Summer Favourites Wrap-Up

I love writing ‘favourites’ posts.

To me, it really harkens back to the good ol’ days of blogging and of YouTube as well, which were really formative of my love of beauty and fashion (and blogging!) in my teen years. I remember so vividly logging onto my computer and reading or watching Zoella’s ‘Monthly Favourites’ posts. I always looked forward to my favourite bloggers posting these sort of round-ups, partly for inspiration but mostly out of sheer curiosity - ‘cause, hey, that’s the real reason why read blogs, isn’t it? Let’s just be honest here lol.

‘Monthly favourites’ posts just aren’t for me, sadly. However much I love to read them, I can’t write them. I just don’t have the funds to go off and buy/try out new products every month to make a monthly round-up interesting at all. Frankly, my day-to-day life just isn’t fascinating enough. I’ve made a few feeble attempts in the past, but gave up soon after. No one fancies hearing me babble on each and every month that my favourite Starbucks drink is still Caramel Macchiatos, that I’ve been re-watching New Girl for the 5th time, or that I’ve been using the same two ride or die lipsticks I’ve alternated between for the past 4 years.

This is all a really long-winded way of saying that I’ve decided to stretch out the ‘monthly favourites’ concept into something more manageable - seasonal favourites! For every season, I’ll chat about my favourite beauty products, T.V. shows, music, and books. I think it’s a rather nice way to finish up one season and transition into the next. And today, I thought I’d start off with the latest season: summer!

~ Beauty ~

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP WORTH THE HYPE MASCARA ($8.00)

I have found what might just be the greatest drugstore mascara and I shall never look back. For me, finding a mascara that suits me and does what I want it to do is quite the challenge. I have naturally long eyelashes. Very, very long eyelashes. Therefore, lengthening mascaras aren’t much of a necessity for me. I much prefer to have something that’s going to darken and fill my lashes to give that fluttery effect, rather than the ‘falsies’ look. I like a natural eyelash look and not a lot of drugstore mascaras give that. Enter NYX’s Worth the Hype. This waterproof mascara is extremely buildable and very natural-looking if you want just a thin coat. It’s perfect for everyday use or for special occasions, and because of that waterproof element, I feel comfortable wearing it everywhere, even to the Disney parks. This was great for the summer heat (and Florida rain) and I will probably carry it into the autumn season with me.

E.L.F. COSMETICS BEAUTIFULLY BARE SHEER TINT FINISHING POWDER ($6.00)

Alright, guys. I’m about to admit to a possibly criminal beauty blunder… Before this summer, I rarely used finishing powder. I never found the urge or need to wear it! I’m not sure why, as I do own a couple drugstore powders but it just wasn’t something I used in my daily routine. The closest I came to using powder was the Too Faced Peach Blur powder, which I used more for the ‘blurring’ effect than anything else. But then, after suffering with the same oily, gross makeup for the first month of summer, I decided enough was enough and went out to buy a new powder. I have seen the light. This E.l.f. powder was done wonders to my makeup, primarily by keeping it in place while protecting from the sweat and other elements of the summer months. I highly recommend this product for a cheap, but effective finishing powder - for summer or not!

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~ T.V. ~

1) THE HANDMAID’S TALE (Seasons 1-3)

I don’t know why it took me so long to watch this show! I read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood in 2017, around the time that the show aired, but because I didn’t have Hulu at the time, I wasn’t able to watch it. So I sort gave it up. FINALLY this summer, my mum and I binge-watched this show just in time for the premiere of the third season, which we also watched together. If you don’t already know, The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian show all about the U.S. after a radical group has overthrown the government and installed their own dictatorship which subjugates the citizens - primarily the women. Fertile women become ‘handmaids’ who are forced against their will to conceive children for the wealthy older couples that run the state. It’s extremely disturbing, especially considering the direction we are going in today with women’s rights. It is such a good show and I highly recommend it to everyone.

