Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So long, farewell 2010...

So we've come to the end of another year and what a year it was for me.
I got married, started a new job and started writing this blog!

It's been a truly unforgettable one, that's for sure.

2011 is going to be the year of shaking up my finances and trying to get ahead.
Not only that but I am going to continue my quest in cleaning up my make-up, skin care and hair care products. So far so good. I have found some really great things out there and will be reporting back on them in the near future.

I am looking forward to an exciting new year ahead, a time to think about my health and future and I am looking forward to sharing it right here!

I wish you all a very happy and safe new year and I thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

All things beautiful... Christmas!

Well we're almost there again... Can you believe how quickly this year has flown by?

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a joyful and safe 2011!

I hope you enjoy the festive season with your friends and family and take the time to do the things you love whether that be cooking, sleeping in or enjoying the sunshine (or the snow if you're a little further north than us down here in Oz).

Me? I'll be doing all 3!
In fact, I have just finished off my second year running of gingerbread houses to give to my families. Gotta love feeding the kids sugar and watching them run around like headless chooks ;)
Cooking at this time of the year really is beautiful. There are so many wonderufl things you can make to share with those you love.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday everyone!

Do you have any exciting plans for this Christmas break?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The search for a clean (and effective!) deodorant

When I decided to start ditching the dirty, chemical ridden products in my bathroom cabinet the very first product I popped in the bin was my deodorant.
I was still using a well known brand that worked really well and smelt gorgeous, yet I had no idea what was actually hidden in this little package.

In most deodorants sitting on our supermarket shelves you will find nasties like aluminium which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and Breast Cancer.
You'll also see parabens on the hard to pronounce list of ingredients (often called methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and isobutylparaben - try to say that 10 times quickly!)
Parabens can be found in pretty much everything we use on a daily basis from shampoos to foundations to mascaras to body lotions.  Although it appears nothing is set in stone just yet, there has been reason to link it to breast cancer, declining sperm counts and testicular cancer... Parabens have also been linked to skin irritations, dermatitis and rosacea.

So I jumped online and ordered a couple of deodorants to try out, one being Miessence Aroma Free Roll-On Unscented Deodorant and the other was Crystal Body Deodorant.

The Miessence arrived first in the mail so that was first in the firing line. Initially I was quite hesitant as there was no smell at all. After two days giving it a go I must say that I really wasn't impressed.
By the end of the day I felt as though I had totally forgotten to put any deodorant on at all that morning. I also found I developed a bit of an allergic reaction on my underarms. Nothing serious but I got a bit of a rash and it felt a little uncomfortable.
I was pretty disappointed as this one was an Australian brand and not only was it a good price but it was easy to order online and arrived only a couple of days after I ordered it. Not only that, Miessence have a brilliant range of products, many with an overall rating over 8 on the Good Guide website.
Nevertheless, while I will give some of their other products a go, their deodorant I'm afraid I'm going to have to bin.

So next I moved onto the Crystal Body Deodorant. This was a little more tricky to buy as it's not an Australian company. I ended up buying mine on ebay but since then I have found an Australian supplier who stocks them online.
As with the Miessence deodorant this one is also unscented so I went in with a little hesitation (and a back-up chemical-ridden roll stashed in the bottom of my handbag just in case!)
In the first couple of days this one was working ok. Better than the Miessence but still not as good as my old one.
Then after a couple of days it seemed to be getting better. Under normal conditions (no heavy exercise and no extreme humidity) I found I was still fresh at the end of the day.
I did however find that if I included some heavy exercise in my day or if the temperature was a bit on the hot side it didn't get me through the day odour free.

So a couple of weeks on and I am super satisfied with the Crystal deo and I will continue to keep using it.  I am however still in search for a more long-lasting, stronger one that will get me through the warmer weather.
I will be sure to keep you updated!

