How I Spend My Lunch Breaks

Although I only get half an hour for my lunch break, I try to make that time as productive as possible. I normally read. As a book usually doesn’t take up too much room in my lunch bag. Plus, I have set myself a pretty steep goal of reading 100 books this year.

Today though, I took a break from reading and am crocheting a pair of brown Snuggle Baby Boots. I finished one boot last night & I am keen to have the other one finished before I go to bed tonight.
If I’m not reading or crocheting, I’m reading finance articles or trying to find other ways to get ahead in life.

YouTube Limelight: Shaaanxo

Each month I will feature one of my favourite YouTube channels, sharing the little things I like about them & of course the video I like best. This month is Shaaanxo.
I started following Shannon Harris on YouTube around the same time I started following Lauren Curtis & Karissa Pukas as they had collaborated on a few videos while in town for the Sydney IMATS.

This is my favourite of Shannon’s videos as because I think its a fantastic make up look, good inspiration for a Halloween costume & it included a great make up tip I’ve never heard of.
Shannon uploads new videos on her main channel every Monday, Wednesday & Friday which would take an awful lot of work! The videos vary from make-up tutorials & reviews, hauls, bloopers with an entire series dedicated to her breast augmentation.

Click here to see more of Shannon’s videos.

Maxine’s Challenge: Week 11

Maxine's Challenge Week 11
It’s no surprise that Maxine’s Challenge week 11 post is shorter than the last. I’m having a lot of trouble sticking to the program, it’s mostly the training that I struggle with. My motivation has completely gone out the window. I think it was last week that I said I just wanted to be good at running without putting in any of the legwork to get there. I feel the same about pretty much everything; running, work, eating right etc. I’m sure someday soon my motivation will find it’s way back to me.

RELATED: Maxine’s Challenge

The Bloody Long Walk is getting closer but my distances for that aren’t getting any longer yet. I’d like to try to do five kilometres every day for seven days. Which adds up to a total of 35 kilometres, the length of The Bloody Long Walk. But I’m sure this is also a pipe dream. It’s like I just don’t have the time. I get home from work at 6, do my best to cook a good wholesome dinner, do some housework & try to relax, I feel like there is no time left for anything else. I know it’s a pretty poor excuse. There is time in my day. I just need to make time for the things I want. And I know that I can’t achieve anything unless I make an effort.
On the plus side I did just buy another pack of protein bars & protein powders. This time I got a chocolate & a strawberry protein powder along with a pack of double choc fudge protein bars. I’ve also found that if you combine the protein powder with milk in a blender, then close your eyes as you drink it, it tastes like a McDonald’s thickshake.

still loving the greek yoghurt with protein powder

 

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Owl Themed Baby Shower

owl cupcakes text overlay Owl Themed Baby Shower

Owl Themed Baby Shower

My third niece arrived into the world on September 21. I had a bit of a mad rush to crochet as much as I could before the baby shower which was back in July. The baby shower is done and dusted now, I can finally take a bit of a break from crochet.

Here are some photos of the things I made (both food and crochet) as well as links to the patterns and recipes.

Owl Blanket – My mother in law found this pattern & knew it would be perfect as the baby’s room was being decorated with an owl theme. It’s probably the most effort I have put into anything crochet, beside’s my Krista blanket.

Ugg Boots – This was the first pattern that I paid for. I struggled at the start but it really helps to pay close attention to the pattern. I’m incredibly happy with how they have turned out and I have made a few more since.

Bunny rattle – This is a baby shower staple, everyone that invited me to their baby shower is guaranteed to get one of these. I put a bell inside the head when I was stuffing it.

Owl Snuggle Buddy – This was actually requested by the mum to be. I’m happy with how it turned out & will probably make some more in the future with different animals.

Food

I also volunteered to make some food. I think I may have bitten off more than I could chew as I was up until midnight the Thursday before icing the shortbreads & crocheting madly at 7 am the day of.

Owl cupcakes – These were so simple to make! Again, I’m glad I made the cupcakes on Wednesday night. I iced them with a tub of Betty Crocker icing, halved Oreos, orange and brown M&M’s.

RELATED: Ginger Shortbread

Iced shortbreads – I have a stack of different cookie cutters that I have hardly used. I used the butterfly & flower shaped cutters. There were too many dramas while trying to icing them. I borrowed my mother’s icing set which just happens to be her grandmother’s. Unfortunately, the plunger part came out!! I was very lucky in that I had another icing set, but the same thing happened!! As a last resort, I used a ziplock bag which worked a treat.

Breakfast Bites – This was also so simple to make. Baguette cut on an angle, smashed avo, scrambled eggs & chopped cherry tomatoes.

