Skincare Faves!

Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Since entering my 30's, I've become ever so sliiiiiightly obsessed with taking care of my skin. More so really in the last 6 months. I am all about hydration! And my skin is loving me for it. My skin is (mostly) blemish free, translucent and so soft with minimal wrinkles (3 on my forehead, I can live with that!)

Before we get into it, I have dry/oily skin, prone to acne (well, I used to be anyway!)

When i was a teenager, I GREAT skin. I got a few pimples here and there, one mainly on the side of my nose (awkward) but for the most part, I never had much issue. So lucky.
Queue my 20's and horrible, horrible skin. Well, really, it started when I was 19. I was partying ALOT. Drinking, smoking (so naughty), a horrible diet in conjunction with shift work and therefore a very shitty sleeping pattern. My face was a mess. I started getting cystic acne on my cheeks, constant breakouts on my forehead and chin. I remember having a pimple on my cheek so bad that one of the older ladies at work asked me if I had been bitten by a mosquito on my face. Nope, just a pimple (and how rude by the way!)

My solution at the time? Dry the shit out of my face. Use all the acne products! I went through proactiv, murad, clearasil, benzac, mario badescu.. All of them. And while they worked for a time, I was in a constant uphill battle with my skin. I was sad. I just wanted to not have a pizza on my forehead, and stop having big sore pimples on my jawline and chin. Any time I ran out of my flavour-of-the-month-acne-killer "moisturiser", I would just use the plain old pink olay moisturiser, or johnson and johnson... I always thought it really weird how my skin would turn so lovely when I started using these. heh. And then stupidly back to my dry dry drying routine I went (yeah, it took a while for the penny to drop...) By this time, I was in my very late 20's and just pissed off.

It was time to start making changes.
  • Hydration: The drying didn't work, so I tried the exact opposite, ALL THE MOISTURE! I started using rich creams, serums and oils, basically just not drying the shit out of my face any longer. I also focused on my water intake, aiming for 3 litres every day. I also started using an active charcoal mask - every third day when my skin was purging, and now around 1-2 times a week.
  • Diet: I had started clean eating as a way to lose some more weight, but the improvement my diet had on my skin, I can't even begin to explain. Pimples just went, and didn't come back. I know now if I eat too much shitty processed foods, drink too much alcohol or even just don't drink as much water as I should, it literally shows up all over my face. Like, really really.I'd love to tell you how much I exercise and how wonderful it is and has been for my skin and blah blah blah.... Truth be told, I get a lot of incidental exercise, but I've been really lazy over the last 6 months and I don't actually do any intentional exercise (I really need to get back on that band wagon!)
  • Future Proofing: More recently, as I've been freaking out a little about looking old, and I've started to incorporate chemical exfoliants (AHA's and BHA's) and physical sunscreen into my skincare routine - thanks Zoe Foster Blake for making all the sense, and scaring the shit out me I've now started reaping the benefits of those bad boys (and so has the back of my hands, just FYI - no wrinkly old looking hands here!)  
The PTR and Origins are my #1's in terms of fighting any pimple that dare show it's ugly head! Everything else is very much focused on keeping my skin hydrated, wrinkle free and decongested. 

Daily Routine - Night
  • Cleanse with Ren cleansing balm
  • After shower, apply a mix of Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Trilogy rosehip oil to my face and neck area, and allow to absorb (I usually moisturise my body during this time.) Sometimes I add in a drop of the Fabulous Face oil if pimples are looming
  • Follow with Kiehls ultra facial cream

Daily Routine - Morning
  • Wash face with warm water and face cloth
  • Apply a mix of Nuxe dry oil and Aesop Fabulous Face oil to my face and neck area, and allow to absorb (I usually get my clothes ready for work)
  • Follow with Kiehls ultra facial cream and allow to absorb
  • Apply sunscreen - because I use a physical sunscreen, I can apply at this point. For chemical sunscreen you'll need to apply it first. To learn more, check out Zoe's/Fruity Beauty's great blog post on the matter
  • Makeup and what not as usual
Twice a week I switch up my nighttime routine - it tends to be the night I was my hair. I cleanse with Kiehls ultra facial cleanser, apply my origins mask when I get out of the shower and leave that on until it dries, dries like a glam glow mask! I leave it for as long as possible. Once removed, I do my chemical exfoliation - to my face, neck and backs of hands! Then go through my oil & moisturising combo.

