Healthy Snacks that won’t make you feel guilty

Did you know that thirst can actually make you feel hungry? Try drinking one glass of water before you reach for that Snickers bar. If after 30 min you still aren’t satisfied, then you may eat something. So what to choose? You’ll want to find something that will satisfy your hunger but also be nutritious.

A healthy selection of delicious snacks include;

  • 2 tablespoons of peanut or almond butter, smooth or crunchy or something in between, whatever you fancy really
  • Apple quarters topped with about 2 tablespoons of peanut or almond butter dusted with a sprinkling of cinnamon
  • Yoghurt and berry bowl (I love strawberries but you can mix any in really like blueberries or raspberries) You could even top this with a sprinkling of protein mix
  • Carrot or celery sticks, tricks my mind into thinking I’m eating chips
  • Hommus and brown crackers
  • Popcorn, homemade with kernels is best with a sprinkling of salt or cinnamon
  • Fruit. Yes too much fructose is not a good thing but I ate all the fruit I wanted for dessert most nights and still lost weight however, I advise you proceed with caution

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Remember; munching on sweet and salty snacks occasionally is okay. Treat yourself! But also be honest with yourself. If you’re putting in more than you exert in physical activity then maybe it’s time for a change.

Love your health.

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Featured Image Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Centre Stage: Essential Oil – Tea Tree Oil

Native to New South Wales and Queensland in Australia, the Melaleuca Alternifolia known as tea tree oil, is an essential oil used by Aborigines for years. It has a wide variety of benefits and it’s my most favourite pimple fighting treatment.

It’s most recommended to dilute tea tree oil with water. Always follow instructions on the back of your product to find the perfect ratio.

Acne & Blemishes

I’ve used this for years to spot treat pimples and it works wonders in reducing inflammation.

I usually apply it directly from the bottle using an ear bud/cotton tip directly on the blemish. Overnight, it dramatically reduces the bump size and redness. *Caution, this can cause irritation*

Antibacterial

You can use tea tree oil as a disinfectant when cleaning. You could soak items in a bucket for a powerful punch, use in a spray bottle to clean areas of your home or by adding a few drops into your laundry cycle you can banish germs from your clothes and towels.

Add a few drops to your bucket, dilute one part water and tea tree oil into a spray bottle or into the softener dispenser in your washing machine to reap the benefits.

Wound Healing

Applied to cuts, scrapes, scratches or bug bites for its antiseptic qualities, it can alleviate itching and heal wounds faster by activating white blood cells into an immune response thus reducing inflammation at the site.

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Clarify Hair and Dandruff Treatment

I’ve bought many a shampoo infused with tea tree oil. Mostly for the cleansing as sometimes my hair gets limp from the same shampoo. This helps strip all the gunk off to reveal shiny, healthy hair. I do think it helps with an itchy scalp as I get bouts of seborrheic dermatitis on the nape of my neck.

Shampoo once or twice to revitalise the hair strands. Continue once or twice a week for maintenance.

Important: Allergy Patch Test

I use tea tree oil straight from the bottle but it’s so important to patch test as tea tree oil can be potentially irritating for you. Dilute with water and always follow instructions.

Tea Tree oil is widely available in a variety of shops and online for reasonable prices which makes it truly one of natures wonders.

Love your health.

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Featured Image Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Casual Friday’s – How to make a Mango Smoothie

My all time favourite fruit would have to be mangoes. To think I never liked them as a young child :O

‘Mango Magic’ is my favourite smoothie to order from Boost Juice Bars in Australia. Here’s a similar recipe I found years ago. It’s not exactly the same but pretty close 🙂

Mango Magic Recipe

So simple, so quick. Enjoy!

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Featured photo provided by HOTCHICKSING on Unsplash

Strategies for a Mindful Life

How can you effectively pull yourself together when things get rough? Everyday life stressors are normal, but we need to form healthy habits of mind to conquer fears and focus on forward thinking.

Remove Your Phone

Reaching for my phone first thing in the morning is usually to turn my alarm off. But then the temptation to check my email inbox, followed by social media soon follows. Coming out of a hopefully restful slumber, to immediately checking your phone creates unnecessary stress to the brain when it automatically is forced to begin processing too much information without ‘waking up’.

Tip: Think about getting a traditional alarm clock and going to sleep with your phone charging in a different room overnight. This means no distractions that disrupt sleep time and wake time.

Breathing

My regular watch needs to get a new battery installed so in the meantime, I rescued my husbands Fit Bit Blaze from it’s position collecting dust on his bedside table. Not only is it helping me track time, daily steps, water intake etc, but I found a cool little ‘Relax’ setting that provides a 2 minute or 5 minute breathing session. It’s amazing what deep breathing can do for slowing down your heart rate but it’s also a great way to distract your mind from anxious thoughts.

Tip: Take a 4 second long inhale through your nostrils, and exhale through your mouth lasting about 4 seconds.

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Photo by Robin Benzrihem on Unsplash

Gratitude Journal/Diary

When the months fly by as quickly as they do these days, (hello Easter!) then it’s quite easy to forget about personal goals we have achieved and those we wish to make in future.

