Race Day Ready with Auckland Racing Club

One of the reasons why I love the racing season so much is because it is one of the few times of the year where New Zealanders truly celebrate bold fashion. It is a time and place where we feel confident to put our best fashion self forward. We’re not particularly known for our bright and bold style, yet the grounds of Ellerslie Racecourse during a race day would certainly say otherwise.

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The talent behind the dramatic head pieces and statement accessories is incredible and I feel inspired watching all the milliners and DIYers put their crafty skills to the test, creating exquisite features from all sorts of bits and bobs.

Twilight Races, Boxing Day Races, Derby Day … the calendar is back to back. I love the mix and mingle atmosphere and the way the different events bring together a diverse mix of racing enthusiasts, fashion style stars and those who are out for a new social experience.

Twilight Races is next up on Thursday 12th December from 3:30pm and attracts a younger after work crowd. The fashion is slightly more relaxed with a fun evening racing meets cocktail vibe. Incorporate the bright colours or go for bold textures, interesting layering and a simple headpiece or headband.

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Get the Glamour Boutique Look

1. Frill Plunge Midi Dress in Red

Louis Vuitton from My Designer Handbag

2.Fuchsia Delight Mini Dress

Louis Vuitton from My Designer Handbag

3.Change of Heart Dress

Saint Laurent from My Designer Handbag

4.Chain of Fire Mini Dress

Louis Vuitton from My Designer Handbag

 

For all ticket and race day info visit www.ellerslie.co.nz 

See you there!

The Ultimate NZ Fashion Week Job Alert!

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Calling all up-and-coming photographers, designers, bloggers or fashion journos – Peroni is giving one lucky applicant a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the Peroni Fashion Week Ambassador. This is the ultimate Fashion Week job, bumping shoulders with those at the heart of the New Zealand fashion industry. The Peroni Ambassador will take over Peroni’s Instagram account during Fashion Week, documenting their experience through curated content and stories at the shows, back stage and at exclusive events.

The final candidate will also receive a job package consisting of NZFW VIP Delegate status, remuneration, return flights, accommodation at the Grand Millennium, access to NZFW shows and backstage, invites to exclusive events and parties, hosting by Peroni, and more.

Interested? Then ‘Show us your Peroni style’ by uploading an Instagram image using the hashtag #PeroniNZFW and visit www.peroninzfw.co.nz to apply. My advice? There is so much content on Instagram and it is getting harder and harder to get those thumbs to stop. So be creative, have fun with colour and textures. Step away from what’s already be done and be a bit daring. Demonstrate your own style, flair, unfinished?

Applications will open to the public on 3 July and close on 24 July. Applicants must be aged 25 or over as at 24 July 2019.

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Inside Queenstown’s Luxurious Penthouse: Penthouse No. 10 at Sofitel

Like the red sole of a Louboutin, Queenstown has stamped its trademark in the world of luxury. Peppered with opulence, this mystical town has people travelling from across the world for the experience.

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Situated in the heart of the town is the Sofitel. A French establishment that integrates its European elegance with authenticity into Queenstown, New Zealand. The hotel design and interior respects the natural beauty of Queenstown, with features, fabrics and textures that go some way towards matching the magnificence of its surroundings. Hues of turquoise weave through the lobby symbolising Lake Wakatipu with pops of golden highlights, a link to Queenstown’s gold mining heritage.

Elevated on the 6th floor of the hotel is the Penthouse No. 10A 225 sqm “Parisian meets alpine” styled suite overlooking Lake Wakatipu. With its breathtaking views coupled with a $2 million dollar overhaul, it’s safe to say that this suite is creating some magnificent memories for the world’s most well-travelled guests.

The double black doors open into a spacious foyer which features the first of two bathrooms. Walking into the main living area you are greeted with a colour palette of soft earthy tones, elevated with golden features, velvet textures and pops of contemporary design. I spent my first afternoon curled up on one of the generously wide cream couches, flicking my way through a book on Tom Ford, whilst peering up through the french doors every now and then to catch a glimpse of the impressive landscape that surrounded me.

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The dining room comfortably seats a dinner party of 8 and features a bar complete with everything needed for a night of cocktails and soft jazz in front of the fire. The room is enclosed by thick draping curtains that should only be pulled once the sun is down and the view disappears into darkness.

