New Fascinations: Eyes/Base

In the past year, I’ve noticed a steadily increasing stream of product releases. It seems every few weeks, multiple brands release new items into their arsenal and take the blogging world by storm – emails flood inboxes, flatlays are instagrammed, and YouTube hauls cut away to slick close-up demonstrations. Now more than ever we’re bombarded with overwhelming newness and hyperboles on the necessity of beauty products, but I’m easily bored when it comes to makeup. With such a steady stream of newness, my eyes start glazing over – for the most part, it all looks like the same contour palette. Despite this, over the past few months I have found myself with quite a wee list of interesting new products so I’ve done some poking around, swatching and investigating, and have a few thoughts on the latest items in the beauty world. This is a collection of things beyond highlighting drops and liquid lipsticks, that stand out and seem to offer us something different. Read on, and see if I’m as enthralled as people with affiliate links.


EYES


YSL, The Shock Mascara:
 This looks like YSL’s answer to Too Faced’s Better Than Sex (even the same colour cap). Very volumising, I hear it gives the oomph you want for lashes that seduce; and it comes in burgundy. Oh yes please, so long as it isn’t too sticky.


Nude By Nature, Eyeshadow Trio:
 Not the newest of the new, but I was so blown away by Nude By Nature’s relaunched single shadows, that I went in search of more. Their 3-pan palettes are well-curated and so, so tempting – the rose one is just begging to be mine.


Lancôme, Grandiose Liner:
 If you hadn’t heard, Lancôme have made a liquid eyeliner with a really weird handle on the brush. Word is the packaging innovation is just okay, but the formula is absolutely bomb. I’ve been looking for a smudge-free alternative to my Napoleon Perdis Matte Eye Ink, and I think this is it.


Rimmel London, Precise Eyeliner:
 Who doesn’t want royal-blue liner? It’s unusual that the more affordable brands take big colour risks in such products, and I’m glad – Rimmel are known for some excellent eyeliners, so I expect a solid product from them.


Maybelline, Eye Studio Master Drama Nude Eyeliner: 
This is a few months old now, but all my blogging friends are raving about the new (very long-named) Eye Studio liners from Maybelline. I was super impressed with their Colour Show liners a few years ago, and these are reported to be just as creamy and pigmented, with shimmer involved.


Benefit ,They’re Real! Duo Eyeshadow Blender:
 3 words. What the fuck?! The only good things I’ve heard about these were in a very-obviously sponsored video by Shaaanxo, and the rest has been (rightfully, it seems) negative. It’s 2017 – we’ve just begun to forget our unhygienic sponge-applicator sins of past, so please don’t bring them back.


L’Oreal Paris, Brow Artist Maker:
 This looks MAD. A kabuki-style, dense brush for your eyebrows? Attached to a plastic barrel of powdery stuff? I have Googled, and I can’t figure out how this could possibly work, but I am fascinated and desperately want to get my hands on one.


Stila, Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow:
 Another hugely popular recent launch, I was at first uninterested – I’m not keen on forking out $40 for a tiny tube of cream eyeshadow. But then the reviews started coming in, and I hear its incredible. Long-lasting, properly metallic and non-scratchy removal. Oh god. I DO need it.


Clarins, 4-Colour All-in-One Pen: 
Straight off the bat, this was never going to work. Clarins, what were you thinking? Making a pen with 4 thin cylinders of liner with no oxidation protection was always going to result in brittle, scratchy and dry liners that hurt people’s faces. I do love a good bit of stationery, but perhaps not when it comes to a product that’s going near my eye.


BASE

Estee Lauder, Perfectionist Serum Compact: I loved the original fluid Perfectionist foundation when I tried it, and I want a new compact solid cream foundation. This looks especially lovely, and has had good reviews.

Bobbi Brown, Retouching Wand: Yeah, these came out like 6 months ago.. but I still haven’t managed to swatch one. The idea, however, is right up my alley and Sophie reckons it’s good so of course, I want it too!

L’Oreal Paris, Fixing Mist: It’s not often I bother going all-out when doing makeup on myself, but when I do, it pisses me off when it starts transferring (though it’s usually due to a fault with my face). I refuse to drop lots on a setting spray and I hear great things about this, so I’d like to give it a shot.

Shiseido, IBUKI Smart Filtering Smoother: So I should’ve realised when I read the ingredients list that this wasn’t a thick, tub product. But I thought it was. Regardless I was excited, especially due to the SPF content. Then I searched actual, not-PR images and it’s a flat, squeeze tube thing. HALF the height of it is just the damn lid. Not excited anymore.

Urban Decay, Self-Adjusting Complexion Primer: The aforementioned Shaaanxo video introduced me to this – I watched her put it on her face and I actually saw a magic difference, so I thought I would very much like it. Now I’m torn, because I’ve also read a few bad reviews. I’ll need to get a sample.

NARS, Soft Matte Complete Concealer: Another big-scale launch in Beauty Land. Apparently this is no normal pot concealer; it really is soft! It won’t tug at your eyes! Velvety as fuck, and as always with NARS, very sleek packaging.

Kevyn Aucoin, The Loose Powder Brush: I love the shape of this thing, it looks like a broom you’d find on a spaceship. It’s goat hair, which I do love in a powder brush, and is a nice size – smaller than others I have, but still enough for my moon of a face.

