Great Bookish Bake off – Cornflake Tart

The cakes I bake and the books I read while baking them. 

Oh it feels like forever since I’ve done one of these posts, it feels even longer since I last ate this creation! In fact, I haven’t had it since I left school at eighteen! Actually, I’ve never seen this served anywhere else other than at school!

Cornflake tart, just like the school dinner ladies used to make!

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Did anyone else have cornflake tart at school or was it just a west country thing?
For those who didn’t get to experience this, you are in for a treat cos I’m about to tell you exactly how to make it! First though, what on Earth is it?
It is a biscuity/pastry base covered in jam and then topped in cornflakes and golden syrup.
Yes. I know. It’s an odd concept, but bare with me. I used to love this stuff during school dinners and the other day, my brother posted a photo of himself frying cornflakes on Facebook, which naturally was questioned and it turns out, he had acquired a recipe for the very thing we had at school, so I gave it a go whilst reading Unconventional, which, if you are a fan of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, I think you might enjoy.
So, let’s a go.

You will need:
A mixing bowl
A cake tin
A frying pan
100g flour
50g butter (I used dairy free, but that’s really up to you)
a shot glass of water
a healthy dollop of golden syrup
10g sugar
Some cornflakes
A knob of butter.

Firstly, put the butter and flour into a mixing bowl and with your hands rub together to form breadcrumbs – see what I mean about being a bit like pastry? Anyway, once you get breadcrumbs, pour in your water shot and with a spoon, mix until you form a ball of dough, kneed the ball of dough until you’re happy with the consistency and then pat into the cake tin, making sure it is flat.

Pop it into the oven for 20 minutes, during which time you can start reading – like I said, I had Unconventional on the go, which is a story about the daughter of a man who runs conventions, you know, like comic con and well she has a meet cute with a guy who ends up being a convention guest and well, its a cute nerd love kind of story and there frankly aren’t enough of those in my life.

Once your base is cooked, set it aside to cool and get your frying pan ready. Drop a knob of butter and let it melt. Then add in the sugar and the golden syrup, stirring until combined, pour in the cornflakes and stir until coated. Leave on the heat while you spread jam over the biscuity base making sure it is completely coated. Spoon the cornflake mixture on top and pop back into the oven for five minutes, which probably doesn’t give you much reading time, but you can at least get the washing up done.

Leave the – what should we call this? Cornflake tart? Whatever, leave the cornflake cake biscuit, pie thing to cool for a few minutes before taking out of the cake tin and then settle down with a slice and the beverage of your choice to finish off another chapter of your book.

Let me know if you had this at school or if you’re trying it, I want to know if this is a national thing or just a my school thing!

The idea of you

The Idea of You – Amanda Prowse

I know all I seem to be doing is posting reviews of things I’ve gotten from NetGalley recently. Oh well. Sorry not sorry. I really wanted to enjoy this more than I did, I picked it because I wanted to read more out of my comfort zone and experience stuff that isn’t primarily YA, but there was just something about this that didn’t gel with me.

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…
This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?

 In very basic terms, this is a book about a woman who desperately wants children.

Now, I said at the start of this that I wanted to enjoy this. I really did, but it just didn’t gel with me. Here’s the thing, I have known for a long time now that my reading habits tend towards YA novels and while this is fine and I love YA novels, I am not the intended audience for those books. I am in my late twenties, I should not spend so much time reading about high school drama. So, when I spotted this in the women’s fiction section on NetGalley I thought hmmm, family drama, with adults, yes, good. And it is good. I just found that I couldn’t relate to it at all, turns out I’m not the intended audience for this book either and I think this is entirely down to the fact that our protagonist Lucy is in desperate want of children and I’m not.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against children, I used to be one after all and I love spending time with my brother’s children, they’re hilarious. My nephew told me I was his best friend and then played a game where his Power Ranger repeatedly pooped on my head. Children are great! But, I never have had the inclination to have any of my own, so I found it difficult to understand some of Lucy’s motivations and expectations because it was all so alien to me, I can’t even imagine wanting children so to read an entire book about someone made it hard to really gel with her. While I do think  that people can do whatever they want with their lives, I am a little concerned that Lucy literally pinned her entire worth on whether or not she could have a baby and like… Is that not a bit worrying to anyone else?
That being said, I enjoyed the characters in this book and their various motivations, though Lucy was a bit one track minded and I found it difficult to relate to her, I did really enjoy her relationship with her step daughter and I loved Jonah. Well, most of the time anyway (like where do I get one of those IRL, can you get them online?) and the family drama was so well done, there were times where I felt like I was gossiping with a friend about this group of people.

