More 2018 Favourites
1/12/2019

More 2018 Favourites



One more favourites post, with feeling. I kinda stopped doing monthly favourites posts last year because I'd often just end up using the same products, listening to the same music and vice versa. Much of this list will probably come as no surprise but at the same time there's some things I want to draw more attention to. There's beauty, writing, things to listen to and things to watch. Enjoy!

MUSIC:

My two most-listened to artists for much of 2018 were Florence and the Machine and Lana Del Rey. High As Hope was released, Florence's fourth album and I loved it. Candid, poetic lyrics. Melodies to bewitch. It remained in my car stereo for months on end. I cannot wait to experience it all live in a couple of weeks as well.

Lana Del Rey was more a nostalgic thing but her albums Honeymoon and Lust For Life were on high rotation. Honeymoon reminds me of Summer. Lust For Life, Autumn and Winter. I love her lyrics and their subtle nods to Hollywood and literature among other things.

TV:

The Good Place-I loved this show so much that I watched Season 1 and 2 twice during the year. It's clever brilliant comedy-bought to us by the creator of Parks and Rec which I also love so go figure. On a slightly nerdier level, I love the spotlight it shines on ethics and philosophy. Yass plz. Plus that casting of brilliant women: Kristen Bell, D'Arcy Carden, Jameela Jamil. The. Best.

Feud: Bette & Joan-Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange bought Bette Davis and Joan Crawford to life in this miniseries. Drama, glamour and fascinating viewing. As well as stunning costuming. It also shines a light on the uglier side of fame and relevancy+how that can in turn impact on families and the inner circles of Crawford and Davis. If you're in New Zealand, you can find this series on Lightbox.

BEAUTY:

*As an aside, I more or less stuck to products I used and loved this year so this category is incredibly sparse as a result. I recommend perusing the archives if you want more of an insight into the beauty products I use.

L'Oreal Paradise Mascara: I couldn't not mention this mascara. I LOVE it and went through multiple tubes of it throughout 2018. I may or may not have a backup waiting to be used too. Ahem. Anyway, this mascara is fuss-free, long-wearing, lengthening, volumising, love in a tube. You get the gist.

MAC Tan Pigment: An item that has been on my wishlist for years and I finally purchased it last year. I love it I tell ya. Rose gold-y, coppery, sparkly perfection. I love to apply this wet to really amp up the pigment and metallic finish. 

PODCASTS:

The High Low Show: Dolly and Pandora's podcast is my favourite. It's entertaining and fun. As well as the bigger issues, they always natter about what they are reading and watching too which I love. Actually I just love the whole thing let's be honest. Dolly and Pandora are the two friends we all want in our lives and their podcast feels like a weekly, intimate chinwag.

How To Fail: Failure is a word that carries a whole lot of meaning and significance. Elizabeth Day's podcast is about exploring the intricacies of failure and thus reframing them. She interviews public figures about their journeys and life stories. They discuss how they've failed and instead of focusing on it as a 'woe is me' kind of concept, Day and her guests consider how it has helped them. How failure in turn defines our present selves. Standout episodes, for me at least were Dolly Alderton's and Olivia Laing's. I'm looking forward to reading Day's upcoming book of the same name when it is released this year.

WRITING:

Dolly Alderton (yes I am a fangirl ok) and Caitlin Moran's columns for the times. I have the Times subscription for the free articles and once I wake I go in and read Dolly+Caitlin's columns. It's kind of a ritualistic thing for me really. They're always inspiring, entertaining and wise reads.

Oh Comely Magazine: My favourite magazine of the year was this UK gem. Always laden with great content and stories and women. I love how there are book reviews each issue as well as their seasonal playlists. Yes please. I love how they regularly accept submissions of work from near and far as well. It's a feel-good magazine and I bloomin' love it.

*What did you love in 2018?

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My Top 10 Reads of 2018
1/06/2019

My Top 10 Reads of 2018



2018 was the year of reading. A lot. I read 74 books-including literary magazines. After a bit of tweaking I've managed to come up with a list of my ten favourite books read in 2018. It's not ranked by preference but these are all titles I read and loved during the year...

Everything I Know About Love x Dolly Alderton: How incredibly unexpected is this inclusion? Ahem. This hardback tome of Dolly's tales and wisdom was read and read with such joy. I laughed loudly in public reading excerpts, I cried. I wanted to wallpaper my walls and notebooks with Dolly's prose. This is such a special, charming, brilliant book and I look forward to reading it again soon. 

