18 Good Things About 2018

18 Good Things About 2018

How does one neatly confine a year in the life to a single idea? 2018 for me definitely cannot be wholly categorised by one thought, feeling or phrase. Even though I have been bandying about the notions that 2018 "hurt like a hangover" and I'm hella ready to say "thank u next" to it at midnight. Though knowing me, I'll probably be asleep by then ha. 2018's been a real mix of a year. At its core, it was a year of persistence. It also showed me with somewhat more clarity what it is I truly want, in life both in the present moment and in future. It bought some of the best moments and people in to my life, as well as some painful, truly testing times. While the year may not have fit into a breezy little Instagram rectangle of good vibes and positivity-it was my life no less and I can look back and learn from it; mistakes, losses, successes, stories and conversations. I can cast my mind back to the moments which make me all misty eyed and smiley as I write this and feel thankful. As is tradition around here, I've compiled some of the good bits of '18 into a little list. An eighteen pointer because I do love me some intentional symbolism. 

* Melbourne. My week of rest and relaxation. I love solo travel so much and this holiday came at the perfect time-between finishing one job and starting the next. It was a week of doing whatever I wanted, wandering the streets in the early morning with coffee, meals+laughter with friends, literature, theatre and a lot of walking and getting lost in my surrounds. 

* Entered a writing competition. Whilst I didn't get anywhere with this, I still felt an enormous sense of self-pride just for submitting something. Previous years I'd chickened out. I have one of my personal cheerleaders to thank for the encouragement+support in this area. Without them, I don't think I would have been as committed to entering and putting a story together.

* Joined IRL book clubs! 'Poppy Loves Book Club' and 'Lit Reads' at Time Out here in Auckland. Sure I kinda pick and choose which month I go along based on the books, semi defeating the purpose of a book club but the ones I do attend, I usually really enjoy. Some books I read because of these clubs: The Power, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Ponti and How To Be Both.

* Went to my very first stand up gig at the ripe old age of 25. To see Urzila Carlson and it was such a brilliant night. I laughed until I cried and it was a welcome distraction from some not-so-lovely life stuff that was going on at that time. 

* I read, a lot. I dipped in and out of books. I immersed myself in single volumes, abandoning everything else. I wrote notes in the margins and underlined passages. I read Sylvia Plath's journals overlooking the ocean and listening to Lana Del Rey. I threw books that perplexed me to the point of frustration across the room. 

* I housesat a bit and looked after pets at the same time and it was grand. No really. I really enjoy housesitting because it feels like a mini staycation. 

* Did a magazine swap with Liv. It was fabulous and 'm not gonna lie, it was so exciting getting all those magazines she chose for me in the mail. Stay tuned for round two in the not too distant future.

* Went to a brilliant session with Durga Chew-Bose and Lorde in discussion at the Auckland Writers Festival. So inspiring and wonderful. Read my notes here

* All the carpool karaoke sessions. They were plentiful I'm not gonna lie. Lana Del Rey was often on high rotation, as was Florence+The Machine. See also Queen and Mamma Mia 2. Good times.

* Sitting in the sunroom at one of my friend's places-actually just our conversations in general. Yes we jokingly throw shade at one another all the time but we also have the best, meaningful discussions. You know who you are, thank you for all the banter.

* Saw a lotta films, new and old.  The standouts; Pretty Woman, Bohemian Rhapsody, Lady Bird, Muriel's Wedding, Call Me By Your Name, McQueen, Heathers to name but a few.

* Mamma Mia the musical aka the one where I was MOVED. Frick I love musical theatre so much. I saw this twice when I went to Melbourne and it was incredible.

* Morning meanderings through parks with coffee in hand and music in my ears. Yes please.

* Being pushed well and truly out of my comfort zone. I kinda feel like I'm beginning to get this whole 'fake it 'til you make it' in utterly terrifying situations business. Good things I think/hope!

* Journaled daily for most of the year. Okay this really derailed around September but I put in a pretty dedicated effort up to that point. Keeping a diary helped me immensely. It's so cathartic and a real focused insight in to your own thoughts. I am determined to get back on track with this in 2019.

* Attended some DIY classes: jewelry making, dumplings and mosaics. 

* On the DIY note,I made an advent calendar this year for a friend of mine and I had so much fun doing it. Check it out here

* Set new goals. Right now I have some creative ambitions I want to start seriously working towards next year. I think for a long time I was lost with what I wanted to do but in the last month or so I've reached some clarity in this sense. Being vague on purpose here. Anyway, it feels exciting. Just as a disclaimer I really have no idea what I am doing but wanting to achieve these things, that I am 100% sure of.

-Happy 2019 everyone! If you made it to the end of this accidental essay, congratulations. You deserve a medal. Or leftover Christmas chocolate, the good kind not the ones nobody wants, ahem Picnic bars...Anyway-be good and I will see you all in the New Year.

