April 06, 2016

How to step away from negative people

Do you have a friend that loves to complain and talk about how hard their life is? Do you have a friend that is quick to cut your achievement down, to remind you of your failures or who seems to create constant drama? What's more, do you have a friend that you are scared to express your true opinion to?
If the answer is yes, your friend is a negative person in your life.

A friend by definition is someone who you share mutual affection. A GOOD friend is defined much differently.

A true friend is someone who:

  • supports you no matter what
  • doesn't judge you
  • won’t put you down or deliberately hurt your feelings
  • is kind and has respect for you
  • will love you because they choose to, not because they feel like they should
  • you enjoy spending time with and are not seeing to purely keep up appearances 
  • is loyal
  • is trustworthy
  • can laugh when you do
  • is willing to stick around when things get tough
  • makes you smile
  • is there to listen.

Negative 'friends' are toxic for your mental health and create a very unhealthy environment for you. A friend is someone who should make the world feel like a better place not drag you down, attack your self esteem or leave you feeling drained. If a friend criticises your dreams, image, choices or lifestyle it is not because you are defective in some way. Negative people are often very unhappy with their own life and instead of building the courage to change, they live in a negative cycle of complaining without resolving their problems.

Friendships with negative people are not equal or fair. One sure fact in life is that you cannot control how people think or react but you can change who you choose to surround yourself with. It may be a very difficult and daunting decision to separate from a negative friend, especially if you have history or once had a healthy relationship. You won't be able to change your negative friend and some time apart may be what is needed. Challenge yourself to meet new people and foster friendships with like-minded folks who think positively. Friends that support you and lift you up enrich your life and make you realise what friends are really for. Respect yourself enough to know that you deserve to surround yourself with people who truly appreciate you for who you are and make you feel like the world is wonderful.

What do you do when a family member is negative?
Try to be honest with your family member about how their negative behaviour affects you.
Give the family member some space especially if you have tried to explain a certain behaviour is detrimental to your mental health. Know that you deserve respect from your family and stick to your guns. Often your family will realise how their behaviour was affecting you and realise they need to treat you with more respect.

What if you are negative to yourself?
Every once and a while we all fall into the trap of thinking negatively. Stress, pressure, exhaustion and difficult circumstances can get anyone down. Negativity can be like a snowball that builds and builds in your mind until everything you see in your life seems miserable. Remember that you are making choices in your life to live how you do. You have the power to change your life at any time. You also have the power to accept your life and figure out how you are going to get through it. Complaining doesn't achieve any results. Brainstorming how to change what is making you unhappy in life is how you can find a solution to your problem.

How to be more positive:

  1. Be grateful. Maybe start a gratitude journal where you can write down three to five things each day that you are grateful for such as, your partner, your healthy body or your delicious dinner. Focus on all the positive things in your life and how great life really is! 
  2. Spend some time in nature. Go for a walk, be by the water, listen to the breeze in the trees and feel the sun of your skin. Being in nature will make you feel more grounded and help you to see the bigger picture.
  3. Be aware of your thoughts. Check in with yourself throughout the day. Are you tensing your jaw or shoulders? Take a few minutes to breathe and reconnect with your self. Even better, try meditation.
  4. Be a positive person to others. Be the sort of friend or family member that you would ultimately want to have. Be supportive and optimistic and look on the bright side of life. Be a good listener to someone or offer to give others a helping hand.
  5. Exercise and eat healthily. Taking care of your body is a way of showing yourself respect. Eat nourishing foods regularly and stay active. Keep your body moving in a realistic and balanced way.

March 28, 2016

Lemon and Coconut Gluten Free Healthy Cake Pops

Easter is a time to relax with your friends and family and typically eat a lot of chocolate. Usually you eat so much chocolate you can't contemplate eating any until the next Easter. To avoid this usual chocolate overload this time of year, I wanted to make a sweet treat that wasn't chocolate based but was still Easter themed. I chose to make lemon and coconut cake pops iced in a pastel blue with polka dots to decorate. You may have heard cake pops can be tricky to make, let alone attempting the challenge of making a healthy version of the sweet, but if you have the right tools and some patience you will handle this baking task with ease.