 M Train x Patti Smith: I read and reread a few of Patti Smith's writings this year. It was M Train, her love letter to writers, writing, coffee and contemplation that has stuck with me. I read this in Spring and it made me want to plan a writerly holiday and left me yearning for more of the beauteous thing that is solo travel. Patti Smith's writing is potic and whimsical and hums with quiet, understated charm.

Normal People* x Sally Rooney: Ahem, again how unexpected. Sally Rooney's writing makes my mind turn into the heart reaction emojis on Facebook+Instagram. She dissects every nuance of character and relationships with such finesse. The way in which her stories evolve and travel forward by dialect is just brilliant. Normal People resonates because Connell and Marianne are so believable. I see fragments of them all around me in people I know. Rooney's writing is so alluring and it's not surprising to me that this tile has been flying off the shelves.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation x Ottessa Moshfegh: A darkly brilliant novel about twenty-somethings. Existential crises swirl around unlikeable characters. This book about a faceless protagonist who sleeps for a year, occasionally surfacing for the odd shopping spree and Whoopi Goldberg film session, is dark but hilarious. The ways in which it commentates on loneliness and life unravelling are so poignant. While the novel is satirical, if you are feeling a little vulnerable, perhaps venture in to this one with caution.



The Cost of Living x Deborah Levy: An introduction to Levy for me. A book of loss, relationships spanning generations, writing sheds and contemplation. It all unfolds so seamlessly and Levy's writing is intricately detailed. 

Tinderbox x Megan Dunn: A recommendation from Kiran's blog feature last year. A book about the art of adapting Farenheit 451. Also a book waxing lyrical on Megan Dunn's days as a bookseller for Borders. Addicting, hilarious reading. I loved it.

How To Be Both x Ali Smith: 2018 was the year I also read a lot of Ali Smith's words. Rather than fill this list with her books, I've gone for the one that has stayed with me. A novel that plays with the concept of fresco painting. It is multifaceted. A story set across two time periods; the present day and renaissance Italy. It looks at two teenager's perspectives on love, art, loss, the passage of time. It's cleverly done.

Bluets x Maggie Nelson: So this is a reread but it's another book I think on often. Nelson's meditations and musings on the colour blue. How she sees it in her life and the world around her. Its presence in art. Beautifully written and a book I've scribbled annotations throughout.

Call Me By Your Name x Andre Aciman: Read last Summer in frenzied bursts on my commute to and from work. Conjuring memories of Italy and its gorgeous scenery and architecture. First loves, exquisite dialogue, peaches and Summer frivolity. Every bit as rich and lush as the film.

Crudo x Olivia Laing: This book is short and punchy. Written during 2017 through the lens of Kathy Acker as a narrator. It draws parallels with events from Laing's own life. Crudo is raw and a times I found myself needing to escape the heavy all too real prose. At the same time I love the truth and timeliness contained within its pages.

/ What did you read and love in 2018?

*Review copy
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Five Things: January
1/03/2019

Five Things: January



Hello! Happy New Year. I hope 2019 is a year of good vibes and fun. Today we have five things for January. It's summery, imaginative and a little New Year-y...

Mary Poppins Returns: Oh my goodness. I LOVED this beyond words. Mary Poppins fills a personal, nostalgic corner of my heart and it just makes me so indescribably happy. The sequel with Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda buzzed with the same magic and wonder as the 1964 film. There are a lot of whimsical nods to its predecessor which made me emotional, naturally. It is wonderful and if you want something to fuel your inner child and imaginative streak, this is the ticket.

Back To Journalling: I really let my daily writing fall to the wayside in the latter part of 2018. Subsequently, I have very scattered musings to look back on as a result. I'm determined to get back into writing daily because it is such a brilliant tonic. I do love it as a means of unwinding at the end of the day. This year I am using a Muji notebook as my main journal, as well as this gratitude journal from Kikki K. 