Here's a quick before and after. The top row is me, at 8:30pm with the remaining make up of the day on. The bottom is me, post shower and nighttime routine. I tried as best as I could to match the lighting.
Excuse the creepo leering looks... O_O
This is in indirect light in my bathroom. I have a leftover blemish or 2 from my whoremoans, booooo!
Selfie in the bathroom, like all the cool kids do!
And here's how hot I look with my Origins mask on, awwwwwww yeah baby! (Have scared the shit out of boyfriend with this before...)
All the gross pore stuff! I love this mask, so, so, SO GOOD.
I'd love to hear your experiences and go to products for keeping your skin lovely! Any tips on good ways to keep the wrinkles away are also very much appreciated!

Prepping for the week - Food edition!

Sunday, 6 July 2014
How is it that Sunday always rolls around so quickly?!

We've had a pretty nice weekend though. Saturday was spent at the farmers market in the morning, followed by lunch (and quite a few wines) with my best friend from high school and her husband. Sunday was much the same! Up early again to watch Netherlands vs. Costa Rica in the World Cup with our friends, GOOOOOO ORANJE! We finally backed a winner! And then a quick nap before watching the UFC. What a weekend for sport! Rousey got it done in 1 seconds and Weidman defends his title again! great matches.

Normally on Sunday I like to prep for the week ahead - and this generally goes to plan, unless the World Cup is on! I made more of an effort this weekend though, especially seeing as I had a lot of wonderful produce from the farmers market. Seriously, the golden beetroots I bought are the freaking size of softballs! We're going to be eating beetroot for the week. And let's not forget the beetroot tops...
 Saturday I did a little prep; washed all the veggies, cup up the beet stalks, beet tops and cavolo nero then stewed some rhubarb with strawberries, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, orange peel and honey. Sunday afternoon I spent roasting and saute-ing!

Raspberries, stewed rhubarb & strawberries, topped with Greek yoghurt, and granola/muesli for crunch!

I got some more awesome granola from Farmer Jo on the weekend, and with all the stewed rhubarb and strawberries I now have on hand, overnight oats are pretty much out of the question this week! I decided yoghurt, a few raspberries and the stewed rhubarb and strawberry mix, topped with muesli or granola would be my go-to breakfast for the week!

Seedless mandi's and sourdough sammiches!
Normally in winter I am all about soup for lunch. I love, love, LOVE  hot lunch in winter. Lately, I've been missing sandwiches. I thought maybe I could do a soup and sandwich combo.. but that seems like a lot of effort just for lunch! Instead, I got a nice big loaf of sourdough, a few avocados, some free range turkey breast meat and ham off the bone, and my favourite seedless mandarins from the market!
I've already made my first 2 days sandwiches - I really needed to use an avocado I bought last weekend. To make sure the avo didn't turn brown, I mixed it with a little lemon juice, salt and pepper. With my turkey sandwich, I added a little mayo (dirty little addiction right there!), dijon mustard and cheese, and then just a plain old ham and avocado sandwich. Lunch = sorted.

Roasted pork, saute greens, roasted beetroot, sweet potato, fennel & apple!
Because of all the greens we've got, I'm going to have to be pretty inventive! I get fairly lazy during the week, so today I sauteed zucchini, beet stalks, fresh garlic, beet tops and cavolo nero in butter, and seasoned with salt and pepper. I also roasted the golden beets and a sweet potato. Nothing special here, just a little olive oil, salt and pepper. They'll all make easy sides, and I think I can get a little inventive with them all, without having to spend too much time cooking!
I bought quite a large piece of pork for dinner, and roasted it as well. I mainly bought the pork because I got some baby fennel's from the market! And what is pork without apple sauce?! I don't particularly like the jarred stuff (sugar explosion!) so I roasted 2 pink lady apples alongside my fennel. Soooooo much more delicious than apple sauce in a jar, and all I did was sprinkle a little lemon juice over before popping in the oven! Easy roast dinner leftovers for Monday, and we will easily have enough pork for Tuesday dinner, and maybe Wednesday too!

It seems like a lot of effort to cook and prep food for the week, and maybe sort of a waste of a Sunday, but I like to think of it this way: when I get home from work, I will probably only spend 20minutes in the kitchen, if that, and dinner will be ready! I'll happily give up some of my Sunday afternoon for that!

