Fiction: Book Review – The Humans by Matt Haig

My latest read. #summerreading #books #TheHumans #MattHaig #lbloggers

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I’m not quite sure what happened with this book, it almost stalked me. Firstly a follow from its author Matt Haig on Twitter aroused my interest, followed by switching on Radio 2 one evening to hear them talking about The Humans. It was the book I couldn’t escape, and feeling that someone (possibly some clever marketers) was trying to tell me something I relented and hit-up Amazon for my own copy. I’m glad I did.

As the blurb says:

Professor Andrew Martin is not feeling quite himself.

I won’t spoil the plot for you by telling you why, although I will say it won’t take you very long to figure that out for yourself once you start reading.

With short, punchy, humorous chapters this book is an easy read. In fact, I found myself finishing it in a couple of days. But aside from that it’s a really, really clever way of questioning what it is to be human, why it is that we submit to certain social expectations and what is actually really important to us. Matt Haig manages to question some deep topics in such a humorous way, it’s comforting, uplifting and if you don’t feel alive after reading this, then, well, you’re probably dead (on the inside at least). The 97 pieces of ‘Advice for a Human’ are as genius as they are true.

Thought provoking, but without the flouncy deepness and with a whole host of laugh out loud moments. I’m glad this book stalked me until I relented and read it. You should do the same.

Fabulous rating: 5/5

Fab & Fail: Sunday 3rd August 2014

My loves and loathes of the past week…

Fab List

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

The 2014/2015 La Liga fixtures for Real Madrid finally being released AND Real Madrid signing James Rodriguez. I feel I may need to see the new team line-up for myself. Hala Madrid!

Even my calendar is telling me I need a holiday! 🌴🍹🌞🌍 #holiday #quote #travel #calendar

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Keeping an eye on holidays for the Autumn and watching the prices slowly drop. Speaking of which, this quote on my calendar seemed kinda apt given my most recent reading material.

Cruising around in my car with the Iggy Azalea pumping out. Shake it, break it, make it BOUNCE!

The return of the pointy flat. The last time these were properly in I was doing work experience in London at various magazines. The return of these shoes reminds me of happy times and makes me want to live the dream. I’ll have a pair in every colour please. Wonder if wearing them with patterned fish net pop socks will be the fashion this Autumn/Winter like it was back in the early 00’s?

Lazy Saturday’s.

FINALLY getting around to doing something I’ve been meaning to do for about two years!

Reminiscing about my high-speed drive in a Nissan GTR. Loves me a fast car!

Getting my read on.

Fail List

When internet banking gets stressful. Too many sodding passwords, not enough time.

Sunday drivers, especially when they’re driving like it’s a Sunday on a Monday! Seriously doing 40mph down a motorway slip road is dangerous and crawling towards a green light, so that by the time you reach it it’s changed to red is just plain annoying. Grr!

Neighbours deciding to go outside for a cigarette at 4:30am on a Friday morning, having loud conversations and waking me up. Seriously? Not cool.

Useless delivery companies despatching two parts of the same product on separate delivery vans, resulting in one not being delivered and us ending up at the depot (which felt like a prison) in the armpit of the Black Country. Sheesh!

Fun & Fast Cars: My Nissan GTR Experience

Sam & the GTR

Are you going to go fast?

I asked the driver.

Before I knew it my head was pinned back onto the headrest and I had an ear-to-ear grin on my face.

We’d gone to the track day in Seighford so that Hubby’s Dad could redeem a gift voucher we’d purchased for him for his birthday, giving him the opportunity to drive the beast that is the Nissan GTR. Hubby didn’t need much encouragement to sign-up for a go in the high-speed motor on the day, especially as his Dad seemed so keen for someone to share the experience with him. Sure, they’d drive at different times but just having that other person who knew what you were talking about when you spoke of gear shifts, acceleration and over-taking Ferrari’s as if they were parked-up meant a lot.

Nissan GTR

Seeing the sexy Nissan GTR brought back happy memories for all of us. Rather untraditionally Hubby and his best man (his Dad) got the wedding car on our big day, with me choosing to get ready at the venue. A traditional wedding car wouldn’t have been right for a groom’s entrance and so he arrived in style (and speed) in the GTR. I was too busy getting my hair and make-up done, but if the crowds of guys around the car after the ceremony were anything to go by, I would imagine Hubby arrived to some envious stares.

Anyway, back to Seighford. As Hubby queued to pay up for his drive. I noticed a board offering high-speed passenger rides. I’m not the most confident of drivers and with my slightly wonky eyes didn’t feel courageous enough to take a £78,000 supercar for a spin. But I still wanted to experience it for myself, so I paid up and waited for my name to be called ready for my two lap excursion around the track.

Nissan GTR Interior

The first thing I have to say is that the GTR is a thing of beauty. It just looks swishy and sexy and sporty without being poncey or chavvy. The dials, the trim. It’s also, dare I say it, reasonably practical for a sports car – certainly more so than a flashy Lambo. And, more importantly it looks meaty, but not showy. To those who aren’t aware of its power they really could be fooled that they could beat you off the line in their mom’s old Peugeot 206 with added noisy exhaust. Aptly enough Hubby and I recently spotted a GTR with a personalised plate which spelt out – YOU LOSE – indeed you would.

As for my two laps. Sure they were over in a blink of an eye, but I have seriously never known acceleration like it. Going around with the instructor driving was actually brilliant as he knew how to push the car to its limits. Despite the wet weather he continually took the racing line, overtaking EVERYTHING on the track and leaving turns and breaking to the very last second. Making for an exciting drive that made me want to get all Tellytubby and demand ‘again, again!’.  You know when Jeremy Clarkson gets in a supercar that he loves on Top Gear and screams ‘POWERRRR’ before wetting his pants (possibly) – that was, almost, me.

