Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is timing really everything when it comes to starting a family?


Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the influx of stories in the media discussing starting a family later in life and the implications many women are facing by pressing the pause button on having babies?

30 years ago, when my mother discovered she was having me, she felt as though she was too old to be having another child. She was 33.

Today, being pregnant with my first child at the age of 30, I feel like a fairly young-ish mother. While there are many women who chose to have children in their 20's, a growing number of women are leaving baby-making to their late 30's and even early-mid 40's.

So how exactly does leaving the business of baby-making until later in life affect not only the baby, but the mother? It seems the more common this practice is becoming, the more publicity the topic is getting in the media.

While some women are meeting their partners later in life, or some spending their 20's and 30's concentrating on their careers, many are left to wonder where their path has led them when it comes to starting a family of their own.
The number of couples turning to IVF is at an all time high, and many single women are opting for other means to secure their place in the line to become a mother. Freezing eggs is becoming more popular than ever, and not just for those women who are taking this option for medical reasons. Fertility clinics, charging between $10,000 and $14,000 per cycle, are offering women who are not yet ready to start a family due to personal reasons, a chance to freeze their eggs in the hope that they will meet their 'Mr Right' and he can help finish the process.

A couple of weeks back I read an article in The Age in which the Director of Monash IVF, Professor Gab Kovacs said 'women considering freezing their eggs for social reasons would be better off settling for ''Mr Not-Quite-Right'' as a father sooner rather than later'.
Professor Kovaks brings up a very interesting point here.
Should women who are wanting to have children simply 'settle'? Or is it that we're being too picky, looking for something that may not even be out there at all? Or perhaps the business of baby-making is a very complicated one at that, and all women have the right to chose when the time is right for them?

This topic certainly is a complicated one, yes.
Sure, it would make things so much more simple if we would all just pick-a-partner and and at a set time in or lives, around about our mid to late 20's I'd say, an in-built reminder goes off telling us it's time to make a baby.
However, how can we fit each and every woman out there into such a small box? Life is complicated.
Why should we feel as though we should settle for 'Mr Not-Quite-Right', just because we want to have a child some day. Surely an unhappy marriage wouldn't exactly lead to a happy, healthy upbringing for the children involved?!

While Mr Kovacs does bring up a good point, that perhaps many of us are leaving it until it's 'too late' to start our families, in my opinion the topic isn't just a simple as 'settling'.

One thing's for sure, it's a controversial topic. One that all women out there should take the time to think about. While we all have the right to chose when we want to start our families, there are issues that we all need to think about. Starting a family before our bodies take over and start telling us it may just be too late may not be for everyone, but it certainly is something we should all take into consideration.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Are you getting enough sun?


Thankfully, these days we are well aware of the damage the sun can cause us. From premature aging (or as my girlfriend and I like to call it - 'leather skin'!) to skin cancer, the picture that has been painted for us is pretty damn grim.
Nowadays many of us lather up the sunscreen and make sure we stay in the shade where possible on a daily basis.

But did you know that by avoiding the sun all together we may in fact be doing ourselves more harm than good?

You see the sun produces a lovely little thing called vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, is required for bone growth, and is essential for the human body to function properly.
Whilst you can get vitamin D from foods such as fish, dairy, margarine, ready-to-eat cereals, liver and beef, the best, most effective way to get your daily hit of vitamin D is simply by sitting out in the sun!

Now I'm not saying go and bake yourself on the beach for 5 hours until you start to resemble a lobster. Here in Australia (in the often not-so-sunny Melbourne) getting yourself around 10-15 minutes sunshine daily in Summer, and a little more (aim for 30-40 minutes) during Winter months is all you need. And even if it's just some rays on your legs and arms, that's all you need!
Sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 or greater will block UV rays that produce vitamin D so try to get your dose of sunshine before you lather up.

Just because I feel like I'm seriously lacking some vitamin D I'm heading off to Port Douglas this week!
7 whole days of sun, swimming, sleep and ice cream - I can't wait! :)
x

Thursday, October 27, 2011

All things beautiful... October


Being smack bang in the middle of renovations I have to be careful not to get too carried away just yet with decking out our nursery. Especially seeing it's currently our make-do bedroom/storage room for boxes...

But I can still plan!
And boy are there some gorgeous things out there for me to check out.

Seeing we're not finding out the sex of bubs-to-be, we have to make sure the nursery is kept neutral. 
We've decided to go for white furniture and we've found a beautiful cot and change table.

To help me get organised with all the things I need for changing bubs, I found this sweet paper rope change table set. You can buy it online at Mor Store and it comes in white so no need to worry about choosing pink or blue! Mor Store also has some other gorgeous storage ideas for the bathroom, laundry and living room.

Check them out and let me know what you think!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sweet weekend - how to read skincare labels


Making sense of labels on skincare when you're trying to 'clean up' your products can be totally confusing.
The majority of ingredients on many skincare products you'd find on your regular supermarket shelf are too difficult to even pronounce, let alone understand whether they're on the 'naughty' or 'nice' list.

Gorgeously Green recently discussed this very topic. And she has given some handy tips you can use when you're on your next product-shopping-spree:
  • Always keep in mind that ingredients are listed in descending order of concentration, beginning with the largest. On many products you will find the first ingredient is often something like water or oil. Fragrances and colours are usually last. 
  • Keep an eye out for terms used such as 'hypoallergenic', 'allergy-tested' and 'safe for sensitive skin'. The FDA doesn't require manufacturers to validate these claims so they're pretty meaningless. 
  • Other red flags to keep in mind are terms like 'Natural', 'Natural Ingredients', 'All-natural', 'Ultra-fine' or 'micro-fine'. Again, meaningless without certification.
  • Look for products that are hand-poured, and made in small batches as they tend to be fresher, therefore containing more active ingredients.
  • Keep a look out for products with one of the following third-party certifications: USDA, Soil Association (UK), ECOCERT (Europe), BDIH (Germany), AIAB (Italy).
  • A few ingredients to always look out for and avoid when purchasing new products include: parabens, petrochemicals, SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), fragrance and talc.
Sure, there are plenty more nasties that you may find hiding in your skincare, but learning all the bad guys can be a little overwhelming.
My tip is try to stick to the basics, as mentioned above.
Another favourite trick I have noticed many skincare companies using is 'organic'. Many people believe that just because a product is stocked in your local health food store and it has 'organic' on it, means that it must be ok.
Well, think again!
There's really no hard and fast rules for the use of this one either. A product may use organic coconut oil for instance, and so with the use of this (along with a multitude of other not-so-organic ingredients), they decide to plant the word 'organic' in bold on the front of their packaging. I'm sure we've all fallen for that old trick before!

