The Power Of A Great Lipstick - National Lipstick Day

A swipe of my favourite shade across my lips can totally and utterly transform my mood. Wearing a bold red likeM.A.C’s Lady Danger makes me feel powerful, my favourite deep nude Velvet Teddy makes me feel put together and my favourite pink toned Kinda Sexy makes me feel all kinds of happy. 

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Winter Knits To Lust After And How To Care For Them

aLiving at the bottom of the world means we get some pretty chilly winters and wrapping up in a snuggly knit is one of my favourite ways to dress in these colder months. For me investing in some seriously luxurious but timeless pieces is high on my priority list, but I also like to grab some on-trend pieces that are a little easier on the wallet to experiment. Either way, wools are a tad tricky to wash and especially with those lux items you want to take the bestcare of them. I’ve teamed up with Persil to show you some of my winter picks and the best way to care for them.

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Beautiful Beauty Gifts

Christmas time, a time for connecting with family and friends, eating, drinking and being grateful for our wonderful lives...AND all the beauty brands release their holiday collections. I LOVE the holiday collections, they are usually packs of adorable minis, limited edition prints, products and colours, makeup bags and general awesomeness. That's totally a word! Here are a select few of my favourite gift sets this season. Plus a giveaway for one lucky reader. 1703_xmas_30_adventcalendar_12_siloAdvent calendars are so much better when filled with Jo Malone minis. Am I right or am I right?! The House Of Jo Malone is so lust worthy, just look at that packaging!

In all those gorgeous little boxes is a mixture of travel candles, bath oils, hand lotion, body creme, hand wash and cologne. Jo Malone can't put a foot wrong in my book, so you know you will LOVE each and every treat awaiting you on your lead up to Christmas.

$380 available at Jo Malone.

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While we are on the Advent calendar bandwagon how about this bad boy of surprises from Clinique? Such a vast array of products and perfect for any Clinique lover.

The 24 days of Clinique is RRP $169

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I'm a Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream addict, have always loved the original and this year became obsessed with the oil. If you haven't tried it, you need too!

Eight Hour Cream Beauty Set is $85 and comes with Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant Original 50g (full size), Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick SPF15 (full size), Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment 30ml, Eight Hour Cream All-Over Miracle Oil 30ml and Eight Hour Cream Intensive Daily Moisturizer for Face SPF15 15ml

I couldn't choose between these two from the M.A.C Nutcracker Sweet collection. The warm eye compact comes with 3 beautiful shades that covers you for all your holiday looks and comes in a compact with a mirror and double ended eye shadow bash for $96. Love.

The Pigment and Glitter kit also come sin at $96 but the M.A.C pigments have so much bag for your buck. I seriously have pottle of these that I use regularly that are over 5 years old and are still 3/4 full, a little goes a long way! I love the red colour in this set, so beautiful. And you can remove the plastic insert and use the drawer container it comes in for storage.

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Too Faced Let It Glow Highlight & Blush Kit $39 from Mecca Maxima.

Christchurch were bestowed upon them a a Mecca Maxima last week and they get a raft of goodies that aren't available here in Auckland's Mecca Cosmetica, like this gift set here. But little tip, you can stalk their products online and if you must have it ring and make a purchase over the phone and they can send it direct to your door. This trio kit comes with "mini glow-granting, cheek-flushing and bronze-bestowing goodies" aka deluxe Candlelight Glow Highlighting Powder Duo in Rosy Glow, deluxe Love Flush 16-Hour Blush in Love Hangover, deluxe Snow Bunny Luminous Bronzer and a heart-shaped flatbuki brush.

I love the sample sizes, a good options to try the colours before committing to a full sized product and perfect travel sizes to pop in your handbag whilst away or out and about.

One lucky reader can win the above Too Faced kit. All you have to do is comment in the section below, Instagram or on my Facebook page about what's on your beauty wish list this Christmas.

