October Favourites

October Favourites

It's that time of the month again and I've got quite the favourites lineup here. There could have easily been about five or six more things included but I managed to edit it down to the true staples. Okay the music inclusion may be cheating a bit as I only acquired it five days ago but it deserves a mention. As well as music there's a book I'm recommending to everyone, some beauty+body bits and even a fashion item...

H&M Bag-New Zealand, Auckland specifically acquired its first H&M store at the beginning of this month, as well as Zara. Finally. This was one of my buys as I wanted a smaller bag to take out and about that wasn't a tote. It's nothing fancy, just a black bag with gold zip detailing and some tassels. I love it though and it fits all the essentials; my wallet, keys, phone and a little makeup bag I carry around. 

Lush Sugar Plum Fairy Lip Scrub-The kings and queens of Christmas body+pamper gifts, Lush in other words, dropped their Christmas releases into stores at the beginning of this month and they are not disappointing. More on that some other time. Today though I have to mention this new lip scrub. It smells like The Comforter and jelly lollies. Delicious in other words. Aside from its scent blessing properties, it also does a good jobs of restoring my Winter damaged, read; dry, cracked and gross lips to tip-top condition. 

Joanne x Lady Gaga-It's possibly cheating a bit to include this as it was only released last week but I'm justifying it because I know it's just as likely to have been in November's favourites too. I have to confess, I wasn't a fan of ARTPOP, not in its entirety at least. This album however is like Gaga's revival. She's collaborated with producer Mark Ronson on many of the tracks, Ronson is famous for working with the late, great Amy Winehouse among other artists. It's a match made in music heaven basically. I'd say it has some country influences in the mix and also pop+rock vibes throughout. Oh and there's a track with Florence Welch and Lady Gaga which my eighteen year old self would have been crying tears of excitement over. Heck, my twenty-something self loves it. My favourite tracks right now are; John Wayne, Million Reasons, Hey Girl, Joanne and Grigio Girls. It's all fantastic though. Give it a listen.

Korres Santorini Vine Showergel-Whilst I was away housesitting earlier in the month this came with me and it's become my new favourite showergel. Move aside, The Comforter. It's kinda tropical, kinda fruity but not overpowering. It's a bit lighter than something like the shower creams from Lush but I like that about it, it's more suited to the Summer months. I'll definitely be investing in the full sized soon. I like it that much. 

Bobbi Brown Retouching Wand*-The unexpected favourite, without a doubt is this product. It has not left my bag(s) at all this month. The shade Light is perfect for me and doesn't contrast wildly with any other base product I might use. It's super easy to blend, with either a brush or fingers and is great for on the go touchups. It's going to get a lot of use come Summertime when makeup just seems to evaporate. 

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson-If the fact this book has made its way into another blog post this month isn't stressing just how much I love it, I don't know what will. Perhaps the fact I read it twice this month further reiterates it. It's beautifully written and is the kind of book I can imagine myself returning to again and again. There's something special about it that I cannot quite articulate in words. Just go read it and let me know what you think about it.

Aesop Rejuvenate Intensive Body Balm-Super hydrating, super luxurious, super lush and vanilla+sandalwood-y. That sentence summarises this balm really. I lovelovelove it and will pray that Aesop never discontinue it. If you want to read less condensed ramblings about it, head here

-What have you loved during October?

*PR Sample
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The Spring Book Haul, Part One

The Spring Book Haul, Part One

It's been a while since I did a book haul, although really I use my secondary Instagram for that. I've just not filmed one for a while and honestly I just don't want to force myself to film for the sake of it, lest it become...forced. Anyway, in the interim I will be compiling book hauls here instead. This is the first part, there's a lot of books to get through. Here we have some novels, a book of essays and an unexpectedly inspiring read...

Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith-This book is my most recent purchase. I nabbed it last weekend in Wellington from Unity Books. I really enjoy reading writer's essays, they just really appeal to me. I love great writing in general but more so longer form essays about people's lives and experiences. Anyway, Zadie Smith's book spoke to me. There's essays on books, film, an excellent one on the Oscars and a bunch of others. This book will be coming with me on my travels next month. It's the perfect size for taking on the plane and slipping under my arm with a morning cup of coffee. Pre-romanticising my holiday, obviously..

