This has kind of turned into an unintentional tradition. It's cool to look back on the last couple of years to see what I hope for in the new year. It's pretty much the same and don't expect 2018 to be any different. 

2017 for me was a year for small victories I guess you could say. I've yet to get a paying job yet again but I started a new volunteering position at the Auckland Council Archives which I enjoy immensely. I'm still volunteering at my local museum & I took the plunge & applied to do a museum degree at Massey. I got in & I'm just waiting for my courses to be approved. 2018 is already looking brighter as I have a goal & I just find studying (while stressful) enjoyable. 

Another big thing for me was that I went to the doctor to start sorting out my anxiety. I'm not really a talking person, I find it hard to open my mouth and say what's bothering me so this was a major thing. I'm currently on medication & it has helped immensely. My 'superficial' anxiety has decreased and my brain is slowing starting to get used to functioning without the panicky fear about small everyday things. 

For 2018 the goal as always is to stop overanalysing things, to create problems in my head and then psyche myself out. Another thing that causes issues with me is the problem of comparison. I always stress about not being 'normal' or doing things 'right'. If I have enough friends, like to socialise, career, relationships etc. It's not good. Social media doesn't really help so I deleted Snapchat which I didn't really use anyway and also went through and unfollowed accounts on Twitter & Instagram. I toyed with the idea of getting rid of Facebook but I have the blog Facebook page. Although it is the weakest of my social media accounts so maybe I'll just get rid. Not sure yet.

Blog-wise I've had this idea of doing series of posts on passion/motivation in which I 'interview' fellow bloggers. I have no questions as of yet so that's a job for the new year. Of course, the long-term goal is to grow the blog in terms of readers as well as getting opportunities to work with amazing brands.

2018 I feel will be the year I finally start moving towards my long-term goals.

Happy New Year everyone!

Ashley xx

New Year 2018

Sunday, 31 December 2017


This has kind of turned into an unintentional tradition. It's cool to look back on the last couple of years to see what I hope for in the new year. It's pretty much the same and don't expect 2018 to be any different. 

2017 for me was a year for small victories I guess you could say. I've yet to get a paying job yet again but I started a new volunteering position at the Auckland Council Archives which I enjoy immensely. I'm still volunteering at my local museum & I took the plunge & applied to do a museum degree at Massey. I got in & I'm just waiting for my courses to be approved. 2018 is already looking brighter as I have a goal & I just find studying (while stressful) enjoyable. 

Another big thing for me was that I went to the doctor to start sorting out my anxiety. I'm not really a talking person, I find it hard to open my mouth and say what's bothering me so this was a major thing. I'm currently on medication & it has helped immensely. My 'superficial' anxiety has decreased and my brain is slowing starting to get used to functioning without the panicky fear about small everyday things. 

For 2018 the goal as always is to stop overanalysing things, to create problems in my head and then psyche myself out. Another thing that causes issues with me is the problem of comparison. I always stress about not being 'normal' or doing things 'right'. If I have enough friends, like to socialise, career, relationships etc. It's not good. Social media doesn't really help so I deleted Snapchat which I didn't really use anyway and also went through and unfollowed accounts on Twitter & Instagram. I toyed with the idea of getting rid of Facebook but I have the blog Facebook page. Although it is the weakest of my social media accounts so maybe I'll just get rid. Not sure yet.

Blog-wise I've had this idea of doing series of posts on passion/motivation in which I 'interview' fellow bloggers. I have no questions as of yet so that's a job for the new year. Of course, the long-term goal is to grow the blog in terms of readers as well as getting opportunities to work with amazing brands.

2018 I feel will be the year I finally start moving towards my long-term goals.

Happy New Year everyone!

Ashley xx

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to do a quick post to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope everyone is just taking it easy and eating way too much food.

I think this will be the last post for 2017 which is crazy to think about. It's become a bit of a tradition that I write a kind of retrospective/a hopeful look to 2018 on New Year's day so look out for that.

Merry Christmas & a happy New Year

Ashley xx

Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, 25 December 2017


Hello everyone!

