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.

Maybelline burgundy bar palette review

What is it? The deets

Maybelline’s Burgundy Bar eyeshadow palette has 12 rich, high-pigment shades. Maybelline’s PR spiel is “Eyes go edgy and luxe. Create 13 eyeshadow looks with deep burgundies and glimmering golds, soft browns and bold coppers in one palette”(I’m curious why they reckon you can do 13 looks, but I’m being pedantic).

My thoughts?

The good

  • Show us your colour: The colours pack a lot of pigmentation when you swipe them with your finger, for example, onto the skin (keep reading, this is also a bad).
  • Bang for buck: The price is pretty decent for 12 eyeshadows ($2.83 an eyeshadow according to Excel).
  • It’s versatile: You can achieve a variety of different eye looks if you are so inclined.
  • Great travel sized palette: I travel a fair bit and always pack too much makeup which means I limit my ability to shop at the destination (ha) so I tend to look for travel friendly makeup items. This falls into the ‘bang it in your bag and have heaps of room left’ category.
  • Durability: The colours stay pretty much ‘put’ on my eyelids with minimal fading. That said: I have oily eyelids and use an eye primer EVERYTIME a coconut. My favourite eyelid primer, incidentally is NARS Smudgeproof eyeshadow base. Every other eye primer pales in comparison. I always get mine from Mecca Beauty.

The bad

  • Chuck out the applicator that the palette comes with – immediately. It is pants. Why do manufacturers still put these shit things in?!
  • All of the shimmer shades apply best not with a brush, but with your finger… I don’t like getting messy fingers, so this is a con for me. I own a  load of brushes that do a lot of the work for me in achieving a gorgeous eyeshadow look… Messy fingers leave me cold (plus I accidentally got eyeshadow all over my new top – #$%^* coz I didn’t wash my hands properly).
  • There’s a bit of fallout! In Lou form, I tried to wear not 3 eyeshadows at once, rather six. I found, even though I tapped the excess off my brush, I had a bit of eyeshadow fallout from the shimmer shade on the top of my cheekbones. I looked like a unicorn had farted on my face. My recommendation is, therefore, when using this palette, do your eyes first, clean up, then move onto base (foundation/concealer and all that malarkey). Do your eyes LAST. 
  • I’d have like to have seen one more matte shade in the palette, there’s only 2 out of 12. The key, I reckon, to a good eyeshadow look is balance: A bit of matte, a bit of sparkle. Too much sparkle and you can look like a disco ball. 
  • I think the dark brown matte shade in here is rats – it’s chalky with poor colour pay off.
  • I’m getting really anal now, but I must add: The colours photograph badly. What I mean by this is that the colours on my eyelids pack a tonne of punch in real life: The photos don’t do them justice. This reminds me of my Max Factor Masterpiece Golden Nudes palette – the shadows look mint on, but crapola in photos (if you aren’t planning on having a lot of photos taken – you’ll be sweet as!). Trying to take a selfie for this to show you the colours…What a palaver.
Maybelline Burgundy Bar Palette review
Doesn’t look too impressive… Photographs badly. I had about six different colours on here! Way more impressive in real life… #messyhairdontcare
Maybelline the burgundy bar review
Tried another look… To see if it would photograph better…

A couple of notes, in terms of a work around with the fall out issue and the colours not applying well with an eyeshadow brush: Spray your brush with MAC’s Fix Plus before you pick up some eyeshadow. Problem solved – and your eyeshadows will apply extra sparkly (goregous!).

All in all?
I know I’ve just had a bit of a whinge, but the question is ultimately, Would I buy it again? YES is the answer, it’s a fabulous little palette and I’ve used it nearly daily for the past two weeks. Given I own enough palettes to sink the proverbial battle ship, this is quite the impressive statement. Note, If you have warm tones, or green/hazel eyes – definitely get in. This’ll look amazing.  For those of you that don’t wear a lot of eyeshadow and like to go “gently gently”, I think you’ll find thecolours and high shine lend itself to more of a night time palette. Me? I rock shine in the day-time, that’s how I roll. Might as well wear shimmery day eyeshadow looks as I hardly go out at night – unless going out to the neighbours twice a week for food and drinks counts…?  

One more grumble. Just one. Ultimately, I’m such a cheapskate, if I’d bought this palette on sale, I’d be even happier. What do I mean? I note, looking at Maybelline’s USA website that this palette costs in the USA the NZ equivalent of NZ$17.32.  What did I pay? I bought it for NZ$33. I know we have to ship cosmetics to NZ and that incurs an extra cost, but at nearly the twice the price? This makes me Grumpy (note the capital G).

In summary, Maybelline’s Burgundy Bar Palette gets my big thumbs up. It represents decent bang for buck and if I were Julie Andrews I’d sing from the hills about it. This sharply contrasts with other Maybelline eyeshadow palettes, namely The Nudes range, all of which I think are crappy quality: I reckon Maybelline has absolutely upped their eyeshadow game in terms of their formula with this Burgundy Bar palette. For this, they must be commended. I’m mildly excited to see what comes out next (not that I’ll necessary buy…)

maybelline burgundy bar palette review

Have you tried Maybelline’s Burgundy Bar eyeshadow palette? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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 Easter and the school 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…)

Lou Loves – July 2017


Chanel Perfection Lumiere VelvetChanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet (Smooth Effect Makeup SPF15)

I don’t want to love this coz it was $90 for bloody 30ml. Shiiiit. This makes this item one of the most expensive items of makeup I’ve ever bought. 

This foundation was, fessing up time, an emotional “make me feel better purchase”.  I’ve been a bit down in the dumps lately.  I didn’t expect to love, love, LOVE it… But I do.  It’s perfect for my oily skin. Did I mention it goes on like velvet? This pricey liquid foundation delivers a stunning sheer to medium coverage. Great news: It’s totes buildable so it’s great for me for day wear as well as a night out. Brace yourself for this next comment: It’s the best foundation I’ve ever used. My skin looks flawless.

Chanel perfection lumiere foundation review
Foundation on my mug. Taken in my car, coz, you know, lighting is always better in the car.

Brownie points deducted for alcohol being in the ingredients list, not a huge amount, but potentially unnecessary, so worth a mention. Also it’s quite fragranced: I love the smell, personally, but this could put some off. As for the SPF, who the hell relies on sunblock in their foundation these days? Not me. That’s why the folk at Skinnies invented their sungel.

Will I be replacing this foundation when it, gulp, runs out? Hell yes. Bring on Duty Free I say.

Note: If you’ve got normal to dry skin, I’d check out Chanel’s Vitalumiere. I received a tester of this: Gorgeous, but when push came to shove, the lady at Chanel’s counter suggested that Perfection Lumiere would be better on my oily skin. She was right.  My Mother-in-law text me last night from Duty Free saying “I need to get a foundation, what should I get?” I sent her in Chanel’s direction. (more…)