Wow: another package has arrived from Croatia – chock full of makeup. Rosana and I “met” in an online beauty without cruelty group and we’ve exchanged several packages over the last year. New Zealand makeup and skincare is in high demand, so I send her gorgeous moisturisers and cleansers. Last package, I also included some makeup from Australia.

In this latest package, Rosana sent all Essence products. I first saw this brand whilst working in Italy and noticed the affordable but quality makeup message of the brand. I’m pretty sure it’s a European brand but don’t know anything about its origins. They have a website but don’t seem to offer online shopping.

The really irritating thing is that Farmers (NZ department store) has started to stock Essence but only in the North Island. They tell me they have no plans to carry it at Farmers in the South Island. Makes no sense to me – I think Kiwi gals would love to lay their hands on this affordable brand. Meanwhile, I have Rosana!


Can’t wait to use the Nude eyeshadow palette!


I facilitated a workshop in Christchurch this week. Finally, getting some consulting work in New Zealand. To tell you the truth though, I’ve been more than happy to work overseas in Italy and Bhutan. Why? Because for YEARS I was locked into full-time jobs and could never take up the opportunity to work for a short time in another country. In the late 1990s, I was offered a great job in the United States and would have lived in my fav American city, Boston. At the time, I was enjoying a great job in Australia and my mother was living on her own – so I turned the job down. Have often regretted that decision I must say but the timing just wasn’t right.

As much as I love working overseas, I have to admit I get tired of airports, airport security and the long hours stuck on a plane. Not to mention, I miss Zeph and Zsa Zsa terribly and my horses. So when this local consulting opportunity was offered, I snapped it up.

I facilitated a workshop attended by engineers, architects, developers and some local residents. The project discussed was a mixed-development area along the lines of an Italian piazza or city square. It was a great day but what I really enjoyed was the venue – Ilam Homestead. Talk about a gracious old building in a majestic setting of azalea and rhododendron gardens!

Ilam Homestead was originally built in the 1860s but burnt down in 1911. Local identity, Edgar Stead, established the wonderful azalea and rhododendron gardens. When he sold Ilam to Canterbury College, he requested that the gardens be maintained in perpetuity. The University Staff Club (University of Canterbury) occupies the premises as well. There’s a huge fireplace downstairs and wood was crackling away as I left the homestead around 5.00pm. Such atmosphere! In 1994, Ilam Homestead was used for Peter Jackson’s film, Heavenly Creatures, starring Kate Winslet.

I had to get to the venue pretty early so the photo below shows you the homestead on approach. I can just imagine how grand it would have been to live in such a stately home, which I’m told was built in the English Domestic Revival architectural style.




Oh yeah people: I realise I haven’t inflicted a face of the day on you for quite some time! Let me make up for this by RAVING about a few cosmetic products I’ve discovered lately.

The German brand, Art Deco, has finally made its way to New Zealand. It’s very affordable and has amazing colour selections for eyeshadows. The brand also comes out with fabulous collections twice a year and I snapped up some items from the Jungle Fever range. Couldn’t resist the cute packaging featuring a silver dragonfly flying through a jungle of palm fronds and exotic flowers.

Whilst in Hong Kong in March, I picked up the Rachel K CC Cream (the original one in the black tube but I also picked up the pink tube). This CC cream was developed by Singaporean, Rachel Kum, who was crowned Miss Universe Singapore 2009. I guess you could say a CC cream is the next generation of a BB cream. Personally, I find BB creams often leave a greasy feeling on my face.

The CC cream in the black tube is probably best for pale faces like me (NC15) and it’s best to pat it in to avoid a cakey look. It offers a host of benefits: colour control, oil control, whitening, brightening, moisturising and UV protection with SPF 35. Really evens out my complexion and coverage is medium to full depending on how much cream you slap on.

Another discovery is a vintage makeup brand from the States called Besame. It recreates the lovely vintage makeup of the 1950s (and earlier) and has products like cream rouge and cake mascara (I vaguely remember my mother wetting a small brush and using cake mascara). Yeah sure: you can get cream blushes these days but I LOVE the vintage look and feel of Besame Cosmetics. The cream rouge comes in a small vintage-inspired red tin embossed with chrysanthemums. It has a 1930′s oriental look. The rouge I have is the Crimson Rouge but I believe an Apricot Rouge is also available. Once I finish my tin (which would be about two years from now as it will last for ages!), I’ll get the Apricot Rouge as I think this would suit my complexion better.

