Australis Bombastic Bronze Eyeliner – You need this in your makeup bag!

Australis 10hr eyeliner Bombastic BronzeIf you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know I get very excited when I chance upon makeup that’s both seriously inexpensive – and seriously good.

First though a point to clarify: Something in my book that is ‘seriously inexpensive’ is something under NZ$15. If you are in the USA and reading this, yes, I can hear you gasping: I’m aware the NZ$ equivalent of US$15 will get you big bang for beauty buck in the USA. However, bear in mind that, whilst I am cognisant that I’m truly blessed to live, arguably, in one of the world’s most beautiful countries, we are not blessed by our cost of living, nor makeup prices. Both subjects, incidentally, see me getting quickly up on my soap box so I’d better change the subject, stat. Anyhow, there’s my Lou Logic for arriving at NZ$15 and under as my ‘seriously inexpensive’ beauty find price point…

I stumbled across Australis’ 10 hour waterproof eyeliner in Kmart and I was hooked for two reasons: 1) NZ$13.50 is a price point that sings to me and 2) It’s waterproof, so it’s likely to live up to the 10 hour sustainability promise.  As I tried out the testers of the three available colours in the 10 hour wear range I thought to myself that the Bombastic Bronze colour reminded me of MAC’s Teddy eyeliner, one of my favourite dark brown eyeliners. Like Teddy,  Bombastic Bronze has has a shimmer with faint gold flecks running through it, so it’s not just a matt brown, it’s got the X Factor. (more…)

Hollandaise Sauce (It’s easier than you think)

SAM_4635Eggs benedict. Asparagus with Hollandaise. The thought makes me go weak at the knees and my mouth water.  Everytime I make this sauce for visitors they are wowed that I’ve made it from scratch.  The thing is, I’ve bought pre-made Hollandaise sauce and I’ve been really underwhelmed – it just doesn’t compare to the homemade version.

Unfortunately, lots of people are intimidated by making Hollandaise because it’s known for being finicky and temperamental, or to be more precise, splitting.  I’m pleased to report this recipe has never split on me, far from it: It turns out perfect everytime, the only problem is reigning in how much you eat! It’s also easy – it takes two minutes for the sauce to come together, which I like, I’m not known for having the best attention span in the North Island. I think the secret with this fool-proof recipe is that it contains less butter than most other Hollandaise recipes. Before you starting high-fiving me thinking this is a calorie friendly sauce, hold fire: It does contain cream.  But it’s delicious. Give it a go! (more…)

Benefit Gimme Brow – Does it live up to the hype?

Benefit Gimme Brow ReviewA few months back I read with with interest the beauty blogger hype around Benefit’s new(ish) brow product, Gimme Brow. This product promises, with a few brush strokes, to deliver slightly fuller brows that stay in place all day. Seeing as I’m a bit partial to a brow product (in case you hadn’t noticed) I figured this was a product I needed to get my paws on. Conveniently my mate Toni was heading through Auckland Duty Free so I asked her if she’d do me a favour and visit the Benefit counter (living in the provinces is not conducive to visiting Benefit or MAC in person – that’s probably just as well). Anyway, fortunately Toni folded like a cheap pocket knife, she loves beauty as much as I do, and off she skipped to the Benefit stand. (more…)

Speedy Spaghetti and Meatballs

spaghetti and meatballs recipeI put a call out on my Facebook page a while back to see what recipes you lovely blog readers would like to see: Speedy savoury dinners seemed to be a bit of a popular theme! Well, you said, I’m delivering.

This speedy meatball recipe totally fries my burger as I can get this dinner on the table within 25 minutes, while multi-tasking with those those tedious domestic activities like supervising homework and getting lunches ready for the following day.    This recipe is also really versatile: Haven’t got pesto? Add a sauce (sweet chilli sauce, tomato paste, BBQ sauce, hell, tomato sauce if you like). Don’t like/haven’t got cheese? Leave it out.  If you want to speed things up, use a pre-made pasta sauce (I make pasta sauce in bulk from scratch and keep it in the cupboard in sterilised jars…  Since Operation Sugar Reduction I find pre-made pasta sauces like Dolmio far too sweet).

