My skincare routine

skincare routine the beauty foodieI’m mindful that I talk a lot about the products I use – but I haven’t really talked about how, or when, I use them. So, this is that blog post: My current skincare routine.

Before we get down to skincare business, I need to get a few important things out of the way:

  • DISCLAIMER:  This routine is for an oily skin. If you have dry or sensitive skin – I’d be thinking differently.  This is what works for me – an oily chick!
  • There’s one beauty guru who I avidly follow, who has been a massive influencer on my skincare routine. That’s Caroline Hirons. I recommend you read this blogpost in conjunction with this post – to save me repeating myself in terms of why I do what I do!  I’ve deviated a bit in the last two years in terms of what I do (as mentioned in the afore mentioned link) but you’ll get the gist!
  • I carry out the routine below every night and every morning. The last time I went to bed without washing my face was December 2014 and, prior to that, it was under similar (extraordinarily drunk) circumstances in 2012.  That’s enough said on that, what goes on tour, stays on tour.
  • The products that I’m using right now might not be the products I’m using next week: Being a bit of a lover of change and anything new (as well as being a dedicated blogger) trying out new skincare products is one of my favourite hobbies.
  • I’m not loyal to any one skincare brand. I don’t buy into the ‘use all of our range’ sales pitch. I mix it up.  My face hasn’t fallen off… 

Brace yourself. Seven steps in the morning: Eight steps at night (most of the time).  

How do I have time? (I’m always asked this, I heard it coming). Look, this takes me FIVE minutes. It’s an investment and I’m worth it. FIVE minutes. I choose to take time to look after my skin. I have all of the products I use close on hand – if you have to go hunting in your drawer for a toner you are going to waste valuable time!   I choose to take time to look after my skin.  On another note, I’m rubbish at making time to exercise. Each to their own.

Products used:  Noting the above comments about being a product whore (i.e. I’m not a loyal to any brand) I’m really happy with all of the products featured in this post on a couple of levels: I love how my skin is responding, I like that most of the products are easy to buy (Farmers and the supermarket) and, importantly, the cost of most of the products makes my wallet happy. I’ve spent a bloody fortune on some skincare products that aren’t half as good as what I’m using right now… Go figure.

My routine

First up: Cleansing

skincare routine the beauty foodieMorning: I cleanse using a cleanser and a clean flannel (I use a fresh flannel daily). Nothing fancy here, I wet my face with warm water, apply cleanser to my flannel – and cleanse away. Rinse with warm water.  I’m currently loving Moreish’s foaming cleanser (which, despite the name isn’t really foaming at all – and certainly not drying on my oily skin like other foaming cleansers I’ve tried).  

Night:  At the end of the day I’ve got an extra cleansing step: Pre-cleansing to take off all my makeup. How? I just get a little bit of product on my fingers, smooth it over my skin,  including my eye makeup and rinse off.   Boom: Ready for cleansing. 

I’ve waxed lyrical for years about Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm as a pre-cleanser and as far as I’m concerned this is still the dog’s nuts of pre-cleansers. However, confession time: I’m not using it at the moment because I’m busy trying out other stuff like organic extra virgin coconut oil (from my kitchen), or Lipidol’s Cleansing Face Oil ($10 from Farmers) – both are great!  Also, at night, because I do wear a shit-load of makeup usually, after pre-cleansing I always go on to double cleanse (using the same cleanser).  On ‘low makeup days’ I’d just cleanse once… Make sense?! .


I tone twice, once with an exfoliating toner and then a hydrating toner (neither of which contain alcohol).  Why do I use two toners and what’s the difference between an exfoliating toner and a hydrating toner? Have a read of my Caroline Hiron’s blogpost:  That’ll explain everything.  At the moment I’m using Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Acid toner (applied to a cotton pad and swept across my face).   After that I spritz my face with a hydrating toner. Currently I’m adoring Evolu’s Facial toner.  

Eye Cream

snoxin blog review

I’m a big advocate of using an eye cream and I’ve been using it twice a day since I was in my early twenties.  I suffer from droopy eyelids (damn genetics) and I have puffiness under the eyes that I’ve always hated. More recently, as I zoom towards my fortieth birthday, my crows feet and laughter lines around my eyes are screaming out for TLC.  So for me an eye cream is a ‘must’!  

I apply eye cream straight after toning.  Why? This is what Caroline Hirons has to say on the topic, she makes me snort with laughter.

