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Bloom: Navigating Life and Style

Bloom: Navigating Life and Style by Estee Lalonde
Published 6 Oct 2016 by Ebury Press

Goodreads

Summary: ‘For me, the word “bloom” encapsulates the idea that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. It’s a word that hints at becoming who you are meant to be.’ Estée Lalonde

In Bloom, Estée shares the moments, people, things and life lessons that have made her who she is today and offers her tips for surviving life. Celebrate your bloom story and what makes you unique.

Youtubers getting book deals seems to be a trend as of late.

I’m actually a fan of Estee’s videos. I love how calm and collected she is and I love her beauty and style content. As a fan, I’m quite disappointed with this book. I loved the opening few pages, but as it went on it, Estee just seemed to glance over all her problems to keep it positive and nice. I feel that her stories were on a very surface level, she didn’t go too in depth, and she didn’t share how she overcame her problems. She just did, and that was that.

I don’t really know what Bloom is supposed to be. Its a mixture of her life story (very briefly explored) and later some bits about beauty, some recepies and about travelling. In a way she is quite relateable. I feel like I could relate to the things she was talking about like anxiety, long distance relationships etc and the way she writes makes it seem like you’re talking to a friend. I went through this book in a day. Its a really quick read, fairly simple to digest. Aesthetically, Bloom is very pleasing. I loved the layout, fonts and pictures. It is very Estee, but other than that, the real content is rather simple. It does remind me a little bit of Tanya Burr’s Love Tanya though it is lacking in the self help portion (though, I don’t think Bloom was meant to be a self help book).

Easy to thumb through if you have the time. Worth buying if you’re into clean aesthetics for the coffee tables, but probably not one for the shelves.

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Mini Reviews: Confessions of a Shopaholic (#5 & #6)

Shopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella
Confessions of a Shopaholic #5
Published 27 Feb 2007 by Dial Press

Goodreads

Summary: Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) is pregnant! She couldn’t be more overjoyed-especially since discovering that shopping cures morning sickness. Everything has got to be perfect for her baby: from the designer nursery . . . to the latest, coolest pram . . . to the celebrity, must-have obstetrician.

But when the celebrity obstetrician turns out to be her husband Luke’s glamorous, intellectual ex-girlfriend, Becky’s perfect world starts to crumble. She’s shopping for two . . . but are there three in her marriage?

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Confessions of a Shopaholic #6
Published 21 Sept 2010 by Dial Press

Goodreads

Summary: Sophie Kinsella has dazzled readers with her irresistible Shopaholic novels–sensational international bestsellers that have garnered millions of devoted fans and catapulted her into the first rank of contemporary storytellers. Now her beloved heroine Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) returns in a hilarious tale of married life, toddlerhood, and the perils of trying to give a fabulous surprise party–on a budget!

Becky Brandon thought motherhood would be a breeze and that having a daughter was a dream come true: a shopping friend for life! But it’s trickier than she thought. Two-year-old Minnie has a quite different approach to shopping.

Minnie creates havoc everywhere she goes, from Harrods to her own christening. Her favorite word is “Mine!” and she’s even trying to get into eBay! On top of everything else, Becky and Luke are still living with her parents (the deal on house #4 has fallen through), when suddenly there’s a huge financial crisis.

With people having to “cut back,” Becky decides to throw a surprise party for Luke to cheer everyone up. But when costs start to spiral out of control, she must decide whether to accept help from an unexpected source–and therefore run the risk of hurting the person she loves.

Will Becky be able to pull off the celebration of the year? Will she and Luke ever find a home of their own? Will Minnie ever learn to behave? And . . . most important . . . will Becky’s secret wishes ever come true?

 

As the summaries suggests, Becky is now a mother of one tenacious little Minnie Brandon. I really really really loved the addition of Minnie. She’s such a hilarious little girl. Her favourite word is “mine”, and while its completely adorable, she gets a little bit bossy and demanding, kind of like Becky.

