Just two weeks until I'm off on holiday to Europe guys, but that doesn't mean that I'm able to escape winter just yet.
Winter is actually the only time I've been overseas, so it feels weird that I'll be going to London and instead of lights on Regents Street, there will be ice cream and short shorts (although, you won't be catching me dead in denim cut-offs just FYI).
Winter is an inspiring time for me because I am addicted to all things cosy and snuggly. I also love all kinds of potions and tonics guaranteed to help you nod off in a hurry because let's face it: we really would just prefer to hibernate all the way through. What is Winter if not an excuse to get fat, comfortable and happy before Spring arrives and we all panic about how to move those sticky date puddings you inhaled just a few weeks before
A few weeks ago I visited Auckland and I might have splurged on a few bits. I gotta say - it was for a conference actually and the hotel the conference was at was next to Smith & Caughey's - What's a girl to do!? So with that in mind, here's the d-low of what should be in your home, all Winter long.
For these Winter days, we've all been up to our ears in serums and moisturisers. However, a new release which actually perfect for Northern Hemisphere Summer (and, as such, will be coming with me on my holiday) is a great option if you find that moisturisers start to peel off your skin before too long because you've layered them so thickly, taking all your dry skin with it (lovely mental image there, folks). Crystal clear, lightweight and oil-free Clinique has a new addition to their skincare lineup that promises to keep your complexion moisturised for up to 24 hours. If you love serums and oils, like I do, instead of a heavy cream, this is a great one! It's called 'Dramatically Difference Hydrating Jelly' and is part of the old-school three step range, comin' atcha with a new twist.
When I first saw this product, I actually thought it was a face wash. Glycerin and hyaluronic acid are the basis for the formula which is great because I am a big fan of both, and they absorb quicky into the skin, which means you avoid the aforementioned gross dry-skin-creamy-souffle. The jelly texture is new to the beauty market and one which is spreading quickly in popularity, originating from Asia. In addition to keeping skin supple, the product helps fight damage caused by pollution. It has Clean Shield Technology to strengthen’s skin’s barrier and improve resilience. The 'Dramatically Difference Hydrating Jelly' will make you feel fresh as a daisy, even if you feel like you're still waiting for springtime...
Magazines were my jam for years and years as an adolescent and young lady. Most of what I know about style, I learn from reading about it on PAPER *faints*! It started with Teen Vogue, a game-changer for me (I was never one for Dolly or Girlfriend which insulted my intelligence even as a 13 year old). Things were upped when I moved onto Tatler and Vogue UK. But for about 5 years, nary a magazine has entered my basket, despite my affection with Magnetix off of Lambton Quay (where I found The Gentlewoman). I've seen issues of Gentlewoman floating around in the arms of every sophisticate from here to New York. As such, I wanted to know what the fuss was all about, especially because I'm a bit over always being online, and I wondered whether I could transfer back to magazines.
The Gentlewoman, the sister magazine to Fantastic Man, is published by the Dutch duo Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom. Launched in 2010, it now has a circulation of just under 100,000 (which may not sound high but bare in mind that it costs about $50 - $60). The Gentlewoman has cut through the clutter of the magazine market with its sleek design and an intelligent take on fashion and culture aimed at smart and tasteful women. It looks so great, that its tempting to just leave it on your coffee table. However, the contents and women inside are just as titillating and delightful as the cover. I might have to sneak this into my luggage for the first leg of the journey, even though it weighs as much as a small child.
Jo Malone is a brand which until recent days felt very distant for a Wellington girl. My first fragrance (after Clinique Happy) was Nectarine and Blossom from Jo Malone - a smell which takes me back (and to be honest I can't take anymore as it just smells too sweet - but isn't it nice to know we change as humans over time, or life would be so dull). Two years ago, David Jones opened and with it came a Jo Malone counter. Despite this, we still don't get everything on the market which is why when I saw that there was a limited edition with Poppy Delevingne, I knew I needed to jump on the bandwagon.
For those of you who don't haunt the celebs pages of the Guardian, Poppy is the older sister of Cara and a model and actress/bon vivant in her own right. The Poppy Delevingne x Jo Malone collection is a mix of old favourites and some candles, reinvented. The model selected three of the brand’s classic scents including Velvet Rose & Oud, Black Cedarwood & Juniper and Nectarine Blossom & Honey. Candle-wise, she also chose Grapefruit, Blackberry & Bay or Basil & Neroli. There's also a range of Limited Edition Bubble baths. Clearly, Poppy and I speak the same language.
While taking a lunch break after a conference on finance, I popped into Smith & Caughey's and I had a browse, needing to update my candle collection. The Blackberry & Bay Candle slipped into my possession, which comes with a gorgeous box and even a cute rubber duck! I can't say I'll be breaking into the modeling world anytime soon, but at least I'll smell the part!
This collaboration has now ended :(
Finally, finishing off the round-up is Harkers Herbals 'Sleep Well', which is a 'Super-Lucy-Winter' kind of thing. Basically, a rice syrup based tonic infused with botanicals, this claims to help with stress and sleep, just to name two. Includes Passionflower, Valerian and Zizyphus, which clinical research shows support healthy sleep.
Recently re-packaged and jazzed up for the more modern and discerning user, these tonics have been around for a while, and are more or less harmless. Naysayers may pooh pooh herbal remedies, but I am all about a little extra lavendar spritz before bed to relax the mind, and some gloopy and delicious extracts to help me on the way to the land of nod. Take 5mls three hours before bed and another 5mls one hour before bed. If needed, take another 5mls through the night. While not everyone may like the rice syrup texture, I found it fine, although the lid is a bit annoying and I don't recommend measuring it out into the plastic cup it comes with because it is messy. Use a mental spoon instead.
Personally, whether it actively works or not, I love the idea of taking a little 'medicine' in Winter (I used to get excited to take medicine as a girl - don't ask why. I think it was because we had Tixylix). All natural, these sleep support tonics are a gorgeous luxury to have in the house. Take a spoonful before bed, and say sweet dreams.