Mojave Ghost

Mojave Ghost

When it comes to fragrance, I'm a bit of a serial spritzer, not that I spray countless scents at once with abandon. I definitely don't have a signature scent and prefer to dabble in and out of fragrances, depending on my mood and the seasons. Today though it's time to focus on my newest eau de parfum which I've actually owned for a few months now. Byredo's scents have been on my radar for a while and I've spritzed them on many a trip to Mecca Cosmetica. Mojave Ghost has always been my favourite though. Here's why...

Now before we start, I'll spare you the usual disclaimer about the real struggle that is writing perfume reviews. Scent is so subjective. You like it, it stays on your skin and adapts over the day or you hate it entirely. Byredo's fragrances are unique. Biblioteque has the woodsy aroma of a bookstore and the freshness of paper stock. Gypsy Water, a woodsy, amber and sandalwood delight. Mojave Ghost is what I personally describe as the sophisticated, grown up, long lost sibling of Daisy by Marc Jacobs. It's inspired by the Mojave Desert flower, Mojave Ghost, hence the name. The scent itself contains notes of ambrette, Jamaican nesberry, violet, sandalwood, magnolia base, chantilly musk, crisp amber and cedarwood. It's floral and a bit musky+woody. I seem to be automatically attracted to scents that have sandalwood and florals in their fragrance fabric so if you're similar, you'll probably like this one. 

What I do think this Byredo scent has on a lot of other perfumes is that it genuinely does stay on the wearer all day. You could probably get away with one spritz at a time, I usually go for two and I can always still catch its notes on me at the end of the day. Its one of those fragrances where you get to experience the different notes as the day goes on, which I love. I've even picked the scent up on my cat from when I've held her as well as on my scarves and things. It certainly doesn't fade!

So my first foray into admittedly indulgent fragrance territory was a good 'un. Mojave Ghost may be a 'treat yo'self' kind of buy but given how little of this perfume you need at a time, it'll last a fair while. To prolong the life of your perfume, store it in a dark place away from sunlight/somewhere where the sun isn't going to hit it. You can also find Mojave Ghost in rollerball and hand cream form if you want to give it a try first. I'd probably go to heaven if it became a candle. Hint hint, Byredo.

-Have you tried any Byredo fragrances before? What did you think of them?

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The Anti-Haul, #1

The Anti-Haul, #1

If you're a beauty vlog watcher, you'll be familiar with Kimberly Clark, inventor of the anti-haul. The concept being she makes a video, featuring new ish beauty collections, products or trends and says why she won't buy them. Quick disclaimer: This is not me trying to act all superior, look at what I'm not buying etc. It's just products I'm not personally excited by or feel like I must buy. As with anything, this is just my opinion.

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette: Unpopular opinion time, Urban Decay isn't really a brand that excites me. Their setting sprays are great, the Naked basics are alright matte shadows but their much-hyped, Naked palettes are just unappealing to me. I used to have Naked 2 but have since parted with it because it just gathered dust. Anyway, Naked Heat. I have no gripes with the colours. In fact I think they're lovely but it's the packaging. I cannot stand their clunky, bulky packaging. You'd think they'd improve upon it. Not a fan. 

Jeffree Star (anything): I feel like the first three products on this list will be controversial but not so much as this. I know loads of people love Jeffree Star but after seeing some of his videos and watching Stephanie Nicole's video on the controversy I was really put off him. Again, this is just a personal opinion. It amazes me that people do still buy his products. I don't even know if they're good or not but just his ethics and personality are problematic enough to make me not want to contribute to his bank account. 

Benefit Hoola Lite: I've swatched this on counter, thinking it'd be great but on my skintone it disappears. I did actually want this so I was quite disappointed to find it was too pale, even for me. Perhaps it'd work as a lighter contour powder on my skintone but yeah, much hyped and not something I can make work for me. Or justify buying. Boo hiss. 

MAC Metallic Lipsticks: On a whim last year I purchased this. Do not ask me why, it was an out of character moment. Anyway, MAC have launched some metallic lipsticks recently. The eighties called, it wants its unflattering lipsticks back. Give me my vanilla neutrals any day haha.

-What beauty products don't entice you?
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My Sanity Shelf

My Sanity Shelf

Sanity Shelf: Dedicated to the books one returns to again and again to read for pleasure, knowledge and solace. A term coined by one of the friends of girlsatlibrary. Maybe the idea of a sanity shelf only falls to those who read a lot and like to drift off the pages of one book into another. I'm so not speaking for myself here *ahem, serial reader, ahem*. Today I thought I'd share what books would be on my literal sanity shelf, if I had one. Maybe when I eventually get the Ikea bookcase of dreams, that will be a reality. Anyway, sanity shelf contents incoming...

Matilda by Roald Dahl: A childhood classic. The bookish heroine needs no introduction I am sure. There's something comforting in the darkness that is Dahl literature. In the case of Matilda, I think it's the fact we see her overcome the authority figures who plague her life and find true happiness with Miss Honey at the conclusion. It's naughty, it's funny but it's packed full with valuable anecdotes too. I will always have a soft spot for this book. 

Tim Walker Pictures, The New Garconne and The Coveteur: I've grouped these together because they all serve a similar purpose. Sometimes when you're wanting a book to reread and escape to, one laden with visuals will do just the trick. There's something about the inspiring, stunning imagery in this books that to my mind is relaxing. No matter how many times I revisit them, I always discover something new. 

Pretty Honest and Pretty Iconic by Sali Hughes: Sali's writing is just wondrous to read. She's the kind of person that can write about the most mundane aspects of beauty and make them sound magical. I took Pretty Honest with me last year on my trip to Melbourne and loved coming back at the end of a long day to immerse myself in a whole lot of beauty knowledge. Pretty Iconic is equally as brilliant and is such a nostalgic book for any true beauty enthusiast. They're both stunningly presented as well. 

Inside Vogue by Alexandra Shulman: So I've read this book twice and counting. Maybe it's the formulaic aspect of diary writing that appeals to me here. Then again, I'm such an admirer of Shulman and all she achieved at Vogue so that's probably the main drawcard here. Either way, I find it's a book that can raise my mood, give me some escapism. It's the perfect blend of frankness, funny quips and fashion. 

