Six Stocking Stuffer Books To Gift in 2018

Six Stocking Stuffer Books To Gift in 2018

'Tis almost the season for gifting and celebrating the people we love, Summer, summer fruits, summer fruit-themed drinks (ahem, frose...hello), and all that good stuff the end of the year seems to symbolise. I pride myself on my gift-giving and I'm not ashamed to admit that, however egotistical of me that may be. I do find book gifting a bit trickier but that's probably just because I am so biased and I know it. That being said, these are all books I've read in the last year or so and loved. They're all under $25 and would make perfect stocking stuffers for yourself, if you want to quite literally, treat yo'shelves or for the people in your life. Books and chocolate or books and wine or books and...whatever they fancy to accompany books. You cannot really go wrong.

devotion x patti smith: My love for Patti Smith's writing knows no bounds. She just does it so wonderfully and really evokes all I love about the nuances of day-to-day-life. The smaller details, the beauty that is art and artists and love and life. Devotion is her response to the question posed to Windham-Campbell prize recipients, that being why they write. Buy it, underline it, slip it into your pocket and wander the streets with a coffee. 

what would the spice girls do x lauren bravo: Say the words 'Spice Girls' to me and my mind instantly becomes a nostalgic, glittery, translucent accessory, yelling lyrics and "peace+pout" kind of zone. I still remember how fancy I felt with my Spice Girls Impulse spray, though I am not quite sure how I managed to wrangle that one. And not a day goes by that I don't regret getting rid of my photo collection and Spice magazines among other things. Hoarder? Pfft. Anyway, if the Spice Girls and feminism, and growing up as a woman in the years since they arrived on the scene appeals, get this. It'll make you laugh, it'll make you smile. It'll have you opening up Spice World and trying to not lip-sync along on the train. The latter definitely didn't happen, I don't know what I'm saying ahem... I loved this book so much. It's a good time.

poukahangatus x tayi tibble: Poetry is a bit more subjective but I don't know anyone who hasn't read this debut collection and not connected with it. Tayi Tibble is a force to be reckoned with and I love how she effortlessly combines pop culture with her heritage and experiences growing up. I also read and loved Hera Lindsay Bird's latest book, Pamper Me to Hell & Back as well as Indy Yelich's debut Sticky Notes. Both also by New Zealand women which I'd recommend as well for gifts.

300 arguments x sarah manguso: I was talking about this book the other day with someone and I think my enthusiasm alone was enough to convince them to go out and look for it. 300 Arguments is quite simply a spontaneous flow of ideas that read like a diary. It's a very powerful book and I found it a really clever way of writing. So much that I try to have writing sessions where I just write whatever ideas come into my head down. I don't necessarily always find nuggets of wisdom but it's a really fascinating way of writing. I'd recommend this if you like reading autobiographical essays but also books that play with the non-linear structure. 

the clothing of books x jhumpa lahiri: One for the book enthusiasts out there. An essay that looks at the way in which readers and authors connect with books and their design. It's well considered and evocative. 

ariel x sylvia plath: After The Bell Jar I feel like Ariel is probably the next most recognisable Plath title. Whether she drew inspiration from the fairy-like character in Shakespeare's The Tempest is up for debate but it's such a poignant volume. Her writing is just beautiful. I'll leave you with this line from Words; "From the bottom of the pool, fixed stars / Govern a life." 

-What books would you gift in 2018?
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Five Things: November

Five Things: November

Hello and Happy November! I hope you're all having a good start to the month. I have a new lineup of things that I've been casting my eye over lately. An iconic film, more than one nineties-fashion inspired choice and more...

A Star Is Born: So I feel like I'm well behind everyone else when it comes to watching this film. Aka, the one with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. I'm sure everything that needs to be said about this film has been covered now but it is brilliant. I laughed at the dark wit, I cried-oh how I cried, I grinned like a frickin cheshire cat whenever Ally and Jackson took the stage and played to the masses. It goes without saying that Bradley Cooper is some kind of wizard and it's evident here. The main star though is undoubtedly Lady Gaga. She absolutely kills it in this film. I was blown away by her talent and brilliance. Also this song is everything. 

