Tuesday, 1 August 2017

REVIEW: Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

George Orwell is one of those authors whose reputation precedes him. His iconic novels have garnered him a cult following, who ensure that his legacy is maintained. The British author may not have known it at the time, but when he penned Nineteen Eighty Four, he wrote a masterpiece that would be relevant for every time period.

Orwell wrote the book in 1949, but it could easily have been published yesterday. In fact, in the wake of the U.S Presidential election, it is easy to believe that the politically fuelled novel was released only recently. 

It is the dystopian novel that inspired some of today's biggest franchises, such as The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner. Orwell introduced a world we are all familiar with, but fearful of, as what he describes is alarmingly possible.

Nineteen Eighty-Four introduces the world as we know it, but as we would never like to see it. The world Orwell has conjured up is eternally at war. Written in the wake of World War I and WWII it is easy to see where Orwell got his inspiration from. Eerily, the citizens of the world are clueless as to what is really happening. They believe what they are told, but it is never clear if the information they are being force fed is true. The oppressive world doesn't allow for any creativity or deviation from the society norms, which are drastically different to what we know now, unless you live in North Korea. Citizens are always watched by 'big brother' (not the reality TV series, but the novel did inspire it, unfortunately). They cannot breathe or move without the government being aware of it. Technology has the ultimate power, and rules everyone and everything.

As you get deeper and deeper into the book you begin to become increasingly paranoid. Spotting a CCTV camera triggers your fear that maybe the book isn't so far away from the truth. Every time you log in to your computer you question if you are safe, despite the fact that what you are doing online is perfectly conventional. 

But, we are being watched and monitored. Cookies online now track our online movement and target us with specific advertisements which bait us in to making purchases. Our passports are tracked so that the government can always pinpoint your rough location. CCTV can connect your day, tracking you as you move. Whilst some of this is comforting, a lot of it is alarming. Reading Nineteen Eighty-Four is the wake-up cool to modern life that you didn't know you needed.

The book is a turbulent twisting tempest of emotion, but the most prominent one is fear. The hectic novel is enough to induce an anxiety attack, as the protagonist, Winston Smith defies all the laws and challenges those who set them. His gripping journey is what makes the book a fantastic and memorable read. 

Nineteen Eighty-Four will grip you and will scare you. It certainly will make you reconsider your daily actions and you will never quite trust anyone ever again.


Monday, 31 July 2017

REVIEW: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

I am a firm believer that you should always read the book before seeing the film. Which is a conundrum for me, as there is an extensive backlog of film classics that I desperately want to watch, but don't have enough time to read the book beforehand. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest caused me a huge conundrum, as I was impatient to watch the critically-acclaimed film starring Jack Nicholson, but I knew I had to stick to my own rules.

So, staying true to myself, I began to read Ken Kesey's iconic novel. Due to the success of the film (it is commonly ranked as one of the best films of all time) I had high expectations for the book, which is also ranked extremely highly. And so, sitting down to the first chapter, I felt like I was about to embark upon a journey.

The first page is a powerful introduction that sets the tone for the novel. It's cautious, fearful narrator provides an insight into the mindset of the characters. Before you have even finished the opening paragraph, you understand that the book is going to be dominated by an obscure view, a view belonging to a patient in a mental institute.

My copy of the book features hand drawn sketches by Ken Kesey himself, which help to illustrate the quirky and confusing vibe. By the end of the first chapter, you begin to question whether you, yourself have a problem that needs assessing. It is all consuming.

The introduction of McMurphy changes the dynamics instantaneously. It is evident that upon his arrival, nothing will remain the same. But, this is welcomed, for this is where the story truly begins.

Kesey writes in a way that invites you in to invest in each individual character. His descriptive journey with each one makes you feel as if you know them personally. You find yourself pitying them, which is exactly what Kesey intended. He wants you to feel connected with them, for when the haunting drama unfolds, you feel personally attacked by everything. 