2) DERRY GIRLS (Seasons 1-2)

WHY DOES THIS SHOW ONLY HAVE, LIKE, 6 EPISODES PER SEASON?! I stumbled across this on Netflix because it was recommended to me and the trailer kept playing whenever I logged onto my profile. And then, on Facebook, a bunch of compilation videos of scenes from this show kept popping up and I thought they were hilarious. So I convinced my mum to try this show with me and I LOVE it. It’s all about a group of teenaged girls and one boy who attend an all-girls Catholic school in Northern Ireland during the Troubles in the ‘90s. While the show portrays a very tense political and social climate, it’s very light-hearted and so funny. The main characters are so authentic and hilarious, and get into the most bizarre situations.

3) SCHITT’S CREEK (Seasons 1-4)

Despite never really hearing much about it prior to this year, Schitt’s Creek has easily become one of my favourite shows this year. Filmed (and possibly set?) in Canada, the show follows a family of four - Johnny Rose, Moira Rose, and their two grown kids, Alexis and David - as they lose all their morning and forced to live in a very small town they bought as a joke years ago: Schitt’s Creek. The show is full of eccentric but loveable characters. Even though I started off watching this show to laugh at the antics of this spoiled family - and especially of Moira, the most high-strung character of all time - I actually grew to love these characters and the show has progressed into a feel-good t.v. show to me! Although creators Eugene and Dan Levy (who play Johnny and David) haven’t revealed where the show is set, I’m convinced it’s in Ontario and not only because it reminds me a bit of my town haha.

~ Music ~

1) LEWIS CAPALDI, “DIVINELY UNINSPIRED TO A HELLISH EXTENT”

I have been loving Lewis Capaldi, not just this summer but these past few months was when my obsession with his music really took off. And I don’t use the word obsession lightly at all. I simply adore Lewis Capaldi’s music. His voice is incredible!! His album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, was released in the spring of this year and it’s been the most played music in my library ever since. Lewis Capaldi can do a ballad like no other, and I stand by that statement. My current favs off this album are “Hold Me While You Wait” and “Headspace”.

2) TAYLOR SWIFT, “LOVER”

Okay, so I have to admit, this one really shocked me. I used to be a Taylor Swift fan way back when, all the way up to her “Red” days in the early 2010s when I was in high school. I was a huge fan, bought all her albums, went to a few of her concerts, the whole shebang. But her sound changed a lot afterwards and I just fell out of love with her music. But then this summer, “Lover” came out and I was surprised with how much I loved a lot of the music on this album!! There’s a very real connection with this album to some of her earlier ones, but there’s still a fresh sound to it. My current favs off this album are “I Forgot That You Existed” (which just might be my ultimate favourite song atm) and “Lover”.

3) LIZZO, “CUZ I LOVE YOU”

I was late to the game when it comes to loving Lizzo. For a while, I saw that ‘dna test’ meme on Twitter but didn’t really know where it came from and didn’t bother to find out. That is, until this summer, when I started hearing her music on the radio. OMG I LOVE HER. I love her music and all of the positivity she spreads through her lyrics. In my experience, it is impossible to listen to Lizzo and feel bad about yourself. There’s no room for a lack of confidence when you’ve got Lizzo playing. My current favs are “Good As Hell” and “Truth Hurts”.

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~ Books ~

1) MY PLAIN JANE - Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

These three women listed above are just phenomenal authors. I simply adore their writing. If you don’t remember or you haven’t been here long enough, last year I read My Lady Jane by this magnificent trio and adored it. It was all about Lady Jane, or Queen Jane, or the Nine Days’ Queen, and her very tragic story. But these ladies flipped the story on it’s head, added a bit of a magical element, and turned it into something wildly better than reality. This time, they tackled the marvellous Brontë classic, Jane Eyre, and once again, they added some supernatural elements to make it a compelling and worthwhile retelling. The humour is always on point in these novels and the characters are so interesting to read about. I can’t wait for the third Lady Janie novel and the future Mary trilogy!

