The Cows* follow three women who start off unknown to each other but are eventually linked by an unfortunate incident. The story deals with current day issues such as the internet and social media which is now a major aspect of peoples everyday lives. It greatly affects the lives of the three women. Cam, a blogger who writes candidly about her life, is often told online that her stances on issues are wrong. Tara, who was caught on film masturbating, has now become viral online. And Stella who is struggling with the death of her twin sister and with the possibility of her also getting cancer torments herself in going on her sister's Facebook page.

Along with the internet and social media, the book also looks at people, particularly women, and how we judge them for having a different type of life that is not seen as 'normal'. Cam, who chooses not to have children, is critique both online and by her family while Tara, a single mother, feels judged by the other Mums at her daughter's school. This critique is multiplied with Tara's identity being discovered after the video goes viral and seemingly the whole world knows she got pregnant after a one-night stand. This theme really ties into the title 'The Cows' with the women not being part of the herd and conforming to a stereotype.

I've never read any of Dawn O'Porter's other work but was excited for this book after hearing about it when she was interviewed for Ctrl Alt Delete. I enjoyed the story but found some parts a little over exaggerated as well as cheesy. The story is one the reader can relate to but is hyper-realistic in the situations the characters encounter. One thing I did love was the shock twist at the end. I always like when a book surprises me and I was not expecting it.

3 stars

Have you read The Cows? What did you think of it?

Ashley xx
* Review copy from Harper Collins NZ

Review | The Cows by Dawn O'Porter

Tuesday, 19 September 2017


The Cows* follow three women who start off unknown to each other but are eventually linked by an unfortunate incident. The story deals with current day issues such as the internet and social media which is now a major aspect of peoples everyday lives. It greatly affects the lives of the three women. Cam, a blogger who writes candidly about her life, is often told online that her stances on issues are wrong. Tara, who was caught on film masturbating, has now become viral online. And Stella who is struggling with the death of her twin sister and with the possibility of her also getting cancer torments herself in going on her sister's Facebook page.

Along with the internet and social media, the book also looks at people, particularly women, and how we judge them for having a different type of life that is not seen as 'normal'. Cam, who chooses not to have children, is critique both online and by her family while Tara, a single mother, feels judged by the other Mums at her daughter's school. This critique is multiplied with Tara's identity being discovered after the video goes viral and seemingly the whole world knows she got pregnant after a one-night stand. This theme really ties into the title 'The Cows' with the women not being part of the herd and conforming to a stereotype.

I've never read any of Dawn O'Porter's other work but was excited for this book after hearing about it when she was interviewed for Ctrl Alt Delete. I enjoyed the story but found some parts a little over exaggerated as well as cheesy. The story is one the reader can relate to but is hyper-realistic in the situations the characters encounter. One thing I did love was the shock twist at the end. I always like when a book surprises me and I was not expecting it.

3 stars

Have you read The Cows? What did you think of it?

Ashley xx
* Review copy from Harper Collins NZ

Lately, the genre of TV shows I find myself drawn to are those which are historical and more often or not in relation to a monarchy. As you see four out of five of them are centred around the British monarchy with the other concerning the French. I just seem to have this desire for works, whether TV shows or books, about the British monarchy mainly. I just find the history fascinating.

The White Queen (2013)
This was a mini-series and was adapted from Philippa Gregory's historical novels. The show follows the War of the Roses which I think was the inspiration for Game of Thrones. Two sides of the monarchy, the House of York and the House of Lancaster clash over who is the rightful King of England. The show focuses on three women and their quest for power. Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, Anne Neville, wife of Richard III & Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII. The show is taken from historical fiction so there are parts which aren't that factual, ie Elizabeth & her mother being witches but it still gives a comprehensible illustration of the history.

The White Princess (2017)
This is the sequel to The White Queen and is once again adapted from Philippa Gregory's novels. This picks up where the story ended. The Houses of York & Lancaster are brought together with the marriage of Elizabeth of York (Lizzie), daughter of Elizabeth Woodville & Edward IV, & Henry VII. Throughout the series, we see Lizzie's stance change. From that of wanting to restore a York King to the throne to wanting to protect her children who now tie her to the Tudors. What I love about this show and The White Queen is that it mostly follows the women and the power that they fight for and wield. 

Versailles (2015-)
Taking a little break from England this show follows Louis XIV and his journey of turning the hunting lodge of Versailles into an impressive palace. The shows focuses on the relationships and drama inside the French court. Louis' relationship with his wife, mistress, brother as well as relationships between other characters. This show has a bit of comedy as well especially with Phillipe, the King's brother, & his lover Chevalier de Lorraine. There are two seasons so far with a third coming probably next year.

Victoria (2016-)
Back in England, this follows Victoria who became Queen of England at 18. The show chronicles her life and includes important events such as her marriage to Albert & the birth of her children. Season 2 is currently on and shows her trying to juggle motherhood and being a Queen. You can definitely see some parallels with today's society with Victoria wanting to keep up with her duties as Queen but the people around her pushing her towards the role of mother.

The Crown (2016-)
I'm sure pretty much everyone has watched or at least heard about this show. Queen Elizabeth II is the focus of this show and follows her accession to the throne and how it affects the relationship between her, her husband and family. Past family scandal hangs over the family and has a great effect on Princess Margaret and how she chooses to live her life. The second season comes out in December and I can't wait.

Have you seen any of these shows?

Ashley xx

Favourite Historical TV Shows

Tuesday, 12 September 2017


Lately, the genre of TV shows I find myself drawn to are those which are historical and more often or not in relation to a monarchy. As you see four out of five of them are centred around the British monarchy with the other concerning the French. I just seem to have this desire for works, whether TV shows or books, about the British monarchy mainly. I just find the history fascinating.

The White Queen (2013)
This was a mini-series and was adapted from Philippa Gregory's historical novels. The show follows the War of the Roses which I think was the inspiration for Game of Thrones. Two sides of the monarchy, the House of York and the House of Lancaster clash over who is the rightful King of England. The show focuses on three women and their quest for power. Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV, Anne Neville, wife of Richard III & Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII. The show is taken from historical fiction so there are parts which aren't that factual, ie Elizabeth & her mother being witches but it still gives a comprehensible illustration of the history.

