5 (unexpected) Beauty Must-Haves

5 Beauty Must-Haves
Hey guys! Earlier in the week I posted some practical beauty tips to remind you busy mamas of some easy ways that you can look after not only your appearance, but your wellbeing too.  Today I thought I'd share some of my very favourite beauty products with you but keep reading because they might not be what you expect ;)

As you know I love to use natural products where possible, although I find it's not always practical or easy to find natural replacements for everything in my bathroom cupboards.  I know beauty products are highly personal and different things suit different people/skin types, but this is a fun little list of outside-the-square products that I just love:

1.  Coconut Oil

This is my absolute fave and I love to use it as an intensive moisturiser ideally once per week to stop my skin from getting too dry (especially if I've been doing a lot of surfing).  I also rub a little on my hands nearly daily (whenever I cook with it) and it has been amazing at helping prevent the dermatitis that I used to suffer with on my hands.  As a body moisturiser it works wonderfully but can be a little messy (especially in summer when the oil is naturally liquid) so it probably isn't practical for every day use.   For every day use I simply try to use a regular store-bought natural or lower-chemical creme body moisturiser. I know some people prefer the practicality and convenience of products like spray moisturiser and moisturisers that contain sunscreens but I am a little wary of the chemicals.

2.  Baby Wipes

Okay most mums may already know this one, but baby wipes are seriously worth their weight in gold.  When I am too tired to wash my face I have used them as a make up remover.  I have a pack in my athletics bag for those desperate times that I feel too sweaty or yuck after training - I just give myself a quick wipe over and it's instant freshness.  Well nearly - it keeps me going until I can grab a shower anyway.  I also have a pack in my handbag and it's come in handy for countless things such as cleaning the kids hands/faces, cleaning up their spills (especially in public places), cleaning the dashboard, interior and leather of my car, and most recently, cleaning red wine off my creme lounge.  Yep, you read that right.

Red Wine 0 vs Baby Wipes 1

I can't believe it worked either, but after some red wine was spilt on our lounge, my darling dad suggested that I grab a baby wipe and try it before using anything else and it absolutely worked like a charm.  Put a pack in your handbag right now.  #you'rewelcome ;)

3.  Baby Powder

This beaut little product is amazing for getting sand off the kids and yourself at the beach.  No matter how long we stand under the beach fresh-water showers after playing in the sand, the kids always manage to still have sand stuck somewhere.  I give them a quick spray with the baby powder and the sand just brushes off.  Baby powder can also be a great way to soak up the oil in your hair for those days-that-you-probably-should-have-washed-your-hair-but-didn't.  Just flip you're head over and apply a very small amounts to the roots.  Oil/greasy hair gone.  Now I will just say that I am a blonde, and I don't know how effective this trick would be for people with very dark hair as you may be able to see a powder residue, but if you want to give it a try and let me know, go for it!

4.  Leave-in Conditioner Spray

I love throwing some of this in our beach bag or swimming bag.  If you apply it prior to swimming it will protect your hair and after swimming it works as a great detangler.  I also use it to help get knots out of my daughters hair.

5.  Witch-Hazel Toner

This can be a good skin toner for after cleansing (depending on your skin type), but I like to put some on a make up remover pad or tissue and use it to give my skin a quick cleanse for those times that I don't have time to wash my face properly.  It's obviously not as good as a proper cleanser so I wouldn't make a regular habit out of it but it's great for occasional use as it does leave your skin feeling fresher and cleaner.


So there you have 5 of my favourite (unexpected) beauty must-haves.  I'd love to hear if you have any out-of-the-box products that you find great for beauty or otherwise! Tell me in the comments below..
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Paleo Raisin Loaf

Paleo Raisin Loaf
The below muffin/loaf recipe has become my absolute go-to recipe for pretty much any flavour of Paleo fruit muffins these days and last night I adapted it (and by adapted I mean added sultanas, or raisins for my american friends) to make Raisin Loaf.

Before becoming Paleo and having to go Gluten-Free, I used to LOVE me a good slice of thick-cut raisin toast.  It's probably one of the very few foods that I smell now and miss eating.   And as Easter is approaching and the hot cross buns have hit the grocery market shelves, I decided it would be a good time to try to make my own version of raisin toast/hot cross buns.

I am pleased to say that it worked really well (and even passed the kids taste-test).  Serve it with a nice generous serve of grass-fed butter and you won't be disappointed.

