Friday, November 30, 2012

Blogging Manners: The art of receiving gifts

I have spent years teaching my girls good manners. I am constantly telling them that manners don't cost anything and they mean so much. I am a little bothered when I notice that some people are skipping basic manners.

I have taught my 7 and 8 year olds that when you receive a gift, whether you like it or not, you give a big smile and thank the gift giver. They know that the gift is not as important as the thought that went into it. You are thanking the gift giver for their time and thoughts too.

AND, you never, ever complain or say ANYTHING negative about the gift.
In the blogging world, it's not unheard of to receive gifts, samples, goodie bags etc. These come from someone. Some business has spent time and money on making and distributing these items and they thought you were worth it. Maybe they are small, not our thing, not worth much or not relevant to our blog or readers. It doesn't mean they don't deserve our good manners.

There are nice ways to say thanks but no thanks.
If you receive a gift bag, thank the relevant people.
Use a hashtag to link it back to them.
and please don't bitch or complain.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Going Organic

Earlier this week I attended a brunch organised by Blogs and PR and Birds of Prey PR to promote Sunraysia's new organic juice. I was really looking forward to hanging out with some bloggers, eating yummy food and hopefully learning something. I wasn't disappointed.
The brunch was held at Wray Organic. This place stocks everything organic and also has a small but yummy menu with great coffee. Tick, tick, tick.

The guest speaker was Rob Bauer from Bauer's Organic Farm. I could listen to him talk all day. He is knowledgeable, interesting and a great story teller. Over a 2 hour period we learnt so much about organic food and farming. I am surprised how little I knew. I am a total convert now and I am a little bothered by what I have been feeding my girls. 

The new Sunraysia Organic juices are delicious, I took a bag home and my daughters devoured them very quickly. They love them frozen in their school lunches. I noticed that Woolworth's has them on sale at the moment 5 for $5. What a bargain!
Nothing add, nothing taken away
Check out this video by Sunraysia. I think they really get their point across

Thank you to Blogs and PR, Birds of Prey PR, Wray Organic, Sunraysia and Bauer's Organic Farm for the brunch. This is not a sponsored post.

PS: If you are interested in learning more about the organic way. You can join Bud Organic Club, they are fairly new but will have tips on going organic, product reviews, gardening, samples etc.

FYI: Four of the top 5 perceived benefits revolve around what is NOT in organic rather than what IS:
- Chemical free
- Additive free
- Hormone/antibiotic free
- Non-GMO
source: Australian Organic Market report
Biological Farmers of Australia

Gym Etiquette: 10 things you shouldn't be doing

Earlier this week, Deb from Aspiring Mum asked if I had written a post about gym etiquette. I couldn't believe I hadn't and I loved the idea. Thanks Deb.

Now, I am not the rule girl on all manners and I would love to have your input. Here are my ten 10 gym annoyances:
  1. Forgetting your towel. You are there to work up a sweat, it's great that you do but you need to wipe down the equipment. Even the handles
  2. Loud grunting when doing your reps. I haven't worked out if this is on purpose or not. I have been known to do a few heavy sets and I do not groan - EVER. You will be lucky to catch me grimacing
  3. Treadmills are like toilet cubicles. If you can, give people some space
  4. Spin/RPM classes. Put some resistance on your peddles else you'll be bouncing around like a handball. Bouncing bums are really distracting. Put on a little resistance and you'll stop the bouncing. Plus all that bouncing must hurt your lady bits
  5. Remove and/or replace weights to their correct home when you have finished with them
  6. In classes, moving AND STAYING in other peoples personal space. Classes can get crowded but we do need more than a postage stamped size area to whip out a roundhouse kick or some awesome Jam moves
  7. If you aren't Rhianna then don't singing really, really loudly to the class sound tracks. We can hear you
  8. Don't hog equipment if you aren't using it. Don't stand there chatting or just leave your towel hanging on it for 10 minutes
  9. Personal trainers you pay by the minute that spend your valuable time talking, peeing or eating. (In case my PT is reading this - I'm not talking about you)
  10. BO. This is really unpleasant. Gym, exercise, sweating, I know it can sometimes be hard to control the smell. But start clean and wear antiperspirant.
Or you can just avoid the gym and use my tips on how to look fit when you are not.

