29 January 2016

January Favourites


First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser - I've been using this for at least a couple of weeks now and I'm really liking it. Previously from First Aid Beauty, I'd tried their Oatmeal Face Mask and enjoyed it, and their cleanser doesn't disappoint either. This leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed, and while it's nothing groundbreaking, I think it's good for sensitive skin. The smell isn't my favourite but I can live with that. This was a small size from a gift pack but I was surprised because there is more product than I thought.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara - I have mentioned this mascara briefly on the blog before, but I think this month it deserves some more attention. I have seen a lot of people mentioning this recently, so I thought I'd add to the cluster and tell you that I love it too. Sometimes I haven't felt like wearing liquid winged eyeliner, so I'll just wear mascara on it's own. This very black mascara makes your eyelashes look so amazing - full and lengthened. I can see myself using this over and over.

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Brick Fashion Week (234)* - I've also mentioned this briefly on my blog before, but I knew as soon as I'd started trying it out, it would have to go in my favourites. I think it's the colour more than anything which I love - it looks like an orange-red in the photo, however it comes out quite a bit lighter on the lips. I've never been one for orange lipstick, but it's just something lovely instead of my standard pink based lipstick. The formula itself is good too - creamy on the lips and buildable - however this isn't a matte formula which I tend to like more. Something sheer and pretty is nice for a change though, especially in summer like it is for me now.


Vinyl - It probably comes as no surprise to you that I've been loving Vinyl lately. My town's well-known record store opened back up recently so I've been a couple times to sift through the records. While they're kind of expensive, and I'll only buy one here and there, they're just such a novelty. Nothing better than sticking on a record and pottering around the house. FYI this record is Yumi Zouma's Limited Edition vinyl EP I + II.


The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks By E. Lockhart - You would have seen in my Read in January Post | Part One that I absolutely loved this book. In case you missed my review of it, you can check it out here. This was definitely my favourite book I read in January and I wholeheartedly recommend it. It was such a cool book, I'm literally so in love with it.

A striped shirt - I'm going to mention any miscellaneous/fashion favourites if I have any each month, and this month I have definitely loved wearing this striped shirt from Glassons, which was cheap and nice quality. I'm such a sucker for striped shirts - I own way too many, but it's just something I can't shake. I haven't taken any outfit photos in quite a while - it actually makes me kind of sad! I really want to shoot more posts on fashion but as I mentioned in a previous post, I just haven't been 'feeling' my clothes at the moment. Hopefully it's something I do a little more of soon!


Hope you liked this slightly more condensed favourite list from what I usually do.

-Emma


*PR Sample
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27 January 2016

Soundtrack to January


Welcome to a new post that I'll be doing monthly on my blog this year. I have found myself loving talking about music here in the past, and while I've incorporated that into monthly favourite type posts in the past, I wanted to dedicate a whole section to one of my favourite things - music.

My listening habits tend to include having one or two artists on repeat for the entire month until I get sick of them. Then I'll move onto something else, and I'll always come back to old favourites. I would love to talk about my favourite artists, albums, and of course new music that I come across and want to gush about. This month I want to just that - and with a New Zealand band called Yumi Zouma.

Yumi Zouma's Limited Edition EP is the first vinyl I've bought myself with the new record player in our household. I spotted it at Real Groovy (a New Zealand music store) and thought it's absolutely something I have to own, since I've proceeded to fall head over heels in love with their sound. I would describe them as being dream pop alternative and I love it. What makes it better is that they're from the country I live in, which I have to say, is rare these days. The two songs which are already favourites are Alena from EP II and A Long Walk Home For Parted Lovers from EP I.

Another band I haven't stopped listening to recently is The XX. They're pretty popular I guess, so you've probably heard of them at some stage. I'm going to say that they're part of my favourite ever artists/bands list. Gradually, I started listening to Jamie XX (that's his stage name - part of The XX band), and while I've had to come around to some of the songs, I am now absolutely loving his music. The couple of songs I plucked from the bunch which I love are Loud Places (ft. Romy) and SeeSaw (ft. Romy). Romy is also part of The XX in case you're wondering, so all this XX business is just one wonderful music mashup which I can't seem to stop listening to. Both artists separately have a very chill sound which electronic and dance aspects.

So that's what I've been listening to in January!



Do you listen to any of the artists I've mentioned? I'm also up for music suggestions if you have any.

-Emma
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22 January 2016

Read in January | Part One



January is proving to be quite a big reading month so I will have Part Two for you in a couple of weeks. This is what I read in the first half of the month and I've chosen to make the reviews more detailed. As usual, the reviews won't have any spoilers in them, so read on and hopefully you'll find some new books to read!


