FAVES | October 2017

Welcome back to the periodically-neglected site I write on, and thank you for popping by again! The site has had a bit of a hiccup lately and all the posts had to be re-uploaded (unfortunately sans-photos). As such, please bear with while my incredibly patient webmaster Finn fixes things, and I re-upload a veritable shit ton of photos. It might not happen quickly, because I refuse to put pressure on Finn (he is the true saviour of this site and often my sanity), and I avoid my blog when I am anxious – which is often.

Anywho, in the past few months I’ve taken a couple of leaps of faith in terms of beauty and skincare, resulting in some new favourites, one or two mistakes, and unmentionable amounts of money leaving my bank account. Today’s post features some of the good stuff – mostly the things I’ve used and liked during the past month for my ease, but I promise I’ll release the rest in another rambly post.

First up, some familiar items around these here parts. About a year ago, I raved about the Ethique solid beauty bar range (see here), in particular the Heali Kiwi shampoo bar. It straight-up saved my sore and grumpy scalp, and within 3 weeks of beginning use I had a whole host of wee baby hairs sprouting up, proving the much happier state of my scalp. I found myself in the same predicament this year – a sore, perpetually itchy, dry and generally sad head. So of course I ordered the only thing that I knew worked, and after my first use of my new bar, my scalp stopped screaming and my hair was lighter and infinitely happier.

You guys, this stuff is some heavenly witchcraft. I must always have a backup as of yesterday, and after I’ve rehabilitated my scalp with this bar, I’ll be using Ethique’s Oaty Delicious bar as my regular shampoo (also super gentle for grumpy scalps).

Secondly in skincare land (the scalp is skin..), is the Aésop Control Gel. We all know I love Aésop and nearly all they do, but the shining product in the past however-many weeks has definitely been their Control Gel. When my skin hates me, a dot of this helps calm the offending site, reduce redness, dry out the blemish (without drying out the surrounding skin), and limit scarring. I have fair and scar-happy skin, and the good amount of niacinamide in this gel helps reduce the evidence of spots, which is always welcome. I’m relatively certain it’s mostly (added) fragrance-free, but if it does have any, it doesn’t upset my persnickety skin balance. AND, it’s like $20. Winner winner chicken dinner. Now, onto makeup!

I’ve said it before – while I’m middling on her actual music, Rihanna knows her makeup. This is evident in her groundbreaking makeup line Fenty Beauty, which launched in September and immediately reeled me and the rest of the world in. I (naturally) went for the single lip product in the initial launch – a ‘universal colour’ lip gloss called the Gloss Bomb. It’s designed to work for anyone of absolutely any skin tone, and judging by the 100+ swatches I’ve seen on people of all tones, it really does. I don’t know how or why, but it does. The colour isn’t too saturated, it’s not too shimmery or sticky, it tastes of sweets, and it’s probably the truest example I’ve tried of a My Lips But Better colour (as much as I hate the term). Of course, there are some downsides – number one being it’s a gloss, so it sticks to your hair and the rest of your face. Number two is that way too much product comes out on the applicator, though that’s easily fixed. Otherwise, it’s a perfect wee pick me up to have in my makeup bag, for something to pull my last-minute look together and moisturise my oft-neglected lips. As a bonus, it makes a nice subtle highlight when dabbed on the cheekbones in a pinch. Yeah, it’s expensive, but for a gloss that I actually use and don’t fundamentally hate? I’ll take it.

I have less to blub on about with the other two favourite makeup items I have, but they’re the same thing, and they even came in the same Sephora order as the Fenty Beauty gloss. Said order was largely spurred by the offer they had on, where upon dropping $90+ on makeup, you could get a mini of the cult classic Kat Von D liquid eyeliner. As you can see I took that offer, and I am very glad I did. I 110% get why people love this liner – it’s so easy to control! It has such a precise tip! It’s fucking brilliant! I’d never actually used a true brush-tip liquid eyeliner pen, and only now do I see the light. Honestly, the control I have with this is out of this world. Though it’s not as pigmented as others I have, I don’t mind too much as I can quite easily do another swipe and build it up a wee bit. It doesn’t bunch, it doesn’t crud up on top of itself. Beautiful. I even cried with it on, and didn’t have a problem with dulled eyeliner wings.

Liner #2 was actually an add-on to my basket, because I wanted to meet the minimum to get the KVD liner. It’s the Sephora Long Lasting Khol Pencil in #07, Infinite Beige (what an inventive name.. not). This matches my skin in an eerily-perfect way, so when its in my waterline it does exactly as it should: making me look more awake and generally put-together. It’s super soft, yet hard-wearing – doesn’t scratch upon application and also stays put for many an hour. The only time it’s gone wrong on me was when I tightlined my eye with my Nars khol liner and forgot to let that dry before applying the Sephora one, which ended up taking on a grey tinge from the Nars liner. Once I realised my mistake and let it dry first, we were fine. As with many Sephora products, this was very good value – approx $10, and it’s noticeably longer than most khol pencils so is excellent value for money.

