Bottega Veneta Spring 21.

Perk up your winter wardrobe with pastel handbags to buy now

The skies might be dark and stormy but our wardrobes shouldn’t be. These delightful bags have us dabbling in soft, pastel tones like never before, with luxury fashion houses including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci taking inspiration from the candy shop. While these coloured bags may be sweet, they avoid being saccharine thanks to either a structured silhouette — as seen on Prada’s brushed-leather tote — or interesting texture, a la Bottega Veneta’s pouch.

If you find yourself gravitating towards a lot of black and dark colours in the winter, these bags are an easy way to punctuate a look, an uplifting statement that takes no effort at all.

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Louis Vuitton bag

Louis Vuitton bag

Louis Vuitton bag

Louis Vuitton bag

Available from Louis Vuitton

Chloé C Mini Bag

Chloé C Mini Bag

Chloé C Mini Bag

Chloé C Mini Bag

Available from Workshop

Christian Dior bag

Christian Dior bag

Christian Dior bag

Christian Dior bag

Available from Dior

Gucci bag

Gucci bag

Gucci bag

Gucci bag

Available from Gucci

Yu Mei doeskin deer nappa Sonja bag

Yu Mei doeskin deer nappa Sonja bag

Yu Mei doeskin deer nappa Sonja bag

Yu Mei doeskin deer nappa Sonja bag

Available from Yu Mei

Prada brushed leather tote

Prada brushed leather tote

Prada brushed leather tote

Prada brushed leather tote

Available from Prada

Bottega Veneta The Pouch

Bottega Veneta The Pouch

Bottega Veneta The Pouch

Bottega Veneta The Pouch

Available from Net-a-Porter

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Short on time? Streamline your skincare routine with these three-step regimes

Until recently, the multi-step skincare routine was truly a beauty force to be reckoned with. The likes of K-Beauty inspired ten-step regimes that are touted as the answer to youthful, glowing, blemish-free skin. But maintaining a routine this long and laborious is no easy feat. So, with this in mind, we set out searching for a system that would give us similar, sought-after benefits but at a fraction of the time (and effort).

Ever the minimalists, it was the French, it seems, that we should have been turning our attention to — more specifically, luxury skincare brand Sothys. Via simple three-step morning and evening plans, using just three Sothys products each, skincare can be made easy for those in a rush. Sure, they can be expanded on wherever seen fit (an eye cream, for example, never goes amiss) but these are the trios that create the supreme, foundational regimen.

Morning:
Step One — Cleansing
Be wary of cleansing too much in the morning as you may be stripping the face of the natural, beneficial oils that are produced overnight. Instead, find a cleanser that’s more on the gentle side, light but still effective, like the Cleansing Lotion — Comfort. Fusing creamy lotion with Spa™ Thermal Water, the cleanser both clears and freshens the skin while creating the perfectly prepped blank canvas for further products.

Step Two — Serum
Once cleansed, be sure to add a serum that leaves a weightless, traceless finish — anything on the heavy-duty side should be reserved for nighttime only. Boasting an adaptogen-rich formula with a lightweight texture, the Energising Booster Serum is a simple way to inject a boost of radiance to the skin’s complexion, removing any signs of morning grogginess.

Step Three — Moisturiser
When it comes to a day cream, you should be swiping a protective barrier onto the skin that will be both illuminating and hydrating under makeup. The Soothing Melting Fluid not only protects the skin from external aggressors, but the use of Vitamin F ensures that it is softened and hydrated, too — resulting in a silky, nourishing base that’s perfect for make-up application.

Night:
Step One — Cleansing
The removal of makeup should always be first on the list when it comes to evening skincare, so begin by using a soft, gentle cleanser that will wash away the obvious stuff easily. Boasting a rich and silky formula, the Cleansing Milk — Comfort ensures that any removal process is soft and easy, an ideal product for those on the more sensitive side.

Step Two — Exfoliating
The double cleanse trend has blown up in the beauty realm, and for good reason, too — there’s no better way to truly remove the day’s impurities. After removing makeup via the gentle cleansing milk, a second cleanse, via the Biological Peeling Scrub, allows you to work harder on the remenants that get left behind. Its gentle, exfoliant properties will remove that further layer of pollution, alongside any dry skin and stubborn, leftover makeup and dirt.

