Every Christmas (and most Birthdays) I’m asked what I really want. Sometimes I have to think veeeery hard about it because I have a lot of stuff, and have almost everything I want. Of course I have those top of mind items on my Lust List like the Valentino Rockstud Tote or the Cartier Love bangle, but I don’t know any of my friends who would be willing to drop that kind of cash on a gift. And I wouldn’t want them to either. For this Christmas Gift Guide I thought really hard about some gifts within reach that I would enjoy receiving. If you’re a bit stuck, perhaps you can find some inspiration here…

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for her beauty cupboard

For the girl who is spoilt for choice, when it comes to fragrances, Crabtree & Evelyn’s Venetian Violet Flower Water will be a welcome gift. The scent is subtle, soft and beautiful. I sometimes spray it on my bed sheets before bed time! Available at all Crabtree & Evelyn stores for R850 or online here.

Since the Naked Palette is perpetually sold out at Rubybox, Estée Lauder’s Pure Colour Envy Sculpting Eyeshadow Palettes are another wonderful eye shadow option. The eye shadows are dreamy, creamy and amazing to work with! The shadows can be used on their own for a wash of colour, or can be used together for a more sculpted look. For a girl on the go, this is a make up must-have. At Estée Lauder counters nationwide for R685.

YSL Beauté really knows how to do colour. Spoil your bestie, your mom or yourself with any one of the creamy, highly pigmented lip colours from the YSL Rouge Pur Couture range. You’ll be glad that you did! My absolute favourite is 22 Pink Celebration (this is the perfect bright pale pink), with 7 Le Fuchsia and 30 Corail Fauviste coming in together for a close second.

If you’re reading my blog, it means you care about your skin. If you don’t manage to book in for monthly facials, but still want to pamper your skin, I highly recommend Ren’s Glycolactic Radiance Renewal  Mask. It helps to get rid of dead skin cells and leaves your face radiant and ready for moisturiser! Get it for R520 here or here.

For the girl who has everything, the Konjac Facial Sponge is a nifty little sponge to have. Use with or without cleanser to clean and exfoliate your face. They come in a variety of ‘flavours’ like Lycopene for anti-aging, Lavender for sensitive skins, Aloe Vera to soothe dry skin and Charcoal for oily and acne prone skin. The Konjac sponge is completely natural and is fun to use. Get yours here or here for around R140.

Get your bestie a DIY spa treatment in the form of a Body Shop body brush. Dry brushing helps to improve skin texture, reduce cellulite, detoxify and boost circulation. Her skin will thank you for it! Read more about it here. R175 at The Body Shop.

Every girl needs a superstar hand cream right? L’Occitane’s Shea Butter Hand Cream is the ideal beauty balm for dry skin. Say hello to moisturised, nourished hands in a flash! Get it here for R330.

For her hair

The Invisibobble is a cute stocking stuffer. This new hair accessory is really cool for creating the perfect bouncy ponytail, doesn’t give you those pesky lines that a normal ponytail elastic does and doesn’t break hair. Available at Rubybox for R80 for 3 or at Takealot in limited colours on special for R41 for 3.

Heat styled hair equals damaged hair. Moroccanoil’s Restorative Hair Mask will resuscitate your hair and bring it back from even the deepest depths of colouring and styling. And it smells gorgeous too! On special for R356 here.

For the house

To prevent fine lines and wrinkles as well as hair breakage, get your bestie a Dear Deer Satin pillow slip. Normal cotton pillow cases can help to create lines and wrinkles (eeek!) whereas satin is softer and kinder on the skin. Available in black, white, grey, charcoal, pink and  champagne for R140 here.

You can never go wrong with a gorgeous coffee table book. My recommendation? Christian Louboutin’s coffee book with 300+ pages of photography, inspiration and stunning pop-up art. If your bestie loves shoes, this will be the best gift ever! Buy from Exclusive Books from around R2000.

for her wardrobe

Every girl needs a pair of Havainas. You can never go wrong with a pair in a gorgeous metallic like silver or bronze and if she’s into sparklies, you can gift her a pair with a diamanté in the strap. I love this rose gold pair with hardware detail on the strap. Get them from around R300 at Havaianas Sandton City.

Travel

Help your bestie or loved one to travel in style. Forever New has the most amazing travel purses in at the moment. The travel purse has a space for tickets, receipts, money, passports and ‘other’.  I would LOVE to receive one of these!

