Friday, March 30, 2012

Love it: YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres

I love a bit of luxury here and there, and when it comes in the form of a truly original lip product then I get really excited about it!
In this case it comes in the form of Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres, which really could be the answer for women who want it all when it comes to lip glosses/lipsticks and lip stains.
Available in 15 beautiful shades, this unique little number gives truly skin-deep colour and a wet look that – quite honestly - lasts and lasts. Not exactly lipstick, not exactly gloss, and so much more than a simple lip stain, this beauty from Yves Saint Laurent is a whole new way to make up lips. They have successfully created a formula that has a soft, hydrating feel with a light glossy finish and an incredible wear time. It has none of the “drying out” factor common to so many lip stains, and has a super natural look whilst combining all the elements of a gloss, stain, and creamy lipstick into a single product. This hybrid has the long wear of a stain, the creaminess of a lipstick, and the shiny finish of a gloss, and I am totally in love with it. You can have your cake and truly eat it too!
I’ve been using two of these shades - #6 Caramel Tan and #17 Baby Pink - and have found them to be super versatile. You can build up the colour as much as you want, from a very light stain to HD color. It has such a light formula that you tend to forget that you’re wearing it, except for when you feel a light stickiness from the gloss.
This release arrives on counter in New Zealand on April 23 and I highly recommend that you give it a bash. We all need a bit of luxury in our beauty arsenal, and when it delivers like this does it fast becomes an essential!

Daily delight: Marion Cotillard for Lady Dior

Thursday, March 29, 2012

News: Kate Somerville hits NZ and Australia

On the morning of my birthday last week I was extremely lucky to be invited to Auckland’s Hilton hotel on the waterfront to experience my first Kate Somerville facial – what a way to kick off a big day! And yes, the sun was shining!
The occasion was the arrival of the legendary skincare brand in Mecca Cosmetica, home of what must be one of the best-edited beauty selections around.
The creator and director of her own renowned medi-skin clinic on Melrose in Los Angeles, Kate Somerville has devoted her life to creating flawless faces. In fact, she is personally responsible for the glowing complexions of hundreds of leading ladies, whose livelihoods depend on their looks. When it comes to a clear complexion and a gorgeous glow, stars like Jessica Alba, Katherine Heigl, Selma Blair, and Debra Messing depend on Kate’s clever hands and killer products.
Like me, Kate grew up suffering from eczema, and this was responsible for an early fascination with skincare and what it could do to help her situation. She was one of the first paramedical aestheticians in the business, partnering early on with top dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons. This is where her authenticity lies, as well as her unique understanding of skin and how best to heal and protect it.
Every product in her range began life in her clinic, and was tried and tested for months on end as well as often growing out of client need rather than to fit a marketing calendar. A perfect example of this is her Somerville360 Body Self Tanning Towelettes, which contain a paraben-free self-tanning formula to give you a quick and even application with no streaking. She formulated these after years of despairing over client Paris Hilton’s shockingly fake looking spray tans, and the Hollywood princess was all the better for it!
Other hero products include ExfoliKate, which is her most famous baby and constantly named in celebrity’s “desert island” beauty lists. The Intensive Exfoliating Treatment is Kate's top-selling product, and reportedly the next best thing to seeing her in the clinic yourself! It works both physically and enzymatically to deliver safe, dramatic results in one application, and after experiencing it during a facial can honestly say that it’s a true wonder. It effectively combats acne and blackheads, reduces discoloration, and polishes skin by using fruit enzymes to clarify skin by removing dead cells and eliminating bacteria.
The third hero product I got to experience was Quench, which is the amazing formula that earned her the title of “the guru of glow”. Jessica Alba’s favourite, Quench was developed to help restore, replenish and restructure lipids lost due to aging, stress, environmental aggression and excessive UV exposure. It locks in moisture, helps cells retain water, to ensure well-hydrated skin and a healthier, more youthful complexion. It is non-greasy, has no oils, and makes the skin feel silky with a “signature glow” that I definitely carried with me for the rest of the day and well into the next!
I highly recommend you hit your nearest Mecca Cosmetica store for a taste of Kate’s best – and start putting a trip to that Melrose Place clinic (pictured above) on your beauty bucket list now!

Daily delight: Emily DiDonato for Vogue Latin America

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Estée Lauder’s Next Top Model: Arizona Muse

Hot on the heels of L’Oreal’s Natasha Poly super-supermodel signing, Estée Lauder have enlisted a sizzling name of their very own, namely, 23 year old Arizona Muse. The impossibly pretty, bushy-browed beauty joins Carolyn Murphy, Hilary Rhoda, Constance Jablonski, Liu Wen and Joan Smalls as one of Lauder’s model ambassadors, due to be featuring in adverts for Estee Lauder fragrance, cosmetics and skincare later in the year.
“Arizona has quickly become one of fashion’s most recognized faces, on the runway, in magazines and in fashion campaigns,” said Aerin Lauder, Style and Image Director, Estée Lauder. “She has the timeless elegance that will make her a fashion and beauty icon of her generation. I am thrilled to welcome Arizona into the Estée Lauder family.”
The single mother’s rise in the fashion world has been nothing short of explosive, beginning when she was shot by influential fashion photographers such as Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, and Paolo Roversi within the first 12 months of her debut runway appearance. She quickly landed the most high profile fashion campaigns and worked with every influential fashion brand and magazine in the world.
She has appeared on the covers of Korean, Australian, French, Russian and British Vogue, and during the Spring 2012 couture shows in Paris she walked for Chanel, Armani and Dior amongst others and will feature in the spring campaigns for Fendi, Karl by Karl Lagerfeld and Isabel Marant.
Hearing of her new appointment, which she has called ‘a monumental honour’, Muse walked into her hotel room to find “an enormous bouquet of flowers from Lauder welcoming me to the brand, it was such a great way to finish fashion week.”