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I like how the television is left out of the main living area. It allows and encourages guests to enjoy the decor of the room with a focus on the landscape, mountains and lake that feature like art on the walls. The outside is truly part of the interior. The television is found in the second living area, a smaller enclosed movie styled room featuring a second fireplace, a lounging couch and ottomans.

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The walk through wardrobe is lined with mirrored doors. The his and hers wardrobe wraps around a large ottoman and features a full length mirror elegantly framed like a Rafael painting hanging on the wall of an art gallery.

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Through the wardrobe is the bedroom. A spacious room centered with a bed that could comfortably fit at least four of me. I woke up each morning and reached for the remote which slowly raised the blinds, revealing the misty Cecil Peak. This must be an intentional design feature, allowing blinds to open vertically, slowly climbing up the mountain until the view reached the sky.

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The bathroom is tiled with golden caramel marble. The proud features of the room are the ‘his and hers’ European styled vanities, an enclosed rain shower, a separate toilet and a standalone, considerably deep bath with a small tv at its foot. The room includes a full range of Hermès products, re-stocked daily with the room service.

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As much as I could have easily hidden myself in the suite for the entire weekend, outside of its walls the hotel offers an experience just as extraordinary. We dined on Escargots, buttery Raviolis, Osso Bucco d’Agneau and platters piled with cured meat at Left Bank, a Parisian styled Bistro located in the lobby.

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I immediately fell in love with the wine and jazz lounge, 1789, as soon as I stepped foot through the glass doors and into its romantic atmosphere. During the weekend, the sound of live jazz from inside the bar can be heard throughout the hotel lobby. Friday night we listened to a women singing Frank Sinatra behind the grand piano and on Saturday night a gorgeous young man played renditions of some of my favourite songs, such as ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ on his guitar. 

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As the sunset over the mountains, we sat in the bubbling 8 seater jacuzzi on the private rooftop balcony of the Penthouse, sipping on a glass of champagne, taking in what will definitely be the most incredible hotel I have experienced. 

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A few additions to your stay…

Glenorchy

I have spent numerous weekends in Queenstown, yet this was the first time I had made the short trip to Glenorchy. It is just as picturesque as they say. A 40min drive around Lake Wakatipu, each corner turned reveals another scenic stretch of country road and more spectacular views of the lake. Every inch of scenery simply took my breath away. I would absolutely recommend hiring a car and getting lost amongst the valleys one afternoon.

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No5 Church Lane

Queenstown has proudly set a high standard of fining dining. It can be difficult to choose which of the intimate and cosy establishments to dine in when limited to only one weekend. Staying in the No10 suite we decided to stay in theme and dine at No5 Church Lane. A dimly lit, sophisticated bistro located right in the heart of the town. I can absolutely put my name behind how incredible both the food and atmosphere were. With a newly refreshed menu featuring delicate dishes such as Fried Kumara Dampers or Hangi Style Vegetables, their cocktails were just as impressive. Soak up the personality of Queenstown by night, as you make the short walk from the Sofitel.

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I have spent the last two years shooting in the lobbies of the Accor Hotels. To be invited to stay with them in Queenstown was an honor and I am incredibly grateful for the hospitality and experience I had during this trip. A huge thank you to the Accor and Sofitel Queenstown team for making this all possible. I do hope that my review and photos do your brand justice. I look forward to coming back soon.

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Photos: Jared Donkin

Outfits: Trelise Cooper and Witchery Fashion

hollyxxx

The Range Rover Evoque, Sky High in the City of Sails

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I was introduced to the Land Rover family earlier this year through my role as the Land Rover NZ Polo Ambassador. Stemming from this, I am now immensely grateful for and appreciate the opportunity to work more closely with Land Rover and am excited to help them launch their newest addition The Range Rover Evoque.

You can take the girl out of the city but you can’t take the city out of the girl

Despite my love for the countryside and the quintessential Land Rover, I was excited to hear that Range Rover were about to launch the new Evoque, a model designed for the contemporary city life. Considering I spend my weekdays rushing from meeting to meeting, my after work time navigating the small streets of Ponsonby and my weekends working on my blog, bouncing around the city from shoot to shoot, the Evoque is a great fit. Branching out from the larger Land Rover family, it is not hard to see at first sight that this vehicle is designed for the most challenging inner city parallel parks and tight, sharp, street corners.

