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

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

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 πŸ™‚

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 hadΒ 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

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

My Favourite Childhood Books

Feeling nostalgic isn’t something a lot of people love, but I really enjoy the good memories from my childhood. So, I thought I’d share my favourite childhood books to see if any of you had the same! A lot of these are classics, and could serve as good inspiration for gifts for baby showers or christenings. If you love old books like I do, you’ll get a kick out of this one. Who says kids books are just for kids?! Enjoy!

Enid Blyton

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I absolutely love Enid Blyton’s books as they are just so magical. These were my mum’s and I love to read them every now and then.

Fairy Tales

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I read fairy tales way more often than I’d like to admit. There is something so calming about them. I have been through this 700+ page book probably around 50 times and I can’t get enough. Some of the stories are so quirky and beautiful, I’ll never be too old for these.

Shirley Barber

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I absolutely adore Shirley Barber’s artwork, and if you’ve never heard of her, Google her. She is spectacular and the images she creates are just stunning. I can’t wait to pass these books onto my own kids some day.

Scholastic Book Fair Books

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Did anyone else live for the book fairs?! I had so many of these little box books but this is the one that’s lasted. I don’t really know why, I wouldn’t have ever said I was a real girly girl (I had a thing for magic though, you can probably tell lol) but reading it just makes me smile. I used to run around the place sprinkling dust and waving my wand!

Wizardology

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I think most people had one of these books, either this or Egyptology or Dragonology. You can still get them today and I think they’re just so cool!

Those Random Little Books…

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Most people have a collection of random little books like this don’t they? I know I have practically a whole shelf of them (I have a lot of books…) and every now and then it’s so fun to peek through them and relive what I used to love as a three or four year old. They’re so cute!

Harry Potter

 

This can’t be a childhood book post without mentioning Harry Potter. I breathed that shit in. I had my own wand, Harry Potter book bag with notebooks I had made, my own quill, cloak, broomstick, invisibility cloak, you name it. I have a read time turner, Marauders Map and Scarf. I even used to write my own versions of the Daily Prophet. Reading these books (or one of the many other Harry Potter related books I own) immediately transports me back to a lovely place.

 

If you liked this post I’d be more than happy to share some of my favourite childhood movies and games too! Let me know πŸ™‚

Here’s a bonus for making it to the end – me as a four year old!

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Don’t forget to check out my posts over on My Trending Stories, as I share some of my creative pieces and other fun stuff! Your likes and follows over there mean the world. Read up here.

Zoe x

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My Favourite Childhood Books