If you're interested in learning more about cleaning up your skincare then I'd highly recommend reading 'No More Dirty Looks - The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics', a book written by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt. These girls also write a fab blog that's worth checking out!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's been a long time in between drinks... literally!


So after a very lengthy break from this blog I decided it best I pop back in and say hello.

Where have I been, you ask? Well, the past couple of months have been somewhat hectic for me, and I think a part of me got caught up in the madness of life and lost a bit of my passion for sharing my thoughts in this blog.

Last time I was here I had not long found out my husband had been diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis and I had made the decision to take a leap of faith and jump back into study, deciding to follow my passion for alternative health by studying Naturopathy. Not only that, but we decided to put our house on the market and we have bought a new home, in which we are living amoungst the mess of a renovation. And just to make things a little more interesting I was blessed with the amazing news that I was going to be a mum!

So this week I will be halfway through my pregnancy, which totally excites and scares me all at the same time. I can't believe how quickly the past 20 weeks have gone!
We are now in our new home, and I have started studying.
I really can't believe how much has happened this year.

So even with the madness of my life at the moment I am hoping I will once again have time to stop in and share my thoughts, dreams and learnings along the way...
x

Friday, July 1, 2011

Clean product review - Cinderella Multi Purpose Spray


Not only have I been busy cleaning out my bathroom cupboard, I have also started working on my laundry cupboard too. Thanks to some recipes sourced by my lovely sister, I have mixed up a great concoction to use on tiles, the bath and in the shower, as well as an ultra-simple toilet cleaner (more on these soon...)
Although I know vinegar is a great substitute for multi-purpose sprays, as well as floor and bench cleaners, I was on the hunt to see if I could find a store-bought multi-purpose spray that would do the trick and leave me with a fresh smelling bathroom and kitchen, without the nasty chemicals.

I purchased a bottle of Cinderella Multi Purpose Spray on Down to Earth Organics, but I have since heard that it can be bought in store at Leo's supermarkets, as well as other online stores.
Priced at around $6.50-$8 at most stores, it may be a little more on the expensive side compared to other supermarket sprays, but hey, it's far less toxic, so in my opinion it's worth the extra couple of dollars!

The Cinderella line of cleaning products are made from
'renewable, plant based resources, with no ammonia, phosphates, petrochemicals or animal products. They work hard and once finished with are biodegraded quickly (9x faster than standard surfactants) so they don't irritate the environment. Food grade colours provide their funky, fun colours allowing the products to quietly fade away after you have finished with them and the bottles are made out the most recyclable plastic PET.'

The multi purpose spray has a lovely minty smell to it. Kind of a just-brushed-your-teeth smell.
Not only does it smell nice, but I have found it works really well as a general cleaning spray.
I have used it on my bench tops, bathroom sinks and cupboards and anywhere else I would normally use a multi purpose spray.

When it comes to removing the difficult stuff like grime in the shower, baked on grease in the kitchen, and other stains on bench tops I honestly can't say that it works wonders. But that's only because I haven't used it for anything 'hard-to-remove' just yet!

As a general, all-rounder I think it's great. Plus, I have to say the smell is my favourite bit :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sweet weekend - Taking a leap...


This year I have made a lot of changes.
I am more dedicated than ever to eating a healthy, nutritious diet, I have cleaned out most of my bathroom and laundry cupboards, replacing my old, chemical-ridden products with clean, non-toxic ones, and I have become a runner (something which has possibly surprised me most of all!)

These positive, healthy changes in my life have led me to thinking a lot about my career and living a life that fulfills my passions.

I currently work in recruitment at a university in Melbourne. I have worked in education and marketing for a number of years now and when I look back at how I got into this field I feel as though I have just fallen into my career in a way. One job led onto another, and then another after that.

If you're a regular reader of this blog you would probably know just how passionate I am about nutrition, health and well being.
I love reading, watching and learning. The passion I have for these areas has been something that has acted as a burning fire in my belly. I love learning all I can. That desire is something I feel very strongly about.

So after much research, soul searching, and a little trepidation along the way, I have decided to take a leap. I am enrolling in a course to become a Naturopath.
I am excited, nervous and apprehensive all at the same time.

I am going to learn even more about how I can use holistic medicine to heal and nurture myself, my friends and family, and hopefully one day my very own patients.

Stayed tuned for what is sure to be more of what I am learning along this very new and exciting path in my life...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reading the signs


I'm not talking about the signs you pass in your car as you drive along the road, on your way to work each morning. I mean the kind the universe throws at you, in it's attempt to make you stop and think.

More often than not we totally miss most of them, caught up in busy lifestyles, running after kids, working long hours.
The thing is, when we are really in tune with ourselves and what's happening around us we can learn to read the signs and in turn change the path that we are on.

Sometimes signs can easily go unnoticed. Like a topic, or name of someone who's been mentioned in conversation with others on a number of occasions. Sometimes signs come at you like a speeding train, kicking the crap out of you because you simply didn't listen the first time.
Sarah Wilson talked about how she reads signs a while back. She says they come to her in threes. She mentions how the name of her meditation teacher came up in conversations with three different people and so she booked in to go see him. Best thing she'd done in a while. She knew her body was telling her she needed to go see him.

Signs don't have to come in threes. It may be that you've been thinking about how much you need to book in for a check-up at the dentist, and the very same day you overhear a work colleague on the phone making an appointment with their dentist.

Signs aren't always obvious.

