Saturday, 30 May 2015

Yoga, Blood Oranges and Fuschia Pink Lipstick in Barcelona

Yoga isn't yoga for Barcelona natives. It's "Joe - Ga" so if you get confused looks when enquiring about a studio...that little difference makes everything clearer!
I was literally walking, mapless, through the alleys of Barcelona when I saw a curly-haired, tanned, super stylish hipster Spanish girl about to enter her (enviably city central) apartment and I tapped her tattooed shoulder and asked if she knew of a nearby yoga studio. She was hugely generous in recommending Yoga Studio and going through directions 3 times for me. Located through a hidden side door inside a children's shoe store, I would never have found it without her help!
The classes were extraordinarily cheap, especially for Europe! Just 12 Euros for 3 classes a week. Perfect for the short term traveller. The classes are entirely in Spanish, but I kept up in the three 1.5 hour classes I did without an iota of  Spanish literacy. I loved it. We started each class with the Om, then a rejuvenating vinyasa flow and strength moves, followed by meditation. I met some wonderful women and I hope to remain in touch with all of them. I highly recommend doing yoga there and if you can, attending Maria, Beatriz and Reitxu's classes. They are incredible instructors who provide excellent instruction and assistance with alignment and technique. They're also beautiful people with a quick laugh and generous spirit.
Yoga Studio
Pza. Universitat, 4 - 1º - 2ª
T. 934512928

Bonus! If you love raw food or you have a curiosity for it, Reitxu has a mouth-watering blog at

Also, before the LONG LONG flight, I shopped Kiehl's at Mecca Maxima for the skin perfecting toners and super hydrating serum. Don't skimp on quality skin products when you're spending 20 hours in a tiny, compressed air space. My pick? Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner and Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate

Get the Barcelona Look

Lipstick: Flat Out Fabulous by MAC
Skin: St Tropez Self Tan Dark Mousse and MAC Strobe Cream for highlighting brow, cheekbones and cupid's bow (instant GLOW!)
Fragrance: Orange & Bergamot Aroma Reed Diffuser by Molton Brown and the enormously tropical and summery Frangipani by Demeter (available at MU in Australia)
Drink: Organic Birch Juice (it's the new coconut water!) by Weleda
Eat: From the fresh food market! Fruit salad with tiny plastic fork will make you right at home.

Yoga pants: Ellebie purple tights (available at Be Activewear)
Yoga top: Mandy neon orange tank (available at Be Activewear)

Monday, 25 May 2015

Seasonal Skin - Weather Proof Your Face

Thanks for the not-so-warm welcome back Melbourne. I really do love this city, but it's a far cry from the sunny mornings of Barcelona and Paris, and my shivering limbs confirm this. While a good yoga session fixes my seasonal blues and a bit of hot yoga flow does wonders for a winter
workout, its my skin that needs extra nurturing. My ever-reliable favourite Dermalogica is my source of skincare and I'm updating my makeup with the new collection from MAC - you will want to the second you see the campaign too. It's crazily, madly MAC-ly addictive. I saw it first in the Paris MAC store, and it's just released in Australia. You will want it, I warn you. All of it!

Skin for the Shivery Season:

I have been using the Multivitamin Range for about 3 years since I discovered it via a facial in High Street, Northcote. It is brilliant on my early 30s skin, but also highly concentrated with vitamins and anti-ageing hyaluronic acid and peptides for 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. My beauty cabinet is always home to the MultiVitamin Power Serum and MultiVitamin Power Recovery Masque (Best Quick Fix Ever). I have just introduced the AGE Smart MultiVitamin Thermafoliant for ultimate squeaky clean pores.
For the body? I'm a lavender scented oasis post workout shower, using Stress Relief Treatment Oil.
All products available at select salons and Dermalogica online.

Wash And Dry

The name Val Garland gets makeup artists very excited and if you love fashion photography and Vogue magazine as much as I do, you'll know the photographer Miles Aldridge is an icon. So the fact they are BOTH behind this latest MAC campaign should speak volumes on quality and superiority.  The Wash and Dry collection includes shimmery highlight beauty powders, highly pigmented colours from nude through to fiery reds as well as blushes and nail lacquers in the collectible and covetable colours MAC is famous for. I am blowing bubbles for Washteria nail lacquer!
All products available from JUNE 1 2015 at MAC counters and MAC online.
Follow Val Garland and MAC Cosmetics on Instagram for inspiration.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Purple Lilac Mauve - Be A Rebel Flower

Rihanna wore a particular purple lip gloss a week ago and it sold out almost INSTANTLY! Purple lips are not easy to pull off, but with some prep and playing down the rest of your makeup look, it can be seductive, sweet or even...subtle.
Maybelline Orchid Ecstasy
Firstly, apply a base lip liner colour to ensure your deeper purple colour doesn't bleed and to give it some hold. My go-to is Napoleon Mauve Minx (David Jones) because it has a hint of lilac but is very pink-based and can safely go just beyond the lip line.

