How Kiwisaver works 

An aging population can put a strain on an economy. The more elderly people a country has, the more tax has to go towards superannuation. People often either put off saving until it’s too late, or underestimate the amount of money they will need to retire comfortably. The New Zealand government’s solution was to bring in Kiwisaver in 2007.

Kiwisaver is a voluntary government operated scheme where part of a person’s wage is invested every pay day until their retirement. When you start a job you will automatically be placed in Kiwisaver, but you are free to opt out. While in Kiwisaver your employer must also make contributions toward the balance. Once you reach retirement age (currently 65) you are eligible to withdraw your Kiwisaver balance (as long as you have been in Kiwisaver for 5 years already).

Kiwisaver at a glance :

  • You can choose to contribute 3%, 4%, or 8% if your pay
  • Your employer will contribute an additional 3% (not taken from your pay)
  • You can pick from any Kiwisaver provider (there are a range of different banks and investment providers)
  • You can pick from defensive, conservative,  balanced, growth, and aggressive schemes depending on the level of risk you are happy with
  • You can use some of your Kiwisaver to put towards buying your first house
  • The government makes some contributions
  • You can use your Kiwisaver funds in times of financial hardship

I like that Kiwisaver gives Kiwis an opportunity to invest in the stock market easily and relatively safely (disclaimer: there will always be risk with stocks). From my point of view the most importance thing to decide is what you want your Kiwisaver to be invested in, and to make sure the fund that your are in matches your life stage and how comfortable you are with risk.

Put simply the risk level of your Kiwisaver fund is determined by how much of it is made up of growth assets. Growth assets are investments that fluctuate in value a lot in the short term, but will hopefully provide bigger gains in the long term. Growth assets are things like property and stocks. The following from the website is a great explanation:

  Defensive funds hold 0% to 9.9% in growth assets. These are generally suitable if you:

  • Don’t want your KiwiSaver account to ever go down (although there are no guarantees), even though that means your account almost certainly won’t grow as fast, over the long term, as accounts in riskier funds
  • Expect to spend your KiwiSaver money in the next three years

  Conservative funds hold 10% to 34.9% in growth assets. These are generally suitable if you:

  • Are willing to take on some ups and downs in value, and are seeking average long-term returns a bit higher than in a defensive fund but probably not as high as in riskier funds
  • Expect to spend your KiwiSaver money in the next two to six years

  Balanced funds hold 35% to 62.9% in growth assets. These are generally suitable if you:

  • Are middle of the road, comfortable with seeing your account value sometimes fall a little and seeking mid-range long-term returns
  • Don’t expect to spend your KiwiSaver money within the next 5 to 12 years

  Growth funds hold 63% to 89.9% in growth assets. These are generally suitable if you:

  • Are looking for fairly high growth over the long term, and won’t want to switch to a lower-risk fund whenever you see your account balance fall quite a lot
  • Are intending to leave your money in KiwiSaver for at least 10 years

  Aggressive funds hold 90% to 100% in growth assets. These are generally suitable if you:

  • Are looking for strong long-term growth, knowing you will stick with your fund even when your balance falls fast
  • Are intending to leave your money in KiwiSaver for at least 10 years

The last thing is like to note is the fees involved with Kiwisaver. The fees of having someone manage your money can really add up over time. Head to the Sorted Kiwisaver fee calculator to find how much you’ll end up paying, but as an example someone on a $50,000 income who is contributing 3% to a Kiwisaver growth fund could easily end up paying $30,000 in fees over their working life. There is a relatively new company called Simplicity who promises to keep fees low which may be worth looking into if fees are a big issue for you.

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Skincare Gurus You Need To Follow

Since becoming a skincare addict I have scoured the web for skincare resources to indulge my obsession. There are loads of people on the web talking about make up and fashion, but it is a little harder to find people talking about skincare, and even harder to find people who are passionate about it. Here are the people I think you should follow for informed skincare advice. Let me know who your favourite skincare guru is in the comments below.
Disclaimer: People on social media may benefit from featuring or reviewing certain products, but may not always disclose this. Keep this in mind when deciding which products are best for you.



I prefer watching product reviews online to reading them as I can get a better sense of what the product is like. YouTubers will often do skincare swatches or film their skincare routines so I can get an idea of how a product emulsifies or absorbs. I love watching skincare favourites or travel kit videos so I can find out people’s must have skincare.