The book is a mind game. It tricks you into perceiving characters in a certain way, before tearing them apart in front of you, making you realise that they are not remotely who you thought they were. The fact that the novel is set in a mental hospital, only heightens your unease and confusion. 

Without divulging all the details of the book (the less you know when you begin reading, the better), I will say that it's ending will haunt you for weeks after you have stacked the the book away on your bookshelf. Which is why I am so glad that I read it before seeing the film, as the book would have had an entirely different reaction from me had I been aware of the fate of the characters.

You will be hard pushed to find a book that can reverberate inside of you so wildly. You will be challenged to read something that can make you question your own sanity so frantically.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

REVIEW: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I never studied John Steinbeck at school, like a large majority have. Rather than reading Of Mice and Men, I studied To Kill A Mockingbird. So, when I began to read The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck's style and skill were new to me.

Grapes of Wrath was a Christmas present from my mother. I had requested nothing else from Father Christmas than a collection of some of the most iconic books in literary history. So, naturally, The Grapes of Wrath was somewhere near the top of the pile. I didn't know that the story entailed until I flicked the first page and began to read Steinbeck's haunting and humbling words.

As a history obsessive, I was aware of the 'The Dust Bowl' phenomenon, for which is the central part of The Grapes of Wrath. The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged agriculture across parts of America in the 1930's. The severe drought wiped out crops and left families across the country starving and stricken. With no crops, the farmers were left with no income and as a direct result, rent payments couldn't be made and many families were made homeless. Thousands of families were forced to abandon their farms in search of work, so they traveled across the country with what little money they had left to rebuild their lives again. However, upon moving to different states in pursuit of labour jobs, they met The Great Depression which meant that they were little, to no better off.

It is a tragic tale and one rarely depicted in novels or films. But, maybe that is because Steinbeck covers it all in The Grapes of Wrath. There seems little room for any misunderstanding or any confusion over that time period in American history. It was bleak and hopeless.

Steinbeck doesn't hold back in highlighting just how empty life was for America in the 1930s. Whilst he emphasizes the struggle of the farmers, he also touches upon the wider picture in which the whole country was suffering. It is a time period that America, now one of the most prosperous countries in the world, likes to forget, which is why you don't see Hollywood remembering it with a gritty blockbuster. So, to read Steinbeck, is like to read a missing part of history.

Steinbeck lived those years. Born in 1902, he felt the full effect of The Great Depression, despite being from a privileged background. Born and raised in California, where a large majority of those fleeing the Dust Bowl migrated to, he was afforded the luxury of free accommodation by his parents. This allowed him to write, but it also didn't earn him any money, so when The Great Depression hit, he and his wife were severely affected. So much so that they would steal bacon from the local market. So, when Steinbeck sat down to write The Grapes of Wrath he knew how to make it powerful.

The novel was released in 1939 and was an instantaneous hit. It was the best selling book that year and is often considered Steinbeck's best work. Despite this success, Steinbeck was vilified by the wealthy landowners of California who saw themselves misrepresented in the hard-hitting novel.

It is easy to understand why they may have been an objection to the novel, for it holds no punches with its harrowing storyline. Death, destruction, and disarray are the prominent features, with little room for anything else. The focus is firmly on the plight of the Joad family, who flee Oklahoma for a new life in California. They spend every penny they have on their migration, ready to reap in the rewards as fruit-pickers in the orange rich state. However, misled by glossy posters, they arrive to find no work.

They live on the road side, on a diet of practically nothing, amongst hundreds of families in the same situation. It is a heart breaking story to read, for it truly happened. In a modern world where poverty only exists on that scale in third-world countries, it is hard to picture America in such disarray. Except, Steinbeck's descriptive and haunting way of writing help you to picture it, in alarming clarity.