Do you use natural deodorants? What's your fave?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweet weekend - food for your face

You may be aware I have recently commenced a 'dirty product' overhaul of my bathroom cupboard.
In entries to come I'll be keeping you up to date with how things are going and what super clean (and of course super effective) products I have come across.

At this time of year many of us are finding the purse strings are well and truly tightened due to very lengthy Christmas present lists and a calendar full of social outings (making sure we can fit a few glasses of bubbles in the budget).

So what can we do to kick start cleaning up our products now?
Well I have recently come across a few little make-at-home-marvels that you could try out too, all for as little as the loose coins rolling around in the bottom of your handbag.
Here's some that I will be trying (or have already tried) and you might want to give them a go too!

1 tablespoon fine sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon water 

Mix ingredients together and apply with a toothbrush, gently scrubbing your lips. Rinse off with water and your lips will feel super smooth! 
I have tried this one and while it worked well, make sure to brush softly (or even use your finger), especially if your lips are sensitive and ultra dry.

Sugar works as an exfoliant to remove dead skin cells, while the baking soda helps the mixture to lather.

1 egg white
(try experimenting with a little oatmeal or honey for something a little different)

Apply the egg white to your face with a brush (a pastry brush works well for this), leave for 20-30 minutes (or until it gets hard) and then rinse off with warm water.

Egg whites contain proline which is an amino acid - a building block for collagen.
Collagen is contained in our skin already but as we age production of collagen decreases tremendously. Although there is no evidence showing that by adding egg white facials to our skin care routine makes us looking younger, it does give a lovely soft and smooth feeling.

Note: Egg whites can be drying on the skin so this one is probably more suited towards more combination/oily skin.
This ultra cheap facial can also dry up pimples and improve blackheads

A FACE MASK GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT (and you can if you want!)
1/4 ripe avocado
1 teaspoon of honey (you can replace this with a teaspoon of lemon juice if your skin is more on the oily side)

Mash avocado with a fork (or if you have a small blender like a bullet you can wizz it up in that) and stir in honey. Apply mixture to face and leave on for 10-15 minutes and then rinse off with warm water.
I love love love this face mask! I have added it as a regular part of my skin care routine and my skin feels amazing afterwards!

Avocado is packed full of vitamins A, C, E and K, which help to improve overall skin health and give you a nice glow.

1 tablespoon plain yoghurt
splash of sunflower oil 
splash of lemon juice

Mix ingredients together, apply to face and rub in a circular motion, then rinse off with warm water.

Yogurt contains lactic acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid that acts as an good skin exfoliant. Sunflower oil helps seal in your skin’s moisture. And lemon juice is a natural whitener, and it inhibits melanin production, which causes age spots.

* handy tip - when using masks, exfoliators or cleansers on the face use a wet face washer to rinse mixture off. This ensures all mixture is rinsed off and acts as an exfoliator cloth at the same time.

What are your favourite natural skin care recipes?


If you've recently been on a course of antibiotics, or if you're feeling a little off in the tummy you might just be in need of some balance between the good and bad bacteria that live there.

In everyones stomach are billions of good and bad bacteria. Bad bacteria release a toxic substance that can cause problems with digestion, constipation and bloating.
However, if we ensure the number of good bacteria are high in our stomach we are helping the good fight the bad and therefore avoiding such issues.

So how can we ensure we keep our bellies swimming in good bacteria?
One simple and effective thing we should all do is ensure we consume enough foods containing good bacteria. Sounds simple huh?
Well really it is.
What foods contain these good bacteria? Yoghurt, Japanese Miso, Tempeh and some cheeses are best.
The other good tip is to add a daily probiotic supplement to your diet.
You can buy good quality probiotics from most pharmacies. Simply pop one each day and you'll have a regular dose of the good stuff.