Master Your Makeup

A few weeks ago I got to attend a M·A·C Technique class and it was all kinds of amazing. I learn visually, which is why the new interactive app and class is a game changer for those who want to see and experience the best tips and tricks in an intimate setting with the best M.A.C Makeup Artists. There are 13 different technique focuses and I'm sure their is something that someone starting out to a seasoned pro will enjoy.

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Download the app and search for classes near you to book directly. Once you're signed up your App will unlock the face charts and tips and tricks for you to study up on before your class.

Voila!

M·A·C Technique app features: 

1. FIND - Explore the 13 technique focuses and locate the closest M·A·C Technique class

2. BOOK - Once the class is booked, a face chart with interactive tips and tricks, along with an outline of the workshop will be sent

3. LEARN - During class, use the App to take photos and videos of each step, add notes and tips, and list favourite products

4. SHARE - Refer to saved notes and list of products to recreate new looks at home. Looks are shareable across all major social platforms

5. DOWNLOAD – iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/app/technique/id1088385692?mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.elcompanies.mac.technique

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS 

1. GOING NATURAL 

Master the “No Makeup-Makeup” trend. Learn tips from prepping and priming to choosing the right shades to create the perfect, flawless looking skin.

2. DAY TO NIGHT 

Double duty looks - makeup that can be taken from day to night. Learn how to amplify features to give an instant refresh to the skin, or go for a whole new look.

3. THE STYLED EYE 

The styled eye covers all types of eye makeup look - sultry, smoky, glossy, and graphic. Learn techniques from shading to highlighting, lining to defining, blending, lashes and brows – this workshop has it all.

4. BEAUTY BASICS 

Makeup application is all about technique - this workshop is good for both beginners and artists looking for an update. M·A·C Artists show how to enhance features and learn a fresh new perspective on beauty.

5. ALL DAY FABULOUS 

Keep makeup looking fresh all day - M·A·C Artist give tips on creating looks with staying power. From long-wearing formulas to secret techniques for achieving extended wear.

6. FRESH, LUMINOUS, LUXE 

Makeup should feel comfortable and be good for the skin. In this class learn application tips on mineral-rich textures for looks that are fresh and luminous.

7. LIGHT AND BRIGHT 

Learn how to create clear, even, radiant skin using M·A·C’s Lightful C collection.

8. SCULPT AND SHADE 

Proper contouring can completely change the face shape. Learn how to emphasize flattering angles by creating dimension, symmetry and definition through shading and highlighting.

9. STUDIO READY 

This class is all about makeup with maximum impact. Learn techniques tried and tested by M·A·C Artists on the runway and in the studio.

10. CELEB CHIC 

Create celebrity inspired looks – personalized with tips from M·A·C Artists.

11. ON TREND 

Find out the season’s latest looks from the artists creating the trends backstage, at over 500 shows each season. Play with new techniques and learn more about makeup’s current direction and products.

12. SPECIAL OCCASION 

This class teaches techniques for creating standout looks for special occasions.

13. GROOMING BASICS 

Learn about all the ideal products, tools and techniques for flawless grooming for men and women - from skincare and priming, to tone and texture and brows. These simple tricks can refine any look.

Big changes at Sylvia Park

Shopping centres, some hate them but I love them. I’m a bit of a seasoned shopper/shop-a-holic, much to Jay and my bank accounts dismay. Let’s just say we are lucky we have two boys and not girls, as their wardrobes would be next level crazy! Jay literally let out a sigh of relief when our ultrasound showed two boys.  I grew up hanging out in shopping centres and since my grandma lives in San Diego and my dad is a pilot, I was extremely lucky to spend a lot of school holidays state side, so I know a good shopping centre when I see one. anna-reeve