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The Memoir Gift Guide: Part Two

The Memoir Gift Guide: Part Two

So it's a lil' late but for any of you ultra-ultra last minute shoppers out there, or perhaps someone looking for ways to spend their incoming book tokens-here is part two of my gift guide for y'all. There's something for everyone in this fantastic four...#seewhatididthere.

the cost of living x deborah levy: I thoroughly enjoyed this book earlier in the year and I remember losing myself in its pages on many a train trip to and from work. A copy actually made its way to my cousin for her birthday a couple of months back and she loved it as well. Levy writes so candidly and brilliantly on life and loss+the pieces we pick up as we renavigate life and get on with it. She also writes beautifully on friendships of all forms and backgrounds. Definitely one to gift to your friends.

my thoughts exactly x lily allen: A candid, refreshing and poignant memoir by Lily Allen. I devoured this book over a weekend which was already dominated by a rather precarious stack of reads-all swiftly abandoned. Lily writes on motherhood, fame, the music industry, fractured family life and does it all in her trademark honest way. I was expecting to love this book, being a longtime Lily Allen fan. I even had a poster to promote her second album on my bedroom door-a win from Twitter way back in the day. Anyway, loved it-I think even people who aren't necessarily fans/followers of Lily's music would glean something from her insights.

the greatest love story ever told x megan mullally and nick offerman: You know how some people stan over Hollywood couples? This is me with Megan and Nick. You cannot not love them. They're adorable together and such talented performers and IT IS KAREN WALKER AND RON FRICKIN SWANSON ok?! Anyway, this book basically reads like a long-form, intimate interview with Megan and Nick. It is funny-oh so funny and heartwarming and I loved it. One for the comedy fans but also the perfect lil' pick-me-up for someone who may need it.

welcome home x lucia berlin: So I've probably done things a little backward by reading Berlin's memoirs first before delving into her short story collections but oh well. Published posthumously, Berlin's writings on her life and experiences growing up. The book is also interspersed with letters to her friends which I really loved reading. The ways in which she particularly writes about place and scenery are so evocative and thought-provoking. It feels very cinematic without being overexaggerated if that makes any sense. Anyway, read. Enjoy.

-That concludes my gift guide series for 2018 and what will most likely be my last blog post for 2018 as I am taking a bit of a break from the ol' Interwebs over Christmas! I hope you all have relaxing festive seasons-however you choose to spend it. Don't forget to unwind and take time for you. I'll see you all in 2019! xx

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Women & Their Books: Vita O'Brien

Women & Their Books: Vita O'Brien

Somehow we are in December and it's time for the final Women & Their Books post for 2018. Today we have the lovely Vita aka exlibrisvita on Instagram. She is currently studying English Literature at Victoria University (the dream) and also contributes to Undone Journal. When she's not studying, she reads-a lot! Her answers below will be testament to that.

what are you currently reading
*Technically, I've been reading a handful of books all year because I'm very good at starting books and forgetting about them! But, the one that I'm really actively reading right now is Ali Smith's collection Public Library which I am really loving. My first Smith and I cannot wait to read more of her work.

you've studied children's literature. is there a book you've found through it that you wish you'd read as a child?
*I honestly loved Watership Down by Richard Adams, and I think it would have been a great one to have been read by my Mum or Grandma. It's not as blood and guts as people hype it up to be! I also think I would've really enjoyed A Stitch In Time by Penelope Lively, back when I was obsessed with history and reading as much historical fiction as possible. It's a really lovely coming of age story that I think would resonate with a lot of imaginative young girls.

seeing as it's nearly the end of 2018, what has been your favourite book of the year and why?
*How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee. I read this just after finishing a course in creative nonfiction at uni and it was the exact right thing to read at that time. I was so inspired by Chee's ability to play with the form and make it whatever he wanted it to be. I'd really recommend it to anyone who loves personal essays-you don't have to know anything about him to enjoy this work. I didn't and I absolutely loved every word! My favourite essay was 'The Rotary' which you can read here

what books are currently on your wishlist?
*Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Orlando by Virginia Woolf and I'd love to read The Diary of Frida Kahlo at some point soon too.

a book you wish would be adapted for film or tv?
*This is SO hard. I would usually say the His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman. I think that it's already being adapted for TV (we won't talk about that dreadful movie). I've just glanced over at my bookshelf and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern jumped ou at me. If they could pull that off I would love it so much. I think it'd be better suited to TV than film though-to be honest, I think most books are. Film often has difficulty pulling off the nuances of books. 

what's your favourite book or piece of writing by a writer and why?
* #1 The Three Loves of Persimmon by Cassandra Golds. This book got me through a really tough patch in high school and I still love the imagery and story so deeply. A coming of age story with a healthy dash of magic and painful honesty about life as a young woman. Who doesn't love a story starring a mouse and a florist? #2 Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote. I'll be honest, I read this one because I was obsessed with Audrey Hepburn at the time but it's now one of my all time favourites in its own right. I find Capote's use of language so captivating and the nuances of Holly and the narrator are incredible when you consider what a short little novella it is. #3 The Story Girl by LM Montgomery-she ain't just about those Green Gables books. This book just stuck with me. Maybe because the heroine was a badass dreamer who was determined to get famous by telling stories or maybe it was just Montgomery's wonderful way with words. Either way it is a book i'll always cherish and I hope I get to pass it down to my kids one day.

finally, what is one book you think every woman should read?
*The first book that came to my head was The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. I read this one in high school and it really found me at the perfect time and is a book I think about quite frequently. I think as women we're often expected to be understanding of other people's needs before our own and often get placed in the role of "mothering" others when it's really not appropriate. I'm really lucky to have grown up in a generation where that is changing but there are still aspects of that attitude that are highly present in our society. Palmer's book talks a lot about the power of asking for help when you need it, speaking up and making yourself be seen. She also talks about making an effort to really see other people-to stop and pause and look around ourselves. I know it's talked about a lot, but the intensity of our social media age is really scary sometimes and any book that reminds us to really look at the people around us, and to speak up if we need help, is truly valuable.

