28 July 2016

Soundtrack to July


What I've been listening to for the month of July.

So now that my music quota has extended to more than The Last Shadow Puppets I thought I would sit down and write a little music post where I let you know some recent faves. It's pretty cute when friends make you playlists with songs to listen to, but also very useful so you finally have some blog content. Ahem, kidding obviously.

The Virgins
I love that feeling when you discover new music and this happened to me with The Virgins. After having a quick google, this band has actually split but their still music lives on or something cringey like that. The Virgins music has a very almost 70s-80s vibe to it I think but obviously at a modern level. Spotify says their sound mixes 21st century indie vibes with the late-70s new wave attitude of bands like Talking Heads. I happen to really like Talking Heads so it's understandable. The Virgins music is very danceable and something a bit different.

The Strokes
I honestly think that I'm only ever destined to like rock or indie bands consisting of male members. I had dabbled in The Strokes a while back but have recently started listening to them again and I am obsessed. I have been listening to their Comedown Machine album in particular, mixed with some older stuff from the mid 2000s but let's face it I'm not a hard core fan yet.

Catfish and the Bottlemen
I think Catfish and the Bottlemen are just really consistently good and I've loved listening to their two albums. Unsurprisingly they're a British indie rock band. I don't have much more to say about them other than if you like indie rock bands and you haven't heard of them, definitely give them a listen. My favourite songs are 26 and Glasgow.



Do you listen to any of the above and what are you listening to right now?

-Emma
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25 July 2016

July Mini Book Haul


Three books I've added to my stash that have some big expectations from me (read: I think these books are going to be really fab)

Let's start this one off with a bang, shall we? A large feminist bang in the name of Girl Up by Laura Bates. Earlier in the year I read Everyday Sexism by the same author and it kind of changed everything for me. If you haven't read that book I really recommend it, but Girl Up is also a fantastic one, especially if you're younger. I've already started reading this and I can see how it would be great for teenagers who want to know more about feminism and why it should matter to them. There's a whole lot of advice in here regarding tricky scenarios adolescents may find themselves in and how to deal with all that blatant sexism out there.


It's Not Me, It's You by Mhairi McFarlane is a book I'm just a bit excited for (a lot, really) considering I adored Mhairi's latest release Who's That Girl. I think Mhairi's writing tends to captivate me in a way many books fail in doing, and makes reading new adult/adult fiction exciting. I have a feeling I'm going to whizz right through this and it's going to be funny, witty and engaging which is what I expect and more from Mhairi McFarlane. There seems to be a big theme in her writing of the protagonist trying to get back onto their feet after life throws them under. Her writing is all about discovering a powerful inner self and realising the dick actions of someone else is not your fault.


Holly Bourne is one of my favourite authors and it's about time I read her latest releases, starting with How Hard Can Love Be which is #2 in the Normal series, although they can be read as standalone books rather than in order. Amber, Lottie and Evie are part of The Spinster Club where they eat cheesy snacks and discuss feminism (both important tbh). This book focuses on Amber, her move to America, and the love issues that follow. Even with Lottie and Evie's advice, there's no denying love is hard. Don't be fooled by the cheesy romance stuff because if I know Holly, she does it in a fab fab way. If you haven't picked up one of her books, please do it now.


What book most pipes your interest? I'd love to know!

-Emma
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20 July 2016

Affordable Makeup Haul & First Impressions


Four products from the drugstore. Whether they've been hyped about or picked up on a whim, here are some first impressions...

