8 weird comments people have made about my long hair.

Image via Walt Disney Pictures.

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but long hair has been decidedly out of fashion for the last few years.

The lob (awkward abbreviated name for a long bob) hairstyle has dominated both Hollywood and street style for a while now, but I refuse to follow the crowd and drastically trim my tresses.

People love to point this out to me. It’s as if I’ve never noticed that my own hair is long! Newsflash: I know it is. I CHOOSE for it to be.

Here are some of the strangest things people have said to me about my long hair.

1. “Is your hair real?”

I’m not a fan of anyone asking if something on someone else’s body is “real”. I get that having waist-length natural hair kind of makes me a unicorn in the current hair trend climate, but even if it was extensions, it’s probably none of your business.

2. “Has it always been that length?”

It takes all my strength to not reply “oh yes! I was born with it! As a baby, my hair was twice the length of me!” But of course, I don’t. Instead I explain that my hair has been a variety of lengths throughout my life…obviously.

The thing about long hair is, in order for it to become long, it needs to be all the lengths in between. I just know that long hair suits me best.

3. “Do you ever get your haircut?”

My hair is not floor length so obviously I get it trimmed. Not sure why anyone feels the need to ask this one.

4. “You need a haircut.”

No I don’t, thanks.

My favourite is when I reply “I had one yesterday” and well-meaning person says “well you need another one”. Nope.

5. You have ‘Victoria’s Secret’ hair.

This was only said to me once by a former colleague but it completely stumped me. I suppose it was a compliment because Victoria’s Secret models are beautiful, but at the same time, long hair is probably the only thing those models and I have in common.

I laughed it off awkwardly, not a great moment for speaking-up for myself.

6. “It must take forever to style your hair!”

Hahaha, oh please. I don’t have time for that.

My hair is wavy, thick and fairly well-behaved. If it wasn’t, I probably would have lost patience with keeping my hair long years ago.

I mostly just wash it, air dry it, brush it, apply a bit of product and put it a ponytail. If I’m feeling fancy or going to an event, I’ll take the time to straighten or curl it.

Myth busting fact: despite what women in sitcoms say, washing long hair doesn’t take any longer than washing short hair.

7. “Can I braid it?”

I admit only my little cousins ask this one and most of the time I say yes because my braids suck.

8. “Why is your hair so long?”

Because I want it to be. Mic drop.

Having long hair has given me an interesting perspective on how nosy some people can be about the appearance of others.

I’m lucky, I love my hair and it doesn’t hurt my feelings if people ask me weird questions about it, but it does make me think about how other people must feel when questioned about parts of their appearance that they feel sensitive about.

My rule of thumb is, unless I’m giving someone a genuine compliment, I don’t comment on their appearance. I think this is a kind rule to follow, if I do say so myself.

Have you ever been asked a strange question about your appearance?

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Celebrating Caffeine Appreciation Month with Jamaica Blue.

Coffee Machine Close Up

Did you know that March is Caffeine Appreciation Month?

A delicious cup of coffee is always my go-to energy supply when I need a bit of morning motivation or a remedy for an afternoon slump. Not to mention the amount of times that catching-up for coffee has been the perfect excuse to stay in touch with busy friends.

Considering the important role that coffee plays in my life, I was delighted to be invited to on a media tour of Jamaica Blue’s Coffee Roastery to celebrate Worldwide Caffeine Appreciation Month.

The morning began with a beautiful breakfast in the Jamaica Blue training room and, of course, a great cup of coffee. While we enjoyed our meal, World Latte Expert and Jamaica Blue’s Head of Coffee Jeremy Regan told us about the Jamaica Blue story and the hard work that goes into the crop to cup process.

We were then divided into two groups. One group went on a tour of the roastery; while my group stayed in the training room to complete a short coffee training course with Simon, one of Jamaica Blue’s barista trainers.

Coffee Training

Jamaica Blue Barista Trainer Simon explains how to make the perfect cup of coffee.

I worked in hospitality during my studies, so I know my way around a coffee machine, but it was so great to hear Simon’s perspective and he shared some really great analogies to help create the perfect cup. For example, he told us that when the ideal shot is being poured from the machine it should resemble “strings of spaghetti.”

