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Some nice things we bought over the holidays

We unplugged for the summer holiday, but still managed to get some shopping in of course. Here, some personal recommendations from the Ensemble team - things we spent our own money on and thoroughly enjoyed.

Some Piecework puzzles 

I think at this point everyone knows that I’m a #puzzleinfluencer. This is my favourite brand; a friend in the US sent me over a huge box filled with them last Christmas and got me hooked. The quality is amazing and they have Spotify playlists to accompany each one. Over the holidays I did something I’ve never done before and got one of those US shipping addresses so I could get some new ones sent my way. (I got karma’d for not spending local with a whopping shipping fee so don’t necessarily recommend this option!) - Rebecca Wadey, Ensemble co-founder

Wild Delicious pink grapefruit and ginger shrub, $25 

I’m not a huge drinker of alcohol. The number one requirement for me in a drink is a tall glass and ice. I am partial to the odd (icey) G&T but I’m just as happy with a non-alcoholic offering, and this fermented shrub is incredibly delicious and refreshing. It also makes the tastiest salad dressing I’ve tried when mixed with oil and vinegar. - RW

NUKU - Stories of 100 Indigenous Women, $65

I bought this on pre-order when the project was announced, mainly to support what sounded like a great initiative of independent publishing, but it’s SOOO unbelievably good I’m begging everyone I know to own a copy. Pakeha, Māori, male, female or non-binary - these stories are universal and so important. I know and love the work of several of the prominent wāhine involved (Stacey Morrison, Kiri Nathan, Kanoa Lloyd, Tiffany Witehara) but to me the magic is in the unknown; the incredible work being done in education, health and science, the elders who have paved the way and the rangatahi who walk the paths they forged. Please, please buy this. - RW

Modern Manners by The Gentlewoman, $45

In news that will likely surprise no one, I am a major long-time fan of the magazine The Gentlewoman and its editor Penny Martin. I love that it appreciates and showcases good writing as much as it does beautiful imagery, something that feels like a rarity in fashion publishing. Since issue one I’ve also enjoyed the magazine’s regular series exploring modern life, with essays and conversations exploring everything from arriving alone, writing the perfect out-of-office message to bar soap. This new book - “instructions for living fabulously well” - is a collection of those columns, and was the ideal read to dip in and out of all summer. - Zoe Walker Ahwa, Ensemble co-founder

Checks Downtown x Olivia Edginton Nalgene water bottle, $49

Olivia Edginton is an illustrator and rug maker based in Wellington, whose colourful work is playfully silly and very up my alley. One day I hope to own one of her custom made tufted rugs (her commissions are closed right now), but for now, this cute Nalgene water bottle made for Auckland store Checks will do. I’m still tempted to get the groovy crochet water holder too... - ZWA

Waterpik cordless water flosser, $125

I’ve wanted this water flosser for a long time, having read so many online recommendations and been served a lot of TikTok videos about it (I think it was actually a post by Eva Chen that initially sparked my interest). Over the break I finally bought one, on one of those casual trips to Chemist Warehouse where you're visiting to just browse, and leave having spent way too much money. Why a water flosser? Apparently it does a more effective job than your normal dental floss, reaching places that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. I think it’s working. It hurts at first and feels quite weird, but you soon get used to it. - ZWA

Wide tooth wooden comb, $11

There is something rather ritualistic about combing your hair with, well, a comb. This simple yet thoroughly practical implement dates back to the time B.C. and has changed little since its earliest iterations. A tactile wooden version takes comb design back to basics, with generous teeth that make it ideal for detangling wet hair and preventing breakage. This has been in my beach bag over summer, saving me from the dreaded “mer-dread”. - Natalia Deyr, Ensemble editorial assistant

Curionoir Irtiu Nefertiti 4ml pocket parfum, $50

My fascination with Egyptology and ancient Egypt can be traced back to first seeing The Mummy as a youth. The dashing Rick O’Connell, feminist icon Evie, Oded Fehr… Did you know that women in Ancient Egypt could have their own businesses, divorce their husbands, own and sell land, be executors in wills and witness to legal documents, and bring an action at court? Ancient Egyptians are also known for having superb hygiene (smelling bad was seen as an affront to the gods) which explains their liberal use of perfume. This scent by Curionoir takes all the scent notes I dig and mixes in ancient Egyptian history with the addition of Blue Lotus. So, naturally, I’m a fan. - ND