I don't buy that much new make-up often, but recently I seemed to have acquired a few drugstore beauty bits. Cue a post about what I've bought and first impressions of everything.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Concealer in 010 Porcelain
I have had this concealer in the back of my mind after Lisa Eldridge featured it in a beauty post. I am always looking for a good, affordable concealer that has a high enough coverage. This little pot gets a tick of approval from me as I've found it to be light enough in colour for my skin (#paleskinproblems) and have a decent amount of coverage for pin pointing spots. The only thing that might deter some people from this is that it comes in a pot (hello bacteria) but it doesn't bother me too much.

elf Eyeshadow Brush
I was in Kmart and decided to randomly try one of elf's eyeshadow brushes as it was a whole $5. I don't own near enough eyeshadow brushes without having to wash them every couple of days, so my purchase was justified. This is quite a stiff, sturdy brush that is good for putting on product rather than blending a whole lot. I honestly think you can't go wrong with a $5 eyeshadow brush and it does the job well for me.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Cannes
This is one of those products that I have been dying to try for quite a while, and I'm so glad I included it in a recent ASOS order. I'm yet to hop onto the liquid lipstick bandwagon, but at a first try this lip product is really decent. When first applied, it has more of an intense colour and wet consistency, and then dries down to a matte. Cannes is a lovely dark pink nude and has me interested in more browny nude colours.. (if I can get my hands on any - the good shades are always out of stock!).

elf Long-Lasting Lustrous Eyeshadow in Gala
When I bought this I was expecting this eyeshadow to be more a warm coppery colour, however it's actually quite a cool toned brown. It has shimmer through it and yet I still apply it in the crease for sine definition.. but who cares about make-up rules anyway. I love these kind of brown eyeshadows used alone for some shadow on the eye paired with liquid eyeliner or lots of mascara. I would say this isn't the most high quality eyeshadow out there but you can definitely make it work and get a good effect.


Has anything here caught your eye, or have you tried any of these products?

-Emma
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18 July 2016

2016 Goals Reflection


Now that it's mid 2016 (scary stuff), I reflect on the goals I made at the start of the year.

After seeing a post like this on Forever September (shout out to you!) I decided it would be a good idea to look back on my 2016 goals and see how I'm getting along with things. You can have a look at the post I did way back in January if you like.

Read 30 Books
Since making this goal I have actually upped that goal to 40 on my Good Reads page. I think this is definitely achievable for me at this stage because I've read 27 so far and am 6 books ahead of schedule. Reading more has been one of the best decisions I've made over the past couple of years.

Improve my blog photography + content
There have been a few shaky moments this year when it comes to blogging after getting a job with more hours than I'm used to working and being stressed with Uni. I am really happy with where my blog is at the moment though since I've had a few weeks off to get back on track. I've had a think about where my blog is going and what type of content I want to make - it's getting clearer gradually. I am happy with my progress in photography too but know I can improve more!

Film more YouTube videos
This one is a big fat no. Since January I've decided making videos isn't for me and writing and photography is. Of course I can do both, but I want to put everything into blog posts rather than making videos too. I feel more comfortable writing this blog than talking in front of a camera and I'm happy about my decision.

Get involved in the blogging community
I would say this one has been quite successful. I have been participating in blogging chats more and have hosted some myself too on my joint blogging network twitter. That was a while back though so I still need to get more involved. I have a few other things I need to do in this area, so this goal is definitely pending.


Sit at my desk and work
I laughed when I looked back at this goal because I'm literally sitting in my bed right now typing away on my laptop. It's winter, okay? I'm cold. I actually dislike my desk at the moment and I need to buy a new one soon so maybe this goal will be more doable later on.

Drink more water
I don't think there has been a significant increase in how much water I drink, but it's going okay. I think I'm often dehydrated and feel tired so I could really do with as much water as possible. There's room to improve with this goal I think..

Buy clothing I will actually wear
Despite there being a few things I've bought that I have not worn much, I'm pretty happy on this front. I have been buying key pieces which I do tend to get a lot of wear out of, and not buying from cheap chain stores as much (of course I still do buy from chain stores, but I'm a little more considerate).

Look after myself
The goal that I made myself at the start of the year went somewhere along the lines of: pamper yourself, treat yourself, focus on yourself, etc etc. I'm a firm believer in making sure everything's okay with myself before worrying about everything else and I think things have improved in this area. I've been pampering myself all year long and deciphering where it's more important to relax than completely freak out..


