5 things you should know about

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1. Melie’s Kitchen


I remember when I was five and ‘cake time’ was a regularity, even an expectation of birthday parties. A fan or not, we all anticipated the moment for what it entailed. This, of course, was a multitude of things. In addition to a birthday wish, granted was permission for guests to a) leave, b) dive into the more appealing sausage rolls and fairy bread, or c) eat a slice so sizeable that on any other occasion, it would call for judgement.

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At about 11 years old, the cake tradition died out. It was for the best, too. Cakes were deemed a pointless expense; useful only for the making of a disjointed event, an awkward moment, and later, a series of them brimmed with regret.

Just two years down the track, cakes made a reappearance like J.T. to the music industry. No one saw it coming, but when it happened, we all pondered how we’d gone without for so long. As if having never left the scene, cakes showed at the most sophisticated of celebratory drinks and high teas. They weren’t just any cakes, however. They were the tiered delicacies of young and talented Amelia Ferrier.

Once just a friend-of-a-friend, Amelia quickly became the girl behind the most elaborate and ingredient-extensive cakes. If it was topped with little meringues, pale pink flowers and oozing with cream cheese icing, Amelia’s name was likely to be on it.

For a while, I did much like others: I idolised her gram, fell awfully hungry and tried to order a cake. Of course, I failed because Amelia was too busy with school, and orders were full for the next couple of months. One can’t begin to depict that disappointment until you know what she can create.

Published 01 July 2016 – Random House NZ (RRP $40.00)

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When Amelia released a book in July, I had to get my hands on a copy. In an impulsive state, I surely forgot that I wasn’t her. I was me, and me doesn’t really bake more than chocolate chip cookies (every 3 months). Fortunately, Amelia’s book is amateur-friendly. For this sake and more, I would have sought it not having known her name at all.

If there’s one thing I do admire in a young person – and definitely in Amelia – it’s the possession of drive, ambition and direction. These qualities I desire to hold myself. It’s inspiring to discover even hints of these, particularly within individuals who are not expected to know themselves nor their route yet.

Amelia is impressive for several reasons. She knows what she wants, and better yet, she acts on these goals. In Y12, she left school to study food science at Auckland uni, ignoring the negative stigma surrounding this decision. All the while, she has developed a brand of herself and her  signature baking.

Melie’s Kitchen is the book we’ll use on baking days with the girls. With lots of pretty pinks and photos of Amelia decorating, it doubles as a coffee table book and an exquisite baking how-to. Let’s not forget I’m someone who usually utilises the kitchen primarily for the microwave and the kettle. I’m telling you, this one, it’s doable. These recipes are broken down to make heaven appear a reachable destination.

If you’re not a cake person, Amelia’s included all sorts of goodies: cookies, slices and pastries. They’re impressive – at least to me – on the basis their titles include more than three ingredients. This is no vanilla cookie how-to. This baking day is looking to be genuinely rewarding.

At this stage, moving into a flat has never appeared more necessary. I can’t wait to have full access to a kitchen – also, to my more experienced and reliable baking friend – so I’m able to give more of these recipes a go. Amelia Ferrier is most definitely one to watch, and her cakes… well, they are the things to try.

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2. Aliya Wanek


Long time readers (August 2013) may remember when I interviewed Oakland-based blogger Aliya Wanek (formerly Amorer). At the time, she used her platform, Aesthetic.Li, to share hers and various locals’ street style, her favoured collections, odd travels and neat finds.

aliyawanek_sophie_tank1Aliya and her blog were of the first I looked up to. Her content was authentic; she presented a real sense of self through the way she wrote, the way she photographed and was photographed. Her stuff made me laugh as it equally encouraged me to think – even, at times, about the unflattering nature of high wasted trousers. Seriously guys, that post is fucking funny – go check it out.

When I was notified regarding the launch of Aliya’s eponymous brand, Aliya Wanek, I felt a pang of pride all the way from here in New Zealand. I sent Aliya an e-mail embedded with excitement. It felt right, and it felt so her. I can’t begin to imagine the elation Aliya felt putting her musings to material.

Aliya’s style is distinct, and this has absolutely transgressed into her first collection. Indeed a difficult task, Aliya Wanek revels in womanhood, and simultaneously, opens doors to practicality. It is most often that we as women are forced to choose between style and comfort. Aliya argues that we can have both, why, we will – and we shall still feel beautiful.

There’s a fall collection dropping soon and it’s consistent of all the best things: turtle necks, layering and more denim. Aliya continues to rep big pockets and loose fits; this time also in the form of dungarees. She brings warmth to otherwise cold colours: blues, teals, black and white. My favourite, perhaps, are the back-and-front v-necks. You can tell these clothes are made purely for us females. If this isn’t enough reason to advocate the brand, I’m not sure what is.

