30 April 2017

Soundtrack to April

Everything I've been listening to in April...

I seem to be having a bit of an affinity with everything 70s and 80s at the moment (at least inspired), from fashion to music. There's a touch of that in here, plus a couple of new singles I can't get out of my head.

The Highlights

Lana Del Rey x The Weeknd
I haven't stopped hitting play on this song since it came out. I will listen to anything that Lana releases and there's nothing more to say than I can't wait for her new album - there's rumours she's collaborating with Stevie Nicks. Um, yeah, please.

Tom Rosenthal
When I want to listen to something calm or have it as background music while I work, I turn to Tom Rosenthal. His music equally deserves to be listened to with full attention, but also put on shuffle as you while away an afternoon. His new album is coming up soon so be prepared for more loveliness..

Tears For Fears
Sometimes I just need an 80s power song to get me going okay? Like The Power of Love by Huey Lewis (cue Back to the Future marathons), or in this case, Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears. All the best discoveries come from my Dad's record collection.

Harry Styles
I listened to his single once and I was like 'this is okay', but now I can't stop listening. I listened to an radio interview where he talks about moving into his solo career (probably while I was procrastinating uni work, let's face it) and I like how he said he wanted this single to not be as 'sellable' - if you could say that. It's a longer song and has a flavour of Bowie to it, you could say..

Tom Odell
Tom Odell used to be one of my favourites a couple years ago but I kind of stopped listening to him. In the same way that Tom Rosenthal is just relaxing to listen to, his Long Way Down album is my perfect 'sad music' go-to, but there are still some more up-beat songs of his I like.

Fletwood Mac
Nothing much needs to be said about Fleetwood Mac, they're in their own category of all things legendary and amazing. Similar to Tears for Fears, I like the bout I nostalgia I get from listening to them. Now please let that collaboration with Lana be real..

Haim
And finally, something that's not on the playlist because it's a live version, but it's bloody amazing. I love Haim so, so much and cannot wait for their new album coming out soon. Even though some people have mixed reactions to their new song, Right Now, I really, really like it and I need more of it in my life. It's been far too long Haim.


And as usual I have a few songs here there
that I've chucked in but haven't mentioned...
Enjoy!



What have you been listening to?

-Emma

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26 April 2017

The Jumper Lookbook

Sweater Weather

You probably know by now that I tend to have a hankering for a good jumper. They're practically my favourite piece of clothing to own, and when Autumn comes around (for NZ at least) I'm known to give off a squeal of delight at the outfit possibilities. From the plain jane to the bold, everything is welcome. It's time to roll up my sleeves, you could say, and chat about my favourite sweaters, paired with a good pair of jeans of course - what else would you expect?


Seeing Red - This red and pink jumper from Selected Femme via ASOS could look like a rad jumper or a cheerleader's uniform (as was pointed out to me..), depending on how you look at it. Red and pink is a colour combination I hated back in the day, but it's literally my favourite thing at the moment. Red is very 'on trend' (if you want to call it that) this season, whether it be for autumn or spring. Try...



The Fail-Safe - To the eye this jumper may look as boring as you can get, but trust me, there's no greater delight than finding the perfect comfy basic. From Glassons, this jumper with ribbing is the perfect thing to wear under coats. It's not too thin or thick and goes with literally everything... especially tucked into high waisted jeans. Try...




Frills, They're Multiplying - Cheesy Grease lyrics aside, it's a big 'yes please' to frills for this girl. Yes... you're the one that I want. This is probably my favourite jumper because it's completely wearable but has a little something to peak interest. Picked up from Urban Outfitters, it's probably not available anymore, but it's a goodie. Try...




Tickled Pink - I happen to be quite partial to a pink jumper which ends up looking a bit 80s inspired, which I am for. This high-necked one is from Glassons and is bang-on trend - it doesn't look like pink is disappearing any time soon. There are plenty of options available, and these days a pink knit is practically a staple in anyone's wardrobe if you ask me. Try...



Show Your Stripes - You didn't think I'd missed out stripes, did you? I could hardly make a blog post about jumpers without mentioning my true love - the striped sweater. Stripes never go out of fashion as far as I'm concerned and my wardrobe is stocked full. Tucked into blue denim - piece of cake. This is an old jumper, but there are hundreds out there for perusal. Try...




What kind of jumper do you like wearing?

-Emma

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22 April 2017

The Peachy Pink Makeup Edit

Peachy Keen

Whether it be a glossy lip tint, a glowy coral blush, or a peachy sheen on the eye lids, I'm all for the peach trend we've been seeing makeup wise lately. Too Faced has been one of the contributors to this trend with their Sweet Peach collection, which features a highlighting palette, blush, lip glosses, and of course, the eyeshadow palette. The best thing is the entire range smells like artificial peaches. So in celebration of all things dewy, here's a makeup look I've been wearing recently.

TheBalm Time Balm Face Primer
I can barely go without this primer at the moment, and this is the first step to achieving a fresh, flawless look. I find my foundation separates on the skin if I don't use this. It glides over pores and blemishes so your skin is more smooth and less bumpy.

NARS Sheer Glow
I'm certainly sounding like a broken record these days with this one, but this NARS foundation is simply the only base I use. Maybe I'm too scared to venture elsewhere, but I'm satisfied with the glowy effect it gives and it has decent coverage too.

Eye of Horus Goddess Mascara
This has been one of my favourite mascaras as of late because of its ability to curl the lashes upwards and define every lash. This one is definitely more of a lengthening mascara more than volumising, but its the perfect thing to wack on when you're having a no-makeup, makeup day.


