Here’s my usual (random) round up of beauty foodie favourites for April. Enjoy!

Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes Waterproof Mascara

Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes mascara reviewI’m actually embarrassed to include this mascara in this favourites post, as I know I always bang on about “this mascara is my favourite” and “mascara is definitely where you can save money!”  Yeah, well,  I’ve got a new favourite mascara and it isn’t exactly cheap. Before I launch in I hasten to add that Volume Million Lashes is still my No1 ‘drugstore’ mascara (followed closely by Maybelline’s The Falsies). Geez, am I sounding defensive?!

I treated myself to this high end mascara after my friend Mel gave me a trial size and I was blown away at the long spidery lash effect: So much so I was compelled to treat myself to the waterproof version in a full size (I only wear waterproof mascara, as it keeps the curl to my artificially curled eyelashes!). The packaging promises a doll lash and wide-eye look and, frankly, it over delivers. I’ve been asked a number of times, including by random strangers, whether I’ve got false eyelashes on/who did my sensational eyelash extensions (result).  There’s no flaking with this bad boy, nor smudging. You can easily build up the application without any clumping.  Oh, it also smells really nice and it is suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers. By the way, the packaging also promises 24 hour hold, I’m not about to road-test that claim: You know how anal retentive I am at taking your ‘face off’ at the end of the day…

The Exec Summary of this Hypnose Doll Eyes is that it’s so crash hot it will be a DEFINITE repurchase for me, in fact, I’m going to get another one for my professional kit. This is the first Lancome item I’ve tried and I’m thinking it won’t be the last. Any other Lancome items that are a must have? Let me know in the comments below!
Price: NZ$58. Available at selected pharmacies and Farmers.  I got mine from Life Pharmacy Rotorua (my new favourite local!).

Lancome Hypnose Doll eyes mascara review


Pinocchio Necklace – Karen Walker

karen walker pinocchio Do you have that one item, that one thing, that you seriously covet?  Is there something you drop clues about, hoping against all odds that someone will get it for you?  This Karen Walker Pinocchio necklace has been near the top of my Wish List for at least three years. Hubby, bless him, has missed all the clues and every birthday/Christmas I have to restrain my disappointment (though a couple of years ago he did get my a Kitchen Aid which was at the very top of the Wish List).  Anyhow, I’m obsessed with Pinocchio and little wooden ornaments of him pop up in nearly every room in my house… So, I really wanted him for my neck!  

Enter my gorgeous and generous colleagues who bought this sterling silver Karen Walker Pinocchio necklace for me as a gift recently… I was reduced to tears.  I love his little moving arms and legs, he’s a real charmer and a good conversation starter too (though I’m not quite comfortable with people eyeballing him as they talk to me: He happily rests at the bottom of my, err, rather substantial cleavage).    You can purchase him from Walker and Hall. Pinocchio comes either as a pendant or with a 60cm belcher chain (My chain wasn’t quite long enough but I easily had it lengthened a tad by a manufacturing jeweller).  Thank you to my super thoughtful colleagues. I’ll cherish him forever!

A Perfect Heritage – Penny Vincenzi

A perfect heritage penny vincenzi review

I love a good read and this multi-layered saga is the main reason there’s an abundance of boxes that are still unpacked in our new Rotorua home, despite me taking a few weeks holiday before starting my new job to purposely get settled in!  I’m the queen of procrastination…

A Perfect Heritage is a beautifully written read (albeit huge) with interwoven storylines to keep you on your toes. There’s a heap of characters to keep life interesting, so many characters that Penny felt compelled to include a ‘who’s who list’ at the start of the book. I frequently referred to this until I was at least halfway through the saga. 

The story centres around career girl Bianca Bailey who is sent in to revamp an iconic family-run cosmetics company, House of Farrell. There’s power struggles between Bianca and Athina, House of Farrell’s founding figurehead with a whole heap of other sub-storylines biffed in. I particularly adored the ‘beauty backdrop’ to this storyline and I happily trundled along in my head to beauty counters, marketing meetings, customer encounters – oh, what’s not to love as a beauty geek? My only complaint with this book was that I shouldn’t have been reading it with a niggly voice saying “Lou, you really should unpack/hang pictures…”. Nope, I wanted to be parked up with this read on a sun-lounger next to the pool on a tropical island sipping a mojito…  If you are a chick lit fan and love to get lost in a good book, hook yourself up with this gem from Penny.

