The Book Club Update

The Book Club Update

Why hello and happy Thursday to you all. You may have noticed that there's been no book club review this month because I didn't finish the book. Yeah, about that. Life got in the way, assignments got in the way, I've been reading other things basically. I'm a serial reader or something like that. My bad. Anyway, I still wanted to talk about books and things today so I thought I'd give you a little overview of September's book, well what I've read so far anyway as well as the details on October's books...

So September's book was The Lonely City by Olivia Laing. It documents her experiences in New York City and discusses introvertedness, being comfortable in your own company and art among other things. It's beautifully written and while I've not given it much time yet, I've read about fifty pages or so, I am really enjoying what I have read so far. My aim is to finish this by the time I do my next book club post so I'll talk more deeply on it then. If you're like me though and are just as happy spending time by yourself or have ever adventured around a big city on your lonesome then I think you will really relate to and connect with this book. 

Next month is October, how/why/when?! In seriousness, October is so close which means Christmas and Summer are even closer. Instead of freaking out, let us celebrate those two joyous things. Anyway, enough reminiscence, October's books are by two amazing women and storytellers. First up we have Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson. I've already read this. Waiting to read it was like being told you can't touch the biscuits that are fresh out of the oven. Painful and far too tempting. I loved it and am going to be re-reading it again very soon so I can do a more insightful review for you all. Secondly we have milk and honey by Rupi Kaur which is very popular among bookstagrammers and reading enthusiasts in general at the moment. It is split into four sections; each being intertwined with thoughts, poetry, ideas and illustrations. It's an incredibly powerful, emotional read. I've found myself getting quite overwhelmed with emotion and memories reading this. There's a lot of dog-eared pages and underlined passages. I'm not quite finished this as I am savouring it but again it is going to be getting high-praise around these parts next month. 

-If you're taking part in my book club next month, let me know. The more the merrier! If you've read any of these books, let us know what you think of them in the comments too. It's always interesting to hear everyone's insights on books, especially the more personal ones like these. 
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COLAB Dry Shampoo: First Impressions

COLAB Dry Shampoo: First Impressions

If you're a bit of a beauty enthusiast, you will have heard of COLAB and their haircare products, made famous by the British beauty blogging community and of course their ambassador, Ruth Crilly aka A Model Recommends. It's taken a little while but the brand is finally available in New Zealand. *insert confetti, sparkles and streamers here* I was offered the opportunity to try some of COLAB's products and jumped at the chance. Dry shampoo is my jam as I'm sure you all know. My lack of enthusiasm for hair-washing is well documented around these parts. COLAB had me at Sheer+Invisible and the range of enticing scents, inspired by different cities. As it is still very early days, I thought I'd share my first impressions and musings about the two products I have tried...

COLAB Sheer+Invisible Monaco*-Having dark hair, I want dry shampoo that doesn't look like I've run flour through my hair and called it a day, so the idea of a sheer and invisible dry shampoo was always going to get my stamp of approval. The Monaco fragrance contains top notes of; lemon, bergamot, seaweed, driftwood and cardamom, heart notes of; neroli, petitgrain and mandarin and base notes of; amber, musk, vetiver and oak. I wish this was a body spray or something as well because it smells divine. As for its sheer+invisible qualities, it literally is undetectable in the hair, even before you brush it through. It definitely had my third-day hair looking a lot more refreshed too. 

COLAB Volume London*-As well as the Sheer+Invisible offerings, COLAB have bought their range of Volume dry shampoos to NZ as well. I opted for this in the London fragrance which contains top notes of; bergamot and rose, heart notes of; rose, violet, magnolia and jasmine and base notes of; wood, amber and musk. The volume formula adds a bit of texture and body to the hair, without taking things overboard. It's a little less lightweight than the Sheer+Invisible but it still isn't weighty by any means. I love the mini size of this one too, it's perfect for travel.

