Saturday, December 24, 2011

Daily delight: Karolina Cwiek for ROUGE

Friday, December 23, 2011

Love it: my Top 10 beauty discoveries of 2011

Bestow Beauty Oil:
A true “food for the skin”, Bestow what I like to call an edible cosmetic, putting your skin on the fast track to goodness by using just one yummy tablespoonful a day. A blend of organic, unrefined, extra virgin seed oils cold-pressed from flax and golden flax to provide you with a source of those do-gooding EFA’s, Bestow is a bit like fish oil only better tasting and containing more essential fatty acids for your wellbeing. It also has the most beautiful packaging and comes with recipes for yummy goodies created using Flaxseed.

Kevin Murphy Young. Again:
From Stephen Marr, this is a treatment oil that offers exfoliation properties to expose fresh, clean hair every time you use it. Key to this incredible product is the properties of the herb Immortelle, from whose flower you can extract a water dispersable essential oil that can perform some pretty clever tasks. It is rich in antioxidants to help stop the onslaught of damage to hair, and really is the ultimate in “anti-ageing for the hair.” It’s the perfect choice for those of us who use hot tools as it’s heatproof up to 220 degrees, as well as containing a sunscreen to protect your hair during the hotter months.

The Eye Package at Louise Gray Skincare:
This includes an eyelash tint, brow tint and brow shape for $55.00. It is amazing the difference the use of a blue-black (as opposed to standard black) tint on my lashes gives me – my baby blues really popped - and my therapist Alison is an absolute wonder when it comes to shaping my brows to the perfect arch.

I’d heard it called everything from “a life changer” to “the emperor’s new clothes” before I tried Reiki, and now only think of it as pure, unadulterated love. I can’t recommend Rosanna from Mind Body Institute in Richmond Road’s healing hands enough, and she and her partner Ben are now also treating animals.

Yellow Diamonds:
Reportedly the capsule you need to dump toxins, burn fat and boost energy, these magical goodies work to improve your blood circulation and are especially beneficial to those with high cholesterol, poor circulation, insomnia and migraines. Often called a “wonder pill”, Yellow Diamonds also curb your appetite by stabilizing blood sugar while allowing your adrenals to rest. Think consistent, healthy energy without stressing the adrenals, which is pretty much how I started to feel about a week after I started popping the little devils. I am in love with how much extra energy they are giving me – a working mum of a toddler who does a fair share of exercise and feels it!

Sodashi Thermal Infusing facial at Mollies Sanctuary Day Spa:
This is an intensive boost of all nature’s vitamins and minerals - with a Warm Infusing Mask maximising the penetration of the good stuff into the deeper layers of the skin - and leaves you with incredibly hydrated and toned skin. To put it simply: this 90-minute treatment using my favourite skincare brand is more than just a facial; it’s Nature’s Face Lift! An absolute treat to experience, this is the perfect answer when you and your skin need a little extra TLC, and a trip to Mollies is always a treat in itself.

Cosmetic acupuncture with Marise Henry:
I’ve just started a course of treatment at Marise Henry’s clinic in Williamson Ave and am so far beyond impressed with the results. Think a reduction in the likes of fine lines, scarring and pigmentation, and deep relaxation thrown in for good measure.

Sodashi Samadara (pictured)
In my opinion the ultimate in anti-ageing luxury, Samadara is Sodashi’s “Ultimate Age-Defying Crème” and the ultra eco-luxe brand’s most powerful anti-ageing treatment to transform and reawaken the skin. A truly transformative number if just a few weeks’ use on my skin is anything to go by, it uses a unique alchemy of pure plant ingredients and rose quartz crystal water to promote the skin’s own natural healing abilities from within. Regular use dramatically boosts skin cell renewal to tone, firm and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and the velvety-smooth crème comes even with two rose quartz crystals to massage the treatment into the skin for maximum benefit.

BECCA Boudoir Skin Mineral Powder Foundation:
A pressed powder that uses only pure mineral pigments, this formula is designed for a silky, sheer, weightless finish to suit all ages and skin types, including those with sensitive or acne prone skin. With adjustable, natural looking coverage, the water-resistant mineral marvel is both easy to apply and super duper long wearing, and after trying a few mineral formulations on the market I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the best!

Stila #33 One Step Complexion brush:
From Mecca Cosmetica, this dual-ended foundation and concealer brush allows you to blend both liquid and powder products seamlessly for a flawless finish. The synthetic bristles are shaped to imitate application with your fingertips, but are firmer and more flexible for quicker, easier makeup application and eliminate the transfer of oils and bacteria. Love this!

Christmas Countdown: Puredistance, pure luxury

If you are looking for the ultimate gift for yourself or the fragrance fiend in your life, you can’t get much more luxe and fabulous than one of Puredistance’s three scents.
Created by Master Perfumers in London and New York and available as perfume extrait only (that’s 25-32 per cent perfume oil), Puredistance really is one of the most exclusive perfumes in the world. Currently you can choose from just three exquisite fragrances, which are sold in a very limited number of luxury stores and perfumeries worldwide. In New Zealand and Australia they are stocked exclusively by WORLDbeauty, where they retail for $479.00 for 17.5ml.
My personal favourite us Puredistance M, which is an oriental, leather chypre in an insanely chic bottle. Created in London by Roja Dove, the world’s only Professeur de Parfums and one of the biggest fragrance authorities, M is inspired by “the stylish comforts of the interior of a grey Aston Martin”, and has elements of excitement and danger, which is just how it should be, in a fragrance inspired by Bond’s car. The composition purrs softly along, weaving the leather accord into the road map of spices, woods and resins.
Seriously fabulous and incredibly luxe, this fragrance is quite honestly to die for.

