Tag Archives: summer

Summer tips!

So with summer just around the corner, a lot of friends are starting to work towards their summer body.

Or if your like me, your trying to shift those last couple of baby kilos.

I know I’ve posted some foods calorie counts previously to help with weight loss goals.

Below I’ve listed a few easy ‘switches’ that can help you achieve these goals sooner!

Always remember to achieve your weight loss goals, eat healthy and your still allowed ‘cheat meals’ or snacks on occasion. With all weight loss, it is recommended that some exercise is included. Be it a walk or a class of some sort or simply running around with your children.

You can loose weight with a strict diet and without exercise however exercise will speed up the process and you will get results sooner!

Not to mention feel better as exercise releases endorphins and will give you more energy and a heather mind.


Switch a full cream milk in your flat white (123 calories) to skim milk flat white (68 calories)

Switch 100g of roast duck (313 calories) for 100g of roast chicken (152 calories)

Switch a can of lemonade (124 calories) for a diet lemonade (2 calories) – or even better sparkling water (0 calories)

Switch a pita bread pocket (190 calories) for a slice of Mountain Bread (75 calories)

Switch a glass of tonic water (135 calories) for a glass of soda water (0 calories)

Switch a 100ml scoop of Connoisseur
Vanilla ice cream (224 calories) for the same size scoop of Peter’s Light and Creamy Vanilla (75 calories)

Switch a tablespoon of regular cottage cheese (45 calories) for a tablespoon of low fat cottage cheese (26 calories)

Switch 80g of mashed potato (85 calories) for 80g of mashed cauliflower (19 calories)

Switch a tablespoon of sour cream (70 calories) for a tablespoon of fat free Greek yoghurt (13 calories)

Switch a cup of regular soy milk (185 calories) for a cup of light soy milk (95 calories)

Another tip – always read the labels of food as sometimes when something is low or no fat, it has a higher sugar count.

And what happens if we don’t burn the sugar ??? It turns to fat!

Styling your home?

Styling your home!

Like our fashion our homes reflect our personality. Dressing or styling our home is very much like styling our homes.

We choose what we like and not always what we should ‘wear’ or ‘dress’ our homes in.

There are many different styles for our homes and the ideas and options are never ending.

Most people go neutral and keep it ‘safe’. That’s not always a bad thing but remember your home is reflecting your style. Express yourself.

Whether you want to break all the rules or remain true to your home’s specific architectural style, hopefully my tips below can help you decide what styles you favour and how to pull a ‘space’ together by incorporating one (or more!) decorating styles within your home!

Your style should really be a reflection of your lifestyle .

Do You Have More Than One Style?
People are complex, and so are design styles. Take tips from your favourite TV shows, watch renovation program’s and steal their ideas. Providing you like them 🙂 I also use Houzz app on my iPhone and Pinterest to gain ideas!

Even if you know your style, or the style that you want for your home, it’s easy to get side tracked and make rushed purchases or decisions that turn out to be a mistake. Keeping to what you really like is key. This will also help save money in those spate if the moment purchases.

I find that making a ‘mood’ board very helpful. Ask for fabric samples when you see something you like. Take photos where you can then stick them on your mood board to see if you do actually like it when it’s together and if the pieces you have chosen work well together in your space.

Making lists will help to keep you on track with decorating. Once you’ve defined the style you want, clarify your needs and evaluate your surroundings. Lists also help prevent purchasing too much furniture or accessories for your space.

Shopping online can be a great way to browse, learn and save. I prefer to go into stores so that I can feel fabrics and textures along with ‘testing’ the product for it’s comfort etc.

Ok, so maybe your moving in with your partner and sent to create a discs that works for you both, however your spouse is contemporary yet you love traditional. Or maybe you recently married and need to combine households.

Below are some tips can help both partners live in decorating harmony, even those with opposing likes and tastes.

Mixing Styles can be easy if you choose it to be. If you like a little bit of everything, or wish to combine elements of several styles, try to stick with a simple couloir pallet. Too much colour with too many styles can get messy and look like it’s ‘thrown’ together or rushed. You don’t want your home to make you feel uncomfortable. Yes styles can be mixed but if your mixing say eclectic and traditional, try to use similar colours to blend the styles. You want to choose furnishings and decor to create a room that flows and works together.

I’ve listed below a few different styles to help you define and understand your style a little better.

