Friday, June 29, 2012

In love with: Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay


It was with great excitement that I greeted the news that Jo Malone had unveiled the latest scent in their permanent collection, and even more so when I was invited to the New Zealand launch event one sunny winter morning.
Called Blackberry & Bay, it is due to be released in September 2012 and is quite the beauty. The company lists the notes as grapefruit, blackcurrant bud, galbanum, lily of the valley, jasmine, vetiver and cedarwood, and the perfume has been described as inspired by 'childhood memories of blackberry picking...stained lips, sticky palms.' How evocative is that?
The perfumer in charge of creating the brand new scent was Fabrice Pellegrin from Firmenich, who has also created fragrances for Diptyque and Hermes. Pellegrin said he used Bucco Tree Essence, a shrub that is used in herbal remedies that imparts a blackcurrant/ green note to fragrances, to craft the fresh, vital scent. "The tree grows wild in parts of France. It's a very green, raw, vegetal, acidic and astringent ingredient," says the perfumer. "It has a very strong olfactive impact, so you have to use it in really small amounts."
Pellegrin was reportedly travelled to Oxfordshire to experience blackberry picking in a scenic English setting, and told the press that he decided “I didn't want to have something sweet, I wanted to make something petillant and natural, like a moment of happiness.”
I’ve been wearing the cologne ever since a bottle landed in my hot little hands and have totally fallen in love with its freshness and individuality. Jo Malone perfumes are designed to be layered - in this case the recommendation is to layer with Lime, Basil & Mandarin or Nectarine Blossom & Honey – but I haven’t tried that just yet. One day I’ll get there!
After doing a little research I also fell in love with an initiative that the company has rolled out in the UK that sounds absolutely amazing. As so many Jo Malone perfumes are inspired by flowers and gardens, it is partnering with the UK gardening charity 'Thrive', which helps those who are disadvantaged or with disabilities, to maintain a garden in London. 'The Old English Garden' is a restoration project in London's Battersea Park that will open on July 5th, lead by the award winning, critically acclaimed young gardener, Sarah Price. How wonderful is that?
Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay will be available come September as 100ml and 30ml Cologne, Body & Hand Wash, Body Crème and Candle.

Daily delight: the mighty Gisele for Vogue Brasil


Thursday, June 28, 2012

I try: dermalogica's new SkinPerfect Primer SPF30


Last week I was a guest at a perfectly formed beauty event at one of my favourite restaurants, Sunday Painters. The food was – naturally – incredible, the coffee good and strong and the product – dermalogica’s SkinPerfect Primer SPF30 – really rather impressive.
A true multi-tasking/does it all little number, it mixes up the latest professional skincare technology to smooth, protect and condition skin while correcting surface irregularities and helping skin glow. Think great looking skin that’s also having the good fight against ageing fought from deep within.
Worn alone or as a foundation prep, SkinPerfect Primer SPF30 delivers both skin health and cosmetic benefits either as a post-moisturiser or pre-foundation treatment. It helps even out the texture of the skin, as well as delivering critical – and essential - SPF protection against UV light.
Natural earth minerals are in there to blend away any discoloration and keep things luminous, while polymers prime the surface with a soft, matte effect that feels like velvet and helps makeup glide on effortlessly – and stay on! Silica fills in fine lines, absorbs excess oil, and helps the product cling to the skin, while pearl powder and soy protein help even out skin tone and stimulate cell renewal to ensure a smoother, perfectly prepped ‘canvas’ ready for make-up application or whatever the day throws at you.
But back to the aforementioned anti-ageing bit. This comes in the form of a potent mix of antioxidant White Tea, peptides and Sodium Hyaluronate to protect the skin from further damage while stimulating collagen replenishment and helping to hydrate. The peptides firm and protect, fight glycation, inhibit MMPs and boost collagen production, whilst the Hyaluronic Acid hydrates and smoothes for seriously touchable skin. The cosmeceutical benefits are huge with this product as it protects our skin from internal and external aggressors that cause ageing. Love that.
It is also able to be used by most sensitive skins as dermalogica have used a physical sunscreen in it that is usually well tolerated by sensitive types, plus the soothing polyphenols from White Tea will be amazing for sensitive skin. The extra hydration from the Hyaluronic acid will also help out if dryness is rearing its ugly head – a real problem at this time of year.
I use just a pea-sized amount of this little beauty all over my face and can seriously go without foundation – it makes my skin look that good. If you’re looking for a serious primer that aims to do it all then I recommend you give it a whirl too – it’s instore from September 2012 for RRP $98.00 so get saving! 

