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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15 February 2017

February New in Beauty: First Impressions

What beauty bits I've been trialling recently..

Even though I don't tend to follow beauty trends or manically snap up all the new releases, it happens that these products are all fairly new to the beauty world. There's quite a range of things - from a primer, eyeshadow, lipsticks, to everything you need for an at home gel manicure. As I try to use a smaller amount of beauty products and work towards having a bit of a clean out, I'm trying to only keep items that I really love. So, let's get to business then.

The Glow Getters

Upon first impression, the Estee Lauder Genuine Glow Blushing Creme for Lips and Cheeks (while being a mouth full to say) is essentially radiance in a stick. I haven't actually used this on the lips yet, but it gives the perfect flush of colour on the cheeks. I've been leaning towards cream blush a bit more this summer, and I love how easy they are to pat and blend into the skin. There is potential to go overboard on colour with this one, but when I get it right it looks glowy without verging on being disco ball like. This is the perfect thing for summer.

The Balm Time Balm claims to prep your complexion for a flawless face. I haven't been one to wear primers regularly, but sometimes my foundation tends to cling to dry patches on my face, and if I haven't used a face mask in a while, things can look a bit rocky. I've been incorporating this into my routine and so far, so good. This does have more of a silicone texture, so if you're afraid of that kind of thing, it may not be the one for you, but I think it does the trick of smoothing out my skin. While not exactly radiance boosting, it helps to create a clean slate for a glowy effect with the rest of my makeup. It almost creates another layer on the skin that keeps things a tad more moisturised and ready to go.


Day to Night

As I've stated in previous posts, I'm starting to love applying eyeshadow and trying out new eye looks. The new Rimmel Magnif'Eyes Eye Contouring Palettes in 003 Grunge Glamour* and 001 Keep Calm & Wear Gold* on first look are the ideal day to night palettes, with a range of different cool and warm shades. Personally I prefer the warmer toned palette because I feel as though the shades suit me more. I love the matte browns and shimmery golds which serve as a quick two colour look. As for the wear and tear, and the formula, while the lighter colours have disappointing pigment, the darker colours do pay off. I can see my self using some of the browns and golds as they make my blue eyes pop, but bypassing the darker blues and purples.


Long-Lasting Lip Love

The Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick in 15 Red-volution* is a major player in the long-lasting liquid lipstick field. I swatched this on my arm and it didn't come off completely after scrubbing and scrubbing. In other words, if you're after the perfect red lip that will stick around when you're eating and drinking, this is the one. It has a really light texture and feels very comfortable on the lips even though it's a matte formula. Likewise, the Rouge Edition 12 Hours Lipstick in 46 Burgund'it* gives a fair share of other lipsticks a run for its money. This one isn't completely matte looking, but can be applied so easily by dabbing it into the lips as it's sheerer than the other formula, but still packs a punch in the pigment department. This is more of a brown/wine colour with a pinky tone to it, compared to the classic red. I'm actually really impressed with both of these lipstick formulas and look forward to using them more.


At Home Manicure

I was partly skeptical upon trying the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel as I wasn't sure the two step system (with a nail colour and a gel top coat) would be much more effective than just normal nail polish. The shades I have are Flower Crown (a baby pink) and Wine Stock (a dark red colour) as well as the Miracle Gel Top Coat to finish off with. As I'm writing this, I've had the Wine Stock shade on for almost a week and it's pretty much stay put. There are a couple of chips where I was careless with my nails (opening packaging or something) but you can hardly tell. While I think these are actually quite effective on first try, nail polish isn't something that excites me a great deal so I'm quite indifferent to this. I do think it's a good way to get a semi good-looking professional manicure, if you're decent at applying the polish that is!


Do you like the look of any of these products?

-Emma


*PR Sample
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12 February 2017

To Me, Love Me: A Valentine's Lust List

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Valentine's Day can be a bit of a pain in the neck. The good news is, I've found red and pink themed things aplenty while aimlessly browsing online - from cynical slogans to the perfect red lip, I happen to find all of these items rather delightful. I've updated the shop section on my blog with these lovely bits, so feel free to click through to anything that takes your fancy - Valentine's Day really is high up there on the aesthetic level of holidays. A girl can dream...





