And so 2016 comes to a close. This time last year I had hopes for what 2016 would bring, unfortunately none of those hopes came to fruition and as a result I feel like this year was just a waste with me not moving forward. 2016 overall seemed not the best year for a lot of reasons, this was the same for me with losing some family members and also just not moving forward with my life. It's not until I look at the little things than I realise I achieved a number of things this year.

One thing was obviously relaunching the blog which was something I'd wanted for a while. I'm proud with what the blog has evolved into and am especially pleased with how I manged to switch it over to it's own domain. I'm starting to feel like a proper blogger now. Along with that I'm proud that I'm now able to talk in front of a camera and put it online. At the start of the year it terrified me but at some point it went away. YouTube excites me and while I don't do regular videos it is still something I want to keep with.

While I haven't been successful in finding a job I did make it to a number of interview stages as well as volunteering at Digital Academy, which was part of Museums Australasia 2016, as well as at local museum which I am currently enjoying. I also went on a number of informative tours at the Maritime Museum, Auckland Museum, Auckland Art Gallery & the Auckland Council Archives. I found them all fascinating and helped me figure out what I want career I want to pursue, a conservator particularly of artworks. I'm still undecided if I'm studying next year. I definitely want to and I've found a great program but there are factors such as not having an income as well as the course needing two trips to Wellington which hinder me. There's also my parents who would prefer for me to get a job rather than studying. I wish I could just dive in head first and not stress about things.

For 2017 I'm going to try and not have many expectations as the potential for disappointment is greater. Like last year I still want to be less scared of opportunities and not stress about everything. I want to be able to say yes rather than over analyse and then not end up doing anything because I invent problems that might occur. It's harder than it sounds. Something else I want to work on is being more decisive, I avoid making decisions which then leads me to obsessing over what to do. I just need to make them more quickly to avoid the obsessive anxiety. 

2017 will hopefully bring unexpected opportunities and I'll try to open and accepting of them.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2017 brings you unexpected opportunities as well.

Ashley xx  


New Year 2017

Saturday, 31 December 2016


And so 2016 comes to a close. This time last year I had hopes for what 2016 would bring, unfortunately none of those hopes came to fruition and as a result I feel like this year was just a waste with me not moving forward. 2016 overall seemed not the best year for a lot of reasons, this was the same for me with losing some family members and also just not moving forward with my life. It's not until I look at the little things than I realise I achieved a number of things this year.

One thing was obviously relaunching the blog which was something I'd wanted for a while. I'm proud with what the blog has evolved into and am especially pleased with how I manged to switch it over to it's own domain. I'm starting to feel like a proper blogger now. Along with that I'm proud that I'm now able to talk in front of a camera and put it online. At the start of the year it terrified me but at some point it went away. YouTube excites me and while I don't do regular videos it is still something I want to keep with.

While I haven't been successful in finding a job I did make it to a number of interview stages as well as volunteering at Digital Academy, which was part of Museums Australasia 2016, as well as at local museum which I am currently enjoying. I also went on a number of informative tours at the Maritime Museum, Auckland Museum, Auckland Art Gallery & the Auckland Council Archives. I found them all fascinating and helped me figure out what I want career I want to pursue, a conservator particularly of artworks. I'm still undecided if I'm studying next year. I definitely want to and I've found a great program but there are factors such as not having an income as well as the course needing two trips to Wellington which hinder me. There's also my parents who would prefer for me to get a job rather than studying. I wish I could just dive in head first and not stress about things.

For 2017 I'm going to try and not have many expectations as the potential for disappointment is greater. Like last year I still want to be less scared of opportunities and not stress about everything. I want to be able to say yes rather than over analyse and then not end up doing anything because I invent problems that might occur. It's harder than it sounds. Something else I want to work on is being more decisive, I avoid making decisions which then leads me to obsessing over what to do. I just need to make them more quickly to avoid the obsessive anxiety. 

2017 will hopefully bring unexpected opportunities and I'll try to open and accepting of them.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2017 brings you unexpected opportunities as well.

Ashley xx  



Colourpop is a brand I've wanted to try out for the longest time. They're affordable, have gorgeous packaging as well as having amazing reviews. While the products are affordable the shipping was the thing that was holding me back so when I saw the magic words 'free shipping' I knew it was my moment. It took me a long time to decided what to get but I eventually went with four products.


Lippie Stix in Bossy
As per usual I had find myself another red lipstick. My absolute favourite is a blue based red, one that makes me feel Parisian. After some searching I finally found what I was looking for in the form of Bossy. The formula is very creamy and goes on easily. It's matte but doesn't feel too uncomfortable and lasts well. Je suis amoureux.  

Ultra Matte Lip in Viper
I thought I would try out one of these and went with Viper as I thought it looked very similar to Jeffree Star's Androgyny (which is still on my wish list). I think this is a more darker purple than Androgyny but it's still gorgeous. The formula isn't as runny as other liquid lipsticks and once applied it definitely dries matte almost instantly. However it isn't that uncomfortable to wear and almost feels like I'm not wearing a lipstick at all which is amazing. It is very unforgiving on dry lips so make sure your lips are hydrated.

Super Shock Shadow in Cornelious & Fringe
Of course I had to pick up a couple of eye-shadows and after much deliberation settled on these two. Lately I've been yearning for a warm brown eye-shadow (thanks Lily & Anna) so I went on the hunt and wound up with Cornelious. When swatched the colour is lighter than it appears in the pan and I had to do a number of layers. It's good in that the colour is subtle and you can just add to it make the colour more intense.

Of course I had to get something sparkly and Fringe caught my eye. It's a metallic champagne colour which I love and it is just absolutely gorgeous.  Both have a creamy texture to them which was differnt but nice, I can't wait to try them out properly.

Have you tried anything from Colourpop? What are your favourite products?

Ashley xx

Colourpop Haul #001

Friday, 23 December 2016


Colourpop is a brand I've wanted to try out for the longest time. They're affordable, have gorgeous packaging as well as having amazing reviews. While the products are affordable the shipping was the thing that was holding me back so when I saw the magic words 'free shipping' I knew it was my moment. It took me a long time to decided what to get but I eventually went with four products.


Lippie Stix in Bossy
As per usual I had find myself another red lipstick. My absolute favourite is a blue based red, one that makes me feel Parisian. After some searching I finally found what I was looking for in the form of Bossy. The formula is very creamy and goes on easily. It's matte but doesn't feel too uncomfortable and lasts well. Je suis amoureux.  

Ultra Matte Lip in Viper
I thought I would try out one of these and went with Viper as I thought it looked very similar to Jeffree Star's Androgyny (which is still on my wish list). I think this is a more darker purple than Androgyny but it's still gorgeous. The formula isn't as runny as other liquid lipsticks and once applied it definitely dries matte almost instantly. However it isn't that uncomfortable to wear and almost feels like I'm not wearing a lipstick at all which is amazing. It is very unforgiving on dry lips so make sure your lips are hydrated.

Super Shock Shadow in Cornelious & Fringe
Of course I had to pick up a couple of eye-shadows and after much deliberation settled on these two. Lately I've been yearning for a warm brown eye-shadow (thanks Lily & Anna) so I went on the hunt and wound up with Cornelious. When swatched the colour is lighter than it appears in the pan and I had to do a number of layers. It's good in that the colour is subtle and you can just add to it make the colour more intense.

Of course I had to get something sparkly and Fringe caught my eye. It's a metallic champagne colour which I love and it is just absolutely gorgeous.  Both have a creamy texture to them which was differnt but nice, I can't wait to try them out properly.

Have you tried anything from Colourpop? What are your favourite products?

Ashley xx

Two of these books are historical fiction (if that's a thing) while the third is set present day. I mention this because as I was starting to read The Angel's Share in my head it was set in the 18/19 century until there was mention of a Toyota truck which completely shattered my mental image. So yeah...

__________________________________________________________

The Revelations of Carey Ravine* by Debra Daley is set in the 18th century and follows the life of Carey Ravine. Her journey is very interesting as she sets out to unravel the mysteries concerning her husband and father. Carey is a very curious character and isn't all that hesitant in putting herself in, at times some, dangerous situations in order to get to the truth. I did get a bit confused while reading concerning one of the situations she was investigating. I might have to read it again more slowly, I tend to skim read a lot of the time and end up missing details.

While I wasn't totally invested in the story I still enjoyed it.

3 stars

__________________________________________________________

Florence Grace* by Tracy Rees is the other historical novel and I think it's set in the 19th century. I've read the author's first book Amy Snow and loved it so I was excited for this one. This book is very similar to Amy Snow as it follows a young woman's journey. Both Florence & Amy are thrown into a somewhat cut throat upper class environment where not everyone is happy for them to be there. The difference, is that Amy leaves it for her journey while Florence goes to it for hers. 

Florence is very intuitive about people and she knows that her time with her recently discovered family will be unpleasant. I liked the character of Florrie/Florence, at the start she was a bit naive but she became more wise due to her relationships especially with the enigmatic and troubled Turlington who gives her the most joy and heartbreak.

Overall I really enjoyed it, not as much as Amy Snow cause I just love a good treasure hunt.

