Lou Loves – September Favourites

SAM_4407

 There’s been lots of love for beauty foodie products this month! 

SAM_4411Retinol Reface from Indeed Laboratories

Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A and is widely considered to be a super-hero ingredient in the battle to combat the onslaught of aging (damn those fine lines).  Indeed Laboratories didn’t stop at biffing one kind of retinol in this product, they biffed in three.   I’ve been using this Retinol Reface every night for the last six weeks and I’m really happy with how it’s dealing to my fine lines, crow’s feet and wrinkles (that said, I reckon the combo of all the skincare I’m using at the moment is the dogs ‘you know what’).  What I also like is that it is also quite moisturising and I’ve had no skin irritation (that said, it takes a lot to wind my skin up). Be warned, typically with retinol you get a bit of redness and perhaps some peeling – so brace yourself (I didn’t…). Pop on a pea-sized amount after cleansing and use only at night (make sure you use a sunscreen during the day, you’ll be more susceptible to sunburn).  This is a definite re-purchase for me. Where to buy: Farmers $44.99 (I got  mine with 15% off, love their sales).

Book: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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Makeup Geek Goodies – Review

makeup geek enchanted pigment review

I was pretty excited recently when Makeup Geek finally restocked their ‘shelves’ (theoretcial shelves: They are an online store). I’ve been wanting to get their Creme Brulee and Peach Smoothie eyeshadows for a while, but they are constantly sold out: Clearly a sign of serious popularity! They were back in stock recently so I leapt into action, snapping up these along with a few other coveted goodies. I was super pleased I did: They were out of stock again a few days later! (Note, at the time of writing this blog post they were in stock again).

Here’s a quick run down on these two highly sought-after eyeshadows, a Z Palette,  Makeup Geek’s Enchanted loose pigment, as well as a couple of eyeshadow brushes that I got at the same time.

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Carrot, Date & Nutty Muffins (sugar free)

Carrot Date and Nutty MuffinsOne of the main reasons I’ve really enjoyed #sugarfreeseptember as it’s forced me to try out new recipes. I know you probably think I try out lots of new things, but, to be honest, I often churn out the same thing: Tried and true family favourites. It’s been good to get out of my comfort zone this month.

Anyway, I’ve struggled a little with ideas for baking to satisfy my Husband’s super-dooper sweet tooth. I struck gold when I chanced upon a recipe in Taste magazine which was a recipe from Auckland’s Wilder & Hunt cafe for their bestselling Morning Glory Carrot mini cakes. Being sugar free these looked right up our alley. I modified the recipe a little to suit our taste buds, as well as to comply with what was in the pantry! The result were these glorious Carrot, Date and Nutty Muffins that’ll absolutely make again!  (more…)

My Holiday Makeup Bag – a Sneaky Peak

My holiday makeup bagI love reading ‘What’s in my makeup bag?’ articles from other bloggers so I thought “why not do one of my own?”

If you follow me on Facebook you’ll know that I just can’t pack light  in the makeup department. I try: But I really struggle….Well, I’ll have you know: I dug really deep packing for my holiday to Rarotonga and challenged myself to be sensible! Here’s what I packed.   Note:  I’m mindful that whilst I may have packed light for me, the makeup I’m taking on holiday is probably still the contents of a lot of people’s entire makeup collection! Oh well, a girl has to have a passion in life.

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Foolproof DIY Mayonnaise

SAMSUNG CSCI stopped buying mayonnaise a couple of years ago once I discovered Annabel Langbein’s Speedy Mayo recipe – which is essentially: Biff all ingredients together and blitz it with a handheld stick blender in a timeframe that’s (nearly) quicker than you can say “Bob’s your uncle”.  I couldn’t even get to my local dairy and back in an emergency to buy mayo as fast as I can make this. Did I mention that it tastes utterly delicious? As I type this I have a huge craving for a plate of crayfish, a side of this mayonnaise and a wedge of lemon. Bring on summer.  My mouth is watering. But, I digress. My recipe below is similar to Annabel’s, but with my own spin on it (I much prefer my recipe, but don’t tell her that, thanks).

On another note, having got used to this homemade goodness store-bought mayonnaise tastes awful: Sweet, artificial – not my think (except Best Foods Mayo – that’s the schizzle).

All you need (ingredients aside, doh) is a handheld blender (called an immersion blender in some countries).

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Red Lentil and Chorizo Gumbo

Red Lentil and Chorizo GumboThis Red Lentil and Chorizo Gumbo (because ‘gumbo’ is a much sexier word than stew) is the perfect mid week meal requiring approximately seven minutes preparation – and a slow cooker. If you don’t have a slow cooker in your life, cooking this in a heavy based pot on your stove top would work just fine, I reckon it would need about an hour to cook the lentils to perfection.   (more…)

Beauty Products I Buy – Time and Time Again

Beauty items i'd buy again In the six months I’ve bought several replacement beauty items for the third if not fourth time and it occurred to me that in both instances these are products I won’t can’t be without. I figured this was a good rationale for a blog post, right?  Here’s the beauty items I buy… Time and time again – and will continue to do so! (more…)

Moussaka

moussaka recipeA classic Greek Moussaka is made by layering eggplant with a spiced meat filling and topping it off with a creamy bec

hamel sauce (I’ve called it a cheese sauce here, I’m not that flash), which is then baked until golden. YUM. I first had this dish in Italy and I’ll never forget that first mouthful: Heaven on a plate! (The memory is possibly firmly entrenched by the romance of the quintessential Italian restaurant complete with red and white tablecloths and the hot Dutch guy I was hanging out with at the time…)

So, here’s my version of Moussaka, which probably isn’t terribly authentic, but it is the kind of dish where everyone asks if there’s any leftover for seconds!

Note: The price of lamb mince would have required a home remortgage, so I used beef mince instead. Tasted great.   Secondly, as I’m doing #sugarfreeseptember I made a few tweaks as I’m taking it seriously and having zero gluten. Accordingly I substituted the cheese sauce with cauliflower puree and it was DELICIOUS.  I actually preferred it to how I usually make it (i.e. with a traditional cheese sauce made with flour). Our friends at the dinner party scoffed it blatantly oblivious that it contained a ‘cauliflower puree sauce’.  If you are looking for a gluten free option (or want to up your vegetable intake) I’d definitely recommend using cauliflower puree instead of cheese sauce. The recipe is here. Just make sure you drain out about 1 cup of milk before you puree the mix, otherwise the puree will be too runny. Add extra Parmesan if you like it cheesy… (more…)

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