I would recommend buying a silicone cake pop tray, a cake pop drying set (or try some of these ideas to hold your cake pops) and the cake pop sticks. I found these all at a local kitchenwares store and all the equipment was on sale; I think the cake pop craze has died down and no one knows what to do with the stuff anymore! Hopefully you can pick some trays on sale too. If not, all the things you need will be online.

This recipe worked out so well I know I will be making cake pops again! If you don't want to make a lollipop out of the cake, you can always make cute cake balls as a sweet treat. Cake pops are perfect for parties and are a nice portioned treat.

Lemon and Coconut Healthy Cake Pops


  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp milk (I prefer soy milk)
  • the zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1 packet of white candy melts or 1 packet of white chocolate melts
  • blue food colouring
  • coconut oil

  1. In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients - coconut flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl and combine with the dry.
  3. Lay your cake pop tray onto a baking tray and fill the side without the holes with the cake mixture. Overfill each hole slightly with the cake mix. Press the other side of the tray on top on the filled tray and press the sides to seal together.
  4. Bake in a moderate oven for 25 minutes. 
  5. Let the cakes cool in the pan for a couple of minutes before turning out and putting into a bowl. Cover and put in the freezer to cool down. Store in the fridge if you are not icing immediately.
  6. Melt the candy melts or white chocolate on a low heat in the microwave. Put in for 30 seconds at a time to make sure you do not overcook the chocolate. When the mixture is melted, add 4 - 5 drops of blue food colouring or until you reach your desired colour.
  7. To make the chocolate or candy melts thin enough to ice your cake pops, add some coconut oil. My candy melts were very thick and I added about 1/2 a cup of coconut oil to the mix. The white chocolate may not need as much oil added. Add a little at a time and stir thoroughly until you reach a nice even consistency.
  8. When you are happy with your icing, take out your cakes. Set up your drying stand and put out your polka dot sprinkles. Carefully insert a cake pop stick half way into one side of the cake. Dunk the cake into the bowl of icing and let the excess run off. Decorate with sprinkles as desired.
  9. Place carefully into the cake pop stand to let dry.
  10. Once all the cake pops are completed, leave to dry for a few hours to set the icing. Store in a container until time to serve. Check out this link for serving ideas

February 28, 2016

Carrot Cake Cookies

Whether it is a happy or sad occasion, someone is visiting me or I am going to see them, or I just need some baking therapy, I will find myself wanting to get in the kitchen. When I made these cookies over the weekend, I made them for the combination of all the reasons above. Baking is so therapeutic for me, particularly when I can get creative with ingredients and make something delicious and nourishing. 

I was inspired by a recent cookbook purchase of the Lola Berry The Happy Life cookbook. Lola's book is a really sweet representation of how she keeps a positive mind and a healthy body. She touches on mindful versus emotional eating, how to keep your thoughts grounded, ways to connect to your soul, strengthening intimacy and even how to create your own cookbook. 

Amongst Lola's life advice, she has healthy recipes to browse. I found her carrot cake cookies and decided to try it for myself. What I like about these cookies is that they are so filling and nourishing, you can easily have them for breakfast and they make such a healthy snack. 

1 cup of almond meal (I used hazelnut meal and flaxseed mix as I had that on hand)
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ginger
a pinch of nutmeg
1 cup of coconut sugar (I used date sugar as I also had that on hand) *coconut sugar can be expensive, if you rather just substitute for brown sugar but use 3/4 of a cup 
1/2 cup of almond butter
1/4 cup of coconut oil
2 eggs, heated
2 carrots (1 large or 2 small), grates
1/4 cup of sultanas 

Preheat oven to 180 degresss and line a baking tray with greased-proof paper.
Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and combine.
Add all the wet ingredients and mix well to form a dough.
I then placed the mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Using a tablespoon, form mixture into balls and flatter on the prepared tray. 
Bake for 10 minutes until cookies are golden and set.