Reading the novel in 2017, afforded a new perspective on The Grapes of Wrath, one that readers anytime before 2007 would have struggled to comprehend. Modern technology means that today, a similar situation would never occur, in America at least, for social media would explode. An example of this is the situation in Flint, with the putrid water. Whilst the situation may be being ignored by Donald Trump, it is not by the world. Help is being given to those affected by people financially stable enough. But, in 1930, Twitter didn't exist. Nor did telephones, meaning that when a few members of the family needed to move, they all did, otherwise there would be the guaranteed risk that they would never see each other again.

The book is a challenging read, for it commands your emotions, and because of that it is an essential read. Not only does it educate on a time period on history so poorly represented, it also tells you the tale of a personal plight and raw human behaviour. It will have you gripped from the very beginning to the end and will make you look at the homeless people in the streets in a whole new light, trust me.


Saturday, 29 July 2017

REVIEW: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

As a self-confessed book addict, I have failed myself by not reading The Bell Jar until now. At 22-years-old, I am disastrously late to the all-consuming world of Sylvia Plath. But, now that I have arrived, I am ready to unpack my bags and never leave.

I first became aware of Plath when I was 17-years-old and studying for my English Literature A-level. Whilst Plath was never on the curriculum, my professor often educated us on her work. She was obsessed with Plath. However, being young and a bit reckless, I neglected to investigate the works of Sylvia Plath. Foolish girl. 

Now, a little older, but no less wiser, I decided it was time to invest in Sylvia Plath. There was nowhere else to start than with The Bell Jar, Plath's only novel before her tragic death by suicide. 

I was instantly captivated by the book, which explores the life of Esther Greenwood. Set in the 1950s, The Bell Jar focusses on Esther's rather dark and disturbing world which is commanded by her mental health. Each new page pushes you, as the reader, deeper into a bleak abyss of self-turmoil. 

For me, I found it particularly tormenting to my rationale, for Esther aspires to be a writer. She battles with the constant belief that she isn't good enough and feels suffocated by the bell jar as it looms over her. This concept resonates with high-achievers, who place a huge amount of pressure on themselves to be successful. It is this relatability that makes The Bell Jar so poignant and unsettling. 

As Esther's mental state deteriorates, she is subjected to barbaric treatments, that do not exist today. This element of the story is particularly difficult on the reader, as in modern times, we are aware of the horrors of 20th-century treatment for mental illness and are even more aware that electric shock therapy does little to improve the patient's situation.

The novel is a turbulent whirlwind of emotion, that speaks to most young girls on a personal level for it describes the battle of growing up and the insecurities teenage girls succumb to. It highlights the plight of young girls all across the globe and then takes it to the next level, with Esther attempting to take her own life, unsuccessfully.

Alarmingly, the book is thought to be somewhat biographical. It bears striking similarities to Plath's real life connections and experiences. This insight into Plath's mindset acts to chillingly foreshadow her real life, in parts. Although, tragically, Plath wouldn't survive her suicide attempt, dying in 1963, a month after the book's release. 

I couldn't stop myself from being consumed by The Bell Jar. Every page seemed to reveal something new to me about myself. Whilst also making me flinch with low-level anxiety. It felt like reading someone's diary, or maybe even my own diary (minus the suicidal thoughts) and this connected me to The Bell Jar in a deep way. I have always been completely immersed within books to the point where I feel that I exist within them, however, they are usually fantasy novels (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, etc.), but Sylvia Plath transported me to a new view. Thus, cementing The Bell Jar as one of my all time favourite books.

Gwyneth Paltrow in the film adaptation of The Bell Jar

We All Just Got Played By Charli XCX's New Music Video

It’s a Friday night and due to illness, I find myself rather bitterly swaddled in my duvet scrolling through Twitter. Tonight the infinite reel of bitesize updates is dominated by images of famous faces against a millennial pink backdrop. Curiosity commands me, I am only human after all, and I decide to investigate.

