30 March 2016

Soundtrack to March


Admittedly, March hasn't been the best month for music because at times I've just been too busy to listen to as much as I usually do. But I do have a couple of things I want to talk about for this post. Let me know what you have been listening to recently as well!

Arctic Monkeys: Okay, okay, this isn't ground-breaking stuff here. The Arctic Monkeys. They're really famous, but for some reason I've been particularly obsessed with listening to them this month. I think it started with watching a couple of their live shows and falling in love with Alex Turner and the band's lyrics all over again. There's just something so nice and unique about their lyrics and their songs always put me in a good mood. If you didn't know, part of the reason I love the Arctic Monkeys is because Alex Turner sings the soundtrack for my favourite movie, Submarine.

Some of my favourite live videos: Feels Like We Only Go Backwards Tame Impala cover, Suck it and See Acoustic, Reading Festival 2009, Glastonbury 2007, Crying Lightning Live, Standing To Me (The Last Shadow Puppets)

Glen Hansard (and the Once Soundtrack): Recently I watched the movie Once, which I wholeheartedly recommend you watch. It's not a really well made film in terms of equipment or budget, but there's something special about it. It's funny and sweet, but completely real. Anyway, after watching Once, I really wanted to go and listen to the soundtrack which I hoped was on Spotify; and it was! I'm now spending my days singing softly along to Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's voices (the two main actors in the film). I recommend the soundtrack (after watching the movie of course) along with Glen Hansard's album The Swell Season.



What have you been listening to?

-Emma
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28 March 2016

March Favourites


Generally I haven't had much of a chance to try out any new beauty products this month because I've been a busy bee recently. I'm planning on trying out some new make-up things shortly so have no fear. I have a couple of books here to share as well as two fairly old beauty favourites that I've been using the most lately.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer - Recently I haven't been wearing foundation every day because I don't have much time in the mornings, so I've been reaching for one of my higher coverage concealers to put mostly all over the face. I need a fair bit of concealer as my skin is very blemish central at the moment so I simply dot this everywhere. I don't tend to put this under my eyes because it's a bit too heavy for me. This concealer is actually pale enough so I don't look orange and that's one of the main reasons I like it.

Lush Mask of Magnaminty - I featured this one a couple of posts back because it's my go-to mask at the moment. When my skin is being problematic, I put this all over and sit in the bath, and when I scrub and remove it feels so refreshing on the skin. It's exactly my kind of thing because I love everything minty scented.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman* - This book is now officially already on my favourite-books-read-this-year list. Frances is the top student at her school, people generally view her as a boring study machine, but she's afraid to be herself. This book is about being yourself, having the support of friends, and doing what you love instead of doing what you think you need to do. The characters in this book were so diverse and interesting (get onto it other authors). One of my favourite things about this book is that the author actually knows what teenagers and internet/Tumblr culture is like. It genuinely feels like this is from the main character's and a teenager's perspective. I found the writing style to be top notch, witty and just a bit different. I loved this so much; it sets the standard of a YA contemporary for me. 5 Stars.

Passenger by Alexendra Bracken* - When looking at the books I'd read this month, I just had to include this one as well. Etta, from present day New York, is transformed through time lines and goes on an adventure with Nicholas, a time-traveller from the past. The aspect I loved about this book was the characters, namely Nicholas and Etta. I found myself ripping through the pages of this book, wanting to find out what had happened. I feel like the real story starts later on in the book, but overall it's such a good fantasy read to get into when you have a window of spare time. 4.5 Stars.


Do these beauty products/books intrigue you? Let me know what you would buy or read!

-Emma


*Review Copy

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23 March 2016

Getting My Pamper On


As it gets closer to Autumn (for the Southern Hemisphere at least) I am utterly thrilled to be getting in the bath more and having a good soak. Having a nice pampered evening is one of my fave things to do and it's done easier with these five products.

Lush Mask of Magnaminty - I stole this off my sister when I used this (sorry if you're reading - welcome to use this one!) so I decided a purchase was in order. No regrets - I love this stuff and I know a few who do as well. I like to use this roughly once a week to exfoliate and freshen up the skin. It leaves your skin feeling soft after scrubbing and it's good for calming down blemished skin.