Daily delight: Jourdan Dunn for Burberry Beauty

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Product makeover: Matrix Biolage Colorcaretherapie

At a wonderful, flower-covered launch a couple of weeks ago I learnt that Biolage Colorcaretherapie - the #1 selling Biolage range - has undergone a facelift of sorts, revealing new packaging, new product formulas, and two star new products; Bloom Masque and Shine Shake Spray.
The range’s main job is targeting colour-treated hair, working to protect colour depth, seal colour tone, and add a whole new dimension to shine to your locks.
The team of Matrix scientists took extracts from Orchid blooms to mimic the flower’s extraordinary ability to retain colour vibrancy, which explained the plethora of beautiful examples dotted all over Mount Eden bar Liquid Molten’s courtyard on the day. As well as orchid extract, the Biolage Colorcaretherapie range also contains a UV Filter, which protects colour-treated hair against the sun’s rays and prevents colour fading – a binus if you’ve got hair like me that’s just returned from blonde to brunette and fights the brassy tones on a daily basis.
A product I really love from the range is the Biolage Colorcaretherapie Bloom Masque, which “enhances colour vibrancy and softness with orchid extract and UV filter”. It’s paraben, silicone- and synthetic-dye free and is a real treat to use.
In addition to the take-home range, Colorcaretherapie also offers a Color Bloom Service available in salon that involves a relaxing massage and dual treatment. Love the sound of that! The service involves the application of a concentrated Cera-repair formula, which is then layered with Color Bloom Colorcaretherapie Masque to ensure knock out colour and shine.
If you’re not in the habit of having regular professional treatments on your hair then I suggest you start – when you’re spending a considerable sum on your colour then making it last that much longer just makes sense… so get in there!

Daily delight: Rianne ten Haken for H&M

Monday, March 26, 2012

Giveaway: RevitaLift to Revitalise your skin, ASAP!

For those of you looking to address the early signs of aging there are two brand new big guns on the beauty scene that may be exactly what you're looking for! Both are welcome additions to the L'Oréal Paris RevitaLift range, which is the best choice from the skincare giant for skins over 40.
The first is RevitaLift Total Repair 10 Serum, which is a multi-action serum that works its magic to give brighter and more hydrated skin in just one hour. Its innovative formula contains Stimulift technology which acts to stimulate the skin’s natural filters to plump the skin from within, so your skin will feel better and look amazing in one hit.
The second new addition to the RevitaLift range - and a perfect accompaniment to the serum - is the RevitaLift Total Repair 10 Night Cream, a powerful but gentle moisturiser that repairs and regenerates the skin’s epidermis while you sleep. The rich texture re-firms and smoothes the surface of the skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and leaving your skin rejuvenated by morning.
I have two gift packs to give away to readers, valued at $170, that include the two star products. To enter email me at now.... get to it!

I try: River Veda’s Lotus and Rose Attar Face Mask

It calls itself a “drink for parched skin”, and River Veda’s Lotus and Rose Attar Face Mask is a great answer to the skin hydration-zapping weather that comes with changes in season.
A rich, deeply moisturising and nourishing face mask that feels like heaven on, it contains as its hero ingredient Rose Attar Oil - also known as the ‘Queen of Flowers’ - which has unique hydrating properties to promote and replenish the skin’s luminosity and is effective in treating the likes of broken capillaries, wrinkles and stressed skin conditions. Also included in the mix is Lotus Flower extract, which provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits to the skin.
When used regularly, this clever formula from the Replenish range promises to help refine and smooth complexions and leave your with a “radiant, soft and cared for appearance”. And who doesn’t want that?
River Veda’s Lotus and Rose Attar Face Mask also carries therapeutic benefits for the user, thanks to its organic content and the use of supercritical extraction technology. This technology is a breakthrough in herbal extraction, providing access to the maximum nutritional and beauty benefits of the whole plant - literally thousands of important compounds - and not just an isolated chemical constituent. Equally important, the extracts are extremely concentrated as they are full extractions, including essential oils as well as other water-soluble and fat-soluble substances from the plants used. The end product is an extract that is all natural, wonderfully pure, and super potent. Just gorgeous, and definitely ticks all of my beauty boxes.
To use, apply the mask to a clean face and leave for ten to twenty minutes before removing with lukewarm water. If your skin is super parched, you can even apply it in a thin layer onto a clean face and left on all night for a super charged dose of TLC.

Daily delight: Jessica Miller for Vogue Germany

Friday, March 23, 2012

Beauty destination: The Trilogy Pop-Up Greenhouse

Yesterday I was lucky enough to get a preview of the absolutely gorgeous Trilogy Pop-Up Greenhouse (pictured) at Britomart – a true one-of-a-kind beauty event concepted by the much-loved New Zealand natural skincare company.
The initiative is in celebration of both their tenth anniversary and the release of a brand new product honouring their original offering, Rosehip Oil. The new marvel is Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+, a product set to redefine high performance natural skincare. Certified organic and 100% natural, Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ has at its core a unique and advanced formulation called Rosapene™.
This carefully selected seed oil blend works synergistically, delivering intensive nourishment to replenish softness and elasticity as well as daily antioxidant protection for healthier, younger looking skin. Potent super antioxidants Lycopene from Tomato and Phytosterol from Acai help protect from premature ageing caused by environmental free radical damage, whilst nourishing Essential Fatty Acids (omegas 3 and 6) from Cranberry and Rosehip moisturise and renew. Last but not least, mineral and vitamin rich Oat extract provides a soothing and luxurious feel that glides on the skin and feels like heaven.
Trilogy are calling Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ the “’everything-your-skin-needs’ beauty oil, helping to repair yesterday’s damage and protect from tomorrow’s.” Like the sound of that!
I highly recommend that you pop down to the Greenhouse to discover this new little wonder and grab some free samples of your faves, and you can also enter the draw to win an exclusive gourmet experience for six in the Trilogy Greenhouse – a very special dinner created by Warren Turnbull, chef and owner of Britomart’s fabulous District Dining, complete with a gorgeous Trilogy goody bag for each guest (fixed date of 27 March 2012)!
The details are:
DATE: Friday 23 – Tuesday 27 March 2012
LOCATION: The Trilogy Greenhouse
8 Te Ara Tahuhu Walking Street (near Kathryn Wilson Shoebox)
See you there!

