In a week that's proving to be an absolutely devastating one for the music, film and writing communities, RIP George Michael and Carrie Fisher it seems more important than ever to reflect on the good. So here's my list of sixteen good things about 2016. Some are personal, some are more pop culture-y than anything else but they're all positive and stand out to me about the year that was. So 2016, while you had some stones in among the diamonds, today I want to concentrate on the latter...
1. We saw a woman as one of the leading contenders in the race to the White House. You may think, what does she care, she's a New Zealander? This however is a huge win for women across the world and while I am still upset that Hillary did not win, I am also so, so proud of her. Troll me all you like, Hillary did us all proud in 2016. While America may be starkly different next year, wherever she sets her sights next will be in safe hands.
2. We got to experience Stars Hollow again. For many of us, 2016 will go down as the year we committed to re-watching seven seasons worth of Gilmore Girls episodes in prep for the four seasonal themed Netflix specials. For me they did not disappoint and aside from one or two cringe-worthy references, ahem, Zoella, I loved them. They were the perfect escape from the aforementioned political circus.
3. I read. A lot. Reading is my tonic, it's my escape and I love it for that reason alone. This year I read, heaps. Books, magazines and even some graphic novels when I was going through a bit of a phase with them earlier in the year. I also took part in a couple of online book clubs and established my own on Goodreads. What did I love reading in 2016? Well, stay tuned for Monday's post...
4. Gloria Steinem came to New Zealand. And I met her and spent an hour on an Autumnal Saturday night listening to her speak. It is easily one of the highlights of my 2016 and her words of encouragement and wisdom will stick with me for a long time to come.
5. Frankie Magazine launched a new book and I met some of their writers and editorial team. It is only by chance that I was perusing the Readings bookstore catalogue and discovered that Frankie had an up and coming talk happening. I am so glad I did though. Some great banter was had, about New Zealand and cats with strange names (props to my cat, Shirley aka Shirl) among other things. I even made a bookish friend in the process, shout out to you if you're reading.
6. Teen Vogue slayed all day. People hugely underestimate the power of Teen Vogue's editorial team and the intelligence levels of teenage girls. It is publications like this which are making people pay attention, especially when they're providing such fantastic political coverage. They're also making a point of showcasing diverse women from all walks of life as well as recommending some amazing books and influencers to follow. I love their work and can't wait to see where they take the magazine in 2017.
7. I became a beauty and fashion writer for FashioNZ. In a majorly exciting moment, Evelyn who I've known for four years now took over at FashioNZ and asked me to be one of their contributors. Each month I do two articles, sometimes more and seeing my stories going live never gets old. I'm so grateful to Evelyn and Carolyn for letting me share a slice of their platform each month. It also gives me the chance to write about things I don't get to write about around these parts and I get to use a more editorial voice if that makes sense. This is actually one of my favourite things from 2016 and I am still so proud as punch of the site and getting to be part of it.
8. Confidence behind the wheel. Sure I'm still not overly fond of reversing and I flat-out won't parallel park unless I absolutely have to but I feel like I've become so much more confident with my driving this year. It does not sound like much but given I didn't get my license until I was 20 and didn't really enjoy or want to drive for ages it is a huge achievement for me. Here's to getting my full in 2017, fingers crossed.
9. The Crown. I've already blogged about this once this week so I will keep it brief. This is hands-down the best show I have watched this year, only just beating Freaks and Geeks. Netflix, you've been good to us in 2016.
10. Spending time with family. This year I got to spend time with some of my family who I don't get to see all that often because they live quite far away and it was the best. I spent two whole weeks with them and had the best time. My cousin and I went for daily walks, talked all things literary, binge watched The IT Crowd and exchanged humour and music suggestions aplenty. They get me and my crazy self and (seem to) love it. Such good times and I hope to see them just as often if not more next year.
11. Melbourne. Reuniting with my favourite place is right up there in 2016 highlights. Every time I visit Melbourne I just fall more in love with it. The art, the culture, the vibe, the people. It's all so fabulous. I sincerely hope I get to live and work there someday just so I can immerse myself in its goodness for longer.
12. Makeup free days. Don't get me wrong, I love makeup and the transformative powers it has. This year though I probably had more minimal makeup days/no makeup whatsoever than usual. Again this is probably nothing in the grander scheme of things but for someone who used to feel so insecure with nothing camouflaging their face this is huge. I don't know if I just cared less this year, or maybe I just feel more confident to go au natural but this feels like a good thing.
13. Awesome banter. You know those conversations you have that just leave you buzzing and walking on air for days? I lovelovelove them and get so much out of them. Whether they were with friends, with awesome people on Twitter or just podcasts I heard. They really put some spark in my life and for that I am thankful. Never underestimate the power of words.
14. Friends, old and new. I have to give mentions to some of my local blogging babes, Emma and Lucie. Both awesome, intelligent, brilliant ladies. Shoutout to my non-blogging friends too. You are all spectacular and I love y'all. For 'reals.
15. Joanne and A Seat at the Table. My two favourite albums of the year, that were released this year. I have to give a mention to Rumours x Fleetwood Mac which was also on high rotation. Lady Gaga and Solange though were killin it this year.
16. Rediscovering poetry. Madisen Kuhn and Rupi Kaur deserve most of the credit here. Especially the latter whose volume I have dog-eared and underlined to oblivion. I want to read more poetry next year so if you have any recommendations for me, sing out.
-What's one good thing that happened to you in 2016?
It's the final monthly favourites for 2016 and we have some real gems in here. A lot from the British set and also some makeup standouts. Oh and keep an eye out for my 2016 beauty and book favourites, they'll be going up in the New Year. Meanwhile, here is what I have been loving in December.
The Crown-In case it wasn't obvious to anybody who knows me, I love this show and think everybody should watch it. Thanks J, if you're reading, for persuading me to watch it. I wouldn't call myself a diehard royalist but this is just brilliant. It starts with the now Queen Elizabeth marrying Prince Phillip and goes from there but if you're unfamiliar with the Royal Family, pre Diana and the rest then you'll probably find it really interesting. Aside from that the set and costume design is just spectacular and the acting, wow. Major props to Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret but John Lithgow as Churchill is brilliant as well. In fact the whole cast is top-notch. If you have Netflix, add it to your watchlist.
