Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Mango faux leather quilted moto jacket, Acne Canada scarf, Karen Walker tweed coat, 3.1 Phillip Lim 31 Hour bag

Things I have learnt so far this winter:
  • Cold is not the answer to "How are you?"
  • Don't complain about the cold to people from the South Island or Canada.
  • Brownies can be made with apple puree instead of butter or oil. I tried this recipe here and it was delicious. I did use Mork Chocolate though coz you know #fancy. Available from Pinguino Gordito
  • The couch makes a great wardrobe. Let's call it couch-drobe. 
  • Possums can be cute - check out the Lemuroid Ringtail Possum
  • Instagram is great for cute pets and all but there is a sad hash tag #lostdog. Don't look it up. Also, don't look up 'free dog' on Trade Me unless you are really looking for one. 
  • Also on Instagram, I learnt that travelling around Europe is best done with your best friend. Especially if your best friend is a corgi named Sailo
Is there anything you want to share? 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Winter Skincare Survival

This just might be the post where I write the most (in word count) about skincare. Winter has so far been about survival. Moods are low, power bills are high and lips - well chapped. I have rounded up all the skincare products that have been making a difference for me.  

A bit of background on my skin: 
I have typical combination skin that is dry in some patches, oily around the t-zone, stubborn spots / blemishes and leftover scars from adult chicken pox. There's also the once every blue moon eczema breakout. 

Also, a disclaimer: What works for me may not work for you, so do your research especially before you hit the cosmetic counters. For advice on anything skincare related, head over to or her YouTube channel where industry experts make guest appearances. For example, this one here featuring Dr Marko Lens (Zelens). Your "wipes will do" or "I'll be okay without sunscreen" attitude will never be the same again. 

So back to the products...

Nude Perfect Cleansing Oil 
The Nude Perfect Cleansing Oil has been in my skincare rotation since the end of April / start of May. Initially, I only used this in the evenings but my regular AM cleanser - the Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser, has been a bit harsh, leaving my skin feeling stripped. I now use this oil twice a day and it is best applied to the face dry. It then turns into a milk once you introduce a bit of warm water and it breaks down makeup, including mascara. This is 100% gentle enough to use around the eyes. Using a warm face cloth or muslin cloth helps to remove the dirt, makeup and SPF. This is ideal for double cleansing as well. The face does not feel stripped after and you are left feeling clean and nourished. 

Aesop Parsley Seed Mask
My Instagram tells me I purchased this Aesop Parsley Seed Mask from World Beauty 17 weeks ago, captioned "Skincare pick me up" which could be translated as I was feeling spendy on my lunch break. Depending on the state of my skin, I would put this on once a week - Sunday seems to be the perfect day for a mask while you do the laundry. There are some weeks which require two masks but this can also be applied to just the troublesome areas.  This mask doesn't feel tight compared to other bentonite masks like the Tailor Mask. I leave it longer than the recommended 15 minutes and rinse it off with a warm face cloth. The skin feels refreshed after. If you use this as a spot treatment, you can expect volcanic looking spots to appear calm and less inflamed. 

REN Vita Mineral Emollient Rescue Cream
I crack open this REN Vita Mineral Emollient Rescue Cream every time the dry patches and eczema like conditions start popping up. This came in super handy when I got a reaction from an eye cream, possibly targeted for the younger market. This eye cream which I'm not ready to talk about yet, started making me dry all over the lids. The skin around my nose was really dry too and ordinary moisturiser was just not cutting it. This thick cream soothes and provides relief for dry patches and I fully recommend this. Expect to feel and see a difference after regular use. By that I mean, you can't just use it once and expect it all to be fixed. You need to use it over a few days but the relief is almost instant. 

