Friday, September 30, 2011

The prettiest nails at fashion week


Image courtesy of CND 
I'm a beauty junkie, so technically I should be all over the current obsession for nails in every colour of the rainbow, and for awhile I was. I'm still looking forward to donning Bus Stop Crimson on my toes, and will be sporting crayola yellow nails for at least one summer wedding, but I have otherwise reached (colour) saturation point.
I blame my day job: scrolling through image after image of the various fashion weeks for a forthcoming nail feature left me craving a palette cleanser. When this image popped into my inbox from CND nails (taken back stage at Alexandre Herchovitch) it was the refreshing visual sorbet I needed. The 'Sugar Babe' manicure was created by first coating the nails with Air Dry Top Coat then sprinkling fine white sparkle on top and sealing with Brisa Gloss.
I haven't worn glitter on my nails since college, but this is just subtle enough to work for office and outings.
And how pretty is her eye shadow? If anyone can tell me how to recreate it I will love you dearly forever and ever.
x

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Macarons set my heart aflutter

Limited edition Laduree box by Matthew Williamson



When I spotted this beautiful, limited edition London Fashion Week Ladurée box by Matthew Williamson I was instantly transported back to my first macaron experience.
It was a sparkling spring morning, the minty green awnings of Ladurée's first London boutique had just been lowered and I ducked inside with a friend to sample what had been described to me as a 'miniature mouth explosion'. It was like stepping into Charlie & the Chocolate factory, all pastel walls and gold leaf appliqué, and rows upon rows of rainbow hued macarons.
Choosing just one was impossible, so I bought a half dozen box to share with friends back at the office. I'll be honest, they didn't make it. I ate two on the spot (raspberry - jaw-seizing tart and laden with real seeds, and salted caramel - gooey and narcotic-like) with a pot of the Ladurée tea of orange, rose, vanilla and cinnamon. My friend and I parted ways, each clutching a signature green box and marveling at our self-control. Ha. On the bus back to the office I polished off a limited edition mint-chocolate macaron in one mouthful (my least favourite) and to counter the disappointment, followed it up with pistachio (delicate and delicious). I now had a conundrum, as there were three girls in the office and only two macarons left. It didn't take long to reach the inevitable conclusion involving me, my tongue and two heavenly strawberry macarons. The resulting sugar high and subsequent crash was mindblowing but completely worth it.
When I arrived back in New Zealand the only thing I missed (other than friends and Paris) was the macaron. Oh the sick, torturous pleasure of googling 'Ladurée'. One day I took a punt and googled 'macaroon new zealand' and hallelujah! I chanced upon J'aime les Macarons, based in Christchurch and turning out traditional, handmade macarons. If you are in Auckland, you can have one with your coffee at Dizengoff (get in early) or you can order online and they will send anywhere in New Zealand. If you haven't had the pleasure of a mouthful of macaron, you are truly missing out on one of life's delights. Best of all, they are one of the few sweet treats that are gluten free and better for it.
What about you, lovely readers? Have you tried a macaron?
x

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beauty Icon: Nanna Joan

Joan and Pat Molloy


My Nanna Joan stands 5 foot 11 at 89 years of age, and was just one inch shy of her beloved Pat when they were married. I wasn't surprised to hear that as a young woman, Nanna struggled with her height and slouched, but I can only remember her standing tall and proud as her rose bushes.  


For the most part, I was oblivious to Nanna's height growing up but was always taken with pride when introducing her to admiring friends. In bare feet she stands almost a head above me, and looks right at home sandwiched between her 4 sons, well over 6 feet themselves.


Nanna is not only big in stature, she is big in heart and when you are hugged by her you really, truly know it. My daughter is showing signs of being tall herself, and I love that she has a beautiful example of how to carry oneself with amazonian grace.


What about you lovely readers? Who is your beauty icon?


x

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cinemust : Love Story


I only went to one film at the NZ Film Festival this year, despite ear marking half a dozen. With just one opportunity to escape the house, I chose Florian Habicht's Love Story which opened the festival and, like everyone that night, was emotionally tickled and moved. 


