At the end of each month, we look back on our bank statements and share some of the nice things we bought for ourselves and genuinely loved - a #gifted free zone of personal recommendations you can trust.
Keep scrolling for our purchases for July, from handy food buys to beauty bargains, and a few splurges that we saved up for.
Urban Hippie Miso paste, $19, from Farro
This is one of my favourite ingredients to have on hand in the fridge at all times; if you haven’t tried it, you’re welcome. I use it, on occasion, to make Goop’s carrot, ginger, miso dressing which is so delicious I eat it by the spoonful, and in this delicious eggplant dish.
For Matariki I bought a jar and passed it to my sister (who is a better baker than I am) to make this incredible miso caramel apple pudding. This winter I’ve been putting a tablespoon in a jar with a splash of tamari, sesame and chilli oil, whatever bits of meat are leftover from dinner the night before and a handful of edamame beans, taking it to work and simply adding boiling water. Delish! - Rebecca Wadey
Milk frother, $39, from Kmart
A reminder that you don’t need to buy the most expensive appliances to get great results, lol. This works just as well as the $130 Nespresso version, and lets you choose between two levels of frothiness, hot or cold, to go in your morning matcha mushroom bullshit latte. Sorry to push Kmart, but if you can stomach waiting in the long line of whining kids and their zombie parents, you too can feel like an influencer. - Lara Daly
Christophe Robin Shade Variation Mask, $72, from Colleen
Maybe it was all the talk around Ensemble HQ of the joys of being blonde, or maybe it was the unexpected horror of catching a glimpse of the highlights right at the back of my head on social media, but last week I convinced myself that $70 is a totally justifiable amount of money to spend on a hair mask that promises to “glaze strands in a unique blend of iridescent pigments and Florentina Iris to help neutralise brassiness and yellow tones, revitalising the brightness of blonde hair.” - Tyson Beckett
Ticket to a Fifa World Cup match, from $30
I cannot afford to go to therapy. It might have something to do with the fact I keep buying $70 hair masks, but never fear. A strange time in my life where I got really into watching XV rugby has taught me that I find yelling (in a supportive way) at sports games very cathartic. That is why, for the next month, I will be soccer’s most vocal and most zen supporter. Go both teams! - TB
OPI nail polish in ‘Hi Barbie!’, $23
I have been well and truly sucked in by all of the Barbie marketing, although I think a lot of the fashion collaborations (Cotton On, Typo, Zara, Peter Alexander etc) have missed the point of what Barbie style really is. It’s not just chucking the logo on something or having something pink — it’s toyish. It's design that’s sweet to the point of synthetic and surreal, with a knowing wink to its ridiculousness. That’s why Margot Robbie and stylist Andrew Mukamal’s press tour collaboration has been so successful; they get that it’s all in the camp details.
In saying that, the collaboration between Barbie and OPI – which features shades of pink and is covered in logos – did manage to lure me into the mall to purchase a bottle of the ultimate shade of hot pink (they also have a fantastic baby blue called My Job is Beach). It is also almost a perfect match for my well-loved Georgia Jay bag. - Zoe Walker Ahwa
Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Gloss Balm, $40
I’ve been searching for an ultra-shiny clear gloss to replace my beloved M.A.C. Clear Lipglass (that is perfect for photoshoots, but too sticky to wear out in any level of wind). This is the best I’ve found! Go get it, everyone needs a party gloss like this. Also makes an excellent overnight mask for dry lips - LD
Adidas Wales Bonner SL72 knit sneakers, $330
I rarely, if ever, wear sneakers. They’re just not my thing! But these brown and orange sneakers, from the new collection from Wales Bonner for Adidas, are. Call me superficial but the fact that they’re by Wales Bonner influenced me a lot; I love the brand and its retro influenced aesthetic (its brown Jamaica fit almost convinced me to buy a football jersey), but the Adidas range, while still expensive, is the closest I think I’ll ever get to being able to afford it.
Lightweight and comfortable, these are in men’s sizing and the smallest is still a teeny bit big for me but I make it work. The brown colourway is sold out, but you can still buy them in ‘team green’ and ‘collegiate gold’. - ZWA
Vintage Doc Martens, $180, from Tatty’s
When I was 16 I went to Europe on a school trip (that sounds very fancy but we spent a year selling blocks of cheese and washing cars at the Hamilton Foodtown carpark in order to make it happen). Our first stop was London and the teacher had scheduled a visit to Madame Tussauds. I told her I didn’t consider that culture and was instead going to catch the Tube to the Doc Marten store on Oxford Street. She was unimpressed by that, and even more unimpressed by the four pairs of shoes that I heaved back and had to haul around Europe for the next four weeks.
Honestly the joke was on her; I stand by my claim that it was a far more relevant cultural experience for me. Those shoes were timeless classics. Fast forward 30 years and Lara (Daly) came back from a lunchtime excursion to Tatty’s asking if anyone was a size 39. I am, so felt it was my duty to snap them up immediately. They really are the perfect shoe for winter in Tāmaki; easy to clean and dry. And being secondhand, they came already broken in. - RW