Daily delight: Natasha Poly, Elise Crombez for Prada

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Countdown: Keratin Therapy from Remington

Last week I popped into a Remington launch at a seriously fabulous private home, where the always-innovative brand showcased some of their hottest new products. I always come away from a Remington event with my head filled with “wow” moments, as they are a company that is seriously committed to innovation.
The latest creations to be unleashed upon the beauty world address the toll that constant drying, straightening and curling can take its toll on your tresses, and is known as the Keratin Therapy range. Comprised of a straightener, curler and dryer, the Keratin Therapy range features rather clever keratin infused ceramic to reinstate shine, vibrance and health, and get your hair looking a little more like Ms. Biel’s, above. The naturally occurring protein is integral to healthy, strong hair and is emitted from each of the new products as you style – ensuring your hair is cared for and protected, from start to finish.
The first product to quite literally blow my tiny mind was the SMART Sensor with Keratin Therapy straightener. Not only does this styler emit keratin from its infused ceramic plates, but it’s also fitted with a Smart Sensor to help minimize further damage while styling. This exclusive technology uses a heat sensor strip to automatically detect your hair’s moisture levels and adjust the temperature to its optimal heat setting. Amazing! If you’ve set the temperature too high, as soon as it detects low moisture, the heat setting will drop. Then when it detects normal moisture levels again, it will return to the set temperature. The end result? Seriously beautiful, seriously cared for hair.
And I’m dying to get my hands on the Keratin Therapy Dryer, which quite literally conditions whilst drying. A built-in keratin infused nozzle ring emits the protective protein as you dry and style, simultaneously building body and volume while maintaining its strength and condition. With a powerful 2000-watt motor, it also utilises ionic technology, locking in moisture and reducing frizz.
Perfect for post-summer hair therapy, this range drops April 1, 2012... I love them all!

Daily delight: Gisele for Givenchy Spring 2012

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Countdown: win the divinely fabulous Chambord

Earlier this year I discovered a rather fabulous tipple in the form of Chambord (pictured right), a simply delicious black raspberry liqueur that went down a right treat poured into a glass of super cold bubbles. It helped many a late summer evening kick off right, and became a firm favourite in my cupboard.
In light of the above, I was super excited last week to try a new variation on the theme - Chambord Flavoured Vodka (pictured left). The exquisite offering is the result of fine ingredients and a delicate process that form a perfect balance of premium-quality French Vodka and extraordinary black raspberry flavour. Think the floral aromatics of the hibiscus flower with notes of vanilla, white chocolate and the original Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur, which is perfect served straight or in a wide variety of cocktails.
I’m seeing a seriously sassy summer coming up sitting on the deck with a Chambord Vodka & Soda in hand, garnished with a lemon wedge and a black raspberry. Too good!
Lucky for you I have a bottle of Chambord and a bottle of the new Chambord Flavoured Vodka to give away for Christmas. Just email with your name, address and date of birth (you must be over 18 to enter) and you’re in the draw!

When M.A.C meets Iris Apfel, rare bird

To say I’m excited about the – very – limited edition Iris Apfel-inspired collection by M.A.C would be an understatement. The self-confessed “geriatric starlet” is one of the wrold’s most seriously stylish women, and an eccentric in the truest sense of the word.
Her style has inspired books, jewellery ranges, museum exhibitions and many a student's embarkation on a career in fashion, and now at the tender age of 90, she is taking on the world of make-up. On counter on January 5, the collection is made up of 20 products that include brow, eye, and lip pencils, lipsticks, nail polishes, mascara and eye shadows. The colours will range from juicy tangerine to tantalizing turquoise, all with incredibly fun, creative names (think Loudmouth Orange, Howzat and Party Parrot, for straters).
In a recent press release, M.A.C. stated that Apfel has long been an inspiration. She's someone who "boldly mixed flea market finds with haute couture decades before doing it was considered de rigueur." The nonagenarian is still going strong, looking fabulous and definitely a rare bird who has always been ahead of her time. This collection is set to be a hit, so get saving now!

Daily delight: Josefien Rodermans for Vogue Taiwan

Monday, December 19, 2011

I try: Osmosis Refresh PM Eye Repair Serum

I’m a huge fan of high performance eye treatment products, and of the Osmosis Skincare brand. To say their Shelter sunblock is a “must have” in my bathroom cabinet would be the understatement of the century – it’s more like a “can’t live without”, or at very least, “can’t leave home without, ever!”
So I was pretty excited to be given the chance to trial their recently reformulated Refresh PM Eye Repair Serum, which – as the name would suggest – is designed to work while you sleep. The luxurious feeling and potent eye cream gently plumps away fine lines, and then works deeper into the skin to work on long-term damage using a unique blend of plant liquid crystals along with GHK copper peptides. It also aims to restore the delicate skin around the eyes’ own protective barrier through the ingredient Retinaldehyde, which is stronger than Retinol, but more gentle to the skin.
It’s a sticky little formula but incredibly easy to use, and thus far I’m seeing some real results in the one spot where I’ve really been noticing my advanced age! I’ve heard it can be used morning and night, but I think I’d opt to try the Refresh AM formula first and see how that copes with my puffiness and dark circles. That will definitely be next on my shopping list!

