Six Lessons For Twenty-Somethings

Six Lessons For Twenty-Somethings

Hello fellow twenty-somethings or just anyone who happens to be perusing this post, hoping for my incredibly poignant wisdom. Ahem. Somehow I am over halfway through my twenties now which the longer I mull that over, the scarier it gets. Well not, 'scary' per se, just...alarming I guess. Anyway this is a post that has been sitting in my drafts for a while. I feel like the twenties are such an overwhelming time sometimes. There's a lot of expectations versus reality kind of stuff happenin'. You say a rather swift goodbye to childhood and it feels like "what the heck am I doing?!" Maybe that's just melodramatic old me...Anyway anyway, today I thought I'd share six things I've learnt so here we go...

It's okay to ask for help: Gosh dang do I need to really take my own advice here sometimes. I think with adulting there comes this stigma that everyone; has their shit together and/or knows what they're doing. The reality, I don't think anyone ever does have it entirely down pat. At least nobody I have met. If you ever find yourself struggling, in whatever sense-ask for help. It's okay to! And honestly it's better than sitting around feeling like the epitome of that confused, bulging-eyes emoji. Whether that be talking it out with a friend/texting as it may be (if you're reading, sorry for the spam), or speaking to a professional (counsellor, for instance), it all helps.

Be selfish: Say no more, ditch after-work drinks if you'd rather just get home and throw your heels off in favour of Netflix and a glass of wine. Take time for you. You are your own best friend and hopefully not your worst enemy. Long story short, be selfish and kinder to yourself. Don't spread yourself too thinly. Don't try to please everyone at the detriment of your own happiness. 

Listen more: One of my good, much wiser friends likes to bestow their life hacks upon me on the regular. Often without me asking. Don't tell them but their advice is brilliant. Actually in an age where there is noise everywhere, listen more. Write down the inspirational things people say, or the one-liners that make you laugh. Take it all in. Be present. *Side note: I am sorry this wasn't meant to get all preachy so fast but you get the gist*.

Read whatever you want: Listen to whatever you want, watch whatever you want.  I promise there are less stigmas attached to this "stuff" (oh look at me go with my The Devil Wears Prada references). Nobody really cares so you do YOU. Well maybe there's some silent judgement but just tune it out.

A bath/shower at the end of a long day, no matter how stressful, is the best: Followed by books, music, scented candles, eye masks. Whatever floats your boat. It may not cure everything and anything but it's a pretty fail-safe method to at least temporarily shift your focus, I have found. 

Friends are worth more than a handful of likes on a photo that will hold someone's focus for all of a few seconds: I know it is so so easy to compare your behind the scenes to others highlight reels. Nobody's lives are a blend of rose breakfasts, aesthetically pleasing decor (I bet there's a pile of laundry and tousled sheets out of shot), luxe lip balm and the other toppings on the dessert that is curated digital life. Your friends who know you, beyond the pixels are worth so much more than a handful of likes on a photo. Also comparison is the thief of joy and there's nothing like some very real talk with my girlfriends to remind me how twisted the online sphere can make all this seem. Life=what is lived beyond the lenses. 

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Women + Their Books: Looking Back

Women + Their Books: Looking Back

Hello and welcome back to (almost) a new year of Women+Their Books. Before we dive in to a fresh new bunch of interviews and recommendations this year, I thought I'd invite some of my past interviewees back to share some books they've loved from 2018 and over the holiday season. Just to mix things up a notch, I've roped in some of my friends as well. So read on, find some new recommendations and enjoy! 

Amy: / I loved The Call of the Weird x Louis Theroux. I've always been obsessed with his out-there documentaries of fascinating subgroups and reading him follow up his biggest stories was a real pleasure.  / I re-read Plain Truth x Jodi Picoult along with two new books: Every Breath x Nicholas Sparks (not my favourite of his to be honest) and Bringing Up Bebe x Pamela Druckerman-which I found fascinating because I'm a complete francophile. 

Daisy: / I read so many books I adored in 2018, and it's really difficult to single one out. I'd have to give a special mention to my best friend, Lauren Bravo and her brilliant book What Would The Spice Girls Do? I am a profoundly proud pal and I can't wait for her to write the next one. It's a thorough, tender and meaningful book about a subject that is often overlooked. Pop culture for young women and how young women draw strength from it and learn to celebrate themselves. It's a book about the power of loving something bigger than yourself, and it's an enormously uplifting book to read during a dark time globally. / Over Christmas I read Ayisha Malik's This Green and Present Land, coming in June. I think it's brilliant-it's a book about humanity at its best and worst, the power of standing together and the way that hate is often rooted in fear. It's also funny, and has characters you really fall in love with. There is an unexpected friendship that blooms gorgeously, I felt very invested. Also Lucy Vine's utterly wonderful Are We Nearly There Yet. Lucy writes heavenly anti rom coms for smart readers, they should come with a free oxygen mask because I laughed so hard I think I saw my whole life flash before my eyes. This is her best yet.

