29 February 2016

February Favourites


I have a few things to talk about today which made it to my favourites for this month. I didn't wear make-up for half of February (because, hello, foundation and sweat don't go well together) and I wanted to give my skin a bit of a break. It's looking better after a little hurdle, so I'm thinking less make-up needs to be on the agenda more in the future.

But I still do have a huge love for all things beauty, so I might as well start talking about a fab eyeliner that has come into my life recently. It's the L'Oreal Superliner Superstar Eye Liner*. What a name. I'm very fussy when it comes to eyeliner - I only really like using my beloved Rimmel Exaggerate Eyeliner, but this L'Oreal one is really easy to use. I was surprised that I liked it so much because I hadn't expected to. It is a felt tip style with a sturdy but flexible nip so it's easy to control. It really is easy to control, not just saying that. It's not quite an intense dark black like the Rimmel offering, but I have a feeling even the most unseasoned eyeliner user will like this.

Apologies for the lack of brand range here, but I have also been liking the L'Oreal Infallible Matte FX range, this one being the shade 001, Silencio*. It is a peachy, slightly brown, pink nude which I think suits my skin tone and is just very wearable. I did do a little review on this range here, so check that out if you'd like.

Lastly I have been falling head over heels in love with the OGX Nourishing Coconut Milk Conditioner (and Shampoo, in fact!). If you haven't tried anything from OGX, I strongly recommend their hair products because my hair has been looking the best it's ever looked since I've started using their stuff. I think the Moroccan Oil version is still my favourite, but there's not too much difference between the two ranges I've tried. The conditioner makes your hair really soft, nourished and helps with frizz. I can't actually see myself moving away from this brand yet, so it's a thumbs up from me.


Have any of these products caught your eye?


-Emma


*PR Sample
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26 February 2016

Soundtrack to February


This month I've been listening to a bit of a mix of things, and artists I didn't think I would be pressing the repeat button for. Every month, I go back to listening to some old favourites so it's a great opportunity to talk about some of the artists I absolutely love and strongly recommend you listen to. Let me know if you listen to any of these artists or have been playing these songs lately.

FKA Twigs: I discovered FKA Twigs sometime last year from Yen Magazine, I think, and this had me thinking about the different ways I discover artists. I have been better recently at actually checking out artists I'm recommended from magazines, as more often than not, I actually really enjoy the featured artists. Yen Magazine is a great one for music and entertainment FYI, so definitely hit that up. FKA Twigs is not everyone's taste, I've had friends that have listened and been like 'Hmm, nah', but I honestly love her music to death. It's really interesting and complex, but also doesn't try to hard, you know. I would describe it as slightly electronic, experimental, maybe a bit R&B. Her single Good To Love was released this month.

The Last Shadow Puppets: I'll admit I haven't listened to all of their music, but what I've heard so far I have liked. I recently learnt that Alex Turner was in another band besides from Arctic Monkeys. Mind blown, and I really enjoy his vocals, etc. in TLSP alongside the slightly theatrical, rock sound they have going on.

The 1975: The 1975's second album is due to be released soon so a multitude of singles have been released lately. My favourite song so far is definitely Love Me which is very 80s inspired and kind of cool. Not to be a #hipster or anything but I started listening to them a while back, when Chocolate was my jam.

Zayn + Rihanna: I'm honestly not one to listen to Top 40 much (sorry just being a #hipster once again) but I can't lie, I've been listening to Pillow Talk and Work so damn much. Possibly a bit of Justin Bieber too. And I like it. Just me?




-Emma
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24 February 2016

Saving Money on Clothing


These days I tend to not really spend a huge amount on clothing, and where I can I try to be more conscious of how I can save money and still buy quality items. I don't know about you, but hunting down a fashion bargain can be incredibly satisfying. Here are a few tips that I think really help when trying to save money on fashion.

Shop in the men's section: I was considering writing a whole blog post on this because I feel like there's something seriously wrong with the guy to girl price ratio. I went shopping in Cotton On recently and spotted a top for $20, and then spotted the same designed shirt in the men's section for $5 - it was just a different colour. Honestly, the men's section of stores do have some good stuff like basic shirts and hoodies that are really cheap. Often they're nicer in a lot of ways because I personally don't like the cropped and too-short sleeved style in the girls section.

