Chapter 29: Don’t be dumb

I remember ugly crying at my final high school assembly.

Which was a super chill, cool move for 17-year-old me.

But the worst part wasn’t the puffy-faced photos or “Ermahgerd, I didn’t bring a tissue!” snot disaster, it was that people assumed I was crying because school was finishing.


Although, perhaps not as embarrassing as the real reason … which is that I was spiralling into a nerdy abyss of despair upset I didn’t get Dux.

Two of my very clever dude pals, Chris and Prashant, tied to receive it and I came in a very bitter third.

Like a real Prince George (He’s third in line for the throne. You should know this stuff, guys).

I did actually get the English Cup and Creative Writing Award (#humblebrag), so really shouldn’t have complained with my leaking eyeballs quite so much, but c’est la vie, that is the life of a maniacal hormonal nerd.

Fun fact: Prashant bet me in academic awards so regularly that one of my mum’s good friends only knew him as “Effing Prashant”. She knows how to flick that pageant mum switch.

“What has this got to do with anything?”

Solid question.

It’s mainly just funny. But also, I feel like it illustrates the sincerity of my Leslie Knope Energy.

Which is an important part of this post’s story, because it’s all about lifelong learning and bettering yourself.

Which I think we can all agree is a lame title, and that’s why I went with: Don’t be dumb.

As a side note, I was actually very tempted by Nobody likes a dumb-ass. It’s my second-to-last blog post in this series you guys, and I’m getting loose.

What I’ve been learning lately

So you know how I’ve been writing a screenplay (see: Chapter 28: Writing a screenplay), well, fun fact, I don’t know how to write a screenplay.

Cue: Montage

So I’ve been reading these books from the local library …

My fave.

Listening to this podcast …

Reading through screenplays of movies I love and know like the back of my hand (like Mean Girls) to learn their form.

And researching what further education options there are for screenwriting in Wellington (where I live in New Zealand), or online.

I think it’s safe to say, I’m a real Harry Hard-out.

“But what’s this got to do with me?”

Solid question.

And if I may ask you a question in response, dear reader, what are you learning about right now?

What are investing time and mental energy into?

And if your answer is:

Don’t feel bad! Feel like a badass, because you’ve just had a wild opportunity come knocking.

This is your chance to do something different, to chase your dreams, and to invest in yourself.

As some smug, smart person once said:

“Dreams don’t work unless you do” – John C. Maxwell

“Where to from here?”

The first step is to work out what you actually care about.

Some questions to ask yourself that might help:

    What job would I do for fun? Even if no one ever paid me to do it.
    What’s a problem in the world that interests or enrages me, and that I’d like to help fix?
    What was a subject I always loved at school, but haven’t done since I sobbed at that last assembly …?
    Who do I look up to? What is it about them that I would like to be able to do too?

And then what I would do, is exactly what I did with screenwriting:

  • Go to the library
  • Research different resources online (YouTube tutorials, blogs, online courses, higher education options)
  • Listen to podcasts
  • And talk to someone who’s doing the thing you want to be able to do. That’s always my favourite. I love learning from people.

“Then what”

Start! And know that you’ll probably feel confused, overwhelmed, and generally like an idiot when you first try something new.

We all do.

But then you learn, and you grow, and the new thing isn’t so new and scary anymore, and actually, you’re a little bit badass at it.

“Why bother?”

Apart from the obvious benefits of increasing in personal fulfilment, achievement, purpose, self-belief and self-esteem ... sounds terrible, right …?

Learning is incredibly good for your brain.

It’s basically anti-aging cream for your mind, and helps to grow and improve your memory and mental sharpness as you age.

Avoiding the end of The Notebook

On a slightly more serious note, as someone with Alzheimer’s Disease in my family, I’m pretty personally invested in doing all I can to keep my brain and mind healthy and well.

If this is something you’re interested in, I recommend having a read of this article about Alzheimer’s prevention.