By Terry, Hyaluronic Hydra Powder: To be honest, I haven’t looked up reviews for this. ‘Hyaluronic’ + ‘Powder’ are not words I normally pair, so my interest is piqued. The mini is $17 at Mecca and I have decided I’ll have it. Don’t talk me out of it.

BECCA, First Light Priming Filter: Yeah, fine concept.. let’s be real though, most consumers can’t be arsed getting on the colour-correcting train. It’s vital for makeup artists, but we have other tricks that don’t have a pants-shittingly expensive price tag.

What new beauty things have caught your eye recently?

EMPTIES | January 2017

And again, here we are – but this time, with a new year to incorrectly write on forms for a few months.

Look at my trash, I guess?

Caudalie Beauty Elixir: I bought this on a whim from Sephora, after seeing long-time faves Sali Hughes and Caroline Hirons raving about it – I had no idea it had so much menthol in it, but I’m still a fan. Where most brands push their spritzes as “pore-tightening” or something equally as impossible for a fancy water to do, Beauty Elixir lives up to it’s claims and more. It really DOES speed skin healing, and feels incredible. The packaging is pretty luxe regularly, but my special edition Jason Wu design is one I’ll be keeping to reuse. I can see why it’s a classic. Repurchase? Yes, when I can afford to.

LUSH Curly Wurly coconut shampoo: This was a sample I received with one of my kitchen orders – I’d wanted to try it for ages, but was apprehensive about the chunks of coconut in it getting tangled in my hair. I was right to be – it made my hair washing process fairly harder than normal. Despite how much I liked the results of the rest of the shampoo, the coconut pieces just weren’t worth it. Repurchase? Not unless the formula is changed, sadly.

LUSH Angels On Bare Skin fresh cleanser: Another sample that came – I had it once before a few years ago and didn’t like it because of the oily layer it left. My skin is drier now, and I my skincare tastes have matured so I can appreciate the hydrating layer it leaves. I do like it, but I wish I could buy smaller sizes – due to the other LUSH cleanser in this empties, I never even finished this sample before it’s use-by*. Repurchase? I’m definitely considering it, but I’ll have to ensure I’m only using that one while I have it.

Seventeen Phwoarr Paint under-eye concealer in Fair: As you can see, this isn’t used up – but it’s so old, it really needs to go. I mentioned it a few months ago in a Favourites post and those feelings haven’t changed, if I’m honest. I’ve just had this far too long.. coming up 3 years now! Repurchase? When my Bobbi Brown corrector is used up, I think I will. An excellent dupe at a much more reasonable price.

Goodness Skincare Chia Seed Oil: Another recent favourites mention, I am well and truly on the Goodness bandwagon. A no-nonsense, quality skincare brand that doesn’t cost the earth. Inspired. This chia seed oil hydrates my face excellently, and its now a staple in my routine before my moisturiser. On days that are particular write-offs, I like to use twice as much as normal in place of my moisturiser for a big boost of nourishment. Repurchase? Currently using another mini I got with my full-size purchase, but when that’s up, I definitely will.

Trilogy Very Gentle Cleansing Cream: It’s been 18 months since I escaped left Farmers, and I’ve finally finished my last tube of this cleanser. It’s been my go-to gentle cleanser for the longest time, and there’s not much more I can say about it that I haven’t already. It leaves slight residue, but cleanses thoroughly without irritating the skin – one of the few cleansers I don’t have to immediately moisturise after using. Repurchase? I’m on a new cream cleanser buzz now due to budget, but if I can handle the price, I’d love to use this again.

LUSH Bûche de Noël fresh cleanser: Because I was just getting in to my sample of Angels on Bare Skin around Christmas, I thought I’d pick up the festive cleanser LUSH put out annually, as they were apparently quite similar. They were, but I didn’t like this. The smell is fine (though a little strange in summer), but large pieces of cranberry are really annoying to put on your skin and to fish out of your plughole. Also, didn’t last well. Repurchase? No, as I only got a third of the way through this before I needed to chuck it out.

Goodness Every Day Cream Cleanser: Another mini from my Goodness sample box, and boy is it a goodie. It’s now replaced my Trilogy Very Gentle as my favourite cleansing cream, not least because it’s less than half the price and works just as well. Not quite as soothing, I’ll admit, but still amazing – I use so little that my full-size will go very far. Repurchase? Already have!

Evolu Purifying Mask: Just like the Trilogy one, this is one of my final tubes from my days at Farmers. It’s a hard-core clay mask that will pull oil from your skin like nothing else. Incredible for when my skin feels congested and unbalanced. I also like to mix it with a cream mask such as my Antipodes Aura mask, and it does a beautiful job of rebalancing my complexion without sapping moisture from my mantle. Repurchase? It’ll be rough, but yes. It’s worth the dollars.

LUSH Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair shower gel: I bought this when the latest lot of new permanent products came into NZ LUSH Stores, and only in 100mL in case I hated it (reviews are pretty split across the blogosphere). Turns out I really like it – it’s a lavender/jasmine/rose/guava/fig scent, and I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve experienced lavender in a more bracing format as opposed to the usual ‘relaxation’ vibe. It’s awesome – bright and refreshing. Also makes an excellent clarifying shampoo. Repurchase? Yes, definitely.

What did you use up in January? Anything you really loved/hated?

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.

January Favourites

I had a strange January; full of excitement, disappointment, busy days and boring days.  So, like a normal month.. but heightened. Regardless, I have more favourites than I have for the past few months, because I keep discovering pretty rad things – so here I am to boast about it.

