A Harry Potter Appreciation Post – #HarryPotter20

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Disclaimer: this post contains spoilers for the Harry Potter series – although, to be fair, if you haven’t read it yet but are offended by HP spoilers, that’s kind of your own fault, isn’t it?

There’s a hashtag trending on Twitter today – most of you will have probably seen it: #HarryPotter20. In case you missed it: 20 years ago today Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published. Every other post on any of the social media seems to be about how Harry Potter changed someone’s life, or shaped their future – it’s kind of heartwarming. So I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon. Because (surprise, surprise) Harry Potter has been a huge part of my life as well.

This morning, I tried to remember when exactly I was introduced to Harry and J.K. Rowling, but I wasn’t sure. I do remember that I got the book as a present for my birthday one year (so it must have been October), and that that was the first time I’d heard of it. I checked the publishing information for that same copy, and that particular copy was published in 2001 – so let’s go with that! Four years after its original publication, Harry entered my world – in Dutch, mind you; it wasn’t until years later that I got to know “Hogwarts” instead of “Zweinstein” and “Diagon Alley” instead of “Wegisweg”.

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That Time I Binge-Read The Raven Cycle

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I finally did it, guys. I finished reading The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater!

Back in the summer of 2016 I read the first two books of the series, The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, but then my internship happened and graduating happened and I just didn’t get around to reading the rest of the series, even though I really wanted to.

A while back I decided it’d be a good idea to binge read the entire series. I figured it would be a much better experience to read the entire series without long breaks between the books. Plus, when I read The Dream Thieves I’d already started my internship, so I only read a couple of pages or a few short chapters at a time. Not my favourite way to read a book.

When Bout of Books 19 rolled around a few weeks ago I decided this was my chance! I would start my binge read. I read the first two books during that read-a-thon, and finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King when I was on holiday in France two weeks later.

I figured it be best to do one big review for the entire series, since I read them all in such a short period of time. Plus – it’s much easier for me. That does mean that this post features some spoilers, though, but only for the first book!

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Chocolate Brownie and Orange Tart (with hazelnuts)

Back in 2015 I baked an absolutely delicious chocolate brownie and raspberry tart for my birthday. It was a huge success, and not that difficult – despite it having quite a few steps. This tart right here is a variation on that one – I used orange instead of raspberry and added some more hazelnuts to the equation.

It looks a tiny bit less appealing than the raspberry one because the orange coulis almost looks a little green (it isn’t; that’s just the brownie shining through), but it tastes just as delicious – or perhaps even a little better! I adore the combination of orange and chocolate, and the hazelnuts lift it up even more. I roasted these in the oven for a few minutes – that makes them taste even yummier. If you’re not a fan of nuts, however, you can easily leave them out.

I’m still having some trouble getting back into blogging and reading, which bums me out a little. I’m going to keep trying, though! I really love this blog and this community, and I definitely want to keep it all going.

Also, an exciting life update: I found a job! At a book store! It’s only a part time gig as an on call employee person thingy (and not yet enough to live off of) but it’s perfect for me. I had my first couple of days last week and it’s even more fun than I imagined it would be. Perhaps I’ll do a life update post soon to tell you all a bit more about what’s been going on with me post university. But first, let’s get to the recipe!

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Classics: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

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Yep. Up until earlier this year I’d never read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. I’d also never seen any of the film adaptations (still haven’t, actually), so apart from some little nuggets of information and a general idea of “Alice” I didn’t even know what the story was about really. To be honest, I’m still not quite sure, but is anyone?

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Bout of Books 19

When the end of my internship and thus my university career in general was approaching I was really looking forward to all the time I would have for reading (and blogging). That’s a few months ago now, and I have to say – I’ve not read much at all. I’ve only read 7 books so far this year, which is way too few. Lucky for me, I found out this week that my favourite read-a-thon is having its 19th edition next week.

boutofbooks19The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’m not really sure how much time I’ll actually be able to spend on reading next week, but I’ll try my best to read as much as I can and have fun while doing so. That’s what Bout of Books is all about after all!

I’ve been thinking about doing a binge read of the Raven Cycle books by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve already read the first two books, but I read the second one stretched out over a pretty long period of time, so I wasn’t able to really get into it (although I loved it nonetheless). To really get the full experience, I figure a binge of all four books is in order. Perhaps I’ll start on that next week!

I think I’ll add my daily updates to this post, which I’ll then tweet out every day. Perhaps I’ll also participate in some challenges, most likely on Instagram. We’ll see how it goes! In any case, I’m really excited about participating again.

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Bonbons and Meringues

… or “that time when I jumped around the kitchen with glee”. But that’s a bit too long for a title, isn’t it?

Basically, this post is me bragging about making pretty things, because man, did I feel on top of the world when these didn’t fail but were in fact a pretty big success!

I mean, I tempered chocolate for the first time and didn’t screw it up. That’s big, you guys. That’s really something. Which is not to say that the whole process went completely smoothly… My mother can attest to the fact that it was a hectic mess. But it worked! The only thing I’m a little bummed about is that the pictures didn’t turn out great – it was a cloudy day and it was already starting to get a little dark… And I’m not great with the photo-editing. But oh well, you win some, you lose some, eh?

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On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher

Evie Snow is eighty-two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. It’s the way most people wish to leave the world but when Evie reaches the door of her own private heaven, she finds that she’s become her twenty-seven-year-old self and the door won’t open.

Evie’s soul must be light enough to pass through so she needs to get rid of whatever is making her soul heavy. For Evie, this means unburdening herself of the three secrets which have weighed her down for over fifty years, so she must find a way to reveal them before it’s too late. As Evie begins the journey of a lifetime, she learns more about life and love than she ever thought possible, and somehow, some way, she may also find her way back to the only man she ever truly loved…

First published: 2016

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Blueberry and Mango Muffins

I haven’t really baked a lot lately, but the weekend before last I suddenly got the urge again. I didn’t feel like going to the supermarket, so I had to make do with what I had lying around. I’d completely forgotten about it, but I still had quite a lot of blueberries in my freezer, and also some frozen mango pieces from the last time I baked these mango blondies.

Muffins are kind of my go to baked goodies for when I want to whip up something delicious but easy, and that’s how this blueberry and mango muffin recipe was born. I also added a little ginger to the recipe for a bit of extra flavour – but it’s a very subtle bit of extra flavour, so if you really love ginger you could a little more. I wouldn’t add more than 2 teaspoons of ginger in total, though.

Anyway, these were a definite success! My boyfriend (who hasn’t yet gotten used to my baking skills – which is nice) was kind of blown away by them (always a nice reaction to get), and my mother came over especially the next day to also taste them – and loved them as well. Turns out, mango, blueberry and ginger is an excellent combination!

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow – impossible though it seems – they may still be alive.

First published: 2011

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Meringues 2.0

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Those of you who’ve been following the blog for a while now might remember that back in the summer I tried my hand at baking meringues. They didn’t come out exactly as planned as I couldn’t get the egg whites to whip up stiff enough, but they looked pretty cute and tasted all right too, so it was a semi-success.

I vowed to try again, and when my parents got me a Kenwood stand mixer for my birthday in October, I was already excitedly planning another meringues-making session in my head. Didn’t actually get around to it until the day before Christmas, but isn’t that always how it goes. Cut to another 2,5 months later and here I am finally posting about it.

Anyway!

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