Monday, 13 January 2014

Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure

Ok, so this is the second book I am reading for the Eclectic Reading Challenge 2014. One of the categories is a 'Travel (Non Fiction)' book. For several years I have had this book sat on the shelf and, to be honest, I think it would have sat there for years to come if it wasn't for this challenge. I bought it after watching Dave Gorman being interviewed on Morning TV when the book was published...around the beginning of 2004, so nearly ten years.

The book is based on Dave Gorman agreeing to a somewhat bizarre challenge of meeting 'Googlewhacks'. For those not in the know a Googlewhack is:

You enter 2 unrelated words into Google (which then finds every page on the www that contains those 2 words) and only one result is returned. The words must both be in and you must not enter them with speech marks around them both as this is cheating. 

Dave is informed by a stranger that he is a Googlewhack. He then asks what this is and, once he learns he then proceeds to find some of his own. A long story short...he ends up contacting one of the ones he finds, who then finds one that leads to somebody he already knows, he visits them and they set the challenge. He travels far and wide to meet more. (There is a bit more to it but that's the concept.)

Now, in a lot of ways I am glad that I read this ten years later. This book is not only a travel book now but is also well on it's way to being a history book. You see this was written in 2003. Personally, I was at college and then university then. I had the internet at home but it was dial up connection. We had the internet at college but it wasn't used anywhere near as much as is now for education. The internet was FAR smaller then than now too. It is virtually impossible to find a 'Googlewhack'...try it! I did, and virtually every combination of words I typed in brought back thousands of results upon results.

At one point in the book Dave explains (in a way that implies it would be normal not to know about this already) the concepts of Ebay and Wifi connections. He also includes a conversation where someone he met claims that due to their modem at work not working that afternoon, they were far less distracted and got loads of work done. If ever the internet isn't working when I'm at work I struggle to be able to do my job now! How the world changes.

As far as being a Travel book goes, well, the guy only spends enough time in each place to meet his Googlewhack and then has to move onto the next location as quickly as possible so I wouldn't recommend it if you want to learn much about the places he goes to. It is a comical and light hearted read though and I really liked it.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Blue Planet Aquarium

At the end of December Child #1 suggested that we should go on more family days out in 2014. She is right...2013 was pathetic. This was partly due to work commitments but, more honestly, due to laziness! Of course, I agreed and then gave each of them the task of suggesting three places that they would like to go in 2014. If we did one per month that would leave 3 spare for me to choose too.

Child #1 requested:

  • A London show (this is part of her 16th Birthday gift)
  • The Welsh Mountain Zoo (but she may change this)
  • Pottery painting
Child #2:
  • The Blue Planet Aquarium
  • Chill Factor (Indoor ski/sledging etc)
  • ...nothing else yet
Child #3
  • A Castle (Conwy probably)
  • Swimming (This will be the Alton Towers Water Park)
  • Ice Cream making

So far I plan on taking them to Cadbury's world (but not just yet while I am trying to lose my Christmas calories!)

So, I asked them to give me their ideas asap so that I could get an idea of when to plan them in. There are quite a few more summery activities and also some more expensive things which the January budget doesn't stretch too. I decided, as the Blue Planet was local, it was Child #2's birthday today, and it was an indoor winter suitable choice that we would start with the Blue Planet. 

So this was it. I still think it is a bit over priced for what it is but none the less we had fun...

How exciting!

Child #3 the Tour Guide

How they normally are...

When they think they are about to be fed but really it's just Child #2 playing tricks.

Spot him?

The Otters!


The under tank tunnel. the under tank tunnel.

The photographer.

The tunnel for the 2nd time.

The birthday girl!

It was a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon anyway. Child #1 is right...we should do it more often than we do.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Girl Gone - Gillian Flynn - Eclectic Reader Challenge #1

When I signed up to the challenge I had just started reading this one. I checked Goodreads and it does qualify for the 'Award Winning' category. It was the Goodreads Choice for Best Mystery/Thriller in 2012. It had been on my shelf for about 3 months, Goodreads gave it an average of 3.93 from over 400,000 reviews...not a bad start.

The plot...Nick's wife, Amy, goes missing on the day of their 5th wedding anniversary. All evidence makes Nick the prime suspect. He is adamant he didn't do anything. So what did happen?

The whole story is told from both his an her perspective. There are some interesting twists and turns that keep you interested until the very end and hence I read this in a few days.

I really enjoyed it. It was fast paced, easy to read, and not that predictable. I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads, I would have preferred to give 4.5 but 4 felt too harsh, and will be reading more of Gillian's books.

End of the Christmas Holidays

Thought I would round up a few events of the holidays before we go back to work and school tomorrow (yes we - that's just Child #3 and I - are sneaking one more day out of this due to a teacher training day at his school). It's been really nice to get away from work for a couple of weeks. The last few months have been crazy busy but, I hate to admit it, I actually miss it now! 

Christmas was great...I don't just mean the day...I mean the time around it too. Just chilled. I ate and drank too much obviously but that's a given. We did stuff like this...