Scour the salesOne of my goals for this year was to be more conscious about what I'm buying, and one of the ways this is achievable is by carefully weighing up all the options out there. Fashion Lane is a website where you can find the best sales from 100+ online fashion stores. You are able to view the most discounted items first, and the lowest priced items in categories from different stores, so everything is in one place for your convenience. Fashion Lane also displays coupons that are running for individual stores which is pretty unique. This website displays ASOS items which I'm particularly pleased about because I'm going to be buying some Autumn/Winter clothes from there soon.


Steal from a guy's wardrobe: There's a bit of a theme already starting to emerge here. It's a good thing I like slightly grungy/oversized stuff most of the time because I seem to have acquired some items of clothing from my Dad and brother overtime. This jacket is my Dad's which he never wears anymore, and it's literally the perfect cozy winter jacket for me. You could also peep into your boyfriend's wardrobe if you have the opportunity...


Buy from an op shop: You knew this one was going to be in here didn't you? I love thrifting, and I will shout it from the rooftops. The dress in these photos is something I bought second hand, as well as the shoes below. Buying second hand doesn't have to mean ratty old t-shirts (although that does sound kind of appealing with my grunge aesthetic), it can also mean $30 Doc Martens and $5 tops and dresses. Always make sure you'd actually wear it though, as I've had some regretful decisions in the past.


Quality vs Quantity: Buying more quality items over dozens of cheap things always brings me more happiness, because quality items simply last longer, and in turn you have a smaller wardrobe with things you'd actually wear. I'll need to listen to my own advice this year as I'm trying to buy quality over quantity more.


Hopefully you would have found at least one of these tips helpful when it comes to clothes shopping. Let me know your thoughts.



-Emma


This post contains sponsored content in collobaration with fashionlane.co.nz
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19 February 2016

This Week: A Break from Life and Blogging


It's been such a long time since I've done a 'This Week' post. Sometimes all I want to do is sit down and write about what's been going on in my life over the past week and sharing some of my recent thoughts and feelings. Blogging doesn't have any rules.

I got back from a little beach holiday about two hours away from where I live - a childhood holiday place and somewhere which feels like my second home. It was nice to just go away to a different environment, even if I didn't get up to much more than reading and walking around, before Uni starts again in a little over a week (crap, I feel so unequipped for this). I had limited Internet, didn't wear make-up for a week, and watched old Disney movies like Bedknobs and Broomsticks (Oh my god, who actually remembers this?). There's something good about getting out of your usual life for a few days and doing things you wouldn't usually do.

Going make-up free was nice. The first few days my skin was looking good and it felt nice to not have to deal with it, but it was kind of ruined by the fact I began eating way too much cheese and chocolate. Not constantly being on my phone and checking up on everything was both good and bad. Good because I could just appreciate things like nature, board games, and watching previously stated Disney movies.

I decided to take a week off blogging while I was away so I could come back roaring and ready to go. Now let me tell you, going away motivated me to get organised with my blogging and general life. I am planning to go out and buy a 2016 diary tomorrow (don't even tell me what the date is), I've written down five revised resolutions, and I've even decided to start BUDGETING. Who am I? Not going to lie, this is probably down to reading this book during my time away.


I can't even fathom how different life is going to be in a couple of weeks. I really should start binge-watching all of those TV series I promised myself I would watch before summer began.


-Emma
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12 February 2016

The New Matte Lip


L'Oreal have recently launched some new beauty products, including a set of six matte lip colours. I have been testing out the whole range of Infallible Matte FX Lip Colours* and I thought I would do a good old-fashioned beauty post, which has been kind of sparse around here, I have to admit. This post isn't sponsored, I just wanted to let you know my thoughts. Spoiler: I've really been enjoying them.

If you know me, you know that I'm a matte lip girl at heart. Sometimes it can be a struggle to find a lipstick that doesn't overly dry my lips out or look horrible. When I first tried one of these, I was impressed because the formula felt light on my lips. They have a powdery finish once they dry down slightly - it may sound off putting but I happen to really like it. The lip colours themselves can be quite sheer but are buildable to a more intense colour. You can use them for ombre and sombre looks, though I'm yet to try (not really my thing).

The applicator is something I haven't experienced before, which is a pointed sponge tip. It made it easy to apply the lip colour with because I could get into the edge and corner of my lips which is sometimes hard to do with a big lipstick bullet, and not too much product is on the sponge already which makes it easy to apply gradually.


