Internet highlights – w/c 4th April 2021

10 04 2021
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Such A Fun Age – by Kiley Reid

7 04 2021

I’m a huge sucker for hyped books, I always assume they must be hyped for a reason, so that’s what led me to pick this up.

The book focuses on the relationship between Alix and her babysitter/nanny Emira, and the fallout from an evening where, in a supermarket, Emira is stopped by the security guard as they think she’s kidnapped the white child who she has with her.

Emira is 25, works two part time jobs and is painfully aware that by her next birthday she will come off of her families health insurance, whereas all her friends seem to be doing much better as becoming adults. But she also has a beautiful relationship with the little girl she looks after 3 days a week, and seems to understand her much more than her mother does sometimes.

There were several twists in the book (and so I won’t say much more for fear of spoilers), one or two made me gasp out loud, but one I did see from very early on, which is the only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars to be honest!





Internet highlights – w/c 28th March 2021

3 04 2021
Cute kids who are also stupid. Read the rest of this entry »




April Fools 2021

1 04 2021
After a bit of a damp squib last year, the corporate April fools seem to be back! There are a few notable absences (as well as fewer sites doing their own round-ups), but definitely a much wider selection than last year, and some very good ones too – so here we go! The Guardian reveal plans for a second Suez Canal along the Egypt/Israel border. Edinburgh Zoo had people in costume on their Panda Cam. Volkswagen announced on Tuesday that they were changing their name to Voltswagen:
QI launch an OnlyFacts account for over-18 rated trivia: Jake Humphrey announced a long-form interview with the Queen:
Off Menu Podcast changing hosts: Ant & Dec are changing to Dec & Ant: Ordnance Survey discovered a new Scottish Island: Innocent & Heinz launch Smoup: The Good Roll launch left-handed toilet paper: Dairy Milk with Sweetcorn: ASDA launch Baked Beans mixed with Weetabix: Lego launch “Smart Bricks” that move out the way so you don’t step on them: Wild deodorant launch a sweat scent: Jude’s ice-cream launch a salt and vinegar flavour: Surrey Police announce interactive stab vests:
Subway launch “helping hand” leaving you a free hand to scroll while you eat:
Hot Tea taps in kitchens:
Argos launch a lawnmower that’s also a treadmill:
Birds Eye launch a potato waffle toaster:
Buckingham Palace to become office space:
Happy Beds launch a concrete mattress:
ITV announce a new show, “Dove Island”:
BMW are getting rid of indicators as an “under-utilised feature”:
Andover Police run a competition to win a Get Out Of Jail Free card:
BBC Morning Live got Gethin Jones quacking to improve his workout:
Surrey Road Police share accident after driver was under the influence of Calpol:
Sainsburys launch Free-From Coriander range: Hampshire fire and medical services launch a flower arranging course for if your employees are poor at first aid or fire safety:
Pringles launch lip balms: McDonalds launch new three fries portion:
The Independent says scientists have developed living robots:
The Queen is abdicating and taking a job at Facebook:
Terry’s Chocolate Orange launch lots of other fruits: Digital Camera World announce new solar-powered DSLRs:
Lensology launch X-ray Vision lenses:
Sky Mobile launch a pet tariff:
The grass at Wimbledon Centre Court is turned purple:
Frankie and Benny’s launch a meatball bath bomb:
Walkers launch chocolate Wotsits:
McCain launch upside down potato smileys:
Lipton launch a self-jiggling teabag:
The Baby Club tv show is launching The Grown Up Club: Mike Pilavachi launches Soul Survivor SAGA:
Jeremy Vine gets someone to impersonate him in conversation with Ken Bruce:
England will compete in pink at the Commonwealth games:
Marmite, who normally do excellent entries, just seem to have launched a photoshop competition for where the Marmite lid might land next:

I’m aware that the Twitter and Instagram posts are self explanatory, but I’ve added a brief description before each one, just incase the companies go back and delete them after today.
*UPDATE* – more things either posted since midday or I’ve found them since midday!   Toilets Plus launch the FOMO loo:
  Teletubbies launch their own cryptocurrency:
  Tom Kerridge gives a recipe for mushroom ice-cream:
  Paddington doesn’t like marmalade anymore:
  The Post Office launch a collar to translate pets.
  DuoLingo launch a toilet roll:
Matt Lucas told The One Show he was going to be in Line of Duty:





The Great Divorce – by C.S. Lewis

28 03 2021

I was thinking about what books I should aim to read this year, and having had this set of C.S. Lewis books for several years, I thought I should aim to read at least one each year, and I remember a friend saying how good this one was a long time ago, and at under 150 pages, it seemed like a doable step into “clever” books.

The book is essentially an illustration of Heaven and Hell, expressed in the first person of someone who’s in a grey town, and gets on a bus to a bright country. It feels very much like someone telling you about a weird dream they had, and takes some work to get your head around until they explicitly say what those places represent (around halfway through!), but once that’s happened, it makes a bit more sense!

When he reaches the bright place, everything is so much more solid than those who have arrived, so much so that he describes those from the bus as Ghosts in comparison. There are several stories where Ghosts are met by Solid People who they maybe knew in life, and we see examples of different ways people have lived, which they think are fine and good, but maybe weren’t so much.

Towards the end of the book I think I started to feel out of my depth again, I imagine cleverer people would get more out of it than I did, but certainly I enjoyed it and it gave me plenty to think about from the rest of the book!

