April, you awesome, Autumnal thing. It's hard to believe how fast April has disappeared. I say that every month but it feels like this month truly was the busiest. Thankfully it hasn't impacted my ability to select some monthly favourites and wax lyrical about them. Consider yourselves blessed, I'm kidding guys. There's a couple of books in the mix, a scent, some high-end beauty loves and even a podcast in there for good measure. Enjoy, and be sure to leave me a comment telling me what you've loved this month. I'd love to hear what's taken your fancy...
Moranifesto* by Caitlin Moran-This book, this woman. I loved my introduction to Caitlin Moran's writing. So much that I'm now reading How To Be A Woman and have Moranthology sitting in my stack of library books. Moranifesto is crammed with Moran's columns for the Times paper as well as some new pieces she penned especially for the book. There's writing on topics ranging from a visit to the set of Girls with Lena Dunham, to the ongoing refugee crisis. She's equal parts frank and funny in her writing and I love it.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Waterproof Concealer*-The name of this concealer was enough to have me interested and it does not disappoint. It's not too thick and it's easy enough to layer up if you want to really conceal any blemishes or imperfections. As to its waterproof properties, I can't vouch for that but it is fairly long-wearing indeed.
Dior Addict Lip Glow-On low-key makeup days, in other words most days I like to throw a decent lip balm on to keep my lips hydrated. It also comes in handy if I want to pretend I've made an effort with makeup, especially if it's tinted like this one. I also like to apply lip balm before I put any lipstick on, especially mattes. It just seems to make lip products adhere better to the lips. This Dior one is a kinda crazy coral colour but it's one of those products that adjusts to the colour of your lips, via some form of magic. I'm not a scientist okay guys? I like it, and if you're in the market for a slightly indulgent lip product, this is for you.
Ctrl Alt Delete Podcast x Emma Gannon-This podcast was touched on in my video the other day so I'll try to keep my Emma fangirling to a non-crazy level of admiration. She's just started up a podcast and it's so, so good. It follows women (and some men) as they discuss their careers and their relationship with the internet and all the inspirational things. One of my favourite interviews is the one she's done with Rowan Blanchard, such an inspiring young lady. The episode with Dawn O'Porter, which I'm listening to at the moment is brilliant as well. Highly recommend you give this a listen if you're interested in hearing other creatives share their amazing stories.
Charlotte Olympia x MAC Cosmetics Cream Colour Base*-I've raved on about this enough this month so I'll keep this brief. This is the Sepia cream colour base which is perfect for cream contouring, although less is certainly more. I love this as a cream eyeshadow base as well, it's just a smidge more blendable than Mac's paint pots too. Gotta love that limited edition packaging too though, swoon.
Woolgathering by Patti Smith, not pictured-As well as April being the month where I discovered Caitlin Moran's writing, it was also the time where I discovered Patti Smith's writing. It's poetic and beautiful in a way that I'm not going to be able to eloquently express in a mere blog post. Woolgathering contains tales from Smith's childhood, all true and all recounted in the most mesmerising way. She has a way of writing that just makes you not want to stop reading her work, lest you miss an important detail or aesthetic. I highly recommend this one if you've not yet read it.
Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Rose*-We all know that describing scents is never going to be my forte but this, if I simplify things down is Summer cocktails in a perfume bottle. Sweet, sophisticated and fun. This will definitely appeal to a very specific kind of scent-enthusiast but I think it's absolutely divine. If you're on the hunt for a new scent, you should go have a spritz of this one.
-What have you loved during April?
Y'know how I feel about books and stationery by now. I do not make it obvious anywhere online/offline at all... Recently I discovered the brand Obvious State either on Instagram or Buzzfeed and I was absolutely smitten with it. Come pay day I had this small lineup in my basket, one thing led to another. You know how this goes...
Obvious State are a New York based design studio with a love for words of the literary kind. They're also partial to a floral, art-deco inspired print or two as well. It's a match made in heaven really. As well as the products I grabbed, they also have a range of stationery available; tote bags, mugs and even a book with some stunning photographs as well. It's all relatively inexpensive as well which is always a bonus. One thing I will point out is that this took just about five weeks to get here. For a bit of context, I have had packages from the US arrive within a week. It's not necessarily a bad thing, although if you were buying something from here as a gift internationally, you'd want to buy it well in advance just to be safe. Anyway, here is what I grabbed from Obvious State's well stocked, literary lovers' paradise...