Caitlin Moran – How to Be A Woman:
My best friend of going-on 6 years, Claris, gave me this wonderful book for Christmas. I’d long-heard of Caitlin Moran and had been meaning to read her books for a while, but Claris said she thought I’d especially love this one. Turns out I do, because Caitlin is exactly my kinda person. Witty, honest and utterly unabashed, she tells stories she’s lived that helped her recognise what it meant to be a woman for her. The stories seem at first a little random and other than being in chronological order, seem to just be entertaining anecdotes. But by the 3rd or 4th chapter, I began to see a pattern emerging – each chapter drawing to a close in a very natural way (compared to most narratives), and leaving me thinking “Oh, I remember when I had a similar experience..” and actually beginning to think about how different experiences helped develop and shape who I am as a woman. I think every lady should have a copy of this book, stat. No matter what, you’ll learn something – I even think my mum will like it.

Colourpop Super Shock Eyeshadow – Cat Nap:
As I may have previously mentioned, I’ve been trying to get a bit more wear out of my makeup by putting it on more often, and this kitten (haha.. geddit?) has made it a lot more fun for every day. My beautiful friend Sophie gave me this shadow for Christmas, and I do genuinely love it. It’s a little icier than most shimmery pinks I’ve seen or own, and I love the sparkly glimmer it adds to my eyes. It does fall down a little and wears off after about 4 hours, but I don’t mind because that’s about all the time I go out for most days.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick – Sand Dune (Mini):
I’ve had this cute lil’ fella rolling around in my makeup bag for a while now, and while I do use it every now and again (cream shadows are great for travel), it’s very much come into it’s own this month. Now I’m wearing a bit more makeup I’m really appreciating my fast/multi-use products, and this one fits right in. A medium matte brown, I can draw some all over my lid and blend for a nice light layer in a hurry; or if I’m feeling fancy I might pop a little in my crease and blend it out before chucking another colour on the main lid. It’s quick to apply, and once it dries down, lasts a FUCKING long time.. I’m telling you.

Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick – Blush:
On Boxing Day, I took myself to the Newmarket Life Pharmacy in the hope that the Elizabeth Arden counter would have my favourite lip balm on sale. They didn’t, but I needed it anyway. I got chatting to the counter girl (who I’m afraid I can’t remember the name of, but was probably the greatest person I interacted with all day), and she surprised me by letting me know that I qualified for the GWP, a full size of the Lip Protectant Stick I already know I bloody love. I was bloody stoked. It’s a tinted one, and it makes your lips a lovely ‘look-at-me-aren’t-I-beautiful’ pink, WHILE protecting them from the sun and hydrating them excellently. This is now attached to me permanently, until summer is over.

LUSH Bubbly Shower Gel:
Also scored in Boxing Day sales; I had originally planned to get the 250g size of this shower gel, but the sales assistants pointed out I could have twice as much shower gel for $6 more, so I took their advice and now I have the biggest bottle of shower gel I have personally ever seen. Good job though, because I love this scent. It’s the Celebrate scent, just like the body lotion and the Golden Wonder bath bomb, and it smells like orange Fanta when I use it in my hair. It never fails to make me feel super happy and sparkly, no matter the mood I was in previously – fitting, given it’s designed to smell of fruit and champagne!

REN Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial:
Mecca Newmarket didn’t have my Holy-Grail mask (the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal) in stock when I popped in, so I decided to try their relatively-new offering in the same line. Designed to gently but thoroughly chemically exfoliate your face overnight, it obviously has lower actives & acid levels – but it still works and you do get more product than the mask, so it all evens out. As it’s to be layered with serums and before moisturiser, it doesn’t dehydrate or injure the skin, just does it’s job and leaves your skin fresh when you cleanse in the morning. Perfect the night before a big day when I want to impress people I have crushes on by making my face look especially gorgeous.

Aesop Camellia Nut Hydrating Facial Cream:
I chatted a little about this in a brief round-up here, and when the Auckland Aesop store opened I knew I needed a jar of this in my life. The time finally came this month to wave goodbye to moisturisers of old, and crack this open. Upon first application, I was instantly reminded why I had been dreaming of this cream for near-on a year – it’s light, yet hydrates every patch of skin; protective but doesn’t leave a film on my upper dermis. Super soothing and not gluggy, I fucking adore this. I don’t use a lot either, because I don’t need to – yet another box ticked. This is how a high-end, quality moisturiser should make you feel.. in skin paradise.

Soap & Glory – The Righteous Butter (mini):
Another Sophie gift, that she must’ve read my mind to choose. I’ve been kicking myself since I left the UK over  years ago for not investing in more Soap & Glory bodycare, which hasn’t been helped by the constant praise I hear for it from my favourite UK bloggers. Soph gave me The Righteous Butter, a super-thick body butter ideal for very dry skin (hi, that’s me) and carries their signature Pink scent. I am so, so in love. This tiny tub has lasted 3 full-body applications (no small feat), and has at least one more in it. I am ordering more on Boots.com as we speak, because I never want to smell like anything that’s not sherbet again.

What were your favourites in January?

