Monthly Archives

December 2014

Life

Christmas pyjamas & blogging break

December 24, 2014
Merry Christmas

This is what my Christmas Eve will look like.

 

Merry Christmas wonderful readers! I hope you all have a relaxing few days. 

I will be taking a short blogging break over Christmas as Tom and I are off to Edinburgh on Boxing Day until next Monday. I’m really excited because I’ve never been to Scotland before, which seems criminal to me as it’s only a few hours drive away.

As I’ve said before, I don’t see the point of scheduling posts while I’m away and unable to reply to comments or comment on other blogs – it just seems wrong to me.

I’m going to leave you with a story of one of my favourite things about Christmas; Christmas pyjamas. Before I do though, I want to say thank you to you for reading my rambles and talking to me. I’ve met some wonderful people this year through blogging and I hope to do the same in 2015. You’re awesome.

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Sitting around in front of the fire on Christmas evening, full of chocolate and playing boardgames or watching a film are my favourite childhood Christmas memories. 

One year, when Harry Potter had first become really popular and the merchandise was everywhere, my sister and I both had loads of Harry Potter things, including Harry Potter pyjamas. I think we actually had matching pyjamas.

We used to share a room back then and it was in such a state after the excitement of Christmas. It looked like a bomb had gone off in a Harry Potter shop.

There were boardgames, Playstation games, Harry Potter bedsheets, pens, pencil cases, stickers for our bedroom wall, dolls, wand toys and my personal favourite; my sister’s soft, plush Hedwig.

It was bedtime and my Mum was trying to calm my sister and I down and had forced us to turn off the Playstation game and settle down in our new sheets in our new pyjamas. It took a while but we did eventually.

Everytime I put on Christmas pyjamas, I think of that moment and I can’t help but feel a little sad that I don’t get that excited about Harry Potter anymore. (I’m also upset that my sister has grown out of Harry Potter, while I am still a diehard fan.)

It’s fascinating how a type of clothing, not even a particular item, can bring back such strong memories and make you think about something you don’t think about at any other time of the year.

What are your favourite Christmas memories?

Books

Marie Lu is the Queen of world building! | The Young Elites book review

December 23, 2014

Spoiler free review!

Once again Marie Lu has created a magical world that I have fallen in love with and want to visit. (Yes, despite it being a little deadly.)

Kenettra is clearly based on renaissance era Italy and it is beautiful. The thing I love most about Lu’s world building is that it’s subtle. She doesn’t bombard you with descriptions and you slowly sink into the book and end up in awe of your surroundings.

I’m not going to waffle on this whole review about the world building in The Young Elites, but it is glorious.

Characters

In most books the main character is a good person. They might falter occasionally but to their core they’re a truly good person, but that isn’t the case with Adelina. She has had a hard life since she was marked by the blood fever and she’s aware that she would find it just as easy to be bad as she would to be good. It’s really interesting to watch that internal battle throughout the book.

The secondary characters are all interesting and they all seem to have complicated backgrounds. The character I’m most intrigued by is Raffaele. Like Adelina, he hasn’t had an easy life and I want to know more about him. I also want to give him a hug.

 

Plot 

The Young Elites has a fairly complex plot and at times it is a bit overwhelming. I don’t know if that’s intentional or not but I think it’s quite clever because Adelina clearly feels out of her depth at times and the complexity of what’s going on helps the reader feel that.

You’re kept guessing throughout the book and there are a couple of surprises. The pacing is good throughout; it’s fast when it needs to be and slower when you need to take in more information and figure out what’s going on.

While I really enjoyed this book, there’s something about it that I can’t quite put my finger on which stopped it from becoming a favourite of mine. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s just not quite there. Don’t get me wrong it is a great book and is worth a read.

The Young Elites is the first installment in a series and on it’s own it works well. The last few pages begin to set up for the second book and I have no idea when that is coming out which makes me sad because I want to devour this series.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu, book rating

Have you read The Young Elites? 

The Young Elites Book Cover The Young Elites
The Young Elites
Marie Lu
Fantasy,
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
October 7th 2014
Hardback
355

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Beauty

Do you need to spend £19.50 on makeup remover?

December 22, 2014

Do you need to spend £19.50 on makeup remover?

There are some products where I believe you get what you pay for – but is makeup remover one of them? 

Makeup remover isn’t a necessity. It’s something we use to make removing our makeup faster. I don’t tend to use makeup remover at all, my cleanser does a good enough job of removing everything that I don’t need to use a product specifically for removing my makeup.

I received a sample of NARS’ Makeup Removing Water with a recent order. It retails at an obscene (in my opinion) £19.50 for 200ml.

It’s gentle on your skin and does a good job of removing makeup. Oddly though, it doesn’t remove the stain left behind by NARS’ own Dragon Girl without vigorous scrubbing. Is it worth £19.50 though? Not in my opinion.

I have a bottle of Tesco’s Pro-Formula Radiance Micellar Water which does exactly the same job as NARS’ Makeup Removing Water at a much cheaper £3.00. I saw literally no difference between the two products.

Makeup remover is one of those products I don’t really see the point of, much less forking out almost £20 for.

What do you think about makeup remover?

 

Books

Guest post: What I listen to when writing – Mary Waibel

December 20, 2014


Thanks so much for hosting me today, Rosie, and for helping to spread the word about Faery Marked.

I can write with or without music playing, but I prefer to have music playing. Usually I turn the speakers down just enough so I can hear the song, but not enough to distract me from what I’m writing.