Too Faced Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette
Eyeshadows and I are definitely having a moment. This palette is a welcome addition, with enough subtle pink and orange shades to shake a stick at... or an eyeshadow brush. My favourite shades include Candied Peach (pink with subtle gold shimmer), Bellini (lighter pink shimmer with a rose gold feel) and Summer Yum which is a rich orange brown. Warm toned eyeshadows - that must be where my heart lies. The palette isn't strictly peachy tones - there are some other interesting colours that stray away from everything pretty pink. While the quality of the shadows don't quite meet that of my Anastasia Beverley Hills' palette, they still have good pigment and are easy to blend.

TheBalm Hot Mama Shadow & Blush All-in-One
The perfect accompaniment to a peachy pink eye is this applied to the cheeks. It leaves behind a glowy shimmer and is the perfect peachy coral. Looking well-used and a tad worse for wear, I've had this lying around for at least a couple of years, but I'm not showing any sign of letting go. As well as a blush, like I did for this look, you can use it for eyeshadow which is a bonus.

Nude by Nature Finishing Brush 05
This has been my go-to powder product brush for about a year. I doesn't pick up a load of product at once so it's hard to go overboard with this one; I like applying my powder, bronzer and/or blush with this. It's also a very soft brush which is always a good thing...

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in London
Another product I could enthuse about for days, and I clearly already do looking at how many times I've featured the soft matte lip creams in blog posts. Recently I've taken a shine to the London shade because it looks nice with more pared back looks. I would describe this shade as a brownish nude without being too dark - on my pale skin tone at least. As you'll probably know, these lip creams dry down to a matte but I find them not too drying and very light-feeling.



Now that I've gone on and on about my favourite glowy, peachy products plus what I've been wearing alongside them, tell me, are you a fan of the peach trend?

-Emma

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18 April 2017

Book Reviews: Writer's Festival Edition

The authors on my radar for Auckland Writer's Festival

Roxane Gay and Rupi Kaur are heading to New Zealand this year, in about a month, to take part in the Auckland Writer's Festival and I couldn't be more chuffed to be attending their events. Regardless of where you live, read on to hear what I think about their books.


Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 8 July 2016
★★★★

This book certainly got some hype at the end of last year. At first, I wasn't that interested in reading it because I'm not really into poetry, but this might be the book that will have me converted. I've seen a few of the pages from Milk and Honey dotted around Tumblr and such, but reading the actual book cover to cover was such a nice experience. For me, some of the topics she touched on, such as sexual abuse, love, relationships, heart break, feminism, etc - although not all relatable to me, really hit home. It is a powerful thing when reading one short poem can make you well up, but that's the beauty of poetry I suppose, that I've never really embraced. If you want to give poetry a go, I would highly recommend this one - it's a quick read but Rupi's words are so powerful and touch a nerve.


Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Harper Perennial, 27 February 2015
★★★★

Another one I've recently finished, Bad Feminist, is the second book I've read of Roxane Gay's, alongside Difficult Women. I'd say if you haven't read up about intersectional feminism yet, this could be a good book to start with. Race is strongly interwoven with commentary on gender. This book is part memoir, part academic critique on films, tv shows, books, etc. While there were certainly chapters I didn't love as much as others, there are a few aspects that stood out for me that I loved. I was particularly moved by a few chapters, such as when Roxane talks about rape culture and sexual assault, reproductive freedom; when she talked about the idea of 'women's fiction', and most overarching, the idea that we can be 'bad feminists', and there are many different types of feminism for all kinds of people. This book had its moment a couple of years ago, but it's still relevant and worth picking up.

I also read Difficult Women by Roxane Gay* a few months ago - you can see my review here.


-Emma



*Review Copy
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14 April 2017

5 Things: Self Care


Self Care 101

You may have (or probably not have) noticed my recent absence from this corner of the internet. Truth be told, I'm finding it a tad difficult to juggle uni, work and blogging. I think we all have these struggles from time to time. Nevertheless, now I have a two week break, today I wanted to write a casual post about some of the little, miscellaneous things I've been loving lately. When you're dealing with an infinite amount of work, it can tend to take a toll on mental health. These are some of the things getting me through at the moment...

Peppermint Tea
I've never been a tea drinker, but I can certainly get behind peppermint tea. Any hot drink just makes me feel cozy, and it's nice to settle down with one and a good book when you just need to chill. Peppermint tea has a subtle, refreshing taste and according to the packet it's pretty good for the digestive system. It's autumn in New Zealand (although not terribly cold yet..) so brewing a hot cuppa is the perfect thing to get into the habit of doing.

Face Masks
Not exactly rocket science, but a good beauty pamper every now and then can do wonders. Using a refreshing or invigorating mask can perk you up to no end and is best done from the comfort of your own bed if you ask me. I like using the Manuka Doctor ApiClear Purifying Facial Peel because it creates a smooth surface to apply oils and moisturiser to, for a full on pamper treat. It can be a little harsh, but I don't use this that often. By far my favourite face mask is The Body Shop Chinese Ginseng & Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask. This one is incredibly reviving, a little exfoliating, and glow-inducing.

Baths
A face mask is perfectly paired with a hot bath. We recently had water restrictions where I live, so I tried not to have any baths, but now it's back to normal, I've realised how much I've missed baths. Personally, a bath really relaxes me and perfect just before bed. I also get a lot more reading done when I have baths, because when I'm busy it's a little slice of the day I'm forced to just lie-down. The experience is made even better when you have a Lush treat or two to pop in the tub.

Netflix
Before I started uni this year, I told myself I would use the evenings to shut off - read a book or watch a TV show so I did something every day just to relax. It's worked pretty well so far - I mean it's not that hard to do. I find if I get my work done mostly during the day, then I can tell myself I have the rest of the day off, and don't have to feel guilty. At the moment, I'm watching 13 Reasons Why, along with the rest of the world... I actually read the book about four years ago but can't even remember what happened, lol. FYI, Planet Earth is a very calming thing to watch before bed and will make you appreciate how amazing the planet, and animals, are.

