Your Best Period Ever – My 3 Must-Have Products

This post may have been around 27 years in the making but I’m pretty sure I’ve finally figured out how to make my monthly period as ‘minimally disruptive’ as possible. (That was actually a really hard sentence to construct as it doesn’t really work saying “make my monthly period as ‘awesome‘ as possible”, or “as ‘fab‘ as possible lol. So, minimally disruptive it is!

I’ve been more active this year than ever before in my adult life (thanks F45 Massey!), which has been amazing, however, maintaining attendance at HIIT classes during that time of the month when I have my period has presented some challenges. I have been exclusively using a menstrual cup for almost 2 years now and will never switch back to single-use products – the convenience, cost-saving and environmental benefits are simply too great to ignore, but I was having some probs. My first cup had become increasingly uncomfortable – especially when running – and was prone to leaking. I wasn’t prepared to give up on the cup after a year of tampon-freedom so I switched to another brand ……….. and lived happily ever after!

Say Hello to Hello Cup! Made in New Zealand with a much smoother, more ergonomic design than my previous cup, I’m officially a fangirl guys. If you haven’t made the switch to a cup yet, here are some reasons why I love them; you never get caught out without a tampon in your purse or pocket, no trash, more secure when exercising, fewer leaks, more cash in your hand every month! Yay!

Your best period ever

Ok, my next period revelation came two months ago when I was gifted 3 pairs of period underwear by Modibodi. Along with a menstrual cup, period undies were something I swore up and down I would never use – because ew. Sometimes, girlfriends, it’s best to just shut those thoughts down and jump all in and give something a go. Holy moly I’m glad I did because Modibodi have been life-changing for me! I used to have incredibly disturbed sleep during my period as I’d automatically wake multiple times each night to prevent leaks and staining and now I sleep like a baby – until Nixon wakes us up at way-too-early-o’clock but I’ll take what I can get lol. I also have zero reservations about gym workouts. F45 classes are so intense and with such a variety of movements, I’d still often have to do a runner to the bathroom even whilst wearing my cup because leak paranoia is REAL am I right? I LOVE the Modibodi Active Brief under my workout tights. They don’t budge a bit, are super comfy, barely visible and best of all, they give me the peace of mind to just focus on my workout without any compromise on intensity.

Modibodi Period Underwear review

I honestly can’t explain how liberating the combination of my Hello Cup and Modibodi Period underwear is. I don’t dread getting my period anymore. I don’t feel like I can’t go for a run or head to the gym because my flow is too heavy. Yes, these products are SO out of the box for those of us that grew up with only pads or tampons as an option but give them a try, you will NOT be disappointed when they literally change your life!

The third product that I’ve been using over the past two months is the icing on the cake – or the powder in my smoothie to be exact. Women’s Hormone Health Blend by The Wholesome Co is ahhhmazing. I’ve never experienced painful pms symptoms like cramping, but lord, for the past couple of years my ’emotional’ pms symptoms have been ramping up. In other words, 2 days before my period begins I’ve been horrible to live with – moody, emotional, cranky, quick to yell……..ugh.

So far, I’ve noticed two massive benefits of taking the Hormone Health Blend daily;

  1. The emotional roller-coaster around my cycle has slowed down and evened out, to the point where I was even surprised when I got my period last month as I hadn’t been a major bitch in the preceding days! What the?!
  2. The heavy, heavy flow I’ve always experienced on days 2/3 has lessened and, much like my moods (!) evened out. Again this makes working out SO much easier and I am eternally grateful for the change.
The Wholesome Co Hormone Health Blend

Guys, girls, whoever is reading this, I’ve said to a few peeps that 2019 has been a really, really great year for me. I’ve maintained my diet overhaul that happened in 2018, I started working out regularly at F45 (life-changing!) and in general, I feel like I’ve taken control of my life a bit more instead of being a passive passenger along for the ride. Discovering innovative products that are designed to revolutionise the way we as women experience our periods and improve that experience monthly (as well as being environmentally friendly and sustainable) has also been a life-changing experience. Hello Cup, Modibodi undies and addressing the havoc my hormones were playing each month by taking The Wholesome Co. products has removed much of the trepidation and negativity I’ve felt around what is one of the most uniquely female things about me – my monthly period.

The big lesson here? You will probably have your period every month for years AND YEARS AND YEARS. That’s a fact. Can you make it a better experience? The answer is probably yes and if so, then why not try?! It’s 2020 real soon, there is literally no need to be sacrificing comfort, completely normal day-to-day activity nor your hard-earned cash each month simply because you are a woman and you have your period.

Disclaimer: These three products were gifted for review. I have used each for over 2 months before writing this post and am sincere in my review. They are all the bomb!

Beauty Review: Dermapen 4 – My BEST skin ever

One month exactly until I hit the ‘magic’ milestone that is 40 years old, and I’m sliding in to that big birthday with skin that I’m in love with right now.

The past 12 months have definitely seen an increased investment in time, money and basically, just, attention to my skin.  I’ve simply stopped being so lazy, I’ve made washing my makeup off at night a more frequent occurrence than ‘never’, I’ve religiously applied sunscreen to my face every day and I’ve been open to experiencing a broader of skin treatments than lovely (but basic, let’s be honest) facials.