4.5 stars

___________________________________________________________

The Angels' Share* by J.R. Ward is the second book in the Bourbon Kings series. I haven't read the first but I didn't feel at a disadvantage which was good. The story follows the Bradford family and their complicated lives which involves a lot of deceit & murder. The book has a number of first person perspectives, the Bradford siblings & Lizzie, Lane's partner which gives a rounded view of their lives. I liked it as the story wasn't all one note which every character being distinctive. 

I ended up becoming enthralled in the story especially with the mystery of who killed the Bradford patriarch. I definitely want to read the first book and also see how the story progresses.

4 stars

Have you read this books? What did you think of them?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ

Review | The Revelations of Carey Ravine, Florence Grace & The Angels' Share

Thursday, 22 December 2016


Two of these books are historical fiction (if that's a thing) while the third is set present day. I mention this because as I was starting to read The Angel's Share in my head it was set in the 18/19 century until there was mention of a Toyota truck which completely shattered my mental image. So yeah...

__________________________________________________________

The Revelations of Carey Ravine* by Debra Daley is set in the 18th century and follows the life of Carey Ravine. Her journey is very interesting as she sets out to unravel the mysteries concerning her husband and father. Carey is a very curious character and isn't all that hesitant in putting herself in, at times some, dangerous situations in order to get to the truth. I did get a bit confused while reading concerning one of the situations she was investigating. I might have to read it again more slowly, I tend to skim read a lot of the time and end up missing details.

While I wasn't totally invested in the story I still enjoyed it.

3 stars

__________________________________________________________

Florence Grace* by Tracy Rees is the other historical novel and I think it's set in the 19th century. I've read the author's first book Amy Snow and loved it so I was excited for this one. This book is very similar to Amy Snow as it follows a young woman's journey. Both Florence & Amy are thrown into a somewhat cut throat upper class environment where not everyone is happy for them to be there. The difference, is that Amy leaves it for her journey while Florence goes to it for hers. 

Florence is very intuitive about people and she knows that her time with her recently discovered family will be unpleasant. I liked the character of Florrie/Florence, at the start she was a bit naive but she became more wise due to her relationships especially with the enigmatic and troubled Turlington who gives her the most joy and heartbreak.

Overall I really enjoyed it, not as much as Amy Snow cause I just love a good treasure hunt.

4.5 stars

___________________________________________________________

The Angels' Share* by J.R. Ward is the second book in the Bourbon Kings series. I haven't read the first but I didn't feel at a disadvantage which was good. The story follows the Bradford family and their complicated lives which involves a lot of deceit & murder. The book has a number of first person perspectives, the Bradford siblings & Lizzie, Lane's partner which gives a rounded view of their lives. I liked it as the story wasn't all one note which every character being distinctive. 

I ended up becoming enthralled in the story especially with the mystery of who killed the Bradford patriarch. I definitely want to read the first book and also see how the story progresses.

4 stars

Have you read this books? What did you think of them?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ

Tis the week before Christmas so to celebrate there will be a new post everyday till Friday. Why you ask, it's because there are a couple of posts I want to put up now rather than waiting til next year. I always say something will be up 'soon' which usually means months later so I'm getting it all done now.

For me one of things that puts me off putting on makeup is the prospect of having to take it off. I'm just lazy when it comes to it hence why I like finding products which take the hassle out of it. I've done posts on a couple of makeup removers two of which also double as cleansers, the Elizabeth Arden remover & Garnier Micellar water as well as the Trilogy Make-up be Gone Cleansing Balm.

When Neutrogena sent me their Deep Clean Micellar Gel to Foam* I was excited to try it out and see how it stacks up against the others I've tried. There are two versions; one for dry skin and the other for normal to oily skin which is what I went for. 

I've been using it for a while now and I've been loving it, it surpasses the others I used in the past. 


You can't really see it that well but the gel formula is clear and runny and smells really good. That might be weird to mention but it's true, it smells just like wildberry Fruitbursts which were my favourite.

I tend to use one pump of it and then massage it into my skin. I've noticed that the gel doesn't take long for it to dry and it becomes harder to massage it in, at that point I then add some water which then turns it into a foam. After I've rinsed it all off I can definitely tell it's removed my make-up as well as not leaving my skin dry or oily which I've notice with other remover/cleanser duos. Normally I would cleanse again but with this one I don't feel the need to which is great.

I also love that it has a pump to dispense the product which just makes it easier to use and I just take it away and not need anything else. 

The cleanser retails for $17.99 and you can find them at The Warehouse, Countdown, Life Pharmacy & Pharmacy Direct.

Have you tried the Deep Clean Micellar Gel to Foam? What did you think of it?

Ashley xx
*PR Sample

Neutrogena | Deep Clean Micellar Gel to Foam

Wednesday, 21 December 2016


Tis the week before Christmas so to celebrate there will be a new post everyday till Friday. Why you ask, it's because there are a couple of posts I want to put up now rather than waiting til next year. I always say something will be up 'soon' which usually means months later so I'm getting it all done now.

For me one of things that puts me off putting on makeup is the prospect of having to take it off. I'm just lazy when it comes to it hence why I like finding products which take the hassle out of it. I've done posts on a couple of makeup removers two of which also double as cleansers, the Elizabeth Arden remover & Garnier Micellar water as well as the Trilogy Make-up be Gone Cleansing Balm.

When Neutrogena sent me their Deep Clean Micellar Gel to Foam* I was excited to try it out and see how it stacks up against the others I've tried. There are two versions; one for dry skin and the other for normal to oily skin which is what I went for. 

I've been using it for a while now and I've been loving it, it surpasses the others I used in the past. 


You can't really see it that well but the gel formula is clear and runny and smells really good. That might be weird to mention but it's true, it smells just like wildberry Fruitbursts which were my favourite.

I tend to use one pump of it and then massage it into my skin. I've noticed that the gel doesn't take long for it to dry and it becomes harder to massage it in, at that point I then add some water which then turns it into a foam. After I've rinsed it all off I can definitely tell it's removed my make-up as well as not leaving my skin dry or oily which I've notice with other remover/cleanser duos. Normally I would cleanse again but with this one I don't feel the need to which is great.

I also love that it has a pump to dispense the product which just makes it easier to use and I just take it away and not need anything else. 

The cleanser retails for $17.99 and you can find them at The Warehouse, Countdown, Life Pharmacy & Pharmacy Direct.

Have you tried the Deep Clean Micellar Gel to Foam? What did you think of it?

Ashley xx
*PR Sample

Continuing on with the D.I.Y. Christmas vibe this year I really wanted to make some gift tags for presents. In past years I just use the stickers but I like the look of gift tags and I just feel like they add something extra to the gift. I used the same materials from the card decorating and I'm really pleased with how they turned out.

Items used:
POW! Glitter paper from Spotlight
Rosie's Studio Glitter Stickers from The Warehouse Stationery*
Scissors
Pencil
Ruler
Hole punch 


First off using a pencil + a ruler draw out the shape you want your tag to be. You can do anything you want but I went for a traditional gift tag shape. Then cut it out with the scissors.


Once you cut them all out create a hole using a hole punch.


To decorate them I used the glitter stickers again. I think the gold stickers work well with the silver paper and I love how they turned out.


And lastly I thread them onto some string which I tied around the presents.

Ashley xx
*Gifted

D.I.Y. Xmas Gift Tags

Tuesday, 20 December 2016


Continuing on with the D.I.Y. Christmas vibe this year I really wanted to make some gift tags for presents. In past years I just use the stickers but I like the look of gift tags and I just feel like they add something extra to the gift. I used the same materials from the card decorating and I'm really pleased with how they turned out.

Items used:
POW! Glitter paper from Spotlight
Rosie's Studio Glitter Stickers from The Warehouse Stationery*
Scissors
Pencil
Ruler
Hole punch 


First off using a pencil + a ruler draw out the shape you want your tag to be. You can do anything you want but I went for a traditional gift tag shape. Then cut it out with the scissors.


Once you cut them all out create a hole using a hole punch.


To decorate them I used the glitter stickers again. I think the gold stickers work well with the silver paper and I love how they turned out.


And lastly I thread them onto some string which I tied around the presents.

Ashley xx
*Gifted

Tis the festive season which allows the opportunity to put your creativity hat on. When I was younger I use to create things but lost the urge when 'studying' came along. So for a post I thought it would be cool do some D.I.Y Xmas card decorating, they're pretty simple but I think the amount of glitter used really makes up for it.

Items used:
Pink pearl cards from The Warehouse Stationery
Scotch Red Glitter Washi Tape from The Warehouse Stationery*
POW! Glitter paper from Spotlight
Rosie's Studio Glitter Stickers from The Warehouse Stationery*
Scissors
Glue Stick
Pencil 

Card One



To start off I put washi tape on the corners, gradually integrating the glitter.


Next with a pencil I wrote 'Merry' which, after being confused what to do with it, I went over with a green colour pencil.


Lastly I cut out letters spelling 'Xmas' out of the glitter paper and stuck them on the card.

Card Two


Cause I liked so much I put washi tape on, this time on the bottom and the top.


Lastly I put a couple of the glitter stickers on. Yay for glitter.

Card Three


For the last one I cut out a Christmas tree out of the glitter paper, stuck it on the card and topped it with a gold star glitter sticker.

