Zoe’s Bookshelf #2 | Blogmas 2017

Welcome to my 12 days of Blogmas series! Every other day until Christmas I will be posting something festive for you all to enjoyΒ πŸ™‚

Today I am doing a Christmas version ofΒ Zoe’s Bookshelf which you all seemed to really dig last time! Although last month I focused on two books I had recently read (Armada & Nerve), today is going to be shorter reviews on my top picks for Christmas reads. Enjoy!

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The Little Book of Hygge – Meik Wiking

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Self-help, lifestyle, design

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This is one of my favourite books of all time! I absolutely adore the feeling of it, it’s just so, dare I say it, hygge? “Hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish concept of coziness. Think about drinking a hot chocolate in front of a crackling fire, in soft slippers and watching the snow fall outside. That’s hygge. And, what is more hygge than Christmas?! The warmth, the love, the delicious food, the warm drinks and the fairy lights.. there’s nothing not to love about this time of year and this book definitely reminds you of that and puts you in a cozy mood. Please have a read of this next time you’re in a bookstore – I encourage you not to buy it!

The Story of a Nutcracker – Alexandre Dumas

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Fairytale/fiction

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This is such an adorable edition of my favourite Christmas story. As a kid (and now, I won’t lie), I was absolutely obsessed with the Barbie in the Nutcracker movie, from which progressed a love for ballet, Christmas and the Nutcracker story. I’ve now seen the ballet performed three times and every viewing I fall more and more in love with it. The only reason this gets a 4/5 is because I don’t get to see the dancing that goes with such a beautiful, Christmassy story. It’s a must read!

Twas The Night Before Christmas – Edited by Rosemary Gray

Rating: 5/5

Genre: fiction/short stories/fairytale

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This book I picked up in a shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur at the end of November last year, where I read the entire thing in one sitting on the way home. If you’ve been reading me for a while, you’ll know I adore fairy tales and magical short stories, and when you combine that with my love for Christmas you get the perfect book! This edition boasts some classics, and tales I hadn’t heard of before, and it suitable for all ages and reading levels. I love to read this whenever I can squeeze in one of its delightful stories as it always gets me feeling festive.

Harry Potter & The Philosophers Stone | The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Rating: –

Genre: fiction

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The only reason I’m including these at all, and together, is because I feel it is rude not to! As two of perhaps the most successful series’ of all time, these books within are the perfect additino to any Christmas reading list. The first Harry Potter is so magical and includes such a festive feeling aorund Christmas that it’s hard to put it down in December, whereas the second book in the Narnia series has a visit from actual Santa Claus himself. There’s something about he childlike magic in both of these books that really inspires me to remember why I fell in love with Christmas in the first place – the magic that one night can bring to your life πŸ™‚

What are your must-reads for Christmas? Let me know!

Check out my most recent posts; November Favourites & Christmas Apartment Tour!

Zoe x

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Zoe’s Bookshelf #2 | Blogmas 2017

November Favourites | Blogmas 2017

Welcome to my 12 days of Blogmas series! Every other day until Christmas I will be posting something festive for you all to enjoyΒ πŸ™‚

Today isn’t Christmas themed, but you all know I can’t go a month without my favourites! Here is what I’ve been obsessed with for November.

Zoella Body Creams & Handcream

I recently picked up Zoella’s new whipped body butters and her new Christmas scent hand cream and love them all. I know she was in hot water with that advent calendar drama, but I do love her and her products.

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Tanya Burr Contour Stick

I’ve been using this religiously this month – just adding a bit and blending it out before I add powder and it gives a very subtle contour. Very creamy, pigmented and easy to blend!

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Miniso Spring Herb Essential Oil

This is a beautiful and fresh essential oil to have going in my diffuser and I’m really enjoying having it on all the time! Miniso do the best essential oils!