There are six colours as I've said, and they range from a peachy pink nude to a classic darker red. The colours in order from left to right are Silencio (001), Virgin (002), Oops I Pink It Again (004), I Gotta Feeling (008), Disturbia (006), and Say My Name (007). 

I have to say, my least favourite colour is definitely the purple (I Gotta Feeling/008) because it didn't seem to look right on my lips nor did I think it particularly suited me. Obviously, before applying a matte lip you've got to make sure your lips are scrubbed and prepped. The purple shade may not have looked so good because I'd applied three shades before it in a row. The formula of all of them are genuinely matte, but as a side note, these photos were taken pretty much directly after application so they dried down more afterwards.


Would these lip colours be something you would try? Personally my favourites are Silencio (001) for the wearable nude shade and Say My Name (007) for something bolder.



-Emma


*PR Sample
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10 February 2016

Bought and Liked | Room Decor + Docs


Hello everyone. I hope you're having a great day. The other day I really liked my outfit/wanted to show you some things I've bought lately in a slightly more interesting way. The clothes you see here aren't actually new but the shoes are - the thing about me and outfits is that I tend to wear the same kind of things over and over, and you've more than likely seen me in one of these pieces before. No matter how much I like making outfit posts, they've become a rarity round these parts, but today I do want to talk about some beautiful Docs I managed to find in an Op Shop!


A couple of weeks ago I was Op Shopping/Thrift Shopping (as I like to do as often as I can!) and I saw these $30 Doc Martens (half price - originally $60). This was more of an upmarket boutique style Op Shop which can sometimes be alright, sometimes it's meh. But I really couldn't pass up $30 Docs when they can cost literally ten times the price. These are already worn in a quite soft and that's great for me because I had a bad experience trying to break in Docs. They are about a size too big but I've solved this problem by just wearing thick socks. One shoe actually has two small holes either side of it but it's not too much of a big deal, and I could probably fix it if I wanted to. I know I'll literally wear these all the time in winter and they're just the type of thing I've been looking for, for cheap, for a while.


My skirt is from H&M a while ago (just under a year old), and this striped top is kinda old too - I think it's from The Warehouse or something. You see, the principle is that it doesn't really matter where it's from, I just have a very specific view of what I like in an outfit. And that is stripes, mostly.


Side note: taking these photos made me sweat so much because I was running back and forth and using self-timer. I really need someone to take photos of me, but it just never really works out. It was literally boiling. Summer, please promptly finish up if you will.

Anyway, something else I've purchased for my room recently is a new duvet. I've had my old one for just more than a year, and I was getting kind of sick of it, so a new comforter definitely refreshes things. This one is from Bed, Bath and Beyond in case you're wondering. I do love a good triangle.


Another thing you've probably seen popping up in these photos is the latest issue of Frankie Magazine, I'll just use the next sentence to profess my love for this little mag. It's basically like reading a mini (very aesthetically pleasing) book full of life advice, funny bits, adorable fashion and photography, etc, etc. This copy is actually the only magazine I've managed to (nearly!) finish in a wee while. *Slaps wrist for getting too prioritised with books*


Another home item I've acquired lately is something from Kmart. *No surprises there*. I bought this light pink canister/pot and at the moment my jewellery is housed in there - rings, earrings, necklaces, etc. because my jewellery dish broke after I dropped my foundation bottle on it. Kmart has some cute, cheap stuff. This was only $6. I was in there again today and I had googly eyes, seriously. Who is on the designing team at Kmart because I want to find out.


Lastly I have my new bookcase to share. For ages I've had these two teeny shelves that I didn't really like the look of anymore, and because I've started taking reviewing books so seriously, I felt like an update was in order. I really don't have the biggest collection of books - the shelves look kind of sparse in spaces but this is good investment for the future, people. When I acquire dozens of more books, I'm hoping. But it's not exactly an investment when the bookcase was literally from Kmart. It's been fine so far though! I'm so happy to have a bigger bookshelf where I can change the layout around a lot if I want to.


I hope you enjoyed this extra long Bought and Liked post. I also mostly hope my sweating in the heat of my room was worth it for you.

-Emma
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8 February 2016

Read in January | Part Two


I posted Part One of what I read in January a couple of weeks ago so can click here to read it if you haven't. Now it's time to review a few more books which I finished in the second half of January. As usual there will not be any spoilers in these reviews, so I hope you can find something you're interested in reading!

