Food: Maryland Cookie Bites

On occasion Maryland chocolate chip cookies are a nice treat in the event of a crisis, they aren’t the best in the world however they are consistently tasty enough and can sit at the back of a cupboard for ages waiting for a suitable emergency

As such Maryland cookie bites sounded a bit fun, even if they were chocolate chip and caramel flavour

Weirdly they weren’t that tasty, they were just sort of dry and vaguely chocolate flavoured

They would not resolve anything in the event of an emergency

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Selling Out in Style? Harry Potter earrings

The wife of an ex-friend was obsessed with Harry Potter, completely obsessed. She would have bridezilla-ed a Harry Potter themed wedding if her Welsh Methodist minister father wouldn’t have disowned her

So when I accidentally found Dobby the house-elf earrings it seemed the perfect example of sell-out merchandising garbage that Liz would like

However due Liz being a dreadful moo and married to a recently self proclaimed member of the alt-right I guess I won’t be sharing this find with her…

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Film – Kong: Skull Island – “This world never belonged to us. It belonged to them”

When I was very young I used to like the old school monster movies, however most of them look truly awful now to the point where it’s tricky to see them as anything but humorously bad

However more modern monster movies don’t tend to impress me, they show off the whole monster too early and tend to insert unneeded ‘humorous’ characters, which is why I went into ‘Kong : Skull Island’ with some trepidation – although Samuel L. Jackson’s presence was somewhat reassuring

Happily I liked this Kong, the 1970s setting provided an almost instant explanation for various characters motivations, the soundtrack was fun and there were some fantastically thought out scenes – a very early on set piece with Kong silhouetted against the sun batting helicopters out of the sky is a beautiful sequence

It’s not an original film, to a large degree it’s a homage to ‘Apocalypse Now’ thankfully without the poor water buffalo

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Book : Kelley Armstrong’s ‘This Fallen Prey’ – “I’m saying it doesn’t matter who did. Not really”

‘This Fallen Prey’ is the third book in Kelley Armstrong’s Rockton series and it really is an interesting premise for a series; Rockton is a completed isolated, unknown and off the grid community populated by people who have left their pasts behind – for good reason

Casey Duncan is the main female lead of the three books to date, like seemingly all of Kelley Armstrong’s female leads she’s strong, a tiny bit damaged and determined to do the right thing regardless of the personal cost

As a high level description: Book one set the scene, book two was kidnapping and rape themed, book three is outside interference posing a problem. I like book one, book two is ok – personally I dislike the use of rape as a plot device, and book three seems to spend a lot of time wandering around the wood and putting Casey’s dog in various perilous situations

It’s an ok story and sort of flows, despite a rushed reveal ‘twist’ and ending on a weird semi-cliff hanger. However the remote setting of the books does limit their potential plots and my gut feel is at some point Casey and her friends will have to start their own community, which would probably be a slightly more adult version of ‘The 100’ , which I can honestly live without

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Food: Fire & Smoke Sweet Heat Bacon

Bacon cause cancer, however it’s tasty so in moderation it’s a risk I will take

However if every slice is a potential risk then it needs to be really nice, the Fire & Smoke range of cooked meats are pretty nice so their bacon promised to be worth the risk.

The Hellish Hot Sweet Heat flavoured product has a bit of a chilli taste, however it wasn’t very hot – certainly not hellishly so

Overall the taste was fine, however it’s not special enough to bother with again.

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Amazon Treasure Truck

Preempting the tax question, yes it would be very nice if Amazon paid tax that related directly to their UK sales rather then using a number of technically legal and morally iffy methods of tax avoidance (evasion is the illegal one)

However as my water supplier doesn’t pay fair tax and I have no choice about using them it makes little sense for me to pay more on items that Amazon happily will deliver to me. Plus there are next to no independent shops left open near me

As such, I was interested to hear that the Amazon Treasure Truck was coming to the UK, the Treasure Truck idea is odd; you give Amazon your phone number and they text you when they are in your area with details of what offer is available

That is indeed offer in the singular sense, there is only one thing available and only at one location in a set time slot. So it’s a really very random idea!

