Life’s little sparkly memories

One of the things I used to love doing the most, as a little girl, was going through other people’s jewellery boxes. Yes I loved looking at the pretty things but more than that I loved the stories associated with them. I think jewellery is a lovely way to mark a special occasion and to keep memories. I love antique jewellery for just that reason, all the memories which they hold. This post is not meant to be a show off post, I know I am lucky, I am just writing down the stories associated with my collection to share with you. If you would like to do a post like this I would really love to read them.

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Necklaces. The first one, which I really don’t think is a diamond, was a gift for me by one of my grandmas just a few years before she passed away. I was given another item chosen for me by the aunties after she died but I love this as it was from her.

The next ‘calm’ necklace is from Diana porter in Bristol, my home town. This was a gift from my mumma before I moved to Australia. The calm was chosen because I am a stressy bessy and to this day I will actively choose this necklace if I know life is a bit tough and it makes me feel much better. The sparkly apple is a necklace which I bought myself at age 16 on holiday from kingsand in Devon. I ummmmed and haaa’d about if I could afford it but 14 years on I still love it and it was a sound investment. The Mickey Mouse was a gift from my step dad after a business trip to the Middle East when I was around 12-14. I loved it then and still wear it now, Disney jewellery is making a come back …right?.. The final necklace is one of my absolute faves bought for me by my housemate around 6 years ago for Christmas. One night we were lounging around when the Argos catalogue was delivered, looking through I saw this and fell in love. I forgot about it she did not and got it for me for Christmas. It has a little button and says cute as a button on it. I love it so much.

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More gifts ones. The rose quartz bracelet was made for me as a gift by a dear friends mother a few years ago. She was doing a jewellery making course and made this for me. Such a special gift as this family really looked after me when I did my year in Adelaide at uni. I used to go for dinner once a week with them and went on their family holiday as I missed being around my family so much. The Tiffany heart was a graduation gift from my family. I love this. The silver ball is a bag charm from pilgrim. This is a new addition bought for me for my 30th by a very dear friend who remembered my long term love of pilgrim and got it for me. Finally a Christmas gift from my family a chunky bracelet with an English penny on it. I wear this heaps and it makes me feel a bit like home.

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Bangles….and bracelets. The gem ones were a Christmas gift one year that my mum picked up for me in china. I have had these close to 10 years probably and wear them all together. There used to be 3 but one broke. The square bangles have different shades of turquoise enamel and were a gift my mum picked up for me on a trip to Spain once. I love the fact they are square. The amethyst bangle contains stones from my dad which I had remade into this gorgeous bangle. The wire wrapped bangle is one my mum made for me when she went with her mum on a jewellery making course for her birthday or Christmas present. The three bangles with charms are ones I received for Christmas from my mum and the same year my brother and I bought her matching ones ( with slightly different charms). I call these our friendship bracelets! The bangle with the heart charm is a 21st gift from one of my baby brothers ( who is now nearly 20). One turquoise bracelet is from my brothers and one is from my other half.

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These two are 30th birthday gifts from my mother in law and my partners friends got together and got me the Mimco earrings… What a treat!

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My auntie’s friend made her one of these rings as a prototype for her collection. I saw it and loved it, again this would be around 10 years ago, but as there was only one thought that was it. Little did I know at Christmas this one was made for me! Spoiled!

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My most special ring. This was given to me when my other half asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. My response is how the blog got its name!

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Two heirlooms. The little ring was my great grans engagement ring. This goes down the girls in our family. So the story goes my grandma doesn’t wear it because she couldn’t make her mind up/ gave it back to my grandad once and was told she wouldn’t be wearing it. As an aside my gran and grandad were happily married for a long long time after this! The second is my heirloom from my grandma on the other side of my family. She gave it to me early, she is still alive, as she no longer had anywhere to wear it!