Giveaway: all too delicious Cloudy Bay 2010 Pinot Noir


Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a rather fabulous “double lunch”, which took place at the Foodtsore and Botswana Butchery – two rather stellar eating houses that I simply don’t get to enough!
The occasion was the official announcement of the Cloudy Bay Pinot & Duck trail, which is one hell of a wine and food match if ever I heard one. Official duck hunting season runs until the end of July, but for those who prefer the hospitable surroundings of a restaurant and a glass of Pinot Noir with their duck, the Cloudy Bay Pinot & Duck trail offers New Zealanders the ultimate culinary Pinot Noir and Duck experience. And I can vouch for the fact that it truly is an “experience”, one that was off the Richter on the taste scale for one!
Eleven of the country’s best restaurants will be creating a food and wine match made in heaven, serving signature duck dishes paired with a glass of the Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir for diners to enjoy from this Sunday 1st of July until the 31st.
To celebrate, I have two delicious bottles of the 2010 Vintage Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir to give away, which boasts layers of dark berries and cherry, cinnamon, fresh herbs, bramble fruit and cranberry, balanced with notes of fresh mushroom, white pepper and savoury spice. In a word: delicious.
To go in the draw email helene@mshelene.com with you name, date of birth (you have to be over 18 to enter) and courier address. Get in there – and good luck!

Daily delight: Erin Wasson for S Moda


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

News: geoskincare helping your skin - and kiwis in need


I recently heard about an amazing charitable initiative from the organic skincare brand geoskincare that I just had to share. For every product sold during July and August the New Zealand-based company will give $1.00 to The Salvation Army food bank, who are most definitely a group in need all year round.
As well as providing individuals and families with food parcels and immediate support, The Salvation Army assists with long-term services for those in need including budgeting advice, counselling, life skills coaching, social work, transitional housing programmes, and practical needs-based services. Pretty damn worthy in my opinion, and it seems that geoskincare  are in agreement too!
I didn’t know much about geoskincare, but I’m glad I do now. Made from pure extracts, essential oils and natural minerals found only in New Zealand’s geothermal regions, their collection of products is pretty damn gorgeous, and active to boot.
Their Daily Cleansing Cream is perfect for winter when the skin needs additional hydration, with organic avocado oil and geothermal silica included in the formula to leave the skin calm, refreshed and completely clean. I also love the idea of their Hydra Gel - a triple-action hydrating serum enriched with organic aloe vera to restore skin, and organic oils and extracts provide antioxidants to help reduce the signs of aging. And come tonight I’m most definitely going to slap on a face full of their Avocado and Grapeseed Masque, which they tell me is the perfect pick-me-up for dehydrated winter skin. With its rich formulation of organic oils and organic cocoa butter, the creamy non–setting masque is apparently almost good enough to eat!
For a list of stockists visit www.geoskincare.com - do some good for your skin and families in need!

I try: M.A.C Volcanic Ash Exfoliator


I’d heard about M.A.C’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator when it was first released as part of the Style Black collection, which included two pieces of limited edition skincare in the form of the former and the much-loved Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask. It was first launched back in 2008 though, and has just made another comeback as part of the Heavenly Creature line.
The re-released Volcanic Ash Exfoliator is slightly different than the original in a few key ways, though the product still feels, smells, and does the same as the original version did.  This release of Volcanic Ash Exfoliator uses both sugar (sucrose, specifically) and silica for exfoliating, whereas the original release only used sugar. It’s also now in a tube rather than in a tub, which makes for less mess and more portability by far.
As an exfoliator it’s fairly gentle, which I love. It can easily be used once or twice a week even on more sensitive skins, and has an earthy, ashy smell that I don’t mind at all and is just kind of the scent I’d expect from it. It leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth, and even lends a bit of a glow – bonus! 
And as an extra tip: it’s gentle enough to be used on lips in my opinion, which is perfect when it’s cold and you’ve got a deep dark red to slick on! If you haven’t tried this gem from M.A.C then I highly suggest that you do – it’s on counter from July 16 for six weeks.

