31 December 2017

Recently Read: December

December was the month I got back into reading. Although I could have read another book or two with all the spare time I had, I really enjoyed reading the ones I did. While there are a couple of young adult books in this bunch, I branched out slightly and got stuck into a historical fiction (and a well known one at that), plus a science fiction time travelling number.

Seeing this is the last book post of the year, I thought I would touch on my reading goals for 2018. This year, I set a goal to read 50 books and I have no idea why I did that, considering it has been the most stressful and time-consuming year of my life so far. I reached 41 books, and while that's still a good achievement, I'm not going to be setting a reading goal for next year. I have always felt a tiny bit of pressure to read lots and read fast, but that does no good at all. Here's to savouring books and reading whatever when we want... anyway, here are the four books I read this month.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig
I fell in love with Matt Haig's storytelling when I read The Humans a few years back. It's a genius book that I think anyone would love. His books tend to be very wise, emotional and a touch funny as well; in the case of The Humans, a lot funny. I knew I had to pick up his latest release and I was not disappointed. On the outside, Tom Hazard is an ordinary 41-year-old man, but he's actually been alive for centuries, enough to mingle with the likes of Shakespeare and Scott Fitzgerald. He's been a piano player in a fancy club in Paris during the 1920s, lived alone in secluded Iceland, and more. But now he's back in London in search of a more normal life, teaching history at a high school. He's part of a society that aims to protect people like him, who helped him feel less alone with his rare condition. This book explores what it's like to be human and how we should appreciate all those things that make us inevitably happy: art, books, love. Weaving in and out of different time frames from the 1500s to now, this book makes you feel a little less alone in thoughts about the meaning of life.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr*
I'm sure you would have heard of this book at some stage. All The Light We Cannot See is a well-known historical fiction that follows a blind girl from France and a German boy who joins the Hitler Youth Movement during World War II. They both try to survive this turbulent time and against all odds their lives intertwine in unexpected ways. It jumps from one year to another and back, as both children grow up with their own troubles and newfound possibilities. Both emotional and bittersweet, I found myself slowly working my way through this. Although it starts off slow, by the end I was bursting to finish it. Above everything, this book shows how there are always kind people in the world no matter what they are born into, or how they are destined to live their life. While it is a pretty long book to read, I think there's a reason so many people tell me they loved this.

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
Although it's taken me a while to actually read this, I'm so glad December was finally the month I picked it up. Even though this may seem like a childish read, it's such a special book that I couldn't not give it five stars. This is Katherine's debut novel about a girl called Wing, who is teased not only for her unique name but her mixed-race appearance. She has a grandmother from China and another grandmother from Ghana, who help her through a tragedy; early on in the book her brother Marcus is involved in a terrible accident that leaves him in a coma. She picks up running as a way of dealing with this, and gets closer to her brother's best friend who she has had a crush on as long as she can remember. While reading, I never felt bored or as if the pacing was slow; I really enjoyed following Wing on her journey as she found something that made her feel alive, and above all discovered that being or looking different isn't a disadvantage.

Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill
This is another book I have had lying on my shelves for a while, and this month I decided to finally finish it. I had read about 30 pages of this a couple of years ago but didn't feel compelled to continue it. But as I felt her other book Asking For It was really powerful and well-told, I thought it was only right that I gave Only Ever Yours a second shot. This is a young adult science fiction where women are bred and manufactured in labs to look perfect, all for the connivence and pleasure of men. Taking reality and turning it into the extreme, the book is set at a school where girls are taught how to look and behave. It explores the pressures young girls face with the advent of social media. While I loved the concept of this and thought the idea was a really powerful one, I felt like the execution lacked any punch. I gave this just three stars as I felt the world-building could have been stronger, and the plot was pretty weak. In saying that, if you do like the sound of this it might be worth reading just for the concept alone.


*Review Copy


28 December 2017

Best of 2017: Beauty

I had it in my head I wouldn't be doing a best of beauty post this year - I'm aware that I tend to talk about the same products over and over again. However, I thought I would round up just five products that really wowed me this year - whether they were new in 2017 or simply new to me. Whether high in price or a bargain, I really recommend these above everything else.

The Ordinary Coverage Foundation
It's no surprise this foundation ended up in my yearly favourites. Many people have gushed about this base for being effective yet really affordable. Even if you don't end up liking this as much as me - it's hardly going to break the bank if you give it a go. One of the best things about this base is that it's available in so many shades, from the lightest you can think of to the darkest. This is what many drugstore brands lack, so I think it's so great that you can find a perfect match for your skin. The coverage foundation is meant to be a higher coverage than the serum foundation, but I wouldn't say it's super high coverage. This is really nice though, because you still get really decent, even coverage without it looking or feeling heavy on the skin. It also has SPF 15 which makes it a great day-to-day foundation, and the best thing is it has absolutely no scent unlike those overpowering drugstore offerings. The only downside is this foundation sells out like hot cakes, but if you keep checking the ASOS website you might be lucky (at the time of writing they have a good selection of shades in stock).

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
Everyone has been going crazy over this drying lotion, and I for one think it's worth the hype. I have had a lot of trouble with my skin since I was about 16, so I've generally given up on finding a cure for my acne (aside from medication that is), but this product really helps. When my skin is in a bad stage, I generally apply this every day or night, depending on whether I'm leaving the house. It helps shrink spots down and make them a lot more manageable. The key to this is to use it every day or every other day and get in a routine with it. Yes, you look ridiculous with pink lotion dotted all over your face, but because you keep it on for so long it is really effective.

Tanya Burr Selfie Lash Mascara
I've recently raved about this mascara, but in the last month it has definitely become my go-to product. I like that this is buildable and lifts lashes but won't make them look overly clumpy. This is a great mascara for those who like to have defined, separated, fluttery eyelashes. There are a lot of high end mascaras out there that do just as good of a job as drugstore price ones, in fact I would argue this mascara is better than those luxe expensive offerings.

By Terry Ombre Blackstar Melting Eyeshadow in Bronze Moon
My foray into high end eyeshadows has been brief so far, but I fell in love with this By Terry eyeshadow and there's no going back. They are named 'melting eyeshadows' for a reason - they blend extremely nicely, providing a pigmented, almost metallic wash of colour to the lids that is also wearable. I think there is only one other shade I would like to buy eventually, but Bronze Moon is such an all round beautiful shade for all skin and eye colours.

