Travel blog: Rarotonga, Cook Islands

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All photos were taken on an iPhone 6

In late May-early June of 2016 I travelled out of New Zealand for the first time. One week spent on the beautiful island of Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands isn’t bad for a first time holidayer like myself. This post does stray from my usual beauty related posts, however I am studying travel and tourism and travelling is one of my biggest passions and goals in life so I’m going to slowly integrate travel posts into my blog. In this post I’m just going to go over a few of the details of the trip and essentially talk about my experience whilst here.

To start off I’m going to give you a quick run down on Rarotonga as a destination, true travel student style.

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Couldn’t find a good map, however this one is originally from: about-the-cook-islands

Where is it? Rarotonga is the main Island of the Cook Islands. Which is technically made up of 15 islands however majority of these aren’t major tourist destinations and most tourists are likely staying on the island of Rarotonga, or sometimes the island of Aitutaki. It is in the South Pacific.

 

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View from the plane when leaving

Description: While being the most populous of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga is still relatively small. It essentially has one main road that goes around the edge of the Island and a full circle of the Island can be done in 30-45 minutes driving. So anywhere you want to go on the main Island is pretty quick to reach. It is completely surrounded by a coral reef and features four small coral islets that are within a few 100 metres of the main shore. Between the main road and the lagoon around the edge of the Island is where most of the resorts and ‘shops’ are situated, however as you drive into the centre of the island you begin to go uphill as the Islands are a result of now extinct Volcanic activity.

 

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Part of the beach area directly outside of where we stayed

Island life: Rarotonga has a very relaxed, casual, and down to earth lifestyle. Those that live here live a pretty simple life and while there are the exception of night clubs and busy restaurants, it doesn’t have many other major structures such as tall buildings or overly developed malls. The term ‘island time’ was used often as you don’t tend to keep much of a time schedule here, you go with the flow and do things at your own pace and time (a very slow pace might I add, I napped in the sun for hours at a time during the day).

 

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On our way to the restaurant

Where I stayed: There is a range of accommodation types on the island, everything from low-budget and more family orientated, to middle of the range, all the way up to high-class adult only luxury resorts. We stayed at the Edgewater resort which is a very middle of the range, family friendly but not overcrowded with kids resort. Here they have a restaurant, bar, pool, gift shop, tennis court, and individual apartments as well as villas. We stayed in one the 3 bedroom villas and all the rooms/villas are within 2 minutes walk of the shore as the main area of the resort is overlooking the shore. The villa we stayed in was basically wonderful, it wasn’t luxury but the amenities and quality of the house was amazing and the staff were all absolutely incredible, much like everyone on the island. The restaurant had a really good selection of delicious foods and we ate here almost every dinner time.

 

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The lagoon out front of the resort restaurant

What we did: This holiday was very much about relaxing so we didn’t necessarily embark on many major adventures however we did make sure to at least see some of the main events including:

  • attending the markets on a Saturday which had so many cool things to buy, from fresh coconuts and traditional foods to gifts that were perfect to take back home, it was also great to know we were supporting the local economy.
  • lots and lots of snorkelling! The snorkelling here is so incredible as the entire island is surrounded by a reef. The water is perfectly clear with an abundance of marine life to see, and the water in many areas stays the same depth right out to the reef.
  • we also snorkelled and explored one of the smaller islets, Taakoka I believe (may be wrong) and while the giant hornet looking creatures hovering around the trees and rocks prevented us from actually venturing further into the islet, we did swim around it in, at points, slightly deeper water where we also saw schools of fish and much larger fish than our usually snorkelling spot outside of our resort.
  • We went to a night held at our resort, that’s also held at majority of resorts called Island night. This is where a group of performers come and showcase the beautiful culture through dance, many of the dances telling a different story as introduced by the very charismatic host. I can’t remember exactly if it was at half way or after the performance but there was also a special buffet style dinner provided that was focused around the traditional foods.

