Friday, 30 January 2015

Un Puff Your Eyes

The skin around your peepers is sensitive and thinner than the rest of your face. It reacts more easily and more noticeably to the environment, including weather, products, allergens and also to what you eat, drink or how much sleep you've had.

Here are my tried and proven ways to reduce the puffiness that results from using products that are too strong, lack of sleep, weather and allergens.

Vacuum and reduce exposure to plants/foods/dust: The delicate skin in your nose and around your eyes reacts most strongly to allergens in the home, office and outdoors. I have an allergic reaction to dust - my nose gets dry and red and my eyes water. You can easily get tested for your own allergens.
Vacuum regularly and avoid - as much as you can - being around environments where you're exposed to dust or cat/dog hairs, certain grasses and plants that cause you to sneeze or get watery eyes and nose.

Use targeted products for eyes: Some products can make puffy eyes worse so pick carefully. Also, do not overdo it! Make sure you tap the product on lighty and not too close to the tear duct. If it gets INTO your eyes, you'll be much puffier than you started!

I swear by Lancome Hydra Zen Eye Cream because it is designed for sensitive skin. It works quickly and intensely to soothe and calm the skin, and also moisturises and hydrates. It's not your pharmacy el cheapo eye product, and that's probably why it really works. Recommended.

Leave two small spoons in the freezer/fridge: In the morning, place these over your eyes. They will shrink the blood vessels and work to reduce redness and puffy skin around the eyes. Hold for as long as the spoons remain cold.

Eye drops: I buy saline eye drops and keep them in my handbag. Sometimes you can't avoid allergens or your eyes just become dry and tired from looking at a screen. Try Murine Clear Eyes and also their Eye Mist. The mist is sprayed on your eyelids with closed eyes and works to hydrate and soothe red, tired eyes.

Drink water: Staying hydrated is really important and allows your body to keep cleansing and refreshing from the inside. Being dehydrated will show in flaky, dry, sensitive skin and eyes. If water bores the hell out of you, add some lemon or lime juice! But you want 1.5 to 2 litres daily on average.

Friday, 23 January 2015

This move sculpts the chest AND abs in one go

The Single Arm Chest Press. You do want to! This is my Go-To move. By mastering it, you will be able to lift heavier chest weights when using a bar or weights in each hand. It requires strong abs to maintain your stability and to hold your torso and shoulder in a safe position.

Start on a mat on the floor if you are less confident in your abdominal strength and stability. Pull your belly button down like an anchor to the floor, slightly tuck your chin, bend your knees and plant your feet firmly into the floor. Push the weight up until your arm is extended, then lower until your elbow is just hovering above the floor.

If you're on a bench, the same rules apply. Lock your abs tight! Make sure you lower the weight until your elbow is in line with the shoulder and then push back up.

How many?
Do 10 - 12 on one side, then swap. Do this again until you have either done 3 sets or you're shaking and can't do any more.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Fit Skin

I know - some people are all about NO MAKEUP in the gym. Fine. But I'm already going to be sweating and puffing - I don't want to be showcasing my blemishes, late night eyes, touch of sunburn-complexion off to the world as well.

Bring on the skin-nourishing, no-breakout-zone foundation that gives you the Yoga Glow face without absolutely needing to do yoga! I'm pairing it with a lip colour that is just a few shades more intense than my natural colour so that it doesn't look like I'm going for a night on the town...just a better version of me!
I swear by L'Oreal Lumi Magique (Priceline) and Lancome L'Absolut Rouge 224 (David Jones)

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Official Pantone Colour of 2015: MARSALA MADNESS!

Big drum roll please! Colour of 2015 has been announced by trend forecasting, colour gurus at Pantone and it is Marsala. The colour was selected, according to Pantone, because it is "An earthy shade with a bit of sophistication, texture is the story in print and packaging. A matte finish highlights Marsala’s organic nature while adding a sheen conveys a completely different message of glamour and luxury."
Here's some things Marsala flavoured that will keep you on trend.
Anahata Yoga Clothing makes capris to die for! I have just received mine in the post and will be wearing them on rotation non-stop. Fortunately, all of the designs I've picked go wonderfully with Marsala. From the pale pink with polka dots to the bold teal and deep chocolate geometric print. Designed to be doing downward dogs - without the hefty price tag of some designer yogawear!