The Bone Season By Samantha Shannon* - The Bone Season is book number one of a fantasy series based around the the idea of certain citizens in society being 'unnatural', or what they call 'clairvoyance' - rejected by the Scion London officials and therefore by every 'natural' citizen. Paige Mahoney is a dreamwalker - one of many clairvoyance powers that an unnatural can have. She essentially breaks into people's minds and with her ability, works alongside others for a man named Jaxon Hall at the Seven Dials in London. But outside of the controlled world of Scion, another powerful society awaits, of which entails something called 'The Bone Season'.

When I first began reading, there was definitely information overload. It was hard to keep up with all of the names and the terms for everything in the world. I have to say, it starts off slow. It gets better gradually, but it does take time to wrap your head around everything. The second half of the book is much better in my opinion, and I could not stop reading. There was lots of action-packed moments near the end of the book, where as the first half was quite mediocre. The start was slightly hard to get into, but things got very intense soon enough. I think this was an innovative world - very imaginative and detailed. If you like fantasy, I'd say definitely keep this one on your radar - 3.5/5 Stars.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks By E. Lockhart - At her boarding-school, Frankie soon learns she is being excluded from her boyfriend's all-male secret society. The back of the cover says, "This is the story of how a Bunny Rabbit brought down the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds" and offers a little taster as to what this book entails. As Holly Bourne (Author of Am I Normal Yet?, etc) has said: "...it's a fist-punching triumph of a feminist manifesto". I completely agree with her.

This is definitely one of the best YA books I have read in a while, if not, ever. I wholeheartedly loved Frankie as a character, the feminism strewn throughout and E. Lockhart's writing which was easy to get into, but unique and a little quirky. There were parts in the book where I was just thinking 'Yes, yes, yes!' and I'm pretty sure there are a number of brilliant sentences I could pluck out. If you like YA fiction, pick this one up next! 5/5 Stars.

Not If I See You First By Eric Lindstrom - Parker Grant is a blind teenager who is dealing with love and loss from her past. She doesn't want people to treat her differently just because she can't see - she has made up rules that people around her must abide by, such as, don't deceive her and don't be weird. In the book, you follow Parker in her point of view of what it's like to be blind and how you have to rely on other senses much more.

This was a fantastic YA book which I felt gave some awareness to physical disability. It isn't often YA fiction deals with that, and it's even better when it's written well. I feel like lots of teenagers reading this would be somewhat more aware of what it could be like for a high school girl who is blind. The main point is clear - that Parker is just your average human, and that is how she wants to be treated. She is the average girl with worries about family and boys, and lessons about learning to forgive people. I really enjoyed reading this as it was interesting to see what it was like through Parker's eyes (so to speak) in a somewhat humorous and inspiring way. 4.5/5 Stars


Do you think you'll read any of these books after reading my reviews?


*Review Copy (from Sophie)
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20 January 2016

February Intentions


AKA what I want to do in February/the rest of the summer. I know it's a little early to be talking about February, but I'm off on holiday really soon so I wanted to write this post now. I'm off Uni for one more month so in February I really want to spend more time relaxing and doing things I've been putting off before it all gets too busy again.

Have some time offline - I'm going on one or two holidays in the next month (Queenstown this Sunday which I'm beyond excited about) and the possibility of going away on a beach holiday mid Feb. I think I really need some time away from my laptop to get reinspired and to feel excitement when going online, rather than just aimlessly scrolling for hours like a zombie. I'm not taking my laptop on either holidays so a couple weeks at a time away from the keyboard is going to be good. I just want to go on holiday, explore different places and take lots of pictures.

Buy some records - My family bought a record player recently and it's sometimes being housed in my room. I'm very glad about this. It seems like everyone is buying vinyl now, but there's something so great about collecting them. I actually just bought my first own vinyl (the band Yumi Zouma - more on that later in the month) and now I'm making it priority to buy at least one or two more soon.

Finish reading my magazines - Okay, so this is something I've been putting off for a few months. I have no idea why - it should be relaxing to just sit back and read a mag right? Sadly I've had the mindset of 'I just don't have time to read them' for ages now and they've been piling up. I read Frankie and Yen religiously, so I need to finish the half a dozen magazines I've acquired before Uni begins where I really won't have much time.

Start dressing properly again - This is slightly weird, but honestly I feel like all I've been wearing for about a month now is pyjamas. I need to stop. I'm thinking I also need to hit the opshops VERY soon to find myself a few new cheap items so I feel inspired to dress myself again. At the moment I feel like I don't like anything I have, so that needs to change, along with a good old wardrobe clean up too.


