Fashion

These 16 Plum Hair Color Ideas are Totally Trending Right Now

These 16 Plum Hair Color Ideas are Totally Trending Right Now

A plum hair color is a more lustrous shade of purple with slight tinges of brown that’s inspired by the color of plum fruit. Dyeing your strands this color is definitely a snazzy way to get out of your comfort zone and wow everyone with this popping hue. Take inspiration from Katy Perry, Lupita Nyong’o, and Jesse J’s trendsetting plum manes!
Contrast is what you wanna have when deciding which shade to wear. From pastels to electrifying shades – there will surely be a fitting shade for every complexion and eye color. Fair to medium complexions look stunning with cooler shades of plum, and warm tones go perfectly with darker skin colors.
Plum makes your strands gleam fabulously under any light, as long as you keep them healthy and well-maintained. To do this, invest in the best hair care products, avoid damaging hair styling methods, and following your colorist’s recommendations as well will help a lot in the process.
You should start getting comfortable with all the attention and compliments you’ll get once you try one of these popular plum hair color ideas! Scroll down below to get started!
Light Plum on Shoulder Length Hair Instagram @studioak.reetta
Use a straightening iron to achieve this modest look. The violet color should give that impact of adventure.
Dark Brown Hair with Plum Highlights Instagram @_brookelynch_
Show-stopping long locks bedazzled with deep lilac. A definite head-turner!
Chocolate and Plum Balayage Instagram @adornedbyaudree
Terrific transformation by colorist Audree where brown and burgundy were interspersed perfectly.
Dark Red and Plumb Balayage Instagram @tanyamichelle_hairartist
This is what lilac dreams are made of! Enjoy countless compliments on your magenta-colored hair.
Plum Brown Instagram @mshellwear
Never thought that plum and brown would be a thing, did you? Get those purple undertones and bring a new twist to your brunette locks.
Plum Purple on Curly Hair Instagram @foreversummer_cosmetologist
Stylist Summer made this masterpiece as natural as possible. Plum perfect curls can be achieved for a radiant glow.
Violet Plum on Short Hair Instagram @bretell_beauty
Burgundy brilliance shines through you, sis! Bouncy jaw-length hair with this dye is a stunner.
Dark Plum Instagram @jhans_beauty
Mulberry hair on waves are smashing! Colorist Jordan helps you get through bad hair day with this unbeatable combination of styles.
Subtle Dark to Light Plumb Ombre Q&A with style creator, Michelle Hernandez
Balayage Specialist @ Color by Michelle in Fresno, CA
How would you describe this look?
This plum color is pretty subtle yet fun! The best thing about this color is anyone can rock it – young and old. The fun part is that there are two levels of violet. You have your deep plum to the lighter red-violet. The cut was a simple one length style with no layers.
Any advice for someone considering it?
Anyone can have this plum hair. Basically, you could go from the salon to the office. As far as maintenance with any color service, you’ll need to use color safe shampoo to help longevity and vibrancy. Wash less often. Use protective serum when using hot tools.
Plum and Black Balayage Q&A with style creator, Kaylee Lamy
Stylist @ City Looks Salon, Spa & Wigs in Winnipeg, MB
How would you describe this look?
This is a look I call plum balayage. It consists of rich purple tones, softly blended into a dark brown base to give beautiful depth and a striking statement. I gave this client a long layered haircut with a side bang to add softness around her face as well as some texturizing to create a piecey look when curled. My favorite part of this look is when the light hits, it gives illusions of different purples.
Any advice for someone considering it?
Balayage is great for a natural grow out. The technique “balayage” is soft and painted on the hair in an artistic manner. Often times the balayage technique needs to first be done as a lightening service in order to get that true color you see in the picture.
To keep the plum vibrant requires regular refreshing on average 4 to 6 weeks. This color is recommended for someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time in the sun or chlorine. If you do spend time in the sun I recommend using shampoo with UV protection and color protection. Because of the pre-lightening for the balayage base of this service, a leave-in conditioner (strength and anti-breakage) is great to help with how chemically treated hair can act and feel. I always prep my style with a heat protectant to preserve and prevent early fading of our gorgeous plum. Protecting from the high heat of our styling tools also equals healthier hair, which equals richer, shinier colors. I finish off the look with a textured hairspray to get that beachy loose curled style.
Plum Red Q&A with style creator, Sydney Fogner
Licensed Cosmetologist @ Shear Xpectations Salon in Columbia, SC
How would you describe this look?
This is a plum red because it has cool tones rather than warm tones, almost as if it has a purple hue to it. My favorite thing about it is that it’s fun and powerful without stepping into the vivid category. I personally just prefer cooler reds versus warm coppery reds and bright ‘firetruck’ reds.
Any advice for someone considering it?
First, investing in professional color safe shampoo and conditioner is a huge deal. Shampooing as little as possible and using cold water is also a key factor in longevity. Red fades easily – it will stay red, but if you do not take care of it, it will not stay the same beautiful plum red that you left the salon with.
You’re also going to need to be prepared to visit the salon more often. Considering this is not her natural color and we didn’t leave any type of shadow root, she is going to have to get her roots touched up at least every 5-6 weeks as well as refreshes to keep the color vibrant. This is something to take into account for sure because you are upping the maintenance as well as what you’ll be spending on your hair.
