Go-To Mecca
4/17/2019

Go-To Mecca



My favourite, no-fuss, no frills skincare brand has finally come to NZ! Well, we could always acquire Go-To skincare online but now it has arrived in good ol' New Zealand and Australia Mecca stores. Huzzah.

To celebrate, I wept-ok I didn't, but I did book in for Zoe's little whirlwind visit to Auckland to launch the brand. It was a night of learning-I visited the beauty lab to try all the skincare bits 'n bobs and of course fangirling. I am the ultimate Zoe Foster-Blake fangirl after all. Zero shame here. Good times-it was the icing on top of an otherwise 'eh' week so it has that going for it too. So today I thought I'd run you through what I picked up and also some extras I have tried that you should check out. This post is in no way sponsored but I have received some Go-To product before for review so those are asterisked up below. Anyway, bits...

The New (To Me):

Exfoliating Swipeys: These are filling the exfoliating void in my skincare regime and I love 'em. For an exfoliating product they are super, super gentle which I love. I know a bit of tingling with products like this is kinda part and parcel but I don't like my skin to feel tight or to be stinging after using an exfoliator. They also have a subtle, citrussy scent which I am here for. Pro tip: Follow up with an SPF because these do contain an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) which may increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun and with our less-than-lovely ozone layer, that ain't a good thing. 

Transformazing-Ahh the ol' sheet mask. I will be honest, I don't love them. I appreciate them but I don't love 'em. This one's being saved for a Sunday pamper sesh so it cannot be reported on yet. Anything promising to make my skin look amazing is going to get my attention though.

The Tried 'N True:

Super Handy*: Side note, Sophie-get more of this. You need it at work for your dehydrated, hand-sanitised mitts. Narcissistic to-do lists out of the way, I love this hand cream. Similarly delightfully citrus-fragranced as per the swipeys. A dream to use, sinks in-none of that greasy leftover residue that some hand creams seem to cause. You cannot go wrong. And it's in a convenient tube for traveling with.

Pinky Nudey Lips: All this and a hint of tint. Basically this does what it says on the tube. Your lips will be hydrated, soft and nourished. One product to keep things in check this Winter. For. Sure.

-Have you tried Go-To before? What do you rate+recommend?

*PR Sample (way back when)



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Daisy Jones & The Six
4/10/2019

Daisy Jones & The Six




Ahh 1970, a time of jumpsuits and denim and music festivals. Also a decade of groundbreaking music. It is the latter where Daisy Jones & The Six* comes in.

Admittedly on first sight the cover won me over. Daisy Jones looks like the lovechild of Stevie Nicks and Florence Welch. This novel unfolds like a long-form magazine interview. Think the q and a’s of Vanity Fair or Rolling Stone. Each band member of The Six share their reflections and anecdotes. Their remembrances on the music they made, relationships formed and broken, themselves. And it feels so real.

Granted Taylor Jenkins Reid was inspired by one Fleetwood Mac and their Rumours album sessions. Seriously though, Daisy Jones & The Six come alive. I found myself wanting to look for more Daisy Jones interviews. Stopping short of googling her and cruelly remembering she is a mere myth. An amalgamation of a time and a place. A badass, independent female artist leaving her mark on musical history.

To say I loved this book seems trite but I did. The way it drew me in, the way I fleetingly became invested in the intertwining threads of The Six. The way Daisy Jones loudly climbed into my head, sprinkling darkness and light and love. Read this. Savour the experience. Put Rumours on repeat and then open these pages. You are in for a ride.

*Review copy
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Five Things: April
4/06/2019

Five Things: April


Hello there, Happy Saturday! It's been a hot minute hasn't it? I do apologise for that, and probably owe y'all an explanation. Right now I don't feel entirely ready to and that's ok I guess; self-boundaries and the rest but I will just say my ever-constant mind is giving me a bit of grief. It happens now and again but it is what it is. Sorry to be a bit of a downer in the intro but anyway. It is April! One quarter of 2019 almost gone, in-sane. Today we have some beauty news, book+writing news, TV watching and a bit of life maintenance...

Go-To Mecca: Did ya see what I did there? I don't have Zoe Foster-Blake's outstanding wit but I try. I'm rather stoked that her brand of peachy, good-for-the-skin bits are now in Mecca across the lands, ok Australia and New Zealand. If you know me, you'll know I love their hand cream and pinky-nudey lips+the silk pillowcase. I'm keen to try the exfoliating swipeys, zincredible and the cleanser. Basically all the things. So yass, if you want your Go To Fix or just your aesthetically pleasing peach coloured packaging with humour and pizzazz, look no further.

Reads: Seeing as I've not been writing much, I have been doing a bit of readin'. Oh yeah and my commutes are great for that. So much time. So many words and songs. Firstly I have to recommend Notes to Self x Emilie Pine. Gut-wrenching, honest and enlightening prose. I've also been reading poetry volumes. I revisited this gem and inhaled Lavinia Greenlaw's 'This Built Moment' which tackles loss and rebuilding. And now I am reading Three Poems and loving it. All about the poetry right now.

Queer Eye S3: Can you believe!? As mentioned above, my mind is inflicting a lil' bit of chaos upon me and this show is the tonic. If you want uplifting viewing, inspirational stories, all the positivity, JVN, Karamo, Antoni, Tan and Bobby-here y'all go. They are back! I always put Queer Eye on when I need a tearjerker slash mood raiser all in one convenient package. Get amongst. 

