Friday, 28 November 2014

Giveaway - Bronze Goddess

When the summer starts flirting with Melbourne, it's very tempting to be lured into the direct sun and especially if you are a natural tanner.

I don't tan.

So in the interests of looking summery, while protecting my skin and avoiding wrinkles (the price of bathing in sunlight!) I opt for self-tanning products and bronzer for subtle glow and definition around the cheekbones.

Thanks to the gods of summer, I have 10 Physicians Formula Bronze Boosters to give away. Wherever you are in Australia, you can enter the competition and you'll receive your booster in the post just like a Christmas present!

All you need to do is Like my Facebook page and send me a message with your name and postal address. First 10 entries are the winners!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Kitchen Gardener and the Traveller

A symbol of love in Italy, the name “basil” is derived from the Greek “basilikohn” meaning “royal”. A noble, sacred, royal symbol of love.

Basil is also a good source of magnesium, which promotes cardiovascular health by prompting muscles and blood vessels to relax, thus improving blood flow and lessening the risk of irregular heart rhythms or a spasming of the heart muscle or a blood vessel.
In addition to the health benefits and nutrients described above, basil is also an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, a very good source of copper and vitamin C, and a good source of calcium, iron, folate and omega-3 fatty acids.

Not only should you be liberally cooking with basil, but presenting it as a Christmas present – not just the plant, especially for our beloved with an ineptitude for gardening, but in the form of the beautifully packaged and presented Crabtree Avocado Olive & Basil Skin Replenshing Lotion.

Traditionally coriander has been used as a stomach tonic. Inhaling the aroma of freshly crushed seeds was said to help cure dizziness in the ancient time. 
In the past coriander has been used to treat migraines and indigestion to help purify the blood and to relieve nausea, pain in joints and rheumatism. It has been suggested by research that coriander assists in cleansing the body of lead, aluminium and mercury.

Less a cook and more a clean-freak? Citron Honey &Coriander hand wash and body lotion should be on your list for Santa this year.

Morocco and Hungary Bound!

While I’m recommending Crabtree & Evelyn must-haves for Christmas, my own personal picks are the Moroccan Myrrh and Hungary Water – spicy and fresh with mountain air and mystery, they are redolent of the chaotic and romantic bazaars and street fetes that my father is so enamoured of. He hasn’t stopped talking about Morocco and Istanbul since his first trip there last year and he is off to Hungary in 2015. I am usually at a total loss as to what to buy for my father, but I know I’ve nailed it this year. 

Crabtree & Evelyn Website or online at David Jones
Crabtree & Evelyn on Facebook & Instagram

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Nutcracker Sweet

How sweetly timed, indeed! Were the Sugar Plum Fairies behind this?

Every year for as long as I recall, our family Christmas tradition was to watch Disney’s The Nutcracker along with The Small One. It was exciting and adorable every year – elves running mad trying to manufacture toys in the magic workshop while little pyjama’ed people sleep with one eye on the chimney. Ah, bliss.

So I discovered today that Clinique have released their latest collection of pastel, classic pinks named The Nutcracker Suite.

My mother is a Clinique fan of many years. She won’t use any other lipstick nor pledge her allegiance to any other scent. Therefore, I too have become enamoured of Happy (in every incarnation) and Aromatics. While mum is more a fan of “classic”, I’m more a fan of “pretty” so the Snowflakes and Sugar Plums offering is going to suit us both!

I have “The Nutcracker Act II” palette (favouring purple shades) and it is sugarsweet pastel purples and lavender) and all sleek modern mirrored packaging. A delight that any woman with a passion for pinks and purples would melt over. Do it!

If your Christmas budget is a little less generous but you love pastels, you love quality makeup and skincare and you want a trusted brand, I cannot recommend Innoxa highly enough. Love their matte lipstick in the Barbie-approved Pink Carnation and whether you buy these for someone else or, more wisely, yourself, I am in a daily ritual of using the Hydrating Creme Cleanser and Super Daily Moisture Protection SPF 15. The Super Sensitive range, you ask. Yes, I break out easily and I've found that SPF products are usually the culprit. This is a spot-free zone.

Oh fine. FINE! Yes, I’ll admit I’m using the Anti Ageing Facial Serum too. Never too early to start!

Monday, 24 November 2014

The Law of Raw

 Firstly, let me remind you that I am not vegan, vegetarian, raw purist, paleo or any other strict dietary regime stickler! I firmly believe in wholefoods – veggies, fruit, legumes, meat, fish and dairy in moderation and prepared in a way that keeps them nutritionally intact and still super yummy.

