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What's it about?
16 year old Zoe is at school, minding her own business when she spots a dead guy waiting for her by her locker. He's from the mysterious House of Night, a school for fledgling vampires to train and hopefully make it to being an actual vampire. Though not all make it through the dangerous Change.
From that moment, she is Marked and must join his school.
Quite quickly after joining The House of Night, Zoe realises she is no ordinary fledgling...she has a special connection with the Goddess, Nyx, and so with her new found responsibilities, she must take on the most popular fledgling at the school, who is seriously misusing her powers.
My thoughts on Marked
Interesting take on the whole vampire thing. I read this very shortly after reading Twilight (naturally..) just before vampires had been done to death - for want of a better word!
I liked the school environment, it worked just like it worked for Harry Potter - there isn't really a better way to show a group of young people interacting every day and the struggles and strifes of growning up (even if you are set to be a vampire, the normal problems still arise!)
It was a bit saucy in places and from quite early on, so be aware if you're under 16 - parent's probably wouldn't be too keen on that sort of material being portrayed as so acceptable in a teen world.
As you'd expect from a Dark Fantasy YA series, there are numerous 'forbidden romance' themes throughout the book and actually, the series. Lots of suspence and twists and turns. Emotional at points too. I've had a giggle and held my breath so I can't complain that it's a bad book...
Whilst the writing itself is good and the plots are interesting and involving... the use of language and the interaction between the characters sometimes makes me cringe.
It seems like each of the main characters are complete sterotypes.
Sometimes it's very american teenager "omg, like, seriously"
The characters use of "oh I really *heart* that shirt/handbag/boy" makes me want to set fire to the book every time I read it. And yet, I carry on... I've read 7 out of a series of 10 so far, so that's got to count for something!
Is the rest of the series worth reading?
You sort of have to! It's addictive, you know it's a bit trashy but you keep coming back for more.
They do get better, the writing get's tighter and the plots get a little more complex so it becomes more of a satisfying read.
The author has obviously researched into the Wiccan/Pagan religion (if she is not one herself?) and come up with some beautiful descriptions for magic and the rituals used at the school, so that's really nice and adds much needed depth to the books.
Would I recommend Marked?
Yep :) I'd probably have given it 3 and a half stars if I could.
I recently purchased this tea from Tesco. I always do it, I buy loads of healthy teas and think that this time i'll really stick to drinking them daily.
I try one of each, once, then a year or so later I clear out my kitchen cupboards to find them sitting there all dusty and out of date.
It's because I don't actually like them but I know that they are good for me.
Anyway, so I purchased this tea, with added lemon because I hate the taste of green tea.
What I thought of Clipper green tea with lemon:
It was really nice! There was only a very, very small bitter after taste, but nothing compared to other green teas that I've tried. I could actually drink this one without rapidly gulping it down to limit tongue-tea contact!
I do need to add half a teaspoon of sugar though, just to make it more enjoyable... but if I'm honest you don't really need to, I just have a sweet tooth!
The lemon is the magic addition I think, it gives the tea more of a refreshing feel and makes it more a lot more drinkable.
Is it the healthiest green tea out there? No. From my research, loose leaf is much better for you, as tea bags mostly use 'tea dust' rather than the full leaves (which contain more antioxidants) but that makes it a lot more expensive, so if like me you can't afford £20 odd on a box of tea, this is better than nothing!
Importantly, why choose green tea over other types of tea (especially if you don't like the taste!)?
You need only put 'benefits of drinking green tea' into google to see the numerous positive effects on the body that green tea provides.
I'm still researching into the green tea vs white tea debate but either are better for you then regular black tea which we add milk to.
The reason is, green tea is so full of antioxidants (it's all in the way it's processed)
Antioxidants help the body regenerate, protects against disease and keep you looking and feeling youthful.
Here are a few things that researchers say green tea can do:
* The most well known benefits are that it's full of anti-oxidants, it's anti-viral and anti-inflammatory.
