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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Friday Finds

Here are a few of my internet finds (and loves) from over the past week:

\\  This DIY no carve popcorn pumpkin is too cute!  //
\\  I love the idea of these eyeball jell-o shots at a Halloween party.  //
\\  How much fun are these simple DIY crepe paper bat favors?  //
\\  I'm getting all of the Autumn vibes with this caramel apple hot toddy recipe.  //
\\  I'm dying over how chic these DIY glass bead Jack-O-Lanterns are!  //
\\  This brulee'd pumpkin pie oatmeal recipe is calling my name.  //

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Recent Reads Vol. 3

I'm a major book worm, you guys, so I'm always looking to add to my forever growing reading list. I thoroughly enjoy scrolling through fellow bloggers' book recommendations so I thought that I'd share my feelings on my most recently read books in the hopes of inspiring some new additions to your bookshelves:

I usually do a lot of research in to a book's storyline before buying, but this one was actually a whim purchase and I would have to say that it turned out to be my favourite of the books I have read recently. I think that the imagery created by the author's language is what captivated me the most - my imagination ran wild, creating images of this beautiful island based off of the descriptive nature of the book. The story itself is lovely, too; it's almost impossible not to be captivated by almost all of the characters and of course, the mystery of little Ava's sudden strange behaviour. I enjoy savouring a good book, but I was so invested in the mystery that I read it far quicker than I would have liked. A heartwarming and intriguing read for sure.

"Your child asks for her mother. But she doesn't mean you.
When Anna's partner walks away from their relationship, she is shattered. But it is her little girl Ava who takes it hardest of all, falling silent for three days. When she does finally speak, Ava talks about a new place - a small island of beauty, salt and sea in the Western Scottish Isles. In search of a new start, Anna and Ava embark on a journey to the remote and gorgeous Island of Seal. Falling in love with the locals and the landscape, could Seal offer the second chance they both need?"

After lusting over this book for such a long time, I was actually left disappointed upon finishing this one. I found the story to be a little hard to follow and the blurb somewhat misleading (the back-of-the-book's blurb is not the one that I have copied below - this one hints much more to what the book is actually about). I actually found myself disliking almost all of the characters, which I think made it difficult for me to invest in the story itself. I do love me a sneaky look in to the dirty lives behind the scenes - especially of an elite grouping (ohai, Gossip Girl), and this does deliver that, but the storyline.. I just couldn't get in to it unfortunately.

Newly arrived in New York City, twenty-two-year-old Tess lands a job working front of house at a celebrated downtown restaurant. What follows is her education: in champagne and cocaine, love and lust, dive bars and fine dining rooms, as she learns to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing life she has chosen. The story of a young woman’s coming-of-age, set against the glitzy, grimy backdrop of New York’s most elite restaurants, in Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and high-adrenaline world of the food industry and evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, and the fragility and brutality of being young and adrift."

Now THIS was a damn good book; I was hooked from the first chapter. I'm usually spot on with deducting who the culprit is in a mystery, but every twist and turn had me second guessing my own conclusions as to who wrote the fifth letter (it turns out I was wrong in the end!). I found myself sympathising with, and being suspicious of, all of the characters pretty much simultaneously, which is a testament to the author's writing. The story is perfectly paced - not too drawn out, not so quick as to be underwhelming and I enjoyed every second of this book. A different approach to the usual whodunit that I thoroughly enjoyed.

"Best friends from high school, Joni, Deb, Eden, and Trina had always looked forward to the vacations they spent together. But the demands of careers, husbands, and babies gradually pulled them apart, and now their annual getaways may be a thing of the past. Joni doesn’t want to lose her friends, and this year she’s coaxed them all back together for some fun at a beach house. Late on a laughter and wine-filled night, the women dare one another to write anonymous letters, spilling her most intimate thoughts like they did as teenagers. But the fun game meant to bring them closer together turns painfully serious, exposing cracks in their lives and their relationships. Each letter is a confession revealing disturbing information. A rocky marriage. A harrowing addiction. A hidden pregnancy. A heartbreaking diagnosis.

Days later, Joni notices something in the fireplace—a crumpled and partially burned fifth letter that holds the most shattering admission of all. Best friends are supposed to keep your darkest secrets. But the revelations Joni, Deb, Eden and Trina have shared will have unforeseen consequences... and none of them will ever be the same."

Sophie Kinsella is an author that I know I can depend on if I'm in the mood for a light-hearted, somewhat "girly" read. My Not so Perfect Life is exactly that and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The main character, Katie (and her whole family for that matter), is so relateable, so flawed but likeable, that it's impossible not to love her. The blurb basically outlines the whole dang plot (which I usually hate), so I pretty much knew what I was in for, minus a few small surprises along the way but I still found myself enjoying the story immensely. An easy, entertaining read that is perfect for a relaxing afternoon.

"Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed. OK, so the truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn't really hers. But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren't they? Until her not-so-perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie's hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business. Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams - or try to get her job back? Does Demeter - the woman who has everything - actually have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems. And what's wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?"

Before You Go by Clare Swatman
This was a touching read about love and loss. I think that if you enjoyed Me Before You, you'd probably enjoy this too. I do feel as though the whole "bump your head and re-live the past only to wake up in hospital" thing is a little tired, but I still enjoyed reliving Zoe and Ed's best and worst times and watching the story of their entire relationship unfold. I was so touched by her circumstances that I rooted for her to find a way to fix her mistakes and change the course of events that lead up to Ed's death throughout the whole book.

"You find your soulmate... Some people stare love in the face for years before they find it. Zoe and Ed fumbled their way into adulthood, both on different paths - but always in the same direction. Years later, having navigated dead-end jobs and chaotic house shares, romance finally blossoms. Their future together looks set... Then the unthinkable happens. One morning, on his way to work, Ed is knocked off his bike and dies. Now, Zoe must find a way to survive. But she's not ready to let go of the memories. How can she forget all of the happy times, their first kiss, everything they'd built together? Zoe decides she has to tell Ed all the things she never said. Now it's too late."

Is there anything on this list that you would like to read?
What has been your favourite read recently? I'd love some recommendations!

As always, this post has not been sponsored in any way, meaning that it does not contain any affiliate links, nor have the books mentioned been sent to me, endorsed, or paid for by anyone other than me, myself and I.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday Finds

Here are a few of my internet finds (and loves) from over the past week:

\\  This DIY tea light photo frame seems so simple, yet looks so cute.  //
\\  DIY tasseled throw pillows: You can never have too many tassels... or throw pillows.  //
\\  Here's a fun gumball machine balloon wall installation for all your party needs.  //
\\  These DIY caramel apple pumpkins would make for such a cute centrepiece.  //
\\  How much fun are these pineapple-O'-Lanterns?!  //
\\  Nothing says "Autumn" like maple honeycrisp margaritas.  //

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

September 2017 Beauty Favourites

1. LUSH Sleepy Body Lotion
I'm not usually the biggest fan of body lotions but Sleepy, you guys. This dang lotion is so calming and relaxing, "Sleepy" is the perfect name for it. It leaves my skin feeling so soft, lightly scented and nourished without leaving me feeling greasy like many lotions tend to. I actually didn't think that I would enjoy this at first as I have always labelled lavender as a "grandma" scent. Although this does contain a whole bunch of lavender (which is also why it's so relaxing), the scent isn't overpoweringly lavender-y. Instead, it imparts a soft, floral smell which instantly relaxes me.

2. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara*
I'm going to begin by saying that I absolutely hated this mascara at first. After finally getting my hands on a tube of this stuff, I was bitterly disappointed... I feel as though the formula is just too wet at the beginning, but now that it has dried down a little with use, I absolutely love it. I always choose a waterproof mascara but decided to purchase the regular formula as I had heard that the waterproof offering was on the clumpier side (I don't know if this is actually the case). It curls and elongates my lashes beautifully without clumping and does not smudge or flake on me throughout the day. This mascara also works well on my bottom lashes, which are annoyingly uncooperative with most other formulas.

I try not to use this every single day as I don’t want to run out of it quickly (it's pricy), but this is my favourite moisturiser. If I’m going through a super dry, itchy skin phase, which happens quite often for me, then this is what I reach for. This is honestly the most hydrating moisturiser that I have ever used that doesn't break me out or leave me feeling oily and heavy. It just leaves my skin feeling smooth, hydrated and plump and also claims to work to repair the skin's moisture barrier, which is never a bad thing, either.

4. The Body Shop Drops of Youth Liquid Peel*
This is actually a new-ish release from The Body Shop (look at me getting in with the times) and the way it works is gross, but so very satisfying. We all know what a chemical exfoliator is by now, but this is a chemical exfoliator that you can literally see working! Almost immediately after smoothing the gel over your face you are rewarded with the satisfyingly disgusting sight of your dead skin (gently!) peeling away. I use this once every three-or-so days and I'm left with smooth, fresh, more luminous looking skin every time I use it without having to use a harsh abrasive.
As someone who is prone to dry, flaky eyelids (gross, I know), a good eye cream is an essential part of my skincare routine. I usually reach for my trusty It's Potent!* by Benefit but decided try something different on a whim. I'm such a fan of Origins' GinZing Facial Mist* that I'm actually rather surprised and somewhat disappointed that it has taken me so long to try this eye cream. It doesn't negatively affect any eye make-up that I put over it and is hydrating enough to keep any flaky skin away. I mostly love this eye cream for how refreshing it is, especially on tired eyes! The coffee beans and ginseng work wonderfully to de-puff, brighten, and smooth fine lines, leaving my eyes looking fresher and much more awake.