When I was first diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis I didn't understand why I had gotten so sick. I was young. I thought I looked after myself.
It's only now, years later, that I realise just how wrong I was.
I had run myself into the ground. I was partying hard (I was 21 at the time), had gone through a terribly emotional break-up with my boyfriend at the time, and my diet left a lot to be desired.
I had totally ran myself into the ground.
Then I got sick. I was depressed, exhausted, overweight, and I didn't even realise what was going on. I wasn't in tune with my body.
Looking back, I know that this was why I got sick. There were probably 50 signs along the way that could've told me so!
If I had've looked after myself this may not have happened. If I had've taken the ongoing illnesses, weight gain and depression as a sign, it may have been a different story.
But it did. And I now look at it as a blessing in disguise.
I now eat well, exercise, and look after my body. I feel better now, at 30, than I did at 21!
With age, comes maturity, and with that comes a deeper understanding of reading the signs. Listening to what your body, or what the universe, is telling you.

Last week my husband was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. It had come on suddenly. A month earlier he seemed fine. He was running with me and eating a fairly balanced diet. Yet he had been run down, stressed and after a bout of gastro, followed by a cold, along came the joint pain.
He has always been prone to sickness. Around the age of 18 he had glandular fever. After that, he seemed to get one illness after another.
Now, I'm not saying that if he had've read the signs that he may not have gotten sick, we'll never know that. But auto-immune illnesses, including thyroid disease and various types of arthritis, can often come on when your body is under stress, when you've run yourself into the ground.

Right now, we are looking at ways to heal him and get him back to normal.
I think he realises that he now, more than ever, needs to look after his body, listen to it when it tells him he needs to sleep more, stress less and eat well.
I think it has also made me realise just how much we need to learn to read the signs and listen to our bodies.

Do you read the signs or do you keep cruising along, on autopilot, unaware of what's going on?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Product review - Love Y'Hair Natural Shampoo and Conditioner


Like many so called 'organic' or 'all natural' products out there, one thing I have noticed throughout my clean product hunting over the past few months has been just how much companies try to fool us.
And unfortunately many of all fall for their tricks.
One sure fire way to make sure you're actually buying something clean is to check out the ingredients.
If a product doesn't even have the ingredients listed on the back of their packaging that's a big no-no for me and I put it straight back on the shelf.
If the list is a lengthy one, with many difficult-to-pronounce ingredients on there, again I am a little hesitant with making a purchase.

When I came across Love Y'Hair Shampoo and Conditioner I was really impressed with their ingredient list:
Shampoo
- organic coconut oil
- coconut betaine
- glycerine
- coconut DEA (vegetable)
- BNPD preservative
- citric acid
- sodium chloride
- aloe vera extract
- perfume FD + C
- chamomile extract

- essential oils
Conditioner
- organic coconut oil
- cetearyl alcohol
- glycerine stearate
- chamomile extract
- citric acid
- aloe vera extract
- perfume FD + C
- essential oils

That's 11 ingredients in total in the shampoo, and only 8 in the conditioner. And I can actually pronounce all of them!
Usually I do try to avoid perfumes in things, especially seeing you don't actually know what they contain, and what effects they have on the body. But check out this list compared to the below one. These are the ingredients of one of the most popular shampoos on the market, possibly one that many of us have used in the past... let's hope no longer!

- Water
- Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
- Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
- Sodium Chloride
- Dimethicone
- Glycol Distearate
- Cetyl Alcohol
- Cocamide MEA
- Panthenol
- Panthenyl Ethyl Ether
- Lysine HCl
- Methyl Tyrosinate HCl
- Histidine
- Fragrance
- Polyquaternium 10
- Sodium Citrate
- Hydrogenated Polydecene
- Sodium Benzoate
- Disodium EDTA
- Trimethylolpropane
- Tricaprylate/Tricaprate
- Citric Acid
- Ammonium Xylenesulfonate
- Methylchloroisothiazolinone
- Methylisothiazolinone

Just a little different, no?

So now that we know the ingredients of Love Y'Hair are looking pretty damn clean compared to some others on the supermarket shelf, do they actually work well?

Well, I've been using them for a few months now and I have to say that while it took my hair a couple of weeks to adjust, I think my hair is in just as good, if not better condition as it was before going-clean.
The one major difference I guess I have seen is that it gets a little tangled and knotty (I have a lot of hair, and it's really long too) so I have to give it a good brush when I get out of the shower. The conditioner at first feels as though it's doing nothing, especially after you're used to the rich chemical-filled ones that make your hair feel like silk straight after putting it in. But given time, and patience with brushing, I'm pretty happy with the results.

One tip I will give you all of you out there wanting to change to a cleaner shampoo and conditioner is to give it time. You hair will need to adjust.
And another important thing is to remember it's not only what you put on your hair that will make a difference in it's condition, it's what you put in your body!
Make sure you eat lots of whole foods, including plenty of fruit and vegetables, water, and Omega-3 rich foods as this will really help.

Have you found a great clean shampoo and conditioner you'd like to recommend?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sweet long weekend - 5 tips for beating the winter blues


Winter is here, and if you're living in Melbourne like me you'll be feeling the change in weather, this week especially. Freeeeezing temperatures, rain, hail, wind and more rain. It's enough to make you pack up and move up north!
Winter time brings colds, flu and a general down-in-the-dumps feeling for many of us. We hibernate. Many of us find mornings the hardest, getting out of bed when it's oh-do-warm curled up under the doona.
So how do we beat those winter blues?

1. Up the exercise 
I am loving my running, and running in the rain too. But this week's been a hard one. It's rained almost every day, and freezing temperatures, accompanied by a lovely steady downpour isn't exactly for me. I'm up early during the week for work and so late afternoons is my running time. My time to relax and unwind. But when the weather is horrid I struggle to get out there.
If you're fortunate enough to have a gym membership or an indoor pool nearby how about opting for something like that?
Yoga is a wonderful activity for those winter months too. And you can even try practising it at home if leaving the house is out of the question.
Exercise releases a hormone-like substance called endorphins.
Ever felt that rush of joy and positivity after an intense gym workout or run? Well, that's the endorphins working! The rush of endorphins can be so intense that they can actually mimic pain-killers!

