Music to my Ears #1

Hey All!

So if any of you have been reading my blog for a while you may remember when I used to do an albums of the month (semi) regularly. I stopped after a while because the pressure of finding new albums I liked every month when sometimes I just wanted to listen to the same song on repeat was getting a bit frustrating.

So here it is..back and better because it won’t be every month but just whenever I have a few new albums that I want to share as being favourites at the time. Less pressure, less often and more genuine in that I have actually been listening to the albums for more than 10 seconds. A win-win I say. Ready to jump in? I hope you have a cup of tea cause this isn’t short..

11. The Best of Joy Division

A little bit of context here: I have been a big fan of Joy Division since I was around 15 and my Dad introduced me their post-punk sound and tragic back story. Then at the beginning of this month Edd and I finally got around to watching the very popular black and white film “Control” which focuses around Ian Curtis, the lead singer, and the story behind the music. The film was incredible and I definitely recommend you go watch it regardless of whether you have listened to the music or not. I could do a whole post on the film but I’ll stick to just using it to explain why this month I couldn’t resist getting back into listening to all of my favourite tracks.

The style of music is a combination of post-punk and new wave. They were pretty inventive for the period in which they started and their heavy base line along with Ian Curtis’ characteristically deep, monotonous vocals are still unique and not really comparable to any thing else that I have listened to. The pulsating music is a perfect back drop for Ian’s tormented lyrics which are a big part of what I love about Joy Division.

Two words: Haunting & Rythmic

Songs you should listen to: All 14 preferably but my personal favourites range from he high energy tracks such as “Disorder” and “Transmission” to the more sombre and haunting tracks like “Atmosphere” and the depressing but poetic track of “New Dawn Fades” (which also features my favourite lyric).

2.The  Foals Holy Fire

Moving on to something a little more recent, lately I have been loving the fun new album by The Foals. I have heard that this album isn’t the best of theirs but it is the first I have listened to so with a lack of comparison I rather love it. Confident and manicured you can tell this is their third album and although at times it does sound a bit commercial, the majority of the tracks are alternative and upbeat and make the perfect songs to blast in the car when I can sing along at the top of my voice. There is enough variety to keep the album interesting and their style of energetic, alternative rock keeps me coming back for more.

Two words: Dynamic and Catchy

Songs you should listen to: There is the strong, upbeat track “My Number” which you probably already know (and it is always stuck in my head) but other good tracks include “Everytime”, “Out of the Woods” and the slower, captivating “Moon”.

3. Daft Punk Random Access Memories

Another popular album that I should of gotten into ages ago and yet after the first listen I decided I didn’t like and ignored for months afterwards (please tell me other people make this mistake). Recently, a colleague was listening to this and I started to realize that I was enjoying it way more than I anticipated. Now it is a favourite for when I want something techno, energetic and just a little bit random. I don’t know Daft Punk well but this album is such an eclectic mix of jazz tracks, techno beats, passionate opera vocals and so much more. Somehow this weird and wonderful mix creates an album like nothing I have listened to before, something creative and surprising and all round kind of wonderful.

Two words: Eclectic and Tactile

Songs you should listen to: Another album where it’s hard to choose favourites, mainly because all the songs are so different, but I can’t go past the song everyone knows and has heard 8 billion times “Get Lucky” (honestly, I could listen to that song on repeat for hours and not get bored of Pharrell’s charming vocals and the extremely catchy tune). As well as this I also love the robotic and rather hypnotic track “Doin’ It Right” and as the strange yet captivating Opera track “Touch” featuring Paul Williams. An eclectic mix of sounds and beats, I am glad to say I finally understand the well deserved hype.

4. London Grammar If You Wait

So to finish off, this album has been one I have been obsessed with for months now. How could I not be with the breathtaking vocals of Hannah Reid that are perfectly paired with the restrained and yet emotionally nuanced music. I think of them in the same way as The xx in comparing the careful composition of urgent vocals and delicate, seemingly simple songs. Although some of the songs are almost too composed and sound a little too manicured for the majority of the album there is a juxtaposition of  melancholic introspection and emotional climaxes. The debut of this English trio blows my mind in how sad and yet uplifting the tracks can be. The balance isn’t perfect 100% of the time but when it works, it’s graceful and subtle and all other sorts of wonderful things.