Okay so onto the FOTD:


  • I applied a thinnish layer of the Rachel K CC Cream by patting it in and allowing it to set.
  • Meanwhile, I applied the L’Oreal Nude Magique Blur Cream as a primer and to cover nasty pores. Quite like this primer actually because it’s non-greasy.
  • Foundation is the fabulous Double Wear by Estee Lauder in 1C1 Cool Bone. If you want a full coverage, matte foundation this is the one. A light touch is necessary though, so start with a thin layer and build up coverage, otherwise you risk it looking cakey. I find you don’t have to work as fast with Double Wear as you do with Revlon’s ColorStay. I was matched to Cool Bone by an Estee Lauder dolly bird and initially thought it was too orange. But it’s turned out just fine and stays put all day long.
  • I used two concealers: Maybelline’s Fit Me concealer in Fair. LOVE. I use this under the eyes and it’s a lovely light, creamy consistency. I also used the Eve Pearl Salmon concealer in Light.
  • To cover any imperfections, I used The Body Shop’s stick concealer. Haven’t heard a lot about this concealer but let me tell you it’s fab. My shade is 01 and it’s SO easy to use – creamy and great coverage. It’s HG status for me and I rarely use my former HG concealer, MAC Studio Finish in NC15. The stick concealer is easy to travel with but you do need The Body Shop’s special sharpener.
  • To set the under-eye concealer, I used E.L.F’s High Definition Under Eye Setting Powder. I don’t like the very obvious glitter in this powder but, if you use a large fluffy brush, you avoid the disco ball look. Bare Minerals Well-Rested is a better setting powder in my view. But the small E.L.F. container is very easy to travel with and a little powder goes a long way.
  • Bronzer is the Art Deco Bronzing Glow Blusher “Queen of the Jungle“. This is a tri-coloured blusher but turns out more of a bronzer on me. The colours are coral, soft fuchsia and rosewood and an embossed dragonfly motif makes this product a joy to use.
  • Then I used a teeny bit of the Besame Crimson Rouge. I do find it a little bright red for my complexion but, if I use a light hand, it’s fine.
  • Overall setting powder is Estee Lauder Invisible Powder Makeup in Translucent.


  • You can buy empty Art Deco palettes that fit four eyeshadows and you can customise your colour selection. You can see that my palette is well-loved and a bit dusty looking. The shades I selected are: Matt Natural Touch; Glam Golden Bisque; Matt Stormy Grey; and Pearly Medium Pine Green. I used the first two shadows as a base; the Stormy Grey in the crease and outer eye area; then lightly lined my eyes with the Pine Green. Best to press Art Deco eyeshadows on to the eye as there can be a bit of fall out.
  • Eyeshadow primer is Art Deco Eyeshadow Base, which is remarkably like MAC Paint Pot in Painterly. Because it’s a tiny black pot, it’s far easier to travel with than a Paint Pot. It’s not as thick as Painterly but just as good in my view. Much cheaper too.
  • Mascara was sent to me by a Croatian beauty pal and is the Essence I Love Extreme Volume mascara in black. Initially, I freaked at the brush because it’s quite fat and large but heck, what a great mascara. Plumps up the lashes, no clumping and the brush makes it easy to apply. I’ve just been sent three more Essence mascaras from my friend yeehah! Essence has just arrived in NZ but is only available at some Farmers stores and only in the North Island. One of those stores is Farmers Levin and, since I was up there recently visiting my Uncle, I snapped up a blush and lipgloss.
  • Brow bone highlighter is my trusty Too Faced Absolutely Invisible Candlelight Powder. I’ve had it for three years, use it every day and only recently hit pan.


  • Brows were filled in using Elizabeth Arden’s Dual Perfection Brow Shaper & Eyeliner in Soft Blonde. An old favourite and it’s lasted a LONG time. This product is now sold in a gold case rather than the black one I have.


  • A discontinued Revlon Super Lustrous Creme lipstick called Ginger Rose (131). I loved this shade – why is it that cosmetic companies always discontinue products you love?

Grown my hair a bit longer – not sure yet if I’ll keep it longer.


Besame Crimson Rouge – love the retro container.


Too funny – you can see Zsa Zsa’s paw.


My well-used Art Deco eyeshadows.


Crimson Rouge.


So sad this has been discontinued by Revlon.

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I’ve mentioned Cathy quite a few times on this blog. We’ve known each other for nearly two years now and we met when we were both doing volunteering work with horses. She’s French and here in New Zealand to study and stay with her mother’s side of the family. She has ridden Rosie, Karma and Danny. She’s a wonderful dressage rider.

Sadly, she told us a month or so ago that she will return to France in December because she misses her family so much. We count her as family now. She often stays overnight with Marty, her Spoodle, who is Zeph’s BFF. I dare not tell Zeph that Marty won’t be coming after December.

I kind of knew that Cathy would make the decision she has. We are planning to visit Europe in 2015 and we will definitely drop in on Cathy in Paris. I will really miss her and, the other day, she asked me to take a quick snap of her with Miss Rosie. I really like this photo and will treasure it.


