5 Breakfasts You Can Make the Night Before

A few weeks ago, I asked this question on the BAFM Facebook page: Do you make time for breakfast for yourself?

The responses varied, but there was a constant theme regarding the challenges of making time for breakfast amongst the busyness school mornings.  It got me thinking about what I could share here on the blog that may help.  Then I remembered my Insta friend Jenny from @HelloGreatHealth.  She is the Breakfast Queen and developed the yummiest, easiest and healthiest breakfasts you can prepare ahead of time so in the morning, it’s ALREADY DONE! I dropped her an email to see if she could share her top 5 favourite overnight breakfast recipes and here they are.

overnight breakfast recipes

The weather is warming up, summer is just around the corner and it’s time for some easy-to-prepare breakfast that are delicious and nutritious.

Overnight puddings. My favourite. A brilliant way to get some variety going at breakfast time. They only take a few minutes to prepare, minimal ingredients and easy to double so you have a few days of breakfasts on hand to get your mornings running smoothly.  

As a health coach I see lots of women not eating enough protein first thing in the morning. Getting adequate protein for breakfast gives you energy to get through your morning and makes it so much easier to steer clear of the vending machine or office morning teas.

Here are five of my favourites, I hope you enjoy. Jen x

For more recipes please check out my ebooks available for instant download here: Hello Great Health Cookbooks

1. Banana Bread Breakfast Whip

Overnight breakfast - creamy banana whip pic

Ingredients [serves two]

1/3 cup buckwheat (soaked in water overnight)
2 bananas (approx.) peeled, chopped and frozen overnight
1 tablespoon flaxmeal
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon almonds (toasted lightly in the oven until browned) optional (you could top with toasted shredded coconut, more banana, a drizzle of honey, walnuts, etc.)

 Method

In the morning:

  1. Blend buckwheat in food processor until creamy, add remaining ingredients and blend until a thick creamy consistency.
  2. Top with almonds or desired toppings.

2. Raspberry Coconut Pudding

Overnight breakfast - raspberry coconut

Ingredients [serves two]

1/2 cup rolled oats
1.5 cups (330ml) coconut water
1 cup raspberries
3 tablespoons chia
Topping: plain yogurt, berries, shredded coconut

 Method

  1. Mix all ingredients (except toppings) into a large bowl.
  2. Place in fridge overnight.
  3. Before eating give your pudding a stir, add more liquid to get to desired consistency if necessary.
  4. Add toppings and enjoy.

3. Lemon Delicious Pudding

Overnight Breakfast - lemon delicious pudding pic

Ingredients [serves two]

1/3 cup buckwheat (soaked in water overnight)
½ cup plain or coconut yogurt
2 tabs flaxmeal
2.5 tabs lemon juice
1 teaspoon stevia or honey
Toppings: shredded coconut, macadamias, a drizzle of honey, etc.

 Method

  1. Mix together flaxmeal and yogurt, leave to thicken for 15 minutes.
  2. Blend buckwheat in food processor until creamy, add remaining ingredients and blend until a thick creamy consistency.
  3. Top with desired toppings.

4. Peanut Butter Banana Sundae

Overnight breakfast - Peanut Butter Pudding

Ingredients [serves two]

1/4 cup raw buckwheat (50g)
1 ripe banana mashed
2 tabs rice milk
1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 tab flaxmeal
2 sachets (4g) stevia or other sweetener (honey, maple syrup, rice malt syrup, etc)

Method 

  1. Soak buckwheat in water overnight.
  2. In morning, drain and rinse buckwheat. Blend with all ingredients (except for ½ banana, reserve for topping).
  3. Add blended pudding to a small glass, later with extra toppings if desired including remaining banana.

5. Banana Cake Pudding

Overnight breakfast - banana cake batter pudding pic

Ingredients [serves two]

1/3 cup rolled oats
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup oat milk
2 tablespoons chia
1 tablespoon honey

Topping

1 tablespoon hulled tahini
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon rice milk
Extra topping: shredded coconut

Method 

  1. Grind oats and chia in a small blender (optional).
  2. Mix all ingredients together using a spoon or a small blender.
  3. Spoon into glasses and refrigerate until ready to eat (preferably overnight).
  4. To prepare topping: mix honey, tahini and rice milk together in a small cup, refrigerate and pour over pudding when ready to serve (then top with shredded coconut).

Note: You can get buckwheat from Woolworths supermarkets in the health food section and at dedicated heath stores.


 Set yourself a challenge! Do overnight breakfasts for a week and feel the difference.

Jenny has heaps more recipes like this in her ebooks: Hello Great Health Cookbooks

More

My 2014 Health & Fitness Goals and Results

Health & Fitness

At the start of 2014, I did a 12 week health/fitness challenge with my PT which gave me a brilliant start to the year.  I’ve been consistent this year in keeping up my fitness…except for the last 8 weeks. There are a lot of reasons for that: back problems, school holidays and just a lot going on here.  It’s been good in a way, to have some extra time to invest in other areas, but I have noticed less nutritious convenient foods have crept back in my diet in replace of whole foods.  I’m not sleeping as well and I’m far less energetic.  My clothes still fit but are just a little uncomfortable.

So, for the home stretch of 2014 I’m back on board and am challenging myself to do 3 PT group sessions a week and 1-2 short runs (5-7km).  When I did the challenge at the start of the year, I diarised and photographed ALL of my meals and jotted down some thoughts; I re-read over the posts this morning for inspiration. If you’re interested, you can find the series of the posts detailed below.

Week 1 – 5 Years in the Making

This is a slightly confronting post.  I wanted to challenge a few things I found unhelpful to my mindset over the years. I wanted to show how important small changes are over time. Before I even started on my 12 week health challenge, I had already achieved success by changing my mindset.

before and after

Read the full post here – Week 1: 5 years in the making

Week 2 – 4: Write id Down!