If you look closely you will see that it is the same recipe I used to make my Pear & Raspberry Muffins but I'll share it again here as this time I'm using a loaf tin so the method is the slightest bit varied.

Ingredients

1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda (or baking soda)
2 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)
3 eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
Generous serve of raisins (or sultanas)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C
2. Mix the dry ingredients together
3. Add eggs, oil & syrup/honey, mixing well between each one.
4. Stir sultanas through gently.
5. Line a small loaf tin or rectangular cake tin with baking paper and pour mixture in
6. Bake for approx 25 mins, checking regularly.

Enjoy!
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Practical Beauty Tips for Busy Mothers

beauty tips for mothers
One of my concerns about Hunter starting school was being out the door, early and on time, every weekday.  Historically, punctuality hasn't been my strong point so I had a legitimate reason to be concerned, and since the kids were born, I have really been enjoying only working part-time and having a few days every week where we weren't rushed to be somewhere.  But as of this year, that has all changed, and I have been determined to rise to the challenge.

It has meant that I have had to fine-tune not only my organisational skills, but also my morning beauty routine so I thought I'd share 5 great time-saving tricks that help me leave the house in the morning feeling comfortable rather than rushed and dishevelled.

1. Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep definitely makes a big difference to not only the way you feel, but it also improves the way you look and helps reduce puffiness and dark circles under your eyes.

2. Eat well

To improve the appearance of your skin it is important to nourish from the inside out.  Eating a diet rich in nutrients, vegetables and natural, unprocessed foods can help improve your complexion.  I used to have very sensitive skin and was prone to horrible dermatitis, but since changing my diet and becoming Paleo, this has improved remarkably.

3.  Drink plenty of water

Water can also help improve the appearance of your skin as well as having other health benefits.  Make sure you are drinking enough water on a a daily basis.  Eating well and drinking enough water can help improve your complexion which can reduce the need for concealers and foundations, saving you time during your make-up routine.

3. Shower early

I set my alarm for half an hour before the kids wake up so that I can get up and have shower. On the days I wash my hair this gives my hair time to dry naturally.  I can then give it a quick finish-off blow dry or style.  This saves the overall drying time and is also much healthier for your hair.  If you can shower and wash your hair the night before, that may even work better, I just like a shower to start my day.

4.  Overnight styling

When you have second-day hair, a great time-saving tip is to set it to style while you sleep.  I love the no-heat curl method for quick, effortless curls.  When all else fails with your hair style, or your hair is greasy and you don't have time to wash it, grab a cute hat, pretend it was an intentional part of your outfit and nobody will know any different.

5.  Prioritise your make up

Now, if you are the type of person that doesn't wear makeup, I think that's fantastic and just ignore this tip.  But if you're like me and you enjoy wearing make up, or feel a little more comfortable with it on, then a great way to save time is to prioritise your favourite items.  Feeling like you have to put a full face of make up on everyday can be overwhelming and can sometimes just take too long.  There is probably one or two items that you like to wear that will make you feel more 'put-together'.   For me, it is mascara, followed by a little bronzer for my cheeks and eyeliner if I have the time.  I really enjoy make up and would probably love to wear a little more but I just don't always have the time on a daily basis.  As long as I have my mascara  and bronzer on though, I feel as if I look presentable ;)

These tips definitely sound like common-sense, but I'm sure you know how easy it is for us busy mothers to neglect ourselves and so many women often skip the first three.  And those first three are incredibly important not only to enhance your natural beauty, but your overall wellbeing too!
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IWD and State Champs

International Womens Day

Hey guys, my apologies for being a little AWOL lately! I've been quite busy firstly training for State Championships, (and now Nationals), the kids sports and working on a new blog design (still not quite finished)!

Before we get started I just wanted to wish all you fabulous women out there a very happy International Women's Day!  You are all incredible in your very own special way and I hope that you take some time on this day to tell yourself that you are doing a fantastic job, in whatever job/stage of life that you are in :)

As some of you already know, I started back at athletics training in Sep/Oct last year. Track & Field was a huge part of my life when I was a child, I briefly went back for about a year when I was 18, but Uni and work got in the way. Late last year I decided I really wanted to go back and start running again. I got in touch with some coaches at a local club and went along to give it a try. Never for a moment did I dream that I would be actually be competitive again though!