Tip: Each day, take some time to list 5 things you’re grateful for in your life. This might be something you wish to incorporate into a morning routine to help your day get off on the right foot. Add to this list daily.

Routine

Keep to a routine even if you’re home all day. It’s tempting to stay in your PJ’s or comfy sloth clothes when you don’t have somewhere to be (it’s okay to do this every now and then of course).

Tip: Having a shower, combing your hair, even putting on some light makeup, a bold lipstick, spray your favourite perfume or cologne, or putting some effort into how you dress/style your clothes can be a tremendous confidence boost. If you look good, chances are you feel good too.

Exercise

Even something as simple as a change of scenery can help change your mood. Move to a different room or better yet, go outside for some air. Getting outside is an amazing distraction as well.

Tip: Why not take a small walk around the block or visit a local library, sit at a park and maybe smile at someone coming your way. It can lift your mood instantly while giving you time to reflect.

Love your health.

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Featured image. Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash

MAC Series – Fav #1, Studio Fix Fluid Foundation

I have a very soft spot for MAC products. They were my first ever high end purchase as a budding makeup lover years ago. My first purchase? The wonderful Studio Fix Fluid for none other than that completely flawless, matte base I was after.

I cringe slightly knowing that my skin was actually pretty good back then and yet I was hunting for a full coverage foundation to just blank out my face. Only makeup lovers will understand.

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I highly recommend you purchase the pump. It’s sold separately, one downfall of the packaging
Matte foundations are just, sometimes a necessity. We might be suffering with misbehaving skin and it gives us the confidence to go out everyday. For me it was like painting a canvas. The beginning of the art I wanted to create on my face.

So there I was excitedly standing at a MAC counter in Sydney’s CBD, gift card in hand from a generous friend and ready to spend my birthday money. $50AUD on a foundation was crazy sounding to me but all the same I thought if I was spending so much it had to be good right?

Ingredients

Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Dimethicone, Magnesium Sulfate, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Titanium Dioxide, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Algae Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Methoxy Amodimethicone/Silsesquioxane Copolymer, Laureth-7, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Silica, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Propylene Carbonate, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sorbic Acid, Chloroxylenol, Phenoxyethanol

30ML / 1.0 US Fl OZ also has a slight scent to it and unfortunately broke me out.

Note: I was wearing it everyday and I wasn’t removing it properly in the beginning stages. It doesn’t cause me any issues when I wear it infrequently and double cleanse.

However be warned as many people seem to react to this foundation. Remember! Patch test before if unsure.

Purchase

MAC Counters in Myer, David Jones and Mecca and Mecca Maxima stores in Australia.

For all other countries https://www.maccosmetics.com/choose-location

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This has an SPF of 15 remember a base layer of SPF no less than SPF 30

Love at First Application

This is a very thick, buildable foundation. If you’re not into makeup on the heavier side then steer clear. You don’t need a whole lot to go a long way either. Apply one thin layer and see how you feel, add another if you feel you’re needing the extra coverage.

From memory I needed to thin layers to get full coverage. I.e no redness peeking through corners of my nose.

Shade Range

MAC has a solid range of about 50 shades so finding your match shouldn’t be too difficult. I for one was sold an NC15 which can tend to look a little too yellow on me (either that or I’m too heavy handed with my application). It just never looked correct. However over the years the shade range has been extended to include fairer and deeper tones. I haven’t been matched since the stone ages.

NC and NW Whaat?

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This can be a little confusing. But let me break it down. The codes MAC use for their shades are;

  • NC = Neutral Cool – for warm toned skin
  • NW = Neutral Warm – for cool toned skin

No I didn’t make a mistake with those descriptions. It’s actually better to think of the whole NC and NW thing as;

  • NC = Not Cool
  • NW = Not Warm

Basically pick the one you’re not, either not cool toned or not warm toned.

After all these years I believe I am actually NW and a lighter shade. Alas I haven’t been back to be matched and only have this old bottle of Fluid in the wrong shade.

Recommendation and why I love it

  • Gives you unbelievably, flawless skin
  • Looks better as the day goes on
  • Has a lasting power like no other

I’d recommend this classic. It’s truly one of the most popular bestsellers of MAC’s foundations for a reason and one that’s been around for years.

Have you tried this foundation and what are your thoughts?

I do hope you follow on to see more of my MAC favourites in this series.

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A Skin Miracle? It’s Also Free!

We moved into our home in Dec 2015. The backyard was a jungle of overgrown plants, but little did I know there was a bunch of juicy, 98.9% water containing plants I’d later discover was great for my face.

Today I want to share with you my new favourite skin care product and it was pretty much free! Thanks previous owners for planting the humble succulent the Aloe Vera plant.

Known for decades as a natural reliever of sunburn, Aloe Vera Gel directly from the plant is a fabulous humectant meaning it works to retain moisture.

Benefits

  • Helps soothe sunburn
  • Retains moisture
  • Reduces redness
  • Restores moisture/water loss
  • Antibacterial
  • Can reduce hyperpigmentation ‘acne scars’

Some say eating an drinking aloe aids with digestive issues and it can be used as a hair treatment. Nifty little plant.

Caution!