The Finished Cards


Ashley xx
*Gifted

D.I.Y. Xmas Card Decorating

Tuesday, 13 December 2016


Tis the festive season which allows the opportunity to put your creativity hat on. When I was younger I use to create things but lost the urge when 'studying' came along. So for a post I thought it would be cool do some D.I.Y Xmas card decorating, they're pretty simple but I think the amount of glitter used really makes up for it.

Items used:
Pink pearl cards from The Warehouse Stationery
Scotch Red Glitter Washi Tape from The Warehouse Stationery*
POW! Glitter paper from Spotlight
Rosie's Studio Glitter Stickers from The Warehouse Stationery*
Scissors
Glue Stick
Pencil 

Card One



To start off I put washi tape on the corners, gradually integrating the glitter.


Next with a pencil I wrote 'Merry' which, after being confused what to do with it, I went over with a green colour pencil.


Lastly I cut out letters spelling 'Xmas' out of the glitter paper and stuck them on the card.

Card Two


Cause I liked so much I put washi tape on, this time on the bottom and the top.


Lastly I put a couple of the glitter stickers on. Yay for glitter.

Card Three


For the last one I cut out a Christmas tree out of the glitter paper, stuck it on the card and topped it with a gold star glitter sticker.

The Finished Cards


Ashley xx
*Gifted

After a short hiatus Books to Read in... has returned to video form. I just feel like it's a better format, I can just read off the synopsis instead of typing it all out which I felt was strange. Since it's December I thought it was only appropriate to bring out the Christmas music which just makes everything more festive.

Ashley xx




Books to Read in December

Friday, 9 December 2016


After a short hiatus Books to Read in... has returned to video form. I just feel like it's a better format, I can just read off the synopsis instead of typing it all out which I felt was strange. Since it's December I thought it was only appropriate to bring out the Christmas music which just makes everything more festive.

Ashley xx





Christmas/Holiday beauty collections are another thing that gets me really excited during the Xmas season. I just love Christmas themed things especially beauty. Honestly what I love most about them is the theme & design of the collections, aesthetic is what attracts me towards them. I thought it would be cool post to share some collections which I find exciting in both design & products. 

Image from Lancôme

I did an Instagram about this collection a while ago cause I love it so much. The theme of the collection is Paris en rôse which translated is 'Paris in Pink'. It's not hard to see why I love this with Paris & pink being two of my great loves. I love the Petit Tresor Eyeshadow shades which have some sparkle to them, my favourite being Rose Satin. Of course I can't go past the packaging with the lids of the eye shadows being glittering gold.

Image from M.A.C Cosmetics

M.A.C always has the best collections and this is no different. This collection, called Nutcracker Sweet, has a bright pink theme with the products of course being gorgeous with bright pink shades. I adore the chosen Nutcracker theme with the incorporation of imagery from the ballet. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is one of my favourite pieces of music which is from the Nutcracker.

Image from The Body Shop

Again The Body Shop always do great Christmas collections and this years offering is entitled 'Go Wild for Christmas'. Aside from getting great products every specially selected Christmas product that is bought a contribution is made to help protect the rainforests and endangered animals. To find out more visit The Body Shop website.

There are a range of products to suit whoever it is you are buying for. I personally love anything that is Strawberry/berry scented, it just smells amazing.

What beauty collections are you excited for this year?

Ashley xx 

Christmas Beauty Collections

Tuesday, 6 December 2016


Christmas/Holiday beauty collections are another thing that gets me really excited during the Xmas season. I just love Christmas themed things especially beauty. Honestly what I love most about them is the theme & design of the collections, aesthetic is what attracts me towards them. I thought it would be cool post to share some collections which I find exciting in both design & products. 

Image from Lancôme

I did an Instagram about this collection a while ago cause I love it so much. The theme of the collection is Paris en rôse which translated is 'Paris in Pink'. It's not hard to see why I love this with Paris & pink being two of my great loves. I love the Petit Tresor Eyeshadow shades which have some sparkle to them, my favourite being Rose Satin. Of course I can't go past the packaging with the lids of the eye shadows being glittering gold.

Image from M.A.C Cosmetics

M.A.C always has the best collections and this is no different. This collection, called Nutcracker Sweet, has a bright pink theme with the products of course being gorgeous with bright pink shades. I adore the chosen Nutcracker theme with the incorporation of imagery from the ballet. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is one of my favourite pieces of music which is from the Nutcracker.

Image from The Body Shop

Again The Body Shop always do great Christmas collections and this years offering is entitled 'Go Wild for Christmas'. Aside from getting great products every specially selected Christmas product that is bought a contribution is made to help protect the rainforests and endangered animals. To find out more visit The Body Shop website.

There are a range of products to suit whoever it is you are buying for. I personally love anything that is Strawberry/berry scented, it just smells amazing.

What beauty collections are you excited for this year?

Ashley xx 

December would have to be my favourite month of the year. I love the whole build up to Christmas; music, movies and of course the lights which turns me into a child again. I just love the whole atmosphere. However i'm not excited that it is the end of the year, I'm not ready for it. The future is scary ok so let's look to the past, ie November favourites.

Game of Thrones Illustrated Edition*
When I saw this coming out I had to have it. I'm kind of obsessed with the TV show however I haven't ever read any of the books so this seemed like a good opportunity to start. This is the first book in the series and it is gorgeous. There are maps and bios of the Houses which is awesome as well as the stunning illustrations. The majority are black and while but scattered through are amazing coloured illustrations such as the one above. It's the best and I'm in love.

The Crown & Victoria
I'm a history nerd and one of the areas I'm most fascinated with is the history of the English royal family. The Crown is the most expensive show made on Netflix and you can understand why once you watch it. The show follows Queen Elizabeth II as she comes to the throne suddenly after the shock loss of her father. It shows a different perspective to her, to be a female ruler and what a balancing act it is. This aspect is also shared in Victoria which is on TV1 now. It's the same premise but following Queen Victoria. It took me a while to get into this one but I became enthralled in it eventually.

Joanne - Lady Gaga
This came out in October I think but it feels like it's been out forever. I've been a fan of hers since the beginning of her career, I remember when Poker Face first came out I thought it sounded very similar to Just Dance, however now I can't hear the similarity anymore. The album has a country feel to it and for me the more I listen to it the more I like it. My favs are Hey Girl ft Florence Welch (which needs to be a single), John Wayne and Dancin' In Circles which are probably ones that are less country. 

What were your November Favourites?

Ashley xx
* Review copy from HarperCollins NZ

November Favourites

Friday, 2 December 2016


December would have to be my favourite month of the year. I love the whole build up to Christmas; music, movies and of course the lights which turns me into a child again. I just love the whole atmosphere. However i'm not excited that it is the end of the year, I'm not ready for it. The future is scary ok so let's look to the past, ie November favourites.

Game of Thrones Illustrated Edition*
When I saw this coming out I had to have it. I'm kind of obsessed with the TV show however I haven't ever read any of the books so this seemed like a good opportunity to start. This is the first book in the series and it is gorgeous. There are maps and bios of the Houses which is awesome as well as the stunning illustrations. The majority are black and while but scattered through are amazing coloured illustrations such as the one above. It's the best and I'm in love.

The Crown & Victoria
I'm a history nerd and one of the areas I'm most fascinated with is the history of the English royal family. The Crown is the most expensive show made on Netflix and you can understand why once you watch it. The show follows Queen Elizabeth II as she comes to the throne suddenly after the shock loss of her father. It shows a different perspective to her, to be a female ruler and what a balancing act it is. This aspect is also shared in Victoria which is on TV1 now. It's the same premise but following Queen Victoria. It took me a while to get into this one but I became enthralled in it eventually.

Joanne - Lady Gaga
This came out in October I think but it feels like it's been out forever. I've been a fan of hers since the beginning of her career, I remember when Poker Face first came out I thought it sounded very similar to Just Dance, however now I can't hear the similarity anymore. The album has a country feel to it and for me the more I listen to it the more I like it. My favs are Hey Girl ft Florence Welch (which needs to be a single), John Wayne and Dancin' In Circles which are probably ones that are less country. 

What were your November Favourites?

Ashley xx
* Review copy from HarperCollins NZ

It's been a while since I've done some reviews so I thought I would be efficient and do three in one go. This is mostly for me as it clears the review pile which gives me a little anxiety when I look at it. As you can see I'm finally getting around to reviewing Amy Schumer's book after I mentioned it months ago...

I haven't really followed her or seen her work but I was interested in The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo* as I know she's not afraid to tell it like it is which is very refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed this and loved the range of topics she covered. From her relationship with her mother, her Dad suffering multiple sclerosis and working as a female comedian. My favourite part was the chapter on being an introvert (of course). I loved how frank and open she was and it just made me want to shout to the rooftops that I was an introvert (maybe not to that extent but you get it). I loved every chapter and her openness to write about topics that are generally avoided.

4 stars

________________________________________________________________________

If Gossip Girl was set in the future, say 2118, it would look somewhat like this. The Thousandth Floor* follows and number of teenage characters with their stories intertwining at some point with each other. There is a prologue at the beginning which really hooks you in and makes you wonder who the mystery character is. The are five different perspectives in the book, I didn't really find it confusing but I found myself only being engaged with a few characters and being bored with the others. There's to be a sequel which I'm interested especially in the way this book ended. The story line is basically like anything off Gossip Girl or other teen shows, back stabbing, friendship/relationship drama etc. And like with Gossip Girl I also enjoyed this.

