The Summer TBR: Part One
11/25/2019

The Summer TBR: Part One




Hey, hi! It's been a hot minute, has it not? I have no real explanation other than "life" but enough of that. Today I thought I'd share some new books to my shelves that will be going down a treat this Summer. Whether that be poolside, under a shady tree in the sun or maybe first thing in the morning, with the windows wide open and the breeze cascading through. Bliss. This is a two-parter because as you all well and truly know by now, I read a lot. There's short stories, essays and even a hot girl Summer accessory of choice. Keep reading...

Grand Union* x Zadie Smith: Ok, first and foremost-why did nobody tell me Zadie Smith and Jia Tolentino were in conversation in Melbourne this month? Not cool guys. FOMO and secondhand regrets aside, luckily for us Zadie has dropped her first short story collection. It's been a while since I read some Zadie fiction, having recently read her essays across various titles. I am really looking forward to reading and luxuriating in its pages over Summer.

I Used To Be Charming x Eve Babitz: Ah, Eve Babitz. How I love thee. This latest collection ties together more of her nonfiction work. There's essays about posing for that infamous Julian Wasser photo and the titular essay about the tragic accident that led to her retreat from the spotlight. And everything in between. Hollywood. Eve's muses. Her circle. Art. Life. I am saving this to read when I have finished some other nonfiction books I have on loan/my review pile but I will keep you posted.


Sport, Issue 47: The 'hot girl Summer' literary staple of 2019. Sport, a compilation of writing from some of New Zealand's brightest voices. This volume is guest edited and curated by Tayi Tibble. I have only read her fantastic opener, check that out here but I am looking forward to reading more of this volume. Especially Joy Holley's work but also Rebecca Hawkes and Freya Daly Sadgrove. Another I am saving for the Summer season. 

Little Weirds x Jenny Slate: I have to give thanks to Jay for recommending this to me and while I am most familiar with Jenny from her role as Mona Saperstein on Parks+Rec, I have to say this book has me really excited. I have only started this one today but it's lyrical and exquisite. Definitely don't pass it by.

Whose Story Is This* x Rebecca Solnit: I also love me some Solnit. Her essays never bore me and are always topical but with a sense of timelessness to them. I still think about an essay about Trump as the classic fairytale villain from her last essay volume quite often. So suffice to say I am really looking forward to getting into this soon as well.

-What are you looking forward to reading over Summer?

*Review Copy


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Five Things: November
11/13/2019

Five Things: November



Hey, hi. It's November. WTAF. No really. Today in keeping with tradition and my excellent timeliness*, we have five things for November. Music, TV, Christmas, Literature. All that good stuff

The Crown, S3: Given I have been rather excitedly counting down to November 17th for a while now, this day could not be coming fast enough. Season Three of The Crown features a new cast, including godmother Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. The latter may be my favourite casting choice of late, okay-it is, it really is. If the trailer is anything to go by, S3 looks set to be fantastical and fascinating. Please excuse me while I go put some sparkling wine into the fridge and dust off my finest tiara. Okay, let's be real it's a flower crown. Leave me alone.

Lana and Elton: In one of my favourite unexpected pairings, these music legends met and bantered for Rolling Stone magazine. I know, quite literally hold me closer tiny dancer. the resulting discussion is brilliant. The love and admiration they have for one another is beautiful. Give it a read here

Severine: The lovely Terri-Jane, one of the brilliant ladies formerly of Oh Comely, set up this fabulous literary journal. it's an inspiring, creative hive of voices. Of books and poetry and stories. I am still so excited that three of my poems were published there. 'An Ode to Fleabag' is my personal favourite but I also have a poem in honour of Florence's album 'Lungs' and another inspired by the word 'Golden'. Check out the site in all its glory here

Phoebe Waller-Bridge-all day, every day: Anna Wintour only went and put PWB on the cover of December Vogue. Cue me being all heart eyed cat+twinkly star emoji**. Brilliant interview and editorial. Cannot wait to see it IRL. And secondly, the extensive Q&A The Guardian published over the weekend. When quizzed x Olivia Colman regarding alternative careers, Phoebe quipped she'd be Olivia's overbearing assistant. Same Phoebe, same. Read both, they demand your attention.

