Can you believe it? Zeph is five today. The last time I looked, he was two. Last Saturday, he injured the toe on his left paw. This is an ongoing thing with him. About twice a year, he hurts this particular toe and has to be on Metacam for a few days, as well as resting. Yeah right: try to get an active male English Pointer to rest.

He visited his favourite vet this week and you’d think the vet was trying to murder him the way he REFUSED to have his paw looked at. But the vet is more cunning than Zeph and eventually he was able to examine the toe and paw. He told us about an operation that he could do. I didn’t want to listen but I think it has something to do with cutting off the toe!

Racing dogs like greyhounds and high-energy dogs like English Pointers, who run around like mad things, are prone to fractures, dislocations and general toe injuries. I think what happened is that Zeph jumped up onto the wall of the hay barn. He loves to bark at a pesky pigeon family that lives up in the eaves. I think this slams his paws against the wall and he probably injured his toe this way. Sigh.

Well, Happy Birthday to my beautiful boy, Zeph. He’s the most amazing, gentle dog and such a fun, quirky personality. I asked him to pose for this birthday photo – very regal!


Long time between posts I know. I’m still busy doing the creative fiction course and my advanced photography course. Also a lot of horsey stuff going on at the moment –  hooves are growing fast now that we’re in Spring.

In bad news, my hairdresser is about to go on maternity leave. Gulp. I’ve been with her for the nearly six years I’ve been living in New Zealand. Girls, you know what it’s like when your hairdresser abandons you! I’m sure her replacement will be good (fingers crossed).

Zeph is approaching his fifth birthday. I can’t believe it. He was just a puppy the other day! Both Zeph and Zsa Zsa are enjoying the warmer weather. I still find Zeph just sitting around the property from time to time. I’d love to know what he’s thinking.

I’ll try to get back into regular blogging soon.


I’ve been so busy recently! Where does time go? I’m busy with my creative writing course and learning heaps about fiction writing. I’ve also been taking a photography course. I tend to take them regularly so I can keep learning.

The latest course I’ve been doing is with a New Zealand food and landscape photographer who is old-school. Amazing photographer and he encourages students to only shoot in Manual mode and preferably in black and white because it is so dramatic.

I’ve been busy running around the property snapping away. Some shots have worked; some haven’t. C’est la vie!


Just a bench in the secret garden but gets a bit dramatic when shot in B&W.


Great drama!! Probably too dark but I quite like it.


Lots of textures.


Good old Kiwi ferns.


Had to take this shot in colour – my beautiful girl, Zsa Zsa.

I love this photo of Zeph with Miss Rosie and Saffy. I have no idea why the three of them were lined up like this or what they were looking at.

Miss Rosie is now jumping 85cm and Saffy is rising four. Can you believe it? Nearly four years old! She’s a wonderful, gentle mare and only slightly bossy ;-)



Every year, around this time, I start to look for signs of Spring. In the Southern Hemisphere, that important date for us is September 1 – six days from now. We’ve had some warmer days recently and the grass is definitely growing.

Around the property, new buds are appearing. Two cherry blossoms have started to bloom and cheery, yellow daffodils are about to pop up from underneath the elm tree in the front yard. Once the daffodils appear, I feel that Spring has arrived.

The large cherry blossom in the front yard takes its time to wake up and doesn’t usually bloom until around October. The weeping willow is also showing green tips.


The first stirrings of a cherry blossom in the corner of our front yard.


The daffodils are starting to push up from underneath the elm tree.

Sorry dear reader. I’ve been somewhat busy the last week or so. I’m participating in an online creative writing course. Finally going to write that fiction novel I’ve always threatened to pen.

I do, however, have time to talk about my favourite things in makeup. I find myself turning to these products on a daily basis, so I thought I’d share them with you.

NARS. I finally succumbed and bought the cult Ita Kabuki brush. This is a contouring brush due to its narrow rectangular shape and is supposed to give you those supermodel sculpted cheeks. I held off buying this for ages as I wanted to read reviews and see how well it performs by watching YouTube beauty videos.

The bristles are natural goat hair and they are soft. The design is sleek and it does a great job of giving a subtle contour and also makes blending a breeze. Did I say blending? Yep, this is where the Ita excels. Due to the longer goat hair bristles, I find it allows for bronzer to be applied to a specific, narrow area but, by turning the brush onto its side, you can blend in seconds. It’s an expensive brush – NZ $88.00 but is SO worth it.

The second NARS product I succumbed to was the Paloma Contour Blush. This is one of three contour blushes from NARS. Paloma is the middle shade – the other two being Olympia (lightest) and Gienah. The light shade in the duo is a highlighter and the dark shade is the contouring blush. Paloma is a dusky rose and the higlighter is a pink beige.

First thing I’ll say is that the powders are VERY silky and finely milled. I did worry that Paloma might be too muddy for my NC15 skin but nope, it’s perfect. Best to start off with a light dusting and build up from there. I’m not that fussed about the highlighter though. It’s a bit meh and I might see how it goes as an eyeshadow. I use Paloma with the ITA brush.