COLAB's dry shampoos are available from select stockists in New Zealand now. To find your nearest supplier, call 0508 734 466

*PR Sample
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September Favourites

September Favourites

September's almost been and gone, and for once I'm rather decisive with my monthly favourites. There's a book and mascara that everyone's loving, a movie that's taken me far too long to watch and a couple of new and old beauty loves...

Too Faced Hangover Primer-The primer I usually use, Hourglass's Veil didn't seem to be gelling well with my skin, or at least not the foundations I paired it with so I've gone back to this primer and love it. Despite this primer feeling quite hydrating and maybe better suited to drier skin types, my combination skin loves it. It adds a little bit of glow without making me look shiny and helps to keep my matte foundation looking flawless+intact. I've nearly run out of this and I will definitely be making a point of repurchasing it in Australia. 

YSL Lip Vinyls*-These are what I'd call an introduction to the liquid lipstick. They have the silky feeling of a gloss, combined with the staying power of a much more matte lipstick. They're so comfortable to wear on the lips and the colours are gorgeous. I have a vibrant pink but also a more peachy nude and they're both so pretty. I've had one, or sometimes both in my handbag all month. 

Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara*-In honesty I am usually not the biggest fan of Maybelline's mascaras. They're good, but not amazing. That being said, I am loving their newest addition to the Falsies range. It gives your lashes a curl and makes them look thicker and fuller. I've seen this applied on people who have sparser eyelashes than I do and it makes theirs look amazing as well. This one's worth the hype if you're hunting down a wallet-friendly mascara. 

Nowhere Boy-I am obsessed with this movie. In fact, it's hands-down one of the best movies I have seen this year. Nowhere Boy reveals just what made John Lennon who he was. We find out about his teenaged years, his struggles in school, his relationship with his Aunt Mimi and also his estranged mother Julia. We're introduced to his love of art and music, as well as the early formation of The Quarry Men who would go on to become The Beatles. The story is compelling and visually stunning as well. I loved the soundtrack+costuming too. It was brilliant. 

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer*-Right at the beginning of the month I said to not be surprised if this ends up being my book of the month. It actually had some competition, in the form of this but in the end Amy's book really stood out and needs to be discussed. For a comedian's memoir I was expecting to laugh out loud, that I did. However I also cried in parts, books make me emotional okay? It made me think and it also increased my appreciation+love for Amy Schumer. Her chapter on women's magazines and the unrealistic images we are presented from the media in general really resonated with me. Emma touches on this more in her review. I also really related with her chapter on introverted behaviour and I'm glad she wrote on this. Being shy and preferring one's own company definitely isn't as taboo as some other topics but I think it's fantastic that Amy is helping to normalise it. This book's worth all the hype it's getting. Read it. Devour it. Buy everyone a copy for Christmas. 

-What have you loved during September?

*PR Sample
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4 Online Book Clubs To Join

4 Online Book Clubs To Join

The Internet can be a bit like the high school cafeteria in many ways, both good and bad. One of its amazing abilities is its tendency to unite likeminded people, sharing common interests and beliefs. We might not always find our people in high school but we more often than not will find them online. Readers and literary enthusiasts can now find their place online too in digital book clubs. Here's some I recommend you cast your eyes over...

Between Two Books-This is one of my favourite online book clubs, and it was established by Florence and the Machine fans. They discovered Florence shared a love for literature and now she recommends the books, along with some of her friends every few months. They have a Facebook page and closed group for discussions but you can also find them here. Some of my favourite books have been past recommendations from the club; The Goldfinch, Not That Kind Of Girl and Just Kids, among others. At the moment they are reading salt and bone which are frustratingly a bit harder to track down but if you can get hold of copies you should. 

Austentatious Book Club-Zoe aka readbyzoe established this Jane Austen book club a couple of months ago and already it is brimming with enthusiastic readers. At the moment there are books assigned through to January so if you want to join in you can get organised and obtain the books in advance. Last month they read Pride and Prejudice and they are currently reading Persuasion. I skim-read Persuasion back in Year 13, in fact it's probably not fair to say I skim read it because I remember nothing. I'm reading Pride and Prejudice right now and liking it so far, it's easier to read than I expected which is a bonus.