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson: Like Sali, Mara has such a way with words that just makes me so happy. I sound so articulate right now but that's the best way to put it really. Her essays about life, child stardom, the original Glee and more are just brilliant. I recommend this book to a lot of people for good reason. It's fabulous. Her audiobook is worth the listen too, if you're more inclined to read that way.

-What would make up the contents of your sanity shelf?
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Five Things | July

Five Things | July

It feels like I only just compiled one of these posts, the reality is of course that the last one went live over a month ago. Today we have a mix of fashion, music, books and life-type things in the mix because why not? 

Changes British Vogue style: Never one to do things by halves it seems, after Alexandra Shulman's departure and Edward Enninful's takeover of the title, we have seen a flurry of staff changes. That may be natural with such a creative endeavour as producing such a notoriously iconic title but it's also bound to ruffle a few feathers, couture or otherwise. The most surprising of all was learning that Lucinda Chambers was dismissed from the title, after twenty five years alongside Alex and another eleven at the magazine. Chambers appeared in an interview with niche publication, Vestoj. It's done the rounds by now and due to legal issues, it has been edited and condensed somewhat. If you want a read, you can do so here. I found this quote particularly poignant: "you're not allowed allowed to fail in fashion-especially in this age of social media, when everything is about leading a successful, amazing life. Nobody today is allowed to fail, instead the prospect causes anxiety and terror. But why can't we celebrate failure? After all, it helps us grow and develop." 

Melodrama: Last month Ella aka Lorde released her second album and it has not disappointed. I'm sure we all know the stories behind this album by now, said to chronicle a house party Lorde threw and the aftermath of it. It looks at love and loss, heartbreak, reminiscence and nostalgia. Most of all it is about survival and the strength we find in our "secret powers". Yellich O'Connor and Jack Antonoff are a perfect pairing and their talents combined make this one treat of a record. My favourite tracks are; Writer In The Dark, Hard Feelings/Loveless and The Louvre but I really love the whole entire thing. 

Without A Doubt: After finishing The People v OJ Simpson last week, I knew I badly wanted to read this book. I think a few of the legal faces involved have written about this trial actually but Marcia's was the one I wanted to read. I'm only about a quarter through it so far but it is good. Really good. If you enjoyed the show, this expands on everything and is equally as fascinating. 

Mindfulness: < It's a word that probably divides a few people. Over the last couple of months I've been making a few lifestyle changes, relating to this word. I'm not going to elaborate beyond that for now but I wanted to talk briefly about mindfulness exercises. There are a bunch of apps, YouTube clips etc so you don't necessarily have to start a subscription. I use Headspace though and find taking ten minutes to do the exercises is such a game changer for me. There are basic exercises to get you used to the initial idea of shifting your focus but also on categories like self esteem, anxiety etc. I actually do two lots of ten minutes, one in the morning and one late afternoon or during the evening. If you're someone who has a mind that doesn't seem to shut off, I highly recommend it.

Wisdom from Lorelai IRL: This quote is from Lauren Graham's newest book and I wanted to share it because it's really apt. Whether or not you're currently on the 'struggle is real' avenue or just feeling a bit lost, keep this in mind. "Life doesn't often spell things out for you or give you exactly what you want when you want it, otherwise it wouldn't be called life, it would be called vending machine. It's hard to say when exactly it will happen, and it's true that whatever you're after may not drop down the moment you spend all your quarters, but someday soon a train is coming. In fact, it may already be on the way. You just don't know yet."
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A Mini Beauty Haul

A Mini Beauty Haul

I seem to have acquired a few new beauty products recently; some repurchases, some beauty vices and just some other rather fabulous things. How does this happen? Treat yo'self 2017 or something like that? Anyway, if you're also excited by beauty, keep reading...

Birthday Balm Dotcom: Ahh Glossier, my vice. My utter favourite beauty vice. This is the latest addition to the Balm Dotcom lineup, in collaboration with Milk Bar. It smells like vanilla cake, delicious and is clear but has slight glitter reflects throughout. These multipurpose salves if you will can be used on your lips but I also like to throw them on my eyes for a bit of the glossy lid look without the thick, uncomfortable texture. 

Milky Jelly Cleanser: This is one of Glossier's hero products and I have heard mostly good things about it. Heck, Anna even cut hers open to get the last of it out and bought several backups. It's a lightweight, gel-like textured cleanser that is incredibly gentle and soothing. I've not used this yet but have tried my friend's and was impressed by it. If I end up loving it, this will not be the last time you hear about it.

Dusk Cloud Paint: Cloud Paints were all over the Golden Globes and Oscars red carpets I believe. It was around that time they launched anyway because I remember seeing some of my favourite starlets and muses, cough Alexa cough, having them used on their complexions. Lisa Eldridge is a fan too so if it's good enough for Lisa... I do not typically go for cream blush but these shades just look so lovely and easy to work with. I could not pass them up. Dusk, a nude-pink is right up my street. Again, if this is love in a painter's style tube, you will hear.

NARS True Story Cheek and Lip Palette, limited edition: This was part of the NARS Christmas 2016 collection featuring Sarah Moon's imagery that sadly isn't available anymore. One of my lovely friends is moving house soon and was having a clear-out of product she'd accumulated so I took this beauty. I am loving these blush colours at the moment and they're all shades I wear fairly regularly. My favourite is Outlaw, the far right. It's actually a permanent colour too which is great if it takes your fancy as well. 

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Painterly: During one of my ruthless culls, my MAC paint pots were looking worse for wear, i.e. expired. I've been without my ride or die eyeshadow base for months and have missed having a Paint Pot so badly. They just can't be beaten when it comes to priming the eyelids, creating a neutral canvas for whatever's layered on top and even for lazy, slapdash makeup days. I love this colour and won't ever be without one again now.