-Thanks to Vita for being December's Women+Their Books interviewee! I'll be bringing this feature back in 2019 so keep an eye out for more interviews then.
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The Memoir Gift Guide: Part One

The Memoir Gift Guide: Part One

In case you missed it; I am rather fond of memoirs. It satisfies my inner curious cat and fondness for stories. Naturally it's a genre I delve into a lot of the time and I do take it seriously. So when it came time to deciding on Christmassy blog posts, I knew I wanted to do one dedicated specifically to memoirs to gift and read. As you'll see, this is part one because this post was going to be hella long. I also have to give credit to one of my friends for helping me out a bit on the review side of things too. So without further ado, here's part one of my memoir gift guide...

Becoming* x Michelle Obama: The must-have memoir and a book that has unsurprisingly raced to the top of the in-store bestseller lists since its release. I am going to be devoting some serious time to this book once work wraps up for the year but so far, it is wonderful. I mean, how can you not love Michelle Obama? This is going to be an inspiring and brilliant book, I can tell. 

Everything I Know About Love x Dolly Alderton: I do name-drop this book a lot but with good reason. It is undoubtedly one of my favourite reads during 2018. It's moving, brilliant and such a wonderful look at female friendships, women and relationships in every form. Dolly is the Nora Ephron for my generation without a doubt and that is why it is resonating with so many of my friends. I will definitely be revisiting this book and making it an annual re-read for sure. If you are in Auckland, I know this is flying off the shelves at the independent bookstores but you may just find a copy hidden amongst them. 

M Train x Patti Smith: I love Patti Smith's writing and I thoroughly loved reading and annotating my way through M Train. This is definitely one for the writers and artists in your life. Though I feel anyone who appreciates books and coffee, two of life's greatest pleasures without a doubt, will also relate to this. It's beautifully written and I highly recommend it. If you're wanting to treat someone as well-this newly released, illustrated edition of her book Just Kids would be well received I am sure. 

This Will Only Hurt A Little x Busy Philipps: I loved this book and think Busy Philipps is incredible so apologies for the incredibly biased, incoming musings. Naturally her book is candid, hilarious and at times deeply moving. You'll laugh and quite possibly cry reading this book. Her writing is honest but not in a 'tell-all, make sales from all the scandals' kind of way. If anything, it made me appreciate the nature of the beast that is Hollywood. Another one for your girlfriends to read and enjoy this Summer. Actually this'd be the great poolside or beachside read. 

Small Fry* x Lisa Brennan-Jobs: My friend L borrowed this from me and loved it. I know typically she takes a while to get into books sometimes but this one she raced through. I am yet to read this but have read an excerpt and think it's going to be really fascinating. Admittedly I don't know a lot about Jobs the person, beyond his tech achievements so I am looking forward to getting into it from that perspective too. I feel like this and the Michelle Obama memoir would go hand-in-hand this year for inspiring, fascinating reads.

-What books would you recommend for Christmas? Stay tuned for part two soon!

*Review Copy
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The Christmas Gift Guide / 2018

The Christmas Gift Guide / 2018

'Tis the season for gifting! Whether that be treating yourself, or the rad people in your life. Today we have a little mini gift guide of bits 'n bobs I personally think would be rather neat to receive this Christmas. In fact, I've actually purchased some of the items on this list and through my bookish gift guides, see the first here. There's beauty, reading material (of course), some homeware bits, stationery (again, of course) and some miscellaneous bits. Enjoy! 

*Fruition Print x Pigment Studio: As an aside, Albertine is one of my talented pals and I've actually purchased the A5 print of this for myself this Christmas. I love it!

*Useless Magic  x Florence Welch (Gucci Edition): Isn't this stunning!? The original is exquisite also but this Gucci edition is next-level. How special would this be to unwrap? Ahem.

*Oh Comely Magazine, Issue 46: One of my absolute favourite magazines. I've recently bought a subscription because waiting for it in the shops here in NZ was becoming too much of a task. In all seriousness, get yourself/your mates the latest issue with their Christmas presents. Support print everybody.

*Human x Dodie (signed EP)

*Burnt Sage Candle x Crushes: My pal Emma gave me this candle for my birthday and it is the best. I love its scent and its ability to fill my space with the most divine fragrance. I highly recommend giving the other Crushes candles a sniff as well. They're exquisite.

*Runaway Girl Round Towel x Karen Walker: Round towels=the ultimate backyard staple for reading sessions under a tree in the sunshine. Or a picnic. Or just to y'know, sunbathe responsibly. 

*2019 Diary x frankie magazine: I've purchased this as a gift and it is beautiful. If I hadn't gone and been super organised and bought my Kikki K diary as per usual, this diary would be mine. I LOVE the floral illustrations x Edith Rewa throughout.