The commotion is in response to Charli XCX’s new single Boys, an incredibly infectious track that I find myself repeatedly playing on YouTube. But, my interest isn’t garnered by the music as much as it is the video. True to the title, it features boys, a lot of them. An amalgamation of familiar and fresh faces cavort on the screen in scenes plucked straight from an Instagram dream. Pink inflatable flamingos are featured, as are stacks of fluffy pancakes drenched in maple syrup (courtesy of Joe Jonas in a monogrammed bathrobe). Floral wallpaper straight from your grandma’s bedroom flashes throughout and dogs, dogs and more dogs run riot whilst being cuddled by shirtless boys. It is a true explosion of every superficial thing that matters, which explains why it is so popular online.

After watching the clip for the eighth time, I realise that this is the first music video I have intently watched for a while. The last time I dedicated so much time to a new release was when Kendrick Lamar dropped the visuals for HUMBLE., which gave a platform to un-airbrushed women exposing their stretch marks with pride. That video was also heightened by social media who applauded the unfiltered perspective on women's bodies and the, ironically, perfectly composed video. The hype online delivered the track directly to the mass market, with those who only knew Kendrick for his collaboration with Taylor Swift, becoming firm fans.

Earlier this month, Dua Lipa effortlessly promoted her new single New Rules by producing a music video that resonated with her core fanbase of young women and girls. The artfully choreographed video is relatable to any female for it plays on the idea of female friendships and the prominent and relevant issue of feminism. Which is ultimately what catapulted it to the top of the trending tabs on all social media platforms. Well played.

With the rise of Spotify and Apple Music, where instant streaming lies at our fingertips, we are able to listen to any track repeatedly without the need for a visual aid. This is a contrast to 10-years-ago, when MTV would skip tracks on the chart countdown if it didn’t yet have a video to accompany it. Which in turn means that music videos of today are neglected, by both artists and fans. Take Ed Sheeran as an example, one of the music industry’s biggest stars, he didn’t release the official video for Castle On The Hill for over two weeks after the track was released to mark his ‘comeback’ after a hiatus. Had this been 2007, he would have never dreamed of pulling the same stunt, because if he had his comeback would likely have been his retirement.

Social media is a powerful tool for artists and those that can exploit it are guaranteed to see their sales skyrocket. Take Sia as an example, had the music video for Chandelier not been so captivating to watch, would the well-deserving track have been so successful? Released in 2014, it now has nearly 2 billion views. The video was social media gold dust, which translated to actual gold for the Australian singer who continuously produced more enthralling videos for every new release. After all, how can you forget Shia LaBeouf wearing a leotard in Elastic Heart? The controversial video was more notorious than the actual song itself.

But, before Sia dominated the music video scene, Gangnam Style dominated, well, everything. The 2012 hit may have given us a quick laugh, but it had PSY laughing all the way to the bank. It was the first video to reach 1 billion view on YouTube (it now has nearly 3 billion) and alarmingly it topped the charts in more than 30 countries whilst being acknowledged by Barack Obama. Without social media, it is unlikely that the catchy hit would have ever left the confines of South Korea. Now, 5 years later, we still wince when we hear the tune, but find ourselves compulsively performing the, now iconic, dance moves. It is this success that inspired the music industry to adapt the way it delivers music videos. Desperate to play in the viral ball pit, it was time to change.

Music videos matter. They allow the artist to visually express their art, quite literally for Gotye with his 2011 hit Somebody That I Used To Know. They influence popular culture, for an example, just reference any Spice Girl’s hit. They inspire fashion, from Kanye West’s shutter shades to Britney Spear’s iconic fluffy pink pigtails. They elevate a basic song into something groundbreaking, just watch LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem which was, and still is, the soundtrack to every millennials club night.

