Best Romantic Date Ideas In Brisbane

Planning a date night in Brisbane but not sure where to go or what to do? Here are some ideas either for that first date or long overdue date night you’ve been meaning to take with your partner for months…

RELATED: Why date nights are important for married couples too

Yatala Drive-In

If there’s one thing that screams romance it’s a drive in movie so consider the Yatala drive in, open seven days a week and showing the latest blockbuster films.  Cosy down for a romantic evening in front of the big screen in the comfort of your own car or spread a rug out on the grass.  The beauty of this date is that its casual, there is no dress code here and even better is the cost.  You’ll see two movies for the price of one at the cinema.  Before the movies start grab a bite to eat at the 50‘s style diner, serving everything from burgers to donuts, popcorn and sweets.

Eat Street Markets

If you love food and trying new things the Eat Street Markets on Hamilton Wharf could be the perfect spot for your next date.  Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the evenings you can find an array of international dishes courtesy of the fifty strong mini restaurants that cram into the area. From cronuts to seafood, ice cream to dumplings there is something here for everyone.  When you’re finished eating take a stroll down by the Brisbane River or jump on the Citycat service back down the river to the city.

Freestyle Tout

If you have a sweet tooth then you can’t go past Freestyle Tout in the Emporium for a romantic date.  This dessert café is open for lunch and dinner but the most popular thing to do here is simply eat dessert. How do white chocolate and raspberry brioche dumplings sound?  Or perhaps a raw chocolate hazelnut tart?  Spanish churros?  White chocolate pannacotta?  My mouth is salivating just thinking about it.  If you’re planning a date night away from home then stay at the decadent Emporium Hotel, located within the Emporium complex and just a stone’s throw from Freestyle Tout.

Southbank

Southbank is one of Brisbane’s most popular spots because there is so much to do there.  Enjoy a date night by strolling down beside the river, taking in the view of the city or perhaps take a ride on the Wheel of Brisbane which stands almost sixty metres tall.  On Friday nights until 10pm the colourful Southbank markets fill the area with stalls of homewares, art, clothing, accessories, food and drinks.  River Quay in Southbank is a popular dining precinct set in a subtropical urban oasis where the atmosphere buzzes all the time, perfect for a relaxed date.

Storey Bridge Climb

If you don’t mind heights a twilight walk up the Storey Bridge could be the perfect date for you.  There are romance packages available that include a climb up the bridge as the sun sets over Brisbane, a memento photograph at the top of the bridge and one nights accommodation at the Brisbane Marriot Hotel.  The 360 degree views from the top are unforgettable, so you can guarantee it’ll be a night to remember.   

Image via Australia.com

October 4, 2014

Bridal Hairstyles With Long Veils

If you’re a bride-to-be, no doubt you’re debating whether or not to wear a veil on your special day. If you’ve already decided that you will be wearing a veil the next decision you need to make is the length. Shoulder length? Elbow length? Fingertip length? Ballet length? The possibilities are almost endless, so for some inspiration for veils of varying lengths and styles take a look at these gorgeous ideas.

RELATED: Prefer a short veil?  Check out these popular birdcage veils

This classic and simple ballet length veil adds a touch of sophistication to this otherwise simple hairstyle. Soft curls have been swept over one shoulder and a floral headpiece has also been added to match the detail on the dress.

Bridal Hairstyles With Long Veils

If you want to make a statement go for a bold and extravagant cathedral-length veil. When paired with falling loose curls you’ll have a look that will be one to remember forever.

Bridal Hairstyles With Long Veils

A popular hairstyle in fashion at the moment comes from the 1920’s, Great Gatsby style. This impeccable look teams retro pin curls with a vintage style elbow length veil and is absolute perfection.

Bridal Hairstyles With Long Veils

The classic sweeping bun hairstyle is a popular one with brides because it never dates. This modest elbow-length veil is a sweet touch which compliments the intricacy of the dress.

Bridal Hairstyles With Long Veils

This vintage-style ballet-length veil has intricate detail, made even more prominent by the simple hairstyle. The veil is the standout here so there’s no need for an extravagant hairstyle too.

Bridal Hairstyles With Long Veils

Image via eliteweddinglooks.com,gvenny.com, houseofjonleiatelier.com, topweddingsites.com, brides.com, silkweddingveils.com

October 4, 2014

Is Quitting Sugar Really Good For You?

We all know that excess sugar is bad for us, but is it really necessary to give up completely and is quitting sugar actually good for us?

RELATED: Want to try and stick to a diet plan?  Here are some tips to do it successfully

The first thing to note is that sugar is a carbohydrate made up of glucose and fructose, the worst part being fructose. Glucose is an important part of our diet however fructose is not and each is metabolised very differently. While every cell in our bodies can use glucose, fructose is not essential for our bodies in any way and our liver will turn it into fat if we consume too much of it.

Products that contain added sugar (and fructose) normally contain very few nutrients and are classed as empty calories. Fizzy drinks, fruit juice, lollies, chocolate bars and pastries all belong in this category and should be avoided.

Contrary to belief, naturally occurring fructose in fruit is not bad for you and in fact fruit provides your body with vital fibre needed to keep your digestive system running smoothly and has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. A couple of servings of fruit each day isn’t going to do you any harm but if you’re particularly worried about fructose in fruit then stick to fruits that contain less of it, such as kiwifruit, berries and grapefruit. Other natural sources of sugar that are ok to eat are honey and sweet root vegetables.

Some of the side effects of consuming too much fructose in the form of added sugar are:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Obesity
  • Type II diabetes
  •  Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Addiction to sugar

So is quitting unnecessary added sugar (and fructose) good for you?  Yes, absolutely it is. Fructose has been around in our diets for a long time however it only becomes problematic when it is consumed in excess. As a general rule 50g of fructose per day should be the maximum amount you consume. Don’t be too stressed if you consume more than this from natural sources occasionally but when added sugar becomes a regular in your diet you should take a step back and take a look at some of the side effects listed above.