Creature Comforts
You could say all of these are creature comforts, but when I'm feeling sad or stressed, I always reach for my favourite things to give me a boost - whether that be my favourite book, film, watching YouTube clips of my favourite person or from my favourite TV show - the list is endless. Those things that are unique to you, that one 'thing' that makes you feel instantly happier. Remember that you should enjoy the little things and try not to think in extremes. I should try taking my own advice..


I think this is the post I needed to write today - here's to giving ourselves a little bit of love every now and then (..or all the bloody time, amiright?).

-Emma

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3 April 2017

March Beauty Edit

Glossy pink lids, pastel digits & silky, soft hair

The amount of new beauty products I've acquired over the past couple of months has dwindled quite a bit, hence the lack of beauty posts on my blog. I tend to stick to the same products these days, because they work for me, and I don't have time to buy and try out more things - however, there are a few things I wanted to chat about this month - a micellar water, my dream shampoo + conditioner duo, and more.

Good things come in twos

After featuring the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polish in my recent First Impressions post, I've warmed up a tad to the idea of an at home gel manicure, and I'm convinced this product is the way of the future. Slight exaggeration there, but it's been hard to go back to normal nail polish after painting my digits with the pastel pink Flower Crown (211) shade in particular. The idea behind it is you're meant to use the nail colour, and the second step is the Miracle Gel Top Coat which seals everything. The actual nail colour can look a bit patchy at times, so add an extra coat if needed. No, it's no witchcraft, but my nails end up looking fake or professionally done without the hassle.

If you want yourself some lovely locks, I would point you in the direction of OGX. I've had a brief fling with a few other shampoo and conditioners, but I always find myself going back to the Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo and Conditioner. They are more expensive than some other hair care brands, but I definitely think it's worth it, because they're seemingly the only thing that can sort out my frizzy mop. So, good things definitely come in twos... and as a bonus this duo makes your hair smell amazing.


Pretty in Pink

The limited edition Max Factor Masterpiece Palette in Rose Nudes* has shades to die for. While I might cringe at the phrase 'right on trend', the pink and purple shades in this palette are just a bit up to the minute (read: a lot). The shade that called my name the first time I set eyes on the palette, is the shimmery copper pink (4th from left). This shade, by itself all over the lid, results in a subtle, glossy look that is all sorts of pretty. I also like combining the more purple shades for a subtle smoky eye which I think suits blue eyes nicely. These do melt into the skin easily and are the perfect thing for an understated, undone, soft look - however they are not the most pigmented or long-lasting I've come across. For the price point though? I rate it. They also have the Cappuccino Nudes and Golden Nudes colour-ways.


An old favourite

I have picked up the NARS Creamy Concealer again because I was in search of something that would actually somewhat cover my spots - I've been having a bit of bad luck with my concealer recently. Some are too thick and separate on the skin, or others are too thin and don't cover dark marks at all. I really do rate the NARS base products I've tried so far - this concealer does its covering duty well without being really thick and cakey looking on the skin. I am also very tempted to try the new NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer - lets face it, I'm going to make an order soon (although the lighter shades are now sold out - grrr!)


Take the day off

I've been trialling the NIVEA Sensitive Caring Micellar Water over the past couple of months, and I might have converted from my usual Garnier one. Sometimes I felt the Garnier one was a bit harsh on my skin, and although it's quite hard to really tell the difference between micellar waters, I think I prefer this one. It removes pesky eye makeup quite easily and my face makeup too. In that sense, I prefer to use this product as a makeup remover and initial cleanse - I always follow up with my regular cleanser after. I have debated doing a post comparing the few micellar waters I've tried, but its tricky to compare!


Will you be trying any of these products?


-Emma



*PR Sample
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29 March 2017

Recently Read and Book Haul | March

The run-down on what I've been reading lately


A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Macmillian Children's Books, 12 Jan 2017
★★★★★

This is my most recent read, and oh my gosh, it's so good. I read Beautiful Broken Things by the same author last month, so it's no surprise that this book was wonderful. I did, however, enjoy A Quiet Kind of Thunder just a bit more. As I've said in various places on social media, this book is exactly what I like about young adult fiction. I love books that I can binge read across a day or two, that almost feel like an addiction. As you can probably tell by the cover, this book is centred around romance, but here it's the most adorable, slow-going, realistic and complex mix.

This book follows a girl called Steffi who is a selective mute, and a boy called Rhys who's deaf. I've never read anything about deaf people or selective mutism, so this was eye-opening to the struggles those people can have, but it shouldn't and doesn't define them. They meet in obvious circumstances, because they both 'speak' sign language, but their process of getting to know each other and maintaining a friendship is really unique, and difficult at times. This is some of the best, if not the best, romance I've read in YA - lots of squealing and putting the book down for a moment kind of thing (as pathetic as that sounds it's the truth)... This is definitely on my 'favourite books of 2017' list.


Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse*
Hachette, 9 March 2017
★★★★

It's Sophia's last week in Tokyo before she has to move back to the US. She's lived in Tokyo with her mum for a while, and it's become her home... where her friends are, and the boy she used to have a crush on. As he comes back into the picture just before Sophia's due to leave the country, she has to make those last seven days count. I think the thing that made this book special was the setting - I absolutely fell in love with Tokyo reading this. I've never had a desire to visit the city, but this was like a love letter to Tokyo, as Sophia and the boy, Jamie, stay up the whole night and explore the city.