Essie Bell-Bottom Blues* - This blue-navy colour has been a favourite on my nails as of late. As with plenty of people, I find Essie to have the nicest nail polishes - I like the brush, the relatively long-lasting formula, the packaging and the colour range. Bell-Bottom Blues is part of Essie's new Fall Collection in New Zealand.

Linden Leaves Memories Moisturising Lotion* - This was included in some beauty bits I got from my internship and it comes at great timing because I really need to start moisturising more. This smells primarily like rose + almond oil (the smell actually reminds me of the Lush Ro's Argan Body Conditioner. This soaks in quickly and supplies a nice amount of moisture and softness.

Boscia Charcoal Pore-Minimizing Hydrogel Mask - I used this a while ago but it was a really nice mask and I'd like to get it again if I happen to be in a Sephora anywhere (um, not likely). I used this on a day when my skin was breaking out really badly and I needed something to calm my spots down and this certainly worked at doing that. It felt really nice and cooling and smoothed out my skin too.

Lush Brightside Bubble Bar - I thought I would stray away from my trusty Comforter Bubble Bar and go for something different. The bubble bars in Lush are my favourite because they last me ages and make lots of bubbles (you'd hope). I really like the citrus scent of this one and could perhaps be more spring like for Northern Hemisphere people.


Do you like any of these products, or want to try any?

-Emma


*PR Sample/Gifted

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21 March 2016

All Things Organisation | Part Two


I put together a blog post the other week on my life, budget and blogging organisation routines and I promised you a Uni version so here it is! This post will be a little more refrained, but that's probably for the best as I do know how to go on a bit.

To start of with some context, I started my second year of University about three weeks ago and I'm studying a communication's degree. I have theory to read that's basically all online and I don't really have to carry around that much; a notebook and my laptop most days. This post will be explaining mostly how I'm taking my notes this year, I personally find that kind of thing quite interesting!

So I basically have two notebooks which I use to write notes in - the first one to the left is notes for lectures. This notebook from Typo isn't too big and perfect for putting in my bag. There are four sections separated by pockets to put paper in, although I have to say I don't really use them considering I don't tend to have loads of paper work. I have a lecture a week for three subjects where I will hand-write notes (last year I used my laptop for lecture notes but decided to give this a go instead with the idea I might remember more, but who knows tbh).


The second notebook, also from Typo, is a big one with the same pocket seperators where I store the readings I print out. When I'm taking notes from theory, I will either have to read it off the screen or print it out. Because it's loads of ink and paper, I just print out what I deem the most important ones or theory I will definitely be using for my essays and assignments.

When I'm reading theory, I like to highlight and annotate occasionally which really helps me pick out the general ideas and good examples from the author. Annotating theory (basically rewriting a specific part of the reading/chapter/whatever in your own words next to it so you can break it down) is really, really useful FYI. #NerdTalk. As I go along highlighting and such, I will copy the most important parts into my larger notebook. Smaller notebook = Rough lecture notes. Bigger notebook = Theory/readings, basically what I'll need to write my essays later.

That was a bit of a side-note, but in terms of organisation when I have tutorials (three a week for my more theory-dense subjects) I like to take notes on my laptop because things are often quite fast-paced with doing group work, etc., so it's just a bit quicker. I will definitely use my laptop when writing my essays and then I can refer to all the bullet-pointed theory I've done (haha, hopefully done...) in my big notebook.


I would be interested to know if you go to University/or have in the past, if you use a laptop/something similar, or do handwritten notes?

-Emma
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16 March 2016

Peachy Keen | Outfit Post


Alright, so I haven't done an outfit post in a while but I honestly just don't have any new clothes. I'm waiting for A/W to come (hurry up!) so I can spend some serious dosh on jumpers. Yes please. Since I didn't have many new clothes to share, I just decided to put some of my sister's clothes on because that's what good sisters do, right?

I'm wearing this orange skirt which is pretty much really unlike me but I think it's cute. It's so comfortable though, I kind of feel like I was wearing a tennis skirt. I wore a high neck sleeveless top as well because I thought they looked nice together. I also wore this light coloured denim jacket (though not really denim).


Outfit Details:

Topshop Shirt
Vintage Jacket


I am currently pretty busy with Uni and other things - and here the stress begins! Hope you're having a great day.


