Natural Instinct

In October last year I was sent some Natural Instinct products to try out………… I was under no obligation to post about them or anything like that. So please don’t assume this ! I had a routine initially (which I strictly stuck too for 8 weeks) I have loosened up on it for sure since then 🙈 but I still use the products in my daily routine just not as strictly !

The reason I wanted to do a blog post about it is because of its affordability whilst still being good for your body check this out! 👇🏻

My two favourite products from the range are pictured below

Facial scrub – RRP $10.99

Foaming Cleanser – RRP $10.99

The foaming cleanser I use daily and the scrub once or twice a week, I won’t go into ridiculous detail about how it makes my skin feel 😂 but it feels clean !!!!!!! And post scrub it feels soft 👌🏻

I have always had pretty good skin – but it has never been better than it is now 🤷🏻‍♀️ I cannot put it entirely down to this product (my eating has certainly improved since my weight loss surgery!) but I can definitely say it has helped it along !

I am 36 – this is non filtered and bare faced today (04/03/2019) I am ok with it !

When I was doing my regiment regime (morning and night) my skin was certainly more hydrated than it is today. The Restoring Night Cream (RRP – $23.99) helped those wrinkles on my forehead HEAPS.

And the Plump & Renew Serum is my best friend 😆 I swear this is what let’s me leave the house make-up free these days !!

Plump and Renew Serum – RRP $22.99 (comes in the box pictured below)

Also pictured below is the Dark Circle and Wrinkle Correction Eye Cream – RRP – $23.99 which I also use frequently.

Just to reiterate I do not have to do this blog post 😆 I really enjoy these products that are of a realistic price point for most people and are free of toxic sulphates, petrochemicals, Parabens and more (as per my first image!) Vegan and NOT tested on animals so all in all awesome ! 👌🏻🌿

Lastly the Skin Refining Cleansing Oil that I received a few weeks ago and showed on my Instagram stories – This stuff is liquid gold!

Skin Refining Cleansing Oil – RRP – $24.99

I had people ask about oil cleansing and whether it made me break out (being an oil and presuming it may block pores?) but I cannot stress how wrong that perception is. And also how easily it removes make-up !! Even waterproof mascara 👌🏻

My before and afters aren’t that remarkable to be honest but I definitely have softer healthier skin and I am smiling in my after photo 😆 And it is all about angles team 😆 I think it appears more hydrated and happier 👌🏻🌿

Natural Instinct products can be purchased from selected Countdown Stores , Pak-n-save Stores and New World Stores and also online through Pharmacy Direct.

This is not a sponsored blog post the product has however been gifted to me but I was under no obligation to share it ❤️ But as I love it and I would buy it without hesitation I have shared the love with you ! 🌿

Beck’s New Room

Here we go !

I am so excited – After almost 16 months of being here the ‘office’ / spare room / ‘room of shame’ it was dubbed that on IG 😂 is finally painted and styled for our son.

Cora and Beck have shared a room for the entire time we have been here but recently they have been little monkeys at bedtime and have been keeping each other awake 😬 So separate rooms it is ! Cora now has Lily’s bed in her room for when she stays. But otherwise not much has changed in there for her.

Beck has a Devine Liewood Mustard coloured canopy above his bed which was purchased from So Beau Baby. On his bed he has a gorgeous linen bedspread from Foxtrot Home (his Rust coloured linen pillowcase is also from here).

The beautiful Rainbow plaque from Moth & Co is a perfect addition to his room!

His bedside table (the tree trunk) is from Mocka. And the wee hippo friend that sits beside his bed is from Little Whimsy.

The gorgeous Rainbow pillow that sits beside his Bigfoot Stuffie is from Little Teapot Creations and it couldn’t be more perfect !

The gorgeous Quilt from Foxtrot Home is reversible and the quality is second to none ! Beck loves it !

My favourite wooden storage boxes from George and Willy have of course stayed in use !

