With the opening of the new Queen Street Mecca Maxima, I was dying to head on in and check out all the new brands they had to offer. The store on Queen Street was beautiful and my plan of going in early when they opened worked perfectly as I was in and out before the mayhem even started.

Mecca Maxima offer a range of brands such as Stila, Nars, Too Faced, Urban Decay, Kevyn Aucoin and more. It was great to see different brands stocked that we don´t tend to have easy access to, here in New Zealand.

I was on the hunt for some products as I´ve decided I´ll be doing my own hair and makeup for my wedding. This was a tough decision, but with budgeting, we had to try and cut costs where we could. Plus I´m capable of doing it myself, so it made sense!

The staff were very lovely and helpful during the entire time I was there. I even got 2 little samples of some products to try, that I was unsure of. I love this, because it is not often that we get to sample products here in NZ. This way, I could test out the product, without committing to an entire bottle full of it. I think we have all been in that situation during one time or another, where we are stuck with a product that didn´t work for us.

After trying out a few different brands of makeup, I found the Kevyn Aucoin range. I´ve heard of a few of their products so decided to test them out myself. Mecca Maxima don´t stock the full range, however they had a decent amount there.

The Etherealist Skin Illuminating Foundation

As soon as I tested this out on my hand in store, I knew I had to have it. The foundation was SO stunning and glowing. It offers a light to medium buildable coverage and of course a killer glow to the skin. I love how light it is, so you don´t feel like you are wearing makeup. The foundation also mixes in well with the other products I purchased, so I can change up the consistency and coverage if I need to. At the moment I´m working out which combinations work the best for me, so I can figure out what to wear on my special day. I´ve also mixed this with my Becca Ultimate Coverage Foundation, which is very thick and matte. It sheers it out and whilst still giving me full coverage, adds the glow from within look as well.

The Sensual Skin Enhancer

I feel as though this product is one of Kevyn Aucoin´s cult products. I have watched many YouTube videos where people rave about this multi-purpose concealer. I found the colour selection really great and there is something for everyone. I chose my shade SX01 as I am very pale and thought it would also double up as an under eye brightening concealer. The great this about this product is that you can mix it with anything and create your own little concoction. I´ve tried it mixed in with the Etherealist Skin Illuminating Foundation and Celestial Skin Liquid Lightning. I´ve also tried it out on it´s own as a concealer. Each time, it has worked well as it covers up any imperfections and adds extra coverage where you need it.

The Celestial Skin Liquid Lighting

I chose the colour Sunlight in this liquid illuminator as I thought it would add a stunning golden glow, especially in summer or with a tan. As soon as I swatched this in the store, I knew I had to have it. A little goes a very long way, it is great as an all over illuminator to give you a bronzy glow, or mixed in with your foundation. At the moment I am a bit too pale, so I mix it in with my foundation. It is also beautiful when dabbed on the cheekbones as a highlight.

The Angled Foundation Brush

SPLURGE item! I wasn´t so sure about purchasing this brush but it felt so amazing I thought, why the heck not! It is super luxurious to use, so if you love brushes, definitely check out the range. I selected the angled foundation brush as I thought it would be great to use as a contour brush as well. The brush is very soft and buffs the makeup into the skin beautifully.

The Neo Highlighter

I picked up the Neo Highlighter in the shade Sahara. It has a beautiful ombre effect from a muted rose to pearl. The highlighter is very finely milled and creates a gorgeous glowy sheen on the skin. I loved how effortless it looked. I dust this on the high points of my face for an all over glow. It also doubles up as a luminous blush when I dip my brush into the darker end of the palette. Another added bonus is that for $94 you get 21g of product, in comparison with their $70 Celestial Highlighters which are only 3g of product.

I also picked up the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray and as an added bonus was lucky enough to get my Beauty Loop gift with a Mecca Cosmetica Primer and Setting Spray (BONUS). Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and the products Mecca Maxima had to offer. I´ll definitely be back in the future, but maybe only once my bank account has recovered.

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CAKES! They must be one of the most exciting things to organise in a wedding. Think of all the cake tastings (not too good for the wedding figure though). I was super excited to try out cakes for the wedding but to be honest, it was not at all what I expected.

This post might end up being a little bit of a downer, but I’m just going to keep it real and give my honest opinion about my experience and a little advice for those of you, who are looking to book your wedding cakes.

I booked in with 2 places, for cake tastings. In hindsight, I could have tried out a lot more, but these places came strongly recommended by people I know, so I thought why not? They’re also well known establishments with a good name, so I figured they would be great, right? Well… not exactly.