December Favourites

Lavanila Deodorant – Vanilla Passionfruit:
Lavanila is a deodorant brand I’ve been wanting to try for a few years now – ever since Esteé started raving about it. Luckily it’s available in Sephora in Australia, and my brilliant and kind friend Sophie offered to pick me up some things while she was in Melbourne. I’m a convert – it’s gentle and non-irritating on my annoying eczema-prone underarm skin, and smells amazing, all day. I’ll note that when it goes on it’s a thick white paste, but I assure you it doesn’t mark or stain any clothes. My trusty Bionsen deodorant has a contender!

Oasis Sun SPF30 Suncream:
As a translucent, milky-white skinned specimen I usually smirk at SPF 30, but it turns out that’s quite a naïve view. I’ve used this as my only suncream, both as day-to-day facial skin protection and as a dedicated sunburn prevention in direct sun. Both ways its excellent, and while I know it’s not supposed to be water-resistant I’ve been consistently and impressively protected, even spending all day sunbathing in the pool.
I do have to say that I’ve not tried too much from Oasis Beauty. However, I’ve definitely heard good things, and I’ve been so enamoured with this stuff that I think I’ve found a new brand to scope out..

Nude By Nature Single Eyeshadow – #12 Quartz:
When a palette I’d been wanting was sold out in Sephora, I asked Sophie to surprise me with anything she thought I’d suit in the palette’s place. She brought me back this shadow from Nude By Nature and holy shit I am so glad. I’d never really looked too far into Nude By Nature, and while I had seen they’d revamped their range and begun bringing out new things, I never looked too closely – my mistake. If this eyeshadow is anything to go by, I’m surprised the whole range isn’t sold out! It’s buttery, hugely pigmented, housed in in gorgeous copper-toned packaging and flatters my blue eyes like few other things do.. what’s not to love?

MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation:
Okay, so this is far from a new item – in fact, it’s half gone. But this month I’ve had an extra appreciation for my ‘lazy face’ foundation, my MAC Studio Fix powder. I don’t wear a great deal of makeup (I know, what kind of MUA am I?!), and when I do I like it to be able to be done fast. Studio Fix lets me chuck on an even-ish layer of base in a heartbeat, and doesn’t protest when I want to add further powder on top. It settles on my skin pretty quickly at this time of year, and doesn’t suck all the moisture from my skin.


Hello Tanya’s Nail/Cuticle Oil:
Now that I see Tanya on a semi-regular basis and my nails are beginning to bounce back from The Acrylic Experience, I’m making an effort to actually care for them. Hand cream was a basic step, but then Tanya explained that to do my hands justice, I should use cuticle oil too. She’s begun to make and sell her own blend, and it is the TITS. Seriously, you’ve never tried a more nourishing and wonderfully-scented oil, and definitely not one that sinks in as fast as this (without leaving a filmy residue, too). It’s only available in limited quantities, so I suggest you check Tanya out lickety-split; quite aside from the cuticle oil, her expertise is a surefire ticket to snazzy nails.

Real Techniques Blush Brush:
I don’t have the hugest collection of makeup brushes compared to your average MUA, but I definitely have more than enough – especially when it comes to powder brushes. I’m not sure why, but I significantly prefer a more tapered and fluffy brush to apply my powders, and the Real Techniques Blush Brush hits the mark dead-on. It reminds me of the Bobbi Brown Powder Brush in it’s style, but it sheds much less, and weathers a lot better. It’s been working seamlessly with the aforementioned MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation to give me a finish that’s even, but not too heavy.

Goodness Every Evening Night Cream:
As I mentioned in last month’s Favourites post, I’ve been trialling the Goodness range, from the people behind Trilogy. In that post I professed my love for the Chia Seed Oil, and in this post I’m all about their night cream. Morgan raved about it last year, my friend Nicole is a fan and now I’m jumping on the bandwagon. The chia seed oil base is nourishing and soft without being heavy or reactive, it doesn’t interfere with my various other skincare layers and it smells of honeysuckle. Oh, it also lasts AGES. Seriously. I use this nearly every night and I’m not even halfway through my mini size. I’ll have absolutely no problems paying $24 for the full size.

What products did you love in December?

EMPTIES | October 2016

This month I’ve made a huge effort to clear out the things I have doubles and samples of and get them used up, so it’s a packaging-heavy month.

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Dr. Hauschka Melissa Day Cream
This was my last tube I had stocked up from my time with Dr Hauschka, and I was both sad and excited to see it go, in all it’s summery, lemony yellow glory.
Repurchase? I want to try other moisturisers, but I can always come back to this.

LUSH Miranda Soap
Every month or so I chop off a chunk of one of my soaps to work my way through. This was my second chunk of Miranda, and I like it. Clean, fruity and inoffensive.
Repurchase? Quite possibly.

Clinique All About Eyes Cream – Rich
In my quest to find my perfect eye cream, I got this sample from a Clinique counter in town. A good eye cream, sank in nicely and kept my undereyes hydrated.
Repurchase? Definitley over my current Kiehl’s one.

YSL Fusion Ink in B10
This sample is nearing 2 years old – I used it up much much earlier than now obviously, so it was well over due date.
Repurchase? Already did a month after this sample!

Clarins Eye Contour Gel
I was given this sample quite a while ago, and I never used it up because it was not for me. It didn’t do anything, and I don’t think a gel for eyes has much of a point anyway if I’m honest..
Repurchase? No.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 2
I loved the texture of this upon application and the way it made my skin glow, but it never stopped feeling tacky, which I abhorre, and it oxidised.
Repurchase? Sadly, no.