MRP Fashion handbag, star print leggings and racerback tank top are each under $15. You could buy tank tops for every day of the week and still have money to burn. This is the best budget find for everyday essentials and as a bag and shoe person, I totally recommend you get onto their shopper bags. They fit everything including your iPad. Essential!

Divine Goddess Yoga Mat because it's beautiful and you need one.

Get the look with shades that complement the deep burgundy hue of Marsala.

Australis Mint Choc Eyeshadow: this is the liquid eyeshadow of your dreams - bold at one end and natural/nude at the other. Apply both - with the beige choc shade towards the inner corners and the bold mint at the outer corners to enlarge and brighten the eyes.

Australis Kiss Me Quick and Nudie Rudie lipliners: I love a lipstick as much as the next person, but when you work out and you talk non-stop (and drink coffee and tea like you'll never see another drop again!) a liner is the way to ensure your colour stays put. Kiss Me Quick is a super bright pink and Nudie Rudie is a beige nude that is ideal alone or to provide a long lasting base for your lipstick or balm.

Rimmel Lasting Finish in Cherry Kiss: Dark, bold and bang on trend for the Pantone Colour of 2015. Looks fab when it's a bit faded for daytime or up the amp at night by colouring in the whole lip and adding gloss. Such a vamp!

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Lacquers in Chalk Me Up and Sugar Fix are pastel prizewinners. I love the soft mauve beige of Chalk Me Up which is chic for work, weekends and evenings out and the pale duck egg blue of Sugar Fix will give you a grin every time you're in yoga and looking at your toes (hint: a lot). Plus it REALLY DOES LAST.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

5 Mins With Rachael Finch - Model, Presenter, Foodie and Yoga Lover


Big thanks to Rachael Finch, the lean, green and not at all mean TV presenter, model, new mum and foodie. She is super busy with her young family and her multiple media roles, but she has taken time out to answer my questions on health, fitness and lifestyle.

Rachael is studying Integrative Nutrition and has a wealth of knowledge on how different foods affect every individual uniquely. Yet another reason not to buy into fad diets or try to emulate exactly what the Victoria's Secret angels claim to eat.

How has your course in Integrative Nutrition affected your dietary choices?
Studying at IIN has given me a better understanding of food and how it affects my body. Integrative Nutrition emphasise the importance of 'Bio-individuality' where one person's food is another person's poison. I think the most important thing relating to dietary choices is listening to your own body and doing what's right for you.

What vegetables are must-haves in your fridge/freezer?
I have spinach, kale, cucumber and tomatoes in the fridge and peas in the freezer at all times. I think green is the most important colour to consume.

What kitchen tools get a weekly workout for you and what is on your list?
Misha bought me a set of global kitchen knives a few years ago for my birthday and I can't live without them. I also use my Vitamix daily for blending Violet's meals and making smoothies. I would love a cold pressed juicer at home!

How do you ensure you have adequate protein to fuel your active lifestyle?
I prefer to get my protein from vegetarian sources including beans, nuts, legumes and tofu. Occasionally I will eat meat and fish although my body thrives on a mostly vegetarian diet. I try to include a protein source at every meal and always prepare meals ahead of time, especially when I am on a shoot for work.

What style of yoga and pilates do you practice and what do you seek in an instructor/class environment?
When practicing yoga or pilates I always prefer an outdoor class because the fresh air adds to the benefits of the practice. I enjoy all styles of yoga depending on my mood and the time of day although vinyasa flow is a favourite! I enjoy instructors who are passionate about their practice and adjust sessions according to the day's energy levels.

Is the pressure to look model/TV ideal whenever you're in public ever a burden - how so?
I think it's unhealthy to constantly think about your appearance and try to be too perfect in the public eye. We all have good and bad days - it's the perception in our minds about what it important that matters.

What philosophy on food, wellbeing, fitness and self-image do you want your daughter to learn from you and Michael?
I want Violet to grow to be a confident, positive, strong and healthy woman who respects herself more than anyone. I would hope she learns from us that taking a holistic approach to health and wellness is key. This includes a balanced diet, active lifestyle, good relationships, laughter, a challenging career, even spirituality.

What qualities do you seek in friends and mentors?
I admire a long list of qualities in people close to me, but above all is kindness.