I have been under the guidance of some amazing coaches and have met and am training with a fantastic group of people and saying that I'm enjoying being back on the track again is a massive understatement. I decided to start competing again at the local friendly competition, but that quickly escalated to bigger competitions with some encouragement from other athletes at my club. A few weeks ago I headed down to Sydney Olympic Park to compete at the Athletics NSW Masters State Champs and I was absolutely thrilled to come away with three gold and three silver!!! I couldn't believe it! The gold in the 100m Hurdles was my absolute favourite moment because I had been working and training so hard to be able to run the hurdles again (hurdles had always been my favourite event when I was younger, but I gave it away when my age moved to the 100 hurdles as I had found it too difficult. Prior to the 100H at state, I hadn't ever actually finished one before. I had been working really hard and believed I could do it but it was a huge confidence boost and such a wonderful relief to find out that I actually could! It was such a special feeling, to know that at 33, after two children and with the same time-constraints that most mothers/families face, I could achieve something that I have always been dreaming of - gold in the hurdles at state level. 

 

I ended up also coming away with gold in high jump and long jump, and silver in the 100m, 200m and 400m!! 

I know I say this a lot, but I really encourage you women/mama's out there to not be afraid to give that sport you want to do a try or go back to doing something that you once loved.  You really are never too old or too unfit.  You have to start somewhere and it is totally worth it.  There are people in their 70's still down at the track running (and even competing) and they absolutely love it.  They are totally inspiring and their smiles say it all.

Have a fantastic IWD everyone!!
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Energy: You reap what you sow

Tips for increasing energy levels

One of the hardest parts any exercise or fitness program is simply getting started. Especially when you're a mum. And you don't have time. And you're sleep deprived. And your energy levels are already at an all time low. But don't dismay, I'm going to let you in on a little secret..

There is a simple principle that holds very true when it comes to energy.  You have to use it in order to gain it (you reap what you sow remember?).  I know it might sound a little crazy, but I promise you that it works.  If you can just get started, and manage to fit a few regular exercise sessions in a week, you will notice a difference.  

The first few sessions are always the hardest and I'm not going to lie, you will be tired on the day that you exercise.  But it won't be long (perhaps only a few sessions) that you will start to notice that your days and day to day tasks become a little easier and you will notice that you have more energy for your work and your family.  This is simply because, the fitter you get, the easier other daily tasks get (like pushing prams, lifting children and playing with children).

If that's not enough to convince you and you need a little motivation to get through those first few days/sessions,  I have one word for you:  Endorphins.

Endorphins are those feel good chemicals that your body releases after exercise and they should never be undervalued.  Although you may be tired after your first few exercise sessions, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of the endorphins that your body will produce in response to exercise.  Some of these benefits include feelings of euphoria, regulation of appetite, enhancement of the immune response and decreased feelings of pain.  Those endorphins will hopefully get you through those first few sessions until your energy levels increase and you are seeing the overall benefits.. 

Trust me, it works. But you have to sow it first.

Just remember, exercise alone won't increase your energy levels unless you are also looking after your overall wellbeing.  Eat wholesome, natural food, drink plenty of water and always do your best to go to bed early enough to get a good night's sleep.  


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Inspirational Mothers: Fiona from Mumafit



Welcome back to my final week of Inspirational Mothers.  I've really enjoyed this series and getting to know some fantastically fit mamas that are very inspiring in their own individual ways.  I'd like to do another chapter on this series later in the year, so if you are an active mama who would like to be featured, be sure to drop me a line.  

This week I'd like to introduce you to Fiona from Mumafit.  Fiona runs a fantastic website packed full of excellent inspiration and advice for soon-to-be and new mothers.  Fiona is very down-to-earth and has some great tips to share with us today..


1. Hi Fiona, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your fitness background.

I'm Fiona, a mum of three young children (born within four years!) and founder of Mumafit, a holistic fitness app for pregnant women and new mums, and now a life and wellness coach working exclusively with mums. I completed a degree in exercise science back in the day and have around 20 years work experience in the leisure/fitness/sports industry in a real variety of roles. I've always been an active person and love board sports like snowboarding and surfing.

2. Have you always been able to successfully find the time to stay fit/active while being a mother? 

Yes I have actually - in general that is! Of course there are days or weeks when it just doesn't happen due to sick kids or family commitments, but in general I've always made it happen. There are so many options for moving your body that you can usually find something that can fit in around everyone else's needs. I also have a very supportive hubby and am pretty organised. Upon reflection, I think I've actually been more consistent in my approach to fitness since becoming a mother, as my life is more about routine now so I've developed good habits and just stick to them (out of habit) and I have more reasons to stay healthy - you cant call in sick to mothering duties!
3. How often do you manage to exercise during the week, and how does this fit in with your family's schedule?

