Wednesday was the day in which I finally went and marvelled at the current exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery. The Corsini Collection: A Window On Renaissance Florence truly excited me as it's very rare (not at all) that works from this time period actually go on tour let alone come here. The Italian Renaissance was basically my main area of interest at uni, I did my dissertation on a series of Renaissance works by Titian. As surmised by the name of the exhibition the works are from the collection of the Corsini family who were a family of prominence in Florence. A contemporary family of theirs was the Medici who I first studied all the way back in high school. I don't recall ever hearing about the Corsini family which is interesting given how influential they were in Florence.

The first three rooms were kind of in chronological order. The first thing you see is the Corsini family tree and starts off with the Renaissance and moves towards the Baroque period. As well as paintings there were examples of cookware as well as 19th-century costumes members of the family wore which was amazing. A dining table was set up in one room which was accompanied by operatic music and there were also drawings & prints from the collection. The last room of the exhibition nicely combined the two worlds with works from the gallery collection displayed which tied into the rest of the exhibition.

Photography (not flash) was allowed so I took a couple of pictures of the works I loved the most.


Copy, preparatory sketch of 'Portrait of Pope Julius II della Rovere' by Raphael. 1511-12


'Saint Simon' by Tintoretto, c. 1585


'Saint Andrea Corsini' by Guercino, 1630

As you can see from the title the Corsini family can boast about having a family member made a saint. Another thing about the painting are the obvious bullet holes, I overheard the story from a tour that was happening. So during WW2 the Nazi's just took artworks from museums & homes. To combat this Princess Elena Corsini drove a truck with the paintings to the family villa of Le Corti. They were hidden behind a false wall and this painting was hung on it to protect the collection. When the Germans arrived they saw the wet plaster and having not enough time to dismantle the wall they shot at it believing people to be in the room. None of the paintings inside were damaged so the family saint really did protect them. 


'Madonna and Child with Six Angels' by Botticelli and Workshop, c. 1500


'Portrait of Maffeo Barberini' by Caravaggio, c. 1597


Costume worn by Anna Barberini Corsini, 1887


Unsurprisingly I highly recommend this exhibition, it's absolutely amazing to see works of artists I studied throughout my time at university. I loved it so much I even bought the exhibition catalogue, so now I can just flick through the book and reminisce.

The exhibition is on until 21 January 2018 and the admission is $19 for adults.

Have you seen the Corsini exhibition?

Ashley xx

The Corsini Collection: A Window On Renaissance Florence | Auckland Art Gallery

Friday, 17 November 2017


Wednesday was the day in which I finally went and marvelled at the current exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery. The Corsini Collection: A Window On Renaissance Florence truly excited me as it's very rare (not at all) that works from this time period actually go on tour let alone come here. The Italian Renaissance was basically my main area of interest at uni, I did my dissertation on a series of Renaissance works by Titian. As surmised by the name of the exhibition the works are from the collection of the Corsini family who were a family of prominence in Florence. A contemporary family of theirs was the Medici who I first studied all the way back in high school. I don't recall ever hearing about the Corsini family which is interesting given how influential they were in Florence.

The first three rooms were kind of in chronological order. The first thing you see is the Corsini family tree and starts off with the Renaissance and moves towards the Baroque period. As well as paintings there were examples of cookware as well as 19th-century costumes members of the family wore which was amazing. A dining table was set up in one room which was accompanied by operatic music and there were also drawings & prints from the collection. The last room of the exhibition nicely combined the two worlds with works from the gallery collection displayed which tied into the rest of the exhibition.

Photography (not flash) was allowed so I took a couple of pictures of the works I loved the most.


Copy, preparatory sketch of 'Portrait of Pope Julius II della Rovere' by Raphael. 1511-12


'Saint Simon' by Tintoretto, c. 1585


'Saint Andrea Corsini' by Guercino, 1630

As you can see from the title the Corsini family can boast about having a family member made a saint. Another thing about the painting are the obvious bullet holes, I overheard the story from a tour that was happening. So during WW2 the Nazi's just took artworks from museums & homes. To combat this Princess Elena Corsini drove a truck with the paintings to the family villa of Le Corti. They were hidden behind a false wall and this painting was hung on it to protect the collection. When the Germans arrived they saw the wet plaster and having not enough time to dismantle the wall they shot at it believing people to be in the room. None of the paintings inside were damaged so the family saint really did protect them. 


'Madonna and Child with Six Angels' by Botticelli and Workshop, c. 1500


'Portrait of Maffeo Barberini' by Caravaggio, c. 1597


Costume worn by Anna Barberini Corsini, 1887


Unsurprisingly I highly recommend this exhibition, it's absolutely amazing to see works of artists I studied throughout my time at university. I loved it so much I even bought the exhibition catalogue, so now I can just flick through the book and reminisce.

The exhibition is on until 21 January 2018 and the admission is $19 for adults.

Have you seen the Corsini exhibition?

Ashley xx

I've always viewed op-shopping through rose tinted glasses. I'd always imagine going in and being surround by amazing one-off pieces of clothing. Off course that never really happens and the chances of it being in your size is a miracle. In the past, I haven't done much op-shopping but now I'm really into it. 

Ok, skip to a couple of weeks ago or so and I'd just finished up at the museum. I was just wandering up and down the Great South Road when I happen to glance towards Selwyn Arcade and saw a second-hand shop which I'm pretty sure was not there before. I decided to go over and have a look through the clothing racks. I saw some things which took my fancy but then I discovered this gem and honestly couldn't believe my luck. Blazers are an item which I'm obsessed with and I've been hunting for one for the longest time. 


