Three Women x Lisa Taddeo
7/22/2019

Three Women x Lisa Taddeo



A book this detail driven demands to be read. To be thrust into the hands of women. To be discussed. To be dissected. To be contemplated. After immersing myself in an advance copy of Three Women* x Lisa Taddeo, I am ready to talk about it. 

My copy of this book is adorned with smudges. The covers are worn and frayed. Post-it notes are nestled in its pages and it barely left my side for a good week or so. A cover this decadent can only hint at the indulgent and lustrous text about to unfold. Blessed be the fruit; the desire of love, and sex and passion. 

Three Women unfolds in a novelistic fashion as Lisa Taddeo interviews Lina, Maggie and Sloane over an eight year period. It never feels unreal but the way in which each narrative unfurls around one another shows just how interwoven lust and desire are in our lives. We have Maggie, a now twenty-something who was infatuated by her high school teacher-until life unravels and she comes to terms with what he did to her, Lina-a woman lost in a loveless marriage and Sloane-a woman whose sexuality serves as a prop for her husband to manipulate.

These are all tales of women and it is through their dialogue that we see snapshots of ourselves. The women in our lives. The women of the #metoo era. Women we may never meet.

We see the power of lust and desire. Like the succulent cornucopia of fruit that Taddeo writes of in her introduction; "plump figs, small but glorious strawberries, glistening cherries, wine grapes."

Taddeo expertly creates a nonfiction, journalistic snapshot of desire and lust as we know them today. This is a book that is decadent and evocative. It unfolds like an evening spent luxuriating over a glass of wine. You will feel like 'the crystals under skin'. Electric. Fired up.

Three Women is a dazzling, unforgettable read and Taddeo has created a masterpiece-akin to a still-life, much like the decadent bowl of fruit on her book's cover. Irresistible. Unputdownable. 

*Review copy



Read More
Five Things: July
7/15/2019

Five Things: July




Hey hi, 'tis July! What even is this sorcery. The passage of time (obviously) but seriously, how the flip does it end up being July so quickly!? Marvels aside, today I have five things to wax lyrical on; from poetry to essays, films to listens and even a lil' beauty spot. Have a nosy...

NZIFF is here: Aka the one where I miss being a student, if only so I could study and sneak off to films in between lectures and tutorials. I digress, NZIFF is back for 2019 and it is quite the lineup. I am only gonna be making it to this but I wish I was able to see more. I recommend you check out Maddy's post of films to watch this festival season. 

This essay x Florence Welch: "I tend to look back on that time with a mix of nostalgia and terror. There's a part of me that's in awe of that girl, her total disregard for self-preservation, how she could run at the world headfirst, eyes closed, with no care for the consequences." Florence Welch wrote an essay for British Vogue and first and foremost, can she write more essays please!? This is brilliant. She perfectly encapsulates the feelings and worries of adult life but at the same time the brilliance of I guess finding calm in the chaos. Read it.

The one with Fleabag: Aka Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Yes, I am still talking about Fleabag+PWB. Sorry, not sorry. Anyway, she is back on Elizabeth Day's How To Fail podcast and it is brilliant. I laughed out loud at my desk in the office #noshame. Loved it. Going to listen to it again. 

The Green Room: One of my pals Steph has set up this awesome, holistic skincare experience in the Hawkes Bay and it looks like a treat. Steph has over 14 years experience and is super clued up on all things skincare. Seriously, she is my personal Google sometimes (sorry, Steph). Anyway, she offers two facial experiences; intuitive skin sculpting and intuitive skin clearing. She uses Tribeca Skin Tonics in her studio which I've heard are amazing. So if you're in the Hawkes Bay, go check it out. I'm quietly envious of y'all getting to experience Steph's magic! 

Luminescent x Nina Powles:  I read this a couple of months ago and loved it. It was in the middle of a work day and I needed a moment of quiet+solitude and escapism and these chapbooks delivered. I particularly loved Sunflowers, about Katherine Mansfield and Her+The Flames about Phyllis Porter, a ballet dancer struck by tragedy. The whole collection is beautiful. You can have a read of two of the Katherine Mansfield poems here


-I hope y'all are having good July's so far! I will be back soon(ish)-I hope, with a book review.
Read More
June Wrap Up
6/30/2019

June Wrap Up



Y'know the drill here, the month is nearly over so it's time to do my lil' curation. I apologise for the blog silence this month and I am hoping to remedy that, despite July looking a bit bu-sy. Points for trying or something? Anyway, here are the things loved, good and read from June. Enjoy!

