Month: August 2016

It’s been over a month since my last Sunday Funday post. This is not due to sheer laziness but actually because its been that dang long since I’ve had a proper day off! So needless to say, yesterday was definitely overdue. We spent the day traipsing around Sydney, taking it all in 🙂 My favourite kind of day. I also managed to collect a few goodies along the way which I will share below!

After a pretty lazy morning at home we managed to pull ourselves together and were in Pitt Street by about midday. First stop, food! I love the food court on the top floor of the Westfield and didn’t have to hint at Steve for long before we were up there downing some sushi. I had a cucumber pack and an avo pack, 2 little dreamboats of sushi goodness. Totally stuffed, we wandered around the Westfield for a bit until finally decided it was time to head out and get some good old Vitamin D.

sephora finds
Laura Mercier Powder and Bye, bye under-eye testers

It wasn’t long before I was back inside getting some advice from a girl at Sephora on a couple of products I had been eyeing off for a while. As a side note, Steve is actually the best shopping companion in the world because he will literally force you to buy something when you are in ‘humming and haa-ing’ mode. This is great for me because it is basically a state I am in every time I go shopping. So ladies, if you are looking for a shopping buddy, Steve is your go-to guy! I ended up leaving with the Laura Mercier loose setting powder (which is usually always out of stock so huzzar!) and a couple of testers of the bye, bye under eye anti-ageing concealer by IT Cosmetics (one of my girlfriends raves over this stuff so I had to give it a go). Sephora, done!

Gumption
Inside Gumption by Coffee Alchemy

We then meandered over to the Strand Arcade to our favourite coffee shop in Sydney, Gumption by Coffee Alchemy. If you are a serious coffee lover then I suggest you stop whatever you are doing (uh, reading my blog?), fly, drive, or jet pack your way to Sydney and go to Gumption. The coffee there is AMAZING. I once had to go back for seconds because it’s that good. The coffee jitters that followed however, not so good. But alas, the queue at the front of the cute, little store says it all. Coffee in hand it was time to attack another one of our favourites, COS (Collection of Style) in Martin Place.

If you haven’t been to COS, it’s probably ‘cos (see what I did) its relatively new to Australia. It’s a fashion store run by H&M and I’ve been delving into their collection for a year or so now in London and a few times in Hong Kong. The styles are all very minimalist, modern but still classic. I love the pieces there because everything I have bought feels timeless and fashionable without being a ‘trend’. Also the quality of their garments is high but not over priced! I always feel Scandinavia knows how its done when it comes to clothing and COS just goes to show it! Having said all this though, nothing really grabbed me this trip except for a men’s scarf which I bought for Steve 🙂

If you haven’t been to Sydney before (what are you doing?!?) then let me tell you, it’s a bit of a trek getting from place to place. So best wear some comfy shoes. I luckily decided to change out of a pair of heeled boots into some sneakers before we left home because girl knows when your going to the city, some serious walking is going to be done (13,471 steps to be exact). These steps were accrued as we made our way to Darling Harbour where we enjoyed some more sunshine. It was there we decided to continue on to Chinatown and on our way Steve forced me to watch a street performance. I say forced because I absolutely hate street performances and today’s show really solidified that claim. In short it was a b-boy, who was really good at building up hype and then followed it with…. nothing. Nothing except a massive anti climax and also, not much break-dancing!? He had a grand total of 2 performances the first being “happy” and the second “serious”. We, along with half of the rest of the audience, bailed after the abysmal first show feeling rather un-happy.

korean beauty buys
Korean beauty buys from Morning Glory

Once we got to Chinatown, I had a little look around and picked up a few treats from Morning Glory. I’m a bit of a sucker for Korean Beauty products so I got a couple of face masks, 2 nude-ish nail polishes and a glittery ‘tear eye liner’ which I assume is for around your tear duct ( or maybe its meant for drawing on glitter-y tears? Stay tuned) All this only cost me $20, bargain shopping!

Totally knackered, or in Steve’s recollection “feeling under the weather”, we decided it was time to make an exit. Sunday Funday was finished at home with Falafel wraps, red wine and a bit of Downton Abbey (if you dare to tease me watch a few episodes for yourself, that show is off the chain!)