Auckland Writer's Fest: It's nearly that time of the year again. Yass! If you want some insider info, head here to listen to the Papercuts ladies in discussion with Anne O'Brien, festival director. Also the full programme is available here. I've bought a couple of tickets already; one to the Ockham Awards night and another to Alexander Chee's session on the Sunday but I do have a longer list to work through. There's also a host of brilliant free sessions in the mix too so I really recommend giving the full lineup a perusal. Friday in particular looks like a good time. PS-Students, tickets are $12 for most sessions for you-lucky bunch! 

Bringing back self care: Ah, that ol' buzzword. I know some people cringe at the mere mention but my gosh has it been lacking around these parts lately. From here on in I am going to make more of an effort to be kinder to myself. Whether that's going for regular strolls during the work day, making a habit of writing for myself regularly, pamper Sundays (bring back the face mask & bath combo S), Headspace (I miss this app in my life), solo outings and the like. Small things but all can make a bit of a difference I figure.

*What have you been loving lately?

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why hello
3/15/2019

why hello




Well this post was going to be something entirely different, which seems to be the case with a lot of my writing nowadays. It starts as one thing, I leave it to sit for too long and then go back and hit backspace. 

I seem to not know what I think of this blog anymore-it's like a digital existential crisis. I'm proud of it but I also want to shed it. I don't want to abandon the digital sphere entirely, but I am trying to work through what exactly I want to do and where I fit into it. Apparently that takes over a year and I hope I am not jinxing anything, I think I am getting close to working it out. It involves starting anew and that takes time. And I am indecisive. And impulsive. Contradictory qualities and ones that do not mix well together. So to those of you till here, hi, please bear with as I make up my mind. Without rushing. Yup.

Recently I've been struggling to write, full-stop. All I seem to manage are short scribbles of ideas and then bullet pointed diary entries. I've also decided I want to give poetry writing a good go and seem to find that is best done on the train. In the notes of my phone. So basically my commutes are now good for sudden creative bursts and reading. A lot. Oh I've been reading so much lately it's wonderful.

I've read about my current literary love, Eve Babitz. I've read a book from the Man Booker shortlist (last year's). It was dark and mythological and illustrative and evocative. It was this book, in case you are curious. I'm also re-reading Dolly Alderton's book which I decided was going to be a yearly ritual. So glad I did by the way. It is a gift of a book. I am totally going to be making her hangover Mac 'N Cheese. Not because I am regularly hungover but because pasta and cheese are a combination that epitomise indulgence when meshed together. 

And I've watched that MJ documentary and I don't know what to believe. Documentaries can be so meticulously edited. Our own memories are edited. I'm not saying what's discussed wasn't real. I just feel like when celebrities are involved it really blurs things. In many ways. Maybe when I listen to the Oprah Winfrey interview I might feel differently. 

Then we had the crazy story about people's parents paying off high profile colleges in the US so their children could go to better schools. Whether that be cheating their way through SATs or faking photographs and sports credentials. What a mess. There's some high profile names caught up in this too so it will be interesting to see what happens. More on that here

The Auckland Writers Festival programme for 2019 was announced on Wednesday. I never seem to get to as much of the festival as I'd like. This year I am going to make a real effort. Some of my favourite NZ poets+writers, Tayi Tibble and Ashleigh Young will be appearing. I also really want to go to the Ockham Book Awards this year. Literally Lorne is top of my list and I really, really want to go to Alexander Chee's session on writing an autobiographical novel. Have a gander at the full lineup here

And I am gonna call it a night because I've procrastinated grocery shopping enough as it is. Ciao everyone. I will (hopefully) be back soon. Have great Fridays and weekends x

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February Favourites
3/03/2019

February Favourites



Why hello, it's the weekend, can I get an #amen and February Favourites are here. It's a slim lineup but the mix of beauty+random bits to round it out makes me all nostalgic for traditional favourites posts.  Anyway, February faves-some new beauty bits, a revisited read and more...

Fu$$y Gloss Bomb x Fenty Beauty: One of my chums, Eve bought this gloss to my attention and a lot of Fenty's products actually. She has a selection and I am jealous. Anyway, I am traditionally not a lipgloss person. This however, might just have me swayed. Well it does because I wear it almost religiously now when I am wearing makeup. Non-sticky, glossy, gorgeous colour, lovely scent. I can't fault it. Rihanna does gloss well. 

thank u, next x Ariana Grande: So I am lowkey obsessed with this album which will probably come as a surprise to nobody. What a bop. It's Ariana's second album in six months and it does not disappoint. Catchy songs and lyrics. I love it. My favourite tracks are: Needy, NASA, Bloodline, Fake Smile-the whole thing basically. Friends reading, be warned I'll probably be referencing these lyrics for the next while. 

Jet Lag Mask x Summer Fridays: So I only have a teensy sample pot of this from Mecca because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I get it now team. The hype is real. On paper you'd think I wouldn't like this, it is thick and smells slightly minty. I am a fussy lady ok? However the skincare benefits pay off. It is super hydrating and is my go-to for Sunday nights to give my skin a bit of oomph for the week ahead. You can also use this as an eye mask and a primer. It's a good all-rounder basically. Oh and it's good for the skin-being paraben free, pthalate free, vegan and free of synthetic dyes and fragrances. Yass. It's a pricey lil' thing, I am not going to lie but it can be used pretty sparingly. 