Too Faced Love Light Prismatic Highlighter in Blinded by the Light
I'm not going to lie, one of the main reasons why I love this highlighter is the amazing heart shaped packaging. However, I really rate this product after using it for a good few months. This shade is more of a cool toned pearl colour which I think would suit a lot of skin tones, but they also have a pink-based shade and a gold toned one. I would say this is a powder highlight, but it is a really creamy one and works best with a dense brush for ultimate pigment.

I hope you enjoyed this post even though it has a small amount of products, but I think it's probably a better way of doing it so I only include my absolute favourites and essentials.



24 December 2017

Best of 2017: Books

I always do a blog post at the end of each year rounding up the books I loved the most. I usually have more than five to talk about, but when it came time to decide which ones would make the cut, these were the books that I just couldn't remove from the final list. I truly loved each and every one of these books and really recommend you pick them up if you like the sound of them! They are in no particular order, they are all special in their own right.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
This book is about a girl who is a selective mute, and a boy who is deaf. They meet when the boy, Rhys, moves to Steffi's school and develop a friendship because they are the only ones at school who know sign language. They find unique and special ways to communicate, showing that sometimes a whisper is as good as a shout. This is a love story, but it's more than that; it's about friendship and communication. It gives representation to those who are deaf, have selective mutism and/or social anxiety and in my opinion is done so well. I think this more of what the YA (young adult fiction) world needs.

When it comes to YA, a lot of it can be pretty rubbish. However, I think there have been so many innovative and amazing releases in this category in the last couple of years; it's all about choosing the right ones. As well as offering representation for minorities, it is just a bloody. cute. love story. One important thing to note is that the protagonist, Steffi, isn't saved by her love interest. He doesn't fix or cure her social anxiety, which I think is incredibly important. This book was very well researched, informative but also just so entertaining. I absolutely loved it.

Margot & Me by Juno Dawson
Juno Dawson is quite a well known writer in the publishing world but I had yet to delve into her writing until this year. I'm so glad I have, because her books are so easy to read and are incredibly entertaining whilst bringing attention to important topics. Margot & Me follows Fliss on her way to her grandmother's house in Wales, a grandmother who she doesn't get along with. But when she finds her diaries, she discovers there may be more to her grandmother than she thought. Fliss reads the diary entries and is transported to what seems like another world, during World War II. The diary features a wartime romance and her grandmother's biggest secret. The diary brings the two of them together, while Fliss battles something terrible that is happening in her own life.

One of the reasons I love her books so much (the two I have read!)  is they never drag. You just want to keep reading and reading. I loved the dynamic of Margot & Me, as it includes Fliss' perspective and diary entries from her grandmother during the war. This is a book about the importance of family and shows there is usually more to a person than meets the eye. It's pretty emotional, and you will get swept up in the love story taking place in the 1940s. If you're looking for an easy read, but something a little bittersweet, I would really recommend checking this book out.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman*
There was something so unique and interesting about this book I just had to include it in this line up. The main character, Eleanor, is different than most people. She lacks in social skills and takes everything very literally. In other words, she says exactly what she's thinking, which makes for some interesting and very funny moments throughout the book. She has a very structured life and a strict routine. Throughout the week she goes to work and comes home, and at weekends she buys vodka and frozen pizza and stays home. She's very, very peculiar from the outside. It's only when Raymond, an IT guy at her office, starts to get to know her through an unfortunate accident and moment of fate that she lets down the reins on her life and inch by inch her troubled past is revealed.

This was such an intriguing and different read; as I went through the first few chapters I was trying to guess what sort of story this would be. The fact that Eleanor is such a mystery is very interesting and I couldn't stop reading. Strangely, something I got out of this was that it's okay to have a simple life as long as you are content with that, and it's the people you meet and make friends with that is most important. That, and a bit of kindness goes a long way. Sometimes books are very plot-driven and characters aren't as complex as they could be, however the main thing I enjoyed from this book was Eleanor as a character. I've said this when reviewing this book on my blog before, but her character really highlights the shallowness and stupidity of humanity, overall revealing what truly matters in life.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber*
To be honest, I never read fantasy books. I think a lot of them can be the same and it takes a lot for them to really grab my attention. I was really excited by the prospect of Caraval because it involved a magical circus of some kind, reminding me of The Night Circus. Two sisters enter the world of Caraval, a strange place comparable to the peculiar fantasy land Alice explores in Alice in Wonderland. One of the sisters, Tella, has been captured by Caraval's mastermind organiser, and the other one, Scarlett has to find her. The trouble is, Scarlett isn't sure what's real in this weird world, and doesn't know who she can trust.

This is pretty much the only fantasy book I read this year, but it is one I truly loved and enjoyed so much. I was hooked somewhere around the middle point and could. not. put. it. down. It is basically a magical scavenger hunt that sometimes feels like The Hunger Games, with many twists and turns. I loved imagining the world the author had invented, and the best part was that it barely slumped at any point - I read it in just one day. If you're looking for your next fantasy read, or want to get into fantasy books a bit more I would recommend this one!

The Gender Games by Juno Dawson
It's quite an achievement for an author to have two books in my favourites list, especially when I've only included five! The Gender Games was something completely different to Margot & Me, it being her adult debut. I've only reviewed this just last month, but will recap anyway. Delving into a discussion around gender, Juno explores this topic from the perspective of a transgender woman. She covers why gender makes the world so messed up, focusing on her experiences of being both a man and a woman in her life. She has many stories to tell from when she was a gay man, to now as she continues her transition from man to woman.

One hundred pages in and I knew this book was amazing. I found it so, so easy to read; it was incredibly entertaining and witty while still being informative for those who know nothing about transgender people and gender (of course it is only just one perspective). So while I think Juno Dawson is just simply an amazingly talented and proficient writer, it's also important to note that she is also opening up an important discussion of how to include trans women in feminism. On the whole, a great book that reminds me I need to read more nonfiction and more about feminism from all angles.

*Review Copy

16 December 2017

New in my Wardrobe

One of the reasons summer isn't my favourite season is because I can't wear my beloved jumper and jeans combo (most of the time), however I'm trying to somewhat embrace warmer days by picking up a few pieces that are suitable yet still me. You can't quite prise me away from my jeans even in summer, but I do have to bring out the t-shirts and open footwear. Summer in New Zealand has come round with a vengeance, but if you live in the Northern hemisphere, I think some of these items will still work during winter. I mean, I love transitional dressing and layering, so don't tend to buy items only for summer or only for winter.