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The aquamarine ring is one my grandad bought my grandma when they lived in Russia. She gave it to me and I had it fixed up and resized and wear it with pride. The rest are new memories. Ten rose gold rings are these which I bought with some inheritance. My mum had got herself a rose gold bracelet to remember my grandad so is also wanted something rose gold. Not classic but I love these and wear them in various arrangements. The chunky diamond ring is, again, a remake with stones from my dad. The remake was a treat to myself when I started working in Australia and had a good job. The two necklaces were gifts from my other half as were the studs and three colour gold bracelet from Dubai. Whilst I love them all my favourite is the black diamond. It’s really imperfect and unusual and perfect for me.

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He also got me a black pearl a few years ago. I really like black versions of the classics.

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The final rings are a selection for over the years. The silver wire ring is a gift from my mum by a local Bristol designer. The enamel and diamond ring was a birthday gift from my mum and the pearly ring was a gift from her one Christmas. The blue band was from one of my brothers. It was give to me in my teenage years but I love it and wear it in place of my engagement ring at work so my finger doesn’t feel naked. The amethyst rings were also from my brothers in my teenage years.

The large turquoise was a gift from my other half during a trip to Queensland and the silver flower was from blues and roots and Byron bay one year when we went.

Wowzers what a long post, as you can see I am pretty lucky with my collection. There are some great tales there. Not all the jewellery is expensive and I would be just as devastated to loosed one piece as another.what special stories does your jewellery hold? Do a post , comment, link me!

Ruthless panning

Yes I have been panning more stuff. A lot is pretty much unused but just products not suited to me or the right colour for me.

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Avado sensitive facial exfoliant. I have panned two of these, both full, I got them in monthly boxes and to be honest I just don’t rate them. They don’t feel that they exfoliate, as there are only a few beads in there, the gel is refreshing but I just don’t rate it.

Organics shampoo and conditioner is a repurchase and I have got myself a new pair. Granted these may not be completely nasty free but they are better than most, a reasonable price, make my hair feel nice and that is all I need.

Rainforest rejuvenation body scrub. I flipping love this product. It is grainy, so it gives a good scrub, it leaves a coating of oil for moisture and smells delicious due to the essential oils. The downside it is expensive. I would love some more but it will be a treat item.

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Another Avado scrub. Natio antioxidant lip gloss, this is a nice product but it is a bit of a frosted colour for me plus I am less into gloss at the moment. Lady lya biological eyeliner in BLUE need I say more. Adorn minerals shadow in PINK need I say more. Also are 2 reboot just bitten kissable pencils. I love these but I have quite pink lips and these two colours are paler than neutral and make me look all 60’s or foundation lips.

Korres pressed powders. Both of these were free gifts from strawberry net. I am sure they are fantastic for pressed powder fans. I just don’t need them or use them as I am bare minerals all the way.

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Aveda embrightenment moisturiser. This is an old product. It’s ok. It’s not Venusian face cream which I am now nuts for. This takes a while to sink in and smells a bit herbal for me.

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Skinstitut vitamin c powder

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Skinstitut retinol. Both these products are far to harsh for my skin, I love the skinstitut glycolic cleanser but the full range is harsh on my skin.

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Another korres pressed powder. Stila eye cream, out of date and Lancôme concealer out of date!

There you have it, pantastic!

have you been panning?

My 2013 wishlist

I know, I know another wish list. I feel terrible about these when really I have a lot. On the other hand I find having a constant wish list really refreshing as it helps me to control spending and when the urges strike I can spend it on something I really did want rather than any old thing ( as an aside this may or may not have been how I ended up with a wooden birdcage in my sleepout!). So here we go… things I am wishing for and loving…

1. My very own laptop. My other half has a lap top which I use, but we actually spend at leat 50% of our time apart as I work away. I have an ipad which is fantastic but when blogging from an ipad you do lose a little functionality. I have made some inroads into this wish. I think that I would like another acer. They suit me price wise and the last one I had lasted for 7 years before its death on me last year. I have found 2 website of interest. Firstly my old lappy has been sat in a drawer as I was unsure what to do with it follow this link to the acer store for a recycling program. You register ( free to the end of this month ), drop off your old lap top with a printed bar code etc at Australia post and you get a $120 voucher towards your new lap top….brilliant. Reduce, reuse, recycle.. acer I am into this.

