29 January 2018

Beauty Spotlight: January


While I love talking about the beauty products I use, I'm not someone who buys an abundance of new things every single month (okay, well maybe I am - but definitely not a massive haul of high end products), so I felt silly sharing my beauty favourites each month when I didn't have much to talk about. Enter a new feature called Beauty Spotlight - where I aim to talk all things beauty in a way that suits me, so hopefully I can give an honest depiction of where I'm at with beauty every month. Nothing revolutionary, but still. Here are the products frequently making it into my makeup bag, the ones I'm saying sayonara to, and most excitingly, the shiny things I'm lusting after.

Product I love

I'm notoriously bad at using SPF on my face under makeup. That was why I wanted to try a new one this summer, and I decided on the Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ Sunscreen. A few people have raved about this recently so I knew it was one I had to try. My first impressions are that it gives my skin a very glowy look and sits well under makeup. My skin always, always has reactions to many moisturisers I try on my face, but I'm hoping this one will be an exception. I haven't given it an extensive trial yet, but so far it's a lovely SPF that I think many people would love.

Product I'm trialling

Many mascaras can be pretty lacklustre. I'm not often loyal to them like I am, say, my foundation, but nevertheless I do enjoy trying new ones. I personally love a mascara that can curl and lift my lashes, add length, but most importantly a good dose of volume. Not asking for much, then? While I'm still going strong with the Tanya Burr Selfie Lash, I gave the Benefit Roller Lash a go this month. So far I love how much length and curl it gives lashes, but it doesn't quite give that intense volume I love. I do still really like this though, as I think it would look especially good on its own on a lighter makeup day. I'm going to keep using this, and who knows it may become a holy grail product.

Product I've rediscovered

I've been continuously using my The Ordinary Coverage Foundation the past couple of months, but I've been itching to go back to my number one fave, NARS Sheer Glow. I'm officially now out of this stuff, but earlier in the month I finished up my second bottle and was reminded why I love it so much. It provides a nice coverage without looking or feeling heavy and is more long lasting than cheaper foundations. This is definitely one of the products I will continue to invest in because I haven't found another base I truly like as much.

Product I've used up

I really enjoyed using up my first bottle of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 - it made it skin feel so even and smooth - perfect for applying before moisturiser. However this month my skin has been actually horrible, and I'm not entirely sure why. It may be any number of things - my diet, hormones, or I'm using the wrong products. For now I've decided to put this on the back burner and stick to a simple cleanser and light moisturiser while I work out what is wrong with my skin. I did really love this when I first used it, but overtime my skin has dried out - this may be due to a cleanser I use though. I did buy another one of these and I may use it occasionally, but we'll see.

Product I'm getting rid of

Earlier this month I did a post on the Products I Regret Buying. As well as getting rid of those products, I will also be saying goodbye to the Girl Undiscovered Stumbled Across Paradise Mask. While I did quite like it at the beginning, it always made my skin go super red afterwards, like I'd been sunburned. I think this was giving me an allergic reaction, or my skin was obviously just too sensitive. Are you sensing a theme?

Product I need

Enough of the grumbling about my skin, let's talk lust-worthy beauty products. This month I've been on a spending ban and I've actually managed it, but I'm afraid next month all my hard work will come undone. I am dying to buy something new, however I want to make the process more of a lengthy deliberation than impulsively buying. This month I've had my eye on the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base because it's about time I bought a decent eyeshadow primer (this one has had some raving reviews). Apart from that, the NARS Wanted Eyeshadow Palette looks like what dreams are made of, but I think it's only available in certain countries.


I'd love to know your thoughts on these products and what you're lusting after this month!

-Emma
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22 January 2018

My Most Anticipated Books of 2018


As I began adding new books to my Goodreads list earlier this month, I realised there is going to be so many amazing releases out this year. Every year I usually compile a list of a few books I'm most excited about, many from authors I've read and loved before. Get ready to take notes...