The fab team at Clinic 42 have been putting in the hard yards over the past 6 months, guiding me through a series of treatments and I’m seeing the results increase incrementally after each appointment.

To be clear, I’m talking skin treatments here, not injectables (you can read my opinion piece on Botox here).

We kicked things off with a series of three medical peels to exfoliate and brighten my complexion in a non-invasive way.  I saw amazing results using varying combinations/layering of acids, but be prewarned, this is a peel program in which your skin WILL peel.  This didn’t bother me too much and the skin turnover time was around 5 days, but, based on that, a medical peel may not be for everyone.

Next on the therapeutic menu, the most magical thing that’s ever happened to my skin – Dermapen 4. Launched in April 2018, the latest device from the market leader in microneedling is available as a treatment from Clinic 42 (read more here) and my face and I were next in line.

beauty-review-nz-dermapen-4-microneedling

What is Microneedling?

Microneedling, at its most basic level involves using a physical device to repeatedly puncture the skin via many tiny needles.  The goal/benefits are two-fold; the ‘micro-damage’ caused by the needles initiates a repair response from the body, resulting in increased production of collagen and elastin.  Secondly, the channels created by the needles deliver topicals deeper into the skin when applied after a microneedling treatment.

Sweet!  I’ll just buy a dermal-roller and get on with this at home, right?

Oh please NO.

Let’s think about this; needles going into anyone’s skin shouldn’t be re-used, ever ::::shudder:::: and secondly, a miniature rolling pin covered in needles is not exactly a precise instrument.  Needles in this instance enter the skin at an angle, which can cause tearing and increased (unnecessary) irritation.

A Dermapen 4 treatment on the other hand, is professionally administered, controlled, hygienic and precise.  The 16 tiny needles in a Dermapen 4 cartridge enter the skin vertically resulting in minimum trauma, pain and skin recovery.

Why I Love Dermapen 4

  • Treatment is FAST.  I’m in and out of Clinic 42 in 45 minutes.
  • Pain?  Barely.  There is some, but it’s mainly concentrated in specific areas.  I find my forehead the most tender, but, as you may have seen on Instagram, I’ve filmed the entire process holding my phone so it can’t be that bad!
  • Recovery is fast!  After 24hrs, I find all tenderness and redness has gone.
  • The results are too good to ignore.  Dermapen 4 is recommended for treatment of a myriad of skin concerns from fine lines to scarring, age spots, stretch marks, hyperpigmentation and more, the first thing I noticed was a reduction in the size of pores on my nose – something that had been increasingly bothering me for years.  Secondly, after one treatment an annoying, bright red burst capillary on the tip of my nose completely disappeared and finally, the resurfacing/retexturizing effect of Dermapen treatments is UNBELEIVABLE.  Seriously, wind-back-the-clock good.  I have never been happier with my skin than I am now as I stand on the grim precipice of 40 – JOKES, I’m pumped about my birthday, this next decade is going to be amazing I can feel it!

The confidence I feel is also due to the implicit trust I have in the team at Clinic 42.  Both Doctors and Nurses alike and incredibly knowledgeable, professional, warm and welcoming.  An appointment here is something I look forward to and my fab partnership with the clinic as I share my skin journey with you is an added bonus on top of the fantastic results I am seeing month by month.

The Outdated Construct of Ageing Gracefully and Why it’s Time to Let it Go

Despite the new era of Fake News in which we now find ourselves living, there is a lot of ‘truth telling’ happening across social media as well as in traditional media (the latter to a lesser degree I would argue).  The ever-increasing conversations around mental health, suicide, rape, sexual harassment, gender equality and diversity and body positivity are undeniably having transformative effects on the way certain populations identify themselves and others.  What’s not to love about that?  But, there remain innumerable ideals and standards imposed upon us that persist in drawing a line in the sand – you’re either THIS, or THAT, you look like THIS, ergo, you are THAT, you do THIS, therefore, you can’t be THAT.

As humans we seem hard-wired in many aspects of our thinking to lean towards such binary oppositions, to latch on to mutually exclusive notions that preclude any possibility of a sliding scale or spectrum within the constructs (whatever they may be) ourselves and others choose to identify with.

I’d only recently discovered a new Instagram fave, the12ishstyle by Katie Sturino, when my jaw hit the floor whilst reading comments on a post detailing her recent Botox appointment.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor Botox Beauty Review

Many of Sturino’s followers could have cared less about her regular Botox treatments, or simply ignored them altogether, opting instead to obsess over her earrings.  But for others, this post was construed as completely undermining every single body positive post that had gone before it.  The commentary concurred that @the12ishstyle “looked like all the other women now” (really???  Is that kinda like saying all Asians look the same?  cue, “I’m not a racist, but………”), that she had let them down and they were unfollowing, that her views on body positivity couldn’t possibly be relevant because of her choice to use Botox.

Ummmmm, WITAF.

Body positivity is acceptance and appreciation of all human body types.[1][2] It is a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, and be accepting of their own bodies as well as the bodies of others.[3] The movement sets forth the notion that beauty is a construct of society, and poses that this construct should not infringe upon one’s ability to feel confidence or self-worth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_positivity

As far as I can tell, there are no caveats in that definition, no proviso that says “well, I can be accepting of the bodies of others so long as they don’t have tattoos, or stretch marks, or coloured hair, or botox, or microbladed eyebrows…..”.  It is pretty irrefutable that beauty is a construct of society as the definition states.  However, the assumption that any ‘body mods’ a person undertakes are a result of chasing the prescriptive beauty ‘norm’ is a dangerous one that leads to massive generalisation and marginality in the way we understand choices people make around their own bodies.

