Book Review: The Jubilee Express

I’ve been going a little John-Green-Mad recently, buying all the books I could of his on my phone. I recently brought Let it Snow, a book with three mini books inside, one a John Green one, but another of them The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson. It came first out of the three, and in my opinion was the best. Here is my review:

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Jubilee can’t wait for Christmas and especially her boyfriend Noah’s christmas party. But when she is sent to her grandparents after her parents participating in a riot, and her train gets caught in a snowstorm, everything seems to go wrong. Follow more of her story by getting the book!

I found this book really entertaining, even though its set during the Christmas period, which has just been…It was a really funny, the main character quirky and witty, the whole story easy to read- as much as I like John Green, some of his books are quite hard to get into. I LOVED Jubilee in a way that I haven’t with other characters, she is entirely relatable with readers, and has the best personality.

It was, I guess, a bit of a  i-know-whats-going-to-happen-next-book, I knew that Noah was going to be trouble, and that something was going to happen with Stuart (I won’t tell you who he is, you’ll have to read it!) but it didn’t ruin the story and I sort of liked that factor. 

It was a quick read and I think ended at about 110-120 pages long, but that didn’t stop me from really enjoying it. I have to say that the other two stories weren’t as good, despite another being John Green’s. I think I would recommend it 12+, and it is probably romanceish. I hope you enjoy it,

SparrowHorse x

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Chickens

Today we brought 3 chickens! My family set up a run for them yesterday, and today we put up their house. Its the second time we’ve had them, when I was about 3 or 4 but the last time foxes were a problem and killed them, but now, 9 years later, we’ve got them again. 

IMG_0969Their run is a metal frame with chicken wire secured onto it, with a wooden door so we can feed them easily

 

 

 

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Inside their run is an eglu, a plastic house for them to sleep and lay eggs in

 

 

 

 

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We went to a local farm and brought three chickens, and brought them home in a massive cardboard box. We’ve named them Avvy- the lightest, Maggie- the middle brown one, and Chestnut- the darkest.

 

 

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We’re now leaving them to get used to their run and home so hopefully we’ll be getting a lot of eggs…

 

 

 

I’ll be posting again soon,

SparrowHorse x

Gravity

Today I went to Maidstone Gravity, a trampoline hall where the whole floor and part of the walls were covered in trampolines. It was for a friends birthday, and so we all drove up and had a great time. I’ll tell you a bit about it…

Gravity has trampolines covering the floor and walls of a massive hall, so you can jump all around and also bounce on and off the walls. There are also foam pits where you can jump or flip off extra-springy trampolines into metres of foam cubes. We spent a lot of time in the dodgeball area, a netted area with lots of balls in that you can throw at one another, playing dodgeball…I couldn’t take any pictures, because I didn’t really want to loose my phone on the trampolines, so here is a photo from google images of the place I went:

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I thought it was an amazing experience and really fun for all ages and families. There’s a point where they turn the music up and turn the lights off, and everyone can jump around in the dark. I loved this and if you want to go, or find out more about it, here is the link to the website.

http://www.gravity-uk.com/LockmeadowMaidstone.aspx

After, we went to Frankie and Bennies, an american-italian restaurant with great food…overall I think we all had a great day and all enjoyed it. I would urge you to go there, or any other trampoline hall, (i’ve been to AirHop before) even if it doesn’t sound like your thing…

SparrowHorse x

 

Film Review: Allegiant

Last night I went to the cinema with a few friends and watched Allegiant, the third film in the Divergent series. I don’t think it was my favourite in the series, so i’m going to tell you about it…Here is the description of it;

Tris escapes with Four to journey beyond the wall that encloses Chicago. For the first time, they leave the only city and family they have ever known to find a peaceful solution. Once outside, they learn shocking new truths that render old discoveries meaningless. As the ruthless battle threatens humanity, Tris and Four quickly decide who to trust to survive. Tris must ultimately make difficult choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

Now, I have a big weakness to point out: The film is NOTHING like the book, they made up Insurgent, and so they had to carry on completely destroying Veronica Roth’s story to create something else. I have to say that the story that they have made is great, but to people who have read the books and expected them to be similar will be let down. 