-Emma

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8 February 2017

January Book Haul & Currently Reading


From my select few fantasy picks to YA, I've acquired quite a few books over the past month that I'm excited to get into. It's February - the sun is out in my corner of the globe, and there isn't a more perfect time to bask in the hot weather and pick up a book.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
I borrowed this from my book loving friend Sophie who said this was a really good read. I've had my eye on Zadie Smith's books for a little while, so I'm excited to start with her latest release. From the summary, this is about two brown girls who dream of being dancers, but only one has talent. They have a close but complicated friendship which ends in their early twenties, but it's a friendship that isn't forgotten. From reviews online, this book seems to have themes of gender, race and class. It follows two girls over a span of 25 years and journeys from London to New York to West Africa. I haven't started this yet, but I'm trying to read a little more diversely and branch out from the usual.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Recently I read Difficult Women* by the same author (her latest release) and although it was a tough book to read, some of the stories definitely have the tendency to stay with you. I would love to venture more into her writing, and why not start with arguably her most famous book, Bad Feminist, which Sophie kindly let me borrow as well. As Difficult Women was somewhat unexpected, I'm thinking some of the essays in this book will be the same. I'm interested in the idea that there are many types of feminism and there isn't one single definition of feminism for everyone in the world, so I'm looking forward to reading this and possibly learning more about intersectional feminism (which is of course so important).

The House of Secrets by Sarra Manning*
This book seems that it will be a bit of a mystery, with the summary entailing that a suitcase of memories is found in an old house that Zoe moves into. The suitcase has belongings from a woman called Libby, and Zoe feels deeply connected to her and echoes some of the woman's pain. This discovery leads Zoe to follow Libby's trail from Paris to Spain in 1936. I believe this spans across two time lines, the older time being Libby's, and Zoe finds the suitcase at a more modern day. I was interested in this book because I recently read the author Sarra Manning's book London Belongs To Us (which couldn't be more different, but I loved her writing).

Caraval by Stephanie Garber*
This is the book the entire YA book world has been harping on about. Apparently this has The Night Circus vibes (which I'm quite a lot into) and there's just something in my fantasy-loving heart that needed this book in my life. As you may know, I don't read this genre of book very often, but once a good one comes along it's like I've struck gold. This book is one of my most anticipated reads of this year, and follows sisters Scarlett and Tella who are fascinated by Caraval, which is a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show. Caraval is magic, mystery and adventure. After the girls get invitations to the performance, things start going wrong when one of the sisters vanish. They become entangled in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak.

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern*
Cecelia Ahern is a name which you may be familiar with. Her second book in the Flawed series is coming out soon, and she also wrote Love, Rosie. I was really intrigued when I read the summary for Lyrebird. It involves a woman living in thick, deep woods in isolation, in the south-west of Ireland. A documentary crew discover this young woman who has a rare and intriguing ability. They want to make her the subject of their story, and so she moves with them back to the city. There's just something about this book that intrigues me, so when I start it I'll be sure to tell you what I think.

Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth*
Before receiving this book I was unaware that Veronica Roth's latest release had generated quite a lot of controversy, and I might as well briefly explain it as a disclaimer. I believe one of the main characters, who is dark skinned, is described as being aggressive (which people have pointed out is racist), while another character, who is light skinned, is portrayed as gentle and peaceful. This is set in space and essentially follows two different societies on different planets, one is generally thought to be more peaceful while the other is aggressive. I think it is claimed everyone is meant to be mixed race, however that is the controversy from my understanding. The prospect of this book does sound really intriguing to me, and I think I have a soft spot for books set in space. The two planets have conflict over history, and the two main characters Cyra and Akos are bought together through their clashing families. I'm currently reading this, so I'll have to see what my final thoughts on this will be.

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
I've heard that Nick Horby's books are great, so it was nice when I stumbled across this on a second hand book store browse. Four strangers end up at Topper's House, North London's most popular suicide spot, on New Year's Eve. They all have different reasons for wanting to end their lives, and slowly they each begin to discover more about each other. This book may sound dark or something that could put you in a low mood, however Nick Hornby has definitely written this with humour. This is great if you love a British sense of humour, and I just generally really like books that follow more than one character's perspective. I'm about 100 pages through this so far, and it's a thumbs up from me at the moment.

Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse*
I won't say too much about this book as its release date is quite a while away (14th March...), but I'll give you a little run-down on what it's about since I've acquired it recently. Long story short this is a young adult contemporary which follows the main character, Sophia, who is used to ping-ponging between different countries. She has lived in Tokyo for the last few years. When Jamie shows up before Sophia leaves, she finds that leaving another country is harder than she expected. She has to make her seven last days in Tokyo count. I honestly love reading my fair share of young adult contemporary, so I will report back mid-March on my thoughts.


