Five Things: July
7/15/2019

Five Things: July




Hey hi, 'tis July! What even is this sorcery. The passage of time (obviously) but seriously, how the flip does it end up being July so quickly!? Marvels aside, today I have five things to wax lyrical on; from poetry to essays, films to listens and even a lil' beauty spot. Have a nosy...

NZIFF is here: Aka the one where I miss being a student, if only so I could study and sneak off to films in between lectures and tutorials. I digress, NZIFF is back for 2019 and it is quite the lineup. I am only gonna be making it to this but I wish I was able to see more. I recommend you check out Maddy's post of films to watch this festival season. 

This essay x Florence Welch: "I tend to look back on that time with a mix of nostalgia and terror. There's a part of me that's in awe of that girl, her total disregard for self-preservation, how she could run at the world headfirst, eyes closed, with no care for the consequences." Florence Welch wrote an essay for British Vogue and first and foremost, can she write more essays please!? This is brilliant. She perfectly encapsulates the feelings and worries of adult life but at the same time the brilliance of I guess finding calm in the chaos. Read it.

The one with Fleabag: Aka Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Yes, I am still talking about Fleabag+PWB. Sorry, not sorry. Anyway, she is back on Elizabeth Day's How To Fail podcast and it is brilliant. I laughed out loud at my desk in the office #noshame. Loved it. Going to listen to it again. 

The Green Room: One of my pals Steph has set up this awesome, holistic skincare experience in the Hawkes Bay and it looks like a treat. Steph has over 14 years experience and is super clued up on all things skincare. Seriously, she is my personal Google sometimes (sorry, Steph). Anyway, she offers two facial experiences; intuitive skin sculpting and intuitive skin clearing. She uses Tribeca Skin Tonics in her studio which I've heard are amazing. So if you're in the Hawkes Bay, go check it out. I'm quietly envious of y'all getting to experience Steph's magic! 

Luminescent x Nina Powles:  I read this a couple of months ago and loved it. It was in the middle of a work day and I needed a moment of quiet+solitude and escapism and these chapbooks delivered. I particularly loved Sunflowers, about Katherine Mansfield and Her+The Flames about Phyllis Porter, a ballet dancer struck by tragedy. The whole collection is beautiful. You can have a read of two of the Katherine Mansfield poems here


-I hope y'all are having good July's so far! I will be back soon(ish)-I hope, with a book review.
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June Wrap Up
6/30/2019

June Wrap Up



Y'know the drill here, the month is nearly over so it's time to do my lil' curation. I apologise for the blog silence this month and I am hoping to remedy that, despite July looking a bit bu-sy. Points for trying or something? Anyway, here are the things loved, good and read from June. Enjoy!

Five Things I Loved:

* Kitchen Table Sessions- For someone who loves theatre so much, I make it to a dismal amount of shows but my friend Lucie was stage-managing/slaying for this show and I wanted to go along to support her+her friends so I did. And it was awesome. Hosted by Kate Barnes, each night featured different guests who all gathered to banter all things food, tell stories, drink some beverages and share their favourite foods+recipes with us. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention-there was food. We had regular food intermissions. It was AMAZING. And live performances from Lips who are the geniuses behind the Daffodils soundtrack. It was a treat and I *think* they are going to be hosting these again so if you can, I highly recommend you head along. 'Tis a good time. 

* Fleabag-Yes I am ridiculously late to this bandwagon but I am here. I get it now. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a genius and Fleabag is hilarious, relatable, tear-jerkingly funny yet also incredibly poignant. Can you tell I love it quite a bit? I also feel incredibly *seen* by the character of Fleabag to be quite honest. Please watch it if you haven't yet seen it. I haven't laughed this hard at a TV show in a long time. Side note: Olivia Colman is a national treasure. 

* Drunk Elephant 'Out of Office' Set-While I have no plans to jetset soon *sad face* I am so glad I picked this lil' trio up because two of the products I've tried are new staples for me. Firstly, Lippe Balm. It is the business. My lips usually go to pieces in Winter (thx seasonal change) but this seems to be putting an end to that. I like how it's nourishing, without feeling like you are wearing a ton of lip balm. It's doing its job but without being obnoxious like a big rainbow jumper demanding to be noticed. Secondly, D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops. I am obsessed. I need the full size in my life please and thanks. As well as being a serum, these give your complexion a touch of the sunkissed glow. In a subtle, yes I have been on a tropical holiday but not gone overboard on the tan, way. 