The Velvet Blazer

My obsession with blazers continues, this time with a fancier edge. When scrolling on ASOS, I came across this gorgeous Vila Tailored Velvet Jacket. I had been on the search for another blazer so I could continue to dress like a Haim sister (in my dreams), and couldn't get this one out of my head despite it being a little more expensive. As soon as ASOS had a 20% off sale, I jumped at the chance to get some money off, and was really pleased when it arrived. I think this was quite a risky item to buy online, but something that payed off (if you ignore the creases in the photo). The blazer is pink velvet, yet from some angles it has an orangey tinge which I absolutely love, and when you roll up the sleeves you see a peek of the orange/rust coloured lining. This isn't exactly a summery purchase as I'll probably melt if I wear it often, but could be good for parties/events in the evening, or worn in autumn next year.

The Shoes

I thought it was about time I caved and bought some summer footwear because at the moment my wardrobe is full of countless sneakers and one pair of winter boots. I think it is quite hard to find comfortable summer footwear unless you really want to invest in an expensive pair, however the Spurr Tasha Slides from The Iconic (with literally the best, quickest shipping ever) suit me fine for now. I really like the simple style of these, and of course they go with anything. One thing I will say about these is they leave black marks on my feet when I wear them for the whole day, which isn't ideal but not the end of the world. These were really cheap, especially because I got 40% off at the time. I did buy a pair of blush slides at the same time, however I returned them because they were way too small - either my feet are wide or their sizing is off!

The other pair of shoes I bought recently were the Chuck Taylor All Star Hi by Converse because I absolutely love the look of them with jeans, especially when they eventually get a bit worn. Wearing these in summer is actually quite bearable, plus looks great paired with a casual t-shirt and jeans combo, because what else would I be wearing? I do have these in white, but they are so dirty and old now, I thought it was time for an upgrade.

The Hoops

In terms of jewellery, I was lucky enough to get a few pieces for my birthday, one of them being the Charlotte Penman Tempo Hoops. These have now become an everyday piece for me - they go with absolutely anything. Gold jewellery has been a favourite as of late, although I still love wearing silver, especially when it comes to necklaces. I think everyone has had an affinity with earrings, or even statement earrings, lately and I'm in no way over this trend.

As a side note, the t-shirt I'm wearing is from Haim's merch collection with Urban Outfitters. Although I got this a while ago, I thought I would include it anyway, especially considering how much I wear it. At the time it sold out so took a while to arrive, but they still have some in stock and it's now half price FYI.

The Jeans

Although I own enough jeans, I have been on the lookout for another pair to add to my collection, specifically a pair of light wash ones. I bought some a few months back but it ended up that they were too tight - I now hate the look and feel of skinny jeans. But as I was browsing in the Auckland Dangerfield store, I came across some I really liked the look of - the Tilda Jean High Crop Flick. The fit of these is high waisted (and properly high waisted), slim on the thighs with a small flare. I find these type of jeans just so comfortable and they will work all year round. If you haven't heard of Dangerfield, they are an amazing Australian clothing brand I would describe as quite kitsch or quirky - the pieces tend to be more expensive sometimes but they have good sales. I went heart eyes for all their jumpers in store last winter, so you can bet I'll be making a bee line for their store when the time comes around.

The Cardigan

I recently bought a lovely soft grey cardigan to take me through from spring to summer, and will serve me well from summer to autumn next year. The Miss Selfridge Cocoon Oversized Cardigan from ASOS goes perfectly well with jeans and a t-shirt year round, has such a nice, relaxed fit and has big pockets. If it has pockets, I'm sold. This cardigan was a pretty good price considering how high quality it is.

That's everything I've added to my wardrobe recently. I would love to know if you like any of the above items, and what you have been wearing lately during summer or winter!



7 December 2017

Beauty Haul and First Impressions

Long term readers of my blog will know beauty hauls are few and far between these days. While I love trying out new makeup, my bank account does not thank me for it. In saying that, November was a fairly spendy month for me and I decided to treat myself, after all, it was my birthday and I finished university so that calls for some celebration right? It can be so easy to buy so much these days with the onslaught of blogger recommendations, but I usually do a fair bit of research before purchasing. With that said, here's everything I bought from Mecca Maxima and Feel Unique...

Although my Mecca purchases don't look like a lot, I did indulge in a couple of more expensive items that have been well worth the money so far. First of all, I bought the NARS Soft Matte Concealer as everyone and their dog has been raving about it. With my old concealers running empty, I knew it was time to pick up a new one. On makeup days I don't usually wear under eye concealer as I find my foundation to be good enough coverage, but I typically need (or want, let's face it) more coverage on the rest of my face where I have scars and breakouts. I'm not too bothered by my acne anymore, but it does help when you find a product that actually covers them up if need be. When you dab this on with fingers, it melts and blends perfectly into the skin. It isn't drying at all like the name may suggest, and equally, it doesn't leave behind any shine.

On the topic of breakouts, I've been using the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion solidly for one or two weeks and it has been working great for me. On days when I'm just at home, I apply this on spots I have and leave it on for the entire day. You can put it on at night time before bed, but in my experience it tends to rub off easily especially if you're someone who tosses and turns. My sister and I both use this for our spots and it really makes a difference with continued use, daily, or once every couple of days. If your breakouts are really big and sore, it helps to dry them out faster and shrink them in size gradually over a few days.

Last month I felt like I had a gap in my makeup collection - I didn't have enough, or pretty much any, lip products that I loved and would use daily. Over this year I have really shied away from wearing any kind of lipstick apart from the occasional sheer nude. I find lipstick incredibly annoying, especially vibrant, matte formulas, which I thought I loved but I think I was just following along with trends. In comes the Surratt Beauty Lipslique in Bandy. I knew it was exactly the product I was after when I watched one of Estee Lalonde's videos where she talked through her monthly beauty favourites. One of the things I love about this product is the design of the packaging; not only does it have a gorgeous iridescent-like tube, but it's a lot smaller and slimmer than typical lipsticks, meaning it's easier to apply. It has a very sheer yet buildable formula that I would say is somewhat of a 'your lips but better' shade. A lot of nudes can be too pink and not look right on me, however I love this colour as it verges on being more brown toned. It isn't incredibly long lasting but I don't mind reapplying, and although expensive, I'd rather invest in a product I like rather than keep using ones I don't.

Lastly I bought a fairly cheap tinted lip balm, because as I said, I was lacking in lip options. The Frank Body Lip & Cheek Tint is a coffee scented tint you can apply to your eyelids, lips and cheeks although I've just tried lips so far. While I haven't used this a whole lot, one thing I really like so far is the scent - thanks to this little product, my whole draw smells like delicious coffee. I should get around to trying more of their products, namely the coffee body scrubs they are famous for.

