Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Baltica: Polish Pottery and Hot Chocolate!

Last Sunday, I went to Lewes and met up with a friend. On her recommendation, we went to Baltica, a cafe-come-pottery shop.

Baltica sells a large selection of handmade, hand decorated Polish pottery: plates, bowls, jugs, mugs and more, all hand-decorated with gorgeous patterns.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Action and Laughter

I should have posted this ages ago--I watched film #30 on Boxing Day! Talk about slow, right?

So, the goal still stands:
061. Watch 100 films
Here are films 21-30!

21. X-men 2 (2003)
Genre: Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi
In a word: Mutants!!!
In a sentence: The X-men band together with former foe Magneto's team to fight against a greater evil and save the world (again)
Recommended: If you like superhero films where the heroes are not perfect. And mutants.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Travels Through Time, Post and Branding

I can't believe that we've already raced through into March! It seems only yesterday that I was writing up my End of Year post and thinking of my hopes for 2015.

Despite that feeling of time flying by, I've stuck to my three-per-month book goal, this time getting in a couple of non-fictions along with the usual fiction. 

Two of the books I read this month have been presents on consecutive Christmases. If you're wondering why I took so long to get around to reading them, it probably has to do with my ever-growing reading pile, and my insatiable book-buying habit ;)

So here's the result of this month's reading: eye-opening and serious, quirky and eccentric!

As usual I've rated them out of five according to overall enjoyment. 

No Logo - Naomi Klein (4/5)
This was in the recommended reading list in the back of Scarlett Thomas' PopCo, which I read last month.
It also happened to show up in a local charity shop, so naturally I handed over the bargain 50p to the cause of underprivileged people of the world, in exchange for this book...which is all about multinational brands, the terrible overseas sweatshops that supply their goods (at the cost of the lives, limbs, and human rights of its workers), and the activism that has tried to bring these matters to light. So basically, rich brands and the underprivileged.  

The book is very eye-opening, and to begin with I felt as though I should be taking notes! I think we're all aware that workers in foreign factories are poorly paid, and have to work in bad conditions, but through brand PR about codes of conduct and strict inspections (also touched upon in the book) we're easily persuaded that Things Are Okay Now.

As this book is fifteen years old, I'd be interested to know how - or if - the situations described within have changed.
Considering the collapse of Rana Plaza - an eight storey Bangladeshi building that housed a garment factory - in 2013, I'd assume the answer is that conditions haven't changed.
Considered to be the worst garment factory accident in history, the collapse killed 1,129 and injured over 2,500 workers. Some were still missing when the search was called off.
These workers were paid anything from 12-24 cents an hour, working 90-100 hours a week with only two days off each month.

Some of the companies whose clothes were being made at Rana Plaza were among the many who claimed to have codes of conduct for factory conditions and treatment of workers in the sub-contracted factories. Some made donations towards a trust fund following the disaster, but many didn't.

So I went a little off-tangent here. Returning to the subject of the book, I found it informative, and the contents somewhat shocking. I'd have given this a 5/5 but for the fact I found the font hard to read, and the book itself a little difficult to get into.

By the way, going by the current exchange rate, the 50p (£0.50) I paid for the book would have paid a 'young helper' at Rana Plaza for an entire 6.25 hours of work, a 'junior operator' for 3.4 hours, or a 'senior sewer' for 3.1 hours. Yet for me, it was a bit of pocket change. Really puts it into perspective, doesn't it?

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Chocolate World

A couple of months have passed since my last chocolate-related post. When it comes to eating chocolate, I've been pretty 'good' lately and haven't gobbled so much of it. 

Last time, I posted about vegan chocolate
Today, it's chocolate from around the world (well, sort of. Does Ikea count...?)

Ikea Hazelnut Chocolate
My Dad Went To Ikea And All I Got Was This Chocolate Bar.
The packaging is typical of Ikea's simple yet stylish approach: a yellow wrapper with a dotted illustration of hazelnuts, and the type of chocolate bar written across the centre in nine different languages. Saves having to change packaging for different countries, doesn't it? 

Anyway. This is a bar of milk chocolate with little bits of chopped hazelnuts! Usually I avoid nutty chocolate, but as this bar has chopped pieces of nut rather than whole ones, it's enjoyable. The chocolate is firm and just sweet enough to compliment the flavour of the nuts.
I've not eaten it all yet, but I don't think it will last long. Yummy!

Своге Апетитна Ябълка (Svoge Apetitna Yabŭlka / Svoge Appetising Apple)
I Went to The 99p Shop And (almost) All I Got Was This Chocolate Bar.
This caught my eye because I couldn't read the text on the front! Much copying-and-pasting from wikipedia and a little visit to Google Translate informed me of what it said, and the fact it is in Bulgarian! 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

No More Books!

At the beginning of the year, I posted a photo of my reading pile. This picture:

(You can find a list of these books here)
A few weeks ago, after finding some old books I wanted to re-read, and buying a couple of other books, I promised myself, 'No More Books!'
I have ample to be getting on with, and more than I need to meet my goal of reading three per month for a year (goal #50).

But then I went to do some volunteering, and found these...

I mentioned 'No Logo' in my February books post. If the bookmark didn't give it away, I'm reading it right now ;) As for the other two, I decided to see what Germaine Greer had to say, especially since feminism is one of the hot topics at the moment. The Paulo Coelho book is one I've wanted to read for a while, so I was glad to have found it!

You would think I would have stopped buying books at that point, but that would be too sensible. The very next day, Mum and I went to meet with Nan, and I ended up in charity shops again...where I found these...

Books from Piers Anthony's Xanth series!
A friend sent me the first book from this series a couple of years ago and I enjoyed it, so when I caught sight of these, I swooped on them! They are random books from the series but apparently all standalone stories, so there shouldn't be much in the way of spoilers or problems with continuity.

You'd think that would be enough, right?

Never! I ended up buying another Paulo Coelho book in a different charity shop. (And some chocolate, from the 99p store and Holland & Barrett respectively. Chocolate is still a goal. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)

So my reading pile has increased by nine. Or fourteen if you include the re-reads I added to the pile.

I definitely, definitely am not buying any more books.