The White Princess (2017)
This is the sequel to The White Queen and is once again adapted from Philippa Gregory's novels. This picks up where the story ended. The Houses of York & Lancaster are brought together with the marriage of Elizabeth of York (Lizzie), daughter of Elizabeth Woodville & Edward IV, & Henry VII. Throughout the series, we see Lizzie's stance change. From that of wanting to restore a York King to the throne to wanting to protect her children who now tie her to the Tudors. What I love about this show and The White Queen is that it mostly follows the women and the power that they fight for and wield. 

Versailles (2015-)
Taking a little break from England this show follows Louis XIV and his journey of turning the hunting lodge of Versailles into an impressive palace. The shows focuses on the relationships and drama inside the French court. Louis' relationship with his wife, mistress, brother as well as relationships between other characters. This show has a bit of comedy as well especially with Phillipe, the King's brother, & his lover Chevalier de Lorraine. There are two seasons so far with a third coming probably next year.

Victoria (2016-)
Back in England, this follows Victoria who became Queen of England at 18. The show chronicles her life and includes important events such as her marriage to Albert & the birth of her children. Season 2 is currently on and shows her trying to juggle motherhood and being a Queen. You can definitely see some parallels with today's society with Victoria wanting to keep up with her duties as Queen but the people around her pushing her towards the role of mother.

The Crown (2016-)
I'm sure pretty much everyone has watched or at least heard about this show. Queen Elizabeth II is the focus of this show and follows her accession to the throne and how it affects the relationship between her, her husband and family. Past family scandal hangs over the family and has a great effect on Princess Margaret and how she chooses to live her life. The second season comes out in December and I can't wait.

Have you seen any of these shows?

Ashley xx



After all the progress I made last month my pace has slowed right down. I'm still reading one of the books I mentioned last month. It's quite dense with information, it's based on true events. The other book I'm reading, however, is easier and is fiction. The two balance each other out nicely. I'm currently uploading a video for tomorrow which is just me going through all the books I'm yet to read. There's quite a number & the video is almost 30 mins long... hopefully at least one person watches it all.

The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu by Charlie English*
I wrote about it in last months post so have a look at it for a brief synopsis. Like I said it's very info heavy and I find myself reading more slowly in order to properly understand what's going on.

The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George*
This one is an easier read and follows Marianne who escapes her marriage and travels to a port town in Brittany. When she arrives she is swept up in an enchanting new way of life and meets a variety of people. Marianne discovers a new version of herself and finds herself seeing life in a different light. I'm really enjoying it and just makes me want to escape to a small French Town.




The Alice Network by Kate Quinn*
From what I tell this book is set in both WW1 & WW2 and follows the journey of women in each time period. 'The Alice Network' obviously sounds like a group of spies which sounds very interesting so I'm excited to start it soon.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel*
I've heard of the story of the Roanoke settlement but I'm not sure if this story is in relation to it. The book follows Lane, a Roanoke girl, who finds out what the title really means and runs far and fast. 11 years later, however, her cousin goes missing which leaves her with no choice but to return. The story sounds very interesting, it sounds sort of like a cult or a secret society. Can't wait to start it.

What books are you planning to read in September?

Ashley xx

*Review copies from Hachette NZ & Harper Collins NZ

Books to Read in September

Thursday, 7 September 2017




After all the progress I made last month my pace has slowed right down. I'm still reading one of the books I mentioned last month. It's quite dense with information, it's based on true events. The other book I'm reading, however, is easier and is fiction. The two balance each other out nicely. I'm currently uploading a video for tomorrow which is just me going through all the books I'm yet to read. There's quite a number & the video is almost 30 mins long... hopefully at least one person watches it all.

The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu by Charlie English*
I wrote about it in last months post so have a look at it for a brief synopsis. Like I said it's very info heavy and I find myself reading more slowly in order to properly understand what's going on.

The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George*
This one is an easier read and follows Marianne who escapes her marriage and travels to a port town in Brittany. When she arrives she is swept up in an enchanting new way of life and meets a variety of people. Marianne discovers a new version of herself and finds herself seeing life in a different light. I'm really enjoying it and just makes me want to escape to a small French Town.




The Alice Network by Kate Quinn*
From what I tell this book is set in both WW1 & WW2 and follows the journey of women in each time period. 'The Alice Network' obviously sounds like a group of spies which sounds very interesting so I'm excited to start it soon.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel*
I've heard of the story of the Roanoke settlement but I'm not sure if this story is in relation to it. The book follows Lane, a Roanoke girl, who finds out what the title really means and runs far and fast. 11 years later, however, her cousin goes missing which leaves her with no choice but to return. The story sounds very interesting, it sounds sort of like a cult or a secret society. Can't wait to start it.

What books are you planning to read in September?

Ashley xx

*Review copies from Hachette NZ & Harper Collins NZ

And just like that it's Spring. Although today is a bit grey and miserable I have noticed it's lighter in the evenings and am counting down the days till daylight-savings. This month is the blog's 4th birthday which is crazy to think about. I'm planning something special which I've never done before and I'm a bit excited about it. I managed to remember to jot down things that I loved in August which is just three things and I can't think of anything else as I'm writing. Oh well.

Like most things, I cannot remember exactly how I stumbled upon this but I'm glad I did. So far I think there have only been three seasons and alternates between True Crime & Supernatural. They are hosted by Ryan & Shane who are awesome. Shane wasn't in the first season and it was weird as I started watching during the second, it just felt like something was missing. The guys basically investigate unsolved cases. True Crime, which is the current season, looks into unsolved crimes such as Amelia Earhart, JonBenet Ramsey & this family in Australia that just up and left their house. For me, I love Supernatural the most as the guys actually go to the locations rather than just sitting down and talking about it. It's also hilarious as Ryan is a believer in the supernatural and always ends up terrified while Shane thinks it's all fake and is just so chill in these creepy places. They balance each other out.

Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino
I've never been a coffee drinker. This is mostly down to the fact that I just don't like hot or warm drinks. Anything that is not refreshing cold just feels off to me. Thanks to social media I felt a little left out being a non-coffee drinker so decided to try the frappuccinos from Starbucks. Caramel is life so of course, it's my go to. It took a while but now I love them. I got a new volunteer position in the city so before I go in I pick up one to enjoy before working. I haven't had one in a couple of weeks and all I can do is think about them. I am low-key addicted now.

Museo del Prado Instagram
I follow quite a few museums & art galleries on Instagram. It's the kind of content I'm all about. For a while now you could do a live video and the Prado museum in Madrid has taken full advantage of it. The videos are mostly walk-throughs of a room in the museum and you get to see how the art is displayed. Obviously, the person who does it speaks Spanish so I don't understand them at all but it really hasn't been a problem as it is just walking through the galleries. However, they did do a live video in the conservation department which is my absolute dream job so I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't understand anything. I'm hoping other museums/galleries start doing it. The National Gallery did one and I'm hoping they'll do more. 

What were you loving in August?

Ashley xx

August Favourites

Tuesday, 5 September 2017


And just like that it's Spring. Although today is a bit grey and miserable I have noticed it's lighter in the evenings and am counting down the days till daylight-savings. This month is the blog's 4th birthday which is crazy to think about. I'm planning something special which I've never done before and I'm a bit excited about it. I managed to remember to jot down things that I loved in August which is just three things and I can't think of anything else as I'm writing. Oh well.

Like most things, I cannot remember exactly how I stumbled upon this but I'm glad I did. So far I think there have only been three seasons and alternates between True Crime & Supernatural. They are hosted by Ryan & Shane who are awesome. Shane wasn't in the first season and it was weird as I started watching during the second, it just felt like something was missing. The guys basically investigate unsolved cases. True Crime, which is the current season, looks into unsolved crimes such as Amelia Earhart, JonBenet Ramsey & this family in Australia that just up and left their house. For me, I love Supernatural the most as the guys actually go to the locations rather than just sitting down and talking about it. It's also hilarious as Ryan is a believer in the supernatural and always ends up terrified while Shane thinks it's all fake and is just so chill in these creepy places. They balance each other out.

Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino
I've never been a coffee drinker. This is mostly down to the fact that I just don't like hot or warm drinks. Anything that is not refreshing cold just feels off to me. Thanks to social media I felt a little left out being a non-coffee drinker so decided to try the frappuccinos from Starbucks. Caramel is life so of course, it's my go to. It took a while but now I love them. I got a new volunteer position in the city so before I go in I pick up one to enjoy before working. I haven't had one in a couple of weeks and all I can do is think about them. I am low-key addicted now.

Museo del Prado Instagram
I follow quite a few museums & art galleries on Instagram. It's the kind of content I'm all about. For a while now you could do a live video and the Prado museum in Madrid has taken full advantage of it. The videos are mostly walk-throughs of a room in the museum and you get to see how the art is displayed. Obviously, the person who does it speaks Spanish so I don't understand them at all but it really hasn't been a problem as it is just walking through the galleries. However, they did do a live video in the conservation department which is my absolute dream job so I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't understand anything. I'm hoping other museums/galleries start doing it. The National Gallery did one and I'm hoping they'll do more. 

What were you loving in August?

Ashley xx

It seems I really hit my stride with reading this month. This is purely down the books I picked up which were really engaging and just made me want to abandon my reality in favour of theirs. Three of them did that while the fourth made me steer in the opposite direction and look at my own life. It wasn't as enjoyable, let's be honest.  



I went through these two really quickly. The stories are different from one another a part from the fact that the narrative is really compelling.

The Last Debutante by Lesley Lokko*
I had an idea of what the story would be about but once I started reading I discovered my theory was very wrong. The story is more complex than I'd thought it would be. It starts off in the backdrop of WW2 and mostly follows Kit who deals with the consequences of her sister's actions. She leads an extraordinary life and we see how it affects the relationship with her daughter whose journey follows similar paths as her mothers. The story is Libby's journey of discovering who her mother really is.

4.5 stars


The Girl Before by JP Delaney*
This is a real psychological crime story which I think would be great as a film. The narrative goes back and forth between Jane, the current tenant, & Emma, the past resident. We see how they adapt living a very conceptual house which basically monitors everything about you. The architect is the enigmatic Edward who both Jane & Emma feel drawn to. We see parallels with Edward's relationship with the two women and follows Jane's journey in discovering what happened to Emma. I couldn't put this book down, the story was very engaging and you never really made sense of two particular characters until the end which was great.

4 stars




Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight*
I won't lie, I'm very interested in those not very traditional 'self-help' books. Sarah's first book The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k is on the list of books I want. It sounds perfect for me who cares too much about useless things. While not everything applied to me I did find her guide on making lists very helpful. Distinguishing between what really needs to be done amongst all the things we want to do. Overall the thing I took most from reading it is breaking everything into manageable chunks. For me, I tend to get overwhelmed with everything and just not attempt it. This is definitely a book I will go back to for another read.

4 stars


Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti*
After being on a roll with the first two books I dove into this one head first. I really found the concept of the story interesting; Anna's daughter Ava starts talking about her other Mum and memories she couldn't possibly have. To get to the bottom of them they travel to the isolated Scottish Island of Seal which ends up being where Mother & Daughter finally feel a sense of belonging. While reading I thought Anna's connection to the island would be a little bit more than it was which was a little disappointing. The story is sweet and gives hope that one day you'll just find a place where you belong.

3 stars

Have you read any of these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ 

Review | The Last Debutante, The Girl Before, Get Your Sh*t Together & Keep Me Safe

Wednesday, 23 August 2017


It seems I really hit my stride with reading this month. This is purely down the books I picked up which were really engaging and just made me want to abandon my reality in favour of theirs. Three of them did that while the fourth made me steer in the opposite direction and look at my own life. It wasn't as enjoyable, let's be honest.  



