Mr Nutcase Review and Discount Code

I’m always on the lookout for different phonecases; I can have one that I really like for a while, and then I get bored and want to try something new! Back in the old days, after I’d had my first phone for a while, I was desperate for one that had changeable covers. It was absolutely the most important thing to me. It didn’t matter whether the phone was any better than I one I had, I just wanted to be able to accessorise!

Nowadays phones are phones, but everybody wants to protect their phone as best they can, considering how expensive they are to buy, so why not get a case that is pretty as well as functional? Mr Nutcase offer custom phone cases, and when they offered to let me have one for review, I was pretty eager!

As you can see, I chose to personalise my case with photos of… myself. It was only after I’d had it for a while that I really thought about the fact that I have made a case with nine photos of my own face on it. But of course, it was all about having photos of all the beautiful children in my life, nieces, nephews and one of my best friend’s baby. I absolutely love it, though I’m a bit annoyed at myself for not dragging the bottom left photo over properly. You can just spot the sliver of white that isn’t supposed to be there!

Making the case was easy: it’s just a case of dropping the photos you want into a premade collage. It really couldn’t be simpler. When it arrived, I was pleased with the quality of the photos; they are all perfect and I think it looks really good. I like the way it feels in my hand too; it feels like it is just part of the phone. I’ve already had lots of compliments on the case when I thrust into people’s faces saying “Do you like my phone case?”

I’m not sure that if I dropped my phone this case would do a sterling job of protecting it, but I find that is true of most cases, unless you have a really sturdy silicon case. Round the edge of the case is a plastic surround, which I find myself playing with a lot, there’s one particular bit on the top left hand side that I flick up and down all the time; I can see it breaking off at some point in the future, which will be entirely my fault!

This phone case, an Ultra Light Weigh Slimline for an iPhone 4, would have set me back £14.95. Mr Nutcase also offer other options for slightly more, but this one is perfect for me, and a really reasonable price. Shipping is completely free, worldwide.

Mr Nutcase have offered a 10% discount for readers of Is That You Darling; just use the code ‘Thanku10

I received this item free of charge for review purposes from Mr Nutcase. All reviews on Is That You Darling are honest and unbiased.

32 Before 32 ~ The Good, The Bad and the Multiplex by Mark Kermode

If I had known that a new obsession would surface this year, I am not sure that I would have made reading ten non-fiction titles a goal. I’m up to five now, and three of them have been written by Mark Kermode. And I still have one of his books to read. I have no problem with having little obsessions, but when they are on display for all to see, it gets a bit embarrassing.

Anyway, so I recently finished The Good, The Bad and the Multiplex, and for the most part, I enjoyed it. There’s no denying that Mark Kermode is a good writer, and he clearly knows his stuff. He’s well versed in the history of cinema, and he’s also knowledgeable about the technical side of things. This is one of the things that I love about him as a critic, I don’t always agree with what he has to say (though I feel the brainwashing is almost complete), but I respect his opinions because I know they come from a place of intelligence and awareness. And that’s not always true of people who review films.

Kermode’s key argument of the book seems to be that blockbuster films are going to make money no matter what; if they have a big name attached, and they spend enough money, people are going to go and see them, that’s a given. You just have to look at films such as Cleopatra, Pearl Harbor and Waterworld (yep, apparently Waterworld finally broke even) to be convinced. The reason John Carter failed was because Taylor Kitsch isn’t a big household name (I’m assuming this would be Kermode’s argument – this book was written before the ill-fated Andrew Stanton film came out), not because it was rubbish. Anyway, so given that blockbusters are going to make money regardless of how good they are, why not make them good? Inception proves that a big summer blockbuster can be intelligent and fun, and make money. Do you see how brainwashed I am?

There are also a good chapter on why Kermode thinks that a film critic’s views on a film will never affect a its performance at the box office – Sex and the City 2 is a good example here. It’s quite the declaration to make, given that he makes his living telling people why he thinks a film is good or bad, believing that it doesn’t matter, because they’ll see it regardless of what he says.