3.5 stars

________________________________________________________________________

American Monsters* is the last book in the Demon Road series and I was really looking forward to it as I enjoyed the first two. It didn't really live up to my expectation, it was similar to that of the first book with Milo & Amber being on the road but it felt more rushed in the things they had to do along the way. Another thing that felt off to me was this PSA about fan fiction and not taking it to heart if you don't agree with it. A part from that it was fine, I liked the ending, it just showed Amber continuing on with her life.

3 stars 

Have you read this books? What did you think of them?

Ashley xx
* Review copies from HarperCollins NZ

Review | The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, The Thousandth Floor & American Monsters

Friday, 25 November 2016


It's been a while since I've done some reviews so I thought I would be efficient and do three in one go. This is mostly for me as it clears the review pile which gives me a little anxiety when I look at it. As you can see I'm finally getting around to reviewing Amy Schumer's book after I mentioned it months ago...

I haven't really followed her or seen her work but I was interested in The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo* as I know she's not afraid to tell it like it is which is very refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed this and loved the range of topics she covered. From her relationship with her mother, her Dad suffering multiple sclerosis and working as a female comedian. My favourite part was the chapter on being an introvert (of course). I loved how frank and open she was and it just made me want to shout to the rooftops that I was an introvert (maybe not to that extent but you get it). I loved every chapter and her openness to write about topics that are generally avoided.

4 stars

________________________________________________________________________

If Gossip Girl was set in the future, say 2118, it would look somewhat like this. The Thousandth Floor* follows and number of teenage characters with their stories intertwining at some point with each other. There is a prologue at the beginning which really hooks you in and makes you wonder who the mystery character is. The are five different perspectives in the book, I didn't really find it confusing but I found myself only being engaged with a few characters and being bored with the others. There's to be a sequel which I'm interested especially in the way this book ended. The story line is basically like anything off Gossip Girl or other teen shows, back stabbing, friendship/relationship drama etc. And like with Gossip Girl I also enjoyed this.

3.5 stars

________________________________________________________________________

American Monsters* is the last book in the Demon Road series and I was really looking forward to it as I enjoyed the first two. It didn't really live up to my expectation, it was similar to that of the first book with Milo & Amber being on the road but it felt more rushed in the things they had to do along the way. Another thing that felt off to me was this PSA about fan fiction and not taking it to heart if you don't agree with it. A part from that it was fine, I liked the ending, it just showed Amber continuing on with her life.

3 stars 

Have you read this books? What did you think of them?

Ashley xx
* Review copies from HarperCollins NZ
 

As many of you know Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life will be out this week and I for one am super excited about it. I've been re watching it and I'm almost to the end of season seven. I'm not sure I'll finsih by the time it's out but I'll make sure to fisnish the season and then start the new stuff. *Praying I won't come across spoilers* 

The lovely Sophie created this tag and I couldn't wait to do it. So without further adieu... 

What was your first introduction to Gilmore Girls? 
I remember watching the odd episode on TV when I was younger. Whenever I was channel surfing I would sometimes stumble across an episode and start watching. I'm pretty sure I saw them out of order so I wasn't really invested in it. A while ago I decided to start at the beginning which led to me being obsessed and binge watching.

Who is your favourite character and why?
Rory was always the character I felt kindred to. From being in high school, to college, to trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. I've just always felt like I could relate to her. I also admire her vast book collection.

Are you on Team Jess, Dean or Logan? Why?
Since I've started re watching it's either been Jess or Logan. I'm not really sure at the moment. I do feel like Jess & Rory had more in common, they're more alike. I think that whether or not they're in a romantic relationship they'll just be really good friends.

How many of the books have you read from Rory's reading list?
Somewhat ashamed to say only 6... And most of them were for English at school. Maybe I'll make this a goal.

Would you rather; only be allowed to drink coffee, or never be able to eat Pop Tarts again?
I'm not really a fan of either so I'll got with never being able to eat Pop Tarts again.  Seems like a win win.

Who is your least favourite character?
Dean. I just didn't like him. Everyone was like Dean is so great and reliable but I just felt like he was a jerk. He was always blaming Rory for everything and not taking responsibility. 

Are you on Team Luke, or Team Christopher?
I've always liked Christopher cause he's Rory's dad but Luke was obviously the one for Lorelai. He was always there when they needed him and most importantly supplied the coffee.

If you went to Stars Hollow, where would you most like to visit?
Everywhere, especially during one of the year round festivals. Would obviously stay at the Dragonfly Inn, visit Luke's, the bookstore, Taylor's candy store, Al's Pancake World for Chinese. All the places.

What would you steal from the Gilmore Girls set?
Hmm I don't really know. Nothing really comes to mind. Probably something belonging to Lorelai & Rory.

Finally, what do you hope happens in the revival?
I just hope the end up happy, regardless if they're in a relationship or not. The most important relationship was between Lorelai & Rory so I just hope that's stronger than ever. Emily is technically a Gilmore Girl so it would awesome if it just ends with the three of them together drinking coffee.

Feel free to do this tag if you want. I'd love to see your answers!

Ashley xx

The Gilmore Girls Tag

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

 

As many of you know Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life will be out this week and I for one am super excited about it. I've been re watching it and I'm almost to the end of season seven. I'm not sure I'll finsih by the time it's out but I'll make sure to fisnish the season and then start the new stuff. *Praying I won't come across spoilers* 

The lovely Sophie created this tag and I couldn't wait to do it. So without further adieu... 

What was your first introduction to Gilmore Girls? 
I remember watching the odd episode on TV when I was younger. Whenever I was channel surfing I would sometimes stumble across an episode and start watching. I'm pretty sure I saw them out of order so I wasn't really invested in it. A while ago I decided to start at the beginning which led to me being obsessed and binge watching.

Who is your favourite character and why?
Rory was always the character I felt kindred to. From being in high school, to college, to trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. I've just always felt like I could relate to her. I also admire her vast book collection.

Are you on Team Jess, Dean or Logan? Why?
Since I've started re watching it's either been Jess or Logan. I'm not really sure at the moment. I do feel like Jess & Rory had more in common, they're more alike. I think that whether or not they're in a romantic relationship they'll just be really good friends.

How many of the books have you read from Rory's reading list?
Somewhat ashamed to say only 6... And most of them were for English at school. Maybe I'll make this a goal.

Would you rather; only be allowed to drink coffee, or never be able to eat Pop Tarts again?
I'm not really a fan of either so I'll got with never being able to eat Pop Tarts again.  Seems like a win win.

Who is your least favourite character?
Dean. I just didn't like him. Everyone was like Dean is so great and reliable but I just felt like he was a jerk. He was always blaming Rory for everything and not taking responsibility. 

Are you on Team Luke, or Team Christopher?
I've always liked Christopher cause he's Rory's dad but Luke was obviously the one for Lorelai. He was always there when they needed him and most importantly supplied the coffee.

If you went to Stars Hollow, where would you most like to visit?
Everywhere, especially during one of the year round festivals. Would obviously stay at the Dragonfly Inn, visit Luke's, the bookstore, Taylor's candy store, Al's Pancake World for Chinese. All the places.

What would you steal from the Gilmore Girls set?
Hmm I don't really know. Nothing really comes to mind. Probably something belonging to Lorelai & Rory.

Finally, what do you hope happens in the revival?
I just hope the end up happy, regardless if they're in a relationship or not. The most important relationship was between Lorelai & Rory so I just hope that's stronger than ever. Emily is technically a Gilmore Girl so it would awesome if it just ends with the three of them together drinking coffee.

Feel free to do this tag if you want. I'd love to see your answers!

Ashley xx

For a while now I've been feeling bored with all the clothes that I own. I often feel like just throwing them all out and starting fresh. I've always wanted to have a style that is consistent and not all over the place, I don't always think about the 'bigger picture' and just get clothes that I like.

The style that really excites me about fashion is Parisian/preppy/classic/kind of casual. That probably makes so sense, I find it hard to describe these things. Since getting into blogging I've come across other blogs/bloggers and have discovered two which pretty much embody my wardrobe goals.

The first is Olivia from What Olivia Did... Pretty much every outfit post has me quickly adding clothes to my wishlist and longing to be somewhere were magical.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words here are some outfits of Olivia's which I adore.






Photos from Pinterest/What Olivia Did...

P.S | I absolutely love her post On Comparison. It's something I struggle with all the time, everyone should have a read.

The other blogger whose fashion I adore (or should I say J'adore) is Daphne from Mode and The City. Daphne is French as is her blog and while I can't understand what's written (a part from the somewhat help from Google translate) pictures need no translation and I've fallen in love with her style. 






Photos from Mode and the City

A part from the fashion another reason I love her photos is that Paris is the backdrop which just makes them even more magical.

While my description might of been a bit confusing hopefully the pictures clearly illustrate my wardrobe goals.

What are your wardrobe goals/style inspiration?