The Feminist Orchestra Book Club-Jean's book club is another of my favourites and has unearthed some books for me that I might not have read otherwise. I Call Myself A Feminist and Take it as a Compliment in particular are worth reading. The Feminist Orchestra is another one that sets out their books in advance and have assigned books through to the end of the year. While I don't think I'm going to get around to participating in all of the reads, I will definitely be picking up December's book.

Rookie Mag-So this is not strictly a book club but given Rookie post anywhere between 2-3 book posts per month I had to include them. They recommend a range of texts, including plays, diaries and of course the novel. A wide range of themes are often covered too so while you may not always find something to take your interest in their posts, one on sci-fi reads didn't interest me whatsoever, there's plenty of others in the archives. Some of the Rookie interviews that they conduct are great ways to find out about reading material too. 

-Are you in any online/offline book clubs? Which ones do you partake in+recommend?
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The Paper Gang | August Box

The Paper Gang | August Box

If you read my July post, you'll know I bought myself the August Paper Gang box as well. This was before I knew what the theme was, which in this case was marbled. My second box arrived a lot faster than box one. From memory it was just under a week after it was despatched so that was a bonus. In honesty I wasn't going to do this post because I was a bit disappointed by the sparse contents of August's box but at the same time it gives you an honest look at what was inside...

As you can see, August's box only contained four items. Four. I was surprised at how few things were included to be honest. In saying that, with the exception of the calendar page I was mostly satisfied with the contents. The main item this month was the hardback, marbled notebook with rose gold detailing. You can't see from this picture but the pages actually have rose gold edging which is actually really freakin' pretty. I love it. This notebook's lined too so I will definitely find a use for it. We also received some copper washi tape which I love and will definitely use. I did have a roll of copper tape and used it all up so this one will meet a similar fate. Lastly there was another card which I will definitely use and the September calendar page. The calendar pages are the least useful for me and I imagine perhaps other people too. Unless they were doing a calendar page with every box from the beginning of the year, I'm not entirely sure. 

Overall I was a bit disappointed with the August box. It wasn't terrible by any means, it just wasn't amazing and I didn't feel like I was getting my money's worth. I think if you want a decent stationery themed subscription box, you're better off going for something like Happy Mail which, while expensive is usually much better value for money. Their cards are always beautifully designed too.

-Have you signed up to a stationery subscription box before? What did you think of it?
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The Spring Wishlist

The Spring Wishlist

During mid-semester break I've been indulging in one of my favourite pastimes, online window-shopping. Also known as the one where I stare like the heart-eyed cat emoji at the things I'd buy, right now if money were no object. The reality is I may inevitably purchase some of the products on this list but it will be a much more gradual, drawn out process. Unless, I win Lotto in which case all self-imposed restrictions will promptly go out the window. So here's what is on my wishlist this Spring; there's a mix of beauty, some fine paper goods because y'all know how I feel about them and some fashion to round things out. 

Rifle Paper Co Herb Garden Wall Calendar-I loved my Frankie calendar that I have this year but honestly I prefer a calendar that's a bit smaller. Here's where the Rifle Paper Co one comes in. It's small, each page contains a gorgeous flora and fauna, or in this case herb themed illustration. To top it off there's some gold detailing on the pages. Swoon.

Hourglass Cosmetics Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick-The one or two foundation sticks I've tried in the past have been a bit of a mess basically. The colours have been off but they've also been thick and just generally not a good time, for my face or for applying. This one's full coverage but in the one or two videos I've seen it used in it doesn't look overly heavy. I imagine you could sheer it out even further with something like a complexion sponge if full coverage isn't really your thing. Admittedly a heavier base isn't really what I go for in Spring/Summer but I'm in need of a new foundation so I might have to give this a try. 