I wrote down all my food when I did the challenge. Everything. It really made me think about what I put in my mouth and kept me accountable.  I don’t always write down my food (ain’t nobody got time for that!) but if I find myself falling back into unedifying eating habits, it’s a great way to break it!

Ready…what 12 weeks of meals looks like:

healthy food 12 Week Challenge

Read the full post here – Week 2-4: Write it down

Week 5-6: Keep Asking Why

Finding what REALLY motivates me was a big part helping me with consistency and drive. 

finding your motivation

Read the full post here – Week 5-6: Keep Asking Why 

Week 7: A Dress

Wearing a dress I hadn’t worn in a very long time. YAY!

DRESS!

Read the full post here – Week 7: A dress

Week 8-9: About Fitness (& the mind)

A few tips on how I trick my mind and push harder.

exercise - fitness

Read the full post here – Week 8-9: About Fitness

Week 10: Set Backs

I ran on top of a cruise ship so that was cool.  But the point of this post was to realise that set backs happen for a lot of reasons and how I overcome them.

RUN on a cruise ship

Read the full post here – Week 10: Set Backs

Week 11-12: Finale

Looking back, from the start of the journey when I started to make small changes, to after the health challenge. The most satisfying thing about this process wasn’t the weight loss, but instead — forgive the cliché — the lessons and skills I learned along the way. 

Before and After Weight Loss

Read the full post here – Week 11-12: Finish

Making sustainable changes means changing the way I think and that reflects in what I do. Keep on Kelly.

Spring Shoes: A Tie-In Colour

I was in the Paddington Sacha Drake store recently to pick up something I needed to add to my outfit for a wedding. While I was there I found a pair of shoes. I’ve never seen them before: the brand is Holster, and they are an Aussie company based in Noosa, Queensland. The style I bought are Admire Wedge in Champagne.  They are gorgeous and so easy to wear!

Last year, I had a silver pair of thongs that lasted me through the warmer seasons but they’ve had their day and I have been looking for a new pair of go-to thongs with a small heel to replace them.  I tend to pick a highlight tie-in colour for the season, e.g. gold, silver, black, nude. Last year it was silver and I had a heap of silver necklaces and bracelets.  This year I’m going with the nude/champange colour and will be looking for a few other accessories to tie it in. More nudes, gold, bronzes and browns.

I find picking a focus tie-in colour helps me be clear about sorting out my wardrobe (and giving away clothes I don’t wear) and looking for a few new pieces to compliment my existing wardrobe. Focus, means less brain space about worrying about what to wear, which means freedom to be, and go and do.

- Below, the mint dress is from Just Jeans: I bought it new at the end of last Spring on special and pulled it out now to wear.  While there is still a bit of coolness in the air, a 3/4 sleeve cardigan I’ve had for about a year (from BIG W) does the trick.  I like the look of nude and gold with green.

- The peach Review blouse is new and the skirt I found at a second hand shop a few years ago: they both go nicely with the gold/grown/nude highlight.  

- I went to markets the other night, and found a gorgeous bead tree necklace that brings out many spring colours and looks good with brown tones too. I wore it recently with a beige cardi and my spotted Liz Jordan Jeans (pictured here).

Just by picking one colour, I can see a Spring/Summer wardrobe forming, and this makes it easy for me find clothes to match wherever I’m going and whatever I’m doing. I’m no fashionista but I gain a lot of pleasure in colours and enjoying life in the clothes I wear. For me it’s not about looking good but feeling confident, happy and free in what I wear.

New Shoes for Spring!

New Shoes for Spring!

New Shoes for Spring!

I particularly enjoy wearing this outfit. It’s easy and feels light, pretty and fresh.  I was pointing to the kids at this moment who were running of to explore the rocks in the distance. “Don’t go past there!”

Spring shoes and outfit

spring outfit

Spring shoes and outfit

The necklace I found at the Bullcock Beach Twilight Markets.

Bead Tree Necklace

One of the things I really like about the shoes is the way they are made: the diamonte decoration are studded into the shoe (rather than stuck on) so I expect them to last well. 

Shoes

I was curious about the brand and took a look at the  Holster website and found a huge range of gorgeous shoes, including adorable kids shoes!  Love finding new Aussie brands who make great products.

Ladies

Holster Shoes - ladies

Girls

jelly shoes - girls - Holster

Onward.

 

DIY Fold Over Elastic Hair Ties & Headbands

I met Janine a couple of years ago.  She runs a lovely online ribbon & craft store called Sarah Lauren. I said to Janine one time, “You should do tutorials!” And here we are. She is sharing how to make your own fold over elastic hair ties. These particular hair bands are the best and hold the hair tight.   They also don’t damage the hair.   With three girls in my house who often misplace hairbands, having a big stash available is essential. 

DIY FOE Hair tie tutorial

Tutorial by Janine from Sarah Lauren

You may notice Fold Over Elastic (FOE) Hair ties popping up in a lot of department stores.   They are expensive to buy but are very cheap and easy to make yourself.  I’ll show you how to make make them so you always have an ample supply available.

Materials

Fold Over Elastic (check out a great range of plain and decorative fold over elastic here)
Scissors
Tape measure
Tealight candle or lighter

DIY FOE Hair tie

Sizes

  • For a small fold over elastic hair tie you will need approximately 23cm
  • For a medium fold over elastic hair tie you will need approximately 26cm
  • For a fold over elastic youth headband you will need approximately 40cm
  • For a fold over elastic adult headband you will need approximately 46cm

Instructions

There are only two steps to do here:

1. Take the 2 ends of your elastic and match the edges together.  Tie the ends in a side knot as close to the end as possible. A side knot is essentially tying a simple knot with both ends together (as shown below). You can also vary the knots to give a different look. An overhand knot (the knot most people use all the time: tying the two sides of the elastic together) also works well.