Bloom Bookmark Set-To know me is to know I love a good floral print. Miranda Priestly mightn't find them particularly groundbreaking for Spring, but I do love 'em all year round. These are absolutely beautiful and feature quotes from British Romantic Poets, including Wordsworth and Coleridge. I actually studied romantic poetry in AS Lit and loved it so this was an inspired, and brilliant purchase indeed. I've already given a couple of these out as gifts, don't worry I am saving some for myself. They're so stunning. Insert heart emojis for days here.
Stars Notebook-I'm also a fan of constellation, galaxy prints, preferably the more minimal designs. I also love notebooks of all shapes and sizes. I usually have several going at once. I got this one though to stick in my handbag. It'll be useful for exciting times when creative inspiration strikes, and the not-so-exciting times, like when I need to remember to buy washing powder. It feels pretty sturdy too so fingers crossed it will not get too battered in my bag.
Harmony Card-If you follow my book-themed Instagram, @whatsophieread, subtle plug, you will have seen this already. This card features the quote "That voice of unpretending harmony" which is from one of Wordsworth's poems. I do have a soft spot for Wordsworth. Anyway, beautiful card, gorgeous card stock. I've actually framed this up and stuck it on my bookshelf, although it may eventually end up on the wall.
-What stationery items have you bought and liked lately? Do tell! I am sure myself and fellow stationery lovers would eat your recommendations up. x
I have master-enabler Anna and a few friends to blame for my sudden urge to downsize all the beauty things. Let's be real, I have one face and there is no way this face needs multiple eyeshadows, lipsticks and vice versa. The rules? Anything remotely similar had to go. This forced me to really think about which formulas were the best. I also took into account what I actually used regularly enough to justify keeping as well as whether or not products had gone off, or just weren't that great to begin with. To kick things off I'm going to start with single eyeshadows, the area where I had a lot of similar colours and formulas. Rather than review them all for you, which I am pretty sure has been done for virtually every colour in this post, I am going to leave links to posts I have done. Anyway, here's what survived the shadow purge...
The Creams: MAC Groundwork Paint Pot*, MAC Foiled Eyeshadow in Joy Toy, limited edition. Colourpop Shadow in La La. The Powder: L'Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Amber Rush.
The Powders: MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadow in Lorelei, limited edition. A range of these shadows has been made permanent though, more here. Milani Gel Powder Eyeshadows.
The Creams: MAC Paint Pot in Eclair, limited edition. This is similar. Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise in Bette. Australis Metallix Eyeshadows.
-Have you done a beauty cull? What are your tips and tricks for making it successful?
Sometimes you just want to mix it up and do a tag. Well, when one of the tags is about books it gets me excited because there's so many makeup/life tags around but this is the first book tag I've seen, on a blog at least. Thanks Emma for doing this as it made me really want to do this post. It was fun too. Anyway, for more book banter keep reading...
Is there a book on your nightstand right now? *There are several, see photographic evidence down below. The two bigger coffee table-esque books are there mainly for aesthetic purposes but also because I want to read them. Otherwise there is currently Woolgathering x Patti Smith, Everyday Sexism x Laura Bates and How To Be A Woman x Caitlin Moran.
What was the last truly great book you read? *I've read a few goodies lately but the one that springs to mind, because I finished it this morning that I'm writing was Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar. It was a freakin' kids book and it made me cry about as much as Me Before You did. That fact did wonders for my confidence. Seriously though, it's a brilliant read and I highly recommend it.
If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you want to know? *Caitlin Moran because I love her and all her writings. I feel like she'd be an amazing person to have coffee with/have at a dinner party and I'd want to know her feelings on everything. It'd be a really long but satisfying conversation basically.
What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves? *Selfish by Kim Kardashian is the first that springs to mind here. Although, if you know me you'll know that I unashamedly love the Kardashians so that's maybe not the most surprising. After that I'd say maybe The Clique by Lisi Harrison. This may seem bizarre but I keep it around for a number of nostalgic purposes and also because I was obsessed with those books growing up.
