Eat Your Way to Glowing Skin

You are what you eat, right? Well, so is our skin, so forget buying expensive lotions and potions. A healthy complexion is easy to achieve just by improving our internal health and eating a balanced diet.

But which foods are best for glowing skin? Nature’s Own Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist, Kate Save shares her expert insights into the three essential nutrient groups – and which foods to eat – that will leave you with clean, youthful-looking skin. Just think of this as your clear skin diet.

1.       Support skin synthesis and strengthening with key minerals

Zinc is an essential mineral that assists in developing cell membranes and repairing damaged tissues. It’s also shown to help resolve acne by controlling the production of the skin’s oil. Six per cent of the body’s zinc is in the skin, so eating zinc-rich foods can help maintain and enhance healthy skin.

What to eat: Red meat, scallops, pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, or oysters.

Silica and Selenium are trace minerals necessary for achieving and maintaining good skin health. Silica strengthens the connective tissues such as hair, nails and cartilage, and can be found in foods such as strawberries, cucumber and asparagus. Selenium is responsible for preventing cell damage and sustaining skin elasticity.

What to eat: Salmon, eggs, wholegrain breads and cereals, or garlic.

2.       Combat pre-mature ageing and boost skin renewal with Vitamins A, C & E

Vitamin C is your anti-ageing weapon! It acts as an antioxidant to prevent damage to the skin’s collagen or elastin caused by overexposure to sun or pollution. Don’t forget, Vitamin C is sensitive to heat so best to eat raw or only lightly cooked for maximum goodness. 

What to eat: Citrus fruits, red and green capsicum, turnips, kale, parsley, broccoli, other dark leafy greens and strawberries.

Vitamin E works in conjunction with Vitamin C to reduce the effects of sun exposure and may reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It also has unique anti-inflammatory properties to help maintain a youthful appearance.

What to eat: Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, peaches, prunes, tomatoes, cabbage, asparagus and avocados.

Vitamin A is the secret to skin cell turnover and renewal making it ideal for those who suffer acne or other skin ailments.

What to eat: Egg yolks, butter, chili, carrots, apricots, melon and sweet potato.

3.       Achieve a natural glow and protect your skin with essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are a vital component of a balanced diet, as they cannot be produced by the body. EFAs protect against external toxins by creating a barrier in the top outer layer of the skin. They also maintain moisture content and skin flexibility and have anti-inflammatory properties – all of which are important for bright skin appearance.

What to eat: Found in salmon, tuna, walnuts, flaxseeds and canola oil (all rich in Omega 3) and sunflower and safflower oils (rich in Omega 6).

What foods do you eat for healthy skin?

6 Ways To Stay Safe While Traveling

Planning on traveling this winter? No one really wants to worry about things like vaccinations and travel insurance, but a bit of pre-trip planning can save you a lot of heartache (and tummy ache!) on the road. Here’s how to stay safe and healthy while traveling.

1. Google it
There’s lots of vaccination information available online – check out Vaccine Hub which has an easy-to-use interactive travel map. Just click on a country or region, create an itinerary of the places you plan to visit and get a list of vaccinations recommended for your trip!

2. See your GP
We know it’s often hard to squeeze in a trip to the doc, but a visit to your local GP four to six weeks out from your holiday is a must on any jetsetters’ list. It’s important that you’re up-to-date with vaccinations – remember that childhood vaccines do not necessarily cover you for life and less developed countries often have a higher rate of diseases largely eradicated in Australia. Check with your doctor to see whether you are due for a booster shot and make sure you’re protected. Tell them where you’re off to and they can let you know about the common diseases you can vaccinate against based on your itinerary.

3. Up the ante on hand washing
Bacteria and viruses can be transferred from hand to mouth. Carry an alcohol based hand sanitiser with you on your travels so you won’t be caught out.

4. Busy is best
When it comes to street meat, head to the most popular stands (lots of people = high turnover of food) and make sure anything you eat is piping hot. Eat only well-cooked food, avoid uncooked food, including salads and fruit that you cannot peel. Be careful about drinking local water, and to be safe, only use bottled or boiled water to drink and brush your teeth and always check the seal on the bottles. Don’t put ice in drinks — it’s an easy one to forget but freezing preserves germs, rather than kills them.

5. No glove, no love
Practicing safe sex with a condom is essential for those who have sexual contact with new partners to ensure protection against sexually transmitted infections.

6. Travel insurance is as important as your passport
It’s easy to think you’ll never need it, but boy you’ll be glad you got it if you end up sick or in danger overseas. It costs nothing in the scheme of a big trip and may save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars if you travel uninsured.

Where you are traveling this winter?

7 Great Sex Positions To Try This Weekend

Move over, missionary! This weekend is just the time to get your groove on under the sheets and try some great sex positions to up your bedroom game. Better sex starts tonight!

The Ballet Dancer
Face him and push him against a wall. While standing on one leg, wrap your other leg around him. Have him hold your leg or your hips for support. This is a very sensual position. It may be a little harder to do if there is a large height difference between the two of you, but try it anyways. It’s worth it.

Reverse Cowgirl
Here is a move you’re both guaranteed to love. While he’s lying down, straddle him but facing his feet. This is a particularly kinky position because you’ll have most of the control, so take advantage by teasing him a little by speeding up and then slowing down. The reverse cowgirl also provides him with an excellent view of your butt.

Spank Me Maybe
This sex position is a great move if you want to give him a little more control. Start in reverse cowgirl and have him sit up with his legs still extended. Lie forward between his legs. Your legs will be extended back while your torso is between his thighs. This move is great for some spanking and hair pulling.

The Om
While he sits cross-legged, sit on his lap while facing him and wrap your arms and legs around him in a passionate embrace. The key is to rock back and forth, not to thrust. This position is great for intimacy and kissing while you rock to orgasm.

Downward Facing Doggie
Yogis and yogis-to-be will love this move. For those who are unfamiliar with yoga, begin in the normal doggie style position and, with your hands still on the floor, place your feet flat on the floor and lift your butt high in the air, creating a pyramid. Have him hold onto your hips while he thrusts into you. Like doggie style, this position is great for deep penetration and G-spot stimulation.

