Books in September

This is my second post about books this month, as I already blogged about the latest book by Philippa Gregory. The Last Tudor was published last month and I wanted to talk about it as soon as I finished it. There is a link at the end of the post to the review. This month I finished 5 books, bringing the total at 51 this year.

Books in September

My choice of books is quite unusual, but if you’ve seem my posts so far I think you are already used to this. I seem to continue to be drawn these days to non-fiction, hence 3 of them are non-fiction, one is historical fiction based on real historical facts and the last one is a poem book.

None of Us Were Like This Before. American Soldiers and Torture by Joshua E.S. Phillips

None of Us Were Like This Before. American Soldiers and Torture by Joshua E.S. Phillips

It was hard to read it, not because of the style, but of what it was written in it. In the book is talked about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. The author goes into details about torture and it’s hard to comprehend why did U.S. authorities allowed this to happen. Prisoners died in captivity (a lot of them) and nobody was wondering why. The whistle-blowers had their lives shattered after coming forward and military personal that abused the detainees committed suicide (accidental death is written in the military reports despite having multiple suicide attempts).
I just hope this is not as widely happening as it seems in the book. I say this because, the last thing I want to accept, is that, from the money I contribute through tax, the army is paid to rape/sexual assault prisoners and call it “interrogation” (have a look at the pictures from Abu Ghraib on wikipedia, a warning though, they are disturbing).

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BlogOnXmas 2017

If you follow my blog, you know that I’ve been to BlogOn many times: BlogOn May and BlogOn September in 2016, BlogOn MSI May and now is time for BlogOnXmas 2017.

01 BlogOnXmas 2017

This time BlogOn was held at Hotel Football in Manchester. The hotel is close to Manchester United. It was different than before, as it was on different levels and we had to go up and down. It was a bit confusing at first, but it wasn’t a big issue.

I got there at 10, I left my suitcase in the designated place and I though this is the first BlogOn I’m going with a suitcase and nobody looks at me like I’m crazy. Going with suitcases in hotels makes sense, unlike to museums. Then I joined the queue for coffee and the blogger I chatted a bit, joked that the machine will run out of coffee by the time is our turn.

02 BlogOnXmas 2017

As you can see in the picture, he was right. I though it’s hilarious, so I took a picture. Well, soon enough we had coffee and I went to see the toys on display.

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The White Cross Pub

Yesterday my husband and I went to Lancaster and we stopped for coffee at The White Cross Pub. The pub is near the canal, more info on their website. It is in an 130 years old cotton mill.

The name of the pub comes from the original stone white cross, that was just 200 meters away. It was a place were people travelling would stop and give thanks. It’s possible they would stop for food and drinks in the area too.

Storey’s Mill was finished in 1880. The building where the pub is now, used to be a storage place for raw materials. In the mill oil cloth and linoleum was made. In 1987 the area was transformed from a former industrial boundary to a lovely place with pub and offices, a short walk from the city centre.
The pub is independent and, on their website, they mention that they use local produce as much as possible. We will go there for a meal soon, as I really loved the feel of the pub.

 The White Cross Pub

It was raining, so I didn’t get any pictures from outside. I looked on their Instagram account and I saw this one. The pub is really lovely.

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My boy turns 8: 8 things you didn’t know about him

Today is Festus’s birthday. As my boy turns 8, I though I would share 8 things you didn’t know about him.

1. He is ambidextrous.
You might think how to tell if a dog is right or left handed. There are a few tests, like recording which paw the dog uses to go down the stairs. You have to record at least 30-40 times to make it clear. Festus uses both in almost equal measures.
There are a few studies about this. Basically, the dogs are mostly right-pawed or left-pawed and only a small percentage are ambidextrous. I think this makes him a bit more special, while he is incredibly special for us.


2. He hates parsley.
Because he loves mint so much, I though I should try to see if he likes parsley too. He spit it out immediately, it was quite funny.

3. He loves mint.
As a pup, he got mint tea instead of water from his breeder. When we got him at 3 months old, I continued to give him mint tea for another 6 months. Even now, at 8, he still loves mint. He is not eager to have mint tea as he did as a pup, but he will eat mint leaves. See picture below.

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Vitamin E Moisture Cream

Today I’m going to talk about the Vitamin E Moisture Cream by The Body Shop. I saw recently that The Body Shop was bought in June by Natura from L’Oreal. I was delighted to see this. I had reservations promoting products under the L’Oreal umbrella as they test on animals in order to be able to sell in China. Specifically, The Body Shop products aren’t sold in China and are cruelty-free. This means that I would have used them if gifted, but I wouldn’t buy them because of L’Oreal. Now everything changed and I can buy The Body Shop products without a second though. Natura is a cruelty-free brand from Brazil. They aren’t selling in China and they stopped animal testing in 2001, according to their website.

Vitamin E Moisture Cream

I mentioned it briefly last month when I reviewed their Peppermint Intensive Cooling Foot Rescue cream. Now almost 2 months had passed since I started using it and I’m very happy with it.

Vitamin E Moisture Cream can be used for day or night time. I’ve used it mainly for night time as I have another day face cream. The texture of the Vitamin E is very nice, not oily at all and lightweight. The cream absorbs easily and it moisturizes the skin.
The colour of the cream is nice too and the smell is not too powerful. I use a bit more than I used before with other creams that were more oily. Even so, a 50ml cream is enough for 3 months for me, used once a day, in the evenings. I think it’s great value for money.

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Lion Salt Works

Lion Salt Works is a museum, voted the UK’s Best Heritage Project, and it can be found in Cheshire.

We’ve visited it as part of Heritage Open Days (it was free) and, unfortunately, we booked a volunteer led tour. It was the most boring thing I’ve been to. In a room, she stopped and said “have a look around, as we’ll spend 5 minutes here”. Lion Salt Works is a fascinating museum though and I would recommend visiting it. Maybe other tours are more engaging, but for us was a waste of time in a busy day.

 Lion Salt Works

The Lion Salt Works is a restored historic open-pan salt making site. Three types of salt were produced there, from table salt to salt used for agricultural purposes.

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What’s cooking

It’s been a while since I’ve made an What’s Cooking roundup. I talked in July about my weekly shopping, but I didn’t share any recipes. So, today I’m going to talk about the last things I’ve cooked. This week I’ve been invited to the Chef Challenge at Shoryu Ramen in Manchester and I made my own Japanese bun. It was so exciting that I plan to get a steamer and make my own buns.

Besides the recipes with pictures, I baked bread a few times, I’ve made pizza using the same dough as the one for the Thick Danish Pancakes and it was delicious. I made basic houmous too, lots of smoothies. A few days ago I’ve made a cottage pie with a huge marrow (it weighted 1.6 kg), I’ve used a can of baked beans and lots of spices, on top I put mash potatoes. It was almost vegan, but I’ve added leftover cream to the potatoes (so I don’t waste the unused cream). Next time I’m making it vegan.


From top left: Vegan Ramen, Carrot houmous, Orange and Strawberries Cake, Upsidedown Pear Cake with Port, Deviled Eggs and Danish Thick Pancakes.

I love Ramen, but I’m not making it as often as I want. This week I had it twice though. I tried carrot houmous after seeing the idea in a TV show with Michel Roux Jr. called Hidden Restaurants. The cake was made for a special occassion and this time I’ve used  a whole orange, boiled. The cake turned out delicious. So did the Pear cake. The last two recipes are for stuffed eggs, something both my husband and I enjoy a lot and it reminds us of our childhood, and danish pancakes. I think everybody should try those pancakes, they are so different to make, the recipe is quite unique.

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