Note: Hair ties made using an overhand knot will be approximately 1cm larger when folded.

Tip: Pull the knot tight and it’s not likely to come undone.

DIY FOE Hair tie tutorial

DIY FOE Hair tie tutorial - side knot / overhand knot

2. Trim the edges to neaten if they are not even. Then run the cut edges past the tealight candle flame to heat seal them. This melts the elastic, just enough to prevent fraying.

DIY FOE Hair tie tutorial

Cardboard Display

If you wish to make cardboard display cards for your FOE hair ties use the following measurements:

  • Small hair tie 7.5cm x 10 cm
  • Medium hair tie 8.5 x 10cm
  • Youth Headband 15cm x 4cm
  • Adult Headband 19cm x 4cm

The hair tie cards will hold 4 FOE hair ties and the headband cards will hold 1.

FOE hair tie in use

And done! So quick and easy.

Use for 

These hair ties are great for:

  • Personal use
  • Sporing teams (they hold hair firmly and you can match them with the uniform)
  • End of year gifts
  • School fetes
  • Fundraising
  • Teacher gifts
  • Craft stalls
  • Christmas concert or theme
  • A child can even start a business making them for family, friends and neighbours 

About Janine

Janine is mother to 2 daughters and loves all things crafty and ribbons.  See more of her wonderful craft supplies at Sarah Lauren.

Hair Cut & Colour: A Little Longer / Dark Golden Brown

It started as, what would you call it — not quite a celebration — more of an acceptance deal I made with myself when my youngest child started school.  A regular hair cut seemed a fitting thing, considering during the years before my kids started school, a hair cut/colour was a rare annual (6 monthly at best) luxury.   My haircuts are not as regular as I planned but I do find myself documenting each hair cut/colour. I like change.

This time, I decided to keep the length, rather than go with a long bob, so my hairdresser, Monique O’Rourke, did a trim, shaping the lengths slightly around the face.

Hair cut and colour - dark golden brown - mid length

I wanted a fresh colour before heading to a conference but I left it too late to for Monique to fit me in beforehand so I dyed it myself this time.  I bought the brand that was on special at the time in a safe colour (L’Oréal Dark Golden Brown 4.3).  It turned out well and I’m happy with it! 

Golden Honey Brown

More Hair Cut & Colour Posts

Hair cut: Long to short

Hair cut: Autumn Colours

Hair cut: Warm Red Brown

Hair cut: Rich Brown with Honey Copper

Hair cut: Brown & Carmel Highlights

Budget Body Beauty Supplies

Amongst the busyness of parenting, I think it’s important to enjoy luxuries when you can and weave them into life. I liken them to having little holidays every day.  I enjoy using beauty products — it’s one of those little luxury — however, I don’t like to spend a lot of money on them.

I’ve tired many different products over the years and there are three staples I use for my body that have proven to work and they are really cheap.

  • Exfoliating Gloves ($3-$5)
  • Sorbolene Moisturiser – any brand (from $5 for 1 Litre)
  • Norewx Face Washer Cloths #309044 ($30 for 3)

Budget Body Beauty Supplies

How I use them

Exfoliating Gloves

Exfoliating gloves can be found in discount stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and department stores, ranging from about $3.  I find these work better than loofah, body sponges and exfoliating body wash for a few reasons:

  • They don’t get gunky – loofah and body sponges get a bit gross in the shower after a short time, however, I find exfoliating gloves don’t in the same way.  I rinse them after use and keep them sitting on the top of the shower screen and they last at least a few months. Plus you wash them too.
  • They give your skin a really good buff.
  • It’s fast: Because you use both hands, it’s a quick process.
  • They are cheap!

I use my gloves with sorbolene soap or cream all over my body every day in the shower.  Using moisturiser with the gloves doesn’t give that foaming action that you would get with body wash, but it still exfoliates just as well (body wash is ridiculously expensive). Doing this everyday makes a huge difference to my skin (just have to remember to be consistent with it).

Sorbolene Moisturiser

I use sorbolene moisturiser as a body cleanser in the shower and as a post shower body moisturiser.  I buy a few bottles so I have one for the shower and one I keep in my room.  After a shower (and a good buff with the exfoliating gloves), I use moisturiser over my body. It absorbs quickly, and again, doing this consistently makes a big different to my skin, especially during the colder months.

Norewx Face Washer Cloths

I don’t buy face wash anymore. Haven’t for the past couple of years since I discovered the Norwex body washers.  I love wearing mascara most days — again: one of those little luxuries for me — and the Norwex is one of the best ways to remove it at the end of the day.

The face washers are $30 for 3 cloths (you can buy them from consultants in most areas in Australia). I’ve had mine for two years now and they are still going strong.  I use the face washer in the shower to wash my face every day and then it just goes in the wash (with a regular load) as needed (once or twice a week). Gives my face a really good clean without chemicals or the price tag of expensive washes.

I’m a Mascara-Lover!

Norwex Face Washer to Remove Mascara

Face

Before I apply very basic make up (some of my go-to products are detailed in this post), I do like to use face cream. However, I have and still do use sorbolene moisturiser on my face as a moisturiser too. One of my favourite products for my face at the moment is L’Oreal Nude Magique BB Cream.

Over the 2 years I’ve been doing this, it has cost me approximately $80 in total for the 3 products. That’s $40 a year or approximately 80 cents a week.  If you enjoy a bit of pampering but want to do it on a budget, this works a treat.

Do you have any other budget beauty tips to share? Leave them in the comments below.

More

Everyday make up routine

Tip to brighten your eyes!

Easy Upstyle Hair Tutorial

This is my go-to hairstyle when my hair is dirty, when I’m going out or when I don’t have time to style it (but I need to go somewhere and look presentable). When I wear my hair like this, people often comment how glamorous it looks but honestly, it’s just so easy to do and suitable for most med-long length hair. 

upstyle hair style

It looks good with a clip or simple without any embellishment too.

easy up style

Easy upstyle hair tutorial

 

Materials

Hairspray

Bobby pins (3-10 depending on length/thickness of hair)

Clip (optional)

How to

It’s a bit tricky doing it without a mirror but this video demonstrates how to do this style.

