Sunday, 31 January 2016

January Life, Style & Beauty Favourites

January's a funny month isn't it? The month we all go back to work and school and it can be slightly depressing even for those of us enjoying the Summer sun down under. Fortunately for me it's also my birthday month which always gives me something to look forward to. Here's what I've been enjoying the most this January.

My New Ikea Desk :: My desk was a present for my birthday after I complained about not having anywhere to write in our house and I just love it so much. Even though I'm yet to style it in any way just having a space to blog and write from that doesn't have to get tidied up and put away at the end of the day has made a big difference to how often I sit down to tap away at my keyboard. Stay tuned for some desk styling content as I'm really excited for all the copper and rose gold accents you know are gunna be coming at ya!

Essie Cute As A Button Mini Nailpolish :: I seriously think that all Essie nailpolishes should be available in mini form easily as who even uses up a whole bottle of varnish before they get weird and gloopy and need to be chucked in the bin? This colour is such a cute one for the summer and compliments a tan just nicely.

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask :: Oh the hydration in this mask is so good for holiday-bad-diet skin! I love the moisturising texture on the skin and that I can just slather a layer of this on and head to bed without actually looking like I have weird goo all over my face. Winning.

Morning Work Outs :: What a difference a change in schedule has made to my week! Since both my boyfriend and the sun rises at a ridiculous hour in Western Australia I've started making the most of the three hours of sunshine before I head to work at 8.30am and fit in a sneaky workout before hand. Not only do I get it done and dusted before the days begun but I'm actually working out more than ever since it feels like such a long time between workouts. Like, who even am I?

Mums, Cooking and Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals :: I was a lucky girl this January and got to have my mum come over from New Zealand to stay with us for a while. Mum did most of the cooking over this time as me and the boyfriend mainly just tried to stay out of the way in the kitchen but I didn't realise that all the recipes she was whipping up were from my very dusty edition of Jamie's 30 Minute Meals. Thanks mum!

What have your favourite things been this month?

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Book Tour: The Pestilence by Faisal Ansari

The Pestilence by Faisal Ansari, 269 pages published by Troubadour. Rating: ****

"The little girl cupped her hands and whispered almost inaudibly into her father's ear. 'The Pestilence is coming. Everybody here is going to die.'"
The Pestilence by Faisal Ansari is a science fiction come thriller novel that brings with it a mix of 'end of days' story and good versus evil plot line. When a mysterious electrical phenomenon rolls above the cities of the world, night is turned to day and two brothers are gifted unbelievable powers by the storm. But each brother chooses to use his powers differently and powerful forces are on their way. The pestilence is coming.
It's not often that I read books set in the Middle East but the setting of Israel was really a standout factor in how much I enjoyed reading The Pestilence. This beautiful and ancient backdrop is also very fitting for the spiritual references throughout the story and you know what? It's actually kind of refreshing to read a book like this that isn't set in the USA.

A fast paced and enjoyable read The Pestilence will appeal to fans of action and thriller reads while bringing an element of science fiction into it's story. There's also a touch of political and religious elements thrown in due to it's Middle Eastern setting but if all sounds too much for you then I can assure you it's not.

Beautifully written and with a plot that maintains a steady pace The Pestilence is told from many viewpoints which I really enjoyed switching between and while the endning doesn't give everything away I think this won't be the last time I pick up a Faisal Ansari novel.


Thursday, 28 January 2016

Recent Reads and Reviews (& Win a Giveaway Copy)

It's been a while since I sat down and did a book review on what I've actually read lately so rather than write up individual posts I thought I would do a quick in-a-nutshell run through of what's been floating my boat lately. So far 2016 has actually been pretty awesome reading wise and I'm super stoked to be giving away two copies of one of the books I've read in January! Here goes:

Tears of the Cheetah by TM Clark :: I've mentioned before that I love reading books set in different exotic locations especially if I have actually travelled their myself. Tears of the Cheetah is an amazing fast paced action adventure novel set in South Africa and follows the story of an American artist who escapes her past in the States. Mackenzie moves to South Africa to escape the media attention that comes with being a senator's daughter, but despite her attempts to isolate herself from anyone her friendship with Cole, a local game park owner is too hard to ignore.