*Enlightened Ornament x Mecca Cosmetica

*End Of The Rainbow Toiletry Bag x Gorman: For some reason I'm kinda obsessed with rainbow-print accessories at the moment and whilst I don't exactly need a new makeup bag, I am being drawn to this. Also, makeup bags are useful af. If you want to go the extra mile-fill it with some of your favourite products for the recipient to enjoy.

*Trio of Navy Pens x Kikki K: If you saw my Advent Calendar post, one of these pens ended up included as a gift. Trios like this and the Stila set are great for dividing up amongst people. 

*Treats x House of Chocolate

*Terrazzo Drop Earrings x Emily Green

-What are you gifting this Christmas?
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The DIY Advent Calendar

The DIY Advent Calendar

'Tis the season and whilst I am a 20-something, I still get excited by the prospect of chocolate advent calendars. And just advent calendars in general really. So when I found out one of my friends had never had an advent calendar before it set off a lightbulb in my brain. One; because I'd been considering what to gift her for Christmas for weeks and two; because it just seemed so genius and obvious that it was going to be this. I have to give full props to Tara and Ellen from shopstyleconquer for the inspiration here. These ladies have made one another DIY advent calendars over on their YouTube channel for the past few years and it definitely made me want to join in on the fun. I have instructed my calendar recipient to stay off my blog for the month, so if you recipient, yes...you are here, get off my blog now! You have been told. Everyone else, here's how I did it.

I don't want to call this a full-frontal DIY because honestly it was pretty easy to compile and I cheated a bit design-wise. So if you're after the next level things, go to Tara and Ellen's channel. 

What You Will Need: *Presents/Items (more on this below), *a handy drawstring bag, *tape, *scissors, *notepaper (if you are like me and want to leave little notes to accompany gifts), *wrapping paper, *gold gel pen, *card for your number labels.

/ I made my calendar for two weeks. The idea being that the recipient can open it closer in the lead up to Christmas but also because let's be real, these things can get expensive. She also had the option to open it every alternate day but again, each to their own. 

/ I purchased this drawstring bag from Kikki K when they had one of their member sales. I think these are also designed to be like 'Santa Sacks' to leave out for presents. Did anyone else have those back in the day? Or the OG pillowcases? Sorry, showing my age... Anyway, I know this kind of detracts from the visual advent calendar aesthetic. It's not a box with windows but I saw this and the gold and navy stars and thought it was beautiful. Plus, it can be reused rather than thrown out/abandoned like cardboard more than likely would be. 

/ The notepaper is not an essential but because I like writing and also wanted to provide some notes so my friend knew why I'd included certain things, I just thought it was a fun touch. Initially I was going to make like Ellen and include some compliments/little notes for her but I actually over-allocated days. Next year perhaps!

/ Again, another lil' thing I borrowed from Ellen was the idea of cards labelled with handwritten numbers. Initially I was going to use stickers here but I couldn't find any that met my admittedly fussy standard. Plus I wanted to go for the handmade look more. This card with the gold painted edge is actually repurposed. I received these as part of a baking themed present and there were a lot of them so I measured them up for the days and then cut around them to use as the labels. 

/ As well as wrapping paper, I also used some decorative boxes I found at a $2 shop. I went to a few $2 shops for decorative ideas and if I do this again I will utilise them more. I particularly love the gold glitter box I've included, it's actually for Day 14 of the calendar as I wanted it to stand out. 

The gifts: As this was my first year making one of these things I tried to achieve a few things gift-wise. I wanted to include; things my friend could use for a bit of a pamper, some of my favourite beauty products, a book I had on my shelf to read so that we can buddy-read it, stationery and some Christmas decorations.

So without being too specific, though these images are spoiler-y enough-friend, please click away right now if you are here, here's some examples of what I included.

Beauty: A favourite lipstick of mine (shoutout to you Velvet Teddy, she's already opened this day so I can get away with it), micellar water (bit of an in-joke as well as being useful), face masks and my favourite mascara of 2018 (this one which I purchased discounted from Chemist Warehouse).

Stationery: I think it's a given with any gift I give; stationery will most likely be a part of it. I included some of my favourite pens (I need to get someone else on the Muji bandwagon) and also this teeny-tiny calendar because I just thought it was cute and would brighten up her work desk a tad. You will also see a notebook though that forms the crux of the calendar so I can't say much on it. Sorry! 

Miscellaneous: Chocolate, standard advent calendar inclusion really. I opted for Malteser Reindeer and also the Cadbury Mousse Snowman. Two of my favourites, plus I thought they were a bit more exciting than the standard wrapped chocolates you can buy any old time during the year. I also included a mini jar of Nutella. Side note; how cute are these!? Decorations: The glittery star you see is from Stella and Gemma and the glittery bauble was part of a set I already had from H&M Home.

So that's the gist of the advent calendar in a nutshell. If you've ever considered making one, do it. They are so fun to put together and wrap up and the rest. I honestly had the best time working on this.

I hope you're all having a lovely start to December so far! I will be back soon with another bookish gift guide for y'all so stay tuned. 
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November Favourites

November Favourites

Why hello, Happy Tuesday and happy (almost) end of the year. So crazy to be typing that, yet alone thinking it. Today we have November's favourites. On the beauty side things there's a few tried and tested loves, plus of course some music and literature in the mix as well.