I had the feeling of being transported to Tokyo, and in that way, I really felt wrapped up in this book - it took me a mere day and a half to read it too. I always think that if I read a book in a day, there's something really good about it. While I did think the romance aspect of it wasn't as special as A Quiet Kind of Thunder, I enjoyed Sophia's adventures with her friends and Jamie rather than their actual relationship. That ending was a good one though, and I finished this one with absolutely no regrets ignoring the rest of life to read it.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas*
Walker Books, 1 March 2017
★★★★

This seems to have slightly different release dates for various countries, but I'm pretty sure it's out now for most people. I'm sure you've seen this book everywhere at the moment - but in case you haven't - it's definitely one to watch. It's about a girl called Starr who is caught up in two different worlds... the poor neighbourhood where she lives, and her posh high school in the suburbs. She witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil, by a police officer. Sound familiar? This story is very reminiscent of events you've seen in the media, and is in fact inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Expect... "People like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice." This book is about what prejudice looks like in the 21st century, and how the fight for justice can be a huge struggle. I found this book to be very, very moving and just incredibly important. Not only is this book important and inspiring, it's also very accessible because it's YA - that means more young people will pick up this book. If there's one book you're going to read soon, make it this one because of the subject matter.

And I picked up a couple more books...


Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
Penguin, 1 Feb 2017

This is a book I've walked past a few times in bookshops and always liked the sound of it, but would never buy it. Sophie, always the enabler, kind of said I should get it so I did. This was actually the only book I bought this month, which is some kind of record or achievement (...wait, I just remembered there's something on it's way to me in the post). Anyway, while reading the blurb, the bit that intrigued me was "Ingrid writes letters to her husband Gil about their life together. But instead of giving them to him, she hides each in the thousands of books Gil has collected." So, yes please, I would quite like to read this book.


Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik
twenty7, 1 October 2016

I've just started reading this one, so I don't know a great deal about it, but from my understanding it's a bit like Bridget Jones, but maybe even better. Of course the difference is that Sofia's Muslim. After she breaks up with her boyfriend, she sets off to write a book about the Muslim dating scene and her experiences. When there's a quote from Mhairi McFarlane, you just have to go for it, don't you? I actually picked this one up from the library on a whim, so maybe hiring books out has hit a resurgence.



Are you interested in reading any of these books? Let me know!


-Emma



*Sent for review

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20 March 2017

Workwear Lookbook

For those of us who opt for sneakers most days...

My idea of workwear essentially equates to pretty blouses, my favourite pair of jeans, a standard pair of black trousers and the all important pair of not-too-high pointed boots. I've recently upped my professional clothing game (which is pretty hilarious considering it's still casual af) but I thought I'd put together a little lookbook for the gals who hate dressing up and will go for sneakers over anything else most days.




(Floral Blouse from Glassons, Cream Blouse from Topshop, Gingham Top from Mirrou)


I have a few blouses that I reach for when I want to dress up slightly, but still maintain my aesthetic, because there's nothing worse than wearing something you're not comfortable in. If there's one thing in life I hate, it's overdressing. Whether it's this cream-coloured, star patterned, button-up shirt from Topshop, my gingham cold shoulder number, or black and white striped top with flared sleeves, I'm still staying true to me.

I don't know about you, but I've been loving tops with cute cut outs and special detail. If there's one trend I can get behind, it's most definitely anything flared or ruffled. Take me back to the 70s... and with a nice pair of jeans I do think patterned tops can look really cute and still presentable.


(Top from Mirrou)



Exhibit A, B, and C...




If there's one thing my wardrobe was lacking, it was 'work pants'. Excuse me if I give a small shudder here, because it's not something I really 'do'. Upon investigation, there actually are a number of cute, and still relaxed-looking pants, on offer if you look at places like ASOS. I've opted for a pair of pin striped pants with a split detail at the ankle (not that you can see - you're welcome for my extremely professional photography).

I think a nice white blouse or crisp t-shirt goes nicely with these pants, as I wouldn't wear these with any of the above tops because of pattern overload. I also have a pair of plain black ones, but I really do think that jeans are A OK as long as you're not chucking on a slobby looking jumper... Wow, look at me giving all this fashion advice! Truly inspirational.


(Pants from Glassons)


And I've saved my new boots for last - what a joy they are to look at. They're extremely simple, and just what I was after. I don't know if it's the case for everyone, but I find it really quite hard to dig out a pair that fit all my needs - not too high, not too detailed, won't cost me an arm and a leg... but these Urban Outfitter Vagabond boots are actually a dream come true, so far. Not to mention I got them on sale. They look pretty narrow so I was skeptical about the fit, but they are perfect and are really comfortable. They're definitely going to come in handy for upcoming autumn & winter.


(Boots from Urban Outfitters)


I've left some of my favourite similar items below (or above linked items where I can) for your own browsing:


What do you wear in a more professional environment? I'd love to know - I could use all the help I can get.


-Emma
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16 March 2017

Around The Web | #2

The one where I get a bit link happy...

I say 'around the web', but most of these mentions are YouTube videos which I've thoroughly enjoyed watching. Aside from YouTubers, there are a few other rad things sprinkled in here. This series is essentially everything I've been loving lately in link form, so let's get started.


Liv Purvis' 'Inside The Wardrobe Of' series
I have been reading What Olivia Did for a few years, and her YouTube videos that have graced my screen recently are fab too. She has introduced a new series called 'Inside The Wardrobe Of' where she sits down and has a casual chat with a very stylish gal. Liv herself has a style that dreams are made of, so these vids are a very welcome addition to my subscription box. So far, she has had Charlotte Jacklin of Betty Magazine and Emma Gannon, author, blogger, podcaster... (the list is endless). What I like about this series is she brings on very 'normal' and relatable women who aren't necessarily high fashion goddesses, but know what they like and how to dress themselves.