Five Things I Loved:

* Kitchen Table Sessions- For someone who loves theatre so much, I make it to a dismal amount of shows but my friend Lucie was stage-managing/slaying for this show and I wanted to go along to support her+her friends so I did. And it was awesome. Hosted by Kate Barnes, each night featured different guests who all gathered to banter all things food, tell stories, drink some beverages and share their favourite foods+recipes with us. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention-there was food. We had regular food intermissions. It was AMAZING. And live performances from Lips who are the geniuses behind the Daffodils soundtrack. It was a treat and I *think* they are going to be hosting these again so if you can, I highly recommend you head along. 'Tis a good time. 

* Fleabag-Yes I am ridiculously late to this bandwagon but I am here. I get it now. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a genius and Fleabag is hilarious, relatable, tear-jerkingly funny yet also incredibly poignant. Can you tell I love it quite a bit? I also feel incredibly *seen* by the character of Fleabag to be quite honest. Please watch it if you haven't yet seen it. I haven't laughed this hard at a TV show in a long time. Side note: Olivia Colman is a national treasure. 

* Drunk Elephant 'Out of Office' Set-While I have no plans to jetset soon *sad face* I am so glad I picked this lil' trio up because two of the products I've tried are new staples for me. Firstly, Lippe Balm. It is the business. My lips usually go to pieces in Winter (thx seasonal change) but this seems to be putting an end to that. I like how it's nourishing, without feeling like you are wearing a ton of lip balm. It's doing its job but without being obnoxious like a big rainbow jumper demanding to be noticed. Secondly, D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops. I am obsessed. I need the full size in my life please and thanks. As well as being a serum, these give your complexion a touch of the sunkissed glow. In a subtle, yes I have been on a tropical holiday but not gone overboard on the tan, way. 

* Katherine Mansfield Letters and Journals-One of my secondhand bookstore finds from this month and it is a delight. Ali Smith reignited my interest in all things Mansfield with her latest novel Spring, as did the emergence of a certain Mansfield-themed garden that has cropped up in the Hamilton Gardens. Weird segway, anyway. Mansfield's diary entries and letters are so beautifully written and decadent gems of insight into the woman herself. I love how sassy she is too. 

* Derry Girls-I feel like this sat on my Netflix watchlist for way too long but never fear, for I have seen all of Season 1 and a couple of Season 2 episodes. It follows Erin, a teenaged girl in Ireland during the troubles+her host of eclectic friends and family. It's hilarious and so well-written. I'm not sure if it's semi-autobiographical but it felt that way. If that makes sense. Anyway, it's good. Watch it.


Five Good Things

* I wrote, a lot: I'm actually really freakin' proud of this because the motivation for writing has been a bit hit and miss of late. This month though I decided I'd do as many 'pitches' to publications as I could do. I think I ended up doing three or four which probably doesn't sound like heaps but nonetheless I am proud of myself for knuckling down and getting on with some writing that extends beyond journaling and writing for myself. So yay me! I'm hoping to carry it on over the next few months too so wish me luck.

* Drink Eat Neo: One of my friends had a birthday earlier in the month so we went for a late lunch to this gem tucked away in Auckland CBD. We had their cheese board+non-alcoholic mojitos. The perks of work weeks (I mean...). Anyway, it was a good time, and it was delish and it is a beautifully designed space. I highly recommend you give it a visit if you're in Auckland. I will definitely be going back sometime soon. 

* New Music: So a few of my faves dropped new music this month; Benee, Vampire Weekend and the Jonas Brothers. All different. All brilliant. Also, not exactly 'new' music but High As Hope, one of my favourite albums had its first birthday recently and Melodrama x Lorde turned 2 this month. Good month for music, June.