Happy Holidays (almost, not really): Ok, my fave time of the year is approaching. So I thought I'd share some links to festive bits I am loving. Just a lil' quick fire round for you. First up, this English Pear & Freesia cologne x Jo Malone London. Dreamy scent, dreamy navy and gold. Yes please. Next,    this cute reindeer decoration from Bed Bath N Table. Side note, they have stunning, inexpensive decorations. And last but by no means least, this cute festive tape for all your decorative+wrapping bits from Kikki K. I love it.

-What are you loving at the moment?

*deepest sarcasm
**used and abused for days


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The Kmart Haul
11/12/2019

The Kmart Haul



Hello and welcome to a post which feels really, really old school. A haul. Kmart is one of those places where you walk in with one purchase in mind, or maybe more and then you somehow get swayed by their absolutely enticing, beautiful, affordable things. I am not the only one, there are whole Buzzfeed posts devoted to this. And if it's on Buzzfeed, it is obviously official. I am sure if you are from Australia and New Zealand, you will know the pull of Kmart. With the holiday season coming up, it's a great place to find things for DIY's, as you will see and also cheap and cheerful gift ideas. Anyway, here is what I have acquired from Kmart recently. Apologies not everything I have here is linked on the website...


Draw String Bags+Tassel Trim: I think Anko is like Kmart's own brand for a lot of their stationery bits and pieces. They have some very on trend, wallet friendly pieces. From memory these bags were only a couple of dollars. I got them to use to house some of the Advent Calendar bits. The tassel trim is also for the Advent Calendar, I want to use it to tie gifts up. It may not work but we shall see.

Protea Journal: Oh hey, another journal shock horror haha. All seriousness. I LOVE the protea themed things at Kmart. Just taketh my money okay. It may end up being a part of someone else's Christmas gift. We shall see but I had to include it.

Botanic Parcel Tags: I got these to use as labels/placeholders for the Advent Calendar days. There's 30 in this set so I will have a couple left over. I was feeling the natural/Scandi/minimalist vibe this year. I mean there will undoubtedly be glitter elements in here somewhere because I can't go totally minimalism on y'all but yeah. That was the vibe I felt this year.


Magnets: SO cute! And y'know, who doesn't need magnets for their fridge? I like the patterns on these ones. Again, another thing that may end up as a Christmas gift but I think they'd make such an adorable stocking stuffer. Not that I am biased or anything. Ahem...

Sticker Book: Since I got back into journalling in general, I have really got back on the sticker vibe. I mean, don't get me wrong. I have always been a sticker girl. Anyway, this book is super cute. There's gift labels, alphabet letters, motivational messages, bullet journal headers and the like. It's so versatile. I picked one of these up for a friend of mine as well because I thought she'd love them.

Protea Case: My current phone case of choice because in case you can't tell, I like proteas. I don't know what else to tell you. It's a phone case. It protects and decorates my phone. End of.

Foil Alphabet Stickers: So I got these for my Advent Calendar, the other side of the packet contains numbered stickers...*hopefully* I will have enough and while they aren't exactly what I wanted-they will do the job.

-What have you hauled from Kmart recently?




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October Wrap Up
11/10/2019

October Wrap Up



Hello! and Happy November slash Sunday. I have a list of blog things I want to write, for once, I know. No really-i have even gone back to my circa 2013 thing of writing things by hand first. Anyway, I digress. Before we get into the swing of newness, it's time to reflect on last month. October was good-if not a tad messy at times. I guess the main takeaway there was, things happen outside our control and it is what it is. Anyway, October wrap up is below, after the ellipses...

Five Things Loved

Saltwater x Jessica Andrews: What a book. I very reluctantly returned this to the library after finishing it which probably says it all. I didn't want to give it back in other words. Saltwater is a dreamy debut. It's moving, complex and deeply examines and untwists the mother-daughter relationship. Not only that, but the way in which our histories and what happens to us growing up shapes us. It's done in a very lyrical, poetic way and I loved that about it. It also gave me Jacqueline Wilson vibes as well, in the best kind of way. Saltwater is definitely one of the best debuts I have read in a long time.