The annual 'Christmas Jigsaw' was a 'Where's Wally?' one this year.
Child #2 and I do one every year. Well we start it together and then I finish it once she has her presents to distract her!
This year, Child #3 also helped a little.
I finished this (Child #3 is modelling in his own's actually my jumper and is a cowl neck when worn correctly!!)

I worked on this...

and made these....

(Boot Toppers)
and finished this (I hate taking pictures of my self...I makes me laugh too much!)...

I took a few random photo's over the Christmas of which is this:

I popped into a local shopping park on the 23rd December and almost tripped over this. I always wanted a patchwork chesterfield sofa for the front room of Vivod. It might not be everyone's taste, and this photo, taken on my phone, in the middle of a shop, doesn't really do it justice either. And it wasn't cheap. And it was the 23rd of December. I left it there.

Until the 28th of December....

And then appeared in my front room. The photo doesn't really pick up the colours properly either but I love this sofa, and I had to have it. When you see it in real life it goes perfectly in the room too. So, obviously, the next Vivod project will be this room, now that I have a direction for it!

January 2014 has mostly begun like this...

The lastest Emily Peacock kit.
This one is the 'Kiss' kit that compliments the 'Hug' kit from last year.
Another Christmas gift....I was spoilt :-)

The first books I am reading for the Eclectic Reading Challenge.
(See last post.)
So that's about it. Now normality and routine have returned, which I like. The holidays are great but I do like routine, however much I hate to admit that too. I like that I have a 'bedtime' and so do the nest. I like that I have a day with structure. I like that I have goals to achieve each day that really do have a need and consequence. I like that I am back to eating good stuff and not just high calorie rubbish and too much wine. (I love that my weight is now going back down and not up!). I like that the nest are now busy again too.

I have a few goals to try and stick to this year (I know that I say this every year, and these may well be the same as last year, but, in my view, it's better to set these, try them and fail than to never bother at all!). Firstly, to not waste so much drives me mad. Second, to eat well (a re-occurring January theme). Thirdly, to get things under control at work - it is getting there now but I still need to make a substantial effort towards this. Lastly, to make a bit more progress with Vivod. That will more that do!

Bye for now.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Eclectic Reader Challenge 2014

Good evening, 2 posts in 2 is good for me!

This is a different post from normal...this is just about reading. I often have a moan to myself about reading the same types of books over and over. I used to read a lot of chick lit when I was younger (listen to me 'when I was younger'...I'm only 35!...I'm feeling old today as it's Child #1's 16th Birthday!!) anyway I kind of grew out of those a few years ago and since then have moved onto thriller/crime novels a lot. This wasn't meant to happen...I was suppose to read a more varied range. I did have a stab at diversifying last year and chucked a couple of classics into the mix but I would still say that I read the same types of books again now - just a slightly different genre. 

As with most things in my life that annoy me...I dig out Google as a starting point for fixing it. I tapped in '2014 Reading Challenge' and this pops up a little down the list of results...

I had a quick read and it seemed ideal. It will force me to read outside my usual genre(s) but give me a choice over what I read. And I love a challenge.

So I will, as the competition states (although I'm not in this for the prize...just the reading) be posting reviews of each book I read, that counts towards it, on this blog. I will not be specifying the books I read in advance as I prefer to select them as I want to read them. I am still struggling to figure out was 'Cosy Mystery Fiction' is...hoping it might be what I've been reading for the past few years. It should also be noted that I've not written a book review since 1992 (at school!) so I am slightly nervous about it too.

Conveniently I started reading 'Girl Gone' by Gillian Flynn yesterday which I think counts towards the 'Award Winning' option - but I need to be sure. Again it may fit that mystery category. Note, that's another typical thriller aimed at women that I seem to be stuck's a pretty good book though so far so I will not berate myself too much!

This will pop up on all relevant posts...

See you soon.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Wepre Woods in Winter

Happy New Year!

I'm on a mid Christmas decoration removal break so thought I would pop in and say hello rather than just sit here idly. 

In 2012 I took you on a walk through Wepre Woods and I promised to show you this same walk during other seasons. We have been on it since but I didn't blog as this was in the summer. One of my Christmas presents was a new pair of wellies from Cath Kidston so, after eating too much and being far too lazy, I suggested to my youngest that we could go for a walk in Wepre Woods? A little to my surprise he agreed (he did get an Xbox for Christmas you see) so off we went. Again, this post is mostly pictures but that is the point of it really.

The Wellies

Like most of the country we have suffered some really bad winds recently so we saw lots of sights like this all over the woods.


This was my favourite picture this time.

I had to test them properly by paddling!

It was really nice to get out of the house for a couple of hours. We had very festive 'picnic' by the castle too consisting of satsuma's, crisps, and a mince pie. Child #3 is now desperate to go again because, following this outing, we realised his wellies were a bit too small, so he now owns a new pair too. His are superman ones though. It has rained constantly since then and I am too much of a wimp to do this when it's actually raining (I'm sure he wouldn't mind at all though!).