If you are a Parks and Rec fan, I hope you read that title in your best Donna Meagle voice. Treat yo'self 2017, am I right? Today I want to talk about one of my favourite things, paper goods. Stationery from niche and not-so-niche places. Notebooks, pens and cards for writing and creating. There's just something so magic about putting pen to paper. Ironic, given this is being typed right now but you'd all struggle to read my slightly crazy handwriting. Anyway, here are the brands and designers you need to bookmark if like me, stationery makes your heart sing...
Muji-Ahh Muji, when I visited you were packed with a lot of sweaty betties on a 30 degree Melbourne day. It was hot but we were all a determined bunch and the heat was worth it to peruse your shelves of highly covetable, useful items. My friend and fellow stationery enabler Mandy bought me back some of their 0.38 Gel Ink Pens and ballpoint pens recently so I am all set in the writing instrument department. These come in an array of colours and are such a treat to use. Like everything Muji does they are well designed. Their notebooks are fantastic too and are cheap and cheerful, especially if you get stamp-happy in store.
Papio Press-I can't take credit for this find, it was after spying them in one of Liv's gift guides that I learnt of their brilliance. Papio Press is the brainchild of husband+wife team Harry and Zanna. They are committed to supporting local businesses so all their products are made in the UK. They're also fans of green business practice so they use recycled paper and even biodegradable plastic. Their work is just beautiful and I will definitely be keeping them in mind for gifts and things this year. Weekly planners are my favourite because they let me see what I have to do each day and what is coming up across the week. I'm not an iCal person so this is perfect for me. I nabbed this floral one for myself but they also have some beautiful designs featuring red pandas, foxes or sloths if they take your fancy.
Ruby-While they may be recognised for their beautiful clothes, Ruby also have a select range of homeware and stationery that they also produce. For Christmas I received their 2017 diary from Evelyn and Carolyn over at FashioNZ. It is beautifully designed with floral motifs throughout. It even has monthly calendars you can scrawl on as well as pages for writing lists, notes and the like. This is my creative diary for 2017 and it's being well-used for planning blogging bits and pieces, as well as freelancing stories among other things.
Katie Housley Stationery-Another stationery brand which I believe was a blog find, I just cannot remember whose blog. Katie's designs are just beautiful and are so frame-worthy. Being handmade and just a little different they're the perfect thing to accompany gifts or send to your pals, just because. The cards I nabbed were all in the sale, my favourite being this bee card. I also love this birthday card and this hello flower card. Exquisite.
Daiso-Ahh Daiso, the haven of $3.50 delights and three for ten dollar treasures. Admittedly I don't really have a ton from Daiso but I love their notebooks. They're such good quality and the fact most of them have plain covers means you can customise them a bit as well if you so wish. They're not quite as good as Muji but they're a bit easier to get ahold of, in Auckland at least so I cannot complain.
-Do you have any stationery brands you particularly love? Give them a nod in the comments!
It may sound like the most gigantic of cliches but to me writing is like breathing. Words and the arrangement of them is always something that has come naturally to me. I'm not sure why, but storytelling, letter writing and just writing in general always have been things I have loved. Perhaps it is the fact that I have control over what I want to say, or in this case type. Perhaps it's the profound, lasting effect that the words and ideas can have. Words are so powerful. There is no denying that.
Lately though, I have been experiencing a bit of writer's block or writer's fatigue if you will. I am such a perfectionist when it comes to writing and this year I really want to push myself out of my comfort zone. In particular that involves different styles; poetry, diary writing and life essays are just some of the areas I want to delve into. At the same time though I do have that flicker of self doubt. What if it isn't articulate enough? What if it isn't interesting, engaging or humorous? We are so blessed to have so many gifted writers now and from the past. Lately I've been rereading some of my favourite non-fiction books to try and identify what it is I like about them so much. Not so I can copy their writing. More so I can hope to be inspired by and in turn emulate a bit of their magic. Does any of this ramble make sense? I am thinking aloud here but I think I do need to take the pressure off myself when it comes to writing. Not entirely, otherwise I'll become too relaxed and 'bae' will enter more than just my verbal dictionary*. I just think I need to write and not think about the bigger picture if I am going to be successful here. Maybe I'll publish whatever comes of these sessions. Maybe not.
Somewhere where I have been channeling a bit of creative energy though is in my FashioNZ writing. This month I published an article on Summer Beauty must-haves, for more beauty writing scroll through their archives. Seven of the twelve articles on the front beauty news page are mine. #humblebrag. I also wrote on the charming and whimsical Viktor and Rolf exhibit in Melbourne. A place where tulle, beaded dreams became a reality. This piece was one I was rather proud as punch about so I'd love it if you read it.