Patti Smith prose: Meditations on life, art, music, literature, artists and the smaller things. All so beautifully compiled and woven together like a tapestry by Patti Smith. Earlier in the month I read and underlined M Train to pieces and I am now doing the same with Just Kids, though the latter is a reread. I lovelovelove Patti's writing immensely. She's currently working on a new book too. Can I get an amen?

Coco Mademoiselle Intense: Honestly, I'm too much of a fragrance flitter to really declare one scent a signature but Coco Mademoiselle x Chanel has been my ride-or-die for a while now. Yes it's luxe but it lasts an age. My original bottle from three Christmases ago is still going strong. And now I have this lil' lovely. Well actually I've had it for most of the year but seemed to have neglected to sing its praises. Think of Mademoiselle Intense as a stronger version of the original. It packs more of a punch but not in an overpowering way. If anything it lingers a lot longer on the skin which is fine by me. If you're a fan of the original but want something with a bit more oomph, I highly recommend this.

MAC Tan Pigment: This. Pigment. Though. I am so glad I finally caved and treated myself to this earlier in the year. I'd literally been lusting after it for years and it's easily one of my favourite beauty products of 2018. It's a soft, rose-gold pigment with a slight metallic but sparkly finish. You can use it wet or dry, I apply it wet to amp up the colour more. It pairs so beautifully with shimmers but also more sepia and bronze-y toned shadows. I love using it to layer as it really adds another level to eyeshadow looks and always looks stunning. MAC Pigments are one of those products you'll have for years and because you need hardly any per application, they last a lifetime. If you're looking for a cute Secret Santa gift for a makeup-lover, I highly rate this. 

Bioderma: Over the years I've tried many a micellar water but none of them compare to the cult classic. In my opinion at least. Now we can finally get it in New Zealand too, from Chemist Warehouse. Again, can I get an amen? I've even bought a bottle of this for my friend's advent calendar to get her hooked as well. It doesn't have that tacky feel, no scent and just removes makeup like nobody's business. It's a bit more expensive than the micellars lining the supermarkets but I honestly think it's worth every cent. 

Queen: Ever since seeing Bohemian Rhapsody, twice, Queen has been on high rotation on my playlists. I actually have the greatest hits compilation in my car right now. I'm terrible at reviewing music but I love it and it brings back nostalgic memories of driving to school. It seemed to be in the family car stereo for a while there and I just remember thinking their music was so clever and brilliant. I still think it's brilliant. I mean Bohemian Rhapsody is an anthem, don't @ me.

-What did you love during November?

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Six Stocking Stuffer Books To Gift in 2018

Six Stocking Stuffer Books To Gift in 2018

'Tis almost the season for gifting and celebrating the people we love, Summer, summer fruits, summer fruit-themed drinks (ahem, frose...hello), and all that good stuff the end of the year seems to symbolise. I pride myself on my gift-giving and I'm not ashamed to admit that, however egotistical of me that may be. I do find book gifting a bit trickier but that's probably just because I am so biased and I know it. That being said, these are all books I've read in the last year or so and loved. They're all under $25 and would make perfect stocking stuffers for yourself, if you want to quite literally, treat yo'shelves or for the people in your life. Books and chocolate or books and wine or books and...whatever they fancy to accompany books. You cannot really go wrong.

devotion x patti smith: My love for Patti Smith's writing knows no bounds. She just does it so wonderfully and really evokes all I love about the nuances of day-to-day-life. The smaller details, the beauty that is art and artists and love and life. Devotion is her response to the question posed to Windham-Campbell prize recipients, that being why they write. Buy it, underline it, slip it into your pocket and wander the streets with a coffee. 

what would the spice girls do x lauren bravo: Say the words 'Spice Girls' to me and my mind instantly becomes a nostalgic, glittery, translucent accessory, yelling lyrics and "peace+pout" kind of zone. I still remember how fancy I felt with my Spice Girls Impulse spray, though I am not quite sure how I managed to wrangle that one. And not a day goes by that I don't regret getting rid of my photo collection and Spice magazines among other things. Hoarder? Pfft. Anyway, if the Spice Girls and feminism, and growing up as a woman in the years since they arrived on the scene appeals, get this. It'll make you laugh, it'll make you smile. It'll have you opening up Spice World and trying to not lip-sync along on the train. The latter definitely didn't happen, I don't know what I'm saying ahem... I loved this book so much. It's a good time.

poukahangatus x tayi tibble: Poetry is a bit more subjective but I don't know anyone who hasn't read this debut collection and not connected with it. Tayi Tibble is a force to be reckoned with and I love how she effortlessly combines pop culture with her heritage and experiences growing up. I also read and loved Hera Lindsay Bird's latest book, Pamper Me to Hell & Back as well as Indy Yelich's debut Sticky Notes. Both also by New Zealand women which I'd recommend as well for gifts.