What qualities do you most prize in yourself?
I always aim to see the positive in every situation. I hope that this has a ripple effect on others.

What music do you listen to for:
a) relaxing - Jack Johnson, John Legend, John Mayer.
b) vigorous training - Beyonce, Nico & Vinz, Sia.
c) cooking - James Morrison, Boyce Avenue, Sam Smith, Emile Sande.

Rach xx

Friday, 16 January 2015

The Tea For Me

I am Melbourne born-and-bred so naturally, I love my coffee, but as of 6 or 7 years' ago, I am a Green Tea convert and try to have packs of leaf tea and bags at the ready at all times! I also love mint and licorice tea for their soothing qualities. I've just recently discovered Happy Herb Company in New South Wales as well as Herb Cottage and The Source Bulkfoods (Camberwell!)

Licorice Root Powder

Coming into FebFast, if your resolution is to STOP SUGAR or at least partially abstain, licorice tea is ideal. It is super sweet naturally. I use the powder because you can add it to cooking or smoothies and juices.
Benefit: Boosts immune system, assists digestion, supports adrenal system during times of stress
Where: Herb Cottage

Brainstorm Tea

I'm studying at the moment - just updating my Digital Marketing skills - and I can use all the natural help I can get. Brainstorm is a blend of gingko, gotu kola, brahmi, cornflower and green tea.
Benefits: Assists in memory function, focus and alertness
Where: Happy Herb Company

Tummy Tea

With stress and there has been STRESS lately, my digestive system goes a bit whack. So Tummy Tea not only soothes the beast, but it tastes divine. Minty fresh, licorice sweet and a touch of tang from the fennel seed!
Benefits: Soothes tummy pains, supports digestion, aids in immune support and stress relief
Where: Happy Herb Company

Rooibos Tea

Rooibos Tea is a potent brew! I know most people use it as a coffee alternative. It contains powerful antioxidants and has a high mineral content. Meant to be fabulous for general health and improving circulation, skin and hair quality.
Benefits: Immune, general health, caffeine-free, high mineral content
Where: The Source Bulkfoods

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Summer Serenade

Yes, despite the rain, it is still humid and promising a true summer in Melbourne. Let’s remind the weather why we need some sunshine. Here’s my favourite picks for embracing summer in the outdoors, the studio, the gym and the kitchen!

Easy Vegan by Sue Quinn has 140 dishes “from everyday to gourmet” and the pictures are DIVINE! This is the fourth book by Sue, a writer for The Guardian, Delicious and The Foodie Bugle. For the size and sheer beauty of this book, it is a true bargain at under $40. Not just for vegans, this is for everyone who wants to embrace a more plant-based diet – a treasure trove of soups, mains, salads, pasta, noodles and sweet things! Available February 1st. Order online at Booktopia 

The Pop-Up Gym by Jon Denoris is a great guide to working out anywhere, anytime. Fabulous for us gym bunnies who need some motivation to get outdoors and still do resistance and sculpting work without the usual gym equipment all laid out. Love the illustrations and explanations. Under $21 at Book Depository.

MRP Fashions Seamless Racerback Tank for the gym, studio and just for doing the daily duties in. For the same price as a couple of coffees, you really should. Ditto the floral print slide on sandals. Why pay the big bucks for summer sandals? These are gorgeous and rock up at LESS THAN $10!
The pineapple leggings? Well, it's summer.

Anahata Yogawear tie side yoga shorts and crop top. Great for Bikram Yoga but since I’m not a big fan of Bikram, great for ANY yoga! Awesome colours, prints and cuts. Super flattering and well priced. Much less likely that you’ll see 10 other women wearing the same outfit as you too – love this brand.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Running on Empty and What To Do

Prior to Christmas and still, so soon after, I'm feeling a lot as though I've had my foot down on the accelerator but there's only a trickle of fuel to run on.


At the moment, I have some amazing, WONDERFUL things happening as far as job opportunities that I'm really excited about and the securing of a communal working space in a creative environment for writers, artists, business types and freelancers of all description. I have also come back to yoga after a lot of "Want to, no time".

BUT, I am being kicked in the guts by my current real estate agent and the financial implications are extraordinarily stressful. Not to mention the deceptiveness and really depressing show of human nature's worst side! I just want to leave so that I no longer feel threatened in my own home.

