28 December 2016

Best in Beauty 2016


My favourite beauty products of 2016

BH Cosmetics Shaaanxo 18 Colour Eyeshadow & Lipstick Palette
2016 was definitely the year of eyeshadow for me. Since this year I'd hardly touched the stuff, and don't get me wrong, I'm still very bad at applying it, but I've kind of managed to make it look okay on more than one occasion. I have been loving orange and warm toned eyeshadow, and if you're a big fan of that too, the Shaaanxo palette is really good. I find the shadows to be decently pigmented and just what I need. I've hardly touched the lipstick side of the palette though, it's just really not my cup of tea.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream
If there's one liquid lipstick type product you're going to try, make it this one. I own several shades now, and both the light and dark colours go on so smoothly and there are no patches. The one pictured is Cannes which is a lovely wearable pink.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
I've talked about this very recently on my blog, but once again I'll say it - it's my holy grail mascara. I find it adds so much volume and length to my lashes, lifts them up and is very black. It is also very long-lasting and doesn't budge, however that's a bit of a downside when it comes to removing it because it takes more of an effort.

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Rose EDP Spray
This is the most delicious smelling perfume and therefore definitely one of my beauty highlights of the year. This smells very sweet, but not in a sickening way. It's quite fresh and fruity, with opening notes of Italian Mandarin, William Pear and Jasmine Petals.


Lush The Comforter Shower Cream
If there was one bath product to include this year, it's got to be The Comforter Shower Cream. When my favourite bubble bar was turned into a shower cream, it was literally the perfect thing ever. This bottle has lasted me so, so long and it's still not finished yet - I really think the Lush shower gels or creams last really long especially if you get them in the second or above sizes. The scent of this is very sweet and addictive, just not Snow Fairy sweet which I'm not a big fan of.

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation
Hmm, no surprises here. I've talked about this so much on my blog so today's post probably signals the end of professing love for it. I haven't tried too many foundations in my time, but I think choosing to branch out to more high end bases was a good idea. Despite being labelled 'sheer glow' you still get a decent amount of coverage out of this which feels very light weight. It also gives a glow to the skin without looking oily. I also love the fact they have a pale enough shade which doesn't make me feel like I look orange.

Antipodes Skin-Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum
I absolutely loved using this skincare product this year, and I think my face thanked me for it. I think it's the perfect serum or replacement oil for those with combination and oily skin types as it tones the skin and brightens it without any residue whatsoever. I would love to get this again, however it's a little bit more on the pricey side.

The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng & Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask
I think The Body Shop really bought their game this year, especially with the release of their face masks. I was glad I got to try this clarifying and polishing mask as I think it really suits my combination skin tone. I feel like this really brightens the skin and gets rid of any build-up or dead skin. I'm dying to try a couple of the other masks from this range too!


MoroccanOil Blow Dry Concentrate
I find this is just the best thing for my hair once I've washed it, so it isn't too frizzy when I blow dry and straighten it. This doesn't weigh down the hair at all and smoothes it out super nicely. Definitely give this one a go if you're prone to frizzy hair.

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel
This is another product I've raved about countless times on my blog, and every blogger loves to talk about it. It's obviously a very hyped product but I do think it's worth it. It starts off as a gel texture and melts into your skin once you start rubbing it in - it's really moisturising so perfect if you tend to have dry skin, and makes your face absolutely glow.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant
You can use this for all sorts of things, such as treating dry skin patches, sun burn, etc but I just use it as a lip balm and I think it works wonders. It melts into the lips and leaves them looking very glossy and full, but is really moisturising at the same time and doesn't leave the lips more chapped than they were before.

Pureology Strength Cure Conditioner
I haven't tried many salon quality conditioners but trying this Pureology conditioner this year definitely has me converted. This leaves my hair so, so soft, untangled and nourished. It does leave the hair feeling a little bit fuller and stronger. I really want to try other Pureology products because I'm sure they're as good as this conditioner.


Have you tried any of the above products and do you agree with me?

-Emma

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21 December 2016

Winter Wardrobe Essentials

When this post goes live, I'll be on the other side of the world living in winter, which is a nice change from the hot Christmas I'm used to. I personally love winter, and dressing for it especially! Today this post will talk through a few of my favourite winter items and I'll also have some suggestions for similar pieces in case you wanted to pick up something like what you see here.


The Shearling Coat

First up is the winter coat! I bought the one above from ASOS a little while ago. It was a little more of an expensive piece than I would normally get, but I knew investing in a coat (especially one so warm and with a hood) was sensible. This probably wouldn't be the greatest in the rain because of the material, but it's not real suede even if it feels like it, so it shouldn't be too bad. I'm absolutely in love with the faux shearling this has and the look of fur trims, fur collars, etc. Something like this would be a great option for winter.


Try (L-R): Vero Moda Longline Aviator Faux Shearling JacketASOS Vintage Style Faux Shearling Coat, Glamorous Petite Faux Shearling Coat With Zip DetailUrbancode Contrast Faux Shearling Jacket, Glamorous Petite Faux Shearling Contrast Collar Jacket


The High Neck Jumper

I fell in love with this ASOS jumper from the brand Monki, and when it came, I was so pleased to see it was such a nice, lovely quality. The chunky high neck jumper is an absolute essential for me in winter - whether it's a roll neck or a slightly raised collar, I love them. This one is a lovely berry/dark purple shade that looks good with a multitude of things! Here are some of my picks for jumpers like this one...


Try (L-R): Daisy Street High Neck Jumper in Sparkle Knit, Pull&Bear Knitted Jumper in Rib With High Neck, Monki High Neck Ribbed Jumper, ASOS Ultimate Chunky Jumper With High Neck, Dr Denim High Neck Knit Jumper


The Oversized Scarf

My last winter essential is definitely a good scarf. I love the look of oversized/blanket scarves and they're everywhere at the moment. They can be great for a pop of colour, or you could just get a plain coloured one that will suit absolutely everything! The one above is something I bought from ASOS (this blog post sounds like an advert for the website but I love it, haha) maybe one or two years ago. They always have a wonderful selection of scarves like this one, but many of the ones I liked are actually sold out. Nevertheless here are some of my favourites that aren't sold out...