300 arguments x sarah manguso: I was talking about this book the other day with someone and I think my enthusiasm alone was enough to convince them to go out and look for it. 300 Arguments is quite simply a spontaneous flow of ideas that read like a diary. It's a very powerful book and I found it a really clever way of writing. So much that I try to have writing sessions where I just write whatever ideas come into my head down. I don't necessarily always find nuggets of wisdom but it's a really fascinating way of writing. I'd recommend this if you like reading autobiographical essays but also books that play with the non-linear structure. 

the clothing of books x jhumpa lahiri: One for the book enthusiasts out there. An essay that looks at the way in which readers and authors connect with books and their design. It's well considered and evocative. 

ariel x sylvia plath: After The Bell Jar I feel like Ariel is probably the next most recognisable Plath title. Whether she drew inspiration from the fairy-like character in Shakespeare's The Tempest is up for debate but it's such a poignant volume. Her writing is just beautiful. I'll leave you with this line from Words; "From the bottom of the pool, fixed stars / Govern a life." 

-What books would you gift in 2018?
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Five Things: November

Five Things: November

Hello and Happy November! I hope you're all having a good start to the month. I have a new lineup of things that I've been casting my eye over lately. An iconic film, more than one nineties-fashion inspired choice and more...

A Star Is Born: So I feel like I'm well behind everyone else when it comes to watching this film. Aka, the one with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. I'm sure everything that needs to be said about this film has been covered now but it is brilliant. I laughed at the dark wit, I cried-oh how I cried, I grinned like a frickin cheshire cat whenever Ally and Jackson took the stage and played to the masses. It goes without saying that Bradley Cooper is some kind of wizard and it's evident here. The main star though is undoubtedly Lady Gaga. She absolutely kills it in this film. I was blown away by her talent and brilliance. Also this song is everything. 

Crystal Clear: I'm not sure what it is about clear accessories that seems to appeal to me. It could be the nostalgic quality, reminding me of clear, glittery jelly sandals. Perhaps it also appeals to my inner nosy parker. Anyway, when I saw the newest Deadly Ponies collection, my eyes turned heart-eyed. My favourite is the Mr Stitcher. I love the unique shape and handle as well but I think this bag would be so cute for Summer. 

You're Booked: Maybe I'm missing something but I feel like strictly book podcasts aren't really a thing. Please correct me if I am wrong. So when Daisy Buchanan announced her new podcast, taking a look at the shelves and books in some of Britain's writerly homes, I was stoked. Her first guest was Dolly Alderton so naturally it is a good 'un. Go give it a listen and subscribe here

Slides: Back in the day when I used to straighten my hair within an inch of its life, I loved me some embellished bobby pins. Anyway this year I've been on the lookout for more because I like to channel Blair Waldorf sometimes, you feel me? They remind me of Dodie Clark too-not a bad thing by any means. Anyway, I found these starry gems (see above) as well as some pearl ones at Colette x Colette Hayman and my hair accessorising dreams came true. I can't see these styles online but they were cheap as chips so I recommend heading there if you're after some bobby pins.

GIRL vs CANCER: That dreaded 'C' word. It affects us all in one way or another and it's a shit thing, let's be real. What's not shit though are these tit-tees created for the GIRL vs CANCER movement. 25% of the sales from every tee, jumper and tote go towards their partner charities for Breast Cancer in the UK. I'm eyeing up the Let Loose tee, with a design x Poppy's Papercuts for those casual Summer days. The tote is rad as well. #getinmylife

-What's on your radar in November?

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October Favourites

October Favourites

Hello, long time no blog. Whoops. I'm sorry my blogging is all over the shop but at the same time I enjoy my (almost) total lack of schedule these days. Today we have some of my favourite things during October. It was a good month for favourites, I actually edited this list down a tad because it was going to be too long. There's books, that TV show I'm a bit behind on and more...

normal people* x sally rooney: This. Book. Though. I know it's everywhere and it's getting a lot of praise but it's valid. Normal People is the story of Connell and Marianne, two teenagers who come from very different worlds. Marianne is well-off yet alienated and Connell comes from an underprivileged background, yet is well-liked and respected by his peers. We follow them from high school through to their early twenties as they navigate adulthood and university. Normal People contained some aspects which really resonated with me personally and I guess subsequently I feel more enthusiastic about this novel as a result. Sally Rooney really finetunes her characters like nobody else and I'm rather obsessed with the way she develops her characters throughout her novels. It's so brilliantly done. I highly recommend this book-I cannot stop thinking about it and I kinda regret lending my copy out because I already want to revisit it.  

sweetener x ariana grande: I'm sure this inclusion will perhaps raise some eyebrows but y'know what, I spent too long listening to music I didn't actually like and now I just embrace what I like to listen to. Life is so much better #sophiesrevelations. In seriousness, this album is a bop and I love it. It's my car soundtrack, commute soundtrack, applying makeup soundtrack. I listen to it a lot ok. Side note: thank u next is an anthem. Anyway, sweetener is a good time and I'll probably have it on high rotation for a while.

stila magnificent metals liquid eyeshadows: These eyeshadows have made their way into a few favourites posts now so I will keep this brief. Liquid, glittery goodness that lasts and looks stunning. I always receive compliments when I wear these. I'm not gonna lie-they're a bit of a mood raiser. Glitter eyeshadow just makes my heart happy y'know. 

pretty little liars: Ok so I'm a bit behind everybody else and only really discovered PLL a couple of months ago but I am hooked. So much drama, that 00's fashion, the whole thread of mystery and intrigue. Who even is A!? Don't tell me...

this really isn't about you x jean hannah edelstein: I love personal essays so much and whilst I'm still reading this volume, I had to include it here. I love books like this that I am able to immerse myself in and zone out. Free from the distractions of the world. Actually I just love reading as escapism in general but more on that another time. Anyway, if you like biographical essays as much as I do, get ahold of this. 

yu ling roller: It was this blog post by Tara that reminded me I had a jade roller I'd shoved to the side of my bathroom cabinet. It's now become one of my favourite things. One-It's a massage for my face and after a hectic day, I am all about that unwinding time. I also love using it to apply serums as well. 