How do you organise your personal library? *Ah funny you should ask that dear tag. I am doing a post on this very, very soon as it has been requested. There really is no major logic to it. I keep magazines down the right hand side of each shelf, most of my non-fiction loves are on the lower shelves...I'll save this for my post though.
Is there a book you have always meant to read but haven't gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read? *Hmm, I guess I should be embarrassed to be such a lover of literature yet a reader of very few classics. Other than the ones I had to read for English Lit at school there's very few I've read outside of high school. So with that in mind, books I have been meaning to read but never get around to; Pride and Prejudice (no zombies thanks), The Catcher in the Rye, The Secret Garden and Atonement.
Disappointing, overrated, just not good; name a book you feel you were supposed to have liked but didn't? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing? *This Is Where The World Ends. It reminded me too much of Looking For Alaska and that really frustrated me. It just didn't feel original at all. A book I put down without finishing...How To Be Both by Ali Smith. This was before I'd read any of Ali's other writing but I'm used to the way she structures her work and her writing style now so I will eventually try it again. I just got really baffled+annoyed by it initially.
What kind of stories are you drawn to? Anything you steer clear of? *I guess young-adult contemporary and contemporary fiction in general are what I am drawn to. I like stories that are as visually pleasing to imagine as they are to immerse yourself in. I'm not a huge fan of science fiction, especially dystopian fiction. A lot of the massively hyped YA series and authors really don't appeal to me for that reason.
If you could choose a book that the Prime Minister had to read, which would it be? *I'd say Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran. I know Emma suggested Everyday Sexism but I feel like he'd react better to a book with a bit more humour in it. I'd hope that some of the messages about misogyny and women in politics+the depiction of women would get through to him. Withholding political opinions in 5, 4, 3....
What do you plan to read next? *I'm going to start an ARC of a book that's being released in May. I was sent it back in January and have held off reading it until now for many reasons so I'm looking forward to it.
It wouldn't be a seasonal beauty post without giving the luxe loves a look in. There's some newbies, a scent I'm surprisingly smitten with, more eyeshadows than you can shake a stick at and even a bronzer....
MAC x Charlotte Olympia Cream Colour Base in Sepia*-This fabulous lil' collection is in store on the 18th, mark it in your diaries peeps. Charlotte Olympia is one of my favourite fashion designers and while I own none of her wares, one day, I was so excited for her MAC collaboration. It does not disappoint. Anyway, this cream colour base is a new (to me) product. It's multi-purpose, you can use this for a spot of cream contouring or as an eyeshadow base. It works well for both those things, in fact I may prefer this formula to the beloved paint pots. Gasp! It's a bit creamier so you get more time to work with it and blend, always a bonus. The gold variant may be on my wishlist at the moment as well.
Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Pepper-An Anna inspired buy, that girl enables good. It's a dusty rose shade, so it's more on the brown side of things. It's a flattering brown though, and is perfect for people who are a bit wary of taking things full-nineties. It's creamy, long-wearing and I love it!
MAC Frost Shadow in Cranberry-Ahh this shadow, I've probably said this before but I don't know why everyone's so intimidated by it. Yes, it's a rather scary colour to look at but once you blend it out it really doesn't look too crazy. Maybe it just depends what eye colour you have. I love it though and it makes a change from the usual coppers and rose-gold shades I opt for.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Bronzer in Luminous Bronze Light-What's not to love with this bronzer? Light enough for pale skintones, adds the subtlest of warmth to the skin and looks amazing year round. I'm obsessed with this bronzer. While it is on the pricy side of things (darn exchange rate), there's so much product in there-it'll last you ages.
Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Rose*-This is my first Juicy Couture fragrance, of the non-rollerball variety and I am loving it. First things first, that ombre glitter bottle. Swoon. As we all know, describing scents is not my forte so I'll let this description do the talking: A toast to the forever bubbly Viva girl, Viva La Juicy Rose is an irresistible bouquet of honey-like pink blossoms, which pops with fizzy citrus perfection and is kissed by the glow of sensual amber. It's absolutely beautiful and unlike any other fragrance I own. Check this out if you're in the market for a new perfume.
MAC x Charlotte Olympia Lipstick in Retro Rouge*-Since my lipstick cull of March 2016, I own very few red lipsticks. The ones I do own though aren't quite like this one from Charlotte Olympia. First things first, this may be my favourite lipstick design, ever. The colour though is more a brown-based red so it's a bit vampier and edgier than the hues my pout is used to. I love it though and it's such a perfect Autumnal shade. It'd be rude not to give it a whirl.