Another favourites done. Despite being long, I think I’ll stick to the format I forced myself to take this month – just 5 (or less) things each month. Then I’ll have less excuses, and perhaps I’ll conquer my anxieties and post a bit more. I know I’ve rambled far beyond acceptable limits in this one, but it is good to be back behind the keyboard, even if I am overthinking every phrase. If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking around. I promise I’ll try to make my efforts a little more obvious around here – I have a lot of posts planned, but the main thing holding me back is the anxiety I get from managing a presence on and relative to my blog (which I’m not very good at, evidently).

Speaking of, feel free to tell me things you like to read. I’m thinking I might branch out a little more into some mental health/coping mechanisms posts – things that pertain to my actual life, as I only wear makeup twice a week – in an effort to name and identify the things holding me back. Of course, this doesn’t mean a halt on beauty and skincare – god no! Those are my favourite topics by far. Anyway, I’ll leave you with some interesting questions this time round:

What’s your preferred blogging style (as a consumer), and what would you want to read more of? Alternatively, what were your favourite things this month?

WRITING: ‘Lonely’

Sometimes I am lonely. Everyone is now and then, I suppose.
I used to think there was only one kind of lonely – the crippling sense of abandonment and loss, echoing around my skull.

But I have learned that there are different kinds of loneliness.

There is the one I knew so well, of course there is. But more importantly, there are new kinds of lonely I don’t recall ever experiencing.

Suddenly the term takes new shapes according to my day. My loneliness can be contented, melancholic, delirious, confused, nostalgic or cantankerous.

It is wonderful to have an array of emotions contained in one word. Awareness is key to comfort, and alone isn’t so lonely when you can be comfortable with yourself.

That’s not to say I don’t experience the sense of a missing piece, and yearn for a reassuring hug.

But it means that when I am lonely, it’s not the be-all and end-all.

I can see my days stretching out endlessly in front of me, leading me to the horizon line in never-ending hopscotch tiles.

I recognise that my emotions are fleeting, and it is a joy to be capable of experiencing them all in such vivid colours, knowing that they are not enhanced or manufactured, but they are reality. That there is no filter over my heart to edit the emotion I register.

Amazing, how one state of mind can trigger such revelations in one tiny person standing atop a tiny, pea-sized planet at the edge of a dairy-themed galaxy.

Amazing how I can feel so small, so insignificant, and yet so infinitely powerful.

Sometimes I am lonely. But I don’t mind.

After all, you need the blanket of night to truly appreciate the stars.


This piece was written in July 2013, and is an original work of my own. If you have any thoughts on this piece, feel free to comment below. For any other enquiries, please email me at contact@luxelis.com.

WRITING: ‘Moving In’

My past is messy. There’s no two ways about it. I used to worry about being boring – wishing for a more ‘interesting’ tomorrow.

Fuck, if only I could’ve seen what lay ahead.

Now I’ve been through it all and unpacked all the boxes, I can understand it. I’ve officially ‘moved in’, you might say. But something still feels a little off.

See just as I get comfy, thinking I’ve unpacked the lot, I find another box, sealed all those years ago. And I know I’m prepared to handle what the box contains, but sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming; when I remember just how many boxes I’ve been through in my short time here. Most peoples’ are labelled by year, maybe split into a few months. But my boxes are labelled sporadically – some containing several years, and some containing just a few weeks.

It makes me question my current state – how am I still here? Why am I still here? It seems to just be one thing after another, these past few years. Like I’ll never, ever catch a break.

And then there’s times like these, times when I feel the need to back-track and re-evaluate the past year or so. I mean after all, that’s the biggest box in the stack.

I’ve got no idea who I am, or even what I want – and I have absolutely no plans to figure it out. Knowing my luck, any plans I do make are just going to fuck up anyway, so why try to evade the surprise? It’s not pessimism, it’s realism. The rest of my life is just one big surprise, splintered into tiny pieces I stumble upon every day.

Where once I was terrified of my future, I now embrace it. Expectations are not for me anymore. I have no need to prepare, because whatever life throws at me, or whatever box I find, I can handle it and deal with it, all with a smile on my face. I can and I will handle it – with or without you, and that smile is going to be geniune. Why? Because I’m okay.

Shit, I never thought I’d be able to really, truthfully say that. I bet you didn’t either, but now I can. I’m okay.

And I love it.


This piece was written in April 2013, and is an original work of my own. If you have any thoughts on this piece, feel free to comment below. For any other enquiries, please email me at contact@luxelis.com.