Thanks for reading 🙂

Love, Rachelle xx

There is always controversy surrounding the topic of whether Ballroom Dancing is classified as an art or a sport. Speaking as a full-time Professional Ballroom dancer myself and having danced for 20 years now, I prefer to pop us in the art category but I can totally understand why the argument arises. What we do is seriously demanding stuff, two bodies dancing together for a total of 10 minutes with no stopping. Add 2 and a half-inch heels into the equation and you can see this is no walk in the park. By now you are probably thinking “where is she going with this and how on earth does this relate to Veganism?” but I’m getting there ok! Athletes need a large amount of fuel to be able to compete at maximum performance level, but dancer’s need to have a certain aesthetic ‘dancer’ look as well. I have always struggled with this balance. Not enough fuel, too lethargic to dance to maximum.. enough fuel, but receive complaints of having to lose weight (nasty stuff I know, but it’s unfortunately true). So, what’s a gal to bloody do!?! This is where my title comes in 🙂

Now, please don’t think I wrote this post to come across all preachy and demanding. I simply decided to write it to share some of my own experiences in the hopes that maybe they help you too! I’m no nutritionist so please bare that in mind, but I have done a lot of research on this topic through good old google, some books and watching a few docos. Also, some people have recently been asking me about it so I thought I should just tackle it head on and write a blog post. Steve and I have been eating a plant-based diet now since late April 2016 and I don’t see us going back! We decided to give it a go leading up to one of the biggest comps of our lives, which was in the UK in May. A little risky as who knows what could have happened but luckily I’m pretty sure it was one of the best decisions we have ever made!

We were training like bosses leading up to the competition, doing 4 rounds twice a week (’rounds’ means 5 dances, full tracks of music, no stopping which = ABSOLUTE DANCER DEATH) and I just felt so knackered all the time and couldn’t even notice a change in my body either. This was discouraging to say the least considering I felt like the dancing equivalent of a hamster on a spin wheel. Then one night I watched Cowspiracy and something clicked. I then started researching plant-based diets and decided that I wanted to give it a go. My decision was purely based on the fact that these people were eating roughly 3000 calories a day and looked amazing but also said they felt great too. Also, I am always up for trying something new and if it’s not for me well.. no harm done!

I noticed a change pretty much immediately in terms of my energy levels and alertness. Coming from my previous diet of a lot of protein, good fats, minimal carbs and minimal food in general this was probably an obvious one but I still wasn’t 100% sure on what I should and shouldn’t eat. This became a little bit of a work in progress for both Steve and I as we tried new things but something that really helped us track our intakes and progress was cronometer.com. Here we could enter the foods we were eating and see how we were going with all our vitamins and macro intakes. What I was surprised by was how we were covering all bases with this new way of eating.. it also gave me somewhat of a cheeky response when people said to me “but where do you get your protein!?” The only vitamin that was lacking was Vitamin B12 which us humans get from animal products. When I researched this though, it seems most people are deficient in this vitamin and so we simply bought a supplement which we take twice weekly 🙂

vegan burger
Getting stuck into a Vegan Burger in London!

Some things were hard to give up (yoghurt 🙁 I’ll miss you!) but it also made other options that the old me would have never gone near ( HELLO BREAD AND PASTA!) totally accessible. We also found a few vegan alternatives for the things we missed like sorbet for icecream, vegan cheese, veganaise for mayonnaise, falafel burgers and plant-based protein powders. We are currently using PRANA ON protein powder and it’s delish! The other thing I did discover though is how good I felt eating a diet based on fruits, vegetables and grains. These days I eat around 2,500-3,000 calories a day and I feel leaner, stronger, more alert and I have so much more energy. I no longer get to 3pm craving a chocolate bar pick-me-up and I’m not starving for crap food at 11pm like I was before. My skin has improved and I’ve lost around 5 kgs!

As you can see, I could write all day about how happy this lifestyle has made me but I know that everybody is different so you have to do your own research on what works best for you and play around with a little trial and error. Anyone that really knows me, knows I have gone through waaaaay too many silly fad diets because of the pressure I’ve had put on me which have all had short term effects and little reward. That’s why I’m so passionate about this and I don’t feel like it’s another ‘diet’ as I’m not really giving up anything if I vouch for how much better I feel 🙂 Plus I’m sure I’ve made some little animals out there very happy #DOUBLEWIN.

If you’re interested in hearing any more about what food I eat etc. please, oh please leave me a comment below!

Love, Rachelle xx

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Every gal loves trying new products, right? Whether it’s something that has been recommended to them, something they’ve seen advertised (guilty) or just something they have happily stumbled upon, finding a holy grail product is like finding hidden treasure! I’ve had many-a experience with different products, as I’m sure we all have, but today I wanted to focus on a few that have been tickling my fancy the past couple of months. Some are old favourites that I’ve revisited and thought “where have you beeeeen?” and others are new to the block but have still left me thinking the same thing!!

