Captured Moments… Scotland

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I have returned from my vacation in Scotland, full of impressions. I’ve always loved to travel, and even as a kid I often travelled with my family. Travelling can be expensive, but it’s worth giving up some other things in order to save for a trip. Getting in touch with different countries and cultures really broadens your horizons and I love it!

Anyway, that’s the reason I wasn’t very active on my blog for a while. But, I do bring you some amazing and inspiring photos of the Scottish nature and castles. The photos don’t really do it justice, I have to say. The experience of being there is something that cannot be translated to an image. However, the photos are still beautiful and I hope you’ll be as inspired as I was. The Scottish landscape and stories told by our great and funny tour guides really did inspire me and they helped me develop the story of the book I’m currently working on (though quite slowly). Enjoy!

Oh, and I might do a post with images of castles as well. 🙂 Most of those images are not on my camera so I don’t have them on my laptop yet.

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And, to finish this post bookishly, I did buy some books there! I found a store which had a discount on Wordsworth Classics and some other books, three for 5 pounds, so I picked some I wanted to read. I also bought The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory at the Edinburgh Castle shop. It’s a book about Mary Stuart, so it seemed fitting. I know these books are not really historically accurate, but they have been a guilty pleasure of mine for a while now. They are the easy reads I pick up when I’m tired for anything else. But they can also motivate me to explore the real history behind them and to find out more about the historical characters they mention.

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On New Books and Book Buying

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As the title says – I’ve bought some new books today. Buying books always makes me happy, so I felt inspired to write a random post about them. Since I read The Golem and the Djinni few days ago, I’ve only been reading a book for my Swedish classes. I study Swedish in a school for foreign languages and it’s my third year there so I’m quite proud that I’m able to read an entire book in Swedish. And this is our second one! 🙂

Anyway, I wanted to buy something to read so, without any high expectations, I went to a bookstore. The first book I got is The Uninvited by Liz Hensen. I actually noticed Anna Dressed in Blood by Kandale Blake first and was almost certain I would buy it, even though the paranormal romances aren’t really “my cup of tea”. I somehow thought it might be interesting, but I wasn’t sure. (If anyone’s read it, I would really like to know what you thought of it.) And then – this book stole my attention. On the cover, it’s compared to Kazuo Ishiguro, and I loved Never Let Me Go, so I decided to give it a go.

The Uninvited is supposed to be a “part psychological thriller, part dystopian nightmare”, creepy and thought-provoking. And I hope it will be, because covers sometimes lie.

“A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother’s neck and fires.

An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong.”

As I said in one of my previous posts, I like a bit weird, even disturbing fiction, so you can see why I had to grab this book.

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The other book I bought is The Collected Illustrated Works of Hans Christian Andersen. I wanted something like this for a while, and I found this nice, inexpensive edition. I already have the collected works of Edgar Allan Poe from the same collection and I’ve seen several others, but this is the first time I’ve come across this one. I don’t actually like these but, chunky books because it’s quite hard to hold them and read, but sometimes they are a great solution, especially when it comes to short stories. The book also looks pretty, and it’s a great collection, I can’t even count all the fairy tales which can be found in it. The Illustrations are black and white, and a bit dark, but they somehow suit the tone of Andersen’s tales as they some of them are quite bleak. I’m just so happy to have this edition in my possession! 🙂

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This is basically how I buy books. First I try to find the books I’ve heard of and want to read. Sadly, where I live the choice of books is quite limited so I usually don’t find any of those. And only one bookstore has books in English, and I don’t like reading translations if I can read the original. So, if I really want to read something, I order it online. Therefore, I usually just look around, and if I have the time I do it for a very tong time. I admit, I completely lose sense of time when I browse through bookstores and that can sometimes be annoying to people who happen to be with me. But, what can I say, everyone has their own little obsessions. 😉 I wish I had more choice, because to me online orders are simply not the same as shopping at a bookstore. I don’t know why, but I like spending time there – alone, or with someone equally enthusiastic to discuss books and possible buys.

In the end, here are my two lovelies, from the same collection. I might add another one to my bookshelf, sometime in future.

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Tea – what is it good for?

I’ve been an avid tea drinker for years. I haven’t started drinking tea because of its health benefits, even though in my family tea was mostly reserved for the times you were sick. I just loved the taste and the feeling. It made me warm when I was cold, it made me feel cosy when I was tired, and it provided comfort when I was sad.

But tea really is good for your health, and that’s something I would like to talk about in this post. I’ll start with “real” teas, those made from the tea plant or tea tree – Camellia Sinesis. Those are black, oolong, green, yellow, and white tea. I want to explain the main differences between them, even though all of them have similar effects on your health. Then, I’ll mention some other types of teas, not all of them, of course, because there are so many it’s impossible to count.

Let’s start!