It's navy blue and is a bit longer than a regular blazer (I'm pretty sure it's a mens one but who cares). There are shoulder pads and it's got pockets at the front and also inside which is great cause who doesn't love places to put stuff.



The buttons look as though they've got seahorses on them which is cool. On one side of the breast pockets, it has an 'Oxford' patch on it. I'm not sure if this is the brand or something. There's also a rowing picture so maybe it's a club jacket?? The size wasn't on it so I quickly tried it on, it's a bit tight but the fact it was $10 and amazing I, of course, had to have it. 

Now that I've got a taste for it I'm eager to hunt out my next gem.

Have you found any op-shop gems?

Ashley xx

Vintage Finds

Tuesday, 14 November 2017


I've always viewed op-shopping through rose tinted glasses. I'd always imagine going in and being surround by amazing one-off pieces of clothing. Off course that never really happens and the chances of it being in your size is a miracle. In the past, I haven't done much op-shopping but now I'm really into it. 

Ok, skip to a couple of weeks ago or so and I'd just finished up at the museum. I was just wandering up and down the Great South Road when I happen to glance towards Selwyn Arcade and saw a second-hand shop which I'm pretty sure was not there before. I decided to go over and have a look through the clothing racks. I saw some things which took my fancy but then I discovered this gem and honestly couldn't believe my luck. Blazers are an item which I'm obsessed with and I've been hunting for one for the longest time. 


It's navy blue and is a bit longer than a regular blazer (I'm pretty sure it's a mens one but who cares). There are shoulder pads and it's got pockets at the front and also inside which is great cause who doesn't love places to put stuff.



The buttons look as though they've got seahorses on them which is cool. On one side of the breast pockets, it has an 'Oxford' patch on it. I'm not sure if this is the brand or something. There's also a rowing picture so maybe it's a club jacket?? The size wasn't on it so I quickly tried it on, it's a bit tight but the fact it was $10 and amazing I, of course, had to have it. 

Now that I've got a taste for it I'm eager to hunt out my next gem.

Have you found any op-shop gems?

Ashley xx

Fragrance is one of the things I always remember to put on every day. Currently I rotate six different ones, mostly overlapping each other. The majority of them are the 'celebrity' ones (Britney Spears) but I've always coveted the range of higher end fragrances. So far only two have joined my collection but I'm always lusting after them all.




YSL Black Opium
I bought this earlier in the year with a pharmacy voucher that was gathering dust. I had seen other beauty bloggers rave about it so wanted to see what the fuss was about. While at the counter I was tossing up between this one & the floral edition. They kind of smelled the same to me and ended up going with this one. I love the design of the bottle, a very dark glittery purple and the 50 ml is a nice size. So it turns out I did a post on this in March, I describe the notes & stuff there so have a look at that. It's currently in rotation and I love the darker floral scent to it.

Daisy by Marc Jacobs
I've wanted this fragrance for the longest time and when my parents asked me if there were any perfumes I wanted from America I immediately said this. They actually brought back a set which had a 100 ml bottle, a 10 ml roll-on & a bottle of lotion. As yet I haven't worn it, I'm gonna wait till one of my usuals has run out. It smells amazing which is not surprising considering it has notes of wild strawberry, gardenia & jasmine.

What high-end fragrances do you love?

Ashley xx

High-End Fragrances

Thursday, 9 November 2017


Fragrance is one of the things I always remember to put on every day. Currently I rotate six different ones, mostly overlapping each other. The majority of them are the 'celebrity' ones (Britney Spears) but I've always coveted the range of higher end fragrances. So far only two have joined my collection but I'm always lusting after them all.




YSL Black Opium
I bought this earlier in the year with a pharmacy voucher that was gathering dust. I had seen other beauty bloggers rave about it so wanted to see what the fuss was about. While at the counter I was tossing up between this one & the floral edition. They kind of smelled the same to me and ended up going with this one. I love the design of the bottle, a very dark glittery purple and the 50 ml is a nice size. So it turns out I did a post on this in March, I describe the notes & stuff there so have a look at that. It's currently in rotation and I love the darker floral scent to it.

Daisy by Marc Jacobs
I've wanted this fragrance for the longest time and when my parents asked me if there were any perfumes I wanted from America I immediately said this. They actually brought back a set which had a 100 ml bottle, a 10 ml roll-on & a bottle of lotion. As yet I haven't worn it, I'm gonna wait till one of my usuals has run out. It smells amazing which is not surprising considering it has notes of wild strawberry, gardenia & jasmine.

What high-end fragrances do you love?

Ashley xx


I know it's typical to curl up with a book when it's cold but as it's heading into the warmer months when all you want to be is outside reading is turned into a more conscious decision. I often have times of the day blocked off in my head that's for making some headway in the works currently beside my bed. It's kind of like a job if only I was paid.


Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau*
Following October's fantasy heavy books it's only right to follow up with another fantasy novel, right? I started this soon after finishing Godblind* and the stories have similar themes. Both are concerned with a monarchy and who will be the one to inherit it. In Eden twins, Carys & Andreus were never destined to rule until their older brother and father are killed. The line of succession is no longer clear and the twins have to take part in a Trial of Succession. The twins are really close so it will be interesting to see how their relationship is tested throughout the book.



But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure*
This is the sequel to This Raging Light which I haven't read but I think they're kind of like stand-alone type books. This story follows Eden who finds her life plan in tatters after waking up from a coma. For her family & friends nothing has really changed but for Eden, everything has which is understandable considering. She also gains this strange relationship with a fellow coma patient who she somehow met while unconscious. I am part way through so far and am finding the story interesting.