I have very prominent tattoos, 3 of them.  There was not one single outside influence responsible for any of them except the death of my father.  I’m not a member of some underground counter-culture, gang, or punk band, I simply think they’re beautiful, and if I’m honest, I’m impulsive.  If I feel like getting a new tattoo, I’ll get one.  Life is short, do the damn thing.

I feel the same way about my botox treatments – which I’ve been having for around 7 years.  The initial impetus was nothing to do with a fear of ageing, of obsessing over ever-increasing wrinkles or a desire to look ‘perfect’, lord knows that’s never going to happen and I could care less.  The reason I choose to have Botox injections (or Dysport, whatever) is that my natural countenance is the very definition of Resting Bitch Face.  The muscles in my forehead pull my frown lines together so tightly, creating such magnificent ruts that you could literally crack an almond between my eyebrows.  I was sick of looking like I was perpetually furious.

Though, because we are so attuned to accepting other’s bodies, and hence the choices one might make surrounding said body, I shouldn’t have to explain this to anyone right?

Wrong.  ‘You do you Boo’ and everything that is fabulous and really quite poignant about this seemingly throwaway, viral phrase doesn’t seem to apply if you’re over 35 and heading down the road of Ageing Gracefully.

As au naturel and simplistic as Aging Gracefully sounds, it’s just another beauty construct, one that effectively marginalizes and throws some pretty negative shade on anyone that veers off the rather narrow path of what is ‘acceptable’.  Creating blueprints and constructs (which is exactly what ‘Aging Gracefully’ is) around what women wear, how they should behave, what they should look like and what they do to their own bodies, is DONE.  Really, really DONE.

I use Dysport to combat frown lines that make small children scared, does that mean I’m not ageing gracefully?  Apparently yes.  Obviously, whoever first coined that phrase has not seen me juggle my Mum Life with work, family, friends and a massive volunteer role in our community.  I’m the very definition of grace people, I’m literally a gazelle leaping across the savannah.  It takes more than blunt force and a stubborn temperament to keep all of those balls in the air.  It requires grace and finesse.

Visiting Dr Ellen Selkon at Clinic 42 is a refreshing experience in a safe, judgement free zone.  She is the fourth cosmetic medicine practitioner I’ve visited over the years, but the first one that skipped over the part where all of my facial imperfections that ‘can be fixed’ have been pointed out – I loved her immediately for this!  For me, Botox and the discussion around it are like anything – it all comes down to personal choice.  I choose it because it has had a profoundly positive effect on the way I feel about my appearance as well as my day-to-day interactions with others.  Put it this way, I don’t get asked ‘what’s wrong?’ multiple times per day as a result of a perpetual scowl that no amount of yoga and meditation was ever going to iron out.  

To answer the most common questions about Botox;

  • Does it hurt?  Barely.  Think tiny pin-pricks.  The needle is in and out in seconds and I feel no residual pain.
  • Does your face even move now?  It sure does, I pretty much have full movement and expression when I raise my eyebrows like everyone else.  The difference is in my resting expression.  The big furrows between my brows are much smoother and relaxed.
  • Is it an ongoing treatment?  Yes.  Each treatment lasts between 3-4 months and I always book ahead to keep on track.  Since I’ve been vigilant around maintaining a regular appointment schedule, I’ve noticed increased efficacy of the treatments. 
  • Will people notice?  Not if your Doctor is amazing!  Friends might just think your skin health has improved or that you look well rested.  You WILL notice though and that’s what matters.

It’s 2018.  We have more freedom, more options, more solutions to the minutiae of problems/challenges/minor or major grievances we face in everyday life and that is the beauty of choice.  Choosing NOT to judge others, choosing to focus on oneself without projecting personal agendas on others, choosing to accept and respond positively to the body image of everyone we meet……….this is what ageing gracefully means to me.  It’s not a measure of outward beauty, rather a mindset of self-acceptance and acceptance of others combined with the inherent knowledge of when to hold one’s tongue!  Commentary around Ageing Gracefully, even if prefaced with “I’m not judging those who do….”  is unnecessary and dated, and creates a very exclusionary dialogue which is, quite frankly, boring and one-sided.  If it’s your position that I (or anyone else) am not Ageing Gracefully because of Botox then perhaps you need a little reminder that it is in fact, no business of yours anyway.