What a your biggest gym annoyances?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mmm Coffee

It's no secret I love coffee. I wake up early (5am early) and then have two cups one after the other. I love my Nespresso machine and the delicious coffee it makes.

Evidence from my photos from my Instagram feed.
My Nespresso stopped working and is getting fixed. All I could find in my cupboard was Nescafe 45.  Noooo. This is for my MIL when she visits.  Life is too short for bad coffee.

I think I will have a cup of tea instead.

Are you a tea or coffee person?

PS: Nespresso have been awesome. They are sending over a replacement while they fix my original machine. I only need to slum it for a few days.

I am joining up for Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas gift ideas for the hard-to-buy-for people in your life

I have quite a few people that are notoriously difficult to buy for. On my search for gifts for them, I have come across a few gems. You might find them useful.

Your dorky brother
Any closet musician would love this. A wearable "DJ quality" t-shirt drum kit. Yes, this actually makes drum sounds, they can enjoy music where ever they go and annoy everyone else. $29.95 from ThinkGeek
Image source
The Lazy Cyclist
Don't waste your neck muscles by turning around. Now you can watch out for cars speeding up behind you without turning around. If you could have a forward, left and right cameras as well, then you will never have to look up from the handle bars. Only $199 from Hammacher Schlemmer
Image source
The lonely stalker
For only $25 at Pillowmob you can create a pillow of your loved ones face. Then you can snuggle (or sit on them) all day. What a bargain!
Image source
Thirsty houseguests
An alcohol combination lock. This way no one can top up their drinks until you are ready. Everyone gets drunk equally. From on Amazon for $19.97
Image source
The dog
Rex will love the world being opened up like this. He can watch for the postman from the comfort of his yard.  $34.98 at Pet Peek
Image source
The Cat
Fluffy will go nuts for this Unicorn horn and it's only $4.25 from Amazon.

Image source
I hope I have helped with your Christmas shopping.

I've linked up with House of Powell

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dinner guests' manners - 10 things that drives me nuts

There are a few things that drive me nuts at the dinner table. I am sure I drive other people crazy too and you can feel free to write all about it on your own blog.
I really must be the worst hostess ever because here are 10 things that will make me want to poke a fork in my eye:

1. Arriving late without calling. Dinner can only cook for so long and the meal I prepared may go past the point of delicious after another 1hr staying warm in the oven. I really would like to serve you something yummy.
2. Starting to eating before everyone has taken their seat.
3. Reaching across people to grab things. I will bite your arm. It might be an accident but it might not be. Is it worth the risk?
4. Taking massive portions and not leaving enough for others. I am hungry too, don't make me hangry as well.
5. Double dipping. Pour some sauce onto your plate. Happily double, triple or quadruple dip into your germy sauce. I won't criticise or judge you when it's all your own.
6. Pointing cutlery at people when you talk or scratching your back with your fork.
7. Talking with your mouth full. Unless you are giving emergency, life-saving advice, keep it shut.
8. Applying tomato sauce or seasoning without tasting the dish first. Everyone has their own taste preferences, but taste it first to see whether it's to your taste or not first.
9. Bringing an extra guest without notice. Huh? Yes, it happens.

But the worse thing EVER, and I will forgive EVERYTHING else...

10. Turning up without a delicious bottle of wine (or two) for the delightful hostess.

What drives you nuts at your table? Rant away.....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I don't like tinsel

There I said it.

I really don't like it. In fact I dislike it so much that I have made my house a tinsel free zone this Christmas.

Would you like some reasons?

1. It's messy
2. It's last season
3. It lacks imagination
4. It's itchy when you wear it as a scarf.
5. Little pieces can still be found weeks after Santa has left the building.

It's such a weight off my shoulders to be able to say it. I hate tinsel!
Is there anything you don't like in Christmas decorations? This is a judgement free zone.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Buffer: Why you should be using it

My discovery of Buffer has changed my blogging life. This application that makes it easy for you to schedule and share your social media updates. It means you no longer need to be online 24 hours a day to have an online presence 24 hours a day.

