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 Update, August Faves, September Bullet Journal.

Zoe x

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My Favourite Books

How To: Pick The Right Job For You

If you read my latest post, my life update, you’ll know that I recently called it quits with my full time job in PR. This is not to say I’ll never work in PR again, but I’m definitely giving it a rest for a while. While at that job, I learnt so much about the industry, full time working life, and myself.

I graduated from a very prestigious Australian university with a degree in Media (PR & Advertising majors), and worked hard to find a job after uni. Unfortunately, I didn’t really know what I wanted or needed out of a job, and took the first one that presented itself. Although I’m very grateful for being able to work for so long in the industry I had studied in, adjusting to the job was tough and ultimately, wasn’t for me.

I thought I would share my tips that I have discovered throughout my experience to help you pick a job that suits you and what you need and want out of life.

Write A List

None of my advice would be truly mine if it didn’t start with writing a list. Pen to paper, fingers to smartphone, letters to word doc, who cares, just write a long, long list of everything you love in life. There’ll be a lot of little things, but write them all out, then rank them. You’ll start to see a pattern and prioritise what is most important to you. Is it free time? Being outside? Using your creativity? Being around people? Is it most important that you earn enough money to do the things you love? Write it all down, and you will start to realise what type of job will make you happy. If you are a person who loves and thrives on being outside and having lots of free time, I’d wager that you’d struggle in a 9-5 desk job + overtime. Think about this before committing.

Online Personality Tests / Work Tests

There are tonnes of resources online that can help you figure out what values are important to you – e.g. Meyers Briggs Personality Tests, etc. There are also tests that can help match you to a career path or type of work. Do as many tests as possible and compare the results to the job you’re applying for. Do they match? If not, I’m not saying don’t apply, but maybe think a bit harder about the job and if it’s really what you want.

Ask for Advice

Ask relatives, career guidance people, teachers, friends, anyone. Ask people if they think such and such job is right for you. Ask people who will tell you what you want to hear and people who will tell you the harsh truth. Listen to them all, then compare what they say with what you think.

Ikigai

I love this principle of finding your life’s purpose. Use this diagram to analyse what it is you are and figure out what it is you need to be based on that. I love this ancient Japanese principal and think it is definitely worth a go.

 

Finding Your Ikigai Workshop: What do you wake up for?
This image can be bought from The Paper Seahorse, I found it on Pinterest and thought it was beautiful!  – https://au.pinterest.com/paperseahorse/

 

My main piece of advice is easier said than done; don’t worry too much. There is nothing wrong with choosing and unconventional career path or doing things out of the natural order. Work these days fluctuates incredibly fast and traditional jobs are becoming less and less.

Things tend to fall into place. Put in the hard work and find out for yourself.

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

Zoe x

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How To: Pick The Right Job For You

Work Makeup Routine

I get up reasonably early for work, so I have needed to streamline my makeup routine. I can’t sit around, playing with eyeshadows and deciding whether I should wear blush (note to self: ALWAYS wear blush, you want to look alive), so I’ve come up with a fast and easy routine that makes me look fresh and put together, but without being too much for a 9 hour work day in front of a computer (sometimes longer)

One of my top tips is to have it all packed the night before so it’s ready to go in the morning. I switch around the products I use a few times a week, depending on the day, what I’m wearing etc, but will always have an entire face of makeup in my makeup bag for me to use in the morning. I’m telling you – this is a LIFESAVER.

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I start with a clear primer, I’ve been using the ELF Acne fighting primer for a while now and it’s really good. Whatever you choose has to depend on your skin though, and how long you plan to wear the makeup for. My skin holds onto makeup reasonably well, so I can get away with a primer like this.

I then colour correct with NYX Colour Corrector, then use a beauty blender to buff no more than 4 half drops of NYX Total Control foundation on my face. I like to use concealer more than foundation, so I’ll then go under my eyes with something like the Smashbox BB concealer, and then around my nose and on discolourations with Essence Camouflage Concealer.