Ashley xx

Wardrobe Goals - Blogger Edition

Friday, 18 November 2016


For a while now I've been feeling bored with all the clothes that I own. I often feel like just throwing them all out and starting fresh. I've always wanted to have a style that is consistent and not all over the place, I don't always think about the 'bigger picture' and just get clothes that I like.

The style that really excites me about fashion is Parisian/preppy/classic/kind of casual. That probably makes so sense, I find it hard to describe these things. Since getting into blogging I've come across other blogs/bloggers and have discovered two which pretty much embody my wardrobe goals.

The first is Olivia from What Olivia Did... Pretty much every outfit post has me quickly adding clothes to my wishlist and longing to be somewhere were magical.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words here are some outfits of Olivia's which I adore.






Photos from Pinterest/What Olivia Did...

P.S | I absolutely love her post On Comparison. It's something I struggle with all the time, everyone should have a read.

The other blogger whose fashion I adore (or should I say J'adore) is Daphne from Mode and The City. Daphne is French as is her blog and while I can't understand what's written (a part from the somewhat help from Google translate) pictures need no translation and I've fallen in love with her style. 






Photos from Mode and the City

A part from the fashion another reason I love her photos is that Paris is the backdrop which just makes them even more magical.

While my description might of been a bit confusing hopefully the pictures clearly illustrate my wardrobe goals.

What are your wardrobe goals/style inspiration?

Ashley xx

As I mentioned last week another post that really got me inspired to write something was Zoella's Anxiety update. Zoe has shared her struggle with anxiety before and this post is an update, how she has been working to manage it.

I really related to the post as I myself deal with anxiety on a regular basis. I know what triggers it and as a result you avoid or turn down opportunities that you want to do but in your head the thought just starts a panic attack.

Like with Zoe this blog has allowed me some opportunities which are new, exciting and also anxiety inducing. The biggest one being going into an environment with new people and possibly having to make conversation. Usually it gets too much for me so I just choose to be by myself and not approach anyone. If I end up speaking to someone I start to panic and stutter which just makes me shut down and want to leave. 

It's very exhausting to compulsively think over how I'm going to act around people and what to say when people approach me. This is why I never ever want to be in a job involving customer service, I'll get panicked when someone asks me something especially when I don't know the answer. I hate being unprepared. 

In Zoe's update she mentions how she has started seeing a therapist and how it has slowing helped with her anxiety. Seeing a therapist is something I have seriously considered, my parents took me to one when I was 12 I think and it didn't go well. I'm not sure whether or not I had anxiety then but the issue they were concerned about still kind of affects me and is now a trigger. Another thing about me is that asking for something also triggers my anxiety. It could be anything. Asking someone to hang out, help from lecturer etc. I've always been more comfortable to figure it out on my own.

It's something I want to do, anxiety is this annoying blockage in my life and I'm over it.

Ashley xx

Posts that Inspire me: Anxiety - The Update by Zoella

Tuesday, 15 November 2016


As I mentioned last week another post that really got me inspired to write something was Zoella's Anxiety update. Zoe has shared her struggle with anxiety before and this post is an update, how she has been working to manage it.

I really related to the post as I myself deal with anxiety on a regular basis. I know what triggers it and as a result you avoid or turn down opportunities that you want to do but in your head the thought just starts a panic attack.

Like with Zoe this blog has allowed me some opportunities which are new, exciting and also anxiety inducing. The biggest one being going into an environment with new people and possibly having to make conversation. Usually it gets too much for me so I just choose to be by myself and not approach anyone. If I end up speaking to someone I start to panic and stutter which just makes me shut down and want to leave. 

It's very exhausting to compulsively think over how I'm going to act around people and what to say when people approach me. This is why I never ever want to be in a job involving customer service, I'll get panicked when someone asks me something especially when I don't know the answer. I hate being unprepared. 

In Zoe's update she mentions how she has started seeing a therapist and how it has slowing helped with her anxiety. Seeing a therapist is something I have seriously considered, my parents took me to one when I was 12 I think and it didn't go well. I'm not sure whether or not I had anxiety then but the issue they were concerned about still kind of affects me and is now a trigger. Another thing about me is that asking for something also triggers my anxiety. It could be anything. Asking someone to hang out, help from lecturer etc. I've always been more comfortable to figure it out on my own.

It's something I want to do, anxiety is this annoying blockage in my life and I'm over it.

Ashley xx

A couple nights or so ago I was trying to get to sleep which just means I was thinking about every single choice I've made in my life when I suddenly realised it was November and pretty much gave myself a heart attack. I knew it was November but in that moment I realised that the year is almost over and I'm not ready to for 2016 to end.  With this months books I've actually started two of them already, I'm getting better at estimating what books I can get through each month.

The Angel's Share by J.R. Ward*
I started reading this after a period piece book so in my head in was set in 19th century Kentucky. That bubble burst when there was mention of a Toyota truck... Now that I've started picturing it in the present day I've really gotten into it and am enjoying it. It's the second book in the Bourbon Kings series and like always I wondered if I would be at a disadvantage in not reading the first. So far I don't feel like I'm missing out on something, it feels just like a stand alone book with backstory that takes place before the narrative starts. 

The series follows the Bradford family who are the creme de la creme of soceity. Their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff that inevitably becomes embroiled in their affairs - especially now, as the apparent suicide of the family patriarch starts to look like murder...

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow*
This is the other book I've started to read and am also enjoying it so far. The story is set around Charlotte (Charlie Davis) who at seventeen has lost more than more people lose in a lifetime. But she's learned how to forget. Every new scar hardens Charlie's heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much.

The subject matter is very raw and honest and deals mental illness and how Charlie struggles with it. I haven't got much of the way through it yet but am captivated by Charlie's story. I also love the short excerpts/chapters which kind of illustrate her thought process.

Lord of the Darkwood: The Tale of Shiranoko by Lian Hearn*
The rightful emperor is lost. Shikanoko is condemned to live half man and half deer, an outlaw in the Darkwood. Yet the mighty lords who now rule the Eight Islands are prey to suspicion and illness, and drought and famine overrun the realm. Only Shikanoko can bring healing by restoring the preordained ruler to the Lotus Throne and only one person can bring him back from the Darkwood.

This is the last book in the Tale of Shikanoko series so once again I hope I'm not completely lost when I start reading. From reading the synopsis it sounds like fantasy with a bit of mythology which really appeals to me.

It was only every you by Kate Kerrigan*
This is one of the most recent books I've gotten and I was really drawn to the cover images as well as the premise of the story. The narrative is set around three women and one charismatic man set in 1950s New York. Both Ava Brogan & Shelia Klein are smitten with Patrick Murphy but do not know that his first great love from Ireland is on her way to New York determined to find him.

It felt kind of like a mystery to me, the outcomes of the tangled relationships. I love mysteries and really wanted to know the outcome.

What's on your reading list for November?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ & HarperCollins NZ

Books to Read in November

Friday, 11 November 2016


A couple nights or so ago I was trying to get to sleep which just means I was thinking about every single choice I've made in my life when I suddenly realised it was November and pretty much gave myself a heart attack. I knew it was November but in that moment I realised that the year is almost over and I'm not ready to for 2016 to end.  With this months books I've actually started two of them already, I'm getting better at estimating what books I can get through each month.

The Angel's Share by J.R. Ward*
I started reading this after a period piece book so in my head in was set in 19th century Kentucky. That bubble burst when there was mention of a Toyota truck... Now that I've started picturing it in the present day I've really gotten into it and am enjoying it. It's the second book in the Bourbon Kings series and like always I wondered if I would be at a disadvantage in not reading the first. So far I don't feel like I'm missing out on something, it feels just like a stand alone book with backstory that takes place before the narrative starts. 

The series follows the Bradford family who are the creme de la creme of soceity. Their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff that inevitably becomes embroiled in their affairs - especially now, as the apparent suicide of the family patriarch starts to look like murder...

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow*
This is the other book I've started to read and am also enjoying it so far. The story is set around Charlotte (Charlie Davis) who at seventeen has lost more than more people lose in a lifetime. But she's learned how to forget. Every new scar hardens Charlie's heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much.

The subject matter is very raw and honest and deals mental illness and how Charlie struggles with it. I haven't got much of the way through it yet but am captivated by Charlie's story. I also love the short excerpts/chapters which kind of illustrate her thought process.

Lord of the Darkwood: The Tale of Shiranoko by Lian Hearn*
The rightful emperor is lost. Shikanoko is condemned to live half man and half deer, an outlaw in the Darkwood. Yet the mighty lords who now rule the Eight Islands are prey to suspicion and illness, and drought and famine overrun the realm. Only Shikanoko can bring healing by restoring the preordained ruler to the Lotus Throne and only one person can bring him back from the Darkwood.

This is the last book in the Tale of Shikanoko series so once again I hope I'm not completely lost when I start reading. From reading the synopsis it sounds like fantasy with a bit of mythology which really appeals to me.

It was only every you by Kate Kerrigan*
This is one of the most recent books I've gotten and I was really drawn to the cover images as well as the premise of the story. The narrative is set around three women and one charismatic man set in 1950s New York. Both Ava Brogan & Shelia Klein are smitten with Patrick Murphy but do not know that his first great love from Ireland is on her way to New York determined to find him.