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Bobbi Brown EXTRA Repair Moisture Cream
This is my favourite winter moisturiser, as talked about in this post. This is my second pot, and I came to the end of it just in time to switch over to summer moisturiser, which I’m currently hunting for.
Repurchase? Yes, even at the price tag ($150.. ouch)

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Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation in 1N1
Another foundation I quite like – but perhaps a little too heavy for me to use too often.
Repurchase? I’ll consider it when I’ve used up my YSL Fusion Ink.

YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation in BR20
This was a lovely light-medium foundation that was very dewy. Could be a concern in summer months.
Repurchase? No – I love my Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation too much.

Bobbi Brown EXTRA Repair Eye Cream
The thickest and most expensive eye cream I’ve ever used, and unfortunately I adore it.
Repurchase? Currently searching desperately for something as good (or close to) that doesn’t carry a $146 price tag.

Clarins Instant Light Brush-On Perfector
This is the closest thing I’ve found to the YSL Touche Eclat, in texture and colour. This one is just a tad more yellow-tone, but I’m not complaining.
Repurchase? Maybe when I’ve used some more things up.

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Tonymoly Egg Pore Tightening Pack
Shit man, this stuff really sucks the oil out of the face, and has the most unwieldy packaging. But it eventually dried up.
Repurchase? Probably not, as the need for nose packs has diminished quite a lot since using more acids in my routine.

Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Frizz Remedy Hair Treatment
This is the second Aussie hair treatment I’ve used up, and just like the last I enjoyed it. Made my hair soft but not weighed down.
Repurchase? Yes!

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
Like most of the beauty blogging world, I love this stuff. I have found in recent months that I can’t really use it directly on my face, but it makes a wonderful hybrid mask when mixed with clay. Also a wonderful calming spot treatment or overnight mask.
Repurchase? Yes – and so will the friends I’ve referred to this stuff.

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LUSH Turkish Delight Shower Smoothie
I used up one of these not so long ago, and only got through this one so fast because I depotted half of it into the top of my large size of this.
Repurchase? Yes, as long as the Lush Kitchen bring it back!

LUSH Twilight Shower Gel
Ah the cult classic, hard to find Twilight. Deliciously sweet and calming. I prefer it in this scent to the bath bomb, but I think I like the heavy malty element of the jelly over the gel.
Repurchase? Not soon – I have a full 250g bottle in my cupboard at the moment.

LUSH Flying Fox Shower Gel
This is legitimately my all-time favourite shower gel. It calms me down when I’m anxious, yet makes me feel powerful and confident when I need a boost. Of course, it’s discontinued.
Repurchase? Yes, when I’m down to one bottle left (currently 2.5).

LUSH Vanilla Dee-Lite Body Lotion
Another often-talked about thing here, and another discontinued item. Luckily it’s been back in the Lush Kitchen a few times, so I’m hoping it’ll be back again soon.
Repurchase? Yes, when I don’t have a few back-ups.

What interesting things did you use up in October?

EMPTIES | December 2016

Over November and December, I used up a huge collection of products and barely even had to try for it – the empties blogger’s dream. Here they are!

Dr Hauschka Revitalising Mask:
Of all the products I grew to love when I was with Dr. Hauschka, this is my number one; my can’t-go-without-it product. Whenever something is a bit off with my skin (or the night/day before a big event) I slather this on and let it do it’s magic. It gently revitalises skin, with a result similar to that of harsher ‘revitalising’ products, but without harming my wussy skin.
Repurchase? It’s a little steep at $87 a pop, but this is definitely worth it.

LUSH Celebrate Lotion:
I first tried this when it came in a Christmas gift I received last year, and I tried to stretch it out as long as possible, but eventually gave in to the scent and used it all up. Definitely a favourite scent in the LUSH ranges.
Repurchase? I was hoping it’d be released in this year’s Christmas range, but alas. Come on, LUSH Kitchen!

Meiskin Mandarin Face Scrub:
This one has been in the cupboard a while – given to me by my friend Steph when we worked at Farmers. It is quite lovely though, it gives me an excellent scrub, on the level of a self-microderm kit! Unsure of the kind of beads in it, though.
Repurchase? I have just ordered another in their Boxing Day Sale!

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara (mini):
A regular feature in my empties – nothing fluffs my lashes as beautifully as this magic formula.
Repurchase? As I always say when I use up one of these; Bobbi Brown – let me purchase minis of this, and I’ll buy them until I die.

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads:
I bought these in order to incorporate an AHA/BHA product back into my daily routine. I do love them (a great low-level acid product), but I have to say I feel strange about using a pad a day and having to throw them out. Feels unnecessarily wasteful.
Repurchase? I’m looking a these as an option, but until I choose a product I’m using something else.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick:
This stuff is good. An offshoot of the Eight Hour Cream line, this is a hugely hydrating lip balm with SPF 15, in a stick form. Very handy and great during summer (especially as my skin gets drier).
Repurchase? Not any time soon – I was given (a tinted) one as a GWP recently.

Clarisonic Sensitive Facial Brush Head (not pictured):
Just like with toothbrushes, you’re recommended to change your Clarisonic brush head every 3 months. Also like with toothbrushes, I don’t – in fact, I think I change my toothbrush more often! In my defense, I rarely use my Clarisonic these days, and when it’s not in use I keep the brush head off the device, dry and tucked away in a sanitary place. This one is alright (it came with the body), but still a little harsh for my liking.
Repurchase? Not so long as I can get a gentler one.