So, how are your goals looking so far (if you made any)? It's interesting to look back on things!

-Emma

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13 July 2016

Lip Care Loves


Two products to fix all your lip issues.

I have never really delved greatly into lip care because I wasn't really fussed to be honest. Lip care seems like such a boring thing in the spectrum of beauty things, however I think it's important to keep your lips looking buffed and moisturised. I have two favourite lip products I've been trialling for a little while...

Lush Mint Julips Lip Scrub
First things first, buff all that dry skin away. I have always been too lazy to make my own lip scrub out of oil and sugar (but you could give it a go!), so instead I tend to favour using the Lush ones. Scrubbing your lips before putting on lipstick makes everything look a lot better. The Mint Julips Scrub is my personal favourite amongst the range as it's peppermint and mint chocolate - two things I'm a big fan of.

Burt's Bees Coconut & Pear Lip Balm
I had been looking for a cheap lip balm that actually moisturised my lips and didn't just dry them out more. Burt's Bees lip balms don't contain petroleum (which can dry lips out), so I would recommend this product if you need one on a budget. The Coconut & Pear version just smells a bit like sunscreen but they have a few other ones which I would like to try. Speaking of the Burt's Bees lip range I've been lusting over their lip crayons for a little while, has anyone tried them?


What are you favourite lip care products? I do have the famous Nuxe Reve de Miel on my radar after some people have raved about it.

-Emma
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11 July 2016

The Independent Bookstore Tag


A little book Q and A for you this Monday morning.

-What book(s) are currently in your bag? I actually don't carry books around with me because I prefer to just read at home. Right now though I am reading The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood, and I haven't got very far with it so far but it combines young adult contemporary with a touch of time travel.

-What is the last great book you read? I had a look back at my Good Reads Reading Challenge for this year and the last book I read which I really really loved was Who's That Girl by Mhari McFarlane. This reminds me I must pick up more of her books because I love her writing.

-What book have you gifted the most? I actually rarely gift books as they're such a personal thing/people have different tastes than me so it's a bit of a risk. I guess I'm yet to find a book which I feel worthy to gift to someone.

-What's your favourite independent bookshop? That would have to be Unity Books in Auckland on High Street. There aren't actually that many independent bookshops I know of but this one is always there for me without a doubt. It's a small store so it's cute and cosy.

-What's been your favourite book recommended by a bookseller (or fellow Booktuber)? This one has got to be Everyday Sexism after Jean from Bookish Thoughts recommended this one on her channel. It's made me read more about feminism and I'm grateful for that.

-What's your favourite bookshop memory? This is a bit odd, but picking a book in an airport before every holiday me and family go on. It's become a little bit of a tradition (or habit) to pick up some reading material courtesy of my parents.

-What do bookshops mean to you? What do you love about them? I love physically searching through books to find a gem. Online shopping is convenient but the atmosphere of a cosy bookstore is way better and you can stumble across reads you would have never thought to pick up. I love the old look bookstores can have and the history they can have sometimes.

-What are the books that made you? What books have most affected or influenced you? 
I think the young adult books which were quirky and different and raised important issues. It gave me faith that young adult books can be incredibly useful and helpful for teens and older. I think Holly Bourne has really shown me that books can involve feminism + female friendships and be exciting. As for a specific book, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart really affected me and gave me faith that young adult books can be cool and interesting without the final outcome being love. This is what keeps me interested in YA.

-What book is currently at the top of your TBR pile? I don't have this book right now however if I did it would be right at the top. It's How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne. I can put my trust in Holly Bourne and say this is going to be a fantastic book.


-Emma
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8 July 2016

What I've Been Wearing


Since outfit posts around these parts are just a distant memory, I show you some key pieces from my A/W wardrobe.


