Tuesday, 29 December 2015

A Good Night of Sleep

What We All Really Want for the New Year

Apart from world peace, naturally, I think we can all agree a restorative and rejuvenating full night of beauty sleep is top of the list.

Not only is it vital if you are a fitness junkie, but really if you want to look half alive, you'll want to prioritise sleep quality AND quantity. Essential for hormonal balance, muscle building and repair, skin cell renewal and mood stabilisation, you just can't replace this with a pill or compensate with some other activity!

So, having stocked up on beauty addiction-worthy products (have I raved about Deciem yet? Let me get to that..) and having more lipsticks than your average Sephora store, I am going to tell you the SINGULAR products you need to make all this beauty product mania not a total waste of time and money.
Silk pillowslips (that's right, your cheek and forehead are not going to freeze into a wrinkly Picasso-esque nightmare overnight) and silk eye mask.

While a silk pillowcase costs more than your average Kmart cover, you need to factor in how much you value your hair and face. Not only does silk mean your skin and face won't stick to your bed covering (hello wrinkles and spots) but your careful blow-dry and straight locks won't get hot, messy and knotty overnight. True.

100% mulberry silk pillowcases are recommended by dermatologists to improve complexion and avoid friction, dry skin, overheating (leading to rosacea inflammation and acne) and also to protect the scalp and hair from tearing and dryness.
I have a pillowcase and eye mask from The Goodnight Co - an Australian company founded by the beautiful and super friendly Shea and Danielle. These ladies are fabulous businesswomen and genuine champions of wellbeing and health.

My silk pillowcase and eye mask fit easily into my hand luggage for a flight. If you are a regular traveller, you need these!

Benefits:

  • Pure mulberry silk repels dust mites 
  • Prevents hair damage and friction
  • Prevents friction and bacteria build-up clogging skin and causing blemishes
  • No overheating which can aggravate rosacea and other skin conditions
  • Looks super luxurious - so Hollywood starlet!
  • Makes a great present

Check out The Goodnight Co on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Glad to Be Back From Phuket

I'm back! Or, as the pilot said on landing... "G'day".

I have had the wonderful opportunity to teach barre and flow yoga and also to do some personal training with men and women of all nationalities, ages and abilities.
While I admit, Phuket is not for me as a non-drinker with no interest in seeking massages, beer, manicures and $1 thongs and singlets daily, ever day. If this is your deal on holidays, you will love it. Beer, pedicures, massages until you collapse...perhaps from the heat, perhaps from the drinking.
Anyway, I digress.

Teaching yoga and barre to men who have never done it before and speak only French or Korean is not a piece of cake, but it was a fabulous challenge and one I really rose to. I had my class in perfect wide plies, pilates single leg extensions and Warrior 2 positions daily and it was incredibly satisfying! I was also able to schedule some one-to-one sessions and work on more difficult poses, or even perfecting squat and lunge technique.

I would recommend the opportunity to teach overseas - to challenge your cueing and sequencing, adaptability and demonstration skills - to any and all fitness instructors. It is a deep joy to discover that yoga, dance, barre, pilates and training in general are universal to a degree. Find the right WAY to show and explain - using hands-on and demonstration - and you'll discover new ways to teach and a new appreciation for the body and spirit.

In future, I would do more consideration of WHERE I was teaching and the rules, regulations and approach to classes and teachers. While I appreciated the great respect shown for my style and ability as a teacher, the approach to fitness was "whoever shows up, whatever they're wearing, they're paying guests so they can do the class".
While I was very fortunate to have committed and enthusiastic class members, I also had people wandering in with 4 toddlers "just wanting to watch" or dressed in jean shorts and filling in time before the bar opened.

I would also opt for somewhere I really wanted to explore and feel part of during my stay. I felt in my natural environs when travelling in Ubud and Barcelona recently and I would easily and enthusiastically teach in both cities again. The mix of architecture, artistic and expressive individuals, great food, coffee and vintage clothing and music boutiques, outdoor fresh fruit, veggies and seafood markets and sacred sites all in one big mix was so appealing.

Having said all that, again, the opportunity to teach to international participants and to make use of some very basic French and German (thankyou high school!) skills was fabulous. I also completely ignored my stern note to self: No More Ink. If you're in Phuket, I highly recommend Hanuman Tattoo Studio.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Isa Brito - Brooklyn via Brazil: Handmade Herbal Skincare

Isa Brito is a photographer, herbalist and skin guru.

I first spotted her skincare line in a US magazine and when I went to do some research, I discovered photos that prove her skin is flawless. The beauty of natural products and Brazilian heritage!

