{Books} The Shock of The Fall Review

Shock-of-the-fall-pbI had seen so many people rave about The Shock of The Fall by Nathan Filer that I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I wish I was one of those people who seem to start the trend rather than follow others but with books, as there are so many available, it is easier and less time consuming to follow great reviews and advice than hunt out the next ‘must read’ yourself.

However, not all people think the same so I still try and reserve judgement in case I am that one person that didn’t ‘get it’, like the Twilight trilogy for example, *cowers away waiting for a bad reaction*.

For me The Shock of the Fall totally lived up to and even surpassed its surrounding hype. With the theme of mental health at its core I was wary how the author would handle what can be a very delicate subject. But it was clear that he knew his topic after working in this field for years.

The story centers around the unstable world of Matthew who descends into a mental illness. The way his story is told is both dark, touching and comical in parts that you don’t realise you have just devoured another chapter.

“I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.”

We learn just pages in that his brother Simon dies but Nathan Filer manages to grab hold of your attention for so long to find out what happens. This is a mighty fine skill especially in today’s world where we have the attention span of a knat…wait what was I just saying?!

The mixture of different text fonts, drawings and writing styles as a reflection of his failing mental state is fantastic and really brings the story to life. I found myself even missing Matthew when I had to book the book down.

As his debut novel, winner of Costa Book of the Year Award 2013 and just a really decent sounding bloke Nathan Filer is one to watch and I just hope he is busy typing out his next novel!

Have you read the Shock of the Fall?

Remember if you love books then why not join us on Twitter every Tuesday evening between 7-8pm, just follow @BookBlogChat or search the hashtag #bookbloggers.

{Food} Cheeky Creme Egg Brownies

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Have any of you managed to give up chocolate for Lent? If so you can now rejoice and prepare to stuff yourself silly this weekend as Easter is upon us. I am always slightly jealous of those that have the willpower to go without chocolate for so long as I can hardly last a day without nibbling on something sweet.

Did any of you see this article on how they make creme eggs? Not such a simple process squidging together these little cups and filling them with soft fondant cream. So to celebrate the heaven-sent treats (Thank you Mr Cadbury) I wanted to share an easy cream egg brownie recipe that I prepared with my sister the last time I was back home (they don’t have creme eggs in France, it’s a travesty). This recipe was adapted from here.

Ingredients:
185g dark/milk chocolate depending what you prefer
185g unsalted butter
85g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
3 eggs
275g caster sugar
6 Cadbury creme eggs (fridge cold)

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First preheat the oven to 180oc/gas mark 4. Then melt the butter and chocolate together and leave to the side.

In a separate bowl, crack in the eggs and add the sugar and then whisk until it becomes almost mousse-like, it takes a few minutes so bear with it. Next, add to this the cooled melted butter/chocolate and combine it all together.

Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and gently fold it in, before pouring the mixture into a regular baking tray. We used cute loaf tins too for individual servings. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. As it is cooking cut the creme eggs in half.

Once the mixture is baked remove from the oven – It will still feel wobbly and gooey in the middle but don’t worry about this. Gently place the crème eggs onto the brownies – evenly spaced, then pop back into the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes to melt the creme eggs. You may be tempted to keep it in longer as it might still wobble but take it out and leave to cool as it hardens slightly but still has that gooey middle mmmm!

Finally, let the brownies completely cool in the tin before cutting into slices and enjoy!!

Have a fantastic Easter x

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Training for a 10km race – Week 3

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So after slacking for my birthday week – yep a whole week of fun shenanigans (check it out here) I feel up and ready to get back on with my 10km race training plan, as well as freaking out that I have under 8 weeks until race day.

I have worked out that doing the ostrich head stuck in the sand impersonation isn’t going to cut the mustard…. this race is going to happen if I like it or not “so get that ass off the sofa and get outside missy”. This is my inner grit doctor talking to me – I imagine her being like a sassy American lady pursing her lips and shaking her head as she tells me off. If you have no idea what a Grit doctor is then check this here.