The Work Shirt
AKA Glassons Stripe Single Pocket Shirt
This long sleeved button-up shirt is the perfect piece to wear to work, as long as you style it so it doesn't look like you're wearing a pyjama shirt. I love wearing this with a pair of blue rolled-up jeans, silver jewellery and a red lip. My favourite red lip product right now is the LO'real Matte FX Lip Colour in Say My Name* because it's easy to apply, it's matte (my favourite) and it feels like nothing is on my lips. The shirt itself is nice and soft and perfect tucked in or worn loose with a couple buttons left undone.


striped top


The High Neck Sweater
AKA ASOS Funnel Neck Jumper With Tipping
When it's really cold in the morning, all I want to chuck on is this high neck sweater and a navy jacket (my dad's). I feel like this look kind of channels Lindsay Weir from Freaks and Geeks (the jacket and slight grungy/70s-80s vibe). I'm pretty much constantly wearing dark nails as well, my favourite always being Essie Sole Mate. I usually wear this sweater with my black Jamie Jeans or blue wash jeans, and of course my Docs that haven't left my feet since snagging them from an op shop.


mustard jumper



The Grey Coat
AKA The Iconic Dorothy Perkins Blended Wool Crombie Coat
I was looking for a versatile grey coat that I could chuck on over basically any outfit and I wasn't scared to spend a little more than I usually would. This Dorothy Perkins coat from The Iconic is quite light and not too thick so you can wear jumpers underneath. It has nice deep pockets and a single button you can fasten. I've had some compliments on this coat - I just love the shape and style. I would tend to have my black tote bag with me most days when I'm going out, which can be worn with anything.



grey coat


What is your favourite piece or look?
I hope you enjoyed this post which was a bit different for me!

-Emma


*PR Sample
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6 July 2016

Current Skincare Routine


I've been experimenting with a few skincare bits in the last couple months and I've dwindled my routine down to four fab products.

Skincare is always something I have struggled with and have found it easier to love make-up products over cleansers and moisturisers. I have combination skin which can be dry at times and easy clogged, and on top of that I have scars and spots to deal with. However, I have found some products that make my skin feel great and they don't clog up my skin. The products mentioned I predominately use at night time, but will just do a quick cleanse and moisturise in the morning.

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel
I decided to give this famous cleanser a go after hearing so many good things about it. I find it so hard to stick to a cleanser these days but this is probably the best I've tried. It has a pleasing scent, leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated, and actually cleans my skin properly. It has a gel texture at first but changes to an oil as you rub it into your skin. I've used it on bare skin and to remove make-up and both ways work really well, I'm a big fan! Considering cleansers are so hard for me to get along with, I think it's worth the expensive price tag.

Antipodes Apostle Skin Brightening Serum
This serum is supposed to be good for blemished skin to help pigmentation and brighten and tone the skin. I find it is the extra step I need between cleanser and moisturiser to even out my skin and leave it looking glowy. This really does brighten my complexion and doesn't clog my pores which some oily type products can do. This isn't remarkably oily in saying that, it sinks in fast and leaves a smooth feeling to the skin.

Simple Hydrating Light Moisturiser
I have struggled with finding a good moisturiser in the past as well. At the moment I am using this Simple offering as it's a very light moisturiser that doesn't clog my skin. If you have very dry skin, this probably wouldn't be suitable but I find it works for me, especially if I use an oil before moisturiser. I have found Simple products to be pretty non-offensive and I've been using this moisturiser on and off for a while!

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Eye Cream
As I've mentioned before, I have never really used eye creams before as I haven't deemed them necessary. In saying that I have been enjoying this one recently, it's cooling on the skin and the perfect thickness of cream. I think it just makes make-up under the eye look a bit better as there is less of a chance products will crease. I just use this at night and it's nice and brightening.


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

-Emma
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4 July 2016

Read in June


Feminism, friendship and quadriplegics. That just about sums up what I've been reading about in June.