Instructions

1.  Loosely Part hair to one side and pull back into a pony tail (middle of your head).

2.  Twist hair up towards the top of your head.

3.  Create half a bun by looping your hair around.

4. Then tuck the excess hair inside the roll.

5. Secure hair with bobby bins, placed in behind and on the top of the roll.

6. Gently comb the sides to adjust any bumps.

7.  Hair spray.

Fringe or No Fringe

This hair style works if you have a fringe or not.  I do it with both, depending on how long my hair is i.e. how long since I’ve been to the hairdresser (March 2014 was my last cut).  I usually wear a fringe to the side (as per the first pics) and I simply comb it to the side and spray. Or, if my fringe is longer (as the pic below) I incorporate the fringe into the pulled-back hair and wear it like that.

Higher

To make this style sit a little higher at the front, tease the front section with a brush, before smoothing the top section slightly to the side.  And then follow the instructions above.

Easy upstyle tutorial

Jeans I Found for the Season

Jeans and green jacket

I picked up these jeans at Target when I was there looking for swim shirts for the kids. It was an impulsive purchase and didn’t even try them on beforehand.  I had little time and needed a new pair of jeans so took a gamble on them fitting/suiting.  Well, I wanted to say I’m very happy with the jeans (and they were only $10!). I had to check my receipt because I thought they must have been at least $20.

target jeans

I like where the waist line sits (not too low or high), the leg length and how they are shaped.  They should last me through the cold season and into Spring. Good find.

FitFlop Boots

Cream trench coat & fitflop boots

Another find is this brand of shoes I’ve never heard of before: Fitflop. My grandmother was talking about them, because her friend raves about them (uses them even for walking the dog).  I was gifted a pair of boots (CRUSH™ BOOT CHOCOLATE) and have been wearing them most days since.  They feel like slippers, although they look much more glamourous.

Jeans and comfy boots and I’m pretty much set for these colder months.

2014 Health & Fitness Challenge: Week 11-12 – Finish & Results

At the beginning of this year, I started a fitness/health challenge to refine some of the goals I had already achieved.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve been making small sustainable changes and changing the way I think about food and exercise and by doing this challenge, it both cemented what I knew and challenged me further.

  1. First picture is before I started to make small changes to my health
  2. Second is after I started moving more and eating consciously
  3. Third is 6 months later, and after I completed the 12 week challenge with the wonderful Lauren from Phyzique

getting fit

I’m thrilled with the results! But not so much because of the centimetre losses (although that is fantastic!); it’s more because doing the challenge helped me realise   how little I need sugar and salt in my diet. And refined carbs. But — oh — I still love bread! And I still indulge on a brownie or chocolate fondant sometimes.

I kept a food diary for the 12 weeks to help me really see what I was eating.  Below is week 11 and 12 (minus the snacks – which were often nuts, natural yoghurt/fruit/carrot & cottage cheese/energy balls etc – with the odd brownie).

I eat:

more raw foods and less processed

more veges and (a little less) fruit

more grains, nuts, lentils & beans and less refined carbs

more natural yoghurt with berries and less sugary flavoured yoghurts

more lean white meat and less processed red meat (like sausages)

more good fats and less refined sugar

more water and less salt

Week 11

week 11 - cleaner eating

Exercise 

3 Group PT Classes

2 x 8 km Runs

Week 12

week 12 -   clean-er Eating

Exercise 

3 Group PT Classes

1 x 6 km run

Results

Weight Loss

Lost: 6kg of fat

Gained: 1.4 kg of muscle

Overall weight loss: 4.6 kg

Centimetre reduction

Arm: 2cm

Waist: 3.5 cm

Chest: 4 cm

Gluteus: 4.5 cm

Thigh: 2 cm

I’m not far off from my physical goals (still so much to achieve fitness and running wise!) but more importantly, I’ve turned a corner and made changes that will stay with me for life. And in turn, these changes have a positive impact on our family too. Onward.

Sacha Drake Grecian Dress

Wore this Sacha Drake Grecian Dress as a finale!

Necklace by Kellie Christie

Other Posts in this series

Week 1: 5 years in the making

Week 2-4: Write it down

Week 5-6: Keep Asking Why 

Week 7: A dress

Week 8-9: About Fitness

Week 10: Set Backs

Week 11-12: Finish

Win: Sacha Drake Grecian Convertible Maxi Dress

Sponsored (S2 post)

Sacha Drake Grecian Dress with belt (silver)

Sacha Drake Convertible Grecian Maxi Dress & Deco Knot Belt

This dress is like a dream!  I absolutely adore wearing it. Rave-rave-rave.  

I was introduced to Australian designer Sacha Drake back in 2011 by fellow bloggers Louisa Claire (she looks smashing in this striped dress) and Nikki from Styling You (who is looks gorgeous in the same dress).  The Sacha Drake brand was established in my home town Brisbane in 2002, and I love discovering and talking about amazing Aussie talent.  Sacha is a genius, GENIUS, when it comes to dressing woman’s bodies of all shapes and sizes.  I’m a huge fan, and today I’m talking about the convertible Sacha Drake dresses, and you can win one, just in time for Mother’s Day, YAY!

At the recent Digital Parents Conference on the Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship, I wore the dress (different ways) to the dinner functions (picture here).  It doesn’t really need ironing so it’s the perfect dress to throw in a bag when travelling.  Each time I wear this dress, people comment at how gorgeous it is.  When I was at the conference, I even had someone stop me in the lift to ask me about it.

