Here’s my round up of things that have been been spinning my wheels since we last chatted! I’m not full on into Christmas shopping mode yet, but, if you are, then everything I’ve mentioned in here are great gift ideas for beauty or foodies in your life! I love nothing more than finding the most recent, Best Kitchen Gadgets – some of the things I have found have been so useful, and such a life saver! A few people have also been asking me what kitchen gadget I use to make zoodles – keep reading, all is revealed!

Vanilla & Almond Macaroons from Little Bird Organics: These morsels are raw food at their best and bliss ball lovers will totally goof off from the first mouthful. I discovered these on a trip to Little Bird’s Unbakery in Kingsland, Auckland during Sugar Free September. I was desperate for a sugar free treat so I bought two packets, Vanilla & Almond and Chocolate. Long story short: We got hooked (hubby prefers the Chocolate ones). I actually bought this packet as a thank you present for a friend, except they taunted us so badly we had to eat ’em… and I had to go buy some more. These are delish with a cup of tea/coffee. Price around NZ$11.00, available from organic shops, or online at Little Bird Organics. I’m so obsessed with these I’ve been playing around in the kitchen trying to recreate them. I’m getting close. One more batch and I’ll nail it. Brace yourselves.

vanilla and almond macaroons little bird


pref chef two drawers downPrepChef Peeler from Second Drawer Down: I got this from a Saturday morning foodie market in Auckland (I can’t remember which one, sorry! But you can buy them online) and it’s a kitchen game changer! See ya later dodgy (expensive) mandolin…

The peeler does it all: peels, grates, juliennes, slices. It has two blades, a general peeling blade and julienne blade. The general peeling blade can be used backwards and forwards so you get gorgeous ribbons of (firm) fruit or veges, I use it all the time for carrots and cucumber. It even peels pumpkin, pumpkin, for Pete’s sake (that demo at the market had me sold).. The julienne blade is fabulous for making zoodles and carrot, ah, twirly things. Love, love, love this wee gadget and, seeing as it’s just under two bloody months until Christmas, I must point out that it would make a brilliant Christmas gift for the foodie in your life. Here’s a video demo, it’s better than me wittering on about it. Get one and make lots of other kitchen gadgets redundant… NZ$19.99 from

Clarins hand and nail treatment reviewClarins Hand & Nail Treatment Cream: This was (my only) duty free splurge when we arrived home from Rarotonga last month (I did the bulk of my shopping on the way out, ha ha). I’m not very original, I always buy this hand cream duty free. I’ve adored this product for 12 years, when a friend gave it to me for Christmas.I Iove the scent, how soft and hydrated it leaves my hands and it’s damn good at conditioning nails too. At NZ$50 (ish) It’s got a pricey price tag for a hand cream which I can’t justify splurging on myself except at duty free. In between duty free visits I use Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, which I’ve gotta say is just as good, but misses that luxurious (and glorious smell) touch. This’d be another good Christmas present (for a beauty lover this time!).

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Rapid Moisture Spray Lotion: I mentioned on my Facebook page how excited I was to find this in Countdown recently. Well, enthusiasm hasn’t dwindled, but then again, I’m an enthusiastic kind of girl. What can I say? I really enjoy finding beauty gems at my local supermarket.

Palmer’s regular body lotion (which I think is just called Body Formula) is my all time favourite body cream so I was high fiving myself when I found it in a spray can. I’m both lazy and usually in a hurry with my showering routine, so it fills me with joy to spray this all over my bod, rub it in and – I’m done. The packaging promises the product to be fast absorbing, deeply moisturising and non-greasy (among other things) and it definitely lives up to all of that. NZ$11.99 from your local supermarket.

Waganama Cookbook by Hugh Arnold: Strictly speaking, this isn’t a monthly favourite. It’s an all time favourite! I wanted to put it in here simply as I realised I hadn’t ever mentioned this cookbook to you before! It’s a cookbook that’s jam packed full of delicious ‘noodly’ goodness. And. I. LOVE. it (apparently so do all the people that I’ve bought it for as a present).

Living in the provinces means you can get out of touch if you aren’t careful: About five years ago I stumbled across this book and, being obsessed with any kind of Asian cuisine, I made an impulse purchase on the spot. I didn’t even know that Wagamama was a Japanese-inspired restaurant until I started reading the cookbook! Doh! Now I’ve been to their restaurant lots of times (which has me thinking this book is a damn good business development tool). I’m pleased to report my efforts at home are as good as what the experts deliver to the restaurant table.

Wagamama Cookbook review

The recipes are all quick and straightforward – assuming you’ve taken the time to hunter gather all the specialty ingredients (I’m fine: I collect ingredients like I do eyeshadow). Bonus, the book comes with a DVD which is a must watch, I picked up loads of wok skills. Our favourite recipes are: Chicken Chilli Men (stir fried chicken with pepper, spring onions and noodles); Poached cod with shiitake (except I use tarakihi and regular mushrooms!); Sake Amiyaki Gohan (grilled salmon with pak choi, ginger, oyster sauce and steamed rice); Yaki soba (stir fried chicken and prawns with soba noodles and pickled ginger – loads of our visitors have eaten this at some stage). Oh – and the Wagamama Salad Dressing! Oh YES! This is their most requested ever recipe. I can see why. Seeing as someone else already put it on the internet, I will too, sod it. Don’t tell anyone.

Only downer about the cookbook is the amount of sugar used: Wowser. That’s a real bugger seeing as I’m on the Sugar-Free Bandwagon.

Wagamama Salad Dressing Recipe (makes about 125ml)

2 teaspoons shallots, finely chopped (1 tsp of finely chopped onion will do the job too)
2.5 cm piece ginger, peeled and grated (jar stuff works fine)
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped (ditto)
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato sauce (I use Heinz, Watties kills it).
1 tablespoon water
100ml rice bran oil
3 tablespoons light soy sauce

  • Biff everything in a screw top jar and shake. This’ll keep in the fridge for a week or two.

NB: I like to put my own spin on this recipe by adding toasted sesame seeds and some fresh or dried chilli – I like it spicy.