Charlotte Penman Wadj studs, $295

You’d be forgiven for not being a fan of scarabs. If you’ve watched the aforementioned The Mummy, you’ve likely had nightmares of giant beetles burrowing under your skin. However, these wrongly feared dung beetles are anything but murderous. In fact, scarabs were revered by the Ancient Egyptians who believed them to represent the god of the morning sun, Khepri, who represented renewal and rebirth, and wore them as protective amulets. These unique studs by local jeweller Charlotte Penman feature malachite discs (a gemstone believed to ward off negative energy) and rolled gold scarabs. A modern amulet to welcome in a new year. Bonus fun fact, scarabs use the sun, moon and milky way to navigate. The more you know. - ND

No items found.

We unplugged for the summer holiday, but still managed to get some shopping in of course. Here, some personal recommendations from the Ensemble team - things we spent our own money on and thoroughly enjoyed.

Some Piecework puzzles 

I think at this point everyone knows that I’m a #puzzleinfluencer. This is my favourite brand; a friend in the US sent me over a huge box filled with them last Christmas and got me hooked. The quality is amazing and they have Spotify playlists to accompany each one. Over the holidays I did something I’ve never done before and got one of those US shipping addresses so I could get some new ones sent my way. (I got karma’d for not spending local with a whopping shipping fee so don’t necessarily recommend this option!) - Rebecca Wadey, Ensemble co-founder

Wild Delicious pink grapefruit and ginger shrub, $25 

I’m not a huge drinker of alcohol. The number one requirement for me in a drink is a tall glass and ice. I am partial to the odd (icey) G&T but I’m just as happy with a non-alcoholic offering, and this fermented shrub is incredibly delicious and refreshing. It also makes the tastiest salad dressing I’ve tried when mixed with oil and vinegar. - RW

NUKU - Stories of 100 Indigenous Women, $65

I bought this on pre-order when the project was announced, mainly to support what sounded like a great initiative of independent publishing, but it’s SOOO unbelievably good I’m begging everyone I know to own a copy. Pakeha, Māori, male, female or non-binary - these stories are universal and so important. I know and love the work of several of the prominent wāhine involved (Stacey Morrison, Kiri Nathan, Kanoa Lloyd, Tiffany Witehara) but to me the magic is in the unknown; the incredible work being done in education, health and science, the elders who have paved the way and the rangatahi who walk the paths they forged. Please, please buy this. - RW

Modern Manners by The Gentlewoman, $45

In news that will likely surprise no one, I am a major long-time fan of the magazine The Gentlewoman and its editor Penny Martin. I love that it appreciates and showcases good writing as much as it does beautiful imagery, something that feels like a rarity in fashion publishing. Since issue one I’ve also enjoyed the magazine’s regular series exploring modern life, with essays and conversations exploring everything from arriving alone, writing the perfect out-of-office message to bar soap. This new book - “instructions for living fabulously well” - is a collection of those columns, and was the ideal read to dip in and out of all summer. - Zoe Walker Ahwa, Ensemble co-founder

Checks Downtown x Olivia Edginton Nalgene water bottle, $49

Olivia Edginton is an illustrator and rug maker based in Wellington, whose colourful work is playfully silly and very up my alley. One day I hope to own one of her custom made tufted rugs (her commissions are closed right now), but for now, this cute Nalgene water bottle made for Auckland store Checks will do. I’m still tempted to get the groovy crochet water holder too... - ZWA

Waterpik cordless water flosser, $125

I’ve wanted this water flosser for a long time, having read so many online recommendations and been served a lot of TikTok videos about it (I think it was actually a post by Eva Chen that initially sparked my interest). Over the break I finally bought one, on one of those casual trips to Chemist Warehouse where you're visiting to just browse, and leave having spent way too much money. Why a water flosser? Apparently it does a more effective job than your normal dental floss, reaching places that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. I think it’s working. It hurts at first and feels quite weird, but you soon get used to it. - ZWA

Wide tooth wooden comb, $11

There is something rather ritualistic about combing your hair with, well, a comb. This simple yet thoroughly practical implement dates back to the time B.C. and has changed little since its earliest iterations. A tactile wooden version takes comb design back to basics, with generous teeth that make it ideal for detangling wet hair and preventing breakage. This has been in my beach bag over summer, saving me from the dreaded “mer-dread”. - Natalia Deyr, Ensemble editorial assistant

