February Favourites

February Favourites

February has been most fabulous although it does feel fleeting. Which I say every month I know, it's a tired cliche. There's surprisingly not been much in the way of newness when it comes to beauty and after my massive cull, I've really been sticking to what I know and love. There's also quite a few non-beauty loves this month. Some of which let's be honest won't be that surprising but warrant mentioning again. Anyway, February Favourites...

Fairy Drops Scandal Queen Waterproof Mascara: So this mascara is no stranger to me but I recently cracked open a tube of it that was in my backup stash and I gotta tell you, it is good. The brush on this one is unique with three spherical indents throughout. Sounds crazy, kinda is but whatever it is works to lengthen and volumise your lashes like nothin' else. 

Zoeva Brushes: So part of my makeup cull saw a major brush cull and now many of my brushes come from Zoeva. I love all their brushes. They're soft and super lightweight and are easy to clean. They're also relatively inexpensive as well and are such lovely quality. I recently picked up the powder brush, above and I love it. I've previously used bigger powder brushes but I find this one a better size for building up setting powder, rather than applying a shedload at once. 

L'Oreal Micellar Water*: My beloved Bioderma bit the dust this month and seeing as this was in my stash, I decided to whip it open. I'm very impartial to Bioderma but this may be swaying me. Which is a good thing because it is much much easier to get my hands on. Designed for normal/combination skin, it is fragrance free and removes every last scrap of base makeup. I use it to break down lipstick as well as clean up any eye makeup remnants. If you're after a good, relatively inexpensive micellar water, check out L'Oreal's. 

The Accidental x Ali Smith: I kinda regret including this book now because anything I say about it will not do it justice. I loved how Smith intertwined so many elements; descriptive narration, scattered dialogue, poetry. The novel is broken up into three acts, with each closing with some reference to film and it's just exquisite. Sure, I kinda kept seeing someone I know as one of the characters, which made it a bit more vivid but regardless I really loved it. The more of Ali Smith's work I read, the more I love it and her so I'm going to be working my way through everything she's written from now on.

Call Me By Your Name: If you haven't guessed by the amount of times I've worked this into conversation on and offline, or listened to the soundtrack while I work, or worked out when I should reread the novel the film is adapted from, I loved it. The cinematography is beautiful, the cast is fantastic, the story is so rich and vibrant. I have found myself fantasising about visiting Italy again, reading books out the window of an Italian villa. Pools so picturesque they may as well be sculptures, fruit for days and music everywhere. The monologue towards the end of the film with Elio+his father is so well done. I highly, highly rate this movie and know it's going to remain one of the best things I watch in 2018. 

Lana Del Rey: After remembering how much I love this song I've been on a real Lana Del Rey kick. I'm particularly loving her Honeymoon album but honestly all her music is pretty much the soundtrack of my Summer. Again, it's another thing I've been listening to while I work. Her lyrics and the vivid, cinematic quality of her songs are just magic. I hope she tours to New Zealand someday because I will be first in line.

The Good Place: This freakin' show. I remember seeing the preview image on Netflix and thinking 'frozen yoghurt, okay this looks weird' and not thinking much more of it. Well, I am on the bandwagon now. I won't say too much about this show because it is easily spoiled and you really just need to watch it for yourself. Kristen Bell is amazing as Eleanor and I also love Jameela Jamil as Tahani. Michael Schur, one of the geniuses who bought us Parks & Rec created this show so you know it's going to be special. Just watch it if you're one of the few people who haven't seen it yet.

-What have you loved during February?

*PR Sample

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Why I Keep A Journal

Why I Keep A Journal

I don't think you can quite possibly get a more upfront post title than that ^. Today I thought I'd write about writing because y'know, that's something I like to do. Well more specifically my journal. Before I get all prophetical and start declaring "what I know for sure", side note: no disrespect Oprah-love your work, I used to keep diaries as a kid. Not consistently, and they were usually more passive aggressive. "I got sent out of class for talking but I wasn't the only one. Why?"* or in the case of my travel journal "I went here and bought this, this and this-oh and I saw this piece of art". It is only really in the last six months that I've taken up the mostly daily art of journal writing. It is an art and yes it can be hard work sometimes. Anyway, before I put anyone off writing, I am going to tell you why I love it and recommend it...