Image via womenshealthmag.com

October 4, 2014

Long Vs Medium Celebrity Hairstyles – Which Was Best?

Have you ever cut your hair only to regret it later? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there and luckily for us, hair grows back so your bad haircut wont be sticking around for long. Sometimes though, a haircut is a great change and we are left wondering why we didn’t take the plunge sooner. So for some inspiration here are some celebrities who’ve been bold and chopped off their locks.

RELATED: Not sure which hairstyle would suit you best?  Here’s how to find the right haircut for your face shape

Katie Holmes has had every haircut under the sun – pixie, short, medium and long, all of which have looked incredible. But my favourite between these two? Definitely the long girl-next-door look which shows off her gorgeous waves.

Long vs Medium Celebrity Hairstyles - Which Was Best?

Julianne Hough recently chopped her long locks and went for a blunt medium length cut instead and I think it suits her face shape a lot more. It’s far easier to maintain this way and she frequently adds a few soft waves for a completely different look.

Julianne-Hough Long vs Medium Celebrity Hairstyles - Which Was Best?

Kate Hudson has had many different hairstyles but her long locks are hard to go past. With subtle layers and soft waves longer hair really suits her face shape and makes her look younger too.

Long vs Medium Celebrity Hairstyles - Which Was Best?

 Long vs Medium Celebrity Hairstyles - Which Was Best?

Taylor Swift boldly chopped off her signature curls, but should she have? Absolutely! Her trendy medium-length cut makes her look more mature and incredibly stylish. Two words – love it.

Long vs Medium Celebrity Hairstyles - Which Was Best?

 Long vs Medium Celebrity Hairstyles - Which Was Best?

Jennifer Aniston made the medium-length layered look famous when she starred on Friends, however I prefer her hair longer when she’s able to put more layers in it for some texture. She frequently wears her hair swept over to the side which really compliments the shape of her face.

Long vs Medium Celebrity Hairstyles - Which Was Best?

 Long vs Medium Celebrity Hairstyles - Which Was Best?

Images via thehairstyler.com, hairstylesweekly.com, stylebistro.com, hairstylesweekly.com, shorthaircuthairstyles.com, women-hair-styles.com, mediumhair-hairstyleideas.com, blackwomenhairideas.com

October 3, 2014

Top Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy Diet

Pregnancy can be a daunting time because there are so many changes going on inside your body and there’s so much you need to try and remember when it comes to your diet. Having a healthy pregnancy diet is vital to the wellbeing of your unborn baby and it ensures that you’re feeling the best you can be while your body grows this tiny human being.

RELATED: Not sure if you’re pregnant?  Check out these subtle signs of pregnancy

So here are some top tips for a healthy pregnancy diet:

  • Wash your fruit and vegetables before consuming to remove any trace of soil that may contain a potentially fatal parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis.
  • Never eat meats that have been left out of the fridge for long periods of time i.e. chicken, deli hams and salamis, to reduce the risk of you developing listeria.
  • When you are reheating food ensure that it is piping hot before you consume it, taking special care with chicken.
  • Before you even try to fall pregnant you should be ensuring that your folate intake is sufficient. During the first month of pregnancy folate helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in your baby such as spina bifida. Spinach, broccoli, fortified cereals, lentils, citrus fruits and avocadoes are all great sources of folate or folic acid.
  • Throughout your pregnancy make sure you’re eating foods with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids which support brain and eye development in babies. Fatty fish, tofu, walnuts and leafy green vegetables are all rich sources of omega-3 fats.
  • If you get hungry between meals, try to snack on foods full of protein and carbohydrates which will keep your full for longer and keep your blood sugar levels on a plateau. Sandwiches, pita bread, salads, vegetables and fresh fruit are best.  Avoid eating high sugar sweets and treats when possible because they will only give you an energy boost for a short period of time.
  • Aim to eat 2-3 portions of dairy each day, important for calcium intake and keeping you and your baby’s bones healthy.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables have important vitamins and nutrients that are essential for the growth and development of your unborn baby. Ensure that you include plenty in your diet when you’re pregnant.
  • There are some foods that you need to steer clear of when you’re pregnant. These include undercooked meat and eggs, soft cheeses such as brie and camembert, pate, raw seafood such as oysters or sushi and shark, marlin and swordfish which all have high levels of mercury.
  • Try not to exceed 200mg of caffeine each day and avoid all alcohol when pregnant.  Water is your best option.

Image via dietxnutrition.com

October 2, 2014

Low-Fat Lentil And Cauliflower Pilaf Recipe

Lentils are part of the legume family and are nutty in flavour, popular amongst vegetarians.  Because they contain plenty of fibre they can help lower cholesterol by keeping your arteries clean and they help to prevent constipation.  Lentils are a great source of protein as well as complex carbohydrates that release energy slowly throughout the day.

RELATED: Love lentils?  Try this roasted beetroot lentil salad

If you want to experiment with lentils, try this lentil and cauliflower pilaf, perfect on its own or served with chicken or lamb.  It’s healthy, simple and extremely tasty.

Ingredients

Canola oil

1 onion, finely diced

½ a cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 ¼ cups basmati rice

2 tbsp mild Indian curry paste

3 cups vegetable stock

2 bay leaves

1 cinnamon quill

400g tin of lentils, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method

  1. Heat two tablespoons of canola oil in a frypan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook for five minutes or until tender.
  3. Add cauliflower and rice then cook for two minutes.
  4. Add curry paste and cook for one minute.
  5. Add stock, bay leaves and cinnamon then bring to the boil.
  6. Reduce heat to low, then simmer for fifteen minutes until rice is cooked and liquid has been absorbed.
  7. Stir through lentils and heat through for one minute.
  8. Sprinkle over coriander and serve.