We were then given the chance to have a go at making coffee ourselves and taste-test our creations. I was very happy with the short black coffee that I made and I’ll definitely be putting Simon’s instructions into practise on my little coffee machine at home.

Coffee Training 2

Having a go at making coffee myself. (Thank you to @edwardjayhan for the photo). 

Once we were all buzzing from tasting our caffeinated creations, it was time to put on lab coats and hats and begin the roastery tour with Jeremy Regan.

Upon entering the Jamaica Blue Roastery, I was instantly filled with wonder. There were industrial machines everywhere, a sense of bustle among the staff and, of course, a delicious scent of roasting coffee beans in the air.

Jeremy Regan and Barrells

Jamaica Blue’s Jeremy Regan shows us the barrels and their namesake coffee arrives in. 

During the tour, Jeremy explained the detailed process that the beans go through before they are bagged and sent to stores. On the way he even showed us the wooden barrels that Jamaica Blue’s namesake beans are transported to the roastery in. Most other coffee beans are delivered in large, sealed bags.

If you haven’t heard of Blue Mountain Coffee, it is a high-end single origin coffee grown in the blue mountains of Jamaica. It is quite expensive to purchase by the kilogram, but Jamaica Blue Cafés make it more accessible to the general public by selling it by the cup to interested customers. In addition to Blue Mountain coffee, Jamaica Blue Cafés also offer their Signature Blend and another single origin coffee at all times.

Me at Roastery

Admiring the roasting coffee beans during the Jamaica Blue Roastery Tour. (Thank you to @elletayla for the photo.)

Following the tour, both groups of guests came together for a Q & A session with Jeremy, where we were given the chance to really pick his brains about everything we had seen and learned that day. It was a joy to ask Jeremy a few questions myself.

Claire for Ms This N That Blog: “Have you travelled to any of the origins of the coffee [beans]? What did you learn there and what surprised you?” 

Jeremy Regan: “Yes, I have. Yeah, I’ve been to quite a few. What’s surprising is just the difference between the origins…a trip to Brazil, for example, a lot of the farms in Brazil do mechanical picking…a machine goes through and takes every single cherry, but then you go to somewhere like East Timor where the majority of the coffee is actually wild and the farmers are taking me down this little goat track and I’m wearing proper boots and nearly falling over! And they’re wearing thongs…they’re just used to doing it all! Yeah so the difference between that and a farm in Brazil where it’s all neat, little rows of coffee trees…it’s really, really interesting.

“Quite often at origin, they don’t know how we drink coffee. They don’t know that we drink coffee from an espresso machine. It’s interesting having coffee with some of [the farmers and staff]…in some of those origins, it’s basically like this big sock that they put the coffee in then they brew it is in this big pot that they take out and they pour it. Then chuck about five or six sugars into this little cup of coffee!…It’s a cultural experience.”

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Q & A with World Latte Judge Jeremy Regan. 

Claire for Ms This N That Blog: “What was your favourite place to visit?”

Jeremy Regan: “They’re all great and coffee [is] a really interesting industry…[a] real community…really welcoming…that’s what you find when you go to origin.”

Claire for Ms This N That Blog: With the idea of a good coffee being such a subjective thing, and as you were saying, there’s cultural influences and maybe even sentimental [influences] with what you’ve grown-up with as being a good coffee, when you are judging professionally what is it that you’re looking for?” 

Jeremy Regan: “There’s a couple of different kinds of judging. There’s a barista competition [and] what that’s about is a barista knowing their coffee. They should know exactly what it’s going to taste like and they tell me what it’s going to taste like. They tell me ‘I’m serving this Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and you’re going to taste blueberries, nougat and an aroma of Bergamot.’ Then I taste that.

Then there’s cupping judging, or blind judging, where you don’t know what coffee it is. There’s five bowls in front of you and you’re judging that and scoring it. There’s no personal preference about it. It’s scoring the coffee on the table.”

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Jamaica Blue’s Golden Bean Award trophy. 

At the end of the Q & A session, we were shown the prestigious Golden Bean award that Jamaica Blue won in 2017. Jamaica Blue is the large franchise/chain champion.

We were all given a bag of Jamaica Blue goodies to take home. I can’t wait to try out some Jamaica Blue Costa Rica Single Origin coffee beans on my machine at home – in celebration of Caffeine Appreciation Month, of course!

