We’ve been watching The Apprentice.
And there’s an elephant in the room.
Or is that an angry bird?
El & Jae
Please don’t fire us…
We are big fans of crisps (understatement) – when we watch Doctor Who we always have crisps as that is The Law. But El does not generally get crisps in her lunchbox as Jae knows that she would rather have an apple or some tasty bark. Mmmm bark.
But still, we have been hard at work testing out a new crisp-type snack from Walkers.
We were sent a cute & cuddly toy monkey who was clutching a bag of beef flavour Hoops and Crosses. However, since we are vegetarian we didn’t fancy the beef flavour (though it turns out they are actually suitable for veggies – how does that work?). Jae toddled off to the supermarket and bought some of the salt & vinegar flavour which cost £1.80 for a multipack of 6. We love salt and vinegar. Yum nom nom.
The reason Jae doesn’t put crisps in lunchboxes every day is mainly because she thinks they’re too salty. Crisps once or twice a week is OK, but any more than that she’s not keen on. El disagrees but Jae won’t listen to her that crisps are what they’re on about when they say 5 a day.
Each individual packet of Salt & Vinegar Hoops and Crosses contains:
- 84 calories
- 3.7g of fat
- 0.7g of sugar
- 0.3g of salt (5% of an adult’s daily amount – children’s daily maximum amount of salt varies and is lower than an adult’s)
We also suspect that the small size of these packs probably helps the nutritional aspect. How unhealthy can you get when there’s only 18 grams in there? We quite like that the bags are small, it’s a bit healthier than those mega ‘grab bags’ you can get. Here’s the bag and what you get in it:
This shows you the packet on the left and on the right are the contents.
Taste and texture-wise they’re similar to Monster Munch. As a wholegrain product we didn’t notice anything different to other non-wholegrain crispy-type snacks.
We like the fact that they are baked rather than fried.
When El had a packet in her bag one day it made her super happy! They were quite puffy which was nice as it meant that although there probably wasn’t a lot it felt like there was more. There weren’t so many that it was unhealthy but El didn’t feel cheated of crisps. Plus they didn’t crumble in the bag which means that they were WHOLE! They were satisfying and for once El didn’t feel a bit left out at break time because most of her friends have crisps everyday.
Disclosure: We were sent a packet of Hoops & Crosses and will be compensated for this post
El & Jae
Fried, not baked.
Jae has been watching an old Star Trek movie on TV and El is confused! So Jae shall now attempt to explain it to El and to any readers who are also confused.
What’s with the Jumpsuits?
That is the uniform of the crew of the Starship Enterprise. Also useful when they do Jane Fonda’s aerobics video when they’ve finished saving the galaxy.
I remember when those uniforms were introduced for the film, there was HUGE uproar because they were different from the original series. But there was no Twitter in those days so nobody took any notice.
Who’s that guy with the pointy ears and the magnificent eyebrows?
That is Spock. He is half human and half vulcan. He is a supercool guy – supposed to be emotionless but you can tell there is a bit of a twinkle in his eye. He is the original computer expert superclever geek hero. He knows everything and is full of wisdoms. When he comes to Earth he hides his pointy ears with a woolly hat. Told you he was clever.
What kind of name is Spock anyway?
That’s Mr Spock to you, earthling. Probably normal for vulcan people. What kind of name is El anyway?
Where are they? Some kind of planet?
They are on a mission to save the galaxy. Aliens are involved but will not triumph. This is basically the plot of every Star Trek ever made. You may also know this plot from Doctor Who. You know where you are with sci fi. Except when you don’t.
I like the iPads they had earlier, wouldn’t it be funny if they were playing angry birds?
It probably wasn’t iPads that they had, probably some sort of futuristic timey-wimey wibbly bibbly space screens. For playing Space Invaders, or Pac Man.
Lol that room is made of cardboard!
Ooops, you noticed! To be fair, that was cutting edge in 1979. And at least it was real cardboard. Nowadays it would be computer generated cardboard.
Who’s that Captain dude?
That is Captain James T Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. He was like the Robert Pattinson of his time, but less vampiric and morose and with a wider choice of girlfriends. Bet you can’t guess what the T in his name stands for.
It’s Tiberius. You will be glad of that one day in a pub quiz, in a galaxy far, far away.
Is that the Giant’s Causeway?
No, that’s a space Giant’s Causeway. You used to get one free with packets of Weetabix.
So now that El is full of Star Trek knowledge, the big question remains: Will she go to see the new Star Trek movie with Jae??????
Maybe, if there are sweets involved.