The Swimmer
Lie on your front with your legs apart and arms extended over your head, like you’re swimming. Your man lies on top of you (think missionary, but you’re lying on your stomach and not your back). Bring your feet closer together for a tighter squeeze.

The Basket
Visual stimulation and comfort to help achieve orgasm are easy with this sex position. The man sits flat on the bed, with one leg out straight and the other bent at the knee. Sit on his lap to achieve deep penetration and clitoral friction.

Throwback Thursday: Could You Go Makeup Free For A Day?

Do you think you could go makeup free for 24 hours?

Makeup Free Me is a charity movement that seeks to empower Aussie women to develop and nurture positive body image.

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of makeup but by going makeup free for a day, Makeup Free Me hope to promote positive body image – especially as only 4% of women think of themselves as beautiful!

We chat with Makeup Free Me founder Merissa Mathew on how the idea came to her, and why she quit her job to champion this amazing campaign.

1. How did the idea of Makeup Free Me come to you?

There’s a saying ‘be careful what you wish for’. In my case it was ‘be careful what you pray for’ because I said a prayer and it was at that moment that this idea came about. The funny thing is that prior to starting this campaign I never left the house without makeup on. In fact, when the idea came to mind I started laughing out loud but I released later that my own insecurities was what made me perfect for this venture. Since then I have gone out a few times without makeup on and its refreshing, freeing and scary all at the same time. I’m only now learning how to love me, the natural me.

2. What was the process of quitting your job to focus on this full time like?

Two weeks after my ‘aha’ moment I resigned from my job and I left the next day. It was the most surreal feeling as I’ve never done anything like this before. Whilst there has indeed been sacrifices (like not having any income as yet) I’ve never looked back and I know that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing in life.

3. Do you think most women use makeup to enhance their features or to hide behind it?

We undertook a brief survey last year and the results showed that more women wear makeup to cover up their blemishes than to enhance their features. Two other key findings were that many women feel more confident when they are wearing makeup and that being beautiful is about being confident. If we link these two findings, could this mean that many of us women feel that being beautiful is about being confident and to help us achieve that confidence we need makeup? Interesting!

4. Most of us wouldn’t leave home without makeup – how do you encourage women to just try doing it for a day (or longer)?

I am in the category of ‘most’ as I struggle to leave the house without makeup on. I trialled a makeup free venture to the shops the other day and guess what? No one looked at me different, no one treated me different and I can’t explain the freedom I felt. I would encourage women (like me) who would struggle to leave the house without makeup on, to try going makeup free for a short period. Maybe a trip to the shops or a drive to get petrol. I’d also encourage women to take on this challenge with their girlfriends. It’s more fun and of course you feel much more supported when you do it with your girls.

5. What are the best ways to encourage positive body image in our daughters?

I think it is important to teach our girls that it’s not about comparing weight, shape or size as one particular body can’t be compared to another. Rather it’s about enabling our bodies to be in the best possible condition that it can be in for our age and stage of life. We also need to teach our girls about what is real because like us, they are exposed to so many advertising images that distort what they think is the ideal body to strive for.

Healthy Breakfast Recipes: Plum and Yoghurt Muesli Pots

We know you don’t have a lot of time in the morning for a healthy and delicious breakfast, but these plum and yoghurt muesli pots are quick to make and taste like a decadent cafe treat. Really pressed for time? Roast the plums the night before, and all you have to do is assemble them in the morning. Don’t have plums on hand? Just roast apricots, nectarines or peaches. Yum!

Serves 4


8 blood plums, halved with stones removed

1/2 cup brown sugar

400g thick Greek yoghurt

1 1/2 cups toasted muesli


  1. Place the plums onto a baking dish lined with baking paper, sprinkle with brown sugar and 1/2 cup water, cook under a preheated grill until the plums are soft.
  2. Divide half the plums between four serving glasses, top with yoghurt, muesli and finish with remaining plums and syrup.

What’s your favourite healthy breakfast?

The Best Anti-Aging Exercises

We’re all looking for the secret to eternal youth, but most of us don’t realise how effective exercise is to take the years off. Read on for some easy fitness tips and exercises that will keep your face and body looking – and feeling – young.

The basics

To keep you feeling good on the inside, lose those extra kilos and do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day to ensure your organs are healthy. Good cardio workouts include stair climbing, walking up hills, bike riding and swimming. When you feel fit and ready, increase the amount of time you exercise and the intensity.

Complete this picture with resistance exercise to ensure you look as good on the outside as you feel. Resistance-based exercise keeps muscles strong and toned, because the last thing any woman wants is sagging body parts.

And most importantly, drink lots of water, at least eight glasses a day.

Facial exercises

Some women swear by facial exercises to prevent wrinkles, crows feet and other signs of ageing, as well as enhance glowing skin. Exercising the facial muscles allows the skin to get the oxygen it needs to keep it healthy and deliver other nutrients to the skin cells. Try laughing, frowning, smiling, raising your eyebrows, moving your jaw up, down and sideways.

It is easy to overlook caring for your neck, even though it is an area prone to wrinkling. While a woman’s face can look young, her real age can be obvious when looking at her neck. Neck exercises, such as chin tucks and stretches, can minimise neck wrinkling and help women look younger.

Legs and butt to die for

Part of looking and feeling young is having great legs and a firm bum! All women can have wonderful legs and bottom using the following exercises:

• Step-ups, using stairs, a park bench or an exercise stepper, tone everywhere and offer a great cardio workout because they work all leg and gluteal (bottom) muscles at the same time

• Lunges work the same muscles. Perform walking or stationary lunges and swap legs to ensure both get a good work out

• Add ankle weights to your legs to tone them faster and perform and use for thigh exercises (lying on your side and raising one leg up)

• Squats push the full weight of your body through your legs and buttocks.