Curionoir Irtiu Nefertiti 4ml pocket parfum, $50

My fascination with Egyptology and ancient Egypt can be traced back to first seeing The Mummy as a youth. The dashing Rick O’Connell, feminist icon Evie, Oded Fehr… Did you know that women in Ancient Egypt could have their own businesses, divorce their husbands, own and sell land, be executors in wills and witness to legal documents, and bring an action at court? Ancient Egyptians are also known for having superb hygiene (smelling bad was seen as an affront to the gods) which explains their liberal use of perfume. This scent by Curionoir takes all the scent notes I dig and mixes in ancient Egyptian history with the addition of Blue Lotus. So, naturally, I’m a fan. - ND

Charlotte Penman Wadj studs, $295

You’d be forgiven for not being a fan of scarabs. If you’ve watched the aforementioned The Mummy, you’ve likely had nightmares of giant beetles burrowing under your skin. However, these wrongly feared dung beetles are anything but murderous. In fact, scarabs were revered by the Ancient Egyptians who believed them to represent the god of the morning sun, Khepri, who represented renewal and rebirth, and wore them as protective amulets. These unique studs by local jeweller Charlotte Penman feature malachite discs (a gemstone believed to ward off negative energy) and rolled gold scarabs. A modern amulet to welcome in a new year. Bonus fun fact, scarabs use the sun, moon and milky way to navigate. The more you know. - ND

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Some nice things we bought over the holidays

We unplugged for the summer holiday, but still managed to get some shopping in of course. Here, some personal recommendations from the Ensemble team - things we spent our own money on and thoroughly enjoyed.

Some Piecework puzzles 

I think at this point everyone knows that I’m a #puzzleinfluencer. This is my favourite brand; a friend in the US sent me over a huge box filled with them last Christmas and got me hooked. The quality is amazing and they have Spotify playlists to accompany each one. Over the holidays I did something I’ve never done before and got one of those US shipping addresses so I could get some new ones sent my way. (I got karma’d for not spending local with a whopping shipping fee so don’t necessarily recommend this option!) - Rebecca Wadey, Ensemble co-founder

Wild Delicious pink grapefruit and ginger shrub, $25 

I’m not a huge drinker of alcohol. The number one requirement for me in a drink is a tall glass and ice. I am partial to the odd (icey) G&T but I’m just as happy with a non-alcoholic offering, and this fermented shrub is incredibly delicious and refreshing. It also makes the tastiest salad dressing I’ve tried when mixed with oil and vinegar. - RW

NUKU - Stories of 100 Indigenous Women, $65

I bought this on pre-order when the project was announced, mainly to support what sounded like a great initiative of independent publishing, but it’s SOOO unbelievably good I’m begging everyone I know to own a copy. Pakeha, Māori, male, female or non-binary - these stories are universal and so important. I know and love the work of several of the prominent wāhine involved (Stacey Morrison, Kiri Nathan, Kanoa Lloyd, Tiffany Witehara) but to me the magic is in the unknown; the incredible work being done in education, health and science, the elders who have paved the way and the rangatahi who walk the paths they forged. Please, please buy this. - RW

Modern Manners by The Gentlewoman, $45

In news that will likely surprise no one, I am a major long-time fan of the magazine The Gentlewoman and its editor Penny Martin. I love that it appreciates and showcases good writing as much as it does beautiful imagery, something that feels like a rarity in fashion publishing. Since issue one I’ve also enjoyed the magazine’s regular series exploring modern life, with essays and conversations exploring everything from arriving alone, writing the perfect out-of-office message to bar soap. This new book - “instructions for living fabulously well” - is a collection of those columns, and was the ideal read to dip in and out of all summer. - Zoe Walker Ahwa, Ensemble co-founder

Checks Downtown x Olivia Edginton Nalgene water bottle, $49

Olivia Edginton is an illustrator and rug maker based in Wellington, whose colourful work is playfully silly and very up my alley. One day I hope to own one of her custom made tufted rugs (her commissions are closed right now), but for now, this cute Nalgene water bottle made for Auckland store Checks will do. I’m still tempted to get the groovy crochet water holder too... - ZWA