Isa grew up in Minas Gerais Brazil, on a self sustained farm owned by her family.
Like so many brave and artistic souls before and after, Isa moved to New York in 1984 with barely any money or contacts. Not only did she build the photography collection that was exhibited as "Passengers"  but she also established Isa's Restoratives. This is an all natural, herbal and plant based beauty line that has a cult following in the US.
I also love that Isa is a music fiend - we are both digging The Weeknd and she's also a fan of James Blake, Blood Orange, Chilly Gonzales and Warpaint.
Determined that if I cannot buy Brazilian genes, I can at least invest in the skincare products and regime that Isa swears by. Mind you, she is also dedicated to eating organic, plant-based meals that are rich in antioxidants and quality protein. A balanced, plant-rich diet and high quality, natural products go a long way to giving you the glow. in all my email deletes i've freakin deleted isa brito! GODDAMN!
I absolutely love the Liquid Clay Cleanser - a blend of volcanic ash clay, french green clay, green tea, lavender and papaya enzymes has a cooling effect on the skin.
The blue beauty balm is a must too - honestly, I woke up with seriously glowing skin and in this humid, typical Melbourne weather and disrupted sleep, that's a miracle.
The Coconut Charcoal Face Mask draws out all the nasties while also nourishing with mineral, enzyme and natural oils of coconut. So hydrating and detoxifying. I totally recommend this on a Friday night or a Sunday night when you have to say goodbye to the day, the week, and start afresh.
I am double-timing that mask though! I am also adoring the Matcha Mask. As a matcha green tea drinker, I have experienced the desire to smear all that green, vitamin-infused goodness over my face. Now I can.
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Saturday, 12 December 2015

Fab Abs

I'm not going to spruik you bikini bodies or any of that crapola. The truth is, you need strong abs for life. They are essential in good posture, in maintaining your spine and hips and body in safe and optimum alignment for all activities (and at rest!).
The idea of "flat abs" is brilliant marketing, because it's not realistic for most people. That said, if you have a disproportionate amount of fat around the waistline, this can be a risk factor for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, PCOS and more.
No amount of planks or pilates will compensate if you are not eating well - that doesn't mean restriction and dieting (nasty cycle that will only make you feel awful!) but that you are aware of eating a decent serve of veggies (especially green), fruit (so many choices!), legumes, wholegrain carbs (love rye bread or wholegrain pasta) and lean protein (fish, skinless chicken, prawns, tofu).
This time of year it's tempting to overdo everything but try to keep your workout routine. Not just for the sake of your abs, but your sanity.
10 To 2
Lie on your back, pressing your whole spine into it. 
Slightly tuck the chin down to lengthen the neck and press the shoulders to the mat.
Raise both legs, pointing toes with a slight turn-out (like a mini plie) to the roof
Keeping legs pressed together, take them to the 10 o'clock position.
Centre, then direct legs to the 2 o'clock position.
Repeat x 10 each direction

Double Leg Extension
Again, press spine into the mat firmly.
Curl the shoulders up away from the mat and lift the knees over the hips.
Inhale to extend the arms and legs as straight as you can.
Exhale to return knees over hips and arms reaching for toes.
Repeat x 10 - 15
Single Leg Teaser
Lie on your back, knees bent with heels aligned with hips. Raise one leg with thighs parallel.
Inhale to prepare and reach the arms up.
Exhale to curl the shoulders up away from the mat and reach for the toes of the raised leg.
Inhale to curl back down (don't drop!)
Repeat 8 on each side

Plie with Elbow to Knee
Get into a wide plie position, making sure your knees are tracking toward your 2nd toe.
Knees aligned over the ankles.
Maintaining your lower body in perfect stillness, take fingertips to ears. 
Lower the elbow towards the knee then return to centre before reaching to other side.
Repeat 10 on each side

Single Leg Extension
Stand with feet hip distance apart.
Draw the belly button towards the spine and contract the shoulders to open the chest.
Maintaining the hips at the same level (don't hitch up on one side!), extend one leg back as you reach forward.
Hold for a count of 3.
Return to standing on one leg. 
Repeat 10 times each side
Beware: Don't twist at the hips! Think about maintaining the hip bones in the same direction at all times

Tabletop Elbow To Knee
On your hands and knees, with wrists directly under shoulders and knees under hips.
Draw belly button to spine and avoid arching the back or rounding up.
Lengthen the back of the neck and direct the crown of the head forward.
Extend alternate arm and leg to make a long straight line.
Hold for 2 seconds then bring elbow to knee in the centre.
Repeat 10 times each side


Sunday, 6 December 2015

Time For Tea - Higher Living Giveaway

One of the highlights of doing my Yoga Teacher Training is the abundance of tea. I go a full day without a drop of coffee. Ok, that's a lie. I drink it in the morning but then the REST of the day, tea tea tea tea tea.
Tea.
I have a thing for licorice - it's super sweet and despite not having a sweet tooth, it's my favourite. That being said, I am also a sucker for ginger and green tea. Not together! I tried hibiscus yesterday and let me just say...No. Don't.