*It's said to increase your metabolism (due to the polyphenol found in the tea)
*regulates glucose levels and so aiding in the prevention of diabetes
* Can aid in the prevention of cancer
*Delays the deterioration caused by Alzheimer's and Parkinson's - this is shown to be true in rats and mice
*Green tea also contains Theanine which acts like a mild sedative, and so helps to calm a stressful mind (good for depression)
...and so much more, have a google!
How much should I drink to get the benefits?
1 cup is better than 0 cups, but they say anything between 2-5 cups a day to get the most out of it.
It does depend how big your cup is too, though! I drink around 3 good sized mugs a day, at the moment.
What else can I do with it to get the benefits?
I don't just drink it, the antioxidant rich tea can be applied topically too :)
After i've brewed your tea, I squeeze out the tea bag so that it's damp not dripping and dab it/lightly wipe it over my face. (after i've removed my make up .. I treat this like a toner before bed and in the morning)
It smells lovely (lemony, as you'd expect!) and makes you feel really refreshed.
You don't need to rinse your face afterwards.
-Of course, watch for signs of irritation, we're all different so if you have sensitive skin or other issues, ask someone with medical knowledge first...and don't use water that's too hot!-
My skin feels lovely and smooth after applying this, tighter too - just like a toner, only it's natural and super healthy :)
Why I love this album:
One of my favourite things to do is light candles around my home, put this album on and be transported into a world of magic.
I have it on my ipod and is great for accompanying me on my dark October walks home from work.
It's perfect for walking through moonlit streets and stepping on orange leaves with the smell of bonfires all around.
It makes you feel full of energy and magic.
...so it's great for when you're feeling exactly the opposite, it soon changes your mood :)
It helps you look at life a little differently.
My Favourite track, if I had to pick just one:
Marrakesh Night Market - I simply LOVE the drums used in this, this track makes me feel like I can create anything because I'm so full of energy!
Loreena Mckennitt's style:
Lorenna Mckennit has a haunting voice and in this album, she really delves into world cultures, bringing ethnic drum beats and a whole new feel from her previous albums. I like this more than the usual celtic 'clannad/enya' type, whilst that has it's place of course, this album is a bit different and brings more of a richer, spiritual depth, lyrically and instrumentally.
Oh Neil Gaiman, how I love thee.
What a magical book. It feels so good to read. It made me laugh a lot, say 'aww' a lot and just generally made me feel good.
What is it about?
A young man's quest to win the heart of the village beauty sends him into the forbidden land over the Wall that protects the village.
He is submerged into the strange, enchanting land of magic and danger where hard truths and lessons are around every corner.
The story is a journey of realising your self-worth, finding your strength and enjoying the unpredictable path of life!
What I thought?
I came to the book through the film (which I also loved) and I was happy to find that the book was different enough to enjoy without me thinking 'been there, done that' all the way through.
I thought the characters were extremely well designed, they had me loving them or hating them where appropriate and I missed them when I closed the book.
I was looking for an enchanting fairytale for adults for a long time, finding very little that hit the spot until Stardust.
I've yet to find another that satisfies on so many levels like Stardust manages to do.
You know what this story makes me want to do? Spin. In the middle of a moonlit daisy field wearing a floaty white dress. It's that kind of story :)
This is one of those wonderfully simple reads, best to be read in the gap between reading more full-on books/series.
The whole book is set over a short time (a week, I think) so you can imagine that there isn't much room for ultra complex relationships or character developments but I think this is where the writer shines.
I closed the book wishing I'd be able to follow the characters some more...and that's always a good thing.
The characters all complement each other and help bring each other to life.
Riley, a troubled teen is forced to attend a summer camp to help her come to terms with the death of her Mother. Riley is an atheist and so naturally, the camp is Christian.
(Don't worry though, the religion aspect isn't a dominant force in the book, and I didn't feel that there were any 'join us' subliminal messaging!)
The mix of characters that are at the camp is great, reminding us to look a little closer at people we meet before judging them.