Lonely Lingerie Winona Bra-There's something luxe and lovely about Lonely lingerie. I have a few of their pieces and they're just so darn special. I also lovelovelove their campaign imagery and the fact they design lingerie for real, diverse women. Blush pinks and khaki+lighter greens are two colours I'm really digging at the moment. The Winona bra satisfies my yearning for the former colour. It's lacy, strappy and so luxe. I love it.

Tuesday Bassen Erase You Pin-Support the OG designer of these pins, not the Zara knockoffs guys. One of Wellington's indie stores, Madame Fancy Pants is going to be stocking a range of Tuesday Bassen's pins and patches very soon and honestly, I want all of them. I particularly like this erase you pin because let's be real, who doesn't have people or moments they'd happily like to erase from the picture? I also love the Girls flag pin they have too. Get in my life. 

Kikki K 2017 A6 Diary Pistachio-Every year I purchase a Kikki K diary to use. It's been that way for as long as I can remember now. The last couple of years I've bought their 'inspire' diary but I want to go back to the classic diary for 2017. It's a bit simpler but I figured I can always pretty it up with some washi tape and things. I can't resist this new pistachio colour either. So pretty!

Byredo Mojave Ghost Eau De Parfum-This is definitely one of the 'if I won the Lottery' items because I have quite the collection of fragrances. I spritzed this in Mecca when I visited with Emma a few weeks ago and she liked it as well. Byredo's fragrances have a cult following for a reason, their Gypsy Water one seems to be a fan favourite. There's something special about Mojave Ghost though. Its notes include ambrette, Jamaican nesberry, violet, sandalwood, magnolia base, chantilly musk, crisp amber and cedarwood. I seem to be naturally drawn to fragrances that contain sandalwood and floral base notes so maybe that's why I'm so taken by it. What I do know is this is such a unique, beautiful fragrance and I'm going to keep coveting it for some time yet. 

the gentlewoman magazine-The new issue of The Gentlewoman keeps with my preference for longer, more book-esque magazines. This is one that champions women so I'm even more of a fan of it. Zadie Smith covers this issue, on the eve of the launch of her latest novel. Erin Brockovich is also featured, designer Grace Wales Bonner among others. This magazine's quite wordy which I love so this would be perfect to take on my travels later in the year.

-What's on your wishlist at the moment?
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Taking Stock: Volume Five

Taking Stock: Volume Five

TGIF in every sense of the word. It's been a long, long week and mid-semester break has disappeared in the blink of an eye. For reals. Today I'm coming at you with another little life update if you will. Apologies if it ends up being a bit sarcastic, such is what happens when I am writing this at 8pm and in need of caffeine. Anyway, taking stock, volume five. Let's do this...

Reading: I have a few books on the go right now but the ones I am most devoted to are; How bad can love be? by Holly Bourne and Is that a dagger which I see before me? by William Shakespeare. Feminism and soliloquies basically. 

Watching: Freaks and Geeks, as recommended by Emma and a bunch of other people. It's so, so good!

Buying: Nothing, although I kinda want to replace some of my Real Techniques brushes that are getting a bit old and repurchase this concealer. 

Listening: To a whole lot of John Lennon. This is largely inspired by the John Lennon tribute show I went to last month. I seem to often go through a routine of listening to The Beatles at this time of the year, well every few months if I'm honest. 

Feeling: Tired af. 

Planning: What I'm going to get up to in Melbourne. It's just under two months until I'm over there and I'm so excited. Melbourne is one of my favourite places. 

Wishing: It wasn't so cold right now. Where's that sudden freezing temperature come from!? Spring, where are you at? 

Enjoying: Watching Freaks and Geeks. I'm a little bit obsessed, okay?

Eating: As of right now, nothing. Although I did have some fruit salad before with icecream. Nom. 

Hoping: That I get to watch all of Freaks and Geeks before I have to return it. I borrowed the box set from the library and have a fair chunk of episodes left. A binge session may need to take place this weekend.

Thinking: I should really stay away from opinion pieces that I know I will disagree with. Although, it is important to remember that the opinion belongs to one person and isn't necessarily reflective of society as a whole. 