Try (L-R): ASOS Oversized Square Scarf in Brown Check, ASOS Colour Block Reversible Rochelle Scarf, ASOS Check Scarf In Brushed Yarn In Pink, ASOS Long Tassel Scarf in Supersoft Knit, Pieces Ribbed Oversized Blanket Scarf



If it's winter in your neck of the woods what are your winter fashion essentials?

-Emma

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14 December 2016

Travel Beauty | Part Two


Everything in my make-up bag!


You could quite easily call this my every day make-up as well, because everything I'm featuring I pretty much use on an every day basis. There are some things I've left out though, like eyeshadow and eyeliner because I don't know how necessary they are and I don't want to pack too much... I may not even wear make-up some days on my trip but we'll see.

I'm (kind of) stupidly bringing two foundations with me, because my NARS Sheer Glow Foundation is possibly on the verge of running out but I'm not entirely sure. It's my absolute essential, but instead of forking out for another one right now, I'm bringing my back-up, Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation. This is sheerer than the NARS one and is more pink based in colour, but I love the dewy look it gives my skin.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder is what I've been using as my powder for years. I think I saw it on a Tanya Burr video and I was like, that's in my budget so I'm not going to try anything else. I actually don't wear powder on a day to day basis as I don't love the look of a completely powdered face. I'm bringing it just in case though, because my foundations can tend to be a little more glow inducing than I'd like sometimes.

I'm bringing with me two concealers - Rimmel Lasting Finish Concealer because I've been loving putting this on my under eyes and eye lids as it blocks out any veins or dark circles. I can use this for my face as well, but I do tend to like the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer too. The one pictured is actually run out so hopefully I can go out and buy another before I leave.

One of my go-to fragrances is Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Rollerball and seeming I have the Daisy rollerballs, I thought it would be a great time to make use of them and bring one along with me. It's as handy as this make-up which came with a set of Revlon make-up - such a good size that fits every single beauty product here believe it or not.

Of course my Real Techniques brushes are an absolute essential. That reminds me, I need to clean my brushes before I leave, I'm so bad at that! I'm just bringing the Multi-Task Brush to use for powder which comes in the Real Techniques Travel Essentials pack, and the Buffing Brush to use for foundation which comes in the Real Techniques Core Collection Brush Set.

I'm bringing my trusty Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz because it's just about the only thing I use on my eyebrows. My mascara essential is Maybelline Lash Sensational because I've never tried another mascara that's as good as this one. It had to come with me! I also have a cream blush which I'm bringing in case I want to add a little something to my cheeks - I've been loving the Natio Cream to Powder Blush in Luscious recently.

Lastly I have three lip options - I just really wanted to embrace the winter make-up colours, alright?! In all honestly I'll probably just wear lip balm most days, but I have the CoverGirl Katy Kat Matte Lipstick in Sphynx which is my favourite pink nude at the moment. For a red, I have the L'Oreal Matte Max Lip Colour in Say My Name* because it's super wearable and not too high maintenance. Lastly, I'm bringing a purple/dark lip - the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Budapest.


Hope you liked this little peak into my make-up bag & what I'm taking with me on holiday.

-Emma



*PR Gift
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12 December 2016

Travel Reading List


A newly launched magazine, feminist non-fiction & more

I had every intention of bringing about 5 books away with me to Europe this month, but I took a step back and thought it really isn't realistic to read that many books while I'm travelling around various countries all day every day. I've whittled my reading list down to two books and a magazine, to read on the plane or on long travel days. I've picked these reads specifically for my ability to dip in and out of them if needed.

Miss FQ Magazine
This is a magazine that I've been lucky enough to see some of the behind the scenes as I work in the same offices where it's made. I think this is only available to buy in New Zealand, and it's bi annual at the moment, but it's basically a millennials guide to all things fashion, beauty, health, celebrities, etc. The launch issue looks really cool and I'm quite looking forward to reading it. I think it's amazing this magazine (which arose from digital content) is being printed physically because we are seeing more shutdowns of print media more and more these days.


It's Not Me It's You by Mhairi McFarlane
I loved reading Mhairi McFarlane's latest release this year, Who's That Girl?*, so I decided to delve deep into what she's released in the past and picked up a copy of It's Not Me It's You. From what I've read of the summary, it has very similar vibes to Who's That Girl?, as it follows a young woman as she navigates her career and love life. When something disastrous happens, she has to get back on her feet, but this may be harder than she thought. Mhairi's books are such fun reads that I basically don't want to stop reading. I recommend you check them out if you're a fan of contemporary but want something above YA!


Girls Will Be Girls by Emer O'Toole
I have heard a couple of people rave about this recently, so I'm so excited to dig in! This is The Feminist Orchestra Book Club's read of December so I knew I had to take this one away with me. As you may be able to tell from the title, this challenges gender stereotypes and gender binary with academic intelligence but also a bit of humour. As it says on the back cover, this will open your mind and revolutionse the way you think about gender. I have times where I absolutely love reading non-fiction and of course as much feminist theory as I can. I'd say if you're interested in feminism definitely pick this one up, I think it's going to be a must!



-Emma


*Review Copy
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9 December 2016

Travel Beauty | Part One

If I haven't said it enough times already, I'm going away for a month to Europe, and that requires some serious smarts when it comes to packing. I thought I'd collate a post about what I'm planning to pack and along the way I hope you'll find a beauty product or two that you might like to pack away on your own travels when the time comes.


