Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Week in Pictures #55


The week started out well! I picked up this beautiful colouring book, full of black and white patterns. I like doing things when I'm watching mindless tv to unwind. Last winter it was attempting to knit, apparently this winter it's about colouring in. I also took some time out during the week to hand-write a letter to my pen pal. I've really been enjoying getting to meet a completely new person through writing! 

It was my birthday last week, and I had such a great couple of days. J went to so much effort to make sure I had an awesome day, and it was so much fun to just take a day off and hang out.


We started off at Pancakes on the Rocks at Darling Harbour. So, so nommy, and massive serving sizes. Neither J or I finished our meals, but man we tried hard. 


 I then took the opportunity to kick his butt at bowling. We walked to Broadway, both got remedial massages and I picked up my free birthday boost!



We ended our adventure at Din Tai Fung in World Square. I seriously love, love, love this place!



I've been spending a lot of my (scarce) free time playing Simcity. I never played the original games, and I can totally understand why it's such a successful game. It's so addicting. Even J has been getting involved and staying up until all hours of the morning looking after his city! 


On Friday night  I celebrated my birthday with my dad, brother, sister and her boyfriend, and J. We went to teppenyaki in Beverly Hills. I've been here so many times before, and the novelty of watching your food being cooked and then having it thrown at you never gets old. The food is actually really delicious, and the chefs are great entertainment. 

I'm sorry my blog posts have been so scarce the past couple of weeks. Uni work for my PLT has just ramped up, I'm working crazy hours and I've just gone back to uni for Spring session. Still trying to work out my schedule, and when I have free time to blog. I just want to let you guys know though that I have so many exciting posts planned, and so many exciting products to share with you all!
Thank you also to everyone who wished me a happy birthday! xx

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: Gone Girl

I started reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn a few weeks ago. I then saw the film was coming out at the end of the year, and forced myself to finish the book off.
This is a story of love, hatred and pure evil. The book is set mostly in Missouri, and it starts on the day that should have been Nick and Amy's five year wedding anniversary. But then Nick finds Amy missing. And the police start investigating him. Their investigations reveal lies, inappropriate behaviour and a diary that Amy left behind. Nick is adamant he didn't kill his wife, but did he?

NB: Whilst all care has been taken to avoid spoilers, this review may inadvertently contain some.

The book starts as a "whodunnit", and I loved the first third of the book. I was hooked on the story, on the characters, on the writing. Then the (IMO screamingly obvious) OMG BIG TWIST occurs and the story just collapses. The events become more and more ridiculous, as the characters become even more unlikable. Seriously, the characters have absolutely no redeeming qualities, and this makes the book very difficult to read. It's not even just the fact that the characters are bad people - I'm not a stranger to books with unlikable characters, or books that deal with darker subjects (Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho is one of my favourite reads - horrible people can still be interesting when portrayed well) But, as well as being horrible people, the characters are shallow, one-dimensional and there is no character development whatsoever. Not to mention that everyone in the book apparently has the same occupation (They're all writers! Nick's a writer, Amy is a writer, Amy's parents were writers!)
Everyone that is, except for Go, Nick's twin sister. Go, short for Margo. What a ridiculous name.

This book was mostly well-written, and flicks between three points of view - Nick, Pretend Amy and Real Amy. This had the potential to be great, but left me feeling unsatisfied. Both characters are clearly unreliable, and in the beginning (when the book is still a mystery) this works really well. You can't really trust either character, and you're left questioning everything that they both say, which makes for some great mystery. However, Amy's diary entries were so contrived they left me feeling frustrated. People don't write like that in real life, recalling entire conversations and situations as if they were writing a book about it. Flynn is great at prose; her words flow and they're easy enough to read. The only criticism I have in relation to the actual writing is that the plot devices (such as the Punch & Judy dolls) were glaringly obvious.

