Day 7 Song 7 – 30 Day Song Challenge

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Today day 7 is a song that reminds you of a certain event. I considered so many events, weddings, funerals, concerts etc etc and the one thing that really stood out in my mind was rather obviously the birth of my little girl. I didn’t do the music thing while I was in labour I was way past the point of being soothed by nature sounds. But at one point early ish in the labour ok so about 10 hours in ….. I was sitting in my hospital bed and to try to distract myself I put the radio on and surprisingly it worked (till the next contraction that is) But it was somewhat of a moment as it was a Powderfinger song and I’m a big fan so it was pretty cool….

The Reader – If:Book Symposium

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On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend a one day symposium on The Future Of The Book held by the Queensland Writers Association here in Brisbane at the State Library. It was a fascinating day filled with talks from authors, booksellers, web designers, feminists and a whole host of others.

The Future Of The Book aimed to take an in-depth look at  exactly that, the future of the printed page. From digital texts to ebooks and beyond, we looked at all the ways our experience of reading is going to change and evolve into the future. We looked at topics like, literacy beyond the printed page and libraries and digital heritage. It was an absolutely fascinating and mind bending day and one I am really glad I had the opportunity to attend.

The day began with The Rules about drinking games so I knew it would be a good day ! The first talk of the day was from John Birmingham a writer that I am a huge fan of and have been for a long time now.John talked about his experiences with blogging,tweeting and the relationships he has formed with readers through social media. Typically he had us all in stitches with his anecdotes about writing and the people he encounters on twitter.

John was followed by the amazing Dale Spender who regaled us with facts about books in history and had us all laughing at some quirky facts about women and reading. Such as reading was once considered to be the reason for women getting uterine infections ! HAHA  Yes apparently this was used as a reason to keep women from reading and therefore becoming more educated. It seems hard to believe now but it wasn’t that long ago that reading was a right reserved for aristocracy. What a shame it would have been if we had all been denied the pleasure of story telling.

I wont give details of every talk we had as I would be blogging all day so ill share some highlights. One of my favourite talks was from Jon Page, of Pages and Pages Bookstore in Sydney who is also president of the Australian Booksellers Association. Jon looked at a variety of topics all regarding how we as booksellers will adapt to the digital book age and how we can grab our piece of that pie. If you would like to read more about Jon’s talk I have included a link to Jon’s blog Bite The Book at the bottom of the page.

I also really enjoyed a talk we had from Peter Brantley about reading on a Holodeck. I wont attempt to fully outline his speech as I couldn’t possibly do it justice but the ideas he presented were mind bending to say the least and I urge anyone reading this to google Holodeck its an amazing concept. From virtual reality to gaming with the principles of Kinect software for the XBox this is full immersion story telling at its best ! And frighteningly not the far off int he future if Peter is to be believed.

I also enjoyed hearing about Booki.sh a new and very exciting website here in Australia that has been designed by the very talented Virginia Murdoch and her team. booki.sh aims to bring beautiful ebooks into the hand of Australian readers. For anyone who is interested in purchasing ebooks here in Aus Booki.sh is definitely a website you should check out !

It’s hard to pick and choose the parts that were my favourites of the day as they were all really interesting sessions that left me with a lot of food for thought. I’ll let you know about one more that I found absolutely fascinating and that was a presentation given by Jeremy Lebard about his new software invention Read Cloud which aims to enhance the experience of digital reading for children and school students by adding multi layered extra format to ebooks. I urge anyone to google it and learn more about it for yourself its a really exciting concept that I think is going to change the way our children learn long into the future !

I really enjoyed the whole day and I look forward to many more days like it in the future. Being a part of the industry is not only a passion of mine as I am an avid reader, but it is also exciting for me because it allows me a glimpse in to the future of education, and how our next generation will be reading. I love learning more about this wonderful industry I am so blessed to work in and I enjoy having the opportunity to share some of it with my everyone who reads my blog. The future of the book is exciting and diverse and I cant wait to see where it all goes.