Beauty Review – Skip the Extensions, commit to Revitalash

An impulsive morning at the mall late last year, fuelled by an innate desire to be ‘sans kids’ for as long as possible, saw me agree to eyelash extensions after I had already upgraded my manicure to a bikini wax. Worst beauty mistake of my life. Though I declined the ‘sexy eyes’ option, I still left the mall looking like I’d gotten a bit lost on my way home from Carnival in Brazil.  They were so absurd that I was unable to wear sunglasses as my mammoth, plastic, spidery lash extensions meant the lenses were offset so far from my face, the frame was no longer able to rest on my nose. I raced home and gave them a good trim (it felt like cutting fishing line!) then set about trying to remove them.  This was impossible, probably due to the superglue it felt like they’d been applied with, so I found a ‘reputable salon’ and had the awful things removed safely. My lashes were damaged, so after a couple of months recovery, I gave extensions another whirl.  I did love them, they look gorgeous when they are quality lashes applied by a professional, but, the upkeep is time-consuming and expensive.  Even worse, I’m a picker, so as soon as they looked a little scraggly I found it hard to keep my fingers away from them, always trying to lift them away from my poor natural lashes, which inevitably were often pulled out with the extension.
New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor Beauty Review Revitalash Advanced
I decided it was time to wean myself off expensive extensions so, rather than spending $120 on another set of lashes, I purchased a two month supply of Revitalash for the same amount. Guys;  it works and it’s essentially the easiest, no-hassle step you could add into your daily beauty routine. One tiny swipe of the teeny Revitalash brush across your lash line once a day and you’re done. The secret is consistency. Stick with your application every day and your lashes will love you for it – and you’ll love them. I first noticed the difference after around 6 weeks of regular use and I haven’t looked back. Once I noticed the length improving I also noticed less lash fall.
New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor Beauty Review Revitalash Advanced
I currently still have a couple of ‘stubbies’ that are re-growing after losing them during the extension debacle and they are my yardsticks lol. They keep growing and growing but their neighbours do too! I am committed to my natural lashes now and the combination of Revitalash and a 6 weekly lash lift and tint is both cheaper, less time consuming and with results that look equally amazing as a set of extensions (IMO!). The Revitalash range is expanding and now includes lash, brow and hair-care products including a new Micellar water which I’ve been using over the past two weeks. Suitable for both natural lashes and extensions (many micellar waters aren’t) this is the holy grail of mascara and eye makeup removal. Less mess, less fuss and less product resulting in a quick, nourishing way to achieve fresh, clean lashes. Find Revitalash at authorised beauty stockists nationwide or visit them online at www.revitalash.co.nz Revitalash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner RRP from $75 Revitalash Micellar Water RRP $54
New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor Beauty Review Revitalash Advanced

Beauty Review – Dermalogica ProSkin 60 Facial

In 2018 there is no shortage of ways to spend your money when it comes to beauty treatments.   In fact, deciding on which treatment is right for you and identifying a professional salon or clinic can easily make the whole exercise fall into the too-hard-basket faster than you can say ‘pass the serum’.

I headed over the bridge last week to Bare Waxing and Skin Centre to experience one of Dermalogica’s latest professional skin therapy treatments, the ProSkin 60 Facial, which launched in salons in May 2018.  This is not a one-size-fits-all experience.  Both of the ProSkin treatments (60 or 30 minutes) are bespoke.  Customised to address individual needs and concerns, this 6 step skin journey is one I highly recommend you take!

As far as I’m concerned, a splurge on a facial is a no-brainer, providing the most bang for your beauty buck.  They have the potential to deliver some powerful results, plus, are inherently relaxing, they usually include some massage and can profoundly affect the way I feel afterwards.  I LOVE how my skin looks after a facial – come at me selfies!

My skin therapist (hereafter referred to as Gemma-with-the-magic-hands) began with a Dermalogica fave – the double cleanse.  This was a timely reminder to reintroduce Precleanse Balm to my daily routine as I’ve been rushing through this important step in the shower.  For me, this is where the magical, relaxing powers of a facial really begin.  Cleansing your skin for minutes, rather than seconds, not only increases efficacy but is also a little meditative, a little time to relax………. every day in your own shower.  We can do that, right mamas?

After an extensive skin analysis, we moved on to step two – resurfacing.  Gemma-with-the-magic-hands added lactic acid to the physical exfoliant which my skin just LOVES.  This is where the bespoke nature of ProSkin treatments is so valuable, my skin is robust and hardy, not thinning at all, so it can handle a fairly extensive exfoliation.  This would definitely not be suitable as a universal application, which is why entrusting your skin to the hands of only a professional skin therapist is SO important!

My skin was under steam this entire time so the deep treatment and masque that was applied next literally sank into my thirsty skin.  Gemma had already identified dehydration as an area of concern in the analysis and I could notice the improvement immediately after treatment.  Lush, hydrated skin instantly!

The final steps are Touch Therapies – beautiful facial, scalp, shoulder and décolleté massage and dermal layering – literally everything your skin needs to head out into the world looking its best.

I LOVED this treatment.  ProSkin 60 was comprehensive, deliciously relaxing and indulgent but most importantly, it was incredibly effective.  My skin looked amazing, more hydrated than I’d ever seen it, soft with improved texture and the most minimised pores ever.  The skin analysis alone, combined with Gemma’s ‘prescription’ at the end was invaluable to me.  I’m a bit of a product junkie and she very quickly identified that one of my faves may not be as beneficial to my skin as I’d been thinking – that’s why it pays to see a skin therapist when you can.

To experience ProSkin 60 or 30 for yourself, head to www.dermalogica.co.nz to find your nearest Platinum Skin Centre.

Beauty Review – National Lipstick Day, Send Nudes

The ‘historical’ origins of National Lipstick Day, celebrated on Sunday 29th July, may be slightly dubious, but, pfffttt, who doesn’t love a day dedicated to the transformative powers, and endless range of options that lipstick gives us.