Daily delight: Katie Fogarty for Blackbook April 12

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I try: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream

The first time I saw a fellow beauty editor sporting a BB cream I have to say that I was a little horrified. It had given her a bit of a ghostly appearance, and looked like a thick formula that needed hours’ worth of working in to get a natural effect. It certainly didn’t look like the “wonder” product that it had been made out to be, and I was a bit bummed. The idea of a BB cream was right up my alley – a multitasker that gave a natural but still flawless finish – but in practice this one looked quite the opposite to that.
This put me off wanting to try one myself… that is until now. The moment that changed my mind was being sent Smashbox’s version of the beauty buzz product, simply called Camera Ready BB Cream. Smashbox rarely put a foot wrong, so I figured that their BB cream would be worth a bash despite my misgivings!
The BB – AKA Blemish Balm - Cream craze began in Korea but has since hit Japan, China and the rest of the world over the past twelve months. BB Cream has been hailed as pretty much the end all of foundation, concealer, moisturizer, etc. as it’s a combined product that eliminates many products from your daily makeup routine, and not only simplifies foundation but also offers key ingredients that we all look for in makeup and skincare.
They aren’t all created equal though, and I’ve viewed a lot of them with some scepticism since my initial encounter. You can see why everyone is so hyper and excited about BB Creams - they are virtually the superman of foundations - but they are not without their flaws.
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream however, is pretty damn impressive. It doesn’t settle into fine lines or pores and is loaded with peptides, also banishing shine without giving your skin a chalky finish. The ultimate test was wearing it through a spin class, from which I emerged looking amazingly un-shiny – if a little sweaty from the neck down! If oiliness is your issue or humidity your clime, then I really recommend this baby as the ultimate everyday cover.
The shade I’m wearing is light, which is probably a little too pale for my leaning-towards-olive complexion, so I’m keen to try one slightly darker next time around for an even more flawless result.

Spending time with: NARS artist Janice Daoud

I was lucky enough to spend a morning with New York-based NARS artist Janice Daoud (pictured above, top) last week, and what a wonderful morning it was!
Janice has been with the company for five years, and in that time has racked up some pretty glamorous time in the trenches working behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week on shows like Thakoon, Marc Jacobs and Rodarte, and most recently at Paris Couture Week and backstage at the Oscars. Needless to say, the girl is a serious walking beauty encyclopaedia, as well as being really rather gorgeous to boot.
The first new product release she talked about was NARS’ first ever tinted moisturiser – hurrah! - called Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser (beautiful campaign image pictured above, below). Francois Nars has always said that skin should shine through your makeup, and this beauty is all about beautiful, clean skin. “Your skin – almost bare, but better”, is its tagline, which sounds right up my alley. The advanced, oil-free formula provides a translucent veil of color and sun protection while also helping to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots in just four weeks – impressive stuff. Infused with lush, naturally derived botanicals to immediately help thirsty skin feel hydrated, its ingredients include Kopara from French Polynesia and mineral rich seawater to “revive and re-mineralize skin for a softer, smoother, and brighter natural glow”.
Janice says that for subtle coverage, “use the tinted moisturizer in place of foundation. Emulsify it in your hand before blending it along cheekbones, then swipe a bit down the nose and along the top of the forehead. This will even tone while keeping things light and sheer.” She clearly stands by its ability to make you look pretty damn fabulous, even using it on the likes of Rose Byrne and Gwyneth Paltrow in place of foundation at the Oscars. It is best when pressed in as opposed to rubbed, and it’s also buildable, which is rare for a tinted moisturizer.
Janice’s other product loves at the moment included the lush new NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss and the Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil from the Spring 2012 Collection, which was used to create the perfect modern smoky eye at the Rodarte show. I’m seriously obsessed with the latter, which is an incredible navy and a super long wearing formula. Want it now! Can’t wait til these hit the counter at my nearest Mecca Cosmetica – get in quick as they will sell like hotcakes!

Daily delight: vintage Jane Birkin perfection

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I try: Living Nature Ultra Rich Body Cream

With the mercury dropping I’m all about hunting down some super duper moisturising products for the cooler months ahead, a time when my sensitive skin really takes a battering.
One absolute marvel that I’ve been spreading the word about is New Zealand natural brand Living Nature’s new Ultra Rich Body Cream, which is the latest addition to the efficacious Manuka Honey-based range of Living Nature Body products, including the Nourishing Body Wash and Nourishing Hand Cream.
A true wonder that’s also pretty damn luxurious to use, it has as its hero ingredient Active Manuka Honey, known the world over for its superior humectant properties and ability to draw moisture into the skin and lock it firmly in. Its antimicrobial properties ensure extra antibacterial protection, whilst the additional ingredients in this clever formula like Cupuacu and Murumuru butters are also nutrient-rich and promote even more hydration for your poor parched skin.
This cream is perfect for everyday use – several times a day if you like - on dry areas, and I love layering it on still damp skin after a shower for an added moisture boost. For even greater results start with a dry body brush prior to jumping under the water – your circulation will love you for it!
And if you’re in the opposite hemisphere to me and the days are growing warmer, this rich cream is also a treat when fighting the harsh environmental effects of summer like the dehydrating effects of swimming in chlorinated pools and at the beach and the exposure to too many sunshine hours on our bodies. Love this!

