The Perfect Rouge Pout

I’ve spent a long time looking for the Right Red Lipstick, years it’s taken! From Revlon to Chanel, NARS to Guerlain my search spanned the globe and it wasn’t until late 2013 that I found her. The perfect red for my skin tone, with a lush, creamy, matte consistency, long lasting and deeply pigmented the original MAC Viva Glam I lippy is the business.

So popular is this colour, that when I was in NYC over the holidays, it was sold out everywhere! Everywhere I went anyway.

Viva Glam I will take you anywhere, adding some allure to every situation – from a conservative office environment directly into the depths of the night, it’s an absolute staple in my beauty product life.

And the best thing about all Viva Glam lipsticks is that every single penny of the sale price (VIVA Glam I $15 USD) is donated to the M·A·C AIDS Fund. Perfect.

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Atrium Broadway, NYC

If you are in the Big Apple, or at the very least planning a trip there, make time to visit Atrium on Broadway in NYC. A word of warning, ensure your credit card is ready to handle a heavy load and prepare yourself for the ultimate shopping experience.

Loaded with garments for the shopper looking for something different, Atrium is the destination for unique adornment acquisitions. There are clothes galore, shoes housed in what seems like a lab, sportswear, the best selection of sunglasses (my favourite)… Oh, I was hyperventilating. Lucky for me I visited the store at the end of my trip and thus lacked the funds to go super crazy, but my friend and I walked away with a freaking awesome sweater that put a massive smile on his dial.

The staff are super nice (10/10), helpful and more than happy to offer a suggestion or two re good places to eat/drink/be merry. And if all of this isn’t enough, Nick Wooster has gotten involved with this goodness… Keep an eye out for Atrium Wooster.

If you aren’t quite able to make it to the Broadway store, you can pop into the Brooklyn or Miami stores… Or jump online (dream). And if you are fast enough you might be able to score yourself a bargain in their sale. Choice!

Happy shopping!

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Hermes Poker Cards

When the cooler winter months hit there are a few things you always need in the house: a supply of red wine & beer, the Internet, a couple of good books/journals and boardgames. These few items will keep you and any guests occupied for many hours and if you’re lucky eventuate into some very memorial stories, told and retold for years to come.

One of my favourite things to do in the winter is settle in for a few hours of Scrabble with a group of like minded mates. However whilst living in Istanbul, and in the absence of willing and eager English speaking friends, a good game of cards takes the top spot. Whether we are using the cards to play drinking games, snap, poker or Kings & Asses, cards has occupied many a winter hour ever since I can remember.

While the playing of Cards has caused passionate arguments, tears (happy and angry) and riotous giggles they have also played a huge part in the forging of long friendships.

Now that I’m a grown up and don’t lose the 7 of Hearts card, nor have a cheeky brother around to secretly mark the cards in the aid covert of cheating, my standards, as far as the perfect deck of cards is concerned, has taken a bit of a step up. Well if we’re going to be spending so much time inside, why not insert a bit of luxury into the winter landscape!

Thus I introduce the Hermes Poker Cards. Retailing at $85.00 USD they’re slightly over the top, but the orange box and beautiful cards are so worth it. And if you are lucky enough to receive a deck for your birthday/Christmas as I was… All the better! Happy playing!

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40 Days of Dating

I love my job, but it doesn’t quite afford me the creative outlet I have realised my soul needs. Thus, I have vowed (as I did last year) to try to maintain a regular presence on the interweb that extends beyond Instagram and irregular bouts of innocuous tweets. I don’t yet have a principle premise for the blog but I’ll aim to post on a theme specific to every day of the working week. Monday (Entertainment), Tuesday (Home), Wednesday (Shopping), Thursday (Beauty), Friday (Style)…. Weekends (Surprises) etc.

With that said this will be my first post of 2014; may there be many more.

“When an opportunity seems scary… I must take it.”

