Friday, 1 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.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Protein for Body, Mind and Muscle

Protein is essential for building, maintaining and restoring your muscle, especially if you're active.
There's a lot out there about what types, how much and the timing around it. So I'm going to make it simple and you can take it or leave it, but do read it.

Eat protein in the morning to recharge with nutrients. Protein also satiates the appetite so you are less likely to find yourself craving jelly beans at 10am. This can be as simple as milk (protein fortified is good), a handful of nuts, miso soup or soy-based cereal. Rolled oats (WHOLEGRAIN) or eggs (boiled or poached!) are also a fabulous source of protein.

Consuming protein before a work out kickstarts muscle synthesis (repairing and building muscle) throughout and even after hitting the weights.

Drink chocolate milk after a workout. Eat within half an hour of your workout. A milk-based smoothie is an excellent choice. Throw in some berries and you've got an antioxidant fix too!

Eat a fish, lean meat, soya/tofu based lunch. Go heavy on the protein in the middle of the day to ensure you have the energy to restore from your morning and have ongoing energy through the afternoon until evening. Don't ruin your meal by choosing high-fat, overly processed foods and please don't think a protein bar is a healthy choice. Yuck. Choose lean meat with a high protein content, like chicken, beef, lamb or kangaroo. Trimmed of fat, these are power foods.
Combined with fresh vegetables and a healthy choice of fat, you have a well-rounded and nutrient rich fuel for living. Healthy fats might include avocado, walnuts, coconut oil or inherently omega-3 rich foods like salmon and trout.

Snack on protein before dinner. A 250g tub of yoghurt, a smoothie, a handful of walnuts... your body will use the protein to repair and rebuild overnight.

Eat a protein-rich dinner. All the lunchtime protein options are great. You might also include a chickpea or kidney bean salad, quinoia or boiled egg.

Great picks: Salmon, Skinless Chicken Thigh, Wholegrain Rolled Oats, Kangaroo fillet, Quinoa, Eggs, Steak, Chickpeas, Homemade Protein Balls or slices.

Try this recipe from The Naked Kitchen: Chocolate Almond Protein Bars

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Sorbet Fresh!

Melbourne weather is so disappointing at the moment. So, I'm getting my sorbet sweet shades together to boost my spirits!
I highly recommend you dress in pinks and blackberries, sweep your berry fresh lippy on generously, nail it with an "Adrenaline Rush" colour and spritz on a super fresh scent. Go forth sweet ones!
Click on images below for more details and to whip out your credit card ;)

Monday, 27 April 2015

All Black Yoga Wear Edit

You know I freakin' obsess over Onzie! So for my upcoming trip to Barcelona and Paris, I want to look Euro Chic in all black everything. I also want to be ready for yoga and barre at the flip of a Euro coin! I don't want to look like a sweaty mess on the Saint Germain though. Black. Mesh. Print. Dots. This is the All Black Edit.

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  • Black mesh, black magic print and the tri coloured black, silver and futura print leggings are all in my suitcase. I plan on doing yoga, barre and whatever other fun fitness classes Parisian and Spanish girls are loving. That's between trekking the beautiful streets of Saint Germain, Barcelona and stretching my pins while watching the countryside from the train from Barcelona to Paris mid-May. A girl has to invest in her fitness gear. You know it. I've even been super prepared by buying black sneakers to match  my outfit. It was necessary! The second pair? Well, that was just fun. Stay tuned for photos. 

    Saturday, 25 April 2015

    Five Foot Fierce Females in Flares

    So I love, love, love a flared pant. One that comfortably vacuum sucks to the thighs and then flares out below the knee to the ankle bone.
    So flattering.
    I'm talking somewhere between a bootleg and a jacked-up true seventies flare. Not that nasty big circus tent flare you might be fearing!

    Also? I'm 5"1. Yep. I'm short.

    Now, let me tell you what I hate. Anyone telling me I can't wear something, or do something, or be something, go somewhere or achieve something just because you can't, or didn't or won't.

    So, two things now. First of all, I can do, wear, say, be, think and achieve what I want to and if I don't, it certainly won't be for lack of trying!

    Secondly, I can rock flared pants like you wouldn't believe. And here's a whole lot of proof that short girls are freakin' hot, fierce and rocking fashion however, wherever and whenever they like. Rachel Bilson is 5"2 and the Olsen twins rock flared pants like goddesses and they are 5"0 and 5"1 respectively. Make it your mantra! Don't Tell Cat What She Can and Can't Do. Or Wear.

    Friday, 24 April 2015

    Fat that Burns Fat?

