Friday, 26 June 2015

Conflict Between loving the Superficial and Leading a Meaningful Life

It might be hard to believe considering how often I write about skin and makeup, but I do feel a true conflict over
a) my deep passion for yoga, health and a meaningful, creative life AND
b) my ecstasy over discovering an incredible lipstick shade

Does one mean the other shrinks in importance or value? I hope not. The way I choose to see it is that I lead a blessed enough life that I can find the joy and thrill in something as simple as lipstick and nailpolish. I also go crazy for an amazing editorial in Italian Vogue. 
That said, I'm thoroughly enjoying Yoga Girl by Rachel Brathan (out through Hachette)and read biographies and autobiographies of powerful, spirited and creative women like Judy Cassab, Peggy Guggenheim and Coco Chanel.
I am a complete set of contradictions and it does bring me great angst, but so many things bring me great joy and without doing any harm to anyone, so I am trying to find peace in that!

Now that I've come clean on my contradictions and conflict over my love of the superficial, I have to share the things that are thrilling me the most. And look, makeup is an artform. It's creative expression, endless variations on texture, colour and application. It's playing with crayons or painting watercolours made into a daily ritual. Even the Egyptians were poisoning themselves just to have a kohl-rimmed eye. It's ancient. There's culture and tradition in it. 

If it brings you joy, and it harms nobody, indulge with me...

Urban Decay Naked Skin is vegan, weightless, perfect coverage foundation from the cult beauty brand that is best known for their nude eye palette range. I am all about perfect skin and foundation that conceals without looking obvious, and definitely survives a yoga class and a full day or running around without resulting in blemishes. This ticks all my boxes. Exclusive to Mecca Maxima. Check out their Top 10 UD Obsessions!

Dior Secret Garden IV is the amazing campaign featuring Rihanna. The mini-film is incredible (view it!) Look, I won't be jetting off to Paris or investing in a Dior handbag anytime soon, BUT I discovered the products that were used to achieve that French Film Star bombshell lip and that's romantic enough for me. She is wearing the Rouge Dior lipstick shade #941 Cannage and the Lip Liner Thrilling Plum #943 (Rouge Dior Couture @ Myer)

Thursday, 25 June 2015

10 Minute Booty Barre Workout

I love Tracey Mallett. An ex-dancer who has a whole range of barre DVDs and online training videos, she does fun and TOUGH workouts. You don't need to do an hour - you can feel a burn through the abs and thighs in this 10 minute workout. Maybe you do it once in the morning then again in the evening. Just an idea. Did you do it? Do you love it? Come and tell me on Facebook!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Going Green for Protein & Cleansing & Superfoods Affair

No, I'm not about to set up home in the tree tops, scaling up and down the trunk by rope and sending communications via pigeon.

I'm just going to green-ify my insides and refresh, rejuvenate, re-energise.

I'm not into a cleanse or a detox. I don't believe the body is "toxic", only some of our habits. You can't outrun or disguise bad habits but you can gradually try to build and establish good ones.

The more good habits, the better. Some naughtiness and indulgence is absolutely necessary for the spirit so don't become a total puritan!

After indulging my coffee habit to the point of 8 hardcore black coffees a day, I know I need to face the horrible sleep deprivation and wonky appetite I've dealt myself. I'm going green.

I've stocked up on green tea and can't wait until Forest Superfoods starts stocking matcha green tea. Soon, I'm promised.
In the meantime, I've ordered moringa powder and aloe vera juice. There's every sort of green and raw, natural supplement you could want or need and they are super friendly. I had questions and mere minutes after sending an email, bam! Responses. 

Moringa contains proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It's commonly used in Africa and India as a treatment to restore nourishment where vitamins and minerals are sorely lacking. The leaves, when dried and powdered, can be used as a condiment or added to your daily juice/smoothie. 
It is also recommended for iron deficiency, arthritis and rheumatism (joint pain), heaches, fluid retention and to boost the immune system after an infection.
Or just too much coffee.

My nan once snapped off the sharp blade of an aloe vera plant and told me the juice would nourish my skin and clear up spots. Since this same woman taught me that boston bun is the best frigging sweet thing on earth and buying fish and chips then wrapping it in your own newspaper like you prepared it yourself, I totally trusted her. Not only was she correct that aloe vera is nourishing and cleansing when applied to the skin, it is also a great tonic to drink. Hugely popular in herbal medicines, it contains many vitamins including A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6. Aloe Vera is also one of the few plants that contains vitamin B12. Some of the 20 minerals found in Aloe vera include: calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese.
PLUS it aids in digestion and stomach pain. Again, coffee havoc.

