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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musings on mental health

musings on mental health

As a chronic over-analyst, right now my mind is like “what if people think I am publishing this because it’s trendy?”. Trendy, seriously? Honestly, the fact we dismiss something so important that fast to me says we still have so far to go. For the record, if trends interested me, mental health concerns would not be a bandwagon I’d voluntarily sign up for. At the same time, I want to talk about mental health. More so when New Zealand, my birthplace has such damning statistics. I’m still trying to work out how to write about my personal experiences without inflicting a seismic array of nerves and anxiety upon myself. For now, I just want to share some thoughts. Yes it is mental health awareness week here in New Zealand but these are all things I’ve considered over the past year. So here goes. Also, if you do need to seek support or want to help someone in your life who does need it, please see the list of resources at the end of this post.

-Why do we see so much of people’s ‘success’ stories in the aftermath of depression, anxiety etc? Why do we see less of the ‘during’ stage. I am guilty of this too as I can barely write this out for my own private consumption sometimes, let alone on a public forum. I do often ask myself, why does nobody share that side of things? Would it make us all more understanding and less dismissive? Who can say.

-Mental health is not a competition. Please don’t feel that way. Your anxiety and depression is no less valid than my anxiety and depression. Imagine if, for example, we competed over who has the worst eyesight or allergies. It sounds ridiculous. It is ridiculous. Please don’t think that competing over whose mind is the most troubled is the answer. It’s such a vicious cycle.

-Has social media exacerbated my generation’s status anxiety? Sometimes I wonder what it’s like for the generations who don’t document their personal biographies online. When you used to hear news face-to-face or in a phone call. When people posting ‘candid’ photos of their milestones for public consumption would have been quite frankly, bizarre.

-The following statements are not helpful and both have been said to me: “Sophie, there are people that are dying.” And “Sophie, don’t overdramatise.” The following statements are helpful. “Is there anything I can do for you?” and “you can get through this.” Even if the latter sometimes feels trite, I promise hearing it from someone else does help.

-Therapy is hideously expensive but if you can access it, please do. It has helped me see how the past impacts the present. It has taught me how to recognise my own toxic thought patterns and in turn how to reshape them in a more positive way. It’s also really amazing being able to talk through things with someone removed from your day-to-day life. If you're a uni student, utilise their counselling services. I know they're spread thinly but they do make a difference.

-I also rate diary writing, and it’s free. Yes it is hard. Yes it can be really revealing. Admittedly, lately I have become lazy with this but even if it’s just writing out a list of bullet points, it all helps.

-If people are making you feel like trash or exacerbating any mental health concerns, distance yourself. Life is too short to put up with people like that. Stephen Chbosky wrote “we accept the love we think we deserve” and quite frankly we all deserve an abundance of love and respect. Always.

-Finally, be kind to yourself . Easier said than done sometimes, let’s be honest. It makes such a difference though. Be kind to those around you as well. We edit and curate our self-projection. You never really know someone’s history unless they share it or you ask. Listen. You learn so much more about the people in your life and you may be surprised to find stories similar to your own.

No one is alone.


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