The Water Cure: I cannot stop thinking about this book. I read The Water Cure x Sophie Mackintosh in the bath amidst turquoise waters c/o bath bombs, on a sunlit lawn, first thing in the morning with coffee, in rooms with friends reading the same book. Much like the evocative cover, it made me think of hazy mornings, blue, salt and gauze. It made me want to wear something sheer and traipse across sand, feeling the grit and the velvety waves. It conjured vibes of The Tempest and also The Virgin Suicides. Sisters devoted to one another, trapped yet powerful. Sophie Mackintosh's writing is a visual feast and I loved escaping in to this hauntingly beautiful prose. I'm already quietly assessing when I can read it again.

Round Towels: A random inclusion sure but one of my friends bought me one for Christmas and I am ob-sessed with it. For some reason these towels can get expensive but you can find them more affordably at Cotton On. Anyway, I love mine for chilling in the sun with books and music. Ok and maybe for dozing off. They'd be great for the beach and picnics+poolside too. The perfect Summer companion.

Decor Dreams: New year, sorta new decor. This year, as well as wanting to do some much-needed tech upgrades, I want to invest in a new bookshelf. I also want to mix up the prints on my wall and just make things a bit more cohesive and 'me'. I've already given my wardrobe a major declutter as well which gave me some more storage space. This point is probably of interest to nobody but because I like to get thrifty with decor, it may result in some blog posts.

-I hope you are all enjoying the early days of January so far. Stay tuned for a couple of yearly wrap-up posts coming next week! xx

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18 Good Things About 2018
12/31/2018

18 Good Things About 2018



How does one neatly confine a year in the life to a single idea? 2018 for me definitely cannot be wholly categorised by one thought, feeling or phrase. Even though I have been bandying about the notions that 2018 "hurt like a hangover" and I'm hella ready to say "thank u next" to it at midnight. Though knowing me, I'll probably be asleep by then ha. 2018's been a real mix of a year. At its core, it was a year of persistence. It also showed me with somewhat more clarity what it is I truly want, in life both in the present moment and in future. It bought some of the best moments and people in to my life, as well as some painful, truly testing times. While the year may not have fit into a breezy little Instagram rectangle of good vibes and positivity-it was my life no less and I can look back and learn from it; mistakes, losses, successes, stories and conversations. I can cast my mind back to the moments which make me all misty eyed and smiley as I write this and feel thankful. As is tradition around here, I've compiled some of the good bits of '18 into a little list. An eighteen pointer because I do love me some intentional symbolism. 

* Melbourne. My week of rest and relaxation. I love solo travel so much and this holiday came at the perfect time-between finishing one job and starting the next. It was a week of doing whatever I wanted, wandering the streets in the early morning with coffee, meals+laughter with friends, literature, theatre and a lot of walking and getting lost in my surrounds. 

* Entered a writing competition. Whilst I didn't get anywhere with this, I still felt an enormous sense of self-pride just for submitting something. Previous years I'd chickened out. I have one of my personal cheerleaders to thank for the encouragement+support in this area. Without them, I don't think I would have been as committed to entering and putting a story together.

* Joined IRL book clubs! 'Poppy Loves Book Club' and 'Lit Reads' at Time Out here in Auckland. Sure I kinda pick and choose which month I go along based on the books, semi defeating the purpose of a book club but the ones I do attend, I usually really enjoy. Some books I read because of these clubs: The Power, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Ponti and How To Be Both.

* Went to my very first stand up gig at the ripe old age of 25. To see Urzila Carlson and it was such a brilliant night. I laughed until I cried and it was a welcome distraction from some not-so-lovely life stuff that was going on at that time. 

* I read, a lot. I dipped in and out of books. I immersed myself in single volumes, abandoning everything else. I wrote notes in the margins and underlined passages. I read Sylvia Plath's journals overlooking the ocean and listening to Lana Del Rey. I threw books that perplexed me to the point of frustration across the room. 

* I housesat a bit and looked after pets at the same time and it was grand. No really. I really enjoy housesitting because it feels like a mini staycation. 


* Did a magazine swap with Liv. It was fabulous and 'm not gonna lie, it was so exciting getting all those magazines she chose for me in the mail. Stay tuned for round two in the not too distant future.

* Went to a brilliant session with Durga Chew-Bose and Lorde in discussion at the Auckland Writers Festival. So inspiring and wonderful. Read my notes here

* All the carpool karaoke sessions. They were plentiful I'm not gonna lie. Lana Del Rey was often on high rotation, as was Florence+The Machine. See also Queen and Mamma Mia 2. Good times.