So let's talk about the giant plot twist: I am not even good at picking up on twists, but even I guessed this one the second I read about the credit cards. I gave J's mum a quick run-down of the plot, and she guessed the twist. Basically, I feel that anyone who has read a thriller novel will see this one from miles away.
The fact that it was so obvious is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, since it's revealed about a third of the way into the book. It's the descent into ridiculousness after the big twist reveal that is really bad. The story becomes unbelievable, it starts to not make sense, and rather than being integral to the story, almost all of the characters only seem to exist to push the plot forward.

And then there's the ending. Oh my God. I have not read a worse ending to a book in my life. It is so unbelievably lazy that it seriously feels like Flynn just gave up writing the book. (Which made sense when I read through the acknowledgements) The ending is worse than "I then woke up and it had all just been a dream", because it finishes the story with absolutely no resolution.

In a nutshell, I didn't hate the book so much that it stopped me from finishing it, but I probably won't be reading it again. This is one of those books that divides a lot of people; have you read it? What did you think?

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

June Her Fashion Box

Before sending these out, HFB gave us a little teaser, telling us that this was the 'hat trick' box. Cue my excitement. I freakin love hats, and think people just do not wear them enough in Sydney. They hide bad hair days, they keep your head warm, and they look cool.

I think there was a pretty good mix of items in the box this month.
Let's talk about the hat to begin with. HFB have priced this at $34.99, which I think it a bit of a joke. I do think it's really cute, and although a little big I love the way it sits on my head.


However, it's made of felt, and I don't know if this is the same for everyone, but it seems pretty poor quality and that the edges are unfinished? 


The entire way around the hat is sharp, and it looks like it was just three felt pieces glued together, giving it a really unfinished look that doesn't actually suit the hat at all. There is no way that I would pay that for a hat that doesn't even look like it's been properly made.


The other fashion item in the box was this skinny belt with metal detailing (RRP $24.99). I suck at styling with accessories such as belts, so I'm really looking forward to fitting this into my wardrobe (which is the whole reason I signed up to the box, hooray!)


On to the beauty items! I received a full sized tube of Bioelixia's body shaper strech mark diminishing creme (RRP $39). The box says this is "scientifically proven" on the front. The asterisk says that means they consumer tested it on 10 women. I'm skeptical, but I'll give it a try. 

We also received a sachet of the 'Montagne Jeunesse' Creamy coconut face mask, for tired skin (RRP $3.99). I think this brand was the first ever face mask I used, back when I was a kid and having 'facial night' with my cousin, but I haven't used it since. I'm keen to give this a go, I always love receiving a face mask!


We also received from shampoo and conditioner samples from Klorane. I've received and used these before when I was subscribed to other beauty boxes, and they were okay. I really, really hate the sachet samples. What is the point of giving people a 25mL shampoo with a 10mL conditioner, when most people use more conditioner than shampoo? Not to mention how hard it is to open sachets when your hands are wet. 


 The last item in the box is this little kabuki bush from Artiste (RRP $23.95). The bristles are really soft, but still quite firm. I'm definitely going to start trying this out with my face powder! 

Overall I'm pretty happy with the items I received. I feel a bit let down in the beauty department, and of course I'm disappointed with the edge of the hat. But mostly, I'm happy. HFB seem to have been listening to feedback, and giving us different items to try which I really appreciate. This box was so, so close to having no complaints! Maybe the July box will fare better?

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

In My Travel Make-Up Case: Make-Up

This post is a follow on from this one, and I'll be talking all about what make-up I brought with me last week to Canberra, and what I found I used more than others. 

I kept all my make-up in the top big compartment, and a few smaller bits and pieces in the top tiny zippered compartment:

So in the small zippered part I kept: Maybelline HyperGlossy liquid liner. I love this product, but I think it irritates my eyes, so I don't use it too much. I brought my Body Shop brow gel (which is looking particularly disgusting...time for a new one?), the John Frieda Flyaway Tamer (This is for your hair and is an absolute staple for me!), Maybelline Colossal mascara, the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind under-eye concealer, Garnier Roll-On Eye cream, and the Lorac Behind-the-Scenes Eye Primer, which came with the Lorac pro palette. 