There's an abundance of tea out there but go with Higher Living if you want reliable taste, and the packaging is gorgeous too. From the graphics to the typography to the handy boxes, everything about their tea is spot on.
Because I love their tea, and I love my readers, I'm doing a giveaway. You'll be sent the Chocolate Rooibos and Green Tea & Coconut loose leaf Higher Living teas if you win. It's super simple.
Share this post on Facebook and Like Higher Living and Core Integrity With Cat.
Winners chosen at random and notified via Facebook or email. If you win, I'll notify you and get your address for posting your prize.
www.higherlivingherbs.com



Saturday, 5 December 2015

Indulge in Pink Lipstick

How to indulge a taste for sweetness without a speck of sugar touching your tongue? Pink lipstick. It was frosted in the 80s, traded for power red and black in the 90s, but it has always been a staple of any beauty lover's makeup kit. There is, regardless of your skin tone, eye colour, hair colour or facial structure, a colour that will make your complexion pop and your face glow. These are my favourites. Indulge, my pretties. Pink lipstick is an investment buy.
Bite Beauty in Cassis is a deep, romantic and vaguely purple kissed hue. Available at Ry.com.au

Lavera Matt'n Pink is a paler pink shade that is nourishing to the lips. Available at Nourished Life

Too Faced Melted in Fig is a long-lasting liquid lipstick that acts as a stain. I discovered it in Barcelona and I still associate it with Barcelona and Paris. Available at Sephora

You may just want this for the luxe gold packaging. Don't miss out on the flattering, glossy candy pink shade though. Addictive. YSL Fetish Pink available at Myer.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Dear Santa... Top Picks for Fit Fashion & Beauty Lovers

I know there's endless lists of what you need this Christmas, but there's some absolute gold dust sparkled, she'll-love-you-forever, purse bursting goodies worth featuring so here goes. Dear Santa, I've been very good (ok, ok...QUITE good...) and I would like...

philosophy candy cane shampoo, shower gel & bubble bath
Every year we eagerly await the Christmas scented range from philosophy. Don't we all? From gingerbread to snow angels and cranberry, they tick all the boxes on yummy scent, pretty packaging and cute messaging. As the bottle suggests, "we all could use some peppermint cheer this time of year" so if you're done chewing candy canes, your hair and body can smell like one instead. Available at David Jones ($30)

Where's Karl? The Book
Remember Where's Wally? This is the fashionista version with Karl & Choupette located within various fashion cities (Milan, Paris, Dubai...). Behind Kanye and Kim, Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Andre Leon Talley and Tom Ford, he will be lurking for you to find. Too much fun! Available at Pan Macmillan Australia ($19.99)

Active Creatures Glamour Puss Shorts
Sure, these are ideal for your pole dancer friend, but they're also ideal for hot yoga. You do not want any unnecessary layers in there, trust me. There's a new range out this week (set your alarm for early Wednesday morning) but I've got these in pink and I adore them. Available at Active Creatures (free shipping, $54)

Pacifica Nail Polish
You've read about 5-free nail polish without the nasty chemicals found in your chemist's $2 bargain bin, right? Well, Pacifica will outdo that! They are vegan, cruelty free and 7-free. No parabens, no formaldehyde. I love Crystal Orchid for a pretty pink, but there's every shade from grey to sunshine yellow. Available at Nourished Life ($18.95)

Bitchin Skin Matcha Green Tea Body Scrub
I think the label pretty much sums this up. Get Bitchin Skin with... bitchinskin. My personal pick is the coconut + peppermint mix. YUM. You will not want the shower to end. It's the ideal prezzie for your Doesn't She Already Have Everything? friend. She doesn't have this. Australian made. Available at BitchinSkin ($14.95)
A Bit Hippy Ho Ho Hamper
What to get the vegan crossfit hippy in your life? I know, real problem. Thank goodness for A Bit Hippy and their hamper. A range of their gorgeous, cruelty free and fab skincare and haircare in a cute box. What's not to love? Contains 
Rice & Fresh Face and Body Wash
Soothing & Improving Moisturiser
Nothing To Smell Here Deodorant
Ditchin' The Itchin' Shampoo
Say No To Silicone Conditioner
Lipbalm
Available at A Bit Hippy ($50)

Beauty & Wellness October Obsessions

Who doesn't need stirrup barre pants, grippy ballet socks, one-piece leotards and flattering, high waisted capri pants in their life...