Cream products last longer, so I take the Be A Bombshell cream blush stick in Southern Belle on my cheeks, then set it all down with ELF HD Setting Powder (ELF needs to sponsor me real bad). Of course, you can always set your face with a setting spray to make it last longer, but I find for a regular day I’m okay with just powder.

To warm up my skin a bit, I use a bronzer like Hoola by Benefit, then highlight my high points with Smashbox Spotlight Highlighting Palette in Turn it On.

To define my face, I’ll run a bit of ABH Brow Wiz through my brows, then tightline my eyes with Chi Chi Eyeliner in Bronze Ambition. For long days, I’ll use a liquid eyeliner and so a small flick – my favorite for this is Kat Von D Tattoo Lockit Liner. I’ll top off with Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara.

I rarely wear lipstick to work as it just comes off, and liquid lipstick is too uncomfortable for the day to day. I’ll run a bit of lip liner around my lips (Rimmel make a great nude one) and just apply lip balm.

This takes me about 5 minutes total and I’m good to go!

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Hope you enjoyed!

Zoe x

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Work Makeup Routine

How To: Nail A Job Interview

Job interviews are pretty terrifying for almost everyone. We tend to overthink and over analyse every minute detail, usually resulting in us being a basket case of nerves when the time to actually do the interview comes around. I have had a pretty good run with interviews, so I thought I’d share my tips! These apply for ALL jobs – from casual to full-time corporate!

Don’t underestimate the power of a good CV

To have a chance at any job, you need a CV that is easy to read and relevant to the job. Make sure you use the key words from the application/job description in the resume and cover letter. There are a tonne of different ways to write a CV, so you need to do the research to figure out which one will be the best for you. If you are in the interview stage, likely they would have seen your CV already, but make sure you bring some more copies for everyone at the interview.

Dress to Impress

I feel like this is an obvious one, but people still overlook it. Dressing well is CRUCIAL to performing well in an interview. Make sure your clothes have been selected to fit the job, and have been ironed if they need to be. Freshly paint your nails, brush your hair, wear nice jewelry. It isn’t difficult to do and trust me – chipped nail polish comes across worse than you think!

Be happy and confident

People are very receptive to someone who is friendly, sunny and sure of themselves. They will be more likely to like you and go easier on you in the interview if you give them no reason to be otherwise. If you’re nervous, take a deep breath before answering any question. Be polite and keep smiling! If you’re going to inject some humour into the interview (if it’s appropriate) go ahead, just make sure the jokes won’t offend anyone in the room.

Do your research

This is another essential. Don’t just research the job, but research the people who will be interviewing you. What are their strengths? What do they like in a person? Researching this will also make you feel much more confident when you get into the interview, as there will be no curve balls thrown at you.

Be open and accepting

If the interview turns out differently than you’d expected, be open to it and accept it for what it is. By forcing your preconceived notions onto the interview, you won’t be at your best for the position.

Be positive if things don’t turn out your way

If you don’t end up with the job, don’t give up! Thank them politely for their time and consideration, and maybe ask for feedback as to where you went wrong. If it went particularly well and you still didn’t get it, maybe ask the boss if they can recommend anywhere similar for you to apply. Any connections made during the interview should’t be lost!

I hope this was helpful – and good luck if you’re going into a job interview soon!

Zoe x

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How To: Nail A Job Interview

What To Do On Your Commute

Before I moved back to Sydney, I spent over 4 hours on the train each day getting to and from work. This is a lot of time to spend sitting down, so I needed to find out how to make the best use of the time. After some experimentation, I discovered the best way to not go insane was to make my brain work. Sure, I’d have a nap every now and then (okay, okay, every morning), but I refused to let myself just do nothing or play repetitive games on my phone. I needed to make this time work for me and not be a complete waste, so that when I got home I could do the things I couldn’t do while commuting (exercising, cooking, etc), and not focusing on things that could have been done in the two hours I spent sitting down.