There is no harm in borrowing divine recipes and techniques from vegans, vegetarians, raw foodies and pro-paleo though. Those people really know how to make the most of coconuts.
So! After being inspired by Jacqui’s recipe for Zucchini Pasta, I went on the hunt for my own vegetable spiralizer to recreate her masterpiece. A spiralizer turns your plain-jane vegetable into a source of noodles that, dolled up with herbs, spices and pesto, are lunch and dinner brilliance.
I discovered the Raw Food Institute of Australia during my spiralizer hunt and it is a treasure trove of raw food recipes and information on how to become a qualified raw food chef. The Institute was founded by Lucy Walter, a naturopath and nutritionist. It is her recipe for Zucchini Fettucine that truly won her a new fan (me!). 
If you like something a bit more fancy and intense flavoured, go for her Pesto Pasta with Nut Crumble

Also, here is a killer find. If you love raw or you just want to try it but you really don’t want to make the effort to prepare it yourself, there’s a whole section where cafes are reviewed. From Monk Bodhi Dharma in Melbourne to Bliss Organic in Adelaide, you can find a raw food joint at home or on holiday.
After playing around on the site and looking up recipes, books, kitchen utensils and cafe reviews, I finally did set my sights on the spiralizer and it is a whole lot of health-food bang for my bucks. At approx $40 it is going to create healthy lunch and dinners that can be stored in the fridge, taken to work and best of all, it’s simple enough that I don’t need a guidebook to use it. Nobody needs fidgety gadgets at mealtimes. Get one. We’ll share recipes.

One more big shout out! Love bubbles were a-poppin' in the blogosphere today as Loveface Beauty shared my skin-lovin' recipe on her Instagram.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

My Beauty Month In A Single Image


L'Oreal Preference Deep Purple Pearl
L'Oreal Preference Brasilia
L'Oreal Serioxyl Everyday Treatment (Denser Hair)

BioSource Spirulina, Fish Oil

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Intense

Thalgo Bio-Repair Serum
Biologique Recherche P50 Lotion
Biologique Recherche Lait VIP O2

Illamasqua Lipstick in Kitsch
Australis Matte Lip Creme

OPI Nail Colours from Gwen Stefani Holiday Collection
Chanel Nail Colour in 573 Accessoire

The Bum Deal

I met a guy in his mid-20s yesterday who looked like an AFL player during training season - super fit, athletic, great posture.
He approached me after class to share that he had also had a hip replacement recently and was "struggling to get back into it".
It's particularly difficult, and I don't think medical staff understand this at all, for fit, active people to contemplate being able to do LESS whether it's temporary or long-term. What a crime that there isn't more emotional support and encouragement for people undergoing hip replacement.
Anyway! He was interested in my rehab suggestions and he is the second person this week to ask what my rehab program entails - from a physio, obviously.
I don't have a physio. I was getting conflicting attitudes and diagnoses, entirely different treatment plans and exercises while in rehab hospital for ONE WEEK. I'm afraid I wasn't interested in being treated like a guinea pig.
I know my body and I had maintained it in strong condition for a long period before surgery so I was confident in bringing it back to health too.
The major focus if you want to protect and insulate your hip against damage is to strengthen your bum. You also need to develop strong core strength - that means knowing how to activate your abdominals and not just while you're doing sit-ups. You also need an awareness around not overusing the front of your hips and straining your lower back - if you fear that this is happening, DO FIND a physiotherapist/clinical pilates professional who can teach you perfect form. It's worth the cost because you won't be getting recurring pain and injuries that can lead to long-term damage.

This workout has a major bonus. You will switch from a lower body exercise to an upper body exercise. This makes the blood flow switch from upper to lower every 4 - 5 minutes, increasing the heart rate and forcing your body to work harder to maintain strength, form and function.
This means greater cardio bang for your buck and a little bit of sweat so that your local cafe knows you're not just wearing gym gear for the sake of it, you know how to work.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

First Press First Class

For coffee-vores like me, who can easily knock back 8 daily, the summer weather is less "Woo! Heat!" than "One espresso and I'll be sweating like crazy..."
Fear not.
There is a way to get your coffee fix that is YUM, delivered, super stylish and cold. Without icecream, sugar, syrup and all those other additions that turn your coffee into a breakout-making, belly thickening meal-in-a-glass.

First Press was the result of much cold-drip formula experimentation to make sure the single origin drop was less acidic and sweeter on the palate. It has paid off. My pick is Brazil. Not only do they get music right, they know their coffee over there.

