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Zara D’Cotta: Six reasons to eat with seasons

Great article on healthy eating and why it’s important to eat with the seasons from Aussie blogger, Zara D’Cotta.

Zara D’Cotta started OhMyGoodness (OMG) following her breast cancer diagnosis just before her 30th birthday. This life-changing experience inspired her to take a leap of faith and leave her career in corporate communications to combine her passion for health and wellbeing with her love of storytelling.

Zara noticed a push towards locally grown food; a desire to build our sense of community; the growing importance of wellbeing and interest in finding new and fun ways to exercise.  OhMyGoodness (OMG), her ultimate guide to healthy living, is now followed by 30,000 Australians who love its guides to the hottest healthy eating spots, fitness trends, travel adventures and beautifully styled whole food recipes.

One of Zara’s key healthy eating tips is to eat seasonal produce. In a recent blog post, she explained why.

Mother Nature is a very clever lady. She knows what foods are best to nourish and sustain us through each season, making sure they are abundant and ripe for the picking at…

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Inspirational Woman: Olivia Wollenberg

Olivia Wollenberg is a British foodie blogger, best-selling author and super force behind Livia’s Kitchen. Having been diagnosed with severe food intolerances, Olivia turned her desire for “f…

Source: Inspirational Woman: Olivia Wollenberg

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Pro Pick: Mascara Mania with Ere Perez

Mascara Mania – All about the lashes – with Emmily Banks and Ere Perez @ereperezmakeup @depthsofbeauty #mascara

Have you ever rushed out of the house forgetting to add a lick of mascara and spent the entire day feeling naked?! I know you know what I’m talking about!

Whether you love a little makeup or a lot, mascara is one of those miracle cosmetic products that few of us could bear to live without. By enhancing the shape of the eye and defining the lashes, all it takes is a few little licks and you’re instantly feeling more awake and ready to face the day.

Enter: Ere Perez’s gorgeous range of natural mascaras!

  1. Volumizing Waterproof mascara – the only natural waterproof mascara on the market!
  1. All-Day Sunflower Oil mascara – a long lasting brown to accentuate length and add shine.
  1. Natural Almond Oil mascara – glossy black to strengthen, lengthen, condition and stimulate growth.
  1. Lash & Brow Aloe Vera Gel mascara – clear multi purpose for a clean, wet…

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Inspirational Vegan: James Aspey

James Aspey is one of Australia’s best known vegans.  Having beaten cancer, he decided to get healthy and went vegetarian. His journey led him to become vegan, and to his Voiceless365 campaign for which he took a year’s vow of silence in support of voiceless animals. Here he tells us about his journey and life as a vegan and animal rights activist.

Tell us how and why you decide to go vegan?

I decided to go vegan when I realised that by being vegetarian I was still paying people to exploit, mutilate, torture and slaughter animals for foods and products I could easily do without. Contributing to such cruelty was far from the kind, peaceful, compassionate person I strive to be. Once I was convinced I could be healthy as a vegan (in fact, healthier!) there was nothing left to it but to do it. And it’s easily one of the best things I’ve ever done. Pretty much every vegan I’ve ever spoken to agrees.

What does being vegan mean to you? 

Being vegan is the most normal, chill thing I can think of. It’s simply about causing the least amount of harm possible. When you consider how horrific it is to be the one suffering, it should follow that one of the most important things we can do in life is to reduce our contribution to the suffering of others. To me, it is also about seeing animals as more than just property or products. They are individuals, with their own hearts and minds. They are our fellow ‘Earthlings’ and are part of our Earth family. It’s about recognising that their life matters and giving them the most basic respect of not using, abusing and killing them for foods and products we can easily do without.

Do you think that veganism is a legitimate future for mainstream living?

Veganism is the ONLY legitimate future for mainstream living. Animal agriculture is completely unsustainable and destroying this planet. We will either choose to be a vegan world or we’ll be forced to. Aside from the necessity in going vegan, it is so easily achievable by absolutely everyone. The cheapest foods in the supermarket are vegan. All the nutrients you need are found in plant foods. It is healthier. The meals are absolutely incredible, with millions of recipes to choose from and all your old favourite meals can be veganised. It is more peaceful and increases the overall respect of other sentient beings. And best of all, it is achievable now, to each and every one of us, with a few *simple* changes to the foods, clothing and products we purchase.