What We Saw By Aaron Hartzler* - This book first of all may be a trigger warning to some people. This story follows a girl called Kate, a witness amidst an American High School rape case. It deals with things like the importance of victim blaming, the classic mantra "boys will be boys", consent, and speaking up. It revolves a lot around social media and the spreading of photos, tweets and video. I believe this is based somewhat on the Steubenville case, where a reporter said that the allegations would destroy their "promising careers". Absolutely ridiculous. That is why books like this are so important and necessary.

I thought there were several moments in this book which were really powerful and important, and it was eye opening (and quite shocking) to read about communities who lean towards the perpetrator's side because they don't really know the reality of nonconsensual sex/rape being a serious crime. They think that the victim is just a 'slut' - all from how they behave to how they dress. The book was from the perspective of a witness and therefore dealt especially with the idea of speaking out, even if that meant going against everyone else. It was raw, and didn't sugar coat the subject, or shy away from detail. I found myself really riled up with some of the characters and things that were said about the victim - obviously all completely out of line. That's why this book is important - because this happens in real life, and to real people. 4 Stars. By the way this book was given to me to review from Sophie via Harper Collins.

Jamie's World: They Let Me Write a Book By Jamie Curry - Jamie is a New Zealand YouTuber who goes by the name 'Jamie's World' and started getting noticed on the Internet with her Facebook page where she would post relatable pictures. In her book she writes about her school life, growing up, and her rise to 'Internet fame'. There are other bits and pieces to break up the writing, all strewn with the same humour you see in her videos.

I haven't actually read too many YouTuber's books because honestly it's not something that interests me that much (unless I'm obsessed with their videos, ahem Dan and Phil). This book was just okay for me - it didn't blow me away, it wasn't revolutionary. I think it was a fair book for Jamie to write though because the humour throughout was consistent (even though I didn't really find it all too funny - just being honest as this is an honest review). It was an easy read - I think I read it over a couple of days for about 2-3 hours. There were surprisingly sincere elements to the book in what Jamie had written about personal things, but overall I didn't come out of it feeling like it was the best book ever. I'm not particularly a fan of her YouTube videos anyway, so if you are then maybe you would enjoy it more. 3 Stars.

Darkmere By Helen Maslin - Kate is invited along to Leo's summer holiday at a castle he inherited on the English coast. The castle, called Darkmere, has been passed down from generation to generation and something sinister has always happened to each new owner. It seems Darkmere is haunted with ghosts, and as Kate gets increasingly interested about the castle and it's history, the book follows a story in the past of a girl called Elinor.

This book was a contemporary YA with a gothic and historical twist. The book is broken up into different sections of past and present which I found interesting to read, to hear about two different girl's lives and how they intertwined. In the beginning, I didn't get proper time to sit down and read a big chunk so I could get into the story, therefore it took me a little while to get into it. However, I found the second half more interesting and even a little scary in some parts (this is by no means a super scary book though). I ended up giving this book a high rating because I found this book to be page-turning near the end and it's a great example of a decently written, quite interesting YA story. 4.5 Stars.


Would you read any of these?

-Emma


*Review Copy
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5 February 2016

Queenstown Photo Diary


Last week I spent some glorious time in the South Island of New Zealand with my family, mainly in and around Queenstown. I live in the North Island, and after going down south, let me tell you, I feel prouder than ever to be a New Zealander because New Zealand is gorgeous - this trip made me realise that much more.

It's just over an hour and a half flight to Queenstown, so not too long really. On the day we got there, it was around dinner time so we didn't do much but eat some nice food and go back to our apartment that we were staying in during our time there. I think it stayed in was one of my favourite places I've stayed in, mainly because the view was so amazing, and I know for sure I'm going to miss it so much. Below is the view on our last night, actually. This was literally the only hint of a sunset I saw because the weather was really cloudy for most of the week.


On our first full day in Queenstown, we didn't do much but have a walk around the whole town and waterfront area and think about what we were going to do for the week. This trip wasn't planned much at all which is just more relaxing, I guess. If you ever come to New Zealand, you honestly have to go to the South Island, and visit Queenstown if you can. It's a bit of a tourist town, but I love it so much and it is one of, if not my favourite place I've seen and stayed in (not that I've had a round trip of the world or anything).