Last year I read about an experiment whereby two good friends decide to date each other for 40 days to “explore and hopefully overcome their fears and inadequacies” in relationships. Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman complete a survey at the end of every day, openly and honestly describing their feelings and experiences; the website publishes both participants responses in what is a compelling and confronting read.

Oddly enough I am only up to Day 32, despite stumbling upon the website months ago… As usual life gets in the way, but if you need a daily read this could be the website for you. I’m currently working very hard not to fast forward to day 40. It’s that good.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts!

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Baking: Hot Cross Buns

This afternoon I decided to take a leap into my baking unknown and attempt the lofty challenge of making some fruity, spicy hot cross buns.

Given my lack of experience in breadmaking I naturally turned to New Zealand’s original queen of baking, Alison Holst, for a recipe. A quick Google search proved successful, I made shopping list and after a short trip to the supermarket, immediately got to work on these gorgeously plump Easter buns.

Genuinely shocked at the rather positive outcome – a few eager and compleletly impartial taste testers (Mum, Aunties, cousin, brother et.al.) all made the right noises – I encourage anyone interested in giving them a go to do so… Immediately!

I think I’ll make another batch and add more cinnamon and mixed spice, but other than those wee changes I think the recipe works a dream.

HXB.jpg

My delicious hot cross buns.

Alison Holst’s Hot Cross Bun Recipe (via www.food.com)

Ingredients:
Buns:
2 tablespoons active dry yeast, e.g. Surebake active yeast mixture
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk, cold
1 cup boiling water
50 g butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup mixed fruit
1 tablespoon mixed spice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 -4 cups flour

Crosses
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons oil
water, to taste

Glaze
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Measure the yeast mixture, flour, brown sugar and salt into a large bowl. Stir to mix and then add the cold milk followed by the boiling water. Stir thoroughly to mix.
  2. Leave to stand for 3 minutes. Melt the butter and assemble the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Once the 3 minutes is up, stir in the rest of the ingredients except for the flour.
  4. Now add as much flour as need to make a dough just firm enough to turn out on a board and knead. [The original recipe suggests 3 cups. I needed 4.].
  5. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth and satiny and it springs back when you press it with a finger.
  6. Oil a large bowl and turn the dough ball in this until it is all coated. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and leave to stand until it doubles it original bulk.
  7. Turn out on a floured board, knead lightly and cut into 30 evenly sized pieces.
  8. Form each piece into a ball and arrange the buns in rows in a dish or pan with at least 1 cm between them. A roasting dish works well and takes about 15 buns.
  9. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F and when ready turn the heat down to 200°C/400°F.
  10. Put crosses on the buns.Make a paste of the flour and oil and then add enough water to make a dough that can be forced out of an icing bag. Pipe the crosses on the buns.
  11. Put the buns in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until they brown slightly and feel firm. Remove from oven and glaze with a hot syrup made by heating sugar and water.
  12. Cool buns on a rack. Store in airtight containers when cold.
  13. If you want to make a smaller quantity, halve the ingredients except for the egg. You may need more flour.

Note: Makes 30. Serve warm with butter and homemade jam (if your lucky enough!), we had some beautiful apricot jam to crack open and it was divine!

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Baking: Gingerbread Loaf

Having woken this morning with an intense craving for banana bread, I took to the kitchen (post run) to get my bake on. While I didn’t opt for banana bread – due to a lack of over ripe bananas in the house – I decided to take on a much loved and fail safe gingerbread loaf recipe.

Taken from the Chelsea Sugar website, this recipe yields a light, spicy and incredibly delicious loaf that will not last long in any household. I doubled the mixed spice and ginger for a slightly warmer end result, but it’s just as tasty either way.

Gingerbread Loaf Recipe

Ingredients

50g butter
1 Tbsp Golden Syrup
1 egg
1/2 cup Soft Brown Sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ginger spice
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup milk

Method

In a large microwave-proof bowl or saucepan, melt the butter and golden syrup together.

Add egg and sugar, mix well, then add all other dry ingredients except the soda.