By Terry Ombre Blackstars in Misty Rock and Bronze Moon-These are my favourite eyeshadow crayons of all time. Unique colours and the longest lasting formula. It's ridiculous-in the best way. Not even the humidity can move these from your lids. Impressive stuff! Misty Rock is my favourite because it's such a versatile colour, although Bronze Moon isn't far behind it. If you've not yet swatched these in Mecca, you need to.
-What are your Autumn beauty must-haves?
As we've established, I'm on a quest to read all the things and at the moment it is books about feminism, written by women and just all-round inspiring texts. It's not too much to ask really. Today I am sharing what I'm reading for the feminist online book clubs this month and also another book which I'm reading just because...
Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates-This wasn't a book club read for the month per se, but it has cropped up in the forums of a number of book clubs and on YouTube etc. Although it was actually Emma who convinced me to read it. Everyday Sexism started as a project on Twitter+a website where women anonymously shared stories or incidents of sexist behaviour they'd witnessed or experienced themselves. It fast turned into a movement and the book was born as a result of those discussions. Each chapter addresses a topic such as young girls or women in politics, looks at the statistics-both for the UK and the world and contains statements from people about sexism relating to those categories. I'm still reading this one but it's really eye-opening and at times sad+frustrating that some of the ideas discussed seem to be inherent to our society. It's a fantastic read, and is making me all the more excited to read the follow-up book, Girl Up.
How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran-I've moved from one Caitlin Moran book to another. This is the third/fourth (I can't keep up) book for Emma Watson's online book club. I really, really enjoyed Moranifesto. It's going to be in my monthly favourites post though so I'll save the rambling on that for now. How To Be A Woman was one of Caitlin's first books and was a bestseller+award winner. I have extremely high hopes for more of what I loved from Moranifesto, but about women, feminism and of course hilarity from Caitlin's own life. Do not disappoint me, book.
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf-This is the second book from Jean's Feminist Orchestra book club. I ended up buying a copy of this because it was proving to be a bit frustrating to track down from the local library. I've only just started this but from what I can tell it isn't a novel, but I think it is adapted from a speech Virginia gave. It's late and I'm like yeah no to research... It's been interesting so far but I'll put a review up on my Goodreads page when I am finished.
Hello and happy Friday to y'all! This post has really spontaneously turned into something else and if I'm honest, I really wasn't feeling what I had planned for today initially. It does happen from time to time and I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with that. Today I thought I'd do another little life-update in the form of the taking stock tag. The last time I did one of these was five months ago, crazy! So without further ado, here's what I have been up to in words..
There seems to have been a few rather exciting bits and bobs making their way into my letterbox lately. It'd only be polite to share them with you all, right? There's a bit of variety here, from high-end to the more affordable pieces. There's even a mask that I love and am fast becoming obsessed with. Here's what's made its way into the beauty stash...
Benefit Dew the Hoola*-Benefit's Hoola Bronzer is a cult favourite for a reason. The matte bronzer seems to flatter a wide range of skin tones and it's a staple in many a girl's makeup bag. Dew the Hoola is a liquid bronzer designed to be applied under, or on top of makeup to add a hint of warmth and subtle glow to the complexion. I apply this after my primer and before foundation. It adds the subtlest of tints, no Oompa-Loompa vibes in sight.
Beauty Blender-I finally caved and bought a Beauty Blender. It's only been something I've deliberated for the last year or two but it's happened and I am hooked. I wanted to get the nude one, mainly because I thought it'd mask the foundation and concealer stains a bit better than some of the more brighter colours. I'm sure you all know how a Beauty Blender works by now so I'll skip the description. Compared to other sponges, this feels a lot softer and bouncier. It's hard to explain but it makes such a difference to blending in products like concealer and foundation. I have only used this once but I can see it becoming a firm favourite.
Benefit Hoola Zero Tanlines*-There's also a body bronzer in the expanded Hoola lineup. It comes with a twist-off sponge applicator that you apply the product to and then blend in circular motions. It sounds intriguing, and products like this do tend to intimidate my paler self but I have seen positive reviews from porcelain babes online so I have high hopes. This tanner novice will keep you posted...