DR HAUSCHKA ROSE DAY CREAM:

This little baby has been in my life a few times before. A few of you may remember in my last skincare post here that I mentioned I have a slight penchant for chopping and changing when it comes to skincare. One brand I know that I can rely on though is Dr Hauschka. I first tried their products back in 2014 and it was definitely love at first application. I bought the little face kit which

rose-day-cream
Rose Day Cream

contains all their cult products in miniature form so that you can test each cream and see which your skin prefers. The brand is all natural and organic and my skin absolutely loves the stuff. I’m only mentioning one of their products today but that’s only because I feel this day cream is worth a special mention.

The Rose Day Cream is one of my all time faves. The smell, the texture, but mostly the amazing effect it instantly has on my face! Recommended for normal, dry and sensitive skin the texture is rich and luxurious and calms down any unwanted redness. This stuff is so great for me as I am normal/dry but I suggest if you are prone to oilyness this guy might just ramp that up for you so maybe try the tester size first just to be sure. Each tube contains 30 organic roses, vitamin C, wild rose hip, shea butter, avocado oil, extracts of marshmellow plus many more amazing all natural ingredients. You only need a small amount, warm it up between your hands and then press lightly onto the skin. It leaves me glowy and moisturised, calms down some of my unwanted redness (thanks pale skin!) and as an added bonus, my face smells like a field of roses! Definitely worth a try 🙂 You can buy Dr. Hauschka at all Myer stores or if you live in Sydney I buy mine from Dr. Earth located in Newtown.

ESTEE LAUDER ADVANCED NIGHT REPAIR:

advanced-night-repair
Advanced Night Repair

This next product had been something I had been wanting for a while and I guess you could say is a bit of a cult product. It is advertised eeeeeverywhere, so naturally I had high expectations. Luckily enough I was not disappointed 🙂 Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair is like liquid-y gold for the face and I’ve become a little obsessed by it. I’ve never used much in the way of night skin care before but something of late has made me realise I’m not getting any younger and I need to preserve the skin I have! Those 9 hours mustn’t go to waste! So I bought this Duty Free on my way to Hong Kong. Its promoted to reduce the look of all key signs of ageing and what I’ve already noticed (after about 4 weeks) is that my skin feels more hydrated, brighter and smoother #yeahbaby! I know it’s slightly dear but you will only need to use 2-3 drops every night so the longevity is great and plus you will wake up with the skin of a baby’s bum! On your face! That sounded better in my head…

BECCA UNDER EYE BRIGHTENING CORRECTOR:

under-eye-corrector
Under Eye Corrector

Lastly, is a makeup product I have been using EVERY DAMN DAY since purchasing it. I’ve even used it with my competition makeup it’s that dang good. The Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector. As you have probably noticed I have quite pale skin, couple this with working late hours at the dance studio and you have yourself some pretty attractive under eye circles. I’ve tried all sorts of concealers and what not to try to cover those dark circles but I just find that because the under eye area is so delicate, thick products tend to get too cakey and flakey #poet. So, I was a bit too excited to try this product after I spotted it at Sephora about a month or so ago. It’s pale pink in colour and extremely rich and creamy so you don’t need to use a lot. I pop it on with a brush in a small triangle under my eye and then tap it in with my ring finger to make sure its nice and blended. There you can either leave as is, but I like to then place a small amount of concealer on top to set it and tone down some of the pinky-ness (not too much though!) Becca is a popular Australian brand with some beautiful products which you can either shop online or in Sephora.

So if I have managed to tempt you with the idea of some of these products, please let me know! What are some of your all time favourites?

Love, Rachelle xx

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I’m a big fan of curls. Curls get the girls, my boyfriend always likes to remind me. Not that I’m particularly interested in ‘getting’ the girls, but I am interested in liking my hairstyle. In reference to the girls though, I find that something I am asked ALL THE TIME is “how do you curl your hair like that?” to which I reply “my straightener”. Makes sense right?! Most people think I’m being my usual sarcastic self when in fact I’m being deadly serious. Following their look of disbelief I usually feel compelled to show people how I achieve my curls using random hand gestures mimicking a flat-iron and giving them a list of complicated instructions. Fail. So I thought, what the heck I’ll do a blog post on it! Mum, you can thank me later!

curls

Now, first off, if you are looking for beachy, wavy curls that almost every woman on the planet is rocking at the moment well this blog post aint for you. Sorry gals, but I’m a bit of a fan of the 50’s and I’m taking it back to the glamour days where pin curls ruled supreme. Think Marilyn Monroe. Sophia Loren, Liz Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. These women know what’s up on the sexy front.. none of this fake lips, fake ass, fake everything nonsense. Just pure class and feminine beauty. Back in the day, these women dedicated hours to their hair, pinning it up into curls every night before bed so they could wake up with glorious curly manes in the morning. Lucky for us modern ladies though, we now have the help of heated utensils which save us the man hours and also give us a super professional effect. My trusty styling sidekick is the GHD straightener. It always gives the perfect tight 50’s curl that I am after and makes the job super quick and easy. The best part being that I only curl my hair after I have washed and blow-dried it and the curls last for 5 days. YES, 5 DAMN DAYS! This suits me down to the ground because I’m really not one for dealing with my hair every day (not a morning person, remember?) It usually takes me around 20 minutes and bear in mind my hair is super thick and semi-long so for you it may be even quicker!