I was invited to the preview launch of H&M last Thursday, since it started at 6:30 and Jay was on Nugget duty I figured I would beat the traffic and head out a few hours early to take a look around. I was curious as I haven’t shopped at Sylvia Park in years, only going out there in the last few years for movies…and I have to say I was impressed. I never think to go there as I have a local shopping centre down the road from me, but it was only 15 minutes on the motorway and it’s a really nice shopping centre. Big, open, outdoor/indoor flow, fresh air and clean! They have upgraded a lot of facilities recently and it makes such a difference. I hate finding parks and circling forever to try to spot a free one, so Sylvia Park has popped little digital signs up at the entrance to each park letting you know the exact number of parks left, handy! Valet parking? So fancy, so easy and a service they offer now too! It wasn’t even expensive, $5 for the first 2 hours and a $1 an hour thereafter. You can even pre book online if you worry about it being busy and full. I know you can park for free but the ease of dropping it at the entrance to the shopping centre and having it delivered back to you is so ideal, not to mention much safer for myself rather than traipsing through a busy car park with two toddlers who don’t like to listen to their mother and run in different directions!

With the opening of retail giants H&M over the weekend and Zara later this week, there is going to be a lot more people at Sylvia Park, but I think visitors will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of stores available. I shopped at Lush, the super cool Kiehls boutique, Stirling Women, Mi Piachi and Country Road on my visit and dined at Wagamama prior to heading to the opening. Nothing like a fix of delicious gyoza to fuel the shopping trip!

The set up for H&M was huge, massive red carpet but once you were in everyone was very much there to shop before enjoying the party. I had two bags full of clothes to try on and spent a good 30 minutes in the changing rooms before heading to the kid section and the men’s for Jay. If you saw my haul on Snapchat you will already know I bought a lot of clothing, but surprisingly most of it was for Jay as he needed a bit for a wardrobe update. The girls kids selection was much larger than the boys, which I find is usually the case in any store. But I got some great black drop crutch shorts and some cute tees for the boys. The shorts are 1.5-2 year olds size but fit the boys really well, so I would say the sizes are very generous. Tip: H&M use euro sizing so on the tag it will say 2 but it's usually the size down, you only see that if you look on the tag inside the garment. I picked up so many 10’s to find they were actually an 8.

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The store is massive and the collection is the same as what is stocked oversees, so no bottom of the barrel collections for us! That was the question I was asked most on snap chat, people thought it would be the leftovers from oversees collections and much more expensive, but the pricing is just the same. Just like the international stores they will refund any item (except for hygiene reasons - underwear etc) for 30 days with receipt and in original condition. So many stores in NZ don’t offer this, so if you aren’t sure about something take it home and try it on with your own items you would pair it with. If it doesn’t quite look as good as it did in the store then you can return it with no worries. I love stores that allow this, as sometimes you just aren’t quite sure it will suit those boots, or that jacket.

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With the new stores arrival all these changes and upgrades to the centre have happened and the other stores have followed suit. Recently renovated Country Road and Glassons are looking particularly fresh. Adairs, a much-loved Australian home wares store is set to open in the next few months too, which will make a great addition to Sylvia Park and will keep those obssessed with interiors very happy!

All in all I was really impressed with the range on offer at Sylvia Park and I think all the other stores will notice the influx of customers in the centre. I spied a really cute little playground that was fenced (I love fenced playgrounds!) So I think I will take the boys back later this week. They always want to head to the parks in the afternoon after nap time, but that’s usually when I run my errands or do any shopping needed. So this could be a two birds one stone afternoon destination for me!

Sponsored by Kiwi Property

Liptensity -The Coolest Inspiration Behind A Collection I have Seen In...Forever.

A lipstick collection designed with a tetrachromat...sounds scientific right?! Well it is, but not in the way you would imagine. What is a tetrachromat?  A variation in a gene means they can see up to 100 million colours! The average person can see 1 million, so this means they see shades between colours we would think are identical. Also the only tetrachromats confirmed through DNA testing have been women, pretty cool! Maureen Seaberg is the tetrachromat behind Liptensity and helped M.A.C make the shades "true" to the shades she sees. 

