Thursday, 22 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.

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)

Monday, 19 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.

Friday, 16 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

Thursday, 15 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

Wednesday, 14 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.

Thursday, 8 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.

Saturday, 3 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.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Beautiful Skin, Beautiful Planet

I'm not perfectly organic, non-chemical, non-toxic, clean living 100%
If you are, DAMN. Well done. That's hard. I do try though to go for products that are organic, recyclable, NOT tested on animals, no parabens, petroleum and silicone that clogs pores and leaves traces all over your skin and hair.

I know what works for me, so I can't guarantee you will love it, but if you value really high quality skincare at an affordable price AND beautifully designed packaging that will make you smile when you see it in the cabinet daily, get your mitts on these brands:

The Jojoba Company
The Body shop

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

SLS Strengthen Lengthen Sculpt

So, you know I get super excited about new class ideas. I'm pitching this RIGHT now and need you to get behind it and wave your pom-poms about if you're keen to see it at your gym.

SLS - or Strengthen Lengthen Sculpt - is a mix of cardio, pilates and resistance work to build lean muscle, long muscles and leave you with that satisfying "glow" of sweat as you trot out at the end.

You will see results. You know I mean it if you come to Ballet Sculpt. This is like an amped up version of Sculpt! Let's get it on timetables. Let me know where your club is and request your Group Fitness Manager get in touch with me to discuss!

SLS. Strengthen Lengthen Sculpt.

A combination of cardio, pilates and light resistance work to sculpt your muscles, raise your heart rate and lengthen your muscles to leave you long, lean and strong.

Melbourne Group Fitness Managers can email me to discuss available times!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Mel Macklin - Party In Fantastica!

I recently discovered amazing, kick-ass lipstick brand Shanghai Suzy. Not only do they do two shades you MUST HAVE (hello Neon Guava and Amethyst!) but they have names and characters. The mad mistress behind those tattooed, punk rock princesses is Melbourne illustrator, Mel Macklin and she is feisty fun personified. Despite being crazily busy, she took time to answer all my questions.
How did the Shanghai collab start?

Hehe, it's kinda a nice story actually! It was April of this year, and I hadn't long moved to Melbourne from Darwin in the Northern Territory. It was my very first day sitting my market shop in my new hometown, and Jo was my neighbour at Rose Street Artist's market in Fitzroy! Jo was every bit as bubbly and and sweet as she looked, and kept me in very good company that first day. We never got to be market neighbours again, but I like to think the creative pixies had had a hand in our meeting that day!

We kept in touch on the social interwebs and Jo would often leave lovely comments about whatever new painting I was working on. Then one day, I got an email from her asking if I was interested in illustrating for her Spring/ Summer wardrobe launch, and I was like, 'Ummm, YES!'

We met for lunch a week later and that was that! Jo was a dream to work with: a girl who knows quite clearly and concisely what she wants, how to express herself, and, I think most admirably, how to encourage creativity with others. I think we both felt very strongly invested and personally attached to the characters that I illustrated; there's a little piece of us both in there. I feel very lucky to have worked with such a tremendous businesswoman like Jo.

Your lipstick shade of choice?

Hands-down, Miss Kitty Black Plum! (Hehe, I painted both Suzy Sisters wearing that shade for purely selfish reasons!). I love that it's super-elegant classy lady (ahem, I do try to be those things!), but it's also a bit grungy nineties.

Where did you draw the inspiration for your characters?

Hehe, how long is a piece of string?! Sometimes it's a word that repeats itself over and over in my head. Sometimes it's the snippet of a book, maybe even a misinterpretation of a song. Making art to me is like a jigsaw, with round holes and square pegs- the attraction and the challenge simultaneously is to make those incongruous elements work together so at first glance they look 'right' and fitting. (The trick is in the double-take your viewers will give the work if you've done your job right!)

I'm a visual person, so all of my characters are an amalgam of all the cool stuff I've ever seen in my life to date. Even as a small child, I would never sit in front of the telly just to be a couch potato- I would draw- the characters I loved best (Sarah from Labyrinth, Rainbow Brite, Sailor Moon, Lady Lovely Locks, everything Disney, ). I would draw them as they were, I would draw them in new outfits, in new contexts, and make whole new characters to sit alongside them too.

Anybody who grew up in the Harry Potter generation will know the particular torture of waiting a year or more to know the fate of characters who had become real to you, had become both your friend, and a part of you. Of never wanting their stories to be over, and the dull ache when, inevitably, the last page was read and there was no more. My reaction to dealing with that was to make art, to continue their stories as I would want them to be lived.

Going to my first Comic-Con this year, I realised that there were thousands of other dreamers out there who felt just the same way I did about their 2D heroes, and I felt like that community has opened it's superhero arms to me in a huge way!

A lot of my work though is of my own original characters. They are all a little part of me and the people I love best, real and imagined.

What other collabs have you done?

I am currently working with a bunch of fantastic illo buddies of mine for our collective showcase at next year's Melbourne Supergraph! We are called 'Wayward Journey'. We all make stuff that's a bit whimsical, fairytale-fancying, detailed and, of course, awesome! ;-)

Do you find Melbourne a good city to have a creative career in?

