August Book Mail

August Book Mail

Hello, long (ish) time no see. Today I have a look inside my book mail from August for you. Again, this is just the highlights but if their synopses and advance praise are anything to go by, they will not disappoint...

Little Black Book* by Otegha Uwagba: After hearing Liv and Anna raving about this book, when the opportunity arose to be sent my own copy c/o Harper Collins, I could not say no. It is all the more fitting given I've recently started a new job. Side note, I say recently, it was actually five weeks ago now which is crazy to me. Anyway, Little Black Book or LBB that is actually peach, is a mini guide to being a successful worker in the creative realm. Whether it be as a full time gig or juggling it amongst other things, this sounds like quite the useful book to have in one's possession. 

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen: A bit of an impulsive buy on my part, I'm not going to lie but it is actually a book and film I've always wanted to see. Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder? Yes please. It follows a young girl who gets admitted to a psych ward, the same which has also played home to Sylvia Plath among others and her experiences and encounters across the next two years. It sounds haunting yet alluring all at once. 

Sour Heart* by Jenny Zhang: If you follow me on Instagram you will already know this is one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Admittedly, I go through phases of reading short story collections. They never seem to take my fancy quite as much as novels but if the advanced praise of this book is anything to go by, it will be brilliant. It's the first title published under the new Lenny imprint x Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner so if this is a sign of what is to come I am excited. 

The Ninth Hour* by Alice McDermott: So this is actually an ARC, aka an uncorrected proof copy. I do get these from time to time and I try to not feature them until closer to publication date but I have a feeling this book is released very soon. Update, it is released next month so it should not be too far away. The Ninth Hour is the story of three generations of an Irish immigrant family in 1940's to 1950's Brooklyn who are faced with tragedy. That being loss, suicide and coming to terms with life in an entirely new part of the world. I've not read anything by Alice McDermott before and while it seems trite to say I am looking forward to reading this given its subject matter, I am curious and find novels that delve into the psyche of characters, like it sounds like this one is going to, deeply fascinating. 

Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion: Didion, one of a trio of writers whose work I want to busy myself with reading in its entirety. I feel like I've mentioned that fact before but the other two are Nick Hornby, although maybe not his YA because I haven't heard favourable things, and Ali Smith. Play It As It Lays chronicles life in 1960's Los Angeles and Hollywood. One of my favourite decades, nostalgia-wise, albeit secondhand and a city that never ceases to fascinate me. While I imagine sixties LA is vastly different to 2017 in many regards, I am still curious to see if any patterns emerge of what was to come in terms of where the world was headed. Moreover I am just intrigued to read and experience Didion's perspective on it. 

Conversations With Friends* by Sally Rooney: One of my school friends and literary enthusiasts, Laura gave this a glowing review here and I've prioritised this to read next month. The title is self explanatory, this book examines and centres around conversation. One of my favourite things, I do love a good natter. It follows the protagonist through high school, university and new adulthood. Like Sour Heart, this is another of my highly anticipated fiction releases of 2017 so if I love it as much as I suspect I am going to, this will not be the last time you hear of it. 

The Gender Games* by Juno Dawson: Not pictured but for reference, here is the cover in all its glory. I actually received this at the end of July, I think but it made its way to my current reads list fairly quickly and so far I am finding it brilliant. Like my fellow book buff Emma, I find books that look at gender and how it shapes society incredibly interesting. This book is perhaps more so than any other because Dawson has lived through the male and female lens. It is well worth the read and out of the albeit limited selection of books I've read in August, this is up there with my favourites. 

-Have you acquired any new books in August? What were they?

*Review Copy

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August Beauty Mail

August Beauty Mail

You may have noticed a lack of beauty mail updates over on Instagram this month. That was incredibly intentional as I wanted to save them for a blog post. This is something I’m going to trial while I’m working so if you enjoy it, please let me know. It’s much more convenient than me stressing out about not having showcased something yet. Oh and the lack of natural lighting by the time I get home each day. The struggle is indeed real. On that note, I do not review or feature everything I’ve been sent. Anything sent to me is not guaranteed to be featured, especially if it’s not something I like and would recommend. More so if it just doesn’t fit in with this ol’ blog. Anyway, disclaimers aside, I feel like I’ve done plenty of those recently. Here are some of the highlights of August’s beauty mail.