-Emma
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14 March 2016

How to Make a Bad Day a Good One


There's not really any secret formula to turning a bad day into a good one, but there are some things that I personally like to do when I'm not feeling the best. One of my goals this year was to keep going with the #selflove and put myself before any other commitment I have. It's so important to take a step back from life and just simply do something you like doing for a little while. Trust me.

Listen to good music, loudly: The other day something got me into a bad mood. Instead of trudging through Uni readings and feeling mopey, I decided to listen to/watch some live music from one of my favourite bands. I was really tired but it was uplifting in a way. I do recommend listening to live versions of songs you really like because it makes something that much more raw and energising!

Literally just get in the bath: For some reason, having a hot bath seems to literally cure just about anything for me. Feeling clean and refreshed before bed is such a nice feeling. It also gives me time to get through some reading and that improves my mood as well because I feel like I'm getting something done (even if it's just getting that much further into finishing a book).

Go to sleep early that day: I don't usually drift off to sleep too early. I'm usually up closer to or past midnight rather than 10 pm. However, I find going to sleep unusually early once in a while is really nice. If I'm having a bad day, chances are I'll just be too tired to want to do anything, and getting extra sleep without sleeping in 'til noon is a good feeling. Waking up earlier than usual is also a mood booster for me sometimes because it just mixes things up a little and means you can fill your day will a bit of extra time.

Talk to someone: I find having nice interactions with people in the day can really make a difference. If I had a day completely alone, just going to Uni and back, and then shutting myself in my room, chances are my day probably would've felt flat. This doesn't apply for every single day, as being around people can exhaust me, but being around people who just make you laugh, or who you genuinely like talking to can improve your mood, and if you're worried about something it's a good idea to perhaps bring up the topic with someone. I know I feel better once I've just talked about it out loud. This also goes for talking out loud to yourself (I do it!) to get my mind sorted out. Of course you can always have a silly snapchat session with someone too.

Listen to podcasts: If you're feeling a bit slow and sluggish to start your day, I feel like listening to certain podcasts can really help you to feel even slightly more motivated. At work, since I'm in an office, I listen to podcasts for a few hours to make the time go by faster, but more importantly to stimulate my mind a little while I'm doing mundane tasks. It could be the same for you at home if you are doing a boring task where you can also pop on a podcast. You can also just lie back and relax; listen to one while doing nothing else. I have been known to get into the Serial podcast before, but for staying motivated I would recommend the podcast Design Life. It is about design, but most episodes can be applied to not just designers; I've found I can apply the advice to my blog.


What do you do to turn your day around?

-Emma
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9 March 2016

All Things Organisation | Part One

I have just been sorting out my 2016 Diary and have felt so inspired to share how I'm organising myself this year in terms of Uni, my blog, and more. Because I'm writing about this in quite a lot of detail I will split these posts into different sections: blogging and everyday life, then all things Uni. Read on if you would like to know how I organise my everyday life, budget, and blog, because I'm sure there are other organisation nerds out there like me.


I'm using the Kikki.K Inspire Diary (a6 size) as my organisational tool for blog posts, life events, budget and for storing my revised new years resolutions. I actually got my diary only at the end of February because I thought I didn't need a paper one for this year, but I just had to get one in the end. So as soon as it arrived, I filled in January and February's blog posts in the monthly overview, and now am going to use it for the overall schedule of all future blog posts. I don't usually plan too far ahead for my blog but I have been known to get carried away especially when I have lots of time and ideas, like in the summer holiday period. But as Uni is just starting, I definitely won't be planning or scheduling blog posts to the extent I have been.

I write all my blog post titles in the little squares of the monthly overview, and I only do this once a blog post has been either somewhat written, photographed or finished completely so I don't have to do too much switching around. Next to the monthly overview is a notes section where I have chosen to write down the titles of the books I've read during the month so I can keep track and see what books I am going to be reviewing.


In the weekly overview section, I put normal personal meetings and life events under each day so I know what I have planned. But for everyday to-do lists I will use my Kikki.K 'Start Today' pad which has a huge amount of room for every little thing I need doing. For me, it helps if I list things in relative order, even things like 'Breakfast' onto 'Write Reading List blog post' so I have some sort of direction for myself when I wake up.

I also have a plain lined blogging notebook which I write my ideas in and drafts of posts, one per page. I will put two red lines through the idea once it's been written, or I don't want to use that idea anymore. It's worth noting I will use the Calendar on my MacBook to plan the dates of blog posts first, because sometimes I'm not entirely sure what date I'll publish them on, so I'm not messing up my paper diary too much.