It felt kind of like a mystery to me, the outcomes of the tangled relationships. I love mysteries and really wanted to know the outcome.

What's on your reading list for November?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ & HarperCollins NZ

Every so often when I'm reading blogs I get this overwhelming sense to just write. Recently it happened with two different posts, this one as well as one on anxiety that will be up next week. Emma's writing has already compelled me to spill my thoughts onto paper, my thoughts on friendship, so it wasn't surprising that her post gave me the same impulse.

The post in question was Letters Live and is a write up about the event of the same name as well her thoughts on how special letters are.  It was her thoughts on letters that really inspired me. To me getting something in the mail is really exciting (hence why I love online shopping). I remember as a child writing letters to my grandparents, it was thrilling to send them off and get one in return. With email it's much faster to communicate with someone but as Emma puts it "there's nothing inspiring or romantic about refreshing our phones for messages".

Writing & sending letters is something that I really want to get back into. Getting a letter is so special and it's nice to sometimes take technology away from communicating with people. Now I just need people to write to...

I also loved reading about the Letters Live event. It sounds amazing and is just another reason why I want to move to London/Europe. 

Ashley xx

Posts that Inspire Me - Letters Live by Emma Gannon

Tuesday, 8 November 2016


Every so often when I'm reading blogs I get this overwhelming sense to just write. Recently it happened with two different posts, this one as well as one on anxiety that will be up next week. Emma's writing has already compelled me to spill my thoughts onto paper, my thoughts on friendship, so it wasn't surprising that her post gave me the same impulse.

The post in question was Letters Live and is a write up about the event of the same name as well her thoughts on how special letters are.  It was her thoughts on letters that really inspired me. To me getting something in the mail is really exciting (hence why I love online shopping). I remember as a child writing letters to my grandparents, it was thrilling to send them off and get one in return. With email it's much faster to communicate with someone but as Emma puts it "there's nothing inspiring or romantic about refreshing our phones for messages".

Writing & sending letters is something that I really want to get back into. Getting a letter is so special and it's nice to sometimes take technology away from communicating with people. Now I just need people to write to...

I also loved reading about the Letters Live event. It sounds amazing and is just another reason why I want to move to London/Europe. 

Ashley xx

Once again it's time for the monthly favourites post. I need to be more organised with these and make notes during the month of the things I am loving cause at the end of the month I usually forget everything. Then again the things I do remember must of been very loved since they've stayed in my mind.

Florence Grace by Tracy Rees*
I've just recently finished this but wish there was more. I absolutely loved Tracey's first book Amy Snow* and this one was no different. The story follows Florrie whose life completely changes when she finds out she's related to the Graces and moves from her simple country life to one that is complex & somewhat political in London. Her life is also complicated by her cousin Turlington and the feelings she has towards him.

Blog Re-brand
It's been just over a month since I completely updated the blog and I'm still in love with it. It didn't feel like a big change for me, obviously since I've been planning towards this for a long while and also because aside from the name and the design it's still the same old me writing this.

Museum/Art Gallery Tours
The Auckland Heritage Festival + Artweek were on during September/October & I manged to get tickets to a couple of behind the scenes tours. One was looking at the library/archives at the Maritime Museum and the other visiting the conservators at the Auckland Art Gallery. Archives & conservation, mostly of art, are areas that I'm really passionate about and would love to go into so I found the tours really amazing.

There was also a Emerging Professions conference which I attended and finally got to meet Cass. I wrote about all three events over on Alternative Spaces.

What were you loving in October?

Ashley xx
*Review copy

October Favourites

Thursday, 3 November 2016


Once again it's time for the monthly favourites post. I need to be more organised with these and make notes during the month of the things I am loving cause at the end of the month I usually forget everything. Then again the things I do remember must of been very loved since they've stayed in my mind.

Florence Grace by Tracy Rees*
I've just recently finished this but wish there was more. I absolutely loved Tracey's first book Amy Snow* and this one was no different. The story follows Florrie whose life completely changes when she finds out she's related to the Graces and moves from her simple country life to one that is complex & somewhat political in London. Her life is also complicated by her cousin Turlington and the feelings she has towards him.

Blog Re-brand
It's been just over a month since I completely updated the blog and I'm still in love with it. It didn't feel like a big change for me, obviously since I've been planning towards this for a long while and also because aside from the name and the design it's still the same old me writing this.

Museum/Art Gallery Tours
The Auckland Heritage Festival + Artweek were on during September/October & I manged to get tickets to a couple of behind the scenes tours. One was looking at the library/archives at the Maritime Museum and the other visiting the conservators at the Auckland Art Gallery. Archives & conservation, mostly of art, are areas that I'm really passionate about and would love to go into so I found the tours really amazing.

There was also a Emerging Professions conference which I attended and finally got to meet Cass. I wrote about all three events over on Alternative Spaces.

What were you loving in October?

Ashley xx
*Review copy

So this was suppose to go up on Friday but some stuff happened and I only managed to get the video up very early this morning.

It's been just over a month since I did a video and thought it was well overdue. It's another beauty one this time with a pink theme, it will make sense when you watch it.

Feel free to leave suggestions for what other videos I could do. I always need ideas.

Ashley xx


YouTube | Pink Inspired Makeup Look

Monday, 31 October 2016


So this was suppose to go up on Friday but some stuff happened and I only managed to get the video up very early this morning.

It's been just over a month since I did a video and thought it was well overdue. It's another beauty one this time with a pink theme, it will make sense when you watch it.

Feel free to leave suggestions for what other videos I could do. I always need ideas.

Ashley xx



Both of these books are a part of trilogies. Bay of Sighs* is the second in The Guardians Trilogy, following Stars of Fortune*, and The City of Mirrors* is the third is the Passage series. I have read Stars of Fortune as well as the first book in the Passage series but not the second one. I was worried I was at a disadvantage but at the start of the book there was a summary of sorts so I was caught up with all the important details.

Bay of Sighs picks up right where Stars of Fortune finished with the group arriving in Capri. While the first book was more from Sasha's perspective and relationship with Bran this one is from Annika's perspective looking at her relationship with Sawyer. So the books kind of focus on each central characters relationships as well as the quest the group is on as a whole.

Annika is an interesting character, she's new to the human world so her view is that of a child. She's always learning and she doesn't want to let her friends down. The story follows the same premise as the first aside from focusing on Annika & Sawyer's relationship. As with the first book this one ends when the group travel to their final destination, Ireland, where the last star is. It's also the home of Bran & Doyle, the last book will be in Doyle's perspective so that will be interesting given he's lived quite a long time.

Overall I enjoyed this book, it's easy to read which makes it great for dreary days such as today.

_________________________________________________________________________________

I first read the first book in the Passage series years ago and I remember being confused by it and found it hard to follow along. The book swaps between a number of perspectives, this trend continues to the last book. Unlike with the first I manged to keep up and wasn't entirely lost.

The series is dystopian and follows a group of people who have manged to survive after there was a viral outbreak a couple of centuries ago. I think there was a bit of a time jump between this and the last book, the characters in this book are a bit older and there hasn't been a viral sighting in 20 or so years.

The story gives a lot of backstory of Zero, the very first viral from which the disease came from thanks to some scientists. It was interesting to read about how the disease originated from a first hand account. Of course the virals hadn't disappeared all together so the remaining survivors battle to keep themselves safe from them and Amy, the girl who saves the world, confronts Zero.

I enjoyed it but found it more easy to get through if I had something else to read so I could switch between the two.

Have you read either of this books? What did you think of them?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ

Review | Bay of Sighs & The City of Mirrors

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Both of these books are a part of trilogies. Bay of Sighs* is the second in The Guardians Trilogy, following Stars of Fortune*, and The City of Mirrors* is the third is the Passage series. I have read Stars of Fortune as well as the first book in the Passage series but not the second one. I was worried I was at a disadvantage but at the start of the book there was a summary of sorts so I was caught up with all the important details.

Bay of Sighs picks up right where Stars of Fortune finished with the group arriving in Capri. While the first book was more from Sasha's perspective and relationship with Bran this one is from Annika's perspective looking at her relationship with Sawyer. So the books kind of focus on each central characters relationships as well as the quest the group is on as a whole.

Annika is an interesting character, she's new to the human world so her view is that of a child. She's always learning and she doesn't want to let her friends down. The story follows the same premise as the first aside from focusing on Annika & Sawyer's relationship. As with the first book this one ends when the group travel to their final destination, Ireland, where the last star is. It's also the home of Bran & Doyle, the last book will be in Doyle's perspective so that will be interesting given he's lived quite a long time.

Overall I enjoyed this book, it's easy to read which makes it great for dreary days such as today.

_________________________________________________________________________________

I first read the first book in the Passage series years ago and I remember being confused by it and found it hard to follow along. The book swaps between a number of perspectives, this trend continues to the last book. Unlike with the first I manged to keep up and wasn't entirely lost.

The series is dystopian and follows a group of people who have manged to survive after there was a viral outbreak a couple of centuries ago. I think there was a bit of a time jump between this and the last book, the characters in this book are a bit older and there hasn't been a viral sighting in 20 or so years.