Oh My! Moon Cup Chats with Lucy and Hannah
I have a guilty pleasure, and it's watching people try menstrual cups. No, don't click off - it's not as creepy as it sounds. I've mentioned it on the last instalment of this series, but Hannah Witton does a wonderful series on YouTube called The Hormone Diaries, and as part of that, she recently tried a menstrual cup and reported back whether it was worth the fuss or not. Similarly, Lucy Wood (who is an all-round lovely gal who makes great videos) made a video titled 'The Mooncup Diaries', so I'm sure you can imagine the fun things that go on. I genuinely love watching videos about periods, there's just something about them...

'Feminism Is Not a Trend' by Viva
I recently wrote a news story along the lines of this one from Viva Magazine (which is a New Zealand online publication if you didn't know). I personally find this article very interesting and there is definitely two sides to this topic, so if you're intrigued by the title do go over and have a squizz. It's something I think about quite often, as there's always that one business who's jumping on the bandwagon of feminism and earning money from it. Let me know your thoughts...

Blossoms in The Live Lounge
This is such a random one, however I've been kind of obsessed with the British band Blossoms lately, and their cover of 'In Da Club' is pretty fab. I can see why some people sort of hate it, but in my mind it's so unexpected that it's good.. Plus, if it's 50 cent mashed up with George Michael's 'Careless Whisper', I'm all ears. Definitely check out Blossoms if you've never heard of them - their debut album that came out recently is all kinds of cool.

Rosianna Halse Rojas x Backburner
Sit down with a hot cup of tea, and maybe a couple of biscuits, because Rosianna's Backburner series on YouTube is long but amazing. She essentially explores the link between food and mental health, which I think is fascinating. She cooks from the same book for a month and along the way ends up tracking her mental health and energy levels. There's something poignant, thoughtful and relaxing about them. She's done two so far which can be found here, and here. Rosianna makes super interesting and thoughtful videos so I urge you to check her channel out.



-Emma
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12 March 2017

Beauty Radar: On My Wishlist




On today's forecast: face masks, fresh skincare & sparkly things


If there's one thing I love, it's a good scrub. Goodness is a brand that has been popping up everywhere in the New Zealand beauty scene, but I'm yet to try a single product. I would go for one of their moisturisers or this Every Week Face Scrub which claims to offer exfoliation minus the harsh part. Since I'm talking about skincare, another product I'd love to try is the new Double Cleanse from Pixi; a collaboration between the brand and Caroline Hirons, practically a God in the skincare world.

A mask I've been meaning to pop in my basket for the longest time (or simply since it came out) is the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask from the do-no-wrong brand The Body Shop. Similarly, the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask is currently on my radar. Not new, but something I've heard a good few people rave about over the years. My skin has a tendency to be both dry and oily, so when it's parched I'd love to have this at hand.

Something a little sparkly and very exciting - the Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadows from Stila. I tend to stick to powder eyeshadows, but these look like a dream come true, especially since they're meant to be easy to apply yet not lacking on punch and pigment. While we're in the makeup realm, the Mary Lou Luminizer Highlighting Powder from TheBalm is one of those products that's been on my wishlist for ages. I've been severely lacking in the highlighting department lately, so I think it's about time I hit the buy button on this one. Lastly, Zoeva has a range of eyeshadow palettes that I've been lusting over - especially the Caramel Melange Eyeshadow Palette which by the looks of it has all the warm toned shades I love and could ever need.




What's on your beauty radar right now, new release or otherwise?

-Emma

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8 March 2017

Books: International Women's Day

Books that look into feminism, gender and women

To recognise International Women's Day, I thought I'd put together a post about books that touch on the topics of women, feminism, gender and more. From my book recommendations, to books I want to get around to reading, here is my one stop shop for everything book and women combined.


Recommendations:

Girl Up by Laura Bates
A feminist saviour for teens, Girl Up explores a variety of themes very relevant to young people in modern society. Laura Bates is a fantastic writer to go to if you have never read anything about feminism before, because as I always say, her writing is accessible and this book in particular is targeted to a younger audience. It serves as general advice for teens, while incorporating wider world issues into the mix. I would also really recommend Everyday Sexism by the same author because that is the one book that definitely made me want to speak up about women's issues.

Girls Will Be Girls by Emer O'Toole
While this book can be a little academic at times, I still found it to be a nice mix of scholarship with personal experience. The ideas the author presented in this book about gender were really fascinating to me because I hadn't thought about those ideas before. It reinforces that gender is largely socially constructed and explores the argument between structure and agency (if gender acts are a choice or part of societal influence). What she discussed really made me think about how much we all perform our identities day to day, and that it's important to ponder the contrast of structure/agency, or what's been socially constructed and what we choose.

Asking For It By Louise O'Neill
This was both a harrowing and important read that explored rape culture and victim blaming. I have to say that this read wasn't particularly enjoyable but it's one I'm really glad I read. It's such a realistic and intense look at how deeply victim blaming can effect someone, and how a community can turn against one girl. I've read a few books like this, but this one definitely sticks out in my mind as being the most heartbreaking, yet so real. Everyone should read this.