Next to the weekly overview is a whole page for notes, and I use this section to organise my budget. Now, I have never been one to keep track of my money but I have really felt inspired to this year. I want to save a little bit of money (for a rainy day, I guess) and also buy quality items instead of going out and having a shopping spree.

So at the top of the page I have written down my weekly income, as well as my allowance in spending for different sections: Food and Drink, Save, and Spending. I have written down weekly amounts for each section so I can control my spending and see if I have enough money to buy something on my wish list that week. Moving onto my 'wish list'...

I write all the items (if any) I want to buy that week (or future weeks) with the amount they cost and a tick box beside it. Basically, the idea is, if I have it written down, it's something I really want and have thought about, therefore I can buy if I have the money that week.

I then have my 'In' and 'Out' sections which lists everything I have incoming and outcoming. I list all/any money I've bought in, and then a list of everything I've bought (and that's including food! Yes, that spontaneous cup of takeaway coffee has to be listed too). It's not that hard to remember, because my online banking app has everything recorded which I can copy from anyway. Finally, at the end of the page I will have the remaining amount in my bank account. After so long of just fleetingly throwing away my money, it feels good to be organised with it.



I'll be writing Part Two of this, all about my Uni organisation, soon!

-Emma
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7 March 2016

Read in February



It seems I'm loving the book posts at the moment but I thought I better get my February reviews up so you can see what I've been reading. In February I took full advantage of all my time off from Uni, but now that time has sadly come to an end as my summer is over. Nevertheless, I'll still be reading lots. Time to show you what I read last month...

Simon vs. The Homo Sapien's Agenda by Becky Albertalli - This book follows a teenage boy called Simon. He's gay, but no one really knows it apart from Blue, an anonymous someone who he talks to online via email. Long story short, someone starts blackmailing him and if he isn't careful his sexuality will be broadcasted to everyone he knows.

First of all, do you ever just cry because you love a book so much? This was the best book I have read in a while, maybe ever. It's rare I feel so strongly about a book but if you have any of the same taste in books as me, just do yourself a favour and pick this one up. I stayed up 'til 2 am to finish this and that's not such a regular occurrence. It was genuinely funny, really well-written as it made me really believe Simon's character, and it had the sweetest romantic touches to it which I completely died over. I legitimately cried. Read - now. 5 Stars.

The Siren by Kiera Cass* - Kahlen is someone who is led to sing as one of the Sirens - known in myths and stories as luring, sexualised women. She doesn't feel good about practically murdering people, but has to endure living out her 100 year sentence as a singer designed to bring ships down. Kahlen has to question whether breaking the rules of the Ocean is worth it to feel somewhat human amongst a boy she feels a deep connection to.

I was very excited to start reading this as I had enjoyed The Selection series by the same author. I was slightly disappointed with it though, as I felt the plot wasn't the strongest or the most gripping. In my opinion there was a bit of insta-love going on which I'm not so much a fan of. In saying this, I didn't struggle to get through this book; it was something I read relatively quickly. This book is about mermaids essentially, which is a very cool concept. I felt the concept was there, and I liked the originality of certain aspects throughout such as The Ocean being treated by the author as a character, but unfortunately this wasn't one of my favourite reads. I still gave it 3.5 Stars though.

Keeping The Moon by Sarah Dessen - Colie is a girl who has come from a bit of a rough past. She doesn't have the best perception of herself, nor a huge amount of self-confidence, but that is perhaps hidden by her dyed black hair and lip piercing. She is staying in Colby, North Carolina over the summer as her Mum is busy being Kiko; basically a famous TV personality for weight-loss products. She feels like an outsider, but along the way Isabel and Morgan help her to see what friendship really is, and how she can see herself in a new way.

This was a light-hearted, beach kind of read, which I fortunately read while I was on holiday. It was a short read, being only 200 pages. This is what you would probably describe as 'Chick Lit' but I love reading these types of books now and then anyway. I feel like after reading many long or fantasy-themed books it's just nice to get lost in the world of short chapters and American teenagers, right? I didn't have any expectations for this book so I probably enjoyed it more than I thought I would've. I did really like the overall message of the book, I think it's important to feel like you can be yourself and not care what others think. 3.5 Stars.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin* - Gretchen Rubin is a successful Law-educated woman with a family living in New York; there's nothing really wrong with her life but she finds herself dissatisfied by it. She makes it her mission to stick to a Happiness Project for a year, taking little actions to better herself and her life in different ways.