Even though I completely overindulged last week the end result is that I felt sluggish and unmotivated to do any exercise. I think that Gillian McKeith is right when she harps on about ‘you are what you eat’. I could totally feel the difference in the first few runs/jogs/fast walks that I did after stuffing my face the previous evening with juicy steak, gooey profiteroles as well as nearly a whole bottle of red wine. I didn’t like this feeling. It was my birthday so I’m not going to be too hard on myself.

But things had to change so this week after a big food shop and a trolley full of salad, vegetables, fish and grains I am feeling less like a beached whale and more like a hyperactive puppy. Ok maybe not that much energy but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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I also have a spring in my step not just because of the glorious early summer that seems to be happening but my boyfriend treated me to a pair of super snazzy trainers for my birthday. They feel like I am walking on air with all the padded, airflow, super duper fabric technology.

The only problem is I feel embarrassed lacing up these bright trainers as they should be on the feet of a running pro who has just nonchalantly finished her third marathon not the feet of a sweaty jogger who has only started out in this fitness world. But as the shoes demand a better owner I will try all I can do be that person!

Remember you can follow my training on twitter by using the hashtag #NWODrun and if you have any tips or advice then please send it this way!

 

Book Guilt

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Twitter – It took me a while to really ‘get it’ but now that I have I am obsessed with this micro-blogging medium. The challenge of getting your point over in 140 characters or less as well as being able to chat with people from all over the world and from all walks of life is pretty incredible.

It is this sense of community that I really enjoy being part of, especially in the blogging world where twitter is a great tool to find new bloggers, share your posts and have a chat with like minded people. It was during one of these chats when I asked other lifestyle bloggers if there was a specific book blogger chat, turns out there wasn’t one so it was decided to start our own.

Every Tuesday evening between 7-8pm UK time you can join us on twitter using the hashtag #bookbloggers or follow @BookBlogChat to talk all things books. Whether you have a dedicated book blog or just the odd book review then please take part. You don’t even need to have a blog but if you are passionate about books then it would be great to hear from you!

The topic for last weeks BookBlogChat was ‘perseverance and challenges’, as we have all had times when reading a book we are not enjoying that we make a decision either to carry on or give up. But giving up on a book comes with this sense of guilt and shame, especially if it is a book that others raved about and you are left scratching your head thinking ‘meh’.

This guilty feeling seems to occur as you know a struggling author out there has put their heart and soul into something that you are holding in your hands but just don’t care about. Whether you don’t connect with the characters, the plot is too confusing or unrealistic or it is soooooo slow to get going that you use it as a sleeping aid.

What came out of the BookBlogChat was that:

‘Life is too short to waste time on bad books’

So the next time when you are forcing yourself to read another page just so you can understand why your friend who lent it to you loved it so much, but now you are questioning this friendship, just give it up and move on. That’s the beauty of books I guess it isn’t one size fits all.

Which books have you struggled to finish and enjoy? Did you give it up or push through to finish it?

{Beauty} Going nuts for Nuxe

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One French skincare brand that all the chic Parisians seem to rave about is Nuxe. From their must-have iconic lip balm that beauty bloggers go crazy for to their huile prodigieuse multi-purpose dry oil that I tried out here, it is a beauty company that seems to meet a whole lotta needs.

I have been using NUXE 24hr moisturising body lotion after receiving a bottle for my birthday. I am always a little wary of body lotions as I have quite sensitive skin (especially at the top of my arms weirdly) so usually my go-to-products are safe but effective e45 or unperfumed Simple products. But feeling a little excited about cracking open the bottle I decided to give this a go. It is perfumed, it is creamy so it should have brought me out is a bad reaction but guess what? It just melted into my upper arms and the summer holiday smell wafted around for hours after. Something I wasn’t used to before with a body moisturiser. It has left my skin so smooth and soft that I can’t believe no-one told me about this product before!

I also got a sample of the NUXE Crème Fraîche de Beauté 24hr soothing and moisturising cream which my skin just seemed to eat up. The smell is quite strong which could put some people off but the effect it has left my skin is amazing. Seriously. Any dry patches have vanished and even those pesky blemish scars that always hang around like a bad smell for ages have seemed to disappear slightly. I am definitely going to add this to my wish list the next time I get drawn into the local pharmacy.

Have you tried any of Nuxe’s products?