Daily delight: Kate Moss for Harpers Bazaar Australia


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I try: a Hazy Shade of Winter at Stephen Marr


After a truly insane week last week – think a poor sick three year old, five deadlines and a husband out of town – I was beyond happy when the weekend rolled around, and kicked it off in the most perfect way possible.
That was by spending some time in the chair at the Ponsonby branch of Stephen Marr salon, submitting to the always-incredible hands of stylist Ivan who was administering their latest seasonal treatment – Hazy Shade of Winter.
Winter is tough on hair. From the dry heat of air conditioning to rough winter winds, it’s hard to keep your hair glossy, manageable and healthy and it’s often crying out for some dedicated TLC. The very clever Lucy Marr and her team have come to our rescue however, and created a winter hair package that will leave your locks sleek, shiny and gorgeous, whatever the weather.
The idea is to heal, restore, nourish and rejuvenate, and the treatment is a winter gloss infusion that goes above and beyond the call of duty to deliver serious hair love and relaxation.
It costs just $47 (value $80) and can be added on to any service, and begins with a concentrated smoothie shot of nutrient rich Greens & More, a powerful internal cleanser and deodoriser. Next up comes my favourite part (I could seriously have had this done to me all day) in the form of a relaxing, Japanese inspired dry brushing to stimulate circulation and cell nourishment. This is followed by a gentle, exfoliating hair and scalp vitamin infusion and then to finish off? A cocktail of intensely rich phyto (plant) lipids to quench and rejuvenate, accompanied by a deep scalp massage. In-credible!
I followed mine up with a blow wave and have hair that has to be stroked to be believed – think shiny, bouncy and healthy, and feeling amazing.
I strongly suggest you run screaming for one of your own by calling the salon ASAP on:
Ponsonby 9 360 0588
Newmarket 9 524 6702
Takapuna 9 488 0585

I try: GO Anti Wrinkle Collagen Support


I’ve always believed that you most definitely are what you eat, but that sometimes we need a little extra help in that department when we aren’t giving ourselves quite enough love. I try and moderate my alcohol intake, keep up the green juices and stay as clean and lean as possible, but sometimes an extra pinot noir and one too many coffees creeps in there, and a few healthy meals slip out.
One of the first places to show deficiencies in your bod is your skin, and as we get older that becomes all the more pronounced. I love discovering new supplements that are targeting the skin directly too, and the latest I’ve found is GO Anti Wrinkle Collagen Support.
Containing the clinically studied Collactive natural Marine Collagen, it’s a one-three a day capsule that helps support younger looking skin from the inside out.  In a clinical study of 44 women aged over 40 years of age, results showed a significant decrease of 19 per cent in the appearance of deep wrinkles for 71 per cent of subjects after just 28 days. That’s pretty impressive huh? It’s also ridiculously easy to take and easily digestible due to being in the form of a VegeCap, which provides optimum absorption of the ingredients included.
A tip from the creators is to take GO Anti-Wrinkle Collagen Support before bedtime. The emptier your stomach the better as in the first 45-90 minutes of sleep your body goes into alpha sleep mode which is the perfect time for your body to use the collagen to its optimum level. Too easy!
GO also have a great high-potency internal supplement that is packed with a specific blend of high strength ingredients designed to support healthy hair, skin and nails, which I highly recommend too. It’s called Hair Skin Nails Beauty Support – it’s all about calling a spade a spade here! – and includes high potency Silica, Horsetail and Biotin along with power-packed collagen. Good stuff.
To locate your nearest stockist visit www.gohealthy.nz.co.nz.

Daily delight: Ashley Smith for Elle France


Monday, June 25, 2012

Beauty destination: Rotorua, our own luxury spa heaven


I’ve been wanting to get down to Rotorua for some time now, it seems like the perfect place to spend a few cold, crisp, super sunny winter days, and is blissfully just a few hours’ drive from where I live.
As well as being a destination on every tourist’s “must see” list for what seems like an eternity, the rather special town is home to some of New Zealand’s best spas. The exceptional spa offerings in the vicinity have been officially acknowledged of late too, winning international acclaim at this year’s World Luxury Spa Awards, confirming the city’s reputation as the number one spa destination in the South Pacific.
Rotorua’s geothermal water and mineral-enriched mud have been revered for more than a century and the city offers all manner of delicious spa opportunities – from a simple soak in bush-lined thermal streams through to luxuriously-appointed spa complexes. Traditional Maori massage and indigenous herbs play a special role in local spa culture too, which sounds like just the ticket for a beauty journo like me.
The Wai Ora Day Spa, located on the shores of Lake Rotorua, was named the New Zealand winner across three categories of the 2012 World Luxury Spa Awards and was a finalist in the two remaining categories. Wai Ora means ‘healing waters’ and the surrounding geothermal resources and mud have been used for more than 700 years. The spa has developed a unique ‘New Zealand Cultural Spa Regime’ based on the healing traditions and techniques of Maori. Three very different but equally as special experiences are on offer, including one based on the sulphurous waters and geothermal mud found at Hells Gate - where the spa culture of New Zealand first began – and one on Mokoia Island amid clear natural soda mineral hot springs. Amazing!
Rotorua’s iconic Polynesian Spa also achieved high praise, and was named among the world’s top 10 thermal, medical and natural spas six times in the past decade by Condé Nast Traveller magazine’s European readers – the only spa outside of Europe to achieve such accolades. The old baths of the mid 1900’s have been transformed into the internationally renowned spa that it is today and all reports point to a beautiful experience all round.
I’ve just heard word that the super luxe and really rather fabulous Treetops Lodge & Estate is also set to open a spa onsite, which is music to my ears. It’s one of the country’s most beautiful destinations and I’m guessing that their take on a spa will be a winner on all fronts.
Now, to get planning for long weekend… ASAP.