For eyeshadow, I brought both my Inglot 10 neutral palette, and the Inglot 4 palette. Together, these eye-shadows have almost every colour I could want while travelling (except for a black...) I also brought my eyelash curler. Although my Inglot 10 palette has a brow colour in it, I also brought my Body Shop brow palette. Which turned out to just take up space, because I exclusively used the one in the Inglot palette whilst I was away. So I'll definitely keep that in mind for  next time. 

For my face, I brought the Revlon Colourstay foundation, the Face of Australia FaceBase primer, the Australis Fresh&Flawless Pressed Powder, the Australis Conceal Correct 4-in-1 concealer correction palette. I love this because it has a green for covering red spots, and a purple for correcting under-eye circles. I also brought my Zoeva Mineral Highlighter - I really, realy love this, but I hate the packaging because it's so difficult to actually get any product out. For blush, I brought along NYX Mocha Blush - this is small, so is great for travel, and I just love the colour. 

I also brought my Revlon Photoready Concealer, which I find is a bit thicker than the Maybelline under-eye corrector. I also brought two travalo's with me, filled with Marc Jacobs' Daisy...and I can't remember what the other fragrance is. I think it's Versace Bright Crystal. Although I have a few of these all in different colours, I always forget what I've decanted...I should write it down. For contouring, I brought my trusty Make-Up Store compact powder in Chocolate

I brought a couple of lip products with me, just for a bit of variety (all Revlon, surprise, surprise). I brought the matte balm in Elusive, and three lip butters. Out of all the products I brought, I exclusively used 'Red Velvet' in the lip butter. I adore this colour, especially in the cold weather.

What are your must-have products when travelling? Are you like me, and bring more than you need, or are you able to control yourself?

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Recent Life in Pictures #54

The week before last, I finished off all my exams! I showed Dad how to catch a train in Sydney (I've never seen him on one in my lifetime) and he consequently rewarded me with pancakes! 

Of course I couldn't help myself and had to go with the chocolatey-ist one on the menu. So to work it off, we took a walk around circular quay, and up to the opera house. I of course, took that moment to get a scenic tourist-y street pole shot. 

Post gym workout meals hahahaha. Sometimes I'm healthy and balanced...sometimes I need pizza. 

Now that I'm on holidays, I've been enjoying snuggles on the couch with this pussy-cat and reading to my heart's content. I just finished Gone Girl, and cannot wait for the movie in October...although I hear that they've deviated from the book, so we'll have to see about that. 

I spent all of last week in Canberra, undertaking the intensive part of my PLT course. It was kind of ridiculous, kind of a waste of my time. But it's one part of my GDLP out of the way, and now I can move on to the online course! I stayed with J's parents, who are more than accommodating. It was kind of fun spending a week with J's family without him there, hahaha. One of the bars in Civic hold exhibitions for up-and-coming artists, and J's cousin was chosen to feature, which was awesome! So on the opening night, I headed out with J's brother and his fiance' to check it out. Wish I'd thought to take some photos. 

Midnight kitty cat shenanigans. 


On the Friday afternoon, I caught up with my friend, A who moved to Canberra early this year. We went to Gus's cafe, which is this adorable 'outside cafe' right in the middle of Civic. I originally opted for the peppermint hot chocolate, but they'd run out, so I ended up with the significantly more indulgent peanut butter. The owners of this place are lovely, and I love that you're kind of sitting outside, but it's still warm. 

I have started The Cuckoo's Calling, by J.K Rowling, written under the pen-name Robert Galbraith. I'm enjoying it so far, and loved reading it sitting in the sun in Canberra. 

What have you been reading recently?
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