* Katherine Mansfield Letters and Journals-One of my secondhand bookstore finds from this month and it is a delight. Ali Smith reignited my interest in all things Mansfield with her latest novel Spring, as did the emergence of a certain Mansfield-themed garden that has cropped up in the Hamilton Gardens. Weird segway, anyway. Mansfield's diary entries and letters are so beautifully written and decadent gems of insight into the woman herself. I love how sassy she is too. 

* Derry Girls-I feel like this sat on my Netflix watchlist for way too long but never fear, for I have seen all of Season 1 and a couple of Season 2 episodes. It follows Erin, a teenaged girl in Ireland during the troubles+her host of eclectic friends and family. It's hilarious and so well-written. I'm not sure if it's semi-autobiographical but it felt that way. If that makes sense. Anyway, it's good. Watch it.


Five Good Things

* I wrote, a lot: I'm actually really freakin' proud of this because the motivation for writing has been a bit hit and miss of late. This month though I decided I'd do as many 'pitches' to publications as I could do. I think I ended up doing three or four which probably doesn't sound like heaps but nonetheless I am proud of myself for knuckling down and getting on with some writing that extends beyond journaling and writing for myself. So yay me! I'm hoping to carry it on over the next few months too so wish me luck.

* Drink Eat Neo: One of my friends had a birthday earlier in the month so we went for a late lunch to this gem tucked away in Auckland CBD. We had their cheese board+non-alcoholic mojitos. The perks of work weeks (I mean...). Anyway, it was a good time, and it was delish and it is a beautifully designed space. I highly recommend you give it a visit if you're in Auckland. I will definitely be going back sometime soon. 

* New Music: So a few of my faves dropped new music this month; Benee, Vampire Weekend and the Jonas Brothers. All different. All brilliant. Also, not exactly 'new' music but High As Hope, one of my favourite albums had its first birthday recently and Melodrama x Lorde turned 2 this month. Good month for music, June.

* Book Club: I don't always make it to book club but when I do 'tis a good time. This month we discussed Spring x Ali Smith, which I have reviewed already here. Ali Smith seems to generate polarising discussion so it made for really well-rounded, interesting banter. I am not gonna lie, some opinions ruffled my feathers a tad....such is the case of being a biased fangirl. But yeah, book clubs are great. I love 'em. 

* Flowers, just because: Proteas are around and about at this time of year and I wanted one. I wanted a stem and didn't want to wait for someone to get me flowers which tbh, would probably be a long wait (ha). Anyway, I feel like buying flowers for oneself is one of those things I have turned into an insecurity....I dunno, my mind works in interesting ways. And you know what-why should it be something to feel weird about? Buy yourself the flowers-don't wait for an excuse.


Books Read in June

*Normal People x Sally Rooney: I wanted a comfort read, a book which I love and will forever love. A book where I can find gleamings of familiarity within its pages, beauty within Rooney's words. Just as wonderful a second time around.

*Too Much & Not The Mood x Durga Chew-Bose: Another re-read and a book which is now messy with my random scribblings and underlinings. Clearly I have picked this book up on a whim more than once as lines of black and blue and pink and turquoise scatter its pages. There's something really mesmerising and enticing to Durga's prose. 

*How To Fail x Elizabeth Day: The tonic in book form, read my thoughts here. And then go listen to the podcast. I recommend Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Dolly Alderton's episodes in particular.

*Brown Girls In Bright Red Lipstick x Courtney Sina Meredith: One of Tayi Tibble's favourite books. I loved this thin slip of a book and wish it was more widely available+discussed because I think women in particular need to get ahold of it. 

*The Casual Perfect x Lavinia Greenlaw: Another secondhand bookstore find. I love Lavinia Greenlaw's poetry a lot and I did like this volume a lot too. Night Photograph is still my favourite but this one is up there as well.

-And then I also re-read Harry Potter #3 and some more poetry volumes. So not a lot of reading happened in June (whoops).

-What did you love during June?



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Fail Again, Failing Better and 'How To Fail'
6/22/2019

Fail Again, Failing Better and 'How To Fail'



Fail: To fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired or approved.

To fail is to be filled with a sense of gut-wrenching dread. It's feeling like you have an arrow following you. Hey look, this girl/guy failed. I've failed; exams, relationships, driving tests and more. And yes failure can be incredibly painful. I used to think failure meant universal negativity and finality. That is, until I stumbled upon Elizabeth Day and her magic.

Her podcast, 'How To Fail' got me through a trying situation last year that felt like, well, a setback. And I guess to some extent it was but at the time it made me realise that I could embrace that failure instead. It makes me think of this JK Rowling quote: "Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live in life without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all-in which case, you fail by default." 