Gretchen takes a very practical approach to happiness. She is a very orderly and methodical person herself, so it's easy to see how she tries step by step processes to 'be happier'. At first, I found her book to be quite unrelatable because her life is so different from mine; she being a fully fledged adult while I'm a teenager in Uni. But as I went on, I found little bits and pieces in this book which did resonate with me, made me think, and actually had impact on me. There was one little thing Gretchen tried to do more of which resonated with me in particular, and that was to identify the problem, and try and fix it. Sounds simple, but thinking about it logically and simply just doing whatever is required  is helpful to me. I don't know if that sounds silly but it was aspects like that which stuck with me. After reading this book I felt motivated to set up a budget and get things relatively organised, which was nice. This was different from what I was expecting, but I think that was useful as it gave me new perspectives. 4 Stars.


I also finished Everyday Sexism this month but included a review of this book in my Feminism Shoutout post.


-Emma


*Review Copy
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4 March 2016

A Feminism Shoutout


A couple of days go I finished the book Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates. After Booktuber Jean urged that everyone read this book after she had, I ordered it from the library straight away. I really could've bought it though, because it's definitely one of the most important books I've read. Not to sound dramatic, but I have never been so shocked and angry when reading a book, or at any other social issue for that matter. Please consider reading it because it's really eye-opening.

Feminism has slowly dwindled from my peripheral vision into something that is now really important to me. As I read this book, I quickly started picking up every little sexist thing that people have said, thought a lot about the social differences men and women have, and identified sexual harassment where otherwise I wouldn't have really made a big deal about it. I feel glad that I've read this book now so I can simply just be more aware of things.

I thought I knew what sexism and discrimination was, but there were real life examples of things I had never really thought about to a huge extent before, including how women are expected to be mothers, and the stigma around that; as well as job and workplace discrimination. The chapter about street harassment was quite emotional in particular for me, and it just made me aware of how normalised sexism and harassment is. Like, I'm not just saying that; it really is normalised to a huge level. Saddening, really.

I'm giving it 5 Stars as it's such an important book which really affected me. Next up, I'm going to be reading I Call Myself a Feminist as part of Jean's book club and I'm hoping to read more and more feminist books - if any of you have suggestions that would be lovely.


-Emma
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2 March 2016

Reading List | March


Another month, another pile of books to read. As I've just started Uni, I don't think I'll get through as many books as I have the past two months because I'll have to read more theorists than YA authors. Nevertheless, I have a few books here to talk about which I'm planning to read. A feminism one, a contemporary, and a mental-health memoir.

I Call Myself a Feminist by Victoria Pepe, Rachel Holmes, Amy Annette, Alice Stride and Martha Mosse (all editors) - I will be reading this in March alongside others in the book club The Feminist Orchestra, created by Jean Bookishthoughts. As you may know, Emma Watson created a book club recently called Our Shared Shelf, and while I love what Emma's doing, I think a smaller book club is more accessible to follow along with and discuss the books with people. This book looks like a great starter into Feminism as I haven't read too much feminist literature yet. I will definitely be reading more feminist books this year.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig - I read The Humans by the same author last year and absolutely loved it. I kind of regret not talking about it a bit more or featuring it in my yearly faves, so here's that shoutout I've yearned to make. Reasons to Stay Alive is a non-fiction memoir of sorts surrounding the theme of mental-health and depression. I have seen a few people saying they loved this and couldn't put it down so I'm hoping I'll join them soon.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon - I read the first instalment of this fantasy series in December so it seems apt to pick up the second book as soon as possible. While I didn't absolutely love The Bone Season (the first book), I still liked it enough to continue with the series. There is quite a lot of terminology and elements to wrap your head around in this world, but without spoiling anything the basic premise of this book is people are trapped in another society from the world of Scion, where they possess different abilities that the 'government' of sorts covets.


I think if I can I will definitely pop in another book (or maybe even two) to read this month, it just all depends how much time I have. Do any of these books catch your eye?



-Emma
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