What products or brands have you been loving lately?

As always, this post has not been sponsored in any way, meaning that none of the items mentioned have been sent to me, endorsed or paid for by anyone other than me, myself and I. This post does, however, contain affiliate links. I will always disclose such information with an asterisk (*) for full disclosure to my readers.
Feel free to find and purchase these products elsewhere if you don't get down like that. :)

Monday, October 2, 2017

September Look Back and October 2017 Goals

A look back at September's goals:

Walk more
"I had every intention of exploring our new neighbourhood when we first moved in. We're surrounded by parks and there's a nice little café down the road, but two months later and I haven't so much as walked around the block, let alone to the park. With the weather finally starting to warm up (YAY Spring!) I'd definitely like to spend some time walking around my new hood."

Cross: There were a few times when I thought "Hey! Now would be a nice time to go for a walk" but that was always quickly followed by "nah CBF".

"I've always loved to bake, but I haven't baked something in SO long, you guys. Our spiffy new(ish) oven is just calling for a big ol' cake, or a batch of muffins, or some cookies, or any damn thing. Berries are starting to come in to season, too. There are so many possibilities!"

Tick: I forgot how good baking makes your house smell.

Take more photos
"There was a time that my camera was permanently attached to my hand. This hasn't been the case lately. In fact, I can't remember the last time I took a photo of anything (in case you didn't notice how MIA I've been on Instagram recently). I'd definitely like to start capturing moments again, and I'm always down to improve my photography skills whenever I can. Perhaps on these walks."

Tick: Even though I didn't go on one single walk, I still managed to take a few photos over the course of the month.

Meal plan
"I'm the kind of person that can't have the same thing for dinner in the same two weeks. This makes dinner pretty difficult now that I'm living out of my parents' house. I usually have a semi-planned weeks worth of meals, but I'd definitely like to get to planning more effectively, preferably before grocery shopping day to avoid it feeling stressful and rushed (as per usual)."

Tick: I feel so much better for having meal planned in advance all month. No stress, no last minute rushing to the shops for ingredients. I don't know why I didn't do this sooner.

Goals for October:

Find something fun to do for Halloween
Halloween isn't something that is really celebrated here in Australia, but I really do enjoy the idea of it. There are a few events around town that may be fun to drag Jesse to attend over the weekend, and a scary movie on the 31st is a must.

Get back in to blogging
In case you hadn't noticed, I've been pretty incredibly slack when it came to the ol' blog. I was definitely stuck in a blogging rut, but a mini break and a fresh new season have inspired me once again and I'm already starting to draft up new blog posts again.

Plant the back garden
Finally laying the grass in the back yard was the best feeling, and I'm super excited to fill up our empty little garden beds with pretty shrubs and plants this month, before it starts to get too hot.

Get back to the gym at least 3 times per week
There was a time where I went to the gym 4 days a week, every week, without fail. Ever since I've moved into my own home, I've been seriously slacking in that department (there have been a few weeks where I haven't gone at all). If I can make myself stick to going at least a three times per week, every week this month, I'll be happy.

What are your goals for this month?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Friday Finds

Here are a few of my internet finds (and loves) from over the past week:

\\  This pastry wrapped baked brie with maple butter roasted apples sounds too good to be true.  //
\\  Just thinking about this apple butter old fashioned makes me feel toasty inside.  //
\\  I'm drooling over these pumpkin sage lasagne roll-up pull-aparts.  //
\\  Praline glazed apple bread would be amazing through the Fall months.  //
\\  This DIY palm leaf ring dish is so fun! Such a cute decor piece.  //
\\  How modern chic is this DIY fall wreath?  //

Happy Friday!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday Finds

Here are a few of my internet finds (and loves) from over the past week:

\\  How chic would these DIY jade pumpkins look around the house?!  //
\\  I would like 50 of these peach affogatos, please.  //
\\  I love DIY beauty. This DIY whipped cocoa body butter sounds awesome.  //
\\  These DIY dyed velvet pillows are such a great way to refresh a space for Autumn.  //
\\  These marbled doughnuts are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.  //
\\  These pink confetti waffle popsicles are the perfect treat on a warm day.  //

Happy Friday!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Finds

Here are a few of my internet finds (and loves) from over the past week:

