One of the (many) neat things about living in Rotorua is the opportunity to experience all the activities folk from all over the world come here to check out. There is, simply, so much that is a Rotorua Must See. Thanks to a special family outing on my birthday late last year, my local’s ‘Must See in Rotorua’ list, now includes Waimangu Volcanic Valley. (more…)
When we went to Queenstown on holiday in January a number of blog followers told me we had to go to Josh Emmett’s Madam Woo. We listened. Unfortunately, we didn’t have Hawker Rolls and I got told off. Apparently, these are “the schizz”.
Back up the bus. What’s a hawker roll? Malaysian street food, in the form of a deliciously decadent fried roti filled with the freshest, tastiest meats, veggies and sauces. Think humble wrap, or a burrito, on steriods, that’s what a hawker roll is.
So, as I can follow rules sometimes, we went back the next day and had Hawker Rolls for lunch. I died and went to culinary heaven. Yes, I wholeheartedly concur, these were ‘The Schizz’.
On our return home, with me still happily reminiscing my first Hawker Roll mouthful, I played around in the kitchen. Eventually, thanks in part to my Aussie friend Tam who sent me this amazeballs pulled pork recipe (which I slightly adapted), I came up with this tasty dish: Pulled Pork Hawker Rolls. The last three dinners I’ve cooked for friends has been this: It is both a showstopper and crowd pleaser!
Now, I know the recipe might look complicated, but it’s not: It’s one of those ‘whack it in the slow cooker and forget about it for a while’ type dishes. In fact, when I made this on Sunday, I got everything prepped, popped it in the slow cooker and sent Hubby a text asking him to turn it on at 12 noon. Off I went to the beach, returning four hours later to delicious cooking smells wafting through my house. This is my kind of dinner party dish. (more…)
Walking into Sephora at Houston’s at Galleria Mall a few weeks back took me back to being a Kiwi Kid in the late 1970s. Remember when you scored $2 and you got to go to the dairy? All those lollies that were one and two cents? Remember the excitement? Well that’s the same feeling as I had at Sephora in Houston. Only now I’m an adult and am in ownership of a credit card.
Back to Sephora: Where to look first? Here’s my thought process “Holy crap, they’ve got Anastasia Beverly Hills makeup. I can see Charlotte Tilbury. Is that Tarte? Is that a Dyson Hairdryer? Where’s the basket? Do they have Pillow Talk? Shit a brick. I’m going to need to prioritise”. I kid you not: My heart rate quickened. But that’s OK: I was always going to do a mini haul. I’d SAVED for this.
So, after a lot of anticipation (and hours of research), I bought some goodies – arguably, not as many as you’d expect! I was adamant: I was only buying product we can’t get easily here in NZ. Besides, saving some dimes was mission critical so my savings would stretch to my new Madewell Medium Transport Tote and Michael Kors watch.
So, what did my mini Sephora haul look like? More importantly, after three solid weeks of research product usage, how am I feeling about the products? Stand by caller, keep reading.(more…)
I caved in… I got a new eyeshadow palette. This Burgundy Bar Palette from Maybelline is an exceptionally pretty looking eyeshadow palette. What can I say in defense? I’m an eyeshadow palette magpie and the autumnal hues spoke to me.
I hasten to add I certainly didn’t need Burgundy Bar, but you know, it passed the 72 hour test.
Side note: I got home and realised the palette has similar hues to my Urban Decay Naked Heat palette and I have several MAC and Makeup Geek eyeshadows that, on balance, are near enough dupes. Sigh.
Anyhoo, I now own Maybelline’s Burgundy Bar palette so, best I play around with it and share my thinking in an unbiased, non-sponsored review. Side rant, there aren’t enough of these unsponsored beauty posts doing the rounds at the moment. For clarity – I paid for this palette myself. It cost me NZ$33. (more…)
Seeing as I’m a (proud) local, I’m frequently contacted and asked about the top things to do in Rotorua. Ahead of an influx of visitors over the upcoming holidays, here’s my personal list of Top Things to Do in Rotorua. There’s a mix of freebie activities here as well as paid favourites: I’m mindful a visit to this gorgeous town could require a second mortgage, but that doesn’t need to be the case – so I’ve mixed it up!
Lastly, a disclaimer, I haven’t visited all of the local attractions and activities we have on our doorstep so apologies if there’s a Must Do I’ve inadvertently missed off… Isn’t that often the case, we can be a bit ‘rats’ at exploring our own backyard?! Feel free to leave a comment with your Top Tips though, help a visitor out.
Redwoods Tree walk
I’ve written a whole blog post on the Redwoods Tree Walk, the elevated walkway through Rotorua’s iconic Redwood Forest. Since I wrote the post, I’ve been back and visited this attraction four times – and I’ll go again, happily: It’s that good.
Our local forest was already stunning and somewhat magical before some clever buggers put in an elevated walkway. Now, in the form of a suspended 30 minute ecological walk, you get a stunning birds eye perspective of this gorgeous forest. Geez, talk about take the forest to the Next Level! When’s the best time to do the walk? Day or night? Tricky one: Both are good for their own reasons. That said, a walk at night-time is uniquely spectacular as there’s lit up David Trubridge lanterns scattered throughout the forest, as well as a magical light display. My tip is: Go before sunset, kid bedtime allowing, to get the best of both worlds.