Simple Kind To Eyes, Eye Makeup Remover Pads: I usually always have some kind of eye makeup remover pads in my bag. It sounds bizarre but they're perfect if you're like me and love to swatch products when you're out beauty browsing and shopping. Or you're like me and forget moments before an interview that there's a bright coral-red lipstick on your hand. Anyway, I grabbed these in Farmers on Friday and they were on special (thank goodness) because full price I think they're a bit expensive for what they are. $10 for reference. Anyway, I like them, they feel incredibly gentle on hands and eyes plus they're a lot friendlier on the ingredient front.

-Have you purchased any new beauty odds and ends recently?
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July Goals

July Goals

I've decided to make a list of things I'd like to do or achieve each month around these parts. They mightn't seem extravagant but they're just small ways I hope to improve my day to day life or perhaps just things I am getting up to. In honesty, I think it's just something useful for me to have documented and keep in mind when I think about the grander scheme of things. These kinds of posts certainly aren't a new concept but me putting my spin on them is. Here's my goals for July. May it be a better behaved month than June was...

Take time to relax: So. Important. No matter how stressed or chaotic our lives get I think everyone could benefit from this. Whether it's setting aside time each day to read, watch something on Netflix that you love or listen to music. Do something for you that doesn't elevate stress. At the moment I'm trying to meditate daily. Meditation isn't new to me but the art of including it in my daily routine is. I recommend the Headspace app but I might look at the Calm one too. If you have any recommendations of apps or podcasts relating to mindfulness, sing out. 

A photo a day: This is more about doing something creative each day really. Each day I have to pick up my proper camera, not my phone and take at least one picture. So far, so good. I might compile these into a blog post at the beginning of next month because I think it could be interesting to look back on. 

Write more: Something else creative. I want to one day write a book and also be published in print. Two separate goals admittedly but they tie in together. I want to get writing, whether it's spontaneously or the beginnings of something that may make its way into other people's hands. I need to practice doing longer form writing too. Although I have to be honest, life does get in the way here a bit and if I don't really want to write I'm not going to force myself. That being said, I'm going to try my hardest to write some words on paper that I am proud of. 

Twenty five: Next month I am 25 and at the moment that realisation terrifies me. For many reasons which I won't get into here. I feel like 25 is a milestone, maybe more for personal reasons than anything else but I don't want it to go unnoticed. Will I have a party or will I just quietly celebrate? What does 25 even look like? This month I need to decide just that really. 

-Let me know in the comments or tweet me what one of your goals are for July. I'd love to know what you're hoping to achieve.
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The Soundtrack of my Life

The Soundtrack of my Life

Hello and happy Monday to y'all. Today we have a post adapted from one that music lover and all-round awesome babe Liv published on her blog last month. Read the original here. Some of you mightn't know that music is one of my greatest loves. I am always singing, albeit for a private audience of myself and the odd friend who happens to find themselves in the passenger seat of my car/on a long walk with me. Music and songs are another form of storytelling, both through their lyrics and the memories and associations we have with them. They transport us back to a time, conjure up emotions and thoughts from days gone by and give us something to listen and resonate with. It's certainly one powerful medium. Anyway, without further ado, here's the soundtrack of my life. All 24 years (and counting) of it...

My first album: Spice World x The Spice Girls. I have a feeling this was released around the same time as the Spice World movie which I used to have on VHS, as well as a well-loved Spice World t-shirt. Heck, I think we even had a Spice World poster up in our garage at one point, much to my family's dismay no doubt(!). I've just turned to Wikipedia for the track listing because I can only remember two songs off the top of my head that are definitely on this album: Spice Up Your Life (a call to arms) and Stop (the one we all practised the dance to in our bedrooms). Saturday Night Divas stands out because I remember loving that song, as do Viva Forever and The Lady Is A Vamp. Viva Forever had that amazing video too with The Spice Girls as fairies which childhood me loved. I could talk about The Spice Girls all day but let's move on shall we?

Long term relationship album: Blue by Joni Mitchell. I thought long and hard about this one but when I think about albums I always come back to, this one tops the list. Blue reminds me of the first year of Uni because that's when I bought it. It also reminds me of plane trips to Australia because I deliberately played This Flight Tonight whilst in the air. I'm sappy like that. Carey also reminds me of one of my good friends. I love the whole album though and while it can be a bit melancholy to listen to all the time, I do reach for it when I'm in the mood.

Song that makes me happy: Secondhand News by Fleetwood Mac. The starting track on their well-loved Rumours album. Despite being a song about breakups, it has a hopefulness and uplifting quality. I'm not a music reviewer, forgive me. I like to listen to this when I'm driving. It makes me inexplicably happy.

Song/album that makes me want to dance: Delilah by Florence and the Machine. That beat, those lyrics. They make me want to move scattily and let loose. 

First gig: Kings of Leon, I can't remember what tour but it was in 2009 with my Dad and some of his younger work colleagues, who were probably about the age I am currently now that I think of it. I was a fan of their music but it was pretty short lived. Nonetheless I remember enjoying my first 'grown up' concert.

Song I wish I'd writtenGold Dust Woman by Fleetwood Mac, sung by Stevie Nicks. I freakin' love this song. Imagine the royalties too. 

Song that reminds me of being a teenParty in the USA by Miley Cyrus. This was my going out song and also general happiness booster.  I'm sure I was playing this via my iPod in my school blazer pockets before classes or tests, in fact I can guarantee I was. I hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan is an iconic piece of prose. Don't discount it.

Sweatiest gig: The Monster Ball Tour, Lady Gaga 2010. My first 'mosh' experience although due to my anxiety in crowds I wasn't right in the thick of it. Nonetheless it's where the most energetic, enthusiastic fans were. This of course made for a sweaty, glittery, dance fest. What a show. I remember even my hair was dripping when I left the venue. 

Karaoke song: When I think karaoke I think Singstar on PS2. The essential for any sleepover/birthday party in the 00's. My go-to songs were What You Waiting For by Gwen Stefani and Wannabe by the Spice Girls. I'm sure Complicated by Avril Lavigne was a go to as well.