If you have made it this far through this post or stream of consciousness, thank you for reading. If you have any suggestions for tuning out the background noise when it comes to writing or any creative pursuit, please share them down below.
*If it ever does, know that I have had some kind of Ben Wyatt of Parks and Rec level meltdown.
I love me a good book club and while I may be slightly biased about the informal one I created on Goodreads last year I find they motivate me to explore books outside my comfort zone. It also gives me a chance to read material from new (to me) or sometimes debut authors and also discuss them with a wider circle of people. Today we have the first two books selected for my self-named book club, both exploring androgyny and to a degree, masculinity...
Descent of Man by Grayson Perry-A recommendation from Jenna Todd, store manager at Time Out and also the latest selection from Florence Welch for her book club, Between Two Books. As someone who reads a lot of feminist slanted literature, I was really intrigued by the concept of reading something about masculinity. Especially when it is complete with a recommendation from Caitlin Moran, "Grayson Perry for King and Queen of England." It looks at what it means to be masculine and a man in this day and age, as well as exploring the idea that maybe our perception and shaping of masculinity and its facets is due a reworking. I can't wait to read and eventually review this one.
The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman by Navaz Batliwalla-I saw this book when I was holidaying in Melbourne at the end of last year and regretted not grabbing it. Naturally I had to buy it when I got home. The New Garconne is written by the blogger and genius behind Disneyrollergirl which is now one of my favourite corners of the internet. She looks at the history of gentlewoman style as well as interviewing women like Bella Freud among others and then concluding with a consideration of how to achieve this look yourself. I started this book earlier in the week and I am loving it so far. Highly recommend if you're into fashion and understated, chic style
-Have you read these books? What did you think of them?
Colourpop's been an independent beauty brand I've liked and been impressed by since hearing about them on Shannon's channel and it's been a while since I made an order with them. When they had a little sale recently I decided to treat myself and picked up a few eye and lip products. Typical me right? It's hard to resist when they're so cheap and the shipping is free. Today we have part one of a two-part haul, featuring the blogger-enabled eyeshadow buy and the minis I couldn't resist...
Hello Kitty Puroland Set: The first of the lip colours here are; Tiny Chum, Milk Bottle and Mimmy which are all available separately as full sized shades. I actually wanted the minis because #1 minis are cute and #2 I am more likely to use them up and use them repeatedly. Milk Bottle and Mimmy are in Colourpop's ultra matte formula. Despite their matte quality they are so so comfy on the lips. I'd recommend applying them with a liner first just to keep things neat if you don't have a steady hand. Tiny Chum is in the ultra satin formula, which is a bit more comfortable on the lips. It just fades a bit faster which seems to be standard with lip products that don't dry down completely. All these colours are lovely but my pick of this trio is Milk Bottle, a mid tone pink.
Eye Shadow in KathleenLights-Seeing this eyeshadow on Hayley's Instagram made me want it, that and it's been one of the shades I've wanted from Kathleen's range for a while now. This bright golden copper gives me Autumn vibes but it's so vibrant and lovely. It's so beautiful and is one of those shades which I imagine would complement every eye colour.
Eyeshadow in Cat Nap-This colour was a bit of an impulse buy as it was for a good cause and while I like it, I don't love it. Don't get me wrong, Cat Nap, an icy rose gold is a beautiful colour. Maybe I just have a dud one but I find because this contains chunkier glitter particles, it doesn't mesh well with my eyelids. Translation: My oily lids vanish it into oblivion. As I said, maybe I have a dud one, maybe it's just too hot in Auckland right now to really properly assess its longevity. It's just not my favourite Colourpop eyeshadow.
Lipsticks in Lock Diary and Ribbon-The last of the colours from the Hello Kitty 'Puroland' set are both on the bolder side of things. Lock Diary, a vibrant fuschia is part of Colourpop's ultra satin lineup which may just be my new favourite lip product formula. Ribbon, a matte is an ultra rich, blue based red. Perfect for Taylor Swift fans and lovers of the fifties screen star look alike. I've not worn this colour yet, I feel like it requires a special occasion but no doubt you will hear about it if I end up liking it as much as I think I will.
-Have you tried anything from Colourpop before? What are your must-haves from their collection?
Last year truth be told I fell out of love a bit with beauty blogging. For many reasons. Rather than take things to a sour level, I want to share with you my favourite beauty products of 2016. This is by no means a comprehensive list but these are all ones that sprang to mind when I was thinking about this post. In fact I am sure I will have left some off unintentionally. These products though are the best of the best and the ones I found myself in many cases repurchasing and using time and time again.