I definitely haven’t been wearing lipstick my entire adult life.  In fact, it’s really only been around 3 years since I fell in the love with the click of the cap, the swipe of colour, the perfect palm size bullet, the smell, the rainbow of shades and the effect that applying lipstick can have on both a person’s outward appearance but also upon the way they feel.

Lipstick can be magic.

So in honour of National Lipstick Day, I’m bringing you three of my favourite nudes in three different formats; one matte, one creamy and one gloss, something for everyone.

Enjoy beauty babes!

Wet n Wild Liquid Catsuit Nudist Peach RRP$11.99

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor Beauty Review Nude LipstickExactly as the name describes, this is a legit, peachy nude, liquid matte lipstick, perfect for brightening up my winter complexion.  Touted as Megalast, I certainly can’t fault the staying power of the Liquid Catsuit range, micellar water struggles a little to budge these beauties after application and they wear well for a good few hours.

I much prefer liquid matte lipsticks over solid, simply because (in general), the application is much more pleasant.  Matte lipsticks can be really waxy and hard to draaagggg across your lips, but this formulation glides on, absorbs quickly and transforms to matte without feeling incredibly thick and drying.  Even a couple of hours later, my lips feel quite hydrated.

The Liquid Catsuit range of lipsticks have great doe foot applicators.  Small and well formed, I find them much easier to create a clean lip line and do touch-ups during the day.

There are 7 colours in the core range, available in-store and online at www.farmers.co.nz

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Liquid Lip Gloss Nude Beam RRP$41New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor Beauty Review Nude Lipstick

Fresh on counters from the NEW Bronze Vibes Colour Collection, the range of Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Liquid Lip Glosses are certainly on-point to get beauty lovers excited for New Zealand Spring.

Nude Beam (Limited Edition), delivers high-shine gloss with zero sticky feel.  True story.  Not just a pretty face, the addition of Aloe Vera and Vitamins C and E leave lips conditioned, moisturised and make this a super comfortable gloss to wear.  Nude Beam is a delicately tinted gloss with just the right amount of iridescence – a great everyday gloss that would also work perfectly over lipstick or to enhance lips when wearing a darker shade by dabbing in the middle.

The applicator?  One click and the perfect amount of gloss is dispensed, the pen-style packaging feels great in your hand and looks as luxe as this gloss feels.  

New fave, love it.

Available from Elizabeth Arden counters nationwide, find your nearest store here.

Karen Murrell Blushing Rose RRP$32

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Home Decor Beauty Review Nude LipstickReleased in 2017 as part of Murrell’s Princesses of the Golden Petals lipstick range, Blushing Rose is the BUSINESS girlfriends.  I have most of the lipsticks in the range and this is my fave.  It’s day-to-day perfection, in the perfect ‘my lips but better’ shade of nude pink.

Super creamy, Blushing Rose glides on easily and the shade is so forgiving you can apply in a flash, on the run, and get that instant polished, pick-me-up feeling that lipstick is so known for.

Of course, every Karen Murrell lipstick is cruelty-free, environmentally friendly and created from premium all-natural ingredients.  Winning!

Available in stores all over New Zealand and online here

4 Ways to Use Essential Oils in your #Fitspo Life

I’ve loved working with Bosisto’s on this post.   They make such awesome and accessible products from 100% pure, natural essential oils that are perfect for integration into both personal and family household routines daily.


Despite really, actively trying to avoid falling into the ‘busy’ trap that gets me feeling constantly anxious, worried and stressed,  our family is on the cusp of a really, freaking busy winter season of sport.  Dave, Ethan and Nixon all play rugby over winter, training began this week, I’m the rugby club captain so the sport literally consumes all of my free time, Ethan plays basketball for both his school and North Harbour and Dave is (always lol) training for his next marathon.  Me, I’m just in survival mode, sneaking a run or walk in when I can! The amount of sports footwear in our house is mind-boggling as is the amount of sweaty laundry I’m smashing out each week.

2018 is a funny old year for Dave and I.  We are trying to look at the daily routines and processes in our home on a micro level and implement improvements, tweaks and hacks wherever we can.  The goal is to be constantly simplifying, reducing and making more sense of how we live.

Finding more natural alternatives to everyday products we use around the house fits in well with our intentions to not only minimise stress and stuff but also to minimise the chemicals we use in our home and on our bodies.  Dave is a really easy-sell when it comes to this. Though the man will obsess about a running injury he is super adverse to taking medicine, paracetamol is a last resort!  After an introduction to essential oils about 12 months ago, I’ve loved learning new ways to introduce them into our family routines.

So with sporting commitments showing no sign of slowing, it’s the perfect time to share how we use Eucalyptus, Tea Tree and Lavender oils daily.  Australian heritage brand, Bosisto’s range of oils are totally complementary to our goal of simplifying day to day life. They are all multi-tasking marvels that are available as both liquid and sprays, making essential oil use even easier and more convenient.

4 Ways to Use Essential Oils in your #Fitspo Life

DIY Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Gym Gear Spray:

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Bosisto's Essential Oils

I’ve whipped up two bottles of this gorgeous spray, one for Dave’s car and a second to pop in my gym bag.  The calming, deodorizing properties of Lavender combined with the bacteria-fighting power of Tea Tree oil make the perfect pairing to combat sweaty, post-workout odour.  Dave drives to the forest most days to run the trails, so his car (and cloth seats) need a helping hand to stay fresh, as do yoga mats – ever cleaned yours? Spritz this gorgeous spray around like magic, and keep that post-workout high rolling throughout the day.