L’Oreal Micellar Water, available from August*: Another wallet-friendly micellar water. Can I get an amen? I am yet to crack into this bottle as I’m just finishing off a never ending bottle of Bioderma so I will keep you posted if this is something I rate and recommend. There is also a version designed for sensitive skin, in a blue adorned bottle.

Clinique Hydroblur Moisturiser*: Last month Clinique sent me a fun quiz which determined the moisturiser from their line up that would be most suitable to my skin. The result is this. Again I am yet to crack into this as I am nearing the end of my Pep Start Hydrorush* moisturiser. I’m being super disciplined with not opening things unnecessarily these days. Who am I?

Mecca Max 'The Illuminati' Metallic Eyeshadow: The couple of bits and pieces I’ve tried from Mecca Max have not disappointed. While this was not something I received in the mail,, I wanted to include it here because it is brilliant. It reminds me of the Stila Glitter and Glow shadows, just not quite as intense. It also has a cream to powder finish so it sets down fast and does not budge. I have the shade Showbiz and LOVE it.

Blaq Mask*: This is one of those charcoal masks that seem to be popular in Instagram selfies. It’s designed to help congested skin of which mine certainly is right now. *sigh* I’m incredibly fussy when it comes to masks but I haven’t tried anything quite like this before so I am intrigued.

MAC Rollerwheel Liquid Liner*: In the drafted version of this post I’ve called this the pizza cutter liner. Obviously not its proper name but that’s what the little wheel on the end reminds everyone of I am sure. Regular readers will know I am not an eyeliner expert by any means but the couple of times I’ve used this already, it’s not gone totally pear shaped. Read, I have not looked like Amy Winehouse unintentionally. Not that there's anything wrong with Amy Winehouse levels of liner. I have the shade Rollerwheel Brown and I wasn’t expecting brown eyeliner to suit me but it is quite dark so it’s not noticeably brown. It doesn't 'pop' against my skintone if that makes sense. There’s also a blackened navy and a matte black, the former I might just have to grab when this dries out.

Zoeva Rose Golden Buffer: This brush is quite possibly a beauty blogger cliché but I can see why it is so loved. This might be an extravagant claim but it is undoubtedly the best buffing brush I have tried. Super soft, super seamless and an absolute dream to use. I am rather smitten with Zoeva’s brushes. They really deliver.

The Beauty Collective Face Brush*: The Beauty Collective are no strangers to bringing us products that are usually much more costly, at a more wallet friendly price. This new brush is no exception. Side note: As I edit this TBC's website is down so I will update links and things asap. I wasn’t sure what to expect of this one, given it resembles a giant spoon disguised as a brush but it’s fantastic. If I am in a rush, in other words I’ve savoured my morning coffee for much longer than necessary, this is what I reach for. It makes blending in base products super quick. It’s not the softest brush in the world but for the price it’s not half bad.

L’Oreal Pure Clay Purifying Cream Wash, available from August*: Another extension to L’Oreal’s pure clay range is these new cleansers. There’s also a foaming one, which I typically avoid and an exfoliating scrub. I’ve been alternating between this cream cleanser and this and I love how gentle and lovely this feels to use. My face never feels tight or stripped afterwards and it gets rid of anything my micellar water may have missed. In other words, exactly what you want from a cleansing product.

Soap and Glory Heel Genius: This is one of those products Anna has raved about but I dismissed because…well, erm, I have a phobia of feet. The idea of massaging mine is actually making me shudder as I write, although I’ve done it once already. Anyway, weird dislikes aside, I rather like this. My feet take quite a battering during the week and admittedly my shoe choices aren’t always in their favour. Using this however gives them some TLC, hydration and smells divine. I might be a convert, just don’t line up for foot massages any time soon!

-What beauty products have you been trying during August?