I literally just about wore the same thing everyday because I kind of packed the wrong clothes, at least for the first half of the week. It felt a bit like winter with it being slightly humid here and there. I liked the misty mountains with the low cloud and grey light though, because it obviously looked good with my instagram theme. Duh.


Just look at that view. I've seen it a few times when I've been in Queenstown before, but I really don't think I can fathom how breathtaking it is. This was on Tuesday, our second proper day. Going up the Gondola and doing the Luge is kind of something you have to do at least once here, - or every time you visit, like us. I didn't do the Luge this time but watched my brother, sister and dad do it, and going in the Gondola is always fun.


The next day, Wednesday, we went on a boat called the TSS Earnslaw (which can be seen on Lake Wakatipu a lot) as well as a little farm tour at the Walter Peak High Country Farm. It was pretty freezing on board as we decided to stay up on deck for the whole ride there. #NoRegrets though, it was brisk and lovely, and we had a view of all the mountains and water along the lake. Arriving at Walter Peak was so nice and quaint - there's something in me that just wants to stay and live there for some of my life because it's remote and has an incredible view of the lake (you'd have to deal with all the tourists regularly visiting though).


The farm tour we did was quite touristy but it was really relaxed - we looked and feed some animals on the farm (deer, sheep, alpacas, cows etc). We also watched a sheep being sheared which was surprisingly nail biting to be honest as it really kicked it's way out of the farmer's grasp. It was kind of funny because I guess all the tourists that were mostly from other countries aren't really used to seeing sheep all the time, but as I'm sure you know *we're famous for our sheep* (haha). We had some afternoon tea before heading back on the boat and going back (this time inside with warmth).


The following Day (Thursday), we went on a Dart River tour. First, we drove in the bus to a place called Glenorchy, and on the way the scenery was so, so stunning. Glenorchy is known for it's famous filming locations. Taylor Swift filmed some of her music video Out of the Woods there, some of X-Men Origins was filmed there, among others, and of course Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. On the road in the picture above is where Wolverine walks in X-Men Origins and the scene where the helicopter crashes and a barn blows up - if you know the one. The mountains in the picture (although it's cloudy) are what are filmed a lot in various things. Apparently the farmer that owns this land charges $800 a day for a film set to come in and use the land (not much according to the tour guide who said he could probably charge more).


After having a tour of some places on the bus around Glenorchy we went for a short forest walk. There was this big hollow tree that could fit 20 or more people in it. You went in and looked up into the trunk. This type of tree just rots this way and they eventually collapse, but new trees are able to grow in place of them afterwards. We finally did about an hour jet boat ride just outside the forest, all along the Dart River where it meets Lake Wakatipu.



This was probably my favourite thing I did on the trip - it was so worth it because it was an hour long. I have been on jet boats before but they were short trips where as in this one we had a chance to see much more. It's so fast and windy and fun, and the driver does 360 spins etc. The scenery is literally stunning, and it was actually a warm and relatively sunny day that day, which helped. We saw waterfalls which had been filmed overhead in The Hobbit, kayakers who were on the river, and the driver gave us some Greenstone/Pounamu (I'm pretty sure, if I'm not mistaken).


On Friday, our last full day, we rented a car and drove to some places surrounding Queenstown. First we went to Arrowtown which is about 20 minutes away, one of my favourite places to visit. It's an old mining town where most of the buildings still have their original look to them. There is of course the famous Remarkable Sweet Shop, which I didn't actually go in this time, and you can look in the old miner's huts/houses.




We also drove to Wanaka which I think took about 45 minutes. I actually felt a bit car sick on the way which was not fun! I've been to Wanaka once before in the Winter so it was so lovely to see it in the summer time - and the day was really sunny and warm!



We didn't stay long - only time for an icecream - before we drove through Cromwell and Vineyards on the way back to Queenstown. We stopped off briefly and my parents bought wine and cheese. We also stopped at Roaring Meg for 5 minutes which is a waterfall by a Power Station.


We went home on Saturday and it was a shock coming back to Auckland where it was super hot compared to the South Island. The colder weather was actually refreshing! I hope you guys enjoyed reading/looking through these photos (wouldn't blame you if you didn't read everything). I really enjoyed putting together this post so I will definitely do future travel posts like this - although I'm not travelling much more this year.


-Emma
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