Lou’s Loves – Faves April

Lou Loves April Faves

Cough. April finished up a wee while ago…  Sorry about that!  Better late than never with my April faves blog post though, right?

Trilogy Age-Proof Nutrient Plus Firming Serum

trilogy age proof nutrient plus firming serum

Trilogy’s Age-Proof Nutrient Plus Firming Serum was an impulse purchase during Farmers Beauty Week. Usual story: My self-restraint sucks… The discount was too good to pass up.  Standing at the Trilogy stand I vaguely recalled my friend Kellie had been waxing lyrical about a product from Trilogy’s Age-Proof range, only I couldn’t remember which one. So, I got this one.   I’d heard nothing about this product, so I truly was flying blind.  

I’ve been using this bad boy morning and night (after toning and before moisturising) all over my face, neck and decolletage for about six weeks and I adore it.  Packed full of natural ingredients this is a lightweight serum that’s a nourishing pick-me-up for skin.  What ingredients? There’s natural skin brighteners like green tea, licorice and mulberry. These extracts help to even skin tone so your complexion appears more radiant.  You’ll also find  hyaluronic acid, known as nature’s ‘moisture magnet’, which is deeply moisturising and plumps the skin.  Trilogy, by the way, uses hyaluronic acid derived from a process involving the fermentation of wheat (that’s all getting a bit beyond me…).

The packaging alleges the serum will soften fine lines and wrinkles and I reckon it does just that. My face definitely looks plumper and softer when I’m wearing this, like it’s had a bit of an energy boost.  Usually when I look at my face in the mirror, stripped bare, I think “dear God”. Lately I’ve been looking in the mirror when my face is all nudie thinking that I look a little better.  Given I’m not using any new products in my beauty regime, it seems fair that this serum could be the culprit.   Importantly for me, as I wear this serum under my makeup during the day, it’s non-greasy and absorbs well. My makeup sits ‘sweet as’ on top of it.

A repeat purchase? You bettcha.  If you want a list of ingredients and the full product description, click here. 
Price: NZ$48.90 (I got it for less as it was on sale).   (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…)

Autumn Salad with Spicy Chicken, Lentil and Pumpkin

Autumn Salad with Spicy Chicken, Lentil and Pumpkin
Since joining Weight Watchers three weeks ago I’ve fallen into the trap of eating more or less the same thing every night (roast chicken with a green salad) and I’m BORED.  This is really silly: There’s an abundance of recipes available through Weight Watchers, I’m usually really creative in the kitchen AND I’m working part-time now and I have ample time to cook dinner.  There’s no excuse for boring, uninspired and repetitive meals.

I made this Autumn Salad with Spicy Chicken Lentil and Pumpkin recipe this week after a being struck by a bit of inspo following browsing on the Weight Watchers member’s only section.  Also, I’d bought a GI-NORMOUS pumpkin from Countdown for $2 and this pumpkin required some serious tucking in. Anyhoo, the result was a warm, hearty, nutritious salad that was packed full of flavour, colour and was ‘viable’ in relation to Weight Watchers SmartPoints.  My hubby isn’t on Weight Watchers (skinny, active, healthy bugger) so I’m trying to up the anti on meals that don’t blow the points budget for me and meals that hubby enjoys. Hubby and I both loved this dish, we had it as a main course and, as there was only two people eating it, there was enough the next night for a repeat dinner performance (needless to say the kid didn’t eat this dish. He had ham steaks with potatoes, carrot and pineapple. Sigh).

You can funk the salad up even further by adding fried haloumi, diced feta, also some olives would also be a delicious addition!   Or even, for those not on the ‘trying to shrink bandwagon’,  chorizo would be a scrummy addition!  This recipe, if I do say so myself, is ‘friends-over-for-dinner-worthy’. On that note, I’m taking it sans chicken to my next pot luck dinner as a side salad. (more…)

$6.30?! Essence I love extreme volume mascara review – Hit or miss?