Its what’s on the inside that counts

The Evoque is incredibly compact for an SUV and the design team have done a brilliant job, designing the cabin with minimal visual clutter.  With a love for fashion, I appreciate the elegant lines and contemporary materials that have been used to craft the interior.

Men will never fully understand a women’s appreciation for natural light. I will kneel in any corner to capture the right light when applying my make up and always prefer to shoot outside. The Evoque must be a woman, as she has chosen to feature a sliding panoramic roof that opens to fill her cabin with natural light plus this feature creates a wonderful sense of space.

#OOTD

The outfit of the Evoque is just as impressive as its interior. With its sophisticated coupe like silhouette, flush door handles that deploy with the press of a button and a set of striking “heels” the Evoque is building a designer legacy just as the Diors of the world have done with fashion.

So here she is, the Range Rover Evoque, sky high in the city of sails.

(Shot by the incredible Jared Donkin. Wearing Trelise Cooper Spring 19 collection and Mi Piaci)

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The Conscious Exclusive Collection by H&M

I am incredibly proud to partner with H&M for my second year to help launch and celebrate their beautiful and alluring Conscious Exclusive Collection. Fast fashion is a controversial topic and although fashion giants like H&M are at the forefront of seasonal trends, it is good to see the conscious efforts that HM are making to help support and drive sustainable fashion.

“By next year, 2020, the goal at H&M is to use only 100% recycled or other sustainably sourced cotton. H&M is currently at 95 % sustainably sourced cotton of the total materials used.”

I have always bought pieces that I can integrate into my style as it changes over the years. I have H&M pieces that are over 7 years old and although trends have changed, they remain permanent residents in my wardrobe and I enjoy styling them into new season styles. It’s about being smart when I shop and focusing on building a collection of pieces that can reinvent themselves, like my H&M cannery yellow blazer which I bought in LA for $5! I must admit there were a few years when it went into hiatus but I’m glad I kept it as oversized blazers are back in full force.

The aim of the Conscious Exclusive collection is to move H&M’s fashion and sustainability innovation forward. By incorporating innovative sustainable fabrics and challenging what ‘sustainable fashion’ looks like “They should be beautiful, made with sustainability at its core, but also cherished by the wearer to have a long life”.

Each collection sees the team at H&M incorporate new and innovative materials. Last year it was Econyl and Tencel and this year they have debuted a mix of Piñatex, Orange Fiber and BLOOMTM Foam. The spiritual and earthy vibes of this year’s collection is inspired by the wonders of the earth.

“The inspiration focuses around our well-being, the 7 chakras and about appreciating the fantastic wonders around us, in nature, art and medicinal plants, while at its healing powers; both physical and emotional, that connects people to nature. the same time also embracing technology and innovation in the development of more sustainable materials and processes.”

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Shot by Jared Donkin

Shoes Mi Piaci

hollyxxx

 

Frill Seeker

I am so excited and grateful to be working with the NZ Polo Open this year as their event ambassador, sharing the sport and wider experience to a new audience and adding a bit of fashion along the way. Here is my full interview from the recent NZ Polo Open mag in the Herald at So Hotel with LandRover and Superette.

How did you wind up being a style blogger?

I work in social media, specialising in influencer marketing so to be able to understand what’s required to create content from an influencer perspective helped me understand how best to work with them on behalf of my clients. So that coupled with my passion for fashion, led to a blog and a slowly growing family of local followers on Instagram.

Any involvement in polo – do you play, ride, watch?

I was first introduced to polo by my girlfriend Sami. I went along to the NZ Polo Open with her one year, stomped some divots and drunk champagne under her friends gazebo in the boot park. I spent the afternoon sitting in a camping chair watching the ponies race from end to end. It really is one of the most exhilarating sports to watch.

In-between chuckas I equally enjoyed all the gorgeous fashion strolling past, a mix of the true polo fans and those who were wandering out from the Verve and LandRover areas. That’s what I love about this event. It brings together a true mix of people, the polo community and those who are out for a new social experience. I’ve had a lesson but apparently I look too upright so maybe I need to go back a for a few more ha ha ha

What’s a failsafe outfit for the polo?