To Read:

Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill
This has been sitting on my shelves for far too long and I think it's about time I got to it. After reading Louise O'Neill's book Asking For It, it opened me up to her writing and her as a person. This book is rather different because it's a science fiction dystopian, but looks at the way girls in society are seen to only exist to please men. You could look at it like an exaggeration of the real world, but with some themes that certainly run true in society.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
I know that it is extremely important to read diversely and to place importance on intersectional feminism. Having studied intersectional feminism for a Uni paper, it definitely opened up a whole new world of feminism. Swing Time looks to be something that will open my eyes more to the combination of race and gender. In the summary this book is described as a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by things and how we can survive them.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
This is up there on my to-read list at the moment since finishing Roxane Gay's book Difficult Women*. As I've mentioned on my blog before, this was quite a popular book a couple years ago and I'm excited to see what it's like. As Roxane's other book was unexpected, I don't really know what to expect from this one. The essays she writes are described as funny yet insightful, and touch on themes such as being a woman of colour, popular culture, books, gender, sex, news media, social media and politics.

How to Win at Feminism by Reductress*
This is a very different book to the rest mentioned here - it's described on the front cover as 'The Definitive Guide to Having it All-and Then Some!'. If you know anything about this book, then you know it's a definite parody/satire on the typical women's magazine, for example you can 'learn how to battle the patriarchy while maintaining a dependable moisturising routine'. I believe it's largely about how women's magazines can very much be hypocritical. It's interesting to think about the dynamic between being girly and liking makeup and so on, mixed with being a feminist (of course you can do/be both). I have flicked through this a bit and have got the general vibe of it, but am yet to read it properly!


Do any of these books interest you? Please also recommend me some more books like these to read!

-Emma


*Review Copy
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4 March 2017

Downsizing My Makeup Collection

It's Time For a Big Ol' Clean Up

If there's ever an appropriate time to mention the saying 'practice what you preach', it would be when it comes to getting rid of makeup - I'm not that good at it, but I'll happily sing from the rooftops about keeping things minimal. I've been trying a little bit more lately to downsize my beauty stash, and here's what I've found...

Toss and Repeat

Get rid of old products you've had lying around for years. Who knew makeup had expiry dates, right? I'm guilty of completely ignoring those dates (and until recently just not knowing they existed). I think powders can stick around a little longer, but liquid products like concealer and foundation, and equally dried up mascaras and eyeliners need to be binned after a certain amount of time. I'm no expert, but I'm now going by a year for foundations and seeking out a new mascara every few months. It can be hard replacing products when they're expensive (exhibit A: Nars Sheer Glow Foundation), but if you use them enough, it should be worth it. Products that have left my stash recently, but I still like are: Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation (I've had it for years), L'Oreal Paris Superliner Superstar Eyeliner* (It was my go-to a while ago but it's drying up), Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara (okay, I haven't quite replaced this just yet, but it's due to be)...


Sitting Pretty

I'm talking about all those products you've had sitting in your collection for ages, but have barely touched. I hate to break it to you, but that third brown eyeshadow you have probably isn't going to get used now if you've had it for a while. Think of it as ripping off a plaster - just chuck out products you know you're never going to use. I'm personally so guilty of this, but recently I took everything out from my makeup stash that I didn't use on an everyday or weekly basis. Products I have that have been sitting pretty for months/years that just aren't for me: Revlon Sculpt + Highlight Contour Kit (too dark and too orange for me), L'Oreal Infallible Matte Foundation* (the lightest shade is too dark for me & I've had it for a while), Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Spot Concealer (a hyped product that isn't for me).


Overloaded

One makeup category I just have far too much of is lipstick. My beauty draw for everyday makeup was overflowing with countless pretty pinks and dark vampy shades, so I only left behind the lipsticks that are easiest to use on an everyday basis, and ones that have the best formulas. If you're saving that red lipstick for a rainy day, but actually hardly ever use it, it's best to chuck it or keep it in other storage away from your every day makeup. Lipsticks that are nice and I'll use at some stage but didn't make the cut: Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid Lipstick in 45 Possessed Plum, Karen Murrell Lipstick in Orchid Bloom, and many more...


Testing 1, 2, 3

If you have a larger collection or are a bit beauty obsessed, I think one of the best things you can do is remember to trial products that you've been meaning to. That means keeping things in your every day makeup pile that you want to try out, but only a small selection of things at a time so you can actually give them all a fair go. This is definitely something I'm bringing across to my decluttering process - using new products and combining them with my absolute holy grails. New products that I'm testing at the moment/want to use more are: Max Factor Limited Edition Masterpiece Nude Palette in 03 Rose Nudes*, Elf Long Lasting Lustrous Eyeshadow in Gala, MAC Liptensity Lipstick in Dionysus, NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in London.



I still have a way to go in the decluttering (like chucking out that oddly shaped nose contouring brush that I'm literally never, ever going to use...), but at least I've made a start.

Is downsizing your makeup collection important to you?



-Emma



*PR Sample
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1 March 2017

Recently Read | February


Despite it being my last month off before I go back to Uni, somehow I only read four books, but I guess it's the quality of books you read - not the quantity. Out of the four books I'm going to review, I really enjoyed two but didn't like the other two as much. There's a little bit of everything here - a magical fantasy, Nick Hornby, a YA about female friendship, and a girl with an intriguing talent...

Beautiful Broken Things

Author: Sara Barnard
Published by: Macmillan Children's Books
Release date: 20 July 2016

★★★★★

I finished this book within a couple of days, and when that happens (it's rare) it's a pretty good indication of how much I liked something. Beautiful Broken Things, in a nutshell, perfectly shows the complexities of friendship - especially female friendship, which can be severely lacking from YA - being overshadowed by romantic relationships. The author focuses on something as simple as friendship, but deals with it so well. I loved how this book was entirely about the relationship between three girls and not necessarily your standard YA romance (even if romance is a by-product of the story - it wasn't in this case). It's also safe to say the cover of this book is stunning. This story gripped me from the beginning and I am so excited to read more from Sara Barnard - I'm going to be reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder in March, hopefully!