The concept is so simple; a Choose Your Own Adventure of sorts (helloooo children of the 70s and 80s) that asked the people of New York to decide the next move in Florian's love affair with the beautiful Masha. 


As well as genuinely touching revelations from the most unexpected of characters (I got chills when the psychic answered his question about what is most important in life) there were also moments of tummy-aching hilarity. I couldn't stop mentally comparing Florian to Roberto Bernigni in 'Life is Beautiful', although he oozes sex appeal whereas the latter was just wacky.


Love Story has opened at cinemas around New Zealand and I cannot urge you strongly enough to go and see it. It is a film I have thought about numerous times since and look forward to seeing again when it is released on DVD.


For international readers, I'm waiting on details of the international release and will post an update soon.


Come back and tell me what you think once you have seen it. 


x

Monday, September 26, 2011

To Mrkt, to Mrkt


For shops to survive the current economic environment and hold out the threat posed by online sales, they have to be offering something pretty special.


My absolute favourite shop, MRKT, is a veritable candy shop of covetable, hard-to-find brands. Everything is beautiful quality, perfectly merchandised and delicately scented with Commes des Garçons, the change rooms are huge with great lighting and mirrors, and the staff are always charming and helpful. I know that every time I visit I am guaranteed to fall in love with at least three things, lucky my husband bought me MRKT vouchers for my birthday! The icing on the cake is the blink-and-you'll-miss-it Petal Cupcakes next door, to replace all those calories burned pulling clothes on and off. 


Even if MRKT offered online shopping, I would battle traffic and parking to visit them in person. I realised today just how many times I have been there when my one-year old daughter made a beeline for the hidden toy box, via the SpongeBob picture on the wall. Call me sad, but I'm already looking forward to my next visit.


How about you, lovely readers? What are your absolute favourite shops?


x

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Sounds: The Weepies



This week has been challenging to say the least. My daughter has been unwell and averaged 2hours sleep a night since Tuesday, which is all the more challenging with my husband away. It gives me new appreciation for solo parents and the challenges they face.


I love this song by The Weepies because it sums up that feeling you get when your world has ground to a halt but everyone else continues with their lives, blissfully unaware. I have muddled through the week envying every stranger on the street (except the fellow Mum out walking her baby at 5am) convinced that they have had more sleep than me.


This morning I feel drunk from 6 hours uninterrupted slumber, and can once again jump on the mad, mad merry-go-round that is life...double shot latte in hand of course!


x

Saturday, September 24, 2011

my first fugly post: le smoking

Leo Crest Slippers from Asos.com


Sometimes in life you need a little fugly: fabulously ugly. It won't win you any points on the man front but dammit, you'll do it anyway in the name of fashion!


I have been on the lookout for a pair of flats that straddle comfort and cool so I don't revert to wearing Havianas all summer (the shoe equivalent to trackie pants). These fugly leopard print smoking slippers caught my eye immediately as the perfect nod to 'la garçonne'.


I have a party to go to tonight (first night out in months!) and will be pairing them with cropped black skinny jeans and my Clements Ribiero inspired silk t-shirt that mashes leopard with blue floral print. I may look back in years and cringe, but today I'm wholeheartedly embracing the fugly.


How about you, Beaunz belles? What fugly thing are you wearing this season?


x

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hello Yellow

Image courtesy of CND nails

We have already established that I can't wear a yellow dress for wedding season (if you're new to Beaunz fill yourself in here)...but I've found the perfect compromise in this CND 'Bicycle Yellow' polish used on the Karen Walker models' nails at NYFW.

The KW collection was a gorgeous mash-up of prints and preppy with flashes of coral and blue (and as usual there are several pieces I have put in my 'to save for' file) but the thing that really stood out to me was the beautiful makeup and styling. I love the combination of flushed cheeks and coral lips, but it wouldn't be KW without a little wacky - hence the crayola yellow nails. I was going to write 'she nailed it' but that would be a cheesy, gratuitous pun for pun's sake.
I've got my styling sorted...now all I need is that darned dress...
Any ideas, lovely readers?
x

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In celebration of the humble tit

Seb Lester print from Keep Calm Gallery

Call me immature, but there are certain words that never fail to make me giggle like a school girl. When I saw this print on Keep Calm Gallery I was once again twelve years old and being sent out of human biology.