You can find a local stockist in Melbourne, including a couple of CrossFit centres and Organic Grocers. If you want your local to get it, ask them to contact the boys at First Press.

Beauty and Art: Gaultier, Chanel and Choupette

I recently went to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at National Gallery of Victoria. It was incredible – incroyable.

The mermaid dresses, the corsets, the punk-meets-mongol and the blinking, ever-watching mannequins were a tribute to decades of creative curiosity, passion and fascination for people, travel and beauty.
Don’t miss Jean Paul Gaultier at National Gallery of Victoria until February 2015. 

It made me think of who really inspires me in a creative and personal sense. As a fashion, beauty and illustration lover, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Miuccia Prada and the incomparable Karl Lagerfeld are true heroes. They haven’t been wearied by age – rather they are MORE eccentric, MORE attuned to the advancements of technology and trends. They are more certain of their ability to express their own vision and they are still joyous about the act of creating and sharing their concept with like minds and critics alike.

While I can only dream of owning Gaultier, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood or Prada clothing, I CAN buy in to their accessories, diffusion lines and collaborations and best of all, their fragrances and beauty. Just as they have put enormous time and energy into developing iconic fashion collections, so their beauty offerings are amazingly presented and top quality in form and function!

Consider the Gaultier corset-bodied perfume bottle. It is unmistakably Gallic and Gaultier in its shape and shades. My pick is the newly released Classique Intense, which is pure gold and will go nicely with your current collection of Gaultier Classique fragrances! 

Chanel’s beauty collection has developed the sell-out-in-a-nanosecond nail lacquer in black-red Vamp and Rouge Noir. The matching Rouge Noir lipstick is my absolute take-me-before-you-touch-my-lipstick colour. Deep, gothically burgundy as worn by the angular, feline Malgosia Bela in these images. In fact, ANY of the Rouge Coco shades are swoon worthy. Vanessa Paradis is the face of the campaign and her sharp cheekbones, gap-teeth and defiant, cheeky visage perfectly capture the essence of Coco Chanel herself. A woman who doesn’t compromise but knows that a vulnerability, a sensitivity to the world is the only way to see the beauty in it.
Don’t miss the Chanel Beauty collection on David Jones. 

Speaking of – you MUST see Mademoiselle C about Carine Roitfeld (ex-Vogue Paris editor) and the launch of her magazine CR. Lagerfeld talking Choupette? You must see it. Out on Madman Entertainment. 

Finally, Kaiser Karl and Choupette have teamed up with skin and makeup brand Shu Uemura to offer Shupette limited edition beauty range. Shu + Choupette = Shupette, of course! Available at David Jones

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

OPI Christmas Giveaway

All you need to do is follow me on Instagram @cat13gram and tag me in your favourite Holiday Nail Art pic from @OPI_Gwen_NailArt to win Rollin In Cashmere and Cinnamon Sweet and miniatures What's Your Point-settia? and I Carol About You. 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Straight from Europe: The Thick Hair System I'm Starting

I have been tying my hair up in topknots for years.
Dyeing it every colour of the rainbow.
Trying every styling product there is.

This has left it in a pretty tender state and it looks flat, shineless and the ends are thinner and brittler than I've ever noticed. Thank god for having a friend who is a hairdresser! But it made me think: female hair loss or thinning isn't something we typically chat about over brunch. A whopping 76% of Australian women say that hair loss is their major hair concern, so I'm shattering the silence!

So if the condition of your hair is concerning you, here's some causes and the new treatment system I'm trying from L'Oreal when it gets here from Europe/UK this month. It's been super popular there so fingers crossed!

  • Telogen effluvium is a phenomenon that occurs after pregnancy, major surgery, drastic weight loss, or extreme stress. It results in the shedding of large amounts of hair every day, usually when shampooing, styling, or brushing. It can also result from reaction to medications. 
  • The most common cause is hereditary. This type of hair loss usually begins around the scalp and can spread across the scalp to leave it patchy and thinning. Topical treatments can slow and prevent this! 
  • Thyroid problems. If you suspect that your hair loss is tied to thyroid problems, see your GP for advice and blood tests. If it IS your thyroid, you will notice symptoms around rapid and dramatic weight gain or weight loss and energy depletion. 
  • Lack of nutrients. You need your B vitamins, iron and calcium. It can be common for fit and athletic types to be depleted of all of these purely due to the strenuous nature of their exercise regime. Much of the food we buy is also lacking in nutrients due to long storage times and mass production. See your GP for specific tests and discuss supplements and dosage. 