Which means Liptensity is the most pigmented lipstick yet with "high-frequency tetra chromatic pigments". That means the colour stays true to what you see in the lipstick tube, it doesn't change once applied to your lips as often your own colouring can change how a colour reads on you.

You have to admit, it's the most original inspiration behind a lipstick collection you have probably heard of right? I love it.

Check out all the colours on their site here, some of them have such a slight difference!

Available in 24 shades from the 10th of October with a of RRP $50.

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A Unique Hair Cut

I wear a Freedom Wig which is custom-made to fit my head, it's pretty amazing and looks like real hair. You would have a hard time picking it as a wig.  I can surf, roller coaster ride or bunny jump and it won't move off my head as it's custom fit means it creates a vacuum when I put it on. They are made hair in NZ and are sent all over the world for others that have Alopecia, it really makes me proud that a kiwi owned and operated company is leading the way in wig technology for those with clinical hairless. Anyway I digress, when it arrives I affectionately call it "Cousin It" as the hair is the same length all the way around. Its' a big job for a hairdresser to cut as it's very different from your average hair cut, it takes a lot of time and can be nerve-racking as once you cut it won't grow back! IMG_8452

It can look "wiggy" if you tie your hair up and see the line where the hair stops at the edge of the wigs cap and my real skin appears. To combat that I cut whispy pieces of hair along the hair-line to mimic those baby hairs everyone has, that way when pull my hair up I can have those pieces down to hide the edge of the cap.

I filmed a little stop motion video of my latest wig cut, as I'm often asked how I go about styling them, Chloe Zara is who I trust to cut my treasured wigs and does a great job. Here is my latest cut, 2 hours into 1 minute. You can see she has to take a long time cutting in the "baby hairs" around the wigs edge.

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The Perfect Pout

We all have things we don't like about ourselves or wish we could make changes too. One of those things for me? My thin lips, look I know I don't have nothing there, but they drop at the sides quickly and definitely lack oomph. I love the shape, I have in my opinion, a great cupids bow, but I wish they packed a little more punch. Back in the day when I used to model, makeup artists were forever over drawing my lips to make them fuller and I much preferred them when they did that. Which lead me into my first experience with fillers. It was 10 years ago, so I can't even remember where I got them done, but it was a legitimate place. They filled the outer area of my lips and placed a small amount in my bottom lip too and was told I would love the result when the swelling went down. But I HATED IT, they filled my upper lip far too much so it stuck out like a duck and looked so un natural. The bottom lip is meant to be fuller so this just looked ridiculous. Lucky I metabolise fillers reasonably fast (this is a natural process your body does) and they eventually subsided to their normal lack lustre size. Safe to say my Donald Duck experience scared me from ever trying filler again.

As some of you would know from my Instagram and Snapchat, I have gone and given fillers a second shot. What changed my mind you wonder? It came about through talking to Caci Clinic about another procedure, Botox in my Masseter (jaw line) muscle. I'm a big jaw clencher and teeth grinder and I hate it. It gives me headaches and is not great for my teeth, so when I found out that Botox was being used to weaken those muscles I knew I had to check it out.

It was when I went and saw Karen a cosmetic nurse specialist at High St Caci Clinic that I got talking about my lips and how I had always disliked their fullness but loved their shape. Karen said that she imagined they tried to flip my lips to create the fullness on the outside, she said that often gave the trout pout look. Karen managed my expectations and said iff I added little more fullness to the middle of my lips and a tiny bit on the outside that it would give a natural fullness to my lips but wouldn't change  that much how they dropped at the sides, I couldn't achieve that without going BIG. I was really nervous, but I really trusted Karen on this. Caci Clinic have been treating people for years and she said in the last ten years, the industry has come a long way in realising where the best place to put fillers is to achieve the desired shape or fullness. Their really is a knack to knowing where to place it with how it will alter the shape. So I bite the bullet and booked in to have some filler placed in my lips at the same time as my Botox treatment.