With more people listening to music via instant streaming than ever before, the music video is endangered. We are all guilty of having put them in peril, from those that make them to those who watch (or don’t, as the case may be). The music industry is depending on social media to revive the video, exploiting all of the things that us millennials care most about. We are being baited into becoming hysterical online by every new video release, be it Rihanna exposing her nipples in Wild Thoughts or Lady Gaga theatrically killing herself at the end of John Wayne. The game has changed, but we are still the pawns in the elaborate chess board that is the entertainment industry.

But, do we really need to be spoon fed art? A generation with everything at our fingertips, we have free access to anything and everything (and sometimes too much). So, how can we have listened to Despacito one-hundred times, and yet be clueless as to what happens in the accompanying music video? There really are no excuses. We are ruining musical expression and it is time to act.

Go and watch all the music videos for your favourite tracks, especially the obscure independent songs that you have stumbled upon on Spotify. Go and immerse yourself within the visuals and learn a new perspective on each track. Be enlightened by a music video before it goes viral and let that connect you to the track in your own individual way, without the influence of Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I dare you.


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Is Social Media Ruining Our Future?

Social media is the pulsating heart of modern day society, a vital organ without which we cannot survive. It beats with such a potent mechanical ferocity that it consumes us. Yet, absent from its core is empathy; a key emotion in the functioning of any heart.

This is particularly prevalent in times of world crises, where social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter become the dominating force as users desperately seek instant updates, from eye witnesses, friends, family, news outlets and celebrities. This is where the chaos begins.

Far to regularly information provided online by non-verified (and sometimes even the verified) sources are bolstered on misguided fiction, or, to put it more concisely: FAKE NEWS. Users tactically work to be the first to share information on global events to benefit their follower count, ultimately working towards becoming a viral sensation. This behaviour emits rationale from people’s consciousness, prompting them to act before they think, promoting irresponsibility.

In the wake of the Manchester attack, a viral post from 2013 re-surfaced on Facebook. It appeared on my timeline simply because several of my common connections had shared it. The lengthy post detailed how Australian prime minister Julia Gillard, had told immigrants to ‘learn English’ or leave Australia, quoting her as saying: ‘Immigrants, not Australians, must adapt...take it or leave it.’ The post has garnered over 38,000 shares since it was uploaded, four years ago. But, do those 38,904 people know that it is fake?

Dubious of the viral post, I researched it on Google, to learn within 30 seconds that it’s an elaborate hoax. Infact, that 30 seconds in itself was unnecessary, for the creator of the post had even commented on it himself to declare it as a fake, in an update littered with laughing emojis. But, it is no laughing matter. The post has been seen by millions across the globe. The damage has already been done.

I questioned one of my Facebook friends that shared the post, alerting them to the fact that it was false. I felt guilty that they had been tricked by the highly provocative status update. However, my concerns were met with a simple response of, “Well, it’s true.” Remarkably, the lines of fact and fiction become blurred online when you introduce people’s personal opinions, and this is where the trouble lies. Opinions. We are all entitled to them, but can you really declare your own opinion as an excuse for contributing to fake news? Whilst you may agree with what you are reading, if it is false, it is invalid and potentially damaging to society.

Ironically, many of those that shared the hate filled post (mostly out of fear rather than actual understanding) are the same people who cry out, wounded, when the news giants are caught peddling fake news. If CNN and the BBC are forbidden from embellishing the truth, then so should Mr Stevens, your old hockey coach, on Facebook. In short, do not endorse fake news, no matter where it originates from.
Elaborate internet hoaxes are not new, they have just evolved. Instead of haunting email chains that would promise you a visit from a deadly ghost if you did not forward them, we now have Facebook at our fingertips with an array of fake stories on a daily basis. Remember in 2014 when it was globally believed that you could charge your iPhone in a microwave? Fake. Or, again in 2014 when a young dog attack victim was asked to leave a KFC restaurant due to their unsightly scars? Fake. How about when France banned citizens from working any later than 6pm? Fake. What about when reputable news sources told us that redheads faced extinction? FAKE. Surely, nobody would make fake news out of a celebrity death? Wrong. Macaulay Culkin, Sylvester Stallone and Eddie Murphy have all been victims of viral death hoaxes online, which many of us believed momentarily.