Waterpik cordless water flosser, $125

I’ve wanted this water flosser for a long time, having read so many online recommendations and been served a lot of TikTok videos about it (I think it was actually a post by Eva Chen that initially sparked my interest). Over the break I finally bought one, on one of those casual trips to Chemist Warehouse where you're visiting to just browse, and leave having spent way too much money. Why a water flosser? Apparently it does a more effective job than your normal dental floss, reaching places that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. I think it’s working. It hurts at first and feels quite weird, but you soon get used to it. - ZWA

Wide tooth wooden comb, $11

There is something rather ritualistic about combing your hair with, well, a comb. This simple yet thoroughly practical implement dates back to the time B.C. and has changed little since its earliest iterations. A tactile wooden version takes comb design back to basics, with generous teeth that make it ideal for detangling wet hair and preventing breakage. This has been in my beach bag over summer, saving me from the dreaded “mer-dread”. - Natalia Deyr, Ensemble editorial assistant

Curionoir Irtiu Nefertiti 4ml pocket parfum, $50

My fascination with Egyptology and ancient Egypt can be traced back to first seeing The Mummy as a youth. The dashing Rick O’Connell, feminist icon Evie, Oded Fehr… Did you know that women in Ancient Egypt could have their own businesses, divorce their husbands, own and sell land, be executors in wills and witness to legal documents, and bring an action at court? Ancient Egyptians are also known for having superb hygiene (smelling bad was seen as an affront to the gods) which explains their liberal use of perfume. This scent by Curionoir takes all the scent notes I dig and mixes in ancient Egyptian history with the addition of Blue Lotus. So, naturally, I’m a fan. - ND

Charlotte Penman Wadj studs, $295

You’d be forgiven for not being a fan of scarabs. If you’ve watched the aforementioned The Mummy, you’ve likely had nightmares of giant beetles burrowing under your skin. However, these wrongly feared dung beetles are anything but murderous. In fact, scarabs were revered by the Ancient Egyptians who believed them to represent the god of the morning sun, Khepri, who represented renewal and rebirth, and wore them as protective amulets. These unique studs by local jeweller Charlotte Penman feature malachite discs (a gemstone believed to ward off negative energy) and rolled gold scarabs. A modern amulet to welcome in a new year. Bonus fun fact, scarabs use the sun, moon and milky way to navigate. The more you know. - ND

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Some nice things we bought over the holidays

We unplugged for the summer holiday, but still managed to get some shopping in of course. Here, some personal recommendations from the Ensemble team - things we spent our own money on and thoroughly enjoyed.

Some Piecework puzzles 

I think at this point everyone knows that I’m a #puzzleinfluencer. This is my favourite brand; a friend in the US sent me over a huge box filled with them last Christmas and got me hooked. The quality is amazing and they have Spotify playlists to accompany each one. Over the holidays I did something I’ve never done before and got one of those US shipping addresses so I could get some new ones sent my way. (I got karma’d for not spending local with a whopping shipping fee so don’t necessarily recommend this option!) - Rebecca Wadey, Ensemble co-founder

Wild Delicious pink grapefruit and ginger shrub, $25 

I’m not a huge drinker of alcohol. The number one requirement for me in a drink is a tall glass and ice. I am partial to the odd (icey) G&T but I’m just as happy with a non-alcoholic offering, and this fermented shrub is incredibly delicious and refreshing. It also makes the tastiest salad dressing I’ve tried when mixed with oil and vinegar. - RW

NUKU - Stories of 100 Indigenous Women, $65

I bought this on pre-order when the project was announced, mainly to support what sounded like a great initiative of independent publishing, but it’s SOOO unbelievably good I’m begging everyone I know to own a copy. Pakeha, Māori, male, female or non-binary - these stories are universal and so important. I know and love the work of several of the prominent wāhine involved (Stacey Morrison, Kiri Nathan, Kanoa Lloyd, Tiffany Witehara) but to me the magic is in the unknown; the incredible work being done in education, health and science, the elders who have paved the way and the rangatahi who walk the paths they forged. Please, please buy this. - RW

Modern Manners by The Gentlewoman, $45

In news that will likely surprise no one, I am a major long-time fan of the magazine The Gentlewoman and its editor Penny Martin. I love that it appreciates and showcases good writing as much as it does beautiful imagery, something that feels like a rarity in fashion publishing. Since issue one I’ve also enjoyed the magazine’s regular series exploring modern life, with essays and conversations exploring everything from arriving alone, writing the perfect out-of-office message to bar soap. This new book - “instructions for living fabulously well” - is a collection of those columns, and was the ideal read to dip in and out of all summer. - Zoe Walker Ahwa, Ensemble co-founder

