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I try…Mukti organic skincare

24 Jan
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My Mukti goodies!

Most skin and beauty products are full of crap. They make false claims and contain a cocktail of chemical nasties.

I’ve known this for aaaaages, but have never done anything about it. Why? Let’s just put it down to a good dose of laziness, uncertainty and unawareness.

But as I continue my quest to live more cleanly, I can’t ignore the big loud voice that screams, ‘YOU’RE SMEARING TOXINS ALL OVER YOUR FRICKEN FACE!’ whenever I apply my chemist-bought cosmetics and skincare. I know, it’s a really mean voice!

Hunting for natural beauty brands

So I started researching. Spent a good few hours on it. And all signs pointed to Mukti.

The organic botanicals company was started on the Sunshine Coast in 2010. its founder Mukti was frustrated by the lack of natural, authentic and honest products on the market. So she developed her own delicious spread of cleansers, moisturisers, serums, acne treatments, eye gels and more.

All products in the range are certified organic. And they feature yummy ingredients such as aloe vera, shea butter, coconut oil and sweet orange.

Roadtesting Mukti

I picked the cleansing lotion, balancing facial creme, botanique shampoo and conditioner and pink grapefruit body wash.

And because my body is still in a bit of a hormonal minefield – after coming off the contraceptive pill a year ago – I figured I’d try the sebogel. Health bloggers rave about this spot repair treatment.

All of this cost me as much as my rent. But just like eating cleanly, I believe nourishing your skin with natural products is absolutely worth it.

I practically sprinted to the post office today and tore open the box of Mukti goodies!

I’ll give them a go tonight and pop up a review soon. 🙂

* This is an unsponsored post

My latest love – coconut oil

15 May

Today, I smell like a coconut. I’m wrapped in a lovely coconut cocoon, with the smell taking me back to my recent trip to Thailand.

I picked up a couple of bottles of coconut oil before flying out of Koh Samui. There, the oil was slick and runny. After the 10 hour plane journey home, and the cooler temperatures here in Sydney, it solidified. But I simply pop it in the microwave for about 20 seconds to melt it into a glorious pool of oil.

Lying on my yoga mat, I slather the glossy grease over my limbs and across my torso. I massage it into my temples and breathe in the tropical scent. Sometimes I even play a soft sound in the background. It’s the ultimate relaxation ritual and my latest obsession.

Here are some other wonderful ways to use coconut oil:

  • Work a small amount through your hair, focusing on the ends. I find it nourishes my locks more than Moroccan Oil. Just don’t use too much or leave it on for too long, because your hair will look like it’s constantly wet and you’ll smell like a cake. A 10c piece size on your tresses for a few mins should be enough.
  • Rub it over stretch marks, scars and cellulite. I’ve already noticed a smoother and more even skin tone.
  • Add it to a salad or to your cooking. Apparently, coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that help regulate your weight and reduce the risk of heart disease. It may also help with IBS symptoms and aid digestion, thanks to its anti-microbial properties.
  • Soak in a coconut oil bath. I don’t know if this is a good idea; I just made it up.  But it sounds heavenly!

So what are you waiting for? Go on, grab a bottle and come join me in coconutty heaven!

An attempt to make life light & easy

3 Jan

Disclaimer: This is not a photo of my torso. I would never put broccoli on my stomach. Pumpkin, maybe...

I’ve joined Lite & Easy. For three reasons.

  1. I’m lazy and like the idea of food being delivered to my door.
  2. I’m a crap cook.
  3. I’m going to Thailand with The Lad in April and am terrified that the Thais will run down the beach screaming, ‘It’s a whale! Ahhh! A beached whale!’ That whale being me. Stuffed into a bikini. Moaning ‘oorrrgggh’ and massaging my big, bloated belly.

I know I’m not overly overweight. But since I stopped rowing (the season finished, the team dissolved, we had that hideous trip to Melbourne) and started eating Christmas goodies, I need to get things back under control. Step one is to pick up my running routine and yoga and Pilates practice. Step two is getting back into a healthy eating routine.