-What have you loved recently?

*Review Copy

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New in Beauty: Spring 2018

New in Beauty: Spring 2018

Without sounding like a stuck record, it's been a long time since a beauty post has graced this corner of the interwebs. So it was high time that was remedied. I haven't bought a ton of new beauty bits recently, although I have my eye on a couple of things. Namely skincare. Who have I become... In seriousness, I'm pretty happy with what's in my metaphorical beauty cabinet, more like dresser drawer and bathroom cupboard. That and I'd rather spend my money on books and coffee. No really. Anyway, enough waffling, on with the beauty...

Hair x Sam McKnight, 'Lazy Girl' dry shampoo: I've wanted to try Sam McKnight's products after hearing some of my favourite British beauty vloggers singing their praises but it was this post of Liv's that sold it for me. Side note, lazy girl+dry shampoo=the epitome of my attitude to haircare. That's not a secret by the way, I openly discuss that laziness with my hairdresser. Anyway, god I love this. No white cast, beautiful scent and it just gives your hair a bit of a zhoosh. Can you tell I have been watching Queer Eye. Anyway, Lazy Girl dry shampoo-a++ recommend. 

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs & Rosewater: These facial sprays are the quintessential Mecca Maxima staple here in NZ and Aus. No really, I feel like they're what everyone gravitates towards because they are so cheap and cheerful. Anyway, I decided I needed a new facial spritz and a friend of mine recommended this one to me. Apparently you can use it as a setting spray for makeup too but I like to use it morning and night for a bit of a hydrating pick-me-up. It helps that it smells lovely also but I'll definitely get the larger bottle next time. 

Makeup Revolution XSoph Eyeshadow Palette*: Farmers are killin' it in the high-street priced beauty department right now, with Makeup Revolution joining their ranks recently. Biased slash narcissistic but I love the name of this palette. At 24.50 it's friendly on the wallet too. The palette itself contains 14 matte and ten shimmer eyeshadows. The mattes are fantastic. I found them a dream to work with. They didn't have a ton of fallout and were strong in the pigment stakes. The shimmers were a bit disappointing. I had to really dampen my eyeshadow brush in order to intensify the pigment and they just took a bit too much work for my liking. Apart from that, I have no real qualms with this palette. The mattes in particular are up there with more highly priced palettes. 

Makeup Revolution Conceal+Define Concealer*: Ok admittedly this is the one product I haven't used enough to form a concrete opinion on but I have switched it into my makeup bag to have a lil' experiment with so if it delivers, I shall report back.

MAC Powder Kiss lipstick in Fall In Love: I seem to go through phases of loving matte lipsticks. Right now I am loving them so when I saw MAC had a new formula out, one that promised comfort and longevity, I was intrigued. Rather than opt for my usual, staple nude, I decided to go for the fuschia. I do love me a bold pink lipstick and this one doesn't disappoint. It is also beverage-friendly, i.e. I can drink my coffee and it won't vanish. Yes that's a priority nowadays... Anyway, lovelovelove this shade and formula. 

Makeup Revolution Renaissance Lipstick*: Yass, I love this luxe packaging. Rose gold is a winner too. Packaging aside, I love this lipstick. I did find it a little bit drying but it's nothing a quick swipe of balm cannot fix. I love their affordable price tag too. I feel like here in NZ there aren't many lipsticks around that are this inexpensive. 

-What beauty products have you loved lately?

*PR Sample
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What I've Read In Spring

What I've Read In Spring

New season, new books, new ideas. You get the gist. Spring is here and as the end of the year fast approaches, a flurry of new releases make their way onto the shelves. You'll notice there's a few memoirs in the mix because I am nothing if not a creature of habit. There's also some poetry, fiction and a book making headlines for all the right reasons...

The Private Life Of Elizabeth II x Michael Paterson: So I'm clearly filling the void whilst waiting for The Crown Season 3 but also I've been wanting to read a book about the Queen for ages. They're just for the most part very lengthy and incredibly dense so when I saw this in the library, alongside the words 'brief history' my interest was piqued. I'm not sure if it's because of the length, or the way it's broken down by time period but this book is so engaging and interesting. 

Where Am I Now? x Mara Wilson: A reread of one of my all time favourite books. Yes, I'm still a little bitter I didn't get to any of Mara's sessions at the Melbourne Writers Fest. Moving swiftly along. I've already written on this book a number of times so I won't go on about it now. Instead, I'll direct you here and here. Mara is such a gifted storyteller and I recommend this book to people all the time. Yes she's 'the girl from Matilda' but she's so much more than that.

She Must Be Mad x Charly Cox: My long-distance blogging pal, Sandrine loves this book so I had high hopes for it. It does not disappoint. Poetry's so subjective but this is easily one of my favourite volumes of poetry I've read in 2018. Relatable, real, wise. One for the ladies in your life.

