28 April 2018

April Playlist

Already this year is shaping up to be a great one for music. With three of my favourite bands set to release albums in the next month - Arctic Monkeys I'm looking at you - I almost can't contain my excitement. My April playlist consists of more dark and moody songs c/o Beach House and my new love Cigarettes After Sex. With very similar vibes, I know I'll be pressing play on their albums for some time to come. Blossoms, of course, have just released their second album. I fell in love with the relatively new band last year when their self-titled debut album came out and even bought the vinyl - a sure sign I'm a fan. Having had a listen through Cool Like You, my favourite songs so far are Stranger Still and Giving Up The Ghost. In other news, I've discovered Declan McKenna and more recently, Twin Shadow, after his song with HAIM caught my eye. Exciting times! With that small recap over and done with, here's April's playlist...



25 April 2018

The Podcasts I Listen To

I've got into the habit of listening to podcasts at work, and let me tell you, it's revolutionary. As long as you don't need to concentrate, podcasts keep you occupied, entertained and informed, and it's just an all-round lovely way to pass the time - these are the ones I rate.

The Fringe of It

The recent endeavour of Liv Purvis and Charlotte Jacklin, The Fringe of It feels like two friends chatting about countless topics - not in a very structured or organised way - but that's what makes it so good. They have a topic which they discuss every week, from 'Getting Out of a Funk' to 'Talking to Strangers', but they chatter away about the TV they've been watching and what they've been buying that week, too. I adore watching Charlotte on Instagram stories, so this is that in an extended form, minus the visuals of course. All of the other podcasts mentioned here have guests, but this one is just conversation between two friends, which I've come to love.

Ctrl Alt Delete

I've probably mentioned this one numerous times on here, but I can't put together a podcast post without talking about the Queen of all podcasts, and podcast host, Emma Gannon. Emma organises the best guests to chat with about pretty much everything, but with a focus on the Internet and how they feel about the online world. There are over 100 episodes available, so there is absolutely no shortage of conversation. Emma often interviews authors and journalists, and because I enjoy hearing about anyone's writing process and way of working, Ctrl Alt Delete is a real treat to tune into every week or whenever there's a new instalment.

Get It Off Your Breasts

This is Emma Gannon's other podcast, which she launched last year after the success of Ctrl Alt Delete, but I don't need to tell you that - you've probably heard of it - and if you haven't I urge you to have a little listen to Get It Off Your Breasts, which she co-hosts with Lliana Bird. Each week Emma, Lliana and a guest bring up a topic that has been on their mind lately - everything from the use of the word 'empowerment' to pubic hair and ridiculous clothing sizes. It makes for very interesting conversations, sometimes conflicting opinions, and all together brings awareness to important topics - or the not-so-important, but annoying. The second series has just finished, but there are lots of episodes to sink your teeth into.

Happy Place

My latest discovery, and one of my favourites! Popular presenter Fearne Cotton hosts this podcast, Happy Place, which she launched this year, and already she's had on some amazing guests. Think Stephen Fry, Tom Daley, author Matt Haig, ex Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman and Dawn French. Fearne is an absolute natural at interviewing people, so it makes for easy yet insightful listening. She talks to the guests about happiness, life, love, loss and everything in-between. The podcast itself is very well made and I'm so looking forward to seeing what other guests she brings on in the future.

Get It On

This podcast by Dawn O'Porter isn't active right now, but I've heard there will be more episodes soon. Dawn, who is so lively and entertaining to listen to, chats to celebrity guests about their personal style and why they wear what they do. She talks to mainly women, but men too, which incidentally have become my favourite episodes. Her husband, the ever so entertaining Chris O'Dowd, and Jason Segel have been guests and are absolutely hilarious. Other guests include Dawn French, Caroline Flack and Alan Carr. You don't have to love fashion to enjoy Get It On - it's as much a podcast about the personality as the personal style.

What podcasts do you listen to?


19 April 2018

Worth Watching

Sharing my favourite TV shows and movies is one of my favourite things. While you're likely to get a peek of what I'm watching on my Instagram stories, I thought I'd put together another one of these posts chatting about the good ones! There's a nice mix of comedy, reality TV, as well as something pretty unique...

Queer Eye

I have to start off with something you've all probably heard of. Everyone and their dog has been waxing lyrical about this feel-good Netflix show. If you've been living under a rock the last few months, you just have to watch this - I'm not exaggerating when I say every single episode makes you cry. Five gay men are tasked with making over ordinary Joes who lack self-confidence, transforming the way they feel about themselves as well as their appearance, home and culinary skills. It's been an absolute joy to watch, and luckily season two is on it's way!