Michelle Obama arms

Triceps (in the upper arm) are often forgotten because women can be preoccupied with toning their tummies and bottoms, so here are some exercises to tone those arms:

• Tricep dips, tricep kick backs, overhead tricep extensions and shoulder presses are effective isolation exercises

• Wide-grip push ups work pectoral muscles (hidden under the breasts) and triceps if you move your hands closer together.

What are your favourite exercises to keep the years off?

Vegetable Pho Recipe

What’s more restorative than a bowl of vegetable pho? The flavorful tea-based broth steeps in a French coffee press with spices for a tasty twist on your favorite Vietnamese noodle soup.

Serves 4

200g shirataki noodles*
2 tsp McCormick Chinese 5 Spice Blend
1 tsp McCormick Garlic Minced
1 tsp McCormick Onion powder
pinch McCormick Chilli Flakes Crushed
2 Tbsp loose Lapsang Souchong Tea
3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 litre (1000ml) boiling water

2 spring onions, thinly sliced
50g red pepper, thinly sliced
50g carrots, finely sliced
50g shiitake or wild mushrooms, thinly sliced
lime wedges to serve

1. Rinse noodles with hot water in a colander then divide amongst 4 soup bowls.

2. Combine rest of the ingredients, excluding garnishes in a large French coffee press.  Let stand for 3 minutes then, using the French press plunger, strain the stock.  Pour the liquid evenly into the bowls and arrange garnishes on top.

Cook’s Tip:  Shirataki noodles can be found in Asian markets, health food stores, or in the refrigerator section in some supermarkets.  If unavailable, substitute with 100g egg noodles, cooked according to pack directions.

What is your favorite Vietnamese dish?

5 Ways to Cook with Tequila

When you think of tequila, you’re probably thinking…margarita! But did you know you can also cook with tequila, from marinades to the best guacamole you’ll ever have. Here are a few delicious ways you can mix up your culinary creations with Tequila Blu.

Use it as a marinade for steak or lamb
Add a bit of oomph to your barbeque. Simply mix lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic and herbs with a generous splash of Tequila Blu and let your meat marinate. Cook over a hot barbeque or grill.

Top your grilled corn with tequila lime butter
Just add a dash of Tequila Blu, lime juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt to softened butter. Mix well and brush over freshly grilled corn cobs. Top with cheddar cheese if you’re feeling naughty!

Try guacamole with a twist
Add a healthy shot of Tequila Blu to your favourite chunky guacamole recipe. Enjoy with tortilla chips, or add as a side to a tasty dish of nachos.

Drunken fruit salad
This makes for a refreshing dessert. All you need to do is chop up your favourite seasonal fruits, whisk together a small amount of honey, Tequila Blu and lemonade and pour over the fruit. Let it soak, or enjoy immediately.

Top your favourite salad with tequila vinaigrette
Combine small amounts of finely grated lime and orange zest, lime juice, Tequila Blu, sherry vinegar, olive oil, Tabasco sauce and a pinch of salt. Whisk until blended and toss through your salad.

Visit facebook.com/tequilabluaustralia for more tequila recipes.

Get the Look: Camilla Belle’s Bold Purple Lip

Yesterday we looked at bold lip colours and how you can pull them off. Then we saw Camilla Belle’s stunning purple lip at the premiere of her new movie, Cavemen. Celebrity makeup artist Brett Freedman shares how he created Camilla’s striking makeup.

Brett started with Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation finished with two setting powders: MAC Blot Powder in Medium Dark, and then Laura Mercier Mineral Pressed Powder SPF 15 in Golden Suntan.

Instead of blush, he applied Lorac Perfectly Lit Oil-Free Luminizing Powder for a luminous glow.

With a bold lip, you need to keep the eyes soft. Brett used the neutral shadows from the SauceBox Cosmetics Creme de la Creme Palette.

He coated the lashes using good old drugstore favourite L’Oréal Paris Voluminus Mascara in Carbon Black.

Brett finished Camilla’s killer eyebrows using his own Brett Brow Duo-Shade Powder in Dark Brown.


When you’re applying a bold lipstick, always start with lip balm, to create a soft and smooth base.

Brett used Kevyn Aucoin The Matte Lip Color in Persistence to achieve this unique purple finish – it’s pigment-rich, so you don’t have to blot, but it’s a good way to set the colour into the lip. Then apply another coat.

Would you try a bold purple like Camilla’s?


Q&A with Actress Simone Kessell

Originally from New Zealand, but calling Bondi, home, Simone Kessell is an acclaimed actress, model and television presenter, who has also worked and lived in the USA. She will shortly be back on our screens in Channel Nine’s upcoming production ‘Fat Tony’ and in the feature film ‘Singularity’, starring Josh Hartnett and Neve Campbell. 

Simone, who is known for her healthy lifestyle, is the new Natural Beauty Ambassador for Ere Perez Natural Cosmetics, and shares her skincare secrets and makeup tips.

What is your daily beauty regime?
I always cleanse morning and night. A light spritz of rose water and a light Summer Moisturiser followed with a tinted SPF 30. At night I use an oil (Rosehip)  or richer moisturiser. It just feels right. I only wear foundation if I am working or going out at night. I try to keep my skin clean when I can.

How do you keep fit and healthy?
I try to run 4-5 days a week. I find I have to exercise or I go a little crazy. It’s my time to calm my mind. I have a boxer dog who loves to run, so I have no choice. I gym it through Winter as I know I won’t go running because I’m not a fan of the cold! And I do Pilates, and aerobic exercises (rowing machine, stepper and skipping). I think if you move your body for 20 minutes or more every day (or get your heart rate up) then your body and mind will work in harmony. it’s about keeping strong and feeling good about yourself.

You like to eat healthily. What foods do you love to eat?
I love all fruit and veg. I could happily eat them all day. Legumes are super important. My favourite go-to healthy dish would be lentils, cherry tomatoes, greens – rocket, spinach, avocado and cucumber. All mixed together with flax seed oil, LSA (Linseed, Sunflower seeds, Almonds) and cracked pepper. It’s quick and easy and gets me through the day.