I think this is exactly the sort of thing I would recommend to my mum and definitely the sort of thing that ought to be thrown in a suitcase and jetted away to a beach somewhere to be enjoyed in the sun, I’m just disappointed in myself that I didn’t manage to gel with it as well as I’d like.

April Round up

Wow, April, you were random but fun!
I think I socialised more in April than I have the rest of the year! This month I got to spend time eating take out and watching Riverdale with Charlotte, spent many hours sat eating in Chris and Julia’s kitchen, there was eating involved there too and got to do some Easter themed baking with my favourite munchkins! You might have noticed an eating trend there. No biggie. What is the point of Easter if not for eating, eh? There was even a day warm enough for me to sit in my mum’s garden and just read, I managed two trips to see Guardians of the Galaxy, there was new Paramore and new Fall Out Boy and a whole load of previously unpublished F Scott Fitzgerald stories were published!

What I read this month:

Who’s That Girl – Mhairi McFarlane
Well, I think the disappointment of this book can only be matched with the disappointment I felt when I first tried a Hershey bar. So many people I trust told me this was good, but honestly, I got so tired of it so quickly, I didn’t find any part of it funny, just mostly ridiculous and predictable. I’d like to give Mhairi McFarlane another go, but this wasn’t a good start!

Unconventional – Maggie Harcourt
Oooo this was cute! Take all the endearing nerdiness of Fangirl, make it British and set it at a series of conventions instead and you have this story of Lexi – daughter of a convention organiser who has a cute meet cute with an author at one of the events and fun ensues. I haven’t read a fun, British YA romance for so long so this was a nice change.

Girl Up – Laura Bates
I have wanted to read this for so long! I still have a copy of Every Day Sexism I’ve not managed to read yet. Though this didn’t have anything in it that I didn’t already know/ think before (guess that’s because I’m on the internet but *shrugs*) but it was still wonderful to read a book that shared all my thoughts on the subject! If you are interested in gender politics, this would be a great and accessible book to start with and is presented in a fun, engaging way. If you are planning to read it in public, there are lots of doodles of vaginas, just so you know!

Windfall – Jennifer E Smith
I love Jennifer E Smith’s books, seriously, if you are looking for some cute, fluffy YA (which let’s be honest, is a sub genre that gets more hate than it deserves) then you need to get this woman’s books in your life! This was an ARC I received from Netgalley and I was so excited to get a copy of this… While I enjoyed it, I don’t think its the strongest of her books, check out the review here.

Things I should have known – Claire LeZebnik
This was such an interesting book! While the blurb is all, girl decides to set up her sister and ends up falling for the brother of the boy she wanted to set her sister up with, which doesn’t sound like anything new, this was written in an engaging way and  I didn’t realise until I started reading it that the two kids being set up on the date are on the autism spectrum – I’ve never come across a book about kids with autism before! See my review here.

The Idea of You – Amanda Prowse
I feel really bad about not enjoying this more. Admittedly, it isn’t to my usual taste, but I wanted to read outside my comfort zone a bit more, there was nothing wrong with the narration or the story per say, it just didn’t really gel with me. I should preface that having started this book I did realise that I’m not really its target audience. There will be a full review up soon, even though it wasn’t for me, this is the exact thing you’d want tot take on holiday with you!

Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur
I feel like this book is every where, it appears in every review and haul video/post I consume, so I’d wanted to read it for ages, though I was put off by the fact that I’m not that well versed in poetry, it’s just never really been something I’ve been able to really sink my teeth into. (I say this, but one of my favourite books is a poetry book lol) I can understand why people love it and why it resonates with so many people, but it wasn’t my cup of tea I’m afraid.

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Nerve
  • Fire walk with me – Twin Peaks prequel 
  • Moana
  • The Nice Guys
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (I actually ended up seeing this twice! 000ps!)
  • Ghostbusters
    Yes I finally saw the latest Ghostbusters movie, I don’t know, I think it would have worked a lot better as a sequel or a spin off rather than a remake, the ladies were all fab, but I didn’t like the original cast turning up and not being themselves and bits were a tad silly, but it was fine.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2

TV I watched his month:

  • 13 Reasons Why
    I read and loved the book and when I heard it was going to be a Netflix series, I wasn’t sure how they’d make a whole series, but omg that was intense and so well put together. The series comes with trigger warnings before the harder episodes if you’re worried but those scenes are very intense, so do look after yourselves. Also there is a random cameo from Dan Howell, so… there’s that.
  • Riverdale
  • iZombie
    ITS BACK ITS BACK I AM SO EXCITED
  • Doctor Who
    Honestly, I had been falling out of love with this show for the past few series, but the opening episode was so much fun and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
  • Iron Fist
  • Pretty Little Liars
    I can’t believe we’re on the last nine episodes!!
  • Once Upon a Time

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

Bristol is looking pretty spesh today

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its time for the great munchkin bake off

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y e s t u r d a y || this is as close to sunbathing as i get.