Autumn* by Ali Smith-Here we have November's book club read. It's actually a novel, although I think I am the only one who seemed to think it was a collection of short stories. Like any of Smith's novels, this one sounds really intriguing. "Ali Smith's new novel is a meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means. This first in a seasonal quartet casts an eye over our own time. Who are we? What are we made of? " Keep an eye out for my review next month. Oh, and if you want to know what December's book is, we will be reading this book. 

Bloom* by Estee Lalonde-I'm not going to say much about this book because it's featuring quite heavily in a post next month. What I will say though is I really liked it and it did not disappoint. Estee's done an amazing job.

Swing Time* by Zadie Smith, available November 15th-The second of my Zadie Smith haulings is her latest novel which is out next month and I imagine will be on many a Christmas wishlist. This book is the story of two women who want to be dancers, only one has the talent to take it to the next level. It's a "close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited but never quite forgotten." I'm sure we can all relate to the breakdown or ending of a relationship for whatever reason. It sucks, on a side note. So I'm sure this book's going to draw a lot of people in and in turn inspire a lot of discussion. 

Two By Two* by Nicholas Sparks-It has been a while since I've read a Nicholas Sparks book. If you are familiar with the books or screen adaptations of his work, you'll know they have the tendency to rip your heart out and smash your emotions to shreds. Okay, maybe they aren't as dramatic as that, but the few I have read seem to have that effect. Going off the plot summary for this one it sounds like it perhaps may not be as heavy-hitting as something like The Notebook or The Last Song but that assumption may end up being totally wrong. We shall see..

-What have you read lately?

*Review copy
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5 Things I'm Currently Loving

5 Things I'm Currently Loving

Why hello and happy Wednesday. Academia is slowly eating my brain so today I have a list of experiences and digital things I have been loving lately. Netflix, creative women and fabulous drag queens, there's something for everybody...

The return of Lorelai and Rory-Advanced apologies if I become that person who gets far too overexcited about the four episodes of Gilmore Girls coming to Netflix. In fact, I know I will be that person because I am already excited. It's basically like a pre-Christmas for me and is going to soften the blow of Summer School. Anyway, naturally the pop culture hub that is Buzzfeed are excited too and compiled this list of the must-have foods we need to make our Netflix experience more Lorelai and Rory worthy. While some may be a bit harder to track down in the Southern Hemisphere, you can sure as heck bet I will be loading up on American snacks and coffee. 

Beauty adventures and free sample paradise-Rosalind Jana is fast becoming one of my favourite writers and I really enjoyed this piece she penned about makeup in her adolescence and the beauty bag of treasures she obtained from the magazines. It made me nostalgic and also made me smile as I reminisced about the similar habits I had back in the days. If you've grown up loving beauty and the tools that accompany it, you'll relate to this.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert-Last week I was lucky enough to attend the first show of Priscilla's return season here in Auckland* and oh my goodness, it did not disappoint. It is safe to say Lucie and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, as did the rest of the audience. I have never seen an audience come alive like that during a show. It was something else. It's had a bit of a makeover this time around, I think it is closer to the Broadway adaptation than the original Australian production but I like that. It gives it new life and colour, especially with the updated soundtrack. It is just as hilarious, just as fun and just as amazing, especially in the costume stakes. If you want a fun night out, it's on until the 13th of November so go see it. You will not regret it. 

Haters Back Off-This is turning into a bit of a Netflix love letter unintentionally. Miranda Sings aka Colleen Ballinger's new series debuted at the end of last week and I am loving it. Honestly at first I thought it was going to be a bit of a letdown and I have only watched two episodes thus far but I am loving them. It's lighthearted, funny and just really cleverly done. Colleen and everyone else involved have done an awesome job. If you're a Mirfanda and there are a lot of them out there now, you need to see this. Do it. 

Mara Wilson in conversation with Emma Gannon-Mara Wilson's written what is easily one of my favourite books of the year and I loved Emma Gannon's too. What happens when you put two inspiring women like this together is all kinds of magic. Emma interviewed Mara ahead of her book's release and the conversation is well worth a listen. If you are not already subscribed to this podcast, I highly suggest you change that. 

-What have you been loving lately?

*Tickets provided c/o Auckland Live.