The other thing to keep in mind (and this is possibly the most important part) is when you are on a dose of antibiotics it's a good idea to up your intake of probiotics.
When we take a course of antibiotics the whole purpose is to kill off bacteria in our bodies that's causing us to be sick. The only thing with this is that antibiotics can't tell the difference between good and bad bacteria so they end up killing off both!
Probiotics ensure we are replacing the good and maintaining harmony in our gut.

Of course not all stomach problems can be fixed with the addition of probiotics to your diet. If you have ongoing or severe problems of course I recommend you speak to your doctor.

Do you take probiotics? Have you seen great results?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quest for perfection

Today I came across the story of Wang Bei, a young, talented and beautiful Chinese pop singer who died last month while going under the knife for facial bone-grinding surgery.
She was all of 24. 

During the surgery there was an 'anasthetic accident' that resulted in her jaw bleeding, in turn blocking her windpipe and causing her to suffocate to death.

So why would such a young and already beautiful girl feel the need to undertake such a procedure?
These days being in the public eye seems to mean leaving yourself open to criticism and pressure to be 'perfect'. 
Crazy huh?! Well, seeing there really is no such thing as 'perfect' in my opinion, yes!
Nevertheless, millions of men and women go under the knife each and every year, risking their lives in the quest for perfection. 
According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery the US rates at the top of the list for number of procedures performed, followed closely by Brazil and China.

We have all followed the transformations of celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Pamela Anderson, Jocelyn Wildenstein, Mickey Rourke and more recently Heidi Montag. Fresh faced stars who succumbed to the 'celebrity pressure' of being perfect.

As our life expectancy increases, 'celebrity expectancy' decreases. I mean, more often than not these days once you hit 40 you are considered over the hill in TV and movie land. Pretty ridiculous huh!
Not only that, what was previously only available to the rich and famous is now readily available to most of us. Botox parties in the comfort of your own home and cheap surgery in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil and Mexico. It's only getting easier for us to change our looks. 

What scares me the most is what's to come. What the hell are we going to be like in another 20 years?
I only hope more of us stand up and say no to changing what we were born with.
We need to learn to love ourselves and the crows feet, saggy skin and saddlebags that come with it.
Sure, we'd all like to keep the body we had in our early 20s but that ain't reality. 

Let's just hope with stories like Wang Bei's more people stop to consider whether it's really worth it...

What's your stand on plastic surgery?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thought for today

Ok, now I don't want to go too much into the whole Oprah phenomenon thing because I'm sure we've all well and truly had more than our fair share of her over the past couple of weeks...

One thing however that I would like to share with you is something that I read on Sarah Wilson's blog this morning that was mentioned at yesterday's screening of the Oprah show. After the cameras stopped rolling Oprah mentioned something to the audience that had an effect on Sarah and has really resonated with me as well.

“Live your life on purpose”

It's funny this post came along when it did for me. I had actually planned on writing an entry on 'living in the moment' in the next few days and then bam, along came this! Funny how things work like that...

Living your life on purpose is adding significance to everything you do, living in the now and treasuring each and every moment that we are given. Tell those you love what is on your mind, do things with passion and meaning.

The best way for me to describe this is imagine you are in a kayak, paddling downstream, heading towards your destination.  Along the way you come across strong currents pulling you in a certain direction, twigs poking out from the banks of the river and rocks blocking your path.
What many of us find we end up doing is sitting back and watching the trees and houses on the shore go by, going with the flow.
But what happens when we come across one of these obstacles? Do we just sit there, not paying attention to where we are being taken? Or do we use our paddle to steer the kayak in the direction we want to head?  
For me, I know that more often than not I just sit back and see where things take me, I find I just go along with life, wishing away the days and counting down to the next day off work.

So thanks to this reality check I am going to make sure I really think today. I am going to be grateful for today, I am going to add some sort of meaning to everything I do. And hopefully, this will be something that will stay with me so that the next time Monday rolls around I wake up looking forward to another day at work, a chance for me to achieve something and make something of my day.