* Book Club: I don't always make it to book club but when I do 'tis a good time. This month we discussed Spring x Ali Smith, which I have reviewed already here. Ali Smith seems to generate polarising discussion so it made for really well-rounded, interesting banter. I am not gonna lie, some opinions ruffled my feathers a tad....such is the case of being a biased fangirl. But yeah, book clubs are great. I love 'em. 

* Flowers, just because: Proteas are around and about at this time of year and I wanted one. I wanted a stem and didn't want to wait for someone to get me flowers which tbh, would probably be a long wait (ha). Anyway, I feel like buying flowers for oneself is one of those things I have turned into an insecurity....I dunno, my mind works in interesting ways. And you know what-why should it be something to feel weird about? Buy yourself the flowers-don't wait for an excuse.


Books Read in June

*Normal People x Sally Rooney: I wanted a comfort read, a book which I love and will forever love. A book where I can find gleamings of familiarity within its pages, beauty within Rooney's words. Just as wonderful a second time around.

*Too Much & Not The Mood x Durga Chew-Bose: Another re-read and a book which is now messy with my random scribblings and underlinings. Clearly I have picked this book up on a whim more than once as lines of black and blue and pink and turquoise scatter its pages. There's something really mesmerising and enticing to Durga's prose. 

*How To Fail x Elizabeth Day: The tonic in book form, read my thoughts here. And then go listen to the podcast. I recommend Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Dolly Alderton's episodes in particular.

*Brown Girls In Bright Red Lipstick x Courtney Sina Meredith: One of Tayi Tibble's favourite books. I loved this thin slip of a book and wish it was more widely available+discussed because I think women in particular need to get ahold of it. 

*The Casual Perfect x Lavinia Greenlaw: Another secondhand bookstore find. I love Lavinia Greenlaw's poetry a lot and I did like this volume a lot too. Night Photograph is still my favourite but this one is up there as well.

-And then I also re-read Harry Potter #3 and some more poetry volumes. So not a lot of reading happened in June (whoops).

-What did you love during June?



Read More
Fail Again, Failing Better and 'How To Fail'
6/22/2019

Fail Again, Failing Better and 'How To Fail'



Fail: To fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired or approved.

To fail is to be filled with a sense of gut-wrenching dread. It's feeling like you have an arrow following you. Hey look, this girl/guy failed. I've failed; exams, relationships, driving tests and more. And yes failure can be incredibly painful. I used to think failure meant universal negativity and finality. That is, until I stumbled upon Elizabeth Day and her magic.

Her podcast, 'How To Fail' got me through a trying situation last year that felt like, well, a setback. And I guess to some extent it was but at the time it made me realise that I could embrace that failure instead. It makes me think of this JK Rowling quote: "Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live in life without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all-in which case, you fail by default." 

Hearing people I respect and admire, like Dolly Alderton or Phoebe Waller-Bridge, successful women in their creative fields, openly discussing their successes and setbacks it's eye-opening. Not to mention, reassuring and inspiring. As I write this post, I am listening to Charly Cox's episode and it is equally as inspiring, especially when I have just started to get into writing my own poetry myself. Y'know, failure isn't something we talk about openly but this podcast turns the notion that it should be kept private and not be up for discussion on its head. Difficult conversations demand to be had.

The book, follows in a similar fashion though it delves more extensively into Elizabeth Day's experiences and stories. She covers how to fail at dating, being Gwyneth Paltrow, friendship, work, families and more. It also ties her experiences in with that of her podcast guests and is like a cosy, reassuring, calming blanket of a book. Crammed with wisdom and humour and charm, it's such a brilliant read. 

I'll be honest, I found How To Fail a bit too real at times which is in no way a critique of the book itself. It just meant I read it a bit slower and more cautiously than usual. That being said, it is in the realness and openness of Day and her contributors that solace and relatability lie. This is such a beautiful book and if I was Oprah-level rich, I'd give everyone in my life a copy. So go read it, or listen to the audiobook-also narrated by Day. Oh and side note, Phoebe Waller-Bridge descending the stairs singing 'At Last x Etta James', big mood. 

-Have you read How To Fail? What did you think of it?