Apparently, the print is a 'celebration of the humble tit', artist Seb Lester's favourite variety of British garden bird (tee hee). I would love to hang this in my toilet - never again would we have a problem with performance anxiety!

Keep Calm Gallery is run by the lovely husband and wife pair, Hayley and Lucas, who I met while living in London and who kindly designed our wedding invitations. Their online gallery of quirky, whimsical prints is one of my favourite browsing pleasures and I love getting their email updates. I'm always guaranteed at least one chuckle and a covetous sigh.

What about you, Beaunz readers? What are your favourite websites to browse? And what silly words make you giggle?

x

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Nothing goes better with chocolate than chocolate

Chocolate cake from Little & Friday

Lucy Van Pelt, my worldly wisdom go-to, once said 'All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.'



When my sweet tooth comes a calling, I often come to with nose pressed against the counter window at Little & Friday in Belmont, and yesterday was one of those windy, grey days that just begs for a little culinary clemency.

Usually I can't resist the coconutty peaks of L&Fs chocolate lamington but I was wooed by something altogether more wicked: the chocolate cake. So simply named...so deceptively small...so sinfully gooey. Moist, dark cake with a hidden layer of cream, the deepest darkest ganache you could hope for and a topping of tart, smashed raspberries for colour. Think of the antioxidants...I told myself as I licked the spoon...

What about you, lovely readers? What is your favourite nosh for a cold day?
x

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's a girly girl thing

Valentino Couture from Style.com

I'm in a conflict. Just this morning I was mentally compiling a summer look to go with the Betty sunglasses from my recent post here. It was all going well until I saw this image, taken backstage at the Valentino Couture show. I love the pretty, Shakespearean hair paired with luminous skin and coral eyes.


Suddenly I'm channeling a wood nymph, who most certainly would not wear quirky, bunny adorned sunglasses.


What do you think, Beaunz readers?


x

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pyjama Party

Image from Fashiontoast.com


I love New Zealand fashion. Every season there are dozens upon dozens of things I want to buy from Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester, Cybele, Ruby...the list goes on. The problem is all the other women in New Zealand want the same things, and the chances of turning up to an event only to meet your fashion doppelganger are strong. 


So, I supplement with online purchases from Asos, Topshop and relative newcomer Romwe (they do a decent Prada loafer knock-off). All three have a great selection of 'instant fashion' for reasonable prices. Whatever you buy probably won't last much more than a season but you don't need it to. Best of all, they do free international delivery!


The only problem with ordering online is the moment after you hit 'confirm purchase'. It's at least a week until you see your goodies in person, and I almost always suffer from instant buyers remorse.   


Two weeks ago, after pining for beautiful clothes I couldn't buy at Fashion Week, I was browsing online and chanced upon a pair of silk, woven print pyjama style pants. It was love at first sight and they were soon on a round the world ticket, but true to form I began to doubt my choice. 


Thankfully I stumbled across the beautiful Rumi Neely from Fashiontoast wearing my pants and am once again happily anticipating the courier man. 


What about you, lovely readers? Do you ever buy clothes online without trying them first? 


x

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Sounds: The Veils


Lovely Beaunz readers, your challenge today is to sit through this song without jiggling a limb.


How did you go? Feet tapping like a marionette? Me too!


Carry on...


Saturday, September 17, 2011

If only I had...a rich fairy godmother

The Boy Chanel bag

Owning a Chanel bag is on my bucket list. Some people want to go bungy jumping (never!), others want to visit Paris (done) but I will leave this world a happier woman with a couple of interlocking Cs tucked under my arm. It's not about status or street cred, in fact I would much prefer my family and friends were blissfully unaware of just how much that arm candy cost. To me, a piece of Chanel is an investment. A future heirloom for my daughter, and her daughter. I just hope I get to wear it for a few years first.