Skincare for the Plane

I think it goes without saying that I won't be wearing a scrap of makeup when I hop on the plane. What a 13 hour flight, followed by a 9 hour flight requires is some serious skincare (that of course won't take up too much space).

For the plane, I've deposited some of the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel into a little pot that I'll probably use a few times to refresh and nourish my skin, because that plane air is going to be drying. I was having trouble finding a moisturiser I owned that fit the requirement for carry-on luggage, but I dug up the Garnier Miracle Wake Up Cream which is a nice energising, thick but not too thick moisturiser.

If my skin needs a refresh, I've included my Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Radiance Serum because it's in quite a small bottle and I could really do with some extra moisture. This is a lightweight, lovely smelling lotion that I'm hoping will be the perfect cure for tiredness and dulness. For my lips, the only product I deemed good enough for lips that will inevitably be very dry from air conditioning, is the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant. I've also chucked in a teeny size of the ASPAR Sweet Orange and Shea Hand Cream.


Skincare

When I eventually land (it's going to feel like an eternity I tell ya), I'll be using the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water* daily to take off my makeup thanks to the handy travel size. The Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel is my go-to cleanser and I'll be taking a full-size bottle because I don't think my skin can survive without it. The Simple Kind to Skin Hydrating Moisturiser will be coming with me as well - it's a nice lightweight moisturiser that does the job. I wanted to bring one mask with me for the odd time I feel like a skin treat, so I've opted for the Manuka Doctor ApiClear Purifying Facial Peel because it doesn't come in a huge or glass container like some of my masks do.


Bodycare

I won't be taking all of this set with me, but I thought I'd mention the Savar Travel Minis Set which includes a shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion. As I'm bringing my own trusty shampoo and conditioner, I thought I'd just use the body products as they're a really good size - not too small they're going to be used in a few goes but not too big either.


Haircare

I'm opting for a full-size shampoo and conditioner because I'm going away for a whole month. I'm taking the Moroccan Oil Extra Volume Shampoo and the Pureology Strength Cure Conditioner. The blow dry serum I wanted to take was in a glass bottle and a little bigger, so instead I'm going to bring the OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Penetrating Oil which does a nice job at smoothing out frizzy hair.



Stay tuned for Wednesday next week where I'll be displaying the contents of my travel makeup bag!

-Emma



*Product from PR Company
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7 December 2016

Most Anticipated Reads of 2017


Add these to your to-read list immediately...

Last year when I made a post similar to this, I managed to tick off every book I listed bar one - however I do own that book and am planning to read it super soon. In the photo you'll see my most anticipated reads of 2016. I loved some while others didn't quite live up to expectations. I'm so excited to babble on about my most anticipated reads for next year - there are so many good releases coming out.

Doing It by Hannah Witton - out April 6
I was so excited when I heard YouTuber Hannah Witton was coming out with a book. If you didn't know, on her channel she talks about sex (among other things) and this book is going to be all about that - her experiences (getting personal!), consent, relationships, the digital age, and so on. It will be a perfect book for teenagers and young adults alike. I love watching Hannah's videos such as the Hormone Diaries series she does, where she talks about her journey with coming off the pill and exploring other forms of contraception, and just talking about sex and contraception in general - I highly recommend it!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - out May 4
When one of your favourite authors reads an advanced copy, gives it 5 stars, and raves about it, you add it to your to-read list immediately. From the looks of it, this is about a girl who is a creature of habit and lives a very normal life - one that she is completely fine with, but maybe she isn't actually fine with it all. One simple act of kindness can change everything. From all the 5 star reviews I've seen on Good Reads so far, I'm so excited to read this when it comes out!

Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt - out February 1
'For fans of Rainbow Rowell and Stephanie Perkins' - nothing gets me more interested than that. Upon reading the summary this sounds very much like something Rainbow Rowell would write, and I am so up for that. This book follows two characters, Lexi and Aidan, at a convention centre, and it sounds as though their personalities clash quite a lot. If this is anything like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (and it definitely has similar vibes), I know I'm going to absolutely love this.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli - out April 11
I absolutely loved Becky Albertalli's book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Like so, so much. It was such an accessible, hilarious, cute read that I finished reading it at 2am with happy tears in my eyes. It's rare when a book like that comes along, so that's why I'm so excited for Becky's second book, which I'm hoping is going to stir up some of the same magic. If you didn't realise from the title, this is about unrequited love (relatable much?!). I think the characters Becky comes up with are amazing, and by the sounds of the summary these ones will be too.

Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay - out January 3
I haven't yet read Roxanne's pretty famous book Bad Feminist (although I want to), but I absolutely can't wait to read Difficult Women - it sounds fantastic. This is apparently a collection of stories which explores the lives of various different women. Women who are frigid, misunderstood, married, have children, have loads of sex, have no sex, etc. I have a really good feeling about this book, and you should add it to your TBR if you're interested in feminism!

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard - January 12
I've been meaning to read Beautiful Broken Things, which is Sara Barnard's first book, for a while. I've finally picked up a copy and am excited to read it, because it has so many great reviews, especially some from authors or bloggers I love! This book seems to be getting reviews along the same lines. A Quiet Kind of Thunder follows a girl who is a selective mute and a boy at her school who is deaf. Even though someone is quiet, it doesn't mean they don't have a voice. This looks to be a beautiful depiction of social anxiety with a subtle love story.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - out February 28
This book is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, issues of racism and police violence. Starr Carter moves between the poor neighbourhood she lives in and the fancy prep school she attends. She witnesses the shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil - he was unarmed. If this rings a bell, you'll know just how much it's inspired by some of the shootings that have happened in 2016 and before. This seems like such a timely, important book that is going to be big next year.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber - out January 31
This is the only fantasy book on the list, but I think it's going to be a good one! This definitely has The Night Circus vibes, and it's a story about two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter a dangerous game called 'Caraval'. It looks like this book has loads of fantasy, magic, twists and turns. This book has been described as very whimsical, magical, romantic and enchanting. I love reading fantasy at selective times, so this is going to be one I'll enjoy when I'm in the mood for it.