What a steal: Longwearing, perfect Maybelline colour


Last week I received a very exciting swag bag of new Maybelline New York goodies, which I’ve been gradually cracking into ever since. I’ve already fallen head over heels for two of the products in there; with many more still to come I’m guessing. The brand is the master of the beauty steal, and the first two I’d like to talk about are definitely up there with the best of the bunch and available from late-July.
The first is a new logwearing lip option in the form of Super Stay 14 Hour Lipstick.
It’s the product of choice if you like the look and ease of longwearing lipcolour but feel suffocated by the heavy, caked-on feel of many of those out there in the market place, and is totally – I mean really – weightless. There is no dragging, no drying, and it really did stay put for 14 full hours, staying fresh, light and oh so comfortable.
It’s also available in 12 shades – I love the look of NeverEnding Nude, which will be my next purchase – so there is definitely one in there for everyone.
The next new discovery is Maybelline EyeStudio Color Tattoo 24HR Cream Gel Eyeshadows, of which there are 10 beautiful shades. Five of them are pretty neutral essential shades; while the other five are high-impact fashion pops of colour (see one sported by Ms. Wasson, above). The formula is like a hybrid of Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams and MAC Paint Pots - but at a fraction of the cost (as in $13.99!).
Maybelline promises us that they’re longwearing, and I most definitely agree. They are great quality with serious pigment payoff, and can be applied with a fingertip or a small, flat synthetic brush. I’ve even played with my sample as a liner by applying it with a slightly stiff angled liner brush, and as a primer for powdered shadows. Love them, want more!

Daily delight: Natalia Vodianova for GQ Russia


Friday, June 22, 2012

What a steal: Max Factor Liquid Eye Effect Pencil Liner


In the past few weeks I’ve seen some serious eyeliners hitting the market from some of the biggest premium makeup brands, many of which have an emphasis on high pigment and killer staying power.
It’s a clear reaction to both consumer demand (the latter) and the return of colourful and dramatic eyes as indicated by the bold and playful looks that were everywhere on the international catwalks (the former). It’s a chance to have a lot of fun with your eye makeup too, and to take the high colour trend throughout the day and into the wee hours.
If you are watching your pennies, the lovely and thoughtful people at Max Factor have launched its brand new Liquid Eye Effect Pencil Liner in the brilliant shades of Lilac, Purple, Silver, Brown and Black.
A totally modern tool, this eye liner incorporates the easy application of an eye pencil and the smooth and lasting effects of a liquid eye liner. The highly pigmented water-proof formula practically melts onto your lash line (LOVE that) and allows you to play with a number of eye looks, from subtle lash lines to dramatic jewel-toned smoky eyes. The sponge top allows for easy sculpting and smudging into the lash line, and for an added boost use it with a complementary
Max Factor Smokey Eye Effect Eyeshadow. Gorgeous!
Max Factor Liquid Eye Effect Pencil Eye Liner is out now in the following shades:
• Black Fire
• Brown Blaze
• Silver Spark
• Violet Voltage
• Lilac Flame
And yep, it’s a steal at just RRP $24.00.

Daily delight: Anna Hathaway for Allure



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Love it: Pure Fiji’s new Facial Exfoliating Scrub


A few weeks’ back I had a bit of a rave about Pure Fiji’s first ever skincare range landing on my desk, smelling exquisite and working like a charm. Since then another treat has been added to the collection in the form of a rather delicious – and unique – scrub.
Called – naturally - Pure Fiji Facial Exfoliating Scrub, it works using enzymes as well as manually, and smells like pure tropical heaven. It has as key ingredients delicate papaya and pineapple fruit enzymes, both of which are very gentle yet incredibly effective at removing dead skin cells and impurities, all the while brightening skin tone and promoting an even complexion. Add to that tiny silicon micro-granules to ensure your skin is gently polished and a bespoke blend of exotic drift nut oils to keep skin hydrated, protected and feeling beautiful and you have a very potent mix.
It also includes a natural sebum regulator to control excess shine and break outs, making it an incredibly effective treatment for problem prone skin too.
Sound like a bit of you? To find your nearest stockist visit Pure Fiji’s website www.purefiji.com now.