It has been a while since I'd had a good browse on Feel Unique, but I have to say, I do quite like the selection of brands they stock. Two of those brands are Zoella Beauty and Tanya Burr Cosmetics, and while I don't usually give in to the hype of products bought out by YouTubers, I do love that their ranges are really affordable. I have actually never tried anything from Tanya's range, but I decided to pick up the new Tanya Burr Selfie Lash because I Covet Thee was raving about it. I haven't been too happy with the mascaras I've been using lately, so it was definitely time to try something different, and I'm actually really impressed with this one. It has a large brush, but not completely massive that it's hard to apply and control, plus it really lengthens lashes and provides decent volume. This mascara doesn't clump or make it look like you have five eye lashes on one eye, which is a thing I really struggle with.

I decided to pick up the Tanya Burr Peachy Glow Cheek Palette too. I haven't been reaching this for a whole lot so far, because the first time I used it I probably went a little overboard with the bronzer. These powders are pretty pigmented, I guess depending on what brush you use. I would say the bronzer is probably a bit warmer toned than most people would like, so in future I will be using a light hand with this. The blush, however, is a really pretty colour and the highlight is nice and subtle but still has decent pigment. I'm not completely wowed by this palette yet - I still need to keep using it - but I like how it has everything in one place and is a good size.

Lately I've really been missing having Lush baths, but because that can be a pretty expensive habit, I thought I would get one of Zoella's bath products in the hope it would last longer than Lush bath bombs. You scoop a small handful of the Zoella Beauty Scooper Dooper Bubble Bath under running water and it makes a decent amount of bubbles - just don't do it when the bath is already full! While I'm not in love with the scent, it's still pleasant and more of a summery fragrance anyway. I have used another one of her bubble bath products and while I preferred the other, I think these make a good substitute for Lush items.

As basic as it sounds, another beauty product I've been lacking in is an eyeliner pencil. I have never been one to use one, but I have been liking smudging brown eyeliner on my upper and lower lash line for more of a smudgier/softer eye look. When done right, I feel like this really adds definition and dimension to my eye makeup - if I can be bothered that is! The one I bought is the Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Definer; it has the soft, creamy pencil on one side and a smudger on the other. Secondly I picked up the BY TERRY Ombre Blackstar Melting Eyeshadow in Bronze Moon - quite the blogger favourite. I finally bit the bullet and bought this, as although expensive, I think they are worth it. I can be really lazy when it comes to makeup, so just being able to smother this all over the lids and blend has been a dream. The shade I went for is more cooler toned than my usual eyeshadow, but I feel like this sort of shade goes with any type of makeup and suits everyone.

Finally, I picked up the L'Oreal Paris Pure Clay Detox Mask. I think this is a smaller size as apparently this only has ten applications, but nevertheless I don't plan on using it too often. I have only used this once so I can't really comment on this product yet, however I think this one will be really good at drawing out impurities and leaving skin smoother. Hopefully this won't irritate my skin, but as it was pretty cheap it won't be much of a waste if I don't end up loving it.

Have you tried any of these products?



30 November 2017

Recently Read: November

If you've been paying ample attention to my blogging schedule this year (unlikely), you would have clicked that I haven't done a proper book review post since August. What can I say? The last few months reading has got away from me. I've chosen to ignore my 50 book reading goal for the rest of the year, because reading books like it's a competition just doesn't work for me. I'm really excited to read the books I'm simply most interested in, that are sitting on my TBR pile, because life's too short, or something like that. I have five books to talk about today that I've read in the past couple of months, or mostly in November, from non-fiction on gender and sexuality (a personal favourite), to space-themed young adult fiction.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James*
Having read this about a month ago, when it comes to write this review I can't say I feel particularly excited about this book because it was an okay read, but nothing amazing. I think I expected more from this. That is because for the majority of the story, we follow the main character Romy, who is emailing other people and reading fanfiction alone on board of a spaceship. There wasn't too much action, until the end, which is fine, but probably not what I expected. This is a pretty short read, so in that way, it wasn't hard to finish this, but there just wasn't enough oomph for me, until near the end when things start speeding up. One thing I am glad of, however, is that Lauren James didn't just leave this as a cliche book about love - there was definitely more to it than that. I haven't even starred this book on Good Reads, so at the moment I'm pretty indifferent to it.

Midnight Sun by Trish Cook*
I'm not sure if I'm growing out of young adult fiction a little, or I'm just not hitting it very lucky with the books I read. I think there are so many amazing YA books out there, but this is not one of them. It combines a bunch of cliches from other popular books, and I kind of think it's the type of story that just sells. It's about a girl who can't go out in the sun because she has a rare disease, and yes, fair enough, this is an interesting and important story in itself, but when love becomes the main objective in the end, it just gets a little tiring. I skimmed the last few chapters of the book because it was so predictable and I knew it wasn't worth a serious, in-depth read. I wait for the day where we don't have to see the popular guy in high school automatically like the weird, nerdy girl for literally no reason.

You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages by Carina Chocano*
I think the reason why I had a reading slump for a couple of months, aside from the fact I was finishing my degree, was that I just kept reading the wrong slash not-very-good books. I'm pretty sure I laboured through this book for two months, and during that time, I didn't really pick up anything else, apart from The Hunger Games for some respite. Don't get me wrong, I started off by enjoying this book, because reading about gender always fascinates me. However when it came down to it, I just couldn't enjoy it. For one, I didn't get most of the references to TV shows and movies. The basics are explained, but you probably need to be a movie buff or really into popular culture to truly immerse yourself in this. Another thing is, it's very academic compared to some books that discuss gender representation, so if you are an academic person you'll probably enjoy this book. I just think that the author didn't really hit the nail on the head in a lot of sections, and didn't come to profound conclusions on anything that I didn't already know. If you want to navigate your way through this book, then fine, it's not actually that bad, and made me think about a few things, however it's just not the accessible, engaging book I had hoped for. I promise there are some positive reviews coming up...

The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne
My friend gave me this for my birthday, and I had to ignore my TBR pile in favour for this, because she obviously knows me really incredibly well. I do love reading more complex or ~serious~ books some of the time, but what I truly enjoy reading, is probably most of the time, trash. This contemporary romance isn't like some can be though - it's funny, witty, very British and overall really entertaining to read. In other words, it's the perfect 'summer read', and while I'm at it, probably great to settle down with in bed in the depths of winter. Think The Princess Diaries and The Christmas Prince (if you've seen the new Netflix original film), but this book is way better*, because it isn't just some fairytale romance. It features all the good stuff like intense eye contact and flashy events, but it also explores important themes and is still grounded in reality. Amy Wilde, the main character, is a worrier, and just a regular person compared to the royal family she soon comes in contact with. But Amy doesn't just jump into Leo's arms from the get-go, and even up until you're nearing the end of the book. She has a family, she has a career, and places incredible importance on that career and doesn't just cave in for a handsome prince. This was what I really liked and is why The Runaway Princess goes beyond what some 'women's fiction' (I don't particularly like that label) does.