Neither Mackenzie nor Cole are prepared for the events to come when poachers target Cole's beloved cheetah's and endanger someone Mackenzie holds dear to her. I loved the mix of action, romance and the beautiful African backdrop to this novel and I'm so excited to be giving away two copies of this novel thanks to the lovely people at Harlequin Books Australia! (See below for entry details).

Rating: ****

Hello From the Guillespies by Monica McInernay :: In December I was feeling quite festive and decided I wanted to read a Christmas kinda story to get me even more in the mood. On that front I actually failed a tiny bit because although this book is set around Christmas it's also set in Australia (which I didn't know from it's candy-cane cover) and wasn't quite the snow and snuggle fest I was after. That being said I actually really loved this book which centred around three sisters whose lives had all kind of fallen apart rather spectacularly in the lead up to the Christmas holidays.

There's something very relateable reading about other twenty somethings still trying to figure their lives out and Monica McInernay does write funny and heartwarming family drama. A great holiday read.

Rating: ****

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell :: I love Rainbow Rowell so there was no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't love her Young Adult book Fangirl and I totally did. Firstly I just gotta say that her writing is just brilliant and every time I read a Rainbow Rowell novel I marvel at how she effortlessly makes the characters personalities unfold throughout the story.

If you don't know the premise, Fangirl centres around a girl called Cath who loves writing fan fiction and isn't surviving her first year of college very successfully. Although I wasn't a big fan of the actual fan fiction extracts in Fangirl - which are like a Harry Potter-ish boarding school wizard called Simon Snow - I still think the book benefited from having them included. Well it's safe to say that I won't be reading Carry On (as it is the story Cath was writing in Fangirl) the character progression and Rowell's wonderful writing had this book stealing my heart. I also just loved all her side characters too.

Rating: ****

Giveaway Details:
Want to win a copy of T.M Clark's Tears of the Cheetah? Simply follow me on twitter to enter and retweet the #giveaway link to enter again! Giveaway open internationally.
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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Like To See As Movies

It's Tuesday which means it's also time for the Top Ten Tuesday post and this week it's a freebie! Since I'm a bit of a movie buff I thought I would pick ten books I would love to see made into movies.

Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes :: This is by far my favourite Marian Keyes book and it's so so funny as well as being heartwarming and enduring and also tackling a big issue like addiction. I think this would be the perfect chick-flick but with heart and actual substance to the story line.

Beauty and the Beast :: Cheating totally here since this is actually coming out in 2017 but I am so looking forward to seeing this! This was the movie of my 90s childhood and having mega babe Emma Watson playing Belle has me even more excited.

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly :: This book would make a wonderful movie adaptation or like a three part BBC miniseries or something. Historical fiction on the big-screen isn't done that often and an epic book deserves a big budget.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor :: I think mainly I just want to see Kerou with blue hair and all her awesome tattoos but with CGI and special effects being pretty amazing these days, fantasy novels being adapted for the big screen is getting more common.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller :: I know that this is actually a movie but it was made decades ago and I've never been that interested in watching it (despite the fact that I do love old movies). I love sartirical comedy and am actually partical to the occasional war film - if the characters and plot are there - and would love to see an updated movie of one of my favourite books!

Night Circus by Erin Morggenstein :: Magical realism + a historical setting makes me one happy bunny. I loved this book because I thought the circus was so real and vivid in my mind and I'd love to see it adapted for screen.

Olivia Joules by Helen Fielding :: After the hype of Bridget Jones' Diary author Helen Fielding wrote a female spy novel Olivia Joules that a lot of people will probably have not heard of. Its like James Bond meets Bridget Jones and is so funny and ridiculous that I think it would be a great action comedy to script.

Longbourne by Jo Baker :: I'm a big Pride and Prejudice fan and this novel tells the point of view of the Bennett household from the view of the servants. I would love to see another adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as I wasn't a big fan of the Keira Knightly version but Longbourne also takes the story to a different place and offers something new for audiences.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Authors to Note: Jojo Moyes

It's been a while since I've done one of these spotlight posts of my favourite authors but with my most recent read competed I definitely felt like I needed to highlight Jojo Moyes as someone you need to read. It actually makes me happy that I've only read three of her novels as there is more goodness for me to continue with this year! Here are my favourite titles by this amazing author and a few I'm planning on picking up soon.