Read More
Self Care Sunday
6/09/2019

Self Care Sunday



It's Sunday, the weekend is somehow quickly vanishing and all of a sudden it's nearly a new week. What a buzzkill and blessing all in one go right!?  All that said, Sunday doesn't have to be a total downer. For me, I usually try to reserve part of Sundays just for myself. Call it selfish, call it self-maintenance. I guess it's both of those things. Long story short, Sundays are at least in part my day. So today, seeing as it is Sunday and all I thought I'd talk you through some activities I do on a Sunday, just 'cos. It's nothing groundbreaking and I won't say it'll change your life because you could really do these anytime. But anyway, way to not sell a concept Sophie. Here is what I do for a bit of chill on Sundays...

Sleep Ins: So this failed pretty spectacularly this weekend as my internal clock woke me up at the time I usually get up for work during the week. When you can though-sleep in! If you are like me, you don't sleep enough. It's not exactly news that lack of sleep=not good in any regard so cherish that sleep in. Turn that alarm off and soak up the extra shut-eye.

Face Mask+(sometimes) Eye Masks: This is one activity I always like to do on a Sunday. It's a bit of a ritualistic thing but I also find masking incredibly relaxing and like a little treat for my skin too. Recently I've decided I don't like sheet masks, at all but prefer a mask I can apply myself. At the moment I am using and loving the Jet Lag mask x Summer Fridays. It's a bit wallet weepingly expensive but they have recently bought out a smaller size. And it does work quickly and wondrously so, cannot complain. As for eyes, this isn't a step I do all the time but I will definitely be tonight because the eyebag game is strong. Anyway, I use these and they are so lovely and cooling too. I love 'em.

Reading w/ all the cushions & blankets: I am not sure what it is about Sundays but if it doesn't involve a reasonably lengthy reading session, I am usually not satisfied. At the moment it's Winter here in NZ so fluffy, cosy blankets are a must. I usually disappear to a hidden corner of the house too for the most uninterrupted time. 

Go for walks: Preferably alone, this is your time. Walks=the best to immerse yourself in nature and mull over anything and everything I guess. Y'know how this works.

Make a to-do list: This may not sound like 'self-care' as it has the potential to create stress but for me it's useful for me to see what I need to do in the week ahead, or on a smaller scale what I want to achieve on Sunday. Either way, it helps because sometimes I forget stuff and then I can be like "Oh wait, I have X on Wednesday or I made X appointment". Yeah.

Movie+TV Afternoons: I don't really watch much TV during the week so it's a nice lil' treat and relaxer for me on the weekend. Netflix is my go-to. Though now I have the new season of Big Little Lies sitting and waiting to record, that'll be my go-to. Fleabag is also on my watchlist. But I have been rewatching The Crown lately and loving it. I mean, watching TV shows or films are a pretty failsafe way to unwind and zone out.

-What do you do to unwind on the weekend?

Read More
May Wrap Up
6/03/2019

May Wrap Up



I feel like May has been short and sweet. So I will keep this intro short, and sweet for once. May has been...a ride. More on that some other time, perhaps. On a more positive note, it is May wrap up time. Whoop whoop! Today we have five things I loved, some positive bits from the month (because we are all about the positive vibes, yes we are) and books I have read in May, aka the one where I reread things. 

Five Things I Loved:

*The Years x Annie Ernaux: Shortlisted for the Man Booker International prize, this book is a feast. And I don't mean that in a, bucket of chicken+pot of coleslaw kind of way. I mean it in a decadent, banquet, cup overflowing with champagne kind of sense. The Years is a memoir told through images, snapshots, snippets of a time and a place. The narrator places herself on the edge of the scene and as a result, The Years is a truly unique reading experience. I'm probably articulating this terribly but if you like your memoirs unconventional and non-linear, you will like this. I loved it.

*NARS Liquid Blush in Orgasm: Nowadays I seem to gravitate towards cream blusher and I love the way this brightens and illuminates in one handy pump. You barely need any product too and I love the faux glow it creates. Yass please. 

