why hello
3/15/2019

why hello




Well this post was going to be something entirely different, which seems to be the case with a lot of my writing nowadays. It starts as one thing, I leave it to sit for too long and then go back and hit backspace. 

I seem to not know what I think of this blog anymore-it's like a digital existential crisis. I'm proud of it but I also want to shed it. I don't want to abandon the digital sphere entirely, but I am trying to work through what exactly I want to do and where I fit into it. Apparently that takes over a year and I hope I am not jinxing anything, I think I am getting close to working it out. It involves starting anew and that takes time. And I am indecisive. And impulsive. Contradictory qualities and ones that do not mix well together. So to those of you till here, hi, please bear with as I make up my mind. Without rushing. Yup.

Recently I've been struggling to write, full-stop. All I seem to manage are short scribbles of ideas and then bullet pointed diary entries. I've also decided I want to give poetry writing a good go and seem to find that is best done on the train. In the notes of my phone. So basically my commutes are now good for sudden creative bursts and reading. A lot. Oh I've been reading so much lately it's wonderful.

I've read about my current literary love, Eve Babitz. I've read a book from the Man Booker shortlist (last year's). It was dark and mythological and illustrative and evocative. It was this book, in case you are curious. I'm also re-reading Dolly Alderton's book which I decided was going to be a yearly ritual. So glad I did by the way. It is a gift of a book. I am totally going to be making her hangover Mac 'N Cheese. Not because I am regularly hungover but because pasta and cheese are a combination that epitomise indulgence when meshed together. 

And I've watched that MJ documentary and I don't know what to believe. Documentaries can be so meticulously edited. Our own memories are edited. I'm not saying what's discussed wasn't real. I just feel like when celebrities are involved it really blurs things. In many ways. Maybe when I listen to the Oprah Winfrey interview I might feel differently. 

Then we had the crazy story about people's parents paying off high profile colleges in the US so their children could go to better schools. Whether that be cheating their way through SATs or faking photographs and sports credentials. What a mess. There's some high profile names caught up in this too so it will be interesting to see what happens. More on that here

The Auckland Writers Festival programme for 2019 was announced on Wednesday. I never seem to get to as much of the festival as I'd like. This year I am going to make a real effort. Some of my favourite NZ poets+writers, Tayi Tibble and Ashleigh Young will be appearing. I also really want to go to the Ockham Book Awards this year. Literally Lorne is top of my list and I really, really want to go to Alexander Chee's session on writing an autobiographical novel. Have a gander at the full lineup here

And I am gonna call it a night because I've procrastinated grocery shopping enough as it is. Ciao everyone. I will (hopefully) be back soon. Have great Fridays and weekends x

Read More
February Favourites
3/03/2019

February Favourites



Why hello, it's the weekend, can I get an #amen and February Favourites are here. It's a slim lineup but the mix of beauty+random bits to round it out makes me all nostalgic for traditional favourites posts.  Anyway, February faves-some new beauty bits, a revisited read and more...

Fu$$y Gloss Bomb x Fenty Beauty: One of my chums, Eve bought this gloss to my attention and a lot of Fenty's products actually. She has a selection and I am jealous. Anyway, I am traditionally not a lipgloss person. This however, might just have me swayed. Well it does because I wear it almost religiously now when I am wearing makeup. Non-sticky, glossy, gorgeous colour, lovely scent. I can't fault it. Rihanna does gloss well. 

thank u, next x Ariana Grande: So I am lowkey obsessed with this album which will probably come as a surprise to nobody. What a bop. It's Ariana's second album in six months and it does not disappoint. Catchy songs and lyrics. I love it. My favourite tracks are: Needy, NASA, Bloodline, Fake Smile-the whole thing basically. Friends reading, be warned I'll probably be referencing these lyrics for the next while. 

Jet Lag Mask x Summer Fridays: So I only have a teensy sample pot of this from Mecca because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I get it now team. The hype is real. On paper you'd think I wouldn't like this, it is thick and smells slightly minty. I am a fussy lady ok? However the skincare benefits pay off. It is super hydrating and is my go-to for Sunday nights to give my skin a bit of oomph for the week ahead. You can also use this as an eye mask and a primer. It's a good all-rounder basically. Oh and it's good for the skin-being paraben free, pthalate free, vegan and free of synthetic dyes and fragrances. Yass. It's a pricey lil' thing, I am not going to lie but it can be used pretty sparingly. 