Coastal / Beachy
If you love the comfortable and airy feel of coastal homes, you can bring the beach home with you, add soft flowing fabrics, neutral colours with hues of blue, perhaps some yellow.
Think Ralph Lauren cross ship in the night.
Nautical with a twist.
Typical characteristics of a Coastal style :
Ocean and sky blue colour hues.
White as a predominate colour perhaps wall colour.
Light-reflecting materials such as glass or mirrors, these also help to make a space feel larger or give the feeling of openness.
Rattan, sea grass, bamboo, cane or teak, helps the space feel earthy and ‘holiday home’ like.
Nautical and natural or “found” decor
Natural fibers such as linen, sisal, jute, and cottons.
Easy-care floors such as tile or hardwood, think high traffic and easy to clean.
Weather-beaten or distressed woods, this helps to make the space feel as though it has character and that the piece has a story to tell.

Art Deco
Art deco design is traditionally formal and controlled, however at the same time is sophisticated and a bit flamboyant. The combination of these contradictory elements is what makes art deco so appealing and has endure the test of time.

Typical characteristics of an Art Deco space:
The use of rectilinear and symmetrical forms along with stylized shapes.
Sharp edges along with bold, accentuated curves.
Reflective surfaces and the use of mirrors.
The repetitive use of geometric shapes combined to make stepped designs and patterns, use multiple geometric fabrics on your chairs and it cushions but contrast them in either colour or shape – ie navy on white cushions with perhaps stripes or zig zag pattern.
Luxurious materials such as exotic woods, inlays, gold and chrome, also dark colour timber feels luxurious.
Aztec and Egyptian influences including the ziggurat, the sunburst and the electric bolt.
Evocative lighting that emits a sophisticated mood, dimmed lights or bold lamp shades.
Bold colors with sharp contrasts, though black and white and neutrals are also popular and easy to work together.

If you like calm and comfortable and steer clear of flashy or cluttered decor, the traditional style may be for you. Timeless and classic in design, the traditional style is the most popular decorating and design style in many homes today.
Typical characteristics of Traditional space:
Warm or dark wood tones. Think cherry, mahogany, walnut stains on timber.
Soft, warm, mid-range color palette, rose pinks, greys, taupe and browns.
Focus on symmetry and repetition, keep the sane amount of cushions in each end of your couch.
Extensive use of moulding, on either your ceilings or around mirrors, kitchens almost like framing.
Semi-formal yet comfortable appeal, the space is comfy to sit in yet could also host a meeting.
Embellishments such as tassels, trims and skirted furnishings, but nothing baroque. Use these as accents for curtains and pillows.
Understated decor with classic, straight lines, not too much furniture in these rooms keeping it minimal and key the accents create the interest.
Windows are dressed with curtains or shades that are deep in colour and block out light.
Carefully controlled clutter such as books, family photos in classic frames, art and displayed collections of ‘trinkets’
Soft patterns or plaids again as accents perhaps used in a throw or cushions.

Cottage or Shabby Chic
This might be for you if you gravitate toward vintage and sentimental elements and are looking for a decorating style that will make a comfortable and family friendly home.
Typical characteristics of a Cottage space:
Slipcovered, overstuffed furnishings, big lounges that liked ‘lived in’ and it oversized.
Soft color palette using pale greens, pale pinks, pale blues, soft grays, creams and white.
Painted and/or distressed furnishings and decor. Again these look like they have a story to tell.
Fresh flowers and florals in Patel colours.
Vintage or handmade items, not too many vibrant colours but also try use a pop of colour.
Tea-stained or faded fabrics, think calico or raw linen colours.
Architectural detailings – moldings, columns, etc – often reused in unique ways.
Painted or rusted wrought iron furniture, chair backs, dining stools, vases etc.

If you like bold furnishings or prefer a room with artistic flair, take a look at contemporary style. Sophisticated, clean lines and dramatic finishes are all elements of this style.
Typical characteristics of a Contemporary space:
Neutral color palette with “pops” of bold colour.
Clean lines and smooth surfaces.
Soft curves, but avoids the ornate or ornamental.
Reflective materials such as chrome, steel and glass. As stated before, using mirrors will also make your space feel larger as mirror reflects light and will appear more spacious.
Natural fabrics with a focus on texture and tone. Think raw linen with wool or knitted cushions.
Use of black and/or white.
Geometric patterns or shapes
Sleek cabinetry and lighting (built-ins, recessed). Beige, no mouldings etc.

Contemporary is often confused with Modern but actually the two are very different styles, although both tend to favour simple, uncluttered spaces with smooth, clean lines. The Modern style is an older style that originated during the late 19th century, but from whom Contemporary design derived some of its ideas.

