Recently, I turned nineteen; bakerdays sent me a cake in celebration! Because what more could you want than a cake in the post? (I’ve previously worked with them, and you can see that post by clicking here.)
bakerdays is a personalised cake service based in Nottingham; they sell everything from a birthday cake ,cupcakes, and balloons. They also work with bloggers, which, being a blogger myself, appeals to me as a consumer; they have worked with everyone from Cristina at Criddle Me This and Jordanne at Life Of A Glasgow Girl. 
 

Through the post:

The post clattered more loudly than usual; that immediately piqued my curiosity. The package (above, edited to hide my address) landed with a bit of a thump; however, the inside packaging protected the cake from potential harm. (“Please don’t be squished, please don’t be squished” was on rotation inside my head.)

The product itself:


Firstly: personalisation. There’s always an appeal in designing something, isn’t there? Anna at bakerdays designed this for me; I loved seeing it as a surprise. (Enough so that I had to open it two days prior to my birthday. I was ridiculously excited!)
The packaging is minimalistic in approach, which is again a bonus; I liked that they have a lack of plastic wrapping, bubble wrap, etc.
The parcel reminded me of a passage in Roald Dahl’s biography; he was recounting how he was at boarding school, with packages sent to him on a periodic basis. The packaging is reminiscent of this, in the cute tin, with its bright colours, balloons and candles.

Taste:


 
If you need a birthday cake, I highly recommend bakerdays; they sell a variety of birthday cakes, as well as cakes for other occasions. And if you want a chance of winning one, be sure to take a look at my Twitter page; there’ll be a giveaway opening today. 
This cake was absolutely delicious-and it made a change from my usual bag of plain rice for Lunch on a Saturday morning.
My only feedback is that it could have had a little bit more buttercream under the icing; as it had come through the post, it tasted a little bit dry at times. But it was so good! If you need an emergency cake, or want to give someone a present, this is something for them.


Disclaimer: the products featured in this post were sent to me in exchange for an honest review. To find out more, see my disclaimer. I have received no payment for this.

I am a huge fan of Lissie. Enough so that I reviewed two of her albums (Live at union chapel and My Wild West), two of her concerts (at Manchester and in Brighton), and interviewed her. Therefore, I was delighted to hear that she was releasing a new album; Castles is out today.
The opening of Castles has fragments of the elements; it’s the sound of rain that sets the tone for the album. It reminds me of how Fredia Hughes describes the creation of Ariel by Sylvia Plath (see the reference here), in the inclusion of seasonal references, gearing towards a new life. World Away sets the tone.
I also think that English students would like this album; what is striking is the use of fairytale language, the motifs of Castles. (This continues throughout.) Overall, this creates a far more conceptual album than previous works.
The sound of this album is also a departure from Lissie’s usual sound; Castles is a mix of dream rock, with songs not being based around the guitar. She also experiments a bit more with her voice; there is a lot more of her lower register, as well as the occasional falsetto.
Favourites on the album? Castles, the title track. Oh, and Blood and muscle-there lyrics are sparse, enough so that less is more, clearly. There is even a vulnerability which partially harks back to Back To Forever. Yet, this is what lends Lissie her power.

Best Days is a song for the beach; reminiscent of nineties dance music, it is one of the more optimistic tracks on the album.

Towards the end of the album, I begin to enjoy myself more; Somewhere begins with a slightly creepy quality, perfect for the backdrop of a horror film. However, it transforms into a song that seems almost nostalgic for Everywhere I Go. Unlike other tracks on the album, there is not a collision of sound.
Love Blows is also notable; the fast opening verse is like Back To Forever. There are confessional lyrics , reflecting a portrait of a women standing outside herself, looking back over her life.
Meet Me In The Mystery completes the album. There’s a haunted quality, a sense of a story unfolding before our very eyes. (Well, ears!
Overall, I wasn’t sure what to make of this album. It’s not what I expected.. But I would like to see it performed live. The more I listen, the more it grows on me, inspire of my initial disappointment. Give it a try, see what you think.

Click here to buy Castles on Amazon * Visit Lissie’s official site * Book concert tickets. * Order Castles here. 