These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper*
But Then I Came Back* isn't that long so I think I'll be able to start this later on in the month. These Dividing Walls focuses on an apartment style building in Paris and follows the lives of the people that live there. A woman with silver-blonde hair opens her bookshop downstairs, an old man feeds the sparrows on his windowsill & new arrival Edward takes his place in an attic room to wait out his grief. As a daily daydreamer of Paris, I am very much looking forward to this book and the mental images it will conjure up.

What are you planning to read this month?

Ashley xx
* Review copies from HarperCollins NZ & Hachette NZ

Books to Read in November

Tuesday, 7 November 2017


I know it's typical to curl up with a book when it's cold but as it's heading into the warmer months when all you want to be is outside reading is turned into a more conscious decision. I often have times of the day blocked off in my head that's for making some headway in the works currently beside my bed. It's kind of like a job if only I was paid.


Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau*
Following October's fantasy heavy books it's only right to follow up with another fantasy novel, right? I started this soon after finishing Godblind* and the stories have similar themes. Both are concerned with a monarchy and who will be the one to inherit it. In Eden twins, Carys & Andreus were never destined to rule until their older brother and father are killed. The line of succession is no longer clear and the twins have to take part in a Trial of Succession. The twins are really close so it will be interesting to see how their relationship is tested throughout the book.



But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure*
This is the sequel to This Raging Light which I haven't read but I think they're kind of like stand-alone type books. This story follows Eden who finds her life plan in tatters after waking up from a coma. For her family & friends nothing has really changed but for Eden, everything has which is understandable considering. She also gains this strange relationship with a fellow coma patient who she somehow met while unconscious. I am part way through so far and am finding the story interesting.

These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper*
But Then I Came Back* isn't that long so I think I'll be able to start this later on in the month. These Dividing Walls focuses on an apartment style building in Paris and follows the lives of the people that live there. A woman with silver-blonde hair opens her bookshop downstairs, an old man feeds the sparrows on his windowsill & new arrival Edward takes his place in an attic room to wait out his grief. As a daily daydreamer of Paris, I am very much looking forward to this book and the mental images it will conjure up.

What are you planning to read this month?

Ashley xx
* Review copies from HarperCollins NZ & Hachette NZ

This gets repeated at the start of every month but the fact that it's the second to last month of the year doesn't feel real. I don't really have a feel for what time of the year it is really, just that it's nowhere near the end. As usual, my favourites are a bit random so sit back and enjoy.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor*
The size of this book did intimidate me at first but once I started getting into it I almost could'nt put it down. The story is told from the perspective of two characters mostly. Lazlo, an orphan librarian who grabs the chance to travel to a place he's been fascinated with his whole life & Sarai, godspawn, who as well as her friends have been hiding most of their lives. The story has a fantastical element to it which is elevated with the heavy descriptive language. I'll do a review later on sometime in the near future.

Estée & Aslan's Santorini vlogs
Estée & Aslan went on a little trip to Greece and OMG Santorini is one of the most beautiful places ever. I'm obsessed and I need to go there. The whole place is Instagramable. Estée vlogged the first day of the trip on her channel while Aslan did a video of the second day. These have to be the best vlogs I've watched in a while.

Recycled Movie Costumes on Tumblr
I discovered this account/blog during one of my mindless wanders through Tumblr. Recycled Movie Costumes just basically shows dresses, accessories etc that have been reused for different TV shows or movies. I don't know, I just find it interesting seeing costumes pop up in multiple shows.

Paolo Sebastian Spring/Summer 2018
As you all know anything Disney related I absolutely love. So of course when I saw that Paolo Sebastian had created Disney inspired gowns I fell in love instantly. They're all so gorgeous & whimsical, I would be the happiest person on earth if I ever got a dress like those. 

What are your October Favourites?

Ashley xx
*Review copy from Hachette NZ

October Favourites

Thursday, 2 November 2017


This gets repeated at the start of every month but the fact that it's the second to last month of the year doesn't feel real. I don't really have a feel for what time of the year it is really, just that it's nowhere near the end. As usual, my favourites are a bit random so sit back and enjoy.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor*
The size of this book did intimidate me at first but once I started getting into it I almost could'nt put it down. The story is told from the perspective of two characters mostly. Lazlo, an orphan librarian who grabs the chance to travel to a place he's been fascinated with his whole life & Sarai, godspawn, who as well as her friends have been hiding most of their lives. The story has a fantastical element to it which is elevated with the heavy descriptive language. I'll do a review later on sometime in the near future.

Estée & Aslan's Santorini vlogs
Estée & Aslan went on a little trip to Greece and OMG Santorini is one of the most beautiful places ever. I'm obsessed and I need to go there. The whole place is Instagramable. Estée vlogged the first day of the trip on her channel while Aslan did a video of the second day. These have to be the best vlogs I've watched in a while.

Recycled Movie Costumes on Tumblr
I discovered this account/blog during one of my mindless wanders through Tumblr. Recycled Movie Costumes just basically shows dresses, accessories etc that have been reused for different TV shows or movies. I don't know, I just find it interesting seeing costumes pop up in multiple shows.

Paolo Sebastian Spring/Summer 2018
As you all know anything Disney related I absolutely love. So of course when I saw that Paolo Sebastian had created Disney inspired gowns I fell in love instantly. They're all so gorgeous & whimsical, I would be the happiest person on earth if I ever got a dress like those. 

What are your October Favourites?

Ashley xx
*Review copy from Hachette NZ

For me, passion & motivation go hand in hand. If I'm passionate about something I'm therefore more motivated to do it or work towards it. Some of the time this passion comes in short bursts. I have an idea, get excited about it, make plans but it ends up fizzling out. The idea is still in the back of my mind but my passion and therefore motivation is gone.