2) THE VICTORIAN AND THE ROMANTIC - Nell Stevens

I’m sure I’ve said it a few times before, but I’ve really been trying to broaden my horizons when it comes to reading. In the past year, a large part of that has consisted of me branching out into the nonfiction genre. I really love nonfiction, particularly memoirs. So I obviously wanted to read this memoir, The Victorian and the Romantic, which was all about a young struggling academic who finds herself relating more and more to a Victorian era writer, Elizabeth Gaskell. I found myself really in a Victorian mood this past year and then once I listened to a Charlotte Brontë podcast which talked about the controversial biography written by Elizabeth Gaskell, I was even more excited to read this. I think this was an interesting, insightful memoir and perfect for a summer read.

3) THE FAMILIARS - Stacey Halls

Ahhh, witchcraft. What a crazy part of history. But what’s crazier was this novel about the Witch Trials of 1612, which young noblewoman Fleetwood Shuttleworth found herself smack dab in the middle of after trying to save her pregnancy. The Familiars was a really remarkable novel. I loved how it showed the maliciousness of the Trials and how sexist they were. I loved the story and the characters, and it was especially wonderful to read as it was set in the time period I had just finished studying in my last term of the school year!


What were some of your favourites this summer?

Felicia x

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2019

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Hello my loves!

I know I say it every year and this is probably my catchphrase, but can you believe how quickly this year is going by?! It’s so cliche to say and I’m fully aware of it. But honestly, I can’t grasp that the first half of the year has gone by. How is it almost 2020? Wasn’t it just 2010? God help me.

Anyway, existential crisis aside, happy second half of 2019 everyone! If that’s a thing lol. Today’s post is going to be one that I did last year as well which I’m very excited about - the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!! Woohoo! I love posting these sorts of blogs because it’s a good mini wrap-up of the books I’ve been reading because with the amount I’ve read so far these year, it can be hard to think of them all as a whole group. So this is a really good way to talk about them all at once!

Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2019…

Y’all know how I am about making decisions… I am BAD at it. So I’m going to allow myself to give two books for this answer. That seems fair, right?! Okay, so the two best books I’ve read this year so far are Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid and My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. They were both so incredible and energetic. Honestly, there was never a moment reading either of these books where I was bored or wanted to put them down. I rated both of them 5 stars and they fully deserved it in every way conceivable.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019…

Okay, so I struggle to call it a “sequel” but as it is part of the Lady Janies trilogy, I’m going to have to say that My Plain Jane was the best sequel I read in the first half of the year. I didn’t really read many sequels in the first half of the year. I only read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (a classic, of course) and All For One by Melissa de la Cruz (which I did not enjoy sadly). I’ve wanted to get my hands on a good series but just haven’t found many that’ve caught my eye yet. If you have a good one, please let me know!!

A book you haven’t read but want to…

Y’all, I am so excited to read A Game of Thrones. You may know that I got really into the show this year and that I binge-watched it just before the series ended this past spring. I only just bought the first two books recently and I am so excited to jump right into these books! Obviously, I’ve heard very good things about this series and I really enjoyed the show on the whole. I wasn’t super keen on the final season, in particular the finale, so hopefully that will be rectified by George R.R. Martin in the final books?! While those books haven’t come out yet, I’ll definitely let you know what I think about the first two books in the second half of this year hopefully!

Most anticipated release for the 2nd half of 2019…

Oh my god I am so unbelievably excited for The Testaments by Margaret Atwood to be released!! It is coming out in early September and yes, I’ve already got it pre-ordered so it will be sent to me once it’s released which is very good news because I’ve got a crazy busy September! I read The Handmaid’s Tale about two-ish years ago and loved it. I’ve since started watching the show on Hulu and think it’s incredibly done. The whole concept of Handmaid’s Tale is just so freaking terrifying but I think everyone needs to read the book or watch the show because our world is headed in a direction where women are being stripped of basic civil rights and we need to see what happens when it goes too far. Feminists, non-feminists and those in between can learn a lot from this book. And The Testaments has been described by Margaret Atwood herself as the answer to the questions that readers have had about Gilead since the first book was released in the ‘80s, so I’m PUMPED.