Emma: / Normal People x Sally Rooney. I read this over a long weekend and I was in absolute bliss as I got absorbed in the story. Sally Rooney's writing is unique to anything I've read before and there's something about it that just hooks me in. This was more than a love story, it explored a special connection between two people and depicted the reality of romantic relationships. I rather liked the gloomy aspects of this book, too. For me it's a book everyone should try reading. / I read Not Quite Perfect x Annie Lyons which was an amusing contemporary and something very light to see me through the sunny days. I also read The Keeper of Lost Things x Ruth Hogan which was a cosy and charming read, which again was nice and light, nothing too trivial!

Eve: Normal People x Sally Rooney was by far my favourite book of last year. Highly recommend reading this poignant snapshot of life and love as a young person in the modern world.

Leigh: Amish Confidential x "Lebanon" Levi Stoltzfus. People are always interested or frustrated in things they don't understand. A few years ago I watched the Discovery show 'Amish Mafia' with relish as it was a documentary reality series about a culture I didn't understand. Following the series is this book written by Stoltzfus who shares his frank insiders view of the intriguing and secretive society. The chapters draw you in to a life of family, shunning, sadness to the most high profile news that rocked the world, that of the Nickel mines shooting, kidnapping and drug+gang related affairs. When you look beyond the buggies, beards, bonnets, lack of power or photography, you will discover a community that are remarkable for their random acts of kindness and a level of forgiveness. 

Sandrine: / Other than Everything I Know About Love (the obvious choice haha) I was happy to discover Curtis Sittenfeld's writing in 2018. Her novel, Prep and her collection of short stories, You Think It, I'll Say It were brilliant and I simply couldn't put them down. I found her way to address social class and gender roles very refreshing. / I love reading over the Christmas break while cosying up in a blanket and looking at the snow outside. I read an advance copy of Sonya Lalli's The Macthmaker's List, finished reading Tina Brown's masterpiece The Vanity Fair Diaries, read Laura Weir's Cosy: The British Art of Comfort in one sitting and attempted to read Austen's Persuasion. I also read Prep, mentioned above. 

Vita: / How To Write An Autobiographical Novel x Alexander Chee was a real standout for me in 2018. I found the things Chee had to say about his life were incredibly heartbreaking and beautiful in equal measure. / Over my break I read Conversations With Friends x Sally Rooney and Bluets x Maggie Nelson. Very different books but I'd recommend them both. Rooney is a wonderful writer but I'm not sure I can say I loved Conversations as much as some. Bluets I read in a day, lying in the sun and I loved it. It's one of those little books that you can return to at different moments and gain something new from, which I love.

-I hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you to all my past contributors and friends for coming back to take part in this lil' Q&A fest-and of course for sharing your reading recommendations! Keep reading for details on past Women+Their Books guests.

Amy shares details from her life and exquisite photography over at @teaandsage on Instagram.

Daisy Buchanan is the author of the brilliant book How To Be A Grown Up and hosts the You're Booked podcast. Her second book, The Sisterhood is released in March. NZ Friends: Go pre-order it from Time Out like I have. 

Emma is the blogger and creator of playlists you should seek out over at Emma Etc. 

Sandrine runs the fashion and lifestyle blog, iamsandrine. A self-confessed Dolly Alderton fangirl, she is about to make the move across the world to London. 

Vita aka @exlibrisvita on Instagram shares her dreamy photography and pictures of books and Wellington and brilliant reviews. Vita if you are reading, please start a blog! 
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Five Things: February

Five Things: February

Just like that it is February! A frenzy of heat, a need for frozen drinks and ice-blocks, foundation slides off, fun times. And of course five things for February; Florence, reads and some blog posts you need to give a peruse. Let's go...*

Florence: Wednesday night was one of music and hope and Florence freakin' Welch. I went to her High As Hope tour whilst it was in Auckland and it was magic. I've seen Florence a few times live now and this was definitely my favourite performance. She turns Spark Arena in to an intimate venue, despite the crowds of thousands who appear to see her. She danced and flitted across her stage, as is trademark for her and encouraged us all to never give up hope and lose sight of what we love. And I cried. And then of course she sung Patricia and spoke about that song and I cried. It's a wonder the glitter eyeshadow didn't come sliding right off really. The long and short of this story? See the artists you love live. It's worth every penny.

Books to pre order: 2019 is looking hella good for books and upcoming titles. Our shelves are blessed. My wallet is cursed. Cursed I tell you. My shelves and mind though are blessed. Okay musings aside, here are the books I think y'all should order and pre-order that are releasing in 2019. Well some of them. *I Used to Be Charming x Eve Babitz, *Daisy Jones & The Six x Taylor Jenkins Reid, *A Love Story for Bewildered Girls x Emma Morgan, *The Sisterhood x Daisy Buchanan.