Caroline Hirons

Caroline is a British facialist with a no nonsense bedside manner. She is THE social media skincare queen, and an expert on all things skin. She has collaborated with make up and skincare brand Pixi to release her own cleanser, and with Cult Beauty to release the ever popular Cult Beauty Box. Proponent of the double cleansing method, I found Caroline through Ruth Crilly of A Model Recommends, and Caroline has fueled my skincare obsession ever since. I like reading/watching most of what she does, but I think the “cheat sheets” on her blog are particularly helpful for a beginner.



Chris from TophCam is a beauty rep for numerous brands all while still being in school. Skincare for Chris is very emotive and calming, but product effectiveness is also central. He reviews a fair bit of green beauty but uses other products as well. If you’re interested in adding a bit of luxury to your skincare routine then head over to his channel.



Gothmista’s Renee has been in the beauty industry for 10 years. I love her focus on hydration and layering products. I originally began following her after discovering Asian skincare products, but she reviews both Asian and Western cosmetics. I find her videos very informative yet easy to listen to. She picks some really interesting products to review, and has covered topics like ‘Face Oils – What’s Best for Your Skin Type?’,  ‘Fermented Skincare – Why We Need It’, and ‘Moisturizers – Hydration vs. Moisture | Humectants, Emollients, Occlusives’.


Sam Bunting

Dr Sam is a recent find of mine while looking for dermatologists with a social media presence. She gives a doctor’s view on skincare issues. I find her videos very informative and easy to follow. In contrast to TophCam, for Dr Sam skincare is clinical and all about the results. You probably won’t see her reviewing much green beauty, but she does do content on a great range of skincare topics.


Lisa Eldridge

Lisa is a makeup artist and current creative director of Lancôme. Her videos are largely makeup related, but when she puts out skincare content I always listen. She has years of experience in the beauty industry and her recommendations seem well researched and tested. She’s the only make up artist I’ve found so far whose skincare advice I’d follow.




Instagram is a constant source of inspiration for my skincare wardrobe. I love looking at pictures of people’s skin routines and recent purchases! I also enjoy following the skincare challenge tags like #mayskinchallenge. Below are a few of my favorite skincare Instagramers.















A Little Bit
More Than Just Skin
Passporte Beaute
Liz Alaska Beauty
Hidden Harmony World
Emma H Beauty UK
Babers 415
Karolina Biskupie
Mar Preisler
Goals To Get Glowing

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Favorite make up brushes 

I love my beauty blender to bits, and I love applying my RMS products with fingers, but there are some situations were only brushes will suffice.  I hate applying foundation with a brush – it leaves me with a streaky, patchy mess, but when I feel like going down the powder route with my other face products there are a few key brushes that I rely on. Read on for my favourite brushes and what I use them for.

Paddle brush – Stila #08
I have had this thing for years and it is still going strong. I like it for lightly powdering the face either with my Laura Mericer to matt things down, or an Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder to keep a little luminosity. This paddle brush isn’t too dense, and I can apply powder more lightly than I would be able too with a flat top powder brush. I don’t think they make the #8 anymore, but they do a similar one in a double ended brush (#24).

Eye shader brush – MAC #239
For a long time I didn’t have a good shading brush and I don’t know how I managed without one. This is great for  applying a wash of colour to the lower lid when I don’t want to take it up into the crease. It picks up shadow easily and applies it smoothly.

Highlighter brush – Wayne Goss #02
This thing is crazy soft and is great for putting highlighter. I prefer a soft pointed brush over a fan brush as I feel like it gives me more control over where my highlighter goes, and I can apply with a heavier hand to get that blinding glow.

Blending/crease brush – MAC #217

Gotta have a blending brush to blow out that crease! This is a slightly more paddle shaped one, but I also have more dome shaped ones and pointer ones. I think this Mac one is my favourite because it fits into my crease really well and keeps its shape rather than splaying out too much over time.  But I also love my Sigma, Wayne Goss, and Chikuhodo ones.

Flat top duo fibre – Sigma F50

I love this guy for dialing things down when I’ve gotten a little too heavy handed with the blush or contour. I just swirl it around on my cheeks and everything blends together a little more nicely. The fact that it’s duofibre means that it blends everything lightly and seamlessly.