Step Four — Night Cream
Now is the time where you can customise the routine to ensure it is tailored to your skin concerns, and if you were to add an eye cream or a specific treatment, it would be here. For those evenings where spare minutes are few and far between, however, you can skip this lengthy process — as long as you are sure to finish your routine with a heavy-duty moisturiser. Essentially, the skin only gets to work when you are asleep, so before bedtime, it’s important to lather your face in anything that will aid and accelerate the repairing process. Rich in stabilised Vitamin C, the Noctuelle Detox Overnight Cream detoxifies the skin when it needs it the most, and ensures that it’s left soft, luminous and hydrated come morning time.

Wellbeing

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The Cass 015 rug.

Here to elevate any space, Simon James’ handcrafted rugs are a sumptuous addition to your home

As a furniture designer, part of the challenge of designing any piece is envisioning it in the wider context of an array of homes, aesthetic preferences and individual needs. The temptation to expand into increasing mediums that communicate your vision must be irresistible, and with this in mind we are certainly delighted that Simon James has entered the rug market.

The Elias 010 rug.
Both the Cass and Elias rugs are available in a selection of timeless tones.

Crafted with the brand’s characteristic emphasis on impeccable quality and enduring functionality, the new rug styles are currently available in two material formulations. The sumptuous Cass rug, a dense, loop-pile, is a hand-tufted blend of Tibetan cashmere and New Zealand merino wool. With its plush construction and visually-textural appearance, the Cass rug bestows warmth and comfort to any space in a timeless choice of natural tones.

The Elias rug is rendered in high-performance silky nylon, its high, dense pile resulting in subtle tonal variations through ongoing use. Both suitable for residential spaces, the Elias translates seamlessly to a commercial setting while the Cass can be made to order with commercially-suitable hard-felted yarn. Both rugs are available in standard sizes, or can be designed in custom dimensions, making these rugs a perfectly adaptable yet elevated addition to any space.

Design

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Better than Botox? I tried cosmetic acupuncture for the first time, and this is what happened

Long time readers of Denizen magazine will be well aware of my somewhat macabre propensity to subject myself to painful cosmetic procedures, all in the name of youth preservation. But 80 to 120 needles in your face at once? That’s quite possibly a new record, even for me.

With my increasing interest in natural medicines, and a desire for a more natural outcome to facial rejuvenation, the burgeoning trend of facial acupuncture as an alternative therapy seemed worthwhile investigating.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been around for centuries. More recently, the art of facial massaging using a purposefully shaped piece of jade or rose quartz known as gua sha has grown immensely popular. But the ancient practice of acupuncture for its facial enhancing benefits is relatively new to New Zealand. 

As an acupuncture virgin, I undertook some research. Being from the school of scepticism around natural remedies, I was interested to learn that the practice actually dates as far back as 221 BC in the Qin Dynasty when acupuncture and herbal medicines were provided for emperors and empresses to enhance their natural beauty and delay ageing.

I guess we humans haven’t evolved our penchant for seeking out eternal youth. But in modern times, cosmetic acupuncture hasn’t really become well-known among the general population.

Auckland-based acupuncturist Amy Chen of Origins Acupuncture has been practicing medical acupuncture for five years and has focused more specifically on the cosmetic practice for the past two years, to great success. Chen employs the Miso F.A.C.E technique, which is a Korean medical acupuncture treatment that is designed to naturally enhance and improve the skin’s elasticity and texture.

After our initial consultation, I learned that Chen uses needles that are extremely thin, 0.10 – 0.14mm, making them thinner than our hair (and much thinner than your typical acupuncture needle).

So while they are less painful to insert, it requires a serious degree of technique and training to ensure that each of the 80 to 120 needles she inserts into the face and scalp stimulates the muscle, fascia, acupuncture meridians, muscles along the meridians and the dermal layer of the skin. Thus improving the facial skin’s circulation and elasticity, giving a glow and gentle lift, that over time will result in long-term effective facial enhancements.

“Something to do” I say. A phrase I’ve been known to use on occasions when I’m feeling a tad nervous about what is to follow. Yet what does follow is far less intrusive than I anticipated. As I lay on the bed, Chen goes about inserting needles into the left side of my face, starting behind my ears and into my scalp — areas that I feel an immediate tightening from — followed by a customised-for-my-issues insertion of needles around my eyes, lips, cheeks and jawline.