Acer

Secondly acer has an outlet store. This store sells ex demo, refurbished and new models or discontinued models. Although the above voucher is not redeemable at this store there are so many bargains to be had. I have earmarked a refurbished laptop ( which saves around 50% on RRP) and means I can get a much better model for the same money. I can then use my voucher for some snazzy accessories.

That said, my number 1 priority this year was paying off my car. I have made some in roads into this and hopefully next month will have that payment gone. At this point I may treat myself. Sometimes the wait makes things better!

2. A digital Camera. I would love a better camera. Mine is a point and shoot which I was bought for my 21st or 18th. I would love an SLR style camera without removable lenses and small enough for a handbag. I really enjoyed taking the pictures of our trip to the beach and would like to start to capture more, including our wedding. I have found a camera I like for 50% off but before I commit to it I am going to charge up my old camera and force myself to carry it around to prove to myself I will use it. ( ALERT: If I succeed there may be picture heavy posts coming soon!)

Something like this.

3. Gel Nails. Yep I have been banging on about this for ages but it is quite the outlay when I have never even had gel nails before. I see people with them and how long they last and I am jealous. The sensible part of me says get them done first to check you like them, the other sensible part of me says that’s around 50% of the outlay for a home kit just get one. I am also torn between kits. I could go a cheapie kit but do they work less well? Also I know OPI have kits and historically OPI colours and polishes are my favourites. It will really piss me off if I buy a cheapie kit then upgrade to a better when. Any advice folks is welcome?

OPI Sephora Gelshine Kit

4. Clarison mia. I have read so many reviews now I could almost do one without trialling the product. I love the sound of this. I hate the sound of the purge phase but love the sound of this and to be honest I think my skin would benefit greatly. With the purge phase in mind this may need to be a sooner purchase rather than later as I want that to be out-of-the-way before the wedding. RRP $139.. perhaps I should just go for it!

5. Essenza pura Venusian Face Cream. Oh my flipping goodness. This came in a native box for trial. It has been ages since I was good at moisturising because I didn’t have a cream I got along with for ages. The last cream I loved was the Burts bees vanishing cream… remember this?

Ever since it was discontinued my search has been high and low. I saw the pot of this cream and though baaaa another face cream I wont use. Wrong. I am obsessed. This cream is thick, sinks in quickly, smells like marshmallows, is natural, is helping my spots heal, is natural and is everything I am looking for. I will continue with this trial until the pot is finished and quite honestly I see no other option but to but a big fat vat of this to swim in.

6. Rainforest Rejuvenation body scrub. This was another native box trial. Yet again product love. a great gritty scrub which I love. I had creams or gels with the odd bead in. All natural ingredients and chock full off essential oils. This scrub leaves an oily film on your skin so when you get out of the bath you don’t need to moisturise. I LOvE THIS. It is expensive, around $50 for a 400ml tub. It is full of lemongrass, I smell like a Thai holiday afterwards and is antibacterial because of all of this. I would love to get this product again. I am unsure if I can justify it and a little research makes me think Haus of Gloi emulsifying scrubs may do the same for cheaper. I should road test this.

7. Dr Bronners. I get mine from ASOS. I got two tubs of this for my christmas gift and I flipping love them. They are so fresh and really do not dry my skin. The other half has got in on the action too. These last and last as well so I am going to stock up from ASOS. Almond and peppermint are the next flavours I have earmarked.

8. Finally, with my move to a more natural cleaning routine for the house. My steam mops are working like a charm, as an aside, and remove the need for a ton of chemicals! I have seen these little gems on the relauncher– wild soapnuts. You use these in place of laundry detergent. I am going to order the trial pack for when my laundry powder runs out. I am unsure if they will cut the mustard with diesel stained work clothes, but am sure for day to day clothes and household laundry this will work a treat. I am excited. Plus they seem quite economic with little effort ( such as grating soap which I read as one green laundry powder option!). It is quite the bug bear of mine that simple less refined products costs more. How is crumbed fish more than plain fish???? I digress.