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Luxuries I can’t live without

Most of us have certain things in our lives we will spend a little extra on. From bought coffee to that fancy chocolate, we work hard for our money, so why shouldn’t we splash out on the occasional treat that will make us feel good? My luxury buys seem to either be in the cosmetic or fitness domains. When I put a little more effort into looking presentable I feel like I’ve got my sh*t together, and having good quality active wear motivates me to exercise more. Read on for the luxuries I can’t live without.


Good shampoo: I wash my hair every second or third day, and I tend to stick to higher end shampoos. I prefer sulphate free hair care, mainly as sulphates have been shown to be not so great for colored hair. There aren’t too many supermarket sulphate free shampoo options, so I buy the expensive stuff. At the moment I’m using L’Oréal EverPure range, the Trilogy Refresh and Shine shampoo, and I also love Kerastase Reflect Chroma Bain Shampoo (which is not sulphate free but is lovely and the most expensive of the three).


Good skincare: I like playing with make up, but skincare is my jam. My skin is dry but easily clogged, and if I don’t take care of it it will turn into a textured mess. It needs different things on different days, and I like to have a product for every situation. Technically a cleanser and a moisturizer should suffice most people, but I don’t stop there. I have a dedicated eye cream (I find one with a bit of retinol helps with lines under my eyes), multiple cleansers (depending on how clogged or dry my skin is feeling that day), several good moisturisers (a light one for day time, a heavy re-texturising one for night, an organic one, a gel/creme textured one etc.), AHA and BHA exfoliants (I’d be lost without these), and a clay face mask (I’d also be lost without this!).

A smartphone: I love my phone. I’ve written a post before on all the apps I use on my phone (My Favourite Apps), and my phone is currently my fastest/highest spec piece of technology. I use it for YouTube, taking notes, reminders, banking, listening to music on runs, my morning alarm, and more. I upgraded from a Samsung Galaxy S3 straight to a Galaxy s7 and I’ll never wait so long to upgrade again. Could not be without a good spec smartphone.


A Garmin watch: I love this thing. As someone who needs a reason to exercise it keeps me accountable for my running. Mine is an older model but it’s fine for me. I used to have a Nike+ watch but it was too bulky on my wrist and slow to pick up GPS signal. I ended up being gifted this one by someone who was upgrading. I have the Garmin app on my phone, but prefer to upload to Strava to view my runs.


Nike Vomeros: I like running shoes with a bit of cushioning,  and these are the comfiest I’ve found. I’ve tried on a lot of other brands and styles, but nothing else has felt as comfortable. They do have fat laces which come undone easily when I run, so I do have to double knot. I am thinking of trying out some New Balance Nimbus shoes next, but will always have a pair of Vomeros on hand.


Lululemon active wear: I love Lulu. It’s some of the best quality sportswear you can buy in store in NZ. I love that any pockets, zips, and flaps are first and foremost functional,  and not just for aesthetics or an afterthought. They really design with a woman in mind. I’d be lost without my Lululemon tights, windbreaker, and running bag! I also like Nike and Adidas. Nike does have a Wellington store, but there’s no much in the way of choice, and Adidas doesn’t have a Wellington store at all. Both have a good selections online, but I prefer to feel the fabric before I buy to make sure it’s something I can sweat comfortably in. Rebel Sport stocks Adidas and Nike, but the quality of the items they choose to stock seems lacking. Lululemon, on the other hand, always has great quality and their stuff lasts for years. I would love for Sweaty Betty or Lorna Jane to come over and shake up the NZ active wear scene!


Wireless earphones: I used to use a cheap $40.00 pair of Phillips headphones for listening to music on runs. I grew to hate the feeling of a wire running from my ears to a heavy phone bouncing around in my pocket. I also hated having to get my phone out on a run to change the volume or song. Wireless earphones solved all that for me. I can set a playlist to listen to, chuck my phone in my bag, and still have control over the music while running. I also don’t have to worry about threading my headphone wire under my shirt to stop it flapping around. I prefer ones that wrap around your ear, as otherwise they can wiggle loose while running (due to wireless ear buds often being heavier than wired ones).