It's a feel good story of romance, self-discovery and learning to be content with who you are.
It made me chuckle too.
The main thing I love about Waterstones is the friendly staff.
They seem genuinely passionate about books, they can always give me recommendations whenever I'm unsure of what book to go for next and the main thing is they don't just try and sell you things for the sake of selling you things - it always feels honest.
The shop near me has recently had a cosmetic overhaul and it looks beautiful. It's like walking into a huge privately owned library in somebody's house.
Their displays are well designed, making it easy for me to find new books, or books within a certain theme.
Their loyalty card is rewarding (at least, it's one of the better loyalty cards around, along with Boots) giving you 3p for every £1 that you spend - when you spend a lot on books, like me, you soon stack up a good amount of points!
I think if I had to fault it at all, I'd say that there were sometimes too many very popular books and not enough lesser known books but I think that varies from store to store from what I've seen.
and of course the price, they just can't compete with Amazon and other internet stores... saying that, I'd rather walk into a beautiful shop, have friendly chats with the staff, find books that i may not have done if I hadn't have been physically there and socialise with fellow book lovers! Rather than sitting alone in my pyjamas click click clicking and spending too much money (after all, if its invisible money, it doesn't count!)
I sometimes have to buy this when it's close to pay day and money is tight.
My cats are used to eating what ever is on offer, they have good little tummies and can go from posh James Wellbeloved (rare...!) to Whiskas to Go Cat with no problems.
It's become clear that my cats would rather go hungry than eat 'Premium Cat Crunchies'.
The kibble bits are powdery looking, hard fish shapes.
I'd fill their bowls and they'd sniff it, maybe give it a go just in case it had changed since the last time they had to endure it and then stop, stare at me like I'd just binned their favourite toy and then meow over and over and over in hungry outrage.
If it's all I've got to give them, it's all I've got, so in their bowls it stays. They will stand strong, demanding something else until their so hungry that they just don't have a choice. They wont eat the whole bowl up, they will eat until their tummies stop rumbling and leave the rest.
They are both little piggies with Whiskers, which they will continue to eat long after they are full.
I'm guessing that this stuff is like plain pasta is to us. It fills you but it's boring and tasteless.
On a positive, they haven't been ill from it.
Why don't they sell this stuff all year round!
It's my favourite lush product, by far.
This is what I smell of from the moment they start selling it (November?) until around March/April time when my bottle/s have run out!
It doesn't cover you in glitter (I didn't even realise it contained it until recently) and the pink colour doesn't dye your skin, or your towel.
If you wanted any of the above, I apologise.
It smells like Happiness, Sherbet and Childhood.
I read on the bottle that you could also use it on your hair...I was a bit worried about doing that because my brain was screaming "IT'S SOAP! IT'LL MAKE YOUR HAIR LOOK LIKE AN EXPLODED BIRD'S NEST!!"
but I did it anyway (I live life on the edge.)
Not only did I smell like Happiness, Sherbet and Childhood all day, I also had lovely defined beachy waves in my hair when left to dry naturally, usually I can only achieve such things from ages crisping my hair with curling tongs.
This stuff is wonderful. Believe me I tried SO many foundations and wasted so much money before I settled for this one.
It looks natural, feels natural and lasts all day. I have applied my foundation in the morning, spent the day at work and then it's still good if I go out in the evening. It doesn't have a nasty smell. It's not the cheapest but considering that it lasts me around 2 months, it's well worth it (and that's with a lot of wastage with me sometimes pouring out too much at once)
It always makes my skin look nice on photographs too. I do need to touch up with an anti-shine powder at points throughout the day but I think that's a lot to do with my skin, rather than the foundation.
To get the best out of this foundation, I can't stress enough how important it is to use the right tool to apply it.
You *must* do this part correctly or else it will look thick and cakey on your skin.
I have tried a few different ways to apply before I settled on one, I'll share my findings with you here:
HOW TO APPLY:
First I tried to use my fingers like I did with my old foundations. It didn't work. This foundation is quite a thick liquid and dries quickly, you only have a few moments blending/spreading time. Fingers don't work.