Anyway here is a little round-up of wishes, loves and products I have found which I want to trial.

Any of these tickle your fancy? Any other recommendations for me? Anyone else trying to be sensible (AKA Boring) with their money?

The break up

Sorry for another deep post but I feel like this year so much has already happened and changes in my mind have happened so I wanted to chat about it.

I started 2013 pretty triumphant after a great 2012 where I had really gotten myself into shape. Come January and I was feeling pretty darn flat. I think that I felt lost without resolutions, goals and challenges. To be honest I have always been more driven by the prize than the journey and more motivated by getting to goal than enjoying myself. The start of the year I fell back into some old habits of trying ridiculous diets and failing and I have slipped with the FODMAPS a fair bit recently.

I did keep up the exercise though and I have had a pretty stressful time of it with my job. To be honest flat does not even begin to describe how I felt at the start of the year with all of this and a lot of annoying jobs to fill my time disheartened or downright depressed may be a better description.

I have also struggled with the fact that I no longer recognise my reflection, my head thinks I am a lot larger than I am.

Anyhow, back to the present. I feel like I have ridden this wave and the tide is turning. Alongside this I have had a few realisations and all of these are things I am proud of.

1. I am a trooper, in it for the long haul and even if I don`t know where things are going I have learned to accept them, remain open to opportunity and change, chip away at it, take each day as it comes and do your best each day and ride it out…. until one day you realise you are on top of things again.

2. Although I do not recognise myself still. I talk to people about this so it is more real. Each time I don’t recognise myself I make myself look in the mirror and observe it with interest.

3. I hate eating FODMAPs. I feel crappy, my tummy hurts, my digestion is shot, I am tired and to be honest I hate feeling bad about myself.

4. In stressful times I don’t need chocolate I need sleep, love, care, exercise and full blown nutritional eating behind me…. And a bi of chocolate.

5. I can quite easily maintain my current weight on a diet including daily treats.

6. I cannot maintain health on that diet.

7. Health is more important to me. I am addicted to feeling good.

8. If you feel good you look good. SIMPLES

9. When you live a healthful lifestyle your body is given a new healthful equilibrium ( represented but not only in weight and fat).

10. you cannot pick your equilibrium. Forcing your body to be too small = BAD, being too big = BAD. Eating and exercising healthily in a way your body likes =BLISS

11. You just have to get over the fact bliss may not equal miranda kerr for you.. damn you genes!

I am pretty delighted with these realisations and feel that sometimes you need to let old habits in to prove to yourself you are no longer friends. Bingeing, FODMAPs, negative feelings towards myself we had a long relationship but sadly this is no longer working for me and you are no longer welcome in my life….

its not you its me

I have changed. I can`t be arsed wasting my energy on feeling bad about myself. I am happy to eat treats as long as I really want them and they don’t hurt my tummy ( dark chocolate and sea salt hello) if you are a FODMAP filled food I am eating for any other reason I do not want to know any longer. If you are a negative thought about myself… be gone. I am not interested…. I am a young woman doing my best. I cut other`s slack and respect them for trying and now I respect myself.

I fell off the wagon so to speak.. did i? or was it part of my journey? Did I need to do this in order to get the guts to break up with the past?

This post may not mean much to you, but it is massive to me. I am hayley, I weigh 11.5 stone and I think that I look ok. I love my life, I am proud of my body and what it can do and I want to nourish my body so it can continue to help me live life to the max.

What does your body mean to you? Have yoou ever broken up with yourself?

Non naughty Naughties

Sometimes you need to fall off the wagon, its boring eating super healthy food all the time and sometimes I find I need to get some calories into me. A lot of low fodmap foods are pretty low calorie as I try and eat unrefined food a lot of the time. Sometimes I don’t want to eat super healthy food, sometimes I need more calories quickly for energy and sometimes you just fancy a treat. I never fancy the bloating and other associated symptoms which come with foods that contain FODMAPS. Recently I was sent some products by a company I had not heard of before. Eskal foods are allergen friendly foods for those of us digestively challenged.