The pillars of brain health are actually quite surprising. Let’s gooo, Mediterranean Diet! *Swells with Italian pride, olive oil in hand*

What would you love to learn more about? You should totally do it. I believe in you.

Kate x

Chapter 24: Colourful Eye Makeup

I had a blog in 2011.

I know. What an early adopter.

It was called A Little Bit of Loveliness, and I have long since expunged its existence from the internet.

I can’t remember what I used to write about, but thanks to an old Facebook album (that I should definitely have deleted by now), I can tell you I very much used to like posting Harvey Dent style two-face makeovers.

Exhibit A:

Aw baby Kate with her long hair and tiny brows.
Not so tiny brows …

Eight years later and I’ve gone full circle, and am back writing a blog and painting my face and putting it on the internet.

Exhibit B: Yesterday’s gram

Still so damn extra …

But anyway, onto the topic of today’s post:

Colourful Eye Makeup

I never do colourful eyeshadow.

I am a vanilla, Naked palette wielding, basic white chick when it comes to my eyeshadow routine.

I don’t mind a lil somethin’ somethin’ bright on my cheeks or lips, but when it comes to my eyes I do precisely three things:

  1. Browns (the full spectrum from cream to dark brown)
  2. Golds
  3. Coppers.

And that it is it.

Exhibit C: Archetypal Kate makeup

Turn around, bright eyes

In the spirit of taking 30 by the proverbial balls horns and busting out of my comfort zone, I went sky-diving, hiked the Great Wall, learnt French tried bright eyeshadow today – and I actually bloody loved it.

Like any self-respecting Millennial, my first port of call was to scour Pinterest for #inspo.

Exhibit D: #Inspo

I have a super pigmented matte pink velvety lipstick from Tarte Cosmetics that I figured would do the trick, so I just used that as a base and blended with Retro (a matte salmony colour in Naked Reloaded) to get the Jackson Pollock face you see before you.


Fuelled on by my rule-breaking success, I then smouldered up the look with two of my most-hated makeup techniques (on me):

  1. A Smokey Eye
  2. Eyeliner in the waterline (I think it makes me look hella hoochi)

Fun fact: putting bright turquoise eyeshadow onto pink lipstick eyes makes purple!

And again, I loved it!

What. Is. Happening?!

Same blush, different day

Hands up if you do the same makeup look pretty much every day?


It’s easy to go full auto-pilot with your eyeliner and just do what you always do, because:

A. You know you like it

And B. Because repetition is the key to growth.

Meaning: you get better at something the more you do it – like running, making the perfect poached egg, or contouring the sweet heaven’s out of your jawline.

If you do the same makeup look every day, basic maths says you will get better at it, and you will get quicker at it.

Which makes sense.

But – it can mean you get stagnant and complacent with your makeup.

Which is fine. Until it isn’t. Which is generally when:

  1. You’ve been doing the same makeup look for a decade, and it’s no longer serving you. Ten years ago I didn’t touch my brows, and ten years before that I was putting Vaseline on my eyelashes like mascara/chic conjunctivitis.
  2. You don’t actually feel awesome anymore. Instead of using makeup as a way to accentuate your natural beauty and to help you feel confident and like a Grade A hottie, you’re just doing it out of routine. Girl, please. You are worth more than that!

Kate, help! I’m in a makeup rut!

Thats ok. It’s just makeup!

It’s a very easy fix, and has the wonderful transformative benefits of making you feel like a total fox.




So, what’s the fix?

As with anything, it depends on the person – but here’s what I’d do:

Hit up a makeup counter at the mall. Find a nice person who’s makeup you like, and ask them what they’d recommend for you. Then get them to try products on you, watch how they apply it, and ask questions.

YouTube it. YouTube is basically makeup tutorials and cat videos. Just search: makeup tutorial for #your demographics#. That’s how I learned how to paint my face.

Ask a friend who’s brows are always on fleek. They’ve probably been waiting for this moment for years!