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Harry Styles – Harry Styles

I was never really a 1D fangirl, so I was pretty surprised when I realised this month that I’m head over heels in love with Harry Styles lol. His new self-titled album is absolutely amazing and I’m obsessed with the songs Only Angel, Carolina, Kiwi (obviously) and From The Dining Table. He gives off SUCH Mick Jagger vibes, especially when he performed at the VSFS in Shanghai!

Korea

I feel like this is a given, because I’ve done a tonne of posts about it, but my favourite thing about November was that I began it in South Korea! I had the absolute best time, and would 10/10 visit if you have the opportunity!
My Week In South Korea
Korea Haul
Top Tips for Travelling in South Korea

Tanya Burr Selfie Lash Mascara

I was sceptical to try this, but this mascara is really nice! It layers well, separates, lengthens and creates a bit of volume. Truly the perfect everyday mascara!

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Beauty Blender Holder

I grabbed one of these on a whim for $2 at kmart, but it actually makes a world of difference! It keeps my blender damp for longer and nice and fresh, plus means I never get any of the crap floating around in my makeup bag on my blender.

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Peaky Blinders

I’ve loved this show for a couple years now, and the new season has just started – much to my excitement! It hasn’t let me down (unlike other shows *cough* Walking Dead *cough*). So beautifully shot, moves fast, written well and anything with Cillian Murphy in it has me hooked.

Armada – Ernest Cline

I gave this book a full review on my new series Zoe’s Bookshelf so I won’t go into detail here, I just loved this book! Read here if you want more info about it and to hear what I thought.

Check out my most recent posts;Β Β Festive BucketlistΒ &Β Zoe’s Bookshelf!

Zoe x

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November Favourites | Blogmas 2017

Zoe’s Bookshelf | #1

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that reading and writing are my entire life! Considering this, I’m honestly surprised it’s taken me this long to come up with an idea like this – Zoe’s Bookshelf! I’m an incredibly fast reader (we’re talking a book a day type of thing), and I always have opinions on what I read, so I thought to myself – what better place to share these thoughts than my blog? That’s what it’s there for!

So, depending on how busy I am/how much I get to read/etc, I’ll throw up some of the current books I’ve read on here and let you know what I think! I particularly love dystopia and sci-fi, so if you have any recommendations for me I’d absolutely love to hear them! Check out my top books hereΒ  and my fave childhood books here πŸ™‚

Armada – Ernest Cline

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Sci/Fi, Gaming

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I really enjoyed this book! I’m a big fan of Cline’s other famous work Ready Player One, and although I didn’t love it as much as RPO, I definitely couldn’t put it down. The plot follows an 18 year old boy that’s a particularly good video game player of the game ‘Armada’, which turns out to be a training simulation for an alien invasion. I won’t give any more away, but the story is full of twists that, although are pretty predictable, are entertaining as hell. There’s a bit of romance, family drama, action in shitloads and some excellent video game writing. If you like fun sci-fi, you’ll really enjoy this! Cline’s writing style is fast paced, page turning and exceptionally easy to read, barring the gaming terminology. Definitely worth checking out – the only reason it didn’t earn a 5/5 was because it was a bit simple & predictable in plot. Nonetheless, a solid book with a sick premise!

Nerve – Jeanne Ryan

Rating: 2/5

Genre: YA/sci-fi (ish)

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I was really disappointed by this book. I don’t think it helps that I watched the film prior and really loved it, but this book just didn’t live up to its promises. While the film is full of suspense, amazing dares, real drama and issues, the book just doesn’t deliver. I finished it, so that’s a good start, but the plot was juvenile and pretty basic. They changed QUITE a lot for the film, but all the changes they made really worked. The book is based off the idea that there is a game called Nerve where you sign up as a watcher or player, where players complete increasingly dangerous dares to earn prizes and money. Unfortunately the dares weren’t that dramatic, the main character is a bit of a pussy with not much development (and a very strange backstory that comes across as dramatic but we never learn enough about it to care very much), and a very forced love story. I rarely say this, but the film trumps the book by a lot, which is very unfortunate as the story’s potential is clear. If you liked the film, you might like it, but it just wasn’t that entertaining for me.