As much as I love the traditional quilted 2.55, the new androgynous Boy Chanel hits all the right notes for me. Sleek and industrial looking, it was apparently inspired by a hunting  cartridge bag carried by Coco herself. I love that from side on  it looks like an antique book.

I figure if I put myself on the waiting list now and start saving, I should just be able to afford it when my name comes up in ten years time. 

What about you, lovely readers? What would you buy if you had a rich fairy godmother?

x

Friday, September 16, 2011

Let's pretend it isn't rabbit

Karen Walker 'Betty' glasses

'Hallo, Rabbit,' he said, 'is that you?'
'Let's pretend it isn't,' said Rabbit, 'and see what happens.'

Usually I'm a purist when it comes to glasses. I have had the same black Moschinos for the past 4 summers (times that by 6 for sunglasses years) and was swaying towards a pair of KW Super Duper Strengths, until I saw Betty


I can't help smiling when I look at these delightfully mad frames, but am I seriously considering wearing a bunny on my brow all summer?


What do you think, dear readers? 


x



Thursday, September 15, 2011

All White Now

The Row SS2012 from Style.com

As mum to a toddler whose favourite food is marmite on toast, wearing white is just not an option. But when I saw this look by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's line 'The Row' I contemplated hiding the marmite jar. How fresh and cool does she look? I love everything, from her swept back hair to her barely-there makeup to her holiday flip flops. I also love the low-slung, flat fronted pants as opposed to the high-waisted look that has dominated for the past few years. It has a certain insouciance to it that you can't get wearing 70s flares.


So, while I won't be embracing the top-to-toe white look, I'm digging out my loose, man-style pants and pairing them with a pretty tee for summer.


What about you, lovely Beaunz readers? What are you looking forward to wearing for the new season?


x

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kérastase Giveaway



I’ll start by being honest. In a former life, I was lucky enough to be the brand manager for Kérastase, which meant being paid to tell the world how wonderful the brand is. As a marketer, it’s your job to make people want your product, so for two years I was completely brainwashed by this French line of luxury hair care.

The thing is, I left L’Oreal over a year ago to have my daughter but I’m still using the products. I love them. I can’t imagine using anything else. My hair has never been so shiny and silky, and good lord they smell amazing.

The thought of life without Chroma Thermique is frightening, it’s like lip gloss for my hair and gives the blonde bits a pretty shimmer. We used to joke that at the end of the day, it’s only shampoo, but the reality is when you find what you love, why change? I have tried just about every brand out there in the market, including a caviar shampoo worth more than a week’s rent, and I’m still a devoted member of team ‘special k’.

When I emailed my former colleagues to let them know I was writing about Kérastase they were kind enough to offer a wee gift for a lucky Beaunz reader. I want to be clear, this is not a paid advertisement or advertorial. No morals were compromised in the writing of this post.

If you would like to try this most beautiful of brands, leave a comment telling me about the most Beaunz-worthy place or thing in your town. Make sure you at least leave your name, because a winner will be chosen at random next Wednesday. If I don’t get any comments, I’ll be keeping the goodies for myself – yippee!


UPDATE: Congratulations Tamsin! Email me your address so we can send out your goodies x

x

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The search for a new signature


Image courtesy of Daniel Sandler Cosmetics

While I was living in London I fell head over heels in friend-love with make up artist Daniel Sandler. Not only is he ridiculously talented, he makes every woman he touches look and feel beautiful and I haven't met a more humble and gentle person since.

Usually when I have my make up done I smile politely, go straight to the nearest bathroom and wipe it all off before anyone else can see me. I want to look like a strategically, cleverly enhanced version of myself, not like Estee Lauder threw up on my face (sorry - the drama queen escapes when it comes to bad make up experiences). I digress.

