Album of the Week 008 ~ La La Land Soundtrack

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Album : La La Land – The Soundtrack

Release Date : December 2016

My Favourite Tracks : City of Stars, Mia & Sebastian’s Theme, Someone in the Crowd, Start a Fire

Album Notes

I didn’t really want to include soundtracks in my weekly (or thereabouts) albums, because they aren’t properly albums. But last week, this didn’t leave my turntable. Just kidding – as if I can afford to buy this on vinyl? Spotify all the way.

I know La La Land, as a film, has divided film lovers. You either love it, or you really, really don’t like it. I completely understand why people don’t like it; if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t like it either, if that makes sense. But I do like it. I like it a lot. And a lot of that has to do with the music that has been stuck in my head for a week. It’s hard for me to describe just how much I like this music. It’s a bit like it’s always been in my head, and it took this film to come along and unlock it – that sounds totally pretentious, I know, and possibly as though I think that the score and songs are somehow derivative. But I don’t mean that at all, I just think they feel familiar in a really, really good way.

it’s City of Stars that has really been doing the rounds in my brain, and I do absolutely love it, but it’s the piano on Mia & Sebastian’s Theme that has really won my heart.

 

Now Cook It with Co-op

 

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I recently came home from work to discover a box full of ingredients on my doorstep. Intriguing, right? Further investigation revealed that it was from Co-op, who had sent me everything I needed to make a Roasted Vegetable Couscous. I have to say, though I like eating (a lot), I don’t do an awful lot of cooking. I’m really lazy, though I am trying harder lately, and this came just at the right time to give me a kick up the bum!

Co-op have teamed up with SORTEDfood to create #nowcookit, an online cooking course that is looking to ‘tackle the cooking skills gap’ that they identified among millennials. Now I totally count as a millennial, even though I’m a little older than the 16-24 year olds mentioned in the research. I have an interest in learning to cook, I just never seem to find the time. #nowcookit is designed to show that you don’t need loads of time, or loads of fancy equipment, and the Roasted Vegetable Couscous showed me that tasty, healthy food isn’t that hard! Something I should have learned before now, I know.

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As well as being available in a full text version, the recipes are also available as videos, from the team at SORTEDfood. This is a fun and engaging video, though it would be entirely possible for the whole thing to come across as cheesy, it doesn’t, and having watched it, I was eager to try my hand at the cooking!

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Anyone who regularly cooks would think that this was a walk in the park – it was literally just chopping up some veg and throwing it into a roasting dish, and then adding the lemon and garlic to give the whole thing some flavour. Cooking the couscous was easy too, and then it all just gets thrown together. The recipe calls for adding some cucumber, tomatoes and Greek yoghurt as an additional salad, but I went without that and just took the whole thing to work the next day for my lunch.

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In all honesty, courgette is not my favourite vegetable. In fact, I have issues with all cooked vegetables (I will eat all vegetables raw but am picky when they are cooked!). But this was so flavoursome that I got over my initial misgivings and enjoyed it very much! The lemon and garlic add so much depth to the vegetables that it was really tasty, and it was so easy.

You can find the Now Cook It course here; there are tips for cooking skills and techniques, and if you sign up for the course, you can earn status and awards. It’s a great source of inspiration, and there are loads of recipes to choose from. Even if you’re a little more adventurous in the kitchen than me!

*Co-op sent me the ingredients for this dish but as always, all views and opinions are my own.

Photo an Hour #42 ~ January 2016

The unthinkable has happened. I have got up to date with Photo an Hour! The February date is set for this coming Saturday, and this is January’s round-up! Who can believe it? Now let’s see how long it takes me to get behind again…

January’s day was Sunday 29th; Louisa chose a Sunday for a change as it was her little one’s first birthday. I had no great plans – I started the day at my best friend’s Anna’s house, having stayed over the night before, and then came home and did nothing. Prepare yourself for some scintillating photos!

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8am – Breakfast at the Divalls.

9am – Searching for something to take a photo of, I chanced upon these lovely canisters in Anna’s kitchen.

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10am ~ On the road; Anna and Rob dropped me home before going swimming. This interesting view is the A130

11am ~ One of the best things about being away overnight is getting home to discover what the postman has brought you. On this particular day, it was a book that I’d bought from Amazon, to try and help me with meal planning, something at which I am terrible.

