Joelene_tnJoelene Pynnonen love a good kids movie.



the-lego-movie-posterEmmet Brickowski is an ordinary construction worker, living life by the manual, when he finds a woman called Wyldstyle illegally searching his construction site. She’s mesmerising, and for once Emmet goes against the manual, following her rather than reporting her. Stumbling into a chasm, he finds the Piece of Resistance, the only object that might stop the evil Lord Business’s super-weapon, the Kragle.

Years earlier, it was prophesied that a person called “The Special” would be the one to locate the Piece of Resistance, which makes Emmet, Lord Business’s number one target. When he is captured by Lord Business’s lieutenant, Bad Cop, Wyldstyle steps in to save him. Now it’s up to him to find the powerful master-builders and convince them to launch an attack on Lord Business’s empire before he uses the Kragle to destroy them all.

I love kids’ movies, especially the ones that have been released in the last few years and are targeted at a wider audience. Even so, Lego Movie was not something that I was interested in when the trailer came out. Now, I’ve played several of the Lego games and am well aware of how fun they are. I just didn’t think that it would translate well to the big screen. Fortunately, my brother twisted my arm until I agreed to see it.

From the out-set Lego Movie is a fast-paced and laugh-out-loud funny film. There’s plenty of slapstick comedy for kids, but this is interwoven with subtler social-commentary humour and pop-culture jokes. The combination works so well that you’ll have to watch the movie more than once to appreciate all of the jokes.

This is one of those movies that combines its elements perfectly to create a fun and exciting film. The animation is wonderful, not quite losing the authentic feel of a stop motion film even though it is CGI. Voice acting is equally flawless. There are too many amazing performances to list, but Liam Neeson’s role as Good Cop/Bad Cop is superb.

While Lego Movie is a fantastic film, it is let down by the ending, which introduces a theme that has been done before – and better – by Pixar. The movie is entertaining enough to carry itself without needing a deeper meaning, and would have been stronger for it.

Lego Movie is another animated film that is transcending age. The plot is simple, but the execution is clever. 

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.

Dashner_eye of mindsAn all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure from James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

Hardcover, 308 pages

Published October 8th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers


0385741391 (ISBN13: 9780385741392)


The Eye of Minds is a great book for gamers and those interested in virtual reality. VirtNet is a gamer’s heaven that places you right into the fantasy world by putting your physical body into a sleep state while your mind goes on adventures. It’s an addictive and safe place where you can hang out with friends or have heart-racing experiences.

There is a rumour that one of the players has started taking hostages on the VirtNet and causing brain damage to those taken. This has the government searching for the hacker and they soon contact Michael for help.

The world building is amazing; since you’re put into this game world with the addition of hackers, it is an ever-changing world that goes beyond imagination. Michael spends little time in the ‘real world’, so the majority of the story takes place within the VirtNet.

I really enjoyed the characters as well. Both Michael and the villain stood out for me, and I loved both of them equally. The story doesn’t keeps a fast pace in the race to save the hostages, and there is also an eye-opening twist ending that I didn’t see coming.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy Michael Grant or Rush by Eve Silver. It is fast-paced and full of adventure, danger, and page-turning fun.

Shepherd_madman's“Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.”

The Madman’s Daughter came out a while ago, and when everyone was picking it up and reading it, and raving about it, I knew I had to jump on the bandwagon! Just like everyone was claiming, this one was creepy, but I loved it!

This book was already had me scared within just the first few chapters, especially with the bunny scene! I don’t want to say too much, because I want you all to experience what I did, but it was absolutely bananas. I started feeling nauseous and dizzy while reading it, and that’s never happened to me before. I don’t know how or why this scene affected me so much, but I felt sick to my stomach.

The Madman’s Daughter was such a peculiar story. I can’t think of anything that can even slightly compare to this book. Obviously, this book is based off of another story, but I was still in complete awe. Her dad, who he was, what he did…it was mind blowing!

Alongside the main idea of the book, the characters were strange and intriguing too. Juliet is a teenage girl struggling to make small living and her father was a scientist who was shamed by society when he started these strange set of experiments on animals.

Montgomery is Juliet’s childhood servant and friend, who she reconnects with after her horrifying experience with the bunny rabbit. He isn’t the little boy Juliet knew all those years ago, but has grown into man. When Edward arrived at the ship on his wooden plank, he was this mysterious character who I wanted to learn more about. When these two (very cute) guys were introduced and Juliet seemed to be interested in both of them, I feared a love triangle. But, lucky me, there wasn’t much of that. There were a few small scenes here and there (which didn’t bother me at all), but they didn’t outshine or wash over the most important elements of the story!

Overall, The Madman’s Daughter was one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read. It even gave me goose bumps a few times throughout the story, and it was such an outstanding read. I’ve already picked up the second book, Her Dark Curiosity, and I’m excited to start it!

Mandy Wrangles_2_tnOkay, we all know the deal – you need a spectacular dessert, and no time to bake from scratch. If you’re anything like me and have a reasonably well-stocked pantry, you might even manage this one without a trip to the supermarket (I did!). I baked this one for my sister-in-law Kerrie, for her recent birthday.


rasberry fudge cake_fillingWhat You Need:

2 packs of Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix

1 tub of ready-made chocolate frosting

2 tubs of ready-made vanilla frosting

2 cups of dark chocolate melting buds

1 cup of frozen raspberries (you can use fresh, but frozen razzies are just as yummy and far more convenient)

1 pack of raspberry M&M’s

Baking paper

20cm round cake tin (even better if you have 2 of these!)


rasberry fudge cake_layersHow it’s Done:

Prepare cake mixes according to the directions on the packet. I baked them in two 20cm round pans. Allow to cool, and then slice each cake horizontally in half – use a bread knife to do this – it makes life easy. Also trim the top of each cake so they are nice and flat.


While your cakes are baking, defrost your raspberries, then mix and mash them into the ready-made vanilla frosting. Pop the raspberry mixture into the fridge to help it firm up a little while your cakes are cooling.


Melt the chocolate buds using your preferred method – I use the microwave for small amounts like this – in two batches. On a long piece of baking paper laid flat on the bench, spread the chocolate as smoothly as you can. Allow chocolate to set for around ten minutes at room temperature, but not until it’s completely hard. With a sharp knife, score vertical lines right through the chocolate, to leave you with pieces about 5cm wide. I did mine on a slight angle for added effect. Allow the chocolate to set totally, then put aside for decorating.

rasberry fudge cakeSpread approximately one third of the chilled raspberry and frosting mix over one of your cake halves. Layer another half cake and repeat with the frosting – and repeat again until you add the very top cake half. (Yes, I know that would technically make them cake quarters, but hey…) Spread the chocolate frosting over this top half, keeping some frosting in reserve. Use this frosting to ‘glue’ the chocolate pieces around the outside of your cake. You can use perfectly measured pieces that all match, but I liked the idea of it being a little more rustic. The chocolate slabs should stay put with the frosting, but I also added a tulle bow because – pretty! Then, cover the top of your cake with the M&M’s. I added a few left-over pieces of chocolate too, because I knew the recipient of this particular cake happens to be a chocoholic!

There are a zillion variations you could use for a simple cake like this one. Instead of sticking with pinks, what about the bright multicolours of a traditional M&M pack? Blueberries instead of raspberries? Cookies and cream? Mint chocolate? Caramel, white chocolate? Hmm, white chocolate and caramel…might try that one soon actually. Anyone have a birthday coming up?

Marianne says: I could have one if you want!


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