2. Increase your fruit and veg intake 
Colder weather can make us crave comfort food.
It's easy to eat crap at this time of the year. I mean, chocolate makes us feel good... for a few minutes maybe. Then we experience a sugar crash and feel even more shit than before.
Instead of reaching for something sweet, or loaded with saturated fats, try to up your fruit and veg intake and see how that makes you feel.
Sure, salads might not sound too appealing to some at this time of the year, but how about making soups, or yummy winter stews? I love making veggie soup. Using a slow cooker if a good idea too, if you have one.
Just throw in all the left over veggies floating around in the bottom of your fridge, anything goes.
It saves wastage and helps you get in all the good vitamins and nutrients your body needs at this time of year.
My other favourite way to up my fruit and veg intake is to add in green smoothies for brekkie (more on these soon...) They're a quick and easy way to start your day off on a good note and they taste awesome!
Making sure you eat a balanced diet, filled with plenty of fruit and veg, throughout the colder months will help give you a boost of energy, make it (slightly) easier to get going in the morning when you're freezing your arse off, and help keep those colds and flu at bay. Not only that, but it will help avoid putting on those dreaded Winter-time kilos that we then have to work oh-so-hard to get rid of before Summer hits.

3. Drink more water
Sounds simple enough but it's true that many of us struggle with our water intake during the winter months. Water helps to flush out our system and keep us hydrated. Just because we don't necessarily sweat as much at this time of year doesn't mean we don't need to drink water.
Aiming for 2 litres a day is a good place to start. But really, drinking when you feel thirsty is a good place to start.
I ditched soft drink a few months back and so water (or the occasional glass of red) is my preferred drink. Try to have a glass or two with each meal and you'll have reached a couple of litres before you know it.
A great way to start the day is by adding some lemon into a nice big glass of hot water. This gets the body working and helps to keep you regular.

4. Get some sun (while you still can!)
Ok, so there may be fewer opportunities to soak up some sun at this time of the year, but when it does come out, get out there and enjoy!
Did you know that a large percentage of us are deficient in Vitamin D?
When our bodies have significantly low level of Vitamin D we tend to feel more tired and depressed. Not only can increasing our Vitamin D intake improved this, but it is also imperative for strengthening our bones and improving our immune system.

5. Make sure you get enough sleep
Hibernation in Winter often leads to sleep. And more sleep.
I mean, what else is there to do when it's so cold out there?!
Sleep is good! It helps our bodies rest and restore.
7-8 hours is a good amount to aim for. Any less and we run ourselves down and become more susceptible to colds and flu. Any more and we may actually feel more tired than before!
Try not to oversleep too much at this time of year. Maybe instead of sleeping half the day away, opt for snuggling up in bed with a warm cup of tea and a good book... Rest has no time limits!

Look after yourself  and your body will look after you in turn.

What are your tips for staying healthy and happy during winter?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Food Matters

I love watching docos. Especially those on health and nutrition.
Last weekend I watched 'Food Matters'.
I made my hubby sit and watch it with me too... although I think his slight lack of interest may have contributed to him dozing off on the couch next to me :)


For anyone who is interested in their health and what they're putting in their mouth (this list should include all of us!) I highly recommend you watch.
The film talks about the effect food has on our health and the correlation between poor nutrition and disease and illnesses.

I got my DVD on ebay but you could also try amazon or you may be able to stream some of the film on youtube.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Are you a mindful eater?


Are you a watching-the-TV-while-eating-dinner kinda person, or do you sit at the table with your loved ones, truly present in the moment, finding out about everyone's day and enjoying what you're putting in your mouth?

I have to admit I'm guilty here when it comes to 'mindless eating'.
I eat my lunch at my desk most days. And I eat dinner in front of the TV much of the time.

So what's the big deal you may ask? I mean, I love watching the TV while eating dinner. And I find I can get more done at work if I eat at my desk.

Well, when we multi-task while eating we're not truly present, in the moment. We don't think about what we're putting in our mouth and we often are too distracted to pay attention to the sensation of 'feeling full'. Thus leading to overeating and bloating. Hello, entire block of chocolate, or whole pack of chips totally devoured! Maybe next time try switching the box off and having something to eat while sitting at the dining table, or outside in the fresh air. See how it makes you feel, how you enjoy the food you're eating, and the amount you end up eating.

Not only can mindful eating help you keep those extra kilos at bay, but it has also been shown to help reduce stress, improve digestion and allow you to thoroughly enjoy each and every bite that goes in your mouth.
And you know what? It means that instead of sitting in a silent trance while watching your favourite TV show, you can connect with the family and be thankful for the day that has been.

Are you a mindful eater?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sweet weekend - DIY whipped shea butter


Part 2 of my DIY skin care products is a lovely rich whipped shea butter.

If you're like me and you suffer from really dry skin you'll know how important it is to moisturise after your shower. We concentrate so much on cleansing, toning, exfoliating and moisturing our face, but much of the time we skip looking after the rest of our body.

My top tips for keeping your skin smooth and moisturised is to body brush on a regular basis (at least 3 times a week), drink plenty of water, and moisturise after every shower.
Especially in Winter.
During Winter we tend to drink less water and have hotter showers. Put simply, this dehydrates our skin.

When I use moisturiser on my body I usually go for a rich body butter as I find these really do the trick for me.


Here's what I put into my DIY body butter:


250 grams unrefined shea butter (more on shea soon...)
1 tsp jojoba oil
1 tsp vitamin e oil 
10 or so drops of essential oil (I used orange and lavender but anything goes really)


1/ Put shea butter in heat-proof bowl and, using a saucepan underneath, use a double boiler method to gently melt the shea butter over a low heat.
2/ Once butter is melted, remove from heat and cool slightly.
3/ Add oils and using a hand mixer, whip the mixture for around 5-10 minutes.
4/ To help speed the cooling process and help the butter whip better, place the bowl into the freezer for 5 mins or so.
5/ Repeat the whipping and freezing process until mixture gets light and fluffy like whipped cream. You will notice that the mixture gets harder to mix and it starts clinging to the mixer.
6/ Add essential oils and mix through gently.
7/ Spoon into container.

The mixture is best to use within a month as there are no preservatives added in there. Store it in a cool, dry place, like your bathroom cupboard.

So what was the result?