I picked up a little spray bottle in a travel pack for $3 from a dollar store, filled it with distilled water and added 5 drops of Bosisto’s Lavender Essential Oil Blend and 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil.

Shake and spray!

Eucalyptus Oil for Muscle Pain:  
Heading into his trail marathon a couple of weeks ago, Dave was suffering an Achilles injury which was stressing him out like a bad case of Man Flu.  At this point in his preparation it was too late to pop some heel wedges in his shoes or anything like that, so, massage and rest was how he tackled the injury.  Always preferring natural remedies, Dave used Bosisto’s 100% Pure Eucalyptus Oil, massaged twice a day on his Achilles and calf muscle. The soothing, warming effect of the Eucalyptus Oil worked wonders on his symptoms, and has since become his go-to for all of his running-related niggles.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Bosisto's Essential Oils

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Bosisto's Essential OilsLavender Oil for sleep and rest:  I’ve been using Lavender Oil as a sleep aid for a couple of years now and honestly, wouldn’t be without it.  Both Ethan and Nixon find it hard to wind down at the end of the day, with Ethan having severe difficulty approx once per week where he might struggle for hours to fall asleep.  Implementing a calming, relaxing bedtime routine has helped both boys (and Dave and I!) finish each day much more peacefully, and with less stress and struggle around switching off and sinking into a restful slumber.

There are three ways I use Lavender at bedtime;

  1. Spray around the bedroom at night – yes, you can buy pure Lavender Oil in a spray aerosol!  Bosisto’s have made using essential oils even easier and more convenient with this genius packaging.
  2. Use an aromatherapy diffuser to spread that Lavender goodness far and wide throughout the house
  3. Create a skin-safe dilution to dab on your babes at bed-time!  I use 5 drops of Lavender oil in 10ml of almond oil and rub a drop on the soles of feet, behind the knees, on the insides of elbows and on the neckline of PJ’s.

Tea Tree Oil for foot health: Running shoes, rugby boots, touch rugby shoes, basketball sneakers, gumboots, (expensive Dr Martin’s school shoes that are used to play Basketball in every day at school grrrr)……we have ALL the shoes in our household and they are all used for very active pursuits.  Keeping them fresh is hard, keeping active feet healthy and odour free is also hard. Tea Tree Spray from Bosisto’s is a natural antifungal agent and so easy to apply; simply spray shoes to freshen and help knock out fungal infections such as tinea, follow up by spraying affected skin after washing and drying feet.

Ethan wears 100% wool socks to school and they have an odour like no other lol.  Adding a capful or two of Tea Tree Oil to the laundry is literally the ONLY thing I’ve found to combat and eliminate the smell of teenage, schoolboy feet – at least until the next day!

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Bosisto's Essential Oils

For more great ideas on how to use natural, high-quality essential oils around your home, head to Bosisto’s Facebook Page and get yourself in the draw to win an amazing prize pack!  Trust me you will LOVE these products, they are so incredibly useful as well as naturally therapeutic.

Beauty Review: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Electric Toothbrush

Looking for something totally fabulous to spoil Mum with or (even better!) to pop on your own Mother’s Day wish list?  This toothbrush is IT.  It’s hard to believe that I’m writing with such affection about a toothbrush, but hey, weird things happen when you’re over 35 and know how much a visit to the hygienist costs!  There’s a $50 Mother’s Day cashback offer on the Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Electric Toothbrush right now so it’s a great time to invest in beautiful teeth.  Details here.


Hate me if you must, but, I’m Becky with the Good Teeth.  Hair be damned, I can’t style it to save my life, but I’ve got the teeth on lock.  I can’t claim it’s due to an extensive oral health routine (the shame of it), pure genetics.  I even hate milk guys.

No braces, no fillings, just bright, shiny, healthy teeth.

I could put on weight (I have), leave the house without makeup (I do) but I’d always have my pearly whites to carry me through.  Flash a shiny smile and many a grievance is forgotten, items exchanged without the receipt, late pickups at kindy overlooked………

This was how Becky with the Good Teeth rolled until, approximately two years ago when I discovered my Motherhood Lifeblood – coffee.

And we all know the story from there.

Despite semi-regular appointments with the dental hygienist, I’m talking yearly guys, my once brilliant teeth have been showing signs of staining and increased plaque build-up.  I hate flossing with a passion so I know I don’t do myself any favours.

So with this in mind, and a vanity-driven desire to head into my 40’s with at least one part of my body on point, I’ve taken to the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Toothbrush with enthusiastic abandon.

It’s time to get my bad-ass smile back.

The box itself makes a bold claim – in a fairly large font so you know this is the real deal; ‘Whitens teeth in just 1 week’.  I was pretty, freaking excited about this and hoping no-one was pulling my leg as I ripped into the packaging to get the most beautiful toothbrush I’ve seen charging and ready to use.

Let’s discuss;

  • Rose gold accents on the toothbrush
  • A luxe rose gold charging glass. You simply put the toothbrush in the glass to charge!  It’s magic!  Actually, it’s not, it’s just awesome technology but magic goes better with a rose gold toothbrush mmkay?!
  • A charger travel case that’s so pretty it looks like it could be an evening clutch

Soooo, we’ve established the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Toothbrush looks amazing and comes with two fantastic charging options.  But does it actually clean and whiten your teeth?