Checks Downtown x Olivia Edginton Nalgene water bottle, $49

Olivia Edginton is an illustrator and rug maker based in Wellington, whose colourful work is playfully silly and very up my alley. One day I hope to own one of her custom made tufted rugs (her commissions are closed right now), but for now, this cute Nalgene water bottle made for Auckland store Checks will do. I’m still tempted to get the groovy crochet water holder too... - ZWA

Waterpik cordless water flosser, $125

I’ve wanted this water flosser for a long time, having read so many online recommendations and been served a lot of TikTok videos about it (I think it was actually a post by Eva Chen that initially sparked my interest). Over the break I finally bought one, on one of those casual trips to Chemist Warehouse where you're visiting to just browse, and leave having spent way too much money. Why a water flosser? Apparently it does a more effective job than your normal dental floss, reaching places that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. I think it’s working. It hurts at first and feels quite weird, but you soon get used to it. - ZWA

Wide tooth wooden comb, $11

There is something rather ritualistic about combing your hair with, well, a comb. This simple yet thoroughly practical implement dates back to the time B.C. and has changed little since its earliest iterations. A tactile wooden version takes comb design back to basics, with generous teeth that make it ideal for detangling wet hair and preventing breakage. This has been in my beach bag over summer, saving me from the dreaded “mer-dread”. - Natalia Deyr, Ensemble editorial assistant

Curionoir Irtiu Nefertiti 4ml pocket parfum, $50

My fascination with Egyptology and ancient Egypt can be traced back to first seeing The Mummy as a youth. The dashing Rick O’Connell, feminist icon Evie, Oded Fehr… Did you know that women in Ancient Egypt could have their own businesses, divorce their husbands, own and sell land, be executors in wills and witness to legal documents, and bring an action at court? Ancient Egyptians are also known for having superb hygiene (smelling bad was seen as an affront to the gods) which explains their liberal use of perfume. This scent by Curionoir takes all the scent notes I dig and mixes in ancient Egyptian history with the addition of Blue Lotus. So, naturally, I’m a fan. - ND

Charlotte Penman Wadj studs, $295

You’d be forgiven for not being a fan of scarabs. If you’ve watched the aforementioned The Mummy, you’ve likely had nightmares of giant beetles burrowing under your skin. However, these wrongly feared dung beetles are anything but murderous. In fact, scarabs were revered by the Ancient Egyptians who believed them to represent the god of the morning sun, Khepri, who represented renewal and rebirth, and wore them as protective amulets. These unique studs by local jeweller Charlotte Penman feature malachite discs (a gemstone believed to ward off negative energy) and rolled gold scarabs. A modern amulet to welcome in a new year. Bonus fun fact, scarabs use the sun, moon and milky way to navigate. The more you know. - ND

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

We unplugged for the summer holiday, but still managed to get some shopping in of course. Here, some personal recommendations from the Ensemble team - things we spent our own money on and thoroughly enjoyed.

Some Piecework puzzles 

I think at this point everyone knows that I’m a #puzzleinfluencer. This is my favourite brand; a friend in the US sent me over a huge box filled with them last Christmas and got me hooked. The quality is amazing and they have Spotify playlists to accompany each one. Over the holidays I did something I’ve never done before and got one of those US shipping addresses so I could get some new ones sent my way. (I got karma’d for not spending local with a whopping shipping fee so don’t necessarily recommend this option!) - Rebecca Wadey, Ensemble co-founder

Wild Delicious pink grapefruit and ginger shrub, $25 

I’m not a huge drinker of alcohol. The number one requirement for me in a drink is a tall glass and ice. I am partial to the odd (icey) G&T but I’m just as happy with a non-alcoholic offering, and this fermented shrub is incredibly delicious and refreshing. It also makes the tastiest salad dressing I’ve tried when mixed with oil and vinegar. - RW

NUKU - Stories of 100 Indigenous Women, $65

I bought this on pre-order when the project was announced, mainly to support what sounded like a great initiative of independent publishing, but it’s SOOO unbelievably good I’m begging everyone I know to own a copy. Pakeha, Māori, male, female or non-binary - these stories are universal and so important. I know and love the work of several of the prominent wāhine involved (Stacey Morrison, Kiri Nathan, Kanoa Lloyd, Tiffany Witehara) but to me the magic is in the unknown; the incredible work being done in education, health and science, the elders who have paved the way and the rangatahi who walk the paths they forged. Please, please buy this. - RW