Then it gets fun. There are so many amazing purple shades to choose from but here are my favourites.
NYX in Power and Immortal from the Wicked range. SUPER cheap and super high quality. The chain store buy that makeup artists love. Trust me, I've asked! Find it at Target for under $10.

Maybelline Rebel Flower range is all about purples: mauve, lilac, orchid, royal purple...oh it's heaven! My picks are Orchid Ecstasy for a bolder purple, or the sweeter, pinky Lilac Blush. Available at Priceline.

Keep your eyes shimmery or matte but pick shades of pale beige, coral, gold, copper or peach. My favourites, and my daily obsession is shu uemura. Their pressed shadow refills are compact, collectible and I double the pale coral shade as both an eye and blusher colour. Cost per usage believers, unite. Find the whole colour range at David Jones!

I'm also new to the Napoleon Radiant Reflections Eye Color but totally loving it for some gloss and glimmer. Again, David Jones is your go to.

Finally, sweep on something illuminating on the cheeks like Laura Mercier Pink Shimmer Bloc (so luxe, so lovely). Online or in store at David Jones, go for a blushy-lilac chic shade on the nails like Essie Go Ginza (Priceline) and go break some hearts.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Yoga Wear New Prints Colours Shades & Designs

Two of my fave brands from the US both offer EASY, AFFORDABLE shipping to Australia and internationally, so don't think you can't get these fabulous fit bits on your fit bits.
Both Mika Yoga Wear and Om Shanti Clothing make clothing for yoga girls who are serious about yoga. Their yoga pants are built to move and to last.

They're also made to look amazing, feel amazing and stand out from the humdrum, boring yawn of black and the mega sportsmarket brands everyone else is wearing.

Mika Yoga Wear has just released the awesome Kaya Legging (High Waisted!)  in new prints. Check out their gorgeous campaign shot in the beautiful desert wilderness. I've got the neon green Kaya Legging full length leggings, the Blackberry capris and the beautiful Bluebee Print Ella Top.

Go to

Om Shanti Clothing is a totally new discovery for me and it is ROCKING MY WORLD! The high cut waist, the amazing fabric, but most of all...the knockout prints. Whether you love florals, animal print, galactic cosmic wonderlands or geometric designs, there is something to suit. I have the Pink Galaxy Aztec Cluster Power Leggings and the Navy Floral Power Pants. They are getting so many compliments! You must discover this brand. Super, super affordable to ship to Australia.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Sea Sirens & Sustainable Sportswear - Eco Conscious Yoga Babes Listen Up


Teeki clothing is entirely the product of fabric spun from fibers made out of recycled plastic water bottles. It is then cut, printed and hand sewn using environmentally friendly practices. Did you know it takes over 400 years for a plastic water bottle fo fully break down? So rather than clog up the sea, strangling marine life and ruining our seas and forests, let's invest in brands that are making a difference.
Teeki Love The Adventure Yogapants
Funnily, I actually loved Teeki designs well before I knew about their eco-conscious credentials. They do mythic, magical, tribal prints that take spirit animals, planets and nature then spin them into figure-flattering, fit gear.
Their Buffalo Princess print is a case in point: we are majestic, we roam the earth wearing this crown of light. we illuminate the path of love.
As you all know if you know me, I do still have a very gothic sensibility about clothing and makeup. So the deer medicine print is a bit of an obsession now.
Twitter Facebook Instagram & Pinterest

Sea Siren Cosmetics

This Made in Australia nail and skincare range is vegan, cruelty free and 5 free (no nasties). It also has a bit of a pirate theme, which I'm totally on board with (boom, boom!)
Sea Siren Cosmetics Swarovski Nail Set

I am digging their marine-inspired collections as well as their covetable Swarovski Manicure Sets. In fact, as I keep reminding you, I will need travel-friendly grooming gear for my EUROPE TRIP (ahem!) so the Travel Set in purple is straight in my sack. You can indulge in full size or get a collection of minis if, like me, you want to change colours on the regular. My favourites are Great Barrier Reef, Buccaneer and the sparkly seductive Seaduce!
Twitter Facebook Instagram & Pinterest

Saturday, 2 May 2015

It's the 3pm Munchies Cure!