This particular color looks best with cooler skin tones, especially those with pink undertones. However, the formulation can be personalized. Either darker/lighter or cooler tones/warmer tones can still be in the plum realm but fit a different skin tone. A great thing about this type of red is it is still professional. It’s not natural, but it’s also not in your face. It’s not distracting but is still powerful, meaning it can still fit into the workplace while being fun.
I don’t personally believe that you need to have a certain personality to rock a hair color, however, you should probably take into account that this will grab a little more attention than your basic brown. Be ready for all the “I love your hair!” comments.
Eggplant Plum on Long Hair Q&A with style creator, Katelynn Hillenbrand
Stylist / Colorist @ Off 7th Salon in Centereach, NY
How would you describe this look?
This look is a rooted color melt! I absolutely love color theory – utilizing these fundamentals gives you the ability to create bold pure tones!
Kylie had previous layers of a level 3 oxidative dye when I lifted that color up and exposed her underlying pigment. I worked with those tones to create exactly what she’s been looking for, a mix of plum and jam tones with a deeper brown root!
It’s hard to choose but the dimension and blend in this project is my favorite part to admire in the look. This client has naturally curly hair and she was smoothed out beautifully.
Any advice for someone considering it?
With colors, I always open up a conversation about maintenance and color preservation with at home care prior to the color service. If you’re looking to have this look are you’re in for some upkeep! The regimen I recommended for this client is as follows:
Wash with Wella Elements (1-2x a week) with cold water! (As cool as you can handle, the warmer the water, the faster the color will wash out). Dry shampoo will be your best friend! I suggest using Kenra’s Dry Shampoo in between washes. Wella FusionPlex Deep Conditioner (Since you’re only washing 1-2x a week you want a double dose of nutrients when conditioning your hair!) You’re going to swap your regular conditioner for this mask.
For your blow out, prep your hair with Kenra Blow Dry Spray, Wella Flowing Form, and Sebastian Dark Oil. Use High Tension with a medium-size round brush pointing the nozzle down going with the cuticle to create shine! Finish With Wella Glam Spray!
Consider 6-week upkeep appointments that include a root touch up and creative color glaze, with every other upkeep appointment adding a haircut with her styling to maintain healthy hair!
This cut is layered and angled under the jawline which is perfect for anyone concerned about making their face appear wide/wider. Purples like this are great for a bit of an edge that’s still workplace acceptable in most cases!
Dark Purple Plum on a Medium Length Bob Instagram @elissawolfe
Totally living for this vivid violet! Stylist Elissa mixed purple balayages in these plum hues for that subtle dimension.
Burgundy Plum Q&A with style creator, Maly Souvannasap
Hairstylist / Booth Renter @ Shandelier Salon and Spa in Ogden, UT
How would you describe this look?
This look is for someone who wants a subtle but different look. Very chic and sexy! She previously had a light brown balayage and wanted this plum hue which I loved cause it’s something different and such a pretty color. I also gave her a nice trim with long layers. I love that this is all her natural hair as well. We used 1 1/4″ curling iron to curl her hair to make those beach curls come alive using the right products to also make the color come alive.
Any advice for someone considering it?
They would need to know that the hair would either need to be all natural and never colored or have any highlights to get this dark plum color to show. It’s very pretty but also know that these can be very high maintenance because reds, violets do fade fast and require touch ups about every 4-6 weeks. Also, note that it does take good quality shampoos and hair products to keep your hair looking it’s best! Talk to your stylist about the different hair products they recommend to keep this color looking fresh. This color goes on anyone wanting to have a little fun in their life also can be very sexy and modern.
Deep Plum Q&A with style creator, Francine Estrada
Hair Artist @ Hair by Francine in El Paso, TX
How would you describe this look?
My favorite thing about this color and cut is that just about anyone can rock this look, and it still gives them room to wear a straight textured flat iron look or spice it up with some loose curls for a beach wave look! A subtle way of having some fun in a professional world.
Any advice for someone considering it?
This textured lob is a bold and sophisticated look that I recommend to those clients who are looking to do something fun but are scared to go too wild or don’t think their jobs will allow them to have loud colors.
This color is a stepping stone to going with a more daring look and color.
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Movie review: Rogen and Theron are a winning ticket in ‘Long Shot’

Movie review: Rogen and Theron are a winning ticket in ‘Long Shot’ Al Alexander More Content Now Tuesday Apr 30, 2019 at 1:01 AM
It might be a stretch dubbing fuzzy-faced Seth Rogen and the ultra-glamorous Charlize Theron as the new Tracy and Hepburn, but sans the F-bombs and masturbation gags, that’s the vibe emanating from the highly enjoyable, overly long, “Long Shot.” Like the bulk of Kate and Spence’s oeuvre, “Long Shot” is a workplace comedy in which sparks fly as opposites attract. As a gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson-ish reporter, he’s opinionated, clumsy and unkempt; as a glitzy Secretary of State, she’s elegant, refined and diplomatic. He’s stubborn, unyielding; she’s flexible, accommodating. It’s like a furnace waiting to ignite. And the movie strikes the match. B M!
They had me at, hello; which is at a swank New York gala, where Rogen’s unfortunately named Fred Flarsky has been brought by his tech-millionaire bud, Lance (O’Shea Jackson Jr., outstanding), in an attempt to appease the hurt of having just lost his job at the muckraking Brooklyn Advocate. They come for Boyz II Men, but stay for Theron’s Charlotte Field, a potential 2020 presidential hopeful hoping to implement her own version of the Green New Deal. Their eyes meet from across the room. Surely, she can’t be ogling Fred, the guy in the saggy cargo pants and loud windbreaker, sticking out like a “homeless” man in a room packed with tuxedoed prigs. But she is, but not why you think.