I must admit, my first experience was a little challenging, purely because of the tightening I experienced. But Amy knows her stuff, and after filling half of my face with needles, she wisely and promptly shows me the results of what the needles have achieved. And I have to be honest, I was pretty gobsmacked.

The symmetry of my face was completely off. The side without needles is down and slightly droopy, with a very prominent nasal labial fold. While the other side, which is still filled with needles, is puffy, free of lines and wrinkles — definitely a vast improvement. 

After all of the needles are inserted, I am left to lie in peace and quiet (or sleep as I have done on one occasion) for 20 minutes while the ancient mastery works its magic. At the end of this time, it’s a relatively swift process to remove the needles. 

Amy recommended a course of four weekly sessions, followed by a monthly maintenance session. At the time of writing I have completed the four weekly sessions, and I can say that I can see a definite improvement in the elasticity and quality of my skin. 

I’d conclude by saying that despite my long term propensity for the likes of Botox and fillers, there is a part of me that is tending towards procedures that result in a more natural outcome. The days of the pillowy lips, overly high cheekbones and waxy over-lasered skin are, I hope, behind us, or at the very least destined to be administered painlessly via phone filters.

Perhaps the ancient Chinese did have a point? I for one am sold on the idea of reducing the amount of rubbish I’m putting into my face and instead opting for a more natural approach.

Wellbeing

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An inviting coffee shop in Eden Terrace, serving enticing bites and top-notch brews

Newly opened in Eden Terrace, Kind Stranger is a cosy neighbourhood cafe where the service is just as warm as the piping hot coffee. It is owned and operated by Mate Vella who, having returned to New Zealand from a stint in London just before Covid, was honing his caffeine-centric craft full time at Grey Lynn cafe Crumb when the opportunity came up to realise a long-held goal of opening his own spot.

Located in the site previously occupied by cult sandwich slingers Hero Sandwich House, Kind Stranger has been given an interior refresh that has taken it from a predominantly takeaway direction to a space that invites customers to sit in with a brew and a bite from the cabinet. 

Vella enlisted the help of his friend, designer Elliot Francis, who works for hospitality design firm Millé but took on the venue as a personal project. Early on in their friendship, the duo had bonded over a shared love for the style of cafes visited on their travels to Japan and Korea, and this formed the inspiration for Kind Stranger’s sensibility. 

Walking in, there are three tall, stool-lined tables lining one side, and the rest of the space is intended to feel as open as possible with a striking white tiled banquette around the left side and by the front window, and small yet solid wooden plinths sourced from boutique and gallery Public Record in the place of traditional tables. 

The terracotta red wall, painted in Resene Tandoori, further encourages the overall warmth of the space, and the mixture of textures between natural wooden floors and plinths, creamy tiles and rust-toned wall combine in a way that adds interest to the otherwise pared-back effect.

Kind Stranger’s Reuben sandwich.

In terms of the food offering, Kind Stranger keeps the cabinet stocked with savoury sandwiches and baked sweet treats, plus vegan options within both categories made by local baker Neat Cakes. We tried Vella’s delicious take on a Reuben, served in a brioche bun with pastrami, Swiss cheese, gherkins and house-made sauce; and the beef cheek, rocket, cheese and onion jam toasted bun, which was also very tasty. 

Open seven days a week, it is in a prime spot to service both residential visitors and those coming from the various offices and company headquarters in the area. 

“Kind Stranger is really in the name,” says Vella of the intention behind his new venture. “A community based on having as much or as little interaction with me as they so choose. Regardless, they’ll be met with a warm reaction by me.” 

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday: 7am — 3pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8am — 2pm

@kindstrangercafe

Is there a new opening you believe should be on our radar? Let us know at [email protected]

Kind Stranger
66 New North Road
Eden Terrace

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Anya Taylor-Joy.

Tiffany & Co. has unveiled a diverse trio of powerful, chic and inspiring woman as its new global ambassadors

It’s been an exciting year so far for Tiffany and Co., and the luxury jewellery giant has only gone from strength to strength. Its latest announcement unveiled the identities of three new global brand ambassadors, following on from the appointment of Blackpink megastar Rosé who debuted her ambassador role in April’s 2021 Tiffany HardWear digital campaign. 