BlondiieC

xox

http://bitethebook.com/2011/04/28/the-bookseller-and-the-reader/


Day 1 Book 1 – 30 Day Book Challenge

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So I may be starting a few days late on this one but I have some good excuses ! I was at a book conference and there was a Royal Wedding in there somewhere too! So similar to the 30 day song challenge the book challenge has 30 categories for 30 days and for me today is day 1 – your favourite book.

I really struggled to choose only one, how many books can we put into a list of favourites ! I have trouble narrowing it down to a list of ten let alone one! But I had to choose and I think what drove this choice for me was not only the quality of writing but also the ability of this book to cross over generations and keep readers enchanted.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of the classics and while I have a soft spot for many of them Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is far and away one of my most treasured. I cry every time I read it and it still pains me when Jo marries the professor instead of Laurie. Yes I am a little obsessed. So whats your choice ? Id love to hear !

Day 6 Song 6 – 30 Day Song Challenge

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OK almost back on track for day 6 🙂 So Day 6 is a song that reminds you of somewhere …hmmm interesting one this one but, this particular one brings back some really funny memories for me and some really special friends of mine will know exactly what im talking about when they hear it 😉 love you guys, this weekend was one to remember 😉 All I have to say is J,N,R and the Islander hahahahaha 😉 Ohhh how much fun is jumping in beds when you’re a grown up !!

Day 5 Song 5 – 30 Day Song Challenge

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Ok so technically this one is a couple of days late but I was at a book conference, and then there was a royal wedding so I have a good excuse ! Anyhoo Day 5 is a song that reminds you of someone so I picked one that reminds me of two really amazing girls in my life and a song that I absolutely love to dance to. Hope you enjoy it 😉

Would The Real Can Do Campbell Please Stand Up ?

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Well the shit hath hiteth the faneth in the words of Shakespeare (ok so im paraphrasing a little). But today (somewhat inevitably some would say) The Fake Can Do Campbell was outed on Twitter and I am not the first nor will I be the last to be not only saddened by this, but to be outraged ! Yes outraged ! Come on people ! Cant anyone take a joke anymore ?

The Twittersphere went ballistic today with people claiming left right and centre to be the fake Campbell in an act of support to someone whose tweets we have all come to enjoy.  The Fake Campbell is funny, insightful and lets face it a lot more interesting than the real person.

I recently got to interview the Fake Campbell and he is great ! The sad thing that has clouded the issue is that people were so concerned with finding out who the imposter is that a lot of people have missed the point !

None of that matters ! Not who he is or what he does for a job when he isn’t being funny on Twitter what matters is that people felt like they were getting a say. People felt as though finally they were being heard ! Whether or not the real Campbell Newman ever read it was beside the point for most followers.

Like me most people enjoyed the opportunity to have a whinge and say what they really think. And now because someone decided to play silly games a lot of people may lose that opportunity and I for one think thats a real shame !

Now we can all sit back and potentially lose something that made us all smile because some snotty brat couldnt shut up ! Clearly they havent read my blog post “If You Cant Say Anything Nice Then Shut The Hell Up”. Why did we all have to know? Wouldnt it have been better and a lot more fun if he had remained nameless ? Do we always have to know the identity behind the caped crusader ?

I mean come on people you will all admit that Spiderman is way hotter in the suit then when he is Toby Maguire right ? Or Bruce Wayne ? Not to mention Catwoman without the secret identity and that hot catsuit she is just a shy retiring nerdy secretary !

A little mystery is good for people it makes life more exciting, it gives us all a little thrill. And I know your all nodding your heads right now cos lets face it a little kinky role-playing between consenting adults is never a bad thing. Now ok so maybe Can Do Campbell role-playing isnt sexy and admittedly if you find it kinky ill be a little concerned, it’s the premise behind it. Without the mystery it’s just not as dangerous and therefore not quite as fun.