A few lines that made me think:

  • “A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that pint, never by simply going on. Evil can be undone, but it cannot ‘develop’ into good.”
  • “Once you were a child. Once you knew what inquiry was for. There was a time when you asked questions because you wanted answers, and were glad when you had found them.”
  • “Do not fash yourself with such questions. Ye cannot fully understand the relations of choice and Time until you are beyond both.”
  • “There have been men before now wo got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God Himself. […] There have bene some who were so occupied in spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ.”
  • “I am in love. In love, do you understand?”





Internet highlights – w/c 21st March 2021

27 03 2021

A word invented by The Simpsons has been added to the dictionary.
Nurses share the worst baby names they’ve heard.
Things men only learned once they lived with women.


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Internet highlights – w/c 14th March 2021

20 03 2021

Ingenious ideas.


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Once Upon A Tyne – by Ant & Dec

14 03 2021

I’m not going to claim that this was a high-brow read, it only took me five days. It was just reading a chat between friends as they went through the 30 years they’ve been on telly together. I was a bit too young for them in Byker Grove, but from SM:tv Live onwards I’ve watched most of their work and just enjoyed their “company”! And this book was the same, just felt like you were sat with them while they hung out and reminiscied.

I was concerned there might be a fair amount of overlap with their first book, but given how long it had been since I read that, it wasn’t too bad, that one had more of a personal focus, whereas this is mostly their career.

For the most part, each chapter covers a different programme they’ve been in together with a couple of bonus chapters for bits and pieces, and the royal family. I found the DNA Journey chapter interesting, probably because I never saw the programme!

It could have done with maybe one more proof read, there was one point they referred to the Queen as HRH instead of HM, and there was a sentence where I think a word was missing, but it’s not the end of the world.

The book is full of photos, which makes it really enjoyable (and even quicker to read!), and because of this, every page is glossy paper, and because of that, the book weighs nearly a kilo, even though it’s less than 300 pages – madness! Made it a bit tricky to read while falling asleep at night, but worth it to enjoy the photos properly.





Internet highlights – w/c 7th March 2021

13 03 2021

Bookshop with free-roaming kittens who need adopting.


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The Midnight Library – by Matt Haig

8 03 2021

I was so so tempted to get this book last year, but exercised excellent self-control and waited until the paperback came out last month!

Nora is not happy in life, decides to end it, and finds herself in a library. This library is between life and death, and offers her the chance to try out all the different lives she could have lived if she’d done things differently. If she had or hadn’t done things she had regretted not doing or doing – be that a massive life choice or a tiny one. There is a book for every single life she could have lived – it’s an infinite library. When she enters a life she doesn’t go back to when the decision was made, she goes into what that version of her life is at this point in time.

With any book that has parallel universes, it’s going to be tricky to please everyone. I think this did a good job overall, a couple of bits bothered me, but I think I’m a very logistical person, so my mind goes into the mechanics of it all when maybe I’m meant to be focussing more on the story!

I guess I had two issues with the way it was done

  1. There’s a lot of talk about there being infinite versions of her life, but when she undoes one regret, possibly very early in life, she’s only presented with one version to try out. But there should be another infinite amount of ways it went based on all the other decisions in her life, and there’s never any mention of all the other ways it could have gone.
    There is one point near the end where this is sort of addressed, but the only response given is that “it’s more complicated than that” as something else is going on, which was a little unsatisfying.
  2. I found it very odd that when she went into a life, she had slightly different bodies, maybe fitter, maybe a bit more insulation, maybe some scarring, so her body has all the changes of the life lived, and yet in her memory, in her mind, she has no recollection of anything that’s happened since the decision that took her down another path. This means she often doesn’t know where she is, the names of the people around her, what she does for a living. To me it felt a bit inconsistent, but as I said before, I think this is because I look too much at the detail. And to be honest, without this, I don’t think the story would work, so it’s definitely forgivable!

The only other thing that bothered me a bit that with some of the first regrets that she tried to undo, she was suddenly HUGELY successful in whatever area that was – yes she may not have been happy, but she was the best at what she did, be that music, sport. This did settle down though as the book went on. Maybe, from my first point above, the book the librarian found for her was the most successful version of that subset of universes!

Please don’t see this as a complaint or a reason not to read this book I really enjoyed it! The concept was brilliant, and the ending itself really satisfying. As I said, I’m just picky when it comes to logistics!

As is often the case, and particularly with Matt Haig books, here are some of my favourite quotes from the book:

  • ‘”And I know you’ve got mental-health stuff”
    “Everyone’s got mental-health stuff.”
    “You know what I mean.”‘
  • “There was an old musician’s cliche, about how there were no wrong notes on a piano.”
  • “A person was like a city. You couldn’t let a few less desirable parts put you off the whole. There may be bits you don’t like, a few dodgy side streets and suburbs but the good stuff makes it worthwhile.”
  • ‘”You’re overthinking it.”
    “I have anxiety. I have no other type of thinking available.”‘
  • “Human brains take complex information about the world and simplify it, so that when a human looks at a tree it translates the intricately complex mass of leaves and branches into this thing called ‘tree’.”
  • “It is easy to imagine there are easier paths, but maybe there are no easy paths. There are just paths. […] Really most lives contain degrees of good and degrees of bad.”
  • “Nora wanted to live in a world where no cruelty existed, but the only worlds she had available to her were worlds with humans in them.”
  • “When you have worries about things you don’t know about, like the future, it’s a very good idea to remind yourself of the things you do know.”
  • “The prison wasn’t the place, but the perspective.”

There was also a quote that sounded like a retelling of 1 Corinthians 13 verses 1-3, but it contains relatively chunky spoilers, so I won’t post it here!