Turns out, she grew up next door to the Flarskys and used to occasionally babysit Fred back in the days before she lost her idealism and backbone. Suddenly, they (and a slew of 1990s pop culture touchstones) come rushing back. For Fred, she was the source of his first erection, at age 13, crudely re-enacted in an amusing flashback. Director Jonathan Levine (“Warm Bodies”) perfectly captures a romantic moment every bit as unconventional as what ensues over the next fun-filled 125 minutes. You’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, and – yes – you’ll be grossed out, but you’ll also be called upon to think and empathize in a political climate precipitating hate between the left and right.
It’s admittedly a flabby script by Liz Hannah (“The Post”) and former “The Daily Show” staffer Dan Sterling (“The Interview”), and it probably could have stood tightening and more prudent editing, but it scores solid punches; many of them outrageously funny. Yes, “funny.” When was the last time a movie made you laugh – really laugh – out loud? “Long Shot” delivers, and does it often. Its satirical send-ups of Fox News, rechristened Wembley for legal purposes, are of particular note, especially its appropriately misogynistic version of “Fox and Friends.” Ditto for its evisceration of the network’s pompous owner, Rupert Murdoch, cut down to a very short size by an unrecognizable Andy Serkis as Parker Wembley.
It also just so happens Wembley is the reason Fred finds himself out on the street, having resigned upon hearing the news the noxious little creep has just bought his independent-minded Advocate. Not to worry. Charlotte, much to the chagrin of her disapproving chief of staff, Maggie (June Diane Raphael), immediately snaps him up to polish her speeches – punching them up, making them more humorous and human, per her strategists – as she embarks on a worldwide tour promoting an ambitious environmental plan in preparation for launching her presidential bid.
From there, you can pretty much guess the rest. But despite the predictability – and implausibilities – you find yourself hopelessly sucked in by the undeniable chemistry between Rogen and Theron. Who would have thought? It lends itself to one of the film’s more lacerating digs, which is skewering an electorate obsessed with the superficial – especially when it comes to female candidates and appearances.
It also doesn’t shy away from satirizing the current occupant of the White House via Bob Odenkirk’s President Chambers, a two-bit TV star who ascended to the Oval Office and now seeks to leave it in pursuit of a movie career, “like George Clooney.” His aspirations, which open the door for Charlotte’s run, seed a great running joke that eventually comes at Jennifer Aniston’s expense, but it’s all in – sorta – good fun.
Rogen, you suspect, is responsible for ad-libbing most of those zingers. They just have that Rogen punch to them; also because the rest of the movie isn’t terribly original, given Rogen has done this beauty-and-beast routine before in “Knocked Up.”
Thankfully, Theron is no Katherine Heigl. She’s hundreds of times better. And what’s great about her is how she renders Charlotte so warm, honest and real. You totally buy her as a beauty capable of being both the belle of the ball (in a knockout red gown) and a relatable nerd, albeit with a tinge of an S&M fetish. She’s equally adept at physical comedy, delivering mightily when her usually prim, Charlotte, must negotiate an international crisis while under the influence of Molly. It just might be the best role – and the best work – of the Oscar-winner’s career. Which is one reason why you wish “Long Shot” was a tad more deserving of such a winning performance.
The gags are largely hit or miss, the tone wildly uneven and the road trip’s adventures a tad over the top; and not at all what you’d expect the lifestyle of a Secretary to State to be. But darned if it matters. All you want is as much Rogen and Theron as you can get. And they give just enough to make “Long Shot” a gamble that pays off.
Al Alexander may be reached at alexandercritica@aol.com.
“Long Shot”
Cast includes Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron, Andy Serkis, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Bob Odenkirk, Alexander Skarsgard and June Diane Raphael.
(R for sexual content and language.)
Grade: B+
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Direct Mail Timing: When to Send Your Marketing Campaigns

by David Kindervater | Apr 30, 2019 | Direct Mail Marketing | 0 comments
A lot goes into your direct mail marketing strategy. You’re regularly planning, creating, testing, sending, and analyzing each campaign. You’re also tracking changes, managing spreadsheets, and dealing with last-minute changes—and that’s just to get the project out the door. But have you considered the best time to send your direct mail campaigns?
Direct mail timing plays a big part in your response rates. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll see an improvement. Here’s when to send your marketing campaigns.
Match Your Campaign to the Buyer’s Journey
If you’re sending triggered direct mail, you’ll need to account for which stage of the buyer’s journey a prospect is in. This will tell you when to send your campaign. Your direct mail piece should be customized for each stage, but it should also support other touch points.
Buyer’s Journey Stage One: Awareness
The Awareness stage of the buyer’s journey is when the buyer realizes they have a problem. Because it’s too early for you to directly address them with a solution, you merely create brand awareness so you’re available if needed.
No need to be pushy. Provide consumers with your basic information and a soft call to action. Ask them to visit your website to read a blog post or subscribe to your e-newsletter, download a whitepaper, or watch a video in exchange for their email address. Give them a QR code. Print a QR code on your direct mail piece so recipients can easily jump to your website via their phone. Keep sending direct mail. Research shows that direct mail works. It performs 5x-9x better than email, paid search, or social media. But it also becomes more effective after the third mailing to the same list. So keep sending it. Buyer’s Journey Stage Two: Consideration
The Consideration stage of the buyer’s journey is when the buyer gives a name to their problem and begins looking into options to solve it. They’re researching it and trying to find a solution. For example, maybe a consumer has a health issue and they’re trying to figure out how to deal with it. This is where you can convince them that your product is their best solution.