MAC Cream Colour Base in Sepia*, limited edition-This was part of the MAC x Charlotte Olympia collection from earlier in the year and I've been revisiting it a lot lately since having to set aside my Paint Pots for Back 2 MAC. This is very similar to Groundwork, if not a bit less pigmented. As a base for layering shimmer shades over the top however it's perfect. I like pairing it with this palette or this cream shadow.
Boy Brow x Glossier-First things first, I love the name of this product. More so I love this brow gel. It's subtle but powerful. It'll keep your brows in place and disguise a multitude of sins. By that I mean it stops your brows looking off-fleek. I'm not surprised it keeps selling out, it's the best brow gel I have tried. No crispiness or graphic blocks of colour. I hope they bring out a clear variant too.
British Vogue-My love and enthusiasm for the British variant of Vogue has been firmly reestablished this year. If I'm not buying issues, I've been borrowing them from the library and I absolutely love it. Their Christmas issue is usually a special one, this year's was no exception. It featured a beautiful editorial with cover-star Lily Rose Depp, a story shot by Tim Walker in Japan and all the usual goodness British Vogue is known for. I love it and when my subscriptions are starting to run out, I will be considering subscribing to this gem.
Too Faced Love Flush Blush-This blush in I Will Always Love You has become my new favourite. In fact, it's reinstated my enthusiasm for peachy pink blushers. I find them so much more flattering on my skintone than standard pink shades. It doesn't seem to fade into oblivion as well which is a major bonus in my opinion. I have to admit the Polly Pocket-esque packaging gets a major thumbs up from me as well.
Miu Miu Rollerball-The only thing better than wearing this fragrance on the regular would be owning a full-sized bottle and/or having a candle in this divine fragrance to burn. Miu Miu's signature scent is just lovely and not too intense for Summer. I'm a fan of much lighter fragrances at this time of year and it delivers. If you're a fan of fragrances like Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel or Nirvana White by Elizabeth & James, you will probably love this one.
What Olivia Did-I have to give a mention to Liv Purvis, fabulous fashionista and curator of one of my favourite blogs and vlogs. She's one talented lady and this month she's been killin' it on the content front. From her New York vlog which made me want to rewatch Elf so bad, to her Australian jaunts which made me want to head back across the ditch immediately. Her channel does not disappoint. I also loveloveloved all her gift guides this month, they were fabulous. I'm not going to lie, I have a rather long Etsy wishlist now. Thanks Liv! Seriously though, her blog is the bomb dot com and other, much cooler sounding phrases. Bookmark it right now.
-What have you loved during December?
It's been a little while since I did a book club update. In fact, I think the last one went up in October. Whoops. Speaking of, if you follow my book-club, I'm thinking of cutting it back to bimonthly so I'll probably assign one or two books and if you want to read them, you can. Anyway, today I have the November+December reads for my own book club as well as Jean's December Book for the Fem Orchestra book club to review and rave about...
Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham-This was arguably one of my most anticipated reads for the year. I love Lauren Graham and that probably is not much of a secret so thank goodness this delivered. I had finished it within twenty four hours, probably as fast as Lorelai Gilmore would inhale a book about coffee. Her collection of essays and anecdotes cover Gilmore Girls (naturally) but also Parenthood and 'everything in between' as she puts it. It's like having a lengthy natter with Lauren, well what I'd imagine it to be like and for that I love it. I will definitely be revisiting this soon because I really read it way too fast. In fact the audiobook may be something I look into as well.
Autumn* by Ali Smith-Another book club read of mine that I was eagerly anticipating, as I'm quite the Ali Smith fan now. Again it did not disappoint. Ali Smith is releasing four novels themed around the seasons, this being the first. I'm not sure if she wrote this in the days following Brexit and the current state of the world but it certainly seems that way. The story itself explores the political and social injustices of our times which makes it all the more captivating. It follows the relationship of Daniel and Elisabeth, two neighbours turned friends who are only divided by their ages. Elisabeth cares for Daniel in his old age and the story shifts between the period of Elisabeth's adolescence to the present day. I'm not going to ever do this justice in writing. Just read it and discover its brilliance for yourself. Please.
Girls Will Be Girls by Emer O'Toole-This was the final book assigned by Jean for her Fem Orchestra Book Club this year. Admittedly I have been flitting in and out of this one a bit but I am enjoying it. Part memoir, part study of the varying degrees and facets of girlhood that shape our understanding of feminism and what being a woman entails. In the same way as Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates, it can be a bit of a rage-inducing read in that it will make you bemoan the state of the world and the psychological effects that seem at play even as a child. For the most part it is an entertaining, riveting read. I highly recommend it.
-What have you read lately?
So you've left your shopping to the last minute and don't necessarily want to brave the shops? I feel you and hope to lead a mall-less existence for the next week or so. Today wraps up my gift guide series with some ideas for gifts you can access online fairly easily. Sure they might not arrive for Christmas Day but it'll give you or the receiver something to look forward to. A lot of these items are from independent sellers because there's some very talented people who deserve support and to have their work shown. That and I am all for shopping local. Anyway, last minute gift ideas...
something to say x frankie magazine // Unfortunately this book is not available to buy in NZ but it can be bought online or in the shops if you are in Australia. Something To Say is a collection of stories from the first twelve years of frankie mag. It really is the perfect volume of the best of the best and contains some really fantastic, humorous and enlightening writing. It is well worth the purchase.
Constellation Moon Phase enamel pin x Oh No Rachio // Pins seem to have made a bit of a comeback in 2016 and many of the ones on my lust-list have come from Oh No Rachio's Etsy store. I own this Constellation Phase pin and most days it lives on my trusty denim jacket where I can marvel at its dazzling-ness, as can passersby. She also has some adorable succulent pins in her shop as well that are worth having a look at.