Thank you again to Jamaica Blue for inviting me to their fun and informative event.

What type of coffee will you be sipping during Caffeine Appreciation Month? 

*I was invited to attend the Jamaica Blue Roastery Tour Media Event. This has not influenced my views in any way.  Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.

Stay in touch!

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REVIEW: Legends In Concert (The Palms at Crown, Melbourne)

Legends

Image via Ticketmaster. 

I was invited to attend the opening night of Legends In Concert, a showcase that features an acclaimed set of celebrity tribute acts from Las Vegas.

Legends In Concert is the longest running show in Las Vegas. It has been lighting-up stages for over 34 years! The performers use their own singing voices and are supported by a five piece live band, two backing singers and a troupe of eight energetic dancers.

According to the Legends In Concert website, they offer over 80 different tribute acts. For the 2018 Melbourne season, the show included tributes to Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Cher, Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Whitey Houston and Freddie Mercury.

The cast are exquisite and the resemblance between the performers and the legends that they are portraying is just uncanny! The attention to detail in the casts’ physical appearance, mannerisms and vocal quality is impressive. I can only imagine how hard these performers have worked to perfect their acts.

The highlight of the show for me is a jaw-droopingly good tribute to Michael Jackson. Just like Jackson, the performer is a true triple threat. He has an incredible singing voice, his monologues are just like watching Jackson speak, and his dancing is outstanding.

Special mentions also need to go to the performers who portray Dolly Parton and Cher.  In addition to looking the part, they have stunning singing voices.

As this was my first time seeing a tribute show of this calibre, I was blown-away by the costumes, hair-styling, wigs and make-up. The quality is outstanding and the creative teams need to be congratulated for their attention to detail.

The band and back-up singers are amazing. They are a talented, tight-knit group and sound incredible from start to finish.

The dancers are some of the most energetic performers I have ever seen! They perform beautifully throughout the show in a variety of dance styles. Not to mention that they must have at least 20 quick costume changes!

Legends In Concert is playing at The Palms at Crown until the 28th of January. Tickets are selling fast so book now to avoid missing out.

*I was invited to attend the opening night performance of ‘Legends In Concert’ and tickets were supplied. This has not influenced my views in any way.  Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.

Review: Liverpool St Subscription Box.

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If you’ve ever had a period, you’ll know that the arrival of your monthly visitor doesn’t always sync up with your most recent purchase of tampons.

Hands-up if you’ve ever frantically rushed to the supermarket to buy your monthly supply (or sent a loved one on the mission) just so you can go about your day? I know I’ve been there and it can certainly throw a busy day out of whack.

Imagine if tampons were magically delivered to your door once a month? You’d never have to put your plans on hold to stock-up again!

Well, good news folks, because Liverpool St* does exactly that!

Liverpool St* offers a monthly subscription service in which two boxes of organic tampons (in your preferred absorbency) are delivered to your door each month in a discreet (and very cute) box.

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Why organic tampons? Well, just like how we try to avoid nasty chemicals in the food we eat and the beauty products we use, it is a good idea to make sure that the products we use in our most intimate areas are as chemical-free as possible.

According to the Liverpool St* press release, “the majority of tampons on the market are laden with toxins and chemicals that absorbed into the bloodstream once they are inserted.”

Scary stuff, right?

I was sent two Liverpool St* subscription boxes to trial and review. It was my first time trying organic tampons and I couldn’t help but notice that they are so much more comfortable than other tampon brands I’ve tried. I wonder if my body has disagreed with other brands for years and I just didn’t know that there were better options out there?

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According to Liverpool St*, organic tampons are made from 100% cotton, are hypoallergenic and won’t disturb your body’s PH levels. So it is possible that organic tampons are just a better option for me.

In addition to the products being great, I also love Liverpool St’s packaging*. The exterior cardboard box is very cute and is sealed with a sticker that says “Positive Vibes Only” on it. I love this because menstrual cycles are unfortunately often a taboo topic so I am a big supporter of brands that endeavour to make getting your period a more positive experience. The tampon boxes themselves are rectangular and slender so they can easily fit in any bag or pocket and I love the on-trend pastel colour scheme.

If you’re interested in giving organic tampons a go and want the convenience of a monthly delivery service, all you have to do is sign up on the Liverpool St* website. At this stage, Liverpool St* only deliver within Australia but according to their website, they are hoping to expand to other areas soon.