My Mad Fat Diary

I remember another blogger recommending this absolutely ages ago, but I've only now got round to watching it. This British series is about a teenage girl called Ray who has just left a psychiatric hospital. We follow her as she slots back into her old life, reuniting with her best friend Chloe. It isn't so easy though because she has no idea about Ray's mental health issues. The show explores body image, sex and mental health in a realistic and humorous way, and I think it's a show that would be useful to so many young people dealing with similar problems. It's been a while since I've watched it, but I have to say, it's such a great series.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Unlike most, I haven't actually read the books but I've still enjoyed watching the TV adaption. Stylistically, the show is beautiful and shot really well, and I think the actors do an amazing job. I watched series one when it came out initially, but I think I've enjoyed season two the most because the locations such as the boarding school, penthouse and circus are pretty interesting! If I can say one negative thing, it's that the episodes can be repetitive and pretty discouraging when everything goes wrong, but that's the point of the series and it's of course targeted to a younger audience anyway. That said, I'm looking forward to watching season three when it eventually comes out!

What We Do In The Shadows

I've been watching a whole load of movies lately - on lazy Sundays, but pretty much every night - and when the opportunity arose I couldn't wait to hit play on this Taika Waititi film. I've heard it's good and I wasn't disappointed. Shot in New Zealand, it's a horror comedy that shows what it's like for vampire flatmates to get by in modern society. What else is there to say? It's a hilarious film with a low budget that showcases Taika's amazing talent - who would of thought he'd be directing Thor a few years later?

Swiss Army Man

Initially I was pretty confused about this movie and turned it off after about twenty minutes. However, when I started researching the film a little people consistently said to persevere with it and watch until the end. It seems slightly silly calling it a 'unique' movie, but that's the only way I can describe it. Hearing Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano talk about the movie in interviews after I'd watched it was really interesting. It questions why human bodily functions (and trust me you'll see a lot of them in the film) are so disgusting to people when they're a natural part of life. But it's not quite as serious a sentiment as that - parts of it are genuinely really funny, and the more you get into the movie the more you'll be glad you stayed along for the ride.

Have you watched any of these?


14 April 2018

New in my Wardrobe

I don't know about you, but I get so excited when the seasons change and it's out with the old and in with the new. In New Zealand we're in the middle of autumn which means it's time to layer, layer, layer. Spring and autumn are definitely the best times of year as you can be really versatile with what you wear. This year I've decided to invest in some different-to-me pieces and a bit of the same-old, because nobody can tear me away from my jumpers and jeans!

The Red Bag

Red, along with pink, has been everyone's favourite colour recently and I am so on board with it. I've had this Dangerfield bag since November and it's become a firm favourite when I want to inject a pop of colour. My other bags are black so it definitely makes for a nice change! Experimenting with a red bag has made me want to embrace more colour - I've got my eye on this green vintage-inspired number. Dangerfield have some lovely bags that aren't too expensive and don't look too cheap either.

The Jumpsuit

I have lusted over jumpsuits time and time again while scrolling through Instagram. I absolutely love the way they look, but just not on me. Impulsively, I decided to buy this Topshop one and safe to say it's love at first wear. It's definitely more fitted on top and then flares out to some major wide leg, which I love. Topshop sizing does baffle me though - I just wish some stores would make clothes that fit curvier women. If you too are after your first jumpsuit, I would really recommend this one because it goes with absolutely everything and is a great layering piece.

I've paired the jumpsuit with this new polka dot top from Zara which is giving me some serious 80s vibes. It's hard to see in the picture, but the sleeves are slightly puffed out and the high neck is subtly ruffled. I find it very hard to dress up, but this is the kind of piece that is great for work and is just as easily made casual.

The Jumpers

This Fan Club Clothing Modern Romance jumper is just the type of thing I love wearing tucked into jeans. I actually won this in a giveaway back in December which I was immensely pleased about! I have a couple of their t-shirts and I really rate them.

The other sweater I've started to wear now the weather has cooled down is from ASOS. Funny story, but this Willow and Paige jumper reminds me of my old school one which was just as red and just as scratchy. In hindsight it wasn't the most practical purchase, but with a t-shirt underneath it's fine. Paired with jeans and Converse, you really can't go wrong.

The Jackets

I've been on the lookout for some light jackets and for some reason I've gravitated towards the colour green. I bought the khaki military-style jacket in an op shop late last year, but I've been getting some serious wear out of it at the moment - it goes surprisingly well with so many things. I would pair it with my polka dot top and blue denim (or just a white tee) - slightly Lindsay Weir inspired as usual.

The other jacket I went for was more of an investment and something slightly different for me. It's a cord cropped number in a forest green colour from Princess Highway. I wouldn't say I'm the biggest fan of cropped jackets but I think they can look pretty nice paired with high waisted pants or jeans - and this is the perfect style to take me through to winter.

The Striped Pants

If you know me, you'll know I rarely take my jeans off. This summer I decided to buy a few pairs of floaty pants as an alternative and I'm loving it. These striped ones I found in an op shop - originally from Topshop - aren't the most flattering pair but they are so unbelievably comfy.