In the name of research, and definitely not in the name of hunger and indulgence, I have trialled some of these products and I am delighted. Often Gluten free, dairy free foods taste like chewing bricks… but these were pretty good.

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First up one afternoon after a vigorous pole dancing class I needed a snack. I had limited food in the house and didn`t want a meal… I needed biscuits. I had a few of the wafers which are gluten free and they were lovely. Crunch with a creamy filing and chocolate on the ourside these really hit the spot for me. Obviously not a regular food if you are dieting but a great way to indulge in a treat with no ill effects.

Secondly, pretzels. Yum. I mixed mine with a little chocolate and also fruit for that sweet and salty hit. Gluten free pretzels rule. I honestly couldn`t taste the difference. I imagine I will be buying these again as they are a great snack food for road trips, handbags and whilst at work.

I was also sent some gluten free iced cream wafer cones. I have huge plans for these involving a scoop of banana soft serve and a paddling pool in the garden! YUM

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I can eat nuts, a lot of people can`t. This nut free nut butter is a very tasty alternative. I actually really liked it. It was more nutty than tahini and more like a nut butter. On toast, in porridge, with carrot and celery sticks dipped in or with fruit for dipping I have been really enjoying this. I think that peanuts are often referred to as natures oops and whilst I do enjoy peanut butter this makes a nice change. Made from sunflower seeds it contains protein and i think this is why when I had it with my fruit snack I felt full for longer.

There was also a dairy free mint dark chocolate which was my favourite item by far. As I cannot have lactose I can have 70% dark chocolate with no problems but I had got a little bored of it. As soon as flavours were added I found that my tummy would get bothered. This did not happen with this bar. To be honest I could not detect the lack of dairy and I felt that this was a really good substitute for normal chocolate.

Eskalhave a load of other products…. I fancy the marshmallows and crackers when I next need some treats. I do think having some of these around the house is a great idea so you can indulge without compromising your health and stomach wellness.

Another note, all prices are really reasonable from $2.25 for the pretzels to $5.69 for the nut butters I think this is really well priced for a specialist range. I guess more and more of us have problems and people have started to listen. All items are available from Coles, Woolworths and health food stores so you can pick them up as part of your regular shop. Again, I think this is fabulous as I used to have to go to real specialist shops for gluten free dairy free products- it is so much easier to stick to a diet when foods are readily available.

Do you have any allergy friendly food recommendations?

A guide to Renovating a house

A few weeks a go a conversation with Dempeaux came up on twitter about buying an old Reno to do up. As someone who has been steadily chipping away at this house for around 3 years I feel that I am able to give some insight into this.

Firstly I think you buy a doer upper for a few reasons;
1. ( this probably never happens) you love DIY
2. You want to make the house exactly as you want it and unless you new build renovating means you have a large amount of control.
3. You cannot afford a brand spanky swish place where you can afford the reno.

We are category 3. We chose suburb, our own block of land (only 400m2) and location over the quality of the house. Actually our house is worth very little. The house does have some features I love though; wooden floors, space and character.

DIY is a catch 22 it is expensive and time consuming so you do end up poorer in terms of time and money but it can also be a great way to spend time together, a great achievement together and also nothing makes you prouder (well making life might !?!) than a room you have completed together.

Our house is a little tricky. It probably won`t be our family home, it may be a rental, it may be sold in a few years or it may be bulldozed to make way for a larger home ( I hate this option) and as such we have not had unlimited resources to spend on this house. We have had to budget and also make sacrifices in what we have had as they have just not been economically viable.

When we bought the house it was pretty 70`s since then we have used numerous tubs of undercoat and replaced the mushroom coloured walls with purple fire place ( true story) and salmon coloured bedroom with floral trim and painted the house a pale yellow. YUK yellow… agreed but it really warms the place up and lifts it.