Want: the new ByTerry lippy in homage to Helmut Newton!

Love it: Bobbi Brown's Autumn 12 Long-Wear Collection

I went to a Bobbi Brown collection launch this morning and came away with a pot of her fabulous Repair Moisturising Balm (perfect for winter), a brand new yoga mat and a SERIOUS new obsession.
The obsession takes the form of two of Bobbi’s makeup release – one new and one already on counter and as-yet-undiscovered by me! The first is part of the Bobbi Brown Autumn 2012- Long-Wear Collection, which is “perfect for the busy woman who has just a few minutes to do her makeup in the morning—and needs it to look good all day long.” That sounds like a bit of me, especially given the mad juggling I do on a daily basis that leaves little time for fussing with my face post-skincare regime – if any at all!
The range includes Long-Wear Mascara in Black (promising maximum lengthening, curling and volume for up to 16 hours), some beautiful new Cream Shadow shades (love the look of Velvet Plum) and the truly impressive object of my desire, the gel-pencil hybrid that is Long-Wear Eye Pencil (pictured above). Formulated with special polymers that melt at skin temperature breaking them into a fluid line upon application, this collection of six little wonders are intensely pigmented and totally waterproof, as well as easy to apply for precise and transfer-resistant wear. The end result is rich color on the lids that’s easy to apply, and stays put for 12 hours without fading. Amazing! I’m obsessed by Jet, which I think would go perfectly with today’s other new discovery, the truly beautiful Cosmic Raspberry lipstick that I’m currently gagging to try on for size. This is on counter right now and looks seriously gorgeous, and the perfect pick-me-up shade to wear on my birthday later this week.
Damn you Bobbi Brown, now I’m faced with the prospect cleaning out my beauty cupboards to make room for another set of absolute must haves!
The new Long-Wear Collection is available: 11 June 2012 at all Bobbi Brown Counters nationwide and at

Daily delight: Candice Swanepoel for Vogue Italia

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How to: a behind-the-scenes look with M.A.C at NZFW's hottest shows?

Love it: Ecoya Decadence range Zhou Xuan candle

I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to scented candles, but am also fussy as all hell and can name very few “favourites” that I burn obsessively. It takes a lot to impress me enough to be added to my fragranced candle family, but once you’re in there you’ll be there for a very long time!
One that has bewitched me from first sniff however is Ecoya’s Zhou Xuan candle from the Decadence range that was unveiled towards the end of last year. 1930’s Shanghai was known as the ‘Paris of the Orient’, and the jewel in its crown was the glamorous Zhou Xuan. A singer and star of the screen, she was singlehandedly responsible for the transformation of the Qipao dress or Cheongsam, which during her era took on a life of its own due to a higher hemline and dramatic figure hugging lines. Known for her collection of beautiful Qipao, Zhou was a style leader for her time and this beautiful candle is an absolutely stellar way of celebrating such an iconic babe.
The Oriental exoticism and romance that is Shanghai is captured perfectly in ark wood and musk, with just a hint of warm vanilla wrapping a fresh composition of Bergamot and Lemon in a rich, floral heart of Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Rosewood. Just perfection, and destined to fill my house for many years to come!
Oh and last but not least there is the Art Deco inspired, cut glass jar that this little beauty is poured into… truly a must have. I've heard that the Josephine Baker candle - inspired by the famed dancer and her adopted hometown, Paris - from this range is another stand out star, can't wait to have a sniff!

Daily delight: Heather Marks for Madame Figaro

Monday, March 19, 2012

All about: brand new PREVAGE Hydrating Fluid

From the minute it landed on beauty counters worldwide PREVAGE was a huge hit, and with good reason. The efficacy of the original product was second to none, and the additions to the range that have followed have been hailed as some of the most important skincare innovations of the past few years.
Its main target in the quest to slow down the ageing process of the skin is environmental threats, which are a leading force in signs of premature skin aging. An amazing 80 per cent of all skin aging signs are due to environmental causes, which is pretty damn scary. Exposure to smoke, pollution and sun causes free radicals, which result in increased fine lines, wrinkles, skin dryness, and uneven skin tone – none of which I want to sign up for in a hurry! PREVAGE’s newest addition in the battle against the aforementioned environmental beast is known as Hydrating Fluid, and it’s an absolute wonder if you live in a humid city like Auckland.
PREVAGE Hydrating Fluid delivers sheer, gentle moisture, infusing skin with vital ingredients that protect against environmental threats whilst staying ultra light on the skin. The silky, fast-absorbing formula is perfect for someone who prefers a lightweight moisturiser, has combination, oily or sensitive skin, or lives in a humid climate like mine.
Like all in the PREVAGE arsenal it has as a key ingredient Idebenone, the single most powerful antioxidant with an EPF® rating of 95 out of 100. The advanced delivery system helps combat environmental stress and repairs the look of skin over time, as the addition of the antioxidant Thiotaine means that PREVAGE Hydrating Fluid provides a time-release reservoir of Idebenone within the skin. It also includes a Soy Protein and Peptide Complex that works in the skin’s surface layer to support skin’s healthy barrier to promote moisture retention.
PREVAGE Hydrating Fluid is housed in a unique, all-in-one, twist-up locking pump that makes it perfect for travel, and it’s on counter for NZD $233 (50 ml) now.