It’s how the dress falls in waves around your body; it makes you feel feminine, elegant and strong.  When I wear it, I find myself celebrating the joy of being a woman; the way the dress moves and fits my body embodies the beautiful balance between sensitivity and strength.  I feel a dreamy smile appear on my face and a softness come to my step like I can walk on the clouds. Ah, what a wonderful dress can do, yes?

Convertible

Below is some of the ways I wear the Grecian dress, and there are still, many-many-many other ways to explore (check out the video further below for more ways to wear the dress). You can twist and wrap the pleated straps to create different looks that contour your body without the clinging factor. Another great convertible dress to look at is the Sacha Drake Ultimate Black Dress which is even more versatile and can be worn more than 20 ways. 

L to R:

1. Cross over front/back with belt (thin straps), silver drop earrings, silver bracket

2. Strapless, twist feature over bust – with Kellie Christie Button Necklace (another Brissy designer) 

3. One shoulder – long emerald green dangly earrings

4. V neck cross over – single jewel on circle wire necklace, drop earrings

5. Strapless casual style – with a heap of silver bangles

6. Cross over front/back (thick straps) – with nothing by my wedding ring

Sacha Drake Grecian Convertible Dress Review

Favourite

You can adjust and wear this dress for the occasion (dress it up or down), your mood, and for your body shape. Below is one of my favourite way to wear the dress, either with thick cross over straps (as shown below) or with thin straps and a belt (as the first image).  I have broad shoulders and more of a column body shape so this style works well.

Front / Back

Sacha Drake Dress - Front & Back

The Sacha Drake website has a body types guide to use then when you shop, each garment displays the relevant shape icons so you know if it will flatter your type of body.  As you can see on the icon guide below, this particular dress is suitable for all body shapes (including pregnancy) .

Sacha Drake Body Shape guide 

How it works

The dress is all one piece and made from luxurious pleated polyester jersey that feels delicious on your skin (designed and made in Australia).  There’s the strapless dress section, with perfect soft falling pleats, and two attached straps to tie and shape around your body.


 

If you’re looking for a something special to wear, have a look at the Sacha Drake webiste because there are many incredible dresses, stretch solutions, convertible dresses and other gorgeous pieces (like this pencil skirt that is on my wish list).

I’ll finish with this inspiring quote from Sacha Drake, declaring the heart behind the brand. I can see this value reflected in the clothes she makes and the smile on my face.

“I use my talent to make women happy.

I like to design clothes that boost women’s confidence.

This is my contribution to the world!”

– Sacha Drake

Win

Giveaway now ended.  Congratulations Corinne Jones!

I’m thrilled to be giving Be A Fun Mum readers a chance to win a Sacha Drake Grecian Convertible Maxi Dress.  

When I was thinking about a question to ask here, I could have gone for something like, “What do you enjoy most about wearing a dress?”.  However, I feel so challenged by Sacha’s approach and I am going to ask a question inspired by the Sacha Drake brand.  I look forward to reading the responses. 

To enter:

1. Like Sacha Drake on Facebook

2. Leave a comment below to answer this question:  How do you use your talent, passions or resources to make others happy?

Terms:

  • Competition begins at 06.00 (AEDT) on Wednesday 30 April 2014 and closes at 22:00 (AEDT) on Friday 9 May 2014 
  • Open to Australian Residents Only
  • Dress valued at $299
  • Please read the full terms and conditions here.

http://www.sachadrake.com

2014 Health & Fitness Challenge: Week 10 – Set Backs

It happened during the September school holidays last year.  My body felt good and I had reached a good level of fitness during the previous 8 months. I could feel the strength in my body, and so I ignored the niggles in my back, wanting to keep pushing through.

Ever since I was pregnant with my son (over 6 years ago now), I’ve had issues with my back…and there’s a fine line between minimising the chronic pain through maintaining core strength and over doing it and causing injury.  In this journey of pursing a more fit lifestyle, I’ve had to learn to listen to my body. To really listen.

The pain is always concentrated in the same spot. Always. And depending on how I’m going that particular day, the pain radiates down my leg or sometimes up into my waist and upper back.   Last September, I did a burpee in the park (which I have done many times before), and something went in my back. Oh the pain!  I was in bed for a week, out from exercise for a month, and it took me almost 6 months to slowly get my strength back up.

That was a big set back for me, but I experience many smaller set back on a regular basis.  Sometimes it’s PMT, sometimes it’s stress (and emotional eating), sometimes it’s change of routine.  I find there’s a big temptation to give up being conscious about health and fitness during those times. It’s just all too hard.

However, I’ve come to realise that when setbacks happen (small or big) there are three main things I need to do (and giving up isn’t one of them):

1. Listen to my body: So I take it easier when I get twinges in my back, and I eat slightly bigger meals when I get PMT.  

2. Regroup: I’m goal orientated, which can be a good thing, but it can also send me into despair when the path to the goal deviates.  I need to remind myself that it’s a long term thing and it needs to be sustainable. Plus, even though I might go off course sometimes, that doesn’t mean I can’t get back on the path.  