Daily delight: Natalia Vodianova for Elle France


I try: new C Coconut Water


I’ve been a huge fan of drinking coconut water on a regular basis after discovering it in Vanuatu a few years ago. Admittedly over there it was a matter of just cracking open a fresh, young coconut on the spot, but many of the tetrapak-ed versions that have flooded onto the market since then have been almost as yum. AND good for you.
For those of you that have been living under a rock for the past couple of years; coconut water is the fluid that’s found in the cavity of the coconut when you crack it open – and one of the healthy and beauty industries’ biggest buzzes of late. It contains no fat and is very low in calories - about 50 calories for just one cup, most of them from natural sugars. In addition to water and sugar, coconut water also contains some minerals such as potassium and magnesium. In fact, as many a website will all tell you; coconut water has more potassium than a banana! This makes it a great choice for glugging post-exercise or when you have a hangover or tummy bug as it replaces a lot of what you have lost.
The latest brand to cross my desk is called C Coconut Water, which is 100 per cent organic and one of the best I’ve tasted yet. Supping on a pack regularly will fuel your body, help boost your immune system and act as just a general pick-me-up when you need it, and is a far healthier choice than a sports of energy drink for obvious reasons.
C is the brainchild of Sydney, Australia-based entrepreneurs Adam Abrams and Julian Tobias, along with beverage manufacturing and distribution specialist Zac Jex. The boys spent the last two years travelling the globe to source the best coconut water they could find, deciding that Mexican and Indian coconuts were a little too salty whilst their Thai cousins were a little too sweet, eventually finding the perfect organic one on a remote island on the Western Rim of the Pacific Ocean. Phew! It’s reportedly the clearest, fat-free version out there, and has no colouring, preservatives or additives, which gets a big thumbs up from me. The company is also carbon neutral and supports the local island community where they grow and harvest their coconuts, making it a good ethical choice as well as a rather yum one!
C is available from selected retailers right now and online at www.ccoconutwater.com. Get in there!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Love it: The Jojoba Company 100% natural makeup remover


I became a huge fan of The Jojoba Company when I first tried their hero product – 100% natural Jojoba Oil. I’ve since gone through about a bajillion (*real word*) bottles of the stuff, and always have one on hand to tend to everything from dry cuticles to mozzie bites and my son’s eczema. To say that we can’t live without it would be an understatement.
For those still unfamiliar with it, Jojoba Oil nourishes and moisturises skin like no other substance on earth. It is renowned as nature’s very own wrinkle fighter, is a natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, hypoallergenic analgesic and contains very powerful antioxidants, fatty acids and vitamins A, D and E. To put it mildly: you need it in your life.
I also love cleansing my face with oils, so was very excited when two of my passions came together in the form of The Jojoba Company 100% natural makeup remover, a right little godsend come the cooler months. The 100%
natural makeup remover is an all-natural formula that gently dissolves all traces of makeup - including stubborn waterproof numbers – and feels like absolute heaven on the skin.
It is enriched with a nourishing blend of natural fruit oils – kiwi seed oil, passionfruit, blood orange, musk melon, cranberry and pink grapefruit – plus the vitamin E and anti-oxidant rich properties of jojoba oil. The end result is a formula that is as potent as it is luxurious to use, leaving skin seriously hydrated.

Daily delight Laetitia Casta for Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme


Monday, June 18, 2012

All about: the seriously unique and amazing Kinski


It’s scary how many “generic” smelling women’s fragrances there are out there in the marketplace, with their creators latching onto a single buzz ingredient that – like fashion – has become a trend. I’m someone that likes to smell a little different when I spray on a pick from my “fragrance wardrobe” every day, and love hunting out new and unique scents that I can make my own.
The same goes for a lot of men out there, many of whom appreciate being a little ahead – or to the left of – the pack. It’s lucky then that there are a number of beautiful, individual releases out there for them to fight over, including the rather enigmatic Kinski.
Available now at The Department Store, Kinski has been described by Liam – resident sartorial adviser in The Men's Dept smelling like “what it must be like to be rich", a description that I think is seriously spot on.
Created in collaboration with the creative team behind the Escentric Molecules range of fragrances, it’s an homage to legendary German actor Klaus Kinski (1926 - 1991), who was best known for his collaborations with director Werner Herzog, including the classics Aguirre, Wrath of God, Nosferatu the Vampyre and Fitzcarraldo, a trilogy which pushed performance to the brink of all-consuming madness.
In real life, Kinski was equally electrifying. According to Peter Geyer, head of Kinski Productions, which manages the actor’s legacy, his name came to stand for “leadership in extravagantly non-conformist thought,” a polite way of describing a bloke whose hell-raising and general air of danger scandalised even his most free-thinking contemporaries.
Geyer wanted to create a fragrance honouring the great man to mark the 20th anniversary of Kinski’s death, so he sought out Berlin-based perfumer Geza Schoen of Escentric Molecules fame.
The end result has been described by Schoen as “a richly decadent, textured scent with heady top notes including cassis, juniper and castoreum; a heart with oceanic notes inspired by Kinski’s love of the sea; and a base of animalic and woody notes that reflect his own almost feral sensuality”. Whoa!
“The ingredients list for Kinski comes into its own when you look at his lifestyle,” says Schoen. “It was excessive, exuberant, debauched. So I instantly thought of something animalic, dirty…yet with me, there is always something clean too. It perfectly fits with this ambivalent thing that Kinski had. It’s an old cliché that there is a fine line between genius and madness. In Kinski’s case, it was a knife edge…”
Schoen worked with Jeff Lounds and Me Company on the Escentric family, a collection of products that look as good as they smell. Kinski is no exception. The end result is an expressionistic rendering of the actor’s face on the bottle, splintered and filtered through the decadent 70s, the decade when Kinski’s life and art combined to create the cult-ish magic that still grips audiences today.
I seriously love this dedication to creating a fragrance that is truly original … and hey, if I wanted to share a bottle of wine with a man I’d much prefer that he smelled like Klaus Kinski than Justin Bieber!

Daily delight: Kendra Spears in Prada for Vogue Germany


Friday, June 15, 2012

Love: NIVEA and NIVEA FOR MEN Sensitive Protect Deodorant range


I read an article last week in an international fashion and beauty mag about the latest area of “concern” for masses of women – the armpits! It detailed a number of spa treatments and cosmetic enhancements being performed around the UK and Europe on numerous pits, and the huge amount of money some women will spend to keep them looking good.
At the time I thought the whole thing completely insane – not to mention wildly high maintenance – but since then I’ve talked to more than a few women that do stress out about that area of their body, as well as having some seriously sensitivity there.
Not long after I was invited to a lunch to celebrate the release of Nivea’s new Sensitive Protect Deodorant range, which offers a super gentle yet effective formula specifically designed for sensitive skin sufferers. Nivea have been in the business of creating mild and effective deodorants for about 20 years now, so they most definitely know what they are doing!
The new range, available for both women and men, is free from alcohol, colourants and preservatives – common causes of skin irritations in the underarm area - so now you can kiss uncomfortable burning, rashes and irritations goodbye while being safe in the knowledge that you have  48-hour anti-perspirant protection.
The formulas in the range also contain rich and nutritious avocado oil – an ingredient NIVEA has used since launching its first deodorant in 1991. The oil, rich in unsaturated fatty acids, not only helps improve hydration but makes underarm skin feel smoother and silkier. There is also chamomile extract - well-known for its anti-inflammatory, calming and healing properties – and the new range features two female and two male deodorants in aerosol or roll-on with zero fragrance. 
So if you’ve got sensitive pits or just want to care for them a little better, then I highly recommend that you check these beauties out.

Daily delight: Erin Wasson for C magazine


Thursday, June 14, 2012

I try: BMW and Ecoya’s delicious sensorial overload


To celebrate the launch of the all-new BMW 3 Series, BMW and Ecoya have joined forces to experiment with what completes the “ultimate driving experience”. For me this must include a road trip, some great sounds and a seriously fabulous vehicle, and that’s what I was lucky enough to experience a couple of weekends ago when they lent me a rather sassy-looking 3 Series to take for a whirl.
A sexy beast if ever I saw one, the BMW 3 Series was recently voted best family car in the Women’s World Car of the Year Awards 2012 and is available as a Modern, Sport and Luxury vehicle. I had my hot little hands wrapped around the steering wheel of a Sport, and took her away for a couple of days to play with Ecoya’s role in the collaboration – adding a suitable fragrance to fit your mood.
BMW and Ecoya are exploring the idea that your car is your private room in motion, where you mentally prepare or unwind before reaching your next destination. The two luxury brands selected three fragrances to enhance the new BMW 3 Series driving experience - Lemongrass & Ginger to energise, Vanilla Bean to calm and Lotus Flower for balance and clarity – and popped them in my glove box to spray at will. Each fragrance can be used to create a different driving mindset, and my first choice was my favourite Ecoya offering – Vanilla Bean – which I sprayed liberally around my BMW before hitting the road.
The end result? A car that smelled as good as quality home baking, and the best few days on the road I have spent in a long time! Loved it from beginning to end and found it very hard to hand over the keys to my new baby after five days of pure heaven.
In my humble opinion Ecoya need to develop some in car fragrances stat... and I need to get myself a 3 Series to go with them!