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IT ARRIVED!!!

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What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

As much as I hate April 1st, it does mean that we get a Dan and Phil Crafts video and this year’s was utterly genius! We also got ASDF Movie 10 which is one of my favourite things on the internet, seriously (beep beep I’m a sheep!), while we’re on the subject of Tomska, his Last Week series are the best weekly vlogs out there, so get on that, yeah? Liam Dryden‘s YouTube comeback was amazing, so if you haven’t seen it, do! I have to mention Emma Blackery’s new music video and this video about twenty one pilots and this birthday edition of Baking with Layton.

Things I Should have known

Things I should have known – Claire LaZebnik

I feel like I inhaled this! It helped that I was left alone on a sunny Saturday and had nothing to do but sit in the breeze and read this! So what we have here, is a fun, engaging, easy read about teenagers and high school romances with a difference, because it also has characters on the autism spectrum and idk about you, but I haven’t come across many books about kids on the autism spectrum.

Things Chloe knew: Her sister, Ivy, was lonely. Ethan was a perfect match. Ethan’s brother, David, was an arrogant jerk.
Things Chloe should have known: Setups are complicated. Ivy can make her own decisions. David may be the only person who really gets Chloe.
Meet Chloe Mitchell, a popular Los Angeles girl who’s decided that her older sister, Ivy, who’s on the autism spectrum, could use a boyfriend. Chloe already has someone in mind: Ethan Fields, a sweet, movie-obsessed boy from Ivy’s special needs class.
Chloe would like to ignore Ethan’s brother, David, but she can’t—Ivy and Ethan aren’t comfortable going out on their own, so Chloe and David have to tag along. Soon Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan form a quirky and wholly lovable circle. And as the group bonds over frozen-yogurt dates and movie nights, Chloe is forced to confront her own romantic choices—and the realization that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.

So the thing is, the bare bones of this is about kids dealing with stuff, and what is a YA novel if not a book about kids dealing with stuff. I’ll start with our narrator, Chloe. Chloe’s older sister Ivy, is autistic, so she kind of has to parent her a bit, add to this mix the fact that her dad died of cancer and her mum has remarried someone that although means well, Chloe isn’t all that keen on. Despite this, Chloe is sociable and fairly happy with her high school life, she has lots of friends, gets good grades and has a super cute athletic boyfriend, all the standard teen drama stuff. The story really kicks off when Ivy sees Chloe with her boyfriend and comments that she’ll never have a boyfriend which makes Chloe decide to play matchmaker by sizing up the other kids in Ivy’s class at a school for teens with special needs and picking one at random, who just happens to be the younger brother of one of her classmates. Who she doesn’t like. Do you see where I’m going with this?
David and Ethan’s story is equally as interesting even without the added dimension of Ethan and Ivy seeing the world differently. They live in a world where their parents are living separate lives which barely involve either of them and their new step mother in particular has difficulty accepting Ethan.
While there are some aspects of this story that are a tad predictable, of course Chloe is going to form a special bond with the guy she’s hated this whole time, of course there is going to be bumps in the road of her match making, there is a lot to like about this book, namely the fact that it deals with autism and it deals with LGBTQA+ aspects of autism.

The only other book I’ve read with a similar character to that of Ivy and Ethan is the Curious Case of the Dog in the Nighttime, which is a great book, if you’ve not read it before, but this is the first one I’ve come across featuring autistic teenagers trying to navigate dating and socialising. Slight disclaimer – I don’t know many people with autism, so I don’t know if they would have a different opinion on how well Ivy and Ethan are portrayed and I would love to hear their thoughts on this book, but for me, I thought it was well done and about time that characters like Ivy and Ethan were featured in books and on TV. It was also great seeing Chloe and watching how protective and caring she is and how she reconciles how frustrated she gets with Ivy and the situation and the guilt that follows. I just feel that now having finished it, that this book was so heartwarming and well presented and I want to see more stories like this.

Windfall

Windfall – Jennifer E Smith

If you’ve stumbled across this blog before and any other reviews I’ve done for books by Jennifer E Smith there may be a touch of repetition involved here, sorry not sorry. The thing is, I LOVE Jennifer E Smith’s writing style, I love her stories, they are cute, fluffy balls of YA goodness and lets be honest, everyone loves a comforting romance story now and again and she is the queen of comforting, cute, fluffy, YA romances.