Don’t apply your eye cream last. No matter how careful you apply your serums/moisturisers you will always get some in the eye area and then your eye cream won’t absorb where you want it to. Pointless. Eye cream first. Everything else afterwards (and on top if you like and it’s not a contra-indication). Applying your eye cream last is like wearing knickers over your trousers.

Application wise, I dispense a very small amount of eye cream – about the size of a rice grain- onto my fingertip and dot the product under my eye (around the orbital bone first) and then I then go back and lightly pat or press the formula into my skin under my eye.  I use my ring finger for thisb ecause this is the weakest finger and therefore the least likely to unnecessarily pull or stretch the delicate skin around my eyes.  I’m currently using L’oreal’s Revitalift eye cream (from the supermarket). I can’t decide if I like it or not so I’ll try something different next [shrugs shoulders].  When my eyes bags are super puffy (as a result of a salty dinner the night before, not enough water or a crap sleep) I’ll use Natio’s Roll On Eye Serum (Farmers or a pharmacy) before my eye cream. I think this is a cracking little product – it definitely works on me!


Serums treat your skin concern and this is the one area of my skincare routine where I’m prepared to part with some serious moola.  My main skin concern is wrinkles.  Currently I’m using a serum from Indeed Labs called Snoxin (ha ha, sounds like a mix of snot and toxin) which, pleasingly, doesn’t require a home re-mortgage (it’s $49.99 from Farmers).  This is gel-like substance is a concentrated multi-peptide treatment that targets the appearance of lines and wrinkles.  I like it, it’s not the best serum I’ve used – and not the worst.  I haven’t seen any vast improvement in my fine lines – but I feel like it’s doing good things.  To apply, I put a half-size pea-sized squirt on the end of my finger tips and pat it in to my skin.   Easy.


Moriesh day cream review

I find a lot of people spend tonnes of cash on a moisturiser without giving a lot of thought and attention to the steps before hand (like what I’ve wittered on about above). A $100 moisturiser isn’t going to slow down the onset of aging because your moisturiser is your coat – it offers protection (that’s not my spiel, it’s Caroline’s, FYI), it’s, errr, not going to stop your boobs from sagging. Key takeaway:  Use a moisturiser for your skin type (dry, normal, combination, oily etc). 

What am I using on my oily skin? In the morning I use either Moreish Day Cream or Skinfood Light Moisturiser. Both of these rock my world. Love them as a product as well as their price points: Moreish’s offering is $25 (from Countdown) and Skinfood’s moisturiser is only $14 (available from most supermarkets).  In the evening I’m currently using either Moreish Night Cream or Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Cream (which is ‘bleh’ but I’m determined to use it up).

Note:  Sometimes, if my skin is dehydrated, or simply because I feel like it,  I’ll use Moreish’s Argan Oil in the place of a moisturiser.  Astonishingly, my oily skin is less oily since I started using facial oils…

Before I forget:

  • Apply sun cream: I use Skinnies (on my face, it’s rad) before moisturiser.  I’m a bit lax with this in the winter (I hermit inside), but I do it religiously in the other seasons.
  • Moisturise your decolletage! Go hard!  I either apply moisturiser or Argan Oil here every morning and night. I was going to write a blog post on this, but bet me to it. Good on ’em. 

Lip Balm

We’ve given everything else a tonne of attention and love, why forget the lips? These need moisturising too.  I’m currently using an EOS lip balm which is great (especially on price – I think it was $6 at a Beauty Bucket sale). My favourite lip product of all time though (and I’ve run out) is Ormedic Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex from Image Skincare: What a mouthful of a product name. They should just call it ‘crack for lips’.  I’ll be getting a new one when I visit Napier and see Fiona from Simply Indulgent (if you are  in Hawke’s Bay – go visit her, she’s AMAZING).

And that, is it:  Congratulations if you made it to the bottom of this blog post – it’s a biggie!  What’s your skincare regime?  More steps than me, or less?  Any product recommendations for me?  I’m thinking of trying out some skincare from Paula’s Choice next. Thoughts? 