Oh, and I recommend you try this first with your straightener switched off, just so that you can learn how to maneuver your hands and what not without trying first off with a super hot iron and burning the eff out of your hair 🙂

  • First up I section my hair horizontally leaving out a thin section of hair and tie the rest out of the way
  • Then I grab a small section of hair (working from the hair closest to my face outwards) and clasp the straightener around it
  • Next I wrap the section of hair around the GHD, working in an under and over the top motion. I then rotate the GHD, whilst still clasping the hair in a 180 degree circle away from my face. It should end up that the ends of the hair are poking out of the GHD facing the mirror.
  • I then pull the GHD down the hair slowly all the way to the end

Check the quick little video below to see how I do it if my typing doesn’t make sense!

  • Wa-Lah! Perfect curl!
  • Repeat this same idea making sure to work in sections all the way up the head. You can make the separate sections as big or small as you like!
ghd-curling
Nearly Done!

When I get closer to the top of my head I start to pull the GHD up and outwards rather that in a downward motion, this just gives a little more volume to the curl closer to the root. Depending on whether you have a side, middle or no part will depend on how you choose to do the top. I have a fringe that I am growing out so I opt for a side part, because of this I section the fringe into 3 small sections and curl them exactly the same so that the curl goes up and over.

That’s it, you’re done! Ha ha.. I kid. You should now have a head full of ringlets Shirley Temple style. Now it’s time to brush out some of that craziness, I opt for a round bristle brush but any type of bristle-y brush will do. The bristles will keep the curl soft and fluffy whilst also helping them mold together. If it ends up being too ‘brushed’ for your liking flip your head over and shake your fingers through the ends to break them up a little. This will also give some SERIOUS volume! Don’t be put off if it’s still quite curly, if you keep brushing it you can brush out some of the curl and it will continue to drop as time goes on. On the other hand if you don’t want it to drop, hit it up with a decent amount of strong hairspray.. this is how I roll. That way the curls really have some lasting power 🙂

finished
Finito!

I hope this all makes sense, maybe soon when I get a little better at the whole video side of things I might make a tutorial where I curl my whole head so you all can see the wizardry! But for now this is what I’ve got.. if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE!

 

 

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Rockin' them
Pants Preview

The other day whilst I was doing a little (early) Spring cleaning, I came across a pair of GUESS jeans that I never wear. I was naturally about to toss them into the Salvos pile until I remembered how good they fit around my waist and bum. Thinking about it I realised the only problem was that the length was more suited to a 6ft super model and I thought to myself ‘c’mon, if you haven’t gotten them altered by now are you ever going to?” the firm answer in my brain being “NUP”. Then it came to me to try to make use of them somehow. Usually, I would get way ahead of myself eager for the warmer weather and cut my old jeans into some shorts but one can only have so many pairs of denim shorts, right? So I thought maybe it would be better to cut them into a style I’ve seen #croppingup (pun intended) all over the net lately. Cropped fringe jeans. Perfect for Spring as they are just above the ankle and force us to put away them winter-y boots and considering we are almost well and truly done with winter it seemed perfect timing!

My jeans were so long that I needed to don a pair of stilts underneath them just to avoid the hem dragging in the mud (or maybe I’m just really short.. we can’t all have Victoria Secret model legs can we!!). This being said, I needed to cut off a fair amount, but if you have a pair of jeans kicking about that are already of a decent length then you wont need to cut off too much. The style of these jeans is to be above the ankle but not high enough to be 3/4 length. All you will need to create these bad boys are some scissors and tweezers, oh and some jeans. And maybe a little bit of a crafty side.. but that’s it!