Lastly, here’s a tip: Make double the meatball recipe (get the kids to help you with the rolling) and keep them to cook the next night. Stuff them into wholemeal pita breads, or roll them up in tortillas. Add salad and your favourite sauces/dressing (mayonnaise, pesto, hummus, sweet chilli sauce, you get the idea). This is another speedy, popular, tasty and healthy mid week dinner.

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Lou Loves – October Favourites

Here’s my round up of things that have been been spinning my wheels since we last chatted! I’m not full on into Christmas shopping mode yet, but, if you are, then everything I’ve mentioned in here are great gift ideas for beauty or foodies in your life!  Also a few people have asked me what kitchen gadget I use to make zoodles – keep reading, all is revealed!

Vanilla & Almond Macaroons from Little Bird Organics:  These morsels are raw food at their best and bliss ball lovers will totally goof off from the first mouthful. I discovered these on a trip to Little Bird’s Unbakery in Kingsland, Auckland during Sugar Free September. I was desperate for a sugar free treat so I bought two packets, Vanilla & Almond and Chocolate.  Long story short: We got hooked (hubby prefers the Chocolate ones).  I actually bought this packet as a thank you present for a friend, except they taunted us so badly we had to eat ‘em… and I had to go buy some more. These are delish with a cup of tea/coffee.   Price around NZ$11.00, available from organic shops, or online at Little Bird Organics.  I’m so obsessed with these I’ve been playing around in the kitchen trying to recreate them. I’m getting close. One more batch and I’ll nail it. Brace yourselves.

vanilla and almond macaroons little bird

 

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My MAC Christmas

A few months ago my friend Karla, who travels the world with her job on cruise ships, sent me a text that said:

“Hi de hi I am in New York in ten days. Shopping here I come. Off to Macy’s. Let me know if you have a wish list x”.

Seriously?!  Aggh. What a good mate (she’s done this before, I call Karla my Makeup Pimp).  After getting over mini heart palpitations I sent back a very enthusiastic email with an image of my wish list that I designed in Polyore. Polyvore, for Pete’s sake (if you haven’t heard of Polyvore but you are creative/like shopping then check it out – you can create neat design boards).  Choosing what to get was like all my Christmases had come at once.  Is anyone else like me: The option to buy is just as exciting as having bought?

My Macy's Wish List for Karla

I knew exactly what I wanted: I’d done hours of beauty research ahead of Karla letting me know she was going to Las Vegas last year (I’d received a similar heart attack inducing text). I had to draw a line in the sand and demonstrate some self constraint on that makeup haul, so it was a no brainer this time that I’d get everything that didn’t make the cut in Vegas.  Easy. (more…)

Rarotonga – Embracing Island Time

My favourite photo.

My favourite photo.

Raro.  The capital of the Cook Islands,  a Pacific island holiday destination that’s 32km in circumference and more-or-less a hop skip-and-a-jump from NZ. It’s also the name of a powdered flavoured juice Mum used to make up for us when we kids (that I wouldn’t touch now on account of the sugar content).

Late September saw three of us, my Mum, my son and I, winging over to Raro (or Rarotonga as it’s officially known) for a five night holiday to rest, relax, replenish, but not shop, coz’, frankly, there’s nothing to buy. Hubby stayed home on account of work and to keep an eye on the cat.

We’ve  been to Rarotonga before, five years ago, for Christmas. The whole family went that last time, including my brother and his best mate (my brother’s girlfriend was supposed to come but they broke up before the trip, the flight was non –refundable, but transferable, so Ben came instead). Oh, and Trevor from next-door came too. We’ve always had the kind of family where hangers-on are encouraged and welcomed: They spice things up and make life more interesting.  That trip was most memorable for me as we left NZ on 21 of December, which happens to be my birthday. Then, bonus, on account of crossing the International Date Line, we arrived on 20 December. I milked that. (more…)

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