Like with everyone figuring out what I wanted to do with my life was the most stressful thing. For me I felt like I was in limbo, stuck with no way out. Around this time last year, I finally figured out my career goal and is something that still excites me when I think about it. I've come up with a plan of sorts to get there which for me makes it less stressful, knowing my way through the maze.

The topic of passion & motivation is one that I'm always drawn to and I'm thinking of doing a guest post series kind of. I just have to come up with questions which are the hard part.

I did a video on this and I talk more in-depth about what gets me passionate & motivated to do stuff. If you haven't already I would love it if you could subscribe to my YouTube channel.

What makes you passionate & motivated?

Ashley xx



Passion & Motivation

Tuesday, 31 October 2017


For me, passion & motivation go hand in hand. If I'm passionate about something I'm therefore more motivated to do it or work towards it. Some of the time this passion comes in short bursts. I have an idea, get excited about it, make plans but it ends up fizzling out. The idea is still in the back of my mind but my passion and therefore motivation is gone.

Like with everyone figuring out what I wanted to do with my life was the most stressful thing. For me I felt like I was in limbo, stuck with no way out. Around this time last year, I finally figured out my career goal and is something that still excites me when I think about it. I've come up with a plan of sorts to get there which for me makes it less stressful, knowing my way through the maze.

The topic of passion & motivation is one that I'm always drawn to and I'm thinking of doing a guest post series kind of. I just have to come up with questions which are the hard part.

I did a video on this and I talk more in-depth about what gets me passionate & motivated to do stuff. If you haven't already I would love it if you could subscribe to my YouTube channel.

What makes you passionate & motivated?

Ashley xx




I had two very different experiences with these books. With one I couldn't put it down and was completely enthralled in the story while the other made me go at a slower pace in order to completely take on board the info. I should note that one's fiction and the other non-fiction, it seems I'm still hung up on my habits from uni to make sure I get all the points.



The Alice Network by Kate Quinn*
The story goes between events during WW1 and just after WW2. In 1915 Eve is recruited to work as a spy and is sent to Nazi-occupied France. There she joins 'The Alice Network', led by Lilli who is the 'queen of spies'. The women receive intel which then gets relayed back to their superiors in the hopes of ending the war. In 1947, Charlie takes a detour and heads to England to enlist the help of Eve to find her cousin. While dealing with her own 'little problem' Charlie pushes it aside in order to discover what happened to Rose and along the way learns what Eve went through during the war.

I absolutely enjoyed this book and like I mentioned earlier couldn't put it down. I also love how it's a story about women, putting themselves in dangerous situations like Eve or being determined to get to the truth like Charlie. These two ladies come from two different backgrounds but are able to work together.

5 stars


The Book Smuggler of Timbuktu by Charlie English*
This took me quite a while to get through, it's quite heavy with information and I just found it hard to keep track. The book is split in two; it tells the events during 2012 when al-Qaeda-linked jihadists invade Timbuktu and reek havoc on the city. In order to keep its history safe a team of librarians and archivists join together to smuggle thousands of ancient manuscripts into safety. The book also goes back into the history of Timbuktu with the stories of the adventurers whose goal it was to reach the mythical city and record it. Very few survived the journey.

The myth and the history of Timbuktu was interesting to learn as well as the story of manuscript smuggling. Naturally, I got a bit angry with how the jihadists went around destroying sacred monuments which were important to the people.

3 stars

Have you read any of these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Harper Collins NZ

Review | The Alice Network & The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu

Tuesday, 24 October 2017


I had two very different experiences with these books. With one I couldn't put it down and was completely enthralled in the story while the other made me go at a slower pace in order to completely take on board the info. I should note that one's fiction and the other non-fiction, it seems I'm still hung up on my habits from uni to make sure I get all the points.



The Alice Network by Kate Quinn*
The story goes between events during WW1 and just after WW2. In 1915 Eve is recruited to work as a spy and is sent to Nazi-occupied France. There she joins 'The Alice Network', led by Lilli who is the 'queen of spies'. The women receive intel which then gets relayed back to their superiors in the hopes of ending the war. In 1947, Charlie takes a detour and heads to England to enlist the help of Eve to find her cousin. While dealing with her own 'little problem' Charlie pushes it aside in order to discover what happened to Rose and along the way learns what Eve went through during the war.

I absolutely enjoyed this book and like I mentioned earlier couldn't put it down. I also love how it's a story about women, putting themselves in dangerous situations like Eve or being determined to get to the truth like Charlie. These two ladies come from two different backgrounds but are able to work together.

5 stars


The Book Smuggler of Timbuktu by Charlie English*
This took me quite a while to get through, it's quite heavy with information and I just found it hard to keep track. The book is split in two; it tells the events during 2012 when al-Qaeda-linked jihadists invade Timbuktu and reek havoc on the city. In order to keep its history safe a team of librarians and archivists join together to smuggle thousands of ancient manuscripts into safety. The book also goes back into the history of Timbuktu with the stories of the adventurers whose goal it was to reach the mythical city and record it. Very few survived the journey.

The myth and the history of Timbuktu was interesting to learn as well as the story of manuscript smuggling. Naturally, I got a bit angry with how the jihadists went around destroying sacred monuments which were important to the people.

3 stars

Have you read any of these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Harper Collins NZ

I think I've always been attracted to pins but haven't given in to acquiring them till recently. All the pins I have so far are from OH YOU FOX and I adore them. I bought the first one back in February and now I've got four. They're all designed by Victoria and I absolutely love her illustrations. She's designed some Halloween themed pins which I couldn't resist in getting one.