What are you tips and tricks for getting ready for the week ahead?

Breakfast Love

Thursday, 3 July 2014
I love breakfast, it's one of my very favourite meals of the day. Probably because I like eating, and it's always the first opportunity I get. I love traditional breakfast foods, sure, but I also don't mind getting down with a bowl of noodles for breakfast, leftover sauté veggies, leftover dinner....

Ok, so I'll pretty much eat anything for breakfast :)

During the week, I try to keep my breakfasts super easy, but they have to be super tasty. I get bored otherwise, and also feel like I've been robbed of a chance to eat something delicious. I thought I'd share a few easy and clean breakfasts that I like to have on a regular basis!

Go-to breakfasts
  • Overnight Oats: my recipe is a heaped 1/4c oats, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 3 tbsp plain Greek organic yoghurt, water/milk to get it the consistency I like. I use this as my base and have a few combos I enjoy, like roasted sweet potato & cinnamon, roasted pumpkin with pumpkin pie spices, frozen mixed berries, honey and cinnamon, cottage cheese and black pepper (I tend to leave the yoghurt out of this combo!) Sometimes I get a little wild and top my oats with Farmer Jo's awesome muesli.. oats on oats!
  • Sourdough Toast: all the toppings! Avocado, tomato, salt & pepper, avocado and vegemite, avocado, salt, pepper & sriracha, roasted sweet potato & cinnamon, nut butter & salt, baby spinach and boiled egg
  • Smoothies: I love to make smoothie packs and keep them in the freezer, that way all I have to add is yoghurt and/or liquid and I'm set. I have a George Foreman mix & go. God damn that thing is AWESOME. It was such a pain in the ass using my blender each day. One of my favourite books for smoothie recipes is Harley Pasternak's 'Body Reset Diet'. This book also really helped me understand what I was putting into my body, how much, why I was hungry etc. A very insightful read, and even if you don't follow the diet, I think it's got a lot of good info in there.
Speaking of smoothies, maybe it's about time I shared another one? Here it is! I hope you like it :)

Recipe: Super Easy Almond Milk!

Monday, 30 June 2014
There are many people out and about touting how damn easy it is to make Almond Milk.

Add mine name to the list, please.

Oh, I was skeptical at first "how could this be!? Soaking, blending, squeezing? Ugh. Too-much-effort pile". Well, I'm happy to announce that I'm rather silly in more ways than one. Homemade almond milk doesn't even TASTE like the bollocks you buy. I mean, it tastes like almonds. EXACTLY LIKE ALMONDS. Like, you've chewed up a bunch of almonds in your mouth, almonds. Not the faux stuff they sell you in the stores (but, for the record, Inside Out Nutritious Goods make almond milk for retail sale that is just like homemade and it's gorgeous.)

There are no additives in this stuff. Read the carton next time you buy almond milk, you might be surprised at the amount of extra stuff they put in there. My recipe is purely water and almonds. Sure, you can fancy it up with dates, vanilla, cinnamon.. whatever you like really, but I'm a simple gal and I love the taste of plain almonds. If you are looking for a sweeter/flavoured recipe, I very much encourage you to go and check out Tracy's (aka Shutterbean) recipe for Vanilla Almond milk! She is actually the reason I took the plunge to finally make my own - thanks Tracy!

Alright, get on with it. Here we go!

You'll Need:
  • 1 1/2 cups raw almonds (the fresher the better)
  • 1 pint jar
  • Colander
  • Water
  • A bottle to store your milk (you can re-use the jar if you like!)
  • Blender
  • Nut milk bag (so, SO many jokes...)
  • A bowl to strain your milk into
  • A funnel
Depending on how creamy you like your milk, this will make anywhere from 600ml - 1lt (a pint or 2.)