Ohhhhh where to start! This season I’m loving delicate layers, gorgeous sleeve details, large bows and two piece sets. I am a girl who loves colour and there is definitely room for pops of colour throughout the polo crowd, but a failsafe option would be keeping to the softer pastels, whites, creams or linen… do pop in a bright lippy or a bit of colour with a statement shoe though!

What advice would you give for a first-time polo attendee?

Watch your champagne intake and take the time to learn a bit about the game before you go. Its easy to let the day can get away on you with all the socialising and people watching, but I would urge you to get behind and support the reason we are all there in the first place.

Where do you stand on heels at the polo?

I wouldn’t want to spend the day balancing on the grass trying not to fall over in front of thousands of spectators. So in my opinion heels are simply a no. A wedge or a thick heel if you prefer the height, but there are few events of this nature where a stylish flat is perfectly acceptable so this is a great excuse to add a new pair of flats to your collection.

Are there ever days where you hate everything in your wardrobe and, if so, what do you end up wearing?

I wouldn’t say there is anything I hate in my wardrobe. I am good at donating to charity every 6 months so I try and keep my wardrobe to pieces I actually wear. But I do get behind on my ironing so there are definitely days where I have nothing to wear as its all backed up in that pile. On those days I tend to wear high waisted jeans, a silk singlet, a blazer and a high pair of stilettos (the one thing that can pull together the most average of outfits).

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Wild Horses

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Being the inner city girl I am I hadn’t spent much time in the country. My brother recently moved to a rural property just out of Auckland and I found myself quickly falling in love with everything that defined the country life. Driving down the gravel road, winding down the windows so I can take in the smell of the surrounding paddocks and watching the stars in the stillness of the night, it is a complete contrast to my city life but one that I now appreciate and unexpectedly crave

My friend Nkima was over from London and had reached out to see if I wanted to shoot something special during her travels. I knew immediately where I needed to take her. We drove south, through torrential rain until we reached Ainsley Polo farm. The sun had fought its way through the clouds for us and we spent the evening with my friend Lucy, amongst her beautiful ponies watching the sun set over the hills. This shoot will forever be one of my most memorable

Despite their size and strength, horses don’t intimidate me. That might sound naive of me but I don’t feel any sense of fear in their company. As I sat in their field they slowly approached my sniffing my dress and nudging my side. They were equally intrigued with me as I was with them

Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones started singing in my head as we began to shoot….
No sweeping exit or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away
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Wearing Trelise Cooper and Witchery Fashion
Shot at Ainsley Polo
Photographer Niki M Photography
hollyxxx

One Morning in Paris – H&M Around the World

One morning I woke to message on Instagram from a young Parisian photographer Adem. He was reaching out to compliment my use of colour and the aesthetic of my feed. He mentioned that if I were ever in Paris, he would love to collaborate and show me around the streets of his home town. Three months later we met outside a local cafe in the 7th district, grabbed a coffee and croissant with my darling Sami Downey, and spent the morning shooting amongst his streets and against backdrops that I had only ever dreamed of.

This is one part of my series Around the World with H&M. This shoot features pieces from the Bonjour Paris collection, a limited edition edition collection that celebrates the French Contemporary style and one that has had a huge influence on my own and I know Sami’s.

This was our morning in the city of love.

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hollyxxx

Two Days in the City of Angels for the Solo Traveller

In my twenties my budget was limited, and the opportunities to travel would come after months of stringent saving. Each day was precious and I would squish in as much as the day would allow, waking early and walking right through until dawn. But that is how you should travel in your twenties, seeing and experiencing everything, regardless of a lack of sleep or tired legs.

Now Im 33 and although the days are just as precious, Ive seen the sites – especially in LA. I’ve sat under the Hollywood sign, walked the boulevard and experienced the diverse range of cocktail and dive bars. This time I wanted to wake naturally, sip my coffee from my hotel room over looking the city without any plans, and just wander under the palm trees against the balmy breeze.

Although I had a few friends to catch up with, I spent most of my days exploring alone. There is something quite liberating about wandering a somewhat unfamiliar city without anyone to fall back on. I walk my own path without compromise, allowing each new turn guide me to new pockets of a city. But with that freedom comes a sense of insecurity.