You can make sense of your mind's threads: Sounds self explanatory but as someone who I think knew writing everything out would make this a reality, I avoided diaries for a long time. It wasn't until my therapist kept politely pushing the idea of me starting one that I listened. Major props to her for doing so because it's the best thing I could have done, bar seeing her of course. The perspective and oftentimes clarity it brings me to situations, whether difficult or not, is so beneficial. 

A year in the life: Resisting the urge to quote The Beatles here but I essentially have a written record of what I get up to and what is on my mind for *fingers crossed* all of 2018. As someone who loves nostalgia like nobody's business, this prospect really excites me. Sure, my future thirty year-old self will probably look back and want to shake some sense into my current self but I think it will be interesting for me at least to see what 2018 looked like. What inspired me, what changed the course of my life, who has had a profound influence and vice versa. 

Yes this image is out of focus but I like that about it. 

It is cathartic: As I work in the city Monday-Friday I often end up writing my journal entries on my lunch break or on the evening train home. Naturally, this little bit of escapism I can afford myself is really calming. As I am writing for me I can really just keep writing without pausing. I often write pages and pages if I'm really in the mood. If I'm tired, let's be real, it's probably only going to be a paragraph. Seriously though, I find it so relaxing. 

It is practice: I don't want to say it makes me a better writer but I've read enough interviews with writers who say writing daily is only going to aid your work over time. As much as I try to not overthink my diary writing, I do try to bring in the odd metaphor or descriptive paragraph. It also keeps me in the routine of writing something.  I don't write on my blog as much as I used to two/three years ago and I don't get to write for my job so sometimes this is the only writing I'll do.

To examine life through a candid, unfiltered lens: As I see my therapist fortnightly, sometimes a lot can happen in that time. I usually always take my diary to my sessions because if anything's particularly pressing, I will have post-it noted it to discuss. Nobody reads my diary in full though, other than me so I can let my guard down so to speak. Obviously I don't need to embellish for me. Side note: this is not me saying I write fraudulently elsewhere but our inner voices are going to be the most candid. 

*True story. Probably because I was the loudest let's be honest here.
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The Little Things

The Little Things

It is in the smallest of nuances that we can find true happiness and delight. After all, with a bit of perspective and contemplation, it's easy to look around you and see that actually this life is pretty fantastic. Do not get me wrong, there are definitely days when I personally struggle to feel grateful and listen to melancholy tunes whilst hiding my eyes behind sunglasses. Today though I want to wax lyrical on the daily rituals I love as well as the admiration I feel for those I surround myself with...

Walking to work and listening to music: This seems to always put me in a good mood and gives me a bit of pep in my step. It could be the fact that I know coffee is just around the corner as well. In seriousness, this is one of my favourite ways to zone out and I love it.

The way the light hits trees in Summer, silhouetting them: I have such an obsession with shadows and silhouettes. I just think they're beautiful and the way a bunch of flowers, palm trees, cabbage trees and just trees in general become shadowy and ethereal at night literally makes me all like "yasss nature". Not to mention the sky is usually bedecked in seriously stunning pastel colours as well, making this all the more exquisite.

Life without digital footprints: Recently I was talking to someone about social media and they don't have Facebook, Instagram and vice versa. Someone else chimed in asking how they knew they were living a full life and they replied "because I am out there living it and not absorbed in the minutiae of everyone else's." I know some people throw their lack of digital-ness around with an air of superiority but those who genuinely don't feel the need to have it, mad respect. Imagine if we had platforms without the like or comment buttons, without the ability to track someone's following by a  row of names and numbers. Don't get me wrong, I love Instagram and Twitter too much to quit them but I do find myself envying people who aren't online sometimes. Hmm...