Makes 12

February 07, 2016

Paleo Bread - for sandwiches and snacks

This is a lovely substantial bread to replace traditional wheat flour breads if you are following a paleo or gluten-free diet. This bread is nice enough to have on its own or toasted. Unlike some other alternative breads, this loaf is super easy to slice in either small or sandwich size pieces.

Paleo Bread

  • 1/2 cup of almond butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons of date sugar or honey
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of ground flaxseed meal
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • pinch of salt

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until everything comes together.
  2. Pour mixture into a well greased bread/loaf tin or silicone baking tray.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes in a moderate oven until risen and browned. Leave in the tray for 10 minutes to cool before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Slice and store in either fridge or freezer.

January 30, 2016

My Top Tips for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off!

I changed my body shape with changing up my diet and exercise routine about four years ago and I have managed to maintain my new shape since. Here are my tips in how to lose weight and what habits I have kept to keep my weight in check.


I began my diet my cutting down my portion sizes and since then I have continued to keep my portions smaller. I used to eat a large bowl of rice or bread with dinner, sandwiches for lunch, large servings of cereal for breakfast and raisin toast or crumpets for a snack. While none of these foods are BAD by any means, they tend to be high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fats. Now I like to balance every meal I have as high in protein with some fats and enough carbohydrates for energy. 

For example, now I have an egg on a piece of rye toast for breakfast with wilted spinach and tomatoes. Snacks are almonds, fruit or protein bars. Lunch might be an open sandwich with one piece of bread, tuna, avocado and salad. Dinner is often half a cup of rice, grilled chicken or fish and roasted vegetables. After dinner I usually have tea, maybe some dark chocolate and I often have a glass of wine in the evenings too.

Note I rarely feel overally full after eating a meal. I eat to feel satisfied but not stuffed.


When I started to look at calories and what I was putting into my body, I started to see how sugar could quickly escalate your energy content without enriching your body. A bag of lollies quickly adds up to hundreds of calories without satisfying your hunger. I also noticed that when I did eat something high in sugar without balancing the meal with protein or fat, I would crave junk food afterwards and likely eat a much larger portion than I normally would. Since overhauling my diet, I honestly stay away from sugar most of the time and this is not difficult for me. Once you cut sugar out, you really don't enjoy it all that much and quickly feel sick if you eat a cupcake, lollies or chocolate. Cutting sugar from your diet is honestly the BEST thing you can do to lose weight and keep it off.

To cut out sugar, firstly try my tip of balancing each meal with protein, fat and carbohydrates. Make each meal count nutritionally including snacks. Even if you have fruit, add a small amount of cheese or nut butter onto the fruit or have with yoghurt (that has no added sugar!). Look at the sugar content of packaged foods and avoid anything with over 10 grams per serving. A few months in to limiting sugar, avoiding it will get easier and easier. Of course there will always be times where you eat cake at a birthday party or dessert at a restaurant but once you overhaul your diet, your sugar cravings will be much easier to manage. 


Before I changed up my diet and exercise routine I was a big cardio lover. I spent so much time of the cross trainer preoccupied with burning off as many calories as possible because that was how I could lose weight and burn off any junk food I had eaten. Cardio exercise does burn calories but doing weight training will increase your muscle mass which will help your body to burn calories even when you aren't at the gym. Don't forget to do cardio but don't confine this just to the gym. 25 minutes of moving your body each day, especially enough to break a sweat, will be beneficial in helping you lose weight. 