What you can do:

If your hair is looking more thatched roof than Kim Kardashian, it’s time to take action. I asked my darling hairdresser friend Natalie for advice. She recommended Serioxyl, which is launching in Australia this month. So far, Serioxyl has been a major hit in the UK and Europe. It’s bound to be massively popular here too.

“The great thing about the Serioxyl system is that it covers all bases of problematic thinning and fine hair.
It counteracts hypoxia, which is basically when there is a decrease in oxygen to the hair follicle. So it stimulates the follicle promoting growth.”

L’Oreal Professional just released Serioxyl, a treatment system for home use that promises denser, thicker looking hair. I'm about to start using the system for Coloured Hair (yes, I went red highlights with 76: Intense Pure Red and my hair could use some TLC right now...)

Available in salons only at this stage, which is good in that you can discuss it with a professional who can walk you through the steps. Visit or call 1300 651 141.

Advice from the L’Oreal Professionals below:

How do I apply Denser Hair Serum?
The recommended dosage of denser serum is 3 – 8 pipettes applied directly to the scalp. The dry and refreshing texture allows the product to be used as a night treatment.

To apply, divide you hair into 4 sections, tilt head back on a slight angle.

Apply by releasing the liquid slowly from the pipette onto your scalp from the front of the scalp to the back of the scalp towards the nape of your neck. Do this across all four sections. Massage gently after each application to ensure the product is absorbed.

Do I have to use the full 8 pipettes of Denser Hair at night?
3 – 8 pipettes is your daily dose of Denser Hair. You can use 4 pipettes in the day followed by 4 at night.

Kim Kardashian, I WILL get your glossy mane. Bring on the treatment!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Meeting Miss Minxette (Ode to Illamasqua)

Today I met a Melbourne makeup artist and dancehall instructor who recently won the international Illamasqua 2014 Distinction in Makeup Artistry Award. Seeing her flaming red hair and matching ombre eyebrows, she’s Illamasqua the brand as a (fabulous) human!

Like many of the most fascinating artists, regardless of the canvas they are working on, Minx doesn’t subscribe to the idea of creating “perfection” through flawless faces, over-contouring, puckering lips and ultimately the “correction” of perceived faults.

Rather, she sees the skin as a canvas and the joy and harmony of colour combinations is in how 
they can express something meaningful about the personality, mood and quirkiness of the wearer.
Check out her amazing Instagram for makeup adventures and outfit inspiration.

Minx is an unashamed Alex Box idoliser, like me! Alex is the founder and creative powerhouse – still working insane hours across editorial, film and also finding the time to shape and promote new Illamasqua collections. One of my favourite looks by Alex Box is pictured, right. To book in with Miss Minxette at Illamasqua in Melbourne, ring (03) 9661 1270 for the city Myer store.

My newest Illamasqua makeup goodies are Lipstick in Kitsch (from the Glamore collection) and Velvet Blusher in Peaked (starts off creamy but sets like a powder – I like to use it on eyelids and lips too! Triple duty.)
List for Santa includes liquid metal in Solstice, a deep emerald green metallic-finish cream pigment.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Countdown to Christmas: For the Foodie

No, you can't pretend it isn't imminent.

Yes, I can make it easier for you. Over the next few weeks, I'll throw some ideas your way about
Christmas presents for the easy and not-so-easy to buy or make presents for, from nix to empty-the-wallet level. Today, meet "Delicious: Love To Eat" by Valli Little ($33.50 @ Booktopia). I've bought mum subscriptions to Delicious magazine for years and she regularly goes back to the collection for ideas and inspiration. The photography is beautiful, the articles are fab and their books are divine to look through - not flip casually - REALLY take time and joy in.
Order before December 10th to ensure pre-Christmas delivery.
Valli Little profile
Harper Collins Australia on Facebook

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Fit for Floss and Gloss

This is about fitness and healthy teeth and gums. Not super-white, scarily Hollywood style teeth. Just healthy ones that you maintain with regular brushing, flossing and not consuming acidic food like a madwoman.

If you're anything like me, you are a sucker for morning lemon juice and water, a mid-morning coffee, tomatoes in everything, and berries. Oh, berries!

They're all healthy - superfoods, some of them - but they also stain your tooth enamel and in some cases, soften and wear the enamel (outer layer of your teeth).

In the interests of avoiding longer dates with your dentist - nothing personal, I just don't want to spend a couple of weeks' rent on an appointment that involves cheap sunglasses and drills - here are some quick and fast facts.

After coffee and tea, drink a glass of plain water to lessen the acidic effect.