Modern Manners by The Gentlewoman, $45

In news that will likely surprise no one, I am a major long-time fan of the magazine The Gentlewoman and its editor Penny Martin. I love that it appreciates and showcases good writing as much as it does beautiful imagery, something that feels like a rarity in fashion publishing. Since issue one I’ve also enjoyed the magazine’s regular series exploring modern life, with essays and conversations exploring everything from arriving alone, writing the perfect out-of-office message to bar soap. This new book - “instructions for living fabulously well” - is a collection of those columns, and was the ideal read to dip in and out of all summer. - Zoe Walker Ahwa, Ensemble co-founder

Checks Downtown x Olivia Edginton Nalgene water bottle, $49

Olivia Edginton is an illustrator and rug maker based in Wellington, whose colourful work is playfully silly and very up my alley. One day I hope to own one of her custom made tufted rugs (her commissions are closed right now), but for now, this cute Nalgene water bottle made for Auckland store Checks will do. I’m still tempted to get the groovy crochet water holder too... - ZWA

Waterpik cordless water flosser, $125

I’ve wanted this water flosser for a long time, having read so many online recommendations and been served a lot of TikTok videos about it (I think it was actually a post by Eva Chen that initially sparked my interest). Over the break I finally bought one, on one of those casual trips to Chemist Warehouse where you're visiting to just browse, and leave having spent way too much money. Why a water flosser? Apparently it does a more effective job than your normal dental floss, reaching places that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. I think it’s working. It hurts at first and feels quite weird, but you soon get used to it. - ZWA

Wide tooth wooden comb, $11

There is something rather ritualistic about combing your hair with, well, a comb. This simple yet thoroughly practical implement dates back to the time B.C. and has changed little since its earliest iterations. A tactile wooden version takes comb design back to basics, with generous teeth that make it ideal for detangling wet hair and preventing breakage. This has been in my beach bag over summer, saving me from the dreaded “mer-dread”. - Natalia Deyr, Ensemble editorial assistant

Curionoir Irtiu Nefertiti 4ml pocket parfum, $50

My fascination with Egyptology and ancient Egypt can be traced back to first seeing The Mummy as a youth. The dashing Rick O’Connell, feminist icon Evie, Oded Fehr… Did you know that women in Ancient Egypt could have their own businesses, divorce their husbands, own and sell land, be executors in wills and witness to legal documents, and bring an action at court? Ancient Egyptians are also known for having superb hygiene (smelling bad was seen as an affront to the gods) which explains their liberal use of perfume. This scent by Curionoir takes all the scent notes I dig and mixes in ancient Egyptian history with the addition of Blue Lotus. So, naturally, I’m a fan. - ND

Charlotte Penman Wadj studs, $295

You’d be forgiven for not being a fan of scarabs. If you’ve watched the aforementioned The Mummy, you’ve likely had nightmares of giant beetles burrowing under your skin. However, these wrongly feared dung beetles are anything but murderous. In fact, scarabs were revered by the Ancient Egyptians who believed them to represent the god of the morning sun, Khepri, who represented renewal and rebirth, and wore them as protective amulets. These unique studs by local jeweller Charlotte Penman feature malachite discs (a gemstone believed to ward off negative energy) and rolled gold scarabs. A modern amulet to welcome in a new year. Bonus fun fact, scarabs use the sun, moon and milky way to navigate. The more you know. - ND

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Some nice things we bought over the holidays

We unplugged for the summer holiday, but still managed to get some shopping in of course. Here, some personal recommendations from the Ensemble team - things we spent our own money on and thoroughly enjoyed.