Then I tried using my foundation brush. Nope, rubbish. You can't spread it thinly enough with a brush and it piles on too thickly and goes clumpy in places.
Then I used a sponge... better, but had the same issues as the foundation brush.
...I was about to give up but then I read that you should damp the sponge first and hey presto, I have the foundation I had always wanted!
Run a small wedge shaped sponge under the cold water tap until it's expanded. Then squeeze as much of the water out as you can. You only want it slightly damp. Doing this prolonged spreading/blending time so I could make sure I didn't have any thick patches and that the creases on my nose and under my eyes were evenly covered. It thinned the liquid ever so slightly so it looked way natural and didn't feel heavy.
WHAT IS THE COVERAGE LIKE?
It's full coverage. But don't let this scare you off...it looks natural, it doesn't make your face look like a plastic Barbie doll. It covers what it needs to and evens your skin tone. You can make it thicker in places if you need to (just know where you need it thicker before hand and do it then because you can't really go over it once it's dried)
HOW MUCH DO YOU USE AT A TIME?
I pour out maybe half a penny sized amount onto the palm of my hand and dab a very small amount onto the sponge, then dab dab dab in small quick stippling motions all over my face, starting with my nose, blending around my top lip, then under eyes, chin, forehead and then cheeks.....I can't do it in another order or else I find it clumps in places and doesn't blend with the next section of my face correctly, perhaps that's just my skin but it's worth trying for yourself too.
WHAT SHADE DO YOU USE & DOES IT GIVE YOU SPOTS?
I use the shade Buff for oily/combo skin. I find this matches my natural skin tone perfectly. It hasn't given me spots/acne, even though I'm prone to the odd breakout (less now I'm 25 admittedly but still something I need to think about with skin products)
DOES IT COME OFF EASILY?
No. Now, this is both a good and a bad thing. As I said, it lasts all day and all night on your face. It also doesn't come off with rain or a bit of sweat on a hot day.
...It also takes about 3 face-wipes to get the stuff off before bed! To me though, this isn't an issue - I'd rather it stay on my face and be a pain to get off than be off half way through the day.
Just so you know, before we begin. I loved it.
Space. cryogenicly frozen. Two words that would usually NOT inspire me to pick this book up.
What a mistake that would have been!
This book is addictive, engrossing and I enjoyed it all. I liked it so much that I emailed the author to tell her straight after reading it (to which she sweetly replied to)....I've never felt the need to do that before!
A very quick plot jist:
The 'Godspeed' is a small country sized space ship made to transport generations to a new planet 300 years away. A number of important individuals were cryogenicly frozen so that they could continue their life when they got to the new planet. But there is someone on board who does not want them around....
17 year old Amy (who was frozen along with her mother and father) becomes mysteriously un-frozen 50 years before she should be. Flung into a completely different world, one that has only ever known the confines of the ship, she has to adapt, and quickly. She doesn't like, understand or fit in to the odd society that exists on board the ship. She knows that there is a murderer on board. She is alone, that is, until a mysteriously intriguing boy wants to help her....
Think 'readable' easy to take in sci-fi, a compelling murder mystery and a romantic undercurrent. All in a nice balanced fun read.
Not only is it an exciting story, it also brings up very interesting political and social topics to think about...
It's hard to know exactly what to write about this place.
You spend the day sauntering around beautiful, gothic Edinburgh and as the sun sets, you step into The Witchery for the night....
I don't want to call it a hotel because it feels so much more than that.
It's like you slip through a portal and land in a world where you're the goddess Aphrodite herself, lounging in your seductive, enchantress den.
We (my then boyfriend and I) stayed in the Heriot suite.
To get to it, you have to walk up a spiral stone staircase until you finally come to a very grand looking door, decked out in golden tassels (like your key!)
As soon as you walk in, you are thrown into another world.