Country style may not be what you think. American flags, Shaker chairs and hearts make up only a small part of this vast style. This style was birthed in the high courts of European royalty, so country-style furnishings and decor are often quite refined.
These elegant but comfortable and utilitarian roots give basic varieties of country style decorating today. Though these varieties are considered distinctive styles, they share many of the same characteristics. Muted colors, handmade furnishings and accessories, and patterns such as chunky checks, stripes and florals or hand-woven fabrics are all elements of the country style.

American Country
There are quite a few fans of this decorating style, and quite a few variants within this class of decorating. A cluttered, Americana style is commonly thought of when one says “country style,” with emphasis on comfort, warmth and lots (and lots!) of charming decor items. The original American Country style was simple, and celebrated the idea of craftsmanship with clean lines and handmade furnishings. Think of Shaker, Amish, or Arts and Crafts style furnishings. This type of American Country style is still very popular today.

English Country
English Country is a more formal decorating style than American Country, but is still more relaxed than one would have once seen at court. The emphasis is on detailing and elegance, with a comfortable twist. Think of Chester sofas, traditional oil paintings, plaids and garden-inspired patterns, and carved detailing in furnishings and decor.

French Country
Also known as the French Provincial style, French Country appears, at first glance, much like the English Country style, though French Country has its own distinct elements. French Country furnishings appear “lighter” than English, with delicate curves. Though French Country may contain natural elements, it doesn’t incorporate nature as heartily as the English style. Think wrought iron, toile fabrics, plaster walls, roughened wood, images of roosters or other farm life, and natural stone.

Spanish Country
One of the boldest styles in country decorating, Spanish style focuses on vivid but earthy colors, natural woods and art. Think exposed beams, plaster or stucco walls, hand-painted pottery and tiles, soft curves and hand-carved furnishings and decor. Religious icons and shapes, such as statues or crosses, are also common elements of Spanish style furnishings and decor.

Tuscan (or Italian) Country
Currently one of the most celebrated styles of country decorating, the Tuscan Country style often melts the line between indoors and out. Think warm, earthy colors, terra cotta, exposed stone and brick, wrought iron, uncovered windows, natural woods and rough plaster walls. The main inspiration behind this style is found in the Italian people themselves – unpretentious, warm, comfortable and celebratory.

Eclectic Style Decorating
If you love to mix and match and have a flair for pulling it all together, check out the eclectic decorating style. If you love a variety of styles but have trouble making it work in your space, don’t worry – we can help with that too!
Typical characteristics of an Eclectic style space:
Calm mix of periods and styles
Neutral background colors
Unexpected use of materials and/or items
Uniqueness in art and furnishings
A “pulling together” through pattern, shape, texture, finish or color
Lack of clutter – everything has its place
Old easily mixed in with new
Handmade items or items with sentimental value

French Country
Casual elegance, sunny splashes of color, and an emphasis on natural and rustic accessories can remind you of your summers in France, or make you feel like you spent them there!

Interiors that incorporate a global style – exotic colors, artwork, crafts and furnishings – evoke an eclectic, vibrant feeling. Think large artworks if famous buildings, national flag prints on cushions or throws, duvet covers in maps, taxidermy animals. Think ‘global traveller’.

Industrial style in interiors is similar to what it sounds like – a look that celebrates the industrial aspect of our lives. Think raw materials, steel, rust, black, chunky, exposed ceilings, exposed brick almost like an old warehouse.

Any style that has its origins along the Mediterranean coast has to be beautiful. If you love bright coastal colors and rooms with an exotic flair, Mediterranean style may be for you.

This is an often misunderstood style, but a beautiful one with its roots strongly grounded in the arts and architecture. The modern style is a perfect decorating choice for those who like simple, uncluttered spaces with clean lines and a lack of fussy adornments.

Tropical Island
One of the most misunderstood styles, a room decorated tropical island style is not necessarily filled with fake palm trees and Hawaiian prints. The tropical island style is actually an elegant style that celebrates the customs and colors of the Pacific Island people.

Typical characteristics of a Tropical Island style space:
Bright colors and patterns, especially tropical or woven.
Barkcloth, linen, sailcloth or canvas fabrics.
Native decorations such as masks and other carved decor.
Rattan, sea grass, bamboo, cane or teak.
Tropical plants and flowers inside and out.
Hardwood, concrete or tile flooring.
Sisal or jute rugs.
Dark or weathered woods.
Handcrafted items, think grandmas pottery vase hand painted.
Nautical decor.