Tiffany’s line-up of new muses is a trio of inspiring, trailblazing women — award-winning actors Anya Taylor-Joy and Tracee Ellis Ross, and world champion skier Eileen Gu, and seeing as the T1 line is dedicated to inner strength and individuality, we can’t think of three more perfect representatives of this mission statement.

Ushering in a fresh, creative vision for Tiffany, Taylor-Joy, Ellis Ross and Gu all starred in the stunning, Mario Sorrenti-shot 2021 Tiffany T1 campaign, ‘Give Me the T’, expressing admiration and appreciation for the House as they unveiled the shoot to each of their sizeable social media followings.

Tracee Ellis Ross

Taylor-Joy, best known for her star turns in the 2020 rendition of Jane Austen’s Emma, and the record-breaking Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, speaks of how she adores the symbolism of jewellery — no matter if it just speaks to the wearer. “I love it to mean something to me,” she says. “It doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything to anybody else, but I like to look down at my fingers and have a story.”

Ellis Ross (daughter of none other than the legendary Diana Ross) is also an actor, as well as a singer, television host, producer and director, known for her multi-award-winning lead roles in Girlfriends and Black-ish. Both she and Taylor-Joy are famed for their impeccable style off-screen — and along with Gu, they shine when showcasing the signature collection through a pared-down, contemporary lens.

Eileen Gu.

While she is only 17, Chinese American pro-skier and model Eileen Gu (also known by her Chinese name Gu Ailing) is already an utter inspiration to young women around the world for her athletic prowess, determination and fearlessness.

With this formidable trio representing the T1 collection in a mutual celebration of talent and beauty, Tiffany once again proves why its iconic pieces never go out of style.

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Satisfy your Portuguese tart cravings with this genius bulk delivery service

If you have never tried a proper Portuguese custard tart, we are sincerely sorry for your tastebuds. Known in the mother tongue as ‘Pastel de Nata’, these sweet delights are absolutely heavenly when executed with the proper finesse, comprising crisp, flaky pastry shells that hold a creamy custard centre, with a blistered top that adds an addictive caramelised pay-off.

They make for the perfect sweet pick-me-up any time of day — and, luckily for you, we’ve discovered a local bakery that will deliver them by the box-load to a business address, ready to heat in the oven for a morning or afternoon tea the whole office will love.

Founded by Portuguese native Pedro Marcelino, Nata is a bakery specialising in authentic Pasteis de Nata, as well as orange Queijadas (another type of custardy Portuguese cupcake). It had a brick-and-mortar shop on Karanghapape Road until April this year, when unfortunately it had to close due to Covid-related hardships, and now just operates an online-only delivery business.

Having moved to New Zealand from Portugal in 2015, Marcelino and his wife found themselves missing the delectable baked goods of their home country, so after just six months Marcelino decided to quit his IT job, and travelled back to Portugal to train as a professional pastry chef — specialising in Portuguese custard tarts.

The training has certainly paid off, as these tarts are sublime. Currently, you can find them in coffee shops and restaurants, as well as in the bakery section at Farro and Countdown supermarkets nationwide. Should you wish to stock up your workplace fridge, Nata provides the option of ordering boxes of 16 or 32 tarts to be frozen and baked as required.

So, while we currently can’t head to the Northern Hemisphere and escape the cold, Nata’s renowned Portuguese tarts are bringing a taste of Europe to us — the only challenge? It’s impossible to just eat one.

Gastronomy

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Opulent and eye-catching, these sparkling green pieces are topping our jewellery wishlist

Bringing rich tones of emerald, forest and beryl to the fore, the verdant trend emerging in high-end jewellery has us seeing green. From the standout pieces at Sutcliffe, to the eye-catching sparklers at Partridge, these exquisite pieces will have everyone else green with envy.

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Sutcliffe Apple Tourmaline Earrings

Sutcliffe Apple Tourmaline Earrings

Sutcliffe Apple Tourmaline Earrings

Sutcliffe Apple Tourmaline Earrings

Available from Sutcliffe Jewellery

Tiffany & Co. Soleste Green Tourmaline and Diamond Ring

Tiffany & Co. Soleste Green Tourmaline and Diamond Ring

Tiffany & Co. Soleste Green Tourmaline and Diamond Ring

Tiffany & Co. Soleste Green Tourmaline and Diamond Ring

Available from Tiffany & Co.