Exams have consumed most of the month for me, however I managed to finish more books near the end of the month. I've been reading a lot more than usual lately and I'm so excited to get stuck into some material I've had on my shelves for a little while. I read four books in June and liked all of them a lot so it's time to strap yourselves in and hear some of my recommendations in Emma's metaphorical Book Club.

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill - 4 Stars
This was such an important book to read, but one that was very scary, realistic and intense. This isn't a light read my friends, this is real life. Emma O'Donovan is a confident, beautiful and happy girl with many friends - until there's a party and her world unravels. This really makes you think about victim blaming and sexual consent, with big themes of feminism and family. As someone mentioned in my blog comments when I talked about reading this book, the style and the way it is written put me off slightly as at times it was hard to read, however the actual content and message behind the book I connected with. This book gets really bleak and intense, and it made me feel heartbreakingly sad about society and what can happen. I really urge you to read this if you've been meaning to, or you're hearing about it for the first time, because it is important.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - 5 Stars
I won a copy of this book from Penguin Random House, so I decided to reread this since the movie is now out. I read a library copy of this early last year on holiday before I knew it was going to be a movie and absolutely devoured it. I just love Lou, those black and yellow striped leggings, and Will's humour. I gave it a 5 Star rating then, and still feel the same. I'm yet to see the movie, but I've heard it's good. I found this book really comforting and nice to read - I rarely reread anything but this was definitely worth it. This book is everywhere at the moment - I'm sure you've heard of it.


The Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham* - 5 Stars
This book was featured in my June Favourites, so clearly you can see I loved this and it was my favourite book of the month. The Moonlight Dreamers is about four girls who come together despite some differences and help each other with their individual life problems. One of the girls has the courage to start a group she calls The Moonlight Dreamers, which encourages the girls to be themselves and break away from being told how to look, what to think, and how to act. In summary I found this book really easy to read, quite unique and refreshing, and I loved the themes of friendship and the importance of being yourself.

You Don't Have To Like Me by Alida Nugent - 4 Stars
I love reading non-fiction here and there and this book was well worth my time. You Don't Have To Like Me (Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism) was quite funny and amusing, but it raises some extremely important points about society, feminism and life. I didn't necessarily agree with absolutely every sentence in this book and there were some chapters I didn't like as much, but this book was brilliant. My favourite chapters were titled 'Your Beauty is Magic: On Loving My Face', 'I am Exactly Like Other Girls' and 'Feral'. This is a short read and perfect for dipping in and out of.


Do you want to read any of these books?

-Emma



*Review Copy
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1 July 2016

Supporting Local Made | A Haul


Let's hear it for all the independent and local makers out there.

I always think it's great to support local/independent stores where you can find unique items from different makers. As I live in New Zealand, I love supporting some NZ makers when I can and there are quite a few gems to discover. I love going to art and craft fairs around my city as you get to discover various little stores that make really good stuff! Recently I saw that The Bread and Butter Letter was having a sale so I jumped at the chance to pick up a couple of things.

Crushes The Coffee One Scented Soy Candle
I was really intrigued by the prospect of a coffee scented candle - doesn't that sound amazing? I guess it was a bit risky buying a candle online having never smelled it, but luckily I do like it. It's a very dark and rich scent which may not be for everyone, but it does smell like coffee and a slightly like alcohol. Just a tad. The lovely owners of The Bread and Butter Letter also popped in a free smaller version of this candle for me which was so kind.


Crushes Silver Bunting Necklace
I am personally all about the silver jewelry, so I picked up the silver version of the Crushes bunting necklace, but there are also brass and gold versions. I have been needing some new jewelry, so I thought this was a nice addition and right up my street with the triangle design. The only thing is I wish it had a shorter chain to be worn higher up, but it's still lovely. Crushes also have some really nice earrings I have my eye on too.


Do you like shopping at local/independent stores? What are some of your favourites online/in your area?

-Emma
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