What will you do today to live your life on purpose?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cleaning things up

So after doing quite a bit of reading on just how 'dirty' the majority of make-up, skin and hair care products out there are and the effect they are having on our health I have made a decision to start to 'clean up' my bathroom cabinet.

Now when I say dirty I don't mean collecting dust in the cupboard for years or covered in sunscreen from the tube that leaked a couple of months ago in your bag. I mean riddled with chemicals - poisons!

Don't get me wrong, I'm no underarm hair-growing, bra-less hippy. I do however care about what I put in my mouth and therefore I should care about what goes on my skin. I mean, skin is our largest organ and all of those chemicals we're layering on to stop wrinkles or smooth out fly-aways are being absorbed straight into our bodies. In fact did you know that putting chemicals on your skin is actually worse than ingesting them? When you put something in your mouth the enzymes in your saliva break them down but when you put something onto your skin it in fact gets absorbed directly!

Ok, before you freak out and bin everything that has ingredients too difficult to even pronounce let's just take a breath.
If you're anything like me, there's no way you could afford to replace everything you use all at once. I mean I am a product junkie! I love make-up, skin and hair care and I would hate to think how much I have spent on products in the past...
The trick here is to start to get informed and take it one step at a time.
That's what I'm going to do anyway.

So how do I get informed you ask?
Well there's loads of resources online as well as books to help guide you through cleaning up your cabinet.
I have just purchased a great book written by two girls based in the US who were exactly like you and I,  until they discovered the multitude of nasties hiding in our daily creams, lotions and potions.
No More Dirty Looks is written by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt and looks into the truth about your beauty products. They give some easy to read info on what to look out for and great recommendations on products out there that are the clean alternative. Check out their blog too.
Another couple of great websites to check out are Safe Cosmetics and Good Guide.

So I'm sure you'll be hearing lots more from me in the months to come on my journey to clean up my skincare and make-up.

I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on clean make-up and skincare.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Omega-3 fatty acids - what are they you ask, and why should I be so interested in something that sounds like it's as good for me as a trip to KFC?

Also known as linolenic fatty acids, our bodies require omega 3s for physical development and overall health and well being.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
Not only that, a diet rich in omega-3 can result in the improvement of skin conditions such as dandruff and eczema, or dry, brittle nails and dull hair.
Personally I have found that my skin has become clearer and brighter when I make sure I am having an adequate amount of omega-3 in my diet.

Unlike other nutrients, our bodies can't make omega-3s so we need to make sure we eat the right kind of foods to get an adequate amount.
Adding omega-3 rich foods such as linseeds, fish, chia seeds and omega-3 added eggs (that's right, look out for free-range eggs in your nearest supermarket with the benefit of added omega-3!) is imperative to a healthy diet.

While getting the nutrient direct from the source is usually best, many people find adding a fish oil supplement to their diet can also benefit. Fish oil either comes in a liquid or tablet form. I personally like the liquid form as you have to take far less to get the full recommended dosage in comparison to the tablets.

Try adding some into your diet and let me know how you go!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

All things beautiful... December

I just love these gorgeous reusable fabric wall decals from lovemaestore.

Perfect for adding a bit of imagination in your kids bedroom or for decorating a special baby's room. Not only are they totally cute but they're very practical as they're both removable and reusable.

Some of the larger ones are a little pricey but there is a wide variety of sizes and designs for those on a tighter budget.

What do you think? Have you used wall decals before?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Avoiding Christmas stress

A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to finish my Christmas shopping by the 1st December this year. All in good time to avoid the packed car parks, long queues and last minute indecision.

Having 3 families to buy for, including 7 nieces and nephews, I'm sure you can understand where I am coming from.

So isn't Christmas meant to be about spending time with family, giving to those you love (or those less fortunate than ourselves) and sitting back to relax and eat ourselves silly?
Then why does it seem these days it's all about one thing - stress?!