Cup and Saucer: Svenska Hem x Kikki K, not pictured // After spying this on Maria's Instagram I thought how gorgeous this would be as a gift for Christmas. In fact, I'm not going to lie, I would not mind owning this myself. It's the perfect gift for the tea or coffee enthusiast in your life, and it's translucent and adorned with gold foil dots. What more could you want?
Herb Garden Calendar x Rifle Paper Co // If you are in Wellington, pop in store to buy this from Madame Fancy Pants. Otherwise it is available online. This is the calendar I bought for myself and if you haven't seen my Instagram, go look at this. I'm absolutely smitten with it and can't wait to hang it on my wall. Rifle Paper Co. also have a stunning Alice in Wonderland desk calendar and this one which is a simpler variation on the one I have.
Netflix // If you have a friend who loves Netflix or wants to start a subscription, perhaps you could make up a little voucher saying that you'll pay for a couple of month's worth of their subscription? It's a simple idea but is sure to be appreciated. I know something like this would make me so happy.
Floral Weekly Planner x Papio Press // Desk planners are a lifesaver, especially if they like being able to see at a glance what their week is looking like. This floral one is gorgeous and is bound to brighten up any desk it sits atop. I love the handy notes column too-it's perfect for jotting down phone numbers, train times and the like.
Copper Tipped Ring Cone x Fox and Lilly // Another of those items I think I will end up getting myself. As someone who wears a lot of rings and finds standard jewelry holders to be a bit of an eyesore, this is right up my street. It is a bit quirky but if you know someone who wears a lot of rings then I think they'd love this.
Framed Cards or Prints, not pictured // Something as simple as a well designed card or a print framed can be very special to receive and gift. You don't need to go all out for frames. I usually get mine from Kmart and they're definitely no more than $12 maximum. A lot of Etsy sellers even have prints available as digital downloads so you can get them printed out, often at a cheaper cost and then frame them up for the receiver. Some of my favourites are from Oh Gosh Cindy. Rifle Paper Co and the Megan Hess for Disney cards look stunning framed as well.
-What are your last minute gift recommendations?
The less luxe beauty offerings have come a long way in recent years. Brands both locally and overseas have really upped their game and we are all simply spoilt for choice at this time of the year. Today I have a mixture of beauty bits 'n bobs for you, including some ideas for Secret Santa and Stocking Stuffers. They're all under $50, with the exception of the brush set. Enjoy! Kiwi readers, stay tuned to the very end because I have a giveaway just for you...
Korres The Greatest Mini Showergel Collection-This is coming up as sold out online but hopefully it may still be around in some of Mecca Maxima's stores. The Greatest Mini Showergel set contains six shower gels: Santorini Vine, Basil Lemon, Bergamot Pear, Guava, Japanese Rose and Fig. Sets like these make perfect Secret Santa gifts but they're also handy to divide up among friends and family's gifts as well.
Max Factor Masterpiece Nude Palettes*-These palettes give me festive, luxe, Great Gatsby-esque vibes and I love that about them. As well as that, you have two neutral palettes of shimmery, stunning goodness. My pick is the golden nudes palette but they're both beautiful.
Soap and Glory Get Into The Smooth Trio-Another set that seems to be sold out online as well but again I am hoping it is still around in store. This trio of body butters would again make a perfect Stocking Stuffer or Secret Santa gift for someone who may be a bit harder to shop for. You get three mini tubs of their Sugar Crush, Smoothie Star and The Righteous Butter body butters. Soap and Glory do some other fantastic gift sets actually so they're well worth checking out.
Neom All I Want For Christmas Is A Moment Of Calm Set-Unfortunately this is sold out now on Cult Beauty which is where I got it from but it may still be around in store (UK) or elsewhere online. I've bought this for my Mum as she loves products like this so I'm sure this bath oil and hand balm will be well received. At least I hope so (!).
Simply Essential Pro Series Eye Brush Set*-These brushes are some of my favourites that I've used this year and they look a lot more luxe than they are. Bonus. This gift set comes with a rose gold brush roll which is perfect for both storage and travel. An eye set like this would be ideal for a budding makeup enthusiast or someone whose brushes are looking a little worse for wear.
Tender Love & Carry Makeup Bag*-Tender Love & Carry do gorgeous makeup bags in an array of sizes and designs. I have one in my handbag permanently which I use for housing makeup and lipstick, which inevitably never gets reapplied but anyway. It's still useful, I like having things on me just in case. Anyway, I love this one and think it'd be perfect filled with some of her favourite beauty bits and pieces, or maybe a book. Just because.
Wet Brush Key Chain Mini-My Wet Brush is my favourite hair brush and I don't say that lightly. It's one of the few brushes that doesn't make me cry when my hair is tangled or stab itself into my scalp. Again this mini is another ideal stocking stuffer. I'm going to be keeping mine in the car because I'm terrible at taking brushes out with me and given the imminent heat in Auckland, it'll be a staple in Summer.
Too Faced Love Flush Blush-Single makeup items of any kind really can be a good way to go but I feel like blush is a safer choice than something like an eyeshadow palette, eyeliner etc. These ones from Too Faced are fantastic. There's bound to be a colour she'll love. As an added bonus they come in Polly Pocket-esque packaging which as a child of the nineties pleases me immensely.
The Body Shop Christmas: Cracker, Exfoliating Sugar Scrub* and Body Butter*-The Body Shop never fail to deliver at Christmas time and their spicy, fruity, home-baking-y Christmas ranges this year tick all the boxes. They have an extensive array of products, starting from $10 and up in the Christmas range so there is something for everyone. My picks are the Christmas Crackers which contain a mini shower gel and body lotion, the sugar scrubs and of course the body butters. The latter you can actually have personalised this year.
-What beauty things would you love for Christmas?
**Thanks to The Body Shop New Zealand, Max Factor New Zealand and The Beauty Collective who kindly provided the prizes for this post. I received no compensation for this post and chose to give away products I genuinely love and think you'll all like too.