The Gender Games by Juno Dawson
The book I've most recently finished and undoubtedly my favourite. Whenever I read non-fiction, particularly on the subjects of gender and sexuality, I always wonder why I don't read more of it (or not, in the case of You Play the Girl). The Gender Games was such an easy read because it was entertaining and interesting, and just plain well-written and witty, however it was still incredibly valuable, informative and important. I have never read something from the perspective of a transgender person, and I'm so glad I have now, because I think it's really, really important to read as diversely as you can (something I'm still working on). This book isn't a memoir, but includes anecdotes and stories from Juno's life where she lived as a gay man and eventually began her transition to a woman. She explains the most basic terms and ideas which means this is great for someone starting out reading about gender and sexuality, but it's equally as great for someone who has read a decent amount about it. I really can't recommend this enough. It's funny and engaging, and to the point, but doesn't gloss over things.

*However, nothing can beat The Princess Diaries - don't fight me on that.

I'm not going to lie, I thoroughly enjoyed venting and sharing my thoughts about these books - the good and the bad.


*Review Copy

27 November 2017

My Record Collection

Music is a subject I love talking about, so it was inevitable I would end up with a record collection post on here at some stage. I was lucky enough to get a record player for my birthday, and now that I have a speaker to go along with it, I thought it was just the right time to talk through the records I own. Of course, I don't really have an extensive collection but it's something I hope to build up over the next few years - because they're quite expensive!

My record player is the Audio Technica AT-LP60-BT in black (here's another photo of it on my Instagram), and the speaker I have is the Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker II. This set up is actually what Tenneil has (she has an amazing blog - you should follow), but I didn't know I would be getting a record player for my birthday, let alone this one. My old record player - quite a cheap one - broke a couple months ago, so I'm over the moon that I now own a decent model. This particular one is designed to be used with a bluetooth speaker but it does have a wired function. I chose to go with the Bose speaker after hearing it had pretty amazing sound, and because it's small and wireless it was perfect in the end. Luckily, thanks to a Black Friday sale, I got more than a hundred dollars off this speaker - regardless it's definitely worth the money.

The first record I bought was Yumi Zouma's EPs I & II a few years ago when browsing at Real Groovy. It was bought on a bit of a whim, however I had recently discovered the band and loved the chilled, sometimes ethereal vibe they had. I don't listen to them a whole lot now, but I'm determined to give all my records a better listen now I have a better turntable.

The next two records are definitely thanks to my Dad and his music taste. Originally owned by him, Talking Heads Speaking in Tongues and Tears for Fears Songs From The Big Chair are welcome additions. While this Talking Heads record doesn't have all my favourite songs from them, and my favourite song Burning Down The House skips because it's old, it's still much loved. It's a similar story for Tears For Fears - although I love a couple of songs I'm not an avid fan.

But when it comes to the likes of The Last Shadow Puppets, I am very much so a fan, if it isn't obvious enough. While I'm actually missing my favourite album (Everything You've Come to Expect) - and I need to buy it ASAP - I own The Age of the Understatement and The Dream Synopsis EP. The former was bought around December last year in all it's red limited edition glory, and has been played copious amounts since. I mainly love it because it includes live versions of their songs, plus covers. As for the other LSP album, there are some absolute bangers on there, no to mention the amazing lyrics. Now if Alex Turner would kindly hurry up with the next Arctic Monkeys album? On the subject, the Submarine soundtrack is one of my prized possessions and the perfect record to play in a dark room as the sun sets on a summer's evening.

Blossom's debut album is absolutely solid and if you've never listened to them, you should. Because it's expensive to buy vinyl, I tend to pick carefully which records I'd like to buy and in this case it was a no-brainer. I love this album from start to finish, and I do think there's something special about listening to an entire album rather than one song.

Something to Tell You, Haim's new album, was practically a must-have after I fell in love with it in about five seconds. I can't believe we lasted that long without any new Haim music, but it's safe to say I'm loving their revival - and their outfits on Instagram of course. I would go as far to say I feel sorry for anyone who hasn't listened to their music yet because let me tell you, you are missing out!

The two latest additions are Lana Del Rey's Lust For Life and Kendrick Lamar's DAMN, both I got for my birthday (someone certainly knows my music taste). These have two records each because they are pretty big albums - one of the things I love about vinyl is the artwork that comes with each record and the fact they are physical objects you can keep forever. I've always been a pretty big fan of Lana Del Rey, but I'm particularly in love with her latest album because there's something a little different about it, but her melancholy tone is still there.

Most of the records I own here are much loved and are some of my favourite albums ever, but I'm still deciding what to buy next!



19 November 2017

Christmas Gifts for Beauty Lovers

I've never been one to pay much attention to the hundreds of Christmas gift sets available each year. But this year, for some reason, I've been way more excited about beauty than usual. So here's a list of gift sets and products I've been lusting after while scrolling through pages and pages of beauty websites, and trust me, I would love to treat myself to these come Christmas time although I'm not sure that would be too great for my bank account...

Becca Lit-From-Within Kit
I've always wanted to try Becca products, especially after viewing many of The Anna Edit's YouTube videos where she often raves about the pressed highlighter. I'm always looking for ways to inject more glow and luminosity to my face, so this seems like the perfect option to try, especially because it's relatively affordable compared to the full-sized products. Sephora has some other kits available, not to mention a gorgeous limited edition Christmas palette which is very expensive but so pretty.

NARS The Veil Cheek Palette
Mecca have some hella nice holiday packaging at the moment, and even though I'm yet to purchase any sets from there yet, I do have my eye on this gorgeous looking cheek palette which has a contour shade, highlight and blush shade. The blush looks ultra bright and pigmented but I have a feeling it will look really wearable on the cheeks, and I'm lacking in a nice bronzer or contour shade at the moment so this palette would come in handy. There is a part of me that feels a bit guilty for dropping so much cash on one product, but we'll see!

Stila Written in the Stars Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow Set
Sophie actually gave me one of these shadows in the shade Kitten Karma as she knows I've been lusting over them for ages. This set of three is such a good gift in my opinion, or if you've been wanting to try them yourself. Although I haven't tried out this eye shadow properly yet, I have swatched it on my hand, and seen how it looks on other people. These are ultra shimmery and so perfect for Christmas time, festive parties or New Years Eve. This set isn't too expensive either which is always good.