Weight training will change your body shape and it has helped me to keep my arms slimmer and more toned, my stomach tighter and stronger, my legs shapely and my butt nice and perky! To get started, look up workouts on You Tube, hire a personal trainer or get a friend to help you formulate a weight training program. Start with light weights and work up to heavier weight training to maximise your results and avoid injury. 


Like I said above, moving your body for at least 25 minutes every day is the easiest way to incorporate cardio into your weekly routine. Instead of confining yourself to long workouts on the treadmill or cross trainer, try to get more cardio in to your every day. For example, park further away for shopping centres to walk further, use the stairs at your apartment complex, walk to work or do squats while you watch your favourite tv show. If you try to add more exercise into your day and combine this with gym workouts, you will speed up your results. 


While I have reduced portion control do not mistake this for restricting my energy intake. Even if you aren't exercising, you need to eat a satisfactory breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. If you don't eat enough you will overeat at some point. It is just a recipe for disaster and often leads you to binge on foods that have the highest energy content like desserts and fast foods because your body is starving and needs energy fast. Keep your meals regular and balanced. 

For me personally, I eat even when I am not hungry and make sure I finish my portion even if I don't feel like it. I know some diet gurus will tell you this is a mistake but for me, it helps me so much in not overeating later in the day and not binge eating. If you eat a good breakfast and lunch, you are so much better prepared to not overeat at dinner and not crave dessert. 


The most important thing you can do if you have eaten something that has blown your calories for the day is to forget about it! Eating a healthy balanced diet is about that middle word, BALANCE. Sometimes we overeat, we eat food high in sugar, we drink too many cocktails and we skip gym sessions. I do all these things and my weight hasn't gotten out of control. When I first lost weight I was really strict and was a few kilos lighter than I am now. The diet I followed then was too restrictive and the exercise regime I followed was not sustainable. 

Eating healthy is to nourish your body and keep you feeling good physically and mentally.

Don't make up for meals or skipped gym days. Just get back to your normal routine right away. Move on and put whatever happened in the past. Doing this will be a sustainable way to keep your weight in check for the long term. 


Here is an example of some of the foods I used to eat all the time versus what I eat all the time now. This may give you an idea of what you can change and what you can replace your choices with now.

Old Favourites
  • White bread toast with butter and honey
  • Ice cream every night with chocolate sauce
  • Biscuits or cookies with my tea or coffee
  • Milo
  • Bread with meals
  • Sugary cereal
  • Lollies and chocolate were hard to resist and not eat if they were there
  • Cous cous and white rice
  • Adding cheese to everything
  • Often needing something sweet after every meal
  • Sweet coffees with added flavours
New Favourites
  • Almonds, pistachios and sunflower seeds - also love LSA and flaxseed
  • Protein shakes and protein bars
  • No-sugar added dark chocolate
  • Carrot and celery sticks with hummus
  • Tins of tuna with light olive oil
  • Drizzling big salads with a little olive oil and apple cider vinegar
  • Cashew cheese dip
  • Adding turmeric, paprika and herbs to all my foods!
  • Roasting vegetables in coconut oil
  • Quinoa 
  • Using nutritional yeast flakes instead of cheese
  • Making sweets with stevia
  • Herbal tea and black tea with soy milk
  • Black coffee

January 17, 2016

Australia Day - Lunch, Cakes and Party Ideas!


Slow-roasted Aussie lamb pies by What Katie Ate
Vegan sausage rolls by VegeTARAian
Chargrilled Prawns by Gourmet Traveller


Pavlova cupcakes by A Cookie Named Desire
Iced Vovo Cake by Raspberri Cupcakes
Tim Tam Cake by Raspberri Cupcakes
Lamington Cake by Love Swah


Use native florals

Make your own Australia flag bunting: Love Swah

January 14, 2016

January 12, 2016

Karissa Pukas - How to Build your Booty

Who is she?