-NZ Readers only. Be in to win one of the following prize packs: 1 (The Body Shop Vanilla Chai Body Butter and a Max Factor Masterpiece Nudes Palette), 2 (The Body Shop Spiced Apple Body Butter and a Max Factor Masterpiece Nudes Palette), 3 (Max Factor Masterpiece Nudes Palette and Simply Essential Pro Series Eye Brush Set), 4 (The Body Shop Frosted Berries Body Butter and a Max Factor Masterpiece Nudes Palette). Let me know which prize pack you'd like to win in the comments below. Good luck! Entries close next Saturday and I'll send the prizes out sometime after Christmas (whenever the post offices reopen).
This week, well today in fact Nana Wintour an idea that was a while in the making will have been around for five years. Five. Years. I can't believe it's been that long and a lot has changed since then. Almost five hundred posts later and far too many pictures to count, I'd say in the thousands easily. Today I'm getting nostalgic and going back through the archives from 2012-2016. These are some of my favourite posts and if you revisit them, please bear with the sloppy writing and photography. I like to think my skills have become sharper over the years (!).
Brilliant Blogs, Edition 3 (2012): Isaac Likes was and still is one of my favourite New Zealand bloggers. Nowadays he's famous for the writing and work he does over on Man Repeller. Anyone who gets to collab with Leandra is a winner in my books. Anyway, I remember being beyond delighted when he agreed to answer some of my questions for my blog. Remember I'd been blogging less than a year at this point so it was a huge deal. I think I was nervous about sending too many questions so I only sent these ones over but hitting publish was such a highlight. More so because one of my friends gave me the nicest compliments afterwards. Props to Isaac for helping this nobody blogger too, I was stoked.
7 Beauty Sins (2013): Ahh 2013, such a different time for numerous reasons. Looking back on this post now is making me realise how much my interest and enthusiasm for beauty has changed over the years. 2012 was the year I started getting back into beauty but 2013 was the year of discovery. I used Nars Laguna Bronzer religiously, a fact which frightens me now. I must've looked so orange. It was also the year I discovered Bioderma which is still my favourite makeup remover and my brief fling with MAC Soft and Gentle. At the time it was far too glittery for me and given my love for highlighter nowadays, I wonder if I'd still feel that way.
Editorials and Pretty Trinkets (2013): Gosh I remember feeling so proud of this post. I was genuinely excited to publish it and remember teasing snippets of it on Instagram before it went live. Arranging objects with editorial imagery was probably an idea I borrowed from Russh, it was before the days where Instagram flat-lays really took off. At the bottom I wrote a note of what I'd do today which is now making me laugh as I probably have counted retail therapy as my exercise for the day.
Anxiety (2014): This may seem a bizarre inclusion and this post really was a long time coming. It probably deserves a do-over at some point because this is a touch outdated now. Any nervousness I felt about sending it live and potential backlash would soon dissipate. I received countless messages from people I would never have expected to have connected with it as well as lovely feedback from the people who know me best. It's one of those posts I'd hoped would help someone and I think to some degree it may have just done that.
10 More Things That Make Me Happy (2015): I did two of these posts in 2015 and they were some of my most-read ones that year. To be honest I seem to have some of my best conversations with strangers in Lush still and Fleetwood Mac's Rumors album never fails to turn around a less than spectacular mood. This series makes me happy so I may have to revisit it next year. One thing from 2016 that stands out is a conversation that Sam Chapman and I had back and forth on Twitter about Amy Winehouse. I'm not sure why but it's one of my favourite exchanges that I've ever had on the Interwebs.
Some Notes on Blogging (2016): A post I wrote when I was feeling miserable about the state of blogging today. In the months that have followed there have been further things that have left me in a similar state of disenchantment which is a shame but writing and blogging are still two activities I love so I can put aside any frustration. Most of the time.
The Gilmore Girls Tag (2016): Sometimes the most popular posts seem to come to me really randomly. I don't remember what I was up to but the idea for this tag came to me when I was doing something else so I hurriedly wrote it down along with the questions. I wish that happened more often when I'm stuck for inspiration. It was a lot of fun to put together and seeing other people completing it too was so awesome.
To break up the gift guide a bit, I decided to share my Christmas wishlist which has become a yearly tradition. I don't expect to get any of these things, but in an ideal, money is no object world this is what I'd love. Surprisingly there's some practical things in the mix and of course makeup. Here's what I'd love for Christmas this year...
Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Party Eyes: Charlotte Tilbury's products are always winners with me and I've wanted to try her new Legendary Lashes mascara for ages as well as her eye kohls. This little Christmas bauble is the best of both worlds really.
Donna Hay Basics to Brilliance: Donna Hay is one of my favourite chefs and I love her simple recipes. Don't let the simplicity put you off. Her food is always delicious and packed with decadent flavour. I love how her latest book makes use of ingredients across multiple recipes so you have a range of dishes and treats to whip up. I'm always looking for new things to make too so this would be perfect going into the new year.
Zoe and Morgan Little Moon Studs: Zoe and Morgan create stunning jewelry and I often find myself admiring friend's pieces from their collection. These earrings would be perfect for channeling your inner Stevie Nicks or Florence Welch. They also give me Chanel costume jewelry vibes and those pieces are much more expensive. Don't be surprised if I end up buying these for myself at some point actually.
Kikki K S Keyring: When I was in Australia I saw someone wearing one of these on a necklace chain and I stopped them in the street to ask where it was from. I'm not hugely fond of personalised stuff but I don't mind when it's initialed like this and it would be worn to death around my neck, or on my keys where it would usually belong.
Too Faced Born This Way Concealer: There is never not a need for new concealer and after hearing good things about this one, it has crept its way to the top of my to-try list. I really like the foundation that was the first product in this line so I am sure I'd enjoy this too.
Kate Spade Makeup Card Case: In the interest of not taking my ridiculously overstuffed wallet everywhere I have been on the lookout for a cardholder to carry the cards I need and maybe some cash around with me. Kate Spade's are naturally top of the wishlist because they are beautiful. As a makeup lover this one really appeals to me. I'm also eyeing up the initialed ones over on The Daily Edited too.