Me Before You :: The book that started it all, Me Before You is a beautifully written heartwarming and heartbreaking novel about Louisa, adrift in her mid-twenties with no real idea of what she wants out of life. That is until she meets Will, a quadriplegic who will turn her life upside down. I don't want to say too much about the plot of this book (and it's follow up either) but oh man this had me bawling and I'm really not much of a cryer when it comes to reading. This is definitely a small book with a big heart and will make you consider what it really means to live.

The Girl You Left Behind :: One painting, two women, one hundred years apart. Yep, I'm pretty sure the ending of this book made me want to cry too. In 1914 Edouard Lefevre paints his beautiful wife Sophie before he leaves for the front lines of the war. In 2014 Liv Halston is determined to hold onto the beautiful painting her husband bought for their wedding anniversary before his death. I loved the strong female characters in this book and had so much hope for both Sophie and Liv who are both fighting for their survival.

After You :: The follow up novel to Me Before You, Louisa is struggling after caring for Will. As Louisa slowly tries to turn her life back around the possibility of a new relationship might be derailed by a visitor from Will's past. I was so so pleased when I found out there was a follow up novel to Me Before You and picking up with Louisa felt like a natural continuation from the previous novel. I had so much hope for Louisa to be happy once again and although Jojo Moyes isn't one for cliched happy endings I thought she fully delivered on this one.

On My Reading List :: The One Plus One, The Last Letter From Your Lover, The Ship of Brides and Honeymoon in Paris.

Have you read any of Jojo Moyes novels?

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday :: My Current To Be Read List

This week's Top Ten Tuesday by The Broke and the Bookish is kind of perfect for me considering I am constantly adding new books to lists on my phone so that I don't forget all of the wonderful recommendations I find weekly via Youtube and book blogs. Here are ten of my most recent additions to my reading wish list.

Lorali by Laura Dockrill :: A book about mermaids that is actually pretty highly rated? Count me in.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater :: The more I read of Young Adult paranormal magical shenanigans the more I discover I actually kinda like it. Hence the addition of this book to my reading list.

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld :: Enchanted magic and a book narrated by an inmate on death row have certainly piqued my interest in picking up this book.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell :: I have no idea how to even begin describing the plot for this novel other than it is told over many decades of time and I know that it has quite a few interesting characters. More than that though David Mitchell's writing is both beautiful, quirky and laugh-out-loud funny which is three very good reasons to read.

The Rest of us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness :: I love the premise of this book. Ever wondered what it would be like to be the normal friend of someone who is super-hero level remarkable?

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch :: Described as like Robin Hood meets Oceans Eleven this story of a conman and his band of followers has been mentioned quite a few times to me and it's time I picked  it up!

The Ice Twins by S.K Tremayne:: You guys now I need me some crime and thriller fiction and this creepy novel involves a creepy mystery of the death of a twin and mistaken identities.

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare :: I've never read any of the Infernal Devices novel but the mix of historical and paranormal has me intrigued!

What books have made your TBR list recently?

Friday, 15 January 2016

Ten Wardrobe Updates for 2016

Cheap Monday, Asos, Asos, Windsor Smith, Status Anxiety, Surf Stitch, Spurr, Asos, The Iconic, Style Stalker
Just as I have visions of my perfect bookshelf being a collection of well loved and carefully curated books my ideal wardrobe is small but with every piece used and loved. It's been a bit of a mission of mine to refine my wardrobe year after year - it's a long process I tell ya - and I slowly think I'm getting there.

My most recent trip interstate had me packing a suitcase which turned out to be almost perfect for every occasion we went on - city, beach and outdoor trips included. There are still a few tweaks, culls and purchases to be made before I'm 100% happy. Here are ten items that I would like to add to my wardrobe in 2016.