Maxine’s Challenge: Week 10

Maxine's Challenge Week 10
During Maxine’s Challenge week 10, I somehow managed to jump back on the workout motivation band-wagon. I’ve wanted to get back into running again but that first run after a break is always the hardest. I’m suffering such a lack of motivation for that right now. I just want to be better at it already!! I have been doing some Fitness Blender videos again because I figure if my overall fitness/lung capacity is better, I will find it easier while I’m running. I’ve also signed up for Blogilates because there is a calendar that lists a workout circuit per day. I haven’t really looked into it too much yet but I assume it ties in with the Blogilates YouTube channel. I am somewhat familiar with the channel now as I’ve done a few of the workouts.

RELATED: Maxine’s Challenge

As for the nutrition side of things, I’m still loving the protein powder with greek yoghurt. It has the consistency of pudding so it really does feel like a treat. I’m quite over the protein powder & oats combination, although it took me a lot longer than I thought it would. I’m not a huge fan of eating the same things all the time. Variety is the spice of life after all.

This week I am very determined to prepare my lunches in advance since I have been so slack with that over the last two or so weeks. I think preparing really does make a difference to my progress. If I have planned out what I am going to eat, it is much easier to stick to as I have already made a decision about it. Which means less time I spend procrastinating or making not so wise choices. I find it helps to make smarter choices too, rather than denying myself of some things.

 

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Ginger Shortbread

Ginger Shortbread
I love shortbread, even better when it’s homemade. I love that some are slightly different shapes, some are different colours and more often than not the thickness really varies. Since discovering this recipe for ginger shortbread I have made it so many times and it’s always a massive hit.

I wish I could claim this as my own, or even a family recipe. But this is another recipe that came from Super Food Ideas magazine. It was originally featured at Christmas as a shortbread base to which different things are added to make different shortbreads. This is one of my favourite recipes as it combines shortbread and gingerbread. They are perfect to give out at Christmas, I just wrap a few in some cellophane with a ribbon. And one batch makes around 50 pieces, so there’s plenty to share.

RELATED: Owl Themed Baby Shower

This ginger shortbread works great as a traditional round shape. But they look extra cute cut into different shapes. My favourite shapes to use are the butterfly and flower. And these shapes make it so easy to decorate. You can decorate the ginger shortbread with traditional icing. But my favourite way is to decorate them with different coloured chocolate.

Print

Ginger Shortbread

Servings 50 cookies

Ingredients

Ginger Shortbread

  • 250 g butter softened
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsb vanilla extract
  • 2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 3 tsp white sugar
  • 2 tbs golden syrup
  • 1/4 cup rice flour for rolling out the dough

Icing

  • 1 cup icing sugar sifted

Instructions

Ginger Shortbread

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C

  2. Sift flours together in a separate bowl

  3. Cream the butter, sugar & vanilla. Add the ginger & golden syrup when fluffy.

  4. Stir flours into the butter-sugar mixture

  5. Roll out dough to 1cm thick and cut into shapes

  6. Bake on a baking tray lined with baking paper for 8-10 minutes

  7. Let the cookies cool on the baking tray for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Icing

  1. Add the milk to the icing sugar ½ teaspoon at a time, until you reach the desired thickness. Thicker for borders, thinner to 'flood-fill'

  2. Add the food colouring 1 drop at a time, until you reach the desired colour.

  3. Spoon the icing mixture into a piping bag. If you don't have a piping bag, use a zip-lock bag and cut the very tip of the corner off, start small and if you need to cut off more you can.

  4. Decorate!

September Bellabox

BellaBox September
Tracking email received: Monday, September 22

Package received: Monday, September 22

Photo 21-10-2014 7 34 58 pm

For some reason, I received my tracking email for the September Bellabox on Monday even though the package was posted on Friday. Perhaps it was because it was posted after 5 pm.

The September Bellabox theme was ‘Beauty Wardrobe with Gritty Pretty’. I think this month’s products were really in line with the theme. Again, I was very excited after seeing the sneak peak. I was really hoping to get the Cactus Skincare White Clay mask. I’ve heard really good things about it.

I feel that I must mention I have 2 products left from the August box: the dry shampoo, although I’ve made good use of this, and the nail polish.

RELATED: August Bellabox

Cedel – scented hairspray
I must say I was annoyed when I saw this as I thought it was another dry shampoo! I didn’t know that Cedel made other products. This hairspray smells tropical without smelling like coconut tanning oil.

Klorane – Quinune & Vitamin B Shampoo

I haven’t tried any Klorane products before but know they make clarifying & dry shampoos. It was quite runny to use but has a nice smell & left my hair squeaky clean.


Bioderma – Sensibio H20

I have been using another brand of micellar solution & have found this one to be no different. It doesn’t have a smell, doesn’t sting your eyes or any part of your face & does a fantastic job at removing makeup. I don’t know if I would buy this brand, just because there are cheaper alternatives but I think the micellar solution will be a staple in my cupboard.

Sleek Makeup – Eye Dust

This is quite a nice colour, its practically neutral (my favourite!). I haven’t had the chance to use this yet but I’m sure it will work nicely with anything in my Naked Palette.