-What's on your wishlist for Christmas?
It wouldn't be Christmas without mention of some books. Despite my admittedly fussy preferences, they're usually always something I enjoy receiving as gifts and nowadays gifting to other people as well. Side note: Friends and family, please stop reading this post. Now. Here's my carefully curated edit of books I think would make fantastic presents this Christmas. This is the mere tip of the iceberg and in the interests of not making this post longer than it is, I have streamlined my recommendations. That being said, if you want any more recommendations just ask. I am always happy to talk about books with anyone, whether they ask for my opinions or not. Oh and stay tuned to the very bottom of this post because you can even win a book or two for yourself. Huzzah!
The one for the fashion lover: Get a Life: The Diaries of Vivienne Westwood is a recently released volume of Westwood's diary entries, from 2010 to 2016. It's a hefty book, coming in at close to 500 pages and is crammed with interesting insights on fashion, politics, the environment and activism. All topics that Vivienne is incredibly passionate about and well informed on. It makes for absolutely enthralling reading.
For the twenty-something who loves humour and relatable reads: Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson aka the now grown up girl who played Matilda and was the youngest daughter of Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire among other nineties family films. The title, a play on the often asked question by Hollywood media hints at the cleverness and humour contained within. It's an incredibly relatable read and even if you cannot relate to child stardom, there is still something valuable to gain from Mara's writing.
The beauty product bible for beauty lovers: Pretty Iconic by Sali Hughes has made a few appearances around here now and it's worthy of high praise indeed. I have said it before but I will say it again, Sali Hughes is a beauty writing wizard. This collection of iconic beauty products and Sali's personal musings on them, as well as interesting facts will satisfy many a beauty lover.
For the one who grew up with Harry Potter: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them: Original Screenplay* by JK Rowling. It may be wrong to judge a book by its cover but you have to be forgiven when it is as exquisite as this 1920's inspired treasure by graphic design team Minalima. If they loved the film they're bound to lap this up as well. It is always a treat to reenter the world of the genius that is Jo Rowling.
The Summer beach/poolside read for the Zoe Foster Blake Fangirl or Guy: The Wrong Girl by Zoe Foster Blake is the right book for the aforementioned fan. See what I did there? It's funny, smart and just a really enjoyable read. It's the paper equivalent of eating Lindor Chocolate and I love Lindt so that is high praise indeed.
The one for the Gilmore Girl lover: Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham may not be a lengthy read but it is mighty enjoyable. It is also possibly the closest thing we will ever have to a afternoon chat with Lauren Graham. As well as being packed with Gilmore Girls stories, she reflects on her time pre-Hollywood, her career as a writer, the stigmas around singledom and more.
For the lifestyle goddess: Bloom* by Estee Lalonde, the aesthetically pleasing, inspiring book that is bound to go down a treat. This is a beautiful coffee-table book for a bit of inspiration and to flick through for some ideas and wisdom.
The book everyone needs: milk and honey by Rupi Kaur. Poetry is one of those genres that people seem to either love or hate but this collection of poems and musings by Kaur seems to please even the divided. It'll make you feel a thousand emotions and want to dog-ear pages to commit to memory. It's a best-seller for a reason.
Magazine Subscriptions/Assortments of Magazines: Magazines are a bit of a luxury so it's always lovely to give or receive them. I try to include them with gifts, especially for people overseas who may want a little slice of home or a chance to peruse some unknown pages. My recommendations are: Miss FQ, British Vogue, frankie, Kinfolk and The Happy Reader.
Bookmarks, in particular these and these: A great stocking stuffer and an ideal accompaniment to a gift for the person who reads all the things. These ones from Whitcoulls are currently on 3 for 2 so I nabbed a set for myself as well as some for friends and family members. I love that they're magnetic too so you won't lose your place in your book.
A Reading Journal: For the true reading enthusiast, a reading journal is a fantastic way to track what you've read and document your true, honest opinions safe from the prying Internet eyes. There's no chance of offending anyone with your controversial opinions and you have a paper record of what you've read too. Wins all round.
-What books would you recommend as gifts? Oh and don't forget to check out the giveaway below!
Now for the fun part, I am giving away a copy of Pretty Iconic** by Sali Hughes and Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham. To be in to win simply follow the steps outlined in the Rafflecopter box below and leave me a comment here or on social media letting me know which book you'd like to win. This giveaway will close next Thursday the 15th of December so there's more of a chance of you receiving the book by Christmas.
Note: Due to the size and weight of Pretty Iconic, I have to restrict the giveaway for that title to New Zealand entries only. However, anyone in the world can enter to win Lauren Graham's book. As always, if you are under 18 please get permission from a parent or guardian as I will need your address details. Good luck!
**Thanks to Harper Collins NZ for supplying a copy of Sali's book.
There's been a few underdog beauty brands that have seemingly appeared from nowhere and thus taken the beauty world and beauty enthusiasts by storm. None have done it quite as spectacularly as Glossier though, more on that here. Brainchild of Into The Gloss founder, Emily Weiss, Glossier has gone from strength to strength since its launch. Oh and if you're wondering how I managed to get those products to NZ, I used NZ Post's YouShop service. Glossier's manifesto is: A new way of thinking about (and shopping for) beauty products. Because "beauty" should be fun, easy, imperfect and personal. Above all, we believe that you give life to products-products don't breathe life into you. So a couple of months back I made a little order and here is what I grabbed. These are really first impressions as I've not really had enough time to form concrete opinions on everything just yet. For now though, I love everything and am particularly fond of just how simple yet effective their products are.
Super Pure Serum-Containing the hero ingredient, niacinamide which Morgan did a informative post on, it is designed for combination skins, prone to breakouts and the odd spot of redness. Although Glossier say this serum is suitable for all skin types, one of the other two may be better for you. Do your research first. It is super lightweight and feels more like a liquid version of a hyaluronic product like Hydraluron. I've not been using it long enough to notice if it's working, partly because I have been somewhat noncommittal with my skincare lately but I will definitely do an update on it sometime early next year.