Sunday Feels with Hello Tanya and Nicetouch

On Sunday, February 12th, a momentous occasion took place. Tanya, my holy grail Nail Queen and fabulous friend, joined temporary forces with Lucy, proven Masseuse Monarch and equally ace mate. Together they put on Sunday Feels – a luxurious event for you and your best buds. With cheese.

Image courtesy of Lucy & Tanya.

I conned one of my favourite people, Steph, into coming with me to the inaugural event and to cut to the chase, we had a brilliant time. Beginning with hugs and the offer of beautiful kimonos to wear, we were off to a perfect start. Then came selection of our nail shades & deigns over a cheese plate and cocktails – I think I asked about 3 times what the cheeses were because they were so darn delicious, but I still forget! Regardless, we ate it all with delicious Forage + Bloom Iced Tea cocktails that Lucy prepared. I’m not sure what variant of tea we had, but it was deep burgundy in colour, and tasted like forest flora in the mouth – delectable!

Following on from the brief catch-up over cheese, we went our separate ways to begin the pampering. Steph, being as indecisive as she is, went with Tanya first so she couldn’t overthink her nail choice and I went with Lucy as I was in desperate need of a massage – more than I knew.

Not the massage room I was in, but Lucy’s regular practise. Photo courtesy of Lucy.

The massage took place in Tanya’s gorgeous bedroom, set up with a salt lamp in the corner, a candle gently flickering and the massage table in the centre of the room. Lucy talked me briefly through how she was going to do the massage before she left me for a moment to get undressed and plonk myself on the table. Upon her return, she used a warm oil blend to massage my legs and feet – a miracle in itself, as I’ve never been relaxed enough for anyone to touch my feet before! Following on, she wiped away excess oil with a hot towel (which felt amazing), and began to work on my back and lower neck. I know I have a lot of tension in these places and I usually experience quite a lot of pain with any form of massage, but I felt nothing but bliss with Lucy. While I didn’t fall asleep (as I’m sure many do), I was in a magical trance-like state as my muscle tension melted away and afterwards, I genuinely felt like a newer me. I kid you not when I say this was the most amazing massage I’ve ever had – and I know Steph felt the same. As a bonus, the oils Lucy used with the scalp massage did wonders for my hair; I washed it that evening and it was ridiculously soft & silky.

Next up: Nails!

Tanya’s excellent set-up at her wonderful Mt Eden home – regular up top, and featuring Rodney the cat on the bottom. Photos courtesy of Tanya.

Naturally, Tanya knows me and my nails quite well by now. As such, she knew I’d need another treatment of the IBX nail treatment system to keep my nails in top-notch condition. And that it does – it had been approximately 2 months since my last appointment and yet my nails were mostly pretty darn strong, with a free edge for what feels like the first time ever – pretty amazing when only a few months ago I had acrylic-ruined tiny nubbins for nails. If you have the chance to get IBX, do it! It truly is a nail-saver.

Due to my new-found free-edge, I decided to embrace the relative length and incorporate a bit of a negative-space design, a look I’d wanted to try for ages, but never had the length for. Tanya suggested small negative-space triangles on one nail on each hand (we all know I’m secretly a filthy hipster), and I went for a warm glittery red on my right hand and a cool-toned grey on my left, with alternating feature nails. It’s a big claim to make, but I think this may be my favourite design I’ve had with Tanya yet – even over my fabulous tweed nails I had for my last birthday. Something about the colour combo and simple but interesting design really gets me – it’s been several days and I can’t stop admiring my hands!

My very rad nails by Tanya – check out the precision on those triangles! Photo courtesy of Tanya.

It’s pretty safe to say that Tanya and Lucy have a really, really good thing going here. Steph and I had a fantastic time; in fact, I think it’s safe to say I’ve converted her to these ladies (sorry, Feargus!). Both offer impeccable and friendly services that leave you feeling awesome, and I have no plans to see anyone else for massage or nails ever again. Lucy has the same ethic I love about Tanya – straight up yet caring, professionalism meets friendship. You won’t leave either of these ladies without a big grin on your face, and I can’t say enough nice things about the idea of getting to see both of them in the same day, in the same place. Genius, really.

Tanya and Lucy – Miracle Workers. Photo mine.

If you want to experience this magic, head on over to Lucy or Tanya‘s pages and make an enquiry. They do Sunday Feels events once a month at present, and after Steph and I were first, places are booking fast. Alternatively, you can check out their services separately – both have pretty majestic cats at their places, and will treat you like the Prince or Princess you are!

Sunday Feels is a monthly event, with overall prices TBC.
Please contact Lucy and Tanya to book your place.

Image courtesy of Tanya
Image courtesy of Lucy

Have you ever had a brilliant, out-of-this-world beauty experience? Did you get snacks while you had it?

*This post is not sponsored. I paid for these services with my own money in full. I’m just a rad person, talking about rad things.