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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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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– Follow on Instagram: @claire.defreitas

– Follow on Pinterest: @msthisnthatblog

 

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!

– Like on Facebook: here

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– Follow on Instagram: @claire.defreitas

– Follow on Pinterest: @msthisnthatblog

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.

2015 Resolutions Progress Report

Image: Google

Image: Google

I started the year with a lot of enthusiasm to make changes to my life.  You might remember this enthusiasm from posts such as ‘My 2015 Resolutions,’ ‘How I’m Making My Resolutions a Reality Part 1: Eating Less and Exercising More’ and ‘How I’m Making My Resolutions a Reality Part 2: Reducing Wardrobe Stress.’  If you read that last sentence in The Simpsons’ Troy McClure’s voice, I salute you.

One of the many promises I made myself was to blog about my progress here monthly to keep myself accountable…that did not happen.  This is my first 2015 progress report post.  Apologies if you’ve been hanging out for updates.

So what took me so long?  Have I failed spectacularly and thrown in the towel a quarter of the way through the year?  I am very pleased to say “no.”  I’ve been very goal-orientated all year and I’m feeling like I’m in a much better place emotionally than I was in 2014.

My progress has had a lot of up-and-downs though and I just haven’t been ready to put everything on virtual paper.  Instead I’ve stuck to fun posts like event recaps, products reviews and book reviews.

Let me finally update you on my progress for each resolution:

  • To eat less junk food and exercise more.

I have managed to do more exercise and eat less junk food every, single week this year so far and I am so proud of that.  There hasn’t been one week when I didn’t get to the gym at least twice (my goal is get there five times a week) and I’ve been planning (and prepping) all my meals in advance using the menu planner I discussed in this post.  

Dealing with emotional eating is still a constant struggle and I know that it sets me back.  I can eat all the right meals and do the hard work at the gym and still crave a bowl of ice cream or too much chocolate after dinner.  The influx of chocolately gifts into our house after Easter didn’t help either.

My weight and measurements have gone down and up again.  I know that, as a woman, hormones play a big factor but I wish I was seeing more obvious results.

Starting today I’m going to really focus on beating my emotional eating habit and ensure that I’m feeding my sweet tooth with healthier options such as Greek yogurt with berries, a small portion of dark chocolate or fruit.

I’m also going to try adding more cardio to my fitness regime and see if that helps.

  • To maintain a better work/life balance. 

Considering I teach part-time, study part time and do the majority of the home duties, I think I’m doing pretty well in this area.  I’ve stuck to cutting back my hours at work, which has allowed me more time to complete my uni assignments at a relaxed pace.

My social life is suffering though and I find it difficult to find the time or energy to go out for a girls’ night.  I spend a lot of my Saturday nights catching-up on homework, wanting to cry every time I check Facebook and see all the fun things my friends are doing.  I know this needs to change.  I need to find more time for fun.

  • To make more time for ‘me’: meditation, Reiki, adequate sleep and pampering.

I’m slowly learning to schedule ‘me time’ and my mental health is thanking me for it.

I don’t meditate enough though.  Whenever I do it I feel amazing, but I always manage to forget to schedule time for it.  This needs to change.

Reiki is a part of my daily life and keeps me sane.

I’ll never be a good sleeper, but I’m learning to force myself to go to bed before midnight on work nights, and as a result I’m feeling much more energised in the morning.

Pampering also keeps me sane, as crazy as that sounds.  I especially enjoy the sort of pampering where you don’t need to talk; it’s almost a kind of meditation for me.  I’ve started investing in weekly massages, which both my back and mind are loving, and I want to start adding monthly facials to my budget and routine.

  • To reduce wardrobe (i.e. I have NOTHING to wear!) stress.

This is probably the resolution I’m doing best at achieving.  I’ve cleared out my wardrobe of any clothes that weren’t serving me anymore and filled it with clothes that make me look and feel great at my current shape and size.

My Outfit Planner, as discussed in this post, has helped me immensely and I still use it every day.  This proves to me that an organised life is a happy life.

  • To graduate university.