If you like fast powerful cars, adrenalin rushes and things that make you smile – then get your butt in a Nissan GTR pronto!

You can find out more about track days at Seighford here.

Fundamentals: How To Make Your Website Disability Friendly

Glasses

When I was first diagnosed with retinal detachment, I was understandably paranoid about losing my vision. Thankfully, a number of operations and a whole host of comments about my ‘dodgy eyes’ later and I’m still seeing, meaning that the worry has somewhat decreased. Sure, I could still lose my sight, but (and I hate to say this) so could you! Anything could happen to any of us at any time whether we’re expecting it or not. Worrying is futile. Better to get on and enjoy the things we can do, rather than worry over the things that one day we might not be able to.

However, having that fright has given me more empathy for those with more serious vision issues and has made me realise that just because you can’t see so well, doesn’t mean you should miss out on anything, not even the internet. That’s why when I stumbled across this article on making your website disability friendly I thought I’d share it with you guys. It’s amazing how just a few small tweaks here and there can mean the difference between someone being able to access your page, or being shunned by your site. Even if you’ve used up all your empathy having more site visits has got to be good, right?

Take a read here.

Fab & Fail List: Sunday 27th July 2014

Fab List

The things I’ve been loving this week are…

The weather. Loving the fact that we’re ACTUALLY having proper summer weather this year. Result!

Getting nostalgic for Sex and the City. These quotes and this video montage has really inspired me to dust off those box sets.

Finding out what’s causing my annoying chin zits, thanks to this YouTube video. Not sure what to do about them mind you?!?!

Sam Smith’s album FINALLY being available on Spotify. This man has the most amazing voice, it’s the musical equivalent of eating Galaxy chocolate whilst laying in satin sheets, wearing cashmere. Love it!

Dreaming of Autumn getaways. We have a week booked off work in a couple of months. Our original plan was to return to Edinburgh, now we’re thinking of jetting sun-wards.

Hot chocolate – yep, I know it’s almost 30º outside, but whether it’s Green and Blacks instant hot chocolate, or a lowly chocomilk from the vending machine at work I’m loving myself some hot chocolate action. I’m thinking it’s my coffee replacement, maybe?! Don’t worry I’m limiting myself to one mug per day, lest I get addicted to this stuff instead.

Spending Tuesday morning by the river in Worcester and getting paid for it. Yay for the day job!

TOTAL NOMMAGE! #Magnum #Almond #IScreamForIceCream #Summer 🍦

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Almond Magnums – so yumsome.

Naughty new Next Directory encouraging me to splash the cash! #Next #Directory #AutumnWinter #Shopping

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Getting the new NEXT directories. Sure, whilst the sun has still got its hat on I don’t really want to be thinking of Autumn clothing… but NEXT has some really gorgeous pieces that I might just have to. Roll on pay day!

Hot weather essential! #Caudalie #EauDeBeaute #FacialSpritz #Summer #bbloggers #BeautyElixr

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Caudalie Beauty Elixr – keeping me cool (and awake) on frightfully hot days.

Reading – you may have noticed I’ve been a bit of a bookworm just recently and I’m really enjoying it.

Trying out contact lenses again after a two year sabbatical. 👀

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Trying out contact lenses again after a two year sabbatical.

Fail List

And the things making me go meh are…

Washing up – so nice to dunk your hands in hot water in the winter, blooming sweaty work in the summer. Phew! Housework and hot weather aren’t a good match it would seem.

Feeling a little overwhelmed – a host of to do tasks to tick off in the day job and a living room full of odds and sods as we start decorating the spare room. Argh!

Not having air con in my car – toasty, much?

Pesky chin zits.

How has your week been?

Fiction: Book Review Run For Your Life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

photo-6

I love, love, love books where you really get a mental image of what the characters look like. Slightly surreally with this thriller, my ‘good cop’ was the spitting image of Freddie Prince Jr , my ‘baddy’ bore more than a passing resemblance to Lord Disick from the Kardashians. Of course, the Irish Priest was Father Ted and the Irish Nanny was Alice Eve. My brain’s clichéd casting abilities aside, I really enjoyed this book.

As with all James Patterson novels, the chapters are short, progressing the story in enticing bite sized morsels. Each one leaving you wanting more. The sentences, paragraphs, pages are so well crafted so as to paint a picture, without any unnecessary fluff and avoiding giving the game away too early.

Detective Michael Bennett is assigned to the case of a serial killer who is striking at classy establishments all over New York City. The novel moves between the perspective of Michael and ‘The Teacher’, the ruthless serial killer who is on a moral mission. This adds great colour to the book – we learn about Mike’s turbulent home life, which endears us to him. And we slowly start to find out what’s made ‘The Teacher’ so mad.

A fast-paced crime thriller, if you like James Patterson novels, or you’re looking for an exciting easy read this would be a good choice.

Fabulous Rating: 4/5

Fab & Fail List: Sunday 20th July 2014

Fab List

Hubby transforming the spare room with his decorating genius.

Working next to a park has it's advantages! #LunchBreakInTheSun 🌞

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Being able to sit in the park on my lunch break, catch a tan and read a book. Gosh, weather, you are spoiling us.*

Treating myself to some new skin care – thank goodness for pay day.

Having a digital clear-up – good for the soul.

New reads = good times 😊📕📗

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New books.

Fail List

*Except this weekend, where we appear to have tropical storms of epic proportions.

Getting rudely awoken by the boom of thunder at 4am.

The terrible news about flight MH17, sometimes I really do worry about the state of the world.