Pamper Me to Hell & Back x Hera Lindsay Bird: A re-read, thanks to Florence and Between Two Books. Here's what Florence Welch herself has to say about Hera's words: "Hera Lindsay Bird is intimidatingly good. Reading her is like having my brain blasted with cold water...These two collections make me extremely excited about poetry." That really epitomises what I love about Hera's work as well and I've loved revisiting it. My pencil was out ready to make annotations. Also "sometimes I get so tired I want to blow the stars out, one by one." Can relate. 

Dear Teddy Eyeshadow x MAC Cosmetics: When MAC make a collection themed around my favourite lipstick, Velvet Teddy, my ears naturally prick up. Dear Teddy is a beautiful, iridescent rose-gold. So basically your stock standard 'Sophie' kind of neutral shadow with shimmer. Old habits die hard. I love it though-especially paired with liquid liner and lashings of mascara.

-What did you love during February?

Read More
The Bookdate, Volume Eight
2/24/2019

The Bookdate, Volume Eight




Surprise surprise, another book post. What can I say, umm-I read a lot? This post is a bit of a throwback. The Bookdate was a series I used to run bimonthly and I decided to bring it back in 2019, alternating with my Women+Their Books series. 

recently read: / the ice shelf x anne kennedy: This was the February book for my book club and I for the most part loved it. The things I didn't love so much are more to do with the technicalities and also some of the elements which seem to epitomise New Zealand literature. Rather than get bogged down, or as it may be, buried under an avalanche of my own personal qualms...I did love the way this book unfolded as a series of literary acknowledgements. It morphed and spiralled into a novel which was really a recollection of the fictitious author's life and its essence. It was witty and clever. I laughed out loud at certain passages, most notably, the cook blub aka 'book club' extracts. 

 / essayism x brian dillon: My first dallying with the Fitzcarraldo editions. I want to read more but they're just a bit expensive in lil' ol NZ so I'm holding off. Anyway, essayism, is a form of writing I want to experiment with and hopefully someday master. Dillon's book is a meditation on essays as an art form. As a means of self-expression and escapism. It is also a book about the pleasures of writing. An appreciation of essayists past and present and how they shape a life.  

/ eve's hollywood x eve babitz: Expect to hear a lot about Babitz around these parts next month. I'm rather obsessed with her writing. Confessional tales that seem to oscillate between the real and the fantastical. What actually happened? What is a mere myth? Eve's Hollywood comes under the fiction section in bookshelves but it is a series of autobiographical short stories/essays I suppose about Babitz's upbringing in LA. Her time at Hollywood High, her love of jacarandas, the sometimes eccentric characters she encountered and the many forces in her inner circle. I loved this book and read it somewhat religiously. I read it and fell in love quite simply.


YourShelf: I have to give a mention to this brilliant book-buying service. Each month, or whenever you fancy really you will receive three books, all hand-selected. One will be the choosing of their guest curator, this month's choice was My Year of Rest and Relaxation, which I read last year and loved. I recently received a bundle, see here and I was so smitten with all the books Jay chose for me. More so because one of them was signed (eep!). Know that each book is carefully considered and with no two bundles the same, you are guaranteed something unique and special to you. PS-Florence Welch is a fan so get amongst! Check their Instagram out here and the website out here

the wishlist: / this little art: Another Fitzcarraldo beauty, this time about reading. Something I clearly don't already spend enough time doing. I've flicked through this in the bookstore and it looks wonderful and much like essayism, I can see myself whipping my pencil back out to scribble notes throughout its margins.   / spring  The penultimate installment in Ali Smith's seasonal quartet. I'm a bit excited for this. Okay, really excited because Ali Smith's writing makes my heart sing and I quite simply cannot get enough of it. I feel like spring is perhaps going to be more hopeful than winter and autumn. Just because by nature (ha) spring seems to conjure feelings of optimism and change, newness and renewal. 

-What have you read and liked lately?