Although it has drawbacks, it’s good features are something to talk about. The characters are determined and strong, ready to fight. The plot is interesting, although a bit less intense than the last two. The actors are gifted and great at expressing the feelings of the characters.

The genre is probably action, and I would recommend this for 12+ as it is a 12. I think I would rate it 3.5/5 stars, and even though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have hoped, I urge you to go and see it because you may think more of it than I have.

SparrowHorse x

 

Focaccia

I haven’t made this recently, but I remembered the recipe a few minutes ago, from when we made it last year. In case you don’t know what focaccia is, it is an italian flatbread, really popular in Italy. It is quite easy to make, and after you have tried this you should experiment with other flavours, not just rosemary….It is from the Children’s Silver Spoon book, and probably one of the nicest breads i’ve tasted. It makes one big loaf….Here is the recipe, some of it simplified or in more detail than is written in the book.

Main Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil plus extra for brushing the tray 
  • 500g strong bread flour plus extra for dusting
  • 7g sachet of dried active yeast

For the top:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • a handful of fresh rosemary or another topping, such as olives, sun-dried tomatoes or grated cheese

Method:

  1. Start by pouring 125ml of cold water into your measuring jug and then add enough hot water to make 250ml. Make sure that it feels warm
  2. Using a pastry brush, brush a 20 cm x 30 cm baking tray with oil then sprinkle a little flour over the tray
  3. Sift the flour into a really big bowl, then sprinkle the dried yeast over the flour
  4. Make a well in the middle of the flour- you should be able to see the bottom of the bowl
  5. Add the oil to the water and pour the pour the warm liquid into the well, use a wooden spoon to mix to a soft dough
  6. Sprinkle a little flour over the work surface and put the dough onto the flour
  7. Knead the dough by pushing it away from you with the base of your hands and then pulling it back with your fingers. Do this for about 5 minutes until you can stretch the dough like a big piece of elastic
  8. Using your hands and a rolling pin, stretch it into a rectangular shape, just a bit smaller than your baking tray, and put the dough on the tray
  9. Cover with a slightly damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour, until it has doubled in size
  10. Turn the oven on to 220 degrees/Gas mark 7. Push your thumb into the dough all over to make dimples, then drizzle some oil ver the top and sprinkle with the rosemary. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked
  11. Cut into rectangles, or tear it into pieces and share..

I hope you try to make this as you won’t be disappointed,

SparrowHorse x

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

Now, in my last book review, (Paper Towns,) I said that the next book I was going to read would be Looking for Alaska. I have now read it and John Green is just as amusing as before. Here is my book review on it, I hope you like it…

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The main character is Miles Halter, a teenage boy that is just about to leave his home in Florida to attend Culver Creek boarding school. On his arrive he meets his roommate, The Colonel, one of his best friends, Alaska, an emotionally unstable girl that he grows to love…

As much as I love John Greens writing style, it annoys me so much that it appears he cannot write about a character remotely different from the next…All his male characters are the same, it could be Miles Halter/Will Grayson/Quentin Jacobsen/Colin Singleton….They are all the same people – the same personalities, the same way of thinking… The other characters are well drawn, though, and individual, you can picture really well with the subtle descriptions John Green gives you. 

The book is both humorous and sad, making me laugh and at some points cry. I like the fact that the end doesn’t have the happy ending feel, not everything is entirely right; but I feel that it is a good way to end. Also, quite a few YA authors don’t use language that teenagers would use; some make them sound like adults, so make them sound like much younger children. John Green actually uses language that teenaged WOULD use…

Like most other John Green books it fits roughly into the coming of age genre, with romance along the way. I would recommend it for 12-13+, as it is REALLY rude…

Please read it, you won’t regret it!