Don't Mind if I Don't & Enchanted Pizza are the first two I got and have blogged about before. Don't Mind if I Don't is also available in blue and I just like the meaning behind it. As both a lover of Beauty & the Beast and pizza the Enchanted Pizza Pin was literally me all over.



When free shipping is on offer it just seems rude to not pick up something. I got one of the Halloween pins as the Booooo-bs Ghost pin was just too cute not to get. Acciendently Thriving was one that I'd wanted for a long time as it just basically describes my life. It also reminds me of the librarian badges I had in primary/intermediate. I still have them, would it be strange if I started wearing them again?

Have you got any pins?

Ashley xx

Confessions of a Burgeoning Pin Obsessive

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


I think I've always been attracted to pins but haven't given in to acquiring them till recently. All the pins I have so far are from OH YOU FOX and I adore them. I bought the first one back in February and now I've got four. They're all designed by Victoria and I absolutely love her illustrations. She's designed some Halloween themed pins which I couldn't resist in getting one.




Don't Mind if I Don't & Enchanted Pizza are the first two I got and have blogged about before. Don't Mind if I Don't is also available in blue and I just like the meaning behind it. As both a lover of Beauty & the Beast and pizza the Enchanted Pizza Pin was literally me all over.



When free shipping is on offer it just seems rude to not pick up something. I got one of the Halloween pins as the Booooo-bs Ghost pin was just too cute not to get. Acciendently Thriving was one that I'd wanted for a long time as it just basically describes my life. It also reminds me of the librarian badges I had in primary/intermediate. I still have them, would it be strange if I started wearing them again?

Have you got any pins?

Ashley xx

I wasn't planning on doing a post on this but after doing it yesterday I just had to write about it. Artweek is currently on in Auckland and there are art installations set up as well as museums/galleries putting on events. One, which I did yesterday, was a behind the scenes tour at Auckland Art Gallery. I did the same tour last year and it is of the different conservation departments. The fact that I've done this tour twice shows just how much I love it. My career goal is to be a paintings conservator so getting to see the work they do was amazing and invaluable.

First off we started down in the 'basement' with the objects conservator. We got to go down in the big service elevator which was cool, it's carried a car as well as Rodin's The Kiss. The objects conservation department was a fairly recent addition, the conservator started seven years ago and before that there wasn't one. One of the things she's working on are the 13 painted glass windows which came from a church in Remuera and was painted by Colin McCahon. I remember seeing these from last year, the paint is flaking off and they're quite large pieces of glass. One of the points the conservator made was that the work done was more to repair/preserve works rather than restoring them.

Next, we went up to the painting conservation area which was the part I was most looking forward too. There were a number of works on display and one of the main problems the conservators showed was tears in artworks. Looking at one of the repaired works it was amazing to see before pictures as well as the use of UV light, when shone onto the painting you can clearly see the tears which are almost invisible to the naked eye. There were two areas in the painting department with the other more researching artists and their practices to make sure the right materials are used. A couple of Francis Hodgkin works were displayed and we got to see a cross-section through a microscope. It was incredible to see all the layers of paint from a tiny part of the work.

Lastly we went to see the paper conservators and saw examples of a variety of  damage. One of them was light and it was amazing to see the difference between the original colour of a material and how much pigment it loses from being in any kind of light. Once again we saw before and after on some works and it's amazing to see the end result.

I absolutely loved the tour and found my passion in painting conservation.

Have you been on any behind the scenes tours?

Ashley xx

Behind the Scenes Tour: Auckland Art Gallery

Thursday, 12 October 2017


I wasn't planning on doing a post on this but after doing it yesterday I just had to write about it. Artweek is currently on in Auckland and there are art installations set up as well as museums/galleries putting on events. One, which I did yesterday, was a behind the scenes tour at Auckland Art Gallery. I did the same tour last year and it is of the different conservation departments. The fact that I've done this tour twice shows just how much I love it. My career goal is to be a paintings conservator so getting to see the work they do was amazing and invaluable.

First off we started down in the 'basement' with the objects conservator. We got to go down in the big service elevator which was cool, it's carried a car as well as Rodin's The Kiss. The objects conservation department was a fairly recent addition, the conservator started seven years ago and before that there wasn't one. One of the things she's working on are the 13 painted glass windows which came from a church in Remuera and was painted by Colin McCahon. I remember seeing these from last year, the paint is flaking off and they're quite large pieces of glass. One of the points the conservator made was that the work done was more to repair/preserve works rather than restoring them.

Next, we went up to the painting conservation area which was the part I was most looking forward too. There were a number of works on display and one of the main problems the conservators showed was tears in artworks. Looking at one of the repaired works it was amazing to see before pictures as well as the use of UV light, when shone onto the painting you can clearly see the tears which are almost invisible to the naked eye. There were two areas in the painting department with the other more researching artists and their practices to make sure the right materials are used. A couple of Francis Hodgkin works were displayed and we got to see a cross-section through a microscope. It was incredible to see all the layers of paint from a tiny part of the work.

Lastly we went to see the paper conservators and saw examples of a variety of  damage. One of them was light and it was amazing to see the difference between the original colour of a material and how much pigment it loses from being in any kind of light. Once again we saw before and after on some works and it's amazing to see the end result.

I absolutely loved the tour and found my passion in painting conservation.

Have you been on any behind the scenes tours?

Ashley xx

Setting goals are a never-ending cycle for me. I make them, try to stick to them, but eventually I'm too far lost and don't know my way back. Why I keep doing them I don't know. For me everything becomes clearer once it's written down, once it's cemented on paper it can't disappear. So I'm swapping paper for a post and putting them on the internet. They're not 'big' goals, more like small ones I work on every day.

