My Mini Sephora USA Haul

Sephora mini haulWalking into Sephora at Houston’s at Galleria Mall a few weeks back took me back to being a Kiwi Kid in the late 1970s.  Remember when you scored $2 and you got to go to the dairy? All those lollies that were one and two cents? Remember the excitement? Well that’s the same feeling as I had at Sephora in Houston. Only now I’m an adult and am in ownership of a credit card. 

Back to Sephora: Where to look first? Here’s my thought process “Holy crap, they’ve got Anastasia Beverly Hills makeup. I can see Charlotte Tilbury. Is that Tarte? Is that a Dyson Hairdryer? Where’s the basket? Do they have Pillow Talk? Shit a brick. I’m going to need to prioritise”. I kid you not: My heart rate quickened.  But that’s OK: I was always going to do a mini haul. I’d SAVED for this.

So, after a lot of anticipation (and hours of research), I bought some goodies – arguably, not as many as you’d expect! I was adamant: I was only buying product we can’t get easily here in NZ. Besides, saving some dimes was mission critical so my savings would stretch to my new Madewell Medium Transport Tote and Michael Kors watch.

So, what did my mini Sephora haul look like? More importantly, after three solid weeks of research product usage, how am I feeling about the products? Stand by caller, keep reading. (more…)

Maybelline Burgundy Bar Palette Review

I caved in… I got a new eyeshadow palette.   This Burgundy Bar Palette from Maybelline is an exceptionally pretty looking eyeshadow palette. What can I say in defense? I’m an eyeshadow palette magpie and the autumnal hues spoke to me.

I hasten to add I certainly didn’t need Burgundy Bar, but you know, it passed the 72 hour test.

Side note: I got home and realised the palette has similar hues to my Urban Decay Naked Heat palette and I have several MAC and Makeup Geek eyeshadows that, on balance, are near enough dupes. Sigh.

Maybelline the burgundy bar review

Anyhoo, I now own Maybelline’s Burgundy Bar palette so, best I play around with it and share my thinking in an unbiased, non-sponsored review. Side rant, there aren’t enough of these unsponsored beauty posts doing the rounds at the moment. For clarity – I paid for this palette myself. It cost me NZ$33. (more…)

Top Things to Do in Rotorua

Seeing as I’m a (proud) local, I’m frequently contacted and asked about the top things to do in Rotorua. Ahead of an influx of visitors over the upcoming holidays, here’s my personal list of Top Things to Do in Rotorua.  There’s a mix of freebie activities here as well as paid favourites: I’m mindful a visit to this gorgeous town could require a second mortgage, but that doesn’t need to be the case – so I’ve mixed it up!

Lastly, a disclaimer, I haven’t visited all of the local attractions and activities we have on our doorstep so apologies if there’s a Must Do I’ve inadvertently missed off… Isn’t that often the case, we can be a bit ‘rats’ at exploring our own backyard?!  Feel free to leave a comment with your Top Tips though, help a visitor out.

Redwoods Tree walk 

I’ve written a whole blog post on the Redwoods Tree Walk, the elevated walkway through Rotorua’s iconic Redwood Forest.  Since I wrote the post, I’ve been back and visited this attraction four times – and I’ll go again, happily: It’s that good.

Our local forest was already stunning and somewhat magical before some clever buggers put in an elevated walkway. Now, in the form of a suspended 30 minute ecological walk, you get a stunning birds eye perspective of this gorgeous forest.  Geez, talk about take the forest to the Next Level! When’s the best time to do the walk? Day or night? Tricky one: Both are good for their own reasons.   That said, a walk at night-time is uniquely spectacular as there’s lit up David Trubridge lanterns scattered throughout the forest, as well as a magical light display. My tip is:  Go before sunset, kid bedtime allowing, to get the best of both worlds. 