*Britney's Wellness Week: My uni pal from way back, Brit has been creating some really fricken great videos lately. Don't get me wrong, she always creates awesome+inspiring things but lately they've been really resonating, for many reasons. Anyway, last month I loved her wellness series, as well as videos on self care+mental health. Britney speaks so candidly and openly about her experiences and it inspires me+makes me want to share my stories too. I am getting there. But anyway, I recommend her videos so much. They are real and relatable-go watch 'em.

*Rocketman: THIS. FILM. THO. Or as someone said to me, "Sophie, this is your Bohemian Rhapsody 2.0". So true. I fricken loved Rocketman. It's somewhere between a musical+biopic for me, which I am 100% here for. Part fantasy, part reality. It's a story of Elton at the height of his success and rise to fame, and the eventual mess that is drugs and toxic family backstories. Taron Egerton is amazing as Elton. So talented. And that soundtrack+the costuming. I want ridiculous sunglasses and a denim jacket with star patches now plz. Seriously though-go watch it if this sounds like a bit of you because it is brilliant. 

*That Stila dupe: Props to my girl Lucie for bringing this eyeshadow to my attention. It's sparkly and shimmery and makes me feel like a fairy or something when I wear it. Idk, sparkly eyeshadow makes me feel sparklier. There must be some science/psychological reasoning there. Anyway, what I also like about this is that it is a much more affordable dupe for the Stila Glitter & Glow shadows. I mean, Beige Kitten is basically a near-identical dupe for Kitten Karma. Definitely get amongst it if you like cream shadows+sparkly eyelids.

Five Good Things:

*Literally Lorne-This was a Friday evening of poetry, thanks to the Auckland Writer's Festival. Highlights included hearing Tayi Tibble and Ashleigh Young reading their work in art galleries and the city library respectively. And; you could recite a line from a poem at a cafe and receive a cookie. Small pleasures. For those wondering-I chose "throw me in a haunted wheelbarrow and set me on fire" from 'Monica' x Hera Lindsay Bird. 

*Quiz Nights-What is this, the mere concept of me out on a weeknight!? All seriousness, how fricken fun are pub quizzes? Where have I been... I mightn't be particularly good when it comes to geography, or sport but hey-it's a fun evening and I like to flex my general knowledge muscles. Or somethin. 

*This cover x Lana Del Rey-"Summer tiiiime, and the livin's easy".  I feel like a new Lana Del Rey album has to be on the horizon. I lovelovelove this cover though so much. I've thrown it in a lot of my playlists during May and it's made me go back on a Lana-fest. Quite frankly, that is never a bad thing.

*Treasure hunting at the beach-I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to acknowledge that water+the beach makes me happy. I find the sound of water lapping against the sand incredibly calming. The sight of sunlight sparkling on the water makes my eyes like the heart-eyed emoji. Idk, water just relaxes me. As does looking for beautiful shells and sea glass. Note to self: Sophie, you actually like the beach.

*This article on reading, a lot. I am going to leave this here as it really speaks for itself. And it resonated, a lot. I get told at least once a week that I read a lot-in varying degrees of judgement. I will leave this extract here though: "That something so innocuous can provoke such a range of strong responses is very interesting. How can a quantity of books represent a reproach to some and a celebration to others? To me, as the perpetrator they are neither." 


Books I Read in May:

*Ah and on that note, here's what I read-well, most of it. You'll notice at least half are poetry volumes-short & easy.

/ Harry Potter-Books 1 & 2: Earlier in the May I was a bit poorly #thxflu and it meant a lot of reading+sleeping. I was feeling nostalgic so I reached for the Harry Potter books and it was magic. I know JK Rowling is a bit problematic nowadays but you cannot deny how brilliant these books were and are. 

/ How I Get Ready x Ashleigh Young: Ashleigh is one of my favourite writers so I was highly anticipating her poetry volume. It didn't disappoint. I read it in one frenzied go on my train ride home from work and loved every second of it. 

/ Terrific Mother x Lorrie Moore: A short+sweet read from Faber's 90th birthday series. It's darkly funny and sharply written. I need to read more of Lorrie Moore's words soon.

-What did you love during May?