Living Abroad: My international blogger babe Sandrine is about to move to London, lucky lady. While she gets ready to travel across the world, she interviewed some like-minded ladies who have all lived abroad. As someone who has lived in the same city and town even, most of their life, I find it really fascinating reading about people's experiences moving overseas. If you want to read the series, and you should because there are some great tips in there, head here

Seasons of Friendship: Maddy published a brilliant piece this week on surviving the loss of friendships and it really hit home. Whether that be a childhood friend you have drifted from, or one of your first friends you made post-school, losing friends feels kinda shitty. As a sensitive soul I feel like the painful, almost heart achingly awful side of it does affect me more than I like it to. Then again, friendship is so much more valuable in quality, not quantity. Anyway, go read her post here

Marie Kondo Your Makeup: Cass shared this brilliant post about decluttering your makeup and it inspired me to get quite ruthless with what was left of my makeup last weekend. It's so satisfying. While I am not totally on board with Marie Kondo and her ways, ahem, her book philosophy, I do appreciate the general gist of it. Side note, I wish you could Marie Kondo memories. Anyway, great post that demands to be read. And have a squiz at Cass's new blog design. It is dreamy.

*I blame Lin-Manuel Miranda for my sudden adoption of this phrase. 

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January Favourites

January Favourites

The beginning of the year has been a good month for favourites-new and old. From Summer must-haves, to earrings and the rest. Here's what I've been loving throughout January...

Self Tanning Foam  x Bondi Sands: I am a tanning NOVICE. I still make mistakes with it all the time but this product is a godsend. It's so quick and easy to use. It doesn't go streaky, it dries fast. I love it. Sure, I am not the best at applying it and give some of my friends great entertainment as a result. I am getting there though. If it makes my legs less 'translucent' then I am willing to persevere. 

Caramel Hydrating Lip Balm and Sugar Lip Polish x Fresh: I'm not sure if this heat or the matte lipsticks I seem to love are making my lips yuck*. This duo is setting about mending that though. I love this sugar scrub because it feels a lot gentler and is almost a touch balmy on the lips. The caramel balm though is the best! Not too heavy, or sticky and deliciously scented. It legit smells like butterscotch lollies and I LOVE it.

Florida x Lauren Groff: I really struggle with short story collections but lately I've found myself gravitating to them. Lauren Groff's collection, all set in Florida feature a host of flawed characters. As the unpredictable, heat-ridden, sometimes crocodile-laden landscape waxes and wanes around them, so too do their lives begin to unravel. With Groff's writing, you know that things are going to get grotesque but in a vivid, evocative way. I set myself the task of reading one story a day but oftentimes I'd find myself reaching to turn the pages on another story. Honorary mention for books this month: Winter** x Ali Smith, see my review here

Gold Earrings x Lovisa: Props to my friend Eve for the influencing here. Lately I've become kinda obsessed with gold earrings. These hoops are lush and I've been wearing them somewhat obsessively since buying them. Also on high rotation in the hoop side of things are my Hydrangea Ranger hoops, similar here

Caramel Melange Voyager Palette x Zoeva: Gosh dang Zoeva shadows are good. Like one swipe and you could be done levels of good. I love these shades. Paired with pressed glitter and lashings of liner and mascara. As JVN would say, "yass honey!"

Gratitude Journal x Kikki K: I'm sure gratitude journals are one of those things some people may find a little strange but I am all for them. Also for positivity in 2019. Anyway, this Kikki K one is designed so each day you write out three things you are grateful for. I am not going to lie, some days this comes more effortlessly than others. That being said I always make sure I do this each day, regardless of my mood, the day's events etc. Small steps but it's also a way to remember the smaller nuances of life you may otherwise forget. 

The Twenties Club: My go-to website for beauty, politics, fashion and basically, everything. If this twenty-something wants to read about it, Madeleine is bound to have an article already prepared for that. There's always fresh new things to read and I highly recommend you give her site a visit and subscribe to the newsletter whilst you are there.

-What have you loved during January?

*For lack of a better word.

**Review copy.

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The Writing Project: January '19

The Writing Project: January '19

So writing is a pivotal part of my life and for an age I've wanted to take it more seriously. I mean, in short, your girl wants to be published. I want to have my own book someday too but small steps. Anyway, I thought this year as a way to hold myself a bit more accountable, I'd share what I am up to with my writing. That and I thought for any other creative folk out there this might be interesting to see. And hey, it'll be even cooler if some of these things go a bit further than my notebooks and pixels...

what i've done in january: I've submitted two story pitches to different publications which is an achievement in itself because just this part in the process can be a bit nerve-wracking for me. I'm going to write them out in full beyond the rough outlines I submitted at some point. I also made a list of articles/columns/etc that I want to write. These are ideas I've had in the notes of my phone/rattling around in my brain for a while now. On the more personal side of things, I've done diary writing and also my gratitude journal every day. 

works in progress: At this point in time, nothing though I need to get on top of another pitch over the long weekend. I also want to start meshing out a longer form story this weekend. Seeing as it's a long weekend and all that.

next month: I want to have two autobiographical essays written. If you know me, you'll know I love this style of writing. I actually wrote a list of potential essays which again are hiding somewhere in one of my devices. I also want to maybe write some more poetry. I have written one poem called Nowhere Girl-title is a bit of a cheeky play on the name of a Beatles song but it needs a bit of tightening before I share it anywhere. 

*I hope you enjoyed some insight in to my writing dreams! Do you have a creative goal for 2019? Share it in the comments-maybe we can start a motivational thread going.
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