 

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Our view from around the corner of our villa

This really was the trip of a lifetime and an amazing place to start as a first overseas holiday, I would 100% recommend the Cook Islands as a destination for all types of people! It’s the perfect relaxing holiday, when all you want to do is tan on the beach, explore the beautiful surroundings, and eat to your hearts desire some of the best food on the planet. I know this post is different to my usual focus but as someone who is passionate about travelling I can see myself doing these types of posts more and more often as I see more of the world.

 

Proud travel bug, Chatterkiwi x

Everyday makeup routine

 

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I’ve recently found the perfect combination of products for long-lasting, natural makeup that actually doesn’t melt off of my face and keeps me from being too shiny, and wanted to share it with you all as some of these products are thanks to you that I discovered them.

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Mecca recently had their 20th birthday and as a level 2 beauty loop member I received the Mecca multi-purpose plumping balm as a free gift. I had my doubts about this product as I usually need oily skin specific primers/moisturisers and this wasn’t that necessarily. But hooo-weeee I can’t stop using this products as both a moisturiser and primer as I love it so much, so before any makeup I use this as a primer, applying a small amount mostly just to my t-zone.

 

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Recently I’ve started using the LA girl HD pro green concealer under my foundation as I do have issues with redness, while you do have to be careful not to let any green show through your foundation, this stuff is amazing! It really does colour correct my redness so well I find it makes all the difference. I dot this wherever I need it and blend it in with my finger usually.

 

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For my foundation I use the L’oreal Infallible matte foundation, I wasn’t sure I loved this at first because the colouring seemed off but it honestly is one of the only foundations I’ve found that keeps me from going too shiny. It can tend to move around on my face in certain areas such as around my nose but I usually only notice this near the end of a long day without touch ups so its forgivable. This has a medium coverage and is super easy to blend as it has a creamy consistency. I apply this with a real techniques buffing brush, dotting it on my face and blending it in (I use a minimal amount of foundation).

 

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I follow with the Nars radiant creamy concealer for any areas that aren’t quite covered enough and for my under eyes, this concealer is really natural looking however I find it does crease a bit under my eyes. I again use the real techniques buffing brush for this. I must admit however I find myself using this concealer less and less as it moves around a wee bit on my face as the day goes on so if anyone has a fav concealer they’d recommend, let me know!

 

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The Rimmel Stay matte powder is something I’ve had a love hate relationship with for many years now, recently it’s been a must have in my makeup routine as it help stop me from looking too shiny throughout the day whilst still letting the glow of the illuminating products shine through. I apply this as much as I feel needed in my t-zone and to sharpen up my contour with the Too Faced Powder brush.

 

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Once my base is all set I start my bronzing with the Too Faced chocolate soleil bronzer as a sort of contour, it’s more of a grey bronze so I can get away with using it as a contour. It’s slightly concentrated however I go light on it as to not create an unattractive line. I use a Cara contour brush to apply this to my cheek hollows and for my nose.

 

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I use an Elizabeth Arden brush to go over these areas as well as the frame of my face with my beloved Hoola bronzer. This bronzer is slightly more golden toned so it blends the bronzers together and creates a nice shadow to those areas of my face. The brush used here is more fluffy and less dense so it gives a nice blended look. 

 

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Next is highlighter! Everyone who’s everyone is getting into highlighter and I am still using the Urban Decay 8 hour glow highlighter along my cheek bones and on the tip of my nose and cupids bow. I apply this with a real techniques contour brush and it gives me the best blended look, my fear with this highlighter was looking too much like I’ve swiped white paint across my cheeks but so far I get just the right amount of blinding glow. 

 

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Eyebrows, they’re your best friend one day and your worst enemy the next. Sisters not twins might as well be my life motto. However to do my best to make them presentable I take the brow brush by real techniques, to apply the Chichi brow pomade just to lightly fill them in. You really only need the smallest amount of this product as a little goes a long way and afterwards I brush through with a spoolie to get the natural looking shape and to ensure the pomade doesn’t look to harsh. To finish I use the Benefit ready, set, brow, brow setter. 