El & Jae
Boldly going where no blogger has gone before
Have you heard of World Book Night? (Not day, NIGHT! NIGHT!) It’s a scheme to give free books to people and hopefully get more people reading. Volunteers get to choose a book from a shortlist, then they get 20 copies to give away.
El and Jae applied to be a World Book Night giver and were superchuffed to be accepted (last year Jae was not accepted – must’ve been on the naughty list). Jae would like it to be known that she turned down a free trip to Disneyland Paris in order to be here for World Book Night. That is commitment.
El chose the book Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman because she had not read it (shock horror!) and had really wanted to for a while. Plus she had already read Boys Don’t Cry by the same author for the Southern Schools book awards and had really enjoyed it. (And met Malorie Blackman at the award ceremonies but we won’t go into that.)
Tonight we are giving the books away! Perhaps you are reading this because we gave you a book?
Here is a little bit of background about where the books have been before. We picked them up on Saturday from Waterstones in Brighton. El loves this shop (understatement). It is her dream job to work there one day, though she may not realise that you have to do more than just read the books when you work in a bookshop.
The first person we spoke to in Waterstones didn’t know about World Book Night! Quelle horreur! Luckily the second person did, and said our books were in the “special cupboard”. We are very excited about this – perhaps this special cupboard leads to Narnia, the Mines of Moria or Hogwarts Common Room. Here is Brighton Waterstones, complete with Special Cupboard: Then we took our box of books to a cafe. As you can see El was supervising them very closely. We took the books to Boots to buy deodorant. Actually, the books smelled fine but Jae gets sweaty (joking Jae). Again, El supervised the box of books, this time by sitting on them: As it was a heavy box we had to take it home on the bus. We let the box sit on the disabled seat as no one else was using it, plus a box is not able to walk. We also let the books have a little sit down on a bench cos they were tired. And it had another little sit down on the bus stop because El had bumped into her friend. So you can see that if we gave you a book, it has been on quite a journey. Treat it well, like a baby kitten or a precious jewel. Now we are going out to give away our books. We will report back later and let you know how we got on.
El & Jae
Book Distribution Service
UPDATE – LATER THAT NIGHT
We did it!
Jae almost lost a finger on one or two letterboxes and narrowly avoided being arrested as a weirdy stalker-type person. We put some through letterboxes of people we know and the rest in random houses. All in all it was really good fun.
We also put a few in the doors of a cafe, a church hall and some flats (so they will have to fight for who gets it!).
This trip has lead us into new insights about letterboxes. Especially those weird furry bits in them. There was one or two we couldn’t get the books in
So if you get a chance to be a World Book Night giver, go for it. And if not – at least we’ve always got reading!
Spring is here. Ha ha ha ha we wish.
At least we always have books to keep us warm. The good thing about having Extreme Reading as your sport of choice is that it doesn’t matter about the weather and it is always the right season.
So where has El been reading recently?
Even when temptation is offered you must stay strong padawan.
Reading in an office shop is always good because you’ll always have somewhere to sit.
Just ignore any distractions behind you.
So the lesson we have learned is – whatever is in your book is probably more compelling than whatever is in your face.
El & Jae
Have you noticed that there are lots of T shirts and other clothing in the shops which say ‘Geek’ or ‘Nerd’ on them?
We think it’s great that such things exist – who wouldn’t want to advertise their nerdiness with a jaunty slogan? Advertise to the world your love of the geek! HOWEVER this sort of clothing has now become so popular that a terrible thing has happened:
People who aren’t even Geeks are wearing Geek shirts!!!! NOOOO!!!!!
So if you’re not sure whether you are eligible or not, we have devised a handy quiz to help:
- Would you prefer to lose all of your make up rather than all of your books? (Warning: some of these questions probably only apply to girls and flamboyant boys!)
- Do you have at least two people whom you’d call friends but whom you have never actually met in person?
- Have you read at least 10 books so far this year?
- Do you have a blog?
- Would you rather go play Minecraft than get your nails done?
- Are there more computer devices than people living in your house?
- When your teacher asks you to write what you know about the Spanish Armada (as an example) on a post it note do you mentally explode because it won’t all fit on that tiny piece of paper? (El is speaking from a personal experience here.)
- Do you have a minimum number of books that you will not leave the house without?
- If someone asked you “Are you a geek/nerd?” you proudly say yes and go on to talk about your theories on why geeks shall inherit the earth!
If you can answer yes to at least two of these questions then Congratulations – you are a 100% certified Geek and may now wear a Geek or Nerd shirt.
Don’t worry if you didn’t say yes to all of them, you can still be a geek/nerd – but you will have to try a bit harder to earn the title! And remember – Geek is for Life.
El & Jae
Make no mistake – we’re talking about stinky pits, rancid arm caves, skanky hollows, whatever you want to call them.