Kate Somerville Clarifying Treatment Toner
Toner is one skincare step I take very seriously. I don't know why but I just do. It's the most boring of all skincare steps but I like toners that do more than just act as the first step of hydration after cleansing. I've been using the Kate Somerville Clarifying Treatment Toner once a day for over three months now and this one definitely has its pros and cons. I like it because it's like a baby exfoliant, containing a small amount of alpha hydroxy acid (I still haven't ventured that way but we'll get there). However, the witch hazel is causing some discomfort with my winter skin. I get a slightly tight sensation straight after application. This was working so well before the temperatures dropped but I'm going to persist as the next two products in this post help balance everything out. 

Aesop Fabulous Face Oil
Caroline Hirons said in this Top 10 post for Cult Beauty last year that the Aesop Fabulous Face Oil would be her number one choice if she was stranded on a desert island.  That stuck with me and I have been using this non-stop since I got it in May. I use it two ways: on its own or mixed in with moisturiser. The ingredients list includes Juniper Berry which is apparently used to treat stubborn skin conditions like psoriasis. While the Ylang Ylang in this blend adds to the calming fragrance. Interestingly, I've been complimented on 'my scent' but I really think it was just this. This also doesn't leave the skin looking shiny. 

Skinfood Nourishing Moisturiser
I treat the Skinfood Nourishing Moisturiser like an overcoat to an outfit. It locks in moisture and seals all the previous steps I've just done. The fragrance is something to look out for if you have sensitive skin but the smell is nothing too overpowering. This on top of the Fabulous Face Oil leaves my skin looking juicy and alive, instead of prune like. 

Extra Viewing: How to Give Yourself a Face Massage with Alexandra Soveral via Into the Gloss YouTube and How to Give Yourself a Head and Neck Massage via Vogue Russia YouTube. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Isabel Marant Etoile pink sweatshirt

This post is to express two things that make me sad:

1. Nothing has really replaced The Marant Philes since its end last year but the next best thing I have are these Instagram accounts here: Ukraine fashion editor Aliona Gluhih and this well dressed mother Marcjune25.

2. I can't remember any of the Japanese I once studied except for the silly stuff like "Neko desu" and bits and pieces of this cute song

The Good Morning Tokyo jumper from Isabel Marant Etoile is perfect for shameless Japanophiles. This is still currently discounted on Forward by Elyse Walker

Monday, July 14, 2014


As someone so easily persuaded to buy new beauty products, I think it is important to edit the daily makeup bag frequently. There are some things that are non-negotiable. Think your current foundation or tinted moisturizer and of course brow products. When it comes to mascara, I'm a one trick pony and only ever buy one at a time. It really is the least used in my stash because of my watery / eye rubbing tendencies. 

Blush of the Moment - Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Mood Exposure
This one always gets looked over when next to my NARS regulars.  It's described as 'soft plum' making it the most wintery blush shade I own. Application is something I'm still getting the hang of and is harder to apply compared to the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Blushing Bride - and we all know how pigmented those blushes are so that's saying something...

Eyebrows on the Go - Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Dark Brunette
A daily staple that is easier to apply than the Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade + MAC 266 combo. The effect is softer too, like Anja Rubik in any Chloe ad.

Bronze Smokey Eye for Dummies -  MAC Paint Pot in Eclair (limited edition)
It's annoying how this is limited edition considering it got perfect marks over at Temptalia. This is the kind of eye makeup I love wearing for long days and it doesn't slip and slide like other cream based formulas, even without primer or powder over the lids beforehand.

Concealer - Bobbi Brown Corrector in Bisque
In an effort to 'conserve' (lol what is this energy? Water?) the always sold out NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, I have been whipping out the more effective BB corrector. This is hands down the best concealer to suit the most discoloured part of my face (my eye bags). This made a comeback now that my winter paleness makes my under eyes stand out more than usual. This can be an absolute mess when left unpowdered, as if you aged like that time Fred & George tried tricking the age line in The Goblet of Fire. Yuck. 