Wotnot – Facial Wipes (oily skin)

I have never been a fan of the price of facial wipes & I’m sure nobody is, so I have always used baby wipes to take off my makeup. These are quite a lot larger than I was expecting & were quite damp. I think if I scrunched it up & squeezed some liquid would come out.

Garnier – Perfect Blur

The product feels like a light whipped body butter but at the same time, it also feels like a water-based gel. There aren’t any instructions on the pack so I wasn’t sure how best to use it. I just used it in place of my moisturiser but didn’t notice any differences at all. Maybe next time I will put it on under foundation.

Revlon – Colorstay Foundation in natural beige

I know this product is fantastic because it’s what I currently use except in a different colour. This colour might be useful as the weather warms up & tan gets a bit darker.

Thoughts on the September Bellabox

Sadly, I was not a recipient of the Cactus Skincare White Clay mask. So I have ordered some samples from their website.

Maxine’s Challenge: Week 9

Maxine's Challenge Week 9
My nutrition has been out of whack for most of Maxine’s Challenge week 9 as well as week 8. Most of this week I ate a tin of tuna & crackers for lunch or a tin of tuna & a cuppa soup. Not the best options but I made do with what I had. I was planning on being more organised but that just didn’t happen.

RELATED: Maxine’s Challenge

Grand Final day was a bit harder to manage in terms of temptations. It should have been easier as it was at my house! I probably should have filled my drinking cup with water from the start of the day. I ended up having 2 cans of soft drink then stuck to water for the rest of the day. Lunch was a steak with salad, then we shouted everyone pizza for dinner. While everyone else was having four or more slices, I found the two smallest slices I could & stuck with that. Two separate people told me that I had lost weight. I assured one of them that I hadn’t, my weight it still the same & it was agreed that I had just toned up.

RELATED: The Bloody Long Walk

Sunday was another training session for The Bloody Long walk. I was up at 7 that morning, to be at Casey Fields by 8 to start. I tracked a total of 12.44km in 2 hours 32 minutes. The wind was blowing an absolute gale! My feet & hips are a bit sore now but I don’t appear to have any new blisters, which is definately considered a win. We are about 6 weeks away from the actual event now. I feel like all this training is really going to come in handy. Poor Harley can’t handle too much more of my training, he is done after about four kilometres.

double strawberry protein shake with chia seeds  
shrimp scampi

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Maxine’s Challenge: Week 8

Maxine's Challenge Week 8
Maxine’s Challenge Week 8 saw me partake in a few events. On Friday I got the new Apple iPhone 6 without having to wait in line. It was ordered online, it was delivered, up & running by about 11 am. I was excited since this is the first time I have had a brand new phone when it was released. I had the day off because I was going to a wedding in the afternoon. The wedding was in Kallista. It was a nice night & not too late considering we stayed until the very end.

RELATED: Maxine’s Challenge

Saturday night we stayed at Crown Towers & had dinner at Rockpool Bar & Grill. We met up with a few people we knew that were in the Casino complex & lost a bit of money on the tables. Dinner was fantastic because it reminded me of Ruth’s Chris in Hawaii, where you get your (expensive) steak on a plate with nothing else. I had a 36-month-old 250g steak fillet & chose a side of roasted pumpkin & sweet potato, I enjoyed absolutely every bite! Piggy me, I was a little greedy & I ate almost all of the sides by myself. I also took my week 8 picture with the paper that was outside our hotel door in the morning. I now know that I didn’t need to post a picture with the paper. But I just think it shows a bit more accountability.

RELATED: Harley the Pomeranian

I spent most of Sunday taking slow-motion videos of Harley the Pomeranian. You should most certainly take slo-mo videos of animals, it is ridiculously entertaining. I spent the rest of the day waiting around at home for my niece to enter the world. We went to the hospital to wait for her at about 8 pm & she made her appearance at 10:08 pm. She is the cutest little thing that I ever did see.

 

mum & I at the wedding

 

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YouTube Limelight: Karissa Pukas

Each month I will feature one my favourite YouTube channels, sharing the little things I like about them & of course, the video I like best. This month is Karissa Pukas.

I started following Karissa on youtube around the same time I started following Lauren Curtis as they had collaborated on a few videos while in town for the Sydney IMATS. (I also have a few other youtubers that I found around this time so stay tuned for their YouTube Limelight moment!!)

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 12.15.15 pm

This is my favourite of Karissa’s videos because it isn’t easy to admit you have fears let alone put it out there to all of YouTube. She faces her fear of driving in Australia (as she is Canadian). Karissa also details a few helpful steps to overcoming your fears.
I’ve just been checking my blog & noticed that the video I had originally posted has been removed “as a violation of YouTube’s policy against spam, scams & commercially deceptive content“. So here is a different video that I think many people can relate to.

Karissa uploads lots of different types of videos from hair make-up & beauty tutorials, look book, hauls, tags to bloopers. My favourite ones are the hair, make-up & beauty tutorials & I think I have learned so much about different products & how to apply them.
Click here to see more of Karissa’s videos.