How To:
  1. Put your almonds in the jar, fill with cold water (approx 400ml - 500ml), pop the lid on, give it a bit of a shake and allow them to soak overnight.
  2. Drain your almonds into the colander, and rinse thoroughly with cool, clean water. Yes, that water turns GROSS in no time, right?! If you sample an almond at this point, they will feel slippery and almost squidgy when you bite into it.
  3. Once rinsed, add your almonds to your blender
  4. Add in approx 500ml of cold (preferably filtered) water.  500ml is a good starting point. Some people like their almond milk really creamy, others like it a tad on the watery side. I am a creamy girl.
  5. Blend away, BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! Blend, blend, blend until your almonds are no longer chunks, and you have a creamy/milky consistency. You might like to add more water, and give it another blitz. Totally up to you.
  6. Put your nut milk bag (heh) into your bowl, with the top open.
  7. Pour the contents of the blender into the nut milk bag
  8. Here's where you might need to get your muscles out; pull the nut milk bag closed and squeeeeeeeeeeze all of that almond pulp to get the milk out! Sometimes I do a good 10min of squeezing, hang the bag over the bowl on a wooden spoon while I go and eat gummi bears and let it rest for 15 minutes or so, before coming back for more squeezing
  9. Once you've squeezed out all the almond milk you possibly can, return the milk to your jar, or fancy new bottle, and voila! You have your very own FRESH almond milk! Give it a taste, I bet you it's amazing!
Here are a few step by step pictures of the entire process to help you along.

Now, you can use any type of nut you like. I had a few leftover raw cashews, so I added them in to my last batch. It all depends on what you like.
Others have also soaked their almonds for up to 2 days and said they got a creamier milk.... that really wasn't the case for me; one day was just right.
I love to use almond milk in smoothies, all kinds of oats and in baking too! The leftover pulp is actually almond meal, and can be dried out and used for other recipes.

I'd love to hear how you went, and any of your favourite flavour combos! I promise I will be a bit more adventurous with my almond milk one day... :)

Weekend Wrap Up + Smoothie Recipe!

Sunday, 29 June 2014
What a weekend! Where did it go. I really can't believe it's Sunday evening, and we're back to the grind tomorrow *sigh* I suppose I shouldn't complain too much; I only have 20 DAYS LEFT OF WORK before I'm off for a whole month!! USA & Canada here we come! :)

We had quite a fun weekend. Saturday we were up early to head to the Sydney Good Food and Wine show with our friends. It was such a beautiful day outside, it seemed a bit of a waste to be spending it inside drinking wine.... hahah who am I kidding! There was wine, beer, cider, sake, vodka, FOOD EVERYWHERE and we sampled a fair bit of it! In typical GF&WS fashion though, we really didn't even make it around half of the arena.
Our little tasting glasses!
Due to the Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre currently being torn down and put back up, this year the GF&WS was on at Olympic Park... which is a bit of a pain in the ass to get to. It felt more cramped inside as well - smaller space or they sold extra tickets this year, because it just seemed PACKED!
We did the Wine & Charcuterie Masterclass, and I've got the say, I was a bit disappointed! The wines were lovely, the food was lovely... they just didn't go together at all! But, hey, when you get Reidel glasses and a bottle of wine in your showbag, who is really going to complain!
All in all, we got 5 bottles of wine (including the 2 free ones), 3 of which were from a fabulous little winery called By Jingo! which has a great name too. We picked up the zinfandel, montepulciano zinfandel and the mendoza chardonnay. I can foresee we will already have to order some more! We also picked up a flagon (aka a growler) of scrumpy cider from Custard & Co - which we started drinking when we got home, along with the lovely cheeses and nectarine relish we purchases during the day. And crackers. So many crackers. OH! And apples. How could I forget those. I bought the most delicious jazz apples - they're so crunchy and just the right amount of sweet.
It was a big day. We all ate cheese and crackers on the couch, drinking cider and watching reruns of The Inbetweeners. We did not make it to the casino for the 2am Brazil vs. Chile game, because we were all feeling really fucking old quite tired and called it a night.

Sunday was a lot more low key. We wandered into the city and had a late breakfast. I picked up a comfy new pair of tracksuit pants from Peter Alexander who are currently having a sale on everything - and I'm really glad that didn't click with me until I walked out of the store (I didn't have any coffee today, so I was a little oblivious!)
We then headed over to Kinokuniya where we FINALLY got my favourite Ghostbusters character Pop! figurine.. STAYPUFT MARSHMALLOWMAN! We just need Winston and the collection is complete! Ohhh StayPuft, so cute. And for more excitement, I also bought the 'Oh She Glows' cook book! I've only started reading it today, but it's given me some motivation and inspiration to get back on the clean eating wagon for good, instead of filling my body with nasty processed stuff.
StayPuft and Oh She Glows both purchased from kinokuniya, but you can get StayPuft from here too.