Best gig: I can't choose just one here, there's too many choices. However if I was forced to choose two at a glance they'd be Adele's 25 Tour and Florence and the Machine's How Big How Blue How Beautiful tour. To me the best gigs are the ones that feel intimate, no matter how many people are in the crowd or how big the venue is. Both these artists achieved that. Florence has a particular ability to take you to an almost isolated, fantastical space and with her encouraging everyone to put their phones away, it became all the more special. Adele as well as being brilliant was so entertaining and wonderful. She was well worth the wait. 

Songs that remind me of home: Paradise by Coldplay. Not of home so much but journeys around my city. More specifically going on the train past crystal blue waters in Summer after a long/undoubtedly stressful day at Uni. The best. Another is Another Brick In The Wall by Pink Floyd which reminds me of my Dad. As does anything by U2, Bruce Springsteen and Pink Floyd really. 

Least favourite song: Love Story by Taylor Swift. I have a well established loathing. It's possibly because it was stuck in my recently played list for months because of friends borrowing my iPod. Moreover I just think it's cheesy and sickly and ugh. Not a fan. 

Ultimate desert island disc: Cheating again, With The Beatles and Let It Be, also by The Beatles. I could be on the most isolated of islands but so long as I had The Beatles, water, a book and perfume (idk I can't live without that) I'd be happy. 

-I hope you enjoyed this little insight into my music tastes! It was something a bit different for me. I'd love to know if you do this post too so be sure to tag me on social media if you do it.
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An introduction to Pigment Studio

An introduction to Pigment Studio

This article originally appeared on FashioNZ but I wanted to share it here with anyone who may have missed it. Okay, past tense taking over in five, four...

We love discovering talented young locals doing inspiring creative work. Albertine Lello, the one-woman band behind jewellery brand Pigment Studio is our latest discovery. We love her innovative, simple and incredibly versatile pieces. Recently I got in touch with Albertine to find out more about Pigment Studio and where her inspiration comes from.

How did you come up with the idea for Pigment Studio? -The idea to create Pigment Studio was kind of the result of messing around with making a few items of jewellery. Initially I was just selling my pieces through Instagram, but eventually I was getting quite a few orders so I decided to make an actual online store to facilitate the selling process. Pigment Studio is also the name of my blog, which is an amalgamation of some of my interests including skincare, beauty, fashion, etc. 

Who is the Pigment Studio woman? -I like to think that she is someone who appreciates unique and handcrafted pieces, someone who is forward thinking and isn't afraid to go against the grain.

What is your favourite thing about creating unique jewellery? -I love being able to create pieces of art that people can wear! It's a form of art that you can touch and interact with, which is really awesome!

Who would your dream collaboration be with? What would you create? -Hmm...that's a really difficult one because I have so many people/brands I'd love to collaborate with! One of the people I can think of at the moment is Solange Knowles. I love her music and her general vibe and aesthetic, so I think she'd be a really awesome lady to work with. If I had the chance to create a line with her, I'd be so down to design a bunch of cool dangly earrings and maybe some contemporary bangles.

Which of your pieces is your favourite to wear and why? -I really love the Tabitha's, not only because the design is really simple and contemporary, but also because they are named after my lovely cousin who I absolutely adore. The Tabitha earrings have a textured surface to them, which is created by an oyster shell I picked up one day, when Tabitha and I were at the beach. They will always be a special piece in the collection to me.

We love that you use materials like clay and wire in your pieces. Which is your favourite material to work with? -I love working with both wire and clay because they are complete opposites in terms of materiality. Wire is linear, hard and requires tools to manipulate, whereas clay is squishy and mould-able. Clay also means that I can experiment with more colorus and textures which is always fun!

What is in the pipeline for Pigment Studio? Can you give us any sneak peeks? -I have a couple of things in the works, which is very exciting! I am working on some new designs as well as some new collections...*cough necklaces and hair accessories cough*. I don't want to give too much away yet but all will be revealed soon!

Finally, if you could have one iconic women wear your pieces, who would it be and why? -Well as I mentioned before, Solange is an obvious choice, but two other women who I would love to see wearing my pieces are Grace Coddington and Lea Seydoux. I think these ladies are so gorgeous and talented at what they do. Is it obvious I have a hard time choosing just one person!?

*You can shop Albertine's pieces online here and also in Auckland at The Bread and Butter Letter and Auckland Art Gallery.
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June Favourites

June Favourites

June has vanished just like that and it's been an..interesting month for lack of a better word. Today though, it's time to talk about what I loved in June because there were a few products and miscellaneous bits 'n pieces that definitely did stand out. 

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer: NARS' Radiant Creamy Concealer is my go-to and I've been through countless tubes of it now. I love the stuff. Lately when I've had a bit more time on my hands for makeup or want to quickly touch up with concealer, it's this I've been reaching for. I have the shade Creme Brulee, the third lightest and find it the perfect match. It's pretty heavy duty without being too thick so I like it for blemish concealing and also for redness. My favourite way to apply it is with the detailer brush x Real Techniques for pinpoint concealing a la Lisa Eldridge. I highly rate the NARS concealers if you're after a newbie.

The People vs OJ Simpson: Everyone is probably over hearing me wax lyrical on this show now. I think this is possibly the third post it's made its way into this month now, whoops. Having been way too young to remember the OJ Simpson trial the first time around, I found this so fascinating. It was particularly telling of the way media world, celebrity culture and the like were headed. The way in which Marcia Clark, played by Sarah Paulson was depicted by the media and treated despite being the head prosecutor was quite disgusting for lack of a better word. The comments made to her by the judge and members of the defense were unbelievable and as Paulson put it, wouldn't have been made to a male lawyer. The way it looks at sexism and the way media and the court of law in this case can skew perceptions really appealed to me. Such a brilliant show.

Balm Dotcom x Glossier: The hype with this one is real. Right on cue my lips have turned to their reliable, mosaic-y selves now it's Winter. Tried to make that description as non-graphic as possible for you all. This though is a saving grace. I have the Coconut Balm Dotcom which smells delightful, although it definitely gives me a caramel popcorn vibe which doesn't really matter because I like it. It's a multi-use product so while many people probably use it as a lip balm, I also love to apply it on my eyelids. Glossy lids without the tacky texture? Yes please. I've also been using it where I have dryness on my hands and around my fingers as well. If you make an order from Glossier you need to get yourself one of these too. Oh and a quick PSA, this is how I shop Glossier.