Thankfully, one of my colleagues has just started L&E and has been showing me all her neatly-packaged lunches (I’m a perfectionist Virgo – anything organised into a perfect package gets me excited). Inspired, I jumped online and started salivating over the summer menu. Though I did think it odd that their fare for the warmer months includes roast dinners and curries. I’d prefer fresh fish or grilled chicken and veggies.

My first delivery comes next Friday. I’ll arrive home after work to find seven days’ worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner tucked inside a cool esky. I’ll let you know how I go with the first week and whether I think the meals are worth it. The full seven day menu (which also includes a morning and arvo snack each day) costs $131. My weekly shopping bill is usually $90 (including an $11 Woolworths delivery fee – see point #1 above). And that’s before weekend take-aways and dinner with The Lad. So it does work out to be a lot cheaper than shopping, cooking or ordering my own stuff.

All going well, I’ll be in great non-whale-like shape come April!

Have you ever done Lite & Easy? Or had experience with another program like Weight Watchers? How did it go for you?

This weekend, I went au natural

11 Dec

I’ve just arrived home after a glorious weekend camping at Cave Beach, near Jervis Bay, a couple of hours south of Sydney.

I’ll be honest – I didn’t really want to go. I’m not really the ‘camping type’. Especially when my friends tell me there is no electricity on site for my GHD hair straightener, and the showers only have one tap. And it has a big ‘C’ printed on it.

Frizzy hair and freezing water isn’t my idea of a relaxing weekend away. However, as it was in celebration of two of my dearest friends’ birthdays, I reluctantly headed south with my shiny new tent and sleeping bag (sans GHD).

While swatting flies and squishing ants scurrying across my feet, I erected my two-man tent. I had picked it up from Kmart a few weeks earlier for just $25. On the front of the bag was a picture of a deliriously happy couple. I was suspicious. They looked far too happy considering they were out battling nature. The tent looked like a good size, though, so I snapped it up.

Spot my child-sized tent.

It was only once all eight tents were all constructed in a circle that I realised ‘two man’ means different things to different people. According to the tent manufacturers, it equates to two teeny tiny children squished into a small space, with a smidgen of room for one bag on the side. I could just cram my ‘twin person’ blow-up sleeping mat into it…if I slept diagonally. The tent erecting activity was swiftly followed by a double vodka.

We had left a drizzly, cold day in Sydney but it was a blissfully baking hot day at Cave Beach. The sea was just a short stroll from our site. The scene was breathtaking. An endless stretch of scorching, pristine white sand, which squeaked underfoot. Glittering turquoise water and fluffy white caps lapped the coastline. Darkened caves and grand cliffs framed the beach. It reminded me of the beautiful beaches along Perth’s coast. It felt like home.

Since I didn’t have the safety of my GHDs, I decided I wouldn’t wet my hair and would instead try to keep it dry and straight for as long as possible. That plan was quashed when one of my friends turned on the beach shower and dunked my head underneath it. I squealed in horror – ‘Nooo! Now my hair’s going to go all weird and pointy and frizzy!’ To be honest, I was mortified that my mates would see me at my worst – curly and unkempt. I had even brought a few make-up supplies down the beach, so I could sneak into the loos on the way back to the camp site to freshen up.

Leaving only my footprints.

Then I stopped panicking and looked around. I took in the natural surroundings, the squawking birds, the heaving trees, the roaring waves crashing onto the shoreline. Here was nature, in all its raw beauty, thrashing and flapping about. Dry beach shrubs took on a life of their own and covered the sand dunes. Bugs bit bare skin and buzzed away. Nature is raw, it’s messy, it just ‘is’. At that moment I decided I would embrace nature. Rather than resist it, rather than curse the salt water for kinking my hair, washing away my makeup and exposing my skin, I would allow it to do what it needed to do. More importantly, I allowed myself to be me.