These are releases from more of the beginning of 2017 so I'm sure there's loads more exciting books coming out. Let me know if you have any books you're anticipating!

You can check out my Good Reads page where I mark everything I want to read and have read. Let me know if you mark any of these books to-read.


-Emma

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5 December 2016

Summer Fashion Favourites


Shades of pink, those over-worn mom jeans & heels I can get behind...

Before I hop on a plane and set foot into winter, I thought I'd run through some of my key summer fashion pieces. I'm really not a fan of summer, summer dressing included. I'd rather have many layers and wrap myself up, but there are a few things I'm excited to wear, including a recent Zara shoe purchase...


I never wear heels and frankly hate putting up with them, but I can definitely cope with this navy blue pair from Zara. New Zealand's first Zara opened last month and I went for a look recently - there were some really nice things - but these shoes were the only item I came away with. They do look a bit like something your grandma would wear, however I do think they look very 60s and I am all about that.

Transporting this to the 70s, I have paired the shoes with a Freaks and Geeks esque striped shirt from H&M - also a new shop in New Zealand. As I've managed to incorporate two different decades into this look, why not add another? I'm going all out 80s and channelling Barb from Stranger Things (as I always say) with wearing these mom jeans that have practically taken over my life. They're quite suitable for summer and I can bet I'll be wearing them a ton.


Next up we have a very delightful pink long-sleeve shirt or jumper that I'm actually not too sure is that summer appropriate after practically dying while having it on in hot weather. I think this is for more of the mild days - cute nevertheless. I love the frill trend that is going on at the moment, and I'm jumping at the chance to wear this with my favourite high-waisted items including this Mink Pink corduroy mini skirt and mom jeans.

I can't forget my new shoe purchase - some old school style Vans which I've seen everyone wearing recently. I love the look of them and they go with everything. While Vans are usually comfy, these slightly killed my feet - namely my ankles - because they're harder than the normal style Van. I did wear them with thicker socks and they were fine, but just an FYI..


Another clothing item I've acquired recently is this gorgeous silky looking pink bomber jacket from Glassons. This one is very thin and light, perfect for covering up in the summer but it certainly doesn't make you hot. Bomber jackets are having a moment if you haven't noticed and I'm loving it - I have a couple of others tucked in my wardrobe too. I would tend to wear this jacket with a plain tee or this Submarine one, high waisted jeans and...

Another new pair of shoes (what's wrong with me at the moment?) - but after I learned my new pair of Vans weren't ~quite~ so comfy as I thought they would be, I jumped on the 20% off ASOS discount for Black Friday and bought a pair of Stan Smiths - I know I'm basic AF. They are very very comfy though and you really can't go wrong with a white pair of sneakers.



That's my summer fashion done & dusted. I am thinking of doing a sneak peak of my winter wardrobe for my trip to Europe next...

-Emma
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2 December 2016

7 Nude Pink Lip Products To Try


Whether it's summer or winter, there's a rosy pink or nude lip out there for everyone

Sometimes it seems we're all searching for the perfect pinkish nude lip, that 'my lips but better' shade, or something a little more 90s. I have a selection of my favourite nude pink lipsticks here - with a variety of formulas and everything from a true nude, rosy pink to peachy.

Top row L-R: L'OREAL Matte Max Lip Colour in Silencio 001*
I swear I've talked about this lip product on my blog a fair bit, but I am quite a fan of the formula, and in particular this nude pink shade that's a little brown and a touch orange toned. This doesn't wash out a pale skin tone and is easy peasy to apply. As it's a very light, sheer formula it's super easy to apply with the sponge-like pointed applicator and it's very buildable which means minimal application mistakes.

Karen Murrell Lipstick in 06 Carnation Mist
I'm new to the brand Karen Murrell, but their main philosophy is that there are no nasties in their makeup. This colour Carnation Mist is a true pink which may be a little too bright for some but I imagine it suits a variety of skin tones. The Karen Murrell lipsticks smell really nice too - like cinnamon - which is a bonus. I think the formula of these are very wearable and easy to apply. They're also not too shiny or glossy but not matte and drying either.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Cannes
Could I profess my love for these soft matte lips creams any more? I highly recommend you give them a go. This shade, Cannes, is more of a pink than a nude, but it's a really flattering colour that isn't a sickly baby pink but a little darker and deeper. These dry down to a matte extremely nicely and are pretty long lasting too. I have a very nude shade in this formula which I think washes me out just a little, but this really pops with my skin and looks great.


Second row L-R: Essence Longlasting Lipstick in 07 Natural Beauty
This is your go to affordable lipstick of the bunch. I find Essence to be a nice quality despite everything being something like under $10. This shade is such a wearable lipstick, like many others in this bunch. This is less bright pink than some of the others I've written about. I find it's quite a rosy colour which can be used lightly on the lips for a touch of colour, or applied fully for a pretty look.

L'OREAL Colour Riche Lipstick in 231 Sepia/Silk*
This is definitely the nudest shade of the bunch, but I find it's one that doesn't wash me out, as I have a pale complexion. This is quite brown toned which I'm a fan of and makes a nice change from the classic pink. This is the type of lipstick you can literally throw on without a mirror - it has a sheer formula without being overly glossy and is the perfect lipstick to wear when you'll be eating because it won't move halfway across your face.

Covergirl Katy Kat Matte Lipstick in Sphynx Sphinx
This is what I'd call my ideal lipstick shade - it's not overly pink and not too brown, it sits somewhere in the middle. I've only tried this out recently but it's definitely a new favourite because the formula is just a dream. It's not overly matte but still looks matte enough, which means it sits nicely on the lips and stays put a fair bit.