Two words: Beautiful and Captivating

Songs you should listen to:  “Hey Now” as well as “Wasting My Young Years” which both exemplify the balance between the composure and the urgency that Reid’s vocals convey all within the one song,  “Strong” which is my personal favorite to sing to as it the vocals are deep one moment and soaring the next, and then the unexpected but wonderfully crafted “Interlude” which is one of the rare times where the vocals become almost secondary to the haunting piano and instrumentation. Lastly, a special mention for “Nightcall” which is a wonderfully emotional cover of a Kavinsky track (also very awesome, go check out the original first).

I feel like that was one monster of a music post but trying to sum up an album in a few words is tricky when you have no knowledge of music technology.

What music has been occupying your time lately?

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Brunch Club #3: Ironique Cafe

 

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Hi All!

Today brings stormy weather to Auckland but what better way to enjoy the weather than to eat brunch with great people in a covered outdoor cafe? Well there may be better ways but regardless brunch was delicious.

We were planning to visit a popular new spot in Mt Eden but by the time we got there at 11am they had stopped serving breakfast…which seems kind of ridiculous to me but perhaps that’s just because “morning-person” is not a phrase that anyone would ever use to describe me. So cold and being buffeted by wind and rain we decided to take Brunch Club to the nearby Ironique Cafe  which both Laura and Maddy had previously been to and enjoyed.

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We found ourselves sitting outside of all places, in an amazing covered courtyard area which was fantastic. The decor was funky and different, with pots and pans and little bits of rusty iron decorating the walls. Add to that the adorable sparrows that were milling around outside and I was pretty happy with the location.

From the moment I saw the menu I was confident the food would be delicious and we weren’t disappointed. After much (painful) deliberation I chose to go with the Vegetarian Big Breakfast, which was highly recommended. Where do I even start? This meal was packed with so much deliciousness my brain could hardly believe it was all vegetarian. Let me list it for you: perfectly cooked scrambled eggs, homemade spicy potato rosti, crunchy ciabatta bread, slow roasted tomato, fresh avocado, pesto topped mushrooms (which I must learn how to make), flavoursome homemade baked beans, and my personal favourite, pan-fried haloumi.

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Everything was cooked well and the serving was generous  (what I would expect for $18.90). Laura’s chorizo/rosti/poached egg dish looked drool worthy and all in all the food was without criticism (its hard to critique with a mouth full of deliciousness).

The coffee was reportedly good but nothing mind blowing and my feijoa smoothie was fresh, refreshing and full of feijoa flavour (which I should just mention now is my favourite fruit).

All in all, with lovely decor, delicious food and a great variety of options I can see myself heading back there soon.

Gratuitous haloumi shot...because I can

Gratuitous haloumi shot…because I can

Have a great Sunday and keep safe in this stormy weather! And if you ever want to join our little bloggers brunch club just contact me via twitter or facebook 🙂

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Morgan Taylor and Monaco making our nails happy

Hey Guys!

Happy Monday and cheers to another crazy week trying to manage 5 million things at once! Today I bring you a much overdue post about a Nail launch I attended a couple of weeks ago. When I got the invite I must admit I was very excited, the chance to play with beautiful nail polish and chat with talented nail technicians was my idea of heaven. The evening did not disappoint.

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The party was held to welcome Morgan Taylor nail lacquers into the New Zealand nail industry, hosted by their wonderful New Zealand distributors Monaco Nails and Beauty. The launch was held at the rather beautiful Devereux Boutique Hotel in Remuera.

We were welcomed in with glasses of Lothlorien wine (which is one of my all time favourite New Zealand wines, so much so that they were a big feature at our wedding!) and got chatting with the wonderful Monaco staff who were bubbly (like the wine) and full of knowledge about Morgan Taylor and what they have to offer.

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We then had the opportunity to get our nails done with a Morgan Taylor colour of our choice…and there were a lot to choose from! I couldn’t think of any colour or finish that was lacking from their impressive collection, so of course choosing was nearly impossible. All of their colours were pigmented and glossy and the metallic shades were full of incredible shimmer and glitter.

I finally decided upon the gorgeous “Water Baby” after seeing Katie from The Dizain Collective get her nails painted this beautiful baby blue colour. Even better we got to take our chosen colour home so I think I know what I will be painting my nails from now on.

We were treated to delicious nibbles prepared by Al from Al’s Deli which is becoming a firm favourite of mine. There were delicious vegetarian mini bagels and amazing mini cheesecake bites. Yum

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We all had such a wonderful time! Thank you to the wonderful Monaco girls for giving us such perfect manicures (mine lasted forever!) and to the generous sponsors. Check it Monaco Nails and Beauty on Facebook and while your at it, take a gander at Morgan Taylor and their beautiful new range.

