Lou Loves – January Favourites

I’m sure I only just hit ‘publish’ on my 2015 favourites – and now it’s time for January’s faves! I struggled to limit what made my ultimate favourites this month, as there’s been loads of makeup I’m loving (partly as a result of my USA haul arriving when my little brother paid courier delivery man on his holiday home to NZ). Here’s what made my relentless cull!

L’oreal Volume Million Lashes Mascara (waterproof)

I’ve had a few doozies with impulse purchase mascaras in the last year, but I hit the jackpot this time with Volume Million Lashes Mascara: It’s a game-changer that has BOOTED Maybelline’s  Falsies Mascara out of my first place ranking.  Why? We’ve had a hot and muggy summer here in Hawke’s Bay and even with the Falsies (waterproof), I’ve got unattractive black mascara smudges up around my browbone (cheers mugginess and oily eyelids).  I had resigned myself to just putting up with smudging in the summer. Cue Volume Million lashes: Boom! No smudging, no budging: This stuff stays put all day and I have long spidery and super volumised lashes!

Oh, I also love how it applies quite dry. Let me explain: Have you encountered how some new mascaras apply really wet and you end up with it everywhere? This drives me nuts: With new mascara I always wipe excess mascara off the wand with a tissue, which upsets me because it’s super wasteful. Anyhow, with Volume Million Lashes you kind of have to yank the (anti-clump) wand out of the mascara tube and, ah, because it’s got a really tight hole you don’t end up with a truckload of mascara on the wand. Genius.  I can’t wax lyrical about this mascara enough. I even love the packaging.  Be warned though, you need a good waterproof eye makeup remover to get this waterproof goodness off (Neutrogena is great, Clinique’s Take The Day Off Balm is even better). Price: NZ$35 (9ml tube). Get it from Farmers, Kmart, Pharmacies, etc.

volume million lashes loreal review

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Bacon, Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

bacon broccoli and cauliflower saladI’ve been making this delicious salad for years, however it recently got an extreme makeover! My friend Emma sent me her cauliflower and broccoli salad recipe, which is really similar to mine, but it had a few extra ingredients that I just knew would take the recipe to a whole new level.  Emma’s addition of sweetness and vinegar in the creamy mayo dressing, as well as cauliflower a main ingredient, well… Oh yes. See for yourself!

Thanks Emma for the inspiration x

Bacon, Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad Recipe

Salad ingredients
1 head broccoli, cut into small pieces
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
8 slices streaky bacon pan fried till cripsy, cooled, then chopped into little pieces
1/2 cup Craisins (you can use raisins or sultanas too)
1/4 cup sliced almonds (you can sub with other nuts)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (”   “)
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (dry fry them in a frying pan)
½ cup red onion chopped (Top tip: Finely dice the onion, cover it in cold water, drain the water out after five minutes, pat the onion dry with a paper towel. This step takes the acidity out of the onion!)
1 red capscium, finely sliced
2 heaped tablespoons of fresh herbs (you choose, I use any of the following: Flat leaf parsley, basil, mint – use what’s on hand!) – reserve some for ganish!

Dressing
1 cup of my Homemade DIY mayonnaise (click here) – if you don’t fancy making your own mayo, Best Foods or Hellman’s Mayonnaise are your next best options
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (rice wine and standard white vinegar work too!)
1 tablespoon of runny honey

  • Place salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  • Add the dressing ingredients to the salad – mix well. Top the salad with the reserved herbs as a garnish.
  • Chill for half an hour before serving

Couscous with herby feta and pomegranate

I made this yummy and rather festive looking salad over my recent (glorious) summer holiday in Ohope. It would have been gorgeous on the dinner table on Christmas Day – check out those colours!  I actually wanted to make this dish using Israeli couscous but we couldn’t find it anywhere! It didn’t matter a bit, regular couscous worked super well and I’ll definitely be making this again.   Bonus too, as well as being delicious this salad was super easy to prepare.

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Lou’s 2015 Beauty Favourites

Alrighty, this is a big blog post! Rather than do my usual December favourites round-up of beauty foodie items that are spinning my wheels, I’ve done a serious navel gaze and come up with my Tip Top Beauty Faves for 2015 (and a few books). Upon reflection, I’m surprised, yet really pleased, at how many products fall into the ‘super affordable’ category. It just goes to show – it pays to shop around to get beauty bang for buck. Note, I toyed with including foodie faves in here: But the post is already bigger than Ben Hur. So beauties: Enjoy!