I did quite a good grocery shop today, and spent the afternoon roasting some veggies for this weeks dinners, as well as making a lentil and vegetable shepherds pie - if it turns out any good, I'll be sure to post the recipe!

As promised, I wanted to share with you one of my favourite smoothie recipes. I'm on the fence about smoothies. I love them for breakfast in summer... but I also really fucking love toast, so sometimes there's that. Winter I always want nice and warm oats! But occasionally, when I've been a bit too naughty, I go straight for a smoothie. Here's my recipe for 'Cinnamon Bun' smoothie. Please feel free to share yours, I'm always on the look out for a new tasty smoothie concoction :)

Hope you're had a great weekend!


Happy Friday!

Friday, 27 June 2014
Happy Friday, friends! What a week it has been. Up and down with the flu; I still have a cough which sounds quite like a dog bark, as well as a sketchy voice; I bought a fancy light box for the bar, and a brand new pretty green skirt today! Dangerfield sale, you're going to hurt my savings account, I just know it!

Friday, thankfully, was nice and quick. I caught up with my lovely ladies after work for a cheeky beer or 3, and then my sister was in the city! So we had a couple as well. It's not often I see her, because... Well, just because I suppose! We don't live that close and our lives are a bit different, but it was a nice impromptu catch up :)

Now, finally, I am at home in the couch, wine in hand, pizza polished off, chocolate waiting, the ultimate fighter on in the background and I am fiddling around with Fat Mum Slim's fancy new app "Little Moments"! It's so cute and so much fun!
Cheers Chantelle! Congrats on your app xo

My boyfriend, our friends and I are heading to the Sydney Good Food and Wine Show tomorrow to get drunk for $30 sample wine and food, and go to a wine Masterclass at the Reidel wine bar!
Boyfriend and I have been going for he last few years but only last year did we start going to the masterclasses! Last year we went to a Pinot noir class, as well as "how not to drink wine like a wanker". Both very informative and entertaining... And also led us to going to Pinotpalooza last October (and subsequently leaving my phone in a cab... A story for another time!) But I digress. Tomorrow will be great fun! This year we're dragging our friends along and we are going to the "Wine and Charcuterie" Masterclass! And I'll definitely be using the FMS app to get some really cute happy snaps! Who doesn't love drunken Instagram pics?! Sorry for the bombarding!

Are you up to anything exciting? Hope you have a great weekend!

On the mend

Wednesday, 25 June 2014
Well, sort of! My sore throat from Sunday escalated into no voice and a head weighing 100kg, so by Monday lunch I had to go home. I spent Tuesday working from home, napping in between calls and spreadsheets, with Gilmore Girls in the background. After spending the last few days drinking elevenyhundred litres of water, a bazilion cups of tea and hot water with honey & lemon, and eating all the toasts! I seem to have come out the other side of it relatively well! To be honest, and this is a complete overshare, but I am fairly certain I pee'd out the darn flu.
My boyfriend was very wonderful during the entire ordeal. Did I mention I turn into the worlds biggest sook when I'm sick? No? Well, I do. I'm horrible. I just want hugs, and someone to hold my hand, and stroke my hair and bring me tea. And maybe tell me I'm pretty.  What a trooper he is :)
I have a bit of a cough and a sniffle leftover, but other than that I'm as right as rain!

Anyway, to celebrate my speedy road to recovery (highly aware that is a very lame excuse, but I'm sticking with it), I bought myself a little present!

DUNDUNDUNAAAAAAAA! I bought a lightbox for our bar.

I purchased it from Typo. For some reason, it's not on their website (sold out I expect) but you can check it out here on their Facebook page. I've just got it hanging up with small command hooks at the moment - the unit itself isn't very heavy at all. It was a little pricey for something battery operated (it has an AC adapter plug, but doesn't actually come with the adapter...), and I am a bit disappointed it doesn't come with exclamation points or question marks, but I couldn't help myself. It's really perfect for our wall!

Next up I think will be a bit of crafting fun. I intend on getting some of those old school projector transparencies to make my own designs to put up. CHRISTMAS JUST GOT MORE FUNNER! I know you didn't think it was possible but here we are!!

On the topic of Christmas, it is 6 MONTHS AWAY! Which means for us Australians, there's less than 2 months before the Christmas decorations start hitting the store shelves. And it also means time for me to get my Christmas nutcase on!  Are you a Christmas nut - what's your favourite time of year?
 
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