Well, let's just say the first lot I made, a couple of months ago now, was a bit of a flop.
I didn't heat the shea butter totally and so I ended up with a grainy consistency that took forever and a day to rub in.
The second lot was better. But I still found it didn't really whip to a fluffy consistency.
Last week I made another lot and it worked great! I think I didn't beat it for long enough the second time.
Making sure I melted the shea butter until it was totally liquefied was a key factor in getting rid of the grainy bits in the shea butter.

My skin is feeling really smooth and moisturised, and, although initially there is a slightly greasy feeling on the skin as soon as it's applied, after an hour or so it absorbs totally into the skin.
As the ingredients are all natural it is non-comedogenic, meaning no-blocked pores!

Overall, a really great result. It works out pretty cheap too, much cheaper than many other body butters out there. And best of all it's squeaky clean on the chemical front!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sweet weekend - is natural always better?


Last week I posted about artificial sweeteners and just how bad some of them are for us.

For those of you who prefer to go a-la-natural when it comes to adding sweetness in the kitchen, you may find the below run-down on natural alternatives interesting.

Agave syrup - Up until recently I had heard good things about agave syrup. With a low glycemic index (Low GI) this all-natural sweetener has been publicised as a great alternative for diabetics.
The reality however is that most agave syrups in fact have a higher fructose content than any other sweeteners out there, even higher than high fructose corn syrup (read more about just how bad HFCS is here).

Raw honey - raw organic honey is just about as close to 'natural' as you can get when it comes to adding sweetness to your cooking. It tastes great too. I wouldn't however recommend going overboard with this one (and if you're off the sugar then I would of course give this a miss all together) as it does raise your blood sugar level and it is higher in calories than white sugar.

Organic Maple Syrup - contains fewer calories and more minerals than honey. A good source of magnanese and zinc, organic maple syrup has a lovely rich, earthy taste. Great in tea or on porridge.

Brown Rice Syrup - Made by culturing brown rice with enzymes, brown rice syrup is 52% maltotriose, 45% maltose and 3% glucose. Can sometimes be used in sweetening drinks like rice milk.

Stevia - I mentioned this one in my post about artificial sweeteners. Stevia is a natural sweetener that is 250-450 times sweeter than sugar. Although it is naturally derived, it is still early days when it comes to known effects of this sweetener. 

Xylitol - Although the name doesn't exactly sound 'natural', xylitol has roughly the same level of sweetness as sugar and is made by fermenting xylose, which is a sugar found in the embryos of most edible plants. It is converted to glucose by our livers, so ultimately it looks like there are no ill effects on humans. 


Fruit - possibly the most natural of them all. Adding fruit to your diet can give you just the hit of sugar that you need. Whether it be dried, stewed or fresh, fruit tastes great when added to smoothies, on cereal or porridge, or in salads (think pear or mango in a salad... mmmm).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Beauty Detox Solution


I first came across Kimberly Snyder's blog a few weeks ago and from the moment I started reading I couldn't stop.

Kimberly is a Clinical Nutritionist. She's travelled the world to research a variety health and beauty practices from different cultures.
She now works with clients (including many celebs) to help them incorporate a holistic approach to heal the body, increase energy and achieve optimum health, beauty and balance in life.
She believes in consuming a diet of enzyme-rich foods, as close to their natural state as possible, to increase the body's alkalinity.

I have to say I was impressed. Kimberly knows her stuff and she has such a positive outlook on health and lifestyle.

After trawling her blog for a few days I had to go ahead and order her book.
So far I'm only about a quarter of the way through but I love it already. Over the next few weeks I'm sure to be sharing some of what I have learnt through my blog and hopefully she'll inspire you to start living a cleaner, greener, sweeter life!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup


The weather is getting colder (especially if you're living in Melbourne!) and with the reintroduction of the Winter woolies comes yummy Winter food. And what better cold-weather food than soup!

Check out this delicious recipe I came across and made for dinner the other night. Really easy, and good enough that even my pumpkin-hating husband ate it (and actually enjoyed it)!

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup
Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
300-400g pumpkin, diced
200-300g sweet potato, diced
4 or 5 cups vegetable stock 
1 can coconut milk/coconut cream (see why I always use the full-fat stuff)
Salt and pepper

Method
1/ Heat oil in large saucepan and fry off onion, garlic and ginger for 3 or 4 minutes, or until onion is translucent
2/ Add pumpkin and sweet potato and stir through for another minute
3/ Add stock and bring to the boil
4/ Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until pumpkin and sweet potato are soft
5/ Let cool slightly and use stick blender to blend
6/ Once consistency is smooth, add can coconut milk and slowly heat through without bringing to the boil
6/ Add salt and pepper to taste

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sweet weekend - Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Happy weekend lovelies!
Check out this video I came across. An interesting watch indeed...



x

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The pill debate


When the birth control pill was introduced back in the early 1960's it gave women a sense of freedom.
We were finally able to call the shots on when we wanted to have our families.
Since it's introduction it has been prescribed to woman all over the world as a means to fix excruciating period pain, regulate otherwise erratic cycles, improve acne, and assist in the symptoms of illnesses including endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
It was the miracle women were looking for.
It wasn't until years later however that the side effects of the pill became apparent to many of us. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), stroke, heart attack, migraines, depression and low libido. Thanks to medical advice however, the positive effects outweighed the bad.

I went on the pill when I was around 16. I had suffered from irregular cycles (sometimes going almost a year without a period) and when they did come, they were horribly painful. At the time, the only option appeared to be going on the pill. I remained on it for many years, having a short break from it when I was around 21. Around that time, I got sick. After months of not knowing what was wrong with me I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease, and, only months later, polycystic ovaries. So I was advised to go back on the pill and over the next few months it yet again helped to mask the symptoms of my illnesses.

A few years later, in my late twenties, I decided to take a break from the pill. I knew that it felt abnormal to be on it for so long but I had always read about the positives of being on it. I had no idea the ill effects it was in fact having on my body.

It took me a while to get a regular cycle back. The funny thing was that all along my lengthy cycles were due to my illnesses, something that was fixed with medication for my thyroid.
Although I now have regular cycles, I still suffer from painful periods but instead of falling for the quick-fix-it that is the pill, I am trying alternatives to fix the problem, rather than just masking it.