Becky does quite a bit of growing up in these two books. She learns how to deal with being a mother, learning how to deal with being told that she’s a shopaholic (yes, someone finally told her!) and dealing how to work with a budget. I feel that her character has definitely grown and developed, especially in book 6. She learns how to handle relationships more carefully and tries even harder to keep things together. She seems more responsible, even.

Again, I have to stress that this book or series isn’t going to be for everyone. Becky and her shopaholic problems may rub people off the wrong way, but this is just one of those books people either love or hate. Either way, this series is fairly simple to get into and its not very deep — they’re very straightforward and easy to digest.

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How To Get Dressed By Alison Freer

How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer’s Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing by Alison Freer
Published 14 Apr 2015 by Ten Speed Press

Goodreads

Summary: Costume designer Alison Freer’s styling kit is a magical bag of tricks, built to solve every single wardrobe malfunction on earth. TV and film productions wait for nothing, so her solutions have to work fast. In How to Get Dressed, Alison distills her secrets into a fun, comprehensive style guide focused on rethinking your wardrobe like a fashion expert and making what’s in your closet work for you. She provides real-world advice about everything style-related, including:

• Making every garment you own fit better
• Mastering closet organization
• The undergarments you actually need
• The scoop on tailors and which alterations are worth it
• Shopping thrift and vintage like a rockstar

Instead of repeating boring style “rules,” Alison breaks the rules and gets real about everything from bras to how to deal with inevitable fashion disasters. Including helpful information such as how to skip ironing and the dry cleaners, remove every stain under the sun, and help clueless men get their sartorial acts together, How to Get Dressed has hundreds of insider tips from Alison’s arsenal of tools and expertise.

How to Get Dressed was recently featured in Anuschka Rees’ blog on fashion and style books. After reading Rees’ The Curated Closet and my recent wardrobe revamp, I’ve been more interested in styling and clothes. Fashion has always been something I’m interested in, but its too difficult to get into what with all the fashion do’s and don’ts along with the latest trends. It was just too hard to get into.

The thing I loved about this book and Rees’ is that they’re both simple. They’re books that guide, just as a self help book should. It tells you what to do, how to do it and makes you, the reader, decide consciously about what you want to do. How to Get Dressed isn’t so deep — there are many practical advices on what to do with different stains, introduces you to a series of materials and their function but most importantly, this book focuses on how your clothes fit. The important thing here is that it doesn’t tell you what you should own in your wardrobe, but that whatever you own in your wardrobe should fit you, nicely and perfectly. She’s a great beliver in getting your clothes hemmed, stitched, fixed as long as you fit it. Of course, its not as simple as getting things stitched and restitched — she also tells you how to try the clothes on beforehand, to do certain tests before deciding if its even worth getting it fixed to perfectly fit you.

As a profesionally stylist, I believe she understands body shapes very well and she understands how certain things can be difficult like finding the perfect jeans size or having difficulties finding the right bra. She gets it. And this book is filled with useful practical tips, tricks and hacks for you to look good, without bursting your pocket. This book even includes a guide on bras, panties and even washing and drying your clothes! Small and compact, its another one of those books perfect for your bookshelf that you can refer to every now and then when you need it.

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The Curated Closet By Anuschka Rees

The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe By Anuschka Rees
Published 20 Sept 2016 By Ten Speed Press

Goodreads

Summary: A brilliant and inspirational roadmap for discovering and cultivating a strong sense of personal style and building the ideal wardrobe for your lifestyle.

Many women don’t know what their personal style is, don’t have a wardrobe that actually matches their style or life, and don’t know how to shop for a structured wardrobe of all pieces that can be worn easily and confidently. Style and minimalism blogger Anuschka Rees presents a fascinatingly strategic, prescriptive approach to identifying, refining, and expressing personal style and building the ideal wardrobe to match it, with style and shopping strategies that women can use every day. Including beautiful full-color fashion photography, infographics, and activities, The Curated Closet is a useful guide covering everything women need to know to fully realize their individual style and create their perfect functional and beautiful wardrobe.