Daily delight: Aymeline Valade for Giorgio Armani


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Want it, need it: Curio Noir’s Tobacco Night


I’m completely unashamed to admit that I am a massive fan of the Curio Noir range of home fragrances, one could say bordering on the obsessive. Pretty much everything that creator Tiffany Jeans unleashes upon the world is pure beauty, and her newest offering is no different.
Called Tobacco Night, it is a rather masculine and beautiful scent – reportedly inspired by the lingering musky sweetness tobacco leaves in the heavy night air. It includes notes of Sage, Coriander, Elemi, Amber, Musk and Dry Tobacco Leaves, and was unveiled this morning over morning tea of coffee and croissants at Simon James’ concept store within Takapuna’s Department Store.
The preternaturally stylish Ms. Jeans was on site to introduce the scent, samples of which were scattered amongst a beautiful display featuring herbs, well-thumbed hardback books and her great-grandfather’s impressive collection of pipes. It literally looked as good as it smelled, and was the perfect way to present the incredibly warm, glowing fragrance.
The handmade candle arrives in a beautiful hand blown amber-coloured glass inspired by apothecary of days long past, which will make for a gorgeous vase once the candle has burned down. I have several already lining the walls of my office and can attest to the face that they get more than a few admiring glances!
I can’t wait to get my hands on Tobacco Night, which I’m sure will become part of my fragrance soundtrack to the coming winter months.

Daily delight: Lara Stone covers Vogue China’s Beauty


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Congratulations to: the wonderful Mana Dave, NZ Hairdresser of the Year!




Mana Dave, head stylist and co-owner of Auckland’s BLAZE hair salon, was last night named NZ Hairdresser of the Year at the prestigious Hair Expo awards in Sydney. Mana has always been one of my favourite local stylists - with talent and vision and lashings of charm and generosity to boot – so I wanted to throw him a big congratulations on such a fabulous win.
The annual awards bring together the Southern Hemisphere’s hairdressing community, saluting the talent, dedication and drive of the most revered hair artists in Australasia. Mana entered the competition with the incredible images above, so its no surprise that this always-humble star took out the top prize.
Redken artist Mana won the title in 2005 and 2010 and was the first international artist selected by Redken 5th Avenue New York to be part of the Redken International Symposium, presenting with UK hair legend Lee Stafford. In April he was a winner at the Redken Club 5th Avenue awards in Dunedin where he scooped the award for NZ Salon of the Year, and I can’t see the accolades stopping here! 
Well done Mana, you deserve it x

I try: Juuce Dirty Deeds


The press pack that came with the latest dry shampoo offering from Aussie hair care brand, Juuce – the fabulously named Dirty Deeds – was all about the morning after the night before, and making sure that “no one needs to know what you’ve been up to!” I’m a little long in the tooth for that sort of shenanigans (or so I have to keep reminding myself) so I gave it a whirl post-spin class when my bangs are left looking about as bad as they can get!
The verdict? A damn good effort on behalf of Dirty Deeds, absorbing dirt and excess oil with aplomb – due to its powder-based formulation - and leaving my hair smelling fresh and feeling soft to boot. All boxes ticked then? I think so.
It’s also a size that will easily slip in your handbag before a big night out, or in your tote for overnight trips, long flights or camping – within five minutes your hair will be looking fresh and smelling rather yum too. And as an added bonus, the apricot kernel oil in Dirty Deeds softens and moisturises your scalp rather than stripping it of all oil, which makes it healthier than most dry shampoo formulas.
Very cool, and recommended!