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette Beauty Glow
If you're looking for a palette that does it all, this is definitely it! It has three natural eyeshadow shades, a bronzer and highlighter, and two pretty blush shades. This would be especially great for travel because you have nearly everything you need in one place. Each shade is embossed with where to apply it which makes everything super easy. I also have my eye on the luxury palettes with four eyeshadow shades - so pretty!

Hair Heroes by Feelunique
Feel Unique have some really affordable Christmas sets at the moment and this hair one caught my attention, mainly because I love the Pureology shampoo and conditioner that's included. Although these are a mini travel size, this pack is great value for money considering Pureology products can be pretty expensive. This gift set also comes with a hair oil and hair ties, and would make a pretty good stocking filler I think!

Kiehl's Special Edition Ultra Facial Cream
Recently I tried the Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream and I fell in love pretty much instantly. Many bloggers and YouTubers have raved about this in the past and I can certainly see why. Although we're coming into summer, I can see this would be a great moisturiser for winter, or if you have particularly dry skin. This makes my skin so glowy and continuously moisturised, even when I wake up the next day. It is a bit heavy at times, which is why I'll just be using in the evenings from now on. The Christmas edition would be a great gift for someone or even yourself! It's definitely a fool-proof moisturiser in my opinion.

I hope you enjoyed this post with some of my beauty recommendations/ideas. I thought it would be nice to do a little Christmas post a bit earlier so you have time to buy.



11 November 2017

Book Mail

I rarely do a good old book haul these days, so that is just what I'm giving you today. I haven't been buying many books this year, but I thought it was about time I made an order on Book Depository now I've finished university. There are a couple of review copies in the mix in the theme of historical fiction, fantasy, plus a good dose of non-fiction.

The Grip of Film by Richard Ayoade
I love Richard Ayoade for his films and self deprecating humour, and of course now his foray into the publishing world. Some people have understandably mistaken this book as being entirely written by the man himself, but as Ayoade explains in the introduction, it is actually by the relatively unknown Gordy LaSure. That won't deter me though, because Ayoade comments on what LaSure says throughout, which will ~probably~ generate a chuckle or two. As you've probably guessed, this book is all about films, but apart from that I'm sure what to expect.

The Gender Games by Juno Dawson
You know me - I love a good discussion about gender stereotypes. As I've said before, I would probably love studying gender at university. So far I've read one (YA fiction) book by Juno Dawson which I thoroughly enjoyed, and now I'm dipping into her non-fiction. Buying this book was a complete no-brainer to me for obvious reasons - if you've never checked out Dawson's books I would highly recommend (and I need to get her other ones). If you don't know much about Juno Dawson you might not know she transitioned from male to female, so this book is her take on what it's like to be both genders and what problems come with being male and female.

The Boat Runner by Devin Murphy*
I don't know what it was - maybe a first watch of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas a couple of months ago - but suddenly I wanted to read more historical fiction. I find history as a subject incredibly interesting, but more than that, I do like getting caught up in an absorbing mystery. There are many, many books that tackle the subject of WWII but I'm yet to really read one which is why I think this will be a nice change from my typical contemporaries. This has been compared to All The Light We Cannot See, which I've seen just about everyone rave about, but apart from that I don't know much about this book.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig
It was love at first read when I picked up The Humans by Matt Haig a couple of summers ago. I really want to reread that book, but unfortunately it was borrowed from the library. Anyway, his latest book is How To Stop Time, the story of a middle-aged man who has been alive for centuries unbeknownst to everyone around him. He works as a history teacher, using it as an excuse to retell tales he actually witnessed and lived through. Matt is a really good writer and is always imparting some kind of wisdom on his Twitter, so I'm really excited to get into this. This is actually going to become a movie eventually too, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the lead.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr*
As mentioned above, this book has been raved about by a lot of people. It was the winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and is a New York Times bestseller. Once again, I don't know that much about this book apart from the fact it's a historical fiction and set during war. The blurb says it's about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France, and they're both trying to survive the devastation of WWII. I have no doubt this will be a touching, emotional story - I'm looking forward to a good cry to be honest.

Have you read any of these books/which ones would you read?


*Review Copy


31 October 2017

Soundtrack to October

I haven't been sharing my music monthly like I typically do, but I've rounded up the last couple month's worth of music instead. Without a doubt, this month's playlist is all about movie/television soundtracks. I didn't plan it out that way, it just kind of happened. I think I've overplayed Haim the last few months, and I've certainly mentioned them a lot on my blog, so here are the songs I've been hitting play on religiously apart from my Haim (but please listen to their album, because it's amazing).

Baby Driver Soundtrack
So I finally got around to watching Baby Driver this month and it was really good. I think sometimes you watch a film for it's cinematography and style (and the amazing music) instead of the plot and storyline. The opening number of Baby Driver alone makes it worth watching. Naturally I headed straight to Spotify to indulge in the movie's soundtrack, namely the opening song Bellbottoms. I think it's definitely a requirement to watch the movie before playing the soundtrack because it makes it that much better.

Wonder Woman Soundtrack
Quite the juxtaposition to the Baby Driver soundtrack, the music in Wonder Woman is surprisingly great for concentration. I had a lot of work to finish off for university this month, so I put this soundtrack on in the background and it worked a treat. Each track gives me all the feels and makes me relive the movie, especially Wonder Woman's Wrath (because duh), so a second watch of Wonder Woman obviously happened. Side note, if you haven't watched it yet you really should.

Mindhunter Soundtrack
This post might as well be a 'what I've been watching' one because I have to express my love for Netflix's new show Mindhunter. While Stranger Things obviously takes first priority (I've finished it) I think this has so far been very underrated - because I haven't seen anyone talk about it. It's about two FBI agents who start to interview serial killers to understand why they kill - and obviously features all the amazing 70s music. I can't tell you how amazingly well this show is filmed and edited. Warning, it's very graphic but very worth the watch. The soundtrack features the likes of Talking Heads and David Bowie so of course it's amazing.

Everything else...

- The new Arcade Fire album. Yes, I like very much that the opening track sounds like ABBA.
- Kane Strang. Someone recommended his album to me on Instagram and it's really, really good, especially the song My Smile is Extinct. The cynical lyrics really speak to me... obviously.
- The Virgins album Strike Gently AKA their final release before the band split up. Especially Figure on the Ice and Impressions of You.
- Random 80s music. I can't put it any other way than that, really. If you too enjoy 80s music you will probably love this playlist.