Image via taste.com.au

October 1, 2014

The Best Savoury Muffins Ever

These savoury muffins are so easy to make, perfect for a weekend lunch if you have visitors coming over or simply a tasty snack to munch on. You can enjoy them warm or cold – my favourite is warm with a little bit of butter that melts just a tad… yum!

RELATED: Prefer a sweet muffin?  Try this ultimate chocolate muffin recipe that won’t disappoint

Ingredients

1 ½ cups self-raising flour

2 cups tasty cheese, grated

100g mortadella cheese, chopped

1 zuccinni, grated

¼ cup thinly sliced shallots

2 rashers shortcut bacon, diced

¾ cup milk

1 egg

¼ cup fruit chutney

Smoked paprika

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius and grease well a six-cup Texan muffin pan.
  2. Sift flour into a large bowl then add cheese, mortadella, zucchini, shallots and bacon.
  3. In a jug whisk milk, egg, and chutney until combined.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients then pour in milk mixture.
  5. Gently mix until combined then spoon mixture into muffin pan.
  6. Sprinkle uncooked mixture with a small amount of smoked paprika.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  8. Turn out onto wire rack to cool.

Image via taste.com.au

September 30, 2014

How To Repair Your Dry And Damaged Hair

When your hair is lifeless, frizzy and dull, it’s almost certainly dry because it hasn’t received enough moisture. This can be caused by a number of reasons including if you live in a hot, dry climate, if you spend lots of time in the sun, if you frequently swim in chlorinated water, if you wash your hair too often or if you frequently use heating products to style your hair.

RELATED: Here are the top 3 nourishing hair oils for dry hair

So if you think your hair is in need of some nurturing, check out these handy tips to get your hair back on track, looking sleek and nourished.

  • Don’t shampoo every day, in fact a couple of times a week at the most is more than enough. Shampooing too often will strip the oils and nutrients from your hair, leaving it feeling dry.
  • Always condition after a shampoo, especially the ends which are prone to splitting and once a week treat your hair to a deep conditioning treatment that can replenish the moisture and seal the cuticles.
  • Always use a heat protecting product before you straighten or curl your hair. Something like Moroccanoil can protect your hair from the intense heat, reducing the risk of split ends.
  • If you don’t have to straighten your hair every day, don’t. If you’re a regular user of heating irons then you’ve probably been unfortunate enough to burn yourself at least once, so you’ll know how hot the iron can get. If it’s burning your skin then just imagine the damage it’s doing to your hair.
  • Invest in a high quality hair brush with natural boar bristles which are gentle on the hair and help to smooth the cuticles. Look for brushes with thicker and stiffer boar bristles for the best quality.
  • Have your hair trimmed regularly to get rid of any split ends and to stimulate the growth of healthy hair.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of water to keep your hair hydrated and strong and ensure that you aren’t skipping protein filled foods which will enrich the quality of your hair. Foods such as fish, eggs, fruit and vegetables are best for keeping your hair healthy.

Image via topfashionz.com

September 29, 2014

5 Of The Best Beach Holiday Getaways

With only three months left until Christmas it’s about time you started organising your holidays (if you haven’t already done so).  And what better place to spend Christmas than at the beach soaking up the sun?  So here’s five top beachside towns to consider for the Christmas holidays.

RELATED: Check out these tips for stress-free Christmas shopping if you haven’t already started!

Torquay, Victoria

Home to famous Bells Beach and the start of the Great Ocean Road, Torquay is Victoria’s surfing capital and the birthplace of the Quiksilver and Rip Curl brands.  In this quaint beachside town there are an abundance of surfing shops, a surfing museum, a spectacular coastal walk and a number of great spots for snorkelling or diving.  The best way to enjoy Torquay is to pitch a tent at the coastal camping ground which is within easy walking distance of all the attractions, then sit back and relax.

1770 & Agnes Waters, Queensland

These towns located on the sub-tropical coast of Queensland enjoy over 300 days of sunshine each year and are the perfect spot for some fun in the sun.  If you’re into getting off the beaten track and exploring then bring your 4WD and set out to find some of the best beaches in Australia.  Surrounded by national parks these towns have an abundance of activities such as fishing, diving, surfing and hiking but the best thing to do here is absolutely nothing at all.

Merimbula, New South Wales

This coastal town on the sapphire coast is a great spot for families, having a theme park on the beach called Magic Mountain.  It features a roller coaster, waterslide, mini golf and mini grand prix track.  The town itself is surrounded by natural bush, providing the perfect spot for bushwalking and of course the beaches at Merimbula are sparkling gems, perfect for surfing, canoeing, boating, fishing and diving.

Yallingup, Western Australia

This relaxed town in the south-west region of Western Australia is home to pristine beaches and limestone caves.  The beaches are well known spots for surfing and fishing while the surrounding areas are alive with wineries, art galleries and day spas.  Explore the Canal Rocks that stretch between Yallingup and Margaret River and stroll along the boardwalk for unforgettable views of the granite rocks and the ocean.

Glenelg, South Australia

One of Adelaide’s favourite white sandy beaches would have to be Glenelg, easily reached via the tram, just 10km from the city.  With gentle waves it’s a perfect spot for swimming making it a great family seaside location.  It’s a renowned spot to swim with the dolphins and when you’re done you can spend your days browsing the abundance of shops, museums, galleries, cafes and restaurants that Glenelg has to offer.

Image via static.panoramio.com

September 29, 2014

Banana, Coconut And Goji Berry Bread

Goji berries are said to be one of the healthiest berries on the planet – rich in antioxidants which can help to protect the eyes, improve circulation, protect the liver and promote weight loss.  This recipe combines these small gems along with a number of other beneficial ingredients including oats, flaxseeds and coconut oil.  Served warm or cold, this bread won’t last long!

