29 September 2016

September Beauty Favourites

September was a great month for beauty.

There are times when I feel really compelled by the latest beauty products and I literally love the process of doing my makeup every morning. Lately this has been the way for me, and as I've had products crop up more than usual, I've whittled down my favourites which include everything from the perfect summer smelling scrub to the epitome of a perfect nail polish colour.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm
There have been two stand-out lip balms in my stash this month, and this little pot is one of them. As mentioned in my last beauty first impressions post, I love that this lip balm acts as a treatment on the lips and is thick in consistency. My only gripe is that it can be hard to work into the lips, but all you need to do is warm up the balm between your fingers and your'e good to go. I feel like this one is more suitable for night-time, where as...

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant
...this product is better for throughout the day. I've seen some YouTubers using this in vlogs and such, so I was excited to try it out. Although I don't particularly like the smell of this (it's just a bit medical-smelling if that makes sense), this is more of a gel to liquid balm that melts onto the lips. I would say this isn't so much a treatment as a temporary quick fix and it does the job nicely. This product isn't actually specifically a lip balm, you can use it for skin healing and so on.

Hask Strengthening Shine Hair Oil
This baby is a contender for my favourite hair oil at the moment. I've featured an OGX oil on the blog recently, and I love both of these. I think they do a similar job of adding moisture and a bit of shine to the hair, while sorting out some frizz. I would say definitely give this product a go, or the OGX one as they're both pretty affordable.

Sinful Colours Nail Polish in Vacation Time
This is a bit of a weird one to share because I found it in a New Zealand pharmacy for $6, so it's probably not widely available (okay after googling this it's available in places like Walmart and Superdrug), but I thought I'd chuck this in anyway. I absolutely love the colour of this polish and it's the perfect pink nude shade I've been after. I've had a few compliments on my nails while wearing this, and surprisingly for $6 nail polish, the formula is pretty swell. You definitely need a base and/or top coat with this to prolong the wear, which leads me to the next couple products...

Essie All In One Base Coat* and Good To Go Top Coat*
I've had these for a while but I'm so slack with my nail polish application that I barely remember to use them. The first time I applied the pink nail polish I mentioned above, it chipped fairly fast, but after using this base and top coat, it significantly improved the wear. I'll definitely try and remember to use top and base coats more often!

The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng and Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask*
I'm reviewing this mask for Sophie's blog shortly, but I thought I would mention this product here because this is my new favourite face mask. I'm really impressed with what The Body Shop have been coming out with lately, especially this new range of masks to target different needs. This one is all about polishing and brightening up the skin, buffing away anything rough and leaving the skin feeling smooth. This mask is quite exfoliating which I love because my face feels really fresh afterwards. I think this would be one to use once a week because it might end up being a little too harsh.

The Body Shop Pinita Colada Body Scrub
The Pinita Colada range is actually out October 3rd in New Zealand, so you'll have to wait a few more days to get your mitts on it, but I'm suitably in love with the one product I've tried so far. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere and it's just been your summer then you may have already tried this. The smell of this range is incredible and will be perfect for upcoming summer days. I barely ever look after my skin with bodycare - exfoliating, moisturising, etc. but something like this makes it really easy. I find The Body Shop scrubs exfoliate the skin really well without being too harsh and leave your pins feeling silky smooth, the low maintenance way.


*PR Gift

26 September 2016

Read in September

It's time for another monthly reading round-up, consisting of everything from the world of Tennis to teen contemporary at its best...

So Sad Today by Melissa Broder
So Sad Today is a collection of personal essays from Melissa Broder, a woman plagued with anxiety, depression and addiction. She runs the twitter account @sosadtoday where she talks about her thoughts and feelings unapologetically and with incredible honesty. This book of essays is along the same lines - Melissa Broder covers some difficult topics and it seems there is nothing she wouldn't be afraid of covering. Her writing is incredibly raw, coming from the heart and spirit, reading as prose in many parts. This was an interesting collection of essays because I felt extremely opened up to Melissa's world and what she has gone through in the past, and still going through. This was quite a heavy book to read and really nothing goes uncensored. I felt some of the essays were particularly grabbing but at times I felt unconnected to her writing. I think if you like poetry and/or want to read about someone's intense account of anxiety, depression, sex, love and addiction this may be one to try. Very quite intense, though.

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger*
When this came through my door, I was slightly intrigued because it was from the author of The Devil Wears Prada - a book I've never read, but a movie I've loved watching in the past. This book caught me at a good time, when I was in the mood for a nice contemporary that wasn't anything heavy. I feel like this would be a great summer read. The Singles Game is a book basically entirely about tennis, but I found myself oddly interested in the whole apparent glamorous world of being a professional tennis player and touring around the world. Those of you who love a guilty pleasure contemporary and a good ol' Hollywood scandal will be thankful for this book.