Antipodes Moisture Boost Natural Lipstick* in Queenstown Hot Chocolate: Antipodes has been a staple of my skincare routine in the past but at the moment it's their lipsticks I am particularly taken by. This shade has been my most-used, aptly named Queenstown Hot Chocolate for it's brown based, dusky pink properties. The satiny formula is so comfortable to wear on the lips and it's the kind of colour that will stick around. I also love the shade South Pacific Coral if you're after something a bit more vibrant.

British Vogue, April 2017: So I've been reading my issues of British Vogue out of order for reasons unknown. Anyway, I read the April issue this month and loved some of the articles so I wanted to mention them here. The cover story with Kate Moss about her modeling agency was particularly insightful and I loved hearing what she had to say about taking a more behind the scenes role. There was also a particularly brilliant one called Single Minded by Bella Mackie. It looked at why not having a partner in your thirties isn't necessarily a sign of inadequacy and I just loved the positivity it shined on the perks of flying solo. I love British Vogue though and highly rate it if you want a brilliant fashion magazine, combining journalism with editorial and arts+culture.

Journalling: In the last few weeks I've been putting pen to paper again and just writing down my thoughts and musings. It's so therapeutic but also it's a nice little sentimental thing to look back on. I'm particularly loving using my Muji notebook to write down five good things from each day. It's so easy to forget the good and the smaller details that are actually really quite rad. Highly recommend it if you want to end your day on a more positive note.

-What have you loved during June?

*PR Sample

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The Bookdate, Volume Four

The Bookdate, Volume Four

Guess who's back? After my week's break I am back and read to blog all the things. Well maybe not all, that's just a bit too overambitious. I am back for now and seriously missed blogging although if anything taking a break has reminded me that it's good to press pause every now and again. Today I have another edition of the bookdate, aka the literary speed date if you will. Admittedly I've really not read and finished a lot lately. What I have read and liked though has for the most part been brilliant. Before this intro gets any longer, let's get on with the books shall we?

Book Club: So I finally finished The Cows* by Dawn O'Porter this month. I'm not sure why it really took me so long to read this book because once I properly started it, it was very difficult to put down. I gave this 4 out of 5 stars over on Goodreads. For me, The Cows was the perfect blend of frank and funny. It covered a wide range of topics; feminism, childlessness and internet trolls to name but a few.  My only qualm with this book was the character Stella's storyline. It was just a bit too twisted and weird to be plausible. Maybe that's the whole point. In saying that her plot was wrapped up in an incredibly satisfying way. That little niggling complaint aside, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Another brilliant read from Dawn. 

Emma Watson's book club, Our Shared Shelf are reading The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It's a book I've wanted to read for ages and with the new television series sending the world into a frenzy it seemed the perfect time. It's also one of my good friend's favourite books. Anyway, because I've been terrible at reading all month I'm still not very far into it but I am finding what I've read so far brilliant. Keep an eye out for an update next month.

20 Years of Harry Potter: As I type this, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published twenty years ago. I was four, nearly five at the time and didn't read it until I was seven so it had been out in the world for two years by that point. Nonetheless, as a Harry Potter fan and someone who grew up utterly immersed in all of J.K. Rowling's magnificence today still feels very special. Last year I bought my eight year old cousin the first book and he loved it and is now reading the rest of the series. If that doesn't prove their timelessness and ability to transcend generations, in an ever-increasing digital age, I don't know what does. Happy Birthday Harry. Thanks for the magic.

Recently Read: / The Lottie Project by Jacqueline Wilson. I was recently sent Jacqueline Wilson's latest book. She's published over 100 titles now. Isn't that amazing? Anyway, for nostalgia's sake and in preparation for a post, I decided to revisit some of her titles. The Lottie Project was one of the first of her books I read and it's still just as brilliant in my nostalgically biased, rose-tinted eyes. Lottie, aka Charlotte is a schoolgirl tasked with doing a project on the Victorians. Bored by the mundane books she has to choose from, she decides to create a journal about Victorian life. She cleverly interprets events from the present day for the earlier times. I like how the journal's handwritten in Nick Sharratt's illustrative script too. So good. So nostalgic. I love it. / Moranthology by Caitlin Moran. Newcomers around here mightn't know I'm a bit obsessed with Moran's writing. Everyone else, yes I am talking about Caitlin again. Moranthology is a bind-up of Caitlin's columns covering everything from Amy Winehouse to Downton Abbey, in a rather hilarious recap or two. She introduces each column with afterthoughts which are equally as brilliant. I really hope she releases another book soon because I've only got her novel left to read and then I'll have covered everything. Send help, or new Moran-isms. 

The Wishlist: / Face Paint by Lisa Eldridge. Believe it or not I've actually not read this book. I have flicked through it though and it looks brilliant. Lisa is so knowledgeable and I have a birthday coming up so. Hint hint, family.  / Without A Doubt by Marcia Clark. I'm a bit obsessed with The People vs OJ Simpson and only have the last episode left. Much to my dismay. Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark is amazing and we all know I love memoirs so I really want to read her book about this incredibly fascinating trial. She actually writes crime novels too but it's this book in particular I'm intrigued by.  / Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion. More Didion. This time set in the sixties and shining Didion's microscopic lens on Hollywood. Like Moran, I want to read everything of Didion's and this is next on my well-established list.

-What have you read lately?

*Review copy but enthusiasm for O'Porter's words and general brilliance is all my own.
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A Life Update: June '17

A Life Update: June '17

"Take your broken heart, make it into art." -Carrie Fisher

I've been umming and ahhing over doing this post all week. Well if I'm honest, longer than a week. I considered just leaving my blog as is and returning, no explanations, nothing. While I certainly don't feel obligated to divulge every last detail of life and the like, Nana Wintour has been around for nearly six years. In that time I've taken barely any time away from blogging. Even when life has been stressful or hectic. Writing is my antidote.