Melbourne is a place I feel in my bones. I'm originally from Gippsland, but my folks moved to Darwin in my teens. I spent the next 12 years making plans to move back to Melbourne, but life always got in the way.... My fiancée Dave and I lived and worked in inner-city London for two years, and spent a lot of time in Italy and Spain while we were there. It was amazing and terrifying and confronting and all my dreams come true, all at once! You realise there are parts of yourself, survival mechanisms you didn't know you had, living in a big city, especially one that's not in your native country.

I think it can be very confronting to live in any big city and try to make a name for yourself in the creative biz. I realised very quickly, living in London that there was no shortage of amazingly clever artsy people out there, searching, working for just the same lucky break that I was. And then I realised that it wasn't going to happen, this fantasy of 'being discovered'. It's a myth: it diminishes the thousands of hours of sheer hard work that is put in for such and such a person to become well-known, this idea that they were 'lucky' that someone well-connected introduced them to the world, or implicitly, took pity on them (actually, it's just sheer hard work and perseverance!). I am really grateful now to have experienced the sort of anonymity and the confrontation of being a drop in the ocean, before I seriously started my career. It keeps me humble and grounded; I am always trying to push closer to new personal bests and develop my skills. My biggest fear is complacency!

In a nutshell, I think it can be very easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of the Melbourne art scene- a good artist will let that fuel them to keep finding inspiration, unique ways to express themselves, to work hard, humbly and honestly to earn a place beside their art heroes.

How do you find customers and supporters?

Hehe, Pop Surrealism can be a tricksy movement to be a part of! People aren't always sure just what is, or what it's for. It's funny how uninhibited people can be when they meet you in a retail context (I sell my work at trade fairs like Comic-Con, Finders Keepers and a bunch of smaller markets around Melbourne), and I've heard all sorts of comments about my work! I think people find themselves in artwork- you know the old saying, they see it as they are, the good and the bad, and not always as it was intended.

My heart just explodes with joy when people walk up to my shop, and look at something like 'Salty Tears and Shipwrecks' and laugh. I think: a kindred spirit! I have an odd sense of humour, so it makes me happy that's there's peeps out there who know how to fly their freak flag with reckless abandon too!

My attitude to art has always been that, if it's not actually real, why not make something extraordinarily beautiful, to make impossible things possible- on a page, within a film, the covers of a book... I think the ability to suspend belief, to lose yourself within an artwork and accept the improbability of it, is a special thing. I couldn't care less that mermaids aren't real: I want to believe in them, and so they are real in all the ways that matter. If I can help just one person to feel that too, I feel like I've achieved something.

Favourite artistic medium?

I have a huge respect for painters. Oil painters especially. The thing is, I can't paint to save myself!
I puddled in it like a spoiled brat at uni; I decided the reason I made poo on the paper was because it wasn't quite for me, and I could get away with just, skipping a whole bunch of fundamental skills every good artist should know! (Actually, I just had zero patience and felt entitled to expect results too quickly, rather than earn them!)

So, about six years ago when I was toying with the idea of illustrating professionally, I bought myself a set of gorgeous watercolours and taught myself how to paint with them.... Later, I switched to acrylics, which is much more a plastic medium, much more predictable. But it never sat right with me! I always felt like I was pretending, there was something fluid I was seeking in my methods, but could never quite give myself over to, as ever, the look I wanted was highly detailed and controlled.

After a long stint with colour pencils, I have finally, and most unexpectedly, fallen head-over-heels
with digital painting! I use a method called on-screen mixing, which is basically a simulation of traditional oil-painting methods. It's just that you mix your colours on screen, rather than puddling in pigments, which I really suck at!

Hehe, this little Luddite would never have dreamed one day I'd say I absolutely LOVE digital painting! The scope of what's possible, and all the things I have yet to learn and get better at is huge. I know I have found my medium because I am excited and inspired by that thought, not defeated to be just a relative beginner.

Can't live without tools and equipment?

My Wacom (of course!). I've had it for five years now, so the wear and tear has polished it to perfection and my pen glides just right!
Tea and/or coffee, I'm not fussy which variety as long as it's strong and I can have it on intravenous drip. I am a caffeine whore, which is ridiculous because it has no effect on me. I can drink coffee late at night and be asleep in twenty minutes. True story.
All my beautiful books, full of the fairytales I loved as a child, and the ones I love now that keep me inspired and young at heart.
Pinterest, where I catalogue absolutely every single thing other that inspires me!

Music to listen to while drawing?

Hehe, I am kinda OCD and can watch/ eat/ do the exact same stuff days in a row without getting tired of it, until suddenly I find a new obsession! My brother remembers that even as a child, I would watch 'Labyrinth' five times back to back every single day and still be fascinated! So, I have been listening to Jeff Buckley for about, oh, five months now!
I am also a sucker for audiobooks: Michael Ende's 'Neverending Story'; the Harry Potter series read by Stephen Fry; anything written or read by Neil Gaiman ('Neverwhere' and 'Coraline' are my faves). Also LOVE David Tennant's reading of the 'How to Train Your Dragon' books by Cressida Cowell. Listening to these stories is like chewing gum for my imagination- so, while half my brain makes very precise technical decisions, the other half is like:
''Woot, woot, party in Fantastica!'' 

