Maggie Bob Drinks: Coffee from Bean and Ground

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Anyone who follows me on twitter will know that over the past year I have become something of a coffee fiend. From someone who liked the smell but not the taste, I started drinking it all the time – hot, iced, sweet, black, it didn’t matter I wanted it.

I manage to keep my coffee urges under control now, but I’m always looking for (if only in my periforal vision) my next cuppa. Which is why as soon as I heard about Bean and Ground I knew I had to try it. It’s a subscription service which will send you two bags of coffee in the post each month – about enough for 25 cups. Who wouldn’t want coffee by post?

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Luckily, Bean and Ground were offering some free samples via twitter and I jumped at the chance. I whizzed them off my details and 3 days later my coffee was hear. Well, actually 5 days later, as my postman couldn’t fit the package through my postbox so I had to wait two days and then pick it up from the post office. I don’t know if my letterbox is smaller than average, but as coffee is best used fresh, it would be nice if the package fit through letter boxes to avoid delays.

Still – this was worth the wait. Two different varieties of coffee to try, and a nice information card telling me about the origins, and the best ways to brew each roast. I’ve already brewed up a few pots of the Arcibia to fuel me during the day at work, and I think I’m going to run the Cerro De Attico through my coffee machine at the weekend and whip myself up an iced coffee – seeing as this sunshine is showing no signs of abandoning us any time soon.

Subscriptions start at £7 a month, the coffee tastes great, and the customer service seems top notch. This would be a great gift for the coffee lover in your life, or a treat for yourself. After all, life it too short to drink bad coffee.

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Maggie Bob Reads: Charm by Sarah Pinsborough

charmSarah Pinborough was one of two guest authors when I attended last month’s Big Green Bookshop bookswap, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced copy of her new book – Charm.

Charm is the second (in release order, if not chronology) in a trilogy of fairy-tales, and having devoured it – big bad wolf style – in 2 days I can’t wait to get my teeth in to the others.

This tale focuses on Cinderella although it references or alludes to (among others) Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel & Gretel, and Robin Hood. We meet Cinderella as we would expect to find her: living with her ‘wicked’ step-mother and ‘ugly’ step-sister. We follow her, via Fairy Godmothers and glittering Bridal Balls, to the castle, the Prince’s bedchamber, and the realisation that true love takes more than a pair of glass slippers.

It’s certainly a grown up take on the familiar story – and not just because of the *ahem* sex. Rather than good vs evil, what Charm gives us is the shades in between. We get an insight to the emotions and motivations of the characters, their flaws as well as their merits, and realise that maybe things aren’t quite so simple as ‘happily ever after’.

Yet for all of this, I wouldn’t call Charm a dark re-telling. In fact, it is written with the same wide-eyed childish wonder as any traditional fairy tale. Just that this wonder is backed with a healthy dose of realism. And it’s this well balanced mixture of magic and cynicism which made this a book I didn’t want to put down.

Charm is released on July 18th. Pick up a copy from your local bookshop, or via Sarah’s Amazon store.

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