*PR Sample

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My Current Skincare Lineup

My Current Skincare Lineup

Disclaimer time: I am no skincare expert. I am just a mere mortal with an above average level of enthusiasm for beauty products. Any knowledge I have has been self-obtained or absorbed from the likes of Sali Hughes' books and countless other sources. These products might not necessarily work for you and as with anything, try to trial something new first before purchasing it and/or assess what will work for you. Disclaimers aside, this is my current skincare lineup. I'm going off what I use at night more than anything else and there are some extras which might be missing. Either because I'm not satisfied with what I've tried or I'm still trialling things. I try to keep things as simple as possible, complex routines are less likely to motivate me to maintain a skincare regime but I do try to use treatments and whatnot where necessary. For context; my skin is combination-oily, the latter more so in Summer than any other time of year. 

Super Pure Serum x Glossier: Before anyone asks, here is how I get my Glossier fix. Super Pure is one of Glossier's three serums, this one aimed at blemish prone skin. It contains niacinamide and zinc, designed to soothe the skin, calm down redness and sort those angry blemishes out. It feels incredibly cooling to apply, which I like and is fast absorbing. Wins all round.

Stress Positive Eye Lift* x Dermalogica: The copywriting for this product is a bit perplexing so I'll just talk about what I use it for. I apply this under my eyes, pat in with my fingers and wake up with things around the eye area looking a lot more hydrated. It actually absorbs too, you aren't left with product sitting under the eyes in the morning which I love. 

Clarifying Toning Lotion x Ren: After discovering the Pixi Glow Tonic didn't agree with my skin-boo, hiss, I went back to this toner which I'd used in the past and forgotten about. It's alcohol free and not loaded with parabens or sulfates. Yass Ren. As it's designed with combination/oily skin in mind, I feel like it's a bit gentler for an exfoliating toner. It definitely does what it says on the bottle, but it feels a bit less intensive than something like Glow Tonic. 

Pep Start HydroRush * x Clinique: Clinique's moisturiser has been in my routine for most of the year now and I still love it. The lightweight, bouncy texture totally sells it for me. I love that it's oil free too. Clinique recently sent me another of their moisturisers, more on that later in the week, so I'll be interested to see how they compare. 

Milky Jelly Cleanser x Glossier: What's not to like with this one? Like the serum above, it's got a lovely cooling feeling. The texture as the name would suggest is somewhere between a cream and a gel. My skin loves it and it definitely leaves things looking a lot better, without feeling stripping. I can see why so many people use and rate this cleanser, Anna probably has a whole backup shelf devoted to it now. It's a beaut. 

Drying Lotion x Mario Badescu: My first introduction to this product was c/o Kylie Jenner on Snapchat when she talked us through her skincare routine. Yes I watched the whole thing. Anyway, it was this product she applied to a cotton bud that intrigued me. Mario Badescu are known for their facial sprays but I hear just as many people raving about this product too. The blend of calamine and salicylic acid are magic. Obviously I don't use this daily, just when I have blemishes that I want to be less visible pronto. It really works fast and if you have an emergency, planet-sized crater on your face you want to banish, this is the product. 

-What skincare products do you use?

*PR Sample

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Recent Fashion Finds

Recent Fashion Finds

Happy weekend! This post is a lil' different and is essentially me waxing lyrical on some of my favourite places to find clothes. The novelty of having a Zara about 15-20 minutes drive away is yet to wear off. Annoyingly, a lot of what I wanted to talk about is nightmarish to find online so I might generalise a bit. Apologies in advance. If in doubt, go peruse the shops in question. Anyway, fashion and fashion-y bits incoming...

Zara: Oh Zara, how I love thee. Ever since I discovered it in Melbourne six or so years back I have been smitten. Gorgeous pieces, fabulous tailoring, colours and on-trend without being too gimmicky. Zara is my go-to for blouses, basics and things that you won't really find elsewhere. For my birthday I was given some money and nabbed the dream skirt, it has pockets people, a shirt dress with dramatic sleeve detailing, I love me some sleeve drama and this oversized navy cardigan above. It has tortoiseshell style buttons and is so cosy. I literally feel like I'm walking in a blanket when I have this on. In a good way. This is why I'm not a fashion copywriter...

