Beauty

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.

(more…)

Lipidol Cleansing Face Oil Review

 If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know I’m obsessed with my nightly pre-cleansing routine. Pre-cleansing that is, to get rid of all ‘my face’, before embarking up on my regular skincare routine. I use either coconut oil or Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm as my pre-cleanser before I launch into regular face cleansing (usually double cleansing!).

Well, in the interests of market research I’ve branched out to try some new  products.  On a trip to Farmers a wee while back, I stumbled across a rather modest looking stand from Lipidol.   I paused, intrigued, largely at the lack of prominent in-your-face signage and promptly discovered, thanks to some research on my phone, uncovered that the range is from Union Swisse, the makers of Bio-oil. Everything on the stand was $9.95: You know what a bargain hunter I am!   

lipidol cleansing face oil stand

There were six products to choose from:  Sunscreen Oil; Overnight Facial Oil, Cleansing Body Oil, Cleansing Facial Oil, After Shave Oil and After Shower Oil. $9.95? I wanted a piece of the action!

(more…)

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…)

Beauties and Foodies – Affordable Christmas present ideas

Not quite organised for Christmas yet?  Stuck for affordable Christmas present ideas? Keep reading!

Up until we sung Christmas carols at work yesterday I was totally in denial that it’s Christmas time (we don’t even have our decorations up yet at home!).  As a bit of a ‘last minute Charlie’ I’ve behaved slighly contra-personality this year and I finished the bulk of my Christmas present shopping by the end of November (go Lou, you polish that halo!). However, I’m starting to panic with the last few presents I need to buy as I’m totes stuck for (affordable) ideas (Note, If money were no object I’d be taking everyone on a holiday to a tropical island).  Unfortunately the people I have left to get pressies for aren’t into beauty or food  – and I’m stumped!  Anyhow, pondering this made me realise that I’ve got a bunch of good ideas for folk that ARE into beauty and food! (Disclaimer… I think they are good ideas)… So, if you are rushing around going “Oh shit, I need to do some Christmas shopping” and muttering swear words under your breath about what to buy, here’s a blog post that might help with shopping for any folk that are mad for all things beauty, or foodie.

I’ve put this blog post together based on gifts I’ve received that I’ve loved, or things I’m secretly lusting after!  Most things you should be able to buy locally, or online (if you get cracking, stat) and they won’t break the bank.  On the topic of price I’m getting endlessly frustrated at all the Christmas marketing suggesting you should remortgage your house and buy Dad a new 55″ TV, a $1000 food processor for Mum, or your best friend a $200 perfume. It’s the thought that counts, not the pricetag and I reckon the below options are both super thoughtful and not conducive to having your bum pucker at the cost.

Camembert Baker 

christmas present ideas

Cheese is, hands down, my favourite food.  I could give up all other dairy except cheese.  This Camembert Baking Pot therefore, was a perfect gift for me from Milly (my mother-in-law).  All you do is place a camembert in the pot, stab it slightly, put whatever seasonings (i.e. herbs) on it that you like and bake it for about 15 minutes (the pot comes with some recipes).  Hell,  keep it simple, add nothing and let the cheese speak for itself!   The result is hot, gooey, delicious cheesy goodness that’s the perfect accompaniment to crackers/fresh bread – and it’ll wow any visitors.  You can get these from specialist foodie shops (Hawke’s Bay folk get into TFE in Napier,  Rotorua folk Food Equipment on Hinemoa Street have these!). I have also spotted these in Spotlight.  Can’t get into the shops?  Buy online, there’s heaps of stockists,  just Google camembert baker NZ.  Price: NZ$30.

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector

christmas present ideas

I’ve bought this product so many times the Clarins’ lady at Farmers now asks me if I’m buying for myself or “is this another present?”. I’ve raved about this product here and here, so I’ll keep this short: It’ll be a winner. I got this for my bestie Rhonda for her birthday. She was pumped.  This is a winning product for a young lady (bit of luxe, spoil ’em), your sister/cousin/aunt, Mum, or Nana.  NZ$35 (don’t quote me!).  I like the colour 01  as I find it suits everyone, but there’s a bunch of other gorgeous colours, I just dare not deviate from what works!  Available at Farmers or your local Clarins stockist. (more…)

Lip Liner – Why you should bother

lip liner why you should bother

I reckon lip liner (aka lip pencil) is the underdog of the makeup world and quite possibly one of the most misunderstood makeup products.  I personally didn’t ‘get’ the appeal of lip liner until this year – and now I’m making up for lost time and I’ve transformed into an avid lip liner spokesperson!

So, why bother? Here’s three reasons you too should get excited about lip liner… 

It’ll make your lips look fuller and more defined

In a few weeks I’m going to be hitting a zero birthday (it starts with the number four…) and in the last year I’ve noticed my lips have started to thin, albeit slightly. 

Asking around my friends in their forties and fifties as market research for this blog post, everyone is whinging about the same thing: Bloody lines and thining lips. So why does this happen?  I asked a beautician friend. She told me that the older we get, the less collagen we produce and it’s collagen that gives our lips plumpness.  Seeing as there’s sod all we can do about collagen production (I’m not keen on having a procedure) this is where lip liner comes in.  After a well defined natural lookin’ lip?  Invest in a liner that’s close to the natural colour of your lips, line your lips, fill ’em in and your lips will have way more definition.    Now, all that said, if you have super thin or uneven lips – you should go for a liner that is slightly darker thank your natural lip shade. This’ll make them look fuller. (more…)

Keagan’s Pineapple Heads Review

My little guy, Keagan, is as much of a fan of the beauty aisle at the supermarket as I am. We spend ages sniffing shower gels and moisturisers to make sure we get just the right one and he loves trying out new products in the bathroom (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, eh?!).

So, when an email popped into my inbox from Pineapple Heads, offering my little guy the opportunity to try out some of their all natural skincare and haircare products for kids, I was in like Flynn. I’d been eyeing up Pineapple Head’s products for a while now and I was thinking about getting him some! So I knew Keagan would be all over this and, sure enough, when the package arrived he shot off to the bathroom to have a shower to give everything a good test run. 

Later, after a decent period of ‘testing’, I sat him down to get the download of the Pineapple Heads range so I could write up my blog post. But, nope, turns out we weren’t just doing a blog post, he wanted us to do a “proper review” to go on You Tube! He was so excited he even tidied his desk to be the backdrop for the clip.  So, I relented and I’m really proud of him:  I think he did a great job!  So, here it goes, over to you Keagan for your product reviewing debut!

(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…)