Christmas Countdown: beautiful Indah RAW

A couple of years ago when I first started this blog, one of the first beauty discoveries I wrote about was Indah skin and bodycare. Founded in Bali, Indah was created by Teisha Lowry (above), a Melbourne model and aromatherapist who was passionate about producing a 100 per cent natural and luxurious, but affordable range of skincare. She told me that Indah - meaning beautiful in Balinese - was "made with love", and a lot of thought went into every aspect of its creation.
Fast forward to 2011 and Teisha’s newest journey goes by the name Indah RAW, a collection of absolutely beautiful products that work to nourish, invigorate and rehydrate your skin in the most natural way possible. Each product is free from chemical processing, preservatives and artificial fragrances and are handmade using herbs, spices, fruits and flowers picked on sustainable fair trade farms in Bali. Using the ancient traditions of Aromatherapy and Ayurvedic healing, each product has been meticulously designed to feed and balance the skin, and just reading the product description of each offering makes you want to try then, and NOW!
At the moment I’m using the Sari scented body butter with Virgin Coconut Oil, Patchouli and Sandalwood, which really is the most extraordinary formula. It quite literally melts between your hands as you warm it before application, and once on absorbs almost immediately. And the scent? To die for. As the weather heats up and the season gets sillier I’m also using more and more of Teisha’s Dewi Healing Perfume Balm to bring some tranquillity into my day, and feel blessed out with every whiff.
Love this range and bet you will too – check out the stockists here and put some Indah RAW into your Christmas stocking this year!

Daily delight: Camille Rowe for L’eau De Chloé

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Avocado love – in celebration of a true beauty food

I’m one of those people that eats avocados all year round if I can, no matter what the cost. One year I travelled to Los Angeles after a particularly lean avo season at home here in New Zealand and must have eaten three bowls of Guacamole in less than an hour to satisfy my addiction – I’m that avocado mad.
As well as being – in my opinion – almost the perfect food, the humble avocado is also an absolute treat for the skin when eaten or used in a variety of topical beauty treatments. Fresh avocado contains 11 vitamins and 14 minerals, including vitamin E, vitamin C, lutein, antioxidants and oleic acid – all of which are vital to your skin’s overall health and appearance. The avocado contains oil beneficial to rejuvenating your skin so is great for repairing and protecting dry skin, and this natural ingredient is also loaded with antioxidants and fatty acids to help prevent sun damage and premature ageing. Vitamin E helps eliminate cellular waste and encourages the growth of new skin cells, too.
Some clever DIY ways to use avocados topically are:
Avocado Soothing Eye Treatment
Apart from being the perfect shape to place under the eye, it is also a very effective treatment! Simply peel an avocado, remove the seed and slice one half into 1cm crescents. Lie down, placing a few slices under each eye, and relax for about 20 minutes. Bliss!
Avocado Mask for Dry Skin
Always cleanse your face thoroughly before using a face mask. Beat one egg yolk until it is light and frothy. Add the mashed pulp of half an avocado. Blend well. Spread the avocado mixture over your face and neck evenly; lie down and relax for 20 minutes. Remove with warm water and a face cloth. Rinse with cold water or use a mild skin lotion.
Avocado Oily Skin Treatment Mask
Take one egg white, a teaspoon of lemon juice and the mashed pulp of half an avocado and blend to a smooth green mixture for 20 seconds. Wash your face and neck thoroughly, then apply mask evenly on those areas. Relax for 20 minutes; remove with warm water and a face cloth. Follow with cold water or a skin tonic.
Avocado Exfoliating Scrub for Rough Skin
Place a quarter of an avocado, one egg white, two dessertspoons of oatmeal and a teaspoon of lemon juice into a small bowl. Blend together and apply evenly to your hands, elbows or feet. Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse off with warm water for softer, noticeably smoother skin.

Christmas Countdown: all things Curio Noir

I’m not shy of telling everyone I meet about my love for the special little oddities created by Tiffany Jeans under the moniker Curio Noir, many of which have made themselves quite at home within my four walls for quite some time now.
Jeans says that she has long been “intrigued and inspired by the mystique that fulfilled old fables and fairytales”, and her curios are equally as intriguing, as well as unsettling in their beauty at times and utterly addictive.
This makes them the perfect Christmas – or in fact, any time – gift for yourself or a loved one, and with choices like the Noir Glass in Chypre Gardenia, Black Spice, Vetyver Bouquet and the new Tubereuse Noir or The Lilith Doll (pictured) and The Skull, there is something for everyone.
Jeans also expanded the line this year to include a selection of beautiful new goodies under the name 'Entwine', including some essential-for-every-home linens.
Get some Curio in your life now, you won’t regret it.

Daily delight: Angelina Jolie for Interview magazine

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meet: Bo Hendgren, founder of Absolute Essential

I’ve been using Absolute Essential products for years now, and have full trust in their authenticity as well as their efficacy, to the point where even my toddler son and my dog are receiving treatment with them!
I first met Absolute Essential founder and company director Dr Bo Hendgen at her home in Muriwai several years ago, and was immediately in awe of her knowledge and her willingness to share it with the world. Utilising 20 plus years of training and knowledge in Osteopathy, Naturopathy, and Aromatic Medicine, the inspirational Bo is primarily involved in the sourcing, designing and formulating of authentic, pure products – no tricks or gimmicks – and is still hands on at her clinic in Beresford Street one day per week.
Since founding Absolute Essential in 1988 she has stayed true to her beliefs, telling me over coffee at nearby Benediction a few weeks ago “we’ve always sold products we are proud of - from its origin at fair trade source to its application on your person and in your home. I like to enhance the quality of people’s lives by providing the best, most effective therapeutic natural products possible. This means we raise the bar on ourselves, daily.”
She says that a lot of the products in the Absolute Essential range come directly from her clients’ needs, “as they’ll come to me for osteopathy and maybe nutrition advice, but need something to take home to help with their problem too. When more and more people come in and leave with the same blend I usually start to see a place in the market for it, and hand blend a new product from there.”
Her focus has always been on genuine organic therapeutics, although she has a few beauty-focused products in her range that she saw a need for “as so many people have a beauty regime that is way too complicated. You don’t need to use six products every night to look good, just a couple of quality ones and a decent drink of water!” They come as an all organic Natural Beauty Essentials pack, which includes Rose Hip Oil to nourish and support the skin’s natural elasticity, Rejuvenating Face Serum for night time nourishment and Rose Tone & Cleanse, an excellent skin toner and balancer that also makes for an effective make up remover and contains absolutely no alcohol. They also have products that soothe inflamed skin and treat extreme dryness, as well as an oil that addresses scarring.
If you haven’t experienced this range before then I sincerely recommend that you do: it’s pure, it’s beautiful and it’s New Zealand made… it doesn’t get much better than that!