Read More
Six Lessons For Twenty-Somethings
2/11/2019

Six Lessons For Twenty-Somethings



Hello fellow twenty-somethings or just anyone who happens to be perusing this post, hoping for my incredibly poignant wisdom. Ahem. Somehow I am over halfway through my twenties now which the longer I mull that over, the scarier it gets. Well not, 'scary' per se, just...alarming I guess. Anyway this is a post that has been sitting in my drafts for a while. I feel like the twenties are such an overwhelming time sometimes. There's a lot of expectations versus reality kind of stuff happenin'. You say a rather swift goodbye to childhood and it feels like "what the heck am I doing?!" Maybe that's just melodramatic old me...Anyway anyway, today I thought I'd share six things I've learnt so here we go...

It's okay to ask for help: Gosh dang do I need to really take my own advice here sometimes. I think with adulting there comes this stigma that everyone; has their shit together and/or knows what they're doing. The reality, I don't think anyone ever does have it entirely down pat. At least nobody I have met. If you ever find yourself struggling, in whatever sense-ask for help. It's okay to! And honestly it's better than sitting around feeling like the epitome of that confused, bulging-eyes emoji. Whether that be talking it out with a friend/texting as it may be (if you're reading, sorry for the spam), or speaking to a professional (counsellor, for instance), it all helps.

Be selfish: Say no more, ditch after-work drinks if you'd rather just get home and throw your heels off in favour of Netflix and a glass of wine. Take time for you. You are your own best friend and hopefully not your worst enemy. Long story short, be selfish and kinder to yourself. Don't spread yourself too thinly. Don't try to please everyone at the detriment of your own happiness. 

Listen more: One of my good, much wiser friends likes to bestow their life hacks upon me on the regular. Often without me asking. Don't tell them but their advice is brilliant. Actually in an age where there is noise everywhere, listen more. Write down the inspirational things people say, or the one-liners that make you laugh. Take it all in. Be present. *Side note: I am sorry this wasn't meant to get all preachy so fast but you get the gist*.

Read whatever you want: Listen to whatever you want, watch whatever you want.  I promise there are less stigmas attached to this "stuff" (oh look at me go with my The Devil Wears Prada references). Nobody really cares so you do YOU. Well maybe there's some silent judgement but just tune it out.

A bath/shower at the end of a long day, no matter how stressful, is the best: Followed by books, music, scented candles, eye masks. Whatever floats your boat. It may not cure everything and anything but it's a pretty fail-safe method to at least temporarily shift your focus, I have found. 

Friends are worth more than a handful of likes on a photo that will hold someone's focus for all of a few seconds: I know it is so so easy to compare your behind the scenes to others highlight reels. Nobody's lives are a blend of rose breakfasts, aesthetically pleasing decor (I bet there's a pile of laundry and tousled sheets out of shot), luxe lip balm and the other toppings on the dessert that is curated digital life. Your friends who know you, beyond the pixels are worth so much more than a handful of likes on a photo. Also comparison is the thief of joy and there's nothing like some very real talk with my girlfriends to remind me how twisted the online sphere can make all this seem. Life=what is lived beyond the lenses. 

Read More
Women + Their Books: Looking Back
2/03/2019

Women + Their Books: Looking Back



Hello and welcome back to (almost) a new year of Women+Their Books. Before we dive in to a fresh new bunch of interviews and recommendations this year, I thought I'd invite some of my past interviewees back to share some books they've loved from 2018 and over the holiday season. Just to mix things up a notch, I've roped in some of my friends as well. So read on, find some new recommendations and enjoy! 

Amy: / I loved The Call of the Weird x Louis Theroux. I've always been obsessed with his out-there documentaries of fascinating subgroups and reading him follow up his biggest stories was a real pleasure.  / I re-read Plain Truth x Jodi Picoult along with two new books: Every Breath x Nicholas Sparks (not my favourite of his to be honest) and Bringing Up Bebe x Pamela Druckerman-which I found fascinating because I'm a complete francophile. 