Filled with random toys that keep little people entertained (Thomas tracks, trucks and cars and one for soft toys) His dresser is an oldie that we have had for years (not refurbished or anything – just normal marked, scratched wood 😆)

The 🙅🏻‍♀️ Grow Up picture is hung up in here again (it always will be a fave of mine !) and the watermelon Heico lamp I purchased second hand a few years ago has come out of storage for this space, along with my favourite Giraffe Head I purchased from Tea Pea Home at least five years ago. The $5 hanging pot from Kmart houses a ‘Wandering Jew’ plant I propagated from my mammoth mother plant 😆

The rug is a $29 Faux Mongolian skin from The Warehouse.

His gorgeous Homeday mini mod is from Dapper Mr Bear and is another classic piece we will have for ever.

The blinds (roller and Roman) are from Spotlight and super affordable.

The bookshelf I purchased secondhand years ago from friends and I have always held on to it – I adore it.

His toys are on display and easy to see so they get played with FAR more than when I stored them in a box his faves Thomas and friends and Duplo CARS.

And his Playmobil collection (with his ever special PJ Mask figurines 😆)

As you know we are big on play around here and we have a fabulous wee selection in these wee felt baskets !

Below we have (from top left clockwise)

Magnetic tiles from Kmart

Mirror Blocks from The Creative Toy Shop

Magnetic Wand and Metal rimmed counting chips from The Creative Toy Shop

Wee builders belt with tools and screws from a garage sale for $2

Grimms forest pieces from Little and Loved

Puzzles and puzzle holder from The Montessori Shop

I still have and will always have Beck’s gorgeous name plaque from Arlo & Co (pictured below) along with his Llama embroidery hoop from Arch & Co

His stunning print from Design By Morris & Cois chatted about frequently – his love of all things sea related makes this a perfect addition to his room.

I think he will know his name 😆

Gorgeous Birth cube from Stitchaholic (gifted to us by Katherine when Beck was born 😍)

Gorgeous personalised Birth Print from First Milestone

Personalised flag from This Paper Book.

Another embroidery hoop from Arch & Co.

Bunny Planter and succulent from The Warehouse.

Big Letter ‘B’ from Little Letter Lights Co a few years ago.

Fun fact ! Beck was almost an Arlo (I still love that name!) But Beck won for us in the end and he totally suits his name. We are both Beck fans (he was the original hipster – like before hipsters were a ‘thing’ ) look him up and have a listen if you are in your 20’s and have no idea who I am on about 😆

I hope you have enjoyed seeing Beck’s room ! I have had so much fun putting it together and it is a perfect space for our wee man. I love dreaming up a new space – I never tire of Cora’s bedroom (at least a year on I still LOVE everything in her room) and Beck’s will be no exception. One of my favourite things about social media is seeing how people style spaces, I don’t believe you need perfection to make a great space – well loved and old items feature in all the spaces in our home, and our house is not brand new nor perfect by any means. Along with higher end items we have Kmart and op shop finds in our home. A bit like my wardrobe 😂

Love and light ✨

Sue

Back to School

This year Cora is starting school, her school visits start in a few short weeks and then we will have a school kid on our hands. I remember from when Lily started school that we will be met with one very tired, over stimulated little girl while she settles in.

It is hard after the long leisurely summer to get back into the routine of school lunches and packing bags to get out the door on time. Countdown is here to help with their affordable range of products perfect to pop into the school lunches.

Like a lot of families, our children have bento-style lunchboxes. We use a Planetbox for our school lunches, so they’re almost rubbish free nowadays. Our kids are reasonably good eaters – we do struggle a little with fruit and vegetables, but on the most part we think they do ok. What we do put in the lunches each day has to stay fresh and new otherwise it gets left behind (I feel a collective sigh in agreement 😆) .

At the moment our kids are enjoying picking and eating the cherry tomatoes we planted for the summer, we also have been long term fans of both Mother Earth Baked Oaty Slices and Healtheries Potato Stix. These are both on price lockdown at Countdown to help fitting into the weekly back to school budget. Knowing how much a product is going to cost is peace of mind for families with big outlay costs for the start of the school year – new bags and stationary and uniforms, it all adds up.

