Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Book List

I'm getting to the end of this list, so close! Although, I have to confess that I have cheated slightly and got rid of a few without reading them, which reduced the pile somewhat. I'm going to defend this action and say that the ones I got rid of, just didn't appeal any more; either I'd had them for so long and I'd changed my mind about the blurb on the back, or they were books I'd just acquired without any particular interest, simply because I never turn a free book down. But I realised, this New Year's resolution was still supposed to be enjoyable, so I figured it wouldn't do me any favours to keep on the list books I'm just not interested in reading.

Far From The Madding Crowd
by Thomas Hardy
It took me a while to get through this, partly due to doing other stuff, and also I just wasn't that enamoured with it. There were odd parts that were definitely beautiful, and Hardy's descriptions of the countryside and farming life are particularly evocative. However, I didn't really like the way he portrayed the characters, nor his insight into human emotions - particularly womens'. I got the impression several times throughout the book that Hardy didn't much like women or respect them, and even though Bathsheba was a really strong, self-willed, independent character, for all that I don't think she was written in a particularly likable way. 

(look at that cover! Isn't it gloriously retro?)
Lady Chatterley's Lover
by D.H. Lawrence
This book I enjoyed much more; which surprised me, as I didn't much enjoy the other D.H. Lawrence book I have read (Women In Love). It didn't seem quite so pretentious as Women In Love.
Although there was still a lot of expostulating on theories of love, class and society, it somehow fit better in this novel and didn't seem quite so obviously a vehicle for Lawrence's own theories and beliefs about life. The scenes between the two lovers were passionate, without being overly sentimental - overall, a really rather good book.

I only have three books left on my list - and two of those are ones that have been added since the start of January. I aim to have the list completed by the end of April, fingers crossed!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Outfit Post + Other Interesting Things

Hasn't the weather in the UK been wonderful recently?! I have this week off work, and for once I've timed it to coincide with this glorious weather so that I can enjoy it rather than be stuck indoors the whole time.

First outfit post in a very long time, it's been a chore getting into the habit of taking them now I'm back at work. I'm going to try to do them on a slightly more regular basis, and I have no excuse now that the evenings are lighter (British Summer Time ftw).

Hat: Matalan // Dress: Tesco // Sandals: Primark

I wore the above for a short trip to East Riddlesden Hall, a manor house not far from me. Just a simple floral dress - one of about 20 I have in my collection, no kidding. I really love these sandals that I got from Primark last week; I've been looking for a kind of simple, rustic sort of pair for ages, and once again good old Primark came up with the goods. They're real leather, and although at £12.99 they're not cheap by Primark's standards, I was prepared to pay that princely sum - we'll see how long they last though, I am pretty brutal to my shoes!

East Riddlesden Hall wasn't the most interesting of places to visit, though it was very pretty; on a day like today, it was worth the entrance fee just to walk round the grounds and get excited about green things growing (I get that excited about springtime). 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake (Or, the wonder-ness that is chocolate Philadelphia)

Firstly, apologies for the recent absence. I've actually been really busy in the real world, having a social life - I know, right. I spent the week before last going out nearly every single night, which is totally unlike me - I don't remember having this many friends but I am welcoming it with open arms. I also spent the last week staying with family and having a generally excellent time all round.
Anyway. So, chocolate Philadelphia. You may have heard of it, maybe not. I feel like I need to share this with everyone I come across, like a cheesy-chocolatey missionary (snigger). It's seriously so good, it tastes like heaven. Also, I particularly love how on the tub it's making a big deal of how it's only 86 calories per serving - and then you realise that 'a serving' is like, a fifth of the tub. Whatever. Trust me, you are not going to be able to stop at a fifth of a tub once you get going.

Personally, I like scooping this stuff straight out of the tub with rich tea biscuits or Hobnobs. However, I did actually make something with it last weekend, as part of my three-course taste spectacular for Mother's Day. Okay, it was cheesecake, very original, but never mind.

Nil points for presentation, I'm afraid. As I kind of winged this I don't know any amounts, though I used about 3 biscuits per glass, and a tub-and-a-bit of Philadelphia between them.
  • Crush biscuits (your choice... Digestives are always good) in a bag with a rolling pin.
  • Melt butter in a bowl, tip biscuits into bowl and mix.
  • Press mixture into glasses and put in fridge to set.
  • Spread Philadelphia over biscuit mixture, top with whipped cream and a drizzle (does that picture look like a 'drizzle to you? Whatever) of raspberry sauce.

I then repeated Sunday's success by making a large version for my cousins whilst I was staying with them this week.. I replaced the raspberry sauce with frozen raspberries this time, which I think tasted even better. Normally frozen soft fruits aren't so nice, they seem to taste a lot more sour than their fresh counterparts; however, I think on this occasion they contrasted nicely with the sweetness of the chocolate.

Disclaimer: I haven't been paid by Philadelphia to write this post, I just think it's the best thing I've ever eaten. Feel free to shout at me if you disagree.