Pamper Me to Hell & Back x Hera Lindsay Bird: A re-read, thanks to Florence and Between Two Books. Here's what Florence Welch herself has to say about Hera's words: "Hera Lindsay Bird is intimidatingly good. Reading her is like having my brain blasted with cold water...These two collections make me extremely excited about poetry." That really epitomises what I love about Hera's work as well and I've loved revisiting it. My pencil was out ready to make annotations. Also "sometimes I get so tired I want to blow the stars out, one by one." Can relate. 

Dear Teddy Eyeshadow x MAC Cosmetics: When MAC make a collection themed around my favourite lipstick, Velvet Teddy, my ears naturally prick up. Dear Teddy is a beautiful, iridescent rose-gold. So basically your stock standard 'Sophie' kind of neutral shadow with shimmer. Old habits die hard. I love it though-especially paired with liquid liner and lashings of mascara.

-What did you love during February?

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The Bookdate, Volume Eight
2/24/2019

The Bookdate, Volume Eight




Surprise surprise, another book post. What can I say, umm-I read a lot? This post is a bit of a throwback. The Bookdate was a series I used to run bimonthly and I decided to bring it back in 2019, alternating with my Women+Their Books series. 

recently read: / the ice shelf x anne kennedy: This was the February book for my book club and I for the most part loved it. The things I didn't love so much are more to do with the technicalities and also some of the elements which seem to epitomise New Zealand literature. Rather than get bogged down, or as it may be, buried under an avalanche of my own personal qualms...I did love the way this book unfolded as a series of literary acknowledgements. It morphed and spiralled into a novel which was really a recollection of the fictitious author's life and its essence. It was witty and clever. I laughed out loud at certain passages, most notably, the cook blub aka 'book club' extracts. 

 / essayism x brian dillon: My first dallying with the Fitzcarraldo editions. I want to read more but they're just a bit expensive in lil' ol NZ so I'm holding off. Anyway, essayism, is a form of writing I want to experiment with and hopefully someday master. Dillon's book is a meditation on essays as an art form. As a means of self-expression and escapism. It is also a book about the pleasures of writing. An appreciation of essayists past and present and how they shape a life.  

/ eve's hollywood x eve babitz: Expect to hear a lot about Babitz around these parts next month. I'm rather obsessed with her writing. Confessional tales that seem to oscillate between the real and the fantastical. What actually happened? What is a mere myth? Eve's Hollywood comes under the fiction section in bookshelves but it is a series of autobiographical short stories/essays I suppose about Babitz's upbringing in LA. Her time at Hollywood High, her love of jacarandas, the sometimes eccentric characters she encountered and the many forces in her inner circle. I loved this book and read it somewhat religiously. I read it and fell in love quite simply.


YourShelf: I have to give a mention to this brilliant book-buying service. Each month, or whenever you fancy really you will receive three books, all hand-selected. One will be the choosing of their guest curator, this month's choice was My Year of Rest and Relaxation, which I read last year and loved. I recently received a bundle, see here and I was so smitten with all the books Jay chose for me. More so because one of them was signed (eep!). Know that each book is carefully considered and with no two bundles the same, you are guaranteed something unique and special to you. PS-Florence Welch is a fan so get amongst! Check their Instagram out here and the website out here

the wishlist: / this little art: Another Fitzcarraldo beauty, this time about reading. Something I clearly don't already spend enough time doing. I've flicked through this in the bookstore and it looks wonderful and much like essayism, I can see myself whipping my pencil back out to scribble notes throughout its margins.   / spring  The penultimate installment in Ali Smith's seasonal quartet. I'm a bit excited for this. Okay, really excited because Ali Smith's writing makes my heart sing and I quite simply cannot get enough of it. I feel like spring is perhaps going to be more hopeful than winter and autumn. Just because by nature (ha) spring seems to conjure feelings of optimism and change, newness and renewal. 

-What have you read and liked lately?


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Six Lessons For Twenty-Somethings
2/11/2019

Six Lessons For Twenty-Somethings



Hello fellow twenty-somethings or just anyone who happens to be perusing this post, hoping for my incredibly poignant wisdom. Ahem. Somehow I am over halfway through my twenties now which the longer I mull that over, the scarier it gets. Well not, 'scary' per se, just...alarming I guess. Anyway this is a post that has been sitting in my drafts for a while. I feel like the twenties are such an overwhelming time sometimes. There's a lot of expectations versus reality kind of stuff happenin'. You say a rather swift goodbye to childhood and it feels like "what the heck am I doing?!" Maybe that's just melodramatic old me...Anyway anyway, today I thought I'd share six things I've learnt so here we go...

It's okay to ask for help: Gosh dang do I need to really take my own advice here sometimes. I think with adulting there comes this stigma that everyone; has their shit together and/or knows what they're doing. The reality, I don't think anyone ever does have it entirely down pat. At least nobody I have met. If you ever find yourself struggling, in whatever sense-ask for help. It's okay to! And honestly it's better than sitting around feeling like the epitome of that confused, bulging-eyes emoji. Whether that be talking it out with a friend/texting as it may be (if you're reading, sorry for the spam), or speaking to a professional (counsellor, for instance), it all helps.