There were complimentary big cookies in a jar and champagne on the table waiting for us, along with fresh flowers.
The four poster bed was 'never-get-out' comfortable, the bath was perfect for two - I could have just stayed in the bathroom, it was so amazing!
Everything was just perfect. In the morning, we had someone (dressed in a suit) bring in a wicker hamper full of breakfast, you can either request this to be quietly brought into your room and placed in the lounge area for you, or be left outside. A wonderful touch I thought.
At night, if you can remove yourself from your room for long enough, go and walk up to the castle (just few minutes walk away) for a night time picture and a look at moonlit Edinburgh!
We ate there for lunch too! (I was very spoiled) the food was yummy but it was again the atmosphere that made it so special.
If you want a night of pure decadence, spend it here. I'd love to go back one day.
I was excited about this stuff, it was expensive and everyone was talking about it - it had to be good, right?
Wrong, actually. At least, for me.
It's runny, to the point of being watery which I didn't like. Yes it stains your lips a healthy, natural colour but for me it didn't last. I'd have to keep reapplying every so often (perhaps once every half an hour if I wanted that same fresh colour) and that doesn't work when you're trying your very best to be effortlessly sexy (ha) and have that natural and alluring 'I don't need to check the mirror more than once a day because I'm a fun loving, nature sprite kind of girl' sex appeal.
I've recently purchased a much cheaper drug store version that has way more substance and staying power. Lasts all day, in fact.
This product, for me, was all talk and no walk. Booo, Benefit, booo.
(but it does smell quite pretty)
Teenagers should automatically receive a tub of this magical potion on their 13th birthday.
It's a tub of grease, basically, so putting it on spots/acne feels like exactly the opposite of what you should be doing but believe me, it works!
I do not know what I'd have done (or would do still) without it.
I used it on my spots growing up, I'd just blob it on the spot/s and leave it over night - if the spot/s hadn't gone by the morning, they would at least be drastically reduced (and therefore hide-able with a bit of concealer).
For me, it's perfect for mosquito bites too, and shaving rash. Cuts, grazes, rashes, itches, ouches..
Basically anything you want healed...
but... don't eat it... for many reasons.
I even used it on my cat's ear once when she cut it, healed up a treat!
Be warned, it's slightly drying - so smothering your ENTIRE body in the stuff will result in crumbly undesirable skin. Just use it on the exact area you need treated.
Of course, check the label, make sure you're not allergic...
It smells like lavender, feels like grease, washes off like grease (i.e doesn't) but made my teenage-hood a lot less spotty.
Hadley (took me a little while to get used to that name) is 4 minutes late for her plane. She is going to see her Dad get married to his new wife, in England. Being 4 minutes late not only means she's missed her plane but that she has to hang around for an extra 3 hours at the airport. In that 3 hours, she meets the very charming Oliver.
What if she hadn't been late at all?
A book based on the idea of 'What if?'
I don't like long, predictable, slushy romance books - the kind where you can guess the ending by reading the first two pages but it goes all over the shop for chapters upon chapters to get there.
Luckily, this book isn't like that.
It's not a big book, it's quite quick to read (mainly because you just can't put it down!) but it's exciting and satisfying.
It instantly reminds you of those whizzy floaty sinky feelings that come when you first meet someone you like and the nerves, exhilaration and sparkling chemistry of being around them.
I practically inhaled this book and felt a bit lost when I turned the last page. Lost because for a moment I was living that tale and it all ended when I closed the book (boohoo, get the violins out for the girl with no love life!)
The main characters are real, they are not perfect and goody goody, they have flaws - how refreshing!
I have no criticisms about this book other than I wanted it to last longer but then maybe leaving you wanting more is a lot better than giving you too much and you getting bored...
The story filled my tummy with butterflies and sent my toes wiggling in happiness (your toes wiggle when you're happy too, right?) and that's exactly what I needed at the time.
It's always nice to have a reminder that you never know exactly what (or who) is just around the corner and that if it's meant to be, it just...will! :)