Now I wanted this to look as natural as having your lips filled can be. I didn't want massive lips, as  that's just too drastic for my liking and I have to say I'm thrilled with the results. They are fuller in the middle, but I don't think I look like your typical women who wants filler for a huge change aka Kylie Jenner lips. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, it's just not my vibe.

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Was it painful? It's not painless but totally manageable, you get numbed and ice is applied throughout to numb the injection sites further and to help with swelling. The injections took about 10 minutes and with deep breaths it was fine. Karen is a pro and she did warn me that she thought one side may bruise, they can't see where the blood vessels are but they can tell if they hit one. She was right, I did have a massive black bruise on one side of my face for about 5 days which I had to do a lot of covering up on. It looked like I had been socked in the mouth. But other than that I had the very normal post procedure results which is swelling. I was told most people love their swollen lips from day 2 and always come back asking for a little more. I see what she means, the plumpness swelling gives you is awesome, but you can never quite replicate that natural swell with filler so you just need to move on from that idea. I think it took about 10 days for it to really settle down and show the true results and In my opinion I think it's such a nice change, the perfect "little bit extra". I like that my bottom lip is a little bigger than the top now, as before they were pretty similar in size.

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The Botox in my jaw has really helped ease my clenching, I don't get as many headaches and my teeth aren't as sore from clenching down on them. Plus this didn't hurt to have in the slightest, I barely felt it at all! As an added bonus after a few months you can notice your face start to slim where the muscle weakens. I can slightly notice that has started to happen but photos aren't really doing it justice. It's just one of those things where you know your face so well that you can see it before anyone else can ( you can slightly see it in the above before and after picture of my lips, the outer part of my jawline looks slimmer). I will update on that in a few more months if you can really see the difference. But if you have the same issue as me, then I really recommend going to talk to Caci Clinic about it, as it has dramatically improved that issue for me.

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Anti-Aging Foundation

I remember being gifted some PREVAGE during a fashion week one year. I was a lot younger so it wasn't something I was using at that stage, but I remember how beautiful the packaging was, all the shiny silver and yellow accents. I'm always drawn to things that not only are amazing products, but look great on your shelf. So it's not surprising that Elizabeth Arden's PREVAGE range has garnered such a cult following over the last ten years, and now they are putting all that technology into makeup! Makeup that's actually working to make your skin better whilst wearing it! And yes, the packaging looks just as great as the rest of the PREVAGE line. P1010060

PREVAGE Anti-Aging Foundation SPF 30 is a light to medium coverage foundation that is super silky smooth to the touch. I loved how dewy this foundation felt on, very youthful and it didn't sit into any fine lines, which I imagine is down to the Hydra-pigments as they blur skin imperfections for that flawless finish.

Idebenone is the main ingredient in the PREVAGE line that packs the anti-aging punch, with a little help from an Antioxidant complex and Vitamin C. So whilst you wear this foundation, it will be working to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles throughout the day.

I personally am on a huge mission to wear sunblock each day, I never used to wear it on my face when I was younger as I thought being olive-skinned meant I was less likely to get sun damage from the sun. But after a course of Clear + Brilliant  I'm determined not to go backwards in my skin health. So I have been layering this foundation the past week with the new PREVAGE City Smart SPF 50 that I wrote about here.  So far its been a winning combination and my skin has been feeling great.

Also to note, if you buy the new PREVAGE Foundation you receive a free Dual End Contoured Foundation Brush* which I LOVE! The contoured brush head makes applying powder or foundation to the cheeks and jaw line so easy as it hugs the curves of your face.

PREVAGE Anti-Aging Foundation SPF 30 - $106

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*Offer available 1-21 August 2016. Not available in conjunction with any other offer. One gift per customer, while stocks last.