Goodness Every Week Scrub:
I was super impressed with this, especially as I wasn’t a fan of Trilogy’s facial scrub (Goodness’s parent company). This gives me similar results as the Meiskin scrub, but is much easier to get and cheaper – winner! I also like that the scrubby bits are jojoba beads which are degradable and environmentally safe, but not jagged enough to ruin my skin.
Repurchase? It’s looking very likely!

Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion:
This came in a Black Box I was sent a few months ago, and I’m glad cause I’d been wanting to try it. Quite slippery, as it warns, but hydrating and protective on a budget.
Repurchase? Maybe in the future.

Bobbi Brown Radiance Boost Mask (mini):
I only used this up just the other night, and it was a lot finer than I’d expected for an exfoliating mask. Like the other two scrubs I’ve mentioned, it was a microderm-style scrub and I was very happy with it!
Repurchase? Probably not, as the other ones I’ve mentioned are significantly cheaper with similar results.

Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner:
I really, really love this. I wouldn’t call it a toner at all, rather just a hydrating mist, but it’s beautiful and the scent reminds me of  on of my favourite places in the world. Excellent for hydrating my skin and cooling it down, as well as calming my mind.
Repurchase? Yes!

Clarins Double Serum:
Another frequent flyer on this blog, I’m a big fan of Double Serum. I swear it’s a good chunk of why my skin is behaving better these days.
Repurchase? Yep – though I’ve just started on a 50mL size.

Apples & Pears Beeswax Lip Balm:
It only took me two years, but I’ve finally finished one of the best lip balms I’ve ever used. It transforms into an almost oil-like texture that nourishes my lips significantly better than most products.
Repurchase? If only – Apples & Pears no longer exists. I have one more, though.

LUSH The Comforter Shower Cream:
The scent of LUSH’s famous Comforter bubble bar is beautiful – blackcurrants and clouds. They’ve replicated it in a shower cream format, and it’s only a touch less amazing than the original bar.
Repurchase? No need right now, but yes.

Bionsen Sensitive Stick Deodorant:
I prefer a stick formula to roll-on or (heaven forbid) spray deodorants, and the unisex scent of this one is pleasant but not strong. It’s not an antiperspirant, but still keeps me fresh all day. It also happens to be one of the only deodorants that doesn’t irritate my eczema. Thank heaven for it’s existence.
Repurchase? Yes! Almost due for another Boots order actually.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Caplet Serum:
I’m not sure why this serum is in the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide range, because it’s not particularly hydrating. It is, however, VERY sparkly and alluring to look at. Not sure it did too much in terms of brightening my skin, though.
Repurchase? No.

Anatomicals Be Good With Your Hands In Bed Night-Time Hand Cream:
This was quite cheap and I used it up very quickly, but I tell you what – it’s great. Very hydrating, sinks in well and doesn’t leave a film on your hands. Not as good as my EA 8-Hour Treatment, but with a name like this (and a price point like that – $8), I’m not complaining.
Repurchase? Yes, if I can find it again!

Nivea Refreshing Facial Wash Gel:
I was expecting this gel cleanser to be very stripping and harsh, but it was surprisingly gentle and hydrating. Felt lovely on the skin, and was only $2.90.
Repurchase? Quite possibly, yes.

Thanks for reading! What about you? What have you used up from your stash lately?

November Favourites

November is over, thank cheese! Here’s stuff I enjoyed in between the hellscape of awfulness the month brought.

Goodness Chia Seed Oil
This month I’ve been trialling Goodness, a fab little skincare line made by the people behind Trilogy. I’ve enjoyed all the products, but especially this stuff – it smells comfortingly warm and foody, and plumps and strengthens my skin without being heavy or oily. I’ve been using it day and night – rare, for me!

Heart Lapel Pin
I’ll be honest – I only bought this because I felt weird about paying shipping for just one item from Present Indicative (it was a very funny mug). But I found this and not only was it a good price for a metal pin, I love the design and how good it looks on my favourite jacket.

The Caroline Hirons Routine
For most of the month I’ve really vamped up my skincare – more products, more consistency. This is inspired by the routine Caroline recommends. In all honesty I haven’t managed to stay completely on the wagon, but the biggest takeaway I’ve found from the stuff she recommends is the consistent use of washcloths. I don’t use a new one every day because I don’t do washing every day (though I dry them out hygienically in between uses), but I think my skin is clearer and cleaner due to the practise.

Friends
I’ve had a dreadful month, in case you couldn’t tell. In fact, I actually had someone remark to me at one point “Man, your life is really not fun right now”. The saving grace has been the presence of some amazing people I call my mates, who chat to me and cheer me up, go to lunch with me and talk me through the hard times. They’re people I can count on and who I am always there for, and I have so many of them to be grateful for. It’s soppy, but their friendship has been such a lifeboat – this month especially. Thanks to my gorgeous buddies Marshall, Shawna, Caitlin, Sophie, Kristina, Molloy, Sarah, Nicole, Hugo, Claris and Harata. You’re excellent, and I love you.

IBX Nail System
A few months ago I got acrylic extensions, and they fucked my nails up big time. My favourite nail technician (Hello Tanya Nails) was rightly furious with me and recommended the IBX Nail system, which helps restore the health of your nails. I’ve had 3 applications of it with Tanya, and my nails are stronger than they have EVER been. I normally have no free edge whatsoever, but now I can tap my nails on things without them bending at all (and without polish on them). I’m trying to help my anxious and OCD tendencies by looking after my nails and my hands, and having healthy and pretty nails is really really helpful.

