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 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

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 my 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

NUME Lustrum Set Review

I bet if you watch YouTube, you’ve heard of the NUME hair styling tools. I was lucky enough to receive the Lustrum set for Christmas last year, and have been meaning to do this review for ages! I wanted to let you all know if NUME is really worth the attention they get online with all those sponsored videos.

First of all, they always have extreme discounts with youtuber promo codes, and so I got my Lustrum set for $100. It also came with an adaptor from US to Aus so I didn’t have to worry about that.

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The set itself comes with the tool, and then five different barrels. They all lock easily into place and heat up very quickly. The pack comes also with a glove (use it! This heats up to 230C and I’ve burnt the crap out of myself) and a leather roll to store all the barrels safely.

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I would definitely recommend getting some sectioning clips and heat protectant (I use either Nak or a cheap Protane one) as the barrels get super hot and you need to protect your hair.

The barrels include a wide one, a medium, a tight, a bumpy one (it created beach-like waves) and a tapered barrel. They’re all really good and work really well. I can create a tonne of different looks very quickly with the kit.

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I only have one complaint with the kit, and that is that the curls don’t last super long. Admittedly, this could be my hair, but I don’t find that the curls last for days like the youtubers tell you they do. Other than that, I really like the way it all works, and that I have such a variety of looks to create with all the different barrels.

I hope this helped! If anyone has any questions about the set leave them below 🙂

Zoe x

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NUME Lustrum Set Review

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette – Review and Swatches

As a gift to myself for finishing my novel I spent the last of my Mecca vouchers and bought the highly acclaimed Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette. I was a bit scared of spending almost AU$80 (holy SHIT) on this palette, but I’ve got to say that I really like it!

It’s full of beautiful neutrals and warm tones that are all what I’m about. It’s also perfect to take travelling in its tin with magnetic closure. It has a mixture of mattes and shimmers in it that makes it a one-stop-shop; I doubt I’ll be reaching for any of my other shadows for a while! But don’t worry, I recently cleared out my makeup (we all know I have a problem with hoarding it… as you would have seen in my makeup collection series) and I’m working on a blog post for that too!

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The palette comes with a little info leaflet which gives three ideas for use of the palette.

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Swatched from top of my arm to hand: (key = M = matte, S = shimmer)
Gilded Ganache (S, brown green duochrome)
White Chocolate (M, white/cream)
Milk Chocolate (M, soft neutral brown)
Black Forest Truffle (S, brown purple)
Triple Fudge (M, dark cool brown)
Salted Caramel (M, warm light brown)
Marzipan (S, pink champagne)
Semi-Sweet (M, medium warm brown)
Strawberry Bon-Bon (M, baby pink)
Candied Violet (S, purple glitter)
Amaretto (S, rusty brown)
Hazelnut (S, golden brown)
Creme Brulee (S, gold)
Haute Chocolate (S, darker golden brown)
Cherry Cordial (S, red brown)
Champagne Truffle (S, champagne)
Review:

IT SMELLS LIKE FREAKING COCOA
Colours – spot on. Great mix of mattes and shimmers, something for everyone. Great selection of transition shades.
Pigmentation – amazing. Super creamy.
Lasting power – average. Not the longest lasting eyeshadows I’ve ever worn.
Travel – the perfect to travel with!
Easiness to blend – superb
Would I recommend? ABSOLUTELY.
Worth the money? I think so!

Hope you enjoyed!

Zoe x

 

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Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette – Review and Swatches

My Makeup Collection – Mascaras

In case you haven’t been following this series, I’m doing my makeup collection, category by category. I thought this would be a great way for you all to see how I store my makeup in a small space, on a budget.

If you haven’t read my others, check out my face products, blushes,bronzershighlighters and eyeliners posts. Next up, I’ll be going through my eyeshadows,  palettes, eyebrow products, lipsticks and, finally, other lip products.

Hope you’re enjoying!

~MY MAKEUP COLLECTION: PART SIX~

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I’m not going to lie – I hoard mascaras something ridiculous. So bear that in mind guys!

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For reference, I have naturally quite thick and dark lashes, that are somewhat long. I prefer a mascara that can really lengthen and that is really black.

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My Mascaras
(Left – Right) (N = natural bristle applicator, R = rubber)

Benefit Roller Lash – review here (R)

Covergirl Lash Blast Length – nice and subtle, lengthening, cheap (R)

ChiChi 3D Magic Lash – amazing at doing both volume and length, really holds a curl (R)

Maybelline Collosal Cat Eye – pretty ‘eh’ for me, you have to really load it up (N)

Model Co Fat Lash – not bad but not worth it for the price in my opinion (N)

Maybelline One by One Volume – I got this because I ran out of mascara once (now I’m looking at this picture, I really doubt that) and it’s average. Also smells like black paint (R)

OXX Mascara – awesome for $2! (N)

Benefit They’re Real (sample and remover) – pretty decent, I quite like it but probably wouldn’t purchase the full size (R)

Hope you enjoyed! Next up – eyeshadows.

Love you all,

Zoe x

 

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My Makeup Collection – Mascaras