Be selfish: Say no more, ditch after-work drinks if you'd rather just get home and throw your heels off in favour of Netflix and a glass of wine. Take time for you. You are your own best friend and hopefully not your worst enemy. Long story short, be selfish and kinder to yourself. Don't spread yourself too thinly. Don't try to please everyone at the detriment of your own happiness. 

Listen more: One of my good, much wiser friends likes to bestow their life hacks upon me on the regular. Often without me asking. Don't tell them but their advice is brilliant. Actually in an age where there is noise everywhere, listen more. Write down the inspirational things people say, or the one-liners that make you laugh. Take it all in. Be present. *Side note: I am sorry this wasn't meant to get all preachy so fast but you get the gist*.

Read whatever you want: Listen to whatever you want, watch whatever you want.  I promise there are less stigmas attached to this "stuff" (oh look at me go with my The Devil Wears Prada references). Nobody really cares so you do YOU. Well maybe there's some silent judgement but just tune it out.

A bath/shower at the end of a long day, no matter how stressful, is the best: Followed by books, music, scented candles, eye masks. Whatever floats your boat. It may not cure everything and anything but it's a pretty fail-safe method to at least temporarily shift your focus, I have found. 

Friends are worth more than a handful of likes on a photo that will hold someone's focus for all of a few seconds: I know it is so so easy to compare your behind the scenes to others highlight reels. Nobody's lives are a blend of rose breakfasts, aesthetically pleasing decor (I bet there's a pile of laundry and tousled sheets out of shot), luxe lip balm and the other toppings on the dessert that is curated digital life. Your friends who know you, beyond the pixels are worth so much more than a handful of likes on a photo. Also comparison is the thief of joy and there's nothing like some very real talk with my girlfriends to remind me how twisted the online sphere can make all this seem. Life=what is lived beyond the lenses. 

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Women + Their Books: Looking Back
2/03/2019

Women + Their Books: Looking Back



Hello and welcome back to (almost) a new year of Women+Their Books. Before we dive in to a fresh new bunch of interviews and recommendations this year, I thought I'd invite some of my past interviewees back to share some books they've loved from 2018 and over the holiday season. Just to mix things up a notch, I've roped in some of my friends as well. So read on, find some new recommendations and enjoy! 

Amy: / I loved The Call of the Weird x Louis Theroux. I've always been obsessed with his out-there documentaries of fascinating subgroups and reading him follow up his biggest stories was a real pleasure.  / I re-read Plain Truth x Jodi Picoult along with two new books: Every Breath x Nicholas Sparks (not my favourite of his to be honest) and Bringing Up Bebe x Pamela Druckerman-which I found fascinating because I'm a complete francophile. 

Daisy: / I read so many books I adored in 2018, and it's really difficult to single one out. I'd have to give a special mention to my best friend, Lauren Bravo and her brilliant book What Would The Spice Girls Do? I am a profoundly proud pal and I can't wait for her to write the next one. It's a thorough, tender and meaningful book about a subject that is often overlooked. Pop culture for young women and how young women draw strength from it and learn to celebrate themselves. It's a book about the power of loving something bigger than yourself, and it's an enormously uplifting book to read during a dark time globally. / Over Christmas I read Ayisha Malik's This Green and Present Land, coming in June. I think it's brilliant-it's a book about humanity at its best and worst, the power of standing together and the way that hate is often rooted in fear. It's also funny, and has characters you really fall in love with. There is an unexpected friendship that blooms gorgeously, I felt very invested. Also Lucy Vine's utterly wonderful Are We Nearly There Yet. Lucy writes heavenly anti rom coms for smart readers, they should come with a free oxygen mask because I laughed so hard I think I saw my whole life flash before my eyes. This is her best yet.

Emma: / Normal People x Sally Rooney. I read this over a long weekend and I was in absolute bliss as I got absorbed in the story. Sally Rooney's writing is unique to anything I've read before and there's something about it that just hooks me in. This was more than a love story, it explored a special connection between two people and depicted the reality of romantic relationships. I rather liked the gloomy aspects of this book, too. For me it's a book everyone should try reading. / I read Not Quite Perfect x Annie Lyons which was an amusing contemporary and something very light to see me through the sunny days. I also read The Keeper of Lost Things x Ruth Hogan which was a cosy and charming read, which again was nice and light, nothing too trivial!

Eve: Normal People x Sally Rooney was by far my favourite book of last year. Highly recommend reading this poignant snapshot of life and love as a young person in the modern world.

Leigh: Amish Confidential x "Lebanon" Levi Stoltzfus. People are always interested or frustrated in things they don't understand. A few years ago I watched the Discovery show 'Amish Mafia' with relish as it was a documentary reality series about a culture I didn't understand. Following the series is this book written by Stoltzfus who shares his frank insiders view of the intriguing and secretive society. The chapters draw you in to a life of family, shunning, sadness to the most high profile news that rocked the world, that of the Nickel mines shooting, kidnapping and drug+gang related affairs. When you look beyond the buggies, beards, bonnets, lack of power or photography, you will discover a community that are remarkable for their random acts of kindness and a level of forgiveness. 

