Favourite Products!

Lou Loves – Faves February

That monthly blog post where I witter on about beauty and foodie goodness, i.e. Lou’s faves – for the month of February. On that note: HOLY CRAP! Where did February go?  I can’t decide if I’m rapt that with 1 March NZ has landed upon the start of autumn (rapt because I’m sick of hot and sticky sleepless nights) or sad that summer BBQs and wines on the deck with my friends will soon be coming to an end… Might as well roll with it I guess… There’s nothing I can do about it!

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara (waterproof)

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara review

You might recall I bought this Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara at the start of summer. I took a pic of me ‘wearing it’ (you know what I mean), whacked it on Facebook, used it a couple of times and decided it was, frankly, alright,  but nothing worth waxing lyrical about. I wasn’t enamored with the brush, it seemed to be designed so it wasn’t conducive to combing the lashes, mine ended up clumpy, in part because the product was so wet when first applied.  I detest a ‘super wet’ mascara.  So, with a sigh, I biffed the tube to the back of the third drawer down in my makeup trolley (LOL).  Later I read a few negative reviews about the product and was comforted that I wasn’t alone in deciding that this mascara didn’t stack up (for me, especially so, compared to my beloved, albeit pricey, Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes Mascara). Or so I thought.

Fast forward to early February and, dammit, my Doll Eyes mascara ran out.  I decided I couldn’t justify parting with $60 at the Lancome counter when there was a full brand new tube of Lash Sensational right under my nose. So, in a way, I was forced into giving it a decent test run. This is bloody fortunate as I’ve done a U-turn on my initial thoughts – I really like it! However, this comes with a caution: I’ve had a play around to make it work for me…

lash sensational mascara review

Remember I said the mascara applies wet on the lashes?  Well, I’ve helped the tube dry out slightly by wiping the excess product off on some tissue prior to use (wasteful, I know!). Good news: This has been the trick to not having the wand too wet and, consequently, the tube has slightly dried out. Why is this good? Now that it’s dried out a tad, Maybelline Lash Sensational delivers long spidery and thick looking lashes (at a sharp price).  No flaking, no smudging. Whoop.  Here’s a pic of it on my mug:

Maybelline Lash Sensational (and if you are wondering on my lips is a mix of two MAC lippies: Heroine and Up the Amp).
Maybelline Lash Sensational (and if you are wondering on my lips is a mix of two MAC lippies: Heroine and Up the Amp)

If, like me, you are an eyelash curling junkie, you’ll be pleased to hear that the waterproof formula keeps the curl in place (for this reason I only ever use waterproof mascara:  I know it’s a bastard to get off, but this job is EASY PEASY with coconut oil or Clinique Take the Day Off Balm!) .  

Executive Summary: I stand by previous declarations that Maybelline is the queen of inexpensive mascaras. Watch this space to see if I head back to the Lancome counter…  

Where to buy: Farmers, Kmart, pharmacies stocking Maybelline. Price: NZ$26.99.

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Lou Loves – January Favourites

January 2016.  It’s been and GONE people!  Here’s a round up of good stuff that lit my internal happy fire last month. Not one to depart from my usual random style, here’s a scrummy squeaky cheese, a swoon inducing lipstick, a crash hot chick-lit read, a recipe that I’m super proud of (with a mini review chucked in) and a Facebook page that nearly causes me to wet my undies with the giggles (my bladder ain’t what it used to be after childbirth, sniff).

Waimata Haloumi cheese

Waimata Haloumi review nz

I can’t get enough of haloumi, aka ‘squeaky cheese’ and I’m careful to make sure there’s always a block in the fridge. I reckon it’s a transformational ingredient that can take something stock standard, like a leafy green salad, or an otherwise bland couscous salad, to a whole new culinary stratosphere.

Now simple, original haloumi is already the schizzle, so imagine my delight when I discovered Waimata had flavoured haloumi – three different kinds! There’s their usual traditional flavour, along with mint, chilli and cracked pepper. I’ve scoffed loads of all of them, except the cracked pepper, that’s potentially too gourmet for Rotorua, I can’t find it anywhere! My favourite is the chilli, or maybe the mint. Or maybe the chilli. Hell, they are both to die for.

Haloumi is great for frying or grilling, I adore the contrast of the squeaky crust and the smooth, creamy deliciousness inside. Haloumi is outstanding on any kind of salad (check out this beetroot quinoa dish with haloumi), however we are enjoying it best currently in this recipe.  I also used Waimata mint haloumi at our neighbourhood degustation in November as the first course (there were eight courses, I had a food coma for 48 hours afterwards and a hangover that lasted until Wednesday). Here I fried off the haloumi and piled it high with a olive/herb/sun-dried tomato concoction (yell out if you want the recipe, I’ll blog it). Heavenly delish and it looks flash – and it’s easy to chuck together, which is my kind of entertaining food.  Best of all, Waimata haloumi is affordable foodie fare, NZ$7 for 190g block.  I get mine at Countdown.

haloumi with herbs and olives
Waimata mint haloumi with a sun-dried tomato, cherry tomato, olive and herb topping. AMAZING!