And depending on whether you feel like a big change, or just adding a couple new techniques/tricks up your sleeve (like me filling in my brows), just do what feels right for you. It’s your face!

Have fun with it, and know that you will probably suck at applying your look for a little bit.

It’s the same for everyone, at everything. We’re all beginners, until we’re not.

You got this, babes.

Also, it kinda goes without saying, but if you don’t like or wear makeup, that’s totally cool too.

Do what makes you feel beautiful and confident, and don’t judge another woman for doing the same. Easy!

And also, #peopleskills.

Have a wonderful day, you glorious things!

Kate x

Chapter 21: Putting Yourself Out There

The past two years have been bananas.

The first year I grew a person.

And the second year I grew as a person.

But not in the way you’d expect.

Becoming a parent is fairly synonymous with becoming immeasurably more selfless, patient and tired than you ever though possible.

That’s pretty much a given (unless you suck a little bit as a human).

For me, the unexpected growth came because I wanted needed something that was just for myself.

ENTER STAGE LEFT: Kate Takes Thirty

From watching Parks and Rec, to writing about it

When I was in my early 20s, binge watching seven seasons of Parks and Recreation over a Christmas holiday wasn’t indulgent, it was frankly impressive.

But when you become a parent, the game doth change, and time becomes the ultimate luxury – both for treasuring moments with your little people (“They grow up so fast!” – everyone, ever), and for treasuring moments with yourself.

What did this look like for me?

Starting a blog.

And one that by it’s very definition, enabled and encouraged me to try lots of different things – like starting improv classes, a public Instagram (@katetakesthirty, get about it) and a podcast – oh, and I ran a half-marathon.


And nerve-wracking!

Particularly the bit about putting my face, voice, and writing on the interwebs for people to see and hear and judge, and aggghhhhhhh

But then I remember, WWRHD?

What would Rachel Hollis Do?

She would say:


“You dreams don’t work unless you do.”

“Are you humble enough to suck for as long as it takes to get better?”

“What other people think about you is none of your business.”

And other such inspiring, bad ass things.

So I sucked it up, and went for it.

I’ve even started approaching lifestyle news sites to see if they want a piece of this action to take me on as a contributing writer.

I’ve tried three so far, two have knocked me back, and one is still pending.

But again, WWRHD?

She would keep trying until someone says yes, and remind me of the classic J.K Rowling “never give up” anecdote for authors about how Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was turned down 12 times by publishers before Bloomsbury said yes to the dress.

Or she’d start her own news site, cause she’s a gangster like that.

And dang it, so am I.

Just cause you’re a gangster

It goes without saying – but Rachel Hollis, J.K Rowling and I don’t have the monopoly on bad assery.

You too can be a gangster and go after your dreams whole-heartedly.

It’s hard. Heck, every time I produce something there’s a gnawing thought at the back of my mind telling me it’s probably terrible and no one will want to read/listen to it.

But then I think: Nah, boo. You do you.

People will enjoy it or they won’t. The most important thing is that you enjoy making it.

A. Because life’s miserable if you spend it trying to be someone you’re not, to impress people you don’t even like or know.

And B. Because people are smart, and they can tell when you’re being disingenuous.

My advice?

Be a gangster.

Believe in yourself. Find what you want to do, and keep doing it.

Like our girl Rach says, you will probably suck at the start. Lord knows my first podcast episode is solidly “ok, and pretty averagely alright”.

But you keep going. You keep grinding. And you keep smiling.

Because sooner or later that commitment and enthusiasm is going to breed growth and opportunity.

Don’t give up now!

The best is yet to come.

If money was no object, what work would you do for free? If you’re not sure what your dream job is, that’s a good question to start with.

Or if you know what your dream is, tell meeee! Feel free to comment below or hit up my DMs on the gram. I love hearing from you guys.