Sandrine: / Other than Everything I Know About Love (the obvious choice haha) I was happy to discover Curtis Sittenfeld's writing in 2018. Her novel, Prep and her collection of short stories, You Think It, I'll Say It were brilliant and I simply couldn't put them down. I found her way to address social class and gender roles very refreshing. / I love reading over the Christmas break while cosying up in a blanket and looking at the snow outside. I read an advance copy of Sonya Lalli's The Macthmaker's List, finished reading Tina Brown's masterpiece The Vanity Fair Diaries, read Laura Weir's Cosy: The British Art of Comfort in one sitting and attempted to read Austen's Persuasion. I also read Prep, mentioned above. 

Vita: / How To Write An Autobiographical Novel x Alexander Chee was a real standout for me in 2018. I found the things Chee had to say about his life were incredibly heartbreaking and beautiful in equal measure. / Over my break I read Conversations With Friends x Sally Rooney and Bluets x Maggie Nelson. Very different books but I'd recommend them both. Rooney is a wonderful writer but I'm not sure I can say I loved Conversations as much as some. Bluets I read in a day, lying in the sun and I loved it. It's one of those little books that you can return to at different moments and gain something new from, which I love.

-I hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you to all my past contributors and friends for coming back to take part in this lil' Q&A fest-and of course for sharing your reading recommendations! Keep reading for details on past Women+Their Books guests.

Amy shares details from her life and exquisite photography over at @teaandsage on Instagram.

Daisy Buchanan is the author of the brilliant book How To Be A Grown Up and hosts the You're Booked podcast. Her second book, The Sisterhood is released in March. NZ Friends: Go pre-order it from Time Out like I have. 

Emma is the blogger and creator of playlists you should seek out over at Emma Etc. 

Sandrine runs the fashion and lifestyle blog, iamsandrine. A self-confessed Dolly Alderton fangirl, she is about to make the move across the world to London. 

Vita aka @exlibrisvita on Instagram shares her dreamy photography and pictures of books and Wellington and brilliant reviews. Vita if you are reading, please start a blog! 
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Five Things: February
2/01/2019

Five Things: February



Just like that it is February! A frenzy of heat, a need for frozen drinks and ice-blocks, foundation slides off, fun times. And of course five things for February; Florence, reads and some blog posts you need to give a peruse. Let's go...*

Florence: Wednesday night was one of music and hope and Florence freakin' Welch. I went to her High As Hope tour whilst it was in Auckland and it was magic. I've seen Florence a few times live now and this was definitely my favourite performance. She turns Spark Arena in to an intimate venue, despite the crowds of thousands who appear to see her. She danced and flitted across her stage, as is trademark for her and encouraged us all to never give up hope and lose sight of what we love. And I cried. And then of course she sung Patricia and spoke about that song and I cried. It's a wonder the glitter eyeshadow didn't come sliding right off really. The long and short of this story? See the artists you love live. It's worth every penny.

Books to pre order: 2019 is looking hella good for books and upcoming titles. Our shelves are blessed. My wallet is cursed. Cursed I tell you. My shelves and mind though are blessed. Okay musings aside, here are the books I think y'all should order and pre-order that are releasing in 2019. Well some of them. *I Used to Be Charming x Eve Babitz, *Daisy Jones & The Six x Taylor Jenkins Reid, *A Love Story for Bewildered Girls x Emma Morgan, *The Sisterhood x Daisy Buchanan.

Living Abroad: My international blogger babe Sandrine is about to move to London, lucky lady. While she gets ready to travel across the world, she interviewed some like-minded ladies who have all lived abroad. As someone who has lived in the same city and town even, most of their life, I find it really fascinating reading about people's experiences moving overseas. If you want to read the series, and you should because there are some great tips in there, head here

Seasons of Friendship: Maddy published a brilliant piece this week on surviving the loss of friendships and it really hit home. Whether that be a childhood friend you have drifted from, or one of your first friends you made post-school, losing friends feels kinda shitty. As a sensitive soul I feel like the painful, almost heart achingly awful side of it does affect me more than I like it to. Then again, friendship is so much more valuable in quality, not quantity. Anyway, go read her post here

Marie Kondo Your Makeup: Cass shared this brilliant post about decluttering your makeup and it inspired me to get quite ruthless with what was left of my makeup last weekend. It's so satisfying. While I am not totally on board with Marie Kondo and her ways, ahem, her book philosophy, I do appreciate the general gist of it. Side note, I wish you could Marie Kondo memories. Anyway, great post that demands to be read. And have a squiz at Cass's new blog design. It is dreamy.


*I blame Lin-Manuel Miranda for my sudden adoption of this phrase. 

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January Favourites
1/28/2019

January Favourites



The beginning of the year has been a good month for favourites-new and old. From Summer must-haves, to earrings and the rest. Here's what I've been loving throughout January...

Self Tanning Foam  x Bondi Sands: I am a tanning NOVICE. I still make mistakes with it all the time but this product is a godsend. It's so quick and easy to use. It doesn't go streaky, it dries fast. I love it. Sure, I am not the best at applying it and give some of my friends great entertainment as a result. I am getting there though. If it makes my legs less 'translucent' then I am willing to persevere. 

Caramel Hydrating Lip Balm and Sugar Lip Polish x Fresh: I'm not sure if this heat or the matte lipsticks I seem to love are making my lips yuck*. This duo is setting about mending that though. I love this sugar scrub because it feels a lot gentler and is almost a touch balmy on the lips. The caramel balm though is the best! Not too heavy, or sticky and deliciously scented. It legit smells like butterscotch lollies and I LOVE it.