My biggest piece of advice when it comes to commuting is a tablet. I know not everyone has one, and you can do most of these things with other devices and the like, but having a small, lightweight device that houses everything made the journey so much better for me. I have  Samsung Galaxy Tab A 🙂

Meditate

Meditation isn’t for everyone, but I for one love the challenges of it. Nothing puts you in a better state of mind before work or winds you down after than giving yourself some perspective, gratitude and forcing yourself to be in the moment. I love the app smiling mind for guided meditations; they have a range of meditation activities that are perfect for commuting.

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Blogging

If you’re reading this, you probably have a blog. So get some of it done on your commute! Without internet, you can’t be distracted by “research”, so more time goes into actually writing than perusing pinterest.

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Learn

One of my favourite ways to spend my time – even with my much shorter commute these days – is learning. I use Ted Talks and Podcasts to expand my knowledge and vocabulary, and set myself up in a good head space for the rest of the day.

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Read

A fairly obvious one, but a long commute is a great time to get a chink of reading done. I use the Amazon Kindle bookstore to get my books on my tablet, and occasionally I use audible to listen to audio books in case I’m not feeling reading for whatever reason.

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Watch TV

If all you want to do when you get home from work is veg out to your favourite TV show, why not use your commuting time to get that out of your system? You’re going to be sitting still anyway – make the most of it! I got through a lot of seasons of TWD on my trips – here is a lovely screenshot of when Glenn was still alive #RIP.

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Watch YouTube

In a similar way to TV, I live and breathe chilling out to YouTube videos. So, I got myself YouTube Red so I could save videos offline to watch on the train. Two birds, one stone.

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Get A Start on Your Day

This tends to only apply if you’re a morning commuter, but why not get ahead on your day by starting to sort through your emails while you’ve got time to kill? This obviously is not a relaxing time, but it might help you to feel more organised!

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What are your tips for a successful commute?

 

Zoe x

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What To Do On Your Commute

How To: Be More Productive

With finals right around the corner and the crazy season of Christmas almost upon us, it is essential we are more productive than ever. I never used to be particularly productive, but I had to teach myself how to be in university. Here are the best tips I’ve learned and absolutely swear by. Hope they help!

-Get Right Into It

This is perhaps my biggest tip of all, and it’s to just get started. I used to sit around, not really doing anything and waiting for motivation to find me. It just doesn’t work like that. When you start, the motivation comes. Taking that first step is the most difficult, but once you do it’s difficult to stop. Getting into this mindset can help with other things too, such as not procrastinating your workouts or drinking that extra bottle of water.

-Turn Off Notifications

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This is absolutely essential to do – I cannot stress this enough. Turning off all notifications gives you anxiety the first time you do it, and studies show this is completely normal. However, after a couple of days you start to not only feel normal again, but better. You are free from all these immense distractions unless you actively choose to be distracted by them. I don’t even have the facebook app on my phone, so the only time I go on is on my computer. You get so much more done of not only work, but things you want to do. How many times have you looked at a book and thought ‘I’ll read that when I’m not so busy’? Well, now you don’t have to be free from business to do the things you love.

-Find Out When You Work Best

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Some people work well in the mornings when everything is quiet and bright, in the middle of the day when they’ve had some food and are getting on a roll, and some in the peace of nighttime and evening. Whatever it is for you, find out and stick to it. Consider this for your working environment too. Make sure this space is always clean and neat and somewhere you like to be, so you are more motivated to just sit yourself down and get cracking on whatever you need.

-Remove Digital Clutter

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On the same wavelength as having a tidy space, make your digital world nice and organised. Clear off your desktop, sort out your photo folders and cut down your bookmarked sites. Having a tidy work space on your computer or tablet can make more of a difference than you may think. We spend so much time on these devices, that they need to be looked after too.

 

Good luck!

 

Zoe x

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How To: Be More Productive