Beauty destination: Aroma Tour’s Provence Aromatherapy Retreat

I love having a plan or goal in place at the beginning of each year, and part of that plan or goal involves travelling somewhere special to both relax and learn a little about something new. That could be a practice or a culture, and it’s seen me touch down in countries like Oman, France, Vanuatu and Thailand over the last few years.
I’m off to Bali a month from today, and then my next travel destination will be Provence in late June, where I’ll be attending a very special retreat.
Taking place in a picturesque hilltop village surrounded by glorious fields of lavender in full bloom, it’s an Aromatherapy Skincare and Wellbeing Retreat that has been organised by the very inspiring people at Aroma Tours. Present will be three of the most eminent and successful aromatherapy experts in their fields in the world, and I for one am super excited to be hearing what they have to say!
The first two full days will be filled by inspirational teaching with internationally acclaimed author and essential oil researcher Mindy Green, formally of Aveda. She will be sharing her decades of experience and wealth of knowledge on integrated aromatherapy and herbal medicine, with special emphasis on holistic skincare and wellbeing.
Next up will be Megan Larsen, who is one of the most seriously inspiring women I’ve been lucky enough to meet over the last few years. The creator of the highly successful Sodashi range of totally natural skincare and body care products used by many of the most exclusive spas and hotels in over 20 countries worldwide, she has a unique knowledge of aromatherapy and Ayurveda. She is also – as anyone who uses her products will attest to – an expert formulator and natural perfumer.
The third speaker is Robbi Zeck, who will present a fascinating look into the emotional and holistic healing properties of essential oils. Robbi is renowned internationally for integrating aromatherapy with TCM (a course in which I’m about to embark on next week), naturopathy, kinesiology and other healing modalities.
In addition to an intimate audience with these three wonderful educators, I’ll also get to experience aromatherapy from field to bottle with visits to master distillers, small essential oil producers, aromatic plants - both cultivated and in the wild - as well as discussions with growers and other local experts. There will also be ample time also to enjoy the beauty of the Haute Provence, day trip to some of the area’s wonderful villages and markets and sample more than a few croissants, red wine varieties and stinky cheeses along the way! Heaven.
If this sounds like a trip you’d like to make too, click through to their website here. As far as I know there are still some spaces available, so perhaps I’ll see you there!

Daily delight: Enya Bakunova for Elle Russia

Friday, March 16, 2012

Meet Kio Kio: New Zealand’s eco chic bodycare range

A few weeks ago I was very lucky to be gifted some products by Kio Kio, a range of “innovative, sumptuous, bio-active natural bodycare” that was created right here in lil’ Old New Zealand.
It was the first I’d heard of the lush range, which was launched in America in 2010. It was instantly selected to join the carefully edited beauty offerings at the iconic Californian retail destination, Fred Segal (one of my absolute fave LA shopping spots) and also in the super cool lifestyle store Anthropologie.
Developed by Fiona Terry, a design industry professional and her pharmacist business partner, Liz Young, the Kio Kio range includes fragrant and soothing rich body creams, body lotions and soft SLS free body washes, refreshing, gently perfumed body mists, nourishing handcreams and triple milled creamy soaps. Each range, in its chic, colour-coded package, has a South Pacific-inspired fragrance that is fresh, clean and uplifting— Pacific Tiare & Ti Kauka; Rainforest & Koromiko; Frangipani & Puriri and Citrus Petal and Tarata.
At every step of the production process, the partners have stuck to their mission statement to create a range this is “both green and gorgeous”. Biocompatible, organic, plant-based, anti-oxidant rich, sustainably sourced, Kio Kio utilises wild-harvested New Zealand botanicals and mineral-rich water drawn from ancient aquifers. Kio Kio products contain no parabens, mineral oils, petrochemicals, silicones, artificial colours or additives such as PEG, DEA, TEA. The packaging is uncoated, FSC certified and uses water-based dyes. All production is done within New Zealand too, which gets a big tick in my book.
Green whilst still staying pretty damn luxe, the Rainforest & Koromiko body lotion that I’ve been using is a delicate mix that will work for pretty much every skin type. Great for those that want a light, non-greasy formula – you can dress pretty much straight away after application – it is also lightly fragranced, but not so much that it will compete with your own perfume should you feel the need to add it on top. Pretty gorgeous really!
I’ve also got a body wash to crack into when the time comes and I can’t wait. If you haven’t tried this beautiful range before then I suggest that you do so, ASAP.

Daily delight: Jessica Biel covers W magazine

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Want: Invisible Zinc UV Silk Shield Foundation Stick

I just received the very happy news that more of Invisible Zinc’s really rather fabulous suncare range will be available in New Zealand as of this April, which will be music to the ears of the brand’s huge number of fans up and down the country.
I love the fact that their high performance prods are created using zinc oxide only, with no parabens, titanium oxide or chemical UV filters to be seen. Hallelujah to that!
One of their offerings that I can’t stop recommending to people is the Tinted Daywear Moisturiser, which is more than just mineral makeup, but a complete 3-in-1 moisturiser, zinc sunscreen and sheer cover for everyday high UV protection. Tinted Daywear has the full protective barrier with none of the 'covered up' opaque look a lot foundations can give, and is a right wonder for those that spend a lot of time outdoors.
Having said that, I’m super excited to hear that their UV Silk Shield Foundation Stick (pictured above) is set to touch down in New Zealand come April as I’ve read only great things about it. A natural finish foundation-meets-sunscreen, it’s a one-step, day-to-night makeup with their award-winning Invisible Zinc SPF30+ environmental protection built in. Available in three shades, it reportedly glides on in seconds (no liquids, powders or concealers) for all day, gym-proof, swim-proof, perfect-looking skin and is easily buildable depending on what kind of coverage you want or need.
Want it NOW.