The Curated Closet has been such a good help for me. I’ve recently purged a lot of clothes and am in the process of creating a wardrobe that is more me and this book came in so handy. It’s a pretty simple guide book on how to create the perfect curated wardrobe to fit your personal style. It has great introductions on how to sort out your clothes before the great purge, different types of clothing material, colours and good tips on what to do if you want to try a certain look but need to tone it down a little bit.

I’ve read several fashion guide books, but I feel like most of it tells you what’s in and what’s not and I feel like most of it is a repeat of what you either already know or more on following trends and covering basics. The Curated Closet is more for those who is looking to create a more balanced closet that’s geared towards their daily life. It teaches you practical tips that you can use on a daily basis. This would be especially good if you’re about to revamp your wardrobe, revamp your style or trying to figure out what type of style you like and how to mix it all up.

I really enjoyed The Curated Closet. Its one of those practical books you can have in your bookshelf and refer to every now and then. It also includes a practical guide on how to shop practically and well. Its a very all rounded book, I enjoyed it a lot. Its very hard to rate it, personally, because I feel that self help books are really up to the individual’s taste. The Curated Closet gets a 3 from me, because it is useful and in depth — its also quite engaging because it has activities for you to do but I do feel that its quite heavy in a sense that you have to invest quite a lot of time to read through, think and work on the activities. If you’re looking for a fashion guide book flat out tells you what to buy, this is probably not for you. But if you’re interested to shop more consciously and have a wardrobe that you will wear all year round, this book is geared more for you. Overall a useful an great book and great addition to the bookshelf and coffee table.

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Crazy is My Superpower By AJ Mendez Brooks

Crazy is My Superpower By AJ Mendez Brooks
Published 4 April 2017 By Penguin Random House

Goodreads

Summary: Three-time WWE Diva’s Champion A.J. Brooks’ Crazy is My Superpower is a literary memoir chronicling her unlikely rise from 100-pound nerd growing up in extreme poverty and enduring years of abuse to international sex symbol and professional wrestling champion (known as A.J. Lee). A.J. fought against stereotypes, forced the men in her industry to view her with respect, and inspired a huge fan base of over 2 million Twitter followers with her fierce independent streak.

I cried. Literally.

If you are not familiar with the name AJ Mendez Brooks, formerly known as AJ Lee, she was one of the top female wrestlers for the WWE. She came, she conquered until the day she retired on her own terms.

AJ is my role model for many reasons. Growing up I’ve always admired the strong female wrestlers on TV. In a sport that’s mostly dominated by men, the women wrestlers were relegated to being valets, managers, or used for half time dance sessions in their underwear. But long gone are the days where women of wrestling are used as eye candy. They wrestle, they take bumps, they fight — literally. While there are many who could be attributed to helping lead the way of the women’s revolution amongst wrestlers, I personally feel that AJ helped mould our current group of female wrestlers. She was different — she wasn’t those tough chicks, she was skinny, small and packaged as a geek goddess (which she was). She appealed to young girls, older girls, males and females alike. There’s something special about her that forces people to look.

She was one of my favourite wrestlers (and still is!) and though I’m so sad that I can no longer see her on TV, I’m so happy she released a memoir. I preordered this and finally, it came and I devoured it in days. I loved learning more about her background. She came from nothing, from actual poverty, had her fair share of shit and was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

This book is important. Its revelant, not just for wrestling fans, but for non wrestling fans as well. She tackles the book in a simple tongue in cheek manner, its not difficult to get into the book at all. She talks in great lengths about her struggle with a bipolar mother, and later, her struggle being bipolar herself. I believe the book will help a lot of people — people who feel they are margianalised for being different, people who were bullied, people who suffer through mental illnesses. My favourite part is that she’s trying to break the stigma against the word crazy, against mental illness. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Things happen, and you are not alone.

Read, open your mind and heart. You are never alone. This one will be on my favourite shelf for a long time (and by that I mean forever).