Crystal Clear: I'm not sure what it is about clear accessories that seems to appeal to me. It could be the nostalgic quality, reminding me of clear, glittery jelly sandals. Perhaps it also appeals to my inner nosy parker. Anyway, when I saw the newest Deadly Ponies collection, my eyes turned heart-eyed. My favourite is the Mr Stitcher. I love the unique shape and handle as well but I think this bag would be so cute for Summer. 

You're Booked: Maybe I'm missing something but I feel like strictly book podcasts aren't really a thing. Please correct me if I am wrong. So when Daisy Buchanan announced her new podcast, taking a look at the shelves and books in some of Britain's writerly homes, I was stoked. Her first guest was Dolly Alderton so naturally it is a good 'un. Go give it a listen and subscribe here

Slides: Back in the day when I used to straighten my hair within an inch of its life, I loved me some embellished bobby pins. Anyway this year I've been on the lookout for more because I like to channel Blair Waldorf sometimes, you feel me? They remind me of Dodie Clark too-not a bad thing by any means. Anyway, I found these starry gems (see above) as well as some pearl ones at Colette x Colette Hayman and my hair accessorising dreams came true. I can't see these styles online but they were cheap as chips so I recommend heading there if you're after some bobby pins.

GIRL vs CANCER: That dreaded 'C' word. It affects us all in one way or another and it's a shit thing, let's be real. What's not shit though are these tit-tees created for the GIRL vs CANCER movement. 25% of the sales from every tee, jumper and tote go towards their partner charities for Breast Cancer in the UK. I'm eyeing up the Let Loose tee, with a design x Poppy's Papercuts for those casual Summer days. The tote is rad as well. #getinmylife

-What's on your radar in November?

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October Favourites

October Favourites

Hello, long time no blog. Whoops. I'm sorry my blogging is all over the shop but at the same time I enjoy my (almost) total lack of schedule these days. Today we have some of my favourite things during October. It was a good month for favourites, I actually edited this list down a tad because it was going to be too long. There's books, that TV show I'm a bit behind on and more...

normal people* x sally rooney: This. Book. Though. I know it's everywhere and it's getting a lot of praise but it's valid. Normal People is the story of Connell and Marianne, two teenagers who come from very different worlds. Marianne is well-off yet alienated and Connell comes from an underprivileged background, yet is well-liked and respected by his peers. We follow them from high school through to their early twenties as they navigate adulthood and university. Normal People contained some aspects which really resonated with me personally and I guess subsequently I feel more enthusiastic about this novel as a result. Sally Rooney really finetunes her characters like nobody else and I'm rather obsessed with the way she develops her characters throughout her novels. It's so brilliantly done. I highly recommend this book-I cannot stop thinking about it and I kinda regret lending my copy out because I already want to revisit it.  

sweetener x ariana grande: I'm sure this inclusion will perhaps raise some eyebrows but y'know what, I spent too long listening to music I didn't actually like and now I just embrace what I like to listen to. Life is so much better #sophiesrevelations. In seriousness, this album is a bop and I love it. It's my car soundtrack, commute soundtrack, applying makeup soundtrack. I listen to it a lot ok. Side note: thank u next is an anthem. Anyway, sweetener is a good time and I'll probably have it on high rotation for a while.

stila magnificent metals liquid eyeshadows: These eyeshadows have made their way into a few favourites posts now so I will keep this brief. Liquid, glittery goodness that lasts and looks stunning. I always receive compliments when I wear these. I'm not gonna lie-they're a bit of a mood raiser. Glitter eyeshadow just makes my heart happy y'know. 

pretty little liars: Ok so I'm a bit behind everybody else and only really discovered PLL a couple of months ago but I am hooked. So much drama, that 00's fashion, the whole thread of mystery and intrigue. Who even is A!? Don't tell me...

this really isn't about you x jean hannah edelstein: I love personal essays so much and whilst I'm still reading this volume, I had to include it here. I love books like this that I am able to immerse myself in and zone out. Free from the distractions of the world. Actually I just love reading as escapism in general but more on that another time. Anyway, if you like biographical essays as much as I do, get ahold of this. 

yu ling roller: It was this blog post by Tara that reminded me I had a jade roller I'd shoved to the side of my bathroom cabinet. It's now become one of my favourite things. One-It's a massage for my face and after a hectic day, I am all about that unwinding time. I also love using it to apply serums as well. 

