Ever since I first saw the dreamy, sixties-esque imagery for Miu Miu's original perfume, complete with a girl, winged liner and a cat, I was smitten. It was truly a case of judging a fragrance by its campaign, something I am sure I am not the only one guilty of doing. After many spritz sessions in department stores, I finally nabbed the rollerball in Melbourne and last month was lucky enough to be sent both the fragrances, in celebration of L'eau Bleue. Spoiler alert: they are both lovely. Is it difficult to choose one? Quite simply, yes.
Miu Miu*: The original, or OG as the kids seem to say now. The opaque, quilted turquoise bottle reminds me of something you might see in furniture from days gone by and in more recent times, the statement earrings that are appearing on many an earlobe. Its key notes are Lily of the Valley, Akigalawood and Sandalwood. Side note: Akigalawood is a note derived from Patchouli Oil and is what gives scent a slightly woody, floral undertone. If you want a fragrance that leaves a lovely impression, and is the perfect blend of woods and floral, this is for you. It is impressionable, intoxicating and alluring.
Miu Miu L'eau Bleue*: Miu Miu's latest fragrance offering launches on the 3rd of April here in New Zealand and while similar to its original incarnation, it certainly stands out on its own. For those who find the original too intense, you may prefer this slightly lighter offering. It has notes of Lily of the Valley, Wild Rose and Akigalawood. It is light and fresh, without being overly floral and is equally as exquisite. If we were to describe the fragrances, this would be your daytime option and the original, the nightlife alternative.
Miu Miu parfums are available in New Zealand at Smith and Caughey's, David Jones Wellington and Ballantynes Christchurch.
-Have you tried the Miu Miu parfums? What do you think of them?
The titling may be misleading. Maybe this is 'alternative facts', beauty blogger style. I jest. At the end of February, Mecca did their latest drop of new beauty launches and I raced online come payday to buy these both. My bank account may have heaved a frustrated sigh but my beauty-loving self may have metaphorically fist pumped with joy when these arrived. In case my excitement does not make it obvious, or you choose to read no further, these products do not disappoint. For those who want the details, read on...
NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer: When NARS launch a new concealer/base product I do sit up and take notice. They do many beauty products well but it's their foundations, concealers and of course the famed eye primer in particular that I love. This new concealer is designed to be heavy duty but surprisingly it is not thick so you don't look like you've caked it on. How NARS do that, I don't know, magic I suspect. There are sixteen shades, ranging from very pale to the darker colours. I have shade Light 2.5, the third lightest shade, better known as Creme Brulee. Soft Matte Complete concealer is great for pinpoint concealing, so I tap it on to my face with fingers and then use a detailer brush to blend it in. Hygiene-wise it isn't ideal, being in a pot but then again unless you're a makeup artist that probably isn't going to be a major issue. I highly rate this concealer though.
Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow: These liquid eyeshadows have caused quite a frenzy. To the point where they sold out in hours apparently and Mecca aren't overly sure when they will be back. I am hardly surprised by that though because these are stunning. If you like glittery eyelids, that look like they're drenched in liquid metal, this is for you. They deliver on their promise of no fallout, at least not until they're removed and stay put once they're on the lids. The shade Kitten Karma, a champagne shot with silver and copper reflects is just exquisite. Rose Gold Retro is top of my list, come the eventual restock.
-Have you tried either of these products? What did you think of them?
There is just something so instantly likeable about Lily Collins. I remember thinking that when I first read her cover-story in an issue of Teen Vogue and then seeing her in films and her campaigns for Lancome. Despite her celebrity heritage, Dad is Phil Collins, she seems very down-to-Earth and not too showy. She's aware of her starriness but not reliant on it. So when I heard she was releasing a book and that it was being praised for its realness and approachability, something not always a guarantee with memoirs of this nature, I was intrigued. It was naturally named Unfiltered*. No shame, no regrets, just Lily Collins.
Before I get into the review, I just want to say how grateful I am that we are seeing books like this from a mainstream publishing house. I read a lot of essays and more often than not, the most candid seem to come from independent publishers. The fact Penguin have embraced this, no less from a recognisable face is only a step in the right direction, as was Mara Wilson's book they also released last year.