Maybe it's as I get older I seem to notice this more. Or perhaps it's the hectic lives we are all now living.
One thing's for sure is that we all need to take a step back and think about what this time of year is truly about.

Easier said than done you say?
I guess it can seem that way.

A few pieces of advice that I can give to anyone out there dreading the next few weeks instead of looking forward to the silly season is to try to be organised, avoid any last minute shopping rushes if possible, make lists of things you need to do/buy instead of getting to the shops and leaving empty handed with a killer headache, and make sure you make time to enjoy spending time with family and friends.

So now we've hit the 8th December and have I finished my shopping like I said I would? Well, I'm almost there... I can't bare the thought of heading back to the shops again so I might just have do do some last minute shopping on the net to help save my sanity!

How do you deal with stress at this time of year?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Add some spice to your life!

Time to add a little spice to your life?

Spices not only add amazing flavour to your food but did you know some have great health benefits as well?

Here's a list of a few that are great additions to your diet. Give them a go and see what you think!

Studies have shown that by adding as little as 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to our daily diets can lower our LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, as well as having a regulatory effect on our blood sugar levels, making it especially beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. 
Try adding some to your morning porridge, yoghurt or smoothie. 

A winner when it comes to the relief of nausea and digestive problems. Not only that, it also helps improve circulation and aids in arthritis pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Feeling a little run down? Add some ginger to your diet to relieve symptoms of colds.
Ginger not only tastes great in stir fries but also as a tea (just add a little honey/agave nectar and fresh lemon).

Only recently have I discovered that tumeric not only adds wonderful colour and flavour to your food but it also has an anti-inflammatory effect, making it beneficial for sufferers of many auto-immune diseases. Add some to curries, scrambled eggs and marinades.

This little herb helps with digestive issues as well as being a good source of fibre, helping with constipation. Add some whole or ground cumin into BBQ sauces or marinades, to stir fies, or stews.

Oregano is known to have strong antiviral and antibacterial properties that help to improve respiratory health and strengthen the immune system. Most of us have probably used oregano in our cooking from time to time. Try adding some to pasta sauces, on home made pizzas, or on salads.

What are some of your favourite spices to use in cooking?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Summer's here!

Yes, this update is a day late, but for all of you out there I'm sure you hear me when I say Hallelujah to it finally being Summer!!!
Although you might not know it here in Melbourne at the moment with the constant rain recently, and more storms on the way mind you!

What am I looking forward to this Summer? Christmas holidays, sunshine, catching up with friends over some nice afternoon wine time, sleep-ins, enjoying my newly landscaped garden, balmy mornings and warm nights, walks after dinner, visits to the beach, did I mention sunshine?.... and the list goes on....

So bring on that Christmas cheer people, life is good!

What are you looking forward to this Summer?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thai Prawn Salad

So yesterday I wasn't feeling the best due to a yukky little head cold that's been going around.
To cheer me up hubby made me a surprise dinner - I know, lucky girl!
Now, when I get made a surprise dinner it's always pretty damn good I must say. He pays such attention to detail and always presents things beautifully.

So I just had to show you the beautiful meal that he served up.
It's gluten free, healthy and best of all delish!
Definitely try to give it a whirl - for anyone that likes thai inspired food you will love it!

Thai Prawn Salad 
Ingredients (serves 2)
250 grams flat rice noodles
300-350 grams cooked prawns, peeled and deveined
50 grams snow peas, ends trimmed
1 long red chilli, deseeded and sliced lengthways
1/2 cup snow pea sprouts
2 spring onions, thinly sliced in lengths
1 bunch coriander leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
1 lime, juiced
1/ Place noodles and whole snow peas in 2 separate bowls and cover each in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and run under cold water. Slice snow peas lengthways
2/ Combine noodles, snow peas, chillies, spring onions, prawns, snow pea sprouts and coriander in bowl
3/ Mix together sweet chilli sauce and lime juice to make dressing
4/ Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Serve and enjoy!

Picapp Widget

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