Giveaway: three bottles of Waipara Hills Equinox wine

I’m a huge fan of a beautiful bottle of wine, and even better when it’s a homegrown variety. New Zealand has some seriously great vineyards, with Waipara Hills constantly rated up there with the best.
They have just released a limited edition selection of two absolute marvels called the Equinox range, which captures the special terroir of the region and is tellingly named after the Equinox winds that blow hot and dry across the plains.
The 2011 Waipara Hills Equinox Sauvignon Blanc is described as “offering class, intimacy and vibrancy, while still maintaining a fresh and crisp taste.” It has a slightly smoky oak note mixed with ripe peach and nectarine to create a wine that is essential drinking.
The other option is one of my favourite wine varieties, the 2010 Waipara Hills Equinox Pinot Noir. Ruby red in colour, it offers a balanced structure of firm acidity and French oak, “carrying delicious notes of dark cherry and a touch of char and dried spice” – even the description makes me swoon!
The Waipara Hills Equinox range is distributed in New Zealand by Hancocks (free phone 0800 699 463) and available from specialty wine outlets and online from March 2012 at
Luckily for you, I have three bottles of Waipara Hills Equinox to giveaway – valued at $29.90 each. Just email me at with your name, address and date of birth (you have to be over 18 to enter). Get to it!

Looking to the future: nail trends for 2012

Like your lips, your nails are one of the best places to have a little fun beauty-wise, without breaking the bank or getting stuck with anything permanent that will see you donning a burqa for the foreseeable future!
A great manicure or pedicure can also add that little extra polish to your overall look, and the route you go down can be an expression of your own personal style modus operandi.
Gel-hybrid polishes are the pick of the bunch for almost every woman I meet these days, in particular for pedicures where they go the distance like no other.
The best answer for summer, quality products like Artistic Color Gloss, OPI Axxium and Shellac won’t chip or get damaged by contact with sand, and retain a high shine that has to be seen to be believed. They have to be professionally applied and removed, but for a perfect polish that lasts up to two weeks I’m not complaining!
My personal favourite is Artistic Color Gloss, which is a soak off gel system created by Tom Bachik, one of the top manicurists in the world (Jennifer Lopez and Victoria Beckham are clients). It really is the ultimate long-lasting non-peeling, quick light-cured, chip-proof manicure that provides a super-shiny finish. It's fast as well as beautiful looking, and applies almost thinner than a normal nail polish. There is no obvious thickness like some other gel products on the market, and Color Gloss does not fade. Removal consists of soaking a pad in an acetone-based formula, applying to the nail plate and wrapping in tinfoil for ten minutes. As well as the great features I’ve just outlined above, what drew me to this product was the insane amount of shades on offer, with more arriving almost every week. Need that perfect mushroom-y beige or statement lilac? You’ll find it in the Color Gloss collection, guaranteed.
When I spoke to nail guru Petrina Martin from Magic Tan and Beauty about trends in the industry right now she told me “nail art and blush tones are what we’re really seeing increasing in popularity right now,” two styles of manicure that are most definitely at the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum. French is out falling out of favour, but the likes of stick-on Minx nails are becoming the easiest way to have a little fun.
I’ve had some great manicures in my time, but none that has elicited such a huge reaction from strangers as my first encounter with Minx. Within five minutes of leaving my appointment with a set freshly applied, I had not one but two women stop me in the street and saying, ”wow… I love your nails!” Admittedly the Minx nails I had chosen were pretty eye catching – the animal print Golden Lightning Cheetah, the top seller worldwide – but when having nail art applied I don’t see the point in doing subtle!
Popular with the likes of Rihanna and MIA, my cheetah-print nails were applied in less than 45 minutes, mainly because - despite its perfect finish – Minx is not nail polish at all. Instead, foil appliques are applied to each nail and sealed in by a heat lamp after a thorough prep of your nail bed and cuticles etc. They are then filed to fit your natural nail shape and length, which for me is a reasonably short “squoval” i.e. a squared off oval. Minx nails don’t chip and last for about a week and a half to two weeks, and when you’re ready to take them off you just heat them gently with a hair dryer until they are soft and floppy, then peel them off with zero damage to your nails. A hairdryer can also be used if they start to lift, fusing them back to your nail.
Minx is seriously a lot of fun, and if you’re going to have fun with your beauty look then playing with your nails is definitely a safe place to start. Hey, if it’s good enough for Gaga… then it’s definitely good enough for me.
*This article first appeared in the fabulous Ponsonby News... You can check it out here*

Daily delight: Daria for Maiyet Spring 2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Adele and the “new” beauty at the 2012 Grammys

Moving from the realm of star to phenomenon with a clean sweep at the recent Grammy Awards, British singer Adele was also the night’s big winner on the red carpet with a beauty look that wowed like no other.
A study in retro glamour with a softness that was flattering as well as totally now, it was declared the best hair and makeup look of the night by E’s often fickle Fashion Police, and also lit up the Twitterverse, with fans and industry insiders alike praising the work of London-based artist Michael Ashton.
"When it comes to creating Adele’s red carpet looks, I like to take references from classic styling, films and iconic images then reinterpret them with a totally modern twist,” says Ashton. “This gives an end look that is polished and totally current, but also softly elegant and timeless."
Skin was left porcelain and flawless, whilst a softly groomed brow helped amplify a carefully lined eye and pumped up lash look. A demi-matte, true red lip was the finishing touch, adding polish and working with the singer’s shorter, golden-hued hair.

I asked the always-charming Michael for a rundown on how to recreate that makeup, and he gave me a few tips:
* First, prep and prime to perfection! The secret to creating picture perfect skin is massaging foundation into the face and buffing camouflage where needed for extra coverage. Add a sheer veil of Eye Brightener near the inner tear ducts through the t-zone and high planes of the face.
* Brows are always so important to complete any make up look, use a clear brow set to groom the shape and then fill and extend with an eyebrow pencil.
* Eye shadow is kept to a minimum for this look, with just a subtle highlighter on the brow bone, followed by gentle contouring through the socket
* The real hero of this look is the liner and lashes! Using Gel Liner in black, start on the inner corner of the eye and increase the width of liner as you extend towards the outer corner finishing with a flirty flick.
* To give the eyes a polished yet understated feel, place lashes along the entire upper lashline before building up lash density with mascara top and bottom
* To finish the look, a perfect pout is a must! Start by filling in the lip working from the middle of the mouth and creating the desired shaped using a lip brush. Blot off the excess before tidying edges using lipliner and reapplying another slick of lippy.