Rimmel London Lasting Finish By Kate Lipstick in 54 Rock 'N' Roll Nude
This is very similar to the above Covergirl shade, albeit a tiny bit lighter in colour. As you may be able to tell from the photo, this new Kate collection has the nicest rose gold packaging which I love. This is verging on a little bit peachy which I would argue makes it the perfect summer shade! Definitely check this collection out, which celebrates 15 years of Kate Moss partnering with Rimmel.


What are your favourite nude pink lip products?


-Emma



*PR Gift

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30 November 2016

Read in November


A one-to-watch fantasy trilogy, time travel, and teen pregnancy are what you'll find in this post

I didn't read too much this month because exams basically took up the first half of November, but now I'm free from everything Uni so I should be on my way to putting up more book reviews soon. The three books I did read this month I actually all enjoyed, so here are the reviews...


The Baby by Lisa Drakeford
Published by Chicken House on 1 July 2015
3.5 Stars

The Baby opens with a party scene where a teenage girl is giving birth on her friend's bathroom floor. The best bit is she didn't even know she was pregnant. This book follows the perspectives of five people - Olivia, Ben, Jonty, Alice and Nicola, and each person has a chapter of their own. They all have their own struggles going on and it's an eye-opening realisation that you don't know everything that's going on in a person's life. One of the main themes addressed in this book is obviously teen pregnancy, and it's a refreshing and interesting take on the topic. There are other themes such as domestic violence, bullying and sexuality.

I always love multiple perspectives in books, and as this one was very short (200 pages), it was nice to have a chapter with each person's perspective. I particularly loved Alice's chapter, who is eleven years old and the younger sister of one of the older characters. I loved her voice and it was a very sweet story to read about. I don't read much from children's voices but really enjoyed that. While this is a very basic novel, I liked how it dealt with several topics and as I said before, showed that you don't know what is going on in everyone's minds, family life, and what's happened in their past.


The Last Beginning by Lauren James*
Published by Walker Books on 1 October 2016
4 Stars

This is the second and final book of Lauren James' series which follows Katherine and Matthew throughout history. I won't say too much because this is the second book, but there's been a big time leap since the last book finished. In this book we essentially follow Clove Sutcliffe, who is trying to find out what happened to her parents. There is time travel involved which is very cool and gives you Back to The Future vibes, and there's more romance but now between two other people.

There are many questions that weren't answered in the first book that are now answered in the second, you'll be pleased to know. I liked how we could still continue with Katherine and Matthew's story but through a different character. So much more of the history was explored and everything was tied up nicely. I loved reading a little bit of fantasy after reading mostly contemporary this year. I would really recommend this series if you're in YA - it's well written, with nice touches, and interesting ideas - like all that time travel and how love connects two people.


The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen*, RRP: $37.00
Published by Penguin on 28 November 2016
4 Stars

The Fate of the Tearling is the conclusion to the Tearling trilogy - I read the first two books about a year ago. The second book was a stand-out for me in particular so I knew I wanted to get into the third as soon as possible. The series is fantasy and science fiction, incorporating magic into it, interesting characters, and has a complex world and history. The first book follows the future Queen of the Tearling, Kelsea, as she travels from her adoptive parent's home to the Tearling's castle where she will rule. I won't say too much about the plot of book two and three, but if you get into the books, they're addictive and epic.

I'd have to say this was probably my favourite read of the month! I've missed reading fantasy and this has got me into it more. This book explained so much more of the history of the whole world and made sense of many, many things. I have loved Kelsea as a character from the beginning - she has been a very interesting and refreshing character, with lots and lots of character development. I actually find this series to be have feminist elements to it as well. I enjoyed this book probably the most out of the three, until the ending. I definitely do think this series is well worth a read, however I was disappointed and this would have been a 5 star read! I won't say anymore, but I'm just waiting until someone I know finishes this book so I can discuss it with them. I loved this series so much and am going to miss it - it's bittersweet!



-Emma

*Sent to me for review
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28 November 2016

A Festive November Favourites


It's time to start celebrating all things spicy scented, glow inducing, and vampy shaded


Jo Malone Orange Bitters Cologne
I've lusted over Jo Malone scents since beauty YouTubers started raving about them. One of my favourite things about these perfumes, I've discovered since owning one, is that the scent lingers a very long time and is not match for those cheaper perfumes. This has a very festive, citrus and spicy scent which kind of smells like a man's cologne, but I tend to really like those anyway. This has been the perfect thing to get me in a more festive mood and embrace Autumn while it's Spring in New Zealand.

Lush Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb
This is one of my favourite bath bombs, maybe even my favourite. I absolutely love the spicy, woody scent it has - but it's almost like nothing I've smelt before. It turns the water an amazing bright green/blue and pink and smells so divine in the process. I believe this is actually a Halloween bath bomb, however Lush NZ at least has transitioned this over to the Christmas period and is still selling it. This is definitely one to try at this time of the year!

Maybelline Colour Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Colour in 695 Divine Wine
This has been my favourite lipstick discovery this month - if not for the colour, but for the formula. I'm sure you could find many shades which you'll love in this range - I am all about the matte lips all year round if I'm honest. This produces a very bold, opaque long-lasting colour that really stays put. I think this shade, 695 Divine Wine, really suits me and it's basically the darkest lipstick I own. I am all about those dark, vampy shades at the moment.

Glossier Coconut Balm Dotcom Universal Skin Salve
Shoutout to Sophie for giving this to me as a birthday present - I've been wanting to try Glossier for a little while after seeing all the amazing packaging (hmm.. is that a good reason?). The beautiful packaging isn't the only nice thing though, as this skin salve which I'm using as a lip balm at the moment, is lovely. For starters, it really smells like coconut - no artificial stuff here - it smells so good! It also works as a nice lip balm to rival my Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant, as it melts into the lips and nourishes them.

Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Radiance Serum
I haven't been trying out a whole lot of new skincare recently, but I have tried out this product and it's been an absolute winner for me. I've previously only tried the peeling mask from Manuka Doctor, but this is great as well. I've been needing a new serum in my life to use before my moisturiser, and this perfectly fits the bill, as it's quite a liquidy cream texture that sinks into the skin nicely and leaves my complexion feeling really soft. This is a very silky serum and it's great for adding a bit of extra moisture to the skin.

The Body Shop Spiced Apple Body Butter
I shall leave you with a last hit of festivity and rave about The Body Shop's new limited edition Spiced Apple Body Butter. This smells absolutely amazing! It smells very fresh but spicy at the same time and is such a treat to use. I love The Body Shop's body butters as they leave you with amazingly moisturised, soft skin. I honestly can't stop smelling this any time I have it near me, so I definitely recommend heading to a shop near you to give it a sniff! I really want the Spiced Apple candle too..



What festive products have been your favourite at this time of the year?

-Emma

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25 November 2016

Bases For Pale Skin




The best products for pale skin

I've finally got around to sharing with you the foundations and concealers I use for my super pale skin. I don't just mean light, I mean really pale. It's hard for me to find really good colour matches but I have a few products that do the job for me.

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia
This is my number one foundation - as well as the formula and finish being really lovely, it's pale enough to not make me look like a cheeto. The shade I have is the lightest and is quite yellow toned. In all honesty I'm not entirely sure if my skin is yellow or pink based but this works wonders. It really cancels out redness in the skin and has enough coverage that sometimes I don't have to use concealer. I thought I'd also mention the NARS Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, which is a very light concealer perfect for people with pale skin. I think more high end brands actually cater for a wider range of skin tones.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Concealer in 010 Porcelain
I've been using this concealer on and off for a few months and I find this is really good for covering up marks or blemishes on the skin. I think it does cling to dry patches a little bit, so it could be good for more oily/combination skin types. With some brands, the lightest concealer shade can often be really orange or just not pale at all, but this one is a nice light shade. The only thing with this is that it comes in a pot, so if you're concerned about hygiene that could be a turn off.

Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation in 010 Light Porcelain
As you can see, I think Rimmel does a fairy good pale base. I think this was the first foundation I tried and used it religiously because it was very light toned. This one is much more pink based than the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, so if you're very yellow toned this probably isn't the best option. I find it works well for me though - it's a nice and liquidy foundation (the NARS one is too) which makes it quite easy to blend and it produces a dewy glow. This also has SPF included in it which makes it a nice every day foundation.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Light
I'm sure everyone has heard of this concealer, but it is amazing for pale skin tones. It is a fairy thick formula, but blendable, which makes it perfect for concealing blemishes. I don't like using this under my eyes as it's a thicker consistency as I said. This is definitely my number one concealer option because it looks faultless on the skin and doesn't make me look orange at all. I need to pick up another one of these - they're so cheap too!


-Emma

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23 November 2016

November Music Recommendations


Bands to fill the hole in your indie heart

I've discovered quite a lot of new music recently which has been great, because for the past couple of months (heck, the past year) I've been listening to the exact same two bands. Let's see if you can guess... anyway, here I have some fresh new music recommendations, and I won't lie, it's mostly down the the fab Liv and her recent record collection video - I swear we have very similar music taste and I'm lovin' it. Without further ado, here are a few new artists to check out...


Blossoms
This is exactly the type of band which ticks all the boxes for me - catchy indie pop, but with something a little moody, with organ and guitar to boot. Blossoms is an English band made up of four members and they're pegged to be something like a mix of The Doors and the Arctic Monkeys, which can only be good in my books. So they're everything from groovy and spooky, to the classic Brit pop style.

My favourite songs are: Charlemagne, Texia, You Pulled a Gun on Me.


Temples
There's one band I want to compare Temples to, and that is Tame Impala. They have a psychedelic air about them - actually - rather full-on psychedelic pop that has something a bit experimental about them. For some reason they're almost giving me a The Beatles vibe, but with something cooler. They are also a four piece British band, but there's something inherently cool about them that doesn't exactly place them in the standard British indie pop box.

My favourite songs are: Shelter Song, Mesmerise, Sun Structures.


The Last Shadow Puppets
Okay, so this isn't a new-to-me band, in fact they're one of my ultimate favourites, however I thought I'd mention their new covers which are coming out. They've so far released Is This What You Wanted - a Leonard Cohen cover - and Les Cactus - a Jacques Dutronc cover. There are more to be released and they so far they've all come with a brand spanking new music video, which features Alex Turner's amazing dad dance moves. Not complaining. I pre-ordered the limited edition red vinyl of this new EP release and I'm itching for it to arrive. If you've never listened to TLSP before, expect dark, theatrical but rocky tunes that are a tad eccentric to a newbie.

My favourite songs are: Is This What You Wanted and The Dream Synopsis, with more to be released soon.


Beach Baby
Your answer to accessible indie, beachy tunes, Beach Baby is one of my new favourites. No surprises here, but this band is another four-piece entirely made up of dudes and they specialise in melodic indie rock with post-punk flavour (according to Spotify, that is). Their latest release and debut album - No Mind No Money - practically has me dancing all over the place and I can't get enough of them. They're slightly dreamy sounding, very addictive, and a whole lotta cool.

My favourite songs are: Limousine and Ladybird.



I've put together a playlist with all my faves...




What have you been listening to recently?

-Emma

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21 November 2016

Products For Frizz Free Hair


Say hello to nourished, soft hair with these two new-to-me hair saviours

I've been on somewhat of a haircare finding mission lately. In the last few months I've tried out things which I've liked and continued to use, but recently I've come across a couple of products that are complete game changers in the frizz free hair department.

