So it looks like summer is making a big effort to take hold in New Zealand. You never know when Mother Nature will throw in a tornado or four soggy days on the trot, just to keep you guessing, but I'm going to do my best to put that aside and embrace the sunshine.
Boy, I love summer time. It's conducive to some of my favourite things - being barefoot, eating outside, and thriving. I also love the laid-back beauty trends that tend to resonate during this time of year. Messy sea-spray hair, lashings of bronzer, neon nails and, once the sun goes down, a pout that pops.
I recently got chatting with M.A.C senior make-up magician, Amber D, as she tried to teach me how to create the illusion of facial structure (FYI I'm still battling to DIY but I recall the mantra 'contour under cheekbones and highlight above').
I asked Amber D the top five things we must know about summer make-up. Here's what she said:
1. Keep your skin fresh and primed: M.A.C Prep & Prime spf50++ will do a lot of the hard work for you by protecting your skin from the sun whilst evening out the appearance of the face.
2. Use cream eyeshadows, cheek colour and highlighters: They will look super fresh and will look more natural.
3. A bright lip is essential: From fluoro pinks to classic bold Marilyn type reds. Keep skin clean and simple and pop your look with a bright lip.
4. Highlight the skin: Make your skin look super glowing and fresh by applying a highlighter to your cheekbones and bridge of the nose.
5. Don't ever wear a darker foundation to make yourself look more tanned: Just wear one that matches your skin tone and use a bronzer with a large brush to warm up around the sides of the face.
Now, I'm all about beauty basics and what works for you - especially on your face. But I also reckon it's fun to play around with trends - it's an easy way to freshen up your look and reflect the way you feel. I have a particular crush on hair and nails trends. So I quizzed a couple of local pros about their summer suggestions:
Petrina Martin from Magic Tan and Nails says neon is what you need to know about right now (Hint: If you're opting to do your own, lay a coat of white polish before adding fluro shades to get the boldest pop of colour). The feature nail fad is still happening, on fingers and toes. Or, for another contrast, try coloured tips - subbing in something fun like a hot pink instead of the traditional white French tip.
Louise Pilkington, creative director at Dry & Tea, says summer is the perfect season to have a little fun with your hair. Big, bouncy waves (think Victoria's Secret) are super sexy. If you can master the art at home, well done (and I'm jealous), but I have a massive mane, so treat my tresses to a regular blow wave. I've found a couple of salons that will give you a great deal if you wash and dry hair yourself beforehand. Pilkington says it's all about the lived-in look - dragged out waves are spot on - when a soft curl kicks in at about cheekbone length. Also take a more casual approach to colour - think smudgy roots and washed out ends with multiple shades going on.
What are your favourite things about summer? Do you have any Life & Style topics that you'd like me to consider?By Nicky Park @Nicky_Park Email Nicky