If you know anything about Mark Kermode, you’ll know that he doesn’t like 3D, and he doesn’t believe that it’s the future of cinema (are people still saying that it is?). I’m no fan of the 3D movie either, and that was a view I held independently, before the brainwashing began. But the chapter on stereoscopy in The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex seemed a bit dry to me, and nothing I hadn’t heard before. Maybe being a fan of the author is a problem in this respect; if you’ve listened to him at length, you’ve heard his arguments and anecdotes before.

But all in all, I liked this book. I’m always impressed with the depth of his knowledge, and listening to him so regularly on the radio means that I feel as though I can hear him talking when I read his books. He does tend to go off on tangents quite regularly; sometimes he’ll start on one subject, and a page or two will pass before he returns to it, having managed to invoke three other subjects in the meantime. But I’m generally a fan of his writing, and I’m looking forward to reading his most recent book, Hatchet Job. I’ve just reserved it at the library!

Five down, five to go on number two of 32 Before 32 – read ten non-fiction books.

Book Review ~ Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop-Phane

I didn’t really know what to expect going in to Zenith Hotel. I had seen a lot of people talking about it on Twitter, and I was keen to read it, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a book about a prostitute in Paris.

Nanou is the prostitute in question, and Zenith Hotel  is, quite simply, the story of a day in her life. She lives in a grubby hotel, and wakes up each day with nasty taste in her mouth, but she has no desire to change her life. This isn’t a book about redemption, or a fairytale about a sex worker changing her life. It is is simply the story of Nanou’s day.

Interspersed with Nanou’s writing are the stories of her clients. Each client has their own story, and they are connected only by the fact that they pay the same woman for sex. That, and they are all lonely and isolated. Coop-Phane shows that there is a commonality in loneliness; people feel so alone, and don’t realise that in their loneliness, they are connected to others. Each man is given merely a chapter to tell his story, and yet each character feels as fully fleshed out and developed as if they were given an entire book.

The most interesting thing to me was the way Paris was portrayed. This is not the glamorous city that you know from films and photos, and nor is it the bohemian paradise you may think you know. It’s a seedy, dirty and grubby place that is so at odds with the usual portrayal of the city.

Oscar Coop-Phane was just twenty when he wrote Zenith Hotel, and the language is just gorgeous. My favourite passage is this one, on bereavement:

“The main thing was to live with it, like a parasite that you feed with your own blood. It sucks at you, but it’s better to let it drink a few drops of blood than to chase it away and have it harrow you to the bone in retaliation…You won’t get over it, all your life there’ll be this gaping wound deep in your heart. But don’t worry. It won’t stop beating.”

Simply stunning prose, and it felt as though he was speaking directly to me. That’s pretty high praise as far as I’m concerned.

Zenith Hotel  is a very short book, and definitely one that can be read in one sitting. At just shy of 100 pages, it manages to pack an awful lot into a very short book.

* I was provided with a copy of this book for review purposes by Arcadia Books

Popchips ~ Get Popped!

Have you tried Popchips? I’m a big fan of crisps; I eat far too many of them, because they are so easy to grab when you are feeling peckish, but they aren’t very good for me, and trying to lose weight with a crisp addiction is hard. So when Popchips got in contact and said that they wanted to get my blog popped, I was intrigued!

I had only ever tried one flavour of Popchips before; the original flavour, and to be honest, I found that they were a little salty for my tastes. So when the box of goodies arrived at my door, I was thrilled to see that I had five different flavours to try. I didn’t even realise that there were so many different flavours available!

I was particularly excited by the fact that one of the flavours was Sour Cream & Onion. I love sour cream flavoured crisps, but find you can’t always get them very easily. I was also rather taken with the Barbeque flavoured Popchips, which was slightly surprising, as I normally steer clear of that flavour.

Popchips are not fried like crisps, nor are they baked like some healthier crisp options. They are popped, like popcorn! The best thing about them is that they are only 100 calories, and it doesn’t feel as though you are sacrificing your crisp snack for something bland and tasteless in order to cut down on the calories. I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye out for them in the future as a tasty alternative to crisps.

* PR sample provided free of charge for review. All reviews on Is That You Darling are fair and unbiased.