In my nearest applicable town we’ve had three visits so far this year, the offers were respectively burgers, chopping boards and pink gin.

The locations were a shopping centre, a rock climbing centre and what I think is a hi-if shop, so all very very random! To date the Truck hasn’t been fun enough to visit, perhaps next time it will offer something more enticing…

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Nails: Peacocks

I’m trying to find a little more motivation for all sorts of stuff, and pretty things do appear to be helping. That and finding discrete ways to swear at work

“Fudge” is a current favourite due to a silly silly move by management, “sugar plum fairies” is a good way to catch & coverup another word with a strong “sh…” sound and “peacock” could yet be a winning way to describe certain people…

(Photo from Pinterest)

These nails are very pretty regardless

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Film: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – “You don’t want all of him to survive, that’s the point.”

Certain myths seem to excite Hollywood enough that every few years there is another version of it, one of these is King Arthur where there have been countless versions and yet in 2017 apparently we needed another one

The main things I recall hearing about when it came out were a core plotline with prostitutes and David Beckham’s cameo

As it looked like a generic vaguely-historic action film I felt that it had to be watchable and couldn’t be that bad; I was wrong, it’s basically a rejected script for Robin Hood which someone tried to jazz-up by adding some magic

king arthur

The acting was iffy however the dialogue was so awful that I felt sorry for the actors. The overall script felt like a bunch of set-pieces thrown together with no real sense of continuity or big picture and by far the most interesting part of the film was where Arthur was battling through the Darklands and yet this was rushed through in a four minute montage

For the amount of money  that was spent on this film it should have been far more fun than it ended-up being, even 90 minutes of the Darklands with 30 minute of defeating  the bad uncle would have worked better

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Book: Lisa Shearin’s Myth Manifestation – “Are congratulations or condolences in order?”

‘Myth Manifestation’ is book five in the SPI Files series and I was a little concerned about reading it because the previous books were pretty good and the premise for this book seemed a little risky – so I went for the Kindle version.

This transpired to be prudent for me as there are limits to how interesting a book set almost entirely in one location can be as it limits what characters and scenarios can occur whilst simultaneously hoping that the audience heavily invests in the characters that they do have access to

myth manifestation

Lisa Shearin actually managed that challenge well, what didn’t work for me was bringing in characters and details from her Raine Benares series. I like the books I’ve read of that series and was happy that they were loosely connected, I just personally didn’t feel they needed connecting so directly.

This is totally my problem and I can see why overlapping the series could be a fun idea – personally I think they are so different in terms of technology and culture that mixing the two could result in a bad buddy cop film-style scenario.

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Decluttering fail

In theory a minimalist house uncluttered by an over-abundance of possessions sounds lovely

The reality is we have a lot of stuff in the house; some stuff is necessary, some is pretty and some is just there

I would argue that six cat trees and stretching poles is essential, however my husband’s ample-bottomed cat still likes clawing the sofa.

Anyway, I found a box of things that I’d mostly forgotten about in a large box and as they are potentially arguably collectible I had the option of charity shop or eBay; I rashly chose eBay.

(Picture from Pinterest)

I rarely sell on eBay because it’s a faff every time, from the time spent listing – including scan past auctions of similar items to try to work out the best price where it will sell and give enough money to have been worth the effort, answering random questions from people who don’t bid anyway, the horror of having to find suitable packing late on a Sunday night as it turns out a last minute bid was placed and the horror of waiting to see if the buyer is going to demand a refund due to a perceived invisible imperfection …

The fees suck too.

However worse still are the items that don’t sell, the things that in theory have a value but only to the right person. The listing and relisting ever hopeful, although after several cycles of this the clutter is still in the way and now I’m very aware of it – perhaps the charity shop would have been the easier option!

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