Essence i love extreme volume mascara reviewSo, there I am, at Easter, in Welly, at Farmers Cuba Street, having a debate with myself over the purchase of a $6.30 mascara.

“You don’t need it. You have several new tubes of mascara already” screamed penny-pinching Lou.  This is ‘new Lou’ who is keeping a steady eye on her ASB bank balance after commencing a new part-time job (a lifestyle ‘adjustment’ is currently underway).

“But it’s $6.30 you EGG!” yelled bargain-loving Lou. “You can’t buy it in Rotorua and you’ll regret it!” cautioned pragmatic, live-in-the-moment Lou.  Bargain-live-in-the-moment Lou won. I departed with a new mascara. 

So, a $6.30 mascara, hit or miss?  It must be said: I had low hopes.  I mean, seriously, I’m a mascara addict and I’ve been known to fork out close to $58 for a mascara (Lancome…. contented sigh) and declare “it’s worth every cent”. I’m a tough mascara customer. So, here’s my thoughts on the $6.30 jobbie…

Let’s back up the bus.

What mascara?  What’s the brand?  

The budget mascara in question is ‘I love Extreme Volume’ from European beauty giant Essence Cosmetics.  As a brand, Essence is a relative newcomer to NZ’s beauty shores.

Back to my mascara selection. There was lots of mascaras on the Essence stand. After some deliberation I narrowed my selection down to the waterproof formulas. I did an ‘eeny meeny miny moe’ to aid my selection.  

Why waterproof mascara?

I only ever wear waterproof mascara on account of two reasons.  Firstly, I have VERY oily eyelids and I can’t abide all the smudging that used to happen with non-waterproof mascara. Secondly, being an eyelash curling addict, normal mascara straightens out my eyelashes, whilst waterproof keeps the curl in place allllll day (learning this was a game changer).

My first impressions

My first impressions of this mascara was “Holy shit! That’s a big mascara wand”.  No joke, this has the biggest brush of any mascara I’ve ever used. Hence there’s a word of caution: If you have small eyes or are prone to getting mascara on your nose, in your hair, in your brows, or on your teeth (I’ve seen it all), stop reading. This probably isn’t the mascara for you.  If you have intermediate level-ninja mascara application skills, or are confident you are on the cusp of securing ninja status mascara skills, keep reading. (more…)

Stacked Eggplant with Roast Tomato Feta and Pesto

stacked eggplant with roast tomato feta and pesto

We headed down to Ohariu Valley in Wellington over Easter to have a long (and very overdue) with our extended family. The good news for me is that the majority of the whanau are foodies, and they have a dream kitchen, with views of the countryside that are to bloody die for. One of the first questions I’m usually  hit with when I arrive is “what shall we cook?” Oh yes: That’s one of my favourite questions…!  For Easter Sunday dinner I made these stacked eggplant with roast tomato, feta and pesto. They were supposed to be the accompaniment to a huge leg of roast lamb, but the positive feedback received would suggest that this eggplant concoction was the hero of the meal and the lamb should step aside!

I’ve made these stacked towers of goodness in the past for as a main course (with a side salad), suffice to say they always go down a treat and it’s a good dish to have up your sleeve if you are feeding vegetarians.  This is the first time time I’ve coated the eggplant with panko breadcrumbs and fried ’em, but it was a total winner and I’ll be doing it again – when I’m off Weight Watchers though! A lighter version, and how I usually do them is to simply brush the eggplant with olive oil and grill them on the BBQ. They are delicious done this lighter way, but the fried panko version was next level because of the nutty crunchy dimension!  Besides, everything tastes good fried in olive oil, eh?  Sigh…. No wonder the clothes in my wardrobe are pulling me the birdie!