What would be a typical day in terms of what you eat?
I love Breakfast natural Organic oats with blueberries and acidophilus yoghurt. Lunch would be a salad or a wrap filled with quinoa and spinach or sushi. I try to eat smaller meals more often and always have snacks when I’m hungry. Banana, almonds, kiwi etc. I drink coffee once a day and always hydrate with many glasses of water at room temp. That’s not to say I am strict when it comes to chocolate, or an occasional ice cream at the movies with my son; a glass of red wine in the evenings or coconut yoghurt ‘love’. I think you need to eat well, but also to treat well!

How do you build healthiness into your busy day?
I think being aware of your body’s needs and knowing what fuels you will get you through the day, it is vital especially with young children.  Lots of sleep when you can and eating energising food, high in protein and carbs and lw in bad fats and sugar. Life is to short to waste on empty foods (high salt foods like chips, soda’s, deep fried etc) if you can take the time to nourish and eat well then health and happiness will follow…You will look better as well.

What are your top tips for maintaining a natural beauty?
Maintaining a natural beauty comes from inside as well as out. When I feel tired and grumpy I always need to check in with myself and ask why. I find that the reasons are simple such as sleep deprivation (baby) or red wine at night and not enough water or not exercising.

Once I reset my mind and go running or to the gym or even pushing the stroller up to school to pick up my son I start to feel and look better I’m sure.

Taking 15 mins away from the family to walk or sing or call a friend, read a book, walk in the rain, it doesn’t take much. To know you are loved and loving and to always be the best person you can be. I know sometimes that’s so hard to do and you have piles of washing in front of you and the baby wont sleep and the TV is blaring and life can become to much. That’s when you need to re set and check in with yourself.

I always remind myself what I have not what I don’t. I think of others around the world and know I am so blessed to have my family and friends, career and health. Most times that gets me through.

What is it you love about Ere Perez products and which are your handbag staples?
I started using Ere Perez products four years ago. I love them. I have sensitive skin and all her products work on me. I like a natural look in the day and a splash of her Real Rosehip Oil Lipbar in LIFE, followed with lashings of her Natural Almond Oil mascara make me feel like I can face anyone I run into!

Ere has nailed the bronzers and highlighters. You always look sun kissed and natural. The pigments and colours she uses are so flattering to any complexion. I love the idea that what I am putting on my face is being absorbed by my body. I feel that if I can nourish and heal my skin with beautiful natural make up then I always want to wear it.

What makes Ere Perez makeup special?
I give it to my girlfriends and say: “Just wait, it does more than make you look good, it makes you feel good and you can eat it”, although I then quickly add ‘But don’t”! We are surrounded every day by all types of pollutions, free radicals and toxins. We don’t need to be putting more on our faces. And if we can get a little more than just colour from our cosmetics why wouldn’t we?  When you read what big cosmetic brands put into their lipsticks; then you apply that to your lips it doesn’t seem right. That’s why a splash of Rosehip Oil Lipbar and I know that I am not only healing my lips, but helping them too and I’m not putting animal fats or toxins into my body. Life is way to short for that!

Visit www.ereperez.com.

Loving Right Now: 6 New Beauty Must-Haves

This week I’m loving a fantastic range of skincare and makeup must-haves, including some amazing new natural and organic products.

Grown Alchemist Hand Cream
You know those friends who have the immaculate bathrooms with the fancy hand soap and the lovely-scented hand cream? And you know how you have major envy, wishing your bathroom was just as heavenly? OK, I’m going to show you how to get there. Bestow your bathroom with a bottle of Grown Alchemist Hand Cream Vanilla & Orange Peel (300ml, $44.95). The smell is amazing and it deeply nourishes your hands.

And don’t pass up the Mandarin & Rosemary Leaf Body Cream (120ml, $26.95), which comes in a tube so you can squeeze out every last drop and feels amazing on dry skin (which we’re probably all suffering from post-summer).
Buy online at Grown Alchemist.


ModelCo Striptease Shine Ultra Lip Gloss
I’ve found it! The perfect your-lips-but-better lip gloss. After a never-ending search for a lip gloss that looks natural and polished, but ending up with glosses that are too glittery, or too pale, or leave a grey cast – this is it. It’s not too sticky either, but lasts through your morning latte. It looks great alone or over your favourite nude and rose lipsticks. This is my new handbag staple, I’m sure you’ll love it too. $18.
Buy online at ModelCo.


Boots Serum7 range
I started using Boots skin care while living in London – their technology is amazing and really high-end for a reasonable price. No wonder their new products sell out in seconds. The latest line is the Serum7 range which targets fine lines and wrinkles. A product I couldn’t wait to try was the Serum7 Protecting Body Serum (150ml, $19). I’d never heard of a serum for the body, so was intrigued to try this. It’s a great product for leaving the skin soft and supple – I layer it under my body cream, and after a day in the sun.

Another product I was really impressed with is Serum7 Regenerating Night Cream (50ml, $34), which felt like an overnight facial treatment – waking up with restored skin and plumped out wrinkles. All of the range is hypoallergenic, which is great news for sensitive skin.
Find the range at Amcal, Amcal Max and Guardian Pharmacies.


UltraCeuticals Even Skin Tone
We’re already missing summer, but not the pigmentation as a result of too many afternoons on the beach. UltraCeuticals Even Skin Tone Serum to the rescue! Those new freckles have diminished and my skin looks brighter and fresher, with none of the dry skin that was a legacy of our endless summer.
Buy online at ultraceuticals.com.


Ere Perez Bondi Blush and Sun Halo Highlighter
I’ve been obsessed with Ere Perez’ gorgeous makeup for years – it’s so natural, you could eat it! The latest products to celebrate 10 years of the Sydney-based beauty brand is the Bondi Blush, $37.95, and Sun Halo Highlighter, $31.95. Both are natural-looking and universally-flattering and I love layering them for nights out. And I love knowing that I’m not putting any nasties on my skin. Read the Q&A with Ere Perez Ambassador Simone Kessell here!
Buy online at ereperez.com.