Kumara, Bacon & Corn Chowder recipe

kumara bacon and corn chowder recipe

We adore this tasty kumara bacon and corn chowder.  I made some a couple of weeks ago and, upon the family whip around of “I’m going grocery shopping, does anyone need anything?  Speak now or forever hold your peace” question, my husband pipes up and asks if I can get the ingredients to make “that chowder” again. Yes, it’s a winner and the perfect weekend winter soup as well as being hearty enough to suffice as an evening meal.  It’s also a flexible recipe that lends itself into both the dairy free and Paleo camps:  Biff out the butter and use coconut oil.  Done.   Lastly, I feel like I say this a lot, but it’s an easy recipe to make too: Bonus! (more…)

Eating Clean – Living Paleo (Cookbook review)

Clean Living Paleo review Photo from[/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…)

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…)

Paleo (& Gluten Free) Granola Recipe

paleo granola recipe

I love this paleo (and gluten free) granola recipe. I’ve been playing around with variations of this recipe since I learnt a bit more about the Paleo way of life and, more importantly, since I attended one of Ben Warren’s seminars (if you haven’t heard of this guy, google him or check him out on Facebook. Nutritionally, he speaks a bucket load of sense).  I’m not a paleo follower by any stretch of the imagination, however, I like the philosophy and I’m a big believer in eating clean. We’ve been slowly ditching processed food in our home – and we feel better for it.

Anyways, having played around with this recipe, I’m rapt to report that I reckon I’ve perfected the flavours. I enjoy recipes where you can ‘biff in what’s in your cupboards’ – and this is one of those. This is paleo friendly and, bonus, gluten-free devotees will also give it the thumbs up. (more…)

Tomato and Coconut Soup with Fish Dumplings

Tomato and Coconut soup with fish dumplingsI found this little ripper of a recipe in Cuisine magazine years ago.  I used to make this all the time when I was at uni and my (fellow foodie) buddy Ants would come over for dinner on a Sunday night. More often than not, I’d make this and we’d devour it. I also used to make this for the family I used to nanny for (I’d trek to work with my food processor tucked under one arm as they didn’t have one).  The kids used to polish this off.

I have also successfully made it substituting the fish with chicken (thighs or breasts, both work!). If you stay true to the recipe and use fish, be aware that the fish really takes hardly any time at all to cook. Note, you will need a food processor to make this. (more…)

For the love of: Zoeva Cocoa Blend eyeshadow palette

Palette Contains:  Bitter Start - Palest matte nude. Sweeter End - Shimmering duo chrome nougat. Warm Notes - Glittering cranberry purple. Subtle Blend - Metallic deep bronze. Beans Are White - Deep cocoa brown matte. Pure Ganache - Pure and luxurious metallic gold. Substitute For Love - Toffee brown with subtle shimmer. Freshly Toasted - Rich mahogany brown. Infusion - Matte dark brown infused with golden glitter. Delicate Acidity - Berry toned brown shimmer.
Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette It’s as good as it looks…

Let’s cut to the chase: A photo of the most gorgeous eyeshadow palette that I’ve ever seen, Zoeva’s newly released Cocoa Blend, popped up in my Facebook newsfeed, on Beauty Bay’s Facie page. So dazzled I was, that I inhaled, sharply, and my stomach did a lurch. “Sod it”, I thought.  “I’ve got to have it”. So, for the absolute bargain price of AUD$33.20 (NZ$36.90), thanks to Beauty Bay, this bad boy from German cosmetics company Zoeva, was mine within two weeks (free international shipping).  I had a feeling I needed to act FAST, this palette is a thing of such beauty I knew it would sell out fast. I’m right – it did: I’m feeling slightly smug at my trend-spotting abilities.  

Sadly, as I write this blog post it’s still out of stock on Beauty Bay, but keep checking lovelies, it’ll be back.  I want to get another one too as this eyeshadow palette is as every bit as good as I hoped. In fact, I’m hoping it comes back in stock soon as I want to get one for a friend’s ‘zero birthday’ that is looming.  Note: You can buy this online from Zoeva directly, but you’ll get whacked with EUR16.00 shipping fee (NZ$26). Ouch. Beauty Bay seems to be the way to go.

Luxurious is the first word that springs to mind when I look at this. Oh, and good enough to eat. In fact, when I’ve showed it off to friends they’ve thought it’s a bar of chocolate as it’s about the same size as a bar of chocolate from Whittaker’s new Artisan range, actually, the packaging ain’t that dissimilar either.  When you open it up, the word ‘chocolate’ is the next word that’ll pop into your head: The colours range from chocolate tones, to rose gold shades. (more…)