Countdown also have a range of cheap stationary essentials so you can stock up in one go with your grocery shop.

What is your favourite ‘go to’ lunchbox filler? My kids love sandwiches and they aren’t into elaborate fancy food (yet……). So, a piece a fruit, a sandwich, some crackers, a Mother Earth Oaty Slice bar, and some yoghurt is pretty much standard. Well it has been whilst they have been at pre-school, time will only tell 👏🏻

 

 

Christmas Brandy Snaps

The lead up to Christmas is upon us and with it just around the corner, I’ve already started thinking about some of my go-to recipes to help make the big day easier. I’ve partnered with Countdown to share one of my favourite Christmas dessert’s. This one is an absolute classic and is an easy and affordable option – especially for larger families!

Introducing my special Brandy Snaps with passionfruit pulp infused cream. This one’s a real hit in my family!

I’ve included a couple of sneaky hacks to make preparation just that little bit easier.

The first is to use Countdown’s pre-made Brandy snaps, you can pick up a pack of 8 for just $3.50!

Then you whip cream and add Countdown’s canned passionfruit pulp in syrup (draining most of the excess liquid from it first)

Pipe into pre-made Countdown Brandysnaps!

 

Delicious and stress-free! (the added bonus is that it’s super affordable)

 Make your Christmas a lot less stress free and relaxed by having everything ready to go for after Christmas Lunch (or dinner) by shopping at Countdown this Christmas 👌🏻

Also another wee tip – every week from now on add a Christmas treat in with your weekly shop so the ‘Christmas Food Shop’ isn’t as big!

Let me know of any easy hacks you have.

Sue xxx

Period Poverty in New Zealand

Is it that time of the month again, is old Aunt flo is visiting, are you on the rag, is it moon time, or perhaps you’re checking into the Red Roof Inn?

All of these are ways of referring to something that every woman gets, their period. It’s incredible that although every woman gets it, it’s still such a taboo topic to talk about it publicly. This is a topic that is often met with hushed tones and often makes people feel embarrassed. Ok I get it, not everyone wants to shout from the rooftops that they are menstruating, but seriously team… we all know it is part of life and we all deal with it in different ways, we shouldn’t be embarrassed about it. If anything, I think now is the time we started talking about it.

We should start talking about it because it may shock you to learn, but there is a thing called ‘Period Poverty’ here in New Zealand. After doing some research, I was so sad to find that girls as young as 10 have been using socks stuffed with newspaper or torn sheets to protect their dignity and some simply have not been attending school or work at all to save themselves the embarrassment and worry of insufficient protection.

Having read a study from overseas on this topic women, who have experienced ‘Period Poverty’ (or lack of access to sanitary items) are more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression, struggle to pay their bills and have an unfulfilling love life. We know that lack of money and education is often the cause of this issue and whilst there are always going to be hurdles for some people, there are going to be people who want to help.

To help make sanitary items more accessible and affordable for women across New Zealand, Countdown have dropped the price on a range of their Homebrand and Select sanitary products. They’re now as low as $2 per pack, which makes it easier to throw in the trolley during a weekly show so that people can equip themselves with an absolute household essential – and hopefully be able to build up a stash of products for when ‘that time of the month’ occurs.

When’s even better is that there is no compromise on quality even though these products have dropped in price.

Now I know that the conversation will happen, so I am going to say it first – Yes, these are single-use sanitary items. HOWEVER, I feel that this is one area we should relax about. I truly feel that no woman in New Zealand, young or old, should have to feel bad for needing to use single-use sanitary items to protect themselves. I am 100% with you on this campaign Countdown.

With that being said, I think it’s also important to mention that Countdown will also be stocking Menstrual cups in selected stores across New Zealand to give people a more environmentally friendly option if they choose to – and I’m so delighted about it.

Sue 🌿

Breaking the Fast

As many of you will know I have had a gastric sleeve operation on my stomach – which means that I have to (I literally NEED to) be very aware of what I eat these days to keep my energy levels consistent and my body and mind healthy.