Biggest disappointment of 2019…

Sigh. Y’all know this has to be All For One… I was so bummed with how Melissa de la Cruz chose to end this trilogy. The first book, Alex and Eliza, was such an enjoyable historical fiction for young adults. And Love and War was a little less amazing, but still good regardless. But All For One was just a whirlwind and not in a good way. It felt like the author had sort of gotten bored with the trilogy and just wanted to finish it as quickly as possible. Like, not only were the loose ends not strung together as is expected in most series ends, but it was almost like the author started up a whole new story with this third book. Not a fan.

Biggest surprise of 2019…

Honestly, the biggest surprise for me has been Women Talking by Miriam Toews. I wasn’t really expecting much, I just thought it would be an interesting read, and it seemed sort of out of my usual selection of books. But it ended up being absolutely incredible!! Honestly, this book totally messed me up. It was so shocking and horrifying and heartbreaking… But also extremely powerful and uplifting?? I’d definitely recommend reading it. And also it’s great to support a Canadian author!

New favourite author…

Taylor Jenkins Reid!! I really enjoyed reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six in this first half of the year. I’d definitely read more of her work in the future.

Newest fictional crush…

I loved Alexander Blackwood from My Plain Jane! So cute and charming. Love the archetype of grumpy men who are secretly soft and caring on the inside (ahem Luke Danes)

Newest favourite character…

A character I’ve been loving is Fleetwood Shuttleworth from The Familiars. Her character growth was pretty amazing throughout the book!

Book that made you cry…

Although I didn’t cry while reading them, the two that made me most emotional were The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton and Women Talking. Both handled very difficult subject matter and did a great job of it. But both broke my heart fully.

Book that made you happy…

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy!! Yay for body positivity!!

Favourite book to movie adaptation…

D’ya know what’s funny? I haven’t seen a book to movie adaptation yet this year! But the Little Women adaptation is coming out in December, so I’ll let you know what I think of that when it comes out.

Favourite review you’ve written…

My review for The Royal We [review] was my favourite to write! It was one of the longest ones I’ve written and as it was for a book I really enjoyed, it was so fun to chat about!

Most beautiful book you’ve bought this year…

It’s genuinely been a year and I still don’t know if this is asking about the cover or the story… Last year I answered for the story, so let’s go with the cover this year! The most beautiful book I bought was The Familiars. It has an incredible navy blue cover with lovely woodland creatures and floral decorations.

Books you need to read by the end of 2019…

I’ve got a ton of books that I own that I still haven’t read. A few of those are: The Farm by Joanne Ramos, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, The Huntress by Kate Quinn, and My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray.

I hope you enjoyed this little mid-year wrap-up!

Felicia x

If you fancy reading my book reviews from this year, you can find those all here.

And if you want to read last year’s Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag, you can find that post here.

Books I Read in 2017

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As the year has finished and I've wrapped up my 2017 reading challenge, I thought I'd share the books I read this past year, including my ratings of them. I always love seeing what other people have read, and how they liked the books they read, so I wanted to share my reading log with you guys, in case any of you are nosy like me!

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell ~ 4 stars

2. Someday Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham ~ 4 stars

3. Klee Wyck by Emily Carr ~ 3 stars

4. Generals Die in Bed by Charles Yale Harrison ~ 3 stars

5. Animal Farm by George Orwell ~ 4 stars

6. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes ~ 4 stars

7. Endgame by Samuel Beckett ~ 3 stars

8. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote ~ 4 stars

9. July's People by Nadine Gordimer ~ 2 stars

10. The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides ~ 4 stars

11. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood ~ 5 stars

12. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon ~ 4 stars

13. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty ~ 4 stars

14. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins ~ 4 stars

15. The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin ~ 3 stars

16. My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins ~ 4 stars

17. London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton ~ 3 stars

18. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven ~ 3 stars

19. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell ~ 5 stars

So, there you have it! The good and the bad of 2017. I love looking back on things like this, seeing everything laid out like this in a list. Some of my favourite books this year were AttachmentsEleanor and ParkSomeday Someday Maybe, and The Handmaid's Tale.

Also, please enjoy my photo above of my bookshelf of favourite books, featuring my adorbs Lorelai Gilmore Funko Pop, haha.

What were your favourite books of 2017?

Felicia x