October Book Recommendations

Reading slightly slowed in September and life got a little too much. I started waking a 6am, walking around the village with a hot cacao in hand, waiting for dawn to approach. Who know why this morning routine suddenly occurred? But it did mean I was unconscious by 9pm…at that did not leave much time for reading. I did, however, manage to rifle through a few books between the zzz’s. These are my must reads for October:

Ghosts, by Dolly Alderton

I squealed the minute this landed through my letter box. I’ve have been an avid fan of Dolly for years, and the obsession grew when she released her best selling memoir; everything I know about love. I pre-ordered the minute I could and gobbled it within days of it’s release. Ghosts is her first piece of fiction, and it’s beautiful. Following the protagonist, Nina, though her early thirties; exploring relationships, dating, friends and family, change, decay and the passing of time. A gentle and emotive read.

Flight Like A Girl, by Clementine Ford

A sublime manifesto for feminists. I’ve have never read a book that’s given me so much energy. The writing style reads like a continuous current of electricity running through your body…at some points I even paced my flat whilst reading. It’s a perfect read for people wanting to understand the movement, or to clarify the female experience in hard-hitting terms.

Good Vibes Good Life, Vex King

The perfect introduction to anyone interested in manifestation, the law of attraction, self progression and up-levelling your life. Manifestation has turned into a slight buzzword as of late, but this book cuts through the mass of information and offers gentle suggestions that you can implement easily to your everyday routine.

Emma, by Jane Austin

I know it’s an oldie, but I forgot how utterly joyous Emma is. I read it when I was at university, and I’ve completely fallen back in love with it’s lighthearted charm. Emma is a young woman filled with youthful charm, and the novel covers marriage, sex, women, age and social status. A perfect, easy read for those who want to get stuck into the classics.

My Minimalist Make-up Bag

We live in a time of contouring, priming, colour correctors, eyelash extensions and HD Brows. It’s a fabulous look for some, but it’s no longer for me. Over the years I collected a hoard of make-up, spilling from my bedside drawer and taking up all the space in my suitcase whenever I travelled. It drove me mad.

I started wearing more make-up to help conceal a bout hormonal acne. I was a fortunate teenager as I’d never suffered spotty skin. However I hit 26, my hormones shifted and my skin took the brunt. I worked for 6 months, experimenting with different products, and eventually the acne dried up and the scarring faded. I felt more confident, and safer in my skin. I didn’t want to load my face with layers of chemicals, or lug around a bursting make-up case anymore.

So, I bought a small make-up bag (pictured above – buy here!) and vowed for it to only contain hero products. Now I only use time-tested essentials that I’d never live without. So, this is what my minimalist make-up bag contains:

The Ordinary Serum Foundation SPF – Sheer, natural foundation with a perfect dewy glow and SPF protection. I use shade 1.2p.

Bourjois Little Round Pot of Blusher – I have been using this since I was 16. Gorgeous soft shades and lasts all day. There was a rumour that Bourjois were pulling UK sales so I have stocked up! I use shade 95; Rose de Jaspe.

YSL Touche Éclat Illuminating Pen – An iconic concealer! Again, I have been using this for years, and it’s a product my mother passed down to me. A perfect concealer, and is fabulous for highlighting under-eyes for a bright dewy look. I use shade 2 – Ivoire Luminere.

L’Oreal Brown Artist Eyebrow Pencil – Love this pencil! It has a comb to shape, a rich colour to define and a clear wax to set your brows for the entire day. I use the shade Brunette.

Soap and Glory Thick and Fast HD Mascara – This product does it all! Adds volume, builds length without clumping, fans your lashes and is a deep, velvety black shade. Perfect for a glam daytime lash.

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick – If you like a dewy glow that lasts all day, then look no further than this highlighter. I concentrate on the cheekbones and then dust my eyelids and nose. Stays put and gives an instant natural glow. I have been using it in shade Beige, but I think it has been discontinued so I’ll be going for the bronze next.

Glossier Generation G Lipstick – My first glossier purchase and one that will stay in my make-up bag for a long time. I love a casual, faded red lip, and this is the perfect, barely-there colour – I like to add a little lip balm over the top for a gloss finish. I use the shade Zip; a bright poppy red, and I am eyeing up the Crush next!

Tell me your hero make-up items!

Annie x

June Dossier

All the things I have loved this month…

I cannot start this months dossier without mentioning the BEAUTIFUL British weather; WFH has never felt so good. Lunchtimes sprawled on the grass, and have even treated myself to a light summer tan. It also gave me a chance to try out my new La Roche de Posey SPF. I cannot recommend it enough; has smooth finish and is oil free. Try it here!

This month I have devoured fiction. Starting with Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens; a painful yet beautiful tale of Kya, a girl abandoned in the swamps of Carolina. Owens paints a such rich landscape, you can along feel the humid air pressing against your skin and the crickets singing in the dark. I also roared through Sally Rooney’s Normal People and Conversations with Friends; both novels exploring love, relationships, youth, sex, friendship and intimacy.