Disclaimer: I was sent this album to review on the basis that I was reviewing it for two magazine assignments, so I thought I should share it on my blog. However, my opinions are my own. You can read more about it under my disclaimer.

Note: this review may contain spoilers. 


I have been a huge fan of Helen Callaghan’s work ever since I spotted the paperback of Dear Amy; the sleek, red paperback stood out of the pile of best sellers that dominated an already crowded table. Therefore, I was delighted to have been sent her new book, Everything Is Lies. 
This book is a departure from Dear Amy, and I think the quality of Callaghan’s work is better because of it. The language is bolder, the characters more realistic, the plot grounded in realism. This book made me feel much more positive about reading, as I had been wanting a book to captivate me for a long time; it is addictive, a thudding read that craves attention. (To illustrate further: I stayed up to midnight, anxious to get to the bottom of the mystery, prior to an interview the next morning.)
Plot? It has more substance than Dear Amy had; the dual narrative is what lends to its distinction.  On the one hand, Sophia comes home to find her Mother hanging from a tree, her Father terribly wounded, barely alive. But another character has a story to tell; they compliment each other, reaching a startling conclusion.
This book is also made for English students; on an A level course, your teacher is probably going to bang on about the symbology, the techniques used. But this book uses a wide variety in such an effective manner, creating a sophisticated narrative.
To improve, I think that there could have been a lot less scene setting, and more subtle hints to the true nature of some characters. The book is hard to get into; for the first chapter, I was a little bit bored. The phone call which dominates the opening could have been more dynamic; the protagonist, Sophia, can also sometimes be slow on the uptake-enough so that I could feel myself getting frustrated, as if she was real.
If you need a crime novel fix, or are in withdrawal from your Netflix boxset of choice, this book will perfectly fill the void for you; buy it from Amazon. And see my interview with Helen Callaghan here. 


Disclaimer: I was sent this proof copy in exchange for a review by Sarah Harwood at Micheal Joseph. However, prior to this, I had read Dear Amy by the same author and loved it. This review is my honest opinion. You can read more under my Disclaimer. 


A little while ago, I posted about how technology can have a wonderful impact for people on spectrum (you can view it here.) That week, I had meant to review it-but I was not at all well. So, I thought today would be an apt opportunity for review 😀
I am a huge fan of technology. (I wouldn’t be a Blogger, otherwise!) But, I saw the Penclic keyboards over on Criddle Me This and…. the rest is history as the saying goes. These keyboards connect either by wire or by Bluetooth to your Tablet (dependent on model) or to your Desktop. The design is also to allow for quieter keys; perfect for commuting!

What I liked:

The packaging is hot. (Maybe that’s not the right word for it.) It was very similar to Apple in that respect; space conserving, slick, sophisticated. My excitement was palpable at opening.
Setting it up was also easy; unlike other ‘toys’ that I have previously possessed, it was so simple. I did not have to fuss with it, tinkering; it was complete in a flash.
Oh, and, it’s wonderful to type with. And that’s saying something from me, when I own a typewriter.

What could be improved:

The instructions were not particularly clear-it took me a little while longer than usual to work out how to set the keyboard up. (But I think that that’s okay, given where the keyboard is manufactured.)
I also think that it would have been better to have a slot for the tablet; the tablet I have, due to the case it’s in, has to be leant against a wall to stand up. (It slides and makes a horrible noise.)
The keyboard is also a little bit bulky; it’s a little bit too big for me to stick in a bag when moving round.

iN CONCLUSION:

This is a BAMF piece of tech. (And no, if you don’t know what that means, I’m not going to explain; Google it.)
I love the feel of it; it is so gratifying. I also think that my relatives are grateful for the in-built noise suppression for typing feature. (I have a terrible habit of banging away when typing.)
What’s not to love? I feel that it has enhanced my life-and it’s so useful. If you’re on a budget and in need of some technology, this is for you.

Lydia XO

Buy the keyboard here.


Disclaimer: I was gifted the keyboard in this post, in exchange for review, and an agreed upon amount of posts featuring in. However, this post is my honest opinion-and does not constitute advertising. For more information visit the Disclaimer page.