3 September 2012

Book Review: The Hobbit

As you may know if you've been reading my blog since the beginning, I had a new year's resolution to read at least 30 books this year. I'm not 100% sure how many I have read now, I think it must be almost 20 but I forgot to keep writing them down. I need to have a think and try and remember but I feel like I've read loads! Anyway, the latest book I've read is The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. I'm sure all of you must have heard of it, it is what is usually considered to be the prequel to the Lord of the Rings series (which I haven't read) and which has been made into film to be released this November. This was one of the main reasons I picked it up as I always prefer to read the book before seeing the film, if indeed that is applicable. 

The Hobbit is primarily a children's book, but as with so many others, for example Harry Potter, this book transcends age and is enjoyed by people aged 10-110 across the globe. If you have seen or read the Lord of the Rings you will have some idea about what the story will entail; dwarves, elves, goblins and trolls, all set in Middle Earth, with all the dangers and beauties that that entails. The Hobbit follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins on a quest, with 14 others, to raid a treasure hoard from a very dangerous dragon in the mountains. Being a hobbit Bilbo usually likes to keep himself to himself and has a particular dislike of adventure, but is coerced into going along on the adventure where many a mishap occur. From being captured by the King of the Goblins and managing to escape, to convincing everyone in his party that he is indeed the master burglar he has been made out to be, Bilbo eventually becomes the hero of the story and is indeed a very loveable character, portrayed extremely well in this descriptive and imaginative story. 

Compared to the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is a relative short story with approximately 365 pages of magical beings and astonishing adventures. You really start to connect with the characters in the book, and Tolkien has managed very effectively to give them all their own individual voices and personalities. The book is written in the third person with an anonymous narrator, and this is something I really enjoyed about it because it is narrated in a very humorous, casual and almost conversational tone with the main focus on Bilbo.

I'm glad I've read it before seeing the film and now I'm really looking forward to seeing it portrayed on the big screen. I'd love to know what your thoughts are on the book and if you're excited to see the movie. Hope you enjoyed this little review, I'm by no means an expert on books but thought I'd let you know how I found it!


2 September 2012

Andrew Barton S.O.S Help Me! Hair Mask

I picked up a sachet of this when out and about because my hair was in need of a bit of help (nothing new there then). As soon as I opened it I was greeted my the most delicious scent of coconut and chocolate (I'm pretty sure that's what I can smell anyway) and I fell in love. I didn't even care if it worked or not because if I could have my hair smelling like this everyday, I so would. 

This twice a week conditioner has shea butter in and says it "helps to gently mend all the cracks, smoothes the hair cuticles and adds supercharged shine." You leave it for three minutes whilst in the shower, or if you're in the bath you can leave it on your hair, wrapped in a towel for as long as your heart desires. After you've left it on and you rinse your hair it does feel really smooth. It makes brushing your hair after a doddle and leaves your hair smelling great. As far as long lasting smoothness and silkiness goes I haven't noticed a massive difference, but then I never seem to notice much of a difference after having used a mask compared to any normal conditioner, but I feel like it's better for my hair!

I would say the shine factor is true, my hair does look pretty darn shiny after using this, which I do 
about twice a week. Also, I find that it's quite a lightweight mask, so would be alright for people with fine hair who are maybe a bit scared of using an intense conditioning treatment. I actually picked mine up from ASDA when I was out and about and I think I got it for something ridiculous like £3 on offer - what a bargain! If you're looking for a good hair mask that's not too expensive I would say go and pick up a sachet and give it a try, you can't really go wrong for £3!


1 September 2012

Recipe: Nigella Lawson's Madeira Cake

A classic. Probably one of the simplest cakes to make, and yet always rewarding. I hope you enjoy and let me know if you make it.

240g soft butter, 
200g caster sugar (plus extra to sprinkle on top), 
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, 
3 large eggs, 
210g self-raising flour, 
90g plain flour

Step 1: Preheat oven to 170'C (gas mark 3). Cream together the butter and sugar (I used an electric whisk, but doing it by hand would work just as well, and give your arms a bit of a workout).

Step 2: Add the lemon zest. Then add the eggs one by one, with a tablespoon of flour for each egg. 

Step 3: Add the remainder of the flour and mix in. Then add the lemon juice. 

Step 4: Pour into a lined loaf tin, and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of caster sugar before putting in the oven. Bake for 1 hour. 

 Step 5: Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack. Once cooled, turn out and enjoy. Makes 8-10 slices. 

Not quite as good as the original, our oven always burns things. And yes I do blame the oven! But not too bad an attempt, and it was lovely and light and delicious to boot :)