Lacking: Sleep. I've been waking up at weird hours all break. Not ideal.

Trying: To not be so critical of myself, this better articulates it. 

Drinking: Water and coffee and water and coffee. You get the idea..

Wanting: Valentino Rockstuds and to go to the movies. There's so many films coming out soon that I want to watch. 

Deciding: If I want to housesit or not. Aka the one where I overanalyse every aspect. 

Wearing: My jeans, a printed shirt and my dressing gown. Weird combo but it's so cold, hence the dressing gown. 

Needing: Sleep! Which I am off to do right now. 9pm, what a partier haha.
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Trainside Reads, Volume 1

Trainside Reads, Volume 1

The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory really. I catch the train because I don't enjoy wasting my money on petrol to get to the city and also because I dislike paying for daytime parking within the city. I'm a cheapskate basically when it comes to transport. This means that naturally I usually have a couple of hours, give or take, to spend as I wish on public transport when I use it. Hence I use it to my advantage and usually have a book or magazine. It just makes sense. Here's a little roundup of some of the books I have read or am currently reading on train trips...

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby-I mentioned this in my last book post but props to Penguin for making compact, lightweight, wallet-friendly classics a thing. They're the best if you're like me and tend to leave the house with every single thing in tow. Anyway, High Fidelity is about Rob, a 35 year-old singleton who owns a record store in London. At the beginning of the book he is lamenting what lead to the breakdown of his previous breakups, including his most recent. It sounds depressing but it really isn't. Okay, maybe in parts it is a bit bleak but for the most part this is rather hilarious. I envisioned Rob as Hugh Grant in Notting Hill, just a bit more cynical. Maybe that helped. Anyway, this book is largely centred around romance, a lack thereof and music. It talks about how these two things can bring people together and just as easily tear them apart. Nick Hornby's writing is pretty top notch, in my eyes at least so I really enjoyed this one. 

The Bricks That Built the Houses by Kate Tempest-This was my most recent trainside read and I loved it. In saying that I find it really difficult to write and talk about because it's one of those books you just have to really read and immerse yourself in, without the potential background noise. I went into this blind and had little knowledge of its content or plot development. It follows a group of twenty-somethings in London as they all embark on various careers. It starts in the present with them all fleeing the city in a car with a suitcase and travels back through each of the character's psyches. Tempest breaks down what makes them all tick and looks at ideas like career aspirations and the idea of feeling lost by the ambiguous paths our lives may take. I've not read anything like this that gets so immersed into the character's mindsets. It's amazing. I also loved how each of the characters various plots all ended up intertwining in such a seamless way. If this book sounds appealing I urge you to read it. It's fantastic. 

The Children Act by Ian McEwan-I've not read an awful lot of this yet but it had been sitting on my bookshelf for far too long so I threw it into my bag in an attempt to coax myself into reading it. This is the first Ian McEwan book I've read and again I am really enjoying it so far. I will keep you posted on this one. 

-Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

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The Lipstick Diaries

The Lipstick Diaries

I've just realised that we have a Monday-Friday lipstick wardrobe here which makes the post title all the more apt. The obsession with the youngest Jenner's cosmetics continues and there's even one or two luxe lip offerings in the mix as well. Whether you're after a statement red or a gentle introduction to the liquid lipstick world, all bases, or pouts, are covered...

The statement making red: Tom Ford beauty has recently arrived in New Zealand and I was lucky enough to be given one of their lipsticks for my birthday (shout out to you M). Everything about this lipstick screams luxury, from the sleek black and gold packaging, to the TF embossed lipstick bullet. The colour though is the real winner. I have the shade Wild Ginger, which has a MAC Lady Danger vibe to it. It's vibrant with those orange undertones but because it's a creamier formula, it's a touch less dramatic. This is such a flattering colour and it's easy to see why it's such a fan favourite. 