I went through these two really quickly. The stories are different from one another a part from the fact that the narrative is really compelling.

The Last Debutante by Lesley Lokko*
I had an idea of what the story would be about but once I started reading I discovered my theory was very wrong. The story is more complex than I'd thought it would be. It starts off in the backdrop of WW2 and mostly follows Kit who deals with the consequences of her sister's actions. She leads an extraordinary life and we see how it affects the relationship with her daughter whose journey follows similar paths as her mothers. The story is Libby's journey of discovering who her mother really is.

4.5 stars


The Girl Before by JP Delaney*
This is a real psychological crime story which I think would be great as a film. The narrative goes back and forth between Jane, the current tenant, & Emma, the past resident. We see how they adapt living a very conceptual house which basically monitors everything about you. The architect is the enigmatic Edward who both Jane & Emma feel drawn to. We see parallels with Edward's relationship with the two women and follows Jane's journey in discovering what happened to Emma. I couldn't put this book down, the story was very engaging and you never really made sense of two particular characters until the end which was great.

4 stars




Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight*
I won't lie, I'm very interested in those not very traditional 'self-help' books. Sarah's first book The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k is on the list of books I want. It sounds perfect for me who cares too much about useless things. While not everything applied to me I did find her guide on making lists very helpful. Distinguishing between what really needs to be done amongst all the things we want to do. Overall the thing I took most from reading it is breaking everything into manageable chunks. For me, I tend to get overwhelmed with everything and just not attempt it. This is definitely a book I will go back to for another read.

4 stars


Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti*
After being on a roll with the first two books I dove into this one head first. I really found the concept of the story interesting; Anna's daughter Ava starts talking about her other Mum and memories she couldn't possibly have. To get to the bottom of them they travel to the isolated Scottish Island of Seal which ends up being where Mother & Daughter finally feel a sense of belonging. While reading I thought Anna's connection to the island would be a little bit more than it was which was a little disappointing. The story is sweet and gives hope that one day you'll just find a place where you belong.

3 stars

Have you read any of these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ 

I mentioned this in my July Favourites but thought I would dedicate a post to it as I have been enjoying it so much. Jessie from Nailed It NZ kindly sent me a set of her nail art brushes a few months back but I've only recently gotten around to trying them out. I got some nail samples from eBay (one set just never turned up so I had to buy another) and have been watching her beginner videos.





The Nail Tool Essentials Kit comes with three brushes as well as a dotting tool. There's a detail brush (the shorter thin one) which is useful for most nail art designs. The Clean Up Brush; the angle allows a smooth clean finish & the Striping Brush, which allows an easier application for lines. The dotting tool is double ended with one side bigger than the other.



These are the designs I've done so far. They're a bit rough, let's be honest but I'm still practising. So far my favourite is the dotting tool as it's just much easier to use and play around with.

You can buy these brushes online and Jessie has just brought out nail files which look great.

Have you tried any nail art?

Ashley xx

Nail Art with Nailed It NZ

Thursday, 17 August 2017


I mentioned this in my July Favourites but thought I would dedicate a post to it as I have been enjoying it so much. Jessie from Nailed It NZ kindly sent me a set of her nail art brushes a few months back but I've only recently gotten around to trying them out. I got some nail samples from eBay (one set just never turned up so I had to buy another) and have been watching her beginner videos.





The Nail Tool Essentials Kit comes with three brushes as well as a dotting tool. There's a detail brush (the shorter thin one) which is useful for most nail art designs. The Clean Up Brush; the angle allows a smooth clean finish & the Striping Brush, which allows an easier application for lines. The dotting tool is double ended with one side bigger than the other.



These are the designs I've done so far. They're a bit rough, let's be honest but I'm still practising. So far my favourite is the dotting tool as it's just much easier to use and play around with.

You can buy these brushes online and Jessie has just brought out nail files which look great.

Have you tried any nail art?

Ashley xx

As a book worm, I have quite the list of books I want to read/own. I very rarely get to the stage of buying them but managed to bite the bullet on one occasion. One of these books has been on the list for a while whereas the other prompted me to just buy it soon after I discovered its existence.



This year marks 20 years since the publication of the Philosopher's Stone. In celebration, special editions were brought out in both hard & paper back. Of course, I had to get myself one. I knew I wanted a hardback but couldn't decide on the four different designs each representing the houses at Hogwarts. I kept tossing up between Ravenclaw (my house) & Gryffindor (cause I just love the look of red and gold). As you can see I stayed true to my house and picked up a Ravenclaw edition. The editions include additional information about the house including the founder, ghost as well as famous Ravenclaw alumni.





Marie Antoinette directed by Sofia Coppola is one of my favourite movies and when I discovered this book on Instagram and immediately searched for it on Book Depository and thankfully they had it. The book is filled with stills of the gorgeous movie and also includes the screenplay. I'm not sure but I think it is not the full screenplay as parts are missing but I honestly wanted it more for the images.

What books are on your wish list?

Ashley xx
*Affiliate Links

Book Haul | Harry Potter & Marie Antoinette

Tuesday, 15 August 2017


As a book worm, I have quite the list of books I want to read/own. I very rarely get to the stage of buying them but managed to bite the bullet on one occasion. One of these books has been on the list for a while whereas the other prompted me to just buy it soon after I discovered its existence.



This year marks 20 years since the publication of the Philosopher's Stone. In celebration, special editions were brought out in both hard & paper back. Of course, I had to get myself one. I knew I wanted a hardback but couldn't decide on the four different designs each representing the houses at Hogwarts. I kept tossing up between Ravenclaw (my house) & Gryffindor (cause I just love the look of red and gold). As you can see I stayed true to my house and picked up a Ravenclaw edition. The editions include additional information about the house including the founder, ghost as well as famous Ravenclaw alumni.





Marie Antoinette directed by Sofia Coppola is one of my favourite movies and when I discovered this book on Instagram and immediately searched for it on Book Depository and thankfully they had it. The book is filled with stills of the gorgeous movie and also includes the screenplay. I'm not sure but I think it is not the full screenplay as parts are missing but I honestly wanted it more for the images.

