Browsing Duty Free

No I haven’t had the good fortune to be marooned on my favourite island for over a month – sadly my island time lasted just a little over a week.  My blogging or lack-0f, due only to my obsession at the first sign of spring to madly clean everything in sight!

I did return though lightly tanned, well rested and just a few kilos heavier than I left, due in no small part to fantastic weather, wonderfully chilled-out staff and a chef I could almost have swapped my nearest and dearest for. (He never reads my blogs!!).

One of my favourite things about international travel is time to browse duty free, although if nearest and dearest is booking it’s more of a dash and grab. I’m sure he has his reasons for booking connecting flights so close together but I do come with a list and for once, (almost) didnt deviate.

Elie Saab Le Parfum edt…this is the guy that is rumoured to be designing Jessica Biel’s wedding gown for her upcoming nuptials to JT. I will probably never have in my possession one of his gorgeous creations but I do have and love his signature perfume. The edt is his summer version of the original and although a little lighter, this floral/musk has the compliments flowing regularly. Purchase No. 1.

Coco Noir…due to the judicious sales pitch of the SA I left with Chanel’s latest Noir not my favourite Coco. Feeling a tad disloyal and blaming said SA, it wasn’t instant love for me. I was however seduced by the elegant black and gold bottle and although this is marketed as a  mysterious oriental, it is on the lighter shade of dark.  More soft than sumptuous, Noir was the perfect companion for balmy Fiji nights.  Mademoiselle Chanel would approve.

Lancome Teint Miracle…Kate Middleton’s wedding foundation deserves all the accolades it gets.  On a quest to find the perfect foundation for eldest daughter with very fine, sensitive skin, this beauty really does deliver a royal glow, doesn’t clog pores and manages to keep shine at bay most of the day.

On to the MAC Counter…given that short of super-glueing lipstick to my lips, nothing seems to last past the first lick, MAC’s Prep and Prime Lip Conditioner has been on my list of must-tries for some time. Fourth purchase done and about to walk away and the lure of yet another perfect gloss had me handing over the credit car once more. The perfect nudey pink gloss for grown up gals was set to accompany me to Fiji. Verdict…Prep and Prime is great on it’s own as a balm and as a kick-butt for feathering and bleeding.  And my latest obsession, MAC Pro Longwear Lipglass in Show Me! the perfect reason to almost always deviate from my list!!


Love Fiji

 Nothing for me beats island therapy and it is no secret that my love affair with Fiji has been a long and enduring one.   I’ll fess up to enjoying  the odd  fling or two with another island but it is to my favourite tropical paradise that I am returning  for a week of Fiji time.  Balmy waters, coconut scented delights and cocktails at sunset all cry out for a laid-back beauty approach.  So  this time the trusty ol toolbox is staying at home and pared-down packing and I have just become friends.

My Island Beauty Edit…

Nivea Sunlight Feel Every Day Sun lotion – will be slathering this all over, with it’s featherweight texture and light glow effect, this SPF30 will be my beach-bag staple.  

Nivea After-Sun – after a day of sun and sea your limbs will thank you. Apply generously!!

Trilogy Rosehip Oil – my everything oil – can be trusted to do duty as a night cream, hair oil and general all-round soother for sun-scorched skin. 

Clarins Eye Revive Beauty Flash – a peepers best friend –  great as an all-nighter and even better as a morning after brightener.

Ellie Saab Le Parfum – the perfect island companion, this  jasmine/orange blossom delight packs a punch while still being deliciously feminine. Just been voted Harpers Bazaar Best Day Scent.

Dermalogica Ultra-Sensitive Face Suncreen – with Titanium Dioxide, Vitamins A,C and E, Grapeseed and Green Tea , it calms, covers and protects like no other.  

Face Wipes – for those nights when you want to stay out late or just fall into bed, this hero product is the party-gals best friend. Two swipes and sweet dreams!!

Strobe Cream – perfect on it’s own and even better under foundation, MAC’s best-selling glam moisturiser is chock full of antioxidants and can take skin from dull to radiant in a second.

Giorgio Armani Designer Lift Foundation –  would love to embrace bare-face but this is my holy grail all-time fav product. The perfect cover-up on a blaah skin-day and by far the closest thing I have ever got to having perfect skin.  Can’t leave home without it!!!!!