The story gives a lot of backstory of Zero, the very first viral from which the disease came from thanks to some scientists. It was interesting to read about how the disease originated from a first hand account. Of course the virals hadn't disappeared all together so the remaining survivors battle to keep themselves safe from them and Amy, the girl who saves the world, confronts Zero.

I enjoyed it but found it more easy to get through if I had something else to read so I could switch between the two.

Have you read either of this books? What did you think of them?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ

I first heard about the Papergang subscription from Sophie when she did a post on July's box. It's a monthly subscription service and is from the people of Ohh Dear who just have the most gorgeous stationery and other things. As a lover of all things stationery I had to check it out especially when I found out that the August box had a marble theme. Unfortunately I missed out on that one and I got the September box which is animal themed. 

In September's box there was a My Week Turquoise Ombre Planner designed by Jamie Mitchell which immediately caught my eye. Each double page had the days of the week + a space to write all your appointments in. It's not dated which makes it less restrictive. The planner is inside a plastic cover which protects it and includes a cool feature. You can kind of see in the photo that the plastic juts out at the back, it doubles as a pencil case which is awesome and there's a slide zip thing to make sure all your pencils don't escape.

A zoological themed gift wrap designed by Jessica Willan was also included. The design is very cute with a variety of colourful animals wearing party hats. I really liked the two greeting cards especially the 'hedgehugging' one with two cute hedgehogs, it makes me go all mushy inside when I look at it.

Lastly there was a Riso printed calendar which I don't know what I'd do with it and some post it notes which have 'stop procrastinating' on the top which pretty much suits me as procrastinating is all I ever do.

Overall I liked the September box with the planner, cards & post it notes being the highlights. 

Have you tried out Papergang's subscription? What did you think?

Ashley xx

Papergang | September Box

Friday, 21 October 2016


I first heard about the Papergang subscription from Sophie when she did a post on July's box. It's a monthly subscription service and is from the people of Ohh Dear who just have the most gorgeous stationery and other things. As a lover of all things stationery I had to check it out especially when I found out that the August box had a marble theme. Unfortunately I missed out on that one and I got the September box which is animal themed. 

In September's box there was a My Week Turquoise Ombre Planner designed by Jamie Mitchell which immediately caught my eye. Each double page had the days of the week + a space to write all your appointments in. It's not dated which makes it less restrictive. The planner is inside a plastic cover which protects it and includes a cool feature. You can kind of see in the photo that the plastic juts out at the back, it doubles as a pencil case which is awesome and there's a slide zip thing to make sure all your pencils don't escape.

A zoological themed gift wrap designed by Jessica Willan was also included. The design is very cute with a variety of colourful animals wearing party hats. I really liked the two greeting cards especially the 'hedgehugging' one with two cute hedgehogs, it makes me go all mushy inside when I look at it.

Lastly there was a Riso printed calendar which I don't know what I'd do with it and some post it notes which have 'stop procrastinating' on the top which pretty much suits me as procrastinating is all I ever do.

Overall I liked the September box with the planner, cards & post it notes being the highlights. 

Have you tried out Papergang's subscription? What did you think?

Ashley xx

When these two arrived from HarperCollins NZ my interest was piqued. First of all I love the design of the covers and the tag lines 'Lives will be lost' & 'Sacrifices must be made' only made my interest grow.

They're a duology and are centered around Maggie Stevens who I describe as a secret agent of sorts. The setting of the books have a dystopian feel to them with people heavily relying on technology, predominantly and device called an 'M-Band' which acts as a phone, keys etc and can also determine who your perfect match is.

Of course there are downsides to this technology and after her father was taken Maggie puts it upon her self to uncover the dark side of the Mercer Corporation (who make the M-Bands) and to find her father.

The first book, Disruption*, follows Maggie in her quest. Part of her plan revolves around Quentin Mercer, son of the founders of M-Corp, and she tricks him in order for him to help her. To cut a long story short Maggie is surprised with what she uncovers, her lies are exposed, and is betrayed by the person she loved the most.

Corruption* picks up where the first book ended and now Maggie is back at square one but in an even more dangerous place. With the help of Quentin & Gus, a hacker who she was blackmailing, they work to once again uncover what M-Corp is doing and to bring them down.

Overall I enjoyed the series and the theme of technology with how people heavily rely on it (which pretty much mirrors real life). Maggie was a cool character, she relies on no one and does whatever (blackmail, lying) in order to get things done. She's so set on her path that she kind of isolates herself, mostly from her family though that's also to protect them. Even when she discovers her worst nightmare she still gets back up, with the help of Quentin & Gus, and tries to finish what she started. 

Have you read the series? What did you think?

Ashley xx
*Review copies

Review | Disruption & Corruption

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


When these two arrived from HarperCollins NZ my interest was piqued. First of all I love the design of the covers and the tag lines 'Lives will be lost' & 'Sacrifices must be made' only made my interest grow.

They're a duology and are centered around Maggie Stevens who I describe as a secret agent of sorts. The setting of the books have a dystopian feel to them with people heavily relying on technology, predominantly and device called an 'M-Band' which acts as a phone, keys etc and can also determine who your perfect match is.

Of course there are downsides to this technology and after her father was taken Maggie puts it upon her self to uncover the dark side of the Mercer Corporation (who make the M-Bands) and to find her father.

The first book, Disruption*, follows Maggie in her quest. Part of her plan revolves around Quentin Mercer, son of the founders of M-Corp, and she tricks him in order for him to help her. To cut a long story short Maggie is surprised with what she uncovers, her lies are exposed, and is betrayed by the person she loved the most.

Corruption* picks up where the first book ended and now Maggie is back at square one but in an even more dangerous place. With the help of Quentin & Gus, a hacker who she was blackmailing, they work to once again uncover what M-Corp is doing and to bring them down.

Overall I enjoyed the series and the theme of technology with how people heavily rely on it (which pretty much mirrors real life). Maggie was a cool character, she relies on no one and does whatever (blackmail, lying) in order to get things done. She's so set on her path that she kind of isolates herself, mostly from her family though that's also to protect them. Even when she discovers her worst nightmare she still gets back up, with the help of Quentin & Gus, and tries to finish what she started. 

Have you read the series? What did you think?

Ashley xx
*Review copies

It's fair to admit that I'm a stationery addict. I just love it all; notebooks, journals, washi tape, diaries etc etc. I love them all. I've also come to realise that while I love collecting them I do not like actually using them, I just can't bring myself to tarnish them with my writing.

I recently went to a preview of the new collections for The Warehouse Stationery so I was inspired to share my little collection.

Marble notebook with Gold lettering
Ok so when I was taking the photo I totally forgot to add it in. It was in another place in my room and if I don't see it I forget about it. You can see it in this post, I got it from Once'it and there were a variety of phrases on the cover. I chose 'Oh the Places you'll go' cause it gives me a sense of wanderlust. Like I said, I'm hesitant in writing in it so the thing I mainly use it for is as a background for photos cause who doesn't love a marble background.

Flower Notebook
I got this from the Whitcoulls that was in the Auckland Downtown Westfield, R.I.P. I got it in the closing down sale, it was 50% off so I thought why not. I just think it is gorgeous, I just love floral designs and I am fond of a pink flower on a darker background.

Brown Notebook
I got this from Daiso which is the most amazing Japanese store in Auckland. They've got everything, especially a good range of stationery. The brown notebook I got has a blue spine (see my instagram post) but there were other colours. I'm using it for my 'bullet journal' so I write all the stuff I need to do in there.

Watermelon Notebook
I got this from Typo last year and I intended to use it for the placement I was going to do. I ended up getting another notebook for it and I've used this one is a journal (I haven't written an entry in a while though) and to just write random stuff.

Rose Gold Uniti Rose Gold Notebook*
I got this at The Warehouse Stationery event last Wednesday and I'm love with it. The Uniti Rose Gold collection is new for Summer 2016/17 and is in store from November. The Rose Gold basket* is also from Uniti and I'm obsessed. Basically I'm obsessed with anything rose gold, hence the colour of my logo.

Are you obsessed with stationery? What are you favourites?

Ashley xx
*Gifted

For the Love of Stationery

Friday, 14 October 2016


It's fair to admit that I'm a stationery addict. I just love it all; notebooks, journals, washi tape, diaries etc etc. I love them all. I've also come to realise that while I love collecting them I do not like actually using them, I just can't bring myself to tarnish them with my writing.

I recently went to a preview of the new collections for The Warehouse Stationery so I was inspired to share my little collection.

Marble notebook with Gold lettering
Ok so when I was taking the photo I totally forgot to add it in. It was in another place in my room and if I don't see it I forget about it. You can see it in this post, I got it from Once'it and there were a variety of phrases on the cover. I chose 'Oh the Places you'll go' cause it gives me a sense of wanderlust. Like I said, I'm hesitant in writing in it so the thing I mainly use it for is as a background for photos cause who doesn't love a marble background.

Flower Notebook
I got this from the Whitcoulls that was in the Auckland Downtown Westfield, R.I.P. I got it in the closing down sale, it was 50% off so I thought why not. I just think it is gorgeous, I just love floral designs and I am fond of a pink flower on a darker background.

Brown Notebook
I got this from Daiso which is the most amazing Japanese store in Auckland. They've got everything, especially a good range of stationery. The brown notebook I got has a blue spine (see my instagram post) but there were other colours. I'm using it for my 'bullet journal' so I write all the stuff I need to do in there.