We all have different tastes in food and what comes with that are different expectations. I went into the first establishment for a cake tasting. They charged $25 and provided a range of flavours which sounded quite nice. I was a little surprised when the cakes came out, as they actually looked like the cupcakes that were available in the cabinet but had been cut in half. The portion size was definitely enough to share, as after a couple bites you become quite full (or at least I did).

I  found the cake itself was very dry and had no flavour at all. The icing was extremely sweet and gritty (too much icing sugar) and although it was supposed to be cream cheese based with different flavours, I could not taste any cream cheese. The flavours were also extremely subtle, so you were left with a dry cake with overly sweet icing. None of the flavours wowed me or my partner at all and we were left feeling quite disheartened and disappointed. We had also discussed the design of the cake, going for a 3 tier, feeding 50 people. However, the business was not able to create the overall look I wanted for the cake which was another disappointment. Not to mention the quote which came out at almost a whopping $900. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous for a cake that would not even look the way I want.

After closing that door, we checked out another establishment that specialises in cupcakes. They charged $30 for 6 whole cupcakes (much more affordable than the last place). They had been strongly recommended by a couple we know. After going in and selecting a range of 6 cupcakes (it was explained that as a wedding cake they would be a bit different and not as overpowering with the icing) we cut them in quarters and shared with our family. Sadly, we were left feeling pretty disappointed again. Although the cupcakes were nicer than the previous company, they were extremely sweet and the cake was dry. Thankfully the icing was not gritty, although they were much the same. My family were all rather unimpressed as well, so it was back to the drawing board.

I started to think I had some unrealistic expectation of a wedding cake. I was under the impression they were dense but moist, with a lot of flavour. All I wanted was a lemon curd cake, was it that hard!? I even began to debate making it myself but knew it would be far too stressful. I had tried a Little and Friday Lemon and Gin cake a few months prior, so everything I was trying, was being compared to that.

I ended up attending a few bridal shows were there were samples of cakes – this is a great idea as you can get a good feel of whether or not their cakes are something you like. This is also where I sampled a beautiful moist wedding cake. It was almost exactly what I wanted! It turns out, it was the same place that had actually made my engagement cake. At the time, I was interested in trying out some other places to compare. This is something I could not recommend enough. Even though you might end up not liking other places, it at least confirms that your original thoughts were correct.

I ended up having an in depth consultation at Magnolia Kitchen where we discussed the flavours of the cake and icing. We also talked at length about the design and Bets was more than happy to create my dream look. The quote was also far more reasonable so we booked it in!

What I learnt from this process was that it is good to shop around, compare different places and not rush into a decision. There are so many different companies out there these days and the market is huge. You will find what you want. Although at the time it was frustrating, I can see what it was ultimately leading me to.

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I recently decided to change things up a bit in the hair department. I tend to get over things after a while and with so many different products on the market, I’m eager to try them all out. After about a year of using my Kerastase Therapiste hair products, I thought I would give Oribe a go.

Oribe first came to my attention about 3 years ago with their cult Dry Texturising Spray. Since then, the brand has become a lot more accessible around the world and well known. There are a number of shampoos, conditioners and styling products available, but before I splurged (they are pretty damn pricey) I thought I would check out some reviews first.

Overall, people were generally really impressed with the range, with there being a few misses. In particular, I looked into the Oribe Gold Lust range which is specifically designed to repair and restore the hair. Having quite a lot of bleach in my hair, I need to keep it strong whilst still nourished. So I bit the bullet and purchased the Gold Lust Shampoo and Conditioner. I was tempted by the Transformative Masque as well but restrained myself (this time).

I purchased my products via a Wellington hair salon named Sable. They allow you to order retail products online which I thought was quite convenient. When the product arrived, they were beautifully wrapped in maroon tissue paper and a Sable sticker. They also came with a small personal message which I thought was a nice touch.

Oribe packaging itself is absolutely stunning as you will see below. The bottles are even more luxurious. The Gold Lust range have black and white ombre bottles with metallic gold branding. They look beautiful displayed in your bathroom and every time I use them, I feel that little bit special.

Upon first use of the shampoo, I found it was a slightly transparent creamy colour, with a gold shimmer running through it. When shampooing, it spread evenly and lathered up quite nicely. There is not much of a scent when you smell the shampoo, it is very subtle. I could smell it more, once lathered in the hair. I always shampoo twice and found my hair had a squeaky clean feeling (and sound) to it. I love this, because during the week I use a fair bit of my Batiste Dry Shampoo, so I need to ensure I have removed it thoroughly.