Mix the soda with the milk and stir in. Pour into a baking paper-lined loaf tin and cook at 190°C for 30 – 40 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and slice when cool (if you can wait!).

Serve with lashings of butter and a good old fashioned cup of tea and you’ve got morning tea sorted.

Gingerbread Loaf

My gingerbread loaf!

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On Repeat: Running Playlist

Running is slowly becoming part of my daily routine and to say it comes naturally to me would be a fib, thus I need all the help and motivation I can get. Up until about a month ago, as far as exercise is concerned, I was of the No-iPod school of thought, but I’ve been working on and refining my running playlist and believe I may have cracked it i.e. finally settled on an amping, varied and fun set of tunes to get me through 30 minutes of exercise.

Running Playlist

There is absolutely no method to my song selection (I have no idea of BPM etc) and it will definitely evolve over time, but for now it works for me. And the song I most look forward to hearing on this playlist is Azealia Banks’ 212. Such a good time!

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Local Haunts: Waikanae Beach

I’ve just returned from a beautiful walk along Waikanae Beach and had to share this shot of the beach. It was a deliciously mild evening that was further enhanced by the sunset and a cookies and cream ice-cream. I heart summer in NZ!

Waikanae Beach

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The Haps: Breakers Fun Run Series

A couple of days ago my friend Jo mentioned that the Breakers Fun Run series was starting this week… and then she asked if I might be interested in partaking in the 5km race. Having never ever run a race before (bar a couple of primary school regional athletics meets) I was rather hesitant, but with no commitments that night I had no excuse for refusal.

We roped in a third team mate in my cousin Annie and last night, armed with our $2 entry fee, registered for the 5km run down at Breakers restaurant. A short 30 minutes later and all the runners & walkers were huddling for the best starting position and we were off.

Jo bounded out at an incredibly impressive pace (the girl can run), Annie struggling to fend off a giggling fit among all of the people and prams surrounding her, also set herself a pretty swift pace. I established my snails pace and settled into the 5km nightmare jog.

When I finished at least 10 minutes behind Jo and Annie, it was exciting to learn that there was a spirited sprint finish for first place and Jo who had led the women the entire race was pipped at the post coming second with a time of 22min 51sec, 1sec behind the winner. Gutted… But she’s determined to return in a fortnight to give it another go. Annie wasn’t too far behind Jo, and me, well I’m quite confident that I came last! Not that I had expected more from my performance, I was stoked to simply finish the run.

It was a great community event for a Thursday night, well organised and completely inclusive.As mentioned above, the four part series started last night with the next three runs taking place on 21 February, 7 March and 21 March. Remember your $2 entry fee and come down. For more info visit the Gisborne District Council website.

Race Day Essentials

My race day essentials clockwise from top left: iPod Shuffle (with Running playlist loaded) Kathmandu drink bottle, Nike Free 3.0 shoes, Karen Walker Jonestown sunnies.

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The Haps: The Classic Hits Winery Tour

The Classic Hits Winery Tour kicked off over the weekend and yesterday it was Gisborne’s turn to play host. Held at Brunton Road vineyard, Clara van Wel, The Adults, Anika, Boh & Hollie and Fat Freddy’s Drop made sweet sweet music despite the uncharacteristically chilly and damp weather.

It was such a pleasure to see Fat Freddy’s live again and the lads proved why they are one of NZ’s most beloved bands, from the first note they played the rugged-up Gizzy crowd were up and moving their dancing feet.

Fat Freddy’s Shiverman was a definite highlight and Anika Moa an absolute delight (she’s so bloody funny!) but I was gutted to miss Clara van Wel (we were just a wee bit too late).

A big thanks to the organisers, Brunton Road vineyard, the artists and the crowd for turning up and making a success of the Gisborne leg of the Winery Tour, fingers crossed they’ll be back in 2014.

One of my all time favourite Fat Freddy’s Drop tunes, Midnight Marauders.

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