While working on Faery Marked, I set up a play list on Spotify that I put on random and repeat while I worked. (You can find it here) As I worked on revisions, I noticed that several of the songs I chose for this playlist really said a lot about the characters I was writing about.

So, here are the songs that I think define my characters: [All lyrics taken from azlyrics.com]

Callie: Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol

I love this song.

We’ll do it all
Everything
On our own

We don’t need
Anything
Or anyone

This section sums up Callie so perfectly. She knows that with Reece by her side, she can do anything, even save the world.

Reece: Nothing Else Matters, Metallica
Ah, Reece. He’d give his life for Callie if he had to, but he’s never told her how he feels. But, I know he thinks the words of this song when he looks at Callie.

So close no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters

Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don’t just say
And nothing else matters

Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters

Continue Reading…

Books

5 book series I want to marathon, but haven’t because I’m a bad book nerd

December 18, 2014
5 book series I want to marathon

Once upon a time, far, far away, I would sit and marathon an entire series. Now? That never happens. 

I very, very rarely buy an entire series of books and read them all in one go. I tend to buy the first book and then buy the rest one-by-one as I move through the series. I think the last time I marathoned a series was the Twilight series a couple of years back.

Here’s what normally happens when I read a book that’s part of a series: if I like it I will immediately take to Twitter to proclaim that I ‘must read the sequel, now,’ but I probably won’t have it on my shelf so I’ll pick up another book. If I like it I’ll take to Twitter and say ‘I need to read the sequel, now,’ but I won’t have it, so I’ll pick up another book.

You can see where this is going? I start a lot of series but don’t make much progress with them. I am a bad book nerd.

Here are five series that I would marathon if I wasn’t so easily distracted by other series. Continue Reading…

Beauty, Beauty Haul

NARS haul

December 17, 2014

NARS haul

NARS hauk

Since I started reading beauty blogs a couple of years ago, I’ve heard a lot of good things about NARS and I’ve finally got round to seeing what all the fuss is about. 

Dragon Girl lip pencil 

I’d been eyeing this up for months and decided to treat myself to it for Christmas. Dragon Girl is a beautiful ‘siren red’, which seems to be quite hard to get hold of. NARS’ own website is now out of stock – I hope this doesn’t mean they are discontinuing it because I love it.

Surprisingly this is actually a pencil which means you will have to sharpen it, which is a little annoying as you will lose some product. For the price I would have expected it to be push-up so you don’t lose any product.

Nail polish in Paros

Tom actually picked this shade for me. I was faffing about and couldn’t make a decision and he pointed to this. He knows me better than I know me.

While NARS describe Paros as a ‘red brown’ their swatch of it is very pink. Having tried it myself, I can tell you their swatch is misleading. It’s a nice burgundy colour – there’s nothing pink about it.

Paros is a nice festive colour but also wearable year round.

 

When I placed my order NARS were running an offer where you got three free mini products if you spent more than £25. Here’s what I got.

Mini lip gloss in Orgasm

I hate lip gloss with a passion, it’s sticky and my hair gets stuck in it. I will not be wearing this, but someone will be getting it in their stocking this Christmas.
As you can see from the picture, it’s a light pink with a definite orange-y shimmer in it.

Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Veneto

A black creamy eyeliner which NARS say is is ‘budgeproof’. For me, that absolutely is not the case. I don’t usually go for pencils or creamy eyeliners because they smudge and I hoped this might be finally be the non-pen eyeliner for me.

It twists up and has a sharpener built into the end – this application is what I was expecting from Dragon Girl.

 

Makeup removing water

A tiny sample of makeup remover, which had about four applications in it.

 

Out if interest; has anyone who has ordered from the NARS website before experienced slow delivery? It took 10 days for my order to arrive and when you’re paying £7.00 for delivery, that does not impress me. Is that normal for NARS?

Have you tried anything from NARS?

 

Life

Inside my head at a party

December 16, 2014

Inside My Head At A PartyI don’t like parties. They’re noisy and involve two of my least favourite things; buffets and small talk.

Last week I went to a party. I say went but it felt forced because I would happily never got to another party in my life but I always feel like I have to go because it’s the ‘normal’ and ‘right thing to do.’

In the spirit of Christmas party season (of which I’m attending none – score!) I thought I would share a little snippet of what goes on in my head at every party I go to. Continue Reading…

Books

Learn To Speak Cat 2: The Latest Mews – Anthony Smith *

December 15, 2014

If you’re struggling to find a gift for a cat lover, this book is exactly what you’re looking for.

The Latest Mews is a collection of cartoons about your cat’s weird ways and cat related puns.

My favourite was the cartoon of a cat sleeping in the basket that it’s bed came in. I can almost hear you cat owners nodding along as you read that line.

The cartoons really are true to cat form and gave me a good chuckle, and I know that other feline owners will feel the same way.

If you know a cat lover, this will put a cheshire cat smile on their face. (See what I did there?…Yeah don’t encourage me.) This is exactly the kind of book I can imagine sitting down and going through after Christmas dinner when I’m too full to move.

* – I received a free copy of this from Souvenir Press (thank you!) in exchange for a review and you folks know that free stuff does not sway my opinion.

If you know of any other books cat lovers might like – share them below!

Learn To Speak Cat 2: The Latest Mews Book Cover Learn To Speak Cat 2: The Latest Mews
Learn To Speak Cat
Anthony Smith
Humour
Souvenir Press
Hardback

Still having trouble communicating with your feline friend?

Learn to Speak Cat has been let out again in another compilation of wacky cartoons that will have you purring with delight. Discover how your cat views the world. This is how a cat-centric world would look, from Eskimeows to the cat designed refrigerator.