  • Drink more water/drink less Pepsi.
Pepsi is one of my biggest vices and every time I have a glass it's a slippery slope and I've wound up having almost a whole bottle. My taste for water as it were has grown over the years, before I couldn't stand the blandness but now I find myself craving it.

  • 5 minutes of exercise daily
Sometimes I'm an all or nothing person. If I don't feel like doing what others are doing I just give up entirely. I've gone through bouts of exercising over the years but end up forgoing it as I don't feel like I'm doing it properly or enough. My doctor recommended starting off slowing, doing only 5 mins or so a day. It makes sense, especially for someone as unfit as me.

  • Meditation
I've done some meditating a couple of times but haven't routinely done it. I get it into my head that I don't have enough time for it when really it's only a small part of the day. Of the few times I've done it I've come out relaxed and I don't feel like I'm on the edge of a mental breakdown as I often am.

  • Get up early/going to bed early/regular sleep
My sleep cycle has never been great. It doesn't help that I'm a night owl and get this rush of motivation to do stuff at 10 pm. Insomnia is at an all-time high and my brain just won't turn off. As a result, I waste most of the day and I feel like crap the rest of it. I know this will be a gradual work in progress.

Do you have any small everyday goals?

Ashley xx

Everyday Goals

Tuesday, 10 October 2017


Setting goals are a never-ending cycle for me. I make them, try to stick to them, but eventually I'm too far lost and don't know my way back. Why I keep doing them I don't know. For me everything becomes clearer once it's written down, once it's cemented on paper it can't disappear. So I'm swapping paper for a post and putting them on the internet. They're not 'big' goals, more like small ones I work on every day.

  • Drink more water/drink less Pepsi.
Pepsi is one of my biggest vices and every time I have a glass it's a slippery slope and I've wound up having almost a whole bottle. My taste for water as it were has grown over the years, before I couldn't stand the blandness but now I find myself craving it.

  • 5 minutes of exercise daily
Sometimes I'm an all or nothing person. If I don't feel like doing what others are doing I just give up entirely. I've gone through bouts of exercising over the years but end up forgoing it as I don't feel like I'm doing it properly or enough. My doctor recommended starting off slowing, doing only 5 mins or so a day. It makes sense, especially for someone as unfit as me.

  • Meditation
I've done some meditating a couple of times but haven't routinely done it. I get it into my head that I don't have enough time for it when really it's only a small part of the day. Of the few times I've done it I've come out relaxed and I don't feel like I'm on the edge of a mental breakdown as I often am.

  • Get up early/going to bed early/regular sleep
My sleep cycle has never been great. It doesn't help that I'm a night owl and get this rush of motivation to do stuff at 10 pm. Insomnia is at an all-time high and my brain just won't turn off. As a result, I waste most of the day and I feel like crap the rest of it. I know this will be a gradual work in progress.

Do you have any small everyday goals?

Ashley xx

This past couple of days have been quite gloomy and I don't know about you it just makes me want to curl up in bed with my books. Lately, I've just had this desire to read and I'm not complaining. It means that I'll quickly get to these books which I'm looking forward to a great deal.



Godblind by Anna Stephens*
First off the cover of this book is stunning and only makes me excited about the story within. Set in the fantasy genre the story tells of a time when the Red Gods once ruled the land with the Dark Lady dealing in death, blood and fire. That time has long since passed and the neighbouring kingdoms of Mireces & Rilpor hold an uneasy truce. After the death of his wife, the King of Rilpor is plagued by grief leaving his kingdom vulnerable to the Mireces army. I love any story that has a mythology with it so I'm excited to start this soon.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor*
Once again the cover is gorgeous, I love the combination of the blue and gold. This again is another fantasy genre with dreams being the one who chooses the dreamer. Lazlo Strange always feared his dream chose poorly, he's been obsessed with the mythic city of Weep since he was young. The Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors turn up and Lazlo seizes his chance to discover why Weep was cut off from the read of the world. The story sounds really similar to the myth of Atlantis, a hidden mythical city, which really appeals to me. I'm just about to start it so I'm looking forward to seeing Lazlo's journey.


I was recommended by my doctor to read up about anxiety. With me the more familiar I am with something the less it stresses me out so it makes sense. I actually got two books on anxiety and this is the first one I'm currently reading. The book covers what anxiety is (your brain sending fight or flight signals in response to anything) and also gives tools and experiments to do in order to help manage it. I haven't read that much yet but it's interesting to learn about some coping tools.

What are you planning to read this month?

Ashley xx
*Review copies
**Affiliate Link

Books to Read in October

Thursday, 5 October 2017


This past couple of days have been quite gloomy and I don't know about you it just makes me want to curl up in bed with my books. Lately, I've just had this desire to read and I'm not complaining. It means that I'll quickly get to these books which I'm looking forward to a great deal.



Godblind by Anna Stephens*
First off the cover of this book is stunning and only makes me excited about the story within. Set in the fantasy genre the story tells of a time when the Red Gods once ruled the land with the Dark Lady dealing in death, blood and fire. That time has long since passed and the neighbouring kingdoms of Mireces & Rilpor hold an uneasy truce. After the death of his wife, the King of Rilpor is plagued by grief leaving his kingdom vulnerable to the Mireces army. I love any story that has a mythology with it so I'm excited to start this soon.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor*
Once again the cover is gorgeous, I love the combination of the blue and gold. This again is another fantasy genre with dreams being the one who chooses the dreamer. Lazlo Strange always feared his dream chose poorly, he's been obsessed with the mythic city of Weep since he was young. The Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors turn up and Lazlo seizes his chance to discover why Weep was cut off from the read of the world. The story sounds really similar to the myth of Atlantis, a hidden mythical city, which really appeals to me. I'm just about to start it so I'm looking forward to seeing Lazlo's journey.