Harraways have an exciting new product that I have been eating for the past week as part of my morning routine. Harraways Oat-activ® oats offer a double action in reducing cholesterol absorption from beta-glucan (naturally found in oats) and added plant sterols which are proven to reduce cholesterol absorption when you have two sachets of Harraways Oat-activ® as part of your daily intake of 3g beta glucan or 2g plant sterols. When used as part of your daily diet it really does help!

My diet is very low fat and low carb purely because my stomach struggles with heavy carbs and fats can make me feel rather ill,  I also need to consume a high amount of protein which is yet another reason I am obsessed with these oats – they are a source of fibre and protein with no added salt!

I have also made raw snacking balls with Harraways Oats-activ® treats, so at work I have been enjoying them as a mid morning and afternoon snack,  you don’t have to just use them for porridge to take advantage of the health benefits!

If you want to try and create your own breakfast and snack options with the Harraways Oat-activ® oats, you can find them in selected New World & Pak N Save supermarkets or comment below with your favourite oat recipe and go in the draw to win a 2 month supply of the new Harraways Oat-Activ® flavours to try (4 x Original and 4 x Original with Cranberry).

Thanks to ​Harraways​ for sponsoring this content. I have enjoyed Harraways since I was a child and for me they are a trusted and familiar brand.

Sue

Loss – the good kind…….

Hi!!

It has been a bloody long time since I have ‘blogged’ – I lost a lot of motivation last year which has reappeared finally (working 50 hour weeks all summer was also a factor in my loss of motivation 😆) ANYWAY!!

Here is my ‘post op’ blog post – which I have been asked to write and I have promised I would write !

I was ‘sleeved’ (term used by gastric sleeve bypass patients) on the 30th May by Stephen Kelly from Christchurch WLS.

On the morning of the operation I was naturally nervous, however I was also extremely ready for what was about to happen, as stated in my last blog post (it was a decision I had mulled over for years and hadn’t taken lightly….) I spent two nights following surgery in a private hospital which was really lovely – I was a bit of a mess with some of the drugs messing me around but I was soon feeling pretty much normal and ready to leave !

The following weeks I was tired and my body was readjusting but it was nothing I couldn’t handle and my parents and husband were fabulous and helped me with the little ones and let me snooze some afternoons #bliss 😆

A few times shortly after surgery I made mistakes with eating foods I could no longer tolerate – which ended up with me rushing to the loo to be ill,  believe me some foods that I wasn’t expecting to be a problem really were ! Generally though I can eat most foods I want to now just smaller amounts of them! Also my taste buds have changed dramatically and the food I used to crave and delight in no longer interest me 💁🏻‍♀️ Surgery does more than just change your stomach pouch size!

I have lost 26.5kgs – I now sit within the ‘normal’ BMI (I know, I know BMI SCHMEEMI ……..) But it feels great to be here regardless.

I am living again and I am confident and happy 🙌🏻 I struggled with energy levels a couple of months ago but have adjusted my vitamin intake a bit and now receive monthly B12 injections which have made a huge difference.

C7719733-5B97-49EB-984C-E6ED4C0D68A9.jpeg My body isn’t perfect at all – I have saggy boobs a flabby tummy and I don’t think I will ever feel ‘HOT’ 😂 But that wasn’t what I wanted – truly – I wanted to be able to wear shorts and a t-shirt and not think twice about leaving the house in them, anyone who hasn’t had a weight problem will probably think I am insane – but my self confidence because of my weight was incredibly low and it affected my day to day life. I was also dying to get into my leather jacket and brown belt and jeans…………..

Since surgery I have been more active and challenged myself, kayaking and canyoning, horse riding (I rode and owned horses for years and I miss it so much !)

I am celebrating life and I can’t even find the words to rightly express how much having surgery has changed my world. I am a better wife and mother because I am happier !

Any questions just ask! I am very open about my surgery and I have ZERO shame in my decision to change my life 🙌🏻 I scribbled out my face in this pic as I couldn’t even look at them back then 🙈

Live and let live ✌🏻

Sue 🌿