Provide specific information. Don’t assume the customer knows anything about you. Rather, give them specific information that’s relevant to their needs. Answer this question: How can your brand solve their problem? Use personalization. Studies show that personalization (combined with color) improves response rates by up to 500%. Put their name on the direct mail piece and/or add a map that shows them where their local store is.
Here are a few examples of direct mail campaigns at the Consideration stage:
Nurture. This is a classic direct mail piece for the Consideration stage. You should provide education to help the buyer. Maybe you have a product comparison guide, an interactive live webinar, or any other targeted content that speaks to a specific consumer’s needs. You’re nurturing them along in the process from awareness to considering their options. Abandoned Cart. A consumer puts an item in their cart, then for whatever reason, they decide not to finish the purchase process, leaving the item at the checkout counter, so to speak. When you have their physical mailing address, you can send an automated direct mail piece with an incentive to make that purchase happen. Perhaps it’s a discount or some friendly advice that the item will be out of stock soon. They’d better hurry or the product will be gone. Re-engagement. If you have a customer that’s gone silent for a while, provide a soft-sell piece to get them back in the fold. A direct mail piece is a great way to let them know you miss their business. Buyer’s Journey Stage Three: Decision
At the Decision stage of the buyer’s journey, a consumer has all the information they need. They’ve done the research, they just need to decide what the best solution is to their problem. It’s your job to convince them that your brand is the right choice. What makes you stand out from the competition? Why are you the best? At this point, don’t just meet their needs, exceed them. Now’s the time to be aggressive and send them an offer they can’t refuse.
It could come in the form of:
a personalized promotion that only they can take advantage of, a coupon for an exclusive discount, a limited-time offer they can’t pass up.
You also need to help the buyer trust you. If they trust you, they’re more likely to select your brand. Why will they ultimately decide to go with your brand to solve their problem? Highlight your solution and use testimonials for proof. That way, not only have you convinced them you will provide the best product or service, but others have endorsed you as reliable and trustworthy, too. Also, showcase reputable organizations that have given you their stamp of approval. Promote anything that shows off your credibility and authority.
Post-Decision
Don’t underestimate this stage of the buyer’s journey. Customers are almost 30% more likely to buy from you again if they bought from you before. It’s great that you’ve got a new customer. You did all the necessary work and you convinced them that your product or service was the best. Congratulations! But this is where some additional work begins.
First of all, you want to assure them they’ve done the right thing. Have you ever bought something, then second-guessed your decision? It’s an uneasy feeling called buyer’s remorse.
What better way to say “Thank you for your business, you made a wise decision,” than with a handwritten thank-you note? Depending on the type of sale, this could be an automated message that’s included with the product or something you send very shortly afterward. Simply Written makes digitally handwritten cards that look like you wrote them yourself. They’re a great alternative to the time and expense of writing hundreds or thousands of notes by hand.
Next, you want to earn their business again. You want to create brand loyalists and advocates, customers who will do some of your marketing for you—for free. Because if you get them to buy three or four times, there’s a greater than 50% chance they’re going to become loyal customers for a long time. What kinds of direct mail messages can you send them to move this process in the right direction?
Loyalty rewards. How can you influence a customer to buy again and again? Give them an incentive. Invite them to join your loyalty rewards program. Referral program. Provide an incentive for your current customers to buy from you again. A referral program gives them a way to “cash in” by getting their friends and family involved with your brand. Relevant offers. Consider sending a relevant offer that’s based on a previous purchase. For example, if a customer bought a camera, they might also have an interest in a compatible lens to add to their gear collection. Send Direct Mail Around the Holidays
Why are the holidays a good time to send direct mail? People are looking for Christmas gifts and cards , so they’re naturally more inclined to not only check their mail but to also be sure they look at each piece to see what it is and who it’s from. Right off the bat, you’re increasing the odds that your customer will read your message. Plus, with the holidays so close, you’ve narrowed the decision-making window to—now.
Another huge direct mail holiday is Mother’s Day. As Seinfeld’s own postal employee Newman would say, “It’s the mother of all mail days.” Shari’s Berries , part of the FTD family of brands, used it to send a direct piece that offered 25% off their heart-shaped cheesecakes or sugar-shimmered berries. It was effective in many ways. It’s a unique gift (different from flowers anyway) and the direct mail piece showcased the colorful beauty of the products. Plus the discount made the buying decision much easier for anyone wanting to give their mom something special.
Anticipate Busy Seasons (According to Your Industry)
When you know you naturally have a season of the year when you’ll do more business than any other, plan some campaigns around those conditions. For example, if you own a lawn care business, it would only make sense to get on your customers’ radar screens during the late winter months. This will help secure the spring and summer business you rely on. If you have a fitness business, there are naturally two times of year that would attract more customers. Consider December when people are thinking about New Year’s fitness resolutions, and look at the springtime when people think about getting fit for summer.
Wish Your Customers a Happy Birthday
A great time to send a direct mail message to your customers is on their birthday. Their friends and family are already sending them gifts and cards. You should, too. This helps you blend in with the people they know and love the most.