What books are on your wish list?

Ashley xx
*Affiliate Links

As I spend most of my time at home I rarely have the need or desire to put on a full face of makeup. I recently got a new volunteering position on Fridays, (exciting!) in the city which prompts me to want to look put together. I'm writing this post the night before so hopefully, I use everything I plan to.


For the base, I've been using the Maybelline Super Stay foundation as opposed to my usual Colorstay. The shade is a bit light for my skin tone but it brightens it up. If I can't be bothered with the liquid foundation I just use the Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin powder foundation. I often use this as a concealer if I put on the liquid foundation first but works well on its own and is quicker. For under the eyes I usually use the Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer. Unfortunately, I completely forgot about it when taking pictures.


I often skip this step but to set the foundation/concealer I just use the Rimmel Stay Matte powder.



Again I don't usually do these steps but thought I would give them a go. The blush is a Milani Baked Blush in Rose D'Oro, it's a gorgeous shade of pink with gold flecks through it. The highlighter is from XO Beauty and is in the shade Aurora which is a stunning champagne pink. It's very subtle, so for a highlighter novice like me, it's not too terrifying.



For the eyes, I'm going to use the Rimmel Magnif'Eyes palette in Keep Calm & Wear Gold. As you can see the shades are mostly neutral with some gorgeous gold shades as well. My current mascara is one from Moisture Mist.



And lastly, for the lips, I start off with a lip liner as lipsticks on me tend to bleed. I'll be using a Chi Chi one in the shade Fly Girl which is a pinky nude. And over top, I'll apply a Jeffree Star liquid lipstick in the shade I'm Shook which is a gorgeous pinky nude shade.

What products made up your MOTD?

Ashley xx

MOTD 11/08/17

Friday, 11 August 2017


As I spend most of my time at home I rarely have the need or desire to put on a full face of makeup. I recently got a new volunteering position on Fridays, (exciting!) in the city which prompts me to want to look put together. I'm writing this post the night before so hopefully, I use everything I plan to.


For the base, I've been using the Maybelline Super Stay foundation as opposed to my usual Colorstay. The shade is a bit light for my skin tone but it brightens it up. If I can't be bothered with the liquid foundation I just use the Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin powder foundation. I often use this as a concealer if I put on the liquid foundation first but works well on its own and is quicker. For under the eyes I usually use the Maybelline Eraser Eye Concealer. Unfortunately, I completely forgot about it when taking pictures.


I often skip this step but to set the foundation/concealer I just use the Rimmel Stay Matte powder.



Again I don't usually do these steps but thought I would give them a go. The blush is a Milani Baked Blush in Rose D'Oro, it's a gorgeous shade of pink with gold flecks through it. The highlighter is from XO Beauty and is in the shade Aurora which is a stunning champagne pink. It's very subtle, so for a highlighter novice like me, it's not too terrifying.



For the eyes, I'm going to use the Rimmel Magnif'Eyes palette in Keep Calm & Wear Gold. As you can see the shades are mostly neutral with some gorgeous gold shades as well. My current mascara is one from Moisture Mist.



And lastly, for the lips, I start off with a lip liner as lipsticks on me tend to bleed. I'll be using a Chi Chi one in the shade Fly Girl which is a pinky nude. And over top, I'll apply a Jeffree Star liquid lipstick in the shade I'm Shook which is a gorgeous pinky nude shade.

What products made up your MOTD?

Ashley xx

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has dreamed of one day owning a designer handbag. I'm always interested in seeing the new collections but until that time comes my eyes are set towards ones which are more in my price range. Colette Hayman is an Australian designer who has designed stunning bags which are affordable. I had a look through the online store and found some which caught my eye. Hopefully, they'll be in a physical store.



In terms of smaller handbags, I prefer cross body as I find straps just fall off my shoulder. I also feel more secure when it's crossbody. I liked the Sophie Quilt Crossbody as it is a bit different to what I would usually go for. It's a rounded rectangular shape and is an Ivory shade with a quilted feature. The gold tone hardware accents also add a little more luxury which I like.

The Zoey Zip 3-In-1 Crossbody is different as it comes with three interchangeable covers; black, snakeskin & ivory. I personally like it just with the black cover. It looks more sleek and simple and the gold chain detailing stops it from being too boring.





For bigger bags, I really like the style of totes. I also like to make sure they have a decently long strap due to the aforementioned problem above. I really liked how stylishly classic (if that's a thing) the Jackie Medium Tote is. It's black with gold tone hardware. The only thing I'm not sure about is the shoulder strap. To me, it looks a different style to the bag itself. I don't know.

The Steph Tassel Mini is Burgundy, velvet and all round gorgeous. It's more of a round shape than a rectangle and is also a bit smaller. While I'm more into black as well as neutrals for handbags the colour of this is darker and could be both a day & night bag.

The Carlie Hardware Tag Tote was the first bag to catch my eye and I'm sure it's obvious why. It's a gorgeous pink shade and is a great size to fit everything you need for the day. I know I said I prefer black & neutrals but pink is the exception.

Are there any Colette bags you have your eye on?

Ashley xx

Wishlist | Colette by Colette Hayman

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


I'm sure I'm not the only one who has dreamed of one day owning a designer handbag. I'm always interested in seeing the new collections but until that time comes my eyes are set towards ones which are more in my price range. Colette Hayman is an Australian designer who has designed stunning bags which are affordable. I had a look through the online store and found some which caught my eye. Hopefully, they'll be in a physical store.



In terms of smaller handbags, I prefer cross body as I find straps just fall off my shoulder. I also feel more secure when it's crossbody. I liked the Sophie Quilt Crossbody as it is a bit different to what I would usually go for. It's a rounded rectangular shape and is an Ivory shade with a quilted feature. The gold tone hardware accents also add a little more luxury which I like.

The Zoey Zip 3-In-1 Crossbody is different as it comes with three interchangeable covers; black, snakeskin & ivory. I personally like it just with the black cover. It looks more sleek and simple and the gold chain detailing stops it from being too boring.