The Primer: Hangover Primer x Too Faced is still my all-time favourite face primer. Given how moisturising it feels, you'd think my combination skin would hate it but it surprisingly doesn't. It keeps my base makeup in place for so much longer and adds just the slightest hint of glow. It feels incredibly nourishing too rather than silicone-esque or greasy. Wins all 'round. I repurchased a tube of this at Mecca Maxima in Melbourne but I am so stoked it's stocked on Mecca NZ's site now too.
The Lip Duo: Koko K x Kylie Cosmetics and MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande Lipgloss, limited edition, Kylie's lip kits certainly hit the big time this year and out of the liquid lipsticks I tried in 2016, they remain firm favourites. Koko K, inspired by Khloe Kardashian is my favourite. Paired with this beautiful, iridescent pink lipglass from MAC you have the perfect duo. The gloss adds shine and slightly tones down the matte feel of the liquid lipstick. Admittedly this duo is not windy weather friendly but for the rest of the time, it's a winner.
The Palette of Dreams: Tartelette in Bloom's palette was used on high rotation all year. In fact, out of all my powder eyeshadows, these ones are my favourite. Pigmented, vibrant and so versatile. I love the three shimmer shades inside but the mattes are all fantastic too.
The Bold Lip: Miranda May x Charlotte Tilbury mightn't be as bold to more daring makeup fans but for me, it's the shade I feel most comfortable wearing on a day to day basis. Yes it is vibrant but it is not as in your face as some of the more electric hues out there and when I want to go a touch more incognito, it's this I reach for.
The Neutral Necessity: Doe x MAC Cosmetics is part of MAC's new Liptensity lineup. It is certainly not an essential colour but I find myself using it a lot. It's one of those effortless colours and formulas that you know will last a reasonable amount of time before needing to reapply.
The Lash Enhancer: Grandiose Mascara* x Lancome has been my favourite mascara. I think I prefer the original to the newer incarnations but if there is one thing Lancome does well, it's their mascaras. Best paired with a lash curler but it's equally as curling on its own. This mascara doesn't flake or smudge like crazy which is a huge bonus in Summer+in general really. I really want to try some more of Lancome's mascaras this year so if you have any recommendations because I know they have a few, let me know.
The Base Essentials: Smashbox Primer Water* and Honey Trap Lip Balm x Lush are godsends. In fact, Lush's lip balms and scrubs are both fantastic. Anyway, Smashbox Primer Water might be luxe but my bottle is still going strong. Compared to other mists this feels a lot finer and less like it's settling on to the surface of your skin. It may be a placebo effect but I feel like it really does make makeup last a lot longer. Honey Trap lip balm is by no means an essential but I always like to prep my lips whenever I am doing makeup. It helps that it smells of vanilla and honey but as far as a lip balm goes it is pretty darn fab.
The Complexion Staple: Ambient Lighting Bronzer x Hourglass, in the shade Luminous Bronze Light has been my favourite face powder this year. It's warm but not intensely so, meaning it can be used year-round. It warms my paler skin up without looking orange and adding the slightest hint of glow, without veering into disco-ball territory. It's a bit on the pricey side of things but it's worth the money. For a cheaper alternative, I also liked the Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer for something a bit friendlier on the wallet. It's just a bit on the sheerer side of things for my liking.
The Concealer: Age Rewind x Maybelline is my absolute favourite for the under-eye area. My only qualm is that it isn't sold in NZ. It's a godsend for concealing dark circles on the eyes without creasing or looking too thick. I went through a couple of these in 2016 and made sure to repurchase another as backup when I was in Australia.
The Extras: Coco Mademoiselle x Chanel, Rejuvenate Intensive Body Balm x Aesop and Beautyblender Last but not least we have these three gems. They don't quite fit into their own categories but are all equally worth mentioning. In short, Mademoiselle was easily my most-used fragrance in 2016. If I wasn't such a fan of various fragrances, it'd be quite possibly the only one I ever use. The intensive body balm from Aesop has been such a saviour for my dry, cracked hands and elbows. It helps that it smells divine, citrusy and vanilla blended in perfect harmony. The Beautyblender might just masquerade as an overpriced sponge, thus fooling us all who are susceptible to it. As far as beauty sponges go though, this really is the best. Light, bouncy and a godsend for quick makeup application. I'd be lost without it, and have been frequently. Given my inability to not lose my sponges at least once or twice a month.
-What beauty products did you love in 2016?