Pages: 'Talking with Psychopaths and Savages' by Christopher Berry - Dee

Sunday, 25 March 2018

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To begin with I felt like ‘Talking with Psychopaths and Savages’ was going to take me, the reader deep inside the minds of some of the most dangerous people known to us. But what drove me to pick this book up was that rather than just focusing on their crimes, it would pick up on what drove them to that violent point and their thinking behind it. Unfortunately that was only a little of what we got. 

The author Christopher Berry - Dee appeared more concerned about massaging his ego, wasting time and pages repeating stories, discussing word count and selling his other books than he did focusing on the content of this book. Rather than doing the thing that would sell more books, writing a great book. 

'Talking with Psychopaths and Savages' by Christopher Berry - Dee  book review

Christopher Berry - Dee is a criminologist who has spent years interviewing imprisoned criminals and serial killers, whose lack of remorse was as terrifying as the crimes they committed. Through the course of these conversations he also got to interview some of their psychiatrists, or gained access to their psychiatrist reports and through both of these he began to uncover the evils that can behind a friendly face.  

As much as this focus was included it was always interjected with too much of the author as if he was trying to taunt those he had interviewed. But what also added disappointment to ‘Talking with Psychopaths and Savages’ is its lack of editing. Poor proofreading and editing meant their were countless mistakes, an unusual amount of repetition and constant reference to the word count, as if Berry - Dee was just trying to make it to his goal rather than create an outstanding book, which he had the ability and resources to do.

'Talking with Psychopaths and Savages' by Christopher Berry - Dee  book review

In a book that could show us how little we could know about someone who is so close to us I feel I know a lot more about Christopher Berry - Dee than I should.  I feel like everything I learnt from this book cannot be trusted, like there must be a better source out there. 

So if you have some recommendations give me a shout or if you fancy finding out for yourself, buy 'Talking with Psychopaths and Savages' here
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Pin Collection Part One

Sunday, 18 March 2018

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I've finally got my shit together and started putting together this pin post, but what I didn't think about was how many I actually have. So i've split them up, enjoy post one of many of my pin collection...

enamel pin, gin,

First up combines my love of gin and pins from the incredible Jo at Hello Sunshine (website here). 

A few weeks ago I thought i'd lost this amazing pin after a few too many gins but it miraculously appeared in a tote bag and my lapels were saved! 

enamel pin, gin,

Treat yourself to one here. 

My pin collection isn't just enamel pins, a friend bought me this beautiful illustrated wooden Book Worm from Kate Rowland after I was lusting after it at Renegade Craft fair a few years ago. 

enamel pin, bookworm, brooch

This is no longer available on Kate's site but I highly recommend her beautiful work, check it out here.

enamel pin, books, tea

Then there is this beaut 'Drink Tea and Read Books' from Fable and Black that I picked up, alongside a number of their pins, mirrors and coasters for Christmas gifts from Handmade Nottingham.  

A haven for bookish lovers, spend all your money here. 

enamel pin, eliminate girl hate

This amazing glittery pin is from Bloody Nora Pam, and this beautiful pair are spreading empowering messages via merch and clothing.  This pin was an amazing gift from a friend and it's been on my jacket ever since. 

Get yours here.

enamel pin, dillinger escape plan

The final pin i'm sharing in this post is The Dillinger Escape Plan pin I got during their final tour in the UK.  I couldn't find this anywhere online to buy now so if you see one around give me a shout. 

What pins do you want to know more about next? 

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Harry Potter Pudding Club at Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen

Sunday, 4 March 2018

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We headed to Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchen in Sheffield this afternoon for their Harry Potter Pudding Club. 

Yep thats right Harry Potter Pudding Club.

harry potter pudding club, birdhouse tea, sheffield

After warming up with a Sheffield Fog it wasn't long before our Polyjuice Potions were brought over, queue 'Urgh - essence of Millicent Bulstrode'. It was a yummy lemon iced tea that changed colour (video here) as you poured in the secret ingredient. 

harry potter pudding club, birdhouse tea, sheffield

harry potter pudding club, birdhouse tea, sheffield

Followed by the sharing pudding platter...

harry potter pudding club, birdhouse tea, sheffield

We started with Butterbeer Blondies, layered in a half pint glass and topped with a soft coconut cream that cut through the butterscotch drizzle so you never wanted it to end. 

harry potter pudding club, birdhouse tea, sheffield

We then attempted the Golden Snitch Truffles, and I say attempted as they were biggest white chocolate truffles I have ever tried to eat in one go... and it didn't go well.  