Wait at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking to brush your teeth (your tooth enamel is really sensitive post-meal)


Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and preferably, do like I do, and use an enamel-strengthening product recommended by dentists (Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief).

Get a professional dental check and clean at least every 6 months. If you have private health insurance with dental cover, you may get this either free or very, very subsidised! Do as I do, and ask for samples of toothpaste and/or brushes while you're there. I stocked up on Colgate Sensitive range last time. Love it - easy to find at the supermarket and chemist.

If the very notion of private health insurance makes you weep into your empty purse, look into public dental health services in Melbourne. General, specialised and emergency options available.

Avoid sports gels and drinks - they are full of sugar, salt, chemical flavourings and in addition, if you're endurance training, your mouth is going to get dry and your gums are going to suffer.

If you're sweating like it's a zillion degrees and training for over an hour, opt for electrolyte-rich coconut water that is also high in minerals and vitamins (watch the kilojoule count though, this differs markedly between brands).
My pick is C Coconut Water because it's 100% organic, no additives, preservatives, colours and Australian!

Breathe through your nose. Breathing through your mouth dries out your gums and teeth and creates a great environment for bacterial breeding. Ick.


Friday, 7 November 2014

Summer I'm Ready For You!

I have my summer routine down pat, along with anyone who wears lycra more often than not! Here's my simple tips.


About 6 years' ago I bought a mini wax heater for home so I could nix the hairy legs and bikini line myself. An investment purchase and I definitely recommend it. I'm not a lavender girl so berry-scent wax is my pick. I use Caron wax (blueberry or strawberry) ordered online from Australian Waxing Company.


Wait at least 12 hours after waxing to exfoliate and apply your tan. Trust me! It will end up patchy otherwise because the tan can't evenly stain the upper layer of skin. If you're new to tanning, go for a Gradual Tan because it's much subtler and you can build it up over a week. If you're in need of a tan, FAST, do as I do and go for something like pureBronze Rapid Tan or any of the kickass JBronze range (their mitt is killer too!)


Time to drop the heavy scents or anything too spicy. Scent travels further and more intensely in the heat so give a light spritz behind the knees and back of the neck. I am loving Clinique's re-issue of classic Calyx: tart, grapefruit top notes inspired by the Mediterranean. Really unique floral/fruity blend with hints of orange too.

Keep your skin from being sweaty and spot-prone by cleaning it before and after a workout. Since you don't want to be showering 10 times a day, go for natural, Aussie offering "Green Tea + Vitamin C" Natural Facial Cleansing Wipes from Fuss Free Naturals. Super cute packaging too!

While I was updating my perfume wardrobe at Clinique, I also updated my mascara. Yes, those things expire and they are right up  next to your eyeballs, so be careful of that! Go waterproof. Go high impact. I discovered Clinique mascara because my mum swears by this brand alone, and I haven't gone back. Get your hands on the high impact waterproof mascara in Black 01. Available at David Jones.
Pucker up buttercup. You know I can't go past a cheap, awesome lipstick or lip cream or lip pencil! As we all know, my first lipstick was Australis and I still adore them. Homegrown and still making rockin' shades and gorgeous formulas. The latest round of VelourLips is out and I'm in love with pinky-mauve Lun-Dun.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Don't Workout Without Me

That's right.
If you find yourself in a busy gym, with flies dropping on the empty machines next to you, it IS you.
Keep one in your gymbag. Keep one in your car boot, glovebox, the drawer at work.
They're mere dollars!
Now, we don't use aerosols because they're ozone layer killers. We LOVE deodorant and we love Dove. They love us too - so much they've given me 4 roll on deodorants to give to you.
If you can make my Ballet Sculpt class at Kew or Carlton, tell me which one and consider yourself a winner. Smelling gorgeous is BEING gorgeous!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

All out of Workout Inspiration

What to do? You're standing there in your sporty outfit, pumping Ministry of Sound through your headphones and feeling excited, awake, ready for action. But you've been doing the same old workout routine for weeks now and it's dull.
Thank god for YouTube, Women's Health Magazine, Podcasts and the wonders of Nike Training Club App. But also? Thank god for e-books!
I've been perusing the ever reliable Women's Health Big Book of Exercises. I've got it as an e-book for easy iPad reading and the images, directions and explanations are simple but thorough. You can also get it in print form at Bookworld.
I also recommend looking for videos and articles on Women's Health Magazine site.

Denise Payne: Fearlessness And Mercy

In the 1970s, as a teenager, Denise Payne was introduced to Kundalini Yoga by her teacher Sat Jiwan Singh. It became more than “a life...