Beauty

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!

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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…)

Flash eyelash serum – Review

Flash before and after
Flash eyelash serum. Yeah, it works.

I’ve been faffing around with eyelash extensions in recent months. I totally loved the dramatic eyelash effect, along with the time the extensions saved me in the morning (no more curling and applying mascara). But, there’s a downside: Repeated extensions played havoc with my eyelashes, which were left brittle, snapped and sparse.  Dammit.

I’d seen a few promo pics on Facebook for eyelash serums like Revitalash and LiLash but my bum, frankly, was puckering at their NZ$120+ price tag. Then, purely by chance, I spotted Flash Eyelash Serum at Rotorua’s Life Pharmacy and, this time, the $59 price made me smile. I was super hesitant and skeptical that the serum would really work, but curiosity, urged on being troubled by my short and snapped eyelashes, I thought “stuff it” and dubiously handed over my hard earned cash.  Note, I hadn’t even heard of Flash at this point, I was buying ‘cold’. (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.

 

 

Art Deco High Performance Eyeshadow Stylo – Easy, Quick, Gorgeous

Art Deco High Performance Stylo reviewI thought about popping this Art Deco eyeshadow crayon in my upcoming September favourites blogpost, but, frankly, it’s so good, I know I won’t be able to keep it short enough for a favourites mention: So it gets it’s own blogpost. Yeah, it’s that good.

Whenever I’m in Farmers I feel a magnetic pull to the Art Deco stand, which, sadly, is usually tucked away somewhere out of the way. I say, sadly, as everything I’ve bought from Art Deco makes both my cheque account and I happy (there’s bargains galore) and yearning for more.

I spied this NZ$22 new release eyeshadow crayon in Wellington’s Cuba Street Farmers and promptly tried out all six colours on my arm. I thought “oooh these are pretty, but I don’t need one” until I asked the sales assistant for a tissue to remove my sparkly art work.  Holy crap: I couldn’t remove said art work and that’s when I had a change of heart. Simply, I realised, I needed one of these. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll be sick of hearing me bang on about my oily eyelids and the necessity for me to wear a decent eyeprimer. Well, these Art Deco High Performance Eyeshadow Stylos (crikey that’s a long name! I’m going to call it ‘the crayon’ from here) are the first eye product I’ve chanced upon that do not budge and, better still, do not require an eyeprimer as a base! This bad boy, applies super pigmented, sticks like concrete and doesn’t crease even after all day wear. What a winner!  I’ve got a feeling this product will come into it’s own in summer, I’m predicting it might stand up to swimming with my head under.

I have one grumble though – not all Farmers’ Art Deco stands are stocked with this goodness.  Rotorua Farmers, for example, doesn’t have them. I’m a bit dark about that.  Rest assured: They are worth trying to hunt down.

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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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