Some of his fave products to whip up a look similar to the above are: Lucas Paw Paw Balm,
Decleor Skin Care & Oils,
Estee Lauder Double Wear Light Foundation,
M.A.C Lustre Drops, 
NARS Orgasm Blush, 
Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder,
 Revlon Lip Butter in Creme Brulee and TopShop Lipliner.
Now what are you waiting for? Get to it!

I try: Blackmores NutriMulti + Whole Food Nutrients

If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere like me then chances are you’re feeling the gradual drop in temperature that comes with Autumn and – I hate to say it – soon Winter. It’s the time to be boosting your immunity wherever you can, which in an ideal world would mean eating the perfect balance of organic fruit and vegetables with every meal and keeping away from the likes of coffee and wine. Yeah, right! With our busy lives it can be all too easy to forget to eat well, and a healthy balanced diet can be difficult to maintain.
Whole food nutrients, which are found in a wide array of fruit and vegetables, provide a fantastic source of essential vitamins and minerals that can support your bod’s own ability to regenerate. Nutrient levels can be easily affected by the likes of eating processed foods, illness and stress, use of medications, life stage, fad diets, lack of safe sun exposure and alcohol consumption – all of which many of us are guilty of, I’m sure.
With all of that in mind, a supplement is a great way to boost your immunity – but it’s a matter of choosing the right one. A very cool new release from Blackmores is their NutriMulti + Whole Food Nutrients, which is a nifty-looking dual layer tablet combining essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in one layer with an enriching boost of wholefood nutrients in the other layer for more complete nutritional support.
The ingredients in the whole food nutrients layer are packed full of many good things that aren’t often found in a typical diet like:
White Tea Leaves – a rich source of antioxidants which have free radical scavenging properties. White Tea is thought to have a higher proportion of antioxidants as it is less processed than other teas.
Reishi Mushroom – This has been used in China for thousands of years and supports the body’s response to allergens. It is also high in phytonutrients, including polysaccharides.
Wheat Grass – A ‘green food’ source of chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you to give this little baby a bash, it’s a once-a-day formula, so you won’t be carting around a jar in your handbag or setting alarms on your phone to remember to take it! Magic.

Daily delight: Crystal Renn for Numéro China

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beauty lowdown: Chanel 12/13 A/W RTW

Each season I go mad for the new Chanel collection as it’s unveiled, and often even madder for the beauty look that’s been created to go with it!
I love hearing about the inspiration behind it from Creative Director of Chanel Makeup, Peter Philips as well, so when I got the lowdown on the recent Chanel 2012-13 Autumn-Winter RTW show I couldn’t wait to share.
“The inspiration for the makeup look came from a few key words and a sketch that Karl Lagerfeld provided,” he explained, “minerals, shading and eyebrows were the key words and the sketch showed a face with stone-lined eyebrows.”
The focus is on the eyebrows, which led him to interpret Karl's drawing and the "mineral" emphasis by creating straight, graphic eyebrows. He worked with the Maison Lesage to create incredible sets of embroidered eyebrows, with each eyebrow consisting of an anthracite gray sequin and pearl base, embroidered with several sorts and shades of mineral stones and crystals.
For the makeup in general, he says that he wanted a matte finished skin and used Chanel Mat Lumière foundation to bring this to fruition. The shading and sculpting of the face was achieved with Ombre Contraste, a compact created especially for this show. The compact powder is a lavender/taupe coloured shade called ‘Notorious’ that “I applied to the eyelids and then straight down on the side of the face, in a contouring style. The rest of the face I kept nude, so as to keep the focus on the eyebrows.” Even for the lips he just opted for Rouge Coco Baume for a perfectly neutrality.
For the nails he chose a brand new shade of Le Vernis called ‘Frenzy’ (2012 Autumn Collection), which is totally colour coordinated with ‘Notorious’ and is absolutely to die for. The queues for this little pearler will be huge, guaranteed!

* all photos are by Vincent Lappartient*

Daily delight: Dakota Fanning for Elle UK

Monday, March 12, 2012

Love: Antipodes Juliet Skin Brightening Gel Cleanser

Call me kooky, but one of my favourite parts of any facial is the cleansing process, which I could happily lie and have done to me all day! I’m incredibly fussy when it comes to cleansers for home use as well, and really like to take my time giving my skin a good massage and then compressing and wiping with a fresh muslin cloth.
With all of the above in mind, it takes a lot for a cleanser to really impress me, but one I’ve just started using really has! It’s the work of New Zealand skincare company Antipodes, and is known as Juliet Skin Brightening Gel Cleanser.
The lovely Juliet is a high performance gel cleanser that is perfect for both normal and oily skin conditions. She helps balance oil production, deep cleanse and exfoliate congested skin, as well as helping with the healing of skin blemishes. Not only does Juliet smell incredible, but she also works pretty damn hard - containing scientifically validated Vinanza Grape, which is packed with antioxidants to help you achieve a light, bright and healthy complexion. Vinanza Performance Plus grapeseeds contain up to double the levels of polyphonic antioxidant compounds compared to grapeseeds grown anywhere else in the world, whilst another ingredient, Vinanza Kiwi is an antioxidant rich extract from kiwifruit grown in New Zealand. Kiwifruit are packed full of healthy nutrients, particularly the skins that have high levels of antioxidants to protect them from oxidative stress. Vinanza Kiwi Extract is extracted from the skins of kiwifruit and helps gently exfoliate the skin.
To use, just gently wet the skin of your face and neck with warm and pure water, and then massage the gel into your face and neck in upward strokes while giving extra care to spots and blemishes. Rinse off with a soft cloth or muslin and more water. Just bliss!
Now I’m obsessing about trying Antipodes’ Grapeseed Butter Cleanser, which is apparently perfect for sensitive skin like mine. If you haven’t discovered this brand yet then I definitely recommend that you do – it’s truly beautiful stuff.