Personal hygiene is very important, which is why we recommend that you HAVE A WASH. Don’t wait until you feel smelly because by then it’s probably too late.
But if you are a kid then you probably want to feel fresh but not necessarily with the aid of chemicals. But there isn’t much choice for natural teen de-stinkifiers, even in Brighton where we live, where everything is made of knitted lentils.
So we were pleased to be asked to try a new range of natural deodorants for kids which go by the lovely name of Keep it Kind. They are for pongy kids aged 11-14.
El was sent the spray called Missy for girls (there’s also Blast for boys in the range) and Fresh Kidz which is a unisex roll on. She’s been putting them through their paces during heavy duty PE classes.
The good thing about this range is that they aren’t tested on animals (other than kids) and are free from aluminium, parabens and alcohol. Fresh Kidz is also fragrance free. They contain natural ingredients specially for younger skins and won’t mark your clothes like some deodorants can.
The packaging is designed to look nice in your bag.
El is a deodorant user (thank god) and in comparison Keep it Kind worked very well. Also it was fun to spray Missy around like in an advert. Jae thought that Missy smelt like a garden. El wanted to know why Jae was using her deodorant. Hmmmm…….
Keep it Kind deodorants for tweens and teens are available now from Boots priced around £3.
El & Jae
El has been dreaming of a special place.
A world without homework
What would your world without homework contain?
El & Jae
Dreaming of paradise
Do you remember when El live blogged Stephen Fry’s Gadget Man (I don’t think anyone could forget it)? Well on her birthday El had the ultimate Stephen Fry experience. First of all she got a bunch of Stephen Fry audio books.
Then she was given the ultimate Stephen Fry-related gift – tickets to see the great man himself live on stage in Twelfth Night.
Here is a picture. If you look up on the right hand side you can see El.
One of El’s favourite bits was when they first went in and some of the cast (Stephen Fry included) were getting their make up and costume done on the stage (as seen in the photo).
It was an absolutely amazing play and Stephen Fry was truly astounding, he was flabghastinglyaboslutelyterrifichewassogooditmademyeyespop! (Yes, I know that’s not word!) They put him in box at one point and he wore some magnificent yellow stockings. He was sososososososososo good!
It was very funny when Olivia was on the stage because the whole plot point depended on her being this beautiful girl that everyone falls in love with but because she was being played by a man she was a very ugly girl (although the actor who played her was not an ugly man).
The only other actor El had heard of was Barty Crouch Snr (can’t remember his real name). You know, he was in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And he was the cyber controller in that episode of Dr Who. He is a very famous stage actor but El only knows him from these things.
In conclusion Stephen Fry was amazing hewasbetterthananyoneheisagodtomeomgheWASmalvoliohewastransformedmylifeiscomplete!
And if you get a chance to see him then you MUST go. Also Shakespeare AMAZING! People who think he’s boring just haven’t seen the light yet!
El and Jae
It’s is no secret that El likes reading. Her favourite books of all are classics such as Black Beauty, Ballet Shoes and Five Children and It. And the Railway Children, Heidi and The Secret Garden. Not forgetting A Little Princess, Little Women, White Boots, Tennis Shoes, Dancing Shoes and What Katy Did (that’s not all of them). OK, just assume she likes them all.
When your child is a really confident reader it can be hard to find books that are engaging and interesting without seeming too babyish. This is why classics are great – you’ve got a story that’s stood the test of time, language that is old-fashioned enough to be fairly challenging and a story that’s suitable for a wide age range.
So when we were asked to review a special edition of a classic book it was definitely Happy Dance Time.
The book in question is Wind in the Willows and it’s been specially produced by The Folio Society. It’s a large hardback, comes in a protective slip case, and is bound in cloth and blocked in black and gold.
The paper is quite thick and the whole package has a lovely feel to it. Most pages have a gorgeous illustration – we enjoyed the fact that these were quite old fashioned and featured delights such as Mr Toad smoking a cigar and drinking his whiskey! You don’t get so much booze and fags in children’s books these days.
Despite all this it’s still quite an innocent world, as Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger enjoy adventures by the riverbank. Just watch out for the ‘Poop Poop’ of Toad’s car!
It is a beautiful edition and we would recommend it for a very special present for your favourite reader. El is VERY CAREFUL with her copy and it’s not the kind of book you would read in the bath or take on a journey.
At £32.95 it’s not a cheap book, but it’s very much a book to keep and treasure. A keen reader would love this, or it would make a good present for a smaller child you’re hoping to entice into the love of books. El is very proud to have this on her shelf and will keep it forever and ever. And ever. And ever.
El & Jae