Read More
Five Things: May
5/13/2019

Five Things: May



Hello, happy Monday & May. As I write this I am going to be honest, I feel a bit disoriented. Most likely what comes from sleeping the weekend away and intermittently resurfacing to read and watch Netflix+drink orange juice. #fluseasonissoglam. But today is not about ailments or even pulpy orange juice which is the jam, today is about five things for May. We have icecream, articles and some TV+film to add to your list...

Duck Island: Aka quite possibly the coolest icecream pop-up store you will ever encounter. I love it so much-I went there twice in a week and had the same thing. Fairy Bread and Blueberry Buttermilk Gooey Butter Cake. Frickin delish. Also-they cater to people with allergy concerns which gets a big tick of approval from me. If you are in Auckland, hit up Ponsonby Road, otherwise they have a couple of locations in Hamilton too. 

both/and: Madeleine often writes some of my favourite thinkpieces but this one last week particularly resonated. It's an idea explored in cognitive behavioural therapy and honestly, such an important tool. And I am not the best at it but seriously, it's such a good way to step back and put things/moments/memories in perspective. "It's learning that sometimes life gives to us by taking something away. That even when things are just f*cking terrible, there are still moments of levity. That it's still a good life even on life's worse day."

Rocketman: "And I think it's gonna be a long long time..." I am so excited for Rocketman, the biopic about Elton John. I mean, watch the trailer-it looks fantastic. Honestly, I don't know a ton about Elton's backstory so I am looking forward to seeing this-to the point I bought advanced screening tickets. Not gonna lie, I kinda want to buy these just for the occasion. Side note: I actually want to buy those anyway because Lana Del Rey vibes. But yes, Rocketman-bring it.

The Gentlewoman: I feel like to read this magazine is an event. You want to savour each page, every word, the design-preferably with a decent beverage & silence. Maybe this is just me but this magazine is a treat and I bloomin' love it. Issue 19 has recently launched, starring Cindy Sherman-whose work I saw at the City Gallery in Wellington a few years back (so good). Also there archive of profiles online is worth casting your eyes over, here

The Crown 2.0: Me whenever I literally finish any TV series, "what next? The Crown, again?" This time though-it's more in anticipation for Season 3 because I think we are close. My prediction is it'll drop in July/August on Netflix and I cannot wait. More so to see Helena Bonham Carter & Olivia Colman as Margaret & Queen Elizabeth respectively. I mean, if you've been around this blog a while-you will know I love The Crown and it's such a treat to watch. The costuming+attention to detail in every sense as well=yass.

-What are you loving this May?

Read More
beauty lust list '19, part one
5/05/2019

beauty lust list '19, part one



Ah beauty-sphere, it has been a hot minute hasn't it? To be honest, I don't wear a lot of makeup anymore. I mean when I do, it's almost eventful. How times change! Most days I just faff with a bit of concealer, maybe mascara/lash curler and gloss/a neutral lip. But I still love the ritualistic process of applying makeup, I still love seeing glittery eyeshadows and what brands are up to but I am not...religious about it. If that makes sense. Anyway, lately though I've been thinking about some things I want to repurchase-because I am one of those people now as well as some new (ish) bits I want to try out. A beauty lust list or 'things I want to get on pay day' spiel if you will...

Liquid Blush x NARS: I think Cloud Paint converted me to cream/liquid blush. Matte powders just look...flat to me now and I find myself wanting to up the shimmer or reach for a highlight. Anyway after seeing these on Fi's Instagram stories and having a cheeky swatch in store, I want one. So pretty!

Extended Play Perm Me Up Lash Mascara x MAC Cosmetics: The OG Extended Play is one of my favourite mascaras ever, so the fact there's a newbie with a bit of a lash lifting wand? Yes. Please. Get in my life. I mean, I am a bit nervous to try this because I love the original so much-irrational makeup lover problems or something but yeah-I see it, I like it, I want it. You get the gist.

Brushes x Zoeva: Zoeva brushes are the best and mine are well-loved so I just wanna replace some of the faves more than anything. Buffer brush and the various eye brushes, I will be coming for you. 

Eye Gels x Patchology: I was actually pretty sparing with the last set of these patches I had but I ran out and my eyes miss 'em. If only because they were just such a treat to use but also they brightened+hydrated the eye area like nobody's business. Um, maybe keep me away from Mecca on payday? Ha.