You can choose between a Mixed Bundle (1 box of super tampons and 1 box of regular tampons), a Regular Bundle (2 boxes of regular tampons) and a Super Bundle (2 boxes of super tampons.) Each bundle costs just $8.90AUD plus $3.30AUD postage.

*All products in this post were provided for my review.  This has not influenced my views in any way.  Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.

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– Follow on Instagram: @claire.defreitas

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A reflection on 2015

girl typing

Image: pexels.com

Firstly, I would like to thank you for sticking with me and my little blog this year, as my posts have been few and far between.

If you’ve read any of my recent lifestyle posts, you probably noticed me lamenting about how busy I’ve been with finishing uni, working two jobs, completing internships, and trying to have a social life.

Despite knowing how busy I’d be this year, for some reason I decided to make 2015 the year that I set myself some pretty intensive resolutions and actually make myself accountable for them. I guess I just love a challenge! Or emotionally torturing myself. Or both.

I wrote a list of six resolutions, which ranged from leading a healthier lifestyle to reducing outfit-selection stress and vowed to write regular posts informing you of my progress to keep myself accountable. Although I only wrote a couple of such posts, knowing that my promises had been repeatedly put out into the universe, ensured that my resolutions were always in the back of my mind, even if I strayed off the path occasionally.

So what exactly have I achieved?

I’ve maintained my blog and my singing teaching business. I passed all my final uni subjects with a distinction average and I can’t wait for my graduation ceremony next year!

As for wardrobe stress, I very rarely have ‘WHAT WILL I WEAR?!’ freakouts anymore because I’ve learnt to always plan my outfit the night before. I know this sounds incredibly geeky, but it saves me so much time in the morning and ensures I walk out the door feeling good about my look.

After falling off the bandwagon a few times this year when work and uni consumed all my energy, I’m finally leading a more active life. I work out from home most days. At the moment I’m loving following along with yoga and barre body videos on youtube.

Avoiding emotional eating will probably always be a struggle for me, but I have learnt to keep my diet simple with lots of veggies, fruit, protein and wholegrains.

So far, there hasn’t been a big difference on the scales, but I have more energy and have noticed more muscle definition, which is a really nice start. I understand that consistency is key and I look forward to seeing more results as I carry my healthy habits into the new year.

So while I wouldn’t say that I completely smashed my goals for 2015, I’m happy with where I am today. I feel stronger, wiser and more confident than I was in 2014 and I’m finally learning to be kinder to myself.

I’m not going to write a list of resolutions for 2016, because honestly, I just want to continue with the path I’m on.

If can sit here this time next year and say that my body is healthy, my mind is calm and my heart is full of love, I’ll be happy.

How did you go with your resolutions? 

Stay in touch!

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2015 Resolutions Progress Report: A Pinteresting way to get fit.

Regular readers would know that I set myself some pretty intensive resolutions this year, and I put some big lifestyle changes in place in order to make achieving them a reality. 

Considering I run a business and home, plus it’s finally the last year of my Undergraduate Degree (I’ve studied part-time over the last five years), I probably picked the wrong year to give my lifestyle a massive overhaul. Regardless, I’ve tried my best to make positive changes but there’s definitely been ups and downs.

One of my biggest goals for 2015 was to improve my health and fitness. In the craziness of getting married, moving out of home and going back to uni over the past couple of years, I’d managed to put my body last and gained some weight. I started the year determined to feel good about my body again.

Image: Google

Image: Google

I’ve toned-up a little, but I’ve given-up on weighing and measuring myself for the time-being. There’s so much more to losing weight then simply eating well and exercising, so I can’t expect miracles from my mostly-clean diet and 2 – 5 workouts a week.

Stress, hormones and sleep play a huge factor in losing weight. I’m pretty much constantly stressed and I’m not a great sleeper, so I know these factors are holding me back. I’m hoping that once I finish uni and begin a steadier work schedule that my stress levels will decrease and weight-loss will happen a little easier.

I’ve adjusted my goals slightly, instead of obsessing about the kilos and centimetres, I just want to feel better about myself and look better in my clothes. Around June, I started struggling to find time to get my uni and house work done, work and go to the gym so I decided to workout from home.