3. Keep going: I come back to why I do this and keep going.  And the why is the motivation I need to do that.

Week 10

During week 10 of this challenge, I spoke at the Digital Parents Conference on the Carnival Spirit Cruise Ship.  While I was there, I went for a run on the running track on the top of the ship, so that was cool.  Even though I am doing this health/fitness challenge, I decided that I would look for healthier choices but also enjoy myself and enjoy dessert and that type of thing. The melting chocolate cake was amazing!

running on a cruise ship

Week 10 – Food

Clean-er eating - week 10

Day 64

Breakfast: Porridge with black chia seeds & blueberries

Snack: —

Lunch: Prawn & Salmon Salad

Snack: Almonds

Dinner: Chicken & salad (tomato, leaf mix, cucumber) 

Other: Natural yoghurt

Day 65

Breakfast: Black chia & oat porridge with blueberries

Snack: Almonds

Lunch: Berry Smoothie

Snack: Carrot, crackers, cottage cheese

Dinner: Tuna & egg salad

Other: 

On a cruise for the Digital Parents Conference

Day 66

Breakfast: Apple

Snack: 

Lunch: Brown rice & chicken salad

Snack: 

Dinner: Brown pasta with grilled chicken

Other: Chocolate melting cake

Day 67

Breakfast: Vege omelette

Snack: 

Lunch: Chicken, rice & salad

Snack: 

Dinner: Steak, breadroll, mushroom

Other: Apple pastry dessert

Day 68

Breakfast: Sultana bran & toast (didn’t like the yoghurt)

Snack: 

Lunch: Salmon & capsicum bake

Snack: 

Dinner: Chicken chow mein

Other: Chocolate melting cake

Day 69

Breakfast: Vegetable omelette

Snack:

Lunch: Shreded beef & avocado toasted sandwich

Snack: crackers & cheese (on plane) / Hot cross bun

Dinner: Asian salad

Other:  

Home Again

Day 70

Breakfast: Porridge & linseed

Snack: -

Lunch: Tuna with carrot, peas & almonds

Snack:  

Dinner:  Grilled chicken with spinach, tomato, cucumber, cottage cheese

Other: 

Exercise

  • 2 group PT session
  • 1 x  6.5 k run + 15 minute circuit 
  • 1 hr gym session plus 10 minute run (on cruise)

I have one post left in this series with my final results.

Other Posts in this series

Week 1: 5 years in the making

Week 2-4: Write it down

Week 5-6: Keep Asking Why 

Week 7: A dress

Week 8-9: About Fitness

Week 10: Set Backs

Hair Cut & Colour: Brown & Caramel Highlights

I was as tired as I look in the picture below (bad lighting doesn’t help). I felt a bit sick actually. This was the week before I was going away to speak at the Digital Parents Conference and trying to pull that together was huge. There is so much to organise with the children before I can go away, and I often wonder if it’s worth it…until I’m there.  I always miss the kids but it’s also great to immerse myself in a little project from time and again too (I’ll share more about the conference soon). 

hair beforeMy last hair cut was about 5 months ago, and a fresh cut and colour always gives me a lift me and so my awesome hairdresser fit me in.  None of these pics (taken on my phone) are good but I’m enjoying documenting my hair cuts for some strange reason.  I think perhaps, when I’m older, I’ll enjoy looking back at this time in my life (I’m LOVING my 30’s!!) at the evolution of style and colour; I like experimenting each time.  I went with brown with carmel highlights — it’s a bit more subtle — and I kept the length.

hair cut & colour -- dark brown with caramel highlights

hair cut & colour -- dark brown with caramel highlights

Maybe for my next colour?

brunette-highlights13

{Image}

Hair by Monique O’Rourke Freestyle Hairdresser (Brisbane)

More Hair Cut & Colour Posts

Hair cut: Long to short

Hair cut: Autumn Colours

Hair cut: Warm Red Brown

Hair cut: Rich Brown with Honey Copper

More Hair Posts

Dakota Fanning Inspired Hair Tutorial

Elegant Up Do

Easy Up Do

Wear a Flower in Your Hair

Easy Hairstyles for Mums

 

2014 Health & Fitness Challenge: Week 8-9 – Fitness

Learning to love (and do) exercise

I’ve always enjoyed exercise to a degree. That doesn’t mean I always feel like doing it though!  At different times in my life, I’ve found doing exercising more challenging for many different reasons, including raising young children and anxiety. It can be easy to focus on simply just doing more of it, however for sustainability and longevity in this area, I found there were mental hurdles involved for me to overcome first. Now today, I am fitter now than I have been in my entire life, and as I look back, I can see the personal issues I overcame that helped me find ways to incorporate exercise into my life.

1. Decide

The first step was to make the conscious decision to do something about my health. I wrote about it here: Feeling Fat and Ugly (written in Nov 2010).

2. Embrace

Secondly, I needed to embrace who I was and the changes in my body after five pregnancies. I wrote about it here: Weight Gain and Post Baby Body Issues (written in August 2011)

3. Grow

A great thing about blogging is looking back and seeing how much you’ve grown. Last year, I wrote a post titled I don’t cry for my body anymore (written in August 2013)

4. Do

I jumped those hurdles, and now I have the freedom to work out what fitness/health routine works for me.    I explained more fully a motivator to exercise in this post: What a Bad Week, Taught me About a Good Week.

Fitness Routine

When working out a fitness routine, it’s a good idea to know the activities you enjoy (and don’t). Here is my list:

What I don’t enjoy:

• Exercising by myself at home

• Exercise videos

• Wii Fit

• Doing weights at the Gym

• Swimming laps

What I do enjoy:

• Running

• Team sport

• Walking/Bushwalking by myself (and with others)

• Group exercise sessions

• Bike riding

• Aerobics Classes

• Being out and about with my kids

My routine

Once I worked out the types of activities I enjoyed, I looked to see where I could fit some of these into my life.  For the last year, I’ve been with Lauren Phillips from Phizique. She offers fitness challenges, personal PT and group PT classes.   I prefer doing exercise with a small bunch of ladies than in a regular gym so it works well for me. 

There’s variety too, which is important to me. Thinking about it, although we do many similar exercises every week, I don’t think there’s been a class exactly the same!  Pictured below are some of the exercises I do for strength. In a week, all going to plan (which with a family, it doesn’t always) I usually do:

Strength: 2 strength classes

Cardio: 1 boxing class

Fitness: 2-3 runs runs

That does seem like a lot but I’ve worked up to this over a year and a half and my stage of life makes it possible too.

exercise - fitness

You can see more of the exercise I do regularly in this post: 15 Minute Circuit (you can do at home)

Tips

Below are some ways I’ve learned to love and do exercise:

Variety: keep it interesting!