Reading on the train: The sun casting shadows onto my pages, scribbling notes in the margins, underlining passages that resonate. I often have my diary on me at all times and sometimes a couple of books or a magazine. I tend to alternate between the two but again, I love to zone out and unwind at the end of a long day or first thing in the morning. 

Being surrounded by people I respect and admire: We choose our tribes, sure but then there are also the people we meet and/or see on the daily. I count myself lucky I get to spend time with inspiring, kind people who are more interested in building one another up than tearing each other down. 

The morning cup of coffee: A ritual best savoured, whether that be at my desk or at the kitchen counter. Sometimes it's accompanied by an Instagram browse or a flick through a magazine but I often prefer to just sit and drink my coffee. Gather my thoughts, spy on the cats, go over the day's schedule in my mind. 

Spritzing the air and myself with a perfume: Another morning ritual I love and usually the last thing I do before I head out the door. Okay, sometimes the second to last because I have a fantastic habit of leaving my car keys in strange places. I wrote on this a bit already here

Flowers: Next to this in my notes I've added, 'in all forms'. I love flowers and think if I was a better plant owner, I'd have an array of them regularly. My shortcut to work involves a walk past a dairy that always has flowers outside. Overpriced, sure but beautiful nonetheless. I also love going to the Winter Garden here in Auckland when I can and also admiring flower arrangements. At the moment I am lusting after these dried arrangements because they just look stunning.

The art of conversation: Something that is probably telling, one of my school reports noted "Sophie enjoys engaging in chatter". I love a good banter. Learning other people's stories and passions have always been something I've enjoyed. Probably why I enjoy memoirs so freakin' much. Lately though I've realised more and more how much I love a good banter and how fulfilled great conversation leaves me feeling. The. Best.
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Repurchased Beauty Products

Repurchased Beauty Products

Aka the ride or dies, the ones I would pretty much never be without. It's been an age since I did a post like this, curating a bunch of the beauty bits 'n bobs I have repurchased and will continue to do so. I honestly don't try a ton of new things now and don't feel obligated to follow all the new launches as much as I did so I am gravitating towards what I know and love nowadays. I get by with a little help from my makeup friends or something like that hey...

Bourjois Healthy Mix Powder: Ah interesting, this has been repackaged, possibly reformulated too. I am not entirely certain. This is my go-to setting powder and has been for ages. It gets the job done in terms of mattifying without being too matte. My only qualm is the shade I use, #1 seems to be near-impossible to find here in NZ. I only ever see the darker shades which is disappointing. Otherwise I like this and its relative inexpensiveness.

Fairydrops Scandal Queen Waterproof Mascara: I seem to go through phases with mascaras but I know what I like and this mascara ticks many of those boxes. This must be my third or fourth tube of this mascara now and I honestly love it. Lengthening, volumising, holds a curl and stays well put. It really puts those Western mascaras to shame. 

Glossier Balm Dotcom: I love Balm Dotcom, I use it every morning to prep my lips and also always have one in my bag. I use it during the day at work, when I remember, ahem chapped lips central. It's also great to use as an eye gloss when you can't be bothered faffing around with beauty. Oh and it smells divine. My favourite is this birthday cake scented one pictured. 

Too Faced Hangover Primer: I'm not sure why this primer earnt its name but one isn't fussy when it's this brilliant. Packed with a load of friendly skin ingredients, it's also moisturising and keeps your base looking top notch all day long. I've tried a few primers over the years and this is definitely my favourite of the bunch. 

Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer: I have it on good (ish) authority that this is finally coming to NZ soon! I don't know when exactly, Maybelline tends to drop a ton of products here all at once so I'm guessing it won't be far off. Anyway, under-eye concealer of choice to cover up sleep deprivation and tired, tired eyes. Whoops. Again, I've been through so many of these that I've lost count but it's a fan favourite for a reason. 