-Emma
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15 January 2016

My Most Anticipated Reads of 2016


I can already tell this year is going to be a big reading year for me - I'm so excited to start reading and reviewing as many books as I can. I'm not completely aware of all of the big book releases this year - however - there are a few I've seen that I LOVE the sound of, or more from my favourite authors which I'm excited to share.

How Hard Can Love Be By Holly Bourne - This is out February 1st and is the second 'part' as such to Am I Normal Yet? which I loved ('The Normal Series'). How Hard Can Love Be? is going to be from the perspective of one of the more minor characters in Am I Normal Yet? - Amber. Holly Bourne has fast become one of my favourite authors as I've read all she has to offer so far. I love the feminism that she incorporates into her writing, and so far none of her books have disappointed me.

Beautiful Broken Things By Sara Barnard - To my knowledge this book revolves around female friendships - something YA fiction may be lacking in slightly. This comes out February 11th. Caddy and Rosie are best friends and around each other all of the time - then Suzanne comes into the picture - apparently a 'beautiful, damaged, exciting, mysterious' girl who impacts the pair in some way I'm yet to find out about. This looks to be a very realistic look into female friendship and I believe it will include mental illness aspects.

The Glittering Court By Richelle Mead - This is already reminding me of The Selection series which I really liked reading last year. Richelle Mead is the author of the Vampire Academy series which I have never read, but I do love a bit of YA fantasy in my life - this is out April 5th. 'The Glittering Court' essentially transforms poor girls into 'capable' upperclass women. Except the protagonist Adelaide poses as a servant to escape an arranged marriage and she has to try and keep her identity hidden. This sounds really good so I'm excited to read it.

On The Other Side By Carrie Hope Fletcher - I'm sure you've heard YouTuber Carrie is currently writing a fiction book after her nonfiction one, All I Know Now. I actually don't really know what to expect from this but I'm sure the world Carrie has dreamed up will be wonderful. It has elements of magic, fantasy, romance and more. This is set to be released July 14th.

The Fate of the Tearling By Erika Johansen - I have just finished reading the second book in the series and I can say I'm hooked on what will happen next. I'm predicting this will be a really well known series soon as it's being turned into a movie. This series has a whole world of fantasy, dystopia, magic and a touch of romance, the next installment is going to out November 29th. If you want to read my review on the second book, The Invasion of the Tearling, you can have a look on Sophie's blog.


Are there any books you know are coming out soon that you are looking forward to? Or any here you like the sound of?

-Emma
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11 January 2016

Everyday Glowy Makeup

I did a little post on my everyday make-up about six months ago... and nothing much has changed! But I have been trying out a few products here and there, so there are some new things to talk about for my everyday make-up, as well as those products that seem to be sticking around for now. I was going to name this post my everyday summer make-up, but I know that it isn't summer everywhere in the world, so this is the make-up I do to get glowy skin and a somewhat fresh feel - devoid of heavy liquid eyeliner for now (grudgingly).


Base: My fail-safe foundation is definitely Rimmel's Match Perfection Foundation. It is a pale foundation, which is mainly why I like it, and it makes your skin look super glowy and nice. It is a pretty light coverage, so if I'm not having a good skin day, safe to say I have to use a fair bit of concealer, but this evens out my skin tone as a start. I then use two concealers: one for brightening and one for blemishes. I have been using the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer for ages now, and I find it's great coverage for under the eye. It's super easy to blend and it doesn't crease. Collection's Lasting Perfection Concealer is my choice for blemishes, (not that you can see it though, the packaging has rubbed off and this one is almost empty) as I find it has a high coverage and is a good colour for me. I use the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder to make sure I don't look too shiny.


Eyebrows/Eyes/Blush: For eyebrows I have been reaching for the L'Oreal Brow Plumper Kit* in Light/Medium for a softer brow over my beloved Anastasia Brow Wiz. I just use the kit brush and put some of the powder through my brows (there is also a wax) to fill in any sparse areas. I'd say it's quicker than using the Anastasia product so I will use the L'Oreal one when I want to be quick. No doubt my favourite mascara to use has been the Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara. It is really good at lengthening and thickening lashes - it's just such a good all-rounder. I also have been using this NYX Felt Tip Liner on my eye line (not winging it out too much) and it's provided a bit of a thicker look to my lashes. However, I probably wouldn't recommend this one to you though - it dries out quite quickly. I'm just using it because it's what I have at the moment. Lastly out of this bunch I have to talk about Benefit's Sugarbomb Blush which comes in their Sugarlicious Lip + Cheek Kit. It's the perfect peachy pink little number.