Boy Brow Styling Pomade in Brown-This has been dubbed the Number One brow gel by Buzzfeed, Teen Vogue and numerous other outlets so you know it's going to be good. That and the fact it is often sold out on Glossier. It's a bold claim but this may be my new favourite brow gel. It's not too heavy a product, meaning it's a bit subtler on and because it's a bit wetter, rather than thick it gives you more time to work with it. Oh, and more importantly it keeps my brows in place all day. My only gripe is it's tiny. Please do a larger size soon G team!
Generation G Matte Lipstick in Cake-These lipsticks are designed to give your lips what Glossier dub the popsicle effect. Think lips that are stained with the subtlest hint of colour. They're partway between a matte lipstick and a tinted lip balm so they're not the most hydrating of lip products. In saying that, I don't find this drying out my lips when I'm wearing it and it doesn't settle into the creaselines of my lips like some insanely matte products tend to do. The Generation G lipsticks are a lovely option for people who don't want to commit to a matte lipstick or find bolder colours a bit intimidating. Cake, a peachy-brown nude is one of those colours that suits every kind of makeup look so it's been getting a fair bit of use for me. In fact, I think it's been living in my makeup bag for the last week or so-that's how much I like it.
-Have you tried any Glossier products before? What did you think of them?
Come December 1st, or if we are being honest here, November, I enter the festive mode. Things look a bit twinklier, I get old-school and write actual Christmas cards on actual paper, I start buying gifts for my loved ones, accumulating far too many of those vanilla-filled Cadbury chocolates (mmm) and compiling gift guides. The latter may just be one of my favourite tasks and while attempting to streamline these lists is a struggle, just wait until you see Friday's book offering, it's something I really enjoy. Today we have what I have deemed the Luxe Beauty guide. I'm sure some of these inclusions mightn't be so luxe elsewhere in the world so just as a general guideline, all the products featured here are $50 (NZ) or more. If you want to spoil a makeup loving friend or family member, I am sure one of these would go down a treat. Hey, maybe you want to treat yourself to one of these too. After all, it is Christmas...
YSL Mon Paris* Fragrance-If you really, really want to indulge then a new perfume is the best way to go about it. I am absolutely loving YSL's Mon Paris for this time of year. It is a sweet scent with a bit of a sexy vibe to it and unlike most perfumes I wear in Summer, it does not evaporate into oblivion within seconds of application. If we are talking aesthetics, the bottle is super pretty too and not too showy which I love.
Lancome Les Petits Tresors eyeshadow* and Le Duo Khol liner*, limited edition-My photos really aren't doing the packaging of these eyeshadows justice but they're super glossy and super sparkly. The Les Petits Tresors shadows are really more of a pressed pigment, at least the one pictured is. This means they work best when applied with a dampened brush or worn over the top of cream products where they really shine. As this colour, which irritatingly doesn't have a name, is on the sheerer side of things, it adds a touch of iridescence without going too overboard. These liners make the perfect stocking stuffer as well. On one side you get a darker colour; pictured is the black liner and the other you have a more pearlescent shade, ideal for inner corner highlighting and eye brightening. I love two-in-one products like these, especially for traveling and throwing into my handbag to reapply during the day.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit in Surreal Light, limited edition-This palette is truly one for the beauty fanatics and I am sure many a girl would be ecstatic to receive this. Whilst the price tag may make you wince, you really do get your money's worth with this one as these palettes last ages. It is best suited to fairer skintones which is a rarity in the beauty world but that is why I have personally been getting a lot of use out of it. Who can resist that sleek, marble packaging as well. Swoon...
MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Beaming Blush*-Each Christmas MAC usually bring an Extra Dimension collection out and they are always in high demand due to their limited status. This year, they have made the Extra Dimension skinfinishes permanent. The formula seems to have been jazzed up in the best way and now more than ever you can achieve that 'lit from within', Kendall Jenner/all the Victoria's Secret Angels glow. Beaming Blush is absolutely beautiful and may just about rival my love for Champagne Pop. This powder is one for the MAC lover and highlighting enthusiast.
Charlotte Tilbury The Dolce Vita Palette-You cannot beat a beautiful palette at Christmas and Charlotte Tilbury's are so luxurious and stunning. There is an array of palettes, to suit a wide variety of eyeshadow needs and complement different skintones but my pick of the bunch is The Dolce Vita. Inside you have four beautiful, shimmering bronzes with, the exception of the cream-toned shadow. They all work beautifully and in honesty, this palette is worth buying for that pressed glitter alone. I'm not sure what Charlotte puts in it but it glides onto the lid like magic fairy dust and makes your eyes look stunning.
Yves Saint Laurent Star Clash Rouge Pur Couture lipstick in 01*, limited edition-Another luxury brand delivering on the glittery front is YSL. If I wasn't being so disciplined I would have grabbed the Touche Eclat in this packaging but it is more than likely sold out now. Boo. Hiss. Maybe next time wallet. This lipstick in the shade 01 is your true, vibrant red. Rumour has it that Alexa Chung is a fan of this shade. If you know someone who wants to channel the Chung then this is for them. There's also a beautiful nude in this packaging too. Did I mention it is embossed with stars, and in a glittery casing? Okay I will stop..
Jo Malone London Christmas Ornament, limited edition-Nothing whispers elegance in a glamorous way at Christmas time like Jo Malone. Their Christmas Crackers and Ornaments always go down a treat with their recipients and you cannot really go wrong. This year I think their ornament is rather exquisite as it contains a mini bottle of Peony and Blush suede, aka my favourite Jo Malone scent. Oh Jo Malone, so kind of you to design an ornament with me in mind. No, no, you hang up first. They have also included a Grapefruit Body Creme, another of my favourite scents when it comes to body products. Pro tip: If you are going through Auckland Duty Free you can save a little bit of cash on these, if they are still around. Otherwise they will set you back around $55. The perfect gift for the ladies in your life, or yourself if like me, treat yo'self is your philosophy.