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman / May 2018
Alice Oseman is an incredible young adult author. She gets into the heads of characters so well, and has a big focus of including diverse characters in all of her books. As well as this, she understands teenagers unbelievably. All of this is a great recipe for amazing books that have great messages and cater to a younger audience. She also manages to come up with unique and interesting ideas for her books - no simple 'boy meets girl and they fall in love' stereotype here. I Was Born For This follows a transgender musician and a girl who is obsessed with a certain band. It's a book about obsession and escapism, one that is very relevant to our internet culture of today.

Also by Alice Oseman: Solitaire, Radio Silence

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig / July 2018
I'm sure you've heard me wax lyrical about Matt Haig before. I loved The Humans so much so I would recommend it to everyone, and his latest book How To Stop Time is also wonderful. He is most known for Reasons to Stay Alive which is such a powerful and important book - now the sequel to that book - Notes on a Nervous Planet will be released midway through this year. I've listened to a lot of podcasts episodes about anxiety and mental illness, so the topics in this book really interest me. It explores topics such as anxiety and stress, and takes a look at how our rise in worry is because of society - from politics to technology and media. I will never tire of reading his work and can't wait to get my hands on this release.

Also by Matt Haig: The Humans, Reasons to Stay Alive, How to Stop Time

The Adulterants by Joe Dunthorne / March 2018
I can't help but draw comparisons to The Adulterants and Joe Dunthorne's first novel Submarine. Upon reading the summary, I can see he loves writing an unlikeable character, one that results in darkly funny or deadpan humour. It is described as a coming of age story, but the protagonist isn't fifteen - he's in his thirties. On first impression this book does give me The Rosie Project or The Humans vibes, but I could be completely wrong. I am a sucker for these types of books though, that look at the world and it's silliness by using humour. This looks like a relatively short read, but one I'm really excited to get to.

Also by Joe Dunthorne: Submarine, Wild Abandon

Legendary by Stephanie Garber / May 2018
It's quite rare for me to pick up a fantasy book, but Caraval by Stephanie Garber was a standout release for me last year. I can't wait to read Legendary, the second book. I'm sure it would be ideal to read the first book again before I read Legendary, so I can refresh my memory, but we'll see if that happens - too many books to read and too little time. I've summarised this book so many times, but it follows two sisters as they enter a circus - a strange world called Caraval. One of the sisters goes missing and the other has to enter a competition at the circus in order to get her back. Things are not as they seem, and she doesn't know who she can trust. I've said it once and I'll say it again, Caraval captivated me in a way many books don't tend to, so it only makes sense to continue the series.

Also by Stephanie Garber: Caraval

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson / January 2018
I haven't read anything by Maureen Johnson, but her name sounds familiar and I'm yet to find out why. I think she's pretty well known in the YA world, so there's that. When I read the description for Truly Devious I couldn't help being excited for it, and glowing reviews have intrigued me further. I'm certainly a sucker for stories set at boarding schools, and when it involves mystery and murder, I'm there. This is a book that switches back and forth between timelines as the main character tries to solve a crime. This is actually already out, so you can bet it will be in my next book haul.

Also by Maureen Johnson: The Name of the Star (Shades of London series)

Honourable mentions

Clean by Juno Dawson / April 2018
Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard / February 2018
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture Edited by Roxane Gay / May 2018
Lou Out of Luck by Nat Luurtsema / June 2018


I'm sure they'll be many more exciting releases in the second half of the year too. Do you want to read any of these?