Visit Redwoods Treewalk website here. (more…)

Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson – A Must Read

Differently Normal Tammy RobinsonI have just finished reading Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson. This was a bloody fantastic book BY A KIWI AUTHOR (from The Bay of Plenty!) that I need to shout out about because, if you’ve enjoyed my other recommendations, you need to put this on your reading list.  Tammy is one hell of a storyteller and I LOVED this book and am compelled to shout from the rooftops about it (in fact, several friends have text me in the last week with book recommendations, I’ve simply replied with this link to Whitcoulls online (noting I downloaded my copy on Kobo) 

Differently Normal had me captivated, cracking up, suffering from the eye sweats and reading until stupid o’clock (on a school night).  This means Differently Normal has all the hallmarks of a Must Read and Must Shout Out About.

This incredibly and breathtakingly emotive novel centres on the relationship between two sisters, Maddy and Bee.  Maddy’s life is all consumed with helping her mother care full time for Bee, who is autistic.  Maddy has no time for anything other than her part-time job in a photography development store, certainly a boyfriend on the scene would add too many complications. Their family life, whilst simple, is filled with love and, importantly stability: Any deviation from routine would see Maddy’s wheels fall off.

Cue visiting a new Riding for the Disabled stable where Maddy, meets Albert: And some mutual (albeit reluctantly from Maddy) swooning happens.  Albert comes with his own baggage, an overbearing bully of a Father, to whom Albert has resigned himself to always being a disappointment. Albert, a man who knows a good thing when he sees it, pursues Maddy and this is where the story gets really interesting… (more…)

Bubble Fabulous Mouth Spa Review

Bubble Fabulous. It’s not a mouthwash. It’s a spa for your mouth.

Have I got your attention?! I hope so, as this new Kiwi product is going to be a sensation and I’m dying to tell you all about it. 

Bubble Fabulous Mouth Spa Review

I love me a Kiwi made product and I get extraordinarily enthusiastic when a beauty or foodie Kiwi-made product comes my way accompanied with my favourite six words: “Would you like to try some?”

This is what happened late last year when I was contacted by Laura, fellow Kiwi girl and founder of Bubble Fabulous Mouth Spa. Wait up. Bubble say what? This is a spa for your mouth – note, NOT a mouth wash! Well, given I switched to black coffee last year and I’m paranoid about having stinky breath: I replied at lightning speed to Laura’s kind offer and said “Yes please!”

Let’s get my impressions out of the way quick smart: Bubble Fabulous rocks, literally: Because you can feel the mouth wash working because it bubbles on your tongue like pop rocks! Hubby and I have been using this system twice daily for three weeks: We are big fans and we’ll be purchasing this for sure when my current stash runs out! No more Listerine for us: We were users, though that said, the amount of chemicals in there makes me slightly anxious.

Before I get into the ‘how to’ deets, the backstory to Bubble Fabulous is a rather neat one, so let me indulge you. Usual story: Someone in the market spots a glaring gap in the market and, shock horror, does something about it (that’s why I’m not an entrepreneur: I lack follow through). Bubble Fabulous founder Laura is a registered oral health therapist (dental hygienist) with a background in design. She was disillusioned with traditional mouth washes, which work like mints: Masking the problem rather than getting to the root cause of it. Bubble Fabulous actually gets the nasty stuff (bacteria) out of your mouth, particularly the tongue. (more…)

Little Honey Self-Tan – Review

Little Honey self tan review

Little Honey self-tan. Heard of it? You should have. If not: You are missing out. How’s that for an intro?

First up – I have a positive beauty review. Yes, something nice to say! Loyal readers, don’t die of shock.

Background: Fake tan. It’s been a bit of an uphill journey to find one that works for me. Expanding on that a little, I do love a rather well known self-tanning mousse*, but I was keen to try something new, not least as the afore mentioned mousse has a list of chemicals that makes me slightly nervous. In the beauty sphere, in general, if there’s a plant based alternative that’s just as good AND IS PRICED RIGHT: I’ll use it.
Anyhoo, after the last self-tanning review I did (here) the lovely peeps at Little Honey sent me some of their goodness suggesting “It was about time I tried this”.  Yes, I agree, it was.