RELATED: Learn more about the health benefits of goji berries here

Ingredients

1/3 cup of rolled oats

1 tbsp flaxseeds

2 tbsp coconut sugar

1/3 cup solidified coconut oil

4 eggs

1/3 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup almond meal

2 tbsp goji berries

2 tsp gluten free baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 ripe bananas, mashed

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius then grease and line the base of a loaf pan with baking paper.
  2. Combine three teaspoons of oats, two teaspoons of flaxseeds and one teaspoon of coconut sugar in a small bowl then set aside.
  3. Beat coconut oil and remaining sugar with an electric beater until pale and creamy.
  4. Beat in one egg and one tablespoon of the coconut flour then repeat with remaining eggs and coconut flour until combined.
  5. Add almond meal, goji berries, baking powder, cinnamon, banana, remaining oats and flaxseeds then stir to combine.
  6. Spoon mixture into the prepared loaf tin, smooth the surface, then sprinkle with the oat mixture that was set aside at the beginning.
  7. Bake for one hour or until firm then cool on a wire rack.

Image via taste.com.au

September 29, 2014

Popular Bridesmaid Hairstyles

We all know that on a wedding day the bride is the one in the spotlight but that doesn’t mean the bridesmaids can’t look glamorous as well. Trying to find a style that suits all of your bridesmaids can be difficult and that’s why many brides opt for their bridesmaids to have different styles. So if you’re having trouble deciding on a look take some inspiration from these popular styles.

RELATED: Tips on how to find a suitable stylist for your big day can be found here

A messy side bun is a classic bridesmaid hairstyle because it’s easy to execute, it looks great and it can work with most hair lengths. Try this hairstyle with a headband to uniform the bridesmaid look.

Popular Bridesmaid Hairstyles

For a vintage look, similar to the Great Gatsby style try this look that is sure to turn heads for all the right reasons.  You just can’t go wrong with soft curls pulled back into a formal bun.

Popular Bridesmaid Hairstyles

If your bridesmaids have long hair then consider a halo braid which never seems to go out of fashion. This style is angelic and romantic and when teamed with a flower or two it becomes the perfect bridesmaid hairstyle.

Popular Bridesmaid Hairstyles

Yet another take on the bun style is this simple, elegant and classic look. There’s nothing over the top about it, but that’s one of the reasons it works. Sometimes less is more and that’s definitely the case on this occasion.

Popular Bridesmaid Hairstyles

Perfect for an outdoor or beach wedding this gorgeous hairstyle combines soft curls with a small braid to secure the hair in place and keep it from falling in the eyes. No hair accessories are needed for this style as the braid is the feature.

Popular Bridesmaid Hairstyles

Images via short-haircutstyles.com, weddingnya.com, bridesmaidideas.com, belleandchic.com, yourhairstyleideas.com, bridesdream.info

September 28, 2014

Why Is Mercury So Dangerous When Pregnant?

We’ve all heard that eating fish is an important part of our diet, especially when pregnant, but there are also warnings about eating too much fish during pregnancy. So how much is safe to eat and what types of fish should you avoid?

RELATED: Check out these other foods to avoid whilst pregnant

What is mercury and methyl mercury?

Mercury is a chemical element that occurs naturally in the environment in the air, water and soil. When mercury accumulates in the water it is turned into methyl mercury which fish absorb as they feed in the waters. Over time the mercury levels build up in the fish, some more than others depending on what they eat, and when we catch and eat these fish we consume this mercury too.

What types of fish have the highest levels of mercury? 

Most fish and shellfish contain some mercury but larger fish at the top of the food chain that have been living for a long time generally have higher levels because they’ve had more time to accumulate the mercury. Fish including swordfish, barramundi, orange roughy, shark and king mackerel seem to pose the greatest risk to pregnant women.

How can mercury harm my baby?

Although research is ongoing it appears that consuming high levels of methyl mercury during pregnancy can harm your baby’s brain and nervous system. The effects may not be apparent for years after your child is born but can seriously affect your child’s cognitive skills, language, motor skills and vision.

Why shouldn’t I just give up eating fish altogether?

If you choose to eat fish with low levels of mercury during pregnancy then the risks of harming your baby are very slim and you’ll also be reaping the benefits from eating fish. The fatty acids found in fish are vital for your unborn baby’s brain and eye development so don’t give up on it entirely.

What fish are safe to eat during pregnancy?

Some types of fish that are low in mercury as well as high in healthy fats are mackerel, rainbow trout, salmon and sardines. Shellfish with low levels of mercury include prawns, lobster and oysters. It is recommended that pregnant women eat no more than three serves of fish per week (in the low level of mercury category) and if they do choose to eat fish in the high mercury level category then it should be restricted to one serve per fortnight.

Image via static.ddmcdn.com

September 28, 2014

Halo Braid – Which Celebrity Wore It Best?

Halo braid, crown braid or milkmaid braid are all names for this popular braided up-do that never seems to go out of fashion. First worn by celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Ashley Olsen and Sienna Miller, the halo braid can be spotted on the runway, parties, weddings and festivities because of its versatility.

Halo braids can be dressed up with flowers or diamantes for a formal event or can simply be worn by themselves as a slightly messy look for that casual event.

RELATED: If you’re searching for alternative braided hairstyles read this

So which celebrity has pulled off the halo braid with ease and style? Here are six of the best for inspiration for your next big event.

For a slightly different look this braid has been pushed towards the back of her head and Amanda Seyfried certainly looks like one stylish milkmaid.  Nailed it.

Halo Braid - Which Celebrity Wore It Best?

Drew Barrymore can do no wrong and this halo braid is no exception. Even though it’s slightly messy, that’s the whole point and it works perfectly.

Halo Braid - Which Celebrity Wore It Best?

Scarlett Johansson stepped out to the Avengers Assemble premiere with this thick halo braid, wowing the crowds and the press.