The Jewellery

In terms of jewellery, I have been loving gold lately. I have seen countless people wearing coin necklaces and I was desperate to have one of my own but didn't want to pay for real gold. This one from ASOS is such a nice alternative and is great quality for the price. I swear this makes any outfit look just that much better, especially with plain white tees.

Lastly, I went for a pair of Reclaimed Vintage earrings - which are unfortunately out of stock right now. Again, these weren't too expensive but add a lot to a plain outfit. I wear a smaller pair of gold hoops on a regular basis but these make more of a statement.

Shop the look... (similar items included!)


2 April 2018

March Reads

I always love when the time comes around to talk about a bunch of new books. Initially I found it hard to get into a book this month - I really hate it when that happens. But soon enough I blasted through a couple of new YA reads, one of which I really rate. As I go on in life - that makes me sound really old - I realise the importance of reading for pleasure and reading what I want. My to-read list is looking a little sad after finishing off these four this month, but hopefully I'll add a few more exciting releases to my pile soon - please let me know if you have any recommendations for me! Here are my thoughts on the books I read in March...

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard
If you're a regular reader of my blog you might have heard of my love for Sara Barnard's books - I really think she is one of the best writers out there in the YA world. However, I didn't enjoy this release as much as her previous ones. Her first book Beautiful Broken Things is very similar to Goodbye, Perfect - or at least the themes are - so I didn't find it as groundbreaking or exciting. It's about a student-teacher relationship, and those can generally be pretty cringe. But differently this is told from the perspective of the girl who's best friend is groomed, as she tries to find out why someone who has always been a straight A student/'good girl' would ever be this delusional. I don't have a problem with the storyline, it's just that I found it quite repetitive and slightly dull at times. I do think Sara Barnard explores female friendships incredibly well, and this is the main focus of the book. She also includes a YA relationship that is already established from the beginning, which is incredibly refreshing. I just don't think the story had enough zest, which hasn't been the case for her other books. Definitely pick up A Quiet Kind of Thunder, but I wouldn't really recommend this one.

P is for Pearl by Eliza Henry Jones*
I had zero expectations for this - I love it when I'm pleasantly surprised. This is a young adult book set in a small rural seaside town in Australia. It's quite a quiet, poignant book but one that I found incredibly powerful. It was really hard for me to put this down as I got closer to discovering the whole story and mystery behind the main character Gwen's (or Pearl's) life and the death of her mother - not a spoiler. The author explores grief and mental illness incredibly well in this book. The descriptions of the small town and the sea are beautiful and simple, and the characters are interesting and slightly different to what I've read before. It's a gentle, slow story for sure, but it doesn't drag at all and is perfect for when you're in need of some quiet contemplation. P is for Pearl feels incredibly authentic and the characters are realistic and interesting. P.S the author initially wrote this story when she was 16! This is for sure my favourite book of the month.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
I remember falling absolutely in love with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell a few years ago, so I thought I would give Landline a try. This is an adult book as opposed to YA the author is known for. I don't usually connect with characters older than me because I'm at that weird stage where I'm not a teen anymore and I don't feel like an adult, but anyway, I think I didn't enjoy this because I couldn't really relate and didn't connect with it much. It follows Georgie, who's marriage is breaking down. When she discovers she might be able to fix it thanks to a magic phone that can reach the past, she becomes fixated on it. As a TV writer, she's meant to be writing a really important show with her best friend, Seth, but instead she becomes almost obsessed with being able to call her husband, Neal, from the future and the past, as she tries to figure out if she really loves him. The story is basically incredibly dull, as nothing really happens until the end. The book is really one long conversation/argument between Neal and Georgie as the try and repair their relationship. The author goes to great lengths to show how much they supposedly love each other, but it didn't feel genuine, nor did I care. I think this book does show that you have to work at a relationship/marriage and it's not just about 'true love', but for me the ending wasn't rewarding at all, and Georgie really didn't have her best interests in mind - let that be elusive AF because spoilers. Some people loved this book, but I'm having a hard time understanding why.

Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard
Even though this was an incredibly short read, it was a really interesting, thought-provoking one. It explores the relationship women have with power. In order for them to have power, women have to act and dress more like men in order to be accepted - and even then they're prone to harassment and abuse. Mary Beard gives examples of how women were treated in the classical world and compares those examples to the modern day, revealing some scary parallels. Frighteningly, we still don't even realise how differently women are treated in comparison to men, even in small ways. It's a simple concept I thought I knew all about before, but I definitely learned something new when reading. Mainly that in the modern day, 'strong women' only become 'strong' when they are more like men - for example they can't wear lipstick and carry a handbag around without being taken seriously, because we judge these things subconsciously. Masculinity equals power, something that has been embedded in culture since the classical world. Mary Beard suggests we need to redefine power in order to make any progress. This book is simple and short, however it's one that really had me thinking.

*Review Copy

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