I just wanted to do a quick post to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope everyone is just taking it easy and eating way too much food.

I think this will be the last post for 2017 which is crazy to think about. It's become a bit of a tradition that I write a kind of retrospective/a hopeful look to 2018 on New Year's day so look out for that.

Merry Christmas & a happy New Year

Ashley xx

As the days are getting a lot warmer I tend to become lazier, as I've mentioned before I don't cope well with heat. I don't wear makeup regularly but during Summer it's more or less a no go as it just feels uncomfortable to wear when it's hot and I can't be stuffed with the admin of taking it all off. However, when there is the odd occasion where I feel the need to make an effort I'll just stick to using three products.


For the face, I go with something easy & lightweight to just cover the areas I wish to be less obvious. I find powder foundation easier to apply and doesn't take as much elbow grease as liquid foundation. I'm currently using the Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin foundation which was gifted to me by the lovely Sophie. Ivory Ivoire is a bit lighter than my skin tone & Sand Sable is darker. I'm not sure if there's a shade in between but both seem to work well for me. 


A little bit of mascara just makes your eyes pop and also gives the impression you at least put some effort it. However, throughout the day you'll constantly have to refrain from rubbing your eyes otherwise you'll look like you've just woken up.


And lastly to make it all look put together, a little bit of lipstick. The colour is dependent on you, what you're doing/the mood you are in. For me, it's either a nude or a red. Nude is more casual and it's not a big deal if it starts to wear off. As it's Christmas, red is a great route & when applied you feel you can take on anything. Especially the malls at Xmas.

What are your makeup staples?

Ashley xx

3 Makeup Items for the Lazy Girl who can be Bothered

Tuesday, 12 December 2017


As the days are getting a lot warmer I tend to become lazier, as I've mentioned before I don't cope well with heat. I don't wear makeup regularly but during Summer it's more or less a no go as it just feels uncomfortable to wear when it's hot and I can't be stuffed with the admin of taking it all off. However, when there is the odd occasion where I feel the need to make an effort I'll just stick to using three products.


For the face, I go with something easy & lightweight to just cover the areas I wish to be less obvious. I find powder foundation easier to apply and doesn't take as much elbow grease as liquid foundation. I'm currently using the Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin foundation which was gifted to me by the lovely Sophie. Ivory Ivoire is a bit lighter than my skin tone & Sand Sable is darker. I'm not sure if there's a shade in between but both seem to work well for me. 


A little bit of mascara just makes your eyes pop and also gives the impression you at least put some effort it. However, throughout the day you'll constantly have to refrain from rubbing your eyes otherwise you'll look like you've just woken up.


And lastly to make it all look put together, a little bit of lipstick. The colour is dependent on you, what you're doing/the mood you are in. For me, it's either a nude or a red. Nude is more casual and it's not a big deal if it starts to wear off. As it's Christmas, red is a great route & when applied you feel you can take on anything. Especially the malls at Xmas.

What are your makeup staples?

Ashley xx

Yesterday my parents decided to go to Taupo and I decided to tag along. The picture above is of one of the wall art pieces the parentals liked and decided to put up. Seeing as I'm without my usual marble background I decided to take a picture of this. Prints are something which I've recently become obsessed with, mostly thanks to Kate whose interiors are just goals. With the festive season soon approaching they're also great gift ideas and I've found some which I would love to adorn my room.

All of these prints are from Etsy & are downloadable ones so you get them instantly and print however you want them. As a side note I've recently started up my own little shop on Esty, La Vivienne Edit. There are some photos as well as prints up at the moment & I would love if you all visited it.


Having a print of a city map has always interested me and of course the city I most want to have on my wall is Paris. There are quite a number of these on Esty so there's plenty of choices but what I liked about this version is that it includes street names. There are other cities I would love to get maps of, someday I'll end up with just a wall of them.

I'm an Art History fan girl basically and when I stumbled across this while searching through Etsy I was enamoured. The seller has got a number of Altered Paintings for sale and I just really like the idea of taking an established piece of art and adding a twist to it.