The sky’s the limit with what you can offer, but a free gift comes to mind immediately. Starbucks loyalists will get a free drink. Panino’s patrons get a free small sandwich. Moe’s Southwest Grill will give you a free burrito . Along with the gift, think about including a coupon for a future purchase.
When they’re fresh off a free experience, it will keep them coming back for more.
If you can’t swing a gift, send a card with a handwritten message expressing how glad you are it’s their birthday. Then include a discount on a future purchase. Target sent out a direct mailer to their birthday customers that offered 30% off a complete pair of eyeglasses. Why eyeglasses? The recipients were known glasses wearers. By utilizing the marketing data you have available to you, you can tailor your message to the right audience.
Here are the Best Days to Have Direct Mail Delivered
Have you ever wondered if there’s a day of the week that’s better to have your direct mail delivered? Well, there are varying schools of thought on this matter. It may depend on your particular industry, but as a general rule of thumb, you have three best options. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. These mid-week days provide you with the best opportunity to get your direct mail into the hands of your target audience. Recipients are typically going home after work and sorting through their mail on these three days. It’s part of their routine. Also, you don’t have the potential distraction of a weekend or someone’s “case of the Mondays” working against you.
To help facilitate a reliable in-home mail date using marketing mail, you need an expert marketing services provider with a strong postal logistics strategy.
Direct Mail Timing: Let’s Schedule Your Next Campaign
MSP is an industry leader in direct mail management. We can help you schedule your marketing campaigns so they have the best chance to succeed. To learn how our 65-plus years of knowledge, expertise, and the latest technology can work for you, contact an MSP representative today and let’s talk about your goals.

New Zealand For First Timers: 9 Essential Tips For Your Ultimate Getaway

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Charming cities, twinkling lakes and mountainous landscapes – these are some of the amazing sights you’ll be greeted with, the moment you step off the plane. Just the thought of it is enough to excite any first timer visiting New Zealand!
Credit: Giphy
While you’re dreaming of the natural wonders you’re planning to see, it can be challenging to start planning for your trip. Which island should I visit first? When is the best time to visit? How to get around? Thankfully, we’re here to make your travel plans easier with these handy tips! 1. How to get there
Great news, travellers! You can now conveniently book a flight to New Zealand with Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines. Get started on your vacation planning and check out these amazing deals below!
Air New Zealand
Book your flight to New Zealand with amazing all-in Economy fares from SGD888 with Air New Zealand (offer ends 12 May 2019)!
Singapore Airlines
From now until 30 September 2019, you can also book your flight to New Zealand with all-in Economy fares from SGD988 with Singapore Airlines! Book at least 30 days before departure to enjoy this fare.
2. Things you shouldn’t miss
North Island
You might have heard of the stunning beaches and spectacular greenery in South Island, but North Island deserves a second look!
Beach
Credit: Tourism New Zealand
When summer comes around, the Kiwis (also what the locals are referred to!) flock to Maitai Bay to swim, snorkel, kayak, among many other water activities. If you prefer to relax by the sandy beaches, find a quiet spot underneath their Pohutukawa trees (the country’s famous Christmas tree) that are lined along the bay. The home of New Zealand’s only active marine volcano named Whakaari, the Bay of Plenty region is also famous for stunning beaches and golden coastlines. Alternatively, visit the beautiful Anchor Bay , which is situated at Tawharanui Regional Park to explore the walking trails and rockpools on any clear day.
Nature
More than just green spaces, North Island has captivating nature spots for everyone. For a casual day out, you can lay a picnic mat in Hamilton Gardens and take snapshots at their themed gardens (we love the Katherine Mansfield garden!). To level up your adventure meter, go to Waitomo Caves for the brightest and most magical glow worm display and the thermal valleys in Rotorua for their natural geothermal wonders.
#HHWT Tip : We recommend going with Spellbound Glowworm and Cave Tours if you would like to take photos and videos during the tour!
Movie magic
Embark on your own Middle-earth adventure at the Hobbiton Movie Set . Complete with the rolling pastures of the Shire, you can also visit Bilbo Baggin’s cosy home below the old oak tree.
South Island
Visit this side of New Zealand to admire the beauty of God’s creation. You’ve probably seen this in photos but trust us when we say it’s even more breath-taking in real life!
Scenic spots
Well-known for its mountainous landscapes and outdoor activities, South Island is a destination that unites the best of nature and adventure. The Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is a playground for hikers and nature lovers. You can enjoy long walks along the Hooker Valley Track and marvel at the glaciers at the Tasman Lake . Then, soar the skies and appreciate a bird’s eye view of the Southern Alps like Fox Glacier , Hooker Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier from a ski plane. The South is also known for the sparkling blue Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki , which are rewarding scenic stops after a long drive. As the sun sets, you’d want to stargaze at the famous Dark Sky Reserve at Lake Tekapo or The Church of the Good Shepherd .
Adrenaline adventures
Credit: Tourism New Zealand
Queenstown is the heart of New Zealand’s popular outdoor adventures. When winter comes, bring your skis to Coronet Peak and the ski fields at The Remarkables for a day on the snowy slopes. Otherwise, you can amp up your adrenaline with bungy jumping , skydiving and dirt biking. The ultimate way to get yourself out of your comfort zone is the Nevis Swing , also known as the world’s third highest bungy jumping platform!
3. Savour famous local delights
Fresh from the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is known for its amazing variety of fresh seafood. From oysters to salmon, you’re in for a treat!