I’m getting great marks so far.  If I keep up the good work, I’m sure this will happen.

  • To continue to run a flourishing business and find new ways to make it better.

So far, so good!  I’m not going to go into detail because I’m not here to brag, but I know that the positives of both my blog and my teaching business’ growth this year outweigh the negatives.  Considering that finishing university needs to be my first priority right now, I’m really happy with that.

So that brings me to the end of my first 2015 Progress Report.  Hopefully it won’t take me four months to write another one!

Before writing this post I was feeling pretty disappointed with myself for not losing more weight by now.  After assessing the progress of all my resolutions, I see that I’m actually doing pretty well with making changes to my life.  I kind of feel proud actually!

Since my study, business, mental health and style goals are going pretty well, I feel ready to give my diet the focus I need.  Surely this will help me as I work towards feeling better in my own skin.

How are your resolutions going?  I’d love to hear about them!  Comment below or contact me via social media.  If you feel like you’re back at square one, pick yourself up and try again!

There are eight months of this year left, let’s make them great!  We can do this!

Image: Google

Image: Google

Book Chat: January – February 2015

[Image from Google]

[Image from Google]

Welcome to a new feature on my blog: ‘Book Chat!’

As my regular readers know I love to read books in my spare time and listen to e-books in the car.  The title is pretty much self explanatory but in my new monthly ‘Book Chat,’ I’ll be listing the books I enjoyed that month and giving a quick review.  I’m always looking for new books to enjoy and I would love your suggestions!

It Was Me All Along: A Memoir by Andie Mitchell (Unabridged Audiobook) 

  • Genre: Autobiography.
  • How I found out about it: an article that randomly appeared in my Facebook newsfeed (i.e modern day serendipity.)
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for $30.99.
  • I would recommend it to: anyone who is, on or has ever been, on a weightloss/health-gain journey.
  • Quick Review: Successful thirty year old food blogger Andie Mitchell, who has lost 136 kilograms (300 pounds), shares the story of her life so far.  Mitchell eloquently shares how her life experiences shaped her complicated relationship with food and her self-image.  As regular readers know from my previous posts, I am currently trying to loose some weight that I gained last year.  As a self-confessed emotional eater who has been through my share of difficult times, this book spoke to me on a personal level and was very inspiring.
  • Rating: 5/5 stars.

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dreams by Paulo Coelho (Unabridged Audiobook) 

  • Genre: Fiction/Inspirational.
  • How I found out about it: An Oprah interview with Pharell on the Foxtel TLC channel, in which they discussed it.
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for $29.99.
  • I would recommend this to: People doubting the validity of their goals (and who doesn’t from time to time?)
  • Quick Review: Through a young boy’s quest to find his treasure, Pablo Coelho explores finding and following one’s dreams.  As a discussed in my very first post, I’m going through a quarter life crisis and needed a reminder that I have plenty of time to reach my goals.  This book did the job.
  • Rating: 3/5 stars

My Life So Far by Jane Fonda (Abridged Audiobook)

  • Genre: Autobiography.
  • How I found out about it: Another Oprah interview, this time with Jane Fonda of course.
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for $29.99
  • I woud recommend this to: EVERYONE.
  • Quick Review: As a twenty-something woman, I only knew Jane Fonda as an actress and a pre-Facebook fitspo. This book educated me about the many other sides to this fascinating woman: survivor of a difficult, complicated childhood; political activist; feminist; director; producer; mother; grandmother and new Christian.  If you already knew about some or all of these sides to Fonda, I’m sure the book will give you insight into why she made certain choices and a behind-the-scenes (no pun intended) look at her career and relationships.  My only criticism of the audiobook is that it’s abridged, I think I will need to read the full book in the future to check out any details I missed.  I have a new-found respect for this inspirational woman and the book left me wanting to watch all her films.
  • Rating: 4/5 stars

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran (Unabridged Audiobook)