Cropped Sweatshirt :: Being a tiny person (holla to all my petite girls out there) I wear a lot of high waisted jeans and skirts to make the most of what stunted leg length I've been blessed with. Normal sweaters just don't seem to cut the mustard and can be a bit too bulky tucked in and swamp my short frame when untucked. The cropped sweatshirt is the perfect solution!

Leather jacket :: I've been holding off on buying a leather jacket until I find one I really really like as I'd like to invest a wee bit of money in it. The perfect throw on solution to just about every casual outfit and something that is definitely needed in my wardrobe.

Heeled black boots :: One of the most worn items of my shoedrobe (that's a word right?!) has to be my black flat ankle boots but they justv don't have that extra something that takes them from work to nighttime appropriate. Finding the right ankle cut off point is key though - short girl problems again.

Little black bag :: I love being hands free when shopping/eating/going out and a cross body black bag for nighttime is pretty high on my wish list. I've spied a pretty faux ponyhair one from Status Anxiety that gives me all kind of heart palpatations and I love that it's as perfect for a night out in dresses and heels or jeans and a tee.

Smart coat :: Whether it be a trench coat (I spied a dusty pink Coach one in Melbourne that made my heart melt) or a sophisticated leopard-ish number my black totally-not-made-of-wool coat isn't the tidiest thing for wearing out out, if you know what I mean.

Studded heels :: Okay okay, these are by no means a necessary item to my wardrobe but they are so pretty!! I've been after a pair of studded flats or heels for a while now and nothing has fitted right or flattered me plus these bad boys are only a 9cm heel meaning I won't be tottering around like an idiot. Ugh, so pretty!

Casual jersey dress :: Last year I found the perfect striped dress. It was number five million that I tried on but is the perfect solution to 'don't know what to wear days.' It's perfect for everything from shopping to aeroplane journeys to movies, date nights and Sunday slob days and it made me realise that I need a backup for when it's in the wash.

Black A-line skirt :: Because A-line skirts are my jam; they're so flattering and easy to wear and yet I don't have one in black which is kind of ridiculous considering how much of a gap it would fill in my wardrobe both for work and more dressed up occasions.

Lace bralet :: Not only these bralets cute but they are also kind of functional in the way that normal bras aren't. I have a few tops that are lower cut in the arm holes and need a thiner strapped bra under the arms. The bonus is if you do end up accidentally flashing your underwear at least it's pretty to look at!

Slogan Tee :: Does anyone reall need a slogan tee? The answer to that my friends is yes, yes they do. Especially ones that reference Kendrick Lamar lyrics.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant To Read in 2015

While I didn't actually have any particular reading goals in 2015 there were still a bunch of books I would have liked to get to but just didn't find the time (I blame Netflix more than anything else). So for The Broke and The Bookish Top Ten Tuesday here are the books I meant to read before House of Card marathons got in the way.

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray :: I loved the first book in this paranormal Young Adult series, which you know because I talk about it all the damn time. Book two is on my reading list in the early months of 2016.

Jackaby by William Ritter :: This book was more of a fail trying to get a copy. My library didn't stock any and being a paperback over hardback fan there were a few times I went to buy this but couldn't find any editions in my chosen format in stock.

All the Little Pieces by Jillian Hoffman :: The main reason I've been delaying this book is because the cover looks scary guys! I usually balance creepy thriller reads with something a bit lighter and have been wussing out over reading this.

A Moveable Feast by Earnest Hemingway :: Okay, this book has been on my TBR for a couple of years now. I've never read any Hemingway and I chose A Moveable Feast as it's set in Pamplona and I like books that are set in places I've been. My library doesn't own a copy of this so I may just have to buy one. (Ooooh I wonder if there is a cute Penguin paperback edition I can pick up?)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell :: I am correcting this mistake by reading this right now! I'm only half way through but there is just something about Rainbow Rowell's writing that I love.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith :: I remember being very excited about the latest release in the Coromoran Strike detective novels and then....just kind of forgetting to get a copy. I have read a couple of reviews this year that have made me really want to add it back onto my reading list.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass :: I'm excited to start this much-raved about series about a kick-arse assassin!