Cheek to Chic x Charlotte Tilbury: Pillow Talk is such an iconic CT shade-the lipstick is my favourite neutral and when she expanded the collection to include this blusher, among other things, my heart sang. I have never tried the Cheek To Chic blushers but this one looks stunning

-What is on your beauty lust list?
Read More
April Wrap Up
4/28/2019

April Wrap Up



April and Autumn arrived with a flurry of changes, a bit of a "we are quarter of the way through 2019" existential crisis-just being honest here and thus things were a bit chaotic and busy but in the best kind of way. Though I definitely found myself reassessing self-care and the like midway through the month and I am glad I did. Anyway, you may have noticed my 'favourites' post has been given a bit of a makeover. Partly because the idea of just a post full of 'things' felt a bit gross, partly because I want to mix things up and try something new. Yeah, so April wrap-up, let's dive in...

Five Things I Loved:

*Spring x Ali Smith: Another blissful homage to all the things I love about Ali Smith's work. And one of my extremely generous friends sent me a signed copy which I am still not over. Read my musings about the book and Ali Smith's genius in general here

*Exfoliating Swipeys x Go-To: Who is surprised to see these here? Nobody? Thought so. I use these three times a week-as directed to give my skin a bit of a szush and a brighten. Unlike other acid products I have tried, these don't feel overly harsh or abrasive. In fact, they're incredibly gentle and a treat to use. Myself and my face love 'em.

*Lonely Lingerie: My love of Lonely lingerie is well documented around these parts. I love everything about the brand; from their inclusiveness when it comes to sizes, the diversity in their advertising+social media imagery, to the genuinely lovely experience of going in store to browse and purchase. Not to mention the quality of their garments and the care+detail in each piece. I've already decided I need some of their swimwear in my life next Summer. Anyway, recently I treated myself to the Maeve bra and Odette. Both quite different designs, both incredibly comfortable and supportive to wear. I think I'm going to get another colour of the Odette because it is that comfortable too.  

*The Act (limited series on Lightbox): Omg this series. Who remembers the viral Buzzfeed article about Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard? I remember reading it equal parts fascinated and horrified so when I saw that Hulu had made a new series re-enacting Gypsy and Dee Dee's story, the same feelings returned. The women are portrayed by Joey King and Patricia Arquette, the latter who is unrecognisable as Dee Dee and gives an incredible performance. The whole show is a psychological mind-maze and leaves you feeling uneasy and unnerved. I'm not going to lie. It's such a good watch though. I highly recommend it. 

*Love+Fear x Marina: Last year was the year of rediscovering Lana Del Rey and 2019 seems to be the year of rediscovering Marina, formerly Marina and the Diamonds. Her new double-album debuted in full this week and it is heaven. Handmade, ha I am so punny. I feel like this will be my new go-to at work when I want to zone out.

Five Good Things:

-Solo Outings: Long weekends are my fave because Auckland clears out and it's quiet and blissful everywhere. It's usually these times that I try to go a bit off the grid myself and I love it. So for my solo-date arvo I went to the Auckland Art Gallery and visited the Guerrilla Girls exhibit which I loved as well as Pacific Sisters. Both are free entry and well worth the look. The gallery is free to NZ citizens too, you just need ID to get in. I followed it with coffee+a bit of a Ponsonby Rd jaunt to acquire the latest The Gentlewoman and groceries (less exciting tbh) before heading back home. Utter. Utter. Bliss. 

-Between Two Books x Stylist Magazine: The lovely Leah, one of the co-founders at Between Two Books asked me if I wanted to share a book recommendation for this article and I was so honoured+excited to be included. To the point I sent screen-shots to people who were like "?? Sophie, risque book cover-I am confused". Anyway, I am still proud as punch to be a part of this so if you want to see my review, it's the one about Eve's Hollywood x Eve Babitz and you can read the whole article here.