Do what you enjoy: find out what you enjoy and find ways to do that

Challenge your mind: when doing repetitive exercises, I usually count in 5’s. So if I’m doing 20 Bench Leg Raises, I will count 1,2,3,4,5 / 2,2,3,4,5 / 3,2,3,4,5 / 4,2,3,4,5.  I figure I can always do 5 so it helps me get through them.  Another way is to count down for the last 10.  So I might count the first 10, then change to 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.  Seems pretty simple but I find it helps me get mentally focused. When I run, I choose a point ahead of me and pick up the pace before slowing down or having a drink break.  I see this as mentally cutting up exercise in chunks. 

Keep going: I remember when I first started doing serious exercise, especially when I started running (I began running back in July 2012), I was so exhausted I could hardly move for days!  “Where is all this energy everyone promised!?”  It took a little while (3 weeks approx for PT – 3 months for running) for me to adjust but I just kept going. So keep going. It does get easier.

Food

I started a fitness & health challenge at the start of this year, and below is my week 9-8 week food. I’ve noticed now, that it’s not so much about discipline or cravings anymore that I struggle with, but more-so the preparation.  If I’m not prepared, that is when I lapse. However, overall, I’m thrilled with the progress I’ve made with eating more vegetables and whole foods in my diet this year. And I’m really enjoying porridge in the morning, so you can see!

Week 8

Cleaner Eating -- week 8

Day 50

Breakfast: Porridge

Snack: Carrot & Cottage Cheese

Lunch: Wholemeal bread with turkey, cottage cheese, mustard, tomato & spinach – Plus a nectarine

Snack: Rye mountain bread roll up with all-peanuts peanut butter

Dinner: Banana pancake (make from half a banana & 1 egg)

Other: Natural yoghurt with wheatgerm & dried apricot

Day 51

Breakfast: Porridge with linseed & crushed almonds

Snack: Date & Oat Ball

Lunch: Broccoli & Cauliflower soup

Snack: Carrot & cottage cheese with berries

Dinner: Lentil & spinach soup

Other: 

Day 52

Breakfast: Porridge with sunflower seeds & linseed

Snack: Ryvita with all-peanuts peanut butter

Lunch: Lentil & spinach soup with a date & oat ball

Snack: Pistachios

Dinner: Lean mince with beans & spinach – served with pasta

Other: 1 piece of chocolate with small chocolate custard

Day 53

Breakfast: Porridge 

Snack: Beetroot, carrot, ginger & celery juice

Lunch: Broccoli & cauliflower soup with linseed & cottage cheese.  Natural yoghurt with strawberries.

Snack: Almonds

Dinner: Turkey with broccoli, cauliflower, carrot & rice

Other: –

Day 54

Breakfast: Porridge with strawberries & natural yoghurt

Snack: Oat & Banana Cookie

Lunch: Wholemeal bread sandwich with turkey, spinach, tomato & cottage cheese

Snack: Pineapple

Dinner: {wedding} Entree: Asian lamb salad; Main: Chicken breast with sweet potato mash & veges; Dessert: Apple crumble

Other: –

Day 55

Breakfast: Apple

Snack: Oat & banana biscuit (no sugar, butter)

Lunch: Chicken breast with salad and olives

Snack: Date & oat ball & small banana smoothie

Dinner: Lentil & spinach soup

Other:  

Day 56

Breakfast: Banana & spinach smoothie

Snack: -

Lunch: Grilled Chicken with salad, avocado, mushroom, spinach, carrot

Snack: Sunflower seeds & carrot

Dinner:  Turkey, brussel sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli – served with mince, bean sauce

Other: 

Exercise

  • 3 group PT session
  • 1 x  6.5 k run + 15 minute circuit 
  • 1 x 8k run

Week 9

Week 9 - Cleaner Eating

Day 57

Breakfast: Green smoothie (with protein powder)

Snack: Almonds

Lunch: Chicken, spinach, tomato, sugar snap peas, carrot

Snack: Boiled egg

Dinner: Tuna salad with tomato, spinach, mushroom & cashew nuts

Other: –

Day 58

Breakfast: Natural yoghurt with sunflower seeds

Snack: Tuna & avocado

Lunch: Lentil & spinach soup

Snack: Carrot & sunflower seeds, cashews

Dinner: Grilled chicken, broccoli, carrot, cabbage)

Other: 

Day 59

Breakfast: Multigrain bread with avocado 

Snack: Date & Oat ball with handful of organic popcorn

Lunch: Tuna, broccoli, purple cabbage, carrot

Snack: Greek yoghurt with linseed

Dinner: Quinoa, broccoli, tofu, onion and soy

Other: —

Day 60

Breakfast: Quinoa porridge with kiwi fruit

Snack: Oat & banana biscuit (no butter or refined sugar)

Lunch: Vege juice (V8)

Snack: Ryvita with all-peanuts peanut butter

Dinner: Chicken stirfy with spinach, carrot, purple cabbage and rice

Other: –

Day 61

Breakfast: Porridge with linseed

Snack: Oat & date ball

Lunch: Quinoa salad with spinach and tomato

Snack: Oat & banana biscuit (no refined sugar or butter)

Dinner: Salad with spinach, onion, tomato, fetta cheese (no dressing)

Other: Natural yoghurt

Day 62

Breakfast: Porridge with linseed

Snack: Carrot

Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with salad & egg

Snack: mini connoisseur ice cream (vanilla)

Dinner: Natural yoghurt with wheatgerm

Other:  1 Oat & banana biscuit

Day 63

Breakfast: Porridge with natural yoghurt & linseed

Snack: -

Lunch: Tuna with spinach and tomato

Snack: Almonds

Dinner:  Grilled chicken with spinach, tomato, cucumber, cottage cheese

Other: 

Exercise

On the home stretch of this challenge now…but I know the changes I’ve made will stick with me.