Moments In Michael Hill

I was very lucky to be able to pick out some Michael Hill jewellery and what better place to show it off than Bali? I was having a real head band/head scarf moment and since I usually wear my hair down around my face, this was the perfect opportunity to showcase some ear bling! I have very sensitive skin when it comes to metals in my ears, I'm talking infections, pain and all sorts of nasty things; which means I stick to quality over quantity when it comes to earrings.  I, like many, have grown up with the Michael Hill brand. I remember some of the first pieces of "real" jewellery gifted to me were from Michael Hill, the gold/diamond heart pendant my friend all pitched in and gave me for my 16th and more recently the diamond studs Jay bought me for Christmas a few years ago, when he caught me admiring them at a store one day. So when Michael Hill (not THE actual MH, that would be pretty amazing though!) got in touch I was excited as it's a brand I genuinely like and have purchased over the years.

Having a hoop moment at La Laguna during "the golden hour"; lucky I had my BFF with me to take photos as Jay isn't very good at being an "insta husband". I haven't worn hoops in years, but have always loved them. Probably highly influenced by the amount of RnB and Hip Hop I listened to as teenager, all the babes would be wearing hoops in the music videos, I'm looking at you Ashanti, D-Child, Aaliyah and J-Lo. In Bali I was going for a little bit more of a gypsy look than RnB video hoe babe but I can't help it, wearing hoops makes me feel like singing Jenny from the Block!

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Jay likes to call me a magpie as I love all things shiny. You know what is really shiny? Diamonds! When I originally chose these earrings they were on sale for 50% off which meant more bang for buck!  I couldn't go past these dainty diamond cluster earrings, that I just knew would be something I kept in my jewellery box forever. It really hard to capture all the detail in them but you can see a close up of them here.

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Floating in a pool amongst the treetops, shooting beautiful earrings and wearing a turban felt very glamorous. I'm so lucky to be able to travel, have opportunities to own beautiful things, have amazing people in my life, be healthy, have a loving husband and two healthy children and I don't take any of the aspects of my life for granted. Sometimes I'm doing things like this, other times I'm sitting on the floor surrounded in mess and crying alongside the nuggets after a hard day, but even in moments like that I have to remember All the small beautiful and not so beautiful moments, stack up to one big memorable life!

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Bali Beauty Bag

We are taking a long overdue, baby free relaxing holiday to Bali for my 30th birthday, I am counting down the hours till I touch down in one of my favourite places in the world.  I leave today and like all things in my life recently, I have had little time to write this post/ any blogs so this is a little rushed job  from the airport lounge of what some of the key items in my Bali beauty bag  are.   P1000708

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Ultraceuticals travel pack - For the majority I use Dr Murad, Ultraceuticals and Environ on my skin. But who has space to take all your full-sized products when traveling abroad? Enter the Ultraceuticals x The Lust List travel sized collab. All the skin care basics I need and in handy travel sizes. Perfect!

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Estes Lauder Glow cream stick blush - anything i can put on with my fingers and is long wearing is perfect for holiday mode. This blush is a beautiful colour to give the right amount of pink to my hopefully soon to be sun tanned cheeks.

Elizabeth Arden Sunset Collection Highlighter - I have written about this highlighter before, it's currently my favourite product to use! Gives you perfect bronzed glow, which is the type of look you wan tot go for on a tropical holiday.

Ciaté London Double Lines - a two ended liner, one end a felt tip and the second your pencil. I wear liquid liners on my top lid and pencil on my bottom waterline. I love a product that I can chuck in my bag and know I have everything I need to create or touch up my eyeliner for the day.

Marc Jacobs eyeliner - I wear eyeliner everyday to give me the illusion of lashes and I don't want it running in the pool. This gives the right amount of black to my upper lids and is waterproof too!

MAC face and body - hands down my favourite foundation to wear in warmer weather and around water. Its water proof, very light, has a dewy finish and doesn't ever make you look like you have caked on the foundation - which we all know is a bad look at the beach or pool.

P1000702Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart SPF 50 - This a first of its kind sunscreen that not only protects you from harmful UV rays, but blocks pollutants from entering your skin with an invisible anti-pollution skin shield. Since 80% of ageing concerns originate from the environment, this is a great step to take to help prevent the ageing process whilst protecting your skin from the sun.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Oil - the same famous 8 hour cream formula but in a multi use oil. You can use this on your skin, hair and face. Once again, products with multi uses are always in my travel bag and this is one of my favourites. My skin is always so hydrated after a mist of this.