-What luxe beauty products are on your wishlist this year?
The one with the laughs, the stories and the novel that's getting a lot of attention....
Scrappy Little Nobody* by Anna Kendrick-My first introduction to Anna Kendrick was in that unnamed vampire franchise, which I shamefully spent the better part of a year recommending people read. Dark times. Dark times. Thankfully I put that aside and saw her talented self in Into The Woods and Pitch Perfect among other things. Her Twitter has always been incredibly witty, especially when she engages in banter with Aubrey Plaza. Anyway, Scrappy Little Nobody reminds me a bit of Amy Poehler's book, which I also love. So naturally I loved this. As well as containing humorous musings on Hollywood, she also talks about life pre-fame, how not to throw parties and what it's like being in the weird fashion labyrinth that is celebrity styling. It's an extremely entertaining read.
something to say by frankie magazine-Before I get carried away with retelling one of my favourite stories from my holiday, I'll let you catch up here. Now that's over, here we have the best of twelve years of frankie hilarity and stories that as they put it, will make you laugh awkwardly in public. Fan favourites like Benjamin Law, Marieke Hardy and Rowena Grant-Frost all have work featured but there's tons of talented writer's work in here. One standout piece which I'm so glad is included is a story called 'things wheelchair users wish you would know' by Stella Young. It's hands down one of my all-time favourite pieces of writing frankie has included for many reasons. If you're a fan of the magazine or just like witty, humorous, sometimes mischievous writing then this is for you.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett-This is one of those instances where I saw the cover and was intrigued, partly because the model reminded me of Cate Blanchett in Carol. However it was the blurb that enticed me further and this book has been atop bestseller lists for months. In fact, I think I requested this quite a while ago from the library. Commonwealth is a story of two families and how fate can set unexpected events in motion. I really love books like this that flit between two periods of time and the different stages characters are at so I'm sure this will end up being a book I thoroughly enjoy.
How to Win at Feminism* by Reductress-Harper Collins kindly sent me this for review and I was intrigued from the get-go. Rather than being a no-nonsense, instructional manual on Feminism 101, this is in fact meant to be more satirical than anything else. Goodness knows, we all need a laugh after the year that was 2016 so I'm looking forward to winding down with this book during December.
-What are you reading during December?
'Tis the season to stock up on Lush. They're certainly one of the key players when it comes to Christmas bath and body gifts and their stores are always manic in the days leading up to Christmas. They have some standout sets but for me, their hero product at Christmas are their bath bombs. Today's post is therefore a bit of a love letter to these carbonated, often sparkly and surprise-laden delights. Cynics might say you're literally dissolving money but there's just something so comforting and fun about bath bombs, especially during the stressful festive season...
Never Mind The Ballistics*-If you like bath bombs that fizz away slowly, allowing you the chance to unwind and recharge your batteries, this is the one for you. Its scent reminds me of Perky Nana chocolate bars, which are my fave so I love that about it. Like Butterbear, mentioned below, it contains cocoa butter so it has that moisturising quality to it. Your skin is left smelling sweet and feeling silky smooth. What more could you want?
So White-So White is one of my favourite Christmas bath bombs from Lush. It's not as showy as some of Lush's other bath bombs but don't let that lead you astray from it. It's apple scented and is like bathing in Granny Smith apples. It smells sweet with just a tinge of sourness and while it may not be the most memorable of bath bombs, it's still a nice one nonetheless.
Northern Lights*-From what I can remember, this is a new addition to the Christmas bath bomb range and admittedly I am not a fan. Its scent reminds me a lot of Granny Takes A Dip which is more on the herbal side of things. Although the notes lean more floral so maybe it's just me imagining scents. Either way, I feel like Northern Lights has a very distinct scent that won't be for everyone so choose wisely.
Shoot For The Stars-I have to confess, I am yet to use this bath bomb but I have been assured by Lush enthusiasts and staff alike that it is beautiful. I may have even seen it being demo'ed at their Christmas launch last month. Inspired by Van Gogh's famed Starry Night painting, the water is left a deep, shimmering blue and notes of Brazilian orange and bergamot fill the air. S Club 7-inspired singing sessions are encouraged with this one.
Butterbear*-This is the Christmas twist on Lush's popular Butterball bath bomb. A blend of vanilla with real bits of cocoa butter throughout. It's like bathing in a chocolate milkshake, albeit a very moisturising one. I feel like this bath bomb would appeal to a wide range of people; from kids through to Mums so it'd make a great stocking stuffer.
Star Dust, not pictured-I'm a bit obsessed with star shaped things and this love naturally extends itself to bath bombs. Star Dust combines the scents of rosewood, vanilla absolute and bergamot oil. It colours your water a milky blue and leaves behind a trail of multicoloured stars. So yes, this is a visual treat. It also smells divine, like vanilla shortbread or Macarons so again it's a winner with me. I'll be trying to stock up on these before the end of the festive season. PS-Santa, I would not say no to one or four of these.
Golden Wonder, not pictured-I couldn't do this post and not mention what is quite possibly my favourite Lush bath bomb ever. In saying that, I've not bought any this Christmas. I'm a disloyal fan. Golden Wonder is a present shaped bath bomb which fizzes away, releasing some gold stars and lustre (Lush's equivalent of glitter) before leaving you with turquoise blue water that looks like something from a Greek island. Admittedly it's this colour that is the biggest appeal for me but I love the scent of it too, kinda sandalwood-y and beachy.
-Have you tried any of Lush's Christmas bath bombs? What did you think of them?
November's coming to a close which means it is November Favourites time. There's been so many standout books and beauty products this month so I really struggled to condense my loves down for once. No doubt the things that aren't featured here will make an appearance somewhere else in the next month or so. Today we have a bit of everything really; beauty, books and a musical that does not disappoint in the slightest. Enjoy and be sure to let me know what you have loved this month in the comments.
