EYES | Duping Anastasia Modern Renaissance

Modern Renaissance dupes

I’m getting pretty bored of all the warm and berry-toned eyeshadow palettes that have come out recently. The Anastasia Modern Renaissance eyeshadow palette blew up in the makeup world in 2016 and now every person who has ever taken a photo of their makeup owns it and uses it and loves it. I didn’t think I’d love it, though—too pink, too trendy, and too extraneous in my already pretty comprehensive eyeshadow collection.

Instead of buying it I thoroughly trawled Temptalia’s dupe list for shadows I already owned or that were similar and swatched them out. It was a good exercise to re-familiarise myself with the depths of my eyeshadow collection! While I wasn’t able to pull together an entire palette of Modern Renaissance dupes, I did pretty well with what I already have.

SKIN | Seed and Soul New Zealand natural skincare

Seed and Soul New Zealand natural skincare company

Seed + Soul are the newest company to hit the growing New Zealand natural skincare market and today I’m looking at what they’re about and what sets them apart from the rest. I’m vibing on their sleek packaging and charming product names, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? These products use all natural plant-derived, paraben free ingredients.

I know what you’re thinking. Morgan, you hate that kind of thing! Not quite. I’m perfectly happy putting parabens and chemicals on my skin but I’m also perfectly happy to put plant-based and natural ingredients on my skin—as long as they don’t claim to do anything they can’t.

With that out the way, let’s get in to the products proper.

FACE | Affordable Postie+ beauty buys

Postie beauty products - W7, BYS, Ulta3 bargains

Postie+, land of school uniforms, tiny-child-sized fluorescent hunting jackets, and incredibly affordable makeup! Wait, let’s call it what it is—cheap. Nothing wrong with cheap! If your beauty budget is small, your spending on beauty should be sized accordingly, but it’s hard when you have two MAC counters in your vicinity and a Mecca Maxima on its way. (I’m talking about myself, in case you couldn’t tell.)

The last time I went to a Postie+ store was in Paraparaumu where I got a super-cheap flannel shirt and a buttload of makeup wipes for $2 a pack, so it was super exciting when the Postie+ beauty section came to me in the form of a giant haul from their PR. Lots of the stuff here is neutral in tone, making it super functional and practical, eyeshadows in particular. I mean, the fact you can get a whole decent 12-shade eyeshadow palette for like fifteen dollars… who needs Urban Decay, anyway! (I uh… I don’t mean that.)

FACE | MAC x Caitlyn Jenner collection

MAC x Caitlyn Jenner collection flatlay

MAC have released a very trendily-packaged and very functionally-coloured collection with Caitlyn Jenner, and I received four items from the collection from PR. I have mixed feelings about the collaboration, as I did with the MAC/Miley Cyrus Viva Glam release. As a cis-het person I’m not the best person to launch into a criticism of Caitlyn Jenner, but the gist is that while Caitlyn Jenner has raised the profile of transpeople in the media, her personal beliefs are pretty questionable (intensely Republican, not keen on gay marriage). This article from Tranzgendr goes into it a little better than I can.

That aside, there are some great products in the collection and if that’s enough to get you reaching for your wallet, I’m pretty sure most of them are still available on counter in New Zealand.

FACE | My high-end foundation collection

high-end foundation review

Guess who has more foundations than can reasonably be used by one person? And this is only half of them—I’ll talk about the cheaper ones some other time. (I just added up how much it would cost to re-buy all of these and it’s over $650NZ which is sickening. Luckily I don’t want to replace all of them.)

I certainly don’t need all of these foundations, and I am consciously trying to get to the bottom of some of them, but they do give me the advantage of experience. I’ve tried a wide range of high-end foundation, I’ve figured out what works for different skin types, and I know what I like. I thought I’d share mini-reviews of each of them today.

EYE | Custom MAC palette redux

custom MAC eyeshadow palette vanilla, soft brown, swiss chocolate, embark, amber lights, omega, wedge, espresso, all that glitters, sumptuous olive, quarry, blackberry, mystery, expensive pink, humid

I got my custom MAC eyeshadow palette for Christmas in 2013, and it has been my most valuable makeup item ever since. By valuable I mean useful rather than financially valuable, although to be honest it’s probably the most financially valuable one too.

It’s had a few different iterations over the past few years, and at the start of the month I restored it to a full MAC palette, with a few new additions from last year’s 25% off sale on maccosmetics.com. The palette temporarily had a few Makeup Geek shadows in it, but they don’t quite fit perfectly and their texture is different, which bothered me.

SKIN | Gel-cream moisturisers, from cheap to heaps

za deep hydration lasting moisture gel, belif aqua bomb, sunday riley tidal brightening enzyme water cream, neutrogena hydroboost gel-cream moisturisers

It’s January 5 and at some point I might write about my 2016 favourites but right now I just owe my blog some kind of attention and these moisturisers are already photographed so let me write about them instead. Gel-cream moisturisers, to be specific. A real category, or a made-up descriptor to make an age-old formula sound novel and new? I don’t particularly care—all I care about is that this is the texture my skin likes best. Lightweight but not fleeting, cooling and non-greasy.

LIFE | Topshop (and Topshop Beauty) in Wellington

Topshop beauty products Wellington haul

Topshop‘s first Wellington store opened last month and I was pretty stoked to be invited to the opening event/media preview. The clothing range in Topshop is a little too trendy and cut-for-skinny-people for my tastes, and my attempt at trying on some Ivy Park confirmed that (seriously, why make workout gear that only caters to tiny people?) The Topshop Beauty makeup stand made up for that disappointment, however, and I bought some makeup and it’s all great and now I am going to show it to you.

LIFE | No gift guides


I hate gift guides.

The closest I’ve come this year is writing about the Body Shop’s Christmas releases, which I guess is a gift-guide of sorts as it suggests giving them as Christmas presents, but that’s all you’re getting.

This time of year they’re the only things any blogger is publishing. (This isn’t directed at anyone specific, by the way, and if you don’t find humour in exaggeration, you can leave). Gift guides for you, for your mother, for your boyfriend, luxury gift guides, affordable gift guides, who fucking cares.

The contents of these gift guides tend to fall into a couple of categories.

LIFE | Holistic facial at Wellington Apothecary

Wellington Apothecary Sun Wind and Sea Facial Serum, used in an holistic facial

Everyone’s saying that 2016 has been a real shit year, and lately it has certainly felt like the universe is working against us. Blah blah earthquakes, flooding, Brexit, Donald Trump, mental illness… this isn’t a place where I’m going to get hugely into politics but whatever your reason for feeling less than 100%, a dope-as facial will help.

I was invited to the Wellington Apothecary for an holistic facial with Stephanie Malcolm a few weeks ago. What’s an holistic facial? It’s basically as relaxing an experience as you can get, short of a full-body massage. I’d say it’s more on the wellness and relaxation end of the scale, if targeted active skincare treatment is at the other end, although all the products used are lovely.