The low-maintenance (ish) red: I've tried and tested a few different liquid lipsticks from various brands and price points but Kylie Jenner's are still my favourite. Mary Jo K is described as a "true blue red". These are the kind of reds to wear if your skintone errs on the paler side of things. Think the red lipstick Angelina Jolie wears as Maleficent. I pair this with MAC's Redd lip pencil for a bit of extra longevity but honestly these are pretty long-lasting on their own. 

The gateway liquid lipstick: While the new YSL Lip Vinyls* aren't liquid lipsticks in the traditional sense of the word, I had to include them here. They're the product to go for if you want to ease into the idea of a liquid lipstick but aren't quite ready for the commitment. They have the longevity of a liquid lipstick combined with the staying power of a stain. The key difference is that they're a fraction glossier. I have the shades Rose Happening and Nude Pulse. Despite their names, they're both vibrant shades with amazing colour payoff. I love how comfortable they are to wear too. Being more on the glossier side of things they do need a touch up every now and again but because they act as a stain you can get away with not doing it too often. 

The experimental metallic lip aka the one to scare everybody with at Halloween: Scare might be entirely the wrong word here, I wouldn't call this colour frightening. Maybe in broad daylight it would attract a bit of unwanted attention but it's surprisingly not too difficult to wear. I'm talking about King K of course, one of Kylie's metallic liquid lipsticks. King K is described as a soft metallic gold, it definitely pulls lighter on the lips than it does in the bullet. In saying that I've seen this worn on people with deeper skintones and it seems to suit them as well. Maybe it's one of those chameleon-esque lip products that looks different on everyone. I'll be honest, given how pale I am currently this isn't the most flattering colour on me right now and I haven't had the confidence to wear it out of the house yet. Somehow though I still really like it. I just need to find the best way to wear it. If you have any suggestions, leave them below.

-What lip products are you using and liking at the moment?

*PR Sample

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September Reading List

September Reading List

Books might not be as ironic or groundbreaking for Spring as florals are, but September's reading pile does bring about a bit of change with it. By change I mean the sudden appearance of two classics; Shakespearean soliloquies and a bit of Austen. I'd be doing my high school literature teachers proud. I think... There's also September's book club read of choice by Olivia Laing and Amy Schumer's book because I cannot stop talking about it. So without further ado, September's book list for your perusual...

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo* by Amy Schumer-What's not to love about Amy Schumer? She's hilarious, flooring us all with Trainwreck and sketches such as this and this. She's mates with JLaw, bonded over Harry Potter with none other than JK Rowling herself and found the time to write this simply brilliant book. I'm still reading it but it was not what I was expecting at all and I mean that in the best possible way. It's hilarious and entertaining for sure, but I wasn't expecting it to be so relatable and real. If there is one book you reach for this month, make it this one.

Is this a dagger I see before me? by Wlliam Shakespeare-First things first, I love the idea of the Penguin Little Black Classics. They're slim and affordable pieces of literature that might otherwise go unnoticed in the world of all the books. This one is a collection of Shakespeare's soliloquies, including the well-known such as the titular one from Macbeth but also lesser known pieces as well. Aside from Shakespeare's history plays, staring long and hard at you Julius Caesar (bane of my existence), I have a lot of love for Shakespeare so I am looking forward to revisiting his writing. In truth, I haven't read any Shakespeare since I studied The Tempest and that was six years ago. Sheesh, it's about time huh?

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing-Olivia Laing's new book is generating a lot of interest in the wider book community and it was voted as the third book for my book club which honestly I was quite pleased about. I don't know an awful lot about this book but I know it joins the topics of loneliness and art together in a thought-provoking way. My review later in the month will be a bit more detail-heavy so keep an eye out for that.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen-Believe it or not I have never read Pride and Prejudice. I've seen the movie with Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan etc but I've never read the book. After reading Eligible and loving it I knew I needed to read the original. I just need to remember that in this book, Darcy is not a neurosurgeon and Lizzy is not a magazine writer. 

-What are you reading during September?

*Review copy

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