Colourpop Cosmetics Review – Yay or nay?

colourpop reviewI’m a bit late joining the Colourpop Cosmetics bandwagon:  Beauty bloggers gave this affordable cosmetics range from the US a huge thumbs up throughout 2015. Sometimes I’m slow to embrace hype.  Anyway, executive summary:  The hype is deserved –  I’ve given all the products a bloomin’ good road test since I got them for my birthday in December (forty, cough). I’m now cheerfully reporting back to say “Colourpop is definitely hype worthy!”  Here’s a speedy review of my Colourpop Cosmetics purchases:  Two blushes, one eyeshadow (that required phenomenal willpower, the range of shades is the bomb), one lipstick and a matte liquid lipstick.

Good news too: Colourpop ships internationally (including to NZ). Bonus! (more…)

Eating Clean – Living Paleo (Cookbook review)

Clean Living Paleo review Photo from http://www.cavegirl.co.nz[/caption%5D

Do you know, I don’t think I’ve done an entire post on a book review before… I don’t think I’ve done a proper cookbook review either [shakes head]. 

I was rapt to be sent a copy of Rachael Devcich’s ‘Eating Clean – Living Paleo’ to have a good squizzy at, ahead of it’s launch this week. Suffice to say I’ve been busy in the kitchen giving it a jolly good road-test before…. I GIVE IT AWAY! I know, madness, I don’t know what’s possessed me because, I’ll cut to the chase: This cookbook is a beautiful thing and one lucky person is going to be pumped to be receiving this via my Facebook giveaway (click here for my Facebook page – The Giveaway will start on 8 August 2015).

I won’t beat around the bush, this is a paleo cookbook.  Paleo, in case you aren’t familiar, is the trend in eating that’s been growing steadily overseas and in NZ and is ideal for people with food intolerances to gluten and/or dairy, or who want to cut refined sugar out of their diet.  It’s at this point I need to mention, I am NOT a paleo convert!  Don’t get me wrong, I actually love paleo food and, if you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know I’ve blogged a few paleo recipes.  My position is that I totally get the paleo philosophy. I reckon there’s some top notch fooder from the paleo bandwagon, but I’m not a, well, paleo nut.  I’m more of a “I eat everything in moderation” kind of chick. That said, I reckon sugar is fairly evil and I try to avoid refined sugar and highly processed food as much as I can (read this post) and, more recently, I’m playing around with the LCHF (low carb high fat) concept.  With that spiel out of the way, I do own a few paleo and clean eating cookbooks and, currently, these are some of my more well-read and reached for cookbooks when I need a burst of inspiration. But, I am not, I repeat, a paleo cheerleader/convert.

Anyway, Eating Clean – Living Paleo is NZ’s guide to paleo and is jam packed with over 100 gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar free recipes.  It’s the brainchild of Cave Girl Rachael Devcich who, after changing her diet to exclude grains, dairy and refined sugar, found that her general health and energy improved so much that she’s become a massive advocate of sharing the message.  I’m slightly in awe of Rachael, not only has she pumped out a stunning cookbook with drool-worthy recipes, bugger me, she’s taken all the photos and done all her own graphic design. I thought she was superwoman (and I needed some serious up-skilling) until I discovered she was a was originally a chef turned graphic designer and photographer. Lucky her: It’s an award winning combo (I said it here first).  

What can you expect to find in this guide?  Lots of recipes from breakfast and brunch, through to desserts and sweets. There’s a wide ranging repertoire of family-friendly fodder here – including fare that even the fussiest of kids won’t turn their noses up at (I should know, one lives at my house…). (more…)

The shopping grumbles of a petite curvy chick

petite curvy girl fashion tips
I love these boots as much as I love Clinique Take the Day Off Balm. The Yoga, from Overland Footwear: NZ$279

I went on a mini shopping trip recently to Mt Maunganui and Tauranga with my good friend (and shopping legend) Lisa. We were both keen to stock up on a few winter staples. For me that meant ankle boots and a winter coat to replace the stunning tailor-made 100% cashmere Armani rip-off coat I had made in Thailand 18 months ago for NZ$150  – i.e. the one that I lost… I’m still not over it.

I’m curvier at the moment than I’ve been for a while. I’m making no excuses, it’s my fault, end of story. Anyway, despite having a clear list of ‘wishes’ and the result of the trip being a very fruitful shopping expedition, I got really frustrated. Why?  It, sucked (for lack of more articulate words) trying to pack my dinky-but-voluptuous size 14 (on a good day) hourglass frame into, well, most things I tried on.  Lisa on the other hand, who has a figure to die for, along with some decent height on her, can wander into any clothes store, try on a paper bag and look glorious. 