So, this "burning out" feeling is something I've been trying to overlook in the hopes it will fix itself, but it won't. I'm finally taking the necessary steps to look after my mental and physical health by doing the following:

  • keeping the coffee to one or decaf
  • drinking licorice tea. It is a herbal adaptogen which supports the immune and adrenal system, providing energy and calm
  • going to bed earlier - yes, 10pm most nights!
  • writing down what is really stressing me so that I don't spend all night waking up over it
  • booking massage - sure it's costly, but the body holds a lot of tension and looking after it is an investment in good health
  • including more yoga and stretching into my workouts rather than trying to do anything strenuous
  • reading inspiring books, magazines and blogs to regain some perspective and stop worrying over EVERYTHING!
  • taking calcium/magnesium supplements to strengthen my nervous system and improve sleep and muscle recovery

Adrenal Fatigue - and if you're feeling tired, restless, stressed, irritable and getting sick more often than is usual for you, this is a possibility! - can be overcome in as little as 2 weeks but may take 3 months or more.

Change what you eat. Change what you drink. Change what you do.

Here's your prescription:

Code Black Coffee Decaf : Look, if you're going to go for more than one and this is Melbourne, so you probably are, pick the BEST Colombian decaf and treat yourself by ordering online. If you're out and about, Code Black has a Brunswick cafe or a NEW NORTH MELBOURNE site! Get there. 119 Howard Street, North Melbourne.
Mudbrick Cottage Herb Farm: Not in Melbourne or you want the convenience of ordering online? I love Mudbrick. Michael and Sandra are fantastic with their knowledge and passion for organic, healthy products and they are totally reliable for ordering and delivery. Get to

The Source Bulk Foods Camberwell: In addition to a whole lot of wonderful muesli options, grains, nuts and dried goods by the bucketload, this mecca in Camberwell also now stocks tea! Give your adrenals some love with licorice root tea. Sweet, super yummy and really good for you. 
They also have Byron Bay Whole Spiced Chai. 749 Burke Road, Camberwell.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Wild: A Journey From Lost To Found

I just read Cheryl Strayed's incredible Wild: A Journey From Lost To Found.
It really resonated for me. I think it will for a lot of people, women particularly, who are feeling lost in who they are and what their purpose is.
Deciding to hike the PCT trail - one of the roughest and most difficult treks in America, Cheryl has no hiking experience nor any job or secure income to return to. The PCT trail is 1,100 miles of the west coast of America - from the Mojave Desert, through California and Oregon, and into Washington State. She has recently divorced and has no set plans around where she'll live when she finally emerges in Oregon - IF she emerges!
When still only 22, Cheryl's mother is diagnosed with cancer and given only months to live. It is her death that proves the catalyst for some seriously self-destructive behaviour: one-night stands with men she barely knows or cares for, heroin, gaining and picking up waitressing jobs and failing to finish her degree.
It's not just the story - Cheryl's writing is masterful and brings every rock, rattlesnake, drunken park ranger to life perfectly. Her ability to weave her own internal narrative with where she is and what it looks and sounds like is flawless. I was totally enthralled.
I'll be very keen to see what Reese Witherspoon has done with the adaptation to the big screen. She has already won major acting awards for this role and apparently was determined to see it made into a movie straight after reading the book. I think she's underrated as a serious dramatic actress so I hope this proves me correct!

What really gave me hope is Cheryl's reminder that we really don't know what comes next. We've all got our issues to deal with and attempt to resolve, but there are beautiful, kind and generous people in the world and it is often at her lowest when someone will offer her a meal or a free camping site, a ride into town or dinner with their family. Even in the remotest places along the track, the most unlikely characters with the kindest hearts appear!

I feel very much like I do everything alone and while my inner control-freak loves it this way, it IS lonely and I don't want it to be like this anymore. I don't want to be brave enough to hike a remote 1,100 miles. I want to be brave enough to say "I want to be loved, just as I am, with my flaws and faults. Because I WANT to be better."

I hope my own situation does change - I know it's largely up to me to change things about my life to make this happen. I will try to channel my inner survivor and warrior woman. I will try to see the beauty in other people and find hope and resilience in that. If you've read this book or you feel like you've survived something immense and learned from it - I want to know! Come share it on the Core Integrity With Cat Facebook page.

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...