By Terry Ombre Blackstar: So I received a Mecca voucher for Christmas and recently repurchased my beloved Misty Rock. My original was quite old and to be fair probably wasn't really fit to be used on my eyes anymore. These eyeshadows are stunning and do not budge all day. Seriously, I've been wearing this in the midst of Auckland's...unusual heat wave, occasionally in a building with broken air conditioning and it's stayed put. 

NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base: If this primer ever gets discontinued I will buy up every last one. Well, perhaps not but it is the only thing that stops eyeshadow becoming a line in my crease come morning tea time. I like that it is clear so it doesn't interfere with the colours of eyeshadow either. I've been using this for five or six years now too-cripes! 

Coco Mademoiselle x Chanel: I haven't had to repurchase this yet as both times I've received it as a gift, thanks 'rents. That being said it is one of the few perfumes I own that I would buy over and over. We all know I am not fond of describing perfumes because I tend to slaughter them. Chanel perfumes are iconic so I am sure you'd recognise this upon spritz. 

-What are your beauty mainstays? 

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The Glossy Edit: Summer 18

The Glossy Edit: Summer 18

It's not a well guarded secret that I love magazines. I've even been called magazine girl, which let's be honest, is far more complimentary than my self-inflicted moniker of 'the mag hag'. Today we have a quintet of glossy, and matte papery loves. Some new, some rediscovered. All well designed, all brilliant. Myself and the wonderful Liv have also recently done a magazine swap so you'll hear all about that in due course as well. Anyway, if magazines make your heart soar as much as they do mine, keep reading...

Betty: It's probably uncool of me to include this one here, seeing as the print incarnation no longer exists. Charlotte Jacklin, one of the founders and current brainchild+expert enabler, announced she was selling up old stock and I leapt at my chance to grab a couple of these annuals. They're beautiful magazines and while I wish I'd discovered them much, much earlier than I did, I am loving soaking up all their beauteousness. Don't fret though because Charlotte's website, weekly newsletter and other Internet-goodness more than make up for the magazine's absence. In fact, I strongly recommend you head there for a peruse.

Fete/Life: If there was a magazine that was a physical embodiment of the well designed, tranquil, carefully curated sanctuary I hope to have someday, this would be it. In fact, Liv if you're reading I don't know why I didn't send you this because you'd love it. This issue is built around the idea of having the holiday mindset year-round. Fete/Life is a mix of interiors, design, style, wellbeing and a smattering of travel. Its minimalist design and simplicity makes it a treat to flick through. That and you will want to tear out inspiration pages+bookmark all the lustworthy and useful things. It's an Australian publication and you can buy it online. Aucklanders-I've seen it in well stocked bookstores but Mag Nation on Ponsonby Rd is your best bet for acquiring a copy.

No Man's Land: So this magazine doesn't ship to New Zealand, I got around that using YouShop which admittedly was not a cost-effective way but I was determined to get my hands on a copy. As they put it on the site, this magazine is brought to you by the people from The Wing and it's for women "with something to say and nothing to prove". In short, if feminism, gender equality and women doing awesome things are your jam-get this right now. The whole magazine was crammed with brilliant content but the one story that particularly stood out was women taking on emotional labour in the workplace and the impacts it has across the board. That and an article about feminist magazines that have come before No Man's Land. 

Violet: Another magazine that's a bit on the luxe side, especially to ship here to little ol' NZ but honestly, so so worth it. I've written about Violet before and again, my love of Leith Clark's work is well documented. One thing I love about Violet is that it always shines the light on changemakers and emerging talent. It's an exquisite treat of a magazine and you will find yourself reading every last word before stowing it safely away like a glossy treasure. In fact, reading Violet does always take me a while but that's one of the many reasons I love it.