-Emma

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15 January 2018

Products I Regret Buying


I'm always sharing the products I like, but what about the ones I regret buying? I always try and make informed choices when it comes to buying beauty products, which means I often like what I buy, however sometimes they don't live up to the hype or simply aren't for me. Today I'm talking about the few products I've finally accepted I don't like and will be removing from my skincare and makeup collections.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Blushing Bride
I was so excited to step foot in Sephora in America a few years ago to pick up the products we couldn't get easily in New Zealand. These Tarte blushes have had raving reviews and were all the rage a few years ago - now I'm much less likely to give into hype than before. I might have just got the completely wrong shade; the more neutral colours would probably suit my complexion better, but I never really got on with this - it didn't seem to have much pigment and I have barely used it over the time I've had it. It's been hanging around in my collection for years, so it's finally time to say goodbye to this one. I also never really used to be into blush a few years ago so who knows why I bought this - I was so excited to own something from Tarte though.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA
I've certainly been one to rave about The Ordinary products in the past, however this moisturiser/primer is not one I've really got along with. This is an unscented, very thick cream that could be used as a moisturiser or primer - but I suspect most people would prefer this as a primer. I have just found this to be not moisturising enough and it tends to stay on the surface of the skin, not sinking in very much. I find it drags on my skin because of it's rich texture and in that way it's not very pleasant to use. I much prefer a lighter or more supple moisturiser, however the one thing I like is that this doesn't contain any fragrance - I can't stand it when moisturisers or primers have a heavy scent and I don't think it does any good for the skin.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray
This little product has appeared in a few of my Instagrams and popped up in blog posts, yet it's one I've decided I don't like. I wasn't getting as much use out of it as I would have liked, partly because I simply don't use facial sprays, but especially because they seem to break me out. While it has very pretty packaging, I have found it just doesn't have any skin benefits and I'm not using it for any good reason. It does tend to leave my skin slightly sticky or tacky which I really dislike, so alas, I will be passing this on to someone else who can appreciate it a little more. I know people like using facial sprays in summer for refreshing and hydrating purposes, but I'm not really into this as I had a bad experience with one breaking me out really badly (literal cystic acne, oh joy).


Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
I originally liked the sound of this face mask because it was apparently good for dry or combination skin with blemishes. I certainly get this as it's a creamy mask which helps settle pimples, however I found it left my skin feeling too tacky and sticky afterwards, with the product lingering on the skin in an unpleasant way. Although this didn't break me out when I initially used it, it was giving me breakouts in the end so the positives definitely outweighed the negatives in this case. I'm not too cut up about it though, because I bought this mask on a 3 for 2 offer, meaning it was essentially free. I do like a couple Antipodes products but this one just wasn't for me - so many skincare items can be subjective.

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Poison Matte
So many people rave about ColourPop lip products, but I just can't get on board. Everyone has been obsessed with matte lip products in the past couple of years, and I can safely say they are not for me - no surprises I have barely used this product then. Another reason I haven't reached for this is I barely wear bold lip colours - they are just too out of my comfort zone and I feel really overdone when I wear them. I do really like the idea of these Lippie Stix though - I love the smaller applicator and the packaging is pretty, but sadly I could really do without this in my makeup stash.



-Emma
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8 January 2018

My Favourite Albums of 2017


I'm sure you've had enough of these 'best of' blog posts from me - and everyone else - but I couldn't say goodbye to 2017 until I talked about my favourite music of the year. These are all albums that came out last year, and by gosh was there a lot of good music that was released. I'm hoping to keep up with my soundtrack posts every month or two when I have new favourites to share, but for now here are my favourite albums of 2017 - with a handy playlist at the end.

Lust for Life - Lana Del Rey

I've loved her music for a few years, but Lust for Life has been the album I have enjoyed the most and played over and over. I definitely think this is an album that grows on you, because when I first listened to it wasn't bowled over, however there was something different about some of the songs which I loved. I definitely enjoyed more of the slightly upbeat/less melancholy songs like Cherry and In My Feelings which made the album stand out in my opinion.

Favourite songs: Cherry, White Mustang, In My Feelings

Belladonna of Sadness - Alexandra Savior

After discovering Alexandra Savior through Alex Turner, who helped write her songs on this album, I played her music on repeat for days. Belladonna of Sadness is such a solid album - there isn't really a song I don't like. This album has is atmospheric and has a dreamy psychedelic vibe which I think is quite similar to The Last Shadow Puppets - no surprises I like it then. In saying that, I think this is a pretty unique album with cool lyrics (some lines are gems).

Favourite songs: Mirage, Shades, Audeline

Something to Tell You - Haim

I think 2017 was the year everyone discovered they loved Haim. I loved their debut album, Days are Gone, but their second is definitely the best so far. They were a little bit more experimental with this release, but still stuck with the catchy choruses. I think what I love about Something To Tell You is the sassy lyrics, the catchy beats and, as always, the 70s/80s inspired vibe (including their amazing outfits and dance moves). Haim is one of my favourite artists, and I love everything they do, from the amazing covers to their impressive music videos.