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Stories and Poetry

Stories and Poetry

This year has really rekindled my enthusiasm for poetry. When we think about it, poetry is just music without an audible melody so it's surprising in a way that it has taken me this long to re-immerse myself in it. It also seems to have really ignited my passion and enthusiasm for reading a wide range of literature as well. It's not a secret that I have always been a reader but this year it seems to have gone to a whole new level, when I'm not distracted by Parks and Rec and re-watching old series on Netflix of course. So for book club this month, I set aside two books to read. Both were highly anticipated, by me and both were ones I'd been hanging out to read for a long time. They did not disappoint...

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson-Like many a child of the nineties I was a fan of Mara Wilson. Matilda still is one of my favourite films and probably always will be and of course I have a lot of love for Mrs Doubtfire. In more recent times I found her blog on Tumblr and then discovered she had quite the amazing Twitter account. Where Am I Now? Is a series of essays from Mara on topics such as her accidental stardom, show choir, anxiety and depression and more. It also includes this poignant essay she wrote about Robin Williams which did the rounds in the weeks following his passing. Think of this book as less of a tell-all, scandalous read and more of a reflective, engaging collection of stories and experiences from Mara's life thus far. In amongst her stories of growing up on film sets, there are also snippets of her life that are really relatable and it is that connectedness which makes this book truly special. I loved this so much that I have read it twice already and will no doubt return to it again and again. It is fantastic.

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur-This is another book that is extremely special. As Laura put it in her post, "if there's only one book you read this year, make it this one. It will rip you to shreds." Kaur's collection of poetry is split into four sections; the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. It deals with love, loss, abuse and the beauty in learning to heal and reemerge from moments of darkness. You will want to return to this regularly, dog-ear passages and underline lines that speak to you. Reading this is quite an overwhelming experience, in the best kind of way. milk and honey is a book I will be gifting and recommending for years to come.

-Have you read either of these books? What did you think of them?

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The Girl On The Train-The Book, The Movie & A Giveaway

The Girl On The Train-The Book, The Movie & A Giveaway

There's been a change in literature and film recently, one I am really welcoming. We are seeing women in much more complex roles. Gender disparities are being challenged and the story lines on offer go beyond that of your standard rom-com. I despise that term by the way, I'm just applying it for the sake of this post. Gillian Flynn is one of the game-changers writing about multifaceted women but she has a challenger in the form of Paula Hawkins, author of last year's bestseller and beach/pass copies to all your friends read, The Girl on the Train

I only got around to reading this book last month but I intentionally waited so it was fresh before I saw the film. I devoured this book, not quite as quickly as I did Gone Girl thanks to assignments and things but still fast nonetheless. It tells the story of Rachel, an alcoholic separated from her husband yet still fixated on him and her former married life. Each day she catches the train and observes her old life and that of the people she doesn't know. After the disappearance of a local woman and Rachel's lack of recollection from the night of her last sighting, she begins to wonder if she was involved. I will leave that summary there, lest I ruin it for anybody. I absolutely raced through this book. It had such a varied list of suspects, given the book shifted through three different voices and while I did come close to the final outcome, I had many other theories that were competing. One thing that did bother me a little bit was the changing perspectives. I think Rachel's point of view works best in the book but otherwise I really enjoyed this one. 

Now on to the movie, I was lucky enough to attend a preview screening for this before it was released and I was excited. Not only for the film but also because Emily Blunt, one of my all-time favourite actresses was in it. The key difference between the book and the film was that the book was set in New York. Honestly I don't feel like it makes a huge difference really. Otherwise this adaptation was extremely faithful to the book and any changes made only served to enhance the plot. Unlike the book, I feel like the three intertwining stories of Megan, Anna and Rachel all play out much better on screen. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I was still tense watching it and felt edgy in places. I really, really loved the movie though. Emily Blunt is amazing as Rachel. She's such a versatile actress anyway but she really shines in this movie. Fingers crossed she gets the recognition for it come awards season. 

Now for the fun part, NZ readers, I have one double pass to give away to see The Girl on the Train* and one which I am giving away on my Instagram. To enter, you just need to tell me your favourite book to film adaptation in the comments below. This giveaway will close next Thursday the 20th of October and I will contact the winners later that day to arrange posting the passes to you. For additional entries, fill in the Rafflecopter box below and comment over on Instagram too. Good luck!

*Double passes supplied by Trigger World. This giveaway is in no way sponsored and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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