Lips, etc: I got the Daisy rollerballs from Marc Jacobs for Christmas, so if I use perfume, it will be one of these. This one is the Daisy Eau so Fresh. Side note: The primer I use before my foundation is the L'Oreal Infallible Mattifying Base Primer* as I find it makes my base look less shiny (but still glowy). Then another L'Oreal product - this time in the form of a lipstick - the L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Brick Fashion Week (234)*. When I tried this for the first time I fell in love as it's a pretty orange which can be bold but also toned down by patting it into your lips. I don't usually go for orange lipsticks but this one is really nice and not too orange (it looks quite different in the photo compared to real life). To add to the glowy look, a summer essential for me this year is definitely Benefit's High Beam which comes in the Sugarlicious Lip + Cheek Kit. It's so so pretty!


So there you go - that's what I've been putting on my face recently.

-Emma


*PR samples Disclaimer
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8 January 2016

Worth Watching


I think you'll agree that the space between Christmas and the beginning of January is spent watching new + favourite TV shows and movies - that's what I've been doing recently! I thought I would round-up some of my favourite TV programmes I have loved watching recently and some I have been loving for a while.

Making a Murderer - I know, I know. I'm pretty sure everyone in existence knows about this documentary series which has been gaining international news coverage as of late. I found this to be such an addicting series to watch and I'm pretty sure I finished it within a few days. I found myself thinking I should stop watching and do something else, but as soon as an episode ended I wanted to see what would happen next. Highly recommend watching this one - in a broad sense it will make you question our legal systems.

Downton Abbey - I bet there's a few of you who have been watching this for a while - it's been out for quite some time. However I have never actually watched it before a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say, I'm really liking it. I'm such a fan of watching series that are set in the Victorian era or the Edwardian era as this one is. I find myself getting caught up in all the character's stories and I just love looking at what they wear and how they live - it's fascinating to me. I have only just finished Season One, so I'm looking forward to watching the rest.

American Horror Story - I binged watched through Seasons 1-4 of AHS late last year, and didn't regret it one bit - I personally loved most of the seasons, Murder House being my favourite. I know more of a faint-hearted person may not like watching this, but I've heard some people liking Scream Queens which I am yet to watch. Season 5 (Hotel) is currently airing, and I've watched about 4 or 5 episodes but I must admit I have kind of lost interest. I will definitely watch it at some stage, but it is nice to be able to binge watch them all in one go.

Fargo - This is a dark comedy-crime series staring Martin Freeman which I absolutely loved. I watched this a while ago, and I would actually like to re-watch it at some stage. If you like crime/investigation shows this is another one to add to your list, which is a bit more unique from others - it has a touch of dark humour and quirkiness to it. I'm yet to see the second series which has been released recently, so I should get onto that!

Broadchurch - This is a show based on a murder investigation (again - can you tell that's what I'm into?). This is such a stunning series, which is made really well, and focuses more on the family impact of someone getting murdered - much more tame than AHS. I blasted through this show as well, and I just loved David Tennant and Olivia Colman as actors. This really isn't a hard show to get into - it's just really good, take my word for it.

Sherlock - Pretty sure everyone knows about this one because it's a great show, but if you've never watched it, you need to. It's funny, really well made, and features great adventures between Sherlock + Watson. I recently went to see the TV special at the cinema in preparation for the next series which is coming out some time in the future (they take forever to make). There are only 3 episodes per series but each episode is like a movie. I just freaking love Benedict Cumberbatch as well.


Do you watch any of these yourself? And do you have any suggestions of things to watch?

-Emma
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6 January 2016

Reading List | January


I have acquired a fair few books recently and I'm excited to start the year off right by delving into a good book or two. These definitely won't be the only books I read as there are a few library books I've ordered, but these are the ones I've received/bought.

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom - This book is about a girl called Parker, and she doesn't want anyone to treat her differently just because she is blind. I feel like Young Adult Fiction can be lacking in books which show a wider representation of people in society, in terms of race and disability. The cover design of this book (which you can't see) is really clever as it has brail embossed on it. I've seen this book popping up every where, so I'm curious to see what this book is like.

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler - What We Saw is about the complications of speaking up about rape, inspired by true events. Obviously this isn't going to be a light-hearted subject to read about, but I'm interested to see how the author interprets it. Kate goes to a party one Saturday night and the events are a bit of a blur for her. She essentially has to try and piece together information and try and figure out what happened. Sophie from Nana Wintour gave me this book to review.