Kate x

Chapter 15: Ginger Spice

Like most girls in the 90s, I grew up obsessed with butterfly clips and the Spice Girls.

And I mean crazy town OBSESSED.

When (Her Maj) Adele posted this to Instagram earlier in the year, I identified so strongly with her it was almost a spiritual experience.

Basically me.

And again, when Blake Lively said:

When I was a child I probably should have been medicated about my obsession with the Spice Girls. I had the Buffalo shoes, a Baby Spice necklace – when I say custom-made, it was made out of plastic from the local mall – and a Union Jack dress.

Preteen fangirl is a special breed of crazy.

Just ask Justin Bieber.

And to be honest, at 29, I probably still know every word to Wannabe, every dance move to Stop Right Now, and Geri Halliwell is still my spirit animal.

Girl Power

Like Adele (did we just become best friends?), my favourite Spice Girl was is Ginger Spice.

She was loud. Fun. Empowering. And I was all about that hair.

So much so, that I still vividly remember going to the hairdressers with a hand-drawn picture (it was a different time) of the shoulder-length Geri haircut I wanted.

Nevermind that I have naturally wavy hair, and it was the 90s, and I was seven, and the most sophisticated hairstyling tool at my disposal was a brush.

It wasn’t this bad. But it was this bad in my heart.

Poor tiny Kate and her poofy halo of brushed out curls, bouncing up around her ears.

I’m nearly 100% sure I cried in the hairdresser’s chair.

Fast-forward 22 years, and I’m basically still trying to look like Geri Halliwell in the 90s.

Cause this week I dyed my hair red – again.

Red hair, don’t care

Pre-baby, I dyed my hair more than that chick in the Bourne Identity.

I was brunette, then I was ginger, then I was really ginger, and then I was strawberry blonde, then I was a copper to blonde ombré … Then there was a lob. Then a blunt bob. Then a fringe.

Honestly, I changed my appearance so regularly you’d have thought I was in witness protection.

Montage, montage, montage!

“Just a trim and my roots” are six words my long suffering hairdresser has never heard come out of my mouth.

But with the (boring) budget cuts that inevitably come with becoming a parent, I decided to rock my brunette roots for the better part of a year and a half.

But then I was in the supermarket.

And I know home hair dye is cheap, and bad, and basically the devil.

But then I was like …

Montage, montage, montage!

So hopefully my locks don’t explode, or turn into straw, or whatever it is that’s so much worse than salon dye.

(Footnote: I just did some low-level Google research on why, and this is a handy article on it. Making major changes that need some chemistry know-how is the key perpetrator of a botched box dye.)

At home with Kate

The Dye:

I used Firey Topaz by Schwarzkopf (twice).

I wasn’t a hundred percent on the first go of it. It seemed a little lighter at my roots, and a bit more brunette than entirely necessary.

So I did what any woman who’s just watched Aquaman and liked Mira’s hair would do, and I went and bought another box. And I dyed it again.

And this it what we ended up with …

The Result:

Just after doing the second box (it’s lightened since then – yass!).

It’s definitely not as good as when I go to the salon. But it was $20, so like …

And it’s made me feel a bit more like myself.

The Motherhood Sisterhood

It’s easy to find yourself consumed with motherhood – and that’s not entirely a bad thing. That kiddo really needs you.

But you’re important too. Your interests and priorities matter.

You matter.

So to all my mums out there: make sure you’re regularly doing things that give you some energy, and fun.

Things that make you feel good about yourself.

Your tired, compassionate, loving, stretched self more than deserves it.

Kate x

Footnote: Making Friends as an Adult

And I use the term “adult” very loosely.

Lord only knows my maturity levels are questionable.

What a Girl Wants

I was listening to an audio chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face recently where the author Rachel Hollis said the question she gets asked most at her Rise women’s events is – how do I make friends?

Which broke my heart a little bit.

Because I know what that’s like.