Daniel and I worked together in the early days of his make up line 'Daniel Sandler Cosmetics' and I somehow found myself modeling for him, a terrifying thought given that I am still traumatised by the school portrait experience. We made it through the shoot, and surprisingly there were a couple of halfway decent shots, but the best thing was the discovery that I can wear red lipstick! Daniel matched me to one of his lippies, called 'Temptress' and I have worn it in some shape or form every day since - yes, even while I was in labour.

Some days I slather it on it, other days I smudge just a smidge to get that 'bitten' look. I even blend a dot or two on my cheeks instead of blush (apparently a very easy way to get a cohesive make up look - I thought I was just being cost effective!) Regardless, I have probably consumed more than a dozen tubes.

When I left London in 2008, I bought six tubes of Temptress and assumed that by the time I had used them all up I would be over my obsession and onto a new 'signature'. I was wrong. Just this morning I used a bobby pin to scrape the last of my last tube and was moved to tears. Not only did it signify the end of my 'Temptress' days, it felt like I was saying goodbye to my years in London too.

I have decided to be brave and dabble in something new, but chances are it won't be long before I'm back in red lips.

What about you, dear readers? What favourite item have you said goodbye to before you were ready?

x

Monday, September 12, 2011

One Piece Wonder


Wes Gordon NYFW SS2012 from Style.com


I'll keep this post short and sweet, because I think the image speaks for itself. How pretty and fresh is this outfit, hot from the Wes Gordon show in New York?

I love love love this look but the chances of me snagging any item of Wes' are slim, and the beauty of this piece is the expensive fabric and perfect tailoring (Wes trained with some of the best couturiers). I was, however, inspired to buy my daughter a gorgeous ditsy print jumpsuit from Cotton On yesterday, and with a black grosgrain ribbon belt she will be the cutest fashionista around.

What do you think, Beaunz belles? Have you ever worn a jumpsuit?

x

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Sounds: The Bony King of Nowhere


The simple sound of a voice and guitar is so beautiful and intimate. My first love once wrote and sung me a song for Valentine's Day, and it was one of the sweetest moments of my life. I hadn't thought about it for a long time, until I heard the song 'Alas My Love' when it was featured in a video for Vogue.


I'm a bit behind the eight ball on this one because this song has clearly been doing the rounds for awhile, but I only just discovered it yesterday. I have hit repeat on this video so many times now, because it doesn't seem to be available to buy on iTunes and I cannot stop listening to it. Even his name 'The Bony King of Nowhere' suggests the all-encompassing heartache of unrequited childhood love. Today I am happily married, but I will always remember that first love with tenderness.


What about you lovely readers? What song reminds you of your first love?


x

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Summer Toes

Bus Stop Crimson by Orly

During a break between shows at Fashion Week I had my nails done at the Magic Tan nail bar, in this gorgeous Orly shade Bus Stop Crimson.
 
It was the first time in years that I had worn red on my fingernails, as I usually opt for something light and neutral or no colour at all. My nails were short and 'squoval' at the time and I loved the way they looked. Unfortunately, they chipped and split and only lasted a couple of days before I had to take it all off again.
 
I love nail polish, but I'm too impatient to wait for it to dry properly so I usually end up with bumps and knocks instead of that glossy sheen some women seem to rock every day of the week. My toes are a different story because I love being barefoot, so drying time is never a problem. 

I am currently shopping around for my summer signature toe nail shade, and I'm thinking Bus Stop Crimson just might be it. Any suggestions lovely readers?
 
x 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Femme frecklé: Camille Rowe for Chloé



Not only is Camille Rowe a fellow femme frecklé, at just 5 foot 7 she is also on the short side for a model - hoorah! Don't get me wrong, I love tall women (stay tuned for my next beauty icon post - she stands at 5 feet 11 inches tall at 89 years of age) but I am always excited to see fellow shorties making waves in the model world. She is in good company too, Kate Moss and Nicole Fox, winner of America's Next Top Model (the petite series), are both 5 foot 7.