Kai - The most beautiful frangipani body oil. I know it's a slight double up but I like to wear this instead of perfume as it has a heavenly scent and leaves my skin nourished after a day in the sun.

Murad C Toner - I use this toner morning and night and swell as balancing out the oil on y face it's also hydrating, so it's perfect to have in my carry on to combat the dry cabin air.

Coola Setting Spray - This product launched over summer and it has been a great addition to my summer beauty bag. It sets your makeup so its doesn't slide off your face int he heat but also has a SPF 30. No one wants to put creams unblock over their face if they have makeup on, so a SPF spray designed to go on your face is what I had been waiting for! Once again, one product with two uses is always appreciated!

Pure Fiji Dilo Rescue Gel - Rescue and help repair skin with this gel that is filled with skin replenishing Dilo and Aloe Vera. Great for sunburnt skin and for soothing insect bits and a list of other skin aliments. Fingers crossed I don;t need it but this travel sized bottle is always with me when away.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair - Miracles in a bottle, this bad boy is Estee Lauders number 1 selling serum to fight the signs of ageing and it's something I will be using more of now that i'm 5 days shy of the big 3-0. Always nice to feel like I'm helping combat any damage I am doing to my skin during the day whilst in the sun on holiday too!

Redken Diamond Oil - Since I wear wigs my scalp doesn't naturally nourish my hair with oils so I try to hydrate "my" hair where possible. I have been using Diamond Oil for a few years now and I love it. The full-sized product is really big and heavy as it's a glass bottle so this little travel sized bottle is awesome for the Bali beauty bag.

Charcoal Tablets - We have travelled to Bali quite a lot and the first two times I came I got the dreaded Bali Belly. Yuck! Someone told me to take charcoal tablets as apparently it acts like a filter and removes toxins from your body AND it helps reduce hangovers! Winning! Ever since taking the Charcoal we have never had another case of Bali Belly so we are sticking with it.

Tan Babe - My favourite organic tan! It drys super fast, is not sticky and smells like coconut. Before I get my real tan in Bali I applied this all over and it give you such a natural olive tan. No orange in sight!

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Shopping For My Nuggets

Online "shop-a-holic"- a phrase often used by my husband in regards to my spending habits. I hate to admit it (I never do to him, I’m not crazy!) but I have to tell you, my lovely readers, the truth, I’m very much guilty. Now not to lay the blame on anyone…but my dad is a pilot who regularly flies to LA, meaning he has been my online shopping mule for stores that don’t deliver to NZ, but can be sent direct to his hotel reception. So basically, the ease of having access to those items I didn’t otherwise have, has spurred on my addiction. Dad, it’s all your fault!

The amount of clothing, nappies, homewares and bits and bobs he has brought home for me over the years has been epic. Since the arrival of the Nuggets it has been even handier. We have had hundreds of nappies, wipes, my beloved Baby Brezza formula machine and oh so many cute outfits! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE New Zealand labels and supporting NZ owned businesses. Take one look at mine or the boys’ Instagram and you will see we/they are often dressed in clothing from NZ brands and a lot of them are small businesses run by stay-at home mamas. So don’t come at me for not supporting what we have here in NZ!

I often get asked where I get the boys clothing from and when it’s from brands overseas that don’t ship here, I am often met with disappointment. Which is exactly what I am facing come November; you see once you turn 65, pilots are no long allowed to fly into UK and USA airspace as a Captain! Which means, shock horror, my dad will be changing his plane so he no longer flies to the UK and US. I have been dreading this for years! #firstworldproblems

Lucky for me I have a backup plan…I had heard about YouShop from NZ Post but hadn’t checked it out or taken much notice of it since I had my own personal international courier. A recent gap in dads roster meant there was a good 2-months break between his trips to LA and I had some items waiting in my Zara cart that I wanted to push go on. Since I needed to figure out how I could still keep shopping from my favourite online stores who shun us Kiwis by not delivering here, this was the perfect time to trial YouShop.