What are the benefits of veganism from a health perspective?

By consuming only plant foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and legumes) you are avoiding huge amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol, higher doses of hormones and pesticides, and most obviously avoiding animal protein, which is a carcinogen. Studies show you are likely to have less nutrient deficiencies, extend your life and reduce your chance of dying from 14 of the 15 top reasons for death, including heart disease, diabetes, cancers and more. And many world record holding, elite athletes prove that being vegan can help you attain the most impressive athletic achievements.

First the sugar tax, now people are talking about the possibility of a meat tax…Is this necessary to make a real impact?

I don’t believe a meat tax is necessary to make a real impact, but it will be one of many things that helps make the chopped up corpses of dead animals seem even less appealing than they already are.

What made you decide to do Voiceless365?

I felt compelled to do Voiceless365 because desperate times call for desperate actions and there is certainly no group more desperate right now than the billions of animals all around the world awaiting their execution at the slaughterhouse. I believed I could make a difference and help contribute to making this world a better place in my own, small way. So I went for it and never looked back.

Did you ever just open your mouth without thinking?! 

I accidentally spoke about 6 times, when a couple of words slipped out without me thinking – usually first thing in the morning before I’d had the chance to remind myself that I was in the middle of a vow of silence… But I never deliberately spoke for the entire 365 days.

How do you stay fit and healthy on a daily basis?

Every 2-3 days I go for a run, surf, bike ride, skate or do some weights. I choose exercise I enjoy and play music at the same time or listen to an audio book.

What’s next on your campaign calendar? 

Next… It’s a surprise that I’ll be announcing in the coming weeks. It’s going to be something worth watching, something I imagine is going to cause me a great deal of pain and something I’m not even sure if it is possible to achieve, but the animals are great motivation and I’m going to give it my absolute best effort.


YouTube: http://youtube.com/voiceless365

Facebook: http://facebook.com/jamesaspeyactivism

Instagram: http://instagram.com/jamesaspey

To find out more about Ere Perez:  www.ereperez.com 

Source: Inspirational Vegan: James Aspey


Holy Matcha! Have you discovered the wonder tea?

If you ask what are the health benefits of matcha, you may as well just ask what aren’t they! Because frankly matcha tea seems to be the answer to almost everything health-related.  It’s just so incredibly good for you, apparently!   Zen monks have sworn by it for centuries and they live a VERY long and healthy life!

Matcha tea is a type of Japanese green tea that’s been around for thousands of years. A favourite of Zen monks and used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, matcha means “ground” and this wonder tea is basically ground into a powder then whipped into a frenzy of fabulous health benefits for drinking and digesting in other ways.

Aside from Matcha tea and Matcha Lattes, Matcha is starting to be used in things like dairy free icecreams, froyos and other sweet treats like brownies.  It’s also great as a face mask – see below.

Why is Matcha so good for you? 

Basically it is the holy grail of antioxidants!  Matcha green tea contains polyphenol compounds called catechins – super antioxidants. Matcha possesses antioxidant levels 6.2 times that of goji berries, 7 times that of dark chocolate, 17 times that of wild blueberries and 60.5 times that of spinach!

Matcha tea is so much more powerful than other green teas, because the entire leaves are dissolved in water rather than steeped in bags, which means that we get all the benefit from antioxidant powers.

Matcha tea’s chlorophyll-rich leaves are steamed, dried and ground into a fine green powder, then mixed with hot water (not boiling) and whisked.

One cup of matcha green tea has as many antioxidants as 10 cups of reguIar green tea!

Health Benefits of Matcha 

  • High in Antioxidants, great for anti-ageing and anti-cancer
  • Apparently enhances calm and a sense of wellbeing and peace
  • Boosts memory and concentration
  • Increases energy levels and endurance
  • Enhances metabolisim/burns calories
  • Detoxifies the body/clears skin – may also help with acne and other skin inflammation
  • Fortifies the immune system/fights disease

Matcha Mask

This really simple face mask will leave your skin looking and feeling fresh, rejuvenated, clear and radiant. It’s really good for acne, greasy skin and general spots.