Have a listen to everything I've mentioned!


26 October 2017

October Beauty Edit

If you haven't been able to tell in past blog posts, I don't often buy new makeup - I generally use the same products I've used for months and years in some cases. I think there is a bit of pressure to constantly buy new things and blog about them, but I'm trying not to do that because it makes me feel a little sick honestly. The products I blog about I either get from work or aren't very expensive if I do buy them. I think it's okay if you don't own much makeup, in fact it's nice. It's also great if you have a huge makeup collection and get joy from trying new things weekly. The beauty industry and consumerism is something I've been thinking a lot about lately, and it sort of ties in to this amazing podcast episode which I recommend you listen to. With the long and slightly irrelevant introduction over, here are my beauty favourites from October!

ECOYA French Pear Madison Jar
For the last few weeks I've been burning candles while I sit at my desk and work. Yes, I may have stolen that idea from Jess' Vlogtober (side note - go and watch it now if you haven't already), but I find it aids in motivation (as weird as that sounds) and helps you get set up for the day. ECOYA have some of the nicest quality candles around and this French Pear scent is to die for. It smells like a lovely fancy home - it's fruity and really fresh. We are going into summer in New Zealand, so this type of candle is nice to burn in Spring while muskier scents are ideal for Autumn.

Girl Undiscovered Stumbled Across Paradise Face Mask
Girl Undiscovered is a New Zealand made brand, and has some cool branding and ideas. Recently my favourite face mask ran out so I decided to give this one a go. I personally love face masks that you can exfoliate with afterwards - and this is one of them. This mask has a really raw, fresh feel about it and it smells like brown sugar and honey. You have to use quite a lot of this to cover your entire face, but it's quite thick in consistency. I have found my skin is really smooth afterwards and when I wake up the next morning it generally feels really plumped up and moisturised. If you need a new face mask I would definitely point you in the direction of this, although it does leave my face red afterwards - maybe from the exfoliation or an allergic reaction? Either way, it isn't painful and goes down so it's not a big deal.

YSL All Hours Foundation
I have been trialling a couple of new foundations this month, the first being this high end one. I've mentioned this on Instagram recently and I go by what I said - it's a very lightweight feeling base that is marketed as matte, however it's really not too matte (or drying) if you're more a fan of dewy foundations. I think this is going to be a winner when summer comes around, because like I said, it's a slightly lighter base with a decent but pretty sheer coverage. I actually find my skin looks nicely glowy and even when I wear this, especially when it's been on for a few hours. This blends really nicely and is actually great applied with fingers or a sponge. The only slight downside of this is that I have a shade that's a bit too dark for me but would be great if I have any sort of tan this summer (not likely).

The Ordinary Coverage Foundation
I was so excited to see The Ordinary had foundations, and ever since Sali Hughes had raved about the Serum Foundation in The Guardian, I really wanted to try them. I did however go for the coverage version - I'm not quite sure what the difference is but I'm guessing this gives better coverage. This base is actually super light in feel and coverage but gives a nice thin, even layer. This one isn't as long lasting as the YSL one, which is understandable because it's literally only $10 (NZD)! I think you can't go wrong with that price, especially when the brand offers so many different shades. That's amazing, because it is so hard to find pale foundations, and it's even harder to find dark shades. I feel like other brands have literally no excuse not to make a big variety of shades if The Ordinary can do it. I got the shade 1.0 P which says it has pink undertones, although I find it's actually quite neutral in tone. This is the perfect everyday foundation to chuck on and you're good to go. One thing I will say is it does tend to separate on the skin in areas such as your nose or chin, however I'm really liking it so far. P.S These sell out really quickly just like most of The Ordinary products!

Zoeva Luxe Eye Blender (225)
I've heard many bloggers and YouTubers raving about Zoeva brushes so I wanted to buy one to see what the fuss was all about. I'm actually severely lacking in makeup brushes, so I should probably do something about that. Anyway, this eye brush is super soft and makes blending eyeshadow easy. I can really see a difference in using a soft brush like this, in comparison to harsher ones. This isn't exactly the cheapest for one small eyeshadow brush, but it is worth it, and there are definitely more expensive ones out there.

Have you tried any of these products?



21 October 2017

Life Update

I haven't had a blog schedule for absolutely ages, but even then I still manage to write at least a blog post a week. However, life has been pretty hectic recently. Yesterday, I officially finished my degree at university (I just need to finish one more assignment), but it's been the biggest relief ever. This year hasn't been the best for me, regardless of what you might see on Instagram or elsewhere. I am so happy to have a whole summer ahead of me to relax and as cliche as it sounds, practice loads and loads of self care. Although there is the whole worry of wondering what I'll be doing next year. It feels bittersweet at the moment because on the one hand I will now have much more free time to do things that make me happy, but I can't help but feel I'm expected to jump into the next thing straight away. Oh and I turn 21 next month. NBD. *Screams*.

Finishing university means I now have what seems like endless time to read. I can't tell you how nice it feels to know that when I go away in November I can sit in the sun (or realistically, shade) and make my way through the stack of books on my bedside table. Sometimes I feel guilty for not reading enough, especially in keeping up with review copies or my Good Reads challenge (where I am a fabulous eight books behind), but I know that's silly. I really want to start reading for fun again, and also reading the books that I really want to read, not the ones I feel obliged to. In the last few hectic weeks, I reread the first two Hunger Games books even though I didn't really have time to. For some reason I love that series so much - I guess it's like my version of Harry Potter. Sometimes I can get stuck in a rut with my reading, but revisiting The Hunger Games has reminded me that reading should be an escape, not a chore.

Today I cleaned up my entire room (minus my messy wardrobe) and the good feeling afterwards never gets old. It's exactly what I needed to do after months of living messily and feeling mega stressed. It's weird, because I've lived in my family home for my whole life, and had the same bedroom for years and years, but I always find new ways to rearrange my furniture and spruce things up. I don't know about you, but having a clean and organised bedroom makes me feel so much happier and productive. On my bedside table, I now have a Frankie magazine to read (and plenty more issues to catch up on), You Play The Girl by Carina Chocano - my non-fiction read of choice - and I'm thinking of starting The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James soon.

I can't wait to have more blog posts up soon!



7 October 2017

Recently Read + Giveaway

Alright, so I haven't been the most faithful reader over the last few months - two weeks until I finish uni forever and all that. However, I had found time to squeeze in a read of Tell it to the Moon - the second book in The Moonlight Dreamers series - a book I enjoyed so much I put it in My Favourite Books of 2016 list. Today I'm writing a review of the series, plus I'm giving away a copy of both books to one lucky winner. If you want to enter, have a look at my Instagram post here.

