Go-To Skincare by Zoe Foster-Blake Review

go-to skincare review zoe foster-blake
go-to skincare review zoe foster-blake
go-to skincare review zoe foster-blake
go-to skincare review zoe foster-blake

If there’s one thing I’ve really been paying attention to this year, it’s been looking after my skin, and with that, finding the perfect morning and evening skincare routine that addresses all my complexions needs. So when I discovered Go-To Skincare, I was immediately taken with their approach to looking after our skin: pure ingredients, free of nasty chemicals, and safe for acne-prone and sensitive skin. Founded by former beauty editor Zoe Foster-Blake, you won’t find chemicals like palm oil, petrochemicals, PEGs, mineral oils, parabens, sulfates, silicones, GMOs, synthetic colours or fragrance in their products, and they’re committed to being cruelty free – absolutely no testing on animals. Safe to say that this all had me pretty intrigued.

I’m always a little hesitant about trying new skincare products. As someone who suffers from dermatitis and eczema on my face, I have to really take care of what I’m applying to my skin – a huge reason why I’ve scaled back my daily makeup routine, but more on that another time. So I’ve started off small with the four products from Go-To Skincare that you see above; the Pinkey-Nudey Lips!, the Super Handy Hand Cream, the Very Useful Face Cream, and the Face Hero.

Aside from the fact that each item is packaging #goals (a total peach dream that I wouldn’t blame you for buying solely for the packaging alone…), I was really curious to see if they would live up to the hype – and the extremely positive customer reviews featured on the site.

First, let’s start off with the Pinkey-Nudey Lips! I suffer from extremely dry lips, and it’s always more severe during the colder months of the year. There aren’t too many lip balms out there which I find actually hydrating (most tend to be waxy or balmy and sit on top of my lips), but this is nourishing, has a slightly wet slippy feel for a considerable amount of time following application, and I love the subtle peachy pink tint, which adds some much-needed colour to my lips. I also love that this has SPF 15, which makes it a good contender for the summer when I try to be as sun smart as I possibly can. This has been alternating between sitting on my night stand, and next to my keyboard for those times when I’m working in my study – which is a pretty good indicator that the Pinkey-Nudey Lips! is finding itself a home as one of my go-to beauty pick-me-ups!

Next up is the Super Handy hand cream; I’m going to be upfront and say that this isn’t a product I would add to cart in future. It promises a formula that is non-greasy, but unlike the other hand creams I have on rotation (I personally love this one from L’Occitane), I’ve found that this takes some time to sink into your skin, so you’re initially left with that rather sticky, greasy feeling. The formula is very rich, intensely hydrating, and smells wonderful, but I have a hard time getting behind this one when I feel like many other brands I’ve tried are much lighter, and absorb into your skin immediately. That being said, I do think that this would work wonders on those with incredibly dry hands, and I suspect that with just a couple of weeks use your hands would be softer than the hands of an Aesop Sales Assistant.

My skin tends to get pretty dry during winter (I typically have combination/oily skin) so I was pretty excited to try the Very Useful Face Cream, though this turned out to be a little different to what I was expecting. It’s an incredibly rich and heavy moisturiser, that takes about ten minutes or so to sink into the skin, so I’ve taken to using this once every few days as an intensive moisturising treatment (if this is even a thing!). It contains shea butter and beeswax – two slightly more unusual ingredients for a facial moisturiser – which is what I would put that rich thickness down to, which also has the tendency to initially leave your face looking and feeling a little greasy. I feel like this is a product which is more suited to those with dry skin, as it’s certainly a little too much for someone with my skin type to be reaching for on a daily basis (and I wouldn’t consider using this during the day!). This does also smell absolutely amazing, and I love that it’s a squeezy tube style moisturiser – makes it easier to get to all the product inside!

The hero of the bunch has hands down been the Face Hero, which admittedly was the one product I was most apprehensive about trying. Mostly down to that age old myth that applying an oil to my face will cause breakouts, though that definitely isn’t the case with this facial oil. I use the popette to pop three to four drops on my finger tips, which I’ve then been massaging into my cheeks, across my nose and my forehead, morning and night. Before I made this part of my daily routine, my skin felt slightly rough and always like it was craving a bit of moisture. After less than a week of using Go-To Skincare’s Face Hero, my complexion felt noticeably softer, and it no longer looked dehydrated. Safe to say this has been a total game changer, and a product I’m going to be repurchasing to keep tucked away in my beauty stash.