Aloe Vera juice from Forest Super Foods

Thanks nan.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Caffeine Buzz for Ultimate Performance....of your skincare

Coffee is a natural stimulant and a powerful antioxidant. This not only makes it the perfect pre-workout, pre-work kickstart, but also a wicked tonic for your skin and hair.
So, make an espresso and read on because caffeine will perk up your body and your complexion.
Caffeine constricts small blood vessels and reduces inflammation, making it perfect for minimising dark circles and fluid build-up under the eyes. 
Try Swisse Argan Anti-Aging Eye Cream (argan oil, vitamin K2 & caffeine). 
Keep in mind, eye creams offer temporary benefits so you need to question your diet and lifestyle for those dark circles and bags!

Those tightening and fluid-fighting agents will also do wonders for your skin. The Body Shop has a range that uses all natural ingredients – including caffeine – to nourish, firm and rejuvenate skin. Considering the nasty winter weather here, this is a shower must have for me.

With caffeine plus grapefruit and lemon essential oils, this also has an attached massage head for a super luxe at-home massage. Genius! Spa Fit Firming & Toning Gel-Cream Massager.
If you’re a self-tanner like me, you’ll need to regularly exfoliate to make sure you’re not looking flaky (you know what I’m talking about) – so you can either go the luxe version from Body Shop (zesty citrus scrub 100% natural-origin citrus ingredients) OR add your used coffee grinds to your existing bath or shower gel and not only reduce, reuse, recycle but glow with a natural “I am a DIY Skincare Master” knowledge!

Get along to my Facebook page to let me know if you use a caffeine spiked product that you love!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Yoga Teacher Training Finally!

Now that my hip has healed enough that I am doing dancer's pose and getting through BodyPump and Power Yoga classes with zest, I can see more clearly what I want to be doing with my life.

I want to write, draw, create and share my discoveries and ideas with you and with curious people.

I also want to motivate and share the knowledge that our bodies can heal and recover and accomplish movements and sensations that are life changing, or at least, strengthening.

For me, having tried many fitness and lifestyle trends and styles over the past 16 years, I know what works for me right now. I love a strong, challenging vinyasa yoga class. Sometimes referred to as Power Yoga. I also love barre training. It feels like I'm using

but also opening between my bones and stretching muscles that have been twisting into knots overnight or at the office. It feels graceful, elegant, as if I'm connecting with my inner ballerina.

A man came up to me at the gym yesterday where I was going through some barre moves to use in class and asked if I was a gymnast or a ballerina. I told him no and he marvelled at how "strong" I was. This is true! He was holding a cane and had been struggling with knee problems for 10 years. He said the trainer at the gym had him doing squats. When he showed me, his technique was jarring, awkward and he looked pained. It felt wonderful to be able to tell him I'd had a hip replacement and squats were a major part of my rehabilitation but they have to be adapted for our bodies at the stage they're in. So we went through technique.

It was a small part of my day - maybe 10 minutes - but it felt fabulous for hours. I sometimes take for granted having a strong sense of body awareness and how to align and stretch and move in the safest, most effective way to train and strengthen. It matters in moments when I can heal myself or guide others to use their bodies in the most meaningful way.

My Yoga Teacher Training starts in Februrary and I can't wait. I read Christy Turlington's "Living Yoga" about 6 years ago and it was life altering for me. I started the book because of the pretty pictures, but was incredibly inspired and moved by Christy's story of discovering holistic health (becoming an anti-smoking advocate), setting up a charity for mothers, and studying religion and spirituality at university. She fully immersed herself in the history and philosophy of yoga and there is so much to learn and to experience on and off the mat. I hadn't realised until that point.

I'm most looking forward to becoming a yoga student for life. To accepting and embracing that I will never master it and know everything and be guru-like, but that my passion and love for yoga will motivate the yogis who do my class to investigate ideas and movements that are new and interesting to them. Or just to get into a pose they hadn't believed was possible!

Talking of being able to do that, I know that a 9 - 5 office job is not possible for me at this point, if ever. I love moving. I love instructing. I love the energy of being in a class and both instructing and learning so much about bodies, movement, rhythm and how to motivate and coach. Every class has its own rhythm and energy. I am thrilled to now have more classes at Ivanhoe Aquatic & Fitness Centre, very close to where I grew up. I am also hoping to add to my schedule of barre classes this year while also (hopefully!) getting some writing and content editing work so that I can have the ideal mix of writing, editing, sculpting, toning and instructing.

If you're interested in doing yoga or barre classes, or you're already doing them and you have a place you'd recommend, come and tell me about it on Facebook!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Organic, Natural Skincare and Ingredients that Cleanse and Nourish Skin

If I told you to stock up on chia seeds, blueberries, acai berries, papaya, pink grapefruit, you'd think I was giving you a list for the kitchen.
In fact, I'm giving you the essential nutrient rich ingredients for a skin regime that will bolster your natural cell turnover, collagen levels and give you a radiant complexion.