That being said, a lot has been going on lately. A lot. To anyone who I know personally, offline or my Internet squad, cringe at the cheese factor there but I consider some of you as family and therefore a wider extension of my tribe, squad etc, please do not worry about me. I am okay. I will not be going into great detail here. There are definitely aspects I might write about at some stage but for now I won't be discussing it. You may have noticed this blog and my social channels have been all over the place lately. My writing in particular is taking a bit of a hit and as a result I'm being unfair on myself. Missing my own deadlines that don't really affect anybody other than myself, not taking good enough pictures in my eyes and vice versa. 

I love writing with every fibre of my being. Always have. Always will. I don't want this corner of the interwebs to suffer so for the time being I'm going to take a break. It might be a week, it could be a month. I'll be back when I'm ready. Instagram may be a bit inconsistent too but I genuinely love sharing on there so I will try to keep posting. 

Again just to reiterate, I am okay. This post is not me asking for attention and if you want to troll, please refrain because quite honestly I don't need it right now. I just felt like I owed you my readers an update.

I hope you are all great and I will be back soon! x
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New Reads: The Winter Edition

New Reads: The Winter Edition

It feels like I only just did one of these posts but when I went back to check it was a good couple of months ago. Time flies when you're blogging, apparently. Today we have a neat lil' edit of books I acquired during May and June. If you follow my @whatsophieread Instagram, you will know I'm on a bit of a book buying ban for the foreseeable future. It's getting a bit crowded at the literary inn that is my bedroom for one, that and I'm saving up for some arguably more luxe purchases. More on that another time. Anyway anyway, six books, waiting to be read and considered...

Bluets by Maggie Nelson: At this point I can't remember who exactly recommended this book but it has been on my radar for a while. Last year I read The Argonauts also by Nelson and I found it quite the experience for lack of better words. I'll be honest, I don't know a lot about this book on purpose and I'm not going to find out. What I do know to expect however is beautiful writing. 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, 20th Anniversary Edition by JK Rowling: How insane is it that it's been twenty years nearly, June 26th is the official day I believe, since this absolute treasure of a book was published? I didn't read it until 1999, I know this because I marked my name and age in the front of my well-loved copy. I read and reread and reenacted scenes with friends among other things. Harry Potter is always going to have a special place in my heart. These house editions, released by Bloomsbury are just exquisite. I prefer the paperbacks because if I'm honest, I'm not hugely fond of sprayed paper edges but the embossed covers are enough to win me over. That and it's got some special content, just for the anniversary. Oh-and it's always good to have a backup because my original copy is getting pretty battered. 

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue: I still can't bring myself to read Room. A friend of mine thinks I'll find it really sad so I decided to grab Donoghue's latest novel first. An eleven year old girl in 1850 stops eating yet somehow remains alive and well. Pitched as "a child's murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes." This is very different to what I usually read but it sounds so riveting. I'm looking forward to branching out of my narrow, contemporary fiction comfort zone.

How To Be A Grown-Up by Daisy Buchanan: After seeing and hearing rave reviews of this book from the likes of Liv and Rosalind and then reading its premise, I was hooked. I've said it before that there seems to be an almost unrealistic expectation to have it all together and mapped out so to speak, the minute we graduate high school. The reality however is very few of us are that way, although that being said I know what I want to ultimately do, I just have to work to get there. Anyway, this book is essentially a comforting read designed to help us twenty-somethings negotiate what can feel like a treacherous decade. As someone who does feel the odd pang of inadequacy every now and again, I'm sure I'll love this book. Keep an eye out for my review and takeaways from it.

Abandon Me by Melissa Febos: Described as the book of the year, and another memoir. Surprise surprise. Again I deliberately don't know much about it, other than the obvious themes of abandonment. It also explores the idea of heritage and coming to terms with our roots and behavioural aspects, such as addiction that we may inherit from our parents. 

Wave Me Goodbye* by Jacqueline Wilson: Here's a nostalgic read if ever there was one. I requested a copy of Jacqueline Wilson's newest novel. I've also been re-reading some of her other books, all in the name of a blog post. Set in 1939, Shirley is sent away from her family as WW2 begins. She's billeted in the country with two boys and a reclusive guardian. This is the first book Wilson has done set in this period, I know she's done a fair few that take place during Victorian times so it'll be interesting to see what it's like and to revisit her writing. 

-Have you acquired any new books lately? I'd love to know what you're reading in the comments.

*Review copy

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The Beauty Files, Vol. Three

The Beauty Files, Vol. Three

There's certainly no shortage of beauty launches at the moment. It was made all the more clear when I was thinking about what to include in this post. Sometimes it almost feels like there's too many launches. In fact, I read an article the other day saying that MAC releases on average fifty new collections a year. A remarkable achievement for sure but one that makes me wonder if it's absolutely necessary to have that many new collections, products and vice versa on the market. I call myself a beauty blogger eh? Cynicisms aside, there are plenty of fantastic new launches around if you're feeling spendy... 

Something(s) New: Face Case* by Go-To. I'm a keen supporter of anything Zoe Foster Blake does so I was really excited to receive this through my mailbox recently. Insulting box, chocolate sleeping 'pills' and all. Silk pillowcases have a range of benefits; less static hair i.e. no more waking up looking like Hagrid, less wrinkly faces and they won't absorb your moisturiser like it's a decadent dessert. Score! I am yet to try this, as it's being saved for something special** but will keep you all updated on how it goes in silktown. Another newbie is the L'Oreal Colorista* range. Now I have to confess, I'm a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to colours like these. I like them, but half the time I think they'll either not translate to my hair or end up looking like I've coated my head in a fluorescent pen. Irrational dye fears perhaps? Anyway, I've always wanted to add a touch of ginger to my hair so I'm hoping to try this wash-out colour very soon. I've never DIY dyed before so if anyone has any tips, leave them in the comments please.