I use it to schedule and share my tweets over the day and night. This means my tweets can be going out while I am sleeping, writing, eating or hanging out with the family.

Scheduling tweets
Set up your tweeting schedule in Buffer. I have scheduled six tweets each day. Two of these are in the wee hours of the night for my overseas readers. Each morning I use my computer to top up the tweets.
Scheduling facebook updates
Buffer is not just for twitter

Buffer has inbuilt analytics. This is a great way to see how effective a piece you posted was (or wasn't)
It's Free
Well, it's free up to a certain point. Once you start managing multiple accounts, then you may need to upgrade and pay a small monthly fee.

I still like to go onto Twitter during the day to read, comment and retweet, but I save time because I don't have to worried about sharing my own posts.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Why I am glad my treadmill broke...

I love my treadmill. We have a great routine that involves a lot of multi-tasking and running. I could put on a load of washing, or start dinner preparations and jump on the treadmill to review a movie until it was time to move the washing around or toss another vegetable in the soup. It meant I could always find time to exercise but the rest of my world didn't stop.

Then it had a blow out.

While I am waiting to fix it, I had to go out of my way to exercise. I had to schedule around children. For a creature of habit, this was hell.

But I took Lola, my permanent furry fixture...
..for a run along the waterfront. The temperature was perfect, there was a slight breeze and the air was salty (and a little seaweedy)
...I rediscovered the beauty of nature.

I'd still prefer the convenience of my tready but the outdoors is pretty amazing too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My pill popping

I feel like an old lady, taking my pills every evening. The only thing that would make it worse, was if I used a pill dispenser.

I had been feeling run down recently and bought some Multi vitamins. 
I also picked up some Iron supplements. Being vegetarian, my iron levels can sometimes be a little low. Ideally I would like to be getting the iron from Soya , lentils, spinach etc but I wasn't getting enough.
 My husband also insisted on Krill Oil. He bought this one and passed it onto me. 
 My personal trainer told me that Magnesium was a must. Great for bone density and avoiding injury.
Years ago a friend bought me a tub of Glucosamine because I complained of joint that was a little sore in my left pointer finger. After three months, the joint wasn't sore anymore. So, it's a little slow acting but I have continued to take them.
 For when I can't sleep.
This seems like an over-the-top amount of supplements.

Do you take any supplements?
PS: I am joining up for Wordless Wednesday with My Little Drummer Boys

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Magic Mike and a DVD giveaway

I am not interested in strippers of any kind. I have had many opportunities to appreciate their work but have always managed to avoid them. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate attractive males and envy gorgeous females but I don't find dry humping, nude strangers attractive.
I still chose to review Magic Mike. I guess I was swayed by the never-ending, breathless comments I had been hearing. Plus, it would be in the privacy of my own home and I could blame it on doing it for work. What I didn't except that my Mother-in-law would visit at the same time and we would watch it together. #awkward

If you don't already know the story, a male stripper called 'Magic Mike' (Channing Tatum) introduces a younger male, newly renamed 'The Kid' (Alex Pettyfer), to the world of stripping. That world is also inhabited by people called Dallas (Matthew McConoughey), Tarzan and Big D***k Ritchie.

There is also the requisite love interest.

The good bits
  • The bodies are good and they can move. Channing Tatum is a skilful dancer
  • I always enjoy Matthew McConaughey (I just never expected to see him bending over in front of a camera while wearing a tasseled g-string
  • I always enjoy looking at Joe Manganiello. He will alway be Alcide to me (that's a True Blood reference)
  • I found Tarzan surprising sexy. He was hiding in the back a lot and he couldn't dance at all
The bad bits
  • There is a lot of swearing. I found it really unnecessary and distracting. Take out 90% of it and it would have been better. I must be a real prude
  • There was a lot of floor humping. Am I the only person that doesn't find that sexy?
Over all, I enjoyed the movie and I know many, many other women will appreciate it too.

My Mother-in-law thought it was soft porn but managed to sit through it all.