Australis Banana Powder-These yellow-hued powders seem to either only come in contour palettes, or as a loose powder, the latter which I'm not a huge fan of. So when I saw Australis, one of my favourite budget brands had bought out a single powder version I had to grab it. Again, I have only used this once-to be fair it arrived a day prior to me writing this. I'm a bit undecided about this one, the powder's a bit too thick for my liking and I felt like it settled under my eyes a bit. This could be because I've been forgetful with the eye cream lately though so I'll keep playing around with it.
Ardell Glamour Lashes & Demi Lashes*-In an attempt to push myself out of my narrow beauty comfort zone, I was sent some Ardell lashes. I think lashes are a thing a lot of us avoid because they are fiddly and require practice+patience. I have worn some Ardell lashes before though and found them really comfortable to wear. If I have an eyelash win, you'll spy it on the 'gram.
NYX Intense Butter Gloss in Napolean-This was totally an Estee Lalonde inspired buy after watching her March Favourites video. I'll be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of the original Butter Glosses but I thought I'd give the revamped ones a shot. This colour reminds me a lot of Impassioned lipstick x MAC, it's a vibrant, coral pink. This gloss feels a lot less tackier than some, which is a major plus and I love this colour.
Oasis Beauty Fruit Smoothie Exfoliating Face Mask*-Correct me if I'm wrong but exfoliating face masks don't seem to be a common thing so naturally when this one turned up I was very curious. The fact the name also contains the words fruit and smoothie further enticed me. What we have here is a mask combined with a scrub. You apply this like you would any face mask and then dampen your hands to work the scrub in. It smells amazing and it works wonders, especially on uneven skin and somewhat angry, blemish prone skin. It's organic, and all-natural, the microbeads are actually jojoba ones. This mask is a new staple in my routine and it's one of those products I look forward to using each week. I'm not sure if Oasis Beauty are available outside New Zealand but kiwis, you should definitely check them out.
-What beauty products have you been trying lately?
How is it actually April? Seriously, I can't really fathom it. There's another lineup of books to be read and already April feels incredibly busy. Regardless, I'm going to continue to make an attempt at reading all of the things. So here's what's made its way into the pile of books by my bed this month...
A Series of Unfortunate Events, books 11-13 by Lemony Snicket-I've been re-reading this series for the last year or so now and I'm finally nearing the end. Revisiting these books has been just like reading all the books for the first time in all honesty, as I was probably 12 when the last book was released. They're so good, I love all the references and all-round cleverness of this series.
Radio Silence* by Alison Oseman-After seeing, and hearing how much Emma loved this book I knew I needed to make more of a point of picking it up to read. It tells the story of two teens, who unite over a fandom and love for an online series/podcast of sorts. It's such a sweet book and I'm loving all the references within its pages. Parks and Rec gets a nod so it definitely earns my approval. I'll do a full review over here when I am done.
Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates-This book hasn't had too much of a dent in it yet as I've been having an in-depth read of Moranifesto instead. I decided to pick this up before I read her second book, Girl Up released this month. I have heard a lot of people talk about this book and share their thoughts on it. So far it's been eye-opening and just reinforcing why I hold many of the beliefs I have.
Moranifesto* by Caitlin Moran-Caitlin Moran is fast becoming one of my favourite women, and writers. She's just brilliant. Many of you will have probably read How To Be A Woman, dubbed feminist book of the year. Now Caitlin is back with a collection of the columns she's penned for The Times as well as some freshly written pieces especially for the book. A lot of ground is covered here, from feminism to David Bowie (RIP), Starbucks coffee, hipsters-even an excessive obsession with Get Lucky by Daft Punk. Written in Moran's truly hilarious, best-friend banter style. It's one book you won't want to be without.
-What are you going to read in April?
Something a bit different this Friday, here's a peek inside one of my Journals. It's where I put visual representations of what's on my mind, inspiring things I find and collect and other miscellaneous, but brilliant things. This week's been a chaotic, and beautiful mess so in line with that, and also because it's nearly 11pm and I have no energy to think of creative captions, I am leaving the pictures here to speak for themselves. If you have any questions about any of the images, thoughts or just random musings to share, leave them below!