For bigger bags, I really like the style of totes. I also like to make sure they have a decently long strap due to the aforementioned problem above. I really liked how stylishly classic (if that's a thing) the Jackie Medium Tote is. It's black with gold tone hardware. The only thing I'm not sure about is the shoulder strap. To me, it looks a different style to the bag itself. I don't know.

The Steph Tassel Mini is Burgundy, velvet and all round gorgeous. It's more of a round shape than a rectangle and is also a bit smaller. While I'm more into black as well as neutrals for handbags the colour of this is darker and could be both a day & night bag.

The Carlie Hardware Tag Tote was the first bag to catch my eye and I'm sure it's obvious why. It's a gorgeous pink shade and is a great size to fit everything you need for the day. I know I said I prefer black & neutrals but pink is the exception.

Are there any Colette bags you have your eye on?

Ashley xx


I've been reading quite a lot lately which I'm really proud of. I go through phases of having a need to just sit down and read especially when enjoying a book. The book I've just finished was the quickest I have ever read in a while, I had a preconception of what the story entailed but was completely wrong. I liked how the title and also the blurb at the back gave no real hints at the story. I'm keeping the same pace with one of the books in this post, again another mystery.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney*
This is the said book. The story switches between two different female perspectives who are separated by time. After a traumatic incident Emma & her partner, Simon, move into an amazing place that comes with a particular set of rules. A couple of years later Jane, who has also gone through a traumatic event, moves into the same house Emma & Simon once occupied. The house is very conceptual and designed by an enigmatic architect who Emma & Jane find alluring. I've just gotten to the part where Jane finds out what happens to Emma, it's a real mystery which I'm enjoying.

The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu by Charlie English*
Timbuktu has been a fascination of explorers for centuries. Stories, such as slaves wearing gold, prompted adventurers in the late eighteenth century to reach it. None succeeded. Timbuktu is also the source of learning with there being thousands of ancient manuscripts on numerous subjects. These precious documents were put in danger when al-Qaeda-linked jihadists invaded which prompted an amazing group of librarians & archivists to hide them. The book brings together the two stories, the real life accounts in 2012 and the stories from the past. I did an Art Crime paper at University and the story of this book reminded me of some of the case studies. I loved that paper so I am excited to learn about this story.



Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti*
I'm pretty sure I'll get through The Girl Before pretty quickly so this book will be next. The story follows Anna & her daughter Ava. After Ava's father disappears she is traumatised and after three days of silence starts to talk about and draw a place she's never visited. To get to the truth Anna goes to the place, a tiny island where their past & future meet. This again sounds like another mystery which I'm a fan of so am looking forward to starting it soon.

What books are you planning to read in August?

Ashley xx
* Review copies from Hachette NZ & HarperCollins NZ

Books to Read in August

Friday, 4 August 2017



I've been reading quite a lot lately which I'm really proud of. I go through phases of having a need to just sit down and read especially when enjoying a book. The book I've just finished was the quickest I have ever read in a while, I had a preconception of what the story entailed but was completely wrong. I liked how the title and also the blurb at the back gave no real hints at the story. I'm keeping the same pace with one of the books in this post, again another mystery.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney*
This is the said book. The story switches between two different female perspectives who are separated by time. After a traumatic incident Emma & her partner, Simon, move into an amazing place that comes with a particular set of rules. A couple of years later Jane, who has also gone through a traumatic event, moves into the same house Emma & Simon once occupied. The house is very conceptual and designed by an enigmatic architect who Emma & Jane find alluring. I've just gotten to the part where Jane finds out what happens to Emma, it's a real mystery which I'm enjoying.

The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu by Charlie English*
Timbuktu has been a fascination of explorers for centuries. Stories, such as slaves wearing gold, prompted adventurers in the late eighteenth century to reach it. None succeeded. Timbuktu is also the source of learning with there being thousands of ancient manuscripts on numerous subjects. These precious documents were put in danger when al-Qaeda-linked jihadists invaded which prompted an amazing group of librarians & archivists to hide them. The book brings together the two stories, the real life accounts in 2012 and the stories from the past. I did an Art Crime paper at University and the story of this book reminded me of some of the case studies. I loved that paper so I am excited to learn about this story.



Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti*
I'm pretty sure I'll get through The Girl Before pretty quickly so this book will be next. The story follows Anna & her daughter Ava. After Ava's father disappears she is traumatised and after three days of silence starts to talk about and draw a place she's never visited. To get to the truth Anna goes to the place, a tiny island where their past & future meet. This again sounds like another mystery which I'm a fan of so am looking forward to starting it soon.

What books are you planning to read in August?

Ashley xx
* Review copies from Hachette NZ & HarperCollins NZ

You all know I'm a sucker when it comes to online shopping, especially when there are deals. My favourite is 1-day which has three different sales and changes every day at 12 pm. In one of the sales, I spotted a portable light tent which I immediately added to my cart. I just thought it would be a great thing to have as natural light is a bit temperamental. I used it for the photo above and I think it turned out ok, I'll have to keep experimenting with it. 

Getting Creative
Turns out I mentioned this in last month's favourites but I'm gonna include it again as I've been really enjoying it. I got a small set of watercolour paint for Christmas a couple of years ago and I've only just starting to use them. Through watching some tutorials I've been experimenting and realising how you can do a number of effects by just adding water. I've already made a list of stuff I need, at the moment I'm just using normal paper and I don't think it allows the paint to get its desired effect.

Another creative thing I'm getting into is nail art. Jessie from Nailed It NZ kindly sent me a set of her nail art brushes a while ago but there was an issue with a missing eBay package so I've only just got around to using them. I'm using nail samples to start off with and am following her videos as well. The two in the picture are my best ones so far and I've now got the need to get more polishes. I've also looked into doing a nail technician course cause you know I love to study. You can buy her brushes through her online shop.

Getting my Sh*t Together (somewhat)
I mentioned in my 'Don't Force It' post about things I should deal with but can't be bothered. Well, steps have been made to deal with them. It's terrifying but it's better than constantly getting stressed over not doing anything. I've also recently finished Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight*, it may or may not had something to do with it. I'm not sure.