Dr. Alkatis Organic Eye Cream
It’s no secret, I love natural and organic skin care. So I was thrilled to test Dr. Alkatis Organic Eye Cream, $66 – especially when you get to your mid-30’s and you’re obsessed with finding the best eye cream out there. This eye cream has a fantastic, light texture thanks to its base of aloe vera (and not water like other eye creams), which melts into the skin and keeps the eye area hydrated all day. I feel it really de-puffs my eyes and smoothes out those fine lines that are beginning to bother me.
Buy online at nourishedlife.com.au.


What products are you loving right now?

Blueberry Muffins Recipe

Brew a pot of coffee and bake a batch of these fluffy blueberry muffins, made with almond milk – and watch them disappear!

Servings: 12

½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
1 ½ cups Unsweetened Almond Breeze Original
1 ¾ cups self-raising flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½  cups blueberries

1. Combine softened butter and sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well and slowly stir in milk. Sift flour and add slowly, stirring and whisking to avoid lumps. Gently fold in blueberries.

2. Spoon into a greased muffin tray or muffin cups. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes.

What are your favourite muffin flavours?

5 Oscar-Winning Actresses That Have Built an Empire

Alexandra Tselios, publisher of The Big Smoke looks at five Oscar-winning actresses who have made their fortunes beyond the big screen.

Many of the Oscar-winning Best Actresses have carved out careers that have permeated into other areas, ultimately building themselves an empire.

It stands to reason that Oscar-winning actresses have the potential to cultivate a versatile career trajectory, from Felicity Huffman’s ‘Flicka’ website and Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘GOOP’ initiative – take a look at my top five!

Barbara Streisand    
No self-respecting fan of musicals could forget the Oscar win of Barbara Streisand’s Funny Girl. Now in her 70’s, the memorabilia that this woman has under her belt is absolutely overwhelming. From setting up her own production company, Barwood Films in the 70s, to ongoing CD, DVD and concert sales, the influence this woman has had on almost all aspects of the arts is incredible. Now a firm fixture in pop-culture references, Streisand generates millions through her ‘Streisand Foundation’ initiatives contributing over $16 million in grants supporting medical research, civil rights and even nuclear disarmament.

Joan Crawford
One of my favourite actresses of all time, and one of the quirkiest and decidedly more difficult characters to ever engulf Hollywood, Crawford won a number of Oscars for films such as 1947’s Possessed and 1945’s Mildred Pierce. Regardless of the accounts of her life you believe, one thing is evident about this woman – she was determined and astute. From moving into TV and radio Joan later helped her husband Al Steel expand PepsiCo before coercing the company to assigning her as director on their board in 1959.

Jane Fonda
Receiving two Oscars for Klute and Coming Home, Jane was born into Hollywood royalty, but she is probably best known nowadays for her fitness empire which includes workout videos that have sold more than 17 million copies worldwide. In 2014, she travelled to Australia to promote Fitness First, further cementing herself as an icon at all ages. Coupled with philanthropy work, political activism and writing, she has built herself a solid empire founded on Lycra leotards.

Goldie Hawn
Winning an Oscar in 1969 for Cactus Flower, the actress who cultivated this ditzy blonde routine for years is actually an incredibly smart business woman! A successful producer, property developer, director, author and founder of the Hawn Foundation which provides education programs, Goldie has proven she is so much more than her initial façade indicated – building a revenue-heavy empire with a dazzling smile.

Natalie Portman
Natalie won the Best Actress Oscar in 2011 for Black Swan, a movie which terrified me for life. However, this young actress and Harvard graduate is quickly building a strong portfolio by launching a now-defunct vegan footwear line, owning a production company, promoting a STEM Mentoring program with Marvel and also advocating micro financing as part of her role as ambassador for FINCA international.  At just 32 years of age, she also owns an impressive property dossier, so I think this may be the beginning of a mighty impressive empire.

By Alexandra Tselios, Co-Founder and Publisher of The Big Smoke, Australia’s newest opinion site.

Would You Buy ‘Normal’ Barbie?

Most of us grew up with Barbie, but now a new Barbie is on the block – ‘normal’ Barbie.

Artist Nickolay Lamm wanted to create a Barbie that represented a real woman’s body and show that “average is beautiful.”

His Barbie has the proportions of an average 19-year-old woman, and not classic Barbie’s large head, giant boobs, tiny waist, and minuscule feet.

“A lot of kids and parents were asking me, where can I buy a doll like this?” Lamm said.


So he created the Lammily doll, with more natural makeup, brunette hair and yes, flat feet, so she can wear flats instead of Barbie’s stilettos. She also wears more sporty outfits.

Lamm explained his goal was to make these dolls “so that our girls can grow up to become happier, stronger women, truly confident and proud in their own bodies.”

Lamm’s initial fundraising goal was $95,000 ($105,000) and he’s currently reached $210,575. You can preorder the Lammily doll on his fundraising page here.

Would you buy a Lammily doll or stick with Barbie?


Green Wake-Up Juice Recipe

Juice Master Jason Vale’s morning juice recipe will give you more live nutrients than most people consume in a week!

1/2 cucumber
1 stick celery
1 cup spinach
6 green apples (preferably Golden Delicious)
1/4 lime, peeled
1/2 inch fresh ginger

1. Simply juice all the ingredients, pour into a glass over ice, drink and enjoy!

What’s your favourite green juice recipe?

5 Beauty Rituals You Should Be Following Every Night

Late nights are often faced with lethargic routines, especially when it comes to skin care. After a hard day at the office or a long dinner date of cocktails, we know what it’s like – we can be pretty lazy when it comes to washing our faces before bed! With these five simple nighttime tips from Bonnie Phillips, founder of Oneeka Skin Care, you can be sure that your sleep leaves you with a fresh and glowing complexion in the morning.

1. Bye-bye panda eyes!
Eye makeup, such as mascara and eye shadow is generally the most difficult makeup to remove, and often neglected when it comes to washing the face. It’s essential to remove all eye makeup first to ensure that by the time your entire face is cleaned, there are no traces left behind – failure to do so can actually result in infections!

2. Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse
It is so important to cleanse your skin every night to remove make-up, impurities, dead skin cells, and excess oil. Not only this, but cleansing helps improve the health and radiance of your skin, so it’s imperative to find a brand that agrees with you.

3. Slap on that moisturiser
Invest in a great night cream and moisturise your face! Moisturisers, and specifically night creams ensure your skin is kept hydrated when you sleep. This is particularly important in dryer months, or if you are sleeping in an air-conditioned room. Go for a cream that includes naturally-derived products so not only will you miss a lot of the chemicals that many skin care products encompass, but you’ll look and feel naturally healed.

4. Make friends with H2o
By drinking water before you go to bed, your hormones, muscles, energy levels and joints become balanced. While you sleep, water has the time to reach every part of your body and replenish it fully, in turn leaving you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated in the morning.

5. Clean your sheets
Washing your face is not the only solution for clean skin. Pillowcases store dirt, oil and dead skin, so rubbing your skin against unwashed fabrics creates an ideal breeding ground for acne. As such, it’s essential to change your sheets frequently if you want beautiful, fresh skin in the morning!

What are your essential beauty rituals?

Gluten-Free Strawberry and Almond Syrup Cake

This luscious strawberry and almond syrup cake is ideal served with a glass of sparkling white wine – plus it’s gluten-free, so everyone can enjoy a slice (or two!).

1 x 250g punnet Victorian Strawberries, washed and hulled
Juice (¼ cup) and zest of 1 tangelo (or substitute orange)
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
300g almond meal

Juice (¼ cup) and zest of 1 tangelo (or substitute orange)
1 cup additional caster sugar
1 x 250g punnet Victorian Strawberries, washed and hulled

1. Preheat oven to fan 165°C. Slice strawberries and place in a small saucepan with tangelo juice and zest. Bring to the boil, simmer for 2 – 3 minutes then remove from the heat. Using a stick blender, puree the strawberry mix.

2. Whisk the sugar and eggs in a mixer until pale and creamy (6 -8 minutes), then fold in the almond meal and cooled strawberry mix.

3. Pour into a lined 22cm loose bottomed cake pan, and bake for 1 hour or until golden and set. Allow to cool slightly in the pan. Run a knife around to loosen the edges, then invert onto a serving plate.

4. Combine remaining juice and caster sugar in a small saucepan, cook until sugar dissolves and syrup thickens. Add zest and remaining sliced strawberries, cook 2 minutes and cool slightly.

5. Arrange cooked strawberries on the top of the cake, then drizzle over syrup. Serve cake warm with ice cream.

Tip: this cake is very moist so keeps well for 2 -3 days, covered.

What are your favourite cake recipes? Tell us in the comments!

Makeup Tips: Your New Trademark Lipstick Color

Red lipstick may be timeless and oh-so-sexy, but variety is the spice of lipstick life. Follow these makeup tips to match your personal skin tone with a bold shade that you never thought you could pull off!

Orange is a tricky color to master, but it has been growing in popularity on the runway in recent years.  Choose with care: a mismatched skin tone and lip shade can leave you looking like you just scoffed a packet of Doritos.

For light skin: some say true oranges are the way to go, but nothing looks lovelier on pale skin than a peachy pastel.
We love: Revlon Moon Drops Lipstick in Blasé Apricot

For medium skin: the orange-red looks perfect on olive and tanned skin types.
We love: Nars Lipstick in Heat Wave

For dark skin: luckily for those with darker skin, you can be courageous and pull off a much louder orange color.
We love: MAC Morange

A purple lip is edgy and most women probably don’t think they can wear it, but it is all about finding a shade that suits your skin. You can always opt for purple-reds or purple-pinks if straight purple is a little intense.

For light skin: unless you loved Lorde’s deep purple lip look at the 2014 Grammy Awards, avoid the gothic look by choosing a lighter shade with pinkish undertones.
We love: MAC Up the Amp

For medium skin: plum shades of lipsticks will accentuate your warm skin color.
We love: L’Oreal Paris Infallible Le Rouge Lipstick in Persistent Plum

For dark skin: once again, you can basically wear whichever shade tickles your fancy, from pastel lilac to hues of deep purple.
We love: ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in Purple Sangria

Fuchsia lipstick is bold, beautiful, and surprisingly suits most (if not all) skin tones. Perfect for a night on the town or the absolute focal point of your daytime look, fuchsia lipsticks are severely underrated.

For light skin: a true fuchsia is definitely a bold choice, but eye-catching is what you are aiming for.
We love: MAC Girl About Town

For medium skin: a warmer toned fuchsia often complements an olive or tanned skin tone.
We love: Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor in Fifth Avenue Fuchsia

For dark skin: go bright or go home! Fuchsia isn’t for the lighthearted.
We love: Smashbox Fuchsia Flash

What’s your favourite bold lip color?

10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Fibre Intake

Most of us know the powerful disease-fighting properties of fibre, but how many of us are consuming enough of this important nutrient? Sydney-based nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin said Australians need to concentrate on eating three different types of fibre, with men and women aiming to consume at least 30 and 25 grams of fibre per day respectively to feel the benefits.

Follow these 10 easy tips to boost your daily fibre intake.

1. Instead of white bread, rice and pasta, go for grain based or wholemeal varieties of bread, and brown or wholemeal varieties of rice and pasta.

2. When buying cereals, look for wholegrains. Choose products with wholegrain ingredients at the beginning of the list (wheat, brown rice, barley, oats, rye, millet, sorghum or triticale etc) and look out for words such as whole, wholegrain, mixed grain, cracked, flaked or kibbled next to the name of the grain.

3. Add legumes such as baked beans, kidney beans, lima beans, soybeans, chickpeas, dried peas and lentils to soups, casseroles, salads and sauces.

4. Sprinkle chopped fresh or dried fruits, wheatgerm or seeds on breakfast cereal.

5. Try a handful of dried fruit and nuts as a snack or add some nuts to a stir-fry.

6. Instead of a milkshake, try a fruit smoothie made with a banana or other fresh fruit. You may also wish to add in rolled oats as an additional fibre boost.