Moulin Rouge on Broadway: Have I magicked myself to New York? Ha, I WISH. So I loved and still love Moulin Rouge, the film. Anyway, when I heard it was a musical part of me was like "oh no". I needn't have worried, if the cast recording is anything to go by because oh my god it is good. No really. I have kinda obsessively been listening to it for most of October and even now. My favourite tracks are: Shut Up & Raise Your Glass, Nature Boy (it's so simple and pared back and ugh LOVE), Crazy Rolling, Elephant Love Medley. Royals x Lorde even makes an appearance in there too. It is a good time. 

Bullet Journalling: I used to do a loose-ish bullet journal maybe a year or so back and I decided to reinstate it because it works well for me. To put it really loosely, I am one of those people who likes to 'see' and plan on paper, not a screen. I have never been an iCal kind of person. I know, luddite-ish of me but eh. I am who I am. I use this journal from Kikki K's 'She Shines' collection and I love it. I use it to log what I read, blog post ideas, non-blog story ideas, track Christmas shopping and a myriad of other things. I don't take it too seriously, you won't see any of those beautiful illustrations and intricate lettering but I find it effective and it works well for me. 

Niaski: Props to Claire from Madame Fancy Pants for bringing Niaski to my attention. Nia is an illustrator based in Devon and she creates work of cats posing as her favourite artists, aptly inspired by her own cats. So basically this is my dream. Cats and artists and cat themed pun-names, I mean Salvador Catli anybody (see below). I grabbed some bits from Madame Fancy Pants in October, the calendars are sold out now I think eek so glad I acted quickly but you can still grab this pin which I also got. As you can imagine I am incredibly modest and don't point it out to anyone whenever it is worn. That is an official lie, Meowton John deserves to be seen. Anyway, if cats and artists are your jam like they are mine, get amongst. 

Trick Mirror x Jia Tolentino: This. Book. I tried and failed to do it justice at my book club so I will try again here. To paraphrase a conversation I had with someone else, Jia Tolentino has an unbelievably brilliant knack for combining ideas and references into an essay that perhaps we wouldn't typically think to place alongside one another. It never feels forced or too theoretical and dry, thank goodness. This is easily another of my favourite reads of 2019. I particularly loved the introductory essay, The 'I' in Internet but also her essays about women in literature, Internet scammers (Fyre Fest et al.), her musings on marriage; whether to pursue it or not. To be honest the whole book is brilliant. Well worth adding to your Christmas lists.


Five Good Things

American Idiot, the musical: So once upon a time, teenaged Sophie used to listen to and love American Idiot x Green Day. I had the CD and it was definitely on my iPod Mini (I know, SO retro lol). Anyway, when I heard the musical was coming to Auckland I was kinda uncertain about seeing it. It wasn't until I saw friends and peers online raving about it that my curiosity was amplified. Anyway long story short, it was AMAZING. Was it the best piece of theatre I've ever seen? Not necessarily but the whole experience and the way that album translates to a stage show is just....exquisite. It even made me a bit teary eyed at the magnificence. So good. 

GSD: Aka 'the one where Sophie gets shit done', admittedly with a little bit of help from my friends but anyway. I dunno, I don't really want to go into the finer details but I managed to knock out some pretty big things this month-some I'd been subconsciously avoiding, others I had just been meaning to do but hadn't felt confident enough to for whatever reason. And it felt. good. It's awesome seeing goals you have slowly but surely coming to fruition. 

Advent Calendar 2.0: You may remember I made an Advent Calendar last year for one of my friends. I enjoyed it so much that I knew it was going to be happening again. During October I more or less finalised the entire thing, I think I started working on it in March(!!). Anyway, I am so excited to put it together and show you the process+elements in the next month or so. I feel like I have upped the ante, but in a good way,

Dog Parks: Bit of a random inclusion, sure, but I have loved taking our family dog to some of Auckland's dog parks. Even if she does decide it's prime opportunity to go swimming. I mean, if she's enjoying herself I can't complain. Plus, I get to see all the dogs and that just makes my heart happy. Such a good time. Myself+the dog rate the Onehunga Bay Reserve in particular but the dog park at the Auckland Botanical Gardens is also worth a visit and is always very busy.