Vikings
I've heard talk of this show for a while but only recently got into it. I've binged watched and am now currently at the most recent season. This is shown on the History channel which to me is strange as I've never seen this or shows like it on the channel, though it maybe because I'm in NZ. It's a historical drama about Vikings, in particular, Ragnar Lothbrok. Historically he's more of a myth/legend figure and other characters from different time periods are put together in the same story. So it's not entirely historically accurate but it's addictive. One of the things I love is that some of the Viking women fought in the battles and are known as Shield Maidens. Not entirely sure it's historical fact, be cool it was though.

What were your July Favourites?

Ashley xx
* Review copy from Hachette NZ

July Favourites

Tuesday, 1 August 2017


You all know I'm a sucker when it comes to online shopping, especially when there are deals. My favourite is 1-day which has three different sales and changes every day at 12 pm. In one of the sales, I spotted a portable light tent which I immediately added to my cart. I just thought it would be a great thing to have as natural light is a bit temperamental. I used it for the photo above and I think it turned out ok, I'll have to keep experimenting with it. 

Getting Creative
Turns out I mentioned this in last month's favourites but I'm gonna include it again as I've been really enjoying it. I got a small set of watercolour paint for Christmas a couple of years ago and I've only just starting to use them. Through watching some tutorials I've been experimenting and realising how you can do a number of effects by just adding water. I've already made a list of stuff I need, at the moment I'm just using normal paper and I don't think it allows the paint to get its desired effect.

Another creative thing I'm getting into is nail art. Jessie from Nailed It NZ kindly sent me a set of her nail art brushes a while ago but there was an issue with a missing eBay package so I've only just got around to using them. I'm using nail samples to start off with and am following her videos as well. The two in the picture are my best ones so far and I've now got the need to get more polishes. I've also looked into doing a nail technician course cause you know I love to study. You can buy her brushes through her online shop.

Getting my Sh*t Together (somewhat)
I mentioned in my 'Don't Force It' post about things I should deal with but can't be bothered. Well, steps have been made to deal with them. It's terrifying but it's better than constantly getting stressed over not doing anything. I've also recently finished Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight*, it may or may not had something to do with it. I'm not sure.

Vikings
I've heard talk of this show for a while but only recently got into it. I've binged watched and am now currently at the most recent season. This is shown on the History channel which to me is strange as I've never seen this or shows like it on the channel, though it maybe because I'm in NZ. It's a historical drama about Vikings, in particular, Ragnar Lothbrok. Historically he's more of a myth/legend figure and other characters from different time periods are put together in the same story. So it's not entirely historically accurate but it's addictive. One of the things I love is that some of the Viking women fought in the battles and are known as Shield Maidens. Not entirely sure it's historical fact, be cool it was though.

What were your July Favourites?

Ashley xx
* Review copy from Hachette NZ

So along with Phone Anxiety, this idea also popped into my head. Whenever these random ideas come to me I make sure to jot them down especially when I'm getting bored of what I usually write about. Growing up I think you found out quickly whether or not you were a person who liked school. I was pretty meh about it during high school but it wasn't until I was at university studying the subjects I wanted to that I started to enjoy it. I admit I didn't enjoy the entirety of it, assignments and exams brought a lot of stress into my life but I absolutely loved learning in the lectures. I've been out of university for almost 2 years and I miss going in and learning.

So this is kind of like a list of things which shows you're a lifetime academic if you will*. 

  1. You've kept all of your textbooks 
  2. You check the exam timetable and look at when the exam is for the classes you took
  3. You check out the subjects you would take if you did the degree again
  4. Occasionally think about and slightly research what you could do for your Masters
  5. Check out other university websites and see what subjects they offer
  6. Wonder if you could do another BA
  7. Figuring out the career you want and researching what degrees you'll need
  8. Googling universities that have no fees
  9. Start to read the dissertation that pretty much broke you
  10. Ultimately deciding to go back to uni

Do any of these apply to you?

Ashley xx

*These are all me

You Know You're an Academic When...

Tuesday, 25 July 2017


So along with Phone Anxiety, this idea also popped into my head. Whenever these random ideas come to me I make sure to jot them down especially when I'm getting bored of what I usually write about. Growing up I think you found out quickly whether or not you were a person who liked school. I was pretty meh about it during high school but it wasn't until I was at university studying the subjects I wanted to that I started to enjoy it. I admit I didn't enjoy the entirety of it, assignments and exams brought a lot of stress into my life but I absolutely loved learning in the lectures. I've been out of university for almost 2 years and I miss going in and learning.

So this is kind of like a list of things which shows you're a lifetime academic if you will*. 

  1. You've kept all of your textbooks 
  2. You check the exam timetable and look at when the exam is for the classes you took
  3. You check out the subjects you would take if you did the degree again
  4. Occasionally think about and slightly research what you could do for your Masters
  5. Check out other university websites and see what subjects they offer
  6. Wonder if you could do another BA
  7. Figuring out the career you want and researching what degrees you'll need
  8. Googling universities that have no fees
  9. Start to read the dissertation that pretty much broke you
  10. Ultimately deciding to go back to uni

Do any of these apply to you?

Ashley xx

*These are all me

The idea for this post popped into my head a few days ago and thought I would just run with it. I've been wanting to do different things for posts; something more different, creative and personal. So to start off I thought I would write about phone anxiety which is a very real thing and something that I've been particularly dealing with lately.

I've never really been a big fan of talking on the phone. The prospect of not knowing who is on the other end is a big thing for me, and it doesn't help with all the movies about a creepy killer on the phone. I just can't. Nowadays you see the person who is calling you, however, I still freak out when a number pops up which is not good when you're applying for jobs. And of course whenever anyone calls me I usually jump to the conclusion of it being bad news cause my family and friends usually communicate via text and messenger. However, when one of my family calls me I'm absolutely fine in answering the phone.