H&M: H&M can be a bit hit and miss sometimes, I'm not going to lie. If you're willing to tolerate the crowds and never ending racks, it can be a rewarding experience. I go here for basics like skirts and lightweight cardis but also blouses and tops. More recently I grabbed a burnt orange lace blouse with a slightly ruffled collar. It's not overly dramatic, period-actress looking, thank goodness but I love it. The stripes you see above are from a shirt I grabbed not too long ago, with flared sleeves. All about the shirts right now.

Alexa Chung: After watching Alexa's SS17 live stream in the early hours of the morning here in Auckland, I knew I wanted all many of the things. These star loafers are still calling out to me. Love Rays, her non-first date ready tee is in my wardrobe now. It mightn't quite be teeshirt weather yet but I have been wearing this underneath knits (see above) with skirts and tights+boots. I love it.

Pinch & Fold: The lovely folk at Pinch & Fold reached out to me recently and offered me some jewellery, which of course I couldn't turn down. I love their celestial themed pieces, in particular this* necklace, a star choker* (which I have a suspicion was part of the sale) and these earrings. Everything came beautifully packaged too, in a mini mason jar which I actually kept to stop these dainty pieces getting tangled/lost. 

Trade Aid: This is my go-to for ethically produced and sourced pieces from around the world. Whether it be their mugs, chocolate or their jewelry. Seriously their earrings are underrated and I love 'em. These were actually a gift from Emma and they've fast become my favourites to wear on an almost daily basis. Although they do have a tendency to get caught on my swipe-card's lanyard for work but that's redundant. They're a beaut. I've not linked their online store because the selection online is limited so I'd encourage you to head in to have a browse. 

-What are your fashion staples at the moment?

*I was sent these necklaces for review but all love of celestial motifs and dainty jewels are my own. 
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Deskside Beauty

Deskside Beauty

Ever since starting my new job I've kinda shaken things up beauty-wise. I'm not suddenly wearing smokey eyes on the regular, or bold lipstick for days but I am keeping things a lot more pared back. That's partly because I am not an early morning person but also because sometimes I just can't be bothered. Now I feel like a fraudulent beauty blogger. Anyway, today I thought I'd talk you through some of my essentials for workplace makeup. Note: a lot of what's pictured has been in and out of my makeup bag all month and has been used and enjoyed, for the most part...

Lightweight Base: I don't think I've ever been one for the heavy, full coverage foundation, unless it's something I have completely blanked from my memory. Lately I've been using and loving the MAC Next To Nothing Face Colour*. It evens out the complexion and just leaves things looking like you've at least made a bit of an effort. It won't conceal but hey, there's this revolutionary product you mightn't know about called concealer for that. It's lightweight, lovely and super quick to apply. 

Concealer: Aka the love of my makeup life. Some days I actually just throw concealer on as a base. Wasteful I am sure but *insert shrug emoji here*. My go-to's are the Maybelline Age Rewind concealer-sadly not ranged in NZ but amazing for under eyes, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Custard-I've repurchased this countless times and keep the mini, which I think was limited edition in my bag and the YSL Touche Eclat* for brightening-nonessential but it does make a difference. I use the shade 1.5.

Powder: Now this is one area where there's a few products used. I alternate between the Bourjois powder above-side note, if anyone knows where I can get the shade Vanilla in NZ please sing out and an Hourglass one in a palette I have for setting makeup down. The Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium-I use this every day to make my face look like it's got something at least slightly resembling cheekbones. Blush-wise, if I'm not time pressed I use this-it's amazingly long lasting too. Otherwise I often reach for this Too Faced Gem in the shade I Will Always Love You. Lately I've been using bronzer too, Sunlit Skin Bronzing Powder x Mecca Max is my current favourite. It's showing up much darker online, I have the shade light so don't let that photo fool you. When I feel like it, I've been loving Blinded By The Light x Too Faced for highlighter. 