Lyrebird

Author: Cecelia Ahern
Published by: Harper Collins
Release date: 1 December 2016

★★★

While Lyrebird* wasn't a favourite read, parts of it were captivating and interesting - if the premise intrigues you it may be worth picking it up. Essentially this story follows a documentary crew who stumble upon a young woman living alone in an old cottage in the Irish wilderness. She's not an ordinary girl though - she possesses an odd talent or gift that captivates the documentary crew - they instantly want to make her their next subject, but with fame comes consequences.

I thought this book was a nice idea, but I'm not entirely convinced about everything. I quite liked learning about the woman (Laura's) family history and how she came to be. There were some sweet touches that made this feel like a cosy read, but at the same time we're thrust into this world of a talent show - it's a look into how something pure and real can be ruined by commercialism. I found this element most interesting, however the aspect that bothered me was the romance, as it didn't feel entirely genuine. Overall there was an inkling of something there that I liked, but I'm quite indifferent to it in the end.

A Long Way Down

Author: Nick Hornby
Published by: Riverhead Books
Release date: 2 May 2006

★★

I had high expectations for Nick Hornby, however I ended up not liking A Long Way Down at all really. Don't get me wrong, the premise of this story seemed like a good one, but the end result didn't wow me in the slightest. It's about a group of very different people who end up meeting just before they intend to take their lives by jumping off a building called 'Toppers House' - which is a very popular suicide location in London. This book is very important, but unfortunately it just wasn't very enjoyable for me. The writing style was meant to be light and funny despite the hard subject matter, but in reality it just annoyed me, and one of the characters really annoyed me as well. I'm really starting to sound like negative Nancy here, but if I could summarise this in one word it would be 'meh'. Harsh stuff.


Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber
Published by: Hachette
Release date: 31 January 2017

★★★★★

Moving swiftly on to a book that I enjoyed immensely - in fact it is definitely my favourite book of 2016 so far (even though it's only February). I finished Caraval* in one day which is not an easy feat for me. I couldn't put this book down and it definitely left me in a bit of a reading slump afterwards because of how good it was. So what is this book actually about? It's about two sisters who end up at Caraval - a strange, magical world which has Alice in Wonderland vibes mixed with The Hunger Games. The Caraval leader kidnaps one of the sisters and what ensues is a journey full of magic, betrayal, and twists and turns. I loved how utterly easy this was to read, how the pacing didn't slump at any moment, and I loved the world the author invented - unique, imaginative and interesting. Some of the turning points in the story were unexpected to me and it made it such a fun, absorbing book to read. I highly recommend you pick this up, even if you're not a fan of fantasy or YA because it's genuinely just perfection in book form.



Are you going to read any of these books? Let me know!

-Emma



*Review Copy


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26 February 2017

Soundtrack to February

Trying to stray away from the usual indie rock bands here...


While I tend to listen to the same artists and albums over and over again until I get utterly sick of them (or just don't), lately there have been a few music picks which I've been dying to share. From do-no-wrong Lana Del Rey to that soundtrack everyone's harping on about, keep reading to see what I've been listening to recently.

I See You by The xx
If you know me, you know that I've loved The xx for quite some time now. They recently released I See You, quite a departure from their other two albums which I'd describe as quite melancholy, but that's one of the things I liked about them. Even though their new album is different - less sad and more upbeat, but with some of the same vibes, I'm still a fan. My favourite songs are Dangerous, Say Something Loving and Lips.

Love by Lana Del Rey
It seems 2017 is the year everyone I love is coming out with new music, and Lana Del Rey is certainly no exception. This girl could sing the terms and conditions and I'd still be transfixed. Funnily enough, Lana's new song Love is a slight departure from her usual melancholy vibe as well - she's a little more happy and she's simply singing about being young and in love. Only one of her songs has been released yet, but I'm guessing it's going to be the start of something great going by her teasers on twitter. And with word she's going to collaborate with TLSP's Miles Kane, I'm literally begging for more.

÷ (divide) by Ed Sheeran
This one's a bit of an obvious one, but my love for the ginger haired singer knows no bounds. I've been to a couple of his concerts and he just never fails at being an amazing artist. I have to say, I prefer Shape of You to Castle On The Hill, especially after he debuted the Stormzy Remix at The Brits. He's also just released How Would You Feel (Paean), and I can't wait to see what the rest of the album is like, hopefully with a touch of his old magic with +. The release date is March 3rd, which I'm sure you all know.

La La Land Soundtrack
I too was one of the many people who went in hordes to see La La Land, and I have to say, it did not disappoint. It's very hyped and bit overrated by now, but I like it all the same. From the modern cheesy song at the beginning with all the cars, to the duet overlooking Hollywood between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, it is a mix of the new with a distinct classic feeling. My favourite songs are definitely City of Stars and A Lovely Night - no doubt about it...

Hey Girl by Lady Gaga and Florence Welch
In case you haven't heard of this magical collaboration, I suggest you get on it right now. I actually haven't listened to the rest of Lady Gaga's new album Joanne, but this one song is enough to make me feel like I should. It's quite ~different~ for the singer (although I'm not a huge fan of Lady Gaga so I don't know why I feel qualified to talk about this), and with Florence's vocals it makes for one addictive song. I wonder how many times I've listened to it...?



Here's a little playlist with all of the above, plus a few extras
(i.e. the same old, same old)





What music have you been listening to recently?


P.S - Recently I contributed to Naomi's Period Positivity series & wrote a blog post about periods - give that a squiz if you're intrigued! ~Click here~


-Emma

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22 February 2017

February Book Haul

All the usual YA mixed in with a touch of beauty

If you know me, you know that I do love a good Young Adult contemporary. There are so many fantastic books out there for teens that deal with really important topics, such as mental health or police brutality as that may be the case here. There are a few new releases here which I am beyond excited to read soon, so read on to find out what books I've acquired over the month...