I've always been attracted to 'fashion' prints or just any prints with the female form. I also like how monochrome & simplistic it is. It also had a watercolour effect to it which I'm a fan of. 

I absolutely love the illustrations by the seller, they're gorgeous. I picked this one as I love the style of the Dior bottle and the colour. This illustration comes in a number of other colours and there are also prints of shoes, cameras etc. 

Once again I really like the minimalism with it as well as the pop of red. I quite like a number of the illustrations in this shop. At this rate, my walls are just going to be covered in art.

Are you a fan of wall art?

Ashley xx

Wall Art | Christmas Gift Ideas

Thursday, 7 December 2017


Yesterday my parents decided to go to Taupo and I decided to tag along. The picture above is of one of the wall art pieces the parentals liked and decided to put up. Seeing as I'm without my usual marble background I decided to take a picture of this. Prints are something which I've recently become obsessed with, mostly thanks to Kate whose interiors are just goals. With the festive season soon approaching they're also great gift ideas and I've found some which I would love to adorn my room.

All of these prints are from Etsy & are downloadable ones so you get them instantly and print however you want them. As a side note I've recently started up my own little shop on Esty, La Vivienne Edit. There are some photos as well as prints up at the moment & I would love if you all visited it.


Having a print of a city map has always interested me and of course the city I most want to have on my wall is Paris. There are quite a number of these on Esty so there's plenty of choices but what I liked about this version is that it includes street names. There are other cities I would love to get maps of, someday I'll end up with just a wall of them.

I'm an Art History fan girl basically and when I stumbled across this while searching through Etsy I was enamoured. The seller has got a number of Altered Paintings for sale and I just really like the idea of taking an established piece of art and adding a twist to it.


I've always been attracted to 'fashion' prints or just any prints with the female form. I also like how monochrome & simplistic it is. It also had a watercolour effect to it which I'm a fan of. 

I absolutely love the illustrations by the seller, they're gorgeous. I picked this one as I love the style of the Dior bottle and the colour. This illustration comes in a number of other colours and there are also prints of shoes, cameras etc. 

Once again I really like the minimalism with it as well as the pop of red. I quite like a number of the illustrations in this shop. At this rate, my walls are just going to be covered in art.

Are you a fan of wall art?

Ashley xx

Is it just me or does it seem like it suddenly went from cold to hot even before summer 'officially' started? Summer is great and all but whenever I'm outside I only last about 5 minutes before passing out from the heat. I'm not cut out for it. I'd rather be inside with a book while a fan is blasting cold air at me, which is probably what I'll be doing all summer. 

I'm currently still getting through the books I mentioned last month but these are the next two off the reading pile. 



Six Tudor Queens: Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir*
This is the second book in the series, following the life of Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn. I read the first book on Katherine of Aragon last year and absolutely loved it. The books are a historical non-fiction/narrative fiction hybrid of sorts with the people, dates etc being true but the story is shown from the female perspective. In this case, Anne Boleyn. There's next to no works or documents written by women at that time so the narrative employs the use of creative licence. None the less, it will still be an interesting read and one I'm looking forward to. 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman*
This novel follows the character of Eleanor Oliphant who leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal & buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. She is happy, nothing is missing from her life. Except, sometimes, everything. When one act of kindness shatters the walls Eleanor has built around herself she must learn how to navigate the world. I really like the premise of this book, I kind of relate to Eleanor in a way as I always tend to stick to a routine and rarely stray from it. It's safe but at the same time boring & lonely. The central theme is about change which is a word that both excites & frightens me.

What books are you planning to read this month?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ & Harper Collins NZ

Books to Read in December

Tuesday, 5 December 2017


Is it just me or does it seem like it suddenly went from cold to hot even before summer 'officially' started? Summer is great and all but whenever I'm outside I only last about 5 minutes before passing out from the heat. I'm not cut out for it. I'd rather be inside with a book while a fan is blasting cold air at me, which is probably what I'll be doing all summer. 