That Day in June – By Martina Reilly

That day in June Martina Reilly reviewAh holidays. Here, I turn into an introvert, bury my nose in a book and it’s hard to get much dialogue out of me. Of all the great reads I devoured over my Christmas and New Year holiday, That Day in June, by Martina Reilly, is my standout top read. The plot centres around Max, a high-flying PR exec and Sandy, a runaway who lives on the streets. Every day Max brings Sandy a coffee, an act she looks forward to. Then one morning Max doesn’t show up, so Sandy sets out to find out what has happened to him. When she finds him, she discovers that he’s a broken man who has lost everything and, suddenly, the two of them have a lot more in common than they could ever have imagined.

This heart-warming and unusual love tale reeled me in right from the start and, being the nosey bugger that I am, I was hanging on the edge of my seat with curiousity to find out exactly what drove Sandy to leave home as a teenager, resulting in a life on the streets.  This read is best described as a slightly quirky chick lit. I enjoyed the alternating narrative: The story is told from both Max and Sandy’s point of view. Five stars. Get your tissues at the ready: I got the eye sweats (again, a newish development since I became a Mum!). (more…)

Lou’s 2015 Beauty Favourites

2015 Beauty Favourites

Avid readers of this blog might read this post and think “geez, she’s predictable”.   Yup, in this 2015 round up of ‘all things that have really spun my beauty wheels’ there’s a few products that I’ve waxed lyrical about before (yeah, you probably should have put a bet on at the TAB).  However, just for a bit of balance, I’m pleased to report there’s a few notable mentions: A newer, product that changed my life; A product I tried in an emergency as my usual tried and tested option had run out – and I’ve never looked back. Oh and a product I initially thought was crap. Curious to see what’s made my 2015 Beauty Favourites?  Keep reading! (more…)

Makeup – If I had to pick one….

I often get asked about my all-time favourite makeup products and I figured a round up of my ‘all time favourite’, ‘can’t live without’ products would make a great post.  I guess this post could also be called “If my makeup bag got nicked, I’d replace it with…”  

Primer…
I raved about this in a recent favourites post: The Body Shop’s Instablur.  LOVE….  I’ve been doing Crossfit for the last couple of months, in the middle of the working day, when I’ve had a full face on. Long story short, I leave, and I still have a full face on. My Sport-Billy colleague Nat, who runs at lunchtime, and also has oily skin, is also blown away at how makeup lasts with Instablur.  I love it so much – I just bought my second tube this week! (more…)

Lou Loves – September Favourites

The blog post where I wax lyrical about beauty products and food that made me happy in the month of September… As it turns out (it wasn’t planned), all of this month’s beauty faves fall into the ‘cheap and cheerful category’.

maybelline browdrama review nzMaybelline Brow Satin Smoothing Duo-Brow Pencil & Filling Powder 

Maybelline have been on the money lately, pumping out products galore that are getting good reviews. Naturally I jumped on the bandwagon and bought a few things including this eyebrow pencil that’s got me most excited.  Why? The colour is spot on for my dark brown caterpillars:  It’s an affordable staple for your makeup kit; It has a 2mm pencil for precision AND a smudger that has a built in filling powder at the other end. The result is filled in, gap free eyebrows without that painted on ‘sharpie’ look that have been doing the rounds far too much in recent years!  Top marks Maybelline! Price:  $19.00. 

LA Girl Glide Gel Liner (Paradise Purple)

I spotted a LA Girl cosmetics stand tucked away in the corner of my local Life Pharmacy (Rotorua) recently and got a little excited. Why? I’ve heard great things from fellow beauty bloggers about the LA Girl pro concealer and I was keen to see if other items from the range were rave worthy (Note, I still haven’t tried the concealer yet!). I got this purple eyeliner for  NZ$9 and what a great surprise! I don’t usually hold ‘cheap’ eyeliners in high regard but this is stunning. The colour pay-off is brilliant, it applies super smooth (like a gel liner). It’s also waterproof and smudge-proof. Tick, tick and tick – and lastly, did you hear the price? Keep an eye out for these in your local Life Pharmacy. I’m sure I’ve seen this range in the Warehouse too (?).  LA Girl is also widely available online. Sleek matte me fandango purple review

Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream – Fandango Purple

The bold lip craze continues for me! This was an impulse purchase from Beauty Bliss (my favourite online beauty store at the moment). This is a matte finish liquid lipstick and I’ve rocked this regularly over the last two weeks and it’s one of two lippies going on my girl’s weekend away to Auckland this weekend (MAC Syrup is the other one, no surprise there).  My only grumble is that it’s quite a drying formula.   Applying lip balm five minutes before lip cream application is a must, as is slapping on more balm before you hit the sack at night. Other than that, the colour is intense, as is the staying power, it takes quite some effort to budge it. My nine year old, who loves his goodbye kiss and cuddle before school in the morning, is a fan: He doesn’t have to wipe away the lipstick marks on his cheek (cute). “Oh good, that one is colour stay”, he says before he launches in for a snuggle.  Price? NZ$14.00. Buy it here.  PS It easily removes with coconut oil on a cotton pad  (my No1 makeup remover at the moment!).

Soap & Glory Clean on Me Shower Gel 

soap and glory nz

I almost had a little orgasm in Postie Plus when I stumbled across some Soap & Glory products recently. I adore this range and my Mum and I went nuts shopping up a storm when we found the range in Boots in Bangkok two years ago. The smell of their products is…. sublime (kind of reminiscent of Miss Dior). I’m obsessed with this shower gel. Formula wise, it’s pretty bog standard to be honest, but the smell. Goodness. I’ve been having two showers a day, I’m so obsessed.  NZ$10. 

Toni & Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray

I love the ‘just got out of bed’ aka ‘just got back from the beach’ look.   Unfortunately I have quite fine and silky hair and it takes a tonne of product (or a good swim at the beach) to achieve that look.  Well, I live an hour from the beach and I’m lazy with my hair, so neither approach is particularly convenient.  

Now, I’m not sure about achieving beachy looking waves from this delicious smelling sea salt spray, but I do get thick and full-volume looking hair after a good all-over spritz.   I usually dry my hair (with a blow dryer or air dry) until it’s about 75% dry, then I spray the product on the damp ends and then scrunch away with my hands.   I also use it when I wear my hair up: My hair has finally grown to shoulder length and a few spritz adds grit and texture so my hair complies with staying in a messy bun.   I’m impressed, noting this is the first sea salt spray I’ve tried. NZ$18. Available from New World.

Eggplant, Feta, Sundried Tomato and Basil Rolls

eggplant

These were the morsels of the month. I made these one quiet rainy Sunday afternoon during a Homeland binge session on Netflix (I know it seems a bit flash for a quiet Sunday, but the eggplant needed using, it was going to go off otherwise!).  I adore eggplant, I lived at Lake Garda in Northern Italy for eight months on my OE and I practically gorged myself on melanzane.  These are ‘easy as’ to make:

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • Slice the eggplant into thin strips vertically (about 0.5cm thick).
  • Brush both sides of the eggplant with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and place on a baking paper lined oven tray and roast until golden brown – about 20 mins. Turn after 10 minutes so they brown evenly.
  • Whack a bit of feta down on the eggplant, top with a sundried tomato and a basil leaf (or a dollop of pesto). Roll up. Secure with a fancy-pants skewer (or toothpick, who cares) and scoff them back.

 

 

Lou’s Faves – August 2015

It was a hard cull this month to only identify five favourites. Here’s what made the cull!

Body Shop: All-in-One 5 Action Perfection Instablur & Colour Crush lipstick (240 Damson in Distress)

Body Shop instablur review

The Body Shop is getting mega brownie points from me this month with two products I’ve developed OCD over.   I’ve got a bit of a long standing love affair with The Body Shop:  I worked at their Bond Street store in London for a while (the busiest Body Shop in the world! FACT: In one week we had the following famous people through our doors: The Queen of Spain, Boy George, Anita Roddick and Derek from Coronation Street – no shit).  

First up:  Instablur – 5 Action Perfector: I feel a bit bad featuring this as this is the second primer in a month that’s made my favourites list (last month it was this one but the price makes my bum pucker). Holy smokes, Instablur product requires a STOP PRESS: It’s my beauty find of the YEAR (so far) and I could easily write an entire blog post essay expressing my adoration for it. I’ve done a few makeup workshops and lessons lately: This is the product that’s making everyone’s “Must buy” list and I’m taking it into work next week for a demo.  Shout out must go to the fabulous, helpful and knowledgeable Rotorua Body Shop ladies who have been wowing me with their customer service.  They gave me a tester of Instablur to try out and they weren’t surprised to see me back a few days later to buy it – they know it’s the schizzle!