Pureology Strength Cure Conditioner*
I've heard things about Pureology hair products here and there, but never tried anything, so when I got the chance to take it home as a gift from work, I was chuffed. This stuff is honestly amazing. It's the best conditioner I've tried and that's understandable because it's a more expensive hair product whereas I usually use fairly cheap haircare. It makes your hair feel like silk and really nourishes the ends - when you wash it off it feels like heaven. This has definitely improved my hair and made it feel less dry.

Moroccan Oil Blow Dry Concentrate*
I've been using a couple of oils on damp hair recently, but they don't really compare to this product. I've been wanting to try Moroccan Oil products out for a long time, and this is a great one to start with. I believe my hairdresser uses this as it has the same smell - I'm so happy I can use it with every wash now because it makes a huge difference to my hair. When applied just before blow drying the hair, it makes everything look smoother and less frizzy once dry. Once I've straightened my hair as well, I've pretty much achieved Cher from Clueless hair goals.



Have you tried anything from these two brands? I'm in love with what I've tried so far!

-Emma


*Gifted
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17 November 2016

How I Edit My Instagram + Blog Photos


I personally always find it fascinating to hear about behind the scenes processes, especially when it comes to editing photos - whether that be blog photos or instagram. I've put together a post like this before, but it's a little outdated. So I'm revisiting this topic and I'll get into it right now...

Blog Photos

- When I take photos, I usually make sure everything looks as bright and clear looking as I can, without everything washing out. I use my ISO to brighten up everything before I actually take the picture, something you can't do with iPhones, which really helps. My camera is a beginner level DLSR (Canon 1100D) which shows that you don't need a really expensive camera to take decent photos. I bought a new lens earlier this year - Canon 50mm f/1.8 - which is really nice for blog photos/product shots. For the photo I'm demonstrating with today, my camera settings were ISO 800, f/ 5.6 (aperture) 1/100. I'm no expert, but I just play around a little until it looks good.

- I will upload the pictures from my SD card to Adobe Bridge which makes reviewing the photos really easy. I '5 Star' the one or two photos I'm likely to use for a post, and get editing.


- First, I edit from Adobe Bridge by opening it in 'Camera Raw'. I sort out the basics here - adjusting the temperature if it's too warm or cool toned and up the exposure. To make this easy each time, I have saved a preset which means this step can be done with one click. The preset I used here is called 'blog' as you can see in the screenshot below.


- Next, I open the image in Photoshop. The main thing I do here is adjust the curves to make it even brighter and fresh looking. You'll see that I've dragged the bar upwards towards the top right. This automatically does wonders and is one of the main editing tools I'd recommend, especially if you want white, bright photos. Levels is also useful to increase the white, grey and black in an image - just don't go overboard.


- There will be a few more adjustments I'll make if I feel like I need to, but that's basically it. I can edit a photo in a few minutes, so I've got my process down.

The final result...



Now for Instagram...

- I tend to be quite pendantic with my instagram. I often want things to look quite white and fresh, but not all the time. The one and pretty much only app I use to edit photos, along with hundreds of other bloggers & instagrammers alike, is VSCO.


- As you can see from the photo comparisons, the left one is really quite dark with many shadows. Usually my photos would tend to look a little brighter than this to begin with, but this comparison really shows how much a difference editing makes.

- First, I have adjusted the exposure to +5. Depending on the photo, this could be lower but I always brighten something up at least by one or two.

- Next, I've adjusted this photo +2 contrast. I'll usually up the contrast by one or two because it gives definition to the photo and doesn't wash out the objects.

- I will use the temperature setting if I need to, to make it less cool or warm. In this case I haven't adjusted that, even though the photo looks quite warm, I liked the look of it.

- The filter I've used is A6, and this is the main one I'll use. I also like HB1 and HB2. I'll most likely put the filter around 8+ or 10+ so it's not too intense, but it really depends.

- Photos with a darker background/not on a white surface will be quite different to edit but I still love using those above filters I've mentioned for basically everything.

-Make sure you make the most of natural light because a good photo to begin with means less work when it comes to editing!


Hope you may have found this slightly interesting or useful..

-Emma
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14 November 2016

Autumn Lip Picks From A Girl in the Southern Hemisphere


Seven affordable dark lip products for autumn

I thought I'd sneak right in with some of my Autumn makeup picks before the season's up for good. I wish it was Autumn right now in NZ, but alas it's not. I personally am just loving dark lips right now even though we're going into summer, but who cares about makeup rules?! Not me.

1. L'Oreal Infallible Matte Max Lipstick in 007 Say My Name*
This is one of two reds I'm featuring in this post, and this one is more of a bright, classic red. I generally like the formula of this range, apart from the purple colour which is patchy. This however, is not. It's a very lightweight, fairly sheer lip product that has a powder finish. It sounds pretty weird, but these feel like nothing on the lips and is such a low maintenance option. You can build this up to give a nice opaque finish.

2. Rimmel London Lasting Finish By Kate Lipstick in 107
The classic Rimmel 107. This red is darker and more of a berry shade than the L'Oreal option and a lovely matte formula. You'll rarely see me without a matte lip, and this Rimmel lipstick isn't too drying on the lips. I've had this product for absolutely ages and it's been really quite faithful to me - the perfect option if you're after a standard berry red lipstick.

3. Rimmel London Lasting Finish By Kate Lipstick in 30
This is one of the few non matte shades I have to share, but I love this one for the gorgeous plum purple colour. If you're not into everything matte, it's definitely worth trying this lipstick or any number from the Lasting Finish By Kate range - I think from what I've heard, generally everyone loves them and you can't really go wrong.

4. Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lipstick in 45 Possessed Plum*
This is similar to the shade above but in the liquid lipstick form everyone is loving at the moment. This is a fairy new addition to my collection but from what I've tried so far these seem to be fairy long lasting. One gripe I have is that they're not completely matte, even after waiting for it to dry down. They look quite glossy on the lips, but this can be solved by blotting the very top layer. I like the applicator of this as dark lipsticks are pretty hard to apply with a normal bullet.