Before you go apply this sticky goop all over your face, patch test!

You may very well be allergic to this so do not smear it all over your face and pray for a miracle. A face full of hives, stinging or any type of allergic response reaction could be in store. In fact, if you’re allergic to latex there’s a good chance you won’t handle this on your skin. The underneath green part of the plant contains a yellow latex liquid.

Now if you’ve safely determined your skin can handle the pure aloe gel from the plant then rub your hands together excitedly as I share my guide.

Tricky, Sticky Goop

This stuff is not the easiest to handle. The innards of the plant are a clear, jelly like substance although can be sliced with a sharp knife or blended in a blender. Be warned, it’s slippery!

Fun fact, the more you water these plants the clearer the inside Gel will be.

To Prepare

  1. Begin by harvesting a leaf from the outer most part of your aloe plant
  2. Wash it under cool water
  3. Slice the base end off, it usually has a little yellow liquid, the latex oozing from it
  4. Slice a chunk off again, about an inch is good
  5. Slice the spikey ends off
  6. Slice off 1 side of the green part and you’re left with the inside exposed
  7. Slice off the second side and let the Gel fall into your designated cup

Quick tip: I like to scrape each green part with my knife as there’s extra slime left on there. I usually cut the gel to release more aloe slime.

You can use this straight away or pop it in the fridge covered with cling wrap and apply it to your face when ready. It’s extra cool that way 😎

How To Use?

This eventually dries down and feels exactly, in my opinion like a face mask. You may wish to put in on and wash it off after 15 minutes. Or you can moisturise after you cleanse, top with Aloe Vera Gel then go to sleep. It’s humectant properties will help seal in the moisture from your moisturiser. It can feel drying so washing it off might be an option you like better and you can enjoy silky smooth skin.

I use this daily, morning and night and generally leave it on for a while sometimes an hour and wash it off before bed. It leaves my face so freaking smooth!

Storage

Store your uncut aloe leaf in the fridge wrapped in cling wrap or foil and place into a zip lock bag. It will stay fresh for a few days.

Now all you have to do is find yourself an Aloe Vera plant to enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post, remember to love your health 💗

My Skin Journey – Update #2

Apologies for this update being about 2 weeks late! Good news is if I get my butt into line, in 2 weeks time there will be another update as I need to see my GP again for a follow up.

Here is an update on everything I’m doing to currently treat my skin.

Finishing Doxycycline

I have completed my course of Doxycyline, at least I took approximately 2-3 months worth of tablets. Unfortunately I have not seen a major change in my skin. Though through some online research, I believe Doxy is more suited to those who are prone to bacterial acne.

Continuation of Yasmin

I continue to take these BC pills as they’re recommended for hormonal acne sufferers. I’m not convinced they’re doing anything my other BC pills have already done, which is not a lot.

My Thesis

I feel like I could write a book on my skin. I’ll try keep it simple. I think my acne could be caused by yeast aka fungal acne in layman terms. Scientifically referred to as Malassezia Folliculitis.

These ‘acne’ like bumps have not responded to any of my attempts to reduce them as blackheads i.e closed comedones or regular papules with the use of many different AHA’s, BHA’s solutions.

I regularly experience symptoms of Sebhorreic Dermatitis on my ears, scalp, back of my neck, eyebrows and I get very itchy ear canals.

So I believe that this could possibly form a connection with the Facial texture and bumps all over my face.

Discussing this with my Doctor

Having explained my thoughts to my doctor, she recommended as I was already using Nizoral 2% Ketaconazole on my scalp once a week, that I use that as a face wash 3 times a week and slowly reduce to twice a week then once a week and then go back for a follow up check. Ketoconazole 1% or 2% is helpful in reducing Malassezia.

Results So Far

Nizoral works tremendously well for my scalp itchiness and as for my face, well it seems to be doing not a lot I think. 😐

Picture taken later in the day to prevent those fluids from covering the issues

There is a slight worsening of bumps on the forehead as they’ve become more raised. Possible purge?

Comparison Photos

Left, 24 September and below, today. I do notice it has flattened.

This can be a very drying routine so I am finding I have been able to scratch out little plugs of hardened sebum (very satisfying when they come out in their own). My face has been a little itchy and the plugs get scratched out under my nail *eew*

Nonetheless, I feel like using Nizoral as a face mask may be just drying the plugs out. I also strongly believe next appointment I will be getting referred out to a Dermatologist for review.

If you’re going to use Nizoral on your face (it’s available over the counter in Australia) then please patch test and do not use for more than 3 days a week as it can be very drying. I may do a specific post on this product.

Incorporating Aloe Vera Gel

Malassezia or fungal acne yeast feeds off a variety of ingredients. More on that later. So I have been desperate to find some moisture for my skin. Lo and behold I found out people have not only been using Aloe Vera Gel as a sunburn treatment but as a facial humectant!

This girl was extremely happy to harvest a leaf in her garden. I am pleased to say I absolutely love what it does for my skin. I will definitely write a post on this plant soon.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this update on my skin. What do you guys think, am I being too critical?

This is long, tedious and extremely frustrating journey. Wish me luck.

Remember to love your health.