* Sitting in the sunroom at one of my friend's places-actually just our conversations in general. Yes we jokingly throw shade at one another all the time but we also have the best, meaningful discussions. You know who you are, thank you for all the banter.

* Saw a lotta films, new and old.  The standouts; Pretty Woman, Bohemian Rhapsody, Lady Bird, Muriel's Wedding, Call Me By Your Name, McQueen, Heathers to name but a few.

* Mamma Mia the musical aka the one where I was MOVED. Frick I love musical theatre so much. I saw this twice when I went to Melbourne and it was incredible.


* Morning meanderings through parks with coffee in hand and music in my ears. Yes please.

* Being pushed well and truly out of my comfort zone. I kinda feel like I'm beginning to get this whole 'fake it 'til you make it' in utterly terrifying situations business. Good things I think/hope!

* Journaled daily for most of the year. Okay this really derailed around September but I put in a pretty dedicated effort up to that point. Keeping a diary helped me immensely. It's so cathartic and a real focused insight in to your own thoughts. I am determined to get back on track with this in 2019.

* Attended some DIY classes: jewelry making, dumplings and mosaics. 

* On the DIY note,I made an advent calendar this year for a friend of mine and I had so much fun doing it. Check it out here

* Set new goals. Right now I have some creative ambitions I want to start seriously working towards next year. I think for a long time I was lost with what I wanted to do but in the last month or so I've reached some clarity in this sense. Being vague on purpose here. Anyway, it feels exciting. Just as a disclaimer I really have no idea what I am doing but wanting to achieve these things, that I am 100% sure of.

-Happy 2019 everyone! If you made it to the end of this accidental essay, congratulations. You deserve a medal. Or leftover Christmas chocolate, the good kind not the ones nobody wants, ahem Picnic bars...Anyway-be good and I will see you all in the New Year.

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The Memoir Gift Guide: Part Two
12/24/2018

The Memoir Gift Guide: Part Two



So it's a lil' late but for any of you ultra-ultra last minute shoppers out there, or perhaps someone looking for ways to spend their incoming book tokens-here is part two of my gift guide for y'all. There's something for everyone in this fantastic four...#seewhatididthere.


the cost of living x deborah levy: I thoroughly enjoyed this book earlier in the year and I remember losing myself in its pages on many a train trip to and from work. A copy actually made its way to my cousin for her birthday a couple of months back and she loved it as well. Levy writes so candidly and brilliantly on life and loss+the pieces we pick up as we renavigate life and get on with it. She also writes beautifully on friendships of all forms and backgrounds. Definitely one to gift to your friends.

my thoughts exactly x lily allen: A candid, refreshing and poignant memoir by Lily Allen. I devoured this book over a weekend which was already dominated by a rather precarious stack of reads-all swiftly abandoned. Lily writes on motherhood, fame, the music industry, fractured family life and does it all in her trademark honest way. I was expecting to love this book, being a longtime Lily Allen fan. I even had a poster to promote her second album on my bedroom door-a win from Twitter way back in the day. Anyway, loved it-I think even people who aren't necessarily fans/followers of Lily's music would glean something from her insights.


the greatest love story ever told x megan mullally and nick offerman: You know how some people stan over Hollywood couples? This is me with Megan and Nick. You cannot not love them. They're adorable together and such talented performers and IT IS KAREN WALKER AND RON FRICKIN SWANSON ok?! Anyway, this book basically reads like a long-form, intimate interview with Megan and Nick. It is funny-oh so funny and heartwarming and I loved it. One for the comedy fans but also the perfect lil' pick-me-up for someone who may need it.

welcome home x lucia berlin: So I've probably done things a little backward by reading Berlin's memoirs first before delving into her short story collections but oh well. Published posthumously, Berlin's writings on her life and experiences growing up. The book is also interspersed with letters to her friends which I really loved reading. The ways in which she particularly writes about place and scenery are so evocative and thought-provoking. It feels very cinematic without being overexaggerated if that makes any sense. Anyway, read. Enjoy.

-That concludes my gift guide series for 2018 and what will most likely be my last blog post for 2018 as I am taking a bit of a break from the ol' Interwebs over Christmas! I hope you all have relaxing festive seasons-however you choose to spend it. Don't forget to unwind and take time for you. I'll see you all in 2019! xx

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