Watermelon Notebook
I got this from Typo last year and I intended to use it for the placement I was going to do. I ended up getting another notebook for it and I've used this one is a journal (I haven't written an entry in a while though) and to just write random stuff.

Rose Gold Uniti Rose Gold Notebook*
I got this at The Warehouse Stationery event last Wednesday and I'm love with it. The Uniti Rose Gold collection is new for Summer 2016/17 and is in store from November. The Rose Gold basket* is also from Uniti and I'm obsessed. Basically I'm obsessed with anything rose gold, hence the colour of my logo.

Are you obsessed with stationery? What are you favourites?

Ashley xx
*Gifted

It's been a while since I've done this as a post mostly because I didn't have time to get the camera out and psyche myself up to film so this month is going old school. I somehow manged to get through the books I mentioned last month/ I'm still reading them which is pretty good for me.  

I'm not planning on reading many books this month as one is pretty lengthy so it will take some time especially since I've haven't been reading most days *oops*.

Florence Grace by Tracey Rees*
Florrie Buckley is an orphan, living on the wind-blasted moors of Cornwall. She thinks her destiny is set in stone. But when Florrie is fifteen, she inherits a never imagined secret. She is related to a wealthy and notorious family, the Graces. Overnight, Florrie's life changes and she moves from country to city, from poverty to wealth. Cut off from everyone she has ever known, Florrie struggles to learn the rules of this strange new world.

Amy Snow*, which was Tracey Rees's first novel, was the first book I ever reviewed for Hachette NZ. I absolutely loved it so I'm excited to start reading Florrie's story.

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee*
New York City, 2118. The upper floors of a glittering thousand-storey super-tower are home to the rich, beautiful and ruthless. And right at the top is Avery Fuller, the genetically-designed beauty with the perfect penthouse life. Avery's world is set to come crashing down. Lies, betrayals and secret liaisons culminate in a scandal that ensnares everyone.

The book sounds like a future Gossip Girl which I am down for, god I loved that show.

That's all the books I'm planning on reading this month but I'm also going to mention some of the new books I've been sent.

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow*
This was sent from HarperCollins NZ and sounds similar to The Girls by Emma Cline* & Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman* in that the story follows a girl who isn't one of those girls who got by on smarts, athleticism or the ones who had it easy. I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Edmonds Cookery Book*
This is the 69th edition and is pretty much a saple in almost every New Zealand household. I have no idea how old my mother's version is but it's always my first port of call when I'm in the mood to bake so I'm excited to try out some recipes.

The Midas Legacy by Andy McDermott*
The book has a fantasy/mythological theme to it with Atlantis as well as a National Treasure (the movies) feel with the whole 'secret codex' and adventure aspect. The book is the twelfth in the Wide/Chase series, hopefully I won't be too lost when I start reading.

What books are on your reading list for October?

Ashley xx
*Review copies

Books to Read in October

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


It's been a while since I've done this as a post mostly because I didn't have time to get the camera out and psyche myself up to film so this month is going old school. I somehow manged to get through the books I mentioned last month/ I'm still reading them which is pretty good for me.  

I'm not planning on reading many books this month as one is pretty lengthy so it will take some time especially since I've haven't been reading most days *oops*.

Florence Grace by Tracey Rees*
Florrie Buckley is an orphan, living on the wind-blasted moors of Cornwall. She thinks her destiny is set in stone. But when Florrie is fifteen, she inherits a never imagined secret. She is related to a wealthy and notorious family, the Graces. Overnight, Florrie's life changes and she moves from country to city, from poverty to wealth. Cut off from everyone she has ever known, Florrie struggles to learn the rules of this strange new world.

Amy Snow*, which was Tracey Rees's first novel, was the first book I ever reviewed for Hachette NZ. I absolutely loved it so I'm excited to start reading Florrie's story.

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee*
New York City, 2118. The upper floors of a glittering thousand-storey super-tower are home to the rich, beautiful and ruthless. And right at the top is Avery Fuller, the genetically-designed beauty with the perfect penthouse life. Avery's world is set to come crashing down. Lies, betrayals and secret liaisons culminate in a scandal that ensnares everyone.

The book sounds like a future Gossip Girl which I am down for, god I loved that show.

That's all the books I'm planning on reading this month but I'm also going to mention some of the new books I've been sent.

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow*
This was sent from HarperCollins NZ and sounds similar to The Girls by Emma Cline* & Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman* in that the story follows a girl who isn't one of those girls who got by on smarts, athleticism or the ones who had it easy. I'm really looking forward to reading it.

Edmonds Cookery Book*
This is the 69th edition and is pretty much a saple in almost every New Zealand household. I have no idea how old my mother's version is but it's always my first port of call when I'm in the mood to bake so I'm excited to try out some recipes.

The Midas Legacy by Andy McDermott*
The book has a fantasy/mythological theme to it with Atlantis as well as a National Treasure (the movies) feel with the whole 'secret codex' and adventure aspect. The book is the twelfth in the Wide/Chase series, hopefully I won't be too lost when I start reading.

What books are on your reading list for October?

Ashley xx
*Review copies

This is the first real post for the blog since its update. Nothings changed really, the posts are exactly the same a part from being displayed in a more aesthetic way. September was the same old same old with last week not being the best. However there were some things which I loved, mostly beauty and books as you can see, during the month and thought it was time to do my September favourites.

Ctrl, Alt; Delete by Emma Gannon
I put up a review of the book last month as well as a piece of writing I was inspired to do while reading the book. I absolutely loved this book. Emma shares short essays about her experiences growing up with the internet which are humorous and invokes nostalgia. I related to a lot of her experiences especially since social media is now an important tool I use for the blog everyday. Everyone needs to get a copy and reminisce about the days of MSN and dial up internet.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer*
I'll be putting up a review of the book this month so look out for that. I had a similar feeling reading this book as I did with Ctrl, Alt; Delete, it was so nice to read books where the writers just wrote the unfiltered truth and was just frank about it. Amy writes about a number of experiences, a lot of them tough, such as her Dad's illness and also working tirelessly in a largely male dominated industry. I specifically enjoyed her chapter on being an introvert and was like yes to everything. I'm always wary of spending too much time with "energy sucking vampires" aka people.

Maybelline Super Stay 24hr Longwear Foundation* & Super Stay Better Skin Powder Foundation*
I'm usually lazy when it comes to doing my makeup. I would rather have more time sleeping in the morning so I pretty much quickly throw the basic stuff on. Lately I've been using this Maybelline foundation instead of my usual Revlon Colourstay as I've found it's not as heavy and is less thicker so it is easier to blend in. The shade I have (05 Light Beige) is a bit too light for me but it still works great and I find it brighten ups my skin and does a good job of hiding redness.

While the Better Skin is a powder foundation I tend to use it as a concealer and I find it does a great job in covering spots and redness that the liquid foundation didn't cover. It's easy to use and adds an extra layer of cover to the foundation.

I used these two products in my Maybelline only makeup look which is the latest video on my YouTube channel.

What have you been loving in September?

Ashley xx
*Review copy/Gifted
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

September Favourites

Tuesday, 4 October 2016


This is the first real post for the blog since its update. Nothings changed really, the posts are exactly the same a part from being displayed in a more aesthetic way. September was the same old same old with last week not being the best. However there were some things which I loved, mostly beauty and books as you can see, during the month and thought it was time to do my September favourites.

Ctrl, Alt; Delete by Emma Gannon
I put up a review of the book last month as well as a piece of writing I was inspired to do while reading the book. I absolutely loved this book. Emma shares short essays about her experiences growing up with the internet which are humorous and invokes nostalgia. I related to a lot of her experiences especially since social media is now an important tool I use for the blog everyday. Everyone needs to get a copy and reminisce about the days of MSN and dial up internet.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer*
I'll be putting up a review of the book this month so look out for that. I had a similar feeling reading this book as I did with Ctrl, Alt; Delete, it was so nice to read books where the writers just wrote the unfiltered truth and was just frank about it. Amy writes about a number of experiences, a lot of them tough, such as her Dad's illness and also working tirelessly in a largely male dominated industry. I specifically enjoyed her chapter on being an introvert and was like yes to everything. I'm always wary of spending too much time with "energy sucking vampires" aka people.

Maybelline Super Stay 24hr Longwear Foundation* & Super Stay Better Skin Powder Foundation*
I'm usually lazy when it comes to doing my makeup. I would rather have more time sleeping in the morning so I pretty much quickly throw the basic stuff on. Lately I've been using this Maybelline foundation instead of my usual Revlon Colourstay as I've found it's not as heavy and is less thicker so it is easier to blend in. The shade I have (05 Light Beige) is a bit too light for me but it still works great and I find it brighten ups my skin and does a good job of hiding redness.

While the Better Skin is a powder foundation I tend to use it as a concealer and I find it does a great job in covering spots and redness that the liquid foundation didn't cover. It's easy to use and adds an extra layer of cover to the foundation.

I used these two products in my Maybelline only makeup look which is the latest video on my YouTube channel.

What have you been loving in September?

Ashley xx
*Review copy/Gifted
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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