Maybelline. O.M.G. Who would have thought Maybelline would release such an outstanding eyeshadow palette as The Nudes. It finally arrived in New Zealand about a month ago and, after watching some YouTube videos, I decided to pounce. I use it EVERY day; it’s THAT good.

It costs NZ$30.00 and you get 12 natural eye shadows in a sturdy, travel-friendly palette. What I really like is how the shades are grouped as quads, trios and duos. You are not getting the quality of Urban Decay or Stila eye shadows but you are getting a very useable palette. The shadows feature a mix of satin, frost and matte shades.

The lighter shades aren’t very pigmented; they’re a little too sheer for my liking. But the darker shades, plus the bronze and gold eye shadows are beautiful. I am hoping this is part of Maybelline’s permanent line and I’m waiting for the release of the Blushed Nudes palette.

Stila. My favourite bronzer is NARS’ Laguna along with my new Paloma contour blush. I saw the Stila Stay All Day Bronzer for Face & Body in Light on YouTube (got to stop watching beauty videos hahaha!) and thought it looked very natural. Sure is. It comes in a sleek palette with a large mirror and the powder is velvety. It certainly stays on all day and gives a very natural glow. Love it.

Crown brush. I bought the IB120 Jumbo Kabuki fan brush from Crown brushes about six months ago. I adore this brush and use it for powder, blush and bronzer (when I’m not using the ITA for contouring). It’s made from Italian badger hair and sweeps on bronzer or blush and then fans it out easily. I can’t recommend this brush enough!!

NARS Ita brush.


NARS Paloma Contouring Blush.


Maybelline The Nudes palette.


Crown brush IB120 Jumbo Kabuki Fan and Stila bronzer.


The Stila embossing will disappear soon because I use this bronzer so much!!


I’ve been powering through products. So many, in fact, that I’ll have to try and make this post shorter rather than longer. All products are in the photo below and I’ve tried to categorise them. So let’s get going and ferret through my trash.

Hair stuff. Two cans of the usual Batiste dry shampoo, the Tropical scent and the Blush scent (floral). One can of Pantene Original Fresh dry shampoo. Sorry but this is a crappy product. First of all, the consistency of it seemed to make my hair wet rather than soak up the oils. Secondly, the can refused to keep spraying and I wasn’t even half way through. So tossing it.

Shampoo – I finished up a bottle of Pureology Pure Volume sulfate-free shampoo for fine and colour-treated hair. Really like this lightly-scented shampoo. Didn’t weigh my hair down and I just needed a tiny amount. Certainly will repurchase. Also finished a shampoo by Australian brand, Fudge. I’ve used Fudge products on and off for years. I will say I hated the fussy design on the tube (it’s the one with the pink top in the photo below) but loved the shampoo. It’s the Colour Lock shampoo and I do feel it helped to keep my colour vibrant. Would buy again.

Conditioners. I finished up a huge (382ml) bottle of my new favourite conditioner only to find it’s been discontinued. It’s the Desert Essence Shea Butter Repairing Conditioner with Vanilla Cactus. It’s this ingredient that gives the conditioner its lovely sweet scent. The conditioner itself is buttery and really made my hair soft and manageable. I am hoping it’s being repackaged rather than discontinued.

Also finished up is a 250ml bottle of NZ brand, Evolu, Enriching hair conditioner. It’s a tad expensive I think at NZ $20.00 but is delightful. The smell alone is worth it with avocado pear, citrus, juniper, manuka honey and amaranth giving your hair a lovely lustre. I would consider buying this again.

Texturising spray. Another Fudge product – the sea salt spray – to help give my hair some volume. Yeah, not really wowed by this product but it seemed to do the job.

Soaps. You know I love my soaps and also make my own. Rosana sent me a soap from Croatia called BioBaza Antiseptic soap. Tea tree oil and Immortelle extract provide the antiseptic qualities. The bar is a crisp white easy-to-hold shape with hardly any scent and it produced a creamy lather.

Serene Neem soap from India. Not fussed about this soap. Creamy yes but I didn’t like the smell. Contains extracts of Neem leaf, so it’s great for the skin though.

Naturalus Eastern Spice soap. Picked this up at a local market. Really didn’t like the fragrance at all I’m afraid.

LUSH Willow Bark soap. Second only to Karma soap for me. A brilliantly creamy, moisturising bar scented with rose and lemon. LOVE.

Dr Bronner’s Pure Castille Magic soap. I’ve been through countless bottles of Dr Bronner’s but this was the first time I’ve tried the Peppermint scent. Nah, didn’t like it. Too strong. Will go back to Rose or Almond.

Shower gel. I really enjoyed making my way through a 500ml bottle of La Chinata Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil Bath & Shower Gel. This is a Spanish brand enriched with organic olive oil and olive leaf extract. The gel is quite thick and lathers very well. I’m sure there’s a hint of lemon in this gel too. Loved it and would certainly re-buy.