Not sure if Harry Potter was lucky enough to get such zesty lemon flavour when he nearly swallowed the snitch. 

harry potter pudding club, birdhouse tea, sheffield

Finally we tucked into the Chocolate Mandrake pots with a root beer surprise! 

These pots may look so delicious you think they are edible, but believe me they aren't.  And who knew root beer popping candy existed?! 

harry potter pudding club, birdhouse tea, sheffield

And just to top it off there were wee pots of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans and dragon eggs on the platter too. 

harry potter pudding club, birdhouse tea, sheffield

This afternoon was incredible and I cannot wait to see what the next pudding club is! Keep an eye on Birdhouse Tea Bar & Kitchens Facebook here for upcoming events. 

Accio Pudding!  

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Pages: 'Neverwhere' by Neil Gaiman

Friday, 2 March 2018

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I always forget how much I love fantasy until I pick it up again and with 'Neverwhere' it felt so real and contemporary I just couldn’t get enough. Neil Gaiman can be thanked for some of the best storytelling known and 'Neverwhere' is definitely a part of that. 

neil gaiman neverwhere book review

Before the move to London from Scotland an old woman prophesies that Richard Mayhew, the protagonist will find adventures that ‘starts with doors’ and that is exactly what he gets when he finds a girl strewn across the pavement, as he walks towards a restaurant with his uptight girlfriend Jessica later in the novel. The girl begs them to take her somewhere safe, anywhere but a hospital and Richard obliges, leaving Jessica to continue the evening without him. 

The next morning as we find out more about the girl, named Door, two ageless assassins appear at Richard’s door looking for her and it becomes clear that London is not the same anymore.  Richard unknowingly entering the realm of London Below and changing his life as he knows it, pulled into joining Door’s quest to find out why and who murdered her family alongside some intriguing characters. 

neil gaiman neverwhere book review

Within 'Neverwhere' folk tales and myths all wrap up within this absurd realities of London so that everything seems so real and plausible. The development and journey into a London we are not familiar with slowly takes over until you cannot imagine it any differently.  The city becomes a labyrinth as their journey takes them across London, split by ‘The Floating Market’,  a travelling market warm with vivid characters, smells and interest in famous spaces it occupies. Gaiman disorientates the reader as one of the world’s most famous cities turns into a mystical land. There are mentions of other cities within Neverwhere and I can only imagine how incredible a series within these ‘below’ cities could be with the intertwining of each locations folklore and landmarks. 

It is not just locations that take on new faces, London’s districts become characters in themselves with the Angel of Islington, Earls Court and Hammersmith (just to name a few) becoming characters embraced in connection with a place. Angel of Islington being an actual Angel and Earls Court becoming a court. 

neil gaiman neverwhere book review

With this each character is full of intricacies and detail that it feels like Gaiman has drawn them, picturing them so vividly that they could take on their own story. Croup & Vandemar, the ageless assassins dialogue matched their forms like theirs words kept the shape of their bodies, which combined with Chris Riddell’s illustrations made London Below seem more and more plausible.   

Riddell’s illustrations add so much to the text, crawling out of paragraphs and integrating with the novel, Velvet ladies softly peering from the creases and rats tails curling round as they follow the quest. Combining these incredible illustrations with Gaiman’s vivid writing meant that when I listened to the Radio 4 play (Neverwhere [Adaptation]) of 'Neverwhere' I felt like I had already heard their voices.
neil gaiman neverwhere book review

Seeing 'Neverwhere' created in so many different formats shows the versatility of London Below and the stories created there. 'Neverwhere' started life in TV but what came back into the novel was the detail, connection and intricacies that only text can create. I could easily spend longer in London Below, after listening to the play in one sitting and being so excited to find the short story ‘How The Marquis Got His Coat Back’ I should probably get my hands on the TV series. 

'Neverwhere' brings a new life to London, bringing stories to objects and places I would usually just walk past.  As I finished 'Neverwhere' I realised that the world and especially London seemed a little different to when I started. It was refreshing to think for the first time in a long time about the magic you can find in the mundane, and I cannot thank Neil Gaiman enough for bringing that back to adults through literature and his work. 

In this world we need an escape and Gaiman’s intelligent absurdity in urban fantasy is the perfect one. 

Get this edition of Neverwhere: the Illustrated Edition here.

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