Eat My Lunch
This month I signed up to the very cool Eat My Lunch subscription service. For $12-15 a day, you get a good-size, healthy and delicious lunch. No two days a week are the same and the main foods range from filled rolls to flavoursome pasta salads. They’re delivered to your work, and you eat well. The best part is that in addition to you getting a great lunch (which I would pay that much for anyway), another full lunch is supplied to a NZ child who wouldn’t otherwise get fed properly. Help kids, get fed. Win-win.

What have been your favourites in November?

Lucrece; An Example of Vital Theatre

Anyone who knows me well will know that I am an opinionated person. I don’t normally express my opinions publicly unless there’s a strong urge that pushes me to – usually something involving (what I think are) the best interests of important people or things. As such, this is a hard post to write.

The Rape of Lucrece is a narrative poem by William Shakespeare, based on the legend of Lucretia. In short, the plot is simple – a soldier tells his friend about how beautiful his wife is. Said friend goes to visit unannounced, and she welcomes him in because he’s her husband’s friend. The friend becomes enamoured with her and decides he’s going to ‘have’ her whether she agrees or not, and unsurprisingly, she doesn’t. He then flees, and she has to come to terms with her rape on her own. Upon her husband’s return home, she publicly announces the crime she’s victim to, and the name of her rapist. She then commits suicide.

Auckland Shakespeare Company have chosen a stage adaption of the poem for their first show, and as many other reviews will tell you, it’s an intense and stunning work. But I’m not here to review it, I’m here to discuss my response to it.

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There’s no two ways about it, I was uncomfortable in this show. The whole point of this story is in the title of the poem – a woman is raped. Most going into this show would know that, and with this in mind it is a painful thing to watch unfold. It’s almost drawn-out, in the best possible way. The work is so refined and elegant in presentation, but the emotions are raw and confronting; truly presenting all angles and inspiring you to really think and understand each character.

For me this was extremely hard to watch in some aspects, but in others it gave me a sense of representation. I saw multiple pieces of myself in the titular character, and her portrayal spoke for me in ways I’ve never known how to say. There was no missing piece; performers offering all they had to give and in so, shining lights on all different facets of the complicated subject matter.

Perhaps it’s largely relative to my personal tie to it, but I genuinely cannot recall encountering a more confronting (yet beautiful) piece of theatre in my life. Never before have I caught myself trembling with emotion in the middle of a show, with gasps caught in my chest and a strong urge to scream along as she is onstage.

The complexity of my reaction to this performance is hard to describe. I felt an all-too-familiar tug in my heart when Lucrece gave her piece on honour, and questioned whether the rape was her fault. It raced when she named her abuser, and it broke when she couldn’t stand to see her future. I felt fear at the uneasy recognition of humanity in Tarquinius – a reminder that abusers are humans too, and can come from the unlikeliest of places. I understood helplessness and pain in Collatine that I’d seen in others but never fully recognized before. This comes not just from the immense energy and work put in by the cast, but from the poetry actually being spoken and understood. From the text and all it’s intricacies being unpacked, analysed and processed, and then carefully rebuilt with a level of care very rarely seen.

As someone who has worked with the director in the past (the inimitable Rita Stone), I know how much work will have gone into ensuring that the work does justice to the poetry and to the subject matter. Rita knows her way around iambic pentameter like nobody else, and she knows how to tell a story onstage. The cast matched and sometimes exceeded any actor I’ve ever seen in their understanding of the language. The cadence of sentences was always beautiful and appropriate, and the power behind them never faltered. But significantly more important than the mastery of the text was the effort every actor (and Rita) had clearly put into their role.

Calum Gittins as Tarquinius sent chills down my spine and my heart rate through the ceiling as he exhibited a predator painting himself human; someone battling with and then justifying their morally wrong urges. His complete embodiment of every aspect of Tarquin’s arc in the story was exceptional, but more so was the fact that when he spoke, it was as if I was taken back years. The emotional rollercoaster Tarquin exhibited matched the one I’d seen someone ride before – turn for turn, loop for loop. It’s a massive role, and from where I stand Calum has done so, so well to make his character understood, but not excused. My innate fear of Tarquin came from the familiarity I had with his depiction of that character and I can’t imagine the mental weight the role must have had for him to have been so accurate.

Daniel Watterson as Collatine brought me to the edge of tears multiple times as he expressed his immense concern, love and loyalty to Lucrece. In Collatine I saw a spitting image of loved ones – utterly helpless to the horrible events playing out, but never wavering in their love and dedication. When he returned upon her request to find Lucrece clad in black, his concern and clear panic at her disposition had me torn in two – guilt for what I could see others must have felt, and empathy for Lucrece’s removed state of mind. But despite her reluctance to discuss the abuse, he loved her regardless. When she took her life to erase her pain, he didn’t move on – he grieved, and swallowed his loss to set things right. The grief Daniel gave through Collatine was the most realistic portrayal of grief I have seen on stage to date. It was a too-late wake up call for me, a reminder that if I had done as Lucrece did and I wanted to, I wouldn’t have saved anyone’s honour or made their lives easier. I would have caused unimaginable pain and scars on hearts of the ones I love most. I saw the heart rip out of Collatine’s chest as Lucrece died, and in that moment I felt so grateful that I had chosen to stay with my loved ones.