  • Simply mix a teaspoon of ground Matcha with a teaspoon of runny honey.
  • Mix into a paste
  • Smear all over your face
  • Leave for 15 minutes
  • Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry.

Tip: Alternatively, you can mix with either pro-biotic yogurt or just with water. 

PHOTO: Thanks to CHANGE CHAI  changechai.com.au,  @changechai01

Written and published for Ere Perez Naturally Beautiful blog. www.erepereznaturallybeautiful.com


How to write limericks

Limericks have always been one of the first types of poetry that children learn to read and create themselves.  They’re a great way to learn about rhyme and rhythm and kids love them, because just like children, they can be silly, funny and often quite rude!

Limericks have been around for hundreds of years, but were made popular by Edward Lear with his A Book of Nonsense. Other great poets who have written brilliant limericks include Ogden Nash, Spike Milligan, Dixon Merritt, George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy and many more…

One limerick all children learn, without evening knowing it, is:

Hickory Dickory Dock

The mouse ran up the clock

The clock struck one,

The mouse ran down.

Hickory Dickory Dock.


Have fun creating your own with your children. It’s easy! Just follow these simple rules:

  • It has to be five lines long.
  • Rhyming goes as follows: AABBA – so first, second and fifth lines rhyme; and third and fourth lines rhyme.
  • Lines 3 and 4 are generally shorter than the other lines.
  • You can make an easy start by beginning with, “There was a/an….”


There was an Old Man of Madras  (A)

Who rode on a cream-coloured ass  (A)

But the length of its ears (B)

So promoted his fears (B)

That it killed that Old Man of Madras (A) 

Edward Lear 

Get some inspiration here: http://www.limerickpoemsandpoets.com/famous_limerick_poems.aspx

Written and published for the Wondrous Ink blogwww.wondrousink.com


20 life skills all kids should have by 16

In this digital, convenience-centric and consumable age, children are spending more and more time in front of screens and less time with parents, learning manual, useful life skills that will help them to live independently (hence they don’t leave home until they’re well into their 20s or later!).

Consequently, skills we all took for granted as children are dying out and too many children are growing up without the skills or attention span to make a bed, wire a plug or cook anything that doesn’t come in a microwaveable packet…

While we all talk about “life skills”, these are often referring to intangible skills, such as being responsible, time management, organisation, self-confidence, self-awareness and money management. These are all very valid life skills, but are we forgetting to teach our children the basic manual skills they need to simply live independently?

Some of these may seem really obvious, but here are 20 things our children should know how to do before they get to 16:

  1. Clean a bathroom – hygienically!
  2. Cook individual types of food: pasta, meat, rice, eggs (boiled/scrambled), vegetables, mashed potatoes
  3. Electrical repairs – change a bulb, wire a plug
  4. First aid – dress wounds, take temperature, treat a burn, administer CPR
  5. Household washing (colours & whites, stain removal, find the right program etc)
  6. Ironing – temperature control and different items, including shirts
  7. Know about fuse boxes – what they do and what to do when lights go off!
  8. Maintain a car (check oil, water, tyre pressure; change a tyre/wheel; fill petrol)
  9. Make a bed properly
  10. Make some basic meals from scratch: pancakes, cakes, Bolognese, cottage pie, roast dinner
  11. Mend a bicycle tyre puncture
  12. Peel and chop vegetables/fruit
  13. Polish shoes – properly
  14. Recycle – what recycles and what doesn’t
  15. Sew a button, mend a hole, basic sewing
  16. Stack a dishwasher properly (i.e. rinse off, load from back to front, where everything goes, so that it actually washes!!!)
  17. Read a book from cover to cover
  18. Know basic food hygiene rules
  19. Vacuum the house
  20. Write a proper letter (polite) and address an envelope

You may look at this list and think “Jeez I can’t do half of these things myself!” In which case, you can have fun learning together!

To purchase one or our books or see what your child’s Wondrous World book would look like (or your own!), go to www.wondrousink.com.

Written/published for Wondrous Ink Blog. 