Other Posts in this series

Week 1: 5 years in the making

Week 2-4: Write it down

Week 5-6: Keep Asking Why 

Week 7: A dress

Week 8-9: About Fitness

2014 Health & Fitness Challenge: Week 7 – A Dress

I haven’t worn this dress in years! Year! So it felt awesome to wear it the other day. Whoo hoo! 

black floral dress

In the recent years, I’ve made small sustainable changes to the way I think, eat and move.  Following on from that, at the start of this year, I started a challenge with my group PT instructor (Lauren from Phyzique if anyone is interested) to help me take it to another level, especially with my fresh food intake and moving past a plateau (and trying to lose some of the weight around my waist that has stubbornly sat there since the birth of my – very large – fourth child and son). 

Progress So far (cm lost)

Arm: 1cm

Waist: 2.5 cm

Gluteus: 2.5 cm

Thigh: 2 cm

Chest: 4.5 cm

(this is great for me because I am broad shouldered and tend to carry some weight in my back)

Dressing Up

I go through phases of dressing up — even for school pick up because I feel like it — and especially when I have a wider range of my wardrobe to play with.  In terms of make-up,  I love wearing mascara and I like trying different brands and often.  A swipe of mascara and some lip gloss is enough to make me feel all girly and fun.  

I was recently gifted with a Max Factor Excess Volume Mascara to try and it’s fabulous! I decided to do a mini review here for other mascara lovers out there.

Max Factor Excess Volume Mascara (mini review)

What I like the most about this mascara is that, for volumising mascara, it doesn’t look clumpy.  So you get that dramatic look without that too-thick lashes look.  I think it’s because there are two steps to the process (and two brushes).  The first brush adds volume and the second formula smoothes and adds that extra gloss. Love.

Mascara - Max Factor Excess Volume Mascara

Max Factor Excess Volume Mascara Review

From the packet

BASE COAT – EXTREME VOLUME: A super-thickening formula includes wax, dark pigments and volumising spheres to create a high quality finish with an abundance of high impact volume.  This, combined with our biggest brush ensures maximumvolume. 

TOP COAT – INTENSIFYING LACQUER: The jet black lacquer finishing coat is thinner than the volumising base coat, allowing it to flow across the lash surface. Because of the volumised micro texture of the base layer, the finishing lacquer coats lashes   from root to tip, meaning that you get an intensely black, glossy finish without removing or destroying the volume layer underneath. The gel-based formula further thickens & seals the lashes, instantly smoothing them and increasing the volume for a truly excess lash look that lasts. 

Week 7 Food

Notes:

  • Try and have have either fresh fruit or vegetables at most meals. 
  • Make carbs count: wholegrain – avoid white everything if possible.
  • Good fats…doing a bit more cooking with coconut oil.
  • Want to book a appointment with my GP to check my iron levels (because I have a history of low iron plus I don’t like red meat very much).
  • Getting into a bit of a groove with food but need to look at some other ideas to keep things interesting.

Week 7 -- clean-er eating

Day 42

Breakfast: Porridge with sunflower seeds & berries

Snack: Green apple & sunflower seeds

Lunch: Quinoa & White bean pattie, tuna, spinach, beetroot, cottage cheese

Snack: Date & Oat Ball

Dinner: Tofu & vegetable soup

Other: 1 Piece of 70% cocoa chocolate

Day 44

Breakfast: Berry & Banana smoothing (with spinach)

Snack: 1 x Ryvita with all-peanuts peanut butter

Lunch: Tuna, broccoli, carrot, kidney beans, tomato & cottage cheese

Snack: Carrot with Date & Oat Ball

Dinner: Tofu & vegetable rice

Other: 

Day 45

Breakfast: Porridge with apple, almonds & linseed

Snack: Beetroot, carrot, celery & ginger juice

Lunch: Chicken, avocado, alfalfa, carrot + natural yoghurt with strawberries

Snack: Carrot & Pumpkin seeds

Dinner: Quinoa, broccoli, tomato, tuna, soy sauce drizzle

Other: 2 x protein balls

Day 46

Breakfast: Porridge with small banana & sunflower seeds

Snack: -

Lunch: Quinoa with tomato, chicken and snow peas

Snack: Date & Oat Ball

Dinner: Wholemeal pasta with broccoli, tomato & tofu

Other: Gingernut biscuit

Day 47

Breakfast: Porridge with sunflower seeds & a nectarine

Snack: Date & Oat ball

Lunch: Rye Mountain Bread wrap with turkey, sprouts, tomato, cottage cheese + natural yoghurt with wheat-germ

Snack: Gingernut biscuit

Dinner: Chicken breast & leaf salad & carrot

Other: –

Day 48

Breakfast: 1 High-bran weetbix with natural yoghurt & sunflower seeds

Snack: Pistacho nuts

Lunch: Rye Mountain bread with ham, spinach, carrot, tomato

Snack: Strawberry yoghurt

Dinner: Quinoa with spinach, carrot & tofu

Other:  

Day 49

Breakfast: Porridge with strawberry yoghurt

Snack: Date & Oat ball

Lunch: Wholemeal pasta with tuna, broccoli, carrot, soy sauce drizzle

Snack: Carrot

Dinner:  Turkey & salad with cranberries, pistachio nuts, spinach, carrot & cottage cheese

Other: 

Exercise

  • 3 group PT session
  • 1 x  6k run
  • 1 x 8k run

This year has been a whirl for me in many ways, and family life is busier than ever with all the kids at school, growing up and doing more extracurricular activities. I have to say, that eating well and being consistent with exercise has helped me stay motivated and to keep up the pace.  It’s an investment that gives back!  And that is what motivates me to keep going.

Other Posts in this series

Week 1: 5 years in the making

Week 2-4: Write it down

Week 5-6: Keep Asking Why 

Week 7: A dress