Note, it looks like a long winded (read, labour intensive recipe) but I did this in stages throughout the day. Made the pesto the day before. Roasted the tomatoes – set these aside. Went for a quad bike ride. Cooked the eggplant, prettied my face up before visitors arrived. Assembled the eggplant stacks when the lamb came out of the oven and was quietly resting on the bench.  Seemed like no trouble at all…

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Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

cookies and cream cheesecake

Right.  This isn’t my recipe, let’s get that out of the way. Nope, this mega morsel of delicious-ness was the brainchild of my nine year old son (albeit with a little bit of help from his Mumma). He’s been on a cheesecake creation bender for the last month and he’s been churning out all sorts of cheesecake concoctions. This Cookies and Cream Cheesecake is the best cheesecake yet!  Being a child that was raised well (ha),  he’s happy to share his recipe.  Enjoy. 

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Muhammara Dip (Red Capsicum and Walnut Dip)

 

Muhammara Dip RecipeOriginally a Syrian recipe, this Muhammara Dip (red capsicum and walnut) is often found as part of a meze platter.  My friend Marie introduced me to this heavenly concoction and I instantly begged her for the recipe. I’ve played around with the recipe a bit (I can’t bloody help myself) and the result is this creamy red capsicum dip, with a hint of tartness and sweetness from the pomegranate molasses. If you like hummus, get cracking and make this, it is, if I do say so myself, phenomenal, and it’s wayyyyyy nicer than any hummus I’ve tried.  It’s so good, I’ve made three batches of this in just over a week (!) and we are having it with everything:   It goes beautifully with my morning poached eggs on toast, mixed in with yogurt as a creamy salad dressing, as a side sauce with roast veges, it’s also amazeballs with BBQ chicken. Oh, and it’s shit-hot in sandwiches in the place of mayo or sugar-laden relishes and chutneys.   

I’ve made my Muhammara dip in my Nutribullet, and it works perfectly. You can, of course, use a food processor (I try to avoid using mine as much as possible because I’m lazy: I detest washing it up and putting it away in the cupboard!).  Having looked at some other versions of the recipe online, I’ve noted the more traditional methods of making this dip is actually in a mortar and pestle, so the result is a dip that’s got a coarse, pesto-like, consistency. Yum, I’ll give this more authentic method a bash at some stage.

Note, If you don’t have pomegranate molasses – don’t fret, just leave it out, it’s not a deal breaker. In fact, I only just included pomegranate molasses in my latest batch as I only just made a trip to Vetro to get some more.  Up until then I’d added a couple of dates for sweetness and a half teaspoon of balsamic vinegar in an attempt to get the sweet/tart hit (it worked well and I high-fived myself on my Kiwi cooking ingenuity).  Similarly if you don’t have any smoked paprika, or cumin (etc), just leave it out.  Feel free to add in a handful of fresh mint (I tried that – thumbs up). If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll know I’m a big fan of ‘making do’ in the kitchen, it’s such fun and some of my best recipes have come as a result of improvising. Get your creative on! (more…)

Essano Rosehip Cleanser and Body Lotion Review

Rosehip Essano reviewI’m a sucker for a new beauty range, noting that NZ made Essano’s Rosehip range isn’t that new, I’m just slow to the bandwagon! On a recent trip to Napier I did my usual: Visit the local supermarket and, damn: It was New World Beauty Week. Sigh. Clearly I was destined to purchase some beauty products. Deciding this was destiny, I puchased Essano Rosehip Cleanser and Body Lotion to see what all the fuss was about.

Fuss, you ask? I’ve read a lot of rave reviews, but I’m a sceptic: Beauty editors in magazines get sent freebies and subsequently rarely post anything less than rave reviews. Also, I’d read a lot of ravings from beauty bloggers and, upon closer investigation, I’d noted many of them had received a sample PR pack… This makes me a little suss and thus, I was a little reluctant to try Essano.

Having given Essano’s body lotion and facial cleanser a good ‘going over’ in the last three weeks, here’s the punchline:

I should have tried Essano sooner.

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