  1. Put the jeans on first and then measure and mark roughly on one leg where go would like them to finish
  2. Take a book (or anything with a straight edge) and draw a straight line across the leg where you have marked
  3. Fold the jeans in half lengthways lining them up at the hem (I just held mine upside down holding the hem) then lay them on a flat surface
  4. Cut across the line making sure you are cutting both legs of the pants so that they are the same. We don’t want you looking all uneven, peg leg style!
  5. Try them on to make sure you’re happy with the length. Too short? You can either rock it or cut them into some 3/4 length pants girlfriend!
  6. Draw a line about 1 inch above the hem line (or however long or short you want the fringe to be)
  7. Cut strips roughly 1-2cm apart from the hem to the line you drew in 6 all the way around on both legs
  8. Now comes the fun part! I say fun.. but that may be a slight stretch of the truth. It really did start off fun, but if you are anything like me and wont stop until you can see the finished product then it becomes a bit of a nightmare. Get some tweezers and
    Pull each white thread
    Pull each white thread

    pull the white threads away from the blue threads. I tried to photograph this to the best of my ability but once you get the hang of it you will start to be able to pull out 3 or 4 threads at a time. SPEED DEMON! Keep unravelling until you reach the end of the cut, and repeat on each strip

  9. Continue to do this for a million hours. I kid.. But seriously, I did it all in one sitting and this part took me roughly 2 hours so be warned! If you cant stand being crafty for that amount of time then I recommend breaking up the job over a couple of nights in front of the telly watching the last of the summer Olympics

Aaahh, it really was worth it in the end guys. Even though I felt like I was going cross-eyed and thought I would never regain use of my opposable thumb again, I am so happy with the way they turned out. Now I’ve got a new pair of jeans for free! #SCORE! The Salvos missed out this time I’m afraid , but who knows what the future holds. I’ll probably look back on these photos 5 years from now and cringe thinking “why oh why?!” But for now I’m just going to ease my way into Spring/Summer 2016 showing a little bit of skin at a time.

If you are as crazy and DIY loving as myself then these are a cheap and easy way of refreshing a pair of tired (or in my case ill-fitting) jeans. Let me know how yours turn out!

P.S Don’t forget to subscribe if you’re enjoying my babble 🙂

So, you get your new ballroom dress, wear it a few (or more) times and start to get that sinking feeling that it might be time to give the ol girl a wash. Washing your gown for the first time can be a fairly daunting experience; what if all the stones fall off? Will the colours run together? what on earth do I do with it now it's soaking wet?!! But, not to worry as I have washed many a dress over the years (friends dresses included) and this is how I like to do it 🙂

wash-ballroom-dress
Time for a wash!

First of all I recommend you get your hands on some Vanish Oxi Action fabric stain remover (pink containers). All of the pink Vanish products are fine, I've tried the powder form and the spray but prefer the spray as I can target problem areas. This stuff is like liquid gold for washing dresses. Lipstick stain? see ya later. Fake tan marks? bye! This special product was recommended to me from my previous dressmaker in London who had told me she once used it to get a red wine stain out of a white dress! So yeah, no more needs to be said... it's a miracle worker.

febreze-vanish-oxiaction
Febreze Spray + Vanish Oxi Action

Here's a little list of what you will need:

  • Vanish Oxi Action (powder or spray)
  • normal washing liquid of choice
  • bathtub or large sink
  • washing machine (please don't stress about this and just keep reading!!)
  • gloves (optional)

Lets get to it!

  1. Ask yourself the question do I want to wash the whole dress or just do a spot clean? If it's just a spot wash then still follow the same instructions but only do so with the parts of the dress that need washing. I personally don't opt for spot washes and prefer to wash the whole dress at a time as some materials are prone to water marks. In saying that though I've also had great success with some spot washes when the dress isn't really that dirty. You don't want to over-wash your ballroom gown.
  2. Fill your bathtub/sink with lukewarm water (not too hot, or you risk the chance of melting the stones right off your dress! #notideal). Add in a tiny amount of washing liquid and either spray the Vanish on problem areas or put a small amount of the powder into the water. I would probably use a tablespoon in a sink or a few table spoons in the bathtub. Just try to go easy on the washing products as no one wants a crusty dress for the following comp!
  3. Put the dress in the water. Go on, get it in there! Now you can work on getting out the marks (if any) and just give the dress a general scrub. I usually do this by rubbing the material together and do this until it's clean. Give the dress a good swish and squeeze and then drain the water, holding the dress to the side of the tub.
  4. Once the water has drained, refill the tub with cold water ONLY. This cools the glue under the stones and rinses any excess cleaning product out of the dress.
  5. Now, up to you but I like to put the bodice of my dress into a pillow slip for protection before I then put it in the washing machine. Once its all squeezed into the washing machine set it to spin on low or if you can put it on a gentle spin cycle.
  6. Try not to freak out while your dress is spinning a million miles an hour...
  7. Pull your dress out of the machine and WA-LAH! Brand new dress 🙂 I like to hang it out to continue to dry, if your skirt is extra heavy you can place it over a chair to dry so that the weight of the skirt doesn't pull on the bodice.