The weekend then took a surprising, subtle turn. I spent hours in the refreshing sea, riding the violent waves, getting dumped and twisted and thrashed about in the unforgiving surf. Despite slip-slop-slapping, the scorching sun burnt my back. March flies nipped my ankles and left behind little inflamed red dots on my skin. My hair went feral. My face, pale and freckly. My feet were encrusted with mud and sand and dirt and grime. I was bitten brutally by a big brown tick. Possums brazenly scampered around our tents looking for food and got scarily close to our thonged feet. Sand was sprinkled all over my sleeping mat and all through my sleeping bag.

As our group of 13 sat huddled on the beach, awaiting the midnight lunar eclipse and contemplating life beyond the stars, the wind chilled my bones. When I slipped away to find a spot to ‘relieve’ myself, I tripped over an enormous tree branch and crashed onto the sand with a painful thud. It made me laugh. I laughed so hard I couldn’t stand up. Pain crept up the left side of my body. Yet I kept laughing to myself. Nature can be so bloody unforgiving! At home, I am so structured, so neat, so careful. When I’m stressed, I worry about the little things. I get flustered when something I can’t control doesn’t go my way. I see a spot on the coffee table and jump up to wipe it away. This weekend I abandoned my worries and fears and let the world lead me. I didn’t plan, I didn’t control and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t fuss in front of the mirror.

As darkness slid across the moon, I asked a friend what he believed in. After a moment’s thought, he said, ‘I believe in this. This moment right now. I believe I’m here because I’m meant to be here. I’m meant to experience this. This moment, this amazing beach, these stars, the eclipse…I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, when I’m meant to be there.’

Wow. What a wonderful way to live!

Now that I’m back in Sydney, I’m aiming to hold on to nature’s lesson from my weekend away. When you let go and let it be, you might end up a little bitten, a little burnt, or flat on your face. But, as my mate put it so beautifully, that’s exactly where you’re meant to be. Frizzy hair, freckles and all.

How to avoid cement in your butt

21 Nov

Every so often, a news story comes out that makes you spit out your morning coffee and say, ‘Whaaaa?’ (before apologising to the poor soul who is now wearing your soy flat white).

Today’s story about a US woman who sought out cheap plastic surgery for a curvier figure and ended up with cement in her butt seems too bizarre to be true. But it is. Allegedly, of course 😉

The story goes that the botched surgery was performed by Oneal Ron Morris, a woman who posed as a doctor and injected several people with a cement, mineral oil and flat-tyre sealant concoction. The victim mentioned in the story ended up seriously ill and went to two hospitals for treatment, but was too embarrassed to tell doctors what had caused her wounds and flu-like symptoms.

You’d think doctors would have been able to tell, given that she had a disproportionately big behind filled with cement. You only have to look at the published pics of Oneal Ron Morris to see how bizarre her own body looked after the self-performed surgery.

Of course, what happened to Ron Morris’s victims is terribly tragic. But really, who would allow a doctor to inject them with cement? Even if she didn’t know what was being pumped into her body, didn’t she query why it was only costing her $700? Didn’t she ask for references, a referral, or any proof that the ‘doctor’ was qualified and knew what she was doing?

People get duped every day from marketing scams, spammers, dodgy pop-up shops that disappear overnight. But when it’s your own body on the line, when it’s your health and especially when it’s plastic surgery (which, even when done properly, has a suite of risks), surely you take the time to research the person who you are trusting with your life while you lie face down on the surgeon’s table?

I’m all for cosmetic enhancements, if it makes you feel better and you believe it will boost your confidence. In fact, if you crave a curvier body, I’d be more than happy to donate some of my butt blubber to help you out (aren’t I generous?). But whenever we wish to change something about our body – whether it’s to increase our vitamin intake, get a new hair treatment, erase acne and especially have surgery, we need to take the time to research every option.