5. Maybelline Colour Blur Lipstick in Plum, Please*
As you can see from the name, this one is a very similar shade to the two previous lipsticks I've mentioned. This colour and formula definitely reminds me of the Maybelline Colour Drama Lip Pencils which are often compared to the NARS Lip Pencils. This definitely has a very vivid, bold formula which I love, however I'm not sure I like the blurring smudger on the other end of the stick as I've never used it and it's a bit gimmicky.

6. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Budapest
I would describe this shade as a slightly desaturated purple that's verging on a burgandy brown colour. This has to be one of my favourites because the NYX Soft Matte Cream formulas are great, as I'm sure you'll know if you've read my blog before. This lip product is lightweight on the lips and doesn't look patchy. It dries down nicely and while you'll probably need to touch it up after a while, it works really well.

7. Maybelline Colour Sensational Creamy Matte Lip Colour in 695 Divine Wine*
This is a new addition and it's already such a favourite! I wore this out for a long dinner and it lasted really well. This is the darkest shade of the bunch - a reddy purple matte. The formula of this is so good - it goes on so smoothly and gives a bold, opaque result. It's what I was wearing in a recent instagram post in case you're wondering. Don't be surprised if this turns up in my November favourites..


I'd love to know if you love dark lipstick like me and what are your favourites?


-Emma



*Gifted to me by a friend/work - the L'Oreal Matte Max is a PR sample
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7 November 2016

A Book Wishlist


What I'd put into my basket right now if I had the chance...

I'm waiting for the day when I'm completely free of Uni (so, 4 days) when I can finally make a Book Depository order and get my reading on! I haven't had my head in a book for a little while so I'm going to absolutely relish it over summer and my Europe trip in December. There's a little bit of everything here, from a classic to contemporary & beyond.


Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits & Leanne Shapton
After listening to Dawn O'Porter's podcast Get it On all about what people wear and why, the prospect of this book sounded wonderful. It's all about how the clothes we put on define and shape our lives, and how talking about what we wear can be a deeper subject. Women such as Tavi Gevinson, Lena Dunham, Roxane Gay and Molly Ringwald feature in this book, so if that's anything to go by... As Dawn O'Porter emphasises in her podcast, I think it's so wonderful how personal style can become something so empowering and fun.

Not Working by Lisa Owens
The books I've found to read all apparently emerge from podcasts, because I heard about this book from Ctrl Alt Delete by Emma Gannon when she interviewed Lisa Owens, who is a writer and was once an editor for a publishing company. In the podcast she talked about how she wanted to write about an adult relationship where for once the two participants weren't unhappy in their marriage. This book is fiction, but Lisa draws inspiration from her own life where she found she was confused about what exactly she wanted to do with her life. In this book Claire quits her job in order to discover what it is she really wants to do.

Emma by Jane Austen
I promise I don't just want to read this book because the title is my name and it has a pretty cover... I've been itching to read some classics and overall widen my reading sphere a little. I've read about a third of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and Breakfast at Tiffany's, but that's just about all I've read in the classics section. I find that there's something so romantic and cozy about reading books set in this time and I do love a period drama on Netflix. If anyone has other recommendations for classics maybe like this one I'd love to know?

London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning
After Hannah Witton recommended this in her latest favourites video, I really want to get this because it sounds right up my street. Basically from what I can gather, the main character Sunny goes on an adventure/mission across London after she finds out her boyfriend has cheated on her - and it all happens in a 12 hour period. I'm going to London at the start of next year so this would probably be really nice to read to learn a little bit more about London, I'm assuming.


Do you like the sound of any of these, or have you read any of them?

-Emma

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31 October 2016

October Beauty Favourites


It's that time of the month again where I rave about my beauty essentials

Things look rather autumnal in this beauty favourites post, even though I'm currently going into summer. I can't help be envious of everyone in the Northern Hemisphere who have orange leaves everywhere - it is my favourite season after all. Hopefully there's a bit of something for everyone here - from volumising haircare to a classic dark lip.

Shaaanxo 18 Colour Eyeshadow & Lipstick Palette
As I stated in my review of this, I've basically only been using the eyeshadow side of this but I am loving it. It has shades which I'm really rather fond of - I love nothing more than a warm toned eyeshadow look, especially when orange is involved. I think the pigment and pay off of these shadows are really decent, especially when this palette is quite affordable.

Lee Stafford My Big Fat Healthy Hair Shampoo & Conditioner
This is a new shampoo and conditioner duo I've been trying out for the last month which I thought I'd mention! This is more of a volumnising shampoo and conditioner, so if you already have thick hair, this may not be best suited to you. I think I have quite fine hair but it can also be frizzy. I tend to think this can be a little stripping on the hair, but that's why I recommend using it alongside another shampoo and conditioner. I find this makes my hair feel thicker and not dragged down, and both products tend to make my hair less frizzy when I use it an oil as well. If you have fine, limp hair I think these would be really good, although like I said, they can feel a bit drying if overused.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
This is my holy grail, #1 mascara without a doubt! I had a little break from using this to pursue other things, but I've come back. This has been plenty raved about in the beauty blogging world but if you haven't tried it yet, definitely give it ago. It gives my lashes a false lash effect by lengthening and lifting the lashes, and it's also very black and volumnising too. I've received compliments while wearing this and I do notice my lashes look extra long and thick when I use this. My only gripe with this is that it is a little difficult to remove, but you really get an intense, full look with this.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Budapest
I've had a chance to wear this recently and I am in love. This colour is a dark plum purple, almost burgundy colour - perfect for autumn or anytime really. I find the staying power of this particular shade to actually be really good - when I wore this the other day (see here) it stayed on pretty much all day even after I had eaten lunch. I love the formula and matte look of these soft matte lip creams - I could just buy a ton of them!


Do you like the look of anything here?

-Emma
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