Check. Out. This. Stash.

November. What a whirlwind that was. I was in my element zooming around the countryside, largely with work, loving every minute of it. For someone who has an office-based role, I’ve done a damn good job recently of not spending much time actually in the office! We also got a new bathroom at home, which meant for three looonnng weeks we were trudging backwards and forwards to Mum’s house to shower (my work trips were timely, I was sending home texts that said “just had a lovely bath” – meanie, eh?!). Make sure you find yourself a good plumber like Valley Service if you plan on doing a bathroom renovation like this, as it is super difficult being without a bathroom so you want to make sure it is done as quickly as possible! Additionally, some homeowners might also want to consider sourcing an experienced bathroom remodel company to help them. That should speed up the process even more as they will be able to get on with the job. Perhaps that’s something we should’ve considered. Finally, the most important thing when you get a bathroom remodelled is to make sure that you have a home warranty plan to protect you from having to pay a lot of money if anything goes wrong with the plumbing or electrics. You can navigate to this resource to find out about one home warranty service and how they can protect you from high costs and slow services. Anyway, on a negative note, my blog suffered a little bit, I hope nobody noticed too much – for a wee while there I was posting once a week, that was about all I could manage without going cuckoo! Eek. As for December and Christmas – I’m in complete denial, I haven’t done anything, no planning, no present buying: Nothing. I’m not sure I’ll start for another week or so either, there’s too much happening!

A highlight in November was doing a heap of makeovers, including getting to work alongside a local Hawke’s Bay makeup artist, the incredibly talented Josie Brenstrum, to help out with makeup for a wedding. I was in my absolute happy place! Check out the photo of Josie’s makeup kit. To say I was drooling, would be the understatement of the year. Unfortunately since getting to play with her makeup product my Makeup Wish List has doubled. Eek. I need (not want, need): MAC Strobe Cream, and MAC Pro Concealer palettes. Oh, and about 6 blushers.

This’ll be my last ‘favourites post’ for the year – as I’m thinking in January, instead of a December round up I’ll do a 2014 Favourites. What do you think of that idea?

Enough rambling, here’s my faves for this month!

image skincare review

Image Skincare

I just couldn’t narrow it down to one favourite skincare item this month, there’s two of them, both from Image Skincare, which I bought at Simply Indulgent in Taradale*. The Image range was a new introduction to me this year and – long story short – I’ve been wowed by everything I’ve tried and I’m slowly amassing a collection as my old previously ‘tried and true’ skincare products run out!

First up is the Prevention + Daily Matte Moisturiser which I bought to replace my Moreish moisturiser (Moreish pulled out of the NZ market, I’m still dark about that). This has turned out to be a wee treasure of a product, not just for me, but my husband as well, who has used up more than his fair share of the tube. It’s a good choice for summer with it’s broad spectrum protection (SPF 32) and it’s also, as the name suggests, mattifying, which is perfect for my oily skin. At first glance the formula has quite a white cast (like sunblock) but that blends away and, actually, it delivers a sheer and lightweight moisture coverage. This sits beautifully under my makeup and in turns of the sun protection: It delivers. Incidentally, this is a tip top moisturiser for the boys, especially outdoor huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ bike ridin’ types. Price: NZ$62.

The Max Eye Cream: At $99 this was tremendous use of a voucher a group of gorgeous girlfriends bought me as a present. However, lets talk about the price for a second: $99 for just over 14mls of product – that’s twice the price of my usual eye cream (Clinique’s All About Eyes), but it’s also twice the size! So, actually, there’s no difference, except this is better. A little goes a long way too with this product: Fiona from Simply Indulgent drilled (gently) into me that “you only need a rice-sized slither”. This’ll last me for a long time.