As a solo traveller, I value the advice and recommendation of other solo travellers. Not only for their personal experiences exploring, but for their advice on travelling safe. If you are to travel solo, experience the most out of each opportunity, meet the people and explore the hidden streets with confidence by investing in a comprehensive travel insurance plan. For this trip I partnered with Worldcare Travel Insurance who provided me with a complimentary GoComprehensive policy that included the higher limits and extended benefits I needed to feel secure and confident exploring while in safe hands as a single women in my thirties!

My taxi dropped me at the entrance to The Beverly Hills Hotel. Its peachy pink walls and immaculately landscaped grounds are somewhat intimidating. Walking through the entrance I thought of all the celebrities that have walked up the same stairs on their way to The Polo Lounge and all the famous producers that have sipped on their cocktail while signing movie deals. I sat at my table for one, in the 9am sunshine with my muesli and  green juice, watching the guests filter in for breakfast. If you enjoy people watching, this is where you want to locate yourself for a few hours. Take a stroll through the grounds and around the bungalows covered by arching banana trees. The place is an Instagram dream.

From there I walked down North Beverly Drive and into the hub of Rodeo Drive. The neighbourhood streets are so wide yet relatively quiet. There is a real mix of housing. From Spanish styled homes to french county inspired properties landscaped to perfection. It was such a dreamy stroll. Rodeo is beautiful. Its peaceful window shopping during the early morning, plus you miss the snap happy tourists. The YSL flagship store is the largest in America and is the home to my dream wardrobe. 

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From there I took a cab to West Hollywood to Alfred Tea. Nestled into North Alfred Street, Alfred Tea is a picturesque tea room serving up delicious thai tea, matcha and nut milk goodness to addicted locals. I sat outside in the courtyard eavesdropping on a young girl confidently interviewing a string of hopeful retail staff. Others had their laptops out working away in the sun. Thats what I love about LA, everyone is out and about, making the most of what their community has created. Opposite the street is Isabel Marant tucked into a lusciously green courtyard. A beautifully photo op.LRG_DSC02054LRG_DSC02041IMG_4501From here its an easy stroll down Melrose. Home to Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and a string of brightly coloured feature walls, there is no shortage of Instagram spots on this street! But Melrose is like the Brady Bunch of the family of suburbs in LA. It’s a mix of vintage stores, higher end designers, gorgeous furniture stores and boutique eateries like Carrera. The LA heat can get a bit much during the peak of the day, so I popped into the corner cafe for a kale salad, hooked up to their free wifi and watched the young girls pop in for their ‘LA’ sprinkled coffee, posing by the old school pink phone that hung on the wall. Attracting many of the worlds fashion bloggers it has become a must see attraction for millennial tourists!LRG_DSC02067LRG_DSC02068LRG_DSC02070IMG_4820IMG_4489The next day I took a cab out to Venice beach. Although being about 45mins drive, taxis are relatively cheap so I definitely recommend taking the trip out. I would suggest staying away form the hustle of the main strip and explore the back streets and canals and peer into the multi million dollar properties (most of which are holiday homes). Each house has its own character that I assume reflects that of its owner, illustrating the diversity found within the Venice community. From large modern homes like Karens off Californication, to tiny little cottages that have been well loved and passed down through generations. It’s unique side of LA that makes exploring its streets so interesting. My favourite was the little home that lived behind the pink flamingo fence. AN5A4078AN5A3626IMG_4810I popped out both nights for a bite to eat and a cocktail. The first night I met a friend at Mama Shelter, a relaxed rooftop venue in Hollywood that has the most striking view of the sun setting over the hills. Dressed with tropical plants and sprawling loungers this is the perfect spot for a casual evening drink or a relaxed dinner with friends.