The Memory Book by Lara Avery*
This was undoubtedly my favourite book I've read this month. The Memory Book was a delight (and great sadness) to read, so good in fact I read it over an evening and a few hours the next morning. It's strange, because I had picked this one up, read about 30 pages and never got round to continuing. This was an all-consuming book for me where I just felt compelled to read and read - I love it when one of these types of books come around every now and then. The Memory Book follows Samantha who reveals to us early on that she has a life-threatening disease which involves entire shutdown of her body. She refuses to believe she'll never go to College. She keeps an account of everything that happens in a diary of sorts, which the book consists of. I particularly loved the beautiful, honest writing which was very funny in parts. I think I was feeling particularly vulnerable at the time of reading this and the subject matter hit home quite a bit. I kept notes while I was reading this and at the end page I wrote: "When a book gives me such a profound feeling, when I'm sobbing, when I'm laughing, when I'm smiling like an idiot, I know it's good." So, there. There's an indication of how much I liked this.

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer*
I wrote a full review on this book here. Overall I really enjoyed reading something very refreshing from a talented comedian. Her memoir was quite unexpected, as I've heard quite a few people say, but I loved the sometimes taboo topics she covered and the way she unapologetically expressed herself.

What book sounds most intriguing to you?


*Review Copy

19 September 2016

What I Loved About Amy Schumer's Book

Today I'm reviewing Amy Schumer's exciting new memoir...

When The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo* arrived on my doorstep I was more than a little excited to get stuck in after I had already been hearing amazing things about this book. In case you don't know who she is, Amy Schumer is a comedian who's known for her stand up shows & most recently her movie Trainwreck which came out mid last year. I generally find memoirs really interesting to read and today I wanted to sit down and tell you just a few things I really liked about her book...

The way she emphasised not caring what others think

I loved the way Amy spoke unapologetically about who she is and what she has done or is doing. It's refreshing to hear from someone who blatantly does not care about people criticising her because of her appearance, and that overtime she's become almost invincible to nonsense that doesn't matter. Amy is a strong, confident woman who can laugh at herself, but this book also shows she does indeed have vulnerability and she has made plenty of mistakes.

How she talked about the need for change of women's magazines
Reading her chapter 'Letter to the Editor' particularly struck a cord with me because it's definitely something I agree with. Amy spoke about a personal bad experience of being in a magazine, and related this to the overarching concern of unrealistic portrayals of women in magazines. It made me think again (as I do a lot) about the content in magazines and websites online aimed at young women. For me, I am often sick of seeing the same content over and over, and worse, content that is harmful to the development and thinking of teenage girls. This is a topic I'm really passionate about considering I want to work in magazines some day. I just feel like we could do a little better than we are currently, and Amy really bought this home for me.

How her vulnerability came through
You would expect a book from a comedian to be really hilarious all the time, and while the quota of entertaining and funny was certainly filled, the way she incorporated talking about sensitive topics such as her dad's illness and gun violence in America was really refreshing. I think she does a wonderful job at discussing pressing topics, with a balance of being serious but also making a jokes in the appropriate places.

The way she talked about sex
It's so ultimately refreshing to see someone talking brazenly about their sexual experiences and unapologetically loving sex. I don't know about you, but I feel like talking about taboo topics has started to become more popular recently, and it's nice to see these important discussions come out of the woodwork in different forms - books, YouTube, media, social media, etc. I think this ties in with feminism and how it's important to regard these topics as normal and good to talk about.

Overall I really enjoyed reading Amy Schumer's memoir as it offered a refreshing insight into her life while being very fun to read. Thanks to Harper Collins for providing me with a review copy.

*Review Copy


12 September 2016

A Lush Haul

Because I sure do love to pamper myself sometimes...

A couple of weeks ago I walked into my nearest Lush with the aim of coming away with a few bath products to tide me over during the last of Auckland's cold weather. I picked out a gift box (just for me) with a variety of bubble bars (this one in fact) and one delicious smelling soap I couldn't resist. Now here's the lowdown on the products I bought & whether I think they're worth picking up.

Karma Bubble Bar
Fun fact for you... this was the first Lush product I tried I'm pretty sure. It was either this or a melting marshmallow bath product that I'm not even sure is available anymore. I don't remember much about my first impressions trying this product, but perhaps it was true love at first bubble bar. I love the Lush bubble bars more than the bath bombs because they last so much more and save you your hard earned moolah. Karma is an orange scented spicy number which is described as refreshing and uplifting. Not my favourite smelling Lush product by any means, but I wouldn't say no to one.