Partridge Pear Shaped Tourmaline Bow Pendant

Partridge Pear Shaped Tourmaline Bow Pendant

Partridge Pear Shaped Tourmaline Bow Pendant

Partridge Pear Shaped Tourmaline Bow Pendant

Available from Partridge Jewellers

Partridge Emerald Half Halo Bracelet

Partridge Emerald Half Halo Bracelet

Partridge Emerald Half Halo Bracelet

Partridge Emerald Half Halo Bracelet

Available from Partridge Jewellers

Sutcliffe Tourmaline and Diamond Earrings

Sutcliffe Tourmaline and Diamond Earrings

Sutcliffe Tourmaline and Diamond Earrings

Sutcliffe Tourmaline and Diamond Earrings

Available from Sutcliffe Jewellery

Sutcliffe Emerald Cut Tourmaline Ring

Sutcliffe Emerald Cut Tourmaline Ring

Sutcliffe Emerald Cut Tourmaline Ring

Sutcliffe Emerald Cut Tourmaline Ring

Available from Sutcliffe Jewellery

Tiffany & Co. Green Tourmaline and Diamond Pendant

Tiffany & Co. Green Tourmaline and Diamond Pendant

Tiffany & Co. Green Tourmaline and Diamond Pendant

Tiffany & Co. Green Tourmaline and Diamond Pendant

Available from Tiffany & Co.

Sutcliffe Green Tourmaline Ring

Sutcliffe Green Tourmaline Ring

Sutcliffe Green Tourmaline Ring

Sutcliffe Green Tourmaline Ring

Available from Sutcliffe Jewellery

Coveted

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Bullfrog Akito outdoor sofa.

Planning on lounging in style this summer? You best get onto ordering your outdoor furniture now

While it may be hard to imagine from the winter doldrums we currently find ourselves in (although, there’s no denying it’s nice to be bundled up cosily inside), the warmer months will roll around again soon enough and, with them, the urge to spend sunny days relaxing outdoors.

Should you be thinking your home’s outdoor furniture could do with a refresh, you’re not alone. We currently have our eyes on the versatile and stylish Bullfrog Outdoor range, available to order locally from Sarsfield Brooke.

Named after the bullfrog for its flexibility and ease at adapting to new environments, the German brand specialises in high-quality exterior pieces that can be rendered in both neutral and unique designs, and even outdoor leathers.

Bullfrog Johann floor seat cushion.

Many of the pieces are crafted with high-quality outdoor woods, including thermo-treated Ash, which renders it weather-resistant and highly durable — high dimensional stability also means lower expanding and contracting during seasonal changes. Oiled Larch wood is also used, oiled so as to be UV and weather-resistant, and is naturally resistant to fungus and the like.

Where steel framing is used, it has been galvanised or powder coated for UV protection and is highly resistant to corrosion, plus the vast range of fabrics (including water-resistant or 100 percent waterproof) means you’ll have no trouble finding something that fits your at-home environment.

Within the excellent range, we particularly love the Akito outdoor sofa; stylish yet elegant, functional and design-led. It comprises a solid wood base fixed with upholstered cushions and has a multitude of reclining options.

This versatile sofa can be adjusted up or down, making a double lounger or sofa, and can even be configured to form a snug corner setting. A table can be revealed thanks to a sliding feature, and the Akito can be set with castor wheels for ease of movement.

Bullfrog Gajus outdoor sofa.

The Gajus sofa has also caught our eye, and is for those who love a versatile lounger, with Bullfrog’s engineering allowing for a range of possible back positions. Available as a single lounger, or as a chaise and sofa, its relatively straight-forward shape suits a range of fabrications, from statement-making to neutral.

With a large range of pieces available, from island-style armchairs to side-tables, moveable cushions and more, Sarsfield Brooke’s selection of Bullfrog has us already mapping out what our warm weather relaxation situation is going to look like — and we suggest you do the same.

Design

We sit down with curator, creative director & strategist, Karl Johnstone, to discuss what te ao Māori can bring to Aotearoa’s built environment
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Jordan Gibson.