Hearing people I respect and admire, like Dolly Alderton or Phoebe Waller-Bridge, successful women in their creative fields, openly discussing their successes and setbacks it's eye-opening. Not to mention, reassuring and inspiring. As I write this post, I am listening to Charly Cox's episode and it is equally as inspiring, especially when I have just started to get into writing my own poetry myself. Y'know, failure isn't something we talk about openly but this podcast turns the notion that it should be kept private and not be up for discussion on its head. Difficult conversations demand to be had.

The book, follows in a similar fashion though it delves more extensively into Elizabeth Day's experiences and stories. She covers how to fail at dating, being Gwyneth Paltrow, friendship, work, families and more. It also ties her experiences in with that of her podcast guests and is like a cosy, reassuring, calming blanket of a book. Crammed with wisdom and humour and charm, it's such a brilliant read. 

I'll be honest, I found How To Fail a bit too real at times which is in no way a critique of the book itself. It just meant I read it a bit slower and more cautiously than usual. That being said, it is in the realness and openness of Day and her contributors that solace and relatability lie. This is such a beautiful book and if I was Oprah-level rich, I'd give everyone in my life a copy. So go read it, or listen to the audiobook-also narrated by Day. Oh and side note, Phoebe Waller-Bridge descending the stairs singing 'At Last x Etta James', big mood. 

-Have you read How To Fail? What did you think of it?

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Self Care Sunday
6/09/2019

Self Care Sunday



It's Sunday, the weekend is somehow quickly vanishing and all of a sudden it's nearly a new week. What a buzzkill and blessing all in one go right!?  All that said, Sunday doesn't have to be a total downer. For me, I usually try to reserve part of Sundays just for myself. Call it selfish, call it self-maintenance. I guess it's both of those things. Long story short, Sundays are at least in part my day. So today, seeing as it is Sunday and all I thought I'd talk you through some activities I do on a Sunday, just 'cos. It's nothing groundbreaking and I won't say it'll change your life because you could really do these anytime. But anyway, way to not sell a concept Sophie. Here is what I do for a bit of chill on Sundays...

Sleep Ins: So this failed pretty spectacularly this weekend as my internal clock woke me up at the time I usually get up for work during the week. When you can though-sleep in! If you are like me, you don't sleep enough. It's not exactly news that lack of sleep=not good in any regard so cherish that sleep in. Turn that alarm off and soak up the extra shut-eye.

Face Mask+(sometimes) Eye Masks: This is one activity I always like to do on a Sunday. It's a bit of a ritualistic thing but I also find masking incredibly relaxing and like a little treat for my skin too. Recently I've decided I don't like sheet masks, at all but prefer a mask I can apply myself. At the moment I am using and loving the Jet Lag mask x Summer Fridays. It's a bit wallet weepingly expensive but they have recently bought out a smaller size. And it does work quickly and wondrously so, cannot complain. As for eyes, this isn't a step I do all the time but I will definitely be tonight because the eyebag game is strong. Anyway, I use these and they are so lovely and cooling too. I love 'em.

Reading w/ all the cushions & blankets: I am not sure what it is about Sundays but if it doesn't involve a reasonably lengthy reading session, I am usually not satisfied. At the moment it's Winter here in NZ so fluffy, cosy blankets are a must. I usually disappear to a hidden corner of the house too for the most uninterrupted time. 

Go for walks: Preferably alone, this is your time. Walks=the best to immerse yourself in nature and mull over anything and everything I guess. Y'know how this works.

Make a to-do list: This may not sound like 'self-care' as it has the potential to create stress but for me it's useful for me to see what I need to do in the week ahead, or on a smaller scale what I want to achieve on Sunday. Either way, it helps because sometimes I forget stuff and then I can be like "Oh wait, I have X on Wednesday or I made X appointment". Yeah.

Movie+TV Afternoons: I don't really watch much TV during the week so it's a nice lil' treat and relaxer for me on the weekend. Netflix is my go-to. Though now I have the new season of Big Little Lies sitting and waiting to record, that'll be my go-to. Fleabag is also on my watchlist. But I have been rewatching The Crown lately and loving it. I mean, watching TV shows or films are a pretty failsafe way to unwind and zone out.

-What do you do to unwind on the weekend?

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May Wrap Up
6/03/2019

May Wrap Up



I feel like May has been short and sweet. So I will keep this intro short, and sweet for once. May has been...a ride. More on that some other time, perhaps. On a more positive note, it is May wrap up time. Whoop whoop! Today we have five things I loved, some positive bits from the month (because we are all about the positive vibes, yes we are) and books I have read in May, aka the one where I reread things. 