7. Eat unpeeled fruits such as apples and pears, and vegetables like potatoes wherever possible as the skins are a valuable source of fibre.

8. Skip fruit juices as they contain virtually no fibre and go for a fresh piece of fruit instead.

9. Instead of sour cream or cream cheese-based dips, try a spicy bean dip or some hommus, which is made with chickpeas

10. Look on the nutrition panel of food products and choose those which provide at least 2 grams of dietary fibre per serve.

What are your favourite fibre-friendly foods?

Loving Right Now: 5 New Hair Care Must-Haves

The SheSaid team tried-and-tested a stack of hot new hair care products (yes, even the boys!).

TIGI Catwalk Shampoo and Conditioner
Natasha Buckie: After using the shampoo and conditioner it made my hair feel like I just came out the hairdressers! Smooth, glossy, with lots of volume. As with all TIGI products, it makes your hair smell amazing. I also didn’t feel the need to add any finishing products like serum, which really showed the quality of the conditioner. I will definitely use it again.

TIGI Dumb Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner
Nicky Potter: The TIGI Dumb blonde shampoo and conditioner are wonderful. Both have a delicious, fruity smell that lasts. The shampoo and conditioner made my hair soft and luscious without leaving it flat or lifeless. Without a doubt, I will be recommending TIGI to all my friends to use and I have now found my preferred shampoo and conditioner.

Toni & Guy Frizz Control Serum
Annie Peachman: The hair serum is the perfect antidote to the humidity! It left my hair shiny and soft without the greasy feeling you get from so many other serums. It would be ideal to use all year round, especially before using heated hair appliances, which cause so much damage. The smoothing lotion has also been a great addition to my hair care regime – I used it after conditioning and it left my hair feeling so soft! It tamed all the flyways and didn’t weigh my hair down.

VO5 Give Me Texture Spray
Di Horrocks: Great product for fine straight hair like mine. Really liked that it doesn’t leave a built-up feel in the hair afterwards. It gives more body to the hair with little effort.

VO5 Smoothly Does It Shampoo and Conditioner
James Leng: I have thick, wiry hair, which is hard to keep under control in humidity. The shampoo and conditioner softened my hair and helped keep it under control. I love that I can use it every day!

What are your favourite hair care products?

Gwen Stefani Launches Affordable New ShoeLine

Gwen Stefani is one busy lady: singer, fashion designer, and new mum. But hasn’t stopped her launching her first affordable shoe and handbag collection.

Called Gx by Gwen Stefani, the collaboration with ShoeDazzle consists of 24 shoes and seven handbags, with nothing costing more than $US111 ($124).

“Whenever I design, I’m mixing different cultural influences and, always with the first collection of something new, I want to reflect on everything I’ve done in a way,” Stefani told WWD.

“The really big challenge is to get a shoe to look sexy and be at a comfortable height, and I think that we did that with the sandals,” she said. “I am trying to make the perfect shoe that you can wear all day long.”


“I just wanted to make something that looked really good and high quality, but that you could afford. That was a challenge,” she tells WWD. “I didn’t go to design school or anything like that. It is all about what I like and my instinct and working with great people, and trial and error.”

Stefani’s friend and ShoeDazzle’s chief stylist, Rachel Zoe, said, “I couldn’t be more excited for the launch! Gwen is an incredible friend and designer. Her style has always been a huge source of inspiration to me.”

ShoeDazzle doesn’t deliver to Australia so it’s time to beg your State-side friends to send you a pair – or better yet plan a shopping trip to the U.S.!

 What do you think of Gwen Stefani’s new shoe collection?

Grilled Tandoori Prawn Salad with Mango Dressing Recipe

Similar to the tandoori oven cooking method, these Indian-spiced prawn skewers are roasted on high heat on the grill and added to a salad packed with bold sweet and sour flavours. A fresh mango dressing adds a splash of fruitiness and colour. Plus it’s ready in 30 minutes, making it one of our favourite quick dinner ideas.

Serves: 6
Prep Time:  25 minutes. Cook Time:  5 minutes

Mango Dressing
1 large ripe mango, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Red Chilli

Tandoori Prawn Salad
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Chilli Powder
500g large prawn, peeled and deveined
1 large ripe mango, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
100g mixed baby greens
1 cup halved small heirloom or specialty tomatoes
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1. For the mango dressing, process mango in blender or food processor until pureed (about 1 cup puree). Add lime juice, oil, garam masala, salt and red pepper; process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. For the tandoori prawn salad, mix 1/4 cup of the mint, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of the oil, honey, garam masala, ginger, salt and chilli in small bowl. Thread prawns onto skewers. Brush with mint mixture. Thread mango onto skewers. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

3. Grill prawn skewers over high heat 4 to 5 minutes or just until prawns turn pink, turning once and brushing occasionally with mint mixture. Grill mango skewers 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly charred.

4. Arrange greens, tomatoes and onion on 6 serving plates. Top with grilled prawns , mango and remaining 3 tablespoons mint. Drizzle with 1/2 of the Mango Dressing. 

Tip: Store remaining mango dressing in refrigerator. Serve over salad greens, grilled or broiled prawns or chicken, or toss with couscous or quinoa.

What’s your go-to quick dinner recipe using prawns?


Girl’s Guide to Costa Rica

Endless beaches, delicious fish tacos, cheeky monkeys and gorgeous sunsets…Costa Rica is a hop, skip and a jump away from the U.S. and makes the perfect week-long escape.

Even in high season, Costa Rica never seems crowded. Everyone’s on island time, even if it’s not an island. This is one laid-back country, so if you’re wanting to party into the wee hours, this might not be the best place for you. But if you want to truly unwind, get close to nature, and enjoy what the locals call ‘pura vida’, you’ll find something truly magical here.