In between washes I like to use Febreze fabric refresher which kills bacteria and really helps to keep the dresses fresh! They have so many different flavours and are really great for when you are travelling and don't have the time/space to wash your dress. I just spray it onto the areas needed, leave for a few minutes and then pat dry with a towel.

Hopefully some of these ideas helped you! I've tried this same method with all my dresses ranging from velvet to silk and its always worked out fine. I would take care with feathers though.. when I've washed dresses with feathers I tend to do the spot wash method and if you do happen to accidentally get some feathers wet the hairdryer works a treat in getting them back nice and fluffy 🙂 Also, don't be afraid of the spin cycle, it really is the best thing to get rid of all that excess water so your dress will dry so much quicker! Just be sure to pop your machine on a gentle cycle or on a lower speed spin.

silver-dress-embody
My dress sponsored by Embody Dancewear

If you have any more questions or queries please feel free to comment below 🙂 All my beautiful dresses are sponsored by Embody Dancewear.

HAPPY WASHING!

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A dancer’s clock is not like most. We go to bed late and wake up late-er. Usually, I’m in the studio for 10 – 11am and then finish around the same time in the pm. That’s not to say I don’t get a few hours free here and there but it’s still a loooong day for the body. Because of this schedule I’m not really a morning person. You will definitely not see me running the streets at the crack of dawn showing Rocky Balboa how it’s really done. No, I will be asleep until my 3rd alarm goes off meaning I have 45 minutes to get my ass into gear!

breakfast-smoothie
Good Morning!

This love of sleep/sleeping in means that I need a nutritious brekky that I can whip up like lightning. At the mo, I’m eating a plant-based diet. (Yes, I’m Vegan.. wanna know more about it? Comment below!) This means that I need to get in a lot of nutritious foods and calories so that I don’t burn out before lunchtime and get #hangry. My favourite way of doing this of late is with my trusty little blender. Hello morning smoothie!

Now, don’t be alarmed by the sheer size of this smoothie. I’ve been downing one of these a day for about 4 months now (when I’m not travelling of course.. no gargantuan smoothies at the buffet brekky) and if anything I feel it has made me leaner. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe giving my whole diet a re-haul has helped but I’ve tried other vegan breakfast options and none leave me feeling as satisfied and energized as this smoothie. And as an added bonus, it tastes like frothy, dreamy, amazing-ness. My mum (non-vegan) tried it and she said it was so good it made her want to turn plant-based.. that’s a big deal if you don’t know my mum!

pre-blend-smoothie
Pre-Blend.

 

Ok so let’s get to it, my smoothie usually includes the following:

  • 3 or 4 bananas. Make sure they are as ripe as possible, the more spots the better. Nobody likes a hard, green, sour banana.. except maybe a really hungry monkey.
  • 1/2 cup of frozen mixed berries.
  • 6 or 7 dates. Don’t ask why such a random number! I started with 10 dates and gradually lowered it til I found the amount I liked 🙂
  • 1/2 cup Almond milk or any other dairy free alternative I have. I like Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk from Almond Breeze!
  • handful of spinach
  • 1 big cup of water.. very accurate I know. Usually I just pour water in and stop pouring when it gets to the top of all the fruit..
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
  • coconut sugar to taste (optional)
breakfast-smoothie
Smoothie as big as my head!

I add coconut sugar because uhh.. it’s not sweet enough already with all them bananas and dates, obviously! Ha ha! No but seriously, it adds a caramel-y flavour that I love and just brings out the other flavours so much more. But, if you don’t want to add more sugar but still want a little hit of flavour you could always add vanilla essence instead.

Blend that bad boy up! I always keep the base ingredients the same but sometimes mix up the amounts if I decide to add extra/different fruits (dried cherries are the BOMB.com) Also, if I feel like it I sometimes add a tablespoon of Peanut Butter. I say ‘sometimes’ because Peanut Butter is my weakness so I try not to eat it everyday because once the lid is off I literally have no stop button! The smoothie is a little calorific but I don’t count calories to keep them low, I count them to make sure I’m getting enough. Especially since becoming vegan, I aim for around 2500-3000 cals a day. This way I have an abundance of energy for dancing and teaching and I lower my risk of injury.

So even if you don’t eat a plant-based diet give this smoothie a go and try to start your morning with fresh fruit and veg 🙂 It will leave your tummy feeling happy and will wake you up better than a cup of coffee (this is coming from a die-hard coffee lover btw). Enjoy!