Images sourced from Google Images.Β 

Check out my most recent posts;Β October FavouritesΒ &Β Korea Haul!

Zoe x

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Zoe’s Bookshelf | #1

My Favourite Books

I am a HUGE bookworm. Anyone who knows me will tell you that straight away. I absolutely adore reading. To me, nothing quite comes close to losing yourself in a completely different reality that is personal to you. No one quite reads things the same way – we all project our own lives onto the characters and the plot and that makes every single line unique to you. And I fucking love it.

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Therefore, I thought it would be fun to share my absolute favourite books. I love so many that this list was hard to choose, but I think I’ve got a good selection here! It’s also worth noting that I love series too – like Harry Potter, PJ, Hannibal/Silence of the Lambs, TMI/TID, etc, but these are the single books I can read over and over again. Let me know what you think!

Stardust – Neil Gaiman
Fairytale style book, beautifully written (I love Neil Gaiman), young love and magic, fantasy, set in medieval times.

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Reader’s Digest – The World’s Best Fairy Tales
A HUGE book dedicated to original Fairy Tales. My favourite book in the world – as you can see from the state of the book! Multicultural fairy tales and includes all the classics.

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The Mosquito Coast – Paul Theroux
Told from the perspective of a young boy, he follows his somewhat insane dad who thinks America is a sham and ships his family into the South American coast to escape the apocalypse he thinks is happening. A bit ‘Lord of The Flies’-y, but not too much. One of my all time faves.

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The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton
And we’re back to fairy tales, lol. I love all of Blyton’s work but there’s something so magical about this story that I keep coming back. Set in early 1900’s England, three siblings and their cousin have an array of magical adventures in a local magical forest. Super sweet.

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Brave New World – Adolus Huxley
Dystopian future setting where children are genetically created to fit into social classes and life is governed by very Freudian principals. Give me anything dystopian and I will drink it up, but this is one of the classics.

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The Little Book of Hygge – Meik Wiking
All about hygge (hoo-gah), the principal of cosiness. There is something so warming about this book, I tend to re-read a chapter a week or so.

IMG_2562.JPGNineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
Not sure if this even needs an introduction, but 1984 is one of my absolute favourites, definitely my favourite in the dystopian genre (sensing a theme?). Set in a futuristic England, the protagonist struggles with the extent to which he is being controlled. 10/10 book, definitely worth its popularity.Β 

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Again, a classic that probably doesn’t need a caption, but one of my top picks. This follows the paedophile protagonist who has a relationship with a young girl – Lolita. Sounds fucked up (it is), but it is so stunningly written and the plot is so complex it is well worth it if you are a literature fan.

Note – Yes, I forgot to photograph these in the group book shots. Whoops.

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The Song of Troy – Colleen McCullough
This is one of my faves for my mythology side. This retells the story of Troy from multiple sides and with breathtaking form. I found this book for the first time in a 2nd hand book sale, and as soon as I started reading it I was competently hooked.

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Maus – Art Spiegleman
Graphic novel re-telling the Holocaust in the form of cat v mouse. Incredibly powerful and very confronting, but definitely a one-of-a-kind book that deserves all the praise it gets. Incredible story.

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The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Oh, another dystopian book? Who could have guessed! This is a futuristic, desolate world setting, where the few survivors either find food or eat each other. It follows a father and his young boy traversing a burnt America to find the ocean where things will be better. It is a very quiet book (if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean by this), and definitely makes you feel all the emotions.

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Seven Ancient Wonders – Matthew Reilly
Matthew Reilly is one of my favourite authors ever, as he writes a hell of a story. This book (and its subsequent series) are my favourites of his, taking you on a fast-paced action adventure, laced with history and mythology. For a nerd like me, that earns a solic 10/10.