Overall, I’ve been really pleased with these new additions to my skincare stash, and it’s really only left me even more interested in trying out the rest of the products in the Go-To Skincare range, specifically the Properly Clean Foaming Cleanser and the Exfoliating Swipeys. Have you tried anything from Go-To Skincare? And what did you think? x

Winter uniform #1

minimal winter uniform outfit

Country Road sweater (I also like this one), Topshop jeans (these are a great alternative), Charlotte Olympia kitty flats (affordable alternative), Byredo Mojave Ghost (or here), Chanel Rouge Allure in Coromandel

This is a little round up of some of my current winter staples, and one of my favourite (and simplest!) winter uniforms. An oversized sweater, a pair of ‘mom’-style jeans with a frayed hem, flats with a little bit of pizazz, and a nice red lip.

It’s fair to say that this isn’t anything groundbreaking, all it takes it finding the right sweater that you want to spend all winter wearing, the right pair of jeans that give you that peachy behind, and the right pair of shoes which make you feel ever so light on your feet. If there’s ever a way to keep looking chic, it’s to know what outfits work best for you – which is where my winter uniform comes into play. Think stripes, tapered trousers which nip in at the ankle, cotton shirts, and an a-line leather skirt so good I just had to get a back up.

If I go back through my archives, this is the kind of simple winter uniform that I’ve gravitated towards for the longest time, even if the specifics change in an ever so subtle way. The fit of the jeans, the type of top I’m reaching for, the shoes I’m favouring – it’s always to recreate this one simple look which is always, always elevated with a punchy red lip.

I have a few other looks which have undeniably been go-to outfits for me this winter, though they’re a lot more boxy, and a lot less focused on what would traditionally work for my body shape than I’m used to. I’ve been building some new style principles which have formed the foundation of these looks (based on my style overhaul from a couple of months back), but there are always those creature comforts that I can’t help but keep coming back to!

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: What’s the Big Deal, and Where Should You Start?

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

It’s that time of year again… the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (or #NSale) has begun, and with it, the opportunity to save big on some of their newest arrivals. Personally, this is one of my favourite sales to browse each year, as there are so many gems to be uncovered, and unlike your typical end-of-season sale, this is new stock rather than end of line.

WHEN CAN I SHOP THE SALE?

Early access to the #NSale opened up on Thursday 13 July, but for those of you like me who aren’t Nordstrom cardholders, public access kicks off tomorrow – Friday 21 July. The Anniversary Sale runs right through to Sunday 6 August, with sale prices going back up to full retail on Monday 7 August. You can find it a little more on the website here, including a peek at the entire catalogue.

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

What makes this sale a little unlike any other is the fact that while it might be summer in the Northern Hemisphere (for all you lucky ladies living in the US and Europe!), it gives you the opportunity to snap up a bargain – or few – for your upcoming autumn/winter wardrobe.

It’s an incredible opportunity to invest in your wardrobe if you’re missing a pair of boots (these Stuart Weitzman’s are a classic!), or a heavy wool coat to beat the winter chill; personally, this double faced wool beauty is my pick.

It’s not often that you stumble across new season arrivals on sale with markdowns up to 40% off. Alternatively, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere (hands up!), it’s a chance to maybe add something that your winter wardrobe has been lacking, if you spy something that catches your eye, that is.

WHAT TO BUY

Like with any new wardrobe addition, it’s a good idea to take stock of what you have before diving head first into the sale; with thousands of new autumn arrivals marked down, it’s safe to say that it can get a little overwhelming very quickly. For me, there’s usually a few key items that I’m after each season – for autumn and winter, I like to get a new chunky knit sweater or two, an everyday skirt, and assess whether I need a new coat or a new pair of winter boots. I’ll also usually throw in a trend piece or two which will work with the rest of my closet. Right now, I’m loving ruffles, and this floaty ethereal blouse is at the top of my list, and I also think this floral number is a gorgeous option for a dark romantic winter dress.

Some of the best bargains to be had from the #NSale are definitely sweaters (a must for Autumn!), coats (this is a lovely and classic looking trench), booties (I still can’t get over what a bargain these are), and jeans (my fave are these from Frame Denim). I’ve had a bit of a browse (the joys of being sick!), so I thought I’d share some of my favourites from the sale with you which you can shop down below. I’m on a little bit of a self-imposed shopping ban right now so I have a feeling I’ll mostly be doing a bit of ‘window shopping’, but if you end up coming away with anything from the sale, please let me know what you bought in the comments! x

TOPS

JACKETS & COATS

SKIRTS & TROUSERS

DRESSES & JUMPSUITS

SHOES

HANDBAGS

My best second hand purchases

Hope Grand Sweater

I think I can categorically say that for many years I spent just as much time browsing eBay as I spent checking my emails (read: a lot). Defining my style and exploring new designers which weren’t readily available in New Zealand, eBay was the #1 destination where I would stumble across a bargain second hand buy, or investment purchase for (much) less. These days, I’m more like to browse The Real Real – mostly down to the fact that they have a return policy – but one thing still remains true; I love a good second hand purchase. It’s that thrill of the hunt, and the best finds always turn up when you least expect them, and honestly, it can often be much more rewarding that buying something brand new. I’ve had my fair share of gems, as well as complete duds over the years, so I thought I’d share and reflect on some of my best second hand purchases to date.