Daisy: / I read so many books I adored in 2018, and it's really difficult to single one out. I'd have to give a special mention to my best friend, Lauren Bravo and her brilliant book What Would The Spice Girls Do? I am a profoundly proud pal and I can't wait for her to write the next one. It's a thorough, tender and meaningful book about a subject that is often overlooked. Pop culture for young women and how young women draw strength from it and learn to celebrate themselves. It's a book about the power of loving something bigger than yourself, and it's an enormously uplifting book to read during a dark time globally. / Over Christmas I read Ayisha Malik's This Green and Present Land, coming in June. I think it's brilliant-it's a book about humanity at its best and worst, the power of standing together and the way that hate is often rooted in fear. It's also funny, and has characters you really fall in love with. There is an unexpected friendship that blooms gorgeously, I felt very invested. Also Lucy Vine's utterly wonderful Are We Nearly There Yet. Lucy writes heavenly anti rom coms for smart readers, they should come with a free oxygen mask because I laughed so hard I think I saw my whole life flash before my eyes. This is her best yet.

Emma: / Normal People x Sally Rooney. I read this over a long weekend and I was in absolute bliss as I got absorbed in the story. Sally Rooney's writing is unique to anything I've read before and there's something about it that just hooks me in. This was more than a love story, it explored a special connection between two people and depicted the reality of romantic relationships. I rather liked the gloomy aspects of this book, too. For me it's a book everyone should try reading. / I read Not Quite Perfect x Annie Lyons which was an amusing contemporary and something very light to see me through the sunny days. I also read The Keeper of Lost Things x Ruth Hogan which was a cosy and charming read, which again was nice and light, nothing too trivial!

Eve: Normal People x Sally Rooney was by far my favourite book of last year. Highly recommend reading this poignant snapshot of life and love as a young person in the modern world.

Leigh: Amish Confidential x "Lebanon" Levi Stoltzfus. People are always interested or frustrated in things they don't understand. A few years ago I watched the Discovery show 'Amish Mafia' with relish as it was a documentary reality series about a culture I didn't understand. Following the series is this book written by Stoltzfus who shares his frank insiders view of the intriguing and secretive society. The chapters draw you in to a life of family, shunning, sadness to the most high profile news that rocked the world, that of the Nickel mines shooting, kidnapping and drug+gang related affairs. When you look beyond the buggies, beards, bonnets, lack of power or photography, you will discover a community that are remarkable for their random acts of kindness and a level of forgiveness. 

Sandrine: / Other than Everything I Know About Love (the obvious choice haha) I was happy to discover Curtis Sittenfeld's writing in 2018. Her novel, Prep and her collection of short stories, You Think It, I'll Say It were brilliant and I simply couldn't put them down. I found her way to address social class and gender roles very refreshing. / I love reading over the Christmas break while cosying up in a blanket and looking at the snow outside. I read an advance copy of Sonya Lalli's The Macthmaker's List, finished reading Tina Brown's masterpiece The Vanity Fair Diaries, read Laura Weir's Cosy: The British Art of Comfort in one sitting and attempted to read Austen's Persuasion. I also read Prep, mentioned above. 

Vita: / How To Write An Autobiographical Novel x Alexander Chee was a real standout for me in 2018. I found the things Chee had to say about his life were incredibly heartbreaking and beautiful in equal measure. / Over my break I read Conversations With Friends x Sally Rooney and Bluets x Maggie Nelson. Very different books but I'd recommend them both. Rooney is a wonderful writer but I'm not sure I can say I loved Conversations as much as some. Bluets I read in a day, lying in the sun and I loved it. It's one of those little books that you can return to at different moments and gain something new from, which I love.

-I hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you to all my past contributors and friends for coming back to take part in this lil' Q&A fest-and of course for sharing your reading recommendations! Keep reading for details on past Women+Their Books guests.

Amy shares details from her life and exquisite photography over at @teaandsage on Instagram.

Daisy Buchanan is the author of the brilliant book How To Be A Grown Up and hosts the You're Booked podcast. Her second book, The Sisterhood is released in March. NZ Friends: Go pre-order it from Time Out like I have. 

Emma is the blogger and creator of playlists you should seek out over at Emma Etc. 

Sandrine runs the fashion and lifestyle blog, iamsandrine. A self-confessed Dolly Alderton fangirl, she is about to make the move across the world to London. 

Vita aka @exlibrisvita on Instagram shares her dreamy photography and pictures of books and Wellington and brilliant reviews. Vita if you are reading, please start a blog! 
Read More