 

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Mini Reviews: Confessions of a Shopaholic (#2 – #4) By Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan By Sophie Kinsella
Confessions of a Shopaholic #2
Published 29 Jan 2002 By Dial Press Trade Paperback

Goodreads

Summary: With her shopping excesses (somewhat) in check and her career as a TV financial guru thriving, Becky Bloomwood’s biggest problem seems to be tearing her entrepreneur boyfriend, Luke, away from work for a romantic country weekend. That is, until Luke announces he’s moving to New York for business—and he asks Becky to go with him! Before you can say “Prada sample sale,” Becky has landed in the Big Apple, home of Park Avenue penthouses and luxury department stores.

Surely it’s only a matter of time until Becky becomes an American celebrity. She and Luke will be the toast of Gotham society. Nothing can stand in their way, especially with Becky’s bills an ocean away in London. But then an unexpected disaster threatens her career prospects, her relationship with Luke, and her available credit line. Becky may have taken Manhattan—but will she have to return it?


Shopaholic Ties the Knot By Sophie Kinsella
Confessions of a Shopaholic #3
Published 31 Aug 2004 By Dell Publishing Company

Goodreads

Summary: Life has been good for Becky Bloomwood: She’s become the best personal shopper at Barneys, she and her successful entrepreneurial boyfriend, Luke, are living happily in Manhattan’s West Village, and her new next-door neighbor is a fashion designer! But with her best friend, Suze, engaged, how can Becky fail to notice that her own ring finger is bare? Not that she’s been thinking of marriage (or diamonds) or anything . . . Then Luke proposes! Bridal registries dance in Becky’s head. Problem is, two other people are planning her wedding: Becky’s overjoyed mother has been waiting forever to host a backyard wedding, with the bride resplendent in Mum’s frilly old gown. While Luke’s high-society mother is insisting on a glamorous, all-expenses-paid affair at the Plaza. Both weddings for the same day. And Becky can’t seem to turn down either one. Can everyone’s favorite shopaholic tie the knot before everything unravels?

Shopaholic on Honeymoon By Sophie Kinsella
Confessions of a Shopaholic #3.5
Published 10 Dec 2014 by Transworld Digital

Goodreads

Summary: The new Mr and Mrs Brandon are on honeymoon, and Becky has big plans! They’ve got a whole year to explore Venice, learn yoga in India, sleep in little wooden huts in South America… maybe even see penguins in the Arctic. And of course they’ll need to buy just a few essential souvenirs along the way (everyone needs a set of Murano glass goblets, after all).

 

They’re not just tourists, they’re travellers. Becky is sure it is just the thing that Luke needs – time to unwind. He’ll come back a changed man… with all the good bits still intact of course.

But it soon becomes clear that Luke has different plans entirely. Can Becky help him let go, or will this little disagreement threaten their whole honeymoon?

Shopaholic and Sister By Sophie Kinsella
Confessions of a Shopaholic #4
Published 30 Aug 2005 By Dial Press Trade Paperback

Goodreads

Summary: Trouble between newly weds Luke and Becky Brandon started on their honeymoon, when Becky told a tiny fib about a shopping purchase. Luke put her on a budget and she’s struggling.

 

But things look up when, on her return, she finds out she’s got a long-lost sister. But Becky’s sister isn’t what she expects – her sister can’t, surely, hate shopping … ?

This series seems to get A LOT of flack from people. I don’t know why! OK, so maybe Becky Bloomwood is kind of silly and she doesn’t learn her lesson even after 4 books (let alone all 8…) but aside from her very obvious shopping problem, Becky is such a hilarious character. She’s so colourful, so silly yet so smart in her own right. We keep forgetting that she’s a former financial journalist and had a very popular television gig going for her before it all went to dust. She’s such a determined and strong character, a little ditzy, but she makes up for much of it with her other pleasant qualities. It’s so hard to hate Becky, personally. She’s such a charming character, its rather hard to put her off.