Somethings we have learned over time, if you want something done properly do it yourself. Often you will be disappointed with other peoples efforts and a job worth doing is worth doing properly. The last people to own this house did some really shonky, slap dash work which it has taken a long time for us to correct and to be honest we keep uncovering more. Another note though is to be open and honest about what you can and cannot do. If you are not a plumber it may be better to get a plumber in. We explained to our bathroom man that we were on a tight budget and he was great. He allowed my other half to help him, which made it quicker, and my other half learned some new skills he has since used. Also, ask around if people can recommend someone as it is easier to trust your house with known people.

Google has not only shown me the way with contouring my face and fishtail braids but also taught me many DIY skills- use it and read up first. Make lists before you go to Bunnings and accept that even the most organised people will need multiple trips ( upside equals extra sausage sizzles!) and jobs always take way longer than anticipated.

Try not to let renovating take over your world. You can approach it in two ways; push hard and finish early or chip away slowly over time. For us chipping away has worked. When we pushed hard we got slap dash and we also stopped enjoying it. Slowly but surely also spreads the cost as it is a pretty pricey affair. Going slow has also meant our house is a little eclectic as we have collected furnishings etc over time and not just kitted ourselves out with ikea.

Honestly, it is one of the best things we have done. I love a personalised house. I love browsing for inspiration and I love the fact that I feel like each room we do is like making an investment. Providing the market is right, you bought in a good area and you do not over capitalise your house renos are a fab way to get more for less.. or by having a smaller outlay for the house and spreading the rest of the cost between time and money and over a longer space of time. Obviously it is not for everyone, we have friends who categorically do not want to and that its fine as it is right for them. We do really look forward too the day it is done so we have more free time and my current to do list looks a little like this….

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Which I will do over time. I also do a lot of the bigger cleans of the house, which keeps the things we have already done looking fresh and lovely.

Bonus note: renovating and cleaning get you a fair few weight watchers pro points so days off it equals a well earned wine and choccie in the evening. If we are working hard we always try to stop have a bath or shower, get in our lounging about clothes and have a lovely dinner and soe trash TV to finish the day.

Sadly we have no before images but here is a selection of finished rooms or rooms in process.

Have you renovated? would you consider it?

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Finally and most importantly never ever forget this

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Bridal Bootcamp.. my way

4 months… to the day. CRIPES! Best get my best foot forward and prep up… Bridal Bootcamp here we come.

Lots of brides do some preparation in the run up to their wedding and although mine is a low key shebang preparation is key. I am not talking about planning the wedding itself I am talking about prepping myself.

How do I proposed to get ready for the occasion? Well in a few ways as I want to glow from the inside out.

1. Healthy diet, like a mini long term detox with one treat day a week and making those treats healthy. Fresh, lean, wholegrain and clean and certainly with limited alcohol. Plus drinking lots of water, hot water and lemon, green tea and chlorophyll daily.
2. Following on from this, although I was a little lax over christmas, I am reining it in and doing a pre wedding no/ very low FODMAP diet. I really do NOT want a bad tummy on the day so the calmer it has been in the months leading up the better.
3. I am not stressed if I do not loose any more weight in the lead up but if I did I would be happy. Other wise I am on operation tone it up. I have started to include circuits at work with my cardio ( running) and at home am including pole dancing and reformer pilates. What ever size you are bingo wings in a brides dress is not cool. Toned up arms of what ever size are lovely.
4. My skin has chucked a mental after chrissie through to birfday indulgences. Lets strip back to basics; cleanse, tone and moisturise. Face mask once or twice a week. Mineral makeup and fingers crossed for clear skin on the day. I am also toying with the idea of a rio sonicleanse ( cheaper than a clarisonic) if i do this it needs to be soon to get through the purge phase.
5. Hair. As we all know I am lazy with my hair. I have grown it for the wedding as it will be easier to style. So I am going to try hair masks once a week ( either coconut oil or henna) and to look after my hair nicely with a few touch ups and regular trims. I will then get a cut and colour just before we fly back and straight after the wedding will probably chop it all off.
6. Body…. I am the worlds worst at moisturising and I need to. Skin looks great firm and toned and moisturised. So I am using Dr bronners soap which is amazing and drys skin out much less than others, smells amazing and lasts ages, regular body scrubs, dry skin brushing, and moisturising daily with oils.
7. Just before the wedding I think I will get a fake tan and also gel nails done. Probably a few days before so I can just pop my outfit, curl my hair and go get me a husband.