The second night I popped out to Catch. An LA hotspot for the rich and famous (apparently). A rooftop sanctuary covered in floral creeping vines and exposed brick walls. With a 2 week wait list it seems this is a spot that can be quite selective with its guests, not surprising knowing that it caters of the likes of Quincey Jones, David Beckham and the Jenner girls. After a course of sharing dishes such as Lobster Rolls and Wagyu Short Rib Tacos and a few Lush Lemonade cocktails, we ventured out to the streets, through the awaiting paparazzi and back home to bed.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to partner with Worldcare Travel Insurance who have supported my trip around the world, across 7 countries, helping me write, capture and share my experiences. See more about my GoComprehensive Plan here*and apply my code for 10% off LIFEINMYTHIRTIES10

 See you again soon LA, take care of your angels.IMG_4686

*Disclaimer
*Policy terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision please consider the policy wording. 10% discount offer is valid for online purchases only and expires on August 31 2018. 10% discount applies to Worldcare standard pricing and any additional premium for pre-existing medical cover but does not apply to any additional premium for specified items or other discounted offers.

 

A YSL Kind of Beauty

“The most beautiful make up on a woman is passion…. but cosmetics are easier to buy” 

– Yves Saint Laurent

I was asked the other day what my truth was. It was during a sound bowl healing session and I was asked to write it down, scroll it up and keep it on my heart during the ceremony.  My truth is my passion. I am passionate in the way I love, both romantically and towards my friends and family. I am passionate about creating and living a life where I am content and fulfilled and I am passionate in my work, what I do and what I can achieve.

To me success comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. Some of my most memorable success stories have been as simple as feedback or recognition shared in a sentence via email. Some are the opportunities to write and collaborate with brands I had once dreamed of working with. YSL Beauty was one of them.

It is important to me to be genuinely passionate about each of the brands I choose to work with. Not only do I need to represent and reflect their brand but their brand needs to reflect mine. Being a gold girl and a lover of a dash of luxury,  I had always wanted to dress my make up stand with the golden details and features that wrap each of the YSL Beauty products.

So here I am, a woman wearing both my passion and a line of the most luxurious cosmetics created. Grateful.

 

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This month I am helping YSL Beauty celebrate the launch of their new Colour Correcting Blur Primers and their first make up setting spray. I have only recently started using primers and now they are a staple in my makeup routine. They come in three shades, Orange for tanned/olive skin, Pink for all complexions and Blue for fair skin.

On application they smooth the skin flawlessly, evening and illuminating the skin tone, prepping the skin for your foundation. The formulae is light and weightless which I love as I don’t feel like I am adding layers of unnecessary product. I prefer a natural lightweight look and since wearing this new range I have had numerous comments on my skin.

Although I opt for a natural look, I need a full and lasting coverage as I don’t tend to top up my make up during the day. The All Hours 24 Hour foundation is a SPF 20, oil free and non-pore clogging foundation that does just as it says it does – lasts all day. It is infused with black tea antioxidant complex, protecting the skin from pollution while protecting my skin from dullness and fatigue.

I’m sure you have had a friend or family member share their love for the Touche Eclat Radiant Touch Pen. It has confidently established itself as a makeup ‘must have’ for woman of all cultures. It is a highlighting essential and is easily applied under the eye, across the top of the cheek bone or as I like to use it – under the arch of my eye brow to highlight and define the area. It can also be used to plump up the lip, quickly remove dark circles or to correct the fall out of mascara or eye shadow.

The golden make up fixer – Top Secrets Make Up Setting Spray is the final touch to a flawless look. I have been carrying this in my bag to also give a quick mist mid day. It sets as a protective layer keeping the make up in place with its Moroccan Walnut Leaf Extract and Jojoba Oil, hydrating the skin while keeping it radiant and glowing.

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So this is my new YSL Beauty make up family – simple, lightweight and flawless.

Colour Correcting Blur Primers $93

All Hours 24 Hour Foundation $101

Touche Eclat Radiant Touch Pen $69

Top Secrets Make Up Setting Spray $85

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YSL Urban Getaways

It’s as if this collection was made and launched for me as I am about to jet off to experience my dream Urban Getaway! Exploring LA, NYC and skipping across the great cities of Europe, I now have a makeup collection packed and ready that celebrates the Northern Hemisphere Summer and is inspired by the beauty of a city adventure.

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I will be creating some colourful summer looks to compliment the many outfits I have packed and I can’t wait to share these with you!