People say this book should have ended ages ago — she should have learnt her lesson by now. But, so what if she hasn’t? I think that’s the way people are. I personally have a bit of a spending problem myself, and sometimes its hard to accept that we have such problems and its even harder to kick the habit. I find that her character is quite realistic in that sense — it makes her quite human, although that can make her unlikeable to many. To each their own, I suppose.

The books are very fun in general. As the title suggests, Becky gets into all kinds of trouble, from moving to New York, to getting married, and finally meeting her long-lost sister. It’s a very quick and fun easy read, mindless almost. The books aren’t deep, they’re not supposed to be. They’re just very very fun and addictive. I read them one after another — and if you love the idea of following a shopaholic on a life journey through clothes and hidden bank statements, then pick these books up.

In fact, I’ve only just found out that Sophie Kinsella has written a #3.5 of what happens during Becky and Luke’s honeymoon. Its available to read for free on her website. Enjoy reading, folks!

 

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Viral By Helen Fitzpatrick

Viral By Helen Fitzpatrick
Published: 11 Aug 2016 by Faber Faber

Goodreads

Summary: So far, twenty-three thousand and ninety-six people have seen me online.

Su has always been the successful sister. It’s Leah who is wild and often angry. But when they go to Magaluf to celebrate their exam results, Su disappears.

Su is on the run, humiliated and afraid. There’s an online video of her performing multiple sex acts in a nightclub. And everyone has seen it.

Their mother Ruth, a prominent court judge, is furious. Can she bring justice to the men who took advantage of her daughter, and what will it take to bring Su home?

‘Read it.’ Stylist

‘Gripping.’ Tammy Cohen, author of When She Was Bad

‘A real psychological roller-coaster.’ Scotsman

 

TW: Sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, attempted rape

OK. From the trigger warning alone, you probably might have guessed what this book is about. I couldn’t stop thinking about this book for days. Days. I kept thinking and thinking and thinking and I just — I can’t find the words to explain how I really feel about it.

I’ve never read a Helen Fitzpatrick before. I came across this book randomly at a library and the first line got to me. I can’t share it here because it’s of very sexual nature but it gripped me. I’ve never read a book that’s so straightforward before. And just like its opening line, the book is pretty straightforward — it doesn’t hide away any of the gory bits, doesn’t shun away from the reality of what society could be like, the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, the real problem about recording and uploading videos — the idea of consent. This book really dives into the problems that our current society and youths of today are facing. Its raw, its real, its scary. It makes you keep reading in fear. You keep reading because its one of those books you just NEED to know the ending to.

This doesn’t mean the book doesn’t have flaws. I had a problem with the main character Su and I had a problem with her mother. Su isn’t a perfect main character. I don’t think Fitzpatrick intended for her to be. She’s a broken character, disguised behind a forced perfection. She doesn’t belong, she’s desperate. But — I couldn’t understand what came after. I couldn’t understand her sudden desperation to lose her virginity, I couldn’t understand her frame of mind that would make her consider that a top priority when she’s supposedly trying to run away from the problem: the sexual video. Maybe it’s just one of those things I don’t understand, but that’s okay. Su’s mother on the other hand, though I get that she’s reacting out of anger, there’s a lot about the chapters from her point of view that left me wondering. I didn’t quite understand if portions of it were flashbacks, or if she really went out of her way to dress up as someone else to seduce a man. Her chapters were kind of messy, it was hard to keep track of what she was doing. Is this Fitzpatrick’s intention? She’s a woman who is ruffled to the core, equally desperate, if not more, and trying to save her daughter. Is this why she’s messy? Or has this suddenly gone way too deep?

Well.

Truth is, Viral has been on my mind for weeks after I finished it. I couldn’t properly write a review because I just didn’t know how I felt. I wanted more, the ending, I wanted a proper revenge. I just felt that after all the trouble they went through, the closure they decided on was too little, too small. It didn’t end with a big impact as much as I had hoped and it was a little bit of a let down. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed Viral. I flew through it really quickly and its one of those books that’s really hard to put down. If you’re looking for a kind of quick thriller, try picking up Viral.