isabella rose taylorIsabella Rose Taylor

Isabella began creating fine art when she was 3, sewing at 8, and by the age of 13 she had a clothing line contract deal with Nordstrom.

The girl knows how to dream big and stand her ground when her business advisors may be steering her in a direction she’s not be comfortable travelling.

Biography-wise there’s not a lot of information available, but there’s a TEDx talk worth watching.

Isabella’s also on all the social media platforms, and her website is wonderful.


There’s also a Dwen session which is rather enlightening.


Cecilia Cassini

cecilai cassiniCecilia Cassini is now 14 but began re-purposing clothing and sewing her own designs at age 6. She was followed around by a German film crew for the TV show Confessions of a Fashionette for the Style Network at age 12.

This young lady is extremely community minded, donating clothing for less fortunate kids to have a great outfit on their first day of school. A percentage of her Trunk show profits goes to homeless shelters.

When she’s not aiming for A’s in school she’s designing clothed for Hollywood’s A listers. Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Kelly Osbourne are just a few celebrities she’s dressed.

There is quite possibly even less information about this dedicated young woman online, but I have a strong suspicion we’ll be hearing more about her in the near future.

Here’s an old clip of her debuting on the Today Show.


Bel and J_Hachette Photo Book PicThe Laini Taylor event at Hachette Australia.

Joelene and I walked the 50 or so steps to the event from our hotel early and were pleasantly surprised to see we weren’t the only bloggers to turn up early. We jumped in the lift and scooted to the correct floor, and were met with a wall of awesome books, separated into colours and spelt out Read.

We were whisked away into the room where the event would be held and was greeted by Ashleigh and a handful of other wonderfully cheerful people who have quite possibly the best job in Australia. We were handed drinks, encouraged to eat up big from the snack tables (savory and lollies) and partake in the photo booth set up for the evening.

There was a book hunt around the room, which was scattered with bookshelves boasting some of Hachette’s best books on the market. There was a questionnaire to be filled out for the chance to win a lucky door prize and we all wracked our brains as to what our favourite book of all time was.

We were encouraged to tweet about the evening with the hashtag #dabdaenight and by the conclusion of the event 5 winners were picked from the room for an extra goody bag to say thank you, and our little event was trending on twitter, so the girls that won it must have been burning up their smart phones.

Before we were introduced to Laini we were given a lovely spiel about some of the newly released books from Hachette and books to watch for in the near future.

Now came Laini. The pictures on the back of her books do not do that hair colour justice. It is high vis, neon, highlighter PINK! Her dress had VW beetles on it and you know what, I think it is just perfectly wonderful. Laini is no stuffy woman to be left in a corner, though she spoke of having to escape to hotels to finish writing Dreams of Gods and Monsters, so perhaps she’s able to hide when she needs to.

There were questions from the bloggers and then the line up began for the signing. Laini even ducked away to the photo booth a couple of times with a few of the bloggers.

Joelene and Bel smThe one writer’s tip I took away from the event was to finish what you start. Laini has a big heart and a great sense of humour.

On our way out, we were handed our goodie bags  as a thank you from Hachette for attending the event, as if getting to walk the halls of Hachette and meeting Laini Taylor wasn’t already enough.

Included in the bag was Advance copies of Holly Black’s book (due later in 2014) The Darkest Part of the Forest, and Jessica Sorensen’s book, The Secret of Ella and Micha. Jessica is touted as the queen of teen romance, and as the book mark we got in with the pack states, Jessica is a New York Times Best Selling Author.

There were  other delightful things to be found in the goody bag as well. Nail polish and a tinted lip balm from Natio. A tube of Lanolips, a can of Cedel dry shampoo, and a pouch of facial wipes from Natural Organic rounded out the beauty products.

SONY DSCThen for a snack there was a box of the most delicious cookies ever from Spotted Cow Cookies in the flavour White Chocolate and Macadamia, and Jelly Belly  jellybeans had supplied us with a couple of bags of jellybeans. Om nom.  This was all topped off with a few Date a Book badges from Hachette and was all presented in a beautifully sturdy calico bag with Hachette Australia emblazoned on the front pocket. 

All in all, I adored the event and the people at Hachette were perfectly delightful. They all love their job and I would say we are all jealous of their success at one of Australia’s leading publishing houses.

Thank you for inviting us Ashleigh. We hope to be invited to attend another event soon. You and your team made a dynamic and memorable event.

Y’all are made of awesome!

grant_Gone 2Lisa:


I don’t really know how I feel about this cover. I guess I’m not really into covers that only have the “characters” on them; they just don’t tell me anything about the story.  So I don’t hate it, but also it isn’t anything special.


I actually liked all of the characters. The only thing I was worried about, when reading Gone was that I would get confused with the characters, since there are so many. But that wasn’t any issue at all, since each of the character was pretty distinct and interesting!


I would have to say that Sam and Lana are my favourite characters. I enjoyed reading about all of them, but these two stuck out the most to me.  Lana is brave for surviving on her own for so long, and I thought her friendship with her dog Patrick was really sweet!