Hand wash & hand creme: Hand wash can destroy the sensitive skin on my hands, leaving me with hangnails and ripped cuticles. I find the cheaper ones to be particularly rough on my hands, so I like to stick to the ones with added oils. My favourites are Palmolive Oil Infusions Hand Wash, and Wellington Apothecary Botanical Wash. I also have to have hand creme available every other time I wash my hands. At the moment I have the Essano Body Lotion in my bathroom, and I always carry The Body Shop mini hand cremes in my bag, as they are a great size, super moisturizing, sink in easily to the skin, and smell great.


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My favorite apps

Now that I’ve upgraded to a new phone and can actually run software without my phone crashing, I’ve become very attached to certain applications. I thought I’d share my favorites with you.



Banking app

Banking has been so much easier to do now that banking apps are so good. It makes it so much harder to procrastinate paying bills when you can transfer money right on your phone. I’ve got my bank’s widget as well so I don’t even have to put in my pin to see my current balances. Because I’ve got my KiwiSaver with my bank I can easily see those savings too. Using my bank’s app makes it easy to stay on top of my spending and saving which I love, because money management easily stresses me out.



Strava keeps me accountable for my weekly runs, and is also good at keeping a record of your fastest times. It synchs with my Garmin watch. I like keeping a record of all my runs so I can celebrate the little improvements.



Couple is my most frequent means of communication with my S.O. You can send your location and photos, it has a shared calendar and shared lists, you can draw pictures for/with each other, and there is even a live thumb print feature which might be nice if you’re doing long distance. It’s something a little more dedicated than  SMS,  Viber,  or FB Messanger.



I pair Google calendar with my Samsung calendar widget so that I get a month’s view to one of my smartphone screen home pages.  I can see everything at once and edit on the go. You can colour code and set reminders for events.



This is my favorite for editing photos. I like that the app is easy to use, and it has some great  filters available. You can open photos right from your photo galary for editing (I always found this finicky in VASCO Cam). They have all the standard cropping, rotating, and brightening functions, as well as blurring, glamor glow, and vintage filters.


Netflix NZ

I love this for TV shows. The movie selection is lacking, but I’ve  found a lot of great TV shows on here I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. Check out Master of None, Stranger Things, Jessica Jones, Bojak Horseman, Black Mirror, Please Like Me, and Misfits. You can even download shows to watch away from WiFi.



YouTube Red and Google Music

YOUTUBE  Red is great for any YouTube obsessive (like me)  who spends time commuting by bus, train, or plane, or who holidays away from an Internet connection a lot. I download beauty and fashion videos to watch offline on the bus on the way to work or while I’m walking home. It also currently comes with a free Google music subscription which is my fave for running playlists. I just download the 2000s dance  stations and the current pop stations so I don’t use up mobile data listening to my favorite old school jams  on my runs. I would rate Google Music a very close second to Spotify, and better than Apple Music.


Instagram, Gmail, and weather

I have accuweather on my phone purely because I like the three day weather widget. It means I can keep an eye on the week’s weather forecast for doing washing and running home. I’ve also got the Gmail widget which shows me a snapshot of my inbox so I can deal with important mail and see how far away I am from the elusive inbox zero. Instagram is another app that gets a lot of love from me (although I miss the add free days).


Keep, Google docs, and Google sheets

These three are great for keeping my life  in order. I use Keep and Google Docs/Sheets for everything from doing a shopping list, to writing study notes, to logging life goals and action steps. I love that you can access them from any device and share documents with friends.



If you’re into learning then I love Udacity. You can download the videos to watch off line and there are quizzes to complete which test your understanding. Udacity is more for computer /science /math courses, but there are similar apps you can get for other topics. With apps like this you can take your learning on the road by downloading lessons.



Love Snapper for getting around on the busses in Wellington. The app is great and you can top up and check our balance really quickly. You can use Snapper to pay for things at some dairies, and also parking on a lot of Wellington CBD streets.



I’ve just recently downloaded the Kindle app, and I’m loving it. I’m learning to be better with money, and as part of that I’m reading some classic  money management books (automatic millionaire, rich dad poor dad ect.). Instead if going down the traditional paperback route I decided to try out Kindle. It has some great features, but my favorite is when there’s audio also available so I can decide at any moment whether I’d prefer I read or listen up my book.

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