Eyes: Mascara I tend to rotate so I won't go into great detail other than to say the Wet N Wild mascara above really disappointed me. Mascaras smudging is not usually an issue for me but this one smudges like crazy. I regularly come home to find I look like Taylor Momsen at the height of her grunge phase. As for eyeshadow, I'm all about the light shimmers. I alternate between some Colourpop shadows, my By Terry Ombre Blackstars and this ride or die palette. 

Lips: Last but not least, as you can see from the above photo, I like my lip products. I mainly wear either Balm Dotcom-which also doubles as a quick glossy eyelid product, or nude lipsticks. Modesty x Mac or Brave (also Mac) are my favourites. When I'm after something a touch bolder, I love the Lancome Matte Shaker* in Pink or the L'Absolu Rouge lipstick in Idole. The latter is a shade Lisa Eldridge designed for herself and you know if Lisa's behind it, it will not disappoint.

So I think that covers everything for the makeup I gravitate towards for work. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and what your work makeup essentials are. Enable/inspire me.

*PR Sample

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The Bookdate, Volume Five

The Bookdate, Volume Five

It's been way too long since a post solely devoted to books made an appearance on this blog so it was about time that was amended. I feel like I've been reading more than usual lately-I like to read on my trains to and from work but also occasionally on my lunch break and at the end of the day. Basically, any time I have free time I'll either be reading or re-watching The Crown on Netflix. You get the gist. Books are great, paperbacks and hardbacks not e-readers are life. Moving right along...

Book Club: My self-established book club on Goodreads has kinda taken an extended hiatus. I have been reading some other book club's recommendations though. For Our Shared Shelf, I've been reading The Handmaid's Tale which for some reason is taking me forever. Side note: I'm going to attempt to finish that in the next couple of weeks so I can report back but so far, I am still obsessed with Atwood's writing. For Between Two Books, I have been reading Too Much & Not the Mood by Durga Chew Bose. Ironically, I feel like I have to be in the mood to read this one but the experience is rewarding as I have several pages bookmarked and underlined. I also recently grabbed one of their past recommendations, Tristimania by Jay Griffiths but I am yet to read it. I will report back here or over on Goodreads though.

Time Out's Book Gifts: One of my two favourite bookstores in Auckland, Time Out have recently launched some rather rad book gifts. You can select a year of books subscriptions; monthly or bimonthly and will receive a book tailored to your reading tastes, a hand selected bundle of books, a gift registry for not so subtle hint dropping and more. Check them out here. I'm not going to lie, that subscription service is tempting me so much. 

Recently Read: / The Wonder by Emma Donoghue. This book is really outside my literary comfort zone, being historical fiction. It addresses topics like mental illness, eating disorders, religious imagery and the fascination with the supernatural or the unexplained. While the story is fictional, it was interesting to think about how illnesses like eating disorders were very much a new concept in 1850. I can see why so many people love Donoghue's writing. She flawlessly combines the grotesque with the beautiful and her prose is extremely compelling. / The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson. My Jacqueline Wilson kick continues and I was particularly keen to revisit this one. I remember I used to own it but couldn't really remember much beyond the fact the mother had lots of tattoos, hence the title. I'm pretty sure it used to scare me too, given it deals with manic depression which I really wouldn't have comprehended. That being said, Wilson takes the subject matter extremely seriously and doesn't attempt to condescend or patronise her younger audience. I can only imagine how effective this book would be for a child facing a similar situation.  / Various magazines. Let me know if you want to see articles I've enjoyed, provided I can find the links online and/or know some I've loved lately. 

The Wishlist: / Olympia Le Tan, The Story of O.L.T. I've flicked through this book briefly in store and it is beautiful. Not only that it's packed to the brim with visual inspiration and I want it so badly for my bookshelf and eyes. / What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton. I actually have another of Hillary's memoirs on my shelves and I did start it and loved what I'd read so far but its her upcoming book I'm intrigued by. I think the title says it all really and her publishers are promising this to be her most candid book yet. / Vivienne Westwood. After reading and rating Westwood's diaries last year, I really want to read her memoirs. There's not much more to it than that really.

-What have you read and liked recently?
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