Riposte: Another magazine I've featured before is Riposte, a brilliant magazine for women. I love the balance of content and its always inspiring, informative nature. As well as a cover story with Janet Mock, there are also features on the young fans of Graceland, embracing your inner emo, modern witchcraft and the housing crisis to name but a few. This is one of my designated trainside reads as it's easy to immerse yourself in and disappear for a while.

-What magazines do you love?
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The Beauty Files, Vol. 6

The Beauty Files, Vol. 6

Two beauty posts in a week? What is this sorcery?! The Beauty Files is another series I started in 2017 and it's back for the New Year. Today we have a tanning product that is pale-face friendly, some rediscovered gems, some I think are worth not spending dollars on and of course some that are top of the lust list. Side note: To those of you who have asked, I finished my declutter, for now. Posts and things are coming-I just need to work out how I want to cover them...

Something New: Eco Tan Face Tan Water, this was one hundred per cent an enabled purchase after asking someone what they were using to make themselves so bronzed and radiant. Basically she said "Sophie, you need to have this in your life." and after hunting around for it for what felt like an age, I finally found it. The fact that it was so hard to acquire in the shops due to it regularly being out of stock probably says it all. It is very early days, I've only applied it twice because I still have bad flashbacks to the Clinique mousse tan for my school ball, circa '09 and thus approach anything tan related with caution. Tangents aside, I am loving it and the fact it is so skin-friendly too. Just look at that ingredients list. Now if I can find something as equally friendly for the body I'd be so satisfied. Recommendations welcome. 

Something Loved: The Dolce Vita Palette x Charlotte Tilbury. I've owned this one for a little while and I've probably mentioned it in one of these posts before. Anyway, lately I've been enjoying palettes again-if only for the effortlessness of being able to combine colours without much faffing around. This one though is a stunner. Yes that pressed glitter is the main drawcard but I just love these reddy, bronzey shades. 

Something Rediscovered: Boy Brow x Glossier. As I noted on Instagram I thought I didn't like this product but I'm not too sure why. Anyway, as I am sure the Internet knows by now, Glossier prides itself on its minimal approach. So Boy Brow will give you a bit of colour and brow maintenance but won't be packing in a ton of pigment. As someone with naturally thick eyebrows that's really all I'm after. I've been through a couple of these now and love the stuff. 

Something(s) Unconvincing: Bad Gal Bang x Benefit. First things first I need to preface this by saying I was sent this mascara as part of a blind review, from Farmers NZ, a local department store here. As with all things, I feel like mascara is incredibly subjective and I know for one I am extremely fussy with mascaras. Anyway, I'm not a fan. I just felt like this did nothing for my lashes and it smudged. There's certainly better mascaras out there. Another product I haven't tried but I'm just not overly swayed by, the Glossier Solution. I'm not a skincare genius but Caroline's post paints a pretty decent picture as to why your toner/acid in skincare funds are better invested elsewhere. I use this and have repurchased it a few times because it works. 

Something Lustworthy: After thinking about this a bit, the only thing I really want at the moment is a Bella Freud candle but I feel like that doesn't count. I dunno, none of the new launches are really calling my name right now. My wallet's probably thankful haha.

-What's on your beauty radar at the moment?
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Makeup & Mental Health

Makeup & Mental Health

So first things first, this has been difficult to write. Click bait this ain't. I procrastinated in the writing of this post, to the point where I actually wrote it out by hand first. It is that unease which is conflicting with the usual confidence I feel in writing. The usual effortlessness that goes with clicking publish. Any discomfort makes me feel all the more like this is an important idea so here we are...

After watching Sam's video about makeup and depression, it got me thinking. That and a somewhat feather-ruffling article about the skincare industry and its presence as a scam, preying on the idiotic and gullible among us.