What’s so amazeballs about Instablur? This silicone primer does a bunch of important work: Reduces the appearance of pores; Helps hide blemishes; Smoothes out your complexion and, critically, as a foundation primer it extends the appearance of your makeup.   But, the fifth reason (as stated on the Body Shop website) is the Number 1 reason I love it – “Shine controlling 12h”… Yeah, they’ve got that nailed! I’ve been applying Instablur after my moisturiser, prior to foundation for the last two weeks and I’m delighted to report it’s totally keeping my oily skin at bay. I had a full face on at a Crossfit session this week (bad form wearing makeup, I know) and everyone commented how good my makeup looked after (and I was actually about to die).    At the very least, go in and ask for a tester! Trust me on this!  Check it out online: The Body Shop.  Price: NZ$46.25. 

Second up is this Body Shop Colour Crush lipstick (colour 240 – Damson in Distress) I’ve been looking for a colour like this since winter started. I combed the MAC, Nars and Stila, stands at Wellington’s Kirkaldies and Stains looking for a suitable shade, to no avail. I tried Revlon, Maybelline, L’Oreal, along with every other mainstream brand under the sun, but nothing measured up to the colour in my head. So I was full of joy when I popped into the Body Shop on a whim, and there it was! Boom! It’s reasonably long-lasting (as long as any lippy lasts on me), not drying and full of bright and bold fuchsia goodness. This is the perfect winter lip brightener and seemingly my friends agree, after several of them have toddled off to get this after seeing me rock it.  My husband also comments positively on the colour when I wear it (he knows his makeup). That’s always an affirming sign.  On a side note, actually, sod it being a winter appropriate colour, I’ll be rocking this year round.  Price: NZ$27.75

Body shop damson in distress lipstick

 

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Lou Loves – July Favourites

This monthly round-up of beauty and foodie goodness is overdue, did anyone notice I didn’t do one last month? I had my hands full and I just couldn’t get laptop time!  Sorry folks. I hope this one makes up for it 🙂  Enjoy!  Lou  x

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation

I’ve been hankering after a Bourjois foundation for ages: I’ve heard from a variety of sources that they are top notch. However, Bourjois was only available overseas, until…. I stumbled across a stand in Farmers! I was euphoric.  Bourjois, which used to be owned by Chanel, is a well-known French brand that I use regularly when I lived in Paris in my early twenties. To celebrate their NZ launch I treated myself, courtesy of my Farmers beauty points, to a foundation.

In terms of coverage, Healthy Mix Serum offers a medium to full finish, which, as a lover of a relatively light finish I need to be careful with. So, I use about three-quarters of a pea sized to do my whole face (or a whole pea for a night out), taking my time to buff it in thoroughly with a foundation buffing brush. The finish is flawless, it covers all of my acne scars, takes away any redness. The best thing is that it lasts pretty much a full day on my slippy skin: You can still tell I’ve got it on at 5pm (though I’ve noticed it lasts longer with a primer). This is, hands-down, the best foundation I’ve come across – in fact, I haven’t used any of my other foundations since I got this five weeks ago. I got shade 53 ‘Light Beige’ which gets brownie points for having a yellow undertone, which is rare to find: Despite getting a lot of my foundations colour matched they always seem to develop have a pink undertone, which I dislike after a few hours wear on my pale (yet olive) skin.
Available from: Farmers. Price: NZ$40. (more…)

Lou’s Faves – May

Is it just me, or do these monthly favourite blog posts rock around super fast? 

Jordana Blackberry Lipstick

Jordana blackberry lipstick
I slipped putting the lid back on the lipstick. Forgive me for the slightly dodgy shape!

Right, let’s get this out of the way, yes, I bought a $4 lipstick from my local 1,2,3 Shop (i.e. $2 shop) and it’s CRANKING HOT. It’s so good my work colleague Lauren went and bought one as well and she’s rocking it daily. It’s the perfect winter shade, it’s a deep berry colour with a slight sheen finish to it and it applies smooth and pigmented.   It’s also got a scent that is reminiscent of my youth when I played with Strawberry Shortcake dolls (but I can’t remember which doll).  I mention this as some people will be put off by this..  Oh and the packaging is as you’d expect for $4 (pretty shoddy).  Skin tone wise Blackberry is pretty versatile:  It looks great on my super ghostly winter complexion and Lauren looks like a supermodel wearing it with her deep tanned olive skin tone.  Beauty on a bargain.  Happy times.  PS I reckon lovers of MAC’s Rebel lipstick will adore Blackberry.  Price: NZ$4. Available: Keep an eye out for a Jordana stand at your local $2 or 1,2,3 Shop.

Jordana Blackberry lipstick
Jordana lippy and Motion Lotion in my wavy hair (I did the latter with my hair straighteners, I’m rapt I’ve finally learnt how to do it – I’ve been trying to master the ‘wave technique’ for years!)

 

 

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