Last week Nat from The Pagoda Tree posted a very interesting piece on the pill and her side of the debate. Nat is a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist. She sees women on a daily basis who are facing fertility issues. The pill is something Nat feels very passionately about and she will be talking more about it on her blog.

Now don't get me wrong, I do believe that to pill is of great benefit to many women out there who suffer from painful periods and other illnesses as mentioned above. In my opinion however, it is not a long term solution. It's highly unlikely that if you have gone on the pill in the first place for pain, acne or irregularity, these issues will simply be gone when you come off it. We are purely masking the problem, or, as Nat has put it, putting a massive band-aid over the uterus and leaving it there until it's time to have babies!

Where do you stand on the pill? I would love to know your thoughts!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The sweet debate - is faking it ok?


Up until a few months ago I was a Diet Coke or Coke Zero drinker.
I had always avoided 'real Coke' as I knew just how much sugar was in it (10 teaspoons in a single can, to be exact!) but I never really knew just how bad for me the low calorie alternative was.

Diet soft drinks like Coke Zero and Diet Coke contain a mix of potentially harmful sweeteners, including aspartame, which is in fact being investigated by the National Cancer Institute for a potential link to brain cancer. Not only that, but a recent study undertaken in the US found that people who drank diet soft drink every day were 48% more likely to suffer a stroke or other vascular illness over a nine-year span, compared with people who didn't drink any soft drink.
In fact, did you know that Coke Zero was even banned in Venezuela due to potential health risks?!

This stuff is addictive. I know people who drink can after can each and every day. Funny thing is that they think they're doing their body good by opting for the sugar-free stuff when they'd probably be better off choosing the full-sugar stuff!

These days artificial sweeteners are in everything. From cakes and biscuits, to chewing gum, to chocolate, to dairy, to beverages. If you're not familiar with the different sweeteners out there, both good and bad, here's a quick guide to go by:

Aspartame - also known as Equal or NutraSweet. As already mentioned this is the worst kind of sweetener out there. Simply put - avoid at all costs.

Sucralose - 600 times sweeter than sugar, you may be familiar with sucralose in the form of Splenda. The chemical process used to make sucralose includes the use of chlorine which may cause skin irritations and headaches. Sucralose is the 'new kid on the block' when it comes to artificial sweeteners. Canada was the first nation to approve its use in the early 90's. As it stands, there has been very little in the way of testing of this artificial sweetener. With its long term safety still being unknown, it's best to avoid this one as well. In fact, testing undertaken on animals showed that it resulted in many health issues including aborted pregnancies, extension of the pregnancy period, enlarged liver and kidneys, reduced growth rate... and the list goes on.
Enough said.

Stevia - a natural sweetener that is 250-450 times sweeter than sugar. Although it is naturally derived, it is still early days when it comes to known effects of this sweetener. Some studies have suggested it can lead to male reproductive problems, and can interfere with metabolism. A better than alternative than aspartame, perhaps, but we're still in slightly murky water with this one...

Xylitol - with roughly the same level of sweetness as sugar, this sweetener is made by fermenting xylose, which is a sugar found in the embryos of most edible plants. It is converted to glucose by our livers, so ultimately it looks like there are no ill effects on humans. This is my personal choice of sweetener, it's fairly good in coffee and when baking.

What's your thoughts on artificial sweeteners?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Why bananas aren't the bad guy I once thought they were


Back in my low-carb dieting days I avoided foods like potatoes, rice, pasta and bananas like the plague. In a way, my opinion of these foods was forever tainted. I would fear that too much of them would lead to weight gain, and so for a long time I avoided them altogether.

Now, I’m not saying that I’ve had a sudden change of heart and now I live on these foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have however learnt to enjoy them in moderation. And I know what my body likes and what it doesn’t. Take pasta for example. Regular pasta makes me feel bloated, where as gluten free isn't so bad. So when I do have a craving for some pasta I simply choose the right type.

There was one food on the no-go list that I found sat really oddly with me when I started to cut them out. Bananas.
Sure, they are higher in sugar than some other fruits, but they’re fruit - surely they can’t be that bad, right?   

Well, like anything we eat, of course you don’t want to eat 10 bananas each and every day. But, stealing an old saying from the trusty apple - a ‘nana a day keeps the doctor away!

Bananas are super rich in potassium. Potassium is key when it comes to building muscle, preventing fluid retention, regulating blood pressure and aiding in heart and kidney function. Not only that but they are awesome at filling you up! Research shows that just 2 bananas alone provide enough fuel for a strenuous 90 minute workout!

Bananas are also high in iron (good for those who are prone to suffering from anaemia), high in fibre (helping to keep you regular), and help to beat depression (that’s because they contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier).

Not only that but they are a great addition to your morning smoothie, and they make a great sweet-alternative to reaching for that chocky bar!

I loooove them (if you can't already tell!) and I don't think I'll be going back to my old opinion of them now I know just how many health benefits they have!

Monday, May 9, 2011

I did it!


Yesterday I did it... I completed my very first fun-run! And I have to say, after some morning tummy-churning nerves, once I started, I think the adrenalin of it all urged me on, even up a somewhat endless hill early into the second kilometre.

I ran the whole way, next to my Mum. And we crossed the finish line hand in hand.
We had a blast, and felt so great afterwards.

I'm already planning my next run :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sweet weekend - why Mums are the best


This weekend we celebrate our mums.
All they do for us and have given us. Mums are selfless and always put others before themselves.

This mother's day I will be running in the Mother's Day Classic with my Mum. It's something we've both wanted to do for a while.

My Mum is an inspiration. She is amazing, and I owe her so much.

Happy Mother's Day Mum, I love you very, very much!
xxx

Friday, May 6, 2011

In the garden - carrots


I heart carrots. And I have just started harvesting the first lot of my very own baby carrots - yum!
I love the funny shapes. It's hard to look at a chemical-ridden supermarket carrot the same...

Carrots contain fibre, vitamin A, B2, B6, C and K, potassium, thiamine, and are an excellent source of beta-carotene.
They're good for our spleen, stomach and liver.