You should expect to see the Sophie tank on my blog soon. I am both dying to support my girl and in love with this stuff. I vote denim side-boob this summer, and I vote Aliya Wanek.

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3. Shh by Sadie


Sadie Hawker was kind enough to send me some of her jewellery to wear to fashion week this year. Not overly familiar with the brand prior to our collaboration, to voice that I was impressed would be an understatement. Each piece of jewellery is a force to be reckoned with; diverse and bearing of contrasting detail.

There’s something of a tribal nature to most styles. Sadie seems to have sourced inspiration for colour and design from both Africa and Morocco. In addition to such international flavour, there’s a lot of room for personal identity in the designs. They’re fun and bright, but also have a delicate expression about them.

What is debatably the most appealing thing about Shh by Sadie is the brand’s origin; Sadie is based right here in Wellington. This city is home to a lot of great start-ups, and this one producing of only hand-made items is no exception. Sadie creates her pieces of vintage beads and chains, and for this reason, most are limited edition or one of a kind. They’re an investment in personality and style.

4. COP the Label


Children of Promise is another Wellington-based label, this one by Jes Chang. Jes also sent several of her gorgeous pieces for me to wear to NZFW. For most of her items are made of silk, you can’t not feel beautiful dressed in COP.

It’s not solely for the sake of delicacy and fit that Jes chooses silk. She prides the brand on it’s ethical and sustainable practices – those which benefit both the environment and us (the wearers). Silk is the base fabric of most items for it is natural, and “enables our skin to breathe”.

The prices are reasonably dear, however, there’s a reason we’ll pay for them. The collection is of the finest quality, as much as the brand is of a charitable nature. For each item purchased, 10% of the profit is given to selected charities that associate in the advancement of young people. COP is about creating opportunities for the next generation.

If this idea alone wasn’t worth investment, each garment has the most wonderful fit. The silk falls incredibly softly around the skin. The colours used in each capsule are light and natural, evocative of light skies and balmy evenings. Each have the capacity to be dressed up for dinner dates and evenings shows. Equally, they are perfect for coffee on Sundays.

If you’re looking for simple shirts and beautiful blouses, COP is the designer you could never find when you really needed them.


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5. Arbonne Skincare and Lipidol


During my stay in Auckland in August, my Mum and I attended this little make-up and skincare convention one Sunday afternoon. Typically, I avoid spending large amounts on make-up. I like a good foundation – I love a good mascara, okay, and a deep lipstick – but I don’t tend to find the investment overly rewarding. So unless Rihanna releases a new lipstick with MAC, I’m really not too phased about buying from a specific brand.

Anyway, I attended this convention under the belief I’d go, try, maybe buy, and then, proceed to never use the products again after. Indeed it was the not-so-welcoming price, and also the fact that I’d have to order the products online that turned me off the idea. As all good stories do go, after using them for several weeks, I’ve changed my mind. I’m convinced enough – particularly by the fact they don’t test on animals – that trusting I have the money to spare in the future, I’ll most definitely invest again.

Firstly, let’s talk the make-up primer. It’s a lovely, light way to ready your face for make-up. The concept of adding cosmetics to our skin without a smoothing lotion underneath seems harsh after having used this. The primer makes for a soft surface, and ensures your make-up stay in place longer – which is great for I’m sick of looking in the mirror just to realise I’ve looked like this for how long?!

Secondly, I would swear by the combination of the Dahlia Smoothed Over lipstick with the Anise gloss. Alone, the Dahlia is a sophisticated and romantic colour. Paired with the Anise gloss, it’s lifted; it appears more fun and flirty – yet nonetheless classy. I’ve been wearing it everywhere: to work, on nights out, even with a bare face. I think it reminds me of nights in Europe; it’s kind of magical in the most sexy way.

What else am I using? Facial oil by Lipidol. I believe I snagged this product in an NZFW gift bag. I’ve used it for a couple of weeks, and I mean it when I say it: I’ve noticed massive differences. Directly after use, your face feels more awake and refreshed – it isn’t left feeling dry in any way. Most importantly though, my skin has a more natural clarity about it. I have progressively worn make-up less and less, as I have become content looking semi-okay, semi-healthy and semi-not-dead without it.

And finally, after-shower oil – also by Lipidol. Not something I typically use, but nonetheless, something which has become an integral part of my new self-maintenance routine. It’s super soothing on the skin, both hydrating and moisturising. It leaves the skin glowing and clean.

So that’s what I’m Currently Loving. I figured I should finally talk about it.

Chat again soon,

McKenzie xx

Wearing: Topshop pants, Emporium Vintage jacket, COP the label cami, The Third Eye rings, Shh by Sadie necklaces, River Island watch

Photos by Two Dark Coffees

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