Anyone here watched the movie Black Swan? If you haven’t its time to come out from under the rock and go and watch it!! If you have, I’m sure you were thinking how on earth did Natalie Portman transform her body into that of a professional Ballerina!? Or was that just me? Either way, I have the answer. Mary Helen Bowers, that’s who. Mary is the owner of Ballet Beautiful, a company she developed consisting of Ballet techniques and exercises that are adapted for us non-ballet gals to do at home! As an ex ballet dancer she has created a variety of workouts that can be done either on a mat or the carpet that target trouble areas around the core, bum, back of the legs, hips and thighs. Finding this was like finding gold for me as the muscle groups activated in her workouts aren’t too dissimilar to the ones I use as a Ballroom dancer. So for all my fellow dancing girls out there, this one’s for you!

ballet-beautiful-book

There’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes as a professional Ballroom dancer that most people don’t know about. We have to juggle our own dancing with teaching and travel but another important part is nutrition and fitness. I’ve tried a few different things in the past for toning my body; weights at the gym, cardio and HIIT, Kayla Itsines BBG, yoga, Pilates and whilst I enjoyed all of these activities I feel Ballet Beautiful has the best pay off for me. It tones and sculpts my muscles and leans them out at the same time, without leaving me bulky. Let me tell you, I bulk really easily. I was once told that I could switch out my dancing career and become a body builder, no problems! Not reaaaally the look I’m going for y’know? So yeah, I learnt that one the hard way of course.. hence no more jump squats or box jumps or jump lunges or any type of squatting action for me! I’ve been practicing Ballet Beautiful now for about 4 years and it really has worked wonders on my legs, core and bum! It may sound silly but if I don’t do it for a couple of weeks I can really feel the difference in my body.

Ballet Beautiful is available online via YouTube videos or you can buy the book. I have the book but I personally find it so much easier following Mary on YouTube. She counts you through each set and rep and all you need to do is follow. She will also stop and take time in between each set to stretch and allow you to have a sip (or guzzle) of water. I usually allocate about an hour so that I can comfortably work my way through 5 or so of her workouts and I do this once or twice a week. My favourites are the lean legs and butt shaper workout, lean hips and outer thighs workout, lean legs and buns workout, lean and firm inner thighs workout and the ab workout (click each link to take you straight to each workout on YouTube!) While these workouts don’t have you jumping around like a loony, they will make you sweat and they will burn the muscles like crazy! Not only is it great for targeting zones that you want to burn but it works on perfecting your poise and posture too.. #winwin. No need to worry if your just starting out either as with most of the workouts she offers a few different options depending on what you’re capable of. I started off not being able to complete any of the exercises without yelling profanities and stopping for breathers but have slowly worked my way towards completing it comfortably without hitting the pause button!

ballet-beautiful

So even if you are a non-dancer I really recommend you give these workouts a go. Besides what lady doesn’t want perfectly toned lean legs and a perkier bum?! Your legs will shake and you should be sore the next day but it is so WORTH IT! If I had the time to do this workout every other day (need that rest day guys!) I would, because the results are there.. just look at Natalie Portman in Black Swan if you need some more motivation! Mary Helen Bowers, you legend 🙂

To check out Mary Helen Bowers’ YouTube channel for more workouts click HERE.

 

 

 

Going from platinum blonde to deep red 2 years ago was a bit of a biggie for me. I had been dyeing my hair blonde since the age of 14 and really didn’t know if returning to the ol’ roots would be a hit or a miss (my natural colour is strawberry blonde.) I had been toying with the idea in my mind for a while until one day whilst blow-drying my hair I noticed I had the beginnings of a very sexy bowl cut appearing from my fringe around the side of my head. Breakage… nice to meet you. I decided it was time to jump off the “fun” boat and head home.

A couple of years on and some very interesting shades of red later I feel I have finally found the concoction I’ve been looking for. Most of it boils down to my awesome colourist but I also have some at home upkeep so that my colour stays fresh and my hair healthy (well as healthy as possible bearing in mind I go through a large can of silhouette a month thanks to competing!)

de-lorenzo-shampoo
De Lorenzo colour care shampoo in Claret

First off, let me mention the one thing that as a red-head I could not live without. Ok, slight exaggeration but it’s bloody good alright! De Lorenzo nova fusion colour care shampoo in Claret has been an absolute life saver. I’ve tried a fair few different shades over the past 2 years changing bottles with my forever changing tones of red but can I just say they are all AMAZING. Anyone that has coloured hair prone to fading really ought to give these a go! They are all natural plant-based colours that are so vivid it’s like a trip to the hairdressers! I shampoo my hair with this bad guy every second wash and always shampoo twice as per the instructions. You can get this product from Hairhouse Warehouse and they have hair swatches with all the different colours available so you can match to your hair tone.