GIVE AWAY  - This has now closed and the winners have been notified by email.
Roadshow Entertainment have given me 5 copies of Magic Mike to give away! If you would like to own this movie, all you have to do is:
  1. Leave a comment either here or on facebook telling me why you would like to win a copy of this DVD.
  2. Enter prior to 6am on 27 November 2012.
If you would like to 'like' Redcliffe Style on Facebook that would be cool too.

Magic Mike is available to rent & own on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download from 26 November 2012

I have not received payment to review or host a giveaway. All opinions are my own.

On Tuesdays I link up with IBOT at Essentially Jess

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hair: Lightening up for Summer

I have been putting off my regrowth issues for a while. I knew it was time to do something with my hair but I wasn't sure what. I think that if you are unsure, then don't do anything. But, there was a fake grey that reappeared and forced my hand. With summer coming I decided it was time to lighten up a little. I settled on light brown with blonde highlights. It's quite a procedure to lighten hair that is dyed dark.

1. Strip the colour. This product is only applied to the dyed portion of the hair. The virgin roots (haha) are avoided
2. When this is rinsed out, you maybe left with strange, orange coloured hair. That's okay
3. Foils galore, focusing mainly on the front and top
4. Apply the colour over the rest of the unfoiled hair. My hairdresser uses Redken Chromatics. I would highly recommend it. They have zero ammonia and leave your hair gorgeous and shiny. 
5. Rinse, style and admire how smart you were for making the change.
6. Your hair will require the correct home maintenance products to ensure your hair colour and condition is the best it can be. Ask your hair dresser for recommendations but I love the Redken Colour extend range for shampoo and conditioner and Extreme strength builder as a weekly (or bi-weekly) mask.
I am loving the new lighter, bronde (that's what my girls are calling it). Now I just want it to be long enough to braid, twist or knot for summer. This might be a little harder to achieve.

Do you change your hair with the seasons?

Friday, November 16, 2012

6 Top Photo Editing Apps for your iPhone

1. Instagram $free
This is an easy and fun way to communicate and share photos with other bloggers and people. You can also link it to Twitter and facebook and share your images with those followers too. Instagram has some great filters, frames and focus effect. Each filter has it's own frame. You can't pick between frames but you can choose whether to use a frame or not.
Once you have conquered Instagram and played with the filters. It's time to have some real fun.
2. Picfx $1.99
I love this for its filters and light options. Some of the filters give gentle drops of whimsical lights to your images. You can layer the filters for greater effect. It's easy to share the new edited image with Instagram.
3. InstaCollage $free
You use this app to create collages. They have so many options but most of them are a little messy and complicated. I often find that simple is better. You can also add frames, effects, text and fun (silly) stickers.
4. InstaEffect $free
This just adds effects.. These are less subtle and more like a punch in the face.
5. Lumiè $1.99
Lots and lots of pretty effects with one frame option.
6. Labelbox $free
This is an easy way to add text to a photo. They have heaps of options and fonts.
What are your favourite photo apps?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Warm Seashell Massage

Yesterday I was in a bit of a slump. A friend who was at the end of one of my boring 'poor me' conversations later send me a message advising that she had booked me in for a massage. This wasn't necessary but was a pretty awesome thing to do. I wonder if it was a way for her to buy 60mins of silence from my moaning?

Any woo....

So at 9.28am I arrived, dah daaa. Paula, my therapist, started the treatment off with a foot soak, this gave me time to come up with plans to deal with my body issues during the massage. I am ridiculously self conscious. I was relieved when Paula showed me a mound of fluffy towels. When she came back I had hidden every inch of my nudish flesh under all of them.
Paula then began the Warm Seashell massage with Pure Fiji Gingerlily oil. Ummm, Oh my friggin' goodness. This was like a hot stone massage on steriods. After 5 mins I was ready to toss the shackles of those towels so she could do whatever she needed to.

The brochure reads "Drift away while enjoying a relaxing massage with warm sea shells and relaxing blends of aromatherapy oils. Tension is relieved and balance is restored with this unique massage experience"

I can't remember what my earlier problems were but I am thankful I have wonderful, thoughtful friends.

PS: This isn't a sponsored post. I just happen to have really cool friends in really cool places.  If you want to experience this amazing massage, check out Beautiful You Hair and Beauty Day Spa 3284 6463 on the waterfront in Redcliffe.