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 enjoy 🙂

Today I am doing a Christmas version of 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 🙂

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

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 here  and my fave childhood books here 🙂

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. 

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

Zoe x

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Zoe’s Bookshelf | #1

My Candle Collection

I have always loved candles. There is something so relaxing about striking a match or turning the wheel of a lighter and putting the flame to a wick, then filling your space with a warm, ambient glow and beautiful fragrance. I used to be one of those people who bought $3 candles from the dollar store and collect millions of them, but I have come to understand the scents I truly love and now stick to buying a select few good quality candles. I hope you enjoy my collection as much as I have enjoyed collecting it!

Sweet, Vanilla Scents
-Merry Cookie (Bath & Bodyworks)
-Vanilla Bean (Bath & Bodyworks)
-Vanilla Snowflake (Bath & Bodyworks)
-Warm Apple Pie – Mini (Bath & Bodyworks)
Merry Cookie – Mini (Bath & Bodyworks)

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Floral Scents
-Honolulu (Dusk) – Franjipani Scented
-Fresh Cut Lilac (Bath & Bodyworks)

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Fresh Scents
-Light My Fire (Typo)
-Dusk Candle (unnamed, smells exactly like the Typo one)
-Relaxation (Dusk)

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Musky Scents
-Manhattan – Little Black Dress (Glasshouse)

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I keep all my candles in my bedside table shelf, so they don’t get too hot.

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What’s your favourite candle scent?

Check out my recent posts; September Favourites & October Bullet Journal

Zoe x

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My Candle Collection

September Favourites | 2017

September has come and gone in an absolute whirlwind. Now it’s October – middle of Spring for us in Australia (most days are nearing 30 degrees which I’m VERY happy about) and I leave for overseas in just over 20 days. Where is this year going?! I’ve loved a heap of things this month, so keep reading to find out what!

The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson

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If you like psychology, murder mysteries, generally great non-fiction writing – read this. This has been on my list for AGES and I finally got around to reading it this month and I loved it. Super interesting book!

Invisible Planets – Ken Liu

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Another book, but this is an anthology of Chinese science-fiction short stories. Might sound strange, but my friend lent this to me and I really enjoyed it. Most of the stories are dystopian (if you’ve read me for a while you know I’m a sucker for anything dystopian) and are incredibly beautiful and thought provoking. So many cultures and countries have incredible stories written, and it’s unfortunate that they usually aren’t translated for us to read. Pick up this book if you like reading, you won’t regret it!

Image & purchase here

Zoella Gateau Range

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I grabbed both the body spray and shower sauce from the summery Zoella range and (besides the original scent) it is my favourite scent she’s ever done! It’s pomegranate and elderflower, so it’s perfect for us Southern Hemisphere folk going into spring and summer. If you can get your hands on it, go and smell it – such a wonderful scent!

OGX Weightless Oil Mist

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I tried this for the first time this month and really enjoyed it! It does exactly what it says it does, and hydrates without looking greasy. It also smells amazing! OGX is a great brand that’s definitely worth the hype.

IKEA Panda

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I bought this little glowing panda from IKEA a while ago now, but I really like having him accompany me when I’m writing long into the night. He glows green to blue and you can pause him at your favourite colour. He’s such a cute addition to any room 🙂

Binaural Beats

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This has become one of my new favourite ways to meditate! You must listen to this with headphones on, but it gets you into a meditative state after only a few minutes. You can read up on the science about it here.

Glitch

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Season 2 of the Australian Sci-Fi drama Glitch just came out and I binged it in two days! Such a good show, and there are only 6 eps per season. It’s all about a small country town where people from all eras start coming to life. Aussie drama doesn’t get enough credit – check it out!

Four Legendary Kingdoms – Matthew Reilly

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If you’re an action and history/mythology fan, get on this series by Australian author Matthew Reilly. This is the fourth in this series and intertwines with some of his other work, and is nothing short of a showstopping, page turning piece of great entertainment. I read it in a day.

Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard

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I used to have an external keyboard that used cords to connect to my laptop, and I did like it but it definitely got annoying. This month I picked up a new logitech keyboard and I’m loving it! If you spend a lot of time on your laptop typing, this might me a good investment for you.

Finally, I just want to send my love and hugs to anyone out there who needs it. The world is a scary place, but we can find happiness within each other.

Zoe x

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September Favourites | 2017

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. 

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): Life UpdateAugust FavesSeptember Bullet Journal.

Zoe x

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My Favourite Books

August Favourites | 2017

God this year is flying by! I genuinely am a bit concerned with how quickly it all is passing. To celebrate, here are some things I’ve been loving through August!

GOT S7

Could it really be an August faves without including this?? I have to admit, I was a bit underwhelmed with the season and am even more mad we have to wait two years for the next, but I am happy Dany & Jon finally got it on, incest and all.

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Aroma Diffuser & Essential Oils

I picked up this diffuser from Kmart for $15 – what a bargain! I’ve been really into filling it with gorgeous scents (as you can see from the photo below, it’s primarily Lavender and Sweet Orange) and letting it light up the room and make it smell beautiful. I also really like watching the steam curl out from the spout, it’s super relaxing.