Milky Bath Bubble Bar
This white and silver coloured bubble bar is freshly scented with a creamy edge, one I'd never tried before. Apparently this product has real skimmed milk included in its ingredients list, which is interesting. I guess my milk bath dreams have come true without knowing. Actually no, I've never had any milk bath dreams at all. Although it claims to be softening and creamy, it just leaves you smelling very clean. I'm afraid you'll probably need a nourishing body scrub or oil to pair with this one. This is a pretty lacklustre offering, really.

The Comforter Bubble Bar
We're in safe territory here, because The Comforter is hands down my favourite bubble bar for its delicious addictive scent and its pink bath water changing abilities. Usually this product is a little bigger when you buy it separately, but as this was in a gift box it's more of a mini size. I do tend to ration my bubble bars though, so no problems here. I can't remember how many of these I have bought since my Lush addiction began in about Year 12 (that would be three years ago), so that's as good a sign as you're going to get, that this one stellar bath treat.

Honey I Washed The Kids Soap
I've loved the scent this soap has since I bought the shower gel version a couple years ago. I challenge you to give this caramel and honey scented soap just one sniff because you'll usually find me bent over it like a lil' honey bee. Actually, that doesn't really make sense does it? Regardless, I basically want to eat this soap and I'm so glad I picked it up. This will last absolutely ages so luckily I should be smelling delightful for quite some time. I don't usually go for the soaps in Lush because they're not always the most moisturising, but you can't beat a good scent when you find one.

Granny Takes a Dip Bubble Bar
If you happen to not like bubble bars, this probably hasn't been a very good post for you. This colourful concoction consists of a few different scents - ginger, pepper and lemon - overall giving off a very spicy and herbal fragrance that I don't think will be to everyone's taste. My first impression of this is that it's quite a bit harder than the other bubble bars in this bunch, definitely not creamy. I don't particularly like the scent of this but it doesn't really linger. Alas, I wouldn't run out to repurchase this one but in terms of bubbles it makes the same amount as practically any Lush bubble bar out there so it will definitely be used up in swift timing.

Do you like Lush products or are you a bit over the hype?


7 September 2016

Beauty Haul & First Impressions

Some things just fall into your shopping cart and you have to buy them...

Recently I bought some beauty bits from Feel Unique and when they arrived on my doorstep, I knew I had to talk about what I bought and tell you whether I liked them or not. Spoiler alert, I like them all a lot so far!

Zoella Beauty Bath Latte
So I've dipped my toe into Zoella Beauty for the first time (literally dipped my toe in) - this product is a bath milk which first all of smells DELICIOUS. It smells like custard and if the whole range smells like this I might have to go in for seconds. The consistency of this is sort of like yoghurt which is a bit weird, but all you do is pour a little of this under running water and you'll be pleased to know it makes a really good amount of bubbles. It makes as much as part of a Lush bubble bar, so good to know it's on par with my fave bath and body brand. I'm not sure how long this is going to last, but I'll report back.

NUXE Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm
Ah, yes - the cult lip balm everyone loves. On first impression, this balm is so the one for me now. This smoothes and softens the lips, while almost plumping them too. It has quite a thick consistency and would be perfect for an overnight treatment, but this suits me so well as a day time lip balm. I have a feeling this will make putting on my favourite liquid lipsticks a lot easier. Have you tried this cult product? I'd be interested to know if you love it too.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams in Budapest and London
I knew as soon as I saw Feel Unique stocked these I needed to try a couple more shades. The first one I bought was Cannes, a dark pink nude, but this time I went for a darker purple colour and more of a brown nude. The first is Budapest, which is a gorgeous berry purple which I thought would be kind of like a burgundy colour. I'd say it's a little more purple than I thought but I still love this shade and you'll be pleased to know this dark colour isn't patchy on the lips. The other shade is London which I'd describe as a warm toned, slightly orange brown nude. I think this is the perfect every day colour and the best part is if some of it comes off during the day with eating, etc you really don't notice too much as the nude shades fade nicely.

OGX Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Penetrating Oil
My favourite conditioner comes from the OGX Argan Oil range so I wanted to try out the oil to tame my frizzy-prone hair. After a couple uses the verdict is that I really like this. All I do is apply a small amount of the oil to my hair after washing it and let it dry a little naturally before blow drying. I've found it makes my hair look shinier and less frizzy in conjunction with using the Argan Oil conditioner. If you're looking for a new hair care brand I would definitely recommend this one, and their products are pretty affordable too.

I also received a couple of samples to try (hopefully I'll actually remember to try them out at some point). Hope you enjoyed this post!