Initially I was a little apprehensive about the Gold Lust Conditioner. I’ve always swapped them out for Masques instead, as I like something a little more intense and nourishing. Since growing my highlights out, I’ve found my hair tends to become oilier a lot quicker (no bleach at the roots to dry it out). So I thought I would go for something a bit lighter this time round. I’m actually so glad I did. The conditioner is light and creamy, it spreads evenly through my hair and has a beautiful perfumed scent. I leave it in for 2minutes and rinse and WOW is my hair soft and silky.

Since using Oribe for the past 2 weeks, I have noticed that when I leave my hair to dry naturally, it is more manageable and does not become fluffy. I’ve also noticed when I dry it off, it almost looks as if I have straightened it and I barely have to do anything. I had begun to notice my hair needing to be shampooed almost daily, however I can now go 2-3 days.

Overall I am really impressed with the Oribe Gold Lust range and couldn’t recommend it more. I can’t wait to purchase a few other products, to test out.

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Image sourced from Merci Bouquet (Instagram)

 

FLOWERS! The amount of options that are out there at the moment are phenomenal. I love so many different themes, colours and trends of flowers, however I have done some serious research and managed to narrow my options right down.

I personally found it was so easy to get carried away when looking at potential flowers for the wedding. Each different style can take your overall theme in a totally different direction. Sometimes I feel like I should just help all my friends plan their weddings, so I can live vicariously through the range of themes they decide upon.

I think because I had an overall picture of what I wanted for the wedding, I was able to decide pretty quickly that I would go for a neutral palette when it came to flowers. Something that is very “in” at the moment is a lot of texture, the “wild flower” look, large bouquets, cascading centrepieces and a lot of greenery. This is exactly what I decided to go for.

I think it is important to save pictures of flowers that catch your eye. What I noticed by doing this, is that when I went back to have a look through my photos, that there was a common theme. I realised I was screen shotting images that included a pop of burgundy or plum throughout the bouquets. They also had a lot of thistles and berries, which I thought was really pretty.

After this I contacted a number of florists I followed on Instagram. It is pretty vital that you are confident in the person you choose to arrange your flowers, as it is not like they can necessarily carry out a trial for you. I had 3 florists I was interested in as they had been featured in a number of magazines and editorials. These florists all fit within the theme I was after, which I feel is quite important. There is no use contacting someone who creates for example, perfect posy looking florals, if you are after something more wild and unstructured.

I was quite thorough when emailing my potential florists by including pictures, dimensions for certain things and an outline of what I would need. All 3 were amazing at getting back to me and sending me a rough quote. For my own peace of mind I also organised to meet with them to discuss further in person. This is something I could not recommend more. It is so important to meet a majority of your vendors as you need to get a feel for them as a person, and see whether or not you have complete confidence in them to carry out their job.

Once meeting with my florist we discussed in depth the flowers that would be available during the season, went over different looks I was after and I asked for her advice, after all she is the professional! I felt so confident that my florist understood what I was after. She was able to show me images that she thought I would be interested in and give me her personal opinion about whether or not what I wanted, would tie in with the overall theme.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my experience and some of these tips are useful, for when you plan your own wedding.

 

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For the past few months, I’ve consistently been taking Isagenix again. However, for the past month, I’ve added in a cleanse day, in order to prep for the big day and lose a little pesky weight.

Isagenix is a nutritional cleansing program, which you can use to lose weight, or you can simply use, to add more nutrition into your diet. The reason a lot of people take Isagenix is because it definitely gives you results, but also it contains a lot of nutritional value, that we don’t get from our fruit/veges anymore, due to our soil being so contaminated. Most of the time, our bodies are also not absorbing certain vitamins or minerals.

I personally enjoy this system, due to the taste and convenience. I have also begun to notice a change in my body, where everything is feeling just that little bit firmer/tighter, and I am starting to lose a few kilos.

Today I thought I would share what I’ve added into my eating routine. I could be a lot stricter with the way I eat, and therefore would achieve faster results, but I decided to take things slow and steady. In the past when I’ve gone cold turkey, in terms of changing my eating patterns, I’ve failed miserably.

There is a vast range of other products, however these are the ones I am currently using and enjoying. I’ve also added some extra supplements I take from Clinicians, just to share how I have been finding them.

 

Morning

Each morning I have a Dairy Free IsaLean Shake in Chocolate. I used to always have the Whey shakes, which come in a range of different flavours, however I felt I should try to cut out dairy, in most cases or where I could. The dairy free option is made up of rice protein and pea protein. It is by far the best tasting rice/pea protein I have ever had, which is why I’ve continued to buy it for so long.