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Image: google images

Anything i missed? What can you recommend for me?

The Wedding

My Wedding is now only 4 months away and for the first time I am starting to get pretty excited. Please don`t misunderstand me I love my other half very much but I am not really a wedding day person. This wedding has caused so much grief to us and that is not an understatement.

After we got engaged I was very overwhelmed by everything. People wanted us to have engagement parties, which seems to be an Australian thing, and I really didn`t want one. As far as I could remember in England we don’t normally have them which is probably why it seemed unusual to me. I also really struggled with the idea as I knew I would have a few wines, and this was a couple of years ago now when we got engaged, and I would probably cry as the people I really wanted to celebrate with were not here ( as they were in the UK).

My family love me to the earth and back but travelling to Australia is a massive journey and just not affordable for some people. A journey for people from Australia to the UK also would not have been affordable as well. So we did not have an engagement party. My family bought me a few lovely gifts and My grandmother in law brought us some lovely sporks or splades ( cross knife fork spoons) which are her signature gift and I treasure them. I am not interested in having a party to get gifts but love little gifts which are meaningful. Surprisingly so many people have said.. why aren`t you having a party? If you don’t have a party you wont get gifts! My response is twofold. I did not get engaged to get gifts and I don`t want people buying us gifts because they have to but because they want to regardless of a party. Rant over.

Initially our wedding was planned for Sri Lanka which is half way between Uk and Australia. My partner and I have large families and we didn`t want to choose who to invite so we thought anyone who wanted to could come. It got massive, I started having quite nasty nightmares about walking down the isle and people looking at me etc. My family stopped being nice to each other, I got stressed, so we cancelled.

Our second wedding plan was a trip to Vegas with the two mums and a quickie wedding in the Harley Davidson Chopper Chapel. This sadly fell through just before christmas due to visa issues and I was more than a little upset. Mainly for my other half. Anyway we picked ourselves up and brushed ourselves down and our now planning a rather lovely wedding.

The wedding we have booked seems so fitting to us. It is in Gretna Green as Scotland is the only part of the UK where you do not have to give notice to marry in person ( did you know that?). I actually love the idea that we, like so many generations before us, are struggling to find somewhere to legally marry us so are running over the border to Gretna ( Romance). It is held in a small place just outside where you marry onsite, have a 3 course meal and then because it is Gretna and there are other weddings they clear a big dance floor and all weddings share a disco… random but possibly amazing. I sooo want a picture of me and the other brides having a boogie. Legendary. I actually love this idea as the thought of lots of people looking at me stresses me so this seems like a nice way to share. More brides equals more happiness in my book.

I will show all the details and a proper review after the wedding but the actually wedding itself will be for around 35 people ( a number I can deal with) and is quite budget. I like a budget wedding mainly because it is just one day but also because they tend to be simpler. My only worry is that the food may not be excellent. we are also paying for flights, visa applications, rings and treating ourselves to a few nights away to honey moon around the uk. I so badly want a few days in a cornish fishing village to show my other half some lovely parts of England.

Now although I say I am not a massive wedding girl I did have some specifics. I really struggled to think of marrying without my family there and hated it when that was planned so I am delighted to have them there. Personally I really didn’t want a package wedding which was not personalised as it would not have made the day special. Luckily I have an amazing family making some lovely special items to make the day special and I am organising some bits and bobs!

As I may have mentioned on this blog I am not so good with massive groups, particularly when I haven’t seen people for an age… so We are having a series of parties ( which I will blog about). The first weekend after we celebrate with my mum and step dad and family and friends, the next weekend we celebrate with my dad and family and then the next weekend in Australia we celebrate with folk here. The parties will all be casual affairs which is much more us.We are getting a few photos and a film, just of the ceremony, even though I really resisted both it means some people who couldn’t make it can watch it.

