Monday, 26 November 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: The Life of Sir Basil Brooke

That's Books and Entertainment: The Life of Sir Basil Brooke: The Life of Sir Basil Brooke tells the life story of a very extraordinary man, Sir Basil Brooke, written by Sam Logan. His family origin...

Sunday, 25 November 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide

That's Books and Entertainment: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide is a fantastic new book from Jane Bradley who has, for a while, left off from being a top make-up artist ...

That's Books and Entertainment: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide

That's Books and Entertainment: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide is a fantastic new book from Jane Bradley who has, for a while, left off from being a top make-up artist ...

That's Books and Entertainment: A Most Unladylike Occupation

That's Books and Entertainment: A Most Unladylike Occupation: A Most Unladylike Occupation is an absolutely brilliant and highly important book from Lisa Wright. It details the life and times of Luc...

That's Books and Entertainment: The Veterinary Detectives A Vet in Peru

That's Books and Entertainment: The Veterinary Detectives A Vet in Peru: The Veterinary Detectives A Vet in Peru is an amazingly readable book from Roger S. Windsor. You'll possibly have read his previous ...

That's Books and Entertainment: The Grumpy Gnome's Garden

That's Books and Entertainment: The Grumpy Gnome's Garden: The Grumpy Gnome's Garden is a delightful novel for children about a Gnome who is grumpy and who has a garden. But! Into the life of...

Friday, 23 November 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: A Stone Called Fred

That's Books and Entertainment: A Stone Called Fred: A Stone Called Fred is a debut novel from author Sheila Locke, which is aimed at children and young adults. Teenager Jack Watts is prone...

That's Books and Entertainment: The Kung Fu Diaries the Life and Times of a Dragon...

That's Books and Entertainment: The Kung Fu Diaries the Life and Times of a Dragon...: The Kung Fu Diaries the Life and Times of a Dragon Master (1920 - 2001)  is a book that will be of great interest to all serious students ...

That's Books and Entertainment: An Ordinary Life...?

That's Books and Entertainment: An Ordinary Life...?: An Ordinary Life...? is an inspirational and uplifting memoir from Andrew Michael Doig. Andrew is a spiritual healing medium and, throug...

That's Books and Entertainment: Gathering Clouds

That's Books and Entertainment: Gathering Clouds: Gathering Clouds is the first part of the Nethergate Trilogy, which explores a tale of slavery and the American Civil War. The Nethergat...

That's Books and Entertainment: English From Afar

That's Books and Entertainment: English From Afar: In English From Afar experienced tutor and trainer Bruce Peterson, a graduate of the University of Wales, provides a fun and entertaining ...

Monday, 19 November 2018

What DO people do with unwanted gifts?

1 in 5 of us stick our unwanted gifts on Ebay without the giver even being aware.

So says a new study from https://thatsweetgift.com/christmas-shopping-statistics, which surveyed 2,005 over 16s throughout the UK.

The same study also shows many people  will pretend to like the gifts we get, no matter how much we might hate them.

Only 8% of us have ever revealed to someone that we were disappointed with a gift, and over a third of us lied and the told the giver we liked it, even if we didn't really.

?So... what really happens to those unwanted presents?

- 1 in 5 (rising to 1 in 4 if we look just at answers from female respondents) Ebay their gifts without the seller being made aware.

- 1 in 3 of us keep the gift and leaves it sitting in a cupboard unused

- And 1 in 4 (23%)  rewraps an unwanted gift and passes it on to someone else!

- 1 in 5 has returned or exchanged a gift without the giver knowing

There's even some people, 7%, who admit the sold the unwanted gift for more than it was worth!

Daniel Chabert Pfefferkorn, founder of Thatsweetgift.com, said: "The fact 1 in 5 of us sells unwanted gifts on Ebay without the giver knowing is great. And the fact that some even sell on for more than it’s worth is even better. Where are those people? I want to hire them!”

How to avoid disappointment in the first place.