North Island
Going out for a meal is the best way to know New Zealand better. When you’re on North Island, you’ll realise how much Kiwis love their fresh seafood. It’s everywhere! Fresh oysters? Slurp it down with a lemon squeeze or tabasco sauce at Mahurangi Oysters and Shuckleferry Oysters . Geothermal-farmed prawns? Deshell them beside the open fire at Huka Prawn Park . Manuka honey? There’s a huge variety at Honey Centre Warkworth from plain honey to flavoured ones like mochaccino and raspberry honey.
What to eat on North Island : Fresh oysters and geothermal-farmed prawns
South Island
Seafood in the south is just as great up north. Close to the Pacific Ocean, Kiwis know various ways to enjoy fresh seafood. For lobsters and crayfish, you can savour it with melted butter and garlic at the seafood restaurants along Kaikoura Peninsula . At High Country Salmon , you can enjoy fresh salmon poke bowls, burgers and sashimi where ingredients are fished straight from the glacial waters at Wairepo Arm. Kiwis say that bluff oysters are juicier than Pacific oysters and dining at Bluff’s Oyster Cove Café or Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters factory shop will have you nodding in delight.
To seal your cultural experience, gather your friends for a Hangi dinner, a traditional Maori dinner where meats and vegetables are cooked underground in a pit, at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve .
What to eat in South Island : Lobsters, crayfish, salmon and bluff oysters
P.S. Whether you’re craving for Middle Eastern or Afghan cuisine, check out 11 Muslim-friendly eateries for a foodie’s trip to New Zealand ! 4. How to get around
Wherever you’re from, you’ll be welcomed by a friendly Kia Ora (Maori greeting) at the international airports. Here’s how you can move about in New Zealand!
Public transportation
If you prefer not to drive, New Zealand’s public transportation is efficient. You can hop on its national bus network InterCity or hop-on-hop-off buses that will take you to various tourist attractions on the island. Uber is widely available to take you around as well.
Self-drive
Self-driving is a popular way to explore the island at your own pace, and you can rent a vehicle at the airport itself. Depending on the size of your group, you can choose a small car, four-wheel drive, motor home, budget van and luxury self-contained campervan. There are many major car rental companies, but you can get the best deals from local firms. Just pick-up and drop-off conveniently at any major airport.
Estimated rental rates (per day) Depending on the vehicle model, drop-off location, rental season, insurance, ferry costs and other additional charges, you can rent your vehicle at these rates.
Car: NZ$34 to NZ$150

Showcase Highland Crown by May McGoldrick

Highland Crown is a brand new series debut by Nikoo & Jim McGoldrick a husband and wife author team that Library Journal calls “well-written trip through a fictional Scottish landscape” and Fresh Fiction says “a steamy romance that is sure to tug at your heart” Sounds like a historical winner to me.
Enjoy!
ISBN-13: 9781250314987
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date:4-30-2019
Length: 300pp
Buy It: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / IndieBound / Audible
ADD TO: GOODREADS
Overview:
Scottish pride, persuasion, and passion—this is Highland romance at its breathtaking best. From USA Today bestselling author May McGoldrick comes Highland Crown, the first book in the Royal Highlanderseries.
Inverness, 1820
Perched on the North Sea, this port town—by turns legendary and mythological—is a place where Highland rebels and English authorities clash in a mortal struggle for survival and dominance. Among the fray is a lovely young widow who possesses rare and special gifts.
WANTED: Isabella Drummond
A true beauty and trained physician, Isabella has inspired longing and mystery—and fury—in a great many men. Hunted by both the British government and Scottish rebels, she came to the Highlands in search of survival. But a dying ship’s captain will steer her fate into even stormier waters. . .and her heart into flames.
FOUND: Cinaed Mackintosh
Cast from his home as a child, Cinaed is a fierce soul whose allegiance is only to himself. . . until Isabella saved his life—and added more risk to her own. Now, the only way Cinaed can keep her safe is to seek refuge at Dalmigavie Castle, the Mackintosh family seat. But when the scandalous truth of his past comes out, any chance of Cinaed having a bright future with Isabella is thrown into complete darkness. What will these two ill-fated lovers have to sacrifice to be together…for eternity?