I have distinct memories of being at primary school and my two cooler friends (let’s calls them Kelly and Beyoncé) running away and hiding from me while I was in the bathroom.

I was Michelle.

And it was crap.

Hey, Soul Sister

Thankfully, I did end up making some awesome friends at school and uni, but other than my hilarious pal Vin, I was a relatively late bloomer when it came to making soul sister-level besties.

I was 19 when I first started going to church, and it was there I met my now-best friends and the wild, funny, clever women (and some solidly epic dudes) that make up my wolf pack.

But after this pretty intense period of getting to know lots of new people, I went on a bit of a friend-making hiatus.

My dance card was full.

Until, recently.


In the past couple of years I’ve made A LOT of friends!

First there was gorgeous Renee at my old new job.

Then the hilarious Mamae and Jacqui through my new-new job.

Then Janis, Haley, Nat, Leah, Cara, Sam and Liza from my antenatal group mum gang.

And then more recently Erin and Amelia through Improv.

I am awash with cool chicks to hang with!

And I couldn’t help but wonder (like a Carrie Bradshaw voice over) – why?

Why do I suddenly have so many cool new chums?

And then it hit me.

The answer of how to make friends as an adult.

You have to do something different

In every single one of the above new-friend scenarios, I was doing something outside of my normal day-to-day Kate-ing.

I started a new job (twice).

Interviewed a random, wonderful woman for my work podcast.

Had a baby (grow a new friend?)

And started improv classes.

All things outside of my normal routine.

All things that pushed me out of my comfort zone.

Feeling like Michelle?

If, like me in the primary school toilets, you’re feeling like a bit of a Michelle (kinda lonely and on the outer) – I really encourage you to try something different.

Or indeed, this four step process that I have just created …

Step 1: Work out what you like

Think about what you enjoy: sports, dancing, reading, fitness, comedy, music … and find a club or community group that runs something you can join.

For instance: a netball club, church connect group, dance class, book club, community bootcamp, improv class, or choir …

So. Many. Options!

Just have a Google.

Step 2: Sign up!

Take a deep breath and go full Nike and

You have far more to gain that you have to lose.

Step 3: Back yourself and be nice

There are so many different types of people on this earth, no matter how weird or niche you think you are, there will be someone else out there who will get your jokes and think you’re great.

You just gotta find your tribe. Put yourself out there. And be nice.

You might not find a bezzie pal in the first club you join, but by deliberately positioning your heart and mind to be open and welcoming to new friends – that’s exactly what you’ll attract.

(Literally the definition of “manifesting”?)

Or as no one’s put it, ever:

Let your openness be the light bulb of friendship to draw in your new moth homies.

Step 4: Have faith

Don’t force it. You don’t need to get weird and intense because you want that half-heart BFF bracelet.

Just see who you click with. Ask them to hang. Be interested. And have faith that everything will work out.

Friendships take time to grow.

Be patient and enjoy the process.

You are unique and wonderful, and anyone would be lucky to have you as a friend.

Side note: Looking for love?

These steps are also pretty comparable to how we used to meet dudes back in the olden pre-Tinder days.

Just a thought.

Do you find it difficult making friends? What’s worked for you? Can I get an Amen for the Michelle’s in the house!

Kate x

Chapter 9: #RoyalVisitNZ

I’ve met five members of the British Royal Family.

What?! How? When? WHAT!?

I spent some serious years working in Public Sector Communications doing serious work for the government, and it just so happened that the Department I worked for was in charge of official state visits.

So once in a blue (blood) moon,






I gotta say right off the bat. This isn’t going to be some salacious tell-all.

Mainly because there isn’t anything salacious to tell.

But also. Code of Conduct. Professionalism. Ethics. That sort of jazz.

Everything in here is already public information. Or are random (ridiculous) stories from my life outside of work.

Being a professional like.

The Royal Whānau

New Zealand is part of the Commonwealth, which means the Queen of the United Kingdom is also the Queen of New Zealand, making the Royal Family our Royal Whānau.