Some Piecework puzzles 

I think at this point everyone knows that I’m a #puzzleinfluencer. This is my favourite brand; a friend in the US sent me over a huge box filled with them last Christmas and got me hooked. The quality is amazing and they have Spotify playlists to accompany each one. Over the holidays I did something I’ve never done before and got one of those US shipping addresses so I could get some new ones sent my way. (I got karma’d for not spending local with a whopping shipping fee so don’t necessarily recommend this option!) - Rebecca Wadey, Ensemble co-founder

Wild Delicious pink grapefruit and ginger shrub, $25 

I’m not a huge drinker of alcohol. The number one requirement for me in a drink is a tall glass and ice. I am partial to the odd (icey) G&T but I’m just as happy with a non-alcoholic offering, and this fermented shrub is incredibly delicious and refreshing. It also makes the tastiest salad dressing I’ve tried when mixed with oil and vinegar. - RW

NUKU - Stories of 100 Indigenous Women, $65

I bought this on pre-order when the project was announced, mainly to support what sounded like a great initiative of independent publishing, but it’s SOOO unbelievably good I’m begging everyone I know to own a copy. Pakeha, Māori, male, female or non-binary - these stories are universal and so important. I know and love the work of several of the prominent wāhine involved (Stacey Morrison, Kiri Nathan, Kanoa Lloyd, Tiffany Witehara) but to me the magic is in the unknown; the incredible work being done in education, health and science, the elders who have paved the way and the rangatahi who walk the paths they forged. Please, please buy this. - RW

Modern Manners by The Gentlewoman, $45

In news that will likely surprise no one, I am a major long-time fan of the magazine The Gentlewoman and its editor Penny Martin. I love that it appreciates and showcases good writing as much as it does beautiful imagery, something that feels like a rarity in fashion publishing. Since issue one I’ve also enjoyed the magazine’s regular series exploring modern life, with essays and conversations exploring everything from arriving alone, writing the perfect out-of-office message to bar soap. This new book - “instructions for living fabulously well” - is a collection of those columns, and was the ideal read to dip in and out of all summer. - Zoe Walker Ahwa, Ensemble co-founder

Checks Downtown x Olivia Edginton Nalgene water bottle, $49

Olivia Edginton is an illustrator and rug maker based in Wellington, whose colourful work is playfully silly and very up my alley. One day I hope to own one of her custom made tufted rugs (her commissions are closed right now), but for now, this cute Nalgene water bottle made for Auckland store Checks will do. I’m still tempted to get the groovy crochet water holder too... - ZWA

Waterpik cordless water flosser, $125

I’ve wanted this water flosser for a long time, having read so many online recommendations and been served a lot of TikTok videos about it (I think it was actually a post by Eva Chen that initially sparked my interest). Over the break I finally bought one, on one of those casual trips to Chemist Warehouse where you're visiting to just browse, and leave having spent way too much money. Why a water flosser? Apparently it does a more effective job than your normal dental floss, reaching places that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. I think it’s working. It hurts at first and feels quite weird, but you soon get used to it. - ZWA

Wide tooth wooden comb, $11

There is something rather ritualistic about combing your hair with, well, a comb. This simple yet thoroughly practical implement dates back to the time B.C. and has changed little since its earliest iterations. A tactile wooden version takes comb design back to basics, with generous teeth that make it ideal for detangling wet hair and preventing breakage. This has been in my beach bag over summer, saving me from the dreaded “mer-dread”. - Natalia Deyr, Ensemble editorial assistant

Curionoir Irtiu Nefertiti 4ml pocket parfum, $50

My fascination with Egyptology and ancient Egypt can be traced back to first seeing The Mummy as a youth. The dashing Rick O’Connell, feminist icon Evie, Oded Fehr… Did you know that women in Ancient Egypt could have their own businesses, divorce their husbands, own and sell land, be executors in wills and witness to legal documents, and bring an action at court? Ancient Egyptians are also known for having superb hygiene (smelling bad was seen as an affront to the gods) which explains their liberal use of perfume. This scent by Curionoir takes all the scent notes I dig and mixes in ancient Egyptian history with the addition of Blue Lotus. So, naturally, I’m a fan. - ND

Charlotte Penman Wadj studs, $295

You’d be forgiven for not being a fan of scarabs. If you’ve watched the aforementioned The Mummy, you’ve likely had nightmares of giant beetles burrowing under your skin. However, these wrongly feared dung beetles are anything but murderous. In fact, scarabs were revered by the Ancient Egyptians who believed them to represent the god of the morning sun, Khepri, who represented renewal and rebirth, and wore them as protective amulets. These unique studs by local jeweller Charlotte Penman feature malachite discs (a gemstone believed to ward off negative energy) and rolled gold scarabs. A modern amulet to welcome in a new year. Bonus fun fact, scarabs use the sun, moon and milky way to navigate. The more you know. - ND

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