I go to the gym twice a week for about an hour (during term) and try and do one yoga class a week (which doesn’t always happen as it depends entirely on my hubbys work commitments). Other than that I walk wherever I can with the kids (harder since having my third). We love holidaying and the beach, so our weekends are often active, although not with any structured activity. I don’t believe in doing structured exercise every day - I don’t think it is necessary if you have an active lifestyle and I believe that other elements of wellness, such as meditating or just having 'me time' are equally as important. My kids come with me to the gym and attend the gym crèche, or come on walks or runs with me. My hubby has his own business working very long hours, so other than my gym sessions, nothing is guaranteed!

4. What is your favourite type of fitness/exercise, has this changed at different stages of your children's lives?
 Mmm this changes all the time actually. I would call myself a runner as I love it, can do it with ease and have done it all my life, but since becoming a mum, I've realised the benefits of strength training, so this is my staple activity. I run a lot only if I am training for a particular event - but that doesn’t happen often since having kids. My favourite sports are surfing and snowboarding...which are both extremely difficult as a mother and someone living in Melbourne! I try and do them when I can, and this Christmas Santa brought me a skateboard, so this is my latest 'board' activity and I'm loving riding alongside my daughter on her bike (haven’t figured out how to do this with a pram though....). The last six months, I developed a huge love for yoga. I'm not managing to do it regularly as my favourite place to do it doesn’t offer childcare, but it's so good for me body, mind and soul. It has taken me years to find a teacher that I love, but I found her!
5. So, tell us what your average day looks like? 

Every day is different and with my eldest just having started prep, it's all new this year. My hubby leaves at 6am 6 days a week, so early exercise has never been an option for me. On a gym day, we drop my daughter off at school, then head to the gym with my two boys. They have a session in the gym crèche, which they truly love, then we head to swimming lessons then head home. My littlest then has his afternoon sleep and I try and do a little bit of work, and some days we have a kinder session ni the mix. Every day is unique, but its normal for me not to really stop all day - there is always so much to do.
6. What is your philosophy/goals when it comes to family nutrition?
Cooking is far from my first love, so I try and keep things simple and fresh and healthy. I don’t think I'm very good in the kitchen, but I think we manage to eat pretty well. Since having my third child I have found the need to meal plan weekly, or I simply can't keep on top of having the right food in the house. Feeding 5 of us is full on! I allow treats, but only after healthy food has been eaten. I am not strict on healthy food, but we really don’t eat much junk. My kids have never had fast food and are generally good at eating vegetables and a variety of foods. We talk about what health is and involve them in our food choices as much as possible. We eat a truck load of fruit - so simple with children, and they love making smoothies and fresh fruit icy poles also.
7. Do you have any fitness/exercise goals for the future?

Not really at present. I might try a marathon one day when the kids are older and I have more time to train. I've never focused on weight - for me I just want to feel strong and healthy and feel comfortable in my clothes. I'm very focused on functional fitness - maintain a strong core to enable me to meet the demands of motherhood without any pain or fatigue and with my new found love of yoga, I am working on becoming more flexible and committed to stretching my body.
8. What is your best advice to mamas that would like to be able to be more active, but are having trouble finding the time?

Wow, SO much I could say here as this is what my wellness coaching work is all about - working with women to help them find what works for them. It's so personal as everyone has different bodies, lives, resources and families. Sometimes you just need a circuit breaker - eg working with a coach or trainer, or taking up some sort of challenge or short term goal just to get you moving in the right direction. You just have to make the decision to commit to it and make it a priority for a while. Once you then start feeling the benefits, you will find ways to find the time as your motivation is already there. You need to experiment until you find the type of activity that works for you. There are literally hundreds of options and with apps and online programs now, resources are limitless and are very affordable. Women (especially new mums) need to also remember that even if you only do 15 minutes of something - this is totally OK! In fact its awesome. You don’t need an hour to gain benefits. Everything counts and there is a lot you can do with your children incorporated.
My main message to women is that by prioritising your health, you create the most magical ripple effect for your family. If you are healthy and happy, the energy vibe you create for your home and your lives is so nourishing and supportive for each and every family member. Honouring your body with physical movement is not something you should feel guilty about, its really really sensible and provides excellent role modelling for the future health of your children.
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