It's no secret that makeup exists to fix a problem, to enhance our features and mask flaws. How many of those adverts with questionable statistics from a trial of sixty people grab anyone by the purse strings? I shudder to think. The multipurpose, unnecessary products. An insert telling you how to apply mascara. Foundation that comes in twenty shades of white. The examples and types of problematic behaviour and ethics within the beauty industry are of course not limited to these examples. If we looked at every debate we would be here for a decade. Like the fashion industry, many of these ideals and standards are deeply rooted. Change will be eventual but it is by no means fast moving. Patience is key and of course accountability across the board.

For all its faults however and potential damage, it will be interesting to see how the ageing process affects my generation's eventual perception of beauty. Makeup has its merits. If I am having a lousy time of it, throwing on a glittery eye shadow or a bold lipstick can give me a little confidence boost. An external armour if you will. A spritz of Coco Mademoiselle relaxes and comforts me. Its scent encases me in a veil of familiarity and nostalgia. It serves as a reminder that any past memories, are simply that. Past memories and that is where they will remain. The scent itself will always be there, one hopes at least. 

There also lies comfort in the ritualistic nature of a beauty routine. It brings with it structure, normalcy and an invitation to pause-free from outside noise. Yes, it even deserves mention as a form of self care. I apply makeup first and foremost for myself.

Sure there will be some who dismiss this thinking as superficial and ridiculous. I am well aware there is always another perspective to any discussion of this nature. In a time where the beauty world is muddied by ethical quandaries, misguided advertising, brand mishaps and PR nightmares, it can be easy to become swept up in the negative side. Give a girl the right weaponry, in the form of glitter as a shield and blood red lipstick as a sword and she can conquer the world, whether fleetingly or forever.
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The Bookdate, Volume Seven

The Bookdate, Volume Seven

Any excuse to talk books and I am there. Speaking of which, I have found a book club to go to(!!). I will keep you updated on how it goes but I am excited, even though it it still a couple of weeks away. Today though, I am back with another bookdate post. This was a series I started in 2017 and am hoping to continue this year. It probably won't be monthly, perhaps bimonthly if I am disciplined but I didn't want to retire it completely because, well I missed it. As I can't resist the urge to type it, keep reading after the page break...

Recently Read: / Call Me By Your Name x Andre Anciman. This book. I feel like I've told everybody to read this recently and unlike the time I did something similar with Twilight, I don't regret it at all. The book which inspired the award-winning film is told from the perspective of Elio a teenager on the cusp of adulthood, with a fondness for transcribing music and reading in the sunshine. He strikes up an unforgettable relationship with Oliver, a visiting college student to Italy for the Summer. Anciman's prose is rich, vivid and beautiful. I've never read something quite like it and honestly I loved it. I can see myself returning to this in a few month's time actually. Or perhaps every Summer.  / Where'd You Go, Bernadette x Maria Semple. Another book I wanted to read before the movie is released. It's a book I have had on my radar for a while though but for some reason it took me this long to get around to it. Anyway, Bernadette, a former award-winning architect is a source of fascination for a group of parents from her daughter's school. She's intriguing and her unusual behaviour lures them in. There is many a reason for that, all which are explored throughout the story. This book is told almost exclusively through letters, emails and text exchange with only a smattering of narrative. I really enjoy books like this for some reason and the epistolary text lends itself well to these types of books. It's hilarious, unputdownable and I really found myself rooting for Bernadette. I cannot wait to see Cate Blanchett bring her to life.  / All The Lives I Want x Alana Massey. Ok so I haven't totally finished this book, only because I intend to buy it and had to rush reading my library copy before I returned it. Massey's essays exploring the way in which women in celebrity culture are placed on our own individualised pedestals, as well as the way in which it impacts us and them are brilliant. Winona Ryder vs Gwyneth Paltrow was not a pairing I expected to see but it made for a really fantastic essay. Her writing on Sylvia Plath, the Lisbon Sisters-from The Virgin Suicides and all the ideals they represent stood out to me as well. I'm not selling it as well as I would like and perhaps that is because I read it so speedily. Let me reread it and I will report back.