Cleansers. Starting with another packet of Garnier Gentle Makeup Remover wipes. I take these travelling as they are very handy to quickly wipe off eye makeup. The individual wipes stay moist and don’t dry out.

Yes to Carrots Fragrance Free Daily Cream Facial Cleanser. Very large tube that lasted for ages. Not sure why it’s called fragrance free because it has a distinct but mild scent. This cleanser is SLS and paraben-free and very effective. Would certainly repurchase.

The Body Shop Nutriganics Softening Cleansing Oil. Another very effective product. You know I’m partial to all things Body Shop and this cleansing oil is no exception. Gentle and packed with Babassu Oil from Brazil it does not strip or dry out the skin. I like to use this as a second cleanser after taking off my makeup with my current favourite, Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water.

Apicare Manuka Natural Creamy Cleanser. Apicare is a New Zealand brand and this was a deluxe or travel-size tube. I liked it; it did the job; but wasn’t overly fussed.

Wild Ferns Manuka Honey Refreshing Foaming Facial Wash. Wild Ferns is another NZ brand and the foaming facial wash is a great product. The pump delivers just the right amount of luxurious foam. This is another cleanser I use for a second cleanse as it doesn’t take off all the makeup. Lovely scent to this cleanser.

Facial oils & moisturisers. I’m very partial to using a facial oil as I feel the essential oils in them penetrate deeply into the skin to deliver hydration. A great one I’ve discovered is an Italian facial oil by Olivella. Simply called the Moisturizer Oil it is based on 100% virgin olive oil and is paraben-free. The scent is gorgeous with hints of lemon. It absorbs straight into the skin. Already repurchased. LOVE.

Evolu Facial Serum. I think this is my third bottle and I love it as a daytime facial oil. One whiff and you are sent off into a Rose Absolute and Neroli essential oil heaven. I find it a very calming product to use and will always repurchase.

Melvita Avocado Oil. I picked this up from a Melvita store in Hong Kong. Love the rich green colour of the oil. Melvita is a French brand that is renowned for its quality products. This oil is recommended for the eye and neck area. I did find it a tad greasy but extremely hydrating. I prefer the Olivella oil frankly but I did enjoy this product.

Antipodes Apostle Skin-Brightening Serum. Antipodes is yet another great NZ skincare brand and I particularly like their Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream. Apostle is a water-based serum to help target pigmentation, brighten your skin and restore even tone. I liked the serum but can’t say I noticed any difference so wouldn’t repurchase.

Afrodita Hydra Thermal Natural Mineral Water Hydra Active Koncentrat. Sent to me by Rosana from Croatia this is a light-weight lotion that absorbed very well into the skin and was a great makeup base.

Eye care. Evolu Eye & Lip Line Serum. Get the impression I like Evolu products?! This serum contains tigernut extract, marine wakame algae and shea butter. I like this as a daytime serum; it’s not rich enough or heavy enough for my liking as a night-time treatment. I think this was my second bottle but don’t think I’ll repurchase because I prefer a richer consistency.

Garnier eye roller. To be honest, I’m not sure of the exact name of this product as all the writing had rubbed off. I think it was a treatment concealer. I liked the coolness of the roller ball but not fussed about this product. Meh.

Hand cream. Yet another Evolu product. The Nourishing Hand & Cuticle Cream in a 125ml travel-friendly tube. I really need to use more hand cream; I tend to forget to apply. This hand cream was a delight to use and contains New Zealand’s native harakeke, kiwifruit, carrot seed oil and pure vitamin E. Creamy yet easily absorbed.

Toothpaste. My favourite NZ brand, Red Seal. Two tubes: baking soda and natural. These toothpastes are free from sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), parabens, artificial sweeteners and added fluoride.

Makeup. Finally, made my way through a whole bronzer. In this case, Dr Hauschka bronzing powder. I’ve had this for years and made a concerted effort to finish it. A lovely silky bronzer that is great for my NC15 skin. I would repurchase but I have other favourites at the moment.

Essence I Love Extreme Volume mascara. I think this is my third tube. It’s a wonderful ultra-black mascara that delivers volume. I like the chunky tube and fat brush. LOVE.

An old Rimmel concealer in a tube. No idea of the name but it had a green centre, which I think was designed to sooth blemishes. I kept this in my makeup bag inside my handbag. Had it for years. Nothing special but it worked as a concealer.

The Body Shop Concealer Pencil. Wow, love this concealer. My HG used to be MAC Studio Finish concealer in NC15 but, last year, I discovered TBS pencil concealer in 01. It took me a whole year to get through this pencil and I used it every day. Always remained creamy even during the NZ Winter. Already repurchased.

The Body Shop Organic Cotton rounds – another packet of 100 rounds down. These cotton rounds never fall apart nor do pieces of cotton fluff waft off them.

Finally, my all-time favourite perfume – Fracas by Robert Piguet – which was first formulated in 1948. This is a strong, spicy perfume that is not for the shrinking violet. It contains all my favoured scents: tuberose, iris, jasmine, gardenia, lily of the valley, orange, rose and neroli. I have another bottle ready to go. You can read my review of Fracas here.




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