Checks Downtown founder Jordan Gibson on style, secret talents and what he can’t live without

Designer Jordan Gibson founded Auckland-based streetwear favourite Checks Downtown in 2017, and the unisex label specialises in streetwear silhouettes that have an irreverent sensibility, while still prioritising lush fabrications and impeccable fit.

Having initially opened in a downstairs space on High Street, Checks has been welcoming customers to its eye-catching orange store at 84 Pitt Street since July 2020, frontage that is certainly in keeping with the brand’s colourful shades and prints.

Fans of the brand (of which there are many) gravitate towards it for more than just the tangible clothing aspect — Gibson has succeeded in creating a community around Checks that goes beyond sales, with a highly engaged social media presence and regular involvement in collaborative food, music and charity events.

We knew this tastemaker would have some good recommendations, so read on to learn more about the man behind the brand.

What I do for a job described in one sentence: Founder of Checks Downtown, Auckland-based unisex clothing brand, and spinner of many plates.

My personal style can be defined by: Colour, texture, a bit of risk-taking with a mix of references from different eras. Lately, it’s also been very comfortable.

The last thing I bought and loved was: A custom signet ring from my friend Frank Silver, it has a classic chunky shape with a beaten texture on the top and sides for a contemporary twist. I don’t really shop much so jewellery has become a bit of a new obsession!

An unforgettable place I visited was: Tonga, just incredibly beautiful. Swimming with whales was a particularly special experience. I’m dreaming of visiting Rarotonga with the Cook Islands bubble opening.

On my wish list is: My obsession with textures means that 90 percent of my footwear is suede, and in this city, I really need something waterproof. Salomons? Boots? HELP!

From left: Frank Silver custom signet ring; Inside Checks Downtown’s Pitt Street store.

When I was younger, I wanted to be: Without really realising it was a career path, a clothing designer, I’m a pretty singular focus kind of person and can’t apply myself to something I don’t love. So I’m pretty happy it worked out.

My guilty pleasure is: Dining out, the diet tends to go out the window when I’m enjoying a night amongst friends.

My secret talent is: I make a really good vegetarian curry. I’m a bit of an anxious host but do enjoy sharing this with others.

My style / favourite cultural icon is: Jason Dill, the way he mixes styles and adds a toughness to finer garments appeals to me.

The best book I’ve read in the last year is: The Best of Me, by David Sedaris.

I can’t miss an episode of: Right now, RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under.

My morning routine is: Coffee, gym, get to work early, coffee, check for urgent emails, catch up with the team on how their work is tracking.

In my fridge you’ll always find: I generally cook a big meal we can enjoy throughout the week so probably whatever has been prepared the night before.

Clockwise from left: Moccamaster; The Best of Me by David Sedaris; RuPaul’s Drag Race; Cazador; The Happiness Lab.

I recently discovered: A broader musical interest — folk, jazz, disco, bossa nova, afro boogie, what have I been doing all this time!

A gadget I can’t do without is: Our orange Moccamaster at the studio.

The last meal out I had that truly impressed me was: My 30th birthday dinner at Cazador, the food never disappoints me there. That secret recipe chocolate mousse!

The podcasts I listen to are: Throwing Fits, Switched on Pop, Popcast, The Happiness Lab, Slow Burn.

The best gift I ever received was: This year was really great, I spent the weekend on Waiheke Island with my beautiful girlfriend. She gifted me a trip to the Queen Charlotte Sound to see family friends whom I love dearly. Along with a Japanese kitchen knife, I have been enjoying putting that to good use lately!

The grooming product I can’t live without is: Kiehl’s SPF 15 moisturising lotion.

The last music I downloaded was: HAIM, Women in Music pt. III.

If I wasn’t doing what I am, I would be: Maybe opening a restaurant, I seem to enjoy back-breakingly hard work…

I have a collection of: Lots of things: belts, socks, pins, bandanas, hats, tote bags. The list could go on.

My favourite way to unwind is: Arriving home to my cat, she’s always happy to see me.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is: Fall in love with the process.

Coveted

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Hoop dreams — add some drama to your adornments with the high-end hoops to shop now
Dadelszen is ushering in a new era — unveiling an exclusive new showroom within Faradays