Reflecting on #sugarfreeseptember – and beyond

Sugar free september- 20142 From: http://www.liveitdoit.com.au/caption

In late August I stumbled across a Facebook post from Live It, Do it! that caught my interest: Sugar Free September.

I didn’t hesitate. “I’m in”, I thought.  

As it turned out “we were in”: My Hubby (owner of the sweetest tooth in the North Island) joined me in the challenge to not eat any food containing refined sugar for 30 days. (more…)

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…)

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