Favourite songs: Ready For You, Something to Tell You, You Never Knew


DAMN - Kendrick Lamar


This album wasn't 'for me' necessarily, so I was a bit hesitant in including it here. However, I couldn't not mention it because it is an amazing album (what an understatement). It's very relevant to everything going on in the world right now and is just so powerful. I'm not a rap connoisseur in any way, however I think I loved this release because it was pretty different from everything else I listened to in the year and was so refreshing.

Favourite songs: DNA., XXX. Feat. U2, GOD

Harry Styles

I haven't really liked any of the music to come out of One Direction's split apart from Harry Style's debut album. Seeing him in concert in December made me love some of the songs even more. I think Sign of the Times was such a solid debut single and some of his songs translate so well on stage. I am so into Harry's new vibe - show me pictures of him in his floral Gucci suits any day. While this wasn't my absolute favourite album on the whole - there were a couple of songs I have on repeat all the time and he certainly deserved a mention.

Favourite songs: Sign of the Times, Only Angel, Woman



Have you listened to any of these albums and were any of them your favourites too?

-Emma
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3 January 2018

2018 Goals


Right now my feed is cluttered with dozens of 2018 goals posts, and I must admit, it has taken me a few days to get into the new year spirit. For the most part, I haven't felt like making any goals for this year, mostly because I just couldn't be bothered, but also because I have no idea what my life will be like this year. Having just finished university, I'm having somewhat of an existential crisis (not that I wasn't having one during education), so I want to take each week and month at a time. I don't have some elaborate plan for my life like some people seem to have, and while that makes me feel lonely sometimes I'm going to go easy on myself. Even though this pessimistic introduction suggests I don't wish to make any 2018 goals, I've put pen to paper - or rather fingers to keyboard - to try and think of a few that are achievable and make sense to me.

Spend less in January

November and December were costly months - with Christmas and such this is no surprise. While I still have some birthday and Christmas money to spend (at some stage), I won't be buying any new clothes or makeup in January - and in future months while I'm at it. This is what I spend most of my money on and while I do enjoy picking up some new threads and things to experiment with every so often, I think it's time my debit card had a wee break. Since summer isn't a season I enjoy in terms of clothing options, I probably won't have much of a problem hitting pause on this front. I really want to buy some quality clothes when Autumn comes around to make the most of my favourite season, so I will be putting aside some dosh for that specific purpose. As for makeup, I will be using up what I already have and clearing out what I don't use much.


Keep track of books and films

There is something very pleasing about keeping lists, and if I'm honest this resolution is just an excuse to keep my 2018 diary looking pretty. I have a bad track record with diaries as I always abandon them within a couple of months. I just find my laptop calendar is a much easier way of adding in important dates and blog post planning because I'm never without my computer. In saying that, I will be using a paper diary and giving it a good go this year. It is also where I'll be jotting down my blog post ideas, as I find keeping a running list of ideas and brainstorming often is a great way to get my creative juices flowing. In terms of books, I have the Good Reads app to keep track of what I'm reading, but it's also nice to have a paper list so I can see everything at once glance. As for films, I want to make an effort to watch more this year whether that be at the cinema or on Netflix and so on. I think it will be quite pleasing to see all the different movies I've watched at the end of the year.

Prioritise self-care

If I learnt anything in 2017, it's that not taking time to do things you love (outside of whatever it may be - work, university, etc.) results in some serious burn out and fragile mental health. There has been a lot of talk around self-care, with people pointing out it's more than just using a Lush bath bomb and applying a face mask. I agree with this, but of course there's always time for a nice relaxing bath at the end of a long day. I think self-care is just having yourself in mind more, and doing things that will ultimately make you happier and healthier, something that does not make you selfish at all. I need to keep reminding myself that I'm living my life and no one else is, therefore I can make choices that make me feel content and happy.


If you have read my blog at all in the last year, thank you so much. I'm well aware that this blog is small and pretty unrevolutionary, but it's a hobby that makes me happy.

-Emma

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