Look, big picture, the mission was a tonne of fun with my girlfriend. The outing was ruled a shopping success. However, as a petite lass, I spent the day pondering the frustrations of:

  • Being extremely vertically challenged (I’m 5″1, but I make up for my height with a big personality)  and;
  •  Having serious curves.

You see, this combo isn’t conducive to easy clothes shopping.

This is a real shame because, in all honesty, if I batted for the other team, frankly, I’d want a woman with some meat on her and, having had some very tall boyfriends in my time (one was 6″4, everyone took the piss out of us) I’d want someone a bit more compact. I’ve been there and got the t-shirt regarding neck strains gleaned from too much pucker-up” action, undertaken whilst standing. This is  shame as I do enjoy a good “pucker up”.

So, what grinds my shopping gears, you ask?

Here’s my frustrations of shopping for my petite curviness:


Lou’s March Favourites

Here’s my usual (random) round up of beauty foodie favourites for April. Enjoy!

Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes Waterproof Mascara

Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes mascara reviewI’m actually embarrassed to include this mascara in this favourites post, as I know I always bang on about “this mascara is my favourite” and “mascara is definitely where you can save money!”  Yeah, well,  I’ve got a new favourite mascara and it isn’t exactly cheap. Before I launch in I hasten to add that Volume Million Lashes is still my No1 ‘drugstore’ mascara (followed closely by Maybelline’s The Falsies). Geez, am I sounding defensive?!

I treated myself to this high end mascara after my friend Mel gave me a trial size and I was blown away at the long spidery lash effect: So much so I was compelled to treat myself to the waterproof version in a full size (I only wear waterproof mascara, as it keeps the curl to my artificially curled eyelashes!). The packaging promises a doll lash and wide-eye look and, frankly, it over delivers. I’ve been asked a number of times, including by random strangers, whether I’ve got false eyelashes on/who did my sensational eyelash extensions (result).  There’s no flaking with this bad boy, nor smudging. You can easily build up the application without any clumping.  Oh, it also smells really nice and it is suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. By the way, the packaging also promises 24 hour hold, I’m not about to road-test that claim: You know how anal retentive I am at taking your ‘face off’ at the end of the day…

The Exec Summary of this Hypnose Doll Eyes is that it’s so crash hot it will be a DEFINITE repurchase for me, in fact, I’m going to get another one for my professional kit. This is the first Lancome item I’ve tried and I’m thinking it won’t be the last. Any other Lancome items that are a must have? Let me know in the comments below!
Price: NZ$58. Available at selected pharmacies and Farmers.  I got mine from Life Pharmacy Rotorua (my new favourite local!).

Lancome Hypnose Doll eyes mascara review



Finding my Christmas spirit

Christmas listEverywhere I go at the moment I’m being asked “have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?” “Is this a Christmas present you are buying?”  “Are your Christmas plans all finalised?” “Are you going away on holiday?” “Can you believe it’s Christmas next week?”

No. No. No. Don’t know, haven’t decided. And I’m in complete denial that it’s Christmas next week.  Can we change the subject and talk about something, anything else? The weather? What about lipstick? I know a few good shades that might suit you? Are you interested?


My MAC Christmas

A few months ago my friend Karla, who travels the world with her job on cruise ships, sent me a text that said:

“Hi de hi I am in New York in ten days. Shopping here I come. Off to Macy’s. Let me know if you have a wish list x”.

Seriously?!  Aggh. What a good mate (she’s done this before, I call Karla my Makeup Pimp).  After getting over mini heart palpitations I sent back a very enthusiastic email with an image of my wish list that I designed in Polyore. Polyvore, for Pete’s sake (if you haven’t heard of Polyvore but you are creative/like shopping then check it out – you can create neat design boards).  Choosing what to get was like all my Christmases had come at once.  Is anyone else like me: The option to buy is just as exciting as having bought?

My Macy's Wish List for Karla

I knew exactly what I wanted: I’d done hours of beauty research ahead of Karla letting me know she was going to Las Vegas last year (I’d received a similar heart attack inducing text). I had to draw a line in the sand and demonstrate some self constraint on that makeup haul, so it was a no brainer this time that I’d get everything that didn’t make the cut in Vegas.  Easy. (more…)

Reflecting on #sugarfreeseptember – and beyond

Sugar free september- 20142 From: http://www.liveitdoit.com.au[/caption%5D

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


 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