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.
At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.
As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined… and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

Much like I said before and in literally every other review of Smith’s books I’ve done before, (she isn’t a relative. At least I don’t think so… Anyway, the point is that there is no bias here.) I might have to reel in the fangirling and much like her other books, this is similarly a romance between two teenagers facing a bit of adversity with some fluff thrown in for good measure.
This time around, we have troubled teens Alice and Teddy. Alice, an orphan who has been living with her aunt and uncle and cousin, Leo, for the past nine years during which time, she has befriended and subsequently fallen for her best friend, Teddy. Who, in typical Smith fashion, has his own baggage. He is currently living in a cramped one bed apartment with his mum following his dad abandoning the pair of them with huge gambling debts.
The story begins on Teddy’s eighteenth birthday, Leo and Alice both buy him gifts that can only be legally used by eighteen year olds, a pack of cigarettes and a lottery ticket and that lottery ticket, well. That’s when the excitement begins.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I am attempting to keep the inner fangirl under wraps. I don’t know how much I am able to express how much I love this woman’s books BUT as much as I enjoyed this, I have to be honest, it isn’t my favourite of hers (I think This is What Happy Looks Like will always hold that title), but don’t let that put you off, this had so much going for it. The teen romance and angst is there and the connection between Alice and Teddy is slow building and then there is the added drama of being a high school kid with nothing suddenly getting a ridiculous amount of money and how they handle that situation. Storywise, there is a lot going on here and in some ways, Windfall has a bit more substance than some of her previous stories, because of the different elements being presented, I guess, there just isn’t as much fluff as usual and I do love me some Jennifer E Smith fluff. So if like me, you love the cute romances of This is What Happy Looks Like or The Geography of Me and You, then be warned that Windfall isn’t on the same level.

Windfall had a lot of serious issues that were dealt with well, survivor’s guilt, death, coming into money and trying to process what to do with it, plus there was the whole unrequited love with your best friend thing…. These three main characters had a really wonderfully written friendship, I love stories about friendship and watching relationships blossom and Jennifer E Smith does these so well!

Basically, I love this woman, I love her books, this wasn’t what I thought it was going to be but I enjoyed it anyway, so check it out! Windfall is published at the start of May, so keep a look out!

#LoveThisQuote – Yes, Please

Last year I decided I wanted to read more non fiction, so when I spotted Amy Poehler’s book on the International Woman’s Day I knew I had to have it and literally within the first few pages I made so many notes of things she’d said I couldn’t not make a post about at least one of them!

So what do I do? What do we do? How do we move forward when we are tired and afraid? What do we do when the voice in our head is yelling that we are never gonna make it? How do we drag ourselves through the muck when our brain is telling us youaredumbandyouwillneverfinishandnoonecaresanditistimeyoustop?

Well, the first thing we do is we take our brain out and put it in a drawer. Stick it somewhere and let it tantrum until it wears itself out. You may still hear the brain and all the shitty things it is saying to you, but it will be muffled and just the fact that it is not in your head anymore will make things seem clearer. And then you just do it.

 

Film reviews in 10 tweets or less – The Take, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Doctor Strange

This feature appears on this blog much less than I would like, but I feel like I don’t tweet as much anymore… Anyway, here’s the last few movies that I decided to live tweet! I promise that I’m usually much funnier on Twitter, so you should totes follow me!

The Take

A young con artist and former CIA agent embark on an anti-terrorist mission in France.

While most people were out on New Year’s Eve partying or whatever it is that people do on New Year’s Eve, I went to my parents house where I set up and then lost custody of my Netflix account and my brother lent us his Amazon Prime account, we watched a few episodes of the Crown then turned to Amazon Prime and well, my mother and I are big fans of Idris Elba, so much so she ended up kicking over her wine in excitement, so we thought we’d give this a go. And so began the live tweeting!

If you don’t know the story of this movie, it was initially called Bastille Day and was due for release a few days after Bastille Day last year… Only then the Bastille Day attack happened and as this is a film about French terrorists, the name was changed to The Take. It’s not the greatest movie ever made and why all the English actors had to be American I’m not entirely sure, but it was fun and it meant I got to spend New Year with Idris Elba, so…

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

 Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing population of zombies.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that most things are made better with the addition of zombies, this however, I’m not so sure! I read the book several years ago and had been waiting for the movie to come to Netflix, now finally it is here and well… what better thing to do on a Saturday than to watch some zombies attack Lizzie Bennett.

Doctor Strange

While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, a brilliant neurosurgeon is drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Considering I am usually a big fan Marvel studios, I was initially put off watching this because of the minor white washing. I have a problem with that. Anyway, one of my colleagues had the blu ray and lent it to me, so here are some thoughts tweeted during the watching.

The after credits scene got me a bit excited ngl.
If any of ya’ll have seen these and want to discuss further – to the comment section we go!