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas*
This isn't out yet, but it's the book everyone is talking about. Authors like John Green, Louise O'Neill and Becky Albertalli (the kings and queens of YA if you ask me) have praised this book and from everything I've seen, everyone needs to read this - especially teenagers. This book is extremely relevant with the police brutality we've seen in the news, and demonstrates just how much this effects people. This is essentially about sixteen-year-old Starr who lives in a poor neighbourhood but attends a posh high school, who witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend by a police officer. She has to deal with the reality of getting hurt, or worse killed, if she speaks out about what she saw. The Hate U Give is set to be a movie starring The Hunger Games actor Amanda Stenberg.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
I recently read Sara Barnard's book Beautiful Broken Things and I absolutely loved it (review coming soon!), so picking up A Quiet Kind of Thunder was a no brainer. The summary of this story strikes a bit of a chord with me, and besides that I've heard a few reviewers say this is great. If there's one thing I love, it's slow-burning romances, and I'd say this may just hit that to a tee. It follows Steffi and Rhys - she doesn't talk (she's a selective mute), and Rhys can't hear (he's deaf). I think this will be such a sweet story and I can't wait to get into it.

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
This has been gaining steam in the YA world - I've seen it pop up in various YouTube videos and on social media. To me this seems like quite a unique novel, set in the 90s, and about a girl called Wing Jones who discovers she can really run. She has a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, who guide her along and act as sort of guardian angels, but in magical realism form. I also love the purple ombre sprayed edges this edition has!

Pretty Iconic by Sali Hughes
When beauty and books mix, you know it's a match made in heaven for me. I recently won this book in a giveaway and I couldn't be more pleased - it's not something I would necessarily have bought myself but it's literally the perfect gift for the beauty lover in your life. I've already flicked through this and I'm already heart eyes over all the retro looking colours and photography. This book features all the iconic beauty products the author Sali Hughes personally loves, and if there's one thing I know it's there is some amazing beauty goodness in this.

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstorm*
My sister actually sneakily read this before me, but one thing she said was that the pacing was really good - and that's exactly what I like in a book. This is a YA thriller which is kind of like Taken but in reverse - the daughter has to rescue her father as he's been kidnapped. It follows her journey across London and the criminal underworld to bring him back. I'm hoping this will be fast-paced and a bit of a page-turner as that's exactly what I'm after if I'm going to read a thriller.


What book do you like the look of most?

-Emma



*Review Copy

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18 February 2017

Collective Clothing Haul

I have an obsession with red & slogans, apparently...

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to get a bit ~spendy~ and buy a few bits and pieces from Urban Outfitters, ASOS and my new favourite slogan-loving shop Fan Club Clothing. I have a thing for a good slogan and the people at that shop are what I'd call experts. As always, I'm looking forward to winter so I have a nod to chilly weather, with a mix of summer t-shirts and things. Do read/scroll on to see more, kicking it off with a reference to The Beatles...


Admittedly, I'm not The Beatles' number one fan, however this t-shirt was too cute to pass up, and whether or not you know it's the name of one of their albums, it's still ~cool~. I thought the letters on this tee would just be printed on, but they're actually a velvety texture. In case you haven't noticed, I've kind of adopted more of a love for 60s/70s, even 80s inspired things, and this adds a bit of that vibe to my wardrobe.

I also decided to buy a little red crossbody bag, and I couldn't be more in love. You may have noticed this was featured in my Valentine's Lust List post, so this was one item I treated myself to. Even though I've said it's a bag, it is more of a wallet as when you open it it has lots of space for cards, money and a space in the middle to slot your phone into. I personally love the idea of a pop of red in an outfit, and I think it goes really well with a white top.

Revolver Tee from Fan Club Clothing
Crossbody Bag from Urban Outfitters

Another confession... I don't particularly think disco sucks, but I wanted some way to show my love for Freaks and Geeks - I'm not sure if other people would get this, but I thought it was a good nod to the 70s. This isn't perhaps as wearable as the white top, but I do like the retro vibes all the same.

Disco Sucks Tee from Fan Club Clothing
Stranger Things Tee from Urban Outfitters


Surprise, surprise... it's another retro inspired tee, or more specifically from the very popular show Stranger Things. If anyone hasn't watched that yet, just like, don't even talk to me... I'm very happy that I have some kind of memorabilia to the show, and I mean, this just makes the perfect pyjama top anyway. Side note... I freaking love Urban Outfitter's t-shirts from the men's section - they're quite cheap and often more of my style than the women's section.


If you'd thought I'd stop at the bag with the the red accessories, you'd be wrong. Both of them were on sale so... it's ~justified~. When I spied this scarf with the words 'Bonjour Baby' embroidered, I was like, get in my basket now. While being quite an impulse purchase (and kind of silly considering it's still summer here), it's actually a really nice quality scarf, and I'm already dreaming up outfits for it when winter comes around...

Bonjour Baby Scarf from Urban Outfitters
New Look Dress from ASOS (Similar linked below)


And last of all we have a dress (this is practically unheard of these days - you can't separate me from jeans and a top) from ASOS. I was specifically browsing for long sleeve, floral patterned, with a V neck, and I'd say this definitely dress ticks all of those boxes. When it actually arrived on my doorstep, I didn't actually know how to style it or when to wear it (it's not very summery), so I'm still thinking about this one. I do think it would look nice and extra witchy with black tights and a coat in the winter... Nevertheless I do love the sheer sleeves and the back detail.




-Emma


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