Incidentally, I’d read a number of rave reviews about Little Honey all over social media this time last year. I never tried it: To be honest I felt the price tag ($45 for their bronzing mist or $55 for the bronzing mist + application mitt) was a bit steep. You see, I get sick of  forking out for pricey-ish products that don’t deliver. Besides, I was put off that Little Honey was so frequently mentioned in my social media newsfeeds last year. You see, I’m such a cynic that my school of thought is when it looks too good to be true: It usually is. As an aside, I also dislike hype.  I still haven’t read 50 Shades.

Side note: I was SO keen to try Little Honey that, on 16 December last year I messaged them, cheekily, and asked if they’d like to send me some (I’ve never done that). They politely declined. Funny how things work out, LOL.

Anyway, with Little Honey’s Flawless Bronzing Kit finally in my hot little hands a few weeks back: I got excited.  I received a Bronzing Kit containing their Flawless Bronzing Mist  and a flawless blending glove. The latter claimed to deliver a streak free finish. Yeah, excited I was.

little honey self tan review
The Flawless Bronzing Kit. Nicked this photo from Little Honey’s website. Thanks Little Honey.

 

And I’m still excited. You see: This bronzing mist stuff is the SCHIZZ. That’s the executive summary. You need this stuff. It’s the best self-tan I’ve used.   At this point, I must extend my sincere apologies to all those influencers whose reviews of Little Honey I was so dubious about last year: You did know what you were talking about. Opps. (more…)

St Tropez Review Self Tanning Products Review

St Tropez Self Tanning Products ReviewSo, I’m right into fake tan, all tanning products for that matter. I’m a pale and pasty English/Irish girl  (albeit with some throwback French and Eastern European presenting itself) and, whilst  I’m fairly olive and tan up beautifully – I don’t ordinarily attempt to naturally tan: The sun scares the shit out of me (hello melanoma). So, I’ve taken it upon myself to frequently partake in stocking up my bathroom cupboards with self-tanning goodies so I can do a DIY tan job. When St Tropez contacted me recently to ask if I’d like to try out some of their (newish) self tanning products to review, I was all over that like a rash. “I’m your girl”, I replied with gusto.

I got sent:

* St Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Tanning Lotion 200ml – (Medium)
* St Tropez Gradual Tan Body Lotion Tinted 200ml
* St Tropez Instant Tan Face & Body Lotion – Medium/Dark 100ml

I gave all of these self tanning products a good bash for a week and a half before penning (aka filming) my, erm, rather unfavourable thoughts. Here goes. Sigh. I hate being a Negative Nellie!  I’m really  (truly) grateful to be sent these self tanning products to review… I just didn’t think they worked – and I think there’s better products out there (for me at least).  

In the event (unlikely event, that is) that you are utterly inspired to try out these products after watching this… Head to Beauty Lounge, Farmers, Pharmacies and the like.   I’m not a newbie to St Tropez, a few summers back I used one of their self tanning products. Whilst I can’t remember what it was called, I do recall it was awesome, so it seems these three products I were went sent are a bit out of the box! Note, this is my opinion, I’m sure there are people out there who love these products. Simply… They didn’t work for me.

Oh, here’s the instant tan on my face – the before and after. Barely a difference, eh?

St Tropez Instant Tan

My Emergency Makeup Look

Emergency makeup lookI haven’t done a makeup tutorial post for ages. Truth be told, they are a pain in the ass to photograph and the posts take 100 years to write… And I don’t have the time nor inclination! If I knew how to edit videos maybe I’d do a start to finish quick and easy video tutorial (remember last time I tried that and I poked myself in the eye with the tube? #fail).

Anyway, for the last few days I’ve worn this super quick and easy minimal makeup and I’ve had a few compliments about the “low key Lou look”. Thus, I thought this would make a good tutorial, whilst also putting it out there that I don’t always wear a full face (just most of the time, ha).

Note, as I have oily skin, I don’t get a lot of wear out of this look – as I don’t bother to prime my face, nor set my foundation with a light dusting of powder (necessary for me to lock my base in place). But, it’s a quick and simple look that, longevity of wear aside, is fit for purpose. I guess you could say this is my ‘Makeup in an Emergency’ look!

Products used are below, there’s a new find in there – a McDaddy brow product at a hamburger-like price. I know you guys like it when I find good yet mega affordable products. (more…)