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What are your favourite books?

Check out my previous posts (they will open in a new window):Β Life Update,Β August Faves,Β September Bullet Journal.

Zoe x

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My Favourite Books

May Favourites 2017

I know it was only a couple of weeks ago that I got around to posting my April favourites, but this month I’m on time, so we’re going to go with it haha.

I’ve actually been loving quite a few things in May and I can’t wait to share them with you. Let me know if you’ve been loving any of the same things!

Elf Face Powder

It can’t be a favourites on this blog without mentioning an Elf product it seems… I got this recently and I really like it! A finely milled powder in nice packaging, and it great with the sponge for touch ups on the go. I really have enjoyed this!

Argan Oil Body Lotion

Kmart in Australia has released this range of Argan, Coconut, Shea and Macadamia oil hair and body products, like hair oils and masks, shampoos, and lotions. I got this for $4 because I love the scent of the hair oil, but wasn’t expecting much from it. Boy, was I wrong! This is one of the best body lotions I’ve ever used, comparable to body shop, Bath & Body Works and Soap and Glory. It sinks in really quickly, is super moisturising and I am surprised at how amazing it is. Definitely check it out if you’re an Aussie!

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The Balm Hot Mama Blush

I grabbed this blush on a whim, and didn’t think I’d like it that much – but WOW. This is a beautiful peachy blush with a golden sheen, very comparable to NARS orgasm but more pigmented in my opinion. It’s very shiny; you don’t need a highlighter with it. But I love how easy it is for that reason – at 6am when I’m doing my makeup for work I can’t be bothered with a heap of products and this just does it all!

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The Handmaid’s Tale

I have been O B S E S S E D with this show and book right now. If you haven’t watched the show and you like dystopian fiction, download the first episode NOW. I’ve been reading the book too, which I’ve also really enjoyed!

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Label.m Oat & Honey Hair Mask

I definitely think this mask has helped my hair out – whenever I use it my hair becomes so soft and silky. This mask smells great and simply works great, what more would you want?

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American Gods

I read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods at some point last year and loved it, but I have to admit I was skeptical when I heard they were making a show, even if it did include some fantastic actors. I stand corrected though, as this show is next level. Bryan Fuller is one of my favourite directors (he directed Hannibal) and he doesn’t disappoint here. Tip: read the book before the show, because it literally will make no sense otherwise, lol.

Nick Murphy

Good old Aussie singer Chet Faker has rebranded himself with his real name Nick Murphy and released an album, and I’ve been obsessed with it!Β Your TimeΒ is on repeat for me right now, it’s so chilled but sexy. Check it out here!

Zoe x

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May Favourites 2017

Declutter My Notebooks With Me!

I don’t know about you, but I for one am a H O A R D E R of notebooks. For some unknown reason, I’m obsessed with stationery and just end up with way too much stuff. On my journey to decluttering (I don’t want to say minimalism, I’m wayyy off that lol), I decided (finally) it was time to part with some of my notebooks. I was keeping them in this shelf next to my desk, which can be used way better, so – let’s declutter!

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I started by pulling all the notebooks out… you can see just how ridiculous my collection is! Remember, on top of this I also have my bullet journal, a book for random notes, a book for scrap paper and a diary…

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I then sorted these books into definitely keeping, definitely getting rid of and maybe piles. I find this is the easiest way to do any sort of decluttering, as you can just continuously sift through the maybe pile until it doesn’t exist anymore.

In my keep pile, I have my travel journal from Hong Kong and South East Asia last year, that I moved to my bookshelf with all my other travel journals. The stripey book is my recipe book, which needs to go to the kitchen. The bottom book with the peacocks in it is the book I jot all my ideas for birthdays and Christmas presents & cards into, the little blue book is my gratitude journal which should be by my bed, and the yellow one is my old ideas notebook for writing that I’ll keep, but it should probably be in my bookshelf or in storage, as I don’t use it anymore.