Keeping summer ready in the cooler seasons.

So summer is almost over and the cooler weather is settling in.

This means multiple things to gals like me.

1. Warm comfy baggy clothing
2. Yummy delicious comfort food
3. Stay inside and snuggle on the couch
4. Being fairly inactive and watching lots of movies / TV

So what am I going to change?

Firstly I’m going to play around with some new meal ideas that are not only yummy but better for me. Comfort food does not have to be unhealthy nor greasy nor hard!

I love a chili con carne just as much as anyone else so below is my easy, low fat but extremely delicious recipe.

Chili Con Carne

1kg lean beef mince
2 x medium eggs
1 x 400g tin kidney beans
1 x 400g tin chick peas
1 x 400g tin white beans
1 x 400g tin black beans
1/2 x cup tomato paste
1 x teaspoon minced garlic
1 x red chili finely sliced
Salt n pepper to taste

Lightly brown the mince on a medium heat adding the 2 raw eggs – the eggs add extra protein but also keep the mince fluffy and less dense.
Drain all the beans and give a rinse before adding into mince.
Add tomato paste mix well.
Add chili, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve by itself, with some flat bread or with couscous.


My next change is to be / stay active!

Even when the weather permits nice walks outside. There are still many indoor activities that can be done to get moving and stay active.

These can include :

Lunges – side and front.
Side lunge –

This is easy simply stand with legs apart – approx. a little wider than shoulder width.

Keeping your body upright and shoulders back slightly bend your knees.

Gradually turn your toes outward.

Leaning your weight over your right knew first then back to your centre standing upright then repeat 10 times.

After you have done 10 on the right leg swap to your left leg and again repeat 10 times.

Do this until you have done 3 sets on each leg.

Front lunges –

Stand with legs again a little over shoulder width apart. Twist your body and feet to face the left side.

Keeping your balance bend left knee to a little above 90 degree angle.

Keep back leg straight.

Gently lower your body placing the weight on your back toe bending the front knee.

Keep your body upright at all times and don’t add too much pressure on your bent knee.

Place your hands on your hips for stability.

Lower yourself 10 times counting 3 seconds down then 3 seconds back up to upright position. Repeat 3 times then swap legs.

Do the same on the other leg again 3 x 10 front lunges.

Marching on the spot

Remember to breathe

Keeping your feet facing forward

Back straight and tummy in

Lift each knee to a 90 degree angle pointing your toe as you lift the knee as to march on the spot

Do for 10mins rest for 60 seconds then repeat another 10 mins twice so that you have done 30mins marching

Although these exercises are pretty simple, they are effective and will keep your energy levels up during the cooler season and keeps your legs and bottom firm for summer.

Adding a light weight whilst marching on the spot – this can be as simple as holding 2 x tins of food. Just make sure the tins are the same weight.

Whilst marching hold the weight / tin at your thigh facing your palm towards your body.

As you lift your knee slightly turn your opposite palm outwards and curl at the elbow – instant bicep curl.

Repeat with other arm remembering to keep your tummy in and alternate arms raising left leg with right arm then right leg with left arm.

This will keep those arms tight and singlet ready!

If your feeling a little more active you can try  skipping.

Skipping –

Providing you have high ceilings.

Get a skipping rope from your local toy store – most will still sell them or even buy approx. 2 meters of any type of rope from the hardware store – with the hardware store bought rope – tie a knot in each end to use as handles – this will help steady the grip.

Skipping takes me back to the school yard at lunch times playing with my friends. Skipping is high intensity and you will see results in your fitness and energy levels.

You can do any of the above exercises in the comfort of your baggy clothes and in front if your movie / TV…

Just remember moving burns calories – assisted weight will burn more calories – DO NOT PUSH YOURSELF THOUGH – IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY PAIN OR DISCOMFORT STOP STRAIGHT AWAY AND CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR.

Keeping summer ready all year round is easy. Give it a try.

More exercise tips can be found at the below link. Shape magazine is awesome for easy effective workouts that are far from boring!





A rainy summers day!

A rainy summer day – blog

I enjoy beautiful things.

However I am also aware of the old saying ‘beauty lays in the eye of the beholder’ – therefore I understand that what I believe is beautiful may not appeal or be beautiful to others.

Weather you follow my blog because you like what I write, you like my images, you like my tips / recipes or stories. Whatever the reason you continue to follow – I thank you and hope that my blog makes you smile.