Karissa Pukas has been a little starlet on You Tube for years now, making quite the name for herself for beautifully edited videos on everything from skincare, makeup, fashion and vlogs. A Canadian living in Australia, Karissa lives with her boyfriend Glen and her super cute chihuahua Lola.

What is she up to?

She has recently kicked up a gear in her vlogging and we love seeing what she is up to, like beach trips and market exploring, hitting the gym and making healthy meals, or showing us how she planted her vegetable garden. Watch one here where she does a circuit training session or watch this one for vegan and vegetarian meal ideas.

How does she inspire us?

After hitting the gym for the past few months, Karissa posted about her current progress in the gym and how she has achieved some serious goals! We love seeing girls inspiring each other to make better choices and feel confident, strong and happy! Let's see what she wrote down below…. and can we just say, looking AMAZING Karissa!!!

I was always insecure about my ass. I grew up quite athletic, but skinny and flat as a pole (my friends always called me lamp shade when I wore a skirt…)

It never made things easier that I fell into a job where every aspect of my body and personality was scrutinized. I had always been athletic and had no problem gaining muscle and tone everywhere else on my body- but my legs and butt were my ‘problem spot’ I just thought it couldn’t be done and it was what it was How wrong was I.

The past 4 months I’ve focused on eating more consistently (making sure I’m eating a good mixture of protein and slow release carbs) and lifting. Heavy. Pushing myself more than I ever have before. I was always afraid of looking bulky up top and convinced myself that cardio was 'enough’ and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Lifting has changed my life - physically and mentally. It’s just the start of my journey and I’m pretty stoked to see where it takes me. #LampPostNoMore

HUGE thanks to my mom, @nikkiblackketter and @buffbunny for the daily inspiration. Who run the world…?

Tell us, who is your inspiration??

January 10, 2016

January Essentials

How to keep those holiday vibes going this summer.


Move over giant swan or even you over there giant flamingo because there's a new cool kid in town. Fetch floats have brought out a range of mystical floaties shaped in dragons and unicorns. These must-have sun lounges will turn your pool party into a magical wonderland.


Of course we want to be using our fruit for green smoothies and fresh fruit salads this summer but nothing beats a margarita punch to get the party started.

Skinny Strawberry Margarita Punch

500 grams of strawberries, chopped and preferable frozen
2 lemons, juiced
4 cups water
1-2 tablespoons agave nectar
1½ cups good-quality tequila
1 cup of no added sugar pineapple juice
4 cups of diet lemonade
¼ cup of stevia
Limes and strawberries, for garnish
Salt to rim glasses (optional)

Put chopped strawberries along with stevia and 1 cup water into a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.
Pour strawberry mixture into a large pitcher Add lemon and orange juice, soda, agave nectar, tequila, and the remaining 3 cups of water. Mix until well combined.
Serve over ice, garnish with strawberries and limes. Salt the rim of your glasses for an added margarita flair. Enjoy!


Beginning boutique

Beginning boutique
Planning to find the perfect beach or park spot to set up for the day with a good book, some coconut water and your beau? A big luxurious beach towel can be your fave picnic blanket, sand protector and be something to wrap you up after a day in the pool.


Acai bowls were so 2015 as 2016's equivalent are nutritionally packed bowls of veggie goodness that are the perfect summertime meal. Take inspiration from Korean and Japanese cooking by adding brown rice, your favourite veggies, top with a little protein of your choice and flavour with spices and herbs.


The most luxurious faux tans to be released our infused with natural oils to moisturise your skin while leaving you with a bronzed glow. This way you can get fake baked without drying your skin out, leaving your tan looking more natural and lasting longer. Or choose a shimmering bronzed oil to enhance your tan and leave your looking super sexy for a night out.


Frocks that fit below the neck line are perfect to wear throughout the hotter months and can be paired with a denim jacket for evenings. These sort of dresses are perfect to throw on in those 'I have nothing to wear' moments. Throw on some sandals, a floppy hat and you're out the door.

Princess Polly


Atmos Here