After You by Jojo Moyes :: I have this on my bookshelf and am so looking forward to reading the follow up to Me Before You, which was one of my favourite books I've read since I started blogging. 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

New Additions to the Beauty Shelf #3

My last update of pretty new thangs on my beauty shelf was way way back in April of 2015 which means this post is long overdue. Whoops! With the festive season just gone I received some lovely beauty bits and bobs from my sisters (they know me so well) and did a little splurge in MECCA when I visited Melbourne for the first time over the new year. Here’s what I’ve been loving lately:

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask :: A hydrating face mask that doesn’t look like you’re wearing anything on your face? Yes, please! I’ve been wanting to buy Origins products for ages and have been thoroughly impressed by my first purchase. This mask is perfect for lazy girls who can’t be bothered with the faff of waiting around to remove their skincare.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette :: Oh so shiny! I will admit I’m still mildly perplexed at how this palette works best but so far I've been using Incandescent Light (furthest left) to set my makeup and it does have a very 'lit from within' effect on the skin. Is it magic? I don't know but I do know it doesn't make my skin look cakey which is often what I get from using powders to set with.

NARS Isole Eyeshadow Duo :: I am all about coppery, goldy, orangey coloured things on my eyelids. Blue eyed girls need to pick this duo up because it will make your peepers pop. The quality of NARS eyeshadow is also amazing and I had a ‘this is what I’ve been missing out on’ moment the first time I used it.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Perfumes :: Mini perfumes are great because a) tiny things are cute b) trying out multiple perfumes at once is where it’s at and c) They are so convenient for travel and handbag usage. I've never tried any of the Daisy perfumes before but these three minis are all sweet and floral without being overpowering or too 'young' if you know what I mean. I still can't pick a favourite!

Antipodes Aura Hydrating Manuka Honey Mask :: I just really like face masks okay? I replaced my clay mask from Moorish Skincare with another tip top New Zealand brand Antipodes and I love this one. My skin is oily but needs hydration and I also love the fact that I don’t have to sit there with my face feeling like its cracking in a clay mask. Manuka honey has antibacterial affects which are great for spot prone skin too.

What lovely beauty things have you been using lately?

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday :: New Year Resolutions

I was debating whether or not to do a ‘New Year Resolutions’ Post but the Broke and The Bookish have kindly solved that dilemma for me. I think I’m pretty typical of most people who never actually stick to their resolutions made over this time period (mid year goals on the other hand seem to work pretty well for me) but this year I do actually have a lot of things I want to achieve to make this year the best.

Book a Holiday :: The boy wants to go diving at Ningaloo Reef while I’m dreaming of blossom trees in Japan. This should be an interesting mix of adventures!

Make a Writing Space :: I am much more productive when I have a dedicated space for something so this year for my birthday (it’s in January) I’ve asked for a writing space. Let the desk buying commence.

Write that book :: Erm, remember how 2015 was going to be the year I wrote that book? Yeah, it didn’t go so well. This time around I have planned and I am ready to do this!

Finish our Renovations :: Because that bedroom ain’t gonna paint itself and nobody likes peach trimmed walls, am I right?

Go on more Date Nights :: With the boy and friends! Because 2015 saw us foregoing a lot of fun weekend activities to do boring but necessary things like paint rooms and install bathrooms. Ugh. Now that I can shower indoors again it’s time to explore our lovely beachside town some more.

Ride my bike more :: I have a really cool bike and hardly ever use it. It’s time to dust off the cobwebs!

Do more cardio :: I’ve been doing pilates consistently for two years *pats self on back* yet have a real aversion to doing cardio because high intensity kills me. Bike riding totally counts!

Focus on the positives :: I have a tendency to focus on the things I don’t want to do because I am a worrier and I always think that I’ll be a disaster at everything. It’s honestly tiring and I can’t be bothered anymore so focusing on all the good fun things that happen every day is going to be my new mindset.

Do more on my blog :: Books have really taken over on the blogging front in 2015 and while that’s awesome and probably just signifies my love for reading in general I want to have more varied and interesting content.

Read all the books :: Because 2015 was an awesome year for my bookshelf and I read so much great work that was outside my comfort zone (YA and Fantasy/Paranormal which I loved!) so it’s time to up the ante!

Hit me with your New Year resolutions!
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