Florida x Lauren Groff: I really struggle with short story collections but lately I've found myself gravitating to them. Lauren Groff's collection, all set in Florida feature a host of flawed characters. As the unpredictable, heat-ridden, sometimes crocodile-laden landscape waxes and wanes around them, so too do their lives begin to unravel. With Groff's writing, you know that things are going to get grotesque but in a vivid, evocative way. I set myself the task of reading one story a day but oftentimes I'd find myself reaching to turn the pages on another story. Honorary mention for books this month: Winter** x Ali Smith, see my review here


Gold Earrings x Lovisa: Props to my friend Eve for the influencing here. Lately I've become kinda obsessed with gold earrings. These hoops are lush and I've been wearing them somewhat obsessively since buying them. Also on high rotation in the hoop side of things are my Hydrangea Ranger hoops, similar here

Caramel Melange Voyager Palette x Zoeva: Gosh dang Zoeva shadows are good. Like one swipe and you could be done levels of good. I love these shades. Paired with pressed glitter and lashings of liner and mascara. As JVN would say, "yass honey!"

Gratitude Journal x Kikki K: I'm sure gratitude journals are one of those things some people may find a little strange but I am all for them. Also for positivity in 2019. Anyway, this Kikki K one is designed so each day you write out three things you are grateful for. I am not going to lie, some days this comes more effortlessly than others. That being said I always make sure I do this each day, regardless of my mood, the day's events etc. Small steps but it's also a way to remember the smaller nuances of life you may otherwise forget. 

The Twenties Club: My go-to website for beauty, politics, fashion and basically, everything. If this twenty-something wants to read about it, Madeleine is bound to have an article already prepared for that. There's always fresh new things to read and I highly recommend you give her site a visit and subscribe to the newsletter whilst you are there.

-What have you loved during January?

*For lack of a better word.

**Review copy.




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The Writing Project: January '19
1/25/2019

The Writing Project: January '19



So writing is a pivotal part of my life and for an age I've wanted to take it more seriously. I mean, in short, your girl wants to be published. I want to have my own book someday too but small steps. Anyway, I thought this year as a way to hold myself a bit more accountable, I'd share what I am up to with my writing. That and I thought for any other creative folk out there this might be interesting to see. And hey, it'll be even cooler if some of these things go a bit further than my notebooks and pixels...

what i've done in january: I've submitted two story pitches to different publications which is an achievement in itself because just this part in the process can be a bit nerve-wracking for me. I'm going to write them out in full beyond the rough outlines I submitted at some point. I also made a list of articles/columns/etc that I want to write. These are ideas I've had in the notes of my phone/rattling around in my brain for a while now. On the more personal side of things, I've done diary writing and also my gratitude journal every day. 

works in progress: At this point in time, nothing though I need to get on top of another pitch over the long weekend. I also want to start meshing out a longer form story this weekend. Seeing as it's a long weekend and all that.

next month: I want to have two autobiographical essays written. If you know me, you'll know I love this style of writing. I actually wrote a list of potential essays which again are hiding somewhere in one of my devices. I also want to maybe write some more poetry. I have written one poem called Nowhere Girl-title is a bit of a cheeky play on the name of a Beatles song but it needs a bit of tightening before I share it anywhere. 

*I hope you enjoyed some insight in to my writing dreams! Do you have a creative goal for 2019? Share it in the comments-maybe we can start a motivational thread going.
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summer reads
1/20/2019

summer reads



The days seem longer, hotter, hazier and much slower paced. It's not unusual to find me reading, a lot at this time of year. As the heat warps and curls pages, I escape. Drink breaks happen intermittently. Books are mulled over. I thrust Normal People x Sally Rooney in to the hands of one of my girlfriends, telling her to read and enjoy. It moves to the top of her reading pile. Summer, you and the reading have certainly been kind. Here's the tomes whose pages I have turned this season...

woolgathering x patti smith: A revisited read. Reunited and it feels so good. Patti's words are wondrous and I love this thin slip of a book. Her photographs are interspersed with reflections of childhood and finding wonder and imagination in the world around us. 

winter* x ali smith: The seasonal juxtaposition which on the hotter days of reading had me yearning for cool, for coats and for coffee-piping hot. Winter showcases what Ali Smith does best; bringing together a host of eclectic characters who in many ways teach one another something whilst speaking to our present-day society. I love how these seasonal stories are so evocative and really capture the essence of the time periods they're written in. Roll on Spring which will be read in the last glimpses of this season. 

mayhem x sigrid rausing: The events of this book were much more publicised internationally, more so in Europe I believe. So to me I knew nothing of the Rausing dynasty, bar that Sigrid is Granta magazine's editor.  Side note: if you're reading this, it is worth doing background research alongside it, as I chose to. Her memoir looks at the painful, lifelong effects of addiction and self destruction. How it impacts the addicts and their personal worlds. It's brilliant, articulate and well written. Though it left me musing over the gaps and neglected details. Much of which Rausing explains. Yet it got me thinking about how we naturally subconsciously edit. Fiction or elements thereof are so intrinsically rooted in life nowadays. It's fascinating.

night photograph x lavinia greenlaw: An exquisite, haunting and ethereal collection of poems. This book was my first introduction to Greenlaw's words and the experience was magic. 

becoming* x michelle obama: This book became an instant bestseller and rightly so. Michelle shares her personal memories and musings from life growing up in Chicago, through to college, the White House and everything in between. Her not so typical upbringing. How she worked and works hard for everything she sets out to accomplish. How education is everything to her. How bettering the lives of the world's young, impressionable citizens is paramount to her. It is an inspiring and incredibly memorable read. The perfect book to commence the year ahead with.

and here's what I am intending to read throughout the rest of the season:

the accidental x ali smith: re-read, see my review here

too much and not the mood x durga chew-bose: re-read.

essayism x brian dillon

insomnia x marina benjamin

in the city of love's sleep x lavinia greenlaw

everything under x daisy johnson: half-read and demanding to be finished.. 