Image via @toneitup on Instagram (one of my favourite at-home-workout accounts)

Image via @toneitup (regram from @alix_tup) on Instagram (one of my favourite at-home-workout accounts)

Pinterest has been an amazing tool in helping me plan my at-home workout schedule. By having access to pre-designed workouts, I feel like I have a personal trainer!

Making the decision to workout from home means there’s no excuses and I’m exercising a lot more! If you want to get an idea of some of the great workout plans available for free on Pinterest, check out the pins on my Fitness board. 

If you’re going to use Pinterest to help plan your own workouts, make sure you look after yourself by choosing workouts that match your fitness level and be sure to always stretch before and after every workout.  Listen to your body, it’s OK to have a day-off if you’re sore and exhausted.

If you’re completely new to gym/PT/bootcamp style exercise (which most of the pins on my Fitness board are), it might be a good idea to chat to your doctor and make sure it’s right for you.

How are your New Year’s Resolutions going? Still on track or have you kicked them to the curb? Share your stories below, no judgement here! 🙂 


Stay in touch!

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Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics #SaveTheReef Event*

If you’re familiar with Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, you’d know that they specialise in all-natural, cruelty-free face and body care products.  You’re probably also aware that in addition to selling these products, Lush also regularly supports environmental and human rights causes.

When I heard that Lush was teaming-up with the charity 1 Million Women from 7 – 15 April to save the Great Barrier Reef, I knew that I needed to get involved.  Not only am I protective and proud of the reef as an Australian, but I also have a personal connection to it.

My husband and I snorkelled in the Great Barrier Reef on our honeymoon in 2012 and it was one of the best experiences of my life.  I’m not an adventurous person and I’ll probably never be brave enough to bungee jump or climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but something drew me to stepping outside my comfort zone and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef.

I remember sliding into the water tentatively.  For some reason, I expected to swim out for a few meters before we ‘got there’ and could see anything.

Too excited to wait, I put on my googles and peered into the water.  My heart leaped in my chest, the reef was right there!  Actually, I was amongst it!  I, a young woman from bustling Melbourne who had only ever seen the reef in photos, was surrounded by beautiful, multi-coloured coral and tiny fish!  It took my breath away.  I want everyone, from every generation, to be able to have that moment.

My husband and I before we explored the Great Barrier Reef in 2012.  Image: Cruise Whitsundays

My husband and I before we explored the Great Barrier Reef in 2012. Image: Cruise Whitsundays

Unfortunately, if we don’t intervene, future generations may not have much to see if they go snorkelling in the reef.  In addition to the negative effects of climate change, chemical run-offs and coral-bleaching, there are now threats of coastline industrialisation.

1 Million Women is encouraging the World Heritage Committee to list The Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” and protect it from the coal and gas ports which could destroy it.

I attended the Lush #SaveTheReef event on Wednesday 8th April as a media guest.  It goes without saying that while I was there I didn’t hesitate to sign a petition to support the campaign.

Lush staff members also taught us how to make the limited edition Life’s a Beach Body Scrub Powder (RRP AU $9.95).  All proceeds from sales of this product will be donated to 1 Million Women to support their Great Barrier Reef preservation campaign.  Check your local Lush store to see if they have any tubs left!

Lush staff members making a fresh batch of the #SaveTheReef campaign product – Life's A Beach Body Scrub Powder.

Lush staff members making a fresh batch of the #SaveTheReef campaign product – Life’s A Beach Body Scrub Powder.

The Lush staff invited us all to get in touch with our inner child and do some finger painting!  Yes, really!  We were all invited to show our support by leaving a finger print on a cardboard cutout of a piece of a coral hanging in the store window.

Making my mark to save the reef.

Making my mark to save the reef.

Although Lush’s in-store #SaveTheReef campaign is now finished, you can still make your mark by visiting the 1 Million website and signing the petition.  Please show your support for protecting this iconic Australian reef and all the sea life within it.

I would love to hear about your Great Barrier Reef experiences.  Feel free to connect with me via social media!

– Like on Facebook: here

– Follow on twitter: @ms_clairey_d

– Follow on Instagram: @claire.defreitas

*I was given a complimentary ticket to the Lush #SaveTheReef event as a media guest.  This has not influenced my views in any way.  Please read my PR & Disclosure Policy for more information.