Each shake is classified as a meal, with 24g of protein. In a box, you receive 14 individual packets of the shake. This is a great option for vegetarians or vegans, as you can keep up your daily protein intake.

I like to add Isagenix Greens to my shakes, as it is another convenient way to up my vege intake. It contains Chlorella and Spirulina alongside a range of vitamins and minerals. These come in single serves which are awesome if you travel quite a bit too. You would expect the greens to taste awful however, they are very sweet and delicious. I find they blend perfectly with the shakes.

I tend to add 3 drops of Clinicians Selenium Oral Drops and 10-15 drops of Clinicians Zinc Oral Drops, to my shake each morning as well. After speaking to my naturopath, she explained I was low in these areas so I thought this would be an easy way to combat. You don’t taste them at all, and they blend right up into the shake. I buy my Clinicians supplements from Healthpost as they’re often cheaper than the recommended retail price, and shipping is cheap and fast!

I ensure I take Clinicians DIM – Women’s Hormone Support, morning and night. I found after coming off the mini pill a few years ago, I had an estrogen overload. Since taking this, the past year and a half, I’ve noticed it’s helped to stabilise my moods and hormones. If you’re someone who struggles with moods, especially around that time of the month, check it out.

Since seeing my naturopath, I take a combination of herbs, which support my liver, digestive system and hormones. After I take this each morning and night, I also have a 30ml shot of Isagenix Ionix Supreme. This is a fruity tonic, which contains a range of vitamins and minerals. I especially enjoy taking it for it’s taste and the way it makes me feel. It contains a range of essential B vitamins and more. In the morning, I feel more energised and my mind is clearer. When I take it at night, I sleep so well and I’ve even stopped grinding my teeth! I hadn’t take this for about 6months and I really regretted it! This comes in both a liquid and powder formula.

Daytime

During the day I tend to eat whatever, I am slowly becoming more mindful of what I am eating, although it seems to be a bit of a process. Coming into winter, it is especially difficult, as all you want are carbs and warm foods. I’ve decided to have soups, roast vege salads or left over dinners from the night before.

Now and then, if I want a snack that will fill me up, I’ll choose a SlimCake or one of the new DairyFree IsaLean Bars in Chocolate Berry. SlimCakes are little berry oaty cakes, which are low in calories, but fight the sweet urge. The new DairyFree IsaLean Bars have quickly become a favourite of mine. These are considered  a “meal” due to having 19g of protein. They also make it seem like you are eating a chocolate bar, which helps you stop you from reaching for the real stuff. I love how these are also DairyFree and made from the same rice/pea protein, as the DairyFree IsaLean Shake.

Evening

I often just eat dinner with my family which is a My Food Bag meal, that we cook each night. These are absolutely delicious and I strongly recommend trying them out, if you haven’t already. If you are wanting to lose weight a bit quicker, you would have a shake for dinner instead. Although I personally wouldn’t add the other supplements I had in the morning to my shake again.

Just before bed I take an IsaFlush pill. IsaFlush is great as it contains 5 cleansing herbs, including peppermint, magnesium and black walnut, which help to aide in digestion and cleansing.

Cleanse Days

If you are wanting to lose weight, every seventh day, is a cleanse day. This is where you are cleansing your body, and fat is released. On a cleanse day, I start my morning out with 2 scoops of Cleanse For Life. You can also take a Natural Accelerator pill, however it is recommended that if you have allergies or asthma, you stay clear of these. They contain bee pollen, so this can set some people off.

Throughout the day, I take the cleanse 3 more times and inbetween, I have 2 Isagenix Snacks. Snacks help to fuel your metabolism, and curb cravings throughout the day, while filling you up.

Something I had to get over, was thinking that I could not eat on a cleanse day. This is not correct, it is simply a lower calorie day, to ensure the cleansing system can work more efficiently. I’ve found I’ve been able to get through the days, by ensuring my water intake is kept up, I am taking my cleanse consistently, and having the Snacks as I go. You are also allowed 1 small apple, 10 almonds or 1 hard boiled egg, throughout the day.

I’ve got to admit, I usually get to dinner time and need to eat, so I do. I’m still seeing results so I am not too concerned.

As an extra sweet treat, there is IsaDelight which comes in 3 flavours – Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate. These little chocs are guilt free, low calorie and green tea infused. They’re great on a usual shake day, and a cleanse day.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the supplements I am currently taking. This is a pricey system, however if used correctly, you will see the benefits. Check it out at Isagenix, where you can look up more information. There are different sites, catered to each country.

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