There we have it Lovelies, my ultimate December Gift Guide. I hope I have managed to inspire. Now go out and get some amazing gifts for your loved ones!

xoxo

To celebrate 50 years of edgy beauty, YSL Beauté asked 8 local South African designers to interpret one of the new Yves Saint Laurent Couture Eye Palettes (which in turn each celebrate iconic moments in the history of the YSL brand) to create a garment. I love that – beauty inspiring fashion.

I had the opportunity to interview the talented (and super cool) Thula Sindi. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Thula Sindi brand, it is the ultimate brand of apparel that is delicately made, exquisite and timeless. Targeted at the modern, sophisticated woman who loves quality but knows that quality doesn’t have to break her bank.

Thula Sindi was given the No 3 Afrique Palette to draw inspiration from. Think a fiery sun and the gleam of twilight over the savannah, sacred dust echoed in safari tones. Five shades celebreate all the exotic wonders of Yves Saint Laurent, five invitations to faraway places, under the sun.

YSL New COUTURE PALETTE n°3_Afrique (interpreted by Thula Sindi)

The palette is a 5 colour ready to wear palette, containing colours that are long-wearing and crease-proof. The formula includes a high concentration of pearls and pigments and a network of transparent powders that result in a long-lasting complex for optimal hold. This smooth even blend finish is crease resistant for up to 12-hour hold. The result is pure, intense colour.

The Afrique palette, as well as Yves Saint Laurent’s own story, is inextricably linked with the African continent. Saint Laurent was born in Oran, Algeria, in 1936. Morocco had a major influence on his work and the colours he used – he travelled to Marrakech twice a year to design his haute couture collections. In 1967 he launched his “African” Couture Collection, which was inspired by primitive African art, amongst other things. Some dresses were elaborately embroidered with 20 types of beads including sea shells, wooden beads, and animal-teeth-shaped beads, which had rarely been used for Haute Couture before, as well as several sorts of colored threads. Coming full circle, Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered in the Majorelle Gardens of his home in Marrakech.

fm_africa

 

The soft earthy pastels of the Africa Palette provided perfect inspiration for a dress that embodies the simplicity and sophistication of the Thula Sindi brand. With the dynamic movement of the fringe which echoes the creations of Yves Saint Laurent and the beauty of Africa which captured his heart and became part of the YSL design legacy.

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Thula Sindi image

You never quite fully appreciate the final garment, until you have been through the creative process, as was my case. Read on for my interview with Thula Sindi…

How did you select the materials you used?

I thought of the modern woman when creating this garment, someone who is empowered sophisticated and knows what she wants. I chose a big industrial zip for ease (not everyone lives with someone or has a helper to help them to get dressed in the mornings) which is easy to zip up. I went with modern wearability, glam and ease.

Were the materials difficult to work with?

The fringe was difficult to work with – it was like hair and quite unruly! It took 3 days to perfect and was made from carpeting, a wool blanket and a nylon blanket. The dress itself consists of 7 parts which had to be assembled in perfect order.

How would you describe the overall aesthetic?

Sleek, modern, afro touch, ready to hit the town!

Did you enjoy the brief and collaborating with YSL Beauté?

I did! It’s great to see your finished product through other peoples’ eyes. It was fun.

Was creating the dress challenging?

It was challenging in a good way. The YSL label is incredibly inspiring.

Who is your dream client?

Jennifer Lopez because she loves clothes. She always looks fashionable and well put together. I would also love to dress Oprah – she looks like she could be quite cheeky but loyal.

What is your favourite quality in a woman?

Confidence. I think it leads to being decisive. I love a woman who knows what she wants. I’d rather have someone tell me what she likes and doesn’t like instead of me having to figure it out.

 

Black Opium, announced as a rock’n’roll interpretation of the classic to highlight the dark, mysterious side of the YSL brand, has me hooked. A lot of you might think otherwise because you remember that heavy, oriental, spicy scent that you used to smell on your mom or gran. Give me a chance to describe to you just how absolutely incredible the new Black Opium is.

The original Opium, launched in 1977, is an Oriental Spicy fragrance. Top notes include coriander, plum, mandarin orange, pepper, cloves, west indian bay and bergamot, middle notes incorporate carnation, sandalwood, patchouli and cinnamon, and base notes include tolu balsam, sandalwood, musk, coconut, vanilla, benzoin, vetiver, incense, cedar, myrrh and amber.

Black Opium, launched in September 2014, is the first Café Floral (Floral Coffee) by Yves Saint Laurent and has top notes of pink pepper and orange blossom, middle notes of jasmine and coffee and base notes of vanilla, patchouli and cedarwood,

As you can see, the only notes that these two fragrances have in common are the notes of vanilla, patchouli and cedarwood. And three notes do not a perfume make.