Halo Braid - Which Celebrity Wore It Best?

Taylor Swift’s rope-style halo braid is subtle, angelic and romantic, perfect for any occasion.

Halo Braid - Which Celebrity Wore It Best?

Sienna Miller was one of the first celebrities who stepped out with the halo braid and it’s no wonder that so many others followed suit. This gorgeous style would be perfect for a bride, teamed with some small flowers dotted around the braid.

Halo Braid - Which Celebrity Wore It Best?

Even with shorter hair Jaime King pulls off the halo braid so well. The thick braid has been cleverly crafted using plenty of quality product.

Halo Braid - Which Celebrity Wore It Best?

So who wore it best? They all look gorgeous but I’d have to say that Scarlett Johansson takes the prize for the best halo braid.

Image source: cdni.condenast.co.uk, s4.weddbook.com, hellomagazine.com, www4.pictures.stylebistro.com, thewomenstyles.com, cdn.fashionisers.com, assets.instyle.co.uk

September 22, 2014

The Ultimate Chocolate Muffin Dessert

Despite what you might think, dark chocolate does have some health benefits, except when combined with sugar, eggs and white flour we can’t exactly say that it’s ‘healthy’.  So I’m not going to lie, this recipe is definitely NOT healthy but it’s a fabulous treat if you have friends coming over for dinner or you simply need to indulge in some chocolate.  They take less than thirty minutes to make and I can guarantee they won’t disappoint!

RELATED: Find out the health benefits of dark chocolate here

Ingredients

300g of good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped

125g butter, roughly chopped

1¾ cups self-raising flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup cocoa powder

¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

¾ cup milk

2 eggs

3 80g Mars bars, thinly sliced

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Grease a six hole jumbo muffin pan.
  3. Place half of the chocolate into a bowl with the butter and place over a gently simmering saucepan of water without letting the bowl touch the water.
  4. Stir occasionally until melted then set aside to cool.
  5. Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a large bowl then add sugar.
  6. In a separate bowl whisk milk and eggs together.
  7. Combine milk and egg mixture with dry ingredients and then add the melted chocolate.
  8. Stir together then divide the mixture between the six muffin pans.
  9. Bake for twenty minutes or until cooked through.
  10. Remove from muffin pans and set aside to cool.
  11. Melt remaining chocolate in a bowl over a gently simmering saucepan of water.
  12. Cool slightly then drizzle some chocolate over the Mars bar slices before piling them on top of the muffins.
  13. Drizzle muffins with the last of the chocolate and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
  14. ENJOY!

Image via taste.com.au

September 22, 2014

Miso Glazed Fish With Sesame Brown Rice Recipe

Miso paste (or fermented soybean paste) is a staple of the Japanese diet, made up of soybeans, salt and fungus though sometimes barley, rice or buckwheat may be added to alter the flavour.  Miso is a great source of manganese, zinc and copper, essential mineral antioxidants and has been linked to reducing the risk of some types of stroke.

RELATED: Check out these other foods rich in antioxidants

We’re all looking for quick and healthy dinner ideas because we’re working longer days and we don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen preparing meals, so try this dish that takes less than thirty minutes to prepare and is full of miso flavour and goodness.

Ingredients:

3 tsp miso paste

3 tsp soy sauce

2 tbsp orange juice

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tsp honey

4 white fish fillets

2 Lebanese cucumbers

1 ripe avocado

1 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp sesame oil

2 cups steamed brown rice

2 tsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Method

  1. Mix together miso paste, soy sauce, orange juice, garlic and honey in a large bowl then add fish and coat with mixture.
  2. Cover and leave to marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a large baking tray with non-stick paper.
  4. Take the fish from the marinade and place on the baking tray.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked through.
  6. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the cucumber into ribbons and place in a bowl.
  7. Peel and de-seed avocado then cut into small cubes.
  8. Combine cucumber, avocado, rice vinegar and sesame oil then toss to combine.
  9. Divide the rice among four plates then top with avocado mixture.
  10. Place fish on top then sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Image via taste.com.au

September 21, 2014

Indian Spiced Quinoa With Chicken Recipe

Most of the world’s quinoa comes from the mountain regions of Peru and Bolivia where it originated from thousands of years ago and it is a nutritious seed which contains more protein than any other grain it is often compared to.   This is one of the reasons why it has been labelled as a superfood. Quinoa is high in fibre to keep your digestive system regular and is great for keeping your blood sugar levels in check.  It contains nine essential amino acids, iron, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and much more so consider adding some quinoa to your diet today to reap the benefits of this superfood.

RELATED: See how quinoa compares to other healthy grains here

This Indian spiced quinoa recipe is healthy, easy to prepare, full of flavour and you can have it on your dinner table in less than 35 minutes.

Ingredients:

Peanut oil

1 tbsp black mustard seeds

12 fresh curry leaves

2 tsp garam masala

3 long chillies, seeds removed, thinly sliced

1 large onion, diced

1 ½ cups quinoa

½ cup green split peas

3 cups chicken stock

1 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken

80g baby spinach, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil over a medium heat and cook mustard seeds until they begin to pop.
  2. Add curry leaves, garam masala, chilli and onion and cook until onion is tender.
  3. Add quinoa and split peas then stir to coat in spice mixture.
  4. Add stock and 1 cup of boiling water then simmer over a low heat for 25 minutes.
  5. Add chicken and spinach and heat until chicken is heated through.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Image via taste.com.au

September 21, 2014

How To Get Rid Of Blackheads

Blackheads are a type of acne and are actually clogged hair follicles that appear as dark or black bumps on your skin, normally found on the face, back and shoulders.  They can develop into a pimple if the bacteria invades the hair follicle, causing inflammation and redness.  Although blackheads can appear on any type of skin, normally they are more common in people with oily skin.