Unfiltered is a collection of seventeen essays from Lily on topics ranging from eating disorders to abusive relationships, sharing stories and the relationships we form with family, friends and moreover ourselves. She also has a chapter on her beginnings with writing and journalism which I really enjoyed. It seems cliche to say "stars, they're just like us", especially when it is usually used in a mocking sense. Used in this context though, I mean it in the most flattering way. We need more books like this and while not all of Lily's stories were necessarily relatable or aligned with my own, there were certainly some I found myself drawing parallels with. At the same time, I think that one of the beauties of memoirs is reading stories that are different to your own as well as finding glimmers of similarity. The chapters on eating disorders and body image will be important for a lot of people in particular.
Unfiltered is beautifully written, it never feels condescending and is the kind of book you can easily lose a few hours in or dip in and out of as you please. I really enjoyed it and hope this isn't the last we hear from Lily because it just left me wanting more. Unfiltered is on sale now in New Zealand for $35.00.
I have a copy of Unfiltered to give away to one of you lovely kiwi folk. To be in to win, just follow the steps in the Rafflecopter box below. If you are under eighteen, please get permission to enter first as I will need your address to send the book to you. This giveaway will close next Tuesday the 28th of March. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Review copy and giveaway copy thanks to the lovely folk at Penguin Random House NZ. All opinions and love of Lily Collins and her gorgeous self+words are my own.
Magazines are my one and only, my ride or die. That's no secret to anybody that knows me, or anyone who has read this blog long enough. I'm sure like many of us, I spend a large portion of my days looking at screens and unwinding with a magazine and the knowledge that my phone is off are some of my greatest pleasures. You just cannot beat a magazine, on paper, especially if it's that thick stock some publishers love. Shout out to Frankie, The Plant, et al. Being a magazine lover means I am always on the lookout for new magazines, or magazines that aren't exactly new but are to me. Today I have four of my recent finds and loves to share. They're all a bit niche and are very exquisite.
Oh Comely: I actually came across Oh Comely when I was in London,
centuries ago in 2010 and I recently discovered that my local newsagent sells it. Admittedly, waiting months for it to arrive is a bit of a nuisance, sea freight is the bane of my magazine loving existence. It is worth the wait though. Oh Comely is a British magazine, published bimonthly that follows a theme and is filled to the brim with fashion, photography and art by talented people, usually ladies. Recent issues have focused on things like magic and strength which let's be real, the world needs a heck of a lot more of. If you're a fan of frankie then I think you will love this. Where to find me in NZ: Mag Nation, Ponsonby*, Paper Power.
Apartamento: This purchase was inspired after I dragged a friend to Mag Nation here in Auckland, and because I saw it on Albertine's Instagram and she has great taste. It is a largely interiors themed magazine but it is also for individuals "who are passionate about the way they live". Unsurprisingly, this publication, released biannually is impeccably designed. Alongside captivating imagery are engaging articles with creative people about their spaces and art. It's a bit on the pricey side here in NZ but it's perfect if you're into aesthetics and want to treat yo'self. Where to find me: Mag Nation and Magnetix, Wellington.
Suitcase: A tome of travel and free-spirited goodness. Suitcase first came to my attention via Amelia who if I am remembering correctly, used to be one of their contributing editors. Suitcase is the perfect size to fit into your travel bag of choice and is a travel magazine you will want to read. This may be a potentially unpopular opinion but I feel like most travel publications, the ones I've seen at least, veer on the dull side of things but Suitcase is thankfully far from dull. Published quarterly, each issue is usually themed around different countries and cities. The one pictured was interested in the idea of myths and legends+stories from faraway places. It contained a writeup on the legends and lesser known secrets of Oxford by Rosalind Jana, a handy guide to beauty products 100ml or under to take on your travels and photographic explorations of national parks in America, the mystical landscapes of Scotland and more. It's fairly inexpensive, I want to say it is $15 or less here in New Zealand which for an imported magazine is pretty decent, so I recommend you nab a copy. Where to find me: Mag Nation and Magnetix.