Reading in the Sun: Ok, so I am referring to one specific moment of this, over the long weekend. Summer finally felt like a 'legitimate' thing and not just an urban myth. I whipped out the round towel, some strawberries, water (sadly no bubbles in the fridge lol but anyway), and books. And I read. Did I get a bit sunburnt? Kinda, the perks of being pale+overly optimistic about UV Rays. It was bliss though and I am looking forward to doing more of it over the Summer months. 

Read in October

I read eight books (or thereabouts) during October but seeing as this post was already getting book heavy, I am going to endeavour to keep it short and sweet. 

Lost and Somewhere Else x Jenny Bornholdt: I need to start writing proper notes, in lieu of no longer putting reviews on Goodreads. Anyway, it's been a while since I read this but I remember thoroughly enjoying it. I've read a few volumes of poetry, some more cohesive than others, and proofread better. Anyway, generalised niggles aside-I had no qualms with this volume. I loved how it was also interspersed with imagery and it's definitely on my list of books I need to have on my shelves. You can read one of the poems here

Year of the Monkey* x Patti Smith: I've already written about this book around these parts but I had to include it again. It is a book of dreams and stories. Recollections, travels, black coffee (of course), photography. As I've said, I would read Patti Smith's grocery lists. I loved this thin slip of a book immensely.

The Rainbow Queen x Sali Hughes: A bit of a different one, the Queen's outfits, colour coordinated and charmingly presented alongside captions by Sale Hughes. As well as anecdotes about the Queen and other bits & pieces. It would be a good stocking stuffer for The Crown fans and fashion fans in general.  

-What did you love during October?

*Review Copy


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The Testaments x Margaret Atwood
10/20/2019

The Testaments x Margaret Atwood



So I am a bit behind on the bandwagon but I only just read The Handmaid's Tale x Margaret Atwood this year. I know. What the heck. To be fair, I did start it and for whatever, unprecedented reason I shelved it and then revisited it in the week or so before its sequel was unleashed upon the world. And I am obsessed with the TV show now too. Anyway, getting ahead of myself here.

I avoided reading The Handmaid's Tale for a long time. Why? I think I was scared to. And not in a, I will have nightmares for days kind of sense. More the, this is going to seemingly remind me of real life and in an unnerving kind of way. Which it does. For a book that was first released in 1985, it was incredibly foretelling. Is Margaret Atwood psychic? Perhaps. What's interesting to note as well is that anything in The Handmaid's Tale, whether it be the book or TV series is based on something that has happened in reality. Yep. 

Anyway, today we are here to talk about The Testaments*, one of the co-winners of this year's Booker Prize. Which excites me because Margaret Atwood is brilliant and I have loved everything of hers that I have read thus far-my backlist is long! The follow-up to The Handmaid's Tale set about to answer the questions of what happened to Offred and whether Gilead still exists. What that version of the world is like today. The book is split into three plotlines; Aunt Lydia (yes, she is back people), Daisy and Agnes. Daisy was smuggled out of Gilead as a baby and now lives in Toronto. Agnes is growing up inside Gilead. 

I don't really want to expand upon the plotline beyond what I have already said because it will spoil things considerably for anyone who hasn't read it yet and I know how lame that is as a reader. What I will say though is this is a really satisfying read, the threads are all well-developed and presented. They all somewhat intertwine as well but *insert zipped lips emoji here*. 

I thoroughly enjoyed The Testaments. It was an incredibly satisfying read and as a newfound fan of The Handmaid's Tale, it further cemented why that book is one of my all-time favourites now. Even if I am late to the party. It's fast paced, suspenseful, and unputdownable. No really, I had many a late night reading this and I don't regret a single second of it.

The Testament's is available now from bookstores far and wide. Let's hope we women never lose the luxury of reading, as is the case in Gilead. Okay, maybe THAT is one nightmare I have had before. 


-Have you read The Testaments? What did you think of it?

*Review Copy

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