Black opium 4

the bottle

The glittering matte black bottle is a reworked version of the original Opium bottle, but is far edgier and has a rock-chic twist. The gently sparkling flacon is the perfect vessel to contain the mysterious, gold juice.

the scent

Described as a new-generation oriental gourmand, the juice does not feature a traditional olfactory structure, according to the brand, but was inspired by “chiaroscuro” (Italian for light-dark), where the emphasis is on the contrast and tension between light and dark.

The instant you spritz the gold juice, the coffee bean note hits you, jolting the senses. Next, it becomes more feminine with with the white flowers of jasmine and orange blossom. It finishes off with the incredibly addictive sensual appeal of vanilla and the woody notes of cedar and patchouli, giving it depth, and hinting at a mysterious elegance. The fragrance caresses you every movement you wear it.

the campaign

The face of the perfume’s campaign is British model Edie Campbell, famous for her black cropped hair and indie-rock style. The advert was shot in Shanghai, and portrays Edie Campbell on a frantic quest to recover her precious fragrance from the lover who has taken it, referencing the addictive nature of the fragrance (and perhaps today’s caffeine addiction).

final thoughts

I have never witnessed such a favourable reaction to a fragrance! So many friends, and friends of friends, acquaintances and clients are dying to get their hands on a bottle. I think this is hands down the best fragrance to be released this year and I literally can’t get enough of it! When I wear another fragrance for the day, I catch myself wanting to douse myself in Black Opium – it really is that good! Told you I’m hooked.

Black Opium EDP is available in 30ml for R695, 50ml for R975 and 90ml for R1, 245.

For those of you that haven’t heard of Mimco, the brand is a well-established accessories label in Australia. Their wonderful selection of handbags, shoes and other accessories provide a bold statement on trends and are sure inject some unique style into any outfit. Last week, in association with Grazia, Mimco held an event to celebrate and showcase their gorgeous accessories. With Fashion Director Kirsty Stoltz and model/actress/presenter Pearl Thusi at the helm, we picked up a few tips on how to wear accessories the Mimco way…

 

Mimco timepieces

 Stack your wrist! Mimco’s timepieces can and should be combined with other Mimco bracelets to give your arm some serious swag

Mimco arm candy

 Mimco’s pieces are distinctive and stylish

More Mimco arm candy

A Mimco woman loves to dress up, and she knows that a killer accessory can complete her outfit

Mimco hair accessories

Spruce up your ‘do with a fabulous hair accessory

Mimco earrings

Matchy matchy is out! I love the concept of mismatched earrings

Mimco clutch bag

Shine and sparkle with this  Bordeaux red jewel encrusted clutch

I could totes rock the Bordeaux clutch bag with this YSL lip colour (Glossy Stain in Violet Edition)

While these cupcakes are not wearable (well, maybe on your derrière if you aren’t the active kind), they were deeelicious! The food is always delectably enjoyable when Vicky Crease is involved.

You can find Mimco at its standalone store at Sandton City, as well as inside Woolworths at Eastgate, Hyde Park and Sandton.

I have been quite absent on the ‘Loves’ series, and I want to bring it back! Jumping straight into it, these are the things I am loving this April…

April 2014 Loves

1. Enjoying: Manifesto from YSL is my new favourite fragrance. It’s sweet and sugary with hints of vanilla and flowers. It’s my new go-to scent. LOVE!

2. Devouring: Reese’s Sticks are the most delicious thing I’ve eaten all year! The wafers are sandwiched between peanut butter and then coated in milk chocolate. They make the most delicious breakfast!

 3. Watching: If you saw Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and enjoyed it, then get out there and go see the Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s just the right mix of quirky and funny and cool.

 4. Loving: Urban Decay’s Naked 3 palette. As soon as I got the notification, I went online and I managed to score my Naked 3 palette from Rubybox, who were literally sold out in 3 hours. I am absolutely head over heels for these rose gold toned eyeshadows. Read the review here.

5. Beauty: Given my new found fondness for punchy lip colours, I picked up this amazingly beautiful pink lipstick called Hot Plum and I am loving it! It is gorgeous and long-wearing and I will post a review soon.

 6. Off my Wishlist: The Valentino Rockstuds are officially mine and are officially off my wish list!  I can’t think of anything else that I want right now because I’m still basking in the glory of these magnificent heels. I got them from New York’s Bergdorf Goodman.

 

What are you loving this April?