  • Genre: Fiction
  • How I found out about it: Featured a Caitlin Moran quote in this post, researched who she is and found her books.
  • Where I bought it: iTunes for $32.99
  • I would recommend it to: I think every woman has something to learn from this book.
  • Quick Review:  I have read teenage fiction since I was about ten years old.  Since I feel that life is a big learning experience and adolescence never really ends, I still enjoy a good teen read every now and then.  This book contains explicit language, sex scenes and drug references, so it should probably be recommended to people fifteen years and older.  How to Build a Girl tells the story of Johanna Morrigan’s self-discovery during her teenage years as she turns herself into gothic bad girl Dolly Wild.  I loved this book because it perfectly captures how exciting, confusing and terrifying being a teenage girl is.  I could certainly relate to several of Johanna’s cringeworthy moments, as I’m sure many other readers would.  I really hope that this book is developed into a film.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What books did you read last month? Any recommendations for me?  Or, have you read any of these books?

Comment below to keep the Book Chat going!

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Keep in touch!

RECIPE: Cornbread Pizza

Ever since I included eating better in my New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve been discovering lots of delicious, healthy recipes.  I’ve been sharing my creations on social media and they’ve been receiving lots of attention; so I thought, why not share some of my favourite recipes with my readers?

Let’s face it, everyone loves pizza.  For me it holds special cultural significance due to my Italian background.  Eating pizza reminds me of family gatherings in my childhood when my Nonna would make massive platters of her famous secret recipe pizza which we would all dive into.  Unfortunately, store bought or restaurant pizzas are often covered in fattening toppings and white pizza dough isn’t a great staple food for the carb conscious.

In the past I’ve attempted to make pita bread pizzas as a healthier alternative, but it’s just not the same as a crispy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside ‘real’ pizza base.

When I stumbled across a recipe for Gluten-Free Vegan Pizza Crust on the Move Nourish Believe website, I was inspired to see if I could come up with something similar.  Please note that my pizza crust recipe is not vegan, as I used Greek yogurt as an alternative to yeast for extra fluffiness.  If you want fluffy vegan crust you could add a teaspoon of baking soda and/or a dash of soda water; adjusting recipes is all about experimenting to find what works!

As I’ve never made dough before, and healthier ingredients can be quite temperamental, I was terrified that I would fail spectacularly at making a healthier pizza, but I was very happy with the result!  Just like a traditional pizza, this recipe is full of flavour and very filling.

Go on, try it yourself!

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Cornbread Pizza [makes about 8 slices] 

INGREDIENTS 

THE BASE

  • 2 handfuls of roasted sweet potato slices
  • 1 cup of corn flour
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Sprinkle of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of LSA powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Mixed Herbs
  • 3 tablespoons of Greek yogurt

THE TOPPINGS

You can recreate any of the traditional favourites or try something new.  I gave my pizza a gourmet twist by using left over Moroccan Tofu Tagine from the night before.  You can see the recipe here (please note I substituted the chicken in the original recipe for tofu and I didn’t use beans.)

I also added a handful of lean leg ham and a handful of grated mozzarella.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. In a good quality blender or food processor, mash the roasted sweet potato slices (I used the small jug of my Ninja Food Processor.)
  3. In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of LSA with 4 tablespoons of water.  Put it aside to sit for five minutes.
  4. In large bowl, combine the mashed sweet potato with the soaked LSA, corn flour, quinoa flakes salt, pepper and mixed herbs.  Stir to combine.  The mixture should be a little bit dry but sticking together slightly.
  5. Stir through three tablespoons of Greek Yogurt.
  6. Spread the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Aim for a medium sized round pizza and make the edges a little thicker than the centre to hold your toppings in place and create a delicious crust!
  7. Sprinkle your toppings of choice evenly over the pizza base.  I spread the Morrocan Tofu Tagine over the base first then sprinkled the ham and mozzarella on top.  Add an extra sprinkle of salt and pepper, if you wish.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the toppings and edges of the base are crisp.
  9. Once slightly cooled, slice and enjoy your healthy pizza! Nom nom nom nom.
Tried to get a close-up of the deliciousness.

Tried to get a close-up of the deliciousness.

Let me know if you try out the recipe!  Would love to hear your thoughts and see some pics of your creations!

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Keep in touch!