From the fabulous Recipes and Images from Courtyard Kitchen by Natalie Boog, published by Murdoch Books, I have two killer recipes that will have you racing for the door and ready to get into the kitchen tonight. Or now.
Book available now. Buy it here.

 Basil & Parmesan Polenta Chips

When cooked perfectly, these chips have a lovely crunchy crust. They’re delicious on their own as a snack, or served with steak and salad. If I’m cooking polenta to eat with another dish, I make extra with a little basil, and refrigerate it, so I have some ready to go for these yummy chips.

Serves 4 as a side.

500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) chicken or vegetable stock

190 g (6¾ oz/1 cup) coarse polenta (cornmeal)
80 g (2¾ oz/¾ cup) finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil spray (optional)

  1. Line a 20 cm (8 inch) square glass or ceramic dish with baking paper.
  2. Put the stock and 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking until well combined. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring regularly to prevent the polenta catching, for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and comes away from the side of the pan. 
  3. Remove from the heat, add the parmesan and basil, season to taste and combine well. Pour the polenta into the prepared dish, cool, then refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm. 
  4. Cut the polenta into chips and cook on a lightly oiled barbecue hotplate until golden and crisp on all sides. Alternatively, spray the chips with olive oil and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 20 minutes, or until crisp and golden. Serve hot.

Lamb & Herb Salad

Serves 4
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) lamb backstraps or loin fillets
3 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary 
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
150 g (5½ oz) cherry tomatoes
250 g (9 oz) haloumi cheese, sliced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves 
1 small handful coriander (cilantro) leaves 
1 small handful tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon coarsely torn basil leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint 
4 handfuls rocket
40 g (1½ oz/¼ cup) pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Put lamb in a shallow dish, drizzle with a little oil, add half the rosemary and thyme, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Leave to stand for 30 minutes. 
  3. Put the tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and season. Roast for 20 minutes, or until soft but not falling apart. Leave oven on.
  4. Heat an ovenproof frying pan over medium–high heat and sear the lamb on both sides, until just browned. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the lamb for 10–12 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking. Allow the lamb to rest for 10 minutes, before slicing it diagonally.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the haloumi for 30 seconds on each side, or until golden. Remove from the pan and tear into large pieces.
  6. Put all the herbs, including the remaining rosemary and thyme, in a bowl. Add the rocket, pine nuts, roasted tomatoes and haloumi. 
  7. Whisk oil and vinegar together and season to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Divide the salad evenly among four plates, top with the sliced lamb and serve immediately.

Do It Yourself Beauty At Home (Beauty On A Budget!)

Closer to counting your coins than your diamonds? I hear you. You don't need to make half your beauty and wellbeing appointments beyond your bathroom. Here's what you can and should be mastering at home!

Hair Colour. Ok - NOT if you have super blonde hair unnaturally or complex highlights happening. Put down the bleach immediately. However, if you are touching up the roots on a colour within 4 shades of your natural colour (I dye my hair 2 shades darker brown than natural) then save yourself an expensive salon visit and do it at home. I swear by no-mess, fast L'Oreal Sublime Mousse or Colour Preference in Brasilia. It is so easy to apply in mousse form and way less messy than the typical liquid formulas.

Facial. Sure, this is such an appealing luxury BUT you can apply a skin-specific masque at home and spend the waiting time dancing to lame 90s hits in your loungeroom. Can't do THAT at a salon can you? I love Elemis, Kiehl's, Sanctum and Nut'rir skincare ranges for their masque offerings. What you choose is dependent on what you want to target (acne, uneven skin tone, dryness, sensititivity and redness etc) so look at what the masque says it does. Not all products do the same thing!
I've also just discovered indeed labs exfoliator. It is awesome. A fine powder that works into a foam - you can use it alone or add it to your current cream cleanser for some added oomph. Cleansing before a masque is mandatory.

Sea Siren Buccaneer
OPI Chiffon My Mind
Mani/Pedi. Yes you can. It's practice. Make sure you paint the WHOLE nail and try to stay inside the lines. My favourites are OPI Chiffon My Mind for subtle, Orly Push The Limits for full-on fuschia, and Sea Siren Buccaneer or Pirate's Blood for dramatic bold shades. All are 5-free and cruelty free.

Contouring. Yes you can. Thanks to Into The Gloss for the insider guide to contouring by Kim Kardashian's makeup artist du jour, Mario Dedivanovic. Note that he FILLS THE BROWS to "frame the face". Such a quality tip! I dye my brows dark, dark brown. Skip the salon and use 1000 Hour Eyelash & Brow Kit (saves you $$$ and time).
Watch, learn, do.

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...