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12pm ~ Getting home early-ish after staying out all night is always good, particularly on a Sunday, because it means you have a whole day ahead of you. I had a whole day of doing nothing planned! But first, to the shop, to buy food to accompany my laziness.

1pm ~ I have sort of decided to start watching Neighbours again. Except that since this day, when I watched a few, I haven’t done very well at keeping up. And as it’s on every day, this is a problem.

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4pm ~ At this point I had just woken up from a rather long nap! Tea, a blanket, and some blogging. I genuinely can’t think of many better ways to spend a cold Sunday afternoon.

5pm ~ More blogging – trying to get up to date with my end of  month posts, which went rather well for a change as they all happened at the right time, rather than in the middle of the month!

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6pm ~ Incredibly, I was still writing blog posts. I must have been in a productive frame of mind, something that doesn’t happen too often. I was watching The Voice from the night before as well. Because I genuinely love the blind auditions so much.

7pm ~ Oh look. It’s a photo of me uploading my photo an hour photos from the previous month, in a blog post about photo an hour. I think this post just swallowed itself whole.

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8pm ~ Because I’m stupid, I took a photo at 8 o’clock, instead of just leaving it, and now here we are with another odd number of photos. It was obviously too interesting not to take a photo of… Or not. I was looking at the Radio Times. I subscribe to it, so it comes through my door. I know that everyone thinks that TV listings magazines are redundant in this day and age, but I’m willing to explain, in detail, all the reasons why that’s wrong. If you’re interested.

So that’s that. Can you believe that I am actually up to date? Now my plan is to have a round-up of each month up within a week of the actual day, and I should actually be able to do a proper round-up, and include links to the people who play!

February’s Photo an Hour day is this weekend – Saturday 18th February. If you’d like a reminder as to when it will be taking place, please leave your email address here, and I’ll send you a reminder a couple of days in advance.

Album of the Week 007 ~ 24K Magic by Bruno Mars

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Album : 24K Magic by Bruno Mars

Release Date : November 2016

My Favourite Tracks : 24K Magic, That’s What I Like

Album Notes

I really liked Bruno Mars’ first album, but I haven’t listened to anything he’s done since. I think he’s turned into an artist that I don’t really enjoy that much. A good rule of thumb for me tends to be if you make an appearance on The X Factor, your music probably isn’t for me. Unless you’re Little Mix.

So I feel like 24K Magic is really not my kind of album. It’s catchy enough, but it veers in a direction that I just don’t enjoy all that much. I like the title track, which got caught in my head, but other than that, there’s not much here for me. I particularly object to Versace on the Floor, which just upsets me on every level.

Book Blog Tour ~ The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt

The Frog Theory CoverKim and Flow are best friends, living on a council estate, making money selling marijuana and dreaming of bigger and better things. Clate is a girl from a nice neighbourhood, living with her her mum and her violent stepfather. The Principal runs a college for problem teens, excelling professionally but struggling with secrets she conceals.

Mordaunt does a great job at showing that appearances can be deceiving; while Clate has a well-to-do family, and a nice house, underneath it all, she’s suffering at the hands of a violent abuser. Flow on the other hand, may come from a council estate, and already, at 17, have a criminal record, but he’s ambitious, loyal and a great friend to Kim. Kim, who is really the central character of the four, also has ambition, but his home life has been a hindrance, and he also has to overcome previous trouble with the police to do the things he wants to do.

In the middle of all this, we have the Principal, referred to by her job title throughout almost the entire novel. She has demons of her own, and adds to her problems by pursuing an ill-thought out sexual relationship. While the three young characters are easy to engage with, and get to know, I found it harder to care about this woman.

The Frog Theory is only a short novel, and explores some interesting themes, but I feel it loses its way a little in the final third. Everything becomes a little bit overblown, and instead of keeping things simple as a way to resolve the narrative threads, it instead goes all out to show how far these people have come. Clate’s way out of her situation is all just a little too convenient, leaving it feeling entirely far-fetched. Instead of showing how a young woman can find help to find her way out of an abusive home, she’s given a magic solution that doesn’t feel entirely satisfying.

As it only took me an afternoon to read this short book, it doesn’t really matter to me that it didn’t quite live up to early expectations. It’s just not one that will stay in the memory for very long.

 

 

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