Carrots are one of the richest sources of carotenoids. Carotenoids enhance the functioning of your immune system, improve your reproductive system function and protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Some oil-y tips


Yesterday I came across some handy tips on cooking oils. I thought I would share.

Store oils like olive and grapeseed in a dark bottle, not a clear one like the one pictured above. This prevents them from oxidising and becoming rancid. If you do have oil in a light container, make sure you keep the bottle in a dark place like a pantry or cupboard, and not on your kitchen bench.

Make sure you keep the lid on your oils. Always replace the lid as soon as you have used them.
Oils are also air sensitive. Leave the lid off for long amounts of time and your oil will oxidise.

Good extra-virgin olive oil will last about a year if stored properly.

Use olive oil to balance acidity in foods. Good to keep in mind with foods such as tomatoes, vinegar, wine and lemon juice. Think balsamic vinegar and olive oil salad dressings...

Many of us stick to good old olive oil when it comes to cooking in the kitchen. Try oils like coconut, flaxseed, sesame and safflower. I like to use coconut oil when cooking things like curry's, and flaxseed oil drizzled over salads. 

What's your fave oil to use in the kitchen? Have you got any tips for using oils in cooking?

Friday, April 29, 2011

All things beautiful... April

Talk of the royal wedding has certainly hit fever pitch this week and I'm sure you're all dying to see just what Kate will be wearing today when she walks down the aisle. Well, I am anyway :)

When I walked down the aisle I wore a gorgeous lace dress my Mum made for me. I adored it.
And so when I think of all beautiful wedding things I think of lace.

How stunning is this hand made lace dress by Angela Vaden?


I wonder if Kate will wear lace...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What running has taught me


I never thought I would actually learn anything from running.
I mean, isn't it just a matter of one-foot-in-front-of-another?

When I decided to start running again I knew it wasn't going to be easy. It had been a while since I ran, and I knew I was pretty damn unfit.
Surprisingly though, only a little over 2 weeks in and I'm already up to 27 minutes non-stop! I'm not fast by any means. I pounded around 3.6k of pavement in this time. But I have to say I'm a tad proud of what I have already achieved.

So while I was pretty unfit when I started, I'm not as bad as I thought, and it wasn't actually as hard as I thought either.
Mind you, I have been running every second day. Without fail.
Rain, hail or shine I'm out there. Pushing myself as hard as I can.

So then what have I learnt so far from running?
  • I love running in the rain.
Last week while the skies were opening up, I strapped on my runners and headed off. 
The rain came down and I kept running. I'm sure people thought I was crazy as they drove past me, but that just made me love it more. It made me feel tough. Like a real bad arse runner. 
I was soaked through and through by the time I got home, and I have to say the shower afterwards was awesome.
  • Many of us don't know what our bodies are actually capable of.
A couple of weeks before I started on the couch to 5k program I attempted a quick jog through the park on my own. I lasted all of about a minute. Then my mind took over. I struggled big time. I talked myself out of going on. I thought 'I'm way too unfit to run, I'll just stop now'. And I did.
Then, when I started on the program, I was surprised to find I could run 5 minute intervals with ease. Then 8 minutes, then 20 minutes... Each time I knew I could do more. I told myself that I could do it and I actually could.
Let your mind get in the way and you'll fail. Simple.
  • Running is the best thing when you feel too tired to run.
It might sound stupid but it's really quite simple. Running leaves me on a high. As long as I ensure I get enough sleep and eat well I feel good. I feel healthy and energetic and much, much better than when I simply sit on my arse.
  • Running is addictive. 
I think I have become one of those people. You know the ones. When you're heading home from an extra long night out on the town, and your cab passes one of those crazy people out of bed and running at 6am. You night is only just ending and their day is already starting. What the???
Well, I'm not exactly up and running at 6am, but I have the same passion as those crazy early-Sunday-morning-runners. I look forward to running. I get a rush from it.

So with only a week-and-a-half to go 'til the Mother's Day Classic I'm feeling good. I reckon I'm going to make it. Yay me! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sweet long weekend - Happy Easter!


Happy Easter lovelies!

I hope you all enjoy whatever it is you have planned for this lovely extra-long weekend.
Me? I'm running, sleeping, catching up with dear friends and family, and I just may throw a touch of wine and chocolate in there too! I know, naughty right - but oh so good! :)

x

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Product review - Jane Iredale 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes' Eye Shadow Kit


When I'm on the hunt for a good eye shadow, there's a few things I look for; the lasting factor, the creasing factor and the pigment factor.

Because no one likes the look of creased eye shadow at the end of a big day or night out, many companies have come up with a shadow base to ensure staying power. My fave used to be Mac's Paint Pot in Painterly. As I'm no longer a fan of the ingredients used in products like this, I have been hunting for a clean shadow that will give me great results, without the nasty chemicals.

After hearing great things about Jane Iredale products I decided to try the shadows, and because I can't make my mind up on one thing at the best of times, I decided to go for one of the shadow kits. Why have 1 colour when I can have 5 hey?!

I was impressed with the colours on the 'smoke gets in your eyes' kit. You could take them from day to night, and they were quite neutral with browns and pinks, which is usually the palette I go for with shadows. 

So pigment-wise, I was pretty impressed with range of the colours, and the darker colours especially need little to give a lovely depth. With the lighter shades though I found I needed quite a few brushes of colour to get them on enough to notice.
Staying power wasn't bad. Compared with other clean shadows I had used these were probably the best I've come across so far. It does depend on how much you put on and whether you apply them over foundation, moisturiser etc. I personally find that applying them onto well moisturised lids can make it disappear quicker.
Crease-wise I have found some days are better than others. Again, I try not to apply it to a lid that is overly moisturised as I find this makes the shadow sink into the creases a little more. Adding some powder to the lid before hand can help, and cooler weather also means it stays put a little better also.
I have found the brush that comes in the kit isn't the best, I tend to use another brush for application.

Overall though, I'm pretty happy with it. The variety of colours are great and I will continue to use the kit for both day time and night time use.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm not indecisive, I'm a scanner!


A while back I posted about career paths and how hard it can be to decide on one thing you can truly see yourself being when you 'grow up'.