SparrowHorse x

 

Round-ish ornaments

I found some instructions to make a sort of ornament, made out of long, thin pieces of card, and curved into a circle. I used short, fat pieces which came together and made a sort of squashed circle. Despite it not being exactly what it looked like in the book, I liked it and hung it up in my room. Here are the instructions, if you want to make what i’ve made below; i’ve adjusted the way to do it to make my version.

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What you’ll need:

  • Glue- Pritt Stick or PVA
  • 2 sheets of patterned/decorated card
  • Ruler
  • Craft knife, guillotine or scissors
  • Hole punch
  • 2 small split pins

Method:

  1. I used double sided card for this, but if you have got two separate pieces of patterned card, stick them back to back using glue and leave it to dry, (you can slip it inside a book to keep it flat while it dries)
  2. Cut out 12 separate pieces of card about 12cm by 2 and a half cm
  3. Hole punch both ends of all the strips of card using the hole punch
  4. Stack up all the twelve strips, if you can alternating the colours
  5. Push the split pins through the card so they come out the end, separating them so that they aren’t loose, then repeat on the other end
  6. Carefully separate each strip at the centre arranging them in a circle-ish shape.

If you hold the pin up, you can slip a length of thread underneath to hang it up…I think this method in the book was called around the globe ornament, but seeing mine it’s more an around the squished globe ornament than the former!

My mum wanted me to make one for her and so she gave me some card she waned it to be made out of. I made it but after I gave it to her she cut the card a bit thinner to create holes in the ball. Here is hers:

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Enjoy making,

SparrowHorse x

 

Chocolate Digestive Test

Today we decided to have our own chocolate digestive test, with three different types of digestives: Waitrose, Sainsbury’s  and McVitie’s…My mum had put them in lettered boxes, A, B and C, so we didn’t know which brand were which. We started with A, which turned out surprisingly dusty and bitter, with such a thin layer of chocolate it was hard to actually taste it. I got my family’s scores out of ten and this is the average for biscuit A…… 5.5/10

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B was much sweeter than the last, It has curbs which held together better than A, and thicker chocolate, less Digestive. Overall a much better biscuit. The average score for B was 8.3, significantly higher than before

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The last biscuit, C, was average I guess, crumbly, average layer of chocolate, less than B but more than A. The digestive itself was quite bitter, not as sweet as B, it still held together and was okay. The score was 6.9

At the end we found out that A was Waitrose, B was Sainsbury’s and C was McVitie’s. I wasn’t expecting Sainsbury’s to be the best, I was sort of thinking it would be McVitie’s….I won’t be requesting Waitrose digestives again, although Sainsbury’s will be on my list!

SparrowHorse x

Film Review: Jurassic World

I first watched this a while ago, but I watched it again with a few friends last week. It sort of follows on from Jurassic Park, but you don’t have to watch Jurassic Park to be able to watch this; as far as I can tell, there is only one character that is in both films….Here is my review and I hope you want to watch it afterwards

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The luxury resort, located just off the coast of Costa Rica, contains genetically engineered dinosaurs including the newly designed dinosaur, the Indominous Rex. A few days before starting to be viewed by the visitors, the giant creature escapes and starts causing havoc all over the resort. When one of the workers two nephews come to stay and find themselves lost without help, animal expert and former military man has to come and save them….

I found some parts pretty gruesome, blood and screaming everywhere, but I guess I was expecting it, after seeing Jurassic Park… There weren’t many faults, except I could definitely some obvious movie mistakes, e.g, in one of the shots there was a cracked window, and a second later as they showed the same view, there was no cracked window. The rest was great, the dinosaurs acting and looking surprisingly real, also effective, getting people scared at the right moments. 

I think the actors were chosen well, although I did find the dinosaurs more interesting than the people! It is a 12, and I would recommend it for people who like Action/Adventure/Thriller films. I think that I found it better than all the Jurassic Parks, it has more suspense and action, I think…

I’ll write another blog post soon,

SparrowHorse x