Outline x Rachel Cusk: Cusk's trilogy has been on my radar for a little while, admittedly I gravitated towards the surrealist vibes that the cover designs give off. Outline is a story told through ten conversations. Actually it feels wrong to call it a story because it's the dialogue that keeps it moving. If you're a fan of linear, conventional writing, this may not be for you. The lack of plot made it a little frustrating to follow at times though to be fair, I was reading a few different books alongside this so that may partially be my fault. I did enjoy this book and its lack of conventionality but I didn't love it. I'll definitely be devoting more focused reading time to Transit, book two though. 

Normal People* x Sally Rooney: This. Novel. Though. I feel like everybody is talking about this book, more so now it's been released but it did receive a fair bit of advanced praise. Normal People was also longlisted for the Man Booker prize this year so that's amazing. Sally Rooney doesn't need much of an introduction around these parts because you all already know I love her work. Her previous novel was one of my favourite reads of 2017. This book centres on two characters, Connell and Marianne. We meet them as they reach the end of their high school years and follow them through to university and the early twenty-something times. I love how Sally really shines a microscopic lens on the nuances and finer details that make up the relationships that shape our lives. She does it so vividly and so brilliantly. The latter part of the novel really moved me and yes, in true Sophie fashion one particular passage did make me tear up. This is easily one of the best novels I've read in 2018 and I will be returning to it at some point because I loved it that much.

Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies*, curated x Scarlett Curtis: The newsmaker of this bunch, you may have seen how Topshop's problematic behaviour surrounding this title generated a wave of conversation. Even before then this book was going to make an impact. Scarlett, alongside 52 women share their thoughts on the 'f' word. The word, idea and very notion that still makes some people uncomfortable. Even in 2018. Admittedly I've been skimming this due to time constraints but what I have been reading is so inspiring. Stand-outs for me so far include Evanna Lynch and Jameela Jamil's essay but the entire book is laden with gems. Again, another for all the ladies in your life. It's also supporting a worthy cause as all royalties from each copy sold go towards Girl Up

My Thoughts Exactly x Lily Allen: This book surprised me. I knew it was going to be good, I mean I'm a Lily Allen fan since way back. I wasn't expecting it to be so real and refreshing. Actually, given the confessional nature of Lily's songwriting that probably shouldn't be surprising. Anyway Lily in particular paints a very interesting picture of fame and the music industry from the other side. She also writes about feminism, friendship, her family, fame, motherhood and her own struggles with depression and addiction. I tried to stagger my reading of this but it was just too dang good and I wanted to read more of it. Again, another of the best books I've read in 2018 and one I will return to. I kinda want to listen to the audiobook next though. 

-What have you read recently?

*Review Copy

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Women & Their Books: Emma Gordon

Women & Their Books: Emma Gordon

I don't want to blow my own trumpet, I do, I so do but there are some fabulous ladies lined up for Women and their Books up to the end of this year. First up we have my self-declared blogging bestie, Emma. She's the woman behind emma etc.. I am undeniably biased but Emma is such a wonderful person and she has the best taste in music, books, fashion, all the things. Go have a nosy at her blog and her Instagram when you are finished here. Now though, Emma and her books...

-What are you currently reading?

Am I Ugly? a non-fiction book written by Michelle Elman who is a body-positive activist. In her childhood she experienced some serious life-threatening health issues where she had to have fifteen surgeries, which left her physically and mentally scarred. Later in the book I presume she’ll talk about how damaging striving for a perfect body can be, and how social media is very focused on how we look – so far, it’s a really compelling story and I’m enjoying it.

-What is your most read book?

I return to Girl Out Of Water by Nat Luurtsema every year. It’s a light and funny read about a girl who trains three boys in synchronised swimming, and they end up in a talent show. I feel like this would translate so well on screen and gives me Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging vibes. Totally innocent, hilarious and gives you that warm fuzzy feeling.

-Favourite book written by a woman+why?

Nearly all the books I read are by women so that’s a pretty hard one to answer. I’m going to say Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney – which Sophie actually gave me. Something about that book gave me such a different experience than I’ve ever felt before when reading. It has complex and interesting characters who make mistakes and are sometimes quite awful, so in that way it actually feels like a real story and not fiction. I’m excited to read Sally Rooney’s next book which I’ve just bought, Normal People.

-What is a book you wish you’d written+why?

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. Her books are so important for young people to read and very in tune with what teens actually do and sound like. If I wrote a book I’d love for it to be as relatable as this one and for my characters to be as diverse and interesting.

-What are some of your favourite YA reads and why?

One of the best authors for YA is Holly Bourne. Her book, What’s A Girl Gotta Do? was really inspiring and something all young people should read to learn about feminism. Sara Barnard’s book A Quiet Kind Of Thunder is so bloody adorable but portrays realistic teen love too. P is for Pearl by Eliza Henry-Jones blew me out of the water – a very unexpected, understated, emotional and lovely story about mental health and family.

-What books are on your wishlist?

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig as I always pick up his new books, and This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay as I’ve heard it’s hilarious.

*Thanks to Emma for sharing her bookish insights. Be sure to go give her blog and Instagram a follow. All images are c/o Emma's blog. *
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