I was recommended by my doctor to read up about anxiety. With me the more familiar I am with something the less it stresses me out so it makes sense. I actually got two books on anxiety and this is the first one I'm currently reading. The book covers what anxiety is (your brain sending fight or flight signals in response to anything) and also gives tools and experiments to do in order to help manage it. I haven't read that much yet but it's interesting to learn about some coping tools.

What are you planning to read this month?

Ashley xx
*Review copies
**Affiliate Link

And just like that, we've moved into the festive part of the year. I can confirm I have seen shops with Christmas decorations out. Part of me thinks it's far too early while the other is rejoicing cause I just love the atmosphere of the festive season. I've always loved this time of year, even though it means the year is near the end and I'm sat here wondering what it is I've done at all.

Most Haunted
I used to catch the odd episode years ago while channel surfing. It's a British show and they just investigate haunted places. Thanks to my anxiety anything ghost related drives my brain insane and I stay awake and night hearing EVERYTHING. There have been quite a few accusations that the show is rigged, whether it's true or not it's still entertaining. I just watch it on YouTube, old episodes and also new ones. I had no idea this show was still going on.

BeFunky Photo Editor
PicMonkey was my go-to when editing photos. However they've now changed it where you can't save any pictures edited, you have to sign up which sucks. As a result, I searched for a new site and came across BeFunky which to be fair is way better than PicMonkey. It doesn't freeze as much, you don't have to keep opening the same image to watermark pictures and it also has an exposure setting called 'Fill Light' which just makes your photos look so much better. I'm very happy with this discovery.

4th Birthday & Giveaway
On Saturday my little blog turned four. It's amazing to me how I've managed to stick with it for so long. To celebrate I'm doing my very first giveaway, check out the post to see what's included and how to enter.

The notion of creativity
Creativity is an amazing thing and every so often I get this sudden burst of it. It's an amazing feeling. You're so excited and compelled to create something and in your head picture how great it could be. It's a euphoric sense almost, it's the best feeling.

What were your September favourites?

Ashley xx

September Favourites

Tuesday, 3 October 2017


And just like that, we've moved into the festive part of the year. I can confirm I have seen shops with Christmas decorations out. Part of me thinks it's far too early while the other is rejoicing cause I just love the atmosphere of the festive season. I've always loved this time of year, even though it means the year is near the end and I'm sat here wondering what it is I've done at all.

Most Haunted
I used to catch the odd episode years ago while channel surfing. It's a British show and they just investigate haunted places. Thanks to my anxiety anything ghost related drives my brain insane and I stay awake and night hearing EVERYTHING. There have been quite a few accusations that the show is rigged, whether it's true or not it's still entertaining. I just watch it on YouTube, old episodes and also new ones. I had no idea this show was still going on.

BeFunky Photo Editor
PicMonkey was my go-to when editing photos. However they've now changed it where you can't save any pictures edited, you have to sign up which sucks. As a result, I searched for a new site and came across BeFunky which to be fair is way better than PicMonkey. It doesn't freeze as much, you don't have to keep opening the same image to watermark pictures and it also has an exposure setting called 'Fill Light' which just makes your photos look so much better. I'm very happy with this discovery.

4th Birthday & Giveaway
On Saturday my little blog turned four. It's amazing to me how I've managed to stick with it for so long. To celebrate I'm doing my very first giveaway, check out the post to see what's included and how to enter.

The notion of creativity
Creativity is an amazing thing and every so often I get this sudden burst of it. It's an amazing feeling. You're so excited and compelled to create something and in your head picture how great it could be. It's a euphoric sense almost, it's the best feeling.

What were your September favourites?

Ashley xx

It's been four years since I randomly decided to create a blog. I'm amazed that I stuck with it. At the start, I was toying with the idea of stopping but at the start of 2014 decided to give it a proper go and here we are. Over the years there's been a number of changes; topics, designs, names but at the end of the day, it's still the same creative outlet for me.

To celebrate I'm running my very first giveaway!! I'm both nervous & excited. To celebrate 4 years there are 4 items + a little something special. 



First thing is Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba which is small but big in terms of useful information. It is the modern career guide that every creative woman needs and is full of useful tips & information.

Next is a Makeup Revolution Iconic 2 Palette. The shades aren't exactly correct in the pictures, you can see it better here. It's got a good mix of matte, pearl & shimmer shades and it's neutral palette which I thought most people would like.




The other two things can be worn together. A NYX lip liner in Nude Pink & a Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick in 107. 107 is my go-to nude lipstick so I thought I would include one in the giveaway.

I'm also going to add in something else which I'm really quite excited about. Make sure you enter all the options below :D The giveaway is open for a week and I'll announce the winner on my Facebook page.

This is New Zealand giveaway only, as it's my first one and I'm a bit nervous about it.

Good luck! xx


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ashley Ruth's 4th Birthday + NZ Giveaway!

Saturday, 30 September 2017


It's been four years since I randomly decided to create a blog. I'm amazed that I stuck with it. At the start, I was toying with the idea of stopping but at the start of 2014 decided to give it a proper go and here we are. Over the years there's been a number of changes; topics, designs, names but at the end of the day, it's still the same creative outlet for me.

To celebrate I'm running my very first giveaway!! I'm both nervous & excited. To celebrate 4 years there are 4 items + a little something special. 