Only venture into the salon, pharmacy or surgeon’s office when you are well-informed and armed with the facts. Then hopefully we can avoid seeing other ‘cement in the butt’ stories.

Does prettiness pay?

16 Nov

I joined in a heated Twitter discussion this morning. Blogger Susannah Breslin published a post about how to get a job if you’re a twenty-something woman. One of the tips she gave was ‘be attractive’.

She wrote, “If you’re a twentysomething woman who is looking for a job, it really helps if you’re attractive. If you’re not, or you pretend it doesn’t matter what you look like, or you attempt to hide the fact that you’re pretty in some weird way out of feminist-induced anxiety over your sexuality, it’s going to make things that much harder for you. This is just a fact.”

Once Susannah tweeted her blog post, the Twittersphere went off (well, at least my feed did, as I followed the convo). The responding tweets ranged from the outraged (@MichelleHaimoff ‘Just read your article. Please stop bashing feminism. It’s the reason you can vote, drive, work and own property’) to the supportive ( @ShelleyShooting ‘It helps to look put together. Distractingly frumpy and distractingly skanky are both negatives in the long run.’)

To be honest, I didn’t know which side of the pretty picketed fence I wanted to precariously place my behind.

When I started my career as an editorial assistant (the modern version of a ‘copy boy/girl’), I didn’t feel particularly attractive. Compared to the other teens in my social sphere, I felt frumpy, spotty and big-nosed. But I had drive and determination and a keen (albeit big) nose for news. Sure, I often felt uneasy in a newsroom where slimmer, prettier and more confident women reigned, but I knew my looks wouldn’t write a good story. That was the responsibility of ‘inside Kat’. It wasn’t long before I had a couple of front page stories published, fluffier features in the paper’s lifestyle supplements and was approached by the editor to apply for a cadetship. I turned it down and went on to chase a career in public relations, then online writing and now my dream role as an editor.

I might have gotten prettier along the way (at least, she says modestly, I feel that I have), but it was my continually-honed skills that got me the job each time and earned me the respect of my colleagues.

Enough about me

I know some ‘pretty’ girls (I use inverted commas because I really do believe attractiveness is subjective) and I know some ‘less pretty’ girls. I also know some ‘handsome’ blokes and some blokes who are a little more au naturale. Some of them have been successful in their careers and their personal lives. Others have struggled to get a foot in the door or find their ‘dream’ partner (but hey, we’re still young!) When I think about all these people, there isn’t a common thread running through them. And there certainly isn’t one that’s based upon the conventional western ideal of what’s hot and what’s not.

The people who stick out to me as being gorgeous are those who are full of life, always smiling, dedicated to their loved ones and who throw caution to the wind. Qualities that I always wish I had more of!

I have a friend who is forever travelling to far-afield lands, photographing and documenting her intrepid journeys. In every photo, her face is glowing with what I imagine is a tremendous feeling of freedom and awareness of the world around her. That is beautiful. That is attractive. That is what will draw employers to her when she chooses to work for someone else.

Another friend of mine gives all her time, energy, spirit and soul to her friends and family. She oozes love. She only wants to make others happy. I honestly believe this has helped her get far in life. It’s what has made people want to work with her, be with her and be like her. That too is beautiful. That trumps ‘prettiness’.

The study says…

A Google search will produce hundreds of studies and papers which claim that attractive employees are better paid and more successful.

Economist Daniel S Hamermesh reckons better looking folk receive more perks above their pay, than their ‘less attractive’ colleagues. Apparently they also score better bank loans, better marriages and are happier.

However, if prettier people are more successful, how do you explain Rupert Murdoch? Oops, did I just say that?

Do you need to be pretty to succeed?

Sure, I won’t dispute that being mildly attractive may get you that foot in the door (I wouldn’t know, I was lucky enough to get mine via my dad). But after that, it’s all up to you baby!

What do you think? Does pretty pay? Do you need to be attractive to land your ‘dream’ job?

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