The Plant: This time, an Estee inspired acquisition. Side note: her love for magazines rivals mine so I suggest you head to her channel where she shares recommendations from time to time. A magazine for all the greenery lovers and a place where creative people+their love of flora and fauna come to party. Well not party, more like share their magic on paper. Each issue is themed around a particular plant, the one pictured was inspired by geraniums. Again, this is a beautifully presented and designed publication. I can't seem to find information about how often it is released, it seems to be yearly though. Where to find me: Mag Nation, although because this one is a bit more elusive you may wish to contact them first before heading there.
-What magazines do you read and like?
*For clarity, I was employed by Mag Nation in late 2015-early 2016 but this post is in no way affiliated with them and I am in no way advantaged by linking to their website.
-Hello y'all, it's me essentially talking to myself because apart from Emma (hi Emma), I don't know who else reads this section. I just wanted to share a little PSA and say I am going to be a bit absent from this blog now for a week or so. I have a giveaway scheduled to go up early/mid next week but otherwise I will be in full on assignment mode. Fun times and if you want to learn the phonetic alphabet with me, please sing out. On the plus side, next week is Adele week so that will help the assignment cloud lift. What else..oh, I have a new story on FashioNZ of some Autumn beauty must-haves, including several that haven't made their way onto this blog yet. That's about all for now really. I hope you are all having a great month thus far.
Another week, another new feature. Introducing the Beauty Files, a monthly round-up of beauty bits new, old, loved, lusted and some that are perhaps a bit baffling. Regarding the latter, it goes without saying that this is just my opinion so please don't interpret it as me being slanderous. It's just my personal skepticism towards whatever that product/trend may be. Anyway, on with volume one.
Something New: Avene Cleanance Mask*. Unfortunately I don't think this is available in New Zealand but it is online, see link. Avene gave me the opportunity to choose some of their products to try and I went for this one, after remembering it was one of Anna's must-haves. Part clay mask, part scrub. This reminds me a bit of a mask Anna sent me actually, but gentler and better. If your skin's particularly blemish prone, you can use this once a week but because I'm rather slack when it comes to masks, I'm only using it once every couple of weeks. Although honestly, that's probably all my skin needs when I'm using this* as well.
Something Loved:Tartelette in Bloom-Is it just me, or have Tarte seriously lifted their prices? I swear I didn't pay $84 for this palette over a year ago. In fact, that seems a bit insane to me. Although I would say this is worth the money, given I use it several times a week and there's not one dud shade, with the exception of the top right which I just wouldn't use often anyway. It's a seriously beautiful palette and offers something a bit different to the other myriad of neutral eyeshadow palettes out there. I highly recommend this one.
Something Rediscovered: Bite Luminous Creme Lipstick in Pepper-After a seriously major overhaul of my beauty stash, this was one of the few nude lipsticks that survived. I know, first world problems and all that. Pepper, a Dusty Rose is what I'd describe as a my lips, but better and slightly darker shade. Sorry for that tired beauty blogger cliche, not sorry. It's creamy but dries to more of a satin finish and stays put. Naturally the colour fades off a bit throughout the day but it isn't enough to warrant a touchup. Translation: If you're a bit lazy like me and don't faff around reapplying lipstick, this is for you.
Something Unconvincing: MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipsticks*-Okay I should begin this by saying I have nothing against the formula of these lipsticks. In fact of all the liquid lipsticks out there, MAC's are some of the better ones in terms of longevity and not settling into the lines of your lips. It's these new colours, released during NZ's Autumn that I am less swayed by. Pictured are the shades Ess-Presso and Simply Smoked. They both come out on the darker grey-brown side of things on me and do not suit me at all and I'm wondering who MAC thinks these colours are accessible to. I'm sure they'd work on deeper skintones but for everyone else, I'm not so sure.
Something Lustworthy: Perricone MD's No Bronzer Bronzer. I've seen this product doing the rounds on a few Top Shelves as well as its praises being sung by Alix which is pretty much all the convincing I can ever need. This liquid bronzer adjusts to your skin colour, providing just the right amount of warmth and glow. I've only ever tried one liquid bronzer before and wasn't overly wowed by it so I'm curious to see what this one's like. Maybe I'll grab a sample next time I'm in Mecca.