Christmas Countdown: win ABSOLUT MODE

I always love seeing what ABSOLUT Vodka unveil each Christmas, as they always have some serious fabulous seasonal gift packs on offer. They are usually bearing all manner of ultra luxe accoutrements, as well as looking like serious works of art.
The latest innovation, ABSOLUT MODE EDITION definitely doesn’t disappoint - a new limited edition 700ml gift pack that is a redesign of the iconic ABSOLUT Vodka bottle. This latest design reflects the world of fashion – only fitting when the brand has worked with the likes of Tom Ford and Stella McCartney - with the use of stylised crystallic glass and a midnight blue textured silk cloth feature.
Not only is it fashionable in aesthetic, but also in name, with the Swedish translation of ‘MODE’ meaning ‘fashion’ in the homeland of ABSOLUT – Sweden.
To celebrate the launch of ABSOLUT MODE EDITION, leading New Zealand mixologist Chris Harrop has created the ABSOLUT MODE cocktail, which sounds like my kind of tipple once summer finally arrives:

45ml ABSOLUT Vodka
20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
10ml elderflower cordial
Top with soda
Build ingredients over ice in a tall glass, and garnish with a thin cucumber slice.

And... I have a bottle of ABSOLUT MODE EDITION to give away. To enter, email me at and tell me what the Swedish word for fashion is… You must be 18 or over to enter.

Daily delight: Charlotte di Calypso for Vogue Espana

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Falling in love with MOR all over again

We’ve all fallen in love with a MOR scent over the years, my current fave being Blood Orange in the Emporium range, which I have as a candle and as a body cream.
Well now you can watch your infatuation grow even stronger, with the Australian brand’s stunningly beautiful new collection of Eau de Toilette fragrances. Just one little spray is all you need – and all day, you’ll be surrounded with your pick of MOR’s dreamy fragrances.
They are also an absolute treat to behold – see Belladonna, above - think beautiful black or white square bottles bearing a MOR logo in gold, along with a matching tassel. Plus, they’re presented in beautiful boxes that bring to mind vintage hardcover books, making them the perfect gift for your nearest and dearest this sparkling season. Love them.

Christmas countdown: one for the fluffy ones, Pawtect

Not too long ago our ancient cat – Piper – was in dire need of a flea treatment but it was after hours and the supermarket was the only possible solution. A standard critter potion was purchased, then quickly administered to the back of the crotchety old guy’s neck. Job done, and now on to the dog (a pup, Binoo).
An hour passed and then we noticed that both were frantically trying to tug at their neck fur, which was clearly causing them a huge amount of distress, the old guy in particular. Bits were being ripped out left right and centre and he was clearly in a huge amount of distress, which was just heartbreaking to watch. We attempted – insanely – to wash it off, which did a little but clearly not enough as he was still at it long into the next day. We vowed never to wipe that kind of poison onto an animal ever again, and even started to get a little suspicious of the vet’s formulas that contained many of the same ingredients.
The decision not to pour chemicals onto your animals can be tough as summer comes however, especially as in certain parts of New Zealand, parasites such as fleas and ticks are very much a part of the life. Thanks the sweet heavens then for the arrival of Pawtect in our household, a chemical-free flea and tick control pendant. It offers two years worth of protection and it supports your pet’s immune system and healthy skin as well as bringing about a feeling of calm all round. It comes in the form of a rather stylish little “silver bullet” which simply clips on to your pet’s collar and starts work immediately.
Pawtects are driven by technology rather than chemical applications, a technology that has been in use in Europe for over 10 years with people and for the past three with animals, primarily cats and dogs. It’s a unique bio-energetic frequency combination which has been designed to control fleas, ticks and mosquito’s. This is achieved in two ways:
* Scientists have proven that each bug has a different frequency that repels it. The specific repelling frequencies for fleas, ticks and mosquito’s have been incorporated into the computer program which then codes the Pawtect units.

* In addition to the frequencies for the bugs the developers of the technology utilise homeopathic principles (like cures like) and the frequency of key homeopathic remedies to naturally support the animals immune system to encourage their best possible health.
Through having a healthy immune system they are automatically less likely to attract fleas and ticks plus you will notice additional benefits which may include: a glossier coat, healthy skin and more content nature. Some people have reported back that their dog’s digestion has improved and skin allergies gone or minimised. All of that gets my tick of approval every time!
This Christmas get your furry friends a little piece of do-good hardware and you won’t regret it.