-What have you loved recently?

*Review Copy

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New in Beauty: Spring 2018

New in Beauty: Spring 2018

Without sounding like a stuck record, it's been a long time since a beauty post has graced this corner of the interwebs. So it was high time that was remedied. I haven't bought a ton of new beauty bits recently, although I have my eye on a couple of things. Namely skincare. Who have I become... In seriousness, I'm pretty happy with what's in my metaphorical beauty cabinet, more like dresser drawer and bathroom cupboard. That and I'd rather spend my money on books and coffee. No really. Anyway, enough waffling, on with the beauty...

Hair x Sam McKnight, 'Lazy Girl' dry shampoo: I've wanted to try Sam McKnight's products after hearing some of my favourite British beauty vloggers singing their praises but it was this post of Liv's that sold it for me. Side note, lazy girl+dry shampoo=the epitome of my attitude to haircare. That's not a secret by the way, I openly discuss that laziness with my hairdresser. Anyway, god I love this. No white cast, beautiful scent and it just gives your hair a bit of a zhoosh. Can you tell I have been watching Queer Eye. Anyway, Lazy Girl dry shampoo-a++ recommend. 

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs & Rosewater: These facial sprays are the quintessential Mecca Maxima staple here in NZ and Aus. No really, I feel like they're what everyone gravitates towards because they are so cheap and cheerful. Anyway, I decided I needed a new facial spritz and a friend of mine recommended this one to me. Apparently you can use it as a setting spray for makeup too but I like to use it morning and night for a bit of a hydrating pick-me-up. It helps that it smells lovely also but I'll definitely get the larger bottle next time. 

Makeup Revolution XSoph Eyeshadow Palette*: Farmers are killin' it in the high-street priced beauty department right now, with Makeup Revolution joining their ranks recently. Biased slash narcissistic but I love the name of this palette. At 24.50 it's friendly on the wallet too. The palette itself contains 14 matte and ten shimmer eyeshadows. The mattes are fantastic. I found them a dream to work with. They didn't have a ton of fallout and were strong in the pigment stakes. The shimmers were a bit disappointing. I had to really dampen my eyeshadow brush in order to intensify the pigment and they just took a bit too much work for my liking. Apart from that, I have no real qualms with this palette. The mattes in particular are up there with more highly priced palettes. 

Makeup Revolution Conceal+Define Concealer*: Ok admittedly this is the one product I haven't used enough to form a concrete opinion on but I have switched it into my makeup bag to have a lil' experiment with so if it delivers, I shall report back.

MAC Powder Kiss lipstick in Fall In Love: I seem to go through phases of loving matte lipsticks. Right now I am loving them so when I saw MAC had a new formula out, one that promised comfort and longevity, I was intrigued. Rather than opt for my usual, staple nude, I decided to go for the fuschia. I do love me a bold pink lipstick and this one doesn't disappoint. It is also beverage-friendly, i.e. I can drink my coffee and it won't vanish. Yes that's a priority nowadays... Anyway, lovelovelove this shade and formula. 

Makeup Revolution Renaissance Lipstick*: Yass, I love this luxe packaging. Rose gold is a winner too. Packaging aside, I love this lipstick. I did find it a little bit drying but it's nothing a quick swipe of balm cannot fix. I love their affordable price tag too. I feel like here in NZ there aren't many lipsticks around that are this inexpensive. 

-What beauty products have you loved lately?