    Don't get too excited. I'm not going to reveal some magic greasy burger you can eat and turn into Kate Moss.

    This is genuine science and it's a fascinating discovery that has potential implications for the management of disease and diabetes as well as weight management for healthy, fit people.

    The body stores 3 types of fat: white, beige and brown.

    White fat is the one you normally think of - the most common type of fat that is typically stored around the stomach, thighs and hips.

    On the other hand, the more rare brown fat has heat-producing properties that burn major calories just by existing. Science - as discussed in a recent New Scientist magazine article - has proven that brown fat is activated through cold temperatures. Nothing too extreme - even wearing a tank top in 14 degrees will do it. Brown fat cells play an essential role in wild animals, allowing them to survive in cold and harsh environments by ensuring blood circulates and body heat is maintained.

    Beige cells develop in the common white fat when brown cells are activated and THIS is where and when the fat-burning and metabolism boost happens. Beige fat cells = leanness in humans and the reduction of metabolic disease and obesity in mice. Current studies are looking into genetic and drug therapy that can produce and encourage growth and activation of beige fat cells.

    While humans typically store only a very small quantity of brown cells, they are to be found in the deep back muscles around the spine and neck. Interestingly, overweight and obese people have been found to have a lower concentration of brown fat cells. In trials of drug therapy that looked at increasing the activity of brown cells, dangerous side effects were noticed at high doses so at present, there is no effective means of increasing their quantity or activity safely.

    Beige cells on the other hand develop through being exposed to the cold, as I mentioned. Once they have been activated in the cold atmosphere, they are retained even when you warm up again. So it would seem that intermittent exposure to cold environments can maintain a metabolic boosting quantity of beige fat cells, which limit and reduce weight gain.

    This is all still in the early stages of study. What HAS been proven is that there are systemic factors that influence brown and beige fat and look promising for weight loss therapy.
    Irisin is a hormone found in muscle - built through exercise - which has obesity-prevention qualities and enhances energy production in cells. The takeaway message? EXERCISE. Both endurance and high-intensity bursts are recommended.

    Calcium - either three or four daily servings of low-fat dairy or a supplement - can increase your body's fat burning ability. Calcium is stored in fat cells and regulates how it is stored and broken down by the body. The greater the level of calcium, the more fat it will burn according to studies.

    Being TOO lean and having TOO LITTLE body fat will have the reverse effect. The body requires fat to retain calcium, vitamin D and other essential hormones and vitamins which are dependent on fat to remain and stay active.

    A study from the Nutrition Institute of University of Tennessee showed mice given calcium supplements had good weight loss results, when supplements were combined with a restricted-calorie diet. Mice getting their calcium via supplements had a 42% decrease in body fat, whereas mice eating without supplements had an 8% body fat loss.

    However, calcium from dairy products produced the best results. Mice on the "medium-dairy" diet had a 60% decrease in body fat, while those on the "high-dairy" diet lost 69% body fat.

    The takeaway message? GET YOUR CALCIUM. I am not a major dairy fan and I know many people prefer alternatives. If this is the case, I recommend Nature's Way Calcium & K2 + Vitamin D.

    Research shows that Vitamin K2 binds calcium to the bone mineral, ensuring that it is absorbed where it is NEEDED rather than depositing in the arteries. I recommend this supplement because it's the first to make K2 available and it's widely available (supermarkets, pharmacies and online at

    And eat well. There's no great mystery to it. If you are in need of some ideas, go recipe book hunting. My latest find is "the SuperFoods Kitchen" which has breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert options compiled from home cooks all over Australia. So inspiring! A crowd sourced cookbook!

    Thursday, 23 April 2015

    Swan Lake - Classic. Russian. In Melbourne.

    The Japanese do sushi. The Americans do peanut butter and jelly.

    The Russians do ballet. This is how it is.

    As a lover of Swan Lake since I was old enough to pull on a tutu, I am hugely excited about going to see the St Petersburg Ballet presenting the traditional and classic Swan Lake. I'm taking my darling friend Alex who hasn't seen this performed live, so we'll both be breathless!
    The video below is the incredible Irina Kolesnikova and Dmitry Akulinin from St Petersburg Ballet in Swan Lake.

    It has had fantastic reviews all over Europe and will be performed in Melbourne in the new space, Plenary, at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in mid June from Friday 19th to Monday 22nd. Various times including afternoons and evenings.

    Tickets through Ticketek online or 136 100.

    Follow St Petersburg Ballet on Facebook for updates, photos and video.

    Monday, 20 April 2015

    fit girl hairspiration!