Lip  Nourishment - Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner in Nobody's Baby
This is one of the more pricier lip conditioners I own but I can say it is totally worth it. Nobody's Baby is like a "your lips but better" shade but that doesn't even matter because you should get it for the nourishing qualities. The lips feel instantly smooth, providing relief to that tight feeling when you forget to put a lip balm or salve before bedtime. Available from BeautyMART or Net-a-Porter.

High Shine - BareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lip Gloss in Rebel
This is the lip gloss for non lip gloss fans. It's not sticky and is sheer which makes it perfect for layering over another lip product like Ilia Nobody's Baby. The minty fresh flavour is quite calming too.

Have you tried any of these products? What's your favourite lip gloss right now?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

New In: Page

Two 'new in' posts in one week should spell: Bad, very bad Nina. Not really, considering (I think) I've only bought two pairs of shoes so far this year and both are in pre-loved condition. The 3.1 Phillip Lim Page patent loafer flat is the third purchase in my 5 Pieces exercise. They fit like a dream and are great for lounging around. I can see these being great office flats too. 

My 5 Pieces recap looks like this so far... 

The mystery sweatshirt is on its way and is taking its sweet time to arrive while item number five still needs more deliberation... 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New In: Poppy No. 2

The second purchase in my 5 Pieces exercise are these Isabel Marant Poppy heels in black. These arrived last week after what felt like months and months of layby. The first edition (non grosgrain ribbon / all suede) are quite hard to come by in my size on eBay so I am thrilled to add this to my Marant collection. You can check out my red ones here

Do you own the same pair in different colours? Are you a fan of buying in twos? 

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Unshippables

There are constant reminders in current beauty stash that I have some pretty amazing people (read: patient and generous with time and shopping efforts) in my life. In my last haul video, you would have seen some Priceline goodies purchased for me by a friend on vacay in the Sunshine State (Qld). A friend of mine living in Sydney is ready to go shopping for luxury lipsticks (Tom Ford) if I bug her enough with constant emails. More recently, my friend Michelle was super kind enough to pop into Sephora for me during her recent trip to New York. What was on my list? The unshippables - the stuff that makes the people working at YouShop shake their heads. 

Formula X for Sephora - The System
This is a four piece manicure set which consists of a nail cleanser, a base coat, a top coat plus you choice of lacquer from any of the Formula X ranges. The set appealed to me because I am pretty 'basic' borderline lazy with my nails. They only ever get serious attention when I am hanging out with Kalli of 9 to 5 Nails and I get an instant mani makeover. Professional manicures aren't my thing also, they are far too pricey to get here in NZ, especially at hygienically reliable places. The nail cleanser acts as nail polish remover that strips away any residue on the nail bed, prepping it for the other steps to follow. The base coat does exactly what it says on the bottle and is simply that. The top coat, again just does what it says in the bottle but the entire operation relies on how well this performs. The reviews are mixed - with some claiming they have had it last for two weeks and some just a sad two days. Some even claimed they were just as good as gel manicures but I've never had one of those done so tough for me to say really. I painted one hand with just two coats of nail polish and a top coat of my trusty Jordana Quick Dry Top Coat. The other - the whole shibang and the results are: Pretty same same and lasted three days before the chipping became too much to handle. 

Formula X nail polish - Incandescent
This was totally an Essie Button inspired purchase, after seeing her wearing it in one of her vlogs. Incandescent looks like a perkier version of Chanel Le Vernis Nail Polish in June 539. Overall, the nail polish is pretty decent and I wish I get another opportunity to order more of these. 

Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer in Lola
This is an opaque bright tomato red that is SUPER glossy and one coat + top coat is enough for a quick application. I currently have this on my hands and feet right now, so far so good. The packaging is absolute luxury, double cap and everything. 

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rollerball
This 10ml rollerball is a great way to get introduced to a new fragrance. This reminds me of Stella in Two by Stella McCartney which I used to own many moons ago. Nirvana is a beautiful perfume but the lasting power is poor but if I had the chance to buy a full bottle, I probably would. 

*Oh PS my falsies look a bit wonky, so soz bout it.