-Have you tried any of these products before? What do you think of them?
It's not very often that I come across a brand on Instagram and then set myself the task of finding out everything I can about them. That's exactly what happened though when I saw the word about Girl Undiscovered being spread and had to find out what it was all about for myself. Flash-forward to February and an incredibly beautifully presented box, containing the product you see above arrived. I like to give most skincare products at least a month's trial so I can see how it works longer term. You aren't truly going to know if something's making a difference in a day or two, even a week. Before we get on to the product itself though, here's a bit of a lowdown for those of you who aren't familiar with Girl Undiscovered.
So local brand Girl Undiscovered pride themselves on their use of pure, natural products. All three of their current products, there's also an oil and a face mask, are made using natural, ethically sourced ingredients. Even the crystals in the Cleansing Water are ethically sourced. Their products are all made in New Zealand, cruelty free, sustainable and in reusable packaging. Each product comes in a gold pouch, which you may have seen on my Instagram. You can repurpose this as a succulent holder, a clutch, makeup bag. Whatever you fancy. Mine will probably become a sunglass case. As someone who is lucky to receive a few parcels, I was seriously impressed by how little excess waste there was in terms of packaging. The box fit the water inside perfectly and the honeycomb paper, while decorative is something I will use again.
Now on to the fun part, the Under The Waterfall Crystal Cleansing Water* contains water sourced at 160 metres which is then infused with Kanuka Honey, Thanaka and Cold Pressed Coconut Oil. For those wondering, the water does not feel 'oily' in the slightest and it's not a bi-phase solution. If your skin is sensitive, note that it does contain Benzyl Alcohol (natural preservatives made up of aromatic alcohol) but it is far down the ingredients list. Correct me if I'm wrong but I feel like I read on Caroline Hirons site that the only time that can be problematic for combination/sensitive skin is when it's higher up the ingredients' table. Other than that this is paraben free and synthetic-fragrance free so it should be suitable for most skin types. As with anything, patch test first.
You can use this Cleansing Water as a pre-cleanse, much like you would a micellar water. At this stage you'd be removing the bulk of your makeup. The other way you can use this is as a toner, after cleansing and before moisturising, exfoliating, serum-ing** and vice versa. In my opinion, if you're using this to remove makeup it works well. You will need to, and should be following up with a cleanser afterwards. I didn't test this on my eyes so I can't vouch for its eye makeup removal properties. I always use this exclusively for eyes, in case you were wondering. In my opinion it really shines as a toner. Inoffensive, gentle and so lovely and cooling on the skin. It doesn't leave your skin feeling stripped or tight and is just a treat to use. You may have noticed that there are Rose Citrine and Clear Quartz crystals in the bottom. Crystals are known for their healing qualities and I will admit, I am a bit skeptical about their use in skincare. Maybe they make a difference. If anything I think they're more of an aesthetic thing in this case.
If you're after a natural alternative to the supermarket micellar waters and toners, you should look at this one. Oh and if you want to shop local of course! It's nice to support the local artisans. Girl Undiscovered can be purchased online and their products are also in store at Blush Flowers in Parnell.
*PR Sample. This post is not sponsored but Girl Undiscovered were kind enough to send me this for review. As always, all thoughts and musings are my own, unless otherwise stated.
**Not a word, I'm doing a paper on editing at the moment so this feels like a rebellious move. Let me have my moment.
Hello, happy Monday and welcome to a new literary themed feature here on NW. I figured this was the perfect way to condense a lot of book related things in to one post. For time constraints and also so I can have a handy lil' link to point people in the direction of when my mind resembles a blank page. It's going to get wordy so get comfy, grab a coffee/iced drink if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, where humidity doesn't seem to quit and enjoy...
