after it comes out of the oven). I followed the recipe to the letter until it came to the icing, I used the book's suggestion of using icing and lemon curd marbled together for the topping but added a layer of lemon buttercream and lemon curd in the middle which made it even nicer. I think the only thing I didn't get quite right was the icing on top of the cake, I probably needed it to be a little runnier when I put it on the cake so that it was easier to spread but I'm sure the next one I make will look smoother.
The cake went down very well with both of my parents and it didn't last long once we started eating it. In fact, they loved it so much that they've put in a request for a second one for Easter so I'll be using this recipe again tomorrow!
2. Grasshopper Cake
Made: 25th March Occasion: Easter Rating: 3.5 stars
This is a really rich & decadent chocolate cake, layered and coated with peppermint buttercream icing. The recipe includes an alcoholic version which uses Creme de Menthe in the icing but I went with the standard version using peppermint extract. Once again the recipe was incredibly easy to follow and the results were really tasty. I was impressed by how moist the chocolate cake is and the flavour combination with the chocolate and mint is delicious.
As much as I liked the cake I'm not sure that I'd make it again though, I think it was a little too rich for our tastes and the addition of double cream to the icing made it quite sickly. This definitely isn't the kind of cake you can eat seconds of which is probably a good thing but unless you're making it for a larger family gathering you're going to end up with a lot of leftovers. I've actually cut what was left into slices and frozen them since the fresh cream means this won't last long even in the fridge but it remains to be seen whether it's still edible after defrosting. I much prefer the Iced Madeira Cake recipe, in fact I've already made that for a second time because it was such a hit with the whole family. The Grasshopper Cake certainly looks impressive though and I can't fault the flavour.
If you've ever seen the Des Hommes et des Chatons Tumblr page you'll know exactly what to expect from Men & Cats. It's an entire book full of pictIf you've ever seen the Des Hommes et des Chatons Tumblr page you'll know exactly what to expect from Men & Cats. It's an entire book full of pictures of hot guys and cute kitties, which in my opinion is pretty much the perfect combination!
There are some absolutely gorgeous photos in here and I love the way they are paired up so you have a guy and a cat in a very similar pose. My only slight complaint was that some pages have a lot of white space around the pictures, I'd have liked the images to be a little larger to reduce that but it really is a minor thing and not enough to cause reduce my rating.
Men & Cats is a hilarious coffee table book, my friend and I giggled the whole way through it but there may also have been a small amount of drooling too. With pics like these who could resist?
1st read: January 2014 - 5 Stars - REVIEW HERE 2nd read: January 2015 - 10 Stars - REVIEW HERE 1st read: January 2016 - 20 Stars
I'm a total fangirl when it comes to this series, I've already reviewed this book properly so I'm just going to say if you haven't discovered it yet (what the hell kind of rock have you been hiding under for the last 3 years???) just READ IT NOW!!...more
As a fan of the @soverybritish Twitter account I couldn't resist ordering a copy of Very British Problems and it's now one of my favourite ways to pasAs a fan of the @soverybritish Twitter account I couldn't resist ordering a copy of Very British Problems and it's now one of my favourite ways to pass the time when I'm having a bad day. You can open this book at pretty much any page and find something that will at least make you giggle, if not completely howl with laughter so it's ideal for dipping in and out of whenever the mood strikes you.
Of course you may pick it up only intending to read a couple of pages but before you know it you'll probably have read the entire book and you'll definitely have a stitch in your side from laughing so hard!
Us Brits are an eccentric lot and this book points out many of our weird little quirky habits, it makes fun of our constant need to apologise and our obsession with queueing, it jokes about our addiction to tea and biscuits and it laughs at our preoccupation with the weather. I don't think a page went by where I wasn't furiously nodding my head at how true it all was and I spent a ridiculous amount of time reading sections to friends and family members or texting quotes to people further afield.
I could probably pick a quote from nearly every page to share with you but here are just a few of my favourites from the section on "Repressing One's Rage" (which starts on pg 130 of the UK paperback):
Attempting to deal with a queue jumper by staring fiercely at the back of their head.
Becoming so furious that you beg someone for their pardon.
Thanking people under your breath as punishment for them not thanking you.
Accidentally saying 'you're welcome' too loudly when someone hasn't thanked you, and smiling politely when they look straight at you.
Occasionally folding your arms and activating a tiny head shake to indicate that the Post Office queue is thoroughly out of order and you'll only put up with it for another two hours. Three, maximum.
Any Brit that tells you they've not done at least three of those is lying and personally I'd have to admit to all five!
Very British Problems is hilarious and well worth buying a copy of, I know I'll be dipping into this book for many years to come and I'm sure visitors to the house will be too. I'll definitely be purchasing a copy of Very British Problems Abroad as soon as the paperback is available so I can laugh at our desperate need to have access to a full English breakfast and how just a glimpse of the sun is enough to turn most of us into a giant lobster!...more
I wouldn't normally write a review for an address book but I received Simon Drew's Inappropriate Address Book as a Christmas gift and fell in love witI wouldn't normally write a review for an address book but I received Simon Drew's Inappropriate Address Book as a Christmas gift and fell in love with the quirky artwork and thought I'd take the chance to spotlight a fab British artist.
Simon Drew is a master at putting a unique twist on well known sayings or song lyrics and creating illustrations to match. Every page of this address book has something different to draw the eye and looking up an address takes far longer than it should do because I keep getting distracted by the illustrations.
This is more of a desk address book than something you'd carry around with you (it's about A5 size) but it has plenty of space for writing addresses along with slots for mobile phone numbers and email addresses. The book is a lovely keepsake and it's one I'm sure I'll be using for many years to come.
Here is just a small sample of some of the illustrations to give you an idea what you're getting:
I don't review many children's books but after watching the Sainsbury's Christmas advert about a million times I couldn't resist buying a copy of Mog'I don't review many children's books but after watching the Sainsbury's Christmas advert about a million times I couldn't resist buying a copy of Mog's Christmas Calamity, especially since it's raising money for such a great cause. Judith Kerr, HarperCollins and Sainsbury's agreed to donate all profits from this book (and the adorable plush Mog that goes with it!) to Save the Children who will be using the money to improve child literacy in the UK.
I have fond memories of reading the Mog series to my younger brother and this newest story is just as cute as the others. Judith Kerr is a wonderful illustrator and she captures the chaos cats can cause perfectly.
Cassie has taken to the new member of the household a lot faster than she took to Sparrow!
Sparrow's just worried that she might not be the cutest kitty in the house any more!
If you haven't already seen the advert that goes alongside the book (I'm assuming this will only apply to people outside of the UK!) and you're a fan of cute cat videos then you really should watch it now. It's utterly adorable and you can find it on YouTube HERE...more