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: International Day of Recycling

May 17th is the International Day for Recycling. It’s an important day to be environmentally aware and recall the strategy of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

It’s amazing that some people still can’t be bothered to recycle or don’t believe it’s worth doing. It’s also ridiculous that we produce so much that can’t be recycled, or that plastic bags are still even made at all! Forget 5p/5c a bag, why can’t we just stop making them?

Recycling, as in the vast amounts of plastic, paper and other material that gets shipped to recycling plants has come under intense scrutiny over the last few years, due to the amount of energy it takes to recycle.  Yes, there are downsides, but surely it’s better to recycle than to simply shove it all in landfill or dump it out in the ocean somewhere?

Reduce, reuse and recycle

Ultimately we should be looking for ways to create less recycling in the first place – by reducing the amount of plastic and other solid materials we buy and consume; and by re-using as much as we can to avoid sending truck loads of recycling off to expensive plants every fortnight. So recycling comes last.

Easy Ways to Reduce the amount of solid you produce:

  • Say no to plastic packaging: Buy loose fruit and vegetables
  • Get meat from the counter, not the pre-packed shelves
  • Bulk buy pastas, grains, cereals and any other consumables you can
  • Buy large bottles of juice instead of cartons and small packs – or juice your own!
  • Use packaging-free lunchboxes and reusable drinks containers – say no to drinks pouches
  • Use glass over plastic – you can re-use glass jars and bottles for all sorts of other things.
  • Compost as much as you can

Ideas for Reuse:  

  • Non-recyclable plastic can be shredded to make cushion fillers.
  • Plastic bags can be woven into colourful shopping bags and even the cushion covers themselves – great for outdoors.
  • Plastic pots are great for growing seeds and using as plant pots.
  • Plastic bottles are great containers for all sorts of things around the home.

To recycle or not to recycle? That is the question!  

There’s so much that can be recycled, but sadly a lot that can’t. If in doubt, check the bottom of the packaging label.  Here are some things that can’t be recycled:

  • Plastic or wax-lined or coated cartons. Don’t recycle soiled cardboard/paper food containers, e.g. pizza boxes
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic trays and meat containers
  • Random bits of plastic, plastic film, bubble wrap etc
  • Polystyrene/Styrofoam
  • Foil – containers and wrap
  • Paper tissues, serviettes and kitchen roll

So first, try not to use or buy products in packaging that can’t be recycled. Next, try to think of inventive ways to reuse recyclable and non-recyclable waste.  If you have to recycle, do it responsibly and don’t forget to make sure you rinse tubs, jars, bottles and any plastic containers for cosmetics and skincare before you pop them in the recycling bin.

We can all make a massive difference to world waste, and the less we produce, the better it will be for everyone.


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Inspirational woman: Annalise Braakensiek

Read our interview with the fabulous @annalisebraakensiek – all about natural health and beauty…

Beautiful Australian model, designer and presenter Annalise Braakensiek is one of our most gorgeous neighbours in Sydney and a long-term fan of Ere Perez. With an incredible 2.4 million Facebook followers and another 22.5k on Instagram, this super-talented lady is as influential, as she is gorgeous; speaks six languages; has her own stunning range of jewellery and a line of sleepwear and lingerie.

She has just signed with Spanish sunglasses brand, Flamingo, and has her own collection set to launch in October this year at http://www.flamingoaustralia.com.

Annalise grew up on a biodynamic farm and is naturally dedicated to healthy living, a devoted yoga fan, pescatarian and cruelty free advocate.  She’s a committed supporter of the Starlight Foundation, Cancer Council and Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre and prolific animal rights advocate, having campaigned on behalf of PETA, the Human Society International (HSI), and the RSPCA.

What does being naturally beautiful mean to…

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Amazing almond blossom

Amazing almond blossom of the Lecrin Valley

The Lecrin Valley

No matter how many years you spend living in or visiting the Lecrin Valley, you will never tire of the amazing spectacle every January and February when the almond blossom is in full bloom.

The new blossom heralds the spring, bringing the Lecrin Valley and surrounding hills to life at the end of the winter. It’s so incredibly beautiful with the soft pink flowers contrasted against the rugged rockiness of the Andalucian landscape.

Photos by Danielle Gouwens @ At Home in Andalusia 

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