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?

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?

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?

October Favourites

It’s time. Again. How time flies, and all that. Let’s go.

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T2 French Earl Grey Loose Tea
I like (intentionally) warm drinks. They’re great, especially tea – all kinds of it! Except Earl Grey, because it tastes like latex to me. I’ve tried lots of brands to no avail, but then I found T2’s twist. Why it’s French, I’ll never know because it tastes like black tea with a bunch of tropical fruit chucked in, and I love it so much.

Ethique Frizz Wrangler Solid Shampoo
Yep, mentioning that rad zero-waste company again. They sent me a sample of this shampoo with the cool limited edition shaving soap I bought my dad for Father’s Day, and when I ran out of my regular bar I tried it.. holy christmas, my hair has never been as soft and manageable as it is now. Works brilliantly with my conditioner bar, too (the Guardian, in case you were wondering).

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The Prettiest Darn Phone Case That Ever Was
I found it on Etsy at 3am on a Saturday, and bought it because it was only $25 including shipping (ish) and it’s cool. It arrived the following Tuesday and I am mega stoked. There’s heaps of different flower combinations and whatnot, too – have a look if you like.

LUSH Bath Bombs
I am trying to take more baths because they are good for reducing anxiety, making me read more books and forcing me to be away from technology for a bit (a godsend for self-employed idiots like me). I don’t like being able to see myself in the water, so I’ve been dropping way too much money on things that make the water smell and look nice. I’m finding LUSH ones give me the best result. Sploosh – fizz fizz fizz. Yay.

Davines Authentic Moisturising Balm
I still have no clue how to pronounce the brand, but this stuff is amazing. It’s supposed to be able to be used for body, face and hair but I’ve been using it as a body moisturiser. I’ve noticed that it can be hard to spread over the skin sometimes, which I suspect is due to the properties that lend it to multi-use. The scent is herby-lavender-rosey-ey and it’s really really enjoyable. It moisturises well without leaving a greasy film and/or reacting to my skin. There’s no way in hell I’m putting that much fragrance near my face, but I might try it on my hair sometime soon.

What have you been enjoying this month?

September Favourites

LUSH Fresh Farmacy Solid Cleanser
I picked this up on a whim back in May, I use it almost every day and it’s only just become half the size. It’s a solid facial soap and has calamine, chamomile, rose and lavender and is astringent but soothing, so perfect for a breakout-face.

Bdellium Tools 776
I have 3 of these brushes, and they are amazing. Morgan over at Hyacinth Girl compared this brush with the iconic MAC 217 and concluded that they are basically identical. I don’t have a 217, but holy fuck do I love these brushes. Perfect for everything, and it’s now a staple in my stash.

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Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette
In my room at my new flat, I have to really contain myself to one makeup item of each type at a time. As such, for the last 3 weeks I’ve been using this palette and adoring it – the pink and rose gold tones compliment my eyes wonderfully and it’s an easy thing I don’t have to think about.

Lipstick Queen lipstick in Central Park
Hi, new favourite red lipstick. Pigmented as fuck, nice and bright and doesn’t move off my lips. Also, can we talk about the compact yet luxe matte-finish, metal tube? Lipstick Queen, you are incredible.

Trilogy Ultra Hydrating Face Cream
I’ve actually been using this more as a night treatment for my hands than anything else lately, as I ran out of my Elizabeth Arden Intensive Hand Treatment. This is a little harder to work in (figures), but it does the trick in a pinch. I also like it for the face but not as much as my HG winter moisturiser, hence the repurposing.

What have been your favourite beauty products this month?