*PR Sample
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What I've Read In Spring

What I've Read In Spring

New season, new books, new ideas. You get the gist. Spring is here and as the end of the year fast approaches, a flurry of new releases make their way onto the shelves. You'll notice there's a few memoirs in the mix because I am nothing if not a creature of habit. There's also some poetry, fiction and a book making headlines for all the right reasons...

The Private Life Of Elizabeth II x Michael Paterson: So I'm clearly filling the void whilst waiting for The Crown Season 3 but also I've been wanting to read a book about the Queen for ages. They're just for the most part very lengthy and incredibly dense so when I saw this in the library, alongside the words 'brief history' my interest was piqued. I'm not sure if it's because of the length, or the way it's broken down by time period but this book is so engaging and interesting. 

Where Am I Now? x Mara Wilson: A reread of one of my all time favourite books. Yes, I'm still a little bitter I didn't get to any of Mara's sessions at the Melbourne Writers Fest. Moving swiftly along. I've already written on this book a number of times so I won't go on about it now. Instead, I'll direct you here and here. Mara is such a gifted storyteller and I recommend this book to people all the time. Yes she's 'the girl from Matilda' but she's so much more than that.

She Must Be Mad x Charly Cox: My long-distance blogging pal, Sandrine loves this book so I had high hopes for it. It does not disappoint. Poetry's so subjective but this is easily one of my favourite volumes of poetry I've read in 2018. Relatable, real, wise. One for the ladies in your life.

Outline x Rachel Cusk: Cusk's trilogy has been on my radar for a little while, admittedly I gravitated towards the surrealist vibes that the cover designs give off. Outline is a story told through ten conversations. Actually it feels wrong to call it a story because it's the dialogue that keeps it moving. If you're a fan of linear, conventional writing, this may not be for you. The lack of plot made it a little frustrating to follow at times though to be fair, I was reading a few different books alongside this so that may partially be my fault. I did enjoy this book and its lack of conventionality but I didn't love it. I'll definitely be devoting more focused reading time to Transit, book two though. 

Normal People* x Sally Rooney: This. Novel. Though. I feel like everybody is talking about this book, more so now it's been released but it did receive a fair bit of advanced praise. Normal People was also longlisted for the Man Booker prize this year so that's amazing. Sally Rooney doesn't need much of an introduction around these parts because you all already know I love her work. Her previous novel was one of my favourite reads of 2017. This book centres on two characters, Connell and Marianne. We meet them as they reach the end of their high school years and follow them through to university and the early twenty-something times. I love how Sally really shines a microscopic lens on the nuances and finer details that make up the relationships that shape our lives. She does it so vividly and so brilliantly. The latter part of the novel really moved me and yes, in true Sophie fashion one particular passage did make me tear up. This is easily one of the best novels I've read in 2018 and I will be returning to it at some point because I loved it that much.

Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies*, curated x Scarlett Curtis: The newsmaker of this bunch, you may have seen how Topshop's problematic behaviour surrounding this title generated a wave of conversation. Even before then this book was going to make an impact. Scarlett, alongside 52 women share their thoughts on the 'f' word. The word, idea and very notion that still makes some people uncomfortable. Even in 2018. Admittedly I've been skimming this due to time constraints but what I have been reading is so inspiring. Stand-outs for me so far include Evanna Lynch and Jameela Jamil's essay but the entire book is laden with gems. Again, another for all the ladies in your life. It's also supporting a worthy cause as all royalties from each copy sold go towards Girl Up

My Thoughts Exactly x Lily Allen: This book surprised me. I knew it was going to be good, I mean I'm a Lily Allen fan since way back. I wasn't expecting it to be so real and refreshing. Actually, given the confessional nature of Lily's songwriting that probably shouldn't be surprising. Anyway Lily in particular paints a very interesting picture of fame and the music industry from the other side. She also writes about feminism, friendship, her family, fame, motherhood and her own struggles with depression and addiction. I tried to stagger my reading of this but it was just too dang good and I wanted to read more of it. Again, another of the best books I've read in 2018 and one I will return to. I kinda want to listen to the audiobook next though. 

-What have you read recently?

*Review Copy

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