Something Rediscovered: Exposed Blush x Tarte. In my opinion the best blush ever. It's a nude-pink that flatters my complexion like nothing else. It seems to really complement paler skin tones well but I have friends with deeper skin tones than me who can work with this colour too. I know some people think the Tarte blushers are overrated but I have no issue with them and find them really long-wearing. 

Something Unconvincing: I know one of the key things the beauty world obsesses over is solving a problem. Sometimes however I think they take things a bit too far. As is the case with these. I can't speak for the formula etc of these but I have seen them at a friend's house and they just seem unnecessary. Are women really in need of a product that essentially assumes they do not know how to apply eyeshadow? I also think the way the colours are split would end up making things messier and maybe in a sense more difficult to blend. This is just me speculating but they seem kinda pointless. 

Something(s) Lustworthy: As previously stated, there's certainly a fair few new releases around at the moment. I'm currently getting all heart-eyed over; Pillow Talk lipstick by Charlotte Tilbury. I love me a good nude and Charlotte's Matte Revolution lipsticks are one of my favourite formulas. Seriously they are so comfortable and long lasting for a matte it's kind of ridiculous, in a good way. Cloud Paint by Glossier. I'm definitely not the hugest cream blush advocate, I find them difficult to work with and oftentimes unflattering but Dusk looks absolutely exquisite. It also seems like this product leaves you a bit more time to work with it which I love as well. Now for something a bit more local, Loose Eyeshadow x Nude by Nature. Annoyingly I can't remember which of these colours I liked and this is by no means an essential, but they are cheaper than some similar products on the market and seemed pretty impressive on swatching. Don't be intimidated by the fact they're not a pressed shadow. I found on swatching that they didn't make too much of a mess and wouldn't be too difficult to work with on the lids. Lastly, less of something I'm lusting over but more a PSA. Oskia's beloved Renaissance Cleanser is now available in a larger size. Now they just need to release a mini for traveling and we'll all be set. 

-What are your current beauty go-to's?

*PR Sample

**Semi fake news/clickbait lol. 

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Five Things | June

Five Things | June

This is the one thousandth blog post. 1000 posts and now nearly five and a half years of blogging too. Time flies when you're having fun typing and photographing and everything else that goes along with blogging. Nostalgia aside, I've got a lot of love for weekly lists and just list-type blog posts in general at the moment. Whilst I'm a bit reluctant to commit to this weekly, expect to see this little round-up monthly. Without further ado, here's five things that are on my radar. Clothing, podcasts...y'know what, just scroll down and keep reading.

Alexa Chung: My all-time muse released her first collection under her own label in a church last Wednesday evening. I woke up early to watch the live-stream and it was worth it just to hear the children's choir singing Good Vibrations, yet alone the clothes. I love it all. I want to get my mitts on a lot of the items. At the moment though I am seriously lusting after the Star Loafersthis shirt which I am kindasortamaybe considering as a birthday present to me from me and these earrings. The whole collection is just brilliant and obviously I'm insanely biased but I love it and think y'all should go cast your eyes over it here.

At Home With: Podcasts are certainly still having their moment and the latest I've subscribed to and love is this gem, created by Anna  and Lily. They go inside the homes of inspiring women and talk to them about their spaces, their careers and a bit of everything really. My favourite episode so far has to be the one with Lisa Eldridge. Not only is she a kiwi expat but she's one of my absolute idols so hearing her share her wisdom was always going to be a treat. That and her home looks so dreamy. Further proof of that here

The Book Fairies in Auckland: You might've heard about The Book Fairy initiative over on Emma Watson's platforms. The gist of it is you leave a book somewhere, preferably with a sticker for someone else to find. You can personalise it and leave a handwritten note inside too as I have done. Anyway, from June 6th-17th in Auckland, the No. 1 Cafe will have its caravan turned in to a Pop-Up library. There'll be plenty of book fairy books waiting there and I'm going to be dropping some off this week too. Stop by for a coffee and a book.

The People vs. OJ Simpson: So I might just be the last person to watch this show, also known as American Crime Story. After reading Caitlyn Jenner's book recently though, in which she mentions OJ Simpson briefly I was reminded that it was something I want to watch. For sure, some of the Kardashian scenes might be fabricated but on the whole I'm finding it makes for really compelling watching. The way in which the whole circus leading up to the trial, which is where I'm up to at the moment seems to mirror what happens now in the press, albeit on a smaller scale is quite eerie. Not to mention the sexism surrounding Marcia Clark, portrayed by Sarah Paulson. Highly recommend you watch it though if you're yet to see it. It's on Netflix here in NZ.

Auckland Fair: One of my favourite events in Auckland is back for one last hurrah on June 18th. Jess Whiting has been the brainchild behind this brilliant showcase of all things handmade for the past eight years and is moving on to more exciting projects. Having been at many of the first fairs and being on the door at one back in the day at Aotea Centre, I know just how much of a labour of love it is for all involved. It'll be sad to see it go but I can't wait to see what Jess does next. I'll be there, wallet in hand to support some local makers and of course Jess. It's $6 entry and on from 10.30am-5.00pm at Shed 10 here in Auckland.

-I hope you enjoy this post! Let me know in the comments what you've been loving recently.
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June Reading List

June Reading List

New month, new season, new reads. You might notice this post looking a bit sparser than usual. I've been serial-reading and flitting in and out of different pages. Great when you want some variety. Not so great when you have way too many things to read. This month we have a novel, a memoir-creature of habit and all that, plus all the magazines...ALL of them.

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller: After seeing Emma buying and then posting a glowing review of this book, I had to order it in at the local library to read for myself. It's partly told through a series of letters left in books from a wife to her husband. That is enough to get me interested and excited by this one.

All The Magazines: Somehow I've accumulated a few magazines. Why am I surprised really...This month I'm making it my goal to work through as many of them. I'm quite slow with magazines because I do like to read them cover to cover mostly. Ones I'm hoping to read and complete are; The Happy Reader (when it arrives), Violet, archival issues of Lula, British Vogue x2 and some others which I'm saving for a blog post. 