HOPE GRAND SWEATER

Of all the knitwear I have stashed in my drawers, the grand sweater from Hope makes the biggest statement. It’s not hard to see why; the apricot hue, luxe waffle knit, and general oversized nature are what drew me to it in the first place. Mine was a lucky find on eBay, a good fraction of the RRP, and a good investment considering this is a staple style from HOPE – if you’re after one of your own, you can find it here or here, alternatively this option from Everlane is a little kinder on the wallet. I typically tend to enjoy wearing this with milky tones: cream denim, white pleated skirts, or layered over a midi dress. Sizing wise, it’s a large fit. I nabbed it in a EU36 which is the equivalent of an AU8, but you could easily size down if you didn’t want it to be quite so baggy. The only downside is laundering this sweater; you have to do it by hand, then lay it flat to avoid it from becoming misshapen. Hasn’t stopped me from reaching for this sweater whenever it gets chilly though!

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KAREN WALKER FRILL TOP

There are a few items in my closet that I spent years trying to track down – no exaggeration – and this simple frill top was one of them. Hailing from my favourite Karen Walker collection to date, ‘The Believers’, I’ve always been drawn to the combination of the sheer floral patterned silk, keyhole detail and frill hem. This is a good ten years old now, and while it looks a little weathered and worse for wear, I can’t help but love it all the same. A wardrobe addition that was truly years in the making, it’s one that I know I’ll continue to cherish for years to come. If you’d like to see this piece in action (as I can’t seem to find a snap of it on…), I featured it in my Summer 2016/2017 Wardrobe Lookbook which you can watch here.

Willow Leather Skirt

WILLOW LEATHER SKIRT

I knew I wanted a leather skirt from Willow just weeks into starting a job at David Jones. During my lunch breaks, I’d take the lift down to level 2, and make a mental note of all the ‘investment pieces’ I’d love to add to my wardrobe (Celine cashmere… anyone?). But somehow, I managed to leave that job without the leather skirt of my dreams, and shortly after, Willow become defunct, dashing any chances of buying one of their iconic a-line leather skirts brand new. But, luck has been on my side and I’ve found not one, but two of the old Willow leather skirts on eBay, a simple silhouette which has become something of a uniform for me, particularly during these cold winter months.

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Valentino Tango Pump

THE VALENTINO TANGO PUMP

I bought these almost two years ago now from The Real Real, after stumbling across a pair in my size, like new with rubber soles applied. These cost a pretty penny when buying brand new (the beige patent is lovely though…), so as you can imagine, I jumped at the chance to score these at more than half off. They’ve turned out to be a real wardrobe staple, a shoe that I know I can rely on to make any outfit look chic. And even though they’re on the narrow side, I don’t find them to bring too much discomfort to my wide feet – at least no more than other shoes! In terms of quality, they really are exceptional and have held up well, despite being worn many times on my daily trek to and from the office.

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Lover Wiccan Lace Midi Dress

LOVER THE LABEL WICCAN MIDI DRESS

The final second hand purchase I wanted to mention is one which I hunted on eBay for seven years. Seven. I first became obsessed with Australian label Lover at 17; aside from Karen Walker it was one of the few brands whose collections I would pore over, season after season, and still all these years on, their ‘Black Magick’ collection seems to have made a lasting impression on me. I finally managed to track down this dress via eBay in my size, at the start of this year, and have been saving it for those special occasions. The same French lace as my wedding dress, it’s as delicate as it looks, and miles more beautiful in person. I suppose good things really do come to those who wait… x

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Three ways to wear culottes

My love of the culotte is no secret; in the space of a year it’s gone from a style I’ve chosen to largely steer clear of, to a style favourite and wardrobe essential. My hesitation to add this particular style of trouser definitely stemmed from the fact that I was largely at a loss of how to style them. These days, I’m on the other side of the fence (I sort of think, how wouldn’t I style them?!), so I thought I’d share my most recent video, which features three ways to wear culottes.

After a little bit of experimentation, I’ve found that they go with *practically* everything, and while I consider them to be more of a summer or transitional season piece, with a little bit of clever layering, I’ve found that you can easily make them work for winter too.

So, have a watch, and let me know which of the three looks was your favourite. To keep things a little interesting I added a simple update for each look, which I think shows how one item can totally transform your outfit. Everything featured in the video is shoppable via the carousel below, or you can head over to YouTube where I’ve listed all the details (as well as a link to the soundtrack) in the description box.

How do you like to wear culottes? x