Sam was also a very tough guy. While many people wanted him to be the leader, and to take charge, he stayed very humble, and instead just wanted to keep to himself. Sam seems to always be there when he is REALLY needed, and I also liked that about him!

Least Favorite:

I don’t think I have one. When I first started thinking about this, I right away thought of Orc and his friends. But I also liked reading about these characters. Why? Because when things stop working and the world seems to be ending, not everyone will be calm, cool, and collected, but some kids will turn to violence. I liked seeing that side of things.


I had kind of a hard time getting into Gone, because it seemed like nothing was happening. All the teenagers and parents are gone, and now the kids of the island have to fend for themselves.


Things start to turn violent, when the kids try to create rules and regulations that they are used to. But obviously some of these kids will abuse the leadership they were granted. Besides that, there are a lot of kids just like Sam, Astrid, and Little Pete, who have these special abilities.


WOW! Is all I can say!

Overall Thoughts:

I’m a little sad that it took me so long to get into this one, but it was well worth pushing through! The middle and ending were SO fast paced and action packed, that I can’t wait to start reading the second book, as well as the rest of the series!


grant_gone 3Bel:


A mist of toxic green is the backdrop to the title mostly embossed, besides the ‘o’ which is just an absence of the mist. Very eerie.


I would imagine most kids would be resilient, and this cast a great job of keeping it together.


Albert. A Life saver on many occasions.

Least Favourite

Drake. Whacked in the head.


Everyone 15 and over disappears on a day that is otherwise seemingly normal.


The fall out of having only 14 and unders running the show. Survival of the fittest at its creepiest.


Not what I was expecting but thrilling none the less.


This is a YA version of the Dome by Stephen King. It also reminds me somewhat of Lord of the Flies. I found the book to be fast paced though there were some gruesome parts that I had to close the book and come back to it after my stomach had settled. Once you get past those bits, it’s a book that really is difficult to put down.


“Window seat, window seat, window seat. Astrid calming Little Pete down.



The first Fistula hospital in New York closed its doors in 1925, the year after Catherine Hamlin was born. That’s a really long time ago!

Yet in the developing nations, where there are not enough doctors, midwives, and places where women can be medically seen to in cases of difficult childbirths, this condition is extremely common. But the surgery can be out of financial reach of the women who need it badly, so they live in isolation, in disgrace and shame.

Dr. Hamlin answered an advertisement in a medical journal to head on over to Ethiopia and open a midwifery school, on a three year contract, way back in 1959. Go forward a decade and a half and the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital was founded by Catherine and her Husband, Dr. Reginald Hamlin. 

Jump forward to 2007 and Dr Hamlin helped open the Hamlin College of Midwives, starting with only 12 students. The college aimed to have a birth attendant for as many regional areas as possible.

Now Dr Hamlin and her team have helped save the lives of over 35,000 women and the number is climbing daily.

Catherine is highly decorated with awards from many countries over many decades, but I feel that none of that really matters to a woman with a heart of gold, a will of iron, and a steely resolve. Thank you Dr. Hamlin–for giving the lives back to so many women who would otherwise suffer, and in some cases die, from a condition that’s very treatable.

For more information on Fistula, here’s a public service announcement by Natalie Imbruglia

For more information on how you can help fund Catherine’s amazing work in Ethiopia

There’s also a book (though apparently it’s recommended to the older reader)

The Hospital by the River: A story of Hope

By Catherine Hamlin and John Little

Paperback, 308 pages

Published March 3rd 2005 by Monarch Books (first published January 1st 2001)

ISBN 0825460719 (ISBN13: 9780825460715)

Belinda_kisses_tnWith a little over 2 weeks to go I’ve been brushing up on the things I’ll need to have with me in Sydney.


Taylor_Smoke and Bone_HThey see me rollin’ – I needed to get myself a new piece of luggage, something that will roll around the city with me until check in. So I opted for 4 wheels rather than 2 and for ease of recognition at the luggage claim I went for loud and obnoxious leopard and bright pick with gold hardware. Hope nobody else had the same idea as me.

In the know  – I don’t want to be holding up the line in the airport, so I have checked what I can and cannot take in my carry-on luggage and the weight limits of both carry-on and checked luggage.  Each company is different so it’s always better to check.

Hair we go – I’m trying a whole new style clothing, and my modern hair style haircut doesn’t really go with. So I’ve been trial running how I want to have my hair for the event. *add youtube link for part 1 here* I’ve shown you how I put my hair up in perm rods to create a wet set curl. Part 2 soon.

Kiss and Make Up – I’m trying a few new products for the trip and I’ll have reviews of them on Marianne’s channel soon. Test running the completed look you want to wear will have the dual purpose of getting you practiced in how to apply the look in the shortest possible time, and also have you well versed in which tools and products you’ll need to take. *on my final run through I’ll be putting the items in a separate bag as I finish using them, so they don’t get mixed up and forgotten.*

Clothes horse… ney – I want to be comfortable and not schlumpy on the plane. So I’m testing out what I’m thinking of wearing. The shape wear was an EPIC fail so that will be staying at home. Nothing says discomfort like having to constantly pull and readjust an undergarment. I’ll keep the small podge and spend the day fiddle free.

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