I for one hope that because of one big mouth we don’t lose this funny, entertaining twitter feed! Its kept me laughing and smiling and its given a lot of people a voice. And I guess for all you weirdos out there who think Campbell is sexy its given you something to perve on you sick freaks ! (but who am I to judge?)

Damn the Man save the Fake Campbell ! At least he is funny !

BlondiieC (A Fake Campbell devotee)

xox

P.s If you want to read my interview with the Fake Campbell Newman it’s under the Interview category and If you want to read more about all of this then keep your eyes peeled because like the good little thing I am I have already asked the Fake Campbell for another interview so he can address the backlash and he has kindly agreed ! So watch this space people I promise you wont be disappointed !

Oh and Fake Campbell, I may not think that Campbell is sexy but you will always be a Bruce Wayne to me 😉

Attachments – Review

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I was very kindly given Attachments by Rainbow Rowell as an advance reading copy at this years Independent Booksellers Conference in March. It is set to be released in June of this year and it is set to be BIG ! It is being published by the great team at Hachette and true to form this book is another stellar choice from the Hachette team !

Now I have to admit I have a bit of a soft spot for a nice rom/com, and Attachments sure fits that bill. Yet it’s so much more than that. It’s a beautifully written look at a group of people, how their lives entwine and what the future holds for them all. Attachments is a great fuzzy read that will make you smile and gush to anyone who will listen about how wonderful it is.

Attachments is the story of Lincoln, he’s kind of dorky, a little weird, quiet, shy and reserved and to top it off he is a computer geek. In short he is adorably goofy and you will fall in love with him. Lincoln works for a newspaper in the IT department, he spies on colleagues emails and he hates it. Until he starts reading emails between Beth and Jennifer and suddenly Lincoln’s job becomes a lot less mundane.

Beth and Jennifer are friends and colleagues on the paper and their email antics will have you in stitches. Lincoln is drawn into Beth and Jennifer’s world and once he starts reading he can’t stop. He knows its wrong and he feels bad about it, but he can’t help himself. He should turn them in for abusing company policy, but they seem so nice, so fun, he just keeps reading.

One day Beth reveals she has a crush on a “hot” guy at work. Jennifer of course doesn’t believe that its even remotely possible that there is a half decent looking man anywhere in the offices. But Beth is smitten, she has her eye on him. Lincoln is intrigued, who is this guy that has Beth so enchanted ?

Read the emails that fly back and forth between Jennifer and Beth and get lost in their story, it is truly delightful. Readers will love Lincoln with all his strange quirks and geeky habits. And everyone will relate to Jennifer and Beth, they are such beautifully written real characters.

For me Attachments was reminiscent of such  great modern rom/com’s as One Day by David Nicholls and Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. But don’t start to think that you have this book figured out. Just when you think you know where the story is going it twists and turns and takes you places you really didn’t expect.

I absolutely adored Attachments and so will everyone who reads it. It’s the type of book that you start mentally casting in your mind. I could picture the characters in my mind so clearly as I read it. I really hope that this gets optioned for a film as it would be a truly beautiful movie.

Attachments is the sort of story that you read frantically, you rush through the pages, racing to the end to see how it all ends. This is a book to devour in one sitting. You will laugh and cry and laugh some more. This is the sort of story that is like a modern-day fairytale but its infinitely believable. Never over the top or silly Attachments is witty, well written, fast paced and has the best dialogue I’ve read in a long time.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell is the book everyone is falling in love with, make sure you fall in love with it too ! The only thing that you will want after reading it is to start reading it again. It really is that great !

BlondiieC

xox

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni-Recipe

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This is a wicked recipe that I stole *cough ahem I mean borrowed from my sister-in-law and I have made it ever since. I love it because its easy and quick, super healthy and my daughter loves it ! I know that lots of people and cooking purists will shudder because in this I don’t make my pasta and I use passata from a jar but meh you try having a toddler and a job and see if you still make every step from scratch !