-Reassessing Self Care: Ah self care, you really slipped to the backburner didn't you? And it showed. I always, always know now that if I don't prioritise this my mental wellbeing suffers. I become unsettled and tired and it gets ug-ly. So mid April I made some changes. I have pamper Sundays-that's just one thing. I've also reinstated daily (ish) diary writing. Ok some days it is just a bullet pointed list but I try to not dwell on it-so long as I write something. I've also been reading a lot because that also falls to the wayside when I am feeling 'eh' and going for walks and talking to the professionals, well professional. Yep.

-Meeting Zoe Foster Blake and trying all the Go-To bits: I've already yammered on about Go-To's arrival in NZ but when the email came through about an in-store event celebrating the brand and bringing skincare queen+writing wordstress Zoe, I was in. Side note: Zoe is just as lovely and sparkly and perfect-complexiony in real life. It was a good evening w/ my girl Lucie-who also let my disorganised self raid her makeup bag. Thanks Luce, you are the MVP. I also got to hang out in the Beauty Lab and try all the Go-To things. Well, most of 'em. I particularly loved the Face Hero and the Very Useful Face Cream. 

-Music: I'm about to sound like a right luddite but my new phone plan came with free Spotify Premium, which I used to have ages ago and my god. Game. Changer. I am sure 99% of my phone usage now is Spotify. Go ahead, laugh at me. I have two playlists of my own I rotate fairly heavily but I also dabble in whatever the heck I fancy and whatever my friends recommend to me. New discovery: Two Door Cinema Club. I love 'em. Also loving all the throwback 00's music playlists-for the memories and the cringe-inducing moments c/o my tra$h tastes. I love it basically. 



Books I Read In April:

/ Daisy Jones & The Six** x Taylor Jenkins Reid, review here.

/ Spring x Ali Smith, as above.

/ Notes To Self x Emilie Pine: Gut-wrenching, honest and incredibly enlighening prose. Read it and prepare to weep. In the best way.

/ The Audience x Peter Morgan: I don't read plays all that often but I wanted to read this one so I could decide if I should go see this at the ASB Theatre here in Auckland. I am a major The Crown fangirl and noticed that some of the dialogue from this play closely mirrors scenes shown in the series. Particularly exchanges between Churchill and the Queen. Anyway, now I want to see this so fingers crossed I can make it happen.

/ Three Poems x Hannah Sullivan: What is it with me and reading books that are emotionally heavy? These poems made me cry. Dang it Sullivan. In all seriousness-read, beautiful work.

/ The Built Moment x Lavinia Greenlaw: A volume that deals with loss and grief and rebuilding. Exquisitely written, as is the norm with Lavinia Greenlaw. I love her writing. 

-What have you loved during April?

**Review Copy


Read More
Spring in Translation
4/24/2019

Spring in Translation



Ali Smith's seasonal quartet is slowly taking full shape. Ideas are fleshed out, twisted and prised wide open. Covers standing vibrant in all their David Hockney gloriousness. 

Spring, the paperback was pressed into my hands. It promised to bring change and contemplation. Renewal and reformation. It is never lost on me that the seasonal quartet will always starkly contradict whatever is reflected season-wise here in New Zealand. I read Winter in the height of Summer, pages warped by the sun, for example. Spring was read in the early stages of Autumn. It will remind me of early mornings on the way to work. The sun beginning to rise and me trying+sometimes failing to keep my eyes open. 

It is a book further considering loss and political climates and art and the 'radiant disruptors' as Olivia Laing so aptly puts it. It pays homage to Katherine Mansfield, the "little savage", Charlie Chaplin, Rilke, Tacita Dean, among others. Florence Welch even receives a subtle nod. Cue me photographing said passage and excitedly sharing it around. 

It makes sense to have read Spring alongside a book about literary translation. Mining texts for meaning, ideas and repeated motifs. Smith's seasonal quartet reflects the seasons in the time we presently live in. They leave us to mull over the here and now but moreover what they represent thematically in Smith's literature. For her characters, real and imagined. Moreover, the seasonal framework naturally wraps itself around the recurring themes and motifs throughout Ali's work.

And maybe unearthing meaning in the pages of my books is the new mood. I will keep you posted.

Read More
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)



Read More
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
Read More
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?

Read More
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

Read More
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?

Read More
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?


Read More
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. 

Read More