One week in paradise
Costa Rica has carved out an easy one-week itinerary whether it’s your first time or one of many visits. Land in the capital, San Jose, and head straight to Arenal, an easy 3.5 hour bus trip away. You’ll know when you’ve arrived – Arenal Volcano welcomes you capped by soft clouds. Explore the base of this now-dormant volcano with an exhilarating guided hike, who’ll point out glossy black lava rocks and incredible views of Lake Arenal.

Book a day pass at Tabacon (above) and prepare to be immersed in pure relaxation. Lose yourself in these stunning hot springs, with two dozen baths nestled in an immaculate rainforest landscape. The baths vary in temperature, with steaming hot baths at the top, and a fun swim-up bar at the bottom, where you could easily spend a few hours ordering mai tai after mai tai. A day pass comes with lunch and dinner, with a decent salad bar and other healthy options.

Where to stay: Volcano Lodge and Spa, a spacious and idyllic hotel with pinch-me views of the volcano from every room. Relax after the hike from your patio or in the hot springs (and don’t miss the super-fresh ceviche at the restaurant). The friendly staff can arrange tours in the area.

From Arenal, hop on a morning ferry and bus to Monteverde Cloud Forest, perched high up in the cool air. A 2-hour hike will take you through breathtaking forest where you can see clouds swirl past you, an unforgettable experience.

Where to stay: Los Pinos, cosy cabins in pristine woods close to the Cloud Forest Reserve. They have their own hiking paths and vegetable patch, and after your hike enjoy a cup of warming Costa Rican coffee on your patio along with the sounds of chirping birds. The night stars will blow you away. Pop into the bakery across the road for a slice of their luscious vanilla cake!

Now it’s time to hit the beach, and if you get up early you’ll be at Manuel Antonio by lunchtime. The public beach has small waves and plenty of touts selling trinkets and shaved ice (you’ll need to rent sun chairs and umbrellas to shade yourself from the brutal sun, don’t pay more than 5000 colones, about $10), but don’t miss Manuel Antonio National Park, where you’ll see plenty of cheeky monkeys and other critters. They’re not shy – they’ll come right up to you, so don’t leave any food for them to steal! There are three gorgeous beaches, some secluded, all with calm waters and soft, white sands. Bring a picnic and make a day of it.

Even if you’re not adventurous, spend an afternoon ziplining. Manuel Antonio is one of the best spots in the world for zipping over the top of lush forests like a monkey – it’s so much fun! You’ll spot colourful toucans, butterflies and howler monkeys – the second loudest animal in the world.

Where to eat: Cafe Milagro will become your home away from home, whether you come for breakfast – and you should alternative between the omelette with chorizo and tomatoes, and the fluffy banana pancakes with macadamias – or in the evening for their killer cocktails. They grind their own coffee beans so you can enjoy a cup of real local coffee.

A few doors up, El Gato Pescador is the place to come for fish tacos, run by a lovely team. The tacos come super crispy with an addictive chipotle cream sauce, and they make a great ceviche and fried prawns too.

If you love seafood, park yourself at Mar Luna just before sunset for their happy hour and enjoy their delicious mango daiquiris with platters of simply grilled seafood. They get their seafood fresh every day, and the chef grills lobster, prawns and fish to perfection.

Where to stay: La Colina, almost at the top of the hill, has simple rooms in a tropical setting, with a lovely pool to cool off in the afternoon.

Things to know:
* Pack light and casual – you could easily pack a week’s worth of clothes and shoes in a carry-on bag. A bikini, a couple of summer dresses and exercise gear for hikes (including a wind cheater) is all you need.
* English is widely spoken, but it never hurts to learn a few words of Spanish at least.
* Bring sunscreen, as you’ll need it and it can be expensive to buy.
* The tap water is fine to drink and tastes great.

Have you been to Costa Rica? Where were your favourite places?

Photos: © Julia Blanter

Get the Look: Kate Hudson’s Glam Oscars Hair

Kate Hudson was one of our Oscars best dressed, thanks in part to her gorgeous hair complimenting her stunning Versave gown. Celebrity hairstylist Chris McMillan described it as a “modern take on a classic 1930’s/1940’s hair style. I saw it as Veronica Lake meets Jerry Hall.” Here’s how to get the look in a few easy steps.

1. “The key to this hairstyle was Living Proof Prime Style Extender. Because of the rain, we needed to use a product that would seal the hair and protect it from all the moisture in the air. The product was our most important tool for creating a look that would last the whole night. I started by applying Prime to wet hair before blowing it dry with a round brush.

2. I added a strong side part to the hair for a touch of glamour and applied Living Proof Satin to the ends for a polished shine.

3. I then used a 1-inch curling iron to curl the ends and brushed through them through with a Mason Pearson Boar Bristle Brush. I finished the look by spraying Living Proof Flex to give it a light hold.”

Which celebrity hairstyles stood out for you at the Oscars?

Get the Look: Julia Roberts’ Flawless Oscars Makeup

Julia Roberts rocked one of the best Oscars makeup looks, pairing a subtle brown smoky eye with a gorgeous nude lip. It’s a fantastic look for nights out. Here’s how celebrity makeup artist Genevieve Herr created the look with the exact makeup products used.

Genevieve started by applying Lancôme Visionnaire 1-Minute Blur, an oil-free primer that blurs imperfections.

Next, she used Lancôme Dual Finish Versatile Powder Makeup, a gorgeous powder that can be used wet or dry. For Julia’s naturally rosy cheeks, use Lancôme Blush Subtil Palette in #323 Rose Flush.

Genevieve didn’t want to create a classic black smoky eye which would be too harsh against her blonde her, instead, she opted for a chocolate brown smoky eye, using Lancôme Color Design 5 Shadow & Liner Palette in Sienna Sultry.

She lined Julia’s eyes using Lancôme Le Crayon Khôl in Black Coffee, one of the most versatile eyeliners on the market.

Finally, Genevieve coated her lashes using Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara.

Lips We loved Julia’s nude lips, and Lancôme Rouge in Love Lipcolor in #106M Jolis Matins is the perfect your-lips-but-better lip hue.

Did you love Julia Roberts’ Oscars makeup?

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