5 September 2016

Favourite Feminist Reads | Collab Post

Four fab feminist reads from fellow blogger Sarah...

Hi, I'm Sarah from Sarah Eliza. Both Emma and I have decided to team up, swap blogs and share our favourite feminist reads with you. If you want to see some of Emma's favourites be sure to check out that over on my blog but, for now, here are my favourites.


This was the book that started it all off for me. It was the first book exploring feminism explicitly that I read. As Frankie heads off to boarding school she soon notices the different treatment the girls and boys get at the school. She doesn't seem to understand why the boys act the way they do as well as being allowed to run secret societies where girls aren't. She challenges the boys' ideas of stereotypes in thinking girls are passive and unmotivated. While some of the feminist points I found a little forced, I think this is a great starting point to feminism in fiction.


This was first published in 1892 and, just last year, this 60-page book, was released as one of the 89p Penguin Black Classics. Feminism was a topic I had to cover for me A level English course and this was one of the recommended books and I really enjoyed it. The main woman remains unnamed and is sent to the country to try and recover from her mental illness. The woman wants to write but her husband (who also is her doctor) forbids this and the woman descends into madness and doesn't recover as she becomes obsessed with the wallpaper in her room. Even though only short, it isn't the easiest of reads but still one that I think highlights the feminist issues of the time.


Another one recommended to read for my course and covers similar topics topic to the Yellow Wallpaper. Based on Plath's real life, Esther Greenwood moves to New York and starts to enter into a depression. Being a young woman she goes on numerous dates with men, however, rejects most of the ones she meets. While covering, again, the topic of mental illness really well, Plath points out the hypocrisy between men and women at the time and the blatant inequality between the two. I would give an extreme trigger warning to this book with accounts of suicide attempts as well as her shock therapy both the character and Plath both underwent. While I sometimes found the character of Esther hard to appreciate, this is a feminist book I feel all should give a go.

AM I NORMAL YET? (Spinster Club Series #1) // HOLLY BOURNE

I started reading this series actually after reading about it on Emma's blog among many. This book discusses both feminism affecting teens as well as mental illness. It sees three girls come together to create their own feminist group where they hold weekly meetings to discuss topics affecting females along with a bit of college gossip. Each of the series follows a different girl with this one following Evie who is undergoing therapy which she wants to keep quiet as she joins a new school. This is such a good YA read full of feminism, friendship and humour. This book and series is one to try.

So here are just a few of my favourite feminist reads and if you want some more recommendations why not head to my blog to see some of Emma's favourites.

We also thought we would mention that we've created our own only feminist twitter group- our own spinster club as it were- where we will soon be hosting feminist chats as well as retweeting our favourite empowerment posts. You should definitely follow us on twitter: @fem_collective

What are some of your favourite feminist reads?

Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

2 September 2016

Read in August

A Pride and Prejudice retelling, a summer camp romance & something that makes you want to do a fist bump into the air...

How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne - 5 Stars
I reviewed this book in my last post, August Favourites, but it definitely deserves another mention in this monthly round-up post. This book is perfect for the standard YA contemporary lover, but it also includes feminism that is easy to grasp and perfectly introductory. Something I like about this book is that the main character, Amber, is definitely not perfect in parts - with feminism, but also her life in general. This is such a nice book to crack out in the summer time as it is set in America at a summer camp, or practically any time of the year, because Holly Bourne's writing is both easy to get through and important.

Girl Up by Laura Bates - 5 Stars
If there's a book every person who identifies as a girl should have, it's this one. Laura's book Everyday Sexism had a profound impact on me and made me realise a thing or two (read: a lot). Her second book is slightly more toned down and perfect for the younger audience. It doesn't strictly deal with just feminism, but many issues girls tend to deal with in their teen years. In all, it generally does make you want to do a fist bump into the air as it breaks through stigma and stereotypes. Overall, feminism overlays everything, and there are many, many important topics addressed in this book. My only hope is that more teens get their hands on this one.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld - 4 Stars
Even though I've never read Pride and Prejudice (shock horror, I know) I still enjoyed reading this modern retelling of the story. This is a bit of a long book, but the chapters are actually very short and manageable - I found it interesting how the book felt very much like it had the vibe of the era Pride and Prejudice was set in, but it incorporated the modern elements in nicely. While I did find parts, particularly leading up the climax of sorts (no spoilers), quite lengthly to read, overall the writing gave me a wide view of the main character, Liz Bennet's life, her past, and her family. I don't know quite why I enjoyed this, but I just did. I liked the charm and wit the book and Liz had, and especially enjoyed the dark and handsome Darcy obviously. I'm glad I picked this one up!

Do any of these books sound interesting to you?

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