pureology-conditioner
Pureology Hydrate Condition Revitalisant

Another thing that I have been using of late is the Pureology Hydrate Condition Revitalisant. This stuff has really improved the quality and vibrancy of my hair. I tried so many things to replenish my dead and dull post blonde hair; masks, oils, serums and I just wish that I had found this sooner! The product is also plant-based and is quite high potency so you really only need a 5 cent piece and you’re good to go (believe me, my hair is thick and I only need that much.) Even better is that you only need to leave it on for 1-2 minutes.. #yessss! Because who else cringes every time they see “wait 15-20 minutes” on the back of hair products, what on earth do they expect us to do for that long in the shower? whip up some pancakes? The conditioner leaves a kind of minty fresh feeling which at first was a bit of a shock to be honest, but now I actually quite like it 🙂 I know some hair salons stock this brand, I get mine from a local hair supplies store but if you have trouble finding it have a look online!

goldwell-spray
Goldwell Color Live Conditioner

Last on the list and last in the method is Goldwell Inner Effect resoft and color live conditioner. I spray this onto my hair after its been towel dried and it acts as a sort of colour lock spray. I’ve been using it for the past year now and I have noticed that it helps prolong the fading of my red from one hair appointment to the next. Its nice and light and definitely doesn’t leave your hair feeling crunchy. I get this from my Hair salon but I know Price Attack stock Goldwell products too 🙂 edit: After doing a little research I sense this product may have been discontinued but check out the link for a website still stocking the product!

Go check out http://www.salonstyle.com.au for the hair products listed plus many more! If your intrigued, give these guys a try! (See what I did there..)

 

Ahhh Packing. Not my favourite verb. For most people I assume it brings feelings of excitement and “yay, holidays!” For me, procrastination and “do I have to?!” Leaving it to the last-minute is my forte, hello 10:45pm the night before flying.. which has its pros and cons but mainly means I have to be quick and efficient. No time for farting around picturing myself swanning about London in particular outfits.

Although it takes me a while to get my ass into gear, once I start I am pretty good at finding my rhythm. I have a relaxed type of order when I pack.. Starting in the bedroom and working my way to the bathroom. This way I can stay on top of whats done rather than running around like a headless chook.

flight-outfit
My outfit for a recent flight to Hong Kong

BEDROOM:

Clothing: I usually get out all the clothes I ‘think’ I need and chuck them on the bed. Then before they hit my suitcase I do a recheck whilst wearing my BE SENSIBLE hat and cull anything that I really don’t need ( I’m looking at you second pair of ripped high-waisted denim jeans). I also grab out my outfit for the plane which always consists of loose clothing and a jacket (I’m cold-blooded) and a scarf. I always take a scarf onboard as it can double as a light blanket for around your shoulders because damn that aircon can be strong! My biggest tip for when packing your clothing is to Roll, Roll and Roll! You will save so much space through rolling your clothes and better still your garments wont be too horribly crinkled when you arrive. BO-NUS! 🙂

Shoes: Depending on where you are headed shoes are a bit of an obvious one. I try to take a small variety mixing it up between comfort and style and ALWAYS pack a pair of heels just in case! My general shoe pack consists of some sneakers for when I’m feeling a bit sporty, high tops because I’m a midget interested in style and some height, a pair of heels and some ballet flats. If you have some extra space and are headed to colder times I suggest also packing a pair of slippers.. your frozen feet will thank you!

BATHROOM:

I have my bathroom essentials split into 3 major bags; make-up, skin care/bits and bobs and hair care. Because I travel so often this is usually how my things stay stored year round. Lazy or thoughtful? You be the judge.

Clear Bag: In my bits and bobs bag I have a range of things; all my girly needs, nail file and clippers, a spare face mask, medicines and skin care products.

bits-bobs-skincare
Bits, Bobs + Skincare

Hair Bag: I like to ‘borrow’ the small travel sized bottles they give you in hotels and refill them with my own shampoo, conditioner and hair masks to save space. A good hair mask and some hair oil is a must for me as it usually takes a bit of TLC and time for your hair to adjust to the new climate.

Makeup: My make-up bag is BIG, HEAVY and super UNCONVENTIONAL. I’ve had the same bag for years but just can’t seem to bring myself to ditch it for a newbie.It literally contains everything I need… ever. Competition makeup, false lashes and daily essentials are some of the things bagged up in this bad boy but if I’m only going somewhere for a quick trip and am not competing (HA! NOT OFTEN) I pack my daily make-up essentials in a much smaller bag.

Once everything is out and ready its time for a game of packing tetris so that it all fits nice and snug. A few quick tricks; put smaller items inside shoes, wrap perfume and hair tools in jumpers/clothing and most importantly don’t forget to ROLL! Did I mention to roll? Hehe. Enjoy your trip!