My new girl crush is Mrs Maisel from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the most fabulous TV show on Amazon Prime. I am 3 years late to the party, but she is now an idol. Glamourus, strong, independent and funny; Mrs Maisel is one of the best characters on the small screen. Pay great attention to the fashion, make-up and interiors; they are divine. Another Amazon Prime gem is Dating Amber; a film about a a closeted gay teen and his lesbian counterpart who pretend to be a couple to avoid suspicion. It’s devastating, funny, emotional and so filled with love; a perfect Sunday evening film.

I have also rekindled a new love; the almond croissant. So, so in love! They were a vice when I lived in Sydney. A wonderful man used to make and sell them at my local market, and every Sunday I would drag myself from my bed, grab a croissant and a coffee and bathed my face in the morning sun. My mum bought me one this morning and now I am head over heels!

And finally, I have found the perfect white shirt. I personally do not think one can have enough white shirts, but this one is my new number one. It’s oversized, crisp white with balloon sleeves and a gorgeous scollop cuffs; perfect over shorts, tucked into your Levi’s or thrown over leggings for chic, casual look. I so am tempted to buy one in every colour!

June has been a joy, and I cannot wait to see what July brings.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Annie x

Letters From Devon

Hello friends,

I write this to you in bed, exhausted, sipping a huge cup of tea.

It’s been a busy yet beautiful weekend. I woke at 5.30am on Saturday and was at my mum’s house before 7am. We headed down to Devon to visit my brother, who has lived there for may years and is just about to move to London. Roadtrips with my mum are always the best, chatting solidly for hours whilst we sip coffee and watch the views turn green.

We first arrived at Noss Mayo, a small river village, and munched on cheese and onion pastries whilst wistfully window shopping tiny, chocolate-box houses covered in blooming roses bushes. The tide followed us back up land bringing with it the smell of salt and seaweed. Then we headed to the beach with a picnic. I used to live in Cornwall, and being by the sea again was tonic. I read Conversations with Friends by Sally Roony, whilst listening to the waves roll in and stealing snippets of people’s chatter. I slept, and burnt my nose…

This morning I lounged for hours, and splayed across bed until the latest possible moment. Then I headed out in search for coffee and avocados. I finished my book, started another, contemplated a run but decided against it. I watched Dating Amber on Amazon Prime – it’s fabulous, please watch it. It was one of those day’s where I was busy doing nothing.

Now, the sun has finally set and I am left with only the dregs of my tea. Time for bed and a 6.30 run in the morning!

This Weeks Reading

This weeks reading has obviously been heavy influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement. I have found that one of the first things a white person can do is read, listen and understand in order to support the Black Lives Matter movement. As a white women I have gained from the institutionalised racism in the UK. That is a fact. It is uncomfortable to unpick layers of privilege that us white people have obtained, but you have to start somewhere.

This article published in Vogue by Yomi Adegoke I found particularly profound. She explained the overwhelming experience it is to be black person with a platform in a time like this, how you are expected to publicly grieve and how quietly contributing to the conversation is more than enough. The NYT published this interesting discussion on police reform and what needs to happen in order to create change. And finally Maya Richard-Craven published this piece on Elle on how to be a better ally.

This week I also couldn’t help but notice how ‘white’ my bookshelf is. The publishing world is predominately white (Pandora Sykes tweeted that of the 160,000 books published in 2016, 100 were written by people of colour) and this trickles down to our bookshelves. Yes, I own books written by black authors; Malorie Blackman, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Candice Carty-Williams…but that is not good enough. It is easy to gravitate toward white authors because there are an abundance of them. We don’t have to look very hard.

If you want to make your bookshelves more diverse, The High Low Show (a news and pop culture podcast) has an extensive list of resources. Take a look and listen to their podcast on Anti-Racism Resources here, it also includes an interview with author Candice Brathwaite on making motherhood diverse.

I have made a promise to myself to make sure I invest time and money into literature written by black authors. This is a time to listen, learn and take action; and picking up a book is a perfect place to start.

Postcards from…

Lockdown.

Where else could I send you a postcard from in 2020?

I originally thought Postcards From… could be part of a travel series. After spending my twenties flowing from place to place, and although I have set down some roots at home, travel will always be something I prioritise in my life. I had planned to spend my 2020 in NYC, Greece, Portugal and California. Yet no sooner had landed from Manhattan and booked a hotel in Greece, Covid hit. Boarders closed and the world was ushered inside, bar from the government-permitted daily constitutional. Even though these past months have not provided the thrill of travel and adventure, there still has been much going on behind the scenes.

Life slowed down, but bread was baked and gin was consumed (by the litre). I have roared through my book stack – my online Waterstones account has been thoroughly rinsed. Some days I felt rushes of grief, anger and frustration, and others were unadulterated bliss. I walked through countryside everyday. I watched lambs being born in the fields behind my house, ate pasta whilst watching sunsets and grown accustomed to my mascara free face.

These moment may not be wild, free or adventurous but they are poignant, and I shall never forget them