Today I came across a totally awesome post on Sarah Wilson's blog about how she discovered that she's not actually indecisive and unfocused, she's simply a scanner!

Sarah caught up with Barbara Sher, a New York based author of 7 bestselling books. Barbara believes that people like Sarah (and me!) aren't unfocused and weak, but they're simply interested in multiple things at once.

Me? I have ideas pop into my head all the time about what I want to be when I grow up and what makes me happy.
If you can relate, Barbara suggests keeping a 'scanner daybook'. A kinda-journal in which you jot down things that excite you.
I'm going to give it a go myself. Writing stuff down helps put it out there and enables you to expand on your ideas and refer back to them at a later date.

Can you relate? 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

DIY deodorant


Over the weekend I posted about making my own skin care products.

First up was my own deodorant.

I had been using Soapwalla Kitchen's Deodorant Cream for a few months and while I really loved the stuff, I had found my underarms were getting irritated and red, even when I hadn't shaved before using it.
I had read that it's possible that cornflour/cornstarch can cause yeast infections under the arms when used in deodorants so that was one thing I was keen to take out.

So I thought I would give it a go myself. And this time I would use as few ingredients as possible and go from there, adding others if need be. Here's what I put in:

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
4-6 tablespoons coconut oil (enough to make a thick paste) 
10 drops tea tree essential oil

Just combine the dry ingredients, stir in the coconut oil with a fork (best to do when the coconut oil is in liquid form) and then add the tea tree oil in at the end and stir. You could also use other essential oils, I just like the fresh smell of the tea tree but next time I might try grapefruit or lavender.






So what was the result?
Well, I've been using it for just over a week now and so far so good.
I like that it's smooth going on and the coconut oil feels like it adds moisture to my underarms. It's quite thick to get out of the container, especially with the cold Melbourne mornings we've been having lately, but once it goes on to your skin it melts in really well. Smell-wise I feel as though it's doing it's job so far. In the midst of a heatwave may be another story, but for now I'll keep using it and see how I go.
I love that all up it cost hardly anything and was super easy to make!

Have you tried making your own deodorant before?

Monday, April 11, 2011

If you're like me, and wish you were a runner...


Ever wished you could run like the wind? I'm taking Forrest Gump-style. Wind in your hair and stuff.

Running 'aint the easiest thing, if you're not used to it.
I have never been a good runner.

So when I came across the Robert Ullrey's Couch to 5k podcasts I was keen to see if this would actually work for me.
Basically the program runs for 8 weeks and is aimed at getting you from walking to running a full 5kms non-stop by the end of it. Each week you do intervals of running and walking, with Robert talking you through, telling you when to walk and when to run. The music that is played it quite uplifting too, so along with Robert cheering you on, you'll find it easy to stay focused and motivated.

Now I initially tried this program a couple of years ago, and sure enough, by the time I got to week 5 or 6 I was feeling confident enough that instead of stopping when Robert told me, I just kept on running!
After feeling like I couldn't run for so long, it only took me just over a month to be running 25-30 minutes non-stop!

I would love to tell you that over the past couple of years I have been running non-stop and that I was at marathon running level... but, I'm not.
I feel off the wagon and it took me quite some time to get back on.
Well, I'm back in running mode now, and I'm determined to get back up to running 25-30 minutes non-stop!

So I have started the program again (this time at week 3 as I found the first couple of weeks a little too easy) and I have just signed up for a 4km fun-run next month! I would like to have had a little more prep time to build up my agility but I'm determined to run that 4kms by next month - eeeek...

I would love to hear from you if you've used Robert's podcast before! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sweet weekend - do you DIY?


I have to say that over the past few months, ever since going clean with my skin care products, I have spent a tidy little sum of money on new moisturisers, cleansers, hair care products and make-up. It has become my new shopping addiction. And while I'm doing something good for my body, my bank account isn't too happy with me.

So I thought I would start looking into a bit of DIY skin care. I mean, many of the products I have been using have a handful of ingredients (the fewer the better in my opinion), all of which are natural and don't need a science lab to melt and cook and freeze them together. So, how hard can it be, right?

I'm not kidding myself here, I'm not going to be mixing my own foundation, bronzer and mascara, I'm talking about the basics. If I can find a way to make most of my own skin care, not only will I be doing my bank account a favour, but I will know exactly what's going into my products and I can alter them to suit my skin and what it needs.

So stay tuned as over the coming weeks and months (hell, it may take me years!) I'm going to be posting my good, and not-so-good attempts at making my own skin care.

First up will be my own deodorant which I will be posting about next week.

Happy weekend all! x

Friday, April 8, 2011

'Tis better to give...


Whether it be helping a stranger pick up something they dropped, giving a gift to a friend for no particpular reason, or letting someone in front of you in bumper-to-bumper peak-hour traffic, random acts of kindness (ROK's) are a really good way to not only make someone else's day, but to make yours.

A while back I posted about Making Australia Happy, a series shown on the ABC late last year. The series followed 8 Australians on their journey to improving their level of happiness. It looked at whether it was possible to actually teach ourselves to be happy.
The study looked at things like positive psychology, mindfulness, physical activity and diet.
What I found really interesting in the study was just how much mindfulness, through random acts of kindness, helped to increase the participants level of happiness.

How do you feel when you do something for someone else? How about when you see the look on someone's face when they open a thoughtful gift you have given them? Or when you give them a compliment when they have been feeling pretty down on themselves?

Here are some great ROK ideas for you, showing just how easy it can be to do something nice for someone else. I challenge you to give at least one a go today and see how it makes you feel!
  • send flowers to someone you care about
  • make something yummy to bring in to work to share with your workmates
  • stand up for someone on the bus or train (and they don't have to necessarily be elderly or pregnant!)
  • say hello to a stranger who crosses your path on the street, or in the lift
  • put a coin in an expired parking metre
  • tip the barista making your take-away coffee
  • write a thank you note for your parents/partner/friend, expressing your gratitude for all they do for you
  • shout your co-worker a coffee
  • say 'I love you' to someone you care about
  • give money to the homeless person you pass on your way to/from work
  • clean out your wardrobe and give your clothes to charity
Have your got any good ROK ideas?

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