New Zealand holds a very special place in my heart and I’m fortunate enough to visit her a few times a year.  I suffer withdrawals if I haven’t felt the terrifying touch down onto the windy Wellington tarmac in a while, and I think I need to feel that thrill again soon.

Luckily I have a lot of Kiwi goodness in my life – I live on the Gold Coast after all.  You can’t swing a Pukeko here without hitting a friend from across the ditch.  Husbo, of course, is from New Zealand, and therefore our daughters are half kiwi?  (They were copying the Haka the other night while watching the All Blacks – not sure if that’s considered blasphemous or just the cutest thing ever).  So that’s two things (one whole + two halves) from NZ that I can’t live without.  Another one is my personal trainer, Gemma, or Jimma (not my joke), who makes me grunt like a water hog giving a very difficult birth, twice a week – but I’ll tell you about her some other time.  Then there are the countless family and friends of course, with their funny little accents, that I’m so grateful to have in my life, and who would never ever be dicks about their rugby team being superior to mine.  Ever.

When I do go to New Zealand, I usually tag along with Husbo on his work trips, so I get to play the lady of leisure and just wander the streets of Wellington all day, eating, drinking and buying beauty products and books (except for last year when we took our then 11 month old twins and I aged 20 years in three days).  Other than online, it’s my favourite place to search for natural cosmetics.  The incredibly creative city has a boutique quality that inspires you to explore, Alice in Wonderland style, until you fall down the rabbit hole into, well, Alice, the bar, and you drink a stein full of ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’, and forget your name and all the pretty things you bought that day.  Mostly though, it’s great for drinking, I mean shopping, shopping, it’s great for shopping, natural cosmetics shopping in particular.  Favourite spots include Commonsense Organics, World Beauty, Kirkcaldie and Stains and Mac’s Brewbar.

There are some awesome natural beauty destinations all over NZ, not just in Wellington.  When I was in Martinborough in February, I found a lovely cosmetics shop called Fox Beauty & Organics.  I could have gone absolutely nuts in this little boutique, but as I was sporting a wicked hangover from the previous ‘best night everrr‘ (Martinborough is wine country, people), my decision making skills, and ability to stay upright for any longer than ‘brief’ periods of time, were at an all time low.  So I left with a toothbrush and some sunscreen…yawn…or so the boring products would suggest.  Sure, they are practical items and in no way sexy or exciting, but a good natural sunscreen, which in my opinion and a shit load of others, is a beauty essential and often hard to come by.  I have love for a couple of chemical sunscreens, which are lighter in texture than natural ones, but I’m still not sure how safe they are to wear all the time.  So I bought myself an Oasis Sun SPF30+, which lives up to all its claims – non greasy, non whitening, paraben free, cruelty free and 94% natural.  It sits beautifully under makeup, doesn’t smell and is perfect for sensitive skin.

Now, the next products I’m going to tell you about are also from New Zealand, and along with sunscreen, are what I consider my skin care essentials.  SPF, serum, eye cream – my beauty trinity.  The brands and types I choose differ, either as my skin changes or when I want to try new things.  Antipodes is a Kiwi brand I discovered out of a need to replace a much loved chemical filled eye cream, with a natural alternative that was also cruelty free.  At the end of last Autumn, my skin cracked up, literally, as it does when the weather gets cold and dry.  The dehydration lines around my eyes began to multiply, but as they weren’t proper wrinkles, I knew that I could treat them with the right product.  My previous go-to was a thick cream that I would apply at night, and by morning, hey presto!, some of the lines would have disappeared.  There were plenty of natural eye creams and serums available with impressive ingredient lists, but it was the texture I was trying to replicate, which is what I believed did the trick.

Funnily enough, I didn’t actually buy the Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream in NZ, but found it online through natural beauty store, Green Organics.  After reading about its potent ingredients and some rave reviews, I added it straight to my cart.  The price was reasonable to me, at least a third of what I was previously prepared to pay for an eye cream, and with double the amount of product than most others, it seemed pretty good value.  This baby did not disappoint as my winter eye treatment and magical fine line eraser.  It immediately and intensely hydrated my desperate eye area and plumped up my crinkly skin, all without irritating fragrance.  The only issue I have with this cream, is that it doesn’t need to come in such a large quantity.  There’s no need to be heavy handed with high quality eye creams, so getting to the bottom of this jar before the used by date, is almost impossible.  It would be great if you were in a household where you could share it, otherwise just do what I do, and use up any excess at the end as a hydrating treatment for your boobs…seriously, the ladies love a bit of a rub with your left over face products.

Ok, nearly finished.  Serums, the hard workers of skin care.  For me serums make a massive difference to my skin.  I can put a moisturiser straight onto my clean, dry face, and sure it feels good, but if I layer a serum underneath which is targeting my specific skin needs, then ‘good’ quickly becomes ‘amazing’.  Scientifically, serums have a smaller molecular structure, so they can travel a lot deeper than a cream, and they are more potent and full of active ingredients.  Basically, your serum works directly to change and treat your skin, and then your moisturiser hydrates and protects it.  You I need both – end of story…plus an eye cream, and an SPF.   You may not feel like your serum is doing anything because they absorb into the skin really quickly, but if the ingredient list is full of good stuff, then just trust that you are doing your face a beautiful service.

The Antipodes Hosanna Skin Plumping Serum is just one of the many targeted serums on offer from the brand.  Now, if you remember, I’m a big old sucker for a bit of ‘plumping’, and along with ‘firming’, it’s my favourite word to see written on my skin care labels.  This little bottle of awesome, performs its plumping duties by intensely hydrating the skin and filling it with essential antioxidants.  Not only all of this, but it smells freakin’ amazing!  My Mum was first to use this and I couldn’t get enough of the comforting and nurturing smell.  I loved it when she stayed over and filled my bathroom with its warming aroma, so as soon as I’d finished what I was using (and it was on sale at Pricey), I got me my very own.  Unfortunately, I was way too heavy handed and finished it up too quickly.  I was just so obsessed with its fragrance and texture, that I went a bit crazy.  Seriously though, you only need half a pump or less to reap the benefits of this gorgeous facial serum.

So that’s what I’m loving from New Zealand at the moment, but I’m looking forward to visiting again soon to discover new and exciting brands and products to make my face happy.  I think our next trip is going to be to Queenstown, and I’m just a tiny bit excited about that – I got a teasing little one day taste of it a few years back – enough that I’m pretty sure it will be up there with my favourite holiday destinations.  In the meantime, we are going to see Shihad play in October – another bunch of Kiwis that I love.

Kind Beauty Points : Cruelty free, eco friendly, natural.

LISTEN : SHIHAD  Deb’s Night Out