    My go-to is the top knot and I will stick by it! I also love a high ponytail and waves. Now that everyone in your cafe and local organic produce store is in their yoga leggings and compression tank top, you really need to master hair that goes from crossfit to cafe.
    I just upgraded from the ghd styler to the Cloud Nine Touch and it is the best straightening/wave making tool I've used. I've used a lot. It was the tool of choice at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) and it had been recommended to me by friends and hairdressers.

    Love it. Totally recommend it. What you REALLY need to know is it's automatic.

    It switches off automatically after 30 seconds of no use! Great for absent minded girls!

    It straightens, waves and does fringe smoothing in seconds.

    It is temperature controlled with 2 settings.

    Available at Cloud Nine Australia. Follow their YouTube for how-to videos.

    Get Your Glow On as if you do #YogaEveryDamnDay

    My gorgeous friend and yoga instructor, Kristian, commented on my glow in class last week. "I've gotta get some of that retinol!" he cried. My skincare must-have. Pure, hardcore vitamin A, baby. It works. Totally recommend it.

    If you are looking for a short, sharp fix to get your glow on and not willing to wait a few months for the retinol to show results, you MUST lay your pretty fingers upon a fantastic illuminator and blush. You will be contouring, glowing and looking like you do #yogaeveryday.

    I swear by benefit high beam - a makeup artist's secret weapon in getting cheekbones to glisten. You also want to tap this pearlised pink just under the arch of the eyebrow to "open" and brighten the eyes. Available at Myer

    Since you're there, pick up the lolli-tint, which will leave your lips stained with a jelly bean sweet pink that outlasts your pre-yoga coffee and post-yoga green juice.
    And just to emphasise your sun salutation worthy inner goddess glow? Dallas, an illuminating, rosy powder you will use now and forever.

    Check out wellness and beauty brand Sorme for a kickass, lesser known illuminator that is just as covetable. Do the Sorme Shimmer Wand (my shade is 'Rosy') ...
    and while you're on the Dynamic Skin Solutions site, get yourself the Lychee Delicious Massage Oil. The fragrance is subtle but it lasts and lasts. The Fruitilicious range is from Thailand, the land of yoga resorts and retreats, natural abundance and sunshine. You'll be breathing it in all day.
    If you need some glow-spiration, check out the backstage makeup and nails from Mercedes Benz Fashion Week this month. This is OPI Chiffon My Mind - used at Toni Maticevski's catwalk show - a gorgeous nude that won't overpower your glowy, gorgeous look.

    Saturday, 18 April 2015

    Follow Me

    If you enjoy my posts and you love activewear, workout ideas and all things fitness, fashion and beauty, get tapping away to follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Share your motivation and ideas with me!

    Thursday, 16 April 2015

    Beauty Goes Pop! Yazbukey Collaboration

    How do you top a makeup collaboration with the most fashionable cat on the planet, Choupette Lagerfeld?
    You team up with pop art, French fashionista Yazbukey to stamp her signature pop art lips all over your fabulous makeup and skin products. If you're Shu Uemura.

    I love my makeup. I love my pop art and I love my limited edition so this is ticking every box for me. I got my hands on the fabulous Yazbukey for shu uemura lipstick in Yaz Red. Are you jealous? You can get your own as of May 2015.
    Follow shu uemura on Facebook and shop it at David Jones

    Wednesday, 15 April 2015

    nu'trir natural skincare

    nu'trir (v:/to feed/to nourish)

    If you judge a book by it's cover, which I quite often do, then you will look at the nu'trir range that has JUST hit the shelves and go, YES. Slather me up in THAT!
    Which is just what I did.
    Find it on Instagram and tag #nourishedbynature
    Dark burgundy boxing and clean, fresh typography and labelling.
    It makes sense really, because the range itself is all about:

      nutrir face masque
    • natural ingredients
    • no nasties, no parabens, no sulphates, no silicons, no petrochemicals
    • no artificial fragrances or colours
    • ingredients that are proven to work
    • simply nourishing the skin and body
    My favourite picks are the 
    1. detoxifying enzymatic radiance masque that uses cranberry, manuka honey and papaya to dissolve the dull, dead skin and allow new cells to flourish while you guzzle your green juice.
    2. collagen boosting peptide serum that harnesses grapeseed, olive and rosemary oils to stimulate new cell production and leave you radiant and fresh
    3. nourishing cleansing oil with rosehip oil, sacha inchi oil and camu camu. This is fabulous if you find your skin gets red and tight after cleansing. It's super gentle AND really does remove the nasty dust and dirt from urban living.
    Available at Chemist WarehouseMy ChemistPriceline and other leading pharmacies.

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