Just like we became wise to the Facebook statuses of 2008 that prompted us to ‘Copy & Paste, or your mum will die tonight,’ we will also become wise to fake news in our timelines. Although, this time we will become wise not because we want to, to save humiliation, but because we need to, to save humanity. If you think I am being dramatic, then just know that 961,000 Facebook users shared a post in 2016 that falsely claimed that Pope Francis had endorsed Donald Trump in the presidential election. The significant impact this fake news may have had on thousands of American’s who believed it, will have contributed many votes to the Trump campaign.

You will have unwittingly, or even wittingly, contributed to fake news, even if it was just via a simple re-tweet. The headline you saw captured your attention and provoked a reaction promoting you to share the piece without delving deeper, or maybe without even reading the article. I am guilty, we all are guilty. Someone you trust online may have shared it before you, leading you to believe it is safe. A global news source may have posted it originally, meaning that it must be genuine. A celebrity has shared it, so naturally, it is true. Wrong, wrong and wrong again.

We have become too comfortable online. Almost spoon-fed. So, now that we cannot regress any further, it is time to grow. It is time to find truth in what we share and write online. It is time that we worked together to eradicate fake news from become viral on Twitter and Facebook.  

As the general election fast approaches in England, I urge you to share with care. We live in tumultuous times, where a small lie online can impact our whole future. If you don’t believe me, then just go back through the fake news archives to the U.S presidential election and learn how Hillary Clinton was supposedly running a child sex ring out of a pizza shop and that Donald Trump had offered free one-way tickets to Africa and Mexico for those that wanted to leave the U.S after he was elected president.

Share with care. Read, research and rubbish any embellished truths or straight up lies. You have the power to change the future, for the better.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dentists Are The Devil In Disguise

As a child, I was pretty useless. My greatest talent was my ability to trip over my own feet, which, I did spectacularly well. As a result of my ineptness, I adored any activity which allowed me to win. The dentists was one of those. No matter what dire state your teeth were in you were always awarded at the dentists. Those cheap, Disney princess stickers the size of your hand were worthy enough for you to pimp out your terrible teeth. In fact, I loved the dentists that much that I would proudly display my moldy old molars like an auction house displays a priceless antique, in the hope of maximum reward. If I could have won Olympic gold for my stint in that plush reclining chair, then I would have been a national treasure.

But, who needs medals when you can wear a shiny square sticker emblazoned with your favourite Disney characters face like a badge of honor for days on end. Jealousy was tangible in the school playground when you arrived with your sticker proudly positioned on your jumper. It was a bigger bounty than any tin trophy you could win at the school sports day and certainly a more prized possession than any merit certificate. Those stickers were a real prize. It made a clumsy soul like me feel a sense of achievement for a fleeting moment.

That was until I was 14-years-old. Not only is this the time when I rather ungraciously stopped accepting the obnoxious stickers (by this point the Disney stickers had been replaced with patronising messages such as: "special award for bravery") but it was also the time that the dentists cleaved me down from the winner's podium that I was raucously celebrating upon. 

When my adult teeth came through, my front two were stained with a rather unsightly cream mark. My dentist declared that the only solution were veneers. My 14-year-old self-thought that sounded perfectly acceptable, given that I was starting to get conscious of what people might think of my not-so-pearly whites. 

So, after several appointments to prepare my new teeth, they were ready. I was excited and at this point a firm fan of the dentists. My dentist was also incredibly good looking, which aided my calm attitude towards him acting like Edward Scissorhands with his mini mirror and toothpick. However, little did I know that my dental experience was about to turn into a real life Tim Burton movie (minus Johnny Depp, sadly). 