Well people: today is the seventh anniversary of my Mum’s death. She was just short of 91 years when she died and in excellent health until about three months before she passed. Thankfully, the downhill slide was very quick. I try not to dwell on things when these anniversaries come around (like February 5 for my Dad).

So in this spirit, I move on to tell you that we experienced a dusting of white stuff last week. Snow. And more than a dusting really. The forecast was for wet flurries but, as we woke up around 6.00am and I headed out to feed the horses, I was met with the quiet scene of snow lying on the ground.

All very exciting, yeah sure. But after four years of snow, the excitement has worn off. Growing up in Sydney, there was no snow and the only time I ever saw snow was when my Dad took me to the Snowy Mountains and Mt Kosciuszko when I was about 10 years old. Oh, I lie: I saw a ton of snow in Moscow when I visited in 1992 or thereabouts.

Zsa Zsa was perplexed about the white stuff on the ground. You could see her thinking do I get my paws wet if I step on this white stuff?

Thankfully, it stopped snowing later that morning but then, of course, you get the melting snow. Which equals mud and slush. The horses weren’t very happy at all.


Zsa Zsa wonders what the white stuff is.


You can see the raised vege garden covered in snow.


Zsa Zsa finally braved the snow.

The world’s boldest foal, Saffy, is still alive after a touch-and-go incident. First of all, I should say that Saffy is no longer a foal. She’s no longer even a yearling. She’s rising three (as they say in the horsey world) or heading to three years old. But I still think of her as a foal and always will.

Miss Rosie and Saffy get on very well. Rosie is like the stern Aunt with Saffy and disciplines her far more than her own mother, Karma.

The other day though, I thought Rosie was going to have a major tantrum after Saffy snatched hay from her mouth. Believe me, there was enough hay to go round but Saffy looked at Rosie and then went in for the snatch. Normally, when the horses eat together, they all get out of the way of Rosie and then settle into eating their own slice of hay, whilst keeping a respectful distance from each other.

Obviously, Saffy missed the memo on this and fortunately I was there chilling out with the horses. I saw Saffy inching towards Rosie’s hay and told her it probably wasn’t a smart thing to do but she ignored me hahaha! Next I know, Saffy was snatching hay from Rosie and the look on Rosie’s face was priceless. She wasn’t quite sure what to do – pin her ears back and bite Saffy or allow Saffy to get away with it.

After thirty seconds of stunned silence and with hay hanging out of her mouth, Rosie decided to ignore Saffy’s faux pas and Saffy is still alive for me to tell the tale.


Saffy goes where no horse has gone before and snatches hay out of Rosie’s mouth.


The look on Rosie’s face – priceless!!


As I’ve been getting to know my Uncle Peter, I’ve been asking questions about the paternal grandparents I never knew. Over the last couple of years, my Uncle has given me my grandmother’s jewellery (including her five-diamond engagement ring); the family Bible; and some photos of my grandfather.

I knew from my father that his parents were born in England and that my grandmother was born in Sussex (Ditchling to be precise). I’ve now learnt from Uncle Peter that my grandparents decided to move to Australia and they actually met in Brisbane. I thought they had eloped and married in Brisbane. I thought my Uncle told me this last year but seems I had it a bit wrong. They met in Brisbane and married before deciding to live in Wellington. Apparently, my grandmother’s parents did not approve of my grandfather and disowned or disinherited her.

On my visit last week with my Uncle and Auntie, Uncle Peter gave me the 1906 sale document for my great-grandparent’s farm in Lower Beeding, Sussex. It was called Plummers Plain Farm. He is hoping I might visit the area one day and see what is standing there now. Well, I’ll need to do a ton of research to find out why the farm was sold and where it once stood.

What I was stunned by was the the page describing the horses to be sold – 19 horses and one donkey. All the horses are listed by name and I imagine that one or two of these belonged to my grandmother. If so, she must have been incredibly sad as my Uncle tells me she loved horses. I’m not sure if this happened before or after my grandmother hopped on the boat to Australia and was disinherited.

Looking at the names of the horses is heart-wrenching actually – Topsy, Emily, Shamrock, Tottie, Kitty, Countess – to name a few. There was even a bay mare called Rose. Spooky, considering I have a horse called Rosie. I wonder where all the horses ended up and where my great-grandparents moved to.

I know a bit about my maternal side of the family and now I’ll be researching the other side. My Uncle is keen for me to find out the family history. I must say, now that I have the sale document, I’m super keen to get going and find out the family mystery. Maybe it’s no mystery but I want to know why the farm was sold. Guess I’ll have to join one of those online ancestry sites because they seem to have access to family records.

My grandmother’s maiden name was Alice Ruth Evans and I guess the farm belonged to the Evans family. If you know anything, please let me know!

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