They Let Me Write a Book by Jamie Curry - This is YouTuber Jamie Curry's book. From having a quick flick through, there are different bits and bobs in this book such as baby photos, tips (comedic - I presume), recipes, and she has also wrote about her life so far, revolving around her school life and rise to being 'famous' on the Internet. Again, Sophie gave me this book to review as well. I suspect this will be something light to read after all the heavy novels I've been reading lately.

Darkmere by Helen Maslin - This book revolves around stories of the past and present. The present story is of a girl, Kate, and a boy called Leo who she has a crush on. Leo inherits a castle on the English coast and invites Kate to stay with him and other friends over the summer. It looks to me as if this book involves a bit of mystery, with the the past story (happening two centuries ago) incorporated into the book.

Ayoade on Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey by Richard Ayoade - Enough Ayoade's for you? This is my favourite comedian and director's book. His humour is very self-depreciating and deadpan - the book surrounds the subject of film making, and the premise is that he is interviewing himself throughout. This will be a reread for me as I borrowed it from the library the first time. I'm happy to own this book now though and have it placed on my book shelf.


Do you like the sound of any of these?
To see what I'm reading, follow me on Good Reads.

-Emma
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4 January 2016

Goals for 2016


Happy New Year! First of all, I have a new blog design. I had done my previous blog design (which wasn't really design anyway), but I impulsively decided that I wanted to give this space a little revamp for 2016. But anyway - onto the post. I decided that I wanted to type out some blogging and personal goals for the year ahead to help me stay on track this year. Enjoy reading!

Blogging:

-Read at least 30 books again. In 2015 I managed to read more books than I ever have in a year before, and it's honestly been just about the best thing I could have done for myself. I could probably set a higher goal to achieve here, but I think 30 is a good number, and any amount I can read above that will be great. Reading books is entwined with my blogging as I often like to talk about books and review them, so in 2016 I want to review more books and review them properly + in more detail. Talking about books is one of my happiest pleasures, something that makes me feel all wonderful inside.

-Improve my blog photography and content. For the most part I am pleased with where my content + photos have been heading this year. I can see the improvement from when I first began. I still want to make sure my content is being produced because I really want to, not just because I need to have a blog post scheduled for a day, and I need to whip something up. The further I get with blogging, the more I am becoming aware that blogging is about quality, and for me, blogging is about what I want to photograph and write about - not what others would like to see me do.

-Sit down to film more YouTube videos. I think if it gets to the point where YouTube is overtaking blogging, it's not fun for me anymore - however making and editing videos is something I really quite like doing every now and then - and where I can, I want to upload more.

-Get more involved in the blogging community. At the end of 2015, I started to get more involved in the blogging community, but I really want to make a consistent effort to make new friends, get involved in Twitter chats, and most of all read and comment on blogs much more often - taking time to appreciate other people's content is really important to me, and I feel like all the bloggers I follow should receive some love + attention.

-Sit at my actual desk and work, don't do it in bed. I am notorious for being on my laptop in bed, and it's not such a good habit. Of course, it can't be avoided all the time, but I want to increase the amount my laptop is on an actual surface being used, than being propped up amongst pillows + bed sheets. My bed is a time for relaxation and sleeping - I think I need to make the distinction between that and working/browsing the internet.


Personal:

-Drink enough water. As I'm sitting here writing this, I'm feeling a bit fatigued and dehydrated - *Hits wrist*. I think sipping at water throughout the day is a really important goal of mine in 2016 because I often wonder if I'm low in B12 or iron, the amount of times I catch myself feel absolutely shattered and like I'm trying to see through fog is a little worrying. A bit of common sense doesn't go awry when it comes to health, so I just need to watch myself and make sure I'm feeling as well as I can.

-Buy clothing I will actually wear. It's a sad sight when I open up my wardrobe to find about 10 things I never wear, and don't actually love. I don't do it too often, but sometimes I fall into the trap of succumbing to fashion trends, which is never a good thing. Ever. Honestly, I love wearing sweaters and my soft Topshop jeans - not that barely worn crop top and tight skirt. I want to think a little bit more carefully about what I buy clothing wise, and if I can really see myself wearing something for a long amount of time.

-Look after myself + be true to myself. I was going to make this in two parts but I think they fall somewhere under the same line. This year I want to look after myself more, mentally, and spend more time on myself. I want to have lots of pamper nights and time spent soaking in the bath with a book in hand. I want to watch those TV shows + movies I've been meaning to for ages, with fresh sheets on my bed. I also want to at least try to be true to myself - i.e. having my own opinions, doing what I want, and not changing my personality to fit different people, but also being a bit more patient and understanding - overall I should attempt to be somewhat sure of myself.


Thank you for reading this somewhat lengthy post. Do any of these goals resonate with you?



-Emma
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