Last week I got a call back about a job I applied for. I freaked out and pretty much panicked about the thought of calling back. I thought it was a phone call about setting up an in person interview but unfortunately, it was a phone interview. It did not go well. I'm not that good at face to face social interaction which means on the phone it's disastrous. In a job interview situation, I prefer an in person interview much more. I'm able to pick up on social cues (somewhat) and I just like being able to see the person I'm talking to. After the interview, they said I would get a call back the next week (this week). There's been no call and I'm not surprised.

Another thing which I've been pushing back because of this is making an appointment I really should have made ages ago. I try to psyche myself up to do it but my head comes up with all these excuses which makes me feel at ease at not doing it and thinking I'll do it at this date. It never works. Another thing I hate doing is asking people for pretty much anything. At uni, I cringed at the prospect of emailing my lecturer or supervisor a question. I was always nervous about the answer, whatever it was. So like asking someone to do it for me is worse than actually doing it, I think. 

I'm also the type of person who overthinks conversations. So in trying to psyche myself up to make an appointment, I think through what I will say, the routes the conversation might go. Nine times out of ten in conversations I end up not saying anything at all or I just stutter my words and wish I never said anything.

Anxiety makes me a mess. 

Do you struggle with phone anxiety?

Ashley xx

Phone Anxiety

Friday, 21 July 2017


The idea for this post popped into my head a few days ago and thought I would just run with it. I've been wanting to do different things for posts; something more different, creative and personal. So to start off I thought I would write about phone anxiety which is a very real thing and something that I've been particularly dealing with lately.

I've never really been a big fan of talking on the phone. The prospect of not knowing who is on the other end is a big thing for me, and it doesn't help with all the movies about a creepy killer on the phone. I just can't. Nowadays you see the person who is calling you, however, I still freak out when a number pops up which is not good when you're applying for jobs. And of course whenever anyone calls me I usually jump to the conclusion of it being bad news cause my family and friends usually communicate via text and messenger. However, when one of my family calls me I'm absolutely fine in answering the phone.

Last week I got a call back about a job I applied for. I freaked out and pretty much panicked about the thought of calling back. I thought it was a phone call about setting up an in person interview but unfortunately, it was a phone interview. It did not go well. I'm not that good at face to face social interaction which means on the phone it's disastrous. In a job interview situation, I prefer an in person interview much more. I'm able to pick up on social cues (somewhat) and I just like being able to see the person I'm talking to. After the interview, they said I would get a call back the next week (this week). There's been no call and I'm not surprised.

Another thing which I've been pushing back because of this is making an appointment I really should have made ages ago. I try to psyche myself up to do it but my head comes up with all these excuses which makes me feel at ease at not doing it and thinking I'll do it at this date. It never works. Another thing I hate doing is asking people for pretty much anything. At uni, I cringed at the prospect of emailing my lecturer or supervisor a question. I was always nervous about the answer, whatever it was. So like asking someone to do it for me is worse than actually doing it, I think. 

I'm also the type of person who overthinks conversations. So in trying to psyche myself up to make an appointment, I think through what I will say, the routes the conversation might go. Nine times out of ten in conversations I end up not saying anything at all or I just stutter my words and wish I never said anything.

Anxiety makes me a mess. 

Do you struggle with phone anxiety?

Ashley xx
 


I feel like the more I read the more I pick up on things that I usually won't notice. One such thing is the use of language, the way the author chooses the words and structures them into a sentence. I noticed this particularly with one of these books in comparison to another. I'm starting to see how language can be creative & fun. Stories can also be fun, such as these two.

Who's Afraid Too? by Maria Lewis*
This is the sequel to Who's Afraid?* and picks up with Tommi who is on the way to Berlin to meet up with a group of rogue werewolves. I loved the first book and I loved this one just as much. Tommi is one of my favourite characters; she's outgoing, courageous and is adapting to her new life as a werewolf. In this book we see her understanding her new strength and skills as well as finding herself with people in the same situation as her. She's found herself a new family basically. Her relationship with Lorcon is still complicated and of course there's something untoward happening which needs stopping. The story is fast paced, funny, witty and I'm sure everyone will enjoy it.

4 stars


Difficult Women by Roxane Gay*
I've heard great things about Roxane Gay's work and Difficult Women is the first book I've read of hers. The book is compiled of short stories concerning a variety of women in different situations. It does well to highlight just how juxtaposed and complex women and their lives are. I also love Gay's use of language, it reads easy but is still so skilled. The stories look more inward to the women portrayed, we see how they think, how they react to their situation and what in the past made them who they were in that moment. The stories show just how complex human beings are as a whole.

5 stars

Have you read these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copy from Hachette NZ

Review | Who's Afraid Too? & Difficult Women

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

 


I feel like the more I read the more I pick up on things that I usually won't notice. One such thing is the use of language, the way the author chooses the words and structures them into a sentence. I noticed this particularly with one of these books in comparison to another. I'm starting to see how language can be creative & fun. Stories can also be fun, such as these two.

Who's Afraid Too? by Maria Lewis*
This is the sequel to Who's Afraid?* and picks up with Tommi who is on the way to Berlin to meet up with a group of rogue werewolves. I loved the first book and I loved this one just as much. Tommi is one of my favourite characters; she's outgoing, courageous and is adapting to her new life as a werewolf. In this book we see her understanding her new strength and skills as well as finding herself with people in the same situation as her. She's found herself a new family basically. Her relationship with Lorcon is still complicated and of course there's something untoward happening which needs stopping. The story is fast paced, funny, witty and I'm sure everyone will enjoy it.

4 stars


Difficult Women by Roxane Gay*
I've heard great things about Roxane Gay's work and Difficult Women is the first book I've read of hers. The book is compiled of short stories concerning a variety of women in different situations. It does well to highlight just how juxtaposed and complex women and their lives are. I also love Gay's use of language, it reads easy but is still so skilled. The stories look more inward to the women portrayed, we see how they think, how they react to their situation and what in the past made them who they were in that moment. The stories show just how complex human beings are as a whole.

5 stars

Have you read these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copy from Hachette NZ

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