Read Freely: Apologies if I have touched on this already but for the last few years I've participated in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. It is motivating but it also seems to send me in to a bit of a quantity over quality type frenzy. I was finding my reading halfhearted and unsatisfying last year. While I cannot wholly attribute it to an app, I definitely think it didn't do my reading any favours. This year I am still tracking what I read, although I'm not focusing on the number of books, the length of text and vice versa. Last month I read eight books which, given how busy I was felt like an achievement. That being said, I am more focused on what I read, rather than how often and how much of it I read. Long may it continue.

The Wishlist: Keeping it very brief this month but this book that follows feels very important. *How To Break Up with Your Phone x Catherine Price. The fact we need books like this is pretty telling, don't you think? I'm not judging anyone because I'd love to not feel like my phone is an extension of my right arm. After reading this brilliant article by Sali Hughes, I am all the more determined to get ahold of a copy sooner rather than later. 

Bookshops I Love: I'm thinking of doing regular features about bookshops I rate. Would anyone be interested in that? I realise it's probably not the most interesting thing in the world but if you're keen on knowing my frequented literary haunts, sing out.

-What have you been reading recently?

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Five Things: February

Five Things: February

With a flourish, February is upon us. Another busy month lies ahead-both on and off this blog. I'm really looking forward to it but also am mindful of remembering to take time to pause. I have a tendency to want to cram my days with a lot and that's unsurprisingly quite tiring sometimes. Anyway, five things for February; books, fashion, makeup and stationery. My loves. Enjoy...

Summertime Reads: Maybe it's the seasonal FOMO I experience at Christmas when everyone in the Northern Hemisphere seems to pick up the perfect wintery tome. More likely though it's the pure beauty and lustfulness that Andre Anciman evokes in the Summer haze of Italy. Piazzas, wine, reading, basking in the sun, admiring Monet's berm. Yep, I am talking about Call Me By Your Name. Without a doubt one of the most breathtakingly exquisite books I've ever read. Now I've picked up The Accidental by Ali Smith to read. Another book, this time set on a Summer retreat with an eccentric array of characters, a falling-apart house and of course Smith's humour and appreciation for detail. 

Bucket Bag: I used to be a bit of a handbag fiend. I'm thinking back to the Roxy, Paul Frank and Billabong bags I owned and loved, From memory they were all quite...repulsive but to teenaged me they were heaven. Long story short, I've wanted a Zara bag for a long time but haven't ever found something quite right, until I stumbled upon this beauty a couple of weeks ago. The only qualm I have is the lack of zip closure but for day-to-day it's fine. I can fit a fair bit in there, a book+notebook, my wallet, phone, random bits in the drawstring purse inside. I lovelovelove it.

wet n wild proline: It is still very early days with these brushes but I couldn't resist sharing my thoughts about these two. I've been using the flat contour brush* and the tapered highlighter* brushes all week and am so impressed. They're also friendly on the wallet too, priced between $14 and $17. I'm flagging these up now because they are limited edition and with their aesthetically-pleasing appearance, good quality and affordability, I don't think they'll be around for long. Walk don't run to Farmers, kiwi babes.

Love is Love: I'll spare my cynicism about one Feb 14th for today and draw your attention to Kikki K's More Love collection. For every item purchased in this range, Kikki K will donate $1 to Amnesty International. This is in aid of their work supporting LGBTQI rights globally. Marriage equality is only the first step! Such a worthy cause and I love the inclusiveness. Not to mention, the bold colours and rainbow motifs are stunning. These items are for showing off long past single girl's nightmare Valentines Day.

Shopping the Stash: Long overdue but much needed-I am having a serious beauty de-clutter. First to be culled was my perfume collection. I have halved it and the other half has (mostly) gone to new homes. Next up is my makeup. Let's be real, I have one face and gravitate towards many of the same things time after time. If you want to see what makes the cut, fragrance or otherwise, sing out.

*PR Sample

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