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Black Tea

Black tea is probably the most popular type of tea. It’s the most oxidized type of tea, and it’s completely fermented. That makes it the strongest in flavour and darkest in colour. It contains caffeine, but it is not true that black tea contains the most caffeine. All kinds of tea contain approximately the same level of caffeine, but it depends on the part of the plant used and the brewing technique.

When it comes to health benefits, black tea is proven to lower the risk of a stroke and heart attack. The antioxidants in black tea improve metabolism, lower the risk of high cholesterol and diabetes, and even help in prevention of some types of cancer (for example ovarian cancer). It may also lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Black tea can, however, boost your blood pressure, but the effect doesn’t last long, and can help those with low blood pressure when they suffer for dizziness.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is the next type of tea when it comes to the level of oxidation. It’s higher in the level of antioxidants than black tea.

I must admit I have never tasted oolong tea, as it’s not very popular in my country, and I don’t know as much about it. However, what I do know is that it is said that it combines the best qualities of black and green tea.

Green Tea

Green tea is less oxidized than black tea, which makes it’s flavour milder. This also means that green tea contains more antioxidants than black tea, so you get even more health benefits from it. Its taste is a little grassier than the taste of black and oolong tea.

Green tea helps with prevention of some types of cancer, Parkinson’s and even Alzheimer’s disease. It boosts your metabolism and lowers your cholesterol level. It’s also frequently used in cosmetic products. Because of the antioxidants it contains, it’s a good anti-inflammatory agent, it rejuvenates the skin, and has a sun protective effect.

Yellow Tea

Yellow tea is processed in the same way as green tea, but it’s drying process is longer – damp leaves are left to sit and gain yellow colour, which also gives it a different smell.  It’s made from the buds of the tea plant, before they turn to leaves.

Yellow tea has the same amount of antioxidants as green tea, and similar health benefits. However, it’s taste is milder and much less grassy, which is something most people don’t like about green tea.

I love the taste of yellow tea! I remember how sad I was when my mother forbade me to drink it once. She said her friend drank a lot of yellow tea to lose weight, and it did help, but a little too much. She lost too much weight in a short time and had many health issues because of that. However, even though yellow tea, as all other teas, helps with metabolism and digestion, which helps when you want to lose weight, it can’t do that kind of damage to you. The woman from the story was probably on a strict diet. My mother also realized that, and now I can drink yellow tea again. 🙂

White Tea

White tea goes through minimal oxidation during processing. Similarly to yellow tea, it is made from the buds and leaves of the tea plant, and the buds give it its white colouring. Its taste and smell are similar to that of green tea, but a little milder, and less grassy.

White tea is not as popular as the other kinds of teas, and it’s not researched as much. However, it contains the most antioxidants, so it is considered to have the most health benefits. I have also discovered it just recently, and it has become my favourite!

Other types of tea

Mint Tea

Mint tea is made from peppermint leaves. Personally, I’m not a fan of the taste of mint. For me, it’s something that goes in toothpastes and chewing gums and refreshes your breath. (Mint tea does that, too!) However, mint tea is very popular so it’s impossible not to be familiar with it.

Besides helping with dental hygiene, mint tea helps to soothe an upset stomach, vomiting or nausea, and it helps with digestion. It also helps with coughs, respiratory problems, and is beneficial for those suffering from asthma. It’s also a good idea to drink mint tea before going to bed if you suffer from sleep deprivation, as it relaxes you and helps you get some good night sleep. Because of its relaxing qualities, mint tea can also help those suffering from stress and/or anxiety.

Chamomile Tea

However, when it comes to sleep deprivation and stress, nothing is better than a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile is a herb similar to daisy, and its healing powers were often used in traditional medicine.

Chamomile tea is high in antioxidants. Besides relaxation, chamomile tea helps with menstrual cramps, and can prevent some types of cancer. Chamomile is used in cosmetics as well, both for the skin and hair care.

Sage Tea

Sage tea is very popular in my country, and it was even more popular in the past. If you had a cold – you drank sage tea. (All teas can help with cold, though.)

Sage helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also an effective antioxidant. However, it should be avoided during pregnancy.

Nettle Tea

When you think of nettle, you imagine it burning you. However, nettle tea actually helps to rejuvenate skin and helps with skin infections. It’s used to relieve allergy symptoms, and it helps with respiratory issues and asthma. It supports the kidneys and helps break down kidney stones. It’s also a great source of minerals.

Cranberry Tea

Because it’s made from, obviously, a fruit, cranberry tea contains vitamins and minerals which can’t be found in other teas. This is the case with most fruit teas, which I’m not going to mention in this post.

This tea is most known as a medicine for urinary infections. However, it’s is advised not to drink it during pregnancy.

And here my list ends. In the end, I just want to add that all teas have one more purpose – they are great reading companions. 🙂

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