 

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My mascara at the moment is the Benefit, They’re real! mascara which I didn’t actually like at first (like most mascaras due to them being too clumpy) however now that I’ve got a good technique on using it, I love it! For the first few uses I would wipe a small amount of product off the wand to prevent clumping. I apply this after I use an eyelash curler, the one I have currently is a manicure one from farmers.

My makeup routine changes quite often based on new found products, and this is my everyday makeup so as you can see doesn’t include products such as eyeshadow or lip products but if that’s something you want to see then let me know!

 

As always, Chatterkiwi x

 

REVIEW: Garnier SkinActive Moisture bomb masks

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Considering the time of year (and the copious amounts of chocolate around) my skin has been in need of a little TLC. After seeing these new Garner sheet masks around I decided to give them a go seeing as they’re so affordable ($3-$5NZD). There are three different masks that I’ve been able to find however I do know there are a few others, I just haven’t been able to find them anywhere in my city. They all have the same sort of base which is that they’re super rehydrating and rejuvenating, they then each have an individual skin target and ‘deal’ with a certain skin issue. The ones I’ve reviewed target normal to dehydrated, normal to combination, and dry or sensitive skin.

 

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For Normal to Dehydrated skin

This first mask is the blue packaged one and claims to:

  • Intensely rehydrate skin
  • Boost skins radiance
  • Even skin complexion

It contains Pomegranate extract, hyaluronic acid, and a hydrating serum.

I found this mask was definitely moisturising and I actually used it to help with a few spots that had gone quite dry and irritated from my acne treatment. It definitely soothed them the minute I had the mask on and has really calmed down the irritation of them. However, as I have oily skin as it is, I didn’t feel this mask was necessary for my overall skin appearance. It has made my skin slightly more glory but this isn’t something I generally need due to how easily my skin and makeup looks shiny. I would definitely recommend this for people who have dry or irritated skin that want to bring a bit more glow to their skin.

 

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For Normal to Combination skin

The next mask is the green package and it claims to:

  • Intensely rehydrate
  • Purify and mattify skin
  • Visibly reduce pores and imperfections

It contains Green tea, hyaluronic acid, and a hydrating serum.

You can probably already tell, this is my absolute FAVOURITE of the three. The reason I even tried these masks is because I first tried this one and loved it so much! The words ‘reduce pores’ and ‘mattifies skin’ really always catch my attention and this is what it did for my skin. I found that afterwards my skin felt really relaxed and hydrated but without being oily, and almost gave my skin a filter effect over it. It also did really help out with my skin under makeup, I really noticed how much it controlled my oil after I used a different mask that threw my skin out of balance, I used this one and it made my skin have a healthy glow all day without getting too shiny. I 100% will be repurchasing this mask from now on.

 

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For Dry or Sensitive skin

The last mask I tried was the pink packaged one and contains:

  • Rehydrate skin
  • Improve skin comfort
  • Soothe skin

It contains Chamomile, Hyaluronic acid, and a hydrating serum.

This mask surprised me, it doesn’t specifically target any major issues I have with my skin but it’s left it feeling really smooth, and comfortable. My skin looks a lot more even which is probably due to it soothing any redness I have. I often have to use acne products that are on the harsher side and I feel that this mask would be ideal to use whenever I need to just give my skin some hydration and loving to stop it from getting too worn out. I would recommend this for people who just need a nice hydrating mask to pamper themselves with, or for people with dry/irritated skin. Much like the blue mask.

 

These masks overall are totally worth the affordable price, and I think that they do individually deal with different skin issues and types so whatever your situation, I believe with one of these masks you’ll at least see an improvement. I’m definitely going to keep repurchasing and if I can get my hands on the other masks in the collection then I will most definitely do a part two! Let me know if there’s anything else you want to know about them, and always feel free to drop suggestions in the comments. I reply to all!

 

Feeling smooth! Chatterkiwi x