Sneaking in another Armani goodie, Fluid Sheer No. 3 does it all – highlights, bronzes and fakes a golden glow worthy of an A-lister.

Lippie – Just purchased Rouge in Love 159B – although a little bolder than I would normally wear (it’s Emma Watsons fav) it’s rumoured to stay on the lips and off the glass. This could be my latest obsesssion.

Spa Paradiser Sweet Coconut Lip Butter – a Pina Colada in a balm. Smelling of the sweetest coconut,  a dab of this in flight takes me one step closer to paradise. Loloma Fiji.

Take a romp through spring…

Couture houses  synonymous with elegance and wealth have been dressing the rich and famous  for decades but for most of us a puff of fragrance will be the only moment we’ll share with some of the world’s most creative. 

Here in the Antipodes our very own New Zealand Fashion Week is underway and in celebration of both fashion and fragrance I hit the beauty counters this week to capture a whiff of spring.

It was love at first spray with… 

Marc Jacobs Dot…  This guy is seriously cool and his latest fragrance, brings his obessesion with this season’s hot dot, to the masses . If you are fan of Lola then you will love the man’s version of a dotty ladybird landing on a flower. The bottle could take centre stage but the fragrance, a  blend of honeysuckle, vanilla, musk and jasmine still remains the star.

L’Eau de Chloe… With it’s soft green trademark bow and light green tint, I spritzed L’Eau de Chloe on a wet and windy morning and it was instant love – light and modern, it took me back to a time of innocence of ages past –  hallelujah to spring.

L.I.L.Y by Stella McCartney … Epitomising Brit cool, everything Stella touches turns to gold (we will forgive her the GB Olympic uniform!) and this lily of the valley inspired perfume, dedicated to her late mother Linda, is no exception. Described as like taking a romp through a spring field and arriving much later in a mossy forest, for this writer my journey of the senses lasted throughout the day. My Christmas wish-list just got bigger!!

Pleats Please by Issey Miyake … Paying homage to this Japanese designers runaway “Pleats Please”  success,  this combo of some of my favourite fruits and flowers, nashi, peony, sweet pea, vanilla and patchouli made for me an OMG moment – take a bow Mr Miyake.

Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia…Loving both gardenia and frangipani in equal amounts, I didn’t need much enticing to wear this for a day.  Add a dollop of berry, pear and brown sugar and spring is looking blooming good.

Damn rosacea

Perfect skin was something that a few of my genetically blessed friends possessed..the rest of us battled through the minefield that constitutes the teenage years, wearing with pride bright blue eyeshadow, enough rouge to look like we were auditioning for the circus and to wipeout the wicked pimples, foundation, foundation and more foundation!!

The more settled thirties and a  pared back approach to beauty then heralded the arrival of the dreaded wrinkle and the beginning of my cosmeceutical obsession. But it was in my late forties while lying back and relishing my good fortune to be enjoying a weekend at a luxury resort, that the rather serious therapist  announced that my lovely red flushed face was in fact rosacea.   Being told to swap wine for water, science for nature and that there was no cure put this beauty obsessive into cyber-space. Google rosacea and sufferers the world over, all sharing and caring, have loads of advice. My quest began with a visit to a derm and a three month prescription of doxy. My skin cleared but make-up free,  still looked like I was having a bad-blusher day!!

And so my decade journey with cosmeceuticals came to an abrupt end and I started navigating  the natural route.

Baby steps…

Changing my cleansing lotion and scrub to comfort zone’sacred nature has made a huge improvement. With  homage to high-end luxury (big tick) this eco-certified Italian spa brand promises protection with results.

Currently in my bathroom…

sacred nature bio-certified cleansing milk.

Smelling like almonds this delicate cleansing milk with buriti oil for antioxidant defence, butterfly bush extract for DNA cellular protection and shea butter and jojoba oils for nourishing, does a splendid job of taking off my makeup and leaving my skin soft and balanced.

Twice-weekly treat…

sacred nature bio-certified gommage

A creamy delicate scrub with jojoba particles – the hardest thing about this is sticking to my twice-weekly date. Instantly smoothing this is the first scrub in a long while  not to leave me red and irritated.

sacred nature

Flirting with….