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Magnesium: Your Questions Answered

I take magnesium to assist with calcium absorption for bone and muscle health. I also love it for sleep improvement and a calming effect. Thankyou to nutritionist, Jess Sepel for answering all my magnesium questions. FYI, Jess is the ambassador for Nature's Way. I do use it, I advocate for it, but be aware that there are many magnesium products on the market and you need to read labels and choose what is best for your body!
The reason I like this product is because it is made from natural products rather than some of the more highly processed options out there that are less easily absorbed and the ingredients not easy to decipher. As with food, if you can't make sense of the label, be wary.

Who needs magnesium?
Almost everyone, in my nutritionist’s opinion! We just aren’t getting enough from the soils our food is grown in. Magnesium does incredible things for the nervous system – it actually calms it down so that it’s able to function as it should. It’s good for the heart, helps rebalance hormones, eases constipation, and even acts as an amazing muscle relaxant and sleep aid. It really is a divine mineral!

Why is it ideal in powder form?
Magnesium is best taken in powder form because it’s less work for the body to break down than a tablet. In powder form it is better absorbed by the body and is easier on the stomach too.

When is it best to consume it?
It’s best to take magnesium at night, after a meal.

While some say it is best combined with calcium, that’s not necessarily the case. Straight magnesium powder from Nature’s Way will be absorbed well all on its own! 

Anxiety (It's Not Just For Christmas)

I am reading Kerri Sackville’s “The Little Book of Anxiety:Confessions from a Worried Life” and it is really funny and also really resonant. A writer for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Sunday Life, and also a prolific blogger, Kerri is no slouch in the writing department. Totally readable and not at ALL textbook flavoured.

In just the first few pages, Kerri nails the anxious life.

“Anxiety is a shocker. It robs you of your ability to think, and your ability to enjoy your life. It is a tightness in your chest. A pounding heart. Intense agitation. A brain clouding over. A mind closing in on itself.”

I don’t want to preach to you on anxiety and its causes and cures because it manifests in different ways and to different degrees for everyone. From the niggle in your head right before you want to sleep about whether you’re in the right job, to a fully blown panic attack over imminent disaster, there is the capacity in all of us for worry and anxiety to affect our mental and physical health.

I know when I’m anxious, exercise helps. Not walking or running, as I know is the most predictable thing, nor boxing and exhausting myself. I actually find the big adrenaline rush from doing that can equally exhaust my anxiety out OR increase it massively! Not worth the risk.

I actually find a flowing, moving vinyasa yoga class is really redemptive. I might find myself still highly emotional throughout class, but I feel like I have the energy and ability to acknowledge all those worries and fears and not to crumble and feel useless in the face of them. I feel re-energized.
I also like a good weights session – again, not pounding the barbells and forcing myself through endless sets or huge loads – I’m not punishing myself! I just like the steady count of repetitions and the focus on timing, technique and focusing on how it feels rather than giving in to the “if this, then that” thoughts racing through my head.

You will find you already have ways to handle your worry. Maybe you don’t even recognise that’s what you’re doing. The important thing is to make sure those ways aren’t harmful. I know those too. Exercise has been a demon for me in the past as far as trying to exorcise anxiety with exhaustive routines and classes and sweat. Another book has come out recently by Melbourne woman,  Vanessa Alford, who exercised obsessively and was praised and prized for running like a maniac, overtraining and losing massive amounts of weight through restrictive and dangerous dieting. She has revealed the pain and misery that haunted her in Fit Not Healthy and it is a confronting, CONFRONTING book, I warn you. But one that reveals a culture and obsession that is evident to me in my role in the fitness industry. I don’t believe we have seen the real start, nor any great developments on this front and it will come. There are a great many men and women who will identify with Vanessa’s experience and are not willing to admit their demons just yet.

Fit Not Healthy by Vanessa Alford 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Sleek Ponytail or Bouncy Curls? Both!

Confession. I have curly hair naturally - thanks mum.
I fought it throughout my teens and twenties but now I love them. It took a lot of trial and error with hair products though. So many curl-specific products leave your hair thick, oily and in need of a shampoo daily! Yuck.

After discovering Pureology's strength cure for split ends, I decided to venture further and try their curl products. Best Curl Products Ever. I thought Kerastase was the ultimate for my hair, but I'm cheating. I'm having a mad, mad affair with Pureology Curl Complete and if you are ringlet, spirals and curls too - I'm willing to share the love.
Available from a salon. Find your closest one!
Pureology on Facebook

On the OTHER hand, I love a sleek ponytail - Jennifer Aniston totally rocked it with a gorgeous ponytail hair extension piece at a film launch recently, which inspired me to try it too. I found The Wig Outlet to be super efficient as far as easy payment, parcel tracking and super-fast delivery.
Plus, when I emailed a couple of questions on colour and suitability, they responded within a few hours! Love that.

I got the deluxe 35cm ponytail with claw clip-in. Comes in 8 colours for $24.99.

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