And the Royals do what normal family do.

They come to visit.

It’s kinda like when your Aunty Ang comes to stay, except she doesn’t sleep on the pull-out couch, because she’s actually Angelina Jolie.

Social Media Reporter, reporting for duty

My first Royal Visit was in 2014 with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George.

It was also the first time the New Zealand Government (and in fact, I think any Commonwealth country) had a “Social Media Reporter” creating an online version of the visit that people could follow through their smartphones.

And that was me.

(Constantly ruining shots).


Braggy Fun fact: Your ol’ mate Kate created the hashtag #RoyalVisitNZ.

My job involved a lot of quick-fire phone photography and social posting so people could follow the #RoyalVisitNZ feed in real-time.

I can’t even tell you how fun it was.

I also got to see an insane amount of my own country, which, ps. is beautiful.

Fave photos

Here are some of my favourite photos that I took back on my trusty iPhone 5 during the 2014 visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George.

(Warning: I really loved a hard edit back in 2014. The filter use is. Next. Lev).

All photos are taken from the @GovGeneralNZ account on Instagram – which I administered over the course of the visit.


Their Royal Highnesses (TRHs) arriving at the Wellington Military Terminal.

Can we make a moment for Catherine though: she’s wearing a floaty dress in Wellington winds, with her hair down, holding her kid, while walking down aeroplane stairs in front of the world’s press.

Bow. Down.

If that was me I’d have created an international incident before I’d touched New Zealand soil.

I would have basically been Paris Hilton every time she got out of a car in the Noughties.


The Mecca of New Zealand tourism, Queenstown is stunning.

Amaro, anyone?
I got doused by the Shotover Jet as it zoomed past. #chic

Serving some serious cute in Blenheim

This lovely veteran showed the Duchess a photo of him from the war, and it was mad cute.

(Also, praise the person not just their clothes, but this was my favourite lewk of the visit).

But of course

Ayyyyy! Who dat. Even though I forgot to curtsy and said absolutely nothing intelligent, meeting TRHs was



My tiny blonde friend there, Claire, did Media Management on the visit. As you can see, neither of us were at all taken by the Royal Couple … *face nearly splits from smiling so hard*

We also had a big team photo with TRHs after this, including Prince George, who I said hi too.

The whole experience was the best, in every way.

Not least of which because everywhere we went there were hundreds and thousands of people being made so incredibly happy.

All. Of. The. Feels.

The changing of the guard

Me and my main man in London, 2015, after seeing the Queen. Oh and yes, those are the black Northern Lights Karen Walker sunglasses Meghan famously wore during the latest visit #trendsetter #fashun #OOTD

As luck would have it, I was in England in 2015 while Prince Harry first visited New Zealand (one of my chums/Comms colleagues covered that visit).


While we were in the Motherland (I am actually half English), we swung by Buckingham Palace, because #tourists, and as we were waiting to leave after the changing of the guard, I saw a motorcade coming.

We’d been told the PM (who had been voted in the day before) was coming to see the Queen, so we were vaguely jazzed that we were going to see David Cameron.

But it was not Dave-o.

It was Her Maj, herself.

We accidentally saw the actual Queen!

It was a wonderful, ridiculous day.

The Sequel

Later that year, it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, Charles and Camilla, were coming to town – and I would be reprising my role as Kate the Social Media Reporter!

My fave photos that I took on that trip:

Prepare yourselves for an iPhone quality upgrade (I was running with a 6 at this point), and a far subtler approach to photo editing.

The Ultimate

There was an unfortunate run-in with a bee on the Duke’s pants, and both Their Royal Highnesses got the giggles.

Just, great.

Laughing photos are the best photos.

Turangawaewae Marae

I literally took this shot from a bush. It was basically Fortnite.

The Duke and Duchess visited the home of the Māori Kīngitanga in Ngāruwahia, and it was full DRAMA, in the best possible way.