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush

It does and it does it like NO other toothbrush I’ve ever experienced.

The first time I used the DiamondClean, the crazy, buzzy, vibrating sensation made me squirm, but over the past 6 days of use I’ve become totally accustomed to it and now it doesn’t bother me at all.  Honestly, nothing would bother me after seeing and feeling how incredibly clean my teeth now are.

I mean SHINY clean btw.  Plaque removed from between my teeth clean.  Just left the hygienist clean.  Never had a cup of coffee or glass of red wine clean?  Oh, I have no doubt that’s coming.  My teeth are soooo much whiter and brighter already I am so excited.

One thing I was nervous about, totally unnecessarily as it turns out, was how the DiamondClean would feel on my gums.  I’ve been a solid manual toothbrush ‘scrubber’ my whole life.  My teeth never felt clean unless I used Medium bristles (against my dentist’s advice) and as previously mentioned, I may not floss as often as I should.  Hence, my poor gums often bled whilst brushing my teeth.  Total thing of the past; my gums have not bled once whilst using the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Toothbrush.  Not once.

There are five brushing modes available; Clean, White, Polish, Gum Care and Sensitive modes – switching between them is intuitive and easy via the on/off button.  I love the 30-second Quadpacer intervals in Clean mode, signified by beeps.  It’s made me so much more aware of exactly how much time and attention I spend on each area of teeth.  Or didn’t spend as the case may have been!

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush

The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Toothbrush is an exceptional personal care product that I now can’t imagine living without.

It’s not cheap, this is true.  But, the potential health benefits and future savings on dentist visits are undeniable once you’ve been using the DiamondClean for just a couple of days.

I’m in love for sure.

For more info (ie technical stuff you might be interested in!), find out more about the DiamondClean Sonic Toothbrush here.

Plus, There is a Mother’s Day $50 cashback available NOW until May 27th!  Details here.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush

 

 

Beauty Review: Dermalogica’s New Season Triple Treat

One of my favourite, tried and true, used them  f o r e v e r  brands, Dermalogica, has kicked off 2018 with an impressive back-to-back offering of innovative, new skincare products.

With 3 launches under their belt by March first, Dermalogica is pushing the boundaries of skincare as we know it and continues to deliver products that serve to raise the bar of what we expect when we spend both time and money investing in our skin.

Meet the new products, each of which I’ve been using extensively since receiving them; the NEW UltraCalming™ Duo – Barrier Defence Booster and Calm Water Gel, and, the bloody amazing NEW Sound Sleep Cocoon™.

Barrier Defense Booster $130 RRP

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Beauty Review Dermalogica Barrier Defense BoosterOK, where do I start with this genius facial oil?

I (finally!) fell in love with facial oils after I began using another Dermalogica product, Phyto Replenish Oil.  It definitely took my skin a week or two to adjust but now I find oil to be very healing and nothing maintains hydration like it.

Specifically formulated for sensitive skin, Barrier Defense Booster targets redness, irritation, and dehydration and it does it very, very well.  I find it slightly lighter than Phyto Replenish Oil and faster absorbing.  Applying it under moisturiser is a fully luxe way to keep that dewy (not oily) skin all day long, even post-35 lol!

Let’s talk about the packaging, as one thing about facial oils you should know is that they can be messy.  Barrier Defense Booster is delivered via a perfectly portioned, mostly air-free (I imagine?) dropper and a squishy cushion, push-thingy!

Love it.  I use it or Phyto Replenish Oil every day, I thought it might be useful to summarise the differences between the two products so I asked Dermalogica for their help;

Phyto Replenish Oil
– Is made up of superfoods and flower oils such as camellia, orchid, chia seed, tamanu oils
– Does 3 things for the skin’s barrier (most other similar oils only do the first two): heals and restores skin barrier, hydrates and smoothes skin barrier, and provides a protective barrier against pollution and environmental assault (air con, wind, temp changes). 
 
Barrier Defense Booster was developed specially for inflamed skin that is sensitive (genetic) or for those experiencing sensitivity due to reasons such as stress, diet, hormones, foods, skin treatments (peels / Botox etc)
– hydrates 
– nourishes
– soothes
– protects from future flair-ups/ redness 

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Beauty Review Dermalogica Barrier Defense BoosterNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Beauty Review Dermalogica Barrier Defense Booster

Calm Water Gel $94 RRP

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Beauty Review Dermalogica Calm Water GelStep 2 in the the UltraCalming Duo is NEW Calm Water Gel.  I legit LOVE gel products, give me a gel cleanser over cream any day and the same goes for daily mosturisers – although these are harder to find.

Calm Water Gel delivers weightless hydration that, like Barrier Defense Booster is non-oily – at least on my skin.  Combine that with a barrier against environmental pollution and you’re on to a winner.  Beauty hero Hyaluronic Acid makes an appearance as well as Apple Fruit Extract and Glycerin to hydrate and soften. Cactus Pear Extract helps soothe sensitivity and imparts water-binding properties to help support healthy moisture balance.

A fruit salad that delivers the goods.  Will need to add SPF to complete this regimen though.