If you want to treat yourself with a Morgan Taylor manicure head to Monaco at Ellerslie or book an appointment through Penny on 09 574 5573. You won’t regret it, although make sure you allow plenty of time to decide on a shade to adorn your nails with, its not an easy decision.

If you want to see evidence of their wonderful work with these wonderful polishes go and check out their Brand Ambassador Meagan who is always posting drool worthy manicures.

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February Favourites

Hi All,

Happy March! February is my favourite month of the year as it includes lots of my favourite things; Valentines Day, my wedding anniversary and my Birthday. Couldn’t get much better than that. The only downside to all that awesomeness is that the month is also super chaotic and leaves little time for blogging.

So to start off March, I thought I would cover a few of the things I enjoyed using throughout the last month (and more).

DSC_62371. Makeup Forever Diamond Shadow

I don’t know if I am missing part of this eye shadow’s name but regardless I love it. This single eye shadow has been one that I constantly pull out to add a little shimmer to a basic eye look. Its a shimmery nude/gold shade and looks gorgeous with some darker matte colours in the crease. The pigmentation is pretty good and even better when layered on top of a cream base. I have no idea how to buy this in NZ as I had this brought back to me from the USA a while ago (thanks Mum!).

2. Dot by Marc Jacobs

I swear Marc Jacobs perfume can do no wrong. I got a couple of these smaller sized perfumes for Christmas and they are perfect for throwing in the handbag and using as a top up throughout the day. This has been my favourite this month, with a fruity floral top note (think juicy berries and honeysuckle) and a more musky, vanilla and coconut undertone. It’s fresh and perfect for the warmer weather. Wear time isn’t ages (a few hours or more) but with this little guy that isn’t really an issue for me. I am definitely eyeing up the 100mL

3. Revlon Balm Stain in Honey

I have had this in a favourites post before but I can’t help but mention it again…considering it is one of the first lip products I have ever finished and repurchased without any time in between. I love this balm stain, it is definitely my go to lip product and is a constant feature in my handbag. Easy to apply (no mirrow required), moisturizing, minty and the perfect my lips but better colour. I couldn’t ask for more.

4. Pure Fiji Hydrating Body Lotion in Guava

Pure Fiji are a skin care brand that I can’t get enough of, all of their scents are mind blowingly delicious and they are super hydrating. This body lotion is my emergency stash that I keep in my handbag for when dry skin attacks (which is more often than I would like). The scent is delicious and fruity and the texture is moisturizing without being greasy. These gorgeous products can be bought online here and I have my eye on the Coconut Sugar Rub next.

5. Mac Lustre Lipstick in Sweetie

Obviously this month was a bit of a sucker for a good “my lips but better” shade as this new purchase from Mac has been another great contender. It was my first Lustre finish by Mac and I love the subtle shimmer that brings this neutral pink/mauve shade to life. It is a slightly purple toned pink that works perfect with any makeup looks. Lasting time is average as it is a bit on the sheer side but it is such a breeze to reapply that I don’t mind too much. The other thing I love is how light it is on the lips (doesn’t feel like you are wearing any lipstick at all).

6. Rose Jam Shower Gel by Lush

So I saved my favourite product of the month for last. I have already used up one lot of this shower gel and luckily was able to move on to a big back up I bought at Christmas time. Unfortunately, my favourite shower gel by Lush is a Christmas only affair, but here is a 10 month pre-warning for you to pick it up as soon as it comes back. The scent of creamy vanilla and rose are a combination made in heaven. I use this every night before bed and it makes me feel like I am wrapped up in Turkish Delight (mmmm sticky). Seriously good stuff and you need some in your life. Also lathers extremely well which I appreciate as it means I can ration it out for longer. Oh and did I mention that this is awesome used as shampoo…I don’t know if it is supposed to but sometimes I can’t resist lathering my hair up in its delicious scent and the next day my hair feels better than ever. They don’t have this in stock at the moment (sob) but try any of their other shower gels and I doubt you will be dissapointed.

So February was a good month, not only did it feature some of my favourite dates of the year, it was also a month of appreciation for some holy grail products that I know I will feature a lot in the rest of 2014 (which is speeding along terrifyingly fast). What products have you been enjoying lately?

Lizzy Xx