As so many have said already, Anthea Hill portrayed Lucrece perfectly. She portrayed a swift descent into depression that was so frighteningly real, I felt I was in a nightmare. The desperate fight she gave to keep herself afloat as Tarquin tried to drown her dignity, the confusing role of blame in the aftermath and the strong sense of self-failure felt more like a recollection than a portrayal – as if Anthea were enacting my memories rather than a script. I saw her bring all of Lucrece’s emotions to the surface without ever coming across as an unlucky heroine, but rather as a woman fighting to take back control after it was stolen from her. I felt an urge to stand with Lucrece as she took control for herself and ensured her abuser didn’t get away. I saw another person experiencing things I knew too well, and in every word she spoke, I stopped feeling alone. On that black box stage, Anthea gave a piece of her heart to every single person in the room and begged them to hold her hand as Lucrece navigated her way around the trauma, and I cannot express my gratitude that she did. Through the work Anthea has put in to her Lucrece, the audience can’t help but admire her. In the love and pride we were asked to feel for Lucrece, her suicide hit all the more harder. The self-control exhibited in her final moments and the swift but gentle goodbyes she gave were absolutely devastating, but once again were distressingly real. Composed and orderly, planned and finalised, yet full of emotion. In every way, this was a portrayal that meant more than the world to me. Thank you, Anthea.

Finally, the Maid and the Chorus were perfect supplements to the three heavy bodies of this play. The Maid gave an outside voice to the events occurring and was the moral reminder in the back of our minds, while the Chorus, expertly choreographed, lent themselves to the scenescape well. They played the demonic, evil side of the mind – first with Tarquinius and then accompanying the image of him in haunting Lucrece’s psyche. Neither Maid or the chorus interrupted the very raw and openly painful telling of the story (as some choruses can do), but they heightened the battles the characters had to face and kept the audience following the story without ever dropping the passion and truth the central performers carried. Sheena Irving put so much into the Maid – echoing the despair and helplessness of Collatine, but with a fire of morality that we only saw otherwise in Lucrece herself. She was an exceptionally passionate narrator, and one that the story was all the better for; almost an exhibit of post-trauma hindsight as she retold the story with a very personal level of love and grief that felt removed from the exact moment onstage, but never took away from it.

In this work, so many people have been given a voice in poetry not seen in this way before. The words being spoken are Elizabethan, but the story they tell is relevant as ever, as is a lot of Shakespeare. The difference here is that Lucrece never felt embellished or dramatic, it just felt poignant and raw. It left me feeling unwilling to clap, but because all of the pain I had just witnessed felt real. Rather than applause, it felt like it deserved a moment’s silence. The work that has evidently gone into this production is mammoth, and none of it has been in vain as Lucrece told a story that many, many people have lived before, but is rarely spoken about and is even more rarely displayed with such veracity and in such grace. Works that are this open and honest are vital to our progression as a society, and this has been seen in the outstanding feedback the show received. I’ve seen multiple posts exclaiming the level on which people were moved by this show, and the importance of displaying these subjects in such a revealing light. There were people who felt enlightened, who felt saddened and who felt shocked. I, for one, felt represented. In the exhibition of Lucrece’s experience I saw a perfect parallel to my own, and the response I saw in the audience and in the telling of the story reminded me that this was nothing to be brushed off, as it has been before. It gave me validity, and what’s more, it gave me pride. In seeing a character I admired so strongly, I recognised that I too had survived.

Everyone involved in this production did the story and their characters justice at every single point in the show; the energy and conviction they brought to the telling was vital, and they never let it drop. This is what made the show mean so much to me – I was never shown, even for a moment, that these experiences were anything less than real. It felt like Lucrece’s story was taken and presented seriously, not simply a plot line to be enacted. I could feel and see the energy that had gone into the show; the staging was elegant and simple in order to let the events speak for themselves, and I felt like Rita had made every effort to balance the themes, emotion and content in a way that respected the subject, but told the whole story. This was a piece of theatre that gave us reality in plain packaging, with only an tasteful bow for decoration. It was, and I hope will be, appreciated by many in years to come. The subject matter is horrific and painful, but it is real and needs to be shown – it is vital theatre, plain and simple.

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All photographs featured belong to Adam Baines for Auckland Shakespeare Company.

DISCLAIMER

I am happy to receive questions on mental health or abuse topics, but I will not give advice and I will exercise my right to refuse to answer should I feel I need to.

You are welcome to contact me on Twitter or email me at contact@luxelis.com.

If you or someone you know needs support, please do not hesitate to ask for help. I promise it will be worth it.

Here are some excellent support providers (New Zealand-based):
Lifeline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 354
Depression Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 111 757
Healthline (open 24/7) – 0800 611 116
Samaritans (open 24/7) – 0800 726 666
Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) – 0508 828 865
Youthline (open 24/7) – 0800 376 633.
Alcohol Drug Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 787 797.
For further information, contact the Mental Health Foundation’s free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812).

 

Snippets of a City

These photographs were all taken in central Auckland City, either in or around the CBD.

 

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Trunk; Albert Park, 2013

 

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Warming Up; Q Theatre, 2013

 

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Tendrils; Wintergardens, 2015

 

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Illuminatied; Ponsonby Rd, 2012

 

 

 

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Any and all feedback is welcome – for specific feedback or questions, please email contact@luxelis.com.