Read an excerpt: CHAPTER 1
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking, Morn of toil, nor night of waking. —Sir Walter Scott, “Lady of the Lake,” Canto I, stanza 31 Duff Head, Northeast Highland Coast June 1820
“Hard times been choking folks around here for a long while, and most of them would sell their own kin if they thought there’s a ha’penny to be made from it.” Jean paused and fixed her eye on her guest. “And one look at ye, and they’ll know yer good for more than that.” A loud pop from the driftwood fire in the old woman’s hearth drew Isabella’s gaze. Sparks rose from the blue and lavender flames, struggling to find their way up the chimney. Wind and rain from the storm hammered fiercely at the shutters and the cottage door. From what she’d learned on the journey here from John Gordon, Jean’s nephew, the village that huddled around the cove in the shadow of Duff Head consisted of no more than a few dozen families of fishing folk trying to scratch a meager living out of the sea. Desperate. Hungry. Poor. Though she’d always lived her life in the city—Wurzburg, Edinburgh—she’d known many people like them. They didn’t frighten her. The soldiers pursuing her posed the real danger. A ha’penny, Isabella mused. She was worth a fortune. These Highlanders knew nothing about the thousand pounds sterling on her head—the bounty offered by the government to anyone who could bring her back to Edinburgh alive to face interrogation, trial, and a public execution. Certainly, Jean had no knowledge of this. Nor did she know of the lesser amount bandied about by the radicals for her corpse to guarantee her silence. Both sides wanted her dead. “I’ve lived here my whole life. The sea makes ye hard, and these folks are hard as stone,” the woman continued, perhaps reading a hint of skepticism in Isabella’s face. “They give their loyalty to no one. In the Rising of ’45, they wouldn’t fight for any side. If ye weren’t born here, yer an outsider. To them, even the Bonnie Prince was a stranger. And they don’t trust strangers.” If only her husband, Archibald, had been a little more like them, Isabella thought. Perhaps he’d still be alive. But it was his nature to take a side. And now, she and her sister and his daughter were running for their lives from the same butchers who cut him down in his own surgery as he tried to care for injured men. Men who’d simply stood up as citizens against a line of British Hussars in the streets of Edinburgh. “Yer a stranger and an unprotected woman traveling in the Highlands. An easy mark, to be sure,” Jean warned. “They’ll figure ye to be carrying at least a shilling or two, and they’ll cut yer throat for it. And then yer carcass’ll go into the sea. Them waters have swallowed up more than a few strangers.” The older woman’s dire prediction was surely an exaggeration, but the fate that Isabella faced if she fell into the hands of the British was not. Her late husband’s friends, newly released after being held by the authorities, had often been brought to the surgery bearing horrible wounds. Their bodies had been broken. Unspeakable tortures had been inflicted on them. And it mattered naught if they were man or woman. “Ye keep to the cottage,” Jean ordered, her tone as sharp as the needle she stabbed into the mending on her lap. “And if by chance anyone sees ye here, ye say nothing, ye hear? Ye look no one in the face, and ye answer no questions. If there’s anything to be said, I’ll do it.” Outside, the storm continued unabated, and the wind whistled and rattled loose shutters. The stone cottage, poor as it was, provided safety and a thatched roof to keep most of the weather out. The rustic meal they’d shared of stewed fish and bannock cakes warmed and filled her. She was grateful to have it. The journey north through the Highlands had been wet and rough. “I appreciate you taking me in like this.” “I took ye in because my nephew asked me to … and gave me enough for yer room and board. But I don’t know what John is up to. Other than yer name, he didn’t say much about who ye are or where ye came from or where yer headed. But he’s a good lad, and he’s all the kin I have left. I trust him.” The hard glare softened with affection. “He says to me, all I need to know is that yer a good woman and some vile Lowlanders’ll pay to get their hands on ye. Says I’m to keep ye hidden for maybe three days. He’ll come back for ye.” Jean’s nephew had gone back to Inverness to book passage for Isabella, her sister, and her stepdaughter on a ship that would carry them across the Atlantic to Halifax. But that meant three days of worrying and waiting before she was reunited with Maisie and Morrigan. Still, she hadn’t let the lawyer tell her where he’d placed the young women in the port town. Isabella was afraid she’d be forced to divulge their whereabouts if she fell into the hands of her British pursuers. She had to keep faith that John would do right by the girls. He’d been charged by Sir Walter to look after them all until they left Scotland. Isabella’s gaze fixed on Jean’s trembling right hand. She’d noticed it before while the woman was eating, though her hostess tried to hide the infirmity. Now Jean’s needle could not find the target, and she sat back in her chair in frustration as the piece slipped off her lap to the stone floor. Isabella bent over and fetched it, along with the woman’s darning mushroom. “Let me finish this for you.” Sitting across from her, she studied the threadbare stocking. There was hardly anything left of the heel to work with, but she put the needle to the task. From the corner of her eye, Isabella saw Jean using one hand to try and quiet the other. The Shaking Palsy. Jean’s shuffling gait, the forward stooping, the occasional wiping of drool from the corner of the lips, and the trembling hand that wouldn’t be controlled confirmed it. A disease with no cure that would become increasingly difficult to manage for a woman of advancing years who lived alone. Especially living in a place as desolate as this lonely outpost. Duff Head was a rocky bluff pushing out into the cold green-grey swells of the sea to the east of Inverness. And Jean’s cottage sat like a hunchbacked sow between two stone-studded hills below the coast road, away from the village. She had no neighbors close by. Isolated as it was, Isabella understood why John suggested this would be a safe hiding place for her. Her own difficulties aside, it was troubling to think Jean lived alone, out of reach of immediate help if she needed it. Isabella made another covert survey of the cottage. The iron cooking pot was too heavy, and earlier, when Jean had struggled to swing it out from over the fire, Isabella had jumped to help her. The threadbare rug on the stone floor certainly presented a hazard as the ailing woman dragged her foot. If she fell and broke an arm or a hip, she could lie there helpless forever. “Does anyone visit you?” Jean bristled. “If someone comes to the door, I’ll do the explaining. I’ll say yer Mrs. Murray, a friend