There Is No F*cking Secret by Kelly Osbourne: Back in the days when Fashion Police was in its prime, Kelly Osbourne was often one of my favourite parts about watching the show. She's a no bullshit kinda lady and has overcome a lot so I found her particularly inspiring to see. Her new book, is a memoir told in letters to people and places. I had a quick flick through yesterday and it sounds fantastic so I will keep you posted.

-What are you reading during June?
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May Favourites

May Favourites

May, a month of goodness (Auckland Writers Fest, full license acquiring, sparkly brogues) and also some less than great things. In the interest of keeping things positive and upbeat, today I'm focusing on some of the things I loved in May. There's quite a bit of beauty, including another mascara dalliance as well as a revisited book and the album I'm a bit obsessed with...

An Extraordinary Theory of Objects by Stephanie LaCava: Why it has taken me so long to revisit this book, I have no idea. Objects, their associations and their stories have always fascinated me. I am that person who will want to know where items of interest are from in people's houses and find the mini curations we display and collect so interesting. Naturally this book was always going to appeal to me, and the way in which it discusses anxiety and outsiderness is so refreshing. LaCava's writing is fantastic.

Texturizing Hair Spray x Ouai: This was a buy from Sephora Melbourne last year and I love it. It also acts as a dry shampoo in part which is a major bonus for me too. I spritz it liberally through my hair and it just adds a bit of oomph. Basically it makes me look like I've at least attempted to style my thick, unruly hair. It also helps that it's scented beautifully too. 

Modern Renaissance Eyeshadow Palette x Anastasia Beverly Hills: It's probably no surprise this palette is making an appearance this month. I've really only used this when I've been wearing eyeshadows. They're beautifully pigmented, versatile and easy to blend. Honestly the colours are perfect. This palette's getting a lot of attention but it is so worth it.

Brow Definer* x Mellow Cosmetics: Mellow Cosmetics have only come to my attention recently and it's their brow products I've been loving. Pictured is their brow definer pencil, I have the shade Chocolate. It's not too crazy pigmented but it's just enough to add a bit of something-something to the brows. I love the angled pencils like this too as they're so quick to swipe through, brush with the spoolie and be done. Lazy makeup ftw. 

Harry Styles: Possibly cheating a bit by including this album, given it only came out just over two weeks ago. It's pretty much been in my car's stereo ever since. What I love most is the distinct story the album takes you on from start to finish. The way the tracks are arranged works perfectly and there's a mix of softer ballads with rock and some slight country+alt-pop influences. The songs are catchy as anything too. If you're skeptical because Styles started out in a boy band, put your cynicism aside and give this a listen, you may well be surprised. Standout tracks for me are; Carolina, Only Angel, Ever Since New York and From The Dining Table. 

The Volume Mascara x Kevyn Aucoin: So I feel like a bit of a mascara traitor, having endless flirtations with various formulas and brands. I do feel like in Kevyn Aucoin's Volume mascara though that I've found the one. Now that is a bold, bold claim. For now though I can see why this mascara is so highly regarded. The secret is in the lash fibres, they take things next level. As it's a tubing formula it's super easy to remove at the end of the day as well. I lovelovelove it. 

Pure Clay Mask* x L'Oreal: You know that time in between seasons when your skin packs a sad? That is my skin currently. When I feel like things are looking a bit red or congested I've been reaching for the charcoal clay mask. It's gentle, but it leaves things looking a lot smoother and clearer. 

-What were your May Favourites?

*PR Sample
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So Sad Today: A Review by Grace Georgia

So Sad Today: A Review by Grace Georgia

Happy Friday. Today we have a guest post from one of the most amazing young bloggers around at the moment. Her name is Grace Georgia and she's a total girl-boss in the making. She's written a book review for us all today and when you're done, you need to go check out her work because it's fantastic. Anyway, I'll let Grace's words do the talking from here on in...

I gravitate strongly towards modern literature and nonfiction; as a child I never read Percy Jackson and I have no real interest in any mystical fiction, or general fiction-unless we're talking Louise Pentland's. new novel because I am sure to give that a go. The reason I love non-fiction so much is that my true heart is found in writing. I love telling people's stories. I love the writing of literature, the bringing together of an article-and so non-fiction and modern literature like personal essays, they give me that feeling of story telling. I myself am not telling the story, but when I open the pages of Jordan Bone's  memoir I am privy to her personal journey and that makes me feel more connected on another level than writing does, with the journalist I am. 

Non-memoirs don't win out when it comes to popularity on Goodreads. People love fiction-in part this is probably because men and women read to escape the world for a bit, as you can in fiction. Rather than just read about the world and its people like you do with non-fiction. As a journalist and writer I love reading about the world and its people as an extension of the storytelling I am tethered with.

My most favourite nonfiction book, that probably falls under the modern lit category is a series of personal essays by Melissa Broder called So Sad Today. Melissa's essays are definitely not designed for the 'every reader'. I would describe them as beautifully uncomfortable, gracefully disgusting I suppose. Basically when and if you read these essays get ready to abandon social niceties and 'acceptable subject matter'-but I promise you if you do make yourself vulnerable and read this book-you will only gain. Melissa's ability to say what 99.9% of people are afraid of saying, her fearless raw nature will give you a new perspective on everything. It might even ruin you in that beautiful way that all consuming and worthy literature does. 

For the non-fiction lovers and fiction buffs amongst us, you'll love this book. It gives you a fascinating insight into the life of another human, and this insight might almost appear fictional because it could be so far from the life that you know, so in that sense it becomes a narrative which still has all the appeal of a non-fiction text.

I did say 'you'll love this book' but the truth is I probably shouldn't make such a definitive statement. It is one of those texts you either hate or love. It is something you'll either connect with or fall out with but either way it is worth a try. If you're in the right headspace it is a text that could change your perspective on all things from relationships to technology, pop culture to food and eating habits. 

This text will make you rethink how you think about everything and then it will make you fall in love with the parts you don't talk about. It to me is the definition of a fabulous text for all these reasons. I''ll be picking up Louise's novel for sure but my great love of lit will always be non-fiction and Melissa Broder's 'So Sad Today'.

-Grace is a freelance writer and the founder of Follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram too.
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