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Mayer’s Peanut Butter

Random, I know, but I’ve been weirdly obsessed with this Peanut Butter?! Coming from someone who will eat an entire pot of Kraft PB if you’ll let them, this is a much better for you option that tastes almost identical to me. I really dig it.

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Silver Drop Earrings

I have been really into wearing plain silver studs in my second piercings and silver drops in my lower ones this month. I switch between both of these pairs – the wishbones are from Tree of Life and the pearl ones are from a boutique.

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Constellation Myths

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m obsessed with mythology, especially Greek myths. My best friend got me this book for my birthday in June and I’ve been obsessed! I love stars and constellations, and this book explains all of them, how they create famous Greek figures and the myth that accompanies them.

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Ouran High School Host Club

I recently re-watched this anime and I forgot how much I loved it! If you are new to anime I think this is a good place to start, as it’s super funny, meta and pretty off the cuff. I love it!

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Zoe x

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August Favourites | 2017

June Favourites 2017

June was my birthday month, so there have been lots of new things I’ve been loving! However, to save double ups (as a VERY belated what I got for my birthday post is coming soon!) I thought I’d focus more on favourites from June that have nothing to do with my birthday. If you want to read about what I did, click here 🙂

Now, without further ado, let’s get into my June faves!

Watching the sun rise & set

I only recently started noticing the sun rising in the morning or setting at night, and have made an effort to take a pause in my day to watch it happen. I find it definitely puts in perspective all my worries and anxieties of the day that was or the day that’s coming, which helps me to be mindful, grateful and happy. When summer comes around, I’ll be sad to miss watching it come up.

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Bath & Bodyworks Candle in Fresh Cut Lilacs

I bought this candle while on holiday for my 21st, as QLD is one of the only places in Australia with a Bath & Bodyworks for some reason. I was tossing up between this one and the honeysuckle candle, but in the end I had to choose this. It smells like a fresh summer garden, and makes me so happy.

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NYX Dark Circle Concealer

On to makeup, I picked up this under eye correcter early in the month and have been using it every day to help correct my dark circles that just come with working full time, while also prepping the base for my concealer to stick to. For such a cheap and cheerful product, I’ve really enjoyed it!

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NYX Total Control Drop Foundation

This foundation is super light and watery, but it covers like a dream. My favourite thing about it is that it actually comes in a colour fair enough for my skin without going pink. What a miracle! I definitely recommend this foundation, as it doesn’t go oily on me and lasts all day.

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Smashbox Spotlight Highlighter Palette

I know everyone is talking about this, but it is absolutely beautiful. When my Becca Moonstone smashed for the 3rd time, I knew I had to find a replacement as there are some breaks that rubbing alcohol just can’t fix (RIP). This has 3 stunning shades in beautiful packaging. I love using the darker two as eyeshadows, so it’s really travel friendly as with this and a bronzer, you wouldn’t need to worry about bringing an eyeshadow palette with you!

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Essence Camouflage Concealer

I bought this on a whim because it was so cheap. I love concealers, but I really didn’t expect it to work properly. But here I am, raving about it in my favourites. I really like it – the coverage isn’t the longest lasting or the fullest coverage, but I really enjoy how light it is and how thick the applicator is. There’s lots of product and it’s a great shade. Definitely recommend.

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Miniso Tea Tree Pore Strips

These are so cheap – and 100% better than the Biore pore strips! They are really great at extracting and comfortable to wear. I also feel like they are better for your skin, but that could just be the placebo of using something green on my skin…

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L’Oreal Pure Clay Mask

Speaking of green face stuff, this mask has been really nice in June. It definitely extracts and refines pores, but also reduces redness and calms dry skin and spots. It dries nice and tight so you definitely feel it working, which is always a bonus with a face mask.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

I read about ACV as a skincare treatment a while ago, but since I’ve put it to the test, I can (almost) swear by it. I dilute it about 3:1 and pop it in a spray bottle to spritz over my face morning and night. Yeah, it doesn’t smell to great, but I let it dry completely then go on to the rest of my skincare routine, and that tends to mask the scent a bit. It’s definitely made my skin brighter and clearer.

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Quay & LeSpecs Sunglasses

I recently got these Quay sunnies I’ve had my eye on for a long time (horray for TopShop sales in Australia) and these LeSpecs sunnies as a graduation gift from my best friend. I love both pairs! I’m a bit of a sunglasses hoarder, and one day might do a sunglasses collection post, but for now I’ve been rotating between these two and love how they transform any outfit.

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Lavendaire

My YouTube love of the month has been lifestyle design channel Lavendaire. She is so calming, inspiring and beautiful, and has definitely helped me find some more peace in my life. My favourite video of hers is all about gratitude, and I really recommend taking 5 minutes out of your day to watch it.

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Okja

I know, I know, everyone and their mum has been talking about this Netflix film, but it truly is amazing. I won’t give away any of the plot, but it’s incredibly shot, cleverly written and all round a beautiful film. 10/10, deserves all the ratings it’s getting.

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Brave New World – Adolus Huxley

I read this for the first time in June, which is insane considering how much I love a good dystopian fiction novel. I loved it – I loved it even more than 1984 which is one of my favourite books of all time. If you like sci-fi utopia, read this now.

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Zoe x

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June Favourites 2017