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The definitely getting rid of books were these; the green and black are used up, the blue geometric was my old journal, and the one on top was from my final year of school that I kept for tutoring kids, but everything in it is online. Time to go!

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These notebooks are so beautiful and I live for them, I just never know what to put inside! I’m definitely keeping them, but if anyone has any ideas on what to use them for let me know! I like keeping the darker brown one in my bag as a little ideas notebook, but I like using my bullet journal as a place for that kind of thing… Either way, they are staying.

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The other black book and the Newt Scamander journal I don’t know what to put into either. I’m definitely keeping them, and might have to bring them into work. I just need to figure out what I’m going to do with them! I think I’m going to make the NS one a dream journal and keep it by my bed, and the black one a sketchbook. We’ll see!

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Here it is after decluttering! And for those who’ll ask about my cars tin… it has important stuff in it and I love it haha.

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I hope this inspired someone to go through and get rid of all those notebooks they don’t need anymore!!

Zoe x

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Declutter My Notebooks With Me!

April Favourites

This probably is coming a bit later than you’d expect for April Favourites, but I’ve been busy and better late than never, right? Here’s what I’ve been loving recently.

Santa Clarita Diet

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I binged this show on Netflix in two days and loved every minute of it! It’s fast-paced, absolutely hilarious and the characters are amazing. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone, each episode is only 20 mins long so it’s really easy and fun to watch!

Aleka Dress in Plum – White Fox Boutique

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I wore this dress to my brother’s wedding at the end of April and got so many compliments on it! It is such a beautiful colour for my pale skin, and worked really well with my gold accessories. Such a gorgeous dress that I’ll definitely wear again! You can check out these photos on myΒ instagram!

Two Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

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I know I’m probably the last person in the world to get on board this mascara, but I recently picked up a sample size and have come to discover I really like it! Especially when used in conjunction with a lengthening mascara, this makes your lases look ridiculous.

Vanity Planet Skin Spa System

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I used to use the vanity planet spin for perfect skin, and I liked it, but the batteries rusted up and the heads got jammed on the brush. When I wasn’t using such a hard core cleaning product, my skin started to get really bumpy, so I bought this one on a whim. I much prefer it to the other system, as the silicone brush doesn’t harbour bacteria. Definitely have noticed an improvement in my skin since using this, and I love that it has two speed settings.

Cream Blush & Highlighter

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I have really been into using cream products in April, as they look way more natural and last a hell of a lot longer than their powder counterparts. I’ve been loving the be a bombshell cream blush in ‘southern belle’ and the Australis stick highlighter in ‘light gold’.

Simple Light Moisturiser

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When I was getting bumps on my skin, I realised my use of oils wasn’t doing my face any wonders. So, I switched to a light moisturiser and I absolutely love it! If you’d like an updated skincare routine, let me know and I’ll do one for you guys!

Beauty Blender

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I never believed the fuss about the original beauty blender, but since I’ve tried it I just can’t go back. There’s something so specific about the way it works that I can’t put my finger on, but makes it outshine all replica sponges. If you haven’t tried it, do so, and tell me the cheap alternatives work the same. (Spoiler: they don’t)

Growing My Own Herbs

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Since I’ve been living on my own, I’ve been trying really hard to grow some of my own stuff. Right now, I’m growing basil, parsley, coriander, mint and rosemary, as well as keeping some succulents, and aloe plant and a Japanese peace lily. There’s something so nice about having to look after something that isn’t you, and then reaping the benefits in delicious cooking!

The Circle

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I know this is coming out as a movie soon, but that’s not why I read it. I grabbed a sample on my kindle, read it, then immediately had to go out and borrow the book. I read it in two days. It’s a very well written, fast-paced book that’s very difficult to put down once you get into it, and I strongly recommend it if you like technology, politics and control of freedom.

What have you been loving this month?! Let me know!

Zoe x

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April Favourites