From the full spectacle of the welcome, to the waiata/songs, kai/food, armada of waka/boats (which TRHs are just climbing aboard the barge in the photo above to see), and farewell haka – it made me proud to be a Kiwi.

Harry and Meghan

The Gang.

As you can imagine. I was definitely down to try and see the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Meghan) on their visit to New Zealand last month.

In fact, it was the perfect #9 addition to my Thirty Before Thirty bucket list.

But, it





I live in Wellington, so went to the public walkabout at Pukeahu National War Memorial with my son (I figured babies always go down well with Royals) and mother-in-law.

We were two hours early, and got a great spot by the entrance.

Or so we thought.

We actually parked ourselves directly inline with where the delegation van would be parked.

So when the Royal Couple arrived the only view we had was of was VIP Transport.

ryan gos

I also hadn’t factored in the screaming …

Like a total mum scrub, I hadn’t stopped to think that thousands of excited Royalists/Suits fans might be a nightmare-level scenario for my 11-month-old.

He was. Hysterical.

I couldn’t escape through the barricade because I’d look like a crazed fan, and I was barricaded from the back by throngs of Royal watchers. The panicked parent sweats were  r e a l.

But, like a glimmer of hope in the chaos, I could see a scheduled meet and greet unfolding in front of me.

There was a guide dog involved, and photographers were getting lined up for the shot.

So amongst the horror show of this experience, at least, I thought, I’d get to see them.

But alas.

The guide dog got moved up, a woman close by basically mounted me as she filmed on her phone, and as I stretched out my neck – my baby still losing his mind – to try and catch a solitary glimpse, the Duchess turned her head.

And I saw a very chic bun.

And that is all.

This is the photo my mum-in-law took.

How it ended up being black and white is still a mystery.

Proof that you can be this close to someone, and yet still not actually see them.

It was all so comedically bad.

The absolute, wonderful irony that the one time I tried to see a member of the Royal Family – this happened.

But it also made me reflect on how stupidly blessed I’ve been to have tagged along on two Royal visits (and stumbled upon seeing the Queen!). And for that, I am so very thankful.

In Memory

I’d like to dedicate this post to my boss and friend, Allen Walley.

Allen was the Media Manager for the 2014 visit, and the one who recommended and encouraged me to be the official social media reporter.

He was also famously a Republican. (Hilarious). Although, as you’ll see in the photo below, still got a little star struck.

We look like three grinning hyenas

In many ways I owe this experience to him, and for that, I will always be grateful.

Allen was diagnosed with cancer in the planning stages of the Prince Harry visit in 2015, and passed away a year and a half ago.

Cancer is crap. But the Royal adventures we had most certainly were not. Thanks for everything, my friend.

Kate x

Chapter 2: 10-Step Korean Skincare

As a mum of a teething 9 month old, I think it’s safe to say I’m currently being held together by coffee, hope and dry shampoo.

So when I saw Farmers had started stocking K-Beauty brand, TONYMOLY, it reminded me of something I’d heard on the Jules and Sarah Podcast.

The Legend of Zorro Korean Skincare

I’m a ride or die member of the Port Salut Crew (niche podcast reference), and a couple of lols back, Jules mentioned in passing that Korean eye masks (especially when kept in the fridge) were G.O.A.T for giving a tired bleugh face a much needed pep up.

Korean skincare, I thought at the time … I must remember this … I shall tuck it away in my mind next to “i before e, except after c” and the lyrics to every Spice Girls song ever made.

(Definitely not next to how to work out statistical significance, because when I have I ever needed to do that, University? Never, that is when.)

But back to the TONYMOLY display:

There was a moisturiser in a tiny banana, black eye-patch masks for dark circles that make you look like a bandit panda, and a range of sheet face masks (probably) developed by Bruce Wayne’s R&D team – plus loads more.