What do I like about The Max eyecream? It’s industrial strength and, cutting through all the science: It’s minimised some of my fine lines. I am quoting my husband who, deep in conversation, stopped talking, frowned at me and said “some of your fine lines have gone around your eyes”. Bless him. I emailed Fiona these words in excitement and his quote is now on her website, ha ha. If you need some detail on the contents of the cream: It’s got a jolly good mix of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients. It’s also got skin repairing and moisturising ingredients. I also love that it doesn’t come in a jar: You just pump a rice-sized slither out onto your finger. No mess.

* Annoyingly there doesn’t seem to be a website of NZ Image Skincare stockists, but you can email the NZ distributors (Beauty Sense) to find your local stockist!

Cajun Seasoning, Masterfoods

An oldie ingredient, but a goodie – and one I hadn’t tried until we went camping and a chicken breast, marinated in this spice with some oil then barbecued, was thrust at me. Delicious. Off I went to New World to grab one and we’ve had Cajun chicken risotto, Cajun chicken burgers and Cajun chicken salad since. I really need to branch out and whack it on fish. Ingredients that make up the seasoning include paprika, onion, garlic, chilli, fennel and thyme (no sugar, whoop). Despite the ‘hot’ disclaimer on the jar, it’s not really. Even my fussy eight year old enjoys this! Price: $4.30 available at all supermarkets.

A perfume

Reb'l Fleur Rihanna perfume reviewI’m squirming writing this. Absolutely squirming. I didn’t think I was a beauty snob… But I think it might be. So, I bought a perfume, that I’m mildly embarrassed about. It’s absolutely gorgeous and everytime I wear it, someone asks me what it is.. I cringe, but I fess up and a good giggle usually follows. Yeah yeah, Spit it out Lou. OK It’s Reb’l Fleur by Rihanna. I’m no French linguist, but I’m fairly confident that translates to rebel flower in English. As for it’s scent, the description of this is hilarious as well:

“Plump, delicious fruits, red berries, purple plums and juicy, ripe peaches, make a delicious first impression. Then the heart opens into a lush hybrid hinting at Island life, subtle yet intoxicating, blossoming with sumptuous florals, a passionate melody of Hawaiian Hibiscus flower, violet, tuberose and coconut water. Defiantly sexy, the base notes linger, a beguiling, sensual méange. Vanilla, patchouli, amber and musk become a sultry chorus striking an unforgettable, emotional chord.”

Oh dear. There’s an opportunity right there for a marketer to polish some poo…

The upshot is Reb’l Fleur line is this has a spicy sweet fruity fragrance and I adore it. My fragrances of choice are ordinarily Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb and Chanel’s heavenly Coco Mademoiselle. Coco Mademoiselle always reminds me of one of my friends who moved to Australia – she adores all things Chanel. Fortunately, in Australia you can get authentic Chanel perfume from Myer, David Jones and Kiana Beauty, so she is always adding to her collection. Anyway, whatever ‘perfume family’ those two are in, Reb’l le Fleur must fall in the same one (heck, no perfume PR company is going to hire me to wax lyrical about their fragrances, are they?!)

Divine scent aside, Reb’l le Fleur gets mega brownie points for wear-ability (is that a word?): My skin usually eats perfume, nothing lasts long on me. However, I get a good 8 hours wear out of Rihanna’s offering.

Lesson learnt: Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. I might look a little bit closer at celebrity scents in future. Price: I can’t remember, but I think it was around NZ$50. Bargain! I bought it from a Unichem Pharmacy (Stortford Lodge in Hastings). On another note, the service in there was exceptional!

MAC Syrup lipstick

I mentioned this lippy when I prattled on about my MAC spend up, courtesy of my buddy Karla, who kindly goes beauty shopping for me in the States. I’m so glad I got Syrup, I’ve worn it nearly every day since I got it – it’s an incredibly versatile muted mauvey pink shade that is essentially the same colour as my lips, but better. If I’d owned this lipstick on my wedding day, I’d have rocked it. Gorgeous. Here I am wearing it for my date night on Saturday (we went to Mamacita’s in Havelock North – superb!)

mac syrup lipstick review

So, your turn – what beauty foodie things of goodness are you loving this month? Do tell!