So the four month countdown begins and I am pretty excited. Once this visa comes through there will be no holding me back.

Watch this space for more details etc.

Wedding planning at the moment? Had a wedding? any special things you did? I would love to hear about it.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSvKke4dPK_bFO6VJ1cUgJih7HNng2tzE5Aqx7jo_z6qqjQUaXuTA
Image: google images

Low fodmap shopping and store cupboard guide

As you all know I can’t digest fodmaps and when I try to we get I dire situation or one of three dire situations. I think I was lucky enough to be diagnosed when fodmaps were quite a new thing. More and more people are now being diagnosed, i mentioned a friend who recently was and felt really lost. I provided her with a list of food ideas and a shopping list I use and thought I would pop it up for any other newly diagnosed people.

My store cupboard used to be full of all these fancy products but to be honest basics are mainly fodmap friendly.

In my cupboards
White basmati rice
Sushi rice
Gluten free pasta
Gluten free plain and self raising flour
Coconut milk
Tuna tins
Coffee
Long life lactose free milk
Long life unsweetened almond milk
Stevia
Oats
Lentils I can have a little of this
Dried cannelini beans I can have a little of this
Rice crackers
Rice cakes

Condiments cupboard
Apple cider vinegar
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Salt
Pepper
Herbs
Gravox gluten free
Bouillon gluten free
Tamari soy sauce
Pickled ginger
Vanilla essence
Vegemite
Peanut butter
Chia seeds

In my freezer
Frozen salmon steaks
Frozen berries ( check unsweetened)
Meat frozen in single portions
Spinach
Peas
Frozen left over meals
Home made pesto frozen into iced cube trays for portions ( just basil, pine nuts, Parmesan and oil)
Frozen bananas

My weekly shop
Salad leaves
Capsicum
Tomato
Cucumber
Avocado
Lemons
Broccoli
Potatoes
Fresh fruit- papaya and pineapple or rock melon are faves
Coconut water
Lindt 70% plus sea salt
Chobani plain Greek yogurt

In my snack drawer of fun at work
Popcorn
Eskal gluten free pretzels
Rice crackers
Rice cakes
Sachets of porridge
Almond milk

This is a little summary of how I operate . I find I always need enough of the good stuff around so I don’t wander to the bad stuff. My store cupboards and freezer are generally stocked enough I can whip up a relatively healthy low fodmap meal if I have just flown home and not shopped for fresh food.

I also keep movicol in the house for emergencies and take a psyllium husk tablet daily to help keep things regular.

Lately I have been eating away from home a bit and not taken as much care and have suffered as a result! This definitely works for me. Life can be varied with fodmaps it just takes a little planning.

do you have a shopping groove?

Eco cleaning

As has been mentioned on here before I am interested in more natural living and reducing all the chemicals and nasties in my world.

When we first moved into our house it had a nasty old broken shower and I tried to clean it. I actually splashed the products around and shut the door to wipe it and got stuck in the shower with the products and the fumes. It was after then that my stomach started getting really bad and I realized that these products are not all good for us.

I like a clean home. I do think that some germ exposure isn’t bad for us or we can become allergic to the world but a clean home makes me happy.

I treated myself to a birthday present, yep I am officially old now I am 30! I have wanted a steam mop for a while to clean and sanitize my house just using water.

Hoover is a brand I am familiar with from the uk and after doing some research I thought I would rather have a better brand as the reviews for cheaper models said they often broke or didn’t work so well. As I was really keen to avoid cleaning products I wanted this to work.

I ended up getting a great deal. I got the Hoover stand up mop like this one and a hand held unit also by Hoover which cleans tiles, shower screens, windows and steam cleans clothes etc saving on dry cleaning.

I also got a set of 8 color coded microfiber clothes to go on the mop.

This whole set was worth orotund $350 and I paid $225. So far I am loving it. It is cleaning my house really deeply, it picked up an embarrassing amount of dirt from a floor I considered clean after vacuuming and mopping! If I don’t need products over time I hope this more than pays for itself.

Akward do you steam mop? Any Eco/ thrifty cleaning tops