I was so happy I nearly started singing Spice up your life, and snaffled up the panda eye mask and a hydrating sheet mask – both of which promised to get me glowing like J-Lo and Jun Ji-hyun.

But, like – what is it?

South Korean women love skincare like Kanye loves Kanye.

So much so that they are the inventors of the 10-step skincare regime.

And it is  T H O R O U G H – with a focus on promoting hydration, layering products, preventative aging, natural and cutting-edge ingredients, super cute packaging, and holistic health (I downed two cups on green tea while writing this, and surprisingly, didn’t hate it).

Fun fact: we owe BB cream to the South Koreans.

I managed to do the morning and night routines using a random range of products I had lying around the house, because I like beauty and I have a problem. But – that does mean there were a couple things missing, so this is:

Kate’s #basic version


I’m not a morning person.

When I wake up I want coffee and silence. Which is veryyy unfortunate when you have a 9 month old.

I find washing my face soon after getting up really helps the whole feeling like an alive person thing though, so the longer skincare process was actually quite a nice way to ease into the day.

Here’s how they do it in Seoul:

  1. Wash your face with just water
  2. Toner – pop some on a cotton pad and wipe over your face
  3. Essence – this is one I didn’t have. It’s like if toner and serum had a baby. Apparently it’s amazing for skin hydration
  4. Ampoule – serum on steroids. A ‘sometimes (skin) food’, these are packed with active ingredients for some targeted intervention. You don’t use all the time
  5. Serum – like a wheatgrass shot to the face. These are concentrated formulas to help tackle specific concerns (I picked up the Natural Instinct Rejuvenating Rosehip Oil from the supermarket for under $20)
  6. Eye cream – no sebaceous glands to produce oil + the thinnest skin = very needy on the moisture front (Nutrimetics’ Ultra Care+ Platinum Tight Firm & Fill Eye Serum is  L E G I T)
  7. Moisturiser
  8. Sunblock – particularly necessary in New Zealand where we basically don’t have an ozone layer.
The products I used for my evening routine.


The evening routine is utterly onerous and indulgent. And. I. Loved. It.

Little man was in bed, and it was just the loveliest and most relaxing way to wind down from the day.

  1. Oil cleanser – to remove makeup. I think the Tailor Oil Cleanse is delish, and it’s made in NZ #chur
  2. Water based/foaming cleanser – this is called a “double-cleanse” and it’s all the rage. You could use a micellar water, or something like the foaming cleanser from Olay (which is M A G I C for removing the last of your makeup)
  3. Exfoliant – not every day though
  4. Toner – Korean skincare aficionados will aim to tone within 10 seconds of getting out of the shower. Apparently the longer you wait, the more dehydrated your skin becomes
  5. Essence 
  6. Ampoule
  7. Serum 
  8. Sheet mask – my TONYMOLY one was one of the nicest, and less murdery looking, I’ve ever used. Just don’t wash off the residue serum afterwards – that stuff is gold. I did a little facial massage with it myself – as instructed by Meghan Markle’s facialist (and Jules’ pal) Nichola Joss
  9. Eye cream
  10. Moisturiser 

Kate Rates: The 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine

I really enjoyed my foray into Korean Skincare. I probably won’t be following the 10-steps every day, but I will actually keep quite a good chunk of it.

I loved the double-cleanse and morning water wash, more regularly using toner and eye cream, and the introduction of rosehip oil and delicious delicious sheet masks.

I’m doing all of it.

I’m pretty much doing all of it.

Disclaimer: I did a lot of research before writing this, but obviously, I’m a white chick from New Zealand, so I’m hardly the go-to expert on Korean Skincare. My only hope is that I do anything as offensive as this.

Let me know if you give it a go, and what you think! 

Kate x

Ps. To my pals from Instagram (@beforekateturns30) who are like … uh, this isn’t eating a Big Mac or contouring like a Kardashian, to you I say. Soz. I had dry, tired skin and got amped when I saw the panda eye patches. What’s a girl to do?