Five Things I Loved:

*The Years x Annie Ernaux: Shortlisted for the Man Booker International prize, this book is a feast. And I don't mean that in a, bucket of chicken+pot of coleslaw kind of way. I mean it in a decadent, banquet, cup overflowing with champagne kind of sense. The Years is a memoir told through images, snapshots, snippets of a time and a place. The narrator places herself on the edge of the scene and as a result, The Years is a truly unique reading experience. I'm probably articulating this terribly but if you like your memoirs unconventional and non-linear, you will like this. I loved it.

*NARS Liquid Blush in Orgasm: Nowadays I seem to gravitate towards cream blusher and I love the way this brightens and illuminates in one handy pump. You barely need any product too and I love the faux glow it creates. Yass please. 

*Britney's Wellness Week: My uni pal from way back, Brit has been creating some really fricken great videos lately. Don't get me wrong, she always creates awesome+inspiring things but lately they've been really resonating, for many reasons. Anyway, last month I loved her wellness series, as well as videos on self care+mental health. Britney speaks so candidly and openly about her experiences and it inspires me+makes me want to share my stories too. I am getting there. But anyway, I recommend her videos so much. They are real and relatable-go watch 'em.

*Rocketman: THIS. FILM. THO. Or as someone said to me, "Sophie, this is your Bohemian Rhapsody 2.0". So true. I fricken loved Rocketman. It's somewhere between a musical+biopic for me, which I am 100% here for. Part fantasy, part reality. It's a story of Elton at the height of his success and rise to fame, and the eventual mess that is drugs and toxic family backstories. Taron Egerton is amazing as Elton. So talented. And that soundtrack+the costuming. I want ridiculous sunglasses and a denim jacket with star patches now plz. Seriously though-go watch it if this sounds like a bit of you because it is brilliant. 

*That Stila dupe: Props to my girl Lucie for bringing this eyeshadow to my attention. It's sparkly and shimmery and makes me feel like a fairy or something when I wear it. Idk, sparkly eyeshadow makes me feel sparklier. There must be some science/psychological reasoning there. Anyway, what I also like about this is that it is a much more affordable dupe for the Stila Glitter & Glow shadows. I mean, Beige Kitten is basically a near-identical dupe for Kitten Karma. Definitely get amongst it if you like cream shadows+sparkly eyelids.

Five Good Things:

*Literally Lorne-This was a Friday evening of poetry, thanks to the Auckland Writer's Festival. Highlights included hearing Tayi Tibble and Ashleigh Young reading their work in art galleries and the city library respectively. And; you could recite a line from a poem at a cafe and receive a cookie. Small pleasures. For those wondering-I chose "throw me in a haunted wheelbarrow and set me on fire" from 'Monica' x Hera Lindsay Bird. 

*Quiz Nights-What is this, the mere concept of me out on a weeknight!? All seriousness, how fricken fun are pub quizzes? Where have I been... I mightn't be particularly good when it comes to geography, or sport but hey-it's a fun evening and I like to flex my general knowledge muscles. Or somethin. 

*This cover x Lana Del Rey-"Summer tiiiime, and the livin's easy".  I feel like a new Lana Del Rey album has to be on the horizon. I lovelovelove this cover though so much. I've thrown it in a lot of my playlists during May and it's made me go back on a Lana-fest. Quite frankly, that is never a bad thing.

*Treasure hunting at the beach-I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to acknowledge that water+the beach makes me happy. I find the sound of water lapping against the sand incredibly calming. The sight of sunlight sparkling on the water makes my eyes like the heart-eyed emoji. Idk, water just relaxes me. As does looking for beautiful shells and sea glass. Note to self: Sophie, you actually like the beach.

*This article on reading, a lot. I am going to leave this here as it really speaks for itself. And it resonated, a lot. I get told at least once a week that I read a lot-in varying degrees of judgement. I will leave this extract here though: "That something so innocuous can provoke such a range of strong responses is very interesting. How can a quantity of books represent a reproach to some and a celebration to others? To me, as the perpetrator they are neither." 


Books I Read in May:

*Ah and on that note, here's what I read-well, most of it. You'll notice at least half are poetry volumes-short & easy.

/ Harry Potter-Books 1 & 2: Earlier in the May I was a bit poorly #thxflu and it meant a lot of reading+sleeping. I was feeling nostalgic so I reached for the Harry Potter books and it was magic. I know JK Rowling is a bit problematic nowadays but you cannot deny how brilliant these books were and are. 

/ How I Get Ready x Ashleigh Young: Ashleigh is one of my favourite writers so I was highly anticipating her poetry volume. It didn't disappoint. I read it in one frenzied go on my train ride home from work and loved every second of it. 

/ Terrific Mother x Lorrie Moore: A short+sweet read from Faber's 90th birthday series. It's darkly funny and sharply written. I need to read more of Lorrie Moore's words soon.

-What did you love during May?


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