If you don’t want your gifts ending up on Ebay, use a bit of insight about what men and women really want for Christmas

Thatsweetgift.com’s survey identified the most popular gifts amongst women (when asked, from a multiple choice list, which they would be happy to receive from their partner or spouse at Christmas) are the traditional ones:

- Jewellery tops the list (55% of women saying they’d be happy to receive it)

- Clothing is second with 48% approval

- A weekend break or holiday was a close third with 41%

- Chocolate got 42% of the vote

Men answered slightly differently:

- Clothing topped the list for men (40%)

- Footwear polled second (32%)

- Chocolate came in third (27%)

- Books came in 4th (23.70%)

For both men and women, traditional gifts best technology.

- Under 9% of men and women said they’d be happy to receive an ebook, a movie or TV download or a music download

- 28% of women and 24% of men would like to receive physical books

- 20% of adults in the UK would like to receive CDs

- 21% of women and 22% of men would like to receive DVDs

What We’re Spending
The survey also identified that we'll will give an average of 11 gifts each Christmas and will receive 7 in return.

And we’re spending varied amounts of different members of our family:

- We spend an average of £96.64 on gifts for our spouse or partner

- £24.56 on our best friend

- £49.30 on our Mum

- £40.65 on Dad

- £64.21 on an adult son

- £64.27 on an adult daughter

- £23.60 on Grandparents


That's Books and Entertainment: Tales From an Old Hack

That's Books and Entertainment: Tales From an Old Hack: Tales From an Old Hack is a wonderful autobiography from journalist Barbara Fisher. A teacher from Birmingham, she decided to change her...

Sunday, 18 November 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: Loving

That's Books and Entertainment: Loving: Loving is a new collection of poems from Suffolk-based author Heather Goddin. The poems in this collection are all about the many differ...

That's Books and Entertainment: Out of Mecklenburg

That's Books and Entertainment: Out of Mecklenburg: Out of Mecklenburg is a spy novel with a difference. The author, James Remmer, has a three decade career in the investigative field of the...

That's Books and Entertainment: A Hedgehog Story Hedgehog Queen

That's Books and Entertainment: A Hedgehog Story Hedgehog Queen: A Hedgehog Story Hedgehog Queen is an absolutely charming debut novel (and the first in a planned series) of the adventures of hedgehogs w...

That's Books and Entertainment: A Monster's Tale

That's Books and Entertainment: A Monster's Tale: A Monster's Tale  is the story of Brett Kelso. Brett is 32. He is quite a rarity in his community. He is an honest man who does an hon...

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: A Journey Through South-East England

That's Books and Entertainment: A Journey Through South-East England: A Journey Through South-East England is exactly as the title says. You can follow along with author Brian J. Rance as he takes a walking t...

Monday, 12 November 2018

Friday, 9 November 2018

Iceland’s Banned TV Christmas Advert... Say hello to Rang-tan. #NoPalmOi...

An ideal gift for the book reading women in your life

It’s Christmas and you’re looking for the ideal gift for the women in your life.

We have the solution to all of the women in your life! It's the  Rare Birds Book Club.

It's the subscription box for the book lover in your life. Championing literature written for women, by women, subscriptions are offered in one, three, six and twelve month options – bringing all the excitement of contemporary fiction, straight to their door!

Are they keen on for the surprise of a new unknown book every month? Might they be hankering after the luxury of being able to connect with likeminded readers through the online book club?

There is something to warm the soul of any book lover this Christmas.

What is available?

Gifts Under £20…

Whether looking for the perfect Secret Santa gift for a female colleague? Lookinmg out for a gift for your friends, Rare Birds has something for you.

Why not encourage them to stand out from the crowd with a ‘Lit Happens’ tote (£6) or help them to feel like a sustainable goddess with the ‘Drink Good Coffee, Read Good Books’ re-usable mug (£12). Looking for a real page turner? Choose the lucky dip and send them a surprise book with either a mystery, history, comedy or romance theme (£8). I mean, for that price, maybe you can treat yourself too….

For Someone Special…

Who hasn’t got a friend that has that teetering ‘to be read’ pile in the corner that they swoon at whenever they enter the room? Well, why not help them to build that collection with one of Rare Birds’ three-month subscriptions (£33) or must-have Book Bundles!