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

-Emma



*Sent to me for review

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5 February 2017

Overseas Adventures: Paris


Paris was one of our last stops on the trip and we were there for three days. Paris is very romanticised and it's easy to see why with so much culture, art, and lovely buildings. I did start to feel extremely homesick when we arrived in Paris because it's hard to get by when you don't speak the language - we tried though!

The Louvre

In Paris we were staying quite a way out of the city, and the first day we were too scared to try the Metro so we decided to walk the entire way into Paris, which probably took about an hour - I'm not sure. Paris was definitely where I did the most steps! On that day we briefly visited Notre Dame at midday in time for the bells, and then we walked to the Louvre to spend a nice chunk of the day at. The Louvre was so big we hardly made a dent in it, and the building itself was amazing. While we were walking around this day, two men started following us. Eventually they went away because they knew we knew they were following us (lol). We also got a bottle of coke stolen from us when we weren't looking for a minute. I think Paris lost it's charm for me a few times, but travelling is all about experiencing new things and new cultures. I felt somewhat relieved to get home in the end because New Zealand just feels safe compared to some places.

The Palace of Versailles

The second day we decided to go on an English tour of the Palace of Versailles because it was pretty difficult getting around and communicating - it was just a chance to relax a little. By this stage we'd actually tried the Metro and to our amazement it wasn't hard at all. Anyway, visiting the palace itself was amazing - I don't think I've seen anything so beautiful in my life. The sub-par iPhone photos really don't do it justice at all. After touring the actual palace we also explored the grounds where Marie Antoinette had several other homes or buildings. This day was probably my favourite, it was nice to explore somewhere so thoroughly and not rush around too much.

The Palace of Versailles

Eiffel Tower / Residence of Marie Antoinette

For our last day, we went to the Musée d'Orsay mainly to see paintings from the likes of Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet. We also walked to the Eiffel Tower that day as it's pretty much standard to at least have a look at it. Apart from that, in the afternoon we went on the Metro to Montmarte which is quite a famous area to visit. I think it's the highest hill in Paris and the view over the city is quite amazing. We didn't actually spend too long here but I'm sure that walking around the streets more would have been nice. By this part of our trip we were pretty tired and ready to go home after going non stop for a month.


Vincent van Gogh self-portrait at Musée d'Orsay / Montmarte

Montmarte



After Paris we went to Frankfurt for a three day stop over and visited some family there, before flying back to New Zealand. This is my last travel post - it's been quite nice to just keep a recount of what happened & share a few pictures! I'll be back soon with some regular content!


-Emma

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2 February 2017

The January Beauty Edit


Apologies if you're getting déjà vu while looking at these photos because some of these products have been cropping up an awful lot lately. Alas, I am here today to talk through my top beauty products of the month, from the most gorgeous eyeshadow palette to my ultimate nourishing hair mask. Read on...

Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette
I feel like you couldn't get more highly pigmented eyeshadows if you tried, not to mention the shades are absolutely gorgeous and so up my street. My favourite colours have been Buon Fresco, Antique Bronze, Red Ochre, Venetian Red and Realgar (so basically all of them...). If you have been eyeing up this palette for a while, I'd say go for it.


Olive Moisture Renewal Hair Masque
I'd say this is one of my favourite hair masks I've tried. There's nothing remotely fancy about it - it's relatively scentless and it comes out in a thick white cream. It moisturises the hair really well and I find it smoothes out my hair, leaving it deeply conditioned. This is actually a New Zealand brand which is a bonus and it's generally free from a lot of nasties.

Glossier Flavored Balm Dotcom in Coconut
This has been my go to lip balm recently. Even though Glossier are pretty hard to get hold of, I really rate this. It comes out in a balm texture and melts instantly onto the lips. The flavour I have is coconut and it smells divine!

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in 420 Blushed
This lipstick has been my favourite recently because of the ease of wear. On a day to day basis (practically always) I can never be bothered with lipstick because of the up keep, but this fades nicely and can be applied quickly. This isn't a matte lipstick which is rare for me, it's more of a shiny lip product with a smooth, balmy texture. I think this shade really suits me as it's a little rosy or almost peachy.


Soap and Glory Solar Powder Bronzer
I may sound like a broken record with this one, but my love of Soap and Glory products is real. This bronzer is perfect for my pale skin and because it's not too heavily pigmented you really can't go wrong with it.

Soap and Glory Supercat Eyeliner
I had been on the lookout for a new eyeliner as my old faithfuls had dried up or weren't working as well. Picking up the Supercat eyeliner was a great decision as it's exactly what I need. I'm not sure how long it will be until this starts to dry up, but for now the pigment and ease of use is top notch in my books.


What beauty products have you been loving in January?

-Emma

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