The pain I experienced as the dentist fitted my new teeth is single handedly the most excruciating experience of my life. It hurt, a lot. I cried. I think I bit my dentist, hard. I cried a little more and clawed deep gouges into the palms of my hands to stop me from screaming. If torture was illegal, my dentist sure hadn't got the memo.

The whole ordeal left me with a nervous twist in my stomach every time somebody mentioned the dentist and I vowed that I would never return. Unfortunately, as I have already advised, I am incredibly clumsy. On Valentines Day the following year, I managed to successfully knock half of my veneer off by head butting the bathroom sink. I went into meltdown. I considered going toothless for the rest of my days. I even tried to find a Pritt stick to glue it back on. No such luck.

The missing piece was quickly reattached by the good looking dentist, who by now appeared to me as the world's ugliest man. For several months I went without injury, until I decided to leave for France. One week into my scheduled 6-month trip, I managed to loose my precious tooth again. This time the casualty was a result of an over zealous shot girl in a bar who decided to give me some ivory to drink as well as some vodka. To add insult to injurt, I hate vodka.

After a full blown meltdown, which could only be resolved by my best friend, I accepted dental treatment in France. I paid the extra to have my mouth turned numb and I sweated, shivered and internally screamed throughout the whole thing. My best friend, who foolishly agreed to be present throughout the procedure, could easily have pressed charges against me for assault, as it turns out I inadvertently dug my nails so deeply into her arm that I left her with nail shaped wounds for days.

In summary, I now lose every time I go to the dentists. I lose my sanity and I lose whatever shred of dignity I may have left. You cannot win at the dentists, no matter how many times they distract you with obnoxiously large stickers of Disney princesses.


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Recipe: Chocolate Scotch Eggs

Chocolate and eggs? No doubt that is not a combination that you have been lusting after. But, what if I told you the eggs in question as the creme variety produced by Cadbury's? Game changer, right? Here is my incredibly simple recipe for the perfect chocolate scotch egg. Heart attack, not included.

6 Cadbury's Creme Egg's
185g of unsalted butter
280g milk chocolate (use Cadbury's for best results!)
100g of dark chocolate
3 large eggs (the real kind!)
200g caster sugar
75g light brown sugar
85g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
50g white chocolate

Step One

Firstly, you shall need to make the brownie mix which encases the creme egg. The brownie is used as a substitute for the sausage meat traditionally found in scotch eggs. Depending on your personal preference, you can skip this step! 

1) Preheat the oven to 160℃ and prepare a baking tray.
2)Place the butter, dark chocolate and 180g of the milk chocolate into a glass bowl and suspend it over boiling water. Wait until the mixture melts together, but be careful not to burn it. 
3) Place the sugar and eggs into a bowl and whisk with a hand mixer until it resembles a milkshake. This usually takes around 5 minutes. 
4) Combine your chocolate mixture with the eggy milkshake and slowly beat together until the mixture is a delicious thick chocolate brown colour.
5) Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and fold in gently.
6) Pour the mixture into your waiting baking tray and place gently in the middle shelf of the oven. Cook for 30 minutes, or longer if not cooked through.

Step Two
Next, is the bit that you have been waiting for: it is time to get your hands messy with pure chocolate!

1) Take the brownie which you have just lovingly baked and mash it to pieces in a bowl until it resembles a putty.
2) Then, take the smashed brownie and mold it around creme egg. Pack it in quite compactly and shape it into a ball. 
3) Repeat the process until all your creme eggs are balls of brownie goodness.
4) Place the balls into the fridge to allow them to set together.

Step Three
It is now time to add the finishing touches to your little balls of joy.

1) Melt the remaining milk chocolate
2) Grate some white chocolate
3) Dip the brownie balls into the chocolate and ensure that they have an even coating
4) Then, sprinkle the white chocolate shavings over the balls
5) Place back in the fridge to cool, one final time. Be patient, you can eat them soon!

Now, it is time to enjoy!
Happy Easter!





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