-What have you read during Summer?

*Review Copy

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More 2018 Favourites
1/12/2019

More 2018 Favourites



One more favourites post, with feeling. I kinda stopped doing monthly favourites posts last year because I'd often just end up using the same products, listening to the same music and vice versa. Much of this list will probably come as no surprise but at the same time there's some things I want to draw more attention to. There's beauty, writing, things to listen to and things to watch. Enjoy!

MUSIC:

My two most-listened to artists for much of 2018 were Florence and the Machine and Lana Del Rey. High As Hope was released, Florence's fourth album and I loved it. Candid, poetic lyrics. Melodies to bewitch. It remained in my car stereo for months on end. I cannot wait to experience it all live in a couple of weeks as well.

Lana Del Rey was more a nostalgic thing but her albums Honeymoon and Lust For Life were on high rotation. Honeymoon reminds me of Summer. Lust For Life, Autumn and Winter. I love her lyrics and their subtle nods to Hollywood and literature among other things.

TV:

The Good Place-I loved this show so much that I watched Season 1 and 2 twice during the year. It's clever brilliant comedy-bought to us by the creator of Parks and Rec which I also love so go figure. On a slightly nerdier level, I love the spotlight it shines on ethics and philosophy. Yass plz. Plus that casting of brilliant women: Kristen Bell, D'Arcy Carden, Jameela Jamil. The. Best.

Feud: Bette & Joan-Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange bought Bette Davis and Joan Crawford to life in this miniseries. Drama, glamour and fascinating viewing. As well as stunning costuming. It also shines a light on the uglier side of fame and relevancy+how that can in turn impact on families and the inner circles of Crawford and Davis. If you're in New Zealand, you can find this series on Lightbox.

BEAUTY:

*As an aside, I more or less stuck to products I used and loved this year so this category is incredibly sparse as a result. I recommend perusing the archives if you want more of an insight into the beauty products I use.

L'Oreal Paradise Mascara: I couldn't not mention this mascara. I LOVE it and went through multiple tubes of it throughout 2018. I may or may not have a backup waiting to be used too. Ahem. Anyway, this mascara is fuss-free, long-wearing, lengthening, volumising, love in a tube. You get the gist.

MAC Tan Pigment: An item that has been on my wishlist for years and I finally purchased it last year. I love it I tell ya. Rose gold-y, coppery, sparkly perfection. I love to apply this wet to really amp up the pigment and metallic finish. 

PODCASTS:

The High Low Show: Dolly and Pandora's podcast is my favourite. It's entertaining and fun. As well as the bigger issues, they always natter about what they are reading and watching too which I love. Actually I just love the whole thing let's be honest. Dolly and Pandora are the two friends we all want in our lives and their podcast feels like a weekly, intimate chinwag.

How To Fail: Failure is a word that carries a whole lot of meaning and significance. Elizabeth Day's podcast is about exploring the intricacies of failure and thus reframing them. She interviews public figures about their journeys and life stories. They discuss how they've failed and instead of focusing on it as a 'woe is me' kind of concept, Day and her guests consider how it has helped them. How failure in turn defines our present selves. Standout episodes, for me at least were Dolly Alderton's and Olivia Laing's. I'm looking forward to reading Day's upcoming book of the same name when it is released this year.

WRITING:

Dolly Alderton (yes I am a fangirl ok) and Caitlin Moran's columns for the times. I have the Times subscription for the free articles and once I wake I go in and read Dolly+Caitlin's columns. It's kind of a ritualistic thing for me really. They're always inspiring, entertaining and wise reads.

Oh Comely Magazine: My favourite magazine of the year was this UK gem. Always laden with great content and stories and women. I love how there are book reviews each issue as well as their seasonal playlists. Yes please. I love how they regularly accept submissions of work from near and far as well. It's a feel-good magazine and I bloomin' love it.

*What did you love in 2018?

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My Top 10 Reads of 2018
1/06/2019

My Top 10 Reads of 2018



2018 was the year of reading. A lot. I read 74 books-including literary magazines. After a bit of tweaking I've managed to come up with a list of my ten favourite books read in 2018. It's not ranked by preference but these are all titles I read and loved during the year...

Everything I Know About Love x Dolly Alderton: How incredibly unexpected is this inclusion? Ahem. This hardback tome of Dolly's tales and wisdom was read and read with such joy. I laughed loudly in public reading excerpts, I cried. I wanted to wallpaper my walls and notebooks with Dolly's prose. This is such a special, charming, brilliant book and I look forward to reading it again soon. 