I thought it would all be a bit complicated, but it wasn’t. YouShop sign up was super easy! You input all your details and it gives you your own “US address”. Easy as that! You use this address for your shipping address when you input your details during checkout. I bought a leather jacket for myself and two parkas for the boys. I had been looking for some cool army green parkas for a while but hadn’t had any luck here. So when I spied these I had to have them! They have a little badge on the arm and the interior has removable lining. So they are nice and warm for winter but as it gets warmer I can remove the lining so it is just a shell. Perfect!

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I knew this package was going to be a bit bulky with three jackets, so I was a bit wary of what the YouShop shipping costs were going to be. I tracked my Zara package and it showed it delivered fine to my “US address”, I then got an email a day later saying it had arrived at the warehouse and had been re packed to make posting more economical along with a link to pay for shipping; all up mine was $30, which included the repackaging fee. I think $30 was a fair price, especially since Zara shipping was free inside the US. Previously when I have shopped from international stores that ship to NZ the price is often around the $40-$50 mark, so $30 was a much better deal. I did note you can work out your shipping fee before you purchase something too, so if you have any heavier or larger items I recommend doing that before you buy it so you know what you are up for. After I had paid I got alerts from all the following stages; item has left warehouse, left US, landed in NZ, cleared customs and finally, item has been delivered! Shipping took 7 days from when I first got the alert it had arrived at the warehouse. So, while it’s not the fastest it isn’t too long to wait for your goodies.

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The boys are always super excited when parcels arrive; they know to go get a knife from the drawer to open them. A sign far too many parcels arrive at this house…that and the fact our couriers know us very well by now! The package had tape on it saying it had been repacked; they had kept all necessary things from the original packaging such as receipts and even a few flyers Zara had sent. The clothing was still in its plastic packaging and had been wrapped again with tissue paper. It was nice to see they had taken good care of the items, as I would have been disappointed if it had been just chucked in a box before being sent off again.

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My verdict, this is definitely going to be my go to once my private courier stops visiting LA. I will have to be more particular in what I am buying, as now I have to pay shipping costs too, but it’s definitely still worth it for those items you just can’t get here! It’s nice to have access to items that are a little bit different to what you can buy here.

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Now where do I shop? There are heaps of stores, but the one I visit the most for the boys and myself, is Zara. They have great on trend pieces, that are good quality and not too harsh on the wallet. Especially when our Kiwi dollar is strong against the greenback! I buy all of the boys footed PJs from Carters, they are made from such nice cotton, have non slip soles and footed PJs up to a size 7! If you have kids like mine that like to wriggle out from under their blankets, having footed PJs is always reassuring knowing they won’t be getting cold. But have you tried finding footed PJs in over a size 2? Mission! Bonds do a size 3 but I have never found any bigger than that! So thanks, Carters! A few other places to check out: GAP (this is where we got our cute yellow rain jackets the boys have been sporting on Instagram), Old Navy have great clothes at GREAT prices! I buy a lot from here in the opposite season in the boys next size up (American stores are always in opposite season to us), Ralph Lauren have epic sales which make the clothes surprisingly affordable - sounds weird but the best socks I have bought for the boys are their ankle socks from here, they stay on, was well and have non slip bottoms their t-shirts are also greta staples,  Target, Walmart, Nordstrom, Forever21, J Crew, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Foot Locker. A few of these companies do ship to NZ; Carters, Gap and Old Navy for example, but YouShop's shipping is actually cheaper than their international shipping. So I would go with them to save yourself a few extra bucks.

Try out YouShop before July 31st and use my discount code ANNA10 to receive 10% off your shippings costs.

Happy shopping everyone!

Dinkus 3

SPONSORED BY NZ POST