I haven't grown a millimetre since I was 13 years old and am by far the shortest member of my family. Height is one of those genes you just can't fudge. Sure, we can slap on a stiletto for some extra inches, but at the end of the day there is no point wishing to be taller or shorter than we are. I learnt my lesson at fashion week when I picked the biggest package out of the mybeautystore.co.nz lucky dip, while my sister chose the smallest. She got a fabulous Smashbox lip pencil, I got a (sorry QVS) cheap and nasty nail clipper set. Size is irrelevant when you don't know what's on the inside!

What about you, Beaunz readers? Are you at peace with your height?

x

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Farewell winter...helloooo winter!


Image courtesy of Adrian Hailwood

I'm no fashion expert so you won't hear me critiquing a runway collection for its 'cohesion' or 'voice'. I watch Project Runway religiously, but am usually completely at odds with the judges decisions. I know what I like when I see it, but have no idea why!

At NZFW, one of my favourite shows was Adrian Hailwood, so I was taken aback when I read blogger Bronwyn Williams' review of his collection on Stuff.co.nz. She even went so far as to call it 'bleeding awful.' My first reaction was 'well, why don't YOU try designing a collection for fashion week, missy!?'. Constructive criticism is how we all learn and grow, but her review was downright nasty and to be quite honest, a little immature. I love reading the collection overviews on Style.com as they trickle in after each London, New York, Milan and Paris Fashion Week. Nicole Phelps has the tactful shake of the head down to a fine art, and clearly appreciates the long months of work and effort designers put into their collection.

Putting your creative heartbeat out into the public is terrifying, and every designer I have met does so with a knot in their stomach and their mental shield raised and ready. Adrian is clearly talented; he has successfully run the retail gauntlet for over ten years now. We don't all have to like his clothes, but surely he deserves a little more respect than he was shown by Bronwyn? It's easy to hide behind the relative anonymity of the internet and I doubt she would have been so rude had she been asked for her opinion in person.

A quick skim of the dozen or so other reviews showed a more positive reaction, but it got me thinking about fashion and just who it is that decides what we, the consumer, will be wearing from season to season. If I hadn't seen the collection myself and was a Bronwyn Williams follower, would I have been swayed into not liking Adrian's clothes as well? Not a chance! There were so many beautiful pieces, I can't believe I have to wait nine months to see them in store. The blue and white floral print bed jacket with black trim was my favourite piece of the week - I will wear this to death come winter 2012, along with the tiered cape and the midnight blue button-up and the mohair ombre cardigan...am I really wishing for winter again already?

What about you, lovely readers? What have you seen in the coverage of Fashion Week that you can't wait to buy?

x

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My one wish in the land of birthdays



As a child I was seldom seen without a book, usually something by Enid Blyton. A particular favourite was 'The Enchanted Wood' where Jo, Bessie and Fanny climbed the faraway tree and had the most magical adventures.

I have never forgotten the final scene where the children visit the Land of Birthdays and are each allowed to make a wish in celebration of Bessie's birthday. Fanny wishes that she could fly and is given a beautiful set of magic wings. As a child I couldn't imagine wishing for anything else - how could you not want to fly?

These days my adult feet are firmly and happily on the ground (at least in my waking hours), and my one wish has changed. I wish I could draw! Now, kind readers, before you insist that of course everyone can draw I want to be clear about something: I cannot. Stick figures are about all I can manage, and Pictionary usually ends in tears. Give me a pencil and I can whip up a poem or a rhyme in no time, but any attempt at art is woeful.

When I saw this beautiful, whimsical fashion illustration by Rebecca Taylor for her forthcoming collection at New York Fashion Week, I was once again 8 years old and wishing I could scale the faraway tree. Somehow, Rebecca has climbed inside my head and drawn the outfit I would draw, if I could.

I have always loved Rebecca's clothes and am lucky enough to own a couple of her dresses. In the exclusive interview for Stylecaster.com Rebecca talks about finding inspiration in the contrast between the laid-back New Zealand countryside and the fast-paced New York lifestyle (read the interview here). If this is a sign of what's to come for her next collection, my bank balance is in serious trouble.

What about you, lovely readers? What would your one wish be if you chanced upon the Land of Birthdays?

x