 M Train x Patti Smith: I read and reread a few of Patti Smith's writings this year. It was M Train, her love letter to writers, writing, coffee and contemplation that has stuck with me. I read this in Spring and it made me want to plan a writerly holiday and left me yearning for more of the beauteous thing that is solo travel. Patti Smith's writing is potic and whimsical and hums with quiet, understated charm.

Normal People* x Sally Rooney: Ahem, again how unexpected. Sally Rooney's writing makes my mind turn into the heart reaction emojis on Facebook+Instagram. She dissects every nuance of character and relationships with such finesse. The way in which her stories evolve and travel forward by dialect is just brilliant. Normal People resonates because Connell and Marianne are so believable. I see fragments of them all around me in people I know. Rooney's writing is so alluring and it's not surprising to me that this tile has been flying off the shelves.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation x Ottessa Moshfegh: A darkly brilliant novel about twenty-somethings. Existential crises swirl around unlikeable characters. This book about a faceless protagonist who sleeps for a year, occasionally surfacing for the odd shopping spree and Whoopi Goldberg film session, is dark but hilarious. The ways in which it commentates on loneliness and life unravelling are so poignant. While the novel is satirical, if you are feeling a little vulnerable, perhaps venture in to this one with caution.



The Cost of Living x Deborah Levy: An introduction to Levy for me. A book of loss, relationships spanning generations, writing sheds and contemplation. It all unfolds so seamlessly and Levy's writing is intricately detailed. 

Tinderbox x Megan Dunn: A recommendation from Kiran's blog feature last year. A book about the art of adapting Farenheit 451. Also a book waxing lyrical on Megan Dunn's days as a bookseller for Borders. Addicting, hilarious reading. I loved it.

How To Be Both x Ali Smith: 2018 was the year I also read a lot of Ali Smith's words. Rather than fill this list with her books, I've gone for the one that has stayed with me. A novel that plays with the concept of fresco painting. It is multifaceted. A story set across two time periods; the present day and renaissance Italy. It looks at two teenager's perspectives on love, art, loss, the passage of time. It's cleverly done.

Bluets x Maggie Nelson: So this is a reread but it's another book I think on often. Nelson's meditations and musings on the colour blue. How she sees it in her life and the world around her. Its presence in art. Beautifully written and a book I've scribbled annotations throughout.

Call Me By Your Name x Andre Aciman: Read last Summer in frenzied bursts on my commute to and from work. Conjuring memories of Italy and its gorgeous scenery and architecture. First loves, exquisite dialogue, peaches and Summer frivolity. Every bit as rich and lush as the film.

Crudo x Olivia Laing: This book is short and punchy. Written during 2017 through the lens of Kathy Acker as a narrator. It draws parallels with events from Laing's own life. Crudo is raw and a times I found myself needing to escape the heavy all too real prose. At the same time I love the truth and timeliness contained within its pages.

/ What did you read and love in 2018?

*Review copy
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Five Things: January
1/03/2019

Five Things: January



Hello! Happy New Year. I hope 2019 is a year of good vibes and fun. Today we have five things for January. It's summery, imaginative and a little New Year-y...

Mary Poppins Returns: Oh my goodness. I LOVED this beyond words. Mary Poppins fills a personal, nostalgic corner of my heart and it just makes me so indescribably happy. The sequel with Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda buzzed with the same magic and wonder as the 1964 film. There are a lot of whimsical nods to its predecessor which made me emotional, naturally. It is wonderful and if you want something to fuel your inner child and imaginative streak, this is the ticket.

Back To Journalling: I really let my daily writing fall to the wayside in the latter part of 2018. Subsequently, I have very scattered musings to look back on as a result. I'm determined to get back into writing daily because it is such a brilliant tonic. I do love it as a means of unwinding at the end of the day. This year I am using a Muji notebook as my main journal, as well as this gratitude journal from Kikki K. 

The Water Cure: I cannot stop thinking about this book. I read The Water Cure x Sophie Mackintosh in the bath amidst turquoise waters c/o bath bombs, on a sunlit lawn, first thing in the morning with coffee, in rooms with friends reading the same book. Much like the evocative cover, it made me think of hazy mornings, blue, salt and gauze. It made me want to wear something sheer and traipse across sand, feeling the grit and the velvety waves. It conjured vibes of The Tempest and also The Virgin Suicides. Sisters devoted to one another, trapped yet powerful. Sophie Mackintosh's writing is a visual feast and I loved escaping in to this hauntingly beautiful prose. I'm already quietly assessing when I can read it again.

Round Towels: A random inclusion sure but one of my friends bought me one for Christmas and I am ob-sessed with it. For some reason these towels can get expensive but you can find them more affordably at Cotton On. Anyway, I love mine for chilling in the sun with books and music. Ok and maybe for dozing off. They'd be great for the beach and picnics+poolside too. The perfect Summer companion.

Decor Dreams: New year, sorta new decor. This year, as well as wanting to do some much-needed tech upgrades, I want to invest in a new bookshelf. I also want to mix up the prints on my wall and just make things a bit more cohesive and 'me'. I've already given my wardrobe a major declutter as well which gave me some more storage space. This point is probably of interest to nobody but because I like to get thrifty with decor, it may result in some blog posts.

-I hope you are all enjoying the early days of January so far. Stay tuned for a couple of yearly wrap-up posts coming next week! xx

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