Daily delight: Karmen & Kate for Chloe Spring 12

Friday, March 9, 2012

How to: Manish Arora F/W 2012's beautiful hair look

Manish Arora’s 2012-2013 Fall-Winter collection was shown during Paris Fashion Week at Cité de la Mode et du Design, and is already hailed as one of the highlights of the week.
Equally as applauded was the hair look created by Seb Bascle, who teamed a softly beautiful style coupled with a twisted headpiece. “Manish showed me a photo of Audrey Hepburn wearing a feather helmet,” he explained after the show, “we started from that idea, and I looked at how I could streamline it. Then when I got the helmet, it looked way too heavy and imposing. So I took it apart and then glued back on the little leather feathers one by one, making a headpiece that goes on the back of the head.” The inspiration is retro-goes-contemporary, thanks to angel hair floating around the head like an ever so soft extension of the feathers. Ravishing is the only word. The choice of hair product is paramount, because the lengths need to provide stable support for the headpiece without being too rigid either. Manish’s taste for beauty is insatiable, and Seb has been working with him for six seasons now. “It’s such a pleasure working with him,” he told the press, “I really admire his work and I admire what he has achieved.”
Now for how to get the look known as The Hepburn headpiece /retro twist using products by the always-innovative L’Oréal Professionnel:
1. Texturize using Infinium Lumiere. Applied to the roots using the veil technique – you work each layer of hair, one after the other – the laque gives greater adherence.
2. Set with Fix Design “I use it a lot because it sets perfectly and matifies the lengths when you dry it. It keeps the hair in place, and you can still brush it,” says Seb Bascle.
3. Matify using Super Dust Dust some into your hand then apply it to the surface of the styled hair starting at the nape and ending at the tie. Brush slowly and heat in the dryer.

To help you recreate this look at home I have a set of L’Oréal Professionnel Infinium Lumiere, L’Oréal Professionnel fix design and L’Oréal Professionnel super dust to giveaway valued at $89.00. To enter email me at so you can start getting creative ASAP!

Daily delight: Filippa Hamilton for Elle Spain

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Love it: Chanel Hydra Beauty’s two new sources of pleasure

When Chanel launched their Hydra Beauty Serum in 2011, luxury skincare fans all over the globe went absolutely mad for its super hydrating, beautiful to use properties. And with good reason!
Now they can take their love affair that one step further with the introduction of two skincare formulas from the much-loved beauty brand that aim to “dress your skin every day, meet every need and suit very season,” whilst working in harmony with Hydra Beauty Serum.
These two little marvels are Hydra Beauty Crème and Hydra Beauty Gel-Crème, which moisturize, protect against damage and pollution, as well as beautify skin every day thanks to the very best of science and nature. To create these new skincare formulas, the white coats at Chanel turned to one of the most beautiful sources of inspiration: the camellia. They also pulled out a trump card: blue ginger from Madagascar. The camellia was Coco Chanel’s favourite flower, and as well as being symbol of elegance and perseverance, it helps skin to replenish and retain moisture. Chanel Research took a closer look at the camellia and its soft, velvety petals – so tender yet so firm, resistant to the environment – and unlocked its secret. Add to that blue ginger from Madagascar, which acts as a sentinel and helps skin to protect its hydration against damage cause by multiple external and internal stresses.
And, of course, there is the signature Chanel scent to lure you in: a delicate, ultra-feminine, soothing scent, with vibrant, sparkling fruity notes (white peach, watermelon) that heighten the floral heart (jasmine, peony, cyclamen) and the caress of woody, powdery white musk. Just delicious!
The crème is idea for normal and dry skin, which has a smooth, rich texture. Enriched with shea butter and a canola derivative, it visibly smoothes and plumps skin, for daylong comfort and strength.
The gel-crème is a little lighter, and specially formulated for normal skin with its beautiful sorbet-like texture. It gives a matte, velvety finish, so that makeup can be applied immediately after use.
For the very best results, Chanel say to apply your chosen formula of the two morning and evening after the serum, as they have been developed to work together in synergy.

Daily delight: Charlotte Casiraghi for Gucci

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Health and beauty destination: Chintamani Bali Retreat & Spa

I’ve made a point of making my way to a spa and/or wellness retreat on a regular basis if I can over the past ten years, and have been lucky enough to experience the likes of Thailand’s Chiva Som, the Evason Hideaway at Zighy Bay in Oman and Queensland’s Gwinganna, amongst other beautiful properties.
One I’ve just heard about that is absolutely up there on my wish list is Chintamani Bali Retreat & Spa, which has a focus on wellbeing but is also extremely low-pressure if reports are to be believed – my idea of heaven!
Opening in April, Chintamani is set on a hectare of landscaped hillside gardens, alongside the Laing River Valley on the west coast of Bali, 30 minutes from Ubud and 45 minutes from Seminyak. Set amidst sprawling tropical gardens, lush paddy fields and lotus ponds, it even has its own purpose built yoga centre, a 20x8 metre swimming pool and a smaller pool set in a private courtyard alongside an authentic Balinese Rice Barn. It's the brainchild of ex-barrister Wendy Matthews, whose vision was to combine the pleasures of a luxury resort with a carefully planned wellbeing program. There are only six bales - or villas - catering to a maximum 12 women, and the all-inclusive, week-long packages offer daily scheduled activities like yoga, meditation and spa treatments, but guests set their own agenda and there’s always time for a trip round the shops or a gin by the pool! Self improvement, perfecting the art of doing nothing or a clever combination of the two - the choice is all yours.
Sound as good to you as it does to me? Check out the website here, start dreaming and maybe I’ll see you there!