Trilogy rosehip oil antioxidant+

This cult kiwi-brand product just got better with the addition of super-duper antioxidants.  As I have an oily t-zone are limiting to after dark , both alone and combined with my fav nightcream (more on that later). Early days but the future is looking bright (maybe not the right word for a rosacea sufferer).  Will up-date later.

Trilogy Rosehip


eyelash extensionsI have been a big fan of the blogging phenonomen for a while now and have flirted with the idea of my own Antipodes based blog but like alot of wannabee writers wonderered if a. I was any good? and b. what would I blog about?  And more to the point is there anyone out there that would want to read it!!????

It was with the visit of my much younger and talented sister from Melbourne, herself a theatre writer and blogger, that mybeautyobsessions became a reality and so it is to Rock that I dedicate my first review.


In just over an hour I am transformed by my fablashes therapist from a genetic lash volume deficit to possessing full and flirty peepers.  And that’s no mean feat, as not being possessed with the largest of eyes, I much prefer au natural to disco queen. Lightwight synthetic lashes are bonded on a ‘lash by lash’ basis to my natural lashes and are definately not a ‘one size fits all’ treatment. Allow at least an hour to two for the first treatment and then follow-up infills every 2-3 weeks. My morning make-up routine now just a dab of foundation, blusher and lippie and I’m good to go. The final effect on my 50+ eyes – the closest I can come to winning the lash jackpot!!!

Pros –  My quest  to find the perfect mascara over, no more poking oneself in the eye with said mascara, morning panda eyes gone and an extra 10min lie-in!

Cons – Having to learn not to have a gool ol rub of the eyes first thing in the morning.


 I love the start of winter giving me the perfect excuse to snuggle up in front of the fire, light my scented candles,  bring out my favourite cookbooks and temporarily say farewell to my lovely waxer (Yah!!).  But lately I’ve been feeling just a  bit blah  after a dose of the flu and decided the perfect antidote was to find a bit of summer lovin.  So it was with fond memories of beautiful Pacific beaches, scented frangipani and the laid-back “Aloha” feeling, that I entered the sanctuary of Oasis Spa  in my home town. 

My therapist for the day was a trained nurse with over ten years experience in Hawaiian or Lomi Lomi and Ka Huna massage, as it is also known. Able to tailormake a massage to suit the client, she asked the necessary questions and established my main concern was “sleep” or lack of it.

It was onto the warm bed from there. To the soothing sounds of the ocean and the smell of coconut,  I spent the next 90 minutes in Denise’s “loving hands”.    

In the Hawaiian tradition she uses her fingers and  hands, forearms and elbows  in a “rub and roll” technique. Hot stones are placed along the back bringing a sense of warmth and total relaxation.     

You are encouraged throughout to focus on breathing, inhaling fresh breath and exhaling all negative thoughts and tension. The hardest part was staying awake to do this.

 Although this was a pure pleasure treatment  it also promised the release of stress and tension, bringing the body back into balance. She focused on parts that were sore and with the addition of Reiki, a hands-on treatment to promote self-healing, managed to gently knead and soften  some pretty big knots.    

Virgin Coconut Oil is used throughout the treatment and while hydrating and soothing my parched winter skin instantly, the best part was that it  remained that way for days.

I floated out of Oasis, body and mind calmed and slept that night like a baby. Roll on summer!

Lomi Lomi Massage

A few of my favourite things

Like a lot of good ideas this one came about over a nice bottle of wine and plenty of wit and wisdom shared between four friends. After working for a wonderful non-profit organisation for six years I had decided it was time for a change. The idea of a summer spent by the pool appealed but aside from the fact that I would have to share space with offspring and friends and the very real threat of melanoma I knew my holiday was but a temporary one.

What were some of my favourite things? Aside from my family and friends, in no particular order, a list was underway. Magazines – from my first subscription at a tender age, a lifetime love. My first lipgloss purchase – the beginning of an infatuation, and with love from mum, the skill to tell a story.

And so from a weekend in Wellington and a push from friends my writing career was born. I can’t promise to change lives but I hope to keep you up to date with the constantly changing, but always fascinating world of beauty.


Princess Tina Magazine beauty blog

My first obsession – Princess Tina Magazine.