I'm currently still getting through the books I mentioned last month but these are the next two off the reading pile. 



Six Tudor Queens: Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir*
This is the second book in the series, following the life of Henry VIII's second wife Anne Boleyn. I read the first book on Katherine of Aragon last year and absolutely loved it. The books are a historical non-fiction/narrative fiction hybrid of sorts with the people, dates etc being true but the story is shown from the female perspective. In this case, Anne Boleyn. There's next to no works or documents written by women at that time so the narrative employs the use of creative licence. None the less, it will still be an interesting read and one I'm looking forward to. 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman*
This novel follows the character of Eleanor Oliphant who leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal & buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. She is happy, nothing is missing from her life. Except, sometimes, everything. When one act of kindness shatters the walls Eleanor has built around herself she must learn how to navigate the world. I really like the premise of this book, I kind of relate to Eleanor in a way as I always tend to stick to a routine and rarely stray from it. It's safe but at the same time boring & lonely. The central theme is about change which is a word that both excites & frightens me.

What books are you planning to read this month?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ & Harper Collins NZ

Not gonna lie I'm pretty pleased with the title of this post. Coming up with titles just isn't my forte so when this popped into my head I was stoked. There are a lot of things to love about Christmas, one of which is all the gorgeous beauty holiday collections. As usual, I wasn't planning on buying anything at all but when I saw everyone going crazy over the Mecca holiday gift sets I had to see what all the fuss was about. Of course, the inevitable happened and items made their way into my basket and arrived the next day which was amazing especially since I live rurally so things tend to take longer. 

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion / NZ $26
I've heard a number of bloggers/YouTubers say really good things about this product so I thought I would give it a go. Previously I was using the Lioele A.C Control Night Spot which is basically the same thing but cheaper at $14.95. It's made with a blend of calamine and salicylic acid to clear up and soothe unsightly whiteheads overnight. Whenever I use it, there aren't any immediate results the next morning but I have noticed my pimples come up and disappear quicker which is great. 


Kitsch Astrology Hair Ties / NZ $13
Hair ties weren't on the top of my list when I was looking through Mecca but as soon as saw these I just knew I had to have them. I'm a sucker for anything astrology/stars/moon related. These are crease free limited edition hair ties and are stunning. I just love the astrological designs + the glitter.



Stila Written in the Stars Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow Set / NZ $39
Speaking of glitter... This was the item I knew I wanted to have. Once again I'd seen the Stila liquid eyeshadows be brought up by bloggers and I've always wanted to try them out. This set is absolutely gorgeous and is perfect for the festive season. There are three stunning glitter shades; Diamond Dust, Kitten Karma & Smoky Storm. As an eyeshadow novice I'm a bit nervous about letting it loose on my eyelid so hopefully, it does'nt turn into a glitter bomb.

Did you get any of the holiday gift sets from Mecca?

Ashley xx

Have Yourself a Mecca Christmas

Tuesday, 28 November 2017


Not gonna lie I'm pretty pleased with the title of this post. Coming up with titles just isn't my forte so when this popped into my head I was stoked. There are a lot of things to love about Christmas, one of which is all the gorgeous beauty holiday collections. As usual, I wasn't planning on buying anything at all but when I saw everyone going crazy over the Mecca holiday gift sets I had to see what all the fuss was about. Of course, the inevitable happened and items made their way into my basket and arrived the next day which was amazing especially since I live rurally so things tend to take longer. 

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion / NZ $26
I've heard a number of bloggers/YouTubers say really good things about this product so I thought I would give it a go. Previously I was using the Lioele A.C Control Night Spot which is basically the same thing but cheaper at $14.95. It's made with a blend of calamine and salicylic acid to clear up and soothe unsightly whiteheads overnight. Whenever I use it, there aren't any immediate results the next morning but I have noticed my pimples come up and disappear quicker which is great. 