My review

The Moonlight Dreamers* focuses on friendship, family, relationships and identity. It follows the perspective of four teenage girls, who are all incredibly different, but find comfort in talking to each other - forming a group called The Moonlight Dreamers - to talk about their worries and dreams. In the first book, Sky, Maali, Rose and Amber are all going through different problems. One is being bullied for having gay parents, another feels shy and insecure about talking to boys. One of the girls feels pressure to fit in because of social media, and another is dealing with the loss of her mum.

Tell it to the Moon* follows the same girls as they work out new problems and the same insecurities from book one. All of the issues Siobhan Curham brings up are really relevant to teenagers today, and she also makes a point of being diverse with characters, giving representation to more than more race, religion and sexuality. I think that is incredibly important in young adult fiction. There isn't a huge focus on romance, instead it concentrates on the importance of friendship, which is refreshing. Both books do an amazing job at keeping you engaged in the story - the chapters and perspectives of each person are short yet intertwine in an effective way.

These are books that send great messages to young women and teens. The Moonlight Dreamers and Tell it to the Moon are diverse and feature strong aspirational women. It always comes back to the importance friendship and speaking out, which is an important lesson for young people. I would definitely recommend this series to any teenager, or even a twenty-year-old like me who found value in it too.


I'm giving away a copy of The Moonlight Dreamers and Tell it to the Moon now on my instagram!


*Review Copy

25 September 2017

My Morning & Evening Skincare Routine

I have certainly touched on most of these products on my blog before, but I wanted to do a round-up post of all the skincare I use every single day. I've seen a pretty good difference in my skin since I started a routine again. Believe it or not, before I hardly washed my face in the morning, only at night. I couldn't even imagine doing that now; the skincare I take the time to use in the morning (which isn't really much of an effort at all) makes all the difference, and as everyone says, makes your makeup go on so much nicer. Here are the skincare products I use every day, with a little wishlist at the end of things I need to pick up soon.


Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser
This is probably the one product that has made the most difference to my skin after using it for a few months. I bought it because Estee raved about it, and I'm glad it is as good as she said it was because it's a little expensive (but not absolutely crazy). If you have dry skin, stay clear, but this is the nicest cleanser for oily or combination complexions like mine. I always thought this smelled like strawberries but on Antipode's website it says the scent is green apple and cardamon; it's so nice nevertheless. This is the perfect morning cleanser for me because it's light, evens out the skin tone and leaves the complexion glowy and bright.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
I'm starting to get a little concerned because this is sold out on the websites I can buy The Ordinary products from. It's such a good product and I'm already about half done. If you haven't heard of this brand before, it's so unbelievably cheap, probably cheaper than some of the skincare you can buy in supermarkets. I long banished oils from my skincare routine because they always clogged up my skin, and this has been the replacement. It's not an oil at all, but a light solution made up of 2% hyaluronic acid (hence the name...) which evens skin tone, brightens and adds hydration when combined with a moisturiser. Again, this is more ideal for morning because it's light and great before makeup.

Simple Kind to Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser
I've used this moisturiser for years because it's just worked for me. It's a super, super light moisturiser which is great for me because my skin can breathe and isn't clogged by oily or ultra creamy formulations. Sometimes I do have to put a couple of coats of this on if my skin's feeling dry. I would love to find another moisturiser that is a bit more moisturising but doesn't break me out (which is something of an impossible task). If you have any suggestions, I'd love them, but for now I'll stick with this!


Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water
I'm not going to lie, I tend to think all these micellar waters practically do the same thing. This is pretty cheap and does the job, so I don't opt for other more expensive offerings (although I would quite like some Bioderma back in my life). I don't really use this as a cleanser, I just use it at the end of the day to remove my makeup more often than not. I feel like I could probably use something better to get rid of my eye makeup, but this works pretty well.

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel
If my skin is feeling dry, this is an absolute saviour. I use this as my night cleanser because it's super hydrating and gets rid of all the (no doubt) grime on my face at the end of the day. Massaging this into your complexion for five minutes and wiping it away with a hot flannel is the loveliest feeling. As the name would suggest, this starts off as a gel and as you massage it into your skin, it becomes a silky-feeling oil. I think it works well without water and you can also use it to remove makeup.

Antipodes Apostle Skin-Brightening Serum
This is essentially the serum version of the Juliet cleanser, which is why I like using this at night and the cleanser in the morning- using both at the same time would be overkill I think. After using such a nourishing, oily cleanser I like using this serum because it sort of seals everything in and tones the skin. Once again, it gives a lovely bright, glowy result I can't get enough of. This is surprisingly more expensive than the Juliet cleanser- it's a bit of a painful moment handing over a decent amount of money for one product but I do love this so much.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
Another The Ordinary product that will probably run out soon and I have no back up of! I have dealt with some pretty bad skin over the past few years, nothing extreme, but I don't think I've had clear skin since I was 16. I don't really bother with too many products desperately trying to get rid of my spots because frankly I'm quite used to them and I do not have the money or patience. This product, however, is so cheap it's certainly worth trying. I actually do think this helps bring spots down and dry them out without being too extreme. I apply this to each pimple most nights unless my skin is going through a good patch (unlikely).

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant
The last thing I'll quickly talk about is my lip balm of choice, apart from my Glossier Balm Dotcom of course. This is a really good lip balm to put on after you've done your skincare routine- it's pretty heavy duty and will stay moist on the lips (I can't stand lip balms that dry down quickly and make your lips drier than before). This is a 'skin protectant', but I've never used it on my skin, just my lips! The only thing I don't really like about this is the smell (it's kind of like a hospital smell) but I'm used to it so I don't mind.


As summer is coming up in New Zealand, I'm on the hunt for a face sunscreen. I know I should be wearing one every day regardless of season, but I'm pretty slack with sun protection. At the moment I have two brands in mind- La Roche Posay and Kiehl's because I've heard they are good, however please shout out if you have any recommendations! I ideally need something light that won't clog and will sit well under makeup. I would also really like to try The Ordinary's lactic acid peel which offers mild exfoliation and it's apparently great for blemish-prone skin. Finally, I'm in desperate need of a new face mask! I love this one from The Body Shop which I recently finished, so I'm thinking of repurchasing it unless I find something else.

I don't think I'll be doing another post on skincare for quite some time as I think I have everything covered! Have you tried/want to try any of these products?


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