Daily delight: Daisy Lowe for Schön! #15

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Love it: GROWN Intensive Body Cream

I’m super fussy when it comes to bodycare products, and treat the skin below my neck with almost as much care as that above. I moisturise morning and night, and am never one to slap any old cream on my legs even when I’m pressed for time.
If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere like me you’ll know that things are heating up, and even if the sun is playing a little hide n’ seek it’s still humid as all hell. This means that some of my favourite body oils are proving a little too slippery even for me, so I've been on the hunt for an equally nourishing alternative...
Cue the arrival of my new favourite body cream in the retro-tastic form of Grown’s Intensive Body Cream with Rosa Damascena, Acai and Pomegranate – the fragrance alone will win you over the minute you pop the cap! It is also richly formulated for maximum hydration and helps promote skin firmness, elasticity and collagen synthesis, due to the good work of some clever bio-active ingredients like:
• Pomegranate and capuacu butter, both of which are rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which facilitates the skins barrier function and promotes rapid cell regeneration
• Hyluronic acid, which provides intense hydration, smooths the skins appearance and increases effective absorption of the other organic bio-active ingredients included
• Rosa damascena and acai berry, which are abundantly rich in essential fatty acids, omegas 3 and 6, phytosterols and tocopherol antioxidants, and protect cellular membranes from free radicals whilst maximising the skin’s moisture retention levels
Just gorgeous AND it does all that? You bet. Love this stuff.

Christmas Countdown: The UltraSonic Cleansing Brush

This clever little tool really must be the perfect present for the woman who has everything - the UltraSonic Cleansing Brush. A tidy little unit, it gently removes embedded dirt, oil, pollution, make-up and dead skin cells from the face, leaving a smooth and clean canvas for your skincare to absorb and makeup to adhere to.
The UltraSonic uses vibrating bristles, which oscillate at a sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second. This technology works with your skin’s natural elasticity to deeply cleanse and gently exfoliate whilst still remaining incredibly gentle. I have super sensitive skin and have found it to be a breeze to use, with no more redness afterwards than a good wipe with a face cloth. It’s also super easy to use to your best advantage due to a built-in facial zone that ‘beeps’ to let you know it’s time to move on to your forehead, nose, chin and each cheek.
It is fully rechargeable and waterproof for use in the shower or bath, whilst the interchangeable micro-fiber ‘cleansing’ and ‘abrading’ brush heads are designed for delicate, sensitive and normal skin types, and are bacteria resistant to ensure ultimate skin health. It’s clinically designed to gently cleanse skin an amazing six times better than manual cleansing, whilst not disturbing your skin’s natural goodness.
Sound like you, or one of your nearest and dearest? Check out their online store here.

Daily delight: Angelina Jolie for Marie Claire US

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thinking pink: when OPI meets Nicki Minaj

Miss Nicki Minaj is no stranger to beauty or to collaborating with some of the industry’s hottest brands, the latest of which is nail legends OPI.
OPI have just announced the launch of six new limited edition shades inspired by hip hop diva Minaj, including a purple Shatter that is destined to fly off the shelves. The purple Super Bass Shatter (a record-setting purple that “shatters” before your eyes) is inspired by graffiti art and works when painted over any dry OPI hue. Adding a top coat takes Super Bass Shatter from matte to glossy in seconds, whatever you personal preference.
The line features five nail lacquers in addition to Super Bass Shatter, ranging from fantastic pink, rainbow confetti glitter and charcoal sparkle hues to two green shades in lime and teal. My favourites are the bubblegum-influenced Pink Friday – named after Minaj’s newest album – and Save Me, a silver rainbow glitter. Super cute and available in February 2012.

Daily delight: a retro-beautiful Diana Ross

Christmas Countdown: Nature Girl at East Day Spa

I recently got the lowdown on some of the beautiful offerings East Day Spa has unveiled for Christmas gifting, and absolutely fell in love with pretty much all of them!
One of the exclusive brands they are carrying that really caught my eye is Nature Girl, the new skincare line by Nannette Pallrand (creator of the incredible Rich Hippie organic perfume range), which uses organic and wildcrafted ingredients grown on small, family-run farms from all corners of the world. The products are safe for your health and safe for the environment, hip and chic, organic and green, fresh and just plain fun. "Today's woman wants luxurious products, wants to look beautiful but not if it means ruining her health or the planet," says Pallrand has said, and I can’t help but agree with that.
Pallrand grew up learning about the environment from an early age. Her father was a science professor who was very passionate about protecting the environment, and taught her about the greenhouse effect and global warming way before they became popular topics in the mainstream news media. She also developed a special appreciation for nature during her extensive travels throughout the world, spending several years living in Brazil, which according to Pallrand: "Truly gave me an appreciation for nature just because of the sheer beauty of the country, the overwhelming diversity of plants and flowers."
Needless to say, Nature Girl uses all natural, organically grown and wildcrafted ingredients, carefully cultivated on small family-run organic farms from all regions of the world to provide you with products that protect and nurture your skin and your health while also protecting the environment. All of their nut, seed plant and flower oil are cold pressed and refined using old fashioned methods such as paper filters and natural clays, whilst their essential oils are organic or ethically wildcrafted and steam distilled.
Some of the products that have caught my eye at East Day Spa are the I Am Arizona body moisturiser made with organic golden jojoba oil from the Arizona desert and Brown Sugar (pictured), a luxurious overall organic body exfoliator made with only the highest quality Brazilian brown sugar, certified organic oils of jojoba seed, sunflower seed, safflower, olive and calendula flower and infused with healing and nurturing plant and flower extracts. My pick is Tangerine, which I’ve been using and am absolutely in love with. It smells divine and leaves such a soft, moisturised afterfeel that – depending on your skin type – you might not even need a lotion or cream to seal the deal. Get yours now!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

In love with: Chanel's Paris-Bombay beauties

The beauty and fashion industries went totally mad for any images and footage from the very recent Paris-Bombay Métiers d’Art Show at the Grand Palais in Paris on December 6, including me. I fell in love the makeup look created by Peter Philips, Creative Director of Chanel Makeup at first sight, and couldn’t wait to the get the détails of what he used and why…. Starting with Hydra Beauty Serum to thoroughly prep the skin.