Kitsch Astrology Hair Ties / NZ $13
Hair ties weren't on the top of my list when I was looking through Mecca but as soon as saw these I just knew I had to have them. I'm a sucker for anything astrology/stars/moon related. These are crease free limited edition hair ties and are stunning. I just love the astrological designs + the glitter.



Stila Written in the Stars Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow Set / NZ $39
Speaking of glitter... This was the item I knew I wanted to have. Once again I'd seen the Stila liquid eyeshadows be brought up by bloggers and I've always wanted to try them out. This set is absolutely gorgeous and is perfect for the festive season. There are three stunning glitter shades; Diamond Dust, Kitten Karma & Smoky Storm. As an eyeshadow novice I'm a bit nervous about letting it loose on my eyelid so hopefully, it does'nt turn into a glitter bomb.

Did you get any of the holiday gift sets from Mecca?

Ashley xx

As a fantasy genre lover, I was very pleased with these fantasy epics. At times it got a bit overwhelming and eventually, I ended up favouring one over the other. They were both also more of the weightier books I've read in a while so I'm grateful I made it to the other side (soz for sounding dramatic).



Godblind by Anna Stephens*
The narrative is set in a world of neighbouring waring kingdoms, Mireces & Rilpor. The Mireces worship the Red Gods, the Dark Lady and her horde dealt in death, blood & fire. Rilpor, on the other hand, worships the Gods of Light with the Dancer being the main deity. When the king of Rilpor's health declines the kingdom is in danger, to fall to Mireces and the Red Gods. 

The story rotates around the perspective of ten characters, it's kind of like a TV show were we the viewer sees what is happening in multiple locations on each side. Aside from the 'gods', the story is similar to wars that have happened throughout history. For me, it sounded familiar to the War of the Roses. While no side was particularly evil, the Tudors did paint the Yorks badly in order to support their claim to the throne. One part that I enjoyed most was the interactions between the high priestess of each side. They were snarky towards one another but respected each other's position with the Blessed One (Red Gods) being especially curious about the Gods of Light.

The book finished in the middle of the battle so I'm presuming there will be a sequel. I hope so, I want to see the outcome of the conflict.

3.5 stars


Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor*
Compared to Godblind this book was much more fantastical and lighter in terms of the story. The narrative is mostly split between two characters. Lazlo, an orphan librarian who gets the chance to travel to the place he's dreamed of his whole life, & Sarai who is one of five godspawn who are hiding their existence from the people who tried to kill them. The structure in which the godspawn live in is causing the people below trouble which is how Lazlo becomes part of the team brought in to solve it. 

While the book uncovers the mysteries of Weep, (the place Lazlo has dreamed about) the main aspect of the book is Lazlo & Sarai's relationship. Lazlo is a dreamer who lives in fairy tales and from him, Sarai discovers another side to the world that isn't filled with hate and fear.

Like with Godblind the book finishes before the story so I'm looking forward to the next part.

4 stars

Have you read any of these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Harper Collins NZ & Hachette NZ. Opinions are my own

Review | Godblind & Strange the Dreamer

Thursday, 23 November 2017


As a fantasy genre lover, I was very pleased with these fantasy epics. At times it got a bit overwhelming and eventually, I ended up favouring one over the other. They were both also more of the weightier books I've read in a while so I'm grateful I made it to the other side (soz for sounding dramatic).



Godblind by Anna Stephens*
The narrative is set in a world of neighbouring waring kingdoms, Mireces & Rilpor. The Mireces worship the Red Gods, the Dark Lady and her horde dealt in death, blood & fire. Rilpor, on the other hand, worships the Gods of Light with the Dancer being the main deity. When the king of Rilpor's health declines the kingdom is in danger, to fall to Mireces and the Red Gods. 

The story rotates around the perspective of ten characters, it's kind of like a TV show were we the viewer sees what is happening in multiple locations on each side. Aside from the 'gods', the story is similar to wars that have happened throughout history. For me, it sounded familiar to the War of the Roses. While no side was particularly evil, the Tudors did paint the Yorks badly in order to support their claim to the throne. One part that I enjoyed most was the interactions between the high priestess of each side. They were snarky towards one another but respected each other's position with the Blessed One (Red Gods) being especially curious about the Gods of Light.