Despite what some people may think, blackheads do not normally form because of dirty skin, but because of a number of other factors including your body producing too much oil, hormonal changes due to puberty or menstruation, a reaction to certain drugs and an irritation of the follicles when the dead skin cells don’t shed properly.  The formation of blackheads has nothing to do with the types of food that you eat.

RELATED: See how you can eat your way to healthier skin here

So how do you get rid of them?  Unfortunately the removal of blackheads isn’t something you should try at home.  By trying to squeeze them out yourself you’re likely to infect the follicles with bacteria and cause pimples to form, making the problem even worse than it already was.  So here are some of the most common ways to remove them safely.

  • Try an over-the-counter medication that you can apply directly to your skin.  These creams or pads contain benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol and salicylic acid which help to kill bacteria, dry out any excess oil and shed dead skin cells.
  • If you have a severe case then your doctor may prescribe you a topical medication or the contraceptive pill which have both seen success in the removal of blackheads.
  • Microdermabrasion is an exfoliating process where the top layers of your skin are gently buffed away taking with it the clogged hair follicles.
  • Chemical peels are another process for getting rid of clogged hair follicles as well as the dead skin cells that can lead to blackheads.  A chemical solution is applied to the skin and the top layers of skin peel away, leaving a smoother and softer surface.
  • Laser therapy can reach the lower layers of your skin without harming the top layers to decrease oil production or kill the bacteria.

If you want to try and prevent them in the first place then ensure that you wash your face morning and night to get rid of any excess oil and makeup.  Try using an antibacterial face wash that can kill the bacteria and an exfoliating scrub at least one a week that will remove any dead skin cells.  When you choose a moisturiser make sure that it’s oil free so that you don’t make your problem worse.

Image via holisticvanity.ca

September 21, 2014

Subtle Signs Of Pregnancy

The only way to know for sure if you’re pregnant is to take a home pregnancy test or have a blood test done by your GP, and normally by that stage you’re fairly confident that you’re pregnant anyway, perhaps having missed a period.  But what are the tell-tale signs of pregnancy that you may have missed in the early stages?  Here we look at some of the subtle physical and emotional changes that can occur very early on that you might normally dismiss.

RELATED: Read how to improve your chances of conceiving here

  • Irritability, moodiness and sudden outbursts of sadness are feelings that you may experience early on, much like those of PMS.  Some women dismiss these signs and put them down to stress.
  • Feeling tired and fatigued is an early sign of pregnancy as your body adjusts to the changes needed to grow your baby.  If you’re falling asleep much earlier than usual or taking naps during the day when you never did in the past, this could be a sign of pregnancy.
  • If you notice that your breasts are tender, fuller, or your nipples are sore it could be due to the increased oestrogen and progesterone levels and a sign that you’re expecting.  Don’t assume these signs are due to an upcoming period, especially if the areola are darker than usual.
  • When you fall pregnant your uterus will begin to swell and start pushing on the bladder walls.  This will cause you to urinate more frequently than usual, so if you’re running to the loo every ten minutes it could be a sign of pregnancy.
  • Frequent headaches due to hormonal changes in your body are an early sign of pregnancy but as the pregnancy progresses and your body adjusts to the hormone levels the headaches should start to ease.
  • You may have experienced spotting very early on and perhaps dismissed this as a light period, but in fact it could be a sign of pregnancy.  Some implantation pain could also be felt when the embryo attaches to the wall of the uterus and to some this may feel like an uncomfortable twinge.
  • If you feel light-headed or faint it could be a sign that you’re pregnant.  This can happen when your blood vessels dilate then your blood pressure decreases.  If you’re not eating properly the dizziness can also stem from low blood-sugar.

So if you can relate to some of the signs above then it might be time to put down the glass of wine and reach for a pregnancy test kit instead.

Image via i.huffpost.com

September 21, 2014

Lentils With Roasted Beetroot And Goats Cheese Recipe

Lentils are small but powerful legumes that provide many health benefits when consumed.  Not only do they help to lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and help prevent constipation but they can also help stabilise blood sugar levels, increase your energy and help with weight loss.  Sound great don’t they?  If you’d like to try lentils but are not sure how, try this delicious lentil salad, perfect to serve with lamb or steak.

RELATED: Check out another healthy salad recipe here

Ingredients

1kg of beetroot, trimmed (approximately 3 x beetroot)

Olive oil

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

400g can of lentils, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp of red wine vinegar

60g goats cheese, crumbled

½ cup fresh mint leaves

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius
  2. Wrap each beetroot in tin foil  then bake for one hour on a baking tray before setting aside to cool
  3. Remove the tinfoil then peel the beetroot and cut into wedges (note: you may want to wear rubber gloves when you peel the beetroot so you don’t stain your hands)
  4. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat
  5. Cook onion until soft then add garlic and cook for a further two minutes
  6. Add lentils and beetroot then cook until heated through
  7. Transfer to a large bowl then add vinegar and mint leaves
  8. Toss to combine and serve

Image via taste.com.au

September 20, 2014

Tips For Low Maintenance Hair

If you’ve got kids or you’d prefer to spend your mornings sleeping in for as long as possible rather than tackling your hair then you need low maintenance hair which will save you time and money.  Some simple changes to how you cut, colour and care for your hair will ensure that you’ll spend less time in the bathroom and more time catching up on those precious zzzz’s.