Sharon The Makeup Artist

Red-headed godess and You Tuber, Sharon The Makeup Artist is, hands down, is my favourite beauty You Tuber and my number one guilty pleasure.  She’s got a tonne of makeup talent, has a cracking sense of humour and she’s one of those people who, after just a couple of videos,  makes you feel like she’s a good mate  you’ve known forever.  Sharon’s incredible transformation also has me captivated in every video (noting she’s pretty to start with).. After watching her, I just want to run to my bathroom, scrub my face and start again ‘Sharon-style’ – oh, and go online makeup shopping….  All of Sharon’s videos demonstrate her true makeup genius and my No1 video is her ‘Emergency Makeup Touch Up’ video (see below). This video was a total gamechanger for me:  Bugger re-doing your whole face after work, use oil blotting sheets and concealer and you’ll look as good as new in no time! See for yourself.  I think she’s fab.





Salted Caramel Shake

My buddy Philly put me on to this smoothie/shake concoction. I don’t have the words to describe how bloody delicious it is. Do yourself a favour and biff all of the following ingredients in a grunty blender and see for yourself: Big handful of raw cashews, two bananas (I like using frozen ones), 6 pitted medjool dates, 300mls (ish) almond milk, small squirt maple syrup (I use the sugar free stuff), couple of big pinches of sea salt, handful of ice. Drink it in private: Otherwise your family will come running and want to taste it.  I keep forgetting to take a photo, sorry – just trust me on this one. PS If you don’t have a grunty blender (I don’t), you’ll have chunks of dates and cashews and thus, a chewy shake. It’s still good, don’t worry.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner

Mario badescu glycolic acid toner review
Check out the manky cotton pad… That’s after pre-cleansing and double cleansing! Ewwwww.

Skincare guru Caroline Hirons taught me about the necessity to include an exfoliating toner in a beauty regime and, up till now, I’ve been hooked on Clarins’ Gentle Brigtening Exfoliating Toner. I thought I’d branch out recently though, and I ordered the much hyped Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Acid Toner from Beauty Bay for the reasonable sum of AUD$29.40 (with free shipping).  

Hang-about, what’s so vital about a toner in your beauty regime? This blog post is long enough already, so have a read of what Caroline’s got to say on the topic – she’s bloody fascinating and clued up on all matters skincare.

Since tucking into this toner day and night for the last month I can’t say I’ve noticed the softening of fine lines and wrinkles like beauty gurus have claimed, nor have I observed a reduction in pore size (as their marketing claims I might). So, why do I like it? My complexion is smoother and cleaner and therein lies the reason I really like this: The extra cleansing this offers my skin – it kicks ass for removing that last bit of dirt/makeup on your face.   My evening ‘face removal’ regime involves pre-cleansing (usually Take the Day off Balm by Clinique) followed by double cleansing (usually Cetaphil or Moreish Foaming Cleanser) and then tone my skin (I fear I’m sounding like I have skincare OCD?!). You’d think after this cleansing rigmarole my skin would be spotlessly clean. Right? Nah. Check out the manky cotton pad in the pic above. That didn’t happen with the Clarins’ toner. Holy crap.

How to use it? Apply morning and evening after cleansing with a cotton pad. Follow with a good serum (ideally) then moisturiser.

PS I also love it’s soothing aloe vera scent and that it’s alcohol free. I’ve experienced no tightening, tingling nor irritation after using it. Nope, my skin just feels clean and fresh.

Broccoslaw from Leaderbrand

BroccoslawI’m sure this isn’t new to the supermarket shelves, but it’s new to me and, since discovering it, it’s become a staple in the fridge. I know it doesn’t take long to grate carrots and chop cabbage but, frankly, during the week I’m time poor and we all get ‘hangry’ – so cutting corners is required! 

Handy for dinners, lunches, this pre-made super healthy broccoli, red cabbage and carrot slaw is packed full of antioxidants and, double bonus, you can eat it hot (think ‘stirfry’) or cold.  As a salad, I concede I’m not in love with the lemonnaise dressing it comes with (third ingredient is sugar… Totally unnecessary) so I whack my own mayonnaise or dressing on it. Yum.  

We’ve had this slaw as a ‘kicked-up coleslaw’ with pulled pork a lot lately as I’ve been trying to perfect my slow cooker pulled pork with BBQ sauce (Good news: I’ve nailed it, so stay tuned for both the pork and the kicked-up slaw recipes!)

PS If you like veges in treat foods, the LeaderBrand website has a chocolate cake recipe containing, you guessed it, broccoslaw…

Price: NZ$4.50 (ish) from most Countdown or New World (haven’t spotted it at Pak n’ Save yet but I could be wrong).