\\  Anyone currently in Autumn right now needs this ombre leaf backdrop in their life.  //
\\  I cannot get over the adorable-ness of these cactus mini cakes!  //
\\  I could deal with about five fig honey thyme prosecco smashes right now.  //
\\  This DIY vertical gold hoop photo display would look amazing in my hallway.  //
\\  I'm all about the tassel trend. These DIY statement tassels are a need.  //
\\  This DIY cactus pumpkin is the perfect balance between Spring (my season) and Autumn (most likely your season).  //

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

August Beauty Favourites

As a cream contour kinda gal, I hadn't found a brush that worked amazingly with cream products, so I had just been using my beauty blender to blend out my contour and calling it a day. Up until early July, that is. THIS BRUSH! I actually bought it as a last minute "meh" item to qualify for free shipping from Priceline, but it turned out to be the best thing I've ever done in my life. Not over exaggerating at all. The bristles are so tightly packed (yet still soft) that it works amazingly to seamlessly blend out my cream contour (sponges tend to sheer it out to nothing, soft, fluffy brushes tend to just spread it around). I only really use it for my contour, but I have played around with it and it does work well for foundation, too. The best part? It's so cheap! I highly recommend this brush, especially to beginners.

2. Too Faced Hangover Primer*
I was a little hesitant to try this after reading mixed reviews, but as this is marketed as a hydrating primer, I finally bit the bullet and gave it a try.. and I'm not mad about it. I like to apply this as a sort of base primer to hydrate and smooth out the skin before I go in with a little POREfessional on areas where my pores need disguising as Hangover is not a pore filling primer. It leaves my skin feeling soft, hydrated and ready for foundation, which glides on smoothly over my base. It contains skin-loving ingredients which help to revive lacklustre looking skin so I've actually even used this on its own - no foundation, just a little concealer, on work days when my skin is looking a little.. blegh to refresh my complexion and leave me with a healthy looking glow. I'm a fan of the sweet, yet subtle, coconut-ty scent and the handy pump mechanism, too.

3. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
After having heard rave reviews about The Ordinary's skincare range from basically everyone on planet Earth, I decided to get this little baby during Priceline's 40% off skincare sale. I use it before my usual moisturiser, basically how you would use a serum, and let me tell you: the hype is real! It has quite a thick consistency, which surprised me at first, especially considering that you deposit the product on to your face using a pipette but despite the consistency, the product quickly absorbs in to the skin without leaving any sticky or unpleasant residue behind. It just leaves my face feeling soft, moisturised and plump. This has honestly been a life saver for my dry, flaky skin. I highly recommend it (it's so cheap!) if you have a drier skin type.

You guys! This lipstick! I adore ABH liquid lipsticks - they all have such an amazing formula! So incredibly long lasting - I get a good 5 hours at least of wear before it starts to fade, and when it does fade, it fades nice and evenly, almost like a stain, not crumbly and patchy as many formulas do. The formula can be a little drying on my dry lips, but nothing a little lip balm can't combat and definitely not as bad as some of the other matte lipsticks that I've tried in my days. I have a few shades, but I've been loving "Strawberry" lately. Such a pretty coral-y, melon-y, warm red colour that is perfect for the Summertime.

5. Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette
Why does Australia have to wait months and months for new release products? WHY?! I finally got my keen little hands on the Naked Heat palette the day it was released here in Australia and I'm sososo in love with it. I'm sure you're all sick of hearing about it by now so I'll keep it short and sweet: the colours are amazing and super pigmented. The formula is great; there is a little (nothing crazy) fall-out, but that is to be expected of such a finely milled and pigmented eyeshadow, and I've created so many looks with this palette already. If you're after a warm-toned palette, this is definitely worth the buy in my opinion

What beauty bits are you loving lately?

As always, this post has not been sponsored in any way, meaning that none of the items mentioned have been sent to me, endorsed or paid for by anyone other than me, myself and I. This post does, however, contain affiliate links. I will always disclose such information with an asterisk (*) for full disclosure to my readers.
Feel free to find and purchase these products elsewhere if you don't get down like that. :)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday Finds

Here are a few of my internet finds (and loves) from over the past week:

\\  So, here's how to make your own sprinkles. You're welcome.  //
\\  This DIY pom-pom basket is kind of FREAKIN' ADORABLE!  //
\\  How amazing would this DIY bead chandelier look in your home?!  //
\\  How cute (and healthy) is this rainbow fruit pizza?!  //
\\  The complete DIY rose bath bomb bars kit right here.  //
\\ Yes to all of the bourbon chai caramel milkshakes!  //

Happy Friday!