May I présent – in his own words – Peter Philips :
What was your inspiration when creating the makeup for this show ? Did Karl Lagerfeld give you a brief ?
We wanted to create an almond-shaped black kohl eye. A graphic interpretation of the iconic Indian beauty ideal. Something between mysterious and rock'n'roll.

Where was the focus ? Can you describe it and tell us the products you used ?

I kept the focus on the eyes. I achieved a matte pitch black makeup result by using a new shade of Illusion d'Ombre called “Nirvana”. I used Le Crayon Khôl – Black on the eyes and Mascara Inimitable Intense -Black on the lashes. For skin I used Perfection Lumière.
For the cheeks I used a touch of Joues Contraste – Brume d'Or . On the lips, I applied Rouge Coco Shine -Empreinte for a natural dewy lip. Last minute I added some golden highlights on the cheeks and the eyes with Route des Indes de CHANEL, a limited edition pallete that I specially created for this show.
For the nails I created a new light golden shade called Le Vernis - Diwali as a homage to the famous "Festival of lights" that takes place in India.

Christmas countdown: S. Pellegrino meets Bvlgari

If you're going to place a bottle of water on your seasonal table this holiday season there is really only one option: the S.Pellegrino limited edition bottle designed by Bvlgari, which really must be the ultimate mix of practicality and prestige to place next to the champagne or throw in your beach bag this summer. Bvlgari selected a vintage (circa 1965) yellow gold necklace embellished with brilliant cut diamonds, and set with graduated cabochon emeralds, amethysts and turquoises to adorn the already-cool S.Pellegrino bottle, symbolising the heritage, prestige, glamour and timelessness of these two classically Italian brands. Too gorgeous and an absolute Christmas essential! Want a case, ASAP.

Daily delight: Rosie H-W for Harper’s Bazaar UK

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Love it: Bobbi Brown 20th Anniversary 1991 Lip Palette

“Lipstick is one of the simplest makeup steps and great way to instantly change your look.”
Bobbi Brown
I love the quote above, and the work of the legendary makeup artist who said it. Lipstick is my absolute beauty essential, and has been for as long as I can remember. When I travelled to London as a 19-year-old it wasn’t a suitcase full of shoes I bought back, it was over 20, then-unavailable-in-New-Zealand lipsticks!
But back to the subject of Bobbi, who changed the way many women looked at makeup back when she first hit the scene. Back in 1991 she found herself discouraged by the lack of flattering lip colours that were available at your average beauty counter, so she went off and created ten beautiful lipstick shades that had a brown base, which was in her opinion the most natural complement to a woman’s skin tone. This year marks the 20th anniversary of that momentous collection, and to commemorate this special event she has unleashed this baby, a limited edition 1991 Lip Palette featuring the original ten lipsticks as well as ten new bright, modern and wearable colours that showcase how the brand has evolved in the past 20 years. All the shades can be worn alone or mixed together to create your own custom look. “They look great on their own, but they also blend beautifully,” Brown says of the palette. “For example, Beige is a flattering neutral shade by itself, but it can be mixed with a brighter colour like Orange, Red, Atomic Pink or Watermelon to create a more muted in-between shade.”
In my opinion this is the perfect addition to every handbag due to its shade range and incredibly versatility, and the ideal go-to palette for any type of trip away. Just gorgeous and limited edition, get in quick and grab one now!

1991 Colours: Salmon, Beige, Raisin, Brown, Rose, Pink, Orange, Blackberry, Burnt Red, Red

2011 Exclusive Colours: Coral Gables, Lady Ruba, Berry Punch, Hot Berry, Watermelon, Atomic Pink, Party Pink, Cosmic Lily, Pink Martini, Candied Red

Christmas countdown: rather spiffing Hendrick’s Gin

I was one of the lucky ones to attend the Lily & Louis PR showroom’s Summer open day last week, which was a fabulous event by anyone’s standards. Along with their client’s wonderful wares I was treated to some truly delicious canapés and a top class tipple in the form of a gin and tonic (or two) made with Hendrick’s Gin.
As well as having absolutely beautiful packaging in the form of a dark brown, apothecary-style bottle, this gin is really rather unique in many other ways. In addition to the traditional juniper infusion, Hendrick's uses Bulgarian rose and cucumber to add flavour, two of my favourite ingredients in beauty products and now also gin! It’s naturally then garnished with a slice of cucumber as opposed to the usual twist of lemon or lime, and is all the more summery for it. Beautifu!
The Wall Street Journal have called it the “Best Gin in the World” for a reason, and it really will be making regular appearances on my back deck over the summer months. I have a bottle of this delicious tipple to give away, along with a six pack of SanPellegrino tonic and a cucumber! Just email me at with your name, address and date of birth and you’re in the draw.
(You must be over 18 to enter)
*You must also check out their truly beautiful website here*

Daily delight: Miranda Kerr for Industrie #4

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas countdown: the Spinning Top charity

