Right now we need to rally behind our local brands and keep Kiwis in business! Here are a few of our favourite things that are made in Godzone and worth slapping some cash on…
Emma Lewisham Emma Lewisham really IS my hometown hero. To be honest, I’d have the brand on this list just because of how beautiful her products are to use. BUT, better than that, they’re all-natural, which is all I really want to be using on my skin these days AND they work just as well – if not better – than luxury, non-natural brands, including eye-wateringly expensive Le Mer. My favourite product in the range is the Emma Lewisham Supernatural 72-Hour Hydration Crème – which Emma Clifton once called “pure witchcraft” and she is 100% correct. I’m SO pleased to have found Emma Lewisham, who not only makes a damn good, natural product but she’s also invested in creating a carbon neutral brand that’s kind to the planet.
Two Birds Beauty Speaking of all natural beauty products that actually work, are beautiful to use AND give a damn about the environment, one of my favourite inventions ever is Two Birds Beauty Replenish & Repair Bio-Retinol Serum. The brainchild of Jessie Gurunathan, Two Birds is a gorgeous little beauty brand with the most spectacular marketing material (you’ll actually see yourself reflected in the ‘models’ she uses – rather than famous 12-year-olds with perfect skin). I can always tell when I’ve missed a night or two of putting on the serum – it makes that much of a difference – and whenever my skin is looking like it needs some TLC, I slather on some extra serum and wake up to happier skin.
Proper Crisps I’m gluten-free (gah!) and dairy-free (double gah!), but thankfully I can still eat truly delicious things, thanks to companies like these guys. Their outrageously good potato chips are vegan, with no gluten, MSG or any ingredients that aren’t ‘proper’ or tasty. For even more feel-good factors, they’re made from Agria potatoes grown in Temuka, cooked in sunflower oil from Canterbury and come in bags that are home compostable. The Cider Vinegar & Sea Salt, or just plain Marlborough Sea Salt are my favourites and I 100% encourage you to go by a bag from the supermarket or dairy right now.
Taco Loco Yes, this is another food-related one, but when you have niche food restrictions I feel you must tell people when you find glorious food so they can enjoy it too. Even if you can eat anything under the sun, if you’re in Auckland you should get yourself to Taco Loco in Mt Albert for truly delicious Mexican. They’re my favourite tacos in NZ (and I can assure you I have eaten A LOT of tacos all over our fine country, trying to relive my Mexican holiday dreams). They make an insanely good tortilla, which is half the battle, and my go-to order is the pollo tacos. On Tuesdays they do three tacos and a drink for $20. See you there! (Oh, and if you can’t go because you’re out of Auckland, hopefully you’re close to Queenstown so you can go to the other place that does great tacos in NZ – Taco Medic).
Crushes As Kelly and Emma have already discussed in their candles extravaganza, we are people who appreciate candles. One benefit of our old work desks being out of view of our HR/work safety manager was that we were constantly burning candles at our desk to try to get a little bit of calm while we slowly worked ourselves to death. Now, as my own HR manager, I burn all the candles I please anyway. Look, I don’t completely disagree with Emma and Kelly on their picks, but, Crushes Gingerbread candle is one of, if not THE best candle ever made, and it’s handmade right here in NZ. It is delicious and yes, a Christmas candle, so I try to limit burning it to the month of December. I say ‘it’ but I mean ‘them’ because I bought THREE last December – they’re limited edition and I couldn’t risk not having them in my life. Come December I hope they bring them back and I’ll be panic buying more then.
Juno Gin This time last year I was lucky enough to leave Auckland (insanity!) and travel to Taranaki (the dream!), I took part in a tour/tasting/quiz at Juno Gin Distillery and fell in love with their products. On a particularly gloomy Lockdown Friday, we opened up a bottle of their Spring 2021 Seasonal Gin. Inspired by “a Mediterranean adventure; the citron orchards, salt spray and olive trees; hot late afternoon sunshine, and a dish of antipasto with glimpses of the sea,” it was the closest we’ve come to, well, any of those things in months. The bottles are gorgeous, the gin itself is delicious and it feels like a very special treat. I’ve just put in an order for more (also, it makes a beautiful gift).
Buttered Toast & Sea Salt Hogarth Chocolate I first discovered this chocolate on hour one of my period (the witching hour) and I genuinely thought it was a menstrual hallucination. But it wasn’t. The good people at Hogarth, based in Nelson, have crumbed Vogels Original into this bar of chocolate and they won the Supreme Award at the NZ Chocolate Awards in 2018 because of it. They also won the Emma Clifton Greed Awards of Every Year.
Kate Sylvester “Bury me in a floral Kate Sylvester dress,” is what I said to the wonderful shop assistant the last time I was trying on a – you guessed it – floral Kate Sylvester dress. As someone who is built like a brick shithouse, I am not an easy shape to dress. But Kate Sylvester understands hips and height and cuts her cloth accordingly.
Thunderpants Let me tell you the purchase that has brought me the greatest joy every day of lockdown – Thunderpants. When you open my underwear draw now, an absolute cacophony of colour and print yells back at you, thanks to the joyful creations of Thunderpants. This Kiwi brand makes super comfy, super awesome-looking undies and look, when you wear something every day, it’s good if they can bring you joy on a daily basis. Also they NEVER ride up. They stay in place and cocoon your butt. All butts deserve this!
Annabel Langbein’s Essential The true holy grail of cookbooks, Annabel’s incredible collection of hundreds of her best recipes, gathered over her impressive career, really does provide any recipe you need. Special shout-outs to the mac and cheese, bang bang chicken and the ricotta gnudi. This book has made me look very impressive at dinner parties.
The Tui by Robert Trathen A huge version of Rob’s gorgeous print hangs in my favourite cafe, Odettes, and I’ve always loved it. I’m not a huge bird person, but I adore tui, and every time I look at my own print (albeit a much smaller copy!) I feel incredibly happy.
Nood Siren Throw My friend Phoebe first bought this blanket which she rightly takes everywhere because, My God, it’s the softest thing I’ve ever felt. Plus, it looks so chic on the couch. Perfect for when you need to snuggle up and avoid people.
Sachie’s Kitchen Meal Kits I adore cooking but sometimes I just can’t be bothered. Sachie’s kits are the BEST – simple, quick and they taste better than a bought one. The beef rendang is especially out of this world and is now specially requested by more than one friend when she comes for dinner (which I’m trying really hard not to take as a slight on my cooking-from-scratch ability.