Couture Palette Collector – $126

Rouge Volupte Shine lipstick – $66

Rouge Volupte Tint in Balm – $66

 

hollyxxx

Weekend Parfait – with Sofitel

I quite openly have a few guilty pleasures – shoes, fine dining, candles and fresh flowers. But a weekend escape at a luxurious hotel would be the top of the list. I remember when I was travelling through Asia in my early twenties, I saved up enough money to book myself into one of the 5 star hotels. I was by myself and didn’t leave the room for 2 days. I loved spending the time alone, ordering room service and inroom massages. I appreciate the experience that a stay in a beautiful hotel offers and this was something I was willing to sacrifice a few more nights on the island for.

Noting much has changed since then, I will mix in a few 5 start hotels when I travel but that doesn’t mean I am flippant with my money. I just choose to sacrifice other things in order to allow for my hotel experiences. I rarely go out in the months leading up to my trips and can live quite happily on the basics. So I do.

My first Sofitel experience was during a trip down to Queenstown. As I do, I chose to save up so I could experience my weekend away at the French establishment on the lakefront. To this day it was one of my most memorable hotel experiences (and I have had a lot). The french butler knocked on the door a little after we were settled in. He introduced himself as our main point of contact during our stay. He was beautifully mannered and immaculately dressed in a Parisian styled three piece. So when Sofitel Wellington asked me to spend a weekend away with them, I was confident that this experience would live up to the first.

Aki, Claire Andrew and I packed our suitcases with 20 odd kgs of outfits and accessories to see our way through two full days of shooting. As you will know from my Instagram feed, I am drawn to contrasting patterns, bold colours and detail. I like to shoot in settings that draw you in, backgrounds that have you zooming to explore a little further. Sofitel Wellington was about to be the feature of some of my favourite photos to date.

The French influence paints its way through the hotel picking up and celebrating the local Wellington flavour as it flows through each of the beautifully created spaces. Deep forest green velvet loungers are complimented by the golden bronzed glow of the lobby bar. The foyer lined with mint green, high back arm chairs carry you through to Jardin Grill, a restaurant that has confidently established itself as a uniquely exquisite dining experience. It is no surprise that it is also the most expensive restaurant fit out in New Zealand with the custom floral wall paper that sings its way up the walls and across the ceiling.

The rooms define luxury – sleek and golden. The black tiled bathroom pops with golden features while the bedroom lightens with warm tones and fabrics encouraging you to snuggle in and experience the bespoke Sofitel bed – yes they have their own bed line that is made in France and shipped around the world to ensure they can control the quality and consistency of their luxurious sleeping experience! It is no surprise that they stretch the window across the width of the room. At first glance it can easily be mistaken for a painting. The lush green hills are quite literally picture perfect.

The hotel sits on the hill above Lambton Quay. Take one of the small walkways that connects The Terrace to Lambton Quay and you are in the hub of the shopping district in minutes. David Jones is a must. Peruse the Christian Louboutons and Valentinos or spritz yourself in Tom Ford and Jo Malone. Wellington is definitely a city to explore by foot (wrapped in a jacket and scarf on those windy days of course).

The streets are built up around the culture of the city. The designers and high end stores are found in pockets scattered across the CBD with some of the best coffee stops and restaurants found down the alley ways. I blogged about Havana Bar in my last blog here. We enjoyed a lunch of champagne and perfectly cooked pork belly followed by a mini photo shoot capturing the colours and latin influence. After a quick stop at Wellington Chocolate factory tasting their free trade delectable dark chocolates we were soon back in our rooms for the 5th outfit change before enjoying a few of the gin cocktails in the lobby bar.

Dinner was a mix of blogger chat, planning our shoots for the following day and worrying about the food ‘fomo’ we would get if we were to order different dishes. I started with an entree of Paua and Scallops, followed by Wagyu with (believe it or not) the most deliciously moreish brussels sprouts! The plan was to pop out for a night cap but as we sank into our chairs after trying to finish every last crumb on the table, we rolled our way back to bed. I couldn’t be happier as I lay like a star fish and drifted off to sleep in quite possibly the worlds most comfortable bed.

Two days simply wasn’t enough. I’m sitting in the lounge watching the rain bucketing down as I write this, feeling more inclined to book my next trip down. An easy hour flight, it is the perfect way to spend a rainy weekend, a romantic getaway or an escape on your own for one of New Zealand’s most luxurious hotel experiences at Sofitel Wellington.

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