I have just finished reading Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson. This was a bloody fantastic book BY A KIWI AUTHOR (from The Bay of Plenty!) that I need to shout out about because, if you’ve enjoyed my other recommendations, you need to put this on your reading list. Tammy is one hell of a storyteller and I LOVED this book and am compelled to shout from the rooftops about it (in fact, several friends have text me in the last week with book recommendations, I’ve simply replied with this link to Whitcoulls online (noting I downloaded my copy on Kobo)
Differently Normal had me captivated, cracking up, suffering from the eye sweats and reading until stupid o’clock (on a school night). This means Differently Normal has all the hallmarks of a Must Read and Must Shout Out About.
This incredibly and breathtakingly emotive novel centres on the relationship between two sisters, Maddy and Bee. Maddy’s life is all consumed with helping her mother care full time for Bee, who is autistic. Maddy has no time for anything other than her part-time job in a photography development store, certainly a boyfriend on the scene would add too many complications. Their family life, whilst simple, is filled with love and, importantly stability: Any deviation from routine would see Maddy’s wheels fall off.
Cue visiting a new Riding for the Disabled stable where Maddy, meets Albert: And some mutual (albeit reluctantly from Maddy) swooning happens. Albert comes with his own baggage, an overbearing bully of a Father, to whom Albert has resigned himself to always being a disappointment. Albert, a man who knows a good thing when he sees it, pursues Maddy and this is where the story gets really interesting… (more…)
Bubble Fabulous. It’s not a mouthwash. It’s a spa for your mouth.
Have I got your attention?! I hope so, as this new Kiwi product is going to be a sensation and I’m dying to tell you all about it.
I love me a Kiwi made product and I get extraordinarily enthusiastic when a beauty or foodie Kiwi-made product comes my way accompanied with my favourite six words: “Would you like to try some?”
This is what happened late last year when I was contacted by Laura, fellow Kiwi girl and founder of Bubble Fabulous Mouth Spa. Wait up. Bubble say what? This is a spa for your mouth – note, NOT a mouth wash! Well, given I switched to black coffee last year and I’m paranoid about having stinky breath: I replied at lightning speed to Laura’s kind offer and said “Yes please!”
Let’s get my impressions out of the way quick smart: Bubble Fabulous rocks, literally: Because you can feel the mouth wash working because it bubbles on your tongue like pop rocks! Hubby and I have been using this system twice daily for three weeks: We are big fans and we’ll be purchasing this for sure when my current stash runs out! No more Listerine for us: We were users, though that said, the amount of chemicals in there makes me slightly anxious.
Before I get into the ‘how to’ deets, the backstory to Bubble Fabulous is a rather neat one, so let me indulge you. Usual story: Someone in the market spots a glaring gap in the market and, shock horror, does something about it (that’s why I’m not an entrepreneur: I lack follow through). Bubble Fabulous founder Laura is a registered oral health therapist (dental hygienist) with a background in design. She was disillusioned with traditional mouth washes, which work like mints: Masking the problem rather than getting to the root cause of it. Bubble Fabulous actually gets the nasty stuff (bacteria) out of your mouth, particularly the tongue. (more…)
Little Honey self-tan. Heard of it? You should have. If not: You are missing out. How’s that for an intro?
First up – I have a positive beauty review. Yes, something nice to say! Loyal readers, don’t die of shock.
Background: Fake tan. It’s been a bit of an uphill journey to find one that works for me. Expanding on that a little, I do love a rather well known self-tanning mousse*, but I was keen to try something new, not least as the afore mentioned mousse has a list of chemicals that makes me slightly nervous. In the beauty sphere, in general, if there’s a plant based alternative that’s just as good AND IS PRICED RIGHT: I’ll use it.
Anyhoo, after the last self-tanning review I did (here) the lovely peeps at Little Honey sent me some of their goodness suggesting “It was about time I tried this”. Yes, I agree, it was.
Incidentally, I’d read a number of rave reviews about Little Honey all over social media this time last year. I never tried it: To be honest I felt the price tag ($45 for their bronzing mist or $55 for the bronzing mist + application mitt) was a bit steep. You see, I get sick of forking out for pricey-ish products that don’t deliver. Besides, I was put off that Little Honey was so frequently mentioned in my social media newsfeeds last year. You see, I’m such a cynic that my school of thought is when it looks too good to be true: It usually is. As an aside, I also dislike hype. I still haven’t read 50 Shades.
Side note: I was SO keen to try Little Honey that, on 16 December last year I messaged them, cheekily, and asked if they’d like to send me some (I’ve never done that). They politely declined. Funny how things work out, LOL.
Anyway, with Little Honey’s Flawless Bronzing Kit finally in my hot little hands a few weeks back: I got excited. I received a Bronzing Kit containing their Flawless Bronzing Mist and a flawless blending glove. The latter claimed to deliver a streak free finish. Yeah, excited I was.
And I’m still excited. You see: This bronzing mist stuff is the SCHIZZ. That’s the executive summary. You need this stuff. It’s the best self-tan I’ve used. At this point, I must extend my sincere apologies to all those influencers whose reviews of Little Honey I was so dubious about last year: You did know what you were talking about. Opps. (more…)