Daily delight: Gisele Bundchen for Vogue Paris


Monday, June 11, 2012

All about: Guinot BiOXYGENE ‘Oxygenating’ moisturising cream


Day-to-day environmental irritants, from stress to smoking to pollution, are the main cause of many pesky cellular malfunctions that result in less-than-perfect skin. And when deprived of oxygen (thanks to those aforementioned irritants), skin cells cannot breathe and this, too, is reflected on the face. Think dull and lacklustre, and far from the “glow” we’re all aiming to achieve at any age.
It’s lucky then that Guinot’s new BiOXYGENE facial cream is now available and intends to combat the problem, returning radiance to the skin by oxygenating asphyxiated skin cells. Consider it a breath of fresh air for the face – and then some.
Guinot don’t spit out products every week like many brands, so you know that any new releases will be well researched and well worth the wait. BiOXYGENE is no exception, and has been designed to stimulate cellular oxygenation with a formula that utilises amino acids extracted from corn that have an “extraordinary capacity to help stimulate the cellular respiratory system and helping improve the functions of skin cells”. Clever!
The super cream then combats pollution with Purisoft - a system of protection against pollution made using peptides extracted from grains of the Moringa tree – and ups the moisture count with Guinot’s own Hydrocyte Complex, a biological moisture source that actively hydrates cells at each level of the skin, leaving faces feeling supple and refreshed. Add to that the likes of Vitamin E, Green Tea Extract and
Shea Butter and you have one heady mix!
Perfect for dull and dehydrated skin, it is also insanely easy to use – just apply morning and evening onto a perfectly cleansed face and neck and watch it do its stuff.

What a steal: Olay’s stellar new line-up of cleansers


Yes, here I am with more cleanser love – this time in praise of the sheer volume of cleansing goodies that Olay have released of late, all of which come in at some seriously low prices.
Catering for all skin types, the vast collection of Olay cleansers acknowledges that facial skin is not a uniform canvas. From controlling blemishes and minimising pores to cleansing sensitive, combo/oily, or even dry skin, there is a formula there designed to help you put your fresh face forward - all day, every day. And without breaking the bank – yay!
The range starts with a choice of two wipes – Normal Skin and Sensitive Skin – which are definitely a great choice for long distance travel, after work touch ups and late nights, and these babies even deal to waterproof mascara. At the same time, light moisturisers and Vitamin E leave skin feeling touchably soft, and they come in at RRP $8.99 for a pack of 30.
Olay Foaming Face Wash comes in three formulations - Normal, Sensitive (the rich lather is 100% soap-free, oil-free, and fragrance-free) and Combo/Oily, which is a powerful, yet gentle cleanser that thoroughly removes dirt, oil and make-up without over-drying the skin. They have a RRP $13.99, which is a steal considering their impressive ingredient line up.
For specialised cleansing they offer a Shine Control Lathering Cleanser that incorporates Kaolin clay and an Acne Control Face Wash that fights blemishes and helps prevent future breakouts without over drying skin. Once again, these come in at RRP $13.99.
So next time someone yells that they can’t afford a decent cleanser then point them this way – I doubt there is a skin type Olay hasn’t covered, and covered damn well.

Daily delight: Katie Fogarty for Vogue Brasil Novias


Friday, June 8, 2012

I try: dermalogica Essential Cleansing Solution


I’m a regular visitor to the Ponsonby Road branch of Louise Gray Skin Care, where I experience some of the most high performance facials ever at the hands of the lovely Jen. She’s always recommending new products to me and I’m always asking her annoying questions, especially when it comes to one of my skincare passions: cleansers.
I think I’ve raved before about my love of a good cleanser, especially one that leaves my skin feeling soft and not stripped and smells rather heavenly. One of the latest I’ve fallen in love with was one of Jen’s choices, dermalogica’s Essential Cleansing Solution.
Designed for drier or prematurely aging skin, it is soothing and hydrating and delicately cleanses dry skin without disrupting its natural moisture balance. It’s become my cleaner of choice following sessions at the gym and hot yoga in particular, as it feels like I’m getting a good clean but not in that cheeks-taut-like-a-drum kind of way.
Its key ingredients include moisturising safflower oil, hops and rosemary that deliver moisture where you need it most, while lemon and pine cone extracts rinse away dirt without any dulling residue.
Water-soluble, the yummy milky emulsion rinses off easily too, leaving the skin refreshingly clean, soft and supple. It also contains no artificial fragrance or colour, so is kind to sensitive skin like mine.
To use, apply liberally to a dampened face and throat, massaging with light, upward strokes (I love going a little over the top with cleanser, and really giving my skin a massage). Concentrate on any areas of excessive dryness and impurities and then rinse off with warm water and go about your business as usual. Beautiful, and highly recommend!

Daily delight: Georgia May Jagger for Numéro Tokyo