When I met up with the lovely Ansonia - PR for the Body Shop New Zealand – for a coffee recently, my eyes were immediately drawn to the beautiful wooden necklace she had on in the shape of a spinning top. “They are part of a charity initiative we’re supporting,” she explained, “and they are for sale in all of our stores and at Starfish. Let me put you in touch with them.”
Before long I was chatting with talented photographer Patrick Shepherd, one of the key figures behind the aforementioned charity, which is known as SpinningTop. Based in Wellington, SpinningTop exists to give balance to vulnerable children living in extreme poverty, whose lives have been thrown off balance through war, oppression, natural disaster and circumstances beyond their control. “We believe given the right balance of forces - Education, Nutrition, Shelter and Play - these children will be empowered to become contributing members of society, free from poverty,” they say, and you can help by doing as little as purchasing one of their beautiful necklaces (and now, earrings).
SpinningTop is currently working along the perilous Thai/Burma border with children who have been forced by the oppressive military regime to flee their homeland of Burma. In the next twelve months they will also be exploring the needs of vulnerable children a little closer to home in the South Pacific region, where in some cases the situation can be almost as dire.
“The children we currently support come from extreme poverty, living in the most basic of homes, constructed mostly of bamboo, rice sacks for flooring, running water some distance from the home and maybe two changes of clothes if they are lucky,” explains Pat. “Toys are a rarity, unless you consider rubber bands toys, which do in fact provide hours of entertainment for them.” It’s fitting then that one of the simplest of toys – the spinning top – has become this very worthy initiative’s name and is key to the jewellery design, which I heartily recommend as a gift to oneself and your nearest and dearest this Christmas. The necklace and the earrings both retail for $35.00 and are all New Zealand made, so you can feel good as well as look great all at the same time. If that doesn’t make for a merry festive season I don’t know what does!

SpinningTop necklaces and earrings are available at The Body Shop, as well as all Starfish stores (Ponsonby, Newmarket and Wellington) and online here.

All about: trying Traditional Mexican Massage

Many years ago I lived for a time in Mexico’s Oaxaca State, and as well as a plethora of amazing traditions, heard about the work of Curanderos. Often described as indigenous “medicine” men and women, they are also the source of many an amazing massage. Lucky for me then that there is now a practitioner of Mexican traditional massage close to my home, in the form of Warwick Powell.
Warwick works out of a light, airy space above Louise Gray Skincare on Ponsonby Road, and from the moment I first entered his treatment room I knew I was in for something special. Charming as well as a dab hand when it comes to a truly transformational massage, he was definitely someone I wanted to know more about. Coffee across the road at Agnes Curran soon followed, and some insights into a truly unique style of bodywork.
“In my early thirties I had a bit of an emotional crisis,” he explained to me, “and I realised that I didn’t like the way I was living my life. I started looking around for a guru and began studying with a Chinese Master, eventually spending three years in a Chinese monastery based in England.” Days in the monastery involved 4am starts and ten-hour meditation sessions, and after three years he decided he didn’t feel he could make the commitment to 25 years of study and left.
At the same time, a Mexican teacher was travelling throughout the UK offering insights into the culture’s traditional healing work, and after attending a weekend workshop Warwick realised that he’d found his niche. A four-year apprenticeship followed in the art of being a Curandero, which involves bodywork, the study of herbs and working with ceremony.
After 20 years in London he realised that it was the time to come home, and he set up shop in Ponsonby. He decided to specialise in the bodywork side of things “and ceremonial work when it’s required”. An example of this is the treatment of “susto”, which is essentially a spiritual illness that is caused when a person experiences a sudden shock or a traumatic event in their life. When a person has susto it’s believed that their soul leaves the physical body, unable to find its way back. Many things can cause soul loss depending upon the person, but Warwick cites examples like the death of a loved one or a car accident as two possible causes. “In ceremony we call that part of the spirit back,” he explains, “and it can make a real difference even to pain and trauma in the physical body.”
I’ve experienced several massages at the hands of Warwick now and have found them to be incredible, everything from healing to just plain old relaxing. Mexican massage practice says that “pain and tension occur when blockages manifest in the ‘energetic rivers’ that move through our bodies”, and this type of bodywork incorporates energetic visualisations with pressure massage to release these blockages and re-teach the body how to relax. In a word: heavenly, and well worth a try.
And as for one of my favourite pictures used to illustrate this post above? I think Frida would approve.
If you're keen to book in for session with Warwick, you'll find his details here.

Daily delight: Dree Hemingway for Vogue Espana

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Love: Murad Hybrids Skin Perfecting Primer

I love a good primer under my makeup, and one that works well all on its own makes for one seriously great must have – meet Murad’s Hybrids Skin Perfecting Primer!
A skincare solution from the experts at Murad that combines treatment for your skin with a pore refining, perfect match makeup component, this baby aims to leave you with beautiful skin all day (or night) long. Light enhancing minerals are there to give you a lustrous glow, and my pick is the dewy finish for a polished but totally natural look. And not to worry if you’re using an acne treatment for your skin, as this little wonder is oil free.
I have slightly large pores leftover from my oily teenage years, and this little beauty makes them all but disappear, whilst the universal shade matches my skin tone perfectly and works well under make up or – as aforementioned - just on its own (the Adaptive Shade Technology creates a perfect skin tone match for pretty much any complexion too, which is a bonus).
Every day after moisturizing, blend this evenly over face and neck, either under or in place of foundation of for a fresh look. Quite literally… sheer magic.
Murad is available in New Zealand at Caci, check for your nearest clinic here.

Christmas Countdown: Sodashi Space Clearing Mist

If your life is anything like mine, the lead up to Christmas is both celebratoty and exhausting in turn! With every plate of delicious treats comes another hour at the gym, with every extra glass of champagne yet another morning after… and as for the general silliness of the season? Sometimes it makes me just want to stay in bed with a good book!
Taking some time out when you need it – if you can – is a great idea, as is a bottle of Sodashi’s Space Clearing Mist, which gives a lift to your spirit by clearing and balancing the surrounding energy in your immediate environment. Think a more restful sleep, a better meditation… all the good stuff that can come from being totally at peace.
Its two key ingredients are juniper berry and frankincense. Juniper is known for its ability to therapeutically clear waste from both body and mind, while beautiful frankincense has a deeply comforting effect on the psyche and heals emotional wounds.
Just shake the bottle a little and then spray this beautiful mist around yourself or in an area like your bedroom or office, and use it as often as you need. Just perfect for a little escape, wouldn’t you agree?