Pretty Iconic by Sali Hughes-There is nobody who can make beauty products sound quite as magical as Sali Hughes does. She makes it an art, that is for sure. Pretty Iconic looks at 200 beauty products from the last year and answers why they're staples and have changed the beauty game now or in the past. Many of them have Sali's own personal anecdotes and associations alongside them as well. It's really a book for total beauty obsessives and is the tome you will want to immerse yourself in for a lengthy period of time. I love it and am still reading it as I write this, to savour the decadent prose for a bit longer.
MAC Liptensity lipstick in Doe-Given I own a fair amount of lipsticks, it really says something when I reach for the same lipstick over and over rather than rotating them around. That is exactly what happened with me this month and Doe is virtually all I wore. The Liptensity lipsticks sit somewhere between a Cremesheen and a Lustre lipstick from MAC in my opinion. They have an almost slightly tacky feel to them which helps them stick around. Doe is your standard, neutral lipstick but there's just something about it that I find so flattering when I'm wearing it. I love it.
Estee Lauder Brow Duo, Brow Now Volumizing Brow Tint* and The Brow Multi Tasker*-I don't usually get too excited by brow products, mainly because I struggle to find ones that don't make my eyebrows look like Helga's from Hey Arnold but these two are the best. I could probably opt to not use the brow gel but it keeps them in place all day so I like to use it. The real winner though is The Brow Multi Tasker pencil, an angled crayon with a spoolie on the other end. I find angular pencils like this a lot easier to use and they can be more forgiving than something like the pomades that are everywhere.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit in Surreal Light, limited edition-This palette is inevitably going to end up in a few monthly favourites posts, that's my prediction at least. Just look at its outside casing for starters. Beautiful. Inside you have a finishing powder, two blushers, a strobe powder and a bronzer. One thing I will say is the bronzer is incredibly light so unless you're extremely pale I don't think it will translate as a bronzer. For that reason I use it as a blush. Otherwise I have no real qualms with this palette, aside from its somewhat eye-watering price tag. In saying that, Hourglass palettes last a lifetime so you get your money's worth.
The Body Shop Eye Colour Stick in Nevada Gold*-Eyeshadow crayons are one of my many beauty vices. They don't require a great deal of work and are so easy to just swipe on and be done with. I'll admit The Body Shop's aren't quite as creamy as the uber luxe By Terry offerings but they're still pretty fantastic. Nevada Gold is a champagne, sparkly wash of colour for the lids. It's a beautiful colour to wear and lasts really well with primer underneath. It's going to be my go-to in the hotter months.
The Wrong Girl by Zoe Foster Blake-While I was in Australia, I went to Readings, which is like a Melbourne version of Unity Books and I purchased Zoe's book alongside one by Frankie magazine. It's the book that has also inspired a TV series on Channel Ten in Australia, which I watched some of and loved. Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. It was the perfect tonic to the mess that was the Presidential Election. It's entertaining, heartwarming and the book equivalent of a bunch of peonies. If you want a light read for the beach this Summer, this is your book.
Matilda The Musical-Matilda by Roald Dahl is one of the first books I remember reading by myself and the movie was one I watched countless times in my childhood. Naturally the musical was always, always going to appeal to me. I can tell you it is amazing. Part musical, part play, it is a visual feast and the score is superb. The Australian cast were all so talented too, major props to Elise McCann as Miss Honey and James Millar as Miss Trunchbull. If you get the opportunity to see this show, do not pass it up.
-What have you loved during November?
Today we have a little, condensed roundup of some of the bits and pieces I grabbed in Melbourne. Non-beauty of course. Some of what I grabbed was gifts for friends and family for Christmas, hence it's not here but here's a little snippet anyway. Enjoy!
The Books: Can I go to a foreign country and not buy books? Especially when they're so much cheaper. Don't quote me on this but I don't think they tax books in Australia like they do here, hence the cheaper prices. Case in point. I grabbed a couple at Dymocks: Inside Vogue and Air Kisses, Readings: Something To Say and The Wrong Girl and then Artful by Ali Smith from a Book Barn. The latter had every book in store for ten dollars. Utter bargain.
Muji: I could not go to Melbourne and not visit Muji. What I was not anticipating was just how busy it was, although I've since been told that Muji is always busy. Who knew? Muji was a plethora of covetable, inexpensive things but I was actually reasonably restrained. I think I only spent about $20 in there. Shout out to their amazing pens that are pictured above. I sincerely regret not buying at least fifty of them. I also loved the notebook+bag+tshirt stamping station where you could personalise your things. So cool. NZ needs a Muji right now please.
The shoes of dreams: To know me is to know I hate shoe shopping. Okay, hate is a strong word, I sincerely dislike it. So when I stumbled upon these shoes in Zara and they fit my weirdly proportioned feet, I was beyond happy. I can't find 'em online, nor did I spot them in-store here at home so I am guessing they may be sold out now. There's lots of similar variations in store though, including some that look almost identical to those fur-trimmed Gucci ones that are sending everybody into a bit of a loafer frenzy.
Decorative Delights: Aka the one where I go on my usual card, Christmas decoration acquisition. I grabbed some decorations from David Jones (this and this), some cards from the Viktor and Rolf exhibit and some beautiful Megan Hess for Disney cards that I am going to frame.
Sweet Treat Yo'Self: If I could have bottled Boost Juice up and smuggled it home, past two lots of customs and security, I so would have. Seeing as that is not an option, I made do with some lollies I love. First up; Fantales. Why we don't have these in NZ is beyond me. I freakin' love them and regret only buying one extra bag to come home with. Also making its way back to Auckland; Violet Crumble which is basically like a Crunchie bar, but better. Some boiled sweets from the Vic Markets made their way back here too. Raspberry drops, nom oh and Smiths Chips, S&V chips because I am a bit obsessed with them. I did eat fruit in Australia guys, promise(!), I just couldn't bring that back.
-So that concludes my Melbourne posts! I hope you've enjoyed this little series of shorts. Have a great weekend, it's no secret how I am spending mine..