Hair

Remington Hot Pink Curl It ReviewRemington Hot Pink Curl it – I’ve got a blog post coming soon on this ceramic conical hair curling contraption. Frankly, it deserves a full write-up as this impulse purchase has me grinning like a Cheshire cat. It’s got 10 heat settings, ranging from 120C to a high heat setting of 210C. Simply by winding your hair around the tong you get a stunning shiny curl in 7-10 seconds. Since having lots of my hair lopped off I can get a head full of bouncy curls in under 10 minutes. The girls at work were admiring my curly locks recently and asked me to take this into the office to do a demo. They were sold and I understand this affordable hair gadget made a few wish Christmas wish-lists! NZ$53 from Briscoes in one of their mega sales (I point blank refuse to pay full price for anything at Briscoes). (more…)

Pesto Crusted Salmon

Pesto crusted salmonI’m a little bit excited about this recipe. Salmon is easily my fish of choice – I just can’t get enough of it. Add pesto into the same sentence as salmon and you’ve got me grinning like a Cheshire Cat.  Bonus too – this has sod all ingredients (I know my recipes can get a tad lengthy – so enjoy this!). This definitely falls in the ‘easy mid week’ dinner category – despite looking like it’s something you’d cook for a flash dinner party (that’s my kind of dinner!). (more…)

Finding my Christmas spirit

Christmas listEverywhere I go at the moment I’m being asked “have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?” “Is this a Christmas present you are buying?”  “Are your Christmas plans all finalised?” “Are you going away on holiday?” “Can you believe it’s Christmas next week?”

No. No. No. Don’t know, haven’t decided. And I’m in complete denial that it’s Christmas next week.  Can we change the subject and talk about something, anything else? The weather? What about lipstick? I know a few good shades that might suit you? Are you interested?

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Lou Loves – November favourites

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Check. Out. This. Stash.

November. What a whirlwind that was. I was in my element zooming around the countryside, largely with work, loving every minute of it.  For someone who has an office-based role, I’ve done a damn good job recently of not spending much time actually in the office!  We also got a new bathroom at home, which meant for three looonnng weeks we were trudging backwards and forwards to Mum’s house to shower (my work trips were timely, I was sending home texts that said “just had a lovely bath” – meanie, eh?!).  On a negative note though, my blog suffered a little bit, I hope nobody noticed too much – for a wee while there I was posting once a week, that was about all I could manage without going cuckoo! Eek).  As for December and Christmas – I’m in complete denial, I haven’t done anything, no planning, no present buying: Nothing. I’m not sure I’ll start for another week or so either, there’s too much happening! (more…)

Coconutty Bark (sugar free goodness)

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My version of Cave Girl’s brilliant recipe!

Way back in September I took part in Sugar Free September. The whole low/no sugar movement is gaining momentum and I thought I’d give it a whirl. The Executive Summary of that story is:  I did it, I feel great and fast forward now, We’ve stayed sugar free (mainly) because we feel GREAT.

Sure, there’s been a couple of what I call ‘Relaxing Moments’ but they aren’t biggies by any stretch of the imagination.  What am I relaxing on? Wine mostly – Pinot Gris to be precise, my tipple of choice when the weather gets warmer.  In context though, as someone who had a serious weakness for chocolate at 3pm, it’s nothing short of miraculous that I’ve eaten four squares of chocolate since late August. That’s it for the extent of my ‘sugar deviation’ not bad, right?   I’m staying sugar free because I feel amazing. But I won’t witter on about that here because I went on about it here. 

Anyhow, one of the things I enjoyed most about Sugar Free September was trying out new food and recipes and I thought it would be fun to share my favourite recipe from September. If you follow me on Facebook you’ll have seen this before as I shared the recipe for Pecan and Caramel Bark from the Cave Girl blog which, frankly,  is a recipe of pure genius.  So, with Cave Girl as my inspiration, I made up my own barky version and… YUM!  Both bark recipes are so good that, even if I fall well and truly off the sugar bandwagon, I’ll still whip this up. Now, while I shared the recipe on Facebook, those little buggers at Facebook are playing mind games with me as some of my posts on my Facebook just vanish – like POOF! Gone! I have no idea why (if anyone knows – please enlighten me as this palaver drives a woman batty). So, for prosperity, here’s the Coconutty Bark recipe I posted on Facebook here on the blog: Now it’s kept safe for us all to enjoy!  (more…)

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