of a cousin, on yer way down from the Orkneys. Heading to the Borders, ye are. Resting here for a few days. That’s all they need to know.” Murray was her family name, and she’d lived as Isabella Murray for twenty-eight years until she’d married Archibald Drummond six years ago and returned to Scotland, to a homeland she hardly knew. “I only asked out of concern for you.” Isabella looked at the gaps in the shutters where rain-drenched wind was coming through. And the thatched roof was hardly watertight. A stream was running down one wall and pooling in a dark corner. “I’m sure a cottage like this requires a great deal of upkeep and—” “I manage. Always have and always will. And I’m not about to hearken to John’s talk of forcing me to live with him.” The cap sitting atop the grey hair bobbed in agreement. “Feet-first is how I’ll go. That’s how my sainted husband left our house, and they can take me out the same way.” Isabella had known very little about John Gordon’s aunt before they got here. Their entire trip north, she’d been more worried about getting Maisie and Morrigan beyond the reach of the men who would surely be chasing them. “The curate does his duty and looks in on me once a fortnight when he comes through. And the women in the village stop by with a basket now and again.” The door shook from the force of a gust of wind. Jean followed Isabella’s gaze and frowned. “If one of them comes calling, remember what I said. No talking. Even a whisper of that Lowland accent’ll give ye away.” “I’m quite good at following directions. I’ll cause you no trouble.” The roof of the cottage shook as if in disagreement and showered them with broken bits of thatch. Trouble . Isabella plied the needle to the stocking. Trouble had been a constant companion to her from the moment Archibald brought them all back to Scotland, to their house on Infirmary Street near the surgical hospital. In Wurzburg—thanks to her father’s tutelage and influence—she was living a quiet and productive life as an accomplished physician and surgeon, well-versed in the science of medicine, privileged among her sex for being allowed to practice in a profession dominated by men. Archibald had promised all would be the same in Edinburgh. Neither of them pretended that theirs was a love match. It was a marriage based on respect. It would meet their mutual needs, for her sister and his daughter would be provided for. She could practice medicine in his clinic and lead the same kind of life in Scotland. But he’d only spoken half the truth; he said nothing of the other part of himself. He was a political idealist, a reformer, and his nationalist consciousness had reawakened the moment he stepped foot on the soil of his homeland. From then on, her husband led two lives. One, as a respected and learned doctor who was sought after by Edinburgh’s elite. And the other, as an activist whose evenings were constantly filled with secret meetings and radical efforts to change the repressive direction of the government in London. But that covert life of his, Isabella wanted no part in. She was Scottish by birth, but she’d lived nearly her entire life away from this land. Scottish nationalism and reform were lost on her, for she’d dedicated herself to one passion: medicine. The collapse of embers in the fireplace tore away a barrier in her mind, and suddenly she was back in her house in Edinburgh. Back in the midst of the mayhem of that fateful day in April. It had been a day of strikes. Weavers had ordered a shutdown of the city. Shopkeepers shuttered their windows and doors. Protests has been organized in Glasgow and in smaller towns as well. The government’s response was direct and brutal. Troops on foot and horse attacked without warning, riding down and beating protesters in the street. After the clashes, eighteen were carried back to the clinic in their house with severe injuries. They hadn’t enough room for all the patients. Bleeding men lay moaning on the floor, in the hall, on the table in the kitchen. Some were not conscious. Archibald saw to those wounded lying in the front rooms. Morrigan worked at her father’s elbow. Isabella set the broken leg of a six-year-old boy, an innocent bystander knocked down by the mob trying to disperse and trampled on by the ironshod hoof of a cavalry steed. She’d just put the boy upstairs on her own bed when the sound of shouts and pounding outside drew her to the window. Red-coated militia crowded the street in front of the house. “Soldiers!” Maisie cried, rushing into the room. “Here. Demanding to be let in!” Sharp, clawing fingers of fear took her throat in a viselike grip. Isabella was no fool. She knew what was happening on the streets of the city. She was well aware of the identity of some of the wounded they were tending to downstairs at this very moment. She knew the roles these men were playing in the unrest. “Grab your cloak,” Isabella ordered. “Go down the back steps and wait by the kitchen door while I fetch Morrigan. You two must leave the house.” As she raced toward the stairs, the sound of the front door splintering from being battered open was followed by shouts. Her feet barely touched the boards as she flew down the steps. The front rooms—always a place of order and healing—were a battlefield. Tradesmen and women fought fiercely against the invading soldiers in blue and red jackets. She’d never seen such brawling. More shouting. A gunshot.
Copyright © 2019 by May McGoldrick Praise:
“This new series opener from husband and wife team McGoldrick (Sleepless in Scotland) is a fast-paced, well-written trip through a fictional Scottish landscape loosely based on historical events. Readers will soon be caught up in Cinead and Isabella’s love story. ” – Library Journal
“The characters are well developed, as well as the conflict that surrounds them … Highland Crown is an enjoyable well written historical that I would recommend. ” – Affaire de Coeur Magazine
“McGoldrick seamlessly blends real history with her invention of connections, people and events … Highland Crown is one of the best Regency-era books I have read in recent months, and it is a worthwhile addition to your home library.” – Frolic Media
“McGoldrick takes you to another place and another time with a steamy romance that is sure to tug at your heart … Stellar writing and captivating storytelling.” – Fresh Fiction
About the authors: USA Today Bestselling Authors Nikoo and Jim wrote their first May McGoldrick romance using historical figures that Jim researched while earning a PhD in sixteenth-century Scottish and English literature. Nikoo, a mechanical engineer, is a born storyteller. She is all about characters and feeling. Jim is about action and sense of place. Together, they have crafted over forty fast-paced, conflict-filled historical and contemporary novels and two works of nonfiction under the pseudonyms May McGoldrick and Jan Coffey.
https://www.maymcgoldrick.com/

One Response

  1. Hector September 21, 2019

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