Daily delight: Liberty Ross for Gioia

Monday, December 5, 2011

Getting serious about skin: Lancôme Visionnaire

Last week I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at – and have a wee play with – some of Lancome’s hottest new makeup and skincare releases for the next six months. They ranged from exquisitely feminine eye palettes to serious suncare, as well as the industry-leading innovations in high performance skincare that the mega brand has become famous for.
They also talked the runaway success of Visionnaire, which has been a major part of 2011’s beauty landscape all over the world. Twelve years in development, the skincare hit contains a brand new beauty molecule - LR 2412 - that was independently tested by scientists at Manchester University for proven efficacy - they said they were “impressed with what we saw.” LR 2412 is a true multitasker because it has multiple effects within different areas of the skin. And as a result, Visionnaire can target several different skincare concerns at once: billed as the ultimate “advanced skin corrector serum”, it can reduce wrinkles, minimise pores, correct pigmentation irregularities and restore radiance. And who doesn’t love that?
Proven to be as effective as retinol, it’s also more gentle on the skin: it can be used around the eyes, and on all skin types, even the most sensitive. This is a huge selling point for the majority of women I know who now count "sensitivity" as one of their most frustrating skin concerns.
Visionnaire isn’t there to replace Lancôme's hit serum Genefique - which is sold more as a preventive rather than corrective measure – but works in unison with it if you so choose for a super duper anti-ageing boost. High performance, serious skincare doesn’t get much better than this.

Christmas Countdown: Bread&Butter for boys

This countdown isn’t just all about the ladies, especially as there are a slew of deserving men out there on the hunt for a decent, no nonsense skincare regime that isn’t going to break the bank or involve an afternoon in a department store.
Well break out the champagne, because it appears that a brand new skincare range - designed especially for men – is making a damn good effort at meeting those criteria. Bread&Butter Skincare is formulated for the sensitive skin men get from shaving, and offers them a hassle-free skincare range, with the ease of purchasing online.
Developed in Canada, Bread&Butter Skincare is the result of one man’s mission to create the ultimate skincare routine for men, following years of experience working for big brands in the beauty industry. Founder Brian Lau says his idea evolved from research findings that men worried about skin irritation and dreaded the hassle of shopping for skincare products, and he decided to sit down and create a solution. 33-year-old Brian spent years building beauty brands in the world of consumer packaged goods, before setting out to build his own. His experiences in the industry were the spark of his big idea: to create products where nothing was put in, said or done without purpose, and to make effective skincare simple for men.
All face products are free from irritating ingredients such as fragrances, grain alcohols and parabens; moisturisers hydrate with no shine or dewy glow – avoiding that “made up” feeling; and a light SPF 15 formulation offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.
And… there’s no dealing with department stores, cosmetic counters or supermarket beauty aisles – this range is available online at – a New Zealand based website offering national delivery. The product can be purchased in a 3-piece custom kit (any three items) for $49, and 5-piece kit for $69.
I’ve had a few likely lads testing this range for me and the word is that it ticks a hell of a lot of boxes. The product receiving the most praise is the Daily SPF 15 Face Moisturiser with the Daily Shave Gel running a close second, and all are 90ml, airline carry on approved!
Visit their website to find out more.

Daily delight: Elisa Sednaoui for Cavalli fragrance

Friday, December 2, 2011

Love it: Kevin Murphy is officially Cruelty Free

I’m always crowing about the fabulous results that using Kevin Murphy haircare gives me, and everyone I recommend them to quickly becomes a raving fan.
Well the latest fan to add to the pack is PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), who have given the company an official ethical tick of approval in the form of their bunny logo, above.
Murphy’s products have always been Sulphate and Paraben free, now they are extremely pleased to be able to declare them cruelty free too! It took a lot of work to get there, but now Kevin Murphy is listed as one of their recommended ‘Cruelty Free’ companies. After vigorous research by PETA into the products and practices, they have awarded the company with this privilege that they are very honoured to have. PETA only accepts companies that are dedicated to producing products that do not harm, nor test on animals.
Look out for Kevin Murphy posted on as well as being listed in the pocket sized “Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide.” Keep eyes out for the “Cruelty Free Bunny” on Kevin Murphy packaging and marketing material in the near future and help PETA keep fighting the good fight!

Christmas Countdown: M.A.C Kids Helping Kids

If you haven’t yet bought your Christmas cards this year – and be honest, who has! – then I strongly suggest you drop into your nearest M.A.C store and start a new tradition.
Every year, M.A.C invites kids affected by HIV/AIDS to design holiday cards, which are then produced and sold under the name ‘Kids Helping Kids’. They come in sets of six and twelve and as gift cards, complete with envelopes. Every cent goes back to the MAC AIDS Fund, to help kids affected by HIV/AIDS.
This year they are gorgeously fun and sparkly, and in the words of M.A.C: “Festive good wishes - and child's play - never looked so glamorously hip - or happy!” Just add your own xxox and send to someone you love. All proceeds go to the M∙A∙C AIDS Fund.
Kids Helping Kids! Could there be a more perfect way to celebrate the holiday season?

Daily delight: Kate does Ziggy for Vogue Paris