Miscellaneous

The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone – Book Review

The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone book reviewThe Secret Life of Luke Livingstone is a book that’s lead to two firsts for me….

First up, I was compelled me to dedicate an entire blog post to a book review (I’ve never done that, I usually lump these in with my monthly faves blog post).

Secondly, I messaged the author, Charity Norman, through Facebook, to let her know that it was her fault that Tuesday morning’s makeup prep involved Clear Eyes and a bold lip to distract from my tired eyes. Why? I was up until stupid o’clock reading as this book. It was good there could have been a 5.5 shake and I’d have not noticed. I didn’t even care that my husband was snoring,  despite his man cold finishing last month (FFS). I’ve never emailed an author before with positive feedback.  Guess what? She replied. I did a little fan girl dance!  Turns out she loves cats too. Cool.

Here’s my The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone book review which is, no contest, the best book I’ve read this year.  I loaned it to my colleague Amanda, a fellow bookworm. She devoured it over one afternoon/early evening and concurred that it was “super”. I wonder what her kids had for dinner that night. 

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New World Little Garden Collectables

little garden new worldThe lovely peeps at New World sent me a five of their newest collectables, New World Little Garden, to celebrate the start of spring.   I was pumped.

Aw, this is just too cool and that’s super high praise from me, as gardening is up there with decorating cakes. The boy and I were utterly enchanted with this promo, even before we’d even planted these seeds.  As a Mum, I was especially delighted. Why? A supermarket collectible that: Is sustainable, educational, edible, non-plastic – and, best of all for this Mumma: There’s nothing in sight that can get sucked up the vacuum cleaner, put through the wash, get lost in a school bag. Bonus points too for not needing to traipse along to the supermarket for ‘Swap Days’ and get lost in the supermarket vortex. Spending time on Facebook to see who has number 69 is also not required. Happy days!  (more…)

Mulled Wine Recipe

mulled wine recipe
Check out that retro heater and those retro glasses.

This winter will go down as the winter of mulled wine for us. I’ve been obsessed – both with the taste and the cooking smell that fills the kitchen. If we get invited over to a mate’s for dinner, I rock up with some.  Nowhere to go? No worries, hubby and I will share a batch. Oh yes, I have all the hallmarks of a good pisshead.  I’ve tried to give up alcohol but I’ve decided life is just too short and, frankly, I won’t bother again. I’ll try my best with moderation.

The thing with mulled wine is that you don’t really need to follow a recipe. I mix it up every time using whatever cheap (but grunty) red plonk I’ve found on sale.  I’ve added bay leaves, cardamon powder, substituted mandarins for oranges, used lime instead of lemon. See? You can absolutely play around.  On the note of cheap plonk, don’t dip into your bank account for a top shelf red – think cheap.  I’ve also been playing around with the abundance of spices I have in my pantry.  I’ve even added port (boom – it’s good) and on a different day, cider: I reckon you’d have to try pretty hard to go wrong (for Pete’s sake, touch some wood if you are a kitchen disaster).

The first time I had mulled wine was when I was 19 years old, living in the UK. I spent my first Christmas in London with four Aussie mates who were house-sitting. We were left in charge of a gorgeous home on the strict understanding that we were “not to break anything”. My mate Kate whipped up a batch of mulled wine and poured the boiling hot delicious concoction into beautiful crystal wine glasses… Which instantly shattered. She did this not once, but twice: Some would say she’s not a fast learner.

What happened? We spent Boxing Day trawling High Street Kensington searching for replacement crystal wine glasses (which turned out to be a wedding present…). As good bitches, we agreed to split the cost of the replacements between us and, of course, Sod’s bloody law, we couldn’t find exact matches, so we had to buy 12 new ones to replace the whole set. I can’t remember how much we spent, but, on account of earning £4.50 per hour in retail at the time, I ate two minute noodles for about a month afterwards coz I was so skint!  Luckily I went on to live in Germany not long after: My sole experience with mulled wine was improved drastically and happier memories were lodged! (more…)

Weight Watchers – Reclaiming my shrinking jeans

3 monthsfrom now (1)_editedI outed myself on Facebook as having joining Weight Watchers a  month ago on account of being a tad too curvy-licious to fit into a lot of clothes in my wardrobe and feeling, frankly, bloody miserable about my expanding waistline.  Since then I’ve had a few people message me to see how I’m getting on and to ask: Would I recommend Weight Watchers?  This is a blog post answering those questions – and more.  

Firstly,  I want you to know that I’m paying my own hard-earned cash for Weight Watchers. Therefore this is a (non-sponsored) blog post with my own opinion. Usual story: Some will disagree with me, some will think Weight Watchers is a bunch of nonsense, equally Weight Watchers evangelists may get a bit snippy with me for my constructive criticism. Cool as! We are all entitled to our own opinion: This is mine. (more…)

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:

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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

 

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