Whether selecting ‘Reader Favourites’ which will include three of the top picks from the 2018 book club discussions, or ‘Feminist Fiction’, which has three standout titles from trailblazing female authors that you NEED in your collection, there is something for every bibliophile in your life (£21 each). The most difficult part will be stopping at three!

For your Favourite…

It is always difficult to choose something meaningful for your number one, so why not show them how much you care by subscribing them to the 12 month ‘New Year’s Resolution’ package? Packed full of merchandise and tips on how to make the most of your monthly library, owners of the year long subscription will be given the chance to win prizes by reading and taking part in the monthly book forums, all for just £120. If that is a little on the wild side, then the six-month subscription is bumper packed full with joy for just £66 and is definitely on the top of the nice list.

If all else fails and you can’t decide, pick up a gift card and let them choose. Who said Christmas had to be stressful?

Sign up to Rare Birds Book Club at https://rarebirdsbookclub.com




Thursday, 8 November 2018

Make your Christmas a Speculaas Spice Company Christmas!

The Speculaas Spice Company adds to its range of wooden moulds to make authentic looking Dutch speculaas biscuits.

For the current Christmas season, The Speculaas Spice Company is adding several larger wooden moulds to its existing range of wooden moulds allowing bakers,  young and old, new or more experienced, to bake authentic looking Dutch speculaas biscuits the old-fashion way.

Company owner Steven Dotsch: “In the ‘good old’ days speculaas biscuits were made using a wooden speculaas mould.

"Speculaas biscuits are the mirror image of the carved wooden moulds they are baked in. The wooden speculaas mould is the old-fashioned cake form that the (home) baker used in order to make speculaas biscuits. These days of course all this has been mechanised.”

“Traditionally, speculaas biscuits come in the form of windmill shaped biscuits or male or female figurines, known as 'lovers', but these days the biscuit moulds can take many different shapes.

"Young men used to decorate these figurines and give them to their sweetheart. If she accepted, she loved him back. Apparently this is where where the Dutch expression for flirting, “iemand versieren” (literally 'to decorate someone'), comes from”.

The vandotsch speculaas moulds are made from specially selected untreated European beech wood which is grown in plantations, rather than being logged from a primeval forest.

The moulds are all carved using traditional methods in an artisan environment in The Netherlands.

For best results, the vandotsch speculaas moulds need oiling before first use.

What about The vandotsch speculaas spice mix?

Steven goes on to add: "The vandotsch speculaas spice mix is based on the spice mix recipe from my Dutch grandmother. The vandotsch speculaas spice mix consists of a perfectly-balanced mixture of nine organic spices including real, high grade, cinnamon from Sri Lanka, cloves, ginger and six other spices in order to give our spice mix that unique kick.

"Our spice mix is suitable for vegetarians, Free From artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives. Sourced from responsible producers with organic certification and in many cases Fairtrade certification. It’s gluten free, milk free, nut free, sugar free and salt free. 

"The vandotsch speculaas spice mix is endorsed by home bakers, food bloggers, chefs and celebrity bakers alike, including two Great British Bake Off finalists.

Both the vandotsch speculaas spice mix as well as the wooden moulds make a perfect birthday or Christmas gift for young and old to enjoy making speculaas biscuits the ‘old-fashion’ way.

"The gift pack consists of the vandotsch speculaas spice pack together with one of our authentic Dutch vandotsch speculaas moulds and an information sheet how to use the mould as well as how to make the speculaas biscuits. The packs can be purchased online at https://www.speculaasspice.co.uk.

The new wooden moulds
The Speculaas Spice Company have a limited number of larger wooden vandotsch speculaas moulds for sale at: https://www.speculaasspice.co.uk/wooden-molds including:
A Dutch clog - £16.49
a man and a woman, both in typical Dutch clothing - £26.99
an iconic Dutch windmill - £24.99, and
a Sinterklaas/SantaClaus mould - £28.99







Monday, 5 November 2018