First thing is Little Black Book by Otegha Uwagba which is small but big in terms of useful information. It is the modern career guide that every creative woman needs and is full of useful tips & information.

Next is a Makeup Revolution Iconic 2 Palette. The shades aren't exactly correct in the pictures, you can see it better here. It's got a good mix of matte, pearl & shimmer shades and it's neutral palette which I thought most people would like.




The other two things can be worn together. A NYX lip liner in Nude Pink & a Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick in 107. 107 is my go-to nude lipstick so I thought I would include one in the giveaway.

I'm also going to add in something else which I'm really quite excited about. Make sure you enter all the options below :D The giveaway is open for a week and I'll announce the winner on my Facebook page.

This is New Zealand giveaway only, as it's my first one and I'm a bit nervous about it.

Good luck! xx


a Rafflecopter giveaway

As a lover of anything French to say I was excited to start this book was an understatement. This is the first book of Nina George's that I've read, The Little Paris Bookshop is one that is on the very top of my book list. 

The Little Breton Bistro* follows the journey of Marianne. She has been in an unhappy marriage for most of her life and on a trip to Paris from Germany, she makes the decision to end her life. She is saved from drowning and after finding a beautifully painted tile at the hospital she escapes to a small port town in Brittany. While there she meets an array of locals and discovers the part of herself that has been hiding for most of her life. The small town brings Marianne back to life and she, in turn, has an effect on the locals including Yann, the painter.

I only think I can really say about this book is amour, amour, amour. It's a beautiful story about discovering your true self and changing your life no matter what age. The place where Marianne was going to end her life ended up being where she discovered just how full and beautiful it can be. There's also some humour as well which is always a delight.

4.5 stars

Have you read The Little Breton Bistro?

P.S. There's a special and exciting post going up on Saturday :D

Ashley xx
*Review copy from Hachette NZ

Review | The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George

Thursday, 28 September 2017


As a lover of anything French to say I was excited to start this book was an understatement. This is the first book of Nina George's that I've read, The Little Paris Bookshop is one that is on the very top of my book list. 

The Little Breton Bistro* follows the journey of Marianne. She has been in an unhappy marriage for most of her life and on a trip to Paris from Germany, she makes the decision to end her life. She is saved from drowning and after finding a beautifully painted tile at the hospital she escapes to a small port town in Brittany. While there she meets an array of locals and discovers the part of herself that has been hiding for most of her life. The small town brings Marianne back to life and she, in turn, has an effect on the locals including Yann, the painter.

I only think I can really say about this book is amour, amour, amour. It's a beautiful story about discovering your true self and changing your life no matter what age. The place where Marianne was going to end her life ended up being where she discovered just how full and beautiful it can be. There's also some humour as well which is always a delight.

4.5 stars

Have you read The Little Breton Bistro?

P.S. There's a special and exciting post going up on Saturday :D

Ashley xx
*Review copy from Hachette NZ

I hadn't planned for what today's post was so had to quickly brainstorm (as per usual). I've been wanting to do this post for a while so now seems good. I rarely leave the house meaning I don't have the need to put on some sunnies so I'm surprised I actually have this many pairs. Most of them are just cheap ones while the other was a bit of a splurge.



These two are from Farmers and I've had them for what seems like ages. The tortoise-shell pair were my go-to glasses when I needed them and are just your typical sunglasses style. One of the legs is bent because I dropped it but you only notice it when it's folded. The other pair to me look like 'movie star' glasses with the shape and also the colour. I don't wear these as often as I'm always casual while these are not.



Up next is my current go-to pair. They're from Mirrou and were only $12 I think. They're a nice round shape but what really got me was the gold detailing which kind of makes them a bit cat-eye-ish. The rose gold pair was a bit of a departure from the black I usually go for but I just couldn't resist. I got them from Once'it and I just loved the unique shape of them and of course, them being rose gold.



I got these from Once'it as well and they're a bit more pricey than the rest of them combined. These are Sass & Bide and I think they are the Sapporo glasses in blush. Of course, the colour was the first thing that caught my eye and I just loved the shape of them as well. I internally debated over getting them or not but I went for it cause who knows where else I'll find a gorgeous pair of designer sunglasses at a great discounted price. 

How big is your collection of sunglasses?

Ashley xx

Sunglasses for Any Occasion

Tuesday, 26 September 2017


I hadn't planned for what today's post was so had to quickly brainstorm (as per usual). I've been wanting to do this post for a while so now seems good. I rarely leave the house meaning I don't have the need to put on some sunnies so I'm surprised I actually have this many pairs. Most of them are just cheap ones while the other was a bit of a splurge.



These two are from Farmers and I've had them for what seems like ages. The tortoise-shell pair were my go-to glasses when I needed them and are just your typical sunglasses style. One of the legs is bent because I dropped it but you only notice it when it's folded. The other pair to me look like 'movie star' glasses with the shape and also the colour. I don't wear these as often as I'm always casual while these are not.



Up next is my current go-to pair. They're from Mirrou and were only $12 I think. They're a nice round shape but what really got me was the gold detailing which kind of makes them a bit cat-eye-ish. The rose gold pair was a bit of a departure from the black I usually go for but I just couldn't resist. I got them from Once'it and I just loved the unique shape of them and of course, them being rose gold.



I got these from Once'it as well and they're a bit more pricey than the rest of them combined. These are Sass & Bide and I think they are the Sapporo glasses in blush. Of course, the colour was the first thing that caught my eye and I just loved the shape of them as well. I internally debated over getting them or not but I went for it cause who knows where else I'll find a gorgeous pair of designer sunglasses at a great discounted price. 

How big is your collection of sunglasses?

Ashley xx

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