Book Club: March+April-My lil' book club on Goodreads are reading two books over the next two months. First up, we have a book that makes me feel a bit..nervous for lack of a better word. The Year of Magical Thinking** by Joan Didion. This nervousness as such stems from the fact a lot of my favourite writers and creative people love Didion and I've never read her work before. I'm sure it's not on the level of the booktube world where books are sometimes overhyped exhaustively*** but still I am approaching it with caution. The second book this month is Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. This novel was voted on by the members in my group and was a clear favourite. With the HBO show debuting at the end of last month, I'm sure it is no coincidence. I have heard this is fantastic, addicting and a little bit dark.
Girls at Library: This feels like one of those digital corners of the Internet that you want to savour all on your own but given it's to me the book-themed equivalent of The Coveteur, it needs to be shared. Girls at Library or GAL for short, is "an online journal that features engaging literary interviews with and book recommendations from remarkable, diverse women who share a passion for reading." Beautifully presented with inspiring imagery and words throughout, it really is one brilliant site.
A sampling of the Girls At Library Instagram
Recently Read: So I'm a self confessed serial reader, it even says so in my bio. Naturally over the last few months I've read a fair bit so I'll list some of the highlights here and provide insight where necessary. *Buffering by Hannah Hart. Brilliant, brilliant memoir. It's definitely not a lighthearted read but Hannah still includes humour and optimism throughout. *The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck* by Sarah Knight, also brilliant and just what I needed to read. *Dark Sparkler by Amber Tamblyn. Brilliant poetry that got me out of a bit of a rut with poems, thanks to some mediocre writing I'd read.
The Wishlist: Books I want to read or own basically, although I'm on a bit of a book buying ban for the time being. -Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young. A collection of essays by an NZ writer who recently won the Windham-Campbell prize. -Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Emma read this and loved it so much, she finished it in a day. It's another book that seems quite hyped up at the moment so I am a little skeptical but intrigued nonetheless. -Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. A feminist collection of speeches and essays, recommended by many different creative outlets and voices.
-There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker. A short and sweet volume I hope to dive into very soon.
I hope you've enjoyed this somewhat wordy first roundup of all things literary! Let me know in the comments what you've been reading, or if there's any book websites, magazines etc I should be looking at.
**Affiliate links have been used here. Click if you want to support me.
***This isn't a diss at any YouTuber in particular. Of course some books are hyped because they are brilliant. There's also some books hyped that are quite terrible but it all comes down to personal preference and opinion.
Just like that it's March and the first day of Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. March is going to be a busy month; university and lots of other bits 'n bobs happening so I've gravitated more towards books that aren't as lengthy. We have some new fiction releases, a book I judged by its cover and a book that appeals to my inner Beatles enthusiast...
My Not So Perfect Life* by Sophie Kinsella-To many, Kinsella is best known for her Confessions of a Shopaholic series and a couple of years back now she released Finding Audrey, her first foray into young adult fiction which was fantastic. I requested this book because I usually enjoy Sophie Kinsella's work but also because the blurb appealed to me. Katie has the perfect life; the perfect job in London and more importantly the aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed. However it is not as it seems and after her dream career goes up in smoke, she returns to Somerset to help her Dad run his glamping business. It sounds like a smattering of Girls with the charm of Bridget Jones, a premise I'm intrigued by. Stay tuned.
The Beatles In 100 Objects by Brian Southall-This book's title really sums it up for you. Southall curated a collection of 100 objects associated with The Beatles, whether that be items they owned, merchandise, fan mail etc. You get the idea. There's also the stories behind them included which I'll find fascinating. If you're not interested in The Beatles this might not be for you but enthusiasts will love it.
The Hate U Give* by Angie Thomas-I was sent an uncorrected proof of this highly anticipated novel, released today and I'm planning on reviewing it in a feature I have planned for next month. This novel is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the political unrest that affects POC today. It sounds like an incredibly important, timely read and it is getting a lot of advance praise. The movie rights have already been sold and Amandla Stenberg is set to star in it.
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro-So part of the reason for me borrowing this from the library was because I want to watch the movie. I'm one of those people that likes to read books before watching the movie mainly so I can enjoy the story in its original form. Set in 1956 it follows an ageing butler, embarking on a holiday deep into the English countryside. I don't know much more than that and the fact the film adaptation stars Emma Thompson but I'm really looking forward to reading it soon.
-What will you be reading in March?