  • If you’re thinking about losing your locks and going short for a low maintenance hairdo then think again.  Short haircuts actually need more maintenance because they need to be trimmed more frequently and they’re likely to need more styling product than longer styles.  Another reason why longer hair can be more low maintenance than short is because it’s a lot easier to throw up into a ponytail or a braid when you’re running short on time or having a bad hair day.
  • When you consult with your hairstylist make sure that you choose a haircut that’s going to work with your natural curls or waves so that you can simply wash and go with minimal styling.  If you have straight hair you’re in luck because this is the hairstyle that requires the least amount of effort to look good so a simple blunt cut like a bob could be your best bet.
  • Maintaining quality hair is much easier than maintaining dry and frizzy hair so ensure that you look after it by using quality shampoos and conditioners.  Consider a deep conditioning treatment on a weekly basis and ensure that you use heat protecting products before styling.  Use quality hairbrushes and combs that won’t damage your hair and prevent breakages.  These tips will ensure that your hair looks good with minimal effort.
  • Hair that hasn’t been artificially coloured is the best low maintenance hair colour but if you want to change it up then ensure that you choose a shade as close to your natural colour as possible.  This means you’ll have to worry less about colour fade and root touch ups.  If your roots are noticeable then consider a root touch-up kit which will save you a trip to the salon for a month or longer.
  • A small number of highlights can be a great way of adding colour to your hair without a lot of up-keep.  Again, stick within a few shades of your natural colour so that if you choose to grow them out they’ll be less noticeable than a full colour.  Avoid a full head of highlights which will be much more noticeable when they grow out, meaning another trip to the salon.

Image via i1.wp.com

September 18, 2014

Sober October – Could You Do It?

Ocsober, or Sober October has become an annual event in Australia and is a time for people to dig deep and find some will power to ditch the drink for 31 days.  In recent years it has been gaining popularity due to the number of alcohol related crimes and the alarming increase in numbers of underage drinkers.  In America the problem is the same.  The criminal justice system is being flooded with alcohol-involved offenders with studies in recent years showing that 40% of state prisoners were under the influence of alcohol when they committed their crime.  And it’s not only adults who have a problem with the bottle – in 2008 more than 190,000 people under the age of 21 visited an emergency centre for an alcohol related injury.

When people drink for the first time, it’s generally due to curiosity about what alcohol tastes like and how it affects them physically.  Normally the first drinking experience is not a big deal but over time the drinks become more frequent and the amounts consumed increase too.  For some people drinking eventually becomes a problem and starts to interfere with daily activities and can cause serious strain on relationships.  So if you drink, be it regularly or occasionally, Sober October can be the perfect excuse to give your body a break for 31 days.  Here are some reasons why you should consider it:

It will help lower your tolerance

Just like drugs, the more alcohol you consume, the more your body gets used to it, so after a period of time you’ll find that your tolerance to alcohol will be quite high and you’ll need more of it to feel the same effects.  If you refrain from drinking for a month it’s highly likely that your tolerance level will decrease so it should be easier for you to cut back on the amount of alcohol you consume after those 31 days.

It will help to lower the risk of you becoming dependant on alcohol

Some people drink every day, not necessarily large amounts, but perhaps they find they can’t do something without a glass of wine or a cold beer, like settling down in front of the TV for the night.  You could be dependent on alcohol if not having it for a day causes problems so to tackle the dependency you should try and break your drinking cycle.  This should help lower your risk of becoming dependant on it.

It will help you to feel better

Giving up alcohol for a month will not only speed up weight loss and improve your vitamin levels but it will also help you to sleep more soundly and increase the quality of your skin.  Over time, the consumption of alcohol can cause the blood vessels in your face to dilate, resulting in red, spidery veins and the alcohol can also interrupt the balance of oestrogen and testosterone levels, causing pimple break outs.

If you’re not convinced that Sober October is a good thing then why not give it a go and see for yourself?  You might be pleasantly surprised at just how good you feel after 31 days, alcohol free.  And who knows, perhaps you’ll be converted for life.

Image via i.dailymail.co.uk

September 18, 2014

Bridal Hairstyles With Tiaras

Tiaras have been a bridal accessory for many years and were once worn to symbolise the loss of innocence to marriage.  On a woman’s wedding day she would wear the family tiara and from then on was expected to wear the jewellery of the groom’s family, symbolising her commitment to her new family.  Nowadays, the reason the tiara is worn is more due to looks rather than tradition but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important.

Tiaras come in all shapes, sizes and styles so don’t discount wearing a tiara on your wedding day until you’ve tried one on.  Typically they are worn far back on the head on a forty-five degree angle from above the ears and are best held in place when the hair is not complete clean, with the use of plenty of hairspray and pins.

So if you’re considering wearing a tiara on your wedding day, take some inspiration from these:

This impressive tiara works perfectly with the formal hairstyle this bride has chosen because it’s extravagant and stunning, much like the hairstyle.  This is one tiara that wont go unnoticed.

Bridal Hairstyles With Tiaras

If you want something a little less understated then choose a simple tiara with minimal detail.  Biggest is not always best.

Bridal Hairstyles With Tiaras

This classic bridal tiara is encrusted with diamantes and is a popular style for many brides.  It’s simple yet elegant and can be worn with a multitude of hairstyles.

Bridal Hairstyles With Tiaras

This incredibly dainty tiara is gold plated and has tiny diamantes suspended from small wires.  It’s not your run-of-mill tiara but something just a little bit different.

Bridal Hairstyles With Tiaras

Love tiaras so much you want to wear more than one?  Well why not?!  This bride proves it can be done with style, you’ll just need plenty of hair for that elongated up-do.

Bridal Hairstyles With Tiaras

Image sources: veliop.com, haircutspictures.biz, dailymagazine.org, hairstylesforfashion.com, fobsic.com

September 18, 2014

How To Improve Your Chance Of Conceiving

Trying to work out when you’re ovulating can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for but once you’re in tune with your body you’ll have a much better chance of falling pregnant. Remember that there is a very small window each month around the time of ovulation when you’re likely to fall pregnant, so timing is pertinent.

Here are some ways that you can predict your ovulation and start trying!

Keep track of your menstrual cycle on a calendar

Ovulation normally occurs about halfway through your cycle. The easiest way to work out when that will be is to count the first day of your period as day one and the day prior to the first day of your next period as the last day of your cycle. Of course many women aren’t regular so this can be a tricky way of predicting ovulation, but if you chart your menstrual cycle over a few months you should start to get a general idea of when you’re ovulating.