Ingredients:

1 large bunch of fresh spinach (you can use frozen pre chopped if fresh isnt available)

1 medium brown onion

2 cloves garlic (crushed)

1 tub of low-fat ricotta ( you don’t have to use low-fat )

1/4 cup shaved parmesan

I bottle of tomato passata

Salt and Pepper

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1 cup pizza cheese blend ( it melts better)

1 package of fresh lasagna sheets ( you can use the hard tubes but I find the fresh sheets easy to use and they taste better )

Method:

Chop the spinach and blanch it in a pot with boiling water, once its soft drain off the water and squeeze out the excess moisture (wait until its cool to do that step) Now while the spinach is blanching I like to lightly fry off the onion and garlic. Now in a large bow mix the ricotta, parmesan, a small handful of the pizza cheese, the spinach, onion and garlic and the egg. Mix it all up really well until combined.

Now your ready to put it all together ! Simply slice the sheets in half along the width ( yes the width not the length ) now take a spoonful of the mixture and place it at one end of the sheet and spread it to each end in a tube. Now roll the sheets up into little tubes. Just keep repeating the process till all the mixture is used up.

The last step is so easy ! Just spread a layer of tomato passata over the bottom of an oven proof dish and then lay the tubes in to the dish squish them in so you fill the whole dish. Now over the top spread more tomato passata over the top of the tubes and sprinkle with cheese.

Then put it all into a pre heated oven at about 180 degrees celsius and bake until cheese is melted and brown.

Serve with a crisp green salad and some crusty bread ! YUM

This is such an easy delicious healthy recipe and you can even make it the day before if your busy. Or if like me you like to be super organised you can double the mix and roll up the tubes and freeze half for another time! So easy !

Chocolate Chip/Peanut Butter Cookies

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I make cookies a lot because they are easy and with my daughter not too messy 😉 But these are absolutely amazing and just have to be shared ! They are a great variation on the standard choc chip biccies too ! ENJOY !

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (125 mL) margarine

1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup (125 mL) white sugar

1 egg

1 cup (250 mL) crunchy or smooth peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) plain flour

1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (375 degrees F). Cream together the margarine and sugar. Beat in the egg, vanilla and peanut butter. Combine the flour and baking soda, and add to the margarine mixture. Add the chocolate chips.

Roll into 3 cm (1 inch) balls, place on a baking sheet and press flat with a fork. Bake about 12 minutes, until just browned.

Makes about 35 cookies.

These are really really delicious but not the most healthy so don’t eat all 35 cookies at once 😉

Red Velvet Cupcakes ! ( From Tasted by Two )

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Anyone who is a fan of Sex and The City will know the name Magnolia Bakery right ? mmmm drool ! The single most amazingly beautiful delicious cupcakes in the world ! No im really not exaggerating. Well not only do I have a weird obsession for cupcakes but I have a really obsessive love of red velvet cupcakes and this one is the Magnolia Bakery version. Now I could whip up a recipe of my own on here and I have a few variations but to be honest none of them are as good as these. So rather than give you a mediocre recipe here is one I found from Magnolia that will knock your socks off  !!

Magnolia Red Velvet Cupcakes (yields 24 cupcakes)

3 ¼ cups of plain flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tbsp red food coloring
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups organic full cream milk
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and lightly flour 2 cupcake pans.

In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food colouring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the milk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and bake the cupcakes, switching positions of the pans halfway through baking, until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting

300g cream cheese (spreadable cream cheese or mascarpone are both fine)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Pour in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Fill a piping bag with the icing and spread over cakes. Big and swirly is the key!

YUM I hope you enjoy making these cupcakes ! I have made them many times and they are always delish ! If you want to know more about where I got this recipe its from Tasted By Two a Sydney blog about FOOD yum ! check it out they are amazingly great!  http://tastedbytwo.com/

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