 

Sound Sleep Cocoon $143 RRP Available March 16, 2018

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Beauty Review Dermalogica Sound Sleep CocoonOk, this one’s my fave guys.  Like NO other night cream I’ve ever used.

The combination of natural oils and aromatherapy with powerful actives and the body’s own overnight repair and recovery process results in me waking up with freaking epic skin – like no makeup, no filter Instagram Story skin!  

Application is quite a lovely ritual.  The heady, relaxing scent of French Lavender Oil combined with the calming combo of Sandalwood and Patchouli creates a motion-activated, sleepy-time aroma – the perfect way to finish your day with some well-deserved and entirely beneficial me-time.  It’s not all fancy-smelly fluff though, the serious stuff is ready to get busy when the lights go off.  Like Calm Water Gel (above), this is not a heavy emollient-rich cream, quite the opposite of many night creams right?  Sound Sleep Cocoon has a gel-cream delivery, is subtly cooling and really quickly absorbed so the active magic of Vitamin C rich Kakadu Plum Extract, Persian Silk Tree Extract and others can get to work quick-smart.

Like Barrier Defence Booster (above), the packaging is another stroke of genius.  A twist’n push pottle (my words guys, I’m sure there’s a fancy description!), that’s completely sealed so no air, bacteria nor fingers will get to the goodness inside.

Are you convinced yet, you should be, Sound Sleep Cocoon is the business babes!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Beauty Review Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon

 

Women’s Health: My first time using a Lunette Menstrual Cup

A year ago I never would have written this post.  A year ago I would have ignored/declined the invitation to try a menstrual cup, firmly placing the very notion in the ‘too hard/too hippy’ basket.

So why now?  The only answer I can come up with is simply; why not now?

My monthly period annoys the heck out of me.  It’s never been painful nor irregular, just heavy and inconvenient (a bit like me in the morning before I’ve had a coffee lol).  I’ve been using tampons my whole life, and while better than pads, they still totally suck.  They’re uncomfortable if not quite in the right position, they leak, they aren’t absorbent enough, a heavy flow day means frequent changes, they are expensive and require disposal, plus, they are just something else waking me at night and wanting attention – I’ve already got a husband and a 4-year-old taking up night-time hours #kthanksbyetampons.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Lunette Menstrual Cup Review

So earlier this week, with Christmas in New Zealand done and dusted and tent-life beckoning (always a PIA when you’ve got your period) I decided to trial a Lunette Menstrual Cup for the first time.  I’d been gifted one just before the holidays and had been planning to give it a whirl before our trip to Japan in January.

What did I think?  Short version; amazing, liberating, life-changing.  Long version; read on.

Lunette Menstrual Cup Review

First tip:  Get ready in advance.  I was all raring to go as soon as my period began but hadn’t opened the box or read the short set of instructions that accompany the Lunette.  In fact, I hadn’t even touched it!  There are two sizes available, I picked size 2 which is recommended for women who experience a heavier flow or who have given birth vaginally.  The silicone is super smooth and soft, but also much firmer than I anticipated.  After sterilizing my cup for 20 minutes in a pot of boiling water I was ready to go.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Lunette Menstrual Cup Review

The thing that puzzled me most about menstrual cups prior to using one, was placement.  A tampon sits so much higher than a cup and feels awful when it’s inserted wrong/low and feels like it’s going to fall out!  Yet, the Lunette cup sits low and you CAN’T FEEL IT!  It’s amazing, and I’m sure the imperceptibility is due to the flexible silicone moving with your body when you move.

Insertion/application, whatever, was easy, fold it in half and up she goes. A bit of a jiggle and you can feel the cup unfold – that’s it!  I was completely floored by how easy the process is and how completely ‘leak-free’ I feel when wearing the Lunette.  I realise that describing a state of being as ‘leak-free’ is a bit bizarre and a probably a complete misnomer, however, if you’ve experienced that tampon-angsty feeling when you know you could leak at any given time, you’ll totally understand what I mean!

The stem was the only thing I found uncomfortable and as recommended in the instructions I simply trimmed it until I found the optimal length.  I don’t actually use it for removal at all so cut it really short.

Am I converted?

Heck yes I am, I just wished I had been brave and tried a menstrual cup sooner.  The Lunette just makes so much sense; 

  • I feel completely leak free, even at night
  • I can go longer, up to 12 hours, without having to worry about reaching max capacity
  • I don’t feel like I’m going to get ‘caught out’ without another tampon on me when I need one
  • I haven’t yet, but know I’d be able to workout and run wearing a Lunette Menstrual Cup, something that was out of the question for me on heavy flow days with a tampon.
  • Cleaning/sanitizing is easy, there’s heaps of info here

In fact it’s all easy.  The only hard part about using a Lunette is in your head, once you’re over the mental hurdle you will never go back to tampons.  I never will, of this I’m convinced.

I can see how learning how to use a menstrual cup may be slightly more challenging for young girls, but to be honest, no more challenging than learning how to use a tampon.  The benefit of potentially NOT having to change a tampon/pad for the entire school day is incredible and totally worth the very little persistence that’s required to get super comfortable with using a Lunette Menstrual Cup.

There’s heaps of information on the Lunette New Zealand website, so check it out if you have any questions or are keen to make the switch – you won’t regret it!