Record your basal temperature

Basal body temperature (or BBT) thermometers can be bought from pharmacies and are a great tool for predicting ovulation over a period of time. Your BBT changes throughout your cycle due to varying hormone levels, so in the first half of your cycle when the oestrogen is more prominent your temperature will be cooler, whereas in the second half of your cycle after ovulation has occurred and the progesterone is increased your temperature will be higher. By plotting your temperature on a chart over the course of a few months you should eventually be able to see a pattern and predict when you’re likely to be ovulating.

Recognise the signs from your body

When your period finishes you’ll find that the level of cervical mucus that your body is producing is very little or non-existent and as the cycle progresses the amount of mucus will increase. Early on in your cycle your mucus is probably white and cloudy but as your get closer to ovulation it will change to a clearer colour and will become more slippery, the consistency almost like an egg white. A good test for your mucus is to try and stretch it between your fingers. If you can get it to stretch a few inches long before it breaks you know you’re getting close to ovulation.

Another sign of ovulation can be a one sided back pain or a series of cramps on one side of your abdomen. In the past you may have brushed this off as a twinge that has no significance but in reality it’s a sign from your ovaries that the egg is ripening and getting ready to be released.

Buy an ovulation predictor test

If you can’t be bothered checking your temperature or messing around with your mucus every day then consider purchasing an ovulation predictor kit which measures the level of luteinising hormone in your urine. The hormone levels peak just before ovulation so by simply peeing on a stick you’ll be able to find out whether you’re about to ovulate or not.   

Do you know when you’re ovulating?  Tell us how!

Image via img.webmd.com

September 18, 2014

Top Sex Toys For Beginners

When you and your partner decide to introduce a sex toy into your relationship it can be daunting to try and choose the best one for you.  There are so many different toys for different things but if you’re just starting out something small and simple could be your best bet.  So, here are some of the top sex toys for beginners.

Dirty dice

Start off slowly and ease yourself into the big wide world of sex toys by starting with these simple dirty dice.  One dice is covered in actions and the other is covered in body parts so just roll the dice and do whatever it tells you to do.  It’s a fairly basic start for beginners but exciting all the same.

Top Sex Toys For Beginners

Cupid’s Itty Bitty Beginner’s Butt Plug

Just the name alone is enough to make some people cringe but this tiny device can provide massive amounts of stimulating pleasure.  For some women anal sex can be a major turn off (possibly due to the fact that their partner once tried to slip it in on the sly), but with a little planning it can be extremely pleasurable.  Cupid’s Itty Bitty Beginner’s Butt Plug is small enough to wear all day if you wanted to, is made from silicone, has a tapered tip for easy insertion and a rounded bulb for maximum pleasure.  The flared base means that the butt plug will stay in place and is easily removed using the finger pull.

Top Sex Toys For Beginners

We Vibe 4 Vibrator

What could be better than a sex toy that enhances both partner’s enjoyment?  The We Vibe 4 does just that with its six vibration modes that provide intense stimulation.  Made from medical grade silicone, the We Vibe vibrator is curved to fit snugly in place and stimulates the clitoris and g-spot while the man slips in underneath and enjoys the same vibrating pleasure.  The We Vibe even has a remote control so you can change the intensity as you please.

Top Sex Toys For Beginners

Blindfold 

If you suffer from self-consciousness in the bedroom then something as simple as a blindfold during sex can spice up your life.  To help alleviate your nerves have your partner wear a blindfold and make sure they can’t sneak a peek.  Wearing a blindfold and knowing that you’re not being judged visually can help you to relax and feel less self-aware and if you feel confident enough after a while, try waring it yourself.  The excrement of the unknown will definitely get your heart racing.

Top Sex Toys For Beginners

Lelo Lily Massager

If you’re just starting out with sex toys then the Lelo Lily massager is a great buy, useful for helping you to figure out which vibration you like the best.  It’s an external sex toy that stimulates the clitoris using powerful vibrations whilst being discreet and petite.  Fitting in the palm of your hand the Lelo Lily massager can easily be carried in your handbag and has five different vibration modes for your pleasure.  It’s fully rechargeable and you can enjoy it on your own or with your partner, the choice is yours.

Top Sex Toys For Beginners

 

Images via lovehoney.co.uk, amazon.com, ladiesgadgets.com, we-vibe.com, redbookmag.com, i00.i.aliimg.com

September 17, 2014

Healthy Tomato And Bacon Breakfast Quiches

Breakfast is an important part of your day because you’re refuelling your body after an overnight fast.  If you don’t eat breakfast you’re essentially running on empty and you’re more likely to be overweight, reaching for those high sugar snacks mid-morning.

Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet – they are packet full of nutrients that have been shown to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, help with brain function and help to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, so why not add them to your breakfast.

Try this simple and healthy recipe that will leave you feeling full for longer and ensure that you’re getting a boost of vitamins and minerals first thing in the morning.

Ingredients

175g bacon, rind off and diced

1/3 cup cottage cheese

¼ cup milk

¼ cup grated parmesan

¼ cup chives, chopped finely

3 Lebanese or mountain breads

5 eggs

5 cherry tomatoes, halved

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius and lightly grease 9 holes of a muffin pan.
  2. Cook bacon in a small frying pan until brown then set aside.
  3. Cut 3 x 11cm rounds from each bread to make 9 rounds in total then ease into greased muffin pan holes.
  4. Whisk together eggs, cottage cheese, milk and parmesan.
  5. Sprinkle bacon on the base of each bread in the muffin pan then top with egg mixture and a tomato half.
  6. Bake for fifteen minutes or until filling is set.
  7. Sprinkle with chives to serve.

Image via taste.com.au

September 16, 2014
Load More