The book finished in the middle of the battle so I'm presuming there will be a sequel. I hope so, I want to see the outcome of the conflict.

3.5 stars


Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor*
Compared to Godblind this book was much more fantastical and lighter in terms of the story. The narrative is mostly split between two characters. Lazlo, an orphan librarian who gets the chance to travel to the place he's dreamed of his whole life, & Sarai who is one of five godspawn who are hiding their existence from the people who tried to kill them. The structure in which the godspawn live in is causing the people below trouble which is how Lazlo becomes part of the team brought in to solve it. 

While the book uncovers the mysteries of Weep, (the place Lazlo has dreamed about) the main aspect of the book is Lazlo & Sarai's relationship. Lazlo is a dreamer who lives in fairy tales and from him, Sarai discovers another side to the world that isn't filled with hate and fear.

Like with Godblind the book finishes before the story so I'm looking forward to the next part.

4 stars

Have you read any of these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Harper Collins NZ & Hachette NZ. Opinions are my own

I first heard about MOR Boutique through bloggers I follow and hadn't tried anything till a couple of sets got sent to me earlier this month. Along with the sets was a booklet filled with gorgeous products that would be great as a Christmas present.



The first set I received is part of the Marshmellow Collection and is some moisturising shampoo & conditioner*. They come in 250ml squeezable bottles and the packaging is absolutely gorgeous with gold accents. As yet I haven't used them on my hair but they smell amazing and the product feels very moisturising. 


The second set I received was the Sweetheart Perfume Oil Trio* which comes in a gorgeous pink & gold box which you could reuse to keep possessions in. It includes three different perfume oils; Marshmellow (light pink), Lychee Flower (dark pink) & Snow Gardenia (white). They all smell delicious although Lychee Flower is a lot stronger than the other two so make sure not to go overboard with it. These would make a wonderful gift and are a great alternative to regular perfumes.

As well as haircare & perfumes MOR also has candles, skincare, diffusers & handcare. There are also different collections such as Marshmallow, Pomegranate, Rosa Noir, Emporium Classics etc. Everything is reasonably priced and can be found at Smith & Caughey's in New Zealand. Like I've mentioned before MOR products would make a great Christmas gift, I'm actually thinking of getting my Mum a diffuser. Just have to figure out which one to get.

Have you tried any MOR products?

Ashley xx

*PR Samples. These were gifted, I was not paid to write this post. Opinions are my own.

MOR Boutique | Christmas Gift Ideas

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


I first heard about MOR Boutique through bloggers I follow and hadn't tried anything till a couple of sets got sent to me earlier this month. Along with the sets was a booklet filled with gorgeous products that would be great as a Christmas present.



The first set I received is part of the Marshmellow Collection and is some moisturising shampoo & conditioner*. They come in 250ml squeezable bottles and the packaging is absolutely gorgeous with gold accents. As yet I haven't used them on my hair but they smell amazing and the product feels very moisturising. 


The second set I received was the Sweetheart Perfume Oil Trio* which comes in a gorgeous pink & gold box which you could reuse to keep possessions in. It includes three different perfume oils; Marshmellow (light pink), Lychee Flower (dark pink) & Snow Gardenia (white). They all smell delicious although Lychee Flower is a lot stronger than the other two so make sure not to go overboard with it. These would make a wonderful gift and are a great alternative to regular perfumes.

As well as haircare & perfumes MOR also has candles, skincare, diffusers & handcare. There are also different collections such as Marshmallow, Pomegranate, Rosa Noir, Emporium Classics etc. Everything is reasonably priced and can be found at Smith & Caughey's in New Zealand. Like I've mentioned before MOR products would make a great Christmas gift, I'm actually thinking of getting my Mum a diffuser. Just have to figure out which one to get.

Have you tried any MOR products?

Ashley xx

*PR Samples. These were gifted, I was not paid to write this post. Opinions are my own.

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

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