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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