As a teenager, I had to courses of Accutane because of vicious acne. I am so careful and fussy about WHAT I use on my skin and having a routine. Every morning, my first move is to cleanse and if I've got time, apply a masque (Dermalogica Power Recovery is unbeatable). Drink coffee, remove masque. Toner (Kiehl's Cucumber Herbal Toner is alcohol free so non drying).
Then the makeup, of course!
In the evening, same deal but I might exfoliate instead of the masque to make sure every speck of makeup and dust is out, out, out! I apply body moisturiser (wake up smelling like a blueberry smoothie AND shimmering!) before bed and also Eminence Pink Grapefruit serum to blitz any spots! I also use overnight repair time to apply a rich moisturiser OR a peel depending on whether my skin is dry or there's a spot developing. So it's either Eminence Firm Skin Acai Moisturiser or Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturising Serum.

I recognise that Eminence and Kiehl's are not budget buys - they're skinvestment purchases. So, if you're more dash than cash right now, there is an awesome range called Goodness out newly that is all about chia seeds! These babies are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and natural certified organic goodness for your skin. There's a whole range, but I'm loving the cleanser and moisturiser.

These are the particular products I use, but there's a mega range of all natural serums, cleansers, masques and more that will suit your particular needs...check out:
Eminence Organics, Kiehl's and Goodness.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

5 Best Self Tan Must Haves for Golden Skin Status

Remember the Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Remember Twisties? You don't want to look like you just rolled around in their chemical cheesy powder.

You want to look bronzed, beach ready, naturally like you've stepped off the sand in Ibiza. There's so many products out there. Here's my tried, tested and best.

Fake Bake Flawless: I was first introduced to this by a friend from the UK who said she would never trust ANYTHING else! She was right. The professional-level mitt included in the kit is fantastic. Applies evenly and you can see the colour it will be straight away.

St Tropez Dark Spray/Mousse: streak free. No nasty chemical smell. Works overnight. Kate Moss fronts the campaign. This is a long time fashion editor favourite. Totally reliable.

J Bronze Medium Tanning Mousse: Jennifer Hawkins knows her stilettos. She also knows her self tanning products, fortunately! She does a killer range of gold-packaged self tanning cream, mousse and specific face formula. Totally dependable for next morning bronzed body.

PureTan Spray/Mousse: Need to be bronzed NOW? PureTAN is the salon-level range that is all the rage for gym bunnies. If you are new to self tan, try the Gradual Tanning lotion with SPF to build up over a few days with daily application.

Mecca Cosmetica Sunless Goddess Tanning Lotion: If you haven't used self tan before and you want a really natural, long lasting glow, this is it. So easy to apply and so natural looking. If you're a bronzed goddess of many years, this is also a great top up that is nourishing and gentle on skin.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

All Australian Activewear Shop Online

As we all know by now, I am obsessed with all things activewear. I could talk yoga leggings for hours. Don't get me started! I like a great fit, strategic pockets, fantastic colours and prints, and long lasting fabric and colour.
No oodles of zips or bizarre lace inserts, major brand logos plastered all over my clothing, and no need to mortgage the house to afford an outfit.

The wonderful and very savvy Julie from Be Activewear started her online store to "create a place where women could come to one place and find affordable, fashionable activewear and compression clothing," she says. "This would allow them to not only feel great working out, but to spend the rest of the day in their outfit without spending a fortune on it!"

Be Activewear offers a library of exercises as well as articles on healthy eating and maintaining a fit lifestyle for women. Proudly Australian owned, stocking Australian brands.

My recent additions to the activewear wardrobe include Ellebie Coral Jacket, Purple Full Length Leggings and Navy Frill Tights. I've also nabbed a Mandy BR Neon Orange XLong Tank!


Monday, 1 June 2015

Makeup Mecca Cult Brand Discovery

One of my favourite discoveries in Barcelona and Spain was Sephora. It's the supermarket of major makeup and skincare brands. I spent hours there!
While we don't have Sephora in Melbourne - fortunately we have a beauty, body and skincare mecca that rivals Sephora for incredible range, knowledgeable staff and cult brands.
Being a 90s teenager, I became obsessed with Urban Decay when it first came out. Goth, punk and glitter colours and a cult-like following in America had me sold. It didn't stay long on the shelves at Myer though - the world wasn't ready! HOWEVER. It has made a comeback, brighter Naked palette as well as Heavy Metal (glitter eyes), which is to die for! Naked Skin is also raved about by makeup gurus as the cover-up that makes skin flawless. My next trial!
and better, with the
Mecca is also home to Nars, Kiehls, Too Faced (OBSESSED with Melted lipstain!) and their own home range of Mecca products. I've used the self-tanner for face and body and love it.
Find your local store or shop online at
I can't talk cult makeup without talking MAC. So my latest obsession is the Strobe Cream (hello glistening cheekbones and brow!), Flat Out Fabulous lipstick, Snob (so perfect for Paris!) and the glittery, glistening Englightenment pressed